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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Urges Full Reunification Of Fractured Opposition

VOA

By Blessing Zulu
Washington
01 January 2008

Founding President Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe's divided opposition
Movement for Democratic Change said Tuesday that he would rather see the MDC
fully reunited than merely patched into a coalition for national elections
due in a few months.

Both MDC factions have expressed willingness to work together in a coalition
under which they would avoid going head-to-head in the country's 210
constituencies, and would back a single presidential candidate - most likely
Tsvangirai himself.

But Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
he'd prefer to see the MDC united, and his National Council has endorsed
such a move.

The MDC split in late 2005 over the question of whether or not to contest
elections for a reinstituted senate, and though the opposition has developed
a common position in South African crisis-resolution talks with the ruling
party, it remains divided.

Though Tsvangirai expressed hope he reunite the country's main opposition
party, the state-controlled Herald newspaper poured cold water on the
prospects for unity.

It reported that despite a "recent flurry of reports predicting an imminent
re-unification of the fractured opposition MDC, officials from both factions
have said no headway has yet been made in healing the October 2005 rupture
just three months ahead of the scheduled landmark harmonized elections," an
article in the paper said.


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Cash Shortages Loom As Persistent Problem For Zimbabwean Economy

VOA

By Jonga Kandemiiri, Sithandekile Mhlanga & Brenda Moyo
Washington
01 January 2008

Zimbabwe's persistent cash crisis went onto the back burner Tuesday with
financial institutions closed for New Year’s. But consumers, businesses and
bankers could face further turmoil Wednesday as some banks were said to have
run out of cash late on Monday despite the central bank's extension of the
life of its Z$200,000 notes.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono said he was reversing himself
on the scheduled Dec. 31 expiration of the Z$200,000 bearer cheques (central
bank promissory notes that have long served in the place of full-fledged
currency). The decision left a large volume of cash available in the
financial marketplace.

Gono has blamed heavy rains and floods for his bank’s slow distribution of
new bearer cheques, but has come under fire from all quarters for the
crisis.

One of the more surprising broadsides came from Media and Information
Commission Chairman Tafataona Mahoso, who in his regular column in the
Sunday Mail alleged that the cash crisis was engineered and calculated to
tarnish the image of the government. He pinned the blame squarely on the
central bank itself.

Mahoso said the Reserve Bank had “cut its cash allocations to commercial
banks by 50% at the very same time that demand for cash was escalating."
Others have taken the RBZ to task for failing to distribute enough bank
notes to meet demand given the country's soaring inflation rate, and for not
issuing larger denominations.

Reporter Jonga Kandemiiri sought perspective on the Sunday Mail blast from
Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research
Institute of Zimbabwe, who said Mahoso's focus seemed more political than
economic.

Acute cash shortages have intensified Zimbabwe's general economic implosion,
which continues with hyperinflation that some economists estimate over
50,000% and chronic scarcities of the most basic necessities, especially
food.

After standing in line for days to get cash, Zimbabwean consumers with money
to spend face the equally arduous task of finding maize meal, cooking oil,
sugar, milk and other foodstuffs which sources said were not generally
available in shops.

Bulawayo Residents Association Chairman Winos Dube told reporter
Sithandekile Mhlanga that life is increasingly more difficult for the
average Zimbabwean.

Economist Clemence Sibanda said that with elections on the horizon the
government is unlikely to adopt potentially unpopular reforms, but told
reporter Brenda Moyo that the future of the economy will soon be in the
hands of Zimbabwean voters


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Supermarket flies fish 5,000 miles from country where millions are starving... in the name of ecology

Daily Mail, UK
 
By REBECCA CAMBER  Last updated at 20:32pm on 1st January 2008

 

A major supermarket chain has outraged human rights activists by selling fish from Zimbabwe.

The campaigners said it is wrong to fly in food more than 5,000 miles from a country where millions are on the brink of starvation.

They are planning to mount protests at Waitrose outlets, all of which stock the Zimbabwean tilapia fillets.

Buyers for the chain say that selling the fleshy white fish helps preserve threatened species such as cod.

 

tilapia

It is not known whether Robert Mugabe's dictatorial regime has benefited from any share in the deal through business taxes and export levies.

Last night, Wilf Mbanga, editor of The Zimbabwean, a UK-based newspaper, said: "People are starving in Zimbabwe. There is no food in the shops, there is no fish to be had there for the ordinary people.

"It's incredibly cruel taking food out of the mouths of starving people. It is very ill-advised of Waitrose. It is morally wrong.

"I find it very disturbing that they are taking fish from Zimbabwe at a time when millions are starving and surviving purely on international aid."

Professor Terence Ranger, president of the Britain Zimbabwe Society and a fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, said: "Zimbabwe has a tremendous food shortage. It seems inappropriate for food of any sort from there being exported here.

"But on the other hand, Zimbabwe is badly in need of cash for hospitals and schools and it is a question of where this money is going."

Leaders of the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition - human rights group with 16,000 members - are discussing a possible protest against Waitrose.

Dennis Benton, a spokesman, said: "We will try to arrange a vigil against Waitrose to protest against this. This is completely wrong."

Despite widespread condemnation of the Mugabe regime, there are no restrictions on the import and export of food.

Instead, there is an arms embargo and an order freezing of the assets of the dictator and 131 of his associates.

Zimbabwe once had a thriving agricultural-based economy but food production collapsed after Mugabe's land seizure from white farmers in 2000.

