Britain is doing far too little to help those who seek refuge from Robert Mugabe's tyranny
M&G ONLINE REPORTER, SAPA-AP AND REUTERS | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH
AFRICA - Jul 29 2008 11:50
Claims that power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's opposition and
negotiators for President Robert Mugabe had broken off were called into
question on Tuesday.
South African President Thabo Mbeki denied that the secretive talks between
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) had reached deadlock and said they were "doing very well".
"The negotiators are negotiating. As you know they have been meeting here
now for a number of days and they are continuing to do that. They [the
talks] are doing very well," Mbeki told reporters in Pretoria.
Mbeki, the lead mediator in the negotiations, said the talks will adjourn
for a couple of days to allow negotiators to return to Zimbabwe to consult
their party leaders.
The talks began last week.
Late on Monday, two officials told news agencies that the talks had broken
off, with the main sticking point Mugabe's insistence that he be president
of any new government.
The officials said the chief negotiators for Mugabe -- Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche -- were flying
home to consult Mugabe about their mandate.
Another official, in South Africa, said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had
left Zimbabwe for South Africa to consult with his negotiators.
The officials -- all close to the power-sharing talks -- insisted on
anonymity because all parties agreed to a media blackout during the talks,
which began on Thursday.
The independent Zimbabwe news website NewZimbabwe.com, based in the United
Kingdom, reported on Tuesday that a top MDC official, Theresa Makone, was
returning to Zimbabwe after being exposed as a "media mole" in the talks.
"Negotiators from Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions took a decision to feed
her false information after having suspected her of leaking details of the
secretive talks to the international media," the website reported.
It quoted a "diplomatic source" as saying the story was "a rope to let her
[Makone] hang herself, a complete dummy".
It reported the action against Makone was initiated at the behest of Tendai
Biti, the MDC secretary general, who was concerned about what appeared to be
leaks coming from his own party.
Tsvangirai and his MDC won most votes in the first round of elections in
March, but Tsvangirai pulled out of a June run-off following months of
escalating state-sponsored violence.
Mugabe ran alone and declared himself winner, but the election was widely
discredited internationally as a sham.
The biggest obstacle to any agreement has been who would lead a new
Tsvangirai has said that an agreeable settlement must recognise only his
victory in the March elections. Mugabe, who has survived years of attempts
to oust him, even by his own party, insists he should head any government.
The agreement to hold power-sharing talks was reached a week ago with
increasing violence putting pressure on the opposition while intense
international disapproval -- including some African governments saying they
could not recognise Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe -- appeared to sway
Mugabe's ruling party.
Tue 29 Jul 2008, 13:09 GMT
(Adds background, further Mbeki comment)
By Serena Chaudhry
PRETORIA, July 29 (Reuters) - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday
denied that talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC had hit deadlock and said they were "doing
But Mbeki told reporters that the negotiators will be adjourning for a few
days to allow them to return to Zimbabwe to consult with their leaders.
A Movement for Democratic Change opposition official said on Monday that
talks in Pretoria were deadlocked because the MDC could not accept an offer
for its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to be vice president of a unity
"They are continuing to talk. They haven't concluded and they will be
adjourning shortly for a couple of days because they want to go to Harare
and consult with their principals. And then they will come back by the end
of the week," Mbeki told reporters in Pretoria.
Tsvangirai won a first round presidential vote on March 29 but pulled out of
the June 27 second round citing systematic violence which the MDC says has
killed 120 of its supporters.
The MDC says only Tsvangirai can lead a new government.
Mbeki, who is mediating the talks, said the two sides were determined to
keep to a two-week timetable agreed under a deal on the framework for
discussions signed on July 21.
"They are doing very well... they undertook that they would try and conclude
the negotiations within two weeks of the signing... They are indeed very
determined to keep to that commitment and so they are continuing to talk
among themselves and indeed to reach agreements about various matters that
are on their agenda," Mbeki said.
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are under heavy international pressure, including
from within Africa, to negotiate a national unity government to end a crisis
that has ruined the economy and flooded neighbouring states with millions of
Senior negotiators from ZANU-PF and the MDC started full talks last
The MDC official said Tsvangirai would meet his negotiators on Tuesday,
before proceeding to a meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC)'s committee on politics, defence and security in Angola on Wednesday.
Deeply concerned by the violence and the economic crisis, SADC and the
African Union (AU) are pushing for a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe.
The southern African grouping appointed Mbeki as Zimbabwe mediator last
ZANU-PF has said it will not accept any deal that fails to recognise
Mugabe's re-election or seeks to reverse his land redistribution programme,
under which the government has seized thousands of white-owned farms since
Critics say the farm seizures helped wreck the once prosperous economy and
bring food shortages and inflation now running at over 2 million percent,
but the opposition has said it would not go back on the land seizures.
The parties also disagree over how long a national unity government should
remain in power. Tsvangirai's MDC wants fresh elections held as soon as
possible, while Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, wants to carry on with his
new five-year mandate. (Writing By Marius Bosch; Editing by Barry Moody)
July 29 2008 at 08:03PM
Despite South African President Thabo Mbeki's assessment that the
stalled talks between Zimbabwe's political parties taking place in Pretoria
were going "very well" there were signs Tuesday that the current impasse
could drag on.
In a characteristically positive assessment of the situation, Mbeki,
the regional mediator in Zimbabwe, said the talks between President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) had merely been "adjourned for a few days" to allow the
negotiators time to consult with their parties.
"They are doing very well," Mbeki assured a day after the talks on the
formation of a unity government were abruptly suspended, amid reports of
disagreement over who - Mugabe or Tsvangirai - should lead the new
Mbeki said the parties were still committed to concluding the talks
within the given two-week deadline and would return to South Africa.
But a senior MDC official, speaking anonymously because the talks are
subject to a media blackout, ruled out the party rejoining the talks until
the spat had been resolved.
MDC officials say the talks came to a halt over the distribution of
posts in the proposed unity government, with the role being offered
Tsvangirai the main sticking point.
They say Zanu-PF offered to make Tsvangirai a third vice-president
under Mugabe - a proposal they say the MDC rubbished. According to the MDC
sources, the Zanu-PF negotiators said they could make no revised offer until
they had consulted with Mugabe in Harare.
A Zanu-PF spokesperson confirmed that the party was discussing the
developments. Nathan Shamuyarira told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa: "We are
making consultations with the view of making progress on the talks. We
really want the conclusions to come as early as possible."
In the meantime Tsvangirai was in South Africa Tuesday to get an
update on the talks from his negotiators, his spokesperson George Sibotshiwe
The three-way talks between Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions - the
majority faction led by Tsvangirai and a smaller faction led by Arthur
Mutambara - had only begun five days ago.
The MDC, with strong backing from Britain and the United States, has
been pushing for Tsvangirai to have the leading role in any new
arrangement -either as president or executive prime minister. In the latter
scenario Mugabe would remain on as president with reduced or ceremonial
The MDC defeated Zanu-PF in March parliamentary elections, and
Tsvangirai took more votes than Mugabe in the first round of voting for
president on the same day.
But Zanu-PF has ruled out Mugabe occupying a diminished role, calling
him the country's rightfully elected leader.
Mugabe was inaugurated as president for a further five years in June
after winning a presidential election run-off the West and a handful of
African countries derided as illegitimate.
Tsvangirai boycotted the poll after dozens of his supporters was
killed in the preceding weeks by Mugabe loyalists.
The talks in South Africa, which followed the first face-to-face
meeting between Mbeki and Tsvangirai in a decade last week, had been
heralded as a breakthrough in Mbeki's famously "quiet" mediation.
But the political violence that has claimed the lives of at least 116
MDC supporters since March and which spurred the African Union to call for a
unity government has not ceased.
The MDC's director of information Luke Tamborinyoka said Tuesday that
three party supporters had been killed in recent days despite all parties at
the table in Pretoria agreeing to take "all necessary measures to eliminate
all forms of political violence." - Sapa-dpa
July 29, 2008
By Tendai Dumbutshena
A DICTATOR is able to impose his or her will on a nation when a number of
factors apply. Institutions that should act as a countervailing force to the
dictator's power are either crippled or completely destroyed. In some cases
they become an extension of the despot's rule.
Individuals surrounding the ruler who on paper are supposed to be part of a
collective are reduced to spineless weaklings. All they seek is their
survival and the leader's favour. They see abject surrender as the best way
to secure their positions and attendant privileges. The general populace is
immobilized by a debilitating fear of the dictator and the brutal apparatus
that enforces his rule.
