From The Times
February 5, 2009
[ Mengistu Haile Mariam in a picture taken in June 1989 ]
Martin Fletcher in Harare
For 17 years Mengistu Haile Mariam, the former Ethiopian dictator who slaughtered opponents on an industrial scale in the “Red Terror”, has lived in Zimbabwe as the honoured guest of Robert Mugabe, dividing his time between a heavily guarded villa in Harare, a farm near the capital and a retreat on glorious Lake Kariba.
Last year an Ethiopian court sentenced the “Butcher of Addis” to death after convicting him of genocide in absentia but Mr Mugabe flatly refused to extradite the man who helped to arm Zanu (PF)’s guerrillas during Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war.
Suddenly, however, the future of one of Africa’s worst tyrants looks less assured. Next week the Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change will enter a unity government with Zanu (PF) and Nelson Chamisa, its chief spokesman, told The Times yesterday that Mengistu’s extradition to Ethiopia would be “high on the agenda” of that new administration.
“Zimbabwe should not be a safe haven or resting place for serial human rights violators like Mr Mengistu,” he said. “We can’t shelter purveyors of injustice.”
Few Zimbabweans would shed tears if Mengistu, 71, is sent home to the gallows. Mr Mugabe has spent millions of dollars providing him with a villa in a barricaded cul-de-sac in the Gun Hill suburb, with round-the-clock protection and any number of other benefits including the payment of substantial telephone bills, including one of $ 15,000.
In return Mengistu has advised Mr Mugabe on security issues, and was allegedly the mastermind of Operation Murambatsvina in 2006 in which security forces and Zanu (PF) thugs razed the homes of 700,000 slum-dwellers regarded as MDC supporters.
Mengistu has plenty of experience in that field. He seized power after a military coup in 1974 that ended Emperor Haile Selassie’s 44-year rule and ushered in one of the bloodiest regimes Africa has known.
In 1976 he mounted the “Red Terror” campaign against opponents of his Derg regime by standing in the centre of Addis Ababa, shouting: “Death to the counter-revolutionaries”, and smashing bottles filled with pigs’ blood to demonstrate the fate that awaited them.
Over the next few years more than half a million people were thought to have been killed in what Human Rights Watch called “one of the most systematic uses of mass murder ever witnessed in Africa”. Relatives had to pay a tax called “the wasted bullet” to retrieve the bodies of the dead. The victims included the former Emperor and numerous members of the Royal Family, and Mengistu is said to have executed some of them himself.
He turned Ethiopia into a Marxist state, backed by the Soviet Union, earning the sobriquet the “Black Stalin”. He created giant collective farms that had the same ruinous effect on agricultural production as Mr Mugabe’s land seizures in Zimbabwe, and that helped to cause terrible famine.
His Soviet-armed military sought to crush an independence war in Eritrea, and an uprising in Tigray province, but when the Soviet Union collapsed Mengistu lost his sponsors. In 1991 he fled to Zimbabwe as the Tigre People’s Liberation Front and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front surrounded Addis. Washington asked Mr Mugabe to accept him to end the bloodshed.
In 1995 Mengistu narrowly survived an assassination attempt by two Eritreans as he took an afternoon stroll with his wife near Garvin Close, his Harare home.
Otherwise he has maintained a low profile. Early on he was occasionally spotted in a shopping centre or restaurant, surrounded by guards and armed with a pistol. In 1998 he told a reporter that he was a “political refugee” who spent his time reading, writing and watching television.
In 1999, using a Zimbabwean diplomatic passport, he flew to Johannesburg for medical treatment, and gave a rare interview to a South African newspaper in which he claimed his socialist revolution had been necessary to remove Selassie’s “backward, archaic and feudalist system”, and that millions of peasants had benefited. More recently he has vanished from sight.
Mengistu’s armed guards were nowhere to be seen in Garvin Close yesterday, and The Times was able to drive right up the cul-de-sac before soldiers appeared and ordered the intruder to leave.
As Mr Mugabe’s popularity has plunged, Mengistu was rumoured to have made contingency plans to move to North Korea. Now might be the time to dust them off - if he has not done so already.
