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No progress yet in Zimbabwe talks


Published: July 16, 2008 at 7:03 PM
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 16 (UPI) -- An apparent breakthrough in efforts to
negotiate a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe fizzled Wednesday,
officials said.
The Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition group, refused to
sign a memorandum of understanding, The New Zimbabwean, an official
government newspaper, said.

A South African newspaper, Business Day, reported that President Thabo Mbeki
was ready to fly to Harare for the signing.

President Robert Mugabe won re-election in late June after the MDC leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, dropped out. Tsvangirai said that violence by Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party had made a fair election impossible.

Delia Robertson, a reporter for Voice of America, said that the MDC can
still influence events.

"I think the leverage that they have is essentially that in order to be able
to govern -- because the MDC won the most votes in parliament and almost a
majority in the senate -- that the ruling party would need the MDC in order
to proceed further," Robertson said. "And also because Mr. Mugabe is very
anxious that sanctions are not increased against him and senior people in
his party. And so, in order to prevent that from happening he needs some
sort of agreement."

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Zim cost of living shoots past ZW$13 trillion mark

Zim Online

by Edith Kaseke and Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 17 July 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's cost of living has shot up to more than $13 trillion
from $3 trillion last month, a militant teachers union said, reflecting the
state of an economy which President Robert Mugabe says has been battered by
sanctions imposed by Western countries to end his iron grip on power.

As teachers demanded higher pay, central bank governor Gideon Gono announced
yesterday that official annual inflation had surged to a record 2.2 million
percent, way lower than independent analysts' projections but still the
highest in the world.

Statistics made available to the Public Service Commission (PSC) by the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) as part of salary negotiations
show that a lower income breadwinner in the first two weeks of the month of
July needed $13.8 trillion to buy basic commodities.

An average employee in the country earns $100 billion, way below the poverty
datum line.

The PTUZ told the PSC - the body responsible for paying teachers and other
government workers - that the figures were computed and approved by the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a consumer watchdog financed by the

A 2kg packet of bread-making flour, according to statistics, now costs over
$260 billion - a 100 percent jump from last month's price. A 20kg bag of
mealie meal, which is the staple food in the southern African country costs
$720 billion up from $300 billion.

Mugabe yesterday officially unveiled a programme which his government said
would provide relief to ravaged consumers. Under the programme, basic goods
like sugar, maize meal, cooking oil and flour would be sold at subsidised
prices using a coupon system.

Previous subsidies have failed with the bulk of goods finding their way to
the black market.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic meltdown, and analysts said the
crisis had worsened following Mugabe's disputed and violent re-election in
the June 27 presidential run-off which was boycotted by his challenger
Morgan Tsvangirai over violence.

The teachers are demanding to be paid in line with inflation and want to be
paid in foreign currency.

"Basically the economy has been dollarised and because it is not centrally
co-ordinated, prices have risen way above the income of an average
Zimbabwean which is giving rise to the demands for US dollar salaries," John
Robertson, a private economic consultant said.

The World Bank says Zimbabwe's imploding economy is the worst for a country
outside a war zone and is dramatised by shortages of food, foreign currency
and unemployment above 80 percent.

Mugabe said yesterday his government would deal with businesses that
continued to hike prices without justification.

The veteran Zimbabwe leader, now 84, has blamed some companies for working
with his Western foes to hike prices as part of a bigger plot to force him
out of power as punishment for his seizure of white-owned farms to re-settle

"In launching this historic programme, Government is thus sending a very
strong message to the corporate sector that the era of unjustified price
increases has come to an end. Let them heed this message," Mugabe said

"But when the message is not heeded and those who now have to adopt the
habit of exploiting the masses continue to so do, then we will say the
message has not been heeded and other ways of getting the message heeded
have to be employed behind closed doors, behind bars," he added. - ZimOnline

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MDC wants ZANU PF to meet its conditions first

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 17 July 2008

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition
did not sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on future talks on
Wednesday because the opposition refused to append its signature on the
document unless certain conditions were met.

Sources had told ZimOnline on Tuesday that the MOU would be signed
notwithstanding demands by the MDC that President Robert Mugabe acts to end
political violence and that an African Union envoy be appointed to help
South African President Thabo Mbeki, the region's chief mediator on

Both MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa and ZANU PF chief negotiator Patrick
Chinamasa refused yesterday to answer questions why the MOU had not been

But our sources said the document was not signed after the MDC insisted that
Mugabe stops state-sponsored violence against its supporters and frees more
than 1 500 of the opposition party's activists held in police custody on
charges of committing political violence. The opposition party says the
charges are trumped up.

The MDC was also adamant that an AU envoy be appointed because the
opposition party had lost confidence in Mbeki's impartiality as mediator,
said sources.

"Tsvangirai (Morgan, the MDC leader) informed Sydney Mufamadi (South African
local government minister) by phone that his party would not sign the
memorandum of understanding or engagement if their preconditions were not
met," said a foreign diplomat based in Harare, who did not want to be named.

Mufamadi - Mbeki's point man on Zimbabwe - had been expected to travel to
Harare to witness the signing of the MOU. Mbeki's legal advisor Mojanku
Gumbi and director in the South African President's office Frank Chikane had
also been expected to be present.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai was quoted by the BBC's Focus on Africa programme
saying the situation in Zimbabwe was deteriorating and that talks with
Mugabe's party or government were far from commencing.

"The situation is deteriorating; there's been state-sponsored violence, and
yet we have not heard condemnation of these acts," Tsvangirai told the BBC.
"In fact, we have expressed the fact it has to be an expanded initiative to
include the AU and that we will insist that AU participation will give us
some comfort."

An AU summit in Egypt last month called for dialogue between ZANU PF and the
MDC that would culminate in a government of national unity seen by many on
the continent as the best way to resolve Zimbabwe's political and economic

Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, is in the grip of a severe political
and economic crisis which critics blame on repression and wrong polices by
Mugabe such as his haphazard fast-track land reform exercise that displaced
established white commercial farmers and replaced them with either
incompetent or inadequately funded black farmers.

The economic crisis that the World Bank has described as the worst in the
world outside a war zone is seen in the world's highest inflation rate of
more than two million, severe shortages of food and every basic survival
commodity. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe’s Enabler: How Chinese Arms Keep Mugabe in Power
July 16, 2008
WebMemo #1997

For decades, China has been a stalwart ally of Robert Mugabe. This relationship began in the 1970s, when China armed Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) guerrillas against white rule in Southern Rhodesia.[1] Subsequently, it was no surprise when China and Russia vetoed a July 12 United Nations Security Council resolution to sanction Mugabe and key figures in his government for their role in unleashing a campaign of violence and intimidation that forced opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangarai to withdraw from last month's Zimbabwean run-off election. This incident is only the most recent example of the detrimental role China plays in Africa—and elsewhere—as the protector of despots and enabler of repression. With the 2008 Olympic Games on the horizon, the U.S. should not ignore what is a clear and dangerous trend.

China and Mugabe: A Dismal Pair

In March, Zimbabwe held presidential and parliamentary elections. Opposition candidates won a majority of parliamentary seats, and opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change won a plurality of votes, thus forcing a run-off election for president against Mugabe. The results of the March election were shocking blows to Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) supporters.

Determined to win the run-off election, Mugabe and the ZANU-PF launched a three-month campaign of intimidation that saw over 100 opposition supporters killed, thousands injured, and widespread destruction of property. As a result of this violence, Tsvangirai withdraw from the election. Without an opponent and continuing to intimidate voters, Mugabe won the June 27 run-off election with over 85 percent of the vote.

China, it seems, may have played a major role in Mugabe's decision to hold onto power. According to The Washington Post, when Mugabe lost re-election on March 29, he believed he was defeated. But when he told his top security officials that he planned to step down, Zimbabwe's army chief General Constantine Chiwenga insisted that he would conduct a "military-style campaign against the opposition" that would ensure Mugabe remained in power.[2]

In order to conduct such a "campaign," the Zimbabwean military needed to ensure that its stocks of weapons and ammunition were sustainable. Considerable circumstantial evidence indicates that Mugabe and Chiwenga turned to China for precisely such a campaign donation.

