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Mbeki agrees to work with UN, AU

July 18, 2008

PRETORIA (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki, under pressure to
expand his troubled mediation efforts, agreed Friday to work more closely
with the African Union and UN to bring an end to the Zimbabwe crisis.

After Mbeki held talks with African Union commission chairman Jean Ping and
the United Nations' top envoy to Harare , officials announced a new body
would be established to provide regular progress updates and allow for
greater input.

But although Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai greeted the
announcement as evidence that the Mbeki-led mediation was being expanded,
the South African government stressed that they remained in charge.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of the 14-nation SADC bloc heard a warning that
the crisis sparked by disputed elections which ended in veteran President
Robert Mugabe's re-election had the potential to destabilise the whole

Although Mbeki made no comment after the talks, his right hand man in the
mediation process - a task first handed to him by his peers in SADC a year
ago - said a new "reference group" was being set up to include the AU and

"They will get briefings on a regular basis from the facilitator," said
Sydney Mufamadi, a member of Mbeki's cabinet.

"If a member of the reference group. wants to make a strategic input, they
are welcome," he told reporters.

Haile Menkerios, the UN's special representative to Zimbabwe , endorsed
Mbeki continuing in his role as mediator even though he has made little
headway so far in efforts to bring about some kind of power-sharing

"We fully support the effort of SADC, (and) the mediator," he said.

"This (the new reference group) is a way, a mechanism, through which that
support could be expressed."

Meanwhile Ping also gave his support to Mbeki, saying he was "satisfied by
the briefing, by the decision" on the new reference group.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party and ZANU-PF began
preliminary talks last week aimed at establishing a framework for
substantive negotiations under South African mediation.

But Tsvangirai, who beat Mugabe into second place in the first round of
voting in March and does not recognise his old rival's re-election, has so
far refused to put his name to a framework deal.

Although there had been hopes of an agreement being signed on Wednesday,
Mufamadi acknowledged that the talks between the two sides were still stuck.

"Our understanding is that the parties are still considering the draft of
understanding that was produced by the negotiator," he said.

Tsvangirai, who has accused Mbeki of being too biased towards Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and previously called for him to be axed as the
chief mediator, meanwhile said he welcomed the involvement of the AU and UN.

"We welcome the appointment of these eminent persons to work with President
Mbeki and I look forward to us all using our collective energies to resolve
the Zimbabwean crisis and alleviate the suffering of the people in the
shortest time possible," he told AFP.

The talks between between Ping and Mbeki were the pair's first since Mugabe's
re-election in a one-man poll on June 27.

The ballot was widely denounced as a sham in the West after Tsvangirai
boycotted the run-off following a wave of deadly attacks on his supporters.

The crisis also topped the agenda at a two-day meeting of SADC foreign
ministers in South Africa 's east coast city of Durban which kicked off with
an ominous warning from Angola , a traditional ally of Mugabe.

"This could be an obstacle to regional peace and has created an
unprecedented situation in the history of our organisation," Angolan Foreign
Minister Joao Miranda said.

"It's a very worrying situation involving basic democratic principles. There
are many interpretations on the same phenomenon and the unity and cohesion
of SADC could be weakened by it."

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Mbeki Mediation expanded

By Gerald Harper ⋅ © ⋅ July 18, 2008 ⋅

The Thabo Mbeki led mediation between the MDC and ZANU PF has been expanded
to include a reference group consisting of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) with
which President Thabo Mbeki will liaise on an ongoing basis.

This is according to a statement released by the South Africa’s President ’s
office on Friday.

The statement was issued following a meeting between Mbeki and the
chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, the special
representative of the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Defence Politics and
Security, George Chikoti, and the special representative of the UN Secretary
General, Assistant Secretary General Haile Menkerios.

“All parties agreed with the framework proposed by President Mbeki to
facilitate a solution to the challenges in Zimbabwe.”

The expasion of the mediation to include represenatives from the UN and the
AU was one of the conditions the MDC had demanded before serious talks

The meeting comes as abritrary arrest and violence against MDC supporters is
starting to escalate.Yesterday State security agents in Bulawayo abducted
and severely assulted 15 MDC youths including its provincial Chairman, and
today Reuben Mutewe an MDC chairman who has been criticall ill following
beatings at the hands of ZANU PF militia passed away bring the death toll to
116,but some independent observers say the toll could be as high as 500.

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Diplomats to help Mbeki over Zimbabwe crisis

Radio New Zealand

Published at 12:04pm on 19 July 2008

A group of senior diplomats are to help South African President Thabo Mbeki
in his efforts to solve Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Envoys will be drawn from the United Nations, African Union and the Southern
African Development Community.

