The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe targets 25 pct mth/mth inflation by year-end

Reuters

Sat 2 Jun 2007, 9:46 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government has promised to reduce monthly
inflation to below 25 percent from the current 100 percent by year-end after
signing a price and wage protocol with business and labour to halt a deep
recession.

The southern African country is battling its worst economic crisis that has
pushed inflation to the world's highest at over 3,700 percent as prices
double every month in an economy where unemployment is above 80 percent and
poverty levels rising.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono has advocated for a social
contract to halt rapid price increases, saying this is the only way to
stabilise an economy the World Bank says is shrinking faster than any on
earth.

On Saturday the official Herald newspaper published three protocols which
had been agreed by labour, business and President Robert Mugabe's
government. The protocols, which will initially run for a year, were signed
on Friday.

"Government (will) reduce monthly inflation to below 25 percent by the end
of 2007," according to the incomes and prices protocol, adding that the
budget deficit would this year fall to below 10 percent from 43 percent in
2006.

Under the agreement, business committed itself to exercise restraint in
increasing prices and only resort to job cuts as a last measure while labour
groups should advocate for reasonable salaries for workers and limit
strikes.

According to the other two protocols, the government is required to reduce
price distortions, including that of foreign currency where the local unit
fetches Z$250 on the official market but Z$55,000 on a thriving parallel
black market.

Economic analysts say Mugabe's government should restore property rights,
ensure productivity on farms, liberalise the foreign exchange market and
implement bold political reforms and end a crackdown on opponents as
measures to revive the economy.

Mugabe's government has been shunned by international donors over its
controversial policies, such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle
blacks, which critics say has decimated the main agriculture sector and
stoked food shortages.


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Blair shies away from clash with Zimbabwe

The Telegraph

By David Blair in Pretoria
Last Updated: 2:53am BST 02/06/2007

Tony Blair endorsed South Africa's controversial approach towards
Zimbabwe yesterday when he threw Britain's weight behind President Thabo
Mbeki's latest attempt to resolve the crisis in his northern neighbour.

On the last day of his tour of Africa, the Prime Minister met Mr Mbeki
in Pretoria and said that Zimbabwe was an issue for the continent's leaders
to resolve.

Throughout his journey across Africa, Mr Blair has passionately
defended his "interventionist" foreign policy. But the limits became
apparent when he appeared alongside Mr Mbeki after their two-hour meeting.
Zimbabwe does not fall into Mr Blair's doctrine of intervention.

"My views on what has happened in Zimbabwe are well known, so are my
country's," said Mr Blair. "But the only thing that matters is what happens
to the people of Zimbabwe."

The Prime Minister said the "solution comes from within this region of
Africa" and Britain would "put our efforts behind the process which
President Mbeki has laid out".

Mr Blair added that he "welcomed" Mr Mbeki's latest efforts to address
Zimbabwe's problems through diplomacy. The South African leader has tried
one initiative after another for the last seven years. In the process, Mr
Mbeki has infuriated Zimbabwe's opposition by refusing to condemn President
Robert Mugabe's excesses.

Since Mr Mugabe lost a referendum on a new constitution in Feb 2000 -
his first ever electoral defeat - he has fought a ruthless battle to retain
power.

Political violence has claimed hundreds of lives, Mr Mugabe has stolen
victory in three deeply flawed elections and the economy has fallen into
ruin.

Mr Mbeki has always declined to utter a word of public censure.

Yesterday, Mr Mbeki laid out his latest plan.

"The position of the region here is that there are real problems in
Zimbabwe which need to be solved," he said.

Mr Mbeki will "facilitate" talks between Mr Mugabe's regime and
Zimbabwe's deeply divided opposition.

A team of experts will look at the "problems affecting the Zimbabwean
economy" and report back to African leaders. "President Mugabe was present
at that meeting and he agreed to all of this. It is that two-pronged
approach which we are following," said Mr Mbeki.


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Rebuilding a shattered country

The Guardian

As Tony Blair said this week, African countries should help Zimbabwe - but
countries such as Britain can also play an important role.

Kirsty Whalley

June 2, 2007 1:00 PM
As Tony Blair landed in South Africa earlier this week, it must have struck
him as ironic that while he spoke of Africa's great successes, a mere 500km
away one of its worst failures still limps on against all odds.

Zimbabwe's dramatic and rapid demise has been well documented: the runaway
inflation - soon to hit 4,000%, the non-existent economy, the millions of
refugees and hundreds of thousands of displaced people, and the shocking
human rights abuses and government-sanctioned torture that occur on a daily
basis.

