The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Telegraph

                        Anger as BAT gives tobacco award to Mugabe land grabbers
                        (Filed: 07/08/2005)

                        British American Tobacco has given an award for
growing the plant to a couple accused of stealing a farm from its Zimbabwean

                        Monica Chinamasa, the wife of the justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa, accepted the Z$25m (£500) prize at a BAT Tobacco Grower
of the Year ceremony in Harare.

                        Richard Yates told The Sunday Telegraph that the
Chinamasas stole the farm from him in September 2003. "They virtually
evicted me at gunpoint," he said.

                        Mr Yates still has the title deeds to the 2,000-acre
farm and although he was paid some compensation is still waiting for full
payment. The prize has outraged politicians who believe that businesses such
as the British-based multi-national, should avoid involvement with Zimbabwe
due to its human rights abuses and land grabs under its president, Robert

                        Last night BAT, whose deputy chairman is Ken Clarke,
the Tory former chancellor, refused to apologise for its involvement. "It is
not our place to say how that farm was acquired and whether we believe it to
be right or not," said a spokesman. "We have no input in who is selected for
the awards or who wins."

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This land is my land. Or is it?

Ian Holding's Unfeeling confidently captures contemporary Zimbabwe, and
perhaps suggests a resolution, says Jon Elek

Sunday August 7, 2005
The Observer

by Ian Holding
Scribner £10.99, pp243
Set in contemporary Zimbabwe, Unfeeling tells the story of white 16-year-old
Davey Baker, one-time heir to a prosperous farming estate, Edenfields. As
the novel opens, Davey has been orphaned following a brutal attack by the
local militia seeking to 'redistribute' the Bakers' land.

Without warning, the government has given the farm to a thoroughly offensive
and undeserving black woman who gives the Bakers' execution orders.

Chance prevents Davey from meeting the same bloody fate as his parents, and
the novel explores with eloquence and insight what Holding calls 'the plight
of the survivor'.

Davey is entrusted to the care of his parents' closest friends, Mike and
Marsha, who live on the neighbouring farm. Against Marsha's better
judgement, they decide to send him quickly back to boarding school - the
best and most expensive in the country - where they hope he will readjust to
a normal way of life.

At school, Davey's psychological scarring begins, inevitably, to manifest
itself. He begins to fight, smoke and drink, precipitating several nervous
exchanges between the headmaster and Marsha, who decide to send him to the
school chaplain for counselling. But Davey's grief, which Holding often
invites us to think of as Zimbabwe's grief, is not so easily overcome.

In one scene, Davey is forced to listen to a sermon on forgiveness, and
thinks that 'no one was going to utter a few verses at him and make him
forgive and forget. No one was going to buy him off with the promise of easy

One night, he escapes from school and makes his way back to Edenfields on a
quest for vengeance. The journey itself becomes a kind of miniature romance,
in which Davey is educated in the true ways of his native soil. He meets a
poor, but literate, ex-headmaster who naively believes that he will one day
be given a plot of arable land, and a peripatetic, hopeless drunk who turns
on him suddenly.

He is then picked up by a white-trash petrol-station owner who lectures him
on the rich farmers who've 'had it good for years' and should know that 'one
day it's all going to be pulled from underneath their feet'.

Holding's confident and measured prose rarely falters. He is especially
strong on interior monologues and natural descriptions. This is crucial
because the reader is given a sense of just how much of the characters'
identities are forged through an attachment to the landscape. Early on, for
instance, Marsha gazes out over the African sky, contemplating her place -
as a white farmer's wife - under it: 'There is a kind of sanctity in this
blue dome. Its purity holds her in so that despite the brutality and the
killings, the fear and trauma raging below, she wants to stay here, do her
best to hold onto her life.'

Although there is a clear continuity in the plot, Holding's narrative jumps
around, making the novel seem at once seamless and jarring. This mirrors, in
effect, the complex colonial history that Unfeeling tacitly examines.

