[OPE-L:3172] Re: Re: Re: RE:race and justification in Zimbabwe

From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 17:28:58 EDT

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Dear Rakesh, in the interests of better communication (in the future), I
hope that my replies to some of your questions will make my position
clearer, and persuade you to desist from this line of inquiry. It is not a
constructive use of your time or mine:

>> In the
>>first place, the question of "rightful ownership" confronts a history of
>>inter-tribal conquest, oppression and land appropriation predating European
>Wow! That to whom the land should go is not clear does not mean that your
>family and friends have any rightful ownership of it whatsoever.

I made no claim to ownership - simply pointed out the flaws in your logic.
I have comrades, family and friends in Zimbabwe, none of whom own land. My
father was a municiple clerk in Mutare before he retired and we lived most
of my childhood in council houses - 7 people to two rooms. Ironically, the
liberation war provided the family with the opportunity to take out a
mortgage on an estate house next to a mine field. I believe the term
commonly used to describe our kind is 'poor whites'. Of course, I reject
this term, as I reject the whole framework for your argument.

>> Secondly, white Africans and black Africans stood up TOGETHER
>>to racist regimes in the past, and are willing to stand up TOGETHER to
>>racist regimes in the present.
>The white landowners use blacks, migrant ones in particular, as dogs on
>their plantations today-- workers are only protecting the land out of fear
>of losing jobs, not any loyalty to the whites in the least. You seem so
>removed from the ground level in Zimbabwe that I simply wonder why you have
>taken up this cause. When is the last time you were in Zimbabwe? How is
>your family communicating information to you? For you to depict whites as
>some kind of heroic fighters for liberation is a joke, though your family
>may be some sort of exception.

I would like you to point out where exactly I have argued that workers
acted out of a 'loyalty to whites'. I said no such thing. On the
contrary, I said that the attacks on workers were in many cases attacks on
MDC party members, although attacks have also been made on black
businesses, and on MDC party officials, on rural and urban supporters of
the MDC, and now students at one of the universities. I explicitly pointed
out that the actual attacks on white farmers have been very few (3 dead, I
believe), despite the racial construction of the issue in the western
press. Your own attempts to construct a racial agenda don't hold water. I
will append a statement from the MDC legal committee for your information.

>> Thirdly, racially motivated attacks on
>>people are never OK.
>You seem to be refracting this through racial politics in the West. Hating
>whitey may not be a progressive cause in the United States or Australia but
>this has nothing to do with the history of Zimbabwe.

You insist in attributing positions to me that I never advanced. Indeed
you seem to be unwilling to make any effort whatsoever to understand what
I'm saying. If there is 'bad faith' in this argument it certainly isn't
coming from me. So far, if I have been wrong about something, I have been
willing to admit it.

Below, is the MDC legal statement:




Zimbabwe is in the lead up to a general election, and levels of violence
and intimidation at the hands of the Government and their supporters
continue to rise. It is clear that the necessary conditions for any
election in 2000 to be considered free and fair already do not exist. The
major challenge at this stage is to try and salvage what courage and
resilience still remains among ordinary Zimbabweans, so that they have at
least some space in which to cast their votes without fear, regardless of
which party they choose to support.

What is happening is not chaos; it is carefully orchestrated: it is State
organised violence. The violence has little to do with land, legitimate
issue though this is  the violence is about the destruction of the first
real threat to ZANU-PF in 20 years, the MDC. The violence must be put in
the context of President Mugabes threat made, at the opening of the Pungwe
Water Project several weeks ago that opponents would face death and that
white farmers were "enemies of the State". The violence is a direct result
of these statements.

There is a clear strategy behind these events, which has seen the
Government shifting its targets over time, from peaceful occupations of
farms, to violence on farms, first against the farmers themselves, then
against their workers. The strategy then shifted to encompass civilians in
rural areas, rural business centers, rural-based black businessmen and
their enterprises, MDC candidates and their communities, and now to large
rural industries. The violence is designed to look like the spontaneous
uprisings of land or resource-hungry peasants, but is in fact reported as
being overseen by a Third Force of hard line army, police and CIO staff,
headed by and answerable to President Mugabe.

