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Court condemns abducted activists to more time in custody

By Lance Guma
09 January 2008

Judges in Zimbabwe with their farms, posh cars, plasma TV's and other
monetary perks took their brazen loyalty to Mugabe's regime to new heights
Friday. One of them ruled that 7 MDC activists, including a freelance
journalist, should remain in custody and await trial for a series of
'dubious' bombings at 2 police stations and 2 bridges because there was a
'reasonable suspicion' they committed the offences. Although the defence
team is demanding an early trial Florence Ziyambi, a lawyer in the Attorney
General's Office, said because of the schedule at the High Court the trial
cannot start until May at the earliest.

At least 32 activists, among them prominent former newsreader Jestina
Mukoko, are being kept in custody at various locations including Chikurubi
Maximum Security Prison, amid claims of excruciating torture and abuse.
Magistrate Gloria Mariga on Thursday ordered police to 'investigate
themselves' after she asked the Attorney General to ask the police to look
into the allegations of torture. Mariga went on to say, '"It is my view that
(torture) cannot stop the accused from being placed on remand as long as
there is reasonable suspicion that they committed the offense.'

Faced with a judiciary that is playing games and conniving with state
security agencies to illegally detain the activists, defence lawyers this
week resorted to naming and shaming the abductors in open court. Rights
groups are also producing daily timelines of events to show which judges,
prosecutors and other state representatives are working to defeat the course
of justice. In response to Friday's ruling Andrew Makoni, who is also
defending the abducted activists, said they would apply for bail at the High
Court on Monday.
Mukoko meanwhile has used a court affidavit to recount her torture ordeal at
the hands of the CIO. She said they kept her in solitary confinement for 19
days trying to force her into admitting she recruited MDC youths for
military training in Botswana to topple the regime. Six men and a woman
kidnapped her from her Norton home before bundling her into a car. They
first quizzed her on the work of the Zimbabwe Peace Project before making
attempts at linking her with the MDC. When she denied any they started
beating her up.

'Firstly I was assaulted underneath my feet with a rubber-like object which
was at least one metre long and flexible, while seated on the floor. Later I
was told to raise my feet onto a table and the other people in the room
started to assault me underneath my feet. This assault lasted for at least
five to six minutes. They took a break and then continued again with the
beatings. Several days later one of the interrogators went out of the room
and returned with gravel which he spread onto the floor and told her to pull
up her clothes and kneel on the gravel.' The interrogations continued whilst
I was kneeling on the gravel,' Mukoko said.
Even the elderly and young children have not been spared in the crackdown.
Fidelis Chiramba, a 72 year old MDC organizer in the rural areas, is one of
those being accused of plotting to overthrow Mugabe. His 69 year old wife,
Sophia Chiramba, visited her husband late in December last year but prison
guards would not even allow her to touch his hands. She says she has given
up hope of her husband ever coming back home to tend to his vegetable garden
which has now turned into bush. Chiramba told the Washington Post, 'at least
I get the chance to see him, even if they kill him later.'

Among the abducted prisoners is Nigel Mutamagau, a 2 year old boy who was
abducted with his parents, Violet Mupfuranhehwe and Collen Mutamagau. He was
beaten by security agents who were trying to force his mother into a
confession. It's reported the boy too has not received medical attention
just like the other prisoners, and is being held in solitary confinement
with his mother. All those accused in the banditry charges were either
abducted from their work places or homes and all have been tortured into
making confessions. Legal experts say such evidence is inadmissible in court
and question the logic of judges in Zimbabwe entertaining what has happened
so far.

It was only in 2007 that High Court Judge Tedius Karwi blasted the police
for cooking up evidence in a similar case in which dozens of MDC activists
were accused of terrorism charges. All those accused were eventually
acquitted, but not until Mugabe's regime had used the propaganda value of
the charges to justify their crackdown on the MDC at the African Union and
SADC summits.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe activists lose bid to quash terror charges


A Zimbabwe court on Friday refused to toss out terrorism charges against
seven opposition activists, in a case that has heightened fears for a
faltering unity accord with President Robert Mugabe.

"It is my view that this cannot stop the accused being placed on remand as
long as there is reasonable suspicion," magistrate Olivia Mariga said.

The activists include opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
security chief Chris Dlamini and a former personal advisor to party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

They are accused of bombing two police stations in Harare as well as two
bridges outside the capital "for the purposes of causing insurrection in
Zimbabwe." They denied the charges.

The seven were remanded in custody to January 23.

Lawyers had urged the magistrate's court to dismiss the charges saying the
activists were victims of abductions who were tortured into confessing to
crimes they did not commit.

The seven were among 18 opposition and rights activists detained at unknown
locations, some since late October.

Among those taken away were a couple and their two-year-old toddler.

The arrest of the activists has raised fresh doubts about a September
power-sharing deal signed by Tsvangirai and Mugabe, which has stalled over
disputes about dividing control of key cabinet posts.

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Tsvangirai seeks crucial Mugabe meeting

Fri Jan 9, 2009 5:56pm GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
requested a meeting with President Robert Mugabe in an effort to salvage a
power-sharing deal, an opposition spokesman said on Friday.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe signed a unity pact last September but the agreement
appears to be unravelling after a dispute over the control of key ministries
and the abduction of several opposition and human rights activists.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Reuters:
"We have written to Mugabe indicating that we want a meeting between him and
(MDC) president Tsvangirai to bring finality and closure to the dialogue.

"We can't keep Zimbabweans guessing, we have to close the chapter on
dialogue, whether in success or failure."

Chamisa said Mugabe had yet to respond. He declined to give details on what
Tsvangirai expected from the meeting.

Chamisa said Tsvangirai, who has been outside Zimbabwe since a regional
summit in South Africa last November, would return to the country "within

Last week, Mugabe's spokesman told state media the veteran leader would
appoint a new cabinet in February, despite the stalled talks with the
opposition. Chamisa said the MDC would not be part of that government.

Mugabe also fired nine ministers and three deputy ministers who lost their
parliamentary seats in March polls and named acting ministers, in apparent
preparation for the new cabinet. He is currently on a month's leave, which
could delay the formation of a new government.

"We have never stopped Mugabe from forming a fake and illegal government,
but if he were to do that, he can be sure he will not have the support and
cooperation of the MDC and the majority of Zimbabweans," Chamisa said.

"If they proceed, they would be in violation of the global political
agreement and in defiance of SADC," he said, referring to the Southern
African Development Community, a grouping of regional states which has been
mediating between the two sides.

