Mon 23 Jul 2007, 11:29 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's parliament opens a new session this week to
debate radical plans to nationalise foreign firms and a law empowering the
house to name President Robert Mugabe's likely successor without a national
Mugabe, the southern African state's sole ruler since independence from
Britain in 1980, will on Tuesday officially open the last session of the
House of Assembly and the upper Senate ahead of general polls due by next
Political analysts say the proposed legislation before the chambers,
including the constitutional bill seeking to combine parliamentary and
presidential elections and the economic empowerment bill, could increase
uncertainties about Zimbabwe's future.
"On the economic side, we are looking at a government that is, in word and
in deed, continuing with radical policies, which in respect of the farm
seizures, badly hurt the economy," said Eldred Masunungure, a political
science professor at the University of Zimbabwe.
"The nationalisation of foreign firms may have a similar impact if it is
handled as badly as the land redistribution programme," he added.
Masunungure said the Constitutional Amendment Bill consolidating the
electoral calendar, with clauses giving parliament power to elect a new
president if a vacancy occurred between elections, could give Mugabe an
avenue to retire after the 2008 polls with room to influence who will
"I know that the concept of a dignified exit for Mugabe has been dismissed
by some people, and that there those who believe he wants to hang onto power
for life, but I think Mugabe also knows that his future depends on creating
enough space to manoeuvre," he said.
"To me that bill gives him space for some exit, but then politics is not a
clinical game with predictable results."
POLITICS OF PATRONAGE
Mugabe, 83, is seeking re-election in 2008 and analysts say he is sure to
use the empowerment law to enrich supporters and consolidate ranks before
Leading economic consultant John Robertson said the black economic
empowerment and a nationalisation drive, which the government hopes will
start October, would further damage an economy already hit by Mugabe's other
Mugabe plans to transfer control of all companies, including foreign banks
and some mining operations, to locals under the black empowerment bill.
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party dominates parliament and is expected to pass
the bill before September.
"This is going to be another exercise in cronyism, grabbing companies or
shares and giving them to the party faithful," he said.
"The country needs policies that will attract more foreign investment, and
all that is happening at the moment is such that it's making the situation
worse," Robertson said.
Analysts say Mugabe's government has compounded the Zimbabwe economic crisis
in the last three weeks with a price blitz that has led to empty shop
shelves in a country which suffers from the world's highest inflation rate.
Mugabe ordered consumer prices slashed by half last month after the cost of
some foodstuffs had risen threefold, further squeezing urban workers living
with severe water and power cuts, burst sewer pipes and a suffocating
Once the breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe has endured a punishing
recession that has squeezed consumers with rocketing inflation, left four
out of five people without jobs and resulted in shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel.
Mugabe says the economy has been sabotaged by his Western foes and branded
company executives "serpents" drafted by former colonial power Britain to
help topple him by raising prices, cutting production and stashing foreign
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Date: 23 Jul 2007
HARARE, 23 July 2007 (IRIN) - An urgent call on Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF
government and the international donor community to mobilise food aid to
avert an impending crisis has been met with assurances by government that
"no one will starve".
"There is a general consensus that Zimbabwe's 2006/07 cereal production has
to be complemented by imports of over one million mt [metric tonnes] if the
country is to meet cereal requirements for the 2007/08 consumption year,"
said the latest overview of sub-Saharan food security by Famine Early
Warning Systems (FEWS NET), published in June.
"The government and donor community need to mobilise for an immediate and
coordinated response to address the growing levels of [food] insecurity in
the country," said the US-based FEWS NET, which provides food security
information on 17 countries in the region.
Zimbabwe's agriculture minister, Rugare Gumbo, admitted in June that the
country was facing a food crisis after a growing season marred by drought
and widespread shortages of inputs, and that maize production of between
600,00mt and 800,000mt "falls far short of the national requirement of about
two million mt".
After publication of the FEWS NET report, the deputy minister of
information, Bright Matonga, told the official daily newspaper, The Herald,
that "no one will starve".
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme
(WFP) recently conducted a joint assessment of food security and found that
Zimbabwe had produced around 1,055,000mt of cereals, around 300,000mt more
than government estimates.
The assessment said more than a third of the population would require food
aid by early 2008, and the country would have to import a total of
1,052,000mt of cereals: 813,000mt of maize, and the remainder as sorghum,
wheat and millet.
To partially bridge the gap, the government has bought 400,000mt of maize
from Malawi, of which 70,000mt had been imported by June, according to FEWS
The current winter wheat-growing season started poorly as a result of
inadequate fuel, fertiliser, equipment and expertise, while an unreliable
electricity supply has hampered irrigation.
Food insecurity was worsening, the report said, particularly in the
southwestern parts of the country, which traditionally experienced arid
Here households were "already running out of food stocks from their current
harvests", a situation that was being compounded by the unreliability of
other sources of cereals, like the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the
government's official buyer.
The hyperinflationary environment - over 4,000 percent annually - has led to
a steep rise in grain prices, making it difficult for consumers to access
staple foods such as maize, FEWS NET said.
The report cited Chimanimani and Nyanga in Manicaland Province, the southern
districts of Masvingo Province, as well as Hwange and Nkayi in Matebeleland
North Province as having been particularly affected by rocketing prices.