Given his proximity to the country Mr Blair could hardly fail to comment on
the Zimbabwean issue. "African governments should also hold other African
governments to account," he said, and rightly so. There can be no effective
solution in Zimbabwe without the engagement of its neighbouring countries,
including South Africa. Until very recently, African leaders have been very
reluctant to speak out against Mugabe, mainly because he is still viewed as
a liberation hero across the continent.

The brutal beating of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on March 11, as
well as the growing challenge to Mugabe's leadership within his own party,
went some way towards changing this view. For the first time, the South
African government voiced their concern over the human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe.

However, if views of African leaders are changing, they are doing so slowly.
At the SADC meeting held on March 30, Mugabe may have been criticised in
private for his actions, but when the conference ended in demands that the
west lift sanctions against the regime it was tantamount to a vote of
confidence in him. Further farcical back-peddling took place more recently
as Zimbabwe was elected by 26 votes to 21 to head the United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development. The ballot was secret, but it would
be interesting to know how South Africa voted.

Thabo Mbeki's arbitration efforts have been nothing but a smokescreen for
his tacit approval of Mugabe's government. One South African newspaper
recently noted - with an apparent sense of irony - that Mbeki was "mediating
between President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party and the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition through quiet
diplomacy". It is South Africa's silence on the Zimbabwean issue that has
been most damaging, especially as she is largely responsible for propping up
the Zimbabwean economy through loans, aid and investment.

Blair said that pushing for a solution on the Zimbabwean issue is high on
his agenda in South Africa. One wonders, as the outgoing incumbent, how
effective his talks with Mbeki will be. He cautioned the president publicly
this week: "South Africa's economy loses 3% of GDP thanks to Zimbabwe's
economic melt down." No doubt these words will elicit the usual vitriol from
Mugabe, who blames almost all the problems faced by the country on its
former colonial power. In light of the situation in Iraq, it is very easy
for Mugabe to cast himself as a victim of western imperialism. "Britain is
trying to re-colonise Zimbabwe," is one of his favourite refrains.

While Mr Blair is trying to convince Thabo Mbeki to take decisive action in
resolving the situation in Zimbabwe, he should spare a thought for the
thousands of Zimbabwean refugees stuck in limbo in his own country. There
are about 20,000 Zimbabweans claiming asylum at present. They are unable to
work and receive either very little or no state support, as a result, many
are destitute, sleeping in the streets and waiting for a decision on their
asylum cases, which can take years.

The result of this is the de-skilling of thousands of professionals such as
teachers, nurses, businessmen and politicians. In addition many asylum
seekers are waiting on appeal decisions dependent on the outcome of two
cases that are going through the courts, the AA case and the HS case, where
the Home Office is arguing that it is safe to return asylum seekers back to
Zimbabwe. The asylum seekers involved say that they face torture at the
hands of government thugs if they are deported.

In Britain, the Zimbabwean community is very active. One only has to pass by
the Zimbabwean Embassy on a Saturday afternoon to see the ever expanding
ZimVigil carrying out their weekly protest. Charities such as WeZimbabwe
regularly organise events to galvanise the immigrant community into action
and Britain plays host to an exile Zimbabwean newspaper (sold in Zimbabwe)
and a radio station - SW Radio Africa - that are vital in disseminating
independent news in a country where almost all of the media is state
controlled. When Mugabe finally goes, there is no doubt that Britain will
pour a lot of aid into its redevelopment. Part of that will be ensuring good
governance in the country and a reinvigorated electorate.

In his speech this week, Mr Blair said that African countries should be
prepared to "help rebuild the shattered country" after the Zimbabwean
government has been reformed. Africa does need to take responsibility for
what is happening in Zimbabwe, but countries such as Britain can also play
an important role. One significant contribution would be allowing asylum
seekers to work while their claims are being processed and equipping them
with skills to enable them to take an active role in the reconstruction when
they return to Zimbabwe. This would be much more constructive than spending
thousands on an expensive court case in a bid to resume mass deportations of
failed asylum seekers and immigrants without status.

Comments

SeerTaak

Comment No. 614783

June 2 13:18

GBR
Kirsty Whalley:"One significant contribution would be allowing asylum
seekers to work while their claims are being processed and equipping them
with skills to enable them to take an active role in the reconstruction when
they return to Zimbabwe. This would be much more constructive than spending
thousands on an expensive court case in a bid to resume mass deportations of
failed asylum seekers and immigrants without status."

