ISSUES AFRICA WORLD PHILOSOPHY AFRIKAANS LEISURE GENERAL

Zimbabwe:

The countdown to Chaos

Jaco Strauss
15 August 2002 E-Mail this page to a friend


For a number of years, the rapid decline of Zimbabwe was there for all to see.

However, very little was done and most of the time, too little, too late. The biggest culprit (other than Mad Bob himself) in this diplomatic disaster must be South Africa's Thabo Mbeki who did........ nothing (other than giving his nutcase neighbour tacit support!)

I'm afraid the damage done to Zimbabwe is now unfortunately irreversible. This is how it happened as reported by Daily Telegraph, IOL, Zimbabwean News (ZWNews) and Amnesty International....

Timeline 2000

Timeline 2001

Timeline 2002

1997

August

Mugabe decides to pay out a $240 million compensation package to veterans of the so-called liberation struggle

September

Mugabe's government announces a peasant resettlement plan. Landless blacks are to be settles on seized white farm land. The estate of the biggest single producer of flue-cured tobacco in the world is among those on the list of land designated to be seized.

The land seizures and veteran payouts are calculated to win popular approval, but the government cannot afford them--a fact that is considered proof that in almost 18 years of rule the Mugabe government has taken Zimbabwe from being the potential breadbasket of Southern Africa to an African basket case.

1998

January

19   Week long riots as thousands of black demonstrators rage against soaring food prices. The food riots were triggered by a sudden 21% increase in the price of maize meal, the country's staple food.

With unemployment at 50% and the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar, real incomes are lower than they were 20 years ago under Ian Smith's Rhodesia.

February

Over and above all the land handed out to Mugabe's friends and relatives, the government has another million acres available for settlement--but has not distributed any of it.

Zimbabwe announces the purchase of a "back-up" fleet of 50 Mercedes cars costing $3.3 million--the third such purchase in three years. Every cabinet minister already has a Mercedes, not to mention a four-wheel drive for upcountry trips.

90% of Zimbabwean tax revenue is paid out in civil service salaries and debt repayment. One leading economist for Zimbabwe's Chamber of Commerce, John Robertson, describes the country as "teetering on the edge of a major melt-down."

2000

January

February

Zimbabwe starts to fall behind in its loan repayments to the IMF

15   In spite of his promises of free land to supporters, voters reject dictator Robert Mugabe's proposals that would have given him even more authoritarian powers, including the right to confiscate private land without compensation.

Almost immediately self-styled "war veterans", many born after 1980, start invading white-owned farms.

March

2   Squatters seize hundreds more white-owned farms in an ongoing and violent campaign masterminded by Zanu-PF.

31   The UN Committee On Elimination Of Racial Discrimination concluded its fifty-sixth session and "regretted that very little progress had been made in respect to land redistribution in Zimbabwe". It recommended that Zanu-PF "consider the possibility of communal access to commercial farm land"

April

15 people are seriously injured in the city centre when demonstrating opposition parties clash with Zanu-PF supporters.

6    Zimbabwe's Parliament approves constitutional amendment allowing government to seize white-owned farms -- without compensation -- and redistribute them to landless blacks.

12    Parliament dissolves at midnight ahead of upcoming elections.

13    High Court orders eviction of squatters, but Mugabe orders police not to enforce the order, saying land redistribution was a political, not legal, issue. .

"The courts can do what they want. They are not courts for our people and we shall not even be defending ourselves in these courts" - Dictator Bob Mugabe
14    Robin Cook, the British foreign secretary said the UK would provide cash help for land reform under certain conditions.
"Britain would support a genuine land reform programme which would benefit the rural poor and provide fair compensation to those farmers willing to sell land"
President Mugabe has insisted that the transfer of white-owned land will go ahead, in spite of concerns from Britain and other European countries

15    Occupations turn violent and the killings begin: white farmer David Stevens sought help from officers at the local police station, who did nothing to stop him being abducted and dragged into the bush, where he was tortured and shot. During the trial of his murderers in October 2002 a shocked courtroom was told:

"One of them knelt over Stevens's body and brought a container filled with blood which they mixed with alcohol and shared among themselves."
15    Two opposition party members killed in firebombing.

18    20th anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence from Britain; Martin Olds becomes the second white farmer killed when 70 armed militia attacked his farm. Police prevented neighbours to come to his aid and no-one was ever arrested.

19    High Court finds squatter leader Chenjerai Hunzvi guilty of contempt of court for inciting his followers to occupy the white farms after the invasions were declared illegal.

20    I sent a letter to the the South African Government condemning their "quiet diplomacy" that was destined to fail and warned them of the dire consequences for an "African Renaissance"

22    In a private meeting with Mbeki, Mugabe is reported to have agreed to order war veterans to end their occupation of farms, hold free and fair elections and tone down his inflammatory rhetoric.

27    Talks in London between British and Zimbabwean representatives fail to bring resolution.

28    South African Government refers me to the "agreement" as reported 22 April.

May

2    I pointed out to the government that (amongst other things) their "agreement" has not been honoured and that for Mugabe the total economic destruction of his country is a price he will gladly pay in order to steal another term in office. (The government never replied)

3    Commonwealth rebukes Zimbabwe over farm occupations, violence; Britain imposes export controls.
I write an open letter to the UN, asking them to define racism. I never got any reply.

5    Thabo Mbeki walks around hand-in-hand with Mugabe at the much diminished 20th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo. Opening the fair Mbeki said:

And so here we are together in Bulawayo, during the month when all of us will celebrate Africa Day, on May 25th, with both of our countries free of the yoke of white minority rule.

As neighbours and peoples who have shared the same trenches in the common struggle for freedom, it is natural that we must now work together to build on the victory of the anti-colonial and anti-racist struggle.

Practically, together we must decide what we have to do, again sharing a common trench of struggle, to address an agenda which includes:

As H.E. President Mugabe has stressed, for us to achieve all these regional objectives, it is necessary that we restructure the institutions of SADC to ensure that it becomes a more effective instrument for real change.

Land dispossession was one of the most iniquitous results of the colonisation of Zimbabwe. As we grew up as activists of our own liberation movement, we knew that among the objectives of our struggle were the repeal of the Land Act in South Africa and the Land Apportionment Act in this country.

Both of our countries, which experienced extensive land dispossession of the indigenous majority by those who colonised our countries, are confronted by the challenge to address this colonial legacy. Our peoples, on both banks of the Limpopo, both black and white, have a responsibility to recognise the fact that the land question constitutes an important part of the national agenda.

Accordingly, they must commit themselves to work together to address this central question, to advance the common good.

To you, the people of Zimbabwe, I would like to convey the message that the overwhelming majority of your brothers and sisters south of the Limpopo, share with you the hope that the land question in Zimbabwe will be addressed successfully.

8    Another white farmer is murdered. At least 19 farmers and opposition supporters have been killed since February. Squatter leader Chenjerai Hunzvi warns farmers with British passports to return to Britain or "go into the ground."

15    Mugabe announces elections set for June 24-25.

June

In the period leading up to the election, the MDC MP for Kwekwe, Blessing Chebundo, was severely intimidated and his house totally destroyed by fire. Similarly, his campaign manager, Abraham Mtshena, had his family beaten and his house destroyed by fire. One of his sons suffered from burns and had to be hospitalised.

2    Zimbabwe announces immediate start to seizure of more than 800 farms for redistribution; U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan postpones planned visit.

8    High Court refuses opposition request to postpone elections.

19    Patrick Nabanyama, a former member of ZANU-PF, working as a polling agent for the MDC in Bulawayo is abducted by a group of so-called "war veterans". The "war veterans" went to his house and abducted him in the presence of his wife and children. To date his whereabouts remain unknown and he is presumed dead.

22   An Amnesty International mission to Zimbabwe documents widespread human rights violations including arbitrary killings, torture and ill-treatment. These are believed to have caused a pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation which in turn is hampering the rights to freedom of assembly, association, movement and expression.

"The state-sponsored terror that characterized the run-up to the elections should not be allowed to continue," Maina Kiai from Amnesty International said.

"The current climate of terror in Zimbabwe is creating an atmosphere in which free and fair elections are not possible"

24-25    Amid reports of violence, vote-tampering and poll-worker abductions, Zimbabweans go to the polls in record numbers. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change finishes surprisingly strong, dramatically shrinking the ruling ZANU-PF party's majority. Mugabe already changed the constitution giving him the right to undemocratically appoint an additional 30 cronies to parliament. This helps secure a majority.

28    In Kwekwe, an MDC ward chairperson -- Mutyanda Mandishona -- is beaten to death. Edwin Mushoriwa, the MDC MP for the Harare constituency of Dzivarasekwa, and MDC supporters are also beaten by members of the army. At a rally authorized by the police, around 100 MDC supporters were celebrating their election victory when a truckload of soldiers arrived and beat them with rifle butts. At least five MDC supporters were hospitalised.

Now that the elections are over in Zimbabwe, the government must move the country forward by fully investigating the human rights violations in the run up to the elections and bringing the perpetrators to justice, Amnesty International said.

Zimbabwe has a long history of impunity for human rights violations: from the amnesty at independence; through to the unpunished and uninvestigated atrocities in Matabeleland in the 1980s; through to the arbitrary killings, torture and ill-treatment that occurred before the latest elections.

"The scores of victims of arbitrary killings, torture and ill-treatment in the run-up to the election deserve justice. "The vicious circle of impunity that has been common in Zimbabwe before and after independence will only be broken if the new government -- regardless of its composition -- acts promptly."

30    Amnesty International is concerned that Mugabe's history of inciting his followers to violence could lead to retaliation against known or suspected supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition political parties in the aftermath of the parliamentary election, Amnesty International said today.

"Threats of, and actual violence have been the hallmarks of President Mugabe's leadership. The new Zimbabwe after the elections must see a stop to such practises that result in human rights abuses."

July

18    White farmers in Glendale, a top cotton- and food-producing region, shut down operations in protest of the death threats. More than 30 people have been killed in the violence across Zimbabwe since February.

20    Mugabe swears in new Cabinet.

30    Mugabe announces plan to seize 3,000 farms.

August

Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state meeting in Malawi direct its the ministers to seek urgent solutions that collectively address the land problem. (See Oct 2001)

2    The Daily News publish evidence of a government assassination plot against Geoffrey Nyarota, its editor-in-chief.

2-3    Massive strike, supported by farmers, labour unions and opposition, paralyses Zimbabwe for a day. In the wake of the strike, Mugabe pledges to remove squatters from farms not slated for redistribution, but denies he did so the following day. White farmers go to court to challenge plan to seize 3,000 farms.

10    Zimbabwe banks shut off new loans to embattled white farmers.

16    Zimbabwe's High Court invalidates all the mail-in votes cast in the June elections. Most were cast by Zimbabwean soldiers aiding the Congolese government in its 2-year civil war.

18    Government adds 229 more farms to redistribution list.

September

The IMF freeze its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility resources due to Zimbabwe's failure to honour its commitments.

3   More than half a million farm worker have already lost their jobs and source of income, without gaining any of the redistributed land, the developmental journal Bistandsaktuelt reported.

October

6   Mugabe grants clemency order of "total amnesty" to every person liable to criminal prosecution, whose guilt or innocence has not been determined by a court, for any politically motivated crime committed during the period 1 January 2000 to 31 July 2000. The amnesty protects perpetrators of human rights abuses who are liable to prosecution for, or are charged with, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (torture), common assaults, kidnapping and abductions (involving in at least one case a ''disappearance'') in connection with the 12 and 13 February referendum and the 24 and 25 June elections.
Amnesty International challenges the international community to meet its obligations to end impunity and bring to justice those responsible for gross human rights abuses by condemning unambiguously this executive order. ''The international community should expressly acknowledge that the amnesty seriously undermines the obligations of Zimbabwe under international human rights law"
21   Three day of riots in Harare, crushed by the police and army, document the desolate state of affairs in Zimbabwe. They were hunger riots. Reports show that Zimbabwe, due to mismanagement, is well on its way into starvation.

There is no more foreign exchange, fuel has almost run out, foreign aid has been curbed and the bread prices have increased threefold only this year.

25    According to an opinion poll published by the Helen Suzman Foundation, 56 per cent of Zimbabweans want Mugabe to be impeached and 51 per cent believe he should face criminal proceedings for his conduct in office. A remarkable 74 per cent say he should step down.

MDC attempt to impeach Mugabe in parliament in terms of section 29 of the constitution which provides for the removal of the president of Zimbabwe

President Thabo Mbeki says preventing Zimbabwe's economy collapsing completely was more important than criticising Mr Mugabe over land seizures.

"We have to battle to avoid a collapse in Zimbabwe. This conflict is wrong, the taking of land is wrong, abuse of the rule of law is wrong, but the principal focus has to be to avoid collapse."

November

10   ZIMBABWE'S Supreme Court throws its weight behind the embattled white farmers, declaring Mugabe's "fast track" land seizures "illegal and unconstitutional" . State television studiously ignores the ruling.

Soon after, hundreds of thugs from Mugabe's Zanu-PF thugs stormed the court, dancing behind the judges' benches and chanting: "Kill the judges." Police stood by, and no one was arrested.

21   Zimbabwe, this year, sold a record tobacco crop of 236.8 million kg but will see a much reduced output next year as a result of work stoppages on farms invaded by self-styled "veterans". The total seasonal mass sold was about 236.8 million kg with a value of 19.2 billion Zimbabwe dollars or 350 million US dollars. Although this year's crop is a record high, it could have been higher were it not for disruptions on some tobacco farms by war veterans who invaded tobacco farms and burnt tobacco burns.

December

2001

January

Peter Hain, veteran anti-Apartheid politician and the British Foreign Office minister with responsibility for Africa, questions South Africa's stance towards Zimbabwe.
"I wonder whether the leadership of southern Africa understands the gravity of the situation. Constructive engagement seems to have failed."
South Africa responded angrily. The foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, wrote a strongly worded letter to London saying Mr Hain's comments had been "deeply offensive". The tone of the letter reflected a frustration in South Africa that its policy was misunderstood overseas.

Mr Hain was relieved of his duties by Mr Blair within days.

22    ZIMBABWE'S Chief Justice has made a formal appeal for the government to protect judges from militant supporters of Mugabe. Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay wrote to Vice-President Simon Muzenda after the Liberation War Veterans' Association, which has spearheaded the violent occupation of white-owned farms, gave the five Supreme Court justices 14 days to resign or face unspecified consequences.

The government ignored his plea and launched a new attack on white judges.

24    Militant supporters of Robert Mugabe's government marched on the offices of The Daily News to show their anger at its coverage. One reporter was assaulted.

25    Police arrest and question three senior journalists from The Daily News. Chenjerai 'Hitler' Hunzvi, the self-styled leader of the country's "war veterans", said his pro-Mugabe followers would ban the newspaper. He appears to have been infuriated by its description of his followers as a "rent-a-crowd".

26    Jonathan Moyo, the so-called "Information" Minister, condemns The Daily News for its "cynical" attitude to "anything and everything that is nationalistic, Zimbabwean or African". He said:

"It is now only a matter of time before Zimbabweans put a final stop to this madness in defence of their cultural interest and national security."
28   In a carefully planned operation, a large bomb wrecks the Zimbabwean independent Daily News printing press. The Daily News has published allegations of corruption and mismanagement against President Robert Mugabe's government. Trevor Ncube, editor-in-chief of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent, said
the blast was the logical consequence of incitement by Mr Mugabe and his ministers. He said: "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see who did this. This has cowardice and desperation written all over it."
Davison Maruziva, deputy editor of The Daily News, said the government and its supporters had become increasingly critical of the newspaper's independent stance and officials had threatened to shut it down. He said: "We have a culture here where if you don't support the government you are against it.".

The government, who blames the MDC for the bomb blast, proposes to register journalists, penalise newspapers that are the subject of persistent public complaints and strengthen the law of criminal libel.

February

9    THE campaign by Mugabe against Zimbabwe's judiciary intensifies with a demand for the resignation of two Supreme Court judges. Barely a week after Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay bowed to months of pressure and vilification by announcing his early retirement, Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, held meetings with Justices Nicholas McNally and Ahmed Ebrahim. Justice McNally, the one remaining white on the Supreme Court, said after his meeting with Mr Chinamasa:
"We were told very nicely and very politely that we should go, take our leave and go, otherwise anything can happen. It was said very frankly that they didn't want us to come to any harm."

11    ZIMBABWE'S government has apparently panicked in the face of a rapidly growing economic crisis by announcing and then rescinding a decree seizing hard currency earnings from exporters. The move came as the country was hit by a fuel shortage. The streets of Harare were choked with queues of hundreds of vehicles at the few petrol stations which had supplies. An announcement from the central bank carried in the official press would have forced companies to sell all of their American dollar earnings to the government.

Payment would have been at the official exchange rate, well below what is offered by the burgeoning "parallel" market.

Diplomats at Zimbabwe's embassies abroad have not been paid for months and their plight is believed to have triggered the decision. Observers believe that £13.5 million is needed to clear the embassies' debts.

14    ZIMBABWE'S state electricity company announced national blackouts yesterday amid a deepening economic crisis. The price of bread also increased for the second month running and petrol stations were running dry. With no hard currency to buy imports, Zimbabwe's economy is facing paralysis. Most factories are working a three-day week, investment has all but disappeared, and the unemployment rate is around 60 per cent.

16    ZIMBABWE'S opposition leader faces the prospect of abandoning his challenge to Mugabe and spending up to 14 years in jail after he is charged with "incitement to violence". A ferocious crackdown has been launched against all opponents of Mr Mugabe, real or imagined, and the appearance of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, in a Harare magistrate's court marked the most serious escalation of this campaign. In a five minute hearing, Mr Tsvangirai was charged under the notorious Law and Order (Maintenance) Act, which was passed by the British colonial government to jail black nationalists, including Mr Mugabe, and gives the authorities sweeping powers to act against any dissidents.

18    SOUTH AFRICA is to confiscate a white farmer, Willem Pretorius' land in the first Zimbabwe-style property "redistribution" amid fears that the country is starting down dictator Robert Mugabe's road to lawlessness.

A BBC correspondent is taking refuge in the British high commission in Harare after a gang of men attacked his home. Joseph Winter, 29, the correspondent for the BBC's Africa Service, was woken at 1.40am yesterday when four intruders hammered on his door and shouted for him and his family to come out. The attack came shortly after Mr Winter and a correspondent for a South African newspaper were ordered to leave Zimbabwe on Saturday in an expected crackdown on foreign correspondents before an election.

PRETORIA should end its subsidy of Mugabe's regime in protest at the threatened expulsion of foreign journalists, according to Tony Leon. Leon also criticised the deal to provide electricity to Zimbabwe at a 25 per cent discount and on credit and said it should be stopped. He accused Mr Mugabe of "megalomania" and called on leaders of the Southern African Development Community, the regional grouping, to strip him of the current chairmanship of its defence group.

Mr Leon's calls received no immediate reaction from the South African government of President Thabo Mbeki which has stuck doggedly to its controversial policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Harare. While Britain was swift to condemn Zimbabwe yesterday, Pretoria made no statement. This was entirely consistent with Mr Mbeki's policy of avoiding outright condemnation of Zimbabwe over the last 18 months in spite of the steady erosion there of the rule of law.

Criticism of Mr Mbeki's policy has been building up. George Soros, the financier who is a friend of Mr Mbeki and member of a regional investment committee set up by him, said investor confidence in the region was being badly damaged by a policy that tolerated Mr Mugabe.

"Mugabe has poisoned the neighbourhood. This is one point where I am actually critical of the policy followed by President Mbeki. It is doing damage to South Africa. Yet South Africa continues to help Mugabe stay in power."

21    BRITAIN urge the Commonwealth to take action to halt Zimbabwe's slide towards despotism. Robin Cook:

'Britain's concern at the situation in Zimbabwe will be widely shared in the Commonwealth'
The Foreign Office said the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, had "agreed on the importance" of sending a fact-finding mission. But the Commonwealth could not confirm yesterday whether such a team would be sent before next month's meeting in London of the ministerial Commonwealth Action Group. Diplomatic sources said Harare was "not keen" on the visit.