"The annual rate of inflation has continuously increased, and most
households have not been able to meet their minimum food requirements and
non-food requirements, and instead have cut back on expenses for education,
transport and medical services," FEWS NET commented.
"Soon after harvests, most households are already out of own production
stocks," and have consumed what was already often a diminished or poor crop.
Around 80 percent of the country's 12 million people live below the poverty
datum line, with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) saying an average
family of six needed Z$5.5 million (US$22 at the parallel market rate of
Z$250,000 to US$1) to sustain themselves in May.
The government imposed stringent price controls after daily increases in the
prices of commodities and other services by business attempting to cushion
itself against the effects of inflation.
Scores of businesspeople were jailed for not complying with government's
edict and many formal-sector firms heeded the instructions, but others have
scaled down their operations or stopped production, resulting in an acute
shortage of food items and a growing reliance on sourcing food from the
parallel market, where goods are available but at much higher prices.
During a recent trip to Mhondoro, a district in Mashonaland West Province,
an IRIN correspondent found many rural households severely affected by food
"Our harvests were poor and, as a result, we were depending on shops and the
owners of grinding mills for maize, but after the crackdown on shops, grain
is no longer available," a villager, who declined to be identified, told
"When sugar is available, we have tea and sweet potatoes in mid-morning, and
then sadza (thick maizemeal porridge, a staple dish) and vegetables grown in
our gardens in the evenings," she said.
"But since maize is hard to come buy, we are now mostly surviving on maheu
(a mildly alcoholic home brew made of maizemeal) and the sweet potatoes,
which could run out at any time."
She said the local GMB depot was not providing them with maize because it
wanted to build up reserves, and farmers who had managed to produce
surpluses were not selling to the GMB because of delayed payments. Instead,
they sold directly to the informal market, where cash was paid immediately,
or they smuggled their harvest to neighbouring countries to sell it for a
more stable currency.
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations
By Violet Gonda
23 July 2007
It's reported the SADC-led talks on Zimbabwe hang in the balance over the
issue of the constitution - a key issue on the MDC's agenda. South Africa
based journalist Basildon Peta said in a report that "efforts to resolve the
crisis in Zimbabwe are hanging by a thread" because Robert Mugabe is
refusing to negotiate a new constitution with the opposition. Sources say
ZANU PF representatives met with South African officials Sydney Mufamadi and
Frank Chikane last Monday, but said they were only prepared to amend the
Mugabe recently said there was no need for a new constitution as the present
one has served the country well, despite being amended a record 17 times
since independence. Sources close to ZANU PF say the consensus within the
ruling party is that the issue of the constitution should evolve from the
Zimbabwe Parliament and not as part of a SADC initiative.
A source said: "Mugabe is expected to announce on Tuesday, during the
opening of parliament, that the next session of parliament is going to
discuss constitutional amendment 18, which includes the harmonization and
conduct of elections. That is why he tactfully sent Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche to South Africa last week ahead of this announcement. He didn't
want to be seen to be just saying it off the top, without briefing Thabo
Mbeki about the position of ZANU PF."
Given ZANU PF's majority in parliament the clauses in amendment 18 will be
tailor-made to perpetuate its power and Mugabe's rule. The discussions so
far had been to agree the agenda for the talks, and a new constitution was
part of this agreement for discussion. But now Mugabe is reneging on this
Sydney Masamvu, a senior analyst for Southern Africa for the International
Crisis Group said that the MDC had invested its soul, spirit and work in the
talks but seemed to have no other political answers.
Masamvu added: "On the other hand while ZANU PF is tactfully engaged in the
talks, it continues with a political programme running in Zimbabwe. Mugabe
is moving ahead with amendments to the constitution, he is moving to seal
off the rural areas and moving on with the voter registration exercise,
while there continues to be this absence of a political leverage on the part
of the opposition."
The whole paralysis of the SADC initiative comes ahead of the August 16th
summit in Lusaka where Zambia is supposed to take over the chairmanship from
South Africa. This is where President Mbeki is expected to brief the
regional leaders on the progress of the talks. The details of the talks are
shrouded in secrecy but it had been reported that both ZANU PF and the MDC
had also been discussing the possibilities of using a 2004 draft
constitution created by the principal players. But sources say ZANU PF has
rejected this idea as this constitution would dismantle its hold on state
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 July 2007
The government is reported to have backed off from a controversial plan to
ban fuel coupons and food imports into the country, clearly indicating that
it is the chaos theory that is running the country.
The regime last week gave fuel coupon holders two weeks in which to redeem
them, creating a wave of panic as people rushed to exchange their coupons
As fuel completely ran out the Zimbabwe Standard reported that there were
chaotic scenes on the streets as thousands more commuters had to walk to
It is believed the crisis at most garages prompted the government to
reconsider its decision on the coupons, now rated by industry and commerce
as the most convenient way of accessing fuel for over 70 percent of
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu tried to back down
from the chaos by telling business people at a Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce meeting that his statement on fuel coupons had been misinterpreted.
Harare businessman Bernard Chiondegwa said the new law on food imports
announced by the government last week were photocopies of laws first enacted
by the Smith regime in 1965.
'The Rhodesians used this law to stop people from buying goods from outside
to try and keep the foreign currency within the country's borders. It worked
because people had alternatives. There were no shortages because the economy
was doing well as it was agro-based, but since agriculture was killed there
is nothing to sustain the economy with,' Chiondegwa said.
