Afrol News, Norway
afrol News, 17 July - An agreement to toughen sanctions against Zimbabwe
next Tuesday by the European Union Ambassadors has been reached, diplomats
Under the new agreement, businessmen backing the Zimbabwean government would
be slapped with sanctions, the first time in history.
A meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels next week is expected to
endorse the new sanctions. More than 130 individuals have been slapped with
the bloc's visa bans and an asset freeze.
However, the EU now wants to add about 40 others, including security
officials of Zimbabwe, to the list. Those accused of involvement in the
election violence and business figures bent on backing the Mugabe regime
would be mainly targeted for the new sanctions.
Five companies could also be slapped with sanctions, diplomats said.
On Monday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced plans to seek more
sanctions from the EU against officials of the Zimbabwean regime.
British and its allies - the United States and France - were shocked last
week after Russia and China vetoed against an arms embargo, travel bans and
assets freezing of Zimbabwean officials, defending that the blocked motion
would contradict diplomatic efforts to solve Zimbabwe's political crisis.
"I think it is difficult to justify the vetoes that were put on the
Zimbabwean resolution by both China and Russia," Mr. Brown told a news
conference in London.
"I think it is very hard to defend taking action when we know that we have
got an illegitimate government that is holding power through violence, that
is arresting people and putting them as political prisoners, incarcerating
them, and a government that seems determined to hold onto power.
"That's why I regret what China and Russia did. Russia in particular had
supported what we were proposing at the G8."
By staff writer
© afrol News
Monsters and Critics
Jul 17, 2008, 13:27 GMT
Harare - The process toward negotiating an end to the Zimbabwean crisis was
expected to inch forward Thursday as the top body of the main faction of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was due to meet to decide
whether to enter into talks with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU(PF) party.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai's faction of
the party, confirmed that the party's national executive was to 'assess the
progress on the negotiated settlement front.'
This included a 'memorandum of understanding' setting out the aims and
negotiating positions of the two parties, he said.
The signatures on the document of the leaders of Tsvangirai's MDC, the
smaller faction of the party led by robotics professor Arthur Mutambara and
Mugabe are expected to signal the start of substantive talks.
However, Tsvangirai's MDC has told the other two parties that it was still
waiting for 'clarification' on its demand that the African Union (AU) be
involved in the talks.
An answer will only come on Friday, after a meeting in South Afirca between
President Thabo Mbeki, the Southern African Development Committee-appointed
mediator between the three parties, and AU Executive Director Jean Ping.
The main MDC faction has openly expressed its dissatisfaction with Mbeki's
mediation, accusing him of bias towards Mugabe,and has insisted on 'expanded
mediation' involving the AU, a position rejected by ZANU(PF).
Moves towards a resumption of negotiations began shortly before the
controversial run-off presidential elections on June 27,as Tsvangirai
withdrew from the race over a three-month wave of violence, and left Mugabe
the 'winner' of a one-man poll that was universally dismissed as
Details of the memorandum of understanding have not been released, but
sources close to the talks said it was drawn up in South Africa last week at
a meeting of representatives of the three parties.
In the document, the three groups assert that negotiations should lead to
'an inclusive government,' to economic stability, the establishment of peace
and security across the country and an end to the climate of acute political
However, the differences in the positions of the MDC factions and ZANU(PF)
expressed in the memorandum are so wide that observers believe there is
little hope of agreement being reached in the two- week life of the
negotiations established by the document.
The MDC factions insist on an end to the state-sponsored violence that has
claimed over 100 lives since the 84-year-old Mugabe lost the first round of
elections on March 29 and the MDC inflicted on ZANU(PF) its first defeat in
national parliamentary elections.
They also demand the release of the estimated 1500 MDC officials under
arrest, and a resumption of humanitarian aid that was stopped by the regime
on June 5.
ZANU(PF)'s chief point is the 'irreversibility' of the regime's
'revolutionary land programme,' in which nearly all 6000 white-owned farms
in the country were seized and purportedly handed over to blacks as a form
of restitution for land occupied by white settlers who started arriving in
the territory 118 years ago.
Significantly, the document does not mention either the establishment of a
government of national unity involving the three parties and pressed for by
the South African government, or of a transitional authority to run the
country while the parties draft a new constitution leading to free and fair
elections, a position insisted on previously by the MDC.
The memorandum also declares that the negotiations will be held in strict
'The positions are so far apart, and ZANU(PF) in the past has given no
indication of good faith, it's difficult to see how negotiations can lead
anywhere,' a Western diplomat said.
By Delia Robertson
17 July 2008
Morgan Tsvangirai, the founding president of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, has put on hold a preliminary agreement that would
pave the way for formal talks with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF. VOA's
Delia Robertson reports from our southern Africa bureau in Johannesburg.
Morgan Tsvangirai is holding out for the appointment of a second mediator
appointed by the African Union to work alongside South African President
Thabo Mbeki who is acting as mediator during formal negotiations with Mr.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF. Mr. Mbeki was last year mandated by the Southern African
Development Community to mediate talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF.
An African diplomat close to the preparatory talks told VOA that Tsvangirai
believes that the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping,
promised to appoint a second mediator. He says Tsvangirai expects this
appointment to be announced following a meeting Friday between Ping and Mr.
Mbeki in Pretoria.
But the African diplomat tells VOA that the African Union has made no such
commitment, that the decision of the AU summit last month to endorse the
mediation of Mr.. Mbeki as mandated by the Southern Africa Development
Community, still stands.
The preparatory talks are expected to produce a preliminary agreement which
will govern formal negotiations between both factions of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF.
In addition the agreement is expected to include, at Tsvangirai's request,
an interim commitment on the cessation of violence during formal talks.
Despite the fact that violent attacks against opposition supporters have
decreased, they still occur. Just this week a large funeral was held for an
MDC driver who was brutally tortured before being killed.
When formal talks get under way they are likely to focus on the
establishment of a transitional Government of National Unity and the
positions in that government of opposition leaders, including Morgan
The MDC holds the view that Tsvangirai should head any transitional
government, while President Mugabe wants the MDC to recognize his
re-election as president of Zimbabwe in a controversial election last month
which was boycotted by the MDC.
Analysts say that any formal agreements will have to win the support of the
security establishment in Zimbabwe, which is widely believed to be the power
behind Mr. Mugabe.
Independent analyst Chris Maroleng tells VOA the mediator will have to find
a way to reassure this group that they will not be held accountable for
their actions by a future transitional government.
"I believe it is the insecurity that is felt by these elements in the state
security apparatus that has created a behavior in them which makes them
active spoilers when faced with the prospects of change. Because they might
feel that the cost involved in a transition would result in a loss of
status, a loss of access, and indeed possible prosecution if a transition is
to occur," said Maroleng.
It is possible that if, following his meeting with Mr. Mbeki, the African
Union's Jean Ping is able to reassure Morgan Tsvangirai that Mr. Mbeki can
manage the mediaiton on his own, the signing of the preliminary agreement
could take place within days. If so, formal talks may get under way as early
as next week.
Monsters and Critics
Jul 17, 2008, 15:42 GMT
Windhoek - Lawyers for the Zimbabwean government walked out of a court in
Namibia Thursday after a group of white farmers brought an urgent
application before the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
tribunal, asking it to act against President Robert Mugabe's regime for
The SADC tribunal, which is based in the Namibian capital Windhoek, had
ordered the Zimbabwe government not to interfere with Mike Campbell or 77
other white farmers pending the outcome of their case, in which they are
challenging their eviction under Mugabe's controversial land reform
On Wednesday, the court heard submissions from the farmers and the
Zimbabwean government on one part of the farmers' case dealing with a
Zimbabwean law that bars them from contesting their evictions through the
courts. The farmers say the law violates the SADC treaty, to which Zimbabwe
and 13 other countries in the region are signatories.
On Thursday, the tribunal heard an urgent application by the farmers to
refer Mugabe's government to an upcoming SADC summit for violating an
injunction granted by the court in the farmers' favour.
