Wed 29 Aug 2007, 15:36 GMT
(recasts with Mugabe speech)
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed on
Wednesday to win next year's elections and said nobody could ever force him
"I want to say here that I am not going anywhere. Here I was born. Here I
grew up and here I shall die and will be buried," he told veterans of the
country's 1970s war of liberation, calling them the "torch bearers" of the
"We are going to organise. We are going to win. But we want to win
About 5,000 veterans of the independence war began marching hours earlier in
support of Mugabe's candidacy in the presidential elections, disrupting
traffic in a city plagued by food and fuel shortages and the world's highest
"The war veterans have a covenant with Mugabe.We will back you to the hilt,"
they chanted in the local Shona language. "They (the West) want to take our
land, no no no no, over our dead bodies."
"We will die with our president," read one placard. Another one said:
"Mugabe be our candidate for 2008".
War veterans, who fought alongside members of the now ruling ZANU-PF,
occupied many white-owned farms in 2000, often violently with Mugabe's
backing. There are 35,000 war veterans in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe turned on Zimbabwe's white minority after voters rejected a new
constitution that would have given him more power in a referendum in 2002,
one of the controversial policies that his critics say has brought the
country its his knees.
Analysts say he is now pursuing his classic strategy of trying to draw
attention away from Zimbabwe's economic crisis by blaming Britain, the
United States and Australia, which have imposed sanctions, for widespread
Mugabe was elected to a third six-year term as president in 2002 in
elections western observers said were rigged, and his crackdown on the
opposition and journalists increased his international isolation.
Zimbabwe's leading state-run Herald newspaper on Wednesday accused
Australia, where the country's leading opposition figure Morgan Tsvangirai
is visiting, of trying to oust Mugabe and urged the Zimbabwean government to
expel Australian diplomats.
On Wednesday Mugabe suggested Tsvangirai had been "summoned" to Australia to
receive financial aid ahead of 2008 elections.
"It does not matter how many millions they pour into their politics. This is
our land, we will never let go," he said.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is seeking another
five-year term in next year's presidential election. Victory would make him
one of Africa's longest-serving rulers.
The former Marxist guerrilla hopes to push a bill through the ZANU-PF
dominated parliament which would give him room to choose a successor if he
were to retire. Parliamentary elections are also planned for next year.
If passed, the bill would allow the 83-year-old leader to step-down mid term
to allow for a dignified exit and give him an opportunity to influence
Zimbabwe's future, analysts say.
Mugabe also wants to give Zimbabweans a majority share of foreign companies,
a move critics say would drain what little confidence is left in the
The veterans sang for hours denouncing Western sanctions, which have failed
to weaken Mugabe. The country's divided opposition, which has failed to
challenge Mugabe, hopes an economic collapse will bring him down.
Mugabe is struggling to prevent economic collapse. But analysts say he
remains strong on the political front, cracking down on the opposition.
Mugabe denies allegations of human rights abuses.
Public pressure from Mugabe's Western foes has faded, giving him room to
"For those who think we are cowards, we shall never retreat," said Mugabe.
His credentials as a former liberation hero still makes him popular among
southern African nations, who have been accused of being too soft on Mugabe.
Panic seized the city centre at lunchtime today when an unrully mob of
about 5,000, escorted by three police vehicles, noisily dermonstrated
through the city of Harare waving placards and chanting revolutionary songs
in praise of President Robert Mugabe.
"Down with economic saboteurs" read one placard, "We will die with our
president," read another, while others read "Down with hoarding" and "Land
to the people."
The war veterans' march followed a deluge of inflammatory rhetoric from the
ruling party, blaming the MDC for the acute shortages of basics from
supermarkets following a government directive to retailers to slash prices
by 50 percent.
The barrage of hard-line rhetoric also included accusations against the
opposition that they called for sanctions that were now allegedly hurting
the country's economy. Mugabe accused the opposition party of coordinating a
plot with business leaders to raise prices of basics in what he alleged was
a Western-backed ploy to incite Zimbabweans to revolt against his
War veterans' leader Jabulani Sibanda told journalists : "This is the
beginning of marches in support of our president, because he is operating
under sanctions from the Western imperialists."
He said the war veterans were rallying behind Mugabe and would not accept
any other candidate to stand on a ruling party ticket in next year's
Observers say the march is a prelude to Zanu (PF)'s violent offensive now
gathering momentum before presidential elections next year.
Public anger in urban areas over economic hardship - inflation is nearly
8,000 per cent - is at unprecedented heights. The situation has never been
so volatile, observers said.
Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa said it was shocking that the war
veterans were literally escorted by excited policemen during their march
while the MDC and other civic groups go through the rigorous motion of
notifying the police to hold demonstrations.
"If there is consensus on Mugabe's candidature, why would he need
demonstrations to endorse him?" asked Chamisa. "This development is
indicative of the internal wars within Zanu (PF) about Mugabe's candidature.
It is a fact that Zanu PF is candidateless. The different factions are
campaigning for their horses and the demonstration was just a poor show by
one of the several factions."