24    Mugabe used an address to party faithful celebrating his 77th birthday to deliver an uncompromising defence of his controversial land reform policy. Before a rapturous gathering of the 21st February Movement, a North Korean-style personality cult, he made a thinly-veiled attack on British criticism of the farm seizure policy when he denounced "evil forces in the world who seek to perpetuate their colonial hold".

27    Mugabe's attempt to bring Zimbabwe's judiciary under his control receives a setback when the Chief Justice refuse to accept his dismissal from office. Instead Anthony Gubbay said he was now "reconsidering" his previous agreement to retire early. After months of pressure and vilification, Chief Justice Gubbay had agreed to go on leave from March 1 and formally retire on June 30. He is officially due to step down in April next year.

He first learned that he was now to be dismissed from yesterday's edition of The Herald, the government newspaper. Under the headline "Gubbay to leave office tomorrow", were extracts from a letter written to him by Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister. Mr Gubbay had never received such a letter.

March

1    ZIMBABWE'S Chief Justice arrive for work, despite government moves to sack him and vitriolic criticism from supporters of Mugabe. Anthony Gubbay, 68, drew up outside the Supreme Court in Harare at 8.15am at the wheel of his official Mercedes. The government had announced his dismissal with effect from Wednesday and Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, said Judge President Godfrey Chidyausiku, a former minister in Mr Mugabe's cabinet, would be his successor.

Under the constitution, a chief justice can be removed only after an independent tribunal has been convened to investigate charges of misconduct. Presided over by Chief Justice Gubbay, the Supreme Court has infuriated the government by striking down Mr Mugabe's "fast track" land seizures. Lawyers believe that the judge has fallen victim to a political vendetta being pursued regardless of the law.

Prof Jonathan Moyo, the so-called Information Minister, had warned Chief Justice Gubbay that police would prevent him from entering his office because it would be "like someone sitting in the middle of the street".

3    LAWYERS were mourning the "death" of the independent judiciary in Zimbabwe yesterday after Mugabe succeeded in his campaign to force out Anthony Gubbay, the Chief Justice.

4    Another white farmer, the elderly mother of Martin Olds who was murdered April 2000, is ambushed and murdered on her farm.

April

6   In a three-hour meeting Thabo Mbeki privately admits to a Prof Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the MDC, that his conciliatory approach to President Robert Mugabe has failed and that his country is re-assessing its policy towards its troublesome neighbour. In the talks, his first contact with the MDC, Mr Mbeki disclosed that Zimbabwe had broken promises given to him "at the highest level". He spoke of his fears that the accelerating economic collapse of his northern neighbour could bring millions of refugees streaming into South Africa.

8   Batanayi Madzidzi, a 20-year-old science student of the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, is beaten to death by riot police during anti-government riots. Another 30 students were treated for injuries after the protest.

May

26    Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, delivered a tough message in Pretoria after meeting Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the South African Foreign Minister. It was seen as a signal that America expected Mr Mugabe's most powerful neighbour to take a firmer stand against his excesses. Mr Powell gave warning of the danger posed to the entire southern African region by political turmoil in Zimbabwe.
"We not only discussed the economic crisis. I concentrated on the political crisis caused to a large extent by the actions of President Mugabe."

"The two things together are leading to a crisis that will spill over the borders and affect South Africa itself. Action has to be taken to stabilise the situation and persuade Mr Mugabe to act in a more democratic fashion."

Mugabe has ignored all the US and European calls for restraint. But South Africa supplies Zimbabwe with fuel, electricity and other essentials and is the one country that he cannot afford to ignore. Mr Mbeki has however chosen not to use the immense leverage South Africa has over Mr Mugabe. Yet Zimbabwe's economic collapse has deterred foreign investors from approaching South Africa and contributed to the Rand's slide on the foreign exchange markets.

Mrs Zuma indicated that South Africa shared many of America's concerns. She said:

"We view the situation in Zimbabwe as very critical and we are very worried both as neighbours and as people who do a lot of trade with Zimbabwe."

June

2   Tens of thousands are fleeing Zimbabwe. While Mr Mugabe has singled out the white community for vilification, the overwhelming majority of those fleeing are the blacks whose interests he claims to serve. Every flight out of the new international airport in Harare carries several hundred more on the journey to escape the fastest shrinking economy in Africa, in which Mr Mugabe presides over an all but worthless currency, mass unemployment and an inflation rate of 57 per cent that wipes out earnings and savings.

Although few figures are available, there is clear evidence of the scale of the exodus. According to the Ministry of Health, 16,000 Zimbabwean nurses left to work in British hospitals last year. More than 45,000 people were caught by the authorities last year as they made illegal attempts to reach South Africa by fording the Limpopo river. Perhaps five succeed for every one whose attempt is foiled.

Packing companies have recorded an enormous surge in business. In 1999, Prime Forwarders, a leading freight company, helped two families to leave for Britain. It now makes this arrangement at least 10 times a week. Bernard Chimedza, the company's director, said: "It's mainly the black Africans who are leaving." According to figures supplied by removal companies, about 300,000 of Zimbabwe's 12 million residents have fled the country. Most have gone to South Africa. Britain appears to be the second most popular destination, while Australia and New Zealand have also taken large numbers.

4   CHENJERAI "HITLER" HUNZVI, dies of AIDS. He rose to inglorious prominence as head of Zimbabwe's War Veterans' Association; his mixture of inflammatory rhetoric and street-brawling thuggishness brought the country's political temperature to boiling point.

He masterminded the invasion of nearly 1,700 white-owned farms last year and personally led numerous occupations, rousing followers with vitriolic attacks on whites, typically delivered with a clenched fist and accompanied by blood curdling songs from the independence war. He also played a key role in delivering a narrow victory for Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in parliamentary elections last June. Hunzvi implemented a brutal onslaught on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change that claimed 37 lives and forced more than 10,000 people to flee their homes. A master of inflammatory rhetoric, he damned MDC leaders as "traitors", "dogs" and "puppets of the whites".

7   Philemon Matibe became THE first black commercial farmer to become a target of dictator Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe when he had his farm illegally seized and his livelihood destroyed after he stood as an opposition candidate in parliamentary elections. He was ordered off his farm, where he grew 1,600 acres of tobacco, wheat and soya beans, by an 80-strong mob, led by the district administrator and four policemen. Mr Matibe unsuccessfully contested the seat of Chegutu for the MDC in elections last June.

July

Finance Minister Simba Makoni publicly acknowledges economic crisis, saying Zimbabwe's foreign reserves have run out and warning the country faces serious food shortages. Most western donors, including the World Bank and the IMF, have cut aid because of Mugabe's land seizure programme.

August

25    A pastoral letter published by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches launch a blistering attack on Mugabe, accusing his regime of inciting the "monster" of violence and allowing a breakdown of the rule of law.
"Many people have fallen victim to this monster," said the letter. "We are witnessing murders, rapes, beatings and abductions."
Last month alone, human rights groups recorded 11 political murders, 61 disappearances and 288 instances of torture.

26    Mr Mugabe denies that his supporters have been responsible for any violence. In an interview with a Nigerian newspaper, the Guardian, he says: "We are the victims. The offenders are the whites and the opposition, who are banded together to weaken Zimbabwe."

September

The Government of Zimbabwe now owns 27 604 000 ha (70.6%), private individuals or companies using land for commercial purposes owned 11 275 000 ha (28.9%) and urban land consisted of 200 000 ha (0.5%), giving a total area of 39 079 000 ha which is all of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe pledge to the Commonwealth in Abuja, Nigeria, that it would restore the rule of law in its country. These promises are soon broken. Indeed, Zimbabwe appeared to increase the state-sponsored violence after the Abuja agreement, including through the deployment of further military-trained militias under the guise of a Youth Service.

2   At the UN Conference of Racists in Durban, there is a hero’s welcome for Robert Mugabe, taking time out of his hectic schedule of terrorising white farmers to deliver a stirring attack on the evils of racism.

7   Amnesty International cautiously welcomes the agreement reached by the Commonwealth delegation and the Zimbabwean government in Abuja, Nigeria, in which the Zimbabwean authorities pledged commitment to the 1991 Harare Commonwealth Declaration. The Declaration calls on Commonwealth countries to work for "the protection and promotion of the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth," including the rule of law and all fundamental human rights.

"For the Abuja agreement to be successful, the Zimbabwe government should provide an atmosphere in which all people, including opposition candidates and supporters, are free to express their political beliefs, peacefully assemble and campaign without the fear of violence", Amnesty International said.

The human rights climate in the next by-election, due on 22 and 23 September in the Chikomba constituency in the Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe will be the first true test of the willingness of the government to abide by Thursday's agreement to end political violence.

17-18    Amnesty International welcomes the initiative by SADC when it held an extraordinary two- day summit in Harare to help facilitate dialogue to ease the Zimbabwean political crisis. The Summit's opening statement, and the subsequent action by the regional heads of state, constituted a positive initiative to reverse the drift towards the indiscriminate political assaults that has emerged there.

October

Visiting Commonwealth ministers say the government has done little to honour commitments to end the crisis over the seizure of white-owned land.

30   Ministers of lands from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have said equitable land reform is the platform on which southern Africa can resuscitate its economies, as this should bring peace and political stability in the region. (See Aug 2000) In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the ministers said land reform programs should benefit blacks because white farmers had unfairly acquired most of the region's best land under European colonial rule.

The ministers reiterated the need to develop a race and gender sensitive system of land tenure that provides security to all landholdings and creates opportunities for development.

Sam Nujoma said there was urgent need to address the land problems in order to maintain regional peace, stability and foster social and economic development. He said that in Namibia white farmers owned more than 30,4 million hectares of commercial farm land and only 2,2 million hectares were in the hands of blacks.

November

Zimbabwe's finance minister, Simba Makoni, warns parliament that the country faced "unprecedented hunger". While avoiding any reference to the government-backed farm invasions that have brought about Zimbabwe's food crisis, he called for huge international aid. According to him Zimbabwe has 75 per cent of its people living below the poverty line and the per capita income has dropped to $381 a year [£260]. "This, with a chronic shortage of food, means that we have to appeal to the international community for assistance."

More than 1.4 million people in Matabeleland and Masvingo, where the poorest are grubbing in the bush for edible tree roots, have registered with the government for food aid. Dr Makoni has issued a warning, however, that government stocks have been depleted and that there is no money to import more.

The Southern African Development Community's famine early warning system network (Fewsnet) says Zimbabwe must import 200,000 tons of food immediately if it is to avoid famine. Altogether, it adds, Zimbabwe needs to import 846,000 ton of food by the middle of next year to see it through to the next harvest. Dictator Mugabe's controversial fast-track resettlement programme has seen about 80 per cent of the country's commercial farms earmarked for state acquisition. As a result of the violent land invasions, the commercial maize crop has dropped by more than two thirds in the past two years, with many other crops suffering a similar fate. The Zimbabwean economy, which has already shrunk by 7.3 per cent in 2001, is expected to decline further. The finance minister predicts that it will shrink by at least another five per cent next year. Already Zimbabwe's supermarket shelves are emptying as food shortages and unworkable price controls take effect.

Traditionally the country has been an exporter of food, able to feed itself and most of its southern African neighbours, but officials from the World Food Programme say they are considering moving 40,000 ton of maize from neighbouring Mozambique, one of the world's poorest countries, to stave off imminent disaster in Zimbabwe.

13   The Zimbabwean government has accelerated its "land resettlement programme" and at the same time issued a decree, amending the country's Land Acquisition Act. White farmers now can be forced off their land with immediate effect and the takeover is legitimised faster.

17   ZIMBABWE'S commissioner of police Augustine Chihuri and his wife arrive at Woodlands Farm, Shamva, 60 miles north-west of Harare, in one of the richest agricultural areas in the country, and introduced himself to Mike Butler, the farm owner. Chihuri, who supports the ruling Zanu-PF party, told Mr Butler that he and his wife would be arriving soon to take up residence in the homestead and the farm.

December

6   Opposition members are attacked in the town of Trojan Mine near Bindura. MDC activist Laban Chiweta later dies of his wounds. The attack took place in the presence of police officers who neither intervened nor arrested the assailants.

10-12   SADC ministerial task force visits Zimbabwe. In the final communique it states that:

SADC "welcomed the improved atmosphere of calm and stability" and expressed their gratification to learn that "violence on the farms had reduced significantly, and that the few reported incidents were being dealt with under the criminal justice system, in accordance with the rule of law, irrespective of the political affiliation of the alleged perpetrators".

19   With the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) teleconference set for 20 December, Amnesty International reiterates its call for all possible international influence to focus on persuading the Zimbabwean government to reverse its policy of political violence and intimidation.

"The situation in Zimbabwe is getting worse day by day as the Presidential elections draw nearer. The government of Robert Mugabe is determined to remain in power by any means, including harassment, arbitrary arrests, assaults and killings of anyone who stand in their way," the organisation said. "This is not about land reform but about rampant torture by the state and its proxies to bludgeon dissent."
An Amnesty International delegation recently ended a visit to the country where it met with victims of torture and beatings, human rights activists, farmers and farm workers, as well as members of the ruling ZANU-PF party, the opposition MDC and the Zimbabwe Police Force and army.
Amnesty International concludes that the government of Zimbabwe is using informal, but state-sponsored militia -- comprising land occupiers, so-called 'war veterans' and supporters of ZANU-PF -- as proxy forces to brutalize and displace farm workers and to assault real or perceived members of the opposition.
20    Milton Chambati, 45, is stabbed to death and his head was hacked off by a group of about 50 suspected members of the Zanu PF Youth Brigade who had besieged Magunje town in northwest Zimbabwe, and started beating up opposition party members. Police have not arrested anyone in connection with the killing, and failed or refused to investigate the matter.

COMMONWEALTH ministers deliver an ultimatum to dictator Mugabe to halt the political repression of opponents in Zimbabwe within a month or risk suspension from the organisation.

21    ZANU-PF youth in Karoi stabs Titus Nheya, 56, a veteran politician and trade unionist to death. He had contested the Zvimba South parliamentary seat for the opposition. The group was reportedly led by a well known war veteran. When the MDC reported the incident to the police, the war veteran was arrested but later released without charge. The case appeared to have been closed.

23    Mugabe has failed to abide by the terms of the accord reached in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. In the latest diplomatic initiative, European representatives said that they had had a "difficult" time with Mugabe in a 90-minute meeting. Louis Michel, Belgium's deputy prime minister; Chris Patten, the European Union commissioner for external relations, and Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, left empty-handed and sombre after their meeting.

23    Opposition political member Rambisai Nyika is killed in Gokwe, in western Zimbabwe, allegedly by militant supporters of ZANU-PF. To Amnesty International's knowledge, no investigation into the killings has been carried out.

26    Opposition activist Laban Chiweta, dies in hospital from burns and head injuries. National Youth Service members allegedly attacked him in the town of Trojan Mine near Bindura on 6 December. Opposition officials said the attack on Chiweta and others took place in the presence of police officers who neither intervened nor arrested the assailants.

31    Trymore Midzi, 24, dies at the Avenues Clinic in Harare after being stabbed on 29 December in Bindura by ZANU-PF supporters and young trainees from the Border Gezi Youth Training Centre.

2002

January

3    The chairman of that SADC ministerial task force, Malawi's foreign minister Lilian Patel, reportedly stated that the upcoming SADC Summit will discuss ways to raise funds for the inter-Congolese dialogue and not the Zimbabwe crisis, which she describes as an "internal problem".

9   Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe, commander of the armed services, said the forces would "never support, let alone salute" any presidential candidate who had not fought in the war against white rule of the 1970s - a thinly veiled reference to Mr Tsvangirai.

10   The passage of the Public Order and Security Act criminalizes non-violent political protest, and metes out prison sentences to those "insulting the president" or "disturbing the peace".

11   Zimbabwe promises the European Union, during talks under Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement, that it would allow observers into the country, and stated that they would shortly issue invitations.

The EU raised the following concerns:

12    More than 70 ruling party supporters wearing ZANU-PF t-shirts attacked an MDC office in Murambinda, hacking and stabbing seven suspected MDC supporters, two of whom had to be hospitalised with serious injuries.

Tony Blair telephones South Africa's President Mbeki to discuss the deepening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: "Both leaders take it seriously. It is clearly deteriorating in a way giving everyone cause for concern."
13    Some 20 members of the regime-sponsored militia of "war veterans" and ZANU-PF supporters abducted Mr. David Mpala, member of Parliament of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in broad daylight in the downtown of Lupane, in Matabeleland. His kidnappers slashed him with knives and dumped him for dead outside of town.

13   MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, leader of the Zimbabwean opposition, plead for sanctions to be imposed on his country before the presidential election in March. His call came as police arrested 22 members of his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, in Kwe Kwe, following violent clashes with supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party who had burned down an MDC office.

Mr Tsvangirai said that after two years of "softly-softly" diplomacy by Zimbabwe's neighbours, which had failed to stop President Mugabe's abuse of the rule of law, it was time for genuine sanctions.

Targeted measures should be imposed immediately to freeze money and assets held overseas by Mr Mugabe and his associates, while South Africa should impose a fuel, transport and electricity blockade.

Mr Tsvangirai told BBC Television: "We are aware that smart sanctions, if they are immediately implemented will have the personal effect on the leadership of Zanu-PF." He encouraged South Africa, the regional superpower, to use its economic muscle against the Mugabe regime.
"I think SA will have to go it alone and do something effective on the ground," he said. "The threat to undermine the elections by the military and the president himself should send shockwaves to South Africa.

"And South Africa should say, 'OK, under those circumstances we are going to cut fuel, we are going to cut transport links'."

Mr Tsvangerai's remarks won the backing of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance. Its leader, Tony Leon, said South Africa should withdraw its representatives at the conference of SADC, the grouping of southern African states, to protest at the body's powerlessness on Zimbabwe.

Mr Tsvangirai said that SADC was too incoherent and divided to have any genuine effect on the Zimbabwean situation.

The SADC summit is given a circus air as Mr Mugabe arrives claiming "God is on our side" before launching a personal attack on Mr Blair, accusing him of being a liar.

14    Zanu-PF, has begun its presidential election campaign using a new torture weapon, barbed wire raked across the feet of farm workers. After a day of violence, scores of farm workers were left unable to walk after the soles of their feet were injured on barbed wire. Workers are forced to attend all-night Maoist "pungwes" - political indoctrination camps. Mugabe's militia rampaged across white-owned farms, beating workers, ransacking thousands of tons of stored maize, seizing cattle and crops. In the last 24 hours dozens of farmers in Mashonaland have been told to leave their land.

Four Zimbabwean human rights activists, hoping to tell southern African leaders in Malawi about this worsening political violence in Zimbabwe were arrested in the capital, Blantyre, jailed and deported. The four were arrested, on the orders of Zimbabwean intelligence agents, before a meeting of the Southern African Development Community, SADC.

Amnesty International said Zimbabwe human rights organisations had reported about 50 politically-motivated killings since early 2000, some of them during parliamentary by-elections in 2001. In its latest report, Amnesty said it had been told of up to 10 people killed by state-sponsored militias in recent weeks.

"The deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe places in real jeopardy the possibility of free and fair elections . . . and raises the spectre of such violent repression of political opposition degenerating into civil war," its memorandum said. "The time has come for SADC to send a strong and consistent message that the situation in Zimbabwe has grown worse; that the Zimbabwean authorities should not allow human rights to be violated with impunity."
The organization believes, as former South Africa President Nelson Mandela stated to the assembled at the 1997 SADC Summit also in Blantyre, that:
"The right of citizens to participate unhindered in political activities in the country of their birthright is a non-negotiable basic principle to which we all subscribe... We collectively cannot remain silent when political or civil movements are harassed and suppressed through harsh state action."
Amnesty International's main recommendation to the gathering of the Southern African heads of state is simple:
"The SADC Presidents should deploy immediately a credible presence of human rights monitors -- in addition to election monitors from the SADC Parliamentary Forum to observe the presidential balloting in March 2002 -- to avert further political killings, "disappearances", torture and mass displacement of rural people," Amnesty International said.
Amnesty International also voices its concerns about the conflicting messages about SADC's stance on the Zimbabwe crisis since September. To correct any inconsistency in its message to Zimbabwe, Amnesty International urges the SADC Heads of State to send a strong, clear message at the 13 to 15 January 2002 Summit that state- sponsored violence in Zimbabwe cannot be tolerated by the international community. Inter-governmental organizations, such as the Commonwealth and the European Union, should be approached to provide positive support for specific measures to create a monitoring mechanism in Zimbabwe through SADC, and its Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

Mugabe is attacked by the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The South African Nobel Prize winner said: "Mugabe seems to have gone bonkers in a big way.

