|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Copyright © 2004, Dow Jones Newswires
(AP)--Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai denied
charges that he plotted to assassinate President Robert Mugabe and seize
power, when he began giving evidence Monday in his long-running treason
Tsvangirai told High Court Judge Paddington Garwe that he never hired
a Canada-based political consultant to help him kill Mugabe and win the
support of the military to stage a coup, as alleged by prosecutors.
It was the first time Tsvangirai was called to the witness stand in
the trial which began last February. The case, Zimbabwe's longest, has
repeatedly been interrupted by legal wrangling.
Tsvangirai, who is free on bail, could face the death penalty if
The charges hinge on a grainy and barely audible four-and-a-half-hour
video secretly recorded at consultant Ari Ben Menashe's Montreal offices, in
which Tsvangirai allegedly spoke of Mugabe's "elimination."
Defense attorneys argue Tsvangirai was framed by Ben Menashe, whose
firm was already working for Zimbabwe's government when the meeting took
place Dec. 4, 2001.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change insists it only asked Ben
Menashe to help them lobby for international support.
Tsvangirai was charged with treason two weeks before he ran against
Mugabe in 2002 presidential elections. Mugabe narrowly won re-election in
the vote, which independent observers said was swayed by intimidation and
Monday, Tsvangirai rejected claims made during the trial that he was a
"puppet" of Western governments and other powerful opponents seeking to oust
Mugabe, calling them propaganda aimed at discrediting him.
A former labor leader, he said he once regarded Mugabe as a "hero" for
leading the country to independence from Britain in 1980. But the two
leaders broke ties when Mugabe accused Tsvangirai's labor federation of
becoming too political.
Tsvangirai went on to found the opposition movement in 1999.
The U.S., U.K. and Australian governments have condemned the charges
against Tsvangirai, saying they appear to be an attempt to intimidate the
Tsvangirai was initially accused with two senior members of his
Movement for Democratic Change, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela. But the
two were acquitted in September for lack of evidence.
Ben Menashe, who claims to be a former Israeli intelligence agent, was
acquitted by a U.S. federal jury in 1990 of illegally arranging a $36
million deal to sell U.S.-made military cargo planes to Iran in exchange for
the release of four American hostages.
Israel denies he did intelligence work for the country, but says he
served briefly as a junior clerk in its civil service.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 19, 2004 09:28 ET (14:28 GMT)
Statistics Do Bear Grim Testimony to Aids Horror
January 18, 2004
Posted to the web January 19, 2004
Disputes over figures are red herrings, says Claire Keeton
AFRICA's HIV/Aids statistics are inexact but this does not mean that they
are inflated. Nor does their inexactitude detract from the scale, or the
severity, of the epidemic.
Why should there even be a debate over the accuracy of statistics when
HIV/Aids, its shadow cast over the decimated villages and overcrowded
hospitals of sub-Saharan Africa, has been a dire reality for more than a
The reason is a recent challenge to the accuracy of HIV/Aids statistics.
Writer Rian Malan ignited the debate, claiming that statistics had been
exaggerated to serve a political agenda. Last week's release of a Kenyan
survey, finding a lower HIV prevalence than expected, has lent credence to
Malan' s wayward view.
The Kenyan survey of 3 000 households found an HIV prevalence rate of 6.7%,
compared with estimates of 9.4% by UNAids . UNAids responded that the
prevalence rate among Kenyan women was in the same range as its estimates,
although significantly lower than what had been expected among men.
Estimates of HIV prevalence levels in sub-Saharan Africa are exactly that:
Based mainly on HIV tests of pregnant women attending public antenatal
clinics, extrapolated to the broader population and on computer modelling,
they are not precise .
Yet, as Kenya's survey shows, they do clearly indicate there is a high rate
of infection out there. Also, the refusal by 30% of Kenyan respondents to be
tested might have contributed to the moderated prevalence rate.
UNAids which, together with the World Health Organisation, compiles an
annual "Aids epidemic update", is the first to admit its predictions are
imperfect and need constant revision.
There is nothing conspiratorial about the process. While UNAids must work
with limited data from the continent, South Africa has the advantage of not
being confined to computer projections.
Instead it has a death registration system, making it possible to measure
mortality against predictions.
Death certificates have proved that the Aids mortality toll is a grim
reality, not an illusion.
For the past few years the Medical Research Council 's Disease Burden
Research Unit has been researching mortality and, in its groundbreaking
October 2001 report, Aids was found to be the "single biggest cause of
At the time council president Dr Malegapuru Makgoba said the report exposed
the impact of the "explosive epidemic".
But since the council's research showed lower adult death figures than those
projected through UNAids's modelling, the report has been used as ammunition
by those disputing the figures.
Does this mean that South Africa does not have tens of thousands of people
dying of Aids?
It doesn't amount to that, demographers and academics say.
Unisa demographer, Professor Carel van Aardt, explains that the profile of
deaths in South Africa is significant - with a high rate among 20- to
A woman of 25 to 29 is three times more likely to die now than a decade ago.
By the end of last year, South Africa's mortality, in the absence of an
epidemic or famine, was projected to be between 370 000 to 420 000 a year.
But the recorded mortality for 2003 was about 650 000, which means there
were more than 200 000 "excess deaths".
"In demographic terms that is massive," says Van Aardt, who had access to 12
different data sets.
The next step was analysing who was dying. Van Aardt's research found the
number of young people dying was double the expected rate.
An analysis of micro-data from companies, clinics and specific studies
helped to establish a consensus that these were Aids-related deaths.
This week Dr David Bourne from the UCT School of Public Health said there
were some overestimates of HIV/Aids statistics, but these were relatively
"They do not affect the scale of the epidemic, which is far outstripping
resources. We are still faced with a major problem." This is what I have
seen in 10 countries I have visited, particularly when I drove, usually
unescorted, into depleted villages in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and
While taking on the statistics, Malan also raises the ethical concern that
the focus on Aids is diverting resources away from other health needs, like
malaria or dysentery.
But the point of lobbying by Aids bodies, like UNAids and the Global Fund to
Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is to galvanise extra resources to
tackle Aids rather than empty a limited pool.
Running HIV/Aids statistics through computers may throw up some
discrepancies, but these turn out to be minor rather than substantial when
studied by experts.
And going to communities, where orphans are common and burial companies are
booming, demonstrates that the impact of HIV/Aids is beyond dispute.
Mugabe Man's SA Home Seized Isaac Mahlangu And Andrew Donaldson
Sunday Times (Johannesburg)
January 18, 2004
Posted to the web January 19, 2004
ZIMBABWE'S minister of information is in trouble again over money. Jonathan
Moyo's house in Johannesburg has been put on sale following his failure to
pay more than R1-million in arrears.
The house at 15 Engelwold Drive, Saxonwold, one of the city's smarter
addresses, is to be auctioned after Nedcor bank repossessed it.
Moyo also owes the Johannesburg council more than R115 000 in unpaid rates
and service charges.
His Johannesburg house has seven bedrooms, a large modern kitchen, a double
garage, Oregon pine floors and underfloor heating. Most of the home is
hidden behind a high wall which is topped by an electric fence.
The house has been allowed to become rundown. A blocked drain has spilled
sewage into the front yard and the lawn has not been cut for months. Flower
beds are overgrown with weeds and the pool is half empty, the water a green
The property - which, observers have noted, serves as a metaphor for the
chaos in Zimbabwe - has also been at the centre of a lengthy legal battle
between Moyo and other entities that claim President Robert Mugabe's
mouthpiece owes them money.
The University of the Witwatersrand - where Moyo worked as a researcher in
the late 1990s - has accused him of running off with tens of thousands of
rands in research money.
