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Zim stops mining power-generating coal

IOL

††††January 24 2008 at 11:58AM

Harare - Zimbabwe faced a severe new threat to its crippled
electricity supplies after coal production for the country's major thermal
power station broke down following a power cut, state media reported
Thursday.

The government-owned Hwange Colliery Company stopped mining coal on
Monday after a power outage, said the state-controlled daily Herald
newspaper. The colliery is the sole supplier of coal to the adjacent 1 200
megawatt Hwange thermal power station in north-west Zimbabwe, the country's
largest power station.

Zimbabwe has been reeling under a series of nationwide power cuts
since Saturday last when whole cities were blacked out repeatedly for hours
on end. The blackouts were the worst in the past two years, during which
which continual power cuts have become a way of life in Zimbabwean homes and
companies.

"Most operations have been stopped," said Hwange Colliery Company
spokesman Burzil Dube. "This has greatly affected coal output." It was the
first power outage in two years at the colliery, which is usually exempted
from power cuts on the crippled national electricity grid.

However, coal production has been repeatedly interrupted by breakdowns
in equipment and machinery. The colliery has been producing 30 000 tonnes of
coking coal a month, against a target of 50 000 tonnes. Although the
colliery sits on a coalfield with an estimated life of 5 000 years, it
struggles to meet national demand.

The Herald said it had been unable to obtain comment from the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority, the state-run power utility, "as most trunk
and cell phones were also down due to the power outages."

All utilities and infrastructure services are failing to deliver as
the country's economic crisis accelerates to new depths of dislocation.

Maintenance of the country's major trunk roads and urban roads has
come to a halt, leaving them pitted with deep, dangerous potholes. Water
supplies in the capital have been largely non-existent for nearly two weeks.
The high court in Harare has been closed since Tuesday because it has had no
water and could be a health hazard, court master Charles Nyatanga said
Thursday.

ZESA's power stations have been crippled by a a critical lack of
finance, largely because President Robert Mugabe's government forces it to
charge uneconomic tariffs, with the result that the company cannot pay for
maintenance, spares and equipment. - Sapa-DPA


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Zimbabwe says in late bid to salvage farming season

Reuters

Thu 24 Jan 2008, 15:59 GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government is making frantic efforts
to ensure the 2008 agriculture season is not a total disaster after
shortages of fertiliser and floods hit crops, a government minister said on
Thursday.

Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo told reporters that authorities were
stepping up efforts to import more fertiliser, mainly from South Africa and
China and encouraging farmers to continue planting long after the stipulated
time.

Gumbo -- who previously projected output of the staple maize at 3 million
tonnes this season -- acknowledged that heavy rains and fertIliser shortages
had taken a toll on crops but refused to give new forecasts.

"We realise it might be a bit late for some of our farmers (to plant) as
normal planting is done between October and late December, but I don't think
we're having a normal rainfall season," Gumbo said.

"So if the ground is wet, why not plant maize? There's no case for people to
panic," he said.

Gumbo said 43,900 tonnes of fertiliser had been secured locally and through
imports for farmers. This is against a target of 50,000 tonnes.

Farming exeprts say that although Zimbabwe is enjoying above normal rains
this year, lack of adequate preparation and shortages of seed, fertiliser,
fuel and flooding in some areas meant the country would have to import grain
again.

But Gumbo remained optimistic on Thursday.

"The early crop is doing reasonably well...but excessive rains have caused
waterlogging and leaching and the situation is not encouraging, especially
in sandy areas," Gumbo said.

"As for fertiliser, government is doing everything in its power to make sure
fertiliser is made available to our farmers."

His optimism was not shared by the government's agricultural technical and
extension service (Agritex), which revealed that the condition of crops
across the country was poor and that the shortage of fertiliser would reduce
maize yields.

"The unavailability of fertliser, if not urgently addressed, will impact
negatively on the final yield," Agritex said.

The government initially estimated planting 2 million hectares being put
under the staple crop, but Agritex said only 719,000 hectares of land had
been planted due to shortages of inputs.

Analysts say floods would compound Zimbabwe's stricken economy which relies
on agriculture. The sector has been in turmoil since 2000 when President
Robert Mugabe's government seized white-owned farms to redistribute among
landless blacks.

Critics say most of the black farmers were ill-equipped to undertake
commercial farmers and have struggled to get key inputs like fertiliser and
seed.

(Editing by Michael Roddy)


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US, Europe hampering Zimbabwe mediation, says Zuma

Business Report

January 24, 2008

Davos, Switzerland - Jacob Zuma, the newly-elected head of South Africa's
ruling ANC party, said on Thursday that US and European interference was
hindering efforts to reconcile Zimbabwe's opposition with President Robert
Mugabe's government.

"The US and Europeans tell us what we need to do and tell Mugabe," Zuma told
reporters on the sidelines of the annual gathering of business and political
leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

"That undermines our efforts," he said, adding that the issue contained "an
element of racism."

South African President Thabo Mbeki was tasked last March by fellow leaders
of the Southern African Development Community with mediating between the
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the
leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

"Nobody is doing more to help the situation in Zimbabwe than South Africa,"
said Zuma, who ousted Mbeki from the helm of the ANC in a bitter leadership
contest last month.

As head of the party, he is the automatic front runner to succeed Mbeki as
head of state in 2009 despite the prospect of a corruption trial in August.

"I'm not sure I will do anything fundamentally different," he said, when
asked if he would change Pretoria's policy on Zimbabwe if he becomes
president.

"Maybe it would be a question of style," he added.

Zimbabwe, led by the 83-year-old Mugabe since independence in 1980, is in
economic meltdown. The official annual rate of inflation is put at 8,000
percent, but economists believe it to be nearer 50,000 percent.

Unemployment is running at around 80 percent while basic foodstuffs such as
cooking oil and sugar are now a scarce commodity in the one-time regional
breadbasket. - AFP


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White farmer vows to challenge Muzorewa farm grab


By Lance Guma
24 January 2008

Former Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Prime Minister Bishop Abel Muzorewa is at the
centre of a legal wrangle after taking over a farm belonging to a white
farmer in Mutare. Muzorewa moved onto Cavalla Farm 4 months ago, despite the
fact that Lodewyk Van Rensburg bought the farm in 1989, nine years after
independence. The Bishop who led the country in 1979 under a short-lived
coalition government with Ian Smith is said to have produced an offer letter
from State Security and Land Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa. This is
despite Vice President Joseph Msika ordering the cancellation of all offer
letters issued after January 2007.

Reports say at least 75 farm workers at Cavalla Farm have already lost their
jobs to make way for the bishop and his people. The farm owner Van Rensburg,
who is said to be a devout Christian, voluntarily gave up 700 hectares of
the 1200-hectare farm for redistribution some six years ago. He told the UK
Daily Mail that ‘ultimately the Lord will judge what has happened. But it
does make a mockery of his position as a man of the cloth.’ Muzorewa
meanwhile remained defiant saying he just wanted to have land which was
taken from his forefathers without compensation. He called his action ‘a
correction of injustice.’ The matter is set to go to court in February. Van
Rensburg’s lawyers have already written to the police seeking Muzorewa’s
eviction but so far nothing has happened.

