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Southern Africa group to seek end to Zimbabwe crisis


Fri 15 Aug 2008, 21:07 GMT

By Muchena Zigomo

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's political rivals are expected to
resume power-sharing talks on Saturday on the sidelines of a regional summit
in South Africa with pressure mounting to find a way to end the country's
political crisis.

"There is one focus and it is that this matter must be resolved," South
African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said of Zimbabwe ahead of
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting.

South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, mandated to mediate an end to post-election
turmoil in Zimbabwe, met participants in the talks on Friday. President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF said negotiations would continue at the two-day
summit of regional leaders.

Botswana's president, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, meanwhile announced he would
boycott the SADC summit to protest Mugabe's participation.

Botswana has taken the toughest stand among Zimbabwe's neighbours but all
fear the consequences if its political stalemate coupled with economic
decline leads to total meltdown.

Millions of Zimbabweans have already fled across the country's borders to
escape the world's highest inflation rate of 2.2 million percent, widespread
unemployment, and chronic shortages of food and fuel.

Months of political crisis in Zimbabwe reached a head with the June 27
run-off vote which saw Mugabe win re-election. He was unopposed because
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the contest over attacks
on his followers.

The poll was condemned around the world and criticised by regional election
observers. The 14-member SADC urged Zimbabwe's leaders to forge an inclusive

Tsvangirai has said Zimbabwe's post-election government should be based on a
March 29 first-round presidential election -- which he won, but not by a
clear majority.

Three days of marathon discussions earlier this week between Mugabe, main
Movement for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai and breakaway MDC faction
leader Arthur Mutambara ended after Tsvangirai refused to agree to a
proposed power-sharing deal.

Mbeki has said he remains confident a quick resolution is still possible,
raising hopes that an end to the impasse can be found at the summit.

South African labour federation COSATU -- a key ally of the country's ruling
African National Congress -- will lead a march to protest Mugabe's
participation at the summit. (writing by Gordon Bell, editing by Mary

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Cool welcome due for Mugabe at southern African summit

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: August 15, 2008

JOHANNESBURG: When President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe attends a summit
meeting here over the weekend he will face protests and pressure to
surrender at least some of his power.

Botswana said its president, Seretse Ian Khama, will not attend the southern
African summit because Mugabe will be there, and once-supportive South
Africans are to hold an anti-Mugabe march when the leaders meet.

The meeting of the Southern African Development Community was to focus on
efforts to fight poverty through regional development through cross-border
cooperation - the two-day meeting is to close Sunday with the announcement
of a free trade agreement. But such economic good news was overshadowed by
political trouble in Zimbabwe that was creating tension within the 14-member
bloc, known as SADC.

The Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met with key southern
African leaders in Johannesburg on the eve of the meeting.

One of his aides, George Sibotshiwe, said Tsvangirai was briefing them on
efforts to form a transitional unity government that are being mediated by
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who takes over SADC's rotating chair
at the meeting.

Mugabe's party says the talks, on hold since Tsvangirai walked out Tuesday,
could resume on the sidelines of the meeting. But Sibotshiwe said prospects
for more talks depended "on the sincerity of Robert Mugabe."
The rhetoric on both sides has sharpened in recent days.

On Thursday, officials at the Zimbabwean capital's airport briefly
confiscated the passports of Tsvangirai and two of his top aides, delaying
their departure for South Africa by a day. Tsvangirai's party said such
"antics" called Mugabe's commitment to a negotiated settlement into
question, and said SADC, the African Union and the broader international
community should "take a strong position against Mugabe."

The Herald, a Mugabe mouthpiece, derided Tsvangirai's claim to leadership
Thursday, accusing him of "parroting" Western arguments.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and two other candidates in the presidential election
of March 29, and he has since insisted that any power-sharing agreement
recognize that result.

But the official tally did not give Tsvangirai the 50 percent plus one vote
needed to avoid a runoff. He withdrew from the June runoff after Mugabe
supporters waged a campaign of terror against his supporters.

Mugabe held the widely denounced runoff anyway and claimed an overwhelming

Mugabe reportedly wants to keep his authority as president, while Tsvangirai
reportedly wants executive powers as prime minister, including the right to
lead cabinet meetings.

Botswana, which has had to accommodate refugees from the political and
economic crisis in Zimbabwe next door, has called on SADC to bar Mugabe from
the meeting. Other members refused to take what would have been an
extraordinary step. The government issued a statement Friday saying Khama,
the president, would not attend the meeting, but would send the foreign

Botswana said that with power-sharing negotiations still under way, the
authorities in Harare "should not be represented at the political level at
any SADC summit as that would be equal to giving them legitimacy."

Presidents in Botswana have respected their Constitution's two-term limit
and the country is proud of its reputation as a stable democracy that has
seen several peaceful transitions since independence from Britain in 1966.
That contrasts sharply with the turmoil in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe, in power
since independence from Britain in 1980, is accused of jailing and killing
opponents to hold onto power.

The crisis in Zimbabwe has cracked the traditional solidarity of African
leaders. Kenya, Liberia and Zambia, for example, have condemned Mugabe's

In the past, Mugabe has been cheered by ordinary South Africans who embraced
his fiery anti-colonial rhetoric. But this weekend, the powerful Congress of
South African Trade Unions was to join labor and human rights groups from
across the region in an anti-Mugabe protest march at the summit meeting.

Zwelinzima Vav, leader of the trade unions congress, recently called
Zimbabwe an island of "dictatorship surrounded by a sea of democracy in our

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SADC Summit Under Way

By Zahira Kharsany

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 15 (IPS) - A free trade agreement is one of the main
points on the agenda at the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
summit presently under way in Johannesburg, South Africa. The summit will
also discuss political problems in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Lesotho and consider
protocols on gender and poverty eradication.

The summit formally opened on Thursday with the outgoing chair, Zambia,
handing over to South Africa who will hold the position for a year. South
Africa's Minister of Trade and Industry, Mandisi Mpahlwa, chaired the SADC
Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration which deliberated on
a customs union for SADC and the regional free trade area which will be
launched on August 17.

At the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Integration, chaired by South
African foreign affairs minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the crisis in
Zimbabwe was the main talking point among delegates, with Zimbabwean leader
Robert Mugabe controversially participating in the summit. The Botswana
president Ian Khama is boycotting the summit in protest.

"The authorities in Harare under the present circumstances should not be
represented at the political level at any SADC summit as that would be equal
to giving them legitimacy," said a statement from Botswana's foreign

Power-sharing talks between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the two factions of
the Movement for Democratic Change are stalled; the leaders of all three
parties to the talks are present at the summit.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, SADC Executive Secretary Tomasz
Salomão conceded that while the region faced challenges, it remained stable:
"There are no conflicts and no wars. Yes, we do have challenges in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The summit will
give us a chance to see how we address these challenges and the challenge
that we had a few months ago in South Africa."

Salomão was referring to xenophobic attacks that took place in South Africa
in May this year, claiming more than 60 lives and displacing tens of
thousands of migrants.

Also on the agenda is the Southern Africa Gender Protocol. The draft
protocol commits member states to gender parity at all levels of government;
to amend or repeal laws that discriminate against women; devise policies and
laws to enable equal access to economic resources by women and men; bring in
gender-sensitive policies to fight HIV and AIDS and enshrine gender equality
in their constitutions.

The protocol was not signed at previous summits and gender activists are
hoping that it will be in signed this year.

Speaking at the protocol alliance strategy meeting on Thursday morning,
South African Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad assured the women and
men present that it will be on this year's agenda. "August in South Africa
is women's month, so it is important that this historic summit is happening
here. South Africa is committed to signing it.

"It is not only Africa's time that has come, but Africa's women's time that
has come."

The protocol has been approved by SADC's Council of Ministers and will now
pass to heads of state for final deliberation.

Also recommended to heads of state are a protocol on poverty eradication and
food security; consideration of reduced energy supplies in the region; and
the re-admission of the Seychelles -- which pulled out of SADC in 2003,
unable to meet its financial obligations to the regional grouping.

SADC, which was formerly known as the Southern African Development
Coordination Conference (SADCC), has been in existence since 1980 when it
was formed in Lusaka, Zambia with the slogan "Southern Africa: Towards
Economic Liberation".

SADC's current member states are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South
Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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'COSATU a terrorist, uncivilised body'

by By Lizwe Sebatha Saturday 16 August 2008

BULAWAYO - Irate Harare officials branded South Africa's labour movement a
terrorist and uncivilised body after it announced it would mobilise workers
in the region to refuse to handle goods destined for Zimbabwe in protest
against President Robert Mugabe's rule.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which also plans to
hold a "massive march" against Mugabe during this weekend's Southern African
Development Community (SADC) summit in Midrand near Johannesburg, on
Wednesday said it was pushing for a week-long protest in September during
which all workers will refuse to handle goods destined for Zimbabwe.

Deputy information minister Bright Matonga dismissed COSATU's protest
against Mugabe as an uncivilised act that smacks of terrorism.

"The protest by COSATU is uncivilised and a criminal way of behaving with
all the hallmarks of terrorism. They are saboteurs and they should move away
from the slavery mentality of trying to please whites," Matonga said in an

COSATU - a longtime vocal opponent of Mugabe's controversial rule - said the
veteran Zimbabwean leader was illegitimately in power after his re-election
in a June presidential run-off election boycotted by the opposition because
of political violence.

The run-off election was held because opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first
round voting on March 29 but failed to secure the margin required to
takeover power.

COSATU's boycott action was one of the resolutions taken at the Zimbabwe and
Swaziland "Solidarity Conference" which ended in South Africa on Monday.

The labour body also called for an end to political violence and for the
lifting of a restriction aid on groups and civil society organisations that
has paralysed delivery of much needed relief to needy communities mostly in
far-flung rural areas of the country.

Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu also dismissed COSATU as a grouping
led by brainless and misdirected people.