Times Archive, 1985: Feeding the tyrants
If we started assessing Colonel Mengitsu as an African Pol Pot it might alert more people to the enormity and criminality of what is going on in Ethiopia
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Times Archive, 1985: Feeding the tyrants
If we started assessing Colonel Mengitsu as an African Pol Pot it might alert more people to the enormity and criminality of what is going on in Ethiopia
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How Mengistu hammers the peasants
Crowd acclaims Ethiopia's strongman, 1977
Reign of terror
- Seized power in the aftermath of the 1974 coup against Emperor Haile Selassie, who died the following year
- Replaced the ancient feudal system with totalitarian rule from 1977, marked by “Red Terror” purges in which suspected enemies were rounded up and executed
- Tens of thousands were butchered or tortured. Thousands more civilians were caught in the crossfire of war against northern rebels and 700,000 peasants were resettled forcibly
- Up to one million Ethiopians starved to death in the 1984 famine, a direct result of his Marxist policies that left the country ravaged by economic decline
- Fled to Zimbabwe in 1991, after guerrilla forces led by Meles Zenawi toppled his regime
- Found guilty in absentia of genocide by Ethiopia’s supreme court last year and sentenced to death
Source: Times archives
Our Town - Education
Written by Ivene Cheunga
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 19:54
Markers of Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations are on an indefinite stay-away pending the “government’s” determination of the payment of the fifty percent of their dues so far in foreign currency. The indefinite tools down has threatened once again to derail the expectations that results would be released early March, Harare Tribune can reveal.
The markers countrywide have completed marking fifty percent of the work and the caretaker government of Robert Mugabe has failed to pay for the work-in-progress and markers fear that they might end up being slaves of the defeated ZANU PF leader if they heartily commit themselves to the exercise.
ZANU PF had offered US1 dollar per script despite that a donor had availed a rate of US$ 20 dollars per script amid reports that Mugabe’s cronies diverted the difference.
There was drama three weeks back when markers were driven to their Belvedere Teachers College’s Command Centre for their eventual travel to their provinces of origin to ensure that there was no connivance to influence negative scenes against the government.
Some markers from Midlands that had gone for two solid weeks surviving on morning teas only manhandled a driver and ordered him to go straight to ZIMSEC offices where they demanded their dues from an education director identified as one Ndanga.
The markers ruptured into song, dance and vowed to sleep over, which they did to push the education ministry to meet their demands. There was widespread anticipation that the 2009 budget presentation of the acting finance minister Patrick Chinamasa would clarify the payout of the markers in a fully dollarised environment by Alas! it was silent over the issue. The disgruntlement of the markers eventually caused the leakage, like a sieve, of classified information with confirmations that so far in the marked scripts, Mugabe’s offspring Robert Junior has failed five subjects.
Further research has established that Robert Junior was once sodomised by senior boys at Xavier Kutama all-boys high School in Zvimba in 2004, a situation that led to his transfer to Heritage elite school.
The markers expressed concern over the corruption of ZANU PF saying that they were surprised to hear that Bona was doing university education in Hong Kong yet she had failed most of her ordinary level examinations. They said that according to their knowledge she never attempted to rewrite and was just pushed forward like a log by Mugabe.
Meanwhile the education secretary Dr Stephen Mahere has said that leaking classified information, especially the results before they are officially made public is a serious offence. He said that as education authorities they would descend heavily on the errand markers that are going public with sensitive information of the President’s child.
The markers have confirmed that they would return to complete the works once the government has paid them their fifty percent payout
MASTER MUGABE: Chatunga is helped down the steps of a plane by a bodyguard as his father leads
By Martin Fletcher
Posted to the web: 04/02/2009 15:54:01
EARLY every morning a chauffeur-driven car delivers Robert Mugabe's youngest son, Bellarmine Chatunga, to Hartmann House, the prep school for St George's College, the oldest and most expensive private boys' school in Zimbabwe.
Master Mugabe wears a red cap and blazer, like the 350 other boys whose parents spend almost $ US1000 ($ 1500) a term - a fortune in Zimbabwe - to attend the elite institution with its tree-lined drives and verdant cricket fields in central Harare. Only the presence of two bodyguards sets him apart from his peers.
Bellarmine's enrolment, and that of the sons of two other Zanu PF ministers, does not thrill Brendan Tiernan, who has spent 28 years teaching at St George's and is now its headmaster.
"I'm surprised their parents would be willing to preside over the awful collapse of education in this country, given how highly they value it for their own children," he said.
"It's problematic for me."
Tiernan's discomfort is easy to understand. Not many years ago, Zimbabwe boasted the highest educational standards in Africa. Its literacy rate rivalled that of the US, and 96 per cent of its children attended school.
Much of the credit for that enviable record belonged to Mugabe, who began his career as a teacher, earned half-a-dozen degrees during 11 years of imprisonment by the Rhodesian authorities, and lavished attention on Zimbabwe's schools in the early years of independence.
Today, the education system has collapsed. Of its 130,000 teachers, roughly 60,000 have left the country, the profession or both because hyperinflation rendered their salaries worthless. Of the rest, most are now on strike, demanding payment in foreign currency.
The majority of the country's 6000 schools either failed to reopen when term belatedly began last week, or are catering only for the few whose parents can scrape together US dollars to pay the teachers.