The tribunal had ordered the government not to harass or evict the farmers
until their case was heard.
In recent weeks, however, militia allied to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party have
invaded several of the farms. Campbell, the first of the farmers to turn to
the SADC tribunal last year, in a last-ditch bid to remain on the land, was
badly beaten along with his wife and son-in-law during an attack on his
The farmers are looking for the SADC tribunal to refer Zimbabwe's violations
of the injunction for discussion at the next SADC summit in mid-August, in
line with a provision of the SADC treaty.
After the five-judge bench dismissed the Zimbabwean state's request for a
postponement of the application, the government's legal team excused
themselves from the proceedings.
The tribunal reserved judgement Thursday on both of the farmers' appeals.
STATEMENT BY THE ELDERS AT THEIR JOHANNESBURG MEETING
ON JULY 16-18, 2008:
The Zimbabwean people deserve security, true democracy and a process of reconciliation upon which lasting peace can be built. Set aside the political ambitions of a few, and work to achieve the aspirations of the Zimbabwean people.
Let Zimbabwe return to its greatness and its rightful place in the international community.
Thursday 17th July, 2008
Beijing, July 17 (Xinhua) China Thursday renewed its call for diplomatic
dialogue and negotiations with Zimbabwe to solve the political and economic
crisis in the south African country.
'China insists political dialogue and negotiations are the only correct path
to solve the Zimbabwe crisis,' foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told
a press conference here Thursday.
Jianchao made the remarks when asked to comment on the US' dissatisfaction
on China's veto against a proposed sanction on the Zimbabwean government of
President Robert Mugabe.
'China and the US hold a different stance on this issue. I believe that the
US side is very clear on China's attitude.' He said, adding that 'it is
natural that China and the US have different opinions on different
China vetoed last week a US-drafted resolution in the UN Security Council
that would have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over the country's
presidential run-off election in late June.
Mugabe was sworn in president for another five years early this month
following the run-off election he alone contested. Opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the election over
attacks on his supporters.
If recent eyewitness and newspaper reports about the existence of foreign
fighters spearheading attacks against unarmed civilians in Zimbabwe are accurate
and true, then the military junta has violated yet another United Nations
Convention. It opens the Pandora’s Box into the underworld of guns for hire,
warlords and war criminals. Major Protrais Mpiranya, the fugitive Commander of the Rwandese Presidential
Guard Battalion at the time of the genocide in 1994, is reported to be living in
Zimbabwe. Did he bring the feared Interahamwe and FDLR fighters, purveyors of
genocide, with him? Scrutinising the above photograph of the more than 10 years old FJ70 Toyota
Land cruiser, fitted with the wrong radial tyres for a four wheel driven
vehicle, patrolling the streets of Harare, reveals the state of the Zimbabwe
National Army (ZNA) and it’s fighting capability. The obvious unprofessional
casual posture of the men in this particular unit is disturbing and poses a
question as to their level of discipline. The soft-skinned vehicle, amateurishly retrofitted for anti-civilian militia
purposes, has no practical application in an infantry unit on a modern
battlefield. Note the platform on which soldier A is standing.
Further observance of the above picture reveals that this mysterious unit is
clad in new army fatigues. An ominous sign indeed, a unit comprised of men
wearing new battle dress in the middle of the year. The ZNA only issues new
uniforms during initial recruitment or the beginning of the year; this is not
January and these men are definitely not recruits. None of the soldiers pictured
above are wearing berets, unit or rank insignia and yet are carrying high
velocity AK 47 assault rifles in an urban area. Soldier B is wearing non-army issue sunglasses and is
sporting a crude moustache. He is dangerously sitting on the backrest with his
brand new boots perched on the seat. Facial hair is against uniform code and
regulations, therefore not permitted in the ZNA except for Special Forces on
deployment. Soldiers C and D have obviously
concealed their faces but note their clasped hands, an indication of a cold
winter day. The carelessly unsecured AK 47’s on their laps demonstrates the
absence of a palpable threat; these men are clearly on an offensive operation
against unarmed civilians. From the above synopsis and other military faux pas that this picture
reveals, it would be reasonable to conclude that these men are foreign fighters
or inadequately trained and poorly disciplined militias merely clad in ZNA
uniforms. Article 1 of the Convention defines a mercenary as
follows: Fast forward to present day Zimbabwe and it is the liberation movement of
yesteryear, struggling with the democratic aspirations of its people, which now
use mercenaries to keep the masses who yearn for freedom subjugated and
oppressed. The current low- intensity conflict at play in Zimbabwe shall soon
evolve into a full-blown civil war when diplomacy and the off again on again
“talking about talks talks” fails. Indeed if the remnants of the FDRL or Interahamwe, the African franchise
holders for genocidal warfare or any other non-Zimbabwean actors are involved in
the voter cleansing terror campaigns, then we are already at war. This is no longer an internal conflict but a well-planned war to protect a
dictator at all costs.
Updated: July 17, 2008 12:57
The United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 44/34, “The International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries.”
1. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar rank and functions in the armed forces of that party.
A UN document in 1973 said, “The use of mercenaries by colonial and racist regimes against the national liberation movements struggling for their freedom and independence from the yoke of colonialism and alien domination is considered to be a criminal act and mercenaries should accordingly be punished as criminals.”
If recent eyewitness and newspaper reports about the existence of foreign fighters spearheading attacks against unarmed civilians in Zimbabwe are accurate and true, then the military junta has violated yet another United Nations Convention. It opens the Pandora’s Box into the underworld of guns for hire, warlords and war criminals.
Major Protrais Mpiranya, the fugitive Commander of the Rwandese Presidential Guard Battalion at the time of the genocide in 1994, is reported to be living in Zimbabwe. Did he bring the feared Interahamwe and FDLR fighters, purveyors of genocide, with him?
Scrutinising the above photograph of the more than 10 years old FJ70 Toyota Land cruiser, fitted with the wrong radial tyres for a four wheel driven vehicle, patrolling the streets of Harare, reveals the state of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and it’s fighting capability. The obvious unprofessional casual posture of the men in this particular unit is disturbing and poses a question as to their level of discipline.
The soft-skinned vehicle, amateurishly retrofitted for anti-civilian militia purposes, has no practical application in an infantry unit on a modern battlefield. Note the platform on which soldier A is standing.
Further observance of the above picture reveals that this mysterious unit is clad in new army fatigues. An ominous sign indeed, a unit comprised of men wearing new battle dress in the middle of the year. The ZNA only issues new uniforms during initial recruitment or the beginning of the year; this is not January and these men are definitely not recruits. None of the soldiers pictured above are wearing berets, unit or rank insignia and yet are carrying high velocity AK 47 assault rifles in an urban area.
Soldier B is wearing non-army issue sunglasses and is sporting a crude moustache. He is dangerously sitting on the backrest with his brand new boots perched on the seat. Facial hair is against uniform code and regulations, therefore not permitted in the ZNA except for Special Forces on deployment. Soldiers C and D have obviously concealed their faces but note their clasped hands, an indication of a cold winter day. The carelessly unsecured AK 47’s on their laps demonstrates the absence of a palpable threat; these men are clearly on an offensive operation against unarmed civilians.
From the above synopsis and other military faux pas that this picture
reveals, it would be reasonable to conclude that these men are foreign fighters
or inadequately trained and poorly disciplined militias merely clad in ZNA
Article 1 of the Convention defines a mercenary as
Fast forward to present day Zimbabwe and it is the liberation movement of yesteryear, struggling with the democratic aspirations of its people, which now use mercenaries to keep the masses who yearn for freedom subjugated and oppressed. The current low- intensity conflict at play in Zimbabwe shall soon evolve into a full-blown civil war when diplomacy and the off again on again “talking about talks talks” fails.
Indeed if the remnants of the FDRL or Interahamwe, the African franchise holders for genocidal warfare or any other non-Zimbabwean actors are involved in the voter cleansing terror campaigns, then we are already at war.
This is no longer an internal conflict but a well-planned war to protect a dictator at all costs.
