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No progress at
regional Zimbabwe summit: MDC
Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:16am EST
Mapenzauswa and MacDonald Dzirutwe
PRETORIA (Reuters) - A regional summit
aimed at pushing Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe and the opposition to
implement a power-sharing deal has made
no progress, an opposition official
said on Monday.
The agreement is seen as a chance to prevent an economic
collapse that could
put added strain on neighbors which already host
millions of Zimbabweans who
fled in search of work and, more recently, to
escape a deadly cholera
An official of opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) said the 15-member
regional SADC bloc summit had not persuaded
the rivals to implement the
power-sharing deal signed last September.
"We are worlds apart. If we
were (inches) apart we are now miles apart," the
MDC official told
Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed the agreement in September but have
agree on control of cabinet posts, with neither side showing any
"Questions concerning Zimbabwe are continuously
being raised in capitals and
streets of Africa, with the expectation that
the Zimbabwean leadership of
all persuasions, under the aegis of SADC, will
resolutely resolve the
impasse with decisiveness and statesmanship," South
Kgalema Motlanthe told the summit. "I trust that we will
not fail them."
Mugabe, in power since 1980, and his ZANU-PF party have
urged the opposition
to join a unity government but say they will not
hesitate to form one
Mugabe is expected to seek
approval from regional leaders at the summit in
Pretoria to form a
government alone if need be.
Western leaders want Mugabe to step down and
are pushing for a democratic
government to embrace economic reforms before
billions of dollars in aid is
offered, but he has resisted their calls
through several rounds of
In Brussels, the European
Union stepped up pressure on him on Monday by
adding 27 individuals and 36
firms to a sanctions list and calling for a
probe into Harare's diamond
industry, EU officials said.
A Zimbabwean deputy
minister billed Monday's summit as the last chance for
power-sharing pact, viewed as the best hope for Zimbabwe, where
double every day and cholera has killed nearly 2,900 people since
"The way forward soon after this summit, whether there is an
there is no agreement, President Mugabe is going to form a
Information Minister Bright Matonga told South African
He said Mugabe would try to leave room
for Tsvangirai if he decided to
change his mind, but not for
Tsvangirai says ZANU-PF is trying to sideline him and wants control
powerful ministries such as Home Affairs. He says no deal is possible
party activists are released from jail.
Within the SADC bloc,
Zambia and Botswana have taken a tough line on Mugabe,
but other members
favor a more diplomatic approach with the man they still
revere as a
Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, one of
critics, attended the summit after boycotting one in
Without a political settlement, it is unlikely sanctions imposed
Zimbabwe's leadership by Western countries will be
(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Marius Bosch and Katie
summit making no progress on Zimbabwe crisis
By Lance Guma
SADC leaders and representatives met in South Africa Monday to try
the deadlock over a unity deal signed by ZANU PF and the MDC in
last year. It's the 7th time the leaders have met for either full
smaller meetings, in their ineffective attempts to resolve the
erupted after disputed elections last year. A Reuters report
late in the day
quoted an MDC official saying the talks were failing to make
any progress in
resolving outstanding issues. 'We are worlds apart. If we
apart we are now miles apart', the official from the MDC told
First to meet around 10am were the leaders of Swaziland, Angola
Mozambique, who make up the defense and security committee of SADC. The
troika, as it is called, met South African President Kgalema Motlanthe ahead
of the main summit and its thought they presented their own report on the
crisis. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the deal
last year, was also present at the meeting. Around 12pm the regional leaders
had a group photo taken and the summit proper began after 2pm and was
supposed to have concluded with the release of a SADC communiqué around
6:30pm. But Newsreel understands closed door meetings at the Presidential
Guest House in Pretoria only began around 6.00pm, and so it was unlikely the
summit would stick to the scheduled time frame.
Last year Botswana's
President Ian Khama boycotted a similar SADC summit, in
protest at the way
Mugabe was violently re-elected. He argued that; 'The
authorities in Harare,
under the present circumstances, should not be
represented at the political
level at any SADC summit as that would be equal
to giving them legitimacy.'
This time Khama attended and his presence was
sufficient to worry Mugabe of
the potential for a heated meeting. Reports
suggest on Friday that Mugabe
sent close ally and confidant, Emerson
Mnangagwa, to meet Khama's envoys in
Chobe, Botswana in a bid to ease the
tension before Monday's
Almost 4 months after the signing of the unity deal no government
formed, with Mugabe refusing to relinquish control of the most
ministries and doing everything possible to show he is not sincere
sharing power. Even a hurriedly put together meeting between Tsvangirai
Mugabe last week Thursday, ahead of the summit, could not break the
Mugabe's aides took turns to issue statements insisting Zanu PF had
enough concessions and would go it alone, if the MDC refused to join
The MDC meanwhile are insisting on an equal share of
power that does not
relegate them to junior partners. So even before the
summit began chances of
it succeeding looked doomed from the beginning.
African police use violence to break up Zimbabwean protest
26 January 2009
South African police used undue violence to
break up a peaceful Zimbabwean
solidarity protest, on the day regional
leaders gathered for the emergency
summit in Pretoria on Monday.
recently launched Save Zimbabwe Now! Campaign had been given permission
hold a solidarity rally at a park opposite the Union Building - the
of the South African President.
Emily Wellman, one of the organizers, told SW
Radio Africa that about an
hour and a half into the demonstration the crowd
of about 600 people
spontaneously crossed the road and went up the steps of
the Union Building
and began singing.
She said there was no violence, no
shouting or screaming or provocation,
because they knew they did not have
permission to be there. Wellman said:
"The police asked us to leave once or
twice and then opened fire with rubber
bullets, which resulted in over 600
people having to scramble down the
stairs which are very steep
Shoes, handbags and babies' blankets were left behind as terrified
protestors ran for their lives. The Save Zimbabwe Now! Campaign said several
people were injured and seven were taken to hospital.
"The reaction from
the police was completely over the top. People were
singing and dancing when
police started firing rubber bullets. This type of
intolerance is part of
the culture which must be changed - not only here in
South Africa - but
across the SADC region," Richard Smith from the Zimbabwe
Secretariat said in a statement.
Meanwhile South African Authorities refused
to accept a petition from the
campaign. Eight delegates had tried to hand
over the document for the SADC
leaders at the President's Guest House - the
venue of the emergency SADC
summit on Zimbabwe. But they were carried off in
a police van and later
taken back to the rally. The group included Kumi
Naidoo, the Honorary
President of CIVICUS, who is entering the sixth day of
a 21 day hunger
strike in solidarity with Zimbabweans.
The group had
wanted to deliver a memorandum asking for 'decisive action
from SADC to
acknowledge the extent of the humanitarian crisis in the
country, and stop
tacit support of the Mugabe regime'. They also want
regional leaders to
investigate the allegations of torture and human rights
concerned" by Zimbabwe impasse
Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:19pm GMT
WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
"very concerned" by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's refusal
to reach a
power-sharing deal with his opponents and wants South Africa to
pressure on him, the State Department said on Monday.
Department spokesman Robert Wood said Clinton, the former first lady
senator from New York, was "very focused" on the political stalemate in
Zimbabwe and was looking at what could be done to ease the
"We're very troubled by the fact that the Mugabe regime refuses
seriously with the opposition," Wood told
"Senator Clinton is very focused on this issue. She is very
it. Obviously we are going to be reviewing the situation in
to see what we can do," he added.
is in ruins with runaway inflation and a cholera epidemic
has killed nearly
2,900 people since August.
Regional leaders meeting in South Africa this
week have failed so far to get
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai to implement a power-sharing
Mugabe and Tsvangirai
signed an agreement in September but cannot agree on
control of cabinet
posts, with neither side showing any sign of compromise.
Wood urged the
SADC (Southern African Development Community) regional bloc,
particularly South Africa, to do more to get both sides to reach an
"We have encouraged South Africa to do as much as it can
to put pressure on
Mugabe to do the right thing. But to date, Mugabe does
not seem to have any
interest whatsoever in bringing an end to the crisis,"
"The regime has no interest in its own people, it has no
interest in trying
to bring about good governance and democratic
government," added Wood.
Last Friday, Clinton called South Africa's
foreign minister but Wood had no
information about that call or whether
Zimbabwe was raised during their
administration's strategy was to increasingly isolate Mugabe by
more sanctions on him and other senior officials backing the
president, who has been in power since 1980 in Zimbabwe.
the Clinton team was planning a new approach to Zimbabwe, Wood
Obama administration was reviewing the overall situation but
The European Union stepped up pressure on Mugabe on Monday
by adding 27
individuals and 36 firms to a sanctions list and calling for a
Harare's diamond industry. (Editing by Anthony Boadle)
Mugabe threatens unilateral government
Robert Mugabe's regime has threatened
to form a government on its own, which
would repudiate the power-sharing
agreement with Zimbabwe's opposition.
By Sebastien Berger in Pretoria and
Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 5:54PM GMT 26 Jan
The threat came even as a summit with the Movement for
Democratic Change was
being held in South Africa to try to save the
Beleaguered Zimbabwe's political leaders and representatives of
governments gathered at Pretoria's presidential guesthouse for the
a series of summits since the agreement was signed last
Mr Mugabe arrived in a Mercedes limousine with its curtains
drawn, and did
not say anything as he entered the building.
3,000 people have died of a cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, millions
aid and the economy is collapsing, but the power-sharing process
stymied by disagreements over how it will work, epitomised by Mr
unilateral allocation of cabinet ministries last year.
In Harare, Bright
Matonga, Zimbabwe's deputy information minister, said:
"This summit is the
last summit that is going to discuss this issue of an
"If it does not work today, definitely when the president
comes back here,
he has to form a new government with or without Morgan
leader of the MDC].
"He will obviously try to leave
room for Tsvangirai so that whenever he
changes his mind ... but that is not
going to be for too long."
If fulfilled, the threat would see the final
collapse of the power-sharing
deal, and Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party appears to
be laying the ground to try
to blame the MDC for its failure. Some of its
neighbours in the Southern
African Development Community, who are losing
patience with the long drawn
out process, appear to be effectively complicit
in the strategy as they have
been piling pressure on the MDC to drop its
But the opposition has signalled that it would not cave in,
even though it
has few plausible options.
The European Union
announced that it was expanding the list of individuals
targeted for sanctions, but the measures have had little
effect in the years
they have already been in place.
"Only the people that have an
inalienable right to decide their course and
their destiny," said Tendai
Biti, the MDC secretary-general, ahead of the
the record, it is Mugabe and his acolytes who have been responsible for
castration of Zimbabwe's manhood. It is not so-called sanctions that
created the phenomenal decline of this economy to levels unheard of in
"It is not Tsvangirai who is frustrating the
consummation of the unity deal
but rather Mugabe himself. We are not so
naive as to allow Zanu-PF to trap
us in the cul-de-sac of their sterile
In Harare, the regime is doing its utmost to constrain the
Officials took Jestina Mukoko, a human rights campaigner facing
charges, to hospital in leg irons more than a week after a court
At the weekend an MDC rally was banned in
Chitungwiza, a suburb south of
Harare, where a 45-year-old shop owner said
Mr Tsvangirai should sign
because "it will be to his advantage that he will
be incorporated into the
new government rather than remaining an opposition
He added: "It will be a new horizon and will ease political
MDC and Zanu-PF."
