International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 30, 2007
LISBON, Portugal: Zimbabwe's autocratic President Robert Mugabe is expected
to be invited to a European-African summit later this year in Lisbon,
despite European Union sanctions barring him from Europe, Portuguese
officials said Saturday.
One official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of
the issue, said Mugabe was likely to be included in a blanket invitation to
the leaders of all 53 African Union member states as part of a compromise
between the two organizations as they seek to repair strained relations.
The EU sanctions against Mugabe threatened to scuttle the summit.
The official said it would be left to the African Union to issue the
individual invitations to the summit, planned for Dec. 8-9 in Portugal,
which takes over the EU's rotating presidency Sunday.
Ghana, which holds the African Union presidency, has warned the EU not to
block Mugabe from attending.
Portuguese officials said it was more important to hold the summit than to
jeopardize Europe's future ties with Africa because of a "bilateral problem"
Preparations for the summit have been hampered by disagreement over how to
handle Mugabe, with Britain taking a hard line against Zimbabwe.
In 2003, an EU-African summit in Lisbon was canceled when some African
nations balked at the European Union's refusal to allow Mugabe attend. The
EU has imposed a travel ban on Mugabe and other government members in
response to his authoritarian policies.
EU officials want to launch a new "strategic partnership" with African
nations, with closer cooperation linked to political and economic reforms.
Portugal views the summit as key to that goal.
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, speaking Saturday to reporters,
said "dialogue with Africa is of the essence" to forging better ties.
He said Europe has "paid the price" for not going ahead with previous summit
plans, adding that new cooperation was needed between the EU and AU on such
issues as immigration, climate change and fighting poverty.
Socrates was to attend an AU summit in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday in a sign of
the EU's commitment to forge closer ties, officials said.
The 27-nation EU is eager to reverse its waning importance to African
nations in recent years amid China's fast expanding economic influence
Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado said it was important to ensure that
the AU models its economic and political development on democratic values.
"This is much more important than Mr. Mugabe," he said.
June 30, 2007, 13:45
Delegates at the ANC Policy Conference say the role of the party should
remain that of only facilitating mediation talks between Zimbabwe's ruling
and opposition parties to resolve challenges facing that country. Zimbabwe's
economy has in recent months declined drastically.
Smuts Ngonyama, the head of the Presidency, has told a media briefing that
the recommendation was reached by delegates attending the conference in
"One other important element is that the commission, as well as the plenary,
reaffirmed the long held position of the ANC that the role of the ANC should
be to facilitate. The solution of the Zimbabwe challenges should actually be
the primary responsibility of Zimbabweans themselves," said Ngonyama.
Mail and Guardian
Kwasi Kpodo | Accra, Ghana
30 June 2007 09:06
Officially, heads of state attending the African Union summit
this weekend will be discussing plans for a United States of Africa, a
continental body that does away with national borders.
Unofficially, the key discussion will be about the things
pulling Africa apart -- allegations of genocide in Sudan's Darfur region and
the brutal crackdown in Zimbabwe.
Protests have been banned until the final day of the three-day
summit on Tuesday, and 2 000 police officers have already fanned out across
Ghana's sea-facing capital, Accra. Protests planned include one calling for
an end to the violence in Darfur and a second by Zimbabwean activists who
travelled here to decry Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
On the sidelines of the summit, South African President Thabo
Mbeki is expected to present a report on the progress of his attempt to
mediate a solution in Zimbabwe. Earlier this year, Zimbabwe's top opposition
leader was hospitalised after police violently broke up a meeting he was
The mediation sessions between Zimbabwe's ruling party and
opposition groups are being held in South Africa, and Mbeki is to brief
delegates from his region during the summit on what, if any, progress has
been made, South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad has
Darfur -- where an estimated 200 000 people have died -- was to
be the focus of a teleconference address by Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir
on Saturday. Al-Bashir abruptly cancelled his trip to Ghana following the
death of a close adviser. Darfur's problems are expected to be addressed by
members of his government.
The main official agenda item is an idea first proposed four
decades ago: a united Africa.