Zimbabwe is a place where long-standing feuds are the source of endless
bloodshed. And the best shot at resolution is what the title seems to imply:
that the excess of passion from which such senseless violence stems must be

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NewstalkZB New Zealand

Fast for Zimbabwe
7/08/2005 16:13:02

Thousands of Zimbabweans who have fled their homeland have been fasting for
their country. Around 3,000,000 Zimbabweans live outside the country after
escaping the tyrannical Robert Mugabe regime.

Former Harare resident Shupayi Mpunga took part in an overnight vigil in
Christchurch, and says it is important to show solidarity with the people
suffering in Zimbabwe. Ms Mpunga says they fasted from midnight until 4
o'clock this afternoon, and prayed for their country. She is asking those
who plan to watch the first cricket test tonight, between Zimbabwe and New
Zealand's Black Caps, to think about what lies beyond the boundary rope and
to be mindful of the daily struggle Zimbabweans are going through.

Ms Mpunga says while the game is being played, many people have nowhere to
go for shelter. The idea of fasting was generated by a single email which
has been taken up by people all over the world.
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Sunday Independent, SA

      SA 'can go to hell', says Mugabe
            August 7, 2005

            By Basildon Peta

            South Africa can "go to hell" if it insists on conditions for a
loan Zimbabwe has requested to meet its urgent economic needs, President
Robert Mugabe is said to have told his officials negotiating the deal.

            Authoritative sources said it was Mugabe's intransigence that
had stalled progress in the past few weeks, but said the impasse was almost
broken and South Africa would release an initial $450 million to $500
million (R3 billion to R3,35 billion) to help pay off Zimbabwe's arrears to
the International Monetary Fund, with the remainder being used for urgent
imports of fuel and food.

            The sources seemed to suggest South Africa would release the
money even though some of the key conditions - such as dialogue with the
opposition, which Mugabe has flatly ruled out - are not immediately complied

            Herbert Murerwa, Zimbabwe's finance minister, and Gideon Gono,
the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Mugabe's close confidante,
are negotiating the deal on Zimbabwe's behalf. They have held meetings and
regular telephonic discussions with their South African counterparts, Trevor
Manuel and Tito Mboweni respectively.

            "But they [Murerwa and Gono] have been told not to entertain any
unreasonable political conditionalities and look elsewhere if South Africa
insists on things like dialogue with the opposition, the new constitution
and other things," said one senior Zimbabwean source.

            "In fact, the president says South Africa can go to hell. He
doesn't want to be harassed with political conditions on a loan that he has
said Zimbabwe would repay. This is not a handout."

            One source said Manuel and Mboweni were helping Gono and Murerwa
craft a new "economic direction". Mugabe did not mind help with economic
ideas, but was against a package of political reforms that the South
Africans believed should accompany any sensible economic reforms.

            These include restoring the rule of law, resuming talks with the
opposition, stopping controversial constitutional amendments that would
abolish property rights, and abolishing repressive media and security laws.

            The sources said South Africa was not insisting on all this
being done at once, but wanted an irreversible process of reform put in
motion which would indicate the Zimbabwe government's seriousness.

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Sunday Independent, SA

      The mighty roar of Victoria Falls
            August 7, 2005

            By Don Pinnock

            Zimbabwe has its problems, but in a visit to 'the smoke that
thunders' Don Pinnock found fine hotels, friendly people and wildlife and
came back with cash to spare.

            Zimbabwe will come right, almost any hotelier, restaurateur or
adventure operator around Victoria Falls will tell you. They don't know how
or when, and it's more a wish than a prediction as Zimbabwe's economy dives
like a bungi jumper in free fall off the gorge's celebrated railway bridge.
But they're ever hopeful.

            Far from the centre of the country and up against the borders of
Zambia and Botswana, Vic Falls seems a place apart - a republic of
adventure - brushed only now and then by Harare's heavy hand. It is an area
of great beauty where travellers and adrenalin junkies meet, make friends,
scare themselves silly and relax. A lush island in a turbulent sea.

            The falls area is the country's most sophisticated tourist
destination, with world-class hotels, elegant lodges, good B&Bs, excellent
camp sites, some thrilling game viewing and is the epicentre of Southern
Africa's adventure sports. The rand, euro, pound or US dollar will buy more
fun and luxury there than anywhere else in Africa and the people are among
the friendliest on the continent.

