The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Online

Vice-president takes fuel begging bowl to Iran
Fri 1 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe Vice-President Joyce Mujuru will next week travel to
Iran to beg for oil as a five-year fuel crisis that worsened in recent weeks
threatens to ground the southern African nation.

      A senior government official, who cannot be named, told ZimOnline that
Mujuru will head a delegation comprising Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya, his
permanent secretary Justin Mupamhanga, and senior Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
officials to Tehran to seek funding for fuel purchases. The exact date of
Mujuru's departure was not immediately clear yesterday.

      According to the official, Mujuru's delegation will attempt to
negotiate a long-term fuel supply deal with the government of Iran besides
also meeting officials of a private Tehran-based firm, Al Shams, to
negotiate a stop-gap US$100 million oil supply facility.

      "There is hope that she (Mujuru) might seal these deals which could
see the country getting a loan from Iran, as well as this stop gap measure
(Al Shams funding) needed to stabilise the situation," the official said.

      In return for funding, Mujuru will offer both Tehran and Al Shams
officials, huge concessions in the vast coal reserves in southern Zimbabwe
and other investment opportunities, especially in the lucrative mining

      Mujuru and Nyambuya were not available for comment with officials in
their offices saying they were busy attending meetings. Mupamhanga refused
to take questions on the matter.

      Zimbabwe, which has leapt from crisis to crisis in the past five
years, is steadily grinding to a halt after a long-running fuel shortage
deteriorated in the last four weeks with now only a handful of garages
across the country selling petrol or diesel.

      The fuel crisis began soon after the International Monetary Fund
withdrew financial assistance to Harare six years ago after disagreeing with
President Robert Mugabe on fiscal policy and other governance issues.

      Mugabe's controversial farm seizure programme in the last five years
that destabilised the major export-earning tobacco sector only helped worsen
the fuel crisis as forex inflows dwindled.

      An oil supply deal between Zimbabwe and Libya, similar to the one
Mujuru will pursue in Tehran, collapsed about two years ago after Tripoli
later demanded hard cash payments instead of properties and cheap investment
opportunities in the southern African country.

      The Iran government is already supplying Harare with tractors and
other agricultural equipment required to revive Zimbabwe's crumbling
agricultural sector, while Al Shams has in the past supplied buses to the
state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Mugabe still to appeal for food aid
Fri 1 July 2005

      BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe, which requires 1.8 million tonnes of food to
avert starvation, has not yet appealed to the World Food Programme (WFP) for
assistance, a month after President Robert Mugabe told WFP chief, James Tim
Morris, that he would welcome food aid.

      Harare has also not declared a state of disaster over food shortages,
a move that would enable other international relief groups to begin raising
aid for an estimated four million Zimbabweans facing starvation after poor
harvests last season.

      The delay by Mugabe and his government in appealing for help could see
donated food being delayed by up to three months before it can reach hungry
Zimbabweans many of whom are already on the verge of starvation.

      A WFP spokeswoman in Harare, Makena Walker told ZimOnline that it
takes about three months for donated food to be shipped from donor countries
outside Africa to Zimbabwe.

      Walker however said in the event international donors responded to a
formal appeal for help by Zimbabwe by making cash available to the WFP to
purchase food, then the organisation would buy food from neighbouring South
Africa which could be moved to Harare within a much shorter period.

      "South Africa has reserves of 300 million metric tonnes of grain in
its silos and the region can buy from them but the process becomes difficult
when food is donated because it has to be shipped and that takes about three
months," said Walker.

      The WFP official said when Mugabe met Morris last month he had only
indicated that Harare was willing to accept WFP food assistance but that did
not amount to a formal appeal for food aid.

      She said: "As it is presently, the Zimbabwean government has not yet
made a formal appeal to the international community and neither has the
government declared a state of disaster for international donors to start
making contributions.

      "When WFP director, Tim Morris, was in the country the government said
it would welcome food but that was not an appeal."

      Zimbabwe intelligence Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is in charge of
food distribution, could not be reached to find out why it is taking the
government so long to formally appeal for food relief.

      But Agriculture Minister Joseph Made this week told Parliament that
the government would welcome food from anyone wishing to help as long as
there were no "political strings" attached to the aid. Mugabe and his
government accuse international donor groups of using food as a pretext to
incite Zimbabweans against their rule.

      Made also told Parliament that the hard cash-strapped government was
planning to import 1.8 million tonnes of the staple maize. He did not say
where the money, more than US$200 million required to buy the maize, would
come from or when the food imports would start arriving in the country.

      The government, which last year told international relief groups to
take their food elsewhere because it was not needed in Zimbabwe, had until
just before last March's disputed election denied that the country was
facing serious food shortages.

      The government also denies that the chronic food shortages that have
plagued Zimbabwe for much of the last five years are largely due to
disruptions to agriculture linked to its seizure of white-owned commercial
farms for landless blacks.

      Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, comprising
government departments and international relief agencies working in the
country, is next week expected to present the findings of a study into
Zimbabwe's food situation at a meeting of the regional assessment committee
in Johannesburg. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Government housing project may fall flat on its face
Fri 1 July 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe's proposed massive housing project to benefit thousands
of families cast onto the streets after their homes were demolished by the
police could come unstuck because of foreign currency shortages,
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru said yesterday.

      In the first official acknowledgement that the government could fail
to achieve its ambitious goal to build enough houses by next month to
accommodate close to a million people made homeless by its clean-up
campaign, Mujuru told an engineer's congress in Harare that huge amounts of
foreign currency were required in the construction of road, water and sewer

      "The success of this (housing) programme will again be constrained by
the need to import some of the inputs," Mujuru told the Zimbabwe Institute
of Engineers 3rd Biennial Congress that opened in Harare yesterday.

      "I am informed that for the electrification of a typical residential
scheme, 80 percent of the cost will be in the form of foreign currency. If I
(look at) another critical infrastructural component, the sewerage treatment
works, the foreign currency requirement looms large once more," she said.

      Zimbabwe is grappling an acute foreign currency crisis that has
spawned shortages of fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs and food
because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

      Political and economic analysts had already dismissed as "unachievable
and mere propaganda" the unbudgeted government housing project, which was
announced last weekend as a United Nations envoy arrived in Zimbabwe to
probe the impact of the government's controversial clean-up campaign on poor
families evicted from shanty homes in and around cities. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

More Zimbabwean doctors join strike
Fri 1 July 2005

      HARARE - The strike by junior and middle-ranking doctors which began
in Harare on Wednesday spread to Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo
yesterday with no solution in sight.

      The doctors downed their tools to protest the government's failure to
provide them with fuel to travel to hospitals resulting in them spending
most of their time in fuel queues rather than attending to patients.

      A visit to the country's biggest referral hospital in Harare,
Parirenyatwa, showed that there were no doctors in the wards as they heeded
a call to down their tools to press the government to improve their working
conditions. Only nurses, medical students and a few expatriate doctors were
on duty at the hospital.

      "We only have a complement of seven doctors from Congo attending to
patients with the assistance of medical students," said a medical student
who could not be named.

      Patients complained that they were spending too much time in queues
without anyone attending to them at Parirenyatwa hospital which was said to
be attending to "extremely serious cases only."

      "I have been in the queue with my sick son since early morning but he
has not been attended to," said Lucia Musa of Glen Norah.

      The President of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association that
represents junior and middle level doctors, Takawira Chinyoka said he was
still to meet officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

      "We are still waiting to hear from them," said Chinyoka. "We cannot go
to work as we are in fuel queues. We also want the government to address the
other issues we are not happy with."

      He said doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo had joined the
industrial action.

      Contacted for comment, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, yesterday
said: "We are trying to make sure that the situation returns to normal as
soon as possible."

      Apart from the fuel issue, the doctors are also unhappy over a car
loan scheme saying the money they are being given under the scheme is not
enough to buy a modest car.

      Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute fuel shortage because there is no
hard cash to pay foreign suppliers. The doctors say their weekly fuel
allocation of 100 litres is not enough and want the government to
immediately address their concerns.

      Zimbabwe's health delivery system is in crisis due to years of
under-funding and mismanagement while the majority of the country's trained
medical personnel have left the country to seek better paying jobs abroad. -

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Zim Online

Government sells wildlife to local blacks
Fri 1 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe has begun selling away wildlife to local blacks to
"empower" them because they were previously excluded from the lucrative
tourism and wildlife industry.

      The state-run Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA)
this week publicly invited tenders to purchase a variety of species
including buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, hippopotamuses, crocodiles and

      "We are now offering other species so that black operators whom were
previously disadvantaged have an opportunity in this business. We want to
empower those whom have been previously disadvantaged," said authority
spokesman, Edward Mbewe.

      Three months ago, the ZPWMA invited tenders for the purchase of
elephants but Mbewe said the authority was still to announce the winning

      An estimated 65 percent of Zimbabwe's wildlife was lost when
government supporters seized land from white farmers, took over private
conservancies and killed wild animals for meat. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe to import 1.8 mln tonnes of maize-paper
      30 Jun 2005 08:41:48 GMT

      Source: Reuters

HARARE, June 30 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government
plans to import 1.8 million tonnes of maize after drought slashed domestic
output, the official Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.

"Government has put in place measures to import 1.8 million tonnes of maize
to cover-up the grain deficit arising from the current drought," the paper
said, citing Agriculture Minister Joseph Made.

Made told parliament on Wednesday that the government was importing the
staple grain as well as wheat to meet national grain requirements and also
welcomed assistance offered without conditions attached, the paper said.

"If there is anyone who wishes to assist they are welcome," it quoted Made
as saying in response to questions from opposition legislators.

Last month United Nations World Food Programme chief James Morris said
Zimbabwe would receive "several hundred thousand tonnes" of food aid from
the global body after Mugabe indicated during a meeting that he would
welcome the help.

