July 2, 2008
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe returns to Zimbabwe on Wednesday
under pressure from fellow African leaders to form a national unity
government in the wake of his re-election in a violent poll ruled unfair by
An African Union summit in Egypt, attended by Mugabe, approved a resolution
calling for him to negotiate with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
withdrew from the run-off election because of violence against his
The resolution fell short of the tougher statement wanted by some African
countries, but it was an unprecedented rebuff to Mugabe, previously feted as
a liberation hero.
In the strongest public statement from one of Zimbabwe's neighbours since he
was sworn in on Sunday, Botswana called for Mugabe to be barred from the AU
and the southern African regional body SADC.
Last Friday's second-round election, in which he was the only candidate, was
condemned by monitors and much of world opinion as violent and unfair.
"In our considered view . the representatives of the current government in
Zimbabwe should be excluded from attending SADC (Southern African
Development Community) and African Union meetings," Botswana Vice-President
Mompati Merafhe said, according to a text of his remarks.
Botswana said Mugabe's participation in African meetings "would give
unqualified legitimacy to a process which cannot be considered legitimate".
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for Mugabe, 84, to be
suspended from the AU after the election.
European Union president France said the EU would only accept a Zimbabwean
government led by Tsvangirai, echoing a Western position that Mugabe was an
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round of the election on March 29
but withdrew from the run-off after he said pro-government militias killed
86 of his supporters.
Botswana's statement underlined deep rifts in Africa and among Zimbabwe's
neighbours over how tough to be with Mugabe.
South Africa, the designated mediator in Zimbabwe, has resisted open
condemnation. The AU summit, in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh,
called for SADC mediation, led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, to
Mbeki has been criticised in the region and at home for what is seen as
ineffective mediation that favours Mugabe.
At the summit, Mugabe attacked his critics in Africa and outside but did not
object to the resolution, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki
"There was a lengthy debate, many views were put forward including very
critical views of the Zimbabwean ruling party and the president," Zaki said.
Mugabe spokesman George Charamba earlier rejected ideas being discussed for
a power-sharing deal and MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti said there was no
chance of negotiations.
Biti said Mugabe's decision to go ahead with the June 27 election "totally
and completely exterminated any prospects of a negotiated settlement".
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the party would respond to the AU
resolution on Wednesday.
The summit did not back a U.S. push for U.N. sanctions against Mugabe,
including an arms embargo.
July 2, 2008
By David Williams
SHARM EL-SHEIKH (MailOnline) - The African Union has called for a national
unity government in Zimbabwe after the controversial re-election of Robert
But the African leaders rejected a demand for the Zimbabwe president to be
barred from future meetings of the group.
The plea for his suspension came from Botswana. The country's
representatives said Mugabe's participation in AU meetings 'would give
unqualified legitimacy to a process which cannot be considered legitimate'.
The meeting, on Tuesday night did approve a resolution calling for a unity
government in Zimbabwe and urged the opposing parties in the country to
But Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba rejected ideas being floated for a
Kenyan-style power-sharing deal in which the president and prime minister
are from opposing parties.
He insisted the 84-year-old leader would not offer anything beyond dialogue
with the opposition - and had no intention of standing down.
"He's a few days into office and you expect him to retire, do you? Why is
the issue of the retirement of the president of Zimbabwe such an obsession
for the West?" he said at the summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm
"He has come here as President of Zimbabwe and he will go home as president
of Zimbabwe, and when you visit Zimbabwe he will be there as the president
of all the people of Zimbabwe."
When asked for Mugabe's reaction to Western pressure in the wake of the
weekend's election which has been condemned by monitors and global leaders
alike, Charamba said: 'They can go hang. They can go and hang a thousand
Botswana's stance was the toughest public statement from one of Zimbabwe's
neighbours since Mugabe was sworn in on Sunday.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has also called for Mugabe, 84, to be
suspended from the AU.
But Mugabe had threatened before the summit to confront his critics and his
spokesman targeted Mr Odinga's own regime.
Charamba accused Odinga of having blood on his hands over the crisis in his
country, in which 1,500 people died.
"Odinga's hands drip with blood, raw African blood. And that blood is not
going to be cleansed by any amount of abuse of Zimbabwe. Not at all," he
Odinga joined a power-sharing government with President Mwai Kibaki under an
AU-backed deal to end the Kenya crisis. The African Union Tuesday night
called for a national unity government in Zimbabwe after the
widely-condemned re-election of President Robert Mugabe.
But the African leaders rejected a demand for Mugabe to be barred from
future meetings of the group.
The plea for his suspension, from Botswana, underlined the deep rifts both
within Africa as a whole and among Zimbabwe's neighbours.
More African states join the protest against Mugabe
As the Zimbabwe crisis deepens, the African tradition that one country does
not comment on the internal affairs of another is beginning to crumble.
Yesterday saw a momentous move by our neighbouring country, Botswana. Its
Vice-President, Mompati Merfahe, took the rare step of addressing Mugabe
directly across the floor at the African Union (AU) conference in Egypt.
Merfahe told the Zimbabwean President that the presidential re-run vote last
Friday, which Mugabe won against no opposition, had been so flawed with
violence that it "did not reflect the will of the people." He demanded that
Zimbabwe should, as a result, be excluded from the AU.
The Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, also urged the AU to suspend
Mugabe until he allowed free and fair elections. And Sierra Leone President
Ernest Koromo commented that the people of Zimbabwe had been "denied their
However, these three stood out from the majority of the African leaders, who
instead eased their consciences on the issue by adopting a milk-and-water
resolution calling for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe.
Observers in Zimbabwe are sceptical that this laudable aim can ever be
achieved, especially after the Zanu-PF violence of the past few weeks.
Morgan Tsvangirai has already stated that any negotiations between his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's people would have to be on
the basis of the first presidential election, which Tsvangirai won by a
And at the conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba
said that the crisis would be solved in the "Zimbabwean way." He also said
that the West had no basis to speak about the situation, and "could go hang
a thousand times."
Meanwhile the terror and persecution across Zimbabwe continues, with
Mugabe's militia hunting down an ever-widening range of targets.
The western media is widely reporting than an elderly white farmer, Mike
Campbell, 75, his wife and their son-in-law were badly beaten and thrown off
their Harare farm on Sunday. Similar assaults and worse continue to be
inflicted on black Zimbabweans on a daily basis.
Globe and Mail, Canada
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
July 2, 2008 at 1:16 AM EDT
A controversial Canada-based consultant, whose previous claim to fame was
framing Zimbabwe's opposition leader in a coup plot, has received more than
$14-million (U.S.) from a white South African to broker deals for Zimbabwean
farmland, according to U.S. government documents seen by The Globe and Mail.
Asked about the deal, Ari Ben Menashe said that in today's Zimbabwe "there
are all kinds of possibilities; it isn't all doom and gloom." He added, "Now
the government is willing to lease all kinds of land to all kinds of
Pressed about what he has done to earn his millions, he replied, "This is
not money that is going into our pockets," and then added, "I don't want to
get into details."
The Montrealer, who once described himself as an international man of
infamy, was a paid "public-relations" consultant for President Robert
Mugabe's regime from 2002 to 2004. At the time, he was trying to shore up
the image of a pariah government that was seizing farmland from whites.
Although he might have not made the ruling ZANU-PF party look good in this
period, Mr. Ben Menashe certainly helped make the opposition look bad.
Before going to work for Mr. Mugabe, he had been dealing with Zimbabwe's
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. He invited Mr. Tsvangirai to his
Montreal offices to discuss the impending 2002 election.
In Canada, Mr. Ben Menashe put to his guest several leading questions about
"eliminating" Mr. Mugabe. Thanks to a pinhole camera Mr. Ben Menashe had
installed in the ceiling, the whole conversation was taped.
Because the videotape was sent back to Zimbabwe as proof of a coup plot, Mr.
Tsvangirai wound up jailed on treason charges in the midst of the 2002
presidential election campaign. He was eventually acquitted and lived to
fight in this year's election, though he stood down last month complaining
that state-sponsored election violence had resulted in the deaths of more
than 80 of his supporters.