            Depending on your taste or temperament, you can bungi jump,
gorge leap, ride elephants, walk with lions, roar up under the falls in a
jet boat, white-water raft, fly over the falls in a chopper or ultralight
plane, clamber across the gorge within the bridge's latticed gantry, enjoy a
leisurely booze cruise on the game-rich Zambezi, canoe down river through
the park, go on a game drive, get drenched in the rainforest, take high tea
on the veranda of the magnificent, colonial Victoria Falls Hotel or just
chill on the stoep of your rondavel and watch the great river slip past.

            The problem, of course, is Zimbabwe's bizarre politics. When I
arrived the police were torching the informal dwellings in the township as
part of a national "clean-up" campaign.

            Palls of acrid black smoke vied for attention with angel-like
gossamer mist rising from the falls. For days residents could be seen
staggering under beds and cupboards, looking for a place to sleep.

            Mostly, though, people avoided the subject of politics. If
pressed, they tended to sigh and look away. The Vic Falls experience really
begins in another country - Botswana - at the confluence of the Chobe and
Zambezi rivers.

            Kasane, a slightly scruffy town across the river from the Chobe
flood plains, is only around 85km from the Falls and offers some of the
finest game viewing in Africa.

            Magnificent lodges are a comfortable base from which to
undertake boat trips and game drives which immerse you in huge herds of
elephants, seething pods of hippos and the many other beasts and birds of
the region.

            Chobe is where the missionary explorer David Livingstone began
his exploratory canoe journey down the Zambezi which ended with his arrival,
enthralled, at the lip of the falls. He named them in honour of his queen,
the only time he ever used a non-African name for one of his "discoveries".
Today it's the meeting point of four countries - Namibia, Zambia, Botswana
and Zimbabwe - and the centre of a vast national park system.

            You're in a national park from Kasane all the way to Vic Falls
and there are lodges and camp sites tucked away along the river in forests
of msasa, mopane and Zimbabwean teak.

            Elephants are likely to wander on to lodge lawns, warthogs crop
the grass next to your chalet, monkeys join you for breakfast, lions make
kills on manicured golf fairways and the cry of fish eagles greet the dawn.
Around the falls there's boundless accommodation, ranging from camp sites to
the vibrant Vic Falls Safari Lodge - and so much to do it can make you

            The bottom line is that, for the time being, Vic Falls is safe,
inexpensive, beautiful and endearing. With luck and the help of those angels
which David Livingstone said stopped in awe at the magnificence of the
thundering waters, it should stay that way.

            The local name for the falls is Mokusa Tunyamusi - where there
is always smoke rising - and for good reason. As the Zambezi plunges more
than 100m into the gorge below, a massive cloud of spray billows up, rising
high into the blue sky.

            The falls were created by water gouging out soft sandstone in
the harder basalt base. No trip to the falls is complete without a walk in
the rain forest. You'll get wet, but it's worth it.

            Shooting the largest commercially-run rapids, white-water
rafting is definitely one of the great attractions for many visitors. In low
water you start almost under the churning falls and hurtle downriver,
hanging on for dear life. If you capsize, well, that's all part of the fun -
and fear - of challenging the great river.

            If that's too tame, you can do it on a boogie board. There are
one-day and five-day trips with camping on the river banks at night. It
costs R627 a person for half a day white-water rafting.

            There are two ways to reach terminal velocity hurtling to what
seems imminent death. One is to have your ankles firmly tied to a bungi cord
and leap head first off the Falls Bridge for a 111-metre fall.

            The second is to have a rope attached to your safety harness and
plunge 70m towards the jagged rocks before being whisked out over the river
on the gorge swing. It costs R363 for the gorge swing.

            From ground level the falls remain elusive and too massive to
comprehend. The only way to get a sense of their awesome magnitude is from
            There are two ways to do this: from a helicopter or an
ultra-light plane.

            The ultra-light is for the more daring who put up with bugs in
their teeth, and the chopper is a comfortable flying armchair. Then, if you
like, they'll whisk you upriver to spot game. The chopper ride costs R561 a
person for a 12-minute flight and R1 000 for a 30-minute flight, inclusive
of park fees. A trip in an ultra-light plane is R693.