Chiondegwa said what surprised him was that government did not bother to
edit or panel beat the law from the Rhodesian era but simply changed the
dates and the statutory instrument numbers.
'If you read the law that was first enacted in 1965 and amended in 1974, 77,
and 78 you will see it is exactly the same with its full stops and comas to
statutory instruments 137 and 138. This is the work of a government that has
failed and that has no other ideas,' said Chiondegwa.
The importation of beef, butter, cooking oil, milk, cheese, sugar, tea,
wheat flour, ice cream, fertilizer, cotton lint and hides and skins without
a permit would have become illegal on the 1st August.
Individuals and companies wanting to import them would have to be first
cleared by Mpofu's ministry. But Mpofu has now said he had recalled the
statutory instrument because it would cause a lot of confusion.
Meanwhile informal traders and other individuals have been streaming into
the South African border town of Musina. This comes in the wake of the
severe shortages after the government enforced price cuts early this month.
Retailers across the country were left with empty shelves, after consumers
cleaned out all stock at reduced prices. The shortage of basic groceries has
increased the number of shoppers crossing the border into South Africa. And
retailers of household goods have experienced a huge increase in sales. One
beneficiary of the wave of Zimbabwean buyers is Spar, the largest retailer
in the border town.
Reports said Pieter Koekemoer, the store manager at Spar Musina said that
sales had increased by 75 percent in the past three weeks. Bulk buyers, also
known as runners, have driven the increase in turnover with customers buying
goods worth up to R20 000 at a time. Spar's bread sales have doubled in the
past month to 5 000 loaves.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
ZCTU calls for stayaway
The national labour mother body in the country, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) is scheduling a national stay away for early next month. The
stay away is meant to pressurize the government towards addressing the
plight of workers who are living in squalor.
The ZCTU is among other things demanding for the government to address the
The government must accord a remuneration system which is in tandem with the
Poverty Datum Line (PDL). As of May 2007, before the price blitz, the PDL
was pegged at 5.5 million whilst civil servants such as teachers were
earning Z$2 million per month. Farm workers are earning Z$96 000 per month
in what the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) has produced a report
in which they have argued is legalized slavery.
Reduction of Income tax to a maximum of 30%
The government must address the spiral circle of inflation which is
adversely affecting the workforce. Zimbabwe's inflation rate has been ranked
the highest in the world, currently pegged at 4 500%.
The government must address the unemployment levels currently pegged at 85%
The labour body will announce the actual dates of the action in due cause.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is in solidarity with the labour's
position. The government of Zimbabwe has lost interest in addressing the
plight of workers. The same is true for the retired workers who are now
living lives of destitute ass their pension packages have been eroded by the
hyper-inflation environment which the Zimbabwean government is presiding
over. The government of Zimbabwe, just like any other government in the
world has an obligation of facilitating an environment that is conducive for
both the workers and the business for the benefit of the nation at large.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Law and Order Section has not yet
followed up on the case of the ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe, in
which the police are alleging that he made subversive utterances at May Day
celebrations at Rufaro Stadium in Harare. The police argued that the case is
being handled by one Officer Chikuwe who is stationed in Chivu.
The silence over the case is suspicious, especially when the labour body is
planning a stay away. The police are likely to resuscitate its case towards
the stay away to intimidate the ZCTU leadership from going ahead with the
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- The Southern African Catholic Bishops'
Conference said it hopes that allegations of adultery against Zimbabwean
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo will not divert attention from the
political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
Noting with "sadness and concern" the widely publicized allegations, the
bishops said they come "at a time when Zimbabwe is facing one of the worst
political and economic crises in its history, a crisis which Archbishop
Ncube has consistently expressed great concern about and which we believe
the country should be focused on."
Archbishop Ncube, an outspoken opponent of Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, plans to deny in court allegations of adultery that his lawyer said
are part of a well-orchestrated campaign to discredit him. According to
Zimbabwe's state media, Onesimus Sibanda is claiming $160,000 in damages
from Archbishop Ncube for the alleged affair with his wife, Rosemary
A July 20 statement issued by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg,
South Africa, president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops'
Conference, said many Catholics in Zimbabwe are suffering because of the
country's economic crisis, which is causing "a huge number" to seek refuge
in neighboring countries, crossing borders "at great danger to their lives."
Food and fuel shortages are acute in Zimbabwe, which is crippled by the
highest rate of inflation in the world and unemployment of more than 80
percent. With elections scheduled for March, political violence has
intensified, causing many to flee. More than 5,000 Zimbabweans have been
arrested for illegally crossing the South African border since the beginning
of July. About 3 million Zimbabweans are believed to already be in South
Archbishop Ncube's "voice of reason in this context is very important and
should continue to be heard," the bishops said.
"We therefore hope that Zimbabweans and the international community will not
be sidetracked" by these allegations in their efforts to find "a lasting
solution to the serious problems bedeviling the country," the bishops said.
Noting that Archbishop Ncube's "guilt or innocence has yet to be proved,"
the bishops appealed to "the media and everyone concerned to allow the law
to take its course without passing premature judgment on the archbishop."
"We call on all the faithful in Zimbabwe and the international community to
continue to pray for the archbishop during this ... period," they said.
23rd Jul 2007 18:30 GMT
By Nothando Motsipe
HARARE - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parliamentarians will for the
first time since 2002 attend the official opening of Parliament by President
Robert Mugabe on Tuesday.