The offer letter to Muzorewa is peculiar in that he was once the sworn enemy
of Zanu PF during the liberation struggle. Zanu PF slogans at the time
referred to him as a ‘puppet’ for colluding with the white regime of Ian
Smith. That same ‘puppet’ is now grabbing white owned land with the
assistance of Mugabe’s government. Journalist, actor and writer Norman
Madawo has described Muzorewa’s actions as ‘satanic’. Madawo who recently
launched his book ‘White Farmer-Black Warrior: A friendship out of tune’
said it was wrong for Muzorewa to hide behind the excuse of correcting a
historical injustice. ‘You cannot solve one injustice by creating another.
All this means is that the next government will have to reverse whatever is
being done now,’ he said.

Madawo said the media hardly highlight the plight of farm workers who are
the most affected by the upheavals. This he says drove him to write his book
and explore the motivations for the land reform exercise, the relationships
between white farmers and their workers among other things

.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Civil groups to set common agenda for resolving Zimbabwe crisis


By Tererai Karimakwenda
24 January, 2008

A broad coalition of civil society organisations has convened what they are
calling the People’s Convention, which will take place on Friday and
Saturday in Harare. The aim is to assess the critical situation the people
of Zimbabwe are facing, and map the way forward in resolving the political
crisis that has crippled the country. The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition,
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the umbrella National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) are among the groups involved.

Fambai Ngirande, spokesperson for NANGO, said the groups came together
bearing in mind the failure of the SADC initiated talks to resolve the
crisis. He described the Convention as an attempt by civil society to
determine the kind of ‘Zimbabwe’ people want to see, and the kind of
political dispensation they want in the 2008 elections.

Ngirande explained that they are hoping for an all-inclusive democratic
transition in the country. This means including the voices of the
vulnerable, the weak and the church. He said: “We are trying to make it a
truly people-centred initiative that has everyone who can input into the
Zimbabwe that we want.” The civil groups believe the environment that exists
today is not conducive to free and fair elections.

Ngirande criticised the talks mediated by South Africa’s President Thabo
Mbeki that are currently stalled. He said there had been no consultation and
no consensus from the people. Civil organisations were not included in the
talks and they felt betrayed. He added that the whole process involved
politicians consolidating their power bases.

Ngirande said the Convention will produce a Charter that will define the
kind of activities that civil society will be taking on. They also plan to
activate dialogue and engagement with the government of Zimbabwe, other
groups in the Diaspora, and the diplomatic community.

Meanwhile, civil groups from Zimbabwe succeeded in putting the critical
situation at home on the agenda at the Civil Society Forum that is taking
place in Addis Ababa, ahead of the African Union Summit. This is one way to
lobby for an issue to be included on the final agenda that is discussed by
the Heads of State.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Zimbabwe Laywer Group Calls for Investigation of Government

Epoch Times, New York
By Painos Dakwa
Special to the Epoch Times
Jan 24, 2008

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (http://www.zlhr.org.zw)

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has condemned the Zimbabwean government for corruption saying it is a "significant threat to the national well-being of the country."

In a recent statement issued by the lawyers group, the ZLHR said it is disheartening to note that the people who speak populist rhetoric of nationalism, pan-Africanism, black economic empowerment were responsible for plundering the economic resources of the country.

"We think these people are driving our country to its knees through a system of corruption, patronage, national asset stripping and conversion of national resources into personal assets."

The lawyers were referring to a scam in which a Zimbabwean woman, one, Dorothy Mutekede was alleged to have been found in possession of Zim$10 billion in new notes before the new currency went into circulation.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was accused of corruption in releasing the cash to a non-banking entity and the Zimbabwe Human Rights group was calling for transparency to restore the credibility of the Reserve bank and the banking sector in the eyes of the public.

The ZLHR has called for a full investigation on the scam and public explanation to restore credibility of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The Human Rights group said corruption should be fought effectively in a credible and transparent manner.

"ZLHR reitarates its view that it is only through effectively fighting all forms of impunity, the restoration of the rule of law, respect of human rights and good governance that Zimbabwe can get back to a path of sustainable economic recovery."

The economic situation in Zimbabwe has continued to deteriorate with unprecedented rise in inflation and a flagrant violation of human rights in the country which has resulted in thousands of the people fleeing the country to seek for more human conditions.


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Tsvangirai briefs diplomatic community

The Zimbabwean

†Thursday, 24 January 2008 17:10

President Morgan Tsvangirai today briefed African and European diplomats in
Harare over several issues including the Freedom March, the SADC dialogue,
the forthcoming elections and the need for a united front to fight the
repressive Zanu PF regime.

The President narrated to the diplomatic community how the police on
Wednesday beat up innocent citizens in central Harare in a desperate bid to
stop them from attending a sanctioned rally at the Glamis Arena. The
violence and the unnecessary arrest of himself and other party officials
early yesterday morning, the President said, resulted in unnecessary
injuries and showed once again that Zanu PF was not sincere in the dialogue
process. The diplomats were apprised of the MDC cause and the legitimacy of
marching for pressing national issues including food, jobs, cash, clean
water, electricity, a new Constitution, affordable health care, education
and the restoration of people's dignity which has been ravaged by entrenched
misgovernance and corruption. President Tsvangirai said the freedom marches
were going to be held countrywide in the next few weeks. He said the march
in Harare had been disrupted and the party would soon be notifying the
police of another peaceful, non-violent march in the capital city. On the
dialogue, President Tsvangirai said the situation on the ground was abundant
evidence that Zanu PF was not sincere in the process. He said there had been
a deadlock in the SADC-brokered dialogue on the political environment, the
transitional constitution and the election date.† The onus was now on SADC
to conclude the matter in the full knowledge that there had been a deadlock
on the three sticking issues.President Tsvangirai told the diplomats that
the MDC would only participate in a free and fair election. He said the
appropriate organs of the party would take the decision but whatever
decision the party would take, it was already clear that the next election
would be contestable and illegitimate. The President reiterated the need for
a united front to fight the entrenched dictatorship. President Tsvangirai
said all the consultations had been done and discussions held with all
parties, albeit informally, and there was convergence and consensus on the
need to work together. He said a united front was a unifying and motivating
agent for the people of Zimbabwe. Unity, the President said, was the
greatest gift the democratic forces would give to the people. The MDC
remains committed to a broad-based front of political parties, churches,
students and workers as a necessary tonic in the fight for the
democratization of the country of our birth. We shall continue to march for
our rights and our dignity. A New Zimbabwe is the only legacy we can
bequeath to posterity. A New Zimbabwe a new beginning. Now is the time!!!!
Hon Nelson Chamisa, MP.Secretary for Information and Publicity


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The limits of megaphone central banking

New Zimbabwe

By Dr Alex T. Magaisa
Last updated: 01/24/2008 20:52:15
WHEN future students of banking look back at the tenure of Dr Gideon Gono as
Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), they may draw a key lesson
of central banking.
It is that whilst megaphone central banking might draw short-term applause
and placate a few, it eventually succumbs to the old truth -- that in the
process of covering shortfalls and raising expectations which cannot be met,
the proverbial horns will, invariably, manifest in very ugly ways.

