HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe is to import 300,000 tonnes of the staple maize from
its neighbours to avert widespread food shortages following a poor harvest,
an official said Wednesday.
"We are in negotiations with countries in the region to import around
300,000 tonnes of maize to ensure that maize is available through out the
country," Samuel Muvuti, chief executive of the state-run Grain Marketing
Board told AFP.
"We have already started receiving part of the 400,000 tonnes sourced from
Malawi and we are happy with the progress so far. As GMB we are fully geared
to avoid maize shortages."
Muvuti said the imports would augment stocks from local harvests and
dismissed speculation that the country had only a few weeks' supply of maize
"Despite the prolonged drought we have still managed to harvest to produce
the bulk of our requirements and no one has died of hunger in the seven
years we have had drought," Muvuti said.
The UN World Food Programme last week launched an appeal for 118 million US
dollars (86 million euros) in expanded food aid for Zimbabwe.
It pledged to help 3.3 million of its citizens who it said were already
starting to run out of food.
In March, Zimbabwe, declared the 2006/2007 farming season a year of drought
year. The country was once known as the bread basket of the region.
President Robert Mugabe blames the perennial shortfall on drought and
sanctions imposed on him and his ruling party elite. The sanctions followed
the country's last presidential polls, which the opposition parties and
western observers say were rigged.
But critics say the shortages are a direct result of controversial land
reforms. The government seized at least 4,000 farms from white commercial
farmers for reallocation to landless blacks, who often lacked the means and
skills to farm.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a chronic economic crisis with the world's
highest rate of inflation and four in every five people jobless.
Some 80 percent of the population live below the poverty threshold.
Wed 8 Aug 2007, 15:59 GMT
By Shapi Shacinda
LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is nearing a deal with
the opposition to end a political crisis in his country after South Africa
tried to broker an agreement, a document obtained by Reuters on Wednesday
A confidential report due to be presented by South African President Thabo
Mbeki to leaders of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) says
"progress" has been made in talks between Mugabe's ruling party and the
opposition and a deal could be close.
"It seems there are no real substantive issues between the government and
the (opposition) MDC. There are strong indications that the two sides are
sliding towards an agreement," the report says.
SADC asked Mbeki to mediate talks between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party
and the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party in March.
He is due to report back on his progress at an SADC summit in Lusaka next
The request for Mbeki to mediate followed a crackdown on MDC activists which
triggered international outrage and renewed calls on African nations to
pressure Mugabe to agree to political reforms. SADC stopped short of
condemning the crackdown.
Despite a media blackout on the talks, some reports said South African
negotiators have struggled to get ZANU-PF representatives and the MDC to
agree on anything of substance in the past five months.
But the South African document says various contentious issues, including
constitutional reforms, have been "worked out" by the two sides.
The report also blames the country's former colonial power, Britain, which
has been highly critical of Mugabe, for Zimbabwe's isolation by Western
Mugabe blames Western sanctions for hyper-inflation, food shortages and an
economic crisis in the formerly prosperous southern African nation. Critics
say Mugabe is at fault because of his controversial policy of farm seizures.
"The most worrisome thing is that the UK continues to deny its role as the
principle protagonist in the Zimbabwean issue and is persisting with its
activities to isolate Zimbabwe," the report said.
The report said Britain had a "death wish" on the dialogue between ZANU-PF
and the MDC, which faces its own internal divisions.
Scrutiny of the talks has intensified as thousands of desperate Zimbabweans
trying to escape poverty and unemployment of 80 percent sneak over the
border into South Africa every day.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: August 8, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Torture, assault, unlawful detention and other violations
of human rights are increasing rapidly in Zimbabwe, according to a new
The report, by the independent Human Rights Forum, highlighted the
government crackdown on the country's political opposition.
Monitors said they collected evidence documenting 5,307 human rights
violations in the first six months of this year - nearly double the number
during the same period a year ago, the report said.
Meanwhile, the crackdown appears to be continuing. A pro-democracy group,
Women of Zimbabwe Arise, reported Wednesday that 19 of its activists, both
men and women, had been arrested the day before while playing netball in the
southern town of Masvingo and were being held in police cells.
No reason for their detention was given, the group said in a statement. The
group is known for staging surprise political demonstrations and regularly
having members arrested under sweeping security laws, but it said it had
staged no recent protests in Masvingo.
In its analysis, Human Rights Forum said the violations documented through
June 30 included two politically linked deaths, 328 cases of torture, 481
assaults by state personnel and militants, 802 cases of unlawful arrest and
detention, 935 incidents of political victimization and intimidation and
1,937 violations of freedom of expression and movement.
Two other opposition activists were also killed this year, in the western
Matabeleland South district, in suspected political abductions. But evidence
regarding their killings, which were not included in the report's total, is
still being collected, the group said.
Forum officials said the increases this year came primarily in
state-orchestrated rights violations.
The total of 5,307 so far this year compares to 2,868 in the first six
months of last year.
This March, Morgan Tsvangirai and other top opposition leaders were
assaulted and arrested when police violently broke up a prayer meeting that
had been declared to be an illegal political gathering.
President Robert Mugabe later endorsed the assaults, telling leaders at a
summit of the Southern African Development Community that Tsvangirai had
"asked for it" and that police had the right to "bash" opponents intent on
holding illegal violent protests.
He accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of waging a
campaign of terror with a series of gasoline bombings.
The forum's report cites the arrest of two lawyers representing alleged
terror suspects among cases of unlawful detention.
The lawyers, Alec Muchahdama and Andrew Makoni, had asserted in court that
police had faked evidence against the 15 alleged gasoline bombers. Last
month, all 15 were freed after five months in jail when the High Court ruled
the state evidence was fabricated.
In addition to the political clampdown, more than 7,000 business executives,
store managers and traders have been arrested since July in a drive to
enforce a government order to slash prices of all goods and services by
The government says the inflation rate is 4,500 percent, the highest in the
world. The mandatory price cuts have left shelves across the country bare of
corn meal, meat, bread, milk and other staples.
Most of the arrested business representatives, who include some to the
nation's top corporate directors, have been held for 48 hours, the maximum
allowed, in harsh police jails in near-freezing night temperatures before
being allowed to apply for bail.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Date: 08 Aug 2007
HARARE, 8 August 2007 (IRIN) - The International Crisis Group (ICG), a
nongovernmental conflict resolution organisation, believes conditions in
Zimbabwe are crystallising and could lead to a rapid reversal of the
country's ill-fortunes, but the scenario is based on President Robert
Mugabe's 27 year-rule ending.
"After years of political deadlock and continued economic and humanitarian
decline, a realistic chance has at last begun to appear, in the past few
months, to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis," said ICG president Gareth Evans in
a recent address, Zimbabwe: Waiting for Change, to the Royal Commonwealth
Society, in London.
Zimbabwe has suffered a sharp downward spiral since 2000, when the ZANU-PF
government embarked on its fast-track land-reform programme, which
redistributed white-owned farmland to landless blacks, setting off a chain
of events that has left more than a third of all Zimbabweans facing severe
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI), industrial output
is at about one-third of its pre-2000 level, resulting in a negative
economic growth rate of -4.4 percent. Recent data from the Consumer Council
of Zimbabwe (CCZ) puts annual inflation above 13,000 percent, a rate the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts could reach 100,000 percent by
the end of the year.
Four out of five Zimbabweans are unemployed, basic commodities such as
bread, sugar and maizemeal are unobtainable, and shortages of fuel,
electricity and water are a daily occurrence; social services have broken
down, with hospitals and clinics operating without adequate medical
equipment or supplies.
Evans said in his address that should Mugabe leave office, conditions were
ripe for the introduction of a power-sharing transitional government, the
establishment of a new constitution, and holding free and fair elections.
Although Mugabe was recently endorsed by ZANU-PF as its presidential
candidate for combined presidential and parliamentary elections in March
next year, while the ZANU-PF Women's League has proposed installing him as
president for life, influential elements in the ruling party ranks opposed
to Mugabe's continued presidency are in favour of a transitional period.
"Both factions of the divided Movement for Democratic Change [MDC]
opposition, and powerful elements of the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front [currently ruling] party support the concept in
outline," Evans said.
The MDC split in October 2005 after internal disagreements about whether or
not to participate in the Senate elections, although the leaders of both
camps, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, have publicly announced that
the factions would not reunite.
Mugabe faces growing opposition from his party
A ZANU-PF camp led by a retired army general, Solomon Mujuru, husband of
Joyce, one of the country's two vice-presidents, successfully opposed moves
to amend the constitution in December 2006 to harmonise presidential and
parliamentary elections, but despite Mujuru's initial success in blocking
the harmonisation of elections, the constitutional amendments were passed.
A ruling party stalwart, Ibbo Mandaza, recently called on Mugabe to step
down by September 2007 to prevent the economic and political crises from
worsening, and another camp within ZANU-PF is led by rural amenities
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also seen as a possible replacement for
The cracks in the ZANU-PF ediface have become more apparent: first with the
arrest in June of several army officers alleged to have been on the brink of
staging a coup, in which, state prosecutors allege, power would have been
handed over to Mnangagwa.
Next, Simba Makoni, a member of the ruling party's powerful politburo, told
delegates at a workshop in South Africa in July that "a process of change"
was underway in ZANU-PF. His comments drew an immediate riposte from
information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who labelled Makoni a "sell-out".
Evans said the growing opposition to Mugabe's rule by ZANU-PF heavyweights
was a consequence of the adverse affect on their businesses, after the
European Union (EU) and the United States (US) introduced targeted sanctions
against Mugabe and members of the ruling elite for alleged human rights
"The economic meltdown, as well as the bite of EU and US targeted sanctions,
is pushing ZANU-PF towards change, since business interests of key officials
are suffering," said Evans.
"The party is split over the succession issue, but Mugabe's long-successful
divide-and-rule tactics have started to backfire, as the two main [ZANU-PF]
factions are coming together to try to prevent him from staying beyond the
expiration of his present term in March 2008."
He said there was simmering discontent lower down the hierarchy among
military and security personnel because of poor wages, while continued
protests in spite of government suppression, were putting the country on a
"Salaries of the security services and civil servants alike are mostly below
the poverty line. Economic issues, discontent among underpaid police and
troops, and the increasing willingness of opposition parties and civil
society to protest in the streets, all increase the risk of sudden major
"The desire to remove Mugabe within the year provides a rare rallying point
that cuts across partisan affiliations and ethnic and regional identities.
Opposition party leaders are keeping lines of communication open with the
ZANU-PF dissidents, while preparing for a non-violent campaign to demand
immediate constitutional reform," Evans said.