"COSATU is led by brainless and misdirected people who should instead focus
on poverty and xenophobic attacks in South Africa," said Ndlovu. "It has
never happened in the history of politics that a labour body can organise
such a criminal act."

Mugabe's controversial re-election on June-27 courted international
criticism and worsened the country's dire economic situation with the cost
of basics and other services spiraling beyond reach as the worthless
currency continued plummeting to new lows daily.

Analysts see no edn to Zimbabwe's woes until Mugabe cedes power to the MDC
under a power sharing deal, a demand that stalled the crisis talks last week
after the 84-year old leader refused to let go his grip on power.

The talks between MDC and ZANU PF began last month under the facilitation of
South African President Thabo Mbeki.they wiil continue on the sidelines of
the SADC summit. - ZimOnline

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WOZA arrests urgent

NINE WOMEN, were arrested in Bulawayo on Wednesday night. They are being
charged with ‘malicious damage to property’, a charge, which they are
denying. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are representing the women and
hope they will appear in court on Saturday August 16.

Four of the younger members were seen ‘road-writing’ the WOZA ‘love’ slogan
and the ‘Woza Moya’ (come healing wind) on a road in Mabutweni suburb of
Bulawayo under cover of darkness. They were arrested and detained first at
Western Commonage station before being transferred to the dirty police cells
at Bulawayo Central. Police officers then threatened them and forced one to
point out the homes of other leaders. A further five including two 75 year
olds, were taken from their homes and detained.  It is unclear why they are
facing the same charges or why they were arrested.

WOZA wish to make it clear that the arrest of their members is a further
violation of the Memorandum of understanding signed by Zanu PF, and the 2
MDC parties as part of the SADC led Dialogue. It is further proof that Zanu
PF may have called for an end to violence in word but no in deed. It is WOZA’s
view that unless there is an audit and transformation of the police and
army, there can be no healing and restoration of human rights in Zimbabwe.
WOZA will continue with road writing their messages until the politicians
hear them loud and clear.

WOZA leaders will march with South Africa labour and civic society on
Saturday 16 August 2008 to deliver demands to SADC leaders. Once such demand
is articulated in their slogan - Woza Moya which is written on many roads in
Zimbabwe by WOZA members.

WOZASolidarity is asking supporters to:-

a) write again to SADC state ambassadors/high commissioners in the UK urging
them to listen to civic society’s demands
b) use the cell phone numbers of Zimbabwean authorities to text a message
e.g WOZA harassment is not in the Memorandum of Understanding
c) phone friends in Joburg and encourage them to go on the red card march
this Saturday 16th August
d) phone any Bulawayo police station to urge officers to show just treatment
to WOZA members

The protesters contact list is attached and pasted below for those wary of


Use these contacts to lobby those in positions of authority to bring about
an end to the election related violence in Zimbabwe.

22 Dorset Street W1U 6QY
020 7299 9850Phone
Fax 020 7486 9397

6 Stratford Place W1C 1AY
020 7499 0031/020 7647 1000
Fax 020 7495 8595/020 7409 7382

CONGO (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC)  [French & English speaking]
281 Gray’s Inn Road, WC1X 8QF
020 7278 9825
Fax 020 7833 9967

45 Portland Place W1B 1AS
020 7636 2371
Fax 020 7323 6717

7 Chesham Place, Belgravia SW1X 8HN
020 7235 5686
Fax 020 7235 5023

Dr Iary Berthine Ravaoarimanana Charge d'Affaires
8 - 10 Hallam Street, W1W 6JE
020 3008 4550
Fax 020 3008 4551

70 Winnington Road
London N2 0TX
020 8 455 5624
Fax 020 8325 1066

MAURITIUS [French & English speaking]
32/33 Elvaston Place
London SW7 5NW
020 7581 0294/5
Fax 020 7823 8437

MOZAMBIQUE  [Portuguese & English speaking]
His Excellency Mr António Gumende
21 Fitzroy Square W1T 6EL
020 7383 3800
Fax 020 7383 3801

020 7636 6244
Fax 020 7637 5694

020 7569 1470
Fax 020 7495 8817

Trafalgar Square WC2N 5DP
020 7451 7299
Fax 020 7451 7284
Her Excellency Ms L. Mabuza * High Commissioner (since 12 November 2001)
Mr C. S. Ndaba * Deputy High Commissioner
Mr J K Tiba m Consul (Immigration and Civic Affairs)
Mr G M Meder m Vice-Consul (Immigration and Civic Affairs)
Mrs Z Hansen m Vice-Consul (Immigration and Civic Affairs)
Ms C N M Chinkanda Vice-Consul (Immigration and Civic Affairs)
Ms T M Lusibane Vice-Consul (Immigration and Civic Affairs

Her Excellency Mrs Mary M. Kanya
20 Buckingham Gate
020 7630 6611
Fax 020 7630 6564

Zambia House
2 Palace Gate W8 5NG
020 7589 6655
Fax 020 7581 1353

His Excellency Mr Gabriel Mharadze Machinga
Zimbabwe House 429 Strand WC2R 0JR
020 7836 7755
Fax 020 7379 1167


[Note: + 263 11 indicates a call to a mobile]:-

BULAWAYO AREA: - (from abroad: + 00 263 9 + the local number)
Bulawayo Central: +263 9 72515 - 61706
Mzilikazi: +263 9 202908 - 212905   OR +263 9  74439 - 62908
Hillside:  +263 9241161
Donnington +263 9 474005 - 467309
Queens Park: +263 9 226212 - 226411
Sauerstown: +263 9 200960 -  218431 - 218432
Luveve +263 9 520801/2/3
Tshabalala +263 9 496755
Donnington: +263 9 474005/4673309
Barbourfields +263 9 74095

Filabusi Police Station +263 17 202 281 or 247 9 72515 / 61706
Figtree Police Station   +263 83 216  ??????

HARARE AREA: -   (from abroad: + 00 263 4 + the local number)
General HQ +263 4  700171
Harare Central +263 4  733033 – 732589; 733030; 733733; 733734; 735760;
735832; 735833
Airport + 263 4 575366
Avondale     + 263 4 336632
Borrowdale   +263 4 860067- 860061- 883152
Braeside  +263 4 742261-742260-742383- 743020- 743006-742259
Glen View     +263 4 690049
Hatfield   +263 4 570506- 570123- 570138
Highlands+263 4 495304- 495504 - 495340
Kuwadzana +263 4 665511
Mabelreign    +263 4 336000- 339075
Marlborough +263 4 336647- 301801/2
Mbare        +263 4 706401
Monavale    +263 4 336613
Rhodesville +263 4 495753- 481111- 496567- 496568
Southerton   +263 4  668438 – 667032 - 667012
Warren Park +263 4 223921-229990 – 229991 – 229992
Waterfalls +263 4 662626/7

Other Areas
Chitungwiza          + 263 70 22001    Hwange +263 81 36491
Masavingo Central+ 263  39 62221  Fax: Masvingo Police Enqs. +263 39
Masvingo +263 39 64911
Chikato +263 39 62308
Gweru  + 263 54 2477 Chinhoyi + 263 67 22299
Bindura +263 71 9933 Marondera +263 79 23500
Mutare +263 20 63380 Gwanda +263 84 2911
Chegutu:    +263 53 2209  / 2411/ 2974
Member in Charge__Police Station Chegutu: Tel:   +263 53 3473
DA__Criminal Investigation Dept+263 53 3699__
Inspector Ganyani (MEC)  Cell: +263 91 264 0537 or 11 56


ZANU-PF Information Tel: 00 +263 4 753329 - 753145
Fax:  +263 4 774146

Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri+ 263  4  862410 -250008 –
792621 - 700171 cell 26311808290

State Security Minister  Didymus Mutasa    +263 11 200532-774189 (Mobile)
Personal Mobile:  +263 11 876 015  ADD: 201 HEADLANDS

Minister for Justice Patrick Chinamasa   +263 4 777054 – 774620 –
Mobile: +263 11 605 523

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi +263 11 605424/ 430422/ 794628/
703695(Mobiles)   +263 4 723635 -703642 - 703644     Fax  +263 4 707231

Nathan Shamuyarira: +263 862073-6  - 7 RUBIDGE CL BORROWDALE

Samuel Mumbengegwi: +263 4 882930 - 22 STOUR ROAD VAINONA BORROWDALE

Office of the President: 263 4 252440 - MUNHUMUTAPA BLDG S MACHEL AVE HARARE

Gideon Gono's Office: 263 4 703096

Presidential guard: 263 4 707745 - 707451

Francis Nhema: 263 4 882926 - 3 FARTHINGHILL P O BORROWDALE







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International justice makes it harder to shift rulers like

Rejoice Ngwenya:

RECONCILIATION talks mean that our self-inaugurated president Robert Mugabe
is now unlikely to face justice in Zimbabwe, but it is hard to see where he
could run from international law - and he must know that.
The last colonial-vintage ruler, Ian Smith, spent the twilight of his years
peacefully at his Shurugwi farm. Credited with a dirty anti-liberation war
that accounted for 20,000 deaths in the 1970s, Smith received a handshake of
forgiveness on the eve of freedom in April 1980 from a Mugabe who had been
expected to vent his Marxist-Leninist vengeance on him. Now national hatred
has turned on Mugabe.

Mugabe's political résumé features the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland
with North-Korean-trained troops, Operation Murambatsvina that "cleaned out
the filth" of slum-dwellers, military intervention in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, and the abduction, torture, murder and displacement of
thousands of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists: these fall
squarely into the category of crimes against humanity.

Now faced with the real prospect of him losing power, many of us believe
that for his every past action there should now be an opposite and equal
retaliation. There might be, however, a substantial part of the present
generation that will want to adopt a more conciliatory position to
facilitate rapid nation building.

We cannot expect any support for his prosecution from our neighbours (except
Botswana). Many Africans of all types support Mugabe and really believe his
economic vandalism is caused by Western (principally British) machinations.
Other Africans tell me Mugabe is not as bad as Uganda's Idi Amin or
Ethiopia's Haile Mengistu - but this callous moral relativism means nothing
to the dead, the tortured or the fearful in Zimbabwe or to more than two
million refugees.