By Our correspondent | Harare Tribune
Updated: July 17, 2008 11:34
Zimbabwe, Harare- One of our Tribune/Zimdaily correspondent spent
sometime in his home township of Epworth and sent us this report. Editing by
Trymore MacVivo for the Tribune & Zimdaily.
A torture camp
"Are you sure I will be safe?"
"Of course, I'm one of the sergeants in the unit. Just wear your
ZANU-PF t-shirt and you will be fine," my childhood friend Samuel Mapuranga
Passing off myself as a cousin of Samuel, I found myself two hours
later at the local ZANU-PF militia base, torture base. A man lay sprawled on
the floor, naked, inside one of the three main torture rooms.
Zuze Sibanda, the leader of our local ZANU-PF militia unit, was
standing over the man, a fan belt in hand, shouting above his voice,
sweating, swearing. Zuze, tall and with the skin black as the underside of a
cauldron (bhodho), was broad shouldered with a goatee. He was on leave from
the ZNA, where he worked at Manyame Airbase.
"Tell us, who else is a member of the MDC, huh? You have confessed
that you are member of the MDC, but tell us, who are your comrades in that
party?" The figure on the floor, his back bloodied from the beating he had
received, moaned in pain, pleading with his captors to have mercy on his
Zuze went into delirium, beating and kicking the MDC man on the floor,
until the man stopped crying. Moses, one of the members of the unit, doused
the unconscious MDC man with bucketful of cold water to revive him so that
they could continue torturing him.
The torture room was one of three now used by our unit, located in the
compound that housed the local branch of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
here in Epworth.
Someday in 1993 when I was a naïve grade six student out at Batanai
Primary School, one of the three primary schools in the suburb then, our
headmaster told us that the following day, a Wednesday, the school was going
to be closed.
As kids, always out to avoid going to school, we cheered the awesome
announcement. But the headmaster quickly added that: "You will all still
have to wear your uniforms and go to Domboramwari Business Center." There
were puzzled looks on everyone's face.
"Oh, don't lose heart. The President, Cde. Robert Mugabe is visiting
Epworth, and you all have to be there to greet him and listen to him speak,"
the headmaster explained, speaking with his mission school English.
Indeed the following day, Robert Mugabe came to Epworth to a hero's
welcome, as was the norm then. Epworth was an impoverished suburb about 15
kilometers south east of Harare. Forgotten by Mugabe's government since its
'founding' in 1982, the shanty town had no running water, electricity, roads
and other amenities that make of a normal suburb.
With my friend Samuel, who lived close to our house, we attended
Mugabe's unofficial rally that was staged in an open space between the local
clinic and the police station. I remember Mugabe giving one of his usual
He talked about morality: "If you rape women, girls, then it is
correct for us to cut your manhood." He made several promises to the
thousands of people who had come to witness him speak, residents of Epworth.
"We will provide you with electricity, water and properly constructed
houses. This is our mandate as a government of the people. We should be able
to do all these things, providing you with infrastructure, within two years
He continued speaking, with the crowd cheering at each promise he
made. Samuel and I, we set with other school children at the front, merely
two meters away from where Mugabe stood. His eloquence, dress style had us
wide eyed with awe and envy and suspense. I remember thinking: "When I grow
up, I want to be President Mugabe!"
This is work
Though the run-off election is over, and Mugabe is firmly in power,
political violence against members and activists of the MDC continues
unabated, especially here in impoverished townships of Harare.
After witnessing the torture of the MDC member, the seven of us,
decked out in flamboyant ZANU-PF regalia, we left our torture camp at the
police station on the hunt of one of the prolific MDC activists in Epworth.
It was around 2 am in the morning when we reached the MDC man's home.
When we were told that he wasn't home, we burnt his house to the ground. We
left his wife and child crying and trying to put out the raging fire on
their house we had set on fire.
Other members of our ZANU-PF militia unit, despite assurances from
Samuel, still looked at me with suspicion, even after I have shown my true
colors by participating in their campaign of violence.
"It's not good to bring in more people into the group, without
consulting us," Zuze sulked, stroking his loaded AK-47, issued by the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to all commanders of ZANU-PF militia across
Harare. The bayonet of the rifle glinted menacingly in the moonlight, for
the suburb, despite Mugabe's promises fifteen years before, still had no
electricity or running water. Mugabe had failed to deliver.
Earlier on, I had asked Samuel why his ZANU-PF militia unit was still
active, when the elections had passed. He had chuckled and said. "This is
work for us now. The RBZ, through ZANU-PF, pays us every week." He also
explained that the party wanted them to continue to be active, until all MDC
people had been eliminated. "We have to cut the head of the snake, to make
sure it doesn't come back to haunt us again. This is our mission, we have to
One of the demands of the MDC in the ongoing talks has been that
ZANU-PF, in a show of good faith, should dismantle and disband all ZANU-PF
militia units operating across the country. But ZANU-PF, though Mnangagwa,
has refused to accept that demand.
Samuel, my friend, now taking part in one of the most active ZANU-PF
militia units in Epworth, admitted to me that he wasn't doing the evil
'things' against other people because he loved it.
"No, I don't like killing people or throwing people into the Pond. But
this is my only source of income, so I have to do it. I will do anything
that ZANU-PF asks me to do." The Pond is a former quarry now filled with
dark water, with a diameter of about 100 meters. Nobody knows how deep it
is, some say it goes down forever. Frustrated with life, residents of
Epworth in the past have gone to the pond to commit suicide. The ZANU-PF
militias here, since the beginning of April, have also been using the pond,
throwing murdered MDC activists, members ,into its dark depths.
Samuel also indicated that he was not a member of ZANU-PF.
"Yeah, I'm not a ZANU-PF person. But I need the money to support my
family." Like hundreds of thousands of other young men in Zimbabwe, Samuel
had failed to find a job right after finishing A-level. And now, in order to
survive, he is being used by ZANU-PF.
Apparently, it appears ZANU-PF, by destroying the economy, was
creating a pool for its foot soldiers. Had the economy been in a sound state
and everybody had a job, no rational young men would join ZANU-PF militia
A ZANU-PF official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity,
admitted that the core objective of ZANU-PF was to beat the MDC leadership,
membership, into submission.
"Once that is done, we will form a government of national unity with
them, in which ZANU-PF is the dominant power," he said without remorse.
"If that was not our objective, why would Mnangagwa refuse to accept
the dismantling of the ZANU-PF militia?"
We are used to this
These days in Epworth, it appears wherever one looks; there are
ZANU-PF people. Or rather, the ZANU-PF fashion-winter collection-is en
vogue. Everyone is wearing ZANU-PF regalia now, be it a bandana, a t-shirt
with a picture of Mugabe raising his fist or one that says "100%
The women, not to be outdone by their men folk, dress in head scuffs,
shawls, and dresses bearing images of the Mugabe.
"But, why are you wearing these, are you a ZANU-PF member?" Mai Dube
clapped her hands in delight, laughing at my question.
"No, I'm not a member of ZANU-PF. I wear these .these," she pointed at
a Zambia she had tied around her hour-glass waste "as a form of protection.
Everywhere I go, people respect me when they see me wearing ZANU-PF items.
Besides, the ZANU-PF militias don't touch me when I'm wearing this."--Harare
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 July 2008
Posted to the web 17 July 2008
We received reports from the Chiredzi area that some MDC supporters and
officials who were forced to flee their homes ahead of the Presidential
runoff election have now returned, and are reporting the names of those who
victimised them to the police.
Chiredzi farmer and activist Gerry Whitehead said it also appears that
ZANU-PF is abandoning the thugs that the party hired to commit brutal acts
against MDC supporters, ahead of the Presidential runoff election on June
27. Supporting the perpetrators while they are facing criminal charges would
link ZANU-PF to their activities, something the regime is keen to avoid. In
addition the party cannot afford to pay for their legal representation.
