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

Police 'allow' prayer meeting but ban political speakers

By Violet Gonda
12 April 2007

Zimbabwe 's church leaders have said they will go ahead with a prayer
meeting in Bulawayo 's Makokoba Township on Saturday. The state Herald
newspaper quotes police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena saying investigations
had revealed that the Save Zimbabwe Campaign was a political gathering and
not a prayer meeting. Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara where scheduled
to speak at the gathering. Police have said the prayer meeting can only go
ahead if they do not include the politicians in the program. Pastor Ray
Motsi, spokesperson of the Christian Alliance said they agreed to this after
being called into a meeting with security forces.

The Herald newspaper had also accused Christopher Dell, the United States
ambassador to Zimbabwe , of organising the prayer gathering to intensify
pressure on the Mugabe regime. The Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo , Pius
Ncube, said this is an 'offside' comment. He said the Mugabe regime becomes
paranoid about the international community to the extent that they see
anyone who doesn't agree with them being used by the Americans or by the
British. "The thing is that Zimbabweans can think on their own. We have
brains, surely? The trouble is they claim that other people are being used
by the Americans. It is they who are being used by the devil unfortunately,
as they don't even care about the suffering of the people."

On Thursday two Christian Alliance leaders were questioned by police in
connection with the prayer meeting and the priest in charge of St Patrick's
Catholic Church, the venue of the meeting, was told to call off the meeting.
In a clear sign which shows that the police are working under the
instructions of the government, Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba is
reported as saying: "This is a double dressing. At one level the Archbishop
is projecting this political gathering as a convocation under the Catholic
Church, the whole effort is to dress the MDC with a collar."

But the outspoken Bulawayo cleric said Mugabe is 'so full of himself' and
has refused to listen to anyone including religious leaders in Zimbabwe who
have appealed for dialogue and peace. "Who does he listen to?" He listens
only to the devil and at least we, who listen to God, have a right to pray."

The Catholic Bishops' Conference recently issued a strongly worded pastoral
letter on the crisis in Zimbabwe . It's reported that copies of the letter,
which were posted on bulletin boards in Catholic churches across the
country, were widely received and applauded by parishioners. Archbishop
Ncube said: "The people have been extremely pleased that we are standing
with them finally, not just standing with the oppressors."

The Pastoral letter said the crisis in the country was as a crisis of
governance and a crisis of leadership. Archbishop Ncube said they realised
they needed to 'name' this situation as opposed to the National Vision
Document, which is merely a discussion document. The Zimbabwe We Want:
Towards a National Vision was a document that was launched by the three main
Christian groups in Zimbabwe late last year; the Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Zimbabwe Council
of Churches

But Archbishop Ncube said the discussion document is meant to keep people
occupied with talking while the regime feathers its nest. He asked: "But
with whom do we discuss? We discuss with those who are oppressed. We know
exactly what they are saying. We can't discuss with a government which is so
dog-headed, which is so pig-headed and so stubborn. We can't."

The Bishop said this is the reason that South African President Thabo Mbeki
will not succeed with peace talks in Zimbabwe . Mbeki has tried for several
years to bring Robert Mugabe to the negotiating table to no avail. The
cleric said: "As long as it is a mere sweet-talk and there is no kind of
pressure on him to say - come and talk or else - that won't succeed. We know
the character of this man. This man has been with us for 27 years. We know
what type of man we are dealing with here."

Critics have also lambasted regional leaders, especially Mbeki, for not
publicly censuring Mugabe on the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe where
hundreds of opposition supporters have been and continue to be brutalized.
Mbeki and others say they criticised the Zimbabwean leaders in private but
observers say since this is failing to stop Mugabe, they should now
criticise him in public. Archbishop Pius Ncube believes its very difficult
for some of these African leaders to face Mugabe as many of them have
corrupt governments themselves, making it very difficult to criticise their

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rights groups track assaults on Zimbabwe opposition

International Herald Tribune

By Michael Wines
Published: April 13, 2007

JOHANNESBURG: Human rights groups in Zimbabwe have begun to document with
numbers and names an extraordinary government campaign of abductions and
beatings aimed at critics of President Robert Mugabe.

Increasingly, some say, the attacks appear directed largely at crippling the
only opposition party of note in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic
Change, before a presidential election scheduled for next March.

The head of that party's main faction, Morgan Tsvangirai, charged during a
news conference Thursday in Harare, the capital, that government agents had
arrested or beaten at least 600 party members since Feb. 18, and that 150
had suffered life-threatening injuries.

There is no way to verify those claims. But separately, a spreadsheet
provided in the past week by a Zimbabwe human rights advocate documents
attacks on 150 residents of low-income neighborhoods in Harare in the five
weeks from Feb. 18 to March 26. Ninety-nine were identified as members of
the Movement for Democratic Change, and some were high-ranking officials.

Nearly 100 other beatings since Feb. 18 in the Harare area were listed. Most
of them occurred as the police broke up opposition-party rallies.

The human-rights advocate, who is not an opposition-party member, estimated
that the documented attacks could represent as little as one-fifth of all
beatings, because many victims were afraid to report them.
"It's very structured," said the advocate, who declined to be named for fear
of retaliation. "They know exactly what they're doing and who they're going
after. People are told not to seek medical treatment. They don't come to us
and tell what happened, because they're simply terrified."

On Friday the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights issued its
own statement on the attacks, saying it had documented 48 hospitalizations
and more than 175 lesser medical treatments for assaults in the past month
alone. The association is nonpartisan and does not attempt to identify the
political affiliations of the victims.

The chairman, of the group Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, said in an interview Friday
that the attacks seemed to have peaked in late March, but that they had
continued steadily, albeit at a lesser rate, since then.

"It's a continuous level of attacks, without an increase or decrease," he
said. "We see maybe three or four a day coming into hospital. But that's not
a reflection of what's happening on the ground."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Torture and violence in Zimbabwe (media extracts)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe fears forces mobile phone firm to switch off news

Zim Online

Saturday 14 April 2007

By Nigel Hangarume

HARARE - Zimbabwe's leading mobile phone network operator has suspended a
popular news service reportedly fearing a backlash from President Robert
Mugabe's increasingly paranoid regime that has in the past accused the
company of disseminating anti-government propaganda.

Econet Wireless has discontinued the Execbrief and News on Demand service -
launched in 2000 - which daily provided subscribers with sport, business,
markets and political news updates from different sources.

Some of the news sources included the BBC World Service, CNN, Voice of
America's Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa - all Harare says are hostile and
spreading anti-Mugabe propaganda.

According to highly placed insiders, management at Econet took the decision
as a precautionary measure after they were warned by Mugabe's secret
intelligence agency.

Econet spokesman in Harare, Dakarai Matanga, did not return calls to his
mobile number as he was said to be locked up in a meeting yesterday.

A customer care officer at Econet, however, confirmed the development.

"We are sorry we have suspended that service for the meantime until further
notice," she said without giving reasons.

In the past the cellular company has been accused of circulating
anti-government news in the run-up to the 2002 presidential election which
Mugabe almost lost to the opposition.

Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa lives in South Africa after the government
accused him of funding the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Masiyiwa, who had to fight the government in courts until Econet was
licensed in 1998, incensed Mugabe's regime when he bailed out The Daily
News, seen as an opposition mouthpiece, and eventually became the major
shareholder of the independent paper.

The government responded by shutting down The Daily News under the draconian
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which has also been
used to shut down three other newspapers.

In November 2006, Zimbabwe's military said the country's mobile phone
operators were threatening national security by using independent
connections to the outside world.

The government had sought to enact a 'Big Brother' law enabling the state to
monitor all calls.

Econet's decision to put on hold its news service comes at a time the
government has intensified a crackdown on opposition and all media perceived
to be anti-government.