The move has been welcomed by Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who has been critical of Mr Mbeki.

Mr Tsvangirai is currently considering entering power-sharing talks with
President Robert Mugabe.

Sydney Mufamadi, a close aide of Mr Mbeki, announced the creation of a
"reference group" consisting of African Union head Jean Ping, the UN's
Zimbabwe envoy Haile Menkerios and Sadc official George Chikoti.

Mr Mufamadi said Mr Mbeki had proposed the group during talks with the
envoys in Pretoria on Friday.

"[It] will get briefings on a regular basis," he said. "If a member of the
reference group .wants to make a strategic input, they are welcome."

Analysts say Mr Mbeki is keen to remain the main mediator in the talks.

In a statement, Mr Tsvangirai welcomed the "appointment of a reference group
of eminent Africans who will work with President Mbeki and the main parties
in Zimbabwe to find a peaceful negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean

Mbeki biased, says MDC
A memorandum of understanding setting out the conditions for talks on a
possible power-sharing agreement was expected to be signed by Mr Mugabe and
Mr Tsvangirai this week.

But Mr Tsvangirai did not sign it, insisting that his demands had not yet
been met.

His party, the Movement for Democratic Change, had identified Mr Mbeki - the
lead negotiator in the talks - as a key problem.

They accused him of being biased towards Mr Mugabe, and Mr Tsvangirai had
asked for another envoy to join the talks alongside Mr Mbeki.

The MDC has set several other conditions for talks, including the end of
government-backed violence it says has killed 120 of its supporters.

It also wants Mr Tsvangirai's victory in the first round of the presidential
vote on 29 March to be officially accepted.

Mr Mbeki was appointed in 2007 by Sadc, a regional grouping, to mediate in
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.

Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

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Businesses Propping Up Mugabe Next On EU Sanctions List

SW Radio Africa (London)

18 July 2008
Posted to the web 18 July 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

Businesses that are helping to prop up Robert Mugabe's regime will be
included in a new sanctions list being drawn by the European Union,
according to reports from Brussels.

The majority of business people who back Mugabe's regime have control over
high profile companies in the country. A number of them enjoy monopolies in
industries like agriculture, construction, mining, textiles, manufacturing,
retail and banking.

Hebson Makuvise, the MDC chief representative in the UK, said the same
people denounce Western countries and their leaders during the day, 'but hop
onto a plane by night to visit the same countries.'

Makuvise said during his brief visit to the EU in Brussels recently, all
talk was about the sham elections and how the regime has overseen the
destruction of the country, through greed.

He said when he left Brussels, the EU were still working on the list, based
on information supplied by their embassies in Harare. The EU currently
targets more than 130 individuals with visa bans and an asset freeze. The EU
intends to add around 40 people to that list, some from the security
apparatus of the regime, identified as being involved in the election
crackdown, plus the business figures helping prop it up.

There are reports that five companies could also be hit and it would be the
first time that business people and companies in the country had been
targeted by EU visa bans and asset freeze.

Meanwhile reports from Maputo, Mozambique say authorities in that country
are considering setting up temporary refugee screening centres for thousands
of Zimbabweans who have fled across into its territory.

Goncalves Sengo, the head of the national refugee assistance institution,
said transit centres would be set up for screening purposes. Details of the
asylum seekers would be taken to see if their claims fit with international
refugee statutes, said Sengo. The number of Zimbabweans who have fled into
Mozambique is not officially documented, but there has been a steady rise of
immigrants fleeing political persecution.

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Police In Gweru, Zimbabwe, Raid NGO Offices, Arrest Organizer


By Patience Rusere
18 July 2008

Police in Gweru, capital of Zimbabwe's Midlands province, on Friday raided
the offices of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations
today, arresting the organization's provincial chairman and confiscating
files on the victims of political violence.

Witnesses said police officers from the local law and order section came
Friday morning and took Peter Muchengeti away for questioning, brought him
back later for questioning in the offices, then took him away again. His
whereabouts late Friday were not known.

Muchengeti, also Midlands provincial manager for the Zimbabwe Civic
Education Trust, had recently brought a court action against the police for
shutting down non-governmental organizations in the province.
His lawyer, Reginald Chidavanyika, said he had received calls from the
police demanding to know why Muchengeti brought suit over the closures of
the civic organizations.