The university dropped its claim against Moyo, however, believing a court
action would have had little chance of success.
Moyo is also reported to owe R100 000 to a South African TV production
company connected to South African President Thabo Mbeki's brother,
Moeletsi. Moyo was paid the money upfront to produce a documentary, but
failed to do so.
Before coming to South Africa, Moyo left Kenya amid allegations that he had
embezzled $108 000 from the Ford Foundation. He had been a programme officer
with the foundation, stationed in Nairobi from 1993 to 1997.
This matter finally came before a Nairobi court in October last year, but
was postponed. The foundation claimed Moyo used the Talunoza Trust - which
he named after his children - as a conduit to buy the Johannesburg home.
City of Johannesburg invoices show that the trust owes R69 064.07 in certain
unpaid rates, while Moyo owes the council R48 961.98 for electricity and
The total - R118 026.05 - was due on Thursday.
It is believed that Moyo, who bought the house shortly before his emergence
as Mugabe's chief apologist , has not spent much time there . Two years ago,
he even denied owning the property.
However, when the Sunday Times approached his wife, Betsy, at the time, she
spoke fondly of the house, saying: "It is a wonderful place and my
six-year-old misses the house." Moyo's debts began to pile up after the
controversial 2000 elections in Zimbabwe. At first he was able to scrape up
the necessary funds, but there's been nothing since - and the arrears
increased to such an extent that Nedcor foreclosed on the property in a bid
to get back its money.
This week, Britain's The Telegraph newspaper reported that an estate agent
acting for Moyo claimed the property had already been sold for R1.5-million.
But Nedcor's lawyers have received no confirmation of this, and the bank is
going ahead with its auction later this month.
According to André Croucamp, director of the legal firm Findlay & Niemeyer ,
Moyo had an outstanding balance of R1.2-million on his bond.
He said the property was valued at R1.5-million.
Whatever the fate of Moyo's Saxonwold home, his property portfolio remains
impressive. He has taken a number of commercial farms seized under Mugabe's
News of the house's impending sale comes a year after the Sunday Times
revealed Moyo's lavish shopping spree in Johannesburg for food and goods now
unavailable in Zimbabwe. Then, he responded in by-now familiar fashion,
saying South Africans were filthy, reckless and uncouth.
Zimbabweans flogged in Botswana
SOME 100 Zimbabweans who illegally entered Botswana were each given three
lashes in public at a customary law court in that country but most
Zimbabweans have described it as a primitive act sanctioned by primitive
"You cannot expect that to happen in a country neighbouring Zimbabwe, this
is primitive and can only have been sanctioned by primitive leaders of that
country, it flies against human rights, freedom of movement and the dignity
of human beings, this calls for investigations and an apology by the
Government of that country to those who dignity was injured," said a human
rights lawyer in Harare.
"It’s a gross human rights abuse, you cannot allow that to happen, lashing
an adult cannot be expected this day and age," said another human rights
lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo.
According to the Mmegi, a Botswana daily paper, the humiliating punishment
was part of a joint operation by that country’s police and army to crackdown
on illegal immigrants, mainly Zimbabweans working or selling wares in
villages around Francistown.
In civilised countries, an adult cannot be sentenced to lashing as this is
regarded as dehumanising and humiliating.
The Mmegi said the operation code named "Operation Clean Up" has resulted in
the arrest of 552 Zimbabweans for entering the neighbouring country without
valid travel documents or vending without permits.
The spokesman for the operation, Senior Superintendent Boikhutso Dintwa of
the Botswana Police said about 552 illegal immigrants were arrested mainly
from within and around Borolong village, west of Francistown.
"The joint operation between the police, the army, immigration, prisons and
other government departments, was conducted house to house," said Supt
"We nabbed some of our targets from their work places, where they were
employed illegally. Some were travelling in the bush whilst others were from
the roadblocks that we mounted."
He said 100 Zimbabweans were tried at the customary law court and given
three strokes each.
Supt said some of them paid admission of guilty fines for various offences
such as overstaying in that country and selling wares without permits.
The arrested illegal immigrants were taken to the Centre for Illegal
Immigrants in Francistown, where they were kept for a short period before
some of them were deported.
Last year Botswana said it was deporting 2 500 Zimbabweans every week.
The neighbouring country’s politicians also blame the increasing crime rate
in their country to an influx of Zimbabwean illegal immigrants.
This has resulted in a number of operations to flush out the illegal
immigrants, a situation that has at some instances resulted in the abuse of
Zimbabweans legally resident in that country.
Botswana has also faced mounting criticism over its decision to erect an
electric fence on its border with Zimbabwe ostensibly to control the
movement of animals between the two countries.
Critics of the move say the fence is meant to control the movement of people
between the two countries and mainly targeting Zimbabweans.
Crackdown on illegal vendors hailed
Harare residents have welcomed the operation by the Harare City Council to
eliminate vendors operating in the Central Business District (CBD) aimed at
bringing sanity to the streets of Harare.
The programme, though in its infancy, has been tipped to be on the positive
side and many Harare residents hope it will bring back the Sunshine City.
A survey by The Herald in some areas established that municipal police had
been to many places in the city centre where they had running battles with
the stubborn vendors.
Vendors have positioned themselves everywhere in the capital and had removed
the sparkle in Harare’s First Street.
At times they placed their wares in front of licensed shops and went into
direct competition with them.
Besides, the vendors did not care about cleanliness and had peels of their
fruits strewn all over the streets.
City of Harare spokesperson Mr Cuthbert Rwazemba on Friday said the move
aimed at having the city regain its long lost image.
"The city had lost its image as the Sunshine City partly because of these
illegal vendors who have increased litter and garbage as well as causing
human and vehicle traffic congestions."
The vendors had created a health hazard. Food is being sold on open dirty
streets, threatening the lives of hundreds of people in the city of 2,5
Mr Rwazemba added that the illegal vendors were also undermining the
activities of legally constituted business enterprises.
He reiterated that council would allocate enough working places if
"Currently there are vegetable markets in every suburb that are lying idle
yet people opt for undesignated areas," said Mr Rwazemba.
He appealed to residents to show responsibility as they were part of this
health hazard problem.
"We urge the public to be responsible to every matter that may arise as it
would affect them.
"On the other side, the city council would venture into partnership with
private companies and Government departments, especially the Zimbabwe
Republic Police, to deal effectively with vendors," he added.
The problem resurfaced some few years ago due to the economic hardships
gripping the country, which have seen many people moving into the streets to
sell almost anything.
The programme has been delayed by lack of vehicles, manpower and fuel but
now the council was determined to see it succeed.
Key file goes missing from Deeds Office
DOZENS of people, most likely investors, are on a daily basis thronging the
Deeds Office to inspect the ENG Asset Management file amid reports that
another key file for another firm under probe was missing from the Deeds
Sources at Electra House told The Herald last Friday that police were said
to have questioned some officers at the company registry offices over the
disappearance of the file.
Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena could neither
confirm nor deny the report.
A legal expert said the missing file means that the State cannot immediately
proceed with bankruptcy charges against the firm in the courts.
Sources said a number of asset management firms facing imminent collapse
were making desperate attempts to steal documents from the Deeds Office to
destroy evidence about their directors, operations and assets.
"Many of them are coming here everyday and are even offering us bribes to
steal documents," said a source.
"We know its dangerous and our security guards are keeping watch of every
file that goes out."
A visit by The Herald to Electra House showed that a number of people who
had invested with ENG were flocking to the office to get details of
directors, assets and operations as they make desperate attempts to recover
The ENG file was now being kept in one manned office where creditors queue
to get details from the file.
"We had to do this, otherwise the file would disappear," said the source.