Mugabe's government has previously accused aid agencies of a political
agenda and last year said the country would not require aid on the back of
an anticipated bumper harvest of 2.4 million tonnes of maize, which fizzled
out after a drought.

Morris said in early June Mugabe had indicated his government had issued
tenders and made orders for 1.2 million tonnes of food and intended to
purchase another 600,000 tonnes to restock Zimbabwe's grain reserves.

Mugabe denies that chronic food shortages that have plagued the southern
African country for much of the last five years are in large part due to
disruptions to agriculture linked to his seizure of white-owned commercial
farms for landless blacks.

The shortages have exacerbated an economic crisis widely blamed on
government mismanagement, which has lasted for six years leading to an acute
fuel crunch as well as record inflation and unemployment.
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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Where is the Church?
Sokwanele Comment : 30 June 2005

Robert Mugabe's purge of the poor, code-named "Operation Murambatsvina", which has cut a swathe of destruction across the country and displaced more than a million Zimbabwean's from their homes and workplaces, must rank as the greatest single terrorist act for which he is ultimately responsible after Gukurahundi - the brutal campaign of the mid 1980s led by the notorious Fifth Brigade which resulted in the slaughter of between 20,000 and 40,000 Matabele.

The effects of the latest outrage - which is still continuing - are there for all to see. Tens of thousands of dwellings torched, informal sector businesses razed to the ground, so-called "illegal structures" bulldozed - leaving hundreds of thousands of the nation's poorest now homeless and destitute. Countless Zimbabweans, including little babies, nursing mothers and the frail elderly, now reduced to sleeping in the bush in mid winter - the first reports of linked deaths beginning to trickle in. Scores of others clutching their few pathetic belongings, setting out on hopeless journeys (when there is fuel available) to their famine-stricken rural "homes" where there is no food or shelter for them anyway and they are hardly welcome. Others again out of desperation returning to the site of their former homes, just to sleep there while trying to avoid another sweep of the Mugabe black-booted thugs who pose as agents of law and order. An estimated 300,000 children whose homes have been destroyed now forced to drop out from school. And how many others how much closer to starvation now ? The list goes on, as it is impossible to catalogue the wave upon wave of suffering inflicted on a defenceless population by a vengeful ZANU PF elite and a cruelly-calculating dictator.

As the horror of the Mugabe tsunami becomes clear for all to see, the question arises where is the Church in all this? Surely the Church has a role to play in condemning tyranny and calling delinquent rulers to account? Is it not the role of the Church to be a voice for the voiceless? Are there not historical precedents for the Church to offer shelter and sanctuary to the poor and homeless, and to victims of state-sponsored violence? And don't the citizens of so-called Christian countries traditionally look to the Church for moral and spiritual guidance, especially in turbulent and uncertain times? So where is the Church in all this mayhem and madness? What has been the Church's contribution to turning the country around from its present path to destruction?

Sokwanele claims no special insight here, and certainly we have neither the time nor the resources to conduct a nation-wide survey, but there are certain observations we can make from our civic society perspective. We don't want to judge the Church too harshly and if we are wrong in any of our conclusions we should be delighted to have the facts brought to our attention. But this is what we have observed to date:

  1. In relation to the current crisis it is impossible to speak meaningfully of "the Church" at all, since the Church is manifestly divided in its response. On the one hand we have magnificent champions of the truth like Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo; on the other we have cowardly and complicit clergy like Bishop Kunonga of Harare falling over himself to grab one of the looted farms. Then again we have ZANU PF activist pastors of what is sometimes called "the parallel church", like Obadiah Msindo who operates out of a luxury suite of offices at the Sheraton kindly provided by his sponsors.

  2. The Church therefore is divided into many different churches all with their own (usually hidden) agendas. Few seem to cooperate or even bother to speak to one another, let alone speaking with one voice. The fact that they are so hopelessly divided not only reflects the success of the ZANU PF policy of "divide and rule"; it also seriously undermines their credibility and reduces their effectiveness in addressing national issues.

  3. To be fair though, here and there we do see some attempt being made towards a limited form of unity. We applaud the efforts of ecumenical groups like "Churches in Manicaland", "Zimbabwe National Pastors' Conference" and "Christians Together for Justice and Peace" and, on the rare occasions when they speak as one, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Zimbabwe. All of these groups have, for example, issued clear and helpful statements addressed to the scourge of "Murambatsvina". Of the once-influential Zimbabwe Council of Churches one hears very little these days, and our sources inform us that the leadership has been so effectively 'ZANU PF'd' that we are not likely to hear much either, certainly not in the way of a prophetic Christian response.

  4. For moral and spiritual guidance therefore we have to rely upon the occasional word of one of the few individual church leaders or groups who are engaging seriously with the issues. And it is doubtful how far their words of wisdom percolate down to the mass of Zimbabweans. Just how far individual priests and pastors are prepared to go in tackling sensitive social, political and economic issues from the pulpit, we do not know, but we suggest our readers ask themselves (those that is, who attend church regularly) when their spiritual leader last dared to even broach such a topic. The overall impression is of a nation effectively bereft of good moral guidance at a time when it is sorely needed.

  5. In terms of practical assistance offered to those in need the picture is again patchy, but we have to say does not generally reflect great credit on the Church. We are aware that through a time of increasing food deprivation a number of individual churches have run much needed feeding schemes, and provided succour and support for AIDS victims. This is surely welcome and appreciated. But a more searching question is - how many churches have shown themselves prepared to move from this relatively "safe" and not-too-stretching form of ministry to something as bold as throwing open their doors to the victims of the Mugabe tsunami? We have it on good authority that eight churches in Bulawayo have offered shelter and hospitality to over a thousand of those recently rendered homeless - and let the nation applaud them for their courage and compassion. (The churches concerned and others prayed with and for the victims in two services held in the city over the last weekend). But how many churches in say Harare, Mutare, or Gweru have done the same? Again it is not for us to judge but we say to the churches concerned, judge yourselves. What kind of example and moral leadership are you offering the nation?

And a final observation. Let the churches judge themselves, not by the standards of what is "politically correct" within an environment dominated by fear and timidity, but rather by the standards of the Great Judge to whom we will all have to render account one day. To quote: "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

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Amnesty International

Zimbabwe: More deaths mass evictions continue unabted
Amnesty International has received information that at least three people
have died, including a pregnant woman and a four-year-old child, during a
chaotic mass eviction of at least 10,000 people from Porta Farm, an informal
settlement on the outskirts of Harare established by the government more
than 10 years ago.

Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme,

"Over the last 48 hours Porta Farm, a settlement of at least 10,000 people,
has been obliterated.

"People have watched their lives being completely destroyed and many are now
being forcibly removed in trucks by police. At the moment we are not sure
where they are being taken."

Some residents have resisted the attempt to forcibly remove them and have
been injured in clashes with the police. Local human rights monitors report
that during the attempted forced removals this morning two women, one
pregnant and the other extremely ill, fell off the trucks into which they
were being herded and died as a result of their injuries.

A four-year-old child was reportedly run over by a truck and was killed.
There are unconfirmed reports of a second child dying, but the circumstances
are not yet clear.

Although it is not clear where the Porta Farm residents are being taken,
reports indicate that some are being transported to Caledonia Farm, which
has been described as a transit camp.

Amnesty believes that conditions at Caledonia Farm are extremely poor with
insufficient space, shelter, water and sanitation.

Amnesty International called for an immediate halt to the mass forced

This week's mass evictions and today's deaths take place as United Nations
Special Envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka visits Zimbabwe to look at the
evictions and their impact.

Human rights groups in Zimbabwe have reported on the situation at Porta Farm
to Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka.

An AU representative will also arrive in Zimbabwe today (30 June) to carry
out a fact-finding mission. Bahame Tom Nyanduga, Special Rapporteur of the
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights responsible for Refugees,
Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, will be in
Zimbabwe between 30 June and 4 July 2005.

Amnesty International welcomes this move by the AU to examine the
humanitarian and human rights crisis in Zimbabwe and strongly urges the
Special Rapporteur to investigate the situation at Porta Farm and to engage
with civic and human rights groups as fully as possible.

Kolawole Olaniyan continued:

"Although we welcome this visit by the AU representative and look forward to
seeing his report, we are concerned that his time in Zimbabwe is very brief.

"We urge the AU representative to see as much as possible in affected
communities -and not just visit those areas designated by the government. We
hope that he will have unfettered access to all areas."


The Zimbabwean government attempted to evict the residents of Porta Farm
last September using tear gas and excessive force. At least 11 people died
following police misuse of tear gas. Amnesty International called for a full
investigation into the deaths, but none is known to have taken place.

From 1 June this year, Amnesty International members have been sending
urgent communications to the Government of Zimbabwe calling for an end to
the mass forced evictions and expressing concern that Porta Farm could once
again be a target.
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Reuters Alertnet
Red Cross assists the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe
30 Jun 2005 13:54:00 GMT
Source: NGO latest
by Varaidzo Dongozi, Zimbabwe Red Cross and Tapiwa Gomo in Harare
Zimbabwe Red Cross Secretary General Emma Kundishora distributes relief items to children at Caledonia farm, one of the holding camps for people displaced by the operation

<b>International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - Switzerland</b><br> logo
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - Switzerland
“All I need now are blankets for my 19-year-old boy,” said Maria Ndlovu of Kuwadza high density suburb. “It is culturally unacceptable for me to share the same blankets with a boy of his age.”

Mrs. Ndlovu, a mother of five, is among thousands of families who lost what used to be their homes in the Zimbabwe government’s current ‘clean-up’ exercise.

Her eldest son, who is currently attending a local high school, was not spared either. The small cabin given to him by a local church was also destroyed. Mrs. Ndlovu, her five children, a widowed sister and her two children now have to sleep in one room offered by her friends.