The MDC has since the disputed March 2002 presidential elections been
refusing to be addressed by Mugabe as the opposition party claimed he had
stolen the election that could have enable them to form the next Zimbabwe
Legislators walked out every time Mugabe's procession came through the
august house's doors, saying they did not recognise him as the elected
leader of Zimbabwe. The MPs, however, contributed to debate on Mugabe's
address after he presented it.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said in a statement on Monday that he had
instructed his MPs to attend the official opening in the spirit of the SADC
Heads of State initiated dialogue.
Said Tsvangirai: "On 29 March 2007, the SADC Heads of State, at a meeting in
Tanzania, resolved to appoint President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to
broker dialogue between the MDC and the government."
"That dialogue, although fraught with difficulties and challenges, has in
fact commenced. As a gesture of our bona fide belief in this dialogue, I
have duly instructed our MPs to attend the official opening of Parliament on
24 July 2007."
Tsvangirai said the MDC's National Council meeting held in March 2002, had
noted with great unhappiness and regret, the fact of the stolen Presidential
election of the same year.
"Pursuant to this, the MDC initiated a Presidential election petition to
challenge this result. The MDC resolved in the same National Council meeting
that the candidate then elected as President was illegitimate and that the
people's will had been subverted.
"Over the years and pursuant to this resolution, the MDC has boycotted all
functions and events presided over by the aforesaid "winning" candidate,"
He noted that Zimbabwe is in a serious crisis that has seen the erosion of
the people's dignity, a crisis that has resulted in the lot of people losing
confidence in their own government.
Inflation, officially pegged at 4 500 per cent, remains the highest in the
world. The education and health delivery systems have virtually collapsed
while an ill-advised populist policy to slash prices has resulted in empty
shelves and imminent food shortages in an economy already battered by 10
consecutive years of negative growth rates.
"With this decision, it is my sincere hope that Zanu PF and President Robert
Mugabe will also show restraint and maturity. In this regard, the withdrawal
of Constitutional Amendment No 18 that is currently awaiting its first
reading in the Lower House will be a good and decisive confidence-building
measure. The cessation of violence against the MDC and indeed the immediate
release of our cadres that are unlawfully detained at Harare remand prison
will be another equally decisive measure," said Tsvangirai.
From: "Sokwanele" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
We have received an email asking us to circulate information that there will
be a multi-denominational prayer service held Wednesday, at St Mary's
Cathedral, Lobengula Street, Bulawayo, from 1-2 pm.
This is a prayer service to enable all to stand in solidarity with
Archbishop Pius Ncube.
What: Multi-denomination prayer service in support of Archbishop Pius Ncube
Where: St Mary's Cathedral, Lobengula Street, Bulawayo
When: Wednesday 25 July 2007, 1-2pm
Please can you circulate this information widely.
SOKWANELE - ZVAKWANA - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Visit our website at: www.sokwanele.com
Visit our blog at: www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe
Mail and Guardian
23 July 2007 02:03
A woman in Zimbabwe had her leg broken in a crush of people
desperate to buy scarce sugar following a delivery in the eastern town of
Marondera, reports said on Monday.
A queue about 800m long built up on Saturday outside a
supermarket where 30 tonnes of sugar had just been delivered, said the
state-controlled Herald newspaper.
But pandemonium broke out as people jostled in the queue,
resulting in a wall collapsing and part of a security fence being flattened.
Riot police with dogs had to be called in to control the crowd,
the paper said.
Sugar, like most basics including cooking oil, flour and maize
meal have disappeared from shop shelves in recent weeks following the
governments blitz on high prices.
Retailers were late last month ordered to sell sugar for about
Z$30 000 per 2kg packet, resulting in chronic shortages in supermarkets.
Sugar is now readily available on the black market for at least
five times the official price.
Some residents in Marondera on Saturday said the situation was
made worse by abuses by the police, who themselves bought sugar ahead of
people already in the queue. -- Sapa-dpa
PARIS, Jul 23 (IPS) - While China's growing trade and investment flows to
Africa have sparked a sometimes contentious debate with the United States
and Europe over who has the continent's best interests at heart, a closer
look at the dynamic developing reveals a political landscape where the
rhetoric is rarely in line with the reality, observers say.
When a recent World Bank report revealed that trade between Africa, the
European Union (EU) and the U.S. is nearly equalled by that between Africa
and Asia, a closer look at the numbers brought the picture of China's
involvement in Africa into even starker relief.
African exports to China grew 48 percent annually between 1999 and 2004,
with 10 percent of all sub-Saharan exports now destined for the Asian
behemoth. Likewise, as a whole, over the last five years Asian exports to
Africa increased at an annual rate of 18 percent, higher than that of any
other region, including the EU.
China's deepening involvement in Africa has been driven by its domestic
demand for the natural resources and raw materials that are needed to
support its population of 1.3 billion and a booming economy -- the country
has the second-largest economy after the U.S. and the world's largest
current account surplus nearly 180 billion dollars.
It is a development that is profoundly -- and, many believe, permanently --
changing the nature of Africa's relationship with the former colonial powers
of the EU, and re-writing the nature of African realpolitik. But at present
the EU remains Africa's largest trading partner with trade totalling more
than 200 billion euros in 2006.