The war veterans proceed to the Rotten Row Zanu (PF) headquarters where they
were expected to be addressed by senior ruling party officials. It was not
immediately clear if Mugabe was among the line up of people expected to
address the war vets, as a goon squad of ruling party militia were blocking
the entrance to the headquarters.
Monsters and Critics
Aug 29, 2007, 14:28 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition Wednesday complained that excited police
joined in a march in support of President Robert Mugabe even though they
have banned hundreds of opposition demonstrations.
A spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the police
behaviour during the march in Harare early Wednesday morning showed their
strong links with Mugabes ruling ZANU-PF party.
The police should allow Zimbabweans to hold marches in protest of their
suffering, said Nelson Chamisa.
This month alone, the police have refused to sanction 113 MDC rallies
nationwide while ZANU-PF and its civic allies can do anything at anytime
without telling anyone, Chamisa said in a statement.
Thousands of war veterans are reported to have staged a march through the
capital in support of the 83-year-old Mugabe, who plans to stand for
re-election in March next year despite Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis.
Official inflation has surged to more than 7,600 per cent, while shortages
of basics like bread, milk, fuel and meat have worsened following a
state-ordered price slash last month.
Any form of protest in Zimbabwe is normally quickly quashed by police, who
have arrested and sometimes beaten hundreds of MDC supporters and human
rights demonstrators since the beginning of the year.
The MDC spokesman described the police behaviour on Wednesday as
Chamisa alleged police had become part of a ZANU-PF show which disrupted
traffic and disturbed the peace of workers during the early morning rush
In March Mugabe created a special reserve force of veterans of Zimbabwes
1970s war of independence from white minority rule. The force is meant to
shore up the 40,000-strong Zimbabwe National Army.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
SW Radio Africa (London)
29 August 2007
Posted to the web 29 August 2007
The government forced people to go to the airport to welcome Nguema, Obiang
Teodoro Nguema, the dictator from Equatorial Guinea who arrived on Tuesday
to open the Agricultural show.
We received reports that in order to have crowds of loyal supporters of
Mugabe present as a welcoming party, three buses were sent to Mbare Msika to
load a "rent-a-crowd". People were told to board the buses for a trip to the
airport, and those who refused were beaten by the police and youth militia.
We were not able to confirm whether there were any serious injuries or
A banquet welcoming Nguema was used by Mugabe as a platform to push his
agenda that Zimbabwe's problems are due to sanctions imposed by the West.
Journalist Angus Shaw told us that at the banquet Mugabe spoke about the
sanctions passionately. He said the idea being promoted is that the
shortages of basic food items that are now making life extremely difficult
for many Zimbabweans are a result of the agenda promoted by the opposition
and civil organisations. Shaw said state run television and radio broadcasts
are being flooded with reports about non-existent sanctions. Broadcasts are
also pointing to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a supporter of these
'sanctions,' claiming he has been travelling the world lobbying foreign
governments to isolate the Mugabe regime through economic restrictions.
Shaw said the shortages have become so severe that many people are beginning
to buy into the propaganda.
Trevor Manuel got hot under the collar in parliament on Tuesday saying the
best South Africa could do about the crisis in Zimbabwe was to encourage its
citizens to solve their own problems.
Then, in some irritation, he brought Iraq into the debate: "For those who
don't understand, I ask that President Bush recruit them and send them to
Iraq. Then they will understand what regime change is about."
But Trevor Manuel has a short memory.
That is certainly not what Zimbabweans wanted - regime change via the George
Bush way. They wanted regime change the other way, through the ballot box.
Very, very regretfully, South Africa chose to impede that.
The South African government's election observer group, led by its own
election supremo, Brigalia Bam, would overlook overwhelming evidence that
Mugabe's 2002 victory in the presidential election was dishonestly won.
The South African observer group voice carried the day in Africa.
Even worse, South Africa decided at least 10 days before the elections that
the poll would be adjudicated as having been 'credible and legitimate.'
On the night before elections Patricia de Lille was the only election
observer in the Harare High Court to witness yet another argument over
disgraceful new election laws 11 hours before polling booths opened.
South African observers in Harare, saw well behaved queues of people
determined to vote, however long it took, but who would be unable to
exercise their democratic right because Mugabe had dramatically reduced the
number of polling stations in urban opposition strongholds.
Trevor Manuel may have forgotten that Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba
from Zimbabwe National Army headquarters organised the army to run the
presidential election of 2002.
He claimed to have retired from the military.
After the poll he was given a white-owned farm at Nyabira 40 km north of
Harare, and is now commander of 2 Brigade at Cranborne Barracks.
The election machinery Nyikayaramba controlled also delayed people who
eventually got to the front of the endless queues to cast their votes in
high density areas. At one queue I watched while it took 75 minutes for a
woman to vote.
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai immediately challenged Mugabe's victory in
More than two years after the election and seven court orders later, he
eventually got access to ballot boxes in 12 constituencies. The documented
results of the search showed that the results announced by the election
'command centre' run by the army in Harare did not coincide with the ballot
papers in the boxes.
There was also some double voting, 2000 in one rural constituency, but no
ballot box stuffing.
