By David Gollust
08 November 2005
The State Department Tuesday defended U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe
Christopher Dell, who is involved in a bitter verbal dispute with the
government of President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwean officials have said Mr.
Dell might be expelled after his sharp criticism of the Mugabe government's
The State Department says it stands by Ambassador Dell's blunt criticism of
the Mugabe government, and it is suggesting that authorities in Harare are
trying to make the American envoy a scapegoat for their own economic
The already-difficult relationship between the United States and the Harare
government has become even more strained since remarks by Ambassador Dell
last week in which he accused Mr. Mugabe of "corrupt rule" and "gross
mismanagement" of the country's economy.
Zimbabwean officials have said that Mr. Dell might be expelled and the
country's state radio quoted President Mugabe as saying Tuesday the
ambassador could "go to hell."
Asked about the reported remark at a news briefing, State Department Deputy
Spokesman Adam Ereli said the dispute is not about comments by the American
ambassador but rather the failed economic policies of the Mugabe government,
which, he said, have produced soaring inflation and unemployment and caused
Zimbabwe's annual economic output to shrink by 40 percent in the last five
"What Ambassador Dell is pointing to is the ruinous effects of these polices
on the people of Zimbabwe and the standing of Zimbabwe," he said. "And what
has happened is that they've gone after him personally, which is wrong and
should be condemned, instead of examining what the true problem is, which,
as I said, is failed policies and a consistent and unrelenting attack on I
think the freedoms and initiatives of the Zimbabwean people."
Spokesman Ereli said Mr. Dell, like other U.S. ambassadors around the world,
will continue to speak out frankly, and that the United States will not "shy
away" from pressing Zimbabwe to adopt transparent, accountable economic
policies that are the norm for the rest of the world, but which "Zimbabwe
seems curiously blind to."
Mr. Ereli said Zimbabwean officials have not communicated any expulsion
threat directly to Mr. Dell, but said the ambassador has been called to a
meeting at the Zimbabwean foreign ministry Wednesday.
Last month, Mr. Dell was detained by Zimbabwean security agents as he walked
into a restricted area of a botanical garden near President Mugabe's
official residence in Harare. The State Department said Mr. Dell
inadvertently entered the secure area, which was poorly marked, and that
Zimbabwean officials apologized for the incident.
However government-owned Zimbabwean media accused the ambassador of
deliberately provoking a diplomatic incident.
The Bush administration has been a persistent critic of Mr. Mugabe, who has
ruled Zimbabwe for 25 years, for economic mismanagement and human rights
violations including repression of dissent and election-rigging.
The United States imposed economic and travel sanctions against Mr. Mugabe
and other government officials after he was re-elected president in disputed
elections in 2002.
Those sanctions, similar to ones by the European Union, were widened last
year to include several government-connected businesses.
Senior State Department officials have said in recent weeks the penalties
might be further expanded in response to the controversial slum clearance
program Mr. Mugabe launched in May, that has displaced hundreds of thousands
08 November 2005
|Members of the Zimbabwe Trade Union are taken to a police station in a truck after they were arrested in Harare|
The demonstrations were against the rising cost of living and cheap imported Chinese goods, which unionists say are causing job losses in the manufacturing sector.
Unionists, many of them women, carried small posters saying "No to Zhing Zhong", which is derogatory Zimbabwe slang for Chinese goods. The demonstrators managed to walk around one block in the city center before scores of riot police, some of them armed, broke up the anti-poverty march and arrested about 80 people singing union songs.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President Lovemore Matombo and his Secretary General Wellington Chibibe were among those arrested during the day. Earlier, police arrested at least three top unionists in second city Bulawayo, and detained a leading Harare civil rights activist.
Union leaders say their march was not political and therefore they did not need permission from the police to hold their demonstration.
The unionist demonstrators, who were watched by several hundred people, want the government to lower personal tax, stop imports from China, and make it possible for employers to pay workers more.
With inflation approaching 400 percent per year, and an increase in the cost of food of more than 80 percent in October, most workers say they can no longer afford to feed their families.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says it represents 30 worker organizations with one million members. But the union movement in Zimbabwe has been greatly weakened in the past six years as hundreds of thousands of workers have lost jobs as the economy contracted.
It is not clear what the arrested unionists have been charged with, but they could face charges of breaking Zimbabwe's tough security laws.
Mass arrests of Trade Unionists in Zimbabwe
Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 10:45 am
Mass arrests of Trade Unionists in Zimbabwe
Brussels: The ICFTU has condemned the actions of the Mugabe regime in
Zimbabwe following the arrests today of hundreds of workers, including
leaders of the ICFTU-affiliated Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and
of ZCTU member organisations. Large numbers of police have swamped the
streets of Harare, reacting to mass public demonstrations against poverty
and hunger caused by the government's catastrophic policies. At least three
other trade union leaders are reported to have been arrested in the city of
Bulawayo on Monday evening.
