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Zim rivals agree to share power, say sources
August 05 2008 at 07:50AM
By Fiona Forde
Zimbabwe crisis talks will require more than the 14 days initially allocated
to them, they are close to a settlement, according to a number of sources
close to the Tshwane negotiations.
The talks, which began in
Pretoria on July 24 but deadlocked five days later, resumed this week at an
undisclosed location north of the South African capital.
memorandum of understanding signed two weeks ago in Harare "envisaged that
the dialogue will be completed within a period of two weeks of signing",
although it also stated that negotiations "will continue until all the
parties have finalised all necessary matters".
concern the structure of the government that will shape the country's future
when Zanu-PF and both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change share
power in a transitional authority.
The Star has been reliably
informed that despite the five-day suspension, the rival parties are finally
agreed on a genuine sharing of power, likely to install Morgan Tsvangirai as
an executive prime minister, with Robert Mugabe in a ceremonial role as
president, while the 20-plus ministries will be divided between the
"They are down to detail now," one source claimed,
"although how long that will take is still unclear, but a deal is not far
off. Not at all."
Although the negotiating teams will continue to
meet throughout this week in SA, the weight of the discussions has shifted
to Harare, where party leaders will meet with chief facilitator Thabo Mbeki
on Thursday, and continue to meet regularly until a settlement.
Following a round of informal discussions between Tsvangirai and Mugabe in
recent weeks, the two have agreed to discuss the serious issues of
governance between themselves, while their representatives will focus on
rolling out their decisions at the Tshwane talks.
expected to return to Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
was originally published on page 1 of The Star on August 05, 2008
ZIMBABWE's rival political parties yesterday entered the
second day in the latest round of talks for a power-sharing deal debating
the model of a new government to end the country's drawn-out political
Informed sources close to the negotiations taking place in
Pretoria said Zanu (PF) and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
representatives were locked in delicate discussions on the system of
government needed to ensure power-sharing and economic
This followed close consultations between the negotiators
and their party leaders last week. President Thabo Mbeki, facilitator of the
talks, met the negotiating parties and their leaders last week in Pretoria
and Harare to clear the last hurdles.
Mbeki met Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe and MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara in Harare last
Wednesday after meeting the main MDC faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai in
Pretoria the previous day.
Sources said negotiators were focusing on
a consolidated proposal, which included aspects of Zanu (PF) and MDC
initiatives. The proposal resembled the hybrid French system which has
positions of president and prime minister. Apart from the framework for a
new government, it also deals with implementation mechanisms and global
Sources said Mbeki was anxious to ensure the
final deal would be endorsed not just by Zimbabweans - including negotiating
parties and their leaders - but also the international community, especially
western powers. The US and European Union (EU) have expressed scepticism
about the talks.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said although
he would personally not speak to Mugabe because of his appalling record of
human rights abuses, he backed Mbeki's mediation. He said there was
"consensus" in the EU that Mbeki needed more time to finish his
It was becoming increasingly likely, sources said, that
Tsvangirai would become prime minister, while Mugabe would remain president
in a power-sharing pact. There would be at least two vice-presidents, and
this may be increased to three, and two deputy prime ministers drawn from
the three negotiating parties.
The structure would include
Mugabe, his present vice-presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce
The MDC's second-in-command, Thokozani Khupe, and Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Mugabe's loyalist, would become deputy prime
The other alternative being debated has Mugabe at the top
with Msika, Mujuru and Khupe as vice-presidents. Tsvangirai becomes prime
minister with Mutambara and Zanu (PF) chairman John Nkomo as deputy prime
Tsvangirai had initially proposed he become prime
minister, while Mugabe would be ceremonial president in a move which would
return the country to the parliamentary system of the 1980s. However,
Mugabe's hardline Zanu (PF) politburo resolved that his position was
"non-negotiable". It is said Mugabe is only prepared to shed some of his
imperial powers to Tsvangirai, and not all of them, as the MDC
If the proposal being debated succeeds, Mugabe would appoint
the cabinet and the prime minister. Tsvangirai might be allowed to preside
over the cabinet and legislature, but the problem is that his party does not
command a clear majority in parliament.
Sources said if
Tsvangirai had sealed a coalition deal with Mutambara to firmly take control
of parliament in an unassailable way, he would have been almost guaranteed
the post of premier - head of government - without hassles, with Mugabe
remaining as ceremonial head of state. A prime minister is usually drawn
from the majority party in parliament.
However, this was not done
despite a coalition deal after the March 29 elections and so a parliament
hung. None of the negotiating parties control parliament on their
Sources said the disputed presidential election result and hung
parliament necessitated a compromise agreement. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai
are now talking the language of a give-and-take situation, not defiance and
lack of co-operation.
"The talks are now focused on a
consolidated, hybrid proposal which has elements from Zanu (PF) and MDC
ideas," a source said. "The proposal is basically a French-style, hybrid
system which Zimbabwe almost got into during the constitutional reform
process between 1999 and 2000."
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and leaders of the two MDC
formations, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, two weeks ago signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) setting the agenda for full-scale talks to
resolve the country's debilitating economic and political
The stiffest challenge for any government that emerges from the
talks is achieving the main objective of "restoration of economic stability
and growth" in an economy which has shrunk by 60 percent within a
The MoU states that the talks should be completed within two
weeks from the date of signing, but there is open admission now that this is
The talks are largely expected to come up with a road-map
that will address the economic problems that the country has been facing
The MDC will come into a government which is virtually broke
and heavily indebted, to the tune of US$4 billion in a foreign debt and a
staggering amount in domestic debt.
The manufacturing sector is said
to be operating below 30 percent of capacity and all major sectors of the
economy are depressed. The Zimbabwean dollar was trading above $18 billion
to the United State dollar on Monday.
Economist Tony Hawkins said there
was need for the new government to restore the credibility and discipline of
the central bank and financial sector as a whole. The revenue authority has
reportedly been prejudiced of almost 60 percent of potential earnings which
have been generated by the informal sector, which is not a recognised source
The three parties which signed the MoU expressed commitment to
dialogue, saying it was the only way forward as President Mugabe and
Tsvangirai met for the first time in a decade.
President Thabo Mbeki
of South Africa who is the Sadc-appointed and African Union-endorsed
mediator was present during the signing ceremony.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai
later had lunch together while President Mbeki and Mutambara dined
separately, and held discussions for close to an hour.
The hope has been
expressed that Mugabe and Tsvangirai were talking about a serious economic
rescue package instead of blaming each other for the political madness that
has gripped the country since February 2000.
President Mugabe said: "We
sit here in order for us to chart a new way, a new way of political and
economic interaction and this out of the decision that we made, we of
Southern Africa, some time ago, that we assist each other and in this
particular case, we assist Zimbabwe to overcome the political and economic
situation which requires support.
"Our having signed this MoU is a
serious matter on my part and my party Zanu-PF; we take it seriously. The
signatures we have appended there (on the MoU), I hope reflect the sincerity
of all of us."
But does Mugabe really appreciate the gravity of
Zimbabwe's economy doldrums since 1998? Thousands of companies have shut
down, scaled down operations or relocated to neighbouring countries as the
economic environment became ever more untenable.
The new government
will inherit corrupt government structures and institutions, a situation
that might be difficult to undo.
The MDC claims to have a comprehensive
plan to deal with problems but analysts said it will be an uphill task to
reverse the damage that has been largely caused by the Zanu-PF
In their political manifesto the opposition has said it will
restructure government companies and institutions.
who spoke to business digest said the MDC would not achieve anything as they
have a reputation of "talking too much but doing nothing".
the parties to the talks could find it hard to come up with a feasible
"rescue economic package".