"Several files have disappeared in the past and I believe there is need to
tighten security around the offices."
The documents went missing after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe crack down on
the financial sector which saw the police arresting bank executives and
recovering 30 luxury vehicles worth millions of dollars.
The RBZ shut the doors of ENG Capital Asset Management and the Century
Discount House also owned by ENG after the unearthing of fraud involving
more than $60 billion.
Three directors of First Mutual Asset Management were also arrested on
allegations of fraud.
The case also netted flamboyant Harare businessman and legislator Philip
Chiyangwa who is in custody on three charges of obstructing the course of
justice, contempt of court and perjury.
Rhodes’ grave is part of national heritage: official
From Bulawayo Bureau
THE Director of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, Dr Godfrey
Mahachi, says Cecil John Rhodes’s grave in the Matopos National Park is part
of Zimbabwe’s heritage and should not be desecrated as called for by some
people who are calling for the removal of his remains.
Dr Mahachi made the remarks during an interview on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
programme In Focus on Wednesday.
"This particular case on why we have been spending a lot of resources
looking after Rhodes grave and managing it has been topical for sometime.
But it should be remembered that Rhodes is part of this country despite his
being an architect of colonialism," he said.
Debate has been raging in the country about the wisdom of keeping Rhodes’
grave and his legacy of colonialism in one of Zimbabwe’s important
historical sites in the Matopo Hills.
The late Mr Lawrence Chakaredza, leader of the pressure group Sangano
Munhum-utapa met fierce resistance when he suggested that the remains of
Rhodes be removed from the shrine.
Cecil John Rhodes lies atop a sacred African shrine in the 320 000 hectare
Rhodes Matopos Estate, about 40 kilometres sou-th-west of Bulawayo.
Although the property is listed as State land, the Government is powerless
to do as it pleases with the estate as the land is tied to Rhodes’ will
through the Parks and Wildlife and Rhodes Estate Acts.
Dr Mahachi said as Zimbabweans, we cannot deny our history and for the
purposes of remembering where we came from the grave should be respected.
"Removing Rhodes’ grave will not change things about what he did, tempering
with heritage is not the best thing to do and where does it end?" he said.
According to the Rhodes Estate Act, Rhodes also ‘prohibited’ the burial of
people at the World View area atop the Matopo Hills "within a radius of two
kilometers of the grave".
19 January 2004
For Further Information Please Contact:
Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of Information: 00263 91 248 570
James Littleton: 00 27 727 310 554
TREASON TRIAL RESUMES: The treason trial of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai resumed today in the High Court. The trial began nearly 12 months ago.
The first two weeks of 2004 have been marred by an increase in political violence and intimidation as Zanu PF supporters carry out their leaders instructions to begin preparations for next year’s parliamentary elections. In the past two weeks one MDC activist has been murdered while a number of others have been the victims of vicious assaults at the hands of Zanu PF supporters. Political violence has been particularly intense in the constituency of Gutu North, where a by-election is scheduled to be held on 2/3 February following the death last September of the previous incumbent, Vice President Simon Muzenda.
In the build up to the by-election it is clear that Zanu PF are relying on their traditional tactics of violence and coercion in an attempt to boost the chances of their candidate at the ballot box. Such tactics are an admission that the party has no popular support. If Zanu PF was confident of victory then why resort to such sinister tactics?
“Zanu PF has started attacking our supporters and anyone suspected to have links with the opposition…we are not able to hold campaign rallies…Zanu PF has established a command centre at Gutu Rural Council which they have converted into a torture camp…our campaign has been restricted to home visits and distribution of flyers but still the people we are visiting are victimised for merely having spoken to the MDC candidate,”
said Casper Musoni, MDC candidate for Gutu North
Last Monday the editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, Iden Wetherell, news editor Vincent Kahiya and reporter Dumisani Muleya were charged with criminal defamation for writing that Mugabe had commandeered a plane from the national airline to travel to the Far East on personal business. The three were released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court again on January 29 for a remand hearing. Two days later, reporter Itai Dzamara and the paper’s general manager, Raphael Kumalo were also arrested but only Dzamara was charged.
The arrest and detention of the three journalists signifies yet again the contempt with which the Zanu PF government views the democratic principle of freedom of expression. It is the fundamental duty of the press to hold the Executive accountable for their actions. Public scrutiny of the actions of a government is indicative of a functioning democracy.
This latest attack on the independent media has intensified concerns that the Independent will follow the path of the Daily News and be forcibly closed by the Mugabe government.
“…these fresh arrests compromise the independence and entrenched freedoms of the press. ZLHR views the action by the police as a calculated and deliberate attempt to muzzle the independent media and deprive Zimbabweans from fully enjoying the right to freedom of expression.”
Call for UN To Act
A group representing 30 African human rights and civil society organisations has called on the UN to investigate mounting human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
“We request once again that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN human rights bodies take measure to investigate and publicly denounce all human rights violations that are being committed in Zimbabwe.”
Last week, Amnesty International issued a press statement calling on the Zimbabwean authorities to uphold the rule of law and restore the fundamental right of Zimbabweans to freely express themselves. The statement was issued following the continued refusal of the Zimbabwe police to obey a court order to vacate the premises of the Daily News.
“The failure of the police to uphold court orders undermines the legitimacy and authority of the courts and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.”
Ø Malaria Deaths
According to a report published by the UN Relief and Recovery Unit, more than 1,000 people died of malaria in Zimbabwe during 2003.
Ø Moyo’s Mansion to Be Auctioned Off
A sumptuous mansion in Johannesburg, owned by Mugabe’s propaganda minister, Jonathan Moyo, is to be auctioned off following the junior minister’s failure to meet his bond repayments on the property. It is alleged that Moyo also owes money to a South African television production company.
 Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
The Herald (Harare)
January 17, 2004
Posted to the web January 19, 2004
THREE Central Equipment Mechanical Department (CMED) executives were
yesterday arrested for investing $150 million in the troubled ENG Capital
Asset Management Company without official sanction last year.
Police arrested the CMED financial director Onai Kaseke, financial manager
Brian Manjengwa and an accounts clerk Ephraim Mhaka.
Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzi-jena last night
confirmed the trio was in police custody following investigations into the
operations of ENG and other companies involved.
"We have discovered that the three were involved in illegal deals with the
ENG and had invested millions of dollars without the authority of other
senior officials," Asst Comm Bvudzijena said. He said the three are being
charged with corruption and will appear in court soon.
Meanwhile, police's Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) has inspected all 30 vehicles
belonging to ENG directors.
A VTS officer said police suspected that about 22 vehicles had their chassis
numbers tampered with.
"Most of the vehicles we suspect were tampered with and their chassis
numbers most likely changed are the BMWs.
Officials from Quest Motors who also checked some of the vehicles also
suspected the tags on the vehicles were fake and not original.
More officials from Zimoco and Nissan Motors are expected to examine the
other vehicles next week as the State prepares to bring more charges on
legislator Philip Chiyangwa and the two ENG directors.
VTS officials said the vehicles were expected to undergo the forensic
examination to restore the numbers that were tampered with.
"After that procedure we will be able to use our database to detect whether
the vehicles were stolen and if so where they were stolen from."
ENG: the Guilty Are Many And Very Afraid
January 17, 2004
Posted to the web January 19, 2004
How, in a country with such a robust "independent" Press; with a private
sector which vaunts itself as "clean and impeccable"; a country with so many
accounting and auditing firms, including international ones; in a country
where donor-lavished watchdog organisations proliferate at amoebic formula;
above all how, in a country blest with Tony Hawkins, John Makumbe and John
Robertson, can a scam as obvious as the Kilimanjaro and as intricate as
three green university graduates are able to knead, go undetected and
unreported for so long and after so much?