Most recently, the Governor announced, publicly, that he was ready to
testify before a Parliamentary Committee, to name and shame members of high
society, who are allegedly involved in unlawful cash hoarding and thereby
jeopardising the financial system. The RBZ introduced the term “cash barons”
to Zimbabwean vocabulary.

Subsequently, the much-anticipated hearing did not materialise, amid claims
that the ruling Zanu PF party caused it to be called off, fearful of
exposing dirty linen prior to a key election in March 2008.

But there is a question that has not been answered satisfactorily. It is the
question why the Governor of the RBZ, itself an important statutory body,
would prefer to expose alleged wrongdoers at a parliamentary forum rather
than use his own powers provided for under statute?

One reason may be that the Governor sought to find protection from the
privilege that attaches to the proceedings of Parliament. This would be,
perhaps, on the understanding that the Governor himself does not enjoy
comparable privileges under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act (RBZ Act), the
law under which he holds office. But that proposition is incorrect.

It is submitted, with respect, that the Governor has, at his disposal,
powers that he can deploy to achieve the result that he sought on the
platform of the Parliamentary Committee. That these statutory powers have
not been used, in preference for the political platform of Parliament, has
given rise to suggestions that this is motivated by factors that have little
to do with the execution of the statutory functions of central banking.

It is, perhaps, part of the unsavoury megaphone approach to central banking
that is by and large inimical to the commonly recognised modus operandi of
central banking.

Admittedly, the RBZ Act is an odd piece of statute. It confers powers to the
RBZ under Section 53, to require any person to furnish it with information
and documents and also to require any person to appear before it at a
specified time and place to answer specific questions. Yet these powers are
exercisable where the RBZ is providing assistance to a foreign regulatory
authority. These are very strong powers, entitling the RBZ to assume the
powers of a commissioner conferred under the Commissions of Inquiry Act,
meaning it can call witnesses to testify before it on any matter concerning
the specific inquiry.

But whilst these powers specifically relate to provision of foreign
assistance, there does not seem to be a corresponding provision conferring
similar powers to the RBZ in respect of its own specific investigations. It
is odd, that one can have such strong powers to assist foreign regulators
yet lacking the same powers for its own investigations. It needs to be
rectified.

Nevertheless, the RBZ is entitled under Section 7(1)(s) of the RBZ Act, to
exercise functions conferred on it by any other law. One such law is the
Banking Act. It confers power on the RBZ to continuously monitor and
supervise banks and their “associates”, a term that is given a fairly wide
definition under the law.

Crucially, it can investigate them to prevent or detect contravention of the
Banking Act or any other law. Further, Section 45(2) states clearly that in
performing its duties, the RBZ can use any lawful means which it considers
appropriate – again a very wide discretionary power. To facilitate the
supervision and investigation, the RBZ is entitled to appoint supervisors
and inspectors.

A very important provision is Section 49(1)(e) of the Act, which enables the
RBZ to investigate a banking institution where it has reasonable grounds for
believing that a bank or any person connected with a bank has committed an
offence under the Banking Act. The phrase “any person connected” with a bank
is not defined in precise terms and could, therefore, be subject to a wide
definition to include persons having substantial dealings with a bank.

This could, presumably, include where such dealings are of an unlawful
nature and therefore necessary to be investigated by the regulator. This
provision states, further, that where the RBZ considers that an
investigation is necessary for the purpose of preventing, investigating or
detecting a contravention of the Banking Act or any other law, the RBZ may
direct an inspector to conduct an investigation into the banking
institution.

Significantly, under Section 49(5) of the Banking Act, the inspector also
has “the same powers, rights and privileges as are conferred upon a
commissioner by the Commissions of Inquiry Act” granting him wide powers to
call upon witnesses to testify. One of the powers of the inspector so
appointed is, “to examine, whether under oath or otherwise, any person who
is or was a director, officer, employee, agent, auditor, legal adviser,
valuator, debtor, creditor, policy-holder, shareholder or partner of the
banking institution concerned” (S. 49(3)(b)).

The categories of persons mentioned in this provision are not strictly
defined and could, arguably, cover debtors, creditors, partners or agents,
or indeed any number of persons who are supposedly hoarding cash or doing
other unlawful activities, in collusion with banking institutions.

Surely, if the Governor is in possession of names of cash barons, as he says
he does, it is likely that he holds vital information that would connect
their activities to one or more banks. This would, therefore, provide a
reasonable basis for the RBZ to mount an investigation into the bank’s
activities and in the process call upon them to testify.

What these provisions show is that there is, surely, some statutory power,
which is available to the Governor to do more or less the same job that he
intends to do through the Parliamentary Committee. The RBZ’s ability to
regulate Zimbabwe’s monetary system and to foster the proper functioning of
the financial system should not be dependent upon whether or not a
Parliamentary Committee is available and willing to give him audience.

The point here is that the RBZ does not have to outsource its
responsibilities to Parliament. It has the powers to deploy its own
investigatory arsenal against banks and any persons that it considers to be
involved in the allegedly unlawful activities. If these people are moving
their ill-gotten gains through the banking system, it is likely that they
are committing money-laundering offences.

If the banks are colluding in the unlawful activities, it follows that they
may also be committing offences, allowing the barons to clean their dirty
money through their systems. If they are getting money in bulk from the
banks in order to carry out other illegal activities, there is a possibility
that the banks are aiding and abetting the commission of offences.

This means, in any language, in light of the selected laws discussed above,
that the RBZ is perfectly entitled to mount investigations of its own,
without seeking the cover of Parliament. If indeed criminal offences are
detected, the RBZ can always make a referral to the Attorney General to
consider prosecution.

If, therefore, the RBZ has such and other statutory powers, the question has
to be why the Governor would, instead, seek to use the Parliamentary
platform to name and shame so-called perpetrators. And when Parliament fails
to respond, does it mean that the RBZ can no longer carry out its functions?
This raises concerns that this is not about regulation but smacks of a
well-calculated political stunt.

The credibility of the RBZ as the chief financial regulator rests on its
ability and willingness to use its statutory powers, following laid down
procedures that meet the requirements of Due Process. This requires caution,
not haste. It requires adherence to principles of natural justice, not
approaches that are bound to be interpreted as politically motivated,
permitting in the process, suspected individuals to escape the net alleging
political persecution.

The Governor does not need parliament to do his work. He has powers to do it
and if he genuinely wants to uncover the activities of so-called culprits he
ought to assign his strong team of legal advisers to scour the legislation
for tools and instruments to enable him to do so. If they search carefully,
they will find them. If not, they can always recommend legislation to confer
the RBZ with specific investigatory powers which are generally available to
financial regulators elsewhere in the world.

Otherwise, one is left to ponder, whether this whole charade is another
chapter in the long-running megaphone approach to central banking.

Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, UK and can be contacted at
wamagaisa@yahoo.co.uk or a.t.magaisa@kent.ac.uk


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How to put Zim back on the right path

IOL

††††January 24 2008 at 11:51AM

By Raymond Parsons

The birth of Zimbabwe was attended by great rejoicing and high hopes.
Twenty-seven years later the country is facing institutional collapse and
economic disaster.

The deepening political, social and economic crisis in Zimbabwe has
over the past five years and more therefore seldom been out of the
headlines.

