Private Bag X1000, Pretoria, 0001
DATE PUBLISHED: 10 February 2011
DATE DUE: 24 February 2011
59. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) Whether he has been informed of reports that diamonds mined at the (a) Marange and (b) Chiadzwa diamond fields in Zimbabwe are being sold outside of the Kimberley Process to fund the operations of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what is the Government's position in this regard;
(2) whether the Government has taken an official position on human rights abuses that took place at these diamond fields; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW69E
(1) Our information is that the said sale of both Marange and Chiadzwa diamonds was effected, following an agreement within Kimberly Process Certification System, that the requisite level of compliance had been attained for specific mines in the Marange and Chiadzwa area, subject to such sales taking place under the supervision of an independent monitor appointed within the Kimberly Process.
Our position therefore is that Zimbabwe has fulfilled the known and stated Kimberly Process requirements and that sales of diamonds takes place within that context.
(2) The Government of South Africa is aware of the allegations of human rights abuses that were leveled against the Zimbabwean Government and that such abuses took place at these diamond fields.  The implication of these allegations being that Zimbabwe was non compliant with Kimberly Process as a result.
Whilst human rights abuses do not form part of the Kimberly Process requirements as stated in the Kimberly Process founding documents, we are further aware that the Zimbabwean government, in response to these allegations, allowed unfettered access to the Kimberly Process monitoring team in Zimbabwe and specifically in the Marange and Chiadzwa mines.
In our capacity as the Chairperson of the Association of African Diamond Producing Countries (ADPA), South Africa also led a delegation of members of the association and visited these mines and the surrounding communities to verify for itself the level of compliance. During these visits, we were impressed as ADPA at the level of compliance with the Kimberly Process Certification System process and soon after these monitoring visits, Kimberly Process approved exports of diamonds in Zimbabwe, took place under the supervision of a Kimberly Process monitor. Such sales took place via auction in August and November 2010, respectively.
Issued by Parliament, August 29 2011

Rampant Abuses in Marange Diamond Fields Police, Private Security Guards Attacking Miners

Press Release: Zimbabwe police and private security guards employed by mining companies in the Marange diamond fields are shooting, beating and unleashing attack dogs on poor, local unlicensed miners.
The evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch contradicts claims that areas controlled by private mining companies, instead of by the Zimbabwe government alone, are relatively free of abuses.
Over the past six months, police and private security personnel have attempted to clear the fields of local miners whom they accuse of illegally mining diamonds. Human Rights Watch research found that in many cases, the police and private security guards used excessive force against the miners. The violence follows claims, in June, by the government and the head of an international industry monitoring body that conditions in the Marange fields are sufficient for it to be allowed to resume exports of diamonds from Marange.
''Shooting defenseless miners and unleashing dogs against them is inhuman, degrading and barbaric,'' said Tiseke Kasambala, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. ''The diamonds from the Marange fields are tainted with abuse.''
Local civil society activists told Human Rights Watch that the government has granted six international mining companies concessions in the Marange fields. The companies’ private security guards carry out joint patrols of the mining areas with Zimbabwe police. Local miners said that most of the companies have built electric fences around their mining concessions, while security guards with dogs regularly patrol the concessions. However, local miners are still able to reach the fields and sometimes stray into areas under the companies’ control.
Some members of the international diamond monitoring body, known as the Kimberley Process, have tried to argue that conditions in the areas controlled by joint ventures are not abusive, and that those diamonds should be certified and allowed onto international markets. But Human Rights Watch has found, on the contrary, evidence of serious abuse by private security guards patrolling the joint venture territory.
Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 10 miners in Mutare and towns close to the Marange diamond fields who had been beaten by guards and attacked by their dogs after being caught by mine security in the past six months. During patrols, police would also fire live ammunition at the miners as they fled, the miners said.
''I was attacked by all of them,'' one of the miners told Human Rights Watch. ''The dogs were biting me and I was screaming. It was terrible.''
Medical personnel who treated the miners at neighboring clinics and the main provincial hospital confirmed that they had treated wounded miners.  An official at a local clinic told Human Rights Watch that he had treated between 15 and 20 victims of dog attacks a month since April, many with serious wounds. Clinic officers also reported seeing people with gunshot wounds, including people who had been shot in the head.

Many of the miners were reluctant to report the incidents to the police, miners and local activists said, as they were afraid of being arrested for digging in the fields because they were unlicensed. The government has conducted no investigations into these abuses.
The Ministry of Mines and Development, other relevant Zimbabwe authorities, and the mining industry in Marange need to take immediate measures to stop these abuses and ensure accountability for abuses by members of the police force and the private security guards, Human Rights Watch said. At a minimum, the companies should follow internationally recognized standards on security, such as the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, investigate any allegations of abuse, and urge investigations of those acts.
Human Rights Watch urged the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, an international body that oversees the diamond trade, to suspend all exports of diamonds from the Marange fields and asked retailers to refuse explicitly to buy Marange diamonds. The Kimberley Process has not adequately addressed the abuses in Marange.
''The ongoing abuses at Marange underscore the need for the Kimberley Process to address human rights instead of capitulating to abusive governments and irresponsible companies,'' Kasambala said.
On June 23, Mathieu Yamba, the Kimberley Process chairman, announced that he had made a unilateral decision to lift the ban on exports of diamonds from the Marange fields. He took the decision even though independent monitoring, including the organization’s own investigation, had confirmed serious human rights abuses and rampant smuggling at the Marange fields. This decision, if implemented, would mean that the export of Marange diamonds is now permitted, without any monitoring for human rights abuses or credible evidence that Zimbabwe is complying with the Kimberley Process standards.
However, the Kimberley Process operates by consensus, and members such as the European Union, the United States, Israel and Canada criticized Yamba’s position. Others, such as South Africa, supported it. As a result, the organization remains deadlocked over whether to allow exports of diamonds from Marange.
''The Kimberley Process appears to have lost touch with its mission to ensure that blood diamonds don’t make their way to consumers,'' Kasambala said. ''By ignoring the serious abuses taking place in Marange, it is losing credibility as a global diamond regulating body and risks misleading consumers too.''
Abuses by Police and Security Guards
Human Rights Watch interviewed miners in July, 2011, who were mauled by dogs and beaten by private security guards. They reported that the majority of incidents involved security guards working for Mbada Mining, a South African and Zimbabwean owned joint venture. The guards were identifiable by their black uniform. One miner said: ''The Mbada guards are the worst. They don’t hesitate to set the dogs upon you and they also beat you up.'' Human Rights Watch was unable to interview Mbada Mining officials during the mission, because they were not reachable by phone.
In one incident, private security guards working for Mbada set four dogs on a handcuffed artisanal miner caught digging for diamonds close to the fields mined by Mbada. ''I was attacked by all of them,'' said the man, who is in his 20s. ''The dogs were biting me and I was screaming.  It was terrible.''
A clinical officer in the town close to the fields told Human Rights Watch: ''We have so many people coming to the clinic with dog attacks. It’s easy to tell they’ve been bitten by dogs. You see the marks. During the week we treat around five or more miners with dog bites. They tell us that private security guards are the ones who set the dogs upon them. They say that it’s guards working for Mbada.''
Human Rights Watch’s research found that in many cases dogs were used not just to restrain the victims, but apparently deliberately to inflict as much injury as possible. One miner told Human Rights Watch that security guards would shout at the dogs to “attack” even if the miners had surrendered or stopped running.
A provincial hospital clinical officer told Human Rights Watch that he had seen at least 15 victims of dog attacks since April. In one case, the victim died from his injuries. Local miners and civil society activists reported that the numbers of dog attack victims could be much higher, but that the majority of the victims chose not to go to the hospital to receive treatment as hospitals often required a police report. Most victims preferred to recover at home without medical treatment, increasing the risk that their wounds would become infected.
Local civil society activists reported that police often carry out joint operations with private security guards in advance of visits to the fields by senior government officials or foreign delegations. For example, police and private security guards carried out operations to clear the fields of diggers in advance of visits to the fields by President Robert Mugabe in March and delegates from the African Diamond Producers Association in April. Some of the worst incidents occurred in the days before these visits.
A clinical officer at the main provincial hospital told Human Rights Watch:

''From March to June we have had many people coming to the hospital with gunshot wounds. They get shot at. Some of them have head injuries, some shot in the legs, arms, shoulders. We have one man who is in a coma. He was shot in the head about three weeks ago. There were four of them who were shot but one of them was serious because of the head injury. He was brought in by the police from Chiadzwa. They didn’t explain who he was.''