"It is very dangerous when you subvert the rule of law in your country, when you don't even respect the judgments of your judges.

The Commercial Farmers' Union said that another 23 white farmers had been forced off their land since Jan 1 in another wave of land seizures by mobs loyal to Mugabe.

15   SADC's final communiqué from the Summit listed human rights undertakings pledged by Zimbabwe, including full respect for human rights, commitments to freedom of expression and to independence of the judiciary, and agreement to accredit a range of national monitors and international observers. Mugabe also pledged his commitment to freedom of expression and to allow freedom both domestic and international journalists to operate.

"Summit welcomed the following actions to be undertaken by Zimbabwe: full respect for human rights, including the right to freedom of opinion, association and peaceful assembly for all individuals;
the commitment to investigate fully and impartially all cases of alleged political violence in 2001 and action to do so;
a Zimbabwean Electoral Supervisory Commission which is adequately resourced and able to operate independently, the accreditation and registration of national independent monitors in good time for the elections;
a timely invitation to, and accreditation of a wide range of international election observers;
commitment to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the constitution of Zimbabwe;
reaffirmation by Zimbabwe of its practice of allowing national and international journalists to cover important national events, including elections, on the basis of its laws and regulations; commitment by the government of Zimbabwe to the independence of the judiciary and to the rule of law;
and the transfer by the government of Zimbabwe of occupiers of non-designated farms to legally acquired land".
The above list of actions to be taken by the Zimbabwe authorities was lifted verbatim from the communique of the EU's meeting with Zimbabwe of 11 January 2002. In its communique the EU noted that the Zimbabwean Authorities had expressed a willingness "to go some way towards meeting the EU's concerns with concrete actions" on these points, but stressed that "at this stage it is not satisfied that these concerns will be met."

15    Zimbabwe's trail of broken human rights promises should make members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) wary of taking at face value the commitments made at the organisation's 14 January Extraordinary Summit in Malawi, Amnesty International said today.

"'Quiet diplomacy' should not become silent acquiescence to continuing gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe," Amnesty International said. "President Robert Mugabe has made promises of human rights reforms to the Commonwealth, to the European Union (EU) and now to SADC - but there is no sign that the war of killings, torture and intimidation against the political opposition is slowing. Will SADC verify the promises they have received - and if so, how?"

Amnesty International also noted that when in September 2001, Zimbabwe had pledged to the Commonwealth in Abuja, Nigeria, to restore the rule of law in its country, those promises were soon broken. Indeed, Zimbabwe appeared to increase the state-sponsored violence after the Abuja agreement, including through the deployment of further military-trained militias under the guise of a Youth Service. President Mugabe seems sure that the Commonwealth will neither properly monitor nor take effective action with regard to these broken promises. Instead, the Commonwealth should insist that its Ministerial Action Group - blocked from visiting the country - be allowed in.

"The commitments made at the SADC Summit risk becoming another set of empty promises", Amnesty International said. "SADC should indicate how it will ensure there is independent monitoring of action taken by President Mugabe to meet his commitments made in Malawi. SADC should also demand that Zimbabwe invite the United Nations' Special Rapporteurs on human rights as independent investigators of allegations of political killings, torture, threats to journalists and subversion of the judiciary."

25   THE European Union and the Commonwealth will stop short of imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe next week and will instead give dictator Robert Mugabe a last chance to admit international election observers, according to senior British diplomats. Tony Blair this week attacked Mugabe's regime as "disgraceful" but senior Government sources said Britain will not seek immediate sanctions when Zimbabwe is discussed next week at separate meetings of EU and Commonwealth foreign ministers.

27   INTENSIFYING violence yesterday forced Zimbabwe's opposition to abandon all its public rallies in the presidential election campaign. The decision by the MDC came after one of its supporters died and several others were critically injured at the weekend. The MDC had decided to abandon political rallies until foreign observers arrived. They said: "We have to give four days notice to the police, and this puts our supporters at risk. We will be holding small house meetings in future for which we do not need official permission."

27   THE European Union decided last night to impose "targeted sanctions" against dictator Robert Mugabe and his cronies within a week if Zimbabwe refuses to admit independent European observers.

29   Mugabe was struggling to contain a rebellion within his party last night after Zimbabwe's parliamentary legal committee, dominated by MPs from the ruling Zanu-PF, criticised his draconian media bill as "dictatorial and unconstitutional".

31   Mugabe's regime pushed the draconian media bill through Zimbabwe's parliament which will effectively stamp out freedom of the press, by making it impossible for journalists to work without state approval.

February

The state-owned Grain Marketing Board raid stocks of maize maintained by farmers to feed workers and livestock. Protected by armed police, its officials have confiscated more than 50,000 tons from farms and warehouses.

The reality of the land grab is starkly evident on the fertile highveld north of Harare. Fields in which the maize crop should be chest-high at this time of year are instead overgrown in grass and weeds as land seized by Mugabe's regime goes untended.

The Supreme Court overturned new election laws the opposition said disenfranchised their supporters and made vote rigging easier. The regime calls the ruling "a rotten fish", and days later, Mugabe reinstated the laws with a presidential decree. Under these laws, he was declared the victor in March elections that many international observers condemned as intentionally biased to ensure his victory.

1   As the World Food Programme estimates that 558,000 of his people need emergency food supplies, Mugabe launched his re-election campaign in familiar fashion blaming Britain for all of Zimbabwe's problems and branding the black opposition "puppets of the whites".

Fresh from passing the media law, Prof Jonathan Moyo, the so-called information minister, announced that British journalists will not be allowed to cover the election. He added that the army would not tolerate a Tsvangirai victory. Defending his media law, which imposes some of the strictest curbs on the press anywhere in the world, Prof Moyo argued that newspapers are an unnecessary hindrance for governments.

"Thomas Jefferson said it was better to have newspapers without government," he said. "He was very wrong. It is far better to have government without newspapers."

Prof Moyo also backed Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe, commander of the armed services' threat of not accepting an MDC victory:

"It would be a mockery to them [the army] and the cause they fought for if they were made to salute one of the people they fought against . . . we don't expect the Jews to salute the Nazis."
Asked whether this was sanctioning a coup, Prof Moyo replied:
"People can read whatever they want in it . . . we should not demean the African struggles for liberation with the fiction of democracy."
7   Warren Park primary will become Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi Primary School, immortalising the regime's chief rabble-rouser, who led the invasion of white-owned farms.

11   Dictator Mugabe defied the European Union last night, announcing that its observers would not be allowed to monitor Zimbabwe's presidential election.

15   BRITISH Jesuits working in Zimbabwe condemn state-sponsored violence, offer refuge to victims, and liken conditions in Zimbabwe to Hitler's Germany.

One exhorts young Zimbabweans to resist attempts to recruit and train them in illegal and criminal activities. It says: "All this reminds us of . . . other times . . . for example, during Hitler's rule in Germany."

"We have got to get rid of this rotten, corrupt and evil regime," said Fr Nigel Johnson, 57, one of the Britons, in an interview in today's Catholic Herald.

16   THE leader of the European Union's observer mission to the Zimbabwean presidential election is ordered to leave the country.

For the first time since a devastating drought 10 years ago, Zimbabwe has been forced to seek help from the World Food Programme, which estimates that the country has a maize deficit of around 500,000 tons and more than 550,000 people need emergency supplies.

17   A mob of supporters of dictator Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party surrounded the Ward Five chairman of the MDC, Mr Sibindi's house in the tiny town of Sipepa in the Tsholotsho constituency and demanded he give himself up. Brick by brick the mob started knocking the house down until Mr Sibindi was crouching in the last remaining corner of the house.

"Then the corner collapsed and all that stuck out from the rubble was his head so they cut it clean off", according to eye-witnesses.
Not surprisingly, of the 120 MDC polling agents needed in the Tsholotsho constituency only seven have so far been forthcoming. And the job of Ward Five chairman remains vacant.

No observer believes Mugabe would win a free and fair vote and with Zimbabwe's urban population likely to vote as one for the MDC, Mugabe has unleashed his anger on the rural areas. Across Mashonaland, the Midlands, Manicaland and Matabeleland, Mugabe's dirty work is being done by the gangs of so-called "war veterans" and bands of "youth militia". The procedure is for the youths to set up camps outside towns and villages before setting about their work. They identify leading community figures and pay them a visit, demanding to see a fully paid up, valid Zanu-PF identity card. If the victim cannot produce one they are beaten. Anyone with a connection to the MDC runs the risk of being killed. Another ploy is for the militia to set up a road block on a rural road. All taxis, buses and minivans are stopped and the occupants asked for their identity papers. These papers are then confiscated which effectively gets rid of the problem for Mugabe. Without an identity card, a Zimbabwean cannot vote in the election and as the chaotic home affairs ministry takes months to reissue cards, all of the victims of this scam are out of the equation for the presidential poll.

Mugabe's regime has also written to more than 90 per cent of white voters to inform them they have lost the right to vote.

22    A 200-STRONG mob of Mugabe loyalists armed with clubs and iron bars, massed outside the MDC office in Kwe Kwe before it stormed the office and attacked 30 people, including two South African election observers. The observers were not seriously injured, but four MDC members were taken to hospital. A vehicle used by the monitors was wrecked. It was the first time that South African observers had been assaulted while covering an election anywhere in the world.

The latest incident cast doubt on repeated statements by Mr Mugabe that African election monitors are welcome. Observers from the rest of the world have been banned from the country.

Hours before the observers were attacked police fired on a convoy carrying Morgan Tsvangirai. No one was injured, but Mr Tsvangirai was forced to abandon his rally.

Despite the violence, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, visiting Sweden, argued that a free and fair election was possible.

South African diplomats are privately critical of their government's failure to take reports of violence seriously. One said: "We've been telling them for ages about this, but they wouldn't listen."

March

2   As Commonwealth leaders opened their showcase summit President John Kufuor of Ghana was just one of those arguing that it remained "premature" to take action against Zimbabwe before next weekend's election.

4   Mbeki Addresses the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum

Clearly, for the Commonwealth to keep pace with the rapidly changing world and remain a relevant and influential organisation, we must intensify our work in promoting democracy, good governance, sustainable development and ensure that we are forever at the forefront of the struggle against racism, racial and gender discrimination and xenophobia, drawing on the invaluable lessons of our work as a family of nations as well as the rich experience of our sister organisations in the international arena.
He makes NO reference to Zimbabwe

9-10   Mugabe "re-elected" in presidential "elections" condemned as seriously flawed by the opposition and foreign observers. Amongst other things he:

Mugabe's regime claimed the vote was free and fair, adding it is a mandate to pursue its controversial land reform programme.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition candidate, dismissed the result as "illegitimate", calling it "daylight robbery". He said his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, would challenge the result in the Zimbabwean courts.

"It is the biggest electoral fraud I have ever witnessed in my life," he told a press conference in Harare after an emergency meeting of the MDC leadership.
The party's legal action is likely to focus on how the regime refused to publish the electoral roll prior to last weekend's election, and how up to 500,000 names were added at the last moment. As the Zimbabwean army deployed around major cities, Mr Tsvangirai held back from calling for direct action to protest at the election result.

The mood across the country was sombre with little sign of celebrations for Mr Mugabe.

13   The poll is condemned as fraudulent by key Western powers, including the European Union and the United States, southern African parliamentarians and the Commonwealth.

Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, accused Mr Mugabe of a systematic subversion of democracy and said Washington was considering new sanctions. A senior State Department official said Washington was expected to freeze any US assets held by Mr Mugabe and his close associates.

The 70-member Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum condemned the election, citing systematic government violence and interference.

"The electoral process could not be said to have adequately complied with the norms and standards for elections in the SADC region," said G D Lefhoko, a parliamentarian leading the observer mission.
The largest European observer group also found flaws with every step of the electoral process from voter registration and campaigning to the actual vote. Said Kare Vollan, head of the 25-member Norwegian observer mission:
"The presidential elections failed to meet key, broadly accepted criteria for elections"
The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network and a coalition of church and civic groups known as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Committee also said the election was fundamentally flawed.

Some African governments and the Organisation of African Unity endorsed Mugabe "victory" and South African observers called the polls "legitimate".

An Organisation of African Unity observer mission said the elections were "transparent, credible, free and fair".
South Africa, the region's major power, said it was too early to pass judgment on the poll. Government officials have repeatedly denied that there were any irregularities in the election. The South African Observer Mission said the election "should be considered legitimate," according to Sam Motsuenyane, the head of the 50-member team.
He acknowledged that there had been violence during the campaign, that some voters were turned away and that new election laws "threaten the integrity of the electoral process". But he called most of the problems "administrative oversights".

14    Mbeki's deputy president, Jacob Zuma, claimed his country's observers had judged the elections as having been free and fair -- something they pointedly did not say -- during a meeting with Mugabe.

The ANC declares on its official website:

"While the process was clearly not perfect, the ANC believes that the people of Zimbabwe have spoken."

15    Several African presidents, including Kenya's Daniel arap Moi and Tanzania's Benjamin Mkapa, as well as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) have warmly congratulated Mugabe for Wednesday's victory. Other leaders to have deemed the election "legitimate" are South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki in addition to Nigeria and Namibia. Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade gave a rare note of African concern.

He said: "From what I know, these elections do not conform to the norms that I would expect for elections." But he added that "he would not be in a position now to know if they should be considered invalid."

Morgan Tsvangirai accused African countries of losing their "integrity" by supporting a result which he said was "daylight robbery."

"In my view what the African brothers are doing is to undermine their integrity and their credibility in the face of the world by endorsing Mugabe's election victory. He singled South Africa out for particular criticism and said he had hoped it would be an honest broker in helping resolve the political crisis. The crisis has not gone away, it has deepened. It is unfortunate that South Africa will get its credibility put into question.
Moves by Mbeki to try and persuade Mugabe to invite Tsvangirai into a government of national unity have been rejected by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Tsvangirai said: "We will not be party to any Caesarian operation by South Africa. We are not going to have short-cuts...and force issues on Zimbabweans."
The African response is in stark contrast to Western countries which have accused the elections of being held in an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and violence. Despite Nigeria and South Africa's individual support for the poll, the Commonwealth's 61-member observer group issued a scathing condemnation of the election, saying it did not reflect the will of the people and was held in a climate of fear.

Reflecting Western dismay at apparent African solidarity with Mugabe, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "I hope very much he is coming under the most intense pressure from the people who have the greatest ability to put him under pressure, namely his African neighbours."

A black security guard, known only as Darlington, is killed at a farm outside the town of Marondera. He was badly beaten at the farm where he worked by a group of war veterans and died on the way to hospital. His employer, white farmer John Rutherford, injured in the same incident, is in intensive care.

Both men were active members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

15-16    Violence breaks out in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo as pro-regime war veterans goes on the rampage attacking MDC supporters.

Many people are injured in the incident as police reportedly stood by refusing to intervene.

17   Mugabe is sworn in for another six year term. He has already misruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

In a fiery speech at his inauguration Mugabe promises to accelerate his land "reforms".

19    Switzerland introduce travel restrictions and a freeze on financial assets against Mugabe and 19 other members of his regime to protest the widespread fraud and state-sponsored violence during the "elections". Weapons shipments to Zimbabwe are also forbidden.

20   A 55-year-old farmer, Terry Ford, was murdered before dawn as he tried to flee his farm near Norton, 27 miles west of Harare. His murder came after two years of harassment and threats from self-styled veterans. Mr Ford had spent an anguished night phoning neighbours and the police as Mugabe's militants surrounded his home. The police said they could not assist as their driver was asleep. Mr Ford was the 10th white farmer to be killed since the Zimbabwean leader launched his violent seizure of commercial farms two years ago.

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI , Zimbabwe's opposition leader, is charged with treason and thousands of police are deployed to disrupt a general strike

22   Ben Kirstein, a 64-year-old dairy farmer abandons his farm near Featherstone, about 80 miles south of Harare. "I can't take the strain any more, it has been going on for two years," he said. Terry Ford's murder was probably the last straw, and so we are going." Like Mr Ford and many others, he was told to stop farming crops two years ago and his cattle were allowed to graze in only one field, as the so-called "settlers" said the rest of the farm belonged to them. Mr Kirstein has produced more than 200 gallons of milk a day for the past 35 years. Many shops and hotels in Zimbabwe are now rationing milk as dairy farmers have, like the rest of the commercial farming sector, been disrupted. "I am going to Harare," he said. "I can't leave Zimbabwe, we are all born here, but we don't know what to do."

22    BISHOP Desmond Tutu speaks of his distress over South Africa's ambivalent stance towards the disputed presidential election in Zimbabwe. The former archbishop of Cape Town and winner of the Nobel peace prize, said that, after such a long fight for democracy in South Africa, it was simply unacceptable to stand by as democracy was crushed in Zimbabwe.

"I am deeply, deeply, deeply distressed and deeply disappointed that our country could be among those who say the election was legitimate or free," he said on television.

"Where democracy is not being upheld, we ought for our own sakes to say it is not."

April

5   MOBS loyal to dictator Robert Mugabe have launched a wave of attacks, forcing tens of thousands of Zimbabweans to flee their homes since the widely-condemned election last month.

The renewed terror campaign, which compares with the worst violence before the poll, coincided with the opening of negotiations between senior figures in the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Working from a network of 120 base camps spread across Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF gangs have hunted down MDC supporters. In the three weeks since the election human rights groups have recorded 13 murders and hundreds of cases of torture, abduction, rape and assault. Most offences have been committed by the 30,000 members of the National Youth Service Force, a paramilitary outfit made up of unemployed teenagers. Anyone who worked as an MDC polling agent or campaigned for Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's defeated opponent, has been singled out.

14   THE children of destitute opposition supporters in Zimbabwe are being refused food aid in the latest round of reprisals after Robert Mugabe's disputed election victory last month. Pro-regime thugs are driving children from feeding centres in drought-hit areas because their parents are suspected of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

19    The United Nations' top human rights forum throws out a European Union call for Zimbabwe to allow a UN probe into human rights violations committed in the country after African nations blocked a planned resolution.

The UN Human Rights Commission voted by 26 votes to 24 not to take action on a draft resolution presented by European Union countries, which had urged Harare to invite UN rights experts to visit the country. The draft had also expressed concern at "violations of human rights by the government of Zimbabwe".

Introducing the "no-action motion", Nigeria rejected the EU's move as "politically motivated", and said it had failed to take into account the root causes of Zimbabwe's human rights problems. "There can be no debate on human rights without first focusing on the issue of land," Nigeria's delegate told the commission.

"The resolution presented by the EU today, which is set totally out of context is counterproductive and produces a serious danger of subverting progress being made in several African initiatives," he added.

Current African members of the Commission include Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, South Africa, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland and Zambia. China, Cuba, and Syria also supported the African countries in the no-action motion, which effectively also stifled any debate on the issue in the commission.
"It's scandalous that there was no action. On top of that it was not a strong resolution," Loubna Freih of Human Rights Watch said

29    Mbeki and Obasanjo fruitlessly meet Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai separately to try and convince the latter to sell out his supporters and join a so-called "government of national unity" under the Zimbabwean dictator.

30    Zimbabwe is suspended for a year from the councils of the Commonwealth for the "high level of politically motivated violence" that marred the presidential elections. The decision by Howard (Australia), Mbeki (South Africa) and Obasanjo (Nigeria) falls short of expulsion. The African leaders wanted to "give Mugabe more time", but Howard insisted they stick to their brief from the Commonwealth which forced them to act on the damning report by its own observers.

The Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe declares a "state of disaster" in Zimbabwe, with hundreds of thousands of people facing severe food shortages and some aid agencies predicting people would starve to death.

May

5   THE black rhino, a highly-endangered species, is being wiped out in Zimbabwe by the "war vets", one of its last strongholds in Africa, according to farmers and conservationists.

10    Addressing the Diakonia Council of Churches in Durban, South African Defence minister Terror Lakota admits that 'silent' diplomacy failed.

We failed. The government of Zimbabwe would not listen to us. We asked them to do something to stop the looting of farms and not to follow the route of lawlessness, but we failed.
10    The Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, address the UN summit on children's rights in New York, despite a travel ban imposed by the White House which forbids him to enter the United States.

Mugabe's presence in New York has shocked and angered opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. In a statement he said:

"We are left wondering what message Mugabe can possibly have for the children world-wide when his illegitimate government in Zimbabwe is a living example of how not to treat children.

"The party he leads has set up militia bases countrywide where people with a different opinion to ZANU-PF are abducted and tortured. Most of the people in these camps are youngsters below the age of 20 who are being trained to brutalise their fellow Zimbabweans."

Mugabe spent three nights at the New York Palace Hotel and Towers - where the cheapest rooms cost $450 (about R4 500) and the most expensive $2 100 (about R21 000) a night.

24   Almost 300,000 acres of prime land seized from white farmers in Zimbabwe has been handed out to dictator Mugabe's closest allies, including 10 cabinet ministers, seven MPs and his brother-in-law. Land has also gone to key officials who supervised the widely condemned presidential polls in March, when Mugabe "won" re-election after a violent campaign. Zimbabwe's army commander, its police chief and the civil servants placed in charge of the land seizures have rewarded themselves with farms.

26    The supplementary feeding programme for 30 000 children, run by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) in famine-stricken Binga in remote northern Zimbabwe, is closed when war veterans accused the organisation of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). In parliamentary elections in 2000, voters in Binga voted overwhelmingly for the MDC.

26   A quarter of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are starving. Zimbabwe had been an exporter of maize and wheat before Mugabe's mobs embarked upon their campaign of violent farm seizures just as the worst drought in half a century began.

June

The Zimbabwe regime rejects US food aid because it was not certified to be free of genetically modified organisms.

2   Charles Anderson is the 12th farmer to die since government-backed seizures of white-owned land began. He was shot dead by intruders outside his home.

According to the official Herald newspaper, his 740-acre tobacco farm has been "awarded" to Ngoni Masoka, permanent secretary in the department of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.

7   ZIMBABWE has been overtaken by several African states in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) and its economy will soon be only half the size of those of Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Kenya, the Economist Intelligence Unit reports. It says total GDP - predicted at US$5,4 billion in 2003 - is now smaller than previously less prosperous economies such as Ghana (US$6,2 billion), Tanzania (US$9,2 billion), and Uganda (US$6 billion). Zimbabwe's GDP in 2001 was estimated at US$9,3 billion. (The EIU says its figures were arrived at by using the official conversion rate. If the parallel market rate had been used for its 2003 forecast the contraction would be even more dramatic.)

9   Mugabe evades EU travel ban to attend food summit in Rome

14   

The International Monetary Fund suspends technical assistance to Zimbabwe because of the African nation's failure to reimburse its debts to the Washington-based lender. Zimbabwe's obligations to the IMF totalled $132-million (about R1,32-billion), the fund said.

21   

(The above figures have been derived from a recently returned questionnaire (84% response).)

Source: Commercial Farmers' Union

21   The regime rejects applications from farmers for an extension of the farming deadline to allow them to finish grading their tobacco, which used to provide 30 per cent of Zimbabwe's foreign currency.

22   At Raffingore, 80 miles north-west of Harare, Jean Simon, 42, a tobacco and poultry farmer, is still desperately hoping that she can cling on. She was kidnapped and forced to run through the bush for 10 miles by thugs loyal to Mugabe in May 2000, beaten up two years later, imprisoned for a night two months ago. "I hope the hens remember to stop laying on Monday," she said. "I am supposed to shut down but I have only graded 20 per cent of my tobacco.

"My family has been in Africa for 200 years. I am a Zimbabwean. I don't want to be told to go to Britain."
At Nyabira, 25 miles north of Harare, Marcus Hale, 23, a grain farmer and cattle producer whose grandparents started the family farm, was also close to despair.
"I will never build anything in Africa.

When this madness ends we will carry on farming, but nothing will be the same. My folks were forced to leave a month ago. The war vets moved into my house. My parents' home is still intact, but they can't live there. My mother has sent the horses away. My father is really stressed. We have been through it for more than two years, the abuse, the destruction, the theft of what we have built up. We are so tired.

We tried to do a deal with the war vets. We planted about 150 acres of wheat for them because they don't know how to farm. We were supposed to share the profits, but they forced us off. They are using our equipment, our dam, our irrigation system, our pumps and our workers - who we pay. We recently wrote out a huge cheque for two senior war vets now living in our houses. Each farmer does what he thinks will help him survive. They have been milking our dairy cows and now they are dry, and they still pull away at their udders.

The farm is a wasteland."

23   At midnight the lights effectively went out for nearly 3,000 white farmers as the final notices of acquisition which gave them 45 days to wind up their operations come into effect under terms of a land-acquisition law passed in May. Farmers affected are ordered to stop working their land. Some 60 per cent of Zimbabwe's remaining white farmers have to close down or be arrested and face up to two years in jail.

Even before this, half of Zimbabwe's white farmers have had their operations disrupted or closed down by dictator Robert Mugabe's shock troops, since the so-called veterans of the war of independence launched violent invasions of white-owned farms 28 months ago. On top of that, over 400 more have been forced off the land since Mugabe's disputed election victory in March, and regional representatives of the Commercial Farmers' Union report that hundreds more are packing up to leave. And now, in the latest blow to the dwindling members of one of the most successful food-producing communities in Africa, the authorities are forcing through the consequences of the law, which was drummed through parliament 45 days ago.

The passing of the deadline could not come at a worse time, as the agricultural economy has all but wound down, forcing hundreds and thousands of farm workers out of jobs, and fuelling closures of nearly 1,000 companies. Nearly half the population is on the brink of starvation, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and most farmers are not allowed to grow food. Although Zimbabwe has no hard currency to import food, farmers are tomorrow forced to stop grading tobacco.

July

The number of Zimbabweans fleeing economic and political hardship in their country has increased sharply in the past two years. Botswana repatriated 14 400 Zimbabweans in the first six months of this year, and the country will have to spend more than a million pula (about R1,6 million) this year to deal with the increasing number of immigrants from its north-eastern neighbour, acting chief immigration officer Roy Sekgororwane told the Mmegi Monitor newspaper. Botswana repatriates about 2 400 illegal immigrants on a monthly basis, most of them from Zimbabwe.

The World Food Programme launch an appeal for US $507 million amid warnings that 12.8 million people face food shortages in Southern Africa. Up to six million of these people are in Zimbabwe - half of the country's population. As food stocks start running low, the organisation and NGOs are warning that there will be breaks in the food pipeline if donations don't come in urgently. Poul Nielson, the EC Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "Direct food aid is urgently needed on top of our well-established longer-term action to improve food security and prevent widespread starvation 18 250 mt of food (worth US $10.2 million) from the Regional Emergency Operation (EMOP) of the World Food Programme (WFP). start to reach the population.

3   Mugabe has orders the powerful Central Intelligence Organisation to compile a list of possible gay ministers and officials. Mugabe is well-known for his hatred of gays and lesbians and has described them as being worse than "pigs and dogs". Sources said Mugabe was finding it difficult to reconcile his homophobia with the reports of gay activities of people within his administration.

One of Mugabe's key propagandists during the March presidential elections and the former chief executive officer of the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Alum Mpofu, resigned from his post after allegations of homosexuality were levelled against him. Allegations have also been made that he had a homosexual affair with the dictator's controversial chief spokesperson, the so-called "Information Minister" Jonathan Moyo.

20   Nigel and Clare Hough are now the only white farmers left in Marondera, once the richest tobacco growing area in Zimbabwe. Their 23 neighbours have all left. Next month, the Houghs will be breaking the law if they remain on their farm.

"People are stealing the cows, one every week now," explained Mr Hough. "We find the skeletons in the morning, all the meat pulled off. It's what happens when there is no rule of law." The cows are however not all that is disappearing. The pumps have gone and last week the electrical cable was stolen, plunging the farm into darkness.
While local police do nothing about such thefts, Mr Hough is expecting to be arrested within two weeks. Kendor is among 2,900 white-owned farms listed under Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act, which set a deadline of 45 days for farming to stop and a further 45 days for the owners and their families to leave.

The inclusion of the Hough farm is a vivid illustration of the lunacy of Robert Mugabe's land reform programme. The couple bought the farm in 1996 with money made raising ostriches in China and Indonesia and built it up from nothing. Within months they had given half of it to a local black mechanic, a Mr Chirashi. He had repaired their tractor and had nowhere to keep his dairy cattle. Mrs Chirashi, said:

"Nigel has treated us like a brother. He charges us only Z$1 [about 1p] per beast per month for land and nothing when we have no money. He arranged us a loan to buy a truck. Whoever takes over will evict us."
The Houghs brought in 1,500 ostriches and set up a factory producing ostrich skin bags and shoes for export and another making safari clothes. Then they began training local people. With one in three of their workers dying of Aids, they decided to build an orphanage for the children of deceased farm labourers. Mr Hough became chairman of four employment creation committees, helping 3,000 students to start up projects such as small-scale ostrich farms.

Mr Hough, 39, was born in Marondera and comes from a farming background. Of the 36 farming families he is related to, only three are staying. Marondera has experienced some of the worst violence in the country. David Stephens, the first of 12 white farmers to be murdered, was shot in the head in April 2000 at his tobacco farm just down the road.

Although the family will remain on the farm after the deadline, Mr Hough has resigned himself to leaving, probably by the end of the year.

"Even if I go to court and win the farm, we'll never be secure," he said. "The moment some big guy takes a fancy to the place we'll be thrown off.

I did everything possible to be a model farmer. I pass on all the government's criteria for what they say they want. Ours is a small farm with only 30 hectares [74 acres] of arable land. It's the only farm I own. We train people in skills and what we produce goes for export. I've done all I could for the local community. On every single thing I pass except for one thing - I'm white."

20   A letter from Mugabe's office demanding £400,000 from the funds of the National Aids Council to host Miss Malaika (a pan-African beauty pageant) is leaked

21   The weekly independent Standard newspaper quote the deputy foreign minister, Abednico Ncube, telling hungry villagers in south-west Zimbabwe:

"You cannot vote for the MDC and expect Zanu-PF to help you."

22    The European Union extends "targeted sanctions" against Mugabe's regime by adding 20 more names to a list of people who are banned from visiting EU states and whose European-based assets have been frozen.

Mugabe himself tops the list of those under a foreign travel ban imposed on top Zimbabwean officials in February, mainly because of serious pre-electoral violence. However, the travel ban has not prevented Mugabe from attending UN-organised functions.

23   Opening the parliament, the Zimbabwean dictator Mugabe said some quarters were seeking to tarnish the regime's image by "falsely claiming the government is using food as a political weapon by distributing it only to supporters of the ruling party".

Mugabe also tells parliament that his regime would not devalue the Zimbabwe dollar despite growing pressure to do so to help an economy in its worst crisis in decades. The Zimbabwe dollar, which Makoni has said should be devalued, is officially pegged at 55 to the US dollar, but is trading at around 600 on the black market. "Devaluation is sinister and can only be advocated by our saboteurs and enemies of this government. Devaluation is thus dead," Mugabe said to applause from the regime benches while Makoni sat stony-faced. Mugabe said economic recovery would depend on his controversial land redistribution programme.

One of Zimbabwe's most distinguished novelists and poets, Chenjerai Hove, flees to Paris after being harassed by the authorities.

"You live for 24 hours in fear," said the award-winning author. "The threats were becoming unbearable. People were phoning my house saying I would disappear."

25    Zimbabwe has hiked import duty for "luxury goods" by 500%, effectively devaluing its dollar for calculation of the tax. The move is part of a supplementary budget announced to parliament by Finance Minister Simba Makoni to raise an extra Z$53bn ($958.4m) to finance farming inputs, food relief and wage increases, the newspaper said.

The Zimbabwe economy is in its fourth year of recession, with record high inflation and unemployment and a severe food shortage. Aid agencies say six million Zimbabweans - nearly half the population - need emergency food aid. Parliament approves the exchange rate for calculating the luxury goods tax to be adjusted to Z$300/US$1 from Z$55/US$1.

According to Makoni the regime had been forced to revise its budget up by Z$52.9 billion because of severe food shortages caused by drought and the need to support new farmers being settled on land seized from white commercial farmers.

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader is to be charged with undermining the country's "president" under newly passed security laws, according to police. Wayne Bvudzijena told state radio the charges against Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, were based on allegations that he told a party rally in May that Mugabe would have to quit office. The new security laws make it an offence to undermine the "office of the president" and offenders face a maximum 20-year sentence.

August

1    A General and Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union, Gapwuz, official said
"Many farmers don't want to sack workers, but they are forced to. They have to pay terminal benefits, determined by the government, and some have not grown crops for two years and have no money.

We try to mediate. Workers know they'll have no jobs next week, and they want as much as they can get now. It's extortion. There is no law and order."

4   Zimbabwe's white farmers have lost an estimated 14,5-billion Zimbabwe dollars' (R260-million) worth of moveable assets which have been illegally impounded or looted since February 2000.

3-5   Mugabe, barred from visiting Europe or the United States visit Malaysia along with his wife and a 36-member delegation. He and his wife Grace is infamous for their penchant for expensive shopping trips while millions of his people need food aid.

6   Granting Zimbabwe 35 million euros in extra emergency food aid the European Commission warns Harare that it must ensure that the food reaches those in need. The EC allocation would fund the purchase of around 90 000 mt of maize (worth US$31.3 million).

7   According to the United Nations Programme on Aids (UNAIDS), Zimbabwe has 780,000 children of 14 or under whose parents have died of HIV and the numbers are rising faster than in any country in the world. The UN estimates that 240,000 of these orphans are infected with HIV. Thirty-eight per cent of the population is already infected, the second highest rate after Botswana. The lack of food and foreign exchange to buy drugs caused by Mugabe's policies which have crippled farm production, sent unemployment to 70 per cent and caused the country to run out of the staple maize, means that they are dying far faster than they should be. With many communities already surviving on wild berries and baked elephant dung, aid agencies predict that 300,000 to 400,000 children will die in the coming months.

According to an official from Safaids, the Southern Africa AIDS Information Dissemination service, life expectancy in Zimbabwe plummeted from 61 to 38 in the last decade

The suburb of Naeta a stronghold of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is denied food aid by Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF. When Litishe Keswe, the local councillor, went to the state-run Grain Marketing Board for the 50 bags of grain supposed to be available to each councillor for needy families, he found his name struck off the list, replaced by the name of the ZANU-PF man he defeated.

There is little prospect of treatment. The National Blood Transfusion Service has had to suspend collection on several occasions recently because it has no money to import blood bags. Last month, Harare Central hospital began handing out cigarettes because it ran out of money for drugs.

Hundreds of doctors and nurses are leaving the country as part of the escalating brain drain to escape the spiralling violence and poverty, many moving to Britain, prompting Mugabe to last week accuse the British government of "coming at the dead of night to steal our people".

8   Political violence is again intensifying ahead of Zimbabwe's September local elections, human rights groups are reporting. There are "deep concerns" that the "pattern of using violence against the political opposition and abusing the neutrality of the police by government and state-sponsored 'militia' will be repeated."

9   Fear gripped white farmers in Zimbabwe last night as a deadline approached for the mass eviction of 2,900 of them. The enforcement of the eviction is expected to be another sad milestone in the history of whites in Africa after the expulsion of Belgians from the Congo in the 1960s and the pell-mell withdrawal of the Portuguese from Angola in the 1970s.

Switzerland extends sanctions against Zimbabwe by introducing travel restrictions and a freeze on financial assets against over 50 people. The new measures concerns members of Zanu-PF, the Swiss State Secretariat for the Economy said.

11    A group of about six officials of the local "land identification committee" accompanied by a senior policeman and seven armed soldiers visits five farms at the Middle Sabi irrigation scheme in the remote south-east of the country and questions the farmers on why they were still on the farms as they had been issued with section eight eviction orders (under the controversial Land Acquisition Act)

"They said we must get off the farm. They gave us until 08:00 on Monday. They said if we were still there the next day they would arrest us. "They were not listening to any reasons. They were aggressive and threatening," a farmer said.
All five farmers have had their cases referred by the ministry of lands to a court which means that their eviction orders are suspended until their cases are heard. At risk is about 8 000 tons of wheat that the farmers planted after they were formally assured by the senior government official in the area earlier this year that they would not be disturbed in producing the crop. Two of the farmers are also among 1 024 one-farm owners whose property has been formally listed for nationalisation, in spite of the regime's promise that only owners of multiple properties would be targeted.

If they don't abandon their farms, they face a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a fine of Z$20 000 (about R2 150).

12   The move by the Mugabe regime in June to order nearly 3,000 commercial farmers to stop planting and vacate their farms by 9 August was "a complete abdication of their responsibility to feed the population during an acute food crisis that is rapidly evolving into a famine affecting all parts of the country," the MDC statement says.

Mugabe said he would stick to an August deadline for giving white lands to blacks "We shall keep a watchful eye on what is happening on the farms," he said, warning whites not to seek "another war." He also repeated his "one farmer, one farm" policy, whereby farmers with only one farm will not be evicted.

Mugabe also appeals for international aid to combat drought and starvation in his country.

13    New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark calls for Zimbabwe to be expelled from the Commonwealth and threatened tougher sanctions against Mugabe's regime. Clark, an outspoken critic of Mugabe, said she was "very, very shocked" by Mugabe's comments and angry that the international community was being asked to help out an "outrageous" government.

Zimbabwe "should have been suspended (from the Commonwealth) some time ago and I would be very happy to see them suspended now," she added.
14   A white farmer thrown off his land by Zimbabwean militants in the first incident since a government eviction order expired last week. Within 48 hours of Mugabe telling the world that white farmers who owned a single farm could stay, the Hinde family were forcibly evicted from their only piece of land yesterday. They are being evicted by settlers occupying the Condwelani Farm in the Bindura area, north of the capital Harare. The family have been forced into one side of the house, while the settlers occupy the other half and move the Hinde's furniture outside.

A Zimbabwean cabinet minister accuse the white farmers of bringing in impostors to evict them from their farms, in order to attract attention and paint a bleak picture of the situation in the country.

"We are fully aware of the gimmick that is going on and these impostors are being made to pose as if they were war veterans," Lands and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said.
"It's the usual case of demonising the war veterans."

South Africa acknowledges that it doesn't have a clue what to do about the rapidly deteriorating political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. "What is it that we are expected to do?" Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad asked journalists as they repeatedly pressed him on what South Africa was doing about the crisis across its border.

"In all our consultations with the international community and our colleagues on the continent, the question always comes up - 'What can be done more than what is being done now?' "

Pahad admitted the only idea Pretoria could come up with was to continue to join its Commonwealth partner Nigeria in pressing for a resumption of the stalled talks between Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

15    Nelson Chamisa, the national youth chairperson of the MDC has been arrested on accusations of trying to unseat Mugabe's regime according to police.

"He is alleged to have been holding private meetings where subversive material was discussed," said police spokesperson Andrew Phiri. "We are questioning him with a view to charging him under POSA"
IF Chamisa convicted under the country's new security law, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), he will face up to a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.

16    A Zimbabwean court ruling invalidates hundreds of eviction orders. But like so many other court rulings, this one is completely ignored by Mugabe's regime. Top Cabinet ministers continue to demand farmers immediately leave their land.