Nana Akufo-Addo, a Ghanaian who chairs the AU's executive
council, dismissed criticism that the continental body should instead have
devoted itself to pushing for an end to suffering in Darfur.
"In the last 20 to 30 years, we were a continent of disease and
hunger with a debasing image and, in some instances, as being in the
dirtiest conditions. This Africa is the Africa we want to stop. How can we
organise ourselves? ... Many times and too often, we are afterthoughts --
some call us a scar on the conscience of the world. What can we do to remove
Referring to the European Union and the United States, he said
Africa will be strengthened by coming together, and strength would allow it
better to address its problems.
Although the idea of a borderless, continentwide entity has been
accepted by most African countries, it's remained no more than a slogan due
to disputes on how to proceed.
A 2006 AU report advocates achieving a United States of Africa
by 2015. The report proposes that the AU -- currently an organisation aimed
at promoting African unity -- be transformed into a government.
But some heads of state such as Libya's Moammar Gadaffi are
calling for an immediate formation of a new, pan-African government.
Alpha Oumar Konare, the departing chairperson of the AU
Commission, said that over the past five decades, numerous documents had
been adopted calling for a pan-African body, but that individual states had
failed to ratify them.
"What is the use in adopting so much text and not showing
commitment to them?" he asked. "History will not forgive us if we don't
[take] action to move forward," he said. -- Sapa-AP
Published: June 30 2007 03:00 | Last updated: June 30 2007 03:00
President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruinous president, is no student of
economic history. Last Wednesday he ordered factories and shops to slash
prices by 50 per cent - returning them to the level of Monday, the week
The Emperor Diocletian - famous for miserliness and his persecution of
Rome's Christian minority - tried this trick in AD301. Like Zimbabwe, Rome
had a hyperinflation. To halt it Diocletian decreed that all prices should
halve and then set maximum prices for many basic goods (from 2 denarii for
Egyptian beer up to 150,000 for a lion). Violations were punishable by
But Diocletian kept minting coins. "Then much blood was shed for the veriest
trifles; men were afraid to expose anything to sale, and the scarcity became
more excessive and grievous than ever," is how Lactantius, a historian of
the times, described the result of fixing prices while continuing to
increase the amount of money.
Mr Mugabe need not even debase the coinage to achieve the same calamitous
effect: he has the printing press, a more efficient tool of monetary
destruction. Nor need he bother with the death penalty when bully boys
linked to his Zanu-PF party can be dispatched to punish opponents. But the
misery of Zimbabwe's citizens will be no less.
Even during a hyperinflation, paper money is useful: it is a medium of
exchange, it lets a complex economy function. But if goods cannot be sold
for a fair price then nobody will sell them; they will turn to barter
instead, and trade what little they can scavenge or produce for bread. Then
Zimbabwe's inflation will enter a different, dangerous, final phase. Once
the monetary economy collapses the government will have no way to pay its
civil servants or its soldiers.
The Emperor Diocletian survived his hyperinflation, ruled for 21 years and
then retired to Croatia to grow cabbages. Zimbabwe's people can only hope
that Mr Mugabe's own supporters dispose of him in time to restore some
economic sanity to their suffering country.
30th Jun 2007 08:52 GMT
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri
WIESBADEN - The European Union specialist on African affairs says the
crisis in Zimbabwe is being perpetuated by South Africa's attitude and
financial aid from China.
In an interview on the sidelines of the just ended ACP-EU Joint
Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Wiesbaden, about 600km west of Berlin, John
Corrie the EU honorary president and specialist on African affairs, said
financial packages coming from China were ´dangerous.´
"The financial aid from China without any strings attached is doing more
harm than good to Zimbabweans. The money is being used to buy equipment for
the army and the police to assault people when half the population is
"Had it not been for that we could be talking for something else in
Zimbabwe," said Corrie.
Corrie is one of the people from the West who were banned from going to
Zimbabwe after he who moved a motion to impose sanctions on Mugabe and his
cronies following the controversial 2002 presidential elections.
