UNITED NATIONS (AFP)--A Security Council vote on U.N. sanctions against
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been delayed as many members prefer
to back South African-mediated talks between the Harare government and its
opposition, its president said Thursday.
Vietnam's ambassador to the U.N. Le Luong Minh, who chairs the council this
month, told reporters that the U.S., which drafted the sanctions resolution,
had so far made no attempt to push for a vote Thursday.
The U.S. delegation had hoped to have a vote late Wednesday on the text,
which would slap for an assets freeze and a travel ban on Mugabe and 13 of
his cronies, as well as an arms embargo.
"There was a request to put to the vote that resolution yesterday. But the
the request was canceled," Minh said. "So far we have not received any
request to schedule a vote on that yet.
He said Vietnam and several other council members believe "we should support
the good offices efforts by regional countries and regional organizations."
"We have been seeing efforts under way by the African Union and the (14-
nation) SADC (Southern African Development Community) and we think those
efforts should be supported," Minh said.
Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition held talks in South Africa Thursday
for the first time since Mugabe won the June 27, one-man runoff election
boycotted by the opposition and widely seen as lacking legitimacy.
-Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5500
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
by Thomas Hove Friday 11 July 2008
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government began preliminary talks with
the opposition on Thursday but crisis-weary Zimbabweans were sceptical that
the bitter rivals could put aside deep-seated hatred and mistrust between
them to agree to form a government of national unity to end the country's
Both Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party have come under heavy
international pressure to enter a negotiated settlement to end a political
impasse that has lasted eight years and plunged once prosperous Zimbabwe
into its worst economic crisis.
But political analysts as well as ordinary Zimbabweans were doubtful that a
government of national unity or any other negotiated deal between the
feuding political parties would stand the test of time.
Mugabe's contempt for Tsvangirai and the opposition leader's insistence that
he did not recognise the 84-year-old as the legitimate leader has heightened
the scepticism among ordinary Zimbabweans of a negotiated settlement to end
"I don't believe a government of national unity is the answer because ZANU
PF is only seeking legitimacy and does not have the interests of the
opposition," said Lloyd Mabasa a bar tender in central Harare.
"For me it is appalling to even think of sitting down with people who only
yesterday were killing MDC supporters but today they say they want to talk.
About what?" asked Mabasa.
The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters were abducted, tortured and
killed since the March 29 general elections which the opposition won, but
perpetrators have not been arrested. Instead, over 1 500 of its activists
have been arrested for political violence.
Analysts said only a transitional government, in which the MDC has strong
representation, recognising its majority in parliament, and whose mandate is
clearly defined, would be the right step in resolving the country's
The transitional government should run for 24 months, during which a new
people-driven constitution - which strengthens the legislature and
judiciary - would be crafted, set conditions for a free and fair election
and demilitarise state institutions.
Zimbabwe's military took over Mugabe's re-election campaign after the
veteran leader was defeated by Tsvangirai in the first round of voting on
March 29, waging brutal violent attacks on opposition activists in rural
areas and setting homesteads ablaze accusing them of selling out the
Political commentators say the military has to be delicately sidelined from
running the affairs of government and reoriented to focus on issues of
Zimbabweans were too traumatised to go back to the polls now and would need
time for healing and reassurance that they could support and vote for any
political party without fear of retribution, analysts said.
"These talks will be protracted and I think it is understandable for many
people to be sceptical. People don't trust ZANU PF but a negotiated
settlement is the only way out of this crisis," Eldred Masunungure, a
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer said.
ZANU PF seems eager for talks, hoping a deal with Tsvangirai would help
unlock international goodwill and see the start of a much-needed economic
Zimbabwe's economy is plagued by soaring inflation, now put above 10 million
percent by independent analysts, unemployment of more than 80 percent and a
crunch shortage of food and foreign currency.
The West is threatening more sanctions against Mugabe's government, which
would worsen the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans but an acceptable deal with
the MDC could help stem the crisis, according to ZANU PF insiders.
But MDC supporters are reluctant, still deeply haunted by the violence of
the last three months that forced Tsvangirai to pull out of the election
race a week before voting day.
Tsvangirai has already received a backlash from ZANU PF and state media for
snubbing a meeting with Mugabe last weekend that was organised by South
African President Thabo Mbeki, but the move is popular with his angry
"Mugabe says his re-election is legitimate, he should rule. Why care now to
sit on the same table with a puppet to negotiate a unity government when he
won a landslide and has the mandate of the people," said Paul Mandava, a
bank teller in Harare.
Mugabe frequently brands Tsvangirai a puppet of the British and has
previously said he would rather talk to Britain than the former trade union
"Tsvangirai should be careful not to be tricked like (Joshua) Nkomo, we will
never forgive him," said a 53-year-old vegetable vendor in the Avenues area
who identified herself as Mai Shuvai.
"We want to know what will happen to those whose loved ones were killed for
supporting MDC, they cannot just die like dogs, their spirit has to be
appeased," she added.
ZANU PF is preaching reconciliation after retaining Mugabe. A frustrated
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa suggested on Saturday Tsvangirai's
failure to attend the Mbeki-brokered meeting showed that the opposition
leader was drifting towards launching a rebel movement. The charges are
denied by the MDC.
"The MDC should know that we are all Zimbabweans and we should come together
and resolve our problems. There is noone from the West who will do that for
us," said Josphat Jiri, a staunch ZANU PF supporter. - ZimOnline
July 10 2008 at 08:54AM
By A'eysha Kassiem
A Zimbabwean member of People Against Suffering, Suppression,
Oppression and Poverty (Passop) has been threatened with a firearm in an
attack described as "racist and xenophobic".
Passop was "angered" by the attack on its Du Noon leader, Cosmos
Liyeto, in Brooklyn, Cape Town, on Tuesday, its chairperson, Braam Hanekom
"The attacker called him a Nigerian, smashed his car windows and
pushed a revolver into his chest. This attack was racist and xenophobic."
A man has been arrested and appeared in the Cape Town magistrate's
court on Wednesday.
A shaken Liyeto said the assault took place about 2.30pm.
"I had parked in the road and went to visit someone. The streets are
narrow, but there was enough space for another vehicle to pass.
"When the man's car tried to get past, he hooted, so I went outside
to move the car.
"The man confronted me and started yelling, saying: 'Why do you want
to act like you own Amsterdam Road?' He made derogatory remarks, with lots
While he was standing at his car, the man reached under his seat,
pulled out a revolver and pressed it against his chest, Liyeto said.
"He shouted: 'You Nigerians, you want to act like you own the street.'
I was traumatised and felt stupid. I couldn't even start the car
The man had also assaulted him, but he was not injured, Liyeto said.
"I kept thinking: 'Why? What did I do to warrant this?' I was
completely shocked. I even apologised when he started to hoot when he could
not get his car past, but he said, 'You are sorry, but I want you to feel
sorry for what you did'."
Liyeto filed a complaint at the Maitland police station.
Tiisetso Lerutla at the police station confirmed this.
"The man went to court this morning. He has been charged with
malicious damage to property and pointing a firearm."
Meanwhile, Passop has commended the Department of Home Affairs for
making a change to the queuing arrangements for asylum-seekers.
"The new system allows (such people) to queue at the Department of
Home Affairs office in Barrack Street. We are encouraged by the change."
Concerns remained, however, about the management of the queue and the
huge number of asylum-seekers waiting to apply for refugee status, among
"Last year, a man died of starvation in the queue after waiting
several weeks to be allowed his right to apply for refugee status.