A local clinical officer described a joint operation between the police and private security guards to drive away miners in late May and early June. He told Human Rights Watch:

On the day they started the operation a lot of guys were bitten by dogs and a few came to the clinic for treatment. Three came on one day. The guys came with wounds similar to tears – not just teeth punctures. The injuries showed that the dogs were tearing the flesh and not just biting to restrain the miners. Such wounds are difficult to treat. I also treated three guys who were shot by the police. They were shot from the back and behind their legs. We tried to operate on them but their injuries were serious and we transferred them to the provincial hospital.

Blessing G., 21There were six of us who went to mine in the fields. We were digging in the bush when we were caught by these private guards led by a white man. They had four dogs. One of the guards had a gun. When they saw us they released the dogs. I tried to run away and fell. My friends escaped. Three dogs attacked me. One caught me on the leg and the other one on my hand. The other dog bit me on the stomach.  I lay on the ground still begging them to call the dogs off. After two or so minutes, it felt like a long time they called off the dogs and told me, “We don’t want people like you mining illegally for the diamonds.”  I couldn’t walk for several days because of my injuries.

James T., 27I was busy digging for the diamonds next to the Mbada area when I heard a shout, “Catch.” The guards were with a white man. There were four dogs and I was attacked by all of them. The dogs were biting me and I was screaming. One of the guards came, pulled off the dogs and then handcuffed me and then he shouted, “Attack” and the dogs came back and started biting me as I lay on the ground. It was terrible. After a few more minutes they grabbed the dogs off and marched me to their diamond base where they bandaged my wounds and then drove me out of the fields. I didn’t go for further treatment. I just went home.

Peter N., 20During one operation we were caught by private security guards and police. There were many of us. The guards had dogs but they also had teargas, which they threw at us. We started running, and then they let the dogs loose. Many of us were bitten on that day. They had many dogs. The guards were wearing dark uniforms. The police were also there and they had guns. At some point they started shooting. I kept running but when the police started shooting I stopped and surrendered. That’s when the dogs came and started biting me. I know that some of the others were shot by the police because I saw them fall. I don’t know if anyone died.

Richard L., 22I haven’t gone back since I was bitten by the dogs and hit by the guards. It was around May and there were around 10 or 15 of us. We were working in a syndicate with the soldiers and they had told us which area to dig for the diamonds. Suddenly we heard shouting and the security guards came running after us. They were not armed. They shouted at the dogs, “Attack” and then we all started running. I was caught by one dog. I don’t know how many dogs they were. The dogs bit me on the legs and stomach. Afterward some of the guards came and started kicking us saying we should learn not to dig for diamonds in that area. The Mbada guards are the worst. They don’t hesitate to set the dogs upon you and they also beat you up. I didn’t go to the hospital I just went home and healed by myself.

Fambai  K., 30Going into the fields is dangerous for us these days. The soldiers are better because we now work with them. But the security guards all have dogs and they work with the police. I was attacked by dogs in June. As you can see my wounds are still fresh. I don’t know who the security guards belonged to but they wore a black uniform. Some say they are Mbada but I don’t know. The first dog caught my leg and I fell.  Then the guards came and started hitting me. They were kicking and punching me. Then another dog attacked me. I was trying to hold its mouth. It went on for a few minutes and when they saw I was bleeding they took me to a place called diamond base. They stitched me up there then handed me to the police.

 By Human Rights Watch
Rapaport News is not responsible for, and does not endorse, the content of any press release. Press releases are not written by us and are provided only as additional information for our clients. 


Many times we have a host of things that we want to tell that one guy who you really like spending time with and being with, yet we barely know what to do. More often than not we end up saying all the wrong things and scaring the poor guy away. I understand men like to know how you feel, but not in all entirety, until such a time when they are ready for it! Someone even went on to say that for most men, anything that spells commitment from your mouth can easily be a turn off. I am no guru when it comes to relationships but here is just a little something i think you can do. So, I am calling this my “Like Letter” as opposed to the popular Love Letter. Read on and tell me if I’m going crazy!

Dear Garry
I pride myself in being able to communicate my feelings and in expressing my thoughts. I realise now that i am not very successful, when it comes to you. I like the thought of being in a relationship, but it’s a prospect that scares me a lot. I have therefore decided to just let you know what i think about you. This is not a love letter, just a note to say i appreciate you are a part of my life.
“I like you”. I like you for who you are. You are not pretentious, you are honest and hardworking. Sometimes your nearness takes my breath away; and all the things I want to say can find no voice. Then, in silence, I can only hope my eyes will speak my heart. For when words fail me, I start to rumble incoherently. I just lose sight of what I want to say. I like how you are spontaneous and how you make everything easy. You make me want to tell you everything about me, but I will not- not just yet anyway, lest I overwhelm you. I like strawberries and blackberries. I like your smile, I like that you laugh with me, that we laugh at my jokes that are not always funny. I like that you make me feel great about myself. I like the way you tell me I am beautiful, the way you appreciate me, and the appreciative glances you throw my way. If I could reach for a star for every time you made me smile, I would have the whole sky in the palm of my hand.

“I trust you”. I trust that whatever decisions you make concerning me are the best. You respect me; you make me feel that you have a reverent regard of me. You care enough to say things that i want to hear, as long they are not lies. We connect in many ways than one. You listen to me, and make me hang on to every word you say. I trust that you care for me, that you teach me what i do not know about myself, I trust you" I am so lucky I met you" You are warm hearted, there is no one like you at all. You give me a better outlook on life, you challenge me and you make me rethink my priorities. I now better appreciate the word family and there is so much more i can do with myself. Sometimes, you do not even have to say anything. Thank you for being a part of my life.


I am an administrator by profession.  I have a first Degree in Political Science, and I started the first year of my Masters  in International Relations but i am yet to finish it. I am a sports woman, and have participated in Rugby and Basketball at National level. I did my primary school in Mutare, Chancellor Junior and high School in Domboshava, at a Catholic mission.  I am passionate about women issues.

I would like to know your views and please do not hesitate to comment below your thoughts, suggestions and views.

The Truth About the Situation in Libya

Cutting through the government propaganda and media lies

By Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Libya is a small country of just over 6 million people but it possesses the largest oil reserves in all of Africa. The oil produced there is especially coveted because of its particularly high quality.
The Air Force of the United States along with Britain and France has carried out 7,459 bombing attacks since March 19. Britain, France and the United States sent special operation ground forces and commando units to direct the military operations of the so-called rebel fighters – it is a NATO- led army in the field.