During the 2002 controversy, Mr. Ben Menashe circulated a press release
saying that he sent the videotape to Harare because he felt "morally
compelled to assist the embattled people of Zimbabwe and their President
However, records show that shortly afterward, his consultancy, Dickens &
Madson, signed a $400,000 contract to do PR work for Mr. Mugabe.
Those details are all a matter of public record. Under the terms of the U.S.
Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, freelancers
such as Mr. Ben Menashe must inform Washington of any attempts to lobby the
United States on behalf of any foreign entities.
Newer FARA filings obtained by The Globe indicate Mr. Ben Menashe is no
longer directly employed by the Mugabe regime. Rather, the focus of his
enterprises these days is Paul Calder LeRoux, a 35-year-old South
African-Australian dual citizen, who lives in the Philippines and who made
his fortune building call centres.
Mr. LeRoux is not commenting on the deal, but the text of it, as filed by
Mr. Ben Menashe, reads that the Montrealer is to "promote policies of the
United States favourable to the business activities of the principal," Mr.
LeRoux, who "intends to become involved in the leasing of real estate for
farming and other purposes in Zimbabwe."
To that end, the FARA filings indicate that Mr. LeRoux made a series of
large payments to the Montreal consultancy beginning on March 16, 2007, and
ending on Jan. 30.
The amount totals almost $14-million, and it's unclear from the documents
whether any land has been leased and why so much money was being paid so
quickly. It is also unclear precisely who is pocketing the millions if Mr.
Ben Menashe, who said he still visits Zimbabwe, is not.
Wed, 02 Jul 2008 07:40
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe would retaliate with more violence if too
much pressure was exerted on him, his biographer Heidi Holland warned on
Addressing a seminar organised by the Cape Times newspaper at the University
of Cape Town, Holland said the Zimbabwean leader was an emotionally insecure
person who reacted with violence at the slightest provocation.
"He is emotionally incapable of accepting defeat. The key to understanding
Mugabe is his urge for revenge," Holland said.
Holland interviewed Mugabe prior to publishing her book. She described
Mugabe as "emotionally fragile" with a tendency to unleash violence on those
who opposed his will.
She cited the killing of several thousand Ndebele people in the 1980s,
Mugabe's constant verbal denouncement of Britain, and the recent violence
targeting those who did not vote for him in the recent election, as evidence
that Mugabe was capable of doing anything in his power to harm his
by Aderogba Obisesan 24 minutes ago
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday
rejected an EU position that it will only accept a Zimbabwean government led
by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"The result that comes out of that process of dialogue must be a result that
is agreed by the Zimbabweans," said Mbeki on SA FM radio after an African
Union summit in Egypt attended by Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.
"And certainly, the African continent has not made any prescriptions about
the outcomes of what Zimbabweans must negotiate among themselves."
Mbeki added: "That surely must mean that when the Zimbabweans say that we
have all met, discussed and negotiated and this is what we have agreed to
take our country, Zimbabwe forward."
African leaders on Tuesday, in their final resolution after their summit in
Egypt, called for dialogue between Zimbabwe's political foes and a national
unity government following Mugabe 's widely discredited reelection.
Their two-day conclave agreed "to encourage President Robert Mugabe and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai to initiate
dialogue with a view to promoting peace, stability".
Mugabe was present when the resolution was adopted, and raised no
The European Union said Tuesday that it will only accept a Zimbabwe
government led by Tsvangirai , who overtook Mugabe -- the country's leader
since independence -- in the first round of presidential poll held in March.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said as Europe prepared to step up
sanctions against Mugabe that the European Union will only accept a
government led by the opposition leader.
The European Union, on the first day of France's rotating presidency, took a
tough stance on Mugabe, with Kouchner telling France 2 public television
that Brussels "will not accept a government other than one led by Mr
"The French presidency, along with the (European) Commission, is clear: the
government is illegitimate if it isn't led by opposition leader Mr
Tsvangirai," Kouchner stated.
Tsvangirai, who failed to win an absolute majority in that poll, withdrew
from the second round of voting, held last Friday, saying that violence had
made a fair vote impossible.
Mugabe, 84, who was the sole candidate in that exercise, was declared
winner, and was hastily sworn in for another five-year term.
The opposition claims more than 80 of its supporters had been killed in a
campaign of intimidation ahead of the vote and thousands injured.
With South Africa the most influentual country in southern Africa, the
regional bloc Southern African Development Community (SADC) has appointed
Mbeki mediator in the crisis.
"So we are fully supportive of the cooperation and dialogue among political
parties to find a solution to the challenges they face," Mbeki said
"And that is why they came to the conclusion that the only way forward out
of this was to get Zimbabweans, to encourage Zimbabweans to engage and
indeed produce an inclusive government.
"Everybody is convinced that it is only via the instrument of an inclusive
government that includes all of these political parties of Zimbabwe within a
framework that they themselves would agree...this is the only way that you
can take Zimbabwe forward," said Mbeki.
African Union Commission President Jean Ping called Tuesday on the
international community, which has led criticism of the election, not to
interfere too much in the Zimbabwe crisis.
Los Angeles Times
X-rays of injuries from the political violence show the use of horrendous
force. 'It's an illustration of unbelievable, intentional brutality,' he
From a Times Staff Writer
July 2, 2008
HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- The doctor points impassively to two X-rays on a screen.
One is of a foot fractured in four places, the breaks more severe than if
the victim had been run over by a car, the doctor says.
The second is of a leg fractured at the thickest part of the tibia, just
beneath the knee. The fibula, a smaller leg bone, is smashed to pieces, says
the doctor, who despite eight years' experience with cases of trauma and
beatings has never seen an injury like the tibia fracture.
The leg and foot injuries were not the only ones suffered by the two
victims, a 41-year-old polling agent for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party beaten on the soles of his feet and a 46-year-old
MDC provincial secretary struck with a metal bar. Both had two broken arms
and one had broken ribs.
The pair are among the thousands of Zimbabwean activists who were injured in
the run-up to Friday's presidential runoff, overwhelmingly opposition party
supporters attacked by ZANU-PF ruling party militias and operatives,
according to Human Rights Watch. At least 85 opposition activists were
killed before the runoff, which concluded with longtime incumbent Robert
Mugabe being the sole candidate.
An additional 200 are missing and presumed dead. And roughly 200,000 people
were displaced from their homes in the violence, the opposition says.
In some areas, the opposition could not field a single polling agent to
monitor the election because of safety concerns.
MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, who described the election
campaign as being like a war, pulled out of the vote because of the severe
violence against MDC activists. Mugabe, 84, who had finished second to
Tsvangirai in the initial presidential vote in March, was inaugurated Sunday
for a new five-year term.
The X-rays convey only the bald medical facts of what happened to two of the
many victims, but to a doctor, the pictures speak as eloquently as courtroom
The doctor, whose name has been withheld because of safety concerns and
possible repercussions, describes himself as a man interested in facts, not
emotions. He does focus on the biographical details of the men involved, who
they were and what were their thoughts and feelings.
"I just write the medical reports," he says. "I try to keep it as objective
What staggers him is the level of suffering, and the length of time that the
victims will continue to feel the pain.
"Every time that person puts his foot down for the next five years, it will
hurt," he says.
"You have four metatarsal fractures," the doctor continues, gesturing at the
bones in the central part of the foot in the first X-ray. "You just don't
get full metatarsal fractures at the same time. It's very unusual. It
requires a huge amount of force.
"You could drive a car over someone's foot and if you broke two of them it
would be a lot," he says.
He jabs a finger at the X-ray of the tibia injury. "Will you look at that
bone? The massive strong part of the tibia has been separated. You just
don't get complete severing of the tibia from the knee like that. I could
not hit someone hard enough to do this.
"It's an illustration of unbelievable, intentional brutality," he says.
"This is not over when the election is over."
The areas hardest hit by the violence were traditional ZANU-PF strongholds
that had swung strongly to the MDC in the March vote.
Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights, a group of independent doctors, reports
that 2,000 people were treated for injuries suffered in political violence
in June and more than 5,000 since February. The doctor is a member of the
"One of the most disturbing things is that there is nowhere that people can
turn to. You have got no refuge, no ombudsman, no policeman," the doctor
He switches off the lighted screen behind the X-rays, takes them down and
slides them into two brown envelopes. There are many others like them, he
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 05:04
By Staff Reporter
BULAWAYO - Scores of youths believed to be part of the notorious ZANU
(PF) militia have descended on bus termini in the second biggest city of
Bulawayo, where they are harassing commuter omnibus crews whose vehicles
have not displayed Robert Mugabe's potrait.
Commuter staff who spoke to The Zimbabwean at the busiest Basch Street
terminus, popularly known as Egodini, on Tuesday complained that they are
now operating under fear and constant harassment from the youths, all of who
are wearing ZANU (PF) T'shirts dished out during campaign for the
Presidential run-off election, which later became a one-man contest pitting
Mugabe against himself, after favourite, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement
for Cemocratic Chnage (MDC) withdrew citing a number of factors, ZANU (PF)
violence being one of them.
"We have not been able to operate freely since Sunday evening as these
youths accuse all those whose vehicles do not have Mugabe's potrait of being
MDC supporters. They say that this country has returned to ZANU (PF) rule
and only vehicles whose owners accept will be allowed to load passengers
here," said one bus conductor at the terminus.
During his campaign, Mugabe, through the government-run National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), sold cheap fuel to minibus owners in the city,
who were in turn required to display four of his potraits, at both sides,
the front and the rear.
The buses were also ordered to charge each passenger Z$500 million for
a single trip and also to allow ZANU (PF) members to campaign during trips.
Commuter omnibus, who buy five litres of fuel at above Z$200 billion,
instead of the NOCZIM's Z$6 billion for the same amount of fuel, are
charging Z$10 billion for a single urban trip.
These also do not have Mugabe's potrait and are subject of harassment
by the youths.
"You will not carry passengers here until you display the President's
picture. You will all go to Britain," declared one member of the militia,
derisively referred to as Green Bombers, as he blocked a commuter omnibus.
Some commuter crews said that they had resorted to bribing the militia
to be allowed to load passengers, as police had turned a blind eye to the
"We are now paying them an average of Z$5 billion a trip because they
have taken over the termini. They are everywhere and they seem to be above
the law," said a spokesman for the Bulawayo Urban Transporters Association
Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, professed
ignorance of the harassment.
"I have not heard about that and I have no comment," he said briefly.
Mail and Guardian
TONDERAI KWIDINI | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Jul 02 2008 06:00
The perennial political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe has wreaked havoc
with the country's once-thriving tobacco industry.
Tobacco was the mainstay of the Southern African state's economy during the
1980s and 1990s. The "golden leaf" was the county's main export product,
accounting for about 50% of Zimbabwe's foreign currency earnings. About 700
000 people are dependent on the industry for their living.
For decades, Zimbabwean tobacco was coveted by blenders as among the finest
in the world. According to statistics from the statutory body Zimbabwe
Trade, the country was the second-largest producer of flue-cured tobacco
after the United States in the 1990s. Its crop was recognised for its
quality in major tobacco markets in Europe, Asia and the US.
But, since 2000 when the government introduced chaotic "land reform"
policies, the tables have been turned. Brazil has since taken over as the
world's second-largest flue-cured tobacco producer.
Production of tobacco plunged from a record level of 267-million kilograms
in 2000 to a dismal 73-million kilograms last year, according to the
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA).
In an ostensible bid to redress the racial inequities in arable land
ownership, white farmers who were more experienced have been displaced from
tobacco farms. These farms have subsequently been taken over, in some cases,
by inexperienced and underfunded communal farmers and, in other cases, by
friends of the rulers.
Farmers have to put up with a plethora of problems. For example, the
government is not providing sufficient support for tobacco production, and
banks are reluctant to offer loans in the light of the uncertainty of the
situation, including the expropriation of farms.
All these problems have contributed to a very low yield of tobacco of which
the quality has also been reduced.
Since 2000, every other tobacco-selling season has been plunged into
disarray as tobacco farmers hold on to their crops, complaining about low
prices and delayed payment.
This year's season was characterised by on-off selling as farmers clamoured
for better prices -- which were quickly wiped out by the country's
staggering inflation rate of more than 100 000%.
The official opening of the tobacco-selling season this year was scheduled
for the month of April. It was delayed by more than two weeks as farmers
refused to send their crops to the tobacco sales floors in Harare, demanding
a review of prices.
Farmers have been objecting to the tobacco being sold in US dollars while
they are paid in local currency at the official exchange rate, which is not
commensurate to their labour input.
Last year, similar wrangles were witnessed. Sales were postponed
indefinitely after farmers indicated that they were not ready to sell their
tobacco until they got a special exchange rate. They rejected the exchange
rate of one US dollar to Z$250 that applied at the time.
Although the rate was adjusted upwards to a special rate of one US dollar to
Z$30 000, farmers insisted that this was still not enough. The US dollar was
at the time fetching 20 times more on the parallel market, which is where
most of them were getting money to buy farming implements.
The impasse was only resolved after the intervention of the government. The
price of 1kg of tobacco was pegged at 1,50 US dollars last year. This year
the price was moved up to $2,26 per kilogram, although the farmers had
demanded a rate of $4 per kilogram.
In May this year, farmers stopped selling their crops in protest against
non-payment. Most of the communal farmers prefer to be paid in cash rather
than cheques as they need the money for food and school fees for their
children and for the purchase of farming implements.
Since April, business has grounded to a halt at the country's three main
auction floors -- Burley Marketing Zimbabwe, the Tobacco Sales Floor and the
Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre, all located in the capital, Harare.
Some disgruntled farmers complained that they had sold their crop 21 days
previously but had still not received payment despite government promises.
A few farmers said they had received Z$5-billion, which is equivalent to
only $5, while the remainder was deposited in their accounts or paid out in
In Zimbabwe at the time of writing, Z$5-billion was only enough to buy a
five-litre pack of orange juice.
"What can we do with Z$5-billion? It all goes to settle food bills that have
accumulated during the period that we have been here waiting for payment,"
said a disgruntled farmer at the Tobacco Sales Floor.
An official at the Tobacco Sales Floor acknowledged that there was a crisis
but nothing could be done until the currency crisis gripping the country was
"It's a problem of cash, but we hope that once we start getting special
cheques from our banks the payment situation will improve," said Wilson
Gopoza, Tobacco Sales Floor MD.
The "special cheques" come in the form of promissory cheques that can be
used as money. These were introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in May
in a desperate bid to solve the cash crisis in the country's banking system
and to make trading easier.
Before the introduction of these cheques, farmers were forced to liquidate
their cheques through illegal cash dealers. They were being charged a
commission of up to 70%, a situation that ended up diverting money from the
farmers to the cash dealers.
"These disruptions cost farmers a lot of money. Why can't the government
just put its house in order and set prices well in advance so that we don't
have to pay for storage facilities in Harare while we await the resolution
of price issues?" asked a tobacco farmer from Headlands, about 50km
north-west of Harare.
A representative of the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board said the delays are
caused by the government, which takes time to determine the price of
Decline in production
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers' Association (ZTGA) projected at the
beginning of the year that tobacco production for 2008 would decline by 20%.
ZTGA president Julius Ngorima said the initial target of 120-million
kilograms of tobacco in 2008 would not be achieved due to a combination of
factors, including late planting, shortage of diesel and fertiliser, and
"We are now expecting an output of below 100-million kilograms," Ngorima
Other organisations are, however, expecting the yield to be much lower than
ZTA president Andrew Ferreira said: "We're expecting a crop of less than
70-million kilograms because drought earlier in the season and incessant
rains more recently have affected the crop. Some growers have opted out of
tobacco because of the problems related to obtaining inputs."
ZTA figures show the decline in output: from 267-million kilograms in 2000,
when the ruling Zanu-PF started to turn the screws on its political
opposition, to 202-million kilograms in 2001; 165-million kilograms in 2002;
80-million kilograms in 2003; and a paltry 68-million kilograms in 2004.