Role of international community
He said the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is to meet
later this month in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, and the international
community "can make a vital contribution to resolving the crisis".
The SADC has completed an economic assessment of Zimbabwe and its
secretary-general, Tomaz Salomao, recently handed over his report to the
President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, who heads the SADC's regional
security arm. The regional bloc has also appointed the South African
president, Thabo Mbeki, to mediate between Zimbabwe's ruling party and
opposition to ensure free and fair elections in March 2008.
"SADC governments, who for long have been extremely reluctant to press
Mugabe, now privately acknowledge they want him out to pave the way for a
moderate ZANU-PF government," Evans said. "Without applying public pressure,
the SADC troika [Tanzania, Lesotho and Nambia] is quietly beginning to
explore ways to negotiate a retirement package for the president, while
persuading the West to relax its pressures."
However, Mugabe's departure from office was the starting point, he said, and
Zimbabwe would need "a more radical change to get back on its feet".
Evans recommended that ZANU-PF should "abandon plans to extend President
Mugabe's term of office beyond its expiration in March 2008, and support
SADC-led negotiations to implement an exit strategy for him".
The ruling party should negotiate a new constitution, a two-year political
transition period and power sharing with the MDC, and put in place "an
emergency economic recovery plan to curb inflation, restore donor and
foreign confidence, and boost mining and agricultural production". At the
same time, it should repeal repressive laws, draw up a new voters' roll, and
demilitarise and depoliticise state institutions.
He said homeless citizens should be provided with shelter, while those whose
homes were destroyed during the 2005 "Operation Murambatsvina" (Drive Out
Trash) - a three-month campaign to rid the country of slums and illegal
informal businesses that led to about 700,000 people losing their homes and
livelihoods - should be compensated.
Evans called for "an urgent meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence
and Security Co-operation to consider the regional consequence of the
economic meltdown in Zimbabwe" and said the SADC should devise a joint
strategy with the EU and the US to incentivise the resumption of aid to
The EU and the US should also increase pressure on Mugabe and other ZANU-PF
leaders "to begin a transition and restore democracy". If they failed to do
so, the targeted sanctions should be extended to family members and business
partners of individuals already banned from travelling to the EU and US, and
have had their foreign assets frozen; their visas and residence permits
should be cancelled, while more funding should be given to pro-democracy
David Chimhini, chairman of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET),
which promotes peace initiatives in the country, said the international
community was welcome to help solve local problems, but Zimbabweans should
be at the forefront of such efforts.
"We have people from the ruling party and the opposition who are capable of
bringing back the shine to the country again, but the problem is that there
is a culture of fear that prevents them from taking the front seat,"
Chimhini told IRIN.
"While you cannot bog down the process of a turnaround with stringent
timetables, evidence abounds that things will normalise one day and we don't
need to rush the process; we still have the natural resources and human
expertise for that to happen."
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations
Wed Aug 8, 2007 5:46AM EDT
HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe's government has warned it will
arrest white Zimbabwean farmers resisting evictions from new land targeted
for black farmers, state media reported on Wednesday.
Critics say Mugabe's controversial seizures of productive commercial farms
from hundreds of whites and low output from new farmers has plunged the
southern African state into a severe economic crisis in the last seven
Industry and union officials say about 600 of Zimbabwe's 4,500 white farmers
have kept their land after the sometimes violent grabs by Mugabe's
But the government handed some of them eviction notices earlier this year or
reduced the size of their properties.
Veterans of the 1970s war of liberation invaded white-owned commercial farms
in 2000 with the backing of the government, which went on to appropriate the
The seizures set it at odds with the West, and the resulting disruption to
farming has been widely blamed for Zimbabwe's food shortages.
More than 4,000 white commercial farmers have lost their properties under
the reforms. Last year authorities passed a constitutional amendment barring
former owners from challenging the seizures in court.
The official Herald newspaper said on Wednesday some farmers who were given
notices three months ago to wind up their operations "risk being arrested
for resisting eviction after the expiry of the 90-day notice period".
The daily quoted Minister of State For Security Didymus Mutasa, who is also
responsible for land reform and resettlement, as saying that the government
would move against the farmers accused of going to court to delay their
"We have a list of farmers resisting eviction ... and we are going to act
accordingly to redress the situation," he told a meeting attended by senior
Mutasa was not immediately available for further comment.
Zimbabwe, once a net exporter of grain to southern Africa, has suffered food
shortages over the last seven years as its farming sector has been hit by
drought and disruptions linked to the land seizures.
On Wednesday, the Herald reported that the head of the state grain marketing
agency (GMB), Samuel Muvuti, said Zimbabwe was negotiating with several
southern African countries to import more maize to boost national grain
But he gave no further details.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food
Programme said last month more than four million Zimbabweans, about a third
of the population, would need food aid this year.
Food shortages are part of a wider economic crisis, also seen in the world's
highest inflation rate of over 4,500 percent, unemployment above 80 percent
and rising poverty.
Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, says the seizures are designed
to correct injustices committed under British colonialism and to
economically empower Zimbabwe's indigenous black majority.
: 8 August 2007
The Constitutions of all SADC Member States enshrine the principles of equal opportunities and full participation of the citizens in the political process. However, the Zimbabwean government continues its flagrant violation of the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections, as Zimbabwe Election Watch demonstrates.
Over the past few years, Mugabe has become increasingly reliant on the military for political survival, appointing serving as well as retired members of the armed forces to take charge of electoral bodies and institutions directly involved in the running of elections. Army and police officers have been engaged by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for the voter registration programme, due to end on 17 August.
In view of the many challenges faced by citizens as they try to register or obtain identity cards and other documents, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network has recommended that voter registration be extended and more effectively publicised.
Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party has traditionally relied on chiefs and village headmen to promote the party's interests. The allowances for three chiefs and several headmen in the southern province of Masvingo have been withdrawn for backing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Apparently aware of efforts within his party to block his standing for next year's elections, Mugabe has deployed the political commissar, youths and women leaders on his side to intimidate the pro-change faction within Zanu PF.
Activists, including nursing mothers, who tried to hold a demonstration were rounded up at the offices of the National Constitutional Assembly and taken to Harare central police station where they were beaten relentlessly for up to five hours.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party has filed a Z$504 billion lawsuit against the police for violently crushing a court-sanctioned rally earlier this year.
A secret memo emanating from the Central Intelligence Organisation states that 25 local journalists suspected of supplying stories to foreign media will be 'eliminated'; by the end of the year. Authorities continue to employ a range of restrictive legislation - including the official Secrets Act, the AIPPA, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), and criminal defamation laws - to harass journalists.
The Interception of Communications Act, signed into law by Mugabe, is unconstitutional and can be successfully challenged in the courts, legal experts said.
Number of breaches in sample: 59
ropes in soldiers for voter registration
Source Date: 30-07-2007
Electoral Commission (ZEC), that runs elections in Zimbabwe, has engaged hordes
of army and police officers for the voter registration programme that ends on 17
In a petition addressed to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the Public Rights Information Forum civic groups condemned what they called “the militarisation of the voter registration exercise” and said it would “compromise the credibility of the polls.”
The forum said it was improper to hire individuals who had declared their loyalty and support to Mugabe to run voter registration as the move would intimidate potential voters.
Sources within Zimbabwe's electoral body said almost half of all voter educators employed by the ZEC were members of the army. The rest of the voter educators were top civil servants and former liberation war fighters, all loyal to Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, said the source. Under Zimbabwe's electoral laws, only the ZEC can conduct voter education.
ZEC chairman, Chiweshe, is a former senior army officer and, before his appointment to ZEC, he headed the Delimitation Commission that draws the country’s voting constituencies.
Zimbabwe’s attorney general Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, is also a former army intelligence officer while the chief executive officer of the country’s Grain Marketing Board Samuel Muvuti is a former army colonel.
Last month, the MDC said thousands of potential voters in the party’s urban strongholds had been denied the right to register as voters under the current registration exercise.
The opposition party also charged that the Registrar General’s office which is in charge of the process had opened fewer voter registration centres in urban areas that are known opposition strongholds, in what it said was an attempt by Zanu PF to rig the elections even before a single vote was cast.
Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=1764
SADC standards breached
Zimbabwe election monitor calls for extension of voter
Source Date: 02-08-2007
Election Support Network has issued a report saying the mobile voter
registration exercise now in progress must to be extended and more effectively
publicised if all eligible voters are to have enough time to
ZESN's preliminary report on the ongoing voter registration exercise documented the challenges many citizens face as they try to register or obtain identity cards and other documents. The organisation, which mobilized thousands of election monitors in the 2005 general election, said there has been some interference in the registration process by traditional rural leaders…
ZESN National Director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said that the findings show the timing and logistics of the registration drive raise many questions as the country prepares for local, general and presidential elections in 2008.
Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/Zimbabwe/2007-08-02-voa39.cfm
SADC standards breached
residents worried by voter registration
Source Date: 01-08-2007
Kuwadzana residents have expressed concern at the way the Office of the
Registrar General has set up voter registration centres in the whole
constituency, creating a fertile ground for the marginalisation of the majority
of eligible voters.
Voter registration has been running from 18 June and will end on 17 August 2007.
Simon Phiri, the Ward 38 Coordinator told the Combined Harare Residents' Association that residents in Kuwadzana had only two centres to register as voters.
He said despite appeals to ZEC to increase the number of voter registration centres, they have not been successful, and it is feared more people have been unable to register as voters in next year’s crucial Parliamentary and Presidential Elections under the current exercise…
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association
Link to source: http://www.chra.co.zw/
SADC standards breached
withdraws allowances for chiefs backing MDC
Source Date: 26-07-2007
MASVINGO – The
Zimbabwean government has withdrawn allowances for three chiefs and several
headmen in the southern province of Masvingo for backing the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party has traditionally relied on chiefs and village headmen to promote the party's interests by maintaining a tight grip on rural areas, where the party draws most of its support.
"I was summoned by officers from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development and was advised that my allowances had been stopped," said one of the chiefs. "They said I was not politically correct ahead of next year's polls."
Contacted for comment, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, said, "if there are any who did not get their money for that reason, then it is unfortunate because we expect them not to bite the hand that is feeding them."
Identified perpetrators: Local Government Minister,
Identified victims: Chief Ziki of Bikita, Chief Masivamele and Chief Sengwe all from Chiredzi. Several headmen in Gutu, Chiredzi, Mwenezi and parts of Bikita
Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=1749
SADC standards breached
Additional comments on this event in relation to SADC
The remarks of Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, in which he refuses to condemn the unlawful actions of his officers, make him and his government complicit with the perpetrators. It places him, and them, in direct violation of the SADC guidelines.
