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Britain's prime minister says UN Security Council has failed to stand up for Zimbabweans

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: July 12, 2008

LONDON: British Prime Minster Gordon Brown will press the European Union to
take harsher action against Zimbabwe, after Russia and China vetoed proposed
new sanctions at the U.N. Security Council, his office said Saturday.

Brown plans to discuss EU action against Robert Mugabe's regime when the
British leader meets with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and EU foreign
policy chief Javier Solana at a summit starting Sunday in Paris.

The three will be among 43 leaders of European, Middle Eastern and North
African nations at the summit.

Brown's office said he would propose new EU travel bans on members of
Mugabe's regime and action against companies owned by Mugabe allies.

Russia and China on Friday vetoed a proposal from the United States and
Britain for a new U.N. arms embargo and other punitive measures against
Zimbabwe's president and top aides.

The vetoes came as a surprise and disappointment for Brown, who believed he
had secured sufficient international backing for U.N. measures against
Mugabe during last week's summit in Japan of the Group of Eight
industrialized nations, a Brown spokesman said, speaking on condition of
anonymity in line with government policy.
"It was a high-stakes gamble, which earlier in the week looked promising
because the Russian president had made commitments at the G-8 to go along
with financial sanctions," said Mark Malloch-Brown, Britain's minister for
African, Asia and the U.N.

Zimbabwe's opposition party said Friday that at least 113 of its members
have been killed in political violence since March.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Britain would continue to
press Mugabe over government-backed violence and intimidation of the
opposition during Zimbabwe's first-round presidential vote in March and
runoff ballot in June.

"Mugabe is more isolated within his own country than ever before," Miliband
told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "We have got to make sure, though,
that the final hold that he has on power, which is at a barrel of a gun, is
as short as possible because the misery for those people is absolutely

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Russia UN veto "incomprehensible", Britain says


Sat 12 Jul 2008, 7:25 GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Saturday
Russia's veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution to impose
sanctions on Zimbabwe was "incomprehensible".

"I'm very disappointed that the U.N. Security Council should have failed to
pass a strong and clear resolution on Zimbabwe," Miliband said in a

"It'll appear incomprehensible to the people of Zimbabwe that Russia, which
committed itself at the G8 to take further steps including introducing
financial and other sanctions, should stand in the way of Security Council

"Nor will they understand the Chinese vote," Miliband said. Veto-holding
China was also among five countries that opposed the U.S.-drafted text in
the 15-nation council on Friday.

Nine countries voted for the resolution to impose an arms embargo on
Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions on President Robert Mugabe
and 13 other officials, and authorise a United Nations special envoy for the
southern African nation. One country abstained from the vote.

The Group of Eight rich nations, which includes Britain and Russia, agreed
on Tuesday to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe's leadership because of
violence during the widely condemned re-election of President Robert Mugabe.

Britain's diplomatic relations with Russia have been strained since the 2006
poisoning in London of emigre and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko.

Russia has refused to hand over the main suspect, Andrei Lugovoy, on the
grounds that its constitution rules out extraditing its own citizens, and
Moscow has emphatically denied state complicity.

Despite Friday's diplomatic setback, Miliband insisted Britain would keep up
pressure on Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Tsvangirai withdrew from a June 27 presidential run-off poll, citing attacks
on his supporters by pro-Mugabe militia.

The MDC and Western powers have branded Mugabe's landslide re-election a

"We will continue to advocate intensified EU measures against Mugabe and his
ruling clique. The U.N. still has a key role to play in supporting African
efforts to bring an end to this crisis, and we will continue to press for
the appointment of a U.N. envoy," Miliband said.

"A solution must be found that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people,
whose will continues to be so brutally denied."

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Fury as Zimbabwe sanctions vetoed

Saturday, 12 July 2008 07:39 UK

Britain and the US have condemned Russia and China for vetoing a draft UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe's leaders.

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said their veto was incomprehensible, especially as Russia had earlier suggested it backed tougher action.

The measures had included an arms embargo and a travel ban for Robert Mugabe and 13 of his key allies.

Zimbabwe's UN ambassador said the UK and US had come up with flimsy reasons.

Boniface Chidyausiku said he was happy to see what he called the machinations of the two failing.

International security

There has been growing international criticism of Zimbabwe since the re-election of Mr Mugabe in a run-off boycotted by the opposition.

The opposition's Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party say they had faced a campaign of violence by Mugabe supporters, which left dozens dead and thousands injured and forced from their homes.

Russia and China said they opposed the resolution because the situation in Zimbabwe did not threaten international stability.

UK ambassador says the Security Council has failed Zimbabwe's people

The US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Russia's veto raised "questions about its reliability as a G8 partner".

Mr Miliband said Russia used its veto despite a promise by President Dmitry Medvedev to support the resolution when it was discussed at this week's summit of the G8 group of industrialised nations.

A BBC correspondent at the UN, Andy Gallacher, says the failure of the resolution is a major blow for the United States and Britain.

The UK ambassador said after the vote that the UN had failed in its duty.

"The people of Zimbabwe need to be given hope that there is an end in sight to their suffering," said Sir John Sawers. "The Security Council today has failed to offer them that hope."

However, Russia's ambassador Vitaly Churkin said sanctions would have taken the UN beyond its mandate.

China's Foreign Ministry's chief spokesman Liu Jianchao said sanctions would complicate conditions in Zimbabwe and would not help to encourage the various factions engage in political dialogue and negotiations.

South Africa - which is hoping that President Mugabe and the opposition can reach a deal on a power-sharing - voted against sanctions.

Envoy call

The resolution would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions on President Mugabe and 13 of his top officials.

Burkina Faso
Costa Rica
United States
South Africa


It also called for a UN special envoy for Zimbabwe to be appointed.

The resolution had the support of nine council members, the minimum required to pass in the 15-member council.

But the veto of any of the five permanent members is enough to defeat a resolution.

Violence in Zimbabwe is said to have increased after the disputed presidential elections.

The MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai, won the first round of Zimbabwe's presidential elections on 29 March, but official results gave him less than the 50% share needed to avoid a run-off.

He pulled out of the run-off poll after many of his supporters were targeted, assaulted and even killed, leaving Mr Mugabe to win unopposed in the second round at the end of June.

The MDC says 113 of its supporters have been killed, some 5,000 are missing and more than 200,000 have been forced from their homes since March.

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Zimbabwe sanctions: A schism between the United States and Europe is what Russia wants

The Telegraph

By Adrian Blomfield
Last Updated: 11:01pm BST 11/07/2008

Last Tuesday, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, stood shoulder
to shoulder with his fellow G8 leaders when they threatened the regime of
Robert Mugabe with "financial measures".

On Friday, Russia wielded its Security Council veto to block the same
sanctions it purported to support just three days earlier. The dramatic
change of tack would seem to suggest that the Kremlin either could not
resist the temptation to irritate the West or that Moscow simply does not
hold much truck by G8 agreements.

While perhaps not surprised that Russia has chosen to be obstreperous
once more, Britain and the United States are more than irritated with
Moscow. If it hadn't been for Russia, the resolution would have passed.

As Sir John Sawers, the British ambassador to the UN, pointed out,
China would not have used its veto if Russia had supported the resolution.
Although China, which has close trade ties with Zimbabwe and sells it arms,
had more to lose than Russia from imposing sanctions, Beijing did not want
to court more international controversy ahead of next month's Olympic Games
by standing alone against the rest of the Security Council.

Even though Moscow had signalled as late as noon on Friday that it
would not stand in the way of sanctions, the decision to use its veto will
not come as much of a surprise for Russia watchers.

The Kremlin traditionally opposes international efforts to intervene
in what it sees as the domestic affairs of sovereign nations and Russia duly
used this objection to explain its veto. Much as the humanitarian and
political crisis in Zimbabwe has upset and enraged Westerners, Russia and
Russians have responded with much greater ambivalence.

From Prime Minister Vladimir Putin down, the Russian hierarchy is
dominated by ex-KGB types for whom concern for human rights, either at home
or abroad, figures very low down on their list of priorities. A quick glance
of Russia's closest friends underscores this, from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela,
a grateful recipient of arms from Moscow, to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and
Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.

Part of the reason for this reluctance to isolate repressive regimes
is that Russia does not want to create a precedent that could one day return
to bite it. After all, the West wants to punish Mr Mugabe for intimidating
the opposition, stealing an election and browbeating his people. Similar
charges could be drawn against Russia, which may not be as brutal as
Zimbabwe but is, in many ways, as repressive.

Zimbabwe, at least, has an opposition of sorts. It is not the first
time that Russia has stood against the wishes of Britain, France and the
United States, the Western members of the Security Council, in recent years.
In fact, the Kremlin has started to wield its veto, or the threat of it,
almost as often as in Soviet times.

Last year, Russia vetoed a US sponsored resolution that criticized
Burma's human rights record. In 2004, Russia agreed to a Security Council
resolution threatening sanctions against Sudan if it refused to disarm the
Janjaweed militias terrorizing Darfur. Khartoum duly defied the resolution,
but Russia prevented the Security Council from carrying out its threat by
signalling it would use its veto.

It is not just self-preservation, however, that motivates Russia.
Eager to show off its resurgence since the 1990s and as desperate as ever
for international respect, Moscow also wants to present itself on the world
stage as a powerful antidote to the West.

The Kremlin, emboldened by the vast energy resources it controls,
therefore delights in opposing the West whenever it has the opportunity -
even when it does not necessarily make sense to do so.

The prospect of a nuclear Iran, for instance, should worry nearby
Russia even more than it does the West, yet Moscow consistently opposes
Western efforts to get tougher on Teheran.

The Zimbabwe resolution also gave Russia the chance to exact revenge
on the United States and Britain, both of which have annoyed the Kremlin -
more than they normally do, that is - over the past few days.

