By Trymore Magomana | Harare Tribune Correspondent
Updated: Monday, June 30, 2008 14:11
Zimbabwe, Harare --- In a show of the power of the citizen to hold
those responsible for crimes against humanity in their countries, the Harare
Tribune can reveal that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is processing
a request to prosecute Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, and is
comrades for the crimes they committed from 1980 to present.
The ICC is processing the request on behalf of Mr. Phil Matibe,
Taskforce Commander, Anti-Tyranny Taskforce, a citizen of Zimbabwe, on his
own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, pursuant to his
rights under the United Nations, African Union, European Union,
International Criminal Court and other relevant charters and covenants.
Mr. Matibe charged ROBERT GABRIEL MUGABE in his individual and
personal capacity with CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY (PERSECUTION, MURDER, and
INHUMANE ACTS), GRAVE BREACHES OF THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS, and VIOLATIONS OF
THE LAWS OR CUSTOMS OF WAR as set forth below:
The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) was established in 2002
as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes
against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, although it
cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression because
agreement upon a definition and other matters of jurisdiction have not been
Though the court has over 100 members states, Robert Mugabe, afraid of
his own freedom after leaving office, has kept Zimbabwe of the ICC. To date,
the Court has opened investigations into four situations: Northern Uganda,
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and
Darfur. The Court has issued public arrest warrants for twelve people; six
of them remain free, two have died, and four are in custody.
In a letter in response to Mr. Matibe's request for the ICC to begin
work to prosecute Mugabe once he leaves office, Mr. David Metcalf, Head of
Information & Evidence Unit in the ICC Office of The Prosecutor,
acknowledged that they had received the documents charging Mugabe with
crimes against humanity.
"We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in
accordance with the provisions of
the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court," Mr. Metcalf
said in the response.
"As soon as a decision is reached, we will inform you, in writing, and
provide you with reasons for this decision."
Mr. Metcalf also indicated that although the stumbling block to
charging Mugabe at the ICC was that Zimbabwe has not signed up to Article 15
of the Rome Convention, the article that created the ICC, "This was not a
disaster as the UN has the power to order the Hague to investigate serious
breaches of international laws relating to Crimes against humanity."
The list of those that will be charged together with Robert include
Constantine Chiwenga, Perence Shiri, Augustine Chihuri, Happytone Bonyongwe,
and many other influential figures in Robert Mugabe's government since 1980.
In particular, Mr. Matibe charged Mugabe with criminally being
responsible with the planning, and instigation in the crimes committed.
Mugabe is charged with "the murder of 20 000 people in Matabeleland,
Zimbabwe, during Gukurahandi massacres between 1982 and 1985, plunder of the
DRC resources under Operation Sovereign Legitimacy from 1998 to 2000, the
death of Zimbabwe National Army officers and men in an illegal war in the
DRC under Operation Sovereign Legitimacy, the murder of farmers and farm
workers, theft of private property and displacement of over 600 000 farm
workers under Operation Hondo ye Minda from 2000 to 2008, the destruction of
the homes of 700 000 people under Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, the
disappearance of numerous citizens of Zimbabwe."
On his visit to Rome last month, there were calls to arrest him and
whisk him to the ICC in the Hague, in the Netherlands. All told, Mugabe has
the blood of over 50 000 Zimbabweans on his hands. It's only a matter of
time before he is made to answer for his crimes against humanity. --- Harare
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
JULIAN BORGER in Sharm el-Sheikh
AFRICA-WIDE negotiations began yesterday on establishing a Zimbabwean
government of national unity and appointing new mediators in the country's
political crisis, as President Robert Mugabe arrived at a summit meeting in
Egypt claiming victory in one-candidate elections.
The African Union summit allowed the 84-year-old leader to take his seat,
despite strong criticism from African election monitors who questioned the
legitimacy of Friday's uncontested vote.
Public criticism of Mr Mugabe at the meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm
el-Sheikh was limited, with a draft of a final communique circulating
yesterday calling only for dialogue. The Associated Press quoted an African
diplomat as saying that, in private session, Mr Mugabe was "hugging
everyone, pretty much everyone he could get close to".
The Zimbabwean leader was looking for allies. The brutal election campaign
that forced his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, to withdraw has been condemned
by the UN Security Council, which may consider new sanctions.
In Sharm el-Sheikh the strongest words in open session came from the UN. Its
deputy secretary general, Asha-Rose Migiro, put pressure on African rulers
to intervene directly to broker a political settlement. "This is a moment of
truth for regional leaders," Ms Migiro said.
In London British prime minister Gordon Brown called on the summit to "make
it absolutely clear that there has got to be change" in Zimbabwe. "I think
the message that is coming from the whole world is that the so-called
elections will not be recognised," he said.
The Kenyan prime minister, Raila Odinga, offered advice from Nairobi
informed by his experience in opposition. "They should suspend him and send
peace forces to Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections," he said.
However, inside the conference centre the language, at least in public, was
considerably more circumspect. The host, president Hosni Mubarak, who has
jailed many of his opponents and has been in power for 27 years, one less
than Mr Mugabe, stressed peace, stability and development rather than
Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian president chairing the summit, even referred
to the Zimbabwean elections as "historic".
One of Mr Mugabe's toughest critics, the Zambian president, Levy Mwanawasa,
was taken to hospital with a suspected stroke before the leaders gathered.
According to diplomats in Sharm el-Sheikh there were pointed exchanges in
There was debate over whether to appoint an African Union mediator to work
with South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who has been designated broker by
the Southern African Development Community. "Mbeki is trying very hard to
stop it," said one diplomat.
By Peter Clottey
01 July 2008
Some Zimbabweans have reportedly welcomed as a step in the right direction
calls by the international community for a negotiated settlement between
President Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). They however, warned that a negotiated settlement that would lead to
a government of national unity would not work since they claim President
Mugabe had on previous occasions disbanded all such inclusive governments.
This comes after over 30 African heads of state and government meeting in
the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh unanimously called for peace
negotiations between the opposition and the government to resolve Zimbabwe's
internal problems. Gordon Moyo is the executive director of the Bulawayo
project, a non-governmental organization in Zimbabwe's commercial capital.
He tells reporter Peter Clottey the call for possible negotiation should
focus on addressing the concerns of ordinary Zimbabweans.
"The issue of a negotiated settlement is quite welcome, but the question is
what kind of a negotiated settlement? The people of Zimbabwe would not
welcome a government of national unity as signified by the overtures that
are being made by various heads of state. Zimbabwe would not want to have
the solution that was brokered in Kenya imposed on them. The people of
Zimbabwe would want a kind of situation whereby there is a transitional
mechanism that is going to prepare for the election," Moyo noted.
He said Zimbabweans would want to participate in a vote that would be
credible and internationally accepted.
"Zimbabweans would want to vote; they didn't participate in the elections
over the past two days. So, any negotiation that is going to allow for an
electoral process that was began in March to be continued would be welcomed,
but anything less than that would be tantamount to dismissing the people's
will," he said.
Moyo said a possible negotiation between the government and the opposition
would need a credible and an unbiased mediator.
"There is no substitute for a negotiated settlement now. Negotiations are
just important, but they are significant and essential in Zimbabwe now, but
what would be needed is a mediator who is credible. The mediation led by the
SADC (Southern African Development Community) through the president of South
Africa was a suspect and it lacked the credibility because the president of
South Africa seems to be politically blind to the plight and calamities of
the people of Zimbabwe," Moyo pointed out.
He said Zimbabweans would welcome a mediator that would be backed by the
international community among others.
"What we need now is a mediation that is supported by the African Union. The
mediation that has a number of leaders and evidenced from outside even SADC,
that is what we need in Zimbabwe," he said.
Moyo said the possible negotiated settlement by the two opposing parties
should lead to a pragmatic constitutional reform.
"The people of Zimbabwe are looking at what I will call the principles of
engagement. When the MDC and ZANU-PF are engaging, there must be certain
fundamentals that should be respected. One of them is they must agree on
making sure that the priority in their discussion is a constitutional
reform. Number two the people of Zimbabwe would want to vote, so they are
expecting to go back to the polling stations as soon as possible. That is
very critical to all Zimbabweans. Thirdly, the people of Zimbabwe are tired
of the hostilities that are going on in the country, the structures of
cohesion, the structures of manipulation, the structures of violence should
be dismantled, and the people of Zimbabwe are looking towards that. And the
people of Zimbabwe are hungry they are starving they are looking forward to
the government allowing the international agencies that have been
distributing food in Zimbabwe to continue their work," Moyo pointed out.
Mugabe is restrained by Egyptian security when he advancies to physically attack Julian Mayon a reporter and calls Britain ?Bloody idiots!?
By Staff ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 30, 2008 ⋅
Deadly political violence against members of the Movement for Democratic
Change had continued following the run-off election Friday in which
President Robert Mugabe claimed victory and was inaugurated on Sunday.
Sources said a woman was murdered Sunday in Buhera South constituency of
Manicaland province torture at a ruling party militia camp at Mutiusinazita.
In the community of Headlands, Manicaland, MDC sources said militia murdered
four members last week.
In Mazowe, Mashonaland Central, parliamentarian-elect Shepherd Mushonga said
opposition members have been unable to bury three members killed last week
as militia are controlling movement in the area. He said two of those
murdered were forced to drink poison as their families looked on.
In Mashonaland Central, sources said Bindura lawyer Ernest Jena, who
represented detained opposition activists, was abducted from his offices
last Tuesday and was still missing.