The troops may be disaffected Libyans but the operation is under the control and direction of NATO commanders and western commando units who serve as “advisors.” Their new weapons and billions in funds come from the U.S. and other NATO powers that froze and seized Libya’s assets in Western banks. Their only military successes outside of Benghazi, in the far east of the country, have been exclusively based on the coordinated air and ground operations of the imperialist NATO military forces.
In military terms, Libya’s resistance to NATO is of David and Goliath proportions. U.S. military spending alone is more than ten times greater than Libya’s entire annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was $74.2 billion in 2010, according to the CIA’s World Fact Book.
In recent weeks, the NATO military operations used surveillance-collecting drones, satellites, mounting aerial attacks and covert commando units to decapitate Libya’s military and political leadership and its command and control capabilities. Global economic sanctions meant that the country was suddenly deprived of income and secure access to goods and services needed to sustain a civilian economy over a long period.
“The cumulative effect [of NATO’s coordinated air and ground operation] not only destroyed Libya’s military infrastructure but also greatly diminished Colonel Gaddafi’s commanders to control forces, leaving even committed fighting units unable to move, resupply or coordinate operations,“ reports the New York Times in a celebratory article on August 22.
A False Pretext
The United States, United Kingdom, France, and Italy targeted the Libyan government for overthrow or “regime change” not because these governments were worried about protecting civilians or to bring about a more democratic form of governance in Libya.
If that were the real motivation of the NATO powers, they could start the bombing of Saudi Arabia right away. There are no elections in Saudi Arabia. The monarchy does not even allow women to drive cars. By law, women must be fully covered in public or they will go to prison. Protests are rare in Saudi Arabia because any dissent is met with imprisonment, torture and execution.
The Saudi monarchy is protected by U.S. imperialism because it is part of an undeclared but real U.S. sphere of influence and it is the largest producer of oil in the world. The U.S. attitude toward the Saudi monarchy was put succinctly by Ronald Reagan in 1981, when he said that the U.S. government “will not permit” revolution in Saudi Arabia such as the 1979 Iranian revolution that removed the U.S. client regime of the Shah. Reagan’s message was clear: the Pentagon and CIA’s military forces would be used decisively to destroy any democratic movement against the rule of the Saudi royal family.
Reagan’s explicit statement in 1981 has in fact been the policy of every successive U.S. administration, including the current one.
Libya and Imperialism
Libya, unlike Saudi Arabia, did have a revolution against its monarchy. As a result of the 1969 revolution led by Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was no longer in the sphere of influence of any imperialist country.
Libya had once been an impoverished colony of Italy living under the boot heel of the fascist Mussolini. After the Allied victory in World War II, control of the country was formally transferred to the United Nations and Libya became independent in 1951 with authority vested in the monarch King Idris.
But in actuality, Libya was controlled by the United States and Britain until the 1969 revolution.
One of the first acts of the 1969 revolution was to eliminate the vestiges of colonialism and foreign control. Not only were oil fields nationalized but Gaddafi eliminated foreign military bases inside the country.
In March of 1970, the Gaddafi government shut down two important British military bases in Tobruk and El Adem. He then became the Pentagon’s enemy when he evicted the U.S. Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli that had been operated by the United States since 1945. Before the British military took control in 1943, the facility was a base operated by the Italians under Mussolini.

Wheelus had been an important Strategic Air Command (SAC) base during the Cold War, housing B-52 bombers and other front-line Pentagon aircrafts that targeted the Soviet Union.
Once under Libyan control, the Gaddafi government allowed Soviet military planes to access the airfield.
In 1986, the Pentagon heavily bombed the base at the same time it bombed downtown Tripoli in an effort to assassinate Gaddafi. That effort failed but his 2-year-old daughter died along with scores of other civilians.
The Character of the Gaddafi Regime

The political, social and class orientation of the Libyan regime has gone through several stages in the last four decades. The government and ruling establishment reflected contradictory class, social, religious and regional antagonisms. The fact that the leadership of the NATO-led National Transition Council is comprised of top officials of the Gaddafi government, who broke with the regime and allied themselves with NATO, is emblematic of the decades-long instability within the Libyan establishment.
These inherent contradictions were exacerbated by pressures applied to Libya from the outside. The U.S. imposed far-reaching economic sanctions on Libya in the 1980s. The largest western corporations were barred from doing business with Libya and the country was denied access to credit from western banks.
In its foreign policy, Libya gave significant financial and military support to national liberation struggles, including in Palestine, Southern Africa, Ireland and elsewhere.
Because of Libya's economic policies, living standards for the population had jumped dramatically after 1969. Having a small population and substantial income from its oil production, augmented with the Gaddafi regime’s far-reaching policy of social benefits, created a huge advance in the social and economic status for the population. Libya was still a class society with rich and poor, and gaps between urban and rural living standards, but illiteracy was basically wiped out, while education and health care were free and extensively accessible. By 2010, the per capita income in Libya was near the highest in Africa at $14,000 and life expectancy rose to over 77 years, according to the CIA’s World Fact Book.
Gaddafi’s political orientation explicitly rejected communism and capitalism. He created an ideology called the “Third International Theory,” which was an eclectic mix of Islamic, Arab nationalist and socialist ideas and programs. In 1977, Libya was renamed the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. A great deal of industry, including oil, was nationalized and the government provided an expansive social insurance program or what is called a welfare state policy akin to some features prevalent in the Soviet Union and some West European capitalist countries.
But Libya was not a workers’ state or a “socialist government” to use the popular if not scientific use of the term “socialist.” The revolution was not a workers and peasant rebellion against the capitalist class per se. Libya remained a class society although class differentiation may have been somewhat obscured beneath the existence of revolutionary committees and the radical, populist rhetoric that emanated from the regime.
As in many developing, formerly colonized countries, state ownership of property was not “socialist” but rather a necessary fortification of an under-developed capitalist class. State property in Iraq, Libya and other such post-colonial regimes was designed to facilitate the social and economic growth of a new capitalist ruling class that was initially too weak, too deprived of capital and too cut off from international credit to compete on its own terms with the dominant sectors of world monopoly capitalism. The nascent capitalist classes in such developing economies promoted state-owned property, under their control, in order to intersect with Western banks and transnational corporations and create more favorable terms for global trade and investment.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the “socialist bloc” governments of central and Eastern Europe in 1989-91 deprived Libya of an economic and military counter-weight to the United States, and the Libyan government’s domestic economic and foreign policy shifted towards accommodation with the West.
In the 1990s some sectors of the Libyan economic establishment and the Gaddafi-led government favored privatization, cutting back on social programs and subsidies and integration into western European markets.
The earlier populism of the regime incrementally gave way to the adoption of neo-liberal policies. This was, however, a long process.
In 2004, the George W. Bush administration ended sanctions on Libya. Western oil companies and banks and other corporations initiated huge direct investments in Libya and trade with Libyan enterprises.
There was also a growth of unemployment in Libya and in cutbacks in social spending, leading to further inequality between rich and poor and class polarization.
But Gaddafi himself was still considered a thorn in the side of the imperialist powers. They want absolute puppets, not simply partners, in their plans for exploitation. The Wikileaks release of State Department cables between 2007 and 2010 show that the United states and western oil companies were condemning Gaddafi for what they called “resource nationalism.” Gaddafi even threatened to re-nationalize western oil companies’ property unless Libya was granted a larger share of the revenue for their projects.
As an article in today’s New York Times Business section said honestly: “"Colonel Qaddafi proved to be a problematic partner for the international oil companies, frequently raising fees and taxes and making other demands. A new government with close ties to NATO may be an easier partner for Western nations to deal with."
Even the most recent CIA Fact Book publication on Libya, written before the armed revolt championed by NATO, complained of the measured tempo of pro-market reforms in Libya: “Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing the socialist-oriented economy, but initial steps— including applying for WTO membership, reducing some subsidies, and announcing plans for privatization—are laying the groundwork for a transition to a more market-based economy.” (CIA World Fact Book)
The beginning of the armed revolt on February 23 by disaffected members of the Libyan military and political establishment provided the opportunity for the U.S. imperialists, in league with their French and British counterparts, to militarily overthrow the Libyan government and replace it with a client or stooge regime.
Of course, in the revolt were workers and young people who had many legitimate grievances against the Libyan government. But what is critical in an armed struggle for state power is not the composition of the rank-and-file soldiers, but the class character and political orientation of the leadership.
Character of the National Transition Council
The National Transitional Council (NTC) constituted itself as the leadership of the uprising in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. The central leader is Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who was Libya’s Minister of Justice until his defection at the start of the uprising. He was one of a significant number of Western-oriented and neoliberal officials from Libya’s government, diplomatic corps and military ranks who joined the opposition in the days immediately after the start of the revolt.
As soon as it was established, the NTC began issuing calls for imperialist intervention. These appeals became increasing panicky as it became clear that, contrary to early predictions that the Gaddafi-led government would collapse in a matter of days, it was the “rebels” who faced imminent defeat in the civil war. In fact, it was only due to the U.S./NATO bombing campaign, initiated with great hurry on March 19 that the rebellion did not collapse.
The last five months of war have erased any doubt about the pro-imperialist character of the NTC. One striking episode took place on April 22, when Senator John McCain made a “surprise” trip to Benghazi. A huge banner was unveiled to greet him with an American flag printed on it and the words: “United States of America – You have a new ally in North Africa.”
Similar to the military relationship between the NATO and Libyan “rebel” armed forces, the NTC is entirely dependent on and subordinated to the U.S., French, British and Italian imperialist governments.
If the Pentagon, CIA, and Wall Street succeed in installing a client regime in Tripoli it will accelerate and embolden the imperialist threats and intervention against other independent governments such as Syria and Venezuela. In each case we will see a similar process unfold, including the demonization of the leadership of the targeted countries so as to silence or mute a militant anti-war response to the aggression of the war-makers.
We in the ANSWER Coalition invite all those who share this perspective to join with us, to mobilize, and to unmask the colonial agenda that hides under the slogan of “humanitarian intervention.”

