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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Posted on Tue, Jul. 26, 2005

      Zimbabwe continues settlement demolitions


      Associated Press

      HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwean authorities demolished huts and evicted
people west of the capital Tuesday, witnesses said, defying U.N. demands to
halt the much condemned urban renewal program that the world body says has
left 700,000 people homeless or without a job.

      In Geneva, the Red Cross asked for $1.9 million to provide emergency
relief to victims of the devastating government-led cleanup. It said the
money was for tents, blankets, soap, mosquito nets, water and purifying
tablets for the homeless.

      The government authorities came at night, beat people and burned huts,
at Porta Farm, 25 miles west of Harare, a settlement the government set up
in 1991 to house 3,000 squatters so they would not be seen by visiting
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, a witness said. The number of inhabitants has
grown to 30,000 in the past 14 years.

      Thousands of people were told they have to move to rural areas, said
the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

      The government of President Robert Mugabe made no comment about the
demolitions and evictions - part of a larger program that began in May to
clear out urban slums,

      But Mugabe's government has previously defended Operation
Murambatsvina or "Drive Out Trash" as a necessary urban cleanup drive to
reduce crime and restore order in overcrowded slums and illegal markets, and
has promised to help the displaced rebuild.

      Zimbabwe's opposition says the demolitions are 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.

      Ignatius Chombo, a minister of the local government, has defended the
Porta Farm evictions, saying the area is needed for a sewage site and that
water supplies there are contaminated.

      Last Thursday, the United Nations made public a report by its envoy
saying the demolitions had "unleashed chaos and untold human suffering" in a
country already gripped by economic chaos and shortages.

      A top government official said Tuesday that Zimbabwe still has not
acquired all the food it needs to avert a possible famine, but that it will
not ask international relief agencies for help, the state-run Herald
newspaper said Tuesday.

      Lancaster Museka, from the Labor and Social Welfare Ministry, said
Zimbabwe was still trying to reach the target of 1.8 million tons of maize,
and donors were still needed.

      Don Muvuti, chief executive of the government's Grain Marketing Board,
said last month that the country had bought the 1.8 million metric tons it
needed from South Africa. There was no immediate clarification of the
contradicting assessments.

      U.N. World Food Program head James Morris warned on July 1 after a
visit to Zimbabwe that he feared 4 million people were at risk of famine,
and his aid workers needed access to all parts of the southern African

      Before March 31 parliamentary elections won by the ruling party,
Mugabe said the country would have a 2.4 million metric ton bumper harvest
of maize.

      Once a regular food exporter, Zimbabwe has seen collapse of its
agricultural sector since Mugabe ordered seizure of 5,000 white owned farms
in February 2000.

      The U.N. report, which Mugabe's government rejected, said some 700,000
people lost their homes or their jobs and a further 2.4 million people had
been affected by the campaign that began with little warning.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Opinion Journal, from the Wall Street Journal

Ruin By Design
The U.N. misses it, but Mugabe's regime is Zimbabwe's problem.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT
To whatever extent the recent United Nations report on Zimbabwe calls
attention to the brutalities of the country's tyrant, President Robert
Mugabe, the U.N. has performed a service. But as far as the report
translates into nothing more than a fresh bout of aid funneled via Mugabe's
regime, this U.N. initiative will only compound the suffering in
Zimbabwe--where the government's latest atrocity has been to "clean up" the
cities by evicting hundreds of thousands of poor people, destroying their
dwellings and leaving them jobless, homeless and hungry.

In describing this scene, the U.N. report provides a wealth of horrifying
detail, but takes a detour around the basic cause, which is not, as the
report concludes, such stuff as "improper advice" acted upon by
"over-zealous officials." The real cause is the long and ruinous rule of
Mugabe and his cronies.

With a delicacy over-zealously inappropriate in itself to dealings with the
tyrant whose regime has been responsible for wreck of Zimbabwe, the report
starts by thanking Mr. Mugabe for his "warm welcome" to the U.N. delegation,
which visited the country from June 26 to July 8. The report, issued by the
secretary-general's special envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, then proceeds to
the usual U.N. prescription that what Zimbabwe needs is more aid, and a
framework--here comes the UN lingo--"to ensure the sustainability of
humanitarian response." While the report also calls for the "culprits" to be
called to justice under Zimbabwe laws, Mugabe himself is somehow excused
from direct responsibility.

Instead, the report faults wealthy nations for not providing more aid
already, and notes that "With respect to the funding issue, some in the
Zimbabwe political elite and intelligentsia, as well as others of similar
persuasion around the continent, believe the international community is
concerned more with 'regime change' and that there is no real and genuine
concern for the welfare of ordinary people."

