21 April 2005
"Rigged" Zimbabwe Elections Prompt
U.S. Sanctions Review
Assistant Secretary Newman hints to Congress of
possible further action
By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's
actions leading to -- and
during -- flawed parliamentary elections in March
have prompted the U.S.
government to review its sanctions policy toward his
Secretary of State for African Affairs Constance Newman
told Congress April
In testimony before the House Subcommittee on
Africa, Global Human Rights
and International Operations, Newman said, "The
March 31 elections for
Zimbabwe's Parliament were a travesty of democratic
standards. They were
not free and fair. Instead, they are proof that Robert
Mugabe and the
ZANU-PF party continue to trample on Zimbabwe's democratic
traditions; they continue to rule by fraud and
She told Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Smith (Republican
of New Jersey),
"On election day thousands of voters were turned away from
the polls. The
vote count was almost certainly rigged and credible evidence
ZANU-PF stole more than a dozen seats from MDC [Movement for
Change]," the main opposition party.
elections were a sad day for Zimbabwe and for the cause of
democracy in the
region," Newman told lawmakers.
In response, she said U.S. government
agencies are "reviewing and updating
our sanctions regime to ensure that our
targeted sanctions have flexibility
and teeth, and are adequate to the new
When asked by Smith to go into detail, Newman declined, but
in her written
statement said, "I can say that the election has reconfirmed
the need for
targeted financial and travel sanctions on regime leaders who
democracy. The individuals who abused democracy and helped to
election must be held accountable." She added her office might
details for the subcommittee "a month from now" or even
Newman was quick to add, however, that the expanded sanctions, if
not be aimed at the Zimbabwean public. "The United States has
not and does
not intend to impose general sanctions on Zimbabwe that will
hurt the people
or economy. We reject any steps that would cause ordinary
suffer for the sins of the ZANU-PF leadership."
assistance to meet the growing food and health crisis in Zimbabwe
Mugabe's flawed agricultural policies, including forcible land
would also not be affected, Newman added. She pointed out that
government has provided close to $300 million in humanitarian
Smith commented on Zimbabwe's wrecked economy saying, "Four
thousand agricultural jobs have been lost. And, while the continent
Africa is experiencing the highest economic growth in nearly a decade,
Zimbabwe's economy is contracting."
Declaring, "leadership does
matter," Smith mentioned the 25th anniversary of
celebrated on April 18 and Mugabe's role in
politics. "Rather than take the
success he achieved in 1980 and build on
it, President Mugabe has taken the
repressive path and has systematically
violated the fundamental human rights
of the people of Zimbabwe.
"Robert Mugabe was a hero to his people and to
his fellow Africans for
successfully standing up to racism and oppression,"
but now, "more than
anyone else, President Mugabe has contributed to a
climate of fear, and
heightened even further explosive racial tensions" in
(The Washington File is a product of
the Bureau of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State.
Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
Zimbabwe's woes no immediate threat
Zimbabwe's economic woes might have wider implications for South
the smaller country was its main trade partner on the continent,
Bank said yesterday.
But, the central bank said, Zimbabwe
posed no immediate threat to South
Africa's financial sector as its exposure
to Zimbabwean banks remained
fairly low and conservatively
"The continued economic meltdown in Zimbabwe may have wider
implications. Although constituting a modest 2.4 percent of South
exports, Zimbabwe remains South Africa's largest trade partner on
continent," it said.
"South African exports to Zimbabwe declined
by 5.6 percent in 2004."
Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by more than a
third over the past five
years, unemployment is estimated at about 70
percent and inflation is in
It noted that Zimbabwe's
central bank had introduced some measures to
Beijing makes friends and riches in Africa
China's headlong scramble for Africa will gather
high-level impetus today
when President Hu Jintao joins dozens of African
and Asian leaders at a
celebratory summit in Indonesia.
The meeting marks
the 50th anniversary of the Bandung conference - the
moment when developing
countries began to join forces. It foreshadowed the
creation of the
Non-Aligned Movement six years later.
In Bandung, Zhou Enlai represented
communist China alongside national
founding fathers such as India's Nehru
and Egypt's Nasser.
Mr Hu will not be advocating revolutionary solidarity in the teeth of
western colonialist oppression. His post-imperial message to Africa is all
business: economic self-interest and development, trade pacts, investment
and bilateral aid.
Increased cooperation with Africa, he said last week,
was China's "strategic
China is hoping to accelerate its
already spectacularly successful drive to
tap the African natural resources
it needs to fuel its rapid economic
And to the
gratification of leaders such as Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and
Bashir, Chinese deals come with few political strings; at least
Ignoring human rights abuses, electoral fraud and western sanctions,
has supplied military equipment and interest-free loans to Mr Mugabe's
It also tiled the roof of his $9m (£4.7m) presidential
mansion for free,
made T-shirts for his youth militia and provided a radio
jammer to help
silence opposition broadcasts.
China has gained
favoured access to Zimbabwe's gold and platinum resources
and new markets
for its manufacturing exports.
This pattern is repeated across Africa.
China opposed UN oil sanctions over
Darfur because Sudan, where it has
invested $4bn, supplies 5% of its oil
imports. It agreed a "strategic
partnership" last week with Nigeria, a big
oil exporter, and has oil
interests in Angola, Chad and Gabon.