"I think it's going to dramatically change the diplomatic and economic
landscape," says Mamadou Diouf, a noted West African scholar who directs the
Institute for African Studies at Columbia University. "In the previous world
defined by the Cold War, the pressure was much more ideological, Africa had
to align itself ideologically rather than come up with its own agenda. Today
they are negotiating between different choices and possibilities."
The seeming lack of conditionality to China's aid, such as the absence of
any stipulation based on anti-corruption measures, as well as the speed with
which it is dispersed have both proved attractive to African governments
with varying degrees of accountability and respect for human rights.
"China's zero-condition policy is appealing to a country which doesn't have
very transparent reporting and budgetary mechanisms," says Katherine
Constabile, an Africa analyst with the New York-based Eurasia Group, a
global political risk consultancy.
Among the more controversial aspects of China's involvement in Africa is
that of the PetroChina company, a subsidiary of the state-controlled China
National Petroleum Corporation, which owns a major stake in Sudan's national
oil consortia, and maintains extensive operations there.
To help meet its demand for fuel, China purchased more than half of Sudan's
oil exports in 2006. Critics charge that profits from these sales have
enabled the Khartoum government to buy weapons with which to continue its
military operations -- both directly and by proxy -- in the nation's Darfur
The Sudanese military and government-aligned Janjaweed militia forces stand
accused here of carrying out war crimes against the area's civilian
population. The chaos engulfing Darfur has claimed an estimated 200,000
lives, mainly civilians, since 2003, according to a study published in the
Some in Africa, though, despite being skeptical of China's motives, see a
certain amount of selective memory in the West's position.
"Both the U.S. and Western Europe, particularly over the last two decades,
have linked their involvement in Africa -- whether trade or other -- with
demands for reform or better governance and a more democratic substance,"
says Ayesha Kajee, programme director with the International Human Rights
Exchange (IHRE) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg,
"But elections have come to represent the be all and end all, with very few
(African) governments paying more than lip service to them," Kajee says.
"When it comes to the institutions of democracy, and instituting democratic
practice in society, the U.S. and Europe haven't been half as vocal."
Western powers, even in recent years, have appeared to be willing to turn a
forgiving eye to questionable regimes when the moment suited them.
In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush invited Ethiopian President Meles
Zenawi to the White House, and then conducted a high-profile meeting with
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni outside of Kampala in 2003. Both men had
also enjoyed warm relations with the administration of former president Bill
Zenawi's government has been accused of massacring nearly 200 protestors
around the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in violent upheaval following
disputed May 2005 elections, and routinely jails opposition politicians. He
has been named 'Predator of Press Freedom' by the journalist's advocacy
group Reporters Sans Frontières.
During elections in 2005, Museveni arrested Uganda's main opposition leader,
Kizza Besigye, and posted heavily-armed government partisans around the
court where his bail hearing was being held.
At the same time, the EU seems willing to engage in a bit of its own
non-conditionality to adapt its Africa involvement to this new reality with
the announcement that it will invite Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to
an EU-Africa summit scheduled in Lisbon this coming December, despite Mugabe
being the subject of an EU travel ban.
Mugabe stands accused of gross human rights abuses and economic
mismanagement in his 27-year rule of his country, once one of Africa's
richest. Zimbabwe's inflation is now believed by unofficial estimates to
measure around 15,000 percent. A recent report by the New York-based group
Human Rights Watch concluded that "police routinely arrest and detain
political opponents and government critics, and then abuse them in custody."
The African Union (AU), a body of 53 African states formed in 2001 with the
ostensible aim of integrating the region's currency and its defence forces,
as well as promoting human rights, had threatened to boycott the summit if
Mugabe was excluded.
Stepping into this landscape of grey area and compromise, Chinese President
Hu Jintao has visited 17 countries on the continent during the last year,
making him the most frequent visitor among heads of state.
"The EU knows how much influence China has in Africa, they know that it's
profound and that it has implications on EU-Africa relations," says Veronika
Tywuschik, an academic researcher based in the Netherlands currently
exploring Chinese-African relations.
In a June report 'From Cairo to Lisbon -- The EU-Africa Strategic
Partnership', the European Commission, which serves as the executive body of
the European Union, called for a reassessment of EU-Africa relations based
on "a genuine partnership of equals."
The report went on to say that the new understanding between the two regions
should "promote peace and security, governance and human rights, trade and
regional and continental integration in Africa" as well as to "facilitate
and promote a broad-based and wide-ranging people-centred partnership for
all people in Africa and Europe."
In an almost musical corollary, though, in late June, China's
state-controlled China Development Bank commenced the first phase, measuring
a billion dollars, of its 5-billion-dollar China-Africa Development Fund.
Belying China's supposed carte blanche to its African counterparts, this aid
in fact comes with many strings attached, though none, perhaps attractively
for some governments, related to human rights or anti-corruption.
The conditions include that the aid's availability will be restricted solely
to investment in Chinese enterprises and projects in Africa, and that 70
percent of the contracts be set aside for Chinese companies, with the rest
going to African businesses, many already working with Chinese enterprises.
Despite all the sound and fury, some Africa observers say, what we may be
witnessing is the same old networking simply presented in a new wrapping.