The monies involved run into hundreds of billions; the institutions affected
are as many as make half the economy; the personalities indicted pass for
model flat characters in an elementary novel, quite incapable of being
complex, let alone subtle and surprising.
Public Sector Bogey
For far too long, we have been brought up on the diet of alleged
inefficiencies and rampant corruption within the public sector, indeed fed
on the staple of bloated public spending so easily blamed for the mayhem in
Even the IMF and the World Bank, with all their accumulated knowledge and
expertise, joined in the refrain. Politicians, bureaucrats and managers of
parastatals were evil part of the piece, and paid handsomely for this
entrenched mischaracterisation, with the private sector luxuriating in its
assumed probity and remedial goodness.
This has been the conventional wisdom, the refrain that has been repeated to
threaten and even destabilise political careers of well-meaning and
Even critical policies like land reforms have been vilified for ruining the
economy, with President Robert Mugabe, the stubborn proponent of such
reforms, being made to look darker than the darkest devil.
Copiously feeding into such mischaracterisation have been the likes of the
wizened John Robertson and his acolytes in the so-called Zimbabwe Economic
Society; Tony Hawkins whose intellect pretends to be longer than the ears of
kalulu the hare, and of course the portly and donor-overfed John Makumbe and
his Transparent International.
Call them the organic intellectuals of this false economy, which the RBZ
Governor Dr Gideon Gono has since sent into a crumbling flutter, with just
one preliminary blow.
Where is the snow, asks the shivering Eskimo.
Why no whistle-blowing when the tell-tale signs were so obscenely abundant?
Deposit-taking outfits that are unregistered; lines of imported luxury
vehicles; pleasure jaunts in foreign countries; dubious acquisition of
unseemly assets; friendly thefts of billions and much more staggering
instances of endless profligacy and sheer criminality! Nothing wrong with
the private sector, we continued to be told.
Everything wrong with a President lambasting a weak central bank, who was
promptly mischaracterised as meddlesome and a danger to the economy. Was it
not his ruinous land policy; was it not his Government's runaway spending
that was crowding out private sector credit; his wife, his travel, his
stashing of wealth abroad, his upsetting the mighty Tony Blair? All these
and much more, we were told.
In comes Gono, maggots drop from the tabernacle.
With the appointment of a new governor, staggering revelations come one
after another. First, credit expansion is explained by the private sector,
specifically the banking sector which accounted for much of the money.
Through phoney assets management companies, they would not even lend money
to deficit units, but were their own biggest borrowers and spenders! Second,
rampant transfer pricing and illegal foreign accounts run by business people
and companies that are wont to speak loudest against corruption.
Businesspeople, both white and black! The economy is mugged of its earnings
by these nefarious businessmen, mugged empty like a "shelled peascod".
Ironically, the same foreign currency starved economy emerges as net
exporter of foreign currency to South Africa, Britain, America, etc. The
South African authorities say so to furious denials from the private sector,
supported by its duplicitous organic intellectuals. Gold and other precious
minerals are smuggled left, right and centre. The parallel market which is
misleadingly called "black market" burgeons, stoked by these self-declared
angels of business. Third, fourth . . . infinity, the ENG explosion and many
names, big and small, pop up, all tainted and revealing the muck beneath
refulgent brands and glitzy towers.
Like it is or drawing red herrings?
Let us not be fooled again, the ringing scandals in the financial sector
were not unknown to those who magisterially claim to mind societal
integrity. The so-called moral industry was aware, knew much and even
participated in the rot, often enjoying in clear but cruel dramatic irony as
the authorities barked at wrong trees in a frantic bid to turn the economy
Significantly, certain sections of the private media were involved, with one
supposedly poorly paid journalist losing as much as $6m in the scandal. In
any case their leading news sources were players, who included ex-newsmen
hired by the same institutions as gamekeepers. The likes of Bloch,
Robertson, Kadenge and Hawkins were comprehensively aware, but gladly gave
false scent draped as pearls of economic wisdom, all the time blaming fiscal
policies and land reforms.
Meanwhile they stared and watched the ever-snowballing scandal against whose
total worth and cost total public spending on land reforms was a mere
Audit firms were happy to legitimise cooked books and the whole sector
festered and dripped maggots. In a dramatic reversal of classical economic
laws, the private sector, specifically the banking sector, crowded out the
fiscus. Until now, the so-called economic commentators and private
newspapers have busied themselves by creating and expanding the bogey of
Government as the source of all ills that afflict Zimbabwe. That way,
probing analyses were blunted, the costs of corrupt banking activities kept
A facade for slash funds for opposition
Politically the benefits were manifold. The ever-spiralling costs of the
corruption-engendered distortions in the economy kept Zanu-PF sharply in
focus, helpfully feeding into the MDC script of huwori which MDC said could
only be cured through ZCTU-disguised mass action for Blair and Bush's regime
This was the most obvious political spin-off. The less obvious but most
sinister political benefit inhered in opportunities for transferring slash
funds from the West to the MDC for the same objective of regime change.
British and American strategies and plots against the present Government
thrived under conditions of banking tumult and lawlessness, thrived in an
environment yakabvondoka. This is why the MDC, which should gladly welcome
the crackdown, is quite worried, more so against the background of the
planned mass action.
More bogeys, more false stories
We need to watch out. There is an obvious bid to draw more red herrings.
Chiya-ngwa is the new bogeyman of the story. After all this character,
however flamboyant, is only but small actor who happens to be too loud. The
second bogey is Zanu-PF, the strategy being to present it as threatened by
this tumult. As the false script goes, Mashonaland West feels sacrificed;
Manicaland feels persecuted; the indigenous lobby feels curtailed by the old
leadership; these are politics of succession at play, blah, blah, blah.
The idea is to build and use the party's anxieties to abort efforts at
exterminating the rot. Yet Chiyangwa's alleged involvement with ENG was not
with the blessing of the "province". Not a single cent from the missing
billions went the party way. I happen to know which political party
benefited from Trust Bank during the presidential election. Its name does
not start with a "Z". Equally, I happen to know that the scandal melds and
makes bedfellows of characters that are rivals in the political world:
within parties, across parties.
As Marx and Engels would tell you, primitive accumulation dwarfs all other
forms of foci. Then there is the Madhuku-sponsored bogey of human rights.
This dimension emphasises that the police are in contempt of court orders
and are violating the rights of those who continue to be detained.
Well, what argument does one expect from an ex-convict like Madhuku? He
can't find the police sexy, can he? Lastly, there is the compelling bogey of
empowerment: that this latest crackdown seriously dents the gains made by
The assumption is that empowerment suffers corrupt practices. It is clearly
a false assumption encouraged by those who in fact seek to discredit that
effort. Far from defeating empowerment, this effort purifies it, placing it
on a morally sound footing.
These false cries must not distract those involved in the investigations,
principally the RBZ and the Police. Gono has fluttered the dovecot and the
banking freemasonry scatters. The many people who seem to empathetically
shed tears for Chiyangwa and the three boys, are in most cases extended
patients of the accused, clearly self-pitying ahead of the long arm of the
law which is sure to reach them sooner than later.
But a chilling message has been sent: if they can do this to one of their
own, what more with me the politically unconnected? A real commandment to
good business practices. Meanwhile, prices are tumbling; foreign currency is
beginning to flow in; upright banks are eagerly waiting to swallow those
caught on the wrong side of probity.
Zanu-PF notches more votes, higher rating as the general public re-assesses
the vilified party's real moral worth. MDC is clearly worried, especially
its mass action planners who have to mobilise an increasingly sanguine
urbanite. Yesterday's supermen are today's midgets, wistfully gazing the
dizzy heights from where they tumbled to the leaping dust of a failed
summer! The casualties will be many, with the Chiyangwas as only but
What better law for a colonial relic!