People are murdered, tortured, abducted and displaced to instil fear in
others. Thus a combination of a frightened population, weak institutions and
cowardly opportunists sustains and prolongs the rule of the dictator.
These conditions exist in Zimbabwe today. A liberation movement, Zanu-PF,
which led an armed struggle against white colonial rule, has sadly been
reduced to a bunch of timid people solely concerned with skulking up to
Mugabe to protect their wealth and comforts. The party has ceased to exist
as an institution to serve the people. It is now home to an eclectic
collection of fortune hunters. Its leader, Robert Mugabe, only uses its
structures to rubber stamp decisions taken elsewhere. Mugabe's rule is
underpinned by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) and Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), with the military and police providing the muscle to
enforce their agenda. The party is there to provide a façade of democratic
Mugabe has also managed to instil fear in the population. This has served
him well because it eliminated the possibility of peoples' power being
unleashed on the streets to unhinge him. This is why at every opportunity
his regime is keen to demonstrate its power to reinforce that fear.
Wherever Zanu-PF and the MDC are meeting in South Africa to negotiate a
solution, there is a big elephant in the room - Mugabe. The question which
will not be asked is whether it is possible to find a solution with Mugabe
still as leader of the country and indeed his party. Being so central to the
causes of the crisis in his country can he be part of the solution if
Zimbabwe is to chart a new path?
Ideally the issue of Mugabe's future should have been settled within
There was a time when hopes were high that people like retired army general
Solomon Mujuru woiuld take the bull by the horns and retire Mugabe. All that
came to naught. A few brave individuals broke away to form the Mavambo
movement with limited effect. Can the negotiators persuade him to depart
from the ruins he has created?
Reliable reports say that a Politburo meeting held last week instructed
Zanu-PF negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche not to give an
inch on the issue of Mugabe's position as state president. Any agreement
reached must have him at the helm of the country. It's an instruction the
two negotiators will carry out with great enthusiasm since their own
political futures are inextricably linked with Mugabe's. It is therefore up
to the MDC to address this issue. The big elephant in the room cannot be
The Mugabe regime seeks two things from the talks. The first is to get
legitimacy for Mugabe's state presidency. It was a calculated risk to
proceed with the June 27 run-off in the face of Morgan Tsvangirai's
withdrawal and widespread international opposition. The gamble did not pay
off. Not even his African friends could confer legitimacy hence the AU call
for a government of national unity (GNU). Mugabe cannot convince anyone
except leaders of rogue nations that his presidency is legitimate. The talks
offer him the only chance of gaining legitimacy under the guise of a GNU.
If the MDC, as has been speculated, are naïve and stupid enough to sign a
deal that has Mugabe as leader of a GNU, they will open the door to his
legitimacy. It will make nonsense of their decision to withdraw from the
run-off. It will be a slap in the face of brave and principled foreigners
like Botswana government leaders who have openly rejected Mugabe's
legitimacy. It will be a betrayal of the people of Zimbabwe particularly
those who have been murdered and brutalized for supporting democratic
The second thing Mugabe seeks from the talks is economic relief. If the MDC
agrees to a Mugabe-led GNU it may open the door to economic relief. People
like South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki will sell the agreement to the
European Union (EU) and the United States to get sanctions lifted. It is
hoped that this will lead to economic rescue packages from bilateral and
multilateral sources. With an improving economy, legitimacy and the MDC as
junior partner in a GNU, Mugabe would have been given a lifeline. At the
same time the MDC, hopelessly compromised and discredited, will be on a
slippery slope to oblivion.
If Zimbabweans are serious about solving the crisis they must realise that
Mugabe's exit is a sine qua non for a lasting solution. Fundamental changes
that have to be made to transform Zimbabwe into a truly democratic and
constitutional state are not possible with Mugabe in charge. Events have
proven that Mugabe has no regard for laws or the constitution if they stand
in the way of self-serving designs. An agreement will mean nothing to
Mugabe. It is laughable to believe that the presence of the MDC in a GNU
even with Tsvangirai as prime minister or deputy president will dent the
power of Mugabe and the securocrats who enforce his rule. What is certain is
that once Mugabe secures legitimacy and economic relief he will humiliate
the MDC so badly that it will either leave government or collapse into
Zanu-PF a la ZAPU. This will be the MDC's fate if it is duped or dragooned
into accepting a GNU led by Mugabe.
The answer to the Zimbabwe crisis is to form an inclusive transitional
government with a limited life span to carry out specific tasks which
culminate in an internationally run election. The Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition put it succinctly: ''We reiterate our calls for a transitional
authority with the specific mandate of taking Zimbabwe to a lasting
democracy as opposed to a power-sharing GNU.''
It will be the task of this transitional government to overhaul Mugabe's
autocratic construct with the support of all interested parties. This cannot
be done with Mugabe at the head of a GNU. His exit is an indispensable
precondition for effecting fundamental and durable change in Zimbabwe.
UNITED NATIONS, July 29 (AFP)
Britain's deputy ambassador warned Tuesday that the UN Security Council will
have to take up the Zimbabwe crisis again if ongoing South African-mediated
talks fail to resolve it.
"We wish these (South African) efforts well," Karen Pierce told reporters.
"But it is clear that if we don't make progress soon or don't see progress
soon in Zimbabwe, the Council will need to come back to this issue."
Earlier this month, Russia and China vetoed a Western drive to slap Security
Council sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe over his tainted
Tuesday, talks in South Africa on Zimbabwe's political crisis broke up as
negotiators flew home in a bid to resolve a deadlock over power-sharing
between Mugabe and his rivals.
As negotiators headed back to Harare, South African President Thabo Mbeki,
who is mediating the crisis, insisted discussions were still on track.
Pierce told reporters that UN envoy Haile Menkerios, who has been monitoring
the inter-Zimbabwean crisis talks, gave the council "a sober assessment of
the transition process of the negotiations, of the mood in each of the
She said it was not possible to say on "what time scale the talks will
Pierce also said most Council members who spoke during Tuesday's debate
expressed concern about "the lack of progress" and were keen "to know
whether an agreement would ever be in prospect."
On the humanitarian front, the British diplomat said council members also
deplored the lack of access given to non-governmental organizations and
urged Harare "to renew the access immediately."
Mugabe was re-elected in a run-off last month after his opponent Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out, citing a campaign of intimidation and violence
against his supporters that killed dozens and injured thousands.
July 29, 2008, 17:45
An NGO report emanating from Zimbabwe says the country is experiencing its
worst political violence since the 1980s. The Solidarity Peace Trust deals
with victims of violence in Africa. It has urged peaceful dialogue between
feuding political factions in the beleaguered country.
The report says violence continues unabated in spite of power-sharing talks.
It recorded more than 100 politically-motivated killings in the past few
The NGO's Professor Brian Raftopoulos says: "What we saw is that the
Zimbabweans were subjected to the worst violence by the state and the ruling
party. It was the worst electoral violence we have seen in the country."
The Solidarity Peace Trust says a peace plan should be implemented in the
event the multi-party talks collapse.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Youth Organisation's John Chikwari says a
transitional government should be established.
Zimbabwe's information ministry has labelled the NGO's findings 'baseless'.
A ministry spokesperson insists Zimbabweans have not been exposed to
Meanwhile, President Thabo Mbeki says negotiations on Zimbabwe's political
crisis will be adjourned for a few days. This should allow the MDC and
Zanu-PF leaders to return to Harare and consult their parties. This follows
yesterday's reports that negotiations had deadlocked.
The talks have been taking place in Tshwane.
An online Zimbabwe media story says reports that talks deadlocked are
untrue. It says negotiators from both parties set a trap to catch a
suspected media mole in their midst. The MDC says talks will only resume
once certain sticking-points are resolved. But they are not allowed to
divulge exactly what those issues are.
There is speculation, however, that the disagreement centres on MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai being offered the position of third vice president in a
coalition government. It's a suggestion the MDC reportedly views as an
Contrary to public perception, violence continues across the country, spearheaded by the state sponsored ZANU-PF militia.
Zimbabwe, HARARE - Zanu (PF) post-election violence continues unabated in many parts of Zimbabwe. Just a few days ago this man, identified only as J.M. from Mudzi North , was severely beaten.
His home and granary were burned on 7.6.08. He returned to his home area on 20.7.08. Before proceeding to the burned remains of his home he spoke with Zanu PF MP Newton Kachepa and ZPF district co-ordinator Nyakuba who said it was safe to return home now that the election run-off was over! However, when he arrived home he was attacked by ZPF militia, his hands tied with wire, and taken to the Chimkoko militia base by Tugamira and Chipangwa.