"Zimbabwean workers have been forced once again to take to the streets to
protest at the Mugabe government's policies, which have led to a dramatic
deterioration of living standards and widespread hunger. The heavy-handed
response of the authorities, coupled with their ongoing violations of
fundamental workers' rights, show once again a blatant disregard for working
people and their families", said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder. "We call
upon the government to immediately release all those detained, and to
respect the rights of working people as enshrined in international law" he
Today's arrests are the latest in a catalogue of anti-union repression in
Zimbabwe, amidst a worsening economic crisis and growing unrest amongst the
many victims of the government's policies. The ICFTU and its Global Unions
partners are closely monitoring the situation, and will keep up the pressure
for the full recognition of workers' rights at the International Labour
Organisation and in other international bodies.
By John B. Mkobi and Bulelani Mokoena
Last updated: 11/09/2005 14:50:39
WE HAVE followed with interest the unfolding saga in the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). It is trite to mention that most of us are relying
on both the print (public and private) and electronic media for information
about what is happening within the MDC.
Media institutions tend to take a certain slant when reporting issues,
especially one about a major rift in a hitherto significant political
formation like the MDC. But be that as it may, what we have read and heard
so far seems to be a fair picture of the goings-on in the once mighty MDC.
On the face of it, the issue that has divided the MDC is whether or not to
participate in the upcoming senatorial elections. Let us examine the issue
as presented to us in the media.
In a democracy, when two opposing views on an issue emerge and there is a
stalemate, the issue is put to a vote. We are failing to find a place for
the argument that the National Council of the MDC is elitist. It is one of
that party's decision-making bodies that were established in accordance with
the party's constitution. The assumption of all reasonable men and women is
that all what the MDC has done in the last six years was guided by the party's
constitution. In the past six years of the party's existence, the National
Council made decisions that were respected by all members of the party,
including Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai.
Before the March 2005 parliamentary elections, the MDC, after much
disconfitting dithering, met in the same way that they have done recently to
consider a boycott or participation. We were told that the majority of the
provinces had voted for participation. They entered the election race with a
Why then, all of a sudden, should the National Council become an
illegitimate structure? Is it because Mr. Tsvangirai did not get his way?
There was more at stake during the parliamentary elections in March in terms
of legitimacy that was sought by Zanu PF. Why do we get arguments like
"Votocracy is not democracy" at this stage? So "Votocracy was democracy"
only when Mr. Tsvangirai's views carried the day? Sorry by the way Mr.
Tsvangirai is said to have confided in the votocracy priest that his
personal views were to not participate in the March parliamentary election
(Standard 30 October 2005 page 9). This is quite a revelation.
The difference between the March 2005 National Council decision on
participation and the Senatorial Election saga is that in the former, Mr.
Tsvangirai felt bound by the "Collective responsibility" principle of all
democrats. The will of the majority in the context of the vote subordinated
that of the minority. This is important for all of us to appreciate
including our compatriots in parliament. The laws of Zimbabwe that were
passed in the presence of MDC legislators are not Zanu PF laws unless one is
addressing a rally. They are Zimbabweans laws in the sense that the
principle we alluded to still applies. The fact that they are bad laws is
another issue altogether.
This, therefore, tells us that the MDC saga, while it is an internal party
squabble, has lessons to all of us that democracy has its challenges. Even
when you may be proved in future to have been right, it behoves you to
respect the decision of the majority as defined by the party's constitution.
How are we to know that the Tsvangirai-led faction has the people behind it
before we get to the Party's Congress? Perhaps for now the pro-senate
faction may claim some following based on the number of provinces that
registered candidates for the forthcoming elections. If media reports are
anything to go by, then close to seven (7) provinces are pro-senate
If one were to visit the anti-senate argument one gets the impression that
when the MDC entered the election race in 2000 there was a level playing
field. Is that so? What other option, if one may ask, was available to the
MDC in the context of our political dispensation, as we know it today? How,
for instance, does the anti-senate election hero intend to mobilise people
given the spectacular and embarrassing failures of mass action in recent
We hold no brief for the pro-senate election lobby. Admittedly, the Senate
will not bring bread to the tables of Zimbabweans. But from a strategic and
tactical point of view it could be helpful for the MDC to participate in the
election. The argument that the same people who opposed the 17th Amendment
should not be the same people who support participation in the senate
election is burdensome syllogism. The MDC MPs opposed the 17th Amendment out
of principle. Zanu PF had the majority in parliament which passed the
Amendment. It is now law. It is now reality. In life we deal with objective
reality. This is what informs your strategy and tactics. Does this not take
us back to the Daily News saga where ANZ refused to register on grounds that
AIPPA was unconstitutional only to have the dirty hands doctrine hurled at
them by the Supreme Court? Chances are that if ANZ had registered they could
still be publishing today and no doubt the struggle for democracy in this
country would be many steps forward now. The absence of a paper like the
Daily News has taken the struggle for democracy countless steps backwards.