The country now suffers from critical food and fuel shortages, rampant inflation, chronic unemployment. It also has an appalling record of violent political repression and human rights abuses.

Waitrose's critics also pointed out that flying the tilapia fish 5,160 miles to Britain from a farm on Lake Kariba is bad for the environment. They said supplies should instead be bought in from the Netherlands.

Dara Grogan, a Waitrose spokesman, said that Zimbabwean tilapia - which sells at £11.99 a kilo - is of higher quality than elsewhere and from a sustainable source.

"This is a question of trying to encourage our customers to try species that aren't threatened but are just as tasty as cod," she said.

"Secondly, we source the tilapia from a fair trade supplier called Lake Harvest, which is majority-owned by native Zimbabweans.

"The company and its tilapia product contribute directly to the support of 450 workers and their dependants."

She said Lake Harvest pays workers substantially more than the minimum basic wage and offers performance pay, pension schemes and medical insurance.

"In Zimbabwe in the current political climate it's not unrealistic that each wage earner will be supporting up to 20 people," she said.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "There are no restrictions on a UK supermarket stocking Zimbabwean produce."


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Sokwanele: Zimbabwe Election Watch : Issue 14

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

Zimbabwe Election Watch
Issue 14: 01 January 2008

Bar chart of breaches in this issueExecutive Summary

In this final issue of Zimbabwe Election Watch for 2007, the articles logged place a stronger emphasis on the overall political and electoral climate than on specific examples of violations of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

For example, Freeman Forward Chari, Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Youth Movement, writes in an article published by the Association of Zimbabwe Journalists: "Militarisation of Zimbabwe - Does the opposition stand a chance?"

Chari notes that, "in 2002, it became clear that the military had diverted from its constitutional mandate into civilian politics" and asks that, "as we brace for another presidential election, is the 2002 threat not going to be sent out again?"

He writes, "If you add up 35 000 war veterans, 200 000 ZPMs (Zanu PF's Zimbabwe People's Militia - created between 1980 and 1987 during the period of the Gukurahundi massacres), 30 000 from National Youth Service and 15 000 retirees (from the police and army), we have a total of 100 000 civilians who have at least basic military education and training. To this number add 35 000 from the army, 5 000 from the air force, 25 000 from the police, 10 000 from prisons and about 15 000 from the Central Intelligence Organisation - at least 190 000 people…."

Chari then lists the names of the military personnel who control or hold senior positions in "the strategic entities that strictly deal with civilians". In summary, he notes that Zanu-PF controls: Food (Grain Marketing Board), Transport, Energy, Fuel and Power, Industry, Trade, Sport, Youth, the Attorney General and Elections.

He asks: "Can the civilians of this country go and impose their right to vote on an institution controlled by the military, funded by the military and run by the military, with the military fielding a man (Commander-in-Chief) in the elections?"

For further information, refer to Issue 7 of ZEW, dated 26 September 2007, in which Dr Francois Vrey from the University of Stellenbosch wrote that "Militarisation underpins much of Zimbabwe's security culture and directs many of the events on the political landscape..."

In an article published in the Zimbabwe Standard, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network stresses the critical importance of election monitoring and election observing. It points out that the SADC Guidelines, particularly Section 7.8, note the rationale of deploying observers to "ensure transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process." The article reminds readers that, in the 2005 parliamentary elections, many observer missions were denied a chance to observe the elections by the government.

In their latest pastoral letter, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference discusses insights with regard to a credible electoral process for responsible and accountable leadership. The letter expresses concern that past elections have been marred by controversy and violence, and notes that the same concerns they cited in a pastoral letter in 2004 still exist.

The Mutambara faction of the MDC's secretary for information and publicity, Gabriel Chaibva, says March 2008 is too soon for an election as there is not enough time to implement what has been agreed on at the mediation talks.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has dismissed the recent amendments to the Electoral Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Order and Security Act and the Broadcasting Services Amendment Act in the belief that they are a ploy to entrench the government's power. The NCA says attempts to impose piecemeal amendments to the constitution will be vigorously defended and rejected.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has expressed deep concern regarding the recent gazetting and subsequent fast-tracking of the Bills by both Houses of Parliament. ZLHR notes that this evidences "a worrying and flagrant lack of respect for processes allowing public input and scrutiny of legislation", and that "the Bills were drafted, presented and passed without any input from stakeholders within civil society."

Zimbabwe's state-controlled media commission has ordered journalists to apply for new licences, apparently ignoring moves by the government to tone down press laws. The Media and Information Commission (MIC) said reporters, newspapers and foreign news agencies would need to apply for new licences by December 31 if they wanted to operate for another year.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum's Political Violence Report for November reports on the violent attacks on activists during demonstrations organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA). The total number of human rights violations documented by the organisation between 1 January and 30 November stands at 8 569.

On 19 December, The Zimbabwean newspaper reported that police had barred MDC legislator for Kuwadzana, Nelson Chamisa, from holding his graduation celebration gala, arguing that he needed permission under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which prohibits the gathering of more than four people. Two days later, Chamisa was granted permission - on condition no one mentioned the name of President Mugabe or made political statements.

Finally, Sokwanele would like to express appreciation for your concern, support and encouragement throughout the year. We wish you success and blessings in the year ahead.


Militarisation of Zimbabwe: Does the opposition stand a chance?
Source Date: 24-12-2007

….. It is the objective of this article to explore the levels of militarisation in Zimbabwe and …to give a prognosis of the future political climate.