But a 70-year-old retired
headmaster disagreed: "I don't think that Mr
Morgan Tsvangirai should sign
unless power is equally shared or Mugabe will
carry on as he did for the
last 29 years."
SADC has failed Zimbabwe - Skelemani
Phandu Skelemani, Botswana’s Foreign Minister.
HOT SEAT interview: Journalist Violet
Gonda interviews Phandu Skelemani the Foreign Minister of Botswana
(Transcript of a SW Radio Africa broadcast
on January 23, 2009)
Violet Gonda: Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the
Botswana Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani on the programme Hot Seat, talking
about Botswana’s position on the crisis in Zimbabwe. On Monday, SADC is holding
an emergency summit on Zimbabwe in South Africa, so I first asked what we expect
from the regional body in light of this upcoming meeting.
Phandu Skelemani: We hope that this time around both the
Zimbabweans and SADC will take a firm stance and once and for all resolve what
appears now to be a problem which is just dragging on. So we look forward to a
firm resolution with SADC telling the rest of the Zimbabweans particularly the
leadership that enough is enough. They must form a government at least;
otherwise they should go back to the people and hold a ballot box.
VG: Right, what has been your assessment though, if you can
just briefly tell us your assessment of how SADC’s role has played out since
September last year?
PS: Well as we have said before, we at SADC have failed the
people of Zimbabwe. We have simply failed to tell the leadership, the political
leadership in Zimbabwe that what they are doing is wrong, it is undemocratic and
that they ought to respect the people and do everything with the people as the
priority. That SADC has failed to do, so SADC has virtually achieved nothing in
respect of Zimbabwe. It is unfortunate but it is true.
VG: Why is that so Mr Skelemani, why is it that SADC is
failing to deal with this problem, why hasn’t it succeeded?
PS: My opinion is that too many of the leadership in SADC
feel some kind of obligation towards Mugabe, probably because he has been such a
good freedom fighter which we don’t deny, but we think they’re confusing the
part played by Mugabe during the liberation and the part that he wants to play
now when he has subjected himself to the will of the people. That is the reason.
SADC is divided and is divided because we simply don’t put the people first but
rather an individual and that is unfortunate.
VG: Now you seem to, and by you I mean Botswana, seems to be
a lone voice in SADC in terms of siding with the people of Zimbabwe. Do you know
any other countries in the region that are vocal or that have criticised the
PS: I don’t think it’s a question of people criticising the
regime, it’s a question of people telling the truth as they see it. Those who –
at least appear to us - to think that what is happening is wrong are not
probably what you might call vocal, but I think the stance of the late President
Mwanawasa was quite clear. Zambia was quite clear that what Mugabe was doing was
unacceptable and he spoke out. Recently I think other people in private have
spoken out but since they haven’t spoken out publicly, one is careful not to be
VG: What are the sort of things that they speak about even
though it is behind the scenes?
PS: Clearly that what Mugabe is doing is wrong, that he
can’t pretend to act as if he won an election because he didn’t, that he should
be more accommodating than he appears to be doing. That is where the problem is
and the last ridiculous thing – that he thinks they should have two ministers in
charge of a ministry just because he knows that is the ministry he abuses. It is
not acceptable. It is ridiculous, that is what everybody should have told him,
that the rest of the people - in public, they accepted let’s experiment, let’s
have two ministers. How that can function, even in theory I think is silly.
VG: So what do you see happening this coming week because
press reports say that it is highly likely that SADC will finally accept that it
has failed and finally hand the matter to the African Union? Do you see this
PS: I don’t think SADC should hand the matter over to the
African Union. SADC should tell the Zimbabweans that they had better form a
government that is going to function. If they don’t, SADC should then tell the
leadership, tell Mugabe that ‘look if you people can’t agree don’t expect SADC
to come and prop you up’. We love the people of Zimbabwe too much to allow a
dictatorship. It is undemocratic; it’s as simple as that. If Mugabe and his
compatriots don’t want to agree then SADC must tell them straight away that they
are not going to get the support of SADC. The AU is not going to do anything
because what can the AU do if SADC fails, if SADC doesn’t take a position? Can
the AU take a position which can be implemented without SADC? Does it mean then
that SADC will have to be forced by the AU to take a position? So SADC must take
a position in the first place and then ask the AU to help implement that
VG: Some actually feel that it is going round and round and
they say what can we expect from the African Union especially when those in SADC
are the same people that are actually in the African Union? So seriously, will
anything new come out of any of these two bodies?
PS: Unless SADC takes a stance and then the AU endorses
that, I’m afraid I don’t think anything is going to come out of it. Don’t you
think the same round and round story until everybody is dizzy and meantime the
Zimbabweans are dying.
VG: What about (Thabo) Mbeki’s mediation efforts?
PS: I think the former president of South Africa tried his
best. Whether his best was actually the best is debatable but I think he tried.
He has not succeeded and probably it’s time to see if after Monday nothing
comes, whether we should not have a different approach. Help Mbeki with somebody
else who has stature, to add value.
VG: On that issue, I wanted to ask you, why does SADC
continue to keep Mr Mbeki on as mediator especially when the MDC has repeatedly
said he is not an honest broker?
PS: Well up to now you know there were expressions of
dissatisfaction on both sides - although Zanu-PF did not express in the same way
as the MDC. We felt that if both sides don’t appear to be too happy it must mean
that Mbeki is doing something right but obviously we couldn’t tell the
Zimbabweans not to have Mbeki as long as they felt he could broker a peace deal.
But clearly if one of the parties felt that enough is enough then obviously SADC
should think again. It’s no use to keep Mbeki there if in fact one of the
parties has lost total faith. We can’t continue in that way. But I haven’t seen,
I’ve only heard of the dissatisfaction of Morgan Tsvangirai and his party but I
haven’t seen what he has said in writing which will then be public.
VG: Now you were mentioning earlier on that perhaps it will
be time for someone else to take over, who do you think will be an honest broker
in Zimbabwe or to deal with the Zimbabwe situation?
PS: That’s a tough one. I don’t want somebody totally new
that’s why we have gone along with Mbeki mediating because he knows the
problems. I think what we need, if it is possible, is to have somebody going in
with Mbeki and not allowing Mbeki to be the only one. I think that was a mistake
in reflection. In retrospect it probably would have been wiser if right from the
meeting, the first meetings, Mbeki even as president, had been given some other
people, either from the UN or the AU itself, to help him broker the peace. But
of course, that is merely crying over spilt milk. We have to look forward and
find somebody probably from the UN; there are people who have been sent actually
to help Mbeki, except that they haven’t been active as far as I know.
VG: People continue to die in Zimbabwe while politicians
continue to play these games and while SADC keeps on calling for these endless
meetings. Now the Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga and also people like
Bishop Desmond Tutu have actually called for military intervention. Do you see
military action for humanitarian purposes as a reality?
PS: Well I’m always against military action. First we have
to answer the question – who are we going to be fighting? We should be careful
because if you go in and attack Zimbabwe you could get everybody being angry
because they see themselves as a Republic being attacked. So we would have to be
very careful who we are going in to fight. Military action should be really the
last resort. We have said and I have personally said that if we deny Mugabe
petrol so that his army cannot move around and brutalize people I’m sure his
hold on Zimbabwe would collapse and would collapse within three weeks. All this
suffering would be now a thing of the past. But everybody thought – ah we can’t
do that. So I’m not totally in favour of the proposal by the Prime Minister of
Kenya and the Reverend Tutu. I think we should be very careful - even if they
can say who we are going to be attacking – are we going in to remove Mugabe as a
person and what do you do with the rest of the people who support him? Do we
have the ability? Do they know what is happening on the ground in Zimbabwe? It’s
a huge and dangerous step. I would want one to explain to me because if you are
going to go in and end up killing innocent people, I don’t think that is right,
although innocent people as we speak are dying actually.
VG: On the other hand, if you do deny Robert Mugabe petrol
as you’ve just said, is it really Mugabe who suffers, or is it the innocent
PS: Well as far as petrol, the innocent masses now they need
food. At the time we spoke about cutting him off petrol, there was no cholera.
So inaction has brought in more complications. But I still believe that if you
did that the people would probably suffer for another two weeks. It’s better
that they do that than just to hang on aimlessly and endlessly and we’ll be
talking the same thing when the winter sets in, in June. Whereas if you starve
him and he can’t move until there is going to be a reaction from some of the
armed forces and Mugabe would know that. I’m sure he will come to the table.
VG: Now let’s move on to this other issue – the allegations
of banditry activities in Zimbabwe and your country has actually been accused of
training ‘Zimbabwean bandits’ to overthrow the Mugabe regime. What can you say
PS: Well as you know, the accusation is ridiculous. I think
Mugabe and his cohorts know very well that it is a lie, that we are not training
anybody. If we were training anybody they would have long come - at our
invitation - to point out where we are training these people. To parade the
people who have been trained. You can’t train 250 people and they just disappear
into thin air. It is not possible, it is a lie. It is a figment or as I suspect,
it’s a diversion. He wants everybody to be thinking about Botswana being very
bad towards its neighbour so that we don’t talk anymore and concentrate on the
bad things he is doing. He is using his usual diversion tactics.
VG: But the regime says it actually has footage showing the
Zimbabwe individuals and has actually shown this video to SADC. Have you seen
this and if so, what is the nature of the videos?
PS: (chuckles) it’s silly. You can get a video of me sitting
in a small little room, small little box, and what does that tell you? My
suspicion is that those are probably Zanu-PF, either CIO or supporters
masquerading as having been trained, because one of the things he should be able
to do is to allow those people to come to SADC and give evidence. They’ve not
been able to do that. Anybody could concoct that kind of story. And anyway, we
were never allowed to even question those people, not even in Zimbabwe. So if
they’re confessing - as alleged - why can’t everybody else see them confessing?
Why are we being shown pictures where you can’t tell where the question, accept
we are sure that person is in prison? What would you do if you are put in prison
and you’ve been tortured sufficiently and you think your survival is in telling
a lie so that you don’t disappear? That’s what we think is happening.
VG: So what response have you made to SADC about this?
PS: Now we have submitted our position to SADC. We are
waiting for SADC to call us to formally present our case and to be allowed if
necessary to question those Zimbabweans who, it is very unlikely that they will
be free to speak the truth. We are waiting for SADC; we have given them our
written reaction and we hope we’ll be given the opportunity to present that
report and elaborate so that the matter can be put to rest. I don’t think any
sane person can believe the allegations.
VG: Scores of civic and political activists are actually in
prison right now on these terrorism charges, but how come SADC hasn’t really
pushed for the release of these civil and political activists who have said in
court that they were actually tortured to make these submissions?
PS: That is one of our problems at SADC that we react after
such a long time, after things have gone totally wrong, after people have died,
because everybody seems to be giving Mugabe and his people some credit which I
don’t know understand why and on what basis. In SADC as I have said – and I
don’t expect them to make any demands on Mugabe because they think he having
been a liberation hero must continue to be respected as a liberation hero when
now he is no longer performing as a hero but a total despot.
VG: Mr Skelemani, Zanu-PF and other critics actually accuse
you of supporting the MDC and say you have been sheltering Mr Morgan Tsvangirai,
what can you say about that?
