August 16, 2007
A 15-year-old boy and security guard have been crushed to death in a
stampede for sugar in Zimbabwe amid growing food shortages caused by a
government order to slash prices.
But despite more evidence of an economic meltdown within Zimbabwe, with
inflation now up to 9,000 per cent, leaders of the surrounding African
nations today greeted Robert Mugabe with cheers, applause and laughter as he
arrived at a regional summit and refused to make any kind of stand against
News of the stampede was reported in Zimbabwe's state-owned Chronicle
newspaper this morning, as leaders of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) met in Lusaka.
The newspaper said that several people were also injured in the incident,
which took place at the Entumbane Shopping Centre in the country's second
city of Bulawayo.
The 35-year-old security guard, who was not officially identified, died at
the scene when a crowd of people trying to get into the shopping centre
pushed over a brick pillar, crushing him, the newspaper said.
The unnamed schoolboy, meanwhile, died after being admitted to hospital with
two fractured legs and a broken arm.
Food queues and occasional stampedes have been reported all over Zimbabwe
since a Government order slashing prices of all goods by half was imposed
It has led to acute shortages of cornmeal, bread, meat, petrol and other
basic commodities, leading to panic-buying and hoarding.
Enos Luphahla, who witnessed the scene, told the newspaper that the security
guard was unlocking the gate when people started pushing forward.
"When he saw the number of people pushing the gate, he sensed danger and hid
behind the pillar between the two gates. The pressure was, however, too much
for the wall and it fell on him and was trapped under the pillar," he told
"Part of the wall also fell on a boy who was also intending to buy sugar.
Instead of rescuing those who had been trapped, people trampled on the
pillar in a bid to be the first in the queue.
"Some people also fell as they ran towards the shops, resulting in them
being trampled on and several people were injured in the process."
The incident further illustrated the rapid economic degeneration of
Zimbabwe. However Mr Mugabe, who is widely accused of presiding over the
widespread disintegration of the country's economy and agriculture industry,
was greeted with cheers when he arrived in Lusaka today.
Mr Mugabe, who has led the country for 27 years since its independence from
Britain, sat next to South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is leading a
regional effort to mediate a political truce between the Zimbabwean leader
and his political opposition, the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC).
However, Fred Bridgland, a correspondent for The Times in Johannesburg, said
today that Mr Mugabe's Government had already discounted becoming involved
in any discussions with the DMC, and so efforts to mediate would be
"No-one is taking a stand against Mugabe. Extraordinarily, the African
leaders still seem to regard him as a hero for having thumbed his nose at
the British while completely discounting the terrible crisis his country
finds itself in," he said.
"It is an utterly depressing scene, and as it looks at the moment things
will only get worse."
He added that South Africa, in particular, was suffering the impact of the
rapidly deteriorating economic situation of Zimbabwe, once known as the
breadbasket of Africa.
"As many as three million refugees have come across the border from Zimbabwe
to South Africa, and still no-one takes any action," he said. "People are
leaving the sinking ship like rats."
The economic crisis is largely blamed on the seizures of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms that began in 2000, disrupting Zimbabwe's
Government opponents have also been subjected to police beatings, raids on
their offices and repeated arrests.
The US and European Union have slapped asset-freezes and a travel bans on Mr
Mugabe and his top associates, but African leaders have repeatedly refused
to take any action despite appeals from opposition leaders.
not surprising, most of the african leaders are corrupt, therefore greet
mugabe as one of their own, they never cared about the people.
jim, donegal, ireland
It is being said, that Mugabe and his security services know much about the
antics of many African leaders, and that is why they are keeping quiet..
Zimbabwe is in severe crisis, watch the Flight Arrivals Board at
Johannesburg Airport to see Air Zimbabwe rarely leaving Harare on time. and
when it does all of its passengers are on shopping trips for even the most
basic of commodities that are not to be found in that poor country.
Witness the 1000s of Zimbabweans trying to find work in the black economy in
South Africa, and the contribution they ultimately make to the crime wave
The chaos in Zimbabwe must be impinging on the other friendly Southern
African states, so why dont they all club to-gether and find a safe refuge
for Mugabe and a handsome pension to go with it..
brian, chorley. lancashire, UK
Surely the time has come to withdraw diplomats from those countries that
support Mugabe. Judge people by th company they keep
K Wells, Bognor Regis, , UK
Its a pity there is no oil in Zimbabwe, at least the western powers would
act... even if it was for the wrong reasons! Sadly, its not the Zimbabwe
Government ministers that are feeling the pain - as testified to by their
own Finance Minister, who in a recent interview, suggested that the
population of Zimbabwe would do well to learn to "fast" - it would do them
good - whilst also stating that the ministers had to eat in order to run the
country so well! Funny, that's how the French Revolution started and when
asked the same question, he replied "We have already won our revolution"!
Would the last person left alive please turn out the lights? No, the lights
have already been pilfered to light up Mugabe's Halo!
Paul, Bristol, UK
If Zimbabwe had oil The USA would have invaded ages ago!
Glenn Kasner, Cape Town, South Africa
"Boy dies in sugar stampede as leaders laud Mubabe at summit". I think you
Summer, Austin, TX
Mail and Guardian
Shapi Shacinda and Michael Georgy | Lusaka, Zambia
16 August 2007 11:19
Zimbabwe on Thursday rejected the need for political reform in
the Southern African nation at a summit of regional leaders that is meant to
find ways to ease the country's political and economic crisis.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders met to
consider the crisis in Zimbabwe but the prospects for progress looked slim
after the Harare government rejected dialogue with the opposition and
insisted on its democratic credentials.
"Political reform is not necessary in my country because we are
a democracy like any other democracy in the world," Patrick Chinamasa,
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs, told reporters as the
two-day summit opened in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.
The 14-nation SADC has been accused of being too soft on
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao told a news conference on
Wednesday the regional group would consider options including a "hard line",
"quiet diplomacy" or a "different" method.