At the ACP-EU meeting, they resolved to write to John Nkomo requesting to
send a fact finding mission on the political and economic situation
prevailing in the country and alleged human rights abuses.
Corrie said African leaders were not putting enough pressure on Mugabe to
address the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"But my real sorrow is on (South African president) Thabo Mbeki, he has been
too soft on Mugabe. It must be payback time since he got sanctuary from him
(Mugabe) during the apartheid era."
Corrie said the crisis in Zimbabwe needed persuasion and not violence or
"That (violence) will worsen the crisis. This persuasion has to come from
African leaders otherwise it will be mistaken for colonialism if it comes
from US or Europe," said the Briton.
He attacked MPs from Ethiopia, Botswana and South Africa who tried in vain
late Monday to lobby for the removal of Zimbabwe from the agenda.
"That mentality has led to Mugabe's tyranny to live more than it should. How
can you say something bad must be swept under the carpet? People are either
starving or fleeing persecution and that must be kept quiet? No ways," he
Meanwhile some civic organisations from Zimbabwe calling themselves
´Zimbabwe Civil Society' who attended the Wiesbaden session issued a
statement calling the JPA to put more pressure on Mbeki.
"In light of the planned elections in March 2008 the Zimbabwe Civil Society
asserts that the SADC initiative must be time-bound and that results must be
reached urgently to prevent any further collapse of the country," read the
statement in part. "We call members of the JPA to reiterate the need for a
joint ACP-EU fact finding mission to Zimbabwe conceived and implemented to
support and accompany the SADC initiative and communicate to government of
Zimbabwe and the SADC."
The Zimbabwe Civil Society - whose membership include Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO Forum and the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe - said issues that
needed to be addressed by the Mbeki-led talks included, repealing of
draconian laws such as POSA and AIPPA and the re-opening of banned
newspapers, ending state's control of airwaves, having a new constitution, a
systematic land reform programme, ending political violence and having a
´truly´ independent´ electoral commission.
30th Jun 2007 08:44 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe has only one plane for use in its national spraying
programme to control quelea birds, instead of four.
The small, red-billed birds are a major threat to the winter wheat crop and
in the absence of the planes to mount a national anti-quelea
bird-spraying programme, the country could be headed for another huge wheat
It is estimated that over the past two years, the birds devoured almost half
of the wheat crop because of the absence of the planes or Queleatox, the
chemical used to eradicate them.
Three of the planes are grounded after they broke down and efforts to have
them back in service have failed because the government does not have
foreign currency to import spares.
Shadreck Mlambo, the permanent secretary in the ministry of agriculture
confirmed the breakdowns of the planes.
"We have a problem in that respect," he said. "We need at least four planes
for our quelea control programme but three are down. However, we are
working to ensure that we raise the foreig currency
required so that they are repaired. We need to step up the programme,
because the birds are a threat to wheat just before harvesting when the crop
is drying. Government is confident that will be done."
Since 2000, Zimbabwe has been battling to produce enough wheat for its
needs. The country requires about 400 000 tonnes annually for national
consumption, but has managed to reap an average 200 000 tonnes every year.
The deficit is filled by costly imports. But because of the biting foreign
currency shortage, bakers have failed to finance the imports, resulting in
erratic supplies of bread.
Farmers have only managed to plant wheat on 40 000 hectares, out of a target
of 76 000-ha.
This means that even if farmers harvest the maximum possible five tonnes per
hectare, only 200 000 tonnes would be realised this winter.
Wheat is grown in winter in Zimbabwe and planting is done in May while
harvesting is done around September.
However, Mlambo said enough stocks of Queleatox to spray the birds have been
Already, farmers in Mashonaland West have reported a sighting of the pests
in the prime farming area of Darwendale.
New farmers now rely almost solely on the government to control the birds
but in the pre-2000 era, white farmers, whose farm operations were highly
mechanised, had their own planes.
Saturday 30th June 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
We are struck with feelings of near hysteria just coping with everyday
situations almost all the time now. The past fortnight has seen a dramatic
plunge in the value of our money and massive price increases of everything
from food to fuel and everything in between. Top-up bills for school fees
arrived barely half way into the term, medical aid costs have risen five
fold and as the month end bills and service accounts come in, most people
have no idea how they are going to cope over the next thirty days.