A former cameraman with the state broadcaster was last week found dead after
he had been abducted by suspected state security agents. The cameraman was
accused of supplying video footage to Western news networks banned in

Journalists working for the independent and foreign media have also been
targeted. Last month an opposition activist was shot dead by police while
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and scores of his followers were brutally
assaulted in police custody. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

South African clerics chide regional leaders over Zimbabwe

Yahoo News

Fri Apr 13, 6:45 AM ET

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AFP) - Senior South African Catholic clerics visiting
Zimbabwe have condemned regional leaders for failing to curb President
Robert Mugabe's violent crackdown on political opposition.

Archbishop Buti Tlagale of Johannesburg and Bishop Kevin Dowling of
Rustenburg, said leaders of the 14-nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC) were lending tacit approval to Mugabe's tactics.
"The church is challenging SADC leaders because they are silent and letting
this oppression go on," Bishop Dowling said during a prayer service in
Bulawayo, second city in the country, late Thursday.

"Our political leaders by their silence are cooperating in the oppression of
Zimbabweans and we are going to tell this," he said.

The two bishops, who were hosted by Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube -- an
outspoken critic of Mugabe -- compared the current situation in Zimbabwe to
that of South Africa under apartheid.

"Apartheid did what the current regime is doing to Zimbabweans. Listening to
your stories has helped us remember and realise that the oppression here and
the oppression we endured is very similar," Dowling said.

Archbishop Tlagale said churches in Zimbabwe and the region had a duty to
work for social change by mounting visible and sustained campaigns "until
evil dissipates."

The service was marked by police interference, with some Zimbabwean pastors
scheduled to address the service prevented from talking.

Pastor Raymond Motsi of the Christian Alliance, a group of clerics
coordinating the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, was picked up by police and
questioned before being released an hour later.

While Western nations have sharply condemned Mugabe since opposition leaders
were arrested and assaulted ahead of a planned anti-government rally earlier
last month, SADC countries have been noticeably more muted in their

SADC chief Tomaz Salomao, who is currently in Harare to assess the economic
situation, was quoted by the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Friday
urging Zimbabwe's neighbours to focus on practical solutions to the
country's problems.

"I think it's time to talk less and do the work," Salomao said.

"What's good for Zimbabwe is good for the region. What's bad for Zimbabwe is
bad for the region", he added.

Salomao met President Robert Mugabe and was expected to hold further
meetings with Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi and central bank chief
Gideon Gono.

His visit follows an extraordinary summit in Tanzania last month where South
African President Thabo Mbeki was appointed to facilitate talks between
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

SADC has blamed Zimbabwe's economic woes on targetted sanctions imposed on
Mugabe and members of his inner circle by the United States and the European

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Until Death Do US Part - the Mugabe Vow

The Namibian (Windhoek)

April 13, 2007
Posted to the web April 13, 2007

Alexactus T. Kaure

IT is a theme that runs through some of the great literary works of our

It is particularly a dominant theme in Shakespeare's works, especially

That is: once one goes deep into crime, then it becomes difficult for such a
person to get out of it.

In such a situation, there is usually one option left for the perpetrator:
keep on committing the crimes.

The past becomes the present.

This is how Mugabe ended up where he is today.

It is, therefore, pure daydreaming or wishful thinking on the part of SADC
leaders and others to think that somehow Mugabe would one day voluntarily
relinquish, or retire from, power.

There is simply too much at stake.

Forget about such naÔve comments by President Thabo Mbeki and others that
Mugabe will retire peacefully.

Mugabe is not totally oblivious to the fact that he might face a Saddam
Hussein-type trial should he step down.

He thus cannot envision a peaceful retirement life even if his ruling
Zanu-PF is still in power.

Otherwise there is no explanation why the 83-year-old Mugabe, who has been
President for 27 years, is precariously clinging onto power at all cost and
in the face of a country which is in a political social and economic coma.

Also forget about the much-touted fast-track land reform as being at the
centre of the current malaise and stagnation.

The point is that Mugabe has a long history of silencing his opponents -
sometimes in the most brutal fashion.

Because for him, politics is a matter of life or death and he does not
regard it as a means of running the affairs of a nation with periodic
changes among those at the helm of state structures.

Almost 30 years on and there is still no answer about the mysterious death
of the former liberation struggle military commander and hero, Josiah
Tongongara, in a car accident just before Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

Journalists who in the past have implied that Mugabe had a hand in
Tongongara's death have been swiftly punished.

And that should tell the story.

Some of us knew that there were different opinions on how to conclude the
Chimurenga War.

The commanders were convinced that their forces could, within few months,
over-run the Rhodesian forces and take the country, but the political
leadership instead opted for a sell-out strategy - the Lancaster House
Agreement - which was a face-saving strategy for Britain.

And Mugabe and others instead agreed to be co-opted into this scheme because
it fitted into their own grand strategy to succeed the Rhodesian ruling

But it was the Matabeleland massacre in the early and mid 1980s that
highlighted Mugabe's disdain of any challenge to his rule.

He brooks no opposition.

Operation Gukurahundi was launched as an effort to stem an uprising in part
of the Midlands and in Matabeleland immediately after independence.

One could legitimately argue that any sovereign state has a right to ensure
that law and order is maintained.

But this operation was internationally condemned for the excessive violence
it unleashed for over a period of five years - from 1981 to 1987 only ending
with the signing of the Unity Accord between PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF.

Even one of Zimbabwe's foremost nationalists, Joshua Nkomo, was on the run
during this reign of terror by Mugabe's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade.

Figures are always elusive in a war situation but it is estimated that close
to 20 000 people, mainly innocent civilians, perished at the hands of the
Fifth Brigade.

The respected Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace compiled a report
about these atrocities.

It is a document worth reading, especially for those interested not only in
Zimbabwean history and politics but Africa's as well.

The genocides in Rwanda and now in Darfur perhaps are clear reminders that
these are problems of our time and not events relegated to the dustbin of

For this writer, the scars of this operation were visible all over
Matabeleland, especially in Bulawayo - which was my first entry into
independent Zimbabwe in September 1980 when I was still in a refugee in
neighbouring Botswana.

So the current clampdown on the opposition parties and politicians, their
supporters and the independent press must not be seen in isolation.

It is part of long-running political culture based on violence and total
disregard for the opposing views.

You are either with them or against and in the latter case, you must perish.

Joshua Nkomo understood this and that's why his party was literally
incorporated within the Zanu-PF structure and he allowed himself to be made
one of the two vice-presidents to Mugabe - a strategy that was meant to
water-down his power and silence him completely.

So, the opposition in Zimbabwe has an uphill battle.

They are fighting a well organised state machinery and not just another
political party - backed by some of the most draconian laws, the police, the
military, the intelligence network and organised thugs sponsored by the
ruling party.

Remember 'operation clean up trash' - Murambatsvina? It had its political
contents and functions - to break up opposition strongholds in urban areas.

One often hears some self-serving comments like: Mugabe is a liberation
hero, Pan-Africanist, or he is fighting the West and therefore needs

To me, Mugabe is not a Samora Machel or an Amilcar Cabral.

He is just another capitalist worshipper and he therefore can't be a
liberator or a Pan-Africanist.

He has effectively joined the other capitalist thugs in the rest of Southern
Africa and beyond.

Let me be on record.

No one is calling for a regime change in Zimbabwe - though there is nothing
wrong with this if it comes through a democratic process - but for a
different set of leadership at the helm of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

But with the recent endorsement of Mugabe as the next presidential candidate
for Zanu-PF, hopes are dashed again and Zimbabweans might have to endure
another extended period of back-breaking hardship and suffering.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC: a failure to oppose

New Zimbabwe

By Joram Nyathi
Last updated: 04/14/2007 02:49:55
SURVEYING the raft of problems in Zimbabwe today, one can safely claim that
no nation in the region is riper for a change of leadership.