Suspicious Fire Guts down US$100,000 of Gideon Gono's property in Borrowdale Harare

 A suspicious FIRE gutted a warehouse at Reserve of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono’s poultry plot in Borrowdale, Harare yesterday, destroying goods valued at over US$100 000.
The warehouse which housed delicate hatchery equipment caught fire in the morning and concerted efforts by the Fire Brigade and workers helped in putting out the fire before it reached fuel tanks about 30 metres away.
The cause of the fire, which took the Fire Brigade more than two hours to extinguish, was unknown although it was suspected workers in the warehouse might have started it accidentally.
Compressors for hatcheries that were awaiting installation were destroyed together with other valuables stored in the warehouse.
The fire began at about 9.30 am and was put out by 12.30pm. Gono and his family were said to be away from their house when the fire started.

Witnesses say the Fire Brigade came to the scene with inadequate water that failed to contain the inferno.
The Fire Brigade has come under fire of late for failing to respond timeously to distress calls and for being ill-equipped.
Workers at the plot and neighbours battled to quell it and the Fire Brigade then ended up using water from the plot’s dam.
ZimDaily has it on good authority that the most reliable fire truck at the Harare Fire Station was bought in 1973.

In an interview, Gono bemoaned council’s poor and old fire equipment urging the corporate world to assist in procuring more effective and new equipment to avoid further losses.
“From the information I got, the equipment they brought here was the latest one and it was acquired in the early 1970s.
“If we do not do something about our city fire brigade, we will always have problems. Fortunately we have a dam here and they had to connect their pipes from the dam after they ran out of water,” he said.
He added: “If council is failing to improve the situation, I urge the corporate world to chip in and assist the municipality in procuring the relevant equipment to improve the capacity to manage fire accidents.
“I am appealing to Harare stakeholders such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and the residents associations to do something to capacitate Harare Fire Brigade. There is no point in sending gallant fire fighters on such dangerous missions without appropriate resources and equipment.”
Gono warned the public against speculating saying that the fire incident at his farm was purely an accident.
“Out of mischief, there are some people who are good at speculating whenever there is a fire incident. As for this particular incident, it was just an accident although I do not know how and who started it,” he said.
His security personnel were detained at Borrowdale Police Station as of last night, helping police with investigations.
Workers gave different versions on the cause of fire with some linking it to a heater. It is suspected a child placed a jersey on the heater before it caught fire.
But others indicate that there was no heater in that room leaving the actual cause unknown. Gono hailed police at Borrowdale Police Station and other stakeholders for swiftly reacting to the accident.
A team of about 50 people helped put out the fire and Gono commended them for rushing to the scene with buckets to salvage the situation.

Zimbabwe has right to sell its gems

In the recent past, there has been a flurry of activities from organisations totally opposed to Zimbabwe selling its diamonds freely and without conditions imposed unnecessarily and driven by elements whose agenda is political. There is no secret that all the noise that we hear and continued efforts to demonise our country have one clear objective: that is to immobilise Zimbabwe’s capacity to meet its own needs from its own resources.

Most importantly, there is a clear commitment to reduce any chance of a government led by His Excellency, Cde R. G. Mugabe to steer this economy back to the road of success. It is no longer a secret that the demonisation of our diamonds, particularly diamonds from Chiadzwa in Manicaland is not innocent propaganda but a carefully managed programme to influence the outcome of any future general election in favor of groups that are friendly to western nations. In simple terms, this is an illegal programme of regime change.

What is frightening is the scale of the anti-Zimbabwe diamonds movement and the pace and speed at which they are moving on their mission to continue spreading lies against Zimbabwe. Although it is true that Zimbabweans know that there is no war, no killings and victimisation going on in the country, the danger is that lies, if told repeatedly, tend to become true by default.  We should not lose any opportunity to defend our position ruthlessly and with vigor and the need plus time to do so is now and very urgent. The greatest temptation is to believe in our own rightness and invincibility and hope that the truth will set us free. This however is not the best strategy in the current circumstances.  We know that we are right and as a country we have done all that is required of us, but at the end of the day, we need people throughout all stake holders particularly in Africa, to believe in our position and story.

Everyone associated with the Marange diamond fields knows very well that these are not killing fields, that there is complete absence of disorder. On the contrary, something great and huge is emerging out in the bushes of Marange. We need to use every weapon at our disposal to fight fire with fire because if we don’t, all the good work going on at Marange will be buried under a pile of lies and a deliberate manipulation of truth by the enemies of Zimbabwe who have invested a lot in the strategy of regime change.

Our enemies never lose any opportunity to have a go at us, and the sooner there is realisation that we should fight them at every fora and corner, the better for Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe needs to tell their friends about all the good work that is going on at Marange and companies mining at Marange should have open days carefully managed to expose kids in secondary schools and universities and communities to the reality on the ground to avoid losing the battle of controlling the minds to the propaganda peddled by the international media. We should minimise the reliance on information coming from agencies of imperialism represented by NGOs that are doing the dirty work for their masters. These organisations champion themselves as human rights protectors, create an impression that Zimbabwe is about to crush under the weight of mis-governance and its saviors are supposed to be these unelected and undemocratic institutions masquerading as philanthropic organisations.

They have set up shop in each country in Sub Saharan Africa, found their way into Africa’s regional political and trade organisations and indeed into the African Union. They have patronised Africans and have tried to give us lectures on how we should run our organisations and even how to decide on our development strategy. It is time that we in Zimbabwe and Sub Saharan Africa realise that any relationship with these organisations often results in Africa being poorer and subservient. The fight for our right to sell our diamonds should never be separated from our fight for national survival and integrity and of course sovereign purity. Those who believe that this fight is about preserving the rule of one party are not only victims of political delusion, but are also people perennially condemned to dealing with an adult and complex situation with a childish approach. We need and deserve our right as a sovereign nation to trade freely with all peace loving nations of the world. So far we have been punished for a sin we have not committed and no hard evidence has been presented to support the accusations against Zimbabwe. In fact, no evidence is required because the stories on Zimbabwe have always been manufactured to produce the desired outcome.