Since political violence mainly blamed on government supporters began in 2000, Zimbabwe's once respected judiciary has been utterly marginalized. The regime has ignored a raft of rulings it dislikes and pressured judges it considers critical of its policies to resign. Most other judges have stopped ruling against the regime, local legal observers said.

"The independence of the judiciary is gone," said Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional Assembly, which is fighting for constitutional reform in Zimbabwe. "I think some judges genuinely fear for their lives."

"Any judge who has been brave enough to take positions against government institutions has been harassed and intimidated into resigning," said Ashwin Trikamjee, a member of the International Bar Association's human rights institute. Now, on the rare occasions when the courts rule against the regime, it is usually in cases too obvious to have been decided any other way, many local lawyers said.

The regime has ignored those rulings anyway.

17    Up to 100 white farmers, including an elderly woman, are arrested in Zimbabwe for defying a government eviction order as Mugabe's controversial land reform programme threatened to reach a violent climax as half the country's population of 12 million was on the verge of starvation.

Hundreds of police and war veterans stormed white-owned farms around the country and arrested those accused of defying government orders to quit their land. One farmer, who had moved off his land, was beaten unconscious and sustained a broken leg after pro-Mugabe activists tortured a member of his staff into revealing his employer's new address. He is also in custody.

According to Mugabe: "There are those who believe that the land reform programme can be reversed . . . this is not reversible. This is not [Tony] Blair's land, this is Mugabe's land"

17    John Matthews, 78, of Iron Mask farm is arrested and then released after being told he had 48 hours to pack up and get out.

He and his elderly wife Eva were loading their possessions on to the back of a truck when Mugabe's 38-year-old wife arrived.

"First Lady Grace Mugabe marched on to my land surrounded by a small army of police, government and ruling party officials and thugs, and announced: 'I am taking over the farm.'"

When a black worker asked: "What is going to happen to us?" she told him: "You can go and live by the river over there."

The land covers 3 000 acres between two peaks in the scenic Mazowe area about 48km from the capital Harare. The house has superb views across the valley. There are two swimming pools and guest cottages set in beautifully landscaped gardens.

The farm was created and developed by Mrs Matthews and her first husband from 1967.

20    Ex-Zanu-PF cabinet minister, Godfrey Chidyausiku, who became Zimbabwe's Chief Justice when his predecessor was forced from office blamed the chaos and unrest in Zimbabwe on the white farming community.

"Because the commercial farmers resisted the move, the situation exploded," he said, "We are doing our best, we haven't succeeded as much as we could, but we'll keep trying."
Chidyausiku was speaking at a conference of international judges discussing environmental issues ahead of next week's World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Police said 207 white farmers have been arrested since Thursday in a crackdown on people who defied government orders to leave their homes and clear the way for black settlers. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told state media that settlers should move onto the farms, even though court cases for the arrested white farmers and other cases challenging the land reforms may not be completed for months.

At least 59 people have been killed in political violence since the start of the year, while thousands more have suffered torture, rape and intimidation, according to rights groups.

22   John Matthews, 78, leaves his Iron Mask farm near Harare. The farm is being stolen by the Zimbabwean dictator's own wife.

Mugabe has said nearly 3 000 white-owned farms are being seized so the land can be returned to impoverished blacks - but many are being handed to Mugabe's cronies and party insiders. Apart from his wife, Mugabe's sisters, his brother-in-law and wife's nephew have already been handed properties.

One official of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has seven farms, the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation was given the farm of a white opposition MP, and former vice-president Simon Muzenda has two farms.

About 200 white farmers have already been arrested and many charged for resisting the unlawful and illegitimate evictions.

With six million people facing starvation because of drought and Mugabe's policies, there is no evidence that any of the land taken from whites is being farmed. A farm group, Justice for Agriculture, said that in many cases seized farms are reverting to bush.

23    Didymus Mutasa, the organisation secretary of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF Party said:

"We would be better off with only six million people (out of a total 12 million), with our own people who support the liberation struggle."
According to UN figures, six million people, making up half the country's population, are facing starvation.

25    Reports surface of hundreds of women and girls being raped in rural Zimbabwe by Mugabe's youth brigades. Girls as young as 12 are being raped, tortured and forcibly kept as concubines in camps in what human rights lawyers have branded "systematic political cleansing" of the population.

A former militia member interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph claimed he and others received orders to attack the wives and daughters of opposition sympathisers, the report said. Human rights activists say the use of rape is part of a drive to terrify all opposition into submission.

"They are raping on a mass scale," Frances Lovemore, member of the Harare-based Amani Trust which monitors torture, told the paper.

Lovemore claimed girls were being systematically taken and used and abused because of their families' political views.

"We're seeing an enormous prevalence of rape and enough cases to say it's being used by the state as a political tool," said Tony Reeler, a director of the Amani Trust.

The Amani Trust is compiling video evidence of rape camps set up for youth brigades and riot police in rural areas and hopes to bring Mugabe to trial at the international court of human rights.
Victims living in hiding told the London Daily Telegraph how they had been gang-raped by police and war veterans and had their genitals burnt with iron rods.

They said the abuse was punishment for their parents not supporting Mugabe in the March presidential poll which returned him to power amid widespread allegations of fraud and voter intimidation.

In a country where 40 percent of the population is HIV positive, rape can amount to a death sentence, the report said.

The report told of one 12-year old girl, in the Vumba mountains in eastern Zimbabwe, who was gang-raped by war veterans and policemen while her mother and younger sisters were forced to chant Mugabe's praises and watch the ordeal. She was raped because her father supports the country's main opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change.

Other victims were severely beaten, and some claimed brigade members urinated on their food supplies - a terrible indignity in a land where millions are close to starvation, the report said. "We found a population living in terror, some towns completely "cleansed" of all opposition," a Sunday Telegraph reporter said.

Zimbabwean officials are speaking in chilling terms about the need to take the country back to zero, the report said.

26    A bomb explodes during the night at the offices of Zimbabwe's Voice of the People (VOP) short-wave radio station, destroying one of only two independent radio stations that broadcast inside the southern African country.

VOP uses local reporters who do their programmes in local languages and then send computer sound files to the Netherlands, from where they are broadcast on short-wave back to Zimbabwe to avoid falling under oppressive media legislation enacted by the regime of Mugabe.

27    Zimbabwean police raid the Harare offices of the Amani Trust, which aids victims of political violence, and arrested the organisation's doctor who treats torture victims.

27    The Zimbabwean police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, is allowed into France despite a EU travel ban and the accusation that he is guilty of gross human rights abuses. He has been given a special dispensation by France, Britain and other EU governments to travel to Lyon for a meeting of the international police organisation Interpol, of which he is a vice-president

28    Fr Peter Kelly, 60, a Roman Catholic priest seconded to Zimbabwe from Devon is forced out of his parish after numerous death threats by Mugabe's so-called war veterans.

Speaking from an undisclosed location he said he was also summoned to the offices of the secret service on three occasions, the first after the disputed presidential elections in March.

31    Zimbabwe's previous yearlong fuel contract with Libya expires with arrears on that deal still outstanding, according to industry executives.

September

1    The Mozambique president, Joaquim Chissano, says the "land reform" policy of the Mugabe regime was sound as it was aimed at achieving "a balanced distribution of land among all Zimbabwean people and responded to one of the main objectives foreseen in the efforts that led to the independence of Zimbabwe.
"We would like to express our solidarity to all Zimbabweans involved in the process, which is aimed at enlarging the number of Zimbabwean citizens with access to land," he said.
Britain has invested heavily in its development and Mr Blair's public relations planners believed it represented the best showcase for his commitment to Africa. But Mr Chissano's remarks showed how British Government funding for aid projects does not guarantee toeing the line on issues such as Zimbabwe.

They also demonstrated how popular Mr Mugabe remains in southern Africa and undermined faith in the concept of "peer review" by neighbouring African states to enforce good government.

The war of words between Zimbabwe and Britain plumbs to new depths, with Mr Mugabe blasting

"the gay, gangster cabinet of Blair", and Mr Blair accusing the Mugabe regime of "a gross and appalling catalogue of incompetence, mismanagement and corruption".
2    Tony Blair is lambasted at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in what appeared to be a coordinated attack by the president of Namibia and his friend Robert Mugabe.

The Namibian leader, Sam Nujoma, departed from a prepared speech to accuse Mr Blair of being a colonialist in the same breath as referring to Britain's role in the slave trade. The verbal assault, during which Mr Nujoma repeatedly pointed out Mr Blair, came just before the prime minister was to make his own speech.

Mr Mugabe was seen laughing as the Namibian leader waved angrily towards Mr Blair saying Africa was the poorest continent and needed money from the rich.

"Here we have a problem created by Britain, by Blair, the British colonialist," he said. "The British colonialists own 70 to 80% of the land in Zimbabwe, a tiny country, with 14 million indigenous people with no land. The whole land is occupied with hundreds and thousands of colonialists."

(I don't know what Nujoma smokes or where he gets his figures from, but in September 2001 the Zimbabwean regime already controlled more than 70% of all the land in the country. - J Strauss)

Mugabe is applauded as he vows at the Summit to press ahead with the eviction of 2,900 of the country's 4,500 remaining white commercial farmers despite legal challenges at home and criticism in the west.
Mr Blair: "We do not need to be told of the importance of Africa. The president of Namibia has sought to defend the utterly indefensible in Mr Mugabe. He is impoverishing his nation, he is depriving people of democracy. He makes it very difficult to fight for Africa.
4    Colin Powell, the United States secretary of state, was jeered, booed and prevented from speaking at the final session of the Earth Summit, as he was interrupted by African delegates when he said Zimbabwe's land seizures and lack of respect for the law had pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation.
"What makes me so angry is that I can see no difference between the wrongs of slavery from the whites and the wrongs of the current system where an unelected black elite exploit just as much," said a Zimbabwean student from Bulawayo at the World Summit.

"A government like Mugabe's has all the bad features of white rule without any of the good."

4    Mugabe, who has banned foreign reporters from Zimbabwe and enacted laws to muzzle domestic media and limit media criticism, blames the international media for his country's negative image.

At least 13 journalists have already been charged with publishing alleged falsehoods under the new laws. The regime has also set a deadline for all reporters to register with authorities, saying only Zimbabweans will be allowed to work in the country. 4    Former South African president Nelson Mandela declines in a radio interview to comment on Mugabe's summit speech or his controversial programme to hand over white-owned farms to landless blacks without paying compensation.

"I prefer to express my views on such sensitive matters to the multilateral organisation SADC (Southern African Development Community)," he said.
But he acknowledged that investor concern about Zimbabwe's future was hitting South Africa's Rand currency, which plunged 37 percent against the dollar last year, before recovering partially this year.
"People must be aware that Zimbabwe is not South Africa," he said.
So much for "the world's most celebrated statesman". Mandela is always out their trying to solve all the world's problems, but when a whole country is destroyed next door he sits in one of his mansions and does...... NOTHING! (J Strauss) 5    Hundreds of farmers in the northern grain belt were warned by uniformed police and soldiers to be off their farms by lunchtime 8 September 2002 and that anything left behind would be nationalised.

7    Agence France Presse (AFP) correspondent Griffin Shea who has worked in Zimbabwe for two years receives a letter from the Department of Information and Publicity informing him that his application to renew his work permit had been turned down. (A week later he was ordered to leave the country within 24 hours)

8    The last chukka of northern Zimbabwe's last polo game is played while 600 white farmers flee their homes in the country's most productive farming districts.

"This is the last time we will play this tournament as there will be none of us left next year," said Zimbabwe's top grain farmer.

"Please don't name me now until I have got my family safely to Australia."

The farmer said he and a colleague last week met Ignatius Chombo, the minister dishing out white-owned farms to the elite and to thousands of peasants hoping to become farmers.
"He told us there would be no white farmers left in Zimbabwe," he said. "Now we know."
A mile or so behind the polo ground, next to the few wheat fields planted this season, a fire was raging in tinder-dry bush, which was started early in the morning by President Robert Mugabe's supporters squatting on a recently productive grain farm.
"They set fire to millions of dollars worth of cattle food last week," a farmer said.
The flight by the majority of Zimbabwe's cereal producers include up to 100 farmers in the Chinhoyi area who successfully challenged nationalisation of their farms.

Most who fled yesterday were owners of only one farm, said the Commercial Farmers' Union, and as such should have been allowed to keep them under Zimbabwean law.

"Some of us, who had time to pack up, are leaving forever," said a farmer whose wife leaves for Europe to join their three young children at the end of the month.

"I will be going at the end of the year," he said. "Now I am going to play my last game of polo in Zimbabwe."

His farm in the Umboe Valley, after which the polo tournament was named, was trashed a year ago.
"We repaired it and thought it would come right eventually but it's over," he said.

11    Mugabe agreed to sign over more of Zimbabwe's assets to Libya's Muammar Gaddafi this week in exchange for the oil which his hard cash-strapped country now desperately needs.

Zimbabwe almost ran out of fuel again this week and long fuel queues formed around the main urban centres, forcing Mugabe hurriedly to pay his umpteenth visit to Libya to beg Gaddafi to resume oil supplies. They were recently discontinued by Libya's national oil firm, Tamoil, because the Zimbabwe regime had not paid its bills. Gaddafi now demands more assets in payment for his oil.

The Independent Foreign Service confirmed a report by the Zimbabwe Independent that Gaddafi wants among other things a controlling stake in the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ). The controlling stake in CBZ however belongs to South Africa's Absa Bank. Gaddafi already has a 14 percent stake in CBZ as part of the fuel deal signed last year. The Zimbabwe regime remains a minority shareholder. It was not clear how Mugabe could persuade Absa to relinquish its 35% majority stake in favour of Gaddafi.

The IFS also learnt that Gaddafi wants Mugabe to expel major mining companies in Zimbabwe so he can take over their mining operations instead of starting entirely new explorations as envisaged under the oil deal signed last year. Gaddafi was particularly interested in the platinum mine opened by Australia's BHP in Chegutu, 106km south-west of Harare. The Australian firm later pulled out, citing operational problems but it was immediately taken over by another mainly Australian firm, Zimplats.
Mugabe has repeatedly threatened to seize mines and other firms operated by foreign companies but has not yet done so. However, his rampaging war veterans have invaded mines and other foreign owned firms accused of "underpaying" workers, among other things. At least four major gold mines have closed voluntarily in frustration.

Zimbabwe now relies almost entirely on Libya for fuel under a US$360-million deal signed last year in which Mugabe offered Gaddafi investments in Zimbabwe in part exchange for fuel. But Zimbabwe is also supposed to pay some cash for the oil, which it has failed to do. The Zimbabwe regime now owes Libya nearly US$100-million, according to official sources.

Reports say Mugabe has also awarded Gaddafi vast tracts of farmland under last year's oil deal. However, it has not been established how much land and where it is.

12    Mugabe delivered a public tirade against Britain and Tony Blair during a 15-minute speech in front of heads of state at the UN General Assembly. His degenerates into an embarrassing rant against Zimbabwe's former "oppressors and colonials" and the Prime Minister.

Mr Mugabe also boasted to the UN of the end of his "fast-track land redistribution programme" which has driven white farmers, their families and staff off their property, often pursued by thugs armed with machetes

13    Recently retired white High Court Judge Fergus Blackie, 65, is arrested before dawn. His last act before his retirement earlier this year was to sentence Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, to three months in prison after finding him guilty of two counts of contempt of court. Another court later set aside the sentence.

His lawyers said: "We are very worried about him. There has been a sinister campaign against Judge Blackie for some years now."

They said the police had refused to accept the writ of habeas corpus. Fears were also expressed about Judge Blackie's health as he has not had access to his daily medication for hypertension.

He spent three days in detention.

13    A bill by the 'justice minister' Patrick Chinamasa to plug loopholes which farmers have used to delay their evictions is published in the government gazette.

Zimbabwe's higher courts have been packed with judges known to be supportive of President Robert Mugabe since the former chief justice Anthony Gubbay was forced to quit his job early last year after death threats from so-called war veterans

13    Another foreign journalist is being forced out of Zimbabwe after the regime refused to renew his work permit, saying pressure on them to do so showed contempt for the laws of the country, said the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) on Friday.

"Information and Publicity" Minister Jonathan Moyo said no foreign journalist would hold a permanent work permit in Zimbabwe in the future, and calls for the renewal of Agence France Presse (AFP) correspondent Griffin Shea's work permit were a sign of contempt for Zimbabwe's laws. Shea must leave Zimbabwe within 24 hours.

Moyo was quoted in the Misa press release as saying: "We are not a banana republic wanting to please foreign journalists. We are a constitutional democracy underpinned by the rule of law."

"Shea is an American and he can go and work there."

Shea has been in Zimbabwe for two years. He received a letter from the Department of Information and Publicity on September 7 informing him that his application had been turned down.

Also quoted by Misa, he said this came as no surprise as Moyo had indicated to the AFP bureau chief in June that he was unlikely to allow any foreign journalists to work in Zimbabwe beyond the expiry of their existing work permits.

Two foreign correspondents have already been expelled from the country in the past 18 months under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and another was refused renewal of his work permit.

13    The Amani Trust, which has compiled detailed reports of human rights violations and political violence in Zimbabwe is ordered to registered with the regime following their publication

16    About 150,000 labourers have been evicted from seized farms, and when their families are included that figure grows to 780,000, according to a new survey by the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust (ZCDT).

"The numbers are mind-boggling," says Canon Timothy Neil, director of the ZCDT. "According to our survey only 35,000 farm workers had some form of alternative place to live, either on a resettlement scheme or a family home to return to. The overwhelming number had nowhere to go, and on average they had sufficient food for only 54 days. In two months we are going to see this huge group going hungry. It is frightening."
The ZCDT survey also shows that more than 10,000 orphans and 14,000 elderly people who had lived on the farms will now be homeless. "These are the most vulnerable," Canon Neil said. "Across the country, there are people living by the side of the road and moving to the outskirts of towns. It is a shifting, roaming population that needs assistance."

The Mugabe regime has largely ignored the plight of the farm workers. Despite assurances that the workers will be allocated land, very few have been accepted for resettlement. The regime did insist that workers be paid "termination packages" by the white farmers being thrown off their land. In the Raffingora area, 125 miles north-west of Harare, farm workers have been paid Z$500,000 to Z$800,000 (£5,600 to £8,900). These are unimaginable riches to the workers.

International aid organisations are beginning to respond to the crisis, but they are hampered by the regime's attitude that the farm workers are supporters of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change and therefore not entitled to new land or assistance.

The ZCDT leased land in northern Zimbabwe in August to give plots to 160 ex- farm families. But as 17 workers dug trenches for latrines, they were arrested, jailed and eventually charged with "undergoing training to become terrorists".

17    Philip Bezuidenhout 52, a white Zimbabwean farmer is jailed for 15 years with hard labour for "murdering" a black man who had been given land on his property. The farmer accidentally ran over Febian Mapenzauswa, a financial manager, who had been allotted land even before it had been gazetted. Bezuidenhout who reported the incident to police missed the death penalty "by a whisker" according to Justice Ben Hlatshwayo who heard the case.

This was only the second conviction related to any of the deaths since Mugabe's program of destruction began.

18    Zimbabwe's parliament push through a controversial bill that will speed up the seizures of white-owned farms. The amendment to the Land Acquisition Act will permit the regime to evict farmers in seven days, as opposed to the 90 days that farmers were given in existing legislation to wind up their businesses and vacate their properties.

Parliament suspended ordinary rules and procedures to allow the bill to be rushed through its three readings in one day.

"This new law merely gives a pretence of legality to what is going on," said a farmer who is unable to tend his fields because his property is occupied by government supporters.

"But the government is not even following their own laws. We have cabinet ministers and army officers coming in and giving people 24 hours and less to leave their homes because they like the look of the place."

More than 1,000 farms have gone to cabinet ministers, army officers and others well connected to the ruling Zanu-PF party, according to lists compiled by farmers.

22    Zanu-PF launched a fresh crackdown on its political opponents ahead of next week's local government elections, with its armed militants preventing opposition candidates from registering in almost two thirds of the wards involved in the polls.

