The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Mugabe’s back in Singapore for medical treatment

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 April 2011

Reports say that Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace flew urgently to Singapore
on Friday. It’s alleged that Grace is there to receive medical treatment for
a painful hip.

Reports from Harare claim the first lady recently slipped and fell in the
bathroom at their Borrowdale house and has not fully recovered from the
fall. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba confirmed to the Zimbabwe Standard
newspaper that Mugabe and his wife were in Singapore, but would not disclose
the purpose of the trip.

Since January Mugabe has flown to Singapore three times, allegedly for
checkups following an eye cataract operation.

The Standard said that Charamba did hint that Grace Mugabe was seeking
medical attention, saying that she had not fully recovered from a
complication she suffered 14 years ago, while giving birth to her youngest
son Chatunga.

But there is renewed speculation that this is a cover-up for the fact that
it is Robert Mugabe who is seriously ill, since he was seen struggling to
walk at the recent SADC Troika summit in Livingstone, Zambia. The 87
year-old had to use a golf cart to move around the summit venue and there
were 6 medical personnel on call at all times in the group that accompanied
him to the summit.

While Charamba and ZANU PF party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo insist there is
nothing wrong with Robert Mugabe, there are persistent rumours that he has
cancer of the prostate.
Striking Air Zimbabwe pilots were once again recalled on ‘national duty’ to
fly the couple to Singapore.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim parties agree election roadmap

by Tobias Manyuchi     Monday 11 April 2011

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s three ruling parties have agreed in a principle a
roadmap to elections to choose a new government to replace their coalition,
officials said on Sunday.

Priscilla Misihairabwi -Mushonga, who represents a breakaway faction of the
MDC in the inter-party negotiations, told ZimOnline that negotiators were
expected to meet again next week to discuss the time frames of when the key
vote can take place.

There has been disagreement between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC over timing of the polls with the
former insisting they should take place soon after enactment of a new
constitution later this year.

Tsvangirai backed by his and the splinter MDC faction prefers elections to
be deferred to early next year.

Misihairabwi –Mushonga said: "We agreed and have drafted the election road
map. We have not finalised anything yet on the time frames but just agreed
on the principles of the road map. We will meet again on April 20."

The agreement by the Zimbabwean parties follows mediation by a team of
facilitators dispatched to Harare by South African President Jacob Zuma, who
is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s official mediator in
the inter-party dialogue.

A spokeswoman for the facilitators, Lindiwe Zulu, said they were looking
forward to receiving a copy of the election roadmap before inviting the
Zimbabwean parties to South Africa for a workshop to discuss the document.

"We expect them to send us a copy of the road map and we will invite them to
South Africa for a workshop to discuss the document and review the process
as soon as they give us the document,” said Zulu, without indicating when
exactly the representatives of the Zimbabwean parties were likely to come to

Under the GPA Zimbabwe must first write a new and democratic constitution
before holding fresh elections.

A multi-party parliamentary committee leading the writing of the new
constitution expects to have a draft charter ready to be taken before
Zimbabweans in a referendum by September.

But the MDC parties supported by their civil society allies say Zimbabwe
should not hold elections this year even after a new constitution has been
enacted because the charter and several proposed electoral reforms would
need to be given time to take root to ensure any future vote is free and

Mugabe, who at 87 years will be the oldest candidate in the race for
president, insists the vote must take place this year while he has in the
past suggested elections could still take place even without a new

Zimbabwe’s elections have been characterised by political violence and gross
human rights abuses with the last vote in June 2008 ending inconclusively
after the military-led a campaign of violence and murder that forced then
opposition leader Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second round presidential

Tsvangirai had been tipped to win the second round election after beating
Mugabe in the first round ballot but without the percentage of votes
required to avoid the run-off poll

The former foes eventually bowed to pressure from southern African leaders
to agree to form a government of national unity. -- ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Temporary break in election roadmap talks

By Lance Guma
11 April 2011

Inter-party talks aimed at securing an election roadmap have temporarily
broken off to accommodate the coming Independence Day holiday celebrations
and other commitments involving Finance Minister and MDC-T Secretary-General
Tendai Biti, who is one of the key negotiators.

Six party negotiators from the MDC-T, MDC-N and ZANU PF, all signatories to
the Global Political Agreement (GPA), were locked in talks last week. A
facilitation team from South Africa also jetted into Harare last Tuesday and
has since been in a number of meetings with the negotiating teams.
Some reports suggested last week’s talks deadlocked over the role of
security chiefs who have had an evident bias towards Robert Mugabe and ZANU
PF over the years. It was reported negotiators failed to agree on issues
related to violence and the continued tenure of the security chiefs. It was
even suggested they “came close to trading physical blows” over the issues.

But speaking to SW Radio Africa on Monday one of the negotiators told us it
could not be said that there was a deadlock. The MDC formations are raising
the point that police commissioner Augustine Chihuri and army general
Constantine Chiwenga ‘cannot be in any other dispensation than the one they
have served,’ having declared their allegiance to Mugabe and ZANU PF.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Transport Minister Nicholas Goche
from ZANU PF are said to be adamant the discussions should not centre on
individuals but the institutions they lead. “This, to be fair to Goche and
Chinamasa, seems a fair point to be making but the problem in Zimbabwe is
that certain people have become institutions unto themselves,’ the official
told us.

The MDC parties are insisting the security chiefs are key to the talks as
they remain a stumbling block to any transfer of power, should Mugabe lose
the election again.
SW Radio Africa was told that last week’s meetings started off with what
they termed the ‘review mechanism’, looking at what has been done and what
has not been done in terms of implementing the power sharing deal. A report
by the negotiators was then submitted to the facilitators.

“We covered substantial work on the roadmap and are pushing for things like
the right to vote in a peaceful environment, the security of the vote, the
security of the voter and the security of the vote outcome.” He said they
also want international and regional observers in Zimbabwe 6 months before
the vote and 6 months.

Other key points they are pushing for include a new digital voter’s roll and
the right of people in the Diaspora to vote. ZANU PF meanwhile are said to
be heavily resisting the Diaspora vote.
Another meeting of the negotiators has been set for the 20th April. At the
conclusion of those talks the negotiators will travel to South Africa in
early May to meet the facilitation team, ahead of the SADC extraordinary
summit set for mid May.

Various commentators have criticized last week’s talks for reportedly
shutting out the South African facilitators. Former diplomat Clifford
Mashiri posed the question “was it worthwhile for SADC to waste it’s time
sending facilitators to Zimbabwe only to be kept out of fruitless talks by
their hosts? Will SADC continue to watch the regime in Harare play games of
hide and seek?”
It was not possible to get a clear answer from the MDC as to why the SADC
facilitators did not attend some meetings. We were told they did not attend
the ones to do with the ‘review mechanism.’

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

13 Congregants Still In Police Custody As Police Violatemukoyi'S Right To Health



HRD’s Alert

11 April 2011




13 of the 14 congregants who were arrested while attending a prayer meeting on Saturday 9 April 2011 in Glen Norah suburb of Harare were still detained in police custody on Monday 11 April 2011.


Police only released one juvenile, who was arrested together with the congregants when riot police violently stormed and suppressed a church service organised to pray for peace in the high density suburb.