". . . a relic of empire, starting its career in English common law, then
assuming a Roman-Dutch personality as it travelled through South Africa on
its way to the north".
Save for the non-human pronoun and references to law, for a moment I thought
this was Iden Wetherell, the colonial nomad retracing his tortuous Victorian
trek to "the north" (his euphemism for white colonial Rhodesia). Of course
the much regretted historical outcome and consequence of that "epic"
colonial journey is that Wetherell is our willy-nilly neighbour, a fellow
Zimbabwean by statute we the sons of this black African soil have to suffer
until the scythe of time makes its remedial harvest.
Alongside his kind, he came uninvited; stays queerly unwanted; in short, a
dire affliction on an African country. Quite tired of his uneventful life
and mindful of his colonial duties, Wetherell, eye fixed on the EU debate on
the renewal of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe, last week left the
newsroom abode his recklessly jetting defamatory journalism, firmly winding
up in the overly comfortable Harare Central Hotel, that place where sleep is
as untroubled as bugs can allow, indeed as comfortable as a distended belly
Except Iden was writing about a piece of law that obtains in our statute
books to deal firmly with errant journalism. Too full and wistful to be
creative, Iden this week chose to turn an interview he had given to the
media, including The Daily Mirror of Tuesday, into an editorial comment for
the weekly lying Zimbabwe Indepen-dent.
Apart from demonstrating that he is the view of the whole paper, he forgot
that much like the law he decries, he himself is "a relic of the empire"
that started in England, picked a Roman-Dutch personality in the context of
Rhodesia's flirtations with apartheid South Africa, and ended up ensconced
here in our beautiful country against our will.
What law except that of his founding age fitly handles his sins, which he
continues to commit for the empire? Is it not a fact that he is provoking
the authorities at this point in the year to validate lonely calls in the
European Parliament for an extension and expansion of Europe's illegal
sanctions against Zimbabwe? If he genuinely abhors the laws of empire, how
come he fed from, nostalgically cherishes and robustly defends colonial
property laws that have been used to defend and entrench white colonial
interests in Zimbabwe? And is it not strange that his editorial comment
draws from the European Court of Human Rights for authority, the same
Europe, the same legal ethos that gave us the empire and its racist laws? Is
he really protesting against colonial laws or is this disgusting expediency?
Liberal Informers, black demonstrators
Wetherell has been cheating this nation for too long, tossing and flinging
meaningless words to defend Rhodesian interests. He even claims to have been
a member of PF-Zapu and to have suffered during demonstrations against Ian
Smith and his UDI. I happen to be old enough to know. I happen to know the
role of Iden and those of his ilk during those demonstrations, which
invariably invited emphatic retribution from the Special Branch, resulting
in the exodus of many UR black students in the early seventies.
The Special Branch had a honeycomb of informers, many of them masquerading
as sympathetic whites of liberal temperament. A number of black students,
some of them my relations lost their lives, or were disabled for life from
torture. I am prepared to say more and to be specific if these hypocrites
continue to preach falsehoods for the express purpose of hiding betrayal and
treachery. After all it is common knowledge that in the context of settler
politic, demonstration against Ian Smith's UDI was never demonstration for
majority black rule. In the meantime let laws of empire govern relics of
empire. That, in fairness, is the closest we can get to retributive justice
and restitution which the wrongful policy of reconciliation unjustly denied
Has Mugabe turned a new leaf?
LEADER: THE ordeal of Philip Chiyangwa, the Chinhoyi MP
tycoon accused of, among other serious crimes, attempting to defeat the
course of justice, could be seen as a watershed for the rule of law.
It could mean that, at long last, President Robert Mugabe has heeded
repeated warnings by his critics that without a strict application of the
law, this country could always be rated just below a typical "banana
As long as his and Zanu PF supporters were treated by the law as
"untouchables", he and his party could never earn the respect and support of
ordinary citizens, let alone the foreigners whose economic aid and trade had
previously made this country a veritable jewel among African countries.
Naturally, there is reason to be cautious when viewing these
The collapse of a number of financial institutions in the aftermath of
Gideon Gono's drastic reforms of the banking sector suggests the days the
instant millionaires are over.
Chiyangwa was always seen as the archtypical example of a young man
who played his political game with such consummate astuteness and dexterity
it was believed he owed his billion-dollar fortune to that talent alone.
If he is now having the book thrown at him, dare we mere political
mortals believe that Mugabe is truly turning over as new leaf?
Is he seriously launching a purge within his party of all those who
previously believed that their leadership positions and Mugabe's unflinching
support would forever ensure they made their billions, never mind how, and
not have to answer embarrassing questions about flouting the law?
Put bluntly: is Mugabe ready to be reformed, from the autocrat who
would brook no criticism, to a leader fully conscious of his own and the
fallibility of his supporters?
Dare we believe that the man is now willing to accept his political
blunders - among them believing his and his political path alone will lead
to the country's prosperity?
This could be a transformation of momentous proportions: the
acceptance that he and Zanu PF have for a long time applied a political and
economic formula for Zimbabwe which has had disastrous consequences, almost
sending the country into penury.
On the other hand if all these antics are just that - Zanu PF's
well-known penchant for political gimmicks - then both Mugabe and his party
ought to be warned.
The people¹s patience is running out. The time for a real change of
direction is ripe. If they don't grasp it with both hands today, tomorrow
could be too ghastly to contemplate.
Are Developing Countries Truly Sovereign Nation-States?
January 18, 2004
Posted to the web January 19, 2004
IRAQ, under Saddam Hussein, was a one
man's show. It appears that the ruler
had an exclusive right to the state and the citizens did not have any right.
Thus, Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq as if the country was a personal estate and
the citizens were mere tenants in the estate. All governmental
functionaries, institutions, and apparatuses emanated and revolved around
him. The Iraqis who benefitted most were his children, surrogates, and
attendants. Iraqi money was basically Saddam Hussein's money and he could
take as much as possible without any accountability to the Iraqi people. The
discovery of huge sums of stowed away money and mass graves of assassinated
Iraqis point to a self-perpetuating system that operated beyond
The question is, was Saddam Hussein's Iraq quite different or unique in the
annals of Third World politics? The answer is definitely No. Embezzlement,
corruption, and human rights abuses in Hussein's Iraq were not unique or
extraordinary because the same conditions apply to many, if not most
developing countries today. In other words, the conditions found in Iraq can
be replicated all over the developing world. Likewise, Saddam Hussein's
tendency at self-perpetuation was also not unique since in almost every
developing country, the governmental system is built around the leader who
thinks that he/she has a birthright to the leadership position.
The disturbing thing is that the proclivity toward the concentration of
power and the abuse of power tend to be most prevalent in the former
colonial territories which are now regarded as independent sovereign
nation-states. It can be inferred that the nature of their creation has an
enormous impact on the tendencies of their leaders to concentrate and abuse
power. It can further be said that most of the so-called independent former
colonies (otherwise known as Developing, or Less Developed, or Third World
Countries) in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle
East, are not really sovereign states. The reason being that, like Iraq
under Saddam Hussein, the citizens of these countries have no enforceable
constitutional authority over their leaders and decisions affecting them. In
fact, in almost all the former colonial territories that now claim to be
independent states, the leaders tend to rule without any consideration for
constitutionality, treat the states as their personal property, regard the
citizens as mere tenants that have no rights to ask questions, use the
military and the police forces as personal security agencies and strongly
believe that the public purse is merely for their personal enrichment and
This writer had earlier written an article about the African situation.
