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

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FACTBOX-Main recommendations of U.N. report on Zimbabwe
Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:47 AM ET

UNITED NATIONS, July 22 (Reuters) - Following are the main recommendations
of a U.N. report released on Friday on Operation Restore Order, a campaign
launched by Zimbabwe's government with the stated goal of cleaning up its

The report by Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the executive director of the
Nairobi-based U.N.-Habitat, called on the government to immediate halt its
bulldozing of shantytowns, which it said was being carried out in "an
indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human

-- The government should urgently launch a broad humanitarian aid campaign,
with help from the United Nations and the international community.

-- The top priority of the relief campaign should be the more than half a
million people who have been evicted. The campaign should stress affordable
housing, water and sanitation, and small-scale income-generating activities.

-- The government should revise its outdated housing and planning laws to
reflect the social, economic and cultural realities facing the poor, the
majority of the population.

-- The government must launch consultations with civic groups and set up a
compensation fund to help restore a climate of trust and dialogue with the
people, a process that could be aided by the United Nations.

-- The government must take steps to reform its economy to bring it "more in
line with a rapidly globalizing world economy." Among needed actions are
land reform -- including a meaningful compensation program for commercial
farmers whose lands have been confiscated, a transparent land allocation
program and support services for small farmers.

-- "The people and government of Zimbabwe should hold to account those
responsible for the injury caused by the operation." However, it appears
there was no collective decision to launch the campaign. "Evidence suggests
it was based on improper advice by a few architects of the operation."
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TEXT-UN chief Annan's statement on Zimbabwe demolitions
Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:42 AM ET
UNITED NATIONS, July 22 (Reuters) - Following is the text of a statement
from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday in response to a sharply
critical report he commissioned on Zimbabwe's demolition of shantytowns in
urban areas.

"I have received the report of my special envoy on human settlement issues
in Zimbabwe, Mrs. Anna K. Tibaijuka, based on her recent visit to the
country. I wish to congratulate her on this exhaustive report, and also to
thank the Government of Zimbabwe for the full cooperation she received.

"It is a profoundly distressing report, which confirms that "Operation
Murambatsvina" has done a catastrophic injustice to as many as 700,000 of
Zimbabwe's poorest citizens, through indiscriminate actions, carried out
with disquieting indifference to human suffering. I call on the Government
to stop these forced evictions and demolitions immediately, and to ensure
that those who orchestrated this ill-advised policy are held fully
accountable for their actions.

"Criticism, while fully justified, is not enough. We have a duty to help
those in need. In keeping with the recommendations of my envoy, the United
Nations will urgently seek agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe to
mobilize immediate humanitarian assistance on the scale that is required to
avert further suffering. I urge the international community to respond
generously to this call. For its part, the Government must recognize the
virtual state of emergency that now exists, allow unhindered access for
humanitarian operations, and create conditions for sustainable relief and

"Once the most acute human needs are addressed, the United Nations will play
its part, and give whatever help it can, in implementing the report's other
recommendations. Among these is the call for dialogue between the Government
of Zimbabwe, domestic constituencies and the international community with a
view to working together to address Zimbabwe's serious social, economic and
political problems.

(ends text)
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UN castigates Zimbabwe's bulldozing of urban poor
Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:16 PM ET
By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, July 22 (Reuters) - The United Nations on Friday told
Zimbabwe to halt its inhumane bulldozing of urban slums that has left
700,000 people homeless or jobless and affected 2.4 million others.

A sharply critical 100-page report, commissioned by Secretary-General Kofi
Annan, says the government's razing of shantytowns, begun in mid-May, was
"carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference
to human suffering."

"The scale of suffering is immense, particularly among widows, single
mothers, children, orphans, the elderly and disabled persons," said the
report by Tanzanian Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, director of the Nairobi-based
U.N.-Habitat agency.

She said some 700,000 people had lost either their homes or livelihoods or
both in the demolitions, which have affected another 2.4 million people in
one way or another.

The Zimbabwean government has dismissed criticisms of the crackdown,
officially dubbed "Operation Restore Order," saying it was intended to fight
black market trading and lawlessness in unplanned communities around the

On Thursday, Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said, "The
report described the operation in vastly judgmental language which clearly
demonstrates its inbuilt bias against the operation."

He told a news conference in the capital, Harare, that to allege that the
operation violated national and international legal frameworks "is
definitely false."

But the U.N. survey, the first detailed study of the destruction, does not
fault President Robert Mugabe, although it says his government was
collectively responsible and should investigate. The study suggested the
operation was based on "improper advice" by a few people.


Tibaijuka, who spent two weeks in Zimbabwe, told a news conference it was
not up to her to assign blame.

"President Mugabe was obviously concerned about what happened," said
Tibaijuka. "It was very clear that here was a leader who wanted to leave
this behind him."

Still, her report breaks the silence in the United Nations over Zimbabwe.
The African Union has not commented and the United States and European
countries have tried without success to put the issue on the U.N. Security
Council's agenda.

Both Tibaijuka and Annan said Zimbabwe should stop the demolitions and
called on the world to mobilize relief assistance for the homeless.

"I call on the government to stop these forced evictions and demolitions
immediately, and to ensure that those who orchestrated this ill-advised
policy are held fully accountable for their actions," Annan said in his own

Tibaijuka said that regardless of the motive for the evictions, the end
result turned out to be a "disastrous venture."

The ill-conceived action, the report said, put an additional economic burden
on the southern African nation, where more than 70 percent of the population
is unemployed, and food and fuel are in short supply.

Zimbabwe is saddled with foreign debt of about $4.5 billion and has been
seeking a $1 billion loan from South Africa. But Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,
South Africa's deputy president, is believed to have refused to bail out
Zimbabwe unless Mugabe stops the demolitions.

Mugabe, 81, who has held power since independence from Britain in 1980, says
Zimbabwe is being punished by opponents of his land reform program, in which
the government seized white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.

But Zimbabwe's opposition contends the campaign is aimed at breaking up its
strongholds among the urban poor and forcing them into rural areas where
they can be more easily controlled by chiefs sympathetic to the government.

African members of the Security Council as well as China had opposed drawing
attention to the Zimbabwe crisis. Britain on Friday suggested asking for
Tibaijuka to address the 15-member body next week. China and Algeria said
they first had to consult their governments, council members said.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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UN report biased, hostile and false, Zim says
          July 22 2005 at 06:52PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's foreign minister said on Friday a United Nations
report criticising a crackdown on the country's shantytowns and informal
traders was hostile, biased and wrong.

      "The report described the operation in vastly judgmental language
which clearly demonstrates its inbuilt bias against the operation," Foreign
Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told a news conference in the capital

      "The report's allegations that the operation was carried out in a
manner that violates national and international legal frameworks is
definitely false."

      The report released on Friday told President Robert Mugabe's
government to halt its indiscriminate bulldozing of urban slums, calling the
operation a "disastrous venture" that had cost 700 000 people their homes or
jobs and affected 2,4 million others.

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      Millions in Zimbabwe Face Humanitarian Crisis, Says UN Relief Official
      By Lisa Schlein
      22 July 2005

A senior U.N. official has condemned Zimbabwe's so-called urban clean-up
campaign, which has left tens of thousands of people homeless, and accused
the government of Robert Mugabe of hurting the lives of hundreds of
thousands of people.