She looked tired as she arrived at the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society offices to look for assistance. She had walked several kilometres from her place to ask for blankets and accommodation for her children, especially the eldest son.

“I can’t afford to withdraw him from school now because he is just about to sit for his exams,” she explains. She also fears that there are very high chances of contracting infectious diseases such as tuberculosis as the house they are living in is over crowded.

Mrs. Ndlovu’s small snack-shop, her only source of income to buy food, pay school fees, and support the family, was also caught in the ‘clean-up’ operation. There seems to be no immediate solution in sight apart from going back to her communal area.

Hers is one of the many cases that Zimbabwe Red Cross Society is faced with at their provincial and national offices as many people flock to look for assistance.

With the situation still unfolding, the total number of people affected is not yet clear, but the UN estimates that more than 200,000 families have been affected and are in need urgent assistance.

Although the situation remains fluid, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has put in place contingency measures to respond to the humanitarian needs of the affected people.

“Having realized the humanitarian needs of some of the affected populations since the beginning of the operation, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, with the support of the International Federation and the International Committee of Red Cross, dispatched a consignment of blankets, soap and other essentials to our provincial offices with which to begin a short term response to meet the immediate needs of the most affected people,” said Mrs Emma Kundishora, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society Secretary General.

Some of the affected populations are being kept in transit camps in different parts of the country awaiting relocation to either their communal areas or alternative places. The Zimbabwe Red Cross society is coordinating the management of the humanitarian activities in many of these camps to ensure that their humanitarian requirements are met.

Recently the International Federation, through its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund released 100,000 Swiss francs (US$ 78,000 or €64,600) to finance the purchase of non-food items which include blankets, clothes, soap, kitchen sets and jerry cans which are being distributed to the needy families.

“We also distributed clothes worth Z$640 million to vulnerable children, men and women at Caledonia farm in Harare. This forms part of the response package given to us by the Danish Red Cross society,” Kundishora explained.

She added that the Red Cross was also going to distribute clothes to other vulnerable groups located at various camps in other parts of the country.

“We are now taking a coordinating role in some holding camps in the country which includes Bulawayo in Matabeleland central and Mutare in Manicaland,” said Karikoga Kutadzaushe, Zimbabwe Red Cross society national programmes coordinator.

“We will be coordinating response activities in the camps reporting to the social services subcommittees. The coordination with other organizations such as the UN agencies is excellent at the moment,” he added.

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]

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Zimbabwe a test for the UN

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      30 June 2005

      Pressure is mounting on African leaders to do something about the
crisis in Zimbabwe, or at least speak out against the human rights abuses
that are now central to the debate on aid to the continent by the G8
nations. Blatant as the abuses in Zimbabwe are, and bold as the regime has
been by continuing to raid homes while a special UN envoy is in the country,
the African leaders have resisted the pressure to criticise their so-called
brother Robert Mugabe. They have chosen to ignore the suffering of millions
of Zimbabweans rather than be seen to be siding with "the white colonial
powers" as Mugabe has cleverly positioned them.

      The race card, played by the Mugabe regime to avoid answering for the
cruel manner in which Zimbabweans have been treated, has been the ace that
is keeping African leaders quiet. And if the United Nations falls for it as
well, then it will clearly have relegated itself to the dustbin as the
guardian of good governance, democracy and anti-corruption. Many observers
say that in this regard Zimbabwe has unwittingly become a test ground for
the UN's resolve.
      But Chris Maroleng at South Africa's Institute for Security Studies
said Zimbabwe will not be a litmus test for good governance in Africa for
several reasons. Although its "quiet diplomacy has failed South Africa has
been involved in resolving other conflicts on the continent, particularly in
West Africa, and will not be judged on Zimbabwe alone. He said Mugabe's land
reform programme was positioned as the flagship of social justice and those
who speak against it are viewed as puppets of the colonial powers. Maroleng
said the G8 leaders are not likely to use what happens in Zimbabwe as the
testing ground.

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking in the House of Commons on
Wednesday, said failure by African leaders to speak out against the crisis
in Zimbabwe might adversely affect plans to help reduce poverty on the
continent, and there is no doubt at all that it is harder to make that case
whilst abuses of governance and corruption occur in African countries.
      But South Africa, with its "quiet diplomacy" towards Harare, last week
said it will not be bullied into criticising Mugabe, and that Britain's
approach smacked of scare tactics ahead of the G8 meeting next month.

      In a more positive development, Reul Khoza, the chairman of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) Business Foundation, said: "The
AU and Nepad should be the ones leading pronouncements on anything such as
this that causes pain and tribulations to African people."

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Bulawayo Churches provide food and shelter for homeless

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      30 June 2005

      Almost a month after Zimbabwe's own version of the tsunami, which left
thousands of homes destroyed and millions of lives shattered, victims of
this man made disaster still cannot comprehend government's actions.

      But among the ruins a resolve is growing; the person responsible for
the clean-up operation will one day pay for his actions.

      Within local communities and churches people are working tirelessly to
restore the victims' self-esteem.

      Pastor Albert Chatindo of the Methodist church in Bulawayo is worried
the clean up operation has left scars that will be difficult to erase.

      He said: 'The after-shocks of the operation are still being felt in
the city. It will take time to heal the wounds inflicted on these poor
people by their own government.'

      He added: 'we have opened our doors to the victims of murambatsvina
and at present we have over a thousand people under our care. It worries us
a lot when these people say they no longer have the will to carry on with

      According to Sheba Dube, also of the Methodist church, there is still
a long way to go but the will is strong and already the distance covered is

      She said: 'At least the church and well wishers are helping, but we
need more help, especially with medication, because most of the victims are
people whose health is failing.'

      She cited the case of Savy Maphosa, a grandmother taking care of four
orphans all suffering from HIV, whose home in Makokoba was demolished.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Zim homeless 'really desperate'
30/06/2005 20:12  - (SA)

Harare - The demolition of shacks and unauthorised dwellings in a sweeping
government blitz has spawned a new housing crisis in Zimbabwe's townships,
where families are resorting to sharing scarce space in the few homes left

In some instances, a single home is being shared by five families, on
average some 25 people, some of whom sleep on floors and share one bathroom
between them.

The United Nations estimates that 200 000 people have lost their homes since
police started the controversial clean up campaign, flattening property
across the country.

The opposition says the number of homeless is closer to 1.5 million, while
tens of thousands have been arrested and charged for various offences.

Thirty-six-year-old Agnes Mapfurira is living with her two children, aged
seven and three, in a kitchen offered by her friend after police pulled down
a backyard shack she was renting in the populous Chitungwiza township,
outside Harare.

They spend their nights on the floor in the midwinter chill, while
belongings are crammed under a veranda.

"I am one of those who are lucky because at least I have a roof above my
head," she said.

Lack of space

Laina Mombeshora, a grandmother, now shares her three-roomed house with two
families who lost their homes after police razed a slum on the northern
outskirts of Harare.

"The house is small, we can't all fit inside so I share the rooms with women
and small children while the men sleep outside," said Mombeshora, 54.

Mai Chishava, a foster mother, said she moved her adopted children to her
rural home after police ordered the family to demolish a backyard extension
used by the kids.

Opposition lawmaker Job Sikhala described the situation in his St Mary's
constituency in Chitungwiza, where scores of families are sleeping in the
open, as "desperate, really desperate".

"We now have a problem of overcrowding as families share the remaining few
houses with friends and relatives.

An overwhelming housing backlog led to the mushrooming of backyard rooms
built by property owners to accommodate family members or to rent out to
home seekers.

A business opportunity

Some property owners are cashing in on the higher demand for residential
accommodation caused by the clean-up operation and charging homeless
families as much as Z$700 000 (about $78) per month for a room in the
townships and anything around Z$1m in middle-class suburbs.

President Robert Mugabe told a meeting of his ruling party officials last
week that the operation was necessary "to weed out hideouts of crime and
grime, filthy stalls".

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent Anna Tibaijuka last week to Zimbabwe to
assess the humanitarian impact of the demolitions and the clean-up campaign.

Mugabe said after talks with her that the demolitions had been planned well
in advance, and the government was setting aside $333m to build new homes.
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New Zealand Herald

      Te Radar: Happiness in Zimbabwe is a nice piece of old cardboard


      I am sure many of Zimbabwe's disenfranchised poor were only too happy
to have their homes demolished. It would have provided a welcome distraction
from their squalid, disease-riddled lives by providing them with the
necessity of finding a piece of cardboard to shelter their family under.

      This cardboard would keep them shaded from the hot African sun when
they were not busy searching for twigs to combine with slurry to form a
colourful if insubstantial gruel for their swollen-bellied children.

      And it isn't as if it will bother them for too long anyway. The
average life expectancy in Zimbabwe is only 34. People die of Aids, hunger
and generally being African.

      In many ways this alone is a good reason for our national cricket team
to tour. Many Zimbabweans won't be alive the next time we are scheduled to
tour there. They, too, should have the opportunity to not be able to afford
a ticket to see the games.

      And those who have had their shacks demolished have only themselves to
blame. After all, they continued to mooch in squatter camps near cities when
their misunderstood leader, Robert Mugabe, had gone to all the trouble of
having the former white land-owning settlers evicted and turning their once
productive farms to fallow fields of faux potential.

      This was only one of many good ideas Mugabe has had. Another came last
November when he approved the obesity tourism strategy, which aimed to
attract obese foreign tourists to Zimbabwe to work for free on land seized
from the white farmers.

      This was a rather innovative idea. There is little doubt that there
are many wealthy chubbies who would leap at the offer to shed pounds and
guilt in a philanthropic manner.

      Seemingly not so bothered by guilt, our cricketers claim, through
their appointed spokesman, that they are contractually obliged to travel to
Zimbabwe and play or they will be fined by the wallahs at ICC.

      I say show a bit of testicular fortitude and tell the ICC to shove the
fine into their rather empty boxes.

