The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Car pool awaits African leaders

The Telegraph

Posted at: 13:00
How many cars does it take to drive 53 African Presidents around town? The
answer, revealed in Sudan's official press, is an extraordinary 1,244.

This vast convoy has been set aside for the African Union summit in Khartoum
which kicks off in earnest with the arrival of the cavalcade of Big Men on
Monday.

The city is already echoing to the wail of sirens and the screech of
motorcades. The cost of ferrying around the portly, arrogant and pompous
leaders of the world's most impoverished continent must be astronomical.

Of the 1,244 cars, 237 are reserved for the presidents themselves - so they
have 4.5 gleaming black limousines each. Another 669 have been set aside for
their assortment of flunkies and no less than 338 are being held in
reserve - because you never know when you might need another car if you have
a mere 4.5 at your personal disposal.

All this is revealed with an air of triumph in "Sudan Vision", a risible
official daily capable of carrying headlines like "Africa Chockfull of
Amusing Cultures". Such a colossal waste of resources is an absolute
scandal.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Prof Ncube's Greendale House Under 24-Hour Military Police Guard

Zim Daily

††††††††††† Saturday, January 21 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
††††††††††† Contributed by: correspondent

††††††††††† Professor Welshman Ncube's Greendale house is under 24-hour
military police guard in a move that has baffled many observers and
confirmed complicit between his pro-senate faction and the ruling Zanu PF
party. Officers from Zimbabwe's elite security force, conspicuous with their
red berets, have been assigned to Ncube's Greendale house along Leander
Avenue, backed up by paramilitary police "who have served at the highest
security level," zimdaily weekender heard.

††††††††††† The unprecedented move to assign Zanu PF security at Ncube's
house came as the legitimate MDC voiced fears that Ncube has received a
largesse from the ruling party amounting to a staggering Z$60
billion.Zimdaily understands that Ncube has been recruited by the ruling
party to destablise the opposition party ahead of presidential elections in
2008. Weekender also understands that the CIO are taking the lead role in
co-ordinating intelligence gathering in the MDC through Ncube hence his
increased Zanu PF sponsored security. Against a backdrop of concern over the
security arrangements made for Ncube, intelligence sources have spoken
privately of fears that Ncube has threatened to withdraw from the Zanu PF
project if his security cannot be guaranteed.

††††††††††† Sources at the cattle pens also confirmed this week that Ncube
two weeks ago out bid all other farmers and bought 95 head of cattle which
according to other farmers cost Z$3 billion dollars. Ncube has also started
installing electricity at his new farm Onverwags Farm which he was given by
Zanu PF after being grabbed from prominent Midlands cattle farmer T.Shaw.

††††††††††† The farm is registered under S.E.Shaw (Pvt) Ltd. Zimdaily heard
that Ncube recently moved in 150 head of cattle into this farm from his
other property, Rosenfentam. Zimdaily Weekender understands that in 2000
Ncube was given Hampton Farm in the Vungu area by the ruling party. This
farm is one of the properties formerly owned by PF ZAPU. In 2002 he acquired
Rosfentam Farm which lies in the Nalatalie ruins area some 50km south west
of Gweru. He still owns this farm. And, around August 2004 he moved into
Onverwags Farm.

††††††††††† In an exclusive interview on Zimdaily run Internet Radio station
this week, the secretary general of the MDC dismissed the allegations of
receiving money from the CIO as utter 'rubbish'. "Tsvangirai and his Kitchen
Cabinet formulated all that in order to destroy us a pro democracy group, he
said. If they think Ncube will be intimidated by those lies they are lying
to themselves, he added.

††††††††††† Professor Ncube also indicated that the upcoming separate
congresses will effectively endorse the split and that they will fight
through the courts to retain the name MDC.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt Amending Mines & Minerals Act To Enable Expropriation Of Foreign Owned Mines

Zim Daily

††††††††††† Saturday, January 21 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
††††††††††† Contributed by: correspondent
††††††††††† The Chamber of Mines says it still awaits the conclusion of
amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act, which is expected to shed light on
the vexatious issue of empowerment and determine the level of new investment
in the country's mining industry. "The mining industry awaits finalisation
of the amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act. This includes the relevant
clauses on empowerment," Jack Murehwa, the president of the Chamber of Mines
said.

††††††††††† "The mining industry is likely to see new investment as soon as
the policies are clarified." However, he said this is subject to the
provisions of the regulations being seen as attractive by the investors when
compared to opportunities elsewhere in the world. "It was seen necessary to
amend this Act and industry awaits the outcome which is hoped to be just as
friendly to investors."