Further comments in relation to Zimbabwean
Chiefs operate under the Traditional Leaders Act and it would be unlawful for the government to withdraw a chief's allowances for solely backing an opposition party," said MDC Masvingo spokesperson, Tongai Matutu.
Man, One Party, says Mugabe faction
Source Date: 02-08-2007
Robert Mugabe, apparently aware of the efforts within his party to block his
standing for next year's elections, has deployed the political commissar, youths
and women leaders on his side into the provinces, to send the message that the
party is intact and doesn't need any leadership change…
The pro-change faction has confirmed this: "There is even the use of intimidation against party members, who are being told that there are dangers facing those that will be seen to be supporting the leadership change agenda because it originates from enemies of the party," a source from the Mujuru faction said.
Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/viewinfo.cfm?linkcategoryid=3&linkid=8&id=5482
SADC standards breached
of NCA activists arrested and beaten during countrywide demonstrations
Source Date: 25-07-2007
activists from the pressure group National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) were
arrested during countrywide demonstrations intended to raise awareness of the
need for a new constitution.
The protestors were distributing educational literature about the implications of the government's proposed 18th amendment to the constitution which, inter alia, changes the entrenched provisions of the present constitution relating to dates for the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections.
NCA chairperson Dr. Lovemore Madhuku described Amendment no. 18 as ‘treacherous and contemptuous’. He added, “Zimbabwe needs a constitution that entrenches human rights and freedoms, ensures a free and open society and an electoral system that gives citizens power to elect leaders who are responsive to their needs.”
Identified victims: NCA field officer Bernard Dube
Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zwnews.com/issuefull.cfm?ArticleID=17058
SADC standards breached
abandoned as police beat mothers
Source Date: 27-07-2007
mothers were among 160 people, including grandmothers, who were rounded up at
the offices of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an organisation
dedicated to constitutional reform, after activists tried to hold a
They were taken to Harare central police station and (the mothers were) told to leave their babies in the corner of a hall and join other adults lying on their stomachs. For the next four or five hours, the infants screamed as police lashed their mothers and the other adults continuously with metre-long, heavy rubber sticks.
The beatings were the largest mass assault yet carried out by Zimbabwean police. Violence in March, when Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, and about 30 others were beaten for 2½ hours, sparked international outrage.
Source: Times, The (UK)
Link to source: www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article2148357.ece
SADC standards breached
Lawsuit points up Zimbabwe’s breach of SADC Election
Source Date: 01-08-2007
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has filed a Z$504
billion lawsuit against the police for breaching their role of protecting public
order when they violently crushed a court-sanctioned rally earlier this
Hundreds of MDC supporters and senior party officials were seriously injured in violent clashes with police who sealed the venue in the suburb to prevent the rally…
"The police flagrantly defied a court order and denied our clients entry into the stadium in order to hold the rally, thus infringing our clients' right to freedom of assembly, association and expression," the MDC lawyers said…
Identified perpetrators: Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=1783
SADC standards breached
Zimbabwe Secret Service to ‘eliminate’ journalists
Source Date: 03-08-2007
A secret memo,
emanating from Magnet House in Bulawayo, local office of the feared Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO), … states that 25 local journalists suspected of
supplying stories to foreign media will be 'eliminated' by the end of the
The three page memo, titled "25 journalists: Enemies of the State", is written by a CIO officer called Edward Chiromo, and is addressed to CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwe...
The memo makes clear that when it uses the word "eliminate" it means kill. Already this year a television cameraman, Edwared Chikomba, is believed to have been murdered by CIO operatives for supplying video clips of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai being beaten to foreign media.
Last week Abel Mustakane, an on-line editor and a noted opponent of the Mugabe regime, who is now based in South Africa, was shot outside his home in Johannesburg.
Identified perpetrators: CIO Bulawayo officer called
Edward Chiromo; CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwe
Identified victims: Edwared Chikomba, television cameraman, Abel Mustakane, editor of Zim Online
Source: Zimbabwe Today (blog site)
Link to source: http://www.zimbabwetoday.co.uk/2007/08/mugabe-turns-hi.html#more
SADC standards breached
Spying Law Unconstitutional
Source Date: 05-08-2007
Interception of Communications Act, signed into law by President Robert Mugabe
last week, is unconstitutional and can be successfully challenged in the courts,
legal experts said.
The law authorises the government to set up an interception centre to eavesdrop on telephone conversations, open mail, and intercept e-mails and faxes…
David Coltart, secretary for legal affairs in the pro-Senate faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the law was unconstitutional and will have serious repercussions on people's rights and freedom of expression…
The president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, said the law could be challenged in the Supreme Court…
Source: Zimbabwe Standard, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/viewinfo.cfm?linkid=11&id=7064&siteid=1
SADC standards breached
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
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International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: August 8, 2007
CAPE TOWN, South Africa: South Africa has set up a task team to look at ways
of coping with economic migrants from other African countries but ruled
out - at least for now - establishing refugee camps for Zimbabweans.
Government spokesman Themba Maseko said that department heads from several
ministries had been told to look into a "holistic" solution to the refugee
problem and would report back to Cabinet in the near future.
Maseko said that there was no need for refugee camps, and it made no sense
to enact special measures for migrants from Zimbabwe, where an economic and
political crisis is spiraling.
He reiterated the government view that the best way to stop the influx of
Zimbabweans was to settle the pressing economic and political problems in
that country, but stressed that that could only be achieved by Zimbabweans
themselves rather than imposed from outside.
"We are becoming victims of our own success," Maseko said. "We are one of
the few countries on the continent experiencing economic growth."
He said this had led to growing numbers of numbers of economic migrants -
not just from Zimbabwe, but impoverished neighboring countries like
Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.
"There is likely to be an increase of economic migrants coming to South
Africa as the result of the fact that our economy is registering such
economic growth," he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.
There are few reliable figures on the number of economic migrants crossing
through South Africa's borders - although estimates consistently refer to 3
million Zimbabweans living in South Africa.
The opposition Democratic Alliance claims that hundreds more Zimbabweans are
crossing into South Africa every day to escape the misery at home.
The Department of Home Affairs has dismissed the reports as exaggerated,
although conceding there has been an increase in the number of people
It says that between March 1 and July 31, some 351,000 Zimbabweans arrived
legally in the country through the main Beitbridge border crossing and
292,000 Zimbabweans left the country through the same border gate.
In the first six months of the year, nearly 2,000 people applied for asylum,
nearly half of them from Congo. Only one Zimbabwean is recorded as having
applied for asylum, according to official figures.
By Tichaona Sibanda
8 August 2007
There are reports that hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans could have
failed to register their names with the mobile voter registration teams,
after officials avoided certain areas associated with opposition supporters.
MDC legislator Editor Matamisa, who first raised the issue of the
irregularities with her party, claimed on Wednesday that the mobile
registration teams did not bother to visit her constituency, which has close
to 10 000 residents who want be added to the voters' roll.
Matamisa explained that Southern African Development Community principles
and guidelines governing democratic elections, recognise the importance of
full participation of citizens in the political process.
She said this is the reason why the registration period is very important.
The Kadoma central legislator warned that widespread inefficiencies and
fraud are already pointing to massive rigging of the poll by Zanu (PF). She
said she was shocked to learn that many government officials were unaware of
the current registration exercise.
'I have been to every office that matters in Kadoma to find out what has
been happening to the exercise and no-one knows anything. There are no
posters in the town but what scares us is that Zanu councillors have been
bragging to me that most of their supporters have been registered. So the
question is where did these people register?' Asked Matamisa.
The outspoken MP said instead of guaranteeing citizens' basic rights to
register freely, the government and electoral officials were already
actively colluding in the rigging of the presidential and parliamentary
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network recently said the time allocated for
the mobile registration exercise was too short. ZESN like all pro-democracy
groups in the country have proposed that the exercise be extended to at
least four months and called for more public awareness on the on going
The normal voter registration exercise, as opposed to mobile registration,
has been taking place at the same time. But few people seem to be aware of
this process, even MDC MP's seem to be unaware that this is taking place.
'We have a situation where government officials in most areas have zipped
their lips and closed their eyes to this blatant rigging before the actual
election. Obviously these irregularities taint the entire exercise and
defeat its very purpose,' Matamisa said.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
08 August, 2007
The expression "feet don't fail me now" took on a very serious meaning in
Zimbabwe on Tuesday when thousands of commuters around the country found
themselves stranded. With many state-run and private buses out of service
due to serious fuel shortages, the streets were crowded with people walking
to their destinations. The state media reported that many were waiting up to
4 days for transport home to rural areas, ahead of the Heroes holiday next
week. The traditional trips may not happen for many this time around.
An official is quoted as saying bus operators were being allocated 500
litres per bus each week, which lasts only a day and a half. Workers and
school children are being forced to walk long distances. And many people
have resorted to sleeping in doorways and other cold places overnight,
rather than walk home and make the same journey back in the morning.
On Wednesday our Bulawayo contact Zenzele said he dropped off a friend at
Renkini Bus Terminal at 5:00 am to wait for transport to Gweru. By 2:00 pm
he was still not on a bus yet and there was no assurance he would succeed.
Zenzele described the terminal as very crowded. He said every morning people
waiting for transport to Harare fight for space on only 3 or 4 buses all
morning. Minibuses have stopped operating because they are being forced to
charge Z$25,000 for the trip to the capital, which used to be Z$60,000.
Zenzele said fuel costs them Z$1.5 million for 5 litres on the black market,
so they would lose a lot of money if they complied with the forced price
Fuel pumps have dried up more than ever before as the result of government's
ongoing price control exercise, that began 6 weeks ago. All businesses,
including petrol stations, were forced to cut their prices and operate at a
loss in what the authorities claimed was an attempt to control the country's
hyperinflation. Panic buying and massive looting by officials followed,
leaving shelves empty and pumps dry. And the government is failing to
provide enough fuel for transport operators as promised.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Violet Gonda
8 August 2007
Repression continues with no end in sight as pro-democrats continue to be
arrested and brutalized with impunity, by state security agents. Just this
week alone a torture victim from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
is missing in Mutare; another victim of police brutality, a student leader,
has been seriously injured and is in custody in Bulawayo and more than a
dozen members of Women/Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) were arrested when
they were playing sport in Masvingo.
The NCA reports that Mannex Mawuya, the acting youth chairperson in
Manicaland, is missing. He has been arrested three times since July 11th.
The NCA said he has not been seen since his release on the 24th.
The pressure group said the activist, who was first arrested after an NCA
demonstration in Mutare, had been subjected to torture by the police and
suspected Central Intelligence Officers (CIO).