Irrespective of when President Robert Mugabe decides to go, it seems
worth considering the kind of interventions both domestic and external that
will eventually be needed to put Zimbabwe back on the right path.

There is a strong tendency to fully ascribe developments in Zimbabwe
to Mugabe's particular personality and autocracy implying that his exit from
the national stage is all that will be required to return the country to its
former status as an admired and successful nation state.

However, neither Mugabe's eventual departure from office, nor even a
speedy reversal of failed policies, will guarantee the success of its
rebuilding policies.

At the moment a number of post-Mugabe scenarios are possible. Mugabe
could hand-pick a successor, step aside and try to orchestrate developments
from behind the scenes; there could be a military coup; the reformist
faction within Zanu-PF could gain the ascendancy and oust the Mugabe
loyalists; or and obviously first prize a broad government of national unity
could be formed.

We will also have to evaluate what important facilitation and
influential role the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in
general and South Africa in particular can play in the processes that lie
ahead. All SADC states have a vital stake in the nature of the change in
Zimbabwe.

There have been many instances in recent years of improved economic
performance and better governance in several parts of the African continent,
while several reasons for state failure in Africa and elsewhere continue to
be found in the absence of some of the institutional infrastructure
necessary to successfully widen and deepen democratic systems.

Also, for countries with limited means, the counterbalancing elements
that are traditionally associated with democratic systems including
political parties, pressure groups, media organisations, educational and
research organisations can be costly to maintain.

Sustaining democracy therefore becomes, in part, a function of the
productivity of the economic system.

Economic crises often can, and do, unseat governments. While they may
frequently cause political turbulence, it is unusual for them to damage or
destroy systems of government.

Alongside these "contextual shortcomings" and an inability to
establish and maintain the institutions necessary for democracy to thrive,
many African countries suffer from an "institutional multiplicity".

The number of representative business organisations in South Africa,
and the difficulty encountered in trying to consolidate and rationalise
business representation, could be an example of this as could the
fragmentation of opposition groups in Zimbabwe.

This phenomenon of institutional multiplicity tends to subvert the
basic principles of good governance by encouraging clientelism, nepotism and
other forms of corruption.

In recent years, the emergence of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad), the African Union (AU), the Commission for Africa and
other related initiatives testify to the new mechanisms dedicated to the
upliftment, transformation and better governance of the African continent.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted at the fifth
Annual Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture in July last year that "it is a
pernicious self-destructive form of reason to rise up and expel tyrannical
leaders who are white, but to excuse tyrannical leaders that are black".

"A solution to Africa's problems," he said, "rests on (the) three
re-inforcing pillars of peace and security, development and human rights,
and the rule of law." Success in these terms is dependent on a government's
ability to achieve a symbiotic and reinforcing balance between their
political, administrative and economic roles.

In this context, Zimbabwe's initial economic performance was
promising.

Zimbabwe achieved its independence much later than most other former
colonial countries. From the early 1980s to about the mid-1990s the
Zimbabwean government managed to sustain a reasonable balance between the
three key functions of state.

Zimbabwe was at this time looked upon as a "going concern". Foreign
investors, bankers and aid agencies ignored the official Marxist-Leninist
policies and were prepared to invest in or lend to Zimbabwe.

For much of the 1980s, consequently, the Zimbabwean economy therefore
produced an average growth rate of about 4 percent per annum.

Zimbabwean agriculture was both efficient and substantial, while rural
and urban workforces alike enjoyed relative job security.

Yet it must be argued that the seeds of subsequent economic
difficulties had begun to be sown in Zimbabwe even in the 1980s, through an
increasing lack of discipline in fiscal policy aggravated by artificial
attempts to significantly boost wages by decree.

These trends were superimposed on an economy already made
"inflation-prone" by more than a decade of sanctions and import substitution
policies under the previous Ian Smith regime.

The balance began to tilt too far in favour of consumption as against
the investment needed to rebuild the economy.

Thus, by the early 1990s, the picture started to change, with twin
fiscal and current account deficits resulting in severe shortages of foreign
exchange.

This, in turn, led to a drop in domestic investment and a rapid
increase in unemployment, leading to the subsequent adoption of an
IMF-supported Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP).

Unfortunately, the short-term results of ESAP were not encouraging,
due in part to factors such as drought, a failure to control the escalating
fiscal deficit, a lack of official enthusiasm, and incorrect policy
sequencing.

The net effect was mounting opposition to ESAP from civil society and
trade unions, and a decline in political support for Zanu-PF.

The Mugabe government's response was to adopt populist policies aimed
at "buying back" political support from the key constituencies.

One of these policies was the announcement, in 1998, of an intention
to transfer white-owned farms to black Africans. No one disputed the need
for expedited land reform, but the new methods left much to be desired.

While there has been a severe contraction of agricultural output, it
would be unwise to think that, once the land issue is out of the way, the
problem will be solved, as it has now become enmeshed with a wide range of
other concerns.

A steady deterioration in social indicators from the early 1990s
gradually filtered into political opinion. This was then reflected in the
rise of the urban opposition which, at an early stage, Mugabe took steps to
offset and neutralise through the economic and other means at his disposal,
including constitutional changes. Some of these have continued subsequently.

Just before the 1990 elections, the "rules of the game" for
parliamentary elections were changed. In effect it meant that, even if an
opposition party or coalition returned the majority of elected legislators
at the polls, it would not necessarily have enough seats to form a
government.

This was because 30 seats were now under the direct appointment of
Mugabe. Zanu-PF now only required 46 seats to constitute a majority, whereas
the opposition would require 76 seats to do so.

Available figures from official sources are riddled with
inconsistencies, with the result that it is hard to discern exactly how
serious the Zimbabwean economic deterioration has been.

However, strong anecdotal evidence does suggest widespread perceptions
of serious economic decline and, indeed, of crisis and widespread
impoverishment.

The official figures indicate that, between 1998 and 2006, Zimbabwe's
real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by about a third. It probably
deteriorated still further in 2007. Unemployment rose steadily and is now
estimated at 80 percent of the working-age population.

A few years ago the agricultural sector employed about 450 000 people.
It now employs an estimated 45 000. A 33 percent decline in agricultural
production provides some explanation for the estimated five million
Zimbabweans who may be in need of international food assistance this year.

Global experience suggests that runaway inflation usually comes
packaged with many other policy mistakes, the accumulation of which
contributes to a poor and often disastrous economic performance.

Officially, annual consumer price inflation climbed from around 55
percent in 2000 to about 1 300 percent in 2006. However, the calculation of
this official rate is thought to understate the true position.

The new black economic empowerment and "indigenisation" drive could
further damage an economy already hard-hit by other policies.

Although there has already been considerable "indigenisation" of the
Zimbabwean economy in recent years, the plan now is to transfer control of
all companies, including foreign banks and some mining companies, to local
control under the black empowerment legislation.

This suggests that Mugabe may again be seeking to influence voters.
This could make the economy's recovery even more problematical when the time
comes.

There is little doubt that the Zimbabwean crisis has had a negative
and traumatic impact on the country's people, and the human costs have been
high.

However, the regional "contagion effects" have been mixed.

Zimbabwe's neighbours, in aggregate, have gained from the influx of
skills, and their regional market share of exports, tourism revenues and
other services has increased.