Self evidently, if asylum seekers are allowed to work they will never return
to Zimbabwe. The longer they are here, the more they have real jobs and earn
proper incomes, the less chance there is they will return. That will no
doubt be good for them and many cleaning companies that want cheap labour,
but it will not be good for Zimbabwe in the long term. What is needed here
is short sharp military action to get rid of Mugabe and so they can all go
home.

westcoaster

Comment No. 614801

June 2 13:39

GBR
I'm confused, or maybe the author is. How does allowing failed asylum
seekers to work in Britain provide any help to Zimbabwe whatsoever? It may
well make good liberals feel better, and make more money for companies by
increasing downward pressure on wages, and make union bosses happy by
providing more members, but none of this seems to help Zimbabwe (or indeed
most of Britain).

Yiskra

Comment No. 614833

June 2 14:05

GBR
African immigrants tend to make the largest contributions to their countries
of origin: in remittances (sending money - famously, in total at least twice
the level of total international aid), small and large scale investment and
political pressure. They're also more likely to return when their countries
stabilise because they tend to have made enough money to guarantee a good
standard of living.
westcoaster: they'll be paying taxes.

emmanuelgoldstein

Comment No. 614834

June 2 14:05

GBR
Kirsty,

Thanks for a constructive suggestion. Allowing Zim asylum-seekers to work is
win/win. They'd send money home, keep themselves busy, and benefit the UK.

Exploitation by UK employers might be an issue, so it'd be nice to see plans
to avoid it.

westcoaster

Comment No. 614848

June 2 14:17

GBR
Could we see some real evidence that working asylum-seekers actually benefit
Britain? Are they actually doing 'new' jobs, or just displacing earlier
immigrants or native-born workers? I ask, wondering if there is any actual
research on this, as opposed to the two contending streams of belief and
anecdote. Clearly, if the jobs are new, then there is benefit, otherwise I'd
suspect not (though I take the point about remittances benefiting people at
home).

donge

Comment No. 614853

June 2 14:24

GBR
I think the english should keep well away from Afrika, they have done quite
enough damage over the last two centuries.

iamwhoiam

Comment No. 614903

June 2 15:14

GBR
Donge:-"I think the english should keep well away from Afrika, they have
done quite enough damage over the last two centuries."

I think the damage started when they left.

WASPi

Comment No. 614952

June 2 15:57

BHS
"One significant contribution would be allowing asylum seekers to work while
their claims are being processed and equipping them with skills to enable
them to take an active role in the reconstruction when they return to
Zimbabwe. This would be much more constructive than spending thousands on an
expensive court case in a bid to resume mass deportations of failed asylum
seekers and immigrants without status."
------------------------------

Wouldn't this actually contribute to the skills drain in Zimbabwe as
professionals from that country continue to come to Britain knowing that
they will be able to work at high paying jobs and have a much better quality
of life in Britain than if they stayed behind?

Also, how are so many people able to travel from Zimbabwe to Britain?
Is the British embassy still giving tourist, student and work Visas to
people who present such a high risk of becoming illegal immigrants and
asylum seekers?

WheatFromChaff

Comment No. 615055

June 2 17:32

GBR
""African governments should also hold other African governments to
account," he said, and rightly so."

He did say that, didn't he.

So why did he not likewise believe that Middle Eastern governments should
hold other Middle Eastern governments to account?

joatsimeon

Comment No. 615110

June 2 18:07

Hark... somewhere, faintly through the aether, I hear the sound of Ian Smith
laughing.

anaxagoras

Comment No. 615168

June 2 19:01

GBR
Isn't it funny how asylum seekers from Zimbabwe find themselves in Britain?

Malawi, RSA, Namibia, Zambia etc etc.are more likely destinations if one's
first priority is asylum leaving the conclusion that they're economic
migrants anyway.