Militants armed with axes, machetes and rifles are chasing MDC candidates away from registration points in the rural wards while some of its candidates had also been prevented from registering in wards in its urban strongholds.

The MDC said that because of the violence it had managed to field only 600 candidates for the nearly 2 000 posts that must be filled in the district and municipal councils. The registrar-general's office this week declared that Zanu-PF had already won 700 uncontested seats because the MDC "failed" to field candidates in them.

The MDC released a statement detailing instances of violence against its candidates. It said 11 potential candidates were seriously injured when ruling party supporters went on the rampage against opposition candidates in the countryside.

In several provincial districts, the opposition party claimed, its candidates found gates of registration centres closed, and armed militants chased away those candidates who tried to force their way in.

Paul Nyathi, the party's elections director, said police were also preventing candidates from registering for elections by setting up roadblocks around registration centres.

He said scores of council hopefuls had been beaten up and kidnapped by members of the ruling party's notorious youth brigade, the Green Bombers. As a result some of the hopefuls had given up contesting the polls.

Some MDC candidates had been abducted from their beds at night, Nyathi said, while in Chegutu, about 100km west of Harare, Zanu-PF youths stormed MDC offices and assaulted officials before abducting an MP, Hilda Mafudze.

"The question is, to whom do we complain? Courts, police, election officials are all in Mugabe's pocket. Look at who the beneficiaries are - at who is being given previously white-owned farms - judges, army commanders, secret police, senior police officers. So who maintains the law?"
In the Midlands South district alone, 26 MDC candidates had withdrawn from the race and 20 candidates were assaulted, Nyathi said

Patrick Chinamasa, the so-called 'justice minister', accused the MDC of being a "bad loser", saying the opposition party could not blame Zanu-PF for its own failure to field candidates. He said the MDC had no support in the constituencies concerned - an allegation the opposition party dismissed as "stupid and absurd".

23    Samuel Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe's trade minister who recently appropriated a cattle ranch from a white farmer under Zimbabwe's land grab, is allowed to enter Belgium with a week-long visa to attend a trade conference.

British MEPs of all parties yesterday demanded urgent measures to tighten up a loophole that has allowed a series of Mr Mugabe's senior officials to slip into Europe on one pretext or another.

Geoffrey Van Orden, the Tory MEP and diplomatic spokesman, said the week-long visa showed the "utter hopelessness" of the EU in moving from words to action in foreign policy.

The Commonwealth troika meets in Abuja, Nigeria six months after it partially suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth over flawed elections that returned President Robert Mugabe to power..

The two African members of the troika, Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa out-vote Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and decide to spare Zimbabwe from further sanctions. Howard backed full and immediate suspension of Zimbabwe, while Obasanjo and Mbeki wanted to continue to monitor the southern African country for another six months.

The three agreed that nothing had been done yet to address Commonwealth concerns that Mugabe had been re-elected undemocratically.

24    The Zimbabwean regime greets with triumph the news that the Commonwealth troika had decided to spare it from further sanctions, calling the decision a 'victory over colonialism'.

The official Herald newspaper on Tuesday said the two African members of the troika, Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa "did Africa proud" by out-voting Australia's Prime Minister John Howard.
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon, along with Howard and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Zimbabwe's former colonial power Britain, said the 54-member body intends to keep up the pressure.

Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the Commonwealth had missed "an opportunity to take firm action."

He said Obasanjo and Mbeki had given their assent to an "unrepentant and unreforming" Mugabe and given him "another six months to destroy the country".

"Right now it (the regime) is doing everything to subvert democratic processes in Zimbabwe," he charged.

26    Gen Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwean army, has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 in compensation for stealing a farmer's flowers. Chiwenga forced Roger Staunton off Hortico farm, 20 miles east of Harare, earlier this year.

Mr Staunton told the High Court in Harare that he had a confrontation with Gen Chiwenga's wife, Jocelyn, who told him that

"she had not tasted white blood since 1980 [the year of Zimbabwe's independence] and missed the experience and that she needed just the slightest excuse to kill somebody.

"She ordered one of her guards to 'kill the white bastards'," he said.

Millions of his roses were later exported to Amsterdam, the world's largest flower market, and his vegetables were sold.

27    The Mugabe regime has escalated its confrontation with London by telling British diplomats in Harare they cannot travel outside the capital without permission from the ministry of foreign affairs.

28    Local elections in Zimbabwe get under way after the MDC failed in a last-minute court application to have the elections postponed because of violence against its candidates. The MDC candidates were prevented from registering in 700 of the nearly 2 000 mainly rural council wards under contest. Others were frogmarched to registration centres and given a choice to either withdraw or have their villages burned down.

"It's total chaos. It's not possible to run a free and fair election under these conditions," said Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader. He said suspected opposition voters and polling agents had been chased away at most centres in rural areas and the opposition's observers had been barred from voting centres.

"This is not an election. It's a propaganda exercise. Mugabe can sustain himself only by force and coercion. You can't get a legitimate election from an illegitimate ruler," Tsvangirai said.

The privately owned Daily News reports violence in Mashonaland Central province, where the MDC managed to field some candidates. It said Zanu-PF officials in the area beat up opposition supporters and abducted two others, whose whereabouts are unknown.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative said it was urging the international community to reject the council elections because of the abuses preceding them.

29    Roy Bennett, an MDC MP, is arrested in the eastern border town of Chimanimani.

30    Three opposition party polling agents in the district council elections were feared dead after they were attacked with axes by ruling party militants at a counting centre in the Zanu-PF stronghold town of Bindura in Mashonaland Central province.

MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said whole villages had been burnt down in wards where the MDC had won the district council elections.

Early returns show that Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party was "winning" most seats in the weekend local government "elections" marred by violence and intimidation of the opposition.

The MDC dismissed the whole election as a "big joke". 'For anyone to claim a victory in such a sham election is the height of insanity'

"This was not an election. They used intimidation, torture and blackmail against our supporters," said MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi last night.

30    Dr Robert Gordon, 42, a veterinary surgeon, leaves for New Zealand, unable to take the strain of destroying family pets and horses any longer. For the past six months he has done little but put down the pets of fleeing white farmers.

The destruction of 650 former guard dogs was his last task in his native Zimbabwe.

October

1    Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF retained the Hurungwe constituency in a "parliamentary by-election" in a bloody weekend in which three opposition supporters are feared dead after being attacked by ruling party militants.

The by-election was marred by violence and intimidation which stopped the opposition from holding a single campaign rally. Zanu-PF controls 63 of the 120 contested seats in parliament against the MDC's 56 with a minor opposition party controlling one seat. The constitution allows Mugabe to appoint 30 extra MPs, giving his party a comfortable majority to pass legislation.

The Hurungwe by-election coincided with rural district council elections also "won" by the ruling Zanu-PF party.

1    Five young MDC activists are beaten and tortured by police before being charged with inciting violence. Four of the five - Reuben Tichareva, Barnabas Ndira, his brother Cosmas, and Tendayi Mlauzi - said police tortured them and asked why they were friends with a "white boy", their fellow detainee Tom Spicer, 18.

They said police officers told them that they should be killing white people, not befriending them.

The four said they were beaten on the soles of their feet and kicked in their kidneys. Their wrists were still swollen four days later. Their clothes were spattered with blood and all were badly bruised.

Spicer, the most seriously tortured of the group, was separated from his friends for "special treatment", said his lawyer, after his arrest in a poor township last Thursday. He said he was tortured for four hours and repeatedly lost consciousness as electric shocks passed through him.
His tongue was badly damaged when the shocks were applied through an electrode on his ear. He said he was blindfolded and thought that up to eight men took part. He was taken to hospital after the five were bailed.
In a statement to a diplomat, Spicer, who hopes to take A levels at the end of the year, said his torturers repeatedly threatened to kill him.

Spicer, an elected youth leader of the opposition MDC, was pale and unsteady on his feet when the five appeared in court this week. It was the 11th time Spicer had been arrested in a year. Ndira, 27, has been held five times. Spicer's father Newton, 49, said yesterday that his son represented thousands of abused young people.

1    Tichaona Munyanyi, the MDC MP for Mbare, Harare, is arrested.

Police also arrests three elderly farmers, including a woman in the village of Plumtree, on the border with Botswana. Julius and Ernest Rosenfels and a Mrs Cahill, all in their seventies, were apparently arrested because they had stayed on ranches in Matabeleland beyond the date of their eviction notices, Aug 8.

2    Zimbabwe police orders scores of ranchers in the arid south to leave their homesteads immediately, having already forced 90 per cent of commercial farmers off their land in the centre of the country.

Mac Crawford, Commercial Farmers' Union president in the Matabeleland capital, Bulawayo, said yesterday: "The police have been to about 40 homes.

They are trying to evict even some whose land has not even been designated for acquisition. Most of the farmers are resisting, but a few have finally given up and left for good."
Jim and Ruth Chatam, both 76, are arrested on their farm Lugo Ranch between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Mrs Chatam was dragged from the house and shackled to a police vehicle before they returned for Mr Chatam. She broke a hand in the process.

The Chatams were served with an eviction order in December last year, but the order was reversed recently.

2    A United States-based famine unit has warned that Zimbabwe's food crisis is deepening and millions more people face starvation unless they receive urgent aid and the regime eases its monopoly on grain trade. In its latest monthly update on Zimbabwe, Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said that a food security assessment showed 6,7 million people would need food aid between December and March 2003, up from 4,5 million between September and November.

3    At a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Luanda the region's leaders lend support to Mugabe's land reform process.

"We are convinced that the ongoing land reform in that country is aimed at the rational, fair and equitable distribution of land to be used for benefit of the people of Zimbabwe," said Mkapa from Tanzania.
Two infants die as youths forced their way into a food line outside a Harare milling this week, causing panic.

6    Long lines of cars waiting for gasoline returned to fuel stations in Harare in the past week, after more than two years of frequent shortages. Zimbabwe's regime blamed severe gasoline shortages on hoarding of fuel and industry executives reported a slowing of imports from Libya.

The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, the fuel procurement monopoly's silence on whether delivery of regular supplies could be paid for by the economically devastated country has fanned rumours of worsening shortages.

With agricultural production disrupted by drought and the seizure of white-owned farms, all food export quotas to Libya have not been met. Libyan investments in the country were seen as yielding only long term returns.

Production of tobacco, the biggest hard currency earner, is expected to be more than halved next season due to disruptions in the agriculture-based economy. Tourism has collapsed, with hard currency receipts down by an estimated 80 percent.

7    The MDC calls on the United Nations to intervene over the country's political crisis, charging that Mugabe's regime threatened stability in the region.

11    Tony Hall, top United States food aid official who is the US ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization warned that Zimbabwe would face a "major famine" if the regime did not clear away bureaucratic roadblocks and allow massive amounts of food to be imported by the end of the year.

"The critical time is in the next two months," said Hall. "If by the end of December enough food hasn't arrived in this country, there is going to be major famine and there is going to be major death."
The regime allows some aid organisations to distribute free food in the country but maintains a monopoly on selling grain. Hall said he heard specific testimony that the regime refused to sell grain to opposition supporters and in areas considered hotbeds of opposition support.
Hall said "Social Welfare" Minister July Moyo acknowledged that private grain shipments "had been held up for political reasons".

"Drought has not caused this problem (famine), it has only compounded the problem," said Hall.

After holding talks with Mugabe during a "courtesy call", South Africa's foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma criticised the media in her country for presenting Zimbabwe in a bad light.
Dlamini-Zuma said after her meeting with Mugabe that the South African media was "very negative" and had "failed to paint a balanced picture of events both in Zimbabwe and South Africa"
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said he was not invited to meet with Zuma.
"If (the South Africans) are honest brokers then surely they can see both sides. The MDC was not the one that scuttled the talks," he said.

He said his party rejected proposals for a government of national unity but was prepared to support a transitional authority that would hold fresh elections under a new constitution.

12    Only 400 white farmers are now left in Zimbabwe's once mighty commercial agriculture sector, out of more than 4 500 before the advent of Mugabe's seizures of white farms two years ago.

Reports this week indicate that 90 percent of 300 000 supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF who were resettled on small plots carved from the seized farms did not have seed or implements to work their land, barely two weeks before the official start of the rainy season.

All remaining sugar-cane farmers were evicted this week after Zanu-PF militants invaded 72 cane farms and ordered the farmers off their land in the Chiredzi area in the lowveld. Sugar is one of the commodities that has long disappeared from supermarket shelves in Zimbabwe.

"The Chiredzi farmers were evicted regardless of the status of their farms. Even those who had not been served with eviction notices were removed from their land," said Dave Hasluck, the director of the Commercial Farmers Union. Jenni Williams, a spokesperson for Justice in Agriculture, said the Chiredzi farmers had been evicted on instructions issued from police and army officials.

"The army and police officials told farmers that their instructions superseded any existing high court rulings," Williams said.
Hasluck said the tobacco planting season had begun on September 1 but the remaining farmers had been able to plant only 15 percent of the total hectarage last year. Tobacco is Zimbabwe's largest foreign currency earner. It accounts for 37 percent of the country's total export receipts.
(Zimbabwe) would be lucky to get 60 million kilograms of tobacco in 2003, compared to the 237 million kilograms produced in 2000 before the disruptions started.
Tobacco output has been on the decline, with farmers producing 200 million kg in 2001 and 170 million kg in 2002. Economists have predicted that total agricultural output next year will contract by 60 percent. According to The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) 94 percent of the resettled farmers did not have seeds for the upcoming season's cereal crop.

Moreover, most of the resettled farmers were unlikely to produce cash crops but would opt to produce food crops like maize for their subsistence, raising more fears about the crop output next year.

Many of the 1 000 large farms acquired by top government, military and ruling party officials were already lying idle, with no prospect of being farmed by their new owners, most whom visited them only on weekends.

"There is mounting evidence that we are in no position to produce a crop for next year and this is going to be a major disaster," said John Robertson, an economic consultant.
12    The Zimbabwean regime is planning to tighten already draconian security laws in a bid to further restrict the independent media. A commission currently has to conduct an inquiry into any alleged infringements of the law, but a proposed amendment may abolish this requirement when the commission "considers that no substantial disputes of law or fact are required to be determined", the state-owned Herald newspaper reports. The regime is also considering making abuse of the freedom of expression an offence, it said.

Thirteen journalists and an opposition legislator, who was accused of filming the distribution of food aid to ruling party supporters, have already been arrested under media laws, which carry maximum jail sentences of up to two years.

Meanwhile Mugabe has also threatened to clamp down on independent charities, describing them as "hatcheries of political opposition."

"We hear some noises about (non-governmental organisations) threatening to defy government," he told a meeting of 200 senior ruling party officials Friday. "We will soon remind them who they are, where they belong and what their accredited mission is."

"Moneys continue to pour in variously, through individuals, through Trojan horses, among them non-governmental organisations, trade unions, select private media, embassies, private companies and selected banks, through trusts, through the so-called international development agencies, through foundations and even through drought relief structures - all to be used against us," he said.

13    Sir Garfield Todd, a former prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, dies in Bulawayo aged 94.

13    Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Mugabe and his ministers would be banned from travelling to Australia and any assets they had in Australia would be frozen.

Although the measures were symbolic, "they are an important statement that we have done everything we can to try to get Zimbabwe to engage with the international community".
13    After a meeting of his high-powered International Investment Council Mbeki vowes to work with the government of Zimbabwe "on an urgent basis" to resolve problems surrounding land reform, food shortages and the ailing Zimbabwean economy.
"We have an agreement with the government of Zimbabwe to deal with them on an urgent basis... to find urgent solutions to all of these problems," said Mbeki.
One of the international business executives Sir Robin Ross of the London-based D-group said that the situation in Zimbabwe was "one of the worries" in drawing investors to an otherwise promising environment in South Africa.
"There is no doubt that the situation in Zimbabwe does undermine confidence of investors in countries such as Britain and America."
He said however scanty their knowledge of geography, investors knew that Zimbabwe was next to South Africa and that there could be a spillover.

14    Zimbabwe's foreign minister Stan Mudenge dismiss Australian sanctions against his regime. According to him:

"Zimbabwe has nothing to learn from Australia on the subject of human rights and good governance. It is unacceptable that a country that has committed genocide now wants to defend its own Anglo-Saxon racists in Zimbabwe.

"White Australians should (pay restitution to) the Aborigines as we are doing to our majority black people here."

17    Mugabe's regime bans two British charities, Save the Children Fund(UK) and Oxfam from distributing food aid in Zimbabwe. This comes at a time when at least 29 people have reportedly died of malnutrition in one of the poor districts being serviced by the charities.

Save the Children Fund programme director for Zimbabwe, Chris McIvor, confirms that his organisation had been instructed to stop distributing food aid in Binga.

17    Sapa reports that the European Union and its member states have contributed more than R3-billion to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa. This amount, destined primarily for Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, represented 40 percent of the total needs of the region, said Marc Franco, deputy director-general of Europe Aid, the EU's aid organisation.

He said the "unprecedented" humanitarian crisis in the region was as much man-made as natural.

17    The editor of Zimbabwe's independent Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, is again charged under the country's notorious Public Order and Safety Act. It is the sixth time Nyarota has been charged since February 2000.

Police charged him with publishing a story that undermined the public's confidence in the police. Nyarota denied the charge saying the story that detailed the torture of opposition MDC youth activist Tom Spicer was not false.

17    Mbeki has vowes to continue engaging "all sectors of Zimbabwean society" rather than trying to satisfy demands to punish Mugabe. One of his major concerns is to "bolster that country's sagging economy", he said in parliament.

"We are not going to act against Zimbabwe with a view to punishment," said Mbeki.

'There are other people who think our task is to punish, to crush Zimbabwe'.... They should 'do so themselves'

He also said Zimbabwe had become a smokescreen for those who did not want to address Africa's other problems and that Zimbabwe was not the focus of Africa's crisis.
"What we have to do in terms of Zimbabwe is indeed to assist the Zimbabweans to get out of the crisis they are in - the economic crisis, the political crisis, social crisis - we have to do that," said Mbeki.

"We've said publicly very many times there are very many things wrong, and we don't agree (with them), but let's continue to help Zimbabwe to get out of the problem, and we will continue to engage them."

On the question why the Commonwealth troika did not take a stronger stance against Zimbabwe, Mbeki said the troika was unable to get a clear answer from Zanu-PF, which had pointed out that its disagreement with the country's opposition was before the courts and that it would be inappropriate to comment.

18    The World Food Programme "reluctantly" stops feeding starving people in Insiza, an opposition stronghold near Bulawayo "until further notice" after supporters of Mugabe intimidated relief workers and stole three tons of donated food.

The stolen maize was handed out to Mugabe supporters immediately before a by-election there.

19    An elite herd of elephants granted "perpetual protection" by Mugabe is being wiped out by poachers as hunger and lawlessness sweeps rural Zimbabwe. Dozens of the country's 500 presidential elephants have been killed in such a ruthless surge of poaching that conservationists say that the herd is in danger of disappearing.

20    In a three-and-a-half-page open letter Amnesty International urge Thabo Mbeki and the leaders of other African nations to adopt a more public stand in condemning state-sponsored repression in Zimbabwe.

"I believe a stronger stand by South Africa, along with other leaders from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community is vital in protecting the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens," said Amnesty International secretary-general Irene Khan.
Presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo replies that Mbeki had made it clear that there was no use shouting at Mugabe and members of the International Investment Council had agreed with this position. He said the President had made it clear that his government was planning to engage the Zimbabwean government through a meeting of the bi-national commission and sought to influence the country through engagement rather than sanctions and condemnation.

The Amnesty letter, which follows the organisation's human rights report published in June and entitled Zimbabwe: The toll of impunity, also warned that the way the African Union dealt with Zimbabwe was a critical test for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

"The disparity between the principles enshrined in the African Charter and the Nepad declaration, and human rights violations in Zimbabwe creates an urgent need for effective peer review in practice," said Khan.

"The test is whether the good intentions of Nepad and the African Union can be realised as a new dawn for human rights protection in Africa, particularly in countries like Zimbabwe where human rights are constantly under attack."