At the same time, however, there can be little doubt that developments
in Zimbabwe have affected the attractiveness of the region to foreign
investors, and have reinforced stereotypical global Afro-pessimism.

We need to ask what signposts might help to point the way ahead. From
friendly observers not wishing to be prescriptive about how Zimbabwe can
eventually correct the situation, the following under four broad headings
may be offered as only some of the core components of that reconstruction
process-to-be:

(a) Constitutional, political and public administration aspects:
Security and the rule of law need to be re-established.

While a large scale demobilisation is neither necessary, nor
desirable, it may be important to purge the security forces of elements most
closely associated with the Mugabe regime.

Stabilisation of the rural areas will also require that the
paramilitary "war veterans" are somehow contained.

There are those who think that Zanu-PF will or even should stay in
power, even without popular mandate. This is partly because they believe an
alternative government will be unacceptable to the security forces.

Unless a political accommodation can be found, however, and be
recognised as such both within and outside Zimbabwe, a mere "changing of the
guard" would almost certainly not be enough to bring about economic
recovery. The diaspora will not be reversed, and Western aid will not be
forthcoming.

(b) Monetary and financial issues: To reduce inflation from its
current levels whether by "shock therapy" or "gradualism" will inevitably
involve painful adjustment for all stakeholders in the economy, especially
the poor. A stabilisation plan will be needed, including a substantial
reduction in the fiscal deficit.

(c) Infrastructural, agricultural, industrial and skills dimensions:
The Zimbabwean economy needs to recover its competitive edge after the
serious setbacks of recent years and there are several ways in which this
can be addressed.

Anecdotal evidence suggests only some of Zimbabwe's infrastructure may
still be in reasonable shape, and that security of tenure and financing
could, with the correct management, accommodate renewed growth once a
political settlement is reached.

Water, power, roads and other infrastructure will nonetheless need
extensive rehabilitation and could require an immediate investment of up to
R30 billion.

The agricultural sector would need to be given a high priority with
attention being given to attracting back farming skills, providing adequate
security of tenure and agricultural extension services, and ensuring the
exchange rate is appropriately managed.

Depending upon the extent to which physical capital is actually
destroyed, there remains the potential for quite a strong revival in mining
and manufacturing production.

While Zimbabwe once possessed one of the best-educated workforces on
the continent, many of these skills have been lost to the country as a
result of the diaspora.

(d) International and regional assistance: While recognising that the
decisions ultimately must be taken by Zimbabweans, the global community will
need to help, particularly the IMF and World Bank, whose revised charters
leave no doubt about their obligations to advise and, as appropriate, assist
the wayward or needy.

We cannot conclude the subject of Zimbabwe as though its proper
treatment only depended on a "failed state" analysis or on economic facts.
Explanations of the Zimbabwean situation as a political phenomenon need a
different and wider conceptual apparatus if we want to understand and change
it successfully.

Enough international experience has now accumulated to expose the
serious pitfalls that may be encountered in seeking to implement even the
best-designed economic and political reconstruction programmes in a
post-conflict situation.

The SADC's efforts, especially through Mbeki, to facilitate and assist
the political process in Zimbabwe must be strongly applauded and encouraged,
and then assessed on their merits.

Here we must recognise, in the world of realpolitik and negotiation,
that compromises will no doubt have to be struck. Success will depend on
minimising disputes, not on winning them.

It does seem to have fallen to South Africa to persuade an intractable
autocrat to do the right thing, while holding so few cards in her hand.

Getting Zimbabwe "right" will call for political and economic
leadership and strategic insight of the highest order.

.. This is an edited version of Raymond Parsons's Presidential
Address to the Economic Society of South Africa Biennial Conference.

Parsons hold the position of Extraordinary Professor in the Department
of Economics at the University of Pretoria and is Overall Business Convenor
at Nedlac.

This article was originally published on page 19 of Cape Argus on
January 24, 2008


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US protests detention of Zimbabwe opposition leader

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: January 24, 2008

WASHINGTON: The United States lodged a complaint with the government of
Zimbabwe for the brief detention of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, also contacted Tsvangirai after
his detention ahead of a protest Wednesday.

"Our ambassador did speak with him and expressed concern about his
condition. He did report that he was not mistreated since he was in
custody," a U.S. State Department spokesman, Tom Casey, said Thursday. "His
detention was clearly an effort to try to intimidate the opposition in
Zimbabwe and prevent them from being able to explain and peacefully express
their views and carry out the activities that they had planned."

On Wednesday, Police fired tear gas and charged toward several hundred
people making their way to the protest, but Tsvangirai eventually addressed
a few hundred people who managed to reach the protest site.

The demonstration was intended as a first test of new security laws meant to
ease restrictions on protests in the run-up to elections scheduled in March.

"Certainly we want to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to do what they
have pretty consistently failed to do over time, which is allow the
opposition and all people the opportunity to freely express their views, to
campaign and to also operate in the manner you would expect in a free
society," Casey said.


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AU spotlight on Zim

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 24 January 2008 17:01

HARARE -† Famine-stricken Zimbabwe is set to hog the spotlight for all the
wrong reasons during the African Union summit in Addis Ababa next week amid
reports the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was launching a
high-profile “Save Zimbabwe” diplomatic campaign.

Aimed at highlighting the plight of Zimbabweans, the campaign will see
opposition leaders lobbying African heads of state who are gathering in the
Ethiopian capital for the African Union summit, set to run from January 31
to February 1, to step up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to end human
rights violations and address an acute financial meltdown.
SA President Thabo Mbeki is expected to report to the AU Summit on his
failed mission to Zimbabwe on January 31.
His sojourn to Zimbabwe last week Thursday resulted in appalling failure
after the mission was undermined by Mugabe and failed to resolve a stand-off
between Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party and the MDC.
But in a last ditch effort to salvage a face-saving deal, he is expected to
dispatch his Local Government minister Sydney Mufamadi to Harare on
Thursday, today, to get the MDC and Zanu (PF) back on the negotiating table.
Mbeki was said to have been “shaken” by the midnight arrest of Tsvangirai
and reportedly expressed “profound shock” and that “it was inconceivable”
that Tsvangirai could be arrested at a time the two sides were negotiating
peace. Mugabe ordered the arrest of Tsvangirai five days after Mbeki flew
out his Zimbabwe.
A senior MDC official said although they were not in Addis Ababa to campaign
for the exclusion of Zimbabwe from the AU like the delegates from other
countries, they believed the AU should target Zimbabwe when enforcing its
peer review mechanisms. Mugabe has staunchly refused to sign up to peer
review, although he can be arraigned under provisions of the mechanism
The Zimbabwean heard that there was a meeting of the Council of Ministers in
Addis Ababa this week, which is set to be followed by the AU summit,
expected to attract all of Africa’s 53 heads of State.
The Zimbabwean heard that representatives from Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum were in Addis Ababa right now for civil society meetings ahead of the
crucial African Union Summit.† Zimbabwe has been placed firmly on the agenda
and the situation in Zimbabwe will be discussed Thursday at the pre-summit
meetings, along with the bloody and grim situation in Kenya, where more than
750 have been killed in post-election clashes.
The MDC official said Zimbabwe should be pressured to consider conducting
free and fair elections to avoid a contested electoral outcome.
”There are still no go areas where the opposition is refused the right to
campaign or open structures. Right now the State press is refusing to accept
our adverts. Right now† and about 4,1 million people are starving,” he said.
The opposition official spoke as police briefly detained opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, before violently putting down a banned protest mass march
in Harare,
†The MDC had called a march Wednesday through the Central Business District
of Harare.† Police prohibited the march. A court ruling yesterday reversed
the police ban and gave permission for the march to be held in a football
stadium instead.† As MDC supporters made their way to the stadium, police
were beating and arresting them.


