The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Robert Mugabe demands MDC recognition as Zimbabwe president before talks begin

The Telegraph

By Louis Weston in Harare
Last Updated: 6:20PM BST 04/07/2008
Robert Mugabe has demanded that Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change recognise him as president, or he will not enter talks.
"We are open to dialogue but reality is reality and it has to be accepted -
I am the president of the republic of Zimbabwe," he said as he arrived back
in the country from an African Union summit in Egypt. "Everybody has to
accept that if they want dialogue."

At the summit African leaders failed to unite in condemnation of his
"re-election", in a one-candidate poll following a campaign of violence
against supporters of the MDC.

The octogenarian leader appeared bolstered by the result of the gathering,
even though at one point during the event he had to be restrained from
assaulting a reporter.

He said of Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC: "Let them not delude themselves into
ever believing we will reverse that, never ever. If they agree on that and
we are satisfied, then we shall go into dialogue and listen to them by way
of ideas.

"Those votes can never be thrown away as the British want. They are mad,

In an apparent reference to tough criticism from Botswana and Zambia, he
warned neighbouring states about picking a fight with Zimbabwe.

"If there are some who may want to fight us, they should think twice. We
don't intend to fight any neighbours. We are a peaceful country, but if
there is a neighbouring country that is itching for a fight, then let them
try it."

Reports on Wednesday said Botswana had moved heavy artillery near to its
border with Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe's comments come as the US circulated a United Nations Security
Council motion calling for sanctions to be imposed on the regime, and the EU
said it was considering unspecific "appropriate measures" against those
responsible for violence in the country.

However, Mr Mugabe is showing every sign that he intends to ignore all
international pressure.

The MDC rejected his demand, and earlier upped the toll of its supporters
killed since the first round of the election, when Mr Tsvangirai came first,
from 86 to 103.

Among those arrested on "trumped up charges" of inciting violence were 20
MPs or parliamentary candidates, it said, while 5,000 of its supporters were

"The regime cannot talk dialogue when it is acting war across the length and
breadth of the country," the party said in a statement.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesman, said Mr Mugabe's demand to be recognised
as president was "an unrealistic precondition and we are not going to accept

But in a sign that fractures within the opposition may enable Mr Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party to divide and rule, one newly sacked MDC official said it had
to recognise him as president.

Gabriel Chaibva, a former MP, was dismissed as a spokesman for the minority
MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara earlier this week for attending Mr
Mugabe's inauguration.

"If you are serious about talks and dialogue, immediately, unconditionally
and unreservedly recognise Mugabe as head of state, head of government and
commander in chief of the defence forces," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition rejects Mugabe's precondition for talks

Yahoo News

Fri Jul 4, 11:04 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition on Friday dismissed Robert Mugabe's
insistence that he be accepted as president ahead of any talks on the
country's political crisis, calling it an "unrealistic precondition."

"Mugabe is joking," said opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokesman
Nelson Chamisa. "This is an unrealistic precondition and we are not going to
accept it.

"MDC is not desperate for talks. It's the country, the people that are
desperate for talks," he added.

Referring to Mugabe's party, Chamisa said "therefore it is ZANU-PF that
stands to benefit more from any kind of negotiated settlement. They have
been rejected by the people."

Mugabe earlier Friday ruled out the prospect of talks with his opponents on
ending the political crisis unless they acknowledged his victory in last
Friday's widely condemned one-man presidential election.

Speaking to thousands of supporters after flying home from an African Union
summit, Mugabe said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai should not "delude"
himself into thinking the result of the June 27 poll could be expunged from
the record books and should renounce his claims to the presidency.

"I am the president of the republic of Zimbabwe and that is the reality," he
said at Harare airport where some 4,000 supporters had gathered to welcome
him back from the AU summit in Egypt.

Tsvangirai boycotted the run-off, citing rising violence against his
supporters which he blamed on Mugabe thugs and which left some 90 dead and
thousands injured.

The 84-year-old leader pushed ahead with the election anyway, defying
worldwide and regional calls for him to postpone it.

Mugabe escaped serious censure from his peers at this week's AU summit,
which instead ended with relatively bland calls for the formation of a
national unity government.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the March 29 first round of the election, but
officially fell just short of an outright majority.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe police put opposition MPs on wanted list


July 04, 2008, 21:15

Zimbabwean police have put seven elected opposition Members of Parliament on
a wanted list. They are accused of crimes ranging from inciting public
violence to attempted murder. This could negatively affect proposed talks
between President Robert Mugabe and his political rivals.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said talks on a government of
national unity were on track. Pahad has urged the suspension of what he
called outside interference. This is a seemingly clear reference to the
United States-sponsored draft resolution for further sanctions against
Zimbabwe's leadership.

The Minister said although the current political climate was explosive, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF were preparing to talk.

This statement contradicts an earlier statement by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who had set a number of preconditions for any resumption of
talks. Mugabe too has ruled out the prospect of talks unless his uncontested
June election victory is recognised.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe 'wanted' list deepens crisis

July 4, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Police in Zimbabwe said Friday they have put seven
opposition members of parliament on a wanted list, a development that is
likely to further dampen the possibility of talks between President Robert
Mugabe and his rivals.

The seven lawmakers are wanted in connection with crimes ranging from
inciting public violence to attempted murder, said police spokesman Wayne

The African Union issued a resolution this week urging dialogue between
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for
Democratic Change, to end violence that has plagued the country. The AU said
it hopes dialogue may even lead to a national unity government.

An MDC spokesman said the arrests would hurt the chances of any dialogue.

"How can we go to the table when half the leadership is either on the run or
in police custody?" said MDC Director of Information Luke Tamborinyoka.

The MDC has demanded the release of political prisoners as a precondition to
talks with the ruling ZANU-PF party. Tsvangirai said this week that violence
in Zimbabwe created conditions that are "not conducive" to negotiations.

"Their strategy is to vilify the MPs and to reverse our majority in
parliament after convicting them using subverted judiciary," Tamborinyoka
said of the government. "These are mainly MPs from rural areas where ZANU-PF
has instilled fear in the electorate."
More than 200 Zimbabweans are still camped at the U.S. Embassy in Harare on
Friday. Many of them are MDC supporters displaced in the violence that has
swept the country around the recent presidential election and runoff between
Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

The reports of violence drew international condemnation and were a major
factor in Tsvangirai's decision to withdraw from the runoff, allowing Mugabe
to claim reelection.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean prison officer's film shows Mugabe vote-rigging

Duncan Campbell and Paul Lewis
Friday July 4, 2008
Link to this video

A film that graphically demonstrates how Robert Mugabe's supporters rigged the elections in Zimbabwe has been smuggled out of the country by a prison officer. It is believed to be the first footage that shows ballot-rigging actually taking place and comes as the Zimbabwean president is facing increasing international pressure.

