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Mugabe plans false charges to rob MDC MPs of seats

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:14
.. Sekeremayi to become prime minister
A newly emboldened Robert Mugabe plans to drum up false charges of
rape and robbery against MPs opposed to his Zanu (PF) party, to enable him
to regain control of the parliament.
The president's party lost its majority for the first time since
independence in March, when the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won
most seats in the lower house and drew level with Zanu (PF) in the senate.
Now, after employing a terrifying campaign of violence to hold on to
his presidential power, Mugabe believes he can overturn the MDC majority
with underhand methods including false imprisonment, kidnap and
intimidation, designed to make them forfeit their seats.
'A number of MDC members of parliament will be trapped and charged
with offences like rape or theft,' said a Zanu (PF) source. 'If they are
convicted for six months they will be forced out of parliament and Mugabe
will order more by-elections and again use terror to win them.
'Even after three months, many MDC legislators are expected to be out
of parliament because they will either run away from threats of arrest or be
Under Zimbabwean law, MPs who do not attend parliament for 21
consecutive days must give up their seats.
'They are trying everything, including arresting and incarcerating MDC
MPs so they go to prison for longer than they are allowed to be absent,'
said Alec Muchadehama, a leading human rights lawyer. 'Most of the MDC MPs
are actually in hiding. They say that if they come out into the open they
are liable to be kidnapped and they will disappear so there has to be a
by-election in their constituency.'
So far, at least 10 newly elected opposition MPs have been arrested on
spurious charges in what the Zanu (PF) source confirmed is a carefully
worked out strategy.
Mugabe has already lodged legal challenges to the results in 53
parliamentary seats, claiming implausibly that they were rigged by the
opposition. However, the courts are likely to throw out those challenges on
the grounds they were filed too late and in the wrong places - just as they
did when the MDC attempted to force re-runs in some of the seats won by Zanu
If any seats are recontested, Mugabe will employ the same brutal
tactics used in the presidential election to ensure victory.
'We have been ordered to start work immediately after the court
decisions to ensure election re-runs are conducted as soon as possible,'
said a Zanu (PF) source, who added that the courts have been instructed to
expedite the cases. He said the ruling party would regain control of the
parliament within six months, even if it meant '2008 would be called the
year of Zimbabwean elections'.
Although Zanu PF and the MDC won equal numbers of seats in the upper
or senate, the president can appoint another 33 members, including
provincial governors and tribal chiefs. According to the source,
Mugabe will further consolidate the party's grip on power by creating the
new position of prime minister, which will be given to Dr Sydney Sekeramayi,
another loyalist now serving as defence minister.
Only then, said the source, will he feel secure enough to retire in
favour of a chosen heir. - First published in The Telegraph

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UN lines up big names for key role in pincer move to oust Mugabe

The Times
July 3, 2008

James Bone in New York and Jonathan Clayton in Johannesburg
Pressure was mounting last night for the key role of mediating an end to the
crisis in Zimbabwe to be taken out of the hands of Thabo Mbeki, the
President of South Africa, whose "softly softly" approach to Robert Mugabe
has been condemned worldwide.

The UN's push for greater involvement came amid mounting frustration with
the failure of current mediation efforts. The United States pushed for Mr
Mugabe and other ring-leaders of election abuses in Zimbabwe to be slapped
with a worldwide travel ban and the freezing of their assets.

Diplomats said that the UN was considering a shortlist of leading African
politicians, including the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to help
negotiate a political settlement in the country.

Other possible mediators include the former Nigerian President, Olusegun
Obasanjo; the former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano; and
President John Kufuor of Ghana.

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At a meeting in Egypt on Monday, the African Union stopped short of
condemning the fraudulent re-election of Mr Mugabe but approved a resolution
calling on him to negotiate with Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader,
who pulled out of the run-off poll after a campaign of violence against him
and his supporters.

Mr Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe yesterday aware that even neighbours such as
Botswana, which publicly urged his expulsion from the AU, were turning
against him. Mr Tsvangirai kept up the pressure on the international
community. He again rejected the AU decision to keep Mr Mbeki, who is the
official mediator of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in
sole charge of efforts to resolve the political crisis.

Speaking to reporters at his home in Harare, Mr Tsvangirai said that the
Opposition would not participate in talks unless an additional mediator was
appointed. "Our reservations about the mediation process under President
Mbeki are well known," said Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), which just failed to win an outright victory in
a first poll.

"Unless the mediation mechanism is changed, no meaningful progress can be
made toward resolving the Zimbabwe crisis," he said.

Mr Mbeki, 66, dispatched some of his closest advisers to Harare to push for
talks. South Africa has yet to recognise Mr Mugabe's re-election but has
distanced itself from the European Union's condemnation of the poll. Mr
Mugabe, who has frequently pulled the wool over the eyes of Mr Mbeki, will
have a harder time from a United Nations or African Union-led team.

Diplomats say that the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, plans to discuss
the possible appointment of a new mediator with Mr Mbeki when both men are
in Japan next week for the G8 summit. He will also consult Jakaya Kikwete,
the Tanzanian President and the AU's current chairman.

As the search for a new mediator intensified, US diplomats circulated a
proposed blacklist of 12 names as an annexe to a proposed resolution that
would take the symbolic step of imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe for the first
time since independence in 1980.

Mr Mugabe is named as the "head of government responsible for activities
that seriously undermine democracy, repress human rights and disrespect the
rule of law". Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwean Army;
Augustine Chihuri, the police chief; Perence Shiri, the head of the air
force; and Gideon Gono, the central bank governor, are named on the list,
circulated by the United States.

Also included are Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister; George Charamba,
Mr Mugabe's spokesman; Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Rural Housing Minister; and
Happyton Bonyongwe, the chief of the Central Intelligence Organisation.

US diplomats held more talks in New York last night to round up the votes
necessary for adoption of the resolution by the 15-nation council, possibly
next week.

South Africa, Russia and China oppose the sanctions and are backed by Libya,
Vietnam and Indonesia. Burkina Faso is the key ninth vote needed by the
Western bloc. A Western diplomat said yesterday that Burkina Faso was
"holding up well". The resolution will be adopted if it is backed by the
necessary nine votes, unless it is vetoed by China or, less likely, Russia.

A diplomat from a country that opposes the resolution predicted that China
would be reluctant to cast its veto because of the Olympics.

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Zim opposition seizes control of urban local authorities

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 03 July 2008

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government has begun installing new local
government councils that will see the opposition take control of all major
urban municipalities in Zimbabwe.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party already controls
the House of Assembly after defeating Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party in
combined presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in

Mugabe lost to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in March but won a presidential
run-off election last week in which he was sole candidate after Tsvangirai
pulled out because of political violence. That victory allows Mugabe to rule
Zimbabwe although local authority in the capital Harare and all other major
cities will be in opposition hands.

"Taking of oath of office for the newly elected councillors started on
Tuesday in Harare," Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo said. "The
exercise will be replicated in other councils throughout the country before
this weekend. We delayed the swearing in ceremony to allow for the
presidential election."

However Chombo did not cite the law which he used to postpone installation
of new councils which, in terms of the Urban Councils Act, should be done
within 48 hours after election of new councillors.

In addition to Harare, where the MDC won 45 of the 46 wards that were
contested, the opposition party won with overwhelming margins in the cities
of Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo Chitungwiza, Kwekwe and Chinhoyi.

The opposition party also made significant inroads into rural areas where it
won several council seats at the expense of ZANU PF.

In Harare, prominent lawyer and chairperson of the Voluntary Media Council
of Zimbabwe, Muchadeyi Masunda, was elected the capital's ceremonial mayor,
taking over from Michael Mahachi who has been the chairman of a commission
appointed by Chombo to run the affairs of the council.

Councillor Emmanuel Chiroto, whose wife was murdered by suspected ZANU PF
militia in the run-up to the June 27 second presidential election run-off,
will deputise Masunda.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said on Wednesday that the opposition party
hoped that Mugabe's government would not interfere with the daily operations
of local councils, as Chombo did four years ago when he removed the
MDC-backed executive mayor of Harare Elias Mudzuri and his entire council.

Since then the capital has been run by government-appointed commissions
accountable to Mugabe and his party and not to ratepayers.

Chombo also removed the mayors and councillors of Mutare, Gweru and Kwekwe
accusing them of mismanagement but analysts said the removals were merely a
ploy by the government to retain control of urban councils through the

Zimbabwe last year scrapped the position of executive mayor for urban
councils. Ceremonial mayors, who are either elected councillors or anyone
owning property within a respective municipality, now preside over urban
councils. - ZimOnline

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Opposition MPs 'could be assassination targets'

Independent, UK

By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Thursday, 3 July 2008

After "winning" the controversial presidential run-off last week, Robert
Mugabe is focusing his sights on regaining control of parlia-ment, were he
trails the opposition by about 10 MPs, The Independent has learnt.

The fear among some sources in Zimbabwe is that he will attempt to achieve
this with a campaign of targeted assassinations of opposition MPs.

Mr Mugabe is assured of a comfortable majority in the upper house, the
Senate, via a constitutional provision that will allow him to appoint an
extra 33 senators from his ruling party.

The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday rejected proposals for a
government of national unity headed by Mr Mugabe. "A government of national
unity does not address the problems facing Zimbabwe or acknowledge the will
of the Zimbabwean people," he said in response to an African Union (AU)

He said that any talks should be based on the outcome of the elections on 29
March, which he won, and not the run-off on 27 June "won" by Mr Mugabe.