Yet that has not happened, despite seven years of economic upheaval since
the launch of President Robert Mugabe's chaotic, politically motivated land
reform programme in 2000.

Daily life is blighted by crippling shortages of power, fuel, drugs and
basic commodities. The reasons for the prolonged suffering lie not only in
the failures of the ruling Zanu-PF party, but also the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) led by the redoubtable trade
unionist-turned-politician Morgan Tsvangirai.

There is no question that Mugabe is an astute political schemer in his own
right, never more so than when confronted with the current challenges to his
hold on power. He is a veritable Machiavelli.

For Zimbabwe's opposition, confronted by this monolithic and almost moribund
party machine, one might expect Zanu-PF to represent a soft and slow-moving
target. The MDC has the people and the world on its side, yet its advance on
State House has been perpetually frustrated.

There is no longer much question about its credibility, despite Mugabe's
frequent characterisation of his opponents as agents of imperialist forces.
The MDC has won the moral high ground. Its real trouble is a lack of
experienced leadership to match Mugabe's cunning.

Among the most striking examples of this political naivety was the
presidential election in 2002. Tsvangirai lost under questionable
circumstances. People were shocked by the outcome. Tsvangirai called it
"daylight robbery". But, when asked what action he would take, the MDC
leader merely responded that the people would decide.

Despite a show of military might by government, there was evidence of
nervousness about what the opposition might do. Mugabe played his cards
well, pretending that he was interested in holding talks with the opposition
to address the deepening economic crisis and the issue of his own

Lacking any call by the MDC's leadership to protest, the people got
accustomed to the "stolen" result while Tsvangirai went to court. South
African observers endorsed the ballot, after President Thabo Mbeki accepted
assurances from both sides that they would meet to find common ground.

Once the temperature had cooled, Mugabe felt secure enough to abandon the
charade of negotiations.

Another missed opportunity for the opposition was Operation Murambatsvina,
the widely condemned clearance of "unofficial" settlements in the Harare
suburbs in May 2005. Critics have speculated that the people were ready to
be mobilised into action. With their homes and livelihoods destroyed, they
were already in the streets. In Marxian terms, they had nothing to lose but
their chains. Once again, leadership failed.

Soon after, in October the same year, opposition leaders divided over
whether to participate in elections for the Senate. There is a telling
comparison here with the party's response to the current controversy over
Mugabe's proposal to delay the next electoral season until 2010. Indecision
has reduced the MDC to its weakest point since the party was launched in
September 1999.

It was again part of their leadership problem to go into denial about the
impact of the split, and they failed to take decisive action to regain the
confidence of voters nationwide. Instead, there was an attempt to play the
ethnic card, just as Mugabe plays the race card when it suits him.

There is no doubt that Tsvangirai enjoys wide support in urban areas from
all sections of the social strata. The poor have turned to him because
Mugabe's land reforms have left them hungry. The rich look on him favourably
because government policies have hurt or destroyed their businesses. Much of
this support is a default reaction against Zanu-PF's hopeless ineptitude.

The problem is that precious little is known about the MDC's own policies.
The last we heard about its "Restart" programme was during the 2005 election
campaign, in which the party fared badly. Since then, both the political and
economic situations have deteriorated even more. Time has rendered the old
prescriptions of "Restart" almost anachronistic.

The MDC remains vulnerable in the countryside, where it has failed to
penetrate rural constituencies -- a territory that the media wrongly
describes as a stronghold for Zanu-PF. With the sole exception of
Matabeleland in 2000, the MDC has never won a seat in rural areas, where the
majority of constituencies are located.

New boundaries will increase the number of constituencies in 2008 from the
current 150 to 210. Mugabe has thereby increased the opportunities for
gerrymandering, so that Zanu-PF may emerge with more seats next year. Unless
the MDC can accept fair criticism of its leadership shortcomings, it looks
set to remain in opposition for as long as Mugabe remains in power.

A further tension derives from the MDC's role in the broader coalition of
the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a mass protest movement rather than an organised
political party with a coherent platform of alternative policies.

At the Zanu-PF conference last December, party members rejected President
Mugabe's plan to extend his term to 2010. Since then, the MDC has adopted a
more conciliatory tone, even talking of "accommodating" reformist elements
who support democratic rule. For a party that seeks to speak to the future,
the MDC finds itself in the invidious position of courting breakaway
elements in Zanu-PF to buttress its cause.

One possible outcome, strongly favoured by South Africa, is the emergence of
a government of national unity in the event that elements within the ruling
party -- led either by retired army general Solomon Mujuru or Rural Housing
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa -- succeed in blocking Mugabe's re-election.

Yet again, this scenario entails the MDC reacting to an initiative from
Zanu-PF -- in this instance, with encouragement from the SADC. Mbeki has
been tasked with brokering talks between the two parties, but there is no
doubt that Zanu-PF would still occupy a commanding position.

It is early yet to tell whether Mbeki can forge an alliance of convenience
between the MDC and the factions within Zanu-PF that are opposed to Mugabe
and want him out. Meanwhile, the MDC appears to be vacillating between
whether or not to participate in the 2008 election.

The alternative -- to extend its boycott of previous years -- offers no hope
of defining a new political agenda for Zimbabwe. A better strategy for the
MDC would be to exert pressure on all sides for reforms of electoral law,
while launching its own programme of voter education so that its supporters
are ready to vote.

Short of that, the MDC's best chance of reaching power is likely to rest not
on its own abilities but on the ability of Zanu-PF to navigate a new path
through the as yet unknown territory of Zimbabwe after Mugabe.

Joram Nyathi is deputy editor of the Zimbabwe Independent. This article was
first published in the Mail & Guardian

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'What's bad for Zim is bad for the region'


†††† April 13 2007 at 12:26PM

Harare - Senior SADC official Tomaz Salamao has warned it is time to
do more to rescue Zimbabwe from its worsening economic crisis, the
state-owned Herald newspaper reported in Harare on Friday.

Salamao, the executive secretary of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday to study the country's
deteriorating economic situation.

His mission followed an extraordinary SADC summit held in Dar es
Salaam two weeks ago, which was attended by President Robert Mugabe. Salomao
held talks with Mugabe at his official State House residence on Thursday.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis took a turn for the worse last month,
following a clampdown on senior opposition officials.

Prices for fuel, basic foodstuffs and scarce foreign currency shot up
suddenly, bringing misery to thousands of already-struggling Zimbabweans.

The annual inflation rate may have shot up by 470 percentage points to
2 200,2 percent, according to a report in the Zimbabwe Independent on
Friday, which claimed to have seen a press release prepared by the head of
the Central Statistical Office (CSO) earlier in the week.

Salamao acknowledged that Zimbabwe's crisis was having a ripple effect
on neighbouring states.

"What's bad for Zimbabwe is bad for the region. I think it's time to
talk less and do the work," the official was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe authorities hope the SADC will pressure the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume financial aid to Zimbabwe.

During his visit, Salamao is due to meet Zimbabwe's Finance Minister
Samuel Mumbengegwi, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and EU officials. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim girls' rights campaigner scoops prize


†††† April 13 2007 at 06:02PM

Stockholm - A Zimbabwean woman fighting to protect girls from forced
marriage, sexual abuse and child labour on Friday won the World Children's
Prize for the Rights of the Child, the organisers said.

More than five million children across the world voted for Betty
Makoni, the founder of the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, the Swedish
organisation with the same name as the prize announced.

"Tens of thousands of girls have known a better life thanks to Betty's
work," it said in a statement.