PS: Well that’s another silly allegation. We’ve not been
sheltering Tsvangirai not more than we would shelter Mugabe himself if he ever
felt insecure and crossed the border into Botswana. He would be surprised; we
would give him the same treatment. We are not going to throw him into jail, nor
are we going to throw him back to Zimbabwe if he feels uncomfortable. We simply
don’t do that. And as it happens, Tsvangirai went back, didn’t he? So what kind
of sheltering was this? Are we supposed to have thrown him away when he came and
we thought for his own safety and for a better approach to the Zimbabwe position
he should remain and consult outside? He’s been consulting other people not just
Botswana and the other countries haven’t thrown him out. So why are we being
accused of harbouring him when we have done nothing other than being civil.
VG: I was going to ask that, what is the nature of your
relationship with Mr. Tsvangirai?
PS: Our relationship with Tsvangirai and MDC is the same as
our relationship with Mugabe and Zanu-PF. They are both Zimbabweans, we want to
help both of them to resolve the impasse in Zimbabwe. We don’t take sides. If
our view is regarded as taking sides then we are very sorry but we are not going
to apologise! Right things are right whether people think we are supporting so
and so or not supporting so and so. We can’t give in just because people think
that what we consider right seems to tally with what the MDC maybe demanding.
That’s the nature of things. Tsvangirai is not our blue-eyed boy; he is not our
favourite any more than Mugabe is.
VG: Is it true that the summit on Monday will be held in
South Africa because Mugabe refused to hold it in Botswana - which is the home
of the SADC Secretariat?
PS: That part I don’t know, I don’t know whether he refused.
What I do know is that by the time we were told that the summit will be held it
was too late for Botswana to arrange. As you might be aware, in Gaborone where
we would normally hold such a summit we have very few beds. Even if it’s a one
day affair, the Heads of State should be given rooms where they can refresh
before they go into a meeting and we couldn’t find - we would not have been able
to find enough hotel rooms to accommodate the Presidents. We have nothing
against Mugabe personally but his politics. But if he doesn’t want to come to
Botswana, well that is his problem. He is the one who has the problem not
Botswana. Botswana doesn’t have a problem with him coming and negotiating with
his compatriots in Botswana. We are open.
VG: With the kind of accusations that are coming from
Zimbabwe, from the Mugabe regime, some will ask how do you maintain diplomatic
relations with a country that is spoiling for a fight?
PS: All the more reason why we should maintain diplomatic
relations. We want lines of communications to remain open so that if the need
be, we can communicate. We are not on strike against Zimbabwe. We know that
somebody, whether we like it or not, actually is in physical control and really
to cut your nose to spite your face is silly. We don’t want to do that. Our
relations are with Zimbabwe, not Mugabe.
VG: But what you said earlier on about the sort of pressure
that you would support, you mentioned denying Mugabe petrol, now some people
would say wouldn’t it also increase pressure if Botswana was prepared to cut
diplomatic ties with the Mugabe regime or even recall your Ambassador in
PS: Right - you assume that Mugabe is a reasonable person.
That his attitude towards what is happening is that of an ordinary person? He is
not. You can imagine - if we closed our embassy, what does he lose? Nothing! But
what we then lose ourselves is that we would not be able to learn on a daily
basis what is happening in Zimbabwe. We will have denied ourselves the
opportunity to communicate when it is necessary and I think that is not a line
that should be taken lightly.
This business of recalling Ambassadors, you do it with a country that has
some respect for law and order. I don’t think Mugabe and Zanu-PF are in that
group. Not at the moment, no. Remember recently, we had to use these lines of
communication to send help to Zimbabwe, to ask them what medications they
needed, and what purification agents did they need for the water to fight the
cholera. If we had recalled and chased away the Zimbabwean ambassador we would
not have been able to do that. Because we have kept the lines of communication
open, we have been able to do that and we have sent help to Zimbabwe.
VG: Right, and on the issue of the humanitarian crisis, what
has been the impact of this on Botswana?
PS: Well it’s continuing it’s terrible. More and more
Zimbabweans are coming over. They of course are hungry people and you can’t
chase them away. Our responsibility is increasing. We have to look after those
who have crossed our borders to see whether they are genuine refugees or
pretenders. It’s a situation we’d rather not have, but what can we do? We can’t
chase away people who are running, who we know are running because there is
great suffering in their own country. We just have to ask the international
community to help us however the community can.
VG: How long do you think you as Botswana will be able to
contain this humanitarian crisis without a solution in sight, the humanitarian
crisis that is spreading to your country?
PS: I don’t know frankly how long we can maintain the
position but there is no alternative. We can’t go and cut the border because the
people will cross any area when they can, and so as I say, we can only hope that
the international community will come and help us to help the Zimbabweans who
have crossed into Botswana, who keep on crossing into Botswana. And I hope that
the international community is geared to do that as a long haul.
VG: Many human rights organisations have actually described
what is happening in Zimbabwe as genocide and even the Physicians for Human
Rights last week issued a report saying that Mugabe has become a global threat.
What are your thoughts on that? Is what’s happening in Zimbabwe, can it be
PS: I’m afraid I can’t disagree with that description.
Unless somebody told me genocide means taking a gun and actually shooting the
person. But if you starve people to death deliberately because you are putting
in place programmes which don’t work or you are doing nothing to prevent people
from dying unnecessarily, I think some people would describe it as genocide. But
you know it’s genocide against all Zimbabweans, it’s a crazy situation.
VG: Minister Skelemani, President Barack Obama took a shot
at despotic leaders. He said people who starve their own people and worry about
their own legacy and that America would not tolerate any of this. Do you see a
new role for the Obama administration in actually helping to resolve the
PS: Yes I think if America brings her weight to bear on this
issue we could move a step further, we could move closer to a resolution and I
hope that America is going to do exactly that. You need somebody to be brave.
Somebody with muscle and America I think has the muscle. If only SADC would also
cry out for help and not pretend that SADC is able to do anything, then I am
sure that President Obama would be able to act and help us help Zimbabwe.
VG: How would you respond to people who say why is it people
like yourself and other upcoming African leaders, like Prime Minister Raila
Odinga, who are pro-democratic, why do you still want to stick to these old and
archaic institutions like SADC, like the African Union and people ask why can’t
you form parallel structures that are based on good governance and
PS: Well the question will be asked as to whether when you
do that, you still remain democratic. It’s not an easy thing. I don’t think you
can just dismantle SADC because the present generation of leadership seems to be
in favour of a leader who has lost credibility. I think you must understand that
SADC is not just made up of the present leadership, the present leadership will
come to pass and we still hope that, you know, good men and women will see sense
and tell the Zimbabwean leadership to stop playing games when people are dying.
It’s not the institutions as such. Those who are in the position of influence
right now, who probably, should be ‘told it’s time they went, it’s time they
go’. That is why we say that if we examine and found out why is Mugabe holding
on to power and dealt with that issue, then we would have Mugabe out of the
question and Zimbabwe would be a (inaudible) member of SADC, as it is as a
republic except it has no leadership that is recognised in terms of civilised
VG: Zimbabweans who are frustrated with these endless talks
are actually calling on the MDC to pull out of the talks and also because Mugabe
is not negotiating in good faith. What are your thoughts on that?
PS: Well the MDC should be the judge of when and whether to
pull out. It can’t be Botswana. Botswana doesn’t have the mandate of the
Zimbabweans. We leave that to the MDC to decide. If they think that the end of
the road I’m sure they will say so and they will withdraw and we’ll respect
their decision but we can’t be the ones to tell them to withdraw. I think that
would be going too far.
VG: And a final word Mr Skelemani?
PS: The final word really is a wish - that for once can SADC
please stand up. Stand up and ensure the implementation of the spirit of SADC,
the spirit of the AU and the UN and stop the carnage, the genocide as people
say, in Zimbabwe. By speaking out they need not say or do anything except speak
out firmly, tell the Zimbabwean leadership, tell Mugabe that if they continue
like they are doing then SADC is not going to support him in any way. I think
they should come out loud and clear and demand that fresh elections,
presidential elections should be held in Zimbabwe because that would end this
Violet Gonda: Thank you very much Mr Phandu Skelemani.
Phandu Skelemani: Thank you
Tsvangirai held secret meeting
HARARE, ZIMBABWE Jan 26 2009
Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe last week acceded to a secret
meeting with his
rival, pro-democracy leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe
state media reported
on Monday as Southern African leaders were about to
meet on the Zimbabwean
The Herald, controlled by Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party, said the meeting took
place at Tsvangirai's request, and was
held on Thursday at Zimbabwe House,
one of Mugabe's official residences in
It said Mugabe appealed to Tsvangirai to be sworn in
immediately as prime
minister in terms of the stalled power-sharing
agreement between the two
The newspaper said Mugabe told
Tsvangirai that he should "accompany him
[Mugabe] over the road to State
House", the government's ceremonial and
diplomatic reception residence that
lies opposite Zimbabwe House, "to be
sworn in as prime minister". Tsvangirai
rejected the plea, the Herald said.
The power-sharing agreement, signed
on September 15, proposes Mugabe as
president and Tsvangirai as prime
The disclosure came as a summit of regional leaders on the
stalemate in the
implementation of the agreement, was about to convene in
The Southern African Development Community
(SADC) is meeting to try to bring
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, head of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the
winner of national elections in
March last year, to make concessions on
their opposing positions that would
allow the proposed joint "government of
national unity" to start
Until now, Mugabe's spokespeople have bluntly denied that Mugabe
to Tsvangirai's request for a tête-à-tête to break the deadlock,
failed SADC mediation attempt in Harare on Monday last
Mugabe's officials have said such a meeting would serve no useful
Observers say Mugabe's accession, and his appeal to Tsvangirai to
in there and then, is an indication of Mugabe's urgency for
agree to implement the power-sharing
Tsvangirai has refused to be sworn in until Mugabe agrees to
and government positions equitably, and to release dozens of
MDC and civic
rights activists arrested and tortured by Mugabe's secret
October last year. Mugabe has dismissed the
Observers say that Mugabe's accession to talks underline his
he needs Tsvangirai's presence to lend legitimacy in the
transitional government, and is an apparent acknowledgement by
84-year-old despot that he cannot go ahead unilaterally.
officials were not available to comment on the meeting.
minister in the Zimbabwean government said Mugabe would form a
after Monday's SADC summit with or without a deal with
"This summit is the last summit that is going to discuss
this issue of an
inclusive government. If it does not work today, definitely
president comes back here, he has to form a new government with or
Morgan Tsvangirai," Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga
"The way forward, soon after this summit whether there is an
there is no agreement, President Mugabe is going to form a
Cabinet ministers, eight deputy ministers of Zanu-PF," he said
interview on public broadcaster SAfm.
