· Five million will need help within
months, warns UN
· Families flee as many reduced to one meal a day
21 July 2008
European companies targeted for takeover and transfer to "friendly"
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will transfer ownership of all foreign-owned
firms that support Western sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's
government to locals and investors from "friendly" countries, a state
newspaper reported on Sunday.
The southern African state is struggling with an economic crisis many blame
on Mugabe's policies, which has left it with an inflation rate of over 2.2
million percent and chronic shortages of food and other basic needs.
Mugabe's government blames the crisis on sabotage by enemies angry over his
seizures of white-owned farms for blacks, and has followed up that policy
with another controversial law seeking to transfer majority ownership of
foreign-owned firms to locals.
The Sunday Mail said Zimbabwe had begun auditing the ownership of Western
firms in the country as part of a black empowerment drive "and to counter
the possible withdrawal of investment under sanctions imposed and proposed
by Britain and the U.S."
Mugabe -- fighting to retain power after a controversial runoff poll
boycotted by his rival -- says Zimbabwe's severe economic crisis is due to
sabotage by former colonial master Britain, its European Union allies and
the United States.
The Sunday Mail paper said preliminary results of Zimbabwe's audit of
foreign investments showed that 499 companies enjoyed British investments.
Of these, 309 had majority shareholders in Britain and 97 were wholly owned
The audit also found 353 firms with shareholders from other European
countries, the weekly said in a story largely attributed to unnamed
"A high-ranking government source told the Sunday Mail that these companies
would be targeted for takeover by local investors and companies from
friendly countries, particularly those in the Far East, should they heed
calls by the U.S. and European governments for them to disinvest from
Zimbabwe," it said.
Gulf Today, Dubai
Jul 21, 2008
THE reported decision by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government to
seize and transfer ownership of all foreign-owned firms that support Western
sanctions against Zimbabwe worsens the long-running conflict between the
Mugabe regime and Western governments.
According to the state-run Sunday Mail of Harare, the Mugabe government will
transfer the ownership of all such companies to locals and investors from
"friendly" countries. The decision seems to be already being implemented,
according to the report, with the Harare government having begun auditing
the ownership of Western firms in the country as part of a black empowerment
drive "and to counter the possible withdrawal of investment under sanctions
imposed and proposed by Britain and the US."
According to the report, the audit of foreign investments showed that 499
companies enjoyed British investments. Of these, 309 had majority
shareholders in Britain and 97 were wholly owned by Britons.
The audit also found 353 firms with shareholders from other European
The move follows another controversial law seeking to transfer majority
ownership of foreign-owned firms to locals.
It is an understatement that Zimbabweans are living through a major economic
crisis which owes its origins to the regime's policies. The inflation rate
is seen at over 2.2 million per cent and the people of the country are
facing chronic shortages of food and other basic needs.
The once-thriving commercial agricultural sector of the country is in ruins,
about one-fourth of its 12 million people have fled and those who remain are
largely dependent on foreign food aid.
Indeed, Harare blames the crisis on sabotage by enemies angry over the
regime's seizures of white-owned farms for blacks but it overlooks that it
was the land grab that created the problem.
On the political front, the regime is equally ruthless, with a policy of
eliminating opponents. There was little legitimacy to the results of the
recent presidential election from which opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
withdrew citing violence against his supporters.
Mugabe, 84, has led Zimbabwe in various capacities since its independence in
1980 before becoming its president in 1988. He was initially hailed as a
hero of African liberation, but over a period time his regime became
corrupt, brutal and intolerant. And the situation has been growing worse
with no sign of an end to the woes of the people of Zimbabwe.
Pressure and sanctions have not worked, mainly because of opposition to such
moves by other African countries, some of whose leaders are as ruthless as
Mugabe himself against political dissent. Obviously, they fear that they
would also be targeted for ouster if they allowed Mugabe to be forced out by
foreign powers. What they fail to see is the probability of the people of
Zimbabwe rising up en masse against the regime and setting an example for
their own people.
In any event, the onus is on Zimbabwe's neighbours and other African
countries to persuade Mugabe to accept that it is time for him to leave the
office which he occupies without legitimacy and that if he doesn't then they
would not prevent others from forcing him to go.
· Five million will need help within
months, warns UN
· Families flee as many reduced to one meal a day
Millions of Zimbabweans are threatened with starvation after the widespread failure of the latest harvest brought on by the government's disastrous mishandling of land redistribution, and food shortages in the shops caused by hyperinflation.
The United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people require food aid immediately because they have harvested little or nothing in recent weeks. It has warned that up to 5 million will need assistance in the coming months. A third of the population is chronically malnourished.
But attempts to assist them are blocked by a ban on foreign aid agencies working in rural areas after President Robert Mugabe said they were fronts for "regime change" by Britain and the US.
Aid workers say the first signs of looming famine are evident, with significant population movements and children arriving at hospitals suffering from kwashiorkor (a form of malnutrition). Many families are reduced to one meal a day, with some living on fruit berries.
The UN says that it has seen a significant rise in the number of entire families fleeing to South Africa.
Food availability has also been hit by hyperinflation, which economists say runs above 10m%. The central bank is issuing a $100bn note today, the highest denomination to date but worth less than 10p.
The crisis is adding to the pressure on Mugabe to cede power to his opponents and save his country from further disaster.
But he defiantly continues to blame the shortages on an anti-government conspiracy, accusing companies of deliberately withholding fertiliser and other agricultural necessities. He has threatened to jail those he says are responsible.
At the weekend, the government said it was preparing to seize foreign-owned firms it accuses of supporting sanctions against Zimbabwe's leaders.
A medical worker in Matabeleland, where the maize crop failure was almost total, said that there were widespread food shortages and what did arrive was mostly given to members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
"The situation is extremely severe in Matabeleland. Hunger is extreme. There are the odd maize deliveries but it only goes to people with Zanu cards. Even where there is food people can't afford it," she said.
"In St Luke's hospital in Lupane there are 16 children aged five to 12 with kwashiorkor. That's significant because in children of that age it's usually not related to HIV. It's almost certainly because of malnutrition and it's only the tip of the iceberg. These are the ones who made it to hospital. Most wouldn't."
"You see other signs that people are not getting enough to eat. There's an avalanche of people leaving."
In the Masvingo area in the east, witnesses say newly settled farmers are abandoning their land after the crop failures and making for towns. A Zimbabwean official in the area said large numbers of people were now resorting to desperate measures to survive including selling off precious livestock that often represented the bulk of a family's wealth.
"It is difficult to stop people leaving the land," he said. "People are selling livestock. They get five kilos of maize for two goats. For a cow it's 300 kilos of maize."
"People are no longer interested in politics. They are talking about how to survive, how to get money or food."
A report last month by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Food Programme estimated that the recent maize harvest was down 28% on last year, which itself fell 44% on 2006.
The former white-owned farms are producing just 10% of the food they did a decade ago and long-established communal farmers, who used to grow the bulk of Zimbabwe's maize supply, are now growing about 25% of former production.
The report blames the crop failure on a combination of poor weather, a collapse in productivity on the redistributed white-owned farms and other government policies that have helped created shortages of seeds and fertiliser, and led to the collapse of infrastructure such as power and irrigation. It says unrealistic price controls have undermined the market.
The FAO/WFP report says that 2 million people will need assistance in the coming weeks as what remains of their food stocks runs out.
That number will rise to to 5.1 million early next year.
A WFP spokesman, Richard Lee, said that the principal obstacle to delivering food was the ban on foreign aid organisations that handle distribution on the ground. "The issue is the continuing ban on NGO activity. We were rounding up 300,000 of the most vulnerable people but because of the restrictions on NGOs we are only able to reach about 135,000 people. NGOs are absolutely crucial to our ability to deliver," he said.
The UN is pressing the government to lift the ban, although some foreign aid agencies feel it is not pushing hard enough.
Lee said that the WFP was hearing anecdotal evidence "that the situation is worrying in many areas".
"We're hearing these sorts of stories about reduction in meals earlier than usual. It is worrying that it is happening so close to the harvest. It's not Ethiopia in the mid-80s but clearly it is very worrying," he said.
Agriculturalists warn that the situation is not likely to improve with the next harvest. Zimbabwe requires 27,000 tonnes of maize seed for a season's planting. This year's yield looks likely to fall as low as 2,500 tonnes, leaving farmers with little to plant.
Published Date: 21 July 2008
By FRED BRIDGLAND
ZIMBABWE'S main opposition party yesterday agreed to talks about
power-sharing with Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF.