It seems scarcely possible, but Zimbabwe's 3.5 million schoolchildren are likely to receive even less education this year than last when strikes, elections and violence meant they spent an average of 27 days at school, and their examination papers went unmarked. The government now spends just US18c a child on education, meaning Mugabe spends more on educating Bellarmine each term than his government spends on 5000 ordinary schoolchildren in a year.
"The system is in tatters ... a generation is at risk of growing up without any education," said Rachel Pounds, Zimbabwe director of the Save the Children group. UNICEF's spokeswoman in Harare, Tsitsi Singizi, said: "Education is the engine that drives Zimbabwe's future and that future is now at risk."
A quarter of the country's children are orphans, and the schools provide protection against exploitation and abuse, she said.
The Education Ministry seems unconcerned. It convened a meeting of international donors and NGOs at the Sheraton hotel in Harare last week, but then failed to send a single representative.
In the slums of southern Harare, barely 8km from the manicured grounds of Hartmann House, ragged, barefooted children who should have been at school played in rutted streets lined by mounds of rotting garbage this week.
Lucia and Linda Madzise, aged 13 and 9, were looking after their three-year-old brother Maxwell. They used to attend Chitsere primary school but have not been since August last year, and now the only pupils who still go are those whose parents could raise $ US10 a term.
In a primary school that once had 1400 pupils and 40 staff, a headmaster, who asked to remain anonymous, sat alone with his deputy in his spartan office, watched over by a portrait of Mugabe. "Right now we don't have a single teacher," he said.
"I'm sad and angry. We used to have very good education in Zimbabwe. We were very committed to our work, but today you ask why you should work if you're not paid."
The headmaster will soon have to retire at 65, but his pension will be worthless. "I'll go home and wait to die," he said. - The Times
Wednesday, 04 February 2009
• Total overhaul needed to protect national interests
• An end to blackmail, lies and murder
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The MDC has drafted a National Security Bill suggesting an overhaul of President Robert Mugabe’s spy Central Intelligence Organisation, CIO, The Zimbabwean can report.
The MDC was tasked with drafting the security legislation as part of concessions made by Zanu (PF) at the power-sharing talks that led to the current efforts to form an inclusive government.
The National Security Bill, which defines the parameters of the security forces, was drafted by the MDC and is being reviewed by the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) - a multi-party taskforce that will ensure compliance of all parties with the power-sharing deal.
The MDC wants the current publicly-funded national security agency to be reformed into a true information-gathering and analysis organization in a looming political dispensation where the MDC controls Parliament.
Sources familiar with the security legislation say the MDC has noted that the CIO is institutionally and culturally corrupt.
The MDC wants the CIO to boost its operational capacity and sharpen its intelligence-gathering methods to effectively protect the country's interests, instead of being preoccupied with tracking down President Mugabe’s critics and political opponents.
There are suggestions for extensive and true democratic oversights on the spy agency. The MDC has also reportedly the formation of a bipartisan Parliamentary Committee to review and veto all aspects of CIO operations upon a majority or super-majority vote, according to a source.
Pullout ‘The CIO’s capabilities are undermined by its leaders’ zeal to pander to presidential whims at the expense of the public interest’
The Joint Operations Command, a security services think-tank under whose tutelage the CIO falls, is set to be abolished and replaced by a National Security Council, according to the terms of the power-sharing deal.
In the inclusive government, Mugabe will still head the new National Security Council, but with MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai as his deputy in the security thinktank. This will also include top army generals who have previously vowed they will never salute Tsvangirai.
As an elite ‘enforcement’ arm of the Zanu (PF) government, the CIO has been in the forefront of Mugabe’s crusade for control of Zimbabwe, its societies and its resources, run under the cloak of "intelligence gathering" and brandishing the dagger of national security.
The CIO uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffing ballot boxes, rigging elections, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, death squads and even assassination.
The CIO is accountable to Mugabe alone and its charter allows it to "perform such other functions and duties as the executive may from time to time direct." The CIO budget is kept secret, is not subjected to audit by the comptroller or auditor general as other government departments are subjected to.
MDC shadow Defence minister, Retired Major Giles Mutsekwa, said the CIO has to be transformed into a refined national security organisation.
"As it is, the organisation is backward in terms of modern security philosophy and outlook," Mutsekwa said. "It was purely another arm of Mugabe’s party designed to benefit none other than Zanu (PF) and that is why it operates like a private army." The six major branches of the CIO are: Internal, which has counter-intelligence or counter-subversion and serious crime units; External with its analysis and liaison units; Security with a Close Security Unit (CSU) and another known as GPSI - Government Protection Security Inspectorate; Economics with policy planning and analysis; and Administration with personnel, training, finance, resource management, transport and other services.
There is also the Director-General’s pool, which is seen as a dumping ground for under-performing officers. A select few divisional heads of the 3,000-member strong CIO, report directly to Mugabe.