Honorary prizes have also been given to Burma's Cynthia Maung and
India's Inderjit Khurana for their work with children in their respective

The one million-kronor (100 000-euro) prize, sponsored by Swedish
companies, will be handed over on Tuesday in the presence of Queen Silvia of
Sweden. - Sapa-AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZAPU leader says crisis talks should not be secret

By Tichaona Sibanda
13 April 2007

Outspoken Zapu leader Paul Siwela on Friday said it would be useless for the
MDC to engage Zanu (PF) in any talks if they go to the negotiating table as

Siwela added that it would be pointless also to agree to talks where terms
will be dictated to the opposition, as this will guarantee certain victory
for Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) in negotiations. He called for open
dialogue as this would be in the interest of every Zimbabwean.

'But before the talks, Zimbabweans should be made aware of the agenda so
that people will be able to evaluate whether they are meaningful or not
because its likely it would be used to buy time for Mugabe,' Siwela said.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa said he has already started the
dialogue process by inviting senior opposition figures from the MDC for
talks with his ministers in Pretoria. He has also written letters to Mugabe
and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

But Siwela said if people of Zimbabwe are to be taken serious by leaders of
the Southern African Development Community and Thabo Mbeki specifically,
they had to use this window of opportunity.

Asked to elaborate, Siwela said; 'If people want to unlock that door to give
us freedom, independence, democracy and good governance, then they should
abandon the normal way.' Pressed further to explain what he meant, the fiery
Zapu leader said other people have sacrificed their lives to fight for their
rights, and 'it is high time other people did the same.'

'What I am saying basically is there is a word called revolution. It's
difficult to comprehend the word but it's unfortunate that Zimbabweans are
being pushed towards that direction,' he said.

He said the SADC initiative has started off badly because SADC executive
secretary Tomaz Salomao has hopped into bed with the regime by pledging the
regional bloc's support in calling for an end to targeted sanctions against
Robert Mugabe and his top officials in government.

'Instead of censuring Mugabe openly about the brutal continuation of the
suppression of opposition activists, the regional bloc wants the west to
lift sanctions against Mugabe, but has he changed his ways?' Asked Siwela.

Siwela said if he gets the opportunity to speak to MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in Bulawayo this weekend he will brief him of what he thinks
about the proposed talks.

'Never should they be afraid of Mugabe. And never should they trust Mbeki
because if they do so, it would be the end game for the opposition in the
country,' he said.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Independence Day Message - Arthur Mutambara

Reclaiming the Legacy of the Liberation War

We are the ZIPRA and ZANLA fighters

The Case for State Crafters

18th April 2007; Harare, Zimbabwe


Fellow Zimbabweans, 18th April 1980 is an important day that marked the end
of colonial and imperialist rule in our country. As we observe this great
day in our national calendar, let us take this as an opportunity to reflect
on the state of our nation and the challenges we face. It is important that
as Zimbabweans we come together and find solutions that can build our
country into a peaceful, democratic and prosperous nation. We must proffer
redemptive political and economic solutions in order to improve the quality
of life for all Zimbabweans on a sustained and sustainable basis. At twenty
seven years of age our country could do with some innovative and robust
state crafting.

Setting the Record Straight

The starting point of any effective reflective process is clarity about the
past. A page of history is worth ten volumes of logic. The people of
Zimbabwe freed themselves from the yoke of colonialism. Zimbabwean sons and
daughters constituted the gallant ZIPRA and ZANLA fighters who, together
with ordinary citizens, ushered in our independence. It was a revolution
that bound worker and peasant, young and old, guerilla and collaborator, and
urban and rural folks in the fight for national self-determination.

No single individual delivered us from bondage. It was a collective effort.
Across the length and breath of this country and in neighbouring countries
such as Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania, our sons and daughters came
together, with a single purpose- to free Zimbabwe. For the record; Yes,
Robert Mugabe was part of the liberation war effort. He was involved in the
nationalist struggle. However, in that war he was a spineless coward who
could not even fire a pistol. To this day he does not even know how to
return a soldier's salute. Those who fought in that war can attest to this
characterization. He was the lucky coward of the liberation war. As a matter
of principle we have no problem with spineless wimps, neither do we fault
lucky cowards. What becomes problematic is when such shameless morons then
appropriate the entire liberation war legacy as theirs, to the exclusion of
those who actually fought in that struggle. That is what offends us as
Zimbabweans. We take strong exception to that. We fought for our country as
a people and freed ourselves as a united collective. We want to put it on
record today, on our Independence Day, that the people of Zimbabwe do not
owe Robert Mugabe anything. We owe ourselves as a people. We were masters of
our own destiny.

Furthermore, let us reflect on the basis and foundation of the liberation
struggle. The war of liberation was an all-inclusive, anti-imperialist and
anti-colonialist protracted armed struggle. The principles and values of
that struggle included democracy, freedom, liberty, equality, universal
suffrage, justice, equity, socio-economic justice, and prosperity.† When we
look at the state of our nation today, the question is: Have we achieved
these aspirations? The unequivocal response is NO.

Twenty seven years after independence, the people of Zimbabwe are not
experiencing freedom, liberation or independence. Instead, starvation,
unemployment, deplorable working conditions, unmitigated suffering, and
unprecedented hopelessness now define our national psyche. We live in an
undeclared state of emergency where our basic freedoms and liberties of
assembly, speech, movement, and association are heavily curtailed by
repressive legislation. Political rallies, marches and demonstrations are
banned. Political activists and even ordinary citizens are abducted,
tortured and killed with impunity. As we reflect on the meaning of our
Independence Day, Gift Tandare, Itai Manyeruke and Edmore Chikomba join the
list of courageous freedom fighters murdered by this evil Mugabe regime. The
transformation of the police into a criminal sadistic brutal force is worse
than anything we ever saw under the Smith regime. Zimbabweans live in a
state of collective fear of violence, hunger, destitution, diseases and
arrest. Basic and essential commodities are either unavailable or
unaffordable. School fees, property rates, rentals and agricultural inputs
are beyond reach. The crippling fuel crisis, erratic and inadequate power
supply, destruction of commercial agriculture, food shortages, and lack of
housing are devastating the population. Inflation has soared to record
levels of over 2000%, unemployment is above 85%, while poverty levels are
above 90%. Life expectancy is 34 years for women and 37 years for men. This
cannot be the liberation, freedom or independence that Zimbabweans fought
and died for.

We are the ZIPRA and ZANLA Fighters

The conclusion is pure and simple. Robert Mugabe and ZANU(PF) have failed
the people of Zimbabwe. They have become a negation of the principles and
values of the liberation war. Consequently, not only was Mugabe a mindless
but lucky coward, he has become a despot running out of luck. The people of
Zimbabwe are fed up. They cannot take it any more. On our Independence Day
we refuse to be patronized by a sick old man who has become a negation of
the liberation struggle. This man has become a sellout. He has soiled and
desecrated his claim to liberation hero and land revolutionary status.

Mugabe is now neither a freedom fighter nor a champion of African rights. He
is now just an unimaginative dictator who brutalizes Africans and denies
them basic human rights and economic opportunities. He now stands against
everything that Herbert Chitepo, Jason Moyo, Josiah Tongogara, Nikita
Mangena, Sheiba Tavarwisa and Jane Lungile Ngwenya ever stood for. Our true
heroes have been betrayed. They must be turning in their graves. However,
their spirits are with us in our opposition to this dictatorship. We are
with them as we fight against tyranny, political oppression and economic
subjugation. We are following in the tradition of the great freedom fighters
of our liberation war.

We are the ZIPRA and ZANLA fighters!

A new vision and a redemptive strategy are required for our country. These
are revolutionary times that demand soldiers and cadres. Zimbabwe must
become the leading democracy in Africa characterized by people-centered
social development and economic growth. Our GDP and per capita income should
be in the top three in Africa. We want a society where human rights,
individual freedoms, property rights, women's rights, workers' rights and
economic rights are cherished and respected. We want a nation of prosperity,
economic opportunities, affordable high quality public services, social
justice, equity, and gender justice. We want a country of business growth,
productive commercial agriculture, innovative entrepreneurship, creative
managers, and productive workers who are well paid.