However, after a careful analysis of the Iraqi situation vis-à-vis the rest
of the developing world, there is a strong temptation to conclude that,
basically, all the developing countries are alike structurally,
constitutionally, economically, and politically, even though some
(Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil) have achieved more
success than others. The following reasons clearly show why the developing
countries are much alike and the leaders behave similarly, despite
differences in race, ethnicity, geography, culture, religion, and level of
Almost all the developing countries came into being through forceful
incorporation. They were created by foreign powers to serve the strategic
interests of those powers. The indigenes had no choice regarding the
incorporation of the states.
It is very difficult to characterize these states as sovereign nations when
the people constituting them did not determine their existence. A BBC news
reporter, Mr. Justin Pearce, commenting on the Angolan irony (October 27,
2003) reported about a Cabindan who remarked that his country (Cabinda) was
once known as Portuguese and then Angola, and insisted that Cabinda was a
separate country from Angola.
The people of the oil-rich Cabinda would much prefer to be a separate entity
Many racial, ethnic, political and religious groups that now constitute most
of the developing states are not happy with the colonial arrangements. They
would much prefer to be on their own but cannot do so due to the constant
threat of force being organized by the states against them, in the name of
national security. Some racial, ethnic, political, and religious groups have
decided to wage war in order to free themselves from the colonially-induced
systems. Africa is paying dearly for allowing the colonial system to
proliferate. About ten million Africans have died since the 1960s when the
African colonies supposedly started to gain independence from their colonial
masters. It is estimated that about 3.5 million Congolese have died since
the beginning of the ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. More than a million Nigerians died in its civil war (1967-1970).
Multitude of deaths
Add the multitudes of deaths from the wars in Angola, Ethiopia, Somali,
Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Eritrea, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan,
Algeria, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, etc. and the number can
easily surpass 15 million deaths. Yet, African leaders continue to insist on
maintaining the un-African territorial arrangements based on the colonial
Most boundaries of the developing countries were arbitrarily drawn by the
colonial powers. The indigenes of many developing states in Africa, the
Caribbean, Latin America, Middle East, and Asia (Philippines, Indonesia,
India/Pakistan, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq,
Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Sudan, Myanmar, etc.) are trapped by the
unjustifiable territorial boundaries. Due to the arbitrariness of these
states, the threat of conflict is ever present. For instance, Indonesia is
constantly in conflict as various islands threaten to secede. Right now,
Indonesia is mobilizing its forces in an effort to stop the Aceh region from
seceding. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, tried repeatedly to reclaim Kuwait
which was broken from it by the British.
At the same time, the Kurds and the Shiites were treated like colonial
subjects in Iraq. Nigeria is embroiled in numerous ethnic, religious, and
political turmoil while the Democratic Republic of the Congo has always been
a disaster, despite the abundance of natural resources. Ethiopia and Eritrea
have never known better days. They tend to communicate only through warfare.
Due to the fact that the two are constantly at war, the citizens are
restless. Columbia is perpetually in a state of war with itself. India and
Pakistan are engaged in a war of dangerous nerves that could one day result
in a thermonuclear conflagration over Kashmir that the colonial system left
behind. Sri Lanka has been in a state of war for about 20 years. The same
goes for Myanmar as various ethnic groups seek to go their separate ways.
Indonesia and the Philippines do not make any territorial sense at all. Even
though very successful, Singapore is more or less a city-state like Hong
Kong, although Hong Kong is now technically part of China. Arab leaders are
unable to get along because they are jealously guarding the pieces of the
* Although, generally believed to be independent, these countries are only
nominally independent in the true sense of the word. They are not really
free to make decisions without first consulting their former colonial
The former masters watch over them with keen strategic interest. Any real or
imagined threat is immediately countered by either having the regime
supported or overthrown. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a typical
example of the dilemma that the former colonies face. The Congolese people
have never freely chosen their own leaders since Patrice Lumumba was freely
elected. The leaders are picked both directly and covertly by the big powers
which want the resources in the territories. The primary means of changing
leadership in DRC has been through military action (Patrice Lumumba, Mobutu
Sese Seko, and Laurent Kabilla).
* Due to the omnipresence of the former masters, the developing countries
tend to mimic everything that the former masters represent, including the
political and economic systems. Even town planning seems to be copied from
the capitals of the former colonial powers.
This is often the case, even when such adaptations are not compatible with
the political, cultural, economic, and geographic dispositions of the
indigenous populations of the former colonial territories. Although
considered "independent" under international law, the former colonies feel
more comfortable dealing with their former masters. As a result, Latin
American countries continue to look up to Spain as their guiding light.
African states tend to relate to each other through their former powers. The
French are now playing very active role in Africa even though there are
supposedly over 40 independent countries in the continent. For example,
despite the brutality of the civil war in the DRC, the African Union failed
to intervene with a decisive military force.
The continent waited for the United Nations to solve the problem. France,
acting like a sovereign state with strategic interests, since it was a
former colonial power, decided to intervene militarily by sending peace
keeping forces to control the situation in Bunia. The European Union too is
planning to send a military force.
Earlier, the French intervened in the Ivory Coast and the Central Africa
Republic while independent African states waited for outside countries to
help them out. The African forces (Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia, and Zimbabwe)
which intervened earlier in DRC went there to loot the resources. A
five-member panel set up by the Security Council of the United Nations
alleged in a report about "how the Rwandan Government and Army, the Ugandan
Army, and Congolese and Zimbabwean Government officials plan to continue to
exploit the DR Congo's resources."
Again, African (Chad, Libya and Congolese elements) intervention in the
Central African Republic during the civil war, appeared to be motivated by a
desire for diamonds and not humanitarian considerations. A BBC reporter
questioned: "But why are so many foreign forces involved in CAR - a
relatively small and seemingly unimportant, landlocked state? The simple
and, in African terms, all too frequent answer is diamonds."
*The constitutions of most developing states are mere paper showcases since
they are often ignored or violated with impunity by the rulers. Quite often,
the clauses on human rights and due process of law are simply inserted in
the constitutions to make them look superficially modern. The politicians,
senior military and police officers, and high government officials rarely
think about constitutionality or legality when imposing their will on the
citizens, using intimidation and force to silence opposition. Currently,
Myanmar is going through one of its frequent authoritarian rituals by
clamping down on human rights adherents.
The foremost human rights leader and democratic exponent in the country,
Aung San Suu Kyi, is in detention or house arrest again. The constitutions
are amended whenever the leaders feel like doing so, not because the
citizens desire a change.
* Quite often, there is no difference between a military rule and a
democratic rule in many developing countries. Civilian authorities are as
harsh as military authorities in using security forces to clamp down on
citizens. Countries like Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq under
Saddam Hussein, Iran, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Philippines, Brazil, Chile,
Argentina, El Salvador, Jamaica, Haiti, China, Singapore, Togo, Peru,
Myanmar, Zimbabwe, etc. exercise governmental authority with harsh security
means. The word "Democracy" is used as a tool to hide the harsh reality of
the political situation.
When Alejandro Toledo won the presidential election in Peru, the citizens
thought that their bad dream (in the form of Fujimoro) will not reappear in
the political landscape of the country. Well, Toledo is heading toward
Fujimoro's way. Dissent is being clamped down with security forces.