Immediately under the directors are deputy-directors, assistant directors, provincial intelligence officers, district intelligence officers, senior intelligence officers, senior assistant intelligence officers and ordinary-level intelligence officers.
Insiders say the rigid CIO structure entrenches an unreconstructed bureaucracy largely staffed with presidential toadies. Critics say the CIO’s capabilities are undermined by its leaders’ zeal to pander to presidential whims at the expense of the public interest. - BY CHIEF REPORTER
Tuesday, 03 February 2009
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) aims to double the amount of money it has available to lend to governments to $ 500 billion to strengthen international confidence amidst the current financial crisis.
IMF First Deputy Managing Director, John Lipsky, said the Fund needed to raise its lending capacity and boost confidence amongst members, in case more countries are forced to turn to the institution to borrow.
"Right now the IMF has adequate resources to respond to the demands that we see in front of us immediately," said Mr Lipsky said during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos at the weekend.
"However, we think it is prudent at this time, to add contingent facilities that would double the resources available to us. We have, through quotas and existing borrowing agreements, $ 250 billion in total. We thought it prudent to add another $ 250 billion at this time," he said, adding that the IMF Executive Board is expected to consider a number of suggestions for boosting the IMF's resources shortly.
Mr Lipsky also said that with adequate policy response by governments, including fiscal stimulus in advanced economies and some emerging markets, the world could see a revival of economic growth toward the end of 2009 "and a return over the next year to trend growth. But decisive action will be needed."
In its latest assessment published on January 28, the IMF states that world growth is forecast to fall to its lowest level since World War II, with financial markets remaining under stress and the global economy taking a sharp turn for the worse, sending both global output and trade plummeting.
The IMF has so far committed $ 47.9 billion in lending to a number of economies affected by the crisis, while negotiation have also started with other troubled states.
Speaking of the availability of additional resources, Mr Lipsky said Japan had already offered to lend the IMF $ 100 billion and that the body would to raise an additional $ 150 billion. "I want to make clear that this is contingent facilities to give confidence that we have the resources to respond if needed," he said, without giving further details where the additional resources would come from.
The IMF strategy has however also received some scorns from other economic sectors, feeling the Fund's proposal was very modest.
Speaking during the same panel discussion at Davos, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Deputy Chairman of India's Planning Commission and a former head of the IMF's watchdog known as the
Independent Evaluation Office, said an extra $ 250 billion was a "very modest" proposal given the amount of resources being deployed in some advanced economies to counter the crisis.
He suggested two alternatives to tapping a few countries for the $ 250 billion in extra funding, which could include a tripling of the IMF's quotas and a generalised issue of the IMF's
Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which supplement the existing official reserves of member countries.
Other critics have also pointed at the need for the IMF to also embrace reforms while the world is trying to adjust to current shocks.
Wednesday, 04 February 2009
We agree with Botswana’s president, Ian Khama, who said in a rare interview this week that allowing leaders to keep power through negotiated deals after fraud-ridden elections, as in Kenya last year and now in Zimbabwe, has set a terrible precedent for Africa.
The GNU deal is wrong. It favours Mugabe and he lost the elections. But the MDC has decided to go ahead with it. We will reserve judgement. We want to see results. Only then can we decide whether or not to support it.
Under the terms of the deal, the winner of the March general and presidential elections, Morgan Tsvangirai, faces the almost impossible task of trying to share control of a corrupt and partisan police force and reviving Zimbabwe’s moribund economy and rescuing an increasingly famished, sick and impoverished population.
Robert Mugabe’s track record regarding integrity and sharing power is not impressive. Even as the power-sharing talks were taking place, his thugs were busy abducting abducted dozens more opposition supporters, many of whom are still in custody, despite having been tortured and being in desperate need of proper medical attention.
For this reason we urge the international community not to relax its pressure on the Harare regime for one instant, until we see real progress towards real power sharing and real democracy.
The list of required reforms is endless. Needless to say the removal of draconian anti-press freedom legislation and the punitive 70% duty on The Zimbabwean and The Zimbabwean on Sunday is top of our list.
But no less important are the following:
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- the release of all political prisoners;
- the systematic removal of all un-just laws and decrees;
- the end of partisan policing;
- a return to an independent judiciary and the rule of law
- the end to hate speech and state propaganda in the mass media;
- the opening up of the airwaves to independent operators;
- an end to state-sanctioned looting of national resources and parastatals.
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That is just for starters.
Until meaningful action towards the meeting of these basic requirements can be seen to begin, the targeted measures against Mugabe and his hierarchy must remain firmly in place.
In addition, the international community must make every effort to ensure that any assistance given to Zimbabwe to ease the humanitarian crisis must be carefully channelled so as not to end up in the pockets of Zanu (PF) fat cats. The gravy train stops now.