      Jan Egeland
United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland says Zimbabwe is
likely to become a major crisis that the world will soon have to deal with.
He says 70 percent of working people are without jobs, millions are
suffering from food shortages and many of them will have to be fed on a
daily basis by aid agencies.

He says one-quarter of Zimbabwe's adult population is HIV positive, and one
million of the country's 1.3 million orphans have lost one or both parents
to AIDS.

Mr. Egeland says the government has driven hundreds of thousands of poor
people out of their slum dwellings as part of its so-called urban clean-up
campaign. He says tens of thousands of homeless people are sleeping on the
streets in freezing temperatures.

"We did not need another few hundred-thousand people to care for as
humanitarians, but it has been produced, and it was manmade by the
government," he said. "Our appeal is stop it immediately, and help us help
you and your population in Zimbabwe."

A new United Nations report says as many as two million people have been
affected by this slum clearance campaign. It calls the government's policy
disastrous and inhumane. When President Robert Mugabe initiated the campaign
in May, he said the government was doing it to rid urban areas of criminal

Mr. Egeland says U.N. and private aid agencies have been feeding between one
million and two million people in Zimbabwe this year, but that figure, he
says, is likely to increase.

He says that, earlier this year, the United Nations appealed for $90 million
in aid for Zimbabwe, but, so far, the United Nations has received only 11
percent of the money it asked for.

Mr. Egeland attributes much of this poor response to donors' unwillingness
to contribute to a government whose practices they find distasteful.

He says African countries should put more pressure on the Zimbabwean
government. "I think African countries could be much more outspoken on their
brothers next door. I think so," he said. "It does not need to be rocket
science to see that the policies are wrong, and that they are hurting the
people of this country and other countries, and it is hurting the

But Mr. Egeland said, whatever the government's policies, the international
community should remember that withholding money will not punish President
Mugabe, but the people will suffer.
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Global Politician

      My Meetings With Zimbabwean Opposition
      Jan Lamprecht - 7/23/2005
      South African President Thabo Mbeki once again hoodwinked Zimbabwean
Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai. South African Foreign Minister
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Foreign Minister has recently defended Mugabe
and "Quiet Diplomacy" - which is a misnomer, since in reality it is Quiet
Support for Mugabe. She says that nothing will change. They claim that "Loud
Diplomacy failed as well". Absolutely! I've been saying all along that
diplomacy is going to fail with Mugabe. The only thing that will work is
violence. All he understands and respects is force. Right now, he thinks
arrogantly that he has a monopoly on the use of force.

      Tsvangirai claims Mbeki whispered in his ear that things will change.
I have no doubt that Tsvangirai is telling the truth, and that Mbeki did
indeed whisper in his ear.

      But Mbeki is also a pathalogical liar. Mbeki has not said publicly
that he is going to change anything. And if he does not say it clearly in
public, and the governmentt doesn't say so openly, then it is all just

      The MDC is once again falling for South African trickery. The South
African government is standing firmly by Mugabe.

      The reason Mbeki is willing to lie to Tsvangirai's face is his belief
that the MDC's days are numbered. Mugabe is out to finish them off, and
leading circles in both Zimbabwe and South African have already written the
MDC's obituary.

      Of course, it need not be that way. The MDC and the Zimbabweans can
show spirit, and fight the corrupt elites.

      Zimbabweans must not rely on the ANC to save them. It won't happen. I
believe, the ANC will save Mugabe. Mbeki will prop up Mugabe to the bitter
end even if the South African Army and Air Force have to get involved. The
ANC is willing to shoot Zimbabweans who oppose Mugabe, if that is what it
will take to keep him in power.

      In my discussions with Zimbabwe opposition members, I learned that
they tried to court the ANC. I am thinking in particular of a certain
person, whom I think it is not best to name because of the things she is up
to in Zimbabwe. This particular Zimbabwean woman and I had breakfast with
one day, told me that she had a lot of close contacts in the ANC. She said
she would approach them because she was sure they would be sympathetic to
her cause. I disagreed with her, as I have disagreed with all Zimbabweans
who told me they were going to make contact with the ANC.

      I remember, too, Zimbabwean men who made friends with someone
extremely high-ranking in the ANC. The man they befriended was very high
up - as I recall he was closely associated with President Mbeki's office.
They told me of his support, and his influence in the ANC. But to my
knowledge, not one of these plans ever worked out.

      The Zimbabweans I knew, engaged in a lot of diplomatic activity, and
they tried to meet many different people in the ANC and its associated
structures. Not one positive thing ever came from it.

      Because of various events that occurred, the ANC threatened to ban the
one group of protesting Zimbabweans. It happened when one day, they phoned
me, and said that Mugabe's wife was in South Africa. They asked me for
advice, which I gave them. Later, the ANC intercepted my emails discussing
this incident with Mugabe's wife which occurred at Caesar's palace in
Johannesburg. They then hauled the Zimbabweans in for questioning, and
hounded and threatened them for several weeks before leaving them alone.
They threatened to ban them here in South Africa if they did not behave
themselves. They even told the Zimbabweans to stop protesting for several
weeks while they "made up their minds" about what to do with those who were
imprisoned. Later, protests were allowed once again, presuming that the
demonstrators don't step out of line.

      The ANC used my intercepted communications to drive these Zimbabweans
away from me. I know the ANC had many secret meetings with these Zimbabweans
afterwards, and I cannot write here what was discussed. The ANC had hauled
them over the coals for daring to tell me about the first meetings they had.
So later they just became more and more vague about the actual nature of the
discussions with the ANC. By then I was fed up and did not press the issue
any more either. I take my hat off to the ANC because not long afterwards
they lied to me, and the Zimbabwe opposition members stole a lot of money
from me, and I parted company with them for good.

      But I stand by the things I told the Zimbabweans. I never lied to any
Zimbabweans and I never cheated them either. I helped them as much as a
single person can, a person who only earns a salary. I do believe that the
advice I gave them will stand the test of time. In the end, it was the ANC
who did the lying and not me.

      Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia,
during the "Bush War", which resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to power. He
was educated in Harare, the capital of the country, before leaving for South
Africa, where he spent some time in the Navy. He wrote a book called
"Government by Deception" about African politics related to Zimbabwe and the
effects Mugabe's policies may have on other countries.

      He publishes a popular, highly "politically-incorrect" web site

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Global Politician

      ANC Supports Mugabe, Plays MDC For Fools
      Jan Lamprecht - 7/22/2005
      Is Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC a fool
himself or is he just surrounded by fools as advisors? Or does a secret
cabal of Robert Mugabe's infiltrators interfere with the decision-making of
the Movement for Democratic Change?

      I find it extremely hard to believe that the South African government
is going to save Zimbabwe. Everyone knows South Africa has the power to save
Zimbabwe, and I find myself continually reminding people that the ANC is not
what it appears to be. They are every bit as fake as Robert Mugabe. The ANC
is quite happily supporting and endorsing what the Zimbabwean government is
doing. Why, for example, haven't we heard official protests out of South
Africa about the evictions in Zimbabwe? It's been a headliner in all South
African newspapers across the country. It's been on every radio and TV news
bulletin. Everyone in South Africa knows about Mugabe's despicable acts of
the last few weeks. Our church leaders have protested. So why is our
government silent?

      We did hear, in the past, the Labor Minister from South Africa lauding
"Land Reform" in Zimbabwe, and saying that "we could learn from Zimbabwe how
to do it!"