Shepherd Yuda, a 36-year-old prison officer, fled the country two nights ago. His wife and children are with him. He said he hoped the film, much of which was shot inside his country's notorious jail system, would help draw further attention to the violence and corruption in Zimbabwe.

Yuda, who has worked in the prison service for 13 years, was motivated both by the increasing violence directed towards members of the Zimbabwean opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and the murder two months ago of his uncle, an MDC activist. Initially, he had just intended to chronicle secretly what life was like inside the country's jails but he found himself present when a war veteran and Mugabe supporter organised the vote-rigging by getting prison officers to fill in their postal ballots in his presence.

Using a hidden camera, Yuda filmed for six days prior to the run-off election last week in which Mugabe claimed victory with 90% of the poll. The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had earlier announced that his party would not be participating because of the intimidation.

"I had never seen that kind of violence before," said Yuda, of the run-up to the election. "The impact has left a lot of orphans; it has left a lot of people displaced. You cannot expect that from your government. You expect that from a rebel group. How can a government that claimed to be democratically elected kill its people, murder its people, torture its people?"

The film, which was made for the Guardian and will be shown on BBC Newsnight tonight, shows how Yuda and his colleagues at Harare central jail had to fill in their ballots in front of Zanu-PF activists. "This was the most difficult moment of my life," he said of marking his cross beside the name of Mugabe. "These people forced me to do [something] I have never done in my life."

Yuda also obtained footage of Zanu-PF rallies in which voters are warned that they should pretend to be illiterate so that an official can fill in their ballot for them on behalf of Mugabe. He was able to film the MDC's general secretary, Tendai Biti, in leg irons in jail. Biti, who is now on bail, faces treason charges that carry the death penalty. The leaders of WOZA, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who were jailed in May, are also shown.

Having completed the filming, Yuda left the country with his family for a new life and is now at a secret destination. "I don't regret doing this, although it is a painful decision I have taken," he said. "We can live without the memories of seeing dead bodies in the prison, dead bodies in the street, dead bodies in my family. I've lost my uncle. My father was also beaten by Zanu-PF. I am praying to God: please, God, deal with Zanu-PF ruthlessly."

Mugabe has now been sworn in for a sixth term as Zimbabwe's president, a process that Tsvangirai described as "a complete joke". More than 130,000 people spoiled their ballots.

International pressure is mounting against Mugabe. It emerged yesterday that a US draft resolution to the UN will call for sanctions against him and demand that his government immediately begin talks with the MDC. If adopted by the UN security council, the resolution would freeze the financial assets of Mugabe and 11 other Zimbabwean officials and ban them from travelling.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF must stop violence,MP arrests or else we ‘act’-Pahad

By Gerald Harper ⋅ © ⋅ July 4, 2008

South Africa ’s deputy Minister of foreign affairs had said ZANU PF must
stop violence and said if violence does not stop they will be forced to ‘act’.
“It is up to Zimbabwe to take immediate steps to stop the violence. If they
do not stop it, we will take action, whatever action is possible to stop
 it,” Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said on Friday.

The solution to the situation in Zimbabwe needs to be sorted out by the
parties in Zimbabwe, guided by the African Union (AU) resolution that a
government of national unity should be established, Deputy Foreign Affairs
Minister Aziz Pahad said on Friday.

“The African Union calls on Zimbabwe to discuss the way forward,” he said in

The Zimbabwe issue, among a number of others, was discussed at the recent AU
summit and it had been decided that the only solution to the “urgent”
problem was a government of national unity.

He said any additional pressure from the AU and international communities
would only impede peace and stability in the country. No other contingency
plans other than the resolution had been discussed, added Pahad.

However, the current situation could not continue.

But there have already been indications that the parties in Zimbabwe were in
discussions, said Pahad.

Pahad also added his voice on the putting of 7 seven MDC MPs on police
wanted list.

‘So, we believe that logically, an important element of getting the
Zimbabweans to sit down and seriously talk is to create the necessary
conducive environment in which this can happen and that includes all these
aspects - the violence, the humanitarian situation and the issue of arrests.
I am also sure that if you want these discussions to succeed then you would
have to create the conducive climate.’

State sponsored violence had been on the rise.This week Buhera South
MP,Naisaon Madziva was abducted and two MDC supporters were killed last
night,police today said they want to arrest seven MDC MPs on unspecified
charges.20 MDC MPs have are behind bars.

Contact Gerald,

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

1 500 MDC activists in jail to date

By Investigations Unit ⋅ © ⋅ July 4, 2008 ⋅

Over 1 500 MDC activists, including 20 MPs and parliamentary candidates,
across the country are in police custody following a massive State-sponsored
crackdown against the MDC.
The MDC supporters and members have been arrested on charges of being
involved in political violence whilst most MPs are being accused of
trumped-up charges of inciting political violence.

The arrests come at a time when 103 MDC supporters who have been murdered by
Zanu PF supporters but not a single Zanu PF supporter has been arrested.
About 5 000 MDC supporters, mainly polling agents and council candidates,
are still missing after having been abducted by Zanu MP militia and Sate
security agents in unmarked vehicles.

Thousands of MDC supporters are still in the mountains, fearing for their
lives while others are still in hospital nursing serious injuries sustained
by Zanu PF and state security agents following the historic defeat of Zanu
PF and Robert Mugabe during the watershed polls of 29 March 2008. Those
polls remain the only credible polls that were deemed relatively free and
fair by regional and continental observer missions.

The injured include Thamsanqa Mahlangu, the MP-elect for Nkulumane who is
also the national youth chairman of the MDC. Mahlangu is battling for his
life in a Harare hospital after being bludgeoned by Zanu PF thugs at an
aborted rally at the Glamis Arena in Harare on Sunday, 22 June 2008.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC says 103 killed


Fri 4 Jul 2008, 12:44 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition said on Friday more than 100 of its
supporters had been killed and 1,500 arrested in a crackdown by supporters
of President Robert Mugabe.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) raised the death toll amongst its
supporters since the first round of elections in March to 103 from the
previous 86.

Those arrested included 20 legislators or parliamentary candidates. The MDC
said in a statement that 5,000 supporters, including polling agents and
candidates for local councils, were missing.

The MDC won the March polls but its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, fell short of
the majority needed for outright victory. He pulled out before the second
round of the presidential election on June 27, in which Mugabe was

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Youth militia continues to wreak havoc despite Mugabe's controversial reign

The Zimbabwean

Friday, 04 July 2008 14:35
04/07/2008 BULAWAYO-  DESPITE President Robert Mugabe's continued stay
in power following a one-man presidential run-off election in Zimbabwe last
week, his party youths here are continuing to unleash violence on suspected
opposition members.

