S.Africa says wants to understand scale of Zimbabwe's woes Wed
Jul 13, 2005 8:20 AM GMT HARARE (Reuters) - South Africa said on Tuesday it
was working to understand the scale of problems besetting its troubled
neighbour Zimbabwe as it grapples with acute shortages of fuel and
South Africa has been criticised at home and abroad for a policy of
'quiet diplomacy' towards Zimbabwe, where authorities have demolished houses
in poor townships in a campaign against what it calls illegal building.
Western countries have urged Pretoria to publicly criticise President Robert
"There is always a coordinated approach to assist Zimbabwe. We
need to understand as well the extent of the challenges and the impact on
the people," South Africa's new Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told
"I was getting a global understanding of the challenge,"
Mlambo-Ngcuka said after meeting Mugabe during a one-day visit to the
Mlambo-Ngcuka's visit came in the wake of a government
'clean-up' campaign of demolition in urban and rural areas that has
attracted criticism at home and abroad.
Aid groups have said the
campaign has left an estimated 300,000 people homeless in the country's poor
Mlambo-Ngcuka was accompanied by South Africa's deputy finance
minister, Jabu Moleketi.
"The deputy minister is the numbers' person.
We need to understand what we are dealing with...and have it confirmed," she
Zimbabwe is in the throes of its worst economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980, blamed on mismanagement by Mugabe's
government. Mugabe denies the charges and accuses his domestic and
international opponents of sabotaging the once prosperous
The economic crisis has deepened since the controversial March
31 parliamentary elections which gave Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party a
two-thirds majority amid opposition charges of vote
Zimbabwe's petrol pumps have virtually run dry in recent weeks
and the former regional bread basket has had to import 1.8 million tonnes of
the staple maize crop after a late season drought destroyed most of its
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's senior ministers
continue to fight over the continuing urban demolition campaign as evidence
of deep rifts over the programme mounts.
Official documents show
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and his local government counterpart,
Ignatius Chombo, are at loggerheads after police destroyed housing
co-operatives approved by government.
Sources said this week the
fight between Mohadi and Chombi shows deepening divisions in Mugabe's
government over the crackdown.
A senior Zanu (PF) official, Pearson
Mbalekwa, resigned two weeks ago in protest at the blitz. There are fears
more ruling party members will quit to lay the basis for the formation of a
new party to challenge Mugabe's rule.
Chombo has been making frantic
efforts to prevent Mohadi and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri from
sanctioning further destruction of approved housing
Official documents say Chombo failed last month to stop
Mohadi and Chihuri from deploying police to demolish Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo,
Ushewokunze, Ngungunyana, and Border Gezi housing
Chombo's permanent secretary, Partson
Mbiriri, wrote to Chihuri and Mohadi last month advising them to avoid
razing approved co-operatives, but the letter was
Mohadi said there had been a "communication
breakdown" between him and Chombo, but failed to explain how they could
misunderstand each other when they sit on an interministerial committee
overseeing the controversial blitz.
Meanwhile, United Nations
(UN) envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who was in Zimbabwe recently to report on the
demolition campaign, will present her findings to UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan in two weeks, giving guidance on how the world body will deals with
Both Annan and South African President Thabo
Mbeki have said they are waiting for Tibaijuka's report before considering a
response to the Zimbabwe campaign, which activists in the west have called a
human-rights violation. With Reuters
ZANU PF shoots down opposition motion on evictions Wed 13
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party yesterday used
its majority in Parliament to reject an opposition motion demanding that the
government stop demolishing homes in urban areas and that it provides
accommodation for families left homeless by its controversial urban clean-up
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
immediately accused the ZANU PF parliamentarians of voting against their
consciences and betraying thousands of families displaced by the campaign
because of their fear of President Robert Mugabe.
the truth but are too afraid to speak out," MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi
told ZimOnline. "As a result of their selfish vote, the suffering of the
people will continue. Mothers and children will continue to sleep in the
open in the middle of this cold winter. School children will remain out of
school. The people will continue to suffer in hunger and destitution," he
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira was not
immediately available for comment on the matter.
But the ruling
party and the government have in the past rejected criticism by local human
rights groups and the international community against the clean-up drive,
insisting that the destruction of city backyard cottages and shantytowns was
necessary to smash crime and to restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's
Moving his motion in Parliament, MDC legislator for
Harare's Dzivarasekwa constituency, Edwin Mushoriwa, described Operation
Murambatsvina (the government's code for the clean-up campaign) as a "war
against the people."