      But I can say that because I don't have to pay the fine, nor are my
wages derived from cricket, and my chances of it being so become less by the
day (and word).

      Still, team sponsor the National Bank is not short of cash, given the
amount of interest I pay on my credit card. Perhaps they could offer to
shame the ICC by paying the equivalent of the fine not to the ICC, but to an
agency that helps disease-riddled Zimbabwean kids.

      Or they could sign a contract with the New Zealand team that compels
the players to wear a natty range of new team outfits, embroidered with
slogans such as Africa This is Your Shame, or the simple but effective
Mugabe is a Doofus.

      Mugabe would then ban them from travelling: ergo, no tour.

      I am sure the ICC couldn't object then. After all, cricket is the
sport of gentlemen.
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This is Oxfordshire

Date published: Thursday 30 June 2005
`We'd rather die'
Campsfield House detainees are reported to be even more depressed after it
was announced another Zimbabwean detainee will be deported -- despite an
ongoing hunger strike.

Absolme Mashamba, who is currently in Campsfield House detention centre in
Kidlington, has been told he will be sent back to Zimbabwe next Tuesday,
even though many inmates are refusing food and water in protest against
asylum seekers being deported to the troubled nation.

Roderick Chitezeze, a spokesman for the detainees, said: "People are really
depressed, some of them are no longer drinking or eating. He is preparing to
die there. He told me if he had a television cable he would kill himself, as
he would rather do that than go to Zimbabwe."

Yesterday, members of the Campaign to Close Campsfield gathered outside
Campsfield House to continue their demonstrations in support of the hunger

The strikers claim they have not been eating for nine days and on Tuesday
said they were now refusing to drink water. They say the next stage would be
sewing up their lips.

Tensions are running high at Campsfield after an 18-year-old Turkish man,
Ramazon Komluca, committed suicide in the early hours of Monday morning, and
an Iraqi man swallowed a needle, allegedly while he was trying to sew his
lips together.

Teresa Hayter, of the Campaign to Close Campsfield, said: "I think it's
completely and utterly outrageous to deport somebody to Zimbabwe especially
with all the public concern.

"The Government just ignores the weight of public opinion. This is a country
where human rights are abused. Britain itself constantly criticises the
human rights situation in Zimbabwe."

She said she believed that campaigners from Oxford and London would try to
stop Mr Mashamba from being deported by following him to the airport and
leafleting airport staff.

Mr Chitezeze, of the United Network for Detained Zimbabweans in the UK, said
the group was preparing evidence showing how Zimbabweans had been tortured
or killed after being deported from British asylum centres. They hope to
present this evidence to the Government.

Reports have been circulating in the press that deportations to Zimbabwe
before the G8 congress have been frozen. But yesterday the Home Office
denied this.

Darcy Mitchell, a Home Office spokesman, said: "That information is not
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The Times of Malta

The Commonwealth and beyond

Commonwealth Secretary General DON McKINNON has just completed a two-day visit to Malta. He had a lot to say, as Steve Mallia found out.

What was the purpose of your visit to Malta?

It's very much an update. It's important for us and for you to have a successful CHOGM. There are certain things we are responsible for as the secretariat and certain things Malta is responsible for, so it is a matter of getting the balance right. For me, having regular meetings with the Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister, the High Commissioner, means we ensure that things don't fall apart and that things do happen and things are achieved.

And what have your impressions been since you've been here? Are things in danger of falling apart?

No, no sign of it. Malta has such huge experience in dealing with tourists that dealing with big numbers of people is not a problem.

But it doesn't have experience at dealing with a mass of heads of government.

But this is where we can bring good advice. It very much depends on six or eight people here in Malta who have distinct responsibilities for different aspects of CHOGM.

And what kind of advice do you have to offer?

We can tell you what are the pitfalls. We do say the media can be difficult. If you have 1,000 media coming to CHOGM, managing the media is a major exercise. Every leader wants to be able to talk to his own country, his own city, his own constituency. At the same time, they want to talk collectively about the issues, so it's a major one.

What would you say is the biggest challenge for the host country?

You want people leaving CHOGM on the last day saying: "This has been great. I want to come back for a holiday sometime. I must tell my friends about it". Malta has a big tourism business and if you can make it bigger, that's good.

Do you think a small island like this has adequate resources?

Small islands will always be stretched on a CHOGM at the human resource level. We readily recommend that you look at volunteers for a lot of things. People who have retired from government service can provide a lot of good support; liaison officers for delegations and things like that. You could easily use 150 people.

In terms of security, if you have 52 visiting heads of government here it's obviously a big headache. Do you get into that?

That is principally (the responsibility of) the host government. Obviously, we talk to them about it, we talk to other governments about it and we don't talk a lot about it publicly!

Are there any minimum standards that have to be met?

Every leader has his own security requirements and some are greater than others just by virtue of which country they are, the issues they're dealing with and that sort of thing...

How much is this CHOGM going to cost?

I don't know but what we do know is that the cost of security is about half the total cost of CHOGM. It's just got very much bigger because the demands of security are much bigger.

Are we talking thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions?

Well, the cost of CHOGM certainly goes into millions of pounds. But you will find that the police may decide to upgrade their communications. Because they upgrade their communications in the CHOGM year, sure, that gets landed on that year. But what they're effectively doing is getting new communications for a 10-year period.

Was the cost of CHOGM one of the first things Malta asked when the idea of hosting it came about?

Malta first offered to host CHOGM in 1991... There are some Commonwealth countries that are just too small to host a CHOGM. But by hosting a CHOGM, one, you do very much identify the Commonwealth in Malta in a very strong way, and I would think at least a billion people would see Malta on their screens during the course of that CHOGM.

Costly advertising.

Not if you get those people wanting to come here as tourists. If you want to mount a tourism programme after CHOGM you will have people identifying the linkage.

I was in London last week and there was a general feeling that although the issue of Zimbabwe is not on the agenda for CHOGM, the subject would not be avoidable.

Oh, people are going to talk about it. It's not often we have a country walk out of the Commonwealth and there is a lot of feeling about how can we help get them back.

Some countries seem to be upset that Zimbabwe and Pakistan were treated in different ways: the former was indefinitely suspended for having a dictatorial regime while the latter was allowed back in.

I totally disagree because we had a lot of engagement with Pakistan over a period of time. They really worked to get back into the Commonwealth; to get their suspension lifted. And all the time that Zimbabwe was suspended, they never wanted to work with the Commonwealth, despite offering them special envoys, visits, that sort of thing. They rejected every overture.

Don't you think in retrospect the Commonwealth jumped the gun with Pakistan?

Well, we didn't expect (Pakistani) President (Pervez) Musharraf to reverse his solemn undertaking. But on the other hand, if you refuse to acknowledge leaders when they make a promise to you, you are putting yourself in difficulty anyway.

Naïve on the Commonwealth's part?

No, I don't think so. (It's) not a good thing to make a promise if you're going to breach it.

Does that make President Musharraf a dishonourable person?

Well, he decided later in the year that he wanted to readdress the issue. He went to his Parliament and asked his Parliament to endorse it; so it wasn't as if he did it by executive decree. We have to acknowledge that Parliament does have a supreme place in all the Commonwealth countries and it should do so. You might disagree with what they do but they do have a right to do it.

Was the UK, perhaps being pushed by the US, pressing for the lifting of the suspension?

There was a general feeling that Pakistan had been suspended for nearly five years and they had come a long way in bringing democracy back to Pakistan...

So there was no pressure from the UK.

Every country had a view. Every country felt something should happen. I don't recollect any who were saying "nothing should happen and that we must keep them frozen out". And when ministers were confronted with the whole issue "should we do something now or should we wait longer", on balance they felt "well, what can we do to show support for Pakistan?"

There is a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in September to review the position. You are not expecting them to change anything, right?

Ministers can do what they like. That's their prerogative and the CMAG ministers are a pretty good group of ministers; they look at all these issues in a pretty straightforward way: "What is the best thing we can do for this country?" I think they will be very heavy in their demands.

Pakistan is about to be invited to take part in CHOGM. Do you have any indications as to whether it is going to accept?

I don't have any indications but I have been aware that Pakistan has been very active in wanting to be re-engaged with the Commonwealth on technical assistance and they are very keen for us to help them. One of the areas they want us to work is, of course, bringing a more balanced curriculum for education...

But in the meantime they are developing their nuclear capabilities along with their neighbours.

Well, they are. They are a nuclear power.

And that's healthy in your view?

I was certainly opposed at the time to India detonating a nuclear device and therefore becoming a nuclear power and obviously we have said the same for Pakistan. We don't need more nuclear powers in the world even though, looking at what's happening in Iran right now, that may be more problematical.

Has CHOGM become more of a forum to talk about problems than solve them?

Before you can put a kid in a classroom in India you have got to have these people talking about what changes they can make. Policy changes get taken up here, get implemented here, financed here, become operational here. You've still got to have the people talking about how to achieve it and if there's one thing upon which Commonwealth leaders have expressed a wish, there must be real outcomes in what we're talking about...

Last week, you talked about the trade negotiations and said you were pessimistic. Who's to blame in your opinion for the trade negotiations going wrong?

Between the EU and the US, I don't see any sign of a major breakthrough on agriculture for developing countries, nor do I see a major breakthrough on the determination to eliminate agricultural subsidies in both those two areas, and in Japan.

Is any one party to blame for this?

Well, I think they all are. Because they are all sitting back and saying "apres vous, Alfons", you know. "You go first". (George) Bush has said "I am not going to move if the EU is not going to move". And after President (Jacques) Chirac's comments a week ago, I am not convinced that France is about to move.

You were disappointed by Mr Chirac's comments?

Oh yes. I mean, to talk about agriculture subsidies in Europe as being fundamental to Europe's social structure is going against everything world trade is all about.

