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Zimbabweans Mark Africa Day But Observers Say Country Falls Short of AU Ideals

VOA

President Mugabe ignited a flame of peace at Africa Day ceremonies in Harare and urged Zimbabweans to maintain the ideals of the African Union’s founders, and Prime Minister Tsvangirai's hailed South African democracy Jonga Kandemiiri, Patience Rusere and Benedict Nhlapo | Washington 25 May 2010

Zimbabweans on Tuesday observed Africa Day, President Robert Mugabe igniting a flame of peace at Africa Day ceremonies in Harare and calling for Zimbabweans to maintain the ideals of the African Union’s founders.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai issued a statement saying it respects African institutions and values, hailing South Africa as a model of democracy for all of Africa and expressing confidence that the neighboring country will represent Africa well during the upcoming World Cup games.

Democracy Manager Joy Mabenge of the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that Zimbabwe still lags in upholding the African union’s ideals.

Many church-goers gathered for a National Day of prayer to mark Africa Day. The prayer vigil was organized by the Intercessors for Zimbabwe, under the theme “Giving Thanks to God” as a response to the tense political situation.

Worshipers gathered at Harry Margolis Hall in Harare and similar assemblies were held in Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, Marondera and other cities and towns. The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches also took part in organizing the day of prayer, church sources said.

Reverend John Chimbambo, national coordinator of the Intercessors for Zimbabwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that they have prayed for the nation every May 25 for 13 years now.

In South Africa, meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates observed Africa Day handing a symbolic red card - sign of a disqualifying violation in soccer - to xenophobia, which has plagued the country.

Dozens of union leaders signed a two-meter-long soccer jersey of the national team, Bafana Bafana ("The Boys, The Boys") as a symbol of workers’ determination to stamp out abuse of foreigners by uniting Africans through the World Cup that begins on June 11, correspondent Benedict Nhlapho reported from Johannesburg.


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Zimbabwe sees 7% growth, rues $6.2 bln debt

Thomson Reuters

Wed May 26, 2010 6:14am GMT

By Tim Cocks and Richard Valdmanis

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's economy should grow faster than expected this year thanks to $1 billion in foreign investments and some expected donor aid, but its debt burden is "crippling", the finance minister said on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told Reuters in an interview at the African Development Bank annual assembly in Abidjan that accumulated interest was pushing up public debt and it currently totalled around $6.2 billion, higher than previous estimates.

He said there was little chance of Zimbabwe getting its own currency back -- it was abandoned in favour of the dollar last year -- while its economy remained saddled with an estimated $1.9 billion current account deficit.

"We don't have an economy that can sustain a currency," he said.

He said investments, mostly infrastructure, totalling around $1 billion should accelerate growth over the rest of the year and that a donor conference on Zimbabwe in Oslo later this year was expected to bring aid to relieve the government's chronic liquidity problems.

"Our growth forecast for this year is 7 percent. We had revised it downwards to 4.8 percent because of lack of capital but I'm very optimistic we will have stronger growth in the second half of the year," Biti said.

Diamond sales would also have a positive impact.

Diamond exploration has been marred by a row between the government and British-based African Consolidated Resources (ACR). Biti said the legal process would be slow.

"As long as it remains unresolved it will continuously put a shadow over diamond mining," he said. STRONG GROWTH, BIG DEBT

After years of political turmoil and negative growth, the southern African country is enjoying relative stability, but foreign investors remain wary.

SABMiller's Zimbabwe unit said this month it would spend $112 million in the next two years to lift output.

Biti decried what he said was an out of date assessment of Zimbabwe as a high risk destination.

"What I'm really worried about is the lack of capital, foreign investment of bilateral credit lines," he said.

"The reason is largely because of the perception of high risk. In our macroeconomic foundations, we are doing better than a huge chunk of African countries, but we've got baggage -- a hangover from our years of conflict."

An OECD/African Development Bank report on the state of Africa's economies released on Monday put Zimbabwe's projected growth for the year at 6 percent.