††††††††††† President Robert Mugabe recently unnerved mining industry
executives when he demanded that majority ownership of all Zimbabwean mines
be in the hands of the indigenous population. A long-standing 15 percent
empowerment placement in platinum producer, Zimplats, remains unresolved due
to political bickering and lack of financial muscle by empowerment group
favoured by the government.

††††††††††† AngloPlat, an Anglo American Company, has also set aside a 15%
stake for local participation in its dollar Unki Platinum project but has
not found a suitable empowerment partner yet. Murehwa also said the industry
hoped government would abolish the requirement that sees miners and other
exporters surrendering 30 percent of their foreign currency receipts to the
central bank at $26 000 against each US$. "Industry hopes that this will be
rectified. Only the Interbank rate should apply."
††††††††††† In terms of investment, Murehwa said not much is happening at
the moment.

††††††††††† "There has been a tendency by current miners and potential new
investors to await clarification of policies through the proposed amendments
to the Act before committing funds to expansion or greenfield projects," he
said. According to Finance Minister's, Herbert Murerwa, 2006 National Budget
Statement, the mining industry registered a 5,7% decline in 2005. "This was
largely due to deteriorating international mineral prices, rampant smuggling
of gold diamonds and other minerals," Murerwa said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Government Postpones The Re-Opening Of Mbare Musika

Zim Daily

††††††††††† Saturday, January 21 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
††††††††††† Contributed by: Reporter
††††††††††† The government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry Of Local
Government and Urban Development failed to re-open the popular Mbare Musika
on Friday 20 January. This comes after incessant promises that the
livelihood source market will resume operations. The market that was shut
down close to two weeks ago is now expected to open on Friday 27 January.
Announcing the postponement, Harare Municipality's new Public relations
manager, Madenyika Magwenjere said, 'the council together with Local
government ministry officials failed to beat the ambitious deadline'.

††††††††††† Vendors, who are now sojourning at Belvedere's City Sports
Stadium registered their displeasure over the delay. The relocation to the
unknown Belvedere market has grossly affected profits for both farmers and
vendors

††††††††††† " This is disappointing, we do not know what to do next because
most of our products are rotting here, people do not know this place", said
an irate Sylivia Mombo who is a vendor.

††††††††††† Health expects and constructors are working flat out to restore
better hygienic conditions. The unexpected closure came after an
international outcry over the outbreak of cholera.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Students Mull Stay-Away Over 'Prison Diet'

Zim Daily

††††††††††† Saturday, January 21 2006 @ 12:01 AM GMT
††††††††††† Contributed by: Reporter
††††††††††† Students umbrella body, the Zimbabwe National Students Union is
mulling a nationwide two-day stay-away over unresolved issues affecting
students, chief among them, the 'prison diet' students are now conditioned
to. ZINASU secretary general, Promise Mkwananzi indicated that the union is
coordinating from grassroots levels in order to effect the ' massive
resistance'. He said, the union will gear up more ' confrontation means' if
the government does not take heed of their call.

††††††††††† " We are currently on a nationwide consultation process, in two
weeks time, the struggle will be launched", said Mkwananzi.

††††††††††† ZINASU said, the continued exodus of lecturers is a cause of
major concern as students will be subjected to the bitter end of the vicious
cycle. Tertiary institutions lecturers have been leaving the country over
the years, citing poor remuneration. ZINASU also indicated that they are
agitating for an inflation index payout. Students, countrywide are
struggling to make ends meet, especially with indications that they are
paying more than Z$5 million for accommodation. Student teachers at Mkoba
Teachers' College in Gweru last week demonstrated over the Z$6,5 million
proposed accommodation fee for a term.

††††††††††† "It's disheartening that students are having prison diet at our
colleges because of the continued deterioration of standards, we can not let
this go on unabated", emphasised Mkwananzi.

††††††††††† The students body is also concerned over the dragged Lupane
university saga. They said, it is likely to head the Great Zimbabwe
University way that had various programmes aborted due to irregular
registrations. Lupane University was fast-tracked into existence by former
Information and Publicity minister, Jonathan Moyo, in a bid to woo the
polarised Matebeleland North people.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Who's getting his millions?

Bermuda Sun

One of Britain's richest - and most notorious -men has set tongues wagging
after claiming he gives large amounts of money to a charity in Bermuda.