Such assistance would hardly be unprecedented; China has always supported Mugabe as an indirect means of opposing the United States. For instance, according to George Washington University scholar David Shinn, China began selling J-7 fighter jets and radar to Zimbabwe in 1989. As recently as 2005, Zimbabwe's air force received six K-8 jet trainers from China as well as shortwave radio jamming equipment, which Mugabe uses to disrupt Voice of America broadcasts.[3]In return for the weapons necessary to sustain Mugabe's violent regime, Shinn notes that Zimbabwe reportedly promised China "access to its mineral wealth."[4]

Just a Phone Call Away

Thus, when Zimbabwe called for help, Chinese assistance arrived in short order. On April 16, several sources reported uniformed Chinese military personnel, wearing side arms, had arrived in the city of Mutare, a stronghold of support for Morgan Tsvangirai.[5] These reports also noted that the Chinese were accompanied by 70 senior Zimbabwean army officers. That same day, a Chinese arms ship, the An Yue Jiang, attempted to offload a large cargo of small arms and ammunition for the Zimbabwe military at the South African port of Durban,[6] but the ship was boycotted by South African longshoremen and subsequently forced to seek a friendlier port.[7]

Eight days later, with the An Yue Jiang still unable to offload its cargo, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson announced that the Chinese shipper (China Ocean Shipping Company—COSCO) "has decided to recall the ship."[8] However, by April 27, Jane's Defense Weekly had reported the An Yue Jiang had docked at Luanda, Angola.[9] Finally, on May 6, Zimbabwe's information minister declared that the Chinese arms shipment was already in Zimbabwe.[10]

Yet, roughly three weeks later, on May 26, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman termed such reports a "groundless fabrication" and insisted that the "relevant military goods will be shipped back with the ‘An Yue Jiang' which is now on its way home."[11] And a month after that, the foreign ministry would only confirm that "the An Yue Jiang has already returned to China," without mentioning the ultimate disposition of its cargo.[12]

Nonetheless, on June 5, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Christensen told the Senate that "it's our understanding that that shipment of arms sales—that shipment of arms, which is over $1 million, we believe, in arms—was sent back to China." Although Christensen attributed the recall as a response to concerns voiced by the international community, the U.S. government has been unable to verify the Chinese foreign ministry's statement that the cargo had, in fact, returned to China with the An Yue Jiang.

Regardless of whether the An Yue Jiang shipment arrived in Zimbabwe, one crucial fact remains undeniable: Robert Mugabe's Chinese-armed military machine was responsible for the tsunami of violence that engulfed the run-off presidential election "campaign."

As a result of the electoral violence, the United States and the European Union urged that the balloting be postponed. The Chinese government, however, declared its hope "for a smooth completion of the work of the presidential election, and the restoration of the country's stability and development as soon as possible (jin kuai)."[13] Clearly, the Chinese government's intention was to get the Zimbabwe voting over quickly—and Mugabe re-elected—intending that controversy would dissipate by the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

Despite a boycott by the opposition, the "run-off" election was held on June 27 and, of course, Mugabe won with over 85 percent of the vote. The U.S., Europe and most of the African Union countries declared Mugabe's win illegitimate. But not China. Indeed, by July 12, China—along with Russia—had vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution on Zimbabwe, claiming that an African Union "mediation effort" had not had "enough time." The Washington Times reported that an emboldened Mugabe now plans new "elections" to reverse the majority in parliament that Tsvangirai's party won in March.[14]

A Final Option

China's status as a major economic power renders it impervious to any trade, financial or economic sanctions the United States could possibly inflict upon it. In fact, such sanctions would constitute "mutual assured economic destruction." But there is no need for the world's democracies to avert their eyes and pretend that China is, somehow, a "responsible stakeholder" in the international effort to protect human rights.

As such, the United States has very few diplomatic tools capable of inducing China to restrain its over-enthusiastic support for dictatorship and repression around the world. The President could have used ambiguity regarding his attendance at the Olympic opening ceremony to good advantage three months ago in the aftermath of the tragedy in Tibet. By failing to do so, he has virtually assured a self-fulfilling prophecy: Cancelling his attendance will indeed insult his hosts.

But the damage the President will do to American principles by attending a full-throated celebration of China's power—unleavened with justice or mercy—is worse than a breach of diplomatic protocol. The President suddenly discovering that he has other business to attend to in Washington can still send a message to China's communist leaders, to the Chinese people, and to our friends around the world that America still stands for the principles of liberty and freedom. Such an announcement is the only option the President has left.

Brett D. Schaefer is Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, and John J. Tkacik, Jr., is Senior Research Fellow in China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.

[1] For some history of China's involvement in Zimbabwe, see also Abraham McLaughlin, "A rising China counters US clout in Africa, Trade drives political role ahead of Zimbabwe's election," The Christian Science Monitor, March 30, 2005, at (July 16, 2008).

[2] Craig Timberg, "Inside Mugabe's Violent Crackdown: Notes, Witnesses Detail How Campaign Was Conceived and Executed by Leader, Aides," The Washington Post, July 5, 2008, p. A01, at
(July 16, 2008). 

[3] Violet Gonda, "Zimbabwe government jams radio stations," SW Radio Africa, June 27, 2006, at (July 16, 2008). 

[4] David H. Shinn, "Africa and China's Global Activism," a paper presented at a National Defense University Pacific Symposium on "China's Global Activism: Implications for U.S. Security Interests," June 20, 2006, at (July 16, 2008). 

[5]David Baxter, "Armed Chinese soldiers police Mutare Streets," Association of Zimbabwe Journalists, April, 15, 2008, at (July 16, 2008).. See also blog reports at (July 16, 2008).

[6] A total of six containers weighing 77 tons on the Chinese vessel An Yue Jiang reportedly contained 3 million rounds of ammunition for AK-47 rifles, 1,500 rocket propelled grenades, and 3,500 mortar bombs, according to Russell Hsiao, "Chinese Soliders and Arms Exports Embroiled in Zimbabwe's Electoral Impasse," Jamestown Foundation China Brief, April 29, 2008, at (July 16, 2008). 

[7] Celia W. Dugger and David Barboza, "China says it may recall Zimbabwe arms shipment," International Herald Tribune, April 22, 2008, at (July 16, 2008). 

[8] Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on April 24, 2008, at (July 16, 2008). 

[9] Helmoed-Römer Heitman, "Chinese ship with Zimbabwe munitions sails to Luanda," Jane's Defense Weekly, May 1, 2008, at (July 16, 2008).

[10] Lance Guma, "Zimbabwe: Minister Claims Controversial Chinese Arms Now in Country," SW Radio Africa (London), May 6, 2008, at (July 16, 2008).  

[11] "Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Remarks on the Untrue Report about the ‘Anyuejiang' Cargo Ship," Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China, May 26, 2008, at (July 16, 2008).

[12] "The regular press meeting held by the spokesman of Ministry of Foreign Affair of PRC," Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China, at
(July 16, 2008). 

[13] Regular press briefing held by spokesman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Liu Jianchao, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China, June 24, 2008, at
(July 16, 2008).

[14] Geoff Hill, "Third election foreseen for Mugabe's party," The Washington Times, July 15, 2008, at
(July 16, 2008).

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Mugabe to call for more elections?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008 14:01

CIO source reveals plans to regain party majority

The government of Robert Mugabe may be considering a third election
before the end of 2008 to ensure that the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) loses its current majority in Parliament.
This claim was made to the South African correspondent for The
Washington Times, Geoff Hill, by a senior member of Mugabe's secret police,
the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), who also produced a document he
said had been discussed in the ruling party's highest decision-making body,
the Soviet-styled politburo.
The officer told Hill he would "disappear" if he was known to have
leaked the information, and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Human rights groups allege that 114 people - most of them MDC
officials - have been murdered in the past four months while thousands have
been tortured and an estimated 200 000 displaced or rendered homeless. The
MDC says the figure is closer to 500.
"The violence you see on the ground, burning people's homes, killing
MDC (supporters), torturing people, all this will continue, so that Mugabe
can call another election and make sure he wins," the intelligence officer
claimed. "When that is done, he will set up a government of national unity
with the MDC as junior partner."
Lawyers concede that, under the current constitution, Mugabe has the
power to order a fresh poll.
The CIO officer said a second option under discussion was to jail or
murder enough MDC lawmakers to reduce the party's lead in the House, but
this was considered unworkable because it could take too long and would not
provide a sufficient margin for Zanu(PF).
At the G8 summit in Tokyo last week, member nations including Britain,
Canada and the United States refused to recognise the result of the June
presidential vote, or Mugabe's position as head of state. In Africa, several
countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, Zambia and Botswana have also
taken this stand.
The Washington Times reports that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he
was not surprised by the news. As his party had been aware of discussions
within the politburo to regain their parliamentary majority "by any means."
"There must be a reason behind the current terror and it is possible
that Zanu (PF) is trying to create a situation where they can hold yet
another vote on their terms," he told Hill.
"This is why we call upon all countries that value freedom to maintain
the pressure for a transitional government in Zimbabwe. Not a government of
national unity and never recognition of any regime that has put itself in
power by terrorising the population."
Last week the South African newspaper, Beeld, claimed to have seen
documents from sources within ZANU-PF laying out strategy for "no go areas"
where it would be impossible for MDC to campaign or maintain party
The newspaper alleged that a key organiser of the plan was former
Bulawayo mayor, Joshua Teke Malinga, 64, a member of Mugabe's inner circle,
who the paper also accused of establishing a "torture centre" near the
Bulawayo central police station.
In 2002, Mr. Malinga and his wife were detained at London's Gatwick
Airport as they tried to board a flight to New York after it was discovered
that their names were on a list of Zimbabweans banned from entering the
United States because of their links to Mugabe.
The latest reports from Bikita confirm this, saying that Zanu (PF)
officials are traveling around the area telling people that there will be
another parliamentary election in August, because the March 29 election has
not been recognized by the Mugabe junta.