The NCA said: "The CIO took him to a dark room where he was made to remove
all his clothes despite the extremely cold weather. Water was then poured on
him using a pressure hosepipe for several hours. As if this was not enough
the water was changed and the second time around it was porridge-like and
stinking. He was also forced to drink a smelly substance, which upset his
stomach, resulting in severe diarrhea."
The group said the youth chairperson was also subjected to verbal
interrogation. It is alleged he was warned that he would be picked up again
upon release on July 24th. Mawuya's whereabouts are still unknown.
Members of the student movement are also under increasing attack. The
Zimbabwe National Students Union reports that four student leaders from the
National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Students Union were
severely tortured in police custody in Bulawayo. Three of the activists,
Trust Nhubu, Admire Zaya and Melusi Ndebele, were arrested on Saturday in
connection with the whereabouts of their president Clever Bere.
ZINASU said the three were kept in police cells until Tuesday after the
capture of Bere who is still in custody and lawyers have been denied access
to him. The Union said the lawyer Kucaca Phulu, managed to see Bere during
visiting time. ZINASU said in a statement: "Clever could hardly stand on his
own, his face was swollen and he was coughing blood. He has also been denied
access to medical attention, despite the lawyer's request for such."
Meanwhile, the activists from the pressure group WOZA/MOZA who were arrested
in Masvingo on Tuesday are still in detention.
In typical WOZA fashion, they are approaching this latest arrest with
humour. The group said in a statement: "It has been confirmed that seven
women and nine men spent the night in police custody in Masvingo last night
after being arrested yesterday whilst playing mixed soccer and netball at
Macheke Stadium. Also in custody is the soccer ball, although the netball
It's still not known why the WOZA members were arrested but members of the
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested them while they were
playing netball and soccer.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
8th Aug 2007 17:29 GMT
By Trust Matsilele
Zimbabwe 's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
has lashed out at the behaviour demonstrated by the Robert Mugabe regime
when dealing with opposition parties and other pro-democracy groups in the
Speaking in Lusaka, the MDC's International Affairs Office said Mugabe's
government had in the past years developed itself into a violent, brutal and
ruthless government resulting in many innocent civilians fleeing the country
in search of political and economic refugee.
"We live in a country where the Zanu PF government is in perpetual combat
with the citizens of Zimbabwe. It is a regime that is behaving like a
foreign occupying force, which knows fully well that its legitimacy is
highly justifiably contested," read part of a statement released by the MDC'
International Affairs office in Lusaka.
The MDC urged SADC to change its approach on Zimbabwe and be more involved
in the political discourse of the country as the crisis had spilled over to
become a regional crisis.
"The people of Zimbabwe ask that you assist them to complete the realization
of the goals and ideals that underpinned your support during the struggle
against colonialism. It is only the MDC that can take the people of Zimbabwe
to this realization," read the statement.
The MDC has again threatened that it will not to participate in an election
with an environment that is not equal to all contesting parties and urged
SADC to see to it that a level playing field is in place before March 2008.
"The elections in March 2008 can not happen in an environment of
intimidation. The MDC will not participate in elections whose results are
predetermined. We therefore demand a level political field. We demand that
state sanctioned violence against the people of Zimbabwe must stop,"
The MDC has called the region to make sure sanity returns to Zimbabwe soon
and if not, Mugabe and cronies would be going for elections alone next year.
"We wish to state clearly that it is only when the necessary conditions for
free and fair elections are in place that the MDC will participate in the
elections in March 2008," added MDC.
A number of civil society groups from Zimbabwe are reported to be in Zambia
lobbying for the restoration of democracy and human rights to the people of
The Zimbabwe government has since the formation of the opposition MDC in
1999 arrested, tortured and even murdered critics, said to be over a 1000,
who exceed one thousand and condemning over four million into refugees.
Nqobizitha Mlilo from the MDC's regional office in South Africa says acts of
brutality which Mugabe has employed simce 2000 are not different to those
the Ian Smith colonial government employed on defenceless civilians before
08 August 2007
MARTIN Shumba fidgets in a snaking queue in central Harare, Zimbabwe's
capital, as he waits to buy a portion of chips and pieces of chicken from
one of the few fast-food outlets still operating.
Shumba has been queuing for more than an hour to buy the food, which he took
for granted only last month.
That was before President Robert Mugabe's regime unleashed a fierce price
reduction blitz that has emptied shops and left a quarter of Zimbabwe's
12-million population facing severe food shortages.
Millions in Zimbabwe are now forced to scrounge for food in a country that
used to be the bread basket of the region.
International donor agencies say that since the crackdown on supermarkets
and shops started, more than half of the population needs food aid to avert
an impending crisis.
The World Food Programme appealed last week for funds to help more than
3,3-million Zimbabweans - more than a quarter of the population - facing
Over the past seven years, millions have fled the country into neighbouring
countries, particularly SA and Botswana, to escape the economic meltdown and
Those who cannot afford to fly or drive out, like the now absent middle
classes, must risk a miserable crossing of the Limpopo to uncertain
opportunity and potentially greater suffering.
The exodus accelerates every day. Police now estimate that between 6000 and
10000 people cross into SA every week . Thousands are deported weekly.
Since Mugabe unleashed his gangsters to raid shops in the name of enforcing
price reductions, the situation has gotten even worse.
Basic commodities - such as bread, sugar, salt, maize-meal, the staples of
every Zimbabwean's diet - are gone. Some days they are not even available on
the thriving black market.
Fuel, in severe shortage since 1999, has all but dried up on the official
market. With no drugs available, hospitals are now places to go and die.
Many supermarkets in Zimbabwe today resemble those of former eastern
European states at the height of the desperate years of the 1970s and 1980s.
Endless queues stretch in cities and towns as ordinary Zimbabweans battle to
survive. Sometimes queues form on a rumour or a promise of supplies.
Day trips to neighbouring states in search of food to buy or barter are now
the main line of merchandise.
The price reduction blitz has left the Harare government deeply divided
after Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono publicly opposed the crackdown,
saying it would drive the final nail into the economy's coffin.
Mugabe's deputy, Joyce Mujuru, has also opposed the crackdown.
However, a defian t Mugabe said in Malaysia at the weekend that his "price
war" would continue. He had pre-empted a plot involving local businesses to
overthrow his regime.
Life, which was arduous six months ago, is approaching unbearable for the
majority of Zimbabweans.
They spend days without running water and electricity. Public transport is a
nightmare; most workers spend hours queuing to go to work. Most simply walk,
sometimes more than 10 km a day.
By Malcolm Rifkind
Published: August 8 2007 03:00 | Last updated: August 8 2007 03:00
I lived and worked in Zimbabwe in the 1960s. Then it was Rhodesia and Ian
Smith was in charge. In those days rebellion was gentler than it is today.
The governor, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, who had refused to recognise Mr Smith's
unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), still lived in Government
House. He declared his visitors' book open for those wishing to show their
loyalty to the Queen.
Not to be outdone, Clifford Dupont, Mr Smith's alternative governor, who
lived on the same street, announced that his book would also be open for
those who supported UDI. I drove down, in my battered Morris Minor, to find
a policeman enquiring which book I wished to sign and pointing me in the
right direction! What a very British way to fight against tyranny.
Today, politics in Zimbabwe is a grimmer business. The country has gone from
being a breadbasket to a basket case. Inflation is more than 6,000 per cent
a year, most whites have left and Robert Mugabe's thugs beat up political
rivals while plundering the nation's assets.
There is little the rest of the world can do to hasten Mr Mugabe's downfall.
South Africa is the only country that has real clout but President Thabo
Mbeki, to his shame, refuses to act. This is a real tragedy. It was South
Africa's withdrawal of support, under P.W. Botha, that eventually forcedMr
Smith to abandon UDI.
But Britain and Europe can still make an impact. Mr Mugabe and his henchmen
are, currently, banned from visiting all European Union countries. But that
ban is under threat from the proposed EU-African Union summit due to be held
in Lisbon later this year. The Portuguese are desperate for the summit to go
ahead. They know Mr Mugabe should not attend but fear an African Union
boycott if he is excluded.
There are already signs of this becoming an embarrassing political fudge.
José Sócrates, Portugal's prime minister, has declared that "appropriate
diplomatic formulae will be found". An unnamed British official has said
that "the issue of whether he is there or not should not detract from the
substance or overshadow the summit".
There has now been the absurd suggestion that Mr Mugabe might remain banned
from Europe as president of Zimbabwe but be allowed to attend the summit as
a member of the African Union delegation. Such an outcome would be a
humiliation for the EU and should be unequivocally ruled out.
In the UK, Gordon Brown, prime minister, has tried to give the impression
that Africa matters to him, while David Miliband, foreign secretary, has
declared that human rights are a priority. So far both have been ambivalent
and ambiguous on this issue. They have said they do not wish Mr Mugabe to
attend, but are vague as to what should happen if the Portuguese or the
African Union disagree.
This is not good enough. They should declare that if Mr Mugabe is allowed
into Portugal, to strut around the proceedings, Britain will not attend.
Neither the prime minister, nor foreign secretary nor any British diplomat
should be present. We should do everything in our power to persuade other EU
members to take the same line.
The issues at stake are considerable, for Europe and Africa as well as
Zimbabwe. For Europeans there is an understandable desire for the summit to
go ahead after a gap of seven years. The EU is nervous of the impact China
is making in Africa and wants to remind Africans of the great potential that
exists for trade with Europe. Southern Europeans, especially the French,
Spanish and Italians, are worried about massive further migration from north
Africa if poverty persists there.
But Africa still needs Europe more than the reverse. China can offer capital
investment and turn a blind eye to human rights abuses but its roots in
Africa are superficial and its interests purely resource-driven. Africa and
Europe, in comparison, are geographical neighbours with much common history,
sharing geopolitical concerns in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the
The EU must hold its nerve. It must explain that while Zimbabwe can be
represented, Mr Mugabe cannot attend. Diplomats should focus on devising a
formula that will keep him away, not one that will enable him to attend.
There is one further, not insignificant, consideration. If the EU fudges
this we not only betray the brave people of Zimbabwe; we say goodbye to any
prospect of a meaningful European foreign policy. That should concentrate
minds in Brussels wonderfully.
Sir Malcolm was minister of state for Africa 1983-86 and foreign secretary
8th Aug 2007 17:05 GMT
By Trust Matsilele
THE ruling Zanu PF is desperately trying to further divide the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions ahead of the 2008 harmonised
The state-owned media, which had sworn it would never cover the leader of
the smaller MDC faction, Professor Arthur Mutambara, had began to jump on
his statements on the leadership qualities of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader
of the vibrant and main MDC faction.