"He will obviously try to
leave room for Tsvangirai so that whenever he
changes his mind ... but that
is not going to be for too long. He will then
come to join the all-inclusive
government. There has to be a government
whether there is MDC or not," he
Zim police stop opposition rally
Meanwhile, on Sunday Zimbabwean
police called off an opposition rally in
Harare, prompting accusations of
political interference on the eve of the
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said leaders of the MDC had organised
to update members on their position headed into the talks taking
In an interview on Sunday, chief opposition spokesperson Tendai
the banning of Sunday's rally was evidence that Zanu-PF held his
"total contempt". Biti, in South Africa for Monday's talks, said
attitude left little reason to hope the summit would produce a
The Mugabe government's position was laid out on Sunday in
an editorial in
the state-owned Mail newspaper, which accused the opposition
Human rights activists say Mugabe's
government has stepped up its crackdown
on free speech and dissent in recent
But a police spokesperson says Sunday's rally was banned because
danger of violence among opposition factions.
dismissed that as "ridiculous" and said police were acting on
orders. "I don't know where the excuses they are giving are coming
The Zimbabwean Mail editorial on Sunday accused the opposition of
see to it that the September [unity government] accord does not
light of day without them openly pulling out of the
Biti said the opposition was prepared to compromise, but had
up significant ground -- including accepting that Tsvangirai
would not be
president. He repeated opposition calls on Mugabe's fellow
to deal with him more decisively.
On Monday the European Union tightened sanctions on Mugabe's
growing frustration about human rights abuses and the
EU diplomats said.
EU foreign ministers, meeting
in Brussels, made the decision to add 26
Zimbabwean officials and 36
companies to the EU's visa and assets freeze
blacklist to pressure Mugabe to
share power with Zimbabwe's opposition. The
additions raise the number of
blacklisted Zimbabwean people and companies to
203. For the first time
European-based firms are included.
The EU introduced sanctions against
Mugabe's regime in 2002 to protest the
country's poor human rights record
and lack of democratic reforms.
Blacklisted officials are barred from
travelling to EU countries, and
blacklisted companies cannot do business in
the 27-nation bloc.
Entering the talks, British Foreign Minister David
Miliband said the EU
remained "resolute" in supporting the Zimbabwean
people's "call for
change". -- Sapa-DPA-AP
Zimbabweans Anxious About Their Future as Summit Convenes in South
By Peta Thornycroft
On the eve of a Southern African Development Community (SADC)
South Africa, President Robert Mugabe banned a first Movement for
Change (MDC)party rally Sunday. Many people in the streets around
capital city, mostly MDC supporters, hope that their leader Morgan
Tsvangirai will be able to join a unity government.
Many people in
the dormitory town Chitungwisa, on the southern edge of
Harare, did not know
the MDC rally had been planned for Sunday. Their leader
had already left for South Africa to attend the SADC
summit on the Zimbabwe
The summit will decide, one way or another, whether an inclusive
is possible. Mr Tsvangirai says there are still outstanding
However many people are anxious for him to join the government,
variety of reasons.
A 45-year-old small street shop owner in
Chitungwisa did not know a rally
had been planned, nor that it was banned
but he still wants Mr Tsvangirai to
join the government.
sign, yes, becasue it will be to his advantage," said the
will be incorporated in the new government rather than
remaining a mere
opposition leader. It will be a new horizon for the people
He said many people were tired of the political tension whch
for the last eight years between the Zanu PF party of
Mugabe and the MDC, led by Mr. Tsvangirai.
reduce political tension between Zanu PF and MDC because Tsvangirai
become the prime minister and obviously the prime minister is a
person and the president is a respected person and the other
cabinet are aslo respected people so it will reduce tension," he
A 38-year-old nurse and mother agreed. She is worried about
Tuesday. The opening was delayed by two weeks because the
state could not
get last year's examination results marked.
think he should definitely sign," she said. "Because the talks have
long enough and we need the two parties to agree so that the country
move forward. I think forming the government would speed up the
sector because schools are about to be oepened and I think he
should go on
and sign and get into government."
She said many people feared that if
there was no inclusive government Mr
Mugabe would form his own, and then
call elections. The MDC has a one seat
parliamentary majority but Mr
Tsvangirai beat Mr Mugabe in the first round
of the election last March, but
dropped out of the run-off citing violence
against his supporters which left
more than 150 dead.
She said if the MDC had to face fresh elections, this
would cause people
"That is quite tricky considering that
we have people's lives at stake
because there was a lot of battering last
year in June and the climate has
not yet recovered so I think it will take a
couple of years," said the
However a 70-year-old retired
headmaster, now living in Chitungwisa believes
Mr Tsvangirai is not being
offered enough power in an inlcusive government
and should stay out until he
has equal power with Mr Mugabe.
"I don't think that Mr Morgan Tsvangirai
should sign unless the opposite
side agrees to his demands because sharing
you have to share equally," said
He said even though
the power sharing negotiations, which followed a
political agreement last
September, had gone on for a long time and that
people's expectations are
high, Mr Tsvangirai should not accept second best.
"High time or no high
time this is a deal which calls for equal sharing," he
said. "How can he
join when one does it on his own and he is being taken
like a passenger in
the train which doesn't make sense? That's the way I see
several commuter buses around the city all passengers from various walks
life condemened Mr Mugabe's rule which they say had ruined their
None could say what the MDC could or should do if it didn't join
Zimabwe political scientist Eldred
Masunungure said last Friday that Mr
Tsvangirai had no choice but to join
the inclusive government as the MDC did
not have an alternative
Cholera deaths are now almost 3,000, close to an African
record, with more
than 50,000 infected.
Most parents say they expect
teachers will not turn up for school Tuesday
becase they do not have enough
money from their salary, still paid in
Zimbabwe dollars, to get to work.
have little hope for unity talks
By Tichaona Sibanda
As the SADC summit to resolve the deadlock of forming an inclusive
government got underway in Pretoria on Monday, many Zimbabweans were
wondering just how long it was going to take before regional leaders do
something about the crisis.
The process to form an inclusive government
has been limping along for
nearly four months. The talks have been plagued
throughout by mistrust,
threats and most importantly, Robert Mugabe's
intransigence. For instance
police called off an MDC rally in Chitungwiza on
Sunday, showing clear
political interference on the eve of this crucial
MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti described the ban as
evidence that ZANU PF
held his party in 'total contempt.' He said ZANU PF's
attitude left little
reason to hope the summit would produce a
Mugabe has facilitated a culture of fear and hate among
Zimbabweans. But as
leader of ZANU PF for 35 years he has successfully
convinced his followers
of his indestructibility and it has become
impossible for his cronies to
imagine Zimbabwe without him. It is also
impossible to imagine Zimbabwe at
peace with Mugabe still head of
The people of Zimbabwe have suffered a decade of economic collapse
political repression under Mugabe. The country suffers from an 80
unemployment rate and an inflation rated that is the highest in the
Once Africa's second most prosperous and developed country after
Africa, it is now in the closing stages of economic collapse, with
of migrants pouring into neighbouring states and a cholera epidemic
also crossed the border with the migrants.
At the root of
the country's problems is a corrupt political elite that has,
considerable regional support, behaved with utter impunity for over a
decade. This elite is determined to hang on to power no matter what the
consequences, lest it be held to account for the genocide in Matabeleland in
the early 1980s and the wholesale looting of the country that followed the
violent 'land reform' that has continued since 2000.
analyst Isaac Dziya says the crisis has dragged on because of the
intransigence of Mugabe. He said Mugabe's demise'could remove the
stumbling block to dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC'.
He added: 'You
will be surprised the solution to the crisis will be found
quickly if Mugabe
was not part of the equation. Lack of trust between him
(Mugabe) and Morgan
Tsvangirai has been a fundamental sticking point along
the road to
The summit in Pretoria is supposed to find a solution to the
impasse, but millions of Zimbabweans now view these meetings as
'I'm doubtful a solution will be found today.
The mediator has been
employing the same strategy, to force the MDC into a
forced marriage since
the crisis, so yes definitely I have my doubts,' said
Bekithemba Sibanda, an
MDC activist in Johannesburg.
activist, Bernard Munduru, who spent the day protesting close to the
venue in Pretoria, said it would be a miracle if an agreement was
reached by both parties.
'I'm a very optimist person but as long as you
have a discredited person
like Thabo Mbeki there, don't expect any miracle,'
An MDC MP told us the only new thing from this latest
summit is that
Botswana President Ian Khama will have an opportunity to be
face to face
with Mugabe and give him 'a piece of his mind.'
might make a difference with the other summits, but I will tell you
people in my constituency have long lost trust in the SADC bloc,' the
Most analysts are forecasting that this summit will again end in
But they say impetus for progress may come from South Africa, which
currently holds the chairmanship of SADC. Pressure is growing for President
Kgalema Motlanthe to get tough with 84-year-old Mugabe, as leading voices in
South Africa accuse the regional body of being responsible for the
stalemate, and all the problems that continue.
Motlanthe of South Africa and Khama of Botswana, others
who attended are
Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, Rupia Banda of Zambia,
Hifikepunye Pohamba of
Namibia, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of Lesotho
and Themba Dhlamini of
On Monday last week, the Presidents of South Africa and of
to mediate between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, but the 12-hour
But if SADC fails to find a
breakthrough African leaders have promised to
resolve the crisis once and
for all, during the AU summit in Addis Ababa
later this week.
Union Commission Chief Jean Ping said over the weekend that AU
committed to finding a solution to Zimbabwe's crises, and would
definite steps during their meeting from the 1st to 3rd February.
knows how the AU would persuade Mugabe to share power, when everyone
tightens Zimbabwe sanctions, freezes firms' assets
26 January 2009, 19:13
(BRUSSELS) - EU foreign ministers Monday tightened sanctions on President
Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe, freezing the assets of companies
based in British tax havens for the first time.
Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the rotating
presidency, said the ministers had stressed that "the current regime is
directly responsible for the suffering of the people in the cholera-hit
The ministers meeting in Brussels condemned in a statement
violations of human rights, in particular the abduction and
those exercising a democratic right to express opposition to
the regime and
of those defending human rights."
The European Union
"views with particular distress the escalation of the
including the cholera epidemic," the statement said.
The epidemic has
killed nearly 2,800 people and infected more than 50,000.
decided to add 26 more names of people close to the regime or
to a travel-ban list, bringing the number to 203.
The amount of companies
whose assets in Europe must be frozen was increased
sharply from four to 40
and for the first time European-based firms are
to EU sources, all 18 of the European company names added are
British territory, including tax havens Jersey, the Isle of Man and
British Virgin Islands, though the complete list was not to be published
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told
reporters that a number of the
companies cited "actually belong to one
person or are actually one company."
However, sources said the enlarged
EU blacklist now includes a number of
companies listed by the United States
Among those is the Breco Group and several of its affiliates
as well as
Corybantes, Echo Delta Holdings, Masters International, Piedmont,
Timpani Ltd and Tremalt.
According to the US treasury
department, all the targetted companies are
linked to tycoon John
Bredenkamp, whom it described as "a well-known Mugabe
insider involved in
various business activities, including tobacco trading,
trading and trafficking, equity investments, oil
sports management, and diamond extraction."
The EU ministers voiced
concern at "the growing trade in illicit diamonds
that provide financial
support to the regime," condemning also "the violence
state-sponsored forces on diamond panners and dealers."
talks, Miliband said the EU remained "resolute" in supporting
people's "call for change".
Zimbabwe has been in political limbo since
elections last March, when
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won a
first-round presidential vote and
his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
seized a parliamentary majority for
the first time.