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US Says Mbeki Owed No Apology on Zimbabwe



  By David Gollust
  State Department
  16 July 2008

The State Department says it sees no reason to apologize to South African
President Thabo Mbeki over U.S. criticism of his handling of Zimbabwe's
political crisis. Mr. Mbeki came under sharp criticism last week from U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad. VOA's David Gollust
reports from the State Department.

The Bush administration is standing by its assertion that the Mbeki
government was on the wrong side of history when it voted against last
week's draft U.N. sanctions resolution, and says it is not apologetic about
Ambassador Khalilzad's critical remarks.

South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said Tuesday his government
would seek an apology over what he said were extraordinary and unacceptable
comments by Khalilzad in the Security Council, after the resolution was
vetoed by Russia and China.

South Africa also opposed the resolution, which would have put financial and
travel sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and key associates
for political repression in connection with Mr. Mugabe's recent re-election.

Among other things, Ambassador Khalilzad expressed surprise over what he
said was Mr. Mbeki's apparent protection of his Zimbabwean counterpart, even
as he used violent means against the opposition.

The U.S. envoy said he believed Mr. Mbeki is out of touch with political
trends in his own country on the issue.

At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said he had
read a transcript of the Khalilzad comments and found nothing that merits an

"Each individual state made its own decision," said Sean McCormack. "South
Africa could have stood in the right side of history and voted for the
resolution. They chose not to. Again, [it was] their decision and let people
judge their actions."

McCormack also there was nothing inappropriate in an expression of hope
Tuesday by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer
that South Africa will take a harder line on Zimbabwe after Mr. Mbeki leaves
office next year.

The spokesman said it is a matter of record that African National Congress
leader Jacob Zuma, considered Mr. Mbeki's likely successor, has taken a
different public stance than the current president, who has been widely
accused of being soft on the Mugabe government.

President Bush told his news conference Tuesday the administration is
working on potential new U.S. bilateral sanctions on the Zimbabwean
leadership after the failure of the draft U.N resolution.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meanwhile, depicted the authoritarian
Mugabe government as a page in history that Africa must turn. She warned the
region will face perennial instability unless the peaceful aspirations of
Zimbabweans are respected, and reflected in their government.

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Harare diary: Circus leaves town

Wednesday, 16 July 2008 00:35 UK

A Zimbabwean street vendor is on his way to a market in Harare on July 10, 2008 as talks start in South Africa between the government and opposition

Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of leading a normal life.

Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of inflation and just one in five has an official job.

Harare feels a bit like the circus has just packed up and left town.

The militia roadblocks and base camps have disappeared from most (but not all) areas, posters have come down from public transport vehicles, teenagers are back to wearing T-shirts with the faces of R&B stars rather than that of R G Mugabe.

We were all so focused on 29 March, then on being kept waiting for 5 weeks for a result, then on 27 June, the AU summit, then the G8 summit, and then the UN Security Council meeting.

To the ordinary person with no knowledge of "Diplomatese" nothing seems to have come out of that.

So after weeks of soaring hopes and giddy visions of a bright future, we have all had to come back down to earth, and resume our normal lives.

It always amuses me when broadcasters make a big deal of inflation hitting 3% in some economies

Now everyone's biggest headache is how to make money.

Being formally employed means you take home only half of what you actually earn - income tax, or Pay As You Earn as we call it here, is a whopping 47.5%.

Add the obligatory social security tax, the pension scheme and health insurance, and you have probably the highest taxed worker in the world.

So quite a number of people have started jetting off to the Middle East, UAE, and all over Africa to buy goods for resale.

Anything goes - clothing, footwear, hair extensions & products, electronics, cellphones, and even groceries.

Supermarket shelves are bare again, so business is brisk. And at least all your earnings are yours - you don't have to share them with the government.

Nothing has changed, inflation gallops on.

It always amuses me when broadcasters on international business programmes make a big deal of inflation hitting 3%, 5% etc in some economies. Ours is off the charts, and people worry about 5%.

A man walks home with firewood for cooking after collecting it from the forest June 28, 2008 near Harare, Zimbabwe. The nation's poor continued their struggle for survival
Zimbabwe's poor face a daily struggle to survive

A neighbour of ours gave their gardener some days off and enough money to go to and from his rural home during the break.

The gardener then sent word that he could not come back to work as bus fares had doubled in the week that he was away.

Budgeting is a foreign word to young people entering the job market now.

For one's personal finances, it's a matter of buying whatever you need (if you can afford it), then hoping for the best until the next pay day.

So our days of being political analysts seem to be over, at least for now.

Our focus has shifted back to whether it pays to invest in the local stock exchange and where to get maize meal, bread, salt, sugar and cooking oil.

Yep, life goes on.

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Mugabe breaches constitutional deadline

  Wednesday, 16 July 2008 13:58
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is in breach of a constitutional
deadline stating that the Sixth Zimbabwe Parliament should have been sworn
in by Tuesday, July 15.
  No dates have been announced for the swearing-in of MPs and Senators.
Neither has a date been set for the election of the Speaker and Deputy
Speaker of the House of Assembly and the President and Deputy President of
the Senate. No official communication has been made about the ceremonial
opening of Parliament.
  "This means that it is now too late for the ceremonial opening of
Parliament to take place before the constitutional deadline," a
representative from legal service Veritas said. "The consequences of
non-compliance with the deadline are not spelled out in the Constitution."
  The Zimbabwe Parliament comprises the House of Assembly, with 210 MPs
elected by voters on the common roll and the Senate, with a total 93
Senators. Of the 93, 60 are directly elected, with six elected by voters in
each of the 10 provinces. Ten would be provincial governors. The Senate
would also comprise the president and deputy of the Council of Chiefs.
  There would also be 16 chiefs in the Senate representing provinces
other than the two metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo. Five of
the Senators would be appointed by Mugabe.

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Swiss banks vow to expose junta assets

  Wednesday, 16 July 2008 14:00
  HARARE - Five army generals are among dozens of Zanu (PF) officials
under investigation by the Swiss government for possibly stashing assets and
foreign currency in the Alpine country, it was established this week.
  The trawling for assets held by Mugabe's cronies abroad came as
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he had instructed his Treasury to
search high and low for any assets held by those close to the Mugabe regime.
  Pressure was also rising inexorably on the Mugabe regime, with the
African Union getting increasingly restless about the mounting crisis in
Zimbabwe. SADC's point man in resolving the Zimbabwe crisis, South African
President Thabo Mbeki, was due to meet Jean Ping, the AU's most senior
permanent AU official in Pretoria on Friday for a full briefing on the
inter-party talks - which resumed yesterday after breaking last weekend -
with little progress noted so far.
  Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga on Tuesday confirmed the meeting
to The Zimbabwean saying "the President is meeting Mr Ping to brief him on
the Zimbabwe facilitation process."
  MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has demanded that Ping be included in an
expanded mediation team.
  While fresh United Nations sanctions against the Zimbabwe's leadership
was vetoed by Russia and China last Saturday, the US, which backed the UN
resolution, has vowed to press for fresh targeted sanctions by rallying nine
of the 15 Security Council members who supported the bid.
  US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement: "The
United States will speak to like-minded countries, in Europe and around the
world, to see what we might do to keep the focus on the issue of Zimbabwe."
  The Zimbabwean understands that Swiss banks, notorious for their
secrecy, were ordered by their government this week to open up their books
for inspection and to identify any assets held by Mugabe and his cronies.
  Senior officials in the Switzerland's economic ministry said this week
Swiss banks had not yet identified any assets or foreign accounts in that
country that belonged to Mugabe or any of his cronies but it was early days
and the probe was continuing.
   Officials were also aware that some of the suspected assets could be
hidden in the names of other people such as relatives, but concerted efforts
were underway to expose such cases.
  The Swiss government invited its attorney general to investigate any
suspicions that banks or officials could be working in cahoots with the
targeted Zimbabweans to hide some money or to export it out of that country.
  Several Western governments were also taking steps to identify
children and close relatives of Mugabe's cronies for immediate deportation
back to Zimbabwe.
  Among the Zimbabwean generals listed by the Swiss government in a list
made available are Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine
Chiwenga, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, Central Intelligence Organisation
director-general Happyton Bonyongwe, Police Commisioner-General Augustine
Chihuri and Prisons head Paradzai Zimondi. Several ministers and government
officials are on the list.