In the absence of identifiable viable extra-parliamentary alternatives, it
is playing macho to call fellow democracy crusaders sellouts simply because
they do not share your view. It is such a shame when Cleops begins to sniff
blood because he has been told that he is seeing only part of the world! The
term 'sell-out' is normally used by tyrannical and single-track absolutists
whose world is either black or white. To them, you either agree with them or
you are an enemy. In their political culture, an enemy has to be eliminated.
Isn't God kind to us that in his wisdom he delayed His Deliverance in 2002?
We would have jumped from the frying pan into the fire! The MDC is in an arm
of Government - National Assembly. They are in government by consensus. They
need the same consensus to pull out of government altogether if we are to
listen to the senate boycott.
The current constitution is, admittedly, one of the most defective pieces of
legislation that needs Zimbabweans' common effort to correct. Let us please
stop calling it the Lancaster House Constitution. With 17 home inspired
amendments and with an 18th one on the cards, how does it remain a Lancaster
House Constitution? It is sad that we have a severe drought of gray matter
when it comes to what we shall call the national good.
Franz Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth makes a very pertinent observation
about oppressed people. During the struggle for independence they all rally
behind the leadership elite in the hope that the future will be bright.
Unbeknown to them is that the ruling elite in the post Independence era
habour aristocratic ambitions akin to those of colonial rulers they sought
to overthrow. Hence the rise of tyranny and dictatorship. The same applies
in the post-colonial struggle for democracy. When you have a leader of a
party that is supposed to be a government-in-waiting publicly repudiating
the party constitution on grounds that it was authored by his enemies what
other hope can you have? One of his major functions is to defend the
constitution at all times and not to rubbish it when its processes yield an
uncomfortable outcome. If the same leader can organise hit squads to
eliminate 'enemies' within the party, what should you expect from him when
he is in charge of all the awesome state instruments of coercion? Mighty,
merciful God, thank you for delaying your Deliverance in 2002. You know all
of us very well!
The tragedy of African politics is the inability to accept opposing views.
This is further complicated by the ethnic factor. All along we have believed
that the MDC is a 'rainbow' party with all its leaders elected on a
democratic ticket. Were we wrong? The Management Committee of Six, as far as
we believe, was agreed to in accordance with the party constitution. Those
who sit in that committee do so by virtue of their positions to which they
were elected democratically, unless we were misled in the past six years.
Even those who are not in the Management Committee but hold certain
positions, such as the party spokesman, were either appointed using
constitutionally delegated authority (which is perfectly democratic) or they
were directly elected. We are therefore quite intrigued by Mr. Morgan
Tsvangirai's outburst that the pro-senate lobby is vending a tribal/regional
agenda. We are baffled even more by the zealous peddling of this
breathtaking and clearly divisive claim by the so-called observers,
commentators and analysts. This issue is about strategy and tactics. Perhaps
Mr. Tsvangirai may find it worth his while to educate us about how it is a
tribal/regional issue. Why are tribal/regional allegations so handy in
Zimbawe's political discourse? Remember that after the 2000 parliamentary
elections a senior Zanu PF official made an outburst about the results in
Matabeleland as if it was only there where people had voted against Zanu PF.
He said, "The vote in Matabeleland was tribal!" So much for tribalists and
regionalists! Any clue about where Mr. Tsvangirai cut his political teeth?
Let us cast off all pretensions. There are tribes in Zimbabwe and people
belong to these tribes. We are all tribal, at least to the extent that a
tribe is a social/anthropological formation with an identifiable culture.
Nations are apex formations. Rules and regulations are meant to surbodinate,
in an orderly manner, our primordial dispositions to a higher multicultural
way of life. They are a covenant that brings order in our lives. When the
more regarded amongst us choose to be free from these regulations, then we
are back to the state of nature, where life is nasty, brutish and short. Let
us not tribalise issues in order to score cheap short-term political
Opinion leaders in Zimbabwe must be responsible in their articulation of
issues. They must look beyond what coincides with their political
philosophy. The reason why we have a political crisis in this country is the
belief in absolute positions. The national good, which, in simple terms is
the welfare of the ordinary people, has been turned into narrow party and
individual dogmas. Yet the truth is that Zimbabwe belongs to all of us who
respect its flag and its existence as a unitary State. The mandarins in both
Zanu PF and MDC are but passing actors in a permanent stage that is
Zimbabwe. None of them is more Zimbabwean than you and I. None of them has
right in their pocket or under their armpit.