Infrastructure projects included hydroelectric and thermal power plants to relieve acute power shortages, road construction and the rehabilitation of a bridge.

Biti said Zimbabwe was still looking for about $500 million of investment to complete renovation work on the Kariba hydroelectric dam, on the Zambezi river. Zimbabwe announced in January it was seeking debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative.

Biti said Zimbabwe had taken steps towards macroeconomic stability, for instance with inflation in double digits year-on-year, compared with 500 billion percent in 2008.

Other areas of investor interest include diamond deposits and farming, in what used to be southern Africa's bread basket.

Biti said land reform, a flashpoint of the crisis between President Robert Mugabe and opponents that left productive land fallow for years, would be resolved first.

A land audit would "rule out multiple farm owners, end inefficiency" and put fallow farms to work.

Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved


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Indian cricketers to test bench strength in Zimbabwe

(AFP)

NEW DELHI — A second-string Indian team left for Zimbabwe on Wednesday to play a tri-series, hoping to convince the selectors they were ready for the big league.

The 15-man-squad, led by Suresh Raina, will play Sri Lanka and the hosts in a double-leg tri-series that opens in Bulawayo on Friday and ends with the final in Harare on June 9.

The selectors have rested eight top stars -- captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra -- from the tournament.

"With the senior players taking a break, this is a good time for the younger lot to make an impression and prove their worth," said Raina, 23, ahead of the team's departure.

"The seniors may be missing, but we still have a very good team that can win the tournament."

Four members of the touring squad -- fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Pankaj Singh, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and batsman Naman Ojha -- have not played international cricket at the senior level.

India's tri-series squad:

Suresh Raina (capt), Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Pankaj Singh, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Naman Ojha.

Schedule:

May 28 : India v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo
May 30 : India v Sri Lanka, Bulawayo
June 1 : Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Bulawayo
June 3 : India v Zimbabwe, Harare
June 5 : India v Sri Lanka, Harare
June 7 : Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Harare
June 9 : Final, Harare
Copyright 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.


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Former cricketer from Zimbabwe, Henry Olonga, sings and tells tales in Epsom

1:00pm Wednesday 26th May 2010

By Thais Portilho-Shrimpton

A former Zimbabwean test cricketer who protested against his country’s oppressive leader is coming to Epsom to sing and tell stories about his life.

Henry Olonga, 33, had to flee his country in 2003 after wearing a black armband in a Cricket World Cup match to protest against the policies of Zimbabwe's government.

He was the first black Zimbabwean to become a test cricketer in 1995, and since 2003 he has been playing for a team called Lashings, which gave him refuge in the UK.

Mr Olonga is now a singer and preacher and tells stories about his life in church concerts around the country. He is set to come to Epsom Methodist Church on Sunday (May 30).

He said: "I’m a preacher and I sing and tell my life stories and try to show people how God was really instrumental in my life.

"When I was a kid, I thought Mugabe was a hero really because of what we were taught at school.

"It was only later I came to realise the Zimbabwe I pictured in my mind was not exactly the Zimbabwe I grew up in."

Mr Olonga lives in London with his Australian wife, Tara, but says he would like to one day go back to Zimbabwe.

He said: “Anyone who has lived in a country for 20-something years always has a strong connection to that country.

"I still have family there - my father is still there and I love the country and the people and if I could live there again I think I would."

Reverend David Winwood, the Minister of Epsom Methodist Church, who worked in Zimbabwe for a few years, said: “We are delighted that Henry is coming to our church to give a concert to raise funds for the Zimbabwe Victims’ Support Fund.

"This fund helps to sustain street kids and feed children at school and extended families in the rural areas."

The concert is open to all without charge, on Sunday, May 30, at 7pm at Epsom Methodist Church, Ashley Road.

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Copyright 2001-2010 Newsquest Media Group

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk


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Zimbabwe government urged to act on 700,000 destitute evictees

www.ekklesia.co.uk

By agency reporter

26 May 2010

The government of Zimbabwe must take action to protect hundreds of thousands of people left to survive in substandard settlements five years after a programme of mass forced evictions, Amnesty International Zimbabwe and a coalition of partners says.

