††††† Zimbabwe approves law to ban foreign rights groups †††††
09 Dec 2004 16:06:32 GMT
††††† Source: Reuters
HARARE, Dec 9
(Reuters) - Zimbabwe's parliament voted on Thursday to pass a law banning
foreign funded rights groups in the country.
President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF used its majority in parliament to vote 48 to the
opposition's 28 to approve the law, which critics say is part of a
government battle against its political opponents.
Mugabe's government --
which accuses Britain and other Western powers of using non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) in a campaign against it -- says the bill would ban
foreign funding of rights activists and require organisations operating in
the country to register with a state-appointed body.
government is subverting the country's legal system in order to stay in
power, according to an international group of lawyers who recently visited
the Southern African state.
In a report, Stephen Irwin, chairperson of
the Bar of England and Wales, says the group found that judges and the
courts have been "profoundly compromised".
"We have concluded that
the Zimbabwean justice system has ceased to be independent and impartial,"
the report on the state of justice in Zimbabwe concludes.
the petitions of electorates regarding alleged electoral abuse in the 2004
parliamentary elections have been brought to conclusion," Irwin told the
Mail & Guardian Online on Thursday.
"That means that Zimbabwe will
choose a new Parliament in March without knowing whether all aspects of the
previous elections have been conducted lawfully," he added.
those within the system have been driven out by some kind of pressure, and
much of the legal system of Zimbabwe has been subverted by the Zanu-PF
government [of President Robert Mugabe], in an effort to frustrate the
proper working of democracy and to hold on to power," says Irwin, who was
part of the delegation, in the group's report on the visit.
still judges and lawyers in the system that are very courageous and brave
and act according to the law, but these people are in danger, which can even
mean they fear for their lives."
The report says it was clear to the
delegation "that the judicial system in Zimbabwe has become profoundly
compromised over the past four years".
"It is not too late for Zimbabwe's
judiciary. There is still a legal system, courts operate and judges rule. If
the political will is there, Zimbabwe can still be a democratic operating
state abiding by the rule of law," Irwin told the M&G
"But governments in the region and especially the South African
government should speak out against what is happening in Zimbabwe. How can
Mbeki keep quiet? We cannot forget about Zimbabwe.
"And I think that
even in Zimbabwe itself there are political voices that want to speak up and
make sure that the rule of law is restored.
"Does Mugabe want to end his
career as a tyrant? He was always seen as the liberator, and that image is
changing to that of a tyrant. Is that really what he wants?"
lawyers and we have no political interest whatsoever. We care about the
legal system of Zimbabwe."
Other members of the delegation were Glenn
Martin, president of the Queensland Bar Association in Australia;
vice-chairperson of the South African Bar Justice Poswa; vice-dean of the
Faculty of Advocates of Scotland Roy Martin; and Conor Maguire, chairperson
of the Irish Bar.
Some judges have even been given land at nominal rents
under the government's farm-reallocation scheme, the report
Magistrates and prosecutors perceived as unsympathetic to
Mugabe's government also have faced attacks on their families and property,
"The legal culture has been subverted for political
Zimbabwe is facing its worst political and economic crisis since
independence, with Mugabe's autocratic regime cracking down on dissent ahead
of parliamentary elections in March.
Agricultural production has
collapsed in the four years since Mugabe ordered the seizure of about 5 000
white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.
9 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said on Thursday his nation's
ailing economy was on track for recovery but hinted those who failed to
utilise their claims in the mining sector might lose out to "more serious"
In an end-of-year address to parliament, Mugabe said mineral
production increased during the last 12 months in response to higher global
prices, increased production and the reopening of mines that had closed
under a harsh operating climate.
"Our platinum mining activities
should pull this sector to full recovery as well as leading the way in terms
of mineral processing," he said, adding Zimbabwe, with the world's second
largest deposits of platinum, should strive for capacity to process platinum
Mugabe urged foreigners with mining interests in Zimbabwe to be
"proactive", warning: "Those foreigners intent on holding to our wealth
embedded underground for speculative or other shady reasons must make way
for others who mean serious business.
Zimbabwe wants to implement a
mining policy which would see locals assuming a larger stake in the sector,
where foreign multinationals still play a leading role.
African state has been plagued by an economic crisis widely blamed on
government mismanagement and shown in three-digit inflation, record
unemployment and chronic shortages of foreign currency and fuel.
government says the economy has received a lifeline from a new monetary
policy regime which has seen annual inflation subside to 209 percent from an
all-time peak of 628 percent in January.
Foreign currency auctions
introduced at the start of the year have also increased the flow of money
through the formal system from a previously-thriving black
"On balance the economy has performed commendably under adverse
conditions of illegal sanctions, diminished official development assistance
inflows and other forms of balance of payment support," he
Zimbabwe's problems have been worsened by the suspension of key aid
from the international community in response to Mugabe's controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks and his
disputed re-election in 2002 polls.