The only person with the moral authority to stand up and call the dictator a
dictator is our neighbour Nelson Mandela, but his single mild comment about
"failure of leadership", in June during the election terror, gave the
impression that all Zimbabwe needs is a few policy adjustments.

In practice, it is difficult to see what trade-offs Southern African
Development Community-appointed mediator president Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa can demand in order to insulate Mugabe from national or international

Pursuit of consensus like the 1979 British-brokered Lancaster House
Agreement calls for large-scale compromises but this depends on the ability
of MDC to extinguish the anger of its supporters and allies who bore the
full brunt of Mugabe's post-2000 political wrath followed by the latest
post-election campaign of terror.

Many groups are crying foul for being shut out of the negotiations in
Pretoria between Mugabe's representatives and the MDC: the 1998 People's
Convention that gave rise to the formal opposition was a concoction of
disparate civil society bedfellows. Ironically, it is in Mugabe's own
interest to encourage an inclusive negotiating team since reconciliation and
forgiveness are backed by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Christian
Alliance of Zimbabwe and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe.

But international law now makes it impossible for dictators to retire in
comfort to the Côte d'Azur or even inside their own country. Paradoxically,
it makes dictators harder to shift as they have nowhere to hide. China
didn't seem to want Mugabe at the Olympics, but they have no problem selling
him arms so maybe they or his friends in North Korea will have him. Any

. Rejoice Ngwenya has been involved in constitutional research and electoral
supervision in Zimbabwe.

  a.. Last Updated: 15 August 2008 8:50 PM
  b.. Source: The Scotsman
  c.. Location: Edinburgh

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Opportunism of the worst kind in Mutambara

 15th Aug 2008 23:38 GMT

By Innocent Chofamba Sithole

READING Arthur Mutambara's Heroes Day article (read) left me quite
disillusioned. I struggled to see the point of the whole thing right up
until I got to the section where he addresses Zimbabwe's international

The key point that he communicates by way of this article is that he has
capitulated and found accommodation in some significant respect with Robert

The article has Mugabe's demagogic ring to it. By regurgitating Mugabe's
political rhetoric and flawed anti-imperialism in this article, Mutambara is
merely confirming to us that he has endorsed Mugabe's ideological position
and relieved pressure on the old dictator by taking up the mantle of
anti-imperialist spokesman on Mugabe's behalf. He has in the process created
the perception or semblance of national or cross-party ideological
coalescence around Mugabe's ideas and vision.

The theme on western intervention is reflective of Mugabe's regime survival
strategy. Mugabe's Third Chimurenga discourse deploys the outside-looking-in
approach, by which local political contradictions are explained through the
prism of international relations. That way, everything that is wrong within
is the result of exogenous factors. The use and abuse of history that is
central to the Third Chimurenga discourse - what Terence Ranger called
Patriotic History - arises as the necessary result of this attempt to marry
the international to the local in a cause-and-effect relationship.

Propaganda becomes the cement with which these linkages are maintained.
Propaganda also becomes the shield with which external accusations of
illiberal practices on the part of the regime are parried. The easiest and
commonly employed strategy is to point to the west's own moral
inconsistencies to pre-empt the criticism. Mutambara's piece endorses this
approach unashamedly.

What this thinking means, essentially, is that we will countenance no
criticism of the state of our democracy for as long as we can find evidence
of worse realities subsisting elsewhere, or of western double standards and
hypocrisy. This deliberate subterfuge is meant to distract from engaging
with the substantive, egregious reality of violence and abuse on the ground.
But it is incomprehensible and shocking when these bouts of defensiveness
seize the leader of a democratic opposition whose activists are actually the
victims of such brutality!

As a leader of a pro-democracy party, Mutambara's chief problem should be
with Zanu PF authoritarian nationalism, which has also been the key
contradiction in Zimbabwe's post-independence history. This same
authoritarian nationalism has retained the violence of the liberation war
era at its core; it has retained the democratic centralism of the

This resulted in stifled internal liberation and a crisis of democratic
expectations on account of Zanu PF's incapacity to respond to democratic
impulses and reform accordingly (one of the central pillars in Zimbabwe's
crisis today remains Zanu PF's own internal succession crisis). This same
authoritarian nationalism has in the course of our young history
deliberately attempted to jettison democratic politics by actively lobbying
for and mobilising towards a legislated one-party state, all the while
dispensing harsh and violent treatment towards the erstwhile opposition
then - Zapu, itself a legitimate nationalist movement - by use of the old
colonialist's arsenal of repressive laws and emergency powers. It is this
context that ushered in Mutambara's political consciousness and gave birth
to his activism.

Therefore, how can the leader of a party contending with such historical
authoritarianism not address the question of our violently stifled search as
a nation for viable, democratic post-nationalist politics? Why does he not
speak of the second phase in our struggle - which is to put democracy back
into national liberation? On the day we commemorate the heroes of
yesterday's war, how can he afford not to speak to the reality of our
incomplete internal liberation and the need, therefore, for new heroes to
keep the democratic torch blazing until Zimbabwe is truly free?

Given that he speaks as the blood of hundreds of our brave compatriots flows
fresh into the soil of our motherland, why does he not speak to the tragedy
of oppression and violence that still stalks our land? Instead, he chooses
to share the podium with the author of our oppression to fart into the
whirlwind about western hypocrisy, when the widows of my uncle Dickson
Sibamba, Tonderai Ndira, Joshua Bakacheza and countless other brave souls -
all murdered by Zanu PF militia - still don mournful sackcloth and cry out
for justice!

The paradigm of repressive nationalism that gave Mutambara political
consciousness is right now at its zenith, with the so-called liberator
having come out clearly and unashamedly to declare to the entire nation that
it stands imprisoned to the gun that ended white rule; that the ballot - a
mere pen and paper affair - will not compromise the will of the bullet. It
is worse now than when, as a student leader, Mutambara clambered down the
walls of his University of Zimbabwe (UZ) residence on the historic morning
of October 4 1990, to escape Mugabe's murderous assassins, following
attempts to commemorate the 1989 anti-corruption demonstration.

It was even worse when, during Learnmore Jongwe's student leadership, riot
police opened fire for the first time on campus and shot Morememories
Chawira in the neck during a demo; and it deteriorated even further for Dewa
Mavhinga's student administration when riot police went a murderous step
further and bludgeoned poor Batanai Hadzizi to death, giving the UZ its
first student funeral from police brutality on campus. If Mutambara's
political genesis arises from his confrontation with Mugabe's repressive
state as a student leader, his successors faced even worse, as I've just
tried to show. The entire nation has experienced violence and death and
hunger and disease at the hands of Robert Mugabe.

If Mutambara cannot see the glaring tragicomedy of his own antithetical
behaviour by sidling up to the author of Zimbabwe's misery and wearing his
rhetorical garb to make political headway for himself, then he's an utterly,
irredeemably lost cause. For good measure, he chooses to berate the west and
not even once mention Mugabe's friends in the east who have continued to
pour in weapons and lend diplomatic succour to a regime that is guilty of
brutalising its own people.

Not once does he mention China's insidious role not only in Zimbabwe but
across the continent, including that hell on earth that is Darfur. He does
not question Mugabe's mortgaging of the country's natural resources to China
for the survival of the Zanu PF regime. Mutambara's moral compass only
registers western hypocrisy but easily glides over Chinese and Russian
contributions both to Zimbabwean and global illiberalism. Do China and
Russia present a model of involvement in international affairs that is
benign and positive? Is that what we should expect from a Mutambara foreign

Mutambara's fulminations reflect little by way of critical thought and
political judgment. One gets the sense of someone in a hurry to bolt in
before the back door is bolted. This is opportunism of the worst kind. But
why the hurry, Arthur?

Chofamba Sithole is a Zimbabwean journalist. E-mail:

This article was first published by

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Zanu (PF)’s Land Reform -100% Empowerment or 100% Embezzlement
image We were farmers once

The 100% affirmative embezzlement programme, organised state sanctioned asset theft and looting by the ZANU (PF) criminal enterprise commenced when its First Secretary and Embezzler-in-Chief Robert Mugabe

The 100% affirmative embezzlement programme, organised state sanctioned asset theft and looting by the ZANU (PF) criminal enterprise commenced when its First Secretary and Embezzler-in-Chief Robert Mugabe at his usual Marxist echo chamber, the National Heroes Acre, issued the following statement:

“We are embarking on a land redistribution exercise as a way of redressing a colonial imbalance and decongesting our communal areas. The criteria shall be to target farms that lie on the peripheries of villages and the government shall relocate the affected farmer to another farm in the hinterland. Commercial farmers with multiple farms, absentee landlords and others will have their farms designated and repossessed by the government for the land redistribution exercise. Commercial farm sizes shall be reduced to a maximum of 450 hectares with all agro plantations and specialized farms remaining intact. No farmer shall be left without land. Priority for farms and land shall be given to black Zimbabweans with the proven prerequisite skill levels and capital required for successful agriculture.”

What followed this universally applauded historic statement, which appeared designed for the correction of colonial wrongs, was a litany of deception and lies.

White Zimbabwean farmers were robbed of their land in broad daylight, their private assets stolen, most were tortured, jailed, beaten, murdered and stripped of their birthrights. They were instantaneously replaced on these farms by sycophantic, inept ZANU (PF) functionaries masquerading as heroes of the war of liberation.

The same heroes who had earlier looted the War Victims Compensation Fund which saw some of them, including serving ministers, being declared 95% disabled. Housing Allowances, Presidential Scholarship Fund, Vehicle Allocation Schemes and they still claim that all they really wanted was land.

Mugabe tells his supporters and anyone else who listens that he went to war for land. Zimbabwe’s liberation war has been vastly distorted by synthetic freedom fighters that never fired a single shot and were safely tucked away in Maputo from the long reach of the Rhodesian security forces only to emerge unscathed, enriching themselves and then rewarded with land.