(Asylum-seekers) are having to live on the street for weeks as they fear
losing their places in the queue."
This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Times on July
Thursday, 10 July 2008 06:10
By Folosi KaNdaba
A headmaster from Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North was this week
summoned to a magistrate's court after he said Mugabe was old and medieval
in outlook and should step down from power.
Mr Hlonzamandla Moyo made the outburst in a bus on his way to the
school he heads.He said the remarks in the presence of the feared Central
Intelligence Organisation who were in the bus.
The 46-year-old Moyo claimed Mugabe was the central striker in the
destruction of the economy and it was now time for him to step down. He said
Mugabe had presided over the death of the economy and he should appoint a
white person to be finance minister, as whites had a better record at
administering economic turnarounds.Zimbabwe has faced almost a decade of
economic meltdown blamed largely on
Mugabe's self serving policies. The octogenarian, leader, however,
blames the problems on sanctions imposed by the West.
Moyo was remanded out of custody on free bail to 26 August, after the
magistrate, Toindepi Zhou said there was no reason to continue keeping him
Last week a 22-year-old Bulawayo Polytechnic student was also brought
before the courts for contravening sections of the electoral law after he
used his mobile phone to take a picture of himself casting his ballot. He
had allegedly written insults on the ballot, accusing Mugabe of hunting down
the opposition and killing them. Two men were arraigned before a magistrates
court in Bulawayo, after they again had insulted Mugabe and police
commissioner Augustine Chihuri. They accused Chihuri of masterminding
genocide and warned that after the opposition had assumed power, the two
would be brought before the International Criminal Court for crimes against
Jul 10th 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition
A negotiated end to the power struggle in Zimbabwe looks far off
THERE were more harsh words for Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, this
week, as well as more promises of tough action against his regime following
his re-election in a sham one-man run-off on June 27th. But, equally, there
was also more evidence that the world remains divided-and often bitterly
so-on what to do about him. Only Mr Mugabe profits from these divisions.
The Zimbabwean impasse figured high on the agenda of the G8 gathered in
Japan. Prompted by Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, the
rich-countries' club, including Russia, heavily criticised the Zimbabwean
election. The G8 said it would not accept the "legitimacy" of Mr Mugabe's
new government. It promised to take "further steps" against 13 of Mr Mugabe's
inner circle who are responsible for organising most of the violence.
Targeted sanctions and an arms embargo are expected to be proposed at the UN
Security Council. Some African countries, such as Botswana and Nigeria, also
condemned the election.
But, again, several African countries objected to any further sanctions.
South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki said that sanctions could lead to a
civil war in Zimbabwe. And, despite Russia's apparent show of unity at the
G8, neither it nor China could be relied upon to back a strong resolution on
sanctions at the UN. It is a familiar split. Instead, these countries insist
that Mr Mbeki's mediation efforts between Mr Mugabe and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) be given more time to succeed-a process
that some Western leaders have now lost patience with.
Both sides say that they want to talk. But their positions appear
irreconcilable. The MDC insists that it will not participate in any proper
negotiations unless violence stops, political prisoners are released, those
who have fled violence are repatriated and humanitarian assistance is
allowed to resume. Having lost faith in Mr Mbeki, the MDC also wants a
full-time mediator from the African Union. It has rejected the idea of a
government of national unity, but advocates a transitional administration
based on the results of the first round of voting on March 29th-which it
won-leading towards fresh elections. Mr Mugabe, for his part, insists that
the opposition recognises his flawed re-election.
A plan floated by Mr Mbeki before the run-off, which would leave Mr Mugabe
as a ceremonial head of state and give the opposition executive power,
appears to have little chance of success. The South African president, eager
to show some progress in his faltering shuttle diplomacy, flew to Harare on
Saturday July 5th and met Mr Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a
small MDC splinter party. This raised some hopes. But the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, resisting pressure from Mr Mbeki, refused to participate. Mr
Mutambara later said that he attended the talks only because he thought Mr
Tsvangirai was going to be there as well; Mr Mutambara insists that there
will be no deal without the main MDC group.
Political violence shows no sign of abating. According to the MDC, at least
20 activists have been killed since the run-off, bringing the total of
confirmed deaths since the first round in March to over 100. Dozens of
opposition supporters are still missing and 1,500 or so remain behind bars.
This week, the body of an MDC driver abducted in Harare last month was
finally found, burned and decomposing on a farm about 30km outside the
capital. He had been tortured before being shot. Armed militias were also
reported to have attacked two camps near Harare where people fleeing the
violence had taken refuge after seeking shelter in the South African
Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF also appears determined to reverse the majority
that the opposition won in the National Assembly for the first time since
the country's independence in 1980. Besides results being contested in
court, nine lawmakers from Mr Tsvangirai's camp have been arrested or
abducted since the first round of voting. The combined opposition holds 110
seats against ZANU-PF's 97.
Mr Mugabe is unlikely to relent unless under serious, concerted pressure.
But, as usual, it is hard to see exactly where that is going to come from.
Even now, the wily Zimbabwean liberation hero seems to be outwitting his
rivals, mediators and enemies in almost equal measure.
United States Senate (Washington, DC)
10 July 2008
Posted to the web 10 July 2008
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Subcommittee on African Affairs, released the following statement today in
support of the Group of Eight's (G8) statement condemning the recent
elections in Zimbabwe, as well as its rejection of the Mugabe government's
"I welcome the G8 leaders' condemnation of the June 27th elections in
Zimbabwe and their rejection of the Mugabe government's legitimacy. I am
equally pleased that G8 leaders committed to take further steps against
those responsible for election-related violence, but words alone are
insufficient to resolve this crisis. The G8's statement must be followed by
action from the international community and countries in the region to make
clear that they will not stand by as violations of human and political
rights in Zimbabwe continue. I support the efforts of the Bush
administration and others at the United Nations to impose an international
arms embargo and multilateral sanctions and hope the UN Security Council
passes a resolution swiftly and unanimously. The need for comprehensive,
coordinated action by regional and international leaders has never been more
On July 15th, Feingold will hold a hearing in the African Affairs
Subcommittee to examine the volatile situation in Zimbabwe.
By Alex T. Magaisa
Last updated: 07/11/2008 17:03:36
DESPITE the public posturing and differences in the characterisation of the
negotiations, it is clear that something is going on behind the scenes as
the politicians try to find a solution to the country's chronic problems.
The public posturing merely represents the normal jousting for positional
superiority in the talks. This is an attempt to assess the factors that
might influence the inevitable negotiations.
The paucity of legitimacy is Zanu PF's greatest weakness. Robert Mugabe got
the result that he wanted on June 27 because it adorned him with legal
power. But Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal and the negative judgment passed
by the main election observer missions left Mugabe's legitimacy in tatters.
Tsvangirai on the other hand may not have the legal power but he rides on
the crest of moral authority derived from victories in the Parliamentary and
initial Presidential elections on March 29. This gave Tsvangirai, and the
MDC, a large measure of international recognition. But he, too, knows that
although inhibited by a lack of legitimacy, Zanu PF remains the de facto
Mugabe seeks legitimacy through the negotiated settlement, whilst, through
the same process, Tsvangirai seeks to gain a legal foothold in government.
Tsvangirai knows that the fight for democracy requires the MDC to have some
influence in government.
The recent electoral farce demonstrated, quite markedly, that the real power
to determine the leadership question is held by those in control of the
security forces. Mugabe owes his current position to the top men in uniform.