Amnesty International and the Coalition Against Forced Evictions this week called on the Zimbabwean government to provide adequate alternative accommodation or compensation to those left homeless and jobless.

“It is a scandal that five years on, victims are left to survive in plastic shacks without basic essential services. The needs of these victims are at risk of being forgotten because their voices are consistently ignored,” said Amnesty International Zimbabwe’s director, Cousin Zilala.

On 18 May 2005 the government of Zimbabwe began demolishing informal settlements across the country. The program, known as Operation Murambatsvina, affected more than 700,000 people – leaving them without a home or livelihood or both. Most were driven deeper into poverty by the forced evictions, a situation which has been further compounded by Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

Following widespread local and international condemnation of Operation Murambatsvina, the government embarked on a re-housing programme, known as Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle later in 2005, which aimed to provide shelter for the victims and improve their living conditions. However, it was a dismal failure and now appears to have been abandoned.

“The few houses that were built under the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle scheme are completely un-inhabitable,” said Cousin Zilala. “They have no floors, windows, water or toilets. Communities living in designated resettlement areas are dependent on humanitarian assistance and self help initiatives for their survival.”

Those affected by Operation Murambatsvina rapidly became invisible; forced to relocate to rural areas, absorbed into existing overcrowded urban housing or pushed into government designated settlements. Those still in cities remain at risk of further forced evictions with no security of tenure.

In 2009, Harare council attempted to remove some of the victims of the 2005 forced evictions but was forced to reverse the decision amid protest from housing and human rights organisations.

Critics say that since its creation in February 2009, the unity government has done nothing to improve the plight of survivors of the forced evictions and their children who have been born in informal settlements.

Felistas Chinyuku is also the former chairperson of the Porta Farm Residents Association. Porta Farm, a settlement of about 10,000 people, was destroyed by the government in 2005, despite the community obtaining several court orders barring the authorities from carrying out evictions.

“Five years have passed and many of us are still living in tents,” said Chinyuku a resident at Hopley Farm, on the outskirts of Harare, where the majority of residents survive in makeshift housing.

“There are no schools, no health services and very little sanitation. This is no way for humans to live,” he added.

Residents of Hatcliffe Extension settlement in Harare faced similar injustice in 2005 when the authorities wilfully disregarded lease agreements and destroyed their homes. They have not been compensated for their wrongful eviction and continue to face battles with the authorities; residents are currently being asked to pay prohibitive fees in order to renew their leases.

"Operation Murambatsvina achieved the opposite of the publicly stated objective - restoring order. In Harare, it resulted in overcrowding in poor neighbourhoods with as many as three families sharing a four-roomed house," said Lorraine Mupasiri of Combined Harare Residents Association, one of the coalition partners.

"We are particularly concerned about the rising housing backlog in Harare. More than half a million people are on the waiting list," she explained.

The forced evictions drove people not only from their homes, but also from their market stalls, depriving informal traders of their means of earning a living.

Women have been especially affected since they form the majority of informal market traders and in many cases are the primary providers, not only for their own children but also for other children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic.

When informal traders have tried to resuscitate their trade they have been persistently obstructed by the authorities.

“The deplorable living conditions and struggle for survival which victims of Operation Murambatsvina continue to face, reveals the government’s failure to address ongoing injustices against some of the most vulnerable members of Zimbabwean society,” said Cousin Zilala.

[Ekk/3]


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MISA-Zimbabwe statement on the ZMC developments

Written by MISA

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 10:20

The Zimbabwean.co.uk

Recent media reports have indicated that the statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) is finally holding its inaugural strategic and board meeting, after allegations of haggling over logistical, financial and human resource issues. The meeting which reportedly ends today, 26 May 2010, is intended to map out its work plan. Although MISA-Zimbabwe is unwavering in its demands and support for self-regulation, as epitomised by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), which was established by civil society and the media fraternity in 2007, it hopes the meeting will provide the Commission with an opportunity to self-introspect and address all the issues that are increasingly eroding its credibility as a vehicle for media diversity and vindicating doubts that it would usher media freedom.

