By Daniel Howden, Deputy Foreign Editor
Monday, 14 July 2008
Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, sought to toughen European Union
sanctions against the Mugabe regime yesterday after a bruising diplomatic
failure in New York, where China and Russia vetoed action on the Zimbabwe
crisis from the UN Security Council.
Britain will submit 36 additional names to the list of people already
targeted by EU sanctions because of their links to the junta in Harare, said
Mr Brown after holding talks with European leaders in Paris.
"We should not lessen the pressure on this regime," the Prime Minister said.
"I believe we need to make a transition to democracy as soon as possible."
The 25-nation bloc has already imposed travel and financial sanctions on 131
individuals connected to Mugabe's regime, under measures drafted in 2002.
The US has similar sanctions in place.
Fresh from his UN triumph, Mr Mugabe signalled his intent to travel to New
York exploiting a diplomatic loophole which allows him to attend UN
gatherings as a head of state. Asked if his boss would be travelling to the
annual general assembly meeting in September, Zimbabwe's UN ambassador,
Boniface Chidyausiku, said: "Yes, definitely he will come."
The 84-year-old has proved adept at side-stepping the measures of his
Western critics designed to isolate him, and has rejoiced in opportunities
to confront his opponents on the international stage. The failure of the
US-UK bid for UN sanctions was greeted with glee by the government in Harare
and relief by South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, who has been defending
the regime from international pressure.
The UN resolution would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and clamped
a worldwide asset freeze and travel ban on Mr Mugabe and 13 of his inner
circle accused of orchestrating the campaign of political terror in the
run-up to the 27 June run-off election. The outline of the measures was
backed unanimously by the leaders at the G8 group of rich nations in Japan
last week, but Russia shifted its position within 48 hours of signing the
The package of measures also called on the UN to name a special
representative to act as a mediator in Zimbabwe, and hopes remain that this
will still go ahead. The former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who played
a similar role in mediating a resolution to the crisis in Kenya, has made
clear his availability to fulfil this task.
South Africa's Mr Mbeki strongly opposes such a move, as it would undermine
his role as the regionally appointed mediator.
Concerns were mounting that the failed sanctions bid would harden Mr
Mugabe's stance of in talks with the opposition, as he now faces an
international community clearly divided on how to move against him.
Mr Brown said it was "very important" that talks "lead to a legitimate
outcome". Should they fail, he said, there is a case to go back to the
The crisis in Zimbabwe remains Mr Mugabe's main problem as hyperinflation
has pushed the Zimbabwean dollar to 350 billion to the pound and the economy
has totally collapsed.
"The defeat of the UN resolution is a pyrrhic victory for Mugabe," said
opposition Senator David Coltart. "The ball is now firmly in Mbeki's court
to deal with this crisis, because he was the one that argued most
effectively against the UN resolution and he must now deliver before the
situation deteriorates further.
14th Jul 2008 00:41 GMT
By Mike Nyoni
HARARE - Zimbabwe's political stalemate looks set to continue as President
Robert Mugabe settles in for another term and Morgan Tsvangirai of the
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, struggles to respond to the new,
Tsvangirai, who pulled out of the presidential race five days before the
June 27 run-off, now faces a dilemma over whether to accept Mugabe's offer
of talks or to claim the moral high ground by refusing compromise.
The MDC leader has been bolstered by support from traditional sympathisers
United States, Britain and Australia, now joined by France and Italy, as
well as by Botswana's refusal to recognise Mugabe as president.
As foreign governments continue to question Mugabe's legitimacy and ponder
additional sanctions against Zimbabwe, any decision they take will be
influenced by what Tsvangirai does next.
Some observers believe that while the opposition leader's withdrawal from
the election was motivated by principle - he argued that taking part would
lead to more bloodshed - it was a tactical blunder nonetheless.
They believe he was calculating that Mugabe would halt the election process
and simply declare himself winner. That would have allowed Tsvangirai to
urge the international community to recognise him as president since he beat
Mugabe in the first round, held on March 29.
Since Mugabe went ahead with the ballot anyway, the position has become much
Analysts say any delay in the political process could now work in Mugabe's
favour, allowing him to consolidate his hold and power and giving his
ZANU-PF party time to consider another option - finding a successor from
within the regime to keep international criticism at bay.
According to Eldred Masunungure, a political sciences lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe, if the regime were able to engineer a seamless
change of leadership, allowing Mugabe to step aside, Zimbabwe's southern
African neighbours might be prepared to overlook the flawed election.
"The dynamics in the region and the international community might change and
the MDC find itself forgotten again," he said. "The region is feeling the
contagion of the Zimbabwean crisis and will grasp at anyone who promises a
quick end to this."
Two days before the African Union issued its call for power-sharing in a
"government of national unity", Mugabe used his June 29 inauguration
ceremony to make what sounded like conciliatory noises, saying he was
prepared to negotiate with the MDC as long as it shared his vision of the
However, he returned from the African Union summit in more belligerent mood,
demanding that Tsvangirai and the MDC recognise him as president before he
would contemplate negotiations. He also demanded that the West lift the
sanctions imposed on him and his inner circle after his disputed election
victory in 2000.
Tsvangirai, meanwhile, declared last week that he would not negotiate with
an "illegitimate president".
When South African president Thabo Mbeki paid a fleeting visit to Zimbabwe
at the weekend in a bid to revive his mediation effort between the MDC and
ZANU-PF, Tsvangirai refused to meet him on the grounds that going to the
venue, State House, would be tantamount to acknowledging Mugabe as head of
The Zimbabwean opposition views the South African leader's claim to
neutrality with more than a little suspicion, suspecting him of favouring
Mbeki has been acting as mediator on behalf of the Southern African
Development Community, SADC, a grouping of regional states. The recent
African Union summit asked the SADC to continue leading the mediating effort
instead of taking on a more robust role itself, as some had hoped it would.
Some observers say continued reluctance to engage in negotiations could
prove another error on Tsvangirai's part. He may occupy the high ground, but
he might have to make concessions in the face of demands for an end to
Zimbabwe's profound political and economic crisis.
"Mugabe says he wants to talk, so Tsvangirai has got to talk, otherwise
people will see him as the stumbling block to the resolution of the crisis,"
said Richard Chitova, a rural school teacher in Mashonaland Central
province. "People are tired of the crisis and want it to end quickly."
Masunungure agreed with this view, saying,"Dialogue is unavoidable and
inevitable. Neither of the parties has a solution to the country's
structural problems on his own.. Tsvangirai may have the legitimacy but he
doesn't have political power. Mugabe's legitimacy may be questionable but he
has the means to remain in power."
Should negotiations take place, Masunungure notes that the MDC will be
forced to accept a lesser role since Mugabe is now officially president
"The trouble is that while the MDC was preoccupied with means and legality,
Mugabe wanted to retain power by any means necessary and that is what he has
done. He has already been installed, though we should not confuse legality
and legitimacy," he said.
Tsvangirai's dilemma about what his next move should be is complicated by
the high risks associated with deploying one of his most powerful forms of
leverage - asking the international community to impose more sanctions on
The United States and its allies have proposed tougher sanctions and have
even suggested the introduction of a peacekeeping force to stem the
According to Masunungure, an open call for sanctions could alienate
Tsvangirai both from his voters and from other African nations.
"This is a tricky issue," said Masunungure. "They [the MDC] cannot call for
the imposition of more sanctions on the country when people are suffering.
This would alienate even the support of SADC [Southern African Development
Community] neighbours. Similarly, the MDC cannot boast of its ability to
bring foreign aid to revive the economy without being accused of supporting
the current sanctions. It's a double-edged sword."
So it is back to the drawing board again, and that could spell a further
period of political violence, as well as the apparently endless economic
The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters were killed by pro-Mugabe
militias before and during the second-round election.
Masunungure argues that on its own, Mugabe's government can do nothing
useful to save the economy.
Inflation has reached astronomical heights, unemployment stands at 85 per
cent of the population, and food and fuel are in short supply.
The food situation worsened in the run-up to the presidential run-off, as
the government banned aid groups from operating in the countryside, accusing
them of using food distribution as a campaign tool for the MDC - a claim
these organisations deny.
Mike Nyoni is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.
New York Sun
By BENNY AVNI | July 14, 2008
The Zimbabwe crisis presents an opportunity for Secretary-General Ban to buy
the United Nations a much-needed commodity: credibility. Mr. Ban is a fan of
quiet, effective diplomacy, but will he be able to mediate factions within
his own administration and do the right thing for the people of Zimbabwe?
Here is his problem: As Zimbabwe policy increasingly pits London against
Pretoria, Mr. Ban's administration is heavily populated by South African
officials, while British international civil servants are fast disappearing
from Turtle Bay after decades of controlling the U.N.'s power levers.
With the Security Council's incompetence being highlighted in headlines
around the world - its inability to act Friday on a crisis created by
Harare's strongman, Robert Mugabe, being the latest - the United Nations is
being dealt a huge blow to its prestige. The council was so tied up it could
not move, and it failed the people of Zimbabwe spectacularly. For an
organization held in low esteem to begin with, such public humiliation could
Despite it all, the United Nations could yet emerge as Zimbabwe's savior,
provided Mr. Ban names a credible, high-profile mediator to stand up to
President Mbeki of South Africa, who currently leads the Zimbabwe diplomacy.
Mr. Mbeki's "mediation" is clearly designed to assure that his aging pal,
Mr. Mugabe, remains president even after he lost an election and resorted to
unspeakable violence to maintain his hold on power.
Meeting in Japan last week, the group of the top eight economic powers
proposed that a high-profile U.N. mediator be named, and the
American-proposed Security Council resolution that was vetoed Friday by
China and Russia sought the same. But while some in Mr. Ban's inner circle
see the need for reinvigorating intervention in Zimbabwe, naming a powerful
new mediator would be a slap in Mr. Mbeki's face - and there are too many
key U.N. decision-makers who are tied in one way or another to the South
African president to do that.
Mr. Ban's current mediator, Haile Menkerios, is a former U.N. ambassador of
the communist-style regime in Eritrea who has become a mid-level U.N.
bureaucrat at the political department's Africa desk. After he fell out with
his own government, South Africa was kind enough to issue a passport to Mr.
Menkerios, which allows him to travel around the world. This makes him an
unlikely candidate to confront Mr. Mbeki, even if he had the stature to do
Mr. Menkerios's role has faded as the Zimbabwe crisis has grown, but Deputy
Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told reporters his efforts were "very
much welcome" by African leaders. A former Tanzanian foreign minister, Ms.
Migiro was warmly recommended for the U.N. job by Pretoria. Oh, and Mr.
Ban's top political adviser is Nicholas Haysom of South Africa. The list may
soon be augmented further if Mr. Ban names - as is expected - an
International Criminal Court judge, Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, to
the high-profile post of human rights commissioner.
South Africa justly carries a special moral aura. Its struggle against
apartheid is an inspiring story representing a courageous victory for the
good guys. But the role Pretoria plays in Zimbabwe soils the good name of
the country's freedom fighters. It is ridiculous to claim Mr. Mbeki is an
honest broker who would usher in the end of the horrors visited on Zimbabwe
by his old comrade Mr. Mugabe. As the G-8's statement made clear, an African
personality of high stature needs to take Mr. Mbeki's place.
"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," the British foreign minister, David Miliband,
said yesterday, after calling the Chinese and Russian council veto
"incomprehensible." But after the recent departure of the security chief,
David Veness, only one British official remains among the United Nations's
higher echelons - and the humanitarian coordinator, John Holmes, is outside
the political decision-making circle.
Nevertheless, the American undersecretary-general for political affairs, B.