The Case for State Crafters

Zimbabwe is at the crossroads where to advance forward requires nation
builders, visionaries, statesmen and stateswomen; those skilled in the art
of crafting states. Statecraft speaks to the expertise and wisdom in the
effective management of public affairs. We refer here to leaders in the
genre of Lee Quan Yew of Singapore, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, Nelson
Mandela of South Africa, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of
Liberia, Indira Gandhi of India, Angela Merkel of Germany, Ernesto Che
Guevara in Cuba, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and
Franklin Roosevelt. These were (are) men and women of immense talent,
resolve, vision, and strategy. More importantly they were (are) masters of
the art of execution and implementation.

Nation builders are able to unite and mobilize people for a national cause.
They channel national energy and synergy towards the growth and development
of a country. Unfortunately, Robert Mugabe does not belong to this group of
nation builders. Great and significant leaders go beyond the limited scope
of Maslow's hierarchy of needs that ends with self-actualization. They
thrive to self-transcend, go beyond self and leave a legacy. Presumably,
Mugabe's favorite political text is that classic by Machiavelli, The Prince,
where it is argued that the prince (leader) must pursue, obtain, and
maintain power at any cost. However, Machiavelli also wrote a second book;
The Discourses, where it is explained that the prince (leader) must also
care about his legacy and judgment by history. This means the prince
(leader) must be a state crafter. I guess our learned President has not read
this insightful text, or if he did come across it, he never understood its
import.† What a shame.

The skills required for nation building are very different from those
required to fight colonialism and imperialism. A new generation of leaders
is required to take our country to the next level. The time has come to pass
the baton from liberation struggle leaders to globalization savvy nation
builders. The issues of technocratic capacity and technical solutions have
never been more critical. Zimbabwe needs accomplished business
practitioners, business thought leaders, management and economic thinkers,
financial engineers, public policy thinkers, master entrepreneurs,
technologists and scientists to drive our economy. Zimbabwe must become a
globally competitive economy that rivals such nations like Singapore,
Malaysia and Japan. We need creative dreamers and parallel thinkers who do
not fear globalization, but rather thrive on chaos and uncertainty. Only
freedom can allow our citizens to attain their full potential and take our
nation forward.


When all is said and done, Zimbabwe's future will be determined by
Zimbabweans. External players can assist and facilitate, but the buck stops
with us. We cannot outsource our emancipation to foreigners. We shall be our
own liberators. We shall be masters of our own destiny and complete the
unfinished business of the liberation struggle.

All the progressive and democratic forces in the country must close ranks in
pursuit of the collective national interest. Let us spurn ZANU(PF)'s divide
and rule tactics. A united front inspired by a single candidate principle is
a categorical imperative in every election (Presidential, Parliament,
Senate, Council). Every vote must count against ZANU(PF). While this
framework will energize the generality of our people, it will also have
strategic national appeal to multitudes of progressive ZANU(PF) members and
supporters. Let us continue with the spirit of cooperation in pursuit of a
new constitutional and electoral law framework to ensure that our next
elections are measurably free and fair. With a legitimate government (whose
election victory is not disputed) in place we can then embark on an economic
journey to a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe.

Together we shall achieve the second coming of our independence, liberation
and freedom.

There will be no Compromise, Retreat or Surrender

We Shall Overcome

The Struggle Continues Unabated

Arthur G.O. Mutambara

MDC President

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Conservation body says poaching on the rise in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Saturday 14 April 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - An international conservation watchdog on Thursday said illegal
poaching activities are on the rise in Zimbabwe and are threatening to wipe
out the small wildlife population remaining in the southern African country.

In a statement released to the media on Wednesday, the World Wide Fund for
Nature Southern African Regional Office said there has been a worrying
increase in the killing of wildlife in national parks in Zimbabwe over the
past three years.

The anti-poaching organisation said endangered species such as the black
rhinocerous were under serious threat in parks managed by the Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority with at least 40 black rhinos having been
killed over the past three years.

"Despite the ongoing collaboration, WWF decried the increasing levels of
poaching in conservancies and in some state parks. This continues to
endanger the highly endangered species such as black rhinos, and risk
undoing over 15 years of unequalled population recovery.

"Over the past three years approximately 35-40 black rhinos have been
deliberately shot for their horns in conservancies, yet not a single rhino
poacher has been arrested and convicted, despite available information.

"In fact, such losses have not generated the sort of deterrent action that
one would expect from the courts," the WWF said in the statement.

The conservation watchdog said wildlife was under serious threat from
poachers and organized crime gangs who supply lucrative international ivory
and rhino horn markets.

Poaching has been rife in Zimbabwe since landless villagers, with tacit
approval from President Robert Mugabe's government, invaded white-owned
farms seven years ago.

There have also been widespread reports of illegal and uncontrolled trophy
hunting on the former white-owned conservancies that are controlled by
powerful government and ruling ZANU PF officials.

The Harare authorities deny that politicians and ruling party officials are
behind the rampant poaching activities insisting that it still has poaching
under control. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Health Activists Object To Harare Takeover Of Local Clinics


††††† By Carole Gombakomba
†††† Washington
††††† 13 April 2007

The Zimbabwean government's announcement that it will take control of all
clinics and hospitals run by city councils has drawn fire from critics who
say it can't run the health facilities it now operates and merely wants to
capture a stream of public revenue.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Local Government Minister
Ignatious Chombo as saying Harare has approved the takeover to "improve
service delivery" and let local officials "concentrate on key service
delivery issues."

Executive Director Itai Rusike of the Community Working Group on Health told
reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the central
government has trouble enough providing staff, medicine and equipment to its
own health institutions.

The Combined Harare Residents Association said the government move to take
over municipal clinics is also continuing to strip urban councils of power
so as to narrow the political base of the opposition. Harare has some 17
council clinics and two infectious disease hospitals, while Bulawayo, the
second-largest city, has 19 council clinics.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe court appearance by British mercenary postponed

The Raw Story

dpa German Press
††††† Published: Friday April 13, 2007

Harare- A court appearance by British mercenary Simon Mann
will take place next week at the maximum security prison outside the
Zimbabwean capital where he has spent the last three years behind
bars, his lawyer said.
Mann had been expected to give evidence Friday in the Harare
magistrates court, but proceedings were delayed after the state
failed to bring him from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, about 20
kilometres from the city centre, lawyer Jonathan Samkange said.

The court hearing, in which Equatorial Guinea is applying to have
the former SAS officer extradited to Malabo to face charges of
plotting to topple the government, will instead take place at
Chikurubi next Thursday, Samkange told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in
a telephone interview.

Mann was arrested in Harare in March 2004 along with dozens of
other suspected soldiers of fortune. The Zimbabwe government accused
them of being en route to topple the government of President Teodoro
Obiang Nguema, but the men denied this.

Most of Mann's alleged accomplices were released two years ago
after serving year-long jail terms for minor immigration offences,
the only ones the Zimbabwean authorities could pin on them.

Mann, who was convicted of more serious security and firearms
offences, is due to be released next month after having served two-
thirds of a four-year jail term.

The government of Equatorial Guinea began its application to have
the former British SAS commando extradited in February.

Next week's court hearing at the prison is not unusual. Prison
authorities three years ago refused to take Mann and his accomplices
to a conventional court building in the city centre, saying they were
a high-security risk.

Instead, they turned a hall inside the prison into a makeshift
courtroom attended by journalists and family members of the detained

"What the defence will be concentrating on [on Thursday] is that
if he [Mann] is sent to Equatorial Guinea he will be tortured and
won't get a fair trial," his defence lawyer Samkange said.

In February Equatorial Guinea's attorney general claimed in court
that Mann would receive an open and fair trial in his country and
that Malabo's courts would not impose the death penalty in the case
of a conviction.