"We have relied on our own
ingenuity and means which are occasionally supplemented by genuine friends,"
said Mugabe, who accuses the West of sabotaging Zimbabwe's
But Mugabe had none of his usual acerbic words for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which he labels a puppet of his
In a rare conciliatory tone, Mugabe urged all
Zimbabweans to pull together in reviving the economy, saying: "We are one
nation, with one economy and no doubt working together we can make Zimbabwe
Mugabe bars Western observers from vote 05:57 AEDT Fri Dec 10
AP - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe vowed not to allow Western
observers to monitor next year's parliamentary elections, saying only
"fair-minded" countries would be asked to monitor the key
"Outside observers will be coming in strictly on the basis of
invitation," Mugabe said in a state-of-the-nation address to
Mugabe accuses Britain and other Western countries of unfair
criticism of his country's record on human rights and democracy.
continue to make our case with the fair-minded members of the international
community who, thankfully, are in the majority," he said.
observers said the last parliamentary elections in 2000 and presidential
polls in 2002 were marred by vote rigging and intimidation blamed mostly on
ruling party militants.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party currently holds 98 of
Parliament's 150 seats.
The next legislative vote is scheduled for March.
It comes at a time of economic and political crisis.
agriculture-based economy has collapsed in the four years since Mugabe
ordered the often-violent seizure of some 5,000 white-owned commercial farms
for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.
Mugabe pledged to wrest a
greater share of mining investments from foreign owners he accused of using
them for "speculative or other shady reasons".
parliament passed an electoral reform bill which will give Mugabe the right
to appoint key members of a poll commission to oversee the parliamentary
The bill is part of an effort by Zimbabwe to effect electoral
reforms in line with standards set by the Southern African Development
Community regional bloc.
The bill outlaws foreign funding for voter
education unless it is channelled through the electoral commission and gives
Mugabe the right to pick the five members of the electoral commission out of
a list of seven people recommended by a parliamentary committee.
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has described the
bill as a "facade."
Journalism conference looks at truth, lies,
and narrative How to assess truth in storytelling By Jennifer
Ehrlich Special to the Harvard News Office
War and truth telling
dominated last weekend's Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism (Dec.
3-5). The ongoing violence in Iraq and postelection timing lent a sense of
urgency to the many lectures, panel discussions, and question sessions about
improving the craft and content of news writing.
Foundation's annual conference is devoted to storytelling, or narrative. But
this was a year in which many journalists - from prize winners to
neighborhood beat reporters - were compelled to tell stories that were, more
often than not, tragic. The reporting legacy of World War II and the Vietnam
War were recurring reference points in conference discussions about how to
depict reality in the midst of military battles - and the battle for hearts
"'Reality' is a word that's in danger of being lost. The only
bright side is, for most people, 'reality' isn't a word that lifts the
heart. It's slightly depressing," said novelist Norman Mailer '43 (one of
four keynote speakers), delivering Saturday's address to the 1,000
journalists, editors, and scholars from around the world who assembled at
the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge.
The origins of the narrative
journalism movement are rarely mentioned without crediting Mailer, author of
the seminal "nonfiction novels" "The Armies of the Night" and "Miami and the
Siege of Chicago." He delivered a speech contrasting what he calls the
"myths" America has been offered to justify the war with "hypotheses" that
require inquiry or verification.
"May many good questions prevail," he
said in closing. "They are in peril."
It's easy to spot the impact of the narrative journalism
movement in newspaper stories. They are the ones that seem to live and
breathe on the page, that pull you in from the first paragraph like a good
book you can't put down.
Yet industry introspection about the
integrity of reporting and the ethics of sourcing were central themes of the
conference, in a year when even the nation's leading news organizations
admitted to faulty reporting based on inaccurate, unverified "official"
The spectrum of opinion and charged atmosphere was reflected
in the responses of Saturday morning's keynote panel to the assigned
question: "In wartime, do journalists become propagandists?"
was the self-described "simplistic" response from David Finkel, a Washington
Post writer who has reported from Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He
described the mission of battlefield reporting as capturing the truth
through all possible lenses, passing the cumulative vision on to the
"We are trying in our various ways to just get at the truth of
what is going on," Finkel said.
Daniel Ellsberg countered that simply
seeking truth is no guarantee of the accuracy of what you find. Propaganda,
he claimed, is delivered on a government level: "And the press, seeking the
truth, didn't seek very well and failed."
Ellsberg is known primarily
for his role as a source of classified information during the Nixon era. In
1967, as an analyst at the RAND Corp., Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers,
the top-secret study of U.S. decisionmaking in Vietnam, to the
He illustrated his point that reporters are easily diverted with a
magic trick, opening and closing his empty palm then producing a yellow silk
scarf from his fist. Ellsberg encouraged the press to assume the "humble but
vastly heroic" role of the dog Toto in the "Wizard of Oz," and pull back the
curtain to unveil the truth.