Apart from the problem, not mentioned in the U.N. report's comment, that
after a quarter-century of Mugabe's rule the surviving Zimbabwe elite are to
a great extent Mugabe's own cronies, there is the profound difficulty that
in Zimbabwe's state-choked economy, Mugabe has a record of diverting foreign
aid to his supporters, while starving--as well as mugging and murdering--his
opposition. Aid workers themselves in recent years have lamented the
difficulty of channeling aid in Zimbabwe to the intended beneficiaries. The
danger with any massive, not to mentioned "sustainable" humanitarian
response, is that it will most likely translate into sustainability of
Mugabe's regime (generating hefty fees along the way for any U.N. agencies

What to do? Rushing aid to help the starving and homeless is an impulse
common to decent people anywhere. There is no doubt that Mugabe's regime has
created a crisis, to which some will be moved for the best of reasons to
respond. But to downplay the role of the tyrant himself, in hope he will
"engage" with humanitarian donors, and in kindly manner mend the mistakes of
his reportedly wayward subordinates, is to misinterpret his methods, shore
up his rule, and most probably sustain or even worsen the miseries of
Atrocities under Mugabe are nothing new. Since Zimbabwe gained independence
from Britain in 1980, Mugabe has ruled with what is apparently the prime
directive of remaining in power, whatever the cost. The U.N. report, in its
brief history of the country's struggles, fails to mention that one of
Mugabe's first moves after coming to power was to invite in North Korean
advisers, to train the shock troops known in Zimbabwe as the "Fifth
Brigade." In the 1980s, Mugabe dispatched this Fifth Brigade to massacre an
estimated 18,000 Zimbabweans opposed to his rule--far more than the number
of people slaughtered, say, at Srebenica, and more than six times the number
murdered in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The world paid no notice. Most of those who died were not members of
Zimbabwe's white minority; they were black, most of them belonging to the
Ndebele tribe. Mugabe then consolidated power, and was feted for years as a
champion of African progress. Indeed, the new U.N. report, while omitting
mention of this slaughter, describes Mugabe in admiring terms as "part of
that exclusive club of African statesmen" who "fought colonialism and racial

The report also gives an odd account of the farm invasions that from 1998 on
escalated in Zimbabwe not only into the eviction of white land-owners, but
the ruin of the country's agricultural base--replaced not by fair
distribution of property and rule of law for blacks, but by plunder,
violence, and enrichment of Mugabe's chums at the expense of millions of
black Zimbabweans. The model for this was not equitable land reform, but
Communist China's cultural revolution, the methods of which Mugabe and his
crony "war veterans" learned in the 1960s and early 1970s at the knees of
Mao Tse-tung himself. And the mobs who invaded the farms, while described as
war veterans, did not consist on the ground of the aging satraps of Mugabe's
elite circle--who profited from the policy. They were youth militia,
unleashed by the aging Mugabe in an effort to thwart a growing opposition
movement, and keep his grip on power.

The U.N. report does warn that its findings are incomplete. But they are
rather worse than that. The eviction of hundreds of thousands was not, in
Mugabe's universe, a policy mistake. It was, for Zimbabwe's murderous
tyrant, a success--now yielding leverage over decent people who are indeed
prone to send help to those suffering in Zimbabwe. We have seen this cycle
before. It is what led to the U.N. devising, albeit on a far grander scale,
with a far bigger cut for its own administrative services, the now
scandal-ridden Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, which fortified Saddam Hussein
and helped him keep power for years beyond what many in the early 1990s
expected. What must be grasped in dealing with Zimbabwe is that the problem
is Mugabe himself. And whatever welcome, warm or otherwise, he may provide
to visiting U.N. delegations, the true recovery can only begin with his
Ms. Rosett is a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for the Defense
of Democracies. Her column appears here and in The Wall Street Journal
Europe on alternate Wednesdays.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


US, UK Demand Briefing On Critical Zimbabwe Report At UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP)--The United States and Britain on Tuesday demanded a
Security Council briefing on a U.N. report that condemned Zimbabwe's slum
clearance, but China which has close ties to the government, objected,
diplomats said.

Greece's U.N. Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, the current council
president, said talks were continuing to see if the report's author, Anna
Tibaijuka, could meet with the council before she returns to Africa on
Thursday. The highly critical report, issued last week, said the destruction
of shantytowns and markets has left an estimated 700,000 Zimbabweans without
their homes and livelihoods or both, and affected a further 2.4 million
people. It said Operation Murambatsvina - Drive Out Trash - had "unleashed
chaos and untold human suffering" in a country already gripped by economic

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Back to the Top
Back to Index

26 July 2005

U.N. Security Council Concerned About Zimbabwe Evictions
Wants briefing on home demolitions of 700,000 of country's poorest people

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- The U.N. Security Council has asked for a briefing on
Zimbabwe, United States Ambassador Anne Patterson said July 26.