This is because while Zimbabweans were begrudgingly willing to give the ZMC a chance, their hopes have been dashed by its entrenchment of the repressive and intrusive media registration requirements contained under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and its reincarnation of the old Media and Information Commission (MIC) blamed for the decimation of the private media. Worse still, the same personnel that oversaw the muzzling of the independent media in Zimbabwe are still in charge of the administrative functions of the Commission. Although the Commission has tried to justify this on the grounds that it is a temporary arrangement and a permanent secretariat can only be appointed after its strategic meeting, it boggles the mind why the Commission found it prudent to hire controversial and discredited figures to man its office in the meantime.

Except for the application fee structure, the regulations remain the same with the widely condemned stringent requirements that have been used as instruments to stifle media diversity in the past. The new regulations issued in Statutory Instrument 91 of 2010 indicate that these were made by the Minister of Media Information and Publicity when the 2008 amendments to AIPPA stripped the Minister of the powers to make or issue regulations. These powers are now vested in the ZMC with the minister’s role being merely to give its approval. It is therefore, not clear under which legal provision the minister issued these regulations for a constitutional body, which is supposed to make its own independent decisions. It is in this light that MISA-Zimbabwe calls on the Commission to inspire public confidence in its work by: • Taking a strong position against the continued use of AIPPA as the legal framework for regulating media activity • Pushing for the repeal of all laws that stifle the free flow of information and impinge on Zimbabweans’ full enjoyment of their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

• By urgently approving licence applications before it.

• Revising its registration requirements and crafting democratic ones that are compatible with the best practice in media regulation stipulated in regional and international instruments on freedom of expression.

• Recruiting untainted individuals to run its secretariat.

• Hedging itself against political interference from all political parties and public officials. Failure to do so will not only grossly erode the credibility of the Commission but also reinforce the view that it is just another bureaucratic layer imposed above the old Media and Information Commission (MIC) to perpetuate media repression.


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Outspoken South African youth leader praises Robert Mugabe's land grab policy

Wednesday, May 26 2010 3PM

By Jane Flanagan

Last updated at 8:42 PM on 25th May 2010

Daily Mail

The firebrand youth leader of South Africa’s ruling party, who has been tipped as the country’s next President, has praised Robert Mugabe’s land grab policy in Zimbabwe and compared himself to Nelson Mandela in an outspoken interview.

Julius Malema, who was disciplined by President Jacob Zuma for being 'out of control' by repeatedly singing anti-white songs and embarrassing the African National Congress, sought to defend his behaviour after being ordered to attend anger management classes and carry out community service.

In typically defiant tone, Mr Malema praised the eviction in Zimbabwe of almost 5,000 white farmers from their land in the last decade, although with a qualification that the policy ' was very good except the violent part of it'.

Defiant: South African youth leader Julius Malema, who was disciplined for his 'out of control' behaviour, has compared himself to Nelson Mandela

He added: 'In South Africa we must use the democratic means to redistribute the land.

'We've got a majority in parliament to make legislation that will give us power to expropriate land with compensation.'

Zimbabwe was once known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Africa for its ability to feed not only its own population but export large quantities of food to neighbouring countries.

Now, it relies on food aid and imports, a fact that appeared lost on Mr Malema who wore shirts printed with the face of Robert Mugabe during a recent visit.

Mr Malema is loathed by South Africa’s white population, who call him 'Kiddie Amin' in reference to Uganda’s former ruthless dicatator Idi Amin.

His latest outburst will further unsettle those who fear his growing influence and popularity within the all powerful ANC.

In an interview with the BBC, he refused to admit he had done anything wrong, and brushed aside the measures taken against him.

In a clear reference to in-fighting in the ruling party, he said he felt let down by those he had relied on.

'One of the things I have learnt is never rely on any individual who is in politics,' he said, with a note of bitterness.