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Chinese Government Complicity in Illegal Ivory Trade is Fuelling Epidemic of African Elephant Poaching



WASHINGTON, June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report published
today reveals comprehensive evidence that Chinese authorities are complicit
in the illegal ivory trade, which is fueling a surge in elephant poaching
across Africa. The report release coincides with the opening of the
169-nation Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in The Hague, Netherlands.
Made in China - How China's Illegal Ivory Trade is Causing a 21st
Century African Elephant Disaster, published by the Environmental
Investigation Agency, exposes how Chinese government ministries,
government-owned companies, and nationalized industries are openly flouting
the international ban on ivory trade, all while China prepares to stage a
"green Olympics."
EIA President Allan Thornton: "China's illegal ivory trade is fuelling
a massive new poaching crisis for Africa's elephants. We are calling on the
Government of China to ban all domestic trade in ivory before the Beijing
Olympics. Unless the Government of China acts now, African elephants in
many countries will once again face extinction."
The report is based on eight years of undercover investigations into
illegal ivory trade in China, Hong Kong, and Africa and documents how:
-- China's most powerful bodies have been implicated in ivory trade,
including the Communist Party of China, the Ministry of Defense, and
the China National Petroleum Corporation;
-- 110 tons of ivory have gone missing from China's government held
ivory
stocks;
-- China and Chinese nationals are implicated in illegal ivory trade
involving 13 African nations where extensive elephant poaching is
wiping out many elephant populations, including Sudan, Central
African
Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique,
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Gabon, Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Mali;
-- Chinese traders have been allowed to export ivory in contravention of
the international ban;
-- China has failed to implement the international ban that prohibits
imports and exports of African elephant ivory for the past 16 years;
-- Chinese authorities have sold poached ivory, seized from smugglers
onto
China's domestic market, as recently as November 2004 when almost one
ton of ivory was auctioned;
-- Ivory traders stated they have continued to purchase ivory from
government stocks throughout the 1990's and into the 2000's;
-- Traders allege that seized stocks of poached ivory are 'disappearing'
into government ivory stocks;
-- Ivory is widely available across China, despite the fact that
official
legal ivory stocks would have been exhausted years ago due to the
trade
ban;
-- China is registering dozens of companies to legally sell ivory.
View EIA undercover video of managers of the Chinese Government owned
company Beijing Gongmei offering to sell and illegally export millions of
dollars of elephant ivory at: http://www.eia-global.org
Contact:
Allan Thornton, EIA President: (202) 361-6941 (USA)
Julian Newman, Senior Investigator and Campaigner: +44 07966 171191
(UK)

SOURCE Environmental Investigation Agency


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China has every right to access African resources: Mbeki

africasia.com

JOHANNESBURG, June 1 (AFP)

South African President Thabo Mbeki defended China's growing involvement in
Africa on Friday, saying Beijing had as much right as any country to seek
access to the continent's natural resources.

Mbeki said suggestions that China was developing a neo-colonialist
relationship with Africa were "quite unfair" as he answered questions from
an audience of businessmen at the launch of television news network CNBC
Africa.

"China should be entitled as everybody else to access" resources such as
oil, the president added.

China's burgeoning economic presence in African nations such as oil-rich
Angola and copper giant Zambia has sparked criticism that it is only
interested in plundering the continent's vast natural resources to feed its
economic boom.

There are also frequent complaints from workers' and consumers' groups in
Africa that China dumps sub-standard products on African markets.

Mbeki said it was important that the economic relationship between China and
Africa produced "mutual results".

"We wouldn't want China to merely have access to goods and sell their goods
but we want them to invest and ensure there is a balance," he said.

The South African president played host in February to his visiting Chinese
counterpart Hu Jintao when he described the emerging relationship as a
"win-win" situation.

2007 AFP


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MDC congress taking place in SA

SABC

June 02, 2007, 18:45

Zimbabweans in South Africa have converged on Bloemfontein for the inaugural
congress aimed at establishing structures in South Africa for Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement of Democratic Change (MDC).

Lovemore Moyo, the movement's chairperson, says these will form a potential
base for the movement to liberate Zimbabweans in their political struggle.
He says the MDC has declared that the struggle of Zimbabweans is no longer a
national one, but an international and regional one.

Moyo says that having a structure in South Africa will immensely help them
to send their message and also help to mobilise a huge population of
Zimbabweans in South Africa. "There are more than 3 million Zimbabweans in
South Africa, not because of choice but because of the political situation
they are facing in our country."

Meanwhile the congress is electing MDC SA leadership: Malcom Mutandirwa from
Mpumalanga has been elected as chairperson and Amon Ndlovu, from Gauteng,
his deputy.


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Bold intervention has reached its limits

The Telegraph

By David Blair
Last Updated: 2:47am BST 02/06/2007

Commentary

Throughout Tony Blair's decade in office, the situation in Zimbabwe
has deteriorated on every possible level.

Inflation now exceeds 3,700 per cent - the highest in the world - life
expectancy has fallen to only 37 and perhaps a quarter of the entire
population has packed up and left, voting with their feet on the
catastrophic consequences of President Robert Mugabe's rule.