Washington and Prague last week signed a deal to install the radar
component of a Nato missile defence shield in the Czech Republic. The
Kremlin, which believes the system is directed at Russia rather than Iran,
vocally protested and even threatened a military response.

The sanctions resolution against Zimbabwe was an American-led effort
and therefore gave Russia the chance for immediate retaliation. The Kremlin
is also aware how important the Zimbabwe crisis is for Britain, which is
regarded by many officials as Russia's foremost enemy.

Moscow was incensed this week when British intelligence officers were
quoted in the press as saying that the Russian state was behind the 2006
murder of ex-KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko. The opportunity to hurt
Britain and the United States simultaneously must therefore have been hard
to resist, and goes some way to explaining the last-minute U-turn.

A final factor to consider is Russia's growing interest in Africa.
Moscow abandoned the continent after the Cold War, even if Russian arms
dealers with suspected official connections stayed on to make vast profits
from some of the continent's nastiest conflicts.

Recently, Russia has begun to follow China's lead in reengaging with
Africa. Gazprom, the state energy giant, has signed multi-billion pound
deals with Nigeria, while Russian metal oligarchs and finance moguls have
started to look at investment opportunities from South Africa to Zambia and
Kenya - and even to Zimbabwe.

By backing Zimbabwe at the UN, Russia is sending a classic Cold War
signal to other African leaders that it is looking to make deals with: No
matter how bad you are, we will always stand up against the West on your

Russia is banking on the West responding to this challenge with its
traditional sequence of bewilderment and impotent rage followed by inaction.

Just possibly, though, Russia may have underestimated the anger its
veto has caused. For the first time mainstream US officials have started to
echo Republican presidential contender John McCain's questions of whether
Russia belongs in the G8.

"The Russian performance here today raises questions about its
reliability as a G8 partner," Zalmay Khalizad, the American ambassador to
the UN, said after the vote.

While the Kremlin clearly believes that G8 agreements are so worthless
they can be flouted within days, Russia dearly wants to remain part of so
prestigious a club.

The West therefore does have one potent weapon it can use to rein in
Russian aggression. Yet even if the United States decides to back Russia's
expulsion from the G8, European members are unlikely to follow suit.

A schism between the United States and Europe is just what Russia
wants. The Kremlin is in a win-win situation and knows it.

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Zim: Britain vows to keep pushing for action


     July 12 2008 at 04:52PM

London - Britain pledged on Saturday to return to the United Nations
(UN) Security Council concerning Zimbabwe if there is no quick end to
violence after a bid to pass sanctions against Robert Mugabe was vetoed by
Russia and China.

"We will continue to stand firmly for human rights and democracy and
will return to the Security Council in the absence of early progress on
mediation, humanitarian access and an end to violence," a spokesperson for
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a statement.

The spokesperson, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, added
that Brown would discuss further measures with EU partners including French
President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel
Barroso next week.

 Brown will also ask UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send his
special envoy urgently to Zimbabwe, the spokesperson said.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary David Miliband denied that the failed bid
to pass targeted UN sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was

Britain, the former colonial power in Zimbabwe, has been vocal in
criticising Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party over last month's
presidential elections, amid claims of rigging and violence against
opposition supporters. - Sapa-AFP

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Zimbabwe says sanctions failure a victory over racism

Washington Post

By Nelson Banya
Saturday, July 12, 2008; 10:59 AM

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe on Saturday welcomed the failure of a
Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution to impose sanctions over its
violent presidential elections, calling it a victory over racism and
meddling in its affairs.

Russia and China on Friday vetoed the resolution, which would have imposed
an arms embargo on the southern African country and financial and travel
restrictions on President Robert Mugabe and 13 other officials.

Britain said Russia's veto was "incomprehensible," while Russia said
sanctions would have set a dangerous precedent of political interference.
Russia, China and regional powerhouse South Africa said the resolution would
have hurt dialogue between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition.

"We are very happy with the turn of events and would like to thank those who
helped defeat international racism disguised as multilateral action at the
U.N.," Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told Reuters.

"The principles of non-interference into the sovereign affairs of a U.N
member state have been upheld. What has the U.N got to do with member
states' elections?" he said.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March 29
presidential election but failed to get enough votes to avoid a second

Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off poll held on June 27, citing attacks on
his supporters by pro-Mugabe militia. His Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and Western powers branded Mugabe's landslide re-election a sham.

The MDC is now in preliminary talks with ZANU-PF under the auspices of South
African mediators, but has refused to negotiate a power-sharing deal until
the government halts the bloodshed. The MDC says 113 of its supporters have
been killed.

South Africa's government applauded the U.N. decision on Saturday, in line
with an African Union resolution to encourage dialogue between ZANU-PF and
the MDC instead.

"It is our considered view that imposing sanctions would indeed have
impacted negatively on the current dialogue process among Zimbabwean
political parties," it said in a statement.

Millions of people have fled to neighboring states, including South Africa,
to escape an economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, which has led to widespread
shortages, 80 percent unemployment and inflation economists estimate to be
at least 2 million percent.

China also said the sanctions could undermine the talks and would
"complicate" rather than ease the conflict.


British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Saturday: "It'll appear
incomprehensible to the people of Zimbabwe that Russia ... should stand in
the way of Security Council action."

The Group of Eight rich nations, which includes Zimbabwe's former colonial
ruler Britain, the United States as well as Russia, agreed on Tuesday to
impose sanctions because of the violence during the widely condemned

Despite the diplomatic setback, Miliband insisted Britain would keep up
pressure on Mugabe.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, accused Russia
on Friday of a "U-turn" from its position at the G8 summit, and said it
raised doubts about its reliability as a partner in the group.

Russia hotly denied any policy reversal.

"We consider such statements unacceptable," Russian Foreign Ministry
spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement published on the ministry's

"Both the U.S. and United Kingdom's ambassadors to the United Nations are,
in the best case, not informed about the discussion between G8 leaders in
Toyako, or in the worst case are deliberately distorting facts," Nesterenko

Earlier, the ministry said the situation in Zimbabwe posed no danger to
regional or international peace and security and did not merit sanctions.

"An adoption of such a document by the U.N. Security Council would have
created a dangerous precedent, opening the way for interference by the
Security Council in internal affairs in connection with certain political
events including elections, which is a gross violation of the U.N. Charter,"
it said.

(Additional reporting by Muchena Zigomo in Johannesburg, Gleb Bryanski in
Moscow and Chris Buckley in Beijing; Writing by Caroline Drees; Editing by
Jon Boyle)

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Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN defends Mugabe

By Trymore Magomana | Harare Tribune News
     Updated: July 12, 2008 12:56

Zimbabwe, Harare--Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the UN, Boniface
Chidyausiku, is one of those interesting fellows working 24/7 to defend the
ZANU-PF government that is under pressure from the whole world, minus China,
Russia, South Africa, over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Boniface, of course is the brother of that other man, Godfrey
Chidyausiku, you know the guy appointed chief justice by Robert Mugabe?
Chairman of the draft constitution that was defeated by popular vote in

Anyway, Boniface was at the UN Friday, where he laid out his argument
on why the UN shouldn't impose sanctions on the ZANU-PF government.

In classic denial of the situation obtaining on the ground in
Zimbabwe, Boniface told the 15 member security council, that: "Zimbabwe is a
country at peace" He conveniently ignored the fact that more than 114 people
have died since March 29 or that thousands of people have been displaced by
violence, planned, executed, by the ZANU-PF government.

The man reminds me of Prof. Jonathan Moyo in his old days of defending
the ZANU-PF government, frothing at the mouth, day in and day out when he
was Minister of Information.

Watch his whole, absurd statement -

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The UN is not designed to be moral

The Spectator
Saturday, 12th July 2008
James Forsyth 9:46am

The decision by Russia and China to veto sanctions against Zimbabwe should finally remove the scales from peoples’ eyes about the role and purpose of the United Nations. The UN’s founding purpose, at which it has been effective, was to prevent great power conflict. That is why the UN cannot act without the consent of every one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Two of the Council’s members--Russia, a ‘managed democracy’, and China, a Communist dictatorship—have no interest in embedding in international affairs the idea that internal repression and the failure to hold free and fair elections justify the international community taking action against a country. Those waiting for the UN to act morally are hoping against type

Britain and America are right to think that an arms embargo and a travel ban on members of the Mugabe regime should be imposed. So a mechanism other than the UN needs to be found for such sanctions. The best idea to date for how this could be done is a League of Democracies. The League would enable the democracies of the world to act in concert when they believed that it was necessary to do so in defence of the basic liberal freedoms.

Another benefit of the League would be that it would encourage countries to think of themselves as democracies first. This would hopefully result in African democracies looking at future Zimbabwes through a democratic rather than a post-colonial prism.

PS Bob Kagan lucidly explains the consequences of the return of ideological competition to the international state system in The Return of History and the End of Dreams; considering their surprise at the Russian and Chinese vetoes, Gordon Brown and David Miliband would be well-advsied to take it with them as holiday reading this summer. You can read my assessment of Kagan’s case for a League of Democracies here.

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SA Govt welcomes UN decision not to sanction Zimbabwe


July 12, 2008, 09:30

South Africa has welcomed the United Nations Security Council's decision not
to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa says SA voted against the draft
resolution yesterday, in accordance with the African Union (AU) Summit
decision to "encourage President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to honour their commitment to initiate
dialogue with the view to promote peace, stability, democracy and
reconciliation of the Zimbabwean people".

He says South Africa is facilitating talks between Zanu-PF, the MDC faction
of Morgan Tsvangarai and the breakaway MDC faction of Arthur Mutambara, in
Pretoria. "It is our considered view that imposing sanctions would indeed
have impacted negatively on the current process among the Zimbabwean
political parties. In addition both SADC and AU have not called for
sanctions," he said.