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'Illegitimate and dangerous' regime

     Written by Anthony Randazzo
July 18, 2008

The faux-elections are over but Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is facing
opposition to his rule. The United States and other western powers put forth
a stern resolution to the UN Security Council last week, asking for an
embargo on weapons shipped to the African nation.  Considering that the
Mugabe regime reportedly killed 113 opposition party members in the past
three months, this request seems reasonable, but Russia and China vetoed the

The resolution also asked for an international travel ban and freeze on the
personal assets of Mugabe and 13 of his top officials.  Considering that
Mugabe forced out his top rivals and declared he would not honor the results
of any election he did not win, saying, "We are not going to give up our
country because of a mere X" on some paper ballot, this request seems

The resolution also asked for a UN special envoy to be sent to Zimbabwe to
observe the conduct of the government.  Considering Mugabe's thugs burned a
six-year old alive along with his pregnant mother in June, while his cronies
have run the nation's economy into ground with 2.2 million percent
inflation, this request seems reasonable.

The official reasoning from China and Russia is that they believed the
resolution was outside the charter of the Security Council. Thomas Friedman
wrote in a NYTimes op-ed that China and Russia thought the resolution was
illegitimate and dangerous, but "Mugabe's campaign of murder and
intimidation strike [them] as 'illegitimate and dangerous'. Shameful.
Meanwhile, China is hosting the Olympics, a celebration of the human spirit,
while defending Mugabe's right to crush his own people's spirit."

Zimbabwe claims the resolution could spark a civil war and turn the county
"into another Somalia." Zimbabwe's U.N. mission sent a letter to the
Security Council arguing that, "in their obsession with 'regime change,'
Britain and the USA are determined to ignore real, entrenched, fundamental
and enduring issues that lie at the heart of Zimbabwe's internal politics."

Though the UN resolution said nothing of removing Mugabe by force or
dissolving his government, Zimbabwe insisted the resolution would
"Somalianize" the nation by leaving it without a leader.

2 Comments to "'Illegitimate and dangerous' regime"
  1.. 1.  by NJLawyer 07.18.08 at 5:52 pm
  Whatever the US or Britain ignore with respect to Zimbabwe's internal
politics is irrelevant in the face of this butchery. If Mugabe was ordering
the murder of children, I might have some "sympathy" for his position. But
when the repression of the people isn't just economic, when dissenting
results in murder by dismemberment, then the inmates are in charge of the
asylum and they should be stopped. That Russia and China won't join the West
in condemning what they, too, call illegitimate and dangerous only proves to
me that they are still our enemies, too. We should watch them carefully.

  2.. 2.  by michelle 07.18.08 at 5:52 pm
  Read Friedman's Op/Ed piece, it's powerful.

  Somalianize the nation? Zimbabwe doesn't have a leader right now. They
have a thug in power.

  And the same probably could be said about the UN.

  Darfur anyone?

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Zimbabwe Does Not Belong to Mugabe Alone

July 18, 2008 at 14:22:20

by Clutton Patsika

This morning I phoned a guy to enquire about prices for the following items.
I did this having, like many, become curious of the recent upsurge in
inflation. The central bank boss put the figure at 2.2 million percent. I
estimate it at about 11.8 million percent. Anyway, here are the shockers.

Cell sim card = US$140 yes US dollars!!!!!!!!
Lobels' Loaf of Bread = US$5
2 litres cooking oil = US$59
200 square metres high density stand = US$3500
400 square metres medium density stand = US$15 000
And the shocker...Apple's Iphone (not the latest 3G one) = US$1350
And an old house in a low density suburb of Marlbourough = US$135 000

Journalist earns Z$80 billion
Teacher earns Z$160 billion
Doctor earns Z$360 billion

To simplify things US$1 = Z$5 trillion which means the majority of these
workers are earning less than a dollar a month. Now my point is, guys, our
country has collapsed. The situation is untenable and will take generations
to change. I therefore ask everyone, Zimbabwean or friends, to help us stop
the madness that has become our nation by declaring Zimbabwe a WORLD
DISASTER. We have a responsibility of securing the future of our children in
a free and equal opportunity Zimbabwe. That society should be one where
every citizen can exercise their constitutional right to be human. Such a
society can only begin by removing the rot that has been inflicted upon us
by those who claim to have freed us.

So the question is and will remain. How do we remove these bastards? Some
will say through talks about talks of talks of unity. My question is whose
unity? Who is fighting? Do I want unity? No I want a free and fair society.
I want the freedom to choose. I want the freedom to remove Zanu PF through
the ballot box. Freedom must come by any means necessary and a Government of
National Unity is not a means to and end. For that reason I applaud
Tsvangirai for not signing any MOU. What Zimbabwe needs and will alway need
are free and fair elections.

PLEASE PASS THE WORD ON- Our leaders have broadband, access to state media,
while we the poor have to deal with this disgusting sytem and have to blog
our way to make a point.

Veteran journalist Clutton Patsika has held senior editorial positions in
banned newspapers in Zimbabwe. He survives by the grace of God as
journalists are not allowed to practice in Zimbabwe unless they pander. His
writings are inspired by Caribbean music.