Statistics for this year's crop yield were not available at the time of
writing but analysts projected that the season might just be the worst in
the history of the country, given the extreme social upheaval caused by new
heights of state-sponsored torture and murder. -- IPS
July 2, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Zimbabwe's troubled central bank has further increased the daily
maximum cash withdrawal limits for both individual and corporate clients to
Z$100 billion, up from Z$25 billion with effect from Wednesday.
The Z$25 billion limit had been eroded given the recent wave of steep price
In a statement, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono
increased the limit to Z$100, ostensibly to bring relief to the transacting
Gono said the increase is "consistent with macro economic pressures,
But the amount falls far short of meeting the daily requirements for most
depositors who continue to endure countless trips to the bank to raise money
for household and other basic needs.
"The money is still not enough to cater for my daily needs as it can buy
only just three loaves of bread on the black market," said Tawanda Mudimu, a
school teacher based in Harare.
Bread has become a rare commodity, hardly available on supermarket shelves.
Workers routinely spend hours in bank queues as they try to comply with the
RBZ cash withdrawal limits when withdrawing their salaries while those who
are resourceful enough have resorted to opening multiple bank accounts to
try and beat the limits.
"The current environment where there is high inflation and frequent salary
adjustments tend to increase the demand for cash," said an official with a
commercial bank in Harare, "Most people would want to immediately convert
their earnings into cash to allow them to buy goods and services."
Since December last year, Gono has increased the withdrawal limits on no
less than five occasions.
Only in May this year, Gono raised maximum cash withdrawal limits for both
individuals and corporations to Z$5 billion, up from Z$1 billion.
A few weeks later he reviewed the limit to Z$10 billion, only to revise it
some days later to Z$25 billion.
The unpopular cash withdrawal limits are designed ostensibly to place
controls on the amount of money circulating, which Gono claims is fueling
the world's highest inflation.
Gono favours the use of the so-called plastic money where people meet value
for goods and services using less conventional methods of value exchange
such as bank cheques.
Critics say the central bank chief is fighting a losing battle as bank
queues continue to resurface as the demand for Zimbabwe's worthless currency
Commuter transport fares in most urban centres have now shot up to Z$10
billion for trips of less than 10km. The amount has increased ten-fold over
the past month.
In May, a loaf of bread cost Z$200 million dollars. It has since ballooned
to Z$7 billion on the formal market and Z$25 billion on the thriving black
market where bread is more readily available.
Similarly, a 2-litre bottle of fruit juice, which was marked at Z$6 billion
less than two weeks ago, has increased 20-fold to Z$120 billion.
A single unit of the South African Rand now exchanges for as much as Z$3, 2
billion on the street market while US$1 now fetches up to Z$25 billion.
Zimbabwe's galloping inflation is now pegged at over 9 million percent with
no sign of a speedy solution to the crisis in sight.
The government has stopped releasing statistics of inflation, but statistics
allegedly obtained from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) by a weekly
paper, The Independent newspaper a few days ago, indicate that annual
inflation was now more than 9 million percent.
The last official inflation figure was released in February, when the CSO
said it stood at 165 000 per cent.
Most Zimbabweans now give the banks a wide berth, preferring to convert
their cash to foreign currency in a bid to preserve its value and ensure
guaranteed access when ever they choose to use it. Many cash transactions
are now conducted either in South African Rand or in US dollars.
For years now Zimbabwe has been under strain from lack of foreign currency,
food shortages and ill-conceived populist spending by President Robert
Most ordinary Zimbabweans have become very poor trillionaires.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) acting secretary general, Japhet
Moyo said it was now difficult to recommend a minimum salary for affiliate
groups with prices changing nearly every minute.
He added, "It is now very difficult even to peg the Poverty Datum Line as
prices are shooting every minute."
But President Mugabe, who retained power last week allegedly on the strength
of his party's so called "100 percent total empowerment" campaign slogan, is
optimistic Zimbabwe's comatose economy can still rise to a model economy.
This, he says, can be achieved on the back of an anticipated resurrection of
the agricultural sector.
His critics, who accuse him of bludgeoning his way to victory after being
defeated in March by his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC, say nothing
outside total commitment to political transformation, can save Zimbabwe from
further economic collapse.
ROBERT Mugabe has again been declared president of Zimbabwe, despite being
the only candidate in last week's election after Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew in the face of massive
violence and intimidation of his supporters.
The flawed "election result" has been greeted by worldwide condemnation of
Zanu -PF and its violent campaign of repression during the election. What is
likely to happen next?
The first thing to realise is that Mugabe is a very clever politician. Like
many of the most successful politicians, he is a survivor and his main
interest is in survival. He is also now tied at the hip to the corrupt and
repressive Zanu-PF hierarchy, especially the military that he has both
fostered and which is now his only prop to stay in power. Mugabe and Zanu-PF
are now gearing up for the end-game, and the "election" is part of their
strategy to negotiate from a position of strength.
And make no mistake, Zimbabwe has entered the end-game phase. The country
has sunk so low, with a collapsed economy and mass unemployment, that even
the most stubborn politicians in both Zanu-PF and the MDC will be forced to
the negotiating table. We are likely, sooner or later, to see a government
of national unity in Zimbabwe as part of a managed transition to new, free
and democratic elections.
Mugabe and the Zanu-PF elite are not fools - they know this. The declaration
of Mugabe as the new "president" is part of their strategy to negotiate from
a position of strength and ensure that they are able to get out of the
country with their money and their dignity intact.
For Zimbabwe, the question now is how to transfer power from a corrupt,
oppressive political-military elite that remains in firm control of the
country, to a democratic and inclusive society. South Africa has been in
this position before and we have both the recent experience and expertise to
help the transition. That is why President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy"
is both the only show in town and the only strategy most likely to work.
It is an unpleasant fact to have to face, but if an oppressive government
cannot be defeated by force of arms or by popular demonstration, then an
accommodation must be reached with the dictators while they are still in
power. And part of that accommodation is unfortunately that they get out
with their money and reputations still intact.
The same thing happened in South Africa.
After the then-Prime Minister PW Botha failed to "cross the Rubicon" in
1984, South Africa erupted into a contained civil war for the rest of the
decade. The numbers of United Democratic Front (UDF) supporters dead and in
detention steadily rose, the bombing of "soft targets" increased - but there
was still no solution to the impasse. While South Africa's economy collapsed
and its isolation increased, the apartheid government remained in control
and its military remained undefeated. Something had to give to break the
The turning point in the transition to a democratic state came when the
African National Congress realised that South Africa could not be militarily
defeated and that apartheid would have to be negotiated out of existence.
What would happen to the leaders of the apartheid government was a major
issue in the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) negotiations
and in the subsequent transition to democracy. The compromise that was
agreed eventually was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The
deal that was struck was that if apartheid's hit men and enforcers came
clean to the TRC, they would not be prosecuted and would be given amnesty
for their past abuses.
Make no mistake, there were many abuses that needed to be confessed. The ANC
submission to the TRC estimated that "the human cost (of apartheid) was
1.5million dead through military and economic action, most of them children,
while a further four million had been displaced from their homes". From 1985
to 1989, over 80000 people were detained without trial, of which 10000 were
"tortured, assaulted or in some way abused". Between 1990 and 1993, in the
run up to the elections "nearly 12000 civilians were killed and 20000 were
injured in thousands of incidents, including several major massacres".
The Human Rights Commission recorded the "accelerating pace of
assassinations of anti-apartheid figures: 28 in 1990, 60 in 1991 and 97 in
1992". This human cost dwarfs the cost of Mugabe's misrule in Zimbabwe.
The ANC, to achieve democracy, was forced to accept an accommodation with
apartheid's rulers. And the price of this accommodation was that the big
guys got off the hook. Botha, Defence Minister Magnus Malan and others were
allowed to thumb their collective noses at the TRC and refuse to testify
about their knowledge of death squads or covert operations, while Vlakplaas
commander Eugene de Kock and the other foot-soldiers were sent to rot in
We should not underestimate how morally repulsive this appears to the many
physically crushed, poverty- stricken victims of apartheid. Yet it was the
price of getting rid of its evil.