* Almost all elections in the developing countries are rigged to ensure that
certain leaders win. There is no such thing as a "Free Election." Elections
are always characterized by violence and threats of violence. Generally, the
military and the police are mobilized during elections to supposedly ensure
security. Quite often, the security agencies become active participants in
the rigging process. The recently concluded elections in Nigeria and Togo
show a proclivity toward an imposed political leadership, organized with the
assistance of the security forces. Angered by electoral rigging and
manipulation, the Berbers of Kabylie region in Algeria clashed with security
forces during the country's parliamentary elections held in May 2002
(Mayoux, May 31, 2002). Kenya, in its most recent election, displayed a
democratic quality that is very rare in the developing world. The rulers
always want to rule forever, despite constitutional limitations. Currently,
President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo seems to be leading the pack for ruling
continuously. He took over power through a military coup in April, 1967 and
continues to remain in office, using every Machiavellian trick to ensure
Togo's Constitution was amended in 2002 to enable him run for another
presidential term. In fact, he is reported to have just won another
presidential election in early June 2003. President Nujoma of Namibia too
had the constitution of the country amended to allow him run for a third
term. He could even contemplate going for a fourth term. President Omar
Bongo of Gabon ascended the political throne since December, 1967 and
continues to be the leader of the country. President Mu'ammar Qaddaffi has
remained in power in Libya since the monarch was overthrown in a military
coup in 1969. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos took over the mantle of
leadership in Angola under the umbrella of the Popular Movement for the
Liberation of Angola (MPLA) since 1979. President Robert Mugabe ascended the
high office of Zimbabwean leadership through a popular liberation war in
1980 and continues to be the leader of the country despite an increasing
unpopularity. The late Hafez Assad of Syria ruled until his death in the
late 1990s. The same goes for the late President Felix Houphouet Boigny of
Ivory Coast who ruled until his death. His policies and actions helped to
set the conditions which resulted in a military rebellion by Northern
elements in 2002 and the resultant civil war in the country. The former
General/President Suharto of Indonesia ruled until he was forced to step
down by the Indonesian citizenry. Africa and the Middle East seem to lead
the world in having leaders who impose themselves continuously on the
people, without any regard for constitutionality.
* The members of the opposition are always looked upon as enemies and
treated with repressive methods. To be in the opposition in any developing
country is to invite constant threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
democracy. The chief opposition leader in Zimbabwe, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai
has been charged for treason and detained, just as Aung San Suu Kyi in
Myammar. The military and security forces behave as if they are owned by the
leaders, rather than by the people. They are very eager to use excessive
force against "troublemakers." They treat their own citizens as enemy
They often do not respond positively to calls intended to enforce the laws
against those in power. It is generally risky in any developing country to
call the police against high government officials. Quite often, the
complainant ends up being threatened or detained or even killed.
*Authority and control are maintained by sheer force. Political and military
leaders and high government officials basically communicate to the citizens
through "orders" rather than persuasion. The citizens are expected to obey
and not ask questions. It can be said that all developing countries are
characterized by a vertical structural arrangement in which authority and
information flow from the top down and not from down up. The leaders and
high government officials are literally above the law while the citizens are
below the law. On the other hand, the citizens are expected to obey the law
and to face punishment for failure to obey it. The leaders and high
government officials can steal from the state but the citizens cannot steal
from the state. If the citizens steal or commit any crime, they are
arrested, detained, and sentenced to prison terms. The leaders can commit
the same act and get away with it.
* Almost all developing countries are increasingly nepotistic and personal.
The leaders tend to groom their children to take over after them, even when
the state is not a monarchy.
In Iraq, Saddam Hussein purposely groomed his two sons (Udai and Qusai) to
become major national players. The elder Anastasio Somoza perpetuated his
family hold on power in Nicaragua and enabled his sons (Luis and Anastasio)
to rule the country dynastically, even though the country was/is not a
monarchy. The same goes for former President Suharto of Indonesia who turned
the country into a family state. During his time, no business could be
carried out without the support and or approval of one of his children. It
is variously estimated that President Suharto was worth about $40 to $100
billion (Leadbetter, April 20). In the Philippines, Mrs. Imelda Marcos acted
like the deputy head of state and was very powerful in directing the affairs
of the state. In Syria, under the Baathist Party system, President Hafez
Assad ruled like a king until his death. When he died, his son, Bashar
Assad, took over the leadership of the country even though Syria is not a
Papa Doc purposely perpetuated himself as the president for life in Haiti
until his death. Baby Doc, his son, took over and continued the family
dynasty. Baby Doc had to be driven out of power through mass protests and
the United States. Although a monarchy, the line of succession was supposed
to pass from King Hussein to Crown Prince Hassan. At the last moment, King
Hussein passed the Jordanian throne to his son, Prince Abdullah, not his
brother, as was envisaged. In Nigeria, since the arrival on the scene of the
military presidents, Nigeria's first ladies (at both national and state
levels) now have their own financial pet projects. Disturbed by the
phenomenon of first lady syndrome in the country, Nigeria's Legal Defence
and Assistance Project (LEDAP) "has taken the first lady, Chief Mrs. Stella
Obasanjo, Mrs. Titi Abubakar, wife of the vice-president and 22 wives of
governors, to the Federal High Court, Lagos to account for monies collected
in their various first ladies projects" (Epia, June 1, 2003).
In Libya, Col. Mu'ammar Qaddaffi's son is becoming a major political player
in the country just as Mohammed Abacha was a major player during the reign
of his father in Nigeria. Quite often, multinational corporations try to
avoid complying with the laws of the territories in which they do business
by forming business alliances with the children and relatives of the rulers
and high government officials. A major legal trial is going on in France
over scandalous business practices by the giant, Elf Company. The company
was involved in a bribing scheme in which political leaders and high
government officials, especially in Africa, were paid off to make way for
easy access. Loik Le Floch-Prigent, a chief executive of the company stated
thus: "Clearly, in most petrol-producing countries, it is the head of state
or king who is the real beneficiary. The Elf system had been at the heart of
the French state for years. It was not so much secret as opaque. So the
money went to the names that the heads of these countries designated."
(Schofield, April 24, 2003).
Likewise, the developing countries tend to suffer severely from extensive
tribalization, regionalization, and social immobility. In Africa, Asia, and
the Middle East, the ethnic groups and the home regions of the leaders
always tend to dominate the governments. In Iraq for instance, during Saddam
Hussein's reign, the minority Sunni dominated Iraq due to President
Hussein's Sunni background while the majority Shiites and the Kurds were
marginalized and repressed. In Latin America, the class structure is very
suffocating to members of the lower classes who continued to be treated like
serfs in countries like Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina,
Panama etc. Likewise, the Native Americans or the indigenous people are
highly suppressed and deprived. Many leaders in the developing world tend to
be either oligarchic or plutocratic in nature. Due to the manner in which
the political systems are set up, it is very difficult for honest,
dedicated, and patriotic citizens to assume leadership positions. The overly
ambitious, self-serving, and the devil-may-care types tend to dominate the
political, bureaucratic, military, and police circles of authority.
* Due to the above reason, there is generally no distinction between private
and public property, as far as the leaders are concerned. The leaders use
government properties as if the properties are their own. This was why
Saddam Hussein was able to build numerous palaces and took money from the
Central Bank whenever he wanted. This is why Nigerian public officials and
their wives travelled overseas extensively in the last four years. Disturbed
by the wasteful behaviour, the Concerned Nigerian Professionals in the
Diaspora and Within Nigeria petitioned the people of Nigeria to put a stop
to the overseas trips (Omotowa, June 22. 2001).
This is also the reason why government service is the surest way to
accumulate wealth in the country. When the United Nations, in October 2002,
accused the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe
and 29 companies of plundering the natural resources of the DRC, a
government official responded: "The Congolese Government is the legitimate
government of this country. Whatever we do is legitimate. We had to use our
resources to finance the war effort."