The following summary of violent incidents is far from exhaustive, and
includes only those incidents that have been well documented and reliably
sourced. The reality is that daily brutal intimidation is taking place
throughout the country including in remote rural areas, and most of the
possibly thousands of victims do not have access to human rights
organizations or other safe parties to whom they can make reports and seek
assistance. At other times, reports reaching the cities lack sufficient
detail to qualify as reliable, and exact numbers of victims of beatings and
type of injuries sustained cannot be verified. Such reports are not
included here in quantifications.


It is also hard to convey to outside parties how effective verbal threats
can be in silencing and terrifying rural civilians, particularly in
Matabeleland, where before the 1985 election, hundreds of prominent ZAPU
supporters were picked up at night and have never been seen again. Merely
to threaten to make people disappear, is a powerful weapon against
defenseless people who have personal memories of witnessing executions and
of being tortured by this government in the recent past. Psychological
torture of this nature is widespread and underestimated in its power to
reduce entire populations to silence.


The accounts of violence have been gathered from multiple sources, and are
backed up by a formal running database of victims which is being updated
daily. The sources include human rights organizations in
Bulawayo and Harare, political parties, the CFU, the Catholic Church, media
reports, and victims in rural areas. Those affected are predominantly those
suspected to be MDC supporters. The exact ratio of MDC and ZANU-PF as
victims and\or perpetrators is summarized at the end of this brief. As the
CFU has its own comprehensive system of daily reporting, incidents on
commercial farms are not given much space in this summary, but are
presented as total figures of farms so far occupied and assaults recorded.

Much of this violence has already been well documented elsewhere, but this
account specifically includes mention of incidents in Matabeleland which
are perhaps less well known. Human rights violations range from
interference with freedom of movement, speech and association, to death
threats, destruction of property, serious assaults and premeditated murder.

The violations referred to below have been documented by an independent
human rights NGO, Amani Trust.


TOTAL RECORDED VIOLATIONS: 5 078 (as documented on Amani Trusts data)


Includes with blunt weapons, gunshot wounds,

Burns, attempted stranglings 1012

Rape: 8

TOTAL DEATHS: Includes beating, shooting, strangling 19 (NB of these 15
were either MDC members, supporters or sympathizers. Not one ZANU (PF)
supporter has been killed)

TOTAL PROPERTY DESTRUCTION Houses and property destroyed; 417

Other violations include threats of violence and death, interference with
freedom of movement, speech and association, refusal to register voters.


Unknown (farm workers and civilian casualties) 50,7% (NB most of whom are
thought to have been MDC sympathizers)

MDC clearly known (rally casualties etc) 41,2%

ZANU-PF clearly known (rally casualties etc) 6,7%

Policemen 1,4%


ZANU-PF supporters (incl. youths and veterans) 86,3%

Government employees (police, registrars etc) 5,8%

MDC supporters 4,3%

Unknown (farm workers and civilians) 3,6%

It will be clear from the above that ZANU (PF) members and supporters are
overwhelmingly responsible for the violence. Whilst the President of the
MDC has repeatedly affirmed the MDCs commitment to non violent democratic
elections, no such undertaking has been forthcoming from President Mugabe.
On the contrary his statements have initiated, condoned and inflamed the
violence. The violence is clearly State sponsored and targeted at the
members of a specific political party, the MDC, and a specific ethnic
minority. Accordingly the political violence is a crime against humanity
and the international community should now investigate whether President
Mugabe and those also involved in directing and perpetrating the violence
should not be indicted for these crimes.