Property tycoon Nicolas Van Hoogstraten, who at one time claimed to be worth
half a billion pounds, was convicted of the manslaughter of an old business
associate in 2002 and sentenced to ten years. He served 13 months before his
lawyers got him released arguing the judge had misdirected the jury. Now the
dead man's family is trying to sue him for damages in a civil case that
could cost him millions.

In an interview with the Observer newspaper last weekend, Mr. Van
Hoogstraten claimed nearly all his money was tied up in trusts. When the
paper asked who benefits from the trusts, he said: "Ah, well, that is not an
easy thing to answer. One large section goes to a charitable organization in
Bermuda for the maintenance of historic monuments."

By our reckoning that could only mean the Bermuda National Trust, the
Maritime Museum, the Bermuda Historical Society or the St. George's
Foundation.

But they all say it's not them.

Another possibility is that he's not telling the truth. In another interview
with the Sunday Times he said he lent millions of dollars to Zimbabwe
president Robert Mugabe. But a spokesman for the president said Mr. Mugabe
had no relationship with Mr. Van Hoogstraten. "Robert Mugabe is neither a
borrower nor lender," he said.

Mr. Van Hoogstraten does have links to Bermuda. He was said to have made
some of his early money buying and selling property here in the 1960s,
although some reports suggest it might have been in the Bahamas.
Nevertheless, the island must have made an impression at some point -his
mansion, the most expensive private house in Britain, is called Hamilton
Palace, after the capital.

The extent of his wealth was summed up two years ago when he said: "To put
it in context, the house which I've been building now for 17 years has cost
something like £28m [$49m]. My art collection is worth not less than £200m
[$352m]."

But he sang a different song in the Observer saying these days he's not even
worth a million pounds. "Nearly everything has been transferred into
†trusts," he said.

The four organizations we spoke to said if there was big money coming into
their accounts, they're pretty certain they'd know who it was coming from.

Steve Conway, the director of the Bermuda National Trust, said: "We don't
know this person and our records show that he has not donated to the Trust.
After checking the news report I am glad about that. We're curious to know
which charity he's talking about."

Sharon Jacobs, the executive director of the St. George's Foundation, said
she's never heard of Mr. Van Hoogstraten either. She said if the Foundation
had received donations of the magnitude referred to, the new visitors'
centre would have been finished ages ago.

Despite his conviction, the 59-year old insists he didn't have anything to
do with the killing of the old business associate, Mohammed Sabir Raja. He
said: "He didn't even figure. If I had a list of 20 people I wanted
something done to to teach them a lesson. He wouldn't have even been on it.
That's how unimportant he was."

Do you know who Mr. Van Hoogstraten is giving money to here? E-mail the
editor: tmcwilliam@bermudasun.bm


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

PARADE's Annual List Of...The World's 10 Worst Dictators

parade.com

Let's not lose sight of those heads of state who terrorize and abuse the
rights of their own people.

By David Wallechinsky
Published: January 22, 2006
†A "dictator" is a head of state who exercises arbitrary authority over the
lives of his citizens and who cannot be removed from power through legal
means. The worst commit terrible human-rights abuses. This present list
draws in part on reports by global human-rights organizations, including
Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty
International. While the three worst from 2005 have retained their places,
two on last year's list (Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya and Pervez Musharraf of
Pakistan) have slipped out of the Top 10-not because their conduct has
improved but because other dictators have gotten worse.

1) Omar al-Bashir, Sudan. Age 62. In power since 1989. Last year's rank: 1

Since February 2003, Bashir's campaign of ethnic and religious persecution
has killed at least 180,000 civilians in Darfur in western Sudan and driven
2 million people from their homes. The good news is that Bashir's army and
the Janjaweed militia that he supports have all but stopped burning down
villages in Darfur. The bad news is why they've stopped: There are few
villages left to burn. The attacks now are aimed at refugee camps. While the
media have called these actions "a humanitarian tragedy," Bashir himself has
escaped major condemnation. In 2005, Bashir signed a peace agreement with
the largest rebel group in non-Islamic southern Sudan and allowed its
leader, John Garang, to become the nation's vice president. But Garang died
in July in a helicopter crash, and Bashir's troops still occupy the south.

2) Kim Jong-il, North Korea. Age 63. In power since 1994. Last year's rank:
2

While the outside world focuses on Kim Jong-il's nuclear weapons program,
domestically he runs the world's most tightly controlled society. North
Korea continues to rank last in the index of press freedom compiled by
Reporters Without Borders, and for the 34th straight year it earned the
worst possible score on political rights and civil liberties from Freedom
House. An estimated 250,000 people are confined in "reeducation camps."
Malnourishment is widespread: According to the United Nations World Food
Program, the average 7-year-old boy in North Korea is almost 8 inches
shorter than a South Korean boy the same age and more than 20 pounds
lighter.