Farms were not only a business but also a way of life and more importantly the nation’s source of all the raw materials essential for its robust agro processing and homegrown food manufacturing industry.

In 1999 when Mugabe was given his first defeat in a democratic process through the referendum, he vented his anger on the hapless white farming community and blamed them for supporting the “NO” vote. What then followed was a vindictive political score settling exercise with Jonathan Moyo as its mouthpiece.

There exists a Grand Canyon of difference between land reform, agrarian reform and land distribution. A hoe, shovel and a pick are farm tools used for digging the earth, although they obtain the same result of turning the soil, they cannot substitute each other . What has happened in Zimbabwe since 2000 is nothing more than an illegal racist act that enriched the political elite, displaced farm worker families and reduced Zimbabwe to a beggar nation status.

How is it possible to allocate a 1000 hectare mechanized tobacco farm to a sports administer, a citrus estate to a journalist, a cattle ranch to petrol attendant and an export flower farm to a government nurse?

In 2000, Zimbabwe became one of Africa’s largest exporters of aluminiun ingots. The government was forced to issue a ban on the export of this metal only after the agricultural unions complained of the imminent national shortage of irrigation pipes. Briefcase and shelf companies belonging to ZANU (PF) “chefs” were collecting irrigation pipes from designated farms and melting them into ingots for export. Today Zimbabwe cannot irrigate its winter crop due to shortages of irrigation equipment.

Greenhouses, coffee trees, citrus groves and other plantation crops, which had earlier in the decade-consumed capital for their establishment, were being uprooted to make way for maize. Without the foreign currency, returns from these export crops, the economy went into a tailspin and has not recovered since.

Zimbabwe cannot afford to compensate white farmers for the losses stemming from criminal activities perpetrated by ZANU (PF). The claims for compensation must thus be borne by the beneficiaries and the architects of the chaotic asset misappropriation exercise. Private housing units, shopping complexes and other property development schemes, which only benefited a few, have sprung up from previously productive commercial farms. The land, upon which these ostentatious homes are built on, was never paid for and yet the beneficiaries reap huge profits from land that was meant for peasants.

The only feasible way to correct the initial colonial injustice is to allow all Zimbabwean-born farmers to participate in an agrarian reform conference that sets up an independent Agricultural Board whose mandate is to formulate pragmatic roadmap for land redistribution, land use and land tenure.

Zimbabwe needs to redefine what is meant by the word farmer. Is farming an honourable profession? Do farm assets have the same value as those in the manufacturing or retail sector? Zimbabwe's balance sheet is deficient mainly because its most valuable asset , the land is being misused, underutilised and has been rendered worthless by the illegal cancellation of universally recognised title deeds.

Political appeasement does not work anymore and the Nuclear Physicists with PhD’s, Doctorates or Degrees in Violence will not put food on the table. What Zimbabwe needs is real agrarian reform, fresh leadership, the rule of law and competent farmers.

We were farmers once.

Phil Matibe -Agrarian Insurgent


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ZANU-PF in turmoil"

Njabulo Ncube and Clemence Manyukwe Political Repo
Party hawks out to derail talks"
THE hawks in ZANU-PF are determined to safeguard their positions in Cabinet
and other arms of government by sinking the negotiations between their party
and the Move-ment for Democratic Change (MDC) after President Robert Mugabe
made a number of unexpected concessions giving power to Morgan Tsvangirai,
The Financial Gazette can reveal."

The negotiations reached a stalemate for the second time in as many weeks
mainly over ZANU-PF's refusal to make Tsvangirai head of government and
insistence that President Mugabe, who has ruled the country for the past 28
years, should remain both head of state and government.
ZANU-PF insiders told The Financial Gazette this week that although the
parties failed to conclude a deal after Tsvangirai's rejection of a junior
role, the MDC leader had been granted some powers, including formulating
government policy and presenting it to Cabinet, supervising ministers and
chairing Cabinet meetings in President Mugabe's absence.
Tsvangirai turned all this down because with President Mugabe as both head
of state and government, he would be obliged to report to him.
Sources told this paper that ruling party hawks, whose business empires
survive on influence peddling, are opposed to the concessions that President
Mugabe made to the former trade union leader and are mobilising to ensure
that Tsvangirai maintains his stance and is thus precluded from reaching an
agreement according him such powers.
They said a number of ZANU-PF bigwigs are now realising that they may have
to perform a Herculean act to stay in the race to succeed the ageing
Zimbabwean leader once they are left out of a Government of National Unity
(GNU) frantically being pursued by South African President Thabo Mbeki.
To stay in contention, the sources said, the hawks would rather rock the
boat to avoid clouding ZANU-PF's succession politics by bringing into the
picture external dynamics.
With Simba Makoni, the former finance minister once touted as President
Mugabe's possible successor out of the picture, a number of ZANU-PF
heavyweights believe the crown is now within reach.
"A ZANU-PF clique is now seeking to subvert the process as they think
President Mugabe made too many concessions.
"That is why you see that even though the principals are bound by the terms
of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) not to leak information to the
media, confidential information is now finding its way to the state media.
They hope that Tsvangirai maintains his stance," a source said.
The sources insist that ZANU-PF hardliners were angered by the MDC leader's
plan to appoint former politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa as Speaker of the
House of Assembly in a bid to consolidate his support in Matabeleland and
bring to his side legislators from the other side of the political devide,
who had strong links to PF-ZAPU.
Dabengwa and Tsvangirai are said to have met last month to discuss the
issue. The former ZIPRA intelligence supremo refused to comment on the issue
yesterday when contacted by The Financial Gazette.
"ZANU-PF and the other MDC faction refused to grant the speaker's post
because the MDC group led by Mutambara saw it as a bid to undermine its
support in Matabeleland while ZANU-PF saw Dabengwa's proposed appointment as
not being made in good faith but designed to provoke," a source said.
Dabengwa has been languishing in the political wilderness since 2000 and
unlike other former PF-ZAPU bigwigs, President Mugabe has not considered him
for any appointments.
He has often said he would not accept appointment unless he contested and
won an election.
At a Press conference on Wednesday, Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller
faction of the MDC, said Tsvangirai was on the verge of signing on three
"At this stage in the dialogue all the issues are agreed upon between the
three parties.
"We are in agreement on everything except one aspect, just one aspect,"
Mutambara said.
"I must emphasize that three times in our discussions, Morgan Tsvangirai was
agreeable to that aspect. And thrice he changed his mind. In the end he said
he wanted an opportunity to reflect and consult and then resume the
 process," said Mutambara.
An insider said yesterday: "That sticky issue is not having him as head of
government. Innocent Chagonda, Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma screamed 'No'
to signing, over that issue."
Chagonda is Tsvangirai's lawyer.
According to the same sources, negotiators from the Mutambara camp were in
total agreement with President Mugabe and ZANU-PF's proposals, including
appointing Mutambara deputy prime minister.
In fact, Mutambara allegedly sees himself as a key player in the process as
his faction has 10 parliamentarians. These can support either President
Mugabe's ZANU-PF or Tsvangirai's MDC, which have almost an equal number of
seats in the lower house.
While Tsvangirai favoured a transitional government of two-years in the
negotiations, both President Mugabe and Mutambara insisted on a five-year
period and the retaining of the existing constitution with its 18
amendments, to run a government.
Tsvangirai and his team of advisors, according to the sources, dug in their
heels, demanding a people-driven constitution within a two-year transition
that would eventually lead to free and fair elections by 2010.
It is alleged that both ZANU-PF and the Mutambara camp reneged on a
constitution agreed by all the three parties in Kariba during earlier
mediation by Mbeki.
At Tuesday's Press conference, Mutambara confirmed that his formation sided
with President Mugabe in the negotiations. He fell short of blaming
Tsvangirai for scuttling the sealing of a deal that night.
Mutambara said as far as his formation was concerned the aspect, which
Tsvangirai expressed reservations about, was a "non-issue", which should not
have hampered the dialogue.
Tsvangirai said on the same day that the MDC remained committed to
participating in any meaningful and genuine dialogue that would move the
process forward.
"We are committed to a solution that ensures that tangible deliverables are
put on the table for Zimbabweans - a solution that must thus put the people
first, not leadership positions and titles," Tsvangirai said.

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Tobacco sales rake in US$116 million"

Staff Reporter
THE country's three tobacco auction floors received over 442 000 bales of
the golden leaf weighing about 36 million kg in the 63 days of trade ending
August 1, the latest figures released by the Tobacco Industry Marketing
Board (TIMB) showed this week."

TIMB said the 36 332 098 kg of tobacco sold at the auction floors so far
this season earned the currency-starved economy US$116 183 389, which is
still way below the figures generated by the crop before the fighters of the
country's liberation struggle moved in to seize white-owned commercial farms
in 2000.
At its peak, the country produced nearly 220 million kilogrammes of tobacco.
Zimbabwe is this year expected to receive about 70 million kilogrammes of
tobacco, about a third of the output produced during the peak period. With
about two months left before the close of the tobacco-marketing season, half
of the projected output could still be in the hands of the farmers. TIMB
chief executive officer Wilson Nyabonda said tobacco deliveries had slowed
down due to transport problems facing farmers as a result of the acute
shortages of fuel and the skyrocketing costs of fuel.
Trading figures for last week were not available as the auctions floors were
temporarily closed for the Heroes' and Defence Forces holidays. Sales only
resumed on Wednesday.
Figures released by the Board indicated that the bulk of the sales were
generated through contract farming where US$73,6 million worth of tobacco
was traded at the three floors.
Of the three auction floors, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre received
the bulk of the crop followed by the Burley Marketing Zimbabwe and the
Tobacco Sales Floor.
The tobacco sales season opened on a bumpy note after hundreds of farmers
failed to cash their cheques on time until the central bank cleared the
huddles for the mostly indigenous farmers.
Tobacco is the country's single largest foreign currency earner, accounting
for about 18 percent of the US$759 million generated from export shipments
in the six months ending June 30.
The entire mining sector contributed 53 percent of this revenue while the
key manufacturing and agricultural sectors contributed 15 percent and 11
percent respectively.
Last season about 50 million kilogrammes of tobacco were traded through both
the auction floors and contract farming.