Chinamasa suggested in an interview with Zambian state
television on Wednesday that quiet diplomacy, spearheaded by South Africa
under President Thabo Mbeki, may not pay off.
He said Mugabe's government, accused of widespread human rights
abuses, did not see any reason to negotiate with opposition groups and
alleged they were carrying out violent attacks on civilians and security
"There can be no justification to make us [engage in] dialogue,"
he said. "They are only interested in getting into power through
A senior Zambian official said SADC had grown tired of the
deepening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe but he did not have a
resolution, saying a progress report by Mbeki on Zimbabwe would determine a
course of action.
"We are fed up with the crisis in Zimbabwe and we want it
resolved," said the official, who asked not to be named.
The opposition accuses Mugabe's security forces of abuses,
including torture, a position backed by Western powers who have imposed
sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans have watched political tensions rise as an economic
crisis ravages their country.
The world's highest inflation rate and severe food and fuel
shortages are part of daily life. Zimbabweans who can no longer take the
hardship have fled to South Africa and other neighbouring countries, putting
pressure on regional economies.
In his media briefing on recommendations that would be given to
Southern African heads of state, Salomao declined to answer questions on
what the grouping intends to do about Zimbabwe, saying it would be premature
before the summit studies options.
But he did conclude after meeting many Zimbabwean businesses,
institutions and public enterprises, that the country's economy was viable
despite the strain of sanctions.
Zimbabwe's weak and divided opposition groups, as well as the
United States and Britain, hope an economic squeeze will loosen Mugabe's
grip after 27 years in power.
Zambia was the first African country to criticise Mugabe openly,
saying the country that was once a potent symbol of African liberation was
"a sinking Titanic". But Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has since toned
down his position. -- Reuters
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: August 16, 2007
LUSAKA, Zambia: President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia urged Zimbabweans to
"maintain peace and stability" as southern African leaders gathered Thursday
for a regional summit meeting in Lusaka, where the political and economic
turmoil in neighboring Zimbabwe is topping the agenda.
As visiting heads of state were introduced, President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe received the loudest reaction, drawing cheers, applause and
laughter from a crowd of dignitaries. Mugabe stood and smiled in
Mugabe sat next to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who is leading a
regional effort to mediate a political truce between Mugabe and his
political opposition. Mbeki was expected to report later in the day to other
leaders on his efforts.
Mwanawasa, who is taking over the rotating chairmanship of the 14-member
Southern African Development Community, praised elder statesmen who helped
liberate countries in the region from colonial rule.
Among the southern African leaders who oversaw the liberation of their
countries from colonial rule, Mugabe is the only one still in power. He has
capitalized on his anti-colonialist credentials to rally support among
ordinary Africans with rhetoric accusing the West of looking for an excuse
to take over Africa again.
Mwanawasa appealed to Zimbabweans to "maintain peace and stability at all
costs, because the opposite" will push their country "backwards."
While Mugabe's neighbors have long been reluctant to openly criticize one of
their own, Mwanawasa once likened the situation in neighboring Zimbabwe to a
However, before the meeting, the Zambian government appeared to be toeing a
more cautious line despite Western appeals to the region to do more.
"Zambia cannot impose its will on Zimbabwe, just as Zimbabwe cannot impose
its will on Zambia. But we can quietly whisper to each other our concerns,"
Mike Mulongoti, the Zambian minister of information and broadcasting, said
Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, is in its worst economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980. Mugabe has led the country since British
Official inflation is given as 4,500 percent, the highest in the world, but
independent estimates put it closer to 9,000 percent. The crisis is largely
blamed on the seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms that
began in 2000, disrupting the agriculture-based economy.
Government opponents say they have been subjected to police beatings and
raids on their offices.
The United States and European Union have slapped asset freezes and a travel
ban on Mugabe and his top associates.
Many in the region are concerned about the destabilizing effects of Mugabe's
policies, which have sent thousands of refugees into neighboring South
Africa, Botswana and Zambia.
Sakwiba Sikota, an opposition member of the Zambian Parliament who
represents the town of Livingstone, said Mwanawasa "has a big
responsibility" to pressure Mugabe. Livingstone lies next to the famed
Victoria Falls, just across the river from Zimbabwe, and has struggled to
cope with a recent surge in Zimbabweans crossing the border.
"All this talk of, 'We shouldn't interfere in neighboring countries'
policies' is a concept that should be thrown out the window," Sikota said.
But there is also sympathy for Mugabe's argument that he has been unfairly
demonized and strangled by Western sanctions.
In a June opinion piece for BBC World Magazine, Kenneth Kaunda, the first
president of Zambia, said that while he opposed recent violence against the
Zimbabwean political opposition, "this demonizing is made by people who may
not understand what Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his fellow freedom fighters
have gone through."
August 16, 2007, 18:15
President Thabo Mbeki has presented his much awaited report on Zimbabwe to
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) organ on politics, defence
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the SADC summit currently under
way in Zambia, but leaders may only release their decision at the end of the
summit tomorrow. Parties to the negotiations also refused to be drawn into
what's been discussed.
Despite the intense media attention, Mbeki maintained his stature --
supported by his colleagues. The Zimbabwean justice minister, Patrick
Chinamasa, says: "The truth of the matter is that we, who are participating
in negotiations under the facilitation of President Mbeki, agreed that we
will not disclose to the press the nature of the discussion. We committed
ourselves and none of us has done so and that remains our position."
At the summit, there was a sense that the mediators were moving closer to a
breakthrough in Zimbabwe and the affected parties may finally be ready to
enter into a dialogue. Leaders also called for all member states to redouble
their efforts to deepen regional integration in order to meet the Millennium
Development Goals of halving poverty by 2014.
