The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Obama: Africa aid must be matched by good governance

11 July 2009

By Matt Spetalnick and Kwasi Kpodo

ACCRA - U.S. President Barack Obama told Africans on Saturday that Western
aid must be matched by good governance and urged them to take greater
responsibility for stamping out war, corruption and disease plaguing the

Obama delivered the message on his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since
taking office in January as the first black U.S. president. He chose stable,
democratic Ghana because he believes it can serve as a model for the rest of

Fresh from a G8 summit where leaders agreed to spend $20 billion to improve
food security in poor countries, Obama spoke of a "new moment of promise"
but stressed that Africans must also take a leading role in sorting out
their many problems.

"Development depends upon good governance," Obama said in a speech to
Ghana's parliament. "That is the ingredient which has been missing in far
too many places, for far too long. That is the change that can unlock
Africa's potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by

In an address that offered the most detailed view of his Africa policy,
Obama took aim at corruption and rights abuses on the continent, warning
that growth and development would be held back until such problems were

He said America would not impose any system of government, but would
increase help for those behaving responsibly.

The visit has enormous resonance for Africa because of Obama's roots as the
son of Kenyan immigrant. He laced his speech with tales of his background
and the struggles of his forebears in the face of poverty and colonial rule.

"It will give encouragement to those fighting corruption and for democracy,"
said African affairs commentator Joel Kibazo.

"He said it in a way that perhaps other presidents could not because he
started by outlining his own connections," said Kibazo, while noting Obama
was less specific on promoting good governance than with a $63 billion
health spending pledge.

MPs chanted "yes, we can" before Obama started and the president ended his
address with that phrase -- his old campaign slogan. The crowd's response
was much warmer than the cordial but mostly chilly reception in Moscow
earlier in the week.

The language and cadence of Obama's speech was a mix of church sermon,
campaign rally and university lecture.

"We like the positive signals that this visit is sending and will continue
to send," said Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, elected in a transparent
election that contrasted with stereotypes of chaos, coups and corruption in

"This encourages us also to sustain the gains that we have made in our
democratic process."

Reforms in the cocoa and gold producing country, set to begin pumping oil
next year, helped bring unprecedented investment and growth before the
impact of the global financial crisis.

Ghanaians, many dressed in Obama t-shirts, packed into the streets of Accra
in hope of glimpsing the president. They clustered around television sets in
homes, bars and backyards to follow his words.

"The message he gave was covering the ways in we should change our
lifestyles. I believe when we do that we will prosper," said engineer Joseph
Aboagye. "We need to change."

Thousands of people, some waving tiny U.S. flags, lined the streets of Cape
Coast to greet Obama as his motorcade rolled from the helicopter landing
zone to Cape Coast Castle, a former depot of the transatlantic slave trade.

Although Obama's family connections are in Kenya, his wife Michelle is
descended from slaves shipped from Africa. They and their two daughters will
spend less than 24 hours in Ghana before returning to the United States.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe decries West setting conditions on aid

Africa News
Jul 11, 2009, 15:04 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Saturday said the West should
neither set conditions for aid to his troubled country nor question the
unity of the country's coalition government.

Mugabe on Saturday told his supporters in Harare that the West had
humiliated the country's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai - with whom he
formed a coalition government in February - for calling for reforms before

In an apparent reference to the trip Tsvangirai made to the United States
and Europe last month to seek financial aid, Mugabe said: 'Let's not
humiliate ourselves any further. We go to those friends who are prepared to
work with us and work with us on the basis of partnerships on equal terms.'

The long-time president of Zimbabwe was speaking at a state funeral of an
ally and top commander during Zimbabwe's liberation struggle in the 1970s.

Tsvangirai and members of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
snubbed the state funeral.

The 85-year-old Mugabe said no Western nation had a right to question if the
coalition government was working.

The coalition followed a hotly disputed election in which Tsvangirai pulled
out at one point, citing violence targeting his MDC party supporters.

Investors are wary of investing in Zimbabwe due to the political instability
amid a collapsing economy. Critics blame Mugabe's economic polices for the
country's meltdown.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe government must stay united: Mugabe

2 hours ago

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday made a new
appeal for unity in the country's power-sharing government.

"Are we truly united in the inclusive government? Are we truly one? Show it
and let us speak with one voice, the voice of Zimbabweans," Mugabe said in
an address to mourners at the Harare funeral of nationalist Ackim Ndlovu.

"Let's not humiliate ourselves any further, let us go to friends who are
prepared to work with us and work with us on the basis of partnership and
not on the basis of master and servant."

Mugabe and his long time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a
national government on February 11 in a deal brokered by former South
African president Thabo Mbeki after months of tensions.

Mugabe has lashed out at Western nations for refusing to lift sanctions
against him and his associates until the government introduces reforms.

Tsvangirai has just ended a three-week tour to Europe and the United States
where leaders pledged support but again urged greater reform.

Mugabe said some former white farmers will be allocated land in the country.
"We will allocate to you (white farmers) some land but out of our mercy."

"So we say to you, those who are still claiming land they should remember
the history of our country and what themselves did to us."

The new government is seeking 8.3 billion dollars (5.9 billion euros) to
revive the economy, battered by years of political turmoil.

Since February, international organisations have promised more than one
billion dollars in help for the new government. China's recent aid
effectively means Zimbabwe has now raised over two billion dollars since

The government launched an economic recovery scheme in March to revitalise
an economy devastated by a decade of hyperinflation that has left half the
population dependent on food aid.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim jails an embarrassment: Prisons

by Simplicious Chirinda Saturday 11 July 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe prison officials admitted for the first time on Friday
dire conditions in the country's jails, describing the under-funded and
overcrowded prisons as an "embarrassment to the criminal justice system".

Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) Deputy Commissioner Washington Chimboza said
the service was unable to feed or clothe prisoners to the standards
prescribed by law, adding that authorities had not been to observe the
rights of prisoners over the last three years.

Chimboza, who was addressing a workshop on prisoner's rights organised by
the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said: "The Zimbabwe Prison
Service has been unable to satisfy any of its mandatory obligations due to
the fact that we were heavily incapacitated . . . we have now become an
embarrassment to the criminal justice system."

The ZPS official said prisons were required under the law to provide
adequate food to inmates but were unable to do so due to budgetary

"Food commodities spelt out in the statutory instrument have not been able
to be provided. Since 2006 we have experienced the worst and highest death
rate in the history of the service. The most severe cases were experienced
in 2008 where pellagra was rampant in our prisons," said Chimboza.

Zimbabwe has 72 prisons carrying 12 971 prisoners, according to Chimboza.