Photographer and Nieman Fellow Molly
Bingham described the reality of covering a war under the threat of
kidnapping. In Iraq, she suggested, journalists end up inhibiting their
ability to report freely in exchange for the safety and access of being
embedded within the military forces.
"We aren't bothering to figure out
the other side," said Bingham, who spent 10 months last year on an in-depth
story about Iraqi insurgents. She has reported from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan,
the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Gaza Strip, and was Al Gore's
Bingham said reliance on official sources meant
that even though Iraqis stood at the prison gates with tales of prisoner
abuse in Abu Ghraib months before the stories were disseminated by the
press, it was only when American soldiers produced photos that reporters
began to take the news seriously.
Writing - and photographing -
Veteran narrative journalism coach Roy Peter Clark from The Poynter
Institute traced the evolving role of the journalist in wartime from World
War II to Vietnam.
World War II journalists embraced the role of
journalist as loyal propagandist, he said, a wartime role changed by Vietnam
where, Clark asserted, the scale of losses turned the press corps toward
actively exposing misinformation through fact.
"The belief that what
we do is not propaganda but truth telling is a form of propaganda itself,"
said Clark, noting that intervening in Sudan, for example, would require a
kind of biased information campaign that many would view as
But the conference wasn't only devoted to text. Editors
constantly make critical narrative choices in the selection and placement of
"The Iraq war for the last year has been waged on the back of
images," said former journalist Barbie Zelizer, Raymond Williams Professor
of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University
Zelizer, whose research focus is news images in
times of crisis, highlighted the role of images of kidnapped Americans
before beheading. The images were used to mobilize troops and support, but
the sources of the photos were kidnappers who effectively usurped the role
of journalists in conveying the wartime message.
Former Nieman Fellow
Geoffrey Nyarota told the story of a critical "Page One" photo choice at the
Daily News, a newspaper he co-founded in 1999 as Zimbabwe's only independent
A female supporter of one political party was kidnapped by
supporters of another party, Nyarota said, and forced to sit on a hotplate
in a kitchen. When the photo of the mutilated woman turned up on his desk,
the editorial staff engaged in discussion about whether to run it. Was it
too shocking and revolting to appear in the paper, or would such an
offensive photo confront the public with the reality of the consequences of
Nyarota said the solution they came up with was to
make copies of the photos and send them home with editors to gauge the
responses from their families. Then they'd decide.
"Three days later,
they all came back and there was unanimous assent that we should print this
picture, and print it on page one," said Nyarota.
The reaction was
tremendous from both sides of the political divide, with a consensus that
the political violence had gone too far, he said.
Nyarota came to Harvard
as a Nieman Fellow after he fled to South Africa to escape his seventh
arrest during Zimbabwe President Mugabe's campaign against freedom of the
press. He is now a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard's
John F. Kennedy School of Government.
"By protecting the public we
mislead them into thinking there is no violence in war," he warned, echoing
the feeling among many journalists at the conference, that part of telling a
story effectively is having the courage and diligence to tell the story at
United Nations has recognized that its 53-member Commission on Human Rights
is in dire need of reform. A report prepared for Secretary General Kofi Annan
accurately noted that some of the grosser human rights violators are seeking
commission seats as a way of deflecting and avoiding criticism of their
Sudan, guilty of tolerating both slavery and genocide, is
serving a third term as a member. Sudan's man at the United Nations said the
United States was in no position to criticize Sudan's abysmal record on
human rights because of the Abu Ghraib prison scandals. That's a truly
bizarre assertion of moral equivalence.
Cuba won uncontested
re-election to the commission even as the Castro regime was pointedly
jailing dissidents. Libya was even commission chair for a term. Zimbabwe was
given a seat over U.S. objections.
Having these members on board further
paralyzes a body whose activities on behalf of human rights can best be
described as sluggish.
The best solution would be for the United Nations
to confront its worst members by establishing standards for membership --
the rule of law, a free press, an independent judiciary, a humane criminal
justice system. Like membership in NATO or the European Union, candidates
would be expected to meet certain criteria.
But the reforms proposed
to Annan would go the other direction. There would be no standards and
membership would be thrown open to any U.N. member who wanted to serve. This
is as good as having no commission at all -- an option that begins to look
more and more attractive as the commission grows more and more
And that would be too bad because, for all the
organization's faults, many millions of people really do look to it for
But given the current state of the United Nations, none at all will
be coming, for example, to the people of
'Why I support Mugabe' ††††††††† December 09 2004 at
††††† By Moshoeshoe Monare
††††† Casting a conspicuous
figure in the sweltering, stuffy International Convention Centre in Harare,
the bearded Zanu-PF member raises his clenched fist every time the speaker
screams "Viva Zanu-PF, Viva".
††††† With a Zanu-coloured scarf wrapped
around his neck, he sings the liberation slogans with a wide smile,
unleashing passion and loyalty to the party.