The AU summit in Egypt had appealed to states and all parties concerned to
refrain from any action that could negatively impact on the climate for
dialogue. The UN Security Council wanted to impose sanctions against
Zimbabwe including a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and other

Russia and China vetoed the proposed sanctions, rejecting US efforts to step
up punitive measures against Mugabe's authoritarian regime after a widely
discredited presidential election.

Mamoepa says the role of the international community at this juncture should
be to encourage the Zimbabwean political parties to deepen and consolidate
the current dialogue process, as facilitated by SADC. - Sapa

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MDC Statement on Veto on UN Resolution

The Zimbabwean

Saturday, 12 July 2008 18:56
Saturday 12 July 2008

MDC Statement on Veto of UN Resolution

The Movement for Democratic Change appreciates the focus of the United
Nation Security Council on the Zimbabwean crisis.

We acknowledge that the Security Council has recognized the magnitude
of the problems facing Zimbabwe and their impact on the southern African

The international community has recognised that the violence in
Zimbabwe is state-sanctioned. Over a hundred people have been killed, many
thousands beaten, tortured and displaced and millions now facing economic
hardship and starvation.

The suffering of the Zimbabwean people is worsening every day and a
peaceful negotiated transition is urgently required.

In light of this, the MDC calls upon the African Union to work with
SADC in establishing the framework in which a negotiated solution can be

The MDC would like to express its gratitude to countries and
organisations that continue to support the Zimbabwean people in their
struggle for freedom and stability.

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Zimbabwe's crisis poses threat to region: Liberian president

Yahoo News

by M.J Smith Sat Jul 12, 12:05 PM ET

SOWETO, South Africa (AFP) - Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on
Saturday warned that southern Africa "will feel the effects of instability"
if Zimbabwe's political crisis is not resolved, in remarks to an audience
that included Nelson Mandela.

Delivering the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in the run up to the
anti-apartheid icon's 90th birthday, Johnson-Sirleaf said "we in Africa do
not have the luxury to enclose ourselves in our respective political

"Until the situation in Zimbabwe is resolved, the entire region will feel
the effects of instability, and the dream of democratic and accountable
government will remain unfulfilled," she told the audience of dignitaries.

In the speech in Soweto township, once a centre of anti-apartheid struggle
and Mandela's former home, she cited her own country's experience with
successive civil wars that ended in 2003, when former president Charles
Taylor was forced into exile.

"In Liberia, we know only too well that the war conditions in our country
were exported to the region and still today the region continues to suffer
as a result," she said.

Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first democratically elected woman president,
spoke after China and Russia vetoed new sanctions against Mugabe's regime at
the UN Security Council following the 84-year-old leader's one-man election.

The Liberian leader had previously said she supported the sanctions that
would have imposed an assets freeze and a travel ban on Mugabe and 13 of his
associates, as well as an arms embargo.

On Saturday, she said she had urged her African Union colleagues at a recent
summit in Egypt to denounce Zimbabwe's one-man election on June 27 that
handed Mugabe a sixth term as president.

The AU summit ended with a relatively bland call for dialogue among
Zimbabwe's political parties and the formation of a national unity

Mandela, who turns 90 on Friday, made brief remarks before the Liberian
president's speech, calling Johnson-Sirleaf "an inspiring example to Africa
and the world as one who strives for peace where others seek to fight and

"It is so easy to break down and destroy," Mandela said. "The heroes are
those who make peace and build."

The former South African president and Nobel peace prize winner has limited
his public comments in recent years, but in late June spoke of a "tragic
failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe".

South African President Thabo Mbeki has sought a negotiated solution to
Zimbabwe's crisis, though he has faced criticism over his quiet diplomacy

Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition held talks in the South African
capital this week, and opponents of the UN sanctions said they wanted to
support the Mbeki-led mediation rather than impose measures that could
damage it.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential
run-off five days ahead of the election, citing rising violence against his
supporters that left dozens dead and thousands injured.

Mugabe defied regional and international calls to postpone the poll and
pushed ahead with the vote, which he predictably won in a landslide.

Tsvangirai finished ahead of Mugabe in the March 29 first round of the poll,
but with an official vote total short of an outright majority.

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South Africa Crucial to Zimbabwe

New York Times

Published: July 13, 2008
JOHANNESBURG (AP) - The failure of the United States campaign to gain
approval for international sanctions on Zimbabwe's leaders returns the focus
to South African efforts to end the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

It also raises questions again about whether President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa is the right mediator to resolve it.

South Africa made the link itself in deliberations at the United Nations
that ended Friday with Russia and China vetoing the proposed sanctions. The
measures were meant to punish President Robert Mugabe's authoritarian
government in Zimbabwe after a widely discredited presidential runoff in
which he was the only candidate.

South Africa's ambassador to the United Nations, Dumisani Kumalo, said
meetings mediated by Mr. Mbeki were occurring between Mr. Mugabe's party and
the political opposition.

South African officials say the goal of the talks is to form an inclusive
government. Mr. Mugabe and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, say
they are willing to share power, but they differ on who should lead.

Mr. Mugabe's political party, ZANU-PF, wants him at the head of any
coalition government, something the opposition and Mr. Mugabe's critics in
the West have rejected. Mr. Tsvangirai bases his claim to leadership on the
first round of presidential voting in March, in which he defeated Mr.
Mugabe, but did not win a majority of the votes, which led to the runoff.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who withdrew days before the second round of voting because
of a campaign of violence against his supporters, has accused Mr. Mbeki of
bias in favor of Mr. Mugabe.

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Zanu-PF, MDC meet again for talks


    Jean-Jacques Cornish
    July 12 2008 at 09:24AM

Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition held a second day of talks in
South Africa on Friday.

The talks, aimed at laying the groundwork for negotiations to resolve
Zimbabwe's political crisis, were the first since Mugabe won another term as
president in a June 27 poll widely denounced as a sham.

Held in Pretoria, the talks had been kept under wraps as the parties
set conditions for negotiations.

Nqobizitha Mlilo, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's
(MDC) chief spokesperson in SA, said on Friday the party's chief negotiator,
MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, would return home earlier in the day and
"should be" back in Zimbabwe.

Asked whether that meant the day's talks had ended, he said: "It's my
understanding that the meetings have finished already." He was unable to say
whether further meetings were planned, and Biti could not be reached for

The MDC has insisted substantive negotiations could take place only if
violence is halted and over 1 500 "political prisoners" are released.

It has also called for an expanded mediation team, including an
African Union (AU) permanent envoy and the swearing in of lawmakers, as the
opposition now controls parliament.

"Those are the issues, that's the sole agenda. There is no substantive
agenda," Mlilo said.

President Thabo Mbeki is the region's long-time mediator between the
opposition and Mugabe's ruling party.

South African government officials - though not Mbeki himself - were
involved in Thursday's discussions in Pretoria, said presidential
spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga.

"They [talks] are going on, yes they are taking place," said
Ratshitanga, confirming the second day of talks had begun yesterday.

Zanu-PF was represented by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and
Labour Minister Nicholas Goche, and the MDC by Biti and deputy
treasurer-general Elton Mangoma.

Zanu-PF has refused to comment on the talks.

Mugabe was re-elected in last month's run-off after MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out, citing a wave of attacks against his supporters that
killed dozens and injured thousands.

On Friday, the MDC said a total of 113 supporters had now been killed
in politically related violence.

The UN's refugee agency also said yesterday that increasing numbers of
people have fled Zimbabwe since the June 27 vote, and several have shown
signs of beating or torture.

Tsvangirai confirmed in a statement that the MDC would set
preconditions for further talks. - Sapa-AFP

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on July
12, 2008

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Help the people of Zimbabwe, MDC tells African Union

By Marvis Murray in Harare | Harare Tribune News
     Updated: July 12, 2008 13:40

Zimbabwe, Harare, The MDC on Saturday made a fresh call for the
African Union to intervene in the mediation process with President Robert
Mugabe's regime, after a failed bid to impose sanctions at the United

"The suffering of the Zimbabwean people is worsening every day and a
peaceful negotiated transition is urgently required," the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement.

"In light of this, the MDC calls upon the African Union to work with
the SADC (South African Development Community) in establishing the framework
in which a negotiated solution can be formulated."

The MDC said it acknowledged that, despite Friday's veto, the UN
Security Council had recognised the "magnitude of the problems facing
Zimbabwe and their impact on the southern African region".

China and Russia vetoed a US draft resolution at the United Nations
that would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe as well as an assets
freeze and travel ban on Mugabe and 13 of his closest allies.

South Africa, Libya and Vietnam voted against the resolution.

The MDC added: "The violence in Zimbabwe is state-sanctioned. Over a
hundred people have been killed, many thousands beaten, tortured and
displaced and millions are now facing economic hardship and starvation.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is trying to mediate between
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, but has been criticised
for not taking a tougher stance with Mugabe.---Harare Tribune News

Update: Complete MDC Statement on UN veto

The Movement for Democratic Change appreciates the focus of the United
Nation Security Council on the Zimbabwean crisis.

We acknowledge that the Security Council has recognized the magnitude
of the problems facing Zimbabwe and their impact on the southern African

The international community has recognised that the violence in
Zimbabwe is state-sanctioned.

Over a hundred people have been killed, many thousands beaten,
tortured and displaced and millions now facing economic hardship and

The suffering of the Zimbabwean people is worsening every day and a
peaceful negotiated transition is urgently required.

In light of this, the MDC calls upon the African Union to work with
SADC in establishing the framework in which a negotiated solution can be

The MDC would like to express its gratitude to countries and
organisations that continue to support the Zimbabwean people in their
struggle for freedom and stability.