Lynn Pascoe, is well aware of the need to change course on Zimbabwe, as are
Mr. Ban's top adviser, Kim Won-soo, and Mr. Ban himself, I am told.
In its current formation, the United Nations is clearly incapable of
resolving such crises as Middle Eastern wars. Anyone who believes that
dumping North Korea or Iran on Turtle Bay's lap would remove those threats
is living in a 1950s-inspired dreamworld. Zimbabwe, however, is one example
where Turtle Bay can make a difference. Will it?
Los Angeles Times
The country, already suffering hyperinflation, is on the brink of financial
collapse, analysts say.
From a Times Staff Writer
July 14, 2008
HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- It has come to this: Zimbabwe is about to run out of the
paper to print money on.
Fidelity Printers & Refiners, the state-owned company that tirelessly churns
out bank notes for the Robert Mugabe regime, was thrown into a crisis early
this month after a German company stopped supplying bank note paper because
of concerns over Zimbabwe's recent violent presidential election, widely
seen as fraudulent by international observers.
The printing operation drastically slowed. Two-thirds of the 1,000-strong
workforce was ordered to go on leave, and two of the three money-printing
shifts were canceled.
The result on the streets was an immediate cash crunch.
"If you think this currency shortage is bad, wait two weeks. By then it will
be a disaster," said a senior Fidelity staffer, who spoke to The Times on
condition of anonymity because he would face dismissal and possible violence
for talking to a Western journalist. The paper will run out in two weeks, he
Fidelity Printers is Mugabe's lifeline. It prints the money to pay the
police, soldiers and intelligence organs that keep the regime in power.
Lately, the money has been used to set up a network of command bases around
the country staffed by liberation war veterans and youth militias, hired
muscle to terrify the population into voting for Mugabe in the June 27
If the regime can't pay the security forces on which it relies, it would
face economic paralysis -- and potential collapse.
Zimbabwe's economic meltdown harks back to the collapse of its major export
industry, commercial farming, after Mugabe's controversial land reform
program early in the decade. That left the nation starved of foreign
exchange, but government spending went on.
How did it do that? It printed money. But printing more and more money
without an increase in productivity fueled rampant hyperinflation.
As hyperinflation spiraled last year, Fidelity printed million-dollar notes,
then 5-million, 10-million, 25-million, 50-million. This year, it has been
forced to print 100-million, 250-million and 500-million notes in rapid
succession, all now practically worthless. The highest denomination is now
50 billion Zimbabwean dollars (worth a U.S. dollar on the street).
Despite the recent currency shortage, the Zimbabwean dollar has continued to
slide against the U.S. dollar and shopkeepers are still increasing their
prices steeply. The price of the state-owned Herald newspaper has leaped
from 200,000 Zimbabwean dollars early this month to 25 billion now. Before
the crunch, a beer at a bar in Harare, the capital, cost 15 billion
Zimbabwean dollars. At 5 p.m. July 4, it cost 100 billion ($4 at the time)
in the same bar.
An hour later, the price had gone up to 150 billion ($6).
Apart from the paper crisis, the real fear inside Fidelity is that its
software license for the European bank note design technology that it uses
could be withdrawn because of new sanctions threatened against the Mugabe
regime, the staffer said. The design department is crucial: It must
constantly conceive new notes as those on the streets are rendered worthless
"If that happened, that would be it," the staffer said.
The internal workings of Fidelity Printers have been one of the regime's
best-kept secrets for years. But as the government looks increasingly
tenuous, institutions that were once impossible to penetrate are starting to
Fidelity may be the beating heart of the regime, but the staffer revealed an
institution under severe pressure.
The place pulsates with sound and smells of ink. The printing machines are
old and frequently break down, requiring spare parts from Germany, which
will no longer arrive. Workers are unhappy about salaries and fear for their
jobs because of the paper shortage.
"When the machines were operating 24 hours a day, there was so much pressure
on the employees that they just could not take," he said. "You couldn't take
time off. Even weekends, people had to come in.
"People are aware that printing money is also one of the causes of the
inflation. But you know, it's a job. You've got to do it."
Now that the production has slowed, the pressure of working full time is
replaced with the terror of being laid off, he said. The plant is planning
to use paper from a local producer, but that manufacturer already has
trouble meeting its orders for paper for checks.
As the currency shortage took hold on the streets this month, the capital's
myriad currency dealers found it harder to make a profit.
Here's how the currency black market works: Dealers get local currency
illegally through the back door of the reserve bank or from tellers who will
provide cash in return for a payoff. They sell it at a profit to locals with
foreign currency, gotten by trading in neighboring countries or through
remittances from Zimbabwe's huge diaspora.
On the first floor of a building downtown, the black market currency-dealing
offices attract some of the city's best and brightest young graduates.
One office looks like something out of a Chicago gangster movie. The boss,
impeccably dressed, sits behind a desk. On his right, in a white cap and
suit, sits one of the dealers. A Mugabe election poster is plastered on the
wall. On a cabinet is a framed $10 note -- which generates as much nostalgia
around here as a much-loved but extinct fluffy mammal.
"That was real money," cracks the boss.
Everyone laughs, though the joke is not funny.
Tendei, 34, one of the black market dealers, gave up a good job as sales
manager of a large Western company in 2003 because the salary did not cover
his commuting and other costs.
In recent weeks, until the German paper supply stopped, the government had
accelerated its money printing, with fresh notes constantly seen on the
"They were just printing money to pay all the militias," Tendei said.
"Inflation is now out of control. Nobody can control it."
For most Zimbabweans, the economic crisis boils down to one thing: how to
put food on the table. It's a difficult trick when you have no job, or if
the bus fare costs more than your pay, and the prices in shops keep going
"Everyone is struggling to keep up with this mounting pressure, day by day,"
said John Robertson, an independent economist here. "It's a thing that
gradually creeps up. Some people have already succumbed. Some factories have
closed. More are likely to succumb as prices rise."
Another independent economist, Tony Hawkins, said Zimbabwe's economy was
imploding so fast, some major factories were reporting that it would be a
matter of weeks before they would be forced to shut down.
"The beer and Coke guys are saying they have only six to eight weeks before
they will have to close," Hawkins said. "Some of the smaller banks are
screaming. It's accelerating downhill. It's got its own momentum now. Just
sit back and watch.
"Everything is imploding at the same time. You just get the sense that they
can't hold on much longer."
Everyone at Fidelity Printers knows the money printing is propping up
Mugabe, the staffer said. Despite the threat to their jobs, some secretly
hope for breakdowns and paper shortages, he said.
"I'm happy about this crisis caused by the unavailability of paper," the
staffer said. "Because maybe it might lead to a change of things in this
By Femi Mimiko
Published: Monday, 14 Jul 2008
No self respecting African would see the way the Secretary-General of the
Movement for Democratic Change of Zimbabwe was manacled and led from an
equivalent of our Black Maria into a courtroom about a week ago on treason
charges, without feeling a groundswell of anger. It is a shame that all of
these are happening in the context in which the beauty of another democracy,
no matter its seeming imperfections, is coming home most clearly to us in
the United States.
But the question is, how did Mugabe degenerate so much, and what is the game
plan of African states, especially Nigeria and South Africa, on this hapless
country? Should Africa just pretend that all is well and allow the
shenanigans of an arguably demented leader to throw another once promising
African country into an avoidable war? Are we going to fold our arms as
Africans and allow what I call "the Somalianization" fully play out in
Zimbabwe, only to begin to send an ill-equipped, badly motivated
interventionist team to the hapless country? What options do we have?
Recall that Zimbabwe was the undisputed food basket of southern African.
Indeed, when the Southern African Develop-ment Coordination Conference, now
Southern African Develop-ment Commission, came up in the early 1970s, it
sought to move away from the pattern of parallel investment in several
member-countries that was the undoing of several integration efforts across
the Third World. What it did was therefore very innovative.
It decided on pooling resources to ensure that whatever grant or aid
attracted on a subject area would be invested in one chosen country whose
facilities would then serve the entire region. In this scheme of things,
whereas a country like Angola, because of its huge oil reserves was made the
pivot of energy development for the region, and Mozambique because of its
huge maritime transportation potentials was made the hub of the regional
transportation, the nature of the development of Zimbabwe's agriculture was
such that it had no competition whatsoever in being penciled down as the
regional agricultural platform, an acknowledgment of its food basket status
as it were.
What did we see after Zimbabwe's independence in 1980? A dubious, badly
thought-out programme that put some cramped idea of nationalism above
economic rationality was put in place, obviously in the service of power. It
was a land reform programme that was as suspicious in its intent as it was
shallow in conception. Pronto, several white farmers were either killed or
chased out of their farmlands, which were turned over to some non-descript
veterans of Mugabe's independence war.
Not unexpectedly, the farms were quickly and completely run down such that
today, a once thriving agricultural land has now the indignity of surviving
on foreign food aid. Inflation in the country not merely galloped, but has
now completely taken flight, with the Zimbabwean currency barely serving the
central purpose of money as a legal tender. What other forms of argument or
persuasion does one need to confirm that Mugabe has failed woefully?
It is obvious that the man lacks good judgment -- the type that has seen
Nelson Mandela and his successor, Thabo Mbeki, move their country slowly
away from political apartheid and slower still from economic apartheid,
rather than disrupt the entire infrastructure of economic production for
which South Africa had been known on the altar of some spurious and
self-serving political nationalistic agenda.
At least twice now, Zimbab-weans have rejected the ZANU-PF government. And
twice it has twisted the will of the people to remain in office. Now reports
indicate that leading members of the opposition are being visited with State
violence. MDC Secretary-General, Bitti remains in prison facing the death
penalty. And let no one make any mistake about it. Mugabe may just go ahead
to execute the man if he does not sense any form of intense opposition to
his shenanigans, especially from Africa.
In all of these, Mugabe and his party have demonized 'the imperialists.'
Small wonder that they are doing this, as Mugabe requires some theoretical
platform, some form of alibi, and a bogeyman, to explain and indeed, justify
his gargantuan failure. For even if the so-called imperialists promised aid
on which they have not delivered, does that constitute a basis for running
aground your own country? Why, in the first instance, should somebody with
an elementary knowledge of the workings of the global economic system
predicate their development aspirations on some promises of assistance from
some international do-gooders who, at any event, have a choice of changing
Methink such a disappoint-ment should actually be the tonic to do well
rather than run down a once promising country. It is curious that Harare
would argue that it had to deliver its controversial land reform in the
manner it did because 'the imperialists' demurred in their promise of giving
funds to buy back the land from the few whites that had them for onward
distribution to the majority of landless black Zimbabweans. I think to all
intents and purposes, Mugabe has become, indeed, a shame to Africa.
The question we should ask as we watch Zimbabwe slip into certain breakdown
is, what has become of the Peer Review Mechanism of the African Union? It
evoked so much hope when it was canvassed and made a cardinal point in the
new AU a few years ago. Why does it seem now impossible, having given Mugabe
so long a rope to pull for Africa to move against him? Why are we all
watching as what has effectively become a bull gets holed up in the
proverbial china shop?
One thing is certain. It would be a disservice to Africa if we watch
Zimbabwe completely slip off into tragedy simply because we feel obligated
to Mugabe. We cannot allow our concern for the sensibilities of an 84 year
old man that has had the singular privilege of running his country for 28
years to blind us to the dangers several millions of Africans in that
country and, indeed, region, face. It is a call to duty.
The course that Zimbabwe is traversing cannot lead to any good. It is simply
a disaster waiting to happen. Mugabe would claim victory in the run-off
election, whichever way the people of Zimbabwe decide to vote. Elements
within the opposition will take to the bush, and a war would start. We can
stave off all of these if only South Africa and Nigeria would agree now to
move strongly against Mugabe. Working together, these two countries have
enough clout and capacity to so do.