It was thanks to the support of Mr Malema’s powerful youth wing that Mr Zuma was catapulted to power in a coalition government.

Asked if he felt betrayed by the president, who said he was 'out of control', he stressed his loyalty, adding that Mr Zuma 'whipped the youth into line' whenever he saw 'anything wrong'.

During the interview, Mr Malema sought to compare himself to Nelson Mandela - as he frequently does. The former President also led the ANC youth wing and was censured by party leaders.

When challenged about the fact that some supporters of Mr Mandela find the comparison offensive, Mr Malema snapped: 'You know nothing about Nelson Mandela.'

The controversial politician first came to international prominence in February when he made a string of high profile appearances singing an old anti-apartheid township song which included the inflammatory phrase 'Kill the Boer' (farmer).

The phrase ended up being banned by the high court for falling foul of the country’s strict hate laws, but Mr Malema continued to sing it in defiance.

The widespread racial tensions that followed were later blamed for the brutal murder of white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche, in April, at his farm.

Mr Malema, who reportedly owns three properties and a string of luxury cars despite his modest political salary, said he might consider not singing the inflammatory phrase but insisted the economy remained racially divided.

'I am fighting for the emancipation of blacks and Africans in particular, politically, socially and economically,' he said.

'There are racial divisions in this country and the economy continues to grow but the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to grow. It's racialised.'

Earlier this month, party officials took action against the youth leader whom they ruled had brought the party into disrepute by criticising President Zuma.

He was fined 900, to be given to a youth project, and warned he would be suspended from the ANC if he transgressed again in the next two years.

In March, Mr Malema was also found guilty of hate speech for suggesting that a woman who had accused Mr Zuma of rape may have had a 'nice time'.

The President was tried for rape, before he came to office, but acquitted of the charges in 2006.


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Zimbabwe needs a Communist Party: Mlilo

Behind the Headlines, Interviews — By admin on May 26, 2010 at 5:03 am

What is needed in Zimbabwe is a Communist Party that will assist and teach a multi-class organization like the MDC how to mobilize and organize people. These are the controversial views of human rights lawyer Nqobizitha Mlilo, who for years worked in the MDC regional office in South Africa. Mlilo spoke to SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma and says he believes the MDC has failed to ‘Africanize’ its democratic discourse and allowed the ZANU PF propaganda that they are western puppets, to hold sway on the African continent. Until they overcome this the MDC can win elections but will never secure a transfer of power from ZANU PF.

Interview Broadcast 20 May 2010

Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to this edition of Behind the Headlines. This week we have taken a short break from our five part series talking to the various MDC ambassadors scattered all over the world and we are bringing this week a very interesting perspective from human rights lawyer Nqobizitha Mlilo who is currently based in South Africa. A lot of you will know him for his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai and he spent quite some time at the South African regional office of the MDC – that’s Nqobizitha Mlilo joining us on Behind the Headlines. Thank you for sparing this time to join us.

Nqobizitha Mlilo: Thank you Lance for having me on your programme.

Guma: Well starting point – you wrote a very interesting article ‘In Search of a Lasting Solution for Zimbabwe’, in which you made a few, shall we say, controversial suggestions – I’ll start with the first one. You argue in this article that Zimbabwe is in need of a communist party. Explain that for us.

Mlilo: Well Lance the reality of the matter is that the people of Zimbabwe led by their Movement, the Movement for Democratic Change has waged a very difficult struggle against the despotic regime of ZANU PF and we must remember that the history of the formation of the MDC describes the MDC as a multi-class organisation and invariably a multi-class organisation has inherent contradictions because it is an organisation in which different classes are in a struggle and invariably at various stages in the development of that struggle, one class dominates the other and I’m suggesting that, because inherently the Zimbabwean struggle is a struggle for the working class, you need a communist party to be able to continue to steer the MDC and keep it rooted in the aspirations of the ordinary people in Zimbabwe who inspired the formation of the MDC in the first place.