The breakthrough came after South African president Thabo Mbeki's long-term
mediation efforts were downgraded in favour of wider arbitration involving
the United Nations, the African Union and the Southern African Development
Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader who has
accused Mr Mbeki of pro-Mugabe bias, had demanded extra oversight in any
talks between the MDC and Mugabe.
Having previously refused to consider talks, Mr Tsvangirai relented after
crisis meetings between African and UN officials, which resulted in the
replacement of Mr Mbeki's failed, eight-year, one-man mediation with a
strengthened four-man team.
Haile Menkerios, assistant secretary-general for political affairs, will
represent the UN.
The 53-nation African Union will be represented by AU Commission chairman
George Chikoti is an unusual choice to represent the 14-nation Southern
African Development Community: a former follower of rebel guerrilla chief
Jonas Savimbi, Mr Chikoti is now Angola's deputy foreign minister. Mr Mbeki
will also join the four-man team.
Mr Menkerios said he expected a memorandum of understanding setting out the
parameters of the talks to be signed today in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, by
Mr Tsvangirai and Mugabe.
The memorandum is understood to set out conditions for talks about talks,
containing procedures, a clear agenda and a time frame in which talks are to
Welcoming the development Nelson Chamisa, the MDC's chairman, said: "(The
mediation process] eliminated our discomfort zone. We now have the courage
to put the next foot forward.
What is required now is for Zanu-PF to desist from acts of bad faith,
including continuing acts of violence and attempts to sow division in our
party by trying to buy people."
Mr Tsvangirai won a presidential election on 29 March, but without the
requisite 50 per cent plus one vote majority.
He refused to take part in a run-off election on 27 June after more than 120
of his supporters were killed in an orgy of violence by Mugabe's party
Some 4,000 people were hospitalised and tens of thousands made homeless.
Mugabe, 84, declared himself president unopposed for another five years.
Should the talks produce a negotiated settlement, Zimbabwe could attract
billions of pounds from donors in recovery aid.
Among others, Britain has promised £1 billion, the United States £800
million, the UN Development Programme £400 million and the European Union
Zimbabwe's full reconstruction will cost multiples of these amounts. The
bulk of earmarked rescue money carries stringent conditions and a proviso
that Mugabe steps down from absolute power.
Some four million of Zimbabwe's 12 million population have fled to other
countries, mainly to South Africa and Botswana.
Millions in misery as $100 billion banknote reveals extent of inflation
ZIMBABWE will today introduce a $100 billion banknote - enough to buy one
loaf of bread.
The new banknote is worth about 62p.
Central bank chief Gideon Gono said the note was being brought in to help
consumers who have to pay huge amounts of cash for the smallest
transactions. Previously, the highest-denomination note was Z$50 billion.
Dr Gono, who is Robert Mugabe's personal banker, admitted last week that
annual inflation in Zimbabwe had hit 2.2 million per cent. Privately,
economists claim the figure is closer to 12 million per cent.
Prices have soared since Mugabe, 84, claimed victory in last month's sham
election, bringing misery to millions of Zimbabweans.
This weekend an egg cost Z$30 billion (18p). A pint of milk cost Z$240
billion (£1.50). Teachers earn less than Z$100 billion a month.
A trillion dollars will buy a box of cornflakes or a Zimbabwean passport.
House prices are quoted in quadrillions of dollars.
Mugabe blames international sanctions for Zimbabwe's economic meltdown. The
UN Security Council was unable to apply sanctions last month due to a veto
by Russia and China.
Russian company Afritrade funded the procurement of thousands of cut-price
hampers of goods being handed out to villagers by Mugabe last week.
Hunger levels have reached an all-time high since Mugabe banned humanitarian
agencies ahead of the second round of presidential elections on 27 June.
Middle-class mothers in the eastern city of Mutare spoke yesterday of
children "crying" for food. "We have nothing, no flour, no bread," a
By Peter Clottey
21 July 2008
Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is expected
to sign a memorandum of understanding with the ruling ZANU-PF party ahead of
the start of another round of peace talks today. The memorandum of
understanding aims at setting guidelines on substantive consultation between
President Robert Mugabe's party and the opposition. This comes after South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who is mandated by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to mediate between the two opposing parties
proposed a team from SADC and the United Nations to help with the mediation
Some Zimbabweans have reportedly expressed optimism about a new round of
peace talks aimed at resolving the ongoing political and economic crisis.
Glen Mpani is the regional coordinator for the transitional justice program
of the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town,
South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Johannesburg that the
opposition MDC should approach the talks with cautious optimism.
"The signing of the memorandum of understanding or a framework in which the
talks can be held between the MDC political party and the ruling party
ZANU-PF is a step in the right direction in terms of ensuring that at least
we can be able to start a process of negotiation. But I think we should be
cautious about this process because it is only a start on a journey of many
issues where both political parties are not in agreement. It is more or less
like the negotiation between north and south because the issues that are
going are so core and central. So, it is exciting, but there should be a
cautious optimism in the way we look at this negotiation," Mpani noted.
He said the opposition was reasonable in demanding a broader mediation
effort in the next round of peace talks.
"I think they (opposition) are justified, and I think it is a diplomatic
triumph for the MDC because one of the core issues that they were raising
was the issue of broadening the mediation. That was the core and central in
terms of ensuring that one, there is an impartial process that is acceptable
to both parties," he said.
Mpani said with the premise of opposing sides both agreeing to the framework
of the talks, it shows a sign of good things to come.
"A process that is agreed by all parties will ultimately lead to some
process or an outcome that is generally acceptable. The previous
arrangement, where a mediation was being foisted on the MDC, was not in the
interest of coming up with a solution for Zimbabwe. So I think this process
way from the onset, both parties agree on the framework and the mediation
structure will in itself assist in creating confidence and ensuring that at
least they come up with a position that is conducive for all political
parties on the table," Mpani pointed out.
Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe has reportedly threatened to transfer
ownership of all foreign-owned firms that support Western sanctions against
his administration and the entire leadership of the ruling ZANU-PF party to
locals and investors from "friendly" countries.
Mpani described President Mugabe's government as unfortunate.
"Such comments at this point in time are quite regrettable. But they needed
to be treated with the seriousness it deserves because I think ZANU-PF
government has managed to carry through their word each and every statement
that they say, based on the land issue. If you look at the mining issue and
if you also look at the effect of cutting prices, they are serious comments.
But if I were in the ZANU-PF, I would dissuade them from taking that
approach because it would erode the level of confidence, particularly in
these current negotiations," Mpani noted.
New York Daily News
Sunday, July 20th 2008, 5:45 PM
In 1945, as the war in Europe was winding down, American soldiers began to
discover the death camps built by the Third Reich in which Jews and others
considered too imperfect were murdered and treated with such savagery that
every thought about civilization and civilized nations was proven to be only
Dwight D. Eisenhower proved to be extremely farsighted. Looking at all of
the cadavers and the hills of human ash, he ordered that every available
photographer and film crew in the European theater be brought to the camps
because, the general said, unless this is recorded, 50 years from now there
will be people who will say that it did not happen.
We know those people as Holocaust deniers. But few have denied the killing
fields of Cambodia, the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia, or the Congo River
choked with black corpses hacked to death in Rwanda and turned white by the
No matter the color, no matter the place, once men, women and children are
sufficiently dehumanized by the regime in power, the results are always the
same. The slaughter will take on a determined fortitude that evolves into a
frenzy and does not abate until exhaustion or outside intervention brings it
to a screeching halt. This is the burden of no single group. It is a burden
that we all must bear because it is the darkest legacy of our humanity:
The most obvious and recent bad guy is Robert Mugabe, who has destroyed the
economy of Zimbabwe, and had people beaten, kidnapped or murdered for no
reason other than exercises in power and corruption. This has been so well
documented that the United States and Great Britain recently tried to have
sanctions brought against Mugabe at the United Nations. They wanted him to
step down because he stole the recent election by having voters beaten and
turned away from the polls or terrorized in other ways.
Mugabe, who fittingly wears a Hitlerian mustache, denies this and defends
himself by saying that Zimbabwe won its independence from England in 1987
and will not be colonized again!
For all of his greatness, even Nelson Mandela has had no influence. He has
called for Mugabe to step down. The rest of the African leaders seem to
understand the pressures that their brother Mugabe is under and will not aid
in making him out to be a literally bloody fool.
So Zimbabwe, like Darfur, continues to bleed and suffer.
The actions of the Africans are not much different than the European nations
that sat on their hands as the Serbs used genocidal tactics against Bosnia,
claiming to defend themselves. At no point have outside nations been
concerned enough to try and physically stop the slaughters of the innocent
whose greatest crime is that they have been dehumanized and accused of being
a threat to those who murder them.