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Only Africa Can Make Mugabe See Sense

Daily Trust (Abuja)

12 July 2008
Posted to the web 12 July 2008

Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem

There has been a lot of opprobrium directed at African leaders for lacking
the political will to check if not end the tragic lives of Zimbabweans due
to the misrule of the aged ex- freedom fighter, President Robert Mugabe.
However I do have a different take on the outcome of the recent Sharm El
Sheikh Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
Media reports and public reaction both in Africa and outside of Africa have
been highly critical and dismissive.

For many, the resolution on this matter was yet another unprincipled fudge
by the leaders, many of whom have no better democratic credentials than
Uncle Bob's. So what would you expect from such a group the cynics ask? As
understandable as this position is, it fails to take cognisance of the
changing dynamics of intra African diplomacy. By that failure, those holding
the view become unwitting allies of President Mugabe, whose tainted and
stale reading of Africa convince him that no African leader can criticise
him. He said this much soon after his hurriedly counted one man race against
himself and his even more harried 'swearing in, before rushing off to Egypt.
He claimed that none of the leaders had cleaner hands than his bloodied
dictatorship-saturated fingers. In a sense, he was daring those with cleaner
hands to cast the first stone at him. It was a desperate bravado from a man
who has lost all claims to moral or political integrity. He exonerates
himself not by proclaiming his innocence but declaring that he was not the
only guilty one. No doubt his fellow riggers and robbers of people's mandate
felt uncomfortable.

However, it also provided opportunity for those who are not defensive about
their legitimacy to speak out loudly that they no longer wish to be silenced
by executive highway robbers of people's votes like Mugabe. They did not
have to be big states to do so. Where President Yar'Adua of Nigeria was
silent the newly elected President Koroma of Sierra Leone and the President
of Liberia, Mrs Sir-leaf Johnson, (ironically both countries enormously
grateful for the role that Nigeria and the rest of ECOWAS played in
restoring stability and democratisation to their countries), did not mince
their words in standing up to Mugabe. The Vice President of Botswana
unashamed of its long democratic stability and unbowed by the deafening
'quiet diplomacy' of its equally democratic, potentially more influential
but completely ineffectual neighbour, lame duck Thabo Mbeki's South Africa,
spoke most forcefully and demanded that Mugabe should not be invited to
future AU and forthcoming SADC meetings until there is a genuine political
negotiation leading to a legitimate political transition. Again Botswana
showed that you do not have to be a giant to stand up for democratic

Kenya, influenced by its recent election theft controversies was also very
open (especially PM Raila Odinga) in demanding that the AU took a robust
stance in favour of democracy. Even before the summit, countries as diverse
as Rwanda, Mozambique, Angola, Kenya, Uganda, in spite of their own internal
challenges or contradictions were quite open in drawing attention to the
open rigging of the electoral process and campaign of one-sided violence by
the ZANU-PF government.

After Mugabe ran off with the votes of Zimbabweans, the Pan African
Parliament's Observer Mission, the normally sanguine SADC group of observers
and other African-led observers were unanimous in stating that the 'Mugabe
running against Mugabe one man tango' violated all known African protocols
of democratic elections even as treacherous as the record of elections are
on this continent.

What do all these tell us? It means Africa, Africans and a growing number of
African leaders are no longer prepared to be judged by the worst of our
political culture but willing to stand up for and defend higher principles
and values. A new sense of shame is again beginning to challenge us to do
much better by ourselves. It is no longer enough to say others are also
guilty. It is not convincing anymore to bemoan the hypocrisy of our leaders
or those of the west. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour and it does not matter
whether London, Washington, Brussels or Abuja, Pretoria, Nairobi or Kigali
are saying it. Even among thieves, there must be some rule of procedure.

Zimbabwe and Mugabe had become the weakest link in transforming the way we
relate to each other. In 1999, in of all places, Algiers, the OAU leaders
decided that enough was enough about military coups even though some of them
had come to power through such coups. Many did not think that it could be
enforced but at Christmas that year, General Gueye in Ivory Coast dared
Africa. We know what happened to him and all other ambitious gun men since
then. Having outlawed coups and stuck by that convention the next stage is
to end the practice of undemocratic leaders who perpetually remain in office
through election rigging, unconstitutional manipulations of the political
process or subversion of their country's constitutions.

It does not matter that some of the current leaders used similar methods. It
is a question of drawing a line, somewhere. That will necessarily be
arbitrary and invite all kinds of accusations of why now, why not before.
The essence will be to raise the ceiling higher and establish new standards
of behaviour. It will be about moving forward, from an imperfect present,
not looking back.

Mugabe's extreme vulnerability makes him an ideal political opportunity to
SAY NO: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. If African leaders isolate Mugabe, he will have no
choice but to agree to a negotiated settlement. Even in Kenya, the PNU hawks
initially thought that they could ride the storm and even insulted OAU
chairperson then, President Kuffour's initial effort but they had to bow to
negotiations when they saw that both Africa and the rest of the
international community was serious.

Zimbabwe has been burning for many years but it has, largely, been a one
sided violence perpetrated by the state and its agents. Do we have to wait
until frustrated MDC and other opponents of the Mugabe dictatorship start
retaliating with widespread violence before we compel Mugabe to do the right
thing? It is good that no one has recognised him officially apart from that
face of Africa's inglorious past, Omar Bongo (in power for more than four
decades!). Those states and leaders who have been courageous enough to
openly criticise Mugabe's vote grab should take the next step by refusing to
recognise his election. The AU and SADC must decide quickly what to do with
Mugabe's brazen violation of their standard, otherwise no one will take
their observer missions seriously again. No person of integrity could serve
in such missions in future if those who sent them cannot accept their
report. Tax payers, funders and other donors should demand refund of their
money or charge the officials of these organisations with misuse of public
funds if they spend so much money observing selections without any sanctions
for defaulters.

Finally, it is quite clear that Thabo Mbeki is incapable of being an honest
broker of genuine negotiations in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has given him so much to
go with and it is obvious that the MDC does not trust him. The AU needs to
assume leadership of the process just as it did in Kenya where Museveni as
EAC chairperson failed to make any headway due to his perceived bias. Thabo
does not even have the full support of his own party let alone, the country
and even less so the SADC countries.

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It may take force in Zimbabwe

Sat, July 12, 2008

By Joseph Quesnel

A new motto for Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe should be "what happens in
Zimbabwe stays in Zimbabwe."

He wants us to believe that human rights violations, politically-motivated
beatings and killings, and illegitimate elections are none of the West's
business. This week, he made headlines by declaring that UN sanctions will
result in civil war. No, Mr. Mugabe, your starvation policies and thuggish
hold on power will achieve that, not UN actions. Thankfully, many residents
of Zimbabwe don't see it that way, judging by the protests and the strength
of political support for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
They, like us, are realizing how connected we all are. We can see their
suffering through media broadcasts and realize that human rights are not
limited by borders. In this case, this does not necessarily mean we should
send an army to "liberate" Zimbabwe or send special force units to
assassinate Mugabe. It does, however, necessitate continuing a strong,
united response and possible military assistance to opposition forces. After
all, if force is what is keeping this thug in place, it will take force to
remove him.

Mugabe has adopted the practice of so many despotic African leaders of
rallying people around anti-colonial rhetoric to divert their attention from
their own plight and who is truly responsible. Externalizing failure is a
common tactic of unaccountable leaders losing legitimacy. In a milder form,
some First Nation leaders in Canada do this.

Corrupt band elections and a lack of financial accountability are ignored in
favour of rhetoric against "colonial oppression" or the white man. This is
not to argue that colonialism did not bring oppression or that its effects
have disappeared. Colonial disregard for tribal and ethnic divisions in
former colonial possessions led to many problems in establishing cohesive
national identities in many developing countries. But, the colonialism card
can only be used so far.

Eventually, countries must own up to their problems and adopt policies to
improve conditions. Rwanda is a perfect example of a nation rejecting past
divisions and adopting economic growth as the way toward a new future. In
Zimbabwe, it is impossible to ignore a one-million-per-cent inflation rate
no matter how many speeches Mugabe delivers blaming colonial Britain.
Downtrodden Africans are looking at their situation and realize their
problems are properly attributed to the policies of Mugabe's ruling party.
It was Mugabe who evicted white farmers from productive agricultural land to
reward cronies. As a result, a former bread basket was reduced to a
recipient of food aid. Mugabe's government adopted this economic policy, so
he bears responsibility if the economy takes a nose dive. The more Africans
that are informed, the harder it is for leaders to manipulate populations
through propaganda. Currently, Africans are held back by fear from speaking
out. Perhaps an intellectual wave, like in the West, could help bring down
despots. All of this involves our moral and, likely, military support.

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An open letter to Mugabe

Mwizenge S. Tembo . The Changing World . July 12, 2008

After the first elections on March 30, you, your political party ZANU-PF,
and your government spokesmen were quiet and dragged your feet in releasing
the election results. None of us needed to be told what was happening. When
all suffering human beings are given a fair opportunity to choose, they will
choose to get out of pain, hunger, unemployment, 200,000 percent inflation,
misery, violence and hopelessness. The people of Zimbabwe had chosen change
and hope in the March elections. None of us needed to be rocket scientists,
given you and your party's history of human rights abuses, to figure out
that in the runoff elections, violence and intimidation would be unleashed
at the opposition.

I wasn't surprised when the Washington Post disclosed the inner circle
details of how and when you and your ZANU-PF hatched the sordid plans to
spread mayhem in the country leading to the runoff elections. The official
estimate is that over a hundred people were killed in campaign-related
violence leading to the June runoff elections.
Thousands were displaced, many injured, and opposition homes burned down.
You were happy when the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai finally withdrew
from the elections, and you could then claim that you had a landslide
victory. The swearing-in ceremony was quickly arranged. Are you and your
supporters in ZANU-PF and the current government truly happy and proud that
you won the election fair and square? What are you going to do now that the
rest of the world, some African leaders, and even many of your neighbors
don't support you?