      Former SA Ambassador to Zimbabwe was on SABC-TV news recently talking
about "Quiet Diplomacy". He said things along the lines of: "Yes, we liaise
quietly with the Zimbabwean government all the time..." He really made it
sound as if there was lots of quiet cooperation. Quiet diplomacy is nothing
other than quiet support for Mugabe.

      Zimbabwe could rot in hell for all the ANC cares. Mugabe could kill
millions of Black Zimbabweans and the South African government wouldn't
care. The ANC is completely unmoved by the human suffering in that country.

      If there were any uprising in Zimbabwe, which truly threatened
Mugabe's power base, the very next morning, you would see South African
armored vehicles, helicopters and aircraft streaming into Zimbabwe to prop
up Mugabe's regime.

      Do you remember how under the South Africa invaded Lesotho a few years
ago? Overnight armored vehicles were busy shooting in the Lesotho capital.
Don't think that the ANC's trigger finger isn't functioning. You'll see it
function the minute the ANC feels Mugabe is in danger.

      The ANC has said in the past that it supports "regional stability"
with regard to Zimbabwe. What this means is that they support Mugabe and are
not interested in regime change. Mbeki has said this to George W. Bush to
his face.

      If Tsvangirai and the MDC are waiting for the South African government
to come riding in on a white horse to save them, they're going to be waiting
until eternity. It will not happen.

      But what has happened in the past is that Mugabe and Mbeki have played
the MDC for fools by leaking lies and deliberately creating false hopes.
They have made a few simple posturing moves which created false expectations
of hope among members of the opposition, which were quashed as soon as
international pressure subsided.

      What the MDC does not seem to realize is that Mugabe is busy
destroying them, and trying to stamp out the last bit of support for them.

      The MDC will be dead if they continue to live with their heads in the
clouds thinking that:

      a) Mugabe can be brought down through the ballot box.
      b) The ANC really supports true democracy in Zimbabwe.
      c) The ANC actually cares about the suffering of Black people in
      (The people of South Africa have yet to make the shocking discovery
that the ANC doesn't care about democracy here either, but that's another

      Until the MDC adjusts to the reality, they will continue to fail, and
be outmaneuvered by Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki who manage, with relative ease,
to play one confidence trick after another on the MDC and to leave them
empty-handed, looking like idiots each time.

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Govt "forced " to allow fuel stations to trade in US currency

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 22 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Fuel and foreign currency shortages have
forced the Zimbabwean government to allow service stations to sell fuel in
US currency, according to economists.

Almost all sectors of the economy have been grounded by the unprecedented
crisis. The foreign currency deficit has prevented the country from
procuring fuel on international markets or servicing its ballooning debts.

In a monetary review statement, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono said a
number of service stations have been selected to sell fuel in hard currency
from 1 August. Petrol (gasoline) will cost US $1 per litre.

Gono also announced other measures to encourage the flow of foreign currency
into the Zimbabwean economy.

He said individuals and companies with offshore accounts should repatriate
their money and open accounts in the country, and assured them that they
would not be prosecuted for externalising foreign currency.

"Holders of free funds offshore sources are, therefore, with immediate
effect, free to bring in imports, particularly those of a productive nature,
on a no-questions-asked basis," Gono declared.

Describing the new measures as an attempt to flush out foreign currency,
economist John Robertson commented, "The authorities have exhausted options
to control the flow of foreign currency into Zimbabwe - they are accepting
the existence of the parallel currency."

Harare owes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) more than US $300 million,
but Gono said the country had stepped up efforts to reduce its arrears,
making a payment of US $9 million per quarter.

He did not mention the US $1 billion loan that Zimbabwe has requested from
South Africa to help the country import fuel and food - and service its
foreign debt, amid fears that it faces the chop from the IMF.

The Central Bank also devalued the Zimbabwean dollar by almost 40 percent on
Thursday, from around Zim $10,000 to $17,500 to the US dollar.

Despite apparent hostile trends in the economy, Gono said inflation -
currently at 163.4 percent - would start falling in September and be reduced
to double-digit figures by the end of the year.

Gono's monetary review statement has been met with mixed feelings. While
industrialist Anthony Mandiwandza described it as a "commendable move in the
right direction", the economic advisor to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Eddie Cross, thought otherwise.

Although he welcomed the devaluation, Cross said he felt it fell far short
of a realistic level for the Zim dollar.

"It was long overdue, but I think the Reserve Bank should have devalued the
currency to Zim $25,000 to one US dollar instead of the Zim $17,500," he

Both Robertson and Cross voiced concern that allowing fuel to be sold for
hard currency would encourage the parallel money market.

"The move will certainly boost supplies - and it's a commendable one to
those with foreign exchange - but my fear is that it will fuel the black
market, as people will surely buy the US dollar on the parallel market to
buy the fuel if it is not available in other normal stations," Cross noted.

Robertson said service stations might also be encouraged to sell fuel
selectively to customers paying in the US currency.

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Displaced cleared from transit centre

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 22 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Armed soldiers and Zimbabwean police on
Friday blocked the road to Hellensvale, a transit camp north of the second
city, Bulawayo, as authorities ordered those displaced by the government's
urban cleanup operation out of their shelters.

The roadblock, half a kilometre from the camp, prevented IRIN's
correspondent from reaching Hellensvale. "I'm sorry, you cannot proceed,
just return to where you come from if you don't want trouble," IRIN was

Behind the security detail a thick cloud of dust and smoke could be seen
rising into the air while heavily laden trucks rumbled out of the camp,
reportedly to offload people in their rural home areas.

The government announced on Thursday that Hellensvale and Caledonia Farm, a
much larger transit centre outside the capital, Harare, would be closed
down. The people made homeless by the government's widely condemned cleanup
blitz would either be returned to their now demolished townships, or
transported to their rural home areas.

"We don't want our people to continue living in such camps, so that is why
we are closing them," Local Government and Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo
told the displaced at Caledonia Farm on Thursday. "They should cease to
exist, and on Saturday they should be history - all those with rural areas
will be taken there."

A large number of the 4,500 displaced at Caledonia Farm had come from
Hatcliffe, a settlement demolished by the police in June, even though many
of the residents had held valid lease agreements.

"Those with stands and have their allocation papers in order at Hatcliffe
should go back, and those with proof that they were employed. But those that
have never applied for a house are going to their rural areas," Chombo

In Bulawayo, where two major squatter camps were razed by the police,
officials said none of the 750 people cleared from Hellensvale would be
allowed back into the city.

Chombo told the homeless that arrangements had been made with chiefs for
those relocating to the rural areas to be allocated land for resettlement,
and some food would be made available upon arrival.

"Chiefs will welcome you with a bucket of maize for food, and you will be
given land to farm and set up your homesteads," he announced.

The rural areas have been hard hit by yet another drought, with some 4.5
million people expected to be in need of food aid this year.

About 375,000 people were affected by the demolition programme that began by
targeting informal settlements and markets in May. Thousands of children
have dropped out of school and the humanitarian community has also expressed
grave concern for the plight of the vulnerable - the elderly, sick, orhpans
and people living with HIV/AIDS.

The government said Operation Murambatsvina ('Clean Out Garbage') was "to
rid the capital of illegal structures, businesses and criminal activities",
which also posed a health risk. Many people affected chose to stay in their
communities, some forced to sleep out in the open, rather than go to the
transit centres.