The 13 congregants, who include four Pastors have since Saturday 9 April 2011 been detained in filthy police cells at Glen Norah Police station before being transferred to Harare Central Police Station on Sunday 10 April 2011. As has become custom, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member lawyers, Marufu Mandevere of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners and Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa, Mtisi Legal Practitioners, were denied access to their clients at Glen Norah Police station despite numerous requests to be able to interview their clients.


One of the detainees Shakespeare Mukoyi was brutally assaulted by police officers in the church building in Glen Norah before being taken to the police station. Since then, Shakespeare has been denied access to full medication after undergoing an X-ray examination which determined the need for urgent treatment. Police allegedly took him to Harare Hospital during the night on Saturday 9 April where he was attended to briefly before he was unceremoniously seized from the hospital where the X-ray examination was being undertaken and re-detained at Harare Central Police Station holding cells despite the fact that he was in intense pain, with a swollen head, red left eye, left swollen palm and was finding it very difficult to walk without assistance.  


On Sunday 10 April, when Mukoyi’s lawyers were allowed access to interview him they indicated to the police officers that their client was in serious pain and could not walk as a result of the injuries he sustained from the assault by the police. Mukoyi was then once again taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital where he was again examined. He was taken back to the police cells after the Doctor indicated that he was not supposed to be admitted to hospital as the X ray taken did not show any injuries.


One of the four Pastors, who is in police custody together with Pastor Mukome, the Resident Priest at the Nazarene Church, Pastor Isaya was also assaulted by the police.


The 13 congregants were on Sunday 10 April charged with committing the crime of ‘public violence’ as defined in the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act and they are yet to appear in court as police indicated that they are doing further investigations with the arresting officers since the facts do not disclose that some of the detainees committed any offence. 




The congregants were arrested by anti-riot police on Saturday 9 April 2011 during a church service organised to pray for peace. The church service had originally been scheduled for St Peters Kubatana Centre in Highfields, but the venue was changed after police camped in Highfields overnight and sealed off the venue to block people from accessing the grounds.


Riot police stormed the church hall during prayer, and dispersed the congregation, which included many church, civic and community leaders and assaulted congregants who were inside and outside the church.


The police went on to indiscriminately fire tear gas canisters at residences and churches surrounding the venue of the church service. Even children who were within and outside the parameters of the church were affected by the tear smoke and the police clampdown.


The church service was organised by a coalition of churches under the theme “Saving Zimbabwe….the unfinished journey”. The church service was aimed at presenting an opportunity to pray for peace in Zimbabwe as part of the process of finishing the journey to save the country. It was also meant to commemorate the events of the 11 March 2007 Save Zimbabwe Prayer Meeting, where one activist Gift Tandare was shot dead while over 100 political and human rights activists were arrested, tortured and detained through similar heavy-handed police action.




Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu (PF) And MDC-T Fail To Agree On Violence

11/04/2011 13:41:00

Harare, April 11, 2011 – Zanu (PF) and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
negotiators have referred public violence issues and the continued tenure of
the country’s partisan security chiefs to the principals after failing to
reach an agreement on the contentious items.

Sources have revealed the negotiators, who met last week, haggled endlessly
over issues outstanding but reached a deadlock over the two items.

So emotive are the issues that it has emerged the negotiators came close to
trading physical blows over the matter.

Reports say Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche were
adamant national security institutions were untouchable and should never
come before any political negotiation.

On the other hand, Mugabe’s opponents have blamed the security commanders
for patent bias towards President Robert Mugabe’s party.

“The stumbling block to a return to democracy in Zimbabwe now lies with the
partisan security commanders who fear change in Zimbabwe. It has also become
apparent that Mugabe is no longer in control,” said the source.

It has also emerged Zanu (PF) negotiators are vehemently defending the high
handedness and "extra judicial" decisions often taken by the security
organs, the most recent being the disruption of public gatherings, some of
which would have been sanctioned by the courts.

The negotiators are due to meet again on April 20 while the South African
facilitators of the talks are expected in the country on May 07.

Key on the agenda is the completion of the writing of a new constitution and
the drafting a roadmap that will lead to free and fair elections in the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA anger mounts

By Chris Goko and Reagan Mashavave
Monday, 11 April 2011 09:23

HARARE - Pretoria's anger towards President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF
party mounted yesterday after Zimbabwean state media and erratic politician
Jonathan Moyo ratched up their ctiticism of President Jacob Zuma.

State newspapers slated the South African facilitation team at the weekend,
alleging that it had presented an "embarrassing" report which reads like "an
MDC-T pamplet" at last weekend's Sadc troika meeting on Zimbabwe.

The newspaper reports, variously described by analysts and regional
diplomats yesterday as “pathetic”, “patently contrived”, “diplomatic
 suicide” and “shockingly lacking in wisdom”, even went to the extent of
making the outrageous claim that Zuma had not read the reports in advance
and that he also had come to accept that his facilitation team’s commentary
on Zimbabwe’s deepening political crisis was one-sided.

Pretoria was further angered by yet another vicious attack on Zuma and his
foreign affairs minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane in yesterday’s edition of
the state run Sunday Mail by serial political flip-flopper Moyo. He was
particularly acerbic on Nkoane-Mashabane and accused her of engaging in
“undiplomatic”, “unacceptable” and “reckless megaphone diplomacy”.

Although Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, who is also a
member of SA’s facilitation team to Zimbabwe’s inclusive government, tried
to calm down emotions and said the facilitation team would not respond to
any issues which were being raised outside official channels, sources in
Pretoria said the South African government was taking the “unjustifiable
attacks” very seriously.

“Zuma knows that the government media in Zimbabwe will never venture outside
of official positions.  To that extent, it is clear that these pathetic
attacks, many of them personal, as well as the patently contrived stories
about what allegedly transpired in Livingstone have a ring of official
blessing around them.

“It is even more dumbfounding that Mugabe is choosing to let loose people
like Jonathan Moyo, who we note sits in Zanu PF’s politburo, to attack
President Zuma.  This is akin to biting the hand that feeds him and it is
not smart politics. Pretoria does not need Harare, it is Harare that is in
desperate need of oxygen from Pretoria,” a reliable source said.

Zulu said negotiators and the principals to the global political agreement
(GPA) had not raised any issues in last week’s meetings in Harare over the
resolution of the troika team in Livingstone, Zambia.

“The facilitation team will not respond to any questions that are outside
its mandate. It is clear that these pathetic attacks have a ring of official
blessing’ dealing with and they haven’t raised any issue with our
facilitation role and when we came to Harare last week, none of the
negotiators and the principals raised any complaints to us. The negotiators
and the principals have access to the facilitators,” Zulu said.

Zulu also made it clear that the facilitation team was not required by
protocol to present the facilitator’s report to the Zimbabweans before the
troika accepts the report. She said the report they prepared was for the
troika and not for the parties in the GPA.

“A report is presented to the troika by the facilitator. The troika debates
on the facilitator’s report and make a collective conclusion on what should
be done. The troika can only call the three parties to clarify on any
position that they may want to be explained but when everything is clear
there is no need to discuss anything with the parties involved,” Zulu said.

A Zambian diplomat, who waded into the furore yesterday, described local
state media allegations around the Livingstone meeting, as well as Moyo’s
polemic as “incomprehensible diplomatic suicide” and “shockingly lacking in

“I cannot understand what it is that our brothers in Zanu PF are trying to
achieve.  The region has been very good to them for more than a decade and
this is how they are saying thank you to those who have shielded them for so
long, and at huge cost to their own interests. This thing (furore) will end
badly,” he said.