Do you support Britain's position on reform?

Absolutely. I call for an elimination of agricultural subsidies. If you're going to take a few years to get there, okay. But at least say what you're going to do and how long you're going to take to do it.

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'Shadows of ourselves'?
30/06/2005 09:04  - (SA)  

Why, one hears people ask, is our government visible and audible if things go wrong in other African countries, yet across our own northern border, a dictator compared to Pol Pot, is destroying his country and its people - and our government upholds its "quiet diplomacy"?

Phrased differently: why is our media not more vocal about the outrage carried out against fellow-Africans trans-Limpopo?

As some clarification, if you have not followed the news lately:

A "clean-up" operation - according to news reports, if translated directly, it means "do away with the rubbish" - has been going on these past weeks. Shelters and vegetable gardens were "cleaned-up".

Why? It seems it is to prevent diseases, and so. But won't people be more exposed to diseases if they do not have a shelter, and do not have food to eat? And is it true that it is aimed at opposition supporters?

Clarification 2: Why is this compared to Pol Pot and who was he? Pot was the notorious Cambodian leader who, in the 1970s, led his Khmer Rouge to victory - and, in the process, approximately 1.7 million people to their death.

So, the question should be rightfully asked: why are our leaders not more vocal? Also: why isn't our media hitting the e-drums of communication to spread the message of this violation of human rights to the rest of Africa and the world?

On the first question, only our government will have the answer.

The second one?

The easy answer: maybe it is because South African media has its hands full with local stories; we cannot also use our valuable editorial space for another country's problems.

But then, what are news values all about if this is not a "story"?

Also, if we want to do journalism in a different way on our continent, should not this story be on our front pages every single day? Is that not what the African spirit is all about? "I am because you are"?

Afro-humanism, ubuntu, has also been summarised in two words: people care. Should our media not care more about our neighbours? Or are we too afraid to put Zimbabwe high on the news agenda and thereby, in effect, repudiate our government for its in-action?

In the dark old days, a mentor for young Afrikaans journalists was the unique Wilhelm Grütter, arts editor of Die Burger. He shared his knowledge, experience, wisdom, humour - Lebensfreude - with an overwhelming spirit of kindness with undeserving juniors.

There were many lessons one could learn from this generous teacher. But there was one ominous phrase that to this day still resounds if I think of him.

He once reflected that journalists, in the heyday of Nationalist government, were only "shadows of themselves". What an indictment. Without an own free will, a puppet of the body. Going where it goes, jumping where it jumps.

Will we once again stand accused of being "shadows of ourselves"?

What can be done to bring the atrocities across our border higher on our "news agenda" - that abstract but so powerful concept?

To illustrate that term, take two other tragedies.

The tsunami in Asia, and the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The first one was literally a news tsunami, which flooded our news agenda for a long time.

One answer is because the "elites" of the world - affluent European tourists - were involved. And technology - video cameras and cellphones - could capture the disaster.

The DRC? Well, it's "just another African country".

The same could be said of Zimbabwe.

But maybe the latest human rights violations have, at last, caught the attention of the rest of the world. And maybe it will put our South African media to shame that it was not because of our vigilance; that we were not the watchdogs we so proudly profess to be.

But then, at least, we should now dedicate more of our valuable editorial space to illustrate the tsunami on human rights. Otherwise that other phrase that we love to bandy about - the media being "the voice of the voiceless" - would become one inaudible, desperate scream for help.

And doesn't that have the same sound of being "shadows of ourselves"?

  • Lizette Rabe is head of the postgraduate Department of Journalism at the University of Stellenbosch, a Sanef council member and Sanef-convenor for the Western Cape. And she's addicted to news.

  • Send your comments to Lizette or discuss this column now in our debating forum.

    Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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    From: concerned zimbabweans abroad
    Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:06 PM
    Subject: ZIMBABWE


      The Editor

    Here is our Press release for the month. We shall be issuing  a press statement every month.  

    With the ongoing barbaric destruction of people’s homes, the AU has clearly shown that it is just a toothless dog and is just a talk shop. SADC has also proven beyond reasonable doubt that it is a another bunch of thugs who just meet to enjoy holidaying in the name of conferences. The screams from Zimbabwe are so loud not to be ignored and the tears are flooding rivers. In no way can normal leaderships ignore such a catastrophe. 

    President Thabo Mbeki is a traitor and a dismally failing regional leader. While the EU, Britain and America are standing up for the ordinary African human rights, the AU and SADC are trampling on them. President Mbeki whom we thought would steer the regional train in the right direction is blasting the west for listing Zimbabwe as one of the world’s outpost of tyranny. Quiet Diplomacy is actually turning out to be quiet hypocricy.

    The worst part of the ongoing destructions is that the very same people who are displaced are coming into S.Africa and they become squatters.

    If Mbeki condemned Zuma, we are left with no words for his support of Mugabe. 

     President Mbeki is defending Mugabe left right and centre. Defending a killer so openly means one day he can also kill. Defending a barbarian means one day President Mbeki can adopt the same methods to run S.Africa.  It is now in black and white that Mugabe and President Mbeki are the same in deeds. Mugabe was once the most loved man in the country but now he is the most hated. With the vast information at his disposal, how can President Mbeki fail  to give a fair balanced account of the suffering in Zim. He must repent or else God will curse S.Africa as well for its moral support of a killer, rapist, arsonist, robber, liar, racist, torturer and barbarian. 

    President Mbeki and the other regional leaders feel that the installation of a better government in Zimbabwe will provide a standard that can be used to judge their own performances. In no way can they say that they cannot meddle in another country’s affairs when there are tears and blood flowing.  

    We support the many organisations in S.Africa that are condemning the Mugabe regime to include The Anglican Church,COSATU, S.Afrca Council of Churches , SANGOCO  and its affiliates, a few voices from the ANC and the different political parties.

    Phone 072 092 5353   or landline 011 403 5037

    Jay Jay


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    How African leaders spend our money
    Aidan Hartley

    'Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz,' prayed Janis Joplin, and the
    Lord obliged. With or without divine intervention, the late Pope had one. So
    does the Queen. Erich Honecker hunted at night by dazzling the deer in his
    Mercedes jeep's headlights until he got close enough to blow them away. Mao
    Tse-tung had 23 Mercs. Today Kim Jong Il owns dozens, all filled to the
    gunwales with imported Hennessy's cognac. Hitler, Franco, Hirohito, Tito,
    the Shah, Ceausescu, Pinochet, Somoza - they all swore by Mercedes. Saddam
    Hussein liked them so much he probably had shares in the company.

    Today, though, there is one man who is doing more than the Lord himself to
    buy a Mercedes-Benz for the leading creeps of the world. That man is of
    course Bob Geldof, the spur to our global conscience. Africa's leaders
    cannot wait for the G8 leaders - hectored by Bob and Live 8 into
    bracelet-wearing submission - to double aid and forgive the continent's
    debts. They know that such acts of generosity will finance their future
    purchases of very swish, customised Mercedes-Benz cars, while 315 million
    poor Africans stay without shoes and Western taxpayers get by with Hondas.
    This is the way it goes with the WaBenzi, a Swahili term for the Big Men of

    The legacy of colonialism is a continent carved up by arbitrary frontiers
    into 50-odd states. But the WaBenzi are a transcontinental tribe who have
    been committing grand theft auto on the dusty, potholed roads of Africa ever
    since they hijacked freedom in the 1960s. After joyriding their way through
    six Marshall Plans' worth of aid Africa is poorer today than 25 years ago;
    and now the WaBenzi want more.

    Let us take Zimbabwe, where millions of people are starving, 3,000 die
    weekly of Aids and life expectancy has fallen to 35 years. In 2005 Britain
    will give Zimbabwe £30 million in aid, making it one of the three biggest
    donors. The government will say this money funds emergency relief. Try
    telling that to the hordes of people whose homes have been burned down and
    bulldozed in recent weeks. Giving corrupt governments money frees up budgets
    to squander on cars.

    As an example of hypocrisy, it is hard to beat the call for 'clean
    leadership' in Comrade Robert Mugabe's recent address to Zanu-PF's Central
    Committee. The old dictator condemns:

    'Arrogant flamboyance and wastefulness: a dozen Mercedes-Benz cars to one
    life, hideously huge residences, strange appetites that can only be appeased
    by foreign dishes; runaway taste for foreign lifestyles, including sporting
    fixtures, add to it high immorality and lust.'

    He is clearly talking about the WaBenzi, and their preferred version of the
    marque, the S600L, a long-wheelbase limo with a monstrous 7.3-litre V12
    twin-turbo-charged engine. It's as powerful as a Ferrari and 21 feet long.
    Basic price £93,090, but extras could be £250,000 more.

    And who is the most notorious Zimbabwean owner of an S600L? Robert Mugabe,
    of course. Mugabe's was custom-built in Germany and armoured to a 'B7
    Dragunov standard' so that it can withstand AK-47 bullets, grenades and
    landmines. It is fitted with CD player, movies, internet and anti-bugging
    devices. At five tons it does about two kilometres per litre of fuel. It has
    to be followed by a tanker of petrol in a country running on empty. Mugabe
    has purchased a carpool of dozens of lesser Mercedes S320s and E240s for his
    wife, vice-presidents and ministers.

    You may wonder why men like Mugabe did not go for Rolls-Royce, Bentley or
    Jaguar. The answer should be obvious: whatever their other disadvantages,
    British cars were associated with imperialism. Look at history and you see
    that up to the 1960s Mercedes-Benz was ticking along, doing nothing special.
    Then at about the same time as the 'Wind of Change' swept Africa, Mercedes
    produced the stretch 600 Pullman, a six-door behemoth with a 6.3-litre V8
    engine. For Africa's new top dogs, it was love at first sight. The WaBenzi
    were born. Idi Amin snapped up three, Bokassa more when he crowned himself
    emperor in central Africa. Zaire's Sese Seko Mobutu bought so many that he
    kept six for his summerhouse on Lake Kivu alone. Liberia's Sergeant Samuel
    Doe splurged on 60.