††††† He is conspicuous
because he is white in a party congress full of black members whose leaders
- from President Robert Mugabe to Zanu Harare provincial chairperson Amos
Midzi - punctuate their emotional addresses with invective against
††††† And ironically, he is of British descent and two-thirds of
Mugabe's speech was against British "imperialism" and Tony Blair's "gay"
††††† However, Ian Deddowes is equally against what President
Mugabe and the Zanu-PF leaders are obsessed about - whites and
††††† He was not surprised when I called him out of the hall for
an interview, because most of foreigners and to an extent locals who did not
know about him thought he was misplaced or ingratiating to the Zanu-PF
government as a protection fee.
††††† He admits that he is getting
tired of having to explain the reason for being a member of
††††† But the 61-year-old father of three from Bulawayo says he
has dedicated his political life to Zanu-PF and owes his allegiance to the
most vilified party and government.
††††† In fact, the construction
site manager is secretary for economic affairs for the party in
Masiyephambili district, Bulawayo.
††††† He claims he is not the only
white Zanu-PF member in Harare. "Perhaps I am one of the best known," he
††††† He defends Zanu-PF, saying the ruling party is not
††††† "The whites in Zimbabwe, the whites of Rhodesian
origin, have created their own problems. They had the chance, for instance,
on the question of the land to support the referendum for a new constitution
but they worked together with the British government, which gave them an
immense amount of money to try and destabilise the country over the land
††††† "Unfortunately, we lost that referendum by 10 000 votes
nationally. As a result, our war veterans quite correctly went directly on
to the land because this could not hold off any longer. Had the white
population supported the government and the new constitution, the land would
have been taken through negotiations, not by intervention of war veterans,
not by militant actions," he says.
††††† The referendum was held in
February 2000 on whether the population agreed with government's
constitutional and land reforms.
††††† He says contrary to the media
reports, only nine white farmers were killed in Zimbabwe, compared to
hundreds in South Africa.
††††† "If you study internationally the land
question, you will find that our land reform was almost non-violent by world
standards; our country is far less violent than South Africa."
Deddowes says many of the whites regret their stance during the referendum
and their rejection of Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
††††† "I have friends among
the old white Rhodesians and many of those guys who always lived here say
they don't want to go anywhere else.
††††† "Within the old white
community there is a section which is now saying they made a mistake by
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
say the British government has never been our friends, therefore we must
make our peace with the Zanu-PF government," he says.
††††† His adoration
for Mugabe and resentment for Blair makes him a hardcore Zanu-PF
††††† "I don't trust the British government. I'm British by
origin, the working class in Britain has fought the ruling class since 1391,
the peasant revolt. And no way, I can never support something coming from
the racist government like the government of Tony Blair."
vilification of Mugabe, he says, by the super powers is the same disdainful
treatment they handed former Zapu president and the late Zimbabwean
statesman, Joshua Nkomo.
††††† "In my view, comrade Mugabe is the most
important African leader since Nkomo. Under his leadership, he challenged
the imperialists," he says, venting his feelings.
††††† His decision
to join Zanu-PF stems from the fact that he grew up in leftist politics and
the communist party of Britain, having been recruited by Ronnie Kasrils,
South African minister of intelligence.
††††† "During my travels I met a
Zimbabwean lady. As a communist, there is one party I can belong to in
Zimbabwe, that is Zanu-PF.
††††† "I first joined the party in 1989 when I
was outside the country in Botswana. I started becoming active again in
1998," says Deddowes.
††††† Born in Birmingham, England, in his 20s
Deddowes lived in London and was an active member of the Communist Party of
Great Britain and the construction unions.
††††† "I was very close to
the African National Congress in South Africa and I came to Zimbabwe in
1985. I went to Angola for military training under Mkhonto we Sizwe and then
moved to Swaziland."
††††† During our interview, some black Zanu-PF
members were raising their fists and shouting pamberi ne (forward with)
††††† To him Zanu is not just a party that makes him
feel safe and protected in the politically volatile Zimbabwe, but a
political and ideological home.
††††† This article was originally
published on page 23 of Daily News on December 09, 2004
Zim 64 win right to appeal 09/12/2004 13:09† -
Harare - Sixty-four suspected mercenaries accused of
participating in a foiled coup plot in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea won the
right to appeal their sentences for minor offences in Zimbabwe, court
officials said on Thursday.
Judge Chenembiri Bhunu granted their request
to appeal to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. No date was set.
- mostly South Africans - were arrested when their plane landed in Zimbabwe
in March, allegedly en route to the west African nation to overthrow
President Teodoro Obiang.
The men insisted they were headed to Congo to
guard mining installations. They were convicted on minor immigration and
aviation charges and sentenced to 12-16 months in prison.
a former British special forces commander and the alleged coup leader, is
seeking a separate appeal against his seven-year sentence for security and
firearms violations in Zimbabwe.
Equatorial Guinea has sentenced 24 other
suspected mercenaries from European and African nations to lengthy jail
Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher, was charged in South Africa with helping to finance the plot -
allegations he denies.