The MDC leader also reiterated his position that any talks must be centred
on negotiating a transitional authority that will run the country until
fresh democratic elections are held.

Mr Tsvangirai also spurned any talks with Mr Mugabe's regime until a
full-time AU mediator is appointed to replace Thabo Mbeki, the South African
President, whom the MDC accuses of bias towards the Mugabe regime. The MDC
leader criticised the AU for its failure to declare the run-off on 27 June
illegitimate and for not acknowledging his party as the winner of the
elections on 29 March.

A senior member of the Zimbabwe National Army, who is sympathetic to the
opposition, said the MDC was wasting its time if it believed it could
achieve change in Zimbabwe through talking to Mr Mugabe. "Zimbabwe will be
forgotten again and Tsvangirai will lose the limelight," said the official.
"Unlike before, he [Tsvangirai] has a few African governments willing to
lend him a sympathetic ear should he opt for other options to tackle Mugabe.
The ball is in his court."

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The shame of a Mugabe torturer: 'I am being forced to kill someone'

Independent, UK

By Daniel Howden in Harare
Thursday, 3 July 2008

He has whipped strangers with barbed wire and hit them with iron bars. He
has stood by while old men were beaten half to death, as he chanted songs
glorifying the violence.

Gibson became one of Robert Mugabe's foot soldiers when the 84-year-old
President turned an election into a guerrilla war. He is one of thousands of
members of the armed youth militias who have turned on their own people in a
vicious campaign of looting, torture and murder. But now Gibson is risking
his life to tell his story. He was forcibly recruited into the campaign of
terror and now he can see no way out. Not yet 25, his life is now completely
"alien" to him he says. There is no end in sight, even now the elections
have come and gone and the terror tactics have succeeded in overturning the
opposition's first round lead and returned Mr Mugabe to office.

"I have no idea when it will stop. We have been told we must go door to door
finding the MDC persons. Maybe tonight, maybe in two, three days' time."

It started just a month ago at dusk when Gibson was sitting on the pavement
outside a shopping centre in Warren Park, a dirt poor area of Harare. He was
confronted by a gang of 30 youths wearing the colours of Mr Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF party.

Armed with whips and sticks they attacked everyone indiscriminately. "They
beat us like animals. Like we were defenceless schoolchildren."

In the mêlée there was one figure who stood out. An older man in a Zanu
T-shirt, wearing an army beret and a silver pistol in a holster. A
self-declared "war vet" he was the one issuing threats in all directions.

"He was shouting 'If the MDC wins I'm going to kill everyone,' and 'if you
vote MDC you vote for war'."

Everyone was ordered to the local primary school. There were more beatings
there, and the songs started. All-night sessions, or pungwes, chanting party
slogans and songs from the liberation war of the 1970s.

Dissenters were beaten "thoroughly", blows from bars, sticks and whips that
would often leave the victim broken and unconscious.

Slogans had to be memorised. "I would chant 'War' and the answer was 'Right

As the second round of the presidential vote neared, the chant became: "27
June, Mugabe is in office!" The answer was: "27 June, Mugabe is in office!
By force!"

People were told to bring any MDC paraphernalia they had to the meetings.
T-shirts would be burnt, suspected opposition voters would be forced to
renounce their vote and swear oaths of loyalty. Many had to sign in twice a
day to keep track of their whereabouts.

Now trained and "re-educated" the new Zanu youth militia was ready to be
sent on "patrol", roaming the streets of their home area after dark,
stopping anyone not attending the pungwes or just walking in the wrong
direction. Anyone who didn't know the chant would be savagely assaulted.

Gibson tells his story in an urgent manner but the tone is flat, as though
reciting a report of events, stripped of all feeling. Pushed to recall
feelings as well as facts his expression changes, his eyes water.

"For someone to be scared of me, to hit people, is completely alien." He
repeats this word "alien" and then becomes angry.

Last week he was given a sjamboek for the first time, an improvised whip
made from recycled rubber with knots of barbed wire. It is light to hold, he
says, and inflicts horrendous damage. "You can't hit someone with barbed
wire," he insists, although he has.

"I feel like I'm being forced to kill someone. But I have to do it because
if I don't, it will be me next."

He cannot be sure whether he has seen people die. He remembers a man, a
known opposition supporter, being tortured. "He was really beaten and when
they stopped he wasn't moving. "I was thinking, what if that was my

Others, he says, have begun to enjoy it, some of them have started to
believe what they are chanting.

"They think they're in a war. They are crazy."

Their patrols are often raids. Last Monday, their "mission" was to loot a
fuel depot, stealing 250 litres of diesel. Local beer halls are forced to
donate dozens of crates and the militia are encouraged to drink it before
going on patrol or missions. This diet is supplemented by smoking dagga, a
form of marijuana.

Gibson says that he tries to warn people what is in store if he can. "When
it starts, there is nothing I can do. Even if I know the person, even if it
was a close relative, I can't help."

Pungwes, patrols, beer, fear, beatings and chanting, this is how Gibson has
been "reborn" as a Zanu believer. It was a reluctant birth into a life he
now hates. "I can't go home, not for more than a few hours. Every night I
have to sleep at the base."

The militias are not paid anything but beer and dagga.

Gibson has a wife and a baby, a girl of two months, born between the first
round of the presidential election, and the run-off on 27 June. "I have a
wife and a child," he says in despair. "That child needs to eat something."

The family had scraped a living from petty trading but now there is no time
for that. At night they are sometimes fed sadza, a maize porridge, but
eating brings guilt.

"You can't eat. Your child, your baby, is hungry. To eat well while your
family is hungry, it is pointless."

The stolen minutes at home can be equally painful. "My wife, sometimes she
thinks I'm not enough of a man. You know the things ladies say. "But then
she cries and is sorry, she knows what will happen if I don't go.

"If I was alone I could run. If we could just run away... But in the rural
areas it's worse."

What does he think of the liberation hero, the 84-year- old leader whom he
chants for? "He's destroying our future. We are not doing anything
productive. I've got nothing. In the shops there is nothing."

What will happen to Gibson? "I don't know," he says. "Maybe I'll die."

Names have been changed to protect identities

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US-proposed UN sanctions would target Mugabe, 11 aides

Yahoo News

Wed Jul 2, 3:56 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - A US draft resolution would slap a UN arms embargo on
Zimbabwe as well as financial and travel sanctions on President Robert
Mugabe and 11 of his aides, according to the text seen by AFP Wednesday.

The text also demands that the Harare government "begin without delay a
substantive dialogue between the parties with the aim of arriving at a
peaceful solution that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people as
expressed by the March 29 (first-round presidential) elections."

The US draft would require all member states to take the necessary measures
to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to Zimbabwe..."of
arms or related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition,
military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts."

The text, not yet formally introduced in the 15-member Security Council,
would also impose a travel ban and an assets freeze on Mugabe, Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and nine others for
their role in abetting the state-sponsored violence against the opposition,
repressing human rights or undermining democracy.

The draft is virtually certain to be watered down as South Africa, the
principle mediator in Zimbabwe's domestic political crisis, and
veto-wielding China, a key ally of Harare, oppose its tough provisions.

US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad said he was continuing
consultations on the text Wednesday, adding: "We should be in a position to
introduce something (formally) relatively soon."

Khalilzad also told reporters that the Security Council would hear a
briefing on Zimbabwe developments next Tuesday.

He said the 15-member council would hear from UN Deputy Secretary General
Asha-Rose Migiro, who attended the just-ended African Union (AU) summit in

AU leaders on Tuesday adopted a resolution that called for a power-sharing
deal with the opposition.

Council members were also to be briefed by Haile Menkerios, an UN assistant
secretary general for political affairs who sought to mediate an end to the
crisis in Zimbabwe last month and held talks with Mugabe ahead of the June
27 one-man runoff election.

Tsvangirai on Wednesday rejected calls to form a national unity government,
saying it would not solve the country's crisis after Mugabe's widely
condemned one-man election.

He said such an arrangement would merely accommodate Mugabe after much of
the world had labeled his regime illegitimate.

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round of the presidential election
on March 29, but official vote totals showed him just short of an outright

The opposition leader subsequently pulled out of last Friday's run-off,
saying nearly 90 of his supporters had been killed and thousands injured in
violence he blamed on pro-Mugabe militia.

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Tsvangirai demands new mediator

Daily Express

Morgan Tsvangirai wants a new mediator for the unity talks
Wednesday July 2,2008

Zimbabwe's political leaders have clashed over whether to talk about how to
resolve the country's crisis as the US called for UN sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe and his officials.

Speaking to reporters, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his party
would not participate in talks about forming a governing accord with Mr
Mugabe's government unless a mediator was appointed alongside South African
President Thabo Mbeki.

On Tuesday, an African Union summit reconfirmed President Mbeki as Africa's
mediator, even though Mr Tsvangirai has repeatedly rejected him, accusing
him of pro-Mugabe bias. Mr Mugabe has praised President Mbeki.

"Our reservations about the mediation process under President Mbeki are well
known," Mr Tsvangirai, head of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), said outside his home in Harare.

"Unless the mediation team is expanded... and the mediation mechanism is
changed, no meaningful progress can be made towards resolving the Zimbabwe
crisis. If this does not happen, then the MDC will not be part of the
mediation process," he said.

The opposition "as the winner of the last credible elections on March 29
2008, should be recognised as the legitimate government of Zimbabwe," he

Mr Tsvangirai came in first in the first round of presidential voting in
March. Electoral officials said Mr Tsvangirai did not take 50% of the vote,
however, and scheduled a run-off against second-place finisher Mr Mugabe.

