by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 16 July 2008
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and the
opposition are today expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on
a way forward for more substantive negotiations to resolve Zimbabwe's
crisis, sources told ZimOnline.
Preliminary talks between ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party began in South Africa last week under mediation of
President Thabo Mbeki's government. However, the talks have been shrouded in
a cloud of uncertainty with the feuding parties issuing conflicting
statements through the media.
ZANU PF has insisted that the two sides had reached preliminary
agreement on a way forward. On the other hand, the MDC has said no agreement
had been reached with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai telling South African
media that the opposition would not even sign the MOU until certain
conditions it had put forward were met.
But impeccable sources said MDC and ZANU PF negotiators agreed in
Pretoria, South Africa, at the weekend to sign the MOU on how "real
negotiations" would proceed.
"The MDC and ZANU PF negotiators will meet on Wednesday (today) to
sign the MOU before the South African facilitators," a diplomat said. "They
met in Pretoria for talks on talks and discussed the MOU to be signed on
The diplomat said during the meeting, the negotiators agreed that
"real" talks should not last more than two weeks and would centre on the
modalities of forming a government of national unity as urged by SADC
(Southern African Development Community), the AU (African Union) and the
South African President Thabo Mbeki - SADC's chief mediator in
Zimbabwe - will be represented at the signing of the MOU by his local
government minister and point man on the talks, Sydney Mufamadi. Mbeki's
legal advisor Mojanku Gumbi and director in the South African President's
office Frank Chikane are also expected to be present.
Our sources said the signing of the MOU would go ahead despite demands
by both factions of the MDC that Mugabe acts to end state-sponsored violence
against opposition supporters and free over 1 500 political detainees before
serious talks can take place.
According to one MDC official, the South Africans were pressing for
the singing of the MOU before AU Commission boss Jean Ping's meeting with
Mbeki later this week.
Ping is expected in South Africa on Friday to get a briefing from
Mbeki on the MOU and progress of the negotiations.
An AU summit in Egypt last month called for dialogue between ZANU PF
and the MDC that would culminate in a government of national unity seen by
many on the continent as the best way to resolve Zimbabwe's political and
"The MOU would set out the agenda of the talks and how they will
proceed," a senior ZANU PF official said. "We are not sure whether or not
the MDC would stick to its preconditions for the negotiations to proceed."
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday could neither conform nor deny
that his party would sign the MOU today, although he was quick to accuse
ZANU PF of negotiating in bad faith.
"ZANU PF has manifested an incredible catalogue of acts of bad faith,"
Chamisa said. "They have clearly shown that they are not willing to be
serious about the negotiations. They are talking white, but in actual fact
they are acting black."
He said there was violence in the country, "persecution of our
membership, our members of parliament who are being pursued on trumped up
charges, all those issues militate against any kind of a meaningful
ZANU PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa yesterday declined to
comment saying parties to the talks had agreed not to negotiate through the
The pressure for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe was
prompted by Mugabe's disputed one-man presidential election run-off on June
Tsvangirai pulled out of the race citing escalating violence, but the
country's Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said his withdrawal five days before
the poll had no legal effect and went ahead with the election. - ZimOnline
by Leonard Makombe Wednesday 16 July 2008
OPINION: What role, if any, will the ordinary Zimbabwean play in the next
It is usually the case in democracy that the ordinary citizen only takes an
active part during the election, when policy makers are either given the
green or red light.
Elections in democracies are held regularly with most falling between four
and six-year intervals. There may be other facets of democracy but it is
usually elections that are regarded as the most important component.
However an obvious issue that arises is whether it is proper for political
elite to make decisions that will affect citizens for the next four, five or
six years and only face censure in the next election.
What if policy makers decide to go against the electorate and only come back
into line when elections are around the corner?
This should ring a bell when one looks at most members of parliament who
only return to the electorate towards election time.
The burning issue is at what time should elected leaders come back to those
that elected them and ask for a mandate to make decisions on their behalf?
Is it a hard and fast rule that any major policy decision that has to be
made in between election times has to be made by the elite without
consulting citizens? What if the decision has a major impact on the lives of
the ordinary citizens, for example a decision to go to war?
There are problems associated with letting elites make decisions on behalf
of the people all the time, and this is worse if the elections do not bring
in new policy makers as is the case with many African countries.
Most democracies have been dominated by the bait-and-turn scenarios in which
manifestos that say exactly what the electorate wants are thrown through the
window immediately after the elite have been voted into office.
Then there are instances where there may be problems which people expect to
be solved through the ballot, but there may actually be complications as is
the case with Zimbabwe after the March and June 2008 elections.
The electorate has played its part, but people have continued to suffer as
there has been no solution to their daily struggles against shortages,
rising costs and an unprecedented dip in morale.
What then should be done so that the process becomes inclusive rather than
exclusive? Should it be left to the elite to decide or there is need to
involve every Zimbabwean?
There is a danger that the current political dispensation may take the form
of two other settlements that we have seen in the past - that is the 1979
Lancaster House agreement and the 1987 Unity Accord.
In approaching the inevitable talks between the current main political
players - the ruling ZANU PF party and opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party - we should be informed by the previous two settlements
in which one brought independence and an end to a war and the other brought
an end to unnecessary strife in the western parts of the country.
This is not to say the impending ZANU PF-MDC talks can be equated to the
preceding two as they differ in form, content, players and the intended
objectives. There are similarities though as the current talks may bring to
an end the costly isolation of the country and its leadership as was the
case with the Ian Smith regime in 1979, and also an end to the humanitarian
It is vital to note that the two preceding talks to a great extent addressed
the obvious symptoms of the respective crises, for example an end to the war
but there were other underlying concerns that reared their ugly heads sooner
To some extent, the nature of the talks in 1979 set the stage for the
1982-87 disturbances in the western parts of the country as well as the
current political and economic crisis.
One wonders what would have happened if as early as 1979 a people driven
constitution was written with the sole aim of dentrenching democracy.
As a people, we have been repeatedly cheated by history and the political
elite to the extent that we are skeptical when it comes to the next round of
talks. What is to be discussed and under whose mandate?
We are not saying every Zimbabwean should be involved in the talks. It is
impractical and smacks of stupidity. However, this is not to suggest that
the tone should be set by the political elite alone. There are many avenues
through which those in Dotito, Chisumbanje or Zongoro can participate.
This is one sure way of ensuring that the political leadership treats the
talks with the seriousness they deserve.
Remember, there have been talks since 2003 and it is said they have always
been half-hearted with the elite trying to score political goals and when
they realised there was no chance they would make the talks falter only to
resume after some time.
Why then are we going to let the same people decide the future of an entire
nation without coming up with a score-card against which we can record their
successes and failures?
People need to be involved so that there is some kind of ownership. First it
is imperative that the political elite, instead of hiding behind the finger,
come out and tell the people the tone of the talks and what is expected out
of them. It is through this process that the people will have an input and
also have a say in the talks.
There are questions that people are eager to ask. For example, it is
reported that the people do not know much about the proposed government of
national unity (GNU). Although explaining it may be difficult, it is my
humble submission that this is the most appropriate route to take as it
clears the way for the expected national healing and transformation.
Already there are a number of organisations that are on the ground and can
also be involved to make sure there is as much consultation as possible.
Such organisations include but are not limited to the National
Constitutional Assembly, churches, women's groups, students, workers and
those in the diaspora who despite their physical absence still have
connections to the mother country.
It is only when talks are inclusive that we have a clear agenda of what they
will contain and also that is the only way through which we would be able to
hold the leaders accountable and see who would have let us down in the event
that the talks failed.
It may be argued that there is no time as the house is already on fire, but
if we rash things once again, then we will in 15-20 years time find
ourselves faced with yet another crisis.
Let us not perpetuate the tragedy of history which only records toils of
politicians and not the ordinary person. - ZimOnline
New York Sun
By PETA THORNYCROFT, The Daily Telegraph | July 16, 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition is prepared to drop its demand that all
violence against its supporters must cease before any substantive talks with
President Mugabe's regime can begin, according to sources in the Movement
for Democratic Change.