They said "you thought you were clever, you puppets of Morgan Tsvangirai, today you are going to tell us where he is". He was beaten on the buttocks and his left arm was fractured. He was beaten on two consecutive days then released from the base. He could only crawl out and eventually got to the tar road where a bus driver carried him to the rural Hospital.
By Lance Guma
29 July 2008
Ongoing talks between ZANU PF and the MDC have failed to stem the tide of
political violence rocking the country since the March 29 elections.
Although the levels of violence have gone down, ruling party militia bases
remain in place and thugs loyal to Mugabe continue to launch sorties on
suspected opposition supporters. Newsreel understands 3 opposition activists
have been killed since the talks began. No details were immediately
available, although it has been suggested one of the victims died from
injuries sustained in a ZANU PF attack before the talks.
In Buhera South over 17 MDC activists were badly beaten by militia around
the 17th July. The injured remain marooned in the area with army Colonel
Morgan Mzilikazi blocking their transportation to hospital. The MDC recently
sent vehicles to try and collect the injured, but as happened in areas such
as Gokwe, the militia have sealed it off thereby blocking access for aid
groups, journalists or those wanting to provide medical treatment. Further
highlighting the tensions in the area, the local MP for Buhera South Naison
Nemadziva, remains holed up in Mutare fearing for his safety.
The MDC MP elect for Makoni South, Pishai Mucharauya, told Newsreel that on
Monday their senator for Chimanimani, Mayemureyi Munhuri, was ordered to
close her shop by marauding militia. A CIO officer, known only as Brighton,
led the mob and demanded that shop staff remove the MDC T-shirts they were
wearing. Also on Monday, a female party activist was assaulted in the Bezel
Bridge area of the same province.
Mucharauya believes Zanu PF is hoodwinking people by taking part in the
talks in South Africa, while their thugs set about crippling MDC structures
and blocking their activities. Over the weekend the Makoni South MP was
barred from having a meeting with members of his constituency.
Muchaurayi said a visit to a private clinic in Mutare was all that was
needed to get a true picture of the ongoing violence. Badly injured party
activists continue to come in for treatment, from different parts of the
Despite claims that militia bases were being dismantled Muchauraya says all
ZANU PF has done is close the smaller bases and transfer militants to the
main base in each constituency. These bases are being referred to as
District Command Centres and their inhabitants continue to engage in
abductions, rape and violence against MDC supporters.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
July 29, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been denied a new Zimbabwean
passport again, with authorities preferring to give him an Emergency Travel
Document (ETD) that confines his travel to Africa.
Tsvangirai, whose Zimbabwean passport expired two months ago, accused the
government of President Robert Mugabe of treating him like a non-citizen by
refusing to renew his passport.
The ETD issued to Tsvangirai on Monday is valid for six months.
Tsvangirai used the ETD to travel to Johannesburg South Africa on Monday for
consultative deliberations with his party's delegation at the power-sharing
talks being held in Pretoria .
Tsvangirai was denied a new passport after exhausting all the pages in his
The Zimbabwe Times understands that the decision to deny Tsvangirai a new
passport was made at a strategy meeting held by the Joint Operations Command
on June 16 at Mukwati Building where Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede was
summoned and instructed to withhold the MDC leader's passport for "security
The decision to deny the MDC leader a new passport was reached following a
massive diplomatic offensive mounted by Tsvangirai in world capitals to
galvanise support for his bid to unseat Mugabe.
Tsvangirai left Zimbabwe just after the March 29 elections and returned
after a two-month campaign that saw him traverse the world. Tsvangirai
returned ahead of the runoff vote to launch his campaign for a second
election, which he later boycotted citing violence and restrictions on his
The Zimbabwe Times heard that the MDC leader has launched another legal bid
to force the government to issue him with a new passport immediately. He had
earlier lodged papers in the High Court challenging the authorities' June 12
refusal to give him a new travel document.
He argued that the refusal was a breach of his constitutional right to
freedom of movement.
The ETD issued to Tsvangirai seriously curtails his movement as it cannot be
used for travel outside Africa . The ETD gives the holder an option to visit
only eight African countries.
Tsvangirai arrived in South Africa Monday as his negotiators adjourned from
inter-party talks reportedly over disagreements on power-sharing
arrangements. Tsvangirai's spokesman, George Sibotshiwe said from
Johannesburg Tuesday the talks had reached a deadlock but refused to give
further details saying parties had been sworn to secrecy.
South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, who is facilitating the talks, told
reporters in a news broadcast beamed on SABC Africa Tuesday: "They are
adjourning for a number of days so that they could go back to Harare to
consult with their principals and then come back.
"It's going very well. In the Memorandum of Understanding they said they
will try to conclude negotiations within two weeks. They are very determined
to keep to that commitment."
But senior MDC officials in Zimbabwe said the talks were on the verge of
collapse over Zanu-PF negotiators' insistence that Tsvangirai could only be
offered the post of third vice presidential in a Mugabe's government.
Tsvangirai's MDC has rejected this outright and wants the MDC leader to be
the head of any unity government because he beat Mugabe in the March 29
poll, although he failed to reach the 50 percent minimum that would have
enabled him to form his own government.
Zanu-PF has, however, said the MDC must drop its claim to power and
recognize Mugabe's flawed re-election in a one-man presidential runoff vote
boycotted by the MDC leader on June 27.
Zanu-PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche were reportedly
heading back to Zimbabwe to consult Mugabe about the deadlock.
No comment was immediately available from Zanu-PF.
The parties are expected to reconvene on Sunday.
July 29 2008 at 04:34PM
The Pretoria High Court on Tuesday criticised the government for
failing to afford a Free State farmer diplomatic protection against the
violation of his property rights in Zimbabwe.
"Over all these years the respondents have done absolutely nothing to
assist the applicant, despite diligent and continued requests for diplomatic
protection," Judge Bill Prinsloo said.
"No explanation whatsoever has been forthcoming for this tardy and
Prinsloo granted an order declaring that the South African government,
President Thabo Mbeki and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and
Industry and Justice had a constitutional obligation to provide diplomatic
protection to Free State farmer Crawford von Abo.
He ruled that the South African government's failure deal with Von
Abo's application for diplomatic protection was inconsistent with the
Constitution and invalid.
The judge ordered the government to take all necessary steps to have
the violation of Von Abo's rights in Zimbabwe remedied and to report back to
the court what steps had been taken within the next 60 days.
This could include diplomatic pressure on the Zimbabwean government to
restore Von Abo's 14 farms and property, such as cattle and farming
equipment and pay him compensation for his losses, which he suffered when
that country started to expropriate white-owned farms.
The judge said another form of diplomatic protection could be to help
Von Abo go the International Convention on the Settlement of Investment
Disputes route and get a proper hearing in front of an international
Another possibility might be for the government to enter into a
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with
retrospective effect, containing a clause providing for compensation by the
errant state to the aggrieved party.
Prinsloo said it was common cause that the much-vaunted BIPPA, on
which the government placed so much emphasis, was never signed and that no
one ever saw it.
Von Abo's R60-million damages claim against the government was
postponed indefinitely, pending the outcome of the diplomatic steps to be
The judge criticised the respondents for not filing personal
affidavits to deal with Von Abo's complaints, which he said amounted to "a
shocking dereliction of duty".
Although Von Abo had for years literally begged various government
officials to come to his aid after he lost all of his farms in Zimbabwe, the
government's response amounted to empty promises.
He said it was not in issue that the expropriation of Von Abo's farms
was effected without compensation, a clear violation of the international
minimum standard, which gave rise to state responsibility.
"The BIPPA, already promised to Parliament by the foreign minister in
2003, has remained nothing but a phantom on the horizon. The prospective
contracting parties have been looking at their calendars for a suitable date
for more than five years without success.
The judge added: "The feeble excuse offered from time to time in the
opposing papers that the South Africans are dependant on the whims and time
frames of the Zimbabweans is nonsense."
South Africa was a powerful country, and there was no reason why it
could not employ any of the internationally recognised diplomatic measures
to protect its nationals.
"I regret to say that it is difficult to resist the conclusion that
the respondents were simply stringing the applicant along, an never had any
serious intention to afford him proper protection," Prinsloo said.
"Their feeble efforts, if any, amounted little to little more than
quiet acquiescence in the conduct of their Zimbabwean counterparts and their
'war veteran' thugs."
The judge said the government, in the present instance, dealt with the
matter in bad faith.
"For six years or more, and in the face of a stream of urgent requests
from many sources, they did absolutely nothing to bring about relief for the
applicant and hundreds of other white commercial farmers in the same
position," Prinsloo said. - Sapa
29 Jul 2008
By: Guest blogger
Nothing's straightforward in Zimbabwe, as our blogger "Helen" discovers when
she tries to pay an electricity bill.