State-supported violence against opposition members forced Mr Tsvangirai to
withdraw days before Friday's run-off. Mr Mugabe held the vote anyway and
was declared the overwhelming winner on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a draft resolution the US wants the UN Security Council to
consider proposes freezing the financial assets of Mr Mugabe and 11 of his
officials and banning them from travelling.

The draft also demands that Mr Mugabe's government immediately begin talks
with the opposition. The US is president of the Security Council this month.

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Where the Money Isn't


It just got tougher for Zimbabwe to print banknotes. So how do people cope
in a country where even a bus ride costs billions?

By Rod Nordland | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Jul 2, 2008 | Updated: 4:07  p.m. ET Jul 2, 2008

Harare-John Robertson, a Zimbabwean economist, went to the dentist yesterday
with a painful tooth that needed urgent work, but before he could get it
done, he had to arrange payment. His choices were these: Either he could pay
in Zim dollars, in which case he'd need a bag of them, because the bill for
his dentistry was $1.3 trillion, plus the limit for cash withdrawals from
his bank account was only $25 billion daily. Or he could pay by check on his
Zimbabwean bank account, in which case, since it takes a week to clear the
check and the Zim dollar is plummeting in value, he'd have to write the
check for double the amount, $2.6 trillion. Or he could just go out and find
foreign exchange, either South African rand or U.S. dollars, about $50. "My
only choice was to go out and find some foreign exchange."

"The figures for this economy are just unbelievable," says Robertson. He
reckons the current inflation rate, comparing this June to last June, at
somewhere between 8 million and 10 million percent. Others, such as the
Financial Gazette, a Harare newspaper, have put currency inflation at 32
million percent-at the current rate of increase. Regardless, the numbers are
so astronomical that it's hard to imagine just how Zimbabweans manage to
cope. With commercial agriculture in collapse since the nationalization of
white-owned farms, 40 percent of the economy is down the tubes. In addition,
harvests this year were only 10 percent of what was expected, due to drought
and lack of inputs; the Food and Agriculture Organization expects that 5
million people will need food aid by September. The mining sector is
similarly troubled, particularly gold, and its biggest platinum mine-the
largest in the world-has voluntarily stopped production due to the unrest
surrounding the election.  Shelves in the stores and markets are nearly
empty, particularly of foodstuffs, but of nearly all goods. "It's very odd,"
says Jonathan Moyo, an independent MP and Mugabe's former information
minister. "The shops are empty but fridges and pantries are not empty."

Somehow, at least in the capital and other urban areas, people do seem to
manage. Largely this is because of the 4 million people who have fled to
neighboring countries, 3 million to South Africa, the remainder to Botswana
and others. "Zimbabwe no longer has any exports except its most valuable
product, its people," says a Western diplomat. "This has become a remittance
economy and a barter economy." Foreign workers send hard currency home, and
many Zimbabweans travel to places like Botswana to do their shopping-in
bulk. The government doesn't try to stop that, because it collects duties in
the form of hard currency, which it desperately needs, on items they bring
back. "The entire economy of cities like Bulawayo has just been shifted
across the border, to places like Francistown," said the diplomat. "This is
lunacy that passes for policy."

Meanwhile the government just keeps cranking out currency in greater and
greater quantities, meaning it simply keeps decreasing in value. The Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe's solely owned subsidiary, Fidelity Printing and Refining
Limited, now works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, churning out bills of
up to $50 billion. In addition, according to diplomats here, a German
company, Giesecke and Devrient GmbH, prints about half of the government's
currency and also supplies all of its banknote paper. "Stop the supply of
money, and it will stop this government in its tracks," said another Western
diplomat.  Actually, that just happened today. A spokesman for Giesecke and
Devrient, Hieko Witzke, contacted by telephone at the company's offices in
Munich, Germany, said the company had decided to immediately stop supplying
Zimbabwe as the result of a recent request by the German government. "We
decided to cease deliveries to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday," he
said. "We have taken the decision in response to an official German
government request and international calls for sanctions from the European
Union and United Nations." He refused to comment on reports here that the
Zimbabwean government had not yet paid the company for the paper and
banknotes it has been supplying.

The Zimbabwe government was alarmed enough by the pressure on its currency
that it announced today that it would allow depositors to withdraw $100
billion a day from their accounts, and added that it was taking measures to
reduce the supply of money. It may not have much choice. Robertson, the
economist, says the Reserve Bank has plates for a new currency, without all
the zeroes, which it could issue-but it's an open question whether it could
print the replacement bills quickly enough to do a massive devaluation,
especially without the German company's help.

"You can rig an election," says political scientist John Makumbe of the
University of Zimbabwe, "but you can't rig an economy, which will say,
ah-ha, the holes are still leaking.  How long can they go on? I don't think
they can survive very long, lop off all the zeroes, the zeroes would crawl
right back in. They're trading in fiction, anyone can see that."

For years now, observers of the Zimbabwe scene have been talking about
reaching the tipping point when the economy just collapses entirely and the
currency becomes as worthless as Weimar Republic paper-they were saying that
back in the late '90s, when inflation was "only" 40,000 percent a year. "I
don't think in Africa you get a tipping point," said an economist at a
Western embassy. "The formal sector just slides into the informal sector,
but what happens is the government loses its ability to raise revenue."
Robertson takes the view that sooner or later it has to come to an end. "The
tipping point will come when the people with the guns say don't even think
of paying us in Zimbabwean dollars, we want foreign exchange. We want
something we can actually spend."

In the meantime, though, the government goes to extreme measures to make
sure that won't happen. Favored government officials and ruling party
members are given the right to import cars and other goods duty-free, and to
buy foreign currency at the government's official rate-now less than half of
the street or black-market rate. Fuel, too, prohibitively expensive here
now, is also sold to government officials at concessionary prices, a
fraction of the market value. "It's a form of asset stripping," says
Makumbe. "They're looting the country." So in Harare, there are, considering
the economic crisis, an astonishing number of late model SUVs and luxury

Over at Fidelity Printing and Refining, on George Drive in the Msala
Industrial Area in Harare, the unmarked plant had a line of such cars out
the gates and a quarter-mile down the road-to buy subsidized fuel from the
Reserve Bank's pumps.

Another move the government has made to try to raise hard cash has been to
monopolize gold production, requiring all gold miners, big firms and
individual panners to sell their gold to the government at rates far below
world prices. That gold is either refined at Fidelity or, more recently,
diverted to another Reserve Bank-owned company, Aurex, where it is made into
jewelry in order to maximize the return from it. But the result of this
policy has been a catastrophic fall in gold production, from a ton a month
to only 350 kilograms (about 770 pounds) a month now, according to
Robertson, which he says is the lowest level since 1907.

A visit today to Aurex's plant and its retail gold outlet store in the
village of Ruwa, about 20 miles east of Harare, was instructive. Entry to
the gold store is by invitation only, but wrangling one isn't that difficult
for buyers with foreign exchange. Aurex is on a road in an isolated
industrial estate, the turn indicated only by a signpost reading
"Liquorland." Behind high walls and double electronic gates, the buildings
sprawl over a large compound. But inside the gold store, there's an
astonishing paucity of gold on sale, mostly a few thin chains and slight
rings, all only 9 karats. "It's the situation," a clerk said. The only other
customers were two Reserve Bank employees, who explained they were taking
advantage of the 10 percent discount they get for buying gold. "It sounds
like people are hedging their bets by getting in first," says Robertson.

Moyo says it's unsurprising that Zimbabwe is wildly printing paper. "It's
fire-fighting, what anyone else in a similar situation would do." Such moves
have been made necessary, in his view, by the sanctions on Zimbabwe and by
denial of credit facilities to it by international institutions. "No one
wants to lend money to this country," he says. "I don't know any third-world
country that would survive this kind of pressure." Just possibly, it won't.

With Tiffanie Wen in London

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If all else fails, oust Mugabe by force, says Moderator

The Scotsman

Published Date: 03 July 2008
THE Church of Scotland Moderator, David Lunan, today backs direct
intervention in Zimbabwe by other African countries - even including
military action - to oust president Robert Mugabe from power.
Writing in The Scotsman, the Rt Rev Lunan, who took over as the Moderator of
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland earlier this year, says
something has to be done to end the suffering in the southern African

The Moderator is adamant that intervention should not come from the West or
from former colonial powers, insisting that it is up to African countries to
take the lead.

But he said that, if other African nations do decide to intervene militarily
to remove Mugabe and re-establish democracy, then he would give that action
his full support.

Mr Lunan says: "A lasting solution can only come from within the southern
African region. Even as we condemn the violence, and call on our own
government to act, we recognise that Western-led action will only make the
situation worse.

"We support intervention led by Africans to solve an African problem. We
call on our government to back African involvement, even if that includes
direct intervention."

The Moderator's strong comments came as Gordon Brown hit out at Mugabe's
"blood-stained" Zimbabwean regime and branded last weekend's election result
a "travesty".

Mugabe was re-elected as President of Zimbabwe last weekend in an
uncontested election after his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew warning
that his supporters risked getting killed if they went out to vote.

The decision by Mr Lunan to speak out so forcibly and to back military
action, if that is the decision by other African nations, represents a
significant step for the Kirk. But the Moderator feels so strongly about the
situation in Zimbabwe because he has heard repeated stories from church
colleagues in the southern African country and knows that, without some form
of intervention, the suffering and brutality will continue.