The command centre was off limits to journalists. The South African
observers certainly didn't check out the command centre in 2002, and didn't
even know there was a command centre in the 2005 general election.
Despite voting delays - and tens of thousands in Harare never got to vote -
secret last minute voter registration, appalling violence against opposition
polling agents, candidates, supporters etc., Morgan Tsvangirai won the 2002
presidential poll by a small margin.
Mugabe's 15 percent victory was manufactured by the army in the command
So, Zimbabweans had tried very hard to effect democratic regime change.
Maybe it is recent events Trevor Manuel was thinking about when he became
cross in parliament this week: that many Zimbabweans who want democratic
regime change have not been doing their cause much favour in recent times.
The vibrant young MDC had already started sliding into disunity even before
the presidential poll, but certainly we, the foreign press didn't know that.
The first known intra party violence took place took place in June 2001,when
a young woman activist in Harare was beaten up by thugs loyal to Tsvangirai,
accused of being sister to the secretary-general Welshman Ncube. She wasn't
his sister, she just shared the same common surname.
Other violent episodes within the MDC we later found out about were in 2004
and 2005. We discovered there were cliques and tribalism and vast sums of
money had gone missing.
People were accusing each other of working for Zanu PF and or President
Thabo Mbeki, stealing farms, secretly owning shopping malls, doing secret
deals with British prime minister Tony Blair at the G8 summit in Gleneagles
etc etc. etc.
Tsvangirai broke the MDC constitution over a narrow vote in his sharply
divided national executive committee supporting participation in senate
elections in 2005. He also said "so be it" if the MDC split as a result. He
also lied to the press about that vote.
His call for a boycott of senate elections in November 2005 was enormously
successful. But there was, as usual, no follow up, and so the momentum
disappeared and Mugabe became the winner as he could further extend his
patronage to a new bunch of Zanu PF senators.
And it has been downhill all the way since then. Most civil society
organisations dropped their neutrality and supported Tsvangirai after the
split and their donors didn't seem to mind.
The new umbrella organisation, Save Zimbabwe, which seems to have resources
is largely an extension of the Tsvangirai faction.
Donors chose sides, mostly Tsvangirai, even if they believed he had failed
to provide effective leadership.
Tsvangirai scuppered an election co operation agreement between the two
factions in May after 10 months of negotiations. The other faction, lead by
Arthur Mutambara, was exasperated and will field its own candidates in the
next polls due in March. At a recent press conference Mutambara lashed out
at Tsvangirai which embarrassed his colleagues.
So the split shows no hope of being papered over for an election alliance,
and each faction will put up its own candidates.
The winner in all of this will be Mugabe, who may now have enough confidence
that a deeply divided opposition means he doesn't have to beat people up or
cheat in elections next March.
Maybe this is what Trevor Manuel is thinking about.
He must have forgotten what went on in 2002 when his colleagues chose Mugabe's
violence and cheating over the will of the majority of Zimbabwean people.
Aug 29 2007 12:59 PM
Chris Muronzi - Finweek's Harare correspondent
Harare - President Robert Mugabe's price control and monitoring policy could
trigger a new wave of shortages - blood. Yes, donor blood.
This is because the National Blood Services Zimbabwe (NBSZ) can not find
refreshments to lure young donors.
The refreshments - orange juice and cookies - according to the NBSZ does the
trick and works like a charm in luring young donors in the economically
troubled southern African nation to kindly part with a pint of blood.
Although the refreshments are meant to help blood donors regain strength,
poor Zimbabweans volunteer so that they can get by.
But after Mugabe ordered price cuts in June, the NBSZ has not been spared
from the shortages of basics.
The NBSZ says its blood banks could dry out.
Emmanuel Masvikeni, the NBSZ's programmes officer, was quoted as saying in a
UK based online publication that the organisation has not been spared by the
worsening economic crisis.
"We failed to secure refreshments critical after donors have given blood,
and the country is likely to suffer a serious blood shortage," he said.
Crumbling health services
The blood shortages will restrict the country's already crumbling health
services in dealing with major crises like road accidents and women who
suffer complications during or after delivery.
Masvikeni also says NBSZ had temporarily stopped importing Rhesugam required
by pregnant women whose blood types fall under Rhesus Negative and are
carrying Rhesus Positive foetuses.
Zimbabwe imports the Rhesugam (Anti-D) from South Africa but NBSZ said they
had cut deliveries owing to the unavailability of foreign currency.
Rhesus Negative pregnant women must be injected with Rhesugam within 48
hours of giving birth to a baby with a Rhesus Positive blood type.
Health experts explained this was because the body system of a Rhesus
Negative woman regarded a Rhesus Positive baby as a foreign body and infects
the mother with anti bodies during pregnancy or at birth.
Says a medical expert: "If not injected the Rhesugam, the infection, which
will remain in the mother's body, would not harm the mother or the child but
would destroy all the children to be conceived years later."
Personal arrangements with SA
Masvikeni confirmed some pregnant women suffering from this rare medical
complication needed urgent assistance.