††††† HARARE - Information and Publicity Minister
in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Jonathan Moyo and the six
suspended ruling Zanu PF provincial chairmen wanted to remove President
Robert Mugabe as first secretary and leader of the party, highly placed
sources in the party said on Wednesday.
††††† They told Daily
News Online that Moyo and the chairmen wanted to spring a surprise for
Mugabe at the Zanu PF congress by proposing that he steps down for a young
and energetic leader.
††††† "The Tsholotsho meeting was not about
blocking Cde Mujuru's candidature to the vice-presidency but it was about
something big. These guys actually wanted to topple our president and that
is why they were suspended," said one senior Zanu PF
††††† He said Mugabe was so incensed at the fact that some
people who had purported to support him so much were planning to kick him
out of office.
††††† "The President supported Mujuru and what it
means is if Moyo and his cronies had succeeded in going against him they
could also vote him out," said the official.
††††† The Zanu PF
supreme body, the politburo suspended six chairmen shortly before the
congress over a meeting they held in Moyo's home area to block Joyce
Mujuru's ascendancy to the post of vice-president and to discuss the party's
status after Mugabe's departure.
††††† The six suspended chairmen are
July Moyo for Midlands province, Mike Madiro, Manicaland; Themba Ncube,
Bulawayo; Daniel Shumba, Masvingo; Llyod Siyoka, Matabeleland South and
Jacob Mudenda, Matabeleland
††††† Asked why Moyo
was not suspended, the official said Moyo could not be suspended because he
had never been a member of Zanu PF.
††††† "How do you suspend someone
who does not belong to the party? He has never been one of us and we have
finished with him. He will not take part in any of our business," said the
††††† The official could however not say why the party and
Mugabe had sneaked Moyo into the party when his credentials had appeared
dubious from the start.
††††† Zanu PF spokesman Nathan
Shamuyarira could not be reached for comment.
††††† Confirmed at last: Gono a political bank
††††† Date: 10-Dec, 2004
††††† PRESIDENT Mugabe may
not have realised it immediately, but his open and gushing praise this week
of Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is unlikely to
improve that man's stature in the world of high finance.
Mugabe virtually baptised Gono as a member of the highest decision-making
organs of Zanu PF - the central committee and the politburo.
simple, political parlance, Gono is a man Mugabe and the rest of the Zanu PF
bigwigs can comfortably call "one of us".
††††† He will do the
party's bidding without question. The RBZ is ideally expected to be
autonomous, to be independent of government influence to the extent of
acting only when the national interests are served - not Zanu PF's, not Mr
and Mrs Mugabe's, not the central committee, not the
††††† Mugabe's criticism of the former governor, Leonard
Tsumba did not relate to any incompetence or dereliction of duty, but to
embracing fiscal policies anchored in tried and tested
††††† Only time will tell whether Gono's unorthodox
methods - some would call them quack practices - are the proper remedy for
what ails this economy - a monstrous bureaucracy which gobbles up a huge
chunk of the national budget, and a bunch of bloated and incompetently-run
parastatals which have been so steeped in corruption since independence
nobody can calculate accurately how much they have cost us.
Gono's style as almost eccentric when compared with Tsumba's, who had no
time for the "breakfast shows" on national television which have become so
fashionable under Gono.
††††† Tsumba's was a staid, sober, cautious
and ultimately well-reasoned approach to finance. Gono's is almost as if it
had been choreographed by the Zanu PF politburo which it probably is, most
of the time.
††††† This is not to disparage Gono's methods outright.
There have been innovative highlights and his tough stance on miscreant
banks and other financial institutions have restored some confidence in the
††††† But some of his critics say he has a political
agenda. His public posturing, indeed, suggests he will not be content with
ending his public life as the RBZ governor.
††††† He is only in
his 40s and, as they say, the sky is the limit.
††††† But there is
nothing inherently wrong with ambition. Other critics say Gono's formula is
an example of tinkering with the problem. Zimbabwe must re-engage the
††††† It has made mincing steps towards this
goal, but much more needs to be done, politically.
political playing field must be levelled. Mugabe is still contemptuous of
the advantages of dealing honestly with the IMF and the World Bank, whose
methods he despises.
††††† On the basis that nearly 80 percent of the
people are living below the poverty datum line, it will be a long time
before most analysts can speak of Gono's miracle - not as long as he toes
the Zanu PF line without question.
Mugabe calls for violence-free poll Thur 9 December
2004 † HARARE - A confident President Robert Mugabe yesterday called for a
violence-free general election in Zimbabwe next year. ††††† Breaking from
his usual vitriol against the country's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party and Western nations he accuses of ganging up
against his government, Mugabe told parliament during his state of the
nation address that he was determined to ensure the March 2005 ballot was
††††† "I want to reiterate government's determination that this
impending poll should not be marred by incidents of violence from whatever
quarters," said the Zimbabwean leader, who is accused by opponents of using
violence and fraud to win elections.