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NCA's position on 'talks about talks'

  Wednesday, 16 July 2008 13:59
  HARARE - Zimbabwe's feuding political parties, Zanu (PF) and MDC, are
involved in 'talks about talks' following the rigged March 29 presidential
elections and the sham June 27 run-off.
  The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) says it is 'well aware' of
the inter-party talks taking place under President Thabo Mbeki's mediation.
  "The South African government is strongly backing a negotiated
settlement that might not at the end reflect the wishes of Zimbabweans
expressed in the March 29 elections," an NCA spokesperson said.
  The NCA believes that after national and international bodies
condemned the June 27 run-off in which Mugabe was the only candidate, some
sections of leadership plan to impose a leader on the Zimbabwean people.
  "We want to state categorically that we are not worried about any
arrangement that will emerge from the ongoing 'talks about talks' about a
Government of National Unity or a transitional authority as long as it
advocates respect for people's wishes," the spokesperson said.
  He went on to criticise regional countries for their failure to defend
democracy when the result of the June 27 elections was clearly illegitimate.
  "The region, South Africa and President Mbeki are faced with the
challenge to defend democracy and the people of Zimbabwe or to defend
dictatorship and further worsen lives of ordinary citizens that might see
the situation degenerating into unprecedented levels," the spokesperson
  The assembly representative stressed the importance of the dialogue
prioritizing the needs of the people of Zimbabwe and allowing the voices of
ordinary citizens to be heard.

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Talks about talks

  Wednesday, 16 July 2008 14:02
  The current talks about talks will not yield any result to our
problems unless they are all-inclusive and have a non-partisan mediator. We
agree with the NCA it is imperative to widen the participants to include
civic groups and other critical stakeholders. We need a solution that will
solve all Zimbabwe's problems, therefore we need to lend an ear to experts
in finance, law, health, education, and others to discuss effective
resurrection policies.
  Our constitution is a major problem area it has been abused and
includes provisions that have been panel beaten over the years. It is a
document that is full of piecemeal amendments - each time it has been
amended this was done to give Mugabe more power. We now need a constitution
that serves all Zimbabweans, not just one man; a constitution that
guarantees human rights, safeguards human liberties and protects all the
freedoms that can be expected in a democracy.
  We know that Zanu (PF) is not interested in the will of the people,
relying as it does on the military junta to crush any opposition to its
continued mis-governance and the lining of its members' own pockets.
  Zanu is not a trustworthy negotiating partner and it has been clear
for some time that they are not interested in any discussion that would lead
to the weakening of their own powers. For example, they have reneged on
nearly every single agreement reached between the 2 MDC factions and Zanu
last year.
  How can we expect it to be any different this year especially in the
light of the Washington Times story which we carry on the front page today?
This story clearly shows that Zanu is trying to reverse the will of the
people in order to maintain its iron grip and continuus to plunder the
country's resources, which has lead to our economic meltdown.
  We also carry a story about the entry of mercenaries into Mugabe's war
on the people - to add to our woes. These fighters are said to be more
ruthless than even the Zanu (PF) militia.
  One thing should be clear. They can kill people, they can maim people,
but their victory will remain hollow and it will not solve our problems. The
only lasting solution will be one to which all Zimbabweans buy in and want
to defend. This must come in the form of a new constitution - one that
respects the fundamental freedoms of individuals.

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Zim mediation should not be left to Mbeki - ZCTU

17 July 2008

Statement by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions July 16 2008

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) position on the current political stalemate in Zimbabwe

WE, the General Council members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), meeting at the Quality International Hotel in Harare today 12 July 2008 for an update on the current political situation in the country, in the aftermath of the 27 June 2008 Presidential Election Run-off;

Pursuant of our Communiqué issued on 21 June 2008, which focused on:

Noting that the 21 June 2008 Communiqué highlighted that,

Further noting that the 21 June 2008 Communiqué conveyed the resolutions that:

Having reconvened today, 12 July 2008 to discuss in particular:

And having observed that:

Worried that:

We therefore resolve that:

Statement issued by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions July 16 2008

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Wanted: A militant Zimbabwean patriot

Daily Monitor, Uganda

July 17, 2008

Kake - Nikamara

Given the nature of my work down here, (call it hi-tech kyeyoing) I am
obliged not to comment recklessly on affairs of my hosts in SADC. I watch; I
observe; and sometimes enquire and make notes - perhaps for a chapter or two
in a book at an appropriate time.

But three things in the press are prompted me to write back home. First;
Kenya Premier Raila Odinga's no nonsense comments on Zimbabwe. Then on June
24, during the CNN night news on the Zimbabwe crisis, captions actually shot
in South Africa xenophobia victims camps were persistently used as though
they were done in Zimbabwe.

It also seemed that some Kenya January shots were 'recycled' to press the
message of a devilish Mugabe regime. Third is John Nagenda's "Please God,
take away Mugabe" (The New Vision, June 28).

I respect - and admire - Premier Odinga's clear cut style but beg to press
the point that in Zimbabwe today, Africa seems to have a problem of a
credible opposition leadership. This is very unlike Kenya where those who
voted for Raila in December 2007 did so not just out of desperation (ie any
change being good enough).

They were convinced he was competent enough to deliver on his party's
promises. From my observations, and discussions, Zimbabweans, - as I show
below- believed any change was good enough (more like - but with greater
urgency than the 2002 Kenya situation). But still, many had reservations
about Morgan Tsvangirai's leadership abilities.

First let us get it clear straight away: Mugabe's handling of the land
reform has ruined both the economy and the politics of the country for
generations to come. In 1991 and 1992 when the UAPTA (President Museveni -
what happened to that grand PTA project?) was the in thing for the region, I
remember using the travelers' cheques in Harare, exchanging 1 UAPTA for
about 6.80 Zim dollars.

Today, I dare not work out the equivalent conversion because by the time you
are reading this, the figures will have changed several times. Then I also
recall a 1994 Zimbabwe guest in Kampala who laughed at the size of our meat
portions at a dinner. They were "too small" compared to what he knew in
Harare! It is unbelievable that ordinary Zimbabweans now have to harangue
animals in the bush if they must have meat!

So, Mugabe's utterance that only God can remove him from power (if you are a
believer - who else any way?) was as reckless as his roughshod treat of
public opinion even with in SADC.

However, to put the entire blame for the collapse of this once most
prosperous black nation on one man is to miss the point. And to just sit and
pray or appeal to God for intervention - as Mzee Nagenda does - is on one
hand an abuse of God's imagined powers and on the other, an admission that
Mugabe is right anyway!

Here, I won't go into the - not so small - a role of the British in the
Zimbabwe mess: Just the Zimbabweans themselves. I have interacted with
hundreds of them - the intellectuals and dons at Universities; the
professionals in industry and business; the workers and artisans on
construction sites and in factories - not to forget the hardworking maids
(and their semi literate friends) we have had in the various countries in
this region over the last four years.

What seems to emerge is a leadership crisis in that country. I have put it
to some Zimbabwe academics in Botswana and South Africa that how can a
nation of 10 Million better educated people collapse under the yoke of one
man as they just watch and pray? How can upward of 50 -60% of the population
take flight to neighbouring countries at great risk and yet no one organizes
even a quarter of them to fight or resist the man - either from within or
from outside?

The answers I always get are similar: One - that you can not beat the
security apparatus (Brother or wife spying on brother/husband etc); Two that
"Fight who anyway? Those are our people and they are well meaning on land
ownership". Three that "our skills are needed in the region; we are able to
work and support whoever family member failed to cross over from home"

Then on Tsvangirai's leadership potential. It is said people voted for him
out of desperation for change but really many - including the maids just
laugh at the idea of him replacing Mugabe. He seems to have attracted a
label of being a stooge of the West. Some even fear he might not have the
nerve to stand the heat of the moment when required.
Unfortunately his persistent appeal and hope for a political-military
involvement from outside (disguised as Peace keepers) when he is doing
nothing else to mobilize the population does not help matters. Such
involvement would backfire even in the shorter term.

So in all this, where lies the solution? Really, what the likes of Mzee
Nagenda and Premier Odinga can do - apart from the usual diplomatic
routine - is to encourage any of their Zimbabwean friends to rise to the
challenge of the day. A patriotic political-military leader was required in
Zimbabwe yesteryear. But he is more urgently needed today.

Continued prayers and/or dilly dallying with hopes for foreign intervention
will just not work. At best, these need to complement internal efforts under
a patriotic and decisive leadership. Otherwise, Africa has another Somali
(incidentally, not 1994 Rwanda!) in the making.

If there can not emerge such leadership, Mugabe may have to be supported
more openly against the West but with the condition that he goes easier on
our people! Action is required to reduce the future number of reconstruction
decades and to de-motivate the likes of those who thrive on recycling shots
of chaos from one African country to another.

How I wish - say that half of the continent south of the equator was part of
one country. May be there would be less opportunity for the chaos scenes

Dr Nikamara is an East African Development Economist working in SADC region.

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Text: Archbishop John Sentamu at Westminster service for Zimbabwe

Independent Catholic News

LONDON - 16 July 2008 -

The following speech was given by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Dr. John
Sentamu at St Margaret's Church, Westminster last Friday before a rally
calling for the government to allow Zimbabwean refugees to work in the UK.