We must prepare ourselves for the same thing to happen in Zimbabwe. Mugabe
and the rest of the Zanu -PF high-ups know how they are going to negotiate
themselves out of existence. Their final destinations may be North Korea
rather than the wilderness, but they will make sure they get to keep their
US dollars and the last remaining pieces of prestige.
And here in South Africa we should realise that we have the competitive
advantage in negotiating an end to repulsive governments.
Let Mbeki get on with his "quiet diplomacy", however repulsive it may seem.
He knows how to shuffle dictators off into the sunset.
After all, the ANC has already done it here.
Philip Cole is an independent development economist based in East London
Posted: July 02, 2008
1:00 am Eastern
Voting early on the morning of Election Day in Zimbabwe, the only candidate,
Robert Mugabe, smiling broadly, said he was "happy and hungry for victory."
In his wake are the corpses of at least 80 members of the Movement for
Democratic Change and thousands of tortured and beaten opposition
Zimbabweans. Among them - seen on the front page of the June 26 New York
Times - is an 11-month-old boy whose legs were shattered by the "Green
Bombers," Mugabe's youth militia.
Following Mugabe's Stalinesque triumph, the U.N. Security Council expressed
"deep regrets" that the election was conducted "in these circumstances."
That language would have been a tad more critical, but South Africa, not
wanting to hurt Mugabe's feelings, objected to describing the elections as
On the very day before, hospitals in Harare, the capital, were overflowing,
as there weren't enough doctors. Some hospitals, responding to threats by
the military, refused to take any more victims of torture.
Not at all surprisingly, the U.N. Human Rights Council has yet to even put
on its agenda Mugabe's extended version of the Nazis' "Kristillnacht" that
presaged the Holocaust, when the world also declined to intervene.
As the June 25 Times of London reported, Mugabe, the "Liberator" of his
country, crowed: "Other people can say what they want, but the elections are
ours. We are a sovereign state, and that is it."
The United Nations insists that the sovereignty of its members - even those
who terrorize their own people - is inviolable. Savoring that guarantee,
Mugabe declared during his solo "campaign": "We will not accept any meddling
in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, even from fellow Africans."
Among the millions of Zimbabweans abandoned by the world are the survivors -
in Chitungwiza, 18 miles south of Harare - of an attack on a home that was a
refuge for Movement for Democratic Change members. Said one of them,
57-year-old Georgina Nyamutsamba, in a June 27 Washington Post report:
"There are so many boys buried in (nearby) Warren Hills Cemetery, killed by
Mugabe. Please help us suffering in Zimbabwe. What can we do?"
One of the owners of that refuge, Annastasia Chipiyo, has given up any hope
of deliverance from Zimbabwe's Liberator. She says: "I have nothing to fear.
I've just lost my son" - one of the four murdered in the June 17 attack on
her home. She has nothing left to lose. Untold numbers of Zimbabweans are
also frozen in hopelessness.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, withdrew
from the run-off election because he did not want to add to the broken
bodies of his supporters, saying in the June 25 edition of The Guardian
newspaper in London: "Zimbabwe will break if the world does not come to our
Tsvangirai has called on the United Nations to send peacekeepers to
Mugabeland to clear the way for the new elections so that he could campaign
as a "legitimate candidate," for whom Zimbabweans can vote without putting
their very lives in danger.
But if the United Nations were to do more than express "deep regrets" and
only impose more economic sanctions on Mugabe and his primary accomplices,
that would hardly cause fear in the Hitler of Africa. Though well-intended,
Queen Elizabeth's ruling on June 25 to strip Mugabe of his 1994 knighthood -
Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Bath - must have been derisively received
by the cashiered knight. You think he cares?
Sarah Childress of the Wall Street Journal has been covering this satanic
"election" - that has shamed Africa and the world - with consistent
accuracy. "Mr. Mugabe," she wrote on June 26, "has long disregarded what the
world thinks of him. Unless Mr. Mugabe is pressured by his African
counterparts, there is apparently little diplomats can do to sway him."
Will the African Union expel Zimbabwe, as Mugabe is strangling that nation?
What actions will now be taken by the Southern African Development
Community, which Childress describes as "the most powerful international
(economic) actor in Zimbabwe's drama"?
How about military intervention, if all else fails, by Zimbabwe's African
leaders, an increasing number of whom are dismayed and repelled by Mugabe's
literally getting away with murder? Even the revered Nelson Mandela has, at
long last, conquered his acute desire not to criticize another former
freedom fighter against European colonizers. (The white rulers of Rhodesia
kept Mugabe in prison for 10 years before he was out, and Rhodesia became
Celebrating his 90th birthday at a dinner in London, Mandela faced the
naked, barbaric truth and said there is "a tragic failure of leadership" in
Zimbabwe. He didn't speak the dreaded name, but the message was clear. Maybe
Mugabe, on hearing Mandela's irreverence, shrugged.
To be continued: Are there specific, realizable answers to Zimbabwean
Georgina Nyamutsamba, mourning "so many boys buried ... killed by Mugabe"?
"What can we do?" she asks. Will there be no reply except more deep
regrets - and the impossibility of first having to get permission from U.N.
Security Council members China and Russia to actually intervene with armed
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 05:23
The crime of genocide is defined in international law in the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. The Genocide
Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December
1948. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. More than 130
nations have ratified the Genocide Convention and over 70 nations have made
provisions for the punishment of genocide in domestic criminal law. The text
of Article II of the Genocide Convention was included as a crime in Article
6 of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Zimbabwe is
a signatory to this Convention.
There are two salient articles in the Convention:
Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the
committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
racial or religious group, as such:
Killing members of the group;
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to
bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
Conspiracy to commit genocide;
Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
Attempt to commit genocide;
Complicity in genocide.
The following are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy
to destroy a group's existence:
Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions
Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on
members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence,
forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.
Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a
group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the
group's physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or
Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through
confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps,
forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.
Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced
abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women
intended to prevent procreation.
Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by
through fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or
other methods of coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child
defines children as persons under the age of 14 years.
As can be seen, acts of genocide need not kill or cause the death of
members of a group: torture, political rape, displacement, deprivation, and
various other actions, short of killing, also are included in the
definition. Furthermore, it is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even
before killing starts, and to aid or abet genocide. The criminal acts
described in the Convention include conspiracy, direct and public
incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.
Wall Street Journal
July 2, 2008;
The world rarely looks to summit meetings of the African Union for
statesmanship, and this week's meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm
El-Sheik met those expectations. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, illegitimately
"re-elected" to a sixth term in office last week, was accorded the honor of
being personally escorted to the plenary session by host Hosni Mubarak,
himself in his fifth term. Dictators have a way of enjoying one another's
Western leaders had hoped the summit would prompt African leaders to have a
stern talking-to with "Comrade Bob," if not for the catastrophe he has
inflicted on Zimbabwe then for the embarrassment he has brought their
continent. But despite a muted resolution urging a power-sharing deal
between Mr. Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the summit
mainly proved an opportunity for Mr. Mugabe to embrace African leaders for
the TV cameras, apparently without rebuff.
At least not all of Africa's leaders are buying into this charade. From
Nairobi, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for suspending Zimbabwe
from the African Union and sending peacekeepers to ensure a free election.
Mr. Odinga knows whereof he speaks: Like Mr. Tsvangirai, he led the
opposition in December's tainted Kenyan polls.
Also notable were comments from Senegal's foreign minister, Cheikh Tidiane
Gadio. Africans insist that the West should "leave us alone and [that] we be
left to decide our own destinies," he said, but at the moment of crisis "we
don't want to talk about it. That doesn't make any sense." Senegal is one of
Africa's more democratic countries. The tragedy is that there aren't more
African leaders willing to stand up against a tyrant who is bringing such
shame to their continent.
02 July 2008
SOUTH African leaders are finally emerging from their Alice-in-Wonderland
policies on Zimbabwe. Jacob Zuma has spoken his mind, and finally Nelson
Mandela has felt able to comment on the tragedy. President Thabo Mbeki has
been left looking spineless and isolated in his own country and in the
And yet Mbeki might just pull a rabbit out of the hat. Robert Mugabe wants
to finesse a deal with SA after winning his sham election. No matter what
his fellow African leaders say in the African Union (AU) summit in Egypt
this week, Mugabe will try to forge a government of national unity, with
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a junior partner.