3) Than Shwe, Burma (Myanmar). Age 72. In power since 1992. Last year's
rank: 3

In November 2005, without warning, Than Shwe moved his entire government
from Rangoon (Yangon), the capital for the last 120 years, to Pyinmana, a
remote area 245 miles away. Civil servants were given two days' notice and
are forbidden from resigning. Burma leads the world in the use of children
as soldiers, and the regime is notorious for using forced labor on
construction projects and as porters for the army in war zones. The
long-standing house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel
Peace Prize and Than Shwe's most feared opponent, recently was extended for
six months. Just to drive near her heavily guarded home is to risk arrest.

4) Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe. Age 81. In power since 1980. Last year's rank: 9

Life in Zimbabwe has gone from bad to worse: It has the world's highest
inflation rate, 80% unemployment and an HIV/AIDS rate of more than 20%. Life
expectancy has declined since 1988 from 62 to 38 years. Farming has
collapsed since 2000, when Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms, giving
most of them to political allies with no background in agriculture. In 2005,
Mugabe launched Operation Murambatsvina (Clean the Filth), the forcible
eviction of some 700,000 people from their homes or businesses-"to restore
order and sanity," says the government. But locals say the reason was to
forestall demonstrations as the economy deteriorates.

5) Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan. Age 67. In power since 1990. Last year's rank:
15

Until 2005, the worst excesses of Karimov's regime had taken place in the
torture rooms of his prisons. But on May 13, he ordered a mass killing that
could not be concealed. In the city of Andijan, 23 businessmen, held in
prison and awaiting a verdict, were freed by their supporters, who then held
an open meeting in the town square. An estimated 10,000 people gathered,
expecting government officials to come and listen to their grievances.
Instead, Karimov sent the army, which massacred hundreds of men, women and
children. A 2003 law made Karimov and all members of his family immune from
prosecution forever.

6) Hu Jintao, China. Age 63. In power since 2002. Last year's rank: 4

Although some Chinese have taken advantage of economic liberalization to
become rich, up to 150 million Chinese live on $1 a day or less in this
nation with no minimum wage. Between 250,000 and 300,000 political
dissidents are held in "reeducation-through-labor" camps without trial. Less
than 5% of criminal trials include witnesses, and the conviction rate is
99.7%. There are no privately owned TV or radio stations. The government
opens and censors mail and monitors phone calls, faxes, e-mails and text
messages. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, at least 400,000 residents
of Beijing have been forcibly evicted from their homes.

7) King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia. Age 82. In power since 1995. Last year's
rank: 5

Although Abdullah did not become king until 2005, he has ruled Saudi Arabia
since his half-brother, Fahd, suffered a stroke 10 years earlier. In Saudi
Arabia, phone calls are recorded and mobile phones with cameras are banned.
It is illegal for public employees "to engage in dialogue with local and
foreign media." By law, all Saudi citizens must be Muslims. According to
Amnesty International, police in Saudi Arabia routinely use torture to
extract "confessions." Saudi women may not appear in public with a man who
isn't a relative, must cover their bodies and faces in public and may not
drive. The strict suppression of women is not voluntary, and Saudi women who
would like to live a freer life are not allowed to do so.

8) Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan. Age 65. In power since 1990. Last year's
rank: 8

Niyazov has created the world's most pervasive personality cult, and
criticism of any of his policies is considered treason. The latest examples
of his government-by-whim include bans on car radios, lip-synching and
playing recorded music on TV or at weddings. Niyazov also has closed all
national parks and shut down rural libraries. He launched an attack on his
nation's health-care system, firing 15,000 health-care workers and replacing
most of them with untrained military conscripts. He announced the closing of
all hospitals outside the capital and ordered Turkmenistan's physicians to
give up the Hippocratic Oath and to swear allegiance to him instead.

9) Seyed Ali Khamane'i, Iran. Age 66. In power since 1989. Last year's rank:
18

Over the past four years, the rulers of Iran have undone the reforms that
were emerging in the nation. The hardliners completed this reversal by
winning the parliamentary elections in 2004 -after disqualifying 44% of the
candidates-and with the presidential election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June
2005. Ultimately, however, the country is run by the 12-man Guardian
Council, overseen by the Ayatollah Khamane'i, which has the right to veto
any law that the elected government passes. Khamane'i has shut down the free
press, tortured journalists and ordered the execution of homosexual males.

10) Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea. Age 63. In power since 1979.
Last year's rank: 10

Obiang took power in this tiny West African nation by overthrowing his uncle
more than 25 years ago. According to a United Nations inspector, torture "is
the normal means of investigation" in Equatorial Guinea. There is no freedom
of speech, and there are no bookstores or newsstands. The one private radio
station is owned by Obiang's son. Since major oil reserves were discovered
in Equatorial Guinea in 1995, Obiang has deposited more than $700 million
into special accounts in U.S. banks. Meanwhile, most of his people live on
less than $1 a day.

Contributing Editor David Wallechinsky has reported on world figures for
PARADE, including an interview with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. For
more on the worst dictators, visit parade.com on the Web.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Succession Speculation Swirls as Zimbabwe's Mugabe Approaches 82

VOA

By Chinedu Offor
††††† Washington
††††† 20 January 2006

Reports that President Robert Mugabe visited a Johannesburg hospital, his
upcoming 82nd birthday and recent comments from Vice President Joyce Mujuru
have nurtured speculation as to who will succeed Zimbabwe's sole leader
since independence.

A spokeswoman for the Johannesburg hospital Mr. Mugabe visited this week
said he was just visiting a patient there name was not disclosed. Officials
of his ruling ZANU-PF party are asking businesses for donations to meet the
costs of a US$100,000 Mugabe birthday celebration February 21 in eastern
Manicaland province.

Meanwhile, Mujuru told a French wire service that if circumstances required
she would step up to the plate and assume the presidency. She has been
regarded as the heir apparent since her late-2004 elevation to the vice
presidency by Mr. Mugabe.

The liberation war veteran recently raised eyebrows when she appeared to
contradict the ruling party's position that Western sanctions are to blame
for the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, not the chaotic land
redistribution pursued since 2000.

In that same state television interview, conducted while Mujuru was standing
in for the president during a recent vacation trip to Malaysia, she also
chided unnamed cabinet ministers for lining their pockets instead of looking
to the interests of the people.

South African-based political analyst Herman Honekom, parliamentary liaison
officer for the Africa Institute, says such comments signal her growing
clout in ZANU-PF.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe to Soften Media Regime?



Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

PRESS RELEASE
January 20, 2006
Posted to the web January 20, 2006

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean journalists are hopeful that media laws may be softened and that
the Media and Information Commission (MIC) may have its wings clipped,
writes Gugu Ziyaphapha.

This comes after the Information Minister, Dr Tichaona Jokonya, said he will
not reappoint the current board of the MIC - which licences newspapers -
because it is not representative of the media practitioners and industry as
a whole.

"I have delayed the reconstitution of the MIC board of governors
deliberately to ensure that the new board for this vital arm of the industry
can be representative," said Jokonya.

The current board was hand-picked by the former Information Minister, Prof
Jonathan Moyo, now in opposition to the Zanu-PF government.

Jokonya's assurances have been welcomed by journalists who said the
minister's move is likely to see the MIC being stripped of some of its
functions and powers in favour of a voluntary self-regulatory body which w
ill be guided by a code of conduct drawn up by all stakeholders.

In a letter to the Zimbabwe Union of Journalist President, Mathew Takaona,
Jokonya promised to finalize the development of a code of conduct soon.

"Please be assured that the matter is at the uppermost of the ministry's
mind. It is important that the industry speedily brings this matter to
finality so all of us, including the MIC, can begin to attend to other areas
of developing the industry which presently faces a myriad of problems," he
said.

The director of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (Misa), Rashweat Mukundu, said government must remove sections of the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act that do not encourage
media development. These include the registration of media houses and the
accreditation of journalists.

In another development, government has increased the application fees for
registration of mass media services and accreditation of journalists.

Application and registration fees for a local mass media service and a news
agency are now Z$1.3 million (R90). A Zimbabwean journalist working for a
local media will pay Z$250 thousand (R16) for the application and
accreditation.

A local freelance journalist will pay an application and accreditation fee
of Z150 thousand (R10). The fees for local journalist working for the local
media are far less than those - only payable in US dollars - by reporters
who work for the foreign media.

A local journalist working for a foreign media service will pay US $1050. No
foreign journalists are allowed to work full-time in Zimbabwe, but temporary
accreditation will be US$ 600.

Back to the Top
Back to Index