"There's a worrisome humanitarian situation on the ground" that is "verging
on a crisis situation" prompting several members of the 15-nation Security
Council to ask for a meeting with U.N. Special Envoy to Zimbabwe Anna
Tibaijuka, Patterson told journalists outside the Security Council's

After a two-week fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe, Tibaijuka reported July 22
that president Robert Mugabe's government's operation, Murambatsvina
(Operation Restore Order), has wrought catastrophic upheaval to as many as
700,000 of Zimbabwe's poorest through indiscriminate evictions, housing and
market demolitions, carrying out this campaign with disquieting indifference
to human suffering.

The operation was carried out under the guise of slum clearance and was
based on colonial-era Rhodesian law and policy that had been "a tool of
segregation and social exclusion."  She said that Operation Restore Order
breached both national and international human rights laws, thereby
precipitating a humanitarian crisis.

The humanitarian consequences of Operation Restore Order are enormous, said
Tibaijuka, who is also UN-HABITAT executive director, in her report to
Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Patterson, who is acting U.S. permanent representative to the United
Nations, said that "the situation is so unstable that it threatens
neighboring countries.  And we have just gotten reports.that people who
cooperated with her (Tibaijuka) are now subject to retaliations."

"These people are the poorest of the poor.  They've been displaced, left out
in the cold.  Kids can't go to school.  It's verging on a crisis situation.
The council should at least get more information and take action on it," the
ambassador insisted.

The United Kingdom has formally requested that Tibaijuka brief the council.
The council is expected to discuss the request to put Zimbabwe on the agenda
when it meets July 27, Patterson said.

Even though the issue deals with a humanitarian situation, it "is totally
appropriate for the Security Council," the ambassador added.

"There is room for reform in the U.N.'s consideration of these issues,"
Patterson added.  "What is clear from this report is the humanitarian crisis
and the appropriateness of Security Council review and, frankly, the massive
violations of human rights that have been undertaken by the government."

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
Back to the Top
Back to Index

  Truth about Zimbabwe
      The New York Times

      WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2005

      Anna Tibaijuka, the highest-ranking African woman at the United
Nations, is not one of the boys. Maybe that's why she did not mince her
words about the horrors going on in Zimbabwe that Africa's male political
establishment seems so afraid to talk about. Late last month,
Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent Tibaijuka, a Tanzanian economist who is
executive director of the UN agency that looks out for the interests of slum
dwellers, to investigate the mass destruction of slums and shantytowns by
Robert Mugabe's dictatorial regime.

      She has now reported that the forcible clearances, which began in May
and have cost 700,000 people their homes or livelihoods, were carried out in
an "indiscriminate and unjustified manner" with "indifference to human
suffering." The damage from this "virtual state of emergency," she reported,
will take years to undo. In the name of the United Nations, she demanded
that the razing of homes and businesses be immediately halted, that the
campaign's architects be prosecuted and that the victims of this "man-made
disaster" be compensated. It is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and
hundreds of thousands of uprooted people, many of them women and children,
are shivering in tents.

      Mugabe, a tyrant, is increasingly out of touch with reality. He is
starving and killing his own people, and the unwillingness of some of
Africa's most prestigious leaders, like Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, to challenge him publicly is
especially disturbing at a time when these same leaders prate on about a
commitment to accountable governments and peer review of one another's

      Tibaijuka's unflinching honesty shames their silence.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times
Leading articles

July 27, 2005

When aid is appeasement
A bailout for Mugabe is the last thing Zimbabwe needs

Three weeks ago Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, flew to Gleneagles and signed a pledge with the world’s richest nations to foster good governance in Africa in return for an historic increase in aid to its poorest countries. He is now preparing a big financial bailout of his own — for Zimbabwe, where government-sponsored thugs continue to terrorise those suspected of supporting President Robert Mugabe’s opponent in this spring’s elections, and bulldozers continue to flatten their homes.

Mr Mbeki’s public rationale is one of engagement. “We don’t want Zimbabwe collapsing next door,” he said recently. He also, rightly, expressed concern for “the broad interests of all Zimbabweans”, as distinct from those of the venal clique that has prospered so indefensibly during Mr Mugabe’s 26 years in power. Mr Mbeki’s anxiety is warranted: no economy exports crime, dependency and chaos more efficiently than an imploding one. But even South Africa, acting on its own, can do little to prevent the implosion. While officials in Pretoria are hoping to shoulder Zimbabwean debt worth $300 million, their counterparts in Harare say they need $1 billion for emergency food and energy imports alone. The help that Mr Mbeki can offer pales beside the $50 billion package hammered out at the G8 summit, even allowing for delays in delivery and the competing demands of the rest of the continent. The only obstacle to Zimbabwe ’s inclusion on the list of G8 beneficiaries is Mr Mugabe himself, and Mr Mbeki’s vaunted “quiet diplomacy” towards Zimbabwe, far from helping ordinary Zimbabweans by easing their tyrant out of power, is prolonging their agony by helping him. It is short-sighted appeasement, and against the spirit of everything Mr Mbeki endorsed at Gleneagles. If he wants to keep the regional leadership role he enjoyed there, it must stop.