Clutton Patsika a Zimbabwean journalist with The Southern Cross, a Catholic
weekly has worked in a senior capacity for various newspapers in Zimbabwe
including the Zimbabwe Daily Mirror and Daily News all shut down by the
government. He specialises in development communication and popular culture.
Trained in the UK, Japan and Zimbabwe, Clutton, believes that effective
communication is achieved through simple ordinary day language. He survives
by the grace of God as journalism is banned in Zimbabwe, unless you pander.

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Zimbabwean Workers Overwhelmed By 2 Million Percent Hyperinflation


By Blessing Zulu
18 July 2008

The announcement this week by the governor of Zimbabwe's central bank that
hyperinflation had topped 2 million percent came as no surprise to consumers
in the country who have been chasing prices for years and whose lives have
been devastated by inflation's effects.

Shortages of staple maize meal, meat, sugar, cooking oil, fuel and even cash
have become a way of life amidst continuing economic collapse. Most
observers doubted a new state program promising key commodities at
affordable prices would deliver as promised or last very long.

The average Zimbabwean worker makes about Z$200 billion a month, but
commuter fares run Z$50 billion one-way, and a loaf of bread if it can be
found costs Z$150 billion.

To measure the impact of hyperinflation, reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to economist Prosper Chitambara, formerly of
the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Harare and now with
Birmingham University in England, and Japhet Moyo, deputy secretary general
of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Moyo said most Zimbabweans are no longer bothering to go to work because
salaries do not meet even basic living expenses. Chitambara said many
households have adjusted by eating just one meal a day, among other
adaptation mechanisms.

Some Zimbabweans facing an ever-weakening currency and hyperinflation say
tough times are pushing them into criminal activities, as Studio 7
correspondent Taurai Shava reported from Gweru, capital of Midlands

Shamva resident and Studio 7 listener Munyaradzi told reporter Marvellous
Mhlanga-Nyahuye that budgeting is now a thing of the past as living costs
far exceed incomes.

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Zimbabwe Ban Continues to Stymie Relief Organizations

By Caroline Preston

Six weeks after a directive from Zimbabwe's government ground aid work in
the country to a halt, charities' efforts to resume their operations have
largely been thwarted and more than a million people are still living
without food aid and medical care.

A letter from CARE, Plan International, Save the Children UK, and a handful
of other groups this week requesting that the government lift its ban on
humanitarian work was rebuffed by Zimbabwean officials, who said the
informal nonprofit coalition wasn't registered with the government.

While World Vision plans to partially reopen its office next week and resume
a feeding program to schools, most charities are still in limbo.

"Everyone is just waiting and hoping," said Hearly Mayr, a spokesman with
Adventist Development and Relief Agency International.

Somewhat encouraging for aid groups, however, is that the prohibition on
humanitarian work has been relaxed somewhat since it was first announced in
a letter on June 4th. Government officials have said that aid to chronically
ill people and to schoolchildren can continue amidst the ban.

A skeletal staff plans to return to World Vision's main office in Zimbabwe
on Monday to help provide such assistance. Meanwhile, the Consortium of
Southern Africa Food Security Emergency, which organizes food aid on behalf
of CARE, Catholic Relief Services, and World Vision, expects to resume the
delivery of food next week to 400,000 children.

Edward Brown, chief of party for the consortium, said some local government
officials had requested that his group resume food aid. But he worried that
police officers might still stop aid workers and prevent them from gaining
entry to schools.

"It's a question of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing,"
he said. "We're trying to be as careful as possible because we don't want to
put the people we serve or our staff at risk."

The ban on aid work was imposed by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's party
in part to quell political opposition ahead of the country's June 27th
presidential election. Some aid workers were hopeful that the suspension
would be lifted following the election, but so far, those hopes have fallen

Mr. Brown said that even if the ban is lifted, it will take some time before
operations can return to normal.

"It's like General Motors stopping the production of their cars for over a
month," he said. "It takes a while to get that machine running on all
cylinders again."

Many aid groups say they expect the number of people in Zimbabwe needing
food to triple by the end of the year, to more than 3 million.

Friday July 18, 2008

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ZCTU calls for more targeted sanctions

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Saturday 19 July 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's labour movement called on Friday for more targeted
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his top officials it holds
responsible for an unprecedented economic meltdown that has condemned
thousands of workers into poverty and destitution.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)'s call for more sanctions
came as regional efforts to broker a solution to Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis gathered steam as South African President Thabo Mbeki held
talks with African Union (AU) Commission chairman Jean Ping on the country's

Mbeki is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s chief
mediator on Zimbabwe and met Ping to discuss possible ways to step up
dialogue between Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

ZCTU acting secretary general Japhet Moyo said in a statement that the
union backed Western calls for tighter sanctions against Mugabe, his ruling
ZANU PF party and private businesses helping prop up the Harare

"Zimbabwean workers appreciate what the international community has
been putting in place as measures to punish the ruling elite, and these
measures have been mostly travel bans and disinvestment on ZANU PF
companies," Moyo said.