Major trading relationships are
developing with South Africa and Egypt,
infrastructure, telecoms and tourism projects are
proliferating from Sierra
Leone and Rwanda to Madagascar and Lesotho.
In all, China-Africa trade
has doubled to more than $20bn since 2000, and is
projected to double again
by 2009. At that rate, China will soon surpass the
US, whose trade with
Africa in 2004 was valued at $30bn.
"China sees Africa as a source of
vital strategic resources," said Andrew
Yang of the Chinese Council of
Advanced Policy Studies. "But it is also
promoting multilateralism to
balance George Bush's unilateralism. It wants
to elevate China's standing in
China is not oblivious to western concerns about rights and
Yang said. But it puts respect for national sovereignty
"It depends on each country's priorities. China thinks it can
experience as a developing country which has replaced the old
and is building a market system."
Beijing does insist
that its African partners back its "one China" policy
and shun Taiwan.
Support for China in international forums is quietly
encouraged. But its
political demands have been limited so far.
Its approach has been
compared favourably with that of 19th-century European
the original scramble for Africa, who tried to "civilise"
and convert - and
with the depredations of western multinationals.
Zephirin Diabre, of the
UN Development Programme, speaking at last month's
launch of the
Beijing-based China-Africa Business Council, praised Chinese
healthcare, education and agriculture in Africa.
Beijing was "a strong
supporter of south-south cooperation", he said, and
had set an example by
cancelling or reducing $1.2bn of debt owed by 31
states, and agreeing tariff
All the same, African complaints are growing about widening
imbalances, damage to indigenous industries caused by the dumping of
textiles and other products, poor labour conditions and Chinese arms
in conflict zones.
Western governments also watch China's
energetic advance with unease.
"China is sucking in all these resources
at the expense of the west and the
developing countries," one diplomat said.
"China is an economic black hole."
Why is the CIO handing out food?
Zimbabwe's feared and
dreaded spy agency, the Central Intelligence
Organisation, CIO, has now been
put in charge of food distribution. The
agency's spooks have for years been
responsible for the torture and
disappearance of opposition
Now they have a new weapon in their arsenal - food, which is in
throughout the country.
At the helm of the agency is no
other than veteran politician Didymus
Mutasa, who during the 2000 elections
said it would be good for the country
if all opposition supporters starved
to death. It would appear that his
appointment as minister in charge of the
CIO is an endorsement of his
views.We can now expect starvation in Zimbabwe
to reach unprecedented
Why is the CIO now in charge of food
distribution? Surely it would be more
appropriate to have the Ministry of
Agriculture, or even the state-owned
Grain Marketing Board, undertake such a
Would it not be even more appropriate for food to be
commercial channels - such as wholesalers and retailers
who have an
already-established, nation-wide storage and transport
has worked for years?
Is there no end to this
government's madness? Everything they touch turns to
dust. We now have a
cabinet with the grandiose title "Development Cabinet".
Why can't they
understand that no amount of fancy titles can change
we need are ideas. Sensible ideas. And clever, well thought-out
Not fancy titles and a huge cabinet of greedy has-beens, boot
gravy train riders, who could not even organize a piss-up in a
Waitrose will not boycott Zim
Zimbabwean beans have
appeared on the shelves of Waitrose supermarkets in
the UK from farms seized
from commercial farmers and given to Zanu (PF)
supporters under the Mugabe
regime's disastrous land reform programme. This
prompted one concerned
customer to write to them.
In the days of apartheid many people boycotted
South African products, even
though the price was right and quality
excellent But the supermarket chain
says it never participates in product
boycotts. The following correspondence
has been made available to The
"Dear Sirs, While shopping in your Malvern store, I was
disturbed to find a
packet of beans from Zimbabwe.
"Are you aware, in
spite of what is explained, nearly all the farms in
Zimbabwe have been taken
over from the legal owners by the Government of
that country, the legal
farmers who have paid for the farms have been thrown
out or killed. The
present illegal occupiers of the farms are in the process
of selling off the
food that has been planted by the legal owner, in other
words they are
"The government has stated that they intend to evict all
the farmers from
their farms in the near future. Most legal owners of the
farms are now
homeless and some destitute because they were not allowed to
from their farms when they were thrown out.
their livestock killed in an appalling manner, including the pets
children. Whatever animals the invaders did not kill are suffering
neglect and many have starved to death.
"May I suggest that when you send
your representatives to Africa to source
your supply you try Zambia, where
some of the farmers have relocated and
started again, much to that country's
"I look forward to your reply, if you need more information I
can let you
have graphic details. Incidentally, I am not from Zimbabwe I am
happen to have friends
living in that, what was, beautiful
country. Eleanor Hill."
The Waitrose customer services department
"Our aim is to offer customers the widest choice of food and
drink of the
highest quality and the best value. To achieve this we will buy
suppliers who meet our exacting criteria, whether they are United
based or from further afield.
"We have no plans to remove
foreign produce from our shelves. We have never
limited our assortment in
support of boycotts.