Zanu PF has been counting its unusual blessings as Mutambara went public to
criticise Tsvangirai. Last week the Professor went public and denounced
Tsvangirai for failing to embrace a coalition agreement engineered by his
party for the 2008 elections with the founding MDC leader as presidential
In the past Zanu PF had hinted that it would not allow any media coverage of
Mutambara, saying he would only feature in state media if he died or was
arrested. But the current biblical manna from Mutambara has seen Zanu PF
jumping in to use the divisions between Mutambara and Tsvangirai MDC's to
discredit the veteran trade unionist.
Pressed on his comments in which he attacked Tsvangirai as a hopeless leader
and an "intellectual midget" with the BBC's Alan Little on Hard Talk
yesterday, Mutambara was forced to say that Tsvangirai deserved a place in
Zimbabwe's hall of fame for liberation fighters after failing to repeat his
comments about his erstwhile colleague.
"What we are saying is that as Zimbabweans we must be careful. we do not
need to be another Zambia where Chiluba came in and was worse than Kaunda or
Malawi were Muluzi came in and was worse that Banda," said Mutambara.
"Yes, you may be brave, have guts, but what is needed is to have a vision.
We need to change the strategy, the tactics. Bravery is not enough, being
arrested is not enough... you need an economic vision," he said when pressed
about his comments about Tsvangirai.
The state-controlled media in Zimbabwe, harped on the statements on the BBC
in which Mutambara insinuated that Tsvangirai and his advisors were
incapable of leading Zimbabwe out of its current quagmire into prosperity.
They did not mention that the interview with the BBC ended up being a
campaign programme for Tsvangirai as Little continually told his interviewee
Tsvangirai was "well known to viewers of this programme" and was
Mutambara ended up saying his party was prepared to back Morgan Tsvangirai
since they respected him. He also referred to him as "my brother Morgan".
Mutambara announced recently his MDC had pulled out of efforts to confront
the 2008 polls as a unified force, saying Tsvangirai was refusing to along
with their coalition agreement. He said he would go it alone next year if
the opposition fails to form a coalition.
Critics of this move say Mutambara chose to speak out fearing Gibson Sibanda
would go back to deputise Tsvangirai in any new agreement, pushing him out
of the limelight.
Meanwhile Tsvangirai and his faction under the Save Zimbabwe banner are
still maintaining that only a united front in the forthcoming elections is
essential for victory in any elections in Zimbabwe.
The MDC's national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa has in the past maintained
that the only enemy in Zimbabwe was Mugabe and not Mutambara or Tsvangirai.
In the past few days a number of members of the Mutambara MDC have crossed
the floor to rejoin the Tsvangirai camp soon after Mutambara announced his
pullout from the Save Zimbabwe campaign.
8th Aug 2007 17:31 GMT
By Chris Chinaka
HARARE - Bank teller Samson still takes pride in his work, one of his few
joys in a country ravaged by crippling inflation and severe food and fuel
But getting there has become another nightmare for him and many other people
trying to survive an economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, once a potent symbol of
Africa's liberation struggles and a regional breadbasket.
A month ago, Samson used to queue for an hour to catch a bus to work and
home. Now it's a three-hour trip because a severe fuel shortage and a price
blitz targeting inflation has hit the transport industry, forcing bus
drivers to quit.
"As a bank teller, I have to look smart, but my clothes are crumpled here in
the pressure of getting or trying to get into a bus," he said, jumping
further into the road to wave down a car for a ride.
"It's a struggle all the way my brother, for decent wages, for food, for
transport, for survival."
Even without the transport trouble, inflation has meant bank tellers like
Samson have had get used to busier work dishing out larger and larger
bundles of notes.
He and other Zimbabweans have few options. Questioning the price freeze
ordered by President Robert Mugabe can be risky as he cracks down on
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the southern African country's
independence from Britain in 1980, faces an economic crisis marked by the
world's highest inflation rate.
But with a deeply divided opposition and little pressure from African
countries for reforms in Zimbabwe, he has plenty of room for manoeuvre
despite growing criticism of his policies, such as seizing white-owned farms
to resettle landless blacks.
Growing public anger can be dismissed as he takes new measures to tighten
his grip on power. Mugabe has authorised security forces to monitor phone
calls and Internet exchanges.
Zimbabweans are stranded at bus stations, some for days. Others travel on
foot, exhausted by the end of the day.
"I have been walking to and from work for the past month or so because the
transport situation has become very bad," said a security guard at a Harare
hotel, who like many others was wary of giving his name.
"I get both to work and home much earlier than those people who are using
the buses," he said.
Nearby, a crowd of men, women and youngsters shove each other, hoping for a
seat on a small truck.
Mugabe has warned that violating the price freeze will have dire
Since June 25, police have arrested and fined more than 7,500 businesses --
including transport operators -- accused of defying the new price controls,
which have emptied shop shelves and sparked a new wave of panic buying.
Mugabe, who is seeking re-election in a general poll due in March next year,
rejects criticism he has run the economy into the ground, accusing the
opposition and Western powers of trying to oust him.
8th Aug 2007 01:01 GMT
By Free Zim-Youth
Heroes Day Commemoration
World Youth Day
Solidarity with the Oppressed Students in Zimbabwe
Stop and Condemn Apartheid, Xenophobic on Zimbabweans in South Africa
(meet at Zimbabwe House march to South Africa House)
Friday 10 August 2007
nearest train station Charing Cross
Free-Zim Youth Movement and National Union of Students UK (NUS -UK) are to
jointly have a solidarity protest for the Students and Youth in Zimbabwe
commemoration of World Youth Day (12 Aug).
The Protest which will be lead by the Women Wings is aimed at acknowledging
the need for the girl child to rise up and demand social justice, and voices
from the powers that be...in respect of WOZA who have showed a practical
example of bravery. Forward Feminism....
The Youth will also take the opportunity to condemn elements of Apartheid,
Xenophobic being perpetuated in South Africa on Zimbabweans.
10th of August will be the first opening day of the Regional meeting SADC
which is set to update of the transitional way forward in the question.
The Youth who have also launched a development, economic recovery plan which
is aimed at pushing for a policy which creates skills, gap filling sighting
the brain drain experienced for the past 8 years under the Harare
establishment(which is enshired in the Zimbabwe Youth Charter).
A need for a strong solidarity event,and assistance for the evicted students
and the whole Youth movement is vital.
You can jail,kill a revolutionary but you cannot jail, kill a revolution
Power To the People
For More info on Free-Zim Youth Movement and the protest, please contact
Yeukai Taruvinga 07940437496
Marceline Mutikori 07769850058
National Unions Of Students(NUS-UK)
Women Officer : Kat Stark 07875465586
NUS National President : Gemma Tumelty 08712218221
The First Post
August 08, 2007
Mose Moyo in Harare
With the economy in crisis, more and more people turn to a life of
Five months ago, Tsitsi Ncube, a pretty 27-year-old Harare woman, would
dress smartly but conservatively, and spend her days teaching the children
at a good primary school in a middle-class suburb.
Today, Tsitsi has abandoned teaching. Now she wears a red micro-skirt, a
tight-fitting top and matching sandals, and spends long evenings as a street
I found her in her favourite spot, outside Tipperary's bar on Fife Avenue,
Harare, beneath a tree opposite the car park where she can be easily seen in
the lights of oncoming cars. It is chilly in Zimbabwe these evenings, and
she is shivering.
But it has been a good night for Tsitsi so far. She has had three punters,
and earned a total of Z$5m. This, in one night, amounts to exactly double
the monthly salary she would have received as a teacher.
"Look, I have to do this," she told me. "I have to feed my children. There
is no other way to earn the money."
Tsitsi - tall, well-spoken and visibly nervous - is not alone. Hundreds of
previously respectable girls now work the streets of Harare, joining the
more experienced sex workers. An aid worker told me she knew of nurses,
teachers and police officers who have all turned to prostitution.
Nurses, teachers and police officers have all become ladies of the night
The result is too much supply, not enough demand. "We are too many ladies
looking for too few men," Tsitsi tells me. "I have to come early and stay
late to get any business. But I want to get one more tonight. If I am lucky
I will get one of the big guys in town."
By 'big guys' she means those few individuals still prospering in our
ravaged economy - judges, government ministers, foreign currency dealers.
"Politicians are the biggest bullies," she said. "They pay well but not
before they push you around and give you a few slaps."
I asked Tsitsi if she was aware of the health risks in her new profession.
"I know all about Aids," she said, "and I insist on condoms."
However, Molly, also 27 but a veteran of five years working the streets,
told me that most of the new arrivals were not so rigorous.
"They are hot hot, chilli chilli, all in a rush. But they don't last, they
die fast," she says, with morbid humour.
Tsitsi clings to shreds of her previous respectable life. Her family do not
know what she does. She remains a practising Catholic. Each Sunday she goes
to Mass and, like us all, she prays for an end to the suffering and
deprivation that is life in today's Zimbabwe.
FIRST POSTED AUGUST 7, 2007
By Trust Matsilele
President Robert Mugabe is at it again trying to win sympathy of poor
Zimbabweans through the newly launched land reform exercise wave as the
country face the much anticipated 2008 watershed elections.
Mugabe who has been tipped by the head of Joint Operation Command
(comprising Zimbabwe National Army , Zimbabwe Republic Police and Security
forces), Happyton Bonyongwe see the land reform exercise as a remaining
alternative to influence Zimbabwean voters.
President Robert Mugabe announced that it will take farms from remaining
commercial farmers arguing that he wants to give land to the landless black
majority. Past experiences has however proved otherwise after Mugabe had
given the fertile lands to his top elite club which a ZANU PF political
consultant Dr Ibbo Mandaza acknowledged had happened recently in
The Zimbabwean government says it will arrest those resisting having their
land taken for redistribution exercise. Mugabe has in the past called white
commercial farmers traitors saying they were fighting alongside western
government to effect regime change.
More than 4 000 white commercial farmers have lost their properties under
the controversial land reform. Last year authorities passed a constitutional
amendment barring former owners from challenging the seizures in court.
Industry and union officials say about 600 of Zimbabwe 's 4 500 white
farmers have kept their land after the sometimes violent grabs by Mugabe's
But the government handed some of them eviction notices earlier this year or
reduced the size of their properties.
The state controlled media reported as saying some farmers who were given
notices three months ago to wind up their operations "risk being arrested
for resisting eviction after the expiry of the 90-day notice period".
The daily quoted the minister of state for security, Didymus Mutasa, as
saying that the government would move against the farmers accused of going
to court to delay their departure.