Mushoriwa called on the government to
urgently provide accommodation and other basic amenities to close to a
million people cast onto the streets without food or water when the police
destroyed their makeshift homes and informal businesses in urban centres
across the country.
Voting by show of hands, ZANU PF legislators
shot down the motion. The ruling party won 78 seats in last March's disputed
parliamentary election but enjoys another 12 seats occupied by people
handpicked to Parliament by Mugabe under a constitutional clause allowing
him to do so.
The party has an additional eight seats occupied by
provincial governors who are appointed to their posts by Mugabe and sit in
Parliament with full voting powers.
Ten representatives of
traditional chiefs who also have full voting powers in the House
traditionally vote with ZANU PF assuring the party of control of 108 seats
or more than a critical two thirds of the 150-seat chamber.
MDC has 41 seats and an independent occupies the remaining seat. -
European Parliament wants SADC to shut down training centre in
Harare Wed 13 July 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe's fallout with the
international community is threatening to derail regional peacekeeping
training with the European Parliament calling on the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to close down its peacekeeping training centre
In a raft of resolutions dated July 7, the Parliament
called on SADC to close down the Harare training centre to show its
displeasure with President Robert Mugabe's repressive rule and violation of
"The European Parliament calls upon SADC to close its
regional peacekeeping training center in Harare as an indication of its
willingness to exert pressure on the Mugabe regime," the Parliament
The European Union is a major sponsor of the SADC
peacekeeping training centre. Operations at the centre could be severely
hamstrung should European parliamentarians, unhappy over the centre's
location in Harare, pressure the union to withdraw funding.
EU, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland three years ago
imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials for stealing
elections, failure to uphold the rule of law, human rights and for the
seizure of land from white farmers without paying compensation.
Western nations, that have cut all non-humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, also
banned military sales to Harare. The International Monetary Fund and other
multilateral financiers and development assistance institutions have also
withheld support to Zimbabwe.
But the SADC peacekeeping centre had
remained unaffected by Harare's estrangement from the international
community because it belongs to the region and is aimed at promoting
The European Parliament, which also passed a resolution
calling on Mugabe to step down from power, called for curtailment of
economic links with Harare and said EU-based multinational corporations
should not enter contracts that might help prop up the Zimbabwe
The parliament also called for the appointment of an EU
special envoy for Zimbabwe to galvanise African and international pressure
for change in the southern African nation.
Parliament's resolutions have been forwarded to the EU General Affairs and
External Relations Council for consideration and possible actioning. The key
council meets on Monday and Tuesday next week. -
Church leaders say Zimbabwe must be "ashamed" of itself Wed
13 July 2005
JOHANNESBURG - South African church leaders last night
said the Zimbabwe government should be "ashamed" of itself for the atrocious
conditions at a holding camp for thousands of families displaced by its
urban clean-up campaign.
The spokesman for Anglican Archbishop
Njongonkulo Ndungane, who led the church delegation, told ZimOnline after
arriving back in Johannesburg that Harare's clean-up operation had created
untold misery and described living conditions at Caledonia farm holding camp
for displaced families as "absolutely atrocious."
government, which has claimed it is building modern houses for displaced
families, was failing to provide basic amenities for evicted families with
young children sleeping with their parents in the open at Caledonia, the
spokesman, Esau Mathew said.
"If what we saw is what the Zimbabwe
government calls provisions, then they should be ashamed of themselves. The
conditions left by the clean up operation are absolutely atrocious," said
Describing the situation at Caledonia, Mathew said:
"Parents in the so-called transit camp are struggling to care for the young
in addition to their own daily suffering. We saw situations in Caledonia
farm where hundreds of children have been thrown out of school for close to
two months now. They live in makeshift shelters with no roof, no doors and
they are totally exposed to the cold."
Mathew said South
African churches will lead an international campaign to highlight the
suffering of Zimbabweans as a result of the clean-up operation that is
believed to have left close to a million people without shelter or a means
of livelihood after their homes and informal businesses were demolished by
He said there was a general consensus among the church
leaders to mobilise international relief for Zimbabweans but added that a
formal decision on the matter was still to be taken.
report released earlier yesterday, the South African clergymen warned that
the demolition of homes by President Robert Mugabe's government could turn
already restive young Zimbabweans into "catalysts for conflict."
"Young people who could be agents for change may become catalysts for
conflict as they are exposed to the hopelessness of their parents," the
churchmen said in their report.