"Our position is that those targeted sanctions and boycott of ZANU PF
businesses should remain, and even tightened," the union leader added.

The European Union (EU) has indicated that it will next Tuesday impose
tougher sanctions on Zimbabwe that will for the first time also target
companies linked to Mugabe's government.

United States President George Bush said earlier this week that his
government would also consider expanding bilateral sanctions against Mugabe's
administration after a bid to impose United Nations-backed sanctions on the
Zimbabwe's leadership was last week blocked by Russia and China.

The EU, US Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand have since 2002
maintained visa and financial sanctions on more than 130 top officials of
Mugabe's government as well as an arms embargo against Zimbabwe.

The EU and the US have demanded more drastic action against Mugabe
after he defied calls by African leaders, the UN Security Council and
Western nations to postpone a June 27 presidential run-off election because
widespread political violence and gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe made
a free and fair vote impossible.

Several African observers including those from the AU condemned the
run-off election in which Mugabe was the sole candidate after MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out saying political violence against his
supporters made free and fair voting impossible, while the West and a
handful of African countries have said they will not recognise Mugabe's

However, the AU has resisted calls by Western nations for sanctions
against Mugabe and instead used its summit in Egypt last month to urge the
Zimbabwean leader to open negotiations with the opposition for government of
national unity to resolve the country's crisis. - ZimOnline

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Hungry and fearful, Zimbabweans flooding South Africa
Posted on Friday, July 18, 2008
By Shashank Bengali | McClatchy Newspapers

AT THE SOUTH AFRICA-ZIMBABWE BORDER — For those desperate souls who would sneak across this frontier, consider the obstacles: Armed bandits. A river, low this time of year but still populated by crocodiles and man-mauling hippos. Multiple rows of fences watched by zealous border guards. And all along the goal is to enter a country that's dangerously hostile to immigrants.

Yet to escape President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, the risks increasingly appear to be worth taking.

One of the largest illegal migrations in the world continues to swell as Zimbabweans stream into South Africa, fleeing a brutal crackdown by Mugabe in the run-up to last month's presidential election. Zimbabwe's main opposition party says that security forces and government militias have killed more than 100 of its members and abused or tortured thousands of others.

Three weeks after the election, which Mugabe won by default when his opponent withdrew because of the violence, hundreds of political activists remain in jail. Mugabe's militias haven't been disarmed.

A decade-long economic collapse already had emptied Zimbabwe of nearly a third of its people, but human rights groups say that the election attacks accelerated the flight into South Africa. Every week, soldiers and police arrest dozens, sometimes hundreds, of illegal migrants near the main border crossing outside the town of Musina. Authorities say that many more sneak across undetected.

The influx is putting more pressure on South Africa, the continent's most prosperous nation but one that views its estimated 5 million African immigrants — who form more than one-tenth of the population — with a volatile mixture of fear and resentment. In May, more than 60 were killed in an eruption of anti-immigrant violence across the country.

Most of the immigrants — some say as many as 3 million — come from Zimbabwe, the vast majority of them undocumented. In recent weeks, thousands have arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa's economic capital. Hungry and destitute, they're passing the coldest nights of the year in public parks, in the hallways of apartments in immigrant enclaves, on street corners and in churches.

"I'm very alarmed at the increase," said Paul Verryn, bishop of the Central Methodist Church in downtown Johannesburg, which has sheltered refugees for two decades. These days more than 2,000 Zimbabweans — teachers, doctors, laborers, students, mothers and their infant children — fill every room in the church, spilling into the stairwells and onto the pavement outside.

"The church has never received as many people as we are on a daily basis," Verryn said.

Among them is 29-year-old Tendai Mundoza, who jumped the border with her family last month after government militias badly beat her husband, an opposition supporter, outside their home in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. Her teenage brother was abducted before the election and hasn't been heard from.

To make the crossing, the family scrounged together 5,000 South African rand, about $650. After surrendering half of it to Zimbabwean bandits who patrol the border, crossing a dry patch over the Limpopo River and spending the rest of the money to bribe their way past South African police, Mundoza now sleeps alongside her two young children in a room crowded with more than 50 others.

"It's very difficult here," she said as her 10-month-old dozed on the thin cotton blanket that serves as the family bed. "It's too congested. The children become sick. But we can't go back home."