On Thursday, the ruling ZANU-PF youth militia took over a commuter
omnibus rank in the city, forcing operators they believe to be members of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to charge below market
rate fares. They also raided a flea market in Nkulumane suburb and beat up
people randomly."Commuter omnibus operators who do not belong to
ZANU-PF schemes have been affected by this operation. They charge Z$10
billion per trip as they do not get subsidised fuel. But these youths are
forcing them to charge fares that are not viable," said a tout. In some
cases they want operators to charge as low as Z$1 billion per trip.Commuter
omnibuses aligned to ZANU-PF are usually conspicuous by displaying posters
of Mugabe, although even opposition supporters are employing the same
tactics to minimise confrontation with the youths.There is a register where
the youth militia check on the commuter omnibuses and the number of trips
they make to reconcile fuel allocations."It is unfair to us even though they
give cheap fuel as the money we earn per day is too little. Some of us take
the fuel then drain it for resale," said Taruvinga Zinyengere, a commuter
operator.The youth militia on Thursday invaded the Nkulumane flea market,
popularly known as Sekusile, where they beat up people, including foreign
currency dealers, whom they accused of fuelling the black market and being
members the MDC."They raided our stalls, took all they could and beat up
people, mostly women," said a vendor, who survived the attack.The youths are
camped at a city building in Bulawayo from where they strategise on their
moves.Sources within their ranks revealed that ZANU-PF has neglected them
after Mugabe's "win" in a one-man presidential run-off last Friday,
following the withdrawal of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai over claims of
state-sponsored violence against his supporters. --CAJ News.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Life on the death squad

Zimbabwe Today

A young soldier describes his time as a Mugabe terrorist

Alfred, 24, joined the Zimbabwean army in January last year. He needed a
job. He thought he would take part in the defence of his country. Instead he
has spent the last two months as a member of a Zanu-PF-controlled torture
and death brigade.

Acting under orders, and under the threat of death, he has taken part in the
persecution and the killing of MDC supporters, even the people of his home
village, his family and neighbours.

Alfred - not his real name for obvious reasons - is home on a short leave. I
track him down to his tiny two-room home in Mbare township. He is a man both
torn with guilt and full of fear for his future.

"You cannot refuse an order in the Zimbabwe army," he says, in a moment of
self-justification. "If you do you will be punished - that is, executed. I
didn't want to do what I did, but we all had to obey orders."

For twenty minutes, before he becomes too frightened to continue, Alfred
paints a grim picture of how the terror squads operate.

Perhaps his most shocking revelation concerns the gunning-down of two senior
cadres in Mugabe's own Zanu-PF, in Mutoko at the end of May. Nancy Chidzidzi
and Taurai Chihuri were, it was said at the time, murdered by MDC activists.
The government used the event to blame the MDC for the violence in the

Now Alfred admits the truth. "It was us. It was my squad. We killed them.
The idea was to confuse people, to put the blame on the MDC."

In more normal - if that's the word - circumstances, Alfred says a squad
usually consists of about 20 men.

"During the day, wherever we were operating, some of us would mingle with
local people in beer halls and bus queues. It was a way to measure the
strength of the enemy, to identify major MDC people.

"We would usually launch attacks at night. Sometimes some of us would wear
MDC regalia, to confuse people. If we caught MDC supporters they would be
lined up and beaten, and we killed at least three by firing squad.

"The Sergeant would say: take aim... fire! And you had to shoot. They would
check that you did by counting your ammunition before and afterwards.

"Some of us fired in the air, or to one side, when we could get away with
it. Many of my comrades hated the killing. We didn't want innocent blood on
our hands. But we had no choice.

"They only warned us about one thing - rape. They said not to do it, because
of HIV and Aids."

Sometimes, he says, the people fought back. He remembers a raid on a village
which went very wrong. The local people surprised the soldiers. Every
soldier escaped with his life, but two lost their weapons.

When I ask him to be more specific about where he operated, Alfred is vague.
But he says his worst moment came when he realised his squad was being
deployed against his own village.

"My family were there, my friends, my grandparents... They expected me to
protect them, but..."

Alfred breaks down in tears, and will say no more. He asks me to go. His
short leave is nearly up. Soon he will return to take up his duties - his
duties as a soldier in the army of Zimbabwe.

Posted on Friday, 04 July 2008 at 05:59

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tanzania does not recognise Mugabe

Kenya Today

Last updated: 10 minutes ago
Tanzania has said it does recognise Robert Mugabe as the President of
Zimbabwe owing to what Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe described as
"a highly flawed election".
He said election monitors from the South African Development Community
(SADC), the African Union (AU) and the Pan African Parliament both gave
verdicts that cast doubts about the credibility of the elections. He said a
campaign of violence and exclusion made it impossible for a free and fair

"The decision not to recognise the Zimbabwe elections has been endorsed by
AU and SADC after adopting the monitors' reports," Membe who is also the
chairman of the AU foreign affairs ministers said at the briefing, just a
day after returning into the country from the Egypt summit.

He said during the summit, no Africa head of state supported the Zimbabwe
election nor extended a congratulatory message to Mugabe.

Mugabe defied world condemnation, including his fellow African peers to
press on with the elections and immediately flew to attend the AU summit as
Head of State.

The Tanzanian minister compared the Zimbabwe election to football match in
which he said an offside goal was allowed to count.

"This was like a football match where a player touches the ball and scores
but unfortunately the referee allows it, it is not a goal scored in the
normal way."

An urgent meeting of regional leaders will be held soon to review progress
made in the process he said.

"No one party will be able to govern in Zimbabwe as things stand now.
Zanu-PF cannot rule alone and negotiations will be the only way out," said

Tanzania government's stated position is significant coming from a country
whose President Jakaya Kikwete is the current Chairman of the African Union.

It is likely to receive endorsements by governments of the 54-member union
in line with international position taken by the United Nations to isolate

As Membe spoke, International pressure was mounting with UK and Germany
Thursday indicating stern measures and sanctions could be effected to push
for an inclusive government in Zimbabwe.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there is widespread agreement that
action must be taken to change the status quo in Zimbabwe, possibly with the
help of a peacekeeping force.

"Virtually the whole international community is saying the status quo cannot
continue, the MDC has got to be recognised for the electoral support it
had," Brown told a group of cross-party British lawmakers.

"There will be no support for this regime until democracy is restored, we
will intensify the sanctions unless action is taken to change the status

Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised nations will discuss
increasing sanctions against Zimbabwe at a summit in Japan next week, a
senior German government official said on Thursday.

"I think the initiative has a good chance," he said, adding Germany
supported it.

The United States is pushing for tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe's
leadership through the United Nations, but UN Security Council diplomats say
South Africa, Russia and China are not keen on Washington's plans.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vote Marred By "Atrocities" - Botswana Observers


GABORONE, Botswana (AFP)--Zimbabwe's one-man election that handed Robert
Mugabe victory was marred by "atrocities", "mayhem" and violence against
opposition supporters, a Botswanan observer team said Friday.