Human Rights researcher Pedzisayi Ruhanya said: “What it means is that Sadc
now has balls. It is now serious in trying to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.
The time of quiet diplomacy is long gone. If Zanu PF is not careful and
doesn’t listen to Sadc, there will be international intervention.

“Any election that will be held in Zimbabwe that does not take advice from
Sadc will result in a full-time pariah state. Zimbabwe will easily become an
outpost of tyranny as was said by former US secretary of state, Condoleezza
Rice some years ago.”Contacted for comment the Minister of state in the
Prime Minister’s office Jameson Timba expressed surprise that the lies were
being peddled against Sadc.

“The facilitator does not report to the GPA parties in Zimbabwe but to the
troika. At Livingstone, the facilitator submitted his report to the troika
which was deliberated on by the troika three hours to the invitation of the
three parties. No GPA partner submitted a report as being said.

“Instead all four were asked to respond to the troika report which had been
presented by President Rupiah Banda. None of the parties in the GPA were
given a copy of the report. To therefore suggest that President’s Zuma’s
report is similar to a non–existent report is the height of fiction,” said

Political analyst, Professor Eldred Masunungure said the opinion pieces that
are being written in the state media by Moyo, a Zanu PF politburo member do
not necessarily represent the position of the party but warned that they may
further ‘jeopardise’ the strained relations between South Africa and Zanu PF
in the last two weeks.

“Zanu PF needs to think strategically whether the opinion pieces being
written will strengthen or further jeopardise its relations with other Sadc
countries in the region,” Masunungure said.

“It appears those comments will further jeopardise and contaminate the
relationship between Zanu PF and Sadc leaders.”

Masunungure said the handling of the issue by SA’s Zulu shows that she is
more mature.

“That is a very mature and stateswoman reaction. It clearly depicts someone
who is more diplomatic in her approach. She exhibits more maturity in
handling sensitive issues, which is what diplomacy is all about. Even though
South Africa achieved its majority rule 14 years after Zimbabwe’s
independence, it is proving to be more diplomatically mature than Zimbabwe,”
Masunungure said.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo distanced his party from Moyo’s
statements in the state media.

“I haven’t read the statement you are referring to. Our party position was
clarified by George Charamba, that is the position we stand by,” Gumbo said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe’s mining output increase 47 percent

Apr 11, 2011 10:45 AM | By Times LIVE

After a decade of decline, Zimbabwe’s mining industry output increased by
47.0 percent in 2010 finds Frost & Sullivan after recent analysis.

Key contributors to this growth included an increase in production output of
the country’s platinum, diamond, coal and ferrochrome industries. Growth was
also supported by the resumption in production output of the country’s gold
mining industry in 2009.

“The introduction of multiple currencies has assisted most of the mining
entities within the country to afford purchases of the required machinery,
equipment and consumables to increase production output,” says Frost &
Sullivan’s Automation and Electronics Industry Analyst, James Maposa.

Between 2006 and 2008, restrictive foreign currency policies, foreign
exchange shortages, a weakened Zimbabwean dollar and unprecedented
hyperinflation were among the major factors that crippled growth and
progression of Zimbabwe’s mining sector.

“The new foreign exchange policies legalising the use of multiple currencies
have, therefore, benefitted the country by stabilising the economy and
curtailing inflation,” explains Maposa.

Mining consumables such as fuel, chemicals, explosives and adhesives are now
being imported from neighbouring South Africa with relative ease as a result
of the new foreign exchange policies. Buoyed by this reform, Frost &
Sullivan expects Zimbabwe’s mining output t o grow by a further 44.0 percent
in 2011. Output growth will allow the country to benefit from the current
rise in global demand and pricing of platinum, diamond and gold commodities.

For mining sector output growth to continue on an upward-trend beyond 2011,
the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines has stated that the industry
needs to invest an estimated US$5.00 billion on upgrading and expanding
production infrastructure.

A capital outlay of this magnitude will return production output to
pre-economic crisis levels. Between 2000 and 2008, mining sector expenditure
had been reduced to critical maintenance spends as a result of declined
industry earnings and foreign exchange restrictions that were enforced by
Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank.

A weakened Zimbabwean dollar and hyperinflationary pressures were among the
other factors that reduced the industry’s purchasing power. Maposa points
out that political instability and prolonged electricity and fuel shortages
further exacerbated the situation, causing current and potential investors
to either divest or cancel any planned investment.

From a production perspective, Frost & Sullivan anticipates a restoration in
investor confidence for Zimbabwe’s mining industry. The new found confidence
is a function of the double digit growth witnessed by the sector in 2010.

“To continue the upward trend, mining companies with operations in Zimbabwe
will call on investors to support this growth by recapitalising their
current operations,” says Maposa. The bulk of this investment will be spent
on returning mines that had been placed under care-and-maintenance to

A significant amount of capital will also be spent on exploration and
development of reserves within existing mines with purpose of growing
current production levels. Expenditure will also be channelled towards
upgrading existing infrastructure, replacing near obsolete technologies and
assisting the country’s power utility to ensure a constant energy supply for
their operations.

“These investments are expected to create lucrative opportunities for regio
nal industrial mining equipment and machinery suppliers as well as Asian
importers,” believes Maposa.

Zimbabwe’s mining industry’s positive outlook will however be impacted by
the government’s indigenisation laws. Gazetted in 2007 with supporting
regulations issued in February 2010, Zimbabwe’s empowerment laws require all
foreign-owned companies with a minimum issued share capital of US$0.5
million to localise ownership of at least 51.0 percent of these

In March 2011, Zimbabwe’s minister of indigenisation and economic
empowerment tasked all internationally owned mining companies with
operations in Zimbabwe to submit an indigenisation plan by the 9th of May
2011, and, if endorsed by the government, complete the divestiture of at
least 51.0 percent of their issued shares to certain designated entities
within six months.

“Reactions to this directive have been negative, with shares of Australian
listed platinum mining companies with Zimbabwean operations, being sold
 off,” explains Maposa. Aquarius’ share price dropped 6.9 percent on the
Australian stock exchange following the minister’s announcement. Zimplats
Holdings share price witnessed a similar trend, falling by 8.32 percent.

With the government remaining adamant that it will not reconsider
implementing the indigenisation programme, mining houses and investors may
reduce their level of investment within the country. This will therefore
result in Zimbabwe’s mining industry being unable to attract the required
US$5 billion investment. A review of these indigenisation laws should,
therefore, be prioritised by the Zimbabwean government to sustain the
industry’s output growth.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe’s top spymaster Menard Muzariri dies

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 April 2011

The deputy director-general of the CIO, Menard Muzariri, has died at the age
of 57, SW Radio Africa learned on Monday.

The spymaster, who reportedly died of a liver ailment on Sunday night,
directed the country’s intelligence network for nearly three decades. He
rose through the ranks of the dreaded agency to become deputy head to
Happyton Bonyongwe, the director-general.

Unlike most senior operatives who joined the CIO in the 1990’s, Muzariri was
one of the few former ZANLA combatants to join the organisation soon after
independence. During the war of liberation, he was an intelligence officer
for the ZANLA forces.