Mr Mugabe does not seem to have been chastened by his international pariah status. He promised a free and fair election but delivered systematic intimidation of his brave opponents in the Movement for Democratic Change. He hinted that his campaigns of forced relocation might relax, but “Operation Drive Out Trash” continues unabated. A report by the UN last week estimated that this egregious punishment of suspected MDC supporters has left 700,000 homeless so far. About 20,000 more lived in slum dwellings destroyed in the past few days, and riot police have been beating those refusing to leave.

The IMF must decide this month whether or not to expel Zimbabwe from its club of eligible borrowers. It should do so rather than let Mr Mugabe claim to have called its bluff. Unfortunately he has already found an alternative source of aid in China. Beijing, which will do deals with anyone, is using Zimbabwe to trumpet its own axiom of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. For Zimbabwe’s neighbours and traditional partners this is not an option. They should, indeed, “ engage”, but with the moderates who must shape the future of this misruled country.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            Chinese lend Mugabe a lifeline
            By Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor

            CHINA threw a lifeline yesterday to the beleaguered regime of
Robert Mugabe when it offered Zimbabwe economic assistance in addition to
diplomatic support against the West.
            Only days after the Chinese blocked discussion at the United
Nations Security Council of a damning UN report into Zimbabwe's slum
clearances, President Mugabe was greeted in Beijing yesterday as a
"respected old friend" by President Hu of China.

            After being toasted with champagne, the two leaders signed
several economic and technical agreements that could help to prop up the
collapsing Zimbabwean economy.

            Details of the agreements were not released, but Mr Mugabe, 81,
is looking for £600 million to relieve shortages of fuel and food and to
head off possible expulsion from the International Monetary Fund for failing
to pay debts.

            China provides Zimbabwe with arms and aircraft and is interested
in securing rights to exploit its mineral wealth. Further discussions on
strengthening ties between the nations will be held today. Mr Mugabe, 81, is
desperate for foreign assistance as he struggles against debts of £2.6
billion, triple-digit inflation and unemployment running at 70 per cent.

            On Sunday President Mbeki of South Africa enraged Mr Mugabe's
critics when he proposed that his country take over a portion of Zimbabwe's
debt to help to avert economic collapse.

            In Zimbabwe riot police continued the clearances yesterday,
attacking the Porta Farm slum west of Harare, which is home to 20,000

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Telegraph

Dictator's grip is tightened by weak protest
By David Blair
(Filed: 27/07/2005)

When Robert Mugabe's beleaguered opponents initially set out to break his
stranglehold on Zimbabwe, the joyful defiance of their first rally left an
indelible impression on every witness.

My mind's eye holds a vivid picture of the Movement for Democratic Change's
inaugural gathering held almost six years ago. A jubilant crowd of 15,000
packed the terraces of Rufaro stadium in Harare, roaring their support for
Morgan Tsvangirai, the party's founding leader.

They subjected a huge billboard bearing the President's portrait to numerous
indignities. First, a trade union banner was draped over the old dictator's
eyes and nose, then youths tore away the lower panels, depriving Mr Mugabe
of his left cheek.

Grinning street urchins arrived at the stadium carrying a squawking
cockerel - the symbol of the ruling Zanu-PF party - and proceeded to boot
the poor bird around the football field.

"We have not come here to launch an opposition," declared Mr Tsvangirai,
whose office wall displayed a cartoon of himself carving up a cockerel. "We
have come to ensure that the MDC is the next government."

At that moment, I almost believed him. It seemed that Zimbabweans had
finally summoned the will to cast off a leader who had only brought them
poverty and repression.

What happened next appeared to vindicate my optimism for the future. Only
nine months after that rally, Mr Tsvangirai won 57 seats in parliament,
having built the MDC from scratch into the most powerful opposition force in
Zimbabwe's history and one of the most significant popular movements in

In the aftermath of that election in June 2000, when the MDC swept all 19
seats in Harare, the capital felt like a liberated city. People almost
forgot that Mr Mugabe was still in power. I, like many, was elated. The
quiet, insistent voices of elderly Zimbabwean sceptics were intensely

Today, I curse my optimism. I wish I had listened to those who offered the
wise prediction that Mr Mugabe's determination to hold on to power would
prove vastly greater than his opponents' resolve to oust him.

For with every day that passes, it becomes glaringly obvious that the MDC
has given up any hope of ridding Zimbabwe of Mr Mugabe. The opposition's
political strategy appears to be nothing more sophisticated than waiting for
the 81-year-old dictator to die or retire.