Syndicated Crime Continues to Challenge Southern
5 February 2009:
Last year a number of crime analysts predicted that the key challenges that would persist in Southern Africa during 2009 would include:
Illegal human migration across borders;
trafficking of narcotics;
corruption in procurement projects.
Indications to date are that such predictions were accurate.
Firstly, it is evident that cross-border human smuggling and human trafficking, which have manifested themselves since the late 90s in the region, have continued unabated.
South Africa continues to be a central destination for illegal migrants and victims of trafficking. Anecdotal cases have recently emerged of criminal groups operating from major cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth that are engaged in smuggling young men and women into South Africa to seek work or in transit to other countries such as the United Kingdom.
Zimbabwe is a regular source of migrants.
It is well known that the economic implosion has resulted in a massive exodus from Zimbabwe. In many cases, while adults have been able to migrate from there, they have not been able to do so with their children.
Exploiting the difficulties that migrant parents encounter in seeking to re-unite with their children, criminals have set themselves up in the business of facilitating such re-unions.
The most common cases involve parents that have moved to the United Kingdom.
Against the payment of a fee, which ranges from R10 000 to R25 000, criminals smuggle children into South Africa or Botswana.
The plan is to move them on to the United Kingdom as soon as an opportunity arises, ostensibly to seek political asylum, but in fact to be re-united with their parents. The schemes utilise false travel documents obtained from the host countries. Occasionally, it takes long for the migrant children to be moved from South Africa and Botswana. Botswana passports are particularly popular with human smugglers transferring persons to the United Kingdom, because holders do not require entry visas. The smugglers include the costs of securing the passports of convenience in the fee charged.
It has come to light that in the intervening period, some have been subjected to various kinds of abuse, including sexual abuse. In some cases, the criminal syndicates fail to arrange the onward migration beyond the host country, resulting in much suffering. In relatively fewer instances, migrant children end up being held in virtual bondage.
There is also evidence of continuing migration from Somalia into South Africa, through Zambia and Mozambique. It is not clear whether any of the migrants are victims of human trafficking. Passage through the transit countries is largely secured through corrupt means. Collaboration between the human smugglers and some officers within immigration departments has been observed in some studies.
As a further challenge, cigarette smuggling continues to be a problem in the region. South Africa is a major market, as has been observed by the tobacco industry. Routes lead into the country through Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland. From the various interceptions by customs authorities, the cigarettes appear to originate from China and Zimbabwe. For various reasons, detection of cigarette smuggling tends to be low, and this activity is set to continue in 2009.
Along with it, the trafficking of narcotics into and from South Africa is a continuing challenge. Recent large interceptions in London (of drugs emanating from South Africa) and the southern coast (of a ship travelling from Argentina) highlight the enormity of the task of detecting trafficking. The London seizure revealed some of the current methods used to get drugs out of the country into Europe on board passenger flights, using airline crew. The trial of the suspects arrested to date should be interesting.
Finally, there are various imminent large-scale civil construction and rehabilitation projects in the region. As has tended to be the case, such projects attract grand schemes of corruption. There are disturbing indications that projects to develop southern Mozambique (Ponta du Ouro) and to enhance electricity generation at Cabora Bassa might be afflicted by corruption. The authorities mandated to combat corruption in that country will need to be vigilant.
Charles Goredema, Head: Organised Crime and Money Laundering Programme, ISS Cape Town
AU leaders wound up a summit here yesterday with the continent beset by conflict
and divided over new
AU Ends Summit Divided Over Future
African Union (AU) leaders wound up a summit here yesterday with the continent beset by conflict and divided over new chairman Moammar Gadhafi’s plans for unifying its 53 member states.
The Libyan leader’s election as the rotating chairman of the pan-African body sparked a debate that led to an extension of the summit, which had been due to close on Tuesday.
The veteran leader’s vision for a more aggressive integration of the continent into what he calls the “United States of Africa” was met by deep reservations from some key nations.
Yesterday’s closing speeches came after late night drama at the AU’s Addis Ababa headquarters, when the maverick Libyan leader walked out on discussions over the future of the organisation.
“He understood that he lost, that’s why he left like that,” one African diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Publicly, African leaders tried to put a positive spin on it.
“He didn’t walk out, he just got tired,” Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said.
“We had very important things to discuss. A very rich debate,” Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said.
The summit had already agreed to expand the mandate of the AU Commission and change its name to the AU Authority, but the details of that change appear to have been the focus of the dispute.
South African President, Kgalema Motlanthe, said in a joint interview with AFP and his nation’s SABC television that proposals for strengthening the AU would be considered only over the next three months.
“The aim is to strengthen and expand a bit on the functions and responsibilities of the authority,” he said.
During the summit, the tensions with Gadhafi were palpable.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni proposed turning the AU leadership into a troika, which would mitigate Gadhafi’s influence in a role that already has little real power.