I understand how you and the thousands of ZANU-PF war veterans fought for
more than 10 years in the bush in the 1970s in the Chimurenga war of
liberation to oust the minority white settlers who were of British descent.
You might also feel strongly that you are still fighting the British former
colonizers, the United States, and the rest of the world. But all these deep
convictions that inspire the destructive, and hateful actions and rhetoric
will not help Zimbabweans and Africans to create a better future for our
impoverished and struggling citizens. How long can 11 million Zimbabweans
blacks and the few whites who all love the country continue to pay for this
now apparent grudge?

You might argue that Africans like this author who never lifted a gun to
kill colonizers and are living comfortably abroad among Western imperialists
have no right or basis for making any critical comments about your country
and the government.

This would be wrong. When my country of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, was
fighting for independence in the 1950s, I was younger than 10 years old, too
young to do any type of fighting. I am glad that adults in our country did
the political fighting. Should all those Zimbabweans who never took part in
the fighting have no right to criticize the government? Should you, the
former fighters, have the absolute right and justification to stay in power
forever even through violence and intimidation of your fellow citizens?

Since you were brought up in the Christian faith, you are probably familiar
with the parable of King Solomon. Two women are brought before him with a
dispute each claiming that the one baby was hers. King Solomon offered to
literally cut the baby in half to give one half to each woman. One woman was
overjoyed with the king's judgment. The other woman was sad and offered to
let the other woman to keep the baby.

That's how wise Solomon recognized the child's mother.

You are 84 years old and have been in power for 28 years. Your most
important protagonist and the former leader of the white settler oppressors
Ian Smith is gone. Talk to former President Kaunda of Zambia, Quett Masire
of Botswana, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, and many other former African
Presidents. They all stepped down. They loved power, too.

Mr. Mugabe, if you truly love your country, you will step down and let a
younger and new leadership revive the country. The more you delay, the
longer it will take to rebuild the country, the shattered economy, to heal
the deep wounds. Maybe from where you are with your close supporters and the
comfortable seat of power, you don't see the suffering and the devastation
millions of men, women, and especially children are experiencing.

You still have a chance to end your leadership with a good reputation.

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph.D was born and grew up among the Tumbuka people of
Eastern Zambia. He now teaches sociology at Bridgewater College. Readers may
e-mail him at

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CHRA Report


Municipal Police torment vendors


Residents across Harare have been sending information to CHRA that Municipal police officers are harassing vendors, confiscating their goods. Residents report that this problem escalated during the campaigns towards the Presidential election runoff where entire vendors were also being forced to attend Zanu Pf rallies and meetings. The current economic meltdown has seen an increased number of residents engaging in street vending as a means of earning a living for their families. CHRA notes with grave concern that some of the street vendors being raided and arrested are children whose ages range from between 10 to 15 years. 


It is painful to realize that the already poor vendors are losing their goods as a result of the numerous raids by municipal police. Such raids are frequent at Mbare Musika bus terminus, Ruzende, Market Square and 4th street but terminus as well as various other places in the residential suburbs. In Mabvuku-Tafara vendors have virtually abandoned vending as the spate of raids has escalated. A resident who spoke to CHRA Information Department accused the municipal police of raiding the vendors of their goods for personal purposes as those goods are never taken to Town House. Ironically, these are the same people who were in forefront of destroying vending sites during operation Murambatsvina in 2005. The Government and the City of Harare has done nothing to build alternative vending sites since then.


The residents express their disappointment with the raids and call upon the new council to find a solution to this problem as a matter of urgency. Usually the municipal police officers carry out these raids in plain clothes, a development which has created space for criminals to raid the vendors of their goods.


A street vendor operating from 4th street alleged that some of the municipal police officers raiding them often demand money from the vendors so that they can be spared of the raids. The same vendor also accused the municipal police officers of heavy handedness as usually they carry out the raids armed with syjamboks, button sticks and hand cuffs. A member of CHRA secretariat recently witnessed an embarrassing act whereupon a municipal police officer forcibly handcuffed and hit a street vendor with a button stick.


The Combined Harare Residents Association urges the new city council to find a lasting solution to the problem, appreciating that the raids are not an option at all. The Association will soon be formally engaging the city council over the issue of street vendors and their harassment by the municipal police officers.


Farai Barnabas Mangodza

Chief Executive Officer

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114


Contacts: Mobile: 011 563 141, 0912638401, 011862012 or email, and




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Diplomatic Row Over Zimbabwe Veto

CBS news

U.S., U.K. Engage In War Of Words With Russia, China, While Zimbabwe
Declares Victory Over Sanctions
UNITED NATIONS, July 12, 2008

(CBS/AP) Russia on Saturday attacked remarks by U.S. and British officials
who criticized Moscow's veto on proposed U.N. sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement Saturday said it was
"impermissible" that the criticism called into doubt Russia's worthiness as
a Group of Eight partner.

The United States accused Russia and China of standing with Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe against his own people, after the two permanent
members of the U.N. Security Council vetoed proposed sanctions against

The resolution would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe, an
international travel ban and a freeze on the personal assets of Mugabe and
13 other officials.

It also called for the appointment of a U.N. special envoy for Zimbabwe.

The U.S., along with Britain and France, supported the resolution, arguing
that sanctions were needed to respond to the violence and intimidation that
opposition leaders and international observers said Mugabe and his
supporters used to steal the recent presidential election.

Russia, however, claimed the sanctions would have taken the U.N. beyond its
mandate, while China argued Zimbabwe should be allowed to resolve its
political crisis on its own.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's information minister hailed the failure of the
resolution, calling the proposed sanctions an example of "international

The BBC reports Sikhanyiso Ndlovu saying the resolution was designed to make
the people of Zimbabwe suffer in order to incite a revolution, and accusing
Britain of wanting to "divert attention by bringing unfounded allegations
against Zimbabwe, against the people of Zimbabwe, trying to make the people
of Zimbabwe suffer more with the economic sanctions... so that they can turn
against their own government."

The vote in the Security Council: FOR: Belgium, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica,
Croatia, France, Italy, Panama, United Kingdom, United States. AGAINST:
China, Libya, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam; ABSTAINED: Indonesia.

Astonishment Voiced Over Veto

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Russia had initially indicated it
would abstain rather than veto.

"The U-turn in the Russian position is particularly surprising and
disturbing," he said Friday. "Only a few days ago the Russian Federation was
supportive of a G-8 statement which said, and I quote, 'We express grave
concern about the situation in Zimbabwe.'"

"The Russian performance here today raises questions about its reliability
as a G-8 partner," he said.

Russia said that was an "impermissible" interpretation because the G-8
powers agreed not to mention U.N. sanctions in the joint statement on
Zimbabwe, albeit at Russia's behest.

"The American and British U.N. representatives in the best-case scenario are
totally uninformed about the discussion of the G-8 leaders in Tokyo, and in
the worst case they are deliberately distorting the facts," the statement

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband added that the vetoes "will appear
incomprehensible to the people of Zimbabwe."

Khalilzad said, "China and Russia have stood with Mugabe against the people
of Zimbabwe."

Russia says it believes the sanctions would set a dangerous precedent for
U.N. Security Council meddling in internal affairs.

Permanent G-8 members Britain, France and the U.S, have pushed through
nonbinding Security Council resolutions condemning election violence and
intimidation in Zimbabwe.

South Africa, Russia and the other member with veto power, China, have
opposed taking further action.

Despite the veto, Russia added that it condemns "the irregularities and acts
of violence that have taken place, ... and for which both Zimbabwean
authorities and the opposition are responsible."

New Focus On South Africa

The failure of the U.S. campaign for international sanctions on Zimbabwe's
leaders returns the focus to South African efforts to end the deadly
political crisis and to questions about whether President Thabo Mbeki is the
right mediator.

South Africa made the link itself during deliberations at the United Nations
that ended Friday with Russia and China vetoing the U.S.-proposed sanctions.

South Africa's U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo said meetings mediated by
Mbeki were under way between Mugabe's party and its opposition. Kumalo
pleaded with his colleagues on the Security Council to "give space" to that

South African officials say the goal of the talks is forming an inclusive
government in Zimbabwe. Both Mugabe and Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai say they are willing to share power, but they differ on who
should lead.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF wants Mugabe at the head of any coalition government,
something the opposition and Mugabe's critics in the West have rejected.
Tsvangirai bases his claim to leadership on the first round of presidential
voting, in which he beat Mugabe and two other candidates, but did not win
the 50 percent plus one vote necessary to avoid a runoff against second
place finisher Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, who withdrew from the runoff because of a campaign of violence
against his supporters, has accused Mbeki of bias in favor of Mugabe, and
called for a second mediator to be brought in.

Nicole Fritz, head of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, an independent
human rights group that has closely followed the Zimbabwean situation,
worried that without the pressure of sanctions, Mbeki would be able to make
little headway as mediator.

The failure of the sanctions resolution "buys Mbeki time," she said. "My
sense is that buying Mbeki time is not going to do us any good."

In a statement Saturday welcoming the defeat of the resolution, South Africa
said it believed "imposing sanctions would indeed have impacted negatively
on the current dialogue process among Zimbabwean political parties."

The process is at a very preliminary stage - Tsvangirai argues it cannot
even yet be labeled talks.

Tsvangirai is not alone in questioning Mbeki's mediation, which began more
than a year ago at the request of the main regional body, the Southern
African Development Community.

Mugabe, accused of a brutal crackdown on political dissent and ruining a
once vibrant economy, has repeatedly praised Mbeki. That has not helped the
South African leader's case among critics here and abroad who have likened
Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" to appeasement of Mugabe.