This strategy of abandoning those who do the 'dirty work' is not new to
ZANU-PF. The Mugabe regime has always used desperate unemployed youths and
some war vets to intimidate, assault and torture those perceived to be
enemies of the state.
Whitehead said in some cases the police are actually investigating the
reported crimes, something that has become unusual in Zimbabwe. He said: "At
least 90% of the police officials want to do the right thing but they are
One of those who seems to have been abandoned by ZANU-PF is a police chief
who was second in charge of the government's "Operation Maguta" in Chiredzi.
Whitehead did not disclose his name but he said the police chief is facing
rape and murder charges. So far he has not received any support from ruling
party officials and is reportedly very frightened.
Some of the victims who have identified those who attacked them say they are
being intimidated in order to drop the charges. But according to Whitehead
none of the victims in the Chiredzi area have withdrawn their cases.
The outspoken activist encouraged those who are being intimidated to report
that to the police as well. This will serve as a warning to future
perpetrators of violence that they will be prosecuted as individuals for
their actions, and that they cannot count on ZANU-PF to protect them.
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 July 2008
Posted to the web 17 July 2008
Jean Ping, the African Union Commission chairperson, is expected to meet
with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa on Friday to discuss the ongoing
talks between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations.
Mbeki has been the sole mediator on the Zimbabwe crisis and the MDC is
insisting that an additional mediator be appointed to work with the SA
President, who is accused of favoring ZANU PF.
Meanwhile, the National Executive Committee of the Tsvangirai MDC met on
Thursday for a briefing on the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
agreed upon by the main political parties, but waiting for signing. The MOU
lays out conditions for talks that are supposed to lead to a resolution of
It was impossible to get clarification on what was actually discussed by the
executive committee. But party insiders say although the party agrees in
principle with the draft MOU, fully-fledged negotiations should only start
when demands for an end to state sponsored violence are met and there is
clarification from the African Union on the issue of an additional
Violence is continuing, although all three parties agreed to put a clause in
the MOU for an immediate end to the violence. The Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition reported that 14 MDC supporters were assaulted and villagers were
forced to flee their homes in Headlands, Manicaland on Tuesday while more
than 30 MDC youths were arrested for distributing fliers in Bulawayo on
Thursday. Other members of the MDC executive committee gave reports on the
level of violence in their areas during Thursday's meeting in Harare.
By Alex Bell
17 July 2008
Senior Zimbabwean government officials may be charged with crimes against
humanity if South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decides to
investigate the content of a "torture docket", which implicates 18 ZanuPF
The docket was submitted by the Southern African Litigation Centre in March,
with charges relating to a police raid on the MDC offices in Harare last
year. MDC officials were detained for days and subjected to torture,
including mock executions and electric shocks. The party's president, Morgan
Tsvangerai was also severely beaten and had to go to South Africa for
Representatives at an Institute for Security Studies discussion on civil
society's role in holding governments accountable, on Tuesday heard that if
the NPA declined to investigate the matter, it would be accountable to the
International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Max du Plessis, a South
African law professor and a senior researcher at the ISS International Crime
in Africa Programme told Newsreel on Thursday that because South Africa is
party to the ICC statute, the country's Director General of Justice and
Constitutional Development has a duty to report the NPA to the ICC if it
decides to not to investigate the charges. The ICC's founding regulations
require member countries to begin prosecutions as soon as a charge is laid.
Du Plessis explained that the NPA might also delay making a decision to
investigate the docket, and that the Litigation Centre would need to take
into consideration the legal options available to them, including
"initiating a court application to compel a decision from the NPA".
Du Plessis added that South Africa has the capacity and jurisdiction to
prosecute alleged international criminals who are in the country for crimes
committed elsewhere, according to the Rome Statute, the treaty that
established the ICC in 1998. This responsibility is applicable in this case
as the ZanuPF officials implicated in the Litigation Centre's dossier have
been known to travel to South Africa.
Lawyers from several organisations on Tuesday also backed a move to urge the
UN Security Council to refer the Zimbabwe crisis to the ICC to investigate
further crimes against humanity. Du Plessis explained that since last year's
attack on the MDC there have been significant developments in Zimbabwe and
"further allegations of serious human rights abuses". Du Plessis said that
these incidents "altogether may well form the basis for a referral to the
ICC" but that this referral is "dependent on political sensitivities and
conditions that pertain at the time of the request".
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
17 July 2008
Around 30 MDC youths in Bulawayo were arrested by police as they went about
distributing the first edition of the party's provincial newsletter on
Thursday. Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme says the youths were taken to
the CID offices at the CABS building in the city, instead of the Central
Police Station as is standard practice. The group, wearing MDC t-shirts,
caused a stir in the city-centre as they handed out the newsletter to
passersby. It had a message from the MDC leadership urging followers not to
be cowed by Zanu PF intimidation. 'Our party remains committed to dialogue
but Mugabe and Zanu PF continue a bully-game,' the newsletter said.
A combination of riot and plain clothes police rounded the youths up and
bundled them into a waiting truck. A number of them managed to escape during
the commotion. Among those arrested was the MDC provincial youth chairman
Themba Nyathi. The CID offices where they were taken are said to house the
offices of the CIO Provincial Intelligence Officer. Saungweme said the venue
of the detention was probably meant to intimidate the youths, since it was
notorious for its secluded interrogation rooms and the use of torture by
officers there. A policeman who took part in the raid told Saungweme that
authorities were worried about the MDC being 'too visible' and the t-shirt
wearing youths distributing a newsletter were doing exactly that.
With the state-media running a campaign of misinformation about the ongoing
Zanu PF sponsored violence, the talks in South Africa and other issues, the
opposition is now trying to use party newsletters to give the correct
Meanwhile Saungweme reports that the MDC offices in Bulawayo continue to
receive a steady stream of refugees from Gokwe and Gutu, among other areas.
Gokwe is said to be particularly bad in terms of political violence with
ruling party militia sealing off the area from journalists, aid groups and
human rights workers.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The New Times (Kigali)
16 July 2008
Posted to the web 17 July 2008
Rwanda has experienced distinct periods of turbulence and violence. To crown
it all, in just three months during 1994, more than 1,000,000 people were
massacred in violence and murder perpetrated against Tutsis.
The army, a notorious group known as the Interahamwe and the presidential
guard, all supported by media, led the vicious killings against the Tutsi.
The Interahamwe particularly, were trained and equipped with special skills,
to mercilessly torture and kill their victims.
After the genocide, many of those killers fled the country. Some of them
were traced and brought before ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda based in Arusha -Tanzania). Those at large had to find a way to use
their skills to survive while keeping away from justice.
Failed states, with disorganized and cruel leaders, found their services
very important and since they are a 'cheap labour', they immediately
deployed them. I do not even agree when they call them- 'mercenaries' from
The name does not reflect a true mercenary, for that matter a Rwandan one. A
mercenary is highly paid in terms of cash, whereas the Interahamwe, are only
blood thirsty cheap thugs.
The recent developments implicating them in torture and murder of opposition
members of Zimbabwe's MDC, should not take any one by surprise.
The Interahamwe met the Zimbabwean soldiers during 'the great DRC' conflict
that involved many countries. Different countries made different alliances,
with the Interahamwe joining the Zimbabweans. This is when the two admired
each other and their thirst for blood with love for human flesh being
"There are an estimated 4,000 Hutu refugees living in Zimbabwe, some of whom
took part in the genocide of Tutsis in 1994 There are between six and 10
foreigners in each base, and there are 20 ZANU-PF bases in the two
constituencies. People here live close to several borders and they know
Portuguese from Mozambique and languages from Malawi and Zambia They do not
speak any of those or English. The tongues are from much farther up north -
Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda", reports Mr. Chitaka, MDC Manicaland chair-man.
The Zimbabwean people being very far from The Great Lakes region fail to
tell exactly the nationality of the Interahamwe and keep on calling them
strangers. The people living within the SADC region know each and in some
cases share almost similar languages.
This background is enough to justify their suspicion and no one should try
to belittle their fears, the way ours were belittled when the same bandits
descended upon us.