"Our policy is to trade within the framework of the
law, as we are sure you
will appreciate it is difficult for retailers to
environmental or ethical decisions on behalf of all their
"We therefore believe it is best to let Waitrose customers to
own judgment over what they buy in our shops.
you for taking the time and trouble to bring your views to our
I would like to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to
views on this occasion. Regards, Katy Kelsey."
Zimbabwe for Edinburgh Festival
Rory Kilalea, well-known Zimbabwean broadcaster, writer and
launching Sing! Zimbabwe - a dance and music show featuring the
Harmony Singers, Tumbuka Dance Company, Ava Rogers, and Marcy
Mbira - at the forthcoming Edinburgh Festival.
"It is time for
the world to see the strength, resilience and joy of
song and dance. The Chitungwiza Harmony Singers have
never been seen abroad.
It is a fantastic opportunity to display our
talent," he told The
Edinburgh hosts the largest Festival of Theatre, Song, Dance
and Music in
the world. The leading venue for the Festival Fringe is the
managed for 25 years by Zimbabwean, William Burdett
Sing! Zimbabwe is spectacular. Featuring Matthias Julius, founder
choreographer of Tumbuka, the show has a memorable selection of traditional,
spiritual, and western songs to appeal to all tastes.
Ave Maria, Ishe Komborera, Makishi Dancing, (never seen
abroad) Tula Tula,
Comedy, Tuku's Ndiwe Muroyi, Mbira and Tumbuka.
"This is a truly
representative show, of our cultures, music and dance.
Above all, it is
Zimbabwean," said Elvas Mari of the National Arts Council
of Zimbabwe, "and
with Rory's passion and vision, we gave the show our whole
Three shows will be staged at the Harare International School
audiences prior to the tour. Details available at email@example.com
In addition, a CD
will be produced in Harare, and will be available in
proceeds are being donated to Orphans and Old Age Relief.
musical director, well known as the choir diva in Zimbabwe will
sultry jazz- style solos. At rehearsals she told us: "The
master, Israel Dzangare is a perfectionist. Our show
Tumbuka has earned world acclaim as the premier
dance troupe of Zimbabwe.
"They were the obvious choice," said Diana
Anthony, associate producer.
"Their athletic repertoire, both traditional
and modern, and sensitive
interpretation of our music is a perfect mix for
Matthias Julius, choreographer, agrees, "An international platform
allows us a wide audience. To show that we are still a nation of
Local costs in Zimbabwe have been
enthusiastically sponsored by Olivine
Industries, Old Mutual and Innscor,
and Kilalea is optimistic of raising the
"We still require sixty
thousand pounds to cover accommodation, travel and
CD, but if only one
quarter of our Diaspora donated the costs of a couple of
beers, we would be
well covered," he said.
The Edinburgh Fringe runs from the 5th to the
29th of August 2005. Sing!
Zimbabwe performs at the St George's West
Sanctuary, 58 Shandwick Place,
Edinburgh. Lunch times during the week and
afternoons over the weekend.
Ticket enquiries - Assembly@St Georges West, or Box office enquires
"A Zimbabwean show of hope and joy!"
for Sing! Zimbabwe, however small, should be made out to Rory
cheque to: Sing! Zimbabwe, c/o William Burdett Coutts /
Riverside Studios, Crisp Road, London W6 9RL. On the
reverse, please write
your name and specify 'Donation - Sing! Zimbabwe'. All
contributions will be
acknowledged in the programme. All other enquiries -
Largest cabinet in Africa
Mr Mugabe has wasted no time is appointing a new Cabinet - and it
different from the previous one. There are a number of notable exits
some not so notable additions. We now definitely have the largest
Africa with several new cabinet posts being established to look
that Mugabe wants either to reward or to have where he can keep
an eye on
In his statement Mugabe said this cabinet would be a "development
not like the previous one, which was a "war cabinet". In view of
state of the economy it might be useful to look at the new team
ourselves if they are in any way capable of turning this ship
Herbert Murewa is confirmed in the post he has held twice before
- the first
time as Minister of Finance and then as acting Minister when
arrested and thrown into prison for certain financial
record is one of steady incompetence. No major reforms
have been adopted on
his watch in the past and we can expect little to come
out of the Ministry
of Finance while he is at the helm. He certainly is no
match for Gideon Gono
who will continue to make the running in this sphere
Rugare Gumbo comes in at the Ministry of Development - what
that is meant to
do I find difficult to imagine. There is little going on in
sphere; there is no money for development and all access to
that might help are closed to us. This is a sinecure and is
spark any kind of activity.
Obert Mpofu comes back to be
Minister of Industry and International Trade.
He was the Deputy to Nathan
Shamuyarira when he was Minister and was not a
shining success. He played
little or no role in trade negotiations and shown
little understanding of
Industrial output has collapsed by nearly 40% and is
still shrinking. Until
the economic fundamentals are sorted out and our
normalized, it is difficult to see
Perhaps the worst appointment was the retention of Joseph Made
Agriculture. He has been at the helm for several years and on his watch
have seen the output of the farm sector decline by 80%. No recovery in
and things can only get worse under his leadership - if you can call a
At Mines and Energy we have two unknowns - the
previous Minister of Mines
was doing quite well until Zanu (PF) put its
spanner in the works. Neither
of these appointments will have been welcomed
in business circles.