When the U.S. and Britain tried to have sanctions brought against Zimbabwe
by the UN, Russia was followed by China in using its Security Council veto
power, pulling Mugabe's bloody bacon from the fire.
That should have been a great lesson to the world. Whether anyone else does
or not, totalitarians always understand each other: It's hard out here for
those who resort to mass murder and brutal intimidation when democracy
doesn't work. That's a hard one to swallow, but somebody has to wash it down
with the honeyed water of revolutionary rhetoric.
Mon., July 21, 2008 Tamuz 18, 5768
By Cnaan Liphshiz
For 27 years, Owen has worked as a free professional at a large company.
Now, his pension of 61 million Zimbabwe dollars will only buy him six apples
at the central market place of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, where he
lives. He says that while the economy is ruined, Zimbabwe's 270 Jews enjoy
better personal security than in South Africa.
Owen, who requested his real name be withheld for safety reasons, was the
only resident of Zimbabwe who 10 days ago attended a large reunion in
Ra'anana for ex-Zimbabweans, organized by Telfed, the South African Zionist
"The whole idea in Zimbabwe is low profile. Don't raise your head. This is
why I don't want my name mentioned," he said at the Ra'anana Bowling Club,
where 300 Southern Africans turned out. Yet for Owen, moving to South Africa
as many Zimbabwean Jews have done over the years, is not an option. "In
Harare we can still walk and feel safe. We don't have South Africa's huge
crime problem, we can go into town and all that," he explained. As for
moving to Israel, Owen says that he will stay in Zimbabwe as long as his
children receive a good education.
"Also, I stay because it's my home - even with all the nonsense going on,"
he says in an apparent reference to the dictatorial rigging of elections and
executions of dissidents by President Robert Mugabe. At 57, Owen's one of
the youngest members of his dwindling community. "They're all old people,
and they have no access to the decision makers," he added.
Zimbabwe's Jews are too old to leave, Owen says, and outside funding is the
only way for them to survive in a failed economy afflicted by the worst
inflation rate witnessed anywhere in recent years. "You need at least a few
trillion to manage," he says - the equivalent of a few hundred U.S. dollars.
Owen relies on foreign currency to maintain a lifestyle which he calls
"affluent." Whipping out from his pocket a slim iPhone cellular device, he
browses through pictures of his spacious home in Zimbabwe - which he
jokingly calls "the only country where people like me wear Rolex watches and
get food handouts."
New York Times
Published: July 21, 2008
The brutality with which Robert Mugabe stole Zimbabwe's elections last month
embarrassed even his usual friends, allies and enablers. Unfortunately, it
has not embarrassed them enough. Unless Russia, China and South Africa can
be shamed into bringing real pressure against Mr. Mugabe and his henchmen,
quickly, he will settle in for another term of disastrous misrule.
Talks now likely to begin in South Africa this week between Mr. Mugabe's
party and that of Morgan Tsvangirai, the first-round election winner, may be
the best way to prevent that, provided they, unlike past efforts, are not
conducted on the dictator's chosen terms.
It's a promising sign that other African leaders have persuaded South Africa's
president, Thabo Mbeki, Mr. Mugabe's chief international enabler, to bring
additional, more impartial members onto his mediation team.
Success is far from certain. Sustained international pressure will be needed
to assure an acceptable outcome - either an internationally supervised rerun
of the election or a negotiated transition leading to Mr. Mugabe's swift
departure and Mr. Tsvangirai's inauguration.
Mr. Mugabe is a master at fanning racial resentments and blaming the West
for his many failures. African leaders, who have been far too tolerant of
Mr. Mugabe for far too long, will now have to press both Mr. Mugabe and Mr.
Mbeki for a fair and swift resolution.
The Bush administration must also keep pushing for action in the Security
Council. Most Council members voted for an American-drafted resolution that
would have imposed an arms embargo and tough sanctions against Mr. Mugabe's
top henchmen, only to see Moscow and Beijing cast completely unjustified
It should press ahead with its own escalating bilateral penalties,
encouraging others (in Europe, Africa and elsewhere) to do the same.
And, if the South African talks fail, it should encourage all countries to
recognize Mr. Tsvangirai as head of a legitimate government in exile.
President Bush went out of his way at the Group of Eight summit meetings to
praise Russia's new president, Dmitri Medvedev, and has granted China one of
its fondest wishes by agreeing to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing
Olympics. Russia and China still vetoed the American-backed resolution aimed
at prying Mr. Mugabe's most essential collaborators away from his
One can say that both countries' willingness to ambush the American
administration is just one of the wages of Mr. Bush's failed foreign policy.
But on Zimbabwe Mr. Bush is right, and he must keep pressing Russia, China,
Europe and Africa to do what is right.
Nearly 30 years ago, the world demanded an end to political terror and the
establishment of majority rule in Zimbabwe. Russia, China and South Africa's
then-outlawed African National Congress all played key roles in that fight.
Where are they now when Robert Mugabe has decided to defy the majority rule
that first brought him to power and rely on political terror to impose
himself as dictator-for-life? If they can't recognize that they have now
shamefully betrayed Zimbabwe's people, President Bush and the rest of the
world need to remind them.
This Day, Nigeria
By Remi Ogunmefun, 07.21.2008
When the famous Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe said that the problem of the
African continent is poor leadership, not a few people thought he was wrong.
He spoke the minds of many Africans. Observers of world trends and
developments also agree that there exists a wide difference between Africa
and the rest of the world. This is largely due to the poor status of African
leadership. The situation is so bad that information transported about us
all over the world are detestable. They are news of wars, militia
insurgencies, corruption, embezzlements of state funds and general
mismanagement. The Western media is awash with stories of famine, insecurity
and crimes in the tone that sometimes makes one wonder if anything good can
be said of us.
The fault is not from the media. It rests squarely on the shoulders of
African leaders who facilitate these sad developments. I remember the days
of the crusade for debt forgiveness which I joined through my write ups. In
return, African leaders were expected to promote good public governance and
exhibit standards of good leadership in Africa. There were even forecast
with milestones coming out of Africa at the time -a situation many of us
opined was a positive development especially under the proposed new
leadership initiative. Many Westerners, predominantly blacks, began looking
toward the African continent with great expectations hoping that Africa
would in no time catch up with the rest of the world. Alas, years after, we
are yet to catch up with them. Perhaps, the rise of colored people like
Barrack Obama has made the people of Africa to be proud and hopeful of a
better future. It is a thing of joy that a black man is about to lead the
The current development in Zimbabwe is however a total disappointment to
most of us Africans. Persons like Robert Mugabe have always given us a bad
name in the world's eyes. It is unfortunate to note that this man who was
once hailed as a symbol of new Africa has descended into this very low
estate. The reason for this is still a mystery to many of us. Many strongly
believe that Mugabe is still living in the past and so fails to understand
that no nation lives in isolation of all others. The achievements the black
people have made over the years are gradually being wiped off by his
actions. At 84 years, a time when he ought to be retired, he regrettably
still thinks that without him, a whole nation of people has no future. He
sure does not understand that the world of today is a global village, where
nations that desire progress for their people work and cooperate with one
another. He obviously does not also appreciate that the fact that although
the bush war of the Rhodesian liberation movement ended in 1980, Zimbabwe
must cooperate with the world in order to prosper.
Today, the Robert Mugabe leadership has led to the end of the well being of
his people. According to the World Health Organization, Zimbabweans have the
shortest life expectancy of 37 years for men and 34 for women. It has the
greatest percentage of orphans - 25% according to UNICEF and its annual
inflation is 1,281%. Zimbabwe is in a state of total hyper inflation. The
economy has collapsed and food shortages and internal displacement are the
order of the day. There is wide spread abuse of human rights and the rule of
the law is totally dead. Zimbabwe is technically a failed state requiring
The sad part of it is that Robert Mugabe received good education and
ordinarily should support societal development. He attended Universities in
South Africa, Oxford and the University of London. He had exposures to best
practices and the opportunity of leading a nation that is blessed with
natural resources. At one point that country was a model for Africa. For
almost forty years Mugabe has been at the head of Zimbabwe. The resultant
effect of his leadership is that a nation blessed so much is today one of
the poorest and failed nations of the world. When listened to, he talks of
the past and his willingness to go back to the bush to fight his perceived
enemies. He has no love for his people and is not concerned about their well
being. Leaders like Mugabe do more harm than good to us. They give the
continent a bad name and make the world disrespect us.