Ruth Seretse, chief of Botswana's 50-member team, part of a larger regional
mission, said those believed linked to the Movement for Democratic Change
opposition faced "severe beatings, harassment, torture, killings and general
threats of violence.

"The atrocities have been corroborated and constitute the necessary evidence
to conclude that the credibility and integrity of the election process was
compromised," it said.

"The team therefore concludes that the presidential run-off election was not
free and fair and does not represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe."

Seretse, referring to Mugabe's party, said "ZANU-PF youth and militia
mounted illegal roadblocks, forcing people to attend ZANU-PF rallies and had
bases where they tortured perceived opponents under the guise of
re-educating them."

She said some voters were forced to record serial numbers on their ballot
papers and later submit the information to ruling party supporters in last
Friday's election, boycotted by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"This was intended to induce some voters into believing that the information
pertaining to how they voted would be accessible and used against them,"
said Seretse.

The team's report also spoke of severe restrictions on the opposition,
including an inability to hold rallies and lack of access to state media.

MDC gatherings were routinely disrupted by ruling party militia, the report
said, including the opposition's main rally ahead of the election which
resulted in Mugabe winning a sixth term as president.

The team saw ZANU-PF youths armed with sticks and whips prevent the June 22
rally and beat people who had been in the area.

"Riot police passively witnessed these attacks making no attempts whatsoever
to intervene," said Seretse. "After completing their task, these youth
retreated to the ZANU-PF headquarters where they were treated to food."

Tsvangirai announced he was pulling out of the election on the same day as
the planned rally.

Observers were also targeted, having been chased from rallies and
threatened, according to the Botswanan team.

"The (Botswanan) team was in particular singled out for harassment on
account of perceptions that Botswana was anti-ZANU-PF," the report said.

Botswana has taken a hard line against Mugabe, and this week called for
Zimbabwe to be suspended from African Union and Southern African Development
Community meetings.

On Friday, Botswana said it wouldn't recognise the result of the run-off

Its team was part of more than 400 monitors from the SADC, a 14-nation
regional bloc.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Nigeria Expresses 'Strong Displeasure' at Zimbabwe Runoff


By VOA News
04 July 2008

Nigeria has criticized Zimbabwe's presidential runoff poll, saying talks
over the country's future should proceed as if the election never happened.

Speaking in Abuja Friday, Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe stopped
short of rejecting the government of President Robert Mugabe.

But he said Nigeria feels "strong displeasure" at the process leading up to
last Friday's election and its outcome. He said Nigeria does not consider
the runoff as a basis for moving forward, and said talks should go ahead
"without any reference" to it.

To this point, African countries have largely avoided strong criticism of
the runoff, which many observers and Western countries dismissed as a sham.

Mr. Mugabe received only a mild rebuke at this week's African Union summit
in Egypt, where leaders called on him to form a national unity government
with the opposition.

Friday, Mr. Mugabe said opponents must accept him as president if they want
talks on ending Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Mr. Mugabe was declared the winner of the June 27 runoff after a campaign
that observers said was deeply marred by ruling party violence against Mr.
Mugabe's opponents.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the runoff because of the
violence. He told VOA Studio 7 Zimbabwe this week that he will not enter any
talks with the government unless the violence stops.

The MDC Friday said that 103 of its supporters have been killed in
election-related violence, and that some 5,000 others are missing. There was
no immediate comment from the ruling ZANU-PF party or the government, who
have repeatedly denied claims of a crackdown on the opposition.

Friday, the European Union called for a new election in Zimbabwe as soon as
possible, while Botswana repeated a call for the Southern African
Development Community not to recognize Mr. Mugabe's re-election.

Mr. Mugabe is still widely respected in Africa as a liberation hero for his
role in Zimbabwe's war for independence from Britain. He has ruled Zimbabwe
since it became independent in 1980.

Critics blame him for Zimbabwe's economic crisis, marked by an inflation
rate that stands officially at 160,000 percent but is believed to be much
higher. Mr. Mugabe blames Western sanctions directed at members of his

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Merkel takes tough stance on Zimbabwe sanctions

Washington Times

Originally published 11:40 a.m., July 4, 2008, updated 10:54 a.m., July 4,

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a tough stance against
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, condemning his re-election last week as
illegitimate and vowing in an interview with The Associated Press that the
European Union would seek "all possible sanctions" against the country's
government and leader.

"We will take up the issue again within the EU, under the leadership of the
French presidency," Merkel said. "We will think up all possible sanctions
and check to see what more we can do, such as travel bans" for members of
Mugabe's regime.

The EU, which is calling for new elections, said Friday it was ready to
consider "appropriate measures" against those responsible for violence in
Zimbabwe, but did not elaborate. The U.S. also is seeking international
sanctions against Mugabe and his top aides.

In a wide-ranging interview this week in her vast office with sweeping views
of the Reichstag parliament building, Merkel spoke of her priorities ahead
of next week's summit of Group of Eight industrialized nations in Japan _
and cited Zimbabwe as a key issue on the agenda.

She hinted that the G-8 may apply pressure on African leaders invited to the
summit to take a more forceful position against Mugabe. A gathering of
African Union leaders in Egypt failed to yield a strong unified message over
voting widely dismissed as a farce after opposition candidate Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence and intimidation.

"We will speak to the African countries that are invited to the summit. And
we will of course all voice our opinions about Zimbabwe," she said.

Merkel said G-8 leaders would strive to find solutions to the food crisis
that threatens millions in poor nations with hunger _ and emphasized the
need to help developing nations help themselves through modern agricultural

"Germany will come up with a contribution of a half-a billion euros for the
coming years to support agriculture in the developing countries," Merkel
said. "The cooperation in development needs to be more concentrated on water
management and agriculture."

Merkel said the G-8 summit will provide a chance to continue work on issues
such as climate change and the state of the global economy begun the year
before, when she hosted the gathering in the German seaside resort of

That summit was lauded as a success for the German leader, who was raised in
the former East Germany and became the nation's first woman chancellor in
Nov. 2005. Since then she has enjoyed solid support, despite leading a
fractious coalition of her conservative Christian Democrats and the
center-left Social Democrats.

Praised at home for a diplomatic approach widely seen here as subtle yet
firm, Merkel succeeded at last year's summit in winning Bush's backing for a
statement that mentions a fixed cut in greenhouse gas emissions, while
falling short of persuading him to commit to target cuts.

Merkel remained pragmatic on global warming ahead of the Japan summit,
saying Germany would back an American initiative for a fund that would
"promote climate-friendly technology until a follow-up treaty to the Kyoto
protocol would take effect."

The "issue has also become more important for the United States and the
government there," she said.

Merkel recognized it was unrealistic to expect the U.S. _ whether led by
Republicans or Democrats _ to agree to a global pact on climate change
unless developing nations did their part as well.