This week Gideon Gono is due to make another
"Monetary Statement" and this
is awaited with keen interest. No doubt the
new economics team - the
so-called "development cabinet" will turn out to
applaud from the gallery -
that is about all they are able to do at this
juncture. Nobody expects much
from the new team, and they are probably
Mass starvation or mass action
LONDON - Zimbabweans have two clear options: mass starvation or
This was the message of Jenni Williams, the national
co-ordinator of WOZA
(Women of Zimbabwe Arise) at the Monday Forum of the
MDC Central London
Branch this week.
Williams spoke of the brutal
treatment to which WOZA activists were
subjected when they held a prayer
meeting in Harare's Africa Unity Square on
election night . . . . . how they
(including grandmothers) were made to lie
down and walked over by policemen
who beat them with batons. None of the
women uttered a cry. "Strike a woman
and you strike a rock", said Williams.
She returns to Zimbabwe this week
to stand trial for violating POSA, but is
unafraid. "We must go back out
into the streets even although we have
suffered. God gave me rights and he
gave me children who deserve a future.
When we go out in the streets and
express our rights we get empowered by
that, it is so wonderful to feel
alive and to know that we are expressing
our rights as women and as human
beings," she said.
In a plea for more involvement she said: "Elections no
longer give us
democracy and freedom, we need to find another way. Come home
and help with
the struggle or tell your friends and relatives and get them
out onto the
street. Robert Mugabe came to power through passive resistance
and that is
why he is so afraid of us, that is how we are going to get him
She said the message had to be sent out that people
should know and defend
their rights. Zanu (PF) had perfected the art of mass
Zimbabweans had to throw away their culture of fear. Williams
arrested 19 or 20 times - she has lost count.
Chinese make a killing in Zim
BY WILF MBANGA
Premier Wen Jiabao meets President Robert Mugabe
LONDON - The Chinese are set
to make a killing (literally) as a result of
President Robert Mugabe's 'Look
East' policy. The first load of Chinese-made
armoured personnel carriers
arrived in the Zimbabwean capital Harare in
November 2004. Riot gear, mobile
water cannons and other equipment followed
A few months
previously, a consignment of sophisticated internet monitoring
was delivered. The arms deal - worth US$240 million - was
defiance of international sanctions.
The order included 12 fighter planes
and thousands of AK-47 assault rifles.
Earlier this month Zimbabwe took
delivery of four of the jet fighters - poor
cousin to the sturdy, but aging,
British Hawk - which screamed overhead as
the nation 'celebrated' its 25th
anniversary of independence in the massive
Also on the aging dictator's Eastern shopping list are three
aircraft for the down-at-heel national airline, Air Zimbabwe,
and a number
of combine harvesters and tractors to bolster the chaotic 'land
programme'. It is understood a number of the combines 'disappeared'
en-route, while in South Africa, under dubious circumstances.
course there are the numerous construction project tenders won by
Chinese for government projects - often amid accusations of tender
'abnormalities' - not to mention the building materials, construction and
fittings at the various presidential (but personal) mansions scattered
around the country. And of course the thousands of Chinese computers dished
out to schools by Mugabe during his recent election campaign.
the most conservative calculations the bill must come to several
of Zimbabwe dollars - at a time when the economy has virtually
is plagued by serious shortages of fuel, foreign exchange and
are no drugs in the hospitals. Millions are starving - and they
are not only
Putting aside questions about the government's skewed
jets, water cannons and assault rifles instead of food,
fuel and medicines),
thinking Zimbabweans must be wondering how the
government plans to pay for
its 'Look East' policy.
often resorted to novel forms of payment. In 2000, it paid the
Chinese for a
US$ 1 million shipment of AK-47's using ivory from stockpiles
its national parks.
It has also bartered tobacco, of which commodity
China is a voracious
consumer. But the tobacco sales floors are virtually
empty now. The crop is
a fraction of what it used to be - thanks to the
'land reform programme' and
farmers are withholding even the little they
produced because prices are so
What is left? Land and mineral
wealth. It is reported that Chinese firms
have been given contracts to clear
huge swathes of bush land for farming in
the Mwenezi area. Is payment going
to take the form of title deeds? Who
knows? Given the lack of transparency
and accountability now rampant in
government - odds are we won't know until
it's too late.
Zimbabweans are afraid of many things. A 'culture of fear'
rules our lives.
To the fear of the CIO, the Police, the Green Bombers and
the Army we should
add the fear of our country, our sovereignty and our
children's future being
mortgaged to the Chinese.
Those in the West
who speak so glibly of the axis of terror, should also be
afraid - of a
substantial Chinese foothold in Africa.
SA govt mad, bad or simply dumb?