Conversely, Tsvangirai's Achilles Heel has long been the inability to draw
power from the security structure. The men in uniform have been the single
greatest stumbling block in Tsvangirai's passage to power.
They will remain key players in the negotiating process because any outcome
will, ultimately, need their support. They will favour an outcome that
protects not just Mugabe but, importantly, their own security and welfare.
The negotiating process will, therefore, be heavily influenced by the
demands and interests of the uniformed men.
Both Zanu PF and the MDC suffer from chronic factional divisions. The result
is that in negotiating for a new Zimbabwe, each of the internal factions is
positioning itself not only against the other party but also against each
other. One faction could prove to be an impediment to negotiations if it
feels that it would concede space to the other in the final outcome.
Ultimately, each faction in the respective parties will seek representation
in any new government. It could be a large, complicated and expensive
However, whilst Zanu PF somehow manages to maintain a brave face of unity
even at the hardest of times, the MDC still exhibits signs of indiscipline
that could quite easily be exploited by Zanu PF in the negotiating process.
A party that fails to unite, let alone in which two candidates from the same
faction contest against each other, leaves itself vulnerable to Zanu PF's
adeptness at playing the opposition against each other by handing out
We have already seen how Zanu PF can exploit these divisions in the way it
managed to obtain a photo opportunity with the MDC Mutambara on July 5,
2008, when the MDC Tsvangirai stayed away from the Mbeki meeting. A more
unified opposition could have taken a common position. Zanu PF will
negotiate with them as two formations and will continue to play them against
Zanu PF has transformed a once prosperous economy into a basic economy of
hunter-gatherers, literally surviving from hand to mouth. The trouble is
that it shows neither a clue nor the facility to solve the chronic economic
problems. The rot has begun to affect the empires of Zanu PF Oligarchs who
are now desperate for a settlement.
The MDC's strength lies in its promises of a better future based largely on
the support of the international community who have predicated their
assistance on political change. Zanu PF knows that the presence of the MDC
in government has the potential to unlock various economic opportunities. It
is largely for this reason, not quite a sudden realisation of the light of
decency and democracy, that Zanu PF is desperate for the MDC's hand in
The 'International Community' and the Demise of Brand Mugabe
Mugabe's standing in the international community has fallen miserably in the
recent past. The escalating international pressure against Mugabe and
support for Tsvangirai will be a key factor in the negotiations. The threat
of sanctions and further isolation, particularly in Africa, will push Mugabe
to do a deal.
Nevertheless, 'Brand Mugabe' still has some residual effect, especially on
some fellow African leaders, like South Africa's President Mbeki. They still
prefer a quiet exit rather than a humiliating departure, hence their support
for a negotiated settlement.
In some ways the international community influence is also a double-edged
sword for the MDC. Its most vocal backers are the West and this has, rather
unwittingly, fed directly into Mugabe's rhetorical characterisation of the
MDC as puppet of the West. Critics say the MDC took this matter for granted
and did not do enough to rebut Zanu PF's rhetoric. Mugabe and Africa have
tended to respond to the vocal Western criticism instead of focussing on the
local concerns. These international squabbles may derail local negotiations,
for, as they say, when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.
How the MDC handles the delicate balance between the influence and
expectations of its Western and African backers will be crucial in the next
Opposition's Limited Alternatives
The unwillingness or inability of the MDC to commit to a mass uprising is
something that Zanu PF has identified over the years and cemented by the
threat and use of violence. Zanu PF knows that the MDC has little
alternatives other than to seek the assistance of the international
community. Local initiatives such as strikes, mass action, job stay-aways,
etc have been tried and failed beyond the initial success of the late 1990s.
Zanu PF knows, therefore, that the opposition's hopes lie in a negotiated
Both parties have engaged in 'talks about talks' through the media. None of
this has provided clarity. It has probably bred further animosity and
suspicion, further derailing or even jeopardising the talks.
For an organisation of its size and stature, the MDC appears to have a
surprisingly loose grip on its information dissemination systems. There are
far too many people speaking on behalf of the party and sometimes the
statements are incongruent so that it is not easy to determine the official
line. It may, perhaps, be argued that there is some method in the confusion,
as a negotiating strategy, to keep Zanu PF guessing.
But it does not help, as we have seen in the international media, when some
shady characters are wheeled into news studios and purport to speak on
behalf of the party, even though they do not hold any current party
position. There is always a risk here, at delicate stages of negotiations,
for ill-intentioned people who claim to have the best interests of the
opposition at heart, to purport to speak on its behalf, when in fact they
are intent on jeopardising the official position. Some will even take
delight in pointing to what they characterise as flip-flops which tend to
arise when different people make conflicting statements on the same issue or
when some ghost-writers make reckless remarks in the name of the party
leader. These weaknesses can be easily corrected by tightening the
information dissemination channels.
Finally, violence has both been a strength and also a weakness for Zanu PF.
It is violence that led to Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the race and paved
the way for Mugabe to claim legality. Just as Zanu PF unleashed violence in
Matabeleland to bring PF ZAPU to the negotiating table, so it has succeeded
again to use violence to coerce the MDC into negotiations.
It is, however, also a weakness of sorts because the subsequent withdrawal
by Tsvangirai deprived the electoral process and outcome of the sought after
legitimacy. Instead of giving it positional superiority, the outcome has
left Zanu PF weaker and in need of recognition, which only a negotiated
settlement might deliver.
At the end of the day, the politicians will negotiate and compromise. What
the ordinary men and women say will count for little. One can only hope that
whatever arrangement is achieved those who purport to be fighting for
democracy will not concede heavily and join the proverbial gravy train,
after which it will be aluta continua for the ordinary men and women. The
arrangement must always be seen as a means to an end, not an end in itself.
Then again, there are no angels in politics.
Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, The University of Kent, UK and can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gilbert Muponda | Harare Tribune News
Updated: July 10, 2008 9:36
There is urgent need for a stakeholder conference to start mobilizing
resources for Zimbabwe's economic recovery .The current economic decline
will require more resources to get the economy on a productive and growth
path again. Whilst politics has taken the spotlight for a better part of the
last decade, it's imperative that a national economic vision blue print be
developed beyond any party or political lines.
The economic vision blueprint will then act as guideline to mobilize
financial, human and other resources necessary to get Zimbabwe's Economy to
work and full capacity to create desperately needed jobs and produce basics
that are in short supply.
Over the last few years focus has been on land and sovereignty which
are important aspects of nation building but on their own are not enough to
build a strong, independent and economically sufficient nation. There is
need to involve more stakeholders in developing a national economic vision
which will have their support since it will be a result of wider
consultation. Whilst land is important there is need to look beyond the land
and exploit other advantages that Zimbabwe has including the well developed
education sector and function communications infrastructure.
The National Economic Vision will then act as the leading vehicle to
mobilize international resources not only in donor form but investment
commitments from various sources including Sovereign Wealth Funds which are
currently awash with funds seeking suitable investment destinations. There
is a definite need to move away from Donor dependency and N.G.O dependency
.This can only be done through a comprehensive Economic Plan that?s clear on
what is to be achieved and how it will be achieved.
Zimbabwe is rich in various natural resources some of which are
currently enjoying record high prices due to the strong demand from China
and India's booming economies. Commodity prices go through cycles and the
prices may decline well before Zimbabwe realizes any tangible benefits from
current commodity windfalls. Zimbabwe has other advantages such as a
relatively well developed financial system and skilled labor force.