Guma: So is this a communist party as competition or a communist party as an alliance partner?

Mlilo: A communist party can never be in a competition with anyone. The responsibility of a communist party is always a responsibility to the working class and some of the working class people that form part and parcel of the MDC are invariably beneficiaries of an overall democratic project of Zimbabwe. So this communist party will in essence be a party that helps to educate the MDC and teach the MDC matters relating to organisation, education and mobilisation.

You will remember the history of South Africa in which the Communist Party of South Africa, then known as the South African, today now known as the South African Communist Party helped the ANC to shape its policies and shape its direction and manner in which it waged the struggle against apartheid. But the relationship between a communist party in Zimbabwe and the MDC would be a relationship in which the communist party materially assists the MDC in making sure that it remains true to the aspirations of working people in Zimbabwe.

Guma: OK now I’m sure the reason why you are advancing these sort of arguments and I’ll refer to your article, the one entitled ‘In Search of a Lasting Solution for Zimbabwe’, you argue that the MDC needs to Africanise the democratic discourse in Zimbabwe because you feel at an African level or within the African context, they have failed to articulate themselves as a party rooted in Zimbabwean politics and have failed to counter the propaganda of them being labelled by ZANU PF as western stooges.

Mlilo: Well Lance, it’s always a problem that will be faced by post-colonial political formations, more so a post-colonial formation fighting one of the most protracted dictatorships on the African continent, ZANU PF. So some of the failures of the MDC are failures of history as it were that their position in history, or the position of the MDC in history makes it impossible or makes it difficult for the MDC to be able to fight some of that propaganda.

You’ll know that the MDC has done a lot of work on the African continent; it’s done a lot as well in its speeches and in its projection of what they want for the people of Zimbabwe. It has done a lot in trying to convince Zimbabweans that it is the only alternative for a future and a better Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans have been materially convinced of that. The problem comes where, it seems in Zimbabwe what you now need as Tendai (Biti) describes the mid-wife of Zimbabwe’s politics, seems to be SADC and the African Union as a whole so therefore it seems the struggle has now already moved from the terrain of Zimbabwe to a terrain in which the MDC would need to convince every other African state or every other African that it represents the aspirations of Africa in general and the Zimbabwean people in particular.

It appears to me that you can have elections in Zimbabwe everyday, it will not change anything because what you need to ensure a transfer of power does not seem to be a statistical vote on the part of Zimbabweans because that we have seen since 2000. Since 2000, statistically the MDC has been able to win elections, what has been missing has been the transfer of power and this mid-wife for the transfer of power is the African continent and to the extent that the African continent has not accepted as it were or has not been as warm as it should be to the MDC, I don’t foresee any transfer of power. So that’s why I’m saying the emphasis needs to be on convincing the African continent that the MDC indeed shares, which it does, the aspirations of those that went to fight against colonialism in Zimbabwe and indeed across the African continent.

Guma: Are we not giving too much credibility to the African continent in terms of the democratic values on the whole continent because it has rather been a case of birds of a feather, or birds of the same feather, flocking together in terms of the fact that, dictators scattered all over the continent have naturally been inclined to support each other, so is that not the problem?

Mlilo: Well it might be the problem but it does not change anything Lance. The reality of the matter is that the Zimbabwean struggle, you need African continent, SADC and the AU to be the mid-wife of this democracy. I submit respectfully Lance, that you can have elections in Zimbabwe every day; you’ll get the same results. What you will not get is a transfer of power to the extent the African continent has not used its muscle collectively to usher in a new dispensation, whatever the character of that new dispensation.

So whatever the faults of the African continent, call them dictators, call them whatever names we, you so wish, the reality of the matter is that you still need the African continent to be the mid-wife of a beginning of a new Zimbabwe. The ushering in for example of the Global Political Agreement, it is by and large a product of Africa. Whatever the flaws of the Global Political Agreement may be, what comes out quite clearly is that you need the African continent to be able to change the direction in which the country will take. So if the direction which the country has to take is a democratic direction, the only way to do that is to have the African continent on board whatever their character may be.