This could be a replay of the settlement in Kenya. Emerson Mnangagwa, who
could emerge as Zanu (PF) frontrunner if Mugabe becomes ceremonial
president, would try to do to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) what
he did to Joshua Nkomo's old party - swallow it up. This act of force
majeure, or farce majeure, may be the least worst option.
A political settlement based on a revised constitution is still possible,
and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) might then send in
peacekeeping forces. But first there has to be a peace to keep, and the
Zimbabwean government has to invite them in.
The other scenarios are all worse and could lead to outright civil war and
possible external military intervention.
Fundamentally the crisis is about two Zimbabwean civil wars - a muted
struggle within Zanu (PF); and the ruling party versus the MDC. Either could
produce a major shooting war.
Tsvangirai could go into exile, set up a provisional government and
encourage internal insurrection. Some African states may tacitly support
him. But even without this, Zimbabwe - with inflation running at 1000% per
day, and mass starvation and terror - could just implode.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu's blockade idea is unlikely to materialise. Tougher
western sanctions are likely to follow soon, but they will make the regime
more intransigent, and the stricken Zimbabwean population ever hungrier.
But what happens if another Rwanda results, or whites are hunted down as in
the Congo massacres of the 1960s?
SA is reluctant to deploy its depleted military, despite the Zimbabwe crisis
rapidly infecting the whole region. SA itself is becoming Zimbabweanised.
South African forces, even after apartheid, have a history of invading a
local state, and Tanzanian troops drove out the deadly buffoon Idi Amin from
In extremis, the United Nations (UN) would have to mandate intervention
forces. The new doctrine of "responsibility to protect" would be invoked. If
Rwanda were revisited, even China would feel impelled to line up with the
west in the UN Security Council. A UN-sanctioned enforcement mission would
include mainly African troops, but logistics, air power and transport,
intelligence and command and control would be provided by western forces.
British newspapers have been carrying banner headlines about military
intervention. Despite what the Zanu (PF) propagandists say, the last thing
London wants is to be embroiled in its former colony. If SADC should
intervene out of self-interest, then the UK feels driven by moral and
Some on the right wing in UK politics have rushed to point out that Ian
Smith was a better ruler than Mugabe. That may be true, but that is not part
of the current debate in Britain. Both right and left/liberal opinion, the
latter through the gritted teeth of their post-imperial guilt, are saying
Britain must now lead, though not the military intervention. As the
well-known conservative columnist Simon Heffer put it: "It may be very
uncomfortable and embarrassing for whites to intervene to stop the butchery
by black tyrants. But if they don't, hecatombs of lives will be lost."
Despite the overstretch of British forces, real troops would soon make
mincemeat of so-called war veterans and militias, who are used to killing
defenceless men, women and children. In the unlikely event they were to be
spared from the war on terror, a small contingent of the British SAS, acting
as a spearhead for SADC forces, would make short shrift of the demoralised
Zimbabwean army. (And, on the way home, no doubt some of the SAS soldiers
would like to spring Simon Mann from Equatorial Guinea.)
Britain already has detailed plans for the military evacuation of the
thousands of British passport-holders in Zimbabwe. Again, this is no
neocolonial conspiracy. The UK ministry of defence planners work on
contingency plans for numerous crisis zones. The British plan ranges from a
separate military-backed humanitarian assistance package to a military
occupation of Harare airport (it was originally assumed with Pretoria's
connivance) to a much smaller deployment of troops and medical units to
work, with the Commonwealth neighbours' permission, at exit points on
British staff officers will play a vital role in military planning, but for
political reasons they would take a back seat in any international military
Despite the legacy of Iraq, if wholesale killings erupt in Zimbabwe,
muscular western humanitarian intervention will be considered. The bottom
line would be the rescue of European Union and US citizens in this former
British colony, but it would also prompt the fall of Mugabe.
Should this come to pass, it will prove humiliating for the AU and Africa.
The problem is African leaders are always saying, "Let us find an African
solution," but they rarely provide one. Mbeki has one last chance to justify
his quiet diplomacy in Zimbabwe.
African opinion throughout the continent has swung away from Mugabe. This
might be his last chance to escape without a trial. And Tsvangirai could
also be facing a final choice: to swallow his pride and accept a deal, or
Mugabe has a point when he says his recent elections - for all their many
faults - are better than anything staged in the majority of African states
that are not democracies. And the common belief - "surely anybody must be
better than Mugabe" - may be misplaced. Mnangagwa is no bleeding-heart
liberal, and an MDC government might spawn a disastrous series of
In the next few weeks, southern Africa will be on the cusp of potential
chaos. Pretoria can do a deal in Zimbabwe, or the road lies open to civil
war and all sorts of messy regional and possibly western interventions. This
was not the rainbow optimism that Nelson Mandela bequeathed.
Prof Moorcraft, the director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis,
London, formerly served in the UK ministry of defence, and has just returned
02 July 2008
TOO much pessimism about Zimbabwe will prevent us understanding it. Too much
optimism will prevent us helping it. Zimbabwe's people are enduring horrors.
But much of the despair at democracy's latest defeat has tended to ignore
There is, sadly, nothing new about Zimbabwe's elite using force to deny
citizens their voice - it has been doing this since it sent the Fifth
Brigade into Matabeleland to crush Joshua Nkomo's Zapu. Despite maintaining
the trappings of democracy, the elite, like its colonial predecessor, has
been, for nearly three decades, unaccountable to the people.
What is new - since the government's defeat in the 2000 constitutional
referendum - is that parts of Zimbabwean society developed the muscle to try
to hold this elite to account and to demand a government which is chosen by,
and serves, the people. Tragically, the elite fought back, launching an
eight-year reign of terror.
We are, therefore, witnessing the most sustained attempt yet by Zimbabweans
to govern themselves. We ought to be angry at the violence used to suppress
it. But we are not seeing a society slide backwards. We are, rather, seeing
one trying to move forward, blocked by those with an interest in the past.
While change may not be around the corner, we are seeing the pangs of a
democracy trying to be born. And this is a source of hope.
But, if it is important to recognise the signs of hope, it is equally
important to avoid the optimism which holds that a workable settlement is
possible now, that the sham election can now be followed by a government of
Unity governments can help to settle conflicts; Zimbabwe may one day need
one because the opposition enjoys popular support but faces a hostile
military and police. But they work only when conflicting parties realise
they must respect each other because they need each other. And there is no
way Zimbabwe's ruling elite believes that.
IT IS doubtful that Robert Mugabe and the politicians around him are still
running Zimbabwe. Authority seems to have passed to the senior military and
police officers in the Joint Operations Command, who are clinging to power
to protect their economic interests: they believe they have crushed the will
of the people and can dictate terms to a unity government.
To understand what a unity government in these circumstances would mean, we
need to listen to opposition activist Lovemore Madhuku who has pointed out
the parallels between today's events and the crushing of Zapu in the 1980s.
Then, Madhuku reminds us, the elite battered Zapu into submission and
co-opted it into an alliance as a junior partner. He is surely right to
argue that it wants to repeat the exercise - to so crush the Movement for
Democratic Change and its allies that they will be corralled into a unity
government to rubber- stamp whatever the elite has in mind.
This will not change until the balance of power changes and the security
establishment realises it needs to compromise. Since the top brass have so
close an interest in blocking change, it may need the next level of officers
to realise the costs of clinging to power and to reach out to the
opposition. This will take a while, because it needs a combination of
internal resistance and international pressure to change the power balance
and make a settlement possible.
Support for a national unity government, rather than for pressure, will,
therefore, stall change. To work for it, as our president is doing, is to
invite being remembered as the Thatcher or Reagan of the Zimbabwean
conflict, as the friend of an illegitimate government which used talk of
pragmatism and mediation to protect it against change.
Zimbabwe needs a compromise - but only when its elite is forced to realise
that it must respect those who speak for the people. Real friends of
Zimbabwe will devote their efforts now to building the pressure which will
make that possible.
.. Friedman is director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, a
University of Johannesburg and Rhodes University initiative.