            When lions come bounding up to you in the wild as though you're
some long-lost friend it can be unsettling. But they're soon tumbling and
playing and occasionally allow you to scratch their tummies. The lions are
young, exuberant and part of the Lion Encounter, a project with a noble aim.

            Part of what you pay for a 90-minute stroll plus breakfast or
evening snacks at Masuwe Safari Lodge goes towards the rehabilitation in the
wild of their offspring. Roaming in the wild with unrestrained lions is
thrilling, and in 11 000 walks conducted so far there's never been an
incident. It costs R665 to go on trail with lions plus a snack (yours, not

            When all the high-tech and hey-wow activities start to pall,
there's no better way to chill and drink in the tranquillity of the Zambezi
than to canoe its sliding waters and camp along its banks.

            Like Livingstone 150 years earlier, you shoot a few rapids,
drift past drinking elephants and wallowing hippos, then pull in, sit around
a fire and turn in under a glittering African night sky.

            When you want to do nothing elegantly and be pampered, the thing
to book is a booze cruise above the falls. There are a number of operators
who provide varying degrees of lazy luxury.

            Top of the pecking order is possibly the Ilala Lodge's Ra-Ikane,
which is all dark wood, fine chairs and as much as you can drink. Not far
behind on luxury is the Wa-Nuka Queen run by Dingani Tours. For a bit more
zing there's the Shearwaters jet boat, which takes you closer to the falls
and up a number of wild channels. Non-package price is around R300 a person.

            Up close, elephants are indeed enormous, and from their backs
you seem to be able to see forever. Better still, game notices only the
elephant and not you, so you can move up close.

            The Elephant Company offers morning and afternoon safaris of
around two hours and will provide snacks and refreshments. There's also
another outfit, Elephant Back Safaris, which has a camp at which you can
camp overnight.

            If you go Victoria Falls is a destination generally sold as a
package. Few foreign visitors make their own reservations as it works out
much more expensive.

            Need-to-know stuff: Don't buy local currency from street
traders. It's illegal and you'll probably be cheated.

            Unless you're a local, Zimbabwean dollars are not accepted by
hotels and most adventure operators. They're useful only for local goods.
There are few credit-card facilities in Vic Falls and the ATMs may not work.
Bring small-denomination notes. Coins are not accepted. Be careful what you
photograph. Police are edgy and you could get arrested if they think you're
being unduly nosy.

            Published by arrangement with Getaway magazine. The full text of
this article appears in the August issue of Getaway. For more information
log on to

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Sunday Independent, SA

      Mugabe loan prolongs the inevitable
            August 7, 2005

            President Thabo Mbeki has confirmed that his government is
considering facilitating a financial bailout of Mugabe's government.

            Indications are that most of the money would probably be paid
directly to the International Monetary Fund, Eskom, South African maize
suppliers and maybe even South African fuel suppliers - under the umbrella
of ensuring financial accountability by Mugabe's regime, of course.

            What a wonderful opportunity for Mbeki to score a hat-trick by:

            a.. repairing his damaged "quiet diplomacy" (aptly dubbed "quiet
support" by an opposition politician);

            a.. repositioning South Africa to influence the Mugabe
succession (quantum physics!) equation; while

            a.. using Zimbabwe as a syringe to inject money back into the
South African economy!

            Superficially, Mbeki may appear to have played his cards well by
defending Mugabe left and right while watching passively as he has
disembowelled the economy of South Africa's nearest, albeit much smaller,
geo-political rival.

            Perhaps, at the end of the day, Mbeki the politician does not
owe us Zimbabwean voters or our economy any favours. However, the extent to
which Mbeki's policy reflects on the foundation, stability and future
direction of the ANC and South Africa's own young democracy in the medium
term remains to be seen.

            The problems in Zimbabwe and in many of our continent's
countries are well known; they revolve around poor governance and economic
mismanagement. The solutions have little to do with debt relief or "foreign
currency shortage alleviation".