It's great to see you all.
You and I are the fortunate ones. We have the freedom to move, freedom to
speak. Thank God for it.
Right now, there are millions of people in Zim, suffering under a callous,
brutal regime, and there are millions who have escaped that dear country
with their lives.
Our Prime Minister said, and I applaud him for it,

"I condemn those orchestrating the latest horrific escalation of violence.
They must immediately end the violence, allow local and international
monitors complete access and cooperate with the UN to allow a full
investigation of the human rights abuses."
60 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was published.
Article 9 said, No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or
Article 23 said,
Everyone has the right to work.
Why should exiled Zimbabweans be compelled to twiddle their thumbs in this
country, waiting, waiting to return home, when they could be honing their
skills, flexing their muscles and contributing to the British economy by
being allowed to WORK?
Without work exiles here are falling into destitution.
The people of this country do not want to see this happen to people who have
taken refuge from an oppressive and cruel regime.
The government talk of vouchers and benefits. But surely ­ now that the
government is not going to put into practice forced repatriation for failed
asylum seekers ­ why not grant them conditional leave to remain for a year
and a day!
When it comes to restoring justice to oppressed people we must take risks
and be magnanimous.
I welcome the government's commitment for no forced return for Zimbabweans.
But this is not enough.
Free Zimbabweans in detention, who can't go home.
And if they stay here, they must not stay in limbo.
Give them leave to remain for a year and a day and allow them to find work ­
they have much to contribute.
Martin Luther King said:
Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?"
Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?"
Vanity asks the question, "Is it popular?"
But conscience asks the question, "Is it right?"
And there comes a time when one must take a position
That is neither safe
Nor politic, nor popular,
But one must take it because one's own conscience tells one that it is
We need every Zimbabwean here, in South Africa and back home, to prepare for
the reconstruction of their country.
Every day I get emails and letters from gifted Zimbabweans who are here,
wanting to work, wanting to study and are frustrated. They can't use their
God-given abilities because of the rigidity of regulations applied
The thin-end-of-the-wedge argument in the case of Zimbabwe must not be given
Zim has become a basket case instead of the bread basket which the Creator
intends it to be.
We are here to say, 'Restore Zim'. 'Restore Zim'.
With goodwill, the determined efforts of a very talented nation and
international support, Zim can rise again.
I know our Prime Minister wants that. He has pledged support for that day.
And remember that anyone who comes to Equity must come with clean hands.
If you call for sanctions, you must also leave no Zimbabwean destitute or
incarcerated in inhuman conditions or left in limbo.
We want action now.
1. If detainees are not going to be deported, please release them NOW.
2. For those many who are not going to be forcefully removed ­ please give
them conditional permission to work now.
3. Please give them your support now.
And for us ­ may all our communities engage with Restore Zim.
Give your donations for Restore Zim to Tesco's Bank.
Join us in this civil coalition.

Source: Archbishop of York

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Russia has been consistent in its stance on Zimbabwe

We condemn the violence, but imposing sanctions would undermine critical
talks, says Yuri Fedotov

Yuri Fedotov
The Guardian,
Thursday July 17, 2008

You report that "British and US efforts to apply punitive pressure on Robert
Mugabe were abruptly undermined when Russia and China vetoed a UN security
council resolution" (China and Russia veto Zimbabwe sanctions, July 12).
Citing the British government's disappointment regarding this
"incomprehensible" decision, you also report that Russia seemed to undergo a
change of heart regarding its position on Zimbabwe after the G8 summit.

There is in fact no contradiction whatsoever between what was discussed and
agreed at the G8, and Russia's veto decision. The G8 text made no mention of
the security council at all. Indeed, a proposed reference to security
council sanctions was removed from the final communique at Russia's
insistence. As you have previously reported, the agreed wording simply
stated: "We will take further steps, inter alia introducing financial and
other measures against those individuals responsible for violence." Russia
stands by this.

We made it absolutely clear during the G8 negotiations that we would not
support sanctions at this stage; but Russia was actually prepared to lend
its support to a strongly worded draft resolution proposed by South Africa
at the security council. Unfortunately, progress on this was blocked by the
UK and the US, who were intent on pushing through their own sanctions

All countries returning from the G8 gathering want to show that they have
achieved the outcomes they were seeking, and it is understandable - if
perhaps a little disingenuous - for the British government to claim that a
new tough sanctions regime on Zimbabwe had been agreed. What is less
acceptable, however, is to point the finger at a fellow G8 partner when it
becomes apparent that this was never the case.

Your article also failed to reflect that there is an important technical
point at stake. UN security council resolutions exist as a mechanism to
address urgent global peace and security issues. It is in clear
contravention of the UN charter to use them to deal with domestic concerns
within individual states.

Russia has been consistent from the beginning on its position over Zimbabwe.
As we have made clear, we utterly condemn the violence in Zimbabwe and we
will not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the
will of the Zimbabwean people.

The question therefore is how the international community should best
proceed. Russia believes that sanctions would undermine the critical talks
that have been brokered between government and opposition in Zimbabwe aimed
at restoring stability. The African Union in fact used its summit earlier
this month to issue a direct appeal for countries to refrain from any
actions that would negatively impact on the discussions it has been working
to foster.

We are convinced that a solution to Zimbabwe's internal problems must
therefore be sought through a political dialogue between the Zimbabwean
government and opposition. We support the efforts of the African Union and
the Southern African Development Community to solve the crisis, and we call
on the Zimbabwean authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the
recent violence there.

· Yuri Fedotov is ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UK

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Nobel laureates say food is human right, call for solutions to global food crisis

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: July 16, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Nelson Mandela's global crisis task force turned
its attention to hunger Wednesday, devoting a daylong meeting to soaring
food prices.

The Nobel laureates and human rights activists the former South African
president brought together as The Elders at his birthday last year have sent
peace missions to the Middle East and Sudan's Darfur and spoken out against
sham elections and political violence in Zimbabwe.

With the food crisis, they were taking on an issue that some experts say
could lead to new wars, and that has touched all parts of the world, rich
and poor.

Food riots have broken out in the poorest countries, and the crisis has set
back efforts to lift Africa out of poverty.

Elders chairman and former Cape Town Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu -
speaking after the meeting to an audience that included entrepreneur Richard
Branson, a main supporter of The Elders - called the right to food

Another Elder, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the solution
was not just humanitarian aid today, but steps to improve food security
Besides his work with The Elders, Annan chairs the Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa, which works with millions of small-scale farmers to
try to boost productivity and incomes without harming the environment.

Annan called for a focus on small-scale farmers, many of them women. He
encouraged banks and other lenders to extend services to small farmers so
that they can afford fertilizer and other productivity-boosting measures and
to help them take on the risks associated with expanding their enterprises.

He added governments needed to improve rural infrastructure, and scientists
need to develop better seeds and improve soil in Africa, "the only continent
that cannot feed itself."

Mandela, who turns 90 Friday, did not attend Wednesday's meeting, at which
The Elders consulted with Olivier de Schutter, appointed by the U.N. last
year to study the food crisis, and experts from the development group
ActionAid International.

Tutu said world leaders were wasting resources fighting terror instead of
poverty, saying even a small portion of global defense budgets could end

"We have it in us to make this a better world, a caring world, a
compassionate world in which everyone would enjoy the right to food and
freedom from hunger," he said.

Along with Tutu and Annan, the Elders are Ela Bhatt, a women's rights
campaigner from India; Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi; former Norwegian
Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter;
Brazilian sociologist and former President Fernando Cardoso; Li Zhaoxing, a
former Chinese envoy to the U.N. who started his diplomatic career in
Africa; Mandela's wife Graca Machel, a longtime campaigner for children's
rights; former Irish President Mary Robinson; and Muhammad Yunus, founder of
Grameen Bank, the pioneering micro-credit institution.

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South Africa: Zimbabweans not recognised as refugees

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)

Date: 16 Jul 2008

On 11 July, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed its concern that
Zimbabweans fleeing violence at home were not being properly screened at the
South African border, leading to the possible deportation of refugees.

According to the UN agency, Zimbabweans coming to South Africa speak of
killings and beatings and have brutal injuries all over their bodies.

Since the March presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe, the
number fleeing to South Africa has increased dramatically. In the last 40
days alone, South Africa has sent back some 17,000 Zimbabweans through the
Beit Bridge border post, despite earlier calls from human rights
organisations to halt all deportations. The organisations have also urged
South Africa to grant exceptionally Zimbabweans temporary legal status which
would allow them to stay in the country, an option which is foreseen in
national legislation.

Of 35,000 Zimbabwean asylum seekers who arrived in South Africa in 2006 and
2007, only 500 have been recognised as refugees, according to government
data. UNHCR stated that given the number of daily deportations, its staff
were could only interview some five percent.

JRS, working in South Africa since the late 1990s, has noticed the recent
change in the displacement of Zimbabweans. In the past a huge percentage
were young single people fleeing poverty at home, more and more the new
arrivals consist of families fleeing political violence.

"The trend is changing, we are getting entire family units, many with
physical injuries, seeking asylum," said Thandi Hadebe, JRS South Africa
project director in the northern border town of Mahkado in Limpopo province.

Since the start of June, this JRS office in the north of the country has
helped more than 200 Zimbabweans a day.

The majority of Zimbabweans are entering South Africa through unauthorized
border points, risking their lives to navigate dangerous rivers, barbed wire
fences and random police controls.