The ZPS official said most of the prisoners walked semi-naked everyday
because ZPS cannot afford prison uniform for both inmates and staff. The
water and food situation was "very poor" at most prisons, he said.

He said ZPS was using only two pots to cook for 2 000 inmates at Chikurubi:
"The little food procured has not been prepared under healthy conditions
since all the cooking pots we had have seen their days. We have resorted to
using drums sourced from the neighboring Larfage Cement.

"Even after we cook the food, we don't have plates and other utensils.
Prisoners have had to rely on lunch boxes and empty ice cream containers
from relatives to use as plates," said Chimboza.

He said the situation was equally dire for lowly paid staff whose working
conditions had deteriorated.

He said lack of accommodation had resulted in prison officers renting houses
or rooms from prisoners. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cash shortage threatens constitutional reform

by Nqobizitha Khumalo Saturday 11 July 2009

BULAWAYO - The government is yet to secure full funding for the
constitutional reform process, casting further doubt on the exercise to
write a new governance charter for Zimbabwe that is set to resume on Monday
after delays this week.

Sources at Parliament, which is leading constitutional reforms, said a
further US$17 million needed to be raised for the second and third phases of
the reform process.

The constitutional reform process is in three phases with the first phase
set to be completed this week when the all-stakeholders' conference is held
in Harare on Monday and Tuesday. Our sources estimated the final bill for
the first phase of the reforms at US$2 million.

The government indicated at the beginning of the process that it would need
US$19 million to write a new constitution but also made it clear it would
have to scrounge around for the money.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga conceded last week that the
government still needed to raise more funds for the constitutional exercise;
the second attempt by Zimbabweans to try to write a governance charter for
the country after the first attempt flopped in 2000.

"We are in the process of sourcing for funds and we are raising the money as
we go and the fact that not all the money is needed all at once means we
will raise the funds as we go on," Matinenga said.

He did not disclose the figures the government was looking to raise or from
where exactly the money would come. However, the minister indicated that the
government had approached some donors he did not name for help.

Under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Zimbabwe's three main
political parties last year and that led to formation of unity government
last February the country should have a new and democratic constitution by
mid next year.

New elections for president, parliament and local government will be held
after the new constitution is promulgated.

But divisions within the parliamentary committee leading the reform process
and a lack of a ready source of funding could delay or even totally derail
the exercise especially after members of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF
party forced postponement of a key stakeholders' conference to Monday.

ZANU PF members of the committee had even attempted to have the reform
postponed indefinitely but faced resistance from MDC legislators.

In demanding postponement of the conference, ZANU PF said there was need to
determine who were the stakeholders to send representatives to the key
convention and also said logistical matters had to be ironed out before
delegates could start travelling from around the country to Harare

ZANU PF has also demanded that the new constitution should be based on a
draft constitution secretly authored in 2007 by that party and the two MDC
formations on Lake Kariba and known as the Kariba Draft.

Critics say the document leaves untouched the wide-sweeping powers that
Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a unity government with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

A source at Parliament said there were donors waiting in the wings with
funds for constitutional reforms but said they could be dissuaded from
bankrolling the exercise by what he described as "ZANU PF's infuriating

The source said: "The government has been on course to raise the funds
needed from donors but the message coming from ZANU PF will make it
difficult for donors to commit funds to a pre-determined process." -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Judiciary must protect prisoners - Makarau

July 11, 2009

HARARE - The Judge President, Rita Makarau, yesterday said it is the duty of
all judicial officers to protect the rights of prisoners.

Makarau was speaking at a meeting of human and prisoner's rights
stakeholders organised by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in

"It is the duty of all judicial officers to protect the rights of prisoners.
They must be invited to these training workshops and trainings," said

"Prisoners do have rights and at the High Court we are guided by the
provisions of the Supreme Court and that should also be applied down to the
magistrate courts."

Makarau's colleague and fellow High Court judge, Charles Hungwe, also told
the meeting that the business of protecting the rights of prisoners does not
only lie with the prisons.

"The magistrates can make unscheduled visits to any prisons. In future it
will be appropriate for the Provincial Magistrate to keep an eye on what is
happening at the prisons rather than just (viewing) the magistrates' courts.
They must make more frequent visits to the prisons to see what should be
done," said Hungwe.

Hungwe said he had to personally intervene to try and save the situation at
Mutare prison which had become overcrowded because of the huge number of
people who were arrested in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

"Mutare Prison was overcrowded. There was a sudden influx of prisoners due
to the Chiadzwa diamond rush. The police were bussing three 75-seater buses
full of prisoners to court but after the granting of bail the prisoners
could not pay bail," said Hungwe.

"The result was that at some stage food stocks ran out and prisoners had to
sleep standing, I made the decision to release the accused on free bail,"
said Hungwe.

Speaking at the same meeting an official from the Zimbabwe Prison Service
(ZPS) painted a bleak picture of the prisons.

"The Zimbabwe Prison Service has been unable to satisfy any of its mandatory
obligations due to the fact that we were heavily incapacitated. We have now
become an embarrassment to the criminal justice system," said Washington
Chimboza, the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons.

According to the Prisons General Regulations of 1996 the Zimbabwe Prison
Services should provide adequate food to inmates but has been failing to do

"Food commodities spelt out in the statutory instrument have not been
provided. Since 2006 we have experienced the worst and highest death rate in
the history of the service. The most severe cases were experienced in 2008
when pellagra was rampant in our prisons," said Chimboza.

"Malnutrition acted as a catalyst to most deaths given that where cases of
opportunistic infections were evident, it was impossible to commence
medication since there was no food in the country in general and
particularly in the prisons."

The Prison Service requires 500 tonnes of maize-meal a month to feed a
prison population of 13 000 inmates. The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is
supposed to supply ZPS with these requirements but has not been able to do

ZPS administers a total of 46 prisons and 26 satellite prisons throughout
the country. These prisons include the old type built at the turn of the
last century, such as the Harare Central Prison, Masvingo Remand Prison and
modern structures built after independence such as Kadoma, Mutare Farm,
Chipinge and Khami Maximum Prisons. While the official holding capacity is
17 000, the current prison population stands at around 12 971, comprising 10
299 convicted and 2 672 remand prisoners.

The female population stands at 694.

"Our inability to honour such a mandatory obligation has caused untold
suffering to the inmate population in our custody," said Chimboza.

"The little food procured has not been prepared under healthy conditions
since all the cooking pots we had have seen their days. Of the 26 pots at
Chikurubi Maximum none is working and this has led to the creation of a
temporary kitchen where iron cast posts are in use."

"We have resorted to using drums sourced from neighbouring Lafarge Cement."

He added that they had not been able to transport inmates to court for
either remand or trial to the extend of requesting that the canteen at
Marondera Prison be converted into a court house for further remand.