He says: "Just as in years past a passion for justice has united southern
Africans to bring down the racist Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and
the apartheid regime in South Africa, so today we look to the leaders and
people of southern Africa to bring an end to the monstrous oppression being
endured by the people of Zimbabwe."

And he adds: "We believe that action can be taken which will restore the
hope of the people of Zimbabwe.

"Responsibility for that action lies with all of us, with people of good
will here in the UK, and in the West, and especially with Zimbabwe's
neighbours in Africa."

Brown in pledge on sanctions

GORDON Brown hit out at the uncontested presidential election during Prime
Ministers Question's yesterday.

Mr Brown told the Commons that the "only credible" election was the earlier
one, in which the opposition "MDC recorded a victory".

He welcomed the African Union's call for an end to violence and mediation,
before setting up a "transitional" government in the country.

"Having talked to the UN Secretary General this morning, I think it's right
that the UN send an envoy to Zimbabwe.

"In the absence of real change we will step up our sanctions and ask other
countries to do so," he warned.

"We will press for tough action on Zimbabwe at the Security Council later
today. We will do so at the G8 in the coming days."

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Troops won't solve Zimbabwe's misery

The Scotsman

Published Date: 29 June 2008
By Kenny Farquharson
THE cacophony of high-minded criticism aimed at Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe was
suddenly cut short last week, albeit only for a short while.

Just as the rhetoric from the White House, Downing Street and Brussels was
reaching a new peak of righteous outrage, opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai published a heartfelt plea in a number of western newspapers. It
contained this phrase: "The people of Zimbabwe need the words of indignation
from global leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force."

Military force? Ah. The governments of the West stopped in mid-denunciation.
Tumbleweed blew across the floor of the United Nations Security Council
meeting room in New York. Is the UN or Nato really prepared to come to
Tsvangirai's aid and use military force to help oust Mugabe? Not a chance.

The request for help is couched in what seems like reasonable terms: "We do
not want armed conflict. (but] we need a force to protect the people. Such a
force would be in the role of peacekeepers, not troublemakers. They would
separate the people from their oppressors and cast the protective shield
around the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns."

Tsvangirai is calling the West's bluff. Given the rhetoric of recent years
from Washington and London about the need to depose despots and bring
democracy to benighted corners of the world, the message coming from the
Zimbabwean opposition is a simple one: prove to us that these are not empty
words; prove to us that the West cares about these principles even when
there is no oil at stake; prove to us that you are not hypocrites.

What Tsvangirai suggests is a peace-keeping force, but, of course, it
wouldn't be as simple as that. Any western military force deployed by the UN
or Nato would be taking one side in what would quickly become a civil war.
It wouldn't be a straightforward question of isolating Mugabe and a few

Inevitably, any western intervention would justify the Mugabe propaganda
that opposition to his rule is the residue of British colonialism and a
symptom of the racist view that the white man knows best. Most pertinently,
while Mugabe and his generals control the army, force would be met with
force, bringing about a bloody conflict on a scale as yet unseen by

Last week Paddy Ashdown suggested an African Union force, with western
support, could intervene if the violence worsened. But African leaders show
no sign of having the appetite for such an operation.

For people like myself who supported military intervention in Kosovo,
Afghanistan, and (having been misled about the evidence on WMDs) Iraq,
Zimbabwe poses a moral dilemma. I believe it is sometimes justified to
breach national sovereignty. There's no doubt in my mind that the
international community should have intervened militarily in Rwanda in 1994.
So why not Zimbabwe in 2008? The only answer is cruel and calculating - but
unavoidable. In Rwanda, what the world was faced with was genocide. In
Zimbabwe, the killing has been widespread and appalling, but not nearly on a
Rwandan scale.

Back in 1981 at some international conference or other, Mugabe was chatting
to Winnie Ewing, the grande dame of Scottish Nationalism. She complained to
him that the SNP was not doing too well in whipping up nationalist fervour.
Mugabe had some words of wisdom to impart. "That's because the people of
Scotland are not yet sufficiently oppressed," he said.

After so many murders, rapes, incarcerations and beatings, it seems a cold
judgment to say that the people of Zimbabwe are not at this moment
"sufficiently oppressed" to justify a military invasion to secure and
enforce democracy. Yet this is the international community's verdict on
Tsvangirai's heartfelt appeal. It's hard to argue otherwise.

So what is to be done? Last week brought the first encouraging signs that
cracks were appearing in the Harare regime. There were reports that senior
colleagues of Mugabe were making overtures to the opposition about doing
deals to save them from persecution if a new government took over. Could the
regime collapse in on itself, taking Mugabe with it?

The West takes a gamble every time it hopes that the internal dynamics of a
troubled country will result in its despotic leader being deposed. Sometimes
this succeeds - Ceausescu in Romania and Milosevic in Serbia were both
ultimately brought down by their own peoples. But more often this is a
gamble that fails, or goes awry. When Nato forces expelled Saddam Hussein
from Kuwait in 1991, hopes that the Iraqi opposition could be relied upon to
topple him proved overly optimistic. They underestimated the brutality with
which Saddam could identify and punish dissent. Worryingly, in Zimbabwe last
week, Mugabe's security forces were trying to identify which members of the
regime had been putting out feelers to Tsvangirai.

What of the other options? It's hard to endorse the sanctions regime
currently being demanded by all sides. True, there is some satisfaction to
be gained from depriving the regime's senior figures of the right to
international travel, foreign bank accounts and a British education for
their children. But the experience of Iraq is that broader economic
sanctions only serve to further impoverish the already pitifully poor.
Zimbabwe demands our attention. But history tells us to take care in
responding to the cry that "something must be done!"

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To the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe: we're there for you

Daily Nation, Kenya


Publication Date: 7/3/2008 THIS WEEK, ROBERT MUGABE fired a shot at the
international community, saying its members "could shout as loud as they
like" but that it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to election plans
in the country since it was for the people to decide.

It is very unnerving to find myself agreeing, even if it is just in
part, with Mugabe. Democracy is, indeed, the voice of the people being heard
and respected. It's just that he has chosen to muffle that democratic voice.

Let's not forget that opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the
first round of elections back in late March. Mugabe and his cronies may like
to think that such a resounding call for change can just be forgotten amid
the chaos and bloody terror of present day Zimbabwe - but it cannot. The
people of Zimbabwe will not forget. We will not forget.

SATURDAY, MARCH 29, MARKED THE first day of the end of this regime.
Mugabe's posturing as a hero of anti-colonialism which once earned him
popularity in Zimbabwe and in Africa is fooling no one any more. African
voices of democracy and justice are being heard.

And let me also calmly point out to Mr Mugabe that the international
community has no need to shout because the truth can be heard even when it's
a whisper.

The truth is that the international community will continue to stand
united with the people of Zimbabwe with actions and not just words. The
ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe want and need the international community to
maintain pressure on Mugabe and his cronies.

One of the clearest signals of our intentions to do so would be to
publicly commit to a post-Mugabe assistance plan in union with our African

Of course, there are several scenarios that could play out, including
that of some form of transitional government. When that time for change
comes, the only guarantee is that any future legitimate government will face
an incredibly daunting task of rebuilding a state that has been brought to
its knees.

Millions are on the brink of starvation - a situation made worse by
Mugabe's recent decision to prevent European Commission life-saving
humanitarian aid from being distributed.

The economy is gasping for its last breath. The inflation rate is out
of control, unemployment is the norm rather than the exception. And despite
all this, I sincerely believe Zimbabwe has the potential to recover from
this crisis.

The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, is the most important
donor towards the people of Zimbabwe providing more than 90 million euros in
aid last year that targeted areas from emergency food aid to basic needs in
the health and education sectors.

Let me assure the citizens of Zimbabwe that we are ready to help when
change comes - no matter what it takes.

Within the framework of the European Development Fund, the European
Commission stands ready with at least  250 million euros available to assist
in the stabilisation of the country. This funding could focus on supporting
hospitals, schools or on the farming sector that was once the pride of the

Of course, we would work with our partners within SADC and the African
Union to identify other key areas of the economy needing our financial,
structural and programmed support.

One key area will be ensuring significant debt-relief to free any
legitimate government of the massive debts accumulated by the Mugabe regime.

These are just some of the practical reasons why I would encourage the
rest of the international donor community to make it clear today that it is
ready to provide substantial and immediate assistance to Zimbabwe in the
wake of a transition towards democracy.

BUT THERE IS A MUCH MORE FUNDAMENTAL and politically rooted reason
that the international community must continue to signal its solidarity
towards the citizens of Zimbabwe.

Right now, the people on the streets of Harare or in the countryside
need to know that there is a vision for their future and that any
transitional government will get the support that it would so inevitably
need. These ordinary people need to know that their lives can get better
once again. These people need hope.

Such open declarations may also just help to rekindle a spirit of
belief among Mugabe supporters that there is an alternative to the brutal
violence being inflicted on their fellow men and women. In short, even they
may once again be able to believe that they can be part of building a
brighter future for their country.

As Zimbabwe lies battered and bruised from the fist of Mugabe, the
country must know that it is surrounded by friends ready to come to its aid:
whether from the region of SADC, across the African Union or, of course,
here in Europe.

Mr Michel is the European Commissioner for Development and
Humanitarian Aid

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Why is history so kind to the seriously bad guys?