The precondition had been a mantra since Mr Mugabe's "victory" in last
month's one-candidate election. The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, boycotted
the vote due to constant violence against his supporters by the ruling
Only last week, as the two sides met for "talks about talks" in South
Africa, Mr. Tsvangirai said: "No negotiations can take place while the
Zanu-PF regime continues to wage war on my party and the people of Zimbabwe.
This position has not changed."
But sources said that the MDC could sign a "memorandum of understanding"
with Zanu-PF as early as today.
There would be no preconditions by either side and the agreement would
provide for the formal opening of talks between Mr. Mugabe's regime and the
opposition. This would be a crucial setback for Britain's efforts to isolate
Any further attempts to tighten the screw on Zimbabwe's regime could be
scuppered by fears that they would undermine the talks. This was the
argument used by Russia and China last week when they vetoed the U.N.
resolution, which would have imposed a global travel ban on Mr. Mugabe.
While these talks would ease pressure on Mr. Mugabe, the MDC believes that
they are bound to fail. The party's secretary-general and chief negotiator,
Tendai Biti, said that a two-week time limit should be put on the meetings.
He has told colleagues that Zanu-PF would not negotiate seriously and was
only willing to offer a few cabinet posts in a "government of national
unity" run by Mr. Mugabe. "The MDC has to be seen to be doing everything to
go along with negotiations," a party source said. "But we all know that
Zanu-PF will not budge on real issues of governance, hence the two-week time
limit. The MDC has time, Zanu-PF does not have time. So we can wait."
Violence against MDC supporters is still continuing, albeit at a lower level
than before the election. More than 1,000 party supporters remain in
July 16, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Political tension between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
and the opposition eased this week after reconciliatory gestures from both
But officials said Tuesday the parties had not yet agreed on any memorandum
of engagement in inter-party talks being held in Pretoria under the
facilitation of South Africa President Thabo Mbeki.
Zimbabwe is grappling with a deep-seated political and economic crisis
aggravated by President Mugabe's clumsily won landslide re-election last
The crisis has worsened since Mugabe's controversial re-election on June 27
in a one-candidate presidential poll rejected as fraudulent by regional
allies, the SADC, as well as by the African Union (AU) and the Pan African
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who beat Mugabe in the first round of
voting on March 29, boycotted the runoff, citing violence and restrictions
on his campaigns.
Mbeki has been trying to bring Mugabe and Tsvangirai together around a
negotiating table in a bid to ease the ongoing political crisis, which has
been exacerbated by political violence, alienation by Western powers and
withdrawal of international aid.
Among what observers hailed as positive gestures, 14 MDC activists and
officials who faced charges of political violence were cleared of the
Among those acquitted are Luke Tamborinyoka, the MDC director for
Information and Publicity, Kudakwashe Matibiri the director for Human
Resources as well as the MDC coordinator for Policy Implementation, Fortune
Six alleged coup-plotters who languished in prison since April last year on
charges that they planned to topple Mugabe and install Emmerson Mnangagwa
through an alleged military overthrow, have also been released.
The police announced on State radio Tuesday that they had arrested a Zanu-PF
terror squad that abducted and brutally assaulted prominent white farmers
Ben Freeth and Mike Campbell in Chegutu,.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, however, denied that the group, which has
terrorized the few remaining white farmers, was affiliated to any political
party, describing them as armed robbers.
The terror bases set up in various townships in Harare were being dismantled
this week, with ring leaders being rounded up and thrown behind bars jail.
Prominent Zanu-PF officials who led the terror campaign are also facing the
music, sparking an outcry in Zanu-PF circles.
The state broadcaster, ZBC, has since Monday put a positive spin on what it
calls a "sign of thawing of relations and that talks are a gear up".
But the chief spokesman for Mugabe's Zanu-PF party said "substantive
negotiations" could only take place when the MDC drops its claim to power
and recognises Mugabe's re-election.
The MDC, on the other hand has demanded a stop to the violence and the
release of over 1 500 political prisoners held in the country's jails. The
opposition party has also demanded fresh, free and fair presidential
elections held under international supervision.
The negotiating teams, meeting in South Africa, adjourned from the talks
last Saturday, and are reconvening in Pretoria, Wednesday.
Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshintanga has confirmed that the South African
President was scheduled to brief the African Union's senior permanent envoy,
Jean Ping, on Friday about progress on the talks.
"They have to recognise President Mugabe's election and the government as
legitimate," said Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Although Mugabe continues to issue his usual warning that anyone of his
political opponents who tries to destabilise the government will face the
full wrath of the law, observers said by his fiery standards his speech at a
ceremony where he donated tractors on Monday was very restrained.
Mugabe who normally does not go through a speech without referring to
Tsvangirai as a puppet of the West, did not call the opposition any names in
the main speech.
By John Knight, Third Sector, 16 July 2008
What do we actually know about what is happening in Zimbabwe as a result of
the violence and intimidation portrayed in the media?
In what ways that are not shown on the news are these excesses destroying
the life chances of the people of that country? Third sector organisations
on the ground are probably best placed to tell us.
Leonard Cheshire Disability has an extensive international operation in more
than 50 nations. It provides a range of services, delivering inclusive
education programmes and residential facilities to disabled children from
rural areas in Zimbabwe where there are no services. All this happens
despite the violent instability in the country, some of which can be traced
back to the tribal conflicts between the Matabeles in the south and Mugabe's
Shona-based Zanu PF in the north in the 80s. These services have been
quietly maintained by Leonard Cheshire Homes and the Zimbabwe Central Trust.
The intensification of the violence fuelled by the latest elections has had
a negative effect on the work of many NGOs. Cheshire's Africa programme
manager, a Zimbabwean national, told me with quiet and dispassionate clarity
of the effects the current situation was having on the work in that country.
The education programmes, funded principally by voluntary donations, have
virtually stalled. People have stopped donating because they think their
money would be misappropriated by the state. The situation is exacerbated by
Zimbabwe's eye-watering inflation, which has effectively made begging and
tilling unproductive land the principal occupations for most. There is
little place for education now. The unemployment rate is 90 per cent.
The rehabilitation services are gone too, the children dispersed, perhaps
back to their families - but who knows? There was no food to feed them -
what was available was sequestered by the state. Then the staff went -
fearful of violence and being paid only in local currency. Outcome: project
stops. When you watch the news next time, think about that story behind the
- John Knight is assistant director, policy and campaigns, at Leonard
Cheshire Disability: firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 July 2008
Speech by the US Secretary of State to AGOA Forum July 15 2008
In the past eight years, I've had the honour to serve the American people at
a momentous time. I've had the opportunity to strengthen the foundations of
my country's security, to support leaders and citizens across the world, who
are trying to build peaceful, prosperous, decent, free nations, and to
participate in the liberation of 55 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But one of the most important accomplishments, one that I've been proudest
to work for, is what we've done with you, my African friends and my
My first experience of Africa was, actually, as a young girl. I visited
Liberia, where my aunt was teaching at the university in Monrovia. I wasn't
there for long. I was very young, and I frankly don't remember much. But
that was in the very early 1960s and it was still the dawning hours of
Africa's independence. The excitement was palpable. There was a sense that
anything was possible, and that the free nations of Africa would soon take
their place among the community of nations, with equal dignity, with mutual
respect, and with growing opportunity for the African people. I will say
that for a young girl from Birmingham, Alabama, where freedom and justice
were promised but still denied, Africa's example was inspiring.
We all know that the benefits and the promise of independence were slower in
coming than independence itself. But that is history, and we can't go back
and change that history. What we can do is to shape a better future. And I
believe that over the past several years, there has been a sea change in the
way that your nations approach your own challenges, in the way that America
approaches our African friends, and in the way that the world perceives
In short, more and more African leaders and citizens are reflecting the
dignity of high standards - the respect and pride that comes from holding
oneself and one's nation to the most ambitious goals of political, economic,
and social progress and meeting them by your own energy and your own
efforts. A new spirit of responsibility is alive in Africa today among
people and governments that are meeting their own challenges, creating
opportunity for all, connecting their citizens to the world, competing and
succeeding in the global economy, and doing it themselves.