"The security vehicles, the only four Mercedes Benz Atego trucks have been
parked since August 2008 because we could not afford to repair and service
them," said Chimboza.

Chimboza said the water situation has been equally dire.

"The water situation in our prisons is very poor. Chikurubi Prison Complex
has gone for five years without ZINWA providing any water," said Chimboza.

"This shortage has seen the birth of water borne diseases due to inadequate

The government recently passed a resolution allowing relatives of inmates to
provide clothing and other necessities to prisoners. Chimboza said the
community will have to come on board to safe the situation.

"Inmates do not lose their right to health care by virtue of being in
custody," said Chimboza.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

German City to honour Zimbabwean rights activist

10th Jul 2009 21:08 GMT

By Rhoda Mashavave

JESTINA Mukoko, a Zimbabwean human rights activist and director of the
Zimbabwe Peace Project will be the 2009 laureate of the Human Rights Award
of the city of Weimar in Germany .

Mukoko will be invited to Weimar to receive the award on 10 December, the
International Human Rights Day.

Mukoko, a former news reader of the state broadcaster the then Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, was unlawfully abducted from her home on December
3 by some state agents.

She was  harassed and tortured by state agents who accused her of terrorism
charges. She was unlawfully detained by the Zimbabwean government and denied
access to her medication.

Mukoko was only released beginning of March.

A statement released by the Germany Embassy said the award acknowledges
Mukoko's steadfast engagement in fighting human rights abuses.

Since 2000 Zimbabwe Peace Project has uncovered and documented numerous
human rights violations committed by the Zimbabwean authorities.

Her unlawful abduction and subsequent detention has been widely noted in
Germany and strongly condemned by the Germany government.

In the 18th and early 19th century, Weimar was been the home of Johann
Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, the most famous German poets of the
classical period. In 1919, lawmakers gathered in Weimar to draft the
constitution of the first German republic.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara now wants five-year GNU

July 11, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says the lifespan of
Zimbabwe's current inclusive government in Zimbabwe is likely to be extended
to a full term of five years. Mutambara further described as false, a widely
held belief that the duration of the hybrid government had been intended for
two years.

"All this is completely false," Mutambara said, "If you look at the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), there is nowhere where it says the government is
for 18 months or two years. It is silent on the duration of the unity

Mutambara was trying to dispel fears among foreign investors a change of
government in two years time would lead to abrupt policy changes that would
affect their investments.

He was speaking at the just ended International Investment conference, which
was organized by Zimbabwe's Economic Planning and Investment Promotion

The two-day convention was aimed at wooing foreign investors to come back
and invest in Zimbabwe following uncertainties caused by nearly 10 years of
political and economic turmoil.

As leader of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Mutambara was party to the unity talks which led to the formation of
the unity government.

President Robert Mugabe, leader of Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai of the
mainstream MDC were the other two principals.

Said Mutambara, "What we say in the agreement is that, after the new
constitution is adopted in a referendum, we will sit down as the three
parties and discuss whether to continue or to shut down government and go
for elections.

"When we were doing the negotiations, we were coming from the opposition; we
wanted a short and sharp government, 18 months, and then elections. That was
our demand.

"But our brother Mugabe from Zanu-PF was saying, 'No I was elected on the
27th of June (2008), I want my five years'. So we argued back and forth.

"The reason why we did this in the end is to ensure that people are not in
an election mode. We for once work for the country. If we have 18 months or
two years as our horizon, we don't work, we campaign."

Mutambara said there would be no need to disband the hybrid government in
two years if it delivers on its pledges of restoring democracy and economic
progression in Zimbabwe.

"If we behave well as a government, we create conditions for free and fair

"After five years, there will be elections which are free and fair and one
winner will be elected and the losers will congratulate the winner and we
will have a stable, legitimate government that will guarantee stability
forever. So to the investors, stability is guaranteed for five years, at
best forever."

Mutambara's claims contradict those of the mainstream MDC which is adamant
the current political dispensation is transitional and should last the
duration of the current constitution making process.

The inclusive government is a product of painstaking power-sharing talks by
the parties following a hotly disputed Presidential run-off poll in which
President Mugabe muscled his way back to power after a humiliating defeat by
once bitter rival, Tsvangirai.

Critics say the new dispensation is not good for democracy as it encourages
losing incumbents to reclaim power threw undemocratic and often violent

In their agreement, parties pledged to work together to redress Zimbabwe's
economy, bartered by the effects of a surfeit of populist but ruinous
policies by government, coupled with unbridled corruption by government

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

West has no right to preach to Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu says

July 11, 2009

Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester
Desmond Tutu is the politician-preacherman. He is a peacemaker who is not
afraid to throw verbal hand grenades, a rock'n'roll rabble-rouser, an elder
statesman who is constantly reduced to giggles.

During the apartheid era he was hailed as a messiah of Africa, touring the
townships in his cassock and crucifix while the ANC leaders were in jail.
Now he is the world's voice of conscience, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
who dispenses advice to America and Africa alike. Before the war in Iraq, he
tells us, he telephoned the White House to try to stop the invasion. As
leader of the group of Elders - a select group of senior statesmen - he has
worked behind the scenes in Zimbabwe and tried to secure the release of Aung
San Suu Kyi.

As Barack Obama visited Africa at the end of the G8 summit yesterday, he
said the election of America's first black President had given "people of
colour" a new spring in their step. "It is, as some have said, a Mandela

Archbishop Tutu is Nelson Mandela's spiritual alter ego, although he says of
his friend: "He does wear strange shirts". Like the Dalai Lama, another
close friend, the Archbishop manages to flit between charity and celebrity -
hanging out with Madonna and Sir Richard Branson as well as orphans and
refugees. "I like her," he says of the pop star. "I think she's genuine -
why shouldn't she adopt babies from Africa?" Superstars are just as admiring
of him - he filmed a video message for U2's latest world tour at the
invitation of Bono.

The Archbishop, 77, manages his own Facebook page (John Hurt and Kofi Annan
are among his friends) and is an avid emailer, signing off "Arch" although
he has not yet learnt to Twitter. "I'm not smart enough," he laughs.
He is not afraid to take on the vested interests of aid agencies, presidents
or prime ministers. Voters, he says, "must keep leaders to the commitments"
on tackling poverty that they made at the G8."

President Obama, with his Kenyan roots, will, he believes, have more impact
on Africa than his predecessors. "He can be more forthright with African
leaders without being accused of being a neocolonialist . . . He has given
people the world over a new sense of hope. But he is too bright to have a
bloated view of himself. He has a smart wife who helps to keep his feet
firmly on the ground."