            There is nothing Zanu-PF's current collective leadership can be
made to learn (using the carrot or the stick) in the next 12 to 24 months
that it has failed to learn in the last 15 years. If anything, its
leadership has gone from bad to worse in the last five years. Bailing out
Mugabe's regime will only serve to prolong the inevitable, while
facilitating the further decline of Zimbabwe's productive sectors.

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From The Sunday Times (SA), 7 August

Sign or sink!

Mbeki's radical ultimatum to Mugabe

Brendan Boyle, additional reporting by Prega Govender and Sunday Times
Foreign Desk

South Africa has given Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe a week to sign up
to a series of reforms, including a new constitution agreed to by the
opposition and fresh elections, if he wants to unlock up to $500-million in
aid. And Mugabe has been told that none of the money, to be released in a
phased 18-month package, will be paid to the Zimbabwean government. Instead
it will be channelled through the United Nations or church groups. The
package, worth between $200-million and $500-million, includes a payment of
around $100-million to the International Monetary Fund by the end of this
month to prevent Zimbabwe's expulsion. Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and
Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni met Zimbabwean Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa and central bank governor Gideon Gono for about two hours on
Thursday to review the proposed aid deal. Zimbabwe's negotiators returned
home from Pretoria on Friday carrying a draft agreement that would have to
be signed at Cabinet level, if not by the presidents, before any aid will
flow. South African negotiators insist that no aid will go to Harare or its
creditors without a clear signal that Mugabe has agreed to a set of
"circumstances" or a "context" that would justify assistance. "We are
certainly taking a much harder line now. It seems South Africa is ready to
change its approach and use its weight," a non-government political player
told the Sunday Times after a briefing from senior government officials.
South African officials believe Mugabe and his government recognise the
urgency of a political and economic recovery plan, but they are not
confident that Zimbabwe is ready to create the circumstances that will make
one possible. The "circumstances" include: A new constitution acceptable to
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and including electoral
provisions that would meet international standards of fairness and
transparency; A fair and open programme of land reform to undo the negative
consequences of Mugabe's farm seizures and ensure productive use of
farmland; Repeal of laws used to muzzle the media or to close newspapers and
others used to silence or intimidate political opponents; and a credible
programme for economic recovery, including the removal of structural
distortions embedded in the economy and steps to end Zimbabwe's isolation.

South Africa has already negotiated a five-week extension of the IMF's
deadline for settlement of Zimbabwe's $290-million arrears to September 9,
when the fund will consider Zimbabwe's expulsion. An IMF official in New
York said that if South Africa settled an adequate portion of Zimbabwe's
debt, Zimbabwe could again become eligible for loans linked to compliance
with IMF conditions. Zimbabwe's expulsion would compound its isolation and
make it harder for the Harare government to raise funds from other
institutions or foreign governments. A senior Zimbabwean government minister
appeared to torpedo hopes of a deal on Friday when he told the Sunday Times
that Mugabe would never accept Pretoria's central demand for agreement with
the MDC on a new constitution. "The president's position is that his
government will simply not accept the loan if it has rigid conditions, in
particular those similar to Western demands, for us to hold talks and do all
sorts of things. I can assure you that we won't accept the conditions," said
the minister, who declined to be named. But officials in Pretoria are
working on a proposal that could bring Zanu PF and the MDC to agree on a new
constitution without the face-to-face talks that Mugabe rejects. Government
spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said after Wednesday's Cabinet meeting that
South Africa was willing in principle to assist Zimbabwe. While denying that
conditions had been set, he confirmed that the offer was not open-ended,
saying: "Our approach on this matter is premised on the principle that such
assistance should be to the benefit of the Zimbabwean people as a whole,
within the context of their programme of economic recovery and political
normalisation." Mugabe has repeatedly been accused of funnelling aid to Zanu
PF supporters or buying support. South Africa's concern now is whether
Mugabe will throw out the offer, especially given that Pretoria intends to
publish at least an outline of the agreement once it is signed. "If South
Africa wants to help us in good faith, fine, but if they are trying to hold
us to ransom then we won't put up with that," the Zimbabwean minister said.
He said Mugabe feared that Mbeki, his strongest ally over the past four
years, was now joining Western leaders who "abuse" their financial muscle to
dragoon other leaders into obeying their orders.

Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said on Thursday the Zimbabwean ruling
party would not engage in talks with the MDC. "We will not have talks with
the MDC. We have been saying this over and over again. Why are we being
forced to talk to them? Why should they talk to us?" Shamuyarira said. In
pointed remarks, apparently targeted at Mbeki, United Nations
secretary-general Kofi Annan and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo,
Mugabe said he would not accept pressure for talks from "whomsoever". MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube said Mbeki's cash-for-talks deal would
collapse because Mugabe was not serious. He said Mbeki had spoilt Mugabe by
endorsing his stolen election victories and propping up his crumbling
regime. "This loan initiative won't take us anywhere in terms of resolving
this crisis. Sometimes South Africa is naive because it thinks appeasing a
dictator can cause him to reform," Ncube said. "What the international
community, including South Africa, should do is to further isolate and
squeeze the Mugabe regime until it collapses." Meanwhile, bureaucratic
obstacles set up by Zimbabwean government officials are delaying an
initiative by the South African Council of Churches to send emergency food
aid to the country. Zimbabwean immigration officials are insisting that the
SACC furnish them with valid documentation declaring that the maize being
donated is not genetically modified. Three truckloads of food aid, including
37 tons of white maize, sugar beans and oil as well as 4 500 blankets, are
still standing at a depot in Johannesburg.
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Comment from The Sunday Independent (SA), 7 August

Mugabe helps scupper SA's bid for a UN seat

Was there an ulterior motive behind an African Union faction led by the
Zimbabwean leader ruining a tactical bid for security council reform?

By Peter Fabricius

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe this week helped defeat a South African
tactical move to win two permanent seats for Africa on the United Nations
security council. South Africa's defeat may have cost it and Africa an
influential permanent presence in the most powerful political body in the
world. South Africa was considered one of the frontrunners for a permanent
seat on the council. Mugabe, Egypt and others spoke out at an extraordinary
African Union summit against a compromise deal which SA had helped forge
between the AU and the so-called G4, a coalition of four other nations
seeking permanent seats on the security council - Germany, Japan, India and
Brazil. President Thabo Mbeki argued strongly at the AU summit in Addis
Ababa on Thursday in favour of the compromise as the only realistic way to
get Africa permanent seats. But the Mugabe camp prevailed. The summit
rejected the compromise deal that AU and G4 foreign ministers, including
SA's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, agreed on at a meeting in London last week. A
united G4/AU position would have greatly strengthened their chances of
persuading the UN to expand the security council by adding six new permanent
seats - two from Africa - to the present five.

The AU rejection of the compromise may have killed these hopes. On Friday
the Indian foreign ministry said it regretted the AU summit's decision,
while Nobutaka Machimura, the Japanese foreign minister, said Japan might
now hold off on its bid for a permanent seat. Strengthening opposition from
the United States and China to an expanded security council also appeared to
influence the Japanese position. Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor,
was a little more sanguine, insisting that Berlin would not abandon its bid,
but acknowledging it might need more time. The main issue was whether or not
new permanent members of the security council should have the same veto
rights as the current permanent members - the US, UK, China, Russia and
France. The AU had earlier insisted on the veto while the G4 had decided not
to demand a veto right. G4 members had made it clear that this was a purely
tactical position: getting permanent seats would be difficult enough even
without vetoes, so they would first try to get the permanent seats and then,
later, the veto rights.

The AU and the G4 also differed over how many non-permanent, two-year seats
should be added to the security council. The G4 wanted four more of these
two-year seats. The AU wanted five - one for each region of Africa. At the
London meeting last week the AU foreign ministers had agreed to drop the
demand for vetoes and the G4 ministers had agreed to an extra two-year
seat - although it would rotate among all developing countries and not just
Africa. But at the Addis Ababa summit on Thursday Mugabe and others argued
against this, saying the lack of a veto would relegate African permanent
members to "second-class status". SA observers, including the Democratic
Alliance (DA), said yesterday that Mugabe and his allies had confused
tactics with strategy and had stuck stubbornly to a hollow principle that
could very well end up costing Africa any permanent seats at all. Other
observers suspect that Mugabe, Egypt and perhaps others might have had a
more sinister motive for their apparently principled position. Knowing that
they had no chance - in Zimbabwe's case - or little chance - in Egypt's
case - of getting permanent seats themselves, they had deliberately gone all
out to wreck Africa's hopes of a permanent seat.