The Herald, UK

July 03 2008

The tyrant Mugabe has emerged from the Sharm el Sheikh summit with his power
and standing enhanced rather than diminished. Despite the ingenuous hopes of
so many western commentators - and not a few politicians - that Africa's
leaders would turn against him and isolate him, the 84-year-old showboated
craftily, playing his role as a venerable liberation hero to perfection.

Of course he had his critics, including the leaders of Nigeria and Botswana,
but he fended them off with eloquent appeals to African solidarity. His real
enemies were western colonialists, out- siders, mischief-makers and
meddlers. Why on earth would his African friends and colleagues wish to
encourage such people?

Lord Malloch Brown, Britain's Minister for Africa, and a key member of
Gordon Brown's government "of all the talents" was a marginal figure at the
summit. To those who would listen, he said he wanted Mugabe to be kept out
of any proposed power-sharing settlement. He said Mugabe had to be
completely removed from power if Zimbabwe was to receive aid from Britain.
Such bluster played right into the old rogue's hands.

 So, in the west we have more confusion and hand-wringing, of the kind that
has attended President Mbeki of South Africa's soft diplomatic treatment of
Mugabe. Even the saintly Nelson Mandela, the west's favourite African, has
been criticised for being too tardy and too mealy-mouthed in his
condemnation of Mugabe.

Robert Mugabe is a monster who has waged war on his own people. He has no
moral legitimacy whatsoever, and scant political legitimacy. Yet President
Bongo of Gambia summed up the general mood at the summit when he said: "He
was elected and he took an oath. He is here with us. He is the President and
we cannot ask him more."

And so Mugabe was hugged and fawned over by many of Africa's leaders, even
as the violence in Zimbabwe continued.

Zimbabwe's plight will soon be discussed by the UN Security Council. But you
may be sure that China, for one, will resist any serious attempt to take
action against Mugabe's regime. This is realpoltik. It may not be pretty,
but it is the way the world is.

When Churchill and Roosevelt convened at Yalta early in 1945 they were
joined by Joseph Stalin, whose colossal crimes against humanity make Robert
Mugabe look like an innocent. But the US and the UK could not have defeated
Hitler without the support of Stalin's troops. The Russians were magnificent
and indomitable allies.

They were also sometimes cruel beyond belief, and the Russian forces
committed many atrocities. Their leader was a man who, before the war, had
within Russia unleashed genocide, enslavement, mass murder, torture and rape
on a scale that was beyond belief. In 1937 and 1938, every tenth Russian
vanished during the "great terror". For Stalin, the problem was how to get
rid of the corpses. Before Hitler did, Stalin hit on gassing as a convenient
means of mass execution. Then, unsurprisingly, he became an ally of Hitler.

By the time the US joined the war, Stalin had switched sides. With amazing
speed, the dreadful tyrant became transformed into good old Uncle Joe,
America's friend.

The man who sat down, as a feted equal and ally, with Churchill and
Roosevelt at Yalta was the same man who had unleashed unlimited terror on
his own people through the 1930s. Roosevelt never really read him. Roosevelt
died in April 1945, shortly after Yalta, convinced that the US Army would
soon be able to demobilise and quit Europe altogether. He had no idea how
determined Uncle Joe would be to hold on to all the territories he had
acquired in the period when he was Hitler's ally. Stalin saw himself as the
main man among Hitler's conquerors, and he was probably right.

Simone de Beauvoir, the great French writer, said: "There were no
reservations in our friendship for the USSR. The sacrifices of the Russian
people proved that its leaders embodied its wishes."

This was all too typical. Even today, when there is no doubt about the scale
of his assault on Russian civic society, Stalin still has many admirers and
apologists in the west. It is the same with Mao Tsetung, another tyrant who
committed crime after crime against his people. There are idealistic and
political reasons for this. Some western intellectuals seem able to forgive
Mao almost anything. But there is a more superficial and yet more worrying
tendency. Many people seem to adore monsters, so long as they do not have to
suffer under them. History is often relatively kind to the seriously bad

Fascination with them becomes obsessive, and almost transmutes into a kind
of grisly veneration. So it is with Hitler. Few would admit to admiring him,
but many are so utterly fascinated by his evil campaigns that they regard
him with a kind of awestruck respect.

The other day I was talking to a historian about young people's apparent
lack of interest in history, including recent history. I asked which figures
of the twentieth century might spark their interest. Hitler, he replied.
What about Roosevelt? I asked. I was told that I must be joking.

If we go further back, we see the same syndrome. Henry VIII was a brute, a
sadistic butcher who, among many other crimes, put down the Pilgrimage of
Grace, a noble and well-meaning Catholic rebellion that affected most of
northern England, with a savage mixture of duplicity and sustained
bloodthirsty brutality.

Today he is regarded as a great historical figure and treated, in the public
mind, with something close to affection. Compare him to his father, Henry
VII, a notably good king, who ended the Wars of the Roses and far-sightedly
sought an alliance with Scotland that he thought might just bring perpetual
peace. But Henry VI was a dull man. His virtues were many, but virtue is
regarded as boring.

Napoleon Bonaparte is still worshipped, and not only in France. He rampaged
round Europe in his crazed quest for bloody glory and conquest, and boasted
that he "spent" 20,000 men a month. No matter: he remains, for many, the
ultimate hero.

There are exceptions. The likes of Pol Pot and Nicolae Ceausescu seem to be
regarded with near unanimous revulsion. But compared to Mao and Stalin, they
were minor figures.

To return to Mugabe, I am not saying that history will be kind to him, but
it might be kinder than we presently imagine. He may well be remembered as a
freedom fighter rather than the oppressor of his own people.

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Mugabe pardons Zanu thugs

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:55
. while Williams, Mahlangu and Matinenga rot in jail
HARARE - With almost as much indecent haste as he inaugurated himself
as president, against the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe, the leader of
military junta, Robert Mugabe, has declared a blanket amnesty that will free
hundreds of Zanu (PF) thugs who may have been convicted for state-sanctioned
violence in the aftermath of the March 27 elections.
General Notice 85A/2008 - Clemency Order No. 1 of 2008 covers the
violent period before and after the March 29 poll, up to June 16, 11 days
before the fraudulent presidential runoff election last Friday.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said there seemed to be selective
for political prisoners. Hundreds of MDC supporters, who dared to
defend themselves against attack by the militias and were arrested and
thrown into prison, have not qualified for the amnesty under as yet unclear
Civic groups have also condemned the move, saying it was further
evidence of the junta's rejection of the rule of law. More than 100 MDC
members have been killed in the attacks, 500 are missing, and more than
200,000 have been driven from their homes. 20,000 homes have been burnt
down. Thousands of others have been raped and brutalised, and the violence
Political prisoners such as WOZA leaders Jenny Williams and Magodonga
Mahlangu, and newly-elected MDC MP, advocate Eric Matinenga, remain
incarcerated - accused of breaching the peace, denied bail for more than
five weeks despite the fact that their crime is normally punishable by a
fine - if convicted.
The police routinely do not react in cases of Zanu (PF) thugs
attacking MDC supporters. They always respond if MDC members try to repel
such attacks.
A prison officer at Chikurubi Maximum Prison said there were specific
orders that MDC prisoners do not qualify for the amnesty.
But former Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa denied the pardon was
meant for Zanu (PF) supporters only saying the amnesty, set to see a total
4,998 prisoners released, was aimed at easing overcrowding in jails.
Throughout his nearly 30-year reign, Mugabe has routinely pardoned
politically motivated acts of violence perpetrated country-wide by his
supporters in the lead up and aftermath of elections - which have always
been characterised by state-sponsored terror against perceived opponents.
This is despite hollow assurances before every election by the police
commissioner that his force would not tolerate political violence. The
routine pardons make a mockery of this, ensuring that Zanu (PF) militias
understand that they will not be punished for obeying instructions to kill
and maim the opposition.

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Post-election backlash

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:54
HARARE - As Robert Mugabe swore to uphold the constitution and respect
the laws of Zimbabwe at his inauguration on Sunday, MDC supporters were
being brutalised and forced to flee their homes in Buhera South, where a
woman was brutally murdered by Zanu (PF) militants at a torture camp at
Mutiusinazita under Operation Red Finger.
'Blacklisted' villages' food supplies have been cut off while a
vicious crackdown on the remaining white commercial farmers has continued.
Scores of reports of incidents of rape, torture, kidnap and arson continued
to flow in this week, according to human rights groups and the MDC.
Observers say the wave of terror far exceeds the brutality witnessed
before June 27.
In Mberengwa East district alone, in the Midlands province, dozens of
MDC supporters have fled in the face of reprisals and four were abducted
June 21 and are still unaccounted for.
Human rights groups applied to the UN and the Red Cross for tented
villages to be set up in Harare, where the majority of people have fled, but
they were turned down. Tents that had been erected by the UNHCR at the South
African embassy, where refuges had sought shelter, have been removed on the
instructions of Sydney Mhishi, the acting permanent secretary in the Social
Welfare ministry.
President Mugabe's campaign against white farmers has also intensified
dramatically. Two leading commercial farmers in the Chegutu area, Ben Freeth
and Mike Campbell were abducted and beaten unconscious by Zanu (PF)
militants soon after Mugabe's inauguration. Campbell, 75, his wife, Angela,
66, and their son-in-law, Ben Freeth were taken to a pungwe, one of the
thousands of indoctrination meetings where people must chant pro-Mugabe
slogans and viciously brutalized in front of 50 Mugabe loyalists. The
farmers were doused with water, viciously assaulted and forced to sign a
statement stating they were withdrawing their court challenge.
'They put burning sticks in my mother's mouth. They beat my father on
the back and on the feet, and with a sjambok,' Freeth's wife, Laura, said.
The Zimbabwean heard that the remaining 280 white farmers have been
told they must leave.  In Matabeleland North, farmers on dozens of
properties have been handed the same ultimatum, with some deciding to quit
but most standing firm.
War veterans and youth militia went on the rampage this week across
most of rural Mashonaland and Midlands province, where Mugabe enjoys his
strongest support, singling out whole villages suspected of being
sympathetic to the MDC.
In the Midlands area of Gokwe, women and teenage girls have been raped
by regular soldiers and Zanu (PF) militia, human rights groups say.
The Zimbabwean could not independently verify reports that two
children in Tsholotsho, north of Bulawayo, had starved to death. In Mataga,
lorry loads of maize were said to have been driven from the area's Mataga
depot to the chiefs' homesteads. It was sold exclusively to Zanu (PF)