No sensible Zimbabwean will support activities that dehumanise our people, degrade our environment and perpetuate undemocratic practices. Zimbabweans are not at war, are not destroying their infrastructure and are not burning their towns. On the contrary and despite efforts by hostile foreign nations to divide us, we have remained committed to different political visions without eating each other. We have seen violence on a large scale everywhere including in the UK today. Is it not amazing that the UK behaved like all other countries we have seen in the world? So when are the rest of European countries going to ban British products because of the ruthless nature in which they responded to recent disturbances in their Kingdom? Where is the warrant of arrest for David Cameron for treating his people badly? Where are the NGOs of Zimbabwe that are quick to re act to violent scenes that remain only imagined in their own minds? Why won’t they ask questions about the exclusion that minorities feel and suffer in the UK?

When police move to deal with socio-political disorder in the UK or any European country, they are protecting property and enforcing the rule of law, but when something similar happens in Zimbabwe and indeed any other African country, it is viewed as barbaric political behavior attracting sanctions and condemnation by the UN Security Council. This world belongs to all of us but there must be acceptance that we are all different in our own ways and to try and force everyone to live like Europeans and Americans is never going to work. We accept that Americans have their own country called America, there is a lot that they do that we do not believe in, but we let them live the American way. Why should we be expected to adopt their values? We do not tell them how to run their own affairs. What right do they have to tell us how to run our own affairs? Frankly speaking, Zimbabweans have no serious differences at all, the ones that we have clearly confirm the interference by western nations in our internal affairs. If you take away foreign interest in our national life, Zimbabweans can and are able to resolve the minor differences that exist if at all.

We therefore refuse to accept a world order that has discriminating rules and principles that govern differently depending on the color of one’s skin and geographical position in the world. THERE ARE NO BLOOD DIAMONDS IN ZIMBABWE AND ALL THE COMPASNIES ARE COMPLIANT AND THOSE THAT NEED TO, ARE INVESTING IN THE APPRORIATE SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO COMPLY. WHY ARE WE STILL REQUIRED TO COMPLY WHEN WE HAVE MET ALL STANDARDS BEYOND EXPECTATIONS?

Zimbabweans need to wake up to the fact that there is no heaven in hell. The façade presented by so-called developed nations hides a lot of social and economic in equalities resulting in some of the world’s most heinous crimes being committed in these countries. Zimbabwe is a beautiful country whose progress is being slowed down by non Zimbabweans and small sections of our community who cannot think beyond selfish interests.  We need to unite for the good of our nation and the success of our economy. We want our resources to work for us first and everyone else second.

Once upon a time, we were poisoned to think that land reform was bad, should have never been done in a way that left the white farmers stranded. However, no one is prepared to accept that all indigenous people were ruthlessly dispossessed of their land without any form of compensation. Why is bad European behavior tolerated? Europeans will never accept that Africans have a right to govern themselves, cannot and will not accept that we can run our economies and certainly they appear not to accept that we are equal to them in every respect. This European condition must simply dissipate very quickly because the African of today is far more sophisticated and will not accept to be treated as inferior to other races as if destined by God to be so.

Any co-operation with European organisations that reduces our chance to realise our own dreams and seeks to control our resources and to dictate to us how we govern ourselves must be thrown away into a political dustbin. Control of our resources and ownership of our political ideas and systems is the only way that guarantees us a secure and prosperous Zimbabwe.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Dr Davison Todson Gomo is Chief Executive Officer Of The Affirmative Action Group but all views expressed here are personal and do not reflect the position of AAG.

It's Official: Col Muammar Gaddafi Is In Zimbabwe

It official; Col Muammar Gaddafi is now a guest of Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe in Harare, but activists of the Movement for Democratic Change, the MDC Veterans Activists Association (VAA) have called on Zimbabweans to storm the house in the Gunhill suburb of Harare to effect a mass citizens' arrest.
In a statement today the VAA said Gaddafi staged a nocturnal entry into Zimbabwe aboard a Zimbabwe Air force jet that landed at Suri-Suri Airbase in Chegutu at 01:07am on Wednesday morning.
He was quickly whisked to a sprawling mansion in Harare’s Gunhill suburb under the cover of darkness with members of MDC VAA in a secret pursuit. 
We kept a hawk’s eye on the house since Wednesday until this morning (Friday) and we don’t doubt even for a second that the fallen despot is now a ‘unique guest’ to Robert Mugabe.
"The house is encircled by uniformed army personnel of the Zimbabwe National Army and is swarming with plain clothes policemen and dreaded CIO operatives.”
They said all indications were confirming what they saw, including heavily armed female blonde body guards of Libyan origin patrolling around the house where the former despot is holed up.

                       Gaddafi and his female bodyguards
They also have clear video footages to back our claims. The suspicious female imposters in military attire are patrolling the vicinity with fingers on the trigger.   
There has been a hive of activities since the arrival of Gaddafi in the Gunhill house as luxurious government vehicles speed in and out of ‘brother leader’s new compound’.
All roads passing near the house were blocked since Wednesday morning, literally slapping the neighbor with a curfew.
MDC VAA National Chairman Solomon Sox Chikohwero said they were giving Gaddafi a week to leave Zimbabwe from today (Friday). 
This country is not a haven for dictators.  We have two so far, who we cannot afford even for one day, and the third one is obviously an additional encumber to our burden.
If he fails to do so we shall be storming t hat house in our thousands and effect a mass citizen arrest and hand him over to the ICC (International Criminal Court) in Hague.
No sane Zimbabwe security personnel will arrest or shoot us in defense of a dejected and rejected dictator,” he said.

Written by Makusha Mugabe   

Welcome to Spiritual Matters with Gabriel Manyati: You must be born again

   Photo Apostolic Faith Church

Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God' (John 3:3).

Welcome to Spiritual Matters, a new column in this newspaper that aims to teach Christians and non-Christians alike about Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the full scope of His doctrine and counsel in a way you can easily apply to your own life.
We begin with the subject of becoming a Christian through being 'born again', an experience which is the entry point to any true contact with God.  Forget the populist and inclusive positions of some people, there is only one way to God – His Son Jesus Christ.
Think about it: how could there be many ways to God?  God is not confused!
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the first person to have used the term 'born again', when he was teaching Nicodemus, a Pharisee.  Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:3, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'
Bear in mind that Nicodemus was a religious leader at a very senior level.  He must have felt closer to God than most of his contemporaries, especially considering that he was not only a Jew, but also a Pharisee, the strictest sect of the Jewish religion. 
But on this night, Jesus took him by surprise.  He made Nicodemus know that although he was very religious and thought he knew so much about God, he was not in touch with God because he hadn't yet been born again!  Today this is still a valid message.  You may belong to a church and may be a respected member thereof, but are you born again?
What is to be born again?  Well, in the New Testament the term 'born again' refers to a 'spiritual rebirth' (regeneration) of the human person, contrasted with the physical first birth everyone experiences.  It means that you accept everything the Scriptures teach about Jesus Christ, His birth, mission, life, death, resurrection and the blessed hope of His second coming.  After accepting it, you then receive a Person – Jesus Christ – into your heart and give yourself over to Him, to serve Him and live for His glory.  Amen.
The Apostle Paul summed it up well in 1 Corinthians 15:1- 4: Moreover, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.  
Here Paul sums up the gospel message.  For you to be born again and become a part of God's family, you must believe these scriptural claims with your heart and say so out loud with your mouth before God, and then before people.
That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation (Romans 10:9-10).

If you do this, you will experience newness of life from Christ.  In your inmost being, in your spirit, you will be recreated and infused with the life of God.  As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.
It's okay to belong to a church, but church membership can't save you.  You need Jesus Christ to come into your heart and make you a new creature.  Some of you are living artificial lives.  People see you and think all is well but you're rotting inside.  There's no life, no joy.