DURBAN - In South Africa, Zimbabwe has become a
political issue, one that pits black against white in
a land where races are
meant to be reconciling. The 'miracle' is under
Last month's election, which Zimbabwe's opposition, as well as
church and electoral monitoring groups, have insisted was rigged in
ways, and the SA government's uncritical support for the poll as
"the will of the people" have deepened the divide.
against SA's government and the bulk of its population are whites,
Zimbabwean exiles, churches, NGOs, the SA Congress of Trade Unions and
SA Communist Party - ironically, in the case of the latter two, as they
the groups that whites used to fear most. So the issue is not only about
And SA's independent media has devoted much space to alleged
poll fraud, including that presented in SA last week by the
Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe Election Support
and to criticising SA and regional observers' endorsement of the
As Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe celebrated 25 years of
from white rule on Monday, and 25 years of his own rule, in SA
against his government took to the streets of Johannesburg,
"Zimbabweans are celebrating 25
years of freedom without freedom," said Buti
Manamela, secretary general of
the Young Communists League: "Independence
means nothing without basic
SA President Thabo Mbeki's pro-Mugabe stance on Zimbabwe might
support of most South Africans, but ongoing local and
opposition to the Zanu (PF) regime is placing pressure on the
Last week Mbeki appeared shocked by allegations, made in
Parliament by the
right-wing Freedom Front Plus, that the SA military gave
R1 million to Zanu
(PF)'s election campaign. It claims that the money was
handed to Zimbabwe's
military attaché at a function in Pretoria in
Mbeki said the SA government had "never yet financed an election
any country", but promised to follow up the accusation if he was
with information to support it. The department of defence is also
In answer to questions in Parliament, Mbeki insisted
that SA would stick to
it policy of "quiet diplomacy" on Zimbabwe. But
Business Day reported him as
backtracking somewhat on his pre-election
declaration that the poll in
Zimbabwe would be free and fair - a position
that dealt Mbeki's reputation a
serious blow internationally.
last week's declaration by the SA cabinet that the election was a
expression of Zimbabweans' will, Mbeki said there was still space
that the poll had not been free or fair, based on reports that the
government was studying from the MDC, ZESN and the Zimbabwe Council of
Mbeki is also unlikely to be impressed by any possible
request for food aid
from hungry and cash-strapped Zimbabwe.
those who hope that SA may yet pressurize Zimbabwe into political reform
have been disappointed before - again and again and again - and so
speculation as to why Mbeki and the African National Congress continue to
support a dictatorial Mugabe continues apace.
The latest commentary
has been by political scientist Professor Robert
Schrire, published in the
Mail & Guardian. He writes that the government's
policy towards its
beleaguered neighbour is against SA's national interest.
There are, he
argues, only three possible explanations - "government is mad,
simply dumb". But it is unlikely that an entire government could be
neither Mbeki nor his government can be classified as dumb or
Thus the only possible explanation is that the SA
government approves of
Mugabe's actions against whites: "A government that
would love to see its
own privileged and critical white population punished
for their historical
role in the creation of poverty and discrimination can
applaud a neighbour
that acts in a way it itself would like
However horrible such a line of reasoning is to contemplate, writes
it is the only one that explains "why a government that professes
for democratic values supports a repressive neighbour. It also
a policy is followed despite the damage it does to the broader
"Let us hope that there is an alternative
SA students vow to back Zim fight
JOHANNESBURG - As President Robert Mugabe told thousands of his
the old story about the glorious achievements Zimbabwe has made
attaining independence from Britain 25 years ago, a march mourning 25
of widespread suffering and human rights abuses in his country brought
business to a standstill in Johannesburg.
A perfect tale of one country,
two opinions, unraveled as hundreds of South
African civil society
pro-democracy activists joined a huge crowd of
students from the Congress of
South African Secondary School Students
(COSASS) in mourning the slow death
Armed with school bags and banners decrying the death of
Zimbabwe, students from secondary schools across Gauteng Province
from Braamfontein to the city center where they were addressed by
pro-democracy activists and representatives of political parties.
was an even greater contrast that just as hundreds of school children
burdened with posters bearing the portrait of what they were told was
hero, a surprisingly young President Robert Mugabe, hundreds of South
African counterparts raised banners demanding an end to the recruitment of
youths into Zanu (PF) militia training camps for use as paramilitary
Their messages were clear enough: "An injury to one
Zimbabwean student is an
injury to one South African student; Send the youth
militias back to school;
Independence is nothing without basic
"What we want is the return of youth militias to productive,
skills education. Training children into pro-party militia
groups is an
abuse of their rights. We want the government of Zimbabwe to
youths and stop turning vocational training institutions into
training centres," said Phakamile Maphilo, of the COSASS Education
If the large numbers in attendance were an indication of a change
African student opinion about the situation in Zimbabwe, President
Mbeki could as yet square up against not just the South African
Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, but
even younger and more radical public opinion leader that has
ANC's popularity among youths in schools.
Africa was Zimbabwe, such younger students would have been pressed
ranks of the Green Bombers, as the Zanu (PF) youth militia are
known. The solidarity march was the movement's way of sending a
Zimbabwe has become more impoverished in the last 25 years than
Addressing the marchers, Young Communist League (YCL)
Manamela said the attainment of 25 years of
independence in Zimbabwe was
hollow and meaningless as long as government
denied people their basic
rights and freedoms.