    Since those days Africa has been through 186 coups, 26 wars and seven
    million dead, and the Mercedes has been ideal - both for conveying dignity
    and for getting out of trouble. I wondered what it was like to drive the old
    Pullman, so I asked veteran trans-Africa rally driver Anthony Cazalet. 'You
    don't drive it, your chauffeur does,' he said. 'Look, it's a Queen Mum of a
    car: gentle, smooth, quiet; growls when necessary. Huge amounts of legroom
    and enormous seats for very big bottoms.' Cazalet recalls taking a friend's
    Pullman for a spin in Nairobi. 'I floored the throttle and the old girl
    pulled up her skirt and let rip. Everybody in the car was screaming.'

    Of course, not all Africans who own Mercedes cars are WaBenzi and nor am I
    suggesting DaimlerChrysler are at fault in any way. Thanks in large part to
    anti-state corruption drives by the World Bank, a middle class of
    hard-working, talented entrepreneurs has emerged in Africa in the last two
    decades. Africa's future depends on these young entrepreneurs, and they want
    to buy quality cars for the same reason successful Westerners do. As one
    Kampala businessman says, 'I am a serious person and I want that to be
    portrayed even through the car I drive.' Free trade for Africa would
    certainly create more Mercedes-Benz owners. The WaBenzi, by the way, loathe
    free trade. Reduced bureaucracy means less opportunity for graft, and the
    traditional way of getting someone else to buy your German-built machine.

    Take, for example, Malawi's 'Benz Aid' scandal. In the year 2000 Bakili
    Muluzi was hailed as a paragon of African 'good governance' following the
    demise of Life President Hastings Kamuzu Banda. The Economist rated Blantyre
    as the best city to live in in the world. Britain promised to increase its
    aid from £30.8 million to £52.4 million in a single year specifically to
    help the 65 per cent of Malawians existing on less than 50 pence a day.
    Malawi's government celebrated by purchasing 39 top-of-the-range S-class
    Mercedes at a cost of £1.7 million. In the furore that followed, Clare
    Short, then international development secretary, ruled out a ban on aid to
    Malawi, explaining that the money used for the car purchases had not been
    skimmed off British aid but some other donor's.

    Last year King Mswati III of Swaziland went against the grain. He passed
    over Mercedes and went for a £264,000 Maybach 62 for himself plus a fleet of
    BMWs for each of his 10 wives and three virginal fiancées selected annually
    at the football stadium 'dance of the impalas'. Imagine if he continues
    buying BMW for his wives; his dad collected 50 spouses and 350 kids. In May
    southern Africa's Mr Toad changed his mind about Mercedes and roared up to
    his rubber-stamp parliament in a new S600L limo. The total bill for his car
    purchases alone will be about £750,000, or three quarters of the annual
    figure for British assistance. Of the £14 million Swaziland gets in foreign
    aid, £9 million goes on the king's balls, picnics and parties - and cars.
    Yet 70 per cent of Swazis languish in absolute poverty and four out of ten
    have HIV/Aids, the highest rate in the world.

    No corner of Africa escapes the WaBenzi effect, including South Africa.
    Mercedes gifted Nelson Mandela one, and he accepted it. In 2001 the ANC
    chief whip Tony Yengeni was charged and later jailed for accepting a
    Mercedes ML320 at a 48 per cent discount in return for lobbying on behalf of
    DaimlerChrysler companies in the European Aeronautic Defence and Space
    consortium (Eads). At the time Eads was bidding for huge defence contracts,
    and Mercedes-Benz unilaterally admitted making dozens of cars available at
    discount prices. Some 32 officials, including the national defence chief
    General Siphiwe Nyanda, benefited. Most shocking of all, according to local
    press reports, President Thabo Mbeki himself had been given an S600L
    armoured limousine for a 'test drive'. He kept it for a full six months,
    only handing it back in March 2001, just as the Yengeni scandal broke.

    'Why target Yengeni alone?' the opposition's Bantu Holomisa said at the
    time. 'The President himself test-drove a similar one for six months.' The
    following year Muammar Gaddafi gave Mbeki an S600L as a present. ANC
    officials claimed the President was 'truly embarrassed', but did he refuse
    the gift?

    One of the most flagrant abuses of 'good governance' in Africa today is
    occurring in Kenya - original home of the WaBenzi. After decades of
    dictatorship voters in December 2002 swept Mwai Kibaki to power at the head
    of his NARC rainbow coalition on an anti-corruption ticket. 'Corruption will
    now cease to be a way of life in Kenya,' Kibaki promised. The very first law
    Kibaki's parliament passed rewarded politicians with a 172 per cent salary
    increase. MPs' take-home pay is now about £65,000 per annum (compared with a
    British MP's £57,485 gross) and the Kenyan MPs' fat package of allowances
    includes a £23,600 grant to buy a duty-free car, together with a monthly
    £535 fuel and maintenance allowance.

    These grants fall way short of what many politicians actually spend on their
    official and private cars, Kibaki's ministers especially. Soon after taking
    power the government spurned its 'corrupt' predecessors' Mercedes E220
    models and upgraded with the purchase of 32 new vehicles for top officials,
    including seven for the Office of the President. Most of these were new
    E240s, while the minister in charge of Kenya's dilapidated roads, Raila
    Odinga, went for a customised S500 at a probable cost of £100,000. Not to be
    outdone, Kibaki got himself - you guessed it - the S600L limousine.

    How can Kibaki spend up to £350,000 on a car when Kenyans' average annual
    per capita income is £210 - less than the cost of a box of decent cigars?
    His purchase is legal because parliament approved it, but does that make it
    acceptable when Kenya is on the bones of its arse and demanding more aid?

    Ministers say they should be paid so well because it stops them taking
    bribes. But the British High Commissioner to Nairobi, Sir Edward Clay, last
    year denounced the ruling 'Mount Kenya Mafia' as gluttons who were so
    overfed they left the signs of their theft in their trail as clearly as if
    they had puked up. He said, 'The evidence of corruption in Kenya [amounts
    to] vomit, not just on the shoes of donors but also all over the shoes of
    Kenyans ...and the feet of those who can't afford shoes.'

    In February this year Clay boldly produced another set of accusations,
    alluding to the fact that about £550 million has been stolen since Kibaki's
    government assumed power two years ago. Kenyan ministers responded by
    accusing the British envoy of being a white colonialist whom nobody need
    listen to. Britain is the nasty former colonial power that has just
    increased aid massively in 2005-06, from £30.5 million to £50 million.
    Despite the corruption alarm bells going off in Kenya, Blair's government
    has ruled out suspending aid.

    Does any of this sound familiar? That's right: by deploying the WaBenzi
    co-efficient you can see that more aid equals more Mercedes-Benzes. Take a
    look at Kenya's 2005-06 budget, read out by finance minister David Mwiraria
    to a cheering parliament in Nairobi on 8 June. According to the local Daily
    Nation, the government has allocated £3 million for the purchase of a fleet
    of new vehicles for the Office of the President. A further £2.9 million has
    been set aside for the maintenance of the existing car-pool of vehicles. One
    has to wonder if this expenditure of nearly £6 million, no doubt a lot of it
    on Mercedes-Benzes and far in excess of the sums involved in Malawi's 'Benz
    Aid' scandal, has anything to do with the increased aid supply.

    Here's how the WaBenzi get around. Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and Libya's
    Muammar Gaddafi have motorcades that can extend a mile long. At the very
    minimum an African president needs at least 30 cars: the S600L for himself,
    perhaps a couple more identical vehicles to confuse assassins, outriders,
    ministers, yes-men and chase cars bristling with guns. Snarling police in
    advance vehicles force you off the road up to an hour before the big man
    zooms past. In Kenya, I often wonder how much it all costs, to make the
    capital city, Nairobi, grind to a halt. When almost the entire city police
    force is ordered to line the roads from State House to the airport, how many
    rapes, murders and robberies are perpetrated in the slums?

    When you hear Him coming, the back of your neck tingles as the tension
    mounts. Zimbabweans call Mugabe's motorcade 'Bob and the Wailers' on account
    of the blaring sirens and flashing lights. Woe betide you if you get in the
    way. Early this year the Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa visited Mugabe,
    who picked him up in the five-ton Mercedes and was heading back to the
    palace when a lowly motorist stopped too close to the motorcade's path. In
    Zimbabwe it is an imprisonable offence to make rude comments or gestures in
    'view or hearing of the state motorcade'. This man had done neither, but
    police surrounded him, viciously beat him and then dragged him away.

    Apart from shielding his friend Mugabe from all criticism, Mkapa is one of
    Blair's Commissioners for Africa. Mkapa, you might recall, was the president
    whose police killed a lot of people around the rigged elections in Zanzibar.
    Mkapa's sidekick politician Salmin Amour allegedly spent £160,000 on - yup -
    a Mercedes S600L.

    When he's at home Mkapa has his own motorcade, which in the last five years
    has been involved in three separate road accidents in which 22 people have
    died (including a child of three) and 47 others have been seriously injured.
    Most were pedestrians. Mkapa escaped this road slaughter without a scratch
    to himself, but no wonder he often chooses to fly in the £15-million
    presidential jet he used state coffers to buy in 2002. A jet? Not even Blair
    has his own jet, but Mkapa is just about to have his entire misruled
    country's debt forgiven.

    Who benefits from aid? Germany gives the East African Union E8 million for
    the regional organisation's secretariat in Arusha - and the car park is
    filled with Mercedes-Benzes. Is Germany giving the money just so that it can
    get it back while giving a bunch of WaBenzi in suits their sets of wheels?