Additional reporting by VOA Studio 7
July 1, 2008
MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai
By Donna Bryson,
JOHANNESBURG, (Associated Press) - The two paths of Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai are telling: Mugabe, newly sworn in as Zimbabwe's president
again, is at a summit of African leaders while the opposition leader holes
up in a Western embassy in Zimbabwe's capital.
Tsvangirai is hemmed in by Mugabe's policemen, soldiers and ruling party
thugs as well as the president's cozy relationship with fellow African
The round-faced, ever-affable Tsvangirai insists he is hopeful - "As far as
we are concerned we are nearer a resolution than we have ever been," he
says - but his options appear few.
He wants African leaders to guide negotiations on forming a coalition
government to oversee a transition to democracy in Zimbabwe. While some
leaders have publicly endorsed that idea, it is unclear how hard they will
or can push Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980.
Tsvangirai wants the African Union to send in peacekeepers. That, too, is
unlikely, given the difficulties the body already is having with its stalled
mission in Sudan's Darfur region, undertaken jointly with the United
Nations. AU peacekeepers also are struggling in Somalia.
Tsvangirai, a 56-year-old former trade union leader, is on sensitive ground
when he proposes outside help, as shown by his repeated clarifications that
peacekeepers would not be tantamount to a military intervention. He risks
being labeled a traitor at home, and leaders elsewhere in Africa might
bristle at his perceived lack of sufficient nationalist sentiment.
While under pressure from Western governments and human rights activists to
take a hard line, African leaders have long had close ties with the
84-year-old Mugabe, renowned as a campaigner against white rule and
colonialism. Even those who can claim to be champions of democracy are
reluctant to be seen as backing the West against a fellow African.
In an example of the lack of consensus, election observers sent by the main
regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community, could not agree
on how strongly to word their assessment of Friday's presidential runoff.
Tsvangirai, who led a four-candidate field in the opening ballot three
months ago, withdrew from the runoff June 22 because of vicious killings of
supporters, leaving Mugabe to claim victory.
The bloc's statement said only that the latest vote was "not a true
reflection of the will of the Zimbabwean people." Lawmakers who observed the
vote under the auspices of the Pan-African Parliament, however, had no
trouble declaring it not free, fair or legitimate.
Tsvangirai has called on the African Union to take over mediation that the
southern bloc placed in the hands of South African President Thabo Mbeki
more than a year ago. Tsvangirai says Mbeki's refusal to publicly criticize
Mugabe betrays bias in Mugabe's favor.
While some African leaders have called for a change from Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy," it is unlikely that the African Union will show Mbeki disrespect
by stripping him or the southern bloc of the mediation role.
Mugabe has said he is open to talks, and referred glowingly to Mbeki's
efforts. Mugabe could be hoping any progress will be stalled in talks about
how to hold talks.
Looking West doesn't bode much better for Tsvangirai.
President Bush wants the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on
Zimbabwe and ban travel by Zimbabwe government officials, but building
consensus could be difficult.
Diplomats do not expect the Security Council to go much further than last
week's nonbinding resolution condemning violence against Zimbabwe's
political opposition. South Africa, China and Russia oppose taking any
The U.S., European nations and Australia have imposed limited sanctions on
Zimbabwe, and they may strengthen them, though there are concerns tougher
measures could hurt ordinary Zimbabweans already struggling with economic
collapse. There is little sign of broader economic boycotts or the
grass-roots campaigns that pressured apartheid-era South Africa.
Still, in a weekend interview, Tsvangirai argued it is Mugabe who is against
the wall, saying the longtime leader's only choice amid international
condemnation and Zimbabwe's dire economic woes is to negotiate a
"Where does he go from here?" Tsvangirai said. "He cannot solve the economic
problem. He cannot solve 8 million percent inflation by continuing to be in
this intransigent mood."
July 1, 2008
WHENEVER the Zimbabwe crisis takes a turn for the worse as happened over the
weekend or whenever the political leadership of Africa gathers for yet
another palaver on a crisis that has so far defied resolution there is a
predictable cascade of exhortations from the Western world.
Once the Western powers, the non-governmental organisations and the human
rights groups get to know about an imminent summit they always rush to
proffer advice to the African heads of government; to prescribe the most
appropriate course of action for the Africans to adopt. As the African Union
leaders flew to Sharma El Sheik in Egypt over the weekend there was a gush
of the usual pronouncements.
For instance, Human Rights Watch, which has offices in South Africa, called
on the AU to suspend Zimbabwe from its ranks and to press for the deployment
of peacekeepers to stop the violence.
The soundness of the admonition of Human Rights Watch and the western
leaders is, of course, beyond reproach; their good intentions
unquestionable. Paradoxically, despite the sound advice, each conference
degenerates into another talk-shop where no binding resolutions are adopted.
Predictably President Robert Mugabe emerges from each summit smiling, having
strengthened his image in the eyes of his African peers and having secured
another stay of execution and bought more time both for himself and for his
Inevitably the sense of frustration in opposition circles deepens. This has
become the pattern, the cycle of events where the Zimbabwe crisis is
concerned. That this particular strategy of the West has been as much of a
failure as has been the performance of South African President Thabo Mbeki
does not seem to occur to anyone.
Back in 2005 I crafted a contribution on the Zimbabwe crisis which appeared
on the pages of the Zimbabwe Standard on January 16. Even then Mbeki's
"quiet diplomacy" was, in my humble opinion already a failure and I sought
to explain why Mbeki's intervention in Zimbabwe might not have met with
The last two paragraphs of the article read: "Mbeki's cautious approach and
his failure to display more decisiveness and exert more force in putting
pressure to bear on Mugabe, a failure which has had the effect of casting a
shadow on his presidency, has in all probability, been influenced by a fear
of being perceived to be prescribing a Western-sponsored solution to an
"Meanwhile, Zimbabweans could very well discover that they may have placed
too much faith in Mr Mbeki's ability to resolve their country's political
While Mbeki's policy of "quiet diplomacy" has gradually been phased out of
the political lexicon of southern Africa, with the South African President
now fighting a losing battle to maintain his largely battered and tattered
credibility, I believe the West also needs to engage in a process of
intensive introspection with regard to its approach to the problem that has
bedeviled us, Zimbabweans for a decade now.
I have long lost faith in the ability of many of Africa's politicians to
champion the interests or the welfare of the majority of the continent's
people. With regard o their dealings with their Zimbabwean counterpart some
of them are incredible gullible.
Whatever the known weaknesses of the African leaders, it appears they resent
any suggestion that they can be led by the nose in moments of crisis. It
appears the West could be unwittingly undermining the prospects of progress
in Zimbabwe by creating such imagery. They are always keen to rush, with
almost indecent haste, to prescribe courses of action for the Africans to
follow. Once the West adopts the frontline role that they seem to cherish,
it appears that African leaders then become reluctant to adopt the
prescribed course of action, whatever its merits.
They cleared have no wish to project an image of themselves as being
chaperoned from the West.
A new generation of progressive leaders - Levy Mwanawasa, Seretse Ian Khama,
Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Raila Odinga, to mention a few - has emerged on
the African continent. They cannot be blamed if they sometimes hold back
merely because they do not want to undermine their own credibility by
creating an impression that they regurgitate pronouncements from London and
The West must give them the benefit of the doubt. If the West gave them the
opportunity I believe the Africans would spontaneously condemn
state-sponsored violence and electoral fraud such as last Friday's in
Zimbabwe with the same robustness as David Miliband and Condoleeza Rice. But
while the Africans are still polishing up their statements, Miliband and
Rice, speaking from London and Washington, respectively, always beat them to
the microphone. Because they do not wish to appear as if they are echoing
their proverbial master's voice, they refrain from commenting on the same
Just before I wrote my article in 2005 the highly respected Richard
Goldstone, a retired South African Constitutional Court Justice who became
an international war crimes prosecutor, had commented at a tangent on this
phenomenon when he said that, "unfortunately, Western criticism of
state-sponsored violence and torture is seen as an anti-African campaign".
Unfortunately, many of his peers find Mugabe persuasive on this theme.
Mwanawasa, one of Mugabe's harshest critics, threatened to boycott the
Lisbon Summit last December if the Zimbabwe President was not invited, as
urged by British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
It is this kind of syndrome which has, to a considerable extent, undermined
the credibility of Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change in the
eyes of African Heads of State, despite its commendable credentials and
popular following in Zimbabwe. The party suffers from a Mugabe fuelled
perception that it is chaperoned from London.
The MDC has failed dismally to present a robust rebuttal of this hackneyed
accusation from Mugabe and Zanu-PF. They must quickly do something about
this, both in the interests of the MDC and of the general wellbeing of the
population of Zimbabwe at large.
Perceptive Zimbabweans feel the pain when their beautiful and once
prosperous country is reduced to just another African crisis in Western
capitals or just another Mugabe headline in the Western media.
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon said on June 22 that he
had consulted with various leaders, including those of the African Union and
the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He said the United
Nations was prepared to work urgently with SADC and the African Union to
help resolve Zimbabwe's political impasse.
The majority of Zimbabweans, peace-loving, law abiding and hard-working
people, pray that he follows up on this undertaking to avert further
bloodshed in their country.
June 30, 2008
By Nhaka Runesu
I AM in such a state of anger and despair that the last person I would agree
with on anything would be the author of my circumstances, Robert Gabriel
But I have to be honest with myself and say, the bullet has replaced the
ballot in Zimbabwe. As Mugabe said, the AK 47 will not be taken out of power
by the power of a mere ball point pen.
In putting this across, Mugabe did not pretend that he wanted to give up
power through the election he so wanted when he set the March 29 date
against the desires of others. He wanted to crown himself yet again as the
legitimate President of Zimbabwe. When the result of the March 29 election
went against him, he chose not to obey the pen but to unleash the bullet.