Tsvangirai said: "I sincerely acknowledge that
if we put our heads together we can find a solution; not finding a solution
is not an option.
"As we sign the MoU, we all commit ourselves to the
first tentative step to solutions. I have been reluctant (to endorse the
process), but I want to share a heavy commitment that the process of
negotiation is successful. We want a better Zimbabwe economically and
Mutambara described the MoU as a document of great
significance that allowed for dialogue, whose outcome should result in a
political settlement and later a new constitution.
"The signing of
the MoU is very important," he said. "It allows us to begin negotiations.
This political settlement we seek to achieve in two weeks is not the answer
. . . we need national healing. Beyond the political settlement, we want
gatherings like these where leaders speak to Zimbabweans.
A BOMB planted in a kitchen in Harare’s Main Police Station along
Kenneth Kaunda Avenue exploded on Saturday night, August 2,
“Doors were flung open by the force of the explosion and items of furniture
were strewn all over the floor,” police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said, adding
that nobody was hurt in the blast.
There has been no attempt to explain how a person or persons carrying bombs
managed to break the tight security of Zimbabwe’s largest police station and
proceeded to plant bombs in a kitchen situated on the first floor of the
The damage at the police station, as the top picture shows appears to have
In the early hours of Sunday, January 28, 2001, a powerful bomb
explosion reduced the printing press of Zimbabwe’s only independent daily
newspaper of the day, The Daily News, to a pile of scrap metal. Ballistics
experts said the explosives were of a type that could be found only in the
Zimbabwe National Army’s armoury.
Damage at the printing factory, as the second picture shows, was
No arrests have been made in the case of the Daily News bomb blast, although
the registration number of the truck used by the attackers was supplied to the
police. The paper was subsequently banned in September 2003 and has remained
defunct since then.
HARARE - Zimbabwe has suspended the export of basic
commodities barely four months after suspending import duty on selected
goods in an attempt to improve local supplies.
"The exportation of
specified basic commodities has been suspended," Florence Jambwa, a
commissioner with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, said
"This is with
effect from July 23, 2008 and will last for a period of 12 months," she
said. The goods covered included sugar, cooking oil, salt, soap, candles,
rice and sanitary pads.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of an unprecedented
crisis; inflation is quoted officially at 2,2 million percent while at least
80 percent of the population now lives below the poverty
Many companies have downed their shutters while others are
operating at a fraction of their capacity due to shortages of foreign
currency used to import spares and raw materials.
currency-starved Zimbabwe 's total export shipments of goods amounted to
US$758,9 million from January to June this year - a 14% decline from the
US$882,7 million achieved during the same period last year.
in export trade comes at a time when the country is experiencing reduced
productivity levels in industry and a weakening local
Agriculture, once the backbone of the economy, recorded
US$210,7million worth of exports during the period under review compared to
US$228, 6 million last year.
"This represents a decrease of 7, 82
percent, largely explained by the unfavourable weather conditions during the
2007/2008 agricultural season," Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono said. Mineral shipments accounted for 53 percent of the total export
shipments, while tobacco contributed 18 percent. Manufacturing accounted for
15 percent of total shipment while horticulture made 2
percent. University of Zimbabwe professor Anthony Hawkins recently said the
decline in exports was a reflection of an ailing economy.
just part of a collapsing economy characterised by a completely screwed up
and distorted policy framework," Hawkins said.
He said the "overvalued"
local currency on the official market, frequent power cuts and erratic
supplies has led to the decline in exports.
Another economic analyst
attributed the decrease in export shipments to low output which was not
tallying with prices.
"We are continuously exporting raw materials
(mining sector) at low prices instead of finished products which have
heavily affected our foreign currency generation," the economist
"The agricultural sector used to function well but it has also been
affected by reduced capacity. The mining sector looks well largely because
of the firming of international commodity prices though it has to be noted
that output in most minerals, save for platinum, is going
Gono's monetary policy came as tobacco farmers' deliveries to
auction floors have declined because of transport problems. Tobacco was once
the country's top foreign currency earner but production declined after the
government's chaotic land reform six years ago.
companies say the unavailability of funds from foreign currency accounts has
led to the decline in the export of Zimbabwean products.
sampled for the 2007 manufacturing sector survey revealed that South Africa
had become the main destination for Zimbabwean manufactured products taking
over from Zambia which has lost its position for the first time.
report released last week, the direction of Zimbabwe 's exports is primarily
a function of bilateral exchange rate movement.
"Companies will increase
exports into a country against whose currency the Zimbabwean dollar has
depreciated most and reduce exports to countries which the Zimbabwean dollar
has appreciated," reads the report.
According to the report, the main
reasons for the decline in exports are the lack of foreign currency or its
shortages, controlled exchange rate and shortages of raw
CBZ managing director John Mangudya, said statistics show that
export shipments from the manufacturing sector declined in 2007 to US$282.8
million from US$290.9, the previous year, a representation of a 2.76 %
decrease in the sector.
"We, however, remain optimistic and do not
believe this should plunge us into further despondency," Mangudya
"The manufacturing sector will remain key to the country's economic
revival efforts because it is essential in the production of basic
commodities, generation of foreign currency and creation of
"The decrease of the 16.34 percent in shipments can be
attributed to the increasing operational costs, power cuts/outages, brain
drain, fuel shortages and unavailability of foreign currency for the
importation of basic spares and accessories," said Gono in his
The JOC is firmly in control, why would they give
power to the MDC, when they know they will be fired there and there?
Though many Zimbabweans, wary of the decade long crisis are looking
for a solution from the GNU talks, the situation on the ground
Zanu (PF) has no intention of transferring
power to the MDC. The following reasons substantiate this
1. Organised Violence and Torture
continues. No effort to offer security to perceived opposition and to offer
protection to internally displaced persons is being made. While negotiations are
taking place, Zanu (PF) is decimating the opposition party structures and
driving human rights defenders from remote areas.
2. Humanitarian Assault on the Poor
continues unabated. NGOs and humanitarian groups remain officially. The World
Food programme estimates that over 2 million people are in need of food
assistance and that this number will shoot to around 5.1 million people around
Christmas and new year.
3. Institutions of Checks and balance are
crippled. Parliament has not convened for over 6 months in breach of the
constitution. The Judiciary is severely weak and unable to effectively check the
JOC driven excesses.
4. JOC is running country as a military
Junta. JOC has long replaced parliament and the executive as key policy
formulation and implementation institutions in Zimbabwe. JOC are not represented
in the negotiations even though everyone knows that they are the authors of the
Zanu (PF) negotiation strategy.
5. Government or public service
departments are ZANUFIED completely. Nothing shows that there is any genuine
desire to credibly deal with this issue. Mbeki was taken seriously when he told
Zimbabweans that he was handling the mediation. Now both SADC and Pan African
Parliament have condemned the recent June 27 elections.
6. Macro economic destruction of Zimbabwe
continues unmitigated. Unconscionable printing by Gono of ZB100 (worth 7p!) as
an effort of hiding or rigging inflation shows the determination to hold on and
not a desire to reform.
7. Expropriation Strategy Continues under
guise of fighting the West and black economic empowerment. While the
negotiations were taking place the Sunday Mail of July 20 said Zimbabwe had
begun auditing the ownership of Western firms in the country as part of a black
empowerment drive "and to counter the possible withdrawal of investment under
sanctions imposed and proposed by Britain and the U.S."