"By and large, when you look at foreign interest in Africa, it is still
directly linked to geo-strategic concerns," says Human Rights Exchange's
Billy Rautenbach swears blind that he wasn't arrested or detained in
Lubumbashi, but confirms his departure, and names his perceived enemy, while
Author: Barry Sergeant
Posted: Monday , 23 Jul 2007
Muller Conrad "Billy" Rautenbach has insisted that he spent last Wednesday
night with friends in Lubumbashi and left on Thursday morning when the
runway reopened. This contradicts a statement last Thursday by the
government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where it was said
that Rautenbach was arrested and subsequently deported to Zimbabwe, in
enforcement of a persona non grata order against Rautenbach, unveiled last
Speaking through a Johannesburg publicity agent, Rautenbach categorically
states that "he was not interviewed nor interrogated by immigration
officials, his passport was not confiscated and he was not detained as
certain media articles have claimed". Rautenbach is wanted by law
enforcement agents in South Africa, and by Interpol.
Rautenbach's claims are in line with earlier statements by Central African
Mining & Exploration Company (CAMEC, CFM.L, £0.58 a share), in which he is a
shareholder, which questioned the authenticity of the DRC's persona non
grata declaration. As to authenticity of his latest experience, Rautenbach
did not hesitate in supplying copies of the relevant pages of his passport,
where a handwritten note provides on page 41: "L'interesse n'est plus
autorise d'entrer en Republique Democratique du Congo". Another on page 42
states: "Entrée non authorisee en DRC". There are no official stamps near or
over the handwritten annotations.
On Monday, the DRC government said via a London publicity agent that
Rautenbach's latest claims directly contradicts the facts, the statements
for the record of Moise Katumba Chapwe, governor of Katanga Province, and
the statement of Denis Kalume, the minister of the interior.
Rautenbach also directly named his key "enemy," by stating that he believes
the current "dispute relates to Dan Gertler of RP Capital". RP Capital is in
fact a manager of hedge funds, and while Gertler may have invested in
certain underlying RP Capital funds, he is certainly not "of RP Capital".
Rautenbach argues that Gertler "would have liked to have acquired the
Katanga [Mining] asset and that investors should ignore the background noise
and focus on the fundamentals". Katanga Mining (KAT.T, C$22.32) is one of
the three really big Katanga Province assets currently benefiting from heavy
RP Capital holds a stake in Katanga Mining, and also in Nikanor (NKR.L,
£6.27), in which Gertler is a founding shareholder, and which is to be found
with properties alongside those of Katanga Mining. The third mega mine is
being established on virgin ground at Tenké Fungurume, by Tenké Mining
Corporation (TNK.T, C$24.00), owned 57.75% in turn by copper giant Freeport
McMoRan (FCX, $99.05).
Two weeks ago CAMEC, which purportedly purchased its Katanga Province assets
from Rautenbach, announced an unsolicited bid for the 78% it does not hold
in Katanga Mining. Since then CAMEC's stock price has slipped from 80 to as
low as 56.75 pence a share.
From Mining Weekly (SA), 20 July
By Barnabas Thondhlana
Skilled mining personnel from Zimbabwe have left the country for greener
pastures, with many opting for menial jobs to make a living, a senior mining
executive says. Chamber of Mines president Jack Murehwa tells Mining Weekly
that Zimbabwean mining companies used to be led by the best brains "but we
are into a period where the worst managers are leading and, as we speak,
second-rate and mediocre managers are leading operations". "This applies to
all sectors because our skilled personnel cannot afford houses and cars and
their wages are no longer enough to meet basic needs." Describing the
situation as desperate, Murehwa says: "Metallurgists are driving trash
trucks in Europe, experienced mining engineers are teaching geography in
South Africa and human resources practitioners are nursing the elderly in
the UK." Murehwa says at least 40 000 workers have resigned or lost
employment in Zimbabwe's mining industry in the last ten years, adding that
more professionals could leave. He says that the closure of mines and the
slump in output has scared away both skilled workers and potential investors
in the industry, which, in 1997, employed 75 000.
The mining sector now employs about 35 000 but there are fears that more
skilled professionals could leave this year. The bulk of the workers are
destined for the South African, Zambian and Mozambican mining industries,
which are growing on the back of fresh foreign investment inflows. "At the
height of the relatively good times, which was not so long ago, formal
mining companies had the capacity to employ about 75 000 employees," Murehwa
said. He says that, as a result of the brain drain, Zimbabwe gold producers'
capacity use has plummeted to below 25%. The gold-mining industry - as well
as other sectors of the mining industry and the rest of the economy - is
reeling under rolling power cuts and late payments for gold delivered to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the sole authorised buyer of gold and
silver. "I do not see any increase in gold production in the near future, if
the situation remains like this," he says. An official at a leading
gold-mining firm, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says payment delays
and power cuts are hurting operations. "We know that the situation is not so
favourable for many business operations in the country, but it will not be
as bad as it is now if we got our payments on time," says the official. RBZ
governor Dr Gideon Gono acknowledged the challenges facing the gold-miners
during a familiarisation tour of RioZim's Renco mine and pledged to assist
wherever possible. He said the central bank was crafting strategies aimed at
bringing the sector back on its feet, adding that no mine would be allowed
to shut down. The Chamber of Mines has indicated that gold output is likely
to fall by 23% this year to about 8 700 kg, from 11 354 kg last year, a far
cry from the 27 000 kg produced in 1989.