"We are unable to significantly help them at the moment. An arrangement we
have made on their behalf is that patients or hospitals requiring Rhesugam
should obtain a Pro Forma invoice from us. They will then make payments to
the suppliers in South Africa through their bank," he added.
Blood joins the list of things which are now in short supply. Zimbabwe is
facing a severe shortage of beer, meat and sugar among other commodities.
Shops have run out of stock owing to the price controls.
The troubled country has the highest rate of inflation in the world now
above 7 600%.
Critics say Mugabe, 83, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has dragged Zimbabwe's once vibrant economy into crisis.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
29 August 2007
Posted to the web 29 August 2007
HOME Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has stuck to her guns on not
granting Zimbabweans refugee status in SA, saying her department was instead
considering temporary measures to accommodate the surge of Zimbabweans
escaping massive unemployment in their country.
She told reporters in Cape Town that one of these measures could include
providing Zimbabweans with temporary resident permits so that they could
legally work in SA.
SA is struggling to deal with the thousands of Zimbabweans who have fled to
the country in search of economic opportunities. Zimbabwe's unemployment
stands at about 80%.
Mapisa-Nqakula appealed to Zimbabweans to bring proof of their
qualifications with them, saying they could take advantage of SA's scarce
"I believe as government we should challenge them to take up that
opportunity," she said.
The minister, who was participating in a briefing with her counterparts on
the government's governance cluster, said there was no point in giving
Zimbabweans refugee status as most of them wanted to earn money and then
She said a refugee camp would have a "pull effect".
"If people are hungry and we open a camp along the borders of course people
will jump over and come and have a meal and cross back to Zimbabwe," she
Another concern about making people refugees was that they could then return
home only once the problems had been resolved, the minister said.
Mapisa-Nqakula said the government was "throwing money into a bottomless
pit" because the thousands of Zimbabweans being arrested and deported every
week were simply returning to SA.
"We definitely need a new approach," she said.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
29 August 2007
Posted to the web 29 August 2007
OUR northern neighbour Zimbabwe is often caricatured in news columns and
bulletins as a country tottering on the brink of collapse, but more than
seven years into recession the country limps on.
Most businesses there, the bulk of which are still in foreign hands, have to
date survived inflation levels of more than 5000%, the highest in the world.
And as if the situation there is not grave enough, the Zimbabwean government
last week tabled before parliament a draft law that would give blacks
majority control of foreign-owned companies operating in that country. Could
this be the final nail in the coffin of this supposedly moribund economy?
Probably not, as most big businesses operating in the country do not seem
perturbed by the developments. They have seen and survived worse.
Old Mutual, the largest financial services group in Zimbabwe, said yesterday
that it would comply with the law. And as a first step it agreed to dispose
of 20% of its stake in Old Mutual Zimbabwe to staff. In complying with the
law, it said it would structure an empowerment deal that would create value
for shareholders and stability for clients.
Lonrho, another big player in Zimbabwe , is raising Â£100m to prop up its
Zimbabwean operations. It says the problems in the country are temporary and
Standard Bank last week said while trading in Zimbabwe was challenging, it
was determined to keep its operations running.
There is a siz able number of British and American companies operating in
Zimbabwe, and none of them appear to be packing their bags. What do they
know that we don't?
Viwe Tlaleane edits The Bottom Line.
Mail and Guardian
27 August 2007 11:59
Refugee camps can be dangerous, expensive and degrading. Is this
how South Africans want to treat their fleeing Zimbabwean neighbours?
The Mail & Guardian ("SA's Zim exodus plan", August 10) reported
that the government may update a 2002 plan to help structure its response to
Zimbabweans entering South Africa.
That plan included a "reception centre" near the Beit Bridge
border post that could house a mass influx of refugees fleeing violence tied
to that year's national elections. Clearly, South Africa must do something
now to help those in need, both South African and Zimbabwean, but questions
remain over whether this is an appropriate and ethical strategy for the
current asylum seekers and migrants.
In 2002 Wits University issued a report assessing the plan and
many of our concerns remain valid today. As we move forward, we must keep
the following questions in mind.
First, and most crucially, who does this plan intend to help?
The DA has demanded the establishment of a camp for Zimbabwean refugees,
implicitly suggesting that all Zimbabweans are refugees. While many of them
are asylum seekers - more than 20 000 Zimbabweans have applied for asylum in
the past 18 months - many are labour migrants, while others are simply
shopping to help their hungry families back home.
Should all of these people be held indefinitely near the border?
And how likely is it that everyone will report to a border official if it
means being immediately locked up? And what of the Zimbabweans already in
the country? Would they be rounded up and trucked out to Limpopo, making the
"reception centre" just a more isolated and long-term version of the Lindela
In fact, would this plan replace or coexist with the government's
current dominant response to Zimbabwean immigration, which is to deport
thousands every month?
Second, what is the legal and institutional basis for the plan?
Is it based on the Disaster Management Act of 2002, on the 1998 Refugees Act
or on the 2002 Immigration Act? This has implications for which agency takes
the lead and how the plan is funded.