Despite working under the radar for most of his life, Muzariri’s name
remains synonymous with the Gukurahundi massacres in the Matebeleland
provinces. Known in CIO circles as a ruthless operator Muzariri, together
with army Colonel Perence Shiri (now the Airforce commander) presided over
the suppression of the Ndebele people by the North Korean trained 5th
Brigade, in the southern regions of Zimbabwe.

‘Generally he remained out of the public eye and shunned the publicity but
he was well known in the security services for his brutality. He committed
some of the most serious atrocities during the Gukurahundi massacres,’ a
former CIO operative now based in London said.

He told us Muzariri was one of the officers who led public executions, often
forcing victims to dig their own graves in front of family and villagers.

‘Ask anyone who survived the massacres and they will tell you, Muzariri was
bad news. His CIO operatives, with the help of the 5th Brigade, would
routinely round up villagers and march them at gun point to a central place.
There they would be forced to sing Shona songs praising ZANU PF, at the same
time being beaten with sticks. These gatherings usually ended with public
executions,’ another source told us.

Lately Muzariri was into farming and was a neighbour to Reward Marufu,
brother to Grace Mugabe who died in August last year at his farm outside
Bindura, in Mashonaland central province. Both grabbed their farms at the
beginning of the controversial land redistribution exercise.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Angola meeting 'excellent': Tsvangirai

11/04/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai described as “excellent” his meeting with
Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos on Monday as the MDC-T leader
continued with his diplomatic tour of the region.

Tsvangirai – who has already visited the DRC, Namibia, Tanzania and
Zambia -- briefed the Angolan leader on the situation in the country during
the 40-minute meeting in Luanda.

“The meeting was excellent as it enabled to brief the President José Eduardo
dos Santos on the current situation in Zimbabwe where there is an inclusive
government for about two years”, Morgan Tsvangirai told reporters.

He said while Zimbabwe has made significant progress over the tenure of the
inclusive government there were some issues which still needed to be

“We hope that with the wisdom and the advice from our leaders of the region
we can overcome the problems still prevailing in the country", emphasised
Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC-T leader said President Dos Santos had expressed his availability to
hold talks with regional counterparts to help Zimbabwe’s political
leadership fulfill the terms of the Global Political Agreement and ensure
free and fair elections.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold fresh elections later in the year to elect a
substantive government amid concerns about renewed violence in the country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Community Radio Initiative Goes To Court Over ZBC Monopoly

11/04/2011 11:44:00

Harare, April 11, 2011 - Community Radio Harare (CORAH), a local initiative,
has filed an application with the High Court seeking a relief to have its
broadcasting licence application considered by the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ) as well as an order compelling the regulatory board to call
for broadcasting licence applications.

The application was filed on 4 April, 2011.

The respondents in this matter are BAZ and the Minister of Media,
Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, in his official capacity as the
minister responsible for the conduct of BAZ.

In the application, CORAH notes that it wrote to BAZ on September 28 2010,
applying for a community radio broadcasting licence as well as notifying the
authority of their state of readiness to broadcast once a licence is issued
to them. The application was subsequently declined on January 24 2011 on the
grounds that there had been no call for licences as provided for under
section 10 of the BSA (Broadcasting Services Act), which states that
applications can only be received and processed after BAZ has made an
invitation for such applications.

CORAH contends that it has not been possible to apply for a licence since
BAZ has not called for broadcasting licence applications since 2004 and that
the authority’s failure to call and issue licences “ on its own an
illegality and must be justified.”

CORAH further contends that BAZ has a duty to enable eligible applicants to
apply for and obtain radio licences and that as an aspiring broadcaster;
they have a legitimate expectation to be provided a fair and reasonable
opportunity to apply and be granted a licence.

CORAH is also demanding that BAZ be compelled to make a call for licences
twice annually.

The application was made by a member of MISA Zimbabwe’s Media Lawyers
Network, Wellington Pasipanodya, with the support of the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights. All the respondents are yet to file their response.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Goldman Prize: Zimbabwe's rhino rescuer honoured
Monday, 11 April 2011 02:11 UK
By Victoria Gill
Science and nature reporter, BBC News

Raoul du Toit with a rhino, which was rescued after having its leg caught in a snare laid by poachers (Image: Michelle Gadd)
Raoul du Toit is director of the Lowveld Rhino Trust in Zimbabwe

Raoul du Toit, a Zimbabwe-based conservationist who has taken a very direct approach to saving Africa's Critically Endangered black rhino, has been selected as one of the six winners of this year's Goldman Environmental Prize.

The prize, founded by American philanthropist Richard Goldman, is the world's largest award for grassroots environmentalists.

One recipient from each of the world's six inhabited continents will receive the $150,000 (£92,000) prize.

Mr du Toit's fellow recipients include a biologist who initiated a local movement to stop industrial pollution flowing into an Indonesian river that provides water to three million people, and an activist who has fought to protect a remote island off Russia's far east from being damaged by an oil development project.

Devastated population

Raoul du Toit founded the Lowveld Rhino Conservancy Project in 1990, whilst he was working with the World Wildlife Foundation.

Raoul du Toit in Zimbabwe
We want to buy rhinos from the commercial operations and give them to local communities
Raoul du Toit

He is now director of the Lowveld Rhino Trust, and his work over more than two decades has saved Zimbabwe's black rhino population from being permanently decimated by poaching.

"In the late 1980s, Zimbabwe had Africa's largest black rhino population - about 1,500 animals," he explained.

"But cross-border poaching by Zambian gangs devastated the populations and by 1992 rhino numbers had fallen to under 600.

"We wanted to put these rhinos somewhere safer."

Throughout the project, he and his colleagues moved black and white rhinos away from the border into a range of conservancies in the Lowveld region.

Since the area was home to many large cattle ranches, he worked with the ranchers - in particular in helping them install perimeter fencing, to allow them to farm alongside the vast open plains that the rhinos need to range.

This was almost an immediate success; the thriving wildlife tourism industry meant that protecting rhinos was profitable for the private sector.

Breeding projects were set up and the rhino population recovered dramatically.

But in 2000, the private sector strength of these areas became their weakness.

Chaos and opportunity

Robert Mugabe's government turned ranching operations in Zimbabwe upside down.

"With the draconian land reform policies, the private ranching areas were subject to nationalisation - and subsistence farming expanded into the conservancies," Mr du Toit recalled.

"With the economic decline and political insecurity, the rhinos weren't able to pay their way any more."

Though many conservation projects collapsed as professionals left the country, Mr du Toit has continued his work.

"Politically, we are in a mess right now and we need to get out of it, but in times of chaos there's also some opportunity," he told BBC News.

A baby rhino next to its slaughtered mother (Image: Lowveld Rhino Trust)
Rhino poaching was exacerbated by Zimbabwe's political instability

"Because we don't have a country that's rigidly governed - that's set its own development goals - we can set out our own path and make alliances with people who want to plan for the future of Zimbabwe."

A reduction in law enforcement, though, has coincided with an increase in poaching in the formerly well-protected area.

The animals are slaughtered to supply the the illegal trade in rhino horn, which is a rare and prized commodity fetching high prices in Asia.

Mr du Toit's solution is to work with local communities in Zimbabwe, to make rhino conservation a self-sustaining business once again.

"We want to buy rhinos from the commercial operations and give them to local communities," he explained.