The demolition of thousands of
houses and backyard cottages has drawn international outrage with the United
States, Britain, human rights and church groups condemning the exercise as
an assault on the rights of the poor.
Mugabe denies victimising
the poor claiming the clean-up drive is meant to spruce up the images of
cities and towns and smash an illegal black market for foreign currency and
basic commodities in short supply in the country.
deliberate destruction of the informal economy, which is meant to cater for
the economically vulnerable groups is unparalleled in modern day Africa,"
the religious leaders' report said.
The church leaders said they
had during their short mission to Zimbabwe witnessed a humanitarian crisis
which was last experienced in the southern African nation during the
difficult period of its liberation war in the 1970s. - ZimOnline
Landmark multi-billion dollar shopping mall faces
demolition Wed 13 July 2005
HARARE - A state commission running
Harare has said it will demolish the multi-billion dollar Sam Levy Village
shopping mall in the capital's Borrowdale suburb of the rich because it was
built in contravention of city by-laws.
Leslie Gwindi last night told ZimOnline that the mall's owner, Sam Levy,
built the shopping complex several years ago without authority from the city
council and that he had not over the years taken measures to rectify the
matter and ensure his building conformed with municipal
Gwindi said the landmark complex that houses up-market
clothing boutiques, restaurants, bars and offices would be treated just as
any other illegal structure by the police demolition teams who this week
extended their operation to Harare's affluent suburbs.
deal with the situation just like any illegal structure. He (Levy) never
corrected or conformed with the city by-laws," said Gwindi.
secretary at Levy's office said the business tycoon did not wish to comment
on the matter. "Mr Levy says he does not wish to comment on that issue," the
secretary said by phone.
If razed down, the shopping complex would
be the biggest, most modern and expensive building to be demolished under
the government's controversial urban clean-up drive that has drawn wide
condemnation from the international community.
police have only demolished backyard cottages in low-income suburbs and
shantytowns they say were not built according to city by-laws.
Close to a million people have been left homeless and without a means of
livelihood after their informal businesses and homes were destroyed under
the clean-up campaign that the government says is necessary to root out
crime and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities and towns.
United Nations envoy who was in Zimbabwe for the last two weeks probing the
home demolitions will submit a report to the world body's chief Koffi Annan
in two weeks time. - ZimOnline
No change on Zimbabwe policy, ICC tells New Zealand Wed Jul
13, 2005 1:37 AM BST
LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) - The president of the
International Cricket Council (ICC) told New Zealand on Tuesday that the
sport's governing body will not exclude Zimbabwe from future
New Zealand's Foreign Minister Phil Goff, in a letter earlier this
month, asked the ICC to change its policy on Zimbabwe because of concerns
about human rights abuses under President Robert Mugabe.
asked that New Zealand be allowed to cancel its scheduled trip to Zimbabwe
without facing a hefty fine.
But ICC president Ehsan Mani wrote back on
Tuesday saying there would be no change to its Future Tours Programme (FTP)
"The board recognises that issues of the relationships
between countries are driven by politicians and governments that are elected
by the people to deal with these political issues," Mani wrote in his
Mani said that while the ICC recognises that governments will
from time to time try to use sporting sanctions as a foreign policy tool,
cricket's governing body would not be drawn into this.
"This view in
no way endorses the political regime or policies in any of our member
countries," Mani said.
"It simply reflects the reality that it is for
governments and politicians that are elected, to grapple with the
complexities and difficulties of international relations between countries,"
New Zealand had announced it would
refuse to issue visas to the Zimbabwe team in a reciprocal tour scheduled
for the end of this year.
The British and Australian governments have
announced they would support plans to exclude Zimbabwe from international
However, New Zealand's cricket association has said it would
proceed with the tour to avoid paying the ICC a minimum fine of $2 million
for any boycott.
Zimbabwean cricket has been in crisis for several
At the 2003 World Cup held mostly in South Africa but with a few
games in Zimbabwe, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga of Zimbabwe wore black
armbands to "mourn the death of democracy" in their country.
year, most of Zimbabwe's top players walked out on the national team over a
race row, leading to calls for international sides to boycott
The ICC threatened to fine countries which refused to tour,
but Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill lodged a personal protest,
refusing to take part in his team's trip and telling selectors he could not
"tour Zimbabwe and maintain a clear conscience".