Prof. Mimiko is Head, Dept. of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo
Daily Nation, Kenya
Publication Date: 7/14/2008 The unfolding events in Zimbabwe are of concern
to everybody who respects human rights and democracy. First Mugabe is
declared winner of an "election" which the world regarded as a sham. And to
make matters worse, when the AU met in Sharm El-Sheik, Mugabe had the nerve
to attend the summit.
As usual, no African leader except Prime Minister Raila Odinga voiced
outrage in the manner the elections were held. The other leaders only
proposed the formation of a national unity government.
How can Morgan Tsvangirai, the winner of the true first round poll, be
expected to serve under the man who he convincingly trounced?
Mugabe must be forced to respect the will of the Zimbabwe people. If
the AU cannot do anything, then the US and the EU step in now. We must help
the people of Zimbabwe.
July 14, 2008
The Security Council has shown itself to be the enemy of human rights
There is an old, perhaps apocryphal story of a small girl who, watching the
ranting, gesticulating Randolph Churchill, tugged at her mother's skirt and
asked: "Mummy, what is that man for?"
The same must now be asked of the United Nations. The failure of the
Security Council to agree a set of modest sanctions against Zimbabwe and
Robert Mugabe's henchmen - such as a freeze on financial assets and a travel
ban - speaks volumes about the reality of the UN and the fatuity of those
who place any moral store by its decisions.
There could be no clearer case for action. No civilised nation can regard Mr
Mugabe's behaviour as anything other than obscene. But decisions of the
Security Council have never been based on decency or morality. They are
based on realpolitik. The UN's very constitution as a body including some of
the most brutal dictatorships on the planet necessitates that.
Indeed, the UN is structurally incapable of acting in accordance with the
dictates of civilised behaviour. Whether it is its failure to stand up to
the Burmese regime or to deal with the threat to Israel posed by a nuclear
Iran, or its support for Hezbollah, the UN has shown itself to be not the
promoter but the enemy of human rights.
The most bizarre reaction to the Security Council's rejection of sanctions
is disappointment. Could anyone seriously expect the Chinese Government,
which locks up and tortures dissidents and props up the Mugabe regime to
further its own economic interests, to overturn decades of foreign policy
and act in support of democracy and human rights? In 2005 the Chinese signed
an aid agreement with Zimbabwe and made an explicit promise not to interfere
in its "internal affairs", saying that it "trusts Zimbabwe's Government and
people have the ability to deal properly with their own matters".
The idea that the UN holds some special legitimacy and moral worth is not
merely naive - it can make a bad situation worse. Mugabe now claims that he
has been exonerated by the UN. Had the UN not existed, no attention would be
paid to the failure of Russia and China to criticise him, because that is
entirely to be expected. And if, as they should, the EU's member states were
to impose stronger sanctions, that would not be seen as somehow in
opposition to the UN.
The UN has never had greater moral legitimacy than any other ad hoc
assemblage of states. Far more legitimacy would attach to a league of
democracies, as suggested by the US presidential candidate John McCain. Its
decisions would have the moral force of democratic backing. It is time to
say goodbye to the moral bankruptcy of the UN.
July 13 2008
Never mind about a week, in Russia three days is a long time in politics. On
Tuesday, along with the rest of the G8 leaders, Russian president Dmitry
Medvedev agreed to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe after widespread violence
and vote-rigging reduced presidential elections to a sham. But 72 hours
later, at the UN Security Council, Russia joined China to veto economic
sanctions, an arms embargo and a travel ban on key members of Robert
The move simultaneously handed Mr Mugabe a propaganda victory, which he
gleefully exploited, and undermined the moral authority that a united UN
front against him would have created. By any standards, it was a shameful
decision. The excuse that the Security Council is mandated only to intervene
in a country's affairs when regional stability is threatened does not hold
water when millions of Zimbabweans have been forced to flee from violence,
economic meltdown and starvation. The recent attacks on refugees sheltering
in South Africa by those who fear for their own jobs was a sharp reminder of
how easily the chaos can spread. And the claim by Russia, China and South
Africa that sanctions could undermine talks on a Kenyan-style power-sharing
agreement is equally absurd. Few now regard South Africa's Thabo Mbeki as an
honest broker, capable of framing a workable diplomatic solution.
However, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is naive to call the
volte-face "incomprehensible". The most charitable explanation is that it
reflects internal disagreements within Russia. The most telling comment came
from the Russian foreign ministry, which opined that sanctions would have
"created a dangerous precedent", opening the way for Security Council
interference in elections elsewhere. (The latest Russian version was hardly
free and fair, by any impartial measure.) Had Russia stuck to its originally
stated intentions, would China have been prepared to go it alone? That is
debatable. A month before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government is
responsive enough to western sensibilities to remove dog from its restaurant
menus but still shows scant regard for human rights in its determination to
exploit Africa's oil and mineral reserves. Despite international efforts to
stop it, a shipment of Chinese arms addressed to Robert Mugabe was duly
delivered in time for his "war veterans" to terrorise those suspected of
supporting the opposition.
This latest failure by the UN again raises questions about the structure of
the Security Council and the power it hands to those who subvert democracy
and human rights. The same two countries last year rejected measures to curb
repression in Burma. It is now incumbent on Britain and the US, along with
the EU, to pool their considerable global influence to find a new way
forward. Options include extending targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his
henchmen and supporting a genuinely neutral figure, such as the Ghanaian
former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, to broker a lasting settlement.
Robert Mugabe may have won the latest diplomatic skirmish but he must not be
allowed to win the war.
NAIROBI, July 13 (AFP)
Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai on Sunday urged rival Zimbabwe parties
to move faster towards talks to end political turmoil in the troubled
southern Africa nation.
"We must appreciate that this business of winner-takes-all is not working,"
she told AFP in Nairobi.
"It is therefore important that Zimbabwe leaders learn to accomodate one
The Kenyan laureate said that talks had to take into account "justice,
inclusivity and fairness" if they were to help Zimbabwe out of its current
"They should talk faster to end the crisis in that country. People are
suffering," Maathai said, suggesting proportional representation as the
possble way of the crisis.
Zimbabwe's political crisis intensified when Mugabe defied international and
regional criticism and pushed ahead with the one-man run-off election on
June 27 that handed him a sixth term as president.
MDC leader Tsvangirai had pulled out of the vote five days ahead of the
poll, citing rising violence against his supporters.
Since then, the African Union has called for talks between the two sides.
Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her tree-planting and
First published: Monday, July 14, 2008
The Neely Tucker commentary on Zimbabwe (7/7/08) was incomplete. It surely
captured the present dire state of affairs. However, "just nightmares" and
"no hope" are not an accurate portrayal of the courage, flexibility, and
community caring that Zimbabweans are displaying.
These, indeed, represent a huge modicum of hope for the country. They are
the underground success stories that will become future building blocks.
I have been working with hospice and palliative care programs in Zimbabwe
for the last several years, first as part of our local Community Hospice
partnership and now as part of an international agency.
Since our area has an official hospice partnership there, it is important
that your readers know of the tremendous resiliency and outpouring of
voluntary support now being displayed in Zimbabwe.
All across Zimbabwe, thousands of men and women are volunteering as
home-based helpers to take care of the sick and elderly, much like our
hospice volunteers do here.
They are responding to the ravages of HIV/AIDS and famine. They also take in
AIDS orphans and help to deliver emergency food parcels. In addition to this
outpouring of volunteer service, Zimbabwe's basic infrastructure is sound,
as is its exemplary civil service. Hospice programs, for example, enjoy very
positive working relationships with the Ministry of Health.
In short, there are many building blocks for the future of Zimbabwe when and
if a new political reality emerges. Let's hope our local partnership, as
well as global concern and engagement, continue to support Zimbabwe through
its current crisis.
PHIL DI SORBO Ghent The writer is senior technical advisor for on for
Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa. He recently returned from Zimbabwe.
A first-hand account of how Zimbabwe's ruler stole an election and the
Post Date Monday, July 14, 2008
Every night at around 9 p.m., in the weeks leading up to last month's
presidential election, Simon heard the sound of drums coming from the woods
surrounding his paprika farm. The dull thuds percolated in a four-four beat.
"B-boom," "B-boom," "B-boom"; then silence. A cry would go up. "Shall we
kill the whites?" came the chorus of two-dozen "war vets"--the euphemism for
veterans of Zimbabwe's independence struggle who now serve as a personal
militia for the country's ruler, Robert Mugabe. "Let's ask Mugabe!" Then the
drums began again. The final round of voting was around the corner, and
electioneering had turned ugly.
On March 29, Mugabe had lost the first round of the presidential
election--his first loss since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. Upon hearing
of his defeat, a shocked Mugabe launched Operation Mavhoterapapi ("Who did
you vote for?") in a bid to browbeat citizens into voting for him in the
June 27 run-off with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"I would go at night to the edge of our maize field and listen to them
chanting, wondering what was going to happen to us--if they would enter the
homestead," said Simon, 25, who asked that his last name not be used for
fear of retribution. Then one night in mid-June--as Mugabe's chances of
winning the run-off began to look precariously low--the vets finally plowed
onto the 100-acre farm, dragging laborers from their huts at night and
forcing them to attend impromptu pungwes, compulsory government-loyalty
sessions. A simple choice was laid down by the war vets' leader: "Pledge
allegiance to Mugabe or we will burn down your house."
Simon and his family were able to escape unscathed via a back road as soon
as they saw the vets, many drunk off the local maize-brew chibuku, walk up
the red-clay drive and onto the farm they'd owned for two generations. But
many Zimbabweans had not been so lucky. At least 85 people, mainly
supporters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), were killed
in the violence that ravaged southern Africa's former breadbasket in the
run-up to the June 27 vote. Thousands more were injured as Mugabe's
notorious "Green Bomber" militia--composed of indoctrinated rural
youths--rampaged across the country's undulating north-eastern provinces.
Election day was a mournful affair along Harare's acacia-lined avenues. In
the capital's heaving Mbare township, the oldest in the city, snaking lines
of voters waited patiently in the winter sun outside the polling stations.
Turnout, despite official bombast, was dismal. One regional observer in the
nearby Rugare constituency, standing idly next to his Toyota 4x4, said
dozens had voted at his station. Still, despite the widespread apathy and a
last-minute boycott by Tsvangirai--who cited political violence as his
reason--the requisite message was imbibed by rural and urban dwellers alike,
enough of whom showed up to propel Mugabe to victory.
Inauguration was hasty the following Sunday. In contrast to the month of
waiting before Zimbabwe's electoral commission released the results of
March's election, Mugabe was sworn in by 4 p.m.--a mere 48 hours after
winning with an improbable 85 percent of the vote. Harare stood still.
People lounged by the roadside or, if they had wages, spent it in the
country's bootleg shabeen bars. Even the country's ubiquitous money changers
melted away. The silence was only broken by the government's Chinese-made
Mig jets zig-zagging across a cloudless sky.
Even after the poll, there were reports of pro-government supporters beating
up anyone who didn't have their little finger dyed red or purple, the sign
of voting. A mood of intimidation still hung in the air. One youth sporting
a pro-Mugabe t-shirt close to Harare's dilapidated polytechnic college said
that he would be joining in the victory celebrations "for security." Fear of
the Central Intelligence Organization--Mugabe's Gestapo--permeates almost
every sector of society. Even the country's indomitable band of independent
journalists moves with caution. One friend who writes for Harare's excellent
Financial Gazette covered his mouth while talking in a local fast-food
joint. General shop closures meant the greasy Chicken Hut restaurant was the
only choice for dinner the evening after the election--enjoyed with warm
Cokes and no ketchup due to nationwide commodity shortages: "I would take
you back to my house to eat but I don't want my neighbors asking questions
about 'who was that murungu [white man]'?'"
