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Published 21st February 2003

Vol 44 No 4


This land is our land

A secret government report shows how officials are grabbing farms and violently evicting landless farmers

A confidential government audit of Zimbabwe's land reform has found widespread evidence of corrupt allocations and the use of violence by senior politicians and military officers to evict landless small farmers the very people President Robert Mugabe claimed the land reform policy would help. Reports of corruption and abuses uncovered by the auditors will embarrass Mugabe, who has staked his domestic reputation on the speedy transfer of land to Zimbabwe's more than two million landless poor farmers. Now, from the government's own investigations, it appears that not only has the policy precipitated a catastrophic fall in food crop production which, along with the regional drought, is causing as many as seven million Zimbabweans to go hungry but above all, the policy has financially benefitted the nomenklatura of Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). The audit (1) , of which Africa Confidential has obtained a copy, reveals that some of the worst violations of the land reform policy were committed by Mugabe's closest political allies, such as Air Marshal Perence Shiri and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, as well as Mugabe's sister, Sabina Mugabe. This is the President's dilemma: his credibility with the ZANU-PF grassroots supporters demands action against violators named in the audit but many of these are major figures in his own political network.

Succession for sale

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Business interests are trading favours, and newspapers, to buy political advantage

Zimbabwe's power-brokers take the struggle to succeed President Robert Mugabe seriously and ingratiate themselves with whomever they think likely to win. Some stand by Mugabe, beli...

Beg, borrow and steal

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At this critical time for peace, nearly a billion dollars is missing from the foreign reserves

Angola, a hoped-for oil ally of the United States and with a seat on the United Nations Security Council this year, should be doing well (AC Vol 44 No 1). Its civil war ended last ...

Model justice, for some

War crimes trials start this year but the causes of the war still fester

Some 20 to 30 people accused of the most heinous crimes in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war are to be tried this year at the Special Court in Freetown, operating from Slovenian-made...

The blame game

AIDS policy is still disastrous, though the President now leaves it to his Health Minister

The blame for South Africa's peculiar policies on HIV/AIDS is shifting from President Thabo Mbeki to his Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, caricatured by local AIDS activi...

Said and unsaid

President Thabo Mbeki's State of the Nation speech at the opening of parliament on 14 February has left many feeling he slighted the nation in favor of a largely symbolic foreign p...


Killing fields

Oil money is again exacerbating the war. A consortium operated by state-owned China National Petroleum Company has made a 'very significant' strike in Block 7 of east-central Sudan...

A long march

China's decision last week to send 220 peacekeeping troops to the beleaguered Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies en République Démocratique du Congo (MONUC) ...

Musyoka's message

Foreign Minister Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka's swing through Washington and London last week reinforced the aid-for-security cooperation trade-off dominating Kenyan policy. President M...