10th May 2000


14 FEBRUARY 2000

Please note: farm invasions are not dealt with here in detail, although
verified cases of violence on farms are mentioned in general terms.. The
CFUs figures for farm invasions on 3 May 2000, were that 1190 farms have
so far been invaded at some point, and that on 4 May 753 were currently
still occupied. In spite of agreements with the war veterans and government
officials that invasions wold halt, they are clearly continuing, as is the
violence. The CFU figures for violent incidents on farms are that there
have been over 100 such incidents, some involving scores, or even hundreds,
of workers. Exact figures are not more accurately available from them.
 * 20 Feb violence, Chiweshe: ZANU-PF youths with iron bars beat MDC
supporters, incited by Governor of Mashonaland Central
* 22 Feb violence: Kwekwe, clashes between ZANU-PF and MDC leave 6 injured
and 4 houses burnt.
* 23 February: police ban political meetings and marches in Kwekwe between
the hours of 6 am and 6 pm.
* 28 February: first reports of land invasions in Mashonaland. This is
exactly two weeks after the Constitutional Referendum result: white farmers
had been blamed for the "No" vote.
* 6 March: violence by ZANU-PF supporters against MDC in Masvingo and
Harare, one woman abducted and 4 MDC cabins destroyed
* 11 March: MDC youths stone ZANU-PF offices: youths in Chegutu prevent
people from registering
* 12 March: Dep Min leads attack on MDC members, resulting in one serious
* 19 March: Gweru and Kwekwe, 10 people injured in clashes between MDC and
ZANU-PF in 3 incidents
* 21 March: Magwegwe, Bulawayo: brutal attack on the chairman of MDC for
this suburb: he was beaten and left for dead by his front gate at night. He
later required emergency brain surgery (medical records).
* 23 March, Muchakata: commercial farmer beaten by 8 youths for meeting
with MDC supporters
* 28 March, Kwekwe: clash between ZANU-PF and MDC: MDC attack war vets
office, 16 people injured
* 28 March, Bindura: MDC supporter killed by stone while leaving a rally on
a truck.. Trucks used at rally petrol bombed and destroyed
* 29 March: Bubi farming area: the head of the war veterans, Chenjerai
Hunzvi and around 70 of his supporters brought in from Mashonaland made an
intimidatory propaganda visit to a white game rancher, together with
television cameras from the government sponsored media. They proceeded to
bully this man and confiscate his licensed weapons in front of the cameras.
Property was destroyed and stolen. This was clearly a propaganda stunt 
the farmer was accused of supporting MDC. The weapons were all later
returned by the police, after Hunzvis departure.
* 29 March: Bubi farming area; the above group of war veterans also beat up
the black manager of the local bottle store.
* 29 March: youths wearing stolen MDC tee shirts stone the Globe and
Phoenix Mine, causing $1 million damage
* 29 March, Mash Central: MDC support center petrol bombed, trucks burned,
vehicle stoned
* 29 March, Kwekwe, MDC burn down building
* 31 March, Muzarabani: ZANU-PF supporters destroy bus carrying MDC posters
* 1 April, Harare: a peaceful NCA march of estimated 4000 civilians is
attacked by 150 armed war veterans, resulting in at least 12 serious injuries
* 1 April, countrywide: most cities that had planned marches for this day
have marches banned, although an NCA march goes ahead without incident in
* 1 April; bus set on fire in Gweru
* 2 - 5 April, Murewa, Mahusekwa, Marondera, Chuta, Guruve, Glen Norah,
Wadzani and Gweru: in all these areas, MDC supporters are attacked and
* 2 April, Centenary: MDC supporter shot and killed in scuffle with war vets
* 2 April, Mvurwi: pregnant woman dies after attack on MDC supporters
coming from a rally
* 3 April: commercial farmer Ian Kay brutally beaten: farm drivers and farm
workers also beaten on same day on other farms
* 4 April: Const Chikwenya is killed by war vets, while conducting police
* 5 April: commercial farmer assaulted
* 7 April, Daily News crew held hostage for two hours
* 7 April, Gweru: bus set on fire
* 7 April, Harare: MDC supporters kidnap schoolboy and burn two vehicles.
MDC supporters house is damaged and MDC supporter injured
 * 9 April: Zvishavane business center: brutal attack on 20 unarmed MDC