8. Exclusion of CSOs and the wider society
in the mediation process. It gives the impression that the problem in Zimbabwe
is between Zanu (PF) and the MDC. It ignores the fact that the crisis is one of
governance and therefore an issue for all Zimbabweans.
9. The Normalisation strategy is the current phase of the Zanu (PF)
strategy. Domestically it was to climb down from general widespread violence to
merely mopping up. It also entails letting humanitarian groups begin to feed
people in a manner that portrays Zanu (PF) as caring. The government has not yet
formally withdrawn the notice by Nicholas Goche (representing Zanu (PF) in the
negotiations) of June 4 that banned operations of NGOs and humanitarian
agencies. Diplomatically Zanu (PF) would create a sense of urgency in wanting to
be accommodative and to talk to the MDC. Mbeki would be the natural target to
lure the MDC into this discussion and create a "photo moment" involving Mugabe,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara so that Mugabe would look normal and
capable of being reformed. JOC expects this pact to slow down the pressure on
Mugabe and buy him time that they so desperately need to further entrench
Bulawayo- Former Minister of Home Affairs in the Robert
Mugabe led Zanu PF government Dumiso Dabengwa has declared that he is under
consultation to lead a proposed political party project that serve the
interests of the minority Ndebele people.
Speaking at the Bulawayo
press club on the 1st of August 2008 Mr Dabengwa lamented the exclusion of
former PF Zapu members in the six men negotiation table at the on going GNU
talks in South Africa.
Dabengwa exhibited a lot of bitterness against the
ruling Zanu PF party and shona people in general who he still blames for
encouraging Mugabe to kill Ndebeles in the early 1980s.
"I listen to
people. I am a man of the people. I am being asked to lead a party for the
home region's interests and through my family I am considering
The man nicknamed the black Russian said. Asked about his
position in the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn project DAbengwa said"'I told Dr Simba
Makoni that I would only help him for the March 29, elections after that,
count me out"
Dabengwa also said he does not have a problem with Morgan
Tsvangirai "previously when I was opposed to him it was due to the fact that
I knew very little about the man. I feared he would be another Fredrick
Chiluba but after speaking to him I realised I was wrong and had fallen for
the propaganda of my former party"'
However, Dumiso Dabengwa on the
contrary shocked the audience when he declared that he was still a Zanu PF
"I just don't attend Central Committee and Politburo meetings
because of the trivial agendas of these meetings. Did you ever hear anyone
say I have been fired from Zanu PF?"
The newly elected president of the Africa Liberal Network
(ALN), Dr Mamadou Lamine Ba said yesterday that the proposed resolution that
a dialogue be established between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai in
order to promote peace and stability in Zimbabwe would set a wrong
precedence in Africa.
The president, who is also advisor to the
Senegalese president, said that it was not acceptable for parties which won
elections through manipulation or rigging to be accorded equal status with
those which lost unjustly by forcing them to form coalitions in such
He also called on the global community to use all means
possible to stop the prevailing travesty in Zimbabwe in order to end the
suffering of the Zimbabwean people. "Coalitions could only be allowed when
the parties involved have respect for freedom of expression . not in a
situation like Zimbabwe where one party has been involved in massive
killings, leading to the continued suffering of the people of Zimbabwe,"
President Lamine Ba said.
He said that liberals were not happy with
the brutality and violence perpetrated by despotic regime and proposed that
a government of national unity must only be agreed within the framework of
transparent and democratic elections. Meanwhile, the former President of the
ALN, Mr Ali Toure of Cote D'Voure has said that it was unacceptable to allow
despotic leaders to continue remaining in power and called upon the
international community to bring such dictators to justice.
totally agree with the resolution to bring leaders like Robert Mugabe and
Omar Al Bashir to the Court of Justice to answer to the atrocities
perpetrated by their regimes," he added. He said this was the only way that
such leaders could be made accountable for their actions - or inaction - and
deter others with similar intentions to oppress their people to refrain from
The Network recently stated that the elections in Zimbabwe
were neither transparent nor democratic and that Mr Mugabe could not be
considered as a legitimate president, saying the results of the run-off
polls do not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.It also condemned the
acts of violence committed by ZANU-PF zealots against the people and
expresses concern that this could set a dangerous political precedent in
Africa. It said that the liberals also believe that a government of national
unity within the current framework would not resolve the fundamental issues
Zimbabwe Banking System Struggles With Dual-Currency
By Patience Rusere Washington 04 August
Cash shortages continue to be reported around
Zimbabwe on Monday as banks struggled to reconfigure equipment to handle the
new currency that the central bank started to distribute on Friday. Sources
said the distribution of new bank notes in smaller denominations has been
limited so far and that old notes remain in circulation in most
Long queues formed outside banks in Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe
and Gweru today, according to sources who said bank computers kept crashing
after financial software updates although many banks remained open on Sunday
to give staff time to adapt their systems. The state-controlled Herald
newspaper quoted Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono as saying
cash shortages were the fault of banks, which he said had planned poorly and
did not submit orders to his institution for the new currency in a timely
Gono insisted the RBZ has enough notes to meet demand, but that
the banks do not have sufficient liquidity to cover the volume of bank note
withdrawals by customers. Correspondent Netsai Mlilo of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe traveled Monday from Harare to Bulawayo and checked on the
situation in a number of cities where banks weren't finding it easy to do
business simultaneously in large and small denomination currencies.
Zimbabwe Lawyers Express Concern At Continued Political
By Jonga Kandemiiri Washington 04 August
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has expressed concern at
reports of continued political violence against opposition members in Nyanga
North constituency, Manicaland province, in spite of undertakings by the
country's ruling party and opposition to end such violence.
group issued a statement last week deploring "continued politically
motivated violence compounded by the inaction of the
Opposition member of parliament-elect for Nyanga North
Douglas Mwonzora, and five others, have asked the high court to order
ZANU-PF militia and war veterans to halt violence in their troubled
constituency. They want all illegal militia bases be dismantled and are
demanding the removal of illegal roadblocks which have been set up by the
ruling party militants.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
charged last week that ZANU-PF militia had murdered two more MDC members.
But the police dismissed the claim saying that peace was prevailing across
the country. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the state-controlled
Herald newspaper that the opposition tended to claim all dead bodies that
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Paralegal Officer David
Hofisi told Jonga Kandemiiri that the group hopes the police will respect an
eventual decision by the high court.
HARARE - A prominent Zimbabwe
human rights lawyer and top opposition official Douglas Mwonzora has
petitioned the High Court to direct President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF
party to close torture bases in rural Nyanga North constituency, more than
200km east of Harare.
Mwonzora, who is Member of Parliament-elect for
Nyanga North, also wants the court to order the police to dismantle all
roadblocks put up by ZANU PF militia in Nyanga and that they stop war
veterans from harassing and assaulting villagers or stealing livestock from
members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
The urgent court application - which highlights the immense
difficulty power-sharing talks between ZANU PF and MDC face over what to do
with Mugabe's henchmen accused of masterminding political violence that has
left more than 120 opposition supporters dead since last March - was filed
last week. It is yet to be set down for hearing.
Mwonzora says in the
application that war veterans have been demanding food from villagers to
feed themselves at their "torture bases" and as "protection fees", adding
that the extortion and harassment was rife in the areas of Nyakomba,
Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic, Mutetwa Village Magoshe and Avilla.
harassments and beatings have also been extended to MDC election agents in
Ward 10, Nyanga North, while an elected councillor and the elected Member of
the House of Assembly representing Nyanga North have had travel restrictions
in the area imposed upon them.