Zimbabwe's relentless decline has reached a critical juncture. With
prices doubling every few weeks, the regime is under permanent pressure to
increase the pay of soldiers, policemen and civil servants.

But Mr Mugabe's bankrupt government must print the money to pay these
bills - which pushes inflation still higher and leads to demands for even
more pay rises. So Zimbabwe is locked in a spiral of economic collapse.

Yet on his last visit to Africa as prime minister, Tony Blair was
content to hand responsibility for dealing with this disaster to President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

When the Prime Minister spoke alongside Mr Mbeki in the splendour of
the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the limits of his "avowedly
interventionist" foreign policy became clear. Despite all Mr Blair's soaring
rhetoric, Britain's moral duty to intervene on behalf of suffering Africans
has strict boundaries - and Zimbabwe falls outside them.

Nothing so perfectly illustrates the key problem with the Prime
Minister's approach to Africa as Zimbabwe's crisis. Mr Blair's fervent
declarations about our moral duty to "intervene" raise expectations which
are, quite simply, impossible to fulfil.

There will always be limits to what Britain - or any other country -
can accomplish. The great danger attached to the Prime Minister's passion is
that by raising expectations only for them to be dashed, he risks
discrediting the noble cause of helping Africa.

His military intervention in Sierra Leone was generally acknowledged
to be immensely courageous and successful.

He also won praise for urging G8 leaders to cancel Africa's debts,
increase their aid budgets and give developing countries fairer access to
world markets.

But although few who watched him this week can doubt that Mr Blair's
motives are noble and his words sincere, his rhetoric remains repellent.

Writing about Britain's world role in the current issue of The
Economist, Mr Blair says: "We should be prepared to intervene, if necessary
militarily, to prevent genocide, oppression, the deep injustice too often
inflicted on the vulnerable."

This sweeping statement is impossible to reconcile with inaction in
the face of Zimbabwe's crisis. By every one of Mr Blair's criteria - save
for genocide - Zimbabwe would justify intervention.

In practice, however, British military intervention in Zimbabwe is
inconceivable. Mr Blair's ability to stop Mr Mugabe from wreaking havoc
inside his own country is almost non-existent.

Mr Mbeki has spent the last seven years studiously refraining from
criticising the old dictator while privately trying to persuade Mr Mugabe to
change his ways. This has achieved virtually nothing.

So leaving Mr Mbeki to sort out Zimbabwe is a policy of utter despair.
In the real world, however, it may be Britain's only realistic option.

The Prime Minister should not shy away from saying as much.

His speeches this week would have been more welcome if they had struck
an occasional note of sombre realism. In particular, he should have stated
that the doctrine of intervention will always have limits - and countries
like Zimbabwe fall beyond them.

Mr Blair said that he abhorred "cynicism" above everything else. The
tragedy is that by raising impossible expectations, he may encourage the
very cynicism he so despises.


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Speaker and Spectator

http://africantears.netfirms.com/thisweek.htm

Saturday 2nd June 2007

Dear Family and Friends,
As ridiculous as it may sound, little lights of hope are flickering on all
the time now in Zimbabwe. They are not practical everyday lights of
decreasing prices, increasing food and medical supplies or improved
services - quite the contrary in fact. The lights of hope that I am talking
about are those that are beginning to illuminate the future direction. Some
are from events across the border where it seems there are actually things
going on - although no one is saying what!

Other signs of hope are coming from within. One is the blatantly obvious
declining interest and support by people in rural areas for overweight
politicians in smart clothes and fancy cars who come only at election time -
and then shout and threaten people in their bid to garner votes. A prime
example is underway at the moment in the run up to a by election about to be
held in Zaka East. At last both sides of the MDC have managed to stand
together and say they will not contest the seat - what is the point if
conditions are not free and fair. This leaves Zanu PF standing against two
virtually unknown parties, the UPP (United People's Party) and the UPDP
(United People's Democratic Party). Some of the earlier ZANU PF rallies were
shown on ZBC television and it was embarrassing to watch great obese men,
shouting and waving their fists at the painfully thin people, sitting
barefoot in the dust staring blankly ahead. The contrast between speaker and
spectators was so extreme it was a wonder it was shown on national TV at
all.

A few days later, arriving to whip up support for the ruling party candidate
, a former soldier, disappointment was immediate and the rally cancelled.
Zanu PF Chairman, John Nkomo, said: "We have to postpone this rally to
Thursday next week because we cannot address these few people." The days of
Zanu PF being able to take support for granted - even in remote dusty
villages - are gone.