20 July 2007
experts set out 100 day agenda for post-Mugabe
EMBARGOED UNTIL 16.00 FRIDAY JULY 20, 2007
A report setting out a 100 day
agenda for a post-Mugabe
Release of the report has been
brought forward in light of the current hyper-inflation and likely imminent
collapse of the regime. “Mugabe’s inability to pay soldiers’ wages, provide
basic services to the people or prevent total economic meltdown signals that his
regime is in its terminal stages”, says
The report agues that while the
nature of the new Zimbabwean Government is uncertain, unless it has a clear
plan, the political will to implement it and firm and timely support from the
international community, then
The report sets out sixty recommendations for action by the new Government within its first 100 days of office. Some of the key ones include:
· Liberalise and unify official exchange rates.
· Demonstrate commitment to greater fiscal responsibility.
· Scrap price controls
· Build the capacity of the President’s Office and the Cabinet Office to drive the 100 Day Agenda
· Build the capacity of the Ministry of Finance and line ministries to operate basic budgets.
· Encourage the return to government of competent civil servants
· Ensure government salaries can be distributed efficiently.
· Replace inappropriate high level police officials and develop a code of conduct for all police officers.
· Bring back competent police officers from the Officers’ Pool
· Collaborate with UN agencies and NGOs to rapidly upscale their provision of basic health services.
· Prioritise the restoration of electricity and water supplies to hospitals and health centres.
· Help teachers return to school.
· Restore vital water generating infrastructure; build ZINWA’s capacity to fulfil its core functions.
· Design a simple constitutional reform process and publicise it well.
· Repeal repressive media legislation and encourage independent media organisations.
· Repeal legislation restricting academic freedom
· Establish a Central Communications Unit to direct a comprehensive communications strategy in support of reform
The report suggests that from the outset all efforts must be focussed on fostering a sense of national identity and a shared vision for the future of the country. It highlights the need for the new government to develop a very clear and coherent short-term policy agenda that manages expectations of what can be achieved and creates enough political space to begin solving many of the more long-term and intractable problems that will face the country.
Critically the paper focuses on the
importance of using modern government communication techniques to build domestic
support and understanding, harness the goodwill of the international community,
and secure the return of exiles. A separate section of the report addresses
western governments and international donor organisations. The reports stresses
that “the international community will need to provide high quality advice and
assistance to the new Government as soon as possible. It will be vital to build
up the momentum for reform from the earliest days. Lessons must be learnt from
the crises in
The report points out that
According to the report, ‘
The report as a whole focuses on the
practical steps that will have to be taken quickly to take
For further information please contact:
· Zane Kanderian, Project Manager, Tel; 07980 622517 Zane.Kanderian@adamsmithinternational.com
Note to editors:
Adam Smith International (ASI) is a
leading independent, employee-owned international development consultancy, based
For more information please visit our website, www.adamsmithinternational.com (Adam Smith International should not be confused with the Adam Smith Institute. The two are different and distinct organisations).
Social Development Adviser
Adam Smith International
+44 (0)20 7091 3511
+44 (0)7980 622 517See the full agenda
Front Page Magazine
By Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 23, 2007
They call themselves the "Elders," a group of self-described "wise men and
women" that former South African President Nelson Mandela launched last week
on the occasion of his 89th birthday. Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and Mary
Robinson (former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights)
are joining Mandela and a bevy of other has-beens to offer their services as
roaming freelance diplomats. They are being financed in part by British
tycoon Richard Branson and Ted Turner's UN Foundation.
"The Elders won't get involved delivering bed nets for malaria prevention,"
said Jimmy Carter. "The issue is to fill vacuums - to address major issues
that aren't being adequately addressed."
Translated, this means that the Elders won't be doing anything useful for
suffering human beings. Instead, they will continue their legacy of
wrong-headed solutions to problems they do not understand. Individually,
they were bad enough. Together, they have formed a club that no
clear-thinking person would want to join or consult.
Jimmy Carter himself is the most glaring example of a walking vacuum, bereft
of any sensible ideas or understanding of what is at stake in our fight
against global terrorism. His fellow "Elders" are no improvement.
Carter's presidency was the antithesis of effective world leadership. During
his watch, Iran's terror-sponsoring theocracy took power and brazenly held
Americans hostage for more than a year without paying any price. Islamic
terrorists were watching. The Soviet Union expanded its empire by force
culminating in its invasion of Afghanistan, which led in turn to the birth
of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization. Carter did nothing except
administer a slap on the wrist by keeping our athletes away from the 1980
Since his sound defeat by Ronald Reagan, Carter has continued to make a fool
of himself and embarrass his country. Learning nothing from his fruitless
attempts to negotiate the release of the hostages when he was President,
Carter now demands that we enter into fruitless negotiations with Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of
the earth. This madman reportedly participated in the 1979 taking of
American hostages and has now presided over the recent arbitrary
imprisonment of Iranian-American citizens while they were visiting Iran.
Carter has never had an unkind word to say about Ahmadinejad, Saddam
Hussein, Castro, Hugo Chavez, or any other dictator. Their atrocious human
rights records have not attracted any attention from this self-described
human rights advocate. They can all be reasoned with, Carter believes.
Likewise, Carter is an apologist for terrorists. He has gone out of his way
to praise the Iranian-armed terrorist group Hamas and said recently that it
was "criminal" for the U.S., Israel, the European Union, and the Arab League
to shun these murderers of their own people who continue to vow the
destruction of Israel.