A report by the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, who
visited Zimbabwe for two weeks, is believed to be sharply critical of the
cleanup campaign.

Meanwhile, the government said its rebuilding programme, Operation
Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle ('Stay Well'), aimed at constructing houses for the
urban poor affected by the demolitions, was underway.

In Bulawayo the authorities have begun clearing land and allocating some
stands, although it was unclear what selection criteria were being used to
clear the massive backlog on the city's waiting list for housing.

Sceptics have questioned the government's capacity to finance the US $300
million project.

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      Report puts pressure on Zimbabwe

            By Justin Pearce
            BBC News, Johannesburg

      United Nations envoy Anna Tibaijuka may have sounded diplomatic when
she arrived in Zimbabwe three weeks ago - but anyone who thought that her
report would tread softly around President Robert Mugabe would have been

      Her report, leaked to the Associated Press before its official
release, declares that recent evictions and housing demolitions in Zimbabwe
were performed "in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with
indifference to human suffering".

      Mr Mugabe's critics in the West - notably Tony Blair - will see the
report as confirmation of what they already believe, while African leaders
who have been hesitant to condemn Mr Mugabe may now feel it is time to speak

      When Ms Tibaijuka began her visit, Mr Blair said that the UN Security
Council ought to debate Zimbabwe once the UN envoy had presented her report.

      The content of the report is such that Mr Blair is unlikely to change
that point of view. The United States is likely to support the British

      South African reaction

      Less predictable, and more crucial, will be the reaction from South
Africa - the regional economic and political powerhouse - to Ms Tibaijuka's
condemnation of its troubled northern neighbour.

      South African President Thabo Mbeki has been under fire both from the
Zimbabwean opposition and from critics at home, who argue that Mr Mbeki's
approach of "quiet diplomacy" amounts to nothing more than the appeasement
of a despot.

      Previously, analysts have attributed Mr Mbeki's behaviour to his
desire not to upset a man who is the last liberation-era leader still in
office in Southern Africa.

      The South African president did not join in the Western condemnation
of the expropriation of white farmers, beginning in 1999, which Mr Mugabe
sought to portray as a plan to empower landless black peasant farmers.

      Now, however, indications are that images of the widespread demolition
of homes and the suffering of thousands of poor, black civilians have
finally pushed the limits of South Africa's tolerance.

      Three weeks ago, Mr Mbeki's spokesman told the BBC that it was wrong
to think that the South African president had been silent on the issue of
Zimbabwe, and that South Africa would be considering Ms Tibaijuka's report
once it appeared.

      The fact that the report was commissioned by Ghanaian Kofi Annan and
authored by Tanzanian Ms Tibaijuka will make it easier for Mr Mbeki to
associate himself with its findings without appearing to have climbed onto a
Western-led anti-Mugabe bandwagon.

      But since then, another development has raised the stakes for Mr

      South African officials confirmed that only last week, Zimbabwe sought
a substantial loan from South Africa in an attempt to rescue an economy that
is on the brink of complete collapse.

      More recently, Zimbabwean officials were quoted as saying that the two
countries had signed a memorandum of understanding regarding a loan

      There has been speculation in South Africa that Mr Mugabe will attach
conditions to any possible loan: perhaps a demand for an end to housing
evictions, and talks between Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

      "South Africa can attach some political leverage to providing
financial assistance to Zimbabwe - and in this manner possibly fashion a
constructive political and economic path for our neighbour," economist
Goolam Ballim told Business Day newspaper.

      China factor

      But the increased leverage that South Africa may gain through such a
deal is weakened by the fact that Mr Mugabe has other options for a

      Mr Mugabe is expected to visit China shortly, where he is also
expected to seek a loan.

      Reports that a shortage of aviation fuel could delay his visit are a
sign of just how bad things have become in his country, where fuel for cars
and public buses has been almost unavailable for months.

      But China - a country where ethical considerations appear to count for
little in foreign policy - is keen to access metals such as chrome and
platinum that are mined in Zimbabwe.

      The question is whether cash from a major economic power on the other
side of the world will count for more than Mr Mugabe's relationship with his
closest neighbour.

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Mugabe to nurture ties in East
22/07/2005 20:04  - (SA)

Fanuel Jongwe

Harare - Shunned by his former friends in the West, Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe will visit China from Saturday as he forges ahead with his
"Look East" policy to foster new relations with Asian nations.

Mugabe, who last visited China in 1999, is expected over six days to hold
talks with senior leaders including his counterpart Hu Jintao.

Following sanctions and isolation from Western countries over the political
crisis in the country, Zimbabwe has turned to Asia, seeking to buttress
political and trade relations in particular with China, Malaysia and

"We have turned east where the sun rises and given our backs to the west
where the sun sets," said Mugabe in April.

Zimbabwe reaps no benefits

However, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) economic
affairs spokesperson Tapiwa Mashakada said Zimbabwe would not reap any
benefits from Mugabe's trip.

"If previous trips are anything to judge by, there is nothing we can benefit
from the trip in terms of bringing our country out of its current economic
quagmire," said Mashakada.

Zimbabwe has signed several agreements with China in recent years including
a deal that the Zimbabwean government says includes receiving 1 000 buses
from China to take a 75% share of the urban transport sector.

But Mashakada said the "Look East" policy was a case of "going backwards and
looking in one direction while the rest of the world is forging links and
taking an integrated approach to economic development".

Zimbabwe not a pariah state p>University of Zimbabwe lecturer Joseph Kurebga
said Mugabe's trip would show even after severing ties with the United
States and the European Union, Zimbabwe was not a pariah state.

"The visit which is in the spirit of the 'Look East' policy will demonstrate
to the world we are not that much isolated," Kurebga said.

"The government has been able to show it still has friends."

In April, Zimbabwe's national airliner took delivery of two MA60 passenger
planes bought from the Chinese state-owned AVIC aircraft manufacturer and
received a third plane as a gift.

The Southern African country had earlier received six Chinese-made Karakorum
(K-8) military trainer jets.

A special parliamentary committee in Zimbabwe heard in June last year that
the defence ministry had bought 12 jets and 100 military vehicles from

Economists have warned the "Look East" policy could push local manufacturers
out of business because of the influx of low-price Chinese goods, referred
to as "zhing zhongs", which are flooding Zimbabwe.

"We are shooting ourselves in the foot by allowing the flooding of our
markets by Chinese goods because at the end our own industries will
collapse," Mashakada said.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn over the past five years
characterised by high unemployment and poverty levels as well as galloping
inflation and foreign currency and fuel shortages.
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Chinese Begging Bowl

      22 July 2005

      Most people would be a little embarrassed to have to go around the
world on a begging trip - but not Mugabe. Not content with asking South
Africa for US$1 billion, the dear leader is heading off to China to ask for
the same amount.
      A senior source in the government is quoted as saying: "He is going to
China to ask for new help that is not linked to the discussions currently
under way between South Africa and Zimbabwe."
      A Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe official said the loan request to China
would be made in exchange for huge mining and farming concessions. One news
report says that Mugabe wants the Chinese established in the mining sector,
particularly in the platinum industry which is dominated by the South
      Seems like a good enough reason for South Africa NOT to help him out.