Serving members of the army and air force were deployed to command militia
and vicious youths in the country.
In Gutu, reports were received of military operations headed by Colonels
Muchechetere, Chiwara and Ushe. A retired Colonel Masanganise was also
recalled to wage war against his kinsmen. They took orders from the
Commander of 4 Brigade in Masvingo, Brigadier General Rugeje. It was a
bloody and vicious campaign. Similar campaigns were rolled out on state
funding in most parts of the country. On the voting day, teachers were
"assisted" to vote like illiterates by youths and militias they in fact
taught how to read and write.
Clearly, even if the vote had gone against Mugabe, he would never have
announced a result contrary to his desires. That he made clear before the
elections. He had chosen the power of the gun ahead of the persuasion of the
masses to cast ballots in his favour. That he made this evil choice once
again will shock no one. His ruthlessness and hunger for power was always
there. It makes one wonder whether Prof Jonathan Moyo is still sane for
chastising Tsvangirai for pulling out of the run-off. Or is it true that
certain Tsholotsho expectations under Mnangagwa are soon to come to
Unfortunately, the lesson Mugabe has taught our peace-loving country is that
Tsvangirai's quest for democratic change through the ballot is incomplete.
The decisive factor will be the person with the gun. Joshua Nkomo was
battered into unity by a military campaign led by Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Tsvangirai is about to be shepherded into some unity agreement by Thabo
Mbeki under the threat of the gun held by Mnangagwa and his gunmen. The
tragedy of it all is that Zimbabweans have in this anger and despair learnt
that they must seek first the gun and all else shall be given unto them.
Fortunately, those who live by the sword will die by the sword. And history
has shown us repeatedly that "those who make peaceful change impossible make
violent change inevitable." And we thought our war of liberation had taught
I related to my Swazi friend on "election day" that 1980 was a year of great
hope popularly promoted by the new black government as "gore remasimba
evanhu", or the year of the people's power. To my amazement he laughed hard.
After a while, he suppressed his laugh and said, to my horror, "masimba" in
his mother tongue means human waste!
Maybe the joke was on the rest of us in 1980! We are yet to be liberated and
Mugabe is right. The ballot is not the answer.
June 30, 2008
By Michael Holman and Greg Mills
SOMETHING is stirring in Africa. Belatedly, often reluctantly, its leaders
are speaking out on Zimbabwe. The rogue president in their ranks, they are
coming to realise, poses a threat with the potential to destabilise their
fragile continent, already caught in a growing storm.
Even though annual economic growth remains above 5 per cent, food prices are
rising, transport costs soaring and, while commodity prices rise, oil
bonanzas are squandered. So-called role models collapse and terrorism lurks
in failed states. Aids and malaria continue to decimate, corruption destroys
and inefficient management debilitates.
The causes are complex, the faults not exclusively Africa's. Yet far from
rising to the challenges, the region's leaders have seemed incapable of the
co-ordinated response the crisis needs.
But change may be under way. In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame is among the
first to raise his head above the parapet, joining Botswana's Ian Khama and
Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa in a growing band of African leaders who are
prepared to condemn a tyrant. Not only has Robert Mugabe put southern Africa
in jeopardy. Like ripples on a pond, which can drown a man already up to his
nose in water, his actions can strain an uneasy peace in Kenya, affect food
shipments to refugees in east Africa and add to the trials of Britain's
It is not hard to imagine the events that could contain such a catalyst.
Here is one scenario:
The UK urges its nationals to leave after the brutal harassment of
supporters of the opposition MDC extends to whites in Harare and Bulawayo. A
convoy to the South African border is attacked. The southern city of
Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold, becomes the centre of an Ndebele group
demanding autonomy for Matabeleland. Railway lines through the province to
South Africa are sabotaged.
Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, offers Mr Mugabe sanctuary. It is
spurned by the Zimbabwe leader but prompts countrywide protests organised by
the South African trade union movement and backed by Jacob Zuma, Mr Mbeki's
successor in waiting. Xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans in South Africa
spread. Somali-based terrorists bomb a tourist hotel.
In east Africa, Kenya's fragile coalition, divided over its response to
Zimbabwe, faces protests over food and transport price increases; there are
further ethnic riots. United Nations aid to refugees in central Africa is
If the catastrophe that draws nearer is to be averted, Africa's leaders have
no time to lose. They must begin by publicly acknowledging that Zimbabwe is
an African problem that Africa must solve. Existing measures, imposed by
Europe, have proved futile. Bank accounts targeted for freezing have long
been moved; cutting off school fees for children of Zimbabwe cabinet
ministers who are studying abroad is morally dubious and politically futile.
In a country where economy has collapsed, proposing formal economic
sanctions is as effective as threatening to take a comb away from a bald
Acknowledgment of responsibility must be followed by the personal
intervention of a distinguished emissary - and who better than a tough
ex-soldier, the former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a
member of the Commonwealth team sent to South Africa in 1986? He should fly
to Harare and, authorised by Africa, deliver an ultimatum to Mr Mugabe:
stand down immediately and call off the thugs; or face prosecution,
initiated and supported by his African peers, at the International Criminal
This ultimatum must be given weight by two moves that would isolate Zimbabwe's
ruling elite and have an immediate impact. Unless Mr Mugabe complies, all
flights to and from Zimbabwe should be halted, and a visa ban imposed on
officials and supporters.
Why should African governments, after so long turning a blind eye to the
horrors unfolding in Zimbabwe, now act in this unprecedented way?
For two reasons: only by radical, prompt action can they redeem their own
tattered reputation; and above all, unless they deal with the rogue in their
midst, one of the elements in the scenario above will precipitate a storm
that will engulf them. So far the moral outrage perpetrated in Zimbabwe has
failed to move them - but self-interest may. Without such action, Mr Mugabe's
corrosive effect will be felt throughout the continent.
(Michael Holman is a former Africa editor of the Financial Times; Greg Mills
heads the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation).
June 30, 2008
By Glen Mpani
AS Mugabe is sworn in after the one man election the country has to brace
itself for another five years of suffering. This development spells doom for
the country as the crisis is most likely to deepen.
Every Zimbabwean who has shared and endured the pain and grief of the last 8
years is probably asking "where do we go from here?" The thought of Mugabe
and Zanu-PF presiding over Zimbabwe for another five year is too ghastly to
contemplate but a reality that we now have to live with. The two unenviable
options left for the people of Zimbabwe are either to negotiate with Zanu-PF
for a transitional authority with hope of having fresh elections or to
confront the government through other legitimate democratic processes such
Both options are less likely to yield any positive and significant benefits
for the people of Zimbabwe to extricate them from this crisis but are worthy
With most regional and friendly countries invited to observe the elections
by Mugabe openly condemning the recent elections as lacking the basic
minimum standards of credibility other countries are contemplating
recognising the election and these are led by South Africa. Mugabe once more
rides on the division in the region as he seals his façade election to earn
a 6th term in office.
With the disappointing reports that South Africa and other African countries
are preparing to legitimise the election, one wonders how African States can
recognise the Mugabe presidency under the cloud of calls from the Pan
African Parliament and SADC observer teams that the election was a sham and
not representative of the will of the people of Zimbabwe and amid numerous
reports of widespread intimidation and violence.
There is nothing much to expect from the SADC and AU especially with Thabo
Mbeki's obsession with Mugabe. As long as the talks between the Zanu-PF and
MDC do not acknowledge that the June 27 elections were a joke the
negotiations are doomed. I am sceptical about the sincerity of Zanu-PF in
their 5 day old pronouncement of their willingness to negotiate with the
MDC. If they refused to negotiate with Morgan Tsvangirai before the election
why now? Is it their illusionary victory in the one man presidential
election that has made them to see the light? To Zanu-PF negotiating is all
about consolidating and returning state power.
Negotiation will not respect the March result neither will they recognise
the fact that the current crisis is not about land neither is it about
Britain or America but a crisis of governance. The negotiations will produce
an ineffective product skewed in favour of Zanu-PF. Mugabe will not be
amenable to addressing a change of political culture reforming the courts
and the constitutions and all state apparatus that have been politicised.
Zanu-PF will not be keen to disband institutions of violence and repression
that have salvaged their so called "victory". In fact those structures are
waiting to be rewarded for the mayhem they created in the name of Zanu-PF.
For Zanu-PF repression violence, intimidation and rigging is the source of
their mandate and legitimacy.
Can Zimbabweans explore other options such as protests to express their
dissatisfaction with the ruling party? The will of the people of Zimbabwe
for change has been trampled on and disregarded. The risk of protesting
against Mugabe might be too dire to contemplate with the glaring evidence of
widespread violence across the country unleashed by Zanu-PF.
Debate about why Zimbabweans have not taken part in protests, despite what
would seem like a conducive environment, have elicited diverse explanations
range from popular fear of the regime, to the weakness of the opposition
leadership and the country's political culture. Explanations on why
Zimbabweans are not protesting range from economic, political, cultural,
cognitive and collective action factors. While empirical evidence from
studies of protest elsewhere would "associate protest with the economically
insecure, the unemployed and individuals who belong to the working class, in
Zimbabwe protest potential is reported to be high among the urbanised, the
young, professionals, educated and the economically secure".
This evidence raises questions about the efficacy of the previous mobilising
strategies of civil society and opposition in Zimbabwe. Despite being
marginalised and confronted with the most severe crisis, they are not
inclined to push for economic and political transformation through protest.
Could they have chosen to engage the state on a tactical basis, in order to
ensure daily survival?