Disaster management is largely the responsibility of local
government with national funding. But this can be released only once an
emergency has been declared, something that is unlikely to happen. If the
"reception centre" is established under the Refugees Act, then the agency
responsible is home affairs, the capacity constraints of which are all too
Would management of the "centre" be outsourced, like that of
Lindela? And what are the roles of the South African Police Service and
South African National Defence Force?
The DA calls for the involvement of international agencies and
NGOs, which are unlikely to allocate their scarce resources to a
medium-income country such as South Africa, which usually likes to emphasise
its independence from international aid.
If this plan is not done within the law, the government will
open itself up to international scorn and legal action, much as it has done
Third, what is our exit plan? The original 2002 scenario was to
provide assistance to 1 000 people for three days at a single "reception
centre". Any plan now would need to consider the possibility of long-term
unrest in Zimbabwe, respond holistically to the wide range of people coming
into and already in the country and have a national reach.
If the centre is intended only to hold people until their legal
status can be determined, we should keep in mind the years asylum seekers
now wait to get refugee status. Unless South Africa wants to maintain
expensive camps on a permanent basis, wouldn't we be better off finding ways
to strengthen our crisis and emergency response services throughout the
country and help Zimbabweans gain access to these? In the long run such
added capacity will help South Africans if they, too, are ever in need.
Finally, given due consideration of all these questions, is a
reception centre or camp really the best way for South Africa to respond to
Zimbabweans within our borders?
Tara Polzer is a researcher with the forced migration studies
programme at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2002 she co-authored
the report, Emergency Preparedness in South Africa: 24 Lessons from the
Zimbabwean Elections. It is available online at http://migration.wits.ac.za
Comment from Mmegi (Botswana), 28 August
A week after the Lusaka Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit
concluded in Lusaka, nothing much has improved for the people of Zimbabwe.
There is every indication that with every passing hour, the situation is
becoming unbearable for ordinary Zimbabweans. Shop shelves are bare of even
the basic foodstuff. With the state bullying traders to operate under the
most fiscal repressive environment, it is close to impossible for any
business to trade in Zimbabwe. A four-digit inflation rate, which is said to
be the highest in the world, has only compounded matters. Zimbabweans do not
talk of employment anymore. Employment has become the biggest sham.
'Economic factors in Zimbabwe have turned gainful employment into an
impossibility for the majority of Zimbabweans. Even for those that have
still kept their jobs. The pay is worthless as ordinary people cannot pay
their bills or buy essentials from the wages that cannot compete with the
ever-ballooning inflation. The biggest preoccupation amongst Zimbabweans is
to quickly get away from the anarchy that is Zimbabwe. On a daily basis,
able-bodied Zimbabweans jump borders at ungazetted points into neighbouring
countries to eke out a living in foreign lands.
Outside their motherland, millions of Zimbabweans lead a life of begging and
scavenging and many more are reduced to low lives of theft and prostitution.
Many more rot in prisons while some are buried in unmarked graves all over
the world. Under these sorry circumstances, Zimbabweans had put all their
hopes on SADC leaders to at least ensure that the Zimbabwean problem is
resolutely confronted. Once again, the African leaders have proved what we
have always known, that SADC like many other breast-beating bodies, is just
a talk shop. Leaders have no interest in the deteriorating conditions in
Zimbabwe. All they are interested in is to validate the warped policies of
their own brethren. Once again, SADC leaders have failed the people of
Zimbabwe. As they continue to sanitise and theorise the Zimbabwean
situation, many more innocent lives are lost. Democracy and social cohesion
is taking a heavy beating. When Zimbabweans suffer this indignity, Robert
Mugabe continues to hog all the limelight as the fearless African leader who
can tell the West to take a hike. At the minimum, we ask the SADC
secretariat to release the Executive Secretary's report on the situation in
Zimbabwe. People need to know what plans are in place to restore the
situation to normalcy in Zimbabwe.
August 29 2007 at 03:06PM
Harare, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe, accusing the West of
trying to push Zimbabwe into collapse, declared it would survive thanks to
its people's resilience and support from Africa, state radio reported on
Mugabe said Britain, the former colonial ruler, and his opponents
sought his ouster.
"In spite of their heinous attempts to destroy the country and bring
down its democratically elected government, Zimbabwe has not collapsed and
will not collapse," the radio quoted him as saying at a state banquet late
on Tuesday for visiting President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of the oil-rich West
African nation of Equatorial Guinea.
Mugabe thanked Equatorial Guinea and other African nations for their
"solidarity". He told Obiang Zimbabwe would always be grateful for his
support against enemies who "sought to demonise the country's leadership at
every opportunity and deceive the world about what is happening in my
Mugabe said his nation had not come to a standstill because of what he
called "the resilience and revolutionary spirit of the Zimbabwean people".
Western countries have imposed a travel ban on Mugabe and ruling party
leaders to protest violations of democratic and human rights following the
government ordered, often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned
commercial farms that began in 2000 and disrupted the agriculture-based
economy. Some US enterprises are barred from trading with Zimbabwe.
Foreign loans, development aid and investment have dried up in seven
years of political and economic turmoil in the former regional breadbasket.