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SA Cops Guard Zim. Embassy

The Zimbabwean

†Thursday, 24 January 2008 17:07

PRETORIA- ZIMBABWE ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya-Moyo sought the
support of South Africa Police Service (SAPS) to protect the country's
embassy in Pretoria following threats by the Revolutionary Youth Movement of
Zimbabwe to stage massive protests against suspected election rigging that
appear will not be free and fair in Zimbabwe.

†This follows rampant human rights abuses, illegal arrest of opposition
leaders (especially Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai), police brutality and state
sponsored lawlessness ahead of the crucial March election.
†The protest for Thursday was† called off after Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) President, Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested by the partisan
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). Tsvangirai was latter released without a
charge. According to the President of the Revolutionary Youth Movement of
Zimbabwe President, Simon Mudekwa, they called off the protest after
Khaya-Moyo pleaded with the police to intervene arguing that the Zimbabwean
youths would destroy property at the embbassy in retaliation to the arrest
of Tsvangirai. A visit to the Zimbabwean embassy on Thursday morning
revealed that the South African Police Service personnel were at the embassy
premises with guns. "Due to the latest developments of the arrest of the MDC
President Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zim embassy demo has been postponed to
29 January 2008. "We have been advised on this by the Police because they
said that Simon Moyo called and expressed fear that the protest would turn
out violent and we totally disagreed with the police but they insisted that
if the ambassador feels threatened then there is nothing they can do because
they have to protect," said Mudekwa. The mobilisation by the Revolutionary
Youth Movement of Zimbabwe has gained much support with some activists from
as far as Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Polokwane and North West
supporting the call to protest at the Zimbabwe embassy next week- CAJ News


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Fu Manchu Versus Dr Livingstone in the Dark Continent?


Fahamu (Oxford)

OPINION
24 January 2008
Posted to the web 24 January 2008

Emma Mawdsley

Emma Mawdsley examines the coverage of China's growing influence in Africa
by the British print media

The words and images we use do not describe 'reality', they create it.
Language (terms, metaphors, and analogies) and images (such as films, news
photos, maps and cartoons) are caught up in struggles over interpretation -
which means that the language and images of the powerful are important tools
in creating and maintaining particular points of view amongst politicians,
policy-makers and the public. This paper explores the way in which six
British broadsheet newspapers have covered China's growing role in Africa
over the past seven years. China's impacts in Africa are complex and varied
by country, sector and context, and most of the newspaper articles reflect
that. Whether more critical or approving in tone, the articles invariably
point to both benefits and problems associated with China's rise. Even those
which focus on specific issues or countries, tend to open or conclude with
at least a sentence or two outlining a broader assessment of the prospects
and problems associated with the growing relationship. Even so, a detailed
analysis led us to identify five narrative tropes that recurred consistently
and frequently, which tended to systematically endorse images of African
weakness, Western trusteeship and Chinese ruthlessness:

1) a tendency to refer to 'the Chinese' or 'China', as if the various
Chinese actors all shared the same interests;

2) a tendency to focus excessively on China's interests in oil over other
commodities;

3) a decided preference for focussing on China's negative impacts on the
continent, and within that, on issues and places of violence, disorder and
corruption (e.g. Zimbabwe, Sudan, Angola) over other negative issues (e.g.
trade imbalances, undermining domestic manufacturing sectors);

4) a tendency to portray Africans as victims or villains; and

5) a frequently complacent account of the role and interest of different
western actors in Africa. Representations of Africa, China and the West
First, most press reports tend to refer simply to "the Chinese", often
overlooking the fact that Chinese communities and actors in Africa are
diverse in origins, roles and interests. The Chinese in Africa include
longer standing and more recent diasporic communities, often engaged in
small and medium business, but with a range of histories and relations with
China and with their adopted African homes. Media accounts tend to focus
much more strongly on Chinese state firms and agencies, as well as the more
recent wave of large private enterprises (although the distinction can be
blurred). But interests differ - longer term Chinese diasporic populations,
the managers of Chinese companies, Chinese labourers employed by those
companies, and different elements of the Chinese Government may have very
different views on, for example, political stability, corporate transparency
or democratic accountability. Different Chinese firms may have competing
interests over what constitute desirable conditions for import/export trade
or commodity extraction/manufactures. The following quote indicates
competing interests that are otherwise rarely reflected in the media
accounts that were analysed: "Venturing into Africa is a superficially
attractive option for Chinese enterprises with limited global experience, as
they can avoid the kind of competition and rules they face in markets such
as the US or the European Union. But Chinese companies are also under great
pressure to invest in Africa to fulfil political commitments made by China's
leaders, who provide financial incentives, including cheap loans, for them
to go overseas. "First we must listen to what the country says, but we have
our own company considerations" says Mr Wang of Chico, an enterprise
controlled by the provincial government of Henan ...[Mr Wang says] they "get
criticism" from officials back home if they miss business targets, which
often involve expanding overseas investment" (Financial Times, 20 June 2006:
"China ventures on rocky roads to trade with Africa").

Allied to this is a tendency to isolate Chinese firms as nationally discrete
entities. In fact, joint enterprises with both African and western firms are
becoming more common.

The second theme identified is the focus on oil and, to a lesser extent,
natural gas and ores, over other commodities. This reflects a wider focus on
the geopolitics of oil, a subject that the Iraq war and massive oil price
rises have brought to the fore of western public attention. Although oil is
undeniably an important issue, and a major component of Sino-Africa trade
and economic growth, this is concentrated in Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, Gabon
and Guinea. For many African countries, exports of fish, timber and grain,
or imports of relatively cheap manufactured goods are just as important. The
focus on oil lends itself to a discourse of resource competition rather than
the recognition that China and the West have a range of interests and
relations in Africa, including potentially complementary ones. Third is a
very uneven focus on China's interests and impacts in different African
nations. More positive elements tend to get less attention (debt
cancellation, investment, lower commodity prices for consumers, support for
a greater international voice etc), with a preferred focus on problem
issues. Moreover, we find that there is a preferred focus on zones and
subjects of violent conflict, corruption, genocide and authoritarian
leadership, rather than, say, the less gripping images of China's impacts on
trade imbalances or under-cutting of African manufacturing sectors. The
overwhelming balance of articles is on Sudan, Zimbabwe and Angola, with far
less attention paid to, for example, Lesotho, which is experiencing immense
hardship competing with China in textile production; or Kenya which is
struggling to compete with China in the manufactured goods sector.