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Political stalemate suffocating economy"

Shame Makoshori Senior Reporter

THE Zimbabwean economy, suffering severe convulsions
after the main political parties failed to reach a deal, might slip into a
comma if ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) fail to reach
a viable settlement, analysts told The Financial Gazette this week.">

A lot of hope for an economic upturn had been pinned
on the long drawn talks between ZANU-PF and the two MDCs led by Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, but the optimism disappeared on Tuesday
after it became apparent that the two feuding parties had once again failed
to agree on how to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.
Tsvangirai, who leads the larger faction of the MDC,
could not agree with Mutambara and ZANU-PF leader President Robert Mugabe on
the critical aspects of the deal, resulting in the stalemate.
While the mediator in the negotiations, Presi-dent
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, selected his choice of words carefully by
denying the talks had ran into a brick wall, analysts said the manner in
which, the foreign exchange rates and the stock market reacted after the
heroes and the defence forces holidays suggested all hell had broken loose.
The Zimbabwe dollar slumped to a historic low on the
dominant parallel market on Wednesday as news of the deadlock filtered in.
The greenback, which was trading at US$1 to $3,5 ($3,5 billion) on Friday
plunged more than two fold to US$1 to $8 ($8 billion) soon after the
On January 2 the parallel market exch-ange rate was
US$1 to $1,9 million, but this had increased to about US$1 to $75 billion on
Thursday last week, representing a fall of 39 000 percent in eight months.
The local unit lost significant value aga-inst the
South African rand during the holidays, falling from R1 to $38 on Friday to
R1 to $100 Tuesday.
Dealers said they expected a gradual decline in the
value of the local currency because of the uncertainty that has shrouded the
direction of the economy following the deadlock in power sharing talks.
Analysts said the country should brace for tougher
times ahead should Mbeki fail to rescue the talks.
Last month, the central bank all but admitted that
its efforts to turn-around the economy would falter should the country's
political leadership subordinate sectional or partisan interests with
national interests.
The recovery of Zimbabwe's economy hinges on the
outcome of the talks, which appeared headed for a deadlock on Tuesday after
Mbeki flew back to South Africa without striking a deal.
The stand-off has been blamed on the rapid decline
of Zimbabwe's economy that saw the key-manufacturing sector declining by 28
percent last year, and a record inflation of two million percent.
Already, export revenues declined by 14 percent in
the first six months of the year to US$759 million from US$882 million
during the comparative period last year.
Independent economist John Robertson said the delays
in reaching an agreement would see the uncertainty in Zimbabwe's persisting
and discouraging critical new investment and employment creation.
"The delays will cause very severe problems for the
recovery we were all hoping for," Roberson said.
"We were waiting for changes that would bring about
the recovery, so it is very important that the government does something to
get rid of the uncertainties in the economy. They (the negotiators) sho-uld
not concentrate on debates that will not make the economic recovery
possible. If they do not reach an agreement the economy will decline very
heavily and the government will continue its blame game on business.
"But the government is actually destroying the value
of the dollar. The accusations are not only unfair, but also dishonest. It's
not that prices are rising, but the value of the dollar is falling," said
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group economist David
Mupa-mhadzi said the movement of the dollar on the illegal market reflected
high demand and depressed supply.
"The country urge-ntly needs balance of payments
support sin-ce it does not have capacity to generate enough foreign
currency," said Mupamhadzi.
"The impact is being felt by the ordinary man on the
street as prices of goods and services are being priced using parallel
market rates when disposable incomes are not being adjusted in line with
parallel market rates," Mupamhadzi said.
University of Zimb-abwe economics lecturer Tony
Hawkins said until an agreement is sealed, the delays in the talks might not
have any significant impact on an economy already in the doldrums.
Hawkins argued that even if an agreement were
concluded, economic recovery would depend on the type of pact negotiators
would strike.
"We will have to see what type of government comes
up," Hawkins said.
"But as it stands we are no longer making long term
decisions. If they make a coalition government, the situation can remain
worse because they may have different objectives," he said.
Kingdom Stockbrokers (KSB) said with the talks
having failed to reach a conclusion, any hopes of an immediate solution to
problems that have befallen the country's economy are immediately dashed.
"The local currency will likely depreciate and
inflation skyrocket. As a result, investors would storm the equities market
as an inflation hedge and we thus expect the market to be bullish this week.
"However, investors should target counters with
strong balance sheets and high foreign currency earning capacity, as they
are better positioned to stand the test of time," said KSB in its weekly
Wiseman Nkuhlu, a former adviser to Mbeki said
Zimbabwe poses a great challenge to regional integration of southern African
Nkuhlu, who was commenting ahead of a meeting of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministerial task force on
regional integration in Johannesburg this week said he believes the idea of
a common currency for the region by 2018, should be put on hold.
"We cannot move ahead with the question of having a
single monetary system where we have our currency aligned."
He says having a single currency requires the
inflation levels and government deficit levels to be aligned. Nkuhlu says
that portion of integration will have to wait but other elements can go
But other analysts say such an agreement would not
turn-around the ruined economy unless Western powers threw massive financial
backing behind it and the powerful "securocrats" supporting President Mugabe
were also on board.
The army and police chiefs are widely believed to
have strengthened President Muga-be's resolve after he lost a first round
presidential vote on March 29.
Analysts believe they will not support a
power-sharing deal unless they are given immunity from international
Human rights groups and the opposition accuse them
of leading a violent campaign to ensure President Mugabe's re-election in a
widely condemned second round on June 27 that was boycotted by MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai because of the violence.
"I think those who expected Tsvangirai to be heading
the government, those who want Mugabe out of the scene altogether will not
be happy with a situation in which Mugabe retains significant power," said
political analyst Eldred Masunungure.
"I think quite a number of Western countries will
want time to assess and review the outcome before committing themselves, and
will not simply listen to ZANU-PF or the MDC's versions of events," he said.
"If they come on board and give the process a
chance, that will be good for the economy, but if they don't, Zimbabwe will
still face problems internationally," said Masunungure, a political science
professor at the University of Zimbabwe.
Key Western powers, led by the United States and
Zimbabwe's former colonial master Britain, have frozen financial aid and
imposed sanctions on President Mugabe's closest allies because of alleged
human rights abuses and vote-rigging.
Analysts say assistance from these countries and the
IMF and World Bank, is crucial to reversing years of economic decline in a
country battling with the world's highest inflation of over 2.2 million
percent, a crumbling infrastructure, massive unemployment and food
President Mugabe blames the economic meltdown -
which has forced a quarter of Zimbabwe's 13 million people abroad and left
the rest struggling with chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign
currency - on opponents trying to oust his government.
President Mugabe's party ring-fenced as
"non-negotiable" a number of issues ahead of the talks, including his
presidency, his land reforms and what it called Zimbabwe's political
Analysts say this was a clear pointer that President
Mugabe was not going to give up control over agriculture and the security
forces, crucial to his hold on power.
John Makumbe, a political commentator and Mugabe
critic, said a political deal that left President Mugabe with key powers
could split the opposition.
"Mugabe has been the problem, and if he is allowed
to have overwhelming power and allowed to dominate, there may be others in
the MDC who will find that unacceptable and will break away (from Tsvangirai's
leadership)," he said.
"It will be a difficult scenario, but there are
people who are wary about being cheated by Mugabe," he added.
Critics accuse the 84-year-old former guerrilla
leader of ruining the once prosperous southern African state with policies
including his seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to
inexperienced black farmers struggling to produce food.
But Mugabe - who led the country to independence in
1980 after a seven-year bush war - says the land seizures and lately his
plans to nationalise foreign companies, including mines and banks, are part
of a drive to empower blacks impoverished by the white settler community.
John Robertson, a leading economic commentator, said
Zimbabwe would be in for more pain if the power-sharing deal failed to win
international endorsement.
"The economy is on its knees, and while a political
deal is important, the crucial question is, are we going to see a change in
the policies that got us into this mess?" he said. "That is the crux of the
-Additional reporting by Reuters

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Humiliating moment for Mbeki

Tendai Dumbutshena

THE SADC summit in Johannesburg this weekend was supposed to be the moment
of triumph for South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki. He was set to cock a
snook at his detractors by presenting a deal signed by all parties to
Zimbabwe's conflict.">