"We have a list of farmers resisting eviction ... and we are going to act
accordingly to redress the situation," he told a meeting attended by senior
government officials. Mutasa was not immediately available for further
The NUST Student representative council president Clever Bere is being
tortured at Bulawayo Central police station after he was arrested by 4
uninformed state security agents in Bulawayo on Monday around lunch
time.Bere had been missing since Monday and we only came to know today that
he was in the hands of the vicious and brutal police of Robert Mugabe. Some
students who brought him food in the afternoon confirmed that the student
leader had been assaulted as his face was swollen and he had a difficult in
breathing, he was also coughing blood. The militant student leader had been
on the wanted list after violent disturbances which rocked the university in
April 2007.The lawyers representing him were denied access to him despite
their spirited efforts and were told that Bere would only be released after
the police find another student leader Mehluli Dube who is wanted for a
similar case. We wish to vehemently condemn and denounce the illegitimate
government of the day for its continued suffocation of democratic space in
Zimbabwe . The students are not deterred by such moves we are resilient and
we will continue fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe . 'Blessed are those who
are persecuted for righteous sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Zimbabwean government is yet again confronted by a large impending
hunger crisis as the country failed to import 400- 000 tonnes of maize from
Well placed sources within the government confirmed that the country was
struggling to raise the much needed foreign currency to import the
consignment deal it had signed with Malawi .
The hunger problem will further be worsened as the country in the past few
days registered a low wheat production in a period of seven years when it
recorded less than 78-000 tonnes of wheat.
Meanwhile aid agencies and other western governments are making frantic
efforts to deliver the much needed food aid especially to the drought
stricken Matabeland region which ZANU PF has strongly been trying to block
as it intends on punishing inhabitants of that region as they voted for MDC
in the past elections.
The Grain Marketing Board acting chief executive officer Retired Colonel
Samuel Muvuti has confirmed the nature of crisis the country is facing as
saying the country was making efforts to have maize delivered from other
"Negotiations for more contracts with other countries are critical as the
country intensifies efforts to improve the reserves capacity," said Muvuti.
Without disclosing the countries targeted, the GMB boss said negotiations
were at an advanced stage.
Retired Col Muvuti said the country is currently relying on part of the
maize imported early this year.
Since 2000 when President Robert Mugabe launched his land reform exercise
viewed by many as a vote catching gimmick the country has been facing year
on year droughts which has resultantly led to many fleeing the country to
neighbouring South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique or Zambia in search of
An audit supplied by Human Rights Forum has established that the land reform
which the government claimed was meant to benefit poor Zimbabweans brought
negative results as a reported 10 000 people are reported to have died after
they were dissociated from their form of livelihood.
Zimbabwe could again fail to produce enough food during the 2007/08 season
unless adequate measures are put in place to address projected input
shortages and clear the air over land tenure of newly resettled farmers.
Government Ministers have recently expressed their concern over food
shortages as the country was failing to improve the infrastructure needed in
order to ensure required production levels.
The three ministries responsible for land reform, agriculture, and water and
infrastructural development, respectively say the situation has to be
brought to normalcy or else the current drought the country is facing might
see more hardship for Zimbabwean population.
They were grilled by the parliamentary committee on the continued decline
in Zimbabwe 's agricultural production at a time when a lot of money was
being pumped by the government into the sector.
Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made recently admitted that Zimbabwe could
again face "serious fertilizer shortages" due to a breakdown at one of the
country's major producers of the commodity.
Zimbabwe has over the years experienced shortages of fertilizer and other
inputs due to a crippling foreign currency crisis.
The opposition MDC is however pessimistic that the current shortages the
country is facing might see Zimbabwean government's ruling party ZANU PF
engaging like in the past in food for votes.
In some parts of the country already the ruling party youths are reported to
have started controlling food distribution outlets and at extreme points
confiscating food targeted for the sick giving it to ZANU PF supporters
which in the long run will see ZANU PF demanding a part card if one wants to
buy food from Grain Marketing Board.
8th Aug 2007 17:14 GMT
By Dennis Rekayi
HARARE - Journalists should exercise extreme vigilance and care during their
professional duties ahead of the harmonised presidential and parliamentary
elections in 2008 which could be preceded by charged political campaigns.
The call was made by the Chairperson of MISA-Zimbabwe Loughty Dube during
the presentation of his annual report to the organisation's annual general
meeting held in Harare.
Dube said the year 2007 had so far been characterised by an unprecedented
increase in the number of cases involving media violations resulting in the
mysterious death of Edward Chikomba, a freelance cameraperson and a former
ZBC employee, who was abducted and murdered by unknown persons.
He was abducted by unknown assailants near his home in Harare 's Glen View
suburb on 29 March 2007. His body was found two days later in Darwendale,
just outside Harare.
In February this year, Bill Saidi the editor of the privately owned Standard
newspaper received an envelope containing a bullet and a message warning him
to "watch out".
The worst, said Dube, was still to come on 11 March 2007 when award winning
photo-journalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and his colleague, Tendai
Musiyazviriyo, a film producer, who both freelance for Associated Press,
were arrested and severely assaulted while in police custody.
"The arrest and brutal assault of Mukwazhi was of great concern as his
whereabouts remained unknown until he appeared in court two days later, said
Dube. "This year has been tainted by increased violations, harassments,
arrests, assaults and torture of journalists as captured and recorded in our
media alerts further denting and curtailing the citizens rights to free
expression and media freedom.
"The harmonized elections due next year are likely to bring with them more
problems for journalists and I urge members of the media fraternity to
exercise extreme caution in the execution of their duties during that
He said it is against the background of the increase in the number of cases
of media violations that MISA-Zimbabwe in partnership with the Media
Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) organised and completed a two day workshop in
Harare on 2- 3 August 2007 on investigative journalism and reporting in a
hostile environment to sensitise journalists on requisite survival skills
Turning to the signing of the Interception of Communications Bill into law,
Dube reiterated MISA-Zimbabwe's assertion that the spying law, used with
other repressive media laws in the country, seriously compromised media
freedom and freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.
On the launch of the independent self-regulatory Media Council of Zimbabwe
on 8 June 2007, he expressed confidence that the men and women who were
elected into the council were of the highest integrity deserving the media's
"unstinting support" as they embark on their mandate of instilling high
ethical standards in the media.
The MISA-Zimbabwe National Director Rashweat Mukundu, in his annual
narrative report for 2006-2007, highlighted the organisation's activities as
espoused under its mission and vision by reporting on progress on the
Community Radio Initiatives, Media Council of Zimbabwe and cases pending at
the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and the completion of
MISA-Zimbabwe's Resource Centre.
The meeting also tasked members of the National Governing Council to
identify individuals who would be accorded honorary membership to the
organisation because of their commitment in advancing MISA-Zimbabwe's vision
and mission of a Zimbabwe in which the media environment enjoys freedom of
expression, independence from political, economic and commercial interests,
pluralism of views and opinions.
Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
8 August 2007
Posted to the web 8 August 2007
Jeffrey Gogo And Enacy Mapakame
ZESA Holdings Limited has taken partial blame for bungling the winter wheat
crop by failing to adequately supply electricity to farmers, the Herald
Business can reveal.
Zesa chief executive Engineer Ben Rafemoyo yesterday admitted regular power
outages had caused some anxiety among farmers. This was despite earlier
assurances the power utility would prioritise power supply to farmers by
constantly switching off households. In fact, homes have gone for up to 20
hours without electricity in some instances.
Eng Rafemoyo said Zesa promises to wheat farmers were premised on the
understanding that electricity imports from the region would remain stable.
But this had not happened, he said, because Zesa had failed to service debts
owed to South Africa and Mozambique. Supplies from the Democratic Republic
of Congo were also disrupted by vandalism of electricity infrastructure in
"When we promised farmers that we would spare them from power cuts, our
assumption was that we would be able to maintain power imports from the DRC,
Mozambique and South Africa," Eng Rafemoyo explained.
"We also thought our thermal power stations would be able to generate at
least 300 megawatts but due to erratic coal supplies from Hwange Colliery
Company, this also crippled everything."
Disgruntled farmers this week heaped blame on Zesa power cuts for the
expected low crop yield. Due to power shortages and other factors such as
input and financial limitations, Zimbabwe now targets a yield of almost half
the 2006 output of 78 000 tonnes.
At least 45 000 hectares were put under the winter crop, 41 percent less
than the projected 76 000 hectares. Eng. Rafemoyo said Zesa was not spared
from the challenges affecting the economy, chief among them foreign currency
shortages that have curtailed power imports.
Coupled with low capacity to generate electricity, the currency situation
has virtually paralysed the country's power supply situation. Eng. Rafemoyo
added that at peak periods Zesa could only supply at least 50 percent of the
country's electricity requirements.
He said: "We had to share that little among all the country's productive
sectors as well as for domestic consumption and this resulted in more power
cuts being experienced. "We are planning to meet with farmers and maybe come
up with timetables and enable those with electricity to irrigate their
Agriculture analysts have described the 2007 winter wheat crop as the worst
in recent years with production predicted to decline sharply as the
condition of the crop is generally poor.
They argued that while farmers got some inputs on time, irregular power
supplies had strangled wheat production. Some farmers have suffered heavy
losses, including damage to electric motors and irrigation equipment due to
disruptions in electricity supplies.
Postapartheid Pretoria has become the free world's leading coddler of
BY JAMES KIRCHICK
Wednesday, August 8, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
Last September, not long after the Israeli-Hezbollah war, South Africa's
minister of intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, praised the Islamist group
committed to Israel's destruction. The Iran News Agency, albeit prone to
exaggeration, reported that Mr. Kasrils "lauded [the] great victories of the
Lebanese Hezbollah against the Zionist forces" and "stressed that the
successful Lebanese resistance proved the vulnerability of the Israeli
army." The comment received no attention in the South African media; nor,
for that matter, did the international press seem particularly interested.
And yet, the scandalous comment occurred immediately after the South African
government had warmly received the visiting Iranian foreign minister and
expressed support for Iran's campaign for uranium enrichment--in spite of
the passing of a United Nations Security Council deadline that same week
regarding the suspension of Iran's nuclear program.
This stance toward Iran is cause for concern on its own. Unfortunately, it
is also illustrative of a much broader and more chilling trend in South
Africa's postapartheid foreign policy: one that cozies up to tyrants, and is
increasingly orientated against the West--even at the cost of its
self-proclaimed principles of human rights and political freedom.