“Africans are polite, but deserve respect,” Museveni told him, according to one participant in the talks.
Yesterday leaders held separate consultations over the now divisive issue first evoked in the 1960s as countries gained independence.
Kadhafi has long looked at the AU as a way to boost Africa’s international profile, but also to increase his own standing and leaders like Museveni are reluctant to see Gadhafi become the face of Africa in the international arena.
Gadhafi seized power in a coup 40 years ago, and his autocratic rule has drawn fierce criticism from rights groups.
He recently had a group of traditional leaders name him the “king of kings” of Africa, and brought an entourage of seven local monarchs dripping in gold jewellery with him to the summit.
Yet, differences remain over how the new system would be implemented.
Countries such as Libya advocate immediate unification, a position Gadhafi says is the only way forward for the war-ravaged and drought-stricken continent.
On the other hand Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya seek gradual integration - and seem to have the upper hand at the moment.
Motlanthe said it was too soon to tell how Gadhafi’s leadership would affect the AU. “It’s early days and early hours, so it’s hard to say. We’ll have to see as the year progresses.”
In his closing speech, Gadhafi joined the continent’s chorus of praise for US President Barack Obama, the first black man to accede to the White House.
“The black people’s struggle has vanquished racism. It was God who created colour. Today Obama, a son of Kenya, a son of Africa, has made it in the United States of America,” he said.
“We hope he will be well protected and want him to be undaunted. America doesn’t belong to the whites alone. I hope he will be able to accomplish the change he carries in him,” Kadhafi added.
February 4, 2009
African leaders meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last night failed to reach a consensus on modalities for the transformation of the African Union Commission, AUC, to the African Union Authority, AUA, as a first step towards the establishment of a Union Government.
On the last day of their 12th summit, African leaders met until the early hours of Wednesday to work out the final details of the Union Government, but could not agree on modalities for transforming the AUC into an Authority.
At an earlier sitting, the African leaders had agreed to create the African Union Authority to coordinate African efforts towards the emergence of a United States of Africa. The deal was struck after a day-long meeting on Sunday.
The African Union Authority, which was to be established, would have a President, a Vice President and Commissioners, who would e secretaries while other organs of the AUC among Assembly of the Union, Executive Council and Permanent Representative Committees would have remained unaltered.
But the seeming breakthrough was reversed at the full official sitting on Tuesday, which lasted until early Wednesday, leading to the postponement of the summit’s closing ceremony.
Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in the forefront of those pushing for the formation of a Union Government, stormed out of the meeting minutes before it ended.
Zambia is a prominent voice among those calling for a gradual approach in the formation of the Union Government.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who chaired the special session on the Union Government on Sunday, said the breakthrough on the creation of the Authority was reached to guide the steps towards a United States of Africa.
AUC President Jean Ping confirmed the hitch, saying that the African leaders agreed on the creation of the AU Authorities but could not agree on the modalities of transforming the AUC into an authority.
“We agreed on the creation of the African Union Authority, but we faced difficulties on the modalities of creating the Authority,” said Mr. Ping.
The Editor, The Times Newspaper
Published: Feb 05, 2009
First step in restoring confidence in Zim is restoration of political stability
YESTERDAY we published news of Zimbabwe’s astronomical inflation rate. Actually, the term astronomical is not, strictly speaking, correct because there are fewer than 5sextillion planets, stars and asteroids in the universe.
But we should not make light of this statistic.
The awful truth is that the Zimbabwean economy is entering its end days. It has, for some time, ceased to serve the needs of the majority of Zimbabweans, who are living from hand to mouth in a barter economy.
It has failed as an investment destination because the risks have outweighed the potential returns.
Robert Mugabe and his somewhat deluded central bank governor, Gideon Gono, have been putting it out that sanctions are to blame for the Zimbabwean economy’s parlous state.
But this is dissembling. Sanctions have been imposed on Mugabe and his henchmen, not on foreign investors.
The truth is that Zimbabwe has ceased to offer the opportunities and the infrastructure needed to inspire investors.
An inflation rate of 5sextillionpercent and a currency that has lost 22 zeros over the last year do not inspire confidence.
What is needed now is a sense of urgency about rebuilding Zimbabwe’s economy, firstly by ensuring political stability.
The swearing-in of the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister would greatly assist in this quest.
But it would have to be followed by a series of far-reaching and rapid policy changes that will inspire confidence.
These would have to include the end of state interference in corporate ownership, the removal of restrictions on the repatriation of capital by investors and an end to restrictions on capital flows.
And South Africa must move quickly to help its neighbour rebuild its economy.
05 February, 2009 10:51:00 sapa
MDC Information and Publicity Supremo Nelson Chamisa
Zimbabwe's opposition on Thursday reported progress in negotiations with President Robert Mugabe's party on forming a unity government after the two sides held talks in South Africa.