Chamisa said the MDC leadership had scheduled a meeting to discuss the
deadlocked talks on the power-sharing deal seen as the best chance of
preventing an economic collapse.

"The national executive council will meet on January 18 to assess the state
of inter-party dialogue in the face of continued intransigence by ZANU-PF
(Mugabe's party)," Chamisa said.

"Depending on the factors at the time, critical positions will be taken,
relating to the dialogue process."

A cholera outbreak has worsened the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, killing
more than 1,800 people out of 36,671 cases, according to World Health
Organisation figures.

The impact of the outbreak has also been felt in neighbouring South Africa
where utility Eskom shut down the construction of its Medupi power station
in the country's Limpopo province, near the Zimbabwe border, after a cholera
scare, the company's spokesman Fani Zulu said on Friday.

If confirmed as cholera, it would be the first sign that the disease, which
broke out in Zimbabwe in August last year, was having an impact on South
Africa's industry and economy.

South Africa's ruling African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma urged
Zimbabwe's political rivals to end their stalemate.

"What the Zimbabwean leadership must remember and understand is that this
situation is affecting us very directly as South Africans, socially,
economically and in various other ways," Zuma said in a speech at an ANC
dinner on Friday.

Zimbabwe's police have charged at least 16 activists with plotting an
insurgency against Mugabe's government. Tsvangirai has threatened to pull
out of negotiations over the issue.

On Friday, a Zimbabwean court dismissed an application for the release of
seven opposition activists accused of bombing police stations and banditry.

Defence lawyers had argued the activists should be released as they had been
abducted, not legally arrested, and that they had suffered torture while in
police custody.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of voting in March elections, but
fell short of an outright victory to avoid a run-off poll, won by Mugabe
after Tsvangirai pulled out citing violence against his supporters.

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Zimbabwe parties 'lackadaisical' in ending crisis: S.African leader

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Zimbabwe's feuding parties have had a "lackadaisical"
attitude toward ending a months-long stalemate, despite a worsening
humanitarian crisis, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said Friday.

"The sooner an inclusive government is formed, the sooner there can be
concerted efforts by all parties to deal with a massive humanitarian
crisis," Motlanthe said in an interview with The Mail and Guardian

"But the fact is that the parties there have sometimes had a lackadaisical
attitude to these matters," he said.

Motlanthe urged the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
settle its outstanding issues with President Robert Mugabe after creating a
unity government.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe signed a unity pact nearly four
months ago, but the deal has stalled over disputes on how to share power in
a new cabinet.

The MDC won control of parliament in elections last March, when Tsvangirai
also defeated Mugabe in a first-round presidential vote.

But he pulled out of a runoff in June, accusing Mugabe's party of
coordinating attacks against his supporters, which Amnesty International
says have left more than 180 dead.

The unity accord was meant to haul the country from political limbo and halt
its economic meltdown.

Instead the country's crisis has only worsened, with a cholera epidemic
killing more than 1,800 people across the country and chronic food shortages

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MDC National Executive to meet on January 18

January 9th, 2009

The MDC National Executive meets in Harare on 18 January, 2009 to deliberate
on critical issues affecting the party and the people of Zimbabwe.

The issues to be discussed include the desperate humanitarian situation
characterised by massive starvation in the country and the abductions and
arbitrary arrests of party and civic activists on trumped-up charges. The
executive will also discuss the state and status of the SADC-brokered
negotiated political settlement.

The MDC National Executive meeting comes at a time when all social services,
especially education and health, have virtually collapsed. Over seven
million people are surviving on food aid while virtually every Zimbabwean is
struggling to survive in a dollarised economy.

Via MDC Press Release

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MDC say Tsvangirai going home in a matter of days

By Tichaona Sibanda
9 January 2009

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai' stay outside Zimbabwe is coming to an end as
he's expected back in Harare soon, a senior official of the party said on

Hebson Makuvise, the party's chief representative in the UK, told newsreel
Tsvangirai's diplomatic offensive 'was nearing completion and that it would
be a matter of days before he's back home'. 'He is Zimbabwean and he's
longing to be home,' Makuvise said. The MDC leader has been outside the
country for close to three months now and met his party's top leadership in
Johannesburg this week.

The leadership resolved that Tsvangirai should meet with Robert Mugabe 'soon'
to iron out their differences over the stalled formation of a unity

Following three days of intense debate in Johannesburg, the party leadership
remained adamant that only when all the issues are resolved can the MDC join
an inclusive government under the Global political Agreement.

Nelson Chamisa the party spokesman told Reuters news agency that Tsvangirai
has requested a meeting with Mugabe in a last-ditch effort to salvage a
power-sharing deal. Chamisa said they had written to Mugabe, indicating that
they wanted a meeting between him and Tsvangirai to bring finality and
closure to the dialogue.

'We can't keep Zimbabweans guessing, we have to close the chapter on
dialogue, whether in success or failure,' Chamisa is quoted as saying. The
MDC legislator said Mugabe, who is on a month long holiday, was yet to
respond to their overtures.

Tsvangirai is expected to chair his party's national executive meeting set
for the 18th January. All resolutions passed by the party leadership in
Johannesburg this week have to be approved by the MDC's national executive -
the party's top decision making body.

A brief statement from the MDC said issues to be discussed include the
desperate humanitarian situation, characterised by massive starvation in the
country, and the abductions and arbitrary arrests of party and civic
activists on trumped-up charges.

'The executive will also discuss the state and status of the SADC-brokered
negotiated political settlement,' the statement said.

Meanwhile the Supreme Court will on January 22nd decide the fate of the
all-inclusive government deal between the three main political
parties after the leader of the minority Zimbabwe People's Party (ZPP),
Justin Chiota, sought the nullification of last March's presidential poll.

Reports say Chiota's application came after the Supreme Court ruled on
August 1st 2008 that his disqualification by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) from contesting the presidential election was illegal.

The ZEC had barred Chiota and the President of the United People's
Party, Daniel Shumba, from the election for allegedly filing their
nomination papers out of time.

Chiota wants the court to declare null and void the March election and order
a fresh poll within 90 days; and also to bar and interdict President Robert
Mugabe and the leaders of the two MDC formations, Morgan Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara, from proceeding with talks to constitute an inclusive

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Regional body asked to intercede on behalf of imprisoned woman journalist

Zimbabwe 9 January 2009

Reporters Without Borders wrote today to Tomaz Salamao, the executive
secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), urging his
regional organisation to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe's
government to release journalist and human rights activist Jestina Mukoko as
soon as possible.