Other reasons for hope are coming from people in positions of responsibility
who are making courageous decisions and are standing up to do the right
thing - politics and propaganda aside.
This week High Court Judge Tedious Karwi granted bail to Ian Makone - one of
32 leading opposition officials and activists arrested in late March who
have been held without trial for the past 2 months and 2 days. In making the
bail ruling Judge Karwi stated a fact which of late is not guaranteed and
has been very elusive in Zimbabwe. The Judge said:" Our law presumes people
to be innocent until proven guilty."
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.


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A letter from the diaspora

http://africantears.netfirms.com/indexph.htm

Friday 1st June 2007

Dear Friends.
The British weather is renowned for its unreliability and it's a standard
joke about the Brits that their one staple of conversation is the weather,
usually described as ' the bloody weather'. For Zimbabweans in the diaspora
accustomed to planning events months ahead in the sure knowledge that the
weather will do exactly what it's supposed to, it's utterly maddening to
know that in Britain the one thing you can never be sure of is the weather.

Take this May, for example. We had had three weeks of glorious weather;
temperatures climbed to record levels for May, trees burst into full summer
foliage and gardens bloomed in premature glory. The native Brits, determined
to catch a tan, stripped off to reveal their wormy whiteness and every
possible variation of un-dress paraded itself on the streets.
Then came the last weekend of May and a Bank Holiday, in the UK that's
almost a guarantee that it will rain! The Saturday was cold and grey but
undeterred I made my way to London to meet up with my daughter. Rain or no
rain, we were not going to miss Bank Holiday Monday in the Square.

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, had organized a huge celebration of
Africa Day in Trafalgar Square. What better time to celebrate Africa's
contribution to the world. Two hundred years since the Abolition of Slavery
and the commemoration on Africa Day of the Founding of the OAU. It was to be
one joyous celebration and Africans living in London together with
Londoners, young and old, black and white and every shade in between, were
there to join the party and dance their socks off. We were all Africans that
day. There were stalls selling African food, African crafts, African
jewellery and clothes and above all there was African music. From all over
the continent the musicians came; Algeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Nigeria,
Ghana, Madagascar, the Congo and South Africa. Mama Africa herself, Miriam
Makeba, was to be the star of the show. All the warmth and vitality of
Africa was there in Trafalgar Square that day right under the statue of
Nelson towering above us on his Column.

And it rained and rained and rained! Not just gentle English rain but a cold
driving rain that soaked us to the skin. Trafalgar Square was a sea of
umbrellas. At one point a cheery d.j worked the crowd with the brolly dance:
'Brollies to the left, brollies to the right, lift your brollies up and
shake 'em all about.!' It certainly kept us entertained but we got even more
soaked as rain streamed off the shaking umbrellas and down our necks.

By the time Miriam Makeba came on stage at three thirty it was absolutely
chucking it down! But it didn't make a bit of difference; we roared our
admiration and love for this wonderful woman who has fought all her life
against racism and whose music has stirred the conscience of the world. To
see her there with her backing band of musicians of all colours from Africa
and the diaspora, including her grand-daughter the singer and her great
grandson, a twelve year old drummer. It was a sight I shall never forget.
What changes she has seen in her life! From the dark days of apartheid right
through to the birth of the Rainbow Nation, Africa has come a long way and
this woman has been an integral part of that long struggle for freedom.

But in the midst of all the celebrations we were reminded that the struggle
is not yet over. A slim young Congolese woman came onto the stage between
the musical acts to tell of her experiences as a Prisoner of Conscience.
Speaking through an interpreter she told us how she had been imprisoned for
five months and it was only through the efforts of Amnesty and the
international community that she was finally released. She wanted to thank
all the people who had helped her and to remind us that there are still
dictators in Africa who imprison people for daring to disagree with the
ruling party. Her testimony was a salutary reminder to all those people who
in the name of Pan Africanism choose to turn a blind eye to the corruption,
the denial of basic human rights and the downright bad governance that still
prevails in much of Africa. Yes, it is good to celebrate our Africaness and
the rich and varied cultures of Africa but we do the continent and its
people a huge disservice by denying that there is still a long way to go
before Africa and her people are truly free.