On Friday the DA advised the South African government to pursue its bid for
a permanent seat without the AU. Douglas Gibson, the DA's foreign affairs
spokesman, said the AU's rejection of the compromise with the G4 "is a
severe blow to South Africa's own ambitions of attaining a permanent seat on
the council. "It appears that, sadly, the myopic interests of certain
African countries have scuppered any realistic chances of a workable African
position being presented to the general assembly on security council reform.
The fact that there is now a multitude of different positions on security
council reform means that there is little or no chance that the required
two-thirds majority will be attained in the general assembly." Gibson said
Dlamini-Zuma should now work hard to change the AU's position: "If these
efforts do not succeed, perhaps then it would be time for South Africa to go
it alone along with key allies such as Nigeria, and adopt a more pragmatic
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Mail and Guardian

      Zimbabweans desperate to remain in Britain

      Cassandra Vinograd | London, United Kingdom

      07 August 2005 08:31

            Free from the British detention centre where he had been on the
brink of despair, a Zimbabwean asylum seeker has £10 ($18) to his name -- 
not enough for the train fare needed to report to immigration officers,
which could mean another trip back to detention.

            The man says that despite his shame and loneliness, the
alternative -- kidnapping, torture, and possible disappearance -- makes him
desperate to remain in Britain. The British government, however, is eager to
show it is tough on refugee claimants it considers bogus.

            Like many of the 9 340 other Zimbabweans who have applied for
asylum in Britain since 2001, Gumbo -- who only uses his last name for fear
of retribution -- is desperate for a policy change to halt deportations of
rejected asylum seekers.

            Two years ago, London suspended deportations of Zimbabwean
refugees. But several months later -- in line with Britain's tougher
immigration policies -- limited deportations were resumed.

            That policy shift triggered a refugee hunger strike and outrage
among asylum seekers and lawmakers alike.

            Gumbo says that in Zimbabwe he was at risk for his political

            "If I am sent back right now, definitely I will be a dead man
once I arrive there," says Gumbo (39) who had a brush with members of the
governing Zanu-PF party when he was spotted putting up notices for the
Movement for Democratic Change. One of his friends was murdered that day,
and he has been afraid ever since.

            "So many friends who we had here have disappeared," he said.

            "Friends deported from the UK and we never heard from them,
no-one knows where they are."

            The Refugee Council of Britain argued before the High Court on
Thursday that there is evidence to support the claim that asylum seekers
face torture and arrest if returned to Zimbabwe, and the court decided to
suspend deportation hearings until a special tribunal considers the matter.

            That is not likely to take place before October. Until then,
no-one will be deported, authorities say.

            The Refugee Council called the decision "great news" for the
cause, and activists celebrated outside the courthouse.

            Thursday's decision bought asylum seekers time, but their lives
and futures remain in limbo.

            Gumbo came to Britain in 2002, and his asylum application was
rejected in 2004.

            "They just tell you no, you're not telling the truth, so we are
rejecting your claim."

            He was held in one of Britain's 10 detention centres for illegal
aliens from December until May.

            "They claim that it's not a prison, but that place is a prison
by any standards," he said of the Colnbrook detention centre.

            For Max, 29, who is still in detention, the rejection was more

            "If my story was not genuine, I wouldn't have left my wife or my
son. What would've been the point of leaving them? It pains me that I'm
unable to see my wife for two years now, and I'm unable to see my son who's
been born."

            Britain's Home Office said 145 Zimbabweans have been deported
since November. In the meantime, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has
undertaken a campaign of mass evictions and international players, including
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have called the regime abhorrent.

            Max spent a year working overseas in 2001. The day he returned
to Zimbabwe his parents received a threat from youth militia, saying they
knew about his return and threatening them.

            "They could kill me, they could kidnap me, and I could just
disappear," Max said.

            Announcing a temporary halt to deportations last month, Home
Secretary Charles Clarke stressed that immigration policy had not changed.