As the MDC/Zanu PF internal squabbles rage on let it be placed on record
that Zimbabwe is bigger than both parties put together. Their failure to
address the issues that uplift the lives of our people may not be for given
by posterity. Let us remember that there was Zimbabwe before Zanu PF and MDC
and there will be Zimbabwe after the two institutions. The prosperity of
this country lies in our collective effort as Zimbabweans to seek the common
issues that may make the lives of our people worth living. Those who
masquerade as national heroes when in fact they are sectarian to the core
shall reap thorns. As we forge ahead we need always to remember posterity.
Look at your child and ask yourself: Am I laying a firm foundation for the
future of this child?
For those in the MDC, they owe it to the millions of those who voted for
them to show maturity in what they say and do. By all means avoid the tribal
card. There are many examples in history, including the war of liberation
here and the nasty events of the Great Lakes region, that bigotry and
arrogance in the conduct of national affairs can be very costly. Let us not
allow history to repeat itself. History tends to repeat itself in worse
forms! We have a collective responsibility to see a bigger picture. We are
all Zimbabweans. We are all equal. There are no underdogs. Let us unite in
dignity. Only then will our unity endure the test of time and Zimbabwe will
be the marvel that it rightly deserves to be.
The dignity of all Zimbabweans is sacrosanct and let no one delude
themselves that they are more Zimbabwean than others. Like birds in the air,
we can enjoy our Zimbabwean space without collisions, only if we respect
each other and think beyond shot-term political gains.
John B. Mkobi and Bulelani Mokoena write from Ireland and can be contacted
MASOLA WA DABUDABU HOPEWELL
Last updated: 11/09/2005 14:21:59
"Mr. Blair, leave my people and my Zimbabwe alone!" ......
(aside) .... "and my dear slaves I donate to thee."
Heracles (Hercules) did not say these words, neither did I!
This is neither a quote from Dante's work or Sophocles' pieces of
poetic wizardry. It is not a plagiarised statement from Homer's Greek epics
as embodied in the Odyssey (Ulysses) and the Iliad. The statement has too
much hatred embedded in it that it can never be one of the greatest
statements to be coined, uttered or penned by the world's front runners in
Move over Papa Doc, enter Baba vaChatunga! The dirty and delirious
ranting and rampant attack on reason has assumed newer and deadlier
proportions. No-one beats the brute in his smelly game of impiety and
The Ancient Greek god of the underworld, Hades, has an able and
sinister right-hand man who is working tirelessly to condemn whole
generations of meek and docile Zimbabweans to the dark world of doom and
Hell is neither above us nor deep down in the abysses of dejection.
Hell is in Mugabe's Zimbabwe and the devil is Zimbabwe's Mugabe! If
this assertion be refuted, how does one explain the suffering, the rape, the
vagrancy of esteemed persons, the displacement of people with highly
respected skills from Zimbabwe, the begging bowls on Zimbabwe's highways
(especially from Beit Bridge in Matebeleland South to Chivi in Masvingo) and
the general turmoil?
How can one explain the multiplier effect of the voter-population in
the distressed district of UMP? How can one explain the hunger that pervades
in our midst? How can we explain the disappearance of the family unit; the
incest, the cursed marriages, the dogged relationships, the sickness, the
disease and the wholesale death of the citizens of a promising nation? How
can we explain all this evil?
Shame on us! Shame on all Zimbabweans! This ill and unpleasantness
cannot be blamed wholesomely on the collective ineptitude or political
clumsiness of the people of UMP. Perhaps they could be culpably blamed for
the lesser crime of being the cheer-leaders in the amphitheatre of blood
sport where our people are slaughtered for the fun of the oligarchic
If the truth be told as it is, all Zimbabweans are to blame for giving
Robert Mugabe the impetus to take our children and have them savagely raped
on his impotent behalf by his important lieutenants such as Black Jesus
(forbid if its blasphemy) and Comrade Satan (sounds very fitting). Poor
young victims of rape! When they finally come back home they bleat Mugabe's
gospel and act as small spies for his movement of disgrace.
About the (verbatim) quote above, all that can be humanly concluded is
that it is poison from the wicked concoction prepared by the witching
caretaker of misery in the cauldron of doom and voodoo to be used to cast a
subjugating spell on the people of Zimbabwe.