Meanwhile, the party is paralysed and drifting under Mr Tsvangirai's
vacillating, ineffectual leadership. Internecine rivalry has broken out.

The MDC's members have taken to assaulting one another inside the party's
Harare headquarters. One MDC official has fled to South Africa after his
colleagues tried to kill him.

Mr Tsvangirai apparently believes that Welshman Ncube, his
secretary-general, is plotting to seize the throne. Never mind that Mr Ncube
denies any manoeuvring, this internal challenge - perhaps an imaginary one -
seems uppermost in the MDC leader's mind.

Hence Mr Mugabe gets away with one outrage after another. His unceasing
excesses cause storms of protest abroad - but precious little dissent at
home. Since May, his bulldozers have ravaged Zimbabwe's townships, wrecking
the homes or livelihoods of 700,000 people and harming another 2.4 million,
according to a United Nations report.

Mr Mugabe has casually ruined the lives of one quarter of all Zimbabweans -
in the last eight weeks alone. He has done this with barely a whimper from
Mr Tsvangirai or the MDC.

Waging factional battles seems far more important to Mr Tsvangirai than
actually opposing the regime, which is, after all, what opposition leaders
are paid to do. So Mr Mugabe's assault on the urban poor has passed without
the MDC organising even a single demonstration or protest.

In fairness, there has been little spontaneous discontent. A few stones were
thrown at police during the urban demolitions and street battles briefly
erupted in towns such as Chitungwiza. But many Zimbabweans meekly submitted
to the destruction of their homes and livelihoods.

Any outsider with goodwill towards this beautiful country is led towards
some profoundly disturbing conclusions. The entire Zimbabwean nation seems
to have given up opposing Mr Mugabe. Put bluntly, they are waiting for God
to remove him. The MDC's failure to offer any protest or resistance reflects
the popular mood.

But if 12 million Zimbabweans have no will to rid themselves of a dictator,
why should anyone else help? Perhaps Zimbabweans deserve the most damning
verdict of all - that they have the leader they deserve.

I hasten to add that I do not believe this. But looking at the country's
recent history, I find it hard to listen to Zimbabweans who blame the
outside world for failing to help. They have done precious little to help
themselves and Mr Tsvangirai seems most adept at machine-gunning himself in
both feet.

Let me select a few examples of his disastrous judgment. As long ago as
September 2000, Mr Tsvangirai announced that he would remove Mr Mugabe with
a "mass action" campaign of strikes and demonstrations. The president would,
he pledged, be gone by Christmas.

Mr Tsvangirai made this promise in a series of rallies and interviews. He
proceeded to do absolutely nothing.

Then Mr Tsvangirai somehow convinced himself that he was going to win the
2002 presidential poll, despite the regime using every conceivable trick to
stitch up the contest. When Mr Tsvangirai was duly declared the loser, he
branded the contest "daylight robbery" and proceeded to do, well, nothing.

This year, the same dismal scenario repeated itself. Mr Mugabe held a rigged
parliamentary election and Mr Tsvangirai, having said that he would boycott
the poll, inexplicably chose to contest it anyway. The MDC lost 16 seats. Mr
Tsvangirai declared the election unfair and proceeded to do, well, nothing.

In a recent interview, he gave a revealing explanation for why he has not
attempted to lead any street protests. "You can't have the leaders on the
streets when nobody is there behind them," he said.

So the people and the opposition are united in having no inclination to
remove their despotic leader. Their beautiful country drifts on into
disaster - and there is nothing they are willing to do.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mugabe finds succour in Beijing deals

Jonathan Watts in Beijing and Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Wednesday July 27, 2005
The Guardian

President Robert Mugabe found a sanctuary from international criticism in
Beijing yesterday as the Chinese government gave him an economic deal that
is expected to provide Zimbabwe with desperately needed funds.
The cooperation agreement signed with the Chinese president, Hu Jintao,
reflects a strengthening alliance between Mr Mugabe, who has adopted a "look
east" policy to circumvent western critics, and the government in Beijing,
which is strengthening its presence in Africa to secure energy, minerals and
other commodities to fuel what is the world's fastest growing economy.

Few details of the deal were released, but China's Xinhua news agency
reported that Beijing would provide economic and technical support in
several areas, including help to finance construction of a power plant and
the sale of a 60-seater plane to Harare.

Mr Mugabe's spokesman has previously said that Zimbabwe would also ask China
for the expansion and extension of lines of credit to deal with triple-digit
inflation and foreign debts of $4.5bn (£2.5bn).

At a time when he is treated as a pariah in Europe and the US and by many
international organisations, Mr Mugabe is keen to deepen diplomatic and
economic relations with China.

Beijing, which is thought to be interested in Zimbabwe's reserves of
platinum and other minerals, has been more than willing to offer moral and
financial support.