There is a new enthusiasm in Africa today - a renewed spirit of independence
and it's magnificent to see. And it's certainly changing the world's
perception of Africa. To be sure, Africa faces profound challenges: from
violence in places like Darfur and Somalia, to rising commodity prices, to
the disease and poverty that still rob so many of their God-given potential.
Yes, Africa has challenges, but Africa and its people are not reduced to the
sum of their challenges. They deserve not the world's pity, but our
And this idea - partnership - is at the center of the approach that
President Bush has brought to Africa. Our partnership has been sustained,
not only by increasing responsibility and accountability of Africa's
leaders, but also by the deep generosity of the American people in response
and by the bipartisan commitment of our Congress. Our partnership is evident
in the growing cooperation among our governments, but it is most powerful
and promising in the entrepreneurial spirit of our people as they work
together. That is why the idea of partnership is at the heart of initiatives
like the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which our administration has
been proud to renew and expand. And today we welcome the two newest members
of this Forum: Togo and Comoros.
The new partnership that Africa and America are building together touches on
every field of human endeavor that is vital to human flourishing: ending
conflicts, expanding free and fair trade, investing in health and education,
and strengthening good, lawful, democratic governance.
President Bush and I are proud of the dramatic increases in support to
Africa that we have achieved since 2001: quadrupling U.S. foreign
assistance, billions of dollars of debt relief for Africa's 27 poorest
nations, launching the Millennium Challenge Account initiative, signing
nearly $4.3 billion worth of MCC compacts with ten African nations, and
forging historic partnerships to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria. Ultimately,
though, we measure the success of our partnership with Africa not in
dollars, but in the lives that we have sought to improve.
We measure our success, Africans and Americans together, by the fact that,
since 2001, nine conflicts that long plagued the continent have now ended,
and we must remain vigilant to consolidate real peace. We measure our
success by the fact that freedom and equality, democracy and the rule of law
are popular in Africa, and growing more so.
We measure our success by the fact that, in just the past four years,
millions and millions of African citizens have received life-saving
information about AIDS prevention, more than 1.6 million people have
received life-enhancing medication, and nearly 6.5 million people, including
orphans, are now receiving critical and compassionate care.
And of course, we measure our success by the fact that, due to the
relentless drive of Africa's entrepreneurs, supported by AGOA, the wealth of
Africa grew nearly 7 percent in just the past year, non-energy trade between
the United States and AGOA nations has doubled since 2001, and U.S.-African
partnerships in health and education are helping more and more people to
share in the fruits of Africa's economic growth.
Now this is not to say that there are not still major challenges. There are,
as we see in the heartbreaking plight of the Zimbabwean people. In the
Mugabe regime, we see the page of history that Africa must turn - a leader
for independence, which inherited a nation full of promise, but which has
devolved into a tyranny that values nothing but power.
It is hard to imagine how Africa will ever reach its full potential until
all of its leaders are accountable to and respectful of the will of its
people. Southern Africa will face perennial instability until the peaceful
aspirations of all Zimbabweans are respected and reflected in their
government. This is Africa's challenge, and Africa must succeed.
But though these challenges do remain, ladies and gentlemen, I am really
optimistic about the future of Africa. I am proud of the support that the
United States has given to your success over these past eight years. And I
know that our shared future, like our shared past, will continue to exceed
Because you see, perhaps more than any two peoples anywhere in the world,
the American people and the people of Africa share a lasting common bond. It
was the stolen sons and daughters of Africa who showed America the true
promise of our own independence - the true meaning of what the ringing
phrase "all men are created equal" had to mean. It was Africa's struggle for
liberation half a century ago that inspired the struggle for justice among
descendants of Africa in my country, and in my hometown. And in this new
century, it will be the partnership between your nations and ours, between
your people and ours; that will enable all the people of Africa to achieve
the hope and the respect and the justice that they deserve.
This is an extract from the transcript of the remarks made by US Secretary
of State, Condoleezza Rice, at the AGOA Forum, Washington DC July 14 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 16, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ - Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is calling for support in
establishing a "transitional government" that can ensure conditions for a
free and fair election. Thabo Mbeki, South African President and chief
mediator appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC,) is
pressing for a "government of national unity." The ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and MDC began preliminary talks
last week, but their positions so far appear irreconcilable. As the
politicians debate, Freedom House asks: What do the Zimbabwean people want?
Thursday, July 17, 2008
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
1800 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Please join us for a discussion with Zimbabwean civil society activists on
which political solutions would benefit the Zimbabwean people the most.
United States Congress (Washington, DC)
15 July 2008
Posted to the web 15 July 2008
The following is the opening statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
(Democrat-Wisconsin), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations African Affairs
Subcommittee, for a hearing on "The Crisis in Zimbabwe and Prospects for
Resolution" on July 15, 2008. The remarks are published as prepared for
"I had hoped that today's hearing would not be necessary. The March 29th
elections offered a chance to turn the page on what has become a very long
and very tragic chapter in Zimbabwe's history. Although it fell short of
international democratic stands, the African Union observer mission reported
that the first presidential election in Zimbabwe expressed the general will
of the people. But it took five weeks, after significant bloodshed and
violence, to learn that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, had won 47.9 percent of the vote, while the incumbent
Robert Mugabe won 43.2 percent.
"And then, rather than respecting the will of the people, the Mugabe regime
chose - as they have done time and time again - to repress it. In the weeks
after the election, the Mugabe regime launched a deliberate campaign of
state-sponsored violence against the MDC's members, supporters and their
families in an attempt to cling to power. The reports of killings,
abductions, torture and sexual violence are staggering. The MDC reported
just last week that 129 of its supporters have been killed, 1,500 detained
and another 5,000 remain missing since the March elections. It is no wonder
that Mr. Tsvangirai decided to withdraw from the runoff presidential
election on June 27th and take shelter in the Dutch embassy.
Unsurprisingly, in a climate of fear and sheer terror, Mugabe reportedly won
90 percent of the vote.
"Once considered a liberator of his people, Mugabe has become increasingly
despotic and his reign increasingly disastrous. According to the best
estimates, Zimbabwe's gross domestic product has decreased over 40 percent
in the last decade, unemployment has risen over 80 percent and inflation is
believed to be over 10.5 million percent. Yes, 10.5 million percent. Food
shortages, land grabs and repression have led more than 4 million people to
flee into neighboring countries, destabilizing the wider region. As
Secretary Rice said in April, Mugabe has 'done more harm to his country than
would have been imaginable.'
"There are some who suggest that now is the time for caution to avoid
escalating the violence and unleashing civil war. However, Zimbabwe's
descent has been under way for over a decade and such a wait-and-see
approach has only allowed this nightmare to grow. In 2000, I remarked on
the Senate floor that we must act before Zimbabwe's problems became more
complex and deeply entrenched. Eight years later, this remains the case.
"I respect those who have been involved in genuine efforts to mediate a
peaceful settlement in Zimbabwe. But open-ended dialogue has largely been
manipulated by Mugabe and his inner circle. Any serious negotiations
between Mugabe and the opposition party will require a more robust mediation
effort, backed by united international support and leverage. I believe the
current mediation team must be expanded beyond South Africa to include
representation from regional and international bodies, and I call on the
administration to press strongly for this expansion.
"The unwillingness of a few key regional leaders to criticize the regime for
its abuses or consider punitive measures against those responsible has been
deeply disappointing. This has led some to speak of a divide between the
West and the rest: an unhelpful divide that Mugabe exploits through his
rhetoric. China and Russia's veto last Friday of a robust UN Security
Council resolution imposing an international arms embargo and multilateral
sanctions exposed the poisonous nature of this divide. I am deeply
disappointed by their veto, especially considering China's increasing role
on the continent. I also find it discouraging that this veto was one of the
new Russian President's first actions in Africa. Until we have
comprehensive, coordinated action by both regional and international
leaders, including a combination of incentives and punitive measures, I fear
the situation will only continue to get worse.