The destination for most illegal crossings is Musina, which has the gritty feel of border towns in the American Southwest. White police vans roam the streets after dark while young migrants huddle under the dim lights of bus stops, waiting for rides south.

One recent night, along the busy Johannesburg highway, a half-dozen disheveled young men emerged from the bushes behind a truck stop. Wordlessly, they filled four 2-liter soda bottles with water from a hose next to a gas pump and gulped the water like camels. Then they trudged off to the side of the highway, where one of them pointed his right forefinger into the dark sky, the signal for a lift to Johannesburg.

The disparities between one side of this border and the other are stark.

South Africa, with its modern cities and industrial economy, is the powerhouse of Africa, while Zimbabwe's economy has been shrinking faster than any other in the world.

Under Mugabe, the only president that independent Zimbabwe has known, 2 million percent inflation has pushed the prices of basic goods such as soap, salt, cooking oil and flour to stratospheric levels. Eight in 10 people don't have jobs, and with hospitals shuttered and diseases such as tuberculosis ravaging the population, life expectancy has fallen to 36 years.

The misery reached new depths after Mugabe lost a first-round election in March to Morgan Tsvangirai, a populist former labor leader. Soldiers, police officers and pro-government militias fanned out across the country, beating and mutilating so many opposition supporters that Tsvangirai pulled out of the runoff vote in hopes of easing the bloodshed.

Many Zimbabweans arrive in South Africa paralyzed with fear.

Jacqueline Tlapi, who handles asylum cases for the nonprofit South Africa Women's Institute for Migration Affairs, described the case of a preschool teacher who, as an art project, had her class make handprints in paint.

The open palm with five fingers raised, however, happens to be a symbol of Tsvangirai's party. When some parents saw their children's handprints, Tlapi said, they notified local ruling-party officials. Soon afterward, government militiamen came to the teacher's home and threatened to kill her.

"It is a traumatized nation," said Malose Langa, a Johannesburg psychologist who's counseled hundreds of Zimbabwean torture victims.

South Africa's official response to the catastrophe on its doorstep has been the political equivalent of a raised eyebrow. President Thabo Mbeki has been widely criticized for downplaying the violence and, as the designated mediator between the parties, being too soft on Mugabe.

Mbeki's government continues to treat Zimbabwean refugees like migrants from any other country, forcing them to wade through an asylum system that's universally regarded as dysfunctional.

The Department of Home Affairs, the government immigration agency, is severely understaffed and beset by corruption. Every day, refugees from across Africa line up by the hundreds outside reception centers in Johannesburg and other cities, waiting for hours and often sleeping overnight just to get in the door.

Many Zimbabweans say that their requests for asylum are rejected arbitrarily.

The department "has perpetuated another kind of violence against already vulnerable people," said Verryn, the Methodist bishop.

While more than 44,000 Zimbabweans claimed asylum from 2005 to 2007, only 241 were recognized as refugees from 2004 to 2006, according to the advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

As a result, most Zimbabweans remain undocumented, at risk of arrest or deportation at any time.

"It's completely unacceptable from a humanitarian and legal perspective," said Jonathan Whittall, a program officer with the aid agency Doctors Without Borders. "These people must have access to asylum."

To get his asylum papers, Roy Majengwa, a 40-year-old carpenter from Harare, went to the immigrant reception center in the grimy suburb of Crown Mines at 10 p.m. the night after he reached Johannesburg.

Wearing every item of clothing he'd brought from Zimbabwe, Majengwa spent the night on the street outside the center. It was after noon the next day when he emerged from the gated brick building with a stamped paper granting him six months' temporary asylum.

"Now I can concentrate on finding work," he said. "If I work for one week, I can send a packet of rice back to my family. Or fish oil or salt. At least the children will be able to eat."

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Kenya sees engagement of third states in resolving Zimbabwe's problems harmful

xinhua  2008-07-19 05:08:27

    MOSCOW, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses
Wetangula said Friday that the engagement of third countries in the
settlement of Zimbabwe's problems may be harmful, the Itar-Tass news agency

    "Parties to the conflict have agreed to start dialog, so it is
inexpedient to engage third states," Wetangula told a press conference after
talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov." That may be harmful for
the dialog."

    "We believe that results of the Zimbabwean elections did not
mirror the will of the people. The Sharm El Sheikh summit elaborated the
common African position: it is necessary to hold negotiations and settle
Zimbabwean problems peacefully. We favor direct negotiations between the
conflicting sides," the minister said.

    "Any additional steps of the African Union should promote rather
than slow down the settlement process. In this case, the UN Security Council
did not help measures planned by the African Union," he said.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that the UN Security
Council would have set a "dangerous precedent" by adopting the resolution on
Zimbabwe put forward by some Western nations.