With Mugabe embarking on another five-year term, a general resignation has
set in as people return to the Sisyphean task of trying to pay rent and buy
food amidst 9,000,000-percent inflation. Enterprising hustlers have taken to
the street at night selling contraband cooking oil and milk. For years,
analysts have predicted that the economy will simply collapse--while
Zimbabweans lumber on like war-weary soldiers. People ask, "How much
The surge of optimism that accompanied the MDC's March win has been
ruthlessly crushed by the president. Mugabe looked shaky in the poll's
aftermath, refusing to give his customary anti-Western speeches and
shrinking away from public appearances. But the old swagger is back. His
spokesman George Charamba recently told critics to "go hang."
Mugabe is fast losing his international cache. For the first time ever in
Zimbabwe, the regional SADC observer group declared Mugabe's election was
not "free and fair"--an act unthinkable but six months ago. Neighboring
Botswana has taken the bold step of not recognizing him as president. And
even South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) party has successful
pressured the Old Man--as Mugabe is now known pejoratively in Zimbabwe--to
publicly agree to talks with the MDC for the first time.
But these international developments have yet to trickle down to most
Zimbabweans. Earlier this month, Simon returned to his farm to find his
livestock and equipment intact. "We were fortunate," he says. "I hope the
worst is over, but I'm worried for the future." Two of his neighbors were
less lucky: Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth, his son-in-law, also had their
farms invaded. They were due to go to the regional Southern Africa court in
mid-July in Namibia to appeal against the government's seizure of their farm
a few years ago. As a result, the war vets abducted them, pummeling their
bodies and dumping them on a rural dirt road. "It was definitely political,"
Simon says. "You've got to keep a low profile."
In the last week, a strange tranquility has returned to the country, belying
a queasy anticipation of what may come. People are fearful of what Mugabe
might do next, but seem more concerned with the trade sanctions currently
being threatened by the international community. The economy continues to
burrow underground; a new currency reissue is expected soon to knock the
zeros off increasingly surreal banknotes. While the outside world debates
what to do about its future, Zimbabwe is more uncertain than ever.
Christopher Thompson is a freelance journalist based in Paris. He was a
correspondent for Reuters in southern Africa from 2006 to 2007.
Monday, 14 July 2008
The rejection by the United Nations Security Council of a resolution to
impose sanctions on Robert Mugabe's regime leaves us in the worst of all
worlds. The international community looks divided and irresolute over the
crisis in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, Mr Mugabe himself has been able to hail the
failed resolution as a personal triumph and a defeat for "international
The resolution's failure certainly overshadows the fact that several of Mr
Mugabe's neighbouring states are refusing to recognise him as president; an
unprecedented rupture of the informal rule that African governments do not
turn on their own. And it weakens the position of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change in its negotiations with Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
The thwarted resolution feels like a return to square one.
Russia and China vetoed the resolution at the Security Council meeting in
New York, arguing that Zimbabwe poses no threat to international security.
The US says Russia's behaviour brings into question its reliability as a G8
partner. Our own government, which sponsored the motion along with
Washington, says the vetoes are "incomprehensible". Actually, the result was
only too comprehensible. Russia and China have a long history of vetoing
resolutions against nations that confine their abuses to their own borders.
It was a diplomatic blunder for Britain and the US to force a vote on this
resolution without being reasonably sure of a positive result. If its
passage could not be guaranteed, it should never have been put forward. The
US and UK seem to have misread Russia's acquiescence in last week's G8
summit communiqué, which said that "steps should be taken, including
financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for
violence" in Zimbabwe. Britain and America thought this meant sanctions.
Russia, evidently, did not. But while the vetoes of Russia and China might
be explained away as a last-minute betrayal, the no vote of South Africa,
one of the non-permanent members of the Security Council, points to a
broader failure to prepare the ground. The British Foreign Minister for
Africa and former UN diplomat, Mark Malloch-Brown, has described the
resolution as a "high-stakes gamble". But, in diplomacy, gambling tends to
be unwise. And when the result affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of
Zimbabweans, it begins to look positively irresponsible.
Yet though the execution was appalling, the intention was sound. South
Africa argues that sanctions would interfere with the negotiations in
Zimbabwe and risk provoking a civil war. This is wrong. The UN should be
unequivocally backing the MDC in these power-sharing talks through the
threat of sanctions. An arms embargo and an international travel ban on the
country's ruling clique would have helped to force Mr Mugabe to meet the
What is the alternative? The "quiet diplomacy" of the South African
president, Thabo Mbeki, over the past eight years has failed. There is no
reason to believe it will start to bear fruit now. As for Mr Mbeki's fear of
a civil war in South Africa's northern neighbour, he needs to take a closer
look at how the political opposition is being terrorised by Mr Mugabe's
thugs. The conflict is already spiralling out of control.
Russia and China are also wrong to argue that what is happening in Zimbabwe
should be treated as an internal matter. This is merely an excuse for
turning a blind eye to the horror that Mr Mugabe is inflicting on his own
people. After last week's shambles, the international pressure for this
blood-soaked tyrant to step down needs to be redoubled, not eased.
Posted July 13, 2008 | 08:06 PM (EST)
The vetoed sanctions resolution against Zimbabwe at the UN Security Council
on Friday has exposed the fault lines of international tensions than divide
the West from Africa, Russia from the West and the United States from South
The surprise Chinese and Russian vetoes provoked sharp words in the usually
staid Security Council as tensions broke out into the open. U.S. Ambassador
Zalmay Khalilzad publicly bashed South Africa as the main culprit in the
failed Anglo-American bid to punish Robert Mugabe and his cronies with
sanctions on travel, finances and arms.
Unprompted, he told reporters: "I want to say a word or two about the
performance of South Africa." In diplomatic parlance critiquing another
nation's' "performance" is fighting words.
"It was particularly disturbing," Khalilzad said, "given the history of
South Africa ... where international sanctions played an important role in
encouraging transformation [from apartheid] for its representative to be
protecting the horrible regime in Zimbabwe."
He dismissed the South African argument that sanctions would derail talks in
Pretoria between Mugabe's Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). Khalilzad proclaimed: "There isn't anything serious going on
in terms of the negotiations. The South African effort, President Mbeki's
effort so far, has been a failure."
Mugabe stole the presidential election and has refused to seat the
parliament because MDC won a majority back in March. The MDC boycotted the
presidential run-off after state violence killed dozens of MDC supporters.
Khalilzad praised ANC President Jacob Zuma and retired Archbishop Desmond
Tutu's criticism of Mugabe. That was a slap in the face of Mbeki, whom
Khalilzad said is "out of touch with the trends inside his own country and
that is a source of disappointment given the history of South Africa." He
accused Mbeki of "protecting Mr. Mugabe, and ... working hand in glove with
him at times while he, Mugabe, uses violent means to fragment and weaken the
Dumisani Kumalo, South African ambassador, told the Security Council that
the African Union summit meeting two weeks ago had decided against "any
action that may negatively impact on the climate for dialogue." Therefore
South Africa joined Russia, China, Vietnam and Libya in voting no, he said.
Nine countries voted in favor. Indonesia abstained.
Marian L. Tupy, an analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington, told me the
outburst by Khalilzad symbolized a crisis in US-South African relations.
"It is common knowledge inside the United States that relations with South
Africa are at their very lowest ebb," Tupy said. "There is no love lost
between these two countries. It is not just because of George Bush, but
because South Africa has never missed an opportunity to contradict and
accuse the United States--which did so much to help end apartheid--of
wishing Africa ill."
The failure of African leaders so far to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis has
given the West an opening to intervene, according to Emira Woods, an African
specialist at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington.
"I still think the solution will have to come out of an African context,"
Woods told me, but it will have to happen without the pressure of
international sanctions on Mugabe.
Woods predicted he wouldn't walk away from the negotiating table, even after
this victory over UN sanctions, because Mugabe is keenly aware of the coming
international arrest warrant on Monday for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan
on charges of genocide. That acts as a sanctions substitute, she said.
"Had the sanctions been put forward by anyone other than the U.S. and the
UK" Africa may have backed them and put pressure on Mugabe, said Woods.
But the legacy of colonialism has made it difficult for African leaders to
recognize that their own leaders, as well as colonial ones, can be
oppressive, Tupy said.
Boniface Chidyausiku, Zimbabwean envoy to the UN, blamed his country's
economic crisis on existing American and European sanctions, which he called
"basically an expression of imperialist conquest." Zimbabwe sees the issue
as a bilateral fight with the UK, which tried to drag the UN into the fray.
An exultant Chidyausiku said after the vote: "The American ambassador was
boasting about having nine votes and he is a very disappointed man tonight.
It's the arrogance of the Americans to think they can rule the world and
they cannot." Zimbabwe was still winning the war of independence against
Britain, Chidyausiku said.
Zimbabwe's information minister hailed nations that had blocked
"international racism disguised as multilateral action at the UN."
Outside the Security Council on Friday I asked Khalilzad whether
colonialism's legacy had complicated the U.S. effort to address the Zimbabwe
crisis with targeted UN sanctions.
"Of course history has not been a friend to the people of Africa, but you've
got to get on, make progress ... and you can't be forever held down by
reference to the history of colonialism," Khalilzad told me. "There almost
is a sense of deficit of expectation from local leaders."
Khalilzad also repeated the myth that America is an anti-colonial country
because it overthrew British imperial rule. Since around 1898 and in the
post-WWII period the US has certainly not been anti-colonial. Still, there
are no demonstrable US economic interests in Zimbabwe. Britain has been
incensed since white farmers were usurped since 1995 in a program that has
not greatly benefited the Zimbabwean economy.
It should be possible to agree with the the U.S. and UK on punishing the
Mugabe dictatorship, while also criticizing US and British actions in Iraq
Tupy said Africa's concept of victimhood and blaming the West was on trial
in Zimbabwe. "Many African countries are run as badly, if not worse than
Zimbabwe, and these leaders have even less legitimacy than Robert Mugabe,"
he said. "To speak out against him would undermine their own legitimacy to
To admit that African leaders themselves are responsible for many of the
continent's troubles could undermine the rationale for international aid and
debt relief to continue, Tupy said.
As a Security Council issue, Zimbabwe has suddenly impacted bilateral
relations between the major powers far from Africa. .
The veto by Russian incensed the Americans and British because Russia had
agreed to a G-8 summit communiqué in Japan last week to take "further steps,
inter alia introducing financial and other measures against those
individuals responsible for violence."
"The U-turn in the Russian position is particularly surprising and
disturbing," Khalilzad said in the council chamber. "The Russian performance
here today raises questions about its reliability as a G8 partner."
British Ambassador John Sawers said: "Russia's action is, frankly,
"There were indications that China and Russia would not go along because of
pressure from South Africa," Woods told me. "The signals from Mbeki and
other African leaders during that G8 meeting did not make it clear that the
resolution would pass."
It was a bold step for Moscow and China to take for the sake of keeping the
Pretoria talks going, some diplomats said.
But both countries were also acting to prevent a council precedent. The UN
Charter's taboo on interference in a nation's internal affairs has been
eroded since council intervention in civil wars in Rwanda, Somalia and
Bosnia last decade and more recently in Kosovo.
This resolution would have represented the first time the Security Council
weighed in on a matter involving elections results of a sovereign state.