These factors make it fairly simple how to develop a workable recovery
economic recovery blue print It is therefore critical that Zimbabwe starts
packaging it self as an attractive investment destination .Whilst the
politics is very unstable by any standards ,no situation is permanent ,
there is now need to look beyond the party and political lines and put
Zimbabwe first .
It is clear that Zimbabwe's current political arch-rivals claim to be
fighting to preserve, build and restore national pride. But what seems to
escape the whole fight is that probably by the time the fight ends there
wont the much in of a nation in terms of economic infrastructure .Industry
would be a mere fraction of what it was a few years back. The point here is
there is now need to look beyond personal positions or party ideologies and
try to focus the nation on re-building the economic foundation after close
to a decade of unprecedented recession.
Presently there is a lot of International goodwill towards Zimbabwe
such that the Economic recovery may take much less time than what many
political and economic commentators have been preaching. The focus has been
on Zimbabwe for a considerable time that should the Zimbabweans themselves
come up with an all inclusive Economic Vision blueprint many nations and
institutions are ready to assist Zimbabwe to get back to its economic feet.
Whilst the goodwill currently exists it must be noted that nothing
lasts forever. Especially goodwill can't be there forever. It only takes
another major international emergency or event for all the attention and
goodwill to dry up. During the early days the International community used
to be seriously concerned about events and situation in Somalia. And when
the situation persisted and the nation's owners failed to resolve their
differences international attention and goodwill waned up-to now .
Now the international community mostly concerns itself with the safety
of luxury cruise liner ships off the Somali international waters for safety
from pirates. Otherwise there isn't much of an effort to fix that country's
economy. This is a useful case study for Zimbabwe in terms of keeping
investors and international community interested in the country. Once
international and investor interest wanes it's almost impossible to recover.
Whilst it is important to win a political contest it is even more
important to have a comprehensive and realistic plan to mobilize financial,
human and other resources to ensure that the Economic production capacity
can be enhanced, jobs created and inflation tamed.
Gilbert Muponda is a Zimbabwe-born entrepreneur. He can be contacted
at email@example.com .This article appears courtesy of GMRI Capital.
More articles at www.gmricapital.com
Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2008, 6:51 (BST)
Zimbabwean churches could provide the "ultimate challenge" for Catholic
Robert Mugabe as the African leader seeks to legitimise his recent
re-election, says Progressio's Dr Steve Kibble.
Writing on the New Statesman's website, Dr Kibble, Progressio's advocacy
coordinator for Africa, said that despite having swept to victory in last
month's vote, Mugabe still faces "a serious dilemma" if he hopes to bring
Zimbabwean church leaders back on board.
In recent years, Mugabe's Zanu-PF regime has slowly eroded a once "healthy"
relationship with the core denominations of the Zimbabwe churches, writes
Kibble, charting a catalogue of developments that have led to a modern day
standoff between church and state.
Though church leaders were historically "quiet" on Mugabe's authoritarian
regime, a stolen election in 2005, coupled with 'Operation Murambatsvina' -
which saw scores of innocent civilians attacked and arrested by government
forces - only served to heighten church leaders' concerns.
Finally, in 2007 the Zimbabwean Catholic Bishops Conference took the plunge,
issuing a statement that squarely blamed the Mugabe government for
spiralling inflation, rampant food shortages and widespread inflation.
"Mugabe's regime now looks to have lost the support of most of the churches,
bar those who are supporters or beneficiaries of land and other gifts",
In a country where 90 per cent subscribe to a faith and over 60 per cent
attend Christian churches on a regular basis, Kibble points out that Mugabe's
next steps vis a vis the church will be "closely scrutinised across the
region and the world."
"Any direct attacks on the church would see Mugabe shunned by his fellow
Southern African leaders, who are all nominally Christian", he says.
The fact that Mugabe may yet "prove reluctant" to unleash a full-blown
campaign of violence against the churches could, says Kibble, open up a new
space for action on the part of church leaders.
The Zimbabwean churches now have "significantly more space than others to
stand up for the political, economic and social rights of their flocks", he
Thu, 10 Jul 2008 07:45
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe received a show of support from the tiny
kingdom of Lesotho when its prime minister told foreign powers on Wednesday
to respect the sovereignty of states in the region.
Asked for his reaction to calls for sanctions on the regime in Harare after
Mugabe's widely derided re-election last month, Pakalitha Mosisili said it
was not for outsiders to decide on the legitimacy of a particular
"It is high time countries and states respect the sovereignty of other
countries," the Lesotho prime minister said.
"Whoever is saying it does not confer legitimacy on the government of Robert
Mugabe, who is he or she to do that?"
His comments come after leaders of the group of eight industrialised nations
rejected the legitimacy of Mugabe's victory in a one-man poll and vowed to
take "financial and other measures" against perpetrators of political
In another tacit show of support for Mugabe, Mosisili said that any
government in Zimbabwe had to have the support of the armed forces.
"I don't care who rules Zimbabwe but he must be acceptable to the armed
forces because he needs their support, but even they must respect the will
of the people," he said.
Constantine Chiwenga, the armed forces' chief of staff, said ahead of a
first round of voting in March that he would not take the salute from anyone
who had not fought in the country's 1970s liberation war in an apparent
reference to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe into second place in the first round but pulled out
of the 27 June run-off after scores of followers of his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party were killed in attacks he blamed on pro-Mugabe
While Mugabe played a leading role in the 1970s liberation war in what was
then Rhodesia, Tsvangirai did not play any part.
Along with Zimbabwe, Lesotho is one of the 14 countries which make up the
Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
Thursday, 10 July 2008 07:13
Parliament calls for transitional administration
-MEP urges additional AU mediator on Zimbabwe
EURO-MP Glenys Kinnock today called for an additional African Union
mediator to be appointed to lead efforts to establish a transitional
administration in Zimbabwe.
Her call came as MEPs voted on a resolution urging an inclusive
mediation process to help end the climate of terror sweeping the country.
The resolution calls for an interim administration reflecting the results of
March 29th in order to stabilise the economy, resolve the humanitarian
crisis, draft a new constitution and organise fresh presidential elections.
It also demands that sanctions against members of the Mugabe regime are
Speaking in Strasbourg today, GLENYS KINNOCK, Co-President of the
Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States - EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly,
said: "Today the European Parliament adds its voice to international calls
for tougher sanctions against Mugabe, for an international arms embargo and
for a worldwide travel ban and freezing of assets. We know who the
ringleaders and bag carriers of the Mugabe regime are and they must be held
"So too do we urge moves toward a transitional government. Any talks
must be based on the outcome of the March 29th election which the MDC won,
and not on the sham run-off on June 27th. It must be a transitional
arrangement designed to lead to a new constitution and fresh elections. As
Morgan Tsvangirai has said "no power deals, no power sharing".
"Moreover, there has to be an additional mediator, Mbeki cannot do it
alone, so we call for an African Union nominee of equal standing - such as
Joaquim Chissano or John Kufor - to work alongside him."