Zimbabwe, of course, was not mentioned once by any speaker during this
Africa Day celebration in Trafalgar Square, neither was Zimbabwe's wonderful
music heard. In politically correct Britain it is considered racist even to
acknowledge that black Africans are as capable of violence against their own
people as any nasty white colonisiser. Tony Blair has been in the lead with
this 'political correctness' and while Londoners and Africans in the
diaspora danced in Trafalgar Square to celebrate Africa Day he was away on
his 'Farewell' tour. In Sierra Leone he got a rapturous welcome; Sierra
Leonians believe that it was Blair's military intervention back in 2000 that
ended the bitter civil war.

'Had we not intervened here,' Blair said, 'we would have been unable to set
Africa's beneficial path going.' And he added, 'If we hadn't decided to make
that intervention (in Sierra Leone) then not just this country but the
countries of this whole area would have been adversely affected'

Blair, you see, believes in what he calls 'liberal intervention' arguing
that in a global world where nations are more and more inter-connected the
world cannot afford to ignore the crimes of brutal tyrants and the excesses
of rogue states. As Mugabe continues his brutal repression of all dissenting
voices, the Zimbabwean people will surely appreciate the irony of that
philosophy coming as it does from a man whose government has stood by while
Zimbabwe collapsed and up to four million Zimbabweans have fled their
country.

As I write this, Tony Blair is in South Africa talking to the President.
Commentators are saying that Zimbabwe will be high on their agenda. What
chance is there that Blair will be able to persuade Thabo Mbeki to bring his
northern neighbour to book, stop the violence and ensure free and fair
elections so that next Africa Day we will all be home in the sunshine in
Africa Unity Square to celebrate?
As they say, don't hold your breath!
Ndini shamwari yenyu. PH.


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Fifa dampens Zimbabwe stadia plan

BBC
Saturday, 2 June 2007

Football's world governing body says it is yet to decide whether official
team base camps for the 2010 World Cup could be outside South Africa.
The news may well lead to a rethink in Zimbabwe, whose sports minister
Aeneas Chigwedere has just announced plans to build two new stadiums ahead
of the World Cup.

Chigwedere said that stadiums would be built at Victoria Falls and the town
of Beitbridge on the South African border

Zimbabwe is hoping to attract teams to prepare in the country ahead of the
tournament and take advantage of the South African organising committee's
plan for nearby countries to host teams during the tournament.

Reports in recent weeks suggested that Fifa had given the go-ahead for the
plan, provided stringent host city requirements were met.

With Portugal reportedly looking at sites in Mozambique which was ruled from
Lisbon until it won independence in 1975.

But Markus Ziegler, director of communications at Fifa, said that nothing
was decided and that a ruling would need to be made if teams were to be
based outside South Africa during the tournament itself.

"There are two important things, proper preparation camps or training camps
and then there are formal team base camps during the competition," Ziegler
said.


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Hoey against any Zimbabwe matches



Cricinfo staff

June 2, 2007

Kate Hoey, the former sports minister, told Cricinfo that she opposed
Scotland and Ireland playing against Zimbabwe, regardless of where the
matches took place. "What ICC should be doing is putting them right out of
any competition because of the way cricket has been politicised," she said.

If the ICC did decide to include Zimbabwe in the Intercontinental Cup then
she said she would like to see Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, do
something but that ultimately it would be a British government decision.
"The sooner they make a John Howard type of statement, the better."

Asked if it would make any difference were Zimbabwe to be scheduled to play
in Scotland and Ireland rather than have those countries play away, Hoey
said she was against any matches against an official Zimbabwe team as "it's
saying the situation in the country is normal".

Ireland presents a different set of problems as the national team is picked
from both Northern Ireland, governed from Westminster, and the Irish
Republic, so there would need to be discussions between the two governments
. But the Dublin authorities have been very sympathetic to the cause of
those fleeing Zimbabwe and there are large numbers of Zimbabwean expats
living in Dublin who would be very against any sporting contact.

Hoey warned that the strength of feeling is such that "there would be
massive demonstrations on a par with those that surrounded the South African
sides who toured in the era of apartheid".