The letter accuses the Zimbabwean courts of doing everything possible to
prolong the detention of Mukoko, who has been mistreated and tortured since
her arrest on 3 December with the result that her health has deteriorated

"The judicial proceedings being brought against Mukoko and her fellow
defendants are a sham, their rights have been flouted and their health is in
danger," Reporters Without Borders said. "The judges supervising the
proceedings are clearly taking their orders from Zimbabwe's political
authorities, who are persecuting opposition activists in an unprecedented
manner that is liable to scupper the power-sharing agreement."

Magistrate Olivia Mariga postponed Mukoko's trial again on 6 January,
meaning that she will have to remain in pre-trial custody until 14 January
at least, despite the fact that a high court judge ordered her transfer to
hospital on 24 December. Mariga blamed this latest postponement on the
defence's insistence on seeking compliance with the high court ruling.

It was on 24 December that Mukoko was first brought before a Harare court
together with other activists. She was brought before a judge again on 5
January, when a 24-hour postponement was ordered.

She and the other activists, who are being held in Chikurubi high security
prison, are charged with hatching a "terrorist plot" against President
Mugabe. They are alleged to have recruited volunteers to receive military
training in Botswana with a view to ousting Mugabe. Mukoko has been put in
solitary confinement.

According to her lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, she is being denied her medicine
and her health is very worrying. Mukoko says she has been mistreated and
tortured since her arrest. Security agents allegedly kicked her and hit her
several times with sharp instruments, including on the soles of her feet,
and made her kneel naked on gravel.

A former programme presenter for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and
then the privately-owned Voice of The People, Mukoko now heads the Zimbabwe
Peace Project, a human rights organisation that has provided constant
information about this year's political violence in Zimbabwe. She was
kidnapped from her home in Norton (40 km west of Harare) on 3 December by
some 15 men in plain clothes.

Shadreck Manyere, a freelance press photographer who was kidnapped on 13
December, was meanwhile brought before a Harare court on 7 January on
charges of banditry, sabotage and terrorism, for which he faces a prison
sentence ranging from 20 years to life. The authorities accuse him of
involvement in the bombings of the Criminal Investigations Department
headquarters in Harare and Manyame bridge in Norton on 17 November and the
bombing of Harare central police station on 20 November.

Reporters Without Borders also condemns the government's decision to raise
the fees for foreign media accreditation, which has made visiting Zimbabwe
prohibitively expensive for foreign freelance journalists, especially
African ones. They will now have to pay more than 10,000 US dollars to be
allowed to work in the country.

The increase is indicative of the contempt the government feels towards the
press in general, and the international media in particular, and its desire
to engineer a news blackout about political, economic and public health
developments in Zimbabwe.

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Bid to Stifle Foreign Press

Institute for War & Peace Reporting (London)

Chipo Sithole

9 January 2009

Harare - Foreign correspondents and local journalists filing for
international media have expressed anger over the introduction this week of
hefty accreditation fees, apparently aimed at stifling their work.

Journalists say the move is blatant discrimination against foreign media and
a further salvo in an ongoing campaign to silence critical reporting.

"[The authorities] should just come clean and say we are banning reporting
for foreign media," said one foreign correspondent based in Harare.

"I don't even earn this sort of money. Who is going to comply with such
punitive regulations?"

The journalist said he would not seek accreditation, and instead work
"underground", steering clear of official functions, where press cards are
usually required.

The changes mean that journalists based in Zimbabwe who work for foreign
media will have to pay an annual accreditation fee of 4,000 US dollars -
four times more than last year.

Foreign journalists wishing to work temporarily in the country will have to
pay around 1,500 US dollars. While international news agencies running
bureaus in Harare, or those wishing to establish offices there, will be
required to fork out combined fees of around 32,000 US dollars.

The hike in accreditation charges has come just weeks after President Robert
Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba threatened to ban foreign news
organisations from Zimbabwe.

In an interview broadcast on state television on December 12, Charamba
accused them of distorting news developments.

Charamba was apparently piqued by the international outrage that followed
news reports that Mugabe had said his administration had halted a cholera
epidemic, which broke out in the summer of 2008, and is estimated to have
killed some 1,700 people.

He also suggested that international wire agencies were working for western
intelligence services. "The line between these journalistic misdeeds and
espionage grows thinner and thinner by the day," he said.

Mugabe's government has long been accused of harassing the independent
media, in a bid to silence all voices of dissent. Four newspapers have been
closed down in the past few years and more than 100 journalists have been
arrested for allegedly flouting the country's tough media laws.

Through the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
AIPPA, of 2002 - which passed into law last year - the Zimbabwean
authorities have extensive powers to control media and suppress free speech.

Takura Zhangazha, national director of the Media Institute of Southern
Africa, MISA, Zimbabwe chapter, said the accreditation fees were "designed
to shut down the foreign media".

"Statutory regulation of the media is undemocratic. No one was consulted
about these prohibitive fees," he said.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Matthew Takaona said that the
charges were "punitive and a hindrance to the free flow of information".

"The government should not always look at the foreign media as enemies," he
said, adding that his organisation would lobby for a revision of the fees.

Takaona encouraged journalists not to seek accreditation, pointing out that
no regulatory body was yet in place to accept the payments.

The fees are required to be paid to the government-appointed Media and
Information Commission, MIC. However, media watchdogs say the MIC ceased to
exist after the AIPPA became law in January 2008.

It is reportedly being replaced by a new body, the Zimbabwe Media
Commission, ZMC, which will comprise nine members appointed by the president
from a list of not fewer than 12 nominees, submitted by a parliamentary

But parliament, which is set to reconvene on January 20, has not yet
constituted the committee which will handpick the nominees.

"We are surprised these fees have been put in place in the absence of a
regulatory body," Takaona told IWPR. "We don't encourage journalists to seek
accreditation from an illegal entity."

Media lawyers suggested that journalists would have to comply with the law
before they could challenge it. "You cannot approach the courts with dirty
hands," said human rights lawyer Irene Petras.

To illustrate her point, she cited the banning of what was the country's
largest circulation independent daily newspaper, The Daily News.