For more information please contact Lisa Stevens at the Labour
European Office on 029 2022 7654 or 079 7367 8175
The Sacramento Bee
By Nat Hentoff -
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, July 10, 2008
Global attention, following Robert Mugabe's blood-drenched extension of his
presidency in Zimbabwe, was on the summit meeting of the leaders in the
African Union. At the start, Asha-Rose Migiro, deputy secretary general of
the United Nations, spoke plainly: "This is a moment of truth for regional
leaders," with Mugabe having created "the single greatest challenge to
regional stability in southern Africa." A few African heads of states agreed
with her - notably Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who said of his
reigning colleagues: "They should suspend (Mugabe) and send peace forces to
Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections." This heretic was ignored, and
the unscathed Mugabe - "Africa's Hitler" - was asked only to consider
forming a power-sharing unity government with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. And the United States, as of this writing, is pushing the
U.N. Security Council to impose garden-variety sanctions on Mugabe's
Even if those sanctions were not vetoed by China, Russia and South Africa
(which has disgraced itself through President Thabo Mbeki's appeasing
"mediation"), Mugabe's total control of Zimbabwe's military, judiciary and
his hordes of thugs will not be affected.
As for the likelihood of the dictator's "good faith" efforts to work with a
unity government, the BBC reported on July 4 that he has already taken care
of the annoyance in the first election (May 26) that gave the Movement for
Democratic Change control of the parliament. This was only a 10-seat
majority for the MDC; and ominously, as the African Union leaders were
meeting, the members of the legislature had not yet been seated.
That fragile majority is now broken. The BBC disclosed that the obstructive
10 MDC members are now in prison or otherwise charged and unavailable to
take their seats. This will require, of course, bi-elections, which, as in
the runoff, will be supervised by poll watchers with clubs and some other
forms of Mugabe-style electioneering likely to cause the demise of
unpatriotic voters. The MDC, understandably, has many conditions before
negotiating for a "unity" government.
But what of the people of Zimbabwe in the wake of their liberator's smiling
return from the African Union summit? There has been little world press
attention on the millions who have not been able to flee from what Mugabe is
fond of calling "the Zimbabwean way" of governing.
Due to a July 2 report from Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, by the United
Nations' IRIN news service, we have some sense of the result of the African
Union's (and the United Nation's) utter failure to be of any use to these
Chamunorwa Shamhu, an employee of one of the few nongovernmental
organizations the Liberator allows to function in Zimbabwe, says of his
colleagues: "This is no joke - people have been operating like zombies.
People are listless, dejected, have no interest in their work." This heavy
pall is not limited to that workplace. IRIN News adds: "Psychologist
Paddington Japajana said people appeared to have symptoms akin to
post-traumatic stress disorder - a condition associated with horrific
"'The condition manifests itself,'" Japajana said, "'through profound
sadness, fear, depression, apprehension, failure to concentrate, failure to
participate in usual activities.'" Also quoted is Sharon Dube, "who has two
children and is a junior at an advertising agency." (Even in a wasteland
like Zimbabwe, there apparently is always a place for an advertising
agency.) Dube, whose existence is of no interest to Mugabe or, for that
matter, to Mbeki, says: "My children are growing up and they need to eat,
but my earnings are not able to sustain them. I have all along had led a
pretty decent life, but as things stand (in recent years), if the hardships
continue, the only option left to me would be prostitution." Also revealing
of the world's abandonment of what leaders running for office like to call
"the ordinary people," there are messages received by Jonathan Clayton, a
Times of London reporter who had been jailed in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second-largest city, for sneaking into the country to cover the first round
Text messages he now regularly gets from released former cellmates include:
"I am begging you Mr. Jonathan pliz (sic) help us. ... We cannot stay in
this country any longer, it is mad place now." In the June 30, Times of
London, Jonathan Clayton writes: "My cellmates all had a naive belief that
the outside world would not stand by and watch President Mugabe cheat his
way back to power. They desperately sought reassurance. I never said what I
truly believed - that once again Mr. Mugabe would get away with murder." But
elsewhere, life goes on. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican of
California, says of sportsman George W. Bush's attending the opening of
China's Genocide Olympics: "a president ... promoting democracy and human
rights loses credibility (attending) ceremonies of the Olympics in a country
that is the world's worst human-rights abuser." Not quite the worst. There
are a number of ardent competitors for this title. Mugabe may yet win that
gold medal while Zimbabwe's people wholly drop out of the news.
About the writer:
.. Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First
Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of many books, including "The
War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance" (Seven Stories
July 10, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - A government of national unity incorporating both Zanu-PF and MDC
is bound to fail as long as President Robert Mugabe is part of the
arrangement, a former senior Zanu-PF official has said.
Daniel Shumba, former Zanu-PF chairman for Masvingo Province, said such a
government would be unsuccessful because Mugabe now behaved as if he
actually owned Zimbabwe.
He said Mugabe had developed a penchant for unbridled power, dating back to
Zimbabwe's war of liberation which led to independence in 1980. Shumba, now
president of the United People's Party (UPP), was addressing delegates at a
three-day conference held in Bulawayo to review the just ended electoral
The conference was organized by Centre for Peace initiatives in Africa
Shumba said Mugabe appeared to genuinely believe that Zimbabwe was now his
"Negotiation for a powering sharing deal between the MDC and Zanu-PF won't
be successful as long as Mugabe is part of it because he now feels he owns
this country and everybody else who is not Zanu-PF is a lodger, " said
He said even during the liberation struggle in the 1970s Mugabe had always
wanted to be at the helm.
"This man thinks he is a conqueror; even during the liberation struggle in
the 1970s Mugabe always wanted to dominant," he said.
Shumba said Mugabe had now transplanted the Zanu-PF political system into
the social structures of the country.
Speaking at the same conference former Zanu -PF legislator for Chimanimani
Michael Mataure said Zimbabwe was facing a crisis because some in the
leadership lacked tolerance, and did not want to listen, appreciate and
differ from other political leaders.
Mataure is now head of the Public Affairs Perspective Social Trust (PAPST).
"The main reason why Zimbabwe is in crisis is that there are some political
leaders in this country who lack tolerance and the don't want to listen,
appreciate and differ in ideologies with other political leaders," said
Mataure also said most leaders in Zimbabwe always wanted to be recognized as
very important individuals, and did not have any respect for other people.
"Some political leaders are being recognized as "Very Important People"
(VIP) wherever they are," he said. "This has become a norm and it's hard for
them to respect anybody else."
The CPIA three-day conference ends Thursday.
It is being attended by civic society groups including Zimbabwe Election
Support Network(ZESN), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), Women
Trust, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA), various political parties, journalists and lawyers.
By Lee Shungu, on July 10 2008 13:56
The unfriendly economic climate currently prevailing in Zimbabwe
coupled with the harsh political environment has led to the closure and
scaling down of operations by some of the country's biggest food-based
This situation has resulted in a severe food shortage, mainly
basic commodities such as mealie-meal, bread, sugar, cooking oil, butter and
milk. Supermarket and shop shelves are empty whilst the parallel (black)
market cannot copy with the demand.
The recent big victims entail bakers Lobels and Innscor
subsidiary- Bakers Inn, and Delta Beverages.
It is now rare to find bread in the capital city, Harare as
bakers have now resorted to making rolls, doughnuts, pies and biscuits. A
loaf of bread now costs not less than $50 billion on the parallel market. A
pie at Bakers Inn costs $65 billion.
The country's leading baker, Lobels recently announced it got
rid of its bread department to focus on biscuits.
Early this week, a source said the company is no longer able to
produce bread owing to a number of factors which include wheat shortages.
"One of the main reasons for this decision is government's
continuous involvement in the pricing of bread."
"The National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) always
gazettes an unreasonably low selling price of a loaf of bread, which will be
way less as compared to the production costs."
"The NIPC targeted the company so many times, in which bread was
then sold for 'almost for free' resulting in the company suffering a huge
loss," he said.
