Conflict over land and power prevails in the lead up to the Zimbabwean general elections in June 2000. RTÉ News got the inside story from Zimbabweans who work the land.
Against a background of electoral intimidation and fraud, Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party faced real opposition for the first time in the Zimbabwean elections of 2000. The elections were held on 24 and 25 June 2000.
Ahead of the elections RTÉ News reporter Richard Downes travelled to Zimbabwe and spent a week with Zimbabwean farmers, both rich and poor, to find out if conflict in Zimbabwe is really about land or power, or both. This report includes interviews with German tobacco grower, Heinrich Von Petzold, one of the three biggest tobacco growers in the world. He also meets Benson Zamarra, who farms 6 acres.
On the eve of Zimbabwe's elections, President Robert Mugabe attacked the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, labelling them 'White Stooges'. Meanwhile, an MDC parliamentary candidate is reported to be in a coma, after being attacked by Mugabe's supporters.
The battleground in these elections has been the rural heartlands, with President Mugabe accusing the white farmers of being colonisers, while the government is trying to use the land invasions as a smokescreen for widespread intimidation ahead of the elections.
The MDC won 57 seats, with Zanu PF taking 63.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 June 2000.