"Even a new American administration" is going to insist that any climate
agreement entail that emerging economies contribute to stemming global
warming, she said, noting that had been Washington's major sticking point on
the Kyoto pact.

Referring to the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, Merkel
emphasized that the European Union would continue to target Tehran with
sanctions, noting that the 27-nation bloc "has shown it is serious" about
that approach.

Merkel also called for a discussion of international standards for producing
biofuels "to avoid unnecessary competition between the cultivation of food
and biofuels."

Merkel broke from other EU nations _ and from some of her own previous
positions _ regarding genetically modified foods, coming out in favor of
using them to fight the food crisis in poor countries.

"In developing countries we have very different problems than in Germany.
Here we have an over abundance of food and a well-fed population," she said.
"In other parts of the world, the fight to survive is a daily struggle."

Concerning U.S-German ties, Merkel said the relationship would move forward
regardless of whether Barack Obama or John McCain is elected in November.

"I have always said that I will work toward a good trans-Atlantic
relationship with whomever president is elected by the American people,"
Merkel said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Williams and Mahlangu finally released on bail

News update from WOZA
4th July 2008

Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were finally granted bail yesterday by
Magistrate Mutongi in Harare Magistrate's Court. The entire group of 14 were
further remanded to 17th July. The State has also set a trial date of 29th

The defence lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, had placed a fresh application for bail
on changed circumstances before the magistrate. His application was based on
four main points. He firstly countered Justice Hlatshawayo's reasons for
denying the two bail on 11th June. At that time, the state had argued that
there were two pending cases, one dating from 2004 and the second from June
2007, against Williams and Mahlangu. Hlatshawayo also argued that it would
be "childish" to release the two on bail prior to the presidential run-off
election because they would organise violent Kenyan-style demonstrations.
Nkomo provided evidence that neither of the two court cases were pending in
the Magistrate's Court. In the 2004 case, the state had been instructed to
proceed by way of summons and the 2007 case had been referred to the
Constitutional Court. He went on to argue that the run-off election had
passed and therefore the reasons for denying bail were no longer valid.

Further to these two arguments, Nkomo also reasoned that it had been 22 days
since the High Court ruling and that passage of time is a valid basis for
changed circumstances. He also pointed out the fact that 12 of the
co-accused had already been granted bail and that under Zimbabwean law
persons accused of the same crime should be treated equally.

Following Nkomo's outline, the prosecutor, Mukapa, requested an adjournment
to consider his arguments. Although the magistrate was not happy with the
request, as it was coming up to teatime, she adjourned court until after
tea. Following the break, the state requested a further adjournment to
verify the authenticity of the court extracts regarding the supposedly
pending cases. She also stated that she needed more time to prepare her
response because she had only learned of the defence's intention to apply
for bail the previous day. The Magistrate dismissed this request however
after strenuous objections from Nkomo, reminding the prosecutor that no
notification of intent to apply for bail is required under law. Before she
gave her ruling however, the Magistrate requested that the defence provide a
copy of the reasons Judge Hlatshawayo denied bail. As the defence did not
have such a document, Nkomo requested, and was granted, a 30-minute
adjournment to source the reasons from the High Court.

At the High Court however, it was discovered that Judge Hlatshawayo had not
made the required notes detailing his judgement.

Although it was during the lunch hour, the Magistrate allowed court to
resume following the break. Mukapa immediately attempted to respond to the
defence's application but was stopped by the Magistrate. Mutongi stated that
the state had wasted enough of the court's time and that she had already
noted that the state had no response. Nothing said after this point
therefore would influence her ruling. After accepting the defence's
explanation why it was not possible to provide a written copy of the reasons
for the High Court ruling, she went on to announce that she was granting
Williams and Mahlangu bail and remanded the entire group of 14 to 17th July.
The original amounts of $10 billion for Williams (the equivalent of US 30
cents) and $5 billion for Mahlangu were upheld. Conditions of bail included
reporting to their nearest police station every Monday and Friday and not
interfering with state witnesses (despite the fact that no witness list has
been provided by the state and therefore no one knows who the state
witnesses are).

Following the ruling, the prosecutor tried to argue that the two should also
submit the title deeds for their properties as part of the bail conditions
and that the state had set a trial of 29 July. The magistrate overruled all
these arguments however by firmly stating that court was adjourned and
leaving the courtroom.

Williams and Mahlangu finally walked out of custody after 37 days at 3.45pm
after administrative complications caused a delay in getting them out.

WOZA is delighted that the state's petty attempt to pervert justice has
finally been overruled and looks forward to challenging these farcical
charges at trial. WOZA would also like to thank Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights for their support and their determination to secure the release of
all those arrested.

Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu would also like to thank everyone who
lobbied for their release, sent messages of solidarity and kept them in
their thoughts and prayers. Special thanks go to everyone who visited them
in prison, bringing them food, reading materials and precious news of the
outside world. Solidarity from friends inside the country and around the
world went a long way to ensuring that their time in Chikurubi Women's
Prison was made more bearable. They are in good spirits and looking forward
to continuing the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African civil groups intensify campaign to pressure Mugabe

By Tererai Karimakwenda
July 04, 2008

As condemnation of the Mugabe regime intensifies in the aftermath of his
sham one-man presidential election, civil society groups on the continent
are uniting to express their solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. The
continuing campaign of violence against MDC officials and supporters has
angered many African civil organisations, and they are now turning their
words of support into action, to increase pressure for change.

The first of these actions is a demonstration and border blockade organised
by South Africa's Trade Union federation, COSATU, to protest against the
'illegitimate government headed by Robert Mugabe'. They are calling for a
total isolation of Mugabe and his government, by workers in South Africa,
SADC, Africa and the world over. This entails unions around the world making
sure that Mugabe and his cronies receive no service anywhere they go,
including at airports, restaurants, shops, etc. The border blockade is on
Saturday at Beit Bridge.

CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, has united with
Amnesty International and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty (GCAP),
and they will next week launch a Pan-African Campaign of Solidarity for
Zimbabwe, which will consist of protest events continent-wide.

Nastasya Tay from CIVICUS said the launch is on Saturday July 12, when there
will be a range of activities across the African continent organised by
local civil groups. These will include vigils outside Zimbabwean embassies
and government buildings, publishing articles or letters on the violations
of human rights in Zimbabwe, getting people to sign petitions and lobbying
the African Union, SADC and individual countries to take action.

Tay said; "We obviously want to show our solidarity with the people of
Zimbabwe but at the same time we are hoping that the variety of voices on
the issue will influence African leaders to take further action, which will
actually then have a concrete impact on the ground."

She explained that the key is participation, as the CIVICUS mission
statement calls for. Critical voices and actions against the Mugabe regime
have been coming mostly from Europe and America, and it is time that African
voices were heard, all over the continent

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

At G8, Zimbabwe could eclipse aid for Africa

Globe and Mail, Canada


July 4, 2008

OTTAWA -- Climate change, the economy and especially oil prices were already
pushing African development lower down the agenda for next week's meeting of
G8 leaders. But controversy over Zimbabwe's elections threatens to suck more
air from the issue.