There are presently more than 138,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers
in South Africa, coming from a wide range of countries. Zimbabweans have
also sought refuge in other countries.

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UN urges SA to halt Zim deportations

  Wednesday, 16 July 2008 13:57
  HARARE - The United Nations refugee agency has called on President
Thabo Mbeki's government to stop deporting Zimbabweans until the crisis
there has been resolved.
  According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number
of Zimbabweans seeking asylum in South Africa has increased since the June
27 run-off, when Robert Mugabe snatched back power.
  "The agency is seeing an increasing number of families arriving as a
result of political violence, with several people showing signs of beatings
or torture," UNHCR spokesperson, Jennifer Pagonis, said."UNHCR is urging
South Africa to exceptionally grant Zimbabweans a temporary legal status
allowing them to stay in the country, an option which is foreseen in
national legislation."
  It is estimated that in the last 40 days alone, some 17,000
Zimbabweans have been deported from South Africa through the Beit Bridge
border post, despite earlier calls from the UNHCR for the government to
temporarily change its policy. The agency is working together with the
authorities to reinforce its presence at the border and is visiting the
detention and deportation facility in Musina to identify Zimbabwean asylum
seekers and refer them to
  the appropriate government authorities.- SW Radio Africa (listen on
4880 or 12035kHz)

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The son of rogue ZANU-PF official hiding in the UK

  By The Zimbabwean | Harare Tribune News
 Updated: July 16, 2008 19:37

  LONDON - The son of the senior prison officer seen in The Guardian
newspaper's video clip ordering his juniors to vote for Robert Mugabe, in
the recent, one-man presidential election, is seeking political asylum in
the UK.

  Darlingtom Chihobvu, who has taken up residence in Nottinghamshire,
England, is said to have claimed political asylum in the past four months.
His father is senior assistant commissioner Chihobvu.

  Chihobvu junior is believed to have arrived in England last year.
According to our informants, he claimed his life would be in danger if he
went back to Zimbabwe, despite the fact that his father is a leading figure
in Mugabe's war with the people.

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The coming illiberal order

The vetoed UN security council sanctions on Zimbabwe are symptomatic of the
west's declining influence on the world stage

Michael Boyle,
Wednesday July 16, 2008
Last week, western leaders expressed shock and outrage after the UN security
council failed to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe for gross violations of human
rights during the run-up to the recent presidential election. Foreign
Secretary David Miliband called the decision "incomprehensible" while Prime
Minister Gordon Brown blasted the Russian and Chinese veto as not "easily
justifiable". The French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert was even more
drastic, calling the vote "a failure for the security council".

This bluster was predictable, but it was also not entirely accurate. The
failure was not incomprehensible, and it was not the security council that
failed. The blame lies with Russia and China, who vetoed the resolution at
the last minute, but also with Libya, Vietnam and Indonesia, who voted
against or abstained. Arguably it lies even more with South Africa, who
voted against and continues to maintain, straight-facedly, that talks will
somehow convince the clearly deranged Robert Mugabe to change his ways.
Trying to foist the disgrace onto the UN is a nice sleight of hand, but the
real blame lies with the alliance of states - all authoritarian except for
South Africa - that chose to turn a blind eye to Mugabe's abuses for their
own ends.

What is more surprising is that western countries can even pretend to be
shocked by this result. Politics, not principle, is at issue here: Russia's
relations with America and Britain are frosty at best and China wants to
extend its trading interests in Africa. Both described their vetoes as a
principled objection to interfering in the internal affairs of other states,
despite the fact that both have been willing to interfere in other state's
affairs when needed. As Irina Filatova pointed out yesterday, Russia's
stance is more obviously hypocritical because it had spearheaded efforts to
sanction apartheid South Africa. The only thing going for the resolution was
the clear moral case that abandoning the people of Zimbabwe to the murderers
and thugs in the Mugabe regime is unconscionable. But when morality runs up
against politics and venality, it is hardly surprising that morality loses.

Beyond the case of Zimbabwe, however, this vote has some worrying
implications about the kind of world order we will have over the next
decade. What it - and indeed also the vote which failed to impose sanctions
on Burma last year - suggests is that western governments no longer have the
ability to set the global agenda in the way that they are accustomed. Today,
when the moral argument is unimpeachable and the political argument
reasonable, western governments have no guarantee that they can persuade
Russia and China - or even lesser authoritarian states - to adopt their
preferred outcome on the security council. There is a world of difference
between today and the early 1990s, when western governments could lead the
charge for intervention in Somalia and Bosnia and count on the grumbling
acquiescence of Russia, China and others.

This situation - in which America and Europe find themselves isolated and
frustrated in the UN as the world increasingly pushes back against their
wishes - was not the way things were supposed to be in the post-cold war
world. We were told that liberal democracy was triumphant and that the new
era of globalisation would bring about the spread of democracy and human
rights. We were told that increased trade and wealth would eventually lead
to liberalism and that economic engagement would tame semi-democratic or
authoritarian states, without threatening the predominant position that the
US and Europe held in the global economy. We were told that the UN could be
revitalized in the service of humanitarian goals and that the few remaining
holdouts to the liberal democratic order - Iran, North Korea, and others -
would eventually come into the fold.

But this is not the world that we live in. Liberal democracy is not on the
march; in fact, as Robert Kagan has recently argued, authoritarian states
have made a powerful comeback. Globalisation has led to increased
prosperity, but has also spread instability and risk in a deeply
interconnected market. The rise of China and India has shifted the balance
of trade away from the US and Europe. The increase in the price of oil
represents a massive transfer of wealth from the west to the oil producers
such as Russia and the Gulf States. Authoritarian states like China and
Saudi Arabia are clearly growing more prosperous and powerful as the centres
of the global economy shift south and east, but there is no evidence to
suggest that their wealth is producing greater liberalism. The holdouts are
still there, and in the case of Iran, stronger than ever.

The evidence is growing that the ground has shifted under the feet of
western governments in the post 9/11 era. Because of their diminished
political and economic muscle, the US and Europe do not have the same
agenda-setting capability that they did in the mid to late 1990s. Moreover,
they face rivals who operate with - and indeed actively promote - an
entirely different principle of political order: namely, that trade, order
and development should always take priority over democracy and liberalism.

It is this principle which Russia and China were defending in the UN
security council last Friday. While both were willing to countenance the
occasional - often highly qualified - humanitarian intervention during the
1990s, neither appears willing to do so today. Their instinctive reaction to
western calls for action against illiberal or brutal regimes is to lead a
countervailing coalition of states who believe in the priority of the
principles of trade, order and development. Meanwhile, the increase in their
political and economic power means that they need to pay a lot less
attention when the US and Europe get moralistic or insistent on reform. The
agendas and worries of western states are now more easily shrugged off by
the increasingly powerful non-democratic world.

If this trend continues, it may mean the end of the western-dominated world
and the birth of a new, distinctly illiberal, form of world order. This is
not something to celebrate. The shift in power towards authoritarian or
semi-authoritarian states is a defeat for liberal goals like good governance
and human rights. It will be a world which is orderly and prosperous, in
which trade continues unabated, but it will not be a world motivated by
moral concern for the weak or desperate. In this new illiberal world, the
biggest losers will not be the US or Britain, but rather people in states
like Burma and Zimbabwe, who will continue to receive charity but have
little hope of international rescue from their own leaders.



Jul 16 08, 08:04pm (about 1 hour ago)

"The vetoed UN security council sanctions on Zimbabwe are symptomatic of
the west's declining influence on the world stage"

No it is a symptom that large numbers of nations still do not practice the
rule of law, human rights or even limited levels of morality.

The UN is, at the moment, a waste of money. The worlds deomcratic nations
should form their own club, which confers real benifits to its members. This
would help drag states to some semblence of democracy.

Jul 16 08, 08:08pm (about 1 hour ago)

This is the world that the Guardian writers and readers have been telling
us they wanted for some time now. A world that is a haven for dictators and
human rights abuses. Congrats!

Jul 16 08, 08:09pm (about 1 hour ago)

Perhaps we should use military force to sort these countries out? Or would
we need UN sanction for that? We could always ask autocratic dictators to
kindly behave themselves I suppose - that's bound to work.

Alternatively we could wonder whether actually the United Nations
certainly isn't the former, and has no more moral authority than the Daily
Mail, on a bad day.

I refer Michael to Edmund Burke: "For evil to triumph it is only necessary
for good men to do nothing", or wait for UN intervention perhaps... Of
course someone will mention Saddam, and then someone else Hitler, and
Israel, and off we'll go again...

Jul 16 08, 08:12pm (about 1 hour ago)

A wonderful article. The kneejerk anti-Americans of the 90s and 00s are
going to look mighty foolish over the next few decades as the despots of the
East preside over an increasingly corrupt, lawless and barbaric world. The
Islington intellgentsia will soon be pining for American power to reassert
itself. The barbarians are at the gates.

Jul 16 08, 08:25pm (about 1 hour ago)

The vetoes at the UN are really about resource wars, unfortunately with
Africa at the center again.