During a visit to South Africa earlier this week, Liberian President Ellen
Johnson Sirleaf called for another "high profile" African mediator to join
Mbeki in trying to find a solution for Zimbabwe. Sirleaf is an admirer of
Mbeki - she noted he had helped broker the agreement under which Liberian
war lord Charles Taylor went into exile in 2003, opening the way for peace
in her beleaguered country, and said she hoped he could do the same for

South Africa also has won praise as a mediator in Burundi, Ivory Coast and
elsewhere on a troubled continent. But in Zimbabwe, Mbeki is accused of
showing too much loyalty to Mugabe out of respect for the Zimbabwean
leader's past as an anti-colonial hero, or out of shared skepticism about
African trade union movements. Tsvangirai is a former labor leader, and
South Africa's trade union movement has long presented a powerful challenge
to Mbeki from the left when it comes to setting economic and other
priorities here.

Mbeki "is now Mugabe's champion," said Tiseke Kasambala, a Zimbabwe
specialist at Human Rights Watch who expressed frustration Saturday at the
failure of the U.N. sanctions resolution. "He's no longer a neutral

Mbeki argues that confronting Mugabe could backfire. And his supporters have
said he deserves credit for a first round of presidential voting, which was
seen as relatively free and fair. Thanks to an agreement Mbeki helped
broker, results of that first round were posted at individual polling
stations, an innovation that made rigging difficult.

Now, Mugabe is staking his claim to rule on the victory in the June 27
unopposed runoff, which his state-run media lauded Saturday for its
"crushing result and its permanence."

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MDC dismisses report on violent rebellion

July 12, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has dismissed a report by
a South African based-policy institute suggesting that it trained its
members to engage in acts of violence against ruling Zanu- PF party
supporters in retaliation to attacks on its members.

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) released a report warning of the
possibility of an outbreak of civil war in Zimbabwe suggesting that MDC had
sent its members for training in one of the neighbouring countries to carry
out acts of retaliation against Zanu-PF members.

"The situation on the ground is quite but and if a civil war is to happen it
will not be caused by MDC," said the MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. "Why
should we train anyone when we don't believe in violence, anarchy and a
breakdown of the rule of law?

"The MDC is a peaceful political party not a rebellious movement. We suspect
that the organisation which compiled this report is working in cahoots with
Zanu-PF to try and justify the violence in the country."

Chamisa added that the HSRC should be investigated and asked to name the MDC
members who were sent for training and identify the country where the
training took place.

"The authenticity of this report should be investigated because Zanu-PF pays
a lot of money for these kinds of jobs," he said. "These are malicious
allegations against the MDC. It's a stage-managed event."

HSRC said in the report that the extent of political violence in the country
had been extended to the rank and file of the opposition MDC.

It said the source of the violence now includes MDC supporters who were
engaging in retaliatory acts of violence against Zanu-PF militias and war
veterans who were the principal instigators of violence in the period
running up to the controversial June 27 presidential runoff.

"In an extremely volatile situation, retaliatory violence will make the
situation murkier," said Kwandiwe Kondlo, HSRC executive director and editor
of the report.

The report titled: Saving Zimbabwe - an Agenda for Democratic Peace, further
states that there is currently a low intensity war in Zimbabwe uniquely and
often linked to the country's election cycles.

The study was compiled by the Democracy and Governance programme of the HSRC
in partnership with the African policy Institute in Nairobi and Pretoria
based on the analysis of documents, interviews with strategic policy makers
and practitioners across the continent, and the coverage of critical
regional meetings and field presence in Zimbabwe.

The report was released as Zimbabwe's warring political parties resumed
preliminary talks aimed at solving the country's crises in Pretoria on
Thursday. The MDC has said the talks did not constitute substantive
negotiations but an opportunity to set conditions for dialogue.

The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters have been killed and more than
25 000 displaced by political violence since the combined presidential and
parliamentary elections in March that were won by the opposition party.

Political violence has continued in the aftermath of President Robert Mugabe's
re-election following a run-off vote in which he was the only candidate
after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out saying the violent attacks
against his supporters made a free and fair vote impossible.

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MDC death toll hits 115

By Roy Chinamano ⋅ © ⋅ July 12, 2008 ⋅A total of 115
supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change have now been killed in
politically-related violence in Zimbabwe, says the party.

Among the most recent victims was a polling agent, Gift Mutsvungunu, whose
body was found in a suburb of Harare on Thursday after he was reported
missing last week, the MDC said in a statement.

It added: “His body shows signs of intense torture, his eyes were gouged out
and his backside suffered serious burns before his abductors killed him.

“There is reasonable suspicion that state security agents killed him, as his
injuries are consistent with those of other deceased persons who were
abducted and later killed by state security agents.”

According to the MDC, the latest deaths meant that 24 of its supporters had
been killed since veteran leader Robert Mugabe was re-elected as the sole
candidate in a run-off presidential ballot on June 27.

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In Zimbabwe, Anglo-American Mining Says It's Held Hostage, Defends Investing


Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 12 -- A mining company under fire for its investments in Zimbabwe, Anglo-American, has defending itself against concerns raised at the UN by saying it's held hostage by Robert Mugabe's "use it or lose it" laws.  

  If Anglo-American does not continue investing in Zimbabwe, it argues, Mugabe could seize the Unki mine and profit from it. So it is more moral, Anglo-American's Mark Moody-Stuart argues, to proceed with the platinum mine than for example to sell it to another operator which might not have the same claimed social responsibility concerns. By this logic, it seems, all business would continue in apartheid South Africa, Pol Pot's Cambodia, even Nazi Germany.

  In fairness, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart's six-paragraph response to Inner City Press' questions raised to UN Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro, UK Ambassador to the UN John Sawers and to the UN Global Compact, on whose board of directors Moody-Stuart serves, describes steps Anglo-American has taken to try for example to deny foreign exchange to Mugabe's Zimbabwe. It also notes the 650 people employed at the Unki mine, and implies that a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe might be glad that Anglo-American did not discontinue the platinum mine. The latter two arguments, again, would apply to apartheid, the Nazis and Khmer Rouge.

   The denial of foreign exchange is particular interesting in light of an expose this week, also by Inner City Press, that the UN in Myanmar has allowed the Than Shwe government to profit for exchanges of dollars into "Foreign Exchange Certificates" at the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, click here for that.

Anglo-American Mining, either because of its chairman's position with the Global Compact or otherwise, has with its six paragraph answer been more forthright than the UN or UN Development Program, which is also involved in mining in Zimbabwe.

  The Global Compact, a UN mechanism for dealing with corporations, seems to be in between the model of UNDP's stone-walling and Anglo-American's belated but well-crafted rationalizations.

   Once Inner City Press asked Deputy Secretary General Migiro to explain how a business executive with a prominent position with the UN Global Compact could run a company investing in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, which Ms. Migiro had just denounced, Migiro said the Compact should pay attention, that is has rules and standards. Inner City Press e-mailed the Director and Spokesman of the Compact asking "on deadline" for their response, and if possible for a response from Sir Mark Moody-Stuart. Some six hours later, the spokesman said the response would have to wait for the next day. Inner City Press held its story for 24 hours reporting on the

      But the Compact, even 24 hours later, did not provide any response. Inner City Press ran an interim story based on the comments of Ms. Migiro, and those of UK Ambassador John Sawers, that companies could not accurately predict the future of today's Zimbabwe (and therefore should not be investing there). The Compact bristled, for example that Moody-Stuart is not the CEO but the "non-executive chairman" of Anglo-American Mining -- a distinction not made in Moody-Stuart's own letter -- and that using the time stamp of the receipt and not sending of the Compact's interim response made the Compact look two hours slower than it was. Both are noted here, though it would seem that a UN office like the Global Compact should be able to provide at least a one sentence response when the UN Deputy Secretary General is asked and comments about the Compact and investment in Zimbabwe.

   In light of the heated comments of the Ambassadors to the UN of the UK, France and U.S. about Robert Mugabe and investment in Zimbabwe last week, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart's rationalization, below, is certain not to convince all or even most of its critics. But the response is appreciated, as it may move the debate forward. We will continue reporting on these issues, watch this site.

  The response

Dear Mr. Lee

Matthias Stausberg of the Global Compact Office has sent me a transcript of questions you asked in a press conference with the Deputy Secretary General and has also forwarded to me the questions you subsequently sent to the Global Compact Office. I understand that you are questioning the basis for Anglo American's investment in building a platinum mine in Zimbabwe and asking what posture a company should adopt in dealing with a government which many people regard as illegitimate.

On the first issue, I suspect that you have seen reports originating with ‘The Times’ (of London) suggesting that Anglo was about to embark on a $400 million new investment in Zimbabwe and supported by a (unsurprising) chorus of disapproval from those who had been told this as fact. In fact in your own question you referred to the "recent announcement" announcement of an investment. The reality is that the investment is not new - we have been quite transparently building this mine for the last five years, based on many years of previous exploration in long held permits. The Unki mine is probably still two years from going into production. Indeed 'The Times' has reported on it twice before and we have referred over the years to our operations in Zimbabwe in our "Report to Society" which constitutes our "Communication on Progress" to the Global Compact Office.

Bearing in mind the difficult operating conditions in Zimbabwe we have proceeded relatively slowly. We  have developed our project in such a way as to avoid ‘propping-up’ the Government since we have gone out of our way to fund the in-country costs of the project from substantial sums that have already been trapped under Zimbabwean jurisdiction. We have also funded the purchase of capital equipment offshore so that foreign exchange has not been introduced by us into the country and we have thus not reduced those constraints on the government that flow from lack of foreign exchange. Moreover, since the mine is not yet in production we are not paying substantive taxes. Were we, on the other hand, to suspend the project then the Government could be expected to invoke their 'use it or lose it' legislation and potentially on-sell the asset to operators who are unlikely to observe the same sorts of social and environmental standards as Anglo American. At the same time, the Government could thus raise substantial sums in cash through this sale process. I should note that the Government has often complained of the slow progress of the mine development and made plain the actions that they could take if development was not progressed.