      If Mugabe gets all he wants from both South Africa and China, he will
have US$2 billion at his disposal, enough to keep the International Monetary
Fund happy and import food, fuel and electricity for the whole year. That
amount might also help buy a few more pairs of Ferragamo shoes for the first
lady (apparently she's quite keen on Ferragamo due to the slimness of her

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Victims cry foul over stand allocations

      By Lance Guma
      22 July 2005

      Weeks after being evicted from their homes many victims of operation
'murambatsvina' have expressed outrage at the manner in which the few new
stands available are being allocated to Zanu PF supporters.

      Themba Ndlovu who lost his home in Bulawayo says the non-Constituent
Member of Parliament representing Zanu PF, Mr Satiya, has been tasked with
compiling the list of beneficiaries for the Bulawayo area. Predictably the
list is stuffed with known Zanu PF supporters, while those from the MDC are
being excluded.

      Ndlovu says he confronted officials over the omission of his name from
the list and was bluntly told he supported the wrong party. Others are
simply being told the waiting list has 12 000 people, when in fact
application forms are being distributed within Zanu PF structures. Another
victim, Dongwana Ngwenya, a vocal MDC sympathizer, has also been left out
leading to conclusions that Mugabe's regime is diluting the urban population
with its own supporters. Opposition supporters on the other hand are being
forced into the rural areas where feared youth militia and chiefs are
expected to keep an eye on them.

      In another example of the patronage system being used the National
Railways of Zimbabwe has apparently tasked a war veteran known only as
Sandayedza to compile a list of employees who should benefit from a
relocation scheme for new houses. Its Westgate complex in Bulawayo has been
designated an industrial area and tenants are to be offered new stands
elsewhere. Instead of moving everyone, officials are drawing up a list of
known Zanu PF members who will take up the new stands.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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SA refuses to confirm rumours of signed deal for Mugabe bailout

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      22 July 2005

      The saga of Zimbabwe's loan request to South Africa continues as
rumours of a signed 'provisional memorandum of understanding' surfaced in
the Business Day newspaper. The paper quoted unnamed Zimbabwean sources as
saying officials from the South African Reserve Bank and their Zimbabwean
counterparts agreed on a draft deal for a R6,5-billion credit facility last
week. But on Thursday night SA government spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe
told the same paper that just because he was not aware of it, doesn't mean a
memorandum of understanding doesn't exist.

      It has also been reported that senior officials of Zimbabwe's central
bank confirmed the agreement, but would not give details of the draft. Thabo
Mbeki is expected to make an announcement on the loan this weekend as he
completes this week's Cabinet meeting or "lekgotla."

      The loan saga gets even more dramatic. The Mail & Guardian reported on
Friday that Zimbabwe would not accept financial help if it is tied to
conditions. Mugabe spokesman George Charamba is quoted as saying that South
Africa was one of numerous countries Zimbabwe had approached for a loan. He
said Zimbabwe had also made representations to the Indian government.
Charamba was allegedly adamant that Zimbabwe would reject and conditions,
particularly a call for new talks with the MDC.

      The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Tony Leon said on Thursday that he
believes the majority of South African taxpayers do not want their
hard-earned rands to be used to bail out Mugabe's oppressive regime. DA
spokesman Douglas Gibson said the party itself does not want any loan to be
extended to Mugabe. Gibson said he had spoken with the speaker of the
National Assembly asking for a special session on the loan issue. The
party's objections he said were due to the fact that the UN envoy's report
was finally out and it had outlined the appalling behaviour of the Mugabe
regime. Given this, and South Africa's own problems with HIV, unemployment
and under-nourished children, it would be ridiculous to bail out Harare.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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    Magistrate say "Women in motion could not block a pavement" and
discharges WOZA women

      By Violet Gonda
      22 July 2005

      A Bulawayo magistrate discharged all 28 members of the pressure group
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were arrested on 18 June over anti clean
up demonstrations. The women had conducted a peaceful protest calling for a
halt to the government's controversial "Operation Murambatsvina" but were
charged with contravening the Miscellaneous Offences Act for blocking the
pavement. If found guilty they would have faced a fine or 3 months in
      Magistrate Msipha said: "women in motion could not block a pavement."
WOZA spokesperson Jenni Williams said, "The magistrate's statement goes to
show that one way to bring about change is to be in motion and if we are in
motion there won't be any pavements that are going to be blocked." The women
vow to keep protesting in the streets until Mugabe is held accountable.
      The brave WOZA activists who have become a regular feature in Zimbabwe
courtrooms and prison cells had defiantly said that the court case would be
Mugabe's demolition exercise on trial, not them.
      Most of the women are victims of operation murambatsvina. They said
they had a right to demonstrate especially when they can no longer earn a
living, having lost goods as vendors and their homes in the demolitions.
      The WOZA women held placards in the court written "The liberation guns
have been turned on us."
      Williams also said the women were grateful to the magistrate as its
very difficult to find a magistrate in this climate who is able to stand her
ground and deliver a fair judgement. WOZA maintains that they were not on
trial because daily the number of victims is increasing, daily the number of
children sleeping out in the open is increasing and daily the police
officers are feeling worse and worse about what they are having to do.
      They say their action has been vindicated by the UN report which says
Mugabe's clean up operation is in violation of international laws.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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New Zimbabwe

Radical Zimbabwe feminists meet in SA

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/23/2005 05:23:36
A RADICAL group of Zimbabwean women's rights activists was meeting in South
Africa this week to discuss the "current leadership crisis in Zimbabwe",
sources said.

The group includes Glen Norah MP Priscilla Misihairabwi, former NCA chair
Thoko Matshe, Makokoba MP Thokozani Khupe, UK-based campaigner Janah Ncube,
legal expert Revai Makanje and Juliana Manjengwa, an organisational
development expert.

Also present at the discussions is journalist and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change's European representative, Grace Kwinjeh.

"Among other things, the women are tackling the current leadership crisis in
Zimbabwe and the place and positioning of women in the way forward," a
source told New last night. "These women are known to be miffed
in the way their role in leadership continues to be minimised, both in the
MDC and civil society."

Sources say the women were focusing on their place in politics following the
high-profile sidelining of Misihairabwi from the MDC shadow cabinet.

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Manawatu Standard, NZ

Zimbabwe says west must help
23 July 2005

HARARE: Zimbabwe urged the West to help it rebuild after a government blitz
on shantytowns, saying yesterday sanctions were partly to blame for the
conditions that drove residents to construct the illegal housing.

The comments in the official Herald newspaper came as the United Nations
prepared to release a report on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's shanty
demolitions that left some 200,000 people homeless.

Boniface Chidyausiku, Zimbabwe's permanent representative to the United
Nations, told the Herald Mugabe's government now wanted the international
community to help it reconstruct.

"They can raise funding so that Government can provide cheaper housing to
needy people. One would call upon Britain and the European Union to stop
their campaign to vilify our economy," Chidyausiku said.

"Were it not for their sanctions, our economy wouldn't be where it is
today...the international community should, therefore, consider themselves
equal partners and have a role to play in terms of pulling resources
together to build a better Zimbabwe."

The author of the UN report, UN-Habitat executive director Anna Kajumulo
Tibaijuka, said after visiting Zimbabwe more than 2 million people have been
affected by the demolitions.

She described them as ill-conceived, inhumane and an economic mistake.

Chidyausiku said the government was studying the report, but rejected
suggestions that Harare had a 48-hour deadline to respond.

"The president will make a comment at the appropriate time," he said.

The report, commissioned by secretary-general Kofi Annan, breaks the
relative silence in the United Nations over Mugabe's policy dubbed
"Operation Restore Order".