Come to Jesus Christ today and be saved.
 I'm referring here to an experience of conversion, which should afterwards be symbolised by water baptism, rooted in commitment to one's personal faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. A metaphorical rebirth occurs when a person accepts Jesus as the Messiah and receives the Holy Spirit.
To be 'born again' means new birth, resurrection, new life, new creation, renewing of the mind, dying to sin and living to righteousness and translation from darkness to light, etc.
Jesus Christ used the 'birth' analogy in tracing spiritual newness of life to a divine beginning.


Contemporary Christian theologians have provided explanations for 'born from above' being a more accurate translation of the original Greek word transliterated an then.
Repeat this prayer with me if you have decided to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and be born again:
Lord Jesus Christ, today I've read and understood your Word.  I believe with my heart and confess with my mouth that you are Lord, you died for my sins and were raised from the dead on the third day.  I accept you into my life as my Lord and my King.  Thank you for filling me with your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Congratulations.  Now pray about finding a godly church, start reading your Bible and pray daily, for however long you can manage at present.

And do contact me on or join the Spiritual Matters group on Facebook.

In His Service,

Gabriel Manyati

Gabriel Manyati is a journalist, businessman and preacher of the gospel specialising in non-denominational Christian ministry. He went to Sakubva High School and UNISA. He is now based in South Africa. 


How General Solomon Mujuru stole a farm: My family’s story – Guy Watson-Smith (2004)

How a General stole a farm: My family’s story – Guy Watson-Smith (2004)