Under the central African country's laws, plotting to overthrow
the government is punishable by the death penalty or a 30-year jail

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim not excluded in summit


13/04/2007 17:33† - (SA)

Pretoria - Zimbabwe's political unrest will not lead to the country being
excluded in the Africa-European summit to be held in Portugal in December,
said Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Friday.

"The African position doesn't insist on anything except that the African
Union (AU) cannot be dismembered.

"The African Union is the African Union. We can't say we want to co-operate
with the EU but not with Portugal. Just as the EU cannot say we want to
co-operate with the AU but not with Zimbabwe," she said.

Zimbabwe is one of the 53 African countries that form the AU.

Dlamini-Zuma was hosting her Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado for bilateral
and economic discussions in Pretoria.

Both parties verbally agreed on more co-operations in business and cultural

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe gets 400 Chinese tractors

Angola Press

Harare, Zimbabwe 04/13 - Zimbabwe Thursday took delivery of 424 tractors it
imported from China at the cost of US$25 million, to reinforce its land
reform programme.

President Robert Mugabe, who has stridently driven the controversial
agrarian reforms, personally received the tractors, which were imported with
a Chinese grant, officials said.

They said another batch of about 1,000 tractors and combine harvesters,
would be imported under the programme.

Zimbabwe`s controversial land reforms have involved government`s seizure of
thousands of commercial farms from white farmers to resettle landless black

But the programme has led to reduced production, widely blamed by the
authorities on lack of equipment, especially tractors, and persistent

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cash-strapped Zim needs food


13/04/2007 12:16† - (SA)

Harare - Cash-strapped Zimbabwe will need to find scarce foreign currency to
import food from "anywhere we can", following poor harvests in all of the
country's agricultural provinces, a cabinet minister was quoted as saying on

The deficit is quite large but we are going to import maize to supplement
what we have, Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo told the state-controlled
Herald newspaper.

"We will get maize from anywhere we can and this means that we will have to
look for foreign currency to meet the food requirements," he added.

President Robert Mugabe's government has declared 2007 a drought year.
Initial projections are that the southern African country will struggle to
harvest 600 000 tons of maize, or a third of its annual requirement.

Zambia, usually a reliable maize supplier to Zimbabwe, indicated last month
it may not be able to continue exporting because part of its crop was a
write-off after floods.

Reports this week said Malawi may step in to fill the breach.

Mugabe's government blames the country's crop failures squarely on drought,
but critics also blame a controversial policy of government land seizures
from white land owners seven years ago that slashed agricultural output. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Good Friday Elephant


The Victoria Falls is one of Africa's greatest natural wonders. But as
tourism and political instability change the face of the region, the
thundering waters are becoming a treacherous spot for the local pachyderms.
By Rod Nordland
By Web Exclusive
Updated: 12:00 p.m. ET April 13, 2007
April 13, 2007 - They say an elephant never forgets. But the one who tried
to cross the Zambezi on Good Friday would have had to be very old to
remember the last time he saw the river running this high. And as he picked
his way across from Zimbabwe, swimming from island to island along an
ancient elephant corridor, a changed world was waiting on the Zambia side of
the border as well: a sprawling five-star hotel along the banks in the
national park.† With poachers and hunters at his back, and tourists sipping
sundowners ahead, the elephant foundered and was washed downstream, plunging
over the 130-meter-high (about 430 feet) Victoria Falls, Africa's mightiest
cataract.† He wouldn't have had a chance of survival.

Word soon spread around this town downstream, named for David Livingstone,
the white Scottish missionary who discovered the falls during his
exploration of Africa. And the talk soon took on a political dimension. In
recent years, as tourists with social consciences have spurned Zimbabwe
under Robert Mugabe's harsh authoritarian rule, visitors have headed for the
Zambian side of the falls instead. That's been a blessing for the tourist
industry in this southern African nation, prompting a boom in small hotels
and game lodges along the Zambezi. But not all the locals appreciate the
visitors. The Royal Livingstone, a Sun International property built six
years ago in the Victoria Falls National Park at the top of the falls, is
the only five-star establishment here, and "it would be fair to say, widely
resented," said a tour guide. When the story of the elephant became known,
residents said they'd heard that the doomed creature had been shooed from
the grounds by guards firing in the air--and pointed out that a single drink
on the hotel's riverside sundeck could feed a family of five for a week.
They also heard, they said, that tourists were laughing as the pachyderm was
swept over the falls.
The reality was different, to a point. "None of the rangers are armed," says
the hotel's public relations officer, Jackye Nsovo. "Nobody's allowed to
carry firearms.† Basically with elephants, they will come toward the hotel
but they don't harm anyone."† Nor did anyone shoo the animal away," said
Nsovo. "Elephants never come on the hotel grounds."

Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Ranger Kenneth Nyambe, who is stationed on
the grounds of the Royal Livingstone to keep guests from wandering into the
hindquarters of zebras and to protect them from mugging by troops of
baboons, said he heard a commotion from the hotel's riverfront sundeck about
4.20 p.m. last Friday. A crowd had gathered to watch what witnesses
described as a 6-ton bull elephant (medium large, as they go) leading two
smaller elephants, a male and a female, across the river.† Elephants are
good swimmers, but as the river cascades toward the falls, the current goes
at almost 25 miles per hour. The elephant got as far as the last islet in
front of the hotel and then swam the channel, making it almost to the hotel
side, according to accounts from several eyewitnesses. "He almost made it
and we were all cheering," said senior waiter Kelvin Ng'andu, who was on
duty that evening. The site is a popular place to watch the sunset, and the
falls are close enough to see mist forming above the precipice, rising
directly into cloud formations. But in front of the elephant was a bank of
sharp rocks, topped by the hotel's electrified fence; the elephant turned
back and tried to swim the channel a second time, but was swept downstream,
constantly trying to swim back against the current.

As Nyambe and Ng'andu described it, a hush descended over the scores of
spectators. "It was a very sad struggle, we could all put ourselves in the
boots of that animal," Ng'andu said. "Some people were crying, no one was
laughing." Occasionally the animal would get a grip on the rocks or a spit
of island, then lose it. The struggle went on for half an hour, with the
elephant screaming piteously whenever it could blow the water from its
throat, through the trunk. Its companions returned the calls, but remained
on the island on the other side. "Tons and tons of flesh and bones, and
exhaustion just occurs," said Isaac Kanguya of the Zambian National Heritage
Conservation Commission. "We just watched helplessly as it went over," Nsovu

At 4:55pm, ranger Nyambe said, the elephant disappeared over the main part
of the falls, tumbling more than 400 feet into the Boiling Pot, as it's
called, at the bottom. "I swear we could see the splash a moment later,"
Ng'andu said. "It's an endangered animal and if we lose one we never get it