Postapartheid South Africa's easy relationship with dictatorships, it should
be noted, is not a new development. Until very recently, however, it has
largely been overlooked by the media. This oversight is likely due to the
fact that, much like its out-of-control crime rate, any bad news about South
Africa is viewed as a blemish on the popular and self-comforting narrative
surrounding the country's emergence from apartheid. Indeed, that a country
scarred by so many years of violent racial segregation could transform
itself into a fully functioning democracy with a robust economy while
simultaneously avoiding the wide-scale racial bloodbath feared by many is
nothing short of miraculous. But judging by its international relations,
South Africa--by far the most politically stable, economically productive
and militarily powerful country in sub-Saharan Africa--appears to be moving
into the camp of the anti-Western powers, a loose but increasingly worrisome
consortium not unlike the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement. Drawing heavily
upon its history as a liberation movement, the African National Congress
cloaks itself in a shroud of moral absolutism that not so subtly implicates
its critics as racists, Western stooges, or apologists for apartheid.
In a 1993 article written for Foreign Affairs on the eve of his country's
transfer of power, Nelson Mandela declared that "South Africa's future
foreign relations will be based on our belief that human rights should be
the core of international relations." Mr. Mandela had good reason to attempt
an improvement of his country's international image: South Africa's
apartheid government was the cause of much instability in the region,
involved as it was in international terrorism against antiapartheid leaders
and cross-border raids in a number of black "frontline states."
With the transition of power, then, many hoped that South Africa would prove
to be a beacon of good governance and responsible leadership for the rest of
Africa. Unfortunately, not long after he was released from prison, Mr.
Mandela himself began cavorting with the likes of Fidel Castro ("Long live
Comrade Fidel Castro!" he said at a 1991 rally in Havana), Moammar Gadhafi
(whom he visited in 1997 in defiance of American objections, greeting the
Libyan dictator as "my brother leader") and Yasser Arafat ("a comrade in
arms"). Mr. Mandela felt affection toward these men because they supported
the ANC in exile. But he seemed unperturbed by the fact that Cuba, Libya and
the PLO all employed terrorist tactics and treated their critics much as the
apartheid state had.
That Mr. Mandela has comported himself so comfortably with dictators is more
than hypocritical--it is a betrayal of the principles for which he
languished twenty-seven years in prison. Yet while Mr. Mandela's
grandstanding with tyrants is regrettable, it has been far less serious than
his ANC successors' strategic and systematic support for a broadly
Perhaps the best example of the ANC's betrayal of the cause of human rights
is in its dealings with its immediate neighbor to the north, Zimbabwe. Since
he initiated a policy of violent confiscation of white-owned farms in 2000,
President Robert Mugabe has presided over what might arguably be the most
abysmal degeneration of a modern nation-state. Once the "jewel of Africa," a
relatively affluent country that boasted high life expectancies, abundant
food exports and the continent's highest literacy rates, Zimbabwe may now
lay claim to one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the world, mass
starvation and a politically oppressed citizenry.
Four years ago, as the country entered free fall, President Bush referred to
South African President Thabo Mbeki as his "point man" on Zimbabwe. And in
March of this year, the African Union once again reaffirmed its support for
Mr. Mbeki as a peacebroker. But the ANC government has failed to deliver on
the responsibility with which the world has entrusted it. Primarily because
Mugabe was a liberation hero who fought against white colonialism, the ANC
has been reluctant to take any action that might alleviate the brutality of
his rule, never mind dislodge the tyrant from power. Indeed, South Africa is
worse than inactive on Zimbabwe: It props up Mugabe via a formal military
alliance, and does its diplomatic best to keep Zimbabwe off the
In March, Tony Leon, then the leader of South Africa's Democratic Alliance
(the country's leading opposition party), invoked the repression of the
apartheid years to make clear just how aberrant his country's policy on
Zimbabwe has become. He went so far as to call South Africa's relationship
with Zimbabwe "an insult to the Sharpeville victims," the 69 black civilians
who were killed by the state's security forces at an antiapartheid rally in
1960, an act that sparked the ANC's armed campaign against white rule.
Considering the conditions in Mugabe's Zimbabwe (where democracy activists
are imprisoned, tortured and killed, opposition rallies are banned, and the
free media are largely silenced), the comparison to apartheid-era South
Africa is hardly hyperbolic.
South Africa's newfound presence on the U.N. Security Council (it took up a
two-year, nonpermanent seat in January) has placed its troublesome foreign
policy in stark relief. One of the strongest proponents of Security Council
reform via an expanded number of veto powers, South Africa assumed its seat
with the hope of stirring things up and providing a voice for both the
underdeveloped and developing world. With its proximity to and influence
over Zimbabwe, South Africa might have seized the opportunity its position
on the Security Council offered to earn international respect by drawing
attention to its neighbor's ill-doings. Indeed, Mugabe could not have
offered a more convenient reason for South Africa's condemnation: In March,
he cracked down on his opponents by violently suppressing a public prayer
meeting, and government agents cracked the skull of the country's opposition
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Yet South Africa's ambassador to the U.N. repeatedly stated his government's
belief that Zimbabwe is a local problem best left for Mugabe and his
opposition to deal with among themselves. So, too, did South Africa oppose
attempts to bring the issue before the United Nations, choosing to go the
route of "silent diplomacy" instead. Yet this policy, partly inspired by
South African President Mbeki's genuine fear of Mugabe, a man with far
stronger anticolonial liberation credentials than he, has been an
unqualified failure from the beginning.
South Africa has balked at the chance to champion human rights at the U.N.
in other instances, as well, lest it be seen as siding with Western forces.
For instance, the first significant vote placed before the Security Council
this year dealt with a nonbinding resolution regarding the military junta in
Burma. The resolution called for the release of all political prisoners, a
process of national reconciliation (one, it should be noted, not unlike
South Africa's) and an end to human-rights abuses. South Africa, along with
Russia and its crucial trading partner, China (whose neoimperialism in
Africa has been extensively documented), voted against the resolution's
acceptance--which, ironically, called for far less stringent measures than
what the ANC itself demanded the world invoke against the apartheid regime.
Even Archbishop Desmond Tutu admitted that the Burma vote was "a betrayal of
our own noble past." Yet South Africa was content to recommend that Burma be
referred to the Human Rights Council, a kangaroo court at which the world's
villains pass judgment on Western democracies, and where such a resolution
would garner little attention.
The ANC has also made important entrées with the Arab and Muslim bloc by
striking a defiantly anti-American pose. The ANC government opposed
sanctions on Saddam Hussein's Iraq, for example, and even questioned the
legality of the American- and British-enforced no-fly zones, which protected
the Kurds and Marsh Arabs from certain genocide. In the run-up to the Iraq
war, South African Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad (who
earlier this year claimed that the United States was responsible for a
"volatile, dangerous and unpredictable environment" in world affairs) met
with Saddam in Baghdad to deliver a letter from President Mbeki that
"expressed [Mr. Mbeki's] solidarity with Iraq."
Other ranking members of the ANC have expressed similarly bizarre,
anti-Western views. Just before the war began, the secretary general of the
ANC told antiwar protesters that "because we are endowed with several rich
minerals, if we don't stop this unilateral action against Iraq today,
tomorrow they will come for us." A year prior, the Guardian quoted the
country's health minister (who has suggested that AIDS sufferers eat
beetroot and garlic to treat themselves) as saying that South Africa cannot
afford drugs to fight HIV/AIDS partly because it needs submarines to deter
attacks from nations such as the United States (she later denied ever making
The ANC (due to South Africa's appalling lack of political finance
regulations) has accepted millions of dollars in donations from foreign
governments and officials including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
former Indonesian strongman Suharto and the viciously anti-Semitic Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia. Perhaps wary of how such an act would
be received by its steadily increasing Muslim population, South Africa also
decided not to co-sponsor the U.N. General Assembly resolution on Holocaust
denial in January, and has joined in the chorus of those nations calling for
the United States and the European Union to lift their sanctions on the
Hamas-led Palestinian government.
Though South Africa's Muslim community is small (just 1.5% of the
population), it has become increasingly radicalized, and the ANC has done
everything to appease it. In June of 2003, Mr. Pahad met with
representatives of Hezbollah and legitimized the group by stating that
"clear distinctions" ought be made "between terrorism and legitimate
struggle for liberation." The ANC often lends credence to terrorism against
Israel by likening the struggle of the Arabs to that of South Africa's
nonwhites. Three years ago, Pakistani police captured three South Africans
who stand accused of plotting to blow up the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and
government buildings in Pretoria. Another South African has been arrested in
connection to the July 7, 2005, London transit bombings, and earlier this
year, the U.S. Treasury named two South African cousins as substantial
financial contributors to al Qaeda. While the American government blocked
them from making financial transactions in the U.S., South Africa's foreign
minister attempted to use his country's new seat on the Security Council to
block the terrorist-sponsoring designation from taking effect. And to top
this all off, the ANC called for South Africans to "turn out in their
thousands" the week of June 4 "in solidarity with the Palestinian people."
Ultimately, however, what ought to matter most to the international
community is South Africa's increasingly outspoken role in legitimizing
Iranian nuclear ambitions. And the U.S. has indeed shown concern: In
response to the Iranian foreign minister's visit to South Africa last August
(when South Africa again declared that Iran has an "inalienable right" to a
peaceful nuclear energy program) the United States sent its permanent
representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency to Pretoria in
hopes of convincing South Africa to take a harder line.
Given the complicated nature of South African-American relations due to the
latter's inaction (and, at times, obstruction) in bringing down apartheid,
it was understandable that Ambassador Gregory Schulte would attempt to win
the South Africans over with flattery: "South Africa's example and
leadership position you to help Iran's leaders to think hard about Iran's
future and to consider two different models: The first, North
Korea--nuclear-armed, but impoverished, isolated, insignificant; the second,
South Africa--nuclear weapons-free, but secure, dynamic, and a respected
player in your region and the world. The choice should be clear. You can
help Iran's leaders make the right one." Nevertheless, South Africa has
remained credulous of Iranian protestations about the supposedly civilian
purpose of its nuclear program. Indeed, its representative to the U.N.
recently told South Africa's Sunday Times that "We will . . . defend the
right of countries to have nuclear technology for peaceful uses. For
South Africa's friendliness toward Iran has apparently increased in
proportion to its emergence as a considerable player on the world stage. In
March, serving in its temporary role as Security Council president, South
Africa attempted to halt the imposition of a new round of sanctions on Iran
for its defiance of IAEA mandates. The sanctions, proposed by the unusual
alliance of the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany,
instituted an arms embargo and asset freeze--both of which South Africa
fought to remove from the resolution, and, barring that, to postpone until
after a 90-day "time out" period. Although the Security Council's five veto
powers overruled South Africa's attempts at watering down the resolution,
France's U.N. ambassador told the Associated Press that South Africa's
diplomatic maneuvering had nonetheless "weakened a lot of the resolution."