Zimbabwe's agricultural production began to dwindle in 2000
following the controversial land reform programme which resulted in more
than 4000 white commercial farmers being displaced by President Robert
Mugabe's war veterans, the ruling party- ZANU PF and uniformed forces'
Violence and squabbles, lack of farming knowledge by the new
farmers, and lack of inputs has had a great impact on the country's food
production especially in maize and wheat.
Some bakers who ceased production recently include Mitchells,
Aroma, and the Chinese - Vivon.
Other big food-based firms which shut down in the past years
include Blue Ribbon Foods and Olivine Industries.
Last week, Delta Beverages was also rumored to be soon halting
operations. The firm has since scaled down production resulting in soft
drinks and beer shortages across the country.
The firm is also reported to have cited escalating operational
costs in addition to lack of inputs and ingredients such as barley and
According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), many
constraints especially foreign currency shortages have forced companies to
fail to acquire required imported inputs resulting in capacity utilization
in many industries falling to below 20 percent in 2007 from 30 percent in
2006 and 50 percent in 2004.
Analysts say the government-sanctioned price cuts have worsened
the difficult operating conditions in the economy in general and the
manufacturing sector in particular as this severely squeezed profit margins.
Last year, companies such as Edgars, TM Supermarkets and
Innscor's subsidiaries of Bakers Inn and Chicken Inn were forced to shed-off
some branches and retrench workers.
By Bulawayo Agenda | Harare Tribune News
Updated: July 10, 2008 12:45
Zimbabwe, Harare--Bulawayo Agenda compiles the Daily Agenda from
reports and alerts from its network of contacts located in areas served by
its chapters. It offers an alternative source of information from the
mainstream media that is often restricted in terms of reach and its focus on
Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province
Mealie-meal in Gwanda is being sold only to Zanu PF supporters. War
veterans, soon after the runoff, were controlling the sale of the scarce
commodity only to those with indelible red ink. They are now doing the same
to people on a prepared list of those sympathetic to Zanu PF.
Only these can access basic commodities sold at selected shops in the
town. The commodities can sustain a large number of people as they are said
to be delivered twice a week. Residents say that it is the same
beneficiaries of Zanu PF largesse that divert them to the teeming black
Matobo, Matabeleland South Province
Ward and village development committees have been dissolved by Zanu PF
activists in the Matobo district and they have imposed their supporters as
committee members. These committees have been renamed Ward and Village
By night, the councillor is mandated call a meeting of villagers in
the area who then elect their own village development committee members and
ultimately come up with the ward development committee. This election is not
determined by political affiliation but by the capability of an individual.
Zanu PF did this without the elected councillor, Ethel Nyamukunda's consent.
Meanwhile, five curio carvers have been expelled from Jikweni craft
centre by Zanu PF activists who accused them of being MDC supporters. The
committee in charge of the craft centre was also dissolved and a new one
comprising of Zanu PF supporters imposed.
Gweru, Midlands Province
Peter Muchengeti of ZIMCET and based in Gweru has gone into hiding
after he observed being trailed by four unidentified men in Gweru. The men
were earlier on spotted in a tinted grey saloon parked across the Zimcet
office with one of them pointing at the office. Muchengeti had to hide
temporarily at Gweru agenda. He is one of several activists who are on a
police list of people who should be watched. There are fears for his life.
American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
Date: 10 Jul 2008
Amid widespread human rights violations and political violence, Zimbabwe
held its run-off presidential election on June 27. Labeled a "sham" by the
international community, incumbent Robert Mugabe, the only candidate
running, won the election with 85% of the vote. During the tumultuous period
leading up to the elections, opposition supporters and organizations faced
harassment, intimidation and violence by partisans of the ZANU-PF, Mugabe's
party. The country now faces international condemnation amid the ongoing
collapse of civil society.
"Many people just would not vote. With the rise in violence and
intimidation, mostly in rural areas, people became despondent. Everyone
wants change, but they already voted once and it did not matter," reports an
AJWS grantee* in Zimbabwe. Says another source: "Victims were attacked at
night, their doors where broken down if they refused to open [them] they
were taken outside and beaten with poles or iron rods."
In Zimbabwe's general elections on March 29, opposition party Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) won a plurality of votes, requiring a run-off
election. Ahead of the run-off, political violence against MDC supporters
became so widespread that the party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew
from the race, citing the danger for his supporters and aides. According to
the MDC, 86 of its supporters were killed and 200,000 displaced ahead of the
Sources from Zimbabwe report of large-scale post-election violence and
retribution, perpetrated by ZANU-PF and its supporters. One AJWS source in
Zimbabwe documented over 50 pictures of torture and murder victims,
including crushed hands, whipped backs and buttocks and several hangings and
stonings. Poor youth from local communities are suspected of instigating
much of this violence, having been promised food, money and impunity from
looting in exchange for their actions.
"This is a state-planned, militarized operation of retribution and
intimidation on the opposition MDC officials, activists, members and
supporters," says one Zimbabwean civil society leader. "The situation is
worsening by the day. The stability of the region is in the process of being
The work of civil society organizations in Zimbabwe is now more important
than ever, but many cannot operate in the current climate. Institutions
advocating for justice are alleged to be "anti-government" or accused of
associating with MDC, and thus face hostility from the government or
pro-government thugs. Accusing NGOs (non-governmental organizations) of
meddling in politics, in early June the Zimbabwean government suspended the
operations of any Zimbabwean NGO that "organizes, mobilizes or brings
together large numbers of people."
With 80% unemployment, more than 160,000% inflation (with some estimates as
high as 500,000%) and almost two million people infected with HIV/AIDS,
Zimbabwe cannot afford to lose the important social services that NGOs
provide. These dire health and poverty issues, coupled with the current
political crisis, means that Zimbabwe is on the verge of becoming a crisis
country. AJWS emergency funding is supporting Zimbabwean organizations as
they address urgent needs at the community level - food and medical
attention, as well as transportation to safe houses or across borders away
from violent threats. Ongoing AJWS grantmaking supports local organizations
addressing sexual and reproductive health, illiteracy, violence and
American Jewish World Service expresses solidarity with Zimbabweans, and
joins the international community in calling for a fair, peaceful and
democratic election. Click here to read the full statement of support.
Elections that are free from violence and intimidation are an important
first step in ensuring that Zimbabwe can move forward from this political,
economic and humanitarian disaster.
* Sources from Zimbabwe remain anonymous in this article for security
purposes. In addition, AJWS has removed its Zimbabwean grantees from the Web
site during this period of tension.
1 This article is dedicated to H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of the
Republic of South Africa, a true visionary leader for his highest integrity,
energy, inventiveness and steadfast commitment to his mission to mediate
Zimbabwe parties and tiredness effort for the African Renaissance.
By Rafael F., PhD candidate in Development Economics
(Rafaelfassil@gmail.com ) Many citizens of developing world dissatisfied
with political sound bites of Western media and cable news network‟s like
BBC , CNN, Reuters, AP, Voice of America,...Etc; rather turning to the
Internet and other alternative sources of unbiased emerging news network‟s
for a more complete picture and facts. The most common Sound bites by
Western Media on Zimbabweans and Mugabe include:
Zimbabwe is in crisis. Half the population is facing the threat of famine,
hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, 80% of adults are
unemployed, the annual inflation rate stood at over 165,000 per cent and the
rule of law has been replaced by the arbitrary and brutal rule of a
There has been a sharp increase in the scale of state-sponsored violence,
as the security services and ZANU-PF militia have unleashed a campaign of
intimidation, torture and murder against opposition activists, journalists,
polling agents, public servants, civic leaders and ordinary citizens
suspected of voting for the MDC.