Cricinfo


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Forensic audit stays under wraps

From cricinfo, 31 May

Steven Price in Harare

Despite an undertaking from Peter Chingoka, the then interim chairman
Zimbabwe Cricket , that the report on the investigation of charges of
financial maladministration would be made public, no one apart from ZC and
ICC have seen it. Chingoka announced sixteen months ago that an independent
auditor "of international repute" would be asked to undertake a thorough
investigation of the board's affairs following serious allegations from a
number of stakeholders that large sums of money were unaccounted for.
However, the audit was ultimately entrusted to Ruzengwe and Partners, a
small Harare-based outfit. And the terms of reference were drawn up by the
interim board, the body at the heart of the allegations. "Their report will
be there for all to see," Chingoka said at the time. Unfortunately, although
the initial report was delivered to the ICC in November, nobody outside the
ICC and ZC has been allowed to know what it contains. Few expected anything
sensational. When the audit was announced, Clive Field, the former players'
association chief executive, was sceptical. "In the time which has passed
since these issues were highlighted last year, it seems to me there would
have been ample opportunity to sanitise the books," he said. "All we could
originally hope for was that the audit was done quickly."

A senior administrator said that ZC had "appointed a small one-partner local
firm who had little chance of investigation the affairs as it was too
complex. It would need the assistance of an international firm, as funding
included sponsorship worldwide ... as the rights to the various tours would
have been put together and sold by Octagon CSI and others and would need the
international resources to follow through the paper trail and establish
where the funding ended up." The ICC remains tight lipped, only saying that
Sir John Anderson, the chairman of New Zealand Cricket who is overseeing the
process, is still in dialogue with Ruzengwe and Partners. It is hoped that
things will be sorted in time for the ICC's AGM at the end of June. What the
ICC cannot say is whether the audit will be placed in the public domain.
Against this backdrop of secrecy, Zimbabwe Cricket's coffers are about to
swell by another US$11.5 million from the World Cup. Given the virtual total
secrecy with which ZC operates, the ICC owes it to the game, to all those
who worked tirelessly to build Zimbabwe cricket, and to the thousands of
local cricketers who are scraping by with almost no equipment, to make
public the report. We were unable to obtain any response from Zimbabwe
Cricket. The board refuses to answer any questions from Cricinfo as it
objects to our coverage of cricket in the country.


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Extract from The Daily Reckoning

Goldseek

By: Bill Bonner & The Daily Reckoning Crew

-- Posted Friday, 1 June 2007 |

The FT cited a recent case where the dependent spouse, a wife, insisted she
needed $800,000 a month in child support payments, even though she already
had an income of $7 million a year.

To you and to us, dear reader, these amounts seem unbelievable. Seven
million dollars per year...plus $800,000 a month in child support! Why do
people think they need so much money to live happily? We have very simple
tastes. We could easily get by on half that much.

Money isn't everything. We provide additional proof this morning by looking
at a place with a lot of money - Zimbabwe. Nowhere on the entire planet is
money piling up at a more rapid pace. The printing presses in that hellhole
must be working around the clock. Consumer price inflation is increasing at
an annual rate of 1,729%!

"My bad," says Robert Mugabe, the nation's democratically elected tyrant.

We look to Zimbabwe not merely for entertainment but for instruction. It
shows us that not only is money not a good gauge of wealth and happiness,
neither are asset prices. Rich Americans look at rising stock prices.

'All is well,' they say. 'We're getting wealthier.' Poor and middle class
Americans look at their house prices. 'All is well,' they say.

'Our houses are worth twice as much as they were 5 years ago; we're getting
wealthier.'

Alas, it is not so. As money comes off the presses in Zimbabwe, it has to go
somewhere. More of it goes to the rich than to the poor. So, ASSET PRICES
RISE MORE THAN CONSUMER PRICES. Guess which stock market has gone up the
most in 2007? The Zimbabwe stock market! It's up 600% so far this year...up
12,000% over the last 12 months.

Imagine that you live in Zimbabwe. You are one of Robert Mugabe's cronies
and you get your hands on $50,000. Of course, the first thing you want to do
is to shuffle it out of the country. But short of that, what do you do? Do
you invest in real capital improvements...new industries...new
equipment...new property? No chance. Not in an economy that is rapidly
collapsing. People don't have enough to eat. They can't buy fuel.

Public services are crumbling. Transport, education, health, trash
collection, police - they are all disintegrating. It used to be the richest
part of Africa. Now, thousands of refugees sneak out of Zimbabwe every week.
The place is a disaster.

Instead of investing in fixed capital improvements, you put your money into
stocks - hoping that the stocks will go up faster than your currency goes
down. The result? A speculative, asset-price boom - even while the whole
country is falling apart.

Meanwhile, America has its own asset-price boom...its own crony
capitalists...its own printing presses...

But even as asset prices go up, the real economy slows down. Today's news
tells us that the GDP is barely growing at all. And the Fed says housing
will be a drag for longer than expected.

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