A sign on the wall in the local government owned electricity supply office
this week reads:
"Multiply prices on your statement by one million dollars."
Standing in a queue which is moving painfully slowly, it is dark and quiet
as there is no electricity.
This is a typical Monday: the electricity went off before 5am and if we are
lucky it will come back on in 15 or 16 hours time, at around 9pm in the
'Multiply prices on your statement by one million dollars'
It's not just residential areas which are without electricity three or four
times a week, it's the entire town: all the businesses, two hospitals, ten
schools and scores of factories.
When I finally get to the front of the queue I explain to the teller that I
haven't had a statement for four months so I don't know how much to pay.
Electricity is billed by the unit and meters are normally read and accounts
hand delivered in the urban and residential areas every month.
"We are no longer sending statements," the teller states. "It is too
expensive to print and deliver accounts."
"So how much do I owe?" I ask.
"I don't know," she responds. "The electricity is off so I can't check your
account on the computer."
"How much shall I pay then?"
"Just pay what you think," she replies, "one or two hundred billion dollars
will be enough for a private residence."
I hand over a hundred billion dollars and she writes me a receipt for one
hundred thousand dollars. When I query the receipt she points in a bored
manner at the legend on the wall: "multiply by a million to get the right
The hundred billion dollars is represented by two brown fifty billion dollar
notes which are printed with the words "Special Agro-Cheque" on the front.
No one seems to know what the 'Agro' reference has to do with the money
which has a limited validity. Issued on the 15 May 2008, these notes are set
to expire on the 31 December.
One hundred billion dollars is the maximum amount of cash I am allowed to
withdraw from the bank a day and it is currently worth less than twenty
On the other side of town I try to get a prescription for a penicillin based
antibiotic at a pharmacy, only to be told that the amount for a seven day
course of tablets is two trillion dollars.
The pharmacy, like all outlets, won't accept a cheque. To draw enough cash
out of the bank to meet the two trillion dollar price tag will mean standing
in bank queues for 20 working days - by which time the price will have
I phone around and find another pharmacy selling the same drug for 1.6
trillion dollars. By the time I arrive there an hour later, the price has
gone up to three trillion dollars. It seems they are making the prices up as
they go along. And while they do, the levels of pain and suffering have
reached almost unbearable levels.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
29 July 2008
Posted to the web 29 July 2008
The border between South Africa and Zimbabwe is more than an international
boundary; it also determines the method of payment for sex workers, because
on one side cash is taken, while on the other, goods are bartered.
The South African frontier town of Musina is a regional trucking hub that
has long been a haunt of sex workers, who use the boredom of truck drivers
waiting for their cargo to be cleared by customs as a window of opportunity.
"Women tempt us. They come here in their short skirts and tight jeans and
ask us if we want to have a good time," a Zimbabwean truck driver, who
declined to be identified, told IRIN. "Naturally, as men, at times it is
tough to say, 'no'. I use protection whenever I have sex with a woman."
The transmission of HIV/AIDS among truck drivers has been recognised as an
important factor in spreading the virus, and the US Agency for International
Development (USAID) has targeted Musina for HIV/AIDS awareness education
since 1999, as part of their "Corridors of Hope" project.
"Shayela nge condom" ("drive with a condom" in the Zulu language) says a
mural at the Musina taxi rank, while other wall paintings shout the advice:
"Play it safe, AIDS kills" and "Don't take a chance, always use a condom."
Susan - one of the sex workers frequenting the truck parks, who charges R50
(US$6.50) for "a short time" and R150 (US$19.50) for the night - told IRIN
that the growing number of sex workers was making it difficult to get these
rates. "At times, I can settle for R100 ((US$13) for the night. It is better
than nothing - there are more women here."
The women in South Africa are expensive, but across the border in Zimbabwe
you can have a great time for a few bars of soap, and goods like salt and
Another Zimbabwean truck driver, who identified himself only as Dube, said
there were now more sex workers from Zimbabwe, and he did not know where
truck drivers could get free condoms.
"The situation in Zimbabwe has seen more women trying to make quick money by
offering their services to us [in South Africa]. They just want money that
will enable them to take care of their families back home," he said.
"The women in South Africa are expensive, but across the border in Zimbabwe
you can have a great time for a few bars of soap, and goods like salt and
Zimbabwe's economy is in meltdown, with more than 80 percent unemployment
and an annual inflation rate officially estimated at 2.2 million percent,
although some independent economists have put it at about 12 million
South Africa, the continent's economic power house, has become a magnet for
Zimbabweans seeking work and an escape from the grinding poverty at home.
More than three million Zimbabweans - around a quarter of the population -
are thought to have left the country since 2000 for neighbouring states, or
further afield for England, Canada and Australia.
The 1999 Corridors of Hope research project, carried out before Zimbabwe's
crisis, noted that "The HIV vulnerability of young women, including
schoolgirls and young vendors, who seek an income from commercial or casual
sex with truckers and other groups of older men with income, is
The report said there were at least 400 permanent, full-time sex workers,
and another 300 transient sex workers who visited the town at peak times.
"The youngest are aged 15. Most sex workers stay in the informal settlements
or low-income suburbs and travel to the border to solicit truckers at the
border truck stop."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
Tue 29 Jul 2008, 16:48 GMT
By Peter Apps
LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - South Africa stopped supplying electricity to
its northern neighbour Zimbabwe "several months ago", the chief executive
officer of state electricity firm Eskom told Reuters on Tuesday.
Jacob Maroga said there was no political motive behind the shift. Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe has long been criticised by a string of western
countries, particularly after the opposition pulled out of a June
presidential election run-off citing violence.
"It is simply a contractual issue," he told Reuters in an interview in
London. "They had been paying for their electricity in advance. They simply
stopped making new orders."
Some Mugabe critics had also attacked South African President Thabo Mbeki,
saying he was too soft on Zimbabwe and that South African electricity
exports were helping him stay in power.
Maroga said Zimbabwe had shifted "two or three years ago" to paying for its
electricity in advance, but earlier this year it had simply stopped making
There was no outstanding debt, he said.
Even at the peak of South African exports to Zimbabwe, he said they had
never been supplying more than 10 percent of their neighbour's electricity
Zimbabwe imports more than a third of its electricity needs.
Eskom said it believed Zimbabwe was continuing to pay for electricity
imports from other regional countries which could include Mozambique, Zambia
and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It could also include Botswana, but Botswana's government has been
particularly critical of Mugabe since the election.
Zimbabwe's own power infrastructure is seen in decline against a backdrop of
economic crisis, hyperinflation and increasing political isolation. African
leaders have been pushing for Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
to negotiate a national unity government.
Negotiators from Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change have been meeting in the South African capital Pretoria,
with Mbeki trying to resolve ongoing serious divisions between the two..
South Africa has also suffered serious energy problems, with a string of
generation problems in January sparking days of power cuts including to the
key mining sector.
Eskom says it intends to boost capacity and make efficiency savings to
prevent a repeat. (Editing by James Jukwey)
29 July 2008
People 'want revenge'
JUSTICE for the many victims of state-sponsored repression is among the
issues likely to be fought over as Zimbabwe's three political formations
settle down for talks.
But to save the power-sharing negotiations, the issue of accountability for
past abuses is likely to be put off until after the proposed transitional
"How this is handled could either make or break the talks," says John
Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe's political studies department.
Negotiations to end Zimbabwe's political stalemate began last week in SA.
Just as there is an abundance of goodwill, there is an equal measure of
scepticism that the two rivals' deeply engrained animosities will quickly
give way to a common understanding.
Justice, usually a pre requisite for a lasting settlement, is not an
immediate objective set by the agreement signed by the two parties in Harare
two weeks ago. Instead, the document refers to the more innocuous "national
healing, unity and cohesion".
This may be little comfort to the many people who have to live alongside
members of the militia and others implicated in the security services'
"It's not just justice, but what the people actually want is revenge," says
an analyst in Harare. However, Zanu ( PF) will be reluctant to sacrifice
some of the very people who have brought Robert Mugabe to power.
A process similar to the work done by SA's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC) appears likely to be considered - if not in the current
talks, then some time in the future.
As part of Kenya's transitional arrangement agreed to earlier this year, a
truth and reconciliation commission will be set up when parliament passes
the necessary legislation. "It is crafted more or less like the South
African one," says Korwa Adar of the Africa Institute of SA.
Ironically, the TRC has been the subject of increased dissatisfaction in SA.