August 16 2007 at 05:18PM
By Alan Cameron
A Pac Man. That is what the pie chart of the IOL Poll resembled as
readers agreed with each other about South African President Thabo Mbeki's
chances of possible success in mediating a Zimbabwe resolution.
Readers cast their votes in response to the question: What are the
chances of President Thabo Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe being successful?
At the time of writing 1021 people had voted, 43 ticking the Good
option, 101 ticking the I don't know option and 877 ticking the Dismal
Some reader comments are listed below:
Zuleika: It is my view that Mbeki will continue his 'quiet diplomacy'
approach, and anyway all the 'big guys' will take their cues from the
Zambian leadership. I would compare the process to schoolyard boys' ground
rules: get away with as much as you can, stay in the pecking order and
whatever happens don't lose face. I don't think the summit will change
anything but reality will smack us in the face sooner rather than later.
Noel: President Mbeki has no chance of succeeding.
Mark: It is long past the time for "dialogue" and "round table
discussions". Mugabe only understands one language.
Siyaulela: Could we stop criticising Pres. Mbeki and come up with
constructive solution to the Zim problem. Mugabe's government is a
legitimate government which was elected by the people of Zimbabwe. Mbeki?s
role is to mediate between the two parties.
Peter: To little to late.The South African Government has stood idly
by for many years and allowed a once proud and flourishing country to be
brought to it's knees by a despotic megalomaniac.
Ducan: It is no good saying Zim is a sovereign country and we should
stay out - we have millions of illegal Zimbabweans here now complicating our
own overstretched situation and resources. The meltdown has become a
regional issue and must be treated as such.
David H: If Thabo can fire a perfectly capable deputy health minister
for doing a sterling job what gives you any hope that he is capable of
mediating over an issue like this with success?
Simon: Do you think the people elected a government whose economic
policies have led to a 5000% inflation rate or whose foreign policies have
alienated the few nations who are able to lend aid? I would bet all the
money I have on the fact that the last Zimbabwean elections were rigged. How
else has BOB stayed in power for 27 years.
Krantz: No-one will tell Mugabe what to do. He is seen as a struggle
hero and an elder statesman. So not one African leader can or will tell him
what to do and his own people won't vote him out because any vote against
Mugabe is seen as a vote for colonialism and the white man.
Matt B: The question is - does President Mbeki want to sort out this
Smanga: I doubt Comrade Thabo will have any success. Robert listens to
no one, respects no one and he is a monstrous dictator who does not care
about anyone else except himself.
Rio: Its a shame that the entire world knows what Mugabe is doing to
Zimbabwe and nobody can do anything about it. The world is as corrupt as
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 August 2007
In Lusaka, Zambia South African President Thabo Mbeki is believed to have
briefed his Southern African Development Community counterparts on the
progress of his mediation talks between the ruling Zanu (PF) and the
No statement was issued after the closed door session Thursday, although a
SADC communiqué is expected to be issued at the close of the two day summit
on Friday. But observers are dismayed after Zimbabwean Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa went on television in Lusaka and dismissed the suggestion
that his government might open dialogue with the MDC, who he accused of
carrying out violent acts against innocent civilians in an attempt to seize
Nelson Chamisa quickly shot down the accusations saying Chinamasa's
allegation is unfounded, especially after the High court in Harare cleared
all its activists on terrorism charges
Sources told Newsreel the atmosphere prevailing in Lusaka was not promising
considering the stance being taken by the incoming chair of the bloc,
Zambia. Since Monday the state media in Lusaka has been carrying reports
favourable to the Mugabe regime, some suggesting the idea of SADC working
with a reformed Zanu (PF). National Constitutional Assembly activist Philani
Zamchiya said the stance being taken by the Zambian media is probably what
their government is pushing for, during the summit.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa in his opening address called on the people
of Zimbabwe to maintain peace at all costs. Press reports said Mwanawasa
told delegates the SADC organisation was always ready to assist where it can
to resolve the problems affecting member countries.
Reports quote the incoming chairman of the regional bloc saying; 'My advice
to my brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe is: Maintain peace and stability at
all costs. In the meantime, SADC is there for you.'
In March Mwanawasa likened the crisis in Zimbabwe to the sinking of the
Titanic, but has since toned downed his criticism of the regime.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao told journalists that the grouping
had a range of options for Zimbabwe including a 'hard line,' 'quiet
diplomacy' or a 'different' method. But there was no clarity on what these
different options were.
While analysts point out that SADC had grown tired of the deepening
political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, they seem to have little idea
what to do about the problem, apart from banking on Mbeki's progress report
to determine a course of action.
'From what we have seen and heard so far, all odds are against the
democratic forces in Zimbabwe but only when Mbeki releases his report to the
public can we be certain,' said one source.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
16 August 2007
A government sponsored Presidential Scholarship Scheme introduced in 1995 to
benefit students from poor families is said to be benefiting relatives,
friends and children of Zanu PF chefs. Over 7 million rand a year is being
spent on the programme. Tamuka Chirimambowa an Economic History student at
the University of Kwazulu Natal said most of the students are doing degrees,
which are already being offered in Zimbabwean Universities.
With the country having more than 12 universities he says there is no
justification to spend that kind of money when local universities are crying
out for resources. 'This money could go a long way to improve the appalling
conditions in Zimbabwean Universities,' he argued. He says amongst the
so-called disadvantaged students that came to his university are Chipo
Matibiri and Hillary Matibiri, a former magistrate. Chipo is said to be
Mugabe's niece while Hillary is a nephew. 'Is that disadvantaged,
Another student Albert Mugabe Jnr is alleged to have taken 7 years to
complete a 3-year programme last year, highlighting once again the abuse of
the programme by students who cannot be classed as gifted. The programme has
been described as an extension of Mugabe's patronage system and benefits an
inner circle, while the general population is subjected to miserable
educational standards. Over 4000 University of Zimbabwe students were
evicted from their halls of residents on the 9th July. A few weeks later
student Tafirenyika Magwidi was murdered by unknown assailants while walking
to a temporary residence after writing an exam at the UZ.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Henry Makiwa
16 August 2007
SIXTY Zimbabwean human rights activists who were deported from Zambia spoke
of the harrowing time suffered at the hands of state security agents upon
arrival on home soil.