Of course, Carter has no interest in the survival of the only true democracy
in the Middle East. Indeed, his recent inflammatory book, Palestine: Peace,
Not Apartheid, compared Israel with apartheid era South Africa. Carter the
Elder wrote a worthy sequel to the notorious "Protocol of the Elders of
Fourteen officials of his own Carter Center resigned in protest against the
lies and distortions in Carter's propaganda screed. In a joint letter to
Carter they declared, "We can no longer endorse your strident and
uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or the Jimmy Carter
we came to respect and support." One Carter Center board member went even
further, stating that Carter has "abandoned his traditional position of
honest broker and mediator," and "goes so far as to condone terrorism until
such a time a Palestinian state is achieved."
Actually, Jimmy Carter has not changed at all - unfortunately it took some
of his supporters more than twenty years to see what was there all along.
The late Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan understood. He put it
best when he described Carter this way back in 1980: "Unable to distinguish
between our friends and our enemies, he has adopted our enemies' view of the
Then there is Carter's fellow-Elder, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
During his tenure, Annan appeased some of the world's worst dictators and
state sponsors of terrorism. He conferred what he called the UN's "unique
legitimacy" on them in order to show how 'even-handed' he was.
For example, Annan declared that Saddam Hussein was someone "I think I can
do business with" (which, in a sense, the UN did via the looting of the
Oil-for-Food program in which Annan's staff participated). And he referred
to the Islamic-fascist regime in Iran as a "partner" in negotiations. Annan
preferred shaking hands and being photographed with Iran's thugs rather than
standing up to them in the name of human rights. Back in 2003, during one of
his visits to Iran, student dissidents criticized Annan for being "deaf to
the screams of the demonstrators down the street while elements of the
regime, brandishing clubs and chains, were smashing the bones of Iranian
workers, mothers and students."
Annan's "partner" in negotiations, Iran, is also a state sponsor of
terrorist organizations. Iran's leaders have outsourced the killing of
innocent people to Hamas and Hezbollah. Denying all sense of reality, the
United Nations under Kofi Annan refused to acknowledge even that Hamas or
Hezbollah were part of a dangerous global terrorist network whose common
denominator is Islamic fascism, let alone Iran's connection to them.
Here is a revealing exchange with Kofi Annan's press spokesperson at a daily
press briefing in January 2006 regarding Hamas:
Question: Does the Secretary-General consider Hamas to be a terrorist
Spokesman: The Secretary-General has denounced in clear terms every time any
organization has done a terrorist act, including when those acts were
claimed by Hamas.
Question: But that doesn't answer my question.
Spokesman: There is no United Nations label that I know of, of a terrorist
During last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah, which Hezbollah
precipitated, Kofi Annan focused his criticism on Israel. He falsely
proclaimed to the world that Israel was guilty of "apparently deliberate
targeting" of a UN observation post, killing four observers. Even after it
came to light that the Hezbollah terrorists had positioned themselves all
around the UN observation post and drew fire on it, which led to the tragic
accidental deaths of the UN observers, Kofi Annan did not apologize for his
rash accusations against Israel.
Mary Robinson, another of the 'distinguished' Elders, was Kofi Annan's
choice as the United Nation's High Commissioner for Human Rights. Like Annan
and Carter, she indulged dictators while condemning Western democracies.
For example, Robinson presided over the "World Conference against Racism,
Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" that turned into
a non-stop hatefest against Jews and Israel. She remained silent while her
commission was deciding to condone suicide bombings as a legitimate means to
establish Palestinian statehood. She has since lamented that the U.S. was
not continuing to embrace Jimmy Carter's failed foreign policy and
criticized our wise decision to oppose the new UN Human Rights Council
Nelson Mandela, the leading "Elder," has squandered any moral authority that
he had garnered while ushering in South Africa's post-apartheid pluralistic
democracy. He has voiced strong support for such dictators as Fidel Castro,
and Libya's Moammar Qaddafi, while declaring that "[I]f there is a country
that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United
States of America."
Mandela accused both President Bush and Tony Blair of undermining the United
Nations during Kofi Annan's tenure, asking rhetorically whether this is
"because the secretary general of the United Nations [Ghanaian Kofi Annan]
is now a black man? They never did that when secretary generals were white."
Mandela has remained strangely silent on the brutality occurring daily on
his own continent against black Africans. For example, he has chosen not to
condemn the Mugabe dictatorship in Zimbabwe for the suffering that it has
caused its own people and has opposed any sanctions against Mugabe. Adotei
Akwei, Africa advocacy director of Amnesty International USA, was quoted as
saying about the silence of Mandela that "[I]f Mandela would speak out that
would be a big breakthrough. But in addition to his disinclination to attack
Mugabe, the 'liberator' of Zimbabwe, in the past, Mandela is a very loyal
person, and he has known Mugabe a long time."
In other words, Mandela's blind loyalty to a brutal dictator trumps speaking
out against the horrible violations of human rights taking place today in
Mandela's own backyard. This is not a legacy to be proud of. He certainly
has no business telling us how to behave in the world.
Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, and their club of
fools all share one fundamental flaw. Each of them demonstrated time and
again a willingness to accommodate the enemies of freedom at all cost in
order to pursue an illusory peace. It is time for these "Elders" to disband
before they can do even more harm in unison.