Russia may also have been reacting to the US missile defense deal with the
Czech Republic the day before that prompted a threat from Moscow. There are
also ongoing US-Russian and Russian-UK tensions in energy-rich Central Asia.
With the Beijing Olympics to open soon many diplomats believed China
wouldn't risk angering the West with a veto. But China's growing commercial
interests in Africa have increased its assertiveness on the continent and
its reluctance to criticize African trading partners.
According to the BBC, China has gone so far as to violate a UN arms embargo
on Sudan to supply the government in its genocidal war in Darfur.
The U.S. and British vowed to bring Zimbabwe sanctions back to the Security
Council in due course. In the meantime, Africa has bought itself time to
show the world it can indeed put its own house in order by solving the
Zimbabwe crisis without outside interference.
July 14, 2008
By Garikai Chimuka
THE widely-circulated and misnamed so-called," Saving Zimbabwe, An Agenda
for Democratic Peace" presumably co-authored by the Human Sciences Research
Council of South Africa and the Africa Policy Institute exposes a serious
lack of critical analysis that makes a mockery of the intellectual integrity
So flawed are some of its conclusions including the assertion that there is
low-intensity civil war in Zimbabwe. Its over-reliance on Zanu-PF propaganda
mouthpieces like The Herald, Zanu-PF-aligned political analysts like Joseph
Kurebwa and its clear bias towards Zanu-PF including the assertion that
returning kids of the murderous regime elements from Western universities,
is tantamount to violating their human rights is shocking. In short, any
intellectual worth his salt is persuaded to conclude that the garbage
packaged as a report is clearly the work of the Zimbabwe Central
Intelligence Organization (CIO) in cahoots with the South African President's
In particular, the so-called report raises alarm when it claims that there
is a low-intensity civil war in Zimbabwe. It shockingly, without any
evidence other than Zanu-PF propaganda from The Herald, concludes that the
MDC is now retaliating against Zanu-PF through what it calls the
establishment of Democratic Resistance Committees (DRC). However, for anyone
who is clearly aware of the Zimbabwean reality today, this is just an
attempt to give Zanu-PF ammunition to justify their murderous campaign
against an unarmed populace whose crime was to vote for the MDC in March
The so-called DRC are clearly non-existent but the imagination of the
Zanu-PF mouthpiece, The Herald and Police Commissioner, Chihuri. The reality
is that what is happening in Zimbabwe is a war against the people by the
security forces, Zanu-PF militia and the CIO and the so-called war veterans.
How can the Research Council claim that MDC is now organizing retaliations
when all its structures from village level have been decimated? Who will
organize the non-existent DRCs when the whole MDC leadership is on the run
or in hiding? This is what is called low level genocide and not civil war.
It is fundamentally embarrassing for a so called Research Council to fail to
grasp such a simple fact.
It is Zanu-PF that has the weapons, the state machinery and the
institutional memory of violence inherited from the liberation armed
struggle. The violence in Zimbabwe is one- sided and specifically targeted
at all the areas where Zanu-PF lost in the March elections. As a Research
Council, one would have expected the authors of the dubious report to verify
their facts before making sensational allegations that have no substance.
Any self- respecting Research Council that relies on crude and raw
propaganda from such sources as The Herald without making efforts to verify
that information has clearly lost the legitimacy to claim the status of a
The so-called Human Sciences Research Council must be careful not to
unwittingly make itself an accomplice in the horrific genocide that is now
taking place in Zimbabwe. In its analysis, particularly about the internal
Zimbabwean politics, it relies heavily on discredited political analysts
like Kurebwa who is a Zanu-PF cadre and strategist. One of the cardinal
principles of research which is even appreciated by an average first year
university student is the need to incorporate divergent views. To this end,
the so-called Human Sciences Research Council should have also solicited the
views of respected political analysts like John Makumbe who has written
widely about the Zimbabwean crisis rather than using Kurebwa as if he is the
only one with monopoly over political analysis in Zimbabwe.
In contemporary democratic society, civil society plays a fundamental role
in promoting democracy and good governance as well as promoting peace. It is
clearly laughable to realize that no views of the civil society that is in
the trenches in Zimbabwe like the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
Woman of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu),
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) were
ever sought. Surely any research council that ignores civil society in
penning an agenda of democratic peace in the 21st century clearly exposes
that it is led by people suffering from policy kwashiorkor.
The report is also a waste of vital space which concentrating on
trivialities .It actually reveals its Zanu-PF parentage by campaigning for
the lifting of educational sanctions against kids of the regime as done by
Australia. It mourns that banishing these kids from Universities in the west
is tantamount to violating their rights. This is clearly absurd. Instead of
articulating the rights of many Zimbabwean students who can no longer afford
to go to school as a result of mismanagement by Zanu-PF and violence on
teachers who have fled schools, the report mourns the right of Zanu-PF
murderers to have their kids in Australia.
Zanu-PF has been preaching day and night that the west is racist; so why
should they expose their kids to racism in the West when there are so many
universities in Africa, China and Malasyia? Is it not because they destroyed
education in Zimbabwe and do not have confidence in African and Chinese
Universities? Why then are they deriding Morgan Tsvangirai for seeking
refugee at the Dutch instead of an African embassy when they are actually
crying to have their kids remain in Europe and not in Universities in
Africa? Is it not the Zanu-PF double standards which escape the researchers
of the report?
Why did the researchers not concentrate on real issues like the plight of
thousands of young woman that are being raped and held as sex slaves at
militia bases that have been created by the Mugabe regime? To the
researchers, these young women who are being gang raped and infected with
AIDS are not important and have no rights. To the researchers, the rights of
these thousands of women who are being violated are lesser than the rights
of Zanu-PF kids to be in Universities in the West. What rank madness has
gripped some of these research councils?
In conclusion, it is important to say that institutions of research must
uphold the cardinal principles of pecuniary transparency and accountability
as well as ethics rather than shamefully allowing themselves to be used in
advancing the agenda of a rogue regime. Without a shadow of doubt, the
report should be entitled, "Destroying Zimbabwe, an Agenda for Mugabe and
(Garikai Agenda Chimuka writes from the Netherlands.)
July 14, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - While a storm was still raging over his controversial public
defense on Friday, of President Robert Mugabe's violence-ridden re-election,
Tsholotsho North legislator Jonathan Moyo went back on the warpath Saturday.
Moyo fired a fresh salvo, this time criticizing three Western powers for
sponsoring the draft resolution to impose sanctions on Mugabe and 13 of his
The draft resolution, which has since been vetoed by China and Russia, was
supported by nine members of the 15 member Council, 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, and both China and Russia voted against.
The resolution would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and financial
and travel restrictions on President Mugabe and 13 of his top officials.
But Moyo just fell short of spelling out details of his ambition to be
accepted by Mugabe again when he launched a stinging attack on the US, Great
Britain and France for their attempt on Friday to push through the blocked
Moyo says the resolution strayed from its ostensible attempt to punish
alleged perpetrators of Zimbabwe political violence between March 29 and
He says the "sinister resolution" instead sought to reverse Zimbabwe's
controversial land reform programme which peaked between 2000 and 2005.
"I am pleased that the United States, British, and French sponsored
sanctions resolution against Zimbabwe was rejected yesterday," Moyo told The
Zimbabwe Times Saturday.
"It has an amazing foot-note which tells the correct story about the real
reason for this resolution and the real reason has to do with land.
Moyo argues, "One of the 14 individuals mentioned in the resolution is
Joseph Made and under his name it is alleged that the offence he committed
was to destroy agriculture in Zimbabwe.
"The scandalous inclusion of Joseph Made's name among the 14 individuals
targeted for committing violence between the 29th of March and the 27th of
June is sinister.
"Now to suggest that Joseph Made has destroyed agriculture in Zimbabwe in
those three months is not only preposterous but very idiotic. One would have
to be an idiot to suggest that."
In fact, the remark against Made's name on the Security Council draft
resolution is: "Member of Government complicit in forming or directing
oppressive state policy."
He shared the same charge as Defence Minister, Sidney Sekeramayi and Mugabe's
official spokesman, George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the Ministry
"That is why nationalist minded Zimbabweans can never ever be associated
with that kind of a scheme. And that's why we believe that Britain, United
States and France failed to hoodwink the other members of the Security
"It seeks to reverse the land reform programme by hiding its purpose behind
the disputed presidential election so that the British can have their own
president outside the Zimbabweans electoral process who will correct the
alleged Joseph Made destruction of the land reform programme in Zimbabwe,"
Moyo said in apparent reference to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"The question is on what basis and what for. The March election never
yielded any results as far as the presidential elections are concerned.
The result of the March 29 election presidential election was that Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC secured 47,9 percent of the vote with Mugabe
winning 42,3 percent. Former finance minister Simba Makoni trailed behind
with eight percent.
There is widespread speculation that the controversial legislator is laying
the ground-work for re-entry into government in his former position as
minister of information and publicity in Mugabe's impending cabinet.
Moyo's previous performance in this portfolio, characterised by a virulent
onslaught on the independent press and his penchant for incessant
tongue-lashing at perceived enemies, earned him the distinction of being one
of Zimbabwe's most unpopular politicians.
Moyo says Made was Minister of Agriculture only between 2000 and 2005 and
that it is not correct to assume agriculture in Zimbabwe has been destroyed.
Instead, he says, there has been a radical transformation of land tenure in
"There is a difference between destroying agriculture and transforming land
tenure. Land tenure has been transformed from colonial land tenure to an
independence land tenure and agriculture which can neither be destroyed nor
"There are very serious challenges over the current levels of land
utilization in Zimbabwe. The mechanization programme is supposed to address
"Those problems will never be addressed and have never been addressed
anywhere else in the world overnight. So the question of destroying
agriculture in Zimbabwe is foolish and false.
"What has happened is the radical change of that land ownership from the
former white farmers to the current black majority which has annoyed the
British because among the affected people are members of the British
aristocracy who in turn are using their position of power in Britain to
influence their government and in turn their government is using the
influence the American government which in turn is using influence to
influence other members of the United Nations and the Security Council
including the French who are making this kind of noise for the first time."
Moyo denied claims his vitriol towards the West was a case of sour grapes
following his inclusion on the sanctions list.
"It's not correct to say I am bitter," he said, "I left government in 2005.
"I have never expressed any bitterness over the fact that my name has
remained on those European and American and Australian and Canadian
sanctions lists. I have no business in those countries."
He said, "Those countries have a right to dictate their politics in as much
as Zimbabweans have a right to dictate their own politics. We do not
begrudge them because it's their national policies. But they have no right
to transform their national policies into international policies at the
United Nations, absolutely no right.
"That is why I am pleased with their failure at the United Nations. I
respect their rights to make their own laws and to the extent that they don't
want me to visit their countries, I have no problem and I am not going to do
anything to overturn that so that I can be allowed to visit the United
Kingdom. I have no business in the United Kingdom."
Moyo, a former university lecturer turned politician, was sacked from
government and Zanu PF in 2005 after standing as an independent candidate in
that year's general elections.
He has earned the wrath of many Zimbabweans by constantly flip-flopping
between being a relentless critic of President Mugabe and his fierce
A former ruthless critic of Mugabe in the early 1990s Moyo left Zimbabwe to
live in Kenya where he worked for the American organisation, the Ford
Foundation. He suddenly left the organisation amid allegations of financial
impropriety. He then secured a position at Witwatersrand University. Again
he left amid allegations that he failed to account properly for funds.