    Aid has not worked. A Merrill Lynch report estimates there are 100,000
    Africans today who own £380 billion in wealth. At the same time more than
    300 million other Africans live on 50 pence a day. Forget about the gap
    between north and south. The wealth gap within countries like Kenya is far,
    far worse than in any other part of the globe.

    It doesn't have to be like this. Africans themselves have always seen the
    WaBenzi as the symbol of Africa's ills. The first martyr for the cause was
    Thomas Sankara, the Burkina Faso president who forced his ministers to swap
    their Mercedes for Renault 5s. He also made them go on runs. Sankara was
    overthrown and executed in 1987 by Blaise Campaore, who remains in power
    today. In 2001 Sam Nujoma of Namibia traded in his Mercedes for a Volvo. He
    said if all ministers did likewise it would save £550,000 annually. 'We are
    servants of the Namibian people,' he said. 'It is high time that we start
    behaving as such.' What a party-pooper - at least he was until this year,
    when as part of his huge retirement package he got a S500 worth £80,000 plus
    two other cars. In 2002 Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa went to the
    airport in a public bus and urged his ministers to do the same. Last year
    the opposition Ghanaian politician Dr Edward Nasigre Mahama proposed selling
    President John Kufuor's Mercedes to pay for children's education.

    'Get off the corruption thing,' says Bob Geldof. The point is that nobody
    has got on to it properly yet. Aid-giving nations pretend to be tough on
    corruption, while African leaders pretend to change. Aid bureaucrats care
    less about financial probity than the press releases claiming that an
    economy is on a positive reform track. They are not helping Africa's young
    entrepreneurs. By throwing fiscal discipline to the wind and shovelling aid
    at Africa, the international bureaucrats will fuel a new renaissance in

    Meanwhile, NGOs refuse to focus on corruption because it's simply not a
    priority for them. They blame corruption on Western multinationals.
    Charities are ideological museums stuffed with socialists and
    anti-globalisation activists. They loathe private enterprise. I sometimes
    wonder if they would prefer to see Africans stay poor so that aid workers
    could carry on doing good works for them.

    Western pundits say the WaBenzi still exist because African culture is
    inherently sick, that black Africans can't help but admire the Big Men. This
    does ordinary Africans an injustice. The West needs to help them get better
    leaders before it increases aid. Make the WaBenzi declare their wealth to
    their electorates and donors. Name and shame those who drive expensive cars
    while their people starve. Encourage policies that will create wealth so
    that the only Africans buying Mercedes-Benzes are honest men and women.
    Unless this happens Africa's new aid package will not alleviate poverty,
    disease and ignorance. What it will definitely mean is more flashy

    Aidan Hartley is author of The Zanzibar Chest, Harper Perennial, £8.99.
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    This is Gloucestershire


          18:00 - 30 June 2005
          Last week I discussed the difficulties of sending aid to Africa. I
    mentioned Zimbabwe and its receipt of aid, despite corruption. The situation
    in Zimbabwe is getting even worse. Robert Mugabe and his regime have now
    made at least 250,000 people homeless in his latest purge, this could rise
    to a million in the coming months.

          He claims that this is a crackdown on areas of illegal housing and
    corrupt businesses. It just so happens these are areas of political

          The regime is torturing and detaining political opponents and the
    police are burning down houses and clubbing their occupiers on the streets,
    while crops are unharvested.

          In Zimbabwe, poverty is not an accident. It is a deliberate policy
    carried out by the Mugabe regime. The situation is getting worse day by day.

          So much so that 57 Zimbabweans in deportation centres in Britain have
    been on hunger strike in protest at their imminent removal to Zimbabwe
    where, as political opponents of the regime, they will undoubtedly be on the
    receiving end of the police brutality in that country.

          This week in Parliament, the Home Secretary insisted deportation of
    asylum seekers will continue to Zimbabwe, despite the deteriorating human
    rights situation there.

          Last November the moratorium on deportations was lifted. This week the
    Government said there were not "sufficient grounds" to reinstate it. This is
    despite at least one threat of torture to deportees if they are forced to
    return. Britain has a special responsibility to help as we were instrumental
    in the process that led to the creation of Zimbabwe.

          Next week Britain is hosting the summit of the eight richest and most
    powerful nations of the world. At the top of the agenda will be poverty in
    Africa, and yet the plight of Zimbabwe will be almost ignored. A brutal and
    despicable regime that has no interest in the wellbeing of its people,
    actively forcing them into desperate poverty to maintain its grasp on power
    is continuing to be disregarded by the nations of the world. At the G8
    summit in Gleneagles the Prime Minister must take a lead on this issue and
    move to resolve it speedily. If the leading governments of the world want to
    be taken seriously and make poverty history they must start by tackling the
    regimes that make poverty so very real.

          lContact me: or House of Commons, London, SW1A

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    MDC 'has come to its senses'
    30/06/2005 18:02  - (SA)

    Donwald Pressly

    Preroria - The scheduled meeting between Zimbabwe's official opposition
    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the leadership of South Africa's
    African National Congress (ANC) government will centre around the future
    constitution of Zimbabwe, says ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe.

    He also said that the MDC - led by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai -
    appeared to have "come to its senses" and dropped its decision to stop
    talking to the South African Government.

    At a media conference at the University of Pretoria Motlanthe was asked
    whether the ANC government was going to talk to the MDC about the
    destruction of the second economy in Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe's

    Motlanthe said that this matter was being dealt with by a United Nations

    "The United Nations envoy will be able to come up with a report," he said.

    He said the MDC-South Africa talks - which would happen after the national
    council meeting - were about the constitution of that country.

    He said the MDC, which had been scheduled to hold talks with South Africa
    about these matters, had announced - after the March parliamentary election
    in that country - that it would sever relations with the South African

    "It has now come to its senses," said Motlanthe.

    He said South African President Thabo Mbeki was "acting on behalf of the
    SADC (Southern African Development Community)" in talking to the MDC.
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    Zimbabwean families forced to share homes
              June 30 2005 at 02:39PM

          By Fanuel Jongwe

          Harare - The demolition of shacks and unauthorised dwellings in a
    sweeping government blitz has spawned a new housing crisis in Zimbabwe's
    townships, where families are resorting to sharing scarce space in the few
    homes left standing.

          In some instances, a single home is being shared by five families, on
    average about 25 people, some of whom sleep on floors and share one bathroom
    between them.

          The United Nations estimates that 200 000 people have lost their homes
    since police started the two-pronged "Operation Restore Order" and
    "Operation Murambatsvina" six weeks ago, flattening backyard shops and
    stalls across the southern African country.

          The opposition says the number of homeless is closer to 1,5 million,
    while tens of thousands have been arrested and charged for various offences.

          Thirty-six-year-old Agnes Mapfurira is living with her two children,
    aged seven and three, in a kitchen offered by her friend after police pulled
    down a backyard shack she was renting in the populous Chitungwiza township,
    outside Harare.

          They spend their nights on the floor in the midwinter chill, while
    belongings are crammed under a veranda.

          Mapfurira considers herself "one of the lucky few" in Chitungwiza,
    where tens of thousands of shacks were razed to the ground in the blitz.

          "I am one of those who are lucky because at least I have a roof above
    my head," she says.

          "There are many families out there in the cold who have nowhere to go
    after Murambatsvina."

          Laina Mombeshora, a grandmother, now shares her three-roomed house
    with two families who lost their homes after police razed a slum on the
    northern outskirts of Harare.

          "The house is small, we can't all fit inside so I share the rooms with
    women and small children while the men sleep outside," said Mombeshora, 54.

          Mai Chishava, a foster mother, said she moved her adopted children to
    her rural home after police ordered the family to demolish a backyard
    extension used by the kids.

          Opposition lawmaker Job Sikhala described the situation in his St
    Mary's constituency in Chitungwiza, where scores of families are sleeping in
    the open, as "desperate, really desperate."

          "Two thirds of the people in my constituency lived in those backyard
    rooms," Sikhala said.

          "We now have a problem of overcrowding as families share the remaining
    few houses with friends and relatives.

          "We also have families who have nowhere to go, who have been sleeping
    in the open for nearly two weeks now," he says.

          An overwhelming housing backlog led to the mushrooming of backyard
    rooms built by property owners to accommodate family members or to rent out
    to homeseekers.

          Some property owners are cashing in on the higher demand for
    residential accommodation caused by the clean-up operation and charging
    homeless families as much as Zim$700 000 (about R520) per month for a room
    in the townships and anything around one million Zimbabwean dollars in
    middle-class suburbs.

          President Robert Mugabe has defended the blitz which has attracted
    widespread condemnation from local churches, the opposition, rights groups
    and the international community.

          Mugabe told a meeting of his ruling party officials last week that the
    operation was necessary "to weed out hideouts of crime and grime, filthy

          UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent Anna Tibaijuka last week to
    Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian impact of the demolitions and the
    clean-up campaign that police said on Monday was in its "final stages".

          Tibaijuka held talks with Mugabe on Wednesday and visited areas
    affected by the campaign.

          Mugabe said afterwards that the demolitions had been planned well in
    advance, and the government was setting aside $333-million to build new
    homes. - Sapa-AFP

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    The London Line

    'It's better just to die here'
    Tom Burgis
    Thursday 30 June 2005
    Hunger striking asylum seekers are prepared to face death in the UK, rather
    than be deported to Zimbabwe and face Mugabe's henchmen. Tom Burgis reports

    A leading woman hunger striker has vowed to die in an asylum camp in the UK
    rather than be shipped back to Zimbabwe. Patricia Mukandara has refused all
    food for seven days after being told she will be deported to Zimbabwe this
    Saturday. She says most of her family, all members of the Movement for
    Democratic Change opposition to Mugabe's regime, have been killed. If she is
    sent back, she believes she faces the same fate.