August 25th, 2011
This narrative was written by Zimbabwean farmer Guy Watson-Smith in 2004, recounting his experiences at the hands of General Solomon Mujuru. We are re-printing it as he wrote it at that time. General Mujuru died in a fire earlier this month on August 17th. You can read our obituary for the General here.
Our farm in Beatrice had been two smaller units, but was consolidated in the 1960’s, decades before I bought it. It was designated in1997 for acquisition and then again in 2000, and of course we did what was legally our right, and proper to do, and that was to launch a detailed and fully backed up objection to the Minister of Agriculture. To this day we have not had a response and it must be fair to assume that nobody in the Ministry has read, let alone considered our submission or the thousands of others.
We bought our 1400 hectare farm in 1983, with Government funded Agricultural Finance Corporation backing, 70 Kms. south of Harare near Beatrice. My wife and I devoted the next 14 years to extremely hard work and heavy investment in a Zimbabwe where black and white worked together, the country produced surpluses of every commodity it put its mind to, and phrases like “the Switzerland of Africa” and “the breadbasket of Africa” were commonly heard.
Our farm became a garden of production. In a relatively arid part of the country we managed to capture water in a series of huge reservoirs built during the droughts of the late 1980’s. By 1997 when the farm was first designated for compulsory acquisition we had a model village of over 300 families employed full time on the farm. We produced the largest ‘single-farm’ crop of tobacco in the country, with all of it under irrigation, and more each year being committed to an Israeli ‘drip’ system, for the most efficient use of all resources. The rest of the arable land on the farm was under irrigated pastures. Our breeding herd of 460 simbra beef cattle had been bred over years, with the use of semen imported from the USA, and introduced under a scientific programme of artificial insemination which we ran. The non-arable area of the farm was fenced and we had introduced viable breeding herds of all the 15 main species of plains game found on the ‘highveld’ of Zimbabwe, including giraffe, sable antelope and waterbuck, and numbering over 600 in total.
Unfortunately this jewel was to prove too attractive for someone to resist just a few years hence, however we remained blissfully unaware of the cruel twists that lay ahead.
The strangest thing was that from the beginning of the violent farm invasions in March 2000 until late in 2001 our farm was never interfered with by anyone, and we were never hampered in our production.
Strange because I was high profile amongst the commercial farmers, and perhaps too outspoken in my condemnation of our government’s methods for my own good. I spoke regularly and without fear to the press any time they asked me to, I was a thorn in the side of the governor of the province (Mugabe’s cousin David Karimanzira), the provincial administrator, the police, ministers, and the highest ZANU PF figure in the province, General Mujuru. I met with the national ‘war veterans’ leadership, including Chenjerai ‘Hitler’ Hunzvi before he died, and later Patrick Nyarhwata, the diplomatic corps, and the British High Commissioner.
I visited the Foreign Office in Whitehall in August 2000, in January 2001 and in August 2001, and put the case of our country’s farmers to the head of the Africa desk Dr. Andrew Pocock on each occasion, and appeared on numerous television and radio interviews which I actively courted, because I wished to tell the story of what was happening at home in the hope that it would make a difference. I had meetings with numerous British and Euro M.P’s. and politicians and briefed them too.
I and one other farmer presented to and were questioned on the land issue by the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers in Harare. Secretary General Don MacKinnon was there, as was Baroness Amos, and the Foreign Ministers of Kenya, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, and one or two others.
9\18 and the next three months.
Eviction. Deception. Threats.
It was seven days after 9/11, 2001, and we had just returned from a trip to Europe with the family, to the horror of the Twin Towers. We were still trying to absorb the absolute enormity of that awful event, when our world crashed too.
A car pulled up in our drive at home, and out stepped the awful Comrade Zhou, so well known to me. He was with two other well dressed and menacing individuals that I had never seen before. One of them was huge, and because I had never seen them before I knew that they were not local, and I knew that they were on serious business. The two said nothing. We sat down at the table on the patio, my wife and I, our two farm managers and the three of them.
Zhou said “you leave this farm now.” I protested and asked that we should perhaps discuss the issue….
He replied, “You are not listening – we do not want what happened to Dunn to happen to you now.”
I saw the menace in the eyes of the three of them and felt cold. I knew then without any doubt that the only thing to do was to go. We were given permission to collect the clothes we needed, and two hours to leave.
I had no idea where the order had come from.
Sherry and her girls were still living with us although she thankfully had left early with chores to do in Harare that morning. However she was effectively evicted too, and had to find somewhere else to live. She had not been able to live at her home in the 16 months since Alan’s murder, or to move her assets, but that is another story.
The next months were a blur of confused messages, hopes raised and then dashed. We lived with my father in law in Harare and I continued with my duties as CFU chairman of the province which took me out on meaningful business most days into the farming areas, but I spent an equal amount of time negotiating with authorities to be allowed to return to my farm with the family. The governor and the provincial administrator were unhelpful and normally refused to see me, the ministers were polite and made empty promises that they would ‘look into’ our case. The most helpful person who was always available when I requested a meeting was the highest person in the ZANU PF hierarchy of the province, and widely regarded as the third most powerful person in the country – none other than General Mujuru. He always left me hopeful that there was some light at the end of the tunnel for us, and encouraged me to continue through my managers to plant a full crop of tobacco, to invest in the soil. Between September and December we planted 85 hectares of tobacco under irrigation, short of our normal 140 hectares, but a substantial crop none the less.
It is in hindsight quite amazing how slowly one understands what one does not wish to understand.
My parents were on the farm until mid November, my Father neither able to walk nor speak due to brain surgery, and my Mother attempting to cope alone. The General allowed them to move with their personal belongings into Harare, but still I could not go there to help them. My sister flew from Cape Town and in a day moved them and everything they owned off the farm and out of their home for ever.
I was expressly forbidden to go to the farm for any reason. On 21st November I was told by the General that I should go there to meet Zhou, so my wife and I left Harare – she was very keen to visit our home and the pets while I discussed I was not sure what, with Comrade Zhou. We were part way there when my mobile phone rang, and it was him to say that I should not approach the farm under any circumstances. I told him that the General had authorized it, and he was plain and clear. “If you go to Alamein Farm you will be shot.” We returned to Harare.
I still had no idea who was behind my banishment from the farm, who was instrumental behind the scenes. And the most helpful person to me – the only person in authority who would still speak to me was the General.
The horrible penny drops.
On the morning of 5th December, two and a half months after leaving home, I received a call from the General: “Meet me at Zitac” (the tobacco auction floors on the outskirts of town) “I am waiting for you.”
I immediately drove there, and he climbed into my car with me and said we would go to the farm together. In the fifty minutes it took us to get there he explained to me that he had family close to Alamein in the Mondoro Communal Land, his step mother and half brothers and sisters still lived there and he had driven through my farm many times over the years. I began to fear that perhaps my efforts to irrigate the arid kalahari sands we farmed on had been too successful! Perhaps the sight of fat cattle knee deep in irrigated pastures, and lush dark green tobacco crops as far as the eye could see had been too much to resist. I began to understand, slowly and reluctantly during that 50 minutes, that I had been duped. I began to understand why it was that my farm had been left alone while other seemingly less valuable properties all around had been occupied and vandalized in the last year and a half, and their owners harassed, barricaded or worse by ‘war vets’ and their followers during the previous two years. I had not shared their disruptions despite my high profile and vigorous activities on behalf of farmers in the province.
The crashing realization of what was happening was confirmed when he told me what was required of me when we got to the farm. I should address the labour force who would be gathered and waiting for us, to tell them that they “must work as well and as hard as before, but from now on they will be under different management.”
Still the General would not admit that he was taking the farm. Zhou was to be the next manager, and my managers were to remain to work under him. One later declined, while the other stayed on. Zhou and one of the two who had forced us to leave the farm back on 9/18 (the big man) were there to meet us, and I addressed the labour and their families who had all been gathered, as I was instructed to do. Oh! The sadness! I had known many of these people all of my life, had known their parents, their ups and downs, and we had created wonderful things together – yet I knew then that this was goodbye for ever. I saw tears in the eyes of some of them but could not approach them for a personal word or handshake or hug because if I spotlighted them they would likely become victims. I was not allowed to go to my house to see our dogs or say goodbye, but was escorted the 17 Km to Beatrice village and onto the road back to Harare by Zhou and his team, now with the General in their car rather than in mine. My job was done. I have not seen my farm or home again.
I did still have the presence of mind to extract one agreement from the General and Zhou while I was there. That we be allowed to collect our personal belongings, photographs and furniture. My wife was given permission the next day to go to the farm and pack up our house. I was not allowed to go with her or help her. Again I was threatened by Comrade Zhou in his now familiar unsubtle way that if I went I would be shot and the removals truck would be burned.
Goodbye Alamein.
On the 6th of December, the very next day, Vicky went to the farm with our two teenagers Adam and Alice and their cousin Oliver. After an hour alone with their tears in her beloved garden, the four of them with the kind help of two neighbour’s wives and close friends, began to pack. Another neighbour came over during the morning and shot the horse and our faithful old dog Lady. She was too old to get used to another home but dear Sherry took Romeo, our three year old bull mastiff and her faithful friend of the last 16 months.
It took all of Thursday and Friday, and the removals truck finally got away on Saturday at lunch time. But not without drama!
Zhou and his team were in evidence throughout the packing up – a brooding and threatening presence. On the final morning our sixteen year old son Adam and his cousin spent many hours catching and boxing our collection of exotic birds and wildfowl. He loaded them all carefully for transportation to their new home with a fellow collector, on the back of my farm pickup truck. He was then informed by Zhou that the pickups could not leave as they were a part of the farm, and Adam had no option but to release all the birds back onto their ponds and into their aviaries.
In the final hours Vicky wanted to pack the gun cabinet containing seven rifles. She was prevented from doing so, and informed that the keys had to remain with Zhou. She called me on the phone and both she and I separately phoned the member in charge of the local police station, who agreed that as the firearms were licensed in our name, a police vehicle would come and collect them for safe keeping. The police never arrived in spite of numerous subsequent calls. In the end, Vicky had no option but to flee with the keys of the weapons cabinet, and the removals vehicles driving in front of her, when she realized that Zhou had gone to the nearby store to get some lunch. The result was that not everything was packed on the trucks – some deep freezes and other bigger items were left behind. She dropped the keys at the police station on the way through Beatrice where I was waiting for her.
Realisation: The full extent of the theft .
I continued to speak to the General as I wanted his permission to move my assets from the farm. Land acquisition was one thing and it seemed that our government was supporting the seizure of land by the ruling party elite, but I had not heard that they were entitled to my tractors and generators, vehicles and equipment, fertiliser and chemicals, fuels and livestock. Apart from the valuable and sophisticated equipment I had my 460 head of prime beef and 600 head of wild game still on the farm. That was surely mine. And what was to happen with the crop in the ground, now three quarters grown on my inputs?