He then suddenly returned to Zimbabwe, where he was appointed as official
spokesman for the constitutional reform programme that culminated in the
Constitutional Referendum of February 2000. The electorate rejected the
proposed constitution in what became Mugabe's first taste of electoral
defeat. Mugabe offered Moyo the post of Minister of Information in a new
government formed following the controversial and violence-ridden 2000
A ruthlessly ambitious politician, Moyo served Mugabe with loyalty and
dedication until they parted ways in acrimony in December 2004. He stood for
Parliament in 2005 as an independent and won the seat for Tsholotsho
He immediately reverted to his former role as harsh critic of the Mugabe
regime. That was until he publicly embraced Mugabe again last Friday, while
denouncing the MDC leader, Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai facilitated Moyo's
electoral victory by agreeing not to nominate an MDC candidate to challenge
him in the election.
July 14, 2008
By Geoffrey Nyarota
ON Election Day in March 2005, an online newspaper published an interview
conducted by the website with Zimbabwe's mercurial and exceedingly
egocentric politician, Professor Jonathan Nathaniel Moyo.
He was one of the candidates standing for election that day, having secured
nomination for the constituency of Tsholotsho North.
The highlight of the highly partisan interview on the NewZimbabwe.com
website was the revelation by Prof Moyo that he was working on the
manuscript of a tell-all book that was guaranteed to bring President Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party down to their knees at long last.
My own severely damaged faith in Moyo was somewhat restored.
Coming from the acerbic pen of Prof Moyo it was fairly likely that the book
would indeed be a best-seller, as suggested by Moyo's interviewer. The
fortunes of the book would, of course, depend on how much Moyo was prepared
to disclose of the highlights of his association with one of the world's
longest reigning dictators. Another crucial factor would be whether the book
eventually appeared in the book shops before or after the death of its major
target - Mugabe.
That being so, it was still presumptuous that the so-called publishing
industry experts who were quoted in the article, assuming any were ever
consulted, would declare a book a best-seller before they had even seen the
In a related matter it is to be assumed that the long silence of once fiery
politician, Enos Nkala, is an indication that he is burning the midnight oil
while working on the manuscript of his own long-promised book. Nkala has
disappointed many by stipulating that his book will be published after he
dies. He is 75 years old and this condition could entail a long wait.
As I write today I feel cheated, as well as both dismayed and disappointed,
and I believe I speak on behalf of thousands of my much maligned
compatriots. Far from launching the best-seller with potential to demolish
the long-standing tormentors of the people of Zimbabwe - Mugabe and
Zanu-PF - Moyo last Friday held journalists spell-bound in the esoteric
ambiance of Harare's Quill Club. Far from doing anything even remotely
resembling a quest to demolish Mugabe, Moyo not only extolled the virtues of
the President; he also threatened to rejoin Zanu-PF any time now.
But I believe it would be right and proper to remind Moyo that before he
resumes his seat on the Zanu-PF gravy-train, assuming that is indeed his
plan and that they will accept him, he still has a major task to accomplish
in the national interest - that is to deliver the long promised best-seller.
A mere update on the progress of the manuscript would allay the anxiety of
Excerpts from the interview with Moyo that appeared on the NewZimbabwe.com
website are worth capturing in full:
"Professor Jonathan Moyo, the mercurial former propaganda chief for
President Robert Mugabe is putting pen to paper to write his memoirs about
life as the 81-year-old despot's spokesman", NewZimbabwe.com can reveal.
"In an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Moyo also reveals he will
never rejoin Zanu-PF. He warns the ruling party is headed for disintegration
within the next 36 months.
"The seeds of disintegration were sown for Zanu-PF during congress in
November last year. They will be germinated in the parliamentary elections
and harvested at the presidential elections."
Moyo spoke with uncanny premonition. Even though he did not know at the time
that the parliamentary election would be brought forward by two years
through Constitutional Amendment N0 18, both Mugabe and Zanu-PF were
virtually annihilated exactly 36 months later on March 29, 2008.
Paradoxically, the man whose party was largely instrumental in the
disintegration of Mugabe and Zanu-PF was the same Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC
leader, whom Moyo excoriated on Friday for ineptitude and total loss of
political direction. So effectively did Tsvangirai derail Mugabe's
presidency that the later had to resort to subterfuge, intimidation and
violence to recover lost political ground. He withheld announcement of the
presidential election result while allegedly manipulating the poll result
for five weeks. He unleashed an orgy of violence totally unprecedented
before, except in Matabeleland during the Gukurahundi campaign. He subjected
his rival to a campaign of harassment, including five arrests. He banned his
election campaign rallies. Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw from the
It was only after he rendered it impossible to lose an election in which he
was the solitary candidate that Mugabe finally managed to secure, on June
27, the "landslide" victory for which Moyo gratuitously hailed him last
Back in March 2005 Moyo said he was confident he would finish writing his
memoirs "within the next six months" and that he would highlight his five
years as Mugabe's image maker. The manuscript would have gone to the
printers around September or October of 2005.
"My experiences in government certainly do require something like that
(memoirs)," he told NewZimbabwe.com editor Mduduzi Mathuthu. "There are so
many questions, so many things that people want answers to, and to just quit
and do nothing would be unfair."
Judging from his obsequious utterances last Friday, it would appear Moyo has
chosen to be "unfair" after all. Back then Mathuthu asked Moyo if he was not
concerned about the prospect of arrest by a fearful regime eager to guard
its innermost secrets.
Moyo immediately retorted: "If I am jailed, I will write the book from
Powerful statement that, and Zimbabwe has held its collective breath since
then. That was until Moyo's sudden equivocation last Friday. He obviously
believes or hopes we have all forgotten.
In an article he subsequently penned, Moyo explained the circumstances
surrounding his departure from Zanu-PF.
"I did what I did in pursuit of a principle that I saw being compromised by
Robert Mugabe and his old guard cronies on November 18, 2004 when a
boardroom coup, instigated by a tribal clique, took place in the party to
impose Joyce Mujuru to the vice presidency.
"I am writing a book about this and other issues, and George Charamba,
Robert Mugabe's irresponsible and reckless wordsmith, who regularly violates
his civil servant oath and obligations by writing the Nathaniel Manheru
column in the Herald, can go to hell if he thinks I am concerned about his
threat that the book I am writing will send me to Chikurubi. Nothing will
stop me from telling the truth as I know and experienced it."
Not only did Charamba inherit the pen-name Nathaniel Manheru from Jonathan
Moyo, he proved beyond reasonable doubt in Egypt recently that he was a
dedicated student of Moyo as well. He told the Western world to go "and hang
a thousand times".
But to go back to Moyo's article, he wrote:
"Those who have expressed foolish wonder as to why I am now attacking
Zanu-PF, Mugabe and government either missed the election campaign or they
are just being plain silly because they are quickly forgetting that Mugabe
and Zanu-PF were my electoral opponents during the election campaign and I
defeated them. Only a fool would now expect me not to criticize Mugabe and
his Zanu-PF government when they make mistakes of the kind they are making.
My moral authority to criticize Zanu PF, Mugabe and his government comes
from the electorate.
"The fact that I was in Zanu-PF and its government between July 2000 and
February 2005 is now history as I am no longer with them and there is no
chance whatsoever of going back to them, not least because Zanu-PF is a now
a shelf party desperately trying to survive sunset."
In Prof Moyo's world of erudition everybody who is not himself is either
silly or a fool - or both. His pen was not only poisonous that eventful
year; it was also prolific, and - judging by his reliance on it - no doubt
perceived by Moyo himself to be mightier than the sword or the bullet. Now
this supposed paragon of democratic principles declares with reckless
abandon that the bullet is mightier than the ballot.
He waxed lyrical in another article:
"Perennial wisdom from divine revelation and human experience dictates that
all earthly things great or small, beautiful or ugly, good or bad, sad or
happy, foolish or wise must finally come to an end. It is from this sobering
reality that the end of executive rule has finally come for Robert Mugabe
who has had his better days after a quarter of a century in power.
"That Mugabe must now go is thus no longer a dismissible opposition slogan
but a strategic necessity that desperately needs urgent legal and
constitutional action by Mugabe himself well ahead of the presidential
election scheduled for March 2008 in order to safeguard Zimbabwe's national
interest, security and sovereignty.
"One does not need to be a malcontent to see that, after 25 years of
controversial rule and with the economy melting down as a direct result of
that rule, Mugabe's continued stay in office has become such an excessive
burden to the welfare of the state and such a fatal danger to the public
interest of Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora that each day that goes
by with him in office leaves the nation's survival at great risk while
seriously compromising national sovereignty."
That was three years ago. The presidential election of March 2008 has since
come and gone with dramatic, if not catastrophic, results. Mugabe lost the
election and soon afterwards, riding over the bodies of more than 100
innocent Zimbabweans, he ruthlessly but effectively reversed the result and
achieved a "landslide" victory over his cowed but courageous rival,
Mugabe prompted Moyo to declare with pride last Friday that where those who
campaigned for the liberation of former colonial territories were concerned,
the bullet was mightier than the ballot. Mugabe and Moyo thus caused
thousands of their compatriots to shake their puzzled heads in total
disbelief, while wondering what evil spirit had seized these former fighters
for freedom and justice.
Back in 2005 Moyo declared in yet another interview:
"I am standing as an independent candidate in Tsholotsho as a statement
against tribalism, against the politics of patronage, against the
personalization of national unity by an increasingly selfish, arrogant and
unaccountable old guard and for sovereignty, democracy and development at
local, provincial and national levels."
Moyo carefully refrained last Friday from explaining what had since changed.
Moyo is himself not averse to personalization of national issues when it
suits him. Before his unceremonious departure from Zanu-PF, Moyo updated his
11-page CV and submitted it to the Zanu-PF National Election Directorate,
which at the time was vetting candidates ahead of the 2005 elections.
"My father is late," lamented Moyo in the document. "He was killed in 1983
in Tsholotsho in a tragic encounter with elements of the Zimbabwe National
Army who took his life during Zimbabwe's post-independence dark period
generally referred to as the Gukurahundi Era."
This intimation, however, fell short of swaying the said directorate to
approve his candidature, notwithstanding his claim of credit for Mugabe's
controversial and much challenged 2002 victory over Tsvangirai.
Mugabe's critics attributed that particular victory and the electoral
success of Zanu-PF in 2000 to outright poll rigging, wholesale intimidation
and brutal violence against opposition supporters as well as to denying the
MDC access to the public media. That manipulation of the media is, of
course, directly attributable to Moyo.
"I grew up in and within Zanu-PF politics," Moyo declared in the
much-embellished CV. "I have not known any other politics and, as a matter
of fact, I have never been part of or associated with any opposition party
in post-independence Zimbabwe."
If his latest strategy to hoodwink the geriatric leadership of Zanu-PF
succeeds they will soon be shrugging their shoulders and sighing together
over the return of their prodigal son.
But then Moyo must first contend with the veritable challenge of one Bright
Matonga, the deputy Minister of Information, who seems to have gone to
amazing lengths, including conjugal, to secure the same cabinet post.
13 July 2008
By Makusha Mugabe
What has been described by The Zimbabwetimes as a political bombshell -
Professor Jonathan Moyo's return to Zanu (PF) and criticising of Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) President Morgan Tsvangirai, is no bombshell at
all - only the ranting of a desperate political prostitute looking for
Jonathan Moyo knows that he has no future in MDC because its members do not
forgive him for the irreparable damage he did through his intellectual
justification for creating an environment in which democratic opposition was
How A Professor Turns Into A Greenbomber
Zanu (PF) had given him a lifeline following his fall-out with the Ford
Foundation and he threw himself headlong into building its propaganda
machinery - abandoning all his criticism of Zanu (PF) in order to join
Mugabe's government as Minister of Information.