supporters, including women, by 100 war veterans and armed youths. There
was no dialogue  MDC T-shirts were ripped off peoples backs and they were
beaten with stones and sticks. One supporter was left for dead, with a head
injury and seriously fractured femur. He required emergency transfer to
Bulawayo and had stitches in front and back of his head and his elbow, in
addition to surgery for his leg. He can personally identify his attackers,
but no arrests have been made.
* 9 April: commercial farmer assaulted by farm invaders
* 11  13 April, Mashonaland: 4 separate reports of assaults of worker on
commercial farms, and two farmers held hostage, and one assaulted by invaders
* Week of 12 April: civilians living on communal farms near Empandeni
Mission, Matabeleland South, were woken at 2 am and forced by armed war
veterans to leave their homes and stake land claims on two white-owned
commercial farms, against their will. They are being forced to remain on
these farms, and told to build new homesteads there, but they are concerned
about their crops at their original homesteads, as they now cannot harvest
them, or protect them from monkeys.
* Week of 12 April; army units wearing red berets were seen in Bulawayo,
and also in Matabeleland North and South: this in intimidatory, as it
reminds people of the murderous 5 Brigade, who wore red berets in the 1980s.
* 14- 15 April, Arizona Farm: brutal murder of Dave Stevens, a member of
the MDC and brutal assault and detention of 5 other commercial farmers,
after Stevens workers attack war veterans
* 15 April, Buhera: MDC workers Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika were
killed in a petrol bomb attack on their vehicle by ZANU-PF supporters.
Another man escapes after assaults.
* 17 April, Midlands: farm worker found hanged, circumstances unclear
* 20 April, Mashonaland: Stevens foreman found murdered18 April Shamva:
five farms have their workers severely attacked by invaders, and other
farms are also affected. One farm foreman has his foot broken in
Mashonaland, by invaders.
* 18 April, Bulawayo: MDC rally broken up by armed men
* 18 April: intimidation of people at Maphisa Business Centre by Shona
speaking ZANU-PF supporters, who forced party card buying. People were told
that if they did not support the government, "Gukurahundi would return", a
reference to the mass murdering that took place in the 1980s. This has
continued since that date.
 * 18 April: The murder of Martin Olds an MDC sympathizer on his farm in
Nyamandlovu, by 120 armed "war veterans" who were bused in to Matabeleland
from Mashonaland the day before, presumably partly for this purpose. A
convoy of armed war veterans headed out of Bulawayo in organized fashion in
the early hours of Tuesday morning and proceeded to Olds farm. The State
is complicit in this murder, which was clearly entirely orchestrated by
Government, for the following reasons:
 * it took a three hour gun battle before Olds was killed, as he
single-handedly kept a hundred armed men at bay from his house, while
repeatedly radioing for help, and an early Police response would have saved
the situation
* the Police refused to go to the aid of the farmer in spite of repeated
requests to do so
* the Police road block turned back an ambulance trying to reach Olds
* the same Police road block allowed through armed war veterans to carry
out the murder
* the same Police road block allowed two injured war veterans to be ferried
through for treatment while the shooting was still in progress
* the same Police road block allowed the war veterans to leave the scene of
the shooting and return entirely unhindered to Bulawayo
* no arrests have been made, and two war veterans wounded by Olds in the
lengthy shoot out that led to his death, were treated at a government
hospital and released without questioning
 * 22 April, Harare: Daily News office has bomb thrown at it, destroying an
art gallery
* 22 April, Bindura: farm owner assaulted by ZANU-PF supporters
* 23 April, Wedza: farm worker set alight by ZANU-PF supporters, others
beaten, barn destroyed
* Week of 25 April: eyewitness accounts of the ZANU-PF MP for Gwanda
District conducting his election campaign mainly around the statement that