He envisions the money generated - from, for example, international development funds and from wildlife tourism - going into a trust fund that would pay a sort of dividend for these locally-owned rhinos.

"So we would be able to pay people every time a rhino is born in their community."

The Lowveld conservancies are now home to more than 400 black rhinos, 7% of the entire global population.

And Mr du Toit is optimistic about the future.

He says it is "a completely inaccurate cliché" to portray rhinos as dinosaurs that are due for extinction.

Mr du Toit concluded: "They are biologically capable of thriving and contributing to wildlife-based tourism to the extent that they definitely have a future in Africa if poaching can be controlled."

Environmental heroes

The Goldman Prize is in its 22nd year. The six winners will be awarded the prize at a ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House in the US on Monday.

Francisco Pineda (right)
Francisco Pineda (r) risks his life to protect El Salvador's water resources

This year's other winners are:

• Francisco Pineda, from El Salvador, led a citizens' movement that stopped a gold mine from destroying the country's water resources. He now lives under constant threat of assassination and has 24-hour police protection.

• Dmitry Lisitsyn, from Russia, who has fought to protect the threatened ecosystem of Sakhalin Island in Russia's far east from being damaged by a large petroleum development project.

• Ursula Sladek, from Germany, created her country's first cooperatively-owned renewable power company.

• Prigi Arisandi, from Indonesia, initiated a local movement to stop industrial pollution from flowing into a river that provides water to three million people.

• Hilton Kelley, from the US, has fought for poor communities affected by pollution from petrochemical and hazardous waste facilities on the Gulf coast of Texas.

Hilton Kelley
Hilton Kelley fights for poor communities affected by industrial pollution

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US army condemns Zim

By Oscar Nkala
Monday, 11 April 2011 09:52

BULAWAYO - The United States Africa Command (Africom) says the continued
political instability in Zimbabwe and Madagascar poses a serious regional
security threat to all member states of the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc).

In an African regional security breifing presented to the United States
House of Senate Armed Services Committee last Tuesday, Africom said while
countries in the southern Africa block are highly developed compared to the
other parts of the continent, they currently face serious threats emanating
from governance failures in Madagascar and refugees from Zimbabwe.

“Southern Africa is highly developed economically; yet, the region still has
some significant problems. Governance challenges, inflation, and refugees
from Zimbabwe present challenges to Southern African nations.

“Two states with great potential, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, have difficult
internal political challenges while Botswana continues to rise from one of
the world’s poorest countries to middle-income status,” reads part of the
statement, released from Africom headquarters in Stuggart, Germany.

It noted encouraging progress in its partnership with Botswana and growing
military relations with South Africa, which it said actively participates in
the African Partnership Stations programme, the US Africa Command’s primary
maritime security engagement initiative.

It said the recent establishment of a Strategic Dialogue initiative to
foster close cooperation ‘in areas of mutual concern’ between South Africa’s
International Relations and Cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is evidence that relations are
becoming even more cordial.

On East Africa, the briefing says security threats range from the raging
al-Shabbab-led Islamist insurgency in Somalia to the murderous operations of
the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebels whose theatre of operation saddles
the DRC, Central Africa Republic, Uganda, Chad and Sudan.

“The interlocking security challenges of Somalia’s instability, Southern
Sudan’s transition to statehood, al-Shabaab’s dangerous alignment with
al-Qaida, which threatens not only the region but also the American homeland
and interests, and the persistent threat from LRA, require both regional and
bilateral solutions,” said Africom.

While the West African region was hailed as a promising theatre of
heightened US-Africa security co-operation in the light of military capacity
building collaborations with Nigeria and Ghana, recent election disputes in
Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire are seen as indicative of stubborn regional
However, it pointed out that Liberia’s revitalisation demonstrates that West
African states can also take positive steps ‘to overcome violence, poverty,
and disorder.’

The briefing said the emergence of highly organised Islamic terrorism
threatens the security of North Africa. “Al-Qaida in the Lands of the
Islamic Maghreb has emerged as a direct threat to the stability and security
of North Africa as well as the West African Sahelian countries of Niger and

“To assist these countries in meeting this extremist challenge, the US
Africa Command supports the Department of State-led inter-agency
Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership through Operation Enduring
Freedom Trans-Sahara initiative, which we hope to use to strengthen regional
counter-terrorism and security capabilities.”

Africom said North Africa also faces complex problems of trafficking in
humans, drugs and weapons while territorial governance failures have left
huge acres of isolated and ungoverned desert space in the Sahel which
extremist and rebel groups have secured and continue to use as their
training academies and rear bases.

Set up amid serious controversy at the height of former US president George
Bush’s war on terror in 2007, the US Africa Command remains headquartered in
Stuggart, Germany and operates only one huge forward base with enhanced
operational, intelligence and surveillance capacities in the small Horn of
Africa nation of Djibouti.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Green Fuel to revolutinise local market

Taking shape ... The ethanol plant at Chisumbanje
11/04/2011 00:00:00
    by Gilbert Nyambabvu

GREEN FUEL, a $600 million agro-industrial and renewable energy complex
under development at Chisumbanje in Manicaland is, this June, expected to
produce its first litre of ethanol in a development that could potentially
revolutionise the local fuel market by addressing the twin-challenges of
cost and security of supply.

As a net importer, Zimbabwe is vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the global
oil market where crude oil prices have risen 75 percent since the second
quarter of 2010 and supply concerns continue on the back of political
instability in the Middle East.

Management at Green Fuel – a joint venture between the state-run ARDA and
private investors -- say when fully operational, the project will produce
enough ethanol to significantly cut-down Zimbabwe’s fuel import bill and
help end shortages the country experiences all too frequently.

Cheap alternative

Globally, the oil majors are also turning to ethanol as a renewable and
cheaper alternative to petroleum with BP chief executive, Bob Dudley noting
in February 2011: “There will obviously be a time when oil will run out and
with that prospect on the horizon we will use more renewable energy

Dudley added that his firm was committing 40 percent of its research on
renewable energy resources for the year to Brazil ethanol, describing it as
an “ultra-potent fuel that could revolutionise the market”. Not to be
outdone, Royal Dutch Shell also announced that it had set-up a US$12 billion
joint venture with Brazil’s biggest sugar and ethanol producer.

The interest in Brazil is logical. The country has the second largest
national fuel industry after the United States and 85 percent of vehicles on
the country’s roads have flexi-engines which run on either ethanol or petrol
or a mixture of both.

Green Fuel have also modeled their project on Brazil which took this path
more than three decades ago when one litre of ethanol was three times more
expensive than a litre of petrol.

The company envisages putting up to 50 000 hectares of ARDA land at
Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi under sugarcane which will supply at least three
ethanol production plants.

Already, US$200 million has been invested in the project, rising to US$270
million by December 2011 when 11500 hectares of land will be under
sugarcane, producing some 40 million litres of ethanol.


“We will be producing ethanol at a much cheaper cost than we are currently
importing petroleum products into the country,” general manager, Graeme
Smith told recently.

But the government and the local fuel sector will have to buy-into the
vision for the project to work.


Elsewhere, the US government subsidies ethanol production and has introduced
legislation encouraging the use of blended petrol. Senators are also pushing
for legislation forcing 90 percent of vehicles sold in the country by 2016
to be capable of running on E85 blend -- fuel that is 85 percent ethanol,
and 15 percent petrol.