"At least five councilors from Wards 5, 8,
9, and 10 in Nyanga North constituency have been forced out of their homes
and continue to seek refuge outside the constituency," the court petition
reads in part.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi was not immediately
available for comment on the matter.
The MDC and human rights groups
say political violence and rights abuses have continued especially in
outlying rural areas despite ZANU PF and the two MDC parties beginning talks
two weeks ago aimed at forming a government of national unity seen as the
best way to end Zimbabwe's long-running political and economic
A memorandum of understanding on talks signed by Mugabe and MDC
leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara commits all parties to "take
all necessary measures to eliminate all forms of political violence,
including by non-state actors, and to ensure the security of persons and
The talks resumed in neighbouring South Africa last Sunday
after they were called off a week ago apparently because negotiators could
not agree on what posts Mugabe and Tsvangirai would take in the government
of national unity.
However, chief mediator, South African President Thabo
Mbeki, denied the talks had hit deadlock and instead said the dialogue was
still firmly on track and negotiators had only returned to Zimbabwe to
consult their principals on ground covered so far.
Analysts say along
with the issue of who will wield real power in the unity government, the
issue of security for Mugabe's followers who masterminded his violent
re-election in last June's controversial presidential run-off election and
in previous polls stands out as a major stumbling block to successful
dialogue. - ZimOnline
countries trashed by China
are to stage a joint demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy in
on Friday 8th August to mark the opening of the Olympic Games in
will lay flowers outside the Embassy in mourning for the deaths of millions of
victims of dictators supported by China.
demonstration will start
and there will be a media presentation at
when the Zimbabwean, Burmese and Sudanese dictators will be seen bowing down to
a figure representing China.The realistic masks used were widely shown at
summit in Lisbon
link is that all four countries are victims of
use of its veto in the UN Security Council to protect human rights
The demonstration will culminate at 13.08 when the Tibetan flag will be
raised, accompanied by the national anthems of the four countries.We will be joined the Falun Gong who have
been protesting in support of freedom outside the Chinese Embassy for many
Society: Philippa Carrick 020 7272 1414
Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to
18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime
in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002
will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held
in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
The following is a report received from
Manicaland MDC offices:
Buhera is still a no go area for MDC
victims despite the calls to end the state sponsored violence which started
after the March 29th elections when MDC romped to victory. Hundreds of
injured MDC victims in Buhera are still failing to access medication as
their homes and villages are guarded on daily basis by the ZPF youth
militias who are accusing them of wanting to go to Mutare to 'uncover their
ruthless brutality' hence they are forced to suffer in agony in their
homes.Several of these injured activists are developing a green colour in
their wounds and being feasted on by maggots as they queue for panadols only
at their nearest clinics.
Kokayi Vengenyedzai (68) from ward 28,
Matengarumvi Village ,Chief Nyashanu in Buhera South is one victim, who,
despite the deeper cuts on his buttocks, struggled to find his way to Mutare
MDC offices for medication. He is the MDC Vice Chairman for Chinyamukonde
branch. Vengenyedzai was abducted from his house to Jori business centre on
19/06/08 at around 1000hrs where there was a ZANU PF rally organised by the
bloodthirsty and losing MP for the area Joseph Chinotimba. "I was asked if i
voted MDC of which i admitted. This was followed by a shower of beatings on
my buttocks, back and face.They tightly tied my hands and made me to lie
down where they beat me using logs and electric cables. "They left me for
dead," said the ageing Vengenyedzai. He was also made to pay 2 goats as
punishment by ZANU PF youths only identified as Magaya and Kombera. Since
then he has been suffering in agony and queueing for panadols on daily basis
under guard by the militias at the nearest Clinics.
Nendanga (28) from Ward 28, Chapanduka Village, Chief Nyashanu in Buhera is
one other victim who suffered in pain at his rural home as the militias
blocked their way out to Mutare. He was abducted on 26/06/08 by Tichaona
MahumberuTaurai and other ZANU Youths to their base at Chapanduka where he
was accused of supporting MDC and made to pay $50 billion as punishment.
Nendanga was subjected to severe torture at the base as he was being beaten
by logs and cables. He is the Youth organising secretary for Chapanduka
branch. Since then he was silently suffering in agony at his home in Buhera
as all efforts to come for medication were being blocked by the
These two were among the group which was supposed to be
ferried to Mutare for medication by the car organised by MDC Manicaland
which was abducted together with the 2 drivers by Colonel Morgan Muzilikazi
on 24/07/08. Innocent rape victims and several other MDC activists
particularly in Buhera are silently suffering in agony as efforts to help
them are being hindered by the ZANU PF thugs
Zimbabwe Government Lifts NGO Food Aid Ban For HIV/AIDS
By Patience Rusere Washington 04 August
The Zimbabwean government said Monday that it is
partially lifting the ban it imposed in June on the distribution of food
assistance by nongovernmental organizations so as to allow those groups
seeing to the nutritional needs of HIV/AIDS patients to restart their
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare said it agreed
with the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to let non-governmental
organizations involved in feeding HIV-AIDS patients resume their work as
soon as possible. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told VOA letters are
being sent to district and provincial administrators telling them to
authorize such activities.
The government banned NGO food distribution in
June, accusing such groups of campaigning for the opposition ahead of a June
27 presidential run-off ballot. The head of the U.S. Agency for
International Development last week urged the Harare government to lift the
ban, shortly after a similar call by the European Union in the context of
Parirenyatwa said the letters were being
distributed this week to expedite matters, and that NGOs wishing to resume
feeding programs for those battling HIV/AIDS should present themselves to
local administrators and request the appropriate
Parirenyatwa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that the policy change recognized HIV/AIDS patients need good
food as well as the right medicine.
Meanwhile, a World Food Program
official said the United Nations agency is in talks with Harare to provide
more aid despite the ban on NGO distribution. Spokesman Richard Lee said
that although WFP distributions are currently at a relatively low level it
is clear that many more people in Zimbabwe will need aid by early 2009.
An AIDS patient in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 2, 2008.
The government seems to be taking a laid back attitude towards the pandemic that
is infecting 565 adults every day.
With roughly one person every three minutes getting infected with HIV
in Zimbabwe today, one would think the govt would be proactive
Mexico, Mexico City-- With around one in
seven adults living with HIV1 and an estimated 565 adults and children becoming
infected every day (roughly one person every three minutes), Zimbabwe is
experiencing one of the harshest AIDS epidemics in the world.
With such figures, where there is a
propensity for the spread of feel good
news in Zimbabwe, one would think the ZANU-PF government, in partnership
with civil society and NGOs, would join hands and scour the world looking for
funding, ways to fight the epidemic, and doctors who are willing to donate their
The AIDS 2008 summit is designed to
provide many opportunities for the presentation of important new scientific
research and for productive, structured dialogue on the major challenges facing
the global response to AIDS.
Zimbabwe is represented by National AIDS Council Executive
Director Tapiwa Magure. It remained unclear if Health Minister David
Parirenyatwa would attend, but many AIDS activists expressed their frustration
at their failure to travel to the annual event.
Instead of working for the wellbeing of
Zimbabweans, Dr. Parirenyatwa, MP for Murehwa North, spent his time over the
past few months leading
ZANU-PF militia units on the rampage in Murehwa, torturing, beating, killing
and setting fire to the homes of MDC supporters and activists.