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Zimbabwe ups propaganda

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:43
HARARE - Zimbabwe propaganda Voice of Zimbabwe (VOZ) radio station has
upped its propaganda reportage amid reports that the Gweru based radio
station now broadcasts a repeat of the three hour news and news analysis of
the previous night every morning.
The VOZ propaganda radio station has been broadcasting news and news
analysis programmes from 6pm and 9pm. The rest of the day and evening, it
plays chimurenga and liberation war songs supporting the efforts of
President Robert Mugabe. VOZ station manager, Shadreck Mupeni confirmed that
the government radio station has increased its propaganda reportage.
'We would like to offer our listeners more of such programmes as they
are popular among our listeners judging by the feedback that we are
receiving,' Mupeni said.
The propaganda 24 hour radio station was introduced by Mugabe to
challenge foreign based independent radio stations broadcasting Zimbabwe
news like Studio 7, SW Radio Africa and Voice of the People.
The changes follow the suspension of seven journalists at Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) for sympathizing with the MDC. ZBC boss,
Henry Muradzikwa, has been replaced with war veteran and fierce Mugabe
supporter, Happison Muchechetere.

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Horror in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:43
HARARE - Mugabe's inauguration will go down in history as the most
deranged piece of political satire ever, says the leader of the Inkatha
Freedom Party in SA, Mangosuthu Buthelezi.  Every observer mission has
rejected the results. In no way at all did it reflect the will of the
people. The IFP supports the calls from SADC and the Pan African Parliament
observer missions that conditions be put in place for the holding of a free
and fair run-off as soon as possible. This should be made clear to Mugabe.
Suzanne Vos, an IFP member of parliament, has reported that she
personally witnessed appalling intimidation and violence in various
provinces of Zimbabwe. Vos visited homes where elderly people had been
brutally assaulted because the husband was a supporter of the MDC.
Vos was alone at a polling station at a rural school where the MDC had
requested the presence of PAP observers. During the day, while visiting 18
polling stations in that Ward, MDC party agents had pleaded with the PAP
observers to "protect" them as they feared being murdered on their way home.
Several showed Vos bruises on their bodies.
Minutes before the ballot boxes were to be opened a group of men
silently entered the polling station blocking the door and forming a
menacing line in front of the election officials. Vos said the chief
electoral officer exhorted the men to leave and quoted electoral law as to
who was allowed to be in the polling station during counting. He then
pointed to the presence of the Pan African Parliament observer. The men then
slowly left.
Vos had to personally intervene with the commanding officer of the
police service in one area when MDC supporters trying to hold a rally were
threatened with the riot police - even though they had obtained a High Court
order permitting them to hold the rally.
Vos had attended a rally held by Mugabe where he told the audience
that "a ball point pen cannot compete with a bazooka... the MDC will never
rule this country..."

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Economy wrecked after election

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:43
By Chief Reporter
HARARE - Zimbabwe's economic crisis has worsened dramatically, hardly
a week after President Robert Mugabe's fraudulent re-election, adding to the
misery of ordinary Zimbabweans grappling with 2 million percent inflation.
The crisis-torn southern African state has seen an upsurge in
commodity shortages and an unprecedented skyrocketing of prices of basics
since June 27's one-candidate presidential run-off vote, which returned
Mugabe to power after the withdrawal his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai citing
violence and restrictions on his campaigns.
The prices of basics shot up dramatically, with a loaf of bread now
retailing for ZD25 billion on the black market, the only market where it's
readily available in the capital.
Shortages of fuel, both petrol and diesel, also worsened woefully
forcing motorists to resort exclusively to the black market for supplies.
"It's been quite a span since we last had petrol here and the last
time we had supplies. On June 28, we were selling a litre for ZD35 billion,'
a garage attendant said at a garage supplied by state oil importer NOCZIM.
'The fuel ran out after minutes of receiving it.'
The government revoked NOCZIM's previous monopoly on imports a few
years ago, allowing a slew of mostly black-owned new companies to bring in
their own fuel, but these have been stymied by a persistent foreign currency
Zimbabwe's economy has successively collapsed since 1999, when key
donors led by the International Monetary Fund withdrew support over policy
differences with the government.
Critics say Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has crippled a once-vibrant economy through skewed policy decisions
including the controversial seizure of white-owned commercial farms for
landless blacks; a programme they say has destroyed the mainstay agriculture
Foreign cash inflows are a trickle as exporters struggle to stay in
business in a harsh climate, and analysts estimate that foreign exchange
auctions controlled by the central bank are only meeting about 8 percent of
importer demand.
The foreign currency crisis has also affected electricity supplies, 35
percent of which state power utility ZESA has to import from neighbouring
On June 27 ZESA said it was facing a power crisis because of a foreign
currency crunch and lack of spares for maintenance of some of its
Cash-strapped ZESA has struggled to import enough power from its
neighbours in past years, leading to frequent power cuts that have disrupted
industrial production and damaged household appliances after freak
electrical surges are pumped into domestic appliances when supplies are
Across poor townships, residents are struggling with erratic water
supplies, with residents saying they feared an outbreak of disease as
electricity-powered pumps failed to draw adequate water to the ghetto.
Mugabe denies misruling the country over the past 28 years, arguing
the economy has fallen victim to domestic and foreign opponents of his farm
seizures. His re-election is widely expected to wreck the economy and worsen
the hardships of ordinary Zimbabweans.

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Catalogue of violence against labour leaders

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:39
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says it has has learnt
with dismay about the harassment of labour leaders by Zanu (PF) militia,
supporters and State security agents.
In a statement, ZCTU said their District Chairperson for Chivhu,
Tinashe Murau, was seriously beaten up by Zanu (PF) militia just before
run-off election and had his hand broken. He was beaten after the militia
questioned him about wearing a ZCTU T-shirt and attending ZCTU meetings.
Forty-six members of the General Agriculture Plantation Workers' Union
of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) had sought shelter in Harare after being harassed and
beaten by youth militia. The members included women and children.
The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ closed its office
after its officials were constantly harassed. Unidentified people visited
the PTUZ Treasurer's wife, claiming that they wanted to take her to 'a
ZCTU councillor, Rebecca Butau, based in Chegutu was also seriously
beaten and needed medical attention.
'The ZCTU expects an influx of its members as they face retribution
from ruling party militia and youths,' said W.T. Chibebe, ZCTU
Secretary-General. 'We deplore in the strongest terms what appears to be the
targeting of ZCTU officials and union members.'

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People in diaspora have role to play, says ZDDC

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:40
The solution to Zimbabwe's economic woes does not rest in the hands of
politicians alone, but those working outside the country also have a pivotal
role to play in getting the country back on its feet, an official of the
Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Chamber (ZDDC) said this week.
Economic think-tank ZDDC believes that Zimbabweans living elsewhere
could contribute significantly towards ending the country's nine-year
economic recession.
Luke Dzipange Zunga, a Zimbabwean economist living in South Africa,
said: 'It would be an indictment for Zimbabweans to enter South Africa or
any other part of the diaspora, and call it quits. Zimbabwe is not
functioning and is pulling the region down. For a region to succeed, every
country must function properly. The politician is not the best source for
economic ideas.
'Despite having a relatively good education, Zimbabweans have failed
the region. What is needed is a grand strategy, working together outside
He said some Zimbabweans living outside the borders were too
individualistic to make any meaningful change to the status quo, yet a
coordinated approach could do the trick. - CAJ News

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Time to bury the ghost

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:55
Against all our hopes, the useless and woolly AU resolution this week,
calling for dialogue between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, utterly fails the people
of Zimbabwe.
June 27 has come and gone and the result of the election is as many
had predicted - an utterly fraudulent and farcical presidential election,
culminating in a hasty and undignified inauguration of Robert Mugabe for his
sixth term against the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
We applaud Kenya for its principled stance at this week's AU meeting,
where it called for the African body to suspend Zimbabwe forthwith - until
such time as credible elections are held and a legitimate, people's
government is installed in line with the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
Despite Mugabe's unashamed challenge to other African leaders about
their pointing dirty fingers at him we dared to hope that even at this late
stage the rulers of Africa will have the courage to follow through with firm
action against the geriatric tyrant. Africa has had far more than its share
of thieving, murderous despots - Amin, Mobutu, Mengistu, Taylor, Bonye,
Banda to name a few - the list is embarrassingly and tragically long.
Surely, now, in this the 21st century, decades after the last colonial
power departed ignominiously from Africa's shores, we can lay that ghost to
rest. We no longer need to sit by and watch African women and children being
raped, starved and killed under the pretext of fighting colonialism.
Colonialism in Africa is dead and buried  - there is a new mood now.
How long will we allow this tired ghost to shackle us to desperation and
submission? In fear of the label of colonialism, British and other Western
governments tiptoe around Africa and its horrors. Africans live in fear of
this imaginary evil.
This excuse allows both African and Western governments to remain
inactive. This misdiagnosis of the real issues at hand - greed, corruption,
tyranny, megalomania - ensures that the people of Zimbabwe will continue to
be thrashed and cowed into submission. The beatings and murders will
continue and the desperate cries of a nation will ring out until African
leaders finally have the courage to bury the ghost of colonialism and
denounce their autocratic brother.
The nauseating 'African problem, African solution' rhetoric should be
seen for what it truly is. A cop out. Africa does not agree that there is a
problem. Africa is unwilling to deal with the problem and the world must
become tougher if anything will ever change in Zimbabwe.