††††† Mugabe also told
Parliament that the election will be held in March apparently rejecting
demands by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai that the poll be postponed to allow
time for the country's flawed electoral laws to be reformed and brought in
line with new Southern African Development Community guidelines for
††††† "In keeping with our tradition, we are going to hold our
sixth parliamentary elections in March next year on a date to be announced
in due course," he said.
††††† Mugabe said a new Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission proposed by the government will bring the country's electoral
process in line with SADC requirements that independent commissions run
††††† The MDC has dismissed the proposed commission saying it
will not be independent from Mugabe who will still have powers to hire or
fire its chairman.
††††† The other four commissioners of the
five-member electoral body will be nominated by a parliamentary committee
that is dominated by the ruling ZANU PF party, which the MDC says makes the
commissioners beholden to the ruling party.
††††† The MDC has
suspended participation in elections until Zimbabwe's electoral laws are
fully democratised and political violence ended.
††††† Political violence
and human rights abuses mostly blamed on militant ZANU PF supporters is on
the rise in Zimbabwe as next year's election draws near. - ZimOnline
Mugabe: Of course we'll win 09/12/2004 09:26† -
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday said he
expects his ruling party to sweep to power in elections next year which he
predicted would be peaceful.
"We will certainly win the elections,"
Mugabe was quoted by the official New Ziana news agency as telling a
gathering of his country's ambassadors at his official Harare
"I don't see any reason why we should not have the elections
in a peaceful environment. We have to instil into the minds of our youths
especially, that an election is an exercise that can only succeed if there
"This time we don't know whether our enemies will find any
reasons to reject the outcome of the elections," added the longtime southern
Western observers, as well as the Commonwealth grouping
of former British colonies, said both parliamentary polls in 2000 and
presidential polls in 2002 were flawed.
Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) narrowly won the violence-marred
elections in 2000 from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - then a
fledgling opposition party.
Oposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
challenged Mugabe's presidential poll victory in 2002 in court, claiming
victory was stolen from him through intimidation and rigging.
has threatened to boycott next year's election unless Mugabe's government
carries out electoral reforms in accordance with standards observed by other
countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
week Mugabe ruled out inviting "imperialist" countries to observe next
year's crunch poll, saying Zimbabwe is a Third World country whose elections
should not be "judged by the First World". - AFP
††††††††† HARARE, Dec. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean Minister of
Local Government Ignatius Chombo said Thursday he has appointed an
eight-member commission led by the acting executive mayor, Sekesayi
Makwavarara, to run the capital Harare for the next two
††††††††† The commission, which is expected to devise strategic
turnaround measures for the city, will work with the remaining city
councilors after the majority resigned during the course of the
††††††††† The city of Harare has been dogged by various problems
such as water cuts, uncollected refuse, poor roads and lighting, leading to
deterioration in service delivery.
††††††††† The commission is
expected to implement the turnaround program, which has been crafted by a
task team appointed in June, complete the City's formulation of the 2005
national budget, explore additional revenue sources and transfer the water
supply system to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.
commission has also been tasked with rationalizing the staff complement of
the council and finalizing the City's computerization program.
"The idea of rationalizing staff for effectiveness and efficiency as well as
managing the salaries and wages bill needs no over emphasis," he said.
††††† All first-class
cricket in Zimbabwe has been suspended after calls for a vote of no
confidence in officials who run the game. ††††† The Mashonaland Cricket
Association claims the Zimbabae Cricket Union recently rebranded itself
without prior consultation with provincial bodies.
††††† The MCA also
says the move resulted in the squandering of £72,000.
††††† They are now
pressing for an emergency general meeting in order to propose a motion of no
††††† MCA chairman Tavengwa Mukhlani, who is also a member of
the Zimbabwe Cricket Board, was recently forced to step down.
"Under the constitution, the change of name should have been debated at all
levels, club and provincial, and the provincial chairmen should have been
able to meet so as to ratify it.
††††† "This did not happen," 19
of the 20 clubs which make up the MCA wrote in a joint letter.
The biggest club, Takashinga of Highfields, has called a meeting on Saturday
and invited Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka and acting managing
director Ozvias Bvute.
††††† The invitattions carried the slogan: "You
can lie to some of the people some of the time, but you can't lie to all the
people all the time."
††††† The crisis is the latest in a series to hit
cricket in Zimbabwe this year.
††††† In April the sacking of national
team captain Heath Streak led to a boycott by a group of white Test
††††† Tatenda Taibu was put in charge of a new-look team of
inexperienced youngsters, but Zimbabwe's Test status was put on hold for the
rest of the year and they have lost every one-day game they have
††††† There was further controversy over England's tour, which
eventually went ahead last month but only after the Zimbabwe government
lifted a ban on a number of members of the English media.