The continent's leaders respond weakly to Robert Mugabe's murderous
Wednesday, July 2, 2008; Page A14
ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO, a United Nations deputy secretary general, bluntly told
the African Union summit Monday that the crisis in Zimbabwe presented "a
moment of truth for regional leaders." Sadly, those leaders failed to rise
to the occasion. Yesterday, the summit, badly divided between democrats
outraged by Robert Mugabe's campaign of terror against his own people and
dictators who have applied similar repression, could agree only on a weak
statement calling for a "unity government." The truth the leaders dodged is
that there can be no political peace in Zimbabwe until Mr. Mugabe and the
clique of thugs around him give up power -- and that, in turn, is unlikely
to happen if Zimbabwe's African neighbors do not apply tangible diplomatic
and economic sanctions.
Both Mr. Mugabe and his opposition, which defeated him in a March 29
election, have publicly rejected the unity government proposal, which has
been peddled mainly by such apologists for Mr. Mugabe as South African
President Thabo Mbeki. The general idea is that Zimbabwe would adopt the
model of Kenya, which formed a coalition government after a disputed
election last year. But Raila Odinga, the Kenyan opposition leader who
became prime minister in that accord, was among those who called for an
entirely different course of action on Zimbabwe. The African Union, Mr.
Odinga said, should expel Mr. Mugabe's government "and send peace forces to
Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections."
Encouragingly, a number of other African leaders have taken a similar stand
against the 84-year-old strongman, who all but destroyed his once prosperous
country even before launching his murderous campaign this year to reverse
the election results. Botswana also called for Mr. Mugabe's ouster from the
African Union and the Southern African Development Community; Liberia and
Sierra Leone, two formerly failed states that are recovering thanks to
internationally sponsored elections, lobbied for a formal condemnation of
the regime. The problem is that Mr. Mugabe is not the only autocrat in the
African Union -- the fellow thugs who embraced him at the summit included
its host, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.
Africa's failure means that the challenge of Zimbabwe must now be taken up
by the U.N. Security Council; Mr. Mugabe spurned its unanimous vote in favor
of postponing the one-sided runoff election he staged last week. The United
States is circulating an appropriately tough resolution that would declare
Mr. Mugabe's new mandate illegitimate, freeze the assets of key associates
and apply an arms embargo against his regime. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S.
ambassador to the United Nations, boldly predicted that some action will be
taken, despite the predictable resistance of China and South Africa. "If
there is no response," he asked, "what does that say about the council?"
Answer: It would say that the United Nations is no more prepared than the
African Union is to protect a suffering nation from a criminal government.
New York Times
By MARK Y. ROSENBERG
Published: July 2, 2008
Johannesburg, South Africa
NOW that President Robert Mugabe has been sworn into a sixth term after an
election widely viewed as illegitimate, what is the rest of the world going
to do about it?
So far, the response has been slow or ineffective; the United Nations
Security Council has managed to pass only watered-down condemnations of Mr.
Mugabe's electoral terror because of resistance from South Africa, China and
Russia. And Tuesday, the African Union urged Mr. Mugabe to join in a
power-sharing agreement - a government of national unity.
But a better idea may be for Zimbabwe's elected officials to cut the
84-year-old Mr. Mugabe out altogether - by getting rid of the office of
At first glance that may appear difficult: the Zimbabwean regime is marked
by an extremely powerful executive presidency coupled with a largely
neutered Parliament. Nearly all state power now rests with Mr. Mugabe, who
has run the country since independence in 1980, and now presides over a
nation with severe fuel and food shortages and an inflation rate of more
than a million percent a year.
Yet it is possible for the Parliament to jettison the presidency. Recall
that Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in March gave the opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, 109 seats in
the House of Assembly to 97 for Mr. Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF. Though by no
means flawless, these elections were not marred by the same degree of
violence and intimidation as the recent presidential election, in which the
winner of the first round, Mr. Tsvangirai, withdrew from the race in fear
for his life and those of his supporters.
The Movement for Democratic Change's slight majority is a relatively
accurate depiction of the country's political landscape, giving both sides
significant representation in Parliament, with the M.D.C. controlling the
210-seat lower house, and the parties effectively tied in the Senate. That
would allow a Prime Minister Tsvangirai to govern while still requiring his
party to compromise with ZANU-PF to gain the two-thirds majority needed to
pass constitutional amendments - like getting rid of the presidency for
good. That would also help protect ZANU-PF supporters, including military
officers, from state-sponsored revenge.
More immediately, a newly empowered Parliament would give reformist elements
in ZANU-PF a forum in which to conduct politics and make deals. The party is
no longer a monolith: former Finance Minister Simba Makoni ran for president
against Mr. Mugabe in the first round, and there are leaders within ZANU-PF
who are more than willing to abandon the "old man" given the opportunity to
do so. These leaders - including Gen. Solomon Mujuru and former Home Affairs
Minister Dumiso Dabengwa - are the natural negotiating partners of the
Movement for Democratic Change, not the indefatigable Mr. Mugabe and his
coterie of hard-liners.
The newly elected parliamentarians haven't been sworn in yet, and some seats
remain contested. But once they find a way to meet, they could rather
quickly declare the Parliament sovereign and terminate Mr. Mugabe's reign.
In the last few decades, African countries like Benin and Mali made
transitions from authoritarian rule by taking similar actions at so-called
What's more, a sovereign parliament with significant ZANU-PF backing could
credibly offer amnesty deals to the generals who had sustained Mr. Mugabe's
tyranny. Although distasteful, such amnesty deals would be critical to any
lasting settlement and would be far easier to achieve without Mr. Mugabe in
the picture - particularly if the Parliament's sovereignty were recognized
by the African Union and the United Nations.
A parliamentary government would have the virtue of not only dislodging Mr.
Mugabe, but assuring a more democratic Zimbabwe in the future. Indeed,
Zimbabwe began as a parliamentary democracy, but Mr. Mugabe found that form
of government too restrictive and abolished the office of prime minister in
1987, concentrating power in an executive presidency.
Political scientists have demonstrated that parliamentary regimes are more
likely to remain democratic than their presidential counterparts. Power and
legitimacy in the new regime would be vested in a representative body, not a
single person or office. Moreover, parliaments are institutionally
appropriate for politically and ethnically divided societies like Zimbabwe:
they ensure representation for political minorities and generally require
compromise in order to form governments.
With other geriatric presidents clinging to power throughout Africa - Omar
Bongo in Gabon and Paul Biya in Cameroon are but two examples - more
Zimbabwe-like crises may be on the horizon. The international community
would be well served to support institutional alternatives to the continent's
over-empowered executives, beginning with a parliamentary (and free)
Mark Y. Rosenberg is the southern Africa analyst for Freedom House.
Wed, 02 Jul 2008 07:04
The "horrid nightmare" in Zimbabwe showed what happened when people were
prepared to kill for their leaders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday.
His comment, during a panel discussion at the University of Cape Town,
followed assertions last month by leaders of the African National Congress
Youth League and Cosatu that they were ready to kill for ANC president Jacob
Killing for Zuma and Mugabe
"We have to remind some in our country that there are those in Zimbabwe who
have been ready to kill for Mr Mugabe," said Tutu.
"See what happens.
"They [the South Africans] speak about a revolution. Now, I don't know what
that refers to, but whatever it is, that revolution is not going to be
sustained and preserved by intemperate, almost inane utterances.
"That revolution, the dream that is South Africa, the promise that is South
Africa, that is going to be preserved when you and I are vigilant, you and I
preserve freedom, you and I stand up for justice... you and I say, hey, our
people did not shed blood for nothing."
South Africa's experiment in human relations had to succeed not only for the
sake of its people, but also for the sake of Africa and the world.
Tutu urged African leaders to confound Afro-pessimists and declare that last
week's poll in which incumbent Robert Mugabe was returned as president was
They should insist on negotiations for a transitional government in which
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change would have "the prominent
Academic Wilmot James, another member of the panel, said United Nations
peacekeeping troops should be sent to protect the Zimbabwean people against
This was possible under the new international doctrine whereby the global
community had a responsibility to protect citizens of countries where the
state failed in its own duty to protect them.