In 1980, when Zimbabwe got its independence from Britain there were more than 65 000 fighters … waiting to be integrated into the Zimbabwe National Army whose capacity then was a mere 30 000. What it meant then was that there arose the need to demobilize and rehabilitate the other 35 000 soldiers. …

At the height of the ZIPRA/ZANLA clashes between 1980 and 1987, Zanu PF created the Zimbabwe People's Militia (ZPM) which was typically a vigilante…This branch was … at one point trained by the notorious North Koreans infamous for the ruthless Fifth Brigade. It does not come as a surprise that ZPM has been implicated in the Matebeleland massacres of that time. The total number trained was estimated to be 20 000.

The government reintroduced the National Youth Service in the new millennium. The purpose of the training…. was specifically to consolidate power. In 2005 …18 000 youths had graduated and were absorbed by the government. Coupled to the ministerial objective of producing 6 000 graduates per year it extrapolates to about 30 000 graduates to date.

The Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police have in total recorded a voluntary retirement of about 15 000 members since 1997.

… If you add up 35 000 war veterans, 20 000 ZPM, 30 000 from the National Youth Service and 15 000 retirees we have a total of 100 000 civilians who have at least basic military education and training.

To this number, add 35 000 from ZNA, 5000 from Air Force of Zimbabwe, 25 000 from ZRP, 10 000 from Prisons and about 15 000 from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and it means we have at least 190 000 people in Zimbabwe who have a basic understanding of military language!

At the level of leadership and policy-formulation there is need to also explore the level of involvement of the military in strategic entities that strictly deal with civilians…

…(In summary, the appointments of military personnel in strategic entities demonstrate that) Zanu PF controls food (through the Grain Marketing Board), transport, energy, fuel and power, trade and industry, sport, youth, the Attorney General and Elections….

The military also controls the finances in one way or the other and even foreign policy is dictated by the military and not parliament …

The question we pose to ourselves then is: in a country of nearly 200 000 military people, in a country whose public sector is run by the military, where does the common man fit? Is there a possibility of civil participation in the country?……

Freeman Forward Chari
Secretary General
Zimbabwe Youth Movement

Source: zimbabwejournalists.com (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimbabwejournalists.com/story.php?art_id=3364&cat=4

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 2.1.7: Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions …
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.1: [The member state holding elections shall] Take necessary measures to ensure the scrupulous implementation of the above principles …
  • 7.3: [The member state holding elections shall] Establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …

Even free and fair elections need to be monitored
Source Date: 23-12-2007

… The holding of consistent, timely, free and fair elections which are subject to observation by local, regional and international groups and individuals has come to be quintessential to democratic practice and good governance. ..

The SADC Guidelines and Principles governing democratic elections, particularly section 7.8, note the rationale of deploying observers as to "ensure transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process." Section 7.8 states that the member country holding elections should:

"Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process by facilitating the deployment of representatives of political parties and individual candidates at polling and counting stations and by accrediting national and/other observers/monitors.”…

According to section 2.1.1 of the SADC Principles and Guidelines for Democratic Elections, member states are expected to ensure full participation of the citizens in the political process. It is our argument that full participation in the electoral process by citizens also entails affording them the right to observe and or monitor electoral processes in their country.

Article 13 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) to which Zimbabwe is signatory further vindicates our call for any observer group or individual interested in observing the election to be accredited for the purposes of observing the elections. Article 13 (1) provides that: " Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law".

It is our call therefore that all citizens, citizens groups, be it the media, non-governmental organisations, civil society in its broad sense, be allowed to observe the elections if they so wish.

It is also important, for the purposes of transparency, that observers from without observe our elections. These could be from the region, SADC, or international observer groups under the auspices of different organisations who might feel interested in observing our electoral process.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections unfortunately, a lot of observer missions were denied a chance to observe our elections because the government, either did not invite them, or denied their requests to be accredited to observe the elections….

There is, therefore, need for a truly independent electoral management body to be tasked with inviting observers, accrediting them and running the whole electoral process.

Government, its ministers or any participant in the election, should not be given the job of either inviting or accrediting the observers….

Produced by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN). Comments are welcome on zesn@africaonline.co.zw

Source: Zimbabwe Standard, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/viewinfo.cfm?linkid=21&id=8075&siteid=1

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …

Catholic bishops call for free and fair poll in 2008
Source Date: 18-12-2007

Zimbabwe’s Catholic Bishops have called on the government to ensure a free and fair environment for the holding of elections in 2008.

In a pastoral letter issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference the group expressed concern over the manner in which past elections have been conducted, citing violence and intimidation in the process…

The group said the government should ‘establish a credible electoral process, whose outcome will be free and fair and with local and international recognition.’…

They stressed the importance of an independent electoral body saying this had to inspire confidence and protect the integrity of the process to deliver a free and fair election.

The bishops also noted how the same concerns they cited in a pastoral letter in 2004 still existed….

Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news181207/cathbishops181207.htm

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 2.1.6: Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 2.1.8: Voter education.
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 4.1.4: Existence of updated and accessible voters roll;
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.6: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the availability of adequate logistics and resources for carrying out democratic elections;
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …
  • 7.9: [The member state holding elections shall] Encourage the participation of women, disabled and youth in all aspects of the electoral process …

Mutambara MDC says March too soon for elections
Source Date: 18-12-2007

Describing a statement by Mugabe last week that elections would be held in March next year as just simple "macho rhetoric," the spokesperson for the Mutambara MDC formation has said there is not enough time to implement what has been agreed on at the mediated talks.