The MDC victory
was greeted with a wave of political attacks that Amnesty
left more than 180 people dead -- mostly opposition
Citing the violence, Tsvangirai pulled out of a run-off
election in June,
allowing 84-year-old Mugabe to claim a one-sided victory
rejected by Western
Former South African president Thabo
Mbeki brokered a power-sharing deal
signed in September, but the rivals have
yet to agree on how to form a unity
government, while attacks and arrests of
MDC members have continued.
Southern African leaders gathered in Pretoria
Monday in a renewed bid to end
Zimbabwe's political crisis amid a fresh
threat by Mugabe to form a
government without arch rival
General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC)
Zimbabwean tycoon faces EU
By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg and Tony Barber in
Published: January 26 2009 19:18 | Last updated: January 26 2009
The European Union is to order a freeze on Tuesday on the assets
companies controlled by John Bredenkamp, the Zimbabwean tycoon accused
the US of helping to prop up Robert Mugabe's regime.
European officials and diplomats told the Financial Times that
companies would be among the 36 added to a list of businesses
sanctions. It was unclear, however, whether the Zimbabwean's name
on the list of individuals facing sanctions - which would mean a
as well as an asset freeze.
Zimbabwe power sharing
talks to resume - Jan-25
Impasse over Zimbabwe unity regime deepens -
Mugabe in unity talks threat - Jan-18
Tsvangirai to return to
Zimbabwe - Jan-16
Zimbabwe security forces on 'high alert' -
Western calls have little impact on Zimbabwe - Dec-22
is a blow to Mr Bredenkamp, who was ranked as one of the
richest men in the
UK in 2002 with an estimated fortune of £720m. He has
made the UK his home
and has based a number of his businesses there.
Although he has no
interests in the US, late last year the Treasury placed
controlled by Mr Bredenkamp, including those that form
parts of Breco, his
Harare-based private equity group, on its sanctions
associate, who asked not to be named, said the EU sanctions "will throw
lot of questions and a lot of problems" for Mr Bredenkamp, whose
working on an appeal against the US decision.
In a letter to the
Financial Times last year Mr Bredenkamp denied any links
to the Mugabe
regime, saying that he had not met the president for more than
The UK Home Office declined to comment on whether his status would
affected by the EU move. Mr Bredenkamp is currently in southern
Foreign ministers from the 27-member bloc meeting in Brussels on
resolved to place on the sanctions list "additional persons and
that are actively associated with the violence or human rights
of the regime".
The latest additions, which come into
force on Tuesday, include 18 UK-based
companies, marking the first time that
European groups have been punished
for their dealings with President Mugabe's
The EU ministers also sought an investigation into illicit
diamond sales in
Zimbabwe, which they said supported the regime.
Europeans place the blame for the political paralysis in Zimbabwe and
increasingly serious economic and humanitarian crisis squarely on Mr
and his allies.
On Monday, the octogenarian president attended a summit
of regional leaders
to discuss the political stalemate in the country and the
prospects for a
Amid increasing violence against
his opponents, Mr Mugabe has clung to power
since he was defeated by Morgan
Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, in
presidential elections in March. While
the pair remain deadlocked on how to
share power, the economy's implosion
accelerates, alongside a cholera
epidemic that has claimed more than 2,000
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009
FACTBOX - Sanctions
Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:50am GMT
(Reuters) - The European
Union added individuals and firms to a sanctions
list on Zimbabwe on Monday
and called for a probe into Harare's diamond
details of sanctions and restrictions in place against Zimbabwe.
BANS AND ASSET FREEZES:
-- The United States first imposed sanctions in
March 2003 and later widened
them to apply to about 250 people accused of
undermining democracy. The U.S.
sanctions also bar Americans from engaging
in any transactions or dealings
with them. -- In July, the Treasury
Department said it would seek to freeze
assets of 17 Zimbabwean enterprises.
The United States also threatened in
September to impose new sanctions
against President Robert Mugabe if he
reneged on a power-sharing
-- The European Union imposed a visa ban on Mugabe and 19 top
2002 because of Zimbabwe's treatment of observers sent to
-- The number was later expanded and
last month, the EU added 11 more names
to the list of 160 Zimbabweans,
including Mugabe, who are banned from
visiting the bloc.
Monday, the EU added a further 27 individuals and 36 companies to the
of banned allies of Mugabe because of their links to suspected human
abuses, EU officials said.
-- The sanctions list now includes for the
first time companies registered
in the EU, including in Britain, diplomats
have said, without naming the
-- Australia said in December it
would impose financial and visa
restrictions on four extra companies and 75
more people who are known
supporters of Mugabe's government. The move means
258 Mugabe supporters face
bans on travel to or through Australia, and
restrictions on financial
transactions involving Australia.
-- The United States has a ban on transfers of defence items
and a suspension of non-humanitarian government-to-government
-- The European Union has an embargo on the sale and supply
of arms and
technical advice and of equipment which could be used for
repression in Zimbabwe.
-- The embargo also prohibits
technical and financial assistance related to
In September, Canada banned arms exports, freezing the assets of top
Zimbabwean officials and banning its aircraft from flying over or landing in
* DIPLOMATIC ISOLATION:
-- The Commonwealth group of
mainly former British colonies suspended
Zimbabwe in early 2002 on the
grounds that Mugabe had rigged his re-election
and persecuted his opponents.
Zimbabwe formally withdrew from the 54-nation
group in 2003 after the
suspension was extended indefinitely.
-- The International Monetary Fund
suspended technical assistance to
Zimbabwe in 2002 over its failure to clear
arrears and address its dire
economic and social crisis.
-- It has
averted expulsion by making small payments towards clearing
-- Britain's Queen Elizabeth has stripped Mugabe of an
awarded in 1994.
-- A 2007
cricket tour of Zimbabwe by Australia was cancelled on the orders
-- Cricket South Africa, which had been one of
Zimbabwe's strongest backers,
suspended domestic agreements with the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union last June.
-- Days later, the England and Wales
Cricket Board cancelled Zimbabwe's 2009
tour of England under instructions
from the British government. The ECB said
it had suspended all bilateral
arrangements with Zimbabwe Cricket.
-- The International Cricket Council
said on July 4 that Zimbabwe had agreed
to skip the 2009 World Twenty20 in
England to end a deadlock over demands
that the African nation be
crisis expected to worsen as Red Cross pull-out feared
By Alex Bell
The International Red Cross has warned it could be forced to
cholera-relief activities in the coming weeks, because of a
critical lack of
funding - a move that will likely see thousands more
Zimbabweans at risk of
the deadly epidemic.
The official death toll
in the country is fast approaching the 3000 mark and
relief efforts from
charity groups such as the Red Cross and Doctors without
Borders have been
critical in trying to contain the disease. Red Cross
volunteers have been
helping communities by providing clean water,
facilities and by running cholera awareness campaigns.
Workers have also
been in action trying to restore water treatment sites in
city centres to
allow clean water to once again flow, a move that is key to
But despite such efforts, the cholera crisis is still
expected to get worse
and the infection rate, that has officially reached
more than 50 000 cases,
is unlikely to slow down. Medical experts working on
the ground in Zimbabwe
have already voiced fears that the number of cases
will rise far beyond the
'worst case scenario' of 60 000 cases, predicted
earlier this year. Such
fears are likely to be realised with the cessation
of relief efforts by the
Red Cross, whose cholera appeal is 60% under
Matthew Cochrane from the International Federation of Red Cross
Crescent Societies explained on Monday that the cholera appeal
December had only generated 40% of the US$9 million needed to
disease. Cochrane emphasised that there was only enough funding
continue efforts for the next four weeks and described the situation
Head of the appeal and the Red Cross disaster management
Abdulkadir, on Monday echoed Cochrane's concerns saying
the situation calls
for 'desperate measures'. He explained that Red Cross
teams in Zimbabwe had
already reached 50% of the organisation's target of
1.5 million people at
risk of cholera. But he expressed fears about what
will happen if the Red
Cross is forced to suspend it's efforts in the coming
"The people we've already been able to reach will on some levels
protected," Abdulkadir said. "But if we run out of funds it will
dramatically reduce the number we could have reached before this disease
Cholera in Zimbabwe - latest figures up until 25 January
January 26th, 2009
This graph (click to enlarge), based on data circulated by the World Health
Organisation (WHO), shows cholera cases and deaths up until 25 January 2009. The
increases in both are climbing daily.
For example, on the 23 January, 1368 new cases were added and 59 deaths were
recorded. A day later, on the 24th, a further 1906 cases of cholera were added
along with 21 more deaths. On the 25th, 655 new cases were added with an
additional 26 deaths. Far from improving, the cholera crisis is still spreading
On the 25th, a cumulative 53,306 cases of cholera in Zimbabwe had been
recorded, resulting in 2872 deaths.
Most alarming, this graph and the data it reflects, is likely to
underestimate the real scale of the crisis in that it will not include those
people who died before they were able to access medical care.
Worst-case cholera scenario getting worse
JOHANNESBURG , 26 January 2009 (IRIN) -
Zimbabwe's worst-case cholera scenario, as predicted by the World Health
Organisation, is likely to be surpassed within a few weeks and there are still
about two months of the rainy season left.
In December 2008 the WHO said cholera cases could
balloon to 60,000 before the rainy season ended in March 2009, but Gregory
Härtl, spokesman for the organisation's Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response
office in Geneva, told IRIN that as of 25 January, 53,306 cholera cases and
2,872 deaths had been recorded since the outbreak began in August 2008.
Cholera, an easily treatable waterborne disease, thrives in poor
sanitary conditions and is expected to remain a feature until Zimbabwe's rainy
The Herald, a state-owned daily newspaper, trumpeted in its 26
January edition that cholera was on the "retreat" in the capital, Harare, but
cautioned that "Cholera is still present in the city, especially the
southwestern suburbs, and any relaxation in our guard and our efforts will see
the caseload explode."
However, Härtl said the conditions causing
Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak remained in place. "The systemic underinvestment in
water and sanitation infrastructure and the health system ... These conditions
will not change overnight."
Zimbabwe's cholera death toll has now
exceeded the number of people who have died from the disease in the entire
African continent over several years: in 2001 (2,590 deaths), 2003 (1,884), 2004
(2,331) and 2005 (2,230), according to the WHO. Figures for 2006, 2007 and 2008
were not available.
Africa had 4,610 cholera deaths in 2000, and 4,551
Cholera spills in to the region
disease has also spread to neighbouring countries. South Africa's Health
Minister, Barbara Hogan, told a local television station that the country's
cholera outbreak was a consequence of the spread of the disease from
According to local media reports, between 15
November and 24 January, 5,696 cases were diagnosed in South Africa and 36
|Trans-border infections have
been recorded and cholera is becoming endemic (recurrent throughout the year) in
most affected countries |
The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) notes on
its website that the disease strain in both South Africa and Zimbabwe is Vibrio
cholerae O1 serotype Ogawa biotype El Tor.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its regional update on 23 January 2009
that nine countries in the Southern Africa region were reporting cholera cases:
Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia
"Trans-border infections have been recorded and cholera is
becoming endemic (recurrent throughout the year) in most of the affected
countries," OCHA said.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
50 days in captivity for Zimbabwean
human rights defender
Mukoko, leading Human Rights campaigner in Zimbabwe in detention since early
Jestina Mukoko, a Trocaire
partner and leading Zimbabwean human rights defender, was abducted from her home
in Harare, Zimbabwe on December 3.