"I welcome the efforts of the Bush administration thus far but think more
has to be done to overcome this divide as we press for tighter sanctions on
those individuals responsible for this crisis. Now is the time to scale up,
not give up on global action. We must not allow Zimbabwe to fall out of the
international spotlight as it has many times before. On Friday, Senator
Isakson and I, along with sixteen of our colleagues, introduced a resolution
encouraging the administration's continued efforts and calling for more
robust efforts by all regional and international actors to bolster efforts
to achieve a peaceful resolution to Zimbabwe's crisis. I am pleased that
the Senate passed the resolution yesterday. Today's hearing will assess the
volatile situation there and what is needed to resolve the crisis. It will
explore how U.S. policy can be strengthened to maximize leverage and
expedite a negotiated agreement that respects the will of the people."
By Patience Rusere
15 July 2008
Representatives of a broad range of Zimbabwean civic groups agreed Tuesday
that the best way out of the country's post-election crisis is the
establishment of a transitional government to overhaul the constitution and
prepare the ground for new national elections.
The civil society leaders expressed opposition to a government of national
unity which would proposed to reconcile differences between President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
formation of Morgan Tsvangirai.
The leaders of around 40 nongovernmental organizations who met in Harare
urged that the transitional government or authority be given a mandate no
longer than 18 months. They said it should be neutral and not aligned to any
National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku told reporter
Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that civil society will
reject a national unity government that does not have the best interests of
the Zimbabwean people at heart.
By Carole Gombakomba
15 July 2008
Zimbabwean legal experts and politicians are expressing concern at what what
they describe as the failure by the government of President Robert Mugabe to
officially seat members of the house of assembly and senate who were elected
to office in balloting March 29.
According to some experts the constitution says parliamentarians should have
been sworn in no later than Tuesday - though Chairman Lovemore Madhuku of
the National Constitutional Assembly advanced the opinion that the
constitution is unclear on that point.
Meanwhile, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation headed by
Morgan Tsvangirai says at least 10 of its elected members of parliament have
gone into hiding while others have been arrested in the turbulent
environment prevailing since March.
Others say it may be preferable to delay the convening of the new parliament
until talks on power-sharing between the MDC and the ruling ZANU-PF party
have come up with an acceptable resolution to the crisis that flared
following the March 29 balloting.
Programs Officer Phillip Pasirai of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition blamed
the delay not only on the negotiations between the disputing parties, but
also charged that the delay is part and parcel of Mr. Mugabe's strategy to
regain control of the house from the MDC.
By Benedict Nhlapho & Blessing Zulu
Johannesburg and Washington
15 July 2008
The South African government on Tuesday warned the Western powers to pull
back on their efforts to heap additional sanctions on the Zimbabwean
government, saying such initiatives could jeopardize efforts to peacefully
resolve the country's post-election crisis, adding that expanding the
mediation process would not help achieve the desired outcome.
Zimbabwe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and
opposition Movement for Democratic Change last week opened preliminary talks
to set the ground rules for more substantive discussions on power sharing to
resolve a post-election crisis.
The MDC won a majority in parliament in March elections which however
ushered in months of political violence mainly aimed at opposition members,
leading to a widely condemned June 27 presidential run-off won by President
Robert Mugabe, the only participating candidate. His opponent, the MDC's
Morgan Tsvangirai, pulled out June 22 over mounting violence.
Johannesburg correspondent Benedict Nhlapho of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told reporters that
Zimbabwe's opposition has yet to formally request expansion of mediation to
include an African Union envoy.
Responding, spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation of former presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai insisted in an
interview with reporter Blessing Zulu that the mediation must be expanded if
it is to succeed.
Independent political analyst Chris Maroleng said that if Mbeki insists on
mediating alone this could negatively affect the outcome of the talks.
Meanwhile, members of the Southern African Development Community's troika on
politics and security were set to meet Friday and Saturday in Durban, South
Africa, to examine the crisis and assess ongoing diplomatic efforts to come
up with a power-sharing solution.
SADC and the AU are under heavier pressure to resolve the crisis in the wake
of the defeat last week in the United Nations Security Council of a U.S.
resolution to impose more sanctions on Harare. China and Russia vetoed the
measure, saying international security was not at risk and that the African
diplomatic process should be given chance to produce results.
General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi of the Congress of South African Trade
Unions repeated Tuesday that Mr. Mbeki's mediation since March 2007 has been
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Washington conference on
African trade that African nations must do more to hold Mr. Mugabe
accountable for his actions.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer told a U.S.
Senate hearing on the Zimbabwe crisis that the SADC session coming up later
this week in Durban will be critical to expanding the mediation process to
achieve agreement on power-sharing.
July 16, 2008, 06:30
South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad says the implementation of
last month's African Union (AU) Summit resolution on Zimbabwe is the only
way forward to solve the crisis in that country.
Addressing the media in Pretoria, Pahad reflected on the unsuccessful bid
by - among others - the United States and Britain, to get more stringent
sanctions imposed against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and top leaders
of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Friday's bid within the United Nation's Security Council was squashed by a
joint veto by Russia and China.
The African Union (AU) resolution agreed, at the Egyptian resort of Sharm
el-Sheik, to throw its weight behind the SADC mediation spearheaded by South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki.
July 16, 2008, 06:00
The US Congress is supporting calls for the South African-led mediation
process in Zimbabwe to be strengthened and to include special envoys from
the African Union and the United Nations.
During Senate hearings on the Zimbabwean crisis on Capitol Hill, Assistant
Secretary of State for Africa, Jendayi Frazer told senators that if the
South African mediation was producing the desired results, there would be no
need to further strengthen it.
Alleged killings and abductions of opposition party members in Zimbabwe are
still being reported by the US media, even while talks are proceeding.
Senators believe that as long as this mediation process continues without
any tangible sign of progress, the situation might even worsen.
The US Senator for the Democratic Party, Russ Feingold says: "I respect
those who have been involved in genuine efforts to mediate a peaceful
settlement in Zimbabwe. But open-ended dialogue has largely been manipulated
by Mugabe and his inner circle. Any serious negotiations between Mugabe and
the opposition party will require a more robust mediation effort backed by
united international support and leverage."
Others expressed little hope that the international community will still be
able to deal adequately with situations such as Zimbabwe. John Kerry, the US
Senator for the Democratic Party, says:" The world has lost its capacity for
appropriate outrage. Darfur, Zimbabwe, widespread violations of the norms of
decency across the globe and the words are beginning to fall flat, big time
flat and the actions are just not there." Lawmakers are outraged at China
and Russia's actions to veto the UN's targeted sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and his top military and civilian officials.
But more outrage was directed at South Africa, for what is viewed as its
concerted efforts to shield Mugabe from international condemnation. Frazer
complained that even the present negotiations are conducted under a cloud of
by Own Correspondent Wednesday 16 July 2008
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa on Tuesday said statements made by the United
States and Britain at the United Nations Security Council that sought to
discredit President Thabo Mbeki's mediation role in the Zimbabwean crisis
were "unacceptable" and would be taken up with the respective countries.
SA deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad said, "The extraordinary and
unacceptable statements made will be taken up through diplomatic channels."
The US on Friday launched a scathing attack on Mbeki after South Africa's UN
envoy joined Russia, China, Libya and Vietnam to vote against a US-led
proposal for targeted sanctions at the UN Security Council that would have
imposed a travel ban and an asset freeze on Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe and 13 of his cronies as well an arms embargo on the Harare regime.
"A British representative said SA mediation efforts had come to nought and
we have achieved nothing," Pahad said.
"The US representative made remarks about Russia not being a worthy member
of the G8 and suggested that President Thabo Mbeki is out of touch with his
"These are not acceptable statements and we will take it up with those
In an apparent attack on South Africa's vote as well as Mbeki's favoured
quiet diplomacy approach to Mugabe, US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad
said, "We are surprised by what appears as Mbeki appearing to protect Mugabe
while Mugabe uses violent means to fragment the opposition. I think he
(Mbeki) is out of touch with the trends inside his own country."
The US also openly criticised Russia over its decision to join China in
vetoing the sanctions arguing that ongoing SA mediated efforts should be
supported, and that sanctions would throw them into disarray.
Mbeki is Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)'s official mediator
between Zimbabwe's rival political parties, but has faced heavy criticism
over his softly approach to Mugabe and Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai had previously called for him to be removed as mediator or have
the African Union second someone to assist the South African leader.