The title was shut down after it refused to comply with licensing
regulations, which it planned to appeal against. The Supreme Court upheld
the ban, ruling the newspaper should have complied first before mounting a

While foreign correspondents and news agencies are currently considering
their position, many say they will not seek accreditation and, instead, are
prepared to play a cat and mouse game with the authorities.
"This [move by the government] simply encourages guerrilla journalism," said
one foreign correspondent, who spoke under condition of anonymity.

Chipo Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained reporter in Zimbabwe.

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Journalists challenge licensing authority

January 8, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwean journalists are filing an urgent court application
challenging the legality of a media licensing authority which they accuse of
setting prohibitive licensing fees after it was officially dissolved.

The journalists say the prohibitive fees amount to a breach of the right to
freedom of expression.

The Media and Information Commission (MIC) announced through the State-owned
Herald newspaper Tuesday that the government had fixed new accreditation and
registration fees for journalists, news agencies and media organisations.

A check with the government printers has revealed that the government
gazette fixing the new fees has still to be printed.

The fees fixed, especially for Zimbabwean journalists working for foreign
media, foreign agencies and for foreign journalists, are considered high by
the journalists.

They range from US$4 000 for an individual journalist to US$32 000 for a
foreign news agency. A significant number of Zimbabwean journalists work for
foreign media organisations.

Journalists have resolved to file a court challenge arguing that amendments
made to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
which were gazetted into law last January, effectively dissolved the MIC and
replaced it with a Zimbabwe Media Council (ZMC).

The ZMC has still not been appointed, and can only come into force after
Parliament re-convenes on January 20. The Parliamentary Committee on
Standing Rules and Orders is expected to nominate 12 people.

The names will be submitted to President Robert Mugabe, who will then
handpick nine people from the list to constitute the ZMC. Therefore, the ZMC
can only be constituted after the formation of a new all-inclusive

Journalists are seeking a declaratory order that the MIC is illegal at law.
They assert that the actions of the MIC in demanding registration from
journalists amount to contempt of parliamentary processes which disbanded it
and constituted the ZMC.

All accreditations or registrations through or to the erstwhile MIC must be
deemed unlawful, the journalists argue.

They will also seek an order that allows them to continue to practice until
a correct body is in place.

The journalists are also mounting another challenge on the basis that the
US$4 000 required for accreditation of individual journalists working for
foreign media and foreign journalists is grossly unreasonable.

The fees were set without consultation of the media industry.

Journalists will also bring a constitutional challenge demonstrating that
the requirement to register given the prohibitive fees amounts to a
violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression guaranteed under
the Zimbabwe Constitution.

The court application will be filed on an urgent basis given that
accreditations are already due and that there are penalties attached to the
failure or delay to register and accredit.

Journalists have pondered whether they can challenge the gazette before they
seek accreditation. There were fears that the courts can use the "dirty
hands doctrine" used by the Supreme Court in upholding a ban on The Daily
News in 2003.

The precedent was set when government banned the country's largest
circulating independent daily newspaper, The Daily News, after it refused to
comply with licensing regulations saying it had mounted a constitutional
challenge against AIPPA, which it asserted breached press freedom.

Zimbabwe's Supreme Court upheld the ban saying the newspaper was supposed to
comply with the law first before it could challenge it.

Under Zimbabwe's tough media law, AIPPA, journalists face a two-year prison
sentence for practising without accreditation

In the current case, the journalists resolved that in the event that some
journalists or media organisations can afford the fees and do pay them, this
is done on a "without prejudice" basis in order not to compromise the court

Protest letters will also be submitted to Parliament, the main political
parties in Zimbabwe which set up the ZMC, to the SADC, the guarantors of the
September 15 power-sharing deal, and to the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

Leading lawyer Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha is handling the
court challenge

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Zimbabwe economic collapse challenges aid workers

Associated Press

By DONNA BRYSON - 2 hours ago

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - Aid agencies fighting cholera in Zimbabwe
say they are working well with a government that once viewed them with
suspicion, but they still face challenges because of the country's economic

Aid workers in interviews this week described having to bring in everything
from soap to medical equipment. Even the cash to pay Zimbabwean staff comes
from abroad. A bar of soap, essential for the cleanliness needed to stop
cholera, was selling for $1 in Zimbabwe on Friday, about half a gardener's
monthly salary.

Cholera, which should be easy to control, has killed more than 1,800 people
since August in Zimbabwe, where the medical system and the infrastructure to
ensure clean water are in tatters. Medical workers whose government salaries
have been reduced to nearly nothing by hyperinflation now receive hard
currency "incentive" payments from international aid agencies.

CARE is providing meals for patients and staff at cholera centers, said
spokesman Kenneth Walker. CARE was already feeding thousands of Zimbabweans
because of a hunger crisis that had preceded the outbreak of cholera.

"We're operating at what passes for normal in Zimbabwe," Walker said.

Last year, the government restricted the work of international aid agencies
for two months, accusing them of siding with the opposition before a
presidential runoff. Now, Oxfam spokeswoman Caroline Gluck said Friday, the
government does not interfere in her agency's cholera work - and aid
organizations even find themselves praised by state media.

President Robert Mugabe was ridiculed last month for declaring Zimbabwe had
"no cholera," raising concerns his government was not taking the epidemic
seriously. But last week, Gluck said, his government called a meeting
attended by government officials, health experts, diplomats and journalists
to announce a nationwide blitz against cholera.

That was "a frank acknowledgment of the scale of the problem," Gluck said in
a telephone interview from Zimbabwe.

Relations have eased on the financial front as well as the political. In
November, Zimbabwe's central bank returned $7.3 million that it had
confiscated from the local bank account of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria after the international aid agency complained

Now, banking problems have eased. Aid groups are finding it easier to access
their funds, and they are now allowed to use U.S. dollars for transactions
in Zimbabwe.

Aid groups can make bank-to-bank transfers to pay the Zimbabweans from whom
they buy goods and services, but those Zimbabweans remain subject to limits
on daily transactions, or have to stand in lines for hours at banks to
withdraw the money. Paying in cash is one solution, but the logistics of
bringing in enough hard currency in small denominations are very difficult.

"This is a nightmare for our administrative people," said Maria Therese de
Magalhaes, emergency coordinator in Zimbabwe for Medecins Sans Frontieres.

De Magalhaes said the logistical challenges were likely to mount, with signs
cholera was spreading to remote rural areas. MSF will have to find a way to
get in water, mobile clinics and workers, and food and other necessities.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies flew in
seven plane loads of equipment after the epidemic hit and mobilized 30,000
volunteers across the country to fight cholera.