            He said: "We remain of the view that the correct way to operate
a fair but credible asylum system is to consider each asylum claim on its
individual merits, to grant protection to those who need it, and to seek to
remove those who do not," whatever the claimant's nationality.

            Clarke said that the government continued to harbour grave
concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, and that "we will
continue to provide protection through the asylum system for Zimbabweans
with a well founded fear of persecution."

            Critics say the asylum process is not fulfilling its purpose.

            "We are calling for ... no one who is claiming asylum from
Zimbabwe to be deported until the situation in the country has changed,"
said Kate Hooey, a Labour Party lawmaker who recently visited Zimbabwe.

            Max puts it more starkly: "Why would you want to send a
Zimbabwean to Zimbabwe at this time?" - Sapa-AP

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Green Left Weekly, Australia

Zimbabwe in free fall

Bernie Stephens, Harare

The finding by UN Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka that Operation Murambatsvina
(drive out rubbish) - the bulldozing of informal settlements - has left up
to 3.3 million Zimbabweans "deeper in poverty, deprivation and destitution"
has thrown President Robert Mugabe's government into a state of near panic.

The Zimbabwean government seemed to think that it could fool Tibaijuka about
the so-called "clean-up", directed against urban dwellers and small traders,
by dressing it up as slum clearance.

The government's response to the UN report has been contradictory. Despite
announcing that the operation was over, farm workers in a traditional
opposition stronghold, Chipinge, had their houses destroyed in late July.

Operation Murambatsvina coincided with a further deepening of Zimbabwe's
economic crisis. The triple-digit inflation is rising and there are
crippling shortages of food, essential medicines and fuel.

Despite the chronic shortage of foreign currency, Zimbabwe has increased its
repayments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from US$1.5 million to
$9 million per quarter.

To pay its debts and overcome the shortages, the government is trying to
negotiate a relief package from South Africa and China. While Beijing's
support is unclear, South Africa's offer of a $1 billion support package is
conditional on the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) holding talks with the opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Mugabe balks at this condition. The faction-ridden MDC is hardly in a
position of overpowering strength and has not been able to take advantage of
the crisis. In a July interview with the Financial Gazette, MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai announced that "stayaways or mass actions are an exhausted
strategy", without offering any alternative.

ZANU-PF is split over Operation Murambatsvina. This perhaps explains why
some government ministries, and even departments within ministries, have
ignored the vice-president's public announcement that the operation is over.
At least one ZANU-PF party leader has resigned, while others have reportedly
been kept in line by Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation.

Even before the March elections there was speculation of a "third force"
arising as a result of widespread dissatisfaction with ZANU-PF and the MDC.

The natural leaders of such a third force could be the more radical social
leaders like the National Constitutional Assembly's Lovemore Madhuku.
However, ZANU-PF renegade and articulate propagandist Jonathon Moyo has
become a loud voice of opposition.

A political chameleon, Moyo transformed himself from a Mugabe critic to a
Mugabe sycophant. After joining the ZANU-PF government in 2000, he became
the president's information minister and de facto prime minister. His
anti-democratic media laws and Mugabe image makeover helped ensure that
ZANU-PF beat off the MDC challenge.

After Moyo's left-talking nationalist faction lost out in a fight against
Mugabe's old guard, he left ZANU-PF to successfully run as an independent
candidate in the March elections.

Moyo is now demanding that Mugabe resign and is calling on "individuals,
families, businesses, churches, NGOs and communities to go for the common
good beyond tribal corners and party boundaries" and become a third force.
He is in effect articulating the government of national unity that Mugabe
was expected to form after the March elections. This was supposed to bring
about a re-engagement with the IMF and imperialism.

While not yet on the ropes, Mugabe's regime is in dire straits. ZANU-PF is
in crisis and Mugabe's left-wing base, particularly the radical war
veterans, has been demobilised and some of them even evicted from their
homes. The economy is in a mess and Operation Murambatsvina has created what
the UN describes as a "humanitarian crisis of immense proportions". Mugabe's
supporters are becoming fewer and his reliance on the security forces
greater. His days are numbered.

From Green Left Weekly, August 10, 2005.

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