Think-tank urges soft-landing exit strategy for Mugabe Thu
18 August 2005
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa should work with Nigeria
to establish a mission of former African presidents to mediate a "genuine
and generous compromise" in Zimbabwe to pave way for free and fair
elections, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).
The influential ICG is an international political think-tank which tracks
political trends and developments across the globe. The Brussels-based group
is widely consulted by the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) on
key global affairs.
In a report released on Wednesday, the ICG said
Harare's controversial urban clean-up campaign that left at least 700 000
Zimbabweans homeless after police demolished city backyard cottages and
shanty towns had made it increasingly difficult for fellow African leaders
to continue ignoring the quality of President Robert Mugabe's
The immediate requirement was to alleviate the humanitarian
crisis created by the city clean-up exercise strongly condemned by the
United Nations, US, EU, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups.
But action was also urgently required to address Zimbabwe 's governance
problems, the root cause of its political and economic crisis, the ICG
"Action is urgently needed to address
Zimbabwe 's larger governance problem. This will require efforts on three
parallel tracks -- the maintenance of overt international pressure, support
for building internal political capacity and, above all, active regional
diplomacy to facilitate political transition," the report reads in
To break Zimbabwe's political impasse continental
powerbrokers, South Africa and Nigeria, should rope in retired Africa
presidents to persuade especially Mugabe, his ruling ZANU PF party and the
opposition to agree a transitional mechanism that would among other things
ensure a dignified exit for the veteran Zimbabwean leader from active
The "win-win" transitional strategy should ultimately
result in the "creation of a credible government of national unity, a period
for new or revised political groupings to form and, ultimately, properly
internationally supervised elections", the ICG recommends.
their part ZANU PF and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) parties should be receptive to attempts by Tshwane, Abuja and other
African capitals to mediate and end the political crisis gripping Zimbabwe
Tshwane, which has been approached by Harare for a US$500 million
bailout loan, should help the search for a solution to Zimbabwe 's crisis by
attaching conditions to ensure its financial assistance would be used for
the intended purposes and not to merely strengthen the ZANU PF government,
adds the report.
Attempts by Abuja and Tshwane to broker
dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC have floundered in the past as the two
political foes bickered and sued each other.
The US , EU and
the UN Security Council should rally behind the South African and
Nigerian-led African effort to find a democratic solution to Zimbabwe 's
But the US and EU should widen and maintain targeted
sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials and should make it clear
there would be no developmental assistance until there has been some
meaningful progress toward political and economic reform, the ICG said. -
Civic groups want SADC leaders to push Mugabe to implement UN
report Thur 18 August 2005
GABORONE - Southern African civic
society groups on Wednesday called on regional leaders to pressure President
Robert Mugabe and his government to accept and implement findings and
recommendations of a United Nations (UN) report on its controversial urban
In a communiqué handed to the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) at the body's ongoing heads of state summit in
the Botswana capital, the civic groups called on Harare , "to accept the
findings and recommendations of the UN Special Envoy to Zimbabwe on
Operation Murambatsvina ( Harare 's codename for its clean-up exercise), to
immediately commence scrupulous implementation of such
But the civic groups that had to hand their
petition to the secretariat after being barred from directly addressing the
summit on the Zimbabwe situation immediately expressed doubt SADC leaders
would act on Zimbabwe, accusing them of reluctance to confront Mugabe head
"In the past, they (leaders) pretended that there was no crisis
in Zimbabwe . But now they acknowledge that there is a problem but are
reluctant to discuss it," SADC Non-governmental Organisations' spokesperson
Tor Olsen told ZimOnline.
Zimbabwe is grappling its worst ever
political and economic crisis blamed by many on economic mismanagement and
repression by Mugabe and his government. Fuel, food, essential medical
drugs, electricity and hard cash is in short supply in Zimbabwe , now in its
sixth straight year of economic recession.
ruining Zimbabwe saying the country's economic problems were because of
sabotage by Britain and its western allies in a bid to punish his government
form seizing land from whites and giving it over to landless
SADC executive secretary Prega Ramsay and Botswana
President Festus Mogae, who is the regional bloc's incoming chairman, told
the Press earlier this week that the organisation would not discuss Zimbabwe
because it was not a regional problem. - ZimOnline
Harare fails to pay workers at derelict state farms Thur 18
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has failed to pay
workers for the last three months at more than 56 farms it seized from white
farmers but now derelict because of lack funds and poor management,
ZimOnline has learnt.