It is the time for MDC and civil society in Zimbabwe to invest their
energies on organising the people of Zimbabwe to participate in different
forms of protest against the regime. Now that the people have succeeded in
boycotting the elections it is important for the opposition to capitalise on
the disillusionment and the anger and map out a strategy that can liberate
Zimbabweans from this dictatorship.
For the strategy to work the opposition has to invest its energies on
mobilising grassroots structures working with the people on how they can
What ever happens we are on our own. By next week Zimbabwe will no longer be
on the radar.
New York Times
Published: July 1, 2008
Robert Mugabe brazenly and brutally stole his latest re-election as
president of Zimbabwe. Now Africa's leaders, who have looked the other way
for far too long, must decide what they will do.
They can continue to enable Mr. Mugabe out of political cynicism or
misplaced solidarity with a former liberation leader turned tyrant. Or they
can follow the wiser example of the living symbol of African liberation,
Nelson Mandela, who last week condemned Zimbabwe's "tragic failure of
The signals from Monday's opening session of the African Union summit, with
Mr. Mugabe smugly in attendance, were not encouraging. While African
election monitors rightly denounced the voting, few summit speakers went
beyond muted and indirect criticism.
More than truth telling is at stake. Zimbabwe and its people are dying at
Mr. Mugabe's hand - ravaged by an imploding economy, skyrocketing inflation,
man-made famine and a governmental machinery whose only visible function is
to reward the dictator's collaborators and cronies and beat and kill his
critics and opponents.
Zimbabwe needs a transitional government that reflects the true will of its
voters, who gave a convincing first-round victory to the opposition
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai. And it needs a fair rerun of the election.
Africa's leaders are best placed to keep Zimbabwe from further destabilizing
the whole region. They can do so by refusing to recognize Mr. Mugabe's
election theft and by pressuring those who continue to collaborate with him
by denying them visas, freezing bank accounts and calling on the rest of the
world to follow suit.
While far too many African leaders - most notably President Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa - refuse to accept that responsibility, the United States and
other Western countries have taken the lead.
President Bush has extended unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwean
officials. The United States is pressing the United Nations Security Council
to impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and sanctions on Mr. Mugabe's cronies.
Unfortunately, Russia, China and South Africa seem determined to block such
That is yet another reason Africa's other leaders must take the lead. They
must speak the truth about Mr. Mugabe and all the horrors he has visited on
Zimbabwe, back their words with sanctions and call on the Security Council
to do the same.
July 01, 2008, 05:45
Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya has spoken out strongly against
the tragedy unfolding in Zimbabwe following that country's run-off elections
He says the elections were clearly not free or fair. Skweyiya has pinpointed
topical human rights issues at the opening of the 17th African Human Rights
Moot Court Competition at the University of Pretoria.
Skweyiya has condemned the human rights violations that have erupted in
Zimbabwe since their first election on the 29th of March. "No discussion on
human rights in Africa is possible without mentioning all the tragedy
unfolding across our boundaries in Zimbabwe. The possibility of genocide
remains strong and we as the government of South Africa and the African
National Congress remain opposed to the flagrant violation of human rights
by the countries," said Skweyiya.
He said it remains to be seen how Africa and the AU will deal with the
issue. But he says the world's eyes are fixed on South Africa to tackle the
problem. He also lashed out against the recent outbreak of xenophobic
violence in South Africa.
He said although South Africa is proud of having the best constitution in
Africa, the xenophobic violence shows that the country is still not flawless
in terms of human rights.
Skweyiya says the law students - who will take part in the Moot Court
Competition - will play a vital role in the protection of human rights in
Africa. At least 167 students and 81 lecturers from 28 African countries are
expected to take part. The final round will take place at the University's
Groenkloof Campus on Saturday.
July 01 2008 at 07:33AM
By Dumiso Siboshiwe
President Robert Mugabe, who took his sixth oath as Zimbabwean leader
since independence, joked with reporters shortly after casting his vote that
he was hungry.
He made a similar jest when he addressed a rally in Chitungwiza in
March, that he had had a cold bath because there was no electricity and
running water at State House.
Actually, he was not joking.
Chronic shortages of basic needs - from cooking oil, petrol, purified
water, maize meal to rice, carbon dioxide for fizzy drinks and foreign
currency - have turned Zimbabwe into one of the poorest, but most expensive,
countries in the world.
My dinner of unappetising beef stew and rice, with a king-sized bottle
of fizzy drink, cost Z$172-billion (around R70) on Friday night.
But after the elections the hotel room-service staff told me on
Saturday the same dinner had shot up to 459-billion Zimbabwean dollars -
around R300 - on the black market.
"Why?" I asked.
"Sir, the inflation has increased (to around 9-million percent). This
means the (US) dollar is also up. So, we are reviewing our prices, Sir,"
says an unassuming voice on the other end of the phone.
Solomon, the waiter did not bring the bill. Why?
"We will do it manually Sir, because we have just revised our prices,"
As Mugabe was declared president yesterday, Harare streets were
deserted, with no sign of celebrations or protests - people are more
concerned about sadza (pap) than the military pomp at the State House.
Most restaurant menus do not have prices because prices change daily.
You have to ask for a hand-written menu for prices, and ensure that
you brought piles of Zimbabwean dollars.
Pharmacist David Gwesela says his landlord demands that rent be paid
in US dollars, pushing the cost of living in Harare very high.
Gwyneth Mushangwe was forced to vacate her flat in Fifth Avenue and
move to Budiriro Township because she can no longer afford rent.
She left her job at a Harare hotel where she earned R80 as a guest
relations manager, because it costs more - transport and food - for her to
go to work.
This is the daily experience of ordinary Zimbabweans in a country of
pauper billionaires. Zim$50-billion, the highest note, can only buy you
rooibos tea and some fruit.
In fact, this month the Zimbabwean dollar will reach quadrillion, but
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe wants to slash more zeroes to avoid
embarrassment and inconvenience.
The harsh economic realities, and not political pressure, will force
Mugabe to the negotiating table.
With sanctions - or targeted sanctions - likely to intensify, and no
cash coming from China as Mugabe promised through his Look East policy five
years ago, Zimbabwe will be squashed harder.
He is old, never had a chance to spend time with his young family,
tired of leading a crumbling country and personally feeling the pinch of an
economy on its knees, struggling with internal political instability and
He cannot repair the country's roads, nor pay his civil servants,
while private shops struggle to cope with controlled prices and costly
But Mugabe is a hardened politician who still believes in his
liberation hero stature, and he would like to leave his "great Zimbabwe"
under an anointed successor.
He does not give a toss about Western hostilities, he is feared by his
African peers and worshipped by his supporters.
Megaphone diplomacy actually intensifies his defiance and resolve to
"defend our sovereignty".
One southern African leader close to the mediation tells Independent
Newspapers: "Those who want us to shout do not know this timer (old man). He
will close doors and never listen while we have to deal with the mess."
ANC president Jacob Zuma - who will inherit the mess if he becomes the
South African head of state - should be cautious in his public condemnation,
or he may lose any form of leverage with Mugabe.
This is why Mugabe has respect for outgoing President Thabo Mbeki,
because the South African leader knows how to stroke "the chef's" ego.
Mbeki knows that Mugabe just needs assurance that he will not join
former Liberian President Charles Taylor as a war criminal.
He also needs assurance that his wealth, including properties in
Malaysia and farms in Zimbabwe, will not be confiscated once he hands over
the baton of power that he clutched so tightly for 28 years.
He will be comfortable handing over power to his protege - Emmerson
Mnangagwa - another hardliner.
The transitional arrangement - if it happens - will definitely be led
by Zanu-PF, with the standoff likely to be the crucial security and finance
Remember, the security chiefs also have the same fears and financial
interests as Mugabe.
The government of national unity will buy them time to sketch their
safe exit and hide their loot.
This means the MDC and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, must forget
about proper power sharing for at least five years. Zanu-PF will never give
up power that easily.
Tsvangirai's misjudgment or lack of understanding of Zanu-PF,
particularly Mugabe, resulted in power slipping through his fingers.
Tsvangirai - who won the first round of presidential elections in
March - was outmanoeuvred by Zanu-PF which regrouped, rearmed and launched
an offensive right under his nose.
The opposition leader is called a cry baby, taking refuge in the Dutch
embassy, withdrawing from the elections and then telling supporters to go
and vote for Mugabe.
He spent most of his time after the March elections in Johannesburg or
around the world, while Mugabe was planning a reign of electoral terror that
gave the Zimbabwean president a resounding victory in the one-man show.
Actually, some MDC supporters and leaders are fed up with Tsvangirai,
who might face an internal challenge next time the MDC holds its conference.
"Tsvangirai indirectly allowed Mugabe to get away with murder," says
an African diplomat who refused to be named.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe's intellectually sharp leaders are
languishing in less influential and insignificant splinter groups.
They include Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa, who left Zanu-PF's
politburo earlier this year to mount the latter's presidential campaign. The
campaign included intellectual and businessman Ibo Mandaza.
Their thorough knowledge of Mugabe and Zanu-PF was an advantage.
But the outcome of their presidential campaign was disastrous - the
content was shallow but the strategy was visionary. They started late and
They still hope Makoni will play an influential role in the government
of national unity, even though he disappeared from the centre of Zimbabwean
politics during the runoff.
Another group with sharp brains is the MDC splinter group led by
engineer Arthur Mutambara and lawyer Welshman Ncube.
Mbeki preferred this group, and the rumour in the Tsvangirai MDC is
that Mbeki is responsible for the split.
But Mutambara, Ncube et al are tacticians without mass support, and
they - misguidedly - rallied heavily behind the losing Makoni, and not
Tsvangirai, during the March elections.