Pahad said Mbeki's relationship with Tsvangirai was "very good" said
suggestions that the Mbeki-led mediation team should be expanded were a
"fake issue, diverting from other more important issues". - ZimOnline
Ben Freeth, shortly after he was assaulted by Zanu PF loyalists
The SADC Tribunal hearing is scheduled for Wednesday 16 July 2008
The application led by Mike Campbell (Pvt) Ltd (first applicant), William Michael Campbell (second applicant) and 77 Zimbabwean commercial farmers (the interveners) who face eviction from their farms will be heard by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal in Windhoek tomorrow.
The application is also brought on behalf of the thousands of farm workers and their families living on the farms.
The applicants and interveners are also seeking an urgent order declaring the Government of Zimbabwe in breach of the interim protection order granted in December by the Tribunal in favour of the applicants, and referring this breach to the SADC secretariat for measures to be taken.
To this application the legal team has attached factual proof of the evictions carried out with the sanction of the domestic courts in Zimbabwe.
It has also attached photographs of Mike Campbell (73), his wife Angela (66) and their son-in-law, Ben Freeth (38), in respect of their recent abduction and the violent assaults on their persons which resulted in substantial injuries. (See Sokwanele Action Alert post dated 30 June, and a follow-up with more images here. Their abductions and torture was related to this test case).
Mike Campbell’s broken finger
A further option is for the SADC Secretariat to refer the case to the General Assembly and or to the Security Council of the United Nations.
Once the Tribunal has considered and finalised the above case, it will immediately proceed to determine the main case.
The main case
This challenges the “land reform” programme of the Government of Zimbabwe as being in violation of the applicants’ rights as provided for in the SADC Treaty and Protocol.
Campbell’s application contends that the land acquisition process is racist and illegal under a number of legal instruments, notably the SADC treaty and the African Union Charter.
Article 6 of the SADC treaty states that “member states shall not discriminate against any person on the grounds of gender, religion, political views, race, ethnic origin, culture, ill-health or disability or such other grounds.”
The main case hearing was scheduled to take place on May 28 but it was postponed after the Zimbabwean government’s legal team missed the deadline, citing a “lack of manpower, financial and material constraints” as the reasons.
Background information to the case
The first hearing of the Campbell case took place on December 11, 2007. This launched the application for interim relief until such time as the Tribunal was able to hear the merits of the case.
On December 12, the SADC Tribunal granted an interim order in favour of Mike Campbell pending a final ruling on his application in 2008.
In response, Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Minister Didymus Mutasa said the Mugabe government would abide by the ruling.
However, on January 22, 2008 – after a delay of eight months - Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court dismissed the application by Campbell challenging the seizure of his farm.
The following day, Mutasa said the government was going ahead with plans to seize the farm, despite the Tribunal ruling which blocked confiscation of the property.
In his response, Registrar Justice Charles Mkandawiri of the SADC Tribunal said that if the Harare government did not comply with the ruling the Tribunal handed down, it would refer the matter to the highest level of the regional organisation.
The 77 interveners
The main hearing was due to start during the last week of January but was postponed to hear the joint application of a further 77 white commercial farmers.
They were permitted to join the case in March because they were suffering similar harassment and also faced eviction without compensation.
Furthermore, the farmers could not legally challenge the Government of Zimbabwe because Zimbabwean courts had been prohibited from hearing such cases.
The dates of March 25-28 were agreed for the main hearing. However, on March 5, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Attorney-General, Prince Machaya, requested a postponement for various reasons, including the upcoming March 29 elections and the government’s wish to file further papers.
This was agreed to by the Tribunal and only the intervention applications were heard on March 25.
Judge Luis Mondlane, President of the SADC Tribunal, ordered the Zimbabwean government to halt the eviction of 73 of the farmers and granted them and four others who had already been evicted from their properties the right to have their cases heard along with Campbell.
The judge said the cases would be held on May 28.
Mr Machaya said they were not satisfied with the ruling but would comply with the order.
As indicated earlier, the main case hearing scheduled for May 28 was again postponed after the Zimbabwean government’s legal team missed the deadline, citing a “lack of manpower, financial and material constraints” as the reasons.
A landmark test case
This is the first case to be brought before the Tribunal since it was set up in 2000, and is described as a test case for the rule of law in the SADC region.
The Tribunal was established through a protocol attached to the SADC treaty and is empowered to adjudicate disputes between member states as well as between individuals and member states.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to both the SADC treaty and the Tribunal – the documents were signed by Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
The food crisis escalates
On January 17, 2008 the UN’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) reported that widespread food insecurity would continue to affect 4.1 million Zimbabweans through the first harvests in March.
However, five months later the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) reported an even more serious situation.
In their crop assessment forecast released on June 18, the organisations said more than five million Zimbabweans would suffer food insecurity in the next nine months.
Independent analysts currently estimate the population to be as low as seven to eight million, which means that more than half of the population will face severe food shortages. Cases of kwashiorkor, a malnutrition-related disease, are rising significantly.
Prior to the farm invasions in 2000, Zimbabwe’s population was estimated at 12,5 million and the country was not only food secure but a significant exporter of top quality agricultural produce.
As a result of the collapse of healthcare in Zimbabwe, food shortages, poverty and economic chaos - unemployment is in excess of 85 percent - more than 3 500 people are conservatively estimated to die each week, a staggering 14 000 every month.
Since the March 29 election, and in the face of vicious retribution by agents of the Mugabe regime against those deemed to have worked for, or voted for the opposition, the death toll continues to rise.
This press release was received today
RUTH WISHART July 16 2008
We shouldn't hold our breath. The fact that the International Criminal Court
has called for the arrest of the Sudanese president does not mean that Omar
al-Bashir will find himself in a dock any time soon.
For one thing, the case against the man whose government is accused of
actively conniving with the thugs and rapists terrorising the Darfur region
will now be examined for legitimacy by three judges whose trawl of the legal
niceties will take many months.
For another, the very suggestion that the first indictment of a serving head
of state should proceed has already provoked internal outrage among
apologists for al-Bashir, and external criticism from governments like
China. The Chinese have been building huge commercial interests across
Africa which has bought them some unsavoury partners as well as considerable
economic opportunities. China, like America and India, has chosen not to
support the International Criminal Court, set up in 2002 to pursue those
committing genocide or war crimes.
And China was among the saboteurs of the proposed UN resolution attempting
to apply sanctions to the manifestly illegal Mugabe regime. Both of these
African heads of government starkly illustrate the hypocrisy of the world
community and its relative impotence in the face of visible evil. The mantra
of choice for African dictators is that the greatest threat to their
populations is interference from former colonial powers from whom
independence was finally, bravely won after decades of brutal exploitation.
Conveniently omitted from this history lesson is the fact that in many
liberated countries, those decades of oppression and denial of democratic
rights have been followed by decades of indigenous corruption and violence.
The legacy of colonialism is undoubtedly an accessory before the fact in the
internecine strife and electoral malpractice which has been a feature of
some African states. But it cannot provide a timeless alibi for a failure to
name and shame those leaders whose tenure has made a mockery of their
citizens' appetite for a just democracy. African solutions to African
problems needs to be more than a slogan; it requires a wholesale commitment
to calling evil acts exactly what they are. In so doing, Africa can offer
moral leadership rather than indulging in a form of inverted racism. Lauding
Mandela while protecting Mugabe and al-Bashir will do nothing for the future
of the continent after South Africa's most respected 90-year-old leader
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, used her keynote speech at
Mandela's birthday celebrations to hope that she was "part of the new
Africa" rooted in his values. In that Africa, she says, "All Africans have a
responsibility to speak out against injustice everywhere."
Africa's only female president did just that, condemning the sham election
in Zimbabwe and reminding her audience that when Liberia held a similarly
hijacked poll in 1985 and it was endorsed by leaders in Africa and
elsewhere, "30 years of civil war and devastation followed with thousands
dead and millions displaced. It need not have happened."