It was not possible to immediately establish
the exact amount owed to the more than 15 000 workers at the state farms
which include Kondozi Farm in Manicaland province, which before its seizure
last year was one of the biggest agro-export projects in southern Africa
A senior official at the government's Agricultural and Rural
Development Agency (ARDA), the state's farm management arm, said production
had plummeted at the farms since they were taken over under the government's
chaotic and often violent fast-track land reform programme in the last five
The official, who did not want to be named for fear of
victimisation, said: "Take Kondozi for example. It used to be one of the
country's prime foreign currency earners. But today the farm only exports
small quantities of baby-corn. Most of the farms are ruined because of lack
of capital injection and professional management."
Minister Joseph Made confirmed state farm workers had not been paid since
last May but absolved the government of blame. "We don't want those farms to
be dependent on the government. So we are asking them to pay for their own
expenses, including labour. The farms have to be self-sufficient," he
He however would not say what steps his ministry, which runs
the farms through ARDA, would take to ensure the farms were restored to
Narrating the chaotic situation at one of the state
farms, ARDA Odzi Farm in Eastern Zimbabwe , a worker said: "No one has
explained to us why we are not getting our money.
"Some of the
workers simply stay at home and no longer report for duty, others have left
the farm altogether to find jobs elsewhere while others like myself still
hang around simply because we have nowhere else to go."
President Robert Mugabe's farm seizure programme is in part to blame for
plunging Zimbabwe into its worst economic crisis since independence 25 years
ago and for causing severe food shortages because of falling farm
An estimated four million people or about a quarter
of Zimbabwe's about 12 million people require 1.2 million tonnes of food aid
this year or they could starve.
Mugabe denies his farm
expropriation programme is behind Zimbabwe 's economic and food problems
blaming instead poor weather for food shortages and the economic crisis on
sabotage by Britain and its Western allies opposed to his land reform
policies. - ZimOnline
Seed shortage spells deepening food crisis for
Zimbabwe Thur 18 August 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe 's biggest crop
seed producer says the country does not have enough seed, which could mean
it will face more food shortages next year even if it received good rains in
the new farming season, barely three months away.
for the last five years survived on food handouts from international donors
because of plummeting farm production in part due to erratic rains but
largely blamed on President Robert Mugabe's chaotic seizure of productive
land from whites which severely destabilised the key agricultural
In its annual report to shareholders obtained by ZimOnline
on Wednesday, seed firm Seed Co, said: "Early reports indicate another
shortage (of seed) in the coming season."
The Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange-listed firm, which grows and supplies various crop seeds including
maize, wheat, soya bean, barley and groundnut across southern Africa, blamed
the seed deficit on poor rains.
"While the group has contracted
enough hectarage across the region to increase its production in the
financial year ending February 2006, the erratic rainfall pattern across the
region points towards another significant seed deficit," the company
SeedCo will only be able to supply 16 000 tonnes of seed
maize to Zimbabwean farmers this season while other seed companies will
supply about 17 000 tonnes to bring the total of seed supplies to 33 000
tonnes. This is against a total requirement of 100 000 tonnes of seed maize
which the government says Zimbabwe requires to ensure sufficient production
of the key staple.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had promised to
avail enough hard cash to seed firms to import adequate supplies ahead of
the new season. But seed companies told the Commercial Farmers Union
congress earlier this month that they would not be able to meet the
country's requirements due to foreign currency shortages to pay for
Continued eviction of the few experienced white seed
growers still remaining on farms was another key reason why seed production
continued falling, the firms said.
Zimbabwe was a major food
exporter before Mugabe's farm seizure programme which he says was necessary
to correct an iniquitous land tenure system under which the minority whites
owned 75 percent of the best arable land while the majority blacks where
cramped on arid and sandy soils.