Zimbabwe is facing the world's highest official inflation of 7 634
percent, though independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25 000
percent. The International Monetary Fund has forecast inflation reaching 100
000 percent by the end of the year, prompting some predictions of economic
collapse and Mugabe's departure from office.
Cornmeal, bread, meat and most staples have disappeared from the
shelves since a government edict June 26 to slash prices of all goods and
services by about half in efforts to tame inflation.
Acute shortages of gasoline have crippled transport and delivery
services. The food shortages have spurred illegal black market trading in
scarce goods sold at more than four times the government's fixed prices.
Stores were mostly left with a few canned foodstuffs on Wednesday.
Bath soap, toothpaste, biscuits and tea were among the latest goods to
Equatorial Guinea President Obiang arrived in Harare on Tuesday. He is
scheduled to officially open the country's main agriculture show in the
capital on Friday.
Officials at the showground said the government allowed pricing
controls to be lifted for a single livestock auction that was part of the
show. State media has given prominence to this year's show, arguing farming
Amid Zimbabwe's growing international isolation, the government and
distant Equatorial Guinea have signed an extradition treaty and a series of
trade and cooperation deals since a group of mercenaries plotting to
overthrow Obiang were arrested in 2004 when their plane landed in Harare to
collect weapons from the Zimbabwe state arms maker. - Sapa-AP
The government has been accused of violating the International Humanitarian
Law (IHL) by taking control of food distribution programmes in rural areas
by NGO's amid the worsening food situation in the country.
According to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET), over 1, 4
million rural households in Zimbabwe already need food aid and the situation
is expected to get worse following an erratic rainfall season.
The National Association of Non-Governmental Associations (NANGO) says the
situation has been further worsened by the looming polls next year as Zanu
(PF) has already taken control of NGO food procurement, storage and
distribution process along political lines thereby infringing the IHL.
"It is clear that we are facing a food crisis where over 3 million are in
urgent need of food assistance while a significant number of people are in
dire straits," said Fambayi Ngirande, the NANGO spokesperson in an
"But Zanu (PF) officials are forcibly taking NGO humanitarian food for
political expedience and distributing it on political lines and violating
the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as humanitarian work (aid) should
be done without any interference."
Nicholas Goche, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
and his deputy Abednico Ncube, could not be reached for comment.
But Ngirande added: "What has happened as a result is that NGO's have
downscaled food aid distribution in politically hot areas as they cannot
effectively carry out their work due to a high level of uncertainty." - CAJ
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 29 August
Harare - Zimbabwe's state media on Wednesday called on the government to
sever ties with Australia, accusing Prime Minister John Howard's government
of seeking to topple veteran President Robert Mugabe. "There is no need to
continue keeping up appearances when diplomatic ties between the two
countries have irrevocably broken down," the state-run Herald said in its
editorial. "The only remaining option for Zimbabwe is to shut down our
mission in Sydney and order the Australian embassy in Harare to pack up and
go." The editorial comes amid a visit to Australia by Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
who held talks earlier this week with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
Were the government to follow the Herald's advice, it would be the first
time that Zimbabwe has broken off diplomatic relations since independence in
The government mouthpiece said Australia had "done everything it can to
effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe", accusing it of openly siding with
the MDC, which it called "imperial Britain's puppet opposition". "The
Australian government has not made it a secret that it is working to subvert
the same government it purports to have relations with, while we have
continued to pretend that bilateral relations still exist between the two
countries," the paper added. "We have nothing to lose by closing our mission
in Sydney and kicking out the reactionaries they post here at three-year
intervals. The question is, what do we stand to benefit by maintaining
diplomatic relations with such a racist country that imposes barbaric
sanctions on innocent children and sports people."
After his meeting with Tsvangirai in the southern Australian city of
Adelaide on Tuesday, Downer made clear that Canberra wanted a change of
regime in Harare. "We would like to see the back of President Mugabe, there
is no question of that," Downer said. "I think it would be in the best
interests of the people of Zimbabwe if he made an exit. Most objective
observers would say that President Mugabe has pretty much come to his use-by
date." Relations between the two countries have become increasingly strained
and hit a new low in May when Zimbabwe, furious at the cancellation of a
cricket tour, accused Canberra of funding "terrorist activities". Earlier
this month, Australia said it was cancelling the student visas of eight
Zimbabweans whose parents have links with Mugabe's government. Downer said
the move was an extension of existing sanctions against the African nation,
and had been provoked by what Canberra says was Mugabe's disregard of
democracy and human rights.
August 29, 2007 Edition 1
We read that, at the Southern African Development Community conference of
African leaders in Zambia, President Robert Mugabe got the loudest applause
from his fellow leaders.
I ask myself why and what this means.
I cannot think of a president who, in recent times, has done more harm to
his country and his people than Mugabe.
Most of his support comes from those who surround him and benefit
financially from the association, at the expense of Zimbabwe's majority.
Anyone in opposition to his regime is brutalised and even starved.
Many are forced to vote for him out of fear of being beaten or having their
food supply cut off.