In Brazil the government has, since 2007, fixed the mandatory blend at 25
percent ethanol and 75 percent petrol which is known as E25. The local car
industry has responded by boosting production of flexi-engine cars with 85
percent of new vehicles sold in the country able to run on 100 percent

Smith says the necessary legislative framework for ethanol use on vehicles
in Zimbabwe is already in place while the government has backed the Green
Fuel project by giving it National Project status.

“Legislation is in place and has always been in place since the 1970s in
terms of blending petrol and ethanol because of the water requirement. Our
ethanol will be anhydrous (without water),” he said.

“We have also held discussions with the local distribution network and they
are very supportive of the project”.

The company says vehicles manufactured after 2002 can use E50 (petrol
blended with 50 percent ethanol) without the need for any modification while
drivers keen to run on 100 percent ethanol will require a software
modification that costs up to US$40.

“Vehicles made between 2002 and 1997 can run on 50 percent blend. Those made
before 1997 can only use E20 although we do not have many such vehicles on
the road. The company will also provide facilities for the software
upgrades. It is very viable for us to do that,” he said.


Still, the key question for motorists will be how much better the ethanol
option is. Critics point out that ethanol is 34 percent less energy
efficient than petrol which means drivers have to make more trips to the
pumps. They add that ethanol can only be transported by road since it would
pick up water and impurities in pipelines which adds to its cost.

Even so, ethanol also has a lower average price per litre than petrol. A US
Energy Department report for January 2011 noted that a gallon of petrol sold
for an average US$3.08 against US$2.72 for ethanol. Again, US ethanol is
produced from maize which is more expensive than producing it from

There are also other challenges for the Green Fuel project. Shareholders
have had to provide all the funding to date because of a lack of capacity in
the local financial market.

“It has been a large challenge to source financing for the project since the
local banks do not have the capacity while sanctions have also put-off
potential investors. At the moment the funding is coming from our Zimbabwean
shareholders,” Smith said.

Again it is also predictable that a project of such magnitude would face
political problems in a country where land is a sensitive issue and some
politicians are uncomfortable with the arrangement between ARDA and its
technical partners.

The project is being developed on a Build, Operate and Transfer arrangement
under which ARDA has given two private companies a 20 year-lease on the land
with automatic rights of renewal.


Already, near-on 3000 people have been employed with company officials
saying 7000 more jobs would have been created by the completion of all the
development phases, effectively transforming Chisumbanje into a significant
agro-industrial area.

But some politicians are not satisfied.

Said Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Minister, Joseph Made in
March last year: “I am very concerned about ARDA going into joint venture
operations that do not reflect the 51-49 percent government-stipulated
shareholding structures. ARDA is free to enter into joint venture operations
as long as they reflect the 51-49 percent ownership (requirement) or even

Smith insists that shareholders in the companies partnering ARDA are
Zimbabwean; but accepts that there is considerable risk in operating in a
country where the politics are unpredictable at best.

“It’s a risk that the shareholders and investors believe is worth taking.
Look: who has invested in this project? These people are all Zimbabweans;
they know the country; they know the people and they know the politics,” he

“Yes, there is a reasonable amount of risk; but I don’t think it’s a high

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

The US Embassy is now accepting applications for the 2012 Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program.  The Hubert Humphrey Fellowship program is a 9-10 month non-degree granting part academic, part professional program for mid-career professionals.  For more information about the program refer to attached flyer.  If you are interested and eligible to apply please complete the attached preliminary application form.  Deadline for receipt of applications is June 5,  2011.


See the relevant documents below.

2012 Humphrey Flyer

Preliminary Application Form

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Back to the future for Zimbabwe

PIERS PIGOU: ZIMBABWE Apr 11 2011 15:51

Zanu-PF's announcement at its December 2010 congress that only an election
could chart a way forward for Zimbabwe signalled the beginning of the end
for the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the fractious coexistence of
its inclusive government, now two years old.

Since then, there has been a significant increase in reported levels of
violence, repressive state action, malicious prosecution of leaders of the
Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and civic
actors, as well as increased levels of pro-Zanu-PF and anti-MDC state media

Two weeks ago, the leader of the MDC, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
briefed South African Development Community facilitator Jacob Zuma on the
deteriorating conditions, pleading for protection and warning that the
situation was spiralling out of control and that the MDC may be forced to
pull out of the government.

South Africa and the region have heard such pleas before, and some may
remain suspicious that the MDC and its leader are crying wolf. The "body
count" may be incomparable to other crises on the continent, but there is no
escaping the fact that the house of cards Thabo Mbeki was instrumental in
constructing in Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse. Even if it does
survive, it seems incapable of delivering a sustainable solution in its
current configuration.

The GPA was intended to provide a platform for implementing reform that
would lay the basis for the restoration of a legitimate democratic process
in Zimbabwe. Seen by some as a betrayal of the popular vote and a reward for
Zanu-PF's violent campaign to avert a transfer of power to the MDC, the
agreement has been described as "the only game in town" in the absence of
any feasible alternative. It is a game, however, in which the odds have been
heavily stacked in favour of Zanu-PF.

Indeed, from its inception, there was an obvious distortion in the balance
of power in favour of Zanu-PF, especially because the party would retain
virtually exclusive control over the security and criminal-justice
establishment, and by extension the infrastructure of repression.

This has enabled Zanu-PF to manipulate and resist the reform matrix set out
in the accord, leaving large segments of the GPA in a permanent (and
unresolved) state of negotiation. Even agreements made between the
negotiating teams and subsequently endorsed by political principals have,
without explanation, not been implemented. The GPA's internal monitoring and
review mechanisms, designed to determine what is working and what is not and
how to fix it, are essentially defunct. Violations are not sanctioned and
those responsible for them have not been held accountable.

Dealing with violence and impunity
Zimbabweans are consistently told that they have the framework for resolving
their differences and that failure to do so is primarily their
responsibility. Of course, this is true, but it is a discourse that avoids
an honest reflection on the import of the inclusive government's power
disparities and one that hides behind unsustainable notions of equitable
responsibility for non-implementation. It is designed essentially to avoid
having to hold Zanu-PF accountable and exposes how the SADC appears trapped
in no-man's-land between its increasingly contradictory roles of facilitator
and GPA guarantor.

The most immediate and pressing challenge is to deal with violence and
impunity, the partisan nature of security and policing concerns, and the
associated breakdown in law and order. Most Zimbabweans have been affected
directly or indirectly by political violence since independence and this
situation has degenerated significantly in the past decade. There is a
widespread lack of trust and confidence in state structures, which
underscores the importance of a sustainable reform agenda that invests in
confidence-building measures in state institutions, especially those
responsible for preventing and remedying violence.

Lloyd Sachinkonye's incisive review of political violence over the past 50
years in Zimbabwe, When a State Turns on Its Citizens (Jacana), has recently
been published. It provides an essential overview of why and how violence
has become an ingrained part of Zimbabwe's political culture and what its
consequences are.

It sets out Zanu-PF's primary responsibilities in this regard, and explains
why we should all be concerned about the weakness of the current reform
process and the dangers associated with not reforming the security sector,
not breaking the cycle of violence and accompanying systems of impunity. It
has profound implications for human security in Southern Africa beyond the
borders of Zimbabwe.