We can even reflect on the attack they made in Uganda when they killed six
tourists, in 1999. This is on record!
"Two attacks took place just weeks before the tourist killings.
On February 20, 1999, a group of about fifty heavily armed rebels reportedly
"hacked to death" five villagers near Kisoro town, about twenty miles away
from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
On February 17, 1999, a group described by the media as "Interahamwe
militia," estimated at between fifty and one hundred and armed with AK-47
rifles, reportedly attacked the border town of Ishasha, killing two people.
Ishasha is only a few miles from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest", reports
New-York based human rights watch dog, Human Rights watch.
Just like in Zimbabwe's reported case you can see even in the Uganda tourist
attack; Interahamwe could not be identified properly within their own a
region. Therefore, it would not surprise me if they managed to hide and
commit similar atrocities in Zimbabwe.
The Interahamwe therefore, with their skills and a heavy criminal background
will continue to support whoever will give them sanctuary or safe haven.
In their own 'mad environment' I cannot fail to say that they are
succeeding, not only, to help others in need of their 'special services'-to
kill, but also to evade justice, until natural death comes their way.
Furthermore, it is unfortunate to note that the new host - I mean the one
making headlines today (Zimbabwe), is setting a very bad and dangerous
precedent in the SADC region, by knowingly harbouring these fugitives from
justice. It is indeed an insult to the pain suffered by the people of
Thursday, 17 July 2008 15:02
Mugabe: The Inventor of Smart Genocide
Mugabe is a thug with a strategy to commit mass murder:
By Sihlangu Tshuma
EVENTS unfolding in our motherland Zimbabwe can only be portrayed in
calamitous terms. After the sun set of the Mugabe epoch, and when Zimbabwe
wakes up from this nightmare the world will be impelled to alter its
language to accommodate evil ingenuity of the Mugabe sort.
The modern politician excels in the way he or she chooses his words,
because some words attract responsibility to act. When the events in Darfur
unfolded many looked upon the then US Secretary of State, Collin Powell and
Kofi Annan to pronounce the word genocide.
There was international frustration, as these men, invested with so
much authority, hesitated to mention the g-word. Rwanda teaches us that,
while those in positions of considerable influence vacillate to confront
vice, precious lives are lost.
The Zimbabwean people have been made a spectacle of the whole world.
Once again the world's attention is beckoned to the situation in Zimbabwe.
If one was to be modest with language, one would still call it a holocaust.
According to a study carried out to ascertain the impact of the doctors'
strike in Zimbabwe, 60 000 people have perished to date.
The survey says most of these deaths could have been prevented. At a
time when the custodians of the world's authority are economic with terms,
Zimbabwe has deteriorated into a land of the dying. I submit that the
actions of the Mugabe regime will trigger a major paradigm shift in dealing
with genocidal incidents.
Mugabe's addiction to power has cost Zimbabwe, a generation. This is a
man who will hold on with tooth and claw despite the alarming loss of lives.
He will not hesitate to render his countrymen homeless if that would weaken
He will feed his supporters and starve those who oppose him. He
probably knows that for the Gugurahundi atrocities he is a dead man walking.
The fate of Saddam Hussein is one that every dictator dreads privately. As a
candidate for The Hague, Mugabe and his henchmen seek to immunise themselves
by continual dominance.
The world has a picture of a dictator who is an uneducated, ugly army
general, in military regalia, with a heavy accent. In contrast Mugabe is an
educated and sophisticated brand of a dictator. Once the beloved adopted son
of the West who patronised their palaces. I am sure that even Queen
Elizabeth could not imagine this eloquent African could check in The Hague
one day. After Mugabe is gone the annals will credit him as the author of a
Surely no-one suggests that Mugabe is responsible for the AIDS
pandemic. But he is the brainchild of self-indulgence at the expense of
equity. The Zimbabwean people have been denied the benefits of the
achievements made in the treatment of HIV.
The health delivery system is in a state of collapse owing to the
crumbling economy. The government has abandoned its people in the struggle
against AIDS and the cost of the anti-retrovirals is beyond the reach of
many. The great strides in the treatment of AIDS, has seen lives being
prolonged for decades.
Unfortunately because of Zanu PF's obsession with power, they would
rather talk politics and propaganda with their heads in the sand. They
pretend to be oblivious of the plague and the affliction all around them.
The evils of the Mugabe regime have always been understated. This is a
regime which massacred at list 20 000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands.
In the early 80s Mugabe became so paranoid with the opposition, which stood
in the way of his ambition to establish a one party state. He unleashed the
wrath of Korean trained 5th Brigade who excelled in torture and murder.
Mugabe in his own words describes it as "a time of madness which should not
be repeated again". After incurring losses in the referendum and in the
parliamentary elections, Zanu PF invented a killing machine - the Green
Bombers, with a licence to beat and terrorise people into submission.
Young people were recruited and brain bleached. The practise of using
children for military purposes is a common practice is rife in most African
conflicts. The Zanu PF despots refer to some of their fellow citizens as
'weed'. It is clear if you look at it through the brazen mouth of Mugabe's
lieutenant Didymus Mutasa, who once said "we would be better off with only
six million people with our people who support the liberation struggle. We
do not want these extra people."
Words like philanthropy, altruism are mandarin to Mugabe's regime. The
world watched with disbelief as the bulldozers tore through the dwellings of
our fellow countrymen. Infants and invalids were exposed to deadly elements.
Mugabe gloated that "it had always been a long cherished desire."
The mere mention of genocide attaches the obligation for the
international community to intervene. The fall out of Somalia, when the
Americans got their fingers burnt and the ongoing fiasco in Iraq, nations
have become lethargic in responding to genocides. There is an indisputable
disparity in the response rate to African hot spots in comparison with the
rest of the world.
Genocide Watch President Gregory Stanton modelled the progression to
full blown genocide in eight stages. He says it evolves from
classification-dividing people into "us and them", then extermination and
later, denial. In the light of this model the Zimbabwe crisis bears every
hallmark of a man made cataclysm. This is not the sort of a catastrophe that
one can observe from the comforts of a hotel room. One needs to live in a
high density suburb of Zimbabwe for just a week. That is where you find the
people who are over laden with the brunt of tyranny.
The Mugabe regime has presided over a world record breaking economic
meltdown. The death rate is unprecedented for a country which is not at war.
3 500 people die every week from AIDS and other reasons which stem from the
collapse of the economy. This number dwarfs the death toll in Baghdad. The
government has to account for the decline of the population. Demographic
projections expected the population of Zimbabwe to have reached 18 million
in 2007. A whole generation could be obliterated. Zimbabwe is a land where
the elderly accompany the hearses bearing their young to an early grave.
This regime has succeeded in turning Zimbabwe into a death house.
The unyielding arrogance of the Zimbabwe government to the concerns of
the doctors has put its citizens on death row. 60 000 people have perished
since the doctors went on strike some two months ago. Most of these deaths
could have been prevented. The strike highlights the collapsing state of
Zimbabwe's public health service - once seen as one of the best in Africa.
As a novelty in Zimbabwe, the haves and the have nots are now singing from
the same hymn sheet. The state of the health delivery system does not
discriminate between the rich and the poor. The blood bank has run dry. A
well to do family looked helplessly as their son bled to the point of death.
The hospital could not supply enough blood. The family combed the length and
breath of the country for a pint of blood in vain.
One does not need be sensational about what is happening in Zimbabwe.
The situation on the ground speaks for itself. The authoritarian's hold to
power is unrelenting and remorseless. It is obvious why Mugabe is so
generous to Mengistu Haile Mariam. Birds of a feather flock together. Mugabe
cannot afford to extradite Mengistu, he is not in the business of teaching
his successors how to deal with dictators.