Despite a High Court judge
ruling that she and her two colleagues, who were also abducted around the same
time, should be freed and transferred immediately to hospital to receive medical
attention, they remain imprisoned.
Ms. Mukoko has now been in
captivity for over fifty days in Chikurubi maximum security prison, notorious
for overcrowding, filth and disease.
Jestina testified in court
on Thursday 15th January for the first time since authorities seized her. During
her appearance, she told of how she was forced to kneel on gravel for hours on
end. She was also beaten on the soles of her feet with rubber truncheons during
Jestina wept on the stand
in a Harare courtroom as she recounted her ordeal.
"I was abducted, kidnapped,
tortured and assaulted," she said. "The experience was frightening. I would not
wish it upon anyone." Her lawyers, from the organization Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights - another Trocaire partner organisation - are working around the
clock to have her released and to get her access to medical attention.
"The fight to have Jestina
released is a constant uphill battle," said Justin Kilcullen, Director of
Tr?caire. "A number of judges have already refused to hear her case citing
technicalities and have forced her lawyers to resubmit papers through very
cumbersome procedures. All of this just ensures that Jestina and her colleagues
continue to remain in detention in appalling conditions."
Jestina 's case has been
referred to the Supreme Court by the magistrate's court at her lawyers' request,
as they are arguing that the State cannot prosecute her until the numerous
infringements of her constitutional rights have been properly redressed -
unlawful deprivation of liberty, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment
while detained, denial of pre-trial rights [no reason given for arrest, no
access to lawyers or relatives], denial of protection of the law [the report of
her abduction not investigated by police, and her abductors not prosecuted].
As this is a constitutional
case, it will be heard by five Supreme Court judges. The hearing will be open to
the public, but the date has still not been fixed although the Chief Justice has
already ruled the case is urgent.
Mukoko's lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa said she hoped the Supreme Court will treat the matter as urgent."We do
hope the constitutional court will hear the matter urgently because she actually
is in custody and that she continues to be denied access to medical facilities,"
Tr?caire is urgently
seeking the support of the public to secure the release of Jestina and her
"We are asking people to
contact their TD or MP to insist that the Irish and British governments put
pressure on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African
Union (AU) to speak out against the actions of the Zimbabwean government and to
demand the release of Jestina and her colleagues," said Mr Kilcullen.
We also urge supporters to
take our online action at trocaire.org/takeaction."
He continued, "Jestina, our
friend and partner, has become a symbol of a suffering nation, a nation
imprisoned by a devastating lack of responsible leadership over the past
"This seems set to continue
as on January 19 Robert Mugabe and the opposition failed yet again to reach
agreement over power-sharing talks."
Council Conclusions on Zimbabwe
Source: European Union (EU)
2920th GENERAL AFFAIRS Council meeting - Brussels, 26
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
The situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated in a manner that stands in
contrast to the duties and responsibilities of Governments, according
global and regional standards and charters, not least the SADC principles
charters. The victims of this misrule are the Zimbabwean people. The
condemns the regime for its ongoing failure to address the most
economic and social needs of its people.
2. The Council views with
particular distress the escalation of the
humanitarian crisis including the
cholera epidemic that has taken the lives
of so many Zimbabweans and that
threatens the health security of the
neighbouring countries and of the region
as a whole. The Council reiterates
its deep concern at the continued
deterioration of economic and social
conditions in Zimbabwe.
Council reaffirms the European Union's commitment to the Zimbabwean
through a substantial and long-standing programme of humanitarian
Council demands full respect for the principles of humanitarian aid
particular, respect for the principle of impartiality and equal
humanitarian aid for the entire Zimbabwean population. It
importance of a response by the international community to
crisis in Zimbabwe and the urgent needs of the country.
4. The Council
considers that only in the context of a durable, equitable,
solution can the economic, social and humanitarian crisis in
fully addressed. It calls on SADC, the African Union and states
in the region
to pave actively the way for a truly representative democratic
reflecting the will of the Zimbabwean people expressed in the
March 2008. The Council urges stakeholders to comply with the
agreement. It condemns the ongoing violations of human rights,
the abduction and detention of those exercising a democratic
right to express
opposition to the regime and of those defending human
Council has decided to extend, for another year, the Common Position
restrictive measures against Zimbabwe. It has further decided to add to
list of persons and entities subject to those measures additional
entities that are actively associated with the violence or human
infringements of the regime.
6. The Council notes with concern the
growing trade in illicit diamonds that
provide financial support to the
regime. In this context, it also condemns
the violence inflicted by
statesponsored forces on diamond panners and
dealers at Marange/Chiadzwa. The
Council supports action to investigate the
exploitation of diamonds from the
site at Marange/Chiadzwa and their
significance in possible financial support
to the regime and recent human
rights abuses. It calls on the Kimberley
Process to take action with a view
to ensure Zimbabwe's compliance with its
7. The Council reaffirms that the European Union
stands ready to support the
economic and social recovery of Zimbabwe once a
government reflecting the
will of the Zimbabwean people has been formed and
shows tangible signs of a
return to respect for human rights, the rule of law
MP calls for Bona Mugabe's deportation
January 26, 2009 | By
Metro Staff Writer
Emily Lau, a Chinese Member of Parliament , on Sunday
called for the
deportaion of Robert Mugabe's daughter Bona Mugabe at the
University of Hong
Kong, and said her father's regime is
Bona Mugabe, 20, enrolled under an alias at the University
of Hong Kong in
Australia last year deported eight
students whose parents were senior
members of the Mugabe regime, saying it
wanted to prevent those involved in
human rights abuses giving their
children education denied to ordinary
Zimbabweans. The United States and the
European Union have imposed sanctions
on Mugabe's ruling clique, including
asset freezes and travel bans.
Asked about Miss Mugabe's admission, a
University of Hong Kong spokesman
said: "We believe that education should be
above politics and young people
should not be denied the right to education
because of their family
background or what their parents have
A university official, who asked not to be named, said most
unaware of the presence of Miss Mugabe, who has gone to
Zimbabwe for the
Chinese New Year holiday.
When she returns to Hong
Kong, the university would "keep a watchful eye
more from a student life
perspective", the official said. However, the
source added: "We are aware of
the impact and significance of this. After
all, he is a dictator, no one
will deny this - but education, frankly, is
Kai, director of Human Rights Monitor in Hong Kong, said: "A child
not done anything wrong should not be asked to take the burden of
of their parents - and in accordance with international human
interests of the child should be our first principle."
But he added: "If
the money she is spending was siphoned off the ordinary
people, there is a
problem. Just like other members of the international
community, Hong Kong
should do its part in imposing sanctions."
Emelia Ndoro, "We fear an outbreak here
would be a big disaster"
HARARE, 26 January 2009
(IRIN) - Emelia Ndoro, 32, lives in an unplanned settlement in Epworth, 20km
east of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. With the rainy season now underway, she
fears the spread of cholera in the community, and the possibility that her
three-roomed mud house could collapse.
protection from the elements|
"I have lived in different
informal settlements over the past eight years and the rainy season always comes
with many problems for all dwellers in squatter camps.
"The inside of my
shelter is damp because of the heavy rains ... My neighbours nearly sustained
injuries after their shelter collapsed while they were inside. They have moved
to another part of Epworth, where they hope to put up another structure.
"There have been many cases of diarrhoea; with the national cholera
outbreak we are experiencing, we fear an outbreak here would be a big disaster.
"I'm only human and want to live in a decent structure one day, with all
the comforts and peace of mind of staying in a formal settlement.
the meantime], as you may be aware, there are a lot of power shortages in urban
Harare, and we raid nearby farms to poach firewood, which we sell. The downside
to that is if you are caught by the farm guards, they don't even bother charging
you with a fine. They just beat you up."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
supporting 'passive genocide' in Zimbabwe - Catholic priests
Tue, 27 Jan 2009
Southern African leaders must stop supporting Zimbabwe
Mugabe or accept complicity in a "passive genocide,"
Catholic bishops from
the region said Monday as the European Union increased
sanctions on Mugabe
and his supporters.
Protesters calling for Mugabe
to step down converged near the presidential
guesthouse where Zimbabwe's
opposition leader and nine African heads of
state including Mugabe were
holding an emergency summit on Zimbabwe's
political crisis. Police fired
rubber bullets at them as they tried to
gather in front of South Africa's
A police spokesman, Capt. Julia Claassen, said police
fired at what she
called an illegal protest after some of the 1500
protesters threw stones at
officers and blocked roads.
seven protesters were treated for minor injuries and no
arrests were made.
Emily Wellman, a spokeswoman for one of the groups that
protest, said seven people were injured and an unknown number
The bishops said in a message to the heads of state that
Mugabe must step
down immediately and southern African officials "must stop
giving credibility to the illegitimate Mugabe regime with
"Failing this, (Southern African) leaders accept
complicity in creating the
conditions that have resulted in starvation,
displacement, disease and death
for ordinary Zimbabweans. This is nothing
short of passive genocide," the
The European Union
added 26 officials and 36 companies to a blacklist
freezing assets and
barring travel in Europe, which now totals 203 people
and 40 entities - many
of them also blacklisted in the United States.
Two EU officials said most
of the companies on the blacklist were fake firms
used to funnel money to
prop up Mugabe's government and supporters. The
officials spoke on condition
of anonymity because they were not authorized
to speak to press on the
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Secretary of State
Rodham Clinton is reviewing what more the Obama administration can
"We're just very concerned about the behaviour of Mugabe,"
he said. "It
appear to us that the regime has no interest in its own people;
it has no
interest in trying to bring about good governance and democratic
Zimbabwe has been virtually without a government since a
election last March in which opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won the
most votes. Tsvangirai pulled out of a subsequent runoff
because of brutal attacks on opposition
Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed in September to form a coalition
have failed to agree on how to share Cabinet seats and
leaders at the summit
were expected to press for a deal.
stalemate has distracted leaders from a growing economic and
crisis, with millions of Zimbabweans dependent on international
for food and medical care and a cholera epidemic killing nearly
and spreading to neighbouring countries.
The regional Save Zimbabwe Now
campaign sent a statement to the summit
warning that political violence was
again on the increase in Zimbabwe,
quoting witnesses who have fled the
country in recent days reporting "the
resurgence of familiar patterns of
victimization by state forces and
militias and revenge attacks on suspected
activists and their families."
Momentum Builds for Zimbabwe
on Monday, January 26, 2009 by OneWorld.net
by Ida Wahlstrom
WASHINGTON - Calls are growing for the
international community to do more
about Zimbabwe, and now global human
rights leaders including Desmond Tutu
are engaging in a "relay fast" and
other nonviolent acts to pressure
neighboring countries -- particularly
South Africa -- to support the
Zimbabwean people's struggle for democracy
and human rights.
"SADC and African governments must act resolutely
to protect the people of
Zimbabwe who are being subjected to a passive
genocide. The suffering of the
people of Zimbabwe cannot be ignored any
longer," says the Save Zimbabwe
Now! Coalition in a petition calling for
immediate action to resolve the
East African nation's political, economic,
and humanitarian crises.
In addition to the petition and fast -- which human
rights leaders including
CIVICUS's Kumi Naidoo and Nomboniso Gasa of the
South African Gender
Commission are joining for 21 days apiece -- Save
Zimbabwe Now! has launched
letter writing campaigns and will hold public
meetings and rallies
throughout Southern Africa.