Mutambara's MDC was decimated at the parliamentary elections, and
forced into a coalition with Tsvangirai and independent candidates against
As a loose coalition, they can frustrate Mugabe in parliament, but
Zanu-PF has the brutal mass mobilisation on the ground, a weapon that
sustained the ruling party in power for almost three decades. A senior ANC
leader once privately said Zanu-PF survived on killings and fear.
The only way the opposition can paralyse Zanu-PF's brutal force is to
ensure that the security forces are placed under an external monitoring
force - an unlikely scenario, though.
The Pan African Parliament observer mission noted in its report that
the security forces are highly politicised in Zimbabwe .
Unless the armed forces are pulled from Zanu-PF control, frustrations
will force the MDC to withdraw from the government of national unity within
Once the sanctions are lifted, the economy and political situation
stabilise, and the country is under a coalition government, Zanu-PF is
likely to revert to its old tactics.
This article was originally published on page 9 of The Star on July
July 01 2008 at 07:27AM
By Fiona Forde
Hopes for a tough resolution that will bring an end to Zimbabwe's
political crisis are fading, as the African Union summit enters its second
and final day in Sharm el-Sheikh.
A draft copy of the resolution tabled for discussion yesterday and
today suggests that the 53-member bloc is not prepared to go any further
than call on the main political players in the southern African country "to
commit to a negotiated and peaceful solution".
The document, agreed upon by 15 foreign ministers at Sunday's
pre-summit meeting, also calls on Zimbabwe's political parties to "refrain
from violence" and to call on their supporters to follow suit.
While the eight-point draft also "denounces the acts of violence and
the loss of lives" in the run-up to last Friday's run-off, it falls short of
the much-hoped for condemnation of the heavily disputed poll and the
violence and intimidation that observer groups of SADC and the Pan African
Parliament say characterised it.
What shape the proposed peaceful solution might take is likely to be
the bone of contention that will divide the heads of state meeting in the
Red Sea resort town.
The recently negotiated government of national unity in Kenya is the
example that many like to tout, while a considerable number of delegates
believe Robert Mugabe does not have the moral authority to continue in
However, during a briefing yesterday evening, US Secretary of State
for Africa Jendayi Fraser said it would be wrong to propose a
one-size-fits-all solution to such crises.
She said while it was the election result that divided Kenya last
January, "the people of Zimbabwe spoke clearly on March 29 when they opted
for a change of leadership by electing the MDC".
Fraser also said her government supports the MDC's call for the SADC
negotiations to be expanded to the AU level.
While she believed President Thabo Mbeki could still play a part in
such a mandate, the situation required a full-time envoy to the country to
negotiate daily with all sides, "not unlike the role Kofi Annan played in
The US envoy said she was confident that the summit would deliver a
strong resolution when it ends today, despite yesterday's opening ceremony
during which no mention was made of Mugabe, and only couched criticism of
his party's undemocratic behaviour.
"I would suggest not to take the soft words of the opening plenary as
a reflection of the deep concern of the leaders here for the situation in
Zimbabwe," she said.
"I would expect them to have very, very strong words for him."
Regardless of tonight's outcome, Fraser said there was little that
would come in the way of her government rolling out the threat of sanctions
against Zimbabwe; sanctions that would take the form of travel bans,
freezing of assets, freezing of companies of those sympathetic to the Mugabe
regime as well as an arms embargo.
This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on
July 01, 2008
Nation News, Barbados
Published on: 7/1/08.
I REFER TO worldwide condemnation of the Robert Mugabe government in
Zimbabwe which appears to be totally focused on destroying the lives and
expectations of the very predominantly black population.
Mugabe is a proven dictator and a man whose hands are stained with the blood
of many of his people. The so-called leaders of the other countries in the
African continent are accessories to the mass murder by default.
It is a most unfortunate fact that the Pan African Commission of Barbados,
which is previously on record as supporting the Mugabe regime, remains
completely and utterly silent and at the same time apparently totally
forgetting the reason for its existence.
A sad - very sad - indictment of what is a Government of Barbados-funded
- CHRISTOPHER A. McHALE
Tuesday, 1 July 2008 05:23 UK
Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN has dismissed calls for sanctions
against his country over pre-election violence, in an interview with US
Boniface Chidyausiku dubbed US-led calls for fresh UN measures against
Zimbabwe a "non-issue".
Pressure is growing on African leaders meeting in Egypt to take a firm
line on Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.
Mr Mugabe has claimed victory in a presidential poll that the
opposition pulled out of amid widespread violence.
Asked about sanctions, Mr Chidyausiku told AP news agency: "I'm not
even bothered, I wouldn't lose sleep over it... We are not a threat to
international peace and security."
He added: "We see the whole approach to sanctions as a weapon to try
and effect a regime change in Zimbabwe."
The Zimbabwe crisis has overshadowed the African Union (AU) summit in
Sierra Leonean President Ernest Koroma said African leaders should use
Tuesday, the final day of the two-day summit, to condemn Mr Mugabe's
Mr Koroma expressed support for a South African initiative to
encourage the formation of a transitional government of national unity.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga urged the AU to suspend Mr Mugabe
until he allows free and fair elections.
And Senegal's Foreign Minister, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, complained of
hesitancy among the AU leaders to openly pressure the Zimbabwean president.
But Africa's longest serving leader, Gabon President Omar Bongo, said
Mr Mugabe should be accepted as the country's elected president.
Before the opening meeting at the Red Sea resort, Mr Mugabe hugged
several heads of states and diplomats, one African delegate told AP news
Correspondents say he is still seen by many Africans as a hero of the
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said he was
pressing for the Security Council to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The US is expected to present a draft resolution on Wednesday calling
for an arms embargo, a travel ban on regime officials and a freeze on the
assets of key individuals and companies.
US state department spokesman Tom Casey said: "We think it is
important that the African Union signal that a sham inauguration that was
preceded by a sham election does not make the government legitimate."
But analysts say it may be difficult to persuade South Africa, Russia,
China and others to accept UN sanctions.
Criticism from Europe mounted on Monday with France labelling Mr
Mugabe's government "illegitimate," and Britain saying the recent election
would not be recognised.
Italy - which last week urged EU nations to withdraw their ambassadors
to Harare - recalled its envoy to Zimbabwe in protest.
MDC leader Mr Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe in the presidential vote
on 29 March but failed to win an absolute majority.
He reluctantly agreed to participate in the 27 June run-off but
withdrew blaming violence which he said had killed nearly 90 of his
He has been holed up at the Dutch Embassy in Harare since withdrawing
from the race.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
GERRY MORIARTY, Northern Editor
INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS in Belfast yesterday heard from a Zimbabwean human
rights lawyer of the threats facing her profession under President Robert
Mugabe's regime, and how this in turn is affecting the most vulnerable in
the troubled African country.
Beatrice Mtetwa told the World Bar Conference that even as she was flying to
Ireland for the conference, her colleagues were being targeted by President
She said that a magistrate was beaten up because he had released some
opposition members, while the lawyer who defended them was abducted on
Saturday and his whereabouts remained unknown.
"We have a number of lawyers facing criminal charges arising from their
action for people in the opposition or other people in society," she said.
"We have had lawyers leaving Zimbabwe because they are on a death list; we
have had members assaulted for carrying out their duties as lawyers.
Basically, lawyers doing human rights cases in Zimbabwe right now are being
continuously harassed, assaulted and intimidated. More and more lawyers,
particularly the younger ones, are refusing to do certain kinds of cases
because it is too dangerous."
Ms Mtetwa said that there was no independent media in Zimbabwe, that "the
police do not pretend to exercise any form of impartiality" and that while a
number of magistrates still tried to act independently, "the higher up you
go in the judiciary, the less is the independence".
Ms Mtetwa was involved in a number of high profile cases in Zimbabwe
defending journalists from newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and Sunday
Telegraph, the London Guardian, and the New York Times.
She said people could never have believed that matters would deteriorate so
"The economy is completely collapsed. The inflation is the highest the world
has even seen and the suffering for the ordinary man in the street is far
greater than has even been explained. There is a lot of poverty and hunger.
The entire medical structure is broken down, and with that combination you
can imagine what ordinary life for the Zimbabwean has become."
She saw little hope that South African president Thabo Mbeki could mediate a
solution with President Mugabe. "The whole mediation should not be left to
South Africa but should go higher up to the African Union," she said.
Asked about Archbishop Desmond Tutu's suggestion that military intervention
might be required, she said that should be a matter for the African Union.
"Everything must be done that is possible to ensure that a semblance of
normality is returned to Zimbabwe, and that the people of Zimbabwe are
accorded some of the rights that are taken for granted elsewhere," she
Ms Mtetwa said that regardless of the situation, she was returning to
Zimbabwe because that was her duty. "It is not a political thing, it is a
legal thing," she said.
She said she still had hope for her country. "Historically we have seen
regimes fall," said Ms Mtetwa. "You have seen how the Soviet Union crumbled;
you've seen how apartheid crumbled. Historically, one has to have hope
because hope comes from the most ugly situations."
This Day, Nigeria
Zimbabwe, once the pride of Africa and a choice destination for tourists is
now on the boil as Robert Mugabe, its president for 28 years insists on
clinging on to power in the face of strident international and local
opposition. With last weekend's run-off elections in which, with the
withdrawal of the main opposition party, Mugabe ran against himself, UDO
JUDE ILO observes that situations like this bring to the fore the need for
African nations to ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and
Governance. What is happening in Zimbabwe, he argues, is not an isolated
case of brazen disregard to the rule of law but an accumulation of twisted
and selfish leadership in Africa where leadership is seen as a birthright
The world stood in shock on June 26, 2008 when Zimbabwe in defiance to
international consensus and the weight of fairness went ahead to conduct the
charade called the presidential election runoff. The embarrassment this
action has caused Africa is unquantifiable but the effect on the life of the
Zimbabweans is simply unimaginable.