Dzimbabwe Chimbwa, the legal representative of the Zimbabwe Coalition on
Debt and Development (ZCDD), said a joint effort of Zambian immigration
authorities and Zimbabwean authorities at Chirundu border post curtailed
their efforts to attend a conference dubbed the People's Summit, currently
running parallel to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
governments' meeting in the Zambian capital.
"Both the Zambian and Zimbabwean authorities seem to have connived to deny
our clients their constitutional right to travel and practice legally
accepted humanitarian activity as espoused within the United Nations and
even the SADC charter. It is a serious violation to the citizenry's rights
to movement as stipulated under the universal bill of rights, " Chimbwa told
"The Zambians flushed them out despite having produced valid immigration
documents and handed them into the hands of Zimbabwean security agents who
interrogated them, stripped them, searched them and confisticated some
valuable material. It was a particularly discomforting, degrading and
humiliating experience for the ladies amongst our delegation who had their
undergarments stripped and thrown about by the uncouth agents."
Chimbwa said at the fore of the perpetrators of the harassment were agents
of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) assisted by the eager
aid of a mixture of the police and the soldiers. The sixty activists were
detained and questioned for nine hours before they were finally bundled into
a bus and escorted all the way to Harare from the Chirundu border post, "to
ensure they do not attempt to sneak back into Zambia."
Delegates said they may have been denied entry into Zambia solely because
the Zimbabwean authorities are avoiding the embarrassing threat that civil
society poses if they highlighted the true state of affairs to the
international community. They added that what the authorities were most
afraid of was a demonstration by Zimbabwean activists, in Zambia.
According to Hopewell Gumbo, the head of delegation of the ZCDD, the
activists were illegal deported and apprehended as they were detained
"The Zambians actually allowed us past their border post and while we were
regrouping and getting ready to resume the journey to Lusaka, they made an
about turn, recalled us and threw us instead into the hands of the CIOs,"
"It is quite obvious that the Mugabe regime wants to put a shine in their
act hence are trying to avoid any assumed nuisances to spoil their Lusaka
party. But our alliance works across SADC for the rights of the
underprivileged, women and children that is why we wanted to be present in
Zambia with our fellow brothers within the alliance to tell the Zimbabwean
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
August 16, 2007 01:03 PM
There is a general consensus amongst activists that
Mugabe and his party Zanu PF will not give up their position easily. Even
though they plan to rig the election as usual, they want to give the result
a semblance legitimacy by polling the largest number of votes. Some of the
stages of the plans have already been implemented, the events in the past 3
years have seemed random but believe you me they were neither random nor
unplanned but part of a sophisticated plan to skew the result of the
forthcoming elections in their favour.
On 18th June 2005, the illegal Zimbabwean government started Operation
Murambatsvina,(Shona for drive out filth) a plan authored by Mengistu a
wanted criminal guilty of genocide that he oversaw as the leader of the
military junta that ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987. Mengistu fled Ethiopia
in 1991 and was granted asylum by the Zimbabwean government where he began
work as a consultant to Mugabe's notorious secret police the CIO. It is
while working for the CIO that Mengistu was approached by Mugabe who wanted
to deal with "the problem of MDC in Zimbabwe's urban areas", Mengistu
pointed out to the "slum dwellers" a derogatory term meant to describe
Zimbabwe's informal housing mostly extensions of existing council houses as
the source of problems if ever the people of Zimbabwe rise up against
Mugabe. He offered to help Mugabe using the same methods he applied during
the Red Terror Campaign in Ethiopia to suppress a rebellion led by the
Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Party (EPRP), where 1.5 million Ethiopians
died. Mugabe took heed of Mengistu and started bulldozing and destroying
structures that housed informal sector businesses and homes of more than 2
million people in a guise of urban cleanup. It was not an isolated
event,neither was it an urban clean up because all the affected were urban
dwellers, all MDC supporters who have consistently voted MDC in every
election since 2000. Zanu PF promised to rehouse the affected but still
today they are homeless making them ineligible to be added to the voters
roll as electors . With 90% unemployment in Zimbabwe many of my country men
and women are now engaged in small to medium scale enterprising so
destroying that informal sector was meant to drive them out of town out of
the country in search of economic survival. What Murambatsvina achieved is
what it was meant to be: to depopulate the urban areas therefore rob MDC of
the its core constituent. Immediately the playing field is not level, the
displaced victims of Murambatsvina are no longer eligible to be added to the
voters roll as they do not have a fixed abode.
On the 11th March this year, Mugabe reacted barbarically to a Save Zimbabwe
Coalition led prayer meeting by arresting and severely beating and torturing
more than 60 opposition party leaders and civic leaders who had gathered in
Highfields to pray for Zimbabwe. The images of battered opposition figures
were broadcast world over, Mugabe danced as he arrived in Tanzania for the
extra-ordinary meeting of SADC to discuss problems in Zimbabwe. The message
was clear to all the activists fighting for democracy as to what extent this
regime would do to cling on to power. If Morgan Tsvangirai a prominent
leader of MDC can be beaten unconscious and Mrs Sekai Holland a 60 year old
grandmother can have both her legs broken what then awaits an ordinary rank
and file member of MDC, I shudder to think. Immediately after beating up
opposition leaders Mugabe's government abducted and arrested 21 MDC members
amongst them an MDC Member of Parliament and The MDC Director of Elections
who were held without bail for 5 months over a manufactured story. How can
MDC realistically participate in the forthcoming elections when the very
machinery employed by the party to spearhead the election is incapacitated
by the illegal government through arbitrary arrests and political
persecution? There is now an informal curfew now in Zimbabwe, you cannot be
seen after certain hours you have to account for your activities, neither
can more than two people congregate without police consent.