Her judgment will prove all too prescient if crimes go unpunished so as "not
to disturb a delicate peace process". Peace? Tell that to the terrified,
devastated families in Darfur. As for the bid to have a government of
"national unity" in Zimbabwe, how can any credible future be built
incorporating the leadership - however nominal - of a man whose regime so
blatantly and brutally stole the franchise?
At a conference the other week I listened to a respected international
mediator suggest that the former colonial powers would do well to limit
their criticism of African tyrants as the source would contaminate the
I understand his reasoning, but profoundly disagree. Basic legality and
morality should not be the subject of a pick and mix process. We can see
that mess that follows when, for instance, umbrella political organisations
choose to condemn only selected purveyors of violence in the Middle East, or
when the acquisition of deadly weaponry is characterised as dangerous or
merely defensive depending on the status of the inter-governmental relations
It would be idle to deny the profound complexity of all the issues which
threaten the search for peace in a world with so many flashpoints. Conflicts
which have been decades in the making will not be resolved without
painstaking years of negotiation and compromise. But where compromise has to
stop is the attempt to dismiss culpability for wholesale criminality.
The victims of state-sponsored violence in Sudan and Zimbabwe have been
denied their voting rights, their personal security, and access to the most
basic of life's necessities. It would be another crime to deny them justice,
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Words and sanctions have failed - military action is needed to end Mugabe's
regime, writes TONY ALLWRIGHT
WE HAVE all been shocked and horrified by the recent goings on in Zimbabwe.
In his desperation to cling to power at all costs during the "election"
process of the past few months, its despot Robert Mugabe has starved, beaten
and killed Zimbabwean citizens for the affront of not supporting him. The
run-off "election" alone saw a further hundred people murdered, thousands
beaten and tens of thousands evicted from their homes.
And the violence continues, although Mugabe has now "won" an umpteenth term
as president. He is clearly bent on punishing and destroying anyone with the
temerity to vote or speak against him. Of course, the man has form.
Within a few years of coming to power in a popular vote, Mugabe, a Shona,
sent in his personal, North Korean-trained military hit squad to perpetrate
widespread massacres in Matabeland, stronghold of his political opponent
Joshua Nkomo. Some 20,000 died from the rival Ndebele tribe (which,
descended from proud Zulus, historically regarded Shonas solely as a source
of slaves, women and cattle).
It was in the 2000 election, which Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party lost by
only four seats, that Mugabe first learnt, to his shock, he was no longer
adored by his people. In response, he began violently expropriating
white-owned farms to reward his cronies, and as a direct result precipitated
the economy's disastrous collapse.
For the 2002 presidential election, he deployed widespread violence and vote
rigging against the opposition and achieved a "seriously flawed" if
comfortable victory as his reward.
Similar tactics for the 2005 parliamentary election ensured a substantial
triumph over the MDC by 37 seats.
His "Drive out the Filth" campaign followed where, by bulldozing the shanty
towns and markets of the poorest people in Harare and other towns, he
softened up urban opposition by rendering a million mortals homeless and
Throughout all this criminal mayhem, there have been continual calls from
the international community for Mugabe to moderate his behaviour and observe
democratic norms. Travel bans and similar piffling sanctions have been
applied, all to no effect. And in the past few weeks, he has happily
journeyed, unmolested, to Rome and Egypt for conferences.
We are supposed to be encouraged because the UN Security Council for the
first time "discussed" the latest "election" (even if China and Russia
exercised vetoes), Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu condemned it, and even
the 53-strong African Union (31 of them non-democracies) mumbled some
vaguely critical words. Politicians, media and NGOs in the West continue to
bleat about the need for sanctions, talks, negotiations and compromises.
Words and mild slaps have been going on for years. If they were ever going
to work, they would have done so by now, at least to some extent, but they
haven't. Mugabe has made it abundantly clear that he will never leave
office, that "only God" can remove him. And this is wise because his
lifestyle if not life will be in immediate danger the moment he steps down.
In 2002, Ian Smith, the country's last white ruler, laid down a challenge:
"If Mugabe and I walk together into a black township, only one of us will
come out alive. I'm ready to put that to the test right now. He's not."
Only direct military action - not words, not sanctions - will remove him and
only the West has the military capability. It won't be difficult (though
many will doubtless scream "illegal war").
In 2000, British prime minister Tony Blair deployed a crack task force to
Sierra Leone, which in just six weeks defeated rebel forces who had been
waging civil war for nine years. A few months later, he sent in a handful of
SAS and SBS commandos who rescued a dozen military hostages from a different
group of rebels deep in Sierra Leone. These decisive actions were
instrumental in turning the country into one of the African Union's 22
At the first sight of professional soldiery, you can be sure the Zimbabwe
army and police, who have no idea how to deal with anyone who isn't an
unarmed civilian, will discard their weapons and uniforms and simply melt
away, much as Gen Mengistu's powerful, 400,000-strong army in Ethiopia did
when confronted with rag-tag opposition in 1991.
In the name of enforcing the election results and without anyone's
permission, the objective should be to capture or kill Mugabe and his senior
colleagues. Survivors should be delivered for trial for crimes against
humanity at the international criminal court in the Hague.
Having handed the administration to Morgan Tsvangirai, whom no one but the
Mugabe clique doubts won last March's election, the invading force should
then rapidly withdraw. This would allow the international community to
provide the support it has already promised to help rebuild the shattered
In Mugabe's Zimbabwe, words kill, because by achieving nothing, they permit
and encourage him to continue his murderous rampage. Thus those who forswear
military action should just remain silent, for they are, however,
unwittingly on the side of Robert Mugabe. I am not.
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 16, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ - By
deploying Zimbabwe's security forces against the political opposition and
voters, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party effectively carried out a coup d'état
on June 27.
In testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee today, Freedom House Deputy
Executive Director Thomas O. Melia pointed to the African Union's Charter on
Democracy Elections and Governance. Article 23 likens "any refusal of an
incumbent government to relinquish power to a winning party or candidate
after free, fair and regular elections" to a "putsch or coup d'état."
According to the charter, Zimbabwe should have been suspended "immediately"
from the African Union.
In addition, the United States should formally invoke Section 608 of its
foreign aid appropriation act that requires a cutoff of aid to any
government installed by a coup. While Washington currently does not provide
any assistance to the government of Zimbabwe, the invocation would clearly
communicate that the United States views Mugabe's government as
Melia testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations'
Subcommittee on African Affairs at a hearing on the crisis in Zimbabwe. He
also voiced concern about the defeat on Friday of a United Nations Security
Council resolution that would have imposed a global arms embargo and
sanctions on top Zimbabwean leaders. The resolution secured the necessary
majority of nine out of 15 states, but was defeated by vetoes from permanent
members China and Russia, as well as rotating members South Africa, Libya
"These vetoes were not just about Zimbabwe," said Melia. "They reflect a
rising tide of anti-democratic assertiveness that we have seen on the part
of the governments of both Russia and China. The increasingly active global
campaign they wage to lower the standards on human rights and democracy
obliges the U.S. to respond."
Zimbabwe is ranked Not Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World,
Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and in the
2008 version of Freedom of the Press.
SOURCE : Freedom House
Embassy Magazine, Canada
July 16th, 2008
By Jeff Davis
Zimbabwe's ambassador has dismissed the importance of the G8 leaders'
statement, prompted last week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, condemning
President Robert Mugabe for going ahead with elections and declaring his
Rather, in an interview on Monday, Florence Zano Chideya described the G8 as
a "club" made up of a small number of the world's countries, and Canada as
"becoming more transparent" about its decision to work with its allies, the
United States and UK to push an agenda.
"It's very obvious they took turns, the countries are taking turns"
condemning Zimbabwe, Ms. Chideya said. "It's a chorus and this chorus didn't
start at a summit. It's been going on for several years, it's been going on
for several years. It's been going on ever since the land reform."
Last week, the leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia,
the U.S. and the United Kingdom released a statement in Hokkaido, Japan,
deploring the Zimbabwean government's decision to press ahead with elections
last month despite a campaign of violence waged by the government and
targeting opposition Movement for Democratic change supporters and
The run-off vote was supposed to determine who would be president, pitting
challenger Morgan Tsvangirai against Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled the country
since its independence from white-minority rule in 1980. Mr. Tsvangirai
defeated Mr. Mugabe in the original March 29 vote but did not secure the
required 50 per cent needed to take over the presidency.