Zimbabwe is an ugly paradox. From the chains of colonialism, it grew to
become the food basket of the region under the watch of Mugabe. Under the
watch of that same man, the country battles currently with about 100,000
percent inflation rate and a poverty rate not easily rivalled in that
The socio/political implications of the unfolding drama in Zimbabwe causes
one to pause and critically interrogate the kind of democracy we practice in
Africa and the conspiracy of silence which has emboldened despots around the
Africa continues to redefine democracy. What is happening in Zimbabwe is not
an isolated case of brazen disregard to the rule of law but an accumulation
of twisted and selfish leadership in Africa where leadership is seen as a
birthright and the holder of power in an insulated cosmos, answerable to no
one. Zimbabwe symbolizes the failure of leadership in Africa and reflects a
resonating malaise around the whole of Africa. From Cameroon with the
endless leadership of Paul Biya to Ethiopia with the sit tight Prime
Minister, Zimbabwe represents a desperate effort to maintain the culture of
impunity which darkens the Africa's horizon.
Mugabe did not metamorphose into a despot overnight. What is happening is an
accumulation of desperate moves to perpetuate one man in power. Africa kept
The appalling silence of African leaders since the deterioration of Zimbabwe
is symptomatic of the inability of the African Union and African leaders to
publicly condemn and sanction erring leaders. We always wait the last minute
to act. If the noise being made by western countries was resonating in
Africa before now, perhaps this rape of democracy would not have taken place
in Zimbabwe. Countries around Africa continue to stage manage elections,
African leaders continue their conspiracy of silence. Hardly can you see a
public and unanimous condemnation of any African state in matters relating
to democracy and election.
There seem to be this silent understanding that nobody is clean and so no
one can cast the first stone. The various standards on election adopted by
African leaders seem to be observed more in breach. The Nigerian general
election is a case in point. When Africa keeps quiet or condones electoral
impunity in whatever form, the moral authority to condemn brazen rape of
democracy as is the case of Zimbabwe is heavily compromised.
The constitutive Act of the African Union recognises the prime place of
democracy, rule of law and human rights in the foundation of every society.
It commits the African leaders to work to promote these ideals. Zimbabwe is
a test case. No doubt at the end of the joke going on in Harare, Mugabe will
be returned as President. The big question is: How will Africa react? Will
they welcome him to the fold and behave like this was not a coup? Or would
they stamp their feet hard on the ground and refuse to accord this process
any recognition and thereby send a message across the region that we do have
standards and that we understand what democracy is.
To allow Mugabe to walk home dry after the disenfranchising his people and
enthroning an African brand of colonialism will mock the principles behind
the AU and further darken the perception of Africa around the world. The
people of Zimbabwe possess within the African Charter on Human and People
Rights both collective and individual rights to determine their destiny,
Africa cannot stand by and watch these rights brazenly violated in defiance
to a unanimous world condemnation.
Events like this bring pungently to the fore the need for African nations to
ratify and cause to come into effect the African Charter on Democracy,
Elections and Governance. This document represents a hard law adopted by
African states to give meanings to the principles of democracy. Since its
adoption more than a year ago, it has received no ratifications. If Africa
continues with this conspiracy of silence in matters of democracy and
governance, our continent may one day be silenced.
. Udo is of the Programs Department of the Nigerian Bar Association
By Cynthia Tucker
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/01/08
The Congressional Black Caucus, which is overwhelmingly Democratic, does not
often make common cause with the Bush administration. However, caucus
members and other members of Congress have good reason to support the
president's push for stiffer sanctions against Zimbabwe.
On Saturday, President Bush called for an international arms embargo against
the southern African nation, as well as tightened economic sanctions. He
took those steps to protest the sham runoff election held last week, in
which Zimbabweans were physically intimidated into casting votes for tyrant
Robert Mugabe. The government-sponsored violence against those supporting
Mugabe's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, was so severe that Tsvangirai was forced
to withdraw to save supporters from the savagery of Mugabe's police and
However, because of opposition from China, South Africa and other countries,
the U.N. is unlikely to approve an arms embargo. South African President
Thabo Mbeki has refused to condemn Mugabe, calling his misrule an internal
Some international human rights activists have said they feared a backlash
if they harshly criticized Mugabe, who in the past has dismissed opponents
as tools of white colonialist oppressors. But Zimbabweans seem well past
believing that nonsense. It's likely that Tsvangirai would have won the
election had it been free and fair.
While the U.N.'s inaction is tragic, vigorous condemnation of Mugabe by the
U.S. government, including prominent black members of Congress, could begin
to change international opinion. In contrast to Mbeki's coddling of the
tyrant, other highly respected African leaders have weighed in. Nobel Peace
Prize winner Desmond Tutu criticized Mugabe in no uncertain terms. "His
regime has turned into a horrendous nightmare. He should stand down," Tutu
said, while Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called the election a "fake
The grand old man of South African politics, Nelson Mandela, issued his own,
gentler rebuke, referring to a "tragic failure of leadership" in Zimbabwe.
Mandela is hardly a stooge of white colonialists.
-- Cynthia Tucker, for the editorial board (firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Neely Tucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 1, 2008; Page C01
Zimbabwe, how it was before:
The smell of millet beer, the smoke from cooking fires, Oliver Mtukudzi
singing at a club downtown, the grasses of the veld waving in the breeze.
Drone of ceiling fans. Sadza meal, rolled up in the palm to eat. Rain,
driving down so hard it explodes in the dust, sending up tiny showers of
droplet shrapnel. Farms stretching for thousands of acres, people walking
alongside the roads at first light, tourists drinking gin and tonics on
safaris, elephants flapping their ears in the heat of Mana Pools. Termite
hills as tall as your head. Notebooks of pulp paper. Women going across the
border into South Africa and bringing back things to sell in street markets.
Lots of children with no parents, and lots of 42-year-olds dying after a
"short illness," a "long illness," a "sudden illness."
This was 1997.
Zimbabwe, how it is now:
Life expectancy is 36, the lowest in the world. Annual inflation at an
unofficial rate of 4 million percent, which is, you might have guessed, the
highest in the world. Grocery store shelves are empty. There are power
failures every day and water shortages most days. There are roadblocks on
most main roads, many of them run by armed thugs who will steal your food
and remind you that the West is the enemy. There aren't any tourists to
speak of. There was a presidential election the other day that doesn't
really mean anything because the old man running the country has made it
clear, in his megalomaniacal kind of way, that he will kill any number of
black people so that he can spend the few years he has left in a deranged
version of comfort. (There aren't enough white people left to make any
difference.) The nation is one of the world's AIDS epicenters, a crisis that
doesn't even rate headlines anymore because so much more is so much worse.
I was one of the few Western reporters based there from 1997 to 2000, and
then I had to get out before I was expelled. I talked to Morgan Tsvangirai,
the presidential contender who has taken shelter in the Dutch Embassy, as
well as Robert Mugabe, the old man and president who has led the country
over a cliff.
The main thing I remember about Mugabe is that his hands shook, at this
conference when he talked to reporters, and you could reach out and touch
him. I don't think his hands shake anymore, and I know reporters are no
longer able to get so close.
I haven't been there in eight years and I miss it.
I miss the friends I used to know there. I miss the way the rains would come
in a sudden monsoon, a deluge you just couldn't believe, and I miss the
fires I had to light in the dry season because Harare is way above sea level
and it would get colder than you could believe possible in Africa. I went
with the writer Sekai Nzenza-Shand to her home village and we all cooked
over a bonfire, and neighbors materialized out of the dark and drank all the
beer we had in the ice chest and everyone was talking and laughing. I sat on
a stump and looked up from the fire and there were so many stars that you
could actually see the outline of hills in the distance. This fact isn't in
the papers much anymore, but Zimbabwe is actually a beautiful place.
Mostly I miss the way it was then only because it looks good by comparison.
It was no paradise. It wasn't romantic. I didn't have soft-focus goggles on.
White farmers owned way too much land and the government was corrupt and
AIDS was catastrophic and there was a sense things were going wrong,
something vaguely ominous in the sunlight. But the nation could sleep and it
could dream and there was room for some sort of hope.
By 1998, when the Zimbabwean dollar fell to 15-1 against the U.S. dollar,
things were thought to have sunk to a new low. People talked about the
"malaise" in the country. People would talk about the way you couldn't get a
mortgage without passing an AIDS test. A friend staged a rally in a shopping
center to urge people to be optimistic. They released a lot of balloons.
Today, it takes one trillion Zim dollars to make $100 U.S., and nobody
bothers with words like "malaise" anymore.
"Every day is a real battle, just a grind of hunting and gathering, getting
food, petrol, soap."
This is Angus Shaw talking, the Zimbabwean reporter who heads the Associated
Press operation there. I called him up the other day to see how he was
doing. Angus is white, and though he's known the government leaders since
the independence war in the early 1970s, they turned on him years ago,
accusing him of being a spy and worse.
Angus is not easily scared. He was orphaned at 9. He was standing a few feet
away when a fellow reporter was beaten to death in Somalia. He covered the
Rwandan genocide and remembers Idi Amin's death camps in Uganda, when
"corpses had been bound with wire and pressed into grotesque bales
forklifted onto trucks."