The party's secretary for information and publicity, Gabriel Chaibva, said it would take nothing short of a miracle to complete the people-driven constitutional process they insist on and to implement changes to oppressive legislation which have been agreed at the talks between the MDC and the ruling party. Chaibva said Mugabe wanted to be seen as a strong man and his pronouncements on these issues are "pure rhetoric."

Chaibva also stressed that they would face Mugabe in March at an election, if it were possible to get things in order, but there was a need to create an atmosphere conducive to free and fair elections after finalising their agreements at the talks. He said this needed much more time and March was too soon to even dream about….

Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news181207/ammdc181207.htm

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …

NCA press statement on passing of electoral laws
Source Date: 23-12-2007

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is disturbed by the continual abuse of legislative and executive powers by the house of assembly and the executive in Zimbabwe.

The recent passing of the amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Electoral Act is a direct violation of the people’s rights.

The NCA is concerned because no body was given a mandate by the people of Zimbabwe to write a constitution for them or has a right to impose a constitution on the people.

The NCA dismissed the recent amendments to the Electoral Act, AIPPA, POSA, and BSA as a non-event. It is the NCA’s belief that the amendments are a ploy by politicians to entrench their power and the amendments will achieve nothing for ordinary Zimbabweans.

The NCA further reiterates that attempts to impose piecemeal amendments to the constitution will be vigorously defended and rejected.

What the people of Zimbabwe need is a people-driven constitution not a political settlement between political parties….

It is only a new constitution that can stand as a voice of morality and vision for a prosperous Zimbabwe. …

Our once placid nation has been thrust into chaos because of a constitutional crisis. It is the process and the contents of our current constitution which was not for the people but for a few politicians who were negotiating for power which is the source of our current problems.

And as such the solution does not lie in imposing a constitution on the people; rather it lies in giving the people a right and a chance to participatory democracy…..

”If Zimbabwe is ever going to be a legal democracy, this has to be underpinned by a brand new people-driven constitution that guarantees individual rights and equality before the law.

New institutions to support the transitional democracy can then be set up and running (including a constitutional court - the highest court of the land) once a new constitution is in place.

By Maddock Chivasa
National Spokesperson
National Constitutional Assembly Zimbabwe

Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.ncazimbabwe.org/index.php

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …

Fast-tracking of various amendments through parliament
Source Date: 21-12-2007

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) wishes to express its deep concern over the continued lack of respect for the fundamental freedoms of association, assembly, and expression by holders of public office in Zimbabwe.

The recent gazetting and subsequent fast-tracking of the Public Order and Security Amendment Bill, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Bill and the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill by members of both Houses of Parliament evidences a worrying and flagrant lack of respect for processes allowing public input and scrutiny of legislation which affects the Zimbabwean public.

This, in turn, greatly undermines the democratic space, and the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. …

… it is our preliminary view that the amendments do not substantively address the concerns of those who have been most affected by the clampdown on freedom of expression, association and assembly and they fail to address fundamental concerns which have been in the public domain for as long as the legislation itself has been in operation.

They also fail to take into account regional and international standards to which Zimbabwe has bound itself and which it is obliged to promote, respect, ensure and fulfil.

ZLHR considers this a missed opportunity to involve all stakeholders and ensure that substantive, far-reaching and acceptable amendments were made to such insidious legislation which could have had a substantive effect on ensuring a satisfactory electoral environment in the run up to the 2008 polls and beyond.

Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10551:fast-tracking-of-various-amendments-through-parliament&catid=31:top%20zimbabwe%20stories&Itemid=66

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …
  • 7.9: [The member state holding elections shall] Encourage the participation of women, disabled and youth in all aspects of the electoral process …

Zimbabwe's media commission orders journalists to get new licences
Source Date: 19-12-2007

Zimbabwe's state-controlled media commission on Tuesday ordered journalists to apply for new licences, apparently ignoring moves by President Robert Mugabe's government to tone down press laws.

The Media and Information Commission (MIC) said reporters, newspapers and foreign news agencies would need to apply for new licences by December 31 if they want to operate for another year….

Source: Zimbabwe Situation, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/dec19_2007.html

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …

Political Violence Report Nov 2007
Source Date: 20-12-2007

On 5 November 98 members of WOZA were arrested during a protest outside the Parliament building in Harare. A deputation drawn from the membership began a protest to press for an end to violence.

Members also wanted to express their commitment to repealing of the Public Order Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

As the procession was to arrive at Parliament, the Riot Squad, based at Africa Unity Square, intercepted it and began to beat the peaceful activists. Some of their members were later taken to Harare Central Police Station where they were reportedly held for 7 hours before being released without charge.

On 22 November, 23 members of NCA were severely assaulted and some allegedly tortured after an attempt to demonstrate close to the motorcade of South African President Thabo Mbeki on his visit to Harare. The protestors were demonstrating against the recent Constitutional Amendment No 18 Bill. …

The total number of human rights violations recorded between 1 January and 30 November - comprising abductions/kidnapping, assault, death threats, displacement, freedom of expression/association, murder, political discrimination and intimidation, property related, torture, unlawful arrest and unlawful detention - was 8 569.