It is certainly not clear to me or the board of Anglo American that it would be a net gain for human rights if we were to abandon the 650 people who currently work at Unki, their dependents and the surrounding communities in relation to measures like food and diesel distribution, improving access to water and support for health and education services. At the same time, as explained, a withdrawal is in fact likely in the present circumstances to be of direct financial benefit to the government.

Turning to your more general question about what a company should do if it finds itself in a country where there is what is argued to be an illegitimate government. I find this difficult to answer on a theoretical basis since a lot will depend upon the nature of the business and the hope of redemption that exists for the country. Economic sanctions, for example, rarely bring about change by themselves. I think the key test that a company as to apply to its operations is whether it can do business whilst continuing to observe international norms and its own business principles. An alternative question might be whether it can – despite wider circumstances – do good in its immediate sphere of influence and, if it does, is its presence causing damage on other fronts through, for example, enabling the very survival of a Government which is guilty of serious abuses?

Extractive businesses are, of course, peculiarly vulnerable to these sorts of controversies. They have to go where the resources are and some of these countries are lacking any alternative catalyst for development. Moreover, for these resource to be brought to account and to generate wealth for a range of stakeholders (including investors, employees, communities, suppliers etc) requires significant up-front investment. This makes extractive investors comparatively immobile and choices are difficult if, for example, in the middle of the development a political crisis breaks out and things go wrong for five years of a potential mine life of 50 years. Is it more moral for a company with a commitment to human rights and decent standards to flee such country in order to avoid challenges to its reputation and to sell its assets or to allow them to fall into the hands of the regime?  These things are not simple and any company operating in such circumstances must review its position on a regular basis. At the same time it is important that a company be open and transparent in reporting on all its activities, allowing its shareholders and other stakeholders to draw their own conclusions and, if need be, express disagreement or disapproval.

I trust that this clarifies Anglo American’s position. I believe our approach is fully consistent with our commitments to the principles of the Global Compact.

Best wishes,

Mark Moody-Stuart

Anglo American plc

Registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985 | Registered Number 3564138

  One final note, for now, on Moody-Stuart's letter -- it amplifies an argument advanced by Anglo-American's EVP for external relations to's story (to which we credit the photo above) about Inner City Press' questions. Next time Moody-Stuart is at the UN he should take questions, without benefit of an External Relations staffer, on these questions. Watch this site.

And this....

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Mugabe should go, a better alternative for us all

African Path

July 12, 2008 02:38 PMBy
Trust Matsilele

Losing candidate of the parliamentary elections, Professor Arthur Mutambara
wrote a piece last week about possible scenarios Zimbabweans have in bid to
solve the political impasse.

He noted that it's either a negotiated settlement or a civil war .President
Morgan Tsvangirai winner of the 29 March polls have thrown his support
behind a negotiated settlement so is the AU, SADC and South Africa's ruling
party ANC.

For losers like Mutambara, Robert Mugabe, Patrick Chinamasa and Welshman
Ncube a negotiated settlement that produce a government of national unity
will be a positive development and a bonus indeed not so for true victors.

A Government of National Unity that is backed by South Africa's Mbeki
rewards losers' more than true victors. This is an emerging phenomenon in
African politics that in the long run will compromise democratic order.

President Morgan Tsvangirai and the people of Zimbabwe who won the 29 March
polls tend to lose in a GNU as losers will ultimately posses more share than
that which they deserve.

Chameleon characters like Professors Welshmen Ncube and Jonathan Moyo who
single handedly destroyed the information department and the MDC in 2005
stand to benefit from any arrangement even though they have less than ten
thousand supporters combined.

President Morgan Tsvangirai has stressed that no negotiations are taking
place.. This is a relief for the people of Zimbabwe who are enduring
brutality and a plethora of heinous crimes.

Negotiations should follow an immediate disbanding of militia camps,
demobilizations of partisan forces from both rural and urban areas and also
should come after humanitarian organizations have been allowed access to
most affected areas.

ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe have reached their climax; their political careers
were terminated on the 29th of March .Beyond that, their survival depends on
the military, President Mbeki and MDC.

Military: Since the 29th of March Zimbabwe has been under a military
government/junta which has been presiding over the state with hard boiled
hawk Emmerson Mnangagwa presiding over that junta as its chair and Mugabe as
the patron.

The army has waged a brutal war against defenseless and unarmed citizens
whose crime was voting for Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC.

President Mbeki: The South African President has failed to find a lasting
solution on the Zimbabwean crisis mainly because he is part of the crisis.
In his pseudo mediations he has been strongly backing Mugabe's dictatorship
undermining wishes of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Mbeki who has been bankrolling Mugabe's external propaganda and public
relations affairs has to date managed to sustain Mugabe from a total
isolation from Africa through lies among other that suggested the two rival
parties were engaged in talks.

His latest bid was on his way to the G8 summit in Japan where he tried to
cheat President Tsvangirai into attending a meeting with Mugabe at the
Zimbabwe House meant to misinform world leaders that a comprise government
was nearing.

MDC: ZANU PF has lost legitimacy to govern and legitimacy to even survive.
Its failure to manage the economy and promote basic human rights has dealt
it a major blow. Its survival now rests on both successes and failures of
the MDC.

If given the next six months to continue governing, ZANU PF will face
resistance from its hooligans whom it fed in the built up to the abandoned
run-off elections. In six months the country's inflation will be above 20
million and living wage will be above 100 trillion.

To reverse these trends ZANU PF needs a business friendly face like Morgan
Tsvangirai, Thokozane Khupe Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri.
This is the moment for the MDC to detect pace and direct negotiations; ZANU
PF needs these negotiations than anyone else.

Dangers of a GNU: Mugabe cannot control himself and his surrogates who are
used to looting and pillaging of resources. Mugabe cannot control himself
and followers from further feeding on MDC blood through violence. A GNU will
be artificial not only to ordinary Zimbabweans but to democracy world over.

In order for Mugabe to sustain his patronage state, he pans to incorporate
the MDC leadership into a kleptomaniac state were just like ZANU PF, the MDC
would be allowed to steal and kill without anyone asking questions.

Through a sustained terror campaign Mugabe plans to compromise MDC's
legitimacy as a democratic party in the long run the octogenarian leader (or
his successor) will merge these two formations and end any opposition to his
hegemony hence establish a patronage state once and for all.

Mugabe can only sustain this kind of a state through legalized thievery
(kleptocracy), pillaging, looting and organized violence.

Alternatives for the MDC

Total Disengagement: Engaging ZANU PF is not only morally corrupt but is
also dangerous. ZANU PF soon after dealing with the current wave of
establishing a possible Government of National Unity (GNU) plans to destroy
the MDC once and for all through infiltration.

Currently ZANU PF is planning to coerce MDC into a pseudo-GNU so that MDC
lose not only international credibility but international sympathy as well
so that when ZANU starts eliminating the MDC, the party will have been
deserted by all democrats world over.

Painful as it may look total DISENGAGEMENT seems the most perfect path. If
Mugabe won the election let him govern. The people of Zimbabwe have lost
everything under Mugabe's dictatorship. There is nothing more to lose; they
are geared to fight for democracy till the end.

Total disengagement will expose first the failure of Africans to solve their
own problems as is being currently demonstrated by Mbeki and his partisan
SADC mediations. It will also expose ZANU PF's failure to govern as the
situation is going to deteriorate more.

Total disengagement will also cement relationships between the movement
(MDC) and its support base as getting into a GNU will alienate the MDC from
supporters as it will be coerced into elitists' structures of the
establishment that cares less of the people.

The current Zimbabwean economy is unsustainable and whoever becomes a state
leader until such a period when the economy start normalizing will see a
decline not only in his support base but is likely to face a fierce
rebellion. Mugabe of such a possibility and that is why he is fighting so
hard to have Tsvangirai and the MDC in any arrangement so that the attacks
and blame can be evenly distributed between the MDC and ZANU PF.

Transitional Authority: The second and last alternative in this presentation
is the transitional authority. This will not go down well with ordinary
Zimbabweans who have been brutalized in the recent past seeing their leaders
dining with ZANU PF, their killers.

This is a compromise worth trying. President Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed
support for such an arrangement as will help in demilitarizing the state,
normalizing state institutions and prepare ground for a free and fair

Under the transitional authority Zimbabweans will be accorded an opportunity
to write their own laws, a new people driven and democratic constitution and
will pave way for the dictator to have an honorable exit that will give
Zimbabweans a soft landing.

A transitional authority unlike a GNU will send a clear message to the
entire world that Mugabe is not a legitimate leader of Zimbabwe hence the
presence of a transitional authority that will pave way for free and fair

Trust Matsilele is an Independent journalist and writes in his personal
capacity. He can be contacted at,

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Ecumenical leaders: Zimbabwe crisis needs 'courageous faith'

Christian Today

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2008, 8:25 (BST)

Church and community leaders from across Africa and beyond will come
together next week in Johannesburg for an international ecumenical summit on

Entitled "Overcoming Fear by Faith: Churches in Solidarity with the People
of Zimbabwe", the meeting will be hosted by the United Congregational Church
of Southern Africa and the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa,
in cooperation with the Council for World Mission (CWM) and the South
African Council of Churches (SACC).

The summit is an expression of the Churches' "profound" concern about the
deepening political, economic and humanitarian crises in Zimbabwe.