That South Africa would support Iran is partly a matter of oil politics:
Iran supplies almost half the oil South Africa uses. Two years ago, the
Iranians claimed that they had entered into talks with South Africa about
the latter's supplying them with unprocessed uranium for enrichment
purposes, a claim the South African government later denied. But South
African sympathy for Iran clearly goes deeper than mere trade links. For
instance, South Africa has recently found itself in a situation similar to
Iran's as it debates whether or not to proceed once again with a uranium
enrichment program for "peaceful purposes." Perhaps, then, the South
Africans believe they will be labeled hypocrites for demanding greater
scrutiny of Iranian activity while simultaneously sponsoring an enrichment
program of their own.
Yet the issue with Iran, at least, has never been uranium enrichment per se.
Rather, it has been transparency and intent. No one seriously believes that
South Africa's motives in potential uranium enrichment would be nefarious,
and that South Africa--for the most part a good international citizen--would
hinder any sort of outside inspection effort of its facilities. The same can
hardly be said of Iran. As the Johannesburg Star recently advised the South
African government, "Sometimes you have to get off the fence and take
sides." When it comes to Iran, a democratic country like South Africa ought
to know which side to take.
Increasingly an influential force behind South Africa's power plays in the
world arena is Ronnie Kasrils, the country's minister of intelligence and
possibly the highest-ranking Jewish official in any government outside of
Israel. A veteran of the antiapartheid struggle, Mr. Kasrils fled the
country at the cusp of 25 and spent the next 27 years in exile as a leader
of the ANC's military wing. Though the vast majority of South African
Jews--safely ensconced within that country's privileged white community--did
little to fight apartheid, Mr. Kasrils was one of the Jews who, in
disproportionate numbers, took an active role in opposing the racist system
(in addition to being one of the Jews who, also in disproportionate numbers,
joined the Communist Party). Mr. Kasrils is also a vocal anti-Zionist and
Israel's most outspoken critic in South Africa. He, like other high-ranking
ANC figures, appears to believe that Iranian intentions are ultimately
benign, and that Israel is in fact the major source of aggression and
instability in the region. The prism of Mr. Kasrils's views on the Middle
East provides the necessary context for understanding the ANC leadership's
views on international affairs.
In early September of this year, Mr. Kasrils wrote of Israel in the weekly
Mail & Guardian that "we must call baby killers 'baby killers,' and declare
that those using methods reminiscent of the Nazis be told that they are
behaving like Nazis." This article was published mere days before Mr.
Kasrils ventured to Tehran to glorify Hezbollah. A few months prior, Mr.
Kasrils joined some 70 South African Jews in a statement published in
several of the country's newspapers declaring that, "Jewish support for
Israel aggression kills humanity." Not surprisingly, Mr. Kasrils supports
boycotting the Jewish state, endorses a "one-state solution" that would
spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and frequently lends credence to
the "Israel is an apartheid state" meme.
Mr. Kasrils's stance on Israel has become so egregious that Helen Suzman, a
prominent secular Jew who served 36 years in Parliament as an
opponent--sometimes the only one--of apartheid, has written that "it is not
only religious Jews who object to Kasrils's allegations. The issue is the
anti-Semitism fostered by Kasrils's pronouncements." In May of this year,
Mr. Kasrils invited Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader and prime minister of
the Palestinian National Authority, to South Africa. Of the invitation, the
South African Board of Jewish Deputies released a statement reading:
"Expressing support for an organization whose very founding charter
describes the Jewish people as evil enemies of humanity and calls for its
total annihilation, fundamentally contradicts the ideals both of South
Africa and of the ruling ANC itself."
Joel Pollak, currently a student at Harvard Law School and a former
speechwriter for the opposition Democratic Alliance, is a knowledgeable
observer of Mr. Kasrils, having written a master's thesis on his relations
with South Africa's Jewish community, which currently numbers between 70,000
and 80,000. It is not, Mr. Pollak maintains, Mr. Kasrils's extreme views
that most upset South African Jews, but rather the way in which Mr. Kasrils
advances them. "Kasrils, unlike Tony Judt, has political power," he told me.
He went on to explain that Mr. Kasrils's attacks on Israel--and South
African Jews, as well, for their alleged complicity in Israeli "war
crimes"--echo the not so subtle warnings issued to Jews in the early 1960s
by Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, who cautioned that Jewish support for
the antiapartheid Progressive Party might inspire a wave of
Though Mr. Pollak says there is no doubt that Mr. Kasrils believes the
things he says about Israel (his unwavering communism, for instance, helps
account for much of his anti-Zionist ideology), he has cynically used his
Jewishness--a trait he rarely ever acknowledges, except when criticizing
Israel--to curry favor within the ranks of the ANC, where anti-imperialism
is still in vogue, however outdated. Mr. Kasrils "knows that because he's a
white minister in an intensely racially nationalistic cabinet, he's very
vulnerable," Mr. Pollak concludes. Thus, by so publicly going after his own
relatively miniscule minority community of Jews, Mr. Kasrils proves his
leftist, Third Worldist bona fides to the ANC elite. And if his rise in
prominence within the party is any indication, the ANC certainly approves of
Mr. Kasrils's frequent Israel-bashing: In 2004, he was appointed
intelligence minister from his former post as minister of water affairs and
Mr. Kasrils, characteristic of the South African communists who were
catapulted into power while their ideological fatherland crumbled, is
unrepentant about the Cold War. In his self-congratulatory memoir, "Armed
and Dangerous," he writes, "Whatever the drawbacks and failures I am
convinced that in years to come humanity will look back to Soviet
achievements as a source of profound inspiration." He blames the defeat of
the Soviet system on those in power who were affected by a "fatal loss of
confidence and will" and he writes admiringly of Che Guevara and "other
Many people might prefer to wave Mr. Kasrils off as a harmless crank from a
bygone generation. But as minister of intelligence, Mr. Kasrils is
instrumental in shaping South Africa's approach to dealing with the Iranian
nuclear threat. As Mr. Pollak observes, "South Africa is now the only state
in the democratic world aside from Venezuela, maybe, that is standing behind
Iran on everything." So, too, is Mr. Kasrils integral to South Africa's
treatment of the Zimbabwe problem: In the spring of 2005, not long after
Mugabe uprooted 700,000 of the country's poorest citizens from their homes
in a move reminiscent of apartheid governments' forced relocations of poor
blacks to "independent homelands" in the barren countryside, Mr. Kasrils
signed a military agreement with Zimbabwe, declaring that "the liberation
struggles of Southern Africa and the resultant shedding of blood for a
common cause . . . cemented our cooperation on the way forward in the
development of our respective countries."
The source of the ANC's kid-gloves treatment of totalitarians is undoubtedly
its historic skepticism, even downright hostility, toward the West. This
viewpoint solidified during the apartheid years, when it was the Soviet
Union that supplied the ANC with weapons and issued diplomatic broadsides
against the United States and Britain for their cozy relations with the
apartheid regime. Today, the ANC rules South Africa not by itself, but as
part of the fabled "tripartite alliance" that it legally formed with the
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African
Communist Party (SACP) in the early 1990s after these opposition movements
were legalized by the apartheid government. Herein lies much of the problem.
To its credit, the ANC's left wing has been its most insistent internal
critic on Zimbabwe (largely because Mugabe has crushed his country's
independent trade unions). Nonetheless, anachronistic "anti-imperialist"
ideology still fills the heads of those in the highest echelons of the
party. Only compounding matters, both the COSATU and the SACP are "rabidly
anti-Israel," as a South African Jewish community leader told me, viewing
Israel as America's mouthpiece in the region. Moreover, while the ANC has
supported liberal macroeconomic policies (to the delight of both domestic
and international business), this is due to economic necessity rather than
an ideological commitment to free markets. Indeed, the ANC has long been
suspicious of Western intentions, to the point of paranoia, and nowhere has
this been more apparent than in the attitudes of many high-ranking ANC
figures on the supposed "Western" approaches to HIV (such as the belief that
it actually causes AIDS) and Zimbabwe.
The ANC has always featured communists in its ranks, and while some members
were fervently opposed to left-wing totalitarianism, they never reached
anything approaching critical mass. Indeed, those liberal antiapartheid
movements and activists who were just as outspoken in their opposition to
communism as they were to racial discrimination--such as the novelist Alan
Paton, leader of the short-lived Liberal Party; Helen Suzman of the
Progressive Party; and the English-language press--have notoriously been
maligned by ANC apparatchiks as handmaidens to apartheid. Consequently, a
history of antitotalitarianism--a strong, bipartisan current in American
politics, shaped by the Cold War experience--simply does not exist in South
Africa. Instead, fuzzy leftover notions of "anti-imperialism" dominate the
political discourse of influential ANC leaders.
South Africa's coddling of Iran, then, must be seen as of a piece with its
deferral of responsibility as concerns Zimbabwe, its following of the
Chinese cue on Burma, and its siding with the Palestinians. All of these
decisions are undergirded by a long-established and deeply rooted
uncertainty, if not downright antagonism, toward the West.
Of course, this bleak picture just painted should not obscure the many
admirable developments on the continent in which South Africa has played a
leading role. It oversaw, for instance, the transformation of the
Organization for African Unity, for too long a group that legitimized the
kleptocratic tendencies of its member states, into the African Union, which,
however weak, has at least deployed several thousand peacekeepers to Darfur.
And with the largest and most professional military on the continent, South
Africa has also deployed peacekeeping troops in Congo, Ivory Coast and
Burundi. Despite his faults (and they are many), Mr. Mbeki is a dedicated
internationalist who envisions his country playing a robust, leading role on
a continent that could learn much from South Africa's democratic liberalism,
political stability and economic vitality.
But creeping anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments seem to have bubbled
up from under the surface of South African political discourse. Indeed, they
have now become an ideological underpinning of South Africa's foreign
policy. The American political and media establishment looks askance at this
development as, at least on its face, it pales in comparison to the actual
human misery that is so widespread on the continent. Moreover, there is
little that America or its allies can do to "punish" South Africa for its
waywardness; on the contrary, the United States relies heavily on South
Africa to be the continental, never mind regional, hegemon, and isolating
Pretoria might imperil America's many other initiatives in Africa.
For decades, the international community rightly considered South Africa a
pariah state. With the fall of apartheid, South Africa earned the unique
right to be a clarion voice for freedom and human rights around the world.
What a shame, then, that the ANC pursues policies hearkening back to its
country's discredited past.
Mr. Kirchick is assistant to the editor in chief of The New Republic.