Fourth, within these accounts, Africans, tend to be reduced to villains
(Mugabe, the Sudanese government) and victims (African populations, Darfur,
the poor), an observation that fits with the findings of many other critical
evaluations of the media. African agency, as leaders or ordinary citizens,
workers and consumers, is rarely emphasised. Allusions to adolescence or
childhood are common. Thus, discussing China's effects on Chad:

"Chad was supposed to establish a model of good practice. But, as a western
observer in the country puts it: "The risk is [following China's oil deals]
it will become an example for the worst [African] pupils" [emphasis added].
(Financial Times, 23 January 2006: "The 'resource curse' anew".)

The paternalistic line that the West needs to save Africa from China'
depredations is something reflected elsewhere in the media. An extended
Channel Four news report which was widely circulated and repeated, started:
"To Tony Blair, Africa is somewhere which needs healing or saving and Sierra
Leone gets a lot of British aid. But the Chinese are looking at the
continent through different eyes. They see it as a source of raw materials,
especially oil, which they need for their own development. And somewhere
like Sierra Leone, fresh out of war - they think it's ripe for trade and
investment" (Lindsey Hillsum, Channel Four, 4 July 2005)

Finally, Western actors - businesses, governments, national and
international development NGOs - are typically portrayed as benign within
the majority of these articles and accounts. Many articles imply or state
that while the West did in the past have supported authoritarian leaders, or
were party to corrupt business practices, it has learnt its lesson and
reformed. While colonialism was economically exploitative and morally wrong,
according to many of the articles exploring China's 'new African safari' or
'new scramble for Africa', western colonialism is claimed to at least have
had a paternalistic/developmental dimension and well-intentioned elements -
an attitude that has translated into an ethical concern for Africa in the
postcolonial period.

Thus, in the contemporary setting, Western companies supposedly operate
under a different ethical regime because of their own high convictions;
labour laws; voluntary agreements as part of wider government and third
sector pressure to improve business with Africa; consumer demands for more
ethical production and trading; and/or shareholder pressure. None of these
are said to apply to state-run or private Chinese companies. Above all, the
dominant (although by no means universal, narrative) that runs through many
of the articles is that the mistakes of the past have been addressed, and
the West is now the architect and energiser of a new drive towards good
governance and development, with aid now accompanied by ethical
conditionalities, while reformed commercial practices promise investment,
extraction and trade that will enhance development rather than line the
pockets of kleptocratic elites. These faltering steps forward, which will be
of mutual benefit to western companies and ordinary African people, are
under threat from the unscrupulous Chinese. A few quotes give a flavour of
these arguments: "But while the meeting [2006 FOCAC] is intended to fuel
China's global drive for resources, raw materials and markets, concerns are
growing that the boosters of Beijing do not have Africa's best interests at
heart and that western countries will be cut out of future business". (The
Guardian, 1 November 2006: "Beijing's Race for Africa")

"There are concerns too about soft loans leading to unsustainable debt and
generous aid programmes that undermine efforts to improve governance,
transparency and accountability. If the World Bank and IMF say no or attach
conditions, Beijing always says yes.... The [2006] Beijing Summit is a big
deal for China, a deliberately showy monument to its value-free strategy. It
would be absurd to claim that western greed and interest did not do enormous
damage in an earlier scramble for Africa. But the age of colonialism is
over. It should be accepted today that global power brings global
responsibilities. Tyranny, inequality and corruption offend universal
values. In the countries where it now has the ability to make a difference,
China should think twice about offering its help with no strings attached".
(The Guardian, 4 November 2006: "Scrambling to Beijing: China and Africa")

"That virtuous circle of increased assistance and better governance has been
the hall mark of the approach taken, with varying degrees of success, by the
West and Japan since the end of the Cold War. China now threatens to blow
apart that consensus". (The Telegraph, 26 April 2006: "The dragon in
Africa")

"Soft Chinese loans to vulnerable and corrupt African regimes, arranged
outside the painstakingly agreed Equator Principles for responsible lending,
risk reversing progress towards extricating such regimes from debt. ... And
misconceived or badly executed civil engineering projects risk irreversible
environmental damage ... Such a critique is valid. Coming from the West it
also has a hint of the hypocritical. China's current scramble for African
energy and resources is modest compared with Europe's scramble for African
territory a century and a half ago. And China's sometimes reckless spending
only mirrors gambles by Western banks and governments in the postwar era.
But now Beijing risks repeating the West's mistakes ... when it allowed
massive increases in overseas aid and investment with no commensurate
adjustments to its foreign policy". (The Times, 2 November 2006: "China and
Africa")

There are undeniably elements of truth in some of this - some western
companies are indeed bound by their charters, public pressure and voluntary
agreements to abide by standards that can reduce their competitiveness with
companies not thus circumscribed. Bilateral and multilateral initiatives on
debt, trade and aid have made some advances towards greater equity and
reparation of injustices. These efforts and advances should not be
belittled. However, there are three main sets of problems with the imagery
of a benign west being undermined by a ruthless and unscrupulous China. The
first is that, despite advances, many western companies remain mired in
corrupt and exploitative business practices. Without losing sight of the
importance and achievements of incremental improvements in western
accountability and transparency, they remain inadequate. The second problem
is that of scope and scale - the West's impact on Africa cannot be reduced
to the efforts of NGOs, aid agencies or companies. We must look beyond these
limited horizons to debt, unjust trade regulations, uneven power in the
institutions of global governance, the 'war on terror', and increasingly,
perhaps, climate change, to develop a better understanding of the West's
impacts on Africa. Third, 'development' is almost invariably coded as
apolitical and positive in these articles - although interestingly such
partiality and complacency tended to be situational, apparent when framed
within the specific China-Africa story. Newspapers and even individual
journalists who in other reports may be very critical of, for example, the
halting, late and inadequate provision of medical supplies, or debt, or
trade inequalities, appear to become less critical when the West is framed
in the same article as China. Thus, while the Australian, French and South
African companies may also be condemned for working in Zimbabwe, in none of
the articles analysed were these framed in the same space as a critique of
China's business interests.

Running throughout, we can identify recurring words and phrases which are
indicative of the images outlined above: China is 'guzzling', 'aggressive',
an 'economic juggernaut', 'insatiably' 'thirsty' for oils and minerals, and
'voraciously' capitalist. "China is prowling the globe in search of energy
sources" (Declan Walsh, 9 Nov. 2005, The Guardian, emphasis added)

"As a voracious China scours the world for minerals, no regime is off
limits" (Financial Times, 12 Jan 2006: "Insatiable Beijing scours the world
for profit and power")

"[China] is ravenous for raw materials". (The Telegraph, 26 April 2006: "The
dragon in Africa")

In an article headlined "China's goldmine: Tony Blair and Bono see Africa as
a moral cause; China sees it as a business opportunity. But is Beijing's
interest based on economic partnership - or ruthless exploitation?", we
find:

"The resurrection of Chambishi [a major Zambian copper mine] is just one
small example of China's explosion into Africa. From the barest foothold a
decade ago an army of diplomats, technicians and entrepreneurs has kicked
the continent's door wide open, making Beijing a heavyweight investor and
political player" (The Guardian, 28 March 2006: "China's goldmine", emphasis
added)

This position and language stands in contrast to accounts of western FDI,
which is only presented as an unambiguously positive flow. Unlike the West,
the Chinese have 'insinuated' their way into the continent. For example:

"Quietly, while the attention of the world has been elsewhere, China has
become a major player in Africa". (The Independent, 7 September 2006: "The
benefits and dangers of those gifts from the east")

"China, which now foresees annual trade with the world's poorest continent
totalling $100 billion ( £50 billion) by 2010, began stepping up its
presence stealthily in Africa in the early 1990s" (The Times, 25 April 2007:
"From favoured patron to target of dissenters", emphasis added)

Dan Large, at SOAS, argues that these images are indicative of western
defensiveness about 'it's backyard', and can be seen as part of a wider
reaction to an emerging power. The language of red dragons in the continent
takes us back to the geopolitical discourses that characterised the Cold
War.