With praise ringing in his ears he would have savoured the moment he proved
critics of his Zimbabwe policy wrong. Stung by accusations of bias in favour
of ZANU-PF leader President Robert Mugabe Mbeki wanted to have the last
laugh in front of his SADC peers and the world's international media.
It is a measure of his desperation for success that he spent an
unprecedented three days in Harare nudging President Robert Mugabe and MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai to sign a deal paving the way for a government of
national unity (GNU). A room at the Rainbow Towers hotel was suitably
decorated for the signing ceremony.
According to reports a deal in which President Mugabe would retain the
executive presidency with Tsvangirai as a token prime minister was on the
verge of being signed.
Mbeki wanted to kill two birds with one stone - secure an agreement that
keeps President Mugabe in power. The only concession President Mugabe would
have made was to have some MDC cabinet ministers.
But things went terribly wrong. At the last minute Tsvangirai refused to
sign a document that would have legitimised President Mugabe's rule for a
full five years and condemned the MDC leader to a meaningless subordinate
role. Mbeki must now face the summit to report failure. He will put a
positive spin on it but few will bite. Once again the Zimbabwe issue will
overshadow all others on the agenda.
His critics at home and abroad will have a field day.
Thousands of demonstrators led by the labour federation COSATU will be there
to voice their opposition to President Mugabe's presence if he dares attend.
There will be renewed calls for tougher action against President Mugabe's
regime. Botswana is likely to boycott the summit if President Mugabe is
Mbeki can no longer count on the support of his ANC party for his Zimbabwe
policy. It is a mess.
Mbeki's intervention in Zimbabwe was flawed from the start because it never
sought to find a fair solution to the crisis. Its strategic objective was to
keep ZANU-PF in power.
As a result his mediation degenerated into shameful appeasement and
The mediator became part of the problem. His foreign affairs ministers and
officials moonlighted as President Mugabe's defenders at various
international fora. President Mugabe saw in Mbeki a staunch ally not a
neutral broker.
This only strengthened his resolve not to yield any ground. It is this
obduracy that forced Tsvangirai to walk away from the talks.
It is so easy to forget recent events.
President Mugabe lost the March 29 elections. Faced with certain defeat in
the June 27 presidential run-off he used savage violence to force Tsvangirai
out of the race.
The African Union and SADC urged him to form a GNU. It was a polite way of
telling him that they could not recognise the farce of June 27.
The MDC took the reasonable position of proposing an inclusive transitional
government of limited duration to perform specific tasks culminating in a
free and fair election.
Mbeki should have nudged Mugabe towards this eminently reasonable position.
Instead he tried to railroad the MDC into accepting a President Mugabe-led
GNU with Tsvangirai a pathetic sidekick.
Mediators try to find compromises that are fair to all parties to a
They do not bully and cajole one party to sacrifice its interests and
principles to the point of capitulation.
Unconfirmed reports say the MDC had accepted President Mugabe's executive
presidency. If that is true it was a grave mistake.
Predictably there was no big reciprocal concession from ZANU-PF. All power
belongs to them.
A derisory vice-presidency was offered to Tsvangirai joining a queue behind
Joseph Msika and Joice Mujuru.
When this was rejected Tsvangirai was offered an empty shell - a prime
minister with zilch executive powers. They might as well have offered him
the post of minister without portfolio in Didymus Mutasa's office. The MDC
leader was expected to sign such a humiliating suicide note.
What the MDC was expected to do was validate the June 27 run-off in exchange
for cabinet posts. Mugabe's enormous powers underwritten by the military
would have remained intact. In Zimbabwe cabinet ministers do not carry much
Ask former finance ministers Simba Makoni and Herbert Murerwa.
The MDC was indulging in self- delusion if it thought the allocation of
certain ministries to it would make a difference to the governance of the
It is a point they have to note seriously. The only issue of critical
importance as far as power politics goes is the position of Mugabe and the
generals who underpin his rule.
If that is not addressed the MDC will be sucked into a shameful agreement
that will achieve nothing but its eventual humiliation and demise.

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Talks without army generals doomed?

Partson Matsikidze Senior Reporter

ANALYSTS said this week that they foresaw the hiccups in Zimbabwe's power
sharing talks when powerful military generals were not given a prominent
role in the political consultations. "The outcome of the talks hinges on
power," said a senior military strategist who is not authorised to speak to
the press.">

"This was the case during the Lancaster House conference in 1979 when the
likes of General Josiah Tongogara, Rex Nhongo (now Solomon Mujuru), Josiah
Tungamirai, Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku played leading roles in the
final settlement. That arrangement should be replicated in this case."
Mbeki left Zimbabwe on Wednesday without sealing a deal between President
Robert Mugabe and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation
leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
Commentators say the generals' role is critical in Zimbabwe's attempts to
achieve a lasting solution to a crisis precipitated by an economic meltdown.
Former Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander, Retired General Vitalis
Zvinavashe declined to comment on the impact of the absence of the military.
He said he was not privy to the arrangements and was therefore not qualified
to comment.
"Personally I cannot comment on that since I am not part of the negotiating
team, lest my comments are misconstrued," he said.
The Joint Operations Command (JOC) comprises the Zimbabwe National Army, the
Air Force of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prison Services
and the Central Intelligence Organisation.
Sources say the JOC reportedly balked at an agreement because the top brass
remains deeply suspicious of any deal with the MDC.
Hawks in JOC are worried that making more concessions to Tsvangirai could
threaten their privileges and businesses.
Some have openly declared that they would never salute a leader without
liberation war credentials.
But an officer attached to the Department of War and Strategic Studies at
the University of Zimbabwe regards the JOC as being indispensable to the
resolving of the national political jigsaw puzzle.
While uniformed forces were not conspicuous during the talks, the fact that
President Mugabe as Commander-in-Chief of Zimba-bwe Defence Forces and
Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi were part of the process meant they were
A militant US-based civil rights organisation, the December First Movement,
was reluctant to comment on the absence of military representatives in the
"We are not privy to the talks. We will only be in a position to comment
after they are concluded," the movement's leader, Coltrane Chimurenga told
the Financial Gazette this week.
Mbeki's advisers are said to have met the generals on the sidelines of the
inter-party talks in South Africa last week, but there was no official

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Policy flaws lead to agric decline

Ray Matikinye News Editor

A RATHER ticklish joke is told about how a dispossessed farmer drove past
his former property. On seeing its state of dereliction, he told the new
owner: "If I knew you only wanted to plant on that huge anthill, I would
have allowed you to do so and would have kept the rest of the land and put
it to better use."">

Picture another "new farmer" whose property contains a medium-sized dam
bragging to his uncle: "I realised it takes a long time to get benefits from
farming after putting in a lot of hard work and sweat. Now I wake up, go to
the gate and collect fees from anglers wishing to fish from my dam."
And when the late Jock Kay officiated at a graduation ceremony at Mlezu
Agricultural College, in his capacity as deputy agriculture minister during
the early phase of land redistribution and acquisition under the
willing-seller-willing-buyer basis, a villager clad in a woolen balaclava
stunned guests when he stood up and asked: "Why does government not offer
land to these people who are trained to end the 'child play' we witness on
the acquired farms?
"Last year we were here witnessing a similar graduation but the majority of
the graduates are still roaming the streets."
Kay struggled to come up with a plausible explanation. "Government is
looking into that," he assured the communal farmer.
Little seems to have been done.
Zimbabwe's collapsing agricultural industry needs more than just the
benevolence of a government keen to prove that its unplanned agrarian reform
programme will work against all odds.
Statistics provided by the central bank reveal that $62,2 trillion (old
currency) has been disbursed by banks under the Agricultural Sector
Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF)
During the last monetary policy review, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
said the central bank would review production levels achieved by farmers who
received support under ASPEF with "all beneficiaries expected to show that
they have put all support given to them to productive use."
Since government threw all caution to the wind and rushed to expropriate
large tracts of farmland in 2000, to parcel out to inexperienced peasants
and uninitiated war veterans for political expediency, its approach to
agrarian reform has been mainly to break the backbone of the Zimbabwean
economy, pushing it to slide down the slalom.
It has taken a mere seven years of dig-here-not-there-but-somewhere-here to
get to a stage where the sector has become a pale shadow of its former self.
And experts say agriculture would not have reached such a state of
dereliction had government been more prudent.
At present, an unfolding food crisis that threatens to unravel any prospects
of economic recovery stares Zimbabwe in the face.
The agricultural sector is in a parlous state.
"Agriculture has collapsed. This year's harvest of the key crops has been
catastrophic. The 'mother of all agricultural seasons' has miscarried," said
ambassador Xavier Marchal head of the European Commission to Zimbabwe.
"After all, agriculture is one of the three main vertebras of the economic
spinal cord of Zimbabwe, together with natural resources and mining. It has
significantly contributed to making Zimbabwe what it was. And it can again
rapidly become the engine of its recovery," the European Union (EU) diplomat
told an annual congress of the Commercial Farmers Union recently.
Sticking to its a dig-here-not there-but here attitude the government still
hopes to kick-start an almost moribund sector into a flourishing enterprise.
State Security, Lands and Land Resettlement Minister, Didymus Mutasa, has
said the state has repossessed more than 2 000 under-utilised farms since
last year.
While still in government as junior information minister, Tsholotsho
MP-elect Jonathan Moyo made a rather poignant observation: "A majority of
beneficiaries of the land re-distribution programme are top and junior civil
servants, who still hold onto their jobs while practicing farming part-time.
"Why not retire these people, give them their terminal benefits so that they
can invest into the agricultural ventures they have chosen to pursue in
order to lessen the burden of financing them on government?"
Moyo's rump suggestion was never taken up.
Land has always been at the core of the tensions that have prevented
Zimbabwe from gaining full benefit from its potential. Lost opportunities in
the sector threaten to bring the economy to its knees.
At least four government-sponsored land audits have failed to remedy the
chaos associated with the land re-distribution programme.
Last week, Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo, confirmed yet another audit
was in the pipeline.
"We have started looking at how our farmers have fared in the utilisation of
land they were allocated.
"We want to establish who has done what on the land they were given and who
has not," Gumbo said amid reports that government would repossess
underutilised land.
Instances have been reported of beneficiaries getting government subsidised
farming inputs and hauling the same onto the black market for quick profit
instead of using the fertilizers, fuel and seed for their intended purposes.
But help could be on the horizon.
The EU says it is holding onto to its purse until there is an acceptable
outcome of the current inter-party talks in South Africa and a legitimate
government is formed The grouping, which was part of a land conference held
jointly with the United Nations to craft an agrarian reform plan that would
alleviate poverty among indigent peasants and ensure sustainability, is
ready to help Zimbabwe avert the unfolding land reform disaster when and if
normality and legitimacy are re-established as a result of a fair political
agreement, Marchal told the remaining few commercial farmers.
Before the haphazard and often violent expropriation of commercial farmland,
about 4 000 commercial farmers worked the land, spurring agriculture to the
fore as a major foreign currency earner.