     Russia and China vetoed a U.S.-drafted resolution in the UN
Security Council on July 11 that would impose sanctions on Zimbabwe over the
country's presidential run-off election in late June.

    The failed text calls for a travel ban and an assets freeze on
President Robert Mugabe and his top officials, as well as an arms embargo.

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Nigeria's Yar'Adua attacks Mugabe regime

19 July 2008

Nigerian president Umaru Yar'Adua has hit out at Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe,
despite his own election being criticised by international observers.

Mr Yar'Adua, addressing an audience of Chatham House members in London, said
his government does not recognise the uncontested June 27th runoff vote
which returned Mr Mugabe to power.

His comments come one year after he admitted "lapses and shortcomings" in
the vote which brought him to power. The May 2007 poll was criticised by
international observers for ballot-rigging and voter intimidation.

"Nigeria's goal is a commitment to the development of genuine democracy to
ensure that genuine democracy becomes the dominant culture that provides a
framework for development on the African continent," Mr Yar'Adua said.

"Africans must ensure that we anchor democracy on credible elections. We
could not recognise the runoff election as the basis of a solution to the
Zimbabwe crisis.

"We still offer our belief in the rule of law not only in Nigeria but
anywhere on the continent."

Responding to questions about the issue of his own legitimacy, Mr Yar'Adua
said he had laid out electoral reform plans for Nigeria in his inaugural
address and remained committed to seeing through the changes needed.

"We only deceive ourselves if we continue to pretend that post-election
[violence] is not a threat to peace and stability," he added, underlining
"our abiding belief that persistent stability cannot survive in a system
without the rule of law".

His focus, he explained, is on ensuring the rule of law as much in the
unstable Niger Delta as elsewhere in the country.

The region has been blighted by security problems thanks to the activities
of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend). It costs 1.5
million barrels a day in production and has been contributed to high energy
prices currently afflicting global markets.

Earlier this week the UK government pledged its own support on the problem,
providing "robust accounting systems" to deal with oil smuggling and a
maritime training centre to aid security in the wider region.

"The government and people of Nigeria greatly appreciate the offer of help
from the British prime minister Gordon Brown that Britain is willing to
partner Nigeria in finding a lasting solution," Mr Yar'Adua said.

He qualified his assessments about prospects for quick improvements in the
Delta, however, describing his approach as "pragmatic" and talking of a
"daunting challenge" facing his country.

The People's Democratic party (PDP) leader was quick to emphasise the
investment potential Nigeria offers and said he was committed to improving
its infrastructure.

A protester shouted abuse at Mr Yar'Adua as he left the Chatham House event,
underlining the dissent which critics say continues to linger in Abuja and
across Nigeria.

Almost all the election challenges nullified by the courts have come from
the 28 of Nigeria's 36 states controlled by the PDP.

"You expect, just picking by chance, you are likely to pick first from my
party," Mr Yar'Adua explained. The audience reacted with laughter.

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Letter from Morgan Tsvangirai (Vol 19)


My Fellow Zimbabweans

Throughout the world today, people are commemorating the 90th birthday of
one of Africa's greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela. To Mr. Mandela, we say,
Makorokoto. You remain a shining light to our people, to me, and to fellow
leaders in the struggle for true liberation of all our people.

As Mr. Mandela sagely advised years ago, the road to freedom is long and
requires great sacrifices. Our colleagues in the MDC and the democratic
movement - students, churches, civil society organizations - have all made
courageous sacrifices on this long road to free Zimbabwe from tyranny.

As a result of your brave spirit and peaceful heroism, the international
community knows now more than ever that Zimbabwe's leadership crisis has hit
new depths of shame. They know Mr. Mugabe is an illegitimate President. Your
voices were heard. SADC, AU and Pan African Parliament observers heard your
voices on June 27th and reported to the world your words: "this is not an
election," you said, "this is a war to silence the people."

So, my Fellow Zimbabweans, are we today still strong enough and brave enough
to make it through the next stage of our liberation? We are tired, yes. But,
of course, we shall not give up! We shall not waiver now! The will of the
people shall prevail!

As much as some would try to confuse our people with mind games, detours and
delays, we still know what we want. Our goal has not changed. We must not
let exhaustion and despair cause us to lose sight of our only destination -
a New Zimbabwe where once again our people enjoy the basics of life - food,
jobs, dignity, peace and hope.

We are in a different struggle now. There are those who want to wear us
down. There are those who want to wear down your belief that change is
possible. They want us to forget that we are the winners - that we won a
historic victory on 29 March. There are those who want each and every one of
us to feel beaten, physically and psychologically - into submission and into

But, let me tell you now, their attacks have had the opposite result. Those
who have tried to crush our spirits have not succeeded. They have further
emboldened us. Our people still want change. Our people still demand change.

