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ROBERT Mugabe has incensed opposition groups and inflamed international opinion by introducing a series of draconian laws in recent weeks.

The latest is the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill which makes it an offence to criticise Mugabe, punishable by two years in jail.

It has been boycotted by all the main journalistic unions who have already been accused of being terrorists by writing articles unfavourable to Mugabe's government.

The Bill also bans foreign journalists from entering Zimbabwe.

Three journalists were expelled last year and, two months ago, six more were told they would be regarded as terrorists because they represented foreign media.

The Bill, which is due to become law next week, will also set up a State-appointed commission with powers to license, investigate and restrict journalists working in the country. More worrying are two other new laws which were announced last week.

The first, the Public Order and Security Bill makes it a capital offence for Zimbabweans to assist terrorism, subversion, espionage, banditry, sabotage and treason.

The Bill states it is illegal to "undermine the authority of the president".

The second, the General Laws Amendment Act, outlaws independent monitors at the election.

Instead, Zimbabwe will set up an electoral supervisory commission to oversee the polls and it will recruit its own monitors.

In addition, Mugabe has authorised the systematic looting of white-owned farms by gangs of his supporters over the past two years.

He claims it is a justified response to the way land ownership was carved up during colonial rule.

He has drawn up a list of 100,000 "loyal" Zimbabweans to get the land.

The names include MPs and Mugabe loyalists. Hundreds of white farmers have been attacked and forced to flee their homes, leaving them in financial ruin.


THE IRON FIST: Robert Mugabe preaches his message of hate to supporters in Harare; RALLY: Rivals clash in Harare
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2002
Previous Article:HATE DICTATOR; Mugabe orders thugs on rampage in poll terror Liar jibe at Blair .. the Queen shocked by crisis.
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