The coalition of
human rights activists is demanding that the regional
South African Development Community (SADC) and African
abandon the notoriously fruitless policy of "quiet
Instead, they say, the SADC and other continental powers should
condemn the political violence and the Robert Mugabe regime's
regional and international treaties and conventions on human
One such treaty is the Memorandum of
Understanding, signed by Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party and the two factions of the
leading opposition MDC party
paving the way for talks to resolve the
country's political impasse.
The international community must also
address Zimbabwe's crippling
humanitarian crises: primarily widespread food
scarcity and hunger, the
near-collapse of the country's health system, and
the cholera and AIDS
epidemics, the Coalition says, adding that Zimbabwe's
particular must provide humanitarian assistance and refuge to
"The act of purposefully going without
food is also symbolic. It recognizes
the worsening food shortages in
Zimbabwe, and the deepening humanitarian
crisis. It acknowledges the
(mis)use of food as a tool in the ongoing
political turmoil. Most
importantly, it expresses solidarity with the people
of Zimbabwe, as many
struggle to meet the most basic of daily needs --
food," said a written
statement released by Save Zimbabwe Now! earlier this
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts to help
apartheid in South Africa, believes international activist pressure can
yield results for Zimbabwe too. "If we would [only] have more people saying
'I will fast,' maybe one day a week -- just to identify myself with my
sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe," Tutu pleaded on South African radio
recently. The 77-year-old archbishop will be going without food one day a
week until the Coalition's demands are met.
Save Zimbabwe Now! is
also calling for a halt to the government's intense
assault on civil and
human rights activists, marked by a series of
abductions and torture of
those criticizing the government.
New Mediator Needed?
Many of Save
Zimbabwe Now!'s demands are directed at the SADC, but some
groups are so disappointed with the regional body's efforts to
they are suggesting the African Union (AU) take control of
"During the recent Citizensâ€TM Continental Conference held
in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia...the participants called upon the African Union to
recognize that the SADC mediation is challenged and has not
desired results and that the resolution of the Zimbabwean
crisis should be
done under the direct authority of the AU," wrote the
Human Rights NGO Forum in an email to supporters
Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York and monitors
the world, agrees. "Ongoing human rights abuses have not
ceased and those
responsible have not been held to account," the group said
on the African Union to "insert itself formally into the
and set basic principles, specific human rights
benchmarks, and timelines
for resolving the crisis."
Watch also urged the AU to suspend Zimbabwe from the grouping
of nations if
-- within a specific time frame -- it does not meet specific
and good governance benchmarks.
The African Union will begin a week-long
summit meeting in Addis Ababa
Zimbabwe- and U.S.-based groups are also urging Americans to
stand up on
behalf of Zimbabweans.
Following a December holiday visit
to his home country, Washington, DC-based
Zimbabwean Briggs Bomba relayed to
reporters the requests of civic leaders
and activists in
Groups like Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition, Women of Zimbabwe Arise,
Peace Project, and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights all need help
the word about the problems Zimbabweans are facing, said Bomba,
with the nonprofit pressure group Africa Action.
noted Bomba, campaigners in Zimbabwe believe human rights defender
Mukoku finally surfaced after more than three weeks of disappearance
because of intense international pressure from human rights groups
The grassroots and community organizations that Bomba
connected with in
Zimbabwe are also strapped for funds to enable basic
operations such as
accessing and sending e-mails and traveling to connect
organizations and provide services within the
These groups "bring an important perspective and feeling to the
are absolutely vital to the democratic and social justice struggle
Zimbabwe," said Bomba. "They are severely crippled by lack of basic
resources for communication, transport, and other needs."
Zimbabweans Make Their Plea
The idea for the global hunger strike was
born when activists from South
Africa were in Zimbabwe in December to
produce a film about the struggles
faced by everyday people and local
community organizing groups.
The short video features ordinary
Zimbabweans, church leaders, trade
unionists, community workers, and human
rights lawyers, suggesting that
immediate and decisive action from South
African leaders and the wider
international community is
"Here we are not free. We do not get enough food to eat. We do
enough clothing. We do not get any care at schools. We do not get
comfortable at home. When we wake up, we do not get any food to eat. We only
get water and go to school," said one young person interviewed in Part I of
the film (see video below). "Water does not give us strength to learn," he
added. "There are not doctors at the hospitals. We need doctors also. We
need teachers -- we need qualified teachers."
The film, entitled
"Time 2 Act," can be viewed below and will be distributed
to the leaders of
South Africa, the SADC, the AU, and South Africa's ruling
party the African
National Congress, said the producers.
Judges: nickels, dimes in regime's pockets?
Jan 2009 11:34 GMT
IN the seminal gangster movie, The Godfather, the
head of one of the Costra
Nostra Families complains to Don Corleone why he
doesn't allow them to use
the influence of "the judges and politicians he
keeps in his pocket like so
many nickels and dimes".
everywhere are susceptible to accusations of making judgments on
grounds - after being bribed by influential, rich defendants or
families. Don Corleone was assassinated in the film, perhaps
displaying the consequences of disappointing the expectations of
In Britain last year, there was a controversial case: a
relative of the
former fascist leader, Oswald Mosley, appeared in court,
engaging in bizarre, sado-masochistic sexual acitivites which
of the Britain's strait-laced society.
executive sued a newspaper which went to town with the story,
a libel suit from the Mosley tycoon. A judge ruled in his
the wrath of most newspaper editors, who were steamed up
verdict, accusing the judge openly, of setting a precedent which
encourage other rich ,but sexually deviant personalities to get away
their bizarre practices, even if they were considered seriously
enough to warrant a court case.
In Zimbabwe today, it must be enormously
difficult to predict how far the
current debate on the integrity of the
country's judges will go.
If Robert Mugabe's regime, cornered mostly in its
political cage, had its own way, the debate would get
The integrity of the judiciary has been under the
microscope since Mugabe
forced out the first black chief justice, Enock
Dumbutshena, way back in the
Dumburtshena then formed a
political party to challenge Mugabe's Zanu PF -
and got nowhere. The
microscope developed into a magnifying glass when Chief
Gubbay, as erudite a legal mind as Dumbutshena, was also
In both instances, there was a matter of principle involved: the
was that the judges would not bend to Mugabe's bidding.
current debate was inflamed by Judge President, Rita Makarau, a relative
Mugabe, who laid into her fellow judges for not being exemplary in their
duties. Joining the debate was the little-known group called, Youth In
Politics Trust, who placed a full-page advertisement in a newspaper, with
the headline JUDGES SHOULD REMAIN HONEST TO BE RESPECTED.
President Rita Makarau, in her statement at the opening of this year's
Court legal year, blasted some judges for allowing politicians to
She spoke in the presence of four judges.
The advert says the
judges did not deny the charges."because there is clear
evidence that the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has made donations to the judges".
are said to include plasma televisions, luxury cars, houses,
cash payment of
school fees for children and generators, "among other
now, nobody with any shred of knowledge on Zimbabwean politics would be
surprised or even shocked at Zanu PF's attempts to "bribe everybody" into
voting for it, or to ignore its malfeasance.
This is a regime whose
ambition since independence was to get everybody of
any influence whatsoever
into its pockets like so many nickels and dimes.
This extended to
Parliament, where there are facilities for the MPs which
may or may not have
persuaded some of the opposition legislators to ease up
on their criticism
of the ruling party.
Many cynical analysts have always wondered why, a
few years ago, the MDC's
attempt to impeach Mugabe fizzled out without so
much as a whimper. It's
arguable if the action would have succeeded, but
there are some observers
who believe that, carried to its logical
conclusion, the impeachment attempt
would have left Zanu PF and Mugabe with
By now, even the Sadc leaders, some of them young enough to
children, must appreciate that the 84-year-old nationalist will
at all to remain in power - including granting them their
There has been, for a while, sentiment among analysts
that the judiciary is
the only bastion of democracy left in the country,
apart from the opposition
in Parliament. And there has been much evidence
that not all the judges are
wiling to do Gushungo's bidding in exchange for
fancy TV sets.
But when a judge ruled in favour of Associated Newspapers,
publishers if the
independent Daily News, a few years ago, there was so much
heat from the
government and Zanu PF he fled to South Africa.
display of Mafia-like fury sent the property signal to other judges -
been anticipated: you defy Zanu PF at your own peril.
There are a number
of former judges whose opinion of The Bench under Chief
Chidyausiku is less than flattering. Chidyausiku succeeded
cut his teeth as a Mugabe loyalist as chairman of the
That abortive plan to amend the constitution
"the Zanu PF way" was foiled by
a referendum verdict orchestrated by the
National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) whose chairman was the same man now
Mugabe's No. l nemesis, Morgan
What will the judges
particularly those who must feel guilty, do after
reading the Youth in
Politics Trust advertisement? These are hard economic
times, even for the
judges, with their almost obscene perks. Yet they must
international considerations to weigh before deciding that what is
for them today is, not to be seen to be carrying out their duties
and sincerely, but to make money before the Mugabe gravy train
it is bound to, sooner or later.
The role of the RBZ in softening the
judges' principled stand against a
government committed to bribing the world
to applaud its stand, is bizarre -
if you are unaware of its other equally
outlandish actions in favour of the
is difficult to understand why Gideon Gono would, in all
honesty, see his
role as acceptable internationally. Can you imagine other
congratulating him heartily for supporting a regime which
has garnered such
a reputation for political perfidy?
Cynics tend to worry about the
stubbornness of the Mugabe regime to resist
any attempts by the MDC to
accede to some of the opposition demands.
Is there a deliberate plot to
so disillusion and discourage the MDC , in the
end, they may accept the Zanu
PF formula because to continue to resist would
plunge the country down an
abyss from which it might not emerge for decades?
There is real fear that
Mugabe and Zanu PF are prepared for this - to
destroy the country - if it
means they retain their hold on power, even of
a country with nothing of any
material importance to itself, its people and
the rest of the
Then you would have to wonder what it is they are trying to
conceal from the
rest of the world. What is it that we have not been told
about what Zanu PF
has done to this country?
On the facer of it, an
inclusive government with Mugabe and some of his
people in top positions is
not so difficult for the people to accept- as
long as the MDC has the clout
to decide such vital matters as law and order,
finance and the
But it would appear that Zanu PF and Mugabe are determined that
agreement must result in the MDC eating crow, in recognising that
Zanu PF is
still top dog, still calling the shots, still holding all the
aces - that
nothing has changed, except the MDC has cabinet ministers, but
determine the destiny of the country, unless with Zanu PF's
Basically, this is why a settlement has been long in coming. Zanu
even the MDC so conduct itself like "so many nickels and dimes:" in
How South African police follow the example of Zimbabwe's
Johannesburg, Monday, January 26
It's as well that
we Zimbabweans are accustomed to being beaten and shot at
by the forces of
law and order in our country. Because exactly the same
treatment is being
meted out to us here in the heart of supposedly lawful
came to South Africa at the weekend to cover the extraordinary summit
South African Development Community (SADC) leaders, who are meeting
Pretoria today to once again consider the vexed question of Robert
stranglehold over Zimbabwe.
What I witnessed was police
brutality on a scale I had previously only seen
on the streets of Harare.