The silence of the world, while the nation of Zimbabwe wastes away, is
ominous. The peace loving peoples of Zimbabwe feel betrayed by those they
call friends around the globe. The world is fed up with leaders who come
late on the scene and try to atone for their sins of omission by saying, "if
only we had known better." The echoes of President Clinton's voice can still
be heard. Speaking on his visit to Rwanda. He said, "All over the world
there were people like me sitting in offices who did not fully appreciate
the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this
The state of affairs in Zimbabwe has evaded the comprehension of the
world's leaders. The world is waiting to see blood flowing and amputees
running amok on the highways and byways of Zimbabwe, to call it a genocide.
Walking along the streets of Bulawayo, the second largest city, you may not
see people wielding machetes. You may not hear any gun shots. But if you go
and spend a day at the West Park Cemetry you will see the evidence of a
Thursday, 17 July 2008 15:04
MDC ACTIVIST MURDERED IN BUHERA
REUBEN MUTEWE (38) from Muteve village ,Ward 16,Chief Nyashanu in
Buhera was brutally torture on 31/06/08 at Bedza torture base by armed ZANU
PF militias and paratroopers led by Patrick Chimbare,Enos Chimbare and Funny
Mambare.Reuben was MDC Muteve Branch chairman since its formation in 1999.
He was abducted from his home on the fateful day of 31/06/08 byarmed
militias who accused him of mobilising people in the area to vote for MDC in
the March hamonised elections.They attacked him using machetes,axes and iron
bars.He sustained deep cuts ,internal injuries, broken legs and ribs.They
left him for deaduntil he was taken to Murambinda Hospital by a well wisher
the following day.He was admitted at the hospital until his death on
12/07/08.There was no medicine at Murambinda resulting to his painful death.
He was brought to Mutare Provincial Hospital for post-mortem by
Assistant Inspector Tafirenyika and Constable Gandini from Buhera Police
Station.The post-mortem confirmed that he died of excessive bleeding and
cloating of blood and punchered lungs.
Meanwhile MDC suspects that 100 of its supporters may have been killed
in Buhera alone.Investigations are in progress.
Despots in Zimbabwe, Sudan can count on China and Russia for support
Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:05 AM
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was reported to be surprised and
disappointed on Friday when China and Russia used their veto power on the
U.N. Security Council to block tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Disappointment is understandable. But surprise? This isn't the first time
that Russia and China have used vetoes to protect a brutal regime.
Because the Security Council can't act without unanimous consent of the five
permanent members, the Sudanese government has been able to avoid additional
sanctions as it continues genocide against several tribes in its western
Darfur region. An estimated 300,000 people have died, and another 2.5
million have been driven out of their homes and into refugee camps in an
orchestrated campaign that includes terrorism, rape and torture.
China and Russia are looking after their business interests, and repression
and slaughter don't factor into their bottom lines. China is one of
Zimbabwe's best trading partners. Russia sells weapons to Sudan.
The sanctions that were voted down on Friday would have placed a worldwide
travel ban on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his cronies, frozen the
regime's assets -- even those stashed in Switzerland -- and banned sales of
military equipment and weapons to the country. These all would have hit
Mugabe where it hurts.
Now, because of Russia and China, Mugabe will continue his intimidation
campaign to keep himself in power. His thugs rigged his re-election runoff
in late June. They continue to murder opposition members.
The people want change, and no wonder. Where agricultural products used to
be a thriving export for Zimbabwe, Mugabe reduced his nation to chronic
hunger by seizing white-owned farms and distributing the land to his
supporters, destroying agricultural productivity. This and other economic
blunders have destroyed the economy and produced unemployment of about 80
Inflation has hit so hard that the country can't print money quickly enough
to keep up: The highest denomination now being printed is a 50 billion
Zimbabwean dollar note, which is worth about $1. Factories and banks are on
the verge of collapse.
Russia argues that this is not a matter of international security, but
that's specious. Zimbabwe's unrest and economic collapse concern the entire
world. The situation there is hurting Zimbabwe's neighbors. Millions of
refugees have fled to South Africa.
Mugabe is choking the life out of his country and its people. The United
Nations is impotent when it's needed the most.
The Associated Press
July 17, 2008 at 9:50 AM EDT
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Official inflation soared to 2.2 million per cent in
Zimbabwe - by far the highest in the world - and has shot as high as 70
million per cent in the past year for some basic goods sold on the black
market, the state central bank said Thursday.
Worsening shortages of basic goods, and the deadly political and economic
turmoil surrounding the national elections March 29 and a disputed
presidential runoff vote June 27, helped spur the spike in inflation in
The last announcement of official annual inflation, in February, put the
rate at 165,000 per cent.
Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Gov. Gideon Gono announced the new figure of 2.2
million per cent at the launch of a program to sell subsidized food through
selected shops and a system of coupons issued to the needy, state radio
Zimbabwean street vendors are on their way to a market in Harare July 10,
2008 (Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images)
The central bank also released a schedule showing what it called distortions
in prices caused by black market trading and profiteering by businesses.
It said laundry soap on the black market went up by 70 million per cent,
cooking oil by 60 million per cent and sugar by 36 million per cent - far
higher than the official inflation rate of 2.2 million per cent calculated
by the Central Statistical Office on basic goods subject to price regulation
and price increases approved by state National Prices and Incomes
It acknowledged that private consultants calculated overall real inflation
closer to 12.5 million per cent. The bank attributed black market inflation
to shortages of hard currency that pushed the black market exchange rate to
at least 90 billion Zimbabwe dollars for a single U.S. dollar, compared to
the official bank exchange of 20 billion to dollar.
It said a 4-pound bag of sugar cost about 20 billion Zimbabwe dollars - $1
U.S. - at the government's fixed price, and 90 billion on the black market
$4.50 at the bank exchange rate, or $1 at the black market exchange - in a
country where unskilled workers earn up to 200 billion Zimbabwean dollars,
about $10, a month.
However, few have jobs: unemployment has reached 80 per cent.
The price of scarce gasoline has soared, along with commuter bus fares that
often exceed monthly earnings, forcing workers to walk to their jobs, or
sell vegetables and other goods on the streets to make up the shortfall.
The economy was a key concern in the first round of presidential voting
March 29, when opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat longtime leader
Robert Mugabe and two other candidates but did not win the 50 per cent plus
one vote necessary to avoid a runoff.
Mr. Tsvangirai later pulled out of the runoff because of a campaign of
violence against his supporters. Mr. Mugabe went ahead with a June 27 vote
widely denounced as a sham. Mr. Tsvangirai's name was kept on the ballot and
Mr. Mugabe was declared the overwhelming winner.
Launching the subsidized food program on Wednesday, Mr. Mugabe said basic
commodities subsidized by the central bank were to be distributed across the
country, enabling an average family to pay just 100 billion Zimbabwe
dollars, about $5, for a basket of items - including cooking oil, the
cornmeal staple, flour and soap - that would last a month.
At present, a single loaf of bread costs nearly 100 billion Zimbabwe
It was not immediately clear how the central bank would finance the
subsidies, with health and other public services already facing collapse
because of lack of state funding.
Mr. Mugabe said profiteers who abuse the scheme will face jail, the
state-run Herald newspaper reported Thursday.
"It is our responsibility to stand in defense against threats to the welfare
of our communities, particularly in the areas of food availability and
accessibility to other necessities," Mr. Mugabe said.
"We don't want people behind bars. ... We would want our prisons to be empty
than full but, alas, just now they are brimful and we don't know what to
do," Mr. Mugabe said, according to The Herald, a government mouthpiece.
The launch of the scheme at a warehouse in southern Harare where subsidized
goods were stored, including many imported basics, follows several
government announcements about plans to open "People's Shops" to ease
economic hardships and cushion the impact of hyperinflation.
Food shortages have left shelves bare in most established stores and
supermarkets. Many factories hard-hit by the economic crisis have shut down,
and remaining manufacturers operate at below 30 per cent of their capacity,
according to the private Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
Self-sufficient in cooking oil, soap, toilet tissue and other products as
recently as 2006, Zimbabwe now imports such goods mostly from Egypt, Iran,
Malaysia, China and neighboring South Africa.
Independent civic groups, meanwhile, report cheap goods already distributed
earlier this month to designated shops in provincial towns being sold only
to buyers carrying ruling party membership cards.