The West should in general, he warns, beware of preaching about corrupt
African dictators. "You could say the same about Europe. You get a Churchill
and then there's a long wait . . . What gives me a great deal of hope for
Africa is looking at the history of Europe. Very recently you had two world
wars, you had the Holocaust, you had dictatorships in Spain, Portugal and
Greece. There was a time when Italy was changing governments like you change
pairs of socks. There was the Soviet Union, Stalin's gulags. You forget that
you really made a mess of things. It was a Western country that was the
first and only country to use weapons of mass destruction. [Africa] is not
on a level with Western people.

"I can be nice and say there's hope for us. When I'm a little angry I say
'For goodness sake you need a fairly large dose of modesty. You ought to be
hiding your heads for the things you have actually done'."

Archbishop Tutu wants a new generation to join in his campaign for peace.
"Nobel laureates don't come ready formed from heaven," he says. "A kid asked
me a few years ago, 'What do you do to get the prize?' I said, 'It's very
easy, you just need three things - you must have an easy name, like Tutu for
example, you must have a large nose and you must have sexy legs'. I was
wearing shorts so I flashed mine at him. The point is that anyone can do

There are, he says, no insurmountable challenges. "We see a great deal of
evil and we ought not to pretend that it's other than it is - stark and
awful and ugly. But it isn't the whole picture. There are very many good
things that happen in the world."

The international wave of repulsion against apartheid in the 1980s changed
Africa for ever - but he admits he is disappointed what is taking place in
parts of the continent now. "There are terrible things that we never thought
would happen going on in South Africa," he says.

"Remember that we are only fifteen years old. If everyone was saying 'This
is what we want to do' then there would be greater cause for worry. But
there are people who are saying, 'This is a betrayal of our legacy'."

Archbishop Tutu won't write off Jacob Zuma, South Africa's new Prime
Minister, just yet. "He won a resounding victory in a fair election with a
nearly 80 per cent turnout, let's give him a chance."

The world should also in his view wait to see how the Government of national
unity in Zimbabwe works out. He can't understand why Robert Mugabe - who
once called him an "angry, evil and embittered little bishop" - went so

"We used to show off with Zimbabwe. We showed off with President Mugabe
because he is so well spoken and he's a natty dresser. After his first
victory against Ian Smith he was so magnanimous."

Archbishop Tutu is disheartened by the way in which African countries have
squandered their natural resources. "It's awful to have Zimbabwe become as
it has become. It's awful to see so many dictators in Africa who have messed
up. When you contrast what Qatar does with its oil revenue with what Nigeria
does I feel very deeply saddened." He warns, though, that aid is often a
double-edged sword. "The poor people that I know are not poor people who
want handouts. Most poor people are very proud - what they want is a hand up
not a handout. Some of it is done in the wrong way, there are things that
are being done well and there are some that is not being done well."

Does he think the continent should be sorting out its own problems with the
help of the African Union? "There is a plethora of conflicts. We have
already seen the role that African peace makers have had. But in many
instances - take the Aids pandemic - there are things that we can get from
yourselves. Most of the time Bush was a very bad President. One of his
legacies is the fund set up to deal with malaria and HIV/Aids. We rely a
great deal on the resources that you have. The African Union should be able
to ask for help and not feel that that's undermining."

The man who chaired South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission says
that words are often worth more than money. " You would have thought that
most of the people who came \ were hoping for material gains. It was nothing
of the sort - people wanted to to tell their story. A young guy who had been
involved in police action which left him blind came to the Commission and
told his story and when he had finished he was still blind but a broad smile
broke over his face and he said, 'You have given me back my eyes'."

Archbishop Tutu believes there are worrying parallels between the Middle
East and apartheid South Africa. "The things I have seen in Israel with the
treatment of the Palestinians reminds me of our own experience at home - the
checkpoints where you have arrogant officers. There are things there that
didn't happen in South Africa. We didn't have collective punishment where
homes were destroyed. This is something that has to be resolved. You can't
have people being treated as they are. It doesn't improve Israel's security.
The Gazans are dehumanised." The protests in Iran, he says, showed that
people have a natural desire for democracy. "I would tell people that you
are meant for freedom, it's something that each one of us knows. "

He was horrified by the election of two British National Party MEPs but
says: "It's part of the price you pay for being a free society . . . When
you have a strain of instability as a result of the economic downturn plus
all the wonderful things that have been happening in Westminster, then those
people who pretend that they can give fairly straight forward answers to
complicated questions tend to draw some people. Everyone looks for
scapegoats. This is what Hitler did when the economy in Germany wasn't going
OK - they didn't look for the actual reasons, they said it's the Jews. What's
wonderful is that so many feel outraged that parties like the BNP can garner
enough votes to be elected."

Britain, he says, is far more tolerant than it used to be. "When I came to
Birmingham twenty years ago there were people who were upset that a school
could be named after Nelson Mandela whom they castigated as a terrorist. How
wrong can you be? Now there is a black archbishop."

Archbishop Tutu is probably the most famous archbishop in the world.Is he
ever going to retire? "I've retired, I've retired, I've retired, I've
retired," he says, with one of his uproarious cackles, "but don't say that
in front of my wife, please."


Born October 7, 1931

Background His father was a teacher and his mother a cleaner and cook at a
school for the blind in Johannesburg. Here he met Trevor Huddleston, a
parish priest in the township. "One day," said Tutu, "I was standing in the
street with my mother when a white man in a priest's clothing walked past.
As he passed us he took off his hat to my mother. I couldn't believe my
eyes - a white man who greeted a black working-class woman."

Family He married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane, a teacher he met while at college.
They have four children: Trevor Thamsanqa, Theresa Thandeka, Naomi Nontombi
and Mpho Andrea.

Career Having been ordained an Anglican priest, he led the campaign against
apartheid with Nelson Mandela. In 1984 he became the second South African to
win the Nobel Peace Prize. He also received the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005.
He was the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, and
primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. He chaired the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is chairman of The Elders. Mandela
said of Tutu: "He is sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and
seldom without humour."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance Press Release

Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance 

130a J Tongogara St, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe ¨ P O Box FM 607, Famona ¨ Tel: +263 9 65896¨ Fax: +263 9 889609 ¨ Email:






Press Release








President Robert Mugabe is reported to have said on Thursday in his main address to the International Investment Conference in Harare that “Zimbabwe upholds the sanctity of property rights”. It is true that purchase contracts were entered into in respect of Mazowe farm Foyle, now farmed by Mrs. Grace Mugabe and Norton farm Donnington farmed by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono. Through this means were the title deeds to both farms acquired.