In recent years it has been criticised for having done little to improve
race relations. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and elite whites called it a
witch-hunt, while victims of apartheid are unhappy at the amnesties granted
and the TRC's failure to pay reparations.
But as one of SA's best-known experiments, the TRC could be modified and
used to aid the transition in Zimbabwe. "It is a flawed model but one that
could provide a broad framework," says South African Human Rights Commission
chairman Jody Kollapen.
Zanu (PF), however, will not relish being made to answer for its 30 years in
Nicole Fritz, head of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, feels
Zimbabwean civil society will not accept a process such as the TRC, which
absolves perpetrators who committed crimes against humanity.
"But there may yet be scope for a truth-telling, investigative and
verification body like SA's TRC in the Zimbabwean transition," Fritz says.
It helps that perpetrators are known. Civil society has kept records,
estimated to have more than 800 names. There is no shortage of victims. On
its own, the controversial Operation Restore Order (Murambatsvina) affected
about 2,4-million people, according to the United Nations.
"Obviously there has to be a truth recovery process based on restorative
justice," says Ray Motsi, chairman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
But as shown in other countries, heinous human rights violations do not
necessarily lead to justice.
In Chile, for instance, the settlement that got Augusto Pinochet from power
denied accountability to victims of his 17-year rule.
Even after relinquishing the presidency in 1990, Pinochet remained de facto
commander of the armed forces for seven years. Subsequently, as a life
senator, he - together with his cronies - retained enough power in the
senate to veto any attempts to bring him to justice.
Amnesty proved to be a non-negotiable pre condition for the transition talks
in SA. Without the same guarantees there might be no settlement between the
Movement for Democratic Change and Zanu (PF). But the MDC will be hard-
pressed to justify a compromise agreement to its supporters, who expect not
just freedom but also redress.
July 29, 2008
By Our Correspondent
JOHANNESBURG - A story on a London website to the effect that a senior MDC
official had been caught red-handed while supplying information about the
current power-sharing talks illegally to the media could have been a
The negotiations have been conducted in a shroud of secrecy in accordance
with a clause of the Memorandum of Understanding signed last week by
President Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leaders
respectively of Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties.
New Zimbabwe.com reported last night that Theresa Makoni, leader of the
women's league of Tsvangirai's mainstream MDC, had been trapped and exposed
as a mole feeding information about proceedings at the crucial talks to the
media. The website reported that Makone had been sent back to Harare while
the talks continued.
Several news reports this morning quoted Tsvangirai's official spokesman as
stating that the talks had indeed been suspended, possibly until the weekend
with Tsvangirai having arrived in South Africa for consultations with his
Theresa is the wife of Ian Makone, a key advisor to Tsvangirai.
New Zimbabwe reported that Theresa Makone had been trapped at the behest of
MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti, who was allegedly "incensed with what
appeared to be leaks coming from his own party". It was not clear how Biti
became aware that his own delegation was the source of the leaks.
The website quoted an unnamed diplomatic source as saying: "Biti showed
strong leadership. As guests of a foreign government, the MDC must show it
is ready to govern by swiftly moving to control unruly elements that can
cause tremendous damage to the integrity of the party and its leadership."
It was not explained how the unnamed diplomat, whether based in Pretoria or
in Harare had so quickly become involved in such a fast-moving series of
events. The website did not disclose either what information Makone had
leaked to the media or where it had been published.
Yesterday, the international wire service, Associated Press, filed a story
to the effect that the crucial talks in Pretoria had collapsed and the
Zanu-PF delegation, comprising cabinet ministers Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche, was preparing to depart for Harare.
It was a dramatic story and soon other wire services had picked it up. The
Zimbabwe Times published the brief version by the AP correspondent Michelle
Faul, an experienced Zimbabwean journalist, who seems to have broken the
story. A more detailed version by the BBC was also published on the website.
New Zimbabwe claimed that these details had been fed to Makone by Biti,
working in concert with leaders of the other two delegations, Chinamasa,
representing Zanu-PF and Welshman Ncube secretary general of the other MDC
led by Arthur Mutambara. Biti had reportedly become suspicious that Makone
was leaking information to the media, the website reported.
New Zimbabwe did not disclose what information Makone had leaked to the
media. In fact since the talks got under way on Thursday no major
information has been published in the media pertaining to the developments
in Pretoria. The closest to a leak was information published in the Sunday
Times in Johannesburg to the effect that the negotiating delegations had
requested to be moved from a three-star guest house outside Pretoria, where
they were initially booked, to more luxurious accommodation in the city.
The blanket of secrecy thrown over the talks in terms of the Memorandum of
Understanding signed by the three leaders seemed to be working perfectly
well. That was until the dramatic events in Pretoria yesterday to identify
the mole who, allegedly, was leaking the undisclosed information to the
In fact, by their own conduct yesterday the leaders of the delegations
showed themselves to be in breach of the very MoU they claim to be
protecting. They gave selected sections of the media a full briefing on
developments at the talks in contravention of a crucial clause of the
document guiding the talks.
Biti and deputy MDC treasurer, Elton Mangoma, comprise the official
delegation at the talks while Makone, vice president Thoko Khupe and
chairman, Lovemore Moyo are apparently members of a back-up team. The
allegation that it is Biti who orchestrated the expulsion of a member of his
own party from the talks appears to have been calculated to create friction
within the party which constitutes the serious challenge to Zanu-PF and
Mugabe at the talks.
Efforts were in vain last night to obtain an indication of the information
Makone allegedly leaked to the media before she allegedly leaked the
information that was fed to her by Biti, Chinamasa and Ncube, before she was
allegedly expelled from the negotiations.
It was not clear whether Biti emerged from the whole controversy with a
stronger hand or whether he was compromised by the allegations of
impropriety within his delegation. Meanwhile, New Zimbabwe authoritatively
dismissed the story about the talks collapse as false without attributing
the denial to anyone.
"The story was fake," New Zimbabwe declared. It now turns out that the story
was not fake and that the website may itself have been fed fake information,
which was used as the basis of a personal attack on Makone.
"New Zimbabwe.com understands Makone was asked to leave the talks - a major
blow to her reputation after she caused fissures within the party when she
was thrust as chair of the women's wing in place of Lucia Matibenga - a very
unpopular move within the party and its trade union movement supporters
where Matibenga has her political base.
"Theresa's husband, Ian, is a key adviser to Morgan Tsvangirai who has stood
by the couple as senior figures in the party warned him to act against the
wealthy couple, also thought to be his one-time financiers."
It appears Theresa Makone's alleged leak to Michelle Faul will have far
reaching consequences at the power-sharing talks long after she has returned
By Gerald Harper ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ July 29, 2008
The MDC has dismised a report that appeared in a london based website that
claimed that one of the observers to the talks,MDC Women’s league Chair and
Harare North MP,Theresa Makone was last night ejected from the talks for
allegedly leaking information to the media.
‘That report is completely false’ MDC Information Officer, Luke Tamborinyoka
Another MDC official said the report has a malicious intent,’That report is
a complete fabrication, its smear tactic against Theresa,they should tell us
what information she leaked because there was no information leaked to the
media in the past five days(of negotiations),why would Biti hunt for a mole
that did not exist in the first place,after all reports of a deadlock are
hardly a leak and the presidential spokesman has since confirmed that”, he
Metro has also learned that Theresa Makone was present at a report back
meeting between Morgan Tsvangirai and all his team of MDC negotiators in SA.
Meanwhile there appears to be conflicting reports from the MDC factions over
the talks,with the MDC led by Tsvangirai saying the talks have reached a
stalemate but a rival faction insists the talks are going ahead.
One of the sticking points was what position MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai
would get in an ‘inclusive government’.
MDC President’s spokesman George Sibotshiwe said the talks had stalled “We
cannot discuss the main issues, we can only say that they are in a deadlock
and that the parties will consult with their principals,” Mr Sibotshiwe
“If the sticking points are resolved then the talks will resume,” he said.
Another senior MDC official said the proposal to name Mr Tsvangirai third
vice-president showed a “complete lack of sincerity and the need to really
address the issues and problems Zimbabwe is facing”.
MDC (Mutambara) Deputy spokesman, Renson Gasela said the talks are still on
course, ‘There is no deadlock, remember these people have been talking for 5
days and five nights they need to reach an agreement. What is happening now
is a normal adjournment’, he said.
MDC political liaison officer in South Africa Nqobizitha Mlilo declined to
The two ZANU PF representatives Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and
Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche to the negotiations are reportedly
back in Harare.