Jul 17th 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition
The local dollar is fast shrivelling away
WITH prices doubling every few days, Zimbabweans now spend huge amounts of
time and energy preventing their meagre cash resources from completely
evaporating. Trying to catch up with galloping hyperinflation, now
officially running at 2.2m per cent a year and at least four times faster in
reality, the central bank has been printing ever bigger denominations. But
it is outrun by galloping prices: at last count, the most valuable banknote
available was for 50 billion Zimbabwean dollars, now worth barely 70
American cents on the black market, and the stock of Zimbabwean dollars is
dwindling. Local cash could become scarcer still, now that the German
company that was providing Zimbabwe with paper to print its banknotes has
cancelled its contract; the Zimbabwean monetary authorities are likely to
turn to a less specialised supplier. Meanwhile, people do not even bother to
pick up notes of hundreds of thousands on the pavements of Harare, the
capital. At independence in 1980, the Zimbabwe dollar was more valuable than
the American greenback.
It may seem odd that the local currency is still used at all. From Z$25
billion to the American dollar at the beginning of this month, the cash
exchange rate had jumped threefold within a fortnight. In restaurants or
shops, prices are still quoted in local currency but revised several times a
day. Salaries are paid in Zimbabwean dollars, still the only legal tender. A
minibus driver taking commuters into Harare every day still charges his
clients in Zimbabwe dollars-but at a higher price on the evening trip
home-and changes his local notes into hard currency three times a day. The
local money is losing its relevance.
Zimbabweans spend their local dollars as fast as possible or change them
into hard currency on the black market. A parallel system is thriving in
back offices and parking lots. Ronald was a civil servant but became a money
dealer about a year ago to feed his family. He now makes about $100 a month,
whereas his former colleagues earn the equivalent of less than $2 a month,
enough to buy two loaves of bread. On a recent trip, this correspondent
changed money from a central-bank employee running an illegal
foreign-exchange business in his own office.
With a strict daily limit (currently less than $1.40) on bank withdrawals,
people shun banks as much as possible and are returning to a cash economy.
Petrol and rents are now charged mainly in American dollars or South African
rand, but since some landlords have been taken to court, rents are
increasingly often paid for in groceries. People buying overpriced cooking
oil or sugar on the black market, since those items have long vanished from
shops due to official price controls, are charged more if they pay in local
dollars. Petrol coupons have become a virtual currency.
John Robertson, a local economist, reckons that the informal economy has
probably become larger than the formal one. Though estimates are fuzzy, he
believes that money sent by Zimbabweans abroad to friends and relatives at
home, which used barely to register on Zimbabwe's foreign-exchange radar
screen, now accounts for probably a third or so of the country's
Turning to foreign exchange or barter is what you would expect in countries
that have had inflation of more than a few hundred per cent a year. At the
height of its inflation crisis, shops in Argentina were no longer able to
price their goods. In some cases, Peruvians started using lavatory paper,
then in short supply, as currency. But Zimbabwe holds the dubious
distinction of being the only country in the world today that is suffering
from hyperinflation: that is, prices are increasing by more than 50% a
month. It has not yet reached Hungary's level after the second world war,
when inflation peaked at 42 quadrillion per cent a month. But it could yet
In May, the central bank decided to let the exchange rate, until then fixed
at a grossly overvalued rate of Z$30,000 to the American greenback, float on
the interbank market. For a short while, the rate settled at a level close
to the black market's. But very few ordinary people can obtain foreign
exchange from banks; most still use the black market to get rid of their
Zimbabwean dollars. So the legal and parallel rates have again grown apart.
People sending money or groceries to relatives in Zimbabwe still use
Hyperinflation can usually be tamed within a few months, provided
authorities stop spending money they do not have and no longer turn to
printing presses to cover for it. But the damage lingers for years.
Argentines held about 60% of their bank deposits in foreign exchange three
years after the high inflation of the late 1980s was over, compared with
less than 10% before the crisis. In Peru and Bolivia, over 80% of bank
deposits were held in hard currency three years after the countries'
Reform will eventually come and prices will stabilise in Zimbabwe,
especially if President Robert Mugabe is replaced; but the local dollar will
never be the same. Some people have suggested that a reformed Zimbabwe
should become part of the rand zone, but so far neither the South Africans
nor Zimbabwe's battered opposition have sounded keen on the idea.
SWRadio Africa had a story on inflation on their website yesterday:
The country’s official inflation rate hit 2.2 million percent on Wednesday. Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono revealed the new figures in Harare but a respected economist believes the rate could be as high as 15 million percent. Zimbabwe’s annual rate of inflation is the highest in the world.
SWRA point out that “with the Zim dollar losing about 100 billion dollars a day to the UK pound, it won’t be long before we start counting in Quadrillions”.
They had this image on the front page, showing what a hexdecillion looks like.
HARARE, July 17 2008 - Six people were left nursing serious injuries
after violent clashes between veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence
struggle and Zanu PF youth militias in Mbare over the distribution of
benefits for backing President Robert Mugabe's recent disputed re-election.
This comes in the wake of reports that in Manicaland, villagers
continue to bear the brunt of political violence, with scores having fled
their homes to live in the mountains as ZANU PF supporters continue to
attack those suspected of having voted for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change elections in March.
According to an official from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which
has been monitoring and documenting the effects of violence before, during
and after the elections, the clashes were over a flea market promised by
Mugabe during his campaign. It is understood the militias failed to agree
on the distribution of stands at the flea market amongst the youths and war
"The 60 Zanu PF youths clashed with 20 war veterans in Mbare over an
illegal flea market promised as a reward for the violent campaign towards
the run off. Six people were injured," said the official.
The names of the six injured could not be immediately established. War
veterans' chairperson, Jabulani Sibanda said he was not aware of any members
of his association having been involved in the scuffle with the youths.
After the announcement that Mugabe had lost the presidential race to
Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC in March, war veterans and youth militias
embarked on a violent campaign. They said the elections had been "held under
unfair conditions of sanctions" and also claimed after the announcement that
the MDC had won, some white former commercial farmers were seen returning to
farms meant for the resettlement of blacks. The claims were however disputed
by the MDC and the Commercial Farmers' Union.
Of late, there has been an increase of cases in the number of ZANU PF
supporters fighting amongst themselves, most over the distribution of
benefits for campaigning for Mugabe.
www.chinaview.cn 2008-07-17 17:00:20
NAIROBI, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Africa's independent think-tank that
promotes policy research on governance and peace on Thursday warned of a low
intensity war in Zimbabwe that is uniquely linked to the country's election
The detailed study, compiled by the Africa Policy Institute's
(API) in Nairobi in partnership with the Democracy and Governance program of
the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), identifies the sources of
political violence to extend beyond ZANU-PF's youth militias, war veterans,
the army, police and intelligence structures.
Zimbabwe held presidential run-off on June 27 as scheduled despite
the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. In the elections,
President Robert Mugabe won landslide victory.
According to the report, the newest addition to the Zimbabwe
crisis is the retaliatory violence of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), which seems to escape the attention of regional and
The API report, "Saving Zimbabwe: an Agenda for Democratic Peace,"
recommended bold and decisive actions to be taken by the African Union and
the Southern African Development Community (SADC)to minimize and eventually
eradicate the culture of political violence in Zimbabwe.
This will create a context, which will be conducive to a
negotiated settlement of the crisis. Speaking in Nairobi, Peter Kagwanja,
API President and a director of democracy and governance at HSRC, said an
extremely volatile situation and retaliatory violence would worsen the
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March 29 election but failed to
win the absolute majority needed to avoid the second ballot.
Kagwanja said that the MDC had no option but to uphold its
commitment to a peaceful democratic process.
"This report notes that the Zimbabwe's electoral crisis points to
the need for a continental strategy of dealing with post-election crises,
setting Africa ablaze, from Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Ethiopia to Egypt," said Kagwanja.