African leaders and G8 donors had called good governance a key to
transforming aid into development on the continent - the new partnership
hailed in G8 discussions in 2002 and 2005.

Leaders from the Group of Eight countries, which brings together the world's
seven largest developed economies and Russia, will meet in Hokkaido, Japan,
next week.

This week, when African Union leaders met at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt with
Robert Mugabe's violent and pre-determined Zimbabwe election on the agenda,
they could not agree on censure, and called only for reconciliation talks,
which are unlikely. Many Westerners saw it as hardly an advertisement for
good governance in Africa.

Officials from Germany and Britain have signalled that they want the G8
leaders to make a strong statement on Zimbabwe, but people who have worked
on African development issues on the G8 say the debate could affect the
broader discussion on aid and development across the continent and the
West's appetite for increasing assistance.
"Zimbabwe always threatened to derail the G8 on Africa. And it's doing so
again," said Robert Fowler, the former Canadian diplomat who organized the
2002 summit in Kananaskis that centred on African development.

Mr. Fowler said the world should not let the actions of the leader of one
African nation affect the future of a billion Africans - and noted that aid
from G8 nations is not going to Zimbabwe, but elsewhere on the continent.

African nations have varying records on rights and democracy - and took
different positions on Zimbabwe this week.

But others argue that the G8 should use the partnership on Africa from the
2002 summit, and the aid and development commitments made in 2005, to
influence the continent to take a stronger stand in relation to Zimbabwe.

The 2001 New Partnership for Africa's Development, or NEPAD, drafted by
African leaders and endorsed at the Kananaskis summit, set out democracy,
rights and good governance as key conditions for development to occur.
African nations made commitments for better governance as part of their
proposal for Western governments to increase development aid.

And while those commitments were supposed to link the governance of
individual nations to development assistance, some, like Conservative
Senator Hugh Segal, argue that the G8 should extend that link to how Africa
as a whole sanctions transgressors like Zimbabwe. "I would not want to see
aid commitments in Africa be utterly unrelated to the way in which Zimbabwe
is sorted out," he said.

That view will find many detractors in Africa and in international aid
organizations - who fear that corruption and rights concerns might distract
from the crying need for assistance - including in relatively well-governed
states. And some argue that Western nations and institutions expect good
governance to be a byproduct of economic growth, but it has not always

Many observers believe it is unlikely the G8 leaders will make any public
link next week between development aid and Zimbabwe. And the influence of
Western donor nations and Western-based institutions like the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund may be declining as China increasingly invests
in and lends major sums to African countries, including Zimbabwe.

However, Zimbabwe's political situation and other major summit issues such
as climate change and economic shocks such as rising oil prices will not
completely squeeze African development off the agenda; leaders like U.S.
President George W. Bush will emphasize accountability for past G8
commitments to Africa.

But it seems clear the issue will not take the central role, as most
countries, including Canada, have emphasized a reaffirmation of the 2005
commitment to double aid, despite a call from aid groups for more, and for
details to implement promises to finance health and education programs.

John Githongo, the vice-president of the aid group World Vision
International, said that G8 leaders should note that the very fact that the
African Union held a conference that considered censuring Zimbabwe is a step
forward - and that other recent steps, such as the first AU peacekeeping
missions, were inconceivable a decade ago.

The G8 will have to listen to Africans, who must combat corruption and build
stronger institutions and democracy, Mr. Githongo, formerly an ethics
official in Kenya's government and a director of the anti-corruption group
Transparency International, said in a telephone interview from London.

The setbacks to democracy at a time when most African economies are growing
relatively rapidly prove that governance is a development issue - and that
without aid, large numbers of underemployed youths are left in cities and
end up supporting authoritarian regimes like Mr. Mugabe's, he said. "The
primary challenge facing Africa is for governance to catch up with growth.
The gap leaves inequality," he said.

"Zimbabwe is about African development."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbeki is not a mediator; he is an ally to a dictator

By Samantha Power ⋅ © ⋅ July 1, 2008

On June 27, Robert Mugabe stole an election. He did so in plain view of
journalists, aid workers, diplomats and heads of state. His brutality before
the vote resulted in the deaths of about 100 Zimbabweans, the detention of
some 2,000, injury to 10,000 and the displacement of more than 200,000. His
regime systematically burned down homes and tortured people who had the
nerve to suggest they might choose a new President of Zimbabwe. Under
Mugabe, life expectancy has dropped to 36 years.
The ruthlessness and savagery of Mugabe have given rise to two basic
reactions in Africa and around the world: fruitless hand-wringing by
committed multilateralists who want to solve the problem through
“constructive engagement,” and consequence-blind militarism by zealous
moralists who call for regime change by force. Neither approach offers
realistic hope for the people of Zimbabwe. Ending the Mugabe nightmare is
still possible, but it will require a more radical diplomatic strategy than
the world has tried so far.

The positions of both the multilateralists and the moralists start from
flawed assumptions. The multilateralist camp claims to be disappointed that
South African President Thabo Mbeki has failed to mediate a resolution to
the crisis. But Mbeki is not a mediator; he is an ally to a dictator. And
yet Western countries–aware that their criticisms of human rights abuses in
the developing world have a neoimperialist ring to them–don’t call out Mbeki
on his partisanship. Instead, they confine their ritual condemnations to
Mugabe, who cares more about staying in power than anybody else cares about
removing him.

The moralists, for their part, have begun demanding the military overthrow
of Mugabe. Many of them are neoconservatives motivated largely by the desire
to ridicule multilateralism and resuscitate the so-called Bush Doctrine.
Such voices conveniently forget that the Bush Doctrine has never actually
been tried in practice. The war in Iraq was fought over alleged weapons of
mass destruction, a contrived link to 9/11, oil, a father’s unfinished
legacy–but not as a humanitarian intervention.

The bigger problem with those who call for forcible regime change in
Zimbabwe is not their faulty history; it is their utter indifference to
consequences. Even if one could find a country prepared to invade Zimbabwe,
such a war would probably cause Mugabe’s bloodstained security forces
(estimated to number 100,000) to butcher unarmed opposition politicians and
their defenseless supporters and cause several million to flee to
neighboring countries. It would also exacerbate the suspicions between
countries in the north and those in the south, making it even more likely
that developing countries (which account for the majority of U.N. member
states) will dig in their heels in support of human rights abusers in
Zimbabwe and beyond.