Days before the June 27 run-off, Mr. Tsvangirai dropped out of the race
after dozens of MDC supporters and followers were killed and hundreds, if
not thousands, were persecuted by groups loyal to the ruling ZANU-PF.
The G8 leaders, in their statement, also declared that they will not
recognize the legitimacy of Mr. Mugabe's government or his election as
president on June 27.
They went on to voice support for the African Union's calls for dialogue
between Mr. Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition and encouraged the
African Union and Southern African Development Community to provide
stability, and threatened further sanctions and other actions.
In a statement of his own, Mr. Harper took credit for pressing his fellow
leaders behind closed doors to take a strong stance against Mr. Mugabe and
the ZANU-PF regime. His efforts, according to the statement, included "a
The statement went on to quote Mr. Harper as saying: "We have added the G8's
powerful voice to the global condemnation of the fraudulent election and the
illegitimacy of the Mugabe regime."
In Monday's interview, Ms. Chideya disputed that the Zimbabwean government
or ZANU-PF were involved in any campaign of violence, accused the U.S. and
UK of fomenting violence themselves to encourage regime change, and
contended the ruling party had been reaching out to the opposition for years
to settle their differences.
Ms. Chideya said Zimbabwe has no quarrel with Canada, though she repeatedly
addressed the African nation's long-standing dispute with the UK, including
the latter's decision to break an agreement over compensation for land
reform in the 1990s.
However, Ms. Chideya accused Canada of working with the U.S. and UK to
advance their agendas of regime change, and harbouring its own agenda
vis-à-vis Zimbabwe, which she wouldn't elaborate upon,
"They have their own agenda, and they've set it out," she said. "I don't
elaborate the Canadian agenda."
The Canadian government has stated that it is pushing for human rights, free
and fair elections without violence and ensuring average Zimbabweans are
receiving humanitarian aid in an honest and transparent manner free from
Ms. Chideya, however, accused Western nations like Canada of making things
worse in the country by refusing to recognize the results of the June 27
election, levelling sanctions against Zimbabwe and trying to interfere in
what is an internal matter.
"It's not a matter of the Canadian government pressuring the Zimbabwean
government," she said. "You have local issues here, which are internal to
Canada. And so the same with us. We have local issues which are internal to
Zimbabwe and some of these issues are sorted out in situ. In other words,
sometimes the more interference there is, the more complicated it becomes.
"All that is happening is they've been bringing in the sanctions to change
the regime in Zimbabwe. It's helping to cause confusion. If you say you want
to improve the lives of the people, and then you slap them with
sanctions.... They're the ones who feel the brunt of that."
On Friday, China and Russia vetoed a U.S. and British push at the UN
Security Council to bring strong sanctions against Zimbabwe. In a press
release, the Russian Embassy in Ottawa said the country "proceeded on the
assumption that the situation in Zimbabwe threatens peace and security
neither regionally, nor even less so internationally and does not require
applying sanctions against it."
"We are convinced that a solution to Zimbabwe's internal problems, which do
exist, ought to be sought through a political dialogue between the
Zimbabwean government and opposition," the Russian statement added.
Ms. Chideya noted that not only has the UN essentially rejected any strong
criticism of Zimbabwe and Mr. Mugabe, so have the brunt of the country's
neighbours through African Union and Southern African Development Community
meetings and statements. As a result, when asked if she is worried Zimbabwe
will be isolated on the world stage, her answer is a simple: "No."
"The G8 has expressed their opinion," she said. "It's a club. It's a club.
"I'm not saying that their opinion doesn't count.... I'm just saying the
African leaders, the African leaders gave their opinion to the G8 and they
told them the way we look at issues is different from the way they look at
"So all that has to happen is the G8 has to respect that opinion. They
cannot wish it away. Africa is made up of 53 countries. And G8 is eight
countries. They happen to be eight industrious countries, but Africa has 53
countries and the whole world has 193 countries, so you cannot say the whole
world is against a country."
On June 29, the same day Mr. Mugabe was sworn in for his sixth term,
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson announced sanctions against
Zimbabwe, namely restrictions on travel work and study for senior
government, military and police officials and forbidding Zimbabwean aircraft
from landing in or flying over Canada.
Ms. Chideya was also called onto the carpet at the Department of Foreign
Affairs, where she said the Canadian government's displeasure with her
government was expressed. She would not say whether Canadian officials
threatened to kick her out of the country or recall Canadian Ambassador to
Zimbabwe Roxanne Dubé.
"That is held at very high levels and I don't know if I can comment on
that," she said.
When asked what message she would like to convey to Canadians and Canadian
policy-makers, Ms. Chideya said the responsibility for dealing with
Zimbabwe's problems lies with Zimbabwe itself, then its neighbours, then the
AU, and so on.
"The hand of changing the regime from here is going to meet with resistance
simply because, whose interests are you serving?" she said. "If you want to
serve the interests of the Zimbabweans, you need to re-examine more
seriously, more accurately get the lay of things."
Mail and Guardian
ROB THOMSON: ANALYSIS - Jul 16 2008 06:00
It was George Stigler -- hardly a progressive economist, but nonetheless a
Nobel economics laureate -- who developed the theory of "regulatory
He suggested that political participants will use the regulatory and
coercive powers of government to shape regulatory processes in a way that is
beneficial to them.
At the other extreme, it was Daniel Guérin, Marxist turned anarchist, who
showed that fascism supported capital-intensive industry to the detriment of
lighter industrial sectors that produced consumer goods.
The prime example of such an industry is the arms industry. Supported by the
military-industrial complex, this sector epitomises the secrecy, vested
interests, massive cash flows and obscurantist discourse that provide the
most fertile breeding ground for regulatory capture.
In South Africa the confluence of these phenomena has been dramatically
displayed by the capture of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee
(NCACC), supposedly the watchdog of arms sales abroad, by the interests of
the military-industrial complex.
South African citizens can be proud of the legislation that is supposed to
govern the NCACC. It has flaws in that, for example, it fails to outlaw arms
transfers to undemocratic countries.
But it also outlaws the sale of arms to countries that systematically abuse
human rights and the need for reduced military expenditure in the interests
of development and human security must be heeded.
Furthermore, the legislation demands transparency and lays down strict
reporting requirements. While the functions of the NCACC may be delegated,
applications for arms-sales permits must be considered case by case.
When it comes to the implementation of this legislation, South African
citizens must hang their heads in shame.
The NCACC has failed to apply the criteria for arms exports, it has failed
to meet its transparency and reporting requirements and it has failed to
apply the case-by-case requirement.
It has failed to apply the criteria in that it has permitted arms sales to
numerous countries with repressive regimes that regularly abuse human
rights. The most glaring of these failures relates to the Chinese shipment
to Zimbabwe and the history of South African arms sales to that country
documented in the Mail & Guardian (June 27).
It transpires that, in contravention of the case-by-case requirement, the
NCACC has given carte blanche to defence secretary January Masilela to grant
permits for arms sales and conveyance of arms, to Zimbabwe. The argument by
Masilela that there was no problem in selling or conveying arms to Zimbabwe
because there is no arms embargo against that country is either disingenuous
or a display of absolute ignorance of the requirements of the legislation.
In general the impression created by the NCACC is that it will sell arms to
virtually any regime, regardless of the legislation. The only criteria that
it appears to take seriously are arms embargoes to which South Africa is
party and the interests of the South African military.
The NCACC also failed to present to Parliament and release to the public its
annual reports for the years 2005 to 2007. This should have been done within
three months after the end of those years.
It also failed to make quarterly reports to Parliament.
In fact, despite the transparency requirements of the legislation,
pronouncements by the NCACC suggest that, in future, these reports will not
be made public at all.
It appears that the NCACC has been captured by the commercial interests of
the arms industry and the demands of buyers for secrecy. However, if the
demands of buyers conflict with the law of the land, the latter must take
The arms industry must understand that it cannot enter into contracts that
prohibit the transparency required by law.