Although the epidemic appears to be on the
wane in Zimbabwe,
the prevelance rate is still very high by global standards.
In three southern African countries, the
national adult HIV prevalence rate has risen higher than was thought possible
and now exceeds 20%. These countries are Botswana (23.9%), Lesotho (23.2%) and Swaziland (26.1%).
AIDS patients in Zimbabwe have suffered
over the years, mostly due to the neglect of the ZANU-PF government of the state
hospitals where most patients recieve their medication. Government hospitals are
now plugged by mismanagement, lack of funding, lack of manpower, and shortage of
Hopefully, the GNU government that comes
into office soon will focus a light on the AIDS pandemic, for it is a threat to
the security of the country.--Harare Tribune News ( additional editing by
MEXICO CITY, Aug 4 (Reuters) -
Rising food prices around the world are likely to drive poor women to trade
sex for basic goods like fish and cooking oil, raising the risk of new AIDS
infections, U.N officials said on Monday.
Delegates at a major AIDS
conference in Mexico cited the cases of fisherwomen in the Pacific and women
in Kenya desperate for food being forced to sell their bodies, adding to
concerns of a new twist in the spread of the deadly pandemic.
is such a basic need that you can see people really going to great lengths,"
said Fadzai Mukonoweshuro of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization in
Climbing food prices -- due to increased use of
biofuels, the growing demand for grains to feed a booming Asia, droughts and
market speculation -- caused 50 million more people to go hungry last year
compared to the year before, the United Nations said.
lead to various distress responses, one of which on the part of women is
having transactional sex to feed their kids," Stuart Gillespie of the
International Food Policy Research Institute said.
"Recent studies in
Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania have shown associations
between acute food insecurity and unprotected transactional sex among poor
women," he said.
Overfishing of tuna in the Pacific has forced Papua New
Guinea fisherwomen to abandon their smaller craft and join the crew of
larger boats, where they trade sex for food scraps, the officials and
Such "fish for sex" deals are also common in Kenya on the
shores of Lake Victoria, where women fish traders meet incoming boats and
sleep with fishermen for a favorable price.
Experts at the
conference, a biennial gathering of global medical experts and government
officials, also said malnutrition increased the risks for people already
infected with AIDS, experts added.
HIV drugs can upset the stomach if
taken without food and AIDS patients, many also infected with tuberculosis,
need more nutrients and calories. Without enough food they are more likely
to die, said Martin Bloem, chief nutritionist at the World Food
Soaring food and other commodity prices might hinder the fight
"We really need to watch this very carefully. We are in a
situation of rising oil prices, rising food prices and at the same time the
cost of AIDS is going up along with new infections," said Kevin De Cock,
director of the anti-AIDS program at the World Health
Attacking both hunger and the disease at the same time can
bring special challenges. In Zimbabwe, some villages will reject food aid if
they think it is destined for AIDS patients, claiming it is contaminated,
The human immunodeficiency virus infects 33
million people globally, half of them women, and kills 2 million annually.
(Editing by Alistair Bell and David Storey)
Farmer Mabel Zevezanayi holds a dried corn cob near
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE – Zimbabwe stocks are fast running out raising the spectra of imminent
starvation on a large scale.
At least four million Zimbabweans, who constitute
nearly a third of the population, are in dire need of relief food aid to
mitigate against the effects of a combination of official bungling and a poor
But while a greater percentage of the four million generally belong to the
country’s most vulnerable groups, the remainder of the population comprising the
usually less dependant also find themselves in equal danger, as food stocks are
fast running out.
The problem has been attributed to government’s bungling of the last
agricultural season and excessive rainfall that led to flooding in many
Zimbabwe requires 2 million tones of grain and 400 000 to 450 000 tonnes of
wheat to meet its annual national requirement.
Recently, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) issued an
emergency statement saying Zimbabwe had its worst ever crop harvest.
According to FEWSNET, between a third and half the population will need food
aid before next year’s harvest.
The situation is not being helped either by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB),
which is reportedly paying maize producer prices of $80b ($8 revalued) for a
bucket of maize, a mere pittance considering that a packaged bag already costs
$40b ($4 revalued).
The GMB is responsible for organizing cereal for systematic distribution
within the country.
The GMB’s ridiculous prices have scared away ordinary farmers who would now
opt to sell their produce to individual buyers who pay them more than a $1
trillion ($100 revalued).
Some innovative farmers are now trading part of their yields for small
groceries such as soap, sugar and cooking oil, which are also scarce in
The situation has become so critical that perennial high harvest areas such
as Mashonaland Central and East provinces are reportedly producing a quarter of
their normal yields.
While government dithers on food security issues, some villagers,
particularly in areas such as Masvingo and Matebeleland, have taken to eating
the edible root of a wild tree.
The food shortage was compounded government’s unpopular ban on the field work
of all international aid agencies in Zimbabwe.
Government accused the philanthropic groups of allegedly meddling in the
country’s political affairs by clandestinely providing campaign support for the
opposition ahead of the March 29 elections.
Even if the restrictions are lifted now, humanitarian groups say, it would
take until September for emergency relief efforts to begin.
This would be caused by the amount of time needed for the banned
organizations to reassemble their distribution infrastructure for them to resume
Local food distribution agencies have warned that the food may be diverted to
other countries if government does not heed calls for it to immediately lift the
MDC deputy spokesperson Renson Gasela, who is also responsible for lands and
agriculture within the Arthur Mutambara led faction, blames government for the
“Generally the issues that relate to these food shortages cannot be divorced
from the governance issues of this country,” he said.
“We have failed to produce enough food because of government failure to
provide inputs for the national requirements in time.”
The former Gweru Rural MDC legislator, who has also served as GMB chief
executive before, said government should swallow its pride and allow the
international community to come to the nation’s rescue.
In a desperate attempt to mitigate the situation, government has rolled out
the so-called BACOSSI, a programme through which food hampers of imported and
scarce basic commodities have been mad available to families at lower
Analysts say this is unsustainable in a nation that is already reeling under
a severe foreign currency shortage.
Agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo last week all but admitted his government’s
bungling of the country’s food situation.
Gumbo told the state controlled Herald newspaper that farmers had again
failed to meet the country’s winter wheat target after they planted only 43
percent of the targeted hectarage.
“We had a target of 70 000ha but we only achieved 30 379ha,” he was quoted in
The Herald as saying. He cited fertilizer shortages of both Compounds A and D,
power cuts, erratic supplies of fuel to farmers among so-called challenges.
According to Gumbo, government had projected 3, 5 tonnes of wheat would be
harvested from each hectare.
This would translate to 105 000 tonnes from the planted hectarage, against
the national annual requirement of nearly 450 000 tonnes.