"We are not going to
rest until Zimbabwe achieves true freedom. Today the
country is celebrating
25 years of freedom without freedom. Threats are
still being made against
civil rights activists, trade unions and women's
groups. The election
victory they claimed recently was a clear fraud, a
stolen victory," said
Blaring through a public address system curiously pasted up
calling on the people to vote for the African National Congress
speaker after speaker recounted the steps Zimbabwe has taken
the spectacular downfall of Ian Smith's minority government
on 18 April
To Brian Kagoro, the chairman of the Crisis In
Zimbabwe Coalition, the
process of liberating Zimbabwe is not only
incomplete. It may also take long
to come unless leaders of the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC)
and the African Union (AU) come out
openly in support of the return of
democracy in Zimbabwe as they did in Togo
after the recent 'coup'.
"Twenty-five years after independence we still
have a government that denies
basic freedoms and rights to its own people.
Twenty-five years latter, we
still have a government that presides over an
impoverished, hungry nation
and still denies people food aid because they
choose to differ with it,"
"There are more than three
million citizens who cannot vote because they are
trying to earn a living
outside the country. We said we had achieved
economic independence through
the chaotic land reform exercise, yet we
replaced one set of oppressors with
"In Mugabe we now have a black Ian Smith, using the same laws to
people. But we shall stand up and say no to oppression, violence
Until all these ills are gone and true democratic order
independence will forever remain hollow and
meaningless, an occasion to
mourn, instead of celebrating," said
Addressing the marchers Zimbabwe Peace and Democracy Project
Daniel Molokela called on South Africans students to continue
pro-democracy lobby in Zimbabwe. With wild chants of the
freedom-rallying cry "Amandla! Ngawethu!" the students vowed
support to the struggle in Zimbabwe.
South African Council
of Non-Governmental Organisation (SANGOCO) executive
director Zanele Twala
also pledged her organization's continued support in
the quest of a return
to true democratic order in Zimbabwe.
Death of democracy
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
About 50 people attended a special Vigil outside the Zimbabwe
last weekend to mark the death of democracy in their homeland.
The date was
chosen as the closest Saturday to Zimbabwe's 25th anniversary
independence on April 18.
The attention of thousands of passers-by was drawn
by the black cloth draped
between the four maple trees outside the Embassy.
But, with drumming,
singing and dancing, the Vigil itself could not be
"Although we had figured on a wake with people wearing black
could not repress the dynamic feeling for change and optimism
the Vigil. The feeling was that we've gone through so much that
we have no
alternative but to work even harder for change," said a
Many people signed the new Vigil petition targeting the
under no circumstances to legitimise the new regime in
The petition reads:
"No shaking hands with
The latest elections in Zimbabwe were once again stolen by the
with the connivance of its neighbours. Retaliation is now
being meted out to
people who supported the opposition. We urge the British
government to end
Mugabe's reign of terror and halt his drive for
. bring the matter to the UN Security Council,
it a priority during term as President of the EU and G8 (group of
. put pressure on South Africa to allow democracy in
. extend targeted sanctions against Mugabe's
Emerging from the Vigil was a drive to forge closer links with
in the world-wide diaspora to share ideas on helping our
sisters in Zimbabwe survive the last throes of the Mugabe
planning for a democratic future.
Plans are advanced for a
big Vigil outside the Embassy on April 30 to
protest at the stolen elections
and launch this initiative.
Letter from home
BY LITANY BIRD
Dear Family and
On lamp posts, telephone poles, street signs, walls and trees
all around the
town the tattered remnants of Zimbabwe's election have not
been cleared away
a fortnight after the event. Ninety nine percent of the
the ruling party and say: "We are proud to be Zimbabweans
on our land" - but
to the hundreds of unemployed young people who sit on
walls and pavements
around the town, the words offer no comfort.
two days this week large parts of town have had no water, just an
air lock followed by a rusty trickle and it has become common to
walking with 20 litre plastic drums on their heads going to find
that they can cook food, wash clothes and keep their children
I am sure that these women draw little comfort from the
about "our land". Urban women suddenly find themselves
having to revert to
practices common to their mothers and grandmothers who
lived in the rural
areas. It is a sad indictment of a country that
celebrated 25 years of
independence last week.
A fortnight after the
election there is no maize meal, sugar, salt or eggs
in our shops - so there
can't be many housewives getting solace from the
posters about "our
For a brief moment there was a little buzz of interest this week
opening of parliament. That excitement didn't last long though
though some of the Zanu (PF) MP's had lost their constituencies
election, they regained their places when they were appointed by the
President using his 30 reserved parliamentary seats.
opened, the MP's were sworn in and then, with one swift "The Ayes
Parliament was adjourned to the 28th of June - a long two months
President Mugabe announced his new cabinet this week and that
too has almost
no changes, offers no inspiration and promises yet more of
Even the Minister of Agriculture, who hasn't been able to
secure food for
the people for the last four years, is still warming the
same seat in
Zimbabwe's sixth parliament.
Perhaps the only thing that
really caused a stir this week was the news that
six new fighter jets have
arrived in the country - in defence of "our land"
no doubt. Until next time,
with love, ndini shamwari yenyu.
April 22, 2005
~~~ Newsletter 061
The only way is UP!