When his home country slapped him in jail a few years ago, he wrote that the
prison survival kit "should contain strong sleeping pills, lice and mosquito
repellents, remedies for dysentery and money for bribes."
He fled the country in 2005 to avoid another stay in prison, allegedly for
practicing journalism without a license. (You have to have a license to be a
reporter in Zimbabwe these days. Also, they don't allow any more foreign
reporters to be based there -- they kicked out the few remaining in 2001 --
and the ones who come in now do so undercover and at risk.)
Angus came back home in 2007. I asked him if he could say what things were
"The last six months it's been quite tense. I've had threatening phone
calls, there are unmarked police cars parked outside my house, militia
members in my car park. But I haven't been in jail for two years."
When I moved there in 1997, my wife at the time, Vita, and I walked into an
orphanage one day a few months after arriving and there, in the second crib
on the right, was the most stunningly beautiful child I had ever seen. She
was 11 weeks old and had been left to die beneath an acacia tree on the day
she was born. Ants were eating her right ear. Someone found her and called
rural police. At the orphanage, the matron named her Chipo, the Shona word
At three months, she weighed 4 pounds 3 ounces. She'd been hospitalized for
pneumonia twice, and would be one more time before we could take her home.
Eighteen children died in her orphanage during the time she was there.
These days she loves to read and play basketball. She is still beautiful.
We came in the house from summer camp the other night, and there was
Zimbabwe, the old country, right there on the television. Here were pictures
of Mugabe, smiling, waving to supporters, then a shot of soldiers and clubs
and people running and smoke in the distance.
"Is that the bad guy?" Chipo asked
Yes, honey, he's the bad guy. He is why we left. He is why we don't live in
Here were televised images of Morgan Tsvangirai emerging from a hospital,
eyes puffy and swollen from being beaten.
"And that's the good guy?"
Pretty much, yeah. He's the good guy.
Pictures now of children, ill-dressed, rough-looking skin, swollen bellies,
holding bowls for corn porridge.
"Is that the hospital I'm from?"
I don't think so, no. There were lots of sick children then, but it was not
nearly so bad as now. I don't think they could have taken those sorts of
pictures at the hospital where you were. The children were sick and many of
them died. But they had clothes.
So now the election is done and things will go on like this until it all
collapses. Until Mugabe runs out of money to pay his thugs? Until South
Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, decides Mugabe is too much of a problem?
Yeah. Some time like that. Maybe it will even be on television.
This brings to mind a particular feeling. It is something like Fritz
Kreisler's arrangement of Dvorak's "Songs My Mother Taught Me," the violin
and cello slow and mournful, and the sense that there once was a time when
you could turn to someone older and stronger and wiser for comfort and they
would make it all okay. Except now that time is like e e cummings's little
lame balloon man, whistling far and wee, and it's something you can't even
see anymore, it's just a feeling you used to have.
Zimbabwe: uneasy its sleep, uneasy its dreams.
July 01, 2008 By Mahir Ali
To divide and rule could only tear us apart
In every man's chest, there beats a heart
So soon we'll find out who is the real revolutionaries
And I don't want my people to be tricked by mercenaries
IT was less than 30 years ago that Bob Marley serenaded the birth of a
nation with a song that featured the above verse amid joyous incantations of
the phrase, "Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe". The transition, peaceful in its
final phase, was reflected in a crucial change of nomenclature: Southern
Rhodesia, named after a well-known coloniser, ceased to exist 14 years after
its unilateral declaration of independence from Britain. Ian Smith, who had
engineered the breakaway largely because of his determination to retain the
Rhodesian variant of apartheid, made way for Robert Mugabe, on the face of
it a relatively unassuming leader of the liberation struggle.
To his brothers-in-arms, he was simply Comrade Bob. Lord Soames, who
presided over the change as London's representative, called him a "splendid
chap". Smith, who had kept Mugabe in prison for 10 years, abhorred the idea
of majority rule but recognized its inevitability; in the event, his
preferred successor was Bishop Abel Muzorewa, a man without revolutionary
pretensions who also lacked popular support. In Zimbabwe's first elections,
a largely unexpected landslide catapulted Mugabe into the post of prime
Not surprisingly, the advent of democracy prompted a mass exodus by white
Rhodesians, many of whom resettled in South Africa, where they seemed to be
no imminent danger of a comparable transformation. But a substantial
proportion of whites (including Smith) decided to stay on in Zimbabwe, and
found little cause in the short term to regret that decision. However, the
new leader's black opponents had fewer grounds for complacency. The Western
demonization of Mugabe did not gain traction until the late 1990s,
particularly after he began authorizing the takeover of white-owned farms by
landless black war veterans. It is oft forgotten that some of the traits
that during the past decade have been ascribed to paranoia or senility were
actually first exhibited back in the 1980s, when Mugabe set out to deplete
and intimidate the power base of his best-known rival, Joshua Nkomo.
Ostensibly to stave off further violence, Nkomo eventually authorized the
dissolution of his Zapu-PF party, advising members to join Mugabe's Zanu-PF,
thereby facilitating a drift towards the latter's ideal of a one-party
state. In a somewhat distorted reflection of Nkomo's gesture, last week
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), advised followers, in the interests of their own safety, to
vote for Mugabe in Friday's second round of the presidential election.
Although his name remained on the ballot paper, Tsvangirai had formally
withdrawn from the race on the previous Sunday, before seeking refuge in the
It is widely presumed that Tsvangirai decisively defeated Mugabe in the
first round of the election back in March; the election commission was
persuaded, however, to fiddle with the figures: as a result, although the
challenger retained the lead, it was decreed that he fell short of the 50
percent mark, and that a run-off would therefore be required. By pulling out
of the second round, Tsvangirai paved the way for a putative Mugabe
landslide - but at the same time stripped the electoral exercise of all
A lust for power is not an uncommon trait among leaders of national
liberation movements: Nelson Mandela might actually be unique in refusing to
retain office beyond a single term. And there may well be cause to ponder
the extent to which Western (and particularly British) angst over Mugabe's
misbehaviour relates to the recalibration of his attitude towards white
farmers. At the same time, there can be little question that Zimbabwe has
been grotesquely mismanaged in political as well as economic terms. For
instance, while serious land reforms may indeed have been called for in a
country with egregious disparities of wealth, the anarchic farm seizures
were politically motivated and economically disastrous, leading to food
shortages on a shocking scale.
Cronyism and nepotism are among the distinguishing features of the political
system Mugabe presides over, and those who lament the fact that Tsvangirai's
credentials are dubious in some respects should be willing to direct at
least some of the blame towards Mugabe, given his long-standing allergy to
anyone who could potentially be perceived as a political rival. Whatever his
shortcomings, Tsvangirai has morally gained the upper hand during the past
year. And Mugabe's ability to convince Zimbabweans that he continues to
deserve a mandate has steadily been depleted amid soaring unemployment and a
mind-boggling rate of inflation that runs into millions of percent.
Western sanctions and the legacy of British colonialism are Zanu-PF's stock
excuses for the Mugabe regime's monumental economic failures. The majority
of Zimbabweans no longer accept this explanation. To most of them, the
liberation struggle to which Mugabe significantly contributed is ancient
history. They need food and jobs, and it increasingly seems that regime
change alone can facilitate access to such basic necessities.
A decade or so ago, Mugabe could have retired with some of his dignity
intact. That is no longer possible, but a humiliating exit isn't the only
available option. Voices of reason are pointing towards a compromise whereby
the president and his closest military and civilian cronies can depart
without a fuss, paving the way for an MDC government, possibly in
collaboration with remnants of Zanu-PF. If an agreement to that end can be
worked out, it may indeed be the least destructive way out of an
unsustainable situation. Convincing Mugabe to do the sensible thing will
probably require all the powers of persuasion at the command of his friends
and neighbours, particularly Thabo Mbeki, whose refusal to publicly
criticize the octogenarian Zimbabwean leader puts him at odds with powerful
voices within South Africa, including the African National Congress under
Jacob Zuma, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and former
archbishop Desmond Tutu. Even the mild-mannered Mandela, after a prolonged
silence, joined the chorus last week with a reference to Zimbabwe's "tragic
failure of leadership".
Not surprisingly, there have been calls in some quarters for international
intervention, including of the military variety. Such a course would be
utterly disastrous. Zimbabwe today is a far cry from the exemplary African
state envisaged by those of us who shared Bob Marley's infectious optimism,
thanks in large part to the conduct of the Mugabe clique. But it is not
beyond redemption, and nor do its multiple afflictions warrant a bitter dose
This Day, Nigeria
OLAWALE FAPOHUNDA, just back from Ouagadogou as part of a West African Civil
Society lobby group, says the African Union must firmly tell Zimbawe's sit
tight President it's time to go. The AU must, he urges, see beyond Mugabe's
anti-colonial rhetoric and consider the millions of suffering Zimbabweans
At the African Heads of State meeting last weekend at the African Union
summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Cairo top on the agenda was the deteriorating
political situation in Zimbabwe and what to say to its President, Robert
Already there is growing cynicism about the ability of African leaders to
find a honest solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. Indeed, the silence of most
of Africa's leadership has brought back memories of the days of the
Organisation of African Unity (OAU) where the entrenchment of the principles
of non-interference in the internal affairs of states and the emphasis on
state sovereignty became an excuse for bad governance and human rights
violations on the continent.
Mr. Mugabe has told anyone who cares to listen that the socio- economic and
political situation in his country is a result of his refusal to allow
British and American colonial ambitions. He has severally cited the
inequality in land ownership in his country and insists that he is being
vilified for wanting black Zimbabweans to own land.