South Africa‟s President Thabo Mbeki has continued to shield Mugabe and
his "Quiet" Diplomacy didn‟t bring changes to Zimbabwe.
The U.S. and EU continue sanctions against members of the ZANU-PF regime.
Beyond these sound bites, let me start with fundamental questions:
Why from the late 1990s to today, the Western regimes (in particular UK
and USA) and Western Media are obsessed and demonising H.E. Mr. Robert
Mugabe as an
„evil dictator‟ and Zimbabwe became the West‟s favoured punch bag and
heavy-handed sanctions in the Continent of Africa?
Is Mugabe really the most autocratic, undemocratic and human right abuser
in terms the level of violence and human-rights violations compared to rest
leaders of the developing World?
Are the Western regimes motives and objectives in Zimbabwe is really for
advancing rule of law and respect for human right, if so, why Western regime
put the same pressure and sanctions on their strategic allies to mention
some Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia that has much worse records rule
of law and human-rights violations by any standard than Zimbabwe?
What is really going on in Zimbabwe beyond the sound bite? What are the
roots causes of the problem for the current Zimbabwe situation?
What should be done to address the current situations in Zimbabwe?
In this article, I will briefly address the above questions by presenting
the historical hard evidence beyond the sound bites for supporting my
argument for the root causes of the current situation in Zimbabwe. I
conclude this article by proposing what should be done to address the
current situations in Zimbabwe.
Type in the name "Mugabe" on the Google search engine and you will get about
sixteen million hits, i.e. highest number of hits, mostly sound bites,
compared to any president of Africa countries.
Despite all these sound bites of West media for last decades, still most
people of the developing world see Mugabe as a revolutionary hero, fighting
racist white minority rule for the freedom of his people. Moreover, one of
the undoubted achievements of Robert Mugabe's since independence is the
expansion of education. Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa at
85% of the population. Mr Mugabe was a teacher for 20 years before entering
politics in 1960 and strongly believes that education is the best investment
a country can make. As a result of acknowledgment of his
achievements, British who are now the main sponsor for the "regime change"
sound bites, awarded Mugabe with honorary knighthoods in 1994. Inequality
and the issue of LAND
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born in 1924 in Kutama Mission in Zvimba, 60 km
west of Harare. The surrounding areas of Trelawney and Darwendale boast some
of Zimbabwe's best farm-land, mostly owned by white commercial farmers who
have become rich by growing tobacco - Zimbabwe's major cash crop. While
growing up, Robert Mugabe witnessed at first hand of the unequal
distribution of land in the then Rhodesia. After successful struggle against
the white minority rule for the freedom of his people, in 1979, renewed
negotiations in London led to the Lancaster House Agreement2 which paved the
way for independence in April 1980. The three-month long conference almost
failed to reach an accord due to disagreements on land reform. Mugabe was
pressured to sign and land was the key stumbling block. Both the British and
American governments offered to buy land from willing white settlers (the
"Willing buyer, Willing seller" principle) and a fund was established, to
operate from 1980 to 1990.
2 Lancaster House Agreement reached in conference held at Lancaster house,
London September - December 1979, can be accessed
Independence saw the transfer of power from whites to blacks, but not land.
When Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980 he promised to re-distribute land
white-owned land to the blacks. But there have been few transfers in the
last decade, due to the fact that the West broke the promise of the
Lancaster House Agreement that operated from 1980 to 1990 and the white
minority were not willing to sell land since under the Lancaster House
agreement the Zimbabwe Government could only buy white land from "willing
sellers". When this expired after 10 years the Zimbabwe government passed a
law to make compulsory purchases. Immediately, Britain and other Western
donors have stopped funding government land reform with false accusation
that much of the land ended up in the hands of Mr Mugabe‟s associates
rather than the poor. The fact of the matter is that British Government did
not fulfil their commitments of the Lancaster House agreement that operated
from 1980 to 1990 and most of white farmers were not willing to sell the
land. In 1997 Mugabe announced a hit list of 1,500 farms set for compulsory
However, in year 2000, after 20 years on independence, 4,500 white farmers
still owned 70% of the best land.
Land Facts of Zimbabwe
Total population: 13.3 million (UN, 2007)
White population: 70,000 (about 0.6%)
1890-1980: Black peasants were moved to less fertile areas during the
Whites own majority of the best farming land
1 Million Blacks owned 16m hectares - often in drought-prone regions
4,000 whites owned 11m hectares of prime land (2000)
Source: UN, 2007; BBC
Since March 2000, government have compulsory acquisition many white-owned
farms and redistributed to black farmers. He began forcible land
redistribution, which brought the government into headlong conflict with
Western government mainly British and USA, and their financial institutions
the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Nevertheless, the Mugabe
government also should take part of the blame for the current suffering of
Zimbabweans since the government was ill prepared with sound policy and
strategy to empower the farmers with the necessary skill; foreign exchange
to buy crucial imported agricultural inputs (like fertiliser, spare parts);
and the issue of international trade and the global international politics
before implementing the compulsory acquisition. As a result, once known as
the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe Agricultural production has plummeted.
Western Heavy handed Economic Sanctions
Western governments (British and US) angered in particular his boldness in
daring to seize white farms, to interfere in the Congo without a green light
from the USA,
and his frequent accusations of Western colonialism. Zimbabwe captures both
the West‟s sense of caution in international affairs and also its inexorable
drive to interfere wherever and however it can.
A key driver of Zimbabwe‟s economic crisis has been the West‟s attempts to
bring down Mugabe by turning the financial levers. Relentlessly, the
American and British governments, and the European Union, economically
punished Mugabe‟s Zimbabwe for what they considered to be its political
disobedience. Let me list the major sanctions by the west that resulted
suffering of millions of Zimbabweans.
In November 1998, the International Monetary Fund implemented sanctions
against Zimbabwe, by warning off potential investors, freezing loans and
refusing to negotiate with Zimbabwean officials on the issue of debt.
In September 1999, the IMF suspended its support for economic adjustment and
reform in Zimbabwe.
In October 1999, the International Development Association, a multilateral
development bank, suspended all structural adjustment loans and credits to
Zimbabwe; in May 2000 it suspended all other forms of new lending.
In December 2001, the US passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery
Act, which decreed that Mugabe could restore relations with international
financial institutions only if he agreed to conditions on Zimbabwe‟s rule of
law, the presence of its troops in the Congo, and the conduct of its
internal elections. The American law also instructed all US members of
international financial institutions to oppose and vote against any
extension of loans, credits or guarantees to Zimbabwe.
In 2002, then British foreign secretary Jack Straw declared that Britain
would „oppose any access by Zimbabwe to international financial
institutions‟. Also in 2002, British officials threatened to withdraw
financial assistance to other countries in southern Africa unless they, too,
imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The European Union imposed „smart‟ sanctions against Zimbabwe, refusing to
allocate visas for travel in EU countries to Mugabe and his officials and
freezing all of their economic assets in Europe.