A media blackout has been imposed on the talks, but party sources have
suggested to journalists that President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has
offered the Movement for Democratic Change’s supremo, Morgan Tsvangirai, the
post of third vice-president, alongside the existing Zanu-PF
vice-presidents, Joyce Mujuru and Joseph Msika.
Contact the writer of this story Gerald at email@example.com or
phone +1202 684 6621
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 12:26
HARARE,THE Labour Court in Harare has nullified the suspension of
seven Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) journalists, accused of
failing to promote the cause of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party, ahead of
the presidential run-off on June 27.
The acting chief executive officer of the state-owned ZBC Happison
Muchechetere, had sent the journalists on forced leave, after apparent
pressure from the government.
Labour Court judge Justice Gladys Mhuri, who sat with Justice Eauna
Makamure, ruled last Friday that the suspensions were illegal and ordered
the reinstatement of the journalists.
Rogers Matsikidze, the lawyer contracted by the Zimbabwe Union for
Journalists to represent the suspended workers, said the judge also ruled
that the time the employees had not been going to work were bonus days and
should be paid for.
"The ZBC had sent my clients on forced leave from 1 June to 31 July
but the judge said it was illegal for the management to do that. They can
now go back to work," said Matsikidze.
The affected journalists were Patrice Makova (news editor, Television
Services), Steven Ndoma (deputy editor-in-chief), reporters Robert
Tapfumaneyi, Brian Paradza, Monica Gavhera, Lawrence Maphosa and
Their suspension followed that of former chief executive Henry
Muradzikwa, who was fired two months ago for allegedly failing to ensure
victory for President Robert Mugabe, who lost to the Movement for Democratic
Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 29 elections, before winning a
reprieve to fight it out in the run-off, which he "won" after a one-horse
race following the opposition leader's withdrawal.
Muchechetere was not immediately available for comment regarding the
court ruling.---CAJ News.
July 29, 2008
By Our Correspondent
MUTARE - Chinese mining companies are enjoying unfettered access to mineral
resources in Manicaland Province amid concerns they were being given
preferential treatment ahead of local indigenous companies.
The concerns come in the wake of growing speculation linking Chinese
companies to a possible take-over of the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange,
south west of Mutare.
Sources in the mining industry said Chinese companies were exploiting gold
and copper resources in areas such as Odzi and Nyazura which are said to be
rich in the mineral deposits.
The majority of the mining firms are owned by the Chinese government, the
sources said, adding, they were as many as 20 companies mining in the Odzi
and Nyazura areas alone. Several mines being run by the Chinese are dotted
along the Odzi-Nyazura belt which is rich in gold and copper.
While Chinese companies find it easy to obtain prospecting and mining
rights, it is a nightmare for local companies to gain such rights, sources
The latest take-over by a Chinese mining consortium is that of a former
Lonrho Group gold and copper mine, Inyati Mine near Headlands, about 120 km
north of Mutare.
The Chinese mining consortium, whose name has not yet been revealed, is
ready to move in after a series of meetings with top officials from both the
ministry of mines and the Makoni Rural District Council. Inyati Mine falls
within the jurisdiction of the rural district council.
The council is reported to have given conditions to the Chinese consortium
which included the building of houses for workers, improving roads,
upgrading the communication network and refurbishment of health services'
Sources said although it was not clear whether the Chinese had adhered to
the demands, a deal had already been signed. The deal was sealed at the
council's offices in Rusape two months ago, said the sources.
David Mutasa, chairman of the rural district council, confirmed the Chinese
had been granted prospecting rights for gold and copper.
Mutasa said he was hopeful the project would bring massive results to the
community. "I can confirm the Chinese have been granted prospecting rights
for gold and copper at Inyati Mine," Mutasa said.
But local indigenous mining companies are unhappy over the preferential
treatment the Chinese are enjoying ahead of them in accessing prospecting
and exploiting rights in mineral rich areas in the province.
"Look, we know that the government is in very good books with the Chinese
but that does not mean they should just give everything to them," said one
businessman, with interests in gold mining. "We have just been sidelined
completely and it now appears as if this country is now part of China."
Other sources n the industry said the Chinese were favoured to take over the
Chiadzwa diamond fields to exploit the vast diamond resources there which
have in the recent past transformed poverty-stricken villagers into
extremely wealthy individuals overnight.
The sources said heavy equipment was already on the way from China to start
the mining operations. The reports coincide with a massive operation being
conducted by the police and the army to clear the fields of illegal miners
The Zimbabwean government has launched a 'Look-East' policy aimed at luring
investors from the Asian continent after relations with Western powers
soured because of President Robert Mugabe's political and economic policies.
Since then, the Chinese have enjoyed a bigger chunk of investment
opportunities inside Zimbabwe.
On its part, Beijing has offered relentless support of the Zanu-PF
government. Last month, China together with Russia, blocked a United Nations
(UN) draft to slap sanctions on President Mugabe and his officials. The move
came after the disputed June 27 presidential runoff which was roundly
condemned by the international community as a sham.
BR>HARARE, July 29 2008 - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono was on Monday night forced to postpone the presentation of his post
election monetary statement to Wednesday, amid revelations that he was being
forced to review his plans by the government and make last minute changes.
Sources at the RBZ who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Gono was
forced to halt his plans to go ahead with Tuesday's presentation, with
government officials in the presidium suggesting that he not introduce the
$500 billion bearers cheque as planned but instead, remove zeros from the
The sources said the presidium heeded suggestions made by some bankers
and prodeeded to pass on the suggestions to Gono. Following these
suggestions, Gono is reportedly planning to remove six zeros from the local
currency but bankers are suggesting that he remove nine zeros, as their
software can no longer deal with the large transactions which are now
running into quintillions.
Gono's office would not take questions.
In the planned policy statement, Gono will also review minimum cash
withdrawal limits to levels yet to be announced. Gono is faced with a tough
task as he battles to come up with an economic blueprint which will rescue
Zimbabwe from the present crisis which has in fact worsened since he assumed
the office of RBZ governor in 2003.
He has failed to stem runaway inflation which has done the most
damage, according to the international Monetary Fund, which also accuses
Gono of fanning inflation through his quasi fiscal interventions in the
Gono's first term of office ends in November and he is facing
increased pressure, especially from zanu PF circles to resign, as he has
By Robert Tshuma-Financial Editor ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ July 29, 2008 ⋅
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono has expressed frustration
after a German company terminated a 40-year-old contract of supplying paper
money to Zimbabwe.
The development comes as it has been established that Zimbabwe is left with
one week worth of money supply.
‘That German company terminated a contract that was more than 40 years old.
They used to support Rhodesia under UDI. We will show that company what we
are capable of doing. Their action has no effect on our money situation.
Fortunately, we at the RBZ have counter measures to such moves. That is why
I told people to go on with their business as usual,” said Gono.
As usual Gono blamed a target travel ban on him and other ZANU PF officials
for his failure to turn around the economy.
“We have sanctions while on internal factors there is underutilisation of
farmlands, smuggling of minerals, especially diamonds and gold. There is
nothing much that we can do on external forces in our fighting inflation but
we can do a lot to reduce the negative impact of internal forces,” he said.
“We are losing diamonds in Marange to smugglers. This is not a joke when
industry needs only a quarter of what we are losing to smugglers for it to
operate at full capacity.
“As a nation, we are also not maximising the land and this fuels inflation.
If you own a farm and you are not producing, you should be ashamed of
yourself. The land reform programme was meant to broaden the economic
prospects of the country,” he said.
“It does not matter whether it is a Mavambo government project, an MDC or a
Zanu-PF Government, it was still going to face the challenge of capacitating
farmers. This issue is apolitical. This has attracted the wrath of some
Western nations who have since included my name in their sanctions list.
This does not worry me,” Gono fumed.
July 29, 2008
Hundreds of people gathered today at the funeral of Richard Mills, a
photographer on The Times, who died towards the end of his last assignment
Mr Mills, 41, who joined The Times in 2000 and had covered many dangerous
assignments for the paper including in Iraq and Afghanistan, was found dead
in the safe house in which he was staying in Harare.
Family, friends and colleagues attended the funeral at Roselawn Crematorium
in Belfast, including Zoe, his widow and Finn, his five-year-old son.
Anthony Loyd, war correspondent for The Times, who had covered stories with
Mr Mills in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in a eulogy: "It was never just a job
to Richard. It was about feeling. In some way or another, he felt for
everyone in every frame of every photo he ever shot."
James Harding, the Editor of The Times, told the staff at the newspaper:
"Richard was an outstanding photographer. He reported for The Times from
some of the most troubled places in the world. His work captured, with great
humanity, the plight of people trying to live ordinary lives whilst caught
up in extraordinary situations.