Identified perpetrators: The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the riot squad

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Link to source: www.hrforumzim.com

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …
  • 7.9: [The member state holding elections shall] Encourage the participation of women, disabled and youth in all aspects of the electoral process …

Police deny MDC MP Chamisa permission to hold graduation party
Source Date: 19-12-2007

Zimbabwe Republic Police barred MDC legislator for Kuwadzana, Nelson Chamisa, from holding his graduation celebration gala which had been set for this weekend in his constituency.

The police denied him permission to hold the rally arguing that he needed to seek permission under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which prohibits the gathering of more than four people.

Since 2000 the Zimbabwe government has been using POSA to break up opposition rallies and to prevent political meetings organised by political parties and civic groups.

Addendum: Chamisa was subsequently given permission on condition no one mentioned the name of President Robert Mugabe or made political statements.

Identified victims: Nelson Chamisa, MDC legislator for Kuwadzana

Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/dec20_2007.html

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections

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With Labor Talks Under Way, Zimbabwe Hospital Residents Back To Work

VOA

By Carole Gombakomba
Washington
01 January 2008

Some of Zimbabwe's striking junior hospital doctors were back at work on
Tuesday as their representatives pursued discussions with government
authorities, mitigating the impact of a two-week strike that crippled state
hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo.

Some 350 hospital residents had been withholding their services over pay and
poor working conditions at Harare Hospital and Parirenyatwa Hospital in
Harare, and Mpilo Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals in the country's
second-largest city.

Sources said nurses were still off the job, many citing a lack of funds for
transport.

Authorities have adopted a more conciliatory stance in dispute. Health
Minister David Parirenyatwa told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper
that the government is “always looking at ways of improving the conditions
of service of all health workers.”

Hospital Doctors Association President Amon Siveregi told reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his group has opened
promising negotiations with relevant government officials.


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Upsurge In Rhino Poaching In Zimbabwe

Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Jan. 1, 2008) — There has been an alarming upsurge in armed
poaching of endangered rhinos primarily in the “Lowveld Conservancies” in
South Eastern Zimbabwe over the past three years, according to WWF, the
international conservation organization.

Since 2000, 22 black rhinos have been shot in the Lowveld Conservancies in
addition to 45-50 black rhinos that have been shot by poachers in other
conservancies.

A conservancy is formed by a group who pool their resources to conserve
wildlife, adopt good land use practices and have a stake, ownership and
responsibility for the land and resources.

“The declining economy in has fuelled the loss of jobs, particularly on
commercial farms and created an environment that’s conducive to poaching,”
believes Raoul du Toit, Project Executant, Lowveld Rhinoceros Project, WWF -
Southern Africa Regional Programme Office.

As well as targeted poaching of individual animals, there have been more
than 66 cases of rhino caught in snares and sometimes fatally injured in the
Lowveld conservancies since 2000.

This is a marked increased since the initiation of Zimbabwe’s “fast-track”
land resettlement programme Available records show that no black rhinos were
poached in that area between 1993-2000.

Since 2000, people have been allowed settle into conservancies and
enforcement of anti-poaching controls has been relaxed. According to WWF, a
secondary knock on effect has been an increase of poaching of other
wildlife.

As a way to combat the poaching surge, WWF, in collaboration with the
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, with funding
provided by other partners and agencies, is now stepping up its drive to
protect the country’s black rhinos.

“Through the Lowveld Rhino Project we intensified monitoring of rhinos using
skilled trackers and radiotelemetry. We moved rhinos from unsafe areas,
dehorned some of the most at risk rhinos and collaborated in setting up
rapid reaction units, community awareness programmes and gave technical
support to develop options for wildlife-based land reform” says Raoul du
Toit.

Despite the effects of poaching, this holistic approach has enabled the
Lowveld rhino populations to achieve some of the highest growth rates ever
recorded, up to 10 per cent per year. Two of the conservancy established
populations have surpassed the 100 mark.

Currently, Lowveld boasts of 375 black rhinos – about 10 per cent of the
world’s wild population.

Due to the creation of the conservancies, a number of property owners have
now converted to wildlife. Through the support of the landowners, black
rhino conservation has contributed immensely to maintaining and improving
biodiversity in these areas as well as helping conserve other species such
buffalo, elephant, wildebeest and leopard.

"We’re consolidating an approach that we know works but if we’re not
proactive and cautious, poaching could flare up to such an extent that it
could reverse the rhino population gains that have been achieved in Zimbabwe
since the mid 1990s," warns Raoul du Toit.

Adapted from materials provided by World Wildlife Fund.


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Illegal export trade booms in Zimbabwe

Mail and Guardian

Ignatius Banda | Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

01 January 2008 06:00

      Easily portable, consumable goods from Zimbabwe are increasingly
finding their way into neighbouring countries as cross-border traders search
for deals to earn much-needed foreign currency.

      At the railway station in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in
Zimbabwe, chaos reigns as large numbers of traders drag enormous bags behind
them and crowd into the cheap Bulawayo-Victoria Falls train heading for the
border.

      This happens despite regulations by the rail utility that bulk
goods have to be carried by special coaches with the traders paying for the
shipment of such goods. Passengers and goods compete for space, creating
pandemonium as traders trek to Victoria Falls where they then cross the
Zambezi River in search of foreign-currency earnings.

      Zimbabwe is battling acute foreign-exchange shortages as its
political and economic crisis drags on.

      This kind of trade is a response to the biting shortages that
have led to many businesses and major supermarkets recording massive losses.
It was exacerbated by President Robert Mugabe's controversial government
decree to slash prices of basic commodities by half.