Sometime in June Mugabe's secret police the CIO started buying massive
amounts of foreign currency on the open market using freshly printed
currency. In the very same week the Zimbabwean dollar went from 1 is to 70
000 against the US dollar to 1 is to 400000. The business operators mainly
retailers reacted to this by increasing prices to cover the cost of stock.
Thats when the illegal government announced its operation Good Governance
also known as Operation Slash Prices<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> also
known as Operation Deredza Mitengo in vernacular. Under orders secret forces
were deployed at all business areas instructed to force business owners to
slash prices. There was no legal basis for these instructions - just orders
to go into firms on a systematic basis and order them to cut prices or else.
Managers and owners were specifically targeted to intimidate them into
compliance those that failed to comply were arrested and charged. In the
past weeks you might have seen headlines such as these:
5000 Business Executives Arrested in Zimbabwe
Trillions of dollars of stock values were slashed from prices, no rational
basis for these price cuts were sought or offered. Suddenly businesses faced
the situation where they could not restock, could not manufacture and sell
for a profit as most of their established products were now being priced
into the market at below cost. Fuel was priced at half its landed cost and
overnight some Z$400 billion in stock values was lost as customers scrambled
to buy cheap fuel at half price or less. All imports suddenly came to a
halt. The prices of all staple foods was likewise set at half or less the
cost of production and when stocks ran out there was nothing to sell.
Everybody knows the truth here the slashing of prices was not meant to
benefit the ordinary people as it was purported but meant to hoodwink the
electorate into thinking that Zanu PF cares. What Mugabe continues to do is
underestimate the intelligence of Zimbabwean electorate, thinking that come
election time they will sallow whole his incendiary speeches, gone are the
day when a politician promised a bridge to the African electorate and they
cheered. This economic sabotage is two fold, one hoodwink the electorate,
drive businesses out of profit, increase unemployment and force people to
migrate. If you think the deluge<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> of
Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa everyday is an isolated event, then
think again. The victims of Operation Slash Prices are again mostly urban
dwellers who were employees of the businesses forced to operate beyond
economic means now find themselves unemployed and have to leave Zimbabwe to
survive. Another significant reduction of eligible voters many MDC
supporters who could deliver the defeat that have been giving Mugabe since
Other Rigging Mechanisms Already In Place
Zanu PF continues impregnating the voters roll with phantom voters. Its the
only party accessible to state media, from print to TV, with most private
Newspapers outlawed the only source of news is the state owned newspapers
and TV that continue to churn Zanu PF propaganda after propaganda. Also the
enforced absence of International election monitors and observers render any
result from the 2008 election not free not fair. The absence of a new
constitution makes participating in these elections a mockery. As 2008 fast
approaches Zanu PF is bound to get restless and come up with new ideas to
effectively rig the forthcoming elections in their quest to remain in power
at whatever cost.
The Age. Australia
Nick Butterly and Andrew Probyn
August 17, 2007
EIGHT university students whose parents work for the despotic regime of
Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe are to be kicked out of Australia.
The students, most of whom are studying at Perth universities, were told by
the Immigration Department yesterday that their student visas would be
Most of the students' visas expire in 2009 or 2010. Foreign Affairs Minister
Alexander Downer said he had taken the step to introduce new sanctions
because Mr Mugabe had continued to display disregard for democracy and human
rights and was pursuing economic policies that were destroying the African
Australia's so-called "smart" sanctions against Zimbabwe ban officials and
supporters of the Mugabe regime from visiting Australia or transferring
money to and from Australia.
But until now the sanctions had not prevented the children of people
responsible for Zimbabwe's political and economic situation from studying
"These new measures will now prevent these individuals from giving their
families the kind of education their policies have denied the ordinary
people of Zimbabwe," Mr Downer said. Under Mr Mugabe's increasingly brutal
27-year-old regime, thousands of political opponents have been tortured or
killed, inflation has reached 10,000 per cent and unemployment is 80 per
Life expectancy for males in Zimbabwe has fallen from 60 in 1990 to 37. For
females it is 34.
The First Post
A new party will allow Zanu-PF to divide and rule the opposition
As next year's scheduled election approaches, the two main political forces in Zimbabwe are currently performing up to their usual standard. The ruling Zanu-PF party is doing something cunning, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition is doing something extremely silly.
The MDC is cutting its own throat by splitting into two factions, both of whom will fight the election. Zanu-PF, however, are making a move that looks rather similar to the MDC's suicide. It is deliberately launching yet another political party against which it will have to fight in the elections.
To be strictly accurate, this is a resurrection rather than a birth. The Zimbabwe People's Party (ZPP) was initially formed in 2000, but has been lying dormant since then. Now it has money - coming directly from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
And now, with former CIO heavyweight Justin Chiota at its head, it is campaigning vigorously for members, and ultimately for votes. "Fight poverty, join the ZPP. Be active - it is your future!" shriek the media advertisements.
So why has Zanu-PF created a rival political party? The aim of the ZPP is to confuse the voter, to split the vote, to complicate the ballot papers, to diffuse the inevitably strong opposition to the Mugabe regime.Come election time, voters will choose ZPP as a protest vote against Zanu-PF, little realising this means the main opposition parties will lose votes. If by chance a ZPP candidate wins, he will sit solidly alongside Zanu-PF in parliament.
Combine that with the intimidation and the beatings, the refusal to register new young angry voters without an identity card and then the refusal to give them identity cards, the murder of activists, the general wicked hullabaloo created by Zanu-PF at election time, and you have to forecast yet another victory for Mugabe's men.