"I am glad to say that yesterday (Wednesday) when they finally met in South Africa, there seems to be some progress," Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told South African public broadcaster SA FM.
He declined to give further details.
Chamisa said negotiators from the MDC and Mugabe's Zanu-PF discussed the allocation of key ministries, one of the main stumbling blocks toward implementing a power-sharing accord reached last year.
Other issues included legislation defining the functions of the security services. Mugabe has been accused of using the security services to intimidate the opposition.
Zimbabwe's parliament is expected on Thursday to take up constitutional amendments which would pave the way for the formation of a unity government, party officials said.
The changes would include the creation of the post of prime minister, which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to fill.
Debate on the amendments had been postponed Wednesday to allow negotiators more time to discuss outstanding issues.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc last month set a February 5 deadline for parliament to pass the necessary constitutional amendments to allow for the unity government.
They also set a February 11 deadline for the swearing in of Tsvangirai as prime minister.
Ministers and deputy ministers are scheduled to be sworn in on February 13 to conclude the formation of the unity government. - AFP
By Lebo Nkatazo
Posted to the web: 04/02/2009 03:22:12
ZIMBABWE’S parliament is set to pass a constitutional amendment on Thursday, considered the first in a series of steps outlined by regional leaders towards the formation of a unity government.
Debate on the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment 19 Bill was postponed on Wednesday, sparking fears that a solution to a decade-long political and economic crisis could be held up by new disagreements between President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party and two opposition MDC factions.
Negotiators from Zanu PF and the MDC groups who were meeting in Johannesburg to go through outstanding issues were reported to have reached a quick agreement on most of the items up for discussion under intense encouragement from South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and former President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating.
The constitutional amendment creates the post of Prime Minister, which is earmarked for opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Leaders of the regional trade bloc SADC who met in South Africa last week set the Zimbabwe parties a timetable for implementing the power sharing agreement.
Under their timeline, supported by both Mugabe and his opposition rivals Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, the constitutional amendment should be passed on Thursday, to be followed by Tsvangirai’s swearing in on February 11. Ministers should be sworn in by on February 13 “which will conclude the process of the formation of the inclusive government”.
The constitutional amendment is expected to be rushed through the House of Assembly, then the Senate before getting the rapid assent of President Mugabe.
Arriving from an African Union summit where he pledged his commitment to sharing power after 29 years at the helm, Mugabe recalled the Senate - which was not expected to sit on Thursday - to pass the amendment, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda told reporters.
House of Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo called on all MPs to attend parliament on Thursday for a history-making debate.
Professor Jonathan Moyo, the only independent MP in the 210-member House of Assembly, said Zanu PF and the two MDC factions could erode public confidence in the unity government if they veered off the SADC timetable.
“Confidence in this process is the most important currency right now,” Moyo said. “If you erode it, you are creating problems… the dual currency of this whole thing is confidence: public confidence, regional confidence and international confidence. If you dent that confidence or erode that confidence, you end up adding kerosene to a fire that was dying out.”
Moyo said failure to stick to the SADC timeline would “promote cynicism”. Zanu PF and the two MDC factions needed each other, he said.
“Here are people in a very deep hole; they must stop digging and get out. This deal is a rope for the three parties to use to get out of that hole.”
Written by CZ Editor
Thursday, 05 February 2009
Further evidence of Robert Mugabe's attempt to force the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into a raw deal or his insincerity in the unity bid is provided by the fact that MDC secretary general Tendai Biti is still facing two charges of seeking to oust him unconstitutionally.
Biti appeared again in court today and his trial date has been set for May 4 - a clear message to to the lawyer to "play ball or else". If Mugabe had been sincere one would have expected him to instruct his very politicised judiciary to drop the case, as he always does with cases important to him.
Biti is an MP and the chief MDC-T negotiator in the talks that have given rise to the ongoing unity - for which Parliament is today passing a law creating the office of Prime Minister.
Treason charges arose out of the disputed presidential election in March where Biti was expressing the opposition's frustration with Mugabe's politicised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which took five weeks to release results of the 27 March election.
The other charge arises from a document which has been proved to be a forgery, purporting to implicate Biti in an effort to overthrow Mugabe unconstitutionally.
AFP quoted a prosecutor saying: "We have to prioritize this case in the second term of the High Court."
Biti's lawyers opposed further remand, arguing that the state had failed to serve indictment papers since the case began last year and thereby delayed setting the trial date.
"We believe the breach of this undertaking is deliberate," defense lawyer Lewis Uriri told the court. "It has nothing to do with matters of law."