But Mugabe's failure to provide
black peasants resettled on former white farms with skills training and
inputs support has seen food production dropping by about 60 percent. -
Zim inflation hits record high Aug 18 2005
Johannesburg - Prices of goods and services in
Zimbabwe rose by an average of 47% last month, Zimbabwe's Herald Online
reported on Thursday. It quoted that country's Statistical Office (CSO)
as describing this as the highest increase ever recorded.
Acting CSO director Moffat Nyonithe said the latest figures meant the prices
of goods and services were by last month about three-and-a-half times more
expensive than in July last year.
The latest figure pushed
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate to 254.8% by the end of last month, from
164.3% in June.
The newspaper said these numbers made it virtually
impossible for central bank governor Gideon Gono to achieve his year-end
target of an annual inflation rate of 80%.
The latest increase
was partly ascribed to the resetting of exchange rates by the Reserve
"If the exchange rate had been allowed to fall in line with
inflation, monthly figures would have been higher over the last year but
last month's figure would have been lower," reported Herald
The annual inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic
beverages was 226%, while that for non-food items was 273.9%.
"The highest increases in monthly inflation were recorded for postal
services at 206.2%, rent 171.4% and college and tertiary education fees at
71.1%," said acting CSO director Moffat Nyoni.
" This means the
prices of goods and services were by last month about three-and-a-half times
more expensive than in July last year."
policy makers, including senior officials of the African Union (AU),
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) and SA, as well as
civil society activists and scholars, meet in Cape Town this week to discuss
ways of building an effective AU for this century.
In March, the
AU issued a document - the Ezulwini Consensus - demanding the allocation to
Africa of two permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council with
all the privileges including the right of veto and five nonpermanent
However, national self-interest continues to be a dominant factor
in Africa's international relations. Security council reform has unmasked an
intense competition between the AU's key players in their drive to obtain
permanent seats next month.
SA, Nigeria and Egypt are considered to
be the front-runners for the "prestige of permanence" on the security
council. A coalition of spoilers has emerged with Algeria, Egypt, Libya and
Zimbabwe accusing Nigeria and SA of trying to put their interests before
those of the AU. Seventy percent of the conflicts that the security council
has addressed are based in Africa, so it is important for the AU to have
more influential representation on the body. Africa's governments have
failed to bargain collectively for this representation.
AU is the most eloquent expression of pan-Africanism and represents a desire
for greater solidarity to address Africa's domestic and global challenges.
The true expression of pan-Africanism, however, will be achieved only when
African governments and citizens regard the security and wellbeing of their
neighbours as fundamentally related to theirs.
The AU's 15-member
peace and security council was launched last year. This body has the power
to sanction military and diplomatic intervention in the affairs of African
countries. In order to be able to keep peace effectively, the AU is in the
process of establishing an African Standby Force by 2010, which will be
composed of five brigades from each of Africa's five geographic
But the new face of African unity aims to do more than just
stop wars. The AU also hopes to build peace by increasing the participation
of people in governance, economic development and integration. The
Pan-African Parliament, Economic, Social and Cultural Council and African
Court of Human and Peoples' Rights are functioning. Moreover, the AU has
launched a series of strategies on human security issues such as
Nepad, inspired by President Thabo Mbeki and with a
secretariat based in SA, has launched an African peer review mechanism to
monitor and assess the compliance of African governments with norms of
governance and human rights. This innovative mechanism of voluntary,
self-imposed assessment seeks to raise the standards of governance in Africa
so as to improve the livelihood of African people by promoting a climate
that will encourage investment and development.
countries have signed up to the peer reviews. The first four to volunteer
were Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda and Kenya. Kenya's audit, which was concluded
last month, will be an acid test of the effectiveness of Nepad and the
commitment of the AU to police its own members as the century
All of these issues will be the subject of great debate this
week among some of Africa's leading policy makers, academics and civil
?Dr Murithi is a senior researcher and
Ndinga-Muvumba a programme manager at the Centre for Conflict Resolution,
University of Cape Town.
RELEASE - Washington, D.C., Aug. 17, 2005 - Tony Hall, the U.S. Ambassador
to the UN World Food Program, told the Voice of America (VOA) today that
Zimbabwean people are suffering because of the food crisis there, but that
"a lot of the suffering is caused by the government themselves." Hall, who
recently returned from a trip to Zimbabwe, added that "it's easy to write
off the [Zimbabwean] government, but you can't write off the
He said a number of factors, including Zimbabwe's 380
percent inflation rate, HIV/AIDS epidemic, 80 percent inflation rate, failed
harvest, and harsh political crackdown by the government, all make it "very,
very difficult for the people, their own people, to eat."