The cost of medicines are rising at least twice a week now and recently a
friend buying a drug to control epilepsy paid 460 thousand dollars one day
and 490 thousand dollars for the same drug, same quantity, same pharmacy on
the next day. Many companies that can, have started giving their employees
food supplies every month just to make sure their workers literally have
enough energy to do their work. Most people in middle management and white
collar jobs cannot survive more than five days of a month before their
entire wage is depleted. The burden is gruelling.
Life in Zimbabwe has become unbearably tough for all but a very small elite
and the government have been as good as ignoring the deteriorating economic
situation for some months. This week they suddenly woke up and the Minister
of Industry announced that prices had to be slashed by up to two thirds with
immediate effect. The price cuts mean that goods are now being sold for less
than they were purchased for and that once the stocks are sold, they will
not be able to be replaced. It is a recipe for massive food shortages and
already the black marketeers are rubbing their hands with glee. On Friday
evening, emerging from a 15 hour electricity cut, the first report on the
propaganda news was the Police announcing that they were about to start
arresting wholesalers, retailers and businessmen who had not slashed their
To add to the air of uncertainty , Mr Mugabe also spoke out about price
increases and profiteering this week. He chose a State Funeral as his
platform and was visibly angry: "We will SEIZE, SEIZE the mines," he said
coldly, his face shining with sweat, " we will nationalize them. And
companies, we will take them all over." The funeral at the National Heroes
Acre, appeared to be attended largely by army personnel, and the venue was
decorated with the usual political banners, one of which read: 'Mugabe Is
Those people who can, continue to pour out of the country, including
teachers and this week came the shocking news that in one province 48
schools had recorded a zero % pass rate in recent public examinations. It is
a damning admission for any country to have to make and utterly tragic that
it is politics of the present that is making a millstone that will hang
around Zimbabwe's neck for the next thirty or more years.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Friday 29th June 2007
June 26th is the UN Day for Victims of Torture and many Zimbabweans based in
London and further afield took the opportunity to attend a service of
commemoration for our own torture victims. The service was held at St Paul's
church just a stone's throw from Convent Garden, right in the heart of
London. It is a most beautiful church designed by Inigo Jones and built in
1633 to commemorate the Restoration of the monarchy.
A pretty unlikely venue you could say for a group of twenty-first century
Africans to be remembering their comrades' suffering at the hands of an
African dictator. But there are intriguing similarities: St Pauls, you see -
not the cathedral by the way - is called the Actors' Church and it was built
specifically for the actors and musicians, the dancers and entertainers who
had been banned from performing during the period of Oliver Cromwell's
republic. Oliver Cromwell had fought a bitter civil war against King Charles
the First and his followers on the grounds that parliament and the people
should be central to the government of England and not the king. The war
ended in defeat for the Royalists and King Charles 1 was beheaded. England
had become a Republic and Oliver Cromwell assumed the title of Lord
Protector. You can guess what happened next, I'm sure. Cromwell became
increasingly dictatorial and repressive; he banned all theatre and
entertainment; music was heard no more in public and dancing and any form of
merry-making were forbidden by law. The man who had started out as a genuine
believer in people's power and democracy had turned into a ruthless
dictator. Sounds familiar, doesn't it, in more ways than one. Cont Mhlanga,
whose play The Good President has been banned in Bulawayo and subjected to
the red pencil treatment by Zimbabwean cops would feel very much at home in
So, there was an unintended resonance in having the service for Zimbabwe's
torture victims in that particular church. Speakers had been flown in for
the occasion, among them the writer, Chengerai Hove who now lives in exile
in Norway. He spoke movingly of his shock at seeing on television the images
of his own sister's battered body displayed for the whole world to see.
Hove's sister is Sekesai Holland, one of the women so viciously beaten at
the same time as the other prominent opposition members. The images of their
beaten and bloody bodies probably did more than a thousand words to alert
the world to what was going on inside Zimbabwe.