"We came with massive capacity," said Farid Abdulkadir, the national
disaster management coordinator for southern Africa, adding he expected his
group's cholera response campaign to last another six months.

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ZANU-PF letting Zimbabweans perish like flies

In Beitbridge, a child recovers from a bout with cholera. The malady has killed almost a thousand so far.

We in the Diaspora can only watch and listen with horror at the devastation cholera is meting out to the Zimbabwean populace. Reports of mortuaries over-flowing with body bags of both patients and health care workers are befuddling to say the least.

Never ever, in our wildest dreams, did we ever imagine that a government could let its own citizens perish like flies to a preventable and treatable disease like cholera in this century? MDC-USA is deeply saddened by the loss of lives and the suffering our people have to endure.  

That the country is in this predicament is no surprise at all. For a long time, the proverbial “writing on the wall” has been there for all and sundry. Zimbabwe does not have the capacity or resources to deal with this catastrophe. For years, the health care system has disintegrated, compounded by the exodus of qualified health personnel. The government is broke and the little foreign currency that trickles in has been reserved for personal gratification (shopping trips for the chosen few, wide screen TVs to buy loyalty of judges and endless fickle material stuff). Priorities have been shifted from the people in preference to self preservation. The people's trust has been betrayed. A government is supposed to take care of its people, but this government has been more concerned with entrenching itself in power. 

It is bemusing when 'illegitimate' president Robert Mugabe declared an end to cholera (“Now that the cholera has been contained, there is no need for a war”) when to this day, cholera deaths rise unabated (1732 confirmed deaths to date). Is Mr. Mugabe out of touch with reality or is he just a callous human being without regard to life, we wonder? Has Mr. Mugabe and his ministers ever taken a tour of the health care centers to assess the situation on the ground or they are tucked away in their comfort zones, being fed cooked information? But then, would they dare to take a walk in the masses without receiving the wrath of the people? Statements accusing the British of bringing cholera upon Zimbabwe are not only irresponsible, but silly. They are a reflection of the inner mind of an old and tired man who needs a nap. 

MDC-USA calls upon those individuals who control the government system to be responsible and act now! Many have called for the declaration of a state of emergency and that would be a first step. Calling for help is not a sign of weakness but courage! Mwana asingachemi anofira mumbereko. Denying reality is like chasing the wind - you don't win! To start with a Government of National Unity which satisfies the concerns of MDC should be put in place now. In the interim the existing illegal government of Robert Mugabe should invite all organizations and individuals who wish to assist to come without any preconditions. This is no time for political pandering because no one should play politics with people's lives. The unfortunate part is that cholera has no political boundaries - ZANU PF nor MDC it will strike.


Dr. Roderick Machekano,  Secretary for Health.
Dr. Roderick Machekano (Assistant Professor of Medicine (Tenure-track), Case Western Reserve University Medical School, Department of Medicine).College/University: 1985-1988 University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe, BSc Hons (Mathematics). College/University: 1993-1994 University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe, MSc (Mathematics) College/University: 2001-2003 University of California, Berkeley, CA, MPH (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) College/University: 2003-2006 University of California, Berkeley, CA, PhD (Biostatistics. Has extensive experience working in projects which give assistance to AIDS patients.

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MMPZ statement on new registration fees for journalists
Friday, 09 January 2009
The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) is an independent Trust that works to promote freedom of expression and responsible journalism in Zimbabwe.
MMPZ notes with disappointment the punitive US-dollar-denominated fees to be paid by foreign correspondents and news agencies operating in Zimbabwe for applications, accreditation and registration to practice their profession, as reported in the January 6 issue of The Herald. This new fees structure, published pursuant to the provisions of the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, clearly represents an intensification of the Zimbabwean authorities’ sustained campaign to block access to the foreign media seeking to cover the Zimbabwean story, thus depriving Zimbabweans (and the world community) of a variety of alternative sources of information to the output of the government-controlled media. In fact, MMPZ believes that all such registration and licensing regulations that exist under the Act constitute a clear violation of regionally and internationally recognised guarantees safeguarding freedom of expression and of the media and should be condemned. Such regulation of the media and prohibitive fees structures also contravene the spirit of the global political agreement signed on 15th September 2008.
MMPZ therefore calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to immediately revise any fees charged for the registration of any journalist or media organisation to no more than a token administrative cost.
Most importantly, MMPZ urges any new government to commit itself to the following:
•    Ensure that any media activity is not rendered dependent upon any form of statutory registration or admission and that mechanisms promoting media self-regulation are created and strengthened;

•    Encourage a diverse and independent print and electronic media, including foreign media;

•    Repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as a matter of urgency, and remove all those clauses in the Broadcasting Services Act, Public Order and Security Act, and all other pieces of legislation that hinder the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas without hindrance, as guaranteed under Zimbabwe’s Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Such repressive laws have no legitimate purpose and are not necessary in a democratic society.

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SW Radio Africa Hot Seat Transcript

Gerry Jackson, standing in for Violet Gonda on Hotseat. Listen Here

We speak to Mr. Felix Eimer who says he was recently contacted by the daughter of Vice President Joice Mujuru, Nyasha del Campo, who tried to set up a deal involving illegal gold from the DRC

Related articles:
UN report on illegal exploitation of DRC Oct 2002
Correspondence to and from Nyasha del Campo
Letter to journalists from Firstar Europe Ltd
Global Witness report: Zimbabwe’s Resource Colonialism in Democratic Republic of Congo

Corporate offer for 350kg of gold from company controlled by Nyasha and Pedro Del Campo

The history of the Democratic Republic of Congo has always been one of greed and corruption. In 1998 a 5 year conflict erupted between government forces, backed by Angola , Namibia and Zimbabwe , against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda . The fighting was fuelled by the enormous mineral wealth of the DRC and everyone took advantage of the chance to plunder the natural resources, which included gold and diamonds.

Nyasha and Pedro del Campo, diamonds and gold

The war has been described as Africa ’s world war and Robert Mugabe’s support in this conflict saw the beginning of the collapse of Zimbabwe ’s economy, when he committed Zimbabwean troops to the conflict. An estimated 5 million people died in the DRC , mainly because of the humanitarian crisis that resulted.