"You have made major contributions to the friendly relations between our two
countries," Mr Hu said at the start of the meeting yesterday.

Relations have strengthened steadily since Zimbabwe gained independence in
1980, but the pace has accelerated rapidly in recent years.

Bilateral trade hit $100m in the first three months of this year and Beijing
has started to replace the west as a source of capital to such an extent
that Mr Mugabe says China will soon be the country's leading foreign

Some of the biggest deals have seen China supply hydro-electric generators
for the national power authority, training jets for the air force, planes
for the national airline and thousands of commuter buses.

According to the New York Times, China also won a contract last year to farm
386 square miles of land seized from white farmers in 2000.

The roof of Mr Mugabe's new £7.4m palace is covered with Chinese tiles
donated by Beijing; in return, the president has been exhorting his
population to study Mandarin and try Chinese food.

China yesterday conferred an honorary professorship on Mr Mugabe from the
Foreign Affairs University, under the auspices of the Chinese foreign

"It is in recognition of the outstanding research and remarkable
contribution in the work of diplomacy and international relations by his
excellency," An Yongyu, Communist party secretary of the university, was
quoted as saying by the China Daily.

"People know very well that the president is a man of strong will and
achievements, a man safeguarding world peace."

Mr Mugabe's visit came as the UN yesterday launched a campaign to provide
urgent aid to 700,000 Zimbabweans made homeless or jobless by housing

Unicef urged the Harare government to immediately halt the destruction of
homes. UN officials said that the demolitions were continuing in eastern
Zimbabwe despite claims by the government that it had ended the drive.

Unicef also appealed to the government for unhindered access to provide aid
to the uprooted families. The Unicef effort follows the damning report on Mr
Mugabe's sweeping drive to tear down the homes of the urban poor by the UN's
special envoy, Anna Tibaijuka.

James Elder, Unicef spokesman in Harare, said Zimbabwe had "the world's
fourth highest rate of HIV infection, the world's fastest rising child
mortality rate, drastic economic decline and a growing food emergency. It is
just too much. That is why we are working to help."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe slump unprecedented : World Bank

July 27, 2005, 05:00

Zimbabwe's rapid economic decline over the past six years is likely
unprecedented for a country not at war, says the World Bank's director for
the country. In an interview with Reuters yesterday, Hartwig Schafer said
reversing the decline would require major economic restructuring, similar to
policies that helped rebuild former Soviet states also endowed with
infrastructure and human resources.

"I can't think of a country that has experienced such a decline in peace
time," said Schafer, blaming poor government policies. "The major reasons
for (Zimbabwe's) decline are the breakdown of agricultural productivity and
distortion of economic policies," he said. Government seizures of
white-owned farms to redistribute them to landless blacks and allegations of
vote rigging in elections have isolated Zimbabwe from the international
community and prompted the country to seek aid from neighboring South Africa
and China.

A recent World Bank study on Zimbabwe's agricultural sector said the
government's fast track land reforms had redistributed 80% of farmland and
improved racial distribution of agricultural property but had increased
poverty. The report said the land reform program coincides with deepening
political and economic crisis which saw GDP shrink by more than 20% since
2000, while agriculture registered a cumulative decline of 26%. The
programme's impact on agriculture had the effect of displacing 30% of farm
workers who are now destitute and living as squatters.

The report, dated February 28, 2005, said 70% of Zimbabwe's 11.6 million
people were living below the poverty line as per capita gross domestic
product had plummeted 30% since 1999. The report, based on a study conducted
in the country in 2004, also said the government's fiscal crisis had led to
a "devastating reduction" in access to social services, at a time when it
was most needed, while the impact of HIV/Aids was worsening.

Restoring agricultural productivity would be a first step to helping
Zimbabwe stop its economic free fall, said Schafer. "It wouldn't change
things overnight but it would stop the economic hemorrhage and help the
country get back on an upward path," he added.

Once the mainstay of the economy, agriculture contributed 40% to Zimbabwe's
national exports, made up 18% of the gross domestic product, employed 30% of
the formal labour force and 70% of the population. - Reuters
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Mercury

      Zimbabwe goes on a charm offensive
      July 27, 2005

      By Basildon Peta

      In an attempt to counter a damning United Nations report on its
"Operation Drive Out Trash", President Robert Mugabe's government took
diplomats from African and Non-Aligned Movement countries on a tour of
projects it said it had launched for those left homeless by the campaign.

      Zimbabwe Foreign Ministry officials said about 20 diplomats were taken
to Whitecliff Farm where the government has started building 400 low-cost
houses to accommodate those displaced.

      The aim of the tour yesterday was to counter UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka's
report which dismissed "Operation Drive Out Trash" as a "disastrous
venture", they said. Tibaijuka's report shook the Zimbabwean government,
which fears losing its allies from Africa and other developing regions. Some
might opt for a public approach in dealing with the Zimbabwean government.