However, there is no difference in the validity of the property rights to these two pieces of land whose title has been sanctified and those of thousands of others which were seized by government without any purchase agreements or payment. The sanctity of rights to these thousands of properties was not in any way upheld.


In reply to a question from Mr. Trevor Gifford of the Commercial Farmers Union the President is reported to have said: “We did pay compensation for improvements and developments. We have honoured that part”. This statement is factually incorrect. Whilst there have been lists of some of the expropriated properties published in the Chronicle and Herald newspapers with instructions to the owners to present themselves in Harare to collect “compensation”, the amounts offered, even in respect of improvements only, have been derisory. The requirements of the Land Acquisition Act in respect of compensation have not been followed.


Numerous examples can be quoted, but in a typical instance in Matabeleland North, the offer made in respect of a nineteen thousand acre cattle ranch was only sufficient to buy a very second hand pick up LDV. This pitiful offer was made in spite of the farm being well developed with boreholes, paddocks, handling facilities, a homestead and other buildings. It is true that in a very small number of cases desperate and destitute farm owners have surrendered their title in order to take the pittance offered. This amounts to extortion as was the view upheld in respect of properties taken in similar fashion during the Second World War.


He was also reported to have said: “The responsibility for compensating the farmers rests on the shoulders of the British government and its allies”. The SADC Tribunal which is tasked with ensuring that member states who have signed up to the Treaty adhere to their Treaty obligations believes otherwise.


In their Judgement of 28 November 2008 the Tribunal says: “It is difficult for us to understand the rationale behind excluding compensation for such land, given the clear legal position in international law. It is the right of the Applicants under international law to be paid, and the correlative duty of the Respondent to pay, fair compensation. Moreover, the Respondent cannot rely on its national law, its Constitution, to avoid an international law obligation to pay compensation as we have already indicated above”.


We are told that the SADC Treaty and consequently the rulings of its Tribunal are not binding as the Treaty was never ratified by Parliament. This is not the view of Deputy Attorney General, Advocate Prince Machaya who is repeatedly tasked with defending the government in the Tribunal. He said before that Court on 28 May 2008: “I’ve also drawn it to the attention of the Minister of Justice and the Minister responsible for Lands that there is a need to comply fully with the order of the Tribunal and the last I heard when I had the audience of our Minister of Justice on Thursday last week was that he was going to table the matter with our Cabinet at its meeting on yesterday’s date and he was going to confirm with me over the telephone on the issue of the required compliance with the order. Our Minister of Justice concurred in my discussion with him that Respondent (government) had an obligation at the international level with the orders of this Tribunal and that he was going to inform his Cabinet colleagues accordingly.”  


We have legal opinion that the SADC Treaty has been properly entered into in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe and thus its provisions bind the government. This legal opinion is ably supported by the way in which the government vigorously defends any actions brought against it in the Tribunal, and even on occasion shows the gravity of their commitment to the Tribunal by requiring the Zimbabwe Ambassador to Namibia to sit with the government’s legal Counsel in the Tribunal itself. Moreover we note that none other than the President himself studiously attends at the SADC Summit. The inescapable conclusion is that our legal opinion is correct. Zimbabwe is a fully fledged member of SADC and is bound by the obligations imposed by the Treaty entered into, signed and concluded by the President himself on 17 August 1992 in Windhoek.  The Treaty was ratified by Parliament on 17 November 1992.


The President is also quoted as having said: “I told Blair to keep his money and we are going to keep our land”. The British have taken his advice – we have already enquired of them when we may call and collect our compensation cheques. They laughed at us.



10 July 2009


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New deposit fines announced

Herald Reporter

POLICE yesterday announced new deposits for fines for those wishing to plead
guilty to minor offences and wishing to avoid a court appearance.

The new deposit fines are with immediate effect. Chief police spokesperson
Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, warned that for some
offences repeat offenders would have to appear in court, and could not
simply pay a deposit fine at a police station. First offenders for the
listed offences have the option of appearing in court, if they wish to plead
not guilty or if they wish to bring forward mitigating evidence for a lower
fine. Before the release of this schedule, some police officers were
applying the US$20 fine indiscriminately.

The new deposit fines are as follows:

Offence Fine in US$

Gambling 10

Rioters 5

Indecent conduct 5

Dealing in prohibited or any knives 20

Threatening language especially in public 10

Obstructing passages, streets, pavements or sidewalks 10

Public drinking 5

Drunk violent or disorderly behaviour on

licensed premises 15

Failing to display liquor licence 15

Selling liquor without permit 20

Selling or supplying liquor to any person who is drunk 5

Selling liquor after hours 20

Shops without licence 20

Unlawful possession of identification documents

belonging to another person 20

Moving cattle without permit first offence 20

Second offence court

Unlicenced radio or television receivers at home and

in cars 5

Failure to renew firearm certificate on time 5

Failure to renew for three firearms 20

Insecure firearms 20

Buying or selling a firearm without a certificate court

Disposal of firearms to unathourised persons court

Failure to register a car 15

Illegible registration mark and number plates 10

Vehicles with no front registration numbers 10

Driving without a licence 20

Learner's driving without supervision 20

Motorists failing to obey turning arrows 10

Driving into intersection when exit is not clear 20

To cause or permit animals to stray on any roads 10

Failure to obey directions from a policeman in uniform

controlling traffic 15

Cars without headlights 20

Driving with an illegal beacon 10

Failure to carry a red triangle 10

Cars without wipers 5

Public service vehicles without fitness certificates 15

Failure to display certificate of fitness 10

Excess passengers 5 per head

Touting 10

Speeding 1km/h 50km/h 5 to 20

Speeding in excess of 50km/h court.

Fishing without permission from owner 5

Serving or offering food in a train or railway premises

first offence 5

Second offence 10

Third Offence  Court

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Title Deeds are sacred

Dear Family and Friends,

As a youngster growing up I was always taught to save and, if
possible, to invest in land or property which would hold or increase
in value throughout my life. Title Deeds were sacred, I was told.
They were the indisputable, unquestionable, legal documents which
would always prove ownership.

So much has happened in Zimbabwe this last decade that for everyone
except Zanu PF it has been the most horrific nightmare.

For most of us the real hell began when the people of Zimbabwe
rejected a draft constitution in a referendum in February 2000. At
that time I was a farmer living on a piece of land bought legally a
decade before. The Title Deeds proving legal ownership of that
property were in my possession.

A fortnight later those Title Deeds were as good as useless,
worthless pieces of paper when property rights in Zimbabwe were
ignored and men in dirty overalls took over.

Despite losing the referendum and without holding another national
vote, a Zanu PF parliament went ahead and changed the constitution
anyway. In May 2000 the 16th Amendment to our country's constitution
stated that Britain had an obligation to pay for agricultural land
compulsorily acquired for resettlement.