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Zimbabwe rejects UN violence probe

Clemence Manyukwe Senior Political Reporter

THE government has refused to grant the United Nations (UN) permission to
assess the political violence that gripped Zimbabwe between March 29
elections and the June 27 presidential run-off, which led to Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal.">

In May, the UN country team asked for government permission to carry out a
joint violence assessment exercise. This was three years after the
assessment of Operation Murambatsvina by a UN envoy sparked international
outrage when it exposed the consequences of the demolition of abodes.
Without the Zimbabwean government's permission, only the UN Security Council
can authorise the assessment but this is highly unlikely considering China
and Russia's history of opposing the placing of the Zimbabwean political
crisis on the international agenda.
Contacted for comment on why the government has not given the green light
for an assessment, Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu
said: "We are engaged in talks and we do not want to be distracted by
trivial issues. The British and the United States sponsor the UN; the UN is
a mouthpiece of the British and the US.
"We do not want to be taken back and forth. The UN is no longer the UN, as
we knew it. They are hiding behind the UN when they are the British. I don't
want to waste my time on those issues, I have better things to do," Ndlovu
Repeated efforts to get the UN Country team to respond to questions sent to
it by The Financial Gazette last month were fruitless.
In seeking permission to conduct an assessment, the UN Country team said
there were indications that "people have died, several hundred others have
been hospitalised, while many more have been displaced from their homes and
some have lost property that includes livestock, homes and belongings."
The Country team said the police and army were among the perpetrators of
violence despite their vehement denials.
A report released by the Southern African Development Community observer
Mission following the June 27 poll said police had failed to arrest
perpetrators of violence and declared that President Mugabe's re-election
did not reflect the will of the people.
However, since the run-off, some ZANU-PF supporters have appeared in court
on charges of violence despite the party's denials that its members were
behind the terror campaign.
Last week, the High Court postponed to September 9 the trial of eight
ZANU-PF supporters accused of having assaulted people in the Beatrice area
after accusing them of being MDC supporters. Some of the victims sustained
serious injuries.
Court records show Kalisto Pemhiwa, Tabeth Murwira, Never Sombairo, Oncemore
Matangira and others went from house to house assaulting people they
intended to evict from the area for supporting the opposition.

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Tsvangirai critical player

OUR sixth sense had told us that the hullabaloo about talks between ZANU-PF
and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was nothing
but a façade meant to raise people's hopes, only to dash them when they
least expected it.">

Instead of being indifferent to President Thabo Mbeki's mediation effort, we
chose as we still do, to ignore our intuition while throwing our full weight
behind the Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiative -
realising it offered the only viable way out of the Zimbabwean crisis.
Not that we had underestimated the distinct differences of the tussling
parties in terms of their ideologies, their sickening hatred towards each
other and the deep-rooted suspicion over what their leaders stand for.
Even in this darkest stage of the negotiations, we still offer no apologies
for overriding our instincts in the interest of giving the talks the chance
to succeed.
While Mbeki has over the past six years laboured to nudge ZANU-PF and the
MDC towards a negotiated settlement, Zimbabweans had until Tuesday evening,
when Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, bolted out of the venue of the talks
asking for more time to reflect, kept their hopes alive that the South
African leader was to eventually pull a wildcard to end the rising political
tensions in the country.
To climb out of this deep hole, the sickly Zimbabwean economy must be
allowed to operate in an environment where the political leadership pulls in
one direction.
Working at cross-purposes has sucked the momentum out of the economy gained
soon after independence in 1980, when the country was renowned for being the
region's breadbasket.
In the court of public opinion, the feuding political leadership, that is
President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai, now resembles a heavy tax burden,
which Zimbabweans do not deserve.
With inflation northward bound at 2,2 million percent, the latest
convulsions suffered by the Zimbabwe dollar in the aftermath of the talks
deadlock cast a shadow over the country's future.
The hate language resurrecting in the government media coupled with the
flagrant disregard of a Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 21,
suggest Mbeki has a tough task cut out for him.
Unless Mbeki impresses on the powers-that-be in Harare to rein in spoilers
who are sacrificing national interests at the altar of political expediency,
he will stand little chance of salvaging the talks.
To all intents and purposes, the power sharing formulas being bandied around
the rumour mill fall short of reassuring Zimbabweans that a deal might be
signed anytime soon. In the absence of official communication on the talks,
there is nothing to suggest a power-sharing arrangement is in the offing
unless of course the intention is to annihilate Tsvangirai and his party
through the negotiations.
It would appear that the incumbent and Tsvangirai are glued to their
pedestals or a stronger force is holding them back from making real
concessions that might end the hostilities between them and breathe life
into the comatose economy.
The inflammatory messages transmitted during the Heroes Day and Defence
Forces Day commemorations and the elevation of security chiefs fingered in
the violence that marred the lead-up to the June 27 presidential run-off has
betrayed ZANU-PF's hypocrisy while exposing its arrogance that might deny
Mbeki the opportunity to leave office with his head held high.
While Mbeki, must be commended for giving out everything in searching for
solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis, he should always remember he is walking
a tight rope. The worst thing Mbeki cannot afford is to be seen taking
On one hand, he is fighting to gain the confidence of a former trade
unionist whose negotiation skills leave a lot to be desired after failing to
settle squabbles in his own backyard following the October 2005 MDC split.
The fact that Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, is
now rumoured to be singing from the same song sheet as President Mugabe,
betrays serious shortcomings on the part of Tsvangirai who should have cut a
deal with the former university student leader long before the negotiations.
Yet on the other hand, Mbeki has to show a firm hand in dealing with
President Mugabe whose only concession of note so far is being agreeable to
Before the talks, the politburo - ZANU-PF's supreme decision-making organ -
had dug its heels in over issues it said were non-negotiable, including
President Mugabe's disputed victory of June 27.
President Mugabe has also failed to reprimand senior security chiefs for
sending a chilling message to the electorate ahead of the March harmonised
elections, where they vowed never to salute Tsvangirai. In the absence of a
U-turn, the only logical conclusion is that the position of the security
chiefs has not changed and this does not bode well for the negotiations.
While Mbeki might get comfort from a political rapprochement between
Mutambara and President Mugabe, this laughable truce does not add value to
the process of finding a lasting solution to the country's crisis.
Tsvangirai remains the critical piece to Mbeki's jigsaw puzzle.
We however, fear that ZANU-PF might think Mutambara, whose factions has 10
seats in Parliament, could be the ace in the pack, which it could use to
form the next government. Taking such a detour would not give respite to
Zimbabweans, as the wafer thin majority resulting from an alliance with
Mutambara would not win the country the much-needed support of the
international community, whose interest is to see a deal representing the
will of the people being consummated without further delay.
There should never be positions cast in stone in politics. The chance is now
for SADC to take a stronger stance on the dialogue in Zimbabwe and to press
President Mugabe and Tsvangirai to close ranks and save their country from
catastrophic collapse.
The powers-that-be should be careful not to invite further economic
sanctions by adopting rigid positions in the hope that China and Russia will
once again come to the country's rescue should the issue head in the
direction of the United Nations Security Council for the umpteenth time.
Parish the thought!
May be this might also be the time for Mbeki to give way to another fresh
pair of hands.

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Lion Hunt Ban Still On

BULAWAYO, August 15 2008 - The ban on lion hunting is still in force
despite calls by some safari operators in Matabeleland north province to
have it lifted citing a marked improvement in the population of the big
cats, Radio VOP has learnt.

Spokesperson for the National Parks and Wild Life Management
Authority, Retired Major Mbewe, told Radio VOP that the ban was still in

"I don't think the numbers are good enough to start hunting. We still
have a few lions and their numbers need to grow first," he said.

The authority imposed a ban on the hunting of lions in 2004 after
their numbers declined sharply as a result of massive hunting, loss of
habitat and lack of prey. Until 2002, the Parks Authority approved an annual
quarter of 60 adult males and the majority of lions were shot. Hunting
outside game sanctuaries also created a vacuum effect, causing a continuous
flow of animals from the centre of the park into hunting concession areas
where they were gunned down.

"We have got lots of lions here which are terrorizing villagers'
animals and yet the Parks Department continues to impose the ban. We feel
that we have lots of lions here and it's high time that this ban is lifted."
complained Lovemore Ncube a safari operator based in the Gwaai conservancy.
He claimed that the lion population was sustainable, basing on the game
counts conducted  in safari farms last year.

However Mbewe insisted that operators were misled as they some times
counted the same pride more than twice.

"These are wild animals and they move, they can be counted more than
once." he said.

Lion hunting remains a contentious issue in Eastern and Southern
Africa with Kenya pushing hard for an international ban on trade of lion
trophies and skins.

For example, the country is arguing that although half of the African
kings of the jungle are protected in national parks, there was concern
regarding fifty percent living outside the parks.

Experts estimated that 200 000 lions roamed across Africa in 1975 but
the figures declined to an estimated 76 000 in 1980. By 2002 the number had
drastically fallen to about 39 000. Lions are found only in Africa and Asia
while the European Middle Eastern and Cape, lions are now extinct.

Under the voluntary treaty known as the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species CITES, regulated hunting of African lion is
permitted. Tanzania , South Africa , Zimbabwe Namibia, Botswana and Zambia
sell lucrative hunting licenses to trophy hunters who in turn provide the
much needed foreign currency to develop tourism facilities.

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Massacre of the giants: Once hunted to near extinction, Africa's elephants slowly pulled back from the brink
But the end of a ban on ivory slaves - backed by Britain - has launched a savage new bloodbath by ruthless poachers

By Sue Reid
Last updated at 10:54 PM on 15th August 2008

With the poisoned tip of a metal arrow piercing her right leg, a pregnant elephant stumbles miles through the African bush towards her death.

After two days of agony she falls to the red earth, while her killers, following on bicycles and carrying butchering knives, wait for the end to come.

In the darkness of a Kenyan night, the four poachers watch as she first loses her unborn calf in a spontaneous miscarriage provoked by the poison in her body.


Under threat: Poachers launched a new attack on the African elephant after the end of a ban on ivory sales

An hour later, after the 35-year- old elephant dies, they move in  -  hacking off her face to steal the two precious ivory tusks which will make them rich for years.

Soon, they hope, the tusks will have been smuggled out of Africa and be on their way to a factory in Beijing, to be carved into jewellery and chopsticks.