Zimbabwe currently imports wheat from South Africa, Zambia and Malawi to meet
Recurrent food shortages in Zimbabwe have been attributed to government’s
populist decision between 2000 and now, to forcibly expropriate vast tracts of
arable land from the minority but highly productive white farmers for
redistribution to the landless blacks under a poorly executed land reform
Most Zimbabweans - about
70 per cent of the population - live in rural areas and are engaged in
smallholder agriculture. These smallholder farmers, particularly in the
country’s low rainfall areas, are extremely food insecure and have little or no
access to new technology.
from low incomes and a generally low standard of living, poor health and
nutrition, poor housing and an inability to send children to school. Soil
degradation and outdated farming methods have kept rural families trapped in
and unreliable rainfall and the recurrent threat of drought also restrict the
potential of rain-fed agriculture, on which the livelihoods of most smallholder
farmers depend. In a word, access to water for irrigation is one of the most
critical constraints that small farmers face.
matters worse, AIDS is undermining agricultural systems and affecting the
nutritional situation and food security of rural families. As adults fall ill
and die, families face declining productivity as well as loss of knowledge about
indigenous farming methods and loss of assets.
devastating consequences of the epidemic are plunging already poor rural
communities further into destitution as their labour capacity weakens, incomes
dwindle and assets become depleted, with the latter affecting mostly women and
children who have few property rights.
to a survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union, agricultural output in
communal areas has declined by nearly 50% among households affected by AIDS in
relation to households not affected by AIDS. Maize production by smallholder
farmers and commercial farms has declined by 61% because of illness and death
girls are especially vulnerable. They face the greatest burden of work - given
their traditional responsibilities for growing much of the food and caring for
the sick and dying in addition to maintaining heavy workloads related to
provisioning and feeding the household. In many hard-hit communities, girls are
being withdrawn from school to help lighten the family load.
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) describes household food
security as “the capacity of households to procure a stable and sustainable
basket of adequate food” (IFAD, 1996). It incorporates: (a) food availability;
(b) equal access to food; (c) stability of food supplies; and, (e) quality of
food. All aspects of this are affected by both the household-level impact of
HIV/AIDS and the wider impacts of a generalised HIV/AIDS epidemic.
households coping with HIV/AIDS, food consumption generally decreases. The
household may lack food and the time and the means to grow and prepare some
food. For the patient, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS can form a vicious cycle
whereby under-nutrition increases the susceptibility to infections and
consequently worsens the severity of the disease, which in turn results in a
further deterioration of nutritional status.
of AIDS, along with secondary diseases and death, might be delayed in
individuals with good nutritional status.
care and support may help to prevent the development of nutritional
deficiencies, loss of weight and lean body mass, and maintain the patient’s
strength, comfort, level of functioning and self-image.
the nutritional status of HIV/AIDS patients can also help improve the
effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy, when it does become widely available to
poor rural people.
In such a
context, labour-saving technologies that will adapt agriculture to new
conditions generated by HIV/AIDS can help to compensate for the depletion of
labour caused by sickness and death.
Drip-irrigation is a low pressure,
low volume irrigation system suitable for vegetables, shrubs, flowers and trees,
and can be helpful when water is scarce or expensive.
popular in countries such as Israel and India, drip-irrigation has been gaining
attention because of its potential to increase yields and decrease water use,
fertilizer, and labour requirements, if managed properly.
irrigation (sometimes called trickle irrigation) works by applying water slowly
and directly to the soil. It is the slow drop-by-drop, localised application of
water at a grid above the soil surface. Water flows from a tank through a filter
into lines then drips through emitters into the soil next to the plants. The
high efficiency of drip irrigation results from two primary factors. The first
is that the water soaks into the soil before it can evaporate or run-off. The
second is that the water is only applied where it is needed (at the plant
roots), rather than sprayed everywhere as in sprinkle or furrow irrigation
can be applied through the drip systems, thus reducing the use of fertilizers.
Soil is maintained in a continuously moist condition. With a 100 square meter
garden, equipped with low cost drip kit technology, a family of five can grow
nutritious vegetables for consumption throughout the year.
inexpensive kit offers a 50 per cent savings on water, over 80 per cent yields,
and better quality vegetables and herbs. Because of its minimal labour
requirements, the kit is well suited to serve HIV and AIDS affected households
headed by orphans or their grandparents, where labour maybe in short
Zimbabwe’s rural areas, HNGs are widespread, yet they are largely neglected in
spite of their potential to cushion disadvantaged and AIDS-affected families
from food insecurity. Ordinarily, a HNG is cultivated close to home, thus
eliminating the need for farmers to travel to distant fields.
play a significant part in enhancing food security in several ways, most
importantly through: 1) direct access to a diversity of nutritionally-rich
foods, 2) increased purchasing power from savings on food bills and sales of
garden products, 3) availability of food throughout the season and especially
during seasonal lean periods, and 4) savings on water, time and
household gardening requires the optimal use of land and irrigation, as well as
a dynamic integration of additional crops and crop varieties with specific value
and uses. A well developed HNG has the potential, when access to land and water
is not a major limitation, to supply most of the non-staple food that a family
needs every day of the year, including roots and tuber, vegetables and fruits,
legumes, herbs and spices.
tubers are rich in energy and legumes are important sources of protein, fat,
iron and vitamins. Green leafy vegetables and yellow-or orange-colored fruits
provide essential vitamins and minerals, particularly folate, and vitamins A, E
and C. Vegetables and fruits are a vital component of a healthy diet and should
be eaten as part of every meal, and are highly recommended for people living
farmers generally grow three cycles of crops per year. Typically, this includes
at least one cycle of vegetable crops during the winter months, and an early
maize or bean crop that can be harvested in December. The exact cropping cycles
and systems will depend on regional climate, soils and input availability, in
conjunction with the specific skills and nutritional needs of the household.
encouraged to grow locally available indigenous crops that are highly nutritive
but often neglected. The crops contain good nutrients and often require low
labour-input. They represent a flexible source of food supply and can be easily
preserved. Besides providing a source of income, they are adapted to cultural
dynamics and local food habits.
produce ample seeds without creating a dependence on external resources. Because
the technology is new, smallholder farmers require technical support and
training to help them tap into the full potential of the kit.
strengthening the capacity to produce food at household level using low-cost
technologies, negative impacts can be mitigated for AIDS-affected communities.
Labour saving technologies and improved seed varieties can help to compensate
for the depletion of labour caused by sickness and death, and assist
farm-households to survive prolonged crisis, such as that caused by AIDS.
Through agriculture and rural development, resilience against HIV can be built.
irrigation technology offers much promise for landholders in the communal areas
of Zimbabwe, where water application has traditionally involved the use of
surface irrigation and “bucket watering”. Both methods are inefficient and waste
a lot of water. Using the bucket involves hard work especially when the water is
far away and scarce.
irrigation, communal farmers, especially women, who are the primary carers and
pillars of the community, can be able to maintain their gardens with ease,
efficiently and at a low cost.
technology will give quick returns on a small investment, and growing vegetables
will provide both nutrition vegetables and year-round incomes.
As the old
Chinese saying goes: “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for a day. Teach a man
to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”
Mugabe-Tsvangirai rotten alliance: Suffering continues for the
Daily Triumph, Nigeria
SHA'ABAN 3, 1429 A.H. TUESDAY AUGUST 5
By Kola Ibrahim
Events postdating the
political stalemate that precipitated the unilateral elections in Zimbabwe
where Pa Robert Mugabe was the sole contestant could hardly be described as
respite for the working but poor masses of Zimbabwe. News had it that Mugabe
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai
has concluded agreement for negotiation with possibility of forming a unity
government (as witnessed in Kenya and as advocated by Nigeria's Umaru Musa
Yar'adua). This is coming at a time when inflation in the country has
skyrocketed to over two million per cent, a sign of unprecedented plummeting
of living standard while over 80 per cent are officially poor. The
increase in living wage is linear while the inflation (which was 200, 000
percent about three months ago) is increasing geometrically. The situation is
so terrible that government had to give free food to the masses. It is under
this condition that the opposition that should serve as the beckon of hope
and platform of struggle for better living is forging an alliance with the
rotten, anti-poor and dictatorial Mugabe government. This clearly reveals the
real quagmire to which the poor masses of Zimbabwe are - a rotten government
with practically no platform of hope and change. During the presidential run
off, Tsvangirai had predicated his withdrawal from election based on
widespread violence against the opposition members which he rightly claimed
could snowball into serious crisis if the contest should continue. In as
much as one cannot deny the reality of Mugabe's brazen violence, the retreat
of Tsvangirai and his party in the election is a reflection of the political
frustration that has beset the working poor. How else could one describe a
situation where the masses who voted out the Mugabe dictatorship, (despite
unprecedented campaign of violence) would back off from defending their
choice at the run off, even if it includes taking harms against the regime?