The MDC were one of many local and international voices who condemned
the amendment. The MDC spokesman at the time was a constitutional
lawyer and has been quoted in many references as saying: "We have no
legal authority to compel the British government to do anything."

This week, nine years later, Mr Mugabe spoke at a conference to
attract investment to the country. He said that Zimbabwe upholds the
sanctity of property rights. For a moment I held my breath, thinking
that maybe my Title Deeds were finally going to regain their rightful
legal status. I was wrong as Mr Mugabe continued by saying that farms
taken from Zimbabweans who had white skins would not be paid for by
Zimbabwe and that Britain should be lobbied to pay compensation. Mr
Mugabe went on to say: " We pay compensation for improvements. That
is our obligation and we have honoured it."

Sadly that statement is not true and I am one of thousands of
Zimbabwean farmers who has not received any compensation at all for
the house, buildings or any of the fixed assets and improvements on a
farm legally purchased in 1990 and then seized by a mob in 2000.

Shock turned to disappointment as MDC leader and the country's Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai took to the podium of the investment
conference. "The President is correct,' he said. "The constitution is
clear. We pay compensation for improvements. If funds are available we
will pay.' With sadness we realised that our Prime Minister supports
an amendment made by a single political party to a constitution which
belongs to all the people of the country.

There can be little hope of investment when property rights and Title
Deeds are clearly not respected in Zimbabwe - unless your skin colour
and political persuasion are the same as those of the person holding
power. Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy  Copyright
cathy buckle 11th July 2009.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Text of Obama's speech in Ghana

By The Associated Press - 3 hours ago

Text of President Barack Obama's speech Saturday in Accra, Ghana, as
provided by the White House:


OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. It is a great honor for me to be in Accra
and to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. I am deeply
grateful for the welcome that I've received, as are Michelle and Malia and
Sasha Obama. Ghana's history is rich, the ties between our two countries are
strong, and I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as
president of the United States of America.

I want to thank Madam Speaker and all the members of the House of
Representatives for hosting us today. I want to thank President Mills for
his outstanding leadership. To the former presidents - Jerry Rawlings,
former President Kufuor - vice president, chief justice - thanks to all of
you for your extraordinary hospitality and the wonderful institutions that
you've built here in Ghana.

I'm speaking to you at the end of a long trip. I began in Russia for a
summit between two great powers. I traveled to Italy for a meeting of the
world's leading economies. And I've come here to Ghana for a simple reason:
The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow
or Washington, but by what happens in Accra, as well.

This is the simple truth of a time when the boundaries between people are
overwhelmed by our connections. Your prosperity can expand America's
prosperity. Your health and security can contribute to the world's health
and security. And the strength of your democracy can help advance human
rights for people everywhere.

So I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see
Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world ... as partners
with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That
partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.
And that is what I want to speak with you about today.

We must start from the simple premise that Africa's future is up to

I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this
part of the world. After all, I have the blood of Africa within me, and my
family's ... my family's own story encompasses both the tragedies and
triumphs of the larger African story.

Some you know my grandfather was a cook for the British in Kenya, and though
he was a respected elder in his village, his employers called him "boy" for
much of his life. He was on the periphery of Kenya's liberation struggles,
but he was still imprisoned briefly during repressive times. In his life,
colonialism wasn't simply the creation of unnatural borders or unfair terms
of trade - it was something experienced personally, day after day, year
after year.

My father grew up herding goats in a tiny village, an impossible distance
away from the American universities where he would come to get an education.
He came of age at a moment of extraordinary promise for Africa. The
struggles of his own father's generation were giving birth to new nations,
beginning right here in Ghana. Africans were educating and asserting
themselves in new ways, and history was on the move.

But despite the progress that has been made - and there has been
considerable progress in many parts of Africa - we also know that much of
that promise has yet to be fulfilled. Countries like Kenya had a per capita
economy larger than South Korea's when I was born. They have badly been
outpaced. Disease and conflict have ravaged parts of the African continent.

In many places, the hope of my father's generation gave way to cynicism,
even despair. Now, it's easy to point fingers and to pin the blame of these
problems on others. Yes, a colonial map that made little sense helped to
breed conflict. The West has often approached Africa as a patron or a source
of resources rather than a partner. But the West is not responsible for the
destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which
children are enlisted as combatants. In my father's life, it was partly
tribalism and patronage and nepotism in an independent Kenya that for a long
stretch derailed his career, and we know that this kind of corruption is
still a daily fact of life for far too many.

Now, we know that's also not the whole story. Here in Ghana, you show us a
face of Africa that is too often overlooked by a world that sees only
tragedy or a need for charity. The people of Ghana have worked hard to put
democracy on a firmer footing, with repeated peaceful transfers of power
even in the wake of closely contested elections. And by the way, can I say
that for that the minority deserves as much credit as the majority. And with
improved governance and an emerging civil society, Ghana's economy has shown
impressive rates of growth.

This progress may lack the drama of 20th century liberation struggles, but
make no mistake: It will ultimately be more significant. For just as it is
important to emerge from the control of other nations, it is even more
important to build one's own nation.

So I believe that this moment is just as promising for Ghana and for Africa
as the moment when my father came of age and new nations were being born.
This is a new moment of great promise. Only this time, we've learned that it
will not be giants like Nkrumah and Kenyatta who will determine Africa's
future. Instead, it will be you - the men and women in Ghana's parliament -
the people you represent. It will be the young people brimming with talent
and energy and hope who can claim the future that so many in previous
generations never realized.

Now, to realize that promise, we must first recognize the fundamental truth
that you have given life to in Ghana: Development depends on good
governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many
places, for far too long. That's the change that can unlock Africa's
potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.

As for America and the West, our commitment must be measured by more than
just the dollars we spend. I've pledged substantial increases in our foreign
assistance, which is in Africa's interests and America's interests. But the
true sign of success is not whether we are a source of perpetual aid that
helps people scrape by - it's whether we are partners in building the
capacity for transformational change.

This mutual responsibility must be the foundation of our partnership. And
today, I'll focus on four areas that are critical to the future of Africa
and the entire developing world: democracy, opportunity, health, and the
peaceful resolution of conflict.

First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governments.

As I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way, and
in line with its own traditions. But history offers a clear verdict:
Governments that respect the will of their own people, that govern by
consent and not coercion, are more prosperous, they are more stable and more
successful than governments that do not.

This is about more than just holding elections. It's also about what happens
between elections. Repression can take many forms, and too many nations,
even those that have elections, are plagued by problems that condemn their
people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders
exploit the economy to enrich themselves ... or if police - if police can be
bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where
the government skims 20 percent off the top ... or the head of the port
authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of
law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy,
that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And
now is the time for that style of governance to end.