    "If I go back, it's obvious, I'll be taken to Chikurubi maximum security
    prison to be tortured, raped and killed," she said from Yarl's Wood. "I will
    stay on hunger strike - it's better just to die here. There it would be a
    slow, painful death. What's the point of eating? If I am removed, I know I
    will die. Those men are waiting for us - they rape us, they infect us, they
    kill us."

    "We came here for protection - they're sending us back to the same country,"
    she added. "We are all 'sell-outs' [Zanu-PF term for opponents of the
    regime]. If we go back to where we came from, you can imagine what will
    happen to us. They are sending us back into the lion's den, so the lions can
    finish us off."

    Mukandara said her father, a farm manager in Zimbabwe, was killed by Zanu-PF
    supporters in March 2000. One of her brothers was killed after fleeing to
    South Africa, falling ill and being deported; the other was ambushed by
    Zanu-PF supporters and beaten to death.

    "Now I only have my mum," she said. "She is in Harare, where they are
    demolishing everything."

    Mukandara, who fled Zimbabwe five years ago, has been held at Yarl's Wood
    since December. She is one of 26 women at the detention centre entering the
    second week of a hunger strike in protest at threats of imminent deportation
    from the Home Office.

    "People are still not eating - it's been a week. I am awaiting deportation,
    I have a removal order for Saturday," Mukandara said, her voice evidently
    weakened by hunger.

    Ninety-nine Zimbabwean asylum seekers are currently in detention centres
    across the country awaiting deportation.

    And it is not only war veterans and Zanu-PF members they have to fear if
    they are returned. "The police will be waiting for them because they feel
    they are spies," said Wilf Mbanga, editor of the UK-based Zimbabwean
    newspaper. "They are known to beat people up, pull out toe nails - it's
    nasty." The US State Department has documented extra-judicial killings by
    Zimbabwean security forces.

    Tony Blair says the current situation in Zimbabwe is "appalling", and
    reports suggest that deportations will be suspended until after next week's
    G8 summit to avoid political embarrassment. But the government is
    maintaining its hardline stance, and Charles Clarke refuses to re-impose a
    2½ year moratorium on deportation to Zimbabwe, lifted last November.

    "If we introduce a generalised moratorium in respect of Zimbabwe, instead of
    assessing each on a case by case basis, our real fear is that we will
    re-open the system to the abuse we have been shutting down," Blair said on

    The Prime Minister was adamant that the asylum process - recently pilloried
    by human rights organisations and Home Office insiders - was working. He
    refused to go "back in the situation we were two or three years ago, where
    people were hammering us for not getting the asylum system under control.

    "These claims from Zimbabwe are all claims that have been processed and
    found to be false, or wrong, or unjustified. Genuine asylum seekers, or
    people whose claims are upheld from Zimbabwe, will continue to get asylum
    here," he insisted.

    That resolve is coming under ever-increasing strain. On Tuesday,
    anti-deportation protesters picketed Campsfield Removal Centre, where
    inmates, all facing imminent deportation, are also on hunger strike after
    Ranzan Kumluca, a 19-year-old Turkish asylum seeker facing removal, was
    found hanging in his room on Monday morning.
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    Mbeki says ANC to meet Zim's MDC
    Donwald Pressly
    Thu, 30 Jun 2005
    Members of the African National Congress (ANC) are to meet "senior
    representatives" of Zimbabwe's official opposition Movement for Democratic
    Change (MDC) shortly, President Thabo Mbeki said on Thursday.

    Mbeki, delivering his opening address at the ANC national general council
    meeting being held at Pretoria University, said: "During the course of the
    ...council or immediately after, we will meet senior representatives of the
    Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)."

    On Wednesday, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said that regional finance
    ministers had not met - nor had they planned to meet - over the crisis in
    Zimbabwe after the Zimbabwean government eradicated much of the informal
    sector and informal housing in that country.

    Mbeki's government has long avoided making negative comments about President
    Robert Mugabe's form of governance which South Africa's opposition party has
    argued, borders on totalitarianism.

    I-Net Bridge

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    Canada Free Press

    Kleptomania writ large
    by Klaus Rohrich
    Thursday, June 30, 2005

    Last week we learned that the situation in Africa is significantly worse
    than we thought. I am not talking about poverty. I'm talking about theft. In
    Nigeria alone, some US $400 billion was stolen by that country's leaders
    during the last four decades of the 20th Century, according to Mallam Nuhu
    Ribadu, Chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. "We
    cannot be accurate down to the last figure, but that is our projection,"
    said Commission spokesman Osita Nwajah.

    This staggering sum, equal to six times the amount that the Marshall Plan
    provided to rebuild Europe, was taken by Nigeria's military leaders between
    1960, when the country gained independence from Britain and 1999, when
    civilian rule was re-established.

    Nigeria is a relatively wealthy nation, by any standard, not just that used
    for Africa, given that the country has over 35 billion barrels of proven oil
    reserves. However, this story illustrates just how badly in need of reform
    most African nations are.

    And still, the G-8 nations are going to be forgiving some US $50 billion in
    debt run up by 18 of Africa's poorest nations. In addition Bob Geldof, the
    Irish rocker formerly of "the Backstreet Boys", wants to raise awareness of
    Third-World poverty by holding a series of concerts worldwide in an effort
    to pressure the world's wealthier nations into giving .7% of their Gross
    Domestic Product (GDP) to poorer nations.

    Bad idea! There is no limit to the amount of money that the kleptocrats of
    Africa are capable of stealing and there appears to be very little oversight
    of the funds that are given. A much better idea might be to show African
    nations how they can generate their own renaissance through good governance.

    Think about the quality of leadership that many African nations are under
    and it becomes a no-brainer that any money given would be throwing good
    money after bad. When you consider the kind of government provided by
    luminaries such as Charles Taylor, formerly of Liberia, whose murderous
    rampages are legion, you may garner some idea of how seriously awful things
    in Africa are. Taylor, who is currently living in luxurious exile in Nigeria
    while under indictment for crimes against humanity, is attempting to form an
    army that will overthrow the governments of several smaller African nations
    so that he can re-emerge as absolute dictator of a new aggregate nation.

    Then there is Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who took what was formerly known as
    the thriving nation of Rhodesia and turned it into an economic cesspool
    augmented by human rights abuses of unspeakable scope. The 81 year-old
    leader appears to be on his last legs, as rumors of his imminent demise
    abound. However the designated successor to Mugabe, Joyce Mujuru, doesn't
    appear to be any less corrupt than Mugabe. As Zimbabwe's minister of
    telecommunications she allocated a cell phone network license to a
    consortium headed up by her husband, Solomon and Robert Mugabe's nephew,

    Even South Africa is beginning to experience incidents of corruption, as a
    recent scandal exposed several members of that country's parliament as
    having cheated on their travel expenses. To South Africa's credit, the
    parliamentarians were forced to resign their seats.

    While Geldof and all the guilty western liberals who are supporting efforts
    to buy Africa out of poverty may have their hearts in the right place, it
    seems their heads are somewhere less glamorous. Giving money to African
    nations to "buy" them out of poverty is a monumental exercise in futility.
    My suggestion would be to flush that money straight down the toilet instead
    of having it take the circuitous route to the same place via numbered Swiss
    bank accounts.

    If Geldof & company were truly serious about doing something meaningful for
    African nations, they would staunchly advocate withholding all aid until
    Africans nations became serious about reforming themselves.

    Klaus Rohrich is columnist with Canada Free Press. He can be reached at:
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          Ghana's Rawlings Finds Fault With Zimbabwe Demolitions
          By Blessing Zulu
          30 June 2005

    Most African leaders have declined to criticize Zimbabwe President Robert
    Mugabe for his administration's destruction of the homes of thousands of the
    country's poorest citizens. But former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings has
    broken ranks with such African solidarity - at least to the extent of saying
    that while an urban cleanup might have been necessary, officials in Harare
    should have made new arrangements to house the displaced before demolishing
    their homes and market stands.

    Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Mr.
    Rawlings during a visit by the ex-president to VOA's Washington studios.
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    Chinese Delegation Meets Chidyausiku

    The Herald (Harare)

    June 30, 2005
    Posted to the web June 30, 2005


    A CHINESE delegation led by that country's Deputy Minister of Justice Mr
    Duan Zhengkun is in the country to explore ways of cooperation with their
    Zimbabwean counterparts.

    The seven-member delegation arrived in the country yesterday and held talks
    with Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.

    The Chief Justice said the good political relationship that exists between
    China and Zimbabwe has not been translated to the judiciary.

    "The reality of the matter is that political relations between Zimbabwe and
    China are very strong and they are getting stronger by the day and yet, and
    quite regrettably, the judicial relationship between the two countries is
    non-existent," said Justice Chidyausiku.

    He said the visit would help create a cordial relationship.

    "It is in this context that I look forward to attending the World Congress
    of Jurists in China pencilled for September this year where I will take the
    opportunity to meet my counterparts.

    "It will also be my first visit to China just as it has been your first
    visit to Zimbabwe."

    Justice Chidyausiku said Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from the Chine- se.

    "They are modernising their judiciary to make it more accessible to the
    people and it would be more exciting to reach that level where we would be
    making a comparison of developments of our judiciary systems."

    The Chief Justice also outlined to the delegation a brief outlook and
    structure of Zimbabwe's judiciary.

    He explained the roles and jurisdiction of various courts in the country
    such as the Supreme Court, High Court, Administrative Court, Labour Court
    and Magistrate Court.

    The Chinese deputy minister expressed optimism that their visit would go a
    long way in creating a good relationship between the two countries'

    "We will take this opportunity to exchange ideas with Zimbabwe and our
    Minister of Justice attaches great importance to this visit," he said.

    The delegation was accompanied by the Secretary for Justice, Legal and
    Parliamentary Affairs, Mr David Mangota.

    They also met the Attorney-General, Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele.
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