Zimbabwean government officials "weren't very cooperative" during his visits
to camps that had been affected by "Operation Restore Order," the
government's initiative to rid the capital of urban slums and illegal
vendors, and even blocked his attempt to visit one camp where homes had been
destroyed. The United Nations has estimated that 700,000 people have been
left homeless and jobless due to "Operation Restore Order." The U.S.
recently donated nearly 74,000 metric tons of food to Zimbabwe and five
other countries in southern Africa facing drought.
Excerpts of Hall's
interview were aired worldwide during VOA's News Now broadcasts and repeated
during today's Daybreak Africa show, VOA's half-hour weekday breakfast show
for listeners in Africa.
The Voice of America, which first went on the
air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by
the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA
broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and
cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more
than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.
more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or
The end of tyranny in Zimbabwe By Robert I. Rotberg |
August 18, 2005
TYRANNY OFTEN ends in a whimper, not a conflagration. So
it seems in today's Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe's immensely
corrupt regime has destroyed a once prosperous African country, leaving
behind only the stench of decay. No velvet revolution has been possible, but
political and financial bankruptcy has finally pushed the dictator's back to
This week in Zimbabwe, inflation was over 300 percent. Gasoline
continued to be obtainable only rarely, and on the black market. Corn, the
staple food on which everyone relies, is scarce, and so is wheat, so long
lines form whenever there are rumors of bread. Everything else, from
margarine to matches, is outrageously expensive or unobtainable. Store
shelves are bare, and hunger is common despite supplies of emergency relief
packs from the UN World Food Program. In addition to this misery, a
result of Mugabe's misguided attempt to alter land ownership from white to
black without providing seeds, fertilizer, and knowledge, 700,000 shantytown
presumed opponents were driven out of their houses and sent to rural areas
without any means of support or shelter. Condemned by the UN as pernicious
and cruel, this exercise in ''cleansing" urban areas had no real purpose
except as a flexing of power. It represented a final straw of contempt for
his own people, and a finger in the eye of South Africa and the African
Mugabe, 81, has finally run out of options. Zimbabwe's treasury is
bare. The scraps of foreign exchange on which the tattered country has been
relying for derisory amounts of imported fuel, power, and essential goods
are now gone. No nation -- not even China, Malaysia, and Libya, Mugabe's
usual patrons of last resort -- will lend the required $1 billion or so for
which Zimbabwe has recently been begging. In Malaysia, Mugabe and his
entourage were turned away, In China, Mugabe was feted royally, but all he
obtained from his smiling hosts was a promise of a personal visiting
professorship in a prestigious university.
Given a permanent cold
shoulder by the World Bank and the IMF, Mugabe has had nowhere else to turn
but to South Africa, his indulgent neighbor. South Africa has watched with
horror as Mugabe systematically cultivated internal chaos. Thabo Mbeki,
South Africa's president, nevertheless perversely refused to condemn
Mugabe's outrages, persistently promising President Bush and Prime Minister
Tony Blair that ''quiet diplomacy" would turn Mugabe around.
did. But finally, earlier this month, Mugabe had to go hat in hand to Mbeki,
asking for hundreds of millions, if not the full $1 billion. In exchange for
such a cash infusion, South Africa has demanded that Mugabe must negotiate
in good faith with Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, a political party that European, American, and some
African observers believe actually won the three rigged elections of 2000,
2002, and 2005.
''Never!" was Mugabe's initial petulant reaction. South
Africa threatened to withhold its bailout. It also unleashed a regional
diplomatic firestorm. President Olusegun Obsasanjo, president of Nigeria and
chairman of the African Union, told Mugabe that he had to think again --
that his time of tyranny was at an end. Obasanjo dispatched Joaquim
Chissano, former president of Mozambique, to make sure Mugabe understood
what he had to do. Chissano was instructed to moderate discussions between
Tsvangirai and Mugabe that would lead to Zimbabwe's political and economic
reconstruction, and possibly to properly supervised new
The soft landing that is being forged would send Mugabe to
comfortable exile, possibly in Namibia. Some kind of transitional coalition
between the opposition and Mugabe's henchmen would begin the long, hard
process of restoring sanity to the country's economy. It would also
dismantle the baleful apparatus of tyranny, and create a political climate
conducive to wholesale reform.