Of course, this is not limited to Africa and Latin America alone, Asian and
Middle Eastern leaders do the same. Hence, former President Ferdinand Marcos
of the Philippines embezzled hundreds of millions. Balz Bruppacher of the
Assoicate Press noted: "In 1997, the country's (Switzerland) high court
ordered the transfer to the Philippines of about $590 million belonging to
Marcos, saying it was against Swiss interests to 'serve as a safe haven' for
flight capital or criminal proceeds." Saddam Hussein is said to have looted
at least one billion dollars as the coalition forces threatened to overrun
Baghdad during the second Persian Gulf War. (CNN.com May 6, 2003) noted:
"About $1 billion was taken from Iraq's Central Bank by Saddam Hussein and
his family, just hours before the United States began bombing Iraq."
Baby Doc of Haiti was alleged to have looted millions of dollars while
fleeing Haiti. In the days of the Somozas in Nicaragua, every financial deal
had to go through the family. Gen/President Mobutu Sese Seko was considered
to be one of the richest African leaders. The late Gen. Sani Abacha of
Nigeria was alleged to have embezzled about four billion dollars. Trevor
Johnson (November 10, 2002) reported: "The recent investigations by the
Nigerian government into the laundering of over $4 billion by the former
military regime of General Abacha - using banks in the UK, Switzerland, the
US, Germany, Luxembourg and elsewhere - makes clear the vested interests
that stood behind the dictatorship."
*Generally, many Third World leaders are not patriotic. They tend to form
and join political, military, and economic alliances that are very
destructive to the national security of their states. As a result, these
leaders willingly make secret deals with foreign powers and multinational
corporations to exploit the resources of their territories. They do not care
about their own citizens as far as their personal pockets and secret bank
accounts overseas are filled. The Independent (May 11, 2003) reported that
"Exxon/Mobil and other leading oil companies are to face an investigation
into how up to $500m came to be paid into a private US bank account, said to
be solely controlled by the President of Equatorial Guinea."
Joint motion for a resolution on
Doc.: B5-0016/2004, B5-0020/2004, B5-0022/2004, B5-0023/2004,
B5-0026/2004, B5-0030/2004, B5-0033/2004
Vote : 15.01.2004
In adopting the joint resolution on the situation in Zimbabwe with 66
votes in favour, 4 against and 2 abstentions, MEPs call on the Council to
adopt a more active and urgent approach to the Zimbabwe disaster, including
the renewal of the targeted sanctions. MEPs insist that the charges against
Morgan TSVANGIRAI are spurious and unsubstantiated. The House also
congratulates the Commonwealth for its principled stance in maintaining
Zimbabwe's suspension. MEPs regret the failure of the EU Council to make any
effective impact on the policies of Zimbabwe's neighbours and they strongly
criticise the failure of some southern African governments to exert any
pressure on the ZANU-PF regime. The House urges senior government figures
and public servants of goodwill to insist that Mugabe and his close
associates step down from office.
Furthermore, MEPs call for the urgent opening of formal talks between
the Government of Zimbabwe and Opposition representatives with a view to
establishing a respectable interim coalition of national unity prior to a
representative government being fairly and freely chosen in properly managed
and internationally monitored elections.
The House calls on all representatives of EU Member States to refuse
to meet members of the ZANU-PF regime and others banned from travelling to
the EU, regardless of location.
MEPs underline the importance of providing adequate funding to meet
the requirements of the UN World Food Programme to alleviate the
humanitarian suffering in Zimbabwe caused by Mugabe's actions.
Finally, MEPs call upon sporting federations of EU Member States due
to play matches in Zimbabwe this year to refuse to play sport in that
country at this time.
(Strasbourg) tel.(33-3) 881 73785
(Brussels) tel.(32-2) 28 41448
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Moyo owes Adjovi $60 million
By Bertha Shoko
ZIMBABWE'S junior Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, is yet to pay $60
million owed to the executive producer of Miss Malaika Africa, Ernest Coovi
Adjovi, for a licence government obtained to host the 2002 Miss Malaika
finals held in Harare, it has been established.
Moyo’s department had planned to use the beauty pageant to gloss over
Zimbabwe’s tattered international image, heavily battered by the ruling Zanu
PF’s violent campaign during the run up to the 2000 parliamentary election
and the presidential elections in March 2002.
Government officials had claimed the internationally televised event would
bring in thousands of tourists to revive Zimbabwe’s ailing tourism sector.
Initially, the event was scheduled for the resort town of Victoria Falls as
the organisers felt the venue would draw the much sought after tourists to
Zimbabwe’s prime holiday destination.
However it was later postponed and moved to the Harare International
Conference Centre because of logistical reasons which included renovations
that were going on at the Elephant Hills Hotel where the event was to be
held, and problems in the resort town concerning inadequate
telecommunications facilities for live broadcasting.
Adjovi last week confirmed to StandardPlus that he had not yet received
payment from the controversial minister’s department.
“Yes, the Government of Zimbabwe owes me money for the Miss Malaika licence
I gave them but I will not run after them and press them to give it to me.
They will give it to me in their own time.
“I understand the country is going through serious economic problems and I
will just give them time to solve the mess,” said Adjovi, talking to this
paper from Namibia.
Adjovi however refused to comment further on the matter accusing journalists
of being “manipulative” and “blowing things out of proportion”.
The Harare finals were further plunged into controversy when black American
student, Morgan Chitty, was crowned Miss Malaika, causing an outcry among
the African contestants and fans - The Standard
Zanu-PF to host liberation conference
From Bulawayo Bureau
ZANU–PF will this year host a liberation conference, which will be attended
by representatives from independence movements from the region and support
groups from Europe and the United States, a senior party official said
Cde Didymus Mutasa, the national secretary for external affairs in the
ruling party said the conference would be held in Shamva, Mashonaland
He said: "The venue has already been identified but the exact dates have
not. In the next few weeks, the party will send out invitations to
liberation movements in the Southern African Development Community as well
as groups that have always supported liberation movements from Europe and
the United States. The party wants to set dates that are convenient to the
people and support groups it will invite."
Cde Mutasa said as Zanu–PF continued to intensify its efforts to rally Sadc
liberation movements around the goals and aspirations of independence, the
party will this year not send missions to other countries but concentrate on
receiving people and organisations that want to come and appreciate
"We want to host the people so that they get to know what is happening on
the ground here, essentially the success of the land reform programme."
In addition to the regional representatives, two delegates would be invited
from the ruling party’s provinces, he said.
Last year, the ruling party held several meetings with delegations of former
liberation movements from Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa,
The reinvigoration of the party’s liberation war alliances comes amid
criticism from Western countries, especially Britain, the United States,
Australia and New Zealand after the Government embarked on the land reform
programme in fulfilment of one of the major ideals of the liberation
Cde Mutasa said that apart from celebrating the success of the land reform
programme, the conference would tackle the question of democracy and good
governance from a local point of view as opposed to the Western opinion of
"The conference will pose questions on democracy and good governance in
countries such as New Zealand and Australia, whose governments have been
making the loudest noise in criticising our Government," he said.
"It is not surprising that we have picked these two countries because their
governments have the world’s worst human rights records in terms of their
treatment of indigenous people yet they made a lot of noise against us when
we were still in the Commonwealth.
"We will ask how many Aborigines are represented in the Australian
parliament and why. How does good governance and democracy apply to these
people (Aborigines) in the country of their birth and the white settlers?"
said Cde Mutasa.
He said Africa must not be deceived by the pro-Western opinion of democracy
and good governance because "there is nothing democratic about them."
"Their opinion of democracy and good governance is only when these
principles benefit them. It is not surprising that when our Government
embarked on a programme to give land to its people, it is condemned as
undemocratic and called all sorts of names.
"However, the party is happy that our land reform programme is now
understood for what it is, that is to create a just society," he said.