Citing the latest figures released by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Amnesty says 58 politically-motivated killings and 1 050 cases of torture were reported in 2002 alone.

Amnesty also said the Zimbabwean regime was deploying militias to carry out the torture and rape of known or suspected opposition supporters and thus avoid accountability for the human rights violations.

21    Learnmore Jongwe, MDC member of parliament is found dead in a Harare prison cell. The regime claims he "committed suicide" and refuses an independent autopsy.

However, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader Raymond Majongwe, who shared a cell with Jongwe and saw him just before his own release on Monday afternoon said Jongwe, "was in a jovial mood. He did not complain of any pains or any illness".

Majongwe was in jail for his role in a nationwide teachers' strike. In terms of the new Public Order and Security Act it is an offence for "any person who, acting in concert with one or more other persons, forcibly invades the rights of other people" - a clause that is effectively strangling trade union activities.

21    Writer and artist Bev Clark woke at 5am to fetch the belongings of two women farmers after war vets forced them off their small chilli farm near Harare. Bev helped her two friends pack under the watchful eye of the new "owner", a Glendale businessman who watched from his red 4x4, war vets at his side.

22    Briefing the media on the annual report of the South African Department of Foreign Affairs, the Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad said President Thabo Mbeki had said "that because events in Zimbabwe impacted on the whole region, South Africa had an obligation to work with the international community and the African Union (AU) to resolve the crisis in the country".

"I don't know whether that is a tougher stance," said Pahad, adding that Mbeki had made clear for the first time that there was no question of South Africa "crushing" Zimbabwe militarily or politically.

"We will never invade another country to effect a regime change," said Pahad. "If they want that then they are barking up the wrong tree."

But he said South Africa would help Zimbabwe in every way possible. "The nature of their crisis is so deep that all Zimbabweans need to talk internally to each other to resolve their problems," said Pahad.

23    European Union foreign ministers comes under harsh criticism for moving a meeting 5,500 miles so that a Zimbabwe minister can take part without breaching the "smart sanctions" travel ban.

Euro-MPs are outraged that the venue was changed from Denmark to Mozambique to accommodate Stanley Mudenge, the Zimbabwean foreign minister. He is not allowed to enter EU territory under the sanctions, which target leading figures in President Robert Mugabe's regime.

EU foreign ministers were supposed to hold a meeting with the Southern African Development Community in Copenhagen on Nov 7 and 8. But several delegations from the 14-nation African bloc hinted that they would boycott the gathering unless the Zimbabwean regime was included.

24    Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), whose organisation is one of the organisers of a mock trial of Mugabe for human rights abuses is questioned by police for four hours.

"They asked me for a list of meetings I have addressed since September where I allegedly incited mass action against the government," said Madhuku.

24    Masimba Manyanya, economist with the World Food Programme in Johannesburg, notes that inflation is 12 percent in South Africa, around seven percent in Mozambique and 139 percent in Zimbabwe.

"You can't buy bread, sugar, soap, salt, cooking oil ... it's the fastest declining economy in the world."
Botswana says its refugee camps are full - and still people arrive. Manyanya estimates that perhaps 200 to 300 new refugees arrive in South Africa each day from Zimbabwe.

24    A Zimbabwean court hears how four men charged with the murder of the first white farmer to die in Mugabe's violent land seizures took blood from his corpse, mixed it with alcohol and drank it.

David Stevens, 48, who shared profits with workers at his farm 60 miles east of Harare, was attacked by around 15 so-called war veterans in April 2000. He sought help from officers at the local police station, who did nothing to stop him being abducted and dragged into the bush, where he was tortured and shot.

The witness, told a shocked courtroom: "One of them knelt over Stevens's body and brought a container filled with blood which they mixed with alcohol and shared among themselves."
Banda Katsvamudanga, who is accused of firing the shot, disappeared after being released from remand prison.

26    Most of the land seized from farmers under Mugabe's controversial policies of confiscating white farms for resettling blacks is now lying fallow, much of it not taken up or abandoned by new owners who were not given the resources to farm. Others allocated to the ruling elite are only used for weekend breakaways

One farm was demarcated into as many as 61 plots, but only four people had been resettled there. About 400 white farmers remain on their land against a figure of more than 4 000 six months ago. The Farm Community Trust estimates that 250 000 farm workers have been left jobless and without any roofs over their heads by the indiscriminate land seizures.

Agricultural output is now expected to decline by at least 60 percent next year.

28    About 100 youngsters, dressed in the green uniform of Zanu-PF's youth militia, burst into the MDC offices in Bulawayo and began throwing stones, said Maxwell Zimuto, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

Windows were shattered and five MDC vehicles were damaged.

November

1    Mugabe says his regime will no longer procure fuel for the country in a move analysts have dubbed an admission of failure of fuel procurement policies.
"The fuel comes in the name of the government. When the fuel comes we are worried about its duration, whether we have enough stocks. And what do we do? We call in multinational companies. They sell and make profits," the official Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as telling a gathering of businessmen on Thursday.

He said his regime would no longer "crack" their heads over procuring fuel for resale by foreign companies.

For nearly three years Zimbabwe has suffered from regular fuel shortages, due to a lack of foreign currency and corruption at the state fuel procurement agency.

7    British Home Secretary David Blunkett issue a statement that from Saturday 9 November, Zimbabweans visiting Britain and passing through its airports in transit would have to obtain visas before they would be allowed in.

Within three hours, Mugabe's regime announce it would impose its own "smart sanctions" against Britain, as well as visa requirements for any Britons visiting Zimbabwe. State radio said 120 British political figures, led by prime minister Tony Blair, would be banned from travelling to Zimbabwe. Also on the banned list were the Westminster Foundation and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, British-based charities aiming at fostering democracies in Third World countries. Both organisations have been repeatedly denounced for allegedly plotting to overthrow Mugabe. The new measures would take effect immediately, the radio said.

Also listed as banned was Short Wave Radio Africa, the London-based private radio station broadcasting into Zimbabwe as an independent voice, and four of its announcers. All four are Zimbabwean nationals, and lawyers questioned how they could be banned from returning from their home country.

8    A ministerial meeting between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the European Union (EU), which was moved from Europe to Mozambique in order to accommodate Zimbabwe ends in Maputo. The meeting lasted four hours longer than scheduled, and much of that time was spent in negotiations over how to refer to Zimbabwe in the final communique.

The meeting's co-chairman, the Danish Minister for Europe Affairs, Bertel Haarder, read out to a closing press conference the text on Zimbabwe that the EU had proposed.

This expressed "concern at the plight of the people of Zimbabwe", and stressed that the issue of land reform could not be separated from the rule of law, democracy and human rights. It suggested sending a joint SADC/EU team to Zimbabwe to follow the situation and make recommendations for the way forward.

The EU took the precaution of circulating a brief statement of its position on Zimbabwe. This expressed deep concern at "the violations of human rights and the restrictions on the media, as well as the deteriorating economic situation, caused largely by the policies of the Zimbabwean authorities".

There was no equivalent statement from SADC.

His co-chair, Angolan Planning Minister Ana Dias Lourenco, said the EU text had been rejected by SADC as a whole.

Lourenco claimed the SADC position on Zimbabwe was "well known", and called for a renewed dialogue between the EU and Zimbabwe. "Our objective is to re-establish relations between Zimbabwe and the EU",
In the end, all that could be said in the final statement was "On the question of Zimbabwe, SADC and EU could not reach an agreement".

9    Zimbabwe police quash protests by civic groups but the activists vowes to forge ahead with a series of planned demonstrations against Mugabe's 22-year regime.

Police disperse about 1 000 National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) marchers in Harare's Mabvuku suburb. The march was part of several to protest against a constitution Mugabe has manipulated 16 times during his reign, to entrench his grip on power. Police also disperse protesters in neighbouring Chitungwiza where four people were arrested, said NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku. In Harare's populous township of Highfields, police fire teargas at a crowd of MDC youths to stop them from marching around a stadium where the party later held a rally to commemorate its third anniversary.

Earlier this year, Mugabe's regime enacted a tough new security law which outlaws the staging of demonstrations without police permission.

11    Zimbabwean journalist and publisher Mark Chavunduka, whose arrest and subsequent torture helped expose the regime's increasing repression of dissent, dies after a prolonged illness at the age of 37.

Chavunduka often complained to friends and colleagues of recurring nightmares of the beatings and electric shocks he received at a military intelligence facility outside Harare when he and a colleague, Ray Choto, were detained 1n 1999. The detention followd their reporting in the independent Zimbabwe Standard newspaper on disaffection in the military and a possible coup plot against Mugabe's regime.

The regime denied the report and ignored court orders to either free Chavunduka or press charges against him. After the men were released, authorities refused to prosecute torturers Chavunduka identified.

11    Zimbabwean motorists scramble for scant supplies of fuel amid worsening shortages which have plagued Mugabe's regime over the last three years. Most central Harare garages display signs that they have no fuel, while long winding queues were seen at the few outlets with petrol and diesel.

The regime requires about 600-million (about R6-billion) a year for fuel imports, but its foreign exchange coffers are empty because of the halting of donor aid, ballooning inflation and a fixed exchange rate exacerbating an economic crisis that has also left nearly half the country's 14 million people facing food shortages.

Inflation, which is around 140%, is devastating the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans eroding their incomes. The scarcity of foreign exchange has imploded the value of the Zimbabwe dollar and the black market has spiralled out of control. The US dollar trades at Z$1 800, the British pound fetches Z$2 600, the rand sells at Z$250. The official exchange rates for the US dollar, pound and rand are Z$55, Z$75 and Z$6 respectively.

In 1980 the Rhodesian Dollar was worth US$2. It is now worth US$0.0005. (When I visited Zim in 1987 I got around Z$0.76 for every Rand. Fifteen years more of Mugabe and I will get 330 times that.... - JS)

Government parastatals are flooding the parallel market to raise money to service their debts, forcing private companies into panic buying and creating a serious demand. As a result, banks are running out of local currency as black marketeers withdraw massive amounts to buy foreign exchange. This money changes hands on the black market, leaving banks in a crisis. The central bank has subsequently placed daily withdrawal restrictions of Z$500 000 (officially R83 000) to keep the situation in check. But in essence, Z$500 000 is worth a mere R2 000, a far cry for serious business transactions.

11    An American dies in hospital in Zimbabwe after being shot by police as he allegedly fled a checkpoint.

11-12    South Africa made it clear that it would consider a wide range of requests for assistance made at a two-day meeting of a bi-national commission that had not met for six years.

Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, who headed a group of Zimbabwean ministers meets their South African counterparts and gives assurances that the era of land seizures was over. The country's Land Minister Joseph Made said he had ordered that there should be no more land occupations by veterans.

Praising South Africa, Mudenge said: "President Thabo Mbeki has an effective policy of quiet diplomacy that works.

"The British decided to engage in megaphone diplomacy, so it is a long time since we sat with British ministers as we are now doing with the South African ministers."

Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said South Africa would attempt to repair relations between Zimbabwe and those countries that had imposed sanctions against it - the European Union, the United States and Australia.
Supporting a Zimbabwean call for Britain to compensate white Zimbabwean farmers stripped of their land, Dlamini-Zuma said South Africa would work with Zimbabwe to help farmers and farmworkers who had lost their jobs, as well as help those newly settled on land to farm productively.

Asked whether South Africa was condoning lawlessness, Dlamini-Zuma said it was time to put Zimbabwe's mistakes in the past and look to the future. "Even if Zimbabwe made a mistake, the point is that we need to move to the future," she said.

Western nations, notably the United States and Britain, have urged South Africa to take a harder line, recognizing that President Thabo Mbeki often describes himself as a champion of African democracy. Mr. Mbeki has occasionally offered criticism of Zimbabwe, but he and his officials have expressed a clear preference for what they call "quiet diplomacy," which means criticism in private and cordial cooperation in public.

12    Cites - the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species - turns down Zimbabwe and Zambia's applications to sell off their ivory stockpiles, because it said they were too corrupt and politically unstable to be trusted to implement such an agreement.

12    The opposition Movement for Democratic Change loses a court appeal demanding a computerised list of all Zimbabweans who had been registered to vote in March's disputed presidential elections. The ruling will force the MDC, which alleges fraud in the voters rolls, to manually input information of the 5,6 million registered voters from paper copies of the voting lists into computers for analysis.

The ruling had been expected from a court packed with judges sympathetic to the ruling party.

13    Famine relief food donations that should have been in Zimbabwe and Zambia weeks ago is still outside these countries because of the GM debate that rages inside those countries over the human health and environmental risks posed by the corn that millions of Americans eat daily. Food that the US moved to Zambia months ago to deal with the crisis remains in warehouses pending the outcome of this debate.

14    State radio report that the Zimbabwean government warned a leading human rights group its leaders faced arrest for failing to meet new registration regulations as a non-governmental organisation.

The Amani Trust, which has compiled detailed reports of human rights violations and political violence in Zimbabwe has not registered with the regime as they had been ordered to on September 13, the radio said.

The regime accused the trust of conducting "clandestine operations to unseat it" possibly referring to reports of child rape by Mugabe's supporters.

15    Zimbabwe's finance minister Herbert Murerwa presents the budget for 2003, saying that drawing it up was "not an easy task" and painted a bleak picture of the current economic situation, with manufacturing, tourism and mining all having registered losses.

He claimed that the country's economy would contract by 11.9% this year, after shrinking by 7.3% in 2001

Murerwa raised laughter from the opposition benches in parliament when he asked the house to allow him to "dispel any perceptions" Zimbabwe did not respect property rights.

15    Nigerian Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka launches a scathing attack on Mugabe's "land reform" programme saying it was worse than Russian dictator Joseph Stalin's collectivisation in which millions died.

"Even Stalin in his mad race to collectivise land and eliminate all those conveniently-designated kulaks did not send veterans of the Russian Revolution to take over the land. Not that his results were much better, but he appeared at least to have given thought to structural transfers, which is something totally absent from Mugabe's methodology"
Soyinka berated the African Union questioning whether it would respond to Mugabe's "state thuggery" and "cynical crudeness". He said that the ageing leader was stung and humiliated by the elections two years ago and had resorted to intimidation to rule the country. To achieve his mission Mugabe has resorted to dastardly means like the dismissal of judges and the attempted muzzling of the press, he said. Soyinka said Mugabe had embarked on a vicious campaign to stay in power.
"The ageing lion has resorted to the most blatant time-dishonoured methods of African dictators who fail to understand that people must be led in dignity, not dragged on their knees along the pathway to social transformation," he said.

Mugabe had joined the rollcall of African dictators who had conducted an "undefined war of attrition against his own people". "And we only need to transport ourselves to other nations like Zimbabwe to eavesdrop on the prayers of millions who wish that shortcut to national redemption might be found if only a certain power-obsessed near-octogenarian and once revered revolutionary leader would be called - to use a favourite expression in my country - to higher glory," he said.

15    The MDC receive evidence that the ruling Zanu PF is plotting to eliminate its MPs in rural Matabeleland and other constituencies across the country. The allegations come after the deaths of two of its MPs, George Ndlovu (Insiza) and Learnmore Jongwe (Kuwadzana) under unclear circumstances. MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi told the Zimbabwe Independent the party had received intelligence showing opposition MPs were on a Zanu PF hit list.
"We have received credible evidence indicating that our rural members of parliament are under threat from Zanu PF and we are going to take all precautions to protect them from this violent creature," Nyathi said.
Two MDC MPs in Matabeleland North, Jacob Thabane (Bubi-Umguza) and Mtoliki Sibanda (Tsholotsho), have alleged that they are on a Zanu PF hit list.
"It was revealed to me that a plot to eliminate me was discussed at a Zanu PF rally in Nyamandlovu last weekend by a select group of individuals," said Thabane. "At the meeting it was discussed and agreed that the 2005 parliamentary elections were too far to wait for and they have decided that a by-election is imminent in the constituency."
Sibanda has gone into hiding in Bulawayo after hitmen allegedly dispatched to assassinate him fired at the wrong car last weekend.

15    Starvation is accelerating across Zimbabwe and local grain production for next year's harvest is likely to meet only half of the demand, the United Nations warns. The latest "Humanitarian Situation Report" on Zimbabwe by the world body said its field officers were reporting "a worsening food security situation in many districts". Rural hospitals "have noted a marked increase" in the number of cases of malnutrition and pellagra, a disease caused by starvation, it said.

Despite the famine's widening toll, the regime was still prohibiting private companies from importing grain, according to the UN report. Three months ago James Morris, a WFP director, said during a visit to the Southern African nation that after a meeting with Mugabe he had been assured that private procurement of grain would be permitted.

In another promise to Morris in August, Mugabe said he would lift a ban on genetically modified maize. Nearly four months later, grain traders say the promise has yet to be fulfilled

The report also said that there was enough seed available to grow between 600 000 tons and 800 000 tons of maize in the cropping season just started. "However, that is far below the national requirement of about 1,8 million tons," said the UN. The report said that the regime had bought 15 000 tons of seed for distribution from private seed companies, while another 15 600 ton had been sold directly to farmers.

But the regime had blocked the sale of more seed to farmers.

15    Mugabe's regime appeared caught out over a five-week blockade imposed by ruling party militias on food aid from a British charity for a famine-stricken district, hours after United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan warned the regime of "the politicisation of food distribution".

The latest "humanitarian situation report" issued by the UN Relief and Recovery Unit said that the Zimbabwean regime had announced during discussions with local UN officials that it had agreed to allow the British charity, Save the Children Fund (SCF), to resume food deliveries to about 10 000 starving people in the remote northern district of Binga. The charity's Zimbabwe director Christopher McIvor denied the report.

A draft agreement between the two sides over the handling of food aid had been drawn up after "lots of discussions" but it had not yet been signed, he said. "While all the indications are we will hopefully be able to resume our programme sooner rather than later, until we sign the document we cannot say that food supplies are resuming," he said.

In early October, members of Mugabe's militia, made up of guerrilla war veterans, ordered the SCF to stop food distribution in Binga and accused it of favouring members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) when it handed out food aid. The charity imported about 300 tons of food from South Africa for the first part of the its programme to feed 45 000 people in Binga in October, which has been locked inside the charity's warehouse in the administrative centre of the district.

With famine biting deeper into the severely impoverished area, the SCF was planning to step up its operation and feed 100 000 people this month, but that too has been blocked.

In a statement in New York on Thursday, Annan referred to "the continuing reports of politicisation of food distribution and humanitarian assistance in general" in Zimbabwe. He said Mugabe's regime had "an obligation to ensure that it (famine relief) is given to beneficiaries based on their needs and not upon political affiliation". He warned that members of the UN supported "the zero tolerance policy on the politicisation of food distribution" maintained by the World Food Programme, the UN's emergency food relief arm.
Earlier this year, Binga was the first area in the country to report famine-related deaths when 27 people died in the district hospital. The closure of the SCF operation is the second time this year that ruling party militias have blocked food aid in the district, after its people voted overwhelmingly in favour of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

In May, war veterans closed down a child supplementary feeding programme run by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace for two months, over allegations that it was "favouring MDC supporters". Church officials who asked not to be named said that the local Catholic Church, which ran the programme, and SCF agreed to suspend food deliveries in the run-up to local government elections in the district in September, to avoid being accused again by the ruling party of supporting the MDC. The local leadership of Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party was informed of the suspension, the church officials said.

However, soon after the elections, in which the MDC won 15 out of 21 wards, ruling party officials accused both organisations of withdrawing food aid "to put the government in a bad light so that people would vote for the MDC," the church officials said. The church was later allowed to resume supplies but SCF remains closed in the district.
This week, Bishop Pius Ncube, the outspoken head of the Catholic church in the famine-stricken western provinces of Matabeleland, said 160 people had starved to death in the area because Mugabe's administration was deliberately withholding food from people suspected of supporting the MDC.
"Mugabe is using the food crisis in Zimbabwe to force people to vote for his party," he said while on a visit to South Africa this week.
Deprivation of food aid and other state support has been a weapon used repeatedly by Mugabe against his opponents since soon after independence in 1980. Areas dominated by opposition groups have complained of being ignored while the regime pours money, food and infrastructure into traditional Zanu PF regions.