December 9, 2004 Posted to the web December 9,
Felix Njini Harare
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has admitted
that sanctions slapped on his government by the United Kingdom, the European
Union (EU) and the United States of America are hurting Zimbabwe and pleaded
with Britain to "renege" and lift the ban.
Addressing 9 000 ZANU PF
supporters attending the ruling party's fourth five-yearly congress,
President Mugabe, whose regime is facing stiff opposition from the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), said:
"Blair and his government have grown
desperate and naÔve as they go about vilifying our country and imposing
sanctions. Their naivete becomes clear. They are a majority here, leading
(more) comfortable lives than that of the average Zimbabwean."
are 400 British companies operating here, making profits and dividends being
remitted to Britain. The sanctions are affecting these companies as well,"
"One would have hoped that the British government would renege
on its course of wanting the Zimbabwean economy to collapse and ensure that
the international environment is made more congenial so that these companies
and the Zimbabwean economy can prosper," President Mugabe added.
EU imposed "smart sanctions" on the Zimbabwean leader and some of his party
officials in 2002 amid allegations of human rights violations and election
The sanctions included a ban on the sale and supply of arms and
equipment to Zimbabwe which could be used for internal
President Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence
from Britain in 1980, denies he has run down a once prosperous economy and
accuses the former colonial master of masterminding a plot to topple him
from power using the MDC.
The Zimbabwean leader said Britain was
using the sanctions to "sabotage" Zimbabwe's economy as punishment for the
redistribution of farmland from white farmers, most of them of British
origin, to less blacks.
The call for the removal of sanctions comes at a
time Zimbabwe is trying to mend ties with global financiers such as the
International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Last week, IMF officials arrived
in Harare for talks with government and banking officials before the fund's
executive committee reviews the country's possible expulsion from the group.
Zimbabwe, which is grappling with its worst economic crisis ever, has been
without IMF aid since 1997
OPINION December 9, 2004 Posted to the web December
ANYONE interested in understanding why most
postcolonial African countries struggle with institutionalising and
consolidating democracy, should read Mahmood Mamdani's When Victims Become
Killers, Robert Guest's The Shackled Continent and Michela Wrong's In the
Footsteps of Mr Kurtz.
These books sum up what happens when ruling
parties stay in power forever. The leitmotif in all of them is that a career
in politics is the quickest road to wealth, a tendency endorsed by Smuts
Ngonyama's recent utterances. To want to be wealthy is not necessarily
wrong, but the tendency for politicians to become numb to the poverty and
suffering around us seems to be part of the package.
In the past 50
years politicians in southern Africa have in their utterances shown an
astonishingly callous indifference to the plight of the poor, the ill and
dying and towards their political opponents. And this heartlessness starts
with seemingly innocent comments.
In the UDI era of the 1960s Rhodesian
leader Ian Smith incarcerated a white critic of his regime, Judith Todd.
When Todd went on a hunger strike she was drugged and force-fed. When
questioned on this, Smith said he was "unaware" of the hunger strike, and
told an interviewer that: "If Miss Todd does not wish to eat the food given
her, that doesn't worry me a good deal."
A decade later, National Party
justice minister Jimmy Kruger, deliberately misinformed by security police
that the charismatic Steve Biko had died as a result of a hunger strike,
told the Transvaal congress of the National Party in Pretoria that: "I am
not pleased, nor am I sorry. It leaves me cold."
The insouciant cruelty
of Kruger's remark incensed even the usually supportive Afrikaans press, and
the English liberal press justifiably flayed him.
What, then, is one
to make of the silence of our newspapers on a remark that left me
dumbfounded and convinced that it had been printed in error?
I refer to
an interview in the Sunday Times ( September 19) with Mojanku Gumbi, legal
adviser to President Thabo Mbeki. In the article, Burning the midnight oil,
she is quoted as saying: "On AIDS and Zimbabwe I have never lain awake at
night on either issue."
Shocked, I bought the following week's issue
convinced I was going to read her angry rebuttal and a humble apology by the
newspaper for misquoting her.
There was neither. Having just commemorated
World AIDS Day and been shocked by government's lame roll-out of
antiretroviral medicines across the country, I find Gumbi's remarks
reverberate around me as I witness people suffering, despairing and dying,
without hope of ever receiving medical care or help.
resonated with the monstrous statements of Smith and Kruger, even though I
know Gumbi is not like them. Perhaps my surprise was based on
After all, the only two issues raised by Archbishop Desmond
Tutu in his Nelson Mandela address to which Mbeki declined to respond were
HIV/AIDS and Zimbabwe.
Furthermore, we know that the African National
Congress (ANC) has repeatedly stymied attempts in Commonwealth and United
Nations forums not only to apply sanctions against Robert Mugabe's brutal
and corrupt regime, but even to criticise it.