All over the world, good leaders are promoting good public governance and
cooperation among nations. A good leader must know how to work with the
world in a bid to drive and gain advantage for his people. But where we have
a leader fighting the leaders of the world, being uncooperative with
neighboring states, he would only be mocked by all and sundry. This is the
state of affairs for Mugabe and the state of Zimbabwe which unfortunately
robs off on all Africans. It is now becoming clear that our continent must
start developing rules of engagement in African nations' affairs so as to
forestall any of such ugly occurrences. There is need to publicly shun this
kind of leaders who put all us to shame. We must collectively get rid of
There is no good leader in the world that is still actively pursuing
isolationist policies. Nations must cultivate friendship of other nations
for the benefit of their people. Even the great isolationist nations of
Cuba, North Korea, Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe have all shed
their curtains and are working cooperatively with the world. It baffles me
how an African leader, with the peculiar circumstances of our continent
hopes to lead his people to prosperity by inviting the world to a fight.
This shows that Robert Mugabe is out of tune with today's realities and we
should all collectively demand that this man step down from the leadership
of Zimbabwe and stop appropriating colossal damage on the image and
credibility of Africans.
http://www1.sundaynews.co.zw/inside.aspx?sectid=1242&cat=1 (Government mouthpiece)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
HARARE - The National Employment Council for the Agricultural Industry has
announced new wages for farm workers under which the least paid Grade A1
labourer will earn $390 billion this month, up from the previous $1,5
This development came after an agreement signed on July 11 between the
General Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) and
farmer organisations that include the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) and the
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union.
An employer can, however, make an application to the National Employment
Council to be exempted or partly exempted from paying wages as stipulated in
the schedule stating the reasons why his/her application should be
All A2 workers are entitled to $396 billion per month up from last month's
The highest earning Grade C2 workers will earn $491 billion, up from last
month's $1,890 billion.
Negotiations for the review of these wages will be held to determine next
Most farm workers were now opting to be given food hampers instead of cash
as the stipulated wages were no longer enough to buy even one grocery
item. - Harare Bureau.
http://www1.herald.co.zw/inside.aspx?sectid=827&cat=1 (Government mouthpiece)
Monday, July 21, 2008
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday urged the country's security forces to remain
vigilant in the face of repeated assaults on Zimbabwe's sovereignty, and the
defence forces assured the nation that they will defend their will as
expressed in the June 27 presidential election run-off.
Cde Mugabe said Zimbabwe enjoyed peace and stability because of the security
forces' unquestionable discharge of their constitutional role of defending
the country's sovereignty as well as maintaining law and order.
"It is, therefore, incumbent on the forces to be always vigilant in the face
of repeated attempts to demean and disrespect our sovereignty," said
Cde Mugabe, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
was speaking at the presentation of prizes to winners at this year's
President's Medal Shooting Competition at the Cleveland Shooting Range in
"I am pleased that the level of discipline and professionalism displayed by
the competitors is synonymous with that displayed by our security forces in
their respective domains as well as on the international missions where they
have proved to be a cut above the rest," said Cde Mugabe.
Following President Mugabe's victory on June 27, Britain, the United States
and the European Union have been trying - but unsuccessfully so far - to
impose more sanctions on Zimbabwe through the United Nations Security
Council and install MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai as president of Zimbabwe
on the basis of the first round presidential election, in which he led.
But in his welcome remarks, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army,
Lieutenant-General Philip Sibanda - who hosted this year's event - said they
would ensure the will of the people as expressed on June 27 will not be
overturned by anyone.
He said President Mugabe's resounding victory in the run-off had left
Zimbabwe's detractors wondering what had hit them.
The detractors were doing everything possible to overturn the people's will
but the defence forces would thwart them, said Lt-Gen Sibanda.
"I would like first and foremost to congratulate His Excellency and indeed
the nation at large as well as the defence and security services for
standing solidly behind our candidate (President Mugabe) in the just-ended
"The resounding win by His Excellency left our detractors wondering as to
what had hit them. This victory is in total support of our 100 Percent
Empowerment and Total Independence as espoused by you, Your Excellency,
during the campaign for the run-off.
"Your Excellency, it is true that our detractors are very unhappy with your
victory and are doing everything possible to overturn the people's will. We
must, therefore, ensure that they do not succeed in their endeavours to
derail the aspirations of our people," said Lt-Gen Sibanda.
In a vote of thanks on behalf of Minister of Defence Dr Sydney Sekeramayi,
Cde Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of National Security, Lands, Land Reform
and Resettlement, said Zimbabwe's detractors had envisioned bloodshed in the
country in the aftermath of the elections but that had not materialised.
He said this would never happen because Zimbabweans were now aware of the
The co-operation between civilians and the defence forces as exhibited in
the competition showed Zimbabweans were a united people, said Cde Mutasa.
Dr Paul Mutuzu, CEO. Email: email@example.com
The first time, they voted with tears of blood hoping to rid their country
of a regime that has caused them untold suffering characterized by miserable
poverty, disease and flagrant human rights violations. It did not happen. It
was democracy 'African-style' where they were told that 'a mere X' would not
count since it has no power 'to fight with a gun'. They were dragged again
into another round of voting under the coercion of frightful men ready to
torture, intimidate, eliminate or decimate. The real story about how the
nation has been traumatized is still untold. The horrors live on.
Unfortunately, scores never lived to reclaim a plundered future as they were
precipitously devoured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Now the citizens are totally powerless, frustrated, confused and angered by
what is going on in the Zimbabwe. There is nowhere to turn to for help and
it is a desperate case of just hoping against hope for a citizenry whose
country has intractably veered so off the road. They are already caught up
again, suffering collateral damage emanating from protracted 'talks about
talks' to bring the belligerent parties together by way of a government of
national unity. It is a showdown on how most of those narcissistic
politicians from both sides of the aisle hype about how important they are
to the nation jostling for positions while the country continues to burn.
The sad part is that in spite of all the ongoing machinations, the ordinary
people's script of life is again being re-written by the same failed
politicians who have no clue on how to get us out of the quagmire. .
One of the tragedies of our crisis and our time is that there is a vacuum of
leadership that champions the cause of the common people. Martin Luther King
was not a politician but a civil rights leader who fought for social
justice. Where are the Marin Luthers of Zimbabwe? We all know politicians
have one common goal, to get more power and certainly more money at all
costs. We see that by their lifestyle and the wealth that they amass for
themselves yet the rest of the population agonizes e especially in Africa
and brazenly in Zimbabwe where Zanu PF party has immensely benefited its
bosses. The irony about 'Hondo yeminda' (war for land, or war on land!) and
sovereignty 'struggle' is that it has caused the displacement of 25 percent
of the population fleeing the country as political or economic refugees.
Maybe we need 'Hondo yemaComputer' as the next frontier as that will not
impoverish a nation. I strongly suspect that this whole farce about land is
a generational issue, if we are serious about poverty eradication and
national development, we need to attract seasoned commercial farmers (black
and white) the same way we attract foreign investment into the country.
Give me free land and I will say no, because its value is sacred and the
thought of putting it to economic waste causes hallucinations. In the modern
world, the last time I checked, nowhere on earth was land given for free.
South Africa is bleeding with illegal Zimbabweans who are flooding that
country every day. The economic and political environment in Zimbabwe is so
bad that if no political turnaround is achieved soon, only Mugabe and his
genuflecting cabal, his beneficiaries and those that are not able-bodied
will remain there. Hopefully South Africa will begin to wake up to the
challenges of refugee influx as social chaos makes that country
ungovernable. We already saw how barbarically xenophobic some of our
brothers and sisters are down there. Things will only get worse.
These politicians can never read the writings on the wall or the signs of a
turning tide. Clever as he is, if I were Mugabe, I would work genuinely and
tirelessly for the success of a GNU, putting away all the hubris and
intransigence that is endangering the workability of a GNU. Going that route
produces a predictable outcome than hanging on to the dictatorship. Mugabe's
legacy is tainted with numerous acts of mischief. Lately he lost an
election, whose results were doctored for six weeks before being announced,
and afterwards announced himself winner of the solo presidential runoff that
ensued and he is still 'ruling'. Moving quickly to embrace GNU will afford
him at least a quasi graceful exist because an honorable departure has had
its opportunity squandered ten to fifteen years ago. Such a decision might
also redeem him as a statesman among those who still adore him (for whatever
reason). It also gives him an opportunity to negotiate for a 'Hague' clause
in the GNU agreement that might immunize him against a furore over human
rights abuses. At the end of the day, a GNU without Tsvangirai as Prime
Minister is unthinkable, deservedly so. Tsvangirai certainly has what it
takes to extricate the country from isolationism that these Marxist
intellectual ideologues plunged us into. We do not need any more
surreptitious Chinese bribes but a bold economic recovery initiative. In any
case a GNU that makes Mugabe President literally makes him life President
assuming that the term of office extends for six more years. At the end of
his term, the man will be 90 years old and naturally geriatric disorders
would have taken a toll, end of story.