There are, of course, those who - from a cultural point of view - will
always support the "strong man" who metes out brutality.
He does not care that millions of his subjects have had to leave Zimbabwe to
find food and work elsewhere. He and his close allies have enriched
themselves on a massive scale.
We repeatedly hear about how all Zimbabwe's problems have been cause by
overseas sanctions, mainly those of Britain. But why did Rhodesia, with Ian
Smith in charge, have such a booming economy with jobs for all under even
tougher world sanctions?
So why the biggest applause for Mugabe from other African leaders?
Do they approve of what Mugabe is doing and would they consider doing the
same to their country's economy and people to enrich themselves and stay in
Halfway House, Midrand
The First Post
August 29, 2007
By Moses Moyo
Maternity care in Zimbabwe - please provide cotton wool, water and candles
Thabo Ncube and his childhood sweetheart Stella married two years ago. I met
them when they moved next door. They wanted a large family, so were
delighted when Stella, 19, learned she was pregnant. Last Saturday night,
right on schedule, she began feeling labour pains.
They both knew - or thought they knew - what they had to do. Stella put a
few things together, while Thabo telephoned for an ambulance. And, perhaps
surprisingly in today's Zimbabwe, the ambulance arrived promptly.
As they rode to the hospital through the dark streets, Thabo and Stella
believed they were at the beginning of an experience that might be testing,
but would be well-organised, efficient, caring, perhaps even joyous.
Their optimism was shattered at the entrance to the labour ward. A large
notice was pinned to the door. 'Bring a packet of candles and three gallons
of water and cotton wool' it instructed them.
A matron explained to Thabo that the hospital had no water, no electricity
and no fuel to power its generator. Water and cotton wool they could manage
without. But the management could not take the responsibility of Stella
having her baby in the dark. Without candles they would have to go
Thabo had enough cash to buy candles. There was a shop near the hospital,
and he ran to it. But it was out of candles. Like so many shops now, it was
out of almost everything.
A nurse told me later: "Scores of women are giving birth in the dark and the
result is many more newborn deaths. Now we have instructions not to admit
anyone to the maternity wards at night without candles, but it is painful to
see them turned away."
Stella and Thabo were about to be turned away. And the baby was coming.
Thabo was frantic.
Then a nurse came running with her cellphone which included a small torch.
And by the light of that torch their son was safely delivered. Both mother
and baby are doing well.
Thabo and Stella have named their son 'Blessing'.
FIRST POSTED AUGUST 30, 2007
SW Radio Africa (London)
29 August 2007
Posted to the web 29 August 2007
In a tacit admission that the Zimbabwean crisis has gone out of hand, South
Africa's Home Affairs Minister broke new policy ground by saying they were
considering issuing temporary residence permits for those who had fled the
On Tuesday Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is reported to have said the government
needed to adopt a new approach to deal with Zimbabwean citizens flocking
into South Africa and that allowing them to work until the political
problems had been resolved was a possibility.
She said a lot of people were coming to the country to get jobs and money so
as to be able to go back home every month to look after their families. She
told reporters it was a waste of money to keep deporting people since the
majority of them return back within a few days. Mapisa-Nqakula was also keen
to stress that no refugee camps would be built to absorb the influx of
economic and political refugees. Just last week the Director General of the
Home Affairs department also spoke out, saying no decision had been made to
establish refugee camps. 'I don't know that it would be taken in the future.
If I had any say in that, I would argue strongly against the establishment
of refugee camps on the border,' he said.
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has meanwhile welcomed the development and
expressed hope the suggestions will not end at mere rhetoric, without any
form of implementation. Executive Director Gabriel Shumba says the
introduction of such a measure would probably only benefit Zimbabweans in
South Africa, who have travel documents. He urged those going through the
asylum system to remain inside the process until it was clear what criteria
or requirements the home affairs department will put in place, if they
introduce the temporary residence permits. Shumba says it is clear the South
African government is overwhelmed by the enormity of the crisis in Zimbabwe
and that their softly-soft approach to Mugabe has not worked
By Renson Gasela
Last updated: 08/29/2007 21:45:33
REPORTS that Dorowa Mine, Iron Duke Mine and Zimphos were closed last month
due to power cuts and none-availability of various raw materials spells
disaster for the production of food this coming season.
Zimbabweans have learned to rationalise around problems and instead of
calling a spade a spade, we call it 'agricultural implement'.
What has happened at these companies is nothing other than total failure by
the government. It should not be called challenges. If it was a challenge,
Chemplex Corporation would get around the power cuts. It is not a challenge
to them; it is failure not by Zesa, but by government.
Zesa does not operate in isolation outside what is happening in the country.
Can we expect Zesa to perform when no other entity is able to? Problems in
this country do not lie with individual entities, but with the way the
country has been governed.
Last week, I did an article where I showed that when this same government
was caring, it was able to pump water from Darwendale Dam into Serui River.
This water then gravitated into Mufure river and saved Chegutu. The
government drilled many boreholes in the Nyamandlovu Aquifer and saved
Bulawayo. The government laid pipes from Pungwe River to Smallbridge Dam and
saved Mutare. I I can give more examples; all this was in 1992.