The irrepressible Doctor John Makumbe was another speaker at the service and
as always he managed to find humour even in the midst of all the horror. He
was speaking of the new kind of torture that Mugabe is inflicting on his
people; economic torture which denies children their education. Without the
monies sent from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, Makumbe calculated that 80% of
Zimbabwean children would be unable to attend school. At that point in his
address someone spotted two officials from the Zimbabwean Embassy lurking at
the back of the church. The message was quickly passed to Makumbe and with
his unerring gift for gentle humour he capitalised on it.' ' Why even the
Embassy staff are suffering', he said, ' Those two gentleman at the back
there, they haven't been paid for two months'.
The congregation howled with delight and turned as one to see the two but by
then the men had scuttled out.
That little incident illustrated for me how effective humour is as a weapon
against dictators. Mugabe was busy this week hailing the departure of Tony
Blair as a great loss for the opposition who would no longer be able to rely
on Blair, their 'mentor and sponsor' to forward their agenda of 'regime
change'. Ironically, many in Britain were also hailing the end of Blair's
long farewell; sick and tired of the endless 'spin' and hoping for a new era
of straight talking from Gordon Brown. Little does Mugabe realise that the
new man in Downing Street is likely to be much less intimidated by Mugabe's
'spin' and anti-colonial rhetoric than Blair ever was.
My favourite quote of the week for its unintended humour comes from the
Zimbabwean Minister of Information. Speaking about the outgoing US
Ambassador's prediction that the Zim government would fall withing six
months, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu dismissed Ambassador Dell's comments as 'malicious
propaganda'. Well, of course, he would say that wouldn't he? I wonder though
how anyone managed to keep a straight face as Ndlovu added: ' The government
of Zimbabwe is in a much stronger position now, politically and
economically, than ever. Events on the ground', he concluded, 'speak for
themselves'. This week alone, the government threatens businesses with the
power of the military if they don't bring their prices down; the Zim dollar
becomes a worthless piece of paper which is unacceptable as legal tender;
barter becomes the order of the day as rents are charged in fuel or soya
beans and the unspeakable suffering of the people goes on unabated. Events
on the ground certainly do speak for themselves. And what they tell us is of
a government that is bankrupt, morally and financially, that seems neither
to know or care how to get the country out of its self'inflicted crisis.
Where is the opposition now when the country so desperately needs a fresh
Ndini shamwari yenyu. PH.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Economic Times. India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SUNDAY, JULY 01, 2007 12:30:05 AM]
China is soaking up resources in Africa and Latin America. And
everybody else is eating their hearts out. Or are they? In its desire to lay
hands on pretty much every mineral and fuel source it can find, China has
laid out the diplomatic red carpet in these two regions. But while China has
been totally unstoppable, India is moving in its slow, slightly chaotic way
to improve its footprint in Africa and Latin America.
While the ambitions of the emerging powers may intersect, the approach
and quality of China and India's presence in these regions could not have
been more different. In fact, you can almost distinguish between the Indian
model and the Chinese model. But however you look at it, the underlying
competition is one for soft power supremacy in a huge chunk of the world.
The Chinese model is pretty straightforward - exchange between money
and diplomatic influence in return for unfettered access to natural
resources. Take Africa. China first came into contact with Africa when their
legendary explorer-conqueror Zheng He returned from Kenya around 600 years
ago - with a giraffe. Today, China's blitzkrieg through Africa, building
roads, railways, power plants, football stadiums, writing off loans and
removing tariffs bears no resemblance to Zheng's adventures. In return,
China gets loads of oil, timber, copper and other raw materials.
The Indian model is very different. From India's freedom struggle and
subsequent commercial success of the Indian diaspora in Africa, the
non-aligned movement etc, India has been a subterranean constant. The
difference was, India was more an inspiration than a way to fill coffers.
But China forced India to think differently. Today, India has
certainly become more 'business-like' in its approach, though it stops short
of being purely mercantilist. Senior Indian officials involved in India's
diplomatic push in these regions summarise the difference in approach.