Poor Zimbabweans! They are accepting with both hands kegs that are
filled to the brim with the deadly potions. Watch the submissive and
taciturn people drink the bitter stuff with unvoiced concern. Look at the
ugly faces the suppressed servants make as they take ill-omened gulps of the
obnoxious poison that will further and farther dent their suspect health.
You would not be wrong if you concluded that it was a quote from the
satanic verses; not as expounded upon by Salmon Rushdie who has a fatwa
avowed on him by the mullahs, the sheiks, the imams, the ayatollahs and the
Taliban. It is a classless rant by the devil himself as he proclaimed a
murderous fatwa for all of Zimbabwe and all Zimbabweans.
It is a satanic statement fired as a broadside to imaginary enemies by
the paranoid octogenarian from Murombedzi/Zvimba. For the uninitiated,
Zvimba is the birth-place of one old man who has managed to feed his
starving people with diatribe and barrages of cruelty and shame.
Woe unto you Zimbabweans! The proclamation of fate has been signed,
sealed and delivered to your door-steps. A fatwa such as the one Mugabe has
proclaimed on you all means your fate has been designed for a pre-mature
visit to the underworld. You are on death-row waiting the executioner to
crown your neck with a murderous noose laced with lethal doses for Mugabe's
Perhaps that is why people run-away from Mugabe's death-row in Harare
and land at Heath-row Airport! May be persecuted persons like the previously
financially well-up James Makamba can explain how it is to have been Mugabe's
henchman. The sudden unkind extension of a murderous fatwa on him would add
to the excitement of studying Zimbabwe's hell on Zvimba soil!
I shall strategically digress at this juncture!
Speaking of Makamba, my moneyless mole at Charing Cross who is known
as Marihobo Sekeramayi says he saw James Makamba enjoying an efficient ride
in a tube carriage on the Northern Line. My spy says the man looked visibly
shaken by all sorts and a bit on the dishevelled side. He was probably
brooding over his current status as a refugee who used his democratic
decision to flee from the fleas in his mentor's jail.
My mole says he was positively evasive at people with Zimbabwean
features. He was also suspected of having made a wrong turn into The Strand
where CIO agents are concentrated for the longer life of Mugabe (UK
He was possibly contemplating a way of convincing the Home Office that
he was an MDC activist who had been flashed from Zanu PF Headquarters in
Harare after working there incognito for many, many years and much more
moons and weeks earning himself zillions of Zim-Dollars!
You can imagine on your own what Mugabe has done to the people of
Zimbabwe. Think locally and give your thoughts a global touch. Think of the
people of UNP. Given the fair chance and an airfare to Heathrow, all of UMP
denizens would be claiming asylum in the UK for having been forced to dance
in self-demeaning fashion during a mock voting exercise in Ntawatawa (not
vaguely related to wa Dabudabu) by the axe-wielding ex-combatants.
If this hypothesis can be proven, then Mugabe has no support; not even
from Grace and Chatunga. Rumour says Chatunga is destined to enrol for a
cheap degree in one of the expensive colleges in the United Kingdom in the
not so distant future; for he is a small boy with enigmatic "learning
Masola wa Dabudabu is a columnist for New Zimbabwe.com and was
previously a regular columnist with the banned Daily News. He writes from
London. CONTACT MASOLA: email@example.com
November 9, 2005
By Peta Thornycroft and Tawanda Mashingaidze
Harare - On the corner of two streets named after Southern African
heroes, most of the leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and
about 200 peaceful demonstrators, many of them women, were arrested
South African trade union federation Cosatu says up to 200 people were
Several ZCTU leaders were still at large yesterday and fears have been
expressed about the safety of four executive members taken into custody by
Mlamleli Sibanda, Last Tarabuku, Tabita Khumalo and Leonard Ngwenzi
were last seen being dragged from a ZCTU minibus by soldiers at a roadblock
in central Harare shortly before 1pm .
Cosatu has called for solidarity with the workers and the poor of
It asked for President Robert Mugabe to intervene and ensure the
immediate release of those arrested and for the scrapping of the draconian
Public Order Security Act, which it said would soon allow only cabinet
ministers to gather.
"Reports we have now is that at least 200 people have been arrested in
Harare alone," Cosatu said.
The anti-poverty march began at the corner of Nelson Mandela and
Leopold Takawira streets on the western edge of the city centre, with songs
about poverty and placards against "zhing-zhong", which is Zimbabwe slang
for poor-quality Chinese goods.
Within 10 minutes, scores of well-equipped riot police moved in and
ended the march.
The singing protesters were told to climb into a large lorry and a
bakkie and were taken off to Harare Central police station.