In the 21st century, capable, reliable and transparent institutions are the
key to success - strong parliaments; honest police forces; independent
judges ... an independent press; a vibrant private sector; a civil society.
Those are the things that give life to democracy, because that is what
matters in people's everyday lives.

Now, time and again, Ghanaians have chosen constitutional rule over
autocracy and shown a democratic spirit that allows the energy of your
people to break through. We see that in leaders who accept defeat
graciously - the fact that President Mills' opponents were standing beside
him last night to greet me when I came off the plane spoke volumes about
Ghana; victors who resist calls to wield power against the opposition in
unfair ways. We see that spirit in courageous journalists like Anas Aremeyaw
Anas, who risked his life to report the truth. We see it in police like
Patience Quaye, who helped prosecute the first human trafficker in Ghana. We
see it in the young people who are speaking up against patronage and
participating in the political process.

Across Africa, we've seen countless examples of people taking control of
their destiny and making change from the bottom up. We saw it in Kenya,
where civil society and business came together to help stop postelection
violence. We saw it in South Africa, where over three-quarters of the
country voted in the recent election - the fourth since the end of
apartheid. We saw it in Zimbabwe, where the Election Support Network braved
brutal repression to stand up for the principle that a person's vote is
their sacred right.

Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not
with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa
doesn't need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.

Now, America will not seek to impose any system of government on any other
nation. The essential truth of democracy is that each nation determines its
own destiny. But what America will do is increase assistance for responsible
individuals and responsible institutions, with a focus on supporting good
governance - on parliaments, which check abuses of power and ensure that
opposition voices are heard ... on the rule of law, which ensures the equal
administration of justice; on civic participation, so that young people get
involved; and on concrete solutions to corruption like forensic accounting
and automating services ... strengthening hot lines, protecting
whistle-blowers to advance transparency and accountability.

And we provide this support. I have directed my administration to give
greater attention to corruption in our human rights reports. People
everywhere should have the right to start a business or get an education
without paying a bribe. We have a responsibility to support those who act
responsibly and to isolate those who don't, and that is exactly what America
will do.

Now, this leads directly to our second area of partnership: supporting
development that provides opportunity for more people.

With better governance, I have no doubt that Africa holds the promise of a
broader base of prosperity. Witness the extraordinary success of Africans in
my country, America. They're doing very well. So they've got the talent,
they've got the entrepreneurial spirit. The question is, how do we make sure
that they're succeeding here in their home countries? The continent is rich
in natural resources. And from cell phone entrepreneurs to small farmers,
Africans have shown the capacity and commitment to create their own
opportunities. But old habits must also be broken. Dependence on
commodities - or a single export - has a tendency to concentrate wealth in
the hands of the few and leaves people too vulnerable to downturns.

So in Ghana, for instance, oil brings great opportunities, and you have been
very responsible in preparing for new revenue. But as so many Ghanaians
know, oil cannot simply become the new cocoa. From South Korea to Singapore,
history shows that countries thrive when they invest in their people and in
their infrastructure ... when they promote multiple export industries,
develop a skilled work force and create space for small and medium-sized
businesses that create jobs.

As Africans reach for this promise, America will be more responsible in
extending our hand. By cutting costs that go to Western consultants and
administration, we want to put more resources in the hands of those who need
it, while training people to do more for themselves. That's why our $3.5
billion food security initiative is focused on new methods and technologies
for farmers - not simply sending American producers or goods to Africa. Aid
is not an end in itself. The purpose of foreign assistance must be creating
the conditions where it's no longer needed. I want to see Ghanaians not only
self-sufficient in food, I want to see you exporting food to other countries
and earning money. You can do that.

Now, America can also do more to promote trade and investment. Wealthy
nations must open our doors to goods and services from Africa in a
meaningful way. That will be a commitment of my administration. And where
there is good governance, we can broaden prosperity through public-private
partnerships that invest in better roads and electricity; capacity-building
that trains people to grow a business; financial services that reach not
just the cities but also the poor and rural areas. This is also in our own
interests - for if people are lifted out of poverty and wealth is created in
Africa, guess what? New markets will open up for our own goods. So it's good
for both.

One area that holds out both undeniable peril and extraordinary promise is
energy. Africa gives off less greenhouse gas than any other part of the
world, but it is the most threatened by climate change. A warming planet
will spread disease, shrink water resources and deplete crops, creating
conditions that produce more famine and more conflict. All of us -
particularly the developed world - have a responsibility to slow these
trends - through mitigation, and by changing the way that we use energy. But
we can also work with Africans to turn this crisis into opportunity.

Together, we can partner on behalf of our planet and prosperity and help
countries increase access to power while skipping - leapfrogging the dirtier
phase of development. Think about it: Across Africa, there is bountiful wind
and solar power; geothermal energy and biofuels. From the Rift Valley to the
North African deserts; from the Western coasts to South Africa's crops -
Africa's boundless natural gifts can generate its own power, while exporting
profitable, clean energy abroad.

These steps are about more than growth numbers on a balance sheet. They're
about whether a young person with an education can get a job that supports a
family; a farmer can transfer their goods to market; an entrepreneur with a
good idea can start a business. It's about the dignity of work; it's about
the opportunity that must exist for Africans in the 21st century.

Just as governance is vital to opportunity, it's also critical to the third
area I want to talk about: strengthening public health.

In recent years, enormous progress has been made in parts of Africa. Far
more people are living productively with HIV/AIDS, and getting the drugs
they need. I just saw a wonderful clinic and hospital that is focused
particularly on maternal health. But too many still die from diseases that
shouldn't kill them. When children are being killed because of a mosquito
bite, and mothers are dying in childbirth, then we know that more progress
must be made.

Yet because of incentives - often provided by donor nations - many African
doctors and nurses go overseas, or work for programs that focus on a single
disease. And this creates gaps in primary care and basic prevention.
Meanwhile, individual Africans also have to make responsible choices that
prevent the spread of disease, while promoting public health in their
communities and countries.

So across Africa, we see examples of people tackling these problems. In
Nigeria, an interfaith effort of Christians and Muslims has set an example
of cooperation to confront malaria. Here in Ghana and across Africa, we see
innovative ideas for filling gaps in care - for instance, through E-Health
initiatives that allow doctors in big cities to support those in small

America will support these efforts through a comprehensive, global health
strategy, because in the 21st century, we are called to act by our
conscience but also by our common interest, because when a child dies of a
preventable disease in Accra, that diminishes us everywhere. And when
disease goes unchecked in any corner of the world, we know that it can
spread across oceans and continents.