But when he became too ambitious, failed to carry out his Tsholotsho
mission, was exposed, and thrown out of Zanu (PF), he reverted back to being
an a critic of Mugabe in the hope of gaining acceptance in the opposition
The MDC saw through his designs and denied him the chance, but tactically
did not put up a candidate to challenge him in his his Tsholotsho seat.
Now Zanu PF is desperate again for an ideology as international consensus is
building up against it at the UN and in Africa, he has cut another deal with
the devil to destroy the people's President by re-running the "Morgan
Tsvangirai lacks leadership qualities lines" that have previously failed to
diminish his stature.
And to show his ever-changing colours, maybe his true colours, Moyo is now
fiercely defending the legitimacy of Robert Mugabe's victory in a one-man
election that came after he had battered the opposition into withdrawing.
The intellectual in Professor Moyo seems to have fled as he seeks to justify
that, since more people had died in the 1985 election, Morgan Tsvangirai
should have allowed his supporters, polling agents and candidates to go to
polling stations and be killed by soldiers and militia deployed throughout
the country by Mugabe.
Besides the rumours that he has been offered his old job back in Mugabe's
government, Moyo must have been offered something even much bigger to cause
him to lose his senses so much as to suggest that decision-making in the MDC
is now with fund raisers, Strive Masiyiwa and Roy Bennett, without offering
a shred of evidence.
Which decisions were made by Masiyiwa and Bennett?
Readers will be aware that at the time that the decision to pull out was
made, the MDC was divided on the issue. Roy Bennett actually issued a
statement saying that the MDC was not pulling out.
He was only convinced when the MDC Council met and received reports from the
field about how extensively the military had been deployed, which would have
made it impossible for election officials to be deployed.
Roy Benett lost his farm and is unlikely to fund the MDC, except through
funds raised by members as he is the treasurer general. It is a well-known
fact that the MDC has extensive structures in the diapora which raise funds
for it. If Masiwa also donates, it is his right as a citizen.
Just as Moyo is free to rejoin Zanu-PF, and within his hypocritical right to
do so, but he should not harbour such delusions as to believe that
Zimbabweans will just believe anything he says.
Now he says the West is displaying "too much fascination with Zimbabwe's
internal politics" as if he had a gun held to his head. His brief obviously
has to do with whipping up African nationalism and pit Africa against the
Western critics of Mugabe in an attempt to ward off the sanctions .
He even suggests that the MDC should not talk about the people who are being
killed, as if it was quite normal for people to be killed in elections in
But he really shows how loony he has gone by suggesting that, like Joshua
Nkomo, Tsvangirai must just "bury the hatchet" and go into a government of
national unity with Zanu-PF.
In fact the interview published by the Zimbabwetimes.com reads like the
usual cheap attempts by the CIO to pretend to know what is going on in the
MDC while at the same time suggesting that that Mugabe is legal and
legitimate and that he is the ideal candidate to lead a Government of
National Unity (GNU) between Zanu-PF and MDC.
"The question of the legal legitimacy of the President is a done deal and
also the need for a GNU is necessary. President Mugabe has the legal
legitimacy as Head of State," he said.
He also "startled" the Zimbabwetimes editors when he suggested that Mugabe's
legitimacy arouse from the fact that Tsvangirai entered the run-off race and
no one won the presidency outright on the 29th of March.
In fact Moyo was sounding more like a greenbomber than a professor when he
said it was important to make the pen permanent, but "when the pen risks
reversing the gains of the liberation struggle at a time when those who
fought for that liberation are still alive, you risk conflict.
"The gun was held by people who are still in charge of this country. It
makes logical sense the gun is more important than a pen. It's very
important to note that we are operating in a country whose background is
still dominated by people who liberated it.
"Britain is trying to use the pen to stake its political interests in our
country. If a former colonial power tries to take advantage of the pen it
certainly invites the gun. Where does Britain get the audacity to make
Zimbabwe its business.
"We can't have the EU saying we won't recognize a government led by so and
so but we will recognize a government led by so and so; on what basis?
"Each time the Americans and the British make noise about our politics, they
definitely annoy nationalist Zimbabweans," said Moyo who is a magnet for
journalists - journalists who we hope this time they will realise that they
are being led up the mind of a Professor who has turned himself into a
greenbomber - maybe for the same reason that greenbombers are killing
To cap it off Moyo said that he was "really impressed" by South African
President Thabo Mbeki's mediation, which he said helped avert a higher risk
of an all-out conflict in Zimbabwe.
"The person who helped calm down these emotions is Thabo Mbeki," Moyo said.
"He is playing a crucial role," he said, referring to the SA President who
allowed Mugabe to ride rough-shod over the opposition, abandon negotiations,
rig an election using violence, and now wants his Presidency to be
legitimised through a power-sharing agreement.- Change Zimbabwe.com.
Harare Tribune News
July 7, 2008 15:34
Zimbabwe, Harare--She has to call the young men her "comrades." She cooks food for the comrades and serves them. She sweeps the comrades' floor and cleans up after them. And whenever any of the comrades want sex, she is raped.
Asiatu, 21, is a prisoner of the comrades at a command base of the ruling ZANU-PF party, one of 900 such camps set up by the party to terrorize Zimbabweans into voting for Robert Mugabe in the one-man presidential runoff late last month and extending his 28-year rule. The election is over, but the terror isn't.
"I'm still at the base. I'm being raped by four or five men daily," she whispers, bursting into tears. "Any time they want, night or day. "To me, a comrade is a murderer, someone who's cruel." She has been at the base for about 10 weeks, ever since she was abducted in the middle of the night because her mother is a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. She has to stay most of each day and night at the base, a sex slave of the thuggish youth militias unleashed by the government.
The Times interviewed her during one of the several short daily periods she is allowed to leave the ZANU-PF base. When asked why she doesn't escape during that time, Asiatu gives a chilling explanation: "They promised me if I run away, my mother will be killed." A slight, pretty figure, about 5 feet tall, Asiatu wears a flowing black dress with splashes of red. Her braids are tied back by an extravagant puff of red tulle. Her eyes are sad and fearful. And she rarely smiles. She says she looked forward to the June 27 runoff and the result, assuming that she would be freed.
But with the election over and no sign of her imprisonment ending, she has lost hope. She is fearful she may be pregnant, and terrified she may have HIV/AIDS. She is the sole breadwinner in her family, earning some money selling vegetables, but has not been able to because she spends most of her time at the base. "I pray to God most of the time. I pray, 'You are the one who knows my future. Help me.
Stop this happening to me.' " A base commander who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity said that Mugabe had said the bases would continue to operate. Some in the ruling party say new operations are being planned. But the commander said that there was no government money to feed the youth militias at the bases and that supporting them had become difficult. That could be a problem for ZANU-PF: For most of the young shock troops, their main motivation is the hope of a quick dollar to feed their families, with food scarce and opportunities to get ahead almost nonexistent.
The camps were set up after ZANU-PF's defeat in the March 29 parliamentary and presidential elections. They provided a base from which to target the opposition and intimidate voters -- burning houses, displacing people and beating, maiming or killing activists. Kindergartens, schools and houses were commandeered for the bases. Some outposts, deep in the bush and modeled on the bases of Zimbabwe's liberation war, consist of nothing more than a piece of land with a tent, a desk and a chair for the commander, with several hundred militia fighters standing guard.
In most of the bases across the country, young women have been forced to cook for the youth militias, serve them and be their sex slaves, according to young women and men forced to attend the camps daily. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the June 27 runoff vote because of the violence. But Mugabe, who finished second to Tsvangirai in March, pushed ahead with the runoff despite international condemnation. He was declared the winner soon afterward and hastily inaugurated.
The MDC reports many cases of unwanted pregnancies among victims of rape. Written testimonies by victims show that many times women were raped because they or their close relatives were MDC activists. However, the party does not have a tally of how many rapes have been reported in the political violence.
Asiatu's ordeal began one afternoon when 35 ZANU-PF militia members came to her house because her mother is an MDC member. "I was eating and they kicked my food," she says. "They started beating me, saying I was an MDC member. They said I should be killed." Three days later they came at night and forced her to go to the base.
"I was just crying. I thought they wanted to kill me," she says. To protect her, The Times is not disclosing the location of the base. She does not go by the name Asiatu in her community. On her first day at the base, she says, she was severely beaten on her back, buttocks and the soles of her feet with wooden poles. "They said they should leave me to faint in order to satisfy their bosses. They said they were 'treating' me to make me a ZANU-PF member." After a week, the daily beatings stopped, but the rapes began.
Wiping tears from her eyes, she describes the first time: "Someone came and gave me a plate of sadza [the staple cornmeal porridge] and said, 'Go in that room with this plate of sadza.' And there was a man sleeping in bed and he raped me." There are three women at the base, she says. The number of militia members there has dropped to 11 from 50 before the election. There are political meetings at the base, with songs and slogans. "I just go to save my life. But I will never be ZANU-PF," Asiatu says.
She has hated ZANU-PF since her mother's younger sister was kidnapped and slain in political violence after 2000. Before the election, she says, she saw hundreds of people beaten at the base, about 10 to 50 people a day. She says she saw two MDC activists stoned to death. Militia members pelted the two with bricks and rocks, taking about three hours to kill the men. "They said, 'They are activists of the MDC, so they should be killed in order to kill the MDC.' " Elizabeth, 30, an MDC activist and vegetable seller, says she was raped at the same base before the election.
She says some militia members wore sacks or cardboard boxes on their heads to hide their faces. (Elizabeth also is not known by that name in her community.) As she was raped, militia members and other young women at the base sang songs taunting the opposition, such as, "Dig a hole and bury yourself, because your time has come." "It made it more terrifying. I didn't think I was going to survive," she says. Unlike Asiatu, she was not kept at the base as a sex slave, but raped as a punishment for her MDC loyalties.
She later reported the names of her assailants to the police, who arrested two men. But they were released two days later without charges. "Right now I fear they will come again," says Elizabeth, who has decided to drop out as an MDC activist. "I just want to live a quiet life. I'm just scared. But I'll still support the MDC." Despite everything, she still believes that, somehow, change is coming. She stares into midair, a slight smile curling her lips. She speaks in a dreamy voice, almost as if she can see it materializing in front of her. "I think it will come," she says. "I don't know when, but I know it will come one day."
Asiatu has given up believing in the possibility of her own freedom, yet she has not lost her belief that the country will somehow be transformed. "If the situation continues like this, the country will remain ashes," she says. But when she expresses her hopes, the fear seems to lift for a moment. Her voice is firm and clear: "There's going to be a change. I feel change coming." Then it is time to return to the base. -- Harare Tribune News
July 14, 2008
By Donwald Pressly
Cape Town - Retail companies in Zimbabwe with links to South Africa are
maintaining a business-as-usual approach as the political and economic
crisis in that country deepens, but the strategy of survival appears to be
to source products - including food items - locally.
Nando's group marketing director Paul Appleton said the business was
suffering "great difficulty" in Zimbabwe with all supply lines.
Speaking from London, he said supplies were sourced locally despite the
disruption of the agricultural sector.
Appleton said there needed to be "some degree" of political stability and
some indication where the country was heading politically. There also needed
to be monetary and fiscal control and measures put in place to fight
Without divulging figures, Appleton said Nando's business had been good in
recent months, despite the downturn in the economic fortunes of Zimbabwe.
"People like to treat themselves in these times," he said. Nando's, which
operated 17 restaurants in the country, was hoping for a positive outcome to
current efforts at resolving the crisis - "like any business", he said.
President Thabo Mbeki was involved in discussions at the weekend to try to
get Zimbabwe to form a national unity government between Zanu-PF, which has
been in power since 1980, and the Movement for Democratic Change's two
factions, which are led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
Tsvangirai's faction, the largest party in the country, described the talks
as being "talks about talks".