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Africans must change or perish

Daily Nation, Kenya


Publication Date: 7/3/2008 Once again, the African heads of State are
gathered at a Red Sea resort in the name of advancing democracy, development
and security.

In their midst are some of the worst leaders in the history of
mankind. One of them is definitely Robert Mugabe.

As that circus in Egypt  goes on, our own Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo
Musyoka, is proposing a power-sharing arrangement in Zimbabwe in the same
version as Kenya.

As much as I understand that Mr Musyoka is a politician, it is strange
to assume that the Kenyan example is the best form of governance.

Kenya actually set a very bad precedent. No wonder  Africa remains

Perhaps, Africans are cursed by God. We overindulges in religion and
politics so much that we never take time to reflect on our own future.

We never want to change for the better. Seven years ago, I worked for
an NGO and I visited villages in western Kenya. The attitude of the common
person is so disheartening. No one wants to change, and even the most
educated of the people are no where near the rigidity breaking point.

Everyone wants to keep the status quo. People seem happy with their
poverty and the bad governance.

For us to assume that the Western world will help us, is like milking
a bull. The Western countries are so fed up with Africa that many people don't
even want to hear about it. Aid has been tripled in the last 10 years, but
poverty and corruption have tripled in the same period.

The people who complain of corruption and poverty are foreigners, not

It is important that Africans change their ways and take drastic
measures towards eradicating poverty and corruption.

I see Africa under colonial rule in the next 100 years, because by
that time, we will have died of disease, hunger and war; the three very
preventable plagues of Africa.

Madrid, Spain.

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Zimbabwe: 'We are all billionaires who can afford nothing.That is why I hate that old man'

The Times
July 3, 2008

The ability of Zimbabweans to struggle on in the face of economic collapse
has astonished many but hyperinflation may succeed where elections have not,
and finally topple Mugabe

Catherine Philp in Harare
Moses Chikomba does not care much about politics. He does not care whether
the land is owned by blacks or whites. All he cares about is that his $50
billion monthly salary will buy him just two bars of soap. In three days it
will buy only one.

"What does the future hold for us?" he asks, clutching the near-worthless
notes with their eye-popping strings of zeros. "We are all billionaires who
can afford to buy nothing. That is why I hate that old man."

Robert Mugabe may have murdered, tortured and beaten his way back into
power. But, as he begins his sixth term in office, it is a different grudge
most Zimbabweans hold against him. Hyperinflation is now galloping towards
highs seen only by the likes of the Weimar Republic and postwar Hungary.

Inflation is 8.5 million per cent and economists believe that it will rise
to more than 100 million per cent by September. The numbers are so large
they are almost meaningless. For the people of Zimbabwe the everyday
struggle of living with hyperinflation is all too real.

Moses is one of the fortunate; he works for foreigners who peg his salary to
the US dollar. As soon as it is handed over, its value vanishes. His last
pay packet amounted to US$25; now, two weeks later, it is worth only US$2.
"As soon as I get it, I have to rush out and spend as much of it as I can,"
he says. "And then there is nothing left for the rest of the month." They
survive on mealie meal and little else, food that will keep for weeks.

Moses is paid cash in hand but most formally employed Zimbabweans are not, a
remnant of the financial infrastructure that this once wealthy nation still
boasts. In an effort to curb spending, the Government has imposed limits on
how much money can be withdrawn from the bank in a day, resulting in long,
snaking queues outside every bank in town. Three weeks ago the limit was
increasing to Z$25 billion, then about £7.50. Today the exchange rate is
expected to surpass Z$25 billion to the US dollar.

"Just a few weeks ago, 90 per cent of the people in this country had never
heard the word billion," another friend told me. "Now we are wondering what
comes after trillion?" No till in Zimbabwe is capable of ringing up all
those zeros, so receipts come with little messages explaining that the
amount due is rather more than it looks. "Our bill is quoted in mollars -
millions of dollars," the bill at a neighbourhood Italian restaurant
announces. "Please add six zeros to total due to get actual amount to be

One friend says she opened her yearly broadband bill to find it blank. An
accompanying letter said the service would be provided free while the
company worked out a "meaningful" charge. Another friend recounts a weekly
shop costing $514billion, which she paid for by debit card. The shop till
could only ring up $9 billion, so the card had to be swiped 57 times.

Many people are forced to use cheques. Many places, though, refuse to take
them because their value has plummeted by the time they are presented at the
bank. Restaurants have taken to printing price lists, separate from their
menus, citing different prices for cash and cheques, with cheques charged at
twice the cash rate.

A simple pasta lunch for three yesterday cost $1.3 trillion - for cash. We
gave up trying to add and calculate the zeros and paid in US dollars, a
crime that could land the owners in jail. Dollarisation is, nevertheless,
creeping in, clandestinely. At a well-known butcher's, a nod and wink to the
right member of staff takes you behind the counter and out the back door
where your "greens" are swiped in return for your meat. Even the cigarette
vendors on the street will beg for "greens" now.

Zimbabwe's ability to struggle on in the face of economic collapse has
astonished many. Without the flood of remittances from the millions of
Zimbabweans abroad the country would simply collapse. Many believe it may
yet have only months to last. The decision of a German paper manufacturer to
stop supplying banknote paper to Zimbabwe may hasten that moment, if the
Government finds itself unable to print its way out of the crisis, as it has
done for the past eight years.

Zimbabwe's beleaguered Opposition hopes that hyperinflation may yet succeed
in doing what politics has failed to, and topple Mr Mugabe. Two days before
the election, the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, told The Times that
if he could not stop Mr Mugabe, the economy would. "Mr Mugabe can steal an
election but he has no answers for this crisis," Mr Tsvangirai said. "I wish
him well."

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How we are being spied on by tyrant Mugabe's henchmen

By Mike Miners

ROBERT Mugabe, the Zimbabwean dictator, has secret police working on the
streets of south Essex to spy on the 1,000 exiles living here, according to
a high ranking campaigner.

Stanford Biti, of North Crescent, Southend, is the brother of Tendai Biti,
general secretary of the Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Tendai was featured on the front pages of the world's newspapers after he
was arrested on treason charges, which his party says are politically

Speaking to the Echo this week, Stanford revealed he fears Mugabe's agents
are working on the streets of Southend and Basildon, spying on MDC members
and reporting back to Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

He said: "We have more than 1,000 members and supporters of the MDC in south
Essex and more than 5,000 all over the country.

"But we do get harassed by the Zimbabwean secret police, even in Southend.
We know they follow you, make notes and then victimise your friends and
family back in Zimbabwe."


His claims have been backed up across the UK with other high ranking MDC
members claiming they are being filmed, spied on and have their meetings
disrupted. Tendai Goneso, treasurer of the MDC's UK and Ireland branch, said
the campaign of intimidation was "highly organised and co-ordinated" to
intimidate opponents.

Stanford has revealed he was arrested near the Zimbabwean capital of Harare,
late last year, and had to bribe a Zimbabwean policeman to release him so he
could flee to the UK.

Today, the 38-year-old campaigns tirelessly on behalf of the MDC in the UK.

He said: "Originally I was a teacher in Harare, but because I was a member
of the MDC, Robert Mugabe's police ended my career.

"I went into private business and had a roofing company, but I had vehicles
and buildings destroyed by the police and I was arrested several times.

"While under arrest, I was tortured as they beat, punched and urinated on
me. Eventually, I had to bribe a policeman to release me and I came to
Southend because I have relatives in the area."

His work on behalf of his brother and the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
takes him all over the country as he tries to highlight the terror of
Mugabe's regime.

However, last Friday the president was re-elected in an election condemned
as a sham by the rest of the world.

Yet while the media did its best to report the farce, Stanford was receiving
harrowing text messages from friends, family and supporters in the stricken

Stanford expects to be back in Southend on Sunday, when he hosts the next
local MDC meeting.

He claims South Africa will struggle to stage the World Cup in 2010 if the
situation in Zimbabwe remains the same, and hopes the risk to South African
prestige will force the hand of the country's president, Thabo Mbeki.

But Stanford still fears for his wife Rudo. He said: "One of my sons has got
to Australia and the other one is here with me, but the police took Rudo's
passport so she is in hiding, still in Zimbabwe."

Another Zimbabwean, Tawanda Chiwara, 33 is exiled in Tintern Avenue,

He said: "I got the chance to leave Zimbabwe on a sporting scholarship to
the United States and because we did not want to go back there, my family
and I came here."

Tawanda has been back to his homeland twice, but on the second occasion was
harassed by the Government and today is reluctant to say what he does in

Today, the town has a thriving Zimbabwean community.