      So far no African countries have publicly spoken out about "Operation
Drive Out Trash" since Tibaijuka's report. Foreign Ministry officials said
they were not taking chances and would not construe this silence as approval
since the fact was that a damning report had been issued by a respected

      The officials said Mugabe had directed his government to highlight its
reconstruction efforts as the best way of countering Tibaijuka's report.
Human rights groups in Zimbabwe have dismissed them as a smokescreen to
hoodwink the international community into believing that something serious
is being done to help victims of the campaign.

      Acting Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge and Housing and Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo, who led the tour, said the Zimbabwean government
expected them to report "Operation Drive Out Trash" to their capitals in a
much more positive manner than Tibaijuka. - Mercury Foreign Service

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 8:44 AM
Subject: press release for chinese protest



PRESS RELEASE – 26th July 2005


Zimbabweans protest at Chinese aid for Mugabe


 Exiled Zimbabweans are to stage a demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy on Friday, 29th July, in an attempt to persuade China not to give financial support to prop up the ailing Zimbabwean economy. 


Mr Mugabe arrived in China at the weekend for talks with the Chinese leadership and it is reported that he is seeking US$1 billion.  He has already requested a similar amount from South Africa and is reported to be also asking other countries, including Namibia, for money.   


The demonstration is organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for nearly 3 years in support of free and fair elections.  A group of Zimbabweans from Birmingham, who instigated the protest, are to be present at the demonstration, which will take place from noon to 2 pm.


The Chinese Embassy has already indicated that it will not allow a petition to be handed over.  The petition reads: “CHINA – DO NOT PROP UP MUGABE: We understand that the aim of President Mugabe’s visit to China is to seek an emergency loan to prop up the collapsing Zimbabwe economy.  We advise the government of China that we will support any decision by a new democratic government in Zimbabwe to disown such debts to China incurred by the Mugabe regime, including payment for armaments recently supplied.”


A spokesman for the protest said that, in spite of the unhelpful attitude of the Chinese Embassy, an attempt would be made to hand the petition over.


Under President Mugabe’s despotic rule, the Zimbabwean economy has declined catastrophically in the last 5 years, contracting by about 40%.  Unemployment is more than 70% and inflation is in 3 figures.  The country has largely ground to a halt because of fuel shortages caused by a lack of foreign exchange.  At the same time, millions of people are facing starvation because of food shortages.  The situation has been further worsened by “Operation Murambatsvina” under which the homes and informal livelihoods of the urban poor have been destroyed in a move which has been condemned in a recent United Nations report.


Venue:          Outside the Chinese Embassy, 49 - 51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL
Date:              Friday,
29th July 2005

12 pm - 2 pm

Contacts:     Wiz Bishop                07973 521 160
Jonathan Chawora    07723 929 167

                        Makusha Mugabe     07903 127 073

                        Dennis Benton           07932 193 467




Vigil Co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Reuters UK

      Government insists UN Council focus on Zimbabwe
      Tue Jul 26, 2005 10:03 PM BST

By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The government challenged the U.N. Security
Council on Tuesday to openly address Zimbabwe's bulldozing of slums,
threatening a rare public clash between council members like China that back
Harare and the African state's critics.

Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry was opposed by China, Russia and Algeria when he
asked, behind closed doors, for a public briefing by U.N. official Anna
Tibaijuka on a report in which she accused Zimbabwe of demolishing
shantytowns in a campaign that was unjustified and indifferent to human

An undeterred Jones Parry then vowed to raise the issue again on Wednesday
morning under a provision of the U.N. Charter obliging a public vote if his
request was challenged.

Jones Parry would need the support of nine of the council's 15 members to
win a procedural vote on whether Tibaijuka should brief in public. He said
speed was crucial as Tibaijuka planned to leave New York for her home in
Nairobi in two days.

A briefing on the government drive to flatten urban slums would mark the
first time Zimbabwe has emerged as a council focus, due primarily to China's
policy of opposing council intervention in other nations' internal affairs.

A public airing would also mark a breakthrough for Britain and the United
States, who have long wanted the council to zero in on Zimbabwean President
Mugabe's policies, which Western critics say have thrown the country into a
political and economic tailspin.

The threat of a council slugfest surfaced while Mugabe was in Beijing to
sign an economic and technical cooperation deal with Chinese leader Hu

Mugabe has had close ties with China since his guerrilla days against white
rule in the 1970s, when only Beijing supported his movement. Since then,
Mugabe has received substantial aid and investment from China.

The United Nations, meanwhile, played down earlier word that U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan had accepted Mugabe's invitation to visit
Zimbabwe, to see firsthand the impact of its "Operation Restore Order."