23    The Zimbabwe regime wants to make all civil servants sit tests to assess their patriotism if they want to keep their jobs, the state-run Herald reports.

Those who "are found wanting" will be sent for training and could lose their jobs, the newspaper quoted Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary Ray Ndhlukula as saying.

"People are just working without commitment to government policies and those of the ruling party," Ndhukula said.

Mugabe hit out at civil servants earlier this year and the regime has introduced a national youth service programme which is supposed to train a "patriotic cadreship".

The tests would be introduced in January 2003.

23    South Africa is at the centre of a major international row over the decision by parliamentarians of the European Union (EU) to bar two Zimbabwean cabinet ministers from taking part in a joint African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP)-EU parliamentary assembly in Brussels.

Although Belgium allowed the Zimbabwean ministers to enter the country, the group of EU parliamentarians attending the joint assembly - due to start on 25 November - decided they would not be allowed on the premises of the EU. This is in line with a visa ban on senior officials of the government of President Robert Mugabe.

The South African delegation holds the view that Zimbabwean ministers should be able to attend international events. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the foreign minister, said last week that South Africa would work to have international sanctions against Zimbabwe lifted.

Frene Ginwala, the speaker of the national assembly, said from her home in Cape Town that the deadlock in Brussels was not about Zimbabwe but about the principle of the European parliamentary delegation deciding unilaterally about the attendance of certain members when decisions should be taken jointly by the ACP-EU assembly.

"They can't unilaterally take these kinds of decisions because it is a joint assembly," Ginwala said.

"It's normal international practice that if you are hosting an international gathering of this kind you cannot cherry-pick who you want to be there," she said. "Next they will want to exclude Iraq from attending international gatherings."

25    A joint African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP)-EU parliamentary assembly meeting due to take place in Brussels is cancelled, because the African-Caribbean component refused to participate after the Zimbabwean delegation was barred from attending.

December

11    In a class action by Adella Chiminya Tachiona, et al. on behalf of the Zimbabwean people against Mugabe, Zanu-PF, Stan Mudenge and others a United States court found in favour and awarded damages of $71,250,453.00 representing compensatory damages of $20,250,453.00 and punitive damages of $51,000,000.00 for amongst other things torture.

13    Mugabe calls on Western powers to leave his embattled government alone, warning he would respond to pressure by ratcheting up hostility toward whites in the country.

Opening the annual ZANU-PF conference, Mugabe vowed to fight on - particularly against former colonial power Britain, which he said had become "the enemy" under Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"If there are allies of Britain who want to make the issue their own issue, we will recognise them as enemies like we recognise Britain, under Mr Blair, as an enemy of Zimbabwe," said Mugabe.

"The more they work against us, the more they express their hostility against us, the more negative we shall become to their kith and kin here."

Mugabe, whose country has plunged into economic crisis in part due to his policy of seizing land from white farmers, ruled out forming a government of national unity with main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), calling it a British puppet created to undermine his land reform programme.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe's white farmers had committed the "unforgivable sin" of supporting the MDC.

"We started treating them as enemies of our government and the enemies of our people... and so we shall continue," he said.
14    Mugabe wound up his party's annual conference threatening to nationalise oil distribution firms, many of them foreign, to end a crippling fuel shortage in the country. He said his government had been "foolish" for too long by importing fuel and giving it to the distribution firms to sell and make profits while the government gets nothing out of the exercise.
"The government can acquire these (distribution) points and compensate them... and distribute the fuel," he said. "There has to be quick action to assure the holiday spirit is not spoiled"

"I am going into this matter in a more serious way"

Zimbabwe is facing an acute fuel shortage and pumps ran dry this week amid allegations that officials at the corruption-ridden state oil-procuring firm want to cancel a fuel supply deal made two years ago between Mugabe and his Libyan ally Moamer Kadhafi.

Mugabe also used the speech to attack the country's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"MDC is now the chaff, they are the chaff, the chaff in our midst, look at their actions," he said.

"They are on their way out, whatever (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair says about it, or does about it, it's out and out and out," Mugabe said, referring to the British government which he says bankrolls the MDC.

"But don't forget that when there are dying horses like that, they may just have a fatal kick, used to killing as they are. They are planning killings and killings."

17    Zimbabwe's annual inflation figure has hit 175,5 percent, which represents a climb of around one percent a day, according to the latest government statistics. The Central Statistical Office (CSO) said the latest figure, which is for the month of November, is an increase of 31,3 percent over the October inflation rate of 144,2 percent

19    The African National Congress is of the view that Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF is still a progressive organisation despite the turmoil which its policies has caused.

Zanu-PF remained a progressive organisation "for obvious reasons", ANC national executive Committee member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also foreign affairs minister said at a press conference on Thursday.

Zanu-PF was a sister organisation to South Africa's ruling party, Dlamini-Zuma said in response to questions.

"We fought colonialism and oppression in our countries. We liberated our countries from the yoke of colonialism and we set to improve the lives of our people in our respective countries."

Both the ANC and Zanu-PF had set out to determine their countries' own destinies, "not to be dictated to by somebody else".

Their decision to deal with the land issue was the right thing to do, Dlamini-Zuma said, but the actual implementation was questionable.
"The direction that they took to deal with the land issue is correct. In their implementing, they may have made mistakes - and we can deal with that."
20    Portugal, which will host the European Union/African summit in April 2003, has indicated that it may not allow Zimbabwe to attend the April summit because of the travel sanctions imposed by EU countries on Zimbabwean government officials.
"It's up to them (Europe) to see how they overcome the problem. It is in their court. We as Africans are ready to go. The question is, are they ready to receive us?" Dlamini-Zuma told reporters in Stellenbosch, where she is attending the African National Congress's 51st national congress.

"There is no Africa that can exist without Zimbabwe. Africa is indivisible."

20    Zimbabwean Police arrests at least 10 student activists at a students' congress on charges of assaulting supporters of the ruling party.

22    Thousands of Zimbabweans hoping to travel to rural homes for Christmas are stranded at bus stations nationwide as a severe fuel crisis crippled public transport.

Oil industry sources said emergency fuel imports that began trickling into Zimbabwe yesterday had had little impact on a fuel shortage that had virtually brought the country to a halt after Zimbabwe's fuel pumps have run dry in the past three weeks. The fuel shortages dramatise a deepening economic crisis brought about through mismanagement by Mugabe's regime.

Energy Minister Amos Midzi said last week that a barter deal with Libya, which had been supplying 70 percent of fuel needs, had run into problems as Zimbabwe was unable to supply the beef, sugar and tobacco it had pledged.

He said Zimbabwe had ordered more than $15 million in fuel from Kuwait and South Africa, sparking a run on petrol stations as motorists waited for the emergency imports.

27    There was at least one silver lining in the cloud of fuel shortages plaguing Zimbabwe: The holiday death toll on the nation's roads fell by about half, police and the state media said on Friday.

Police attributed the reduction to fuel shortages that left cars waiting in long lines outside gas stations instead of driving on the roads during the holiday and kept buses from their traditional routes ferrying tens of thousands of urban workers to their rural families.

28    In a deliberate move to destroy the private press and entrench his autocratic rule, Mugabe's regime announce that it is imposing price controls on the prices of newspapers. The newspapers will now sell at their current prices and no more increases will be sanctioned. The move will suffocate many independent newspapers that don't get state subsidies and have been grappling with production costs that increase every month.

Newsprint costs have increased by more than 300 percent in the past few months, leaving publishers with no option but to increase their cover prices regularly. For instance, the privately owned Daily News, which cost Z$2 when it was launched three years ago now sells at Z$100.

Many Zimbabweans will naturally wonder how state control of the prices of newspapers will put food on their tables. Mugabe's regime also gazetted controlled prices of school uniforms, rice, toothpaste, electrical appliances, body lotions, hair care products and building materials. The move means Zimbabweans will have to do without almost every commodity required for daily livelihood in the new year as manufacturers stop producing them at a loss.

28    Students will no longer be allowed to enrol at tertiary colleges without proof of support for Mugabe's Zanu PF.
Shuvai Mahofa, the Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation (sic) deputy minister, told the weekly Standard newspaper that secondary school graduates would no longer apply directly to tertiary institutions for places. Instead they would apply to a committee of six cabinet ministers tasked with first vetting whether they had undergone the national youth service before being considered for places at colleges. The decision means thousands of pupils wishing to pursue tertiary education would be automatically rejected as preference would go to the Zanu PF militia.

28    Zimbabwe's annualised inflation hit a record high of 175,5 percent last month despite the price controls, but it is expected to spiral to 200 percent in the new year. The International Monetary Fund expects it to hit 500 percent in the first few months of next year despite the price controls.

The central bank has run out of the paper required to print the worthless Zimbabwe dollar and the local currency is now in short supply. Commercial banks have started rationing the amount that can be withdrawn from the banks. The central bank has no foreign currency to buy the paper amid the worst fuel crisis in the country's history.

The registrar-general's office has also run out of paper to produce passports and Zimbabweans eager to leave their country will now wait for at least one year to get passports. With no respite expected next year, Zimbabweans are expected to focus more and more on how they can extricate themselves from Mugabe and his discredited isolationist policies.

"None but ourselves are to blame for what has gone badly wrong in Zimbabwe. A people get the leadership they deserve. How could any sane people put up with this terrible situation," wrote Bornwell Chakaodza, a respected academic and editor of the Standard. "The capacity of Zimbabweans to tolerate this tragedy is amazing. Is it just plain lunacy or stupidity on our part?”

29    The British and Australian governments have stepped up the pressure on their cricket teams and urged them not to play World Cup matches in Zimbabwe. British Foreign Office minister Mike O'Brien joined Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer in voicing opposition to their sides playing in Zimbabwe during the one-day tournament starting in February.

"We cannot order the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) not to go to Zimbabwe, but we have asked them not to," Mr O'Brien said in a statement. "The final decision must rest with them. Our opinion is clear. Given the abuse of human rights and the dire circumstances of the people of Zimbabwe, it would be wrong to play a game of cricket there."
30   
“If you think the current food situation is bad, just wait until next season," says a white farmer's wife. "That's when we'll see a real disaster."
Her husband, one of Zimbabwe's most successful farmers and president of the Commercial Farmers' Union in the 1980s, was recently evicted from his farm. The property used to produce 400,000kg of tobacco annually, along with flowers, citrus and beef for export, and maize for domestic consumption. Today it is nearly derelict. The land has been split into more than 20 plots for "new age" black farmers, only two of which are occupied. His workforce had been with him for most of his working life, leaving him with a redundancy bill of Z$60m (£700,000).

Official figures show some 300,000 to 350,000 people have been resettled on the 3,000-plus farms acquired from their former owners - without compensation. But even Joseph Made, the agriculture minister, is unable to say how much is being planted and what the 2003 harvest is likely to be.

"We only hope that the new farmers will be able to produce enough grain to feed the country," he recently told a parliamentary committee.
First-hand assessments by those who have driven through or flown over the country are near-unanimous: huge areas of former commercially owned land lie idle. The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association recently upgraded its forecas for the coming harvest by 20 per cent to between 80m and 85m kg but this is still about half the 2002 figure and two-thirds down on 2000's record. The crop is unlikely to earn more than US$180m £112m), less than half the 2002 level.

Since tobacco normally accounts for 25 to 30 per cent of export earnings, it is clear that Zimbabwe's import capacity will be squeezed even more during 2003, especially as beef, horticultural exports and cotton will fall too.

30    South Africa stepped into the growing row over the staging of World Cup cricket matches in Zimbabwe, saying it would not support any move to shift matches from there.

"As co-host, South Africa regards it as a wonderful opportunity for three African countries to stage World Cup matches and to showcase the continent to the rest of the cricket-playing world," Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour said in a statement.

"We will not support any move to shift matches from either Zimbabwe or Kenya and believe the ICC should be supported by all 14 participating countries in its decision to go ahead with its World Cup programme."



Previous Visitor Comments

Name Email Subject Location
Shijig4drwvn4b4_at_hotmail.comqiBjVaoieREFqC
must say you are beginning to suriprse me. Are you unfamiliar with basic principles of justice? The Matabeleland massacres are allegations, no one has been proven guilty of any such crime, not Mugabe, not me, not you, therefore these are allegations. Until someone is tried and found guilty, allegations they remain.I see you are on the Tibetan bandwagon, how pleasantly ironic, not that i am suriprsed anyway, you fancy liberals often mean well, but in the process you are often soooooo hypocritical. You have highlighted that the British colonial policies came with the good and the bad, I agree, so why can’t the Chinese policy in Tibet be looked upon objectively by yourselves?China invaded Tibet in 1950 - Tough. Britain invaded Tibet twice if I am not mistaken (1888 and 1904/5), and many Lands have been invaded in the past, maybe we should have protested before the Sydney Olympics to force Europeans to leave Australasia, or the Americas, or Southern Africa. But we know better not to, because sovereign countries and borders are clearly defined and respected by member of the UN and last time I checked, Tibet was a province in a sovereign country called China. I’m sure you’d be happier if the Tibetans were governed in a serfdom, with an impoverished masses, no democracy, and a fraud of a leader called the Dalai Lama? Of course you would, it would make so much more sense than the wicked Chinese. Sorry for Digressing.I have made it clear that I am not a Mugabe fan, I do not like the man, but to suggest that he somehow single handedly crippled the Zim economy is beyond naive. I have also made it clear that I honestly believe that you genuinely mean well, most liberals do, it doesn’t however mean that you are correct in your worldview, and it doesn’t mean that I am ’simplistic’ for objecting to your way of thinking, I simply recognise the way the world really is, not the way it ought to be.I’d like you to point to one MAJOR news source in the west that is objective? FOX? CNN? BBC? FRANCE 24? DW? CANAL? SKY? NBC, ABC, CBS, DIE SPIEGEL? AFP, REUTERS, AP? Guardian Unlimited? All news sources advance their ’interest’, the hard left news sources are no exception! When that interest is economic, they will advance it, when it is racial, they will advance it, gender, ideological, policy, religous etc. In the case of Zim I’ll let you decide.P.S.Sometime the news sources just report news. :-)

Emilyoffice_at_liziera.rorzMTdUOjRcvV
You get a lot of respect from me for writing these helpful artclies.

Waleswalesmwps_at_aol.comMugabe / Zimbabwe
LIES BIG LIES

Peter John Albertynmikeart1_at_telkomsa.netGeneral Comment
Mugabe is truly a master creation of Satin, Quite mad and should be exterminated with the rest of his kind in Africa

jamesjameslambleymugabe/zimbabwe
Extremley interesting and well documented piece of work. The western world should take more in interest especial Britain in one of its former colonys to build a democratic future for its people aswell as white born Zimbabweans that did more that country (through farming and employment of local people) than what mugabe is doing with his reallocation of land. Please update this websight its so interesting!

Jaco Straussfeedback_at_strauss.za.commugabe's land reform
yes dion, mugabe will be appreciated one day ... in the same way a stalin, hitler, mussolini or amin is appreciated today! Or a Marie Antoinette. It never really goes down well when you steal from the poor to feed the rich. Somehow people just don't seem to be able to stomach it.

odion ohio sohio_dion_at_yahoo.co.ukmugabe's land reform
i think mugabe has a good intention for the zimbabweans,what he's done for his people will take some time to materialise at least he's suceeded in curbing this "masquraded imperialism" to an extent in zimbabwe.As the case is now the problem with zimbabwe,which is an inherent problem can only be solved by themselves,and i know that with time the zimbabweans will appreciate what mugabe has done for them.

Jaco Straussfeedback_at_strauss.za.comWHO ARE YOU TO DECIDE FOR ZIMBABWENS!
Nice way to show 'independence' moreki! What with running around begging for food, fuel, electricity etc! Nice way to act in the 'INTEREST OF ZIMBABWE' by destroying the economy, currency etc... Quite interesting to see how quickly things fell apart in the absence of a handful of white farmers.....

morekimoreki.thage_at_dha.gov.zaWHO ARE YOU TO DECIDE FOR ZIMBABWENS!
PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHATEVER MUGABE HAS DONE IS IN THE INTEREST OF ZIMBABWE AS A COUNTRY.FOR ZIMBABWE TO BE INDEPENDENT MANY PEOPLE WERE KILLED BY THE WHITE MINORITY GROUP,WHICH MEANS PRESIDENT MUGABE MUST DO ANYTHING WITHIN HIS POWER TO DEFEND HIS COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE.

waiching liu10432140robert mugabe
it is sickening the fact that robert mugabe gets away with what he does- and yet the likes of britain and america don't do jack. i am becoming more concerned that south africa, particularly Mbeki, has not come out to condemn him. it is about time that country stood up for themselves, as well as for the sake of africa's future by sending him a message that they will condone Mugabe's actions anymore.

Frik Heferfrik_hefer_at_comcast.netLunatic Mugabe
This lunatic Mugabe has turned the pearl of Africa (Zimbabwe) into a trash heap- the idiot. VIVA FREEDOM, ZERO GROWTH AND STARVATION FOR ALL.

Hannes Deetlefsdeetlefs@compuserve.comZimbabwe
As long as "racims" is a remarkable strong argument to silence anyone who dares to make a point that needs to be made in the effort to get such a situation under control (again?), nobody wil care and eveyone will scream "Heil" on the top of his voice when asked to do so. "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than the other."

admirenemasasi4@!hotmail.comTsvangirai
lest you are just looking more money but at the same time you are sacrificing people of your land.We .....OK

Nelson Lewisnellew@rediffmail.comRobert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe is an old fart and his needs a good kick up his backside.

Waynewayne@unreal2.co.zaZimbabwe timeline
This is a well collected and documented piece of work on the progression of Zimbabwe towards absolute collapse. It's also more authoritative than anything that I have come across thus far anywhere else in the press or publications. What is unnerving though is how closely the timeline appears to follow the same background plot of Atlas Shrugged (even though the book did have a few weaknesses to it). All in all good work Jaco. This is also a late response to E Kruger's question as to why Mugabe does what he does, but the essence is that he has always been unrepentant believer in Marxism; a philosophy that disregards the concept of rights and regards the destruction or annihilation of class enemies as a necessary way to ironically achieve freedom or the Marxist vision of utopia. The definition of class enemies means anyone opposed to the Marxist vision or way, including fellow revolutionaries ultimately. The modern Marxist vision is also one of equal poverty or what some extreme left wingers call 'the virtue of poverty' (which is actually in conflict with Marx's disproven and deconstructionist statement that communism and dictatorship is more efficient than democratic capitalism). Mugabe also displays psychotic traits, but that doesn't simultaneously mean he's a fool. His lust for power and money and how he strategises and acts to hold onto it is somehow psychological reconciled within his mind towards his own inner Marxist philosophy that what he does is genuinely good in his own beliefs in the long run or in terms of the Marxist statements 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their need' and 'the end justifies the means' (even when the end is totally other than to what is envisioned). He's much like the James Taggart character in Atlas Shrugged in this regard.

paddingtonpad4musk@hotmail.compolitics
it was fine.

E Krugerlizekruger@hotmail.comZim
shocking reality! I was very concerned, outspoken and grieved by the whole situation, until I left South Africa to work abroad. This website has reminded me of the lawlesness, the cruelty... that is happening out there in southern Africa. It still boggels my mind: why would mugabe want to chase away citizens of his own country, people who feed the nation - eager to grow and to contribute, people who are part of the nation and the land, people who want solve the biggest problem of starvation - WHY?

Jaco Straussfeedback@strauss.za.comMugabe/Zimbabwe.
I agree whole-heartedly. But my bigger concern is that South Africa doesn't sort him out. We don't even need to send in the army. Afterall they get all their power/oil from us, or through our harbours and transport system. The ANC used to big on sanctions and foreign interference when they were opposed to the previous regime in South Africa...

Mark Cochranetelula@ananzi.co.zaMugabe/Zimbabwe.
Why has the United States done nothing to Mugabe, It would take less than a day and no more than 1/10th of what they used on Afghanistan to sort this idiot out.

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