      The decree came after Mugabe accused businesses of deliberately
attempting to sabotage the economy by making unjustified increases that left
many here unable access goods and services.

      Beer, soft drinks and cigarettes are some of the products that
are being exported to neighbouring Zambia by unlicensed traders.

      They risk prosecution by law-enforcement agents as they smuggle
the goods through illegal entry points into the country that shares the
world-renowned Victoria Falls, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation World Heritage Site, with Zimbabwe.

      Buying in bulk
      For Jonathan Psvarayi (29), the lure of the United States
greenback has just been too much. He has acquired a sixth sense that leads
him to the scarcest commodities in Bulawayo's densely populated suburbs
where he dashes to make bulk purchases. He hangs around shops where these
commodities are rumoured to be available and waits patiently before he
pounces.

      Shop owners have learnt to limit the number of purchases as they
are aware that people horde the commodities for resale on the illegal
parallel market. But Psvarayi has discovered a way to beat this.

      "I ask whoever I see at the shops, especially schoolchildren, to
buy something for me until I have enough," he says.

      He is one of many in this city of more than two million reeling
from harsh economic conditions who buy beer at cheap retail prices in
Bulawayo's teeming, high-density suburbs for resale in Zambia. "The money is
good," he says.

      A crate of about 12 litres of the locally produced "clear beer"
fetches $40 (about Z$48-million on the parallel market). The same quantity
sells for Z$6-million in Zimbabwe's licensed liquor stores.

      Last month, the country's largest beer manufacturer, National
Breweries, announced that it was experiencing viability problems due to a
lack of foreign currency to purchase raw materials after the government
price decree, power failures and water cuts affected production.

      Justin Bhebhe, an economics lecturer at Bulawayo's National
University of Science and Technology, says illegal cross-border trade is not
surprising given the hardships Zimbabweans are going through.

      "Zimbabweans now depend largely on foreign currency, which still
has value compared to the increasingly useless local dollar," Bhebhe says.
The local currency is rapidly being eroded by galloping inflation.

      Some estimates put the number of economic refugees from Zimbabwe
at about four million who have left the country for jobs abroad and in
neighbouring countries. Remittances have sustained many families amid the
hardship.

      Apart from Zambia, neighbouring Botswana is another popular
destination for traders bearing cigarettes and other commodities. Botswana's
pula remains one of the most-sought-after currencies here.

      Warning
      The Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu,
warned recently that it is illegal to move goods to neighbouring countries
without an export licence.

      But Bhebhe points out that "in Zimbabwe, a lot of things that
the authorities say are illegal are what is sustaining many families. We can
expect more illegal trade as long the economy remains in this state."

      Zimbabwe is going through its worst economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980 as inflation hovers around 10 000% and
labour union officials put unemployment at about 80%.

      An official with the Cross-Border Traders' Association in
Bulawayo says it is difficult to document and estimate the volume of trade
in Zimbabwean goods being exported to neighbouring countries as the bulk of
the traders are not members of the association.

       "But what we know is that tariffs at the borders have not fed
the national fiscal trough as much of the goods are smuggled into our
neighbours -- especially into Zambia as border controls appear to be very
porous," the official says.

      Bulawayo's unemployed young people like Psvarayi vow that
illegal cross-border trade has given them hope.

      "There is always the possibility of having these commodities
confiscated by customs officials. But as with everything else, we have
learnt to beat the system. If it is not beating the system through some
other daredevil means like crossing the border illegally, it's outright
bribery," he says.

      Traders and shoppers say this is a phenomenon that has come to
define many, if not most, dealings at Zimbabwe's border posts. Human traffic
at the border posts has surged in the past months as people move across
borders to buy basics and sell bootleg goods. -- IPS


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WHO issues malaria warning for southern Africa

SABC

January 01, 2008, 13:00

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of above average malaria
transmission in southern Africa this season, Zimbabwe's Herald reported.

WHO has urged travellers to malaria-prone countries to take preventive
treatment when visiting the region.

"Malaria transmission levels from November 2007 to May 2008 are expected to
be above normal in most parts of Southern Africa. In East Africa, the period
from October to May constitutes an important part of the rainy season
whereby malaria transmission and epidemics can occur.

"In southern Africa, the heavy rains and likelihood of flooding in certain
areas from December onwards have a possibility of increasing the risk of
malaria transmission in many parts of southern Africa," Abdoulie Jack, from
the WHO office in Harare, said.

The highest risk of malaria is in countries where year round malaria
transmission takes place, the Herald said. These countries include Angola,
Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Madagascar.

Jack said people travelling to these countries as well as to Namibia,
Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea and Swaziland where
seasonal malaria occurs were advised to take the same precautionary
measures.

Taking precautions
Malaria is a major public health problem and second leading cause of illness
and deaths in southern Africa, according to the Herald. It kills over 250
000 people every year in the region.

WHO said travellers, tourists and holidaymakers should take anti-malaria
medication as advised by their health worker or doctor before entering a
malaria risk area and continue while in the area and in the next four weeks
after leaving the area.

Jack said that they should also seek medical treatment if they develop
flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscular and joint pains. Other
signs of malaria include sweating, shivering and fatigue.

Jack said the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets could also go a long
way in protecting people from mosquitoes.

Applying insect repellents before dark to exposed skin to prevent mosquito
bites was also advised, while pregnant women should take medication as
prescribed by their doctor. - Sapa


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Zimbabwe stock exchange grows by over 300,000 per cent, report says

Monsters and Critics

Jan 1, 2008, 9:44 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) grew by a record
322,111 per cent in 2007, reports said Tuesday.