8oz zany spirit
1oz absolut moyo
41 open hand wringers
30 twists of appointed seats
13 compromised contested
5 years of opposition politics
ingredients in cocktail shaker until frosty good. Garnish with plenty of apeels
to the international community. Strain out strategy and principles. Pour into
scud, put your feet up, and sip slowly while watching other revolutions unfold
Moving this way and that for freedom
have come across Zvakwana activists in your HDA in the last month delivering
leaflets giving information on the election. Now we would like to extend to you
a small competition. If you write a piece being some 800 words or so on how best
is the way forward following this stolen election then we will give the 4 best
writers a Zvakwana Delivery Bicycle to help you put some get UP into your
community. Of course, as is the case with most products in Zimbabwe these days,
the bicycles are of the zhing zhong make so they are not as strong as we would
like. Please email your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your cell phone
number and your home address so that these gifts of freedom can make it to your
The taproot of
power lies below the surface. It is obedience, co-operation, and collusion. The
social glue that ensures that each day proceeds much like the last. Every single
one of us has the power to give or withhold our willing participation. To
“reproduce” or reshape society
- Alex Begg
A little bit of history
One of the reasons why
we at Zvakwana started kuita zvatinoita was to put some hope into people’s lives
between two elections: the stolen presidential election in 2002 and the just
stolen parliamentary election in April 2005. To this end sibusebenzisile both
our cyber initiatives (website and email) to communicate with all sorts of
people within Zimbabwe and beyond, and street level activists who use innovative
ways to inspire and get people thinking about social and political change.
Zvakwana has been very
effective in reaching out to people and vachivapa a little bit of inspiration
during very hard times. Tens of thousands of people get our email newsletters,
hundreds of thousands of people have received our get UP activist materials and
around the world social commentators have been discussing the innovative methods
that Zvakwana uses. With this election being finished and stolen we at cyber
Zvakwana have decided to take a small break and recharge our batteries. In the
meantime we draw faith that our street level activists will continue to build
the movement and that our North and South collaborations will continue to
So for the next while you
won’t be seeing us coming rushing into your mailboxes and our web site may be
quiet for a while. But this doesn’t mean we won’t be busy in the streets and
getting UP the small dictator’s nose.
Takaedza kupa a forum that
is non-partisan and where both political parties as well as civil society can be
criticised and congratulated. There is too much polarisation in Zimbabwe and we
must all work hard to interrogate and expose the motives and behaviour of
politicians from all sides.
As Zimbabwe moves into yet
another challenging phase, we must all continue to get UP and stand UP for their
Yo! Click here to see
who you’ve bin talking to behind all these emails all these monthz
We would like to thank all
our subscribers who have supported us over these past years.
A single twig
breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.
- Tecumseh Shawnee
(American-Indian Warrior, 1768 – 1813)
What all is nice?
It’s easy to get caught up in too
much bad stuff these days. All you can think about is how times are hard. But
it’s important to remember the good things as well. Here are just a few things
that some subscribers have mentioned to us in recent letters. You can add to
this list by telling us What All Is Nice in your life. Email email@example.com
- Strangers who greet
one another in passing
- Smiles in the shops
messages of resistance/defiance in public toilets
- Extended families willing
to look after one another
- Blue skies and the warm sun
- Swearing at the
small dictators black benz
- Making passions
- Kind handshakes in
- Rocking the regime at full volume
- A lift when you need one
Bosso, especially when they win
- The love of a strong family
- Friends who cheer us up when we are sad
- The joy of donating
to a cause to help those even more in need
- WOZA and NCA's acts of bravery
We had an election and all I
got was a Tshirt. Isn’t it time for us all to think further than the election
give-aways? Sure Tshirts are good on our backs but in the long run we need real
Food for thought
- It is said that the opposite
of repression is resilience: we have University graduates vachitengesa maBuddy
cards. Enough! Get UP. We need a better life.
- It is highly unlikely that
bobby will be around for the next election (even though he’s taking those zhing
zhong herbs). Zvakwana is encouraging the enlightened within zanu pf to begin
the “new zanu pf” and throw out vakweguru who are bent on continuing the ruin of
Zimbabwe. Sokwanele! Put abantu first!
- With the MDC’s five year term of
office for its leadership over (by at least 6 months) the MDC must choose wisely
who will lead them into the next election. Kana Morgan Tsvangirai akasarudzwa he
will enter the next presidential election as an 8-year-old opposition leader
with 3 stolen elections under his belt. And he will most likely meet a new
hungry zanu pf lion in the ring the next time round. Enough! New leadership in
the opposition NOW.
- Unless the MDC develops the capacity and ability to
counter vote rigging as well as to destablise mugabe’s pillars of support (army,
police, civil service) it will face yet another electoral defeat. Until the MDC
develops this capacity, looking to the ballot for change is like looking to the
herald to tell the truth.
- Civil society, except for a few notable
exceptions, vakati ziii. Every NGO has a voting constituency; where was the
voter education for the elderly, for the youth, for women, for the disabled? It
has been suggested that the turnout for this election was lower than 30%. Civil
society must take some responsibility for this. And don’t just blame
legislation. Mitemo inoitwa nedictatorship are made to be broken. Enough!
Sake sabuza iMDC and zanu pf to provide a record of the number of times their
last troop of MPs attended parliament. This information in not forthcoming and
it is very hard to find. It is our belief that parliament is a gravy train; it
is time to derail it. Sokwanele!