Conclusions To retiterate, amongst the database of articles reviewed there
were alternative perspectives and stories, critical accounts of western
roles and histories, and a recognition of the complex but also positive
possibilities of greater Sino-African relations. However, the themes
identified above emerged as strong and pervasive scripts in British
reporting on the contemporary relationships between Africa, China and the
West. Africa is one place in which China and western nations, notably the
US, are likely to find themselves in a position of competition, and these
images and languages, both popular and policy, are significant. In a recent
analysis, Andrew Still (2005) urges the importance of maintaining moderate,
pragmatic and respectful language and diplomatic 'signals' on both sides, if
we are to avoid hardening ideological dividing lines between China and the
US in particular - Still talks in terms of a potential degeneration of
relations that could usher in the next Cold War. He suggests that:

" ... some of the most difficult issues [between China and the US/West] lie
in the realm of ideas and identity rather than the narrow economic and
political interests, making them far less tractable. Not least of these will
be the way in which the debate over 'the rise of China' is conducted in the
public sphere. The limited repertoire of historical analogies on which it
currently draws ... creates a distorting prism through which the issue is
viewed and provides a thin basis for more thoughtful analysis of how to
ensure a peaceful power transition" (Still, 2005, p.3-4)

In the context of what is certain to be growing economic and political
competition between China and the US (with the UK and other nations playing
bit parts), including over Africa, media images and representations will
play an important role in shaping public understandings, debates and
political pressures. These in turn will have consequences - however
negotiated or contested - for different countries, actors and interests in
Africa.

* Dr. Emma Mawdsley is a lecturer in geography and Cambridge University.
This article is a short version of a paper to be published in Political
Geography in 2008. For a copy of the longer version, please refer to the
journal, or contact the author on: eem10@cam.ac.uk

*Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at
www.pambazuka.org


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United States Gives $12 Million to Pediatric AIDS Foundation Initiative

prnewswire.com

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American people,
through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
launched a new $12.5 million HIV/AIDS initiative in Zimbabwe. The
initiative, expected to dramatically increase access for women and children
to vital HIV prevention services, will be implemented by the Elizabeth
Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

The U.S. contribution to the Zimbabwe Family AIDS Initiatives, a part of the
overall U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, will expand
Zimbabwe's national mother-to-child transmission prevention program. It will
also provide greater access to prevention and treatment services for
pregnant women and infants, and undertake important operational research to
identify innovative solutions to challenges that the national program still
faces today. The initiative will directly support the National AIDS & TB
Unit sites throughout the country, with the goal of helping 460,000 pregnant
women access important anti-retroviral medications. The new initiative is
also supported by other donors such as the United Kingdom's Department for
International Development, the United States Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Johnson & Johnson.

During the recent launch ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee
highlighted the successful collaborative efforts supported by the US
Government. "The United States will continue to join and assist Zimbabweans
in the battle against HIV/AIDS," said Ambassador McGee. "It will take
commitment and strong leadership to overcome the challenges that we are all
facing and, together, in strong partnership, we will make a difference."

Elizabeth Glaser and its three implementing partners - JF Kapnek Trust, the
Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID), and
the Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Project - have been providing direct support to
more than 330 Ministry of Health and Child Welfare health facilities, in
over 24 districts of Zimbabwe. Through their programs, more than 280,000
pregnant women have gained access to services. About 34,000 women living
with HIV have been identified within the program, and the majority of these
women and their infants have received anti-retroviral treatments.

Only one in every three HIV positive pregnant women in Zimbabwe is currently
receiving the services that can protect their babies from the virus. As a
result, more than 17,300 children each year become infected in Zimbabwe.
USAID's Mission Director to Zimbabwe, Karen Freemen said, "The Elizabeth
Glaser program's achievements are a culmination of a multitude of efforts by
the U.S. government, its partners, donors, and the thousands of health care
workers whose dedication to patient care and service sustains these
programs."

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a worldwide leader in the
fight against pediatric AIDS. To learn more about the Foundation's work in
Zimbabwe, visit
http://www.pedaids.org/OurWork/InternationalPrograms/Zimbabwe.aspx.

For more information about USAID and its HIV AIDS programs in Zimbabwe,
visit
http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/aids/Countries/africa/zimbabwe.html.

Public Information: 202-712-4810

http://www.usaid.gov


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MISA launches research and documentation productions

zimbabwejournalists.com

24th Jan 2008 15:40 GMT

By a Correspondent

HARARE - The Media Institute of Southern Africa -Zimbabwe chapter on
Wednesday launched three of its 2007 research and documentation productions
namely The impact of criminal defamation and insult laws on the right to
freedom of expression in Zimbabwe, Missing voices from within and a video
documentary There are other voices within, at a function held in Harare.

The impact of criminal defamation and insult laws on the right to freedom of
expression in Zimbabwe explores insult laws in Zimbabwe and their bearing on
the freedom of expression rights of Zimbabweans; Missing voices from within
is a report on the voices featured on Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster in a
survey carried out between May 1-7, 2007 by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC); and There are other voices within† is a video documentary
highlighting the biased manner in which the media reflects women as both
sources and subjects of news.

Speaking at the launch, The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
(ACHPR) special rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Expression and Access
to Information, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, urged all media rights activists
to be steadfast in their resolve and not to tire in their quest for a free.

“The journey towards achieving total recognition of any human right, as
experienced by the African commission, is a painful and tedious one as often
ones tenacity is tested by the fact that the results are never instant” she
said.

Tlakula reiterated that the rights to freedom of expression and access to
information were fundamental requisites of any democratic society; hence
without them it would be difficult to enjoy other rights.

As part of its regional lobbying, MISA-Zimbabwe attends the annual African
Commission on Human and Peoples Rights Conference to register violations in
the rights of freedom of expression and the operations of the media in
Zimbabwe as provided for in the Declaration on Principles of Freedom of
Expression in Africa.

Officiating the launch, MISA-Zimbabwe’s Vice Chairperson, Millie Phiri,
stated that freedom of expression and access to information was the most
fundamental of rights that without them it would be difficult to enjoy other
rights.

She said that the publication of MISA-Zimbabwe’s productions would go a long
way in advocating for the proper exercise for the right to freedom of
expression in an enabling environment.

She called upon the commission to continue exerting pressure on the
government of Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law and engage civic society
to reform the laws so that they meet democratic standards.

The launching of the MISA-Zimbabwe’s productions falls in line with the
principles and values of respect for freedom of expression as defined in
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 9 of the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights as well as the respect for
media freedom, independence, diversity and pluralism as provided for in the
Windhoek Declaration of 1991.

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