Just a few weeks ago, though, these poachers were caught. James Ekiru, the head ranger at Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary (which is in sight of Mount Kilimanjaro and two hours' drive from the port of Mombassa), says: 'We followed their tracks, and 24 hours after they killed this mother elephant, we found them with the tusks lying on the ground.

'They were starting to butcher her meat  -  cutting it into kilo pieces. We arrested two of them, but two more got away. They were local men.

'We suspect the elephant was killed "to order", and that her tusks would have been smuggled to China.

James Ekiru is on the frontline of a new and brutal war over Africa's elephants.

Today, the fight has caught public imagination following a controversial decision last month by an international committee  -  which includes British representatives  -  to lift a strict ban on the sale of ivory.

kenyan tusks

Kenyan Wildlife Service handle illegal elephant tusks seized in a town on the border with Ethiopia

The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva ruled that for the first time in nearly 20 years, China should be allowed to buy 108 tonnes of ivory stockpiled in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe  -  countries where elephant numbers are rising so fast in some areas that they are officially culled.

The decision has provoked fury. Many conservationists and 148 British MPs have opposed the decision, saying the sale to China will be a death sentence for elephants, because it will ignite the widespread illegal poaching of ivory.

Critics argue that the lifting of the ban will make it impossible to tell whether tusks have come from an official stockpile or have been supplied by poachers.

So what does the future hold for Africa's elephant population? Thirty years ago, there were a million elephants in Africa.

But in the 1980s, poaching took its toll  -  and over a period of nine years half of Africa's elephants were slaughtered for their tusks.

Even Kenya, which goes to great lengths to protect its elephants, lost huge numbers to poachers. In 1979, there were 130,000 roaming the bush of this East African nation.

A decade later, numbers had dropped to 16,000.

At the height of the crisis, in 1989, CITES agreed a worldwide moratorium on ivory sales. Almost immediately, an end was brought to the trade  -  both legal and illegal  -  in tusks.


Prehistoric custom: An ivory sculptor from the Ivory coast carves elephant tusks to make jewelry and ornaments

In Britain and Western Europe, the use of ivory became taboo, and it was no longer considered acceptable to have a piece of jewellery made from a tusk.

As a direct result of the CITES agreement, elephant numbers recovered. Today, there are an estimated 400,000 across the African continent.

Predictably, though, the shortage of ivory meant that prices crept up and poaching has returned with a vengeance.

At the heart of the problem is China's insatiable craving for tusks.

With 1.2 billion people, it is the biggest consumer of ivory, and over the course of four centuries has enthusiastically traded in African elephant tusks. (Asian elephants' ivory is not as desirable because it is too brittle for fine carvings).

It is a tradition for every Chinese citizen to have an ivory seal to print their name (it means their signatures do not change

over the years); every home has ivory chopsticks, and hundreds of gift shops are devoted to selling ivory figurines and jewellery.

With no legal ivory available after the international ban, an illicit market started to thrive. Black market prices have risen by 73 per cent over the past two years.

The rewards are huge. Dubbed 'white gold' in Africa, ivory is sold illegally at up to £40 per kilogram, and prices can reach ten times that amount once smuggled to Chinese factories for carving.

Every dead elephant can yield ten kilograms of ivory  -  worth £4,000.

In Africa, where corruption is endemic and poverty never-ending, the sums are a fortune and can change people's lives.

Indeed, according to Interpol, tusks are so valuable that Somali warlords send soldiers over the border into Kenya to kill elephants for tusks  -  and use the proceeds to buy guns.

The ivory-for-arms trade is booming in every conflict-riddled nation of Africa.

Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe regime is exploiting the crisis, too. According to newspapers in Harare, the government sold £850,000 of the country's ivory stocks illegally as part-payment for a shipment of ammunition and grenades from China.

Ivory Wars

Bones of a dead African elephant caught up in the Ivory Wars [from the BBC2 series called Ivory Wars]

Whatever the precise truth, the catastrophe is growing. Experts at America's Conservation Biology Centre in Washington DC estimate that 240 tons of ivory are smuggled out of Africa every year  -  which must mean the deaths of 24,000 of the world's largest land mammal.

Winnie Kiiru, the Kenyan wildlife consultant for international animal conservation charity the Born Free Foundation, which successfully campaigned for the 1989 trade ban in tusks, said this week: 'There are not enough elephants on the globe to satisfy China's market for ivory.

'They do not care if they get it legally or illegally. They just want it now.'

The decision by CITES to allow the ivory sale to China follows unrelenting pressure from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia  -  countries where the majority of Africa's elephants live.

They believe they should benefit financially from their elephant herds, and that they deserve to be rewarded for their treasure troves of ivory which have either been confiscated from poachers or collected from carcasses of elephants which died naturally or have been culled since the 1989 ban.

On the other hand, other African countries, which have lost almost all their elephants to poachers, are deeply opposed to the trade.

While Kenya now has 30,000 elephants, in some of the poorest African countries, elephants can be counted on the fingers of a careless sawmill worker.

Senegal, which a decade ago had 20,000, can find only two.

In the enormous spaces of Sierre Leone and Liberia, they have just a few hundred apiece.

Throughout all of Western Africa there are only 7,500 elephants  -  a miserable total that is once again falling fast as poaching takes hold.

It is the same story in Central Africa.

Patrick Omondi, senior assistant director of the Kenyan Wildlife Service, says: 'The CITES decision last month was wrong. The elephant is in for a very tough time.

'In some parts of our continent, the elephant will disappear. This official sale of ivory to China will provide a smokescreen for the evil elephant killers who trade illegally in tusks.'

Others are still more vocal. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the conservationist who runs a home for Kenya's orphan elephants (many have lost their parents to poachers) outside Nairobi, said: 'The decision to sanction the legal sale of ivory to China has potentially signed the death warrant for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wild elephants.

'Britain's support means that Prime Minister Gordon Brown has the blood of hundreds of elephants on his hands. By this deed he will succeed in upsetting the British people  -  most of whom care deeply about elephants.

'All who trade or buy ivory have cost an elephant its life, and that of its dependent young.'

So can Africa's elephants survive? Perhaps no organisation can predict the answer more accurately than the Kenya Wildlife Service, which was set up in 1990 to manage and protect the country's animals, birds and plants.

It controls 32 national parks and has 400 rangers armed with the most modern Russian-bought Kalashnikov rifles.

The Kenya Wildlife Service says the decision to sell ivory to China is already encouraging a poaching free-for-all.

In the past six months, 41 elephants have been killed in their national parks, compared with 50 in a normal year.

The animals have been shot with rifles, snared and, increasingly, killed with bows and arrows laced with sap from the acokanthera tree  -  an African shrub dubbed 'the bushman's poison'.

The sap contains a toxin deadly to humans and animals, and the arrow technique is preferred to guns because rangers cannot hear them.

Since June, nearly 100 poachers of elephants have been arrested in Kenya.

According to Dickson Lesimirdana, assistant director of the KWS Wildlife Protection Unit: 'There has been an increase in poaching on Kenya's borders, where it is easier to smuggle ivory out of the country.'

Most of the arrests are linked to the ivory trade with China.

Nowhere is this more obvious than at Kenya's main international Jomo Kenyatta airport on the outskirts of the capital Nairobi. Earlier this year, just before the contentious decision to approve the sale of ivory, a Chinese woman was found trying to take four tusks out of the country in three suitcases.

'She was middle-aged, but had managed to get the heavy cases with an enormous 46 kilograms of elephant ivory to the airport,' explains Robert Muasya, the KWS head of security.

'Suspicion was aroused when she went through the security gates hoping to take a flight to China. Our sniffer dogs working at the airport were called in immediately.'

A week later, three more Chinese nationals were discovered trying the same trick at the airport's international departure gates.

They were arrested trying to smuggle 36 pieces of carved ivory.

They are thought to have been using Kenya as a staging post, bringing in the figurines, bracelets, blank name seals and jewellery from other parts of Africa and hoping to take them on to China.

In Tsavo East, Kenya's biggest wildlife park, which is the size of Wales, the fight against poaching is at its fiercest.

Rangers protecting elephants there have been killed by poachers.

Senior warden Yussuf Adan says a 56-year-old local farmer was recently arrested with 46 kilos of raw ivory tusks that he was offering for sale.

The arrest followed a 'sting' set up by the wildlife service. An officer successfully trapped the man after disguising himself in Arab robes and pretending to be a trader from Mombassa sending ivory to China.

A fortnight ago, a local court sentenced the farmer to four years in prison.

Yussuf explains why poaching has become so rampant: 'The money the farmer would have got for the ivory is enough to feed his family for five years.

'But we need elephants for everyone in Kenya. They give us a tourist trade. By protecting them, we deter the poachers and protect all our wildlife.'

Nearby is a locked store room containing ivory that has been collected by rangers.

Each tusk is dated in indelible ink and itemised over ten closely printed pages on Yussuf 's desk.

The collection weighs 5,000 kilograms  -  worth almost £2 million if ever sold on the world market.

But the Kenyan government says that ivory should never be traded, and rejects the argument used by some economists that if all African countries sold their stockpiles, the market price for ivory would collapse and poaching would disappear.

The official policy is supported head ranger James Ekiru's British boss, Rob Dodson, a former public schoolboy who came out to Africa on his gap year 20 years ago, fell in love with the continent and stayed.

The 80,000-acre Rukinga sanctuary, adjoining the Tsavo park and home to more than 1,500 elephants, has lost four beasts in four months to poachers. Only two had been taken in the previous five years.

Rob is a committed conservationist and believes China's greed is jeopardising Africa's elephants.

'If you kill their national treasure, the panda, you get executed,' he says with an ironic laugh. 'How can a country that protects its own wildlife so strictly care so little about our animals in Africa?'

  • To make a donation to the Born Free Foundation's work providing rangers to fight elephant poaching, go to or call the hotline on 0870 777 4321.

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