By close of trade on Monday, the industrial index gained almost 4 per cent
to 1,911,538,281.84 points, although trading was mixed, the state-controlled
Herald said.

The mining index put on a record 20.83 per cent to 2,363,257,849.25 points,
the newspaper said.

As annual inflation gathers pace - it is now estimated to have topped 24,000
per cent - investors have been flocking to put their money in the ZSE.

With around 80 listed companies involved in activities such as
manufacturing, agriculture, mining and retail, the ZSE provides investors
with returns that are ahead of inflation.

In the first four months of 2007, analysts said the ZSE was growing twice as
fast as consumer prices.

© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur


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Zimbabwe to curb sexist music lyrics

Frost Illustrated

(GIN)-Zimbabwe's "urban groove" musicians are facing restrictions by
President Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has been
ordered to cut such tunes from the play list, saying they had a negative
attitude towards women. Among songs immediately affected by the state action
was Jatrophar by Dino Mudondo, which was criticized for portraying women as
sex pests.

At least six albums have been affected by the order so far, and all are
immensely popular among urban youth.

In a press interview, ZBC's radio services director Allan Chiweshe said, "If
you listen to the radio, you can hear that we no longer give air play to
songs that reduce women to nothing or idolize them as mere sexual objects.
Some of these songs contain obscene and sexist lyrics. If you listen
carefully to that song 'Jatropha' by Dino Mudondo it implies that all women
want in a marriage is sex."

Urban grooves artist Stunner rejected the charge. "These songs are really
good compositions," he said. "As for obscene and sexually suggestive lyrics
it boils down to individual interpretation but personally I do not see
anything derogatory about them."


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Analysts Find Lessons For Zimbabwe's Opposition In Kenyan Election

VOA

By Ntungamili Nkomo
Washington DC
31 December 2007

While post-election violence rages in Kenya, some observers in Zimbabwe say
that country’s divided opposition might have contested the elections from a
stronger position had it resolved its differences and contested as a united
front.

President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory by some 200,000 votes over Raila
Odinga of the main faction of the divided Orange Democratic Movement party,
and contested official results show him beating the leader of opposition
splinter ODM Kenya by an even wider margin. Had they joined forces, analysts
say, the two opposition candidates might have well surpassed Kibaki’s
reported 4.58 million votes.

Deputy Chairman George Mkhwananzi of the National Constitutional Assembly
told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the
Zimbabwean opposition should draw lessons from Kenya's election as it
attempts to unseat President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party.


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Kenya on the brink of civil war

The Telegraph

Last Updated: 2:17am GMT 01/01/2008

Adrian Blomfield witnesses the tribal bloodshed and terror around
Nakuru

The road from Nairobi to Kisumu, normally a busy artery ferrying goods
to Uganda and tourists to the Rift Valley's­flamingo-lined lakes, became an
avenue of terror as tribe turned on tribe and neighbour on neighbour.

a.. Kenya election riots leave at least 140 dead
Brandishing bows and arrows, their heads draped in the traditional
leaves of war, fighters from the Kalenjin tribe marauded through a Kikuyu
village, razing homes and erecting road blocks.

"No to peace," chanted the tribesmen, who support Raila Odinga, the
presidential challenger.

"We are a country at war," one said as he twirled an axe in his hand.
"We will not stop fighting until Raila is declared president."

The victims of Kenya's anger towards President Mwai Kibaki, once
regarded as one of Africa's few genuine democrats, now seen as its newest
autocrat, were everywhere to see.

In a nearby village, the charred corpse of George Mwaura, a Kikuyu
farmer, lay on the floor of his gutted home.

Other tribes had suffered too. At dawn, 50 armed men attacked a
settlement known as a Total Trading ­Centre in the Molo region.

After burning down a row of shops they marched towards the homes of
Peter Maliga, a farmer from the Kisii tribe which also largely supported Mr
Odinga.

As his wife, Sarafina, cowered inside with their two young children,
Mr Maliga went out to reason with the attackers, who he thought were
Kikuyus.

Six hours later, Sarafina finally found her husband's body outside a
local bar. "His eyes had been pulled out," she said, with her two-year-old
son, Elvis, strapped to her back.

"His face was covered in slashes. He was unrecognisable."

Despite sporadic flare-ups over the years, Kenya is unused to violence
on this scale. A peaceful bastion surrounded by some of Africa's most
miserable countries, it has always managed to avoid serious bloodshed
despite underlying tensions in a country of more than 40 tribes.

That a popular tourist destination had degenerated so swiftly into
chaos is the result of an election held on Thursday as dubiously conducted
as any in Kenyan history.

Driving along the Nairobi-Kisumu road, normally one of the safest in
Africa, felt like travelling through rebel-held territory in Burundi or
Congo at the height of their civil wars.

Towns like Nakuru resounded to gunfire as Luos and Kalenjins fought
Kikuyus and police opened fire.

At the mortuary, 13 bodies - hacked or shot to death - lay on the
floor. But officials said many more could be dead because police had been
unable to reach the two worst affected suburbs.

"The shooting continued all night and all morning," said Eric Kiprop,
a Kalenjin, as he prepared to leave the town. "I've never known anything
like this. Are we living in peaceful Kenya or in Iraq?"

East of Nakuru, the road was almost entirely deserted save for the odd
car packed with ­people attempting to flee.