The Good Friday elephant wasn't the first to perish that way this year.
Officials at the local warden's office of ZAWA, who asked not to be named
because they were not authorized to speak to the press, said they had three
confirmed cases of live elephants being washed over Victoria Falls this
year, all since the recent rainy season ended. Their carcasses were found by
ZAWA rangers and stripped of their valuable ivory, in one of the gorges many
miles below the falls.† "This has never happened before this year that
anyone can remember," one said. The ZAWA officials say the presence of the
Royal Livingstone on an established elephant corridor, plus the high water,
and increased movement from Zimbabwe, were all to blame. The Livingstone
hotel spokesman disputed that the hotel was on a corridor, saying the main
elephant crossing in the area is more than three miles farther upstream. But
elephants are often seen in the dry season crossing even at the lip of the
falls in front of the hotel. Many more elephants are making the
Zimbabwe-to-Zambia crossing now, as well, as Zimbabwe's economic collapse
has led to widespread poaching on that side, and Mugabe's government has
thrown open the doors to big-game hunters in a desperate search for hard
currency from those prepared to pay as much as $50,000 for an elephant
trophy.† Such hunting is banned in Zambia. "In the dry season we'll have 300
elephants now, where we used to have five or six," said Doug Evans, who runs
the Chundukwa River Lodge about 15 miles upstream from the falls, and last
week had his gardens and ponds trampled by elephants. His lodge is also on
an elephant corridor. "We just put up with it. But over the long term, we
can't handle 300 animals, it's just too many. But five kilometers [three
miles] inland, there's a big human population, so where can they go? It's a
problem. As always, the wildlife seems to get the short end of the stick."
Evans is often called on to run capture and cull teams for elephants when
locals complain that they're ravaging farms, or endangering populated areas.
"Every time we go out on the river, we hear gunshots from the Zimbabwe side.
I call friends who work with wildlife over there, and they say, there's
nothing we can do, it's political."
Kanguya of the Heritage Commission acknowledged that hotels like the Royal
Livingstone were built on elephant corridors, but says that measures such as
fold-down fences have managed to alter their routes so they could safely
cross.† But with the river as high as it is now, the electrified fences of
the hotel grounds are right at river's edge. Some wildlife officials have
called for expanding the national parkland along the river to protect them
better, while at the same time major hotel operators have proposed building
golf courses and sprawling complexes in existing parkland. "It's something
we can manage by striking a balance," he said. "No overdevelopment at the
expense of conservation, and no overconservation at the expense of tourism."

Finding that balance won't be easy, especially if more and more elephants
vote against Mugabe with their feet.† The Easter drama didn't end with the
bull's plunge.† His companions turned back, but one was stuck on another
island until Easter Day. "That same day that our Lord Jesus died for us,"
said Ng'andu, "that elephant sacrificed for his friends to live." Elephants
never forget. I'm sure when they come back this way another year, they'll
have a moment of silence for him." Elephant lovers might add a prayer.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NUJ adopts motion to help Zimbabwean journalists

13th Apr 2007 21:19 GMT

By a Correspondent

BIRMINGHAM - The National Union of Journalists has unanimously adopted a
motion to help the long-suffering Zimbabwean journalists who continue to be
persecuted for doing their jobs.

The NUJ adopted the motion which was moved today at its ADM which was moved
by the Association of Zimbabwe Journalists in the UK (AZJ-UK), Forward

The motion comes as the crackdown on the independent media and the
independent media intensifies in Zimbabwe. It was agreed in the ADM that
there was an urgent need to find ways through which to assist Zimbabwean
journalists who were being persecuted by the government for their work.

Zimbabwe is one of the worst countries in which one can practice as a

Maisokwadzo said the AZJUK was shocked by the most recent assaults on media
freedom in Zimbabwe, which saw independent journalists such as Gift Phiri,
Luke Tamborinyoka and William Bango, the former News Editor at the banned
Daily News being assaulted severely by the police while in custody.

Top award-winning photojournalist, Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and an AP colleague
were beaten up badly by the police as they covered the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign rally which was thwarted by the police.

They were put in custody with the opposition and pro-democracy leaders they
were arrested with and were released after a couple days.

Bango is reportedly fighting for his life in South Africa while Tamborinyoka
is in police custody after briefly staying at the Avenues Clinic. He was
re-arrested with MDC members who were rounded up from their hospital beds.

A former ZBC Edward Chikombo, who was found murdered recently, is thought to
have died as a result of his journalism work which linked him to the
smuggling of film footage of a badly-beaten Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Time magazine correspondent Alexander Perry was recently convicted in
Zimbabwe for reporting without accreditation.

All these arrests continue to worry the Zimbabwean journalists scattered
around the world with the AZJUK recently calling on the Zimbabwean
government to stop intimidating and harrassing journalists for doing their

The AZJUK said it was worried by the new trend of assaults on media freedoms
in the country.

"We welcome the adoption of the motion by the NUJ to help the Zimbabwean
journalists, especially when you look at all the things that have been
happening in the country," said Maisokwadzo.

"It is heartening to note that we have many friends as Zimbabwean
journalists who are willing to go all the way and support us so we can
continue to have some independent reporting on the situation in the

The conference got off to a rousing start with a standing ovation for
General Secretary Jeremy Dear.

Dear pledged the NUJ will fight low pay and raise respect for journalists
and journalism. He also announced a union-wide Day of Action to make a
strong stand for the profession. Some Zimbabwean journalists are members of
the NUJ.

Dear stressed the importance of continuing to oppose the ever-present threat
of job losses, casualisation, increased hours, short-staffing and the
dumping down of journalism.

He said: "The impact isn't just on journalists but perhaps more importantly
on journalism. We must continue to expose the threats to journalism and the
democratic process by commercialism and cost-cutting. We must continue to
build alliances with the public and opinion formers and insist on investment
in quality journalism."

Outgoing President Chris Morley called on the union to embrace the next 100
years by insisting that journalists and journalism are valued, and that we
recruit more and more members to the union in order to ensure that it
remains a strong fighting force far into the future.

As debate got underway, the burning issue of integration immediately became
the subject of discussion. Conference was strongly committed to fighting the
widespread loss of staff that has come under the guise of serving the
multi-media agenda.

Delegates welcomed the exciting new opportunity for the profession but
insisted that staff terms and conditions and quality of work must be

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

South Africa today

The Zimbabwean


South Africa 's flirtation with rights-delinquent third-world regimes
crystallised around our new Security Council seat. Our first act in council
was to join China and Russia in vetoing a Western-instigated resolution
condemning human-rights violations in Myanmar, formerly Burma - one of the
world's most repressive countries.

This schizophrenic approach - courtship with the West on one hand, succour
to the West's adversaries on the other - undermines our international
credibility, all but obliterating the moral high ground we attained through
our transition to democracy.

In our obsession with ensuring the unity of the developing world, we have in
many senses lost our moral compass.

The most glaring instance of this loss is our record on Zimbabwe - a
foreign-policy disaster which will, I predict, compromise President Mbeki's
reputation to posterity.

Last month, Mugabe's savage crackdown on opposition was received with nary a
word of protest from South Africa, who has long practised what a so-called
policy of "silent diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe. In practice, this has meant
unstinting support of the incumbent government.

South Africa and Zimbabwe have together perpetrated the astounding fiction
that we remain an honest broker in this conflict. SADC colluded with the
fiction too last month, by delegating Mbeki to arbitrate between Mugabe and
Zimbabwean opposition parties, with a view to resolving the crisis.

For it is worth remembering that President Mbeki's government has
consistently succoured Mugabe, intervening at several key junctures to
defend his regime.

I obviously wish President Mbeki well in his new role as an "honest broker"
in Zimbabwe. But in order for him to even enjoy the remotest prospect of
success in this hazardous undertaking, he will have to abandon his attitude
hitherto of straining to hear and excuse every egregious outrage committed
as Mugabe has placed his tyrant's heel on the throat of his people.

This not only needs to change, but there needs to be a recognition in South
Africa and the wider world that in Zimbabwe we are not dealing with two
equal or simply quarrelling parties: one in government, one in opposition.

We are dealing here with a ruthless despot who has rent his country asunder
with massive doses of state sponsored terror, pillage and starvation. If
Mbeki's appointment as honest broker is to succeed and the crisis is to be
meaningfully resolved, then nothing short of a change of attitude and
approach is now required. Otherwise, the false dawns, missed deadlines and
failed outcomes of the past will continue to be the hallmark of this new

The ANC government has argued for non-interference, yet the ANC protested
loudly when the apartheid government used the selfsame hands-off argument
regarding white-ruled South Africa.

The historic ironies abound: In the early 1980s, it was newly independent
Zimbabwe, occupying one of the non-permanent seats in the Security Council,
who voted to condemn racism in South Africa. Myanmar, then known as Burma,
joined in denouncing apartheid from its seat in the General Assembly. [2]

Why does the Mbeki government persist in a foreign policy so riven with
contradictions?† I believe certain elements within the ANC, Mugabe's ZANU-PF
and SWAPO in Namibia think that national liberation movements have an almost
divine right to rule in perpetuity, because they do not see themselves as
political parties in an ordinary sense.