It was known throughout the district by now that if Watson-Smith came to Beatrice he was fair game. He would be shot, and if he tried to have assets removed from the farm the trucks would be burned. It had been announced at a mass meeting of the labour force held on Alamein by none other than the General soon after Vicky had left with our furniture. I never had any doubt that it was not an idle threat.
The legal system without teeth.
My last resort was the High Court of Zimbabwe.
I did not know it then but my family and I had only two weeks left in Zimbabwe.
My first priority was to pay all of my labour what they were due – termination pay and benefits, leave pay and long service gratuities. We spent many days calculating it all, with the help of the Agricultural Labour Bureau and the Ministry of Labour, and obtained their seal of approval that all was correct and in fact substantially more than that required by law. Finally on 19thDecember, as I could not do it myself, I hired a security company to take the cash to the farm, pre-counted and individually bagged, to pay the labour force. I sent a duplicate of all the calculations to General Mujuru, and left another with my lawyers.
Simultaneously I prepared with my lawyer and advocate to appeal to the High Court for the return of my moveable assets. Affidavits were prepared and I decided to cite four respondents in my urgent application: General Mujuru as the occupier of my farm and therefore the person directly in control of them, and his enforcer Comrade Zhou, as well as the two most senior government personnel involved in the land seizures nationwide, Joseph Made the Minister of Agriculture, and Ignatius Chombo another hard-line Minister in Mugabe’s cabinet in charge of Local Housing, but more importantly the Chairman of the National Land Task Force.
Fears began to be expressed for my safety and that of my family by friends and professional and respected contacts. No individual farmer had taken government ministers and generals to court in this way before, and this is a very powerful trio. Zhou was an add-on (evil and dangerous but not important).
A further curious thing happened that was chilling in the circumstances. During this period I took a phone call from the General personally. He told me that it had come to his attention, through contacts that he would not name, that I had been to Greece to “buy vehicles for the MDC”. Did I know that there was a law against foreign funding of political parties and why was I doing it? Of course the logic of the setup was impeccable – I had just been to Greece on holiday in August, and my passport had the stamps to prove it. It is a well known tactic of our government to arrest people before weekends or public holidays to make it almost impossible for the accused person to access a lawyer or a judge for bail purposes for a good few days. Many opposition activists, journalists and farmers have fallen prey to this nasty trick, and spent long weekends and more undergoing torture and interrogation. I imagined, quite possibly correctly, that I was to be arrested just before the long Christmas / New Year break on trumped up charges and held until after New Year at least! The charges of course were entirely ludicrous but how was I going to prove that over the festive season?
I took advice widely, quietly and quickly and decided that it would be safer to leave the country before filing the court application. We slipped out early on the morning of the 21st December. Once away I phoned my lawyer and the urgent application was filed in the High Court later the same day. My plan was to stay away for a few weeks to let the dust settle.
Our case was heard on 28th December in the High Court of Zimbabwe and the ruling was in our favour. The Judge instructed the Sheriff of the High Court to proceed to the farm with my agents to remove the moveable assets. I had appointed four agents, one to remove the cattle, one the game, one the equipment, fertilizers, chemicals, fuel and vehicles, and the fourth a specialist, to remove the huge Modro Bulk Tobacco Curers (nine of them requiring a low-loader each). I had organized all aspects of storage facilities and/or auction before I left the country.
A day or two after New Year the sheriff went to the farm with his court order, an escort of police from Beatrice police station, the first two low-loaders, and a couple of my agents to begin their work. They were greeted by Comrade Zhou in a frenzied reception of his arranging, and were literally driven from the farm in fear of their lives. The Sheriff’s vehicle was manhandled into facing back the way it had come, with threats of burning of all the vehicles. The convoy retreated as fast as they could never to return and the police did nothing to assist the sheriff and the course of justice either then or at any time since. The inspector in charge (Tarugwisa) was well known as a loyal ZANU PF functionary, and the entire police force and system of justice in the country had anyway been perverted in the preceding two years. This episode was simply further evidence of it.
The High Court, the sheriff and the police therefore proved powerless against a small mob of venom-spitting and threatening individuals. The authority behind this seemingly insignificant group of paid thugs is clearly above the law of the land, a fact that has been proved so many times that I am sure it was naïve to have expected the order to have been executed, but what else can one do? Where else is there to turn to?
The power and the fury of General Mujuru and his man on the ground Comrade Zhou began to be seen and felt.
On January 9th 2002 a truck load of approximately 70 individuals from the farm organized, terrorised and led by Zhou’s men traveled into the centre of Harare. One block from Parliament in the very heart of Harare the police watched or turned away as the mob rushed up the seven flights of stairs to the offices of my legal representatives – a major city law firm. They pushed half a dozen of the partners around but found my lawyer, assaulted him and threatened his family. The excuse for the attack was that I had underpaid them and that he represented me and should therefore pay some silly figure amounting to millions to my ‘cheated’ labour force. It was the gathering of a crowd of press photographers that caused the mob to return to their truck and home, and perhaps prevented further assault and even perhaps the abduction of my lawyer. The police were not interested in intervening and did not.
It was an orchestrated attack, and there is evidence that many of the participants were both unwilling and confused by the whole adventure. However the effect was shattering. Lawyers were proved not to be able to represent their clients in safety, and my lawyer has since emigrated to Canada. I had serious concern that I personally would become “unrepresentable” because of the danger that I posed to any lawyer or firm representing me. It remains a grave concern today.
The effect on my own family has been equally shattering. Although Vicky and I planned to stay away for a while, the intention was to fly our two children back to Zimbabwe to school and we had bought them tickets for Saturday the 12th January, to start school on the following Monday. Adam was to enter his final year of school, to write “A” Levels and Alice was to write her “O” Levels at the end of the year. A critical year for them both. We had asked a close friend to act in our absence as their guardian, to collect them from the airport, get them to school on Monday, and look after all their needs until we could return – hopefully soon.
The news of the attack on our lawyer and his colleagues sent shock waves through the country, and the next morning no fewer than three of our closest friends advised us not to send the children back. “If they can get at your lawyer in a city law firm, they can get at your children in their schools” was the message. The friend who had agreed to be responsible for our children phoned to say she was terribly worried and felt she could not accept the weight of responsibility. She was absolutely correct – they all were and on that day we were forced to change our plans and our lives for ever. We had absolutely no choice!
Our children have started again in a new and strange system and country and have adapted and performed like absolute heroes. Quite fantastic.
Vicky and I have with enormous help and encouragement from loving friends and family started a new career and our lives are once again more or less on track.
We desperately miss our former life and our many friends, but we try to spend a lot more time looking forwards than backwards.
Alamein Farm today.
The General and his men reaped the 85 hectares of tobacco I had planted. In addition to our state of the art equipment, 10 000 liters of diesel and a few hundred tons of coal were already on the farm when he took it over, as was all the fertilizer and the chemicals he would need to bring the crop to market. So his investment was negligible, but he sold the crop across the auction floors to his own account anyway. I believe he owes me that money.
I do not know where all my equipment or livestock are today, but I am informed that some farming continues, albeit on a much reduced scale. Very few of the 300 families that lived in our village remain on the farm, and for many months after our departure it was Zhou’s policy that any person who fled, as some did, had his house burned down. The intended message was clear – “if you go you don’t come back.” One needs an understanding of the atmosphere of intimidation and fear, the unemployment at 70%, and inflation at 300%, to grasp properly the psychological effect of this sort of campaign on simple and vulnerable folk without any security in their lives. It is a true and living reign of terror – it is the only way it can be described.
General Mujuru lives with his wife in my parents’ house. His wife is the powerful inner circle Cabinet Minister Joyce Mujuru, her portfolio being “water development” although I forget the exact title. She like her husband is a ‘war hero’ and she fought under the ‘nom de guerre’ Tauraii Rhopa Nhongo, Nhongo being her husband’s name at the time and Tauraii Rhopa translating approximately as “spill blood”. Their son lives in our house now. Another irony of which there are so many is that their younger daughter is at the private school our Alice was forced to leave, and amongst the things that she had to cope with in her forced uprooting into a foreign country and school system was the thought that this strange girl would be sleeping in her beloved bedroom, the only one she had ever known. We assured her that it was most unlikely that the girl would have Alice’s bedroom, and anyway, it really wouldn’t be her bedroom without all her personal things in it, so it wouldn’t matter. But we quietly wept for her.
Where to now?
My family has invested everything we have produced for two generations into what remained behind at Alamein.
General Mujuru must believe he has a future after Mugabe – he is not yet 60 years old.
I wrote to him recently and suggested that if he were to pay for what he has taken from my family I would return my title deeds to him, and the farm and the assets he took would become his. I would do it with sadness because the farm was never for sale, however today’s reality is not an easy one for us, and life must go on. I asked him to respond by the middle of July 2003 to my offer, and I have not had any response, somewhat predictably.
I must advance my claim now not only for the ultimate benefit of my own family but because the injustice that I have tried to portray accurately and as it happened is not entirely uncommon, although most farmers who have been stripped of their land, homes and livelihoods have at least been able to salvage most of their moveable assets. Many are still caught up in a terrible position somewhere between fear and expediency in that they are still there trying to salvage something of their life’s work from within the country. They therefore can not afford to or risk raising their voices! But they are there.
For my part however, my family had a farm, a business and a home. We bought it with the help of loans (now paid off) from the Government Agricultural Finance Corporation, post independence. Post Mugabe coming to power! We worked very long and hard, produced huge surpluses of food and exports, and paid our taxes. We were good employers of many people who lived in clean and healthy villages, with schools, clinics and food to eat.
All of that has been stolen “in broad daylight” and it is inconceivable to me that the perpetrator will get away with it in the 21st century. Can he?
Land redistribution. A final word.
It is a terrible tragedy that the guise of equitable land reform still provides Mugabe with cover to hide behind for his evil maneuvering, when the reality as I have seen it and described it is so very far removed from anything just or equitable.
On my farm in Bearice there were “300 farmers” (and one “white” farm owner it is true). None of those 300 farmers have received any land in the so-called redistribution process, not to mention support in the pursuit of production – tillage and fertilizer and other assistance has been loudly promised by the government.
Instead the land has been allowed as “payoff” to party faithful and very few of them are farmers. This sort of corruption is the greatest scourge, and yet it is accepted by many African governments as the norm, and praised and rewarded with high and prestigious positions and recognition, with speaking engagements and standing ovations for Mugabe the architect of the evil. And even more surprising, his behavior is still at least tolerated in the West.
This small story is only one, and there are many others yet to be told.
Guy and Vicky Watson-Smith – 2004
from Sokwanele