"He had an unerring eye and a rare combination of courage and compassion. He
was respected and loved by his colleagues. The Times has lost a great
friend, a gifted photographer and a brave journalist."
The Mills family said tonight: "We were greatly heartened by the widespread
display of condolence and sympathy from far and wide and would like to thank
everyone who came to offer their support and to share our grief."
A post-mortem was carried out in Harare and the pathologist decided the
cause of death was suicide. Catherine Philp, The Times' Diplomatic
Correspondent who was covering the story in Zimbabwe with Mr Mills,
discovered his body and, as well as officials from the British Embassy in
Harare, confirmed the decision. There was no evidence of foul play.
Mr Mills had been in Harare undercover because of the risks faced by foreign
journalists who had been assigned to write about the rerun of the
presidential elections in Zimbabwe.
He joined The Times after serving in the RAF. In 2003 he was awarded the
News Photographer of the Year by the BBC's What The Papers Say.
By Alex Bell
29 July 2008
The press freedom organisation, the International Press Institute, has
called for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death
of a Northern Ireland photojournalist in Zimbabwe.
The body of 42 year old Richard Mills was discovered inside his hotel room
in Zimbabwe earlier this month, where he was working on an undercover
assignment for a British newspaper, The Times. Zimbabwean authorities
informed the man's family that the cause of death was asphyxiation by
hanging, but the Mills family have said they refuse to believe he committed
suicide. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph on Monday Mills' father said the
possibility that his son took his own life is "incomprehensible" and
"totally out of character for him".
The award-winning frontline photojournalist, who had worked on assignments
in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, had been due to leave Zimbabwe the day
after he died. His undercover assignment included interviewing, on the day
of his death, farmers who had been attacked for opposing the Robert Mugabe
The Press Institute has now submitted a letter to South African President
Thabo Mbeki asking him to ensure the Zimbabwean authorities clarify the
details surrounding Mills' death.
Uta Melzer, a press freedom manager for the Institute, told Newsreel on
Tuesday that there are concerns that there has been no clarification from
authorities on the facts surrounding Mills' death. She added that it "really
raises questions" that need to be fully addressed.
Mugabe's regime has a notorious press freedom record, with local and foreign
journalists having suffered countless attacks both physical and judicial.
Melzer said this record triggers profound doubt about the claims as to the
cause of Mills' death. She said that global press freedom groups "have made
efforts to push Mugabe's regime to respond to complaints alleging press
freedom violations with no success" and that the Institute was turning to
the South African government because "it still has an influence in Zimbabwe".
The International Federation of Journalists have also called for an
immediate inquiry into the death. They have said that the international
community, including South Africa, must support a full investigation.
Their statement reads; "The IFJ and the National Union of Journalists in
Britain and Ireland share their concern over the need for a full
investigation into the circumstances of this tragic death. We share the deep
suspicion of Richard Mill's family over the circumstances of the death of
this gifted colleague. It casts a fresh shadow over the crisis for democracy
Their statement also reminds people that Zimbabwe has become the second most
dangerous country for journalists in Africa, after Somalia.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Int Press Institute calls for investigation into journalist's death in
H.E. Thabo Mbeki
President of South Africa
Ambassador L.M. Gumbi
South African Embassy to Austria
A-1190 Vienna, Austria
Via Fax: 01 320 6493 51
Vienna, 29 July 2008
The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors,
media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, urges you to
do everything in your power to ensure that Zimbabwean authorities clarify
fully the circumstances of the death of photojournalist Richard Mills of
According to information before IPI, Richard Mills died under unknown
circumstances on 14 July in Zimbabwe. Mills, who was 41 years old, was in
Zimbabwe on an undercover assignment that included interviewing, on the day
of his death, a white farmer who was attacked after speaking out against
Robert Mugabe. The photojournalist had planned to leave Zimbabwe on 15 July.
Instead, his family was informed that he had died, and that the cause of his
death was asphyxiation by hanging.
Mugabe's regime has a notorious press freedom record, with local and foreign
journalists having suffered countless attacks both physical and judicial.
Such a record triggers profound doubt about the Zimbabwean authorities'
claims as to the cause of Richard Mills' death. We therefore call on you to
raise this incident in future discussions with Zimbabwean authorities, and
to ensure that it is investigated both thoroughly and openly.
Thank you for your attention.
International Press Institute (IPI)
Britain is doing far too little to help those who seek refuge from Robert Mugabe's tyranny
Last Saturday was a beautiful summer's day in London, and the Covent Garden piazza was packed full of people. Most of the crowds of shoppers and tourists were blissfully unaware of the small group of demonstrators assembled a stone's throw away, outside Zimbabwe House on the Strand.
The Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition were meeting for their weekly protest, as they have done since 2002. There was singing and dancing, while anti-Mugabe posters were stuck to the windows of Zimbabwe House. They handed out leaflets, which said an estimated 25% of the population had fled the country in the past decade of Mugabe's rule. "You see some of them here," added the pamphlet.
Few politicians have highlighted the plight of these asylum seekers. They are ignored by much of the press, and have been told to go back to where they came from by a government with no need for them, or their skills. Being unable to settle, get a job, to contribute to the community in which they live is hard. Most told me they want to go back to their country, when there is peace.
One man I spoke to was living in London illegally. He scrapes by selling DVDs of Zimbabwean soap operas, and sleeping on friends' couches. Describing himself as a victim of torture, he said it might take 15 or 20 years until it is safe to return. The prospects of peace in the short term are not good according to South Africa's Mail & Guardian, and seem likely to take more than the two-week timetable set for discussions in Pretoria.
A woman who didn't want to give me her name welcomed the talks, though she was philosophical about their outcome. "They've been labelled as talks about talks," she said, and questioned "whether that was meant to pre-empt [the outcome of] the talks by the media or by sceptics."
She accused the British government of gesture politics, of "double standards" for talking tough on Mugabe, yet refusing to give Zimbabwean asylum seekers status. She says she is "suffering like the rest of Zimbabweans living here" and has been informed that she has to go back to Zimbabwe. But they have not yet told her when that will be – a token concession from the Home Office.
She said that her mother was beaten by Mugabe's people, and family members have been killed. "Yes we are here, yes we don't have papers. We are just human beings trying to survive in a foreign land. The media every day has highlighted the plight of Zimbabwe, still we don't have the right to work, the right to go to school, people are living from one day to the next in limbo." As for sanctions, she is sceptical. "So what if he [Mugabe] can't come to London?" she says. "There's many other countries he can go to."
Lovemore Mukeyani, an MDC activist living in the UK told me that his cousin was recently killed in Zimbabwe. He says that he would also be murdered if he returned.
Mukeyani feels that the UK government is
contradicting itself. "Within the media they are saying, we are being tough on
Mugabe, but then they are being tough on us again. Because they know it is not
safe to go to Zimbabwe, then why would they send someone to go back? Those
people have been living here for more than six or seven years, and they have
been lying idle in this country [unable to work]."
He cannot get nursery provision for his three-year old son. Without the proper papers he cannot register him for school. "It's beginning to get tougher here," he tells me, pointing at his only child. "He's losing out on going to school. He needs to learn, but he can't do it because I'm not allowed to work. Sometimes they ask for money. They want to see my passport, when I'm living here illegally." Only a few schools agree to take these children, according to Lovemore Mukeyani.
What happened to an ethical foreign policy? Why shouldn't Zimbabwean refugees be given the right to work in the UK – or the right to go to school? David Miliband recently spoke of standing with the Zimbabwean people and sharing their demands for a democratic future. Yet at the same time the Labour government has failed to reassure Zimbabwean asylum seekers. How can it be right that Zimbabweans in Britain are kept in poverty, and children are refused an education? Even as Gordon Brown called for sanctions at the recent G8 talks in Japan, letters were sent out to asylum seekers telling them to go back home.
Britain has a two-fold obligation to these people. Firstly, under international human rights law, as they are fleeing from persecution in their own country. Secondly, Britain has a long connection with Zimbabwe, a state that was created as a result of a vicious land grab little over a century ago. The UK's recent record is more positive, but it still has a continuing moral obligation to help its former subjects, the people of Zimbabwe, to resolve the current crisis.
The government should give these Zimbabwean people the right to remain, the right to work and the chance to send their children to school until there is real peace – something only the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has called for … so far.