Police cordoned off Leopold Takawaria Street, named after one
of the founders of the ruling Zanu-PF, diverted the traffic, kept
their dogs on their leashes, and without much fuss ended the demonstration
almost as quickly as it began, watched by hundreds of bystanders.
On Monday night, two Bulawayo ZCTU officials were arrested, and at
dawn a third was picked up there.
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo and secretary-general Wellington
Chibebe were arrested in the city centre while walking to the point where
the march started.
a.. Sapa-AFP reports that Zimbabwe's High Court yesterday nullified
the suspension of opposition lawmaker Job Sikhala, who claimed his party had
received US$2,5-million (about R16,5-million) in illegal funding from Ghana,
Nigeria and Taiwan, his lawyer said.
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai suspended
Sikhala late last month for "bringing the party into disrepute".
Declan Walsh in Khartoum
Wednesday November 9, 2005
A tangle of pipes and metallic towers rises over the shimmering, rock-strewn
desert north of the Sudanese capital Khartoum. The gleaming oil refinery is
the jewel of Sudan's oil boom, the mid-point of a 900-mile pipeline from the
southern oilfields to the Red Sea that is projected to pump 500,000 barrels
a day by the end of this year.
But if the oil is African, the money and management are Chinese. Inside the
refinery gates, Chinese engineers man the distillation towers, Chinese cooks
serve rice and noodles in the canteen, and workers pedal between the giant
oil drums on bicycles imported from Beijing.
"We like Sudan very much," said Zhao Yujun, 35, a manager with the
state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which built the
sprawling plant five years ago. "China needs energy for economic growth.
There is oil in Africa. That is why we have come here."
China is prowling the globe in search of energy sources. Oil executives and
diplomats have signed a flurry of deals, from Canada to Kazakhstan. The
scramble has triggered unease in Washington, where American conservatives
worry about China's growing economic muscle, but has sparked an
unprecedented engagement with Africa.
Chinese business is blazing a trail across the continent. Trade with China
has almost tripled in five years. Railways in Angola, roads in Rwanda, a
port in Gabon and a dam in Sudan have all been paid for with Chinese loans
and built by Chinese contractors. Business with Nigeria and South Africa is
booming. And this year China is expected to overtake the UK as Africa's
third largest trading partner.
The driving ingredient is oil. China's flagship African project is in Sudan.
Isolation from the west meant that Khartoum barely pumped a barrel of crude
a decade ago. Now, after intensive Chinese investment, it has the third
largest oil business in sub-Saharan Africa.
China shipped in thousands of workers to build the Heglig pipeline in record
time, and a second pipeline is under construction. The Khartoum refinery -
CNPC's first outside China - opened in late 1999, just in time for the 10th
anniversary of the coup that brought military leader Omar al Bashir to
The gamble has paid off handsomely. Sudan is expected to earn more than $1bn
in oil revenues this year and its economy is one of the fastest growing in
Africa. Meanwhile, China has won a new ally to fuel its thirsty factories
and exploding rate of car ownership.
"CNPC - your close friend and faithful partner" reads a dust-smeared
billboard outside the Khartoum refinery showing grinning Chinese workers in
"Our agreement is an example to others," said Mohamed Atif, the Sudanese
deputy general manager. "The Chinese say they are communists and socialists
but they are deeply involved in the capitalist system," he said.
Where western companies shy away because of corruption, conflict or the risk
of losing their shirt, Chinese firms are plunging in. President Hu Jintao
has dispatched diplomats to dangle large, low-interest loans before
impoverished countries with the sole stipulation that work is done by
African governments also appreciate China's tendency to keep its nose out of
domestic affairs. In contrast with the demands for transparency that
accompany loans from international bodies such as the International Monetary
Fund, Chinese help comes on a strictly "no questions asked" basis.
But human rights campaigners warn that this one-track expansionism offers
succour to rogue leaders and undermines efforts to foster transparency in
some of Africa's most notorious governments. Earlier this year, Angola's
president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who presides over a famously oil-rich
but poverty-stricken country, received a £1.1bn line of credit from Beijing.
Beijing also came to the rescue of Zimbabwe's embattled president, Robert
Mugabe, presenting him with ornamental tiles for the roof of his palace and
an honorary degree in recognition of his "remarkable contribution in the
work of diplomacy and international relations".
"If you're a corrupt government that wants loans with no conditions, you
will like the Chinese. But it's not good for the people of the country,"
said Sarah Wykes of Global Witness, a UK-based lobby group.
Western hostility towards Sudan's military regime paved the way for one of
China's sweetest deals in Africa. In 1996, when the regime was an
international pariah for sheltering Osama bin Laden and human rights abuses,
CNPC bought shares in a government oil venture on highly favourable terms.