For it’s support, Zimbabwe was given a number of concessions by the DRC government, that allowed it to plunder the vast natural resources of the country, including gold and diamonds. A United Nations report and another report by Global Witness, detailed the criminal activities that resulted. The reports clearly showed that Zimbabwe ’s ruling elite and all the senior defence force officials were, and still are, involved in the plunder. In August 2002 United Nations investigations revealed a memorandum from the Defence Minister Sidney Sekeramayi, to Robert Mugabe, proposing that a joint Zimbabwe- DRC company be set up in Mauritius , to disguise the continuing economic interests of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in the DRC . The UN report showed that an elite network of Congolese and Zimbabwean political, military and commercial interests transferred ownership of at least US$5 billion of assets from the State mining sector to private companies under its control, with no compensation or benefit for the State treasury of the DRC .

Unfortunately this plunder continues and in Hotseat we speak to Mr. Felix Eimer who says he was recently contacted by the daughter of Vice President Joice Mujuru, Nyasha del Campo, who tried to set up a deal involving illegal gold from the DRC . She and her husband Pedro live in Madrid in Spain and have set up two companies, allegedly with the help and financial support of her mother.

The company who were offered this gold is Firstar Europe, a company which trades in raw materials.

I first asked Mr. Eimer to explain what had happened.

FE: OK I’m working with a company called Firstar. Basically I am involved in the steel trading with Iraq and through my network, and a gold deal was proposed to me that was initiated by Nyasha del Campo and I’ve got several documents about this deal which was gold from the Congo and as I’m not specialist in these kind of commodities I’ve sent the whole document to the company, to Firstar and their due diligence had the result that there’s a high criminal background and this gold is illegal blood gold from Congo. This is the basic line and when I talked to that fact with Nyasha, she told me that it’s no problem, we can change the origin of the gold to gold from Kenya and this was the point where everyone of us was very concerned.

GJ: Can you just clarify, because from some of the documents that I’ve seen it would appear that Nyasha is living in Spain with her Spanish husband and that they have two companies and they are involved in quite a lot of this. Would that be correct?

FE: Yeah, they are doing a lot of commodity tradings, all commodities like diamonds where Africa ’s very strong, diamonds, gold, DT fuel and I’ve not really got the point how these companies interact. The only thing I know is that her mother is financing all these companies and in our case, she wanted to finance the transport to Zurich of the gold which costs about 150 to 200 thousand US dollars

GJ: What alerted you initially to the fact that this was not a legal deal?

FE: OK as I told you before, I’m not a specialist in that case and as I had all the documents collected on my table I sent it to Firstar which has a high political background on the board of directors and they have the possibilities to do a really deep due diligence and the result of the due diligence was that all the people involved, all the passports I’ve got for the visas they needed to enter Zurich, to enter Switzerland, the result was that all this background, the gold is blood gold and these people are highly criminal people, even they are known at several organisations, so this has all been the result of Firstar’s due diligence work. This is not the result from my work.

GJ: For people who don’t deal in these areas, can you explain how a deal like this works? Why would people like this have to travel to Zurich , to Switzerland ?

FE: OK this special case, the gold from Africa is brought to Switzerland by aeroplane and then it is brought to the refineries and after the refinery you have the result how much is the value of the gold and then the transaction, the bank transaction, the payment transaction is directly done between the seller and the buyer in Zurich. In this case in Zurich because the refinery is in Zurich . So both parties have to be at this place to organise payment, to organise the completion of the transaction.

GJ: You are talking specifically about gold here, but you mentioned diamonds at the beginning as well. Was there anything more to do with a diamond transaction?

FE: The diamond transaction was done separately. I stopped it from the beginning because I wanted to concentrate on one transaction and as I had this information about this criminal background I stopped the diamond transaction so I don’t have any deeper knowledge about the origin or anything concerning this diamond deal.

GJ: Now some of the documents I’ve seen include photographs of gold nuggets. Are those photographs that Nyasha sent to you?

FE: Yep. Those pictures were sent to us, to me to my table from Nyasha, right.

GJ: So what are we saying, that Nyasha’s actually sitting in her office or at home with tin buckets full of gold nuggets?

FE: No, these nuggets, these gold nuggets are actually located, this is my knowledge, this is what Nyasha told me, are located in Nairobi at the airport ready to transport. But the origin of the gold is from Congo and the gold had to be transported from Nairobi to Zurich and the last issue was that her mother financed or wanted to finance these transports and had already released the funds for that, but the gold is physically in Africa .

GJ: Since this began, have you learnt anymore about Nyasha and how she operates with her family or have you had any dealings with Mrs Mujuru herself or have you only been dealing with Nyasha?

FE: I have been dealing with Nyasha directly and know that her mother is behind all these deals and she is financing all these deals and she is giving the possibilities to her daughter to access to all these deals, to get contact to the people that are high criminal. I mean this is the background and she is trying to help her daughter to start up a business selling commodities from Africa like gold and diamonds to Europe or to investors. At the end of the day, I only know that Firstar’s office had contact with Mrs Mujuru but not me personally.

GJ: Is there any way, in your opinion, that these diamonds and this gold could in any way be legal?

FE: In my opinion, when someone tells you that he can change the origin, the origin of the gold that comes from Congo , the only reason that someone does this is that the gold is from criminal background. This is my personal opinion. Because there is no need to change any origin if the gold is not bloody.

GJ: I do have to ask you of course why would you and your company at this stage be willing to tell the world about what is happening here because it is unusual that anyone is so open about illegal transactions that have been offered to them.

FE: OK so this came from the company directly, from the board of directors, as I told you there are a lot of high level politicians on the board of directors and this is a very straight company, they don’t want to do any illegal deals and with that, they try to get these people out of the market. They do it because they will try to sell it to other companies and in this way they try to circumvent other people to get into this transaction. This is the reason why Firstar management decided to go to the media.

GJ: If these allegations are true this must surely not be the first time that the Mujurus and Nyasha have tried to do this. Could people assume that there are deals going on with other companies at this time and have been going on for sometime?

FE: Yes I know that because the broker market in this special segment is very small and I know that they have tried to sell this gold that we refused because of the criminal background, to other companies, to other buyers and to other investors. That is true, we know that, I know that and this has also been the motivation why Firstar decided to go to the press, to the media. Also due to the fact that actually the situation, the political situation in Zimbabwe is very unstable and yeah, this is more a personal motivation from the management of Firstar to do this.

GJ: This particular transaction that we are talking about, this one gold transaction, is it a large amount of gold, is this a big amount of money?

FE: Yeah, this is a big amount of money.

GJ: Can you give me any idea of what sort of amount we’re talking about?

FE: The total transaction is about 35 to 40 million US dollars.