"It was unbelievable," said Festus, a Kalenjin, loading his family
into a battered Peugeot in the village of Rongai, where houses burned as he
spoke.

"First Kalenjins started attacking Kikuyus, then Kikuyus started
attacking Kalenjins. There are many dead."

With serious violence even in Nairobi, where police were told to shoot
on sight in the vast slum of Kibera, home to many Luos, Festus was unsure
where to run.

With the vast majority of Kenyans lacking cars, tens or perhaps
hundreds of thousands gathered outside poorly manned rural police stations,
dumping the few possessions they could rescue on the grass.

Rival hordes of armed tribesmen circled nearby, waiting for nightfall.
"At night we will step up our killing," one said.

Along a 30-mile stretch of road near Kericho, Kenya's tea-growing
capital, Kalenjin tribesmen had thrown up roadblocks of boulders, branches
and burning tyres every hundred yards.

Unsurprisingly, the road was deserted.

As The Daily Telegraph tried to shift rocks and navigate the
roadblocks, fighters surrounded our vehicle demanding that we chant
pro-Odinga slogans. "We are in the mood for killing," one said, as he
pointed a bow and arrow at our tyres.

Past disturbances in Kenya have tended to peter out after a few days.
That may happen now.

Yet Kenya is also in uncharted territory. Never before has there been
a media blackout - with local television and radio stations forbidden from
carrying live broadcasts - and never before have ethnic tensions run so
high.

And never before have Kenyans feared the possibility of civil war.
Yet, for the first time, many Kenyans say they believe that is just what
could happen if the country's election controversy is not resolved soon.


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Why democracy is crippled in Kenya

The Telegraph

Posted by David Blair on 01 Jan 2008  at 16:00

Can democracy ever work in Africa? That is the depressing question posed by
the violent aftermath of Kenya’s election. Tribal violence is spreading and
if you doubt how serious the situation is becoming, read Adrian Blomfield’s
extraordinary eyewitness report in today’s Telegraph.

Two factors have crippled democracy in Kenya:

1) No sitting president has ever lost an election and stepped down
peacefully. For the moment, it seems clear that Mwai Kibaki is determined to
stay in office despite mountains of evidence that he lost the election and
the official result was faked.

2) Votes are cast along tribal lines. Hardly anyone votes according to what
they believe. Policies, ideology, the performance of the president – none of
this matters. Instead, people’s votes are determined by what they are. Of
course there are exceptions to this rule. But on the whole, Kikuyus (about
20 percent of the population) vote for Kibaki because he is one of their
own. Raila Odinga, the opposition candidate, probably won the election
because he managed to build a coalition with all the other tribes, including
his own Luo people.

So elections in Kenya are just a disguised census, telling you the tribal
balance of the population. And if the sitting president loses, he just
announces fake results and stays in power anyway. With some exceptions, this
is true across Africa. Perhaps the democratic experiment is not worth the
bother.

Comments

Despots. and crackpots.
Dipsplepskik 01 Jan 2008 17:49

The best thing that Britain can do now,is send about five billion pounds of
aid, in cash, of course.
When they have the aid,Mwai Kibaki can bugger off,with the aid, naturally,
probably come here to Britain where we can look after, and protect him. Then
the the next despot can take his place. In the meantime we can then increase
taxes again on Britain's poor to be in the position to do the same for South
africa.

---------------

All human beings are innately tribal
Ian B 01 Jan 2008 18:07

and as such any attempt at democracy is similarly afflicted by voting along
tribal lines. Likewise, it is afflicted by those who gain power dispensing
patronage to their own tribes.

Surely not here, you say. Well, the thing that perhaps characterises is the
west is that it has to some degree moved on from tribes based entirely on
family connections and historic allegiances to a more loose tribal system
based on multiple factors, such as social class or ideologies. For instance,
here in the UK people are losing interest in voting because they know that
whatever they do, they cannot displace the tribe who have held power for a
century or so, a tribe of self interested insiders, academics, media persons
etc. The only way to gain any political sway is to join that tribe,
demonstrate fealty to its values, and squirm your way to the top of it. The
tribe has cemented its position of power by building an immense kleptocracy
that takes money from the populace at large and dispenses it through a
myriad channels to tribal loyalists, where it is then divided between self
enrichment and supporting the hegemonic tribe.

It's really no better at all than people in other countries voting for
traditional clans. At least they're more honest about it.

----------

Despots and crackpots.
Dipsplepskik 01 Jan 2008 18:16

Oh yes!, you just watch South Africa. Just wait, not long now!.

--------

What a surprise
John Storm 01 Jan 2008 21:27

An african 'country' descends into lawless violence and inter tribal
warfare. I'm utterly stunned, surprised and mystified.
After all, they are just like us, aren't they? As Displepsik says, obviously
what is needed isa few hundred billion in aid, and several aircraft carriers
worth of free food, gold rolls royces and i-pods. let's get Bob Geldof to
arrange it all.

Despots and crackpots.
Dipsplepskik 01 Jan 2008 18:16

Oh yes!, you just watch South Africa. Just wait, not long now!.

What a surprise
John Storm 01 Jan 2008 21:27

An african 'country' descends into lawless violence and inter tribal
warfare. I'm utterly stunned, surprised and mystified.
After all, they are just like us, aren't they? As Displepsik says, obviously
what is needed isa few hundred billion in aid, and several aircraft carriers
worth of free food, gold rolls royces and i-pods. let's get Bob Geldof to
arrange it all.

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