At the Khartoum refinery, Sudanese and Chinese co-workers communicate in a
mix of Arabic, Chinese and English. In offices Chinese officials play with
their mobile phones beside Muslim managers kneeling on prayer mats.
But in the city Sudanese businessmen grumble that Chinese projects give
little and take much. "They bring everything from China - labour, materials,
the lot," said one prominent trader who asked not to be named.
South Africans worry that cheap imports are swamping their textile industry.
Others say that China is stingy with humanitarian aid and that its secretive
culture fuels bribery and corruption.
But there are also hints that the blinkered "no questions asked" policy is
shifting. China has deployed peacekeepers to UN missions in Liberia and
When Sudan's terrible rights record in Darfur came before the UN security
council in March, Beijing was expected to veto it. Instead, to Khartoum's
dismay, it abstained.
"It suggests the Chinese are becoming sensitive about their image," said
Jemera Rone of Human Rights Watch. And we see that as a good thing."
Keith Alcorn, Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Treatment of the parasitic infection schistosomiasis (also known as
bilharzia) results in a stabilisation in HIV viral load and an improvement
in CD4 cell count in HIV-positive people, Danish and Zimbabwean researchers
report in the December 1st edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Schistosomiasis is a widespread parasitic infection in southern Africa. It
is a debilitating parasitic disease caused by five different kinds of
flatworm or blood fluke (helminth). 500 to 600 million people are at risk
worldwide, in 74 countries, of whom 20 million are severely ill, another 120
million have some symptoms and another 60 million or more are infected. Its
economic impact is second only to malaria, in reducing productivity at work
and in limiting children's ability to learn.
It is common in large parts of Africa with two main kinds - S. mansoni
(whose eggs are shed into faeces) and S. haematobium (whose eggs are shed
into urine). Eggs pass into water where they rest on water plants, until
eaten by snails where they grow into larvae that are then shed into fresh
water. These larvae then pass into the bodies of people who enter the water.
The Schistosomiasis and HIV cohort was established in Zimbabwe to look at
the interaction between schistosomiasis and HIV, following the observation
that generalised immune activation caused by schistosomiasis might increase
the rate of HIV disease progression.
As part of the cohort's research a randomised study was carried out to test
the effects of schistosomiasis treatment in HIV-positive people. The study
randomised 287 people with and without HIV infection who were infected with
schistosomiasis to receive immediate treatment with praziquantel or
treatment deferred for three months.
Two hundred and twenty eight participants were available for follow-up, of
whom 130 were HIV-positive. Comparison between HIV-positive participants who
received immediate treatment and those who received deferred treatment
showed a difference of -0.21 log10 copies/ml after three months, favouring
the immediate treatment group (p=0.03). In the deferred treatment group
viral load continued to rise whilst it stabilised in the immediate treatment
CD4 counts rose in all patients who received treatment irrespective of HIV
status, suggesting that schistosomiasis is a widespread cause of immune
suppression in Africa, and further highlighting the need for cohort studies
in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa that can quantify the
relationship between viral load, CD4 count and disease progression, in order
to determine whether there are regional differences in the predictive value
of internationally recognised thresholds such as a CD4 cell count of 200
Using data from a European cohort, the authors estimate that a decrease in
viral load of -0.21 log10 copies/ml would be associated with a reduction in
mortality of between 1.9 and 7-fold. However they caution that the 95%
confidence interval for the viral load change was between -0.39 log and
0.02log10 copies/ml, and that an0ther study has shown that any suppressive
effect of schistosomiasis treatment on HIV viral load disappears after six
months. They conclude that while their study supports the view that
schistosomiasis increases HIV viral load, further operational research is
needed to determine whether schistosomiasis interventions should be
incorporated into the current initiatives for providi ng ART in areas where
both infections are endemic.
Kellestrup P et al. Schistosomiasis and HIV-1 infection in rural Zimbabwe:
effect of treatment of schistosomiasis on CD4 cell count and plasma HIV-1
RNA load. J Infect Dis 192 (online edition), 2005.
----- Original Message -----
From: Zwelibanzi Ndlovu
I can imagine how Mugabe is celebrating. What he doesn't know is that the
celebration is going to be short-lived.
We cannot afford a split in the MDC. Period. It is worse that the split is
now being given a tribal slant.
In the MDC we have many, many, many things in common that unite us and a few
that split us. We need to recognise the things that unite us and build on
them to overcome this very temporary crisis. We need to remember that we do
not belong to ourselves but to the people of Zimbabwe. Each time we hurl
insults at each other (especially in public) we are insulting the Zimbabwean
people. The only winner in this public name calling is Mugabe and ZANU PF.