Further elections are inevitable, sooner or later, but they do not provide
any possibility of solving Zimbabwe's problems unless they are rooted in a
tangible reform process that is put into action. The correlation between
elections and violence in Zimbabwe is obvious and has contributed to
significant numbers disengaging from democratic participation. Just more
than 2,5-million Zimbabweans, less than 43% of registered voters (from a
highly contested voters roll) voted in the 2008 elections -- fewer than the
numbers who voted in 1980.

The violent 2008 election campaign demonstrated how Zanu-PF could
successfully coerce more than a million additional voters to the voting
booths. Whether elections are held in 2011 or 2012, the question is not
whether there will be intimidation and violence, but rather how significant
it will be.

In this context, it remains to be seen whether the SADC will prioritise
robust engagement with issues of political violence. Its track record makes
it seem unlikely that it can or will exert more pressure on the recalcitrant
elements swimming against the tide of democratic reform and, by extension,
holding prospects for a sustainable solution in Zimbabwe to ransom.

As Sydney Mufamadi, one of the Mbeki's facilitation team, pointed out at a
civic briefing in Harare in 2009, "If one party decides to place itself
beyond persuasion, there is very little you can do." Can do, one might ask,
or will do? The South Africans have made it clear they won't publicly
censure those they seek to influence. It's a fine line to tread, especially
when constructive engagement appears perilously akin to appeasement.

Piers Pigou is an independent consultant

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

How has Robert Mugabe been able to rule Zimbabwe for so long?

Africa's Worst Dictator

By Christopher HitchensPosted Monday, April 11, 2011, at 10:35 AM ET

Now that the South African political leadership has—after years of shameful
silence and even complicity—declined to continue its open-ended indulgence
of Robert Mugabe, it becomes possible to envisage a time when Zimbabwe will
be free of the hideous regime of one man and one-party rule. Other
contributing factors, such as Mugabe's age and the inspiring influence of
events at the other end of Africa, can be listed. But the democratic
opposition in Zimbabwe predates the "Arab spring" by several years and must
now count in its own right as one of the world's most stubborn and brave

Peter Godwin's most recent book, The Fear, updates the continuing story of
popular resistance. In my opinion it's not quite as powerful as his earlier
book, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, but it does convey the awful immediate
reality of a state where official lawlessness and cruelty are the norm. It
also maps the symptoms of regime-decay: If only for nakedly opportunist
reasons, there are increasing numbers of people among Mugabe's own clientele
who are looking to a future when the near-nonagenarian (he is 87) will no
longer be with us.

How did things descend to this nightmare level? Robert Mugabe did not come
to power through a coup. He emerged as the leader of a serious guerrilla
army, who then fought and won a British-supervised election. For his first
several years in office, he practiced a policy of reconciliation (at least
with the white population, if not with his tribal rivals in the Matabeleland
province). During the years of the revolution, I met Mugabe several times
and am still ashamed of how generally favorably I wrote him up. But he was
impressive then, both as soldier and politician and survivor of long-term
political imprisonment, and when I noticed the cold and ruthless side of his
personality I suppose I tended to write it down as a function of his arduous
formation. Also, in those days the reactionary white settlers would console
themselves with a culture of ugly rumors (such as Mugabe's supposed syphilis
and mental degeneration), which I was determined not to gratify.

The syphilis story can't have been true or Mugabe would not be the
annoyingly long-lived man he has become. But something did go horribly
wrong, and among those who remember those years there is an unending parlor
game about exactly what that something was. Mugabe, some people say, was
never the same after the death of his charming Ghanaian-born wife, Sally.
Not only that, but the second wife was the sort who likes shopping sprees
and private jets and different palaces for summer and winter. (Thank
goodness for this class of women, by the way: They have helped discredit
many a dictator.)

Another early bad symptom was Mugabe's morbid fascination with, and hatred
of, homosexuality. He suddenly decided that Zimbabwe was being honeycombed
with sodomy and began to display symptoms of acute paranoia. Macabre as this
was, it hardly explains his subsequent decision to destroy his country's
agricultural infrastructure by turning it into a spoils system for party
loyalists, or his decision to send Zimbabwean troops on looting expeditions
into Congo.

Writing on all this some years ago, Peter Godwin opted for the view that
Mugabe wasn't explicable by any change in circumstances or personality. He
had had the heart and soul of a tyrant all along, and simply waited until he
could give the tendency an unfettered expression. Even though I have a
quasi-psychological theory of my own—that Mugabe became corroded by jealousy
of the adulation heaped on Nelson Mandela—I now think that this is almost
certainly right. In the Sino-Soviet split that divided African nationalists
in the 1960s and 1970s (with the ANC of South Africa, for example, clearly
favoring the Soviet Union) Mugabe was not just pro-Chinese. He was pro-North
Korean. He enlisted Kim Il Sung to train his notorious Praetorian Guard, the
so-called "Fifth Brigade," and to design the gruesome monument to those who
fell in the war of liberation. Some of his white-liberal apologists used to
argue that Mugabe couldn't really be a believing Stalinist because he was
such a devoted Roman Catholic. But this consideration—while it might help
explain his obsession with sexual deviance—might weigh on the opposite scale
as well. Catholics can be extremely authoritarian, and Mugabe has, in
addition, done very well from his Vatican connection. He broke the ban on
his traveling to Europe by visiting the pope as an honored guest. The church
unfrocked Pius Ncube, the outspokenly anti-Mugabe bishop of Bulawayo, for
apparently having an affair with his (female) secretary. Festooned and
bemerded with far graver sins, Mugabe remains a Roman Catholic in good
standing, and it's impossible to imagine what he would now have to do to
earn himself excommunication.