GJ: And that’s just this one transaction and as far as you understand there would have been others?

FE: Yeah, it was planned to do it on a monthly basis, so to sell this amount with a value of 35 to 40 million US dollars on a monthly basis, so to make one transaction each month. This was planned from the…….. this was the proposition from Nyasha del Campo’s side.

GJ: Do you have any idea if Nyasha’s husband is involved in this as well, because I see from the documents that he’s set up the companies with her. Is he just being used in this case or is he an active participant as well?

FE: He is active. Nyasha is in Madrid . She is coordinating the whole paperwork and her husband, Pedro del Campo, is in Africa and is organising the whole infrastructure like transport of the gold, making the meetings in Africa , meeting the people that are selling the gold because they are not owner of the gold, they just have access to this gold. And he is the one that is in Africa and that is organising all the infrastructure. So he is active part of the companies.

GJ: Do you feel in any way concerned about your safety with the fact that you are now revealing these details?

FE: Yes, a little bit. I mean, if I would live in South Africa, I would not talk open about that, but as I am living in Germany I am feeling concerned but I’m not feeling, I mean, I think that I am safe here but I guess that these people that are dealing with illegal gold, with weapons and stuff like that this is dangerous and I would not do this interview if I would be in another country……….

GJ: That was Mr. Felix Eimer who was willing to be interviewed about these allegations. We were hoping to speak to another representative of the company Firstar but this interview was declined because of security concerns. The gentleman in question did say that he had had a direct threat from Joice Mujuru herself after they set up a company blacklist that included Nyasha del Campo, her husband Pedro, and Joice Mujuru. He said that Mrs. Mujuru told him that if they were not taken off the black list – he would be ‘visited’ in the next couple of weeks.

We tried phoning Nyasha del Campo, but could not get through, so we emailed her and her husband, to which we received an email response from a Mr. Dancor Spies, of TAU refineries, who claimed that he was the sole principal of the alleged gold transaction and that Nyasha and her husband have no executive authority and so he would respond to questions.

But a representative of Firstar says that Mr. Spies told him that he represented Joice Mujuru herself.

We await further response from Mr. Spies.

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SA govt's 'hands tied' over Zim asylum seekers


The Home Affairs Department said on Friday its "hands were tied" over the
flood of Zimbabweans seeking political asylum, and that a review of
immigration policy was under way.

"A lot of Zimbabweans apply for asylum but they do not qualify under our
present law. Our hands are tied at the moment. This is why they are
expelled, because of their illegal status," an official told Agence

While immigration and refugee laws do not accommodate economic migrants
seeking to work in South Africa, the department said it is reviewing
policies with a view to providing temporary residence to regional economic

It was reacting to calls from Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday to stop
deportations of Zimbabweans and to grant them temporary shelter, saying
Zimbabweans had no option but to claim asylum in order to avoid deportation.

"The Department of Home Affairs concurs with the concerns of the HRW in
relation to Zimbabweans seeking to live and work in South Africa," the
department said in a statement.

"As correctly indicated by HRW, the Refugee Act does not accommodate
economic migrants and as such the asylum route is not appropriate for the
majority of Zimbabweans seeking employment in South Africa."

It is estimated that about 25 000 to 30 000 Zimbabweans applied for asylum
in Musina during the last five months of 2008, the New York-based rights
body said.

The figure is close to double the total Zimbabwean asylum applications
lodged in South Africa last year and more than half of the total number of
asylum claims made by all nationalities in the same year, it said.

A 2008 HRW report said that the "often-unlawful" deportation of more than
250 000 Zimbabweans per year meant that South Africa violated the most basic
principle of refugee law, the right not to be forcibly returned to
persecution. -- Sapa-AFP

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Which option is not death?

Whenever the Prof Arthur Mutambara opens his mouth, all his guts fall out.

Of late, each time he has conducted an interview or written an article, it's
full of insults, sprinkled with unimaginably contemptuous and uncivil
epithets or simply void of clear perspective. I'm reminded the last time he
lost his cool in an interview with SW Radio Africa and needlessly ended up
insulting the innocent interviewer. He said she was too slow, poor Violet.
He is one of those whom after listening to what they say; you are left
unsure of what exactly they stand for politically or whether something close
to a fart has just been flung in your face. You just can't fathom whose
interests they represent because personally, they seem to possess none

The good Prof has just unleashed another masterful fusillade to usher us
into the New Year and it is aptly titled as Laying the Foundation for 2009:
The inconvenient truths about the West. An excellent read - that falls in
the same category as RBZ guv'nor's latest book, Zimbabwe's Casino Economy -
for those with a fetish to bore themselves. Like everybody else, the Prof
has the right to freedom of expression and accordingly I will not grudge him
that right; he is entitled to his opinion. However, when that opinion is
sickeningly and insultingly unenlightened as well as forced down the throats
of the very people he invariably calls names, it also becomes a right to
demand a certain level of respect from the good Professor.

Here is one guy who is convinced he is surrounded by idiots. In his latest
article, the text is littered with words like unstrategic, ignorant,
ineffective, uninformed and reckless, pathetic and foolish. All epithets
used to describe the actions or the very beings of certain individuals among
whom are Botswana President Ian Khama, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga as
well as the Archbishops Desmond Tutu and John Sentamu. Now which 84 year-old
does this kind of talk remind you of, anyone?

Clearly, the guy is pissed off with ATANAs (All Talk and No Action) but aren't
we all? Indeed, it has been exhaustingly annoying that all that politicians
the world over have been good at doing was to issue endless statements and
careless talk that does not articulate solutions while life in Zimbabwe
becomes a more classic Hobbesian 'short, nasty and brutish' by the day. But
to be so disrespectful, while at the same time one is also an ATANA, is the
highest level of hypocrisy that demands an outrage. He vaingloriously
berates the men and women calling for military intervention to shut up if
they are not prepared to shed blood on Zimbabwean soil, because aside from
this, that option is to be dismissed based on the repugnancy of the Iraq/
Afghanistan precedent. He is convinced the concerns of 'Western' governments
are nothing short of being driven by racism and disrespect for African
lives. Clearly the Prof does not believe in the existence of goodwill.
Neither does he discern the preposterousness of any don't-give-a-toss-about-Africans
racist going out of their way to assist and clamor for the release of the
same from the clutches of an Abhurian leader. A leader who is conducting a
slow genocide through illegal abductions, denial of food relief to starving
citizens as well as the refusal to acknowledge the existence of a deadly
water-borne epidemic that is wiping out whole communities.