Bottom-line? It is time the common people are outraged and demand a change
of course. It is the urgency of now that should cause the people to refuse
to accept the status-quo. The country belongs more to the people than to
Mugabe and his men. It is time people confront the challenges by demanding a
working government that is accountable to its people and a quick resolution
to the crisis. It is in the citizens' interest to see to it that the
Zimbabwe they love is sacrificed for beginning to mobilize for peaceful
organized chaos. Power to the People should be the new slogan for every
freedom and prosperity-loving Zimbabwean!
By Andrew Geoghegan
I don't know if it's good fortune or the careless attitude of the border
guards that has allowed me to enter Zimbabwe four times without being
arrested. Only once have I been searched when crossing the border and then,
luckily, I had nothing to hide. On the other occasions the officials have
taken a cursory look at my passport. Their only problem has been trying to
find an empty page on which to paste the impressive looking visa.
Each time I enter the country I assume a different persona.. anyone other
than a journalist. To be accused of being a foreign correspondent is a
serious crime in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Colleagues of mine have been jailed for
weeks and suffered beatings and relentless interrogations. Understandably I'm
keen to avoid getting up close and personal with state security.
My passport betrays my repeated trips into the country, so I'm always a
little surprised and of course relieved when I'm allowed through. While
trying to look nonchalant I find my self constantly looking over my shoulder
to see if I'm being followed or at least watched.
I think some of the border guards are well aware of what I'm doing, but are
quite happy to let me go because they either don't care or they'd like to
see the back of Robert Mugabe.
It's easy to develop a false sense of security in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe's
notorious thugs work behind the scenes. It's the police roadblocks that make
me nervous. Most of the time the cops just want money. However, bribing a
police officer is no easy task in Zimbabwe. Even a small bribe can amount to
an arm-load of Zim dollars, making it somewhat obvious to anyone who cares
to take notice.
My success in being able to file radio and television stories while in
Zimbabwe is due to the extensive underground network that thrives in the
country. I've met dozens of people who've been willing to risk their own
safety to not only protect me, but also allow me to practice journalism.
Some have helped smuggle my broadcasting equipment in to the country. Others
have driven me into areas, which in retrospect may have been unwise to
visit. Many of these people are not connected to the opposition. They've
simply had enough of Robert Mugabe and long for a prosperous and democratic
As a white man moving around the country I'm fairly conspicuous ... doing so
with my cameraman Wayne McAllister was even more obvious. On my last visit
Wayne and I stayed in Harare for five days. We'd travel the same way to and
from our safe house. we had little choice, it was the only road to the city.
I was conscious that we'd pass the same people each day. would any of them
report these strangers to the authorities? Other journalists have been
caught this way.
With that threat in mind I had mixed emotions when I got word that
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had agreed to meet us for an interview.
I was excited at the prospect of a gaining a rare one on one interview with
the MDC leader, who had been in hiding. But I also realised that it would
raise the stakes considerably in our game of deception with the authorities.
We'd planned to talk to him at his house. Surely agents from the feared
Central Intelligence Office would be watching movements around the house.
Joining Wayne and I on the way to the Tsvangirai compound was Australian Jim
Holland who'd helped organise the interview. Jim Holland's wife Sekai is a
newly elected Zimbabwean senator and a close confidant of the MDC leader.
The half hour drive took us into a well to do neighbourhood in Harare's
northern suburbs. Our driver had been careful to take the backstreets just
in case we were followed. As we approached the cul-de-sac where Tsvangirai
lived my pulse raced. I could see a man standing on the corner talking on
his mobile phone. I was relieved when he waved us through. More serious
looking men stood in the street watching our arrival. all MDC security
personnel on the look out.
We quickly jumped out of our van, the large metal gate swung open and we
were ushered through. On the other side were more security men. They checked
our bags and motioned us towards a group of white people sitting in deck
chairs on the lawn. It looked as though it could have been the backyard of
any large Australian home. Tall gum trees swayed by the back fence,
manicured buffalo grass led to a pool. As I approached the group of men and
women sitting in the deck chairs I noticed they were all dressed in suits.
They stared at us as if we were interlopers crashing their afternoon
cocktail party. In a way we were. they were foreign embassy staff invited
for a briefing with Morgan Tsvangirai. Among them was the Australian
ambassador John Courtney. He greeted us warmly and was keen to know how we
got into the country. It was a jovial atmosphere, almost surreal, for as we
were talking on the other side of the city Robert Mugabe was being sworn in
as president for the sixth time.
Out from around the side of house walked Morgan Tsvangirai, dressed in a
suit and looking confident and relaxed. He greeted me warmly and Wayne and I
quickly organised ourselves for the interview. Mind you we didn't really
have much to organise, all Wayne had was a little digi-cam that many
tourists carry. I had a tiny microphone that I attached to the end of my pen
so I could follow the conversation. It must have looked as though we were
first year journalism students, but the basic equipment was enough to record
an interview of broadcast quality.
After the interview Morgan Tsvangirai met his official guests and we were
politely shown to the gate. I held my breath as we walked through, again
hoping that there wasn't someone, other than our driver, waiting for us on
the other side. We jumped in the van and off we went on a bumpy ride through
Harare's pot-holed back streets.
A day later we were on our way back to Johannesburg. Each time I leave
Zimbabwe I feel emotionally exhausted. While trying to concentrate on
getting the story there's also the worry of getting caught. But then at
least I can leave the country, millions of Zimbabweans can't afford to do so
and are forced to suffer as their country collapses around them.
The Times, SA
Published:Jul 21, 2008
The question I would like to pose to die-hard fans of Robert Mugabe is: how
long do you plan to stand by your beloved leader?- Phakeme Khumalo, by
I am shocked each time I see images of Zimbabwean women celebrating and
applauding the man.
My shock leads to deep confusion. The women smile so broadly one would swear
Mugabe was Prince Charming. An ignorant person who came across these
pictures would think things were wonderful in Zimbabwe.
As clichéd as it might sound, things are not always what they seem.
Zimbabwe is far from inspiring the world. Is there anything inspiring about
a country that embarrasses its African neighbours?
The rape, torture and dehumanisation of its people are detestable elements
of that unfortunate country.
The following adjectives describe the state of affairs in Zimbabwe:
inhumane, undemocratic, depressing, unwelcoming. I could go on.
What is the result of Mugabe's hard-headedness and heart of stone?
For one, his country is regarded as a rotten apple by foreign countries.
This status has had devastating effects socially, politically and economic
What are pro-Mugabe advocates hoping to gain by worshipping him? Why would
anyone vote for him?
I find myself forced to ask two questions: who are the people willing to
vote for Mugabe, and are they literate? It should be noted that by literate,
I mean sane.
Fortunately, there seem to be people who share my state of confusion. I am
comforted by the thought that some of these people are in positions of power
Consequently, I can only hope that they might bring about the dethroning of
Mugabe and that he will be defeated.
President Thabo Mbeki is, regrettably, excluded from this list of
This Day, Nigeria
By Paul Ohia with reports, 07.21.2008
President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has said he does not recognise the June 27
run-off in Zimbabwe in which the country's President Robert Mugabe stood as
the only candidate and was returned to power.
The opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew from the election
alleging intimidation by Mugabe.
"Africans must ensure that we anchor democracy on credible elections. We
could not recognise the run-off election as the basis of a solution to the
Zimbabwe crisis," Yar'Adua said in his first public reaction to the crisis
in the Southern African country.
President Yar'Adua, who addressed a distinguished audience of Chatham House
think tank in London during his four-day official visit, said that despite
the flaws observed in Nigerian elections, the country is committed to the
development of genuine democracy.
"Nigeria's goal is a commitment to the development of genuine democracy to
ensure that genuine democracy becomes the dominant culture that provides a
framework for development on the African continent," Yar' Adua was quoted by
inthenews.co.uk as saying.
The President said Nigeria believes in the rule of law not only within but
anywhere on the African continent.
Responding to questions about the issue of his own legitimacy, Yar'Adua said
he had laid out electoral reform plans for Nigeria in his inaugural address
and remained committed to seeing through the changes needed.
"We only deceive ourselves if we continue to pretend that post-election
(violence) is not a threat to peace and stability," he added, underlining
"our abiding belief that persistent stability cannot survive in a system
without the rule of law."
Meanwhile, moves are being made to make the opposition in Zimbabwe and the
Mugabe government arrive at a consensus but Tsvangirai refused to sign an
accord leading to talks yesterday until mediator Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's
President, has addressed some concerns.
Sources in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai might sign the document as early as today so that talks could
begin on ending an impasse with President Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF.