those who did not vote for him would be murdered and their bodies thrown
into the nearby dam.
* 23 April, Harare: 2 white women raped by war veterans 10 km from Harare
* 24 April, Mashonaland; six reports of rapes of farm labourers families.
* 24 April, Shamva: one MDC supporter killed and chairman assaulted with an
axe, 16 houses of MDC supporters destroyed.
* 25 April, Mashonaland: labour forces assaulted on two farms
* 25 April, Kariba: Rex Jesus, a war vet, abducts 8 people, brutally
assaults them, resulting in 2 deaths of MDC supporters and three
* 26 April, Mashonaland: reports of Red Brigade style intimidation, severe
beating and indoctrination of farm work forces taking place regularly at
night. Also reports of intimidation of school teachers
* Week of 25 April to the present, Matabeleleland: many first hand accounts
given to AMANI Trust staff of gross intimidation including death threats,
threats of assault, and most ominously threats of disappearance, being
repeatedly given at ZANU-PF rallies, and people feeling coerced into buying
ZANU-PF membership cards. These threats have been widely recorded in
Gwanda, Matobo, Tsholotsho and Lupane Districts so far, and it is rural
civilians who are being targeted.
* 28 April, Mashonaland: serious assaults of work forces on 5 farms, 10
* 28 April, Mutoko: ZANU-PF supporters burn down 4 MDC houses and beat
workers at a quarry
* 29 April, Mashonaland: serious assaults on 5 more farms: in Masvingo,
vehicle smashed, two assaulted, worker missing. Houses of 100 farm
labourers destroyed by farm invaders
* 1 May, Manicaland: farm labourer beaten, and in Mashonaland, 3 staff
abducted on a farm
* 1 May, Gweru: Shop and business of Timothy Mukahlera, MDC candidate, are
bombed and burnt.
* 2 May: confirmed report of two black businessmen from Maphisa, a small
business center in Matobo District, having been illegally detained and
taken to Gwanda. They are known MDC supporters. They were held for several
days and then released.
* 2 May: report of an attempted petrol bomb raid on a business in Maphisa,
confirmed by the state media
* 2 May, Mashonaland: incidents of violence reported on 6 farms, resulting
in hospitalization of 9 people
* 2 May, Bulawayo: reports of door to door intimidation by ZANU-PF
supporters in North End, who threaten to note down house numbers and send
the Youth back to "sort you out", if people cannot produce ZANU-PF cards
* 3 May, Bindura: Matthew Pfebve brother of MDC candidate is murdered and
other relatives severely beaten and houses burnt, by several hundred
ZANU-PF supporters
* 3 May, Mashonaland: 8 assaults on labour forces, 5 death threats to farmers
* 3 May, Filabusi: the MDC candidate is very seriously assaulted by ZANU-PF
* 4 May, Bulawayo: war veterans try to force civilians off buses at Renkini
Bus Terminus, to board buses for the airport to welcome Presidents Mugabe
and Mbeki to Bulawayo. Civilians object strongly, violence threatens to
erupt, but the police control the situation
* 4 May, Bulawayo: a street vendor selling herbal products that carry a
warning in Ndebele that touching the product makes the palm of the hand
hot, is accused of supporting MDC, on the grounds that his product mentions
the palm of the hand! (Tshisa Isandla). His wares are confiscated, and when
he resists, he is severely beaten on the street, then taken to nearby
ZANU-PF headquarters where he is further beaten. He is hospitalized at Mpilo.
* 4 May, Harare: MDC candidate has his hammer mill petrol bombed 5 hours
after MDC president addresses a rally there.
* 4 May, Mashonaland: farm labourers assaulted on one farm
* 5 May, Masvingo: game scouts abducted and assaulted. Politically inspired
labour unrest immobilises operations in Hippo Valley, a major cane growing
* 6 May, Harare West: rival factions of land invaders have a brutal
confrontation with each other
* 7 May, Beatrice: Allan Dunn MDC supporter is beaten to death by people
believed to be war veterans
* 7 May, Beatrice: assaults on farm labourers reported on 4 different farms
Keep up the momentum!
MDC Support Centre
8th Floor, Gold Bridge
Chinja Maitiro / Maitiro Chinja
Website : www.in2zw.com/mdc

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