The economic punishment of on Mugabe by powerful Western forces had a
massive impact on Zimbabwe. According to one critical observer, Gregory
Elich3: "Western financial restrictions made it nearly impossible for
Zimbabwe to engage in normal international trade. ……And for a nation that
had to import 100 per cent of its oil, 40 per cent of its electricity and
most of its spare parts, Zimbabwe was highly vulnerable to being cut off
from access to foreign exchange. ……….Elich argues that the impact of Western
restrictions on trading and crediting with Zimbabwe was „immediate and
dire‟: The supply of oil fell sharply, and periodically ran out entirely. It
became increasingly difficult to muster the foreign currency to maintain an
adequate level of imported electricity, and the nation was frequently beset
by blackouts. The shortage of oil and electricity in turn severely hobbled
industrial production, as did the inability to import raw materials and
spare parts. Business after business closed down and the unemployment rate
soared..." Western melding of sovereign Zimbabwe’s internal politics
Alongside the economy sanctions of the west, Zimbabwe‟s economy, the West
interfered politically in an attempt to undermine Mugabe‟s government. To
mention some of the major melding of Sovereign nation internal affairs:
3 The Battle over Zimbabwe’s Future: By Gregory Elich
America’s Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001: authorised
President George W Bush to fund „opposition media‟ as well as „democracy and
governance programmes‟ inside Zimbabwe. In April last year, the US State
Department confirmed for the first time that the US had sponsored „events‟
in Zimbabwe aimed at „discrediting‟ Mugabe. It is reported that the
opposition party MDC also received financial backing and political direction
from Britain, Germany, Holland, Denmark and the US.
A small number of political observers in the West/UN member states have
questioned the wisdom of Western interference in Zimbabwe‟s internal
When America passed its Zimbabwe Act, US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
asked during a debate in the House of Representatives:
"Why US officials were enforcing politically-motivated sanctions against a
mostly democratic country. Zimbabwe is Africa‟s second-longest stable
democracy. It is multi-party. It had elections last year [in 2001] where the
opposition [the MDC] won over 50 seats in parliament. It has an opposition
press which vigorously criticises the government and governing party. It has
an independent judiciary which issues decisions contrary to the wishes of
the governing party."
Indeed, one of the ostensible reasons why America passed the Act was to
protest against the presence of Zimbabwean troops in the Congo. Yet, in
2001, both Uganda and Rwanda also had troops in the Congo; and neither
Uganda nor Rwanda allowed opposition political parties or a free press. Yet
both were allies of America, and received considerable economic backing from
"Regime change" in Zimbabwe: Both US and Britain officials advocated and
financed "regime change" in Zimbabwe. For example, the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting in Abuja (5-8 December, 2003) resolved to "encourage and
assist the process of national reconciliation" in Zimbabwe. But to the
British prime minister, Tony Blair, (as he told parliament on 9 December,
2003 on his return from Abuja), national reconciliation should lead to
regime change in Zimbabwe.
"It is in [the] interests [of Zimbabwe's neighbours] not to support Mugabe
and the Zimbabwean regime, but to facilitate national reconciliation in the
interests of changing the regime," Blair said.
Since then both US and Britain officials advocated "regime change" in
Zimbabwe, directly violate the charter of the United Nations.
What should be done?
UN has never been credible when it comes to standing for the voices of
powerless sovereign developing countries in general and Africa in
particular. The UN Security Council which is the UN‟s most powerful body
entrusted with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international
peace and security suffers from the democratic and representative deficit.
It‟s mainly dominated by the West (US, Britain and France). Even though I‟m
very sceptical about UN, its historical opportunity for the UN rather than
addressing the sound bites by meddling with internal affairs of election in
sovereign nation like Zimbabwe, it‟s time to explore what‟s gone wrong in
Zimbabwe? How to get to the bottom of over standing issues like land reform,
economic crisis and political environment without compromising the
sovereignty of a great nation in order to come up long lasting solution that
affects the majority of Zimbabweans. Last but not least, the UN should
openly criticise the West for its double standard and "its crime against
humanity" by imposing heavy hand sanctions which resulted of the suffering
of Millions of Zimbabweans and "regime change" efforts in Zimbabwe directly
violate the charter of the United Nations.
Africa Union and SADAC
The West (mainly Britain, US and European union) used sanctions and economic
blackmail; they funded opposition parties and „events‟; and most revealingly
they put pressure on South Africa, SADC member states and Africa union to
use their muscle to try to push Mugabe from power.
To their credit, many African officials refused to play the game. The
African Union turned down Western suggestions to send forces to Zimbabwe in
2005 and 2008 arguing that „it is not proper for the AU commission to start
running the internal affairs of members‟ states‟. However, there are few
handful African politician try to use this challenge as an opportunity to
renew their awful records and being „poodle‟ of the West includes Botswana
president Ian Khama; Kenyan Prime Minister Raila
A. Odinga; ANC president Jacob Zuma and Nigeria president Umaru Musa
Though South Africa‟s Mbeki has become involved in Zimbabwean politics, he
has also, to the irritation of Western observers, insisted boldly that the
future of Zimbabwe is only in the hands of Zimbabweans. The Western regimes
motives and objectives in Zimbabwe is not at all for advancing rule of law
and respect for human right, if so, why Western regime put the same pressure
and sanctions on their strategic allies to mention some Egypt, Ethiopia,
Nigeria and Saudi Arabia that has much worse records rule of law and
human-rights violations by any standard than Zimbabwe.
To sum up, AU should support fully South Africa‟s Mbeki effort. Unless
African Union stand up and advocate in harmony, like Asia and Latin America,
for lift of the Western sanctions against member state and facilitate the
process of reconciliation and long lasting solution to stop the suffering of
millions Zimbabweans of sovereign nation, otherwise, sooner or later, the
West will apply the same approach to other Africa member states for
promoting their selfish interest.
Finally the Africa Union should rethink and propose rules that regulating
the West mainstream media that run in Africa member states like BBC & CNN,
which are 99% of the time when Africa is covered in the their "sound bite"
news, it is uniformly as a tale of disaster, poverty and conflict. There is
rarely much context or background what‟s really going on in Africa. As a
result it has negative impact to the whole socio-economic development
process in the continent for example by meddling in the country internal
affairs, discouraging foreign direct investment, tourism, and sense of pride
being African. Thus, African politicians should seek resolution to reinvent
world perceptions of Africa and the way that the West engages with it, then
the role of the media and the stories it reports on Africa will have a
pivotal role in that process.
You know the truth beyond the sound bites of Western media and troubled more
than anyone else about what‟s really going on in your great country. Your
hunger is not for "cover up" liberal democracy, but for your sovereignty,
equal socio-economic and political right for all citizens and fare
distribution of Land.
It is only in your hands of proud, capable and pragmatic citizens to look
for solution without compromising your sovereignty. Don‟t allow and bow for
the Western regime and media sound bites to compromise your Sovereignty with
"democracy cover up operation" which comes with great sacrifices three
decades ago. You survived the West sanction and proved to the world so far
that desired change in socio-economic and political environment is only and
only come within Zimbabweans, not from Western regime meddling of your
internal affairs. Thus, show your anger of the West sanction and meddling of
your internal affairs by peaceful demonstration outside of Western embassies
and use your talent and opportunity available (for example Blog, social
networks and YouTube ...Etc) for revealing the truth beyond the sound bites
about what‟s going on in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, demand your own politicians
to seek long lasting solutions that ensures: equal socio-economic and
political rights and opportunities for all citizens; and fare distribution
of Land to end suffering of your fellow citizens. Last but not least, don‟t
bow down for the West sound bites that compromise your sovereignty.
Prosperity, Justice and meaningful Reconciliation for Zimbabweans!!