So what can be done? To start, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should
appoint his predecessor, Kofi Annan, fresh from brokering a power-sharing
deal for Kenya, as the U.N.’s envoy to Zimbabwe. One by one, those African
and Western leaders who claim to be disgusted with Mugabe should announce
that they bilaterally recognize the validity of the March 29 first-round
election results, which showed the opposition winning 48% to 43%, though the
margin was almost surely larger. The countries which do would make up the
new “March 29 bloc” within the U.N. and would declare Morgan Tsvangirai the
new President of Zimbabwe. They would then announce that Mugabe and the 130
leading cronies who have already been sanctioned by the West will not be
permitted entry to their airports.

Tsvangirai and his senior aides should do as South Africa’s African National
Congress did throughout the 1960s and ’70s: set up a government-in-exile and
appoint ambassadors abroad–including to the U.N. That ambassador should be
given forums for rebutting the ludicrous claims of the Zimbabwean and South
African regimes.

If “the U.N.” is disaggregated into its component parts, Mugabe’s friends
will be exposed. “June 27″ countries will be those who favor electoral
theft, while “March 29″ countries will be those who believe that the
Zimbabweans aren’t the only ones who should stand up and be counted. This
can be a recipe for gridlock in international institutions–but the gridlock
won’t get broken by lamenting its existence.

It will get broken when the heads of state who back Mugabe are forced out
into the open and when constructive engagement of the new President of
Zimbabwe begins.

Samantha Power is a Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public
Policy, Harvard University. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law
School, she moved to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine. She
spent 2005-06 working in the office of Senator Barack Obama.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Analysts: African Union Weakened by Summit Inaction on Zimbabwe


By Peter Heinlein
Addis Ababa
04 July 2008

The African Union's reputation suffered a setback during the past week when
its leaders faltered in the face of Robert Mugabe's blunt challenge to
democratic norms in Zimbabwe. But while the organization may be weakened,
VOA correspondent Peter Heinlein reports there is cause for hope in the
expressions of dissent by a small, but increasingly vocal, group of African
leaders determined to distance themselves from the continent's authoritarian

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro called this a "moment of
truth" for Africa's leaders. But if it was, the truth was unpleasant.

In an address to a pre-summit session, Migiro, a former Tanzanian foreign
minister, described the failure of democracy in Zimbabwe as the single
greatest challenge to stability in southern Africa.

On the summit sidelines, America's top diplomat for Africa Jendayi Frazier
described Robert Mugabe's claim to a sixth term as Zimbabwe's president "an
open expression of tyranny." She said the world would be watching to see how
Africa's leaders would respond.

The British Minister Mark Malloch Brown bluntly told reporters "Mr. Mugabe
has to go."

But these expressions of international outrage seemed not to matter. When
Mr. Mugabe arrived at the summit hall, he was warmly greeted by the host,
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose 27 years in office is one less than
Mr. Mugabe's 28.

Africa's longest serving head of state at 41 years in office, Gabon's Omar
Bongo hailed his Zimbabwean colleague as a hero.Muammar Gaddafi, whose 39
years in office makes him second in seniority among Africa's leaders, was
also there to join the welcome.

It only underscored the point that a fair percentage of Africa's heads of
state are strongmen who, one way or another, have installed themselves as
leaders for life.

And Mr. Mugabe, through his spokesman George Charamba, made clear to
reporters that he couldn't care less what the West thinks of his election.

"They can go and hang. They can go and hang a thousand times. They've no
claim on Zimbabwe at all, and that's exactly the issue," he said.

Charamba described Zimbabwe's presidential vote as an internal affair, and
none of the outside world's business.

"The way out is the way defined by the Zimbabwe people free from outside
interference, and that is exactly what will resolve the matter," he added.

And Africa's leaders, by and large, seemed to agree. After what was
described as a heated closed door debate, the leaders issued a mild
statement with no rebuke.

Diplomats attending the session say Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua
confronted Mr. Mugabe over the conduct of his election, but that the
Zimbabwean leader replied that Nigeria's election was even dirtier.

Political analyst Medhane Tadesse of Addis Ababa's Center for Policy
Research and Dialogue says that kind of criticism resonates with many
African leaders.

"Most of the leaders in Africa look at Zimbabwe like in a mirror their own
face, which means they are not prepared to seriously pressurize Zimbabwe and
President Mugabe," he explained."So on the one hand you have the advancement
of democratic principles. On the other hand the interest and survival
instinct of political leaders doesn't cope with those advanced principles. I
see that contradiction."

Medhane concludes that Africa's authoritarian rulers will not change their
anti-democratic ways unless the international community steps in and forces
them to do so.

"There is not an international mechanism to enforce democratic elections,
which means every aspect and mechanism of change in Africa, and political
transition is being shut down," he added."So there needs to be an
international mechanism to enforce democratic elections and democratic
election should be rewarded while undemocratic elections should pay the
consequences. Unless that is done, there is not much Africa can do."

In the meantime, Africa's optimists point to a ray of hope. Word from inside
the summit hall was that a small, but vocal minority of African leaders
joined the international chorus of outrage at Mr. Mugabe's assault on

The vice-president of neighboring Botswana, Mompati Merafhe told the
gathering Zimbabwe's election does not confer legitimacy on Mr. Mugabe. He
urged Zimbabwe's suspension from the African Union and the regional grouping
of southern African nations (SADC).

The leaders of Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and
Uganda also expressed support for action against the Mugabe government.

Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa had been expected to be a strong voice
favoring a censure of Mr. Mugabe, but he was struck down by a stroke shortly
after arriving at the summit site, and did not attend.

Western diplomatic observers point to those dissenting voices as a silver
lining to the cloud hanging over the African Union. As one quipped, "If
eight of Africa's 53 heads of state criticized the conduct of the election,
that's a positive trend."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Full AU Resolution on Zimbabwe

By Staff ⋅ © ⋅ July 4, 2008 ⋅
The Assembly urged all parties to the Zimbabwean crisis to, without delay
and under the current mediation, resume talks that should lead to a
Government of National Unity.

Resolution on Zimbabwe

The African Union Assembly, meeting in its 11th Ordinary Session held on
June 30 to July 1, 2008 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt,

DEEPLY CONCERNED with the prevailing situation in Zimbabwe;

DEEPLY CONCERNED with the negative reports of SADC, the African Union and
the Pan-African Parliament observers on the Zimbabwean Presidential run-off
election held on June 27, 2008;

DEEPLY CONCERNED about the violence and the loss of life that has occurred
in Zimbabwe.