There was nothing particularily 'liberal' about the 90's when the west
supposedly had its way at the UN. The liberal order you describe was unjust,
not equitable and fundamentally unstable in the long run. The west was
liberal becuase other large countries were poor. Now they are not (so) poor.
The contradictions were bound to emerge.

There will be more of this in the future. No more hogwash

Recommend? (1)

Jul 16 08, 08:26pm (about 1 hour ago)


One small issue of disagreement. The UN has ALWAYS been a waste of money.

There isn't even unity at CIF, how could one really expect nations to be

Reading this article I can not help but think about all of the rhetoric
aimed at the U.S. for foreign intrusions and "pushing our ways onto others."
We should not have confronted Sadam or what's his name in Iran, just talk to
them. Now South Africa catches flak for just wanting to talk.

We (western civilization) are alternately wrong to interfere and wrong to
intervene. Maybe it depends on who the victims are or how many they are, I
don't know.

But when countries with some of the worst records in the history of the
world can sit in judgment of the "human rights" attributes of other
countries, while countries that are completely pre-occupied with improving
the human rights of all people sit in harsh judgement mostly of themselves,
something is amis.

So China can veto action on Zimbabwe and "that's just the way it is,"
because the UN is all powerful after all, while the U.S. and Britain
excoriate themselves over the way prisoners are treated. Many of whom, under
the Geneva Conventions could have simply been shot as un uniformed

The story of the young terrorist alluded to in Mr. Bell's cartoon was of
an ununiformed combatant killing and maiming U.S. troops with a hand
grenade. The reason he is able to complain that his wounds weren't "properly
taken care of" (although they had been) and cry for "mommy," is that western
civilization is so concerned with human rights that we sacrifice our own
children and yet keep vermin like this alive. I mean after all, what would
the UN think if we didn't?

Jul 16 08, 08:27pm (60 minutes ago)

Yes it'll be the start of the end. And it won't just be the illiberal
regimes that get away with things, it'll be those engaged in reprehenibile
actions over the environment as well.

Jul 16 08, 08:32pm (54 minutes ago)

It was ideological differences with the US and Europe that led China and
Russia to veto the proposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is hard to see
how order, trade and development have anything to gain from keeping Robert
Mugabe in power. By vetoing the sanctions against Mugabe's regime, Russia
and China made a statement of principle. They reserve the right to resort to
authoritarianism and therefore oppression. They voted against the sanctions
out of sympathy with Robert Mugabe. Their contempt for the US and Europe's
humanitarian stance stems from their belief that the US and Europe do not
understand the different realities and requirements of Russia and China.
They are loathe to the idea of granting that the US and Europe are entitled
to claim the moral high ground when it comes to something they don't - in
Russia's and China's opinion - fully comprehend. Going along with the
sanctions would be tantamount to accept that the US and Europe have a point
when they insist on respect for human rights.

Jul 16 08, 08:37pm (49 minutes ago)

More comment dressed as garbage. The UN is and always has been a complete
joke. From the very top, at the "Security Council" all the way down to the
people on the ground - a very bad, poorly thought through joke. Taking the
disgrace over the Congo/Rwanda war for one and then the total farce over
Iraq as humiliating examples: how could anyone look at the UN with any kind
of seriousness, let alone hope? Unicef and UNHCR are the only parts of this
failure worth keeping, the rest should be left to crumble to dust.

Jul 16 08, 08:40pm (46 minutes ago)


The intelligentsia you discuss will never want the U.S. to reassert
itself, they want only, "change," and appear not to be too particular what
form it takes.

This problem is only a "contradiction" as marska points out, so the people
in Zimbabwe will just have to be understanding about it.

Besides, look at how much better off the environment is with fewer people,
maybe that will make up for the some of the other "reprehensible actions" we
in the west engage in as nefastus alluded to.

Jul 16 08, 08:45pm (42 minutes ago)

Well written and insightful article. I would like to see Conor Foley's
ideas on it. I know Conor has argued against this, I do think that alongside
the UN a G3· (US/EU/Japan), plus a Community of Democracies, perhaps within
a Democracy Caucus within the UN General Assembly
( with membership based on the the Warsaw
Declaration of June 27, 2000, or perhaps outxside the UN, is going to
increasingly evolve due to the self-serving actions at the UN of
self-elected governments.

Two current observations about Africa that might be useful about how other
bodies other than the UN will become increasingly influencial

1) The ICC just indicted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, which is the
finest and courageous act for a long time over Darfur, despite the fears and
cries of the realists and relativists. The UN has seen its currency fall
over Darfur, and ICC actions over Slobodan Milosevic & Charles Taylor is
proof that multilateral action outside the UNSC can work very well.

2) As Ted Piccone wrote a few weeks past - "Six months ago, it seemed
inevitable that Egypt would take over the presidency of the Human Rights
Council, the United Nations' main forum for monitoring state behavior on
human rights. Africa's turn at the rotating presidency was coming up, and no
country had expressed any willingness to stand against Egypt, the Africa
group chair...When African NGOs learned that Egypt was likely to run
unopposed for the Council's presidency, they took action. Forty-two
organizations in twenty countries wrote to all of the African heads of
state, demanding that Africa be "represented in this role by a recognized
human rights leader from our continent." Given Egypt's effective diplomacy
at the United Nations, it was never likely that this NGO coalition would
achieve much. But through a sophisticated advocacy campaign in democratic
and democratizing countries, the NGOs convinced their governments not to
support a potentially embarrassing and regressive African presidency."

The NGO campaign succeeded and Nigeria is now on the Council. This wasn't
the only case of the non governmenal sector having a decisive effect. An
international coalition of human rights defenders from Sri Lanka and around
the world opposed Sri Lanka's candidacy based on that country's failure to
uphold human rights or cooperate with UN human rights institutions. After
losing the election, Sri Lanka's government credited this "aggressive
campaign" for their defeat. Last year, a similar fate fell upon Belarus.

Acting outside the UNSC is going to become more and more likely, both to
shape international organisations and increase their legitimacy, and to use
legal or other means to secure a goal.

Welcome to the future.

Jul 16 08, 08:59pm (27 minutes ago)

"There is a world of difference between today and the early 1990s, when
western governments could lead the charge for intervention in Somali.."

The US and British are intervening in Somalia. The Ethiopian invasion?

Brown and Milband getting in stew, bloody hypocrites.

Jul 16 08, 09:03pm (24 minutes ago)


I do think that alongside the UN a G3· (US/EU/Japan), plus a Community
of Democracies, perhaps within a Democracy Caucus within the UN General
you do realise that the USA blocked Japan's application for a permanent
seat on the Security council. Why would the US form a G3 council with Japan?
This little article is perhaps illustrative

"China and the United States have agreed to spare no effort to block a
plan by Japan, Germany, Brazil and India to expand the UN Security Council,
Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya said Thursday. "

Jul 16 08, 09:13pm (13 minutes ago)

So Mugabe is this month's "deranged dictator" is he?

We're getting through them very quickly these days aren't we?

In recent memory we've had Bashir from Sudan, Saddam, of course,
Ahmedinajad, Chavez, Ghaddafi, Milosevic... the list is very long and what
all of them have in common is a refusal to follow orders from Washington.
Oh, and there was Castro too, not to mention Noriega (remember him) and
Maurice Bishop (and the guy who killed him) we've had the lad from Liberia
(Charles Taylor) and some chaps from Sierra Leone, a Hutu or three from
Ruanda (whose names escape me) .

And, blow me! There was Aristide, I almost forgot him and Siad Barre (was
that his name?)from Somalia Plus the Burmese junta.

And none of them-it's a definition, it would seem, of derangement- did
what he was told by Washington.

Not a very attractive lot ?

No they aren't, few "leaders" are in this world. Take the gentry who run
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ajerbaijan, Turkmenistan.

Take the mob running Italy, the death squad dictators who run El Salvador
and Colombia. Take the "winners" of the elections in Kenya and Nigeria. Take
the men who run Uganda and Ruand.

This list is long too: take the junta which snatched power from the jaws
of democracy in Algeria, or Palestine, for that matter, take Mubarak in
Egypt who is paid billions annually for keeping the electorate at bay (and
no questions asked 'squire). Take Tunisia or Ethiopia. Take the King of
Morocco. Take Le Cote d'Ivoire. Hello King Hussein of Jordan!

I do believe this list is even longer!!

And the difference is that provided you follow Washington's orders it
doesn't matter what you do to your people (does it Equatorial Guinea?)
Whereas, if you do not, our trained intellectual seals will roll their eyes
and launch into long sermons regarding the sinfulness of foreigners and the
burden involved in having fair skin and believing in democracy.

"We" think the world is illiberal.

And "they" think that "we" are a bunch of hypocrites.

Why don't we put it to a vote?

Jul 16 08, 09:16pm (11 minutes ago)

In what way is the support china and russia are giving to their allied
countries with abysmal human rights records any different to the support the
US and europe have given to their allied countries with abysmal human rights
records over the past couple of decades?