Yet, in the words of no less an authority than President Mbeki's younger
brother Mr Moeletsi Mbeki, a post-liberation reality is taking shape in
Southern Africa - a growing inequality between the poor and new
government-aligned elites, which has sparked a wave of militancy which the
ANC-led government refuses to acknowledge.

A victory for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
Zimbabwe would be a victory for this newly assertive bloc, and an
encouragement for South Africa's trade union movement to create its own
party in opposition to the ANC.

Indeed, Cosatu has pointedly broken ranks with the ANC on Zimbabwe and
joined my party in unequivocally condemning the catastrophe in that country.
This may herald a significant issue realignment in our politics, between
parties with vastly different constituencies and ideologies.

It is vital, then, that our ruling party do some hard self-examination and
jettison the postures once relevant, perhaps, to a liberation movement in
exile, but hardly appropriate to the government of a sophisticated democracy
in the twenty-first century.

If we are to regain our moral compass, we need to be firm with our peers in
NEPAD when they do not meet the exacting standards of best practice.† We
must show the door to erring members whose houses are not in order.

Many in our government are realists; we in opposition actively seek
partnerships with those in the ruling party and its allies who prize
democratic process, good governance and the widening wellbeing of all our
people in the sub-continent. After all, under President Mbeki's leadership
the ANC has undergone a sea-change from the socialist rhetoric in which it
once couched social and economic planning.

This being a watershed year in our politics, it behoves President Mbeki to
put the record straight on our foreign policy. At stake is our influence,
which if properly used in today's world is a powerful example of one the
world's few recent instances of a negotiated and enduring democratic

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robert Mugabe: terrorist or liberator?

New Zimbabwe

By Mthulisi Mathtuhu

Last updated: 04/14/2007 07:13:00
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is an outlandish amalgam: One in whom is trapped two
stark different beings who are forever involved in a fierce tussle for
recognition; a character with a fundamental crack cutting across his entire

There is this tiny well meaning, homely, cultured, astute charming man, a
cordial and jocose tea-serving gentleman who is a meticulous dresser. This
is a fake Mugabe, a product of strict and religious teachings of an
over-loving mother.

There is something forced about this character, epitomised by the irony of a
rural herd-boy with love for a largely urban and aristocratic game of
cricket. But this is the character which the Zimbabwean ruler is striving to
promote and project always although he long ago lost ground to the real man.

The genuine Mugabe comes out naturally -- a volcanic, sabre-rattling and
quarrelsome loner with a frosty inner weather ever more ready to fight and
'crush' than to chatter a discourse.

The latest round of state instigated violence add another link to a clear
pattern of thuggish belligerence in the face of popular will; the kind that
has been built carefully and nursed skilfully over a quarter of a century.

Essentially he is more of a terrorist than a liberator. A terrorist is a
person who seeks to control a people through fear. Constantly he issues out
a diet of threats which he occasionally commutes into reality in a
calculated manner aimed at achieving devotion.

When a whole machinery of state apparatus (public media and the security
services included) is complicit in violent action under the cover of a
panoply of discredited rules, it is called state terrorism.

So a terrorist is a terrorist; it doesn't matter whether they are a black
African revolutionary or an Arab or a president.

In this regard President Mugabe scores excellently on the qualities of a

Listen to him.

"We are Zanu PF, and please check our record when we are challenged," he
thundered in the aftermath of the universal condemnation of the round of
terror which saw brazen beatings of peaceful protestors and opposition

To see this "record" which he is proud of, and in order that we may
establish a pattern, let's rewind to an earlier era.

"ZAPU and its leader (Joshua Nkomo) are like a cobra in the house. The only
way to deal with a snake is to strike a crush its head," he once said.

That was at independence when Mugabe sounded the tone of what was to befall
the opposition. His troops soon raped, killed and maimed their way across

More was to come twenty years later during the violent land invasions.

"We must strike fear into the heart of the white man, our really enemy. Make
him tremble!"

There it is in a nutshell. So nothing is done with a view to serve a
particular constituency or delivering justice but everything is carried out
with a cold, selfish determination to subdue and render somebody pathetic
with a lingering feeling that they are in the jaws of danger.

For example, land is not redistributed in order that an imbalance may be
corrected, but so that the white people may feel the reverse pain of loss;
in order for them to feel and know that not only black people can bleed.

Just listen to the language: "strike fear", "crush", "tremble", and "enemy".
The consistency in Mugabe's terminology over a stretch of three decades
establishes a pattern of heavy inclination towards violent action.

Not only is there a connection in the language, but also in the action taken
against selected recipients of varying dosages of violence. Dealing with
Nkomo entailed a ghastly project in brazen defiance of modern conscience.
Death camps were erected across the Matabeleland and the Midlands regions
where thousands were hacked into pieces before being thrown into the
mineshafts. Countless others fled into exile.

As they say, what goes around comes around. This violence is meted against
powerless unarmed civilians and against politicians seeking to exercise
their basic rights enshrined in the national constitution, as well the
farmers and their workers.

All these activities are not supposed to be seen as terror tactics. And even
today, when one labels them as such, they are frowned upon as the term lost
its real meaning when it was used by the colonial regime describing the
freedom fighters.

We are supposed to believe that the victims of terror are "dissidents",
"puppets" and "sell-outs" fronting colonial interests in Zimbabwe.

In all this, the supine public media is deployed to deny the carnage as it
helps to promote the fake Mugabe -- a democratic gentleman and liberator who
is tolerant of the opposition. Even people like Thabo Mbeki, Kenneth Kaunda
and Frederick Chiluba have become victims of this propaganda drive.

To them, the mayhem in Zimbabwe is essentially of a racial nature with its
roots in the colonial era finding currency in neo-imperialist interests. It
doesn't occur to them that Mugabe is an exponent of Zanu PF's sabre-rattling
politics largely characterised by terror, selfishness, tribalism,
bloodletting, vindictiveness and paranoia.

For the African leaders to say they "regret" the Zimbabwean situation is to
suggest that there is war yet there isn't anything like that. They should
condemn state terrorism which is different from a war.

It is apparently clear that the educationist and liberator who opens school
gates to all will proceed to ambush the graduates and "crush" them as they
walk out of the classroom expressing their thoughts.

The gentleman who serves tea in his office will soon send his shock troops
and thugs to bash his guests as they walk out. He will go on to bomb the
newspapers and hurl petrol bombs at houses and claim that the opposition is
responsible in order to justify repression.

This pride in the "record" of savagery stems from the fact that in its
entire 44 years of existence, Zanu PF has been about violence, propaganda
and less about liberation. Think of Gukurahundi, land invasions,
Murambatsvina and the current wave of repression.

So when Mugabe boasts about his record, we should shudder and begin to gird
our loins. He is today the only existing founder member of Zanu PF still in
the thick of the things. Others have either died or have been pushed,
leaving him to virtually seize control to become the memory and sole
custodian and engineer of the pulverising machinery.

Nobody can dare oppose Mugabe openly or dare resign without the master's
agreement. Even ex-minister Nkosana Moyo had to skip the country and fax his
resignation letter from South Africa because he understood what might have
befallen him if he had resigned from within the borders: total humiliation,
public denunciations and painful isolation such as befell Senator Dzikamai
Mavhaire and ex-finance minister Simba Makoni.

There is ubiquitous fear spread all over from judiciary circles, cabinet,
public sphere and the Church. The signs of a schism within Zanu PF should
not delude anybody into imagining that fear has suddenly evaporated.

Kidnappings, disappearances and bashings in open space are commonplace.

Mthulisi Mathuthu is a New columnist. He can be contacted at:

Back to the Top
Back to Index