Mugabe's government said the demolition campaign was necessary to root out
lawlessness in Zimbabwe's vast urban shantytowns.

Zimbabwe's opposition said the campaign has targeted its strongholds among
the urban poor, forcing its supporters into rural areas where they could be
more easily controlled by chiefs sympathetic to the government.

Civic and religious organisations have described the crackdown as a
violation of human rights, and Western nations have unsuccessfully tried to
put the issue on the UN Security Council's agenda.

Envoys who have seen the 98-page UN document, which will be made public
Later yesterday, said it sharply criticizes Harare for bulldozing urban
slums and insists it should stop razing the shantytowns.

The European Union and the United States imposed limited sanctions on Mugabe
and other senior officials citing alleged human rights abuses and opposition
charges of vote rigging by Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party. Mugabe denies the

The former British colony is grappling with its worst economic crisis in
years, shown in unemployment of over 70 per cent, one of the highest
inflation in the world and shortages foreign currency, fuel and food.

But Mugabe, 81 and in power for the past 25 years, says Zimbabwe is being
punished by those opposed to his land reform programme in which the
government seized large tracts of white-owned land to redistribute among
landless blacks.

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Potomac News, Virginia
Saving the Painted Dogs
Triangle man leads painted dog conservation

By Emily Brown
Friday, July 22, 2005

Through The Painted Dog Conservation Project, and with some funding from the government, Lombardo and a team of wild dog enthusiasts employed local residents to build a conservation center.
Through The Painted Dog Conservation Project, and with some funding from the government, Lombardo and a team of wild dog enthusiasts employed local residents to build a conservation center. 


A chain of events depleted Zimbabwe’s thriving economy, and Bruce Lombardo of Triangle believes only a chain of events can get it back on its feet.

But it’s going to take a pack mentality: teamwork, dedication and loyalty.

Political unrest led to a declining economy in what was once Africa’s breadbasket. The tourism industry that upheld a nation the size of Connecticut has dwindled, leaving many without jobs. To eat, people have turned to poaching animals in the park, including painted hunting dogs, an endangered species.

Lombardo, 48, a biologist and educator, saw the dogs as the scapegoat to save the community.

On the borders of Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe, Lombardo is helping to rebuild the population of painted hunting dogs, which he hopes will rebuild the tourism industry and better the country’s economy.

Through The Painted Dog Conservation Project, and with some funding from the government, Lombardo and a team of wild dog enthusiasts employed local residents to build a conservation center. They are teaching them to run the center to enable its success and that of the community.

 For more information...

For the second year, sixth- graders from all the neighboring communities go through Bush Camp at the center and learn about the dogs, conservation and the park in their backyards. They also get to meet the painted dogs in rehabilitation.

“If you’re trying to save a species, education has to be part of the solution,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo moved his biology classroom from a high school in Harare, the country’s capital, to the national park border, where he developed the curriculum for Bush Camp, a three-day overnight camp free to the students.

Suzie Gilley, wildlife education coordinator for Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said starting conservation with children is natural because children love animals.

“Children have a natural interest in wildlife,” she said. “If you get children interested in wildlife and what their needs are … then they care about it.”

Lombardo is convinced that the more children who go through the program means a better chance of survival for the painted hunting dogs and the conservation center as a teaching tool and tourist destination.

“When the economy improves, there will be a generation of people who will make wiser choices for the sake of the people,” Lombardo said.

The dogs once covered much of Africa south of the Sahara Desert, but now are limited to four countries and 3,000 individuals. They are in the dog family, but are their own genus.

Painted dogs are the size of a wolf, Lombardo said, but thinner. Dogs have a different coat pattern of tan, gold, black and white - a fingerprint to tell them apart. Large Mickey-Mouse ears amplify their hearing for hunting.

They move in packs of two to 30 and swarm antelopes to eat, but there are no records of them attacking or killing a human. Within the pack, the dogs all take care of the alpha male and alpha female’s pups.

When adults leave for a hunt, they always bring back food for the baby sitter and pups, Lombardo said. They’re also known to stay with sick or wounded pack members and nurse them to health, instead of leaving them on their own, he said.

“These dogs are endearing,” said Lombardo, who returned from Africa for a month with his wife, Miriam Litchfield, a Triangle native.

The couple went to Africa in 1997 to teach science at international schools. Previously, they were both teachers in Columbia, South America. They met in Georgia when Lombardo was an ecological tour guide and park ranger and Litchfield was an outdoor educator for the Savannah school system.

“There is so much suffering in the human population, you ask yourself ‘why am I working with animals?’” Lombardo said. “But it’s so critical. Extinction is forever.”

With the help of his pack, Lombardo is confident they can make a difference.

Staff writer Emily Brown can be reached at (703) 878-4650.


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New Zimbabwe

Foreigners to pay for Zimbabwe fuel in forex

By Stella Mapenzauswa
Last updated: 07/22/2005 22:49:37
FOREIGN-REGISTERED vehicles driving in Zimbabwe will be compelled to buy
fuel in foreign currency as the country grapples with a shortage which has
grounded automobiles over the past few weeks, the central bank said on

Zimbabwe requires 2.5 million litres of diesel and 2 million litres of fuel
every day, but imports have been erratic since 1999 amid acute foreign
currency shortages due to poor exports.

"As a country, our (fuel) bill could end up taking more than a third of our
foreign currency earnings if we don't do something about it," central bank
governor Gideon Gono warned in his mid-term a monetary policy statement.

Gono said from August 1, motorists with access to foreign currency would be
able to buy fuel at an initial price of $1 a litre at designated garages to
boost foreign currency inflows into government coffers.

"Foreign registered vehicles and trucks passing through our country will
also pay for fuel in foreign currency. This intervention will go a long way
in relieving the foreign exchange pressures in the market," Gono added.

On Thursday state media reported that Zimbabwe's national airline has been
forced to suspend some domestic and international flights due to the fuel
crisis, which has left garages dry for weeks, forcing many urban commuters
to walk to and from work.

The crisis has also hit production in the manufacturing sector and slowed
key tobacco deliveries, piling pressure on an economy which has shrunk by
over 30 percent since 1999.

Gono said the southern African country, suffering its worst economic crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980, required 900 million litres of
diesel and 730 million litres of petrol per annum to operate at full

Earlier this week President Robert Mugabe's government, also grappling with
food shortages, record unemployment and one of the highest rates of
inflation in the world, said it would allow individuals with access to
foreign currency to directly import fuel to help ease shortages of the

Mugabe, 81, denies he has mismanaged the economy and instead charges it has
been sabotaged by local and international opponents over his controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks - Reuters

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What Chance a Wise Fool to Call Mugabe's Bluff?

Business Day (Johannesburg)

July 22, 2005
Posted to the web July 22, 2005

Hopewell Radebe

IF "FOOLS are everywhere", as author Beatrice K Otto once wrote, President
Robert Mugabe desperately needs a talented and courageous one to offer the
kind of criticism not forthcoming from his cabinet ministers or advisers.

He needs someone who can give the Zanu (PF) bigwigs insight into the
miserable lives of the people of Zimbabwe. What is needed is a court jester
willing to face the odds and knock some sense into Mugabe.