It is precisely because of the nature of the products that the legislation
Statements have been made that transparency is not in the interests of the
security of the state. This is no argument. Deterrence requires transparency
and so does the development of trust. The legislature was fully cognisant of
these issues when it passed this legislation and the committee has no right
to contravene it.
South Africa is a parliamentary democracy and if it deals with another
country, it can do so only on the basis that that country too has nothing to
hide; otherwise that country is not a fit and proper counter-party to the
transfer of arms.
The NCACC has evidently succumbed to regulatory capture by the
military-industrial complex. In the process the watchdog has turned on its
owner. It has become imperative that, lest we capitulate to fascist forces,
the NCACC be recaptured by Parliament and the public and held accountable in
terms of the law.
Rob Thomson is a member of the Ceasefire Campaign
HARARE, July 16 2008 - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono
will Wednesday launch a facility that will make basic goods available on the
shelves as Zimbabweans grapple with shortages that have worsened by the day.
The new facility, the Basic Commodities Availability Programme, is
designed to boost retailers and producers of basic commodities to make the
goods available on the shelves.
Although the details of the facility were sketchy Tuesday, informed
sources say the programme will roll out mechanism in which producers of
basic goods would access cheap loans. It was not immediately clear whether
the new facility will replace the Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention
(BACOSSI) launched in the aftermath of last year's price blitz. The facility
will be launched at a lavish function on Beatrice Road .
Like all the other RBZ quasi-fiscal programmes, President Robert
Mugabe and high ranking officials are expected to attend, sources told Radio
Figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that as at 8 January, a
total of US$13.5 million and $18.6 trillion had been disbursed to companies
under the BACOSSI facility.
BACOSSI was supposed to be wound up this year, but Gono extended its
shelf life but with new conditions: beneficiaries will get funding on an
Under the new dispensation, on application each company shall commit
to producing and delivering specific output levels, over explicit time
frames. In addition the facility will be extended on actual output produced.
Wednesday July 16, 2008
Conservationists yesterday attacked a decision by the international
community to allow China to buy stockpiles of elephant ivory saying it would
lead to more elephants being killed in Africa.
A meeting of the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species
(Cites), in Geneva, agreed that China could bid for up to 108 tonnes of
ivory, collected from culls and natural deaths and offered for sale by
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Cites judged that China, which wants to continue an ivory carving tradition,
had put sufficient measures in place to regulate sales and crack down on the
illegal domestic trade.
Although international trade in elephant ivory was banned by Cites in 1989,
an experimental one-off sale was made to Japan in 1999. Conservation groups
claimed the sale significantly increased the killing of elephants in Africa.
The new sale would also be a one-off.
Robbie Marsland, UK director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare,
which wants an outright ban on the trade, said: "We are deeply disappointed.
The decision plays Russian roulette with wild elephants. Allowing new ivory
to be imported into China will stimulate demand and create a smokescreen for
illegal ivory to be laundered into the legal market."
Susan Lieberman, WWF International's species programme director, said
illegal trade was of more concern than a one-off sale: "The sight of ivory
openly and illegally on sale in many African cities is likely to be a far
more powerful encouragement to those contemplating poaching and smuggling
than a strictly controlled one-off sale."
The sale has also raised concern about fundraising for Robert Mugabe's
regime, which holds about four tonnes.
Although Bulgaria and the UK, on behalf of the EU, voted in favour of
approving the sale to China, a statement read out by the UK delegation to
the Cites standing committee said: "Proceeds from sales of these stockpiles
must be used exclusively for elephant and community conservation and
"Given the nature of the regime in Zimbabwe, which has trampled democracy,
human rights and the rule of law, we have real concerns about how the regime
will use the money they gain from the sale of their ivory. The UK hopes that
potential customers will share our concerns, and the UK will urge both to
defer any purchase of Zimbabwean ivory until such time as [there is] a
legitimate, democratically elected government."
Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, said there was no evidence
of a link between the ivory sale and illegal trading. Tom Milliken, its
director of eastern and southern African operations, said China had been
cracking down on illegal domestic trade.
Until now Japan was the only other approved buyer and it is believed by many
conservation groups that the African nations selling ivory were waiting for
China to be approved to drive up the price. Mary Rice, executive director of
the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: "We're concerned that there
will now be a bidding war, which will send out the wrong message."
Worldstage, by Richard Spencer, Beijing Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:22AM BST 16/07/2008
It was time to admit, a prominent Chinese academic said recently, that
Beijing's ambitions for the Olympics had changed.
The authorities no longer expected them to be the Best Games Ever, he said:
it would be enough if they just passed without trouble.
This seemed a sad conclusion to draw. We may expect other Olympics to be
more about making hoopla than history, but surely with the glamorous
stadiums, the new subways and skyscrapers, all that fawning over China's
rise, this was going to be something special?
It seems it is not to be. Fun has been sacrificed to security. It may have
been predictable that Russian prostitutes would be expelled along with free
Tibet activists, but it seems absurd that the very people we thought China
was trying to impress - tourists, sports fans and businessmen - are finding
it hard to get visas.
Now that food lorries are being turned back from the city boundaries for
having the wrong licence plates, we can be sure that making life difficult
for everyone is considered a small price to pay to prevent the merest
glimpse of a Tibetan flag.
With this in mind, we should not be surprised at the vastly more important
news that China opposes attempts to bring Sudan's President Bashir to
justice over his government's crimes in Darfur; nor that its United Nations
ambassador is happy to block, block and block again any motion that might
hold Robert Mugabe to account for Zimbabwe's election fiasco.
The Communist Party seems to be doing the least it can to mollify western
public opinion precisely when it is supposed to be most concerned with how
the world sees it.
But in fact, such policy decisions are all part of the same ruggedly
consistent, if misunderstood, thinking on the part of those in Beijing's
halls of power.
In 2007, when people were still talking about the relaxed face the Olympics
might encourage China to show the world, there was something of a sea-change
towards Sudan and Zimbabwe. It started nudging Mr Bashir towards accepting
United Nations proposals for ensuring order in Darfur. It made it known it
was dropping all but humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe - there was not much point
doing more, seeing what a basket case it was, said an official, bluntly.
Even then, it insisted that it was still "friends" with these two pariah
nations, and this was not just playing nice: China is often to be taken at
face value in its diplomatic utterances.
As for the Olympics, the West was wrong to think that the Games would, in
the short term, make China "become like us". Beijing's promise was to show
off its own system - a world-class Games with Chinese characteristics, as
the brochures put it - not to copy our own.
Back when they were awarded in 2001, it was not to China's current leaders,
but former Party boss Jiang Zemin. They were just Jiang's thing - flamboyant
by Party standards, he had studied in Russia, spoke English, and would
occasionally burst into Italian arias. He loved being part of the World
Leaders' club - and used it to deflect fears over China's wider intents.
His successors are very different characters, more ideological, less
international and less interested when it comes to rubbing shoulders with
western counterparts. I once watched President Hu Jintao lecture Fortune 500
business leaders on the virtues of socialist democracy. With the Games, he
is trying to ensure control over a clash of values that he did nothing to
But there is also a more profound rationale. The Party thinks it has an
advantage over the west in not being at the beck and call of popular
opinion. This means it can think strategically - and, on the big issues,
stick to its guns.
In its painful engagement with westernisation, it has not left its own
survival to chance, and why should it start now? An Olympics that is enjoyed
by most Chinese is still a success, even if foreigners are disappointed. An
Olympics that foreigners enjoy because they think it will introduce
democratic values is low on the list of desired outcomes.
And so it is with Sudan and Zimbabwe. China believes long-term advantage
results from standing by those with whom you do business, rather than
dropping them when their brand of dictatorship becomes less appealing than
your own. In the 1980s, China watched aghast as fickle America and Russia
allowed client dictators to be pushed aside. The Party was watching over its
own interests, it is true, but there was also a sort of moral shock
involved. How could you preserve empire by sacrificing your allies to the
As it builds its own diplomatic and economic empire, China is determined not
to make the same mistake. Those of us who were happy to see the stains of
apartheid and Pinochet cleaned from the west's guilty conscience may hope
China is proved wrong, and one day pays the price for its choice of friends.
But there is little sign of it so far.