- Tinoda strong and clear
thinking opposition parties. Instead of kugunun’una about the large % of
Zimbabweans turned away at the polls, the MDC should be interrogating their
confused approach to the parliamentary election. Namely, entering the game so
late and more
importantly, their complete lack of a register to vote
- One of the MDC’s most consistent complaints has been
the compromised justice system in Zimbabwe. Yet, they are now turning to this
very system to challenge the election results. Enough!
The hunter in
pursuit of an elephant does not stop to throw stones at birds. - Ugandan proverb
(relates to MDC’s legal challenges)
Strategic non-violent conflict
In Bob Helvey’s
book Strategic Non-violent Conflict: The Fundamentals, he compared two elections
in 2002 in Serbia and Zimbabwe. In regard to the Zimbabwean example Helvey said
of the MDC: “Little attention was given to a “Plan B” that would go into effect
should the elections be stolen by the incumbent, robert mugabe.” Helvey went on
to say: “With no detailed plan or any capacity to enforce the mandate of the
people’s vote, the MDC had no alternative but to limit its response to declaring
the election neither fair nor free and to call for another election.” That was
in 2002. Sound familiar? In the words of Sokwanele in the South, “the MDC needs
to adapt or die”.
And if you had any doubt about what abantu are feeling . .
we give you just a little bit of the feedback that Zvakwana has received lately.
Thanks for sending us emails, SMS messages and voice mail:
Mugabe goes to Rome
unannounced and uninvited even under travel banz to attend Popes funeral. MT has
to get some balls to match that man's otherwise he's toast.
All democratic forces should
unite NOW and reject this tyranny. The MDC should have taken advantage of the
presence of observers and the international media to stage a sit-in at Africa
Unity Square as the results were being announced. That was plan B. But to move
forward now, and move quickly too while there is still interest in what is
happening in Zimbabwe, all democratic forces must put away their differences and
do the final push.
I certainly share your
sentiments that it’s not the time to develop cold feet. I definitely believe the
people are in the mood to take on the mugabe regime but in the absence of a
spontaneous reaction people are looking to the MDC for leadership and direction.
have our mandate to do whatever is possible to save ourselves from our
own and anything less will confine the party to the political archives. We
cannot pin our hopes on 2008 or any other election. To be honest enough is
enough its time we translate our anger, frustration into action. Lets walk the
Boycott boycott is the music
that should be playing in their minds.They should take an active stance against
the dictator. We cannot allow this fraud to be ordained legitimate. Come on mdc
where is the power of 1999 that earned your leader respect. Wake up and rise up
against the dictator. We need a Steve Biko or Martin Luther King character for
meaningful change to take place. The people are there but they need to be
identified. MR TSVANGIRAI START NOW!
- Text message
have been taught
the crack of a gun
shall not be dreaded:
we are not told
an echo is a distant
that dies out soon
is the small dictator on the toilet showing what little respect he has for the
Too many chefs in the cabinet
you might want to think of something positive about ZANU PF they are always
“shooting blanks”! Now the small dictator just announced his new cabinet of 60!
One wonders why a tiny country like Zimbabwe would need such a large cabinet
that even includes a rural housing ministry. My late gogo MaDube would want to
know what mnangagwa can do about her old hut which is falling apart? Will his
ministry now provide thatch and brick for this or will they be going around the
country making sure that everyone has a “Blair” toilet. Or maybe our rural areas
are going to have one design for all new houses like that of the high-density
areas in towns? Bakiti mina I am confused. There is a saying that too many cooks
spoil the broth - a country like ours does not need too many cooks for sure! The
regime has been burning the broth for the past 25 years and we don’t need any
more of that. Sokwanele!
Jokes aside - with our post election shortages and rising prices
seems like this is too true
While walking down Seventh Street
one day an MP is tragically hit by the small dictator's motorcade and dies. His
soul arrives in heaven and is met by Pope Benedict XVI at the entrance. "Welcome
to heaven," says the Pope. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem.
We seldom see an MP around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do
with you." "No problem, just let me in," says the man. "Well, I'd like to but I
have orders from the late Pope John Paul II. What we'll do is have you spend one
day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
"But I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the MP.
sorry but we have our rules." And with that, Pope Benedict XVI takes him to the
lift and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself
in the middle of a nightclub. There are dancing women and all his friends and
other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and having a
good time eating the best meat, chicken and drinking all the booze they want.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time
dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that, before he
realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves
while the lift goes up. The lift goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven
where Pope Benedict XVI is waiting for him.
"Now it's time to visit
So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented
souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good
time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and the Pope returns.
"Well then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your
eternity." The MP reflects for a minute, then answers: "Well, I would never have
said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better
off in hell." So the Pope escorts him to the lift and he goes down, down, down
to hell. Now the doors of the lift open and he's in the middle of a barren land
covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags,
picking up the rubbish and putting it in black bags.
The devil comes
over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.
"I don't understand,"
stammers the MP. "Yesterday I was here and there was a night club and we ate,
drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland
full of rubbish and my friends look unhappy. What happened?"
looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you
you SPEAK OUT - keep discussion alive, keep information flowing.
Enough is enough,