Where are we then, today? So many mixed messages and lies are being told to
our people. Now is the time for truth. Now is the time to stop the violence.
Now is the time to take genuine steps to move the process forward.

Many of our brothers and sisters in Africa, from SADC to the AU, continue to
stand with the people of Zimbabwe as we begin this process. On this historic
day of celebration of Madiba's birthday, another important meeting has taken
place between President Mbeki and AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping.

A result of this meeting, we welcome today's appointment of a reference
group of eminent Africans who will work with President Mbeki and the main
parties in Zimbabwe to find a peaceful negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean

As we strive to restore the dignity of our country and our people, we pray
that those in the regime in the position to halt the violence, persecution
and starvation of our people will immediately and urgently do so. We pray
that without delay they demonstrate their genuine commitment to a
negotiation process that heals our ravaged land and violently betrayed

My fellow Zimbabweans, we share with our colleagues from throughout the
democratic movement the deep desire to end the crisis as soon as possible
without sacrificing justice or fairness. We share with the people of
Zimbabwe the deep concern that normality and stability must be restored
immediately. We share with our fellow Zimbabweans in the security services
the deep awareness that they are still being asked to carry out activities
that breach professional codes of conduct. We share with many of our fellow
Zimbabweans in ZANU PF the profound hope and belief that the time to heal
the country is now.

On this day where the world celebrates the iconic leadership of Nelson
Mandela - his heroic vision, tolerance, forgiveness and humility - let us
all set our sights on ending our own leadership crisis - also with vision,
tolerance, forgiveness and humility.

Together let us agree to do the right thing for the Zimbabwean people.

Together let us respect their voices as expressed on 29 March.

Together let us rise above the divisive paranoia, fear and selfishness that
chains us to endless poverty. Together let us finally deliver to the
Zimbabwean people the true liberation and peace they so desperately wait
for. We have a historic opportunity to bring healing and hope.

Together let us begin.

Makorokoto Mr. Mandela!

May your heroic spirit continue to bless the people of Africa and the world.

A luta continua.

I thank you and may God bless Zimbabwe.

(via an MDC Press Release)

This entry was written by Sokwanele on Friday, July 18th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

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Open letter to President Thabo Mbeki

July 19, 2008

DEAR Mr. Thabo Mbeki,

I had wanted to address you as comrade but it is clear there is no
camaraderie between you and the people of Zimbabwe.

Your cares lie mainly in the appeasement of President Robert Mugabe - for
what, we don't know. Many say because you want to keep the whites in South
Afica at bay by threatening them with this Zimbabwe precedence and many say
because Mugabe kept you in exile in Harare.

Personally, I find you somehow responsible for the murder and misery of so
many Zimbabweans. When you could have stopped Mugabe, you chose to point
your finger elsewhere. Where Mugabe is wrong, you choose to say it behind
closed doors; in effect giving him courage. You have not uttered a word on
the evils, the statements, the deeds, the violence, the torture, the rape,
the pictures, the injuries of the Zimbabwean people.

The children of Zimbabwe have cried and you have not listened - for years!

Instead, you have set dates when the Zimbabwe solution would be found and
you were found lacking even at that time. No solution has been found not for
even one date, deadline or promise! Every promise Mugabe has made seems to
have been drafted by you and you have said absolutely nothing about the
broken promises. So why should the MDC listen to you now and sign anything?
The MDC are clearly fools and you are doing a good job parading them as such
and proving them to be such.

Don't you ever dare come to Zimbabwe when our people shake off these
shackles!! Don't ever mention our name on your lips, ever!! Don't ever look
across the Limpopo at the supposed 'not a province' of South Afrika. Shame
on you Mr. Mbeki!! May the true African revolutionaries stand up!! Your
African renaissance and NEPAD are just hot air.

There will not be an African solution here. You make us Africans ashamed -
how can you look at such evil and violence in the eye and keep saying that
'there is no crisis'? Please sir, never ever, ever, ever come to Zimbabwe
when we are will not be are a reminder of pain, agony,
appeasement and absolute evil.

You have passed your evil and intolerance to your people. Now South Africans
are known as xenophobes and haters. May Zimbabweans remember these evil
people south of us and may their turn come where we are going to see no
crisis and no evil. Mr Mbeki, you have taught your people evil and may you
fry and rot in it - that is why your own ANC wants to get rid of you. Is
that why you wanted to change the constitution for a third term?

Please do not forget not to come to Zimbabwe, ever!

Diliza Muthwa Ndlovu

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