If you want a catalog of those sins, turn to Godwin's books. But don't read
them just for outrage at the terrible offense to humanity. They also
describe a new sort of Zimbabwean, emancipated from racial and tribal
feeling by a long common struggle against a man who doesn't scruple to
employ racial and tribal demagoguery. In those old days of arguing with the
white settlers, one became used to their endless jeering refrain: "Majority
rule will mean one man, one vote—one time!" They couldn't have been more
wrong. Since gaining independence three decades ago, the Zimbabwean people
have braved every kind of intimidation and repression to go on registering
their votes. They have made dogged use of the courts and the press, which
continue to function in a partial way, to uphold pluralism and dissent.
Mugabe has lost important votes in Parliament and—last time—his electoral
majority in the country at large. Only the undisguised use of force and the
wholesale use of corruption have kept his party in office. One day, the
civic resistance to this, which was often looked-down upon by people
considering themselves revolutionary, will earn the esteem and recognition
it deserves.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Can we trust in the African Union?
    Monday 11 April 2011
“This is an African problem and should be left to Africans to solve” – Bingu Wa Mutharica, immediate past chairperson of the African Union.
Africa undoubtedly has its own peculiarities, but what are our credible alternatives and justifications for an Africanisation of democratic values?
The advent of the African Union (AU) which was established on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa was largely due to the inability of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to respond to the myriad of challenges facing the continent. Unlike the OAU, the AU has in its Constitutive Act Article 4 (h) the powers to intervene in member states in respect of grave circumstances.[1] The Union also set up a Peace and Security Council in 2004. The council among others is expected to intervene in conflict, replacing the OAU Principle of non-interference with one of indifference.??
However, recent decisions and postures taken by the AU make one wonder whether the people of Africa can lean on the continental body to see their hopes for a brighter future come true. Initially, it appeared that the transformation of the OAU into the now African Union was going to be a new beginning for an organisation which claims that integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent is its ultimate goal for the betterment of the African people.??
The past two months have seen very interesting happenings in Africa. Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia and Egypt are some of the major spotlights of challenging times for the continental body. In contrast with these challenges though, is the successful referendum in South Sudan for secession from the North as part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 between the North and South. In a bid to address these sensitive cases, the AU has made some very interesting decisions and taken some positions that provide some food for thought. The paper discusses three important stands taken by African Union and its leaders in recent times and draws some analysis on the consequences for such actions.??
The situation in Côte d’Ivoire
After several attempts to resolve the civil war that broke out in Côte d’Ivoire since 2002, the Ouagadougou Political Agreement was signed. In fulfillment of the agreement, presidential elections were held on 4 and 28 November with the incumbent president, Mr Gbagbo refusing to step down following the declaration of Mr Alassane Ouattara by the Independent Electoral Commission as the winner of the run-off. This position has been recognised and supported by the international community including ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), the AU and the United Nations calling on the incumbent to give up power.??
Following the deadlock, the AU sent former South African president Thabo Mbeki to mediate the impasse between the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo (who has refused to respect the verdict but clings to power following the rule by the Constitutional Court that declares him the winner based on the cancellation of votes from 10 districts of Northern Côte d’Ivoire) and Mr Ouattara. Mbeki was followed with a visit by the current chairperson of the commission, Jean Ping, whose mission, like the former, did not yield any fruit for the resolution of the crisis. Then came the appointment of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga as the AU-appointed mediator in the post election crisis. ??
What was the rationale behind the AU’s appointment of Raila Odinga as a mediator in a situation like this? The circumstances under which Raila Odinga became a Prime Minister of Kenya are still fresh in African’s minds. Was the AU wishing for Côte d’Ivoire the Kenyan and the Zimbabwean scenario, sacrificing the will of the people on the altar of politicians’ cake-sharing ambitions? How on earth was he going to represent a credible, impartial arbiter, taking into account the peculiarity of the situation? The choice of Odinga was a wrong move, given his own situation and the circumstances in which he was to act. ??
The AU again, after failed attempts by Odinga – which was bound to happen – sent the immediate past chairperson, President Mutharica, to try his luck, but this also did not yield any result. In its latest move, the AU set up a five-member panel, comprising one president from each of the five sub regional groupings. The team of experts was tasked to come up with conclusions which will be ‘binding’ on all parties to the crisis. The hope is that, they would be able to succeed in finding a solution. But realistically, they got it all wrong again. The AU unlike ECOWAS does not have a supra-nationality status in its Constitutive Act or any of its Protocols. So how are they going to enforce the outcome of the decisions of the panel on Côte d’Ivoire which is a sovereign state? Let alone a legally binding decision as the statement claims.
Another issue is about the democratic credibility of some members of the panel in their own countries. What credentials do these leaders have for the citizen of the AU to believe that they will eventually come up with a so-called African solution to an African problem? The AU has at its disposal the panel of the Wise made up of respectable statesmen and women in their own fields. One may suggest in situations like this the AU may want to explore their wisdom and sound judgment. However, it still looks like the club of presidents in their own wisdom with the authority they have vested in themselves in the AU charter, will come up with a solution. Only time will tell what comes out of these talks.
Mbasogo, chairperson of the AU?
Another subject of interest is the appointment of the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, as the new AU Chairperson. This is a president who is known to be a dictator and has been in power since 1979. He presides over a government associated with corruption, poverty and repression of its people among others. In the next 18 months, there are going to be about 20 elections due to be held in Africa. What kind of leadership role is the AU president going to show given his own standings and the thorny issue of elections in Africa should they come up during his term of office?
Furthermore, Mr Obiang in his acceptance speech is quoted as saying that, the concept of democracy, human rights and good governance should in his own words ‘be adapted to African culture’. This is a statement that is common in Africa. But what is this so called African culture that we must adapt to? Our leaders, after hiding behind colonial domination for all Africa’s woes and realising that that argument is no more sustainable or sexy enough, have turned to the need for adaptation of democratic values to an African culture. The AU chairman and all others who use this as the basis for their arguments should come clear and tell us all about Africa culture and how to design democracy, good governance and human right in an African way. We need an alternative proposal for their version of a standard ingenious African democracy, for Africa, in Africa or stop this whole claims about African culture.
The ICC, Kenya and the AU
After the post-election violence in Kenya that resulted in the death of close to 1,200 people, a coalition government was formed as part of a peace agreement brokered by Kofi Annan. Among some of the highlights of the peace agreement was the institution of an independent court/tribunal to try alleged perpetrators of the violence by the state. Following the government’s inability to fulfill these requirements, the ICC named six people as a first step to prosecuting them for their alleged involvement in the crisis. Kenyan’s government has now thought it wise to stop the ICC process by seeking support from the AU.??
The AU Executive Council went ahead to endorse Kenya’s request for deferral. When asked why the AU wanted to support Kenya to stop the ICC from prosecuting these people, the AU commissioner Jean Ping gave an interesting response. He accused Moreno-Ocampo of bias. Ping highlighted the lack of the court’s action in Gaza, Iraq and Burma as evidence of a double- standards against African states. To what extent does this argument really justify why African leaders who are committing atrocities against their own people should not be made to face justice? How does this argument justify the death of about 1,200 Kenyans in the post-election violence?
There is no doubt that the ICC has so far been focusing its attention on African and Eastern Europeans (leaders) perpetrators of international crimes. But let’s be honest with ourselves. This doesn’t mean that people, Africans are not been killed, repressed and enslaved by their own leaders on a daily basis. The alleged biases of the ICC do not justify impunity in Africa. If the AU has proposals for an alternative to the ICC, then they should come clear or allow the ICC to do its work. Raising objections without providing alternatives only corner Africa and victims of impunity in a state of hopelessness.??
Ping has hinted that the AU leaders are considering the establishment of a continental criminal court to prosecute Africans accused of grave political crimes. With, the current powers of African Heads of States who have the authority to set up this so-called independent body, and their profiles, it is vain to envisage a moral and political will from them anytime soon. Knowing very well that they will be signing off to their own indictments sooner or later.??
What Africa needs from its leaders??
International politics and the dynamics of globalisation do exist and are not being overlooked in these analyses. However, African leaders need to also sharpen their negotiation skills to hold their own against their global counterparts. Africa needs to put its house in order and stop justifying their poor performance on external factors.??
What Africa and the African Union need are transformational leaders with vision, commitment and a resolve to make Africa a better place for its younger generation and generations yet unborn. It is hoped that the People’s Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt will be a wake-up call for African leaders and the AU. Leaders with the zeal to tackle the myriad of problems with mix policies and actions are what Africa needs now. If the African Union cannot represent its citizens, then the people themselves after years of inequality and injustice will demand accountability for their stewardship through revolt. The time to start making that history is now.?-- First published by PAMBAZUKA NEWS?
* Phidelia Amey is a fellow of African Leadership Centre and alumna of King’s College London. She currently is on attachment with the ECOWAS Commission.

Back to the Top
Back to Index