Guma: You further argue that those who have power and sway in the southern African region and indeed the whole continent as a whole will excuse the excesses of ZANU PF under the pretext of revolutionary violence and necessity in defence of African land from imperialist stooges. Do you think by and large, this has been the problem?

Mlilo: Yes this has been the problem by and large. There’s no doubt that if one looks at the history of the formation of the MDC and the political credentials of Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa, Lucia Matibenga and then the list goes on. Brian Kagoro, Deprose Muchena and all those people, there’s no doubt that these people have been progressive, there’s no doubt that they share the values that are African, there’s no doubt that they wish to see the completion of their ideals for the struggle against colonialism but there has been a propaganda that has been meted out by ZANU PF, so consistently and so crudely in a very sophisticated way which sought to project the MDC as some clone of western imperialism.

So whatever the MDC suggests and whatever victories the MDC scores statistically on an election, the response by ZANU PF through the military and through the militia has always been violent and that violence, in discourses with various people in various African organisations, they will tell you that no, ZANU PF is a revolutionary organisation which is engaged in some violence which is justifiable because the revolution is under threat from imperialist clones in the MDC.

So unless the MDC can be able to wash itself of this characterisation, I’m getting back to the point that unless the African continent accepts the MDC as a genuinely, genuinely home grown political party which shares the aspirations of Julius Nyerere and all those heroes of the African continent, Jomo Kenyatta and so forth, I do not see how a democratic Zimbabwe can be manifest.

Guma: And how does the MDC do that? How do they assure their African counterparts on the continent that they are a home grown political party that has all these ideals that you are talking about?

Mlilo: Well I think we have to create bi-lateral relationships, between the MDC and the Communist Party of South Africa, the South African Communist Party, the ANC, COSATU and create a relationship with former liberation movements across the African continent. You remember that in Tanzania only a few weeks ago, Robert Mugabe was with other leaders of former liberation movements and I’m aware of resolutions of the ANC and the South African Communist Party to the effect that they need to regroup former liberation movements and have a discussion basically about the direction of the continent.

The MDC needs to be found at the table of these discussions and project itself as an organisation that simply wants to carry on with the struggle which these gallant organisations waged against colonialism. So in the mobilisation of former liberation movements, the MDC has to characterise itself or has to be party to these discussions and this will be a beginning of a way of re-branding as it were.

Guma: The problem Mr Mlilo is none of these liberation movements that have transformed themselves into political parties have ever given up power voluntarily and the whole continent is a very good example of that.

Mlilo: Well in history there’s never been a situation in which a dictatorship gives power voluntarily. Marx says the history of all classes, the history of all hither is a history of class struggle. The MDC has committed itself to peaceful, non-violent means of struggle and it has said that they will win state power by means that are peaceful. In other words, the Party has made its bed and therefore it will have to sleep on it. So to the extent the MDC continues to punt the mantra of peaceful democratic change it will of necessity mean, that the struggle will be long.

Guma: The MDC in Zimbabwe is fighting against State machinery that effectively controls the entire broadcast spectrum, dominates the print media, controls the police, the army, the air force, the prisons and all other State security organs, are they not handicapped in what they are able to achieve?

Mlilo: Well the material conditions Lance clearly indicate that the MDC has its back against the wall and that’s why I’m saying some of the failures of the MDC are failures of the historical positioning of the MDC, its position in history, that perhaps society, our Zimbabwean society is still at a stage where the ground has not really matured for an outright revolution. But the reality of the matter is that the MDC will have to initiate processes that ensure that within the given circumstances it has to win the confidence of the African continent.

It has already won the confidence of the Zimbabwean people, therefore that kind of propaganda within Zimbabwe is neither here nor there because Zimbabweans are already convinced that their future belongs in the MDC. The battle lies elsewhere. The battle lies in creating a rapport with SADC, a rapport with the AU and ensuring that the MDC is recognised, seen as a genuinely home grown political party.