Shortly after his
announcement, Australia's tour was cancelled and no fines were
Later that year, England's planned tour of the country was
postponed after the ICC took away Zimbabwe's test status, which has since
The issue has resurfaced after Western countries and
organisations including Britain, the United States, the Commonwealth and the
European Union condemned a new housing programme in Zimbabwe, which has
claimed the lives of at least two children crushed to death in demolished
Business Reporter SOME foreign investors are assessing the
feasibility of extracting oil from huge coal deposits recently discovered in
Chiredzi and Mutorashanga, Herald Business has established.
understood that Austrian investors have already sought audience with the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Government on the intended project. Fuel
can be extracted from coal using several methods and these include the
"syngas process" where coal is gasified to make syngas.
This gas is
condensed to make light hydrocarbons which are further processed into petrol
Syngas can also be converted to methanol, which can be used
as a fuel or further processed into petrol.
The project is expected
to go a long way in easing fuel shortages currently afflicting the
"A series of meetings have already been conducted with the RBZ
officials," sources said.
Several industrialised countries such as
Germany and nearer home, South Africa, have successfully adopted this method
to meet their fuel needs.
About 40 percent of South Africa's fuel
requirements are met by Sasol, which uses the syngas process to extract oil
At least 15 percent of Zimbabwe's total energy consumption is
accounted for by oil, all of which is imported.
The country imports
at least 1,2 billion litres of oil annually. Zimbabwe has substantial coal
reserves in Hwange and Lupane in Matabeleland North where huge coal deposits
exist. Hwange's coal deposits are currently being utilised almost
exclusively for electricity power generation.
Zimbabwe is facing serious
fuel shortages largely due to inadequate foreign currency inflows in the
last five years.
The deregulation of the petroleum sector over the past
year has failed to yield the desired results.
AU Leaders Need to Decry Africa's Bad
Governance Sir Cyril Townsend, Arab News
Speaking at his
July 4 reception in Nairobi, William Bellamy, the US Ambassador to Kenya,
"Turning on the fire hose of international
compassion and asking Kenya and other African nations to drink from it is
not a serious strategy for promoting growth or ending poverty".
This will have surprised and possibly shocked his Kenyan guests. Another
"Ugly American"? It was strangely undiplomatic language. Yet what I expect
he had in mind was that there has to be a partnership. In the context of
Africa that must mean outside assistance has to be met with improved
governance, for it is the poor and corrupt leadership that is holding back
so many African states.
Next day the African leaders attending
the African Union's (AU) two-day summit in Libya put out a statement which
set out their challenge to the G-8 leaders who were assembling at Gleneagles
in Scotland. It was good timing. The requests of the 53 states that make up
the AU would have been carefully studied by the so-called Sherpas, who had
the tricky and highly responsible task of preparing the G-8 draft press
release for their summit masters.
The statement from the AU
contained few surprises and would have chimed in well with current Whitehall
thinking. For example it had this to say on debt relief, which Gordon Brown,
the British chancellor of the exchequer (finance secretary), has been
handling with considerable enthusiasm and effect for over a
"We request the developed countries and development partners
to expedite the process of total debt cancellation for Africa by the year
Turning to the vexed issue of trade barriers, one of the
keys to success, it called on the international community:
to establish a fair and equitable trading system and to facilitate Africa's
access to fair markets through ... the elimination of tariff and non-tariff
barriers ... and trade-distorting subsidies and domestic support, especially
Such a call falls in the middle of the current row
within the European Union over the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Britain
and France are putting forward entirely different views. France benefits
from the CAP to an absurdly large extent. Reform of the expensive CAP will
take time but I have little doubt the EU is now heading in the right
The meeting in Libya invited donor nations to raise
their aid to 0.7 percent of their GDP by 2015. This does not have the
support of the Bush administration but international progress is being
Turning to the hot potato of expanding the UN Security
Council there was the expected desire for Africa to be given two permanent
seats. The names of the two states to be selected are controversial. My two
nominations would be Egypt and South Africa.
It so happened
that in the days leading up to the G-8 summit, which in Britain were filled
with worthy articles on "making poverty history" and the Live 8 pop
concerts, there were appalling developments in Zimbabwe.
developing world has witnessed regularly the removing of illegal squatters,
sometimes on a large scale, by municipal authorities. But what happened
under the personal orders of President Robert Mugabe was of a completely
different order. Some 250,000 people were put on the streets, and local and
international observers were convinced the bulldozing of houses and burning
of trading stalls were aimed at those who were believed to support the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change under Morgan Tsvangirai in the
elections a few weeks ago. This vicious clearing was called "Operation
Murambatsivna" which translates as "Drive out Trash".