The main reason is that Tsvangirai and his MDC party do not represent any
beckon of hope for the masses. No clear-cut economic programme to take the
country's economy out of the woods neither was there any programme to
challenge imperialism. A glance through MDC's website clearly reveals its
pro-rich, pro-imperialism neo-liberal economic orientation that will further
economically disenfranchise the working but poor Zimbabweans. In its
normal messianic nature, the opposition did not reveal how it intends to
resolve the land problem (which in the real sense affects the poor
Zimbabwean farmers than the much-touted white farmers). Maybe he is
taking after Nigerian crooked politicians who conceal their ignorance cum
hypocrisy with the argument that they do not want the other party to steal
(or maybe loot) their programme when they are really the same birds flocking
in different camps. This coupled with the fact that Tsvangirai himself was
formerly part of the Mugabe's dictatorship - his former official physician -
while many of the MDC stalwarts are former staunch members of Mugabe's
ZANU-PF. The fact that Tsvangirai and the opposition do not pose any genuine
alternative to the masses is clearly manifested in the manner in which
Tsvangirai reacted to the violence initiated by the Mugabe's shock troopers.
Rather than appeal to the working masses and youth to organize and resist
the fascist troops (who are in actuality in minority), he is found of
calling on "international" community (note his definition of international
community means the imperialist nations of US and Europe) to use military
actions and sanctions against Mugabe. The implication of this is that he has
contempt for the masses which he claimed to be 'fighting' for. Any
international action by any imperialist country will not be in the interest
of the working poor of Zimbabwe but will either boost Mugabe's status as an
anti-imperialism - which he never was - or help imperialism establish
military and economic base in the country (and turn the country to another
Iraq - where "liberation" war by US/Europe has turned to war to oil war and
occupation). This has further made the poor masses of Zimbabwe to develop a
skeptical attitude towards him which unfortunately has given the Mugabe
regime another lease of life. The possible calculation of Tsvangirai is
that reliance on the working masses could inspire a mass movement that could
push the masses to the centre stage and maybe push him to the left. This
will definitely undermine his capitalist neo-liberal economic programmes.
This will definitely diminish his status to govern on behalf of big
business, which is sponsoring him. Having realized that imperialism had more
in its hands than the problems facing Zimbabwe, and fearful of the
consequence of mass movement to dislodge Mugabe on his political interest,
Tsvangirai resorted to negotiation with a regime it has decried as
dictatorial. He was even reported to have renounced all his critical
statements on Mugabe's dictatorship. This treachery of Tsvangirai is not
unexpected because - as I had earlier stated in my previous treatises on
Zimbabwe and Kenya (published in many newspapers and websites) - as a
pro-capitalist politician, he is bound to limit his struggle for power
within the precinct of capitalism and not raise the masses to their
feet. The era of progressive capitalism is long gone, as the current
neo-liberal capitalism is not favourable to mass movement, even the one that
tend to give it a "human face". It is vital to posit that the treachery
and the pro-imperialism, anti-masses character of Tsvangirai (and his MDC)
confers no credibility on Mugabe's autocratic regime. As against the
claim of many commentators that Mugabe is anti-imperialism, anti-apartheid
hero, he actually emerged from imperialism, even during the apartheid
struggle. Of course, like every other nationalist petty bourgeois and in the
spirit of the mass anger against imperialism then, he was against apartheid,
but he was also used by British imperialism to maintain its presence in
Zimbabwe. It is noteworthy to state that the same Mugabe that claims to be
fighting white rule did not take white big farms during the anti-apartheid
victory, when the movement was raging, but rather negotiated with British
imperialism then. But, having lost control of the economy through
subjugation of the nation to the poisonous neo-liberal pills of
commercialization of social services, privatization of public corporations
and trade liberalization (which led to over 25, 000 job loss in 1996 alone
and slashing of wages by 25 per cent in 1995 among other terrible results)
and looking for a shortcut, resorted to anti-imperialism slogans.
Ridiculously, the land distribution could only benefit just a thousand of
rich black farmers (out of millions of poor and landless farmers) most of
whom have stakes in his ruling ZANU-PF party. Therefore, it is a miscarriage
of logic to present Mugabe as fighting imperialism. The economic woes
witnessed in Zimbabwe are a product of the anti-poor neo-liberal policies of
imperialism implemented by Mugabe in the 1990s and not a resort of economic
sabotage of western imperialism as some people claim. While of course the
role of western imperialism, which in actual fact benefited from the
neo-liberal policies implemented by Mugabe (and subsequently left the
economy in ruins), could not be underemphasized, this should not be done to
bestow credibility on the Mugabe regime. This also brings to focus the role
and hypocrisy of imperialism in the crisis facing Zimbabwe. Aside the fact
that imperialism contributed to the country's economic woes, the western
imperialism's reactions again reflect the imperialist hypocrisy. It will
be recalled that while these nations (especially US and Britain) were
condemning the Mugabe regime, they did not mention their roles in the
economic crisis. No relief package was given to the poor people of
Zimbabwe who are groaning under economic woes that had provided
unprecedented wealth to capitalist corporations. Rather, imperialist nations
in the UN Security Council prefer to place sanctions - including economic
and military - which will further the sufferings of the Zimbabwean poor, who
are up to 80 per cent of the population. Though the sanction was vetoed
by China and Russia, it does not however, portray any section of imperialism
in any good light. The fact is that it is sheer selfish capitalist interests
that drive foreign policy and international politics. The Russia's and
China's vetoes are not a product of sympathy for the Zimbabwean poor, but an
attempt to boost their capitalist economic agenda. For instance, Russia has
been boosting markets in the third world countries for its economy
especially gas industry. Also, Russia has been trying to stand on its feet in
the comity of imperialist nations after the collapse of Stalinism (a
grotesque caricature of genuine socialism), which is reflected in the recent
nationalism campaign started by Putin - a policy meant to mask the glaring
failure of capitalism in Russia. The only way to stand therefore, is by
posing to be an alternative to US/British imperialism (but in actual fact
pursuing the same capitalist imperialist policies - Chechnya as example) in
the eyes of third world countries with the central aim of boosting its
outreach economic status. Also, it is a known fact that China's recent
economic boom coupled with its importance to the world economy (especially
US's) has boosted its international status which has further reinforced its
struggle for resources and market to sustain its economic boom - which
failure will spell political doom for the fragile ruling caste of China -
and subsequently, international. Source: saharareporters.com
Johannesburg (BBC) -
The office of South African President Thabo Mbeki has denied a newspaper
report claiming that a German firm paid him millions to approve an arms
Mr Mbeki's office said he had never received money from the
It called the report in South Africa's Sunday Times a "hotch-potch
recycling of allegations that have from time to time been peddled" over the
The paper said MAN Ferrostaal paid Mr Mbeki 30m rand (£2.1m at
current rates) to guarantee a submarine contract.