That sections of the international community have begun to clamor for the
unexplored option of military intervention indicates that any plausible
diplomatic options, including talks, have simply failed. People are
perfectly aware of the risks and possible repercussions Zimbabweans face,
you are not surrounded by idiots Prof. However, you will be surprised to
find that the dominant sentiment among many a despairing, starving
Zimbabwean is kusiri kufa ndekupi? (Which option is not death?).

The professor discusses two other possible options of ousting the incumbent:
peaceful mass uprisings/demonstrations and free and fair elections. The
former he immediately displays a lack of faith in and dismisses after
highlighting the sadly gallant but true ineffectiveness of Zimbabwe civil
society strategies that have time and time again failed to command people
into joining marches and demonstrations. He describes Zimbabweans as lacking
an appetite for an orange revolution. Ouch.

Sadly, I disagree with the Prof on what he deems to be the only way forward
for Zimbabwe: free and fair elections. What cave has this man been hiding
in? The March 08 election clearly articulated the people's opinion, despite
that certain logistics to do with percentages could not name the people's
choice a clear winner. But despite the fact that even after a rigged
election Tsvangirai won, somebody refused to let go of the royal seat, and
actually proceeded to unilaterally and unashamedly re-elect himself in a
one-man race. Does the Prof sincerely believe such a somebody will one day
be capable of partaking a democratic election and humbly exit if he loses; a
thing he failed to do earlier when both the people's open scorn and age
beckoned? With or without going through a transitional period of national
healing, does he think right thinking citizens are prepared for another
brutal election when the trauma that accompanied the last will never be
completely erased from their minds? What will make a leopard suddenly change
its spots? I thought this does not take Rocket Scientist to figure out;
clearly it takes more than that.

In the regard of fresh free and fair elections, Mutambara speaks in
normatives that for this option; Mugabe "will have to be part of the
transition." Well how do you make him, Professor, because already, the man
has demonstrated an inability to comply with the simple principles of both
Universal Suffrage and honor among diplomats?

On negotiations, Mutambara says that because we all (predictably owing to
our lack of strategic thinking) sanitized the March 08 farce as a legitimate
outcome; it would be foolish to think Mugabe can be negotiated out of power.
Well, if the Prof sincerely believes this and lacks faith in the talks, what
the hell is he doing tugging along with the white-headed boys in the posh
hotels? Nevertheless, it is purely understandable if it is the good food
that beckons.

Those who think they are smarter than everyone must map out a good way
forward for us seeing they are well placed to do so at the talks. They
should desist from engaging unnecessarily in the business of disparaging
those of their own caliber and stop insulting us further with the usual

Crap, I say.

This entry was posted on January 9th, 2009 at 4:07 pm by Natasha Msonza

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Obama's disdain sends Mugabe to Russia; China revisited?

Michael Trapido

In June of last year Barack Obama, soon to be inaugurated as the next
president of the United States, declared Robert Mugabe's regime illegitimate
and lacking in credibility. Then Senator for Illinois, Obama expressed the
view that "If fresh elections prove impossible, the US and other countries
should tighten "targeted sanctions" and "pursue an enforceable, negotiated
political transition in Zimbabwe that would end repressive rule".

Subsequently the USA has made it clear that, as far as they are concerned,
Mugabe has to go before any support will be forthcoming from that quarter.
Indeed yesterday's influential Washington Post carried an article "In
Zimbabwe, a cancer called Mugabe.

While Obama is primarily focused on the financial crisis prior to his
becoming president on January 20, Mugabe can be in no doubt that, if
anything, the squeeze on his regime will be tightened after the new
president arrives in the White House.

So Bob figured that seeing as he wasn't doing anything anyway he might as
well pop down to Moscow for a visit.

"Mugabe will use the trip, details of which are shrouded in secrecy, to seek
closer strategic ties with Moscow, a senior government official told New

With a power sharing agreement signed with the opposition stalled amid calls
from Western powers, particularly Britain and the United States, for him to
step down, Mugabe "will seek a new alliance with Russia that will secure
Zimbabwe's sovereignty and provide a new front for combating economic
sanctions that have created nothing but misery for ordinary people",
according to the official.

The source added, without elaborating, that the "new front" is linked to the
"exploitation of a strategic resource that God has given to Zimbabwe and
which could be used to give the country a much-needed new lease of life".

A well-structured injection of between US$5-billion and US$10-billion,
Mugabe's aides believe, can stabilise the country's economic decline and
give the 84-year-old leader some breathing space to pursue an elusive
political settlement that he has been battling to forge with the two MDC

Without confirming a date of Mugabe's imminent visit, the official said the
trip was of "strategic necessity" and a direct response to British and US
efforts to isolate Zimbabwe through a combination of sanctions and
diplomatic pressure." (New

Now far be it for me to criticize Bob for trying to do the right thing for
himself . er, I mean his cronies,.,er, I mean the people of Zimbabwe but we
saw the exact same stunt pulled with the Chinese in 2005 whereby Bob got his
mansion, Grace went shopping, the cronies got cars and houses and the people
of Zimbabwe . the right to starve and die at an ever increasing rate from
abuse, starvation and disease.

In these articles from the Weekly Standard's Richard Bate UK Telegraph's
Christopher Booker and EU Referendum's Richard North we learn of Bob's
trading substantial Zimbabwean mineral rights to China in return for
financial assistance.

Subsequent to 2005 Bob and his cronies have done very nicely thank you very
much and the people of Zimbabwe have become substantially poorer and the
country has turned into a sewage farm not fit for humans to inhabit.

Little wonder that China blocked any UN intervention in Zimbabwe - can't
allow genocide to interfere with business. Of course these are the same
Chinese who are asking the planet to hold off on prosecuting the genocide in
Darfur, also related to their vested interests there.

Along with China, Russia vetoed the UN resolution and I would imagine that
Bob is now off to sell a further substantial proportion of the Zimbabwean
birthright to maintain his expensive habits. Very little, if any, of the
proceeds to find a way to the masses as the Chinese adventure demonstrated.

Zimbabweans' heritage and God given resources being traded away so that one
man and a handful of cronies can live like kings.

But who are we to argue?

The real danger is after all Western imperialism, not so?


This entry was posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

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Film about Zimbabwe farmers

This is a film about Zimbabwe farmers that I made. It was not commissioned,
will not be broadcast on TV.


Ed Godsell

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