The scale of the destruction of people's lives in Zimbabwe by its one-time
revolutionary leader and hero, Mugabe, has reached proportions last
witnessed in southern Africa in 1827, when King Shaka kaZulu's beloved
mother, Queen Nandi, died. This sparked a ruthless and bloody mourning. It
is estimated that 5000 Zulus were immediately slaughtered. Pregnant women
were put to death along with their husbands, and all cows were killed so
that even calves would experience the loss of a mother. No crops were
planted for a year to embitter mother nature and force the Zulu nation to

It took one brave man of the Gwala clan to confront Shaka before the carnage

Zimbabwe's problems have deteriorated from being about Mugabe's drastic
land-reform policies, to being about youth militia that have raped, maimed
and killed fellow citizens.

The matter has grown beyond President Thabo Mbeki's deliberate refusal to
condemn his neighbour over the forced seizure of white-owned commercial
farms. It may be argued that Mbeki's restrained responses were informed by
the conventional wisdom that the land question, particularly in this former
colonial region, was more emotive than western governments were prepared to

The matter has gone beyond the many simplistic excuses in Mugabe's defence.
And yet people continue to try to excuse him. Former Zambian president
Kenneth Kaunda recently told The Post newspaper in Lusaka that the world
would serve history better if it demonised those who had cheated
Zimbabweans, and not Mugabe, who had respected the promise he made to the
British in the Lancaster House agreement for the independence of his country
in 1979.

Kaunda said the British government -- through Margaret Thatcher -- had
pleaded with the Zimbabwean delegation to avoid discussing the land issue
for 10 years to enable her government to find funds for land reform.

"So Mugabe and his colleagues did not talk about land in respect to the
British government's promise. But 10 years down the line, the British did
nothing. Come 1990, people were tired of lies and false promises," Kaunda
said. "This led to the problem of land in Zimbabwe. So how can you blame

Kaunda's argument, among others advanced by Africa's leaders, symbolises the
sentimental values that still cripple attempts by civil society and labour
organisations in the southern African region as well as the opposition in
Zimbabwe to translate the moral outrage over Mugabe's excesses into a
concerted public uprising against him.

Mugabe has been able to extend his terror campaigns, which are a crackdown
on those who have dared to forget his sacrifices in the anticolonial

Since he continues to ride on a strong show of support from millions of
Africans within Zimbabwe, SA, Kenya and Namibia -- where much of the
anticolonial struggle was waged -- he has successfully launched the callous
Operation Murambatsvina (Shona for Operation Drive Out the Trash). Also
referred to as Operation Restore Order, it poses as a crackdown on illegal
trading and illegal housing in Harare, Bulawayo and other urban areas.

Opposition political parties claim it is an attack on the urban-based
opposition. United Nations estimates suggest that more than 200000
Zimbabweans have been left homeless by the crackdown.

Zimbabwean opposition parties and the international community have condemned
the clearances.

People whose homes are being demolished are being told to return to previous
homes in the countryside or face further action from the police and the
dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation. Many have been forced to live on
the streets during some of the coldest nights of the year. Others have moved
in with relatives in unaffected areas.

Outside the urban areas of Harare and Bulawayo most of the destruction has
been limited to illegal market stalls rather than homes. However, there is
mounting evidence that the operation is responsible for demolishing ordinary
homes and buildings, including a Catholic orphanage run by nuns.

Children, some of whom were HIV-positive and had lost parents to AIDS, were
given 12 to 24 hours to leave. Last month, two children were crushed to
death as their homes were destroyed.

The descendants of the Gwala family still relate to their children the story
of their courageous ancestor who stopped Shaka from destroying the mighty
Zulu nation after the death of his mother. Is there no gallant soul who will
challenge Mugabe and deliver the nation from him?

Radebe is deputy political editor.
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The Scotsman

African actors defy homeland ban with Fringe visit

A SATIRICAL play which has been banned in the performers' native Zimbabwe
because it pokes fun at an African dictator will be shown as part of the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Super Patriots and Morons will be performed in the Capital at the
Assembly Rooms, in George Street, between August 22 and 29. The theatre
group looks set to be allowed into Edinburgh, even though other Zimbabwe
groups Sing! Zimbabwe and Tambuka have been refused visas.

Organisers describe the play's main character as an iron-fisted leader
intolerant of opposition.

The dictator sees people who do not believe in his government as enemies and
fronts for imperialists who have to be stopped. It was first shown in Harare
two years ago, but before its second run in 2004, the Zimbabwe government
cited provisions of the colonial Censorship and Entertainment Control Act
1967 as a basis for banning the play.

Producer Dave Guzha said: "Super Patriots and Morons mirrors society in many
ways, reflecting our ugly sides that we never want revealed. It laughs at
our socio-political follies in quite a humorous way.

"Yet humour can be misunderstood.

"In Zimbabwe, the play fell victim to such misunderstanding.

"Because the play is not ordinary art, it will weather the storm living on
in the face of draconian laws that stifle free expression."
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Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2005 5:32 AM
Subject: A letter from Zimbabwe on the occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp and the launch of Project Earthrise

Dear All
The 23rd July 2005 is the tenth anniversary of the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp and the event will be celebrated in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  It is also the launch of Project Earthrise which is a "global educational effort to utilize the international nature of astronomy to break down the barriers that divide us".  The concept behind the project was, in part, born out of Alan Hale's visit to Zimbabwe for the 2001 Total Solar Eclipse.  Accordingly I was asked to write a letter from this country for the launch.  It is reproduced below and will be read out at some point during the proceedings.

A letter from Zimbabwe


On the occasion of the Tenth Anniversary

of the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp

and the launch of Project Earthrise 


“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them.  A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot.”


-                      Christiaan  Huygens  New Conjectures Concerning the Planetary Worlds, Their Inhabitants and Productions”  circa 1690



“… A day will come, one day in the unending succession of days, when beings, beings who are now latent in our thoughts and hidden in our loins, shall stand upon this earth as one stands upon a footstool, and shall laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars.”


-                      H.G. Wells, “The Discovery of the Future”  Nature 65, 326 (1902)



Although circumstances beyond my control do not allow me to be with you all on this auspicious occasion, I am honoured that Alan has allowed me to take the podium in spirit.


Sixty years and one week ago, an event of enormous significance to humanity occurred very close to where you all are right now.  This was the first detonation of a nuclear device, which was the culmination of the Manhatten Project.  It strikes me that it is most appropriate that another project, called Earthrise, which endeavours to bring people together in peace and harmony, should be launched from this same spot on our planet.


On June 21st this year, exactly four years after the Total Solar Eclipse in 2001, I sat in my observatory and nostalgically opened a book called “Everybody’s Comet: A Layman’s Guide to Comet Hale-Bopp.”  The book was autographed on the inside page by Alan Hale.


The inscription read:


“To Mike


Partners in “Comet Crime”!


Keep Looking Up!”


This book was presented to me by Alan Hale shortly after the eclipse (in fact the Sun was still partially obscured by the Moon when he wrote those words).  I have been involved in the study of comets for over twenty years, so I know a fair deal of what there is currently to know of comets.


When I first read the book however, it struck me that although the style and language of the volume was aimed at the layman, easy-going and often humorous and highly entertaining, there was a deeper message that kept asserting itself throughout the volume.  There was a message of profound importance to the human race.  The entire book could be summed up in that simple message to me at the beginning…”Keep Looking Up!”