The Sunday Times
said its story was based on a secret report by an unnamed UK risk
consultancy, commissioned by a central European manufacturer that faced a
hostile bid from MAN Ferrostaal.
The report cites a former South African
official as saying the firm paid Mr Mbeki to secure a 6bn rand contract to
sell three submarines to the South African navy, the paper said.
said the company promised to build a 6bn rand stainless steel plant in the
Eastern Cape province as part of the deal.
The paper reported that Mr
Mbeki had told investigators that the 30m rand payment had been split
between former deputy president, Jacob Zuma, who received 2m rand, and the
governing African National Congress (ANC) party, which received the
MAN Ferrostaal has dismissed the allegations as a "fishing
expedition" intended to damage its reputation and that of the South African
government, the Sunday Times reported.
Mr Mbeki's office said the
report was part of the Sunday Times' "enthusiastic voyage to re-writing the
fundamentals of journalism".
"The presidency would like to place it on
record that President Thabo Mbeki has never at any stage received any amount
of money from MAN Ferrostaal," it said in a statement.
It noted a
joint investigation into the South African government's Strategic Defence
Procurement Package, which it said found no evidence of "any improper or
unlawful conduct by the government".
It also challenged the paper to
explain why it had not named the UK risk consultancy, and asked it to
explain the allegation that Mr Zuma had acted as a front-man for Mr Mbeki
during arms deal negotiations - "particularly in the context of the court
process currently under way".
Mr Zuma is currently seeking to have
corruption charges linked to a separate arms deal dismissed.
defeated Mr Mbeki in the ANC's leadership contest in December and is the
favourite to become South Africa's next president.
(BBC) - Supporters of Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's governing ANC,
have rallied as he appeared in court to get graft charges against him thrown
Addressing the cheering crowds in Zulu, Mr Zuma thanked them for
standing by him through thick and thin. The ANC leader stands accused of
corruption, fraud, racketeering and money-laundering over a 1999 arms
He says he is the victim of a political conspiracy designed to
prevent him from becoming South Africa's next president.
"In my life
I have never been afraid of anything," AFP news agency quoted him as telling
the crowd outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg, where some supporters
had been camped out overnight dancing and singing.
"Those who know me
will know that I am not a coward. I have never been afraid of anything. I
was willing to die for this country and I am prepared to die for
He then sang his trademark anti-apartheid guerrilla song, Bring Me
My Machine Gun.
"I think he's got all the skills, he's got all the
capacity, he's got all the strength to become the president," said one
At the hearing, which will continue on Tuesday, his lawyers
argued that delays in bringing the case meant he would not get a fair trial,
and said prosecutors had not followed proper legal procedures.
Zuma has said he will stand down as African National Congress leader only if
he is found guilty. Critics say he is just trying to delay proceedings until
after he is elected president.
This was to have been the start of Mr
Zuma's corruption trial but the ANC leader is challenging the state's
decision to prosecute him, the BBC's Peter Biles reports from
The shadow of corruption has been hanging over Mr Zuma
for several years.
In 2005 he was sacked as South Africa's deputy
president when his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was found guilty of
soliciting a bribe on behalf of Mr Zuma and jailed for 15 years in
connection with an arms deal.
Mr Zuma then went on trial, but the case
collapsed in 2006 when the prosecution said it was not ready to
He was charged again last December shortly after winning a
bitter campaign against President Thabo Mbeki to become ANC leader. He
denies the charges laid against him and says he has been the victim of a
"There's a smear campaign for him not to be
president," said a supporter outside court in Pietermaritzburg.
leadership of the ruling ANC is also standing squarely behind him.
believe that Mr Zuma has been persecuted more than prosecuted by the NPA
(National Prosecuting Authority) and he's been tried in the public arena,"
ANC's chief spokesperson Jessie Duarte said.
"It cannot take eight
years to find enough evidence, if you have any, to bring a matter to
Mr Zuma suffered a setback last week when he lost a legal bid to
stop documents seized from his home and other locations being used as
evidence in a trial.
The ANC says it expects Mr Zuma, a former deputy
president, to be its candidate for president in next year's election, when
Mr Mbeki steps down.
In February 2006, Mr Zuma was acquitted of rape in a
separate case, though he was widely criticised for comments about sex and
Friday, August 1, 2008 - Web posted at 9:03:29 AM GMT
Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari ACCORDING to
the theory of evolution, the initial structure of life, the cell, has in it
the capacity to recompose infinitely until it creates the most complex human
Using this theory as an entry point I recall
that as a young student in political science at the University of
Stellenbosch, I had exceeded the boundaries of admiration for Thabo Mbeki,
the man hailed frequently at the time as the philosopher
It is in this category where I put Mbeki, that of a
complex human being, and a sophisticated African leader.
eloquence in putting Africa's cause across at Okinawa in Japan exactly eight
years ago as well as his articulation of the African renaissance were all
I even annoyed others with my admiration for Thabo Mbeki,
notably the acumen that he brought into Africa's presidential
It even irritated a South African friend of mine at
I don't believe that I was alone in
this admiration at the time as many of us had fallen in a collective swoon
for this leader and felt that he had set the bar too high on the
Mbeki had become, or to put it more accurately, was
becoming, the standard-bearer of a continent that was short on inspiration
in terms of leadership.
And crucially, it was for South Africa
as a young country important that it sold a different message to the
And admittedly, South Africans, at least my fellow students,
including some University teachers during my time at Stellenbosch, were all
too proud about what South Africa was in terms of leadership; it had Nelson
Mandela, a saint-like personality, who epitomised what was in essence good
in us as human beings.
And it had a fitting reformist successor
in Thabo Mbeki, a complex, well-educated and up-to-date African
Yet a friend of mine, who went on to do her PhD at
Cambridge, constantly warned about the collective swoon for Mbeki and my
idolatry of the philosopher-politician.
I guess that she was
visionary in the sense that she felt that I overrated Mbeki as a human
With the benefit of hindsight, she wanted to say that Mbeki,
irrespective of his excellent credentials, might disappoint as a human being
or as an African leader tout court.
Perhaps, she simply didn't
believe that Thabo Mbeki was indeed what I thought he was, an outstanding
Now that history has passed, Mbeki's legacy as the
leader of the most powerful country in Africa has been
With events in Zimbabwe having unfolded as they did
over the past years under Thabo Mbeki's watch; South Africa's inexplicable
timidity on Darfur both in Africa and at the United Nations Security
Council, has emptied South Africa's foreign policy of its moral
Similarly, Mbeki's African jaunts on conflict resolution
from Côte d'Ivoire to Burundi have been less than successful given the sheer
size of South Africa's diplomacy and the moral legacy of Nelson
At home, Thabo Mbeki is a leader whose political home has
deserted him; the xenophobic violence in Mbeki's own country has left many
On many of these issues, Thabo Mbeki had tried in
vain to simply explain events away, even when the facts had
Even in the face of complete disaster, he would simply
stick to his model of events.
On the whole, we have gradually
started to question Mbeki's judgment as a leader.
question that may linger on is how this gifted raconteur who mixes policy
and politics in his analysis of issues, is leaving a fragile South Africa
behind? And what is troubling is the consequence this may have on the
important role South Africa should play in building a better
We could then argue that Thabo Mbeki's legacy is not
just of a weaker South Africa, but is also one of an uncertain
Most crucially, such interrogations begin to boil down to
the simple, but important question as to whether Africa will manage to build
consistency and consolidate on the all-too important issue of
* Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari is a PhD fellow in political
science at the University of Paris- Panthéon Sorbonne, France.