This doctrine was developed in direct response to the world's failure to
intervene in Rwanda, and the controversial interventions in Somalia, Bosnia
SA has failed Zimbabwe
He said he was tired of the "smug arrogance" of the South African government
on the Zimbabwe issue.
It was "hugging and coddling a dictator" for reasons that defied rationality
and diplomatic progress.
Businesswoman and former UCT vice chancellor Mamphela Ramphele said the
South African government had to shoulder the largest portion of blame for
promoting a culture of impunity in Zimbabwe, a culture that had led to the
reproduction of the apartheid killing ground Vlakplaas in many places in
Zimbabwe and South Africa had a culture of personalised politics that
invested too much power in leaders.
Noting that young South Africans were pledging to kill for Zuma, she asked
what kind of democracy could be built on such a foundation.
For too long South Africa had gloried in its image as an international
"We are now messing up big time in some areas," she said.
The 2009 general election was an opportunity for South Africans to ensure
their vote was not taken for granted by any political party.
"The limits of impunity are within our power to set. The question is whether
we are prepared to do so before it is too late."
The panel discussion was part of the "difficult dialogues" series organised
by the Economic Justice Initiative.
The American Dictator
By Erin Wildermuth
Published 7/2/2008 12:07:19 AM
On Sunday Robert Mugabe was inaugurated for his sixth term as President of
Zimbabwe, continuing a 26-year legacy. This comes after credible allegations
that the recent election cycle fell short of the desired standard of freedom
The international community is in uproar. Mugabe has been de-knighted. No
one will invite him to tea or to play cricket. America is implementing
sanctions. Journalists are condemning him left and right.
The rhetoric is near universal: Mugabe has no right to rule the country
because of the way he conducted himself during elections. He abducted
opposition leaders, arrested journalists, and watched people vote under
threat of bodily harm. The African Union (AU) should most certainly declare
his election a sham and throw him out of the country.
Leaders of the AU are confused at this because, in many cases, a
condemnation of Mugabe on that basis would be paramount to condemning
themselves. Just take a look at some of the men who are being asked to side
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo became the president of Equatorial Guinea in
1979 by leading a coup d'etat in which the former president, Nguema's uncle,
was killed. He has held elections in which he consistently wins 97 percent
of the popular vote. No one believes they are free or fair.
In 1993 Eritrea became an independent nation and Isaias Afeweki became its
first president. Since then there has been only one party in the country.
Afeweki has never called elections. Journalists who dare label him a
dictator are simply expelled from the country or simply disappear.
In 1989 a coup against a democratically elected government brought Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir to power. Bashir has imposed Sharia law over the
North and is accused of supporting ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Bashir's
track record includes dissolving parliament (twice), banning political
parties, and imprisoning opposition leaders.
President Biya of Cameroon has been re-elected four times since 1975. The
elections have been suspect. He has been appropriating money from state
enterprises for years and reportedly owns mansions in both Germany and
France. Just this year, Biya amended a two-term limit in Cameroon's new
constitution in order to maintain his 25-year hold on the country.
Muammar Gaddafi took power in Libya via a coup in 1969. Among his many
accomplishments he has called for the assassinations of dissenting Libyans
living overseas, expelled all Italians and Jews from the country and taken
part in acts of international terrorism. While he is rumored to have
mellowed with old age, his past crimes certainly qualify him as a dictator.
That's already five of the 53 African leaders who attained and maintained
their positions of power in much the same way that Mugabe did. Actually,
Mugabe has only been maintaining his. He at least received the original
ACCORDING TO THE Washington Post, Mugabe announced that if anyone dared
point a finger at him he would "check if that finger were clean or dirty."
If the standard to be measured against is simply dictatorship, then many
fingers would be dirty.
But the standard that the rest of the world is asking Africa to uphold
should have very little to do with dictatorship. Mugabe differs
significantly from the other African dictators. And, no, it's not because he
doesn't have oil. Rather, it is because he is mismanaging his country to
Zimbabwe is the only country mentioned whose annual GDP growth has been
negative since 1999. It is the only country whose inflation rate has
surpassed 100,000 percent. Yes, you read that right. One hundred thousand
His country's economy was once the fastest growing of the continent. Before
Mugabe began a campaign of nationalizing white-owned farms and giving them
to his friends instead of to competent farmers, Zimbabwe was considered the
breadbasket of Africa. In only a few years, the country went from being a
provider of regional food relief to a desperate beggar.
No other dictator has this track record of destruction. Sure, they commit
egregious acts of terror upon their people. There is no freedom of press,
money is stolen by state officials and journalists are imprisoned. They
certainly won't be winning any Nobel prizes, but the extent to which their
activities affect the general population is small potatoes compared to
ruining a country's entire economy.
Not to mention that changing social habits of cronyism and nepotism is not a
feasible short-term goal. Removing one dictator will almost certainly lead
to the instatement of another. In those cases where is does not, luck seems
to be the primary factor.
If the dictator is at least getting the economics right, if the country is
developing at a steady rate and moving towards sustainable industries, then
standard of living will continue to grow despite corrupt leaders.
Mugabe isn't really being called out because of the fraudulent elections.
The West would be willing to turn a blind eye to his cronyism and even some
acts of violence. What the West will not tolerate is his mismanagement of
the Zimbabwean economy, to the detriment of not only his citizens but all
the countries in the region.
Leaders in the AU should recognize this and hold Mugabe accountable for his
actions. Their fingers are not "dirty" compared to his. They haven't
inflicted famine, grinding poverty, and 100,000 percent inflation on their
Erin Wildermuth is a Koch Journalism Fellow at The American Spectator.
American Jewish World Service (AJWS)
Date: 01 Jul 2008
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION DECRIES FRAUDULENT
ELECTION AND FEARS FOR PUBLIC WELL-BEING
New York, NY; July 1, 2008 - Ruth W. Messinger and James Meier, respectively
president and chairman of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), today issued
a statement expressing solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and calling on
the government to grant its citizens fair and peaceful elections and the
right to live without daily fear of violence. AJWS's statement follows a
presidential run-off election marred by attacks on civilians and physical
intimidation by the ruling party.
For more than 20 years, AJWS has supported grassroots projects promoting
civil society and human rights in the developing world, including Zimbabwe
where AJWS has been partnering with community development organizations for
the past 10 years. The political turmoil in Zimbabwe comes amidst a period
of historic inflation and unemployment and also at a time when HIV/AIDS is
taking a tremendous toll on communities throughout the country.
In the days leading up to the run-off election between challenger Morgan
Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai was repeatedly detained
by government authorities; one of his key advisors was arrested on treason
charges; and there were widespread reports that opposition supporters and
their families, including young children, were targeted for acts of violence
and murder by agents acting on behalf of Mugabe. Fearing for his personal
safety, Tsvangirai ultimately withdrew and sought refuge in the Dutch
The run-off election was called a 'sham' by President George W. Bush. The
African Union said the election 'fell short' of that body's standards and
the United Nations Deputy Secretary General told the New York Times that the
growing humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe represents the 'single greatest
challenge to regional stability' and that the election sets a 'dangerous
In their joint statement, Messinger, who is currently in South Africa, and
Meier said the following:
'We stand by the citizens of Zimbabwe who were recently denied the basic
human right of being able to select a leader through a fair, peaceful and
democratic process. We are appalled by the reports of violence and
intimidation directed at Zimbabweans who are suspected to be supporters of
the opposition. Our connection to the Zimbabwean people is deep and we are
very fearful for what Zimbabwe's future may hold.
'This is clearly a nation in crisis. Unemployment has reached 80%; inflation
is at more that 160,000%; and nearly 2 million people in Zimbabwe suffer
from AIDS. Increased hunger, due to skyrocketing food prices and political
turmoil, has led to a broader surge in violence that has reportedly
displaced more than 10,000 children. In neighboring South Africa, we are
seeing what had been a stream of refugees from Zimbabwe swell to a river in
'Zimbabwe, once called the 'breadbasket of Africa', is on the verge of
becoming the world's next humanitarian catastrophe.'
Media Contact: Joshua Berkman, Associate Director of Media and Marketing