The need to drop everything that magnifies our differences and focus on
reconciling the the two sides should be utmost in our minds and top in
priority out of all items on all our agenda.
The MDC is the only true representative of the Zimbabwean people. Let us
not put this truth in the past tense. We have a unique opportunity to
prove, not so much to the rest of Zimbabwe and the world, but most
importantly to ourselves that we can stay focussed on the strategic even in
the advent of tactical challenges. What is facing the MDC now is a tactical
issue not a strategic one. Let us subjugate our personal interests in
favour of the interests of the Zimbabwean people.
I propose the following.
1. As a starting point let us stop name calling.
2. Let us stop communicating with each other through the media.
3. Let us only communicate to the media as one voice.
4. Let the two sides meet face-to-face (closed door, no media).
5. Let us communicate the message that even as we are going through
what we are going through, the reconcilliation effort is running in
parrallel. Let this be communicated through the media.
6. Let both sides apologise to the Zimbabwean people for having allowed
the "split" to go public. With this apology we can only come out stronger.
7. Let both sides commit to the fact that regardless of the outcome of
the meeting the MDC shall continue to listen to the people. As our leaders
fight in public let them understand that they should be asking the people
and not telling them what to do. Leadership is a combination of listening
to and speaking to the people we lead. Often we like to listen only to
ourselves and not to those we lead and represent.
----- Original Message -----
From: Freedom Chete
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 12:32 AM
Subject: Sibanda calls for Ndebele state
Sibanda calls for Ndebele state
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-08
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deputy president, Gibson Sibanda is
advocating the establishment of an independent state for the
Speaking last week at a campaign rally to drum-up support for the MDC
faction that has decided to participate in the senatorial elections slated
for November 26, Sibanda said the establishment of the state would be the
only way that could guarantee the Ndebele-speaking people total sovereignty.
"Ndebeles can only exercise sovereignty through creating their state like
Lesotho, which is an independent state in South Africa and it is not
politically wrong to have the State of Matabeleland inside Zimbabwe," said
The rally entourage included the main opp! osition's secretary-general,
Welshman Ncube, national treasurer, Fletcher Dulini Ncube, Paul Themba
Nyathi, the national spokesperson and Esaph Mdlongwa, the organising
Some observers project that the tribal sentiments expressed by Sibanda could
worsen the split in the MDC, saying there is a possibility of further cracks
along ethnic lines.
They say the Karanga, Zezuru and Manyika-speaking sub-ethnic groups might
feel threatened by the call for the formation of a Ndebele state and could
organise themselves into a grouping opposed to the one that Ncube leads.
Ncube is widely considered to be the leader of the pro-senate faction that
has been embroiled in bitter battles with party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
and his camp.
Sibanda also used the rally to call for the total disregard of Tsvangirai in
his trail to campaign against running in the senatorial elections, with
Ncube describing his embattled boss as being "too dangerous not only to the
MDC but to the rest! of the country as well".
Ncube at an earlier rally in Tsholotsho, queried where Tsvangirai was
getting the money to hire youths who he alleged were being used to
decampaign the senatorial preparations by the former's faction.
The previous day, in Hwange and Binga, Sibanda took a swipe at the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) for pushing anti-senate agenda.
The NCA last week staged street protests against the senate, which it argues
was imposed on the people by the ruling
The Ncube campaign team used the opportunity to formally introduce Dalimuzi
Khumalo as the MDC senatorial candidate for Lupane/Nkayi.
In Hwange West/Tsholotsho, the chief executive officer of the now dormant
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), which published the Daily News and
the Daily News on Sunday, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, was officially declared the
candidate for the constituency.
Small political parties, such as Zapu, and pressure groups have also in the
past advocated an independent or semi-autonomous Ndebele state which would
assume a federal dimension, with power being devolved from national
But that has been viewed as divisive and untenable in some circles.
In 1987, Zanu PF and the then Zapu hammered out any accord, with both
parties arguing that it would promote unity among Zimbabwe's mainly Shona
and Ndebele tribes.
Recently, Parliament, which is dominated by Zanu PF, re-introduced the
bicameral system comprising an Upper House and the lower assembly.
The re-introduction of the Senate has had debilitating effects on the MDC,
as reflected in the bickering that has been occurring, with the opposed
factions publicly trading words and working to undermine each other.
A total of 27 MDC candidates defied Tsvangirai and elected to stand in the
senatorial elections, following a narrow pro-Senate vote in the national
council of the opposition party.
Tsvangirai recently gave the "rebels" an ultim! atum to renounce their
decision to participate, saying they risked being expelled from the MDC, but
the other group has remained adamant that it is following council