And that's why my administration has committed $63 billion to meet these
challenges - $63 billion. Building on the strong efforts of President Bush,
we will carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS. We will pursue the goal of
ending deaths from malaria and tuberculosis, and we will work to eradicate
polio. We will fight - we will fight neglected tropical disease. And we
won't confront illnesses in isolation - we will invest in public health
systems that promote wellness and focus on the health of mothers and

Now, as we partner on behalf of a healthier future, we must also stop the
destruction that comes not from illness, but from human beings - and so the
final area that I will address is conflict.

Let me be clear: Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at
perpetual war. But if we are honest, for far too many Africans, conflict is
a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars
over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to
manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

These conflicts are a millstone around Africa's neck. Now, we all have many
identities - of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But
defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe
or who worships a different prophet has no place in the 21st century.
Africa's diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division.
We are all God's children. We all share common aspirations - to live in
peace and security; to access education and opportunity; to love our
families and our communities and our faith. That is our common humanity.

That is why we must stand up to inhumanity in our midst. It is never
justified, never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology. It
is the death sentence of a society to force children to kill in wars. It is
the ultimate mark of criminality and cowardice to condemn women to
relentless and systemic rape. We must bear witness to the value of every
child in Darfur and the dignity of every woman in the Congo. No faith or
culture should condone the outrages against them. And all of us must strive
for the peace and security necessary for progress.

Africans are standing up for this future. Here, too, in Ghana we are seeing
you help point the way forward. Ghanaians should take pride in your
contributions to peacekeeping from Congo to Liberia to Lebanon ... and your
efforts to resist the scourge of the drug trade. We welcome the steps that
are being taken by organizations like the African Union and ECOWAS to better
resolve conflicts, to keep the peace and support those in need. And we
encourage the vision of a strong, regional security architecture that can
bring effective, transnational forces to bear when needed.

America has a responsibility to work with you as a partner to advance this
vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African
capacity. When there's a genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these
are not simply African problems - they are global security challenges, and
they demand a global response.

And that's why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy and technical
assistance and logistical support, and we will stand behind efforts to hold
war criminals accountable. And let me be clear: Our Africa Command is
focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting
these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa and the

In Moscow, I spoke of the need for an international system where the
universal rights of human beings are respected, and violations of those
rights are opposed. And that must include a commitment to support those who
resolve conflicts peacefully, to sanction and stop those who don't, and to
help those who have suffered. But ultimately, it will be vibrant democracies
like Botswana and Ghana which roll back the causes of conflict and advance
the frontiers of peace and prosperity.

As I said earlier, Africa's future is up to Africans.

The people of Africa are ready to claim that future. And in my country,
African Americans - including so many recent immigrants - have thrived in
every sector of society. We've done so despite a difficult past, and we've
drawn strength from our African heritage. With strong institutions and a
strong will, I know that Africans can live their dreams in Nairobi and
Lagos, Kigali, Kinshasa, Harare, and right here in Accra.

You know, 52 years ago, the eyes of the world were on Ghana. And a young
preacher named Martin Luther King traveled here, to Accra, to watch the
Union Jack come down and the Ghanaian flag go up. This was before the march
on Washington or the success of the civil rights movement in my country. Dr.
King was asked how he felt while watching the birth of a nation. And he
said: "It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice."

Now that triumph must be won once more, and it must be won by you. And I am
particularly speaking to the young people all across Africa and right here
in Ghana. In places like Ghana, young people make up over half of the

And here is what you must know: The world will be what you make of it. You
have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions
that serve the people. You can serve in your communities and harness your
energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the
world. You can conquer disease and end conflicts and make change from the
bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can ... because in this moment, history
is on the move.

But these things can only be done if all of you take responsibility for your
future. And it won't be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be
suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you
every step of the way - as a partner, as a friend. Opportunity won't come
from any other place, though. It must come from the decisions that all of
you make, the things that you do, the hope that you hold in your heart.

Ghana, freedom is your inheritance. Now, it is your responsibility to build
upon freedom's foundation. And if you do, we will look back years from now
to places like Accra and say this was the time when the promise was
realized; this was the moment when prosperity was forged, when pain was
overcome, and a new era of progress began. This can be the time when we
witness the triumph of justice once more. Yes we can. Thank you very much.
God bless you. Thank you.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cops vow to clear-up streets for 2010

    July 11 2009 at 11:00AM

By Sameer Naik
In an attempt to clean up the city of Joburg ahead of the 2010 World
Cup, police have vowed to continue the crackdown on vagrants squatting and
illegal street vendors in the CBD.

This follows last week's raid on Zimbabwean refugees living on the
pavement outside the Johannesburg High Court and the Central Methodist

Illegal street vendors have also been warned to clear their stands or
face arrest as the property belongs to the City of Joburg. Street vendors
selling food to workers outside Joburg's Soccer City stadium have been asked
to dismantle their shacks so that construction can continue.

Angie Dyantyi, 32, a street vendor at the stadium, was arrested by the
Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) last month after she refused to move
off the property.

She alleged she was choked and beaten by police before being shoved in
a police van and driven to Booysens police station.

"The policeman grabbed my neck, threw me around and as a result, my
top got ripped open. They did not care one bit.

"After beating me they threw me in the police van as if I was a bag of
cabbage," claimed Dyantyi.

She said she was then taken to Booysens police station where she was
locked up and refused bail by the officers.

She said goods such as her gas heater and stove were taken by police
before she was transported to the Joburg Central police station. She was
eventually released.

Wayne Minnaar, spokesman for the JMPD, was told about the incident at
Soccer City, but said there was "no way" a police officer would have
harassed a street vendor, as claimed by Dyantyi.

"There is a possibility the vendor was arrested and taken to a
station, but regarding claims she had been harassed, that is not possible.

"Soccer City is property that is owned by the City of Joburg, and
street vendors located outside the stadium are illegal and in the way of
construction taking place," Minnaar added.

He has also warned vendors that if they did not remove their stalls
from the stadium, police would dismantle them and fine them anywhere between
R500 and R1 200, which was standard procedure.

Vendors have voiced their concern about removals. They said the
government was "trying to hide the poor" before the 2010 World Cup started.

One vendor, who did not want to be named, said: "All we are trying to
do is earn an honest living to feed our families and send our kids to
school, yet the government could not give a damn about us suffering."

Other vendors called on President Jacob Zuma to keep his promise to
look after the poor.

"We want Mr Zuma to come on to site to see that we are actually
providing a meaningful service to workers. Removing us will leave us with no
jobs, " said one.

Minnaar said the JMPD's campaign would continue and would be
intensified ahead of 2010.

This article was originally published on page 8 of The Star on July
11, 2009

Back to the Top
Back to Index