In the words
of a strong editorial in The Times (June 7): "No attempt was made to
resettle the slum-dwellers. No warning was given before their homes were
wrecked, possessions burned and livelihoods ruined. Nothing was done for the
nursing mothers, the babies, the sick and the elderly kept back by armed
paramilitaries and left on the street, cowed and bemused".
of children died in the buildings being destroyed. The United Nations
condemned this operation as well courageous religious leaders inside
Zimbabwe. But to my alarm the AU saw this as an internal matter and did not
wish to comment.
This is not good enough. The aid that has been
requested by the AU for its poorest members, and rightly so, is going to
come from the taxpayers of the G-8 countries and other nations. The public
in Britain, and no doubt in other countries, saw night after night on the
television the bulldozers at work and the suffering of those so ruthlessly
made homeless. The public in Britain has been moved by the scale of the
poverty in Africa, but will not support the huge relief program agreed at
Gleneagles, unless leaders of the AU are prepared to speak out against bad
governance in member states and corruption and contempt for human
Terror Knocks Africa Off the World Stage - So What's New?
East African (Nairobi)
OPINION July 11, 2005 Posted to the web July
Charles Onyango-Obbo Nairobi
As the G8 leaders met in
Gleneagles, Scotland, last Thursday we were all expecting that they would
make some strong statements about their plan to fight Africa's bone-crushing
poverty and insurmountable debt.
Then a series of terrorist bombs in
London changed the script and the stage lights shifted from Africa, which
had been in the international spotlight since the G8 finance ministers
announced the debt write-off for some of the poorest countries on the
continent three weeks ago, and the world sang and danced for us at Bob
Geldof's Live 8 concerts.
There was a familiar ring to the events. Africa
tends to be remembered when there are no other pressing issues to occupy the
international community. Until a year ago, campaigners were criticising the
world's rich nations for being preoccupied with the fight against terrorism,
and ignoring hungry and diseased Africa. Now that Tony Blair had taken time
out, for some Africa time, he's been jolted to focus again on, well,
This situation is, nevertheless, instructive. It's that
dichotomy, and the relative morality that comes with it, that is wrong with
the world today.
Consider this: Five Africans die every minute from Aids
and related diseases. An African child dies from malaria every 30 seconds.
One of every 16 African women will die of pregnancy or childbirth
complications. Compare that with 1 in 3,700 women in North America. First,
the world couldn't agree whether the wretched conditions in Africa or
international terrorism should be the priority. And we aren't sure whether
Africa's misery is the world's business, or it's our mess and we should
clean it up by ourselves. Depending on how much food you have on your plate,
you might think that debate is a legitimate one.
But it gets trickier
when we have groups claiming that they are responsible for things like the
London bombings, and that they are carrying out the will of
Since the September 11 attack on the US, it's common to hear
arguments about whether or not the US "deserved it." But if the US was the
victim in the September 11 attack, it became the invader in Iraq in 2003 and
today justifies its occupation of Iraq is justified - in much the same way
Blair stands by the righteousness of the British military presence in that
When the terrorists' bombs hit the US embassies in Nairobi
and Dar es Salaam in 1998, Kenyans - who bore the brunt of the attacks -
asked what they had done to deserve the fate that befell them. The
terrorists said they had "brought it upon themselves" by hosting the
The absence of a global morality that agrees that all killing
is wrong, leads to arguments about whether what's happening in the Darfur
region of western Sudan is genocide or not.
When Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe destroys the homes of the poor and working class in Harare
because they support the opposition, the African Union is not sure. Is that
really what he's doing, or is he simply enforcing municipal law by removing
illegal settlements, they ask.
An African president steals elections, but
international observers say, "Yes, there were irregularities, but not enough
to influence the final outcome." So a vote thief continues to rule. A
corrupt regime skims off aid money, and the donors say, "True, there have
been leakages, but some of the aid was still spent putting three million
more children through primary school."
African governments then have
to make a choice between whether to buy a fancy $95,000 car for the
minister, or spend $500 and save half a village from being wiped out by
malaria. Easy decision: the minister's car takes priority.
down the chain, thugs rape a woman on a Nairobi or Kampala street. Their
defence? She wore a revealing miniskirt! Is there still anything out there
that can't be excused?
Onyango-Obbo is Nation Media Group's managing
editor for Convergence and New Products