Magistrate Olivia Mariga is expected to rule Friday whether to keep Biti on remand.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 February 2009 )
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Posted to the web: 04/02/2009 16:36:12
A HIGH Court judge dismissed a bail application by human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko on Wednesday.
Mukoko and dozens of other activists were charged with recruiting or attempting to recruit people to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government. They deny the charges.
Harrison Nkomo, representing Mukoko, said he was puzzled by a judgment handed down by Justice Alfias Chitakunye instructing Mukoko to go back to the magistrates court and have charges against her properly read out.
"I was puzzled by the decision but it has left me with no choice but to seek leave of appeal directly to the Supreme Court," said Nkomo.
Lawyers for Mukoko, a former news reader for state television, say she and the other activists are in need of urgent medical care. Despite repeated orders by judges for authorities to allow doctors access, the lawyers say these orders are largely being defied.
Mukoko and the other suspects testified in court that they were tortured into making admissions of plotting to overthrow Mugabe’s government through recruiting bandits who would be trained in Botswana before being redeployed to lead an insurrection. Full details of the alleged plot will not be known until the matter goes to full trial.
[ Follow up - ‘Grace Mugabe in
Perfect Mental Health’
[ re Grace Mugabe - in Perfect Mental Health ] at http://bentrovato.book.co.za/blog/2009/02/04/grace-mugabe-in-perfect-mental-health/
Published: Feb 01, 2009
From: Professor Benjamin Trovato
Sent: 30 January 2009 07:56 PM
To: His Excellency President Robert Mugabe
Dear Mr President,
As per your request, I examined your wife, Grace, upon her recent return from China and may I say what a lovely woman she is. You are a very lucky man.
Having said that, however, I would be failing in my duty if I did not admit to having detected one or two interesting anomalies in her psychiatric make-up.
While Grace admits to having attacked a man upon leaving a Hong Kong shopping mall, she maintains that she was stricken by an episode of snow blindness and mistook the photographer for a Ninja assassin working for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
I find her version of events entirely plausible. History has shown us that the Chinese cannot be trusted. You only have to ask the Japanese. Or place an order at my local takeaway. You ask for stir-fried shrimp and they give you chicken that smells like fish. But I digress.
During our session, Grace used her lipstick to draw several organograms on my office wall, proving that the triads are controlled by the House of Lords. This makes perfect sense given that Britain ruled Hong Kong with an iron fist for 150 years.
Grace told me her primary concern was that Hong Kong, her preferred shopping destination, would now be closed to her.
I assured her that these fears were unfounded. All it would take is a call from you to President Hu Jintao threatening to cut off their rhino horn and close down the shoe shops.
I am, therefore, pleased to inform you that Grace is a healthy, normal woman.
Well, she will be once the trans-gender operation has been performed. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with a good man in Pyongyang.
In the meantime, I would like to suggest that you keep her indoors, preferably away from the windows, for the next 12 months.
As far as medication goes, not that she needs it, you may wish to consider slipping 1500mg of lithium into her Beluga caviar each morning.
And if there is any buspirone, propranolol or clonidine lying around State House, you could always stir it into her raw rabbit spleen and Fish Eagle foie gras.
It is up to you.
Professor Benjamin Trovato (Dipso.M.Aniac Chimanimani Univ.)
Wednesday, 04 February 2009
Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe boss has again been fingered in an embarrassing financial scandal. It has emerged that he gave the Foreign Exchange Licenced Warehouses and Shops (FOLIWARS) licenses for free to Zanu (PF) members, friends and relatives.
The licenses are pegged at US$ 20 000 but to date not one of the traders has paid such an amount.
"Nobody has paid for the RBZ licences because most of those trading in forex are related to or friends with Gono. We are angry about the development because we are being denied an opportunity to trade in hard currency when the economy has been dollarised," said a source at the RBZ headquaters.
According to the source Gono was empowering his Zanu (PF) cronies as part of a looting strategy. Businesspeople linked to opposition politics are said to have been sidelined in getting licences to sell wares in US dollars and Rands.
"If you a Zanu (PF) member, you will be granted a licence quickly without going through and hassle. That's an instruction we received from the Governor (Gono)."
"There is a lot of partisan, nepotism and favouritism in the allocation of forex licences," said a top RBZ official who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
The corruption at the RBZ has riled the business community, which has since petitioned Gono to scrap the licences and allow people to trade in foreign currency freely. The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has handed over a petition to Gono asking him to suspend the FOLIWARS and free the market to control itself.
In the document, the ZNCC said businesses are deeply concerned about the favouritism surrounding granting of licences. The ZNCC complained that the US$ 20 000 required by the RBZ was beyond the reach of many.
"We don't have the money and we ask to pay later after we get licences because we are aware a lot of businesses are trading with licences they didn't pay for," read the petition. The ZNCC vice-president Alfred Dube confirmed the petition to the central bank chief. - afrik.com