Now, there is hardly a city with sufficient water. The Sunday Mail reported
that nearly every township in Harare has no water. Gweru is the same.
Bulawayo is disaster with Minister Mutezo boasting that nothing will be done
by government until the City Council hands water distribution over to Zinwa.
I must come back to Dorowa and others. If this problem, not challenge, had
been highlighted at the beginning of the year, there would have been time to
try and do something. The country will remember that when the power cuts
started to get bad and that was beginning of May, we were all told that
'don't worry you will have wheat' as the power was going to wheat producers.
Ask wheat producers how much power they have been getting. I happen to be
one of them. I am sure that the management of these companies have loads of
correspondence to government about the impending disaster. Closing the
companies was a last resort for them. What should have been done is to use
the little foreign currency properly and importing maximum power from Snel,
Eskom and Mozambique. Instead fleets and fleets of the latest vehicles have
been imported to please a few powerful people in Zanu PF.
God Almighty, in his Divine Impartiality, will pour sufficient rain this
which by the way, starts in eight weeks. Those farmers who got tractors are
raring to go, so we are told.
Only 160 000 tons against 600 000 tons of fertilizer, have been produced.
There is no more production. Even if something was done now there will still
be a shortfall of more than 50%. It is common knowledge that compounds are
required at planting. Planting should really be over by the end of each
In all crops, the best planting time is extremely limited. You miss that,
finished, at least for that year. Every day counts and lost opportunity can
only be remedied the following year. For example, the bulk of our tobacco is
irrigated. Seedlings are put in very early in the year. The planting is at
the beginning of
September. If the planting is delayed, that will have an adverse effect on
both the size and quality of that tobacco crop.
It was reported by farmers in the state media this week that there is no
compound C fertilizer which they need for planting tobacco. Dorowa mine is
not producing phosphate. Compond C comes from phosphate. Tobacco planting
starts next week. Please don't blame shortage of tobacco and foreign
currency in April next year. The consequences of omissions and commissions
done now will visit the nation next year.
One can see these closure spilling to Sable Chemical as their production AN
has as one of its ingredients, phosphate. The problem will also spill to
Windmill and Zimbabwe Fertilizer Corporation.
The long and short of what I am trying to say is that there will not be
enough food produced next year since we cannot turn back the clock. It
appears to me that one of the greatest lacking things or ability in this
government is the ability to sit down and plan ahead. No I am wrong; the
government is able plan how to do the wrong thing all the time.
Renson Gasela is Secretary for Lands and Agriculture in the MDC faction led
by Arthur Mutambara
Blogger News Network
by Peter Davies
August 28th, 2007 by Peter Davies
"Life is cheap" in Zimbabwe, "and the lives of animals are cheapest of all."
So says a report in London's Daily Mail on Saturday August 25, 2007.
Yes, now people are breaking into Zimbabwe's Game Reserves and killing the
last remaining, previously protected wild animals for food. But it's not
just people in need of food who are destroying the last of Zimbabwe's once
rich stock of Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalos, Lions, Leopards and a host of
other smaller wild animals. Mugabe's government officially ordered the
killing of 100 wild Elephants for an "Independence Day Feast" in April this
year. And many licences are being sold to rich "hunters" so they can kill
wild animals for trophies from an already dangerously depleted stock of
wildlife. Conservationists are in despair, but Mugabe's Government insists
they have a surplus - when everyone can see looming extinction of many
species in Zimbabwe.
Having already ravaged privately owned Wildlife Farms (Daily Mail, July
2007) after the Zimbabwe regime confiscated them from their white owners and
gave these former havens of safety to his cronies, Mugabe's Marxist
'comrades' are now making money out of the killing in public Game Reserves.
And because they're unpaid and without rations, Zimbabwe's Game Rangers (now
turned poachers) and the national armed forces are joining in the massacre
too. In parts of the country no wildlife is left and it seems inevitable
that Zimbabwe will soon be stripped of this once wonderful asset.
Meanwhile, South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" that the United Nations and
western governments are relying on to bring some semblance of order and
sense into Zimbabwe has failed. At last week's Southern African Development
Community (SADC) summit, led by South Africa's President Mbeki, Mugabe was
cheered and treated as a Hero by the other African leaders. No wonder Roman
Catholic Archbishop Ncube of Bulawayo (Zimbabwe's second city) is calling
for Britain to invade Zimbabwe to restore democracy.
Do the World Council of Churches and other liberals who supported Mugabe and
his terrorists during the Rhodesian Civil War now feel their liberal ideals
have been vindicated? We all know the communist states have got what they
wanted, but what about the media and the Western Governments, who also
supported Mugabe? The damage their idealistic views - forced onto people who
knew better - is increasingly evident. Not only are African people
suffering - now its Africa's beleaguered wildlife heading into extinction in
Zimbabwe thanks to liberal "do gooders".
Peter Davies was a territorial soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where
he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists. Davies' novel,
Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience in the war, and
personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now
Zimbabwe) and its people.
Learn more at http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com