Yesterday, Tsvangirai's spokesman, George Sibotshiwe, said the MDC leader
would not sign until Mbeki, criticised for his failure to help end the
stand-off, ironed out concerns with parts of the memorandum, which sets out
guidelines on substantive negotiations.
"I think in principle the decision is to sign the document. We are committed
to the dialogue process," Sibotshiwe told Reuters.
"Our executive and council have already gone through the document and have
raised their concerns with the facilitator ... the onus is on the
facilitator to ensure that those things are sorted out in order for the
signing to happen within the required time."
Asked whether a signing was likely today, Sibotshiwe replied "I cannot
answer that. (Mukoni) Ratshitanga, the spokesperson for President Mbeki, is
the only person who can respond to that."
Ratshitanga said he was not aware of any plans for Mbeki to travel to
Zimbabwe "any time soon" and declined to comment on what concerns the MDC
Like Yar' Adua, the MDC has refused to recognise Mugabe's overwhelming
The stalemate has dented hopes of halting an economic crisis in Zimbabwe
widely blamed on the policies of Mugabe, who has been in power since
independence from Britain in 1980.
The meltdown has shown itself in record inflation of well above 2 million
per cent, chronic shortages of basic food and other commodities, and
extremely high unemployment.
Mugabe blames the crisis on economic sabotage by Western enemies he says
have supported the MDC as revenge for the government's seizure of
white-owned farms for blacks.
Critics say Mbeki's mediation efforts have made no progress because his soft
diplomacy is slanted in Mugabe's favour.
Tsvangirai won Zimbabwe's first-round presidential vote in March.
Official figures showed he did not get the absolute majority needed to avoid
a second-round election, but the MDC insists its leader won outright the
The East African
July 21, 2006
By JOACHIM BUWEMBO
There is this nagging Zimbabwean situation that just won't go away. But how
would it go away when most world leaders support Dr Robert Gabriel Mugabe?
He is a member of their club and that is what matters. And Mr Morgan
Tsvangirai is just a nuisance that is trying to spoil the party.
Start with the United States, which has the capability to take Bob Gabriel
out if it so wished. Consider the reasons they invaded Iraq and removed
Saddam Hussein. If Saddam was less democratic than Mugabe, that is something
they need to convince the world about. At least, the last time Mugabe won
the general election, he got the same or higher percentage score than
At least we now know the other little story of weapons of mass destruction
was just that - a story. Nobody believes it now and those who ordered the
invasion did not believe it then. So Saddam's main crime was lack of
Well, what the Zimbabwean opposition was going through during the
electioneering period by the time they chose to remain alive rather than
participate in the voting cannot be any better than what Saddam's political
opponents suffered. So for that matter, one would expect the US to mobilise
the UK and a few other rich friends to attack Zimbabwe.
The British public would actually support this invasion more than they
supported the Iraq venture, since they have far more relatives farming in
Zimbabwe than they had doing anything in Iraq. And speaking in military
terms, the goons that were killing people in Zimbabwe would present a weaker
challenge to US and UK troops than the Iraqi army did.
We can also add that the Zimbabwean population, which had given Mugabe less
votes than his main opponent in the first round of voting, would not be as
hostile to the invaders as the Iraqi population was and still is.
What is more, invading Zimbabwe would present less public-relations problems
than the Iraqi experience. You see, the Zimbabwe culture is close to the
Western one because of long-term association. Many black Zimbabweans are
Christian and a big number have English surnames.
So, you would have the ultimate humiliation that the captured Iraqi soldiers
went through. We are told some of the Iraqi prisoners cannot even testify
against their tormentors because as Muslims, they would rather suffer silent
anguish than admit, for example, some of the things American women did to
them in captivity.
What about African governments and our African Union? If they really wanted,
Africans could sort out the Zimbabwean mess in a matter of days. They all
agree there is no democracy at work in Zimbabwe and that the life of anybody
who does not support the ruling party can be snuffed out anytime.
So, why don't they deploy a force like they did in Somalia? Even with a
shortage of ready cash, there should be willing governments to send troops
like Uganda did in Somalia, until the international community contributes.
African states have in recent history intervened militarily in situations
where their interests are threatened, and now under the AU we are all
brothers and what happens in Zimbabwe is of interest to us. See what
happened in Congo.
Uganda took troops there because of Allied Democratic Front rebels, Rwanda
deployed its soldiers because genocidaires were regrouping. Angola was there
to help strengthen the government in Kinshasa. And yes, Zimbabwe too did not
hesitate to send troops to try restore democracy and sane governance in
Congo. Or did they go for other reasons? Why can't they do the same today in
When democracy was under threat in Comoros, Tanzania did not sit back. It
brandished its military might and matters were sorted out rather quickly.
So, if we got 10,000 troops from each of the SADC countries, plus another
10,000 from Kenya and Uganda each, would the anti-democracy forces in
Zimbabwe stand a chance?
In the Zimbabwean crisis, African governments have an opportunity to show
that they are serious; that they are actually relevant when it comes to
tackling political problems that easily cost thousands of lives on the
Daily Nation, Kenya
Story by KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION Correspondent and Agencies
Publication Date: 7/21/2008 HARARE, Sunday
Paul Tshuma did not waste the court's time when he pleaded guilty to
slaughtering a cow he took away from a neighbour's kraal, which he fed to
Zanu PF militants campaigning for President Robert Mugabe in last month's
one candidate presidential run-off election.
Mr Tshuma, 61 and fellow Zanu PF activists, Gabriel Ndlovu 56, Mr
Ophias Ndlovu 36, and Ncedani Khumalo, 22 were arrested over a month after
they commited the crime.
A magistrate in the southern town of Plumtree heard that ruling party
militants told the villager who was looking after the cow that they were
collecting all stray cattle on behalf of the government.
They slaughtered the cow valued at US$800 (Sh52,000) and fed it to
fellow veterans of the country's liberation war who had set up a torture
base to "re-educate" opposition supporters ahead of the poll.
In his defence, Mr Tshuma said they slaughtered the cow because the
war veterans at the base were hungry and believed the magistrate would be
lenient because the former fighters were "on national service."
His accomplices denied the charges and would now have to wait for
their time in court. The magistrate was quick to deliver his verdict and it
left Mr Tshuma sweating profusely despite the freezing temperatures in the
He was given nine years behind bars and risks spending an additional
six months in jail if he fails to pay fine of US$800.
"I am now being treated like a murderer and my comrades are nowhere to
be seen yet we were doing work for the ruling party," Mr Tshuma said as he
tried to address the magistrate who hardly showed interest in his story. "I
was too stupid not to realise that I was fighting other people's wars on the
basis of empty promises."
After securing a controversial sixth term in office through the
run-off condemned as a shame by world leaders, President Robert Mugabe is
under pressure to clean up his mess.
In the past fortnight, the long arm of the law has been catching up
with scores of Zanu PF supporters who for more than two months rampaged
through the countryside killing opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) supporters with impunity in the name of Mr Mugabe.
Mr Misheck Gora from Masvingo province, which recorded the highest
number of killings of MDC supporters, says he realised that things had
changed soon after President Mugabe's rushed inauguration just two days
after the election. "I heard that police had visited my homestead the day
after the president was sworn in saying they wanted to interview me over a
case of political violence that happened in the village," Mr Gora, who has
appeared in court on charges of malicious injury to property said.
"I quickly contacted the Zanu PF provincial office asking them to
intervene but they told me that they can not protect me because the
elections are over.
"I am now alone and I am angry because these people abused us and they
have now left us to face the people that we tormented in the name of
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe's main opposition party could sign an
agreement as early as Monday to begin substantive talks with President
Mugabe's party on ending a political impasse, opposition officials said
The apparent breakthrough came after South African President Thabo
Mbeki proposed forming a team drawn from African regional bodies and the
United Nations to help him mediate the worsening crisis in neighbouring
In another development, Zimbabwe will transfer ownership of all
foreign-owned firms that support Western sanctions against President Mugabe's
government to locals and investors from "friendly" countries, a state
newspaper reported today.
An economic crisis
The southern African state is struggling with an economic crisis many
blame on Mugabe's policies, which has left it with an inflation rate of over
2.2 million per cent and chronic shortages of food and other basic needs.
Mr Mugabe's government blames the crisis on sabotage by enemies angry
over his seizures of white-owned farms for blacks, and has followed up that
policy with another controversial law seeking to transfer majority ownership
of foreign-owned firms to locals. The Sunday Mail said preliminary results
of Zimbabwe's audit of foreign investments showed that 499 companies enjoyed
British investments. Of these, 309 had majority shareholders in Britain and
97 were wholly owned by Britons.