Asylum seekers fear torture upon return
Isaac Hlekisani Dziya
Published 2008-07-30 02:54 (KST)
Rule changes for asylum seekers and those already granted asylum in the
United Kingdom, under which their status can be revoked when situations in
their home countries change, have many claimants are worried. For Zimbabwean
asylum seekers, the prospect of being returned to their home country is
harrowing. So what are the implications for these refugees of an imminent
agreement between the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) on a Government of National
If the MDC does acquiesce and join a Government of National Unity, and
President Robert Mugabe's regime is finally pushed out of office, that would
amount to "a significant change of circumstances" under the U.K. rules and
could trigger a review of refugee status and asylum application progression.
(Another possibility is that the MDC could be neutralized just as Joshua
Nkomo's ZAPU was neutralized by the 1987 Mugabe-Nkomo Unity Accord.0
Robert Mugabe is aware that Morgan Tsvangirai will not join ZANU-PF, as
there is plenty of evidence of what will happen to him if he joins a
Government of National Unity. Thus, Mugabe draws in Mbeki to try to get
Tsvangirai to do that for him. Mbeki is not a mediator but a Mugabe
emissary. His job is talk the MDC into a unity accord and that is precisely
what he is doing.
The MDC does not hold a single card; thus, the only way to get into power is
by elections and negotiations. Thus, it is opportune for the MDC president
to sign the memorandum of understanding. If the MDC leadership makes
compromises in Pretoria and abandons the fight for democracy for pieces of
silver and tea with the dictator, then the people of Zimbabwe may redirect
their bitterness on any sellout. The torture camps, or so-called bases, have
not been dismantled, a demand made by the MDC opposition as a pre-condition
People in Zimbabwe continue to disappear at the hands of the Central
Intelligence Organization (CIO). The body of one such victim, Joshua
Bakacheza, was discovered late on Saturday, July 5, at a secluded farm in
Beatrice. An MDC driver, Bakacheza was abducted by suspected CIO agents
together with another MDC activist, Tendai Chidziwo, while assisting the
wife of murdered MDC activist Tonderai Ndira, who was moving her belongings
to a safer area.
Since 2005, "significant change" is a technical concept in U.K. refugee law
that has become prominent. As of Aug. 30, 2005, refugee leave (whether
granted at initial decision or following an allowed appeal) is now granted
for five years. Before that, of course, refugees obtained Indefinite Leave
to Remain (ILR) immediately.
Similarly, "humanitarian protection" (HP) is now granted for five years.
Humanitarian protection is the status granted to those who are not refugees
but are recognized to be at risk of torture or inhuman or degrading
treatment in their home country.
When these changes were introduced, the justification was that the new
policy would ensure that permanent settlement is granted only to those
refugees who, after five years, are still eligible to remain in the U.K. It
was argued that this was in line with the Refugee Convention, which provides
that the protection of the convention will cease to apply in specified
circumstances where there is no longer a need for it.
These changes came about as a result of the new five-year plan on asylum and
immigration titled "Controlling our borders: Making migration work for
Britain," which the U.K. government announced in February 2005 as part of
the its so-called "New Asylum Model" (NAM) which provides that most
categories of immigrants, including refugees, should be subject to a minimum
five year residency requirement before becoming eligible for permanent
At the end of the five years, a person with refugee status or HP may apply
for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Both refugee and HP status are dealt with,
or reviewed, in the same way.
At application for ILR, there should ordinarily not be a full review of the
individual's continued entitlement to refugee/HP status. The Home Office
says that there are circumstances, however, in which a person's entitlement
to refugee status may be reviewed. These may be:
- Where the actions of the individual indicate that he is no longer entitled
to refugee status, such as returning to visit, or live in the country he
- Where a significant and non-temporary change in the country of his origin
causes U.K. ministers to order a review of the grants of refugee leave to
persons from that country;
- Where a person fails to apply for ILR before his refugee/HP leave expired,
there will be a review of whether the individual still requires protection;
- Where it is discovered that the individual deceived the authorities in
order to be recognized as a refugee/HP;
- Where it is discovered that the individual committed certain serious
crimes before applying for asylum; or
- Where there is reason to believe that the individual is a danger to the
security of the United Kingdom or has been convicted of a particularly
Other than the foregoing, and perhaps more importantly in view of the
likelihood of the MDC acquiescing to a Government of National Unity, the
Home Office position is that a review need not wait until the five years are
A review of refugee/HP status may be triggered where, among other reasons,
there has been a significant and non-temporary change in the conditions in a
It has to be said, however, that the decision to review refugee/HP leave is
not one that will be taken lightly. There are various in-built safeguards
and stages before that can happen.
In the first instance, it would have to be shown that a country or part of
it has improved sufficiently to justify the review of the status of those
refugees potentially affected by that change.
The change must be non-temporary. The MDC's acquiescence to a Government of
National Unity on Zimbabwe alone or regime change alone might not suffice.
There has to be evidence, for instance, of sustained stability.
Progressively, a ministerial executive decision will still need to be
communicated to Parliament, for scrutiny in open debate.
Thereafter, the decision will be taken only after consultation with the
United Nations' specialist organ for refugees, the Office of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees.
Finally, the Home Office will still be obliged to conduct reviews of
refugee/HP status within the scope of the ministerial statement on a
There is no provision in the law for a blanket review of refugee status.
When the decision to actively review a case is made, the individual will be
written to and given the reasons for the decision.
He will be entitled to explain the reasons why he believes that he should be
allowed to stay in the U.K. A right of appeal should also be available to
allow an independent assessment by the judiciary.
If all these conditions were satisfied, what then would be the options open
to a person who really did not want to return to Zimbabwe after the
withdrawal of their refugee status?
There is provision for an application to be made for leave to remain in the
U.K. in other immigration capacities, depending on individual factors.
The Home Office specifically accepts that where, following review, a person
no longer requires, or is no longer entitled to, protection in the U.K., the
refugee/HP status will be withdrawn and leave curtailed under the
Immigration Rules, unless he qualifies for leave on another basis, in which
case leave may be varied.
Note the use of the word "may," suggesting discretion perhaps. So for those
who may have acquired an education in the U.K., it would be possible to
change to the student category for instance.
Married people might rely on their family life in the U.K. Long residence
and integration in the U.K. might provide a viable argument to stay in the
U.K. on the basis that to return to the country of origin would be
There are also long residence rules and policies such as the seven-year
concession, the 10-year rule and the 14-year rule, which could be handy.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that there are some real options
available in the event of a withdrawal of refugee/HP status.
The European Court of Human Rights said: "the concepts of risk and
dangerousness do not lend themselves to balancing . the prospect that he may
pose a serious threat to the community . does not reduce in any way the
degree of risk of ill treatment that the person may be subject to on
Amnesty International described the ruling as a landmark case and welcomed
the re-affirmation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment. Ian Seiderman, Amnesty International's
senior legal adviser, said: "This judgment should serve as a reminder to all
states: not only are they not allowed to commit torture themselves, but they
are forbidden from sending anyone to countries where they would be at risk
of torture or other ill-treatment."
The human rights campaign group Liberty also welcomed the decision.
Liberty's director, Shami Chakrabarti, said: "If the Grand Chamber had
watered down the absolute prohibition against torture there would have been
no putting this genie back in the bottle. It would have been a green light
for extraordinary rendition and even the direct use of torture as an
There is nothing for refugees and asylum seekers to worry about immediately
if there is an agreement in Zimbabwe.
The House of Hunger Poetry slam is on this weekend, 2 August 2008 at The
Book Café. The Poetry slam is celebrating the International Youth Day which
traditionally falls on 12 August according to the United Nations
International Days calendar.
This month The Poetry Slam is running with the theme 'Reconciling young
people'- bridging the gap between the future leaders of tomorrow and
creating an environment for national cohesion and healing within young
people. The past years have seen young people being associated with all
sorts of activities that are sinister, destructive and abusive.
Pamberi Trust poetry program however would like to bring a platform for
dialogue and expression through poetry as a medium to communicate issues
affecting the nation and help wipe out the past history of an unlawful and
destructive youth culture in Zimbabwe
As future leaders in the Arts, Finance, Trade, Education, Sport and Politics
we need to start talking about the future we hope to see, enjoy and uphold.
This is a process that we have to engage in as youths and most importantly
as a young people who are organized and reconciled, a truly Zimbabwean youth
that will be responsible, protective, patriotic, respectful and possess
untamed love for their people.
The poetry slam event on Saturday 02 August 2008 will accommodate both
veteran and upcoming poets. Poets of all sorts and styles are invited to
this August event to express themselves through this art form with a message
of reconciliation, hope and nation building.
Come down to The Book Café on Saturday 02 August from 2pm - 5pm and be part
of this exhilarating event that will influence your weekend to be a better
and well served one.
House of Hunger Poetry Slam
Monday, July 29, 2008