CONSIDERING the urgent need to prevent further worsening of the situation
and with a view to avoid spread of conflict with the consequential negative
impact on the country and the sub-region;

FURTHER CONSIDERING the need to create an environment conducive for
democracy, as well as the development of the people of Zimbabwe;

EXPRESSING its appreciation to SADC, and its Organ on Politics, Defence and
Security Co-operation, as well as the Facilitator of the intra-Zimbabwe
dialogue, His Excellency Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South
Africa, and His Excellency Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union
Commission for the ongoing work aimed at reconciling the political parties;

RECOGNISING the complexity of the situation in Zimbabwe;

NOTING the willingness of the political leaders of Zimbabwe to enter into
negotiations to establish a Government of National Unity;

NOTING FURTHER the preparatory discussions on this matter had already
started, under SADC facilitation;

Hereby decide:

1. TO ENCOURAGE Robert Mugabe and the leader of the MDC Party Mr Morgan
Tsvangirai to honour their commitment to initiate dialogue with a view to
promoting peace, stability, democracy and the reconciliation of the
Zimbabwean people;
2. TO SUPPORT the call, for the creation of a Government of National Unity;
3. TO SUPPORT the SADC Facilitation, and to recommend that SADC mediation
efforts should be continued in order to resolve the problems they are
facing. In this regard SADC should establish a mechanism on the ground in
order to seize the momentum for a negotiated solution;
4. TO APPEAL to states and all parties concerned to refrain from any action
that may negatively impact on the climate of dialogue;
5. In the spirit of all SADC initiatives, the AU remains convinced that the
people of Zimbabwe will be able to resolve their differences and work
together once again as one Nation, provided they receive undivided support
from SADC, the AU and the world at large.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's new reality: $58 billion for a Coke

Vancouver Sun

Inflation running at 9 million per cent as Mugabe's grip tightens
Tendai Mutseyekwa, Special to The Sun
Published: Friday, July 04, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe - With the verdict in on Zimbabwe's presidential election
runoff, it is back to reality for the long-suffering masses of this southern
African country of 12 million.

For many, in spite of the controversy surrounding the runoff pitting
President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF against Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), the election provided a real hope that the
worst would finally be over. But this was not to be and it looks like the
old man has dug in and is ready for the long haul.

Since Mugabe's controversial land-grab policy that saw the eviction of more
than 4,000 white commercial farmers from their land in favour of black
Zimbabweans, the country's economy has been in free-fall. Now he is
threatening to grab what's left: the mines, foreign-owned firms, whatever
can be grabbed, regardless of adverse macro-economic consequences.

Official inflation is currently estimated at a staggering nine million per
cent. The local unit, the Zimbabwe dollar, is virtually worthless and, at
the time of writing this article, was trading at anywhere between $30
billion Zimbabwean, for cash transaction, and $65 billion for bank transfer
against the U.S. dollar. The bank transfer is more expensive because it is
not easy to get money out, after depositing it. The central bank governor
this week reviewed the daily maximum cash withdrawal to $100 billion for
both companies and individuals.
The impact of the economic meltdown is profoundly visible. Supermarket
shelves are now empty and this has come in a cruel way. Starch products have
disappeared. There's no bread, no maize meal, no rice. If you are lucky you
can come across some pasta, but at an exorbitant cost. The other day I drove
down from Harare to the southern border town of Beit Bridge, some 600 km
away, and couldn't find anything to eat or drink between the two. My
colleague, who is addicted to Coca-Cola, had to endure a very thirsty
six-hour journey as there was not a can or bottle in sight. When we
eventually got to a place that had a few cans in stock, they were calling
for a ridiculous $58 billion for a Coke Light. Despite his desperate thirst,
common sense prevailed and he gave it a pass.

Overnight accommodation at a local hotel set us back $5 trillion, way above
a medium-sized company's total salary bill. I had to break down payment to
six cheques because the maximum one can draw on one cheque is $900 billion.
The cost of living no longer makes sense. A kilogram of beef is going for
$370 billion, in excess of what many executives are taking home. One has to
go to the bank four times a day, just to withdraw enough money for this and
by that time, the price will definitely have changed.

Salaries for the majority range from as little as $15 billion to $300
billion before tax -- less than a kilogram of beef. Salaries now have to be
reviewed weekly in Zimbabwe for them to make sense. Unfortunately the
majority of employers cannot afford this, leaving their employees to bear
the brunt.

My wife resigned from her job last month. Her decision had nothing to do
with her employer. She had literally worn out the carpet with her trips down
the corridor to her boss to ask for salary reviews. This had become a source
of embarrassment to her and we agreed it was better for her to take a break
after 12 years of loyal service to her employer. These times call for great
innovation and many have discovered that formal employment can actually
blind them from opportunities galore brought about by the current chaos in
the economy. Temporary reprieve can be found in simple trade in commodities.
The number of people venturing down to South Africa, up north to Zambia,
west to Botswana or east to Mozambique in search of basic commodities has
risen sharply and they often come back with extras to sell to those who
cannot do the same.

For me, the reality is scary, but I somehow make it, one day at a time. My
rentals far exceed my income by 10:1 and the gap is widening by the day. I
have also learned to be innovative.

Indeed, Zimbabwe is no longer for the faint-hearted, nor the lily-livered.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Can I Give You Some Harare Luggage for Your US Dollars?'

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

4 July 2008
Posted to the web 4 July 2008


The flower seller booths on Unity Square in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare,
are now the haunt of money changers, because this is one of the few
commercial activities in the country still experiencing any kind of growth.

Cosmos, 24, fell into the business a few years ago while working at a bar,
where he changed some local money for foreign tourists who had US dollars,
or "green leaf" as he calls it. The roughly US$150 a month he makes in
profit helps support his mother and pay the educational costs for his
younger sister.

Dressed in a worn T-shirt bearing the slogan, "I'm saving for my retirement
are you?", Cosmos told IRIN that one of the gauges used for the US
dollar-Zimbabwe dollar exchange rate was the fuel price.

On 4 July, US$1 dollar was worth Z$35 billion, and a litre of fuel cost Z$60

Sonny, another currency dealer stationed opposite an upmarket hotel, was
accosting potential customers with the line: "Do you want some Harare
luggage?" a euphemism for the bundles of local currency a US dollar
transaction requires.

Sonny said he thought there must be thousands of illegal currency changers
in Harare, while a passing patrol of about six riot police wearing crash
helmets and carrying metre-long truncheons briefly interrupted business.

Zimbabwe's largest denomination is currently a Z$50 billion note (US$1.40),
but this is not currency, it is a bearer bond. Like other denominations, it
has an expiry date, and although many of the smaller denominations have
expired, it remains in circulation out of sheer necessity.

Official estimates of Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate were last available
in February 2008, when it was cited at an already staggering 165,000
percent. Estimates by independent economists now range anywhere between one
million and 10 million percent.

The currency dealers are kept busy, not by the few foreign visitors, but by
the more than three million Zimbabweans thought to have left the country
since 2000 that remit money back to their relatives.

A food security analyst, who declined to be named, estimated that these
remittances now equalled or bettered the foreign currency received for the
country's tobacco harvests, which used to contribute about one-third of the
Zimbabwe's foreign currency reserves.

Local currency fading away

Inflationary pressures and demands to change ever-increasing amounts of
money have already made it difficult for dealers to source enough local
currency for exchange.

Sonny told IRIN that he