The audit also found 353 firms with shareholders from other European
countries, the weekly said in a story largely attributed to unnamed
The Times, SA
Published:Jul 21, 2008
After 15 years in SA, journalist Moses Mudzwiti returns to a time warp and
Returning to Zimbabwe was like riding a time machine. The idea came to me as
soon as I crossed the border at Beit Bridge.
Everything took twice as long - and even a simple biro pen became a
I had expected to meet huge numbers of desperate people wanting to cross
into South Africa, but that was not the case. Zimbabweans did what idle folk
in small towns do - stare at strangers passing by. There were no protests or
victory parades in the sleepy border town.
"Why are you coming back?" was the standard question.
For the umpteenth time I told a policeman at a roadblock: "After 15 years as
a guest in South Africa, one has no more excuses for not returning home."
"What have you brought us?" It was pathetic. The once proud and
incorruptible Zimbabwe Republic Police had been reduced to uniformed
roadside beggars. I offered some of them food, a loaf of bread, milk or a
This was enough to get me and my family through roadblocks without having to
endure a thorough search that would involve offloading all our goods.
Not that I had anything to hide. It was just the tediousness of it all.
Between the border and Harare there were at least 10 roadblocks.
By the time we arrived in Harare it was clear there was no uprising.
President Robert Mugabe was not even in the country; he had travelled to
Egypt to attend the African Union summit.
By Tuesday I had resigned myself to a boring and uneventful return.
Most things in Zimbabwe had ceased to exist as I knew them before.
Payphones were long abandoned. Zimbabwe no longer has coins.
When I first went hunting for a job in South Africa, I used a payphone to
arrange an interview with Anton Harber, then editor of The Weekly Mail
I didn't get the job, but the payphone was my salvation. In St George's
Street in Yeoville, Johannesburg, I used one to get my first break into the
newpapers, at Martin Creamer's Engineering News.
In an age of cellphones, e-mails and broadband, I never thought I would miss
the payphone. But in Harare communication is difficult. When the Zimbabwe
dollar depreciates, cell operators simply stop processing calls until new
adjusted airtime cards are available.
The other day a relative had to board a taxi and travel several kilometres
just to deliver a message from someone who had called from South Africa.
No one around here talks politics. It is almost as if nothing has happened.
The few whites I have seen aren't boisterous or aggressive. They, like the
rest of the population, are holding their breaths, probably wondering when
the madness will end.
Every day radio and television spout messages of appreciation for Mugabe.
Never mind the farce that was the election - the man is ready for a long
sixth term. There is no sign he plans to give in any time soon.
"Elections came with whites . we need to find our own way," suggested a
streetwise foreign-currency dealer.
The economic chaos has provided opportunities for small-time dealers and
petty thieves. The police say there are now many more house break-ins. There
have been reports of armed robberies and hijackings, things unheard of in
Zimbabwe in the past.
Nearly everyone here has a stash of foreign currency, which includes rands,
pounds and US dollars. These currencies are considered a hedge against the
ever-decreasing value of the Zimbabwe dollar.
I should have known. Each month for more than a decade I saved a reasonable
amount of money in a local bank. I saved millions of Zimbabwe dollars, which
soon became billions.
But the value has since been eroded. My stash has lost its value. It was
worth several thousand rand and now it translates to just R5 or R10.
Notwithstanding the madness, I am happy to be home. East or west, home is
By Our reader
Published: Monday, 21 Jul 2008
With the rustling in President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, it might be apt to
conclude that the days of the old war horse (Mugabe) is coming to a
Or is there not strife, brutalizing and killing of the opposition members,
inflation, corruption, deafness to reasons, rigging of elections and other
atrocities in that country?
It has been proved that when an evil man or government wants to expire,
he/it devises all tricks to hang on to a last lifeline.
Nigerians clearly saw it coming to the various dictators that once held them
hostage, with one of the dictators actually dying in office in ignoble
Zimbabweans may worry and be afraid of the repressive government in Harare,
but they will live to see the end of the man who has laid their country
I urge them to be optimistic.
As Zimbabwe clamps down on free speech, Gerry Jackson's British radio
station is reaching out to its most helpless citizens, writes Kim Thomas
Monday, 21 July 2008
Barely a day goes by without more bad news from Zimbabwe, whether it's the
rigged presidential election, the murder and torture of the regime's
political opponents, or the rampant inflation that has reached 2.2 million
But for people living in Zimbabwe, news is hard to come by. Broadcasters are
controlled by the state, most independent newspapers have been banned and
foreign reporters are outlawed. Impartial information about what is going on
in their own country is a rare and precious commodity.
For many Zimbabweans, one small radio station, broadcasting on shortwave
from the UK, offers the only opportunity to find out what is happening. SW
Radio Africa has been broadcasting daily to the country since 2001, and
continues to do so despite funding problems and attempts by the Zimbabwean
government to block the signal.
The station was founded by Gerry Jackson, a Zimbabwean journalist who used
to present a music programme for the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) in Harare. During the food riots of 1997, Jackson took
phone calls from concerned listeners. "People were phoning the studio all
the time asking for information, because they were hearing that cars were
being stoned. They were very worried and they didn't know where to travel.
So I just started allowing people to say what areas to avoid, which I think
in a normal country would be the accepted way of dealing with a riot
Zimbabwe is not a normal country, however. After a warning to stop taking
the calls, which she ignored, she was marched out of the studio by the
station manager, and received her formal notice a few days later. Jackson
hatched a plan to set up her own radio station, but she had to go to court
to do so. In 2000, she won her case in the Supreme Court and, on the advice
of her lawyers, acted very quickly to start broadcasting.
Within days, she had hired two members of staff, imported a transmitter from
South Africa and started broadcasting a test signal. But before the station
was even up and running, it was closed down. Jackson found out when she took
a phone call from her neighbour asking whether she was aware that there were
armed men in her garden. Paramilitaries had also surrounded the studio and -
again on the advice of her lawyers - she went into hiding.
"I was outraged - this was absurd. This was a real radio station. This was
not propaganda. This was not anti-anything - this was real radio that was
being attempted. I was very, very angry."
But she was not deterred. Determined to set up a radio station for
Zimbabweans, Jackson came to the UK and launched SW Radio Africa with a
staff of eight in December 2001. The process of setting up the station was
fraught with problems.
"Everything to do with this project has been unbelievably difficult and
continues to be unbelievably difficult," she says. Money was hard to come
by; the station has had to rely on funding from NGOs that support
independent media, such as the Open Society Institute. While the station
began by broadcasting three hours a day, a lack of cash means it is now on
air only two.
But radio remains the best medium for communicating with people in Zimbabwe.
People who don't have a television or a personal computer will generally
either own a radio or have access to one - wind-up and solar-powered devices
are popular. Shortwave is a powerful tool against dictators and despots - a
signal can travel thousands of miles, so broadcasts can be transmitted into
Zimbabwe from anywhere in the world.
Each day, SW Radio Africa broadcasts news from north London to Zimbabweans
about the events in their country. Much of it comes from people on the
ground, who talk to the station on their mobile phones or send text
messages. The station's seven journalists are on the phone to Zimbabwe all
day, says Jackson, often experiencing difficulty in getting through.
The job is extremely difficult. "You're dealing with incredible violence,"
says Jackson. "It's a very depressing story to cover on a daily basis. These
are not people you don't know - these are friends and acquaintances being
killed." Last year, Jackson had to report on the murder of a former ZBC
colleague, the cameraman Ed Chikombo.
Many people, increasingly desperate, are turning to SW Radio Africa for
help, Jackson says. "They have nowhere else to turn to. So, more and more,
they turn to the radio station and send text messages of appeal: 'I'm being
attacked - can you help me?'"
The Zimbabwean government has done its best to stop the broadcasts getting
through. In 2005, it began jamming the station's signal, with help, Jackson
believes, from the Chinese government. The station has got round this by
broadcasting on more frequencies: it is difficult and expensive to block
multiple signals, according to Bryan Coombes, the broadcast director at VT
Communications, which provides the transmission infrastructure for SW Radio
Africa. Nonetheless, the blocking of the signal is a constant concern, and
the station is now supplementing its broadcasts with SMS messages to
people's mobile phones. Currently, it sends 25,000 SMS messages a day, and
1,000 people a week are asking to be added to the service. The station also
has a website (www.swradioafrica.com) where people can listen to live and
Jackson's contacts in Zimbabwe have told her that the "small amount of hope"
the station offers is something they can hold on to. This is confirmed by
Patson Muzuwa, a Zimbabwean refugee who is in constant touch with friends
back home: "People need to know that there are other people still caring for
them out there. So many people in Zimbabwe don't know what is taking place
in Harare . Without the radio station, they wouldn't know how many people
are killed, because the state-controlled media will not publicise that."