Clothing retailer Edcon Holdings' deputy chief executive, Mark Bower, said
through his spokesperson, Jennifer Cohen, that Edcon's financial investment
in Zimbabwe stores had been written off in 2003.
"Edcon donated 27 percent of its shareholding to an empowerment trust for
the benefit of the staff of Edgars Zimbabwe, leaving a 40 percent stake for
Edcon in the listed entity," Cohen said. "While there are no longer any
financial consequences for Edcon in this investment, we obviously have
significant concern for the wellbeing of our employees, our customers and
our good name."
Like all stores in Zimbabwe, the Edcon outlets were operating with very
limited stock, said Cohen. Clothing was made from local fabric.
Kevin Hedderwick, the chief operating officer of Famous Brands, said its
outlets in Zimbabwe were run by Inscor, a company listed there.
Raw material was sourced locally and the business "is quite
self-sufficient", though it had access to confidential recipes from South
"In Zimbabwe one cannot even dream that the quality on offer is going to
mirror what you are offered in South Africa," said Hedderwick.
Famous Brands had a total of eight stores in the capital, Harare, and
A plan to take Debonairs Pizza into the country was on hold, he said.
Pick n Pay spokesperson Tamra Veley noted that 25 percent of TM Supermarkets
in Zimbabwe was owned by Pick n Pay, the retail supermarket chain. The other
75 percent was owned by Kingdom Meikles Africa. "There are currently no
plans to change operations in Zimbabwe," she said.
"TM continues to trade under exceptionally difficult conditions. We continue
to support our colleagues and hope for political and economic stability in
the near future."
Pick n Pay had not received a dividend in close to four years. Last year,
Pick n Pay had written down the carrying value of its investment in TM by
R64 million to R9.1 million, reflecting the shortage of foreign exchange,
the low possibility of receiving dividends and the depreciating currency.
"In the current year we impaired our remaining investment in TM of R9.1
million," Veley said.
Engen chief executive Rashid Yusof said his business was expanding from
holding just three retail sites and an interest in a Zimbabwe company,
Noczim, which blended lubricants. Yusof said Engen had taken "a long view"
on Zimbabwe, considering its economic problems.
Engen - owned by the giant Malaysian state oil company Petronas and black
empowerment group World Wide Africa Investment Holdings - has announced that
it will have a 50 percent share, with BP, of about 200 retail outlets that
will be disposed of by Shell.
Reuters reports that a spokesperson for Royal Dutch Shell in Amsterdam said
on Friday that the decision to sell its Zimbabwe interests was made after a
study last year of the profitability of all downstream activities and was
not related to the country's political situation.
July 14, 2008
Deputy Minister Bright Matonga
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - One question has been doing the rounds of the Harare political
establishment of late while keeping journalists gripped in a frenzy of
speculation.Why has deputy Information Minister, Bright Matonga, suddenly
become such an avowed defender of President Robert Mugabe, while at the same
launching a virulent onslaught on western nations, especially the United
The secret is now out. Matonga's behaviour is linked to very personal
issues, pertaining to affairs of the heart.
Zimbabwe's acerbic junior Information minister has effectively ditched Anne
Pout, his British-born wife of 11 years, and married a rich businesswoman
said to be the niece of the President.
The Zimbabwe Times can exclusively reveal that Matonga has officially moved
out of the Matonga matrimonial home on a farm they seized from a commercial
farmer and has since moved in with Sharon Mugabe, an immensely wealthy
businesswoman. The 36-year-old widow who has stolen the heart of the
capricious Matonga who stands a good chance of being named as new Minister
of Information any time now, runs a marketing communications firm, Imago
Matonga, who has become the darling of the British media as he routinely
lambasts the Gordon Brown government at the slightest opportunity, while
defending Mugabe, yesterday refused to take questions on his relationship
with Sharon Mugabe.
Sharon's exact relationship to the President could not be established last
night amid suggestions that she is Mugabe's niece, daughter of Albert
Mugabe, the President's late brother, the trade unionist who died in a
swimming pool drowning back in the 1980s.
Imago Y&R, formerly Michel Hogg Young & Rubicam, was sold to Sharon Mugabe
by Zimbabwe's marketing guru Michael Hogg in 2005 after a failed bid by
rival Gary Thompson's agency, Gary Thompson & Associates. The take-over
marked one of the biggest empowerment transactions in the sector. Mugabe
acquired the controlling stake in the leading advertising, marketing and
communications firm. She renamed it Imago Y&R.
The agency won the contract to run Mugabe's sleek election campaign ahead of
the June 27 presidential election run off, and is believed to have racked in
colossal profits from the glitzy but controversial campaign. The Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe underwrote the cost of Mugabe's re-election campaign, while
Matonga became increasingly vociferous in support of Mugabe.
It is now being alleged that Imago Y&R secured the lucrative Zanu-PF
contract through its chief executive's personal relationship with the junior
Information minister. Matonga was responsible for vetting companies that
submitted tenders for the Mugabe election campaign.
In June, Bernard Barnett, a Y&R corporate vice-president in London, told the
Sunday Times that, following a tip-off, Sharon Mugabe had been asked whether
her company was the professional media outfit called in by Mugabe's advisers
after the last elections.
"We asked the managing director if it was true - that they had been working
for Zanu-PF - and she said she personally was one of the president's
communications advisers," said Barnett. "It was a very unpleasant surprise.
Neither she nor the agency should be working for a regime like that, and
especially not campaigning for them."
Barnet said at the time Y & R would sell its 25 percent stake in Imago. "We're
just anxious to end any possible connection between ourselves and that
disgraceful regime," he said.
Mugabe, whose husband died two years ago, now officially lives with Matonga
in her mansion in Borrowdale Brooke. She has been spotted on several
occasions in the company of Matonga at one or the other of her many business
enterprises, including a designer fashion boutique in the Eastgate Shopping
The couple is reported to have a young baby. Matonga has moved out of his
matrimonial home, abandoning his wife, Anne, whom he brought back with him
to Zimbabwe in 2001 from the UK.
Matonga married Anne, a former municipal information- technology manager in
1997, and moved into her home in Billericay, a small commuter town in Essex,
England, according to family sources.
Matonga is said to have met Anne while he was still at a college in
Southend-on-Sea, a resort town east of London, where he studied media
production and technology at South East Essex College.
Halfway through the four-year program, immigration officials tried to deport
him after a change in rules for foreign students made him ineligible to
stay. Anne is said to have intervened and averted her then boyfriend's
After his graduation, Matonga worked as a delivery driver and a freelance
journalist and was literally living off Anne, our sources say.
Family sources described Anne as the marriage's "driving force who smartened
him up no end".
"This is how he pays her after all that she has done for him, abandoning a
woman who made him what he is today because of this other woman?" fumed a
very close family source. "He is an ungrateful bastard. So he is trying to
curry favour with the President by marrying his niece?"
The family source described how Anne looked after her husband while they
lived in Basildon before Matonga's return home in November 2001 to head the
state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's television division.
Anne and their son flew to Harare six months later, our source added.
In September 2002, the couple became part of a state- backed campaign to
seize white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black families that
mainly grew food for themselves. The programme resulted in a drop in food
production, caused food shortages and a decline in exports, as well as
triggering off the current economic recession.
The Matongas took over a farm in the rich Banket area, northwest of Harare.
Anne was subsequently quoted in the media while defending the land reform
programme and Mugabe's government policies.
Matonga, a former chef executive of the state-owned bus company, ZUPCO,
narrowly escaped incarceration following allegations that he benefited
corruptly from bribes during the acquisition of new buses by the company.
Matonga's co-accused, Charles Nherera, then ZUPCO chairman is currently
languishing in jail after he was convicted on the corruption charges.
Matonga is alleged to have been rescued through extra-judicial intervention
as he had been appointed deputy minister in 2005.
Sharon Mugabe studied and worked in the US until 2000. She was a financial
analyst, first with First Albany Brokerage Firm and later for New England
She returned to Zimbabwe in 2000, and joined the African Banking Corporation
as head of communications.
Our sources say she is the principal cause of the breakdown in the Matonga's
once happy marriage.
Efforts to obtain comment from Sharon Mugabe were futile. Anne declined to
comment, while Matonga screamed: "Go to hell," before switching off his
For all Gordon Brown's fine diplomatic froth, he is a peripheral figure in
the future of Zimbabwe
Monday July 14, 2008
It is a matter of principle, surely. Here's an ageing dictator using every
means to hang on in power. His people are starving. Hundreds of thousands
flee to a safe haven in the democratic country to the south. Elections are a
malign joke. And what does the west do about it? Why, pile in with food aid,
trade deals and sweet promises. Prop up the dictatorship for all its worth.
Because for the moment we're talking North Korea, not Zimbabwe: and
Pyongyang has (or perhaps had) a little bomb that turned idealism on its
Of course it was galling to see Robert Mugabe's spokesmen hailing a "great
victory" this weekend. Of course there's reason for Gordon Brown to grind
his teeth as his Anglo-American package of mini-sanctions comes unstuck at
the security council, blocked by China and Russia (among others), and to
talk of unleashing "Plan B". Of course it would be deeply cheery to see
Mugabe dumped. But let's not get carried away by too much froth about
"impotence against tyranny". Diplomatic life, alas, includes more than a
Sunday Telegraph leader column.
The sanctions themselves, mild pursuit and hindrance of Zimbabwe's president
and immediate chums, were never likely to achieve very much - except,
perhaps, to make those chums feel more beleaguered. An arms embargo makes no
effective difference: Mugabe's army has quite enough guns for oppressive
purposes. And as for shoving Thabo Mbeki from the mediation stage and
putting in some UN representative, how brilliant was that? South Africa's
president hasn't had much success at the conciliation business, to be sure:
but the (lost) UN resolution specifically sidelined him, and thus
automatically the most influential player in the region. No wonder South
Africa itself took the Chinese and Russian side.
We may scoff and rail as much as we like over Beijing's cynicism or Moscow's
duplicity, yet their arguments are more than mere self-interested
manoeuvring. Is Zimbabwe a "threat to international peace and security"? It
has produced a refugee crisis causing grave internal strains in South
Africa. But such strains, again, didn't influence Mbeki's vote, or change
his mind on what can be done. And nor, significantly, did it change other
African minds, either.
Take Jakaya Kikwete, president of Tanzania and the African Union, laying out
the regional line. "No party can govern alone in Zimbabwe ... therefore the
parties have to work together." Therefore there has to be a negotiated
settlement. Is that just one more excuse for more inaction? Not in an Africa
where the fault lines of tribalism still run deep. Remember how, and why,
Kenya fell to its knees a few months ago. Look carefully as Mbeki strives to
keep the Zulus sweet. Never forget that Zimbabwe has tribes as well as
It suits us, in full preaching mode, to believe that democracy comes easy.
It doesn't in many parts of the globe where tribal and religious loyalties
tear up the textbooks. Yet our own grim lesson in Afghanistan and Iraq never
seems to stretch our thinking. We learn painfully that freedom can't arrive
with a visiting army, yet we don't transfer that wisdom to others (partly
because, as pat assumption, Africa should just do what we say).
Mugabe is a wrecker and an affront. But meaningless gestures won't bring him
down. There will be an African solution here, or there will be no solution
at all. London and Washington aren't central to the outcome.
Rather than get cast as a kind of transition figure between Bush and John
McCain's touted alliance of democracies, Brown would be far better sticking
closer to the reality of UN charter (and practical) life. Pyongyang has its
own lectures to deliver on principle. Needs must when the nuclear devil
drives. The sad truth of the matter, in Harare and beyond, is that often
there is no Plan B.