It is also a matter of
record that Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said Zanu (PF) is a
"progressive" regime, which she considers beyond criticism. She also
supported plans by Mugabe to have all journalists registered, something that
would have nullified what little press freedom remains in
On the AIDS question, may we assume that Gumbi's declared
indifference to the plight of AIDS sufferers and those orphaned by the
disease is clearly and similarly manifest in the ANC's squandering of
immense amounts of taxpayers' money to defend court cases launched by the
Treatment Action Campaign and other civicminded organisations?
politicians like Gumbi find the widespread starvation in Zimbabwe and the
increasing number of AIDS orphans the next best thing to Mogadon for
ensuring untroubled sleep? Does the contemplation of the estimated 20000
Ndebele victims of Mugabe's Korean-trained Fifth Brigade's Gukurahundi
campaign in the early '80s and all the subsequent abuses provide a soporific
that is superior to the traditional hot toddy?
Do the women in
government find the fact that Mugabe, through his state-supported Green
Bomber youth movement, has made rape a ubiquitous political tool, in the
tradition of Slobodan Milosevic's murderous troops in Bosnia, a matter that
does not concern them?
Gumbi's words may well come back to haunt
All it will take is one angry and charismatic HIV-positive person a
Steve Biko with AIDS to prove the folly of Jacob Zuma's crass assumption
that the ANC will rule, "until Jesus comes".
Kadalie is a human
rights activist based in Cape Town.
The Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, ejected from the ruling party's
central committee last week, will now have to start afresh as it emerged
yesterday that he is unlikely to be appointed into a new look Politburo
expected to be announced soon. Moyo's name was deleted as a central
committee nominee by the Presidency he allegedly attempted to undermine by
"clandestinely" inviting senior members of the party, including provincial
governors and party provincial chairpersons, to a "high-powered meeting" in
Tsholotsho a few days before Zanu PF's National People's Congress. Highly
placed sources within the ruling party said the only person who could throw
Moyo a lifeline was the man who thrust him into the high echelons of the
party, President Mugabe who, however, has reprimanded him for hosting the
Tsholotsho meeting. What irked the Presidency, the source said, was that
after having been caught with his pants down, Moyo wrote a letter
exonerating himself from the alleged coup attempt to remove the founding
fathers of the party and copied it to The Chronicle for publication, before
the Presidency had a chance to respond.
His target audience still
remained a mystery, the source said, as it was an internal matter. "He
thinks the presidium is comprised of fools," the source said. "Good luck, to
the person or people he was targeting when he abused his control over the
newspaper. It's unfortunate, but he will have to start afresh and regain the
support of the party. He will have to go back to the grassroots and start
afresh if he is a genuine party cadre and not a plant." Contacted for
comment on whether Moyo had written a letter to the Presidency exonerating
himself, party national chairman John Nkomo said: "Moyo's letter is a
nonevent." Moyo, known to step on the toes of all and sundry, including the
ruling party's presidency and the media, has been accused of propagating
hate-speech in the media. However, his political flirtation with the ruling
party is now waning, with sources in Zanu PF saying that the party's top
leadership had decided that Moyo, like everybody else, should rekindle his
faltering political career from the grassroots.
"Moyo cannot be
appointed into the Politburo. All members of the Politburo will come from
the central committee and this effectively means the minister has to start
from the grassroots if he is aspiring for a position of influence in the
party. When we talk of the grassroots, we mean the cell," said another
highly placed source. His exclusion from the central committee, the sources
said, was punishment for the associate professor for allegedly organising an
unsanctioned meeting in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, last month to plot
to scuttle the nomination of Vice-President Joyce Mujuru and block the
re-nomination of Vice-President Joseph Msika and national chairman John
Nkomo into the party presidium. Moyo was allegedly backing Speaker of
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa and women's league boss Thenjiwe Lesabe as the
party's two vice-presidents and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as
national chairman. Six Zanu PF provincial chairpersons who also attended the
meeting that came up with the alleged "Tsholotsho Declaration" have since
been suspended from the party for six months. Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA) leader Jabulani Sibanda, who took part in
the meeting, was slapped with a four-year suspension.
said Moyo worsened his case when he leaked a report he had written to Zanu
PF's Politburo explaining his involvement in the Tsholotsho meeting to The
Chronicle, a state-controlled newspaper based in Bulawayo. The Zanu PF
leadership, the sources added, questioned Moyo on why he had leaked the
report if it was meant for the Politburo and accused him of attempting to
mislead the party. "He publicised his report in The Chronicle. It was the
Presidency that struck him off the central committee list and it is likely
that he will be barred from contesting in the party's primary parliamentary
elections," the source added. Chronicle editor Stephen Ndlovu has since been
censured by the Secretary for Information and Publicity in the Office of the
President and Cabinet, George Charamba, for publishing the "leaked"
document. Moyo, who has since fallen out with President Mugabe as his
spin-doctor, is eyeing Tsholotsho constituency. "Even if he wins the
primaries, he still has to go for vetting and that is where it is key," the
source said. Efforts to get comment from Moyo, a critic of the private
media, proved fruitless last night.