"It reflects not only a recognition that fear and intimidation have become
alarmingly common features of Zimbabwe's political landscape, but it also
demonstrates the hosts' shared conviction that God calls Christians not to
be overcome by fear, but to overcome fear through the exercise of a
courageous faith," said organisers.

The 14 - 17 July gathering will therefore explore ways in which churches can
bring their faith to bear on the quest for justice, peace and reconciliation
in Zimbabwe in practical ways.

The programme will commence with an ecumenical service of worship at St
Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Benoni. The Moderator of the Council for World
Mission, the Rev Dr Roderick Hewitt, will preach at this service.

Following the opening worship, participants will meet at Willow Park
Conference Centre in Benoni. The summit will feature keynote addresses by
dedicated human rights activist Prof John Mkumbe, Associate Professor of
Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe, and the Rev Dr Allan
Boesak, one of the region's most prominent theologians and a Fellow of the
Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at the University of Stellenbosch.

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, President of the SACC and Executive Director of
Research at the University of South Africa, will lead morning Bible Studies,
and the Rev Susan Matale, General Secretary of the Council of Churches in
Zambia, will conduct the closing worship service on Thursday afternoon.

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UK hopeful on Zimbabwe sanctions

Press Association

2 hours ago

Downing Street said that it had not given up hope of securing international
sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, despite the shock
defeat in the United Nations.

There were angry recriminations after Russia and China used their vetoes in
the Security Council to block a sanctions resolution tabled by Britain and
the United States.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband rejected claims that Britain's diplomacy
had been "ill-judged" and accused Moscow and Beijing of sending mixed
signals about their intentions.

However, his deputy, Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown, admitted it
had been a "high-stakes gamble" to go to a vote, amid fears that defeat will
have strengthened Mr Mugabe's determination to hang on to power.

The sanctions, including an arms embargo and individual measures against Mr
Mugabe and 13 other leading regime figures, were intended to put pressure on
Mr Mugabe following the brutal suppression of the opposition in last month's
disputed run-off in the presidential election.

No 10 said that it had not ruled out a fresh attempt at a Security Council
resolution if efforts at mediation between Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change failed to make progress.

"It is disappointing that the Security Council failed to stand up for the
democratic rights of Zimbabweans. But it was right to push for a tough
Security Council resolution, and those who stood in its way must now take
responsibility for the failure of the Security Council to act," a spokesman
said. "We will continue to stand firmly for human rights and democracy, and
will return to the Security Council in the absence of early progress on
mediation, humanitarian access, and an end to violence."

Earlier, Mr Miliband dismissed claims that it had been a mistake to go to
vote. "I don't accept that it was ill-judged," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today
programme. "It is right that in the end people have to show their cards and
the vote yesterday showed that, in the end, the Russians and the Chinese - I
wouldn't quite say put two fingers up - but effectively they blocked action.
The Russians and the Chinese were briefing in all sorts of directions. You
have to get people to front up because in the end there was hiding going on
behind the nods and the winks."

However, Lord Malloch-Brown said that it had been apparent that the Russian
position was changing: "It was a high stakes gamble which earlier in the
week looked promising because the Russian president had made commitments at
the G8 to go along with financial sanctions," he told Channel 4 News.
"During the week it became clear that Russians were having a change of

It appeared that British and US diplomats were hoping that Russia and China
would abstain rather than use their vetoes as permanent members of the
Security Council to block the resolution altogether.

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Billion-Dollar Poverty in Zimbabwe

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

As the national currency continues to plummet in value, the real business is
done in foreign banknotes.

By Nonthando Bhebhe in Harare (ZCR No. 154, 12-Jul-08)

The Zimbabwean dollar's headlong devaluation has proved impossible to halt
despite all efforts by the central bank. With the exchange rate now close to
20 billion to the United States dollar, traders are sticking to foreign
currency to preserve a measure of sanity in their prices.

In early May, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono that the Zimbabwe dollar,
ZWD, would no longer be held to a fixed exchange rate but would be allowed
to float freely. The immediate result was that Zimbabweans flocked to the
banks to offload their foreign currency at the new, more realistic rate.

Since then, the bank has stuck to its guns and allowed the exchange rate to
move with the market, but any hope that the devaluation would eventually
bottom out has been dashed.

Instead, the hyperinflation gripping the economy - estimated at estimated at
nine million per cent compared with last year - has made it impossible for
the ZWD to stabilise.

The central bank has been printing banknotes in larger and larger
denominations, but never fast enough to increase their purchasing power.

When the largest denomination yet, the 50 billion ZWD note, came out about a
month ago, it could buy five loaves of bread. Today it takes two notes - 100
billion dollars - to buy one loaf.

Gono's announcement meant that commercial banks were able to buy foreign
currency from the public at a more competitive rate than the black-market
currency dealers could offer. That worked for a while, and temporarily wiped
out the illegal currency trade.

However, as the ZWD became more worthless than ever, people went back to the
US dollar and South African rand, even for purchases of the most basic

The gap between what the banks and the street traders are offering is no
longer so huge as it was before the ZWD was allowed to float, but the black
market is still very healthy because demand for strong foreign currencies is
so high.

"Even though we peg our rates slightly higher than the banks, the public
still flocks to us," said currency dealer Edmund Dube.

Nobert Ganyani, a manager at a commercial bank, told IWPR that street
traders had "outsmarted" the banks, and unless further measures were put in
place, the Reserve Bank was unlikely to "win this war".

Abel Mhofu, a chicken farmer in Wedza, some 100 kilometres south of the
capital Harare, is among the many Zimbabweans who have lost all respect for
the national currency.

Every weekend, Mhofu brings about 50 chickens to town and sells them for
four American dollars each.

"I buy my fuel in foreign currency and import almost all my stock feed from
Zambia, so for me selling in the Zim dollar is not an option," he explained.

Mhofu was pleasantly surprised by the response from his customers when he
began to demand foreign currency only.

"I thought there would be resistance but I find that many people, including
those in what we called ordinary households, have foreign currency in their
possession," he said.

Some of the foreign banknotes come from the many Zimbabweans who have turned
into cross-border traders, going to neighbouring countries but also as far
afield as Singapore and China to buy things to sell at home. But the main
source of foreign currency continues to be the Zimbabwean diaspora, with
relatives abroad send back money to keep their families going.

"Every family now has at least one member in the diaspora or who travels
regularly in the region in search of money," said Dube.

With Zimbabwe's economic crisis now in its eighth year, an estimated 85 per
cent of the population are unemployed, while many of those in formal
employment earn less than 300 billion ZWD a month, or about 15 US dollars.
The Reserve Bank has restricted withdrawals to a maximum of 100 billion ZWD,
and anything left in a bank account loses value on a daily if not hourly

"All Zimbabweans now understand why they should keep their money in foreign
currency," said Dube. "People from across the economic divide have now
turned into forex dealers. Even vendors are now selling their wares in other

Dube plies his trade at the Roodepoort bus terminal, which is better known
as the "World Bank" these days because various foreign currencies are so
freely available.

The marginalisation of the national currency could have a further
destabilising effect on the economy as President Robert Mugabe tries to
consolidate his grip following the June 27 presidential run-off election, in
which he was the sole candidate.

According to an economist with Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, the country has
defied all economic wisdom by staying afloat for so long.

"Many have predicted Zimbabwe's collapse and President Mugabe and his
government have described the predictions as the work of prophets of doom,"
said the economist, who did not want to be named. "But now they may just
have run out of time."

Aggravating the problem is the fact that the Reserve Bank might soon have
nothing to print its banknotes on, following a decision by the Munich-based
company that supplied the paper to stop doing business with Zimbabwe.

For Zimbabweans, the stalled political process and the leadership's apparent
inability to reverse economic decline mean the future looks bleak.

Takudzwa Nyauchi, a professional in Harare, cares less about politics than
his monthly salary of 300 billion ZWD.

"I can't keep on surviving like this. I have a wife and three children to
look after and also the extended family back in the rural areas," he said.

IWPR caught up with Nyauchi as he was starting home after work, on foot. He
cannot afford public transport, which would cost between 20 and 30 billion
ZWD a day, so he walks the 20 km to work and the same distance home.

He is not alone - continual increases in petrol prices mean many people now
walk up to 40 km to reach their jobs.

"Money devalues at the blink of an eye," said Nyauchi. "With my paltry
salary I have to do other things to survive."

"Other things" includes getting his workmates to buy the doughnuts that his
wife bakes each night. They pay in ZWD, which he quickly takes down to the
"World Bank" at Roodepoort to exchange for rands.

"Even ten rands makes a great difference to me," he said. "If I am able to
make 100 rands a week, I can buy basic foodstuffs - most traders now prefer
to deal in foreign currency."

He explained that meat, cooking oil, maize meal, salt, eggs, soap, rice,
flour and other basic items are now available only on the black market, and
only for South African or American banknotes.

"It is not enough to have a job any more. The focus now is on surviving each
day. So I am now forced to sell whatever I come across to survive. Besides
the doughnuts, I sometimes sell other people's goods for a commission or
help source foreign currency and add my own mark-up," he said.

"I am doing whatever I can to survive, but it is still not enough."

Like most Zimbabweans, Nyauchi has dropped eggs, milk, meat, margarine and
even bread from his daily diet, as these now count as luxuries.

"I skip breakfast and lunch - I only have one meal a day. If I am lucky, I
have maize-meal porridge - that is if we have sugar. It makes me want to cry
when I look at my children," he said.

Zimbabwe's cities are quickly becoming open-air markets, with roadside
stalls popping up everywhere stocked with vegetables from vendors' gardens
or goods from their homes, as they strive to earn enough to survive.

On the streets of Harare, one banana now costs 10 billion dollars. At 50 US
cents, that is quite expensive.

Nonthando Bhebhe is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.

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