Meditation Focus #8: Turmoil in Zimbabwe


What follows is the eight Meditation Focus suggested by the Global Meditation Focus Group for the week beginning Sunday June 25.


1. Summary
2. Meditation Times
3. More on the situation in Zimbabwe


There is an important election this weekend (June 24-25) in Zimbabwe were a climate of fear has been growing amidst hope that the main opposition party (MDC) will win parliamentary elections despite the scare tactics used by President Robert Mugabe's allies to ensure his Zanu-PF party keeps its control over the parliament. Mugabe's presidency is not at stake in this election but the future of this African country definitely is as a recent flooding and the spread of violence in the rural areas have brought Zimbabwe close to a serious food crisis, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In addition, over 1,000 white-owned farms have been occupied by so-called war veterans as part of a plan for land redistribution that Mugabe is promising to implement after the election.

Please hold in your heart and mind a vision of freedom, justice, and equality in Zimbabwe and the manifestation of the perfect plan that Spirit has for this country through this crucial period in its evolution. May Peace prevail in Zimbabwe, for the highest good of all.


i) Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes with a special Earth Healing Focus in the last few minutes.

ii) Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT: Honolulu 06:00 -- Los Angeles 09:00 -- Denver & San Salvador 10:00 -- Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 11:00 -- New York, Toronto, Montreal, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 -- Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 13:00 -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 16:00 -- London, Algiers & Lagos 17:00 -- Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg & Madrid 18:00 -- Athens, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Nairobi & Istanbul 19:00 -- Moscow & Baghdad 20:00 -- Tehran 20:30 -- Islamabad 21:00 -- Calcutta & New Delhi 21:30 -- Dhaka 22:00 -- Rangoon 22:30 -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 23:00 -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur 00:00+ -- Seoul & Tokyo 01:00+ -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne 02:00+ -- Wellington 04:00+

(+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time)



(22 June, 2000) Zimbabwe opposition predicts victory - Zimbabwe's main opposition party says it will win parliamentary elections this weekend if they are not rigged. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said his party should gain a majority in a parliament dominated by the governing Zanu-PF party for 20 years.

But President Robert Mugabe has hit back at Mr Tsvangirai, calling him "a stooge of outside powers" and saying he would be defeated. Mr Tsvangirai was speaking after another of his supporters was beaten to death, allegedly by members of Zanu-PF. At least 30 people, mainly opposition supporters, have died in violence linked to the elections and invasions of white-owned farms by ruling party supporters.


Hundreds beaten

The MDC said Zeke Chigagwa was killed on Wednesday morning in Makanganwa about 300km west of Harare. Hundreds of others have been beaten and intimidated in what human rights organisations have condemned as a state-sponsored terror campaign designed to crush the opposition.

The MDC says no arrests have been made over the murder of any of its activists. Earlier, the government dismissed international criticism of its decision to prevent about 200 foreign monitors observing the election. A US State Department spokesman called the ban on monitors from non-governmental organisations an outrageous step that would diminish the credibility of the elections and tarnish the reputation of Zimbabwe.


(19 June, 2000) Zimbabwe: Free elections?

"There is no way these elections can be free and fair," says Shepherd Maisiri. He is the administrator for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Makoni North constituency, 200km east of Harare. Mr Shepherd says war veterans came looking for him on three separate occasions before eventually burning his house down on the night of 2 June.

Human rights groups say more than 6,000 villagers have fled their homes in rural areas because war veterans and government supporters have attacked them, accusing them of siding with the opposition. Some have had their identity papers confiscated or destroyed, so they cannot vote. On the 1,000 white-owned farms occupied by war veterans, being found with any opposition election material means a beating and possibly worse. Thousands of farm-workers have been forced to attend all-night "pungwes" or "re-education camps", where they are forced to march up and down, sing the praises of Zanu-PF and condemn the opposition.

Opposition fears

The MDC, which has surprised President Robert Mugabe with its strength and organisation, says it can only campaign safely in 25 out of 120 constituencies. Less than two weeks before the elections, with foreign observers already in the country, MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was forced to cancel public rallies to the north and east of Harare because his supporters were afraid of being publicly identified with the opposition.



(June 22, 2000) Zimbabwe Land Strife Puts Food Supply at Risk

The turmoil over land ownership roiling Zimbabwe may prove to be the least of that country's worries. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Friday that Zimbabwe is teetering on the edge of a serious food crisis. The issue of land reform is only one of the contributing factors. When the world was transfixed on February's flooding in Mozambique, little attention was paid to the flooding in its neighbor to the west, where extensive crop damage was inflicted on Zimbabwe's eastern and southern provinces.

To add to its woes, Zimbabwe, a nation of 11 million, also has been suffering from a fuel shortage due in part to its foreign debt burden, which it struggles to repay. The country has difficulty in borrowing more money. And as if all that was enough, Zimbabwe has been sucked into the regional and civil war in the Congo—putting even more strain on its financial resources and deepening the government's unpopularity with the voters.


For the last two months, black squatters have been invading large white-owned farms. They are frustrated by broken land-reform promises made by the government over the years. The government, in turn, blames the former colonial power, Britain, which it says must pay for meaningful redistribution of agricultural land in Zimbabwe. As much as 70 percent of Zimbabwe's most fertile land is still in the hands of about 4,000 white farmers—two decades after the country won its independence at the end of a bruising war of liberation. Many of the squatters invading the white farms are veterans of the war. They say they have not seen the benefits of their victory.

Britain has agreed in principle to give Zimbabwe financial assistance for land reform. However, talks between the British and Zimbabwe governments in Britain last week did not yield any progress. Britain insists that before it hands over any money the illegal invasions of the commercial farms must be stopped, and it wants the Zimbabwe government to call free and fair elections which are now due.

Britain also is anxious to see that its money is used for distribution of land to deserving people and to broaden the ownership of the country's agriculture. Previous land-distribution programs have largely benefited the political supporters of the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. In an atmosphere of rising tension, violence has erupted and a number of people, whites and blacks, have been killed. Crops have been burned in fields and stores.


"This has created a climate of fear amongst the farmers," said the FAO, "many of whom have abandoned their farms and left their livestock unattended and fled to the relative safety of urban areas. These events are taking place at a time when the farmers should be harvesting, processing and marketing their crops, particularly maize, the country's staple food, and tobacco, the top foreign exchange earner.

"It is also the time to start preparing for planting the wheat crop in June/July, a crop that is almost entirely produced by large-scale commercial farmers under irrigation. "There is, therefore, growing concern that if the violence continues, there will be a serious drop in food production and supply, jeopardizing national food security."


While the impact of the disturbances on the food supply situation may be significant this year, says the FAO, it may be felt more severely next year. The FAO points out that since independence in 1980 after a century of colonial rule, Zimbabwe has made impressive progress in the agriculture sector, being a net exporter of maize mainly to neighboring countries. But now "these gains are likely to be compromised by the disturbances and the deepening economic problems."

© National Geographic Society


Zimbabwe economy in crisis (HARARE, June 22) -- Zimbabwe's economy is in crisis, with political violence now sweeping the country finishing off years of economic mismanagement and unchecked corruption, analysts say.


(15 February, 2000) Profile of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe strongman


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