Israel and Egypt are the number one and two recipients of US aid. Amnesty
international report "prolonged detention without charge, torture and
ill-treatment, undue restrictions on freedom of speech, association and
assembly, and unfair trials before military courts and (Emergency) Supreme
State Security Courts" as occuring in Egypt. Human rights abuses in Israel
are too long to document here (and there is plenty of debate RE
Israel/Palestine on cif anyway). Needless to say Israel is in constant
violantion of the forth geneva convention and multiple UN resolutions.
Between 1972 and 2006 the US vetoed 42 UN resolutions critical od Israel

Then theres the philipines, where extrajudicial executions and enforced
disappearances have been common, again enjoying close economic ties with the
US. Then theres the historic support for apartheid South Africa, early 80s
iraq, and facist South American dictatorships. Current support for Jordan,
Saudi Arabia, the gulf emirates, Chad, Angol...

Its the same process the world over, superpowers dont care who they do
business with, as long as they are aligned.

Oh and before refering to the ascending powers as barbaric hordes lets not
forget about our own human rights records re detention of prisoners and how
many millions of iraqis we have killed in the last few years, through war
and sanctions.

Jul 16 08, 09:16pm (10 minutes ago)

Oswald Spengler noted that it was unwise of the west to allow our
technology to be taken on by other nations, who would eventually pose a
threat to our way of life. He also noted that our civilisation, like others,
followed a cycle of birth, middle age and death, and that we are at the end
point. What is happening in the world only seems to confirm this.

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UN veto gives Mugabe and Mbeki respite

Wednesday, 16 July 2008 13:56
HARARE - China and Russia dealt Zimbabweans a huge blow when they
blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution to impose smart
sanctions on the 14 members of the Mugabe regime.
Poor governance and rampant corruption has resulted in Zimbabwe
suffering its worst economic crisis in history, with an inflation rate of
more than 9 million % per annum. Politically motivated attacks have led to
at least 113 deaths, tens of thousands of torture victims and hundred of
thousands displaced.
Zimbabwe had finally been put on the agenda of the UN Security Council
but both China and Russia claimed the 'sanctions' were an attempt to meddle
in the affairs of a member state, saying the situation posed no threat to
international peace and security. Russia and China said they prefer to see
the outcome of 'talks' between the country's political rivals.
On July 14 Gordon Brown warned the proposals for punitive action would
be brought back to the Security Council if the dialogue between Zanu (PF)
and MDC failed.
Political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said China and Russia's veto was
not a surprise as they both had their own issues with the European Union and
the United States.
China and Russia were joined by Libya, Vietnam and South Africa in
voting against the UN resolution. South Africa had campaigned heavily
against it with Mbeki warning that sanctions would trigger a civil war in
Zimbabwe, and interfere with attempts to form a national unity government.
This was the same excuse used by the Zimbabwean government.
"What's interesting is that even the ANC in its recent statement has
said this issue of the United Nations is not off the agenda with regards to
Zimbabwe and I think the fact that it got to the Security Council vote is in
itself an enormously important development," Raftopoulos said.
Although he believes the UN resolution should be on the international
agenda, he believes the timing is wrong. The MDC has committed itself to
"talks" and they have to go through with them. It is important that the
opposition makes the right kind of demands.
The talks between the political parties are shrouded in secrecy.
"There needs to be some kind of transparency and accountability. There
is a huge need to give information to the Zimbabwean people," Raftopoulos
said. - SW Radio Africa (listen on 4880 or 12035kHz)

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Eviction leaves families destitute

Wednesday, 16 July 2008 13:55
By Chief Reporter
HARARE - The Government has brutally evicted 10 families from Lynton
Court in Hatfield, leaving women and children to sleep in the open during
the height of the southern hemisphere winter.
The hapless residents, whose property is currently strewn by the
roadside to the Harare International Airport, even had their cooking
utensils and property smashed as they were hastily commandeered out of the
flats by the deputy sheriff. Most of the victims were already surviving from
day to day, and this action puts lives at risk. The action followed the
transfer of ownership of the flat from one Mr Cronwick to government tax
collector, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, ZimRA.
A strong police force with riot shields and batons was said to have
stood by as the deputy sheriff evicted the hapless tenants in a bid to
subdue resistance from the residents.
This eviction made many poor tenants immediately homeless, according
to the spokesperson of the tenants, Elphas Tavagadza. He told The Zimbabwean
the tenants have sought the intervention of Housing minister Ignatius
Chombo, "to stop this senseless and inhumane eviction."
"The government is supposed to provide housing to its people not hound
them of their homes," he said. "We are not resisting eviction but we feel
due process should have been followed."
The sight of evicted tenants huddled along the Harare International
Airport road is a public relations disaster for the government.
Efforts to obtain comment from ZimRA boss Gershom Pasi were futile.
But The Zimbabwean understands the flat has been cleared to hand the houses
to senior ZimRA bosses.
In most instances, these officials already own multiple properties and
usually sub-let these properties in forex. Most of the evictees are poor
people who have been living from hand to mouth. Many are unskilled workers
and petty street traders.
But they said they were willing to pay whatever rentals the new
landlord was demanding. ZimRA would have none of that and has demanded that
they leave forthwith.

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Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 9:32 PM
Subject: For Godsakes, respect us.

i was born in zimbabwe twentie- something years ago, and i have never been
outside my country's borders. i am a kalanga by birth, and decent; and a
ndebele by association. in short, my situation in the zimbabwean experience
makes me a ndebele, and as such nothing ndebele is alien to me. i have lived
mong the tonga, shona, and many other tribes of zimbabwe and i can say i now
know the ways of men in my country. i have never written a newspaper article
or letter before, and i hope i will not have to do it again, unless i am
sending someone a happy birth day message to my grandpa (who is ndebele by
association, too.) i treat newspapers with suspicion.

i have been repulsed by the atitude of the media at large in the Zimbabwean
political fiasco. Most treat the gukurahundi attrocities with a contemptible
tone about their words, a clear demonstration to me that the issue itself
can never be an end in itself; it can be toyed around with, placed as one of
the reasons why Mugabe should go. the sequence is so predictable in news
papers: it's the gukurahundi attrocities, murambatsvina, the tragic land
reform, the stolen elections of 29 march and 27 june. all these are the sins
that Robert Mugabe is answerable for. the problem that we have is that of
wanting to write the history, all of us. i met a friend of mine who aspires
to be a scribe; he told me that he was glad the 'crisis' was continuing. it
meant more stories for him. it made me feel sad to remember what stories i
would write, if i got rest one day.
to be honest, i never saw anything of gukurahundi, seeing that i was but a
toddler. what i saw were the realilties of defeat. it meant that i would be
a second class citizen. it would be such a fit of intelligence that would
leave Fortune gleaming with envy if Zimbabweans were to contrive a way out
of their present misery without addressing previous issues. migabe has only
killed handfulls, and his fury has been on record for devouring thousands.
it is evil to want to come out of Egypt, leaving a wounded or unburied

as a ndebele son of the soil, i always feel repulsed when i watch the world
listing the crimes of robert mugabe as if he was killing scum all along. now
that he turns against his own people and a few white folk, he is labelled an
outlaw! of course the man was an outlaw all the time, and the world watched
him. the result is this standing askance and awkward gesticulation as bob
waves the middle finger at the world for obliging him thus. there is an old
parable that exists in proto literate societies; in ancient Greek tradition,
the tragic poet aeschylus tells (Oresteia) that a man contrived to rear a
lion cub, and it grew into a very tame creature, sociable indeed, but one
day, the lion in the pet came out, and he devastated the farmer's flock! Get
the lessons for your self

the west is responsible for the creation of mugabe, (as an opponent of
Joshua Nkomo) and ignoring his bigger sins. i am sure that the catastrophe
of 20000 people being massacred will always be greater than the catastrophe
of a few dozen souls. any solution that shall seek to address in a frank
way, the condemnation of mugabe on moral grounds will have too take into
account the 20000 matabele souls, most of whose bones still llies unburied,
or rotting in mines. the sanctions that are aimed at mugabe will never hit
him, as has always been the case. the poor, uneducated matabele, who ekes a
living from prostitutng his labour will still take another hit on his
unloved person. the shona pays for his complicity in watching the murder of
the ndebele. the unity that binds us, where it exists, is, trully speaking,
eked out of personal goodwill for one another, and not a result of any
government effort. (speaking for my self). i respect that feeling in me, and
i wish it may spead among those in charge of mediating my fate for the
thousandth time. my message to you, fortunate ladies and gentlemen is: DO
IS CONTRARY TO THE LAWS OF NATURE. in the meantime, i wish everybody
concerned in this to really check their motives vis a viz the liberation of
zimbabwe, remembering that the matabele has not tasted of freedom as yet,
and it is uncharacteristc for a man to desire to remain in bondage. in the
meantime, i am sure the world, and myself still deserve the nemesis of r.g.
we should not trust in horses, for they are many.
such a tragic experience, if put to good motives, will liberate men from his


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