The future, for Zimbabwe and the radio station, is uncertain. "I don't know
how long the country can keep going," Jackson says. "The economic situation
is beyond belief, and people are literally just dropping dead from hunger
now." In the meantime, she and her colleagues live with a "very Buddhist
point of view - we take it a minute at a time. We just keep going day by
by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 21 July 2008
OPINION: On 18 July, the world joined South Africans in celebrating the
birthday of former President Nelson Mandela.
Although it would be unfair to compare Mandela and Mugabe because the
social, political and economic dynamics in South Africa and Zimbabwe are
different, it cannot be denied that the circumstances and issues that
propelled the two into leadership positions were the same.
When Zimbabwe attained its independence in 1980, Mugabe was 56 and when
Mandela became President of a democratic South Africa, he was 76.
Mugabe played a critical role in the liberation struggle as did Mandela.
Both stood out as warriors in the struggle against brutal regimes that were
underpinned by undemocratic constitutional orders in which the majority were
denied civil rights.
The two can be classified as founding fathers of post-colonial states
separated by a river, Limpopo, but sharing a common heritage and confronted
by similar challenges of nation building.
The two faced the challenge of helping to shape and mould new nations
informed by a brutal and unjust past but offering a promise for brighter and
inclusive order under which the rule of law and property rights would be
respected and protected.
They both must have shared a vision for a brighter society in which they
could infuse into the new nation state all their ideals, beliefs and moral
values as well as the system they believed in.
What system of government did these two founding fathers have in mind for
the post-colonial state?
Creating a new civilisation is never an easy enterprise but the two
individuals were uniquely positioned to lead the nation-building project
with a forward looking agenda.
One cannot deny the fact that the reason Mandela is celebrated as an icon is
not ordinarily a cause for any celebration. There is no other person in the
world that has endured so much and yet been so misunderstood.
What does Mandela really believe in? What is the role of the state in the
post-colonial era? Who is an African? How can the inherited dualistic
society be transformed?
Mandela's only crime, like that of many of his colleagues including Mugabe,
was that they were fighting to end a race-based constitutional democracy in
which the majority were alienated from their political and economic
Mandela like Mugabe before him was energised during the struggle by a
socialist ideology. They were both opposed to a market-based ideology as an
instrument of transforming an unjust and unequal colonial/apartheid order.
They both believed in using the state as a reliable partner in the
enterprise to engineer social, economic and political change.
In fact, both ZANU PF and ANC believe that the national democratic
revolution can only be successfully prosecuted through the intermediation of
To the extent that Mandela is still a member of the ANC one can safely
conclude that he still shares the vision that there can be no justice
without revisiting the dark past of colonialism and apartheid.
Whereas, for instance, the founding fathers of the National Party that
introduced apartheid were the architects of institutions like Santam/Sanlam,
we see no evidence of institution building outside the state coming from
both Mandela and Mugabe.
Mandela has chosen to build philanthropic institutions around his name while
Mugabe has chosen to use the state as his private fiefdom.
Mandela retired from active politics while Mugabe sees retirement as an act
of cowardice notwithstanding the perilous state of the nation.
Mandela's cause has largely been sponsored by white people while Mugabe does
not believe that any white person can be trusted as a friend of Africa.
Mandela's time has been occupied with the defining problems of our time -
poverty and HIV-AIDS - whereas Mugabe's time has been occupied with
unleashing terror and untold suffering to his people in the name of
They both shared a common worldview that a market system could not be relied
upon as an agent for change.
Their struggles were also ideologically anchored and informed by the
unacceptable experiences and modus operandi of the colonial/apartheid state.
As the world celebrates Mandela's amazing journey from a liberation fighter
who believed in violence as an instrument for political change to a
peacemaker, humanitarian, nation builder, humble, generous even to the
people who made his life hell, better and not a bitter individual, and a
world celebrity, we cannot overlook or ignore the fact that the pace of
change even in South Africa is slow and the people with the means and more
to lose if meaningful transformation does not take place have largely
surrendered into the comfort zone choosing to believe that Mandela is their
Mugabe like Mandela was the architect of the policy of reconciliation and
yet today he stands as the bad boy of the African experience.
He comes out as a bitter, angry, cruel, tyrannical and power-obsessed
If he had chosen Mandela's path, notwithstanding the changes on the ground
in terms of creating a better and inclusive society, he would still be
regarded as a great son of Africa and perhaps competing with Mandela for the
Mandela made a choice to put the interests of the country at the centre of
everything he has chosen to do while acknowledging the constraints imposed
by age and years of suffering.
Nation building is a contestable enterprise and there are many who believe
that leaders should be pathfinders rather than cheer leaders who believe in
the power of the individual to drive the change agenda.
Mugabe believes that he alone has the wisdom to define, shape and build
Zimbabwe's future with citizens as the beneficiaries.
He believes that he is a perpetual victim of white conspiracy and refuses to
defend his record without pointing a finger at someone.
Mandela unlike Mugabe understood that there is a time for everything.
There was no point in him monopolising the political space or deluding
himself into believing that he was indispensable to the change agenda.
His life is being celebrated because it only takes an extraordinary
individual to have a generosity of spirit and the courage to accept that
justice and freedom will not come from looking at the past but in
challenging the present generation to invest in the change they want to see.
Mugabe still has to accept that too much intervention and manipulation can
be poisonous to social and economic change.
Mandela was smart enough to realise that nation building required a new
spirit and instruments.
Mandela's famous words at the Rivonia Treason Trial still ring true today.
It is important as we celebrate the life of a remarkable African that we
stop, pause and critically examine what he had to say when he and his
colleagues stood accused for advocating for a better African civilisation.
This is what he said:
"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African
people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against
I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all
persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.
It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it
is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
I have no doubt that Mugabe believes that Mandela, by choosing to retire
before the eradication of the ills of apartheid, effectively betrayed the
ideals of the struggle.
If one listens carefully to Mugabe's worldview it is obvious that he still
holds the view that retiring into celebrity status when access to economic
resources including land have not been democratised is counter revolutionary
and not cause for any celebration.
Mugabe believes that Zimbabwe like South Africa belongs to black citizens
and white citizens must never be made to feel comfortable in the
The citizenship laws of Zimbabwe as well as the land are instructive.
Mugabe believes that his residual interest in remaining in power is to
complete the economic empowerment project that has been dubbed "100 percent
black empowerment", meaning that there is no room for any white person ever
dreaming of being part of the project and yet their individual and corporate
income still accounts for the majority of the government's tax revenues.
At 90, Mandela cannot be rationally expected to be actively engaged in the
struggles of the time but as the Zimbabwean crisis unfolds, an expectation
is generally shared that he should say something about the situation in
which black domination led by Mugabe and his colleagues seems to be the
order of the day.
In 1956, Mandela held the view that white domination should be condemned as
should black domination.
However, successful nation building compels leaders to add their voices when
the very values they stand for are being manipulated for political
It would be beneficial to know where Mandela stands on the key issues that
challenge Africa's development prospects.
On the rule of law and respect for property rights, we may never know
whether Mandela's inner and personal views are any different from those held
Mugabe holds the view that sovereignty is more important than democracy and
the right to property must be historically defined and discretionary.
While Mandela has condemned xenophobia, it is significant that South Africa
at 14 years old has begun to exhibit symptoms of hate and negativity.
The rainbow concept of a post-apartheid South Africa has generally been
embraced without any careful thought on the obligations inherent in building
and sustaining such a society on citizens.
While the celebrations are taking place on the extraordinary life of
Mandela, citizens are more economically insecure and politically vulnerable.
If Zuma can be subjected to what he believes to be unjust treatment by a
government he helped create while Mandela is still alive, what hope exists
for lesser souls?
The world now knows where Mugabe stands on democracy, rule of law, property
rights and race.
We may not like what he says but it is important to understand the man
before he dies so that future generations can have a reference point to
Unfortunately, Mandela may have decided to suppress his own views on what
kind of South Africa he wants to see.
The world may never know the real feelings of the free Mandela and whether
he is satisfied at the state of the nation.
Both Mandela and Mugabe found themselves at the defining moment in the
development of their respective countries. They have both made different
choices with different consequences.
Africa's future must be located in the minds and hearts of the generality of
its citizens and whereas leaders may have the knowledge of the past, the
future ought to belong to those who see it as a product of their actions.
Leaders have a role to play and in the case of Zimbabwe the results are
known but in the case of South Africa the future will tell unless citizens
take urgent steps to take ownership of their destinies. - ZimOnline