Clashes between demonstrators and police ended
with various highly
respectable individuals being taken away in police
vehicles, and ten
protestors rushed to hospital with injuries caused by
The trouble began when a protest march, organised by a coalition
African and Zimbabwean civil society groupings and intended to
pressure on the SADC leaders to end the stalemate in Zimbabwe, reached
Union Buildings, which house the office of President Kgalema
The marchers numbered about 1,500, and some of the more
into the building, singing, waving flags and shouting
slogans. The police
replied with volleys of rubber bullets which sent
hundreds of demonstrators
running for cover.
Among those injured was a
boy of about 17, who was hit in the head with a
rubber bullet and lay on the
ground bleeding profusely. He was able to give
me his name, Trsut Nyathi,
before he was taken away to hospital, where I
later learned his condition was
Meanwhile a delegation from the Save Zimbabwe Now! campaign, a
initiative under the auspices of CIVICUS, the civil society based here
Johannesburg, attempted to present a memorandum to the extraordinary
of SADC, asking for an end to tacit support of the Mugabe
Eight of the delegation, including Kumi Naidoo, president of
arrested, bundled into police vehicles, and driven
I have to point out that the high-handed and violent official
lasted for a short while, compared to similar events in
Zimbabwe. But no
doubt the South African police will learn quickly from their
experienced colleagues north of the border.
Posted on Monday, 26
January 2009 at 18:33
January 26, 2009
If Zimbabwe talks fail
SADC/AU must push for new elections
During her inaugural speech
before the Senate Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton announced the three
pillars of the United States foreign policy,
collectively known as "smart
power ." Mrs. Clinton said the United States
would use its diplomatic,
defense and developmental strength in its foreign
Clinton mentioned Zimbabwe as one country where she said the United
will seek to end the autocratic regime of Robert Mugabe.
President Barack Obama, and in obvious reference to Mugabe
" To those who cling to power through corruption and
deceit and the
silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of
that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your
Mrs. Clinton elaborated on Obama's speech by adding that the
will seek partnerships and priorities in dealing with the
She said the United States cannot solve all the world's
problems alone and
will have to take into account its state of economic
The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Dr.
Susan Rice, also
said the United States will work tirelessly to confront
Mugabe in order to
bring the suffering of the Zimbabweans to an
A common theme in the Obama administration's policy is that the US
form partnerships, particularly with countries in southern Africa, to
a meaningful transitional government in Zimbabwe.
highly unlikely that Obama's policy on Zimbabwe will be
different from that of his predecessor, George Bush.
What is likely to
emerge is an even more robust and proactive diplomatic
effort to bring
pressure not only on Mugabe but on SADC and the African
Today, SADC heads of state will meet in Pretoria, South Africa's
city, to try to broker a government of national unity
agreement in Zimbabwe.
The United States will follow
the deliberations with great interest and
some involvement, possibly in form
of financial incentives to support the
fragile government of national unity
should MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
be satisfied his demands have been met
and sign the agreement.
Unless the SADC commits itself to a paradigm
shift away from its
traditional cozying up to Mugabe and unless SADC demands
real and meaningful
concessions from Mugabe, the Pretoria meeting today will
be a big yawn for
What is essentially blocking a chance
for a government of national unity
is the fact that Mugabe has refused to
agree to an equal sharing of
strategic ministries. He grabbed for himself all
the ministries of home
affairs, defense, local government, justice, foreign
information. In addition Mugabe has appointed all provincial
reserve bank governor and attorney general.
compromise, if it can be called that, Mugabe was willing to make
the ministry of home affairs.
Former president Bush's policy on
Zimbabwe was spearheaded by his
undersecretary of state for African affairs,
Jendayi Frazer, whose fiery
rhetoric brought shivers down the spines of the
Zimbabweans hope that the Obama policy on Zimbabwe will
build on the
existing approach, and not allow it to be watered down in any
At the end of last year, the Bush administration was
considering a number of options to escalate its political,
diplomatic push to bring pressure to bear on Mugabe.
This should precisely be where the Obama administration must begin. It
look at additional measures that can be taken over and above the
targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime and its top bras.
Obama's policy of partnership stresses the active involvement of
parties, notably SADC and the African Union.
Both SADC and the
African Union have scheduled meetings this and next
week. The Zimbabwean
crisis will hang like an albatross over both the SADC
and AU necks.
If SADC and AU fail to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis, this will signal to
international community that Africa is incapable of dealing with the
It will make a mockery of the outbursts, especially by the Ugandan
African representatives at the United Nations Security Council
that Africa is
capable of resolving the Zimbabwean situation and that the
western world must
Both SADC and AU will lose credibility in being active and
players in dealing with African problems. They will just become
extension of the widely discredited Organization of African Unity
failed dismally to play a meaningful role in addressing and solving
The task now rests with Botswana, Kenya,
Ghana and possibly Nigeria, who
have taken a more critical attitude towards
Robert Mugabe, to try to lobby
their counterparts at either, or both, SADC
and African Union meetings to
take a tougher position and role in bringing
pressure on Mugabe.
If there is no breakthrough in efforts to form a
government of national
unity, SADC and AU must insist on new elections
supervised by SADC/AU and
the United Nations.
Mugabe will obviously
refuse new elections under regional and
international supervision because he
benefitted from rigging the last
elections, even though the rigging was not
For their part, Zimbabweans have their backs
against the wall because of
the nose-diving economic and social conditions in
With all the indicators of a failed state now visible -
the collapse of
everything -Zimbabweans have no excuse whatsoever for their
engaging in mass protests and civil disobedience.
collapse of the worthless Zimbabwean dollar must be the last straw
Zimbabweans. It must surely have brought the Zimbabweans to the edge
their tolerance and indifference.
On one hand, Zimbabweans earn
their wages in the worthless Zimbabwean
dollars, yet they are required to pay
for virtually all of their goods and
services in foreign currency!
Faced with this massive dollarization, the ZANUPF propaganda that
will never be a colony again is an idle and laughable
Zimbabweans owe it to themselves and future generations to not
liberate themselves from the evil clutches of the Mugabe dictatorship
also leave a legacy of a prosperous nation, the rule of law, freedom
democracy for future generations.
To do so Zimbabweans are duty
bound to stand up against Mugabe and tell
him they are reclaiming their
country. Zimbabwe does not, has never, and
will never belong to Mugabe and
ZANUPF. What has happened is Mugabe and
ZANUPF have stolen Zimbabwe through
fraudulent elections, violence and the
militarization of the state.
History and future generations will judge Mugabe regime harshly for
to uphold democracy and human rights.
But the same history and future
generations will judge Zimbabweans harshly
for failure to take advantage of
missed opportunities for civil disobedience
and mass protests.
New health fees; Residents` access to health barred!
…as Cholera and
poverty wreak more havoc across the country.
If Harare residents and Zimbabweans at
large had a wand of magic or a choice at least; they would end all sicknesses
but the fact that they occur naturally and involuntarily leaves them at the
mercy of the twisted ‘politics of survival’ maneuverings of a desperate and
failed defacto authority, the
Mugabe ‘Government.’ The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) finds it
stomach-turning that Public Health has been effectively privatized (through the
introduction of the new hard currency fees) amid the socio-economic malaise that
has drastically increased poverty among the residents. The average Zimbabwean
has been denied access to health as the ZANU PF ‘government’ takes desperate
measures to keep its ‘Titanic of chronic failure’ afloat.
The Government hospitals which together
with Council clinics were given the nod to charge in hard currency (but still
accept the valueless Zimbabwean dollar with the charges determined on a daily
basis), charge patients a hard-to-come-by US$40=R 400 (equals to ZW$
quintillions at parallel market rate) for consultation only and massive
US$70=R700 a night for in-patients. A Caesarean operation requires a flat fee of
a whopping US$150=R1 500 while scans cost around US$80=R800.The Harare City
council has pegged consultation fee for adults at US$5 a visit and US$3 for
Antenatal care booking charges for expecting women are pegged at
US$50 and family planning method seekers pay an average of US$2 per service.
Most low income earners who make the
majority of the Zimbabwean population still earn far below US$ 1 per month,
lower than the least charge for any service rendered at the Government hospitals
and council clinics. The health charges set are therefore exasperatingly out of
reach of the generality of residents and have turned public facilities into
private ones and condemn residents to more suffering. The health charges are
tantamount to fundraising to prop up the failed ‘government’ and broaden the
looting base for the Mabhizas, Ribatikas (ZANU PF Senator and Councilor who were
recently arrested for allegedly defrauding the state of more than US$ 10 000),
the charges are prohibitive, and should be reversed.
Meanwhile the hard currency craze has seen
massive profiteering and nuances of lack of accountability in public and private
sectors. CHRA would like to urge the ministry of Health, the defacto Government and all other public
and private service providers to stop ripping off citizens and uphold principles
of justice and due fairness in discharging their mandate and in their businesses
respectively. CHRA will continue to advocate for transparency, professionalism,
and quality municipal and other service(s) delivery.
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
145 Robert Mugabe
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4-
Comment from a correspondent
The only way
that the South African Government will come to its senses and
the force the
issue on Zimbabwe , is if FIFA gets a flea in its ear over the
Cholera spreading from Zimbabwe and '' posing a very real threat to
Soccer World cup tourists ''
Its your trump card , and it would be worth
your while to contact friends in
the international soccer fraternity , as
well as the tourism industry to
'openly express concern about the situation
in Zimbabwe and very
specifically the contagion effect of Cholera and its
threat to tourists
visiting SA ''
It would also be a good idea for
lobbyists to get the British , American
and European Union Governments
repsrentatives in SA to start making noises
about a possible .... Travel
Warning..... due to Cholera .
Many counties in OECD such as Japan ,
Canada , etc will follow suit , and it
could be a diplomatic coup
Its essential that lobbying is done in Europe by Soccer authorities .
FIFA comes to the party , of course that would be ideal .
risk of losing the host status , will get so far up the SA Governments
that it will react swiftly , and drop Mugabe like a ton of bricks .
about 60 weeks to Go to the World cup , the time to turn up the tempo
South Africa regards the WC as its chance to show the world the
stand up as equals in this world , they cannot allow its to be
allow it to fail or be moved to Australia .
that threatens the holding of the Soccer WC will give SA wakeup
call , and
you can be certain that they too are fed up with Mugabe . He is
something years old, surely the region can let him go and stop
him . If Mugabe is seen as a threat to the hosting the WC , then
We sit here in New Zealand and get the most horrendous stories
coming out of
Zimbabwe , and continue to be astonished at the SADC and AU
over its support for the brutal Mugabe regime .
be also worthwhile to do what Mugabe had done so well over the years
'make' a story about the risks to tourists of contracting Cholera in
areas 'near Zimbabwe 's borders ', such as Kriger Park for example .
in New Zealand , where tourism is a major source of national revenue
pride, its always an outrage when a tourist is threatened , robbed ,
or becomes ill or lost . It may be a good idea to have a story
sickly young German tourist to suspected to have contracted Cholera
visiting Kriger Park near the Zimbabwe border. This could be used as a
pretext to explode the whole Cholera risk in the context of the WC . The
story will of course make it into the German and Swiss papers, and Sepp
Blatter will be forced to respond.
Good luck , its probably your last
chance and your trump card