My submission is that the battle no longer lies within the boundaries of Zimbabwe, the battle lies within the boundaries of convincing African citizens and convincing African governments that the MDC is a genuinely home grown political party. Within Zimbabwe the MDC has done everything correctly and it has won the confidence of the people of Zimbabwe. What is needed is to win the confidence of those outside Zimbabwe within the African continent.

Guma: My final question for you Mr Mlilo and it’s taking you up on that point, some will say your theory or your way of doing things, mortgages our fate as Zimbabweans into the hands of foreigners. Why is it not possible for Zimbabweans to determine their own fate in terms of the internal politics, the internal dynamics in the country and choose a leadership of their choice? Why does it have to rely on what other African countries think?

Mlilo: No, no, no, no Lance. Look the reality is that Zimbabweans have been very clear and decisive about what they want. They have made a position very clear that they want the MDC, they want Morgan Tsvangirai as their president and this position has been consistent since 2000. But what has also been consistent since 2000 is that there has not been a transfer of power and the reason why there has not been a transfer of power is that the African continent has not seen the MDC as a genuinely home grown political party.

So it is not mortgaging the Zimbabwean struggle, it’s simply accepting the political reality of the situation. Remember a struggle has basically two important legs and pillars to stand on – the internal struggle and the international struggle. You can win the internal struggle but to the extent have not won the international struggle; you’ll still not have a democratic Zimbabwe. You can win the international struggle and to the extent you have not won the internal struggle, you’ll not have a democratic Zimbabwe.

So having finished the agenda of the internal struggle the only thing that is now left is to convince the African continent that, and I don’t see that as mortgaging the Zimbabwean struggle, it is simply saying as Zimbabweans, we have done everything that we can peacefully and democratically within Zimbabwe, now we simply require the African continent to deliver this new baby that Zimbabwe has won.

And secondly, the MDC so far accepts the responsibility of the African continent, that is why if they have any quibble in this inclusive government, the first thing that is said is that we must refer this dispute to SADC. And I don’t want to believe that the MDC by referring disputes to SADC is necessarily saying that we are mortgaging the Zimbabwean struggle.

The reality Lance is that Zimbabweans have done absolutely everything they can to have a democratic Zimbabwe, the MDC has led a very difficult struggle and has won the confidence of the people of Zimbabwe against very difficult odds. The only struggle that is now left, is the struggle to convince the minds and hearts of Africa’s citizens and Africa’s governments that the MDC represents the collective benefit of the African continent.

Guma: That’s Nqobizitha Mlilo, a human rights lawyer based in South Africa. He’s worked for several years within the MDC, at the regional office in South Africa. Mr Mlilo, thank you very much for joining us on the programme.

Mlilo: Thank you very much Lance. It’s not yet uhuru.

SW Radio Africa


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Zimbabwe growth may slow without reforms

5/26/10 10:41 AM

Washington
Angola Press

Washington - The IMF on Tuesday urged Zimbabwe to take corrective measures to repair its economy and warned that without them economic growth could slow significantly this year undermining progress made so far.

In its annual review of Zimbabwe's economy, the International Monetary Fund said there were signs that economic and humanitarian conditions were improving following a decade of steep economic decline and hyperinflation.

After a contraction of about 14 percent in 2008, growth resumed to about 4.0 percent last year amid a pickup in manufacturing and services.

Meanwhile, most schools and hospitals have reopened and incidence of cholera has declined, the IMF added.

It said a track record of good policies will help restore donor funding to Zimbabwe and could eventually lead to the cancellation of the country's foreign debts.

Zimbabwe's economy has stabilized since a unity government formed by rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last year adopted the use of multiple foreign currencies to replace a worthless local dollar.

The IMF said the multi-currency system "would serve Zimbabwe well in the coming years."

It said the Zimbabwe dollar could be reintroduced once the government had established a track record of sound policies and adopted a framework focused on price stability.

The IMF report cautioned that the outlook for 2010 was "highly uncertain" and urged the authorities to reduce the wage bill and non-essential spending to preserve gains made so far.

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