''China's is resource-based investment, Indian investment concentrates on
India's big China jolt came in 2004 when it lost out on a huge oil bid
in Angola. China blew India away with a $2 billion grant in comparison with
a measly $200 million Indian offer to develop Angola's railways. It made
India sit up and take a hard look at its diplomacy and investment push in
Africa. The story was no different in Latin America. During the 2007 World
Cup, India made heavy weather of building one stadium in Barbados. China
built six, and it doesn't even play cricket.
But also, by 2007, the Angolans had joined a general buzz against
China in Africa. Zambia was the first to start, after a Chinese-owned copper
mine blew up. The Zambian opposition launched riots led by their fiery
leader Michael Sata, to the extent that Chinese president Hu Jintao took the
Chambishi copper belt off his schedule when he visited Zambia in February.
Angolans have complained bitterly about lack of job opportunities
which the Chinese presence has worsened, and sources say Chinese companies
have been pulled out of a refinery project. In South Africa, Thabo Mbeki
warned against a 'colonial' relationship with China .
In Zimbabwe, China's getting into bed with Robert Mugabe has not gone
down well with the locals. The crux of the matter is: Chinese investment
brings with it Chinese labour (many reportedly from prison camps) the growth
of Chinese ghettos and little for the local population, but lots for corrupt
dictators. The often irrational fear that China may be silently invading
Africa is now commonly expressed.
India has taken a different path. Indian investments are largely
private sector, riding on the back of the lines of credit given by the
Indian government. They are also generally more equitable for the locals.
Intent on keeping costs down, Indian companies find it easier to employ
locals. In the process, locals end up with a greater stake in the Indian
In Mexico, Indian IT giant TCS has set up a global delivery centre in
Guadalajara with the declared intention of hiring 5000 staffers. The idea is
to be close to its US customers. According to company reports TCS has a
presence in Brazil, Uruguay and Chile - and all with local talent. Indian IT
company FirstSource has just set up office in Argentina employing about 300
Mexico is the biggest beneficiary of Indian investment - over $3 billion -
its proximity to the US and low costs working to its advantage. Dr Reddy's
Labs bought a Roche facility in Mexico and populated it with Mexicans. The
result: Latin America is beginning to look at Indian companies as 'partners'
not out to rob them of jobs and resources, as the Chinese are now believed
to be doing. Indian energy major Reliance is reportedly planning a huge
investment in Colombia, in collaboration with its US stakeholder Chevron,
that is likely to run into several billion dollars.
In Africa, Reliance is planning a push into Sudan's oilfields in a few years
when the current political crisis has settled, an investment, company
insiders say, that will be around $3 billion. And in the Greater Nile
Petroleum Operating Company, India is the second largest stakeholder.
China has taken more flak on its investments in Sudan than anywhere else for
its cynical policies - CNPC is the majority stakeholder in both Petrodar and
Greater Nile and China reportedly lifts about $2 billion of oil per year.
But China has also supplied weapons to Khartoum for the genocide in Darfur
and shielded the Bashir regime from international sanctions in the UN
Security Council. Its only after the international NGO circuit started
dubbing the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the 'genocide games' that Beijing
decided to act.
This has been a lesson to India as well. In 2005, Manmohan Singh refused
permission to ONGC to invest in two big oil deals in Nigeria because of due
diligence concerns. Although India is also in Africa for economic reasons,
there is an effort at humane-ness. In fact, India's big push is to get
Africa connected and educated. Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, and Mauritius
will be the initial countries for the Indian government's $1-billion
pan-Africa e-network project, a joint initiative with the Africa Union (AU).
The project aims to develop Africa's information and communication
technologies by eventually connecting all of the 53 African countries to a
satellite and fibre-optic network. It's ambitious and imbued with virtue.
India also plans to export its open university system, among the largest in
the world, to Botswana and Uganda, among others in Africa.
Of course, India is no China when it comes to focused attention to
resources, but strategists in the government are convinced this is the way
India would like to go in Africa - a more inclusive presence. These are
aspects of Indian soft power that India believes will pay greater dividends
in years to come. More than the Chinese model.