This anti-colonialism stance has no doubt resonated with several African
leaders. President Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso and Chairman of the
ECOWAS alluded much to this when this writer met with him in Ouagadogou last
week as part of a West African Civil Society lobby mission. Mugabe
undoubtedly deserves much credit for the heroic liberation struggle in that
country and his contribution to the freedom movement of a number of other
African countries. There is no way the story of Africa's liberation will be
written without a reference to the contribution of Mr. Mugabe.
However, if the truth is to be told the situation in Zimbabwe today is the
effect of Mr. Mugabes misrule and high-handedness.
Mugabe has pursued a catastrophic policy of self and regime preservation.
The effect on ordinary Zimbabweans has been dreadful. Once the bread-basket
of Southern Africa and one of the continent's wealthiest countries, Zimbabwe
is now a basket-case and suffers a severe shortage of food. Several million
Zimbabweans now depend on foreign aid to keep them alive. Some three million
of them (out of a population of thirteen million) have fled the poverty and
chaos at home, many to neighbouring South Africa. Zimbabwe is also the world's
fastest-shrinking peacetime economy, with unemployment now standing at 80%.
Its inflation rate is the world's highest: currently 1,730% and still
Since Mugabe lost the first round of the March 29 Presidential election he
has stopped at nothing to ensure total victory in the second round. The
opposition's hope for a free and fair election has been ruthlessly
extinguished with the repeated arrest and detention of opposition leader Mr.
Tsvangirai and leaders of his party, the MDC. This, in addition to state
sponsored violence inflicted his supporters, has prompted Tsvangirai to
withdraw from the run off. Mugabe has gone ahead to conduct the run off
election despite concerns expressed by the international community.
Therefore, short of a miracle, it seems obvious that Mr Mugabe is set to
achieve a landslide victory.
More worrisome is the suggestion by some African leaders of a government of
national unity in which Mugabe and Tsvangirai will be required to share
power possibly along the Kenyan model. If this were to be adopted then
Africa will be laying the foundations for the design a new electoral system.
One which an incumbent president loses an election but for the sake of peace
is allowed to continue in office with the real winner playing an inferior
role in government. This will in no small way rubbish whatever progress
Africa has made in towards political liberalisation that leads to
participation and choice.
The situation in Zimbabwe challenges the commitment of the AU for respect
for democratic principles, rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. The AU
must see beyond Mugabe's anti-colonial rhetoric and consider the millions of
suffering Zimbabweans particularly those who have lost life and limb in the
xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The AU must condemn the violence and
intimidation in Zimbabwe that made it impossible for the run off election to
be free and fair. That election must in no uncertain terms be declared a
sham. There is a need for a transitional government to put in place interim
measures aimed at retuning Zimbabwe to democratic ways. This must not be
confused with a government of national unity.
Ultimately, Mr. Mugabe must be told politely and firmly that it is time to
. Fapohunda is Managing Partner, Legal ResourcesConsortium
Tuesday, July 1st 2008
Kenya's Foreign Minister said yesterday it was his government's
position that Zimbabwe should face immediate suspension from the African
Union (AU), and that the newly reinstalled President, Robert Mugabe, should
be made to feel unwelcome at the AU's summit now underway in Egypt.
He is, unfortunately, likely to be condemned and ridiculed by Mr
Mugabe and his unapologetic supporters, inside and outside Zimbabwe, as
possibly another tool of the west.
Seeing the current crisis in Zimbabwe through jaundiced lenses
coloured by their steadfast retention of old anti-imperialist, anti-colonial
paradigms, those supporters bluntly refuse to ascribe any blame for this
situation on Mr Mugabe himself.
He is not being held at all responsible for his demonstrated inability
to fashion solutions to the problems of inequality, discrimination and
disenfranchisement which he had inherited when he took over the government
in Zimbabwe more than a quarter of a century ago.
Those supporters are not conceding, as they should, that it is Mr
Mugabe who has gone to great lengths to stifle any and all opposition to his
rule; and that he has helped to sponsor and perpetrate the violence which
has now virtually crippled the march towards greater democracy which he had
been so instrumental in ushering in.
Of course Mr Mugabe had inherited a society dominated by the
inequality and the unfairness based on the centuries-old land question, in
which vast acreages of land belonging to native Africans had been wrongfully
given over to minority white settlers.
And of course, the British government has reneged on its promise to
compensate Black Zimbabweans who had been dispossessed. But the situation
had called for a new approach to justice and fairplay which Mr Mugabe had
pledged to undertake and to lead. It had called for new, creative approaches
to the issue of fostering equality and inclusiveness which he has been found
incapable of delivering.
So as the world now watches the continuing deterioration of life for
large numbers of the Zimbabwean people, Mr Mugabe goes to increasing lengths
simply to perpetuate himself in power and in office.
It is his people, however, who have grown more and more tired of his
political ineffectiveness and who have been abandoning him. It is they,
also, who have been plunged into more and more suffering.
And it is that "tragic failure of leadership'' to which the venerable
Nelson Mandela rightly referred when he spoke in London last week, only to
be so rudely dismissed by Mr Mugabe and his unrepentant cronies.
Mr Mandela's African National Congress, the ruling party in
neighbouring South Africa, also found it had no choice but to reluctantly
issue its own criticism of Mr Mugabe as presiding over a regime that was
riding roughshod over "hard won democracy'' for the people of Zimbabwe.
Rather than be defended at all cost, he should be encouraged to face
these facts squarely.
ROBERT Mugabe may be facing further isolation by the West after his one-man
election victory, but he is far from the only long-serving African leader
with a questionable rights record.
As the 84-year-old meets his peers at an African Union summit, some are
reluctant to take him to task over pre-poll violence and intimidation since
similar circumstances have played out in their countries.
Mugabe has himself minimised the violence surrounding Zimbabwe's vote by
pointing out that thousands have been killed in other African elections and
polls were held anyway.
Summit host Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt for 27 years and routinely been
re-elected unopposed with vote totals of more than 95 percent.
Mubarak has enjoyed close relations with the United States despite the
regular arrest of members of the main opposition, Muslim Brotherhood.
In neighbouring Libya, Muammar Gaddafi has been in power for nearly 39 years
and in 1977 unveiled the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, in which
his only formal function was as revolutionary guide. While he has faced
heavy criticism over his human rights record, he has mended fences with the
West in recent years after renouncing any ambition to develop weapons of
Gaddafi, however, falls just short of qualifying as Africa's longest-serving
ruler; a distinction belonging to Gabon's Omar Bongo, who came to power in
1967. The 72-year-old won the country's most recent presidential election
with 79 percent of the vote.
Mugabe "is president" of Zimbabwe, Bongo insisted yesterday at the start of
the African Union summit in Egypt.
The crisis in the Sudanese region of Darfur has recently shone a spotlight
on that country, where President Omar al-Beshir came to power in an
Islamist-backed, bloodless coup in 1989 that overthrew a
His regime is accused by rights groups of torture and arbitrary detentions,
and backing Arab militias against ethnic minority Africans in Darfur, where
the UN says 300 000 people have died since conflict broke out in February
2003. - Sapa-AFP
Monday, 30 June 2008 20:33 UK
By Hugh Pym
Economics editor, BBC News
International outrage over Robert Mugabe's self-styled election
victory in Zimbabwe has generated further debate about sanctions and
wielding economic weapons against the regime.
Some major British firms are still trading there, including Barclays
and Waitrose, but pressure on them to sever their commercial links with
Zimbabwe is growing.
Back in 2003, Robert Mugabe's regime was facing strong international
criticism, albeit not as intense as now.
I did some research then on British companies with trading links to
Zimbabwe and was surprised to discover that 18 out of the 50 biggest UK
firms said they had a presence in the country or trading relationships with
A further 12 companies failed to respond.
This was just after England's cricketers pulled out of a World Cup
match in Zimbabwe, following pressure for them to take a stand against the
A Foreign Office spokesman said at the time that it was felt that any
block on commercial links would harm Zimbabweans.
But English cricket's ruling body, the ECB, said it was perverse and
inequitable that, while businesses were trading with Zimbabwe, cricketers
had been asked to make an isolated and symbolic gesture.
Five years on, as English cricket severs its bilateral links with
Zimbabwe and cancels a tour here next year, the spotlight is turning once
again on the conduct of companies - although it is not yet clear how many of
them have pulled out in the intervening period.
On the defensive
The mining giant Anglo American was put on the defensive when news of
its plans to develop a new platinum mine in Zimbabwe emerged. Some MPs
argued this clashed with modern ideas of corporate responsibility.
The company said it was concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe but
the project had been in development since 2003.
Critics ague that doing business in Zimbabwe is, in effect, supporting
the Mugabe regime and should therefore be stopped.
Others point out that pulling the commercial plug would destroy jobs
and further impoverish ordinary people rather than the ruling elite.
We contacted some of the leading British companies to have trading
Barclays told us it had been there for almost 100 years, well before
the current difficulties. The bank said it conducted its business in an
ethical manner, providing vital services to 130,000 customers.
Tesco said that by trading with Zimbabwe, it was supporting hundreds
of small farmers and not the Mugabe government.
BP said it had a tiny business running forecourts which didn't really
make any profit.
Waitrose buys in some Fairtrade fish from Zimbabwe and argues that the
venture supports hundreds of workers and their families.
All point out that they are acting lawfully and in line with EU
regulations - current sanctions cover the defence trade and travel
restrictions on some Zimbabwean officials.
But this debate won't go away in a hurry.
The Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch Brown has warned companies,
"The game is changing," with tougher economic sanctions a possibility.
Companies will have to work harder to sustain the argument they are
supporting jobs and livelihoods rather than propping up a discredited