Fortunately, Zimbabwe has the human
resource base on which to rebuild upon an eroded foundation. But ousting
odious levels of corruption will be difficult. Dealing with the thievery of
Mugabe's gang will be complicated. A truth commission-like process will be
necessary, and so will selective prosecutions.
Zimbabwe is exhausted.
Now that Mbeki and Obasanjo have at last acted, after years of smugly
accepting unnecessary suffering in Zimbabwe, there is a fair chance that the
battered nation's vital signs can be resuscitated.
Robert I. Rotberg is
director of the Kennedy School's Program on Intrastate Conflict and
president of the World Peace Foundation.
The World Golf Championships often include players from
areas where golf isn't widely followed, and are little recognised beyond
home. Marc Cayeux is among them.
"I've never heard of
him," Tiger Woods said.
"No offence or disrespect at all. I
just didn't know who he was."
Woods only noticed his name
because they are playing together the first two rounds of the NEC
Invitational, which starts on Thursday on the South course at
To Woods, it will be just another face at another
It will be anything but that for
He has spent the last two years trying to support his
parents, who both lost their jobs because of the political and economic
turmoil in Zimbabwe. His mother returned to Britain to find work as a
caretaker, then had to return home last autumn when his father suffered a
heart attack from the stress of unemployment.
weird, but I can't wait to go back," Cayeux said.
home, no matter how bad it is."
Cayeux was in Austria last
week when he burned the inside of his left hand while lighting a barbecue
grill, leaving an open wound the size of a coin in the spot where he grips
the club. He shouldn't be playing, but how many more chances will he get to
play a World Golf Championship with its $7,5-million
He was excited about making his first trip to the
Then he learned he was playing with the
world's number one player.
"I couldn't believe it at
first," said Cayeux, a burly 27-year-old with an easy
"It's the biggest honour and the scariest thing at the
same time. It's good in a way. But it's a pity my hand is the way it is. If
I can't play my best, at least I want to enjoy the
Even at a tournament featuring 72 players from 22
countries -- from Jyoti Randhawa of India to Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand
to Stephen Dodds of Wales -- Cayeux felt like an outsider in the locker
room. He knows some of the South Africans, like Trevor Immelman. He met Adam
Scott and Mark Hensby while paired with them at the Scandinavian Masters
He is someone Cayeux
has only seen on television, draped in a green jacket or holding a claret
"I don't know what he's like," Cayeux said. "Is he the
type that you can walk up to in the fairway and have a chat, or does he like
to be left alone? I admire him a lot. He's the youngest legend playing the
Asked the most nervous he has ever been, Cayeux smiled
and said, "Tomorrow."
"It's my debut in the United
States, and I'm playing the world number one," he said.
"It's going to be tough to play with an injured hand, but all I can do is
Cayeux says ball-striking is the strength of his game.
He describes his power as better than average, and his putting can be
streaky, which might explain the 61 he shot in Johannesburg to win the
Vodacom Tour Championship in South Africa to qualify for the NEC
But it has taken some time to adjust to golf
outside South Africa.
He missed 11 consecutive cuts in
2002 while playing Europe's Challenge Tour, then returned to the
developmental circuit two years later and won twice to earn his European
"I was more prepared the second time around," he
His dream is to make it to the PGA Tour, which he
believes has the best courses, the best players, the most world ranking
points, the greatest chance to succeed.
matters to someone when a paycheck affects his family.
"It's pretty messed up," he said. "I'm trying to look after my mom and
It doesn't help that he can barely grip a golf club and
swing it properly.
Hensby took one look and
"Man, you can't play with that," he
wouldn't play if it were any other week than a World Golf Championship,
where last-place money is $30 000, and where he will spend the next two days
"This is the biggest tournament of my life,"
Cayeux said. "I've never played in a major championship before. This is like
a major to me." - Sapa-AP