But Tawanda says whenever they meet talk is dominated by the escalating
problems in their homeland.

He added: "They may have a smile on their faces, but it does not hide the
turmoil underneath.

"Because most, if not all the people, would go back if the problems were

10:34pm Wednesday 2nd July 2008

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Asylum seekers: Pressure grows to free detained Zimbabwean asylum seekers

Owen Bowcott
The Guardian,
Thursday July 3, 2008

The government is under growing pressure to free scores of Zimbabwean asylum
seekers from detention centres after a court of appeal ruling yesterday
further delayed legal moves to deport them.

Despite the rapid deterioration of the political situation in Harare, as
many as 11,500 Zimbabweans are threatened with the prospect of removal from
the UK. Many are penniless, banned from working or receiving benefits.

Yesterday's ruling involved the test case of a Zimbabwean doctor, known as
HS, who claims her association with the Movement for Democratic Change
opposition party means her life would be endangered if she were forcibly

By staying a full hearing of the case pending the outcome of a related
immigration application due to go before the House of Lords, the courts have
added an extended delay to the legal process and further postponed any

About 50 Zimbabwean nationals are held in immigration detention centres
around the UK. Last month the Guardian reported that six Zimbabweans,
detained for up to 23 months in Haslar prison, Gosport, pending their
removal have appealed to Gordon Brown to release them until it is safe for
them to be sent home.

They claim they have been facing "indefinite detention" since the escalation
of violence led to the Home Office decision to suspend all deportations to

Caroline Slocock, chief executive of the Refugee Legal Centre, which brought
the case, said: "The decision means that refused asylum seekers from
Zimbabwe continue to have a temporary stay of execution on forced return but
they live in fear pending the outcome of this case."

She called on the government to give Zimbabweans temporary leave to stay
until conditions improve. The Liberal Democrats, whose policy is to allow
asylum seekers to work, have also called on the government to give
Zimbabwean refugees exceptional leave to stay.

The Home Office said: "We have no current plans to enforce deportations."

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Mugabe's rule haunts Zimbabwe Cricket

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 21:42
HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket is in a quagmire. Last week ECB called on
all the ten International Cricket Council member states to vote for
Zimbabwe's expulsion as a full member of the world cricket board in the
ongoing two-day annual meeting, set to end July 4, in Dubai.
Two-thirds majority vote within the ICC board - seven out of 10
votes - will be needed for any resolution to be moved on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is part of the ten countries and it has so far won the favor
of India and Pakistan, who have clearly stated that it will back ZC.
"We are very clear that we would like to fully support Zimbabwe on the
issue of full membership of the ICC," Niranjan Shah, BCCI secretary,
recently told Cricinfo.
The Pakistan Cricket Board, has also made it clear that it will send
its A team on a tour to Zimbabwe in August as scheduled, irrespective of any
decision made today.
Zimbabwe will not only miss next year's edition of the Twenty20 World
Cup, to be held in England and all other future tournaments but they will
also lose the lucrative ICC funding and valuable voting rights if the
members around the table in Dubai rule the country out as a full member of
the world governing board.
'Zimbabwe is a full member of FIFA and we are currently participating
in a World Cup qualifying campaign; we have a swimming programme which has
produced Kirsty Coventry, a recent winner in the world championships," Ozias
Bvute, Zimbabwe cricket managing director said.

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On cricket alone, Zimbabwe is in disgrace

The Times
July 3, 2008

Mike Atherton
So let us talk not politics but cricket. After all, that is what Peter
Chingoka and Ozias Bvute want, is it not? Those twin pillars of the crumbled
edifice called Zimbabwe Cricket, who have presided over a most disgraceful
decline while all the while enjoying the benefits that full-member status of
the ICC brings, called upon the international cricket community this week to
consider only cricketing matters when Zimbabwe's position at the high table
is discussed. We shall grant them their wish.

Chingoka called the move to table a resolution on Zimbabwe as "unethical",
which is like being lectured on fidelity by a sex addict. He reminded Ray
Mali, whose last act of a thoroughly undistinguished presidency this was,
that the ICC has agreed in the past that "sport and politics, like oil and
water, do not mix". The thuggish Bvute, the man responsible for kicking
Henry Olonga off the team bus after his black armband protest during the
2003 World Cup, bragged that the "so-called current worries" in Zimbabwe are
an irrelevance to its cricketing status.

That delicious prefix "so-called" is all the evidence needed that oil and
water does mix and that there is an all-too-close association between
Zimbabwe Cricket and Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party, as outlined
last week by Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
Sport. "So-called"? Tell that to the family of Ben Freeth, the farmer whose
horrors at the hands of Mugabe's henchmen The Times has chronicled in grim
detail this week.

But back to the cricket. You would think that a full member of the ICC would
need to have a functioning and competitive cricket team. Not necessarily
world-beating, but functioning and competitive. But Zimbabwe, of their own
accord, have not played a Test match since September 2005. In the past seven
years the team have won one Test match. In 32 one-day internationals since
August 2006 they have won only two, losing 28. The figures reflect the
reality that the Zimbabwe cricket team are a bunch of schoolboys
masquerading as an international side. Most of the good players have left.

As we have seen this past week, with Ireland thrashed by a world-record
margin by New Zealand; one-day international status given to a match between
Bermuda and Canada in King City, Ontario; and Hong Kong and the United Arab
Emirates involved in games in the Asia Cup with similar status, the ICC
cares more about the push for globalisation and making money than upholding
But while the ICC spreads the gospel far and wide, its members do not want
much to do with Zimbabwe. England and South Africa have cut bilateral ties
and India, Zimbabwe's greatest ally, pulled out of their most recent tour
there on the ground that they could not be bothered.

And what of the next generation? In the most recent Under-19 World Cup,
Zimbabwe won one match - against Malaysia - and finished twelfth out of 16
teams. They also failed to send a team to compete in the Clico under-15
international championship in the Caribbean. The official reason given for
the absence was a visa problem, but no formal application for visas was

But surely, given the millions of dollars passed on by the ICC down the
years, there is a competitive cricket structure within Zimbabwe? Some months
ago Steven Price, a brave freelance journalist based in Harare, wrote a
series of articles about the state of the game in Zimbabwe at national, club
and school levels. Collectively, they presented a disturbing picture of a
sport in a state of decay. Bvute, by the way, had tried to bully Cricinfo,
the website, into revealing Price's whereabouts in 2005. "What has he got to
be afraid of?" Bvute said when he did not get his way.

There was a picture of a club ground near Harare called Selous, with
knee-high grass and derelict facilities, a club typical of many others that
cannot afford tractors and mowers to cut the outfields. There is the odd
club in Harare - well connected, of course, and therefore well funded - who
thrive, but players from one of those clubs were sent home from national
practice by Geoff Marsh, the former coach, for wearing Zanu (PF) T-shirts.
In 2005-06, the Logan Cup, the premier first-class competition in Zimbabwe,
was cancelled without notice and this year the Twenty20 competition was
suspended with less than 24 hours' notice.

Some club matches in Matabeleland were cancelled this year because there
were no cricket balls. Umpires are scarce, as is basic equipment. Grant
Flower, the former Zimbabwe batsman, had this to say about domestic cricket:
"I speak to players who pitch up at games and there are no umpires, they are
struggling to find six stumps, some wicketkeepers don't have gloves and
there are no lunches or teas provided and there is no diesel to fuel the
tractors and mow the outfields." No team, no structure, no hope.

So what has happened to the millions of dollars given to Zimbabwe Cricket by
the ICC? If only we knew. On the ICC's website there is a mission statement
of values, one of which, under the heading "Openness, honesty and integrity",
reads: "We work to the highest ethical standards. We do what we say we are
going to do, in the way we say we are going to do it." Presumably, because
the ICC is simply an amalgam of its constituent parts, these constituent
parts sign up to such mission statements, too.

But Zimbabwe Cricket has issued no accounts for public consumption since
2005. When the ICC became suspicious and held an internal inquiry, some of
its findings were leaked. The leaks were damning. "It is clear that the
accounts of Zimbabwe Cricket have been deliberately falsified to mask
various illegal transactions. It may not be possible to rely on the
authenticity of its balance sheet."

On the back of this, an independent audit by KPMG was commissioned. Despite
the ICC's mission statement, this audit has not been released and when the
British Government asked for a copy it was refused. It has been reported
that the KPMG audit noted "serious financial irregularities".

A country serious about its cricket must have administrators who treat the
sport with the respect it deserves. So we come back to Chingoka and Bvute,
respectively the chairman and managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket, who
have been instrumental in leading the organisation into this maelstrom of
bullying, racism and decay. Any cricketer with the courage to speak out, as
Tatenda Taibu, the former captain, did in 2005, is hounded out. Taibu left
before returning two years later. In November 2007, life presidents of
Zimbabwe Cricket were stripped of their positions so that they could not
cause trouble at the annual meeting. A purge took place; hand-picked cronies
from the provinces were unlikely to ask awkward questions.

Last week, Andy Flower, brother of Grant and the finest player that Zimbabwe
has produced, was collared by journalists at the Brit Oval. He looked
briefly at the ECB's media relations man, to check that he was not about to
embarrass the organisation that employs him as a coach, and gave a withering
verdict on Zimbabwe Cricket's administrators. "Peter Chingoka is part of
Mugabe's despicable plan and the fact that he is allowed to prance around
the ICC committee is embarrassing for the ICC."

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