"The report strongly recommends that the AU considers establishing
a continental Electoral Commission along the lines of its Human and People
's Rights Commission, and an Electoral Court to tackle complex cases like
that of Kenya and Zimbabwe," said Kagwanja.
The API report also called for the expansion of South African
President Thabo Mbeki-led AU/SADC mediation as the best instrument for
resolving the crisis.
While the mediation may draw from international expertise, it must
retain its African essence and character, and work to achieve an executive
power-sharing arrangement with definite timeframe and monitoring tools.
Upon the signing of the peace deal, the API also noted that the
SADC should embark on implementing the recommendations of its executive
secretary on a Zimbabwe Economic Recovery Plan while ensuring a buy-in from
all parties involved, regionally and internationally.
At the heart of the economic recovery plan there will be need for
a Zimbabwe land reform strategy to deal with the land question, involving
Britain, which has historical obligations to Zimbabwe arising from the
Lancaster House Agreement.
The 35-page report also recommended that finance ministers of SADC
and regional finance institutions, such as the Development Bank of Southern
Africa, and African Development Bank, spearhead the financing of the
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 July 2008
Posted to the web 17 July 2008
The MDC dominated council in Bulawayo convened their first ever meeting in
the city on Thursday since they were elected into office on the 29th March
during the country's harmonised elections.
The Tsvangirai MDC controls the council after winning a majority of 23 out
of the 29 seats contested in March. But after they were sworn into office
last month, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo barred them from
convening or carrying out any council duties.
The MDC went to the High court to have this ban overturned and on Thursday
the court ruled in their favour and granted them permission to resume their
Reggie Moyo, the MDC secretary for Bulawayo province, said that immediately
after the judgement a full council meeting was convened to elect the new
mayor and deputy for the city.
Moyo said Thaba Patrick Moyo the MDC ward 22 councillor in the city, was
expected to be confirmed as the new mayor after he was overwhelmingly
nominated for the top post. His deputy was expected to be Amen Mpofu, ward 2
councillor in the city.
'They are meeting in the chamber as a matter of procedure but the new mayor
is going to be Moyo and his deputy Mpofu. We are very happy with High Court
judgement, so now we should be able to start normal council business,' Moyo
The lack of a functioning council was beginning to have a very serious
negative impact on the day-to-day lives of the people in the sprawling city
of Bulawayo, the second largest in the country.
'Our immediate task as a council is to look at the city's infrastructure
which has virtually collapsed. We need to urgently deal with the water
shortages, the poor roads, the housing shortages and service delivery in
general,' Moyo added.
Apart from Harare and Bulawayo, the MDC also won control of Mutare, Masvingo
Chitungwiza, Kwekwe and Chinhoyi.
International Herald Tribune
By Howard W. French Published: July 17, 2008
SHANGHAI: Think of it this way. The Olympic Games are in the bag. World
leaders are lining up to attend the opening ceremonies, and even Nicolas
Sarkozy of France, who made a brief stand over repression in Tibet, has
fallen in with the crowd.
It's as safe now as it ever will be to fly one's true colors, and in the
last week, that's precisely what China has done, joining Russia in a veto of
sanctions on Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and expressing opposition to a
warrant sought by the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court for the
arrest of the Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Let's be clear for a moment about what this column is not. This is not an
argument in favor of a boycott of the Olympic Games, in which China has
invested stupendous sums, both in cash and cachet.
It is also not an out-of-hand dismissal of China's long-held conservative
views about the power of the United Nations Security Council, where Beijing
enjoys a veto, to respond to the "internal" crises of other countries.
What follows instead is a double expression of regret that China has
summoned so little creative energy filling the huge void that one encounters
in the space that most major powers reserve for their foreign policy.
Plainly spoken, as a global actor, China remains an essentially reactive
force, one keen to limit the power or the range of action of others in the
name of principles such as democracy, human rights and self-determination.
In recent months, in response to international criticism over its ties with
Sudan and Zimbabwe, with the Olympics looming, China had labored to put its
best face forward, sending peacekeepers to its Sudanese ally in a largely
symbolic gesture of acknowledgment of the crisis in the Darfur region of
Beijing also quietly downgraded its ties with Robert Mugabe, an erstwhile
friend and client. What is happening in Darfur has often been described as
an ongoing genocide. Mugabe, for his part, places new demands on our
vocabulary. Genocide does not fit, but what does one call a leader who takes
an entire country down with him?
What the week's events suggest is a China that has coolly calculated that
these modest gestures are enough, and that it is time to get back to
business as usual, which means a foreign policy that remains mute about
fires that burn on distant shores. And it is hard to read the words of Liu
Jianchao, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, without feeling a
blush of cynicism. The actions of the International Criminal Court "must be
beneficial to the stability of the Darfur region and the appropriate
settlement of the issue, not the contrary," he said.
With the Olympics three weeks away, one wishes to hear from China what, in
fact, it believes in. Is stability the be-all and end-all, or does Beijing
actually have some useful ideas about what an "appropriate settlement" would
be to crises in countries like Sudan and Zimbabwe?
Questions like these go beyond the countries named. Everywhere they go,
visitors to the Olympics will encounter the slogan, worthy of Madison
Avenue, devised for the games: One World, One Dream.
What kind of dream, pray tell? Is it a see-no-evil world where we place
faith in the idea that minding one's own business will make for a better
life; a place where the sovereign power of governments accounts for
everything, and the power and rights of people for naught?
One suspects here that giving a moral dimension to China's foreign policy
would do more for the country's image and prestige than the creation of 100
more of the pharaonic monuments of the type that have sprouted in Beijing
with next month's big Olympic show in mind.
It's easy enough, of course, for China to dismiss this kind of thinking as
typical American criticism. America's own inconsistency on human rights
issues often hinders its leverage and credibility on such questions. That's
why the sounds coming from Africa itself - for example - these days are so
important, and are worth listening to carefully.
One of these new voices is Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia,
who called herself part of the "new Africa" during a visit to South Africa
this month, where she said she had come to "express my solidarity with the
people of Zimbabwe as they search for solutions to the crisis in their
country." The critical word here, of course, is "people."
"In 1985, Liberia held a sham election that was endorsed by Africa and the
world," Johnson-Sirleaf continued, explaining why such advocacy mattered.
"Thirty years of civil war and devastation followed, with thousands dead and
millions displaced. It need not have happened."
I was in Liberia at the time, and witnessed the sham, and heard
then-Secretary of State George Shultz endorse the results with a visit to
the country. Years later, I would return to cover a war that killed as much
as a tenth of the population, as the country all but disintegrated because
of the stolen vote.
Fresh on the heels of its own stolen election, the parallels to Zimbabwe
today are compelling, and while China can take cover behind vague and
dilatory formulations about the importance of sovereignty or the need for
unimpeded negotiations between the players there, its hollow voice does
nothing to advance the causes of peace and social harmony that Beijing so
"Adopt a low profile and never take the lead," was Deng Xiaoping's advice to
China's diplomats early in this country's reform era.
After two-plus decades of booming growth and interests that extend into
every corner of the world, an axiom like this sounds awfully self-centered
and cramped. And for the people of Sudan and Zimbabwe, coming up with
something more fitting to the times has become a matter of life and death.
July 17 2008 at 07:21PM
Fiona Forde and Hans Pienaar
Pressure is mounting on Thabo Mbeki to negotiate a speedy settlement
in Zimbabwe with Kofi Annan calling on him to accept the Zanu-PF chief and
his MDC counterpart as equals, while church leaders from southern African
call for immediate sanctions.
"Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai must be able to enter into a
dialogue on an equal footing, as two leaders," the former UN
Secretary-General said during a speech last night at the University of South
Africa (Unisa), in Pretoria, where he was conferred with an honorary
doctorate in Literature and Philosophy. Progress can only be made when the
conditions are right, Annan told the gathering.
He said he was speaking on behalf of the Elders, the group that
comprises Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, in calling "for a
speedy and robust mediation to resolve the political crisis" to put an end
to "this crisis of governance, for human lives and livelihoods are at