"It is not imminent," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said of a possible
Annan visit, adding that the secretary-general had accepted the invitation
"in principle."

Before the U.N. leader could come, the government would have to stop
evicting people from their slum dwellings, ensure humanitarian aid was
getting to those in need and launch a political dialogue aimed at healing
the wounds created by the mass demolitions, Dujarric said.

Tibaijuka, Annan's special envoy and head of U.N. Habitat, the world body's
urban settlements arm, said in a strongly worded report on Friday that
Zimbabwe's campaign to clean up illegal shantytowns had destroyed the homes
or jobs of at least 700,000 people and affected the lives of another 2.4

"The report is quite powerful in what it says. The council deserves to be
briefed on it by its author, Mrs. Tibaijuka," Jones Parry told reporters
outside the council chamber.

The United States, France, Denmark and Romania were among those supporting
his request, although other members argued for a compromise such as a
closed-door briefing or an informal meeting outside the council chambers,
diplomats said.

"This is an issue that is totally appropriate for the Security Council,"
U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson told reporters. "The situation is so unstable
that it threatens neighboring countries ... It is verging on a crisis

But China, supported by Russia and Algeria, told council members not to
meddle in Zimbabwe's internal affairs and argued the matter was best left to
the African Union.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Peoples Daily

      Zimbabwe to acquire tractors from China

      A team of government and Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) officials are in
China for negotiations that will see the country receiving 1,000 tractors
ahead of the next farming season.

      ZFU Director, Dzarira Kwenda, said on Tuesday that prior to the team's
departure, government officials, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and farmers'
organizations had consulted on how to handle the next farming season.

      Farmers have of late blamed poor harvests on delays in the supply of
tillage services and inputs.

      They said all inputs and other requirements should be in place by
mid-year to allow for proper planning and preparation for the summer
cropping season.

      The arrival of the tractors will enhance the District Development
Fund's ability to till bigger hactarage in the upcoming agricultural season.

      Meanwhile, Kwenda said the ZFU, the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union
and the Commercial Farmers Union had formed committees to monitor progress
in preparations for the next cropping season.

      "We are receiving updates from fertilizer manufacturing companies
every week on their production," he said.

      "So far the companies have indicated that we are likely to face 30 to
40 percent shortage of fertilizer. With 60 percent of fertilizer now in
stock, what is left is to ensure that progress toward having the remaining
40 is achieved."

      Zimbabwe's agricultural sector has been affected by successive
droughts since 2000, a situation which has resulted in most newly resettled
farmers failing to achieve their potential.

      Source: Xinhua

Back to the Top
Back to Index


            Coventry triumph provides cheer for troubled Zimbabwe
            Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:54 AM IST

      By Steve Keating

      MONTREAL (Reuters) - With her country in sporting turmoil, Zimbabwe's
Kirsty Coventry made sure there would be some good news to report by
storming to world championship gold in the 100 metre backstroke on Tuesday.

      On the same day the New Zealand Parliament passed a resolution calling
for the cancellation of a cricket tour in Zimbabwe due to concerns over
human rights abuses, Coventry provided a lift with her upset of American
world record holder Natalie Coughlin.

      Already a sporting heroine at home after scooping three medals at the
Athens Olympics, Coventry steered clear of controversy, saying only that one
day she hoped to be able to train in her own country.

      "I'm very proud to represent Zimbabwe, for everyone back home it gives
them a little hope, especially in sport," said Coventry, who lives and
competes in the United States for Auburn University.

      "I think it's exciting that we are showing people that you can do it,
you might have to go and train somewhere else but we're still representing
our countries and we still go home afterward and celebrate with them.

      "We're doing it for them so hopefully one day we'll be able to swim in
Zimbabwe without having to go other places."


      Zimbabwe has been in political and economic turmoil since foreign and
local monitors alleged President Robert Mugabe rigged his re-election in
2002 and was persecuting his opponents.

      The European Union and the United States have imposed limited
sanctions on Harare.

      New Zealand is leading a drive to isolate the southern African nation
in sport because of concerns over human rights abuses including the
government's forcible redistribution of white-owned commercial farms to

      But following Coventry's triumph in Athens the country briefly put
aside their political differences, hailing the swimmer as a national heroine
when she returned home with her Olympic medals.

      The first Zimbabwean to win an Olympic swimming gold when she took the
200m backstroke in Athens, Coventry now becomes the first person from her
country to win a world title, after a brilliant finishing kick took her back
to the top of the podium.

      Coventry flashed home on the last lap after being third at the turn to
take the title in one minute 00.24 seconds and add gold to her silver in the
200m individual medley on Monday.

      Germany's Antje Buschschulte, the 2003 world champion, finished second
in 1:00.84 while Coughlin, the reigning Olympic champion, faded in the last
15 metres to finish third in 1:00.88.

Back to the Top
Back to Index