I “cut my teeth” so to speak, at an early age, in astronomy with the books of Patrick Moore.  But it was from, in my opinion, the greatest astronomy and science educator of the twentieth century, that I derived my particular conceptualisation of what the Cosmos is really all about.  That man was Carl Sagan.  Sagan had an exquisite view of the universe, of science and its role, and of humanity and the human potential.  Most importantly he was a true educator in his ability to communicate his views and knowledge and capture the imagination of minds young and old around the world.  I see these same qualities in Alan Hale.


In the early months of 1997, Comet Hale-Bopp was at its brightest, and it was seen by more people than any other comet in recorded history.  For a while, millions of people around the world from every possible background were united in that they were all sharing the wonder and beauty of this object.  But it was really the discovery of the comet that was truly important.  That’s because when it was realised shortly after discovery that it would indeed very likely become a spectacle in the sky two and a half years later, the names “Hale” and “Bopp” became household names very quickly and it afforded Alan a voice and a platform that had not existed previously.


The first part of his message is simple really, we have heard it before, and generally, thinking people know the truth of it.  The whole world and mankind are in a mess.  The second part of his message is a lot more difficult.  We have to clean up the mess and we all have to do it ourselves, and not leave it to the few who are creating the mess in the first place.


Every human embryo during the first days and weeks of its existence goes through successive stages of development, appearing as a single cell, then as a group of cells, then fish-like, amphibian-like, and reptilian appearances before it begins to resemble a human being.  This is a “play-out” of the long period of evolution that has resulted in the diversity of life on our planet. 


It’s a lot more complex then I have time or frankly the knowledge in this field to describe here, but basically the human brain  reflects this evolution too, being composed of “old” and relatively “new” parts.  The old part of our brain that is most dominant in reptiles, called the R-complex, is the part that is responsible for territorialism, lust for power and domination, fear, anger, superstition, and phenomena such as religious fanaticism and mass hysteria.  Most of the more positive emotions such as love and compassion are seated in the limbic region and are expressed as concepts and thoughts via the cerebral cortex, the seat of intellect.  In mankind, the cerebral hemispheres allow us to translate our feelings into thought and concepts and appreciate our surroundings.  These latter are more apparent in mammals and reach their highest development in primates and man.  They are responsible for self-awareness and our ability to manipulate our environment in a way that no other species on this planet can.


Each and every one of us unfortunately has the original reptilian evolutionary baggage in our heads that comes along with our higher capacities.  We needed it a long time ago to survive, but it is now very much at the point where it could destroy us, and it must be overcome.  When I look at what is happening in the world five years into the twenty-first century, I have the feeling that if humanity does not take stock of itself now, it will self-destruct, taking the whole habitable planet with it.


In my own country, Zimbabwe, there has been twenty-five years of misrule and bad governance.  In the last five years, commercial agriculture has been steadily eroded to the point of non-existence by the outright theft of the commercial farming sector under the guise of “land re-distribution”.  The economy has been eroded to the point where we have the highest inflation rate in the world.  Virtually all independent media is banned.


In December 2002 we had a second Total Solar Eclipse in this country.  Alan Hale sent a message of hope to the people of Zimbabwe on the occasion of that eclipse.  He also read it out on the only independent radio station we had left, SW Radio Africa, broadcasting from the United Kingdom. 

Thousands heard that message, and took hope.  On the 7th of March this year the government

started jamming SW Radio Africa, and on the 8th of May, our last “voice of the voiceless” had to cease its short-wave transmissions into the country.


Just over eight weeks ago, the government unleashed what it calls “Operation Restore Order” on the populace.  This is a thinly disguised excuse for genocide.  In the cities and towns all over the country the police and army using bulldozers have destroyed over 300,000 homes and displaced 1.5 million people, who have been either placed into holding camps with no shelter or food, or are sleeping out in the open in the cold southern hemisphere winter.  There is no fuel, and the economy is imploding.  Zimbabwe was recently declared the worst humanitarian crisis in modern-day Africa, surpassing even the Sudanese crisis.  4 million people need food aid in Zimbabwe.  All this is happening because of a small group of “elite” who are willing to kill their own people to remain in power and maintain what they call “sovereignty”.


But there is hope in a profound story that was related to me:  A lady went to her regular till operator in a shop recently and noticed that he was looking fairly dishevelled and very tired.  When asked what was wrong, she was told that his house had been razed to the ground and he was in the open at night with his family.  He suddenly asked her, “Do you know anything about astronomy?”  Surprised at this apparent change of direction in the conversation, she replied “Not much, why?”  The answer came back at her: “Well, most nights it’s too cold to sleep, so I’ve been looking at the stars.  Trouble is, I am not sure what I’m looking at, so I want to try and find some books that will help me to learn the sky.”


This conversation restored my optimism and contention that the human spirit cannot ever be totally repressed and that peace, truth and justice will prevail again in my country.


Astronomy, unlike any other science, is accessible to every human being.  All you need are your eyes. It can help us to realise now that each of us is unique as an individual and yet a small but important part of a much bigger picture, and we occupy only this one small planet. 


 As Sagan puts it:


“National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space.  Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars…we are a rare as well as an endangered species.  Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious.  If a human disagrees with you, let him live.  In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”


The “War on Terror” is doomed to failure as long as one reciprocates hatred with hatred.  Instead, every world leader, every dictator, every terrorist or potential suicide bomber should know the following:


That to kill yourself and others is not only a crime against humanity, it is a crime against the Cosmos that spawned you over a period of three and a half billion years of evolution.  No Cause inspired by petty differences in perception of our supposed ownership of parts of the world or religious, class or ethnic differences gives us the right to kill and destroy each other.  We are a collective consciousness, a way for the Cosmos to explore itself, and we are all in this together.


This is the light of hope that Project Earthrise would offer.  I’d like to close this letter with the lyrics of a song by Jackson Browne that I feel to be particularly in line with the whole concept of Project Earthrise:


It is One
Jackson Browne

 They shot a man into the sky
The moon and stars became his bed
He saw the sun rise seven times
And when he came back down he said

It is one, it is one
One world spinning 'round the sun
Wherever it is you call home
Whatever country you come from
It is one, it is one, it is one, it is one

They shot a man in Africa
At a time of rivalry and war
He had some dreams of a good life
But dreams aren't what they killed him for


Now people stand themselves next to the righteous
And they believe the things they say are true
They speak in terms of what divides us
To justify the violence they do

But it is one, it is one
One world spinning 'round the sun
Wherever it is you call home
Whatever country you come from
It is one, it is one, it is one, it is one
One -- the deep blue ocean
One -- the endless sky
One -- the purple mountains
One -- you and I


It's not a world of our own choosing
We don't decide where we are born
This life is a battleground between right and wrong
One way or other we are torn

And people stand themselves next to the righteous
And they believe the things they say are true
And speak in terms of what divides us
To justify the violence they do

But it is one, it is one
One world spinning 'round the sun
Wherever it is you call home
Whatever country you come from
It is one, it is one, it is one, it is one
It is one, it is one, it is one, it is one
One -- the deep blue ocean
One -- the endless sky
One -- the purple mountains
One -- you and I


It is my fervent hope that one day in the not too distant future, there will be an Earthrise installation in my country, and that the people of my country together with the rest of the human species will be able to look up at the night sky with a new-found sense of pride and freedom in the precious world that is under our tenure. Until that day, I think that I for one will “Keep Looking Up!”



M. B.

Harare, Zimbabwe

23rd July 2005

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