Afrol News, Norway
afrol News / IRIN, 16 August - Hundreds of undocumented migrants are queuing
for weeks and even months outside the Home Affairs department's office in
Marabastad, Pretoria, in the hope of obtaining some form of legal status in
The conditions the migrants endure appear worse than those in squatter
camps: the pavements have become their makeshift homes, cardboard boxes are
used for beds, their meagre possessions are hung on the security fencing and
there are no sanitation facilities.
Although most are from Zimbabwe, they come from everywhere in southern
Africa and sometimes even farther afield, but all are sustained by the hope
of a better life, should their applications prove successful.
In a politically charged environment, Zimbabwe is suffering its worst
recession since it won independence from Britain in 1980: inflation has
topped 13,000 percent, international donor organisations say a quarter of
the population requires emergency food aid, and shortages of fuel and
electricity are commonplace.
"We are here because of the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe -
they are the same problem, one is a result of the other - so why should we
not get asylum?" a Zimbabwean, who gave his name only as William, said. Like
many others in the queue, he was confident of obtaining an asylum seeker's
"It is only getting worse [in Zimbabwe], and if you come back next week
there will be more people here. If we are given a legal status then people
cannot take advantage of us, rob us or put us in prison," he reasoned.
Until the refugees have lodged an asylum seeker's application, they are
considered illegal, Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, the National Coordinator of the
Refugee and Migrant Rights Project of Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), told
Only 79 applications for asylum have been approved this year,
Ramjathan-Keogh said, but if an application is successful the asylum seeker
is permitted to live and work in South Africa, and that is why people are
willing to endure the conditions at Marabastad.
Home Affairs has reduced its refugee reception centres from five to four by
closing its office in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville, leaving only
three others, in the port cities of Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
The increased demand placed on Marabastad is therefore two-fold: it is the
reception centre nearest the border and, since the Johannesburg centre has
fallen away, it is handling most of the upswing in migrants from Zimbabwe.
Log jams feeding corruption
Processing an asylum seeker's permit can take up to seven years as a
consequence of the Home Affairs department's "very poor resources,
management and capacity", Ramjathan-Keogh said.
If an asylum seeker's application is unsuccessful the refugee can appeal,
but if this appeal is lost, the person has 30 days to leave the country,
although Home Affairs "rarely" follows up to ensure that the failed
applicant has complied with the order, she said.
Although LHR believes South Africa's Refugee Act is well constructed, the
organisation instituted legal action two years ago against the Minister of
Home Affairs, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to "streamline and deal with
The court ordered an investigation into the state of affairs in South
Africa's refugee system, and the minister recently received this report. The
case is continuing.
The Act stipulates that applications by asylum seekers must be processed
within 180 days, "but this rarely ever happens" Ramjathan-Keogh said, and
the delays have fed corruption and bribery in the system. "Chaos does work
to certain people's advantage," she commented.
A recent report by the Pretoria-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) on the
plight of refugees at Marabastad alleged that they were being subjected to
rape, robbery and muggings by local gangs, and exploitation by police and
Home Affairs officials.
"Bribe costs range from R300 (US$41) to R1,500 ($205) to obtain immigration
papers, which may in the end be counterfeit, and the same amounts are also
demanded by corrupt police officers, should illegal immigrants seek to avoid
arrest and deportation," alleged the ZEF's report, which was compiled from
extensive interviews of migrants at Marabastad. The home affairs department
has committed itself to eradicating corruption among its officials.
The ZEF is urging the South African government to provide people queuing
with drinking water, food, shelter, healthcare and education facilities, and
in a recent statement Home Affairs said Marabastad would be upgraded, with
"the provision of additional toilet facilities" and "the erection of
Despite the obstacles, William, 34, told IRIN he refused to give up hope and
would see it through to the end, even though very few permits are issued
each week. "People are afraid to leave the queue in case they miss their
chance. Also, the police warn us that if we stray from these places we will
be arrested for being illegal [immigrants].
"Even though there is a river nearby, I am afraid to go and wash during the
day because of the police, and at night because of the criminals, so most of
the time I do not wash. The situation here is not good, but life at home is
impossible," he said.
Unemployment levels have reached 80 percent in Zimbabwe, making neighbouring
South Africa, the continent's economic powerhouse, a natural destination for
thousands hoping to find work. South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz
Pahad, conceded at a recent media briefing that Zimbabwean migration had
become "a serious problem".
Scale of the problem
Since Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe launched the fast-track land-reform
programme in 2000, in which white-owned commercial farmland was haphazardly
redistributed to landless Zimbabweans, undermining the agro-export-based
economy, the influx of migrants has risen in each successive year.
In the first six months of 2007, the International Organisation for
Migration processed 117,743 people repatriated from South Africa at its
facility at Beitbridge on the Zimbabwe border, about 40,000 more than in the
last six months of 2006.
The surge in migration has led to increasing calls by South African
political opposition parties for the creation of camps to house Zimbabwean
refugees in South Africa.
The suggestion has been dismissed by Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula. "South Africa is a signatory to many UN conventions. We
cannot impose a refugee status on people who do not want to be refugees. We
will be doing that if we set up a refugee camp," she said during a
nationally televised debate on the issue.
"These are people who still want to go back to their country. They are not
asylum seekers ... Asylum seekers do not jump borders; they know where to go
to seek asylum. People who jump borders are economic migrants," she said.
According to a Home Affairs statement, "Asylum seekers are granted
recognised refugee status if they are able to show that they have been the
victims of political, religious, gender-based, or ethnic intolerance
elsewhere. Economic migrants are not among those recognised as refugees
under the relevant United Nations conventions to which South Africa is a
The South African office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
told IRIN that in the first quarter of 2007, only 3,100 of the 9,000
applications for asylum in South Africa had been received from Zimbabweans.
Sanda Kimbimi, the UNHCR's regional representative, said this indicated that
there was not a dramatic increase in the number of Zimbabweans seeking
asylum in South Africa. "While there are thousands of Zimbabweans crossing
into South Africa daily, it appears that the majority of them are economic
refugees only, and they are here to trade, buy goods and work before
returning to their homes."
"While the decision rests with the government, the question is: 'would
opening refugee camps serve any purpose?' They are not easy to manage and
they have their own problems," Kimbimi said. "So, when looking at the
numbers we have, they do not currently justify the need for refugee camps in
© afrol News / IRIN
Monsters and Critics
Aug 16, 2007, 10:31 GMT
Harare - Battling sky-high inflation, the Zimbabwe government is mulling new
laws to make profiteering a criminal offence, it emerged Thursday.
The country's industry minister revealed the move at a meeting of business
leaders last week, the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper reports.
'People venture into business so that they make profits. But here in
Zimbabwe we have come to a stage where we were now witnessing super
profits,' Obert Mpofu is quoted as saying.
'Profiteering is not part of any decent business transaction. In other
countries it is actually a crime. And as a country we are looking at the
possibility of making profiteering a criminal offence,' he said.
Zimbabwe's business community is still reeling from the shock of price
controls imposed by President Robert Mugabe's government two months ago.
Many stores say they cannot afford to restock their shelves, while many
factories say they cannot produce to sell at a loss. More than 7,500 store
and garage owners, as well as top company executives have been arrested
since the start of the blitz on prices.
Many have been fined and some sentenced to perform manual labour such as
cleaning police stations.
In his meeting with the business community in the resort towns of Hwange and
Victoria Falls last week Mpofu, whose ministry is spearheading the
controversial price blitz, suggested retailers who lost money try to reclaim
the difference from the producers, according to the Bulawayo-based
'Some people had to sell their commodities for less than the price that they
purchased them. All you have to do is to go back to the supplier and get
back the difference,' Mpofu was quoted as saying.
This can be done through cash or they can give you supplies amounting to the
Earlier this week Mugabe said his government had had to intervene to stop
the price hikes, which he claimed were part of a plot to foment civil unrest
in the struggling southern African country.
He said from now on businesses would have to get permission from his
government before they could raise any prices.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
16 August 2007
Posted to the web 16 August 2007
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority has suspended two senior managers
responsible for water management in Harare because of rampant water
shortages and frequent machinery breakdowns.
The suspension came at a time the city's water problems worsened over the
just ended Heroes and Defence Forces holidays.
Zinwa has failed to adequately share the available water among all suburbs
and to also communicate to consumers the water situation.
The suspended managers, Engineer Hosiah Chisango, responsible for
distribution, and Engineer Smart Senderayi, responsible for maintenance and
installations, are expected to appear before a disciplinary hearing on
The two were suspended by acting Harare Water general manager Mr Lisben
Chipfunde last Friday.
Long queues filled with women carrying buckets were the order of the day in
the majority of the western and southern suburbs over the long weekend.
Residents of Chitungwiza and Ruwa were also affected.
By yesterday the situation had not improved with residents inundating The
Herald newsroom with distress calls over the continuing shortages.
Allegations against Eng Chisango are that he failed to complete in time
tender documents for the purchase of pipes to be used in the city's pipe
He is also accused of failing to repair a burst pipe at Morton Jaffray Water
Treatment Plant and to institute a water demand management schedule that
would have seen residents in all suburbs accessing water for given hours
Eng Senderayi is being accused of failing to maintain the city's water
infrastructure in a sound condition taking into consideration the high
number of breakdowns.
Mr Chipfunde refused to talk to The Herald, referring all questions to Zinwa
chief executive officer Eng Albert Muyambo.
"Please talk to (Eng) Muyambo. If you want anything, talk to him," he said.
But according to the city's daily status report of August 7, the water
shortages in Harare were a result of what is termed a "lake turn" at Lake
A lake turn happens when water at the top gets colder than that at the
bottom, resulting in water from the bottom going to the top.
When this happens the water would be too dirty, making it very expensive to
treat, hence there is temporary stoppage in water purification and
"Water supplies to the city are still erratic due to the lake turn and the
unavailability of pump number six from Morton Jaffray, and this has greatly
affected the north-eastern and western suburbs of the city," read the
Yesterday's status report indicated that water shortages in the western
suburbs were a result of low levels in the city's reservoirs at Lochinvar
However, Zinwa sources said the problems at the water authority were largely
to do with personality clashes and failure by former Harare City Council
workers and those originally with Zinwa to fully integrate.
The sources added that it seemed some of the replacement machinery being
purchased was either of the wrong type or inferior quality as it broke soon
after installation, costing Zinwa billions of dollars in replacement costs.
WHY I'M FLEEING SOUTH AFRICA
by Anne Paton (widow of Alan Paton)
( London Sunday Times)
I am leaving South Africa . I have lived here for 35 years, and I shall
leave with anguish. My home and my friends are here, but I am terrified.
I know I shall be in trouble for saying so, because I am the widow of Alan
Paton. Fifty years ago he wrote Cry, The Beloved Country. He was an unknown
schoolmaster and it was his first book, but it became a bestseller
overnight. It was eventually translated into more than 20 languages and
became a set book in schools all over the world. It has sold more than 15
million copies and still sells 100,000 copies a year.
As a result of the startling success of this book, my husband became famous
for his impassioned speeches and writings, which brought to the notice of
the world the suffering of the black man under apartheid.
He campaigned for Nelson Mandela's release from prison and he worked all his
life for black majority rule. He was incredibly hopeful about the new South
Africa that would follow the end of apartheid, but he died in 1988, aged
85.I was so sorry he did not witness the euphoria and love at the time of
the election in 1994. But I am glad he is not alive now. He would have been
so distressed to see what has happened to his beloved country.
I love this country with a passion, but I cannot live here any more. I can
no longer live slung about with panic buttons and gear locks. I am tired of
driving with my car windows closed and the doors locked, tired of being
afraid of stopping at red lights. I am tired of being constantly on the
alert, having that sudden frisson of fear at the sight of a shadow by the
gate, of a group of youths approaching - although nine times out of 10 they
are innocent of harmful intent. Such is the suspicion that dogs us all.
Among my friends and the friends of my friends, I know of nine people who
have been murdered in the past four years. An old friend, an elderly lady,
was raped and murdered by someone who broke into her home for no reason at
all; another was shot at a garage.
We have a saying, "Don't fire the gardener", because of the belief that it
is so often an inside job - the gardener who comes back and does you in.
All this may sound like paranoia, but it is not without reason. I have been
hijacked, mugged and terrorised. A few years ago my car was taken from me at
gunpoint. I was forced into the passenger seat. I sat there frozen. But just
as one man jumped into the back and the other fumbled with the starter I
opened the door and ran away. To this day I do not know how I did this. But
I got away, still clutching my handbag.
On May 1 this year I was mugged in my home at three in the afternoon. I used
to live in a community of big houses with big grounds in the countryside.
It's still beautiful and green, but the big houses have been knocked down
and people have moved into fenced complexes like the one in which I now
live. Mine is in the suburbs of Durban , but they're springing up
That afternoon I came home and omitted to close the security door. I went
upstairs to lie down. After a while I thought I'd heard a noise, perhaps a
bird or something. Without a qualm I got up and went to the landing; outside
was a man. I screamed and two other men appeared. I was seized by the throat
and almost throttled; I could feel myself losing consciousness. My mouth was
bound with Sellotape and I was threatened with my own knife (Girl Guide
issue from long ago) and told: "If you make a sound, you die." My hands were
tied tightly behind my back and I was thrown into the guest room and the
door was shut. They took all the electronic equipment they could find,
except the computer. They also, of course, took the car.
A few weeks later my new car was locked up in my fenced carport when I was
woken by its alarm in the early hours of the morning. The thieves had
removed the radio, having cut through the padlocks in order to bypass the
electric control on the gates.
The last straw came a few weeks ago, shortly before my 71st birthday. I
returned home in the middle of the afternoon and walked into my sitting
room. Outside the window two men were breaking in. I retreated to the hall
and pressed the panic alarm. This time I had shut the front door on
entering. By now I had become more cautious. Yet one of the men ran around
the house, jumped over the fence and tried to batter down the front door.
Meanwhile, his accomplice was breaking my sitting- room window with a
hammer. This took place while the sirens were shrieking, which was the
frightening part. They kept coming, in broad daylight, while the alarm was
going. They knew that there had to be a time lag of a few minutes before
help arrived - enough time to dash off with the television and video
recorder. In fact, the front-door assailant was caught and taken off to the
Recently I telephoned to ask the magistrate when I would be called as a
witness. She told me she had let him off for lack of evidence. She said that
banging on my door was not an offence, and how could I prove that his intent
I have been careless in the past - razor wire and electric gates give one a
feeling of security. Or at least, they did. But I am careless no longer. No
fence - be it electric or not - no wall, no razor wire is really a deterrent
to the determined intruder. Now my alarm is on all the time and my panic
button hung round my neck. While some people say I have been unlucky, others
say: "You are lucky not to have been raped or murdered." What kind of a
society is this where one is considered "lucky" not to have been raped or
murdered - yet?
A character in Cry, The Beloved Country says: "I have one great fear in my
heart, that one day when they are turned to loving they will find we are
turned to hating." And so it has come to pass. There is now more racial
tension in this country than I have ever known.
But it is not just about black-on-white crime. It is about general
lawlessness. Black people suffer more than the whites. They do not have
access to private security firms, and there are no police stations near them
in the townships and rural areas. They are the victims of most of the
hijackings, rapes and murders. They cannot run away like the whites, who are
streaming out of this country in their thousands.
President Mandela has referred to us who leave as "cowards" and says the
country can do without us. So be it. But it takes a great deal of courage to
uproot and start again. We are leaving because crime is rampaging through
the land. The evils that beset this country now are blamed on the legacy of
apartheid. One of the worst legacies of that time is that of the Bantu
Education Act, which deliberately gave black people an inferior education.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that criminals know that their
chances of being caught are negligible; and if they are caught they will be
free almost at once. So what is the answer? The government needs to get its
priorities right. We need a powerful, well-trained and well-equipped police
Recently there was a robbery at a shopping centre in the afternoon. A call
to the police station elicited the reply: "We have no transport." "Just walk
then," said the caller; the police station is about a two-minute sprint from
the shop in question. "We have no transport," came the reply again. Nobody
There is a quote from my husband's book: "Cry, the beloved country, for the
unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth
too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his
fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with
fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor
give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him
of all if he gives too much."
What has changed in half a century? A lot of people who were convinced that
everything would be all right are disillusioned, though they don't want to
The government has many excellent schemes for improving the lot of the black
man, who has been disadvantaged for so long. A great deal of money is spent
in this direction. However, nothing can succeed while people live in such
fear. Last week, about 10km from my home, an old couple were taken out and
murdered in the garden. The wife had only one leg and was in a wheelchair.
Yet they were stabbed and strangled - for very little money. They were the
second old couple to be killed last week. It goes on and on, all the time;
we have become a killing society.
As I prepare to return to England , a young man asked me the other day, in
all innocence, if things were more peaceful there. "You see," he said, "I
know of no other way of life than this. I cannot imagine anything
different." What a tragic statement on the beloved country today. "Because
the white man has power, we too want power," says Msimangu. "But when a
black man gets power, when he gets money, he is a great man if he is not
corrupted. I have seen it often. He seeks power and money to put right what
is wrong, and when he gets them, why, he enjoys the power and the money.
Now he can gratify his lusts, now he can arrange ways to get white man's
liquor. I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and
black men, desiring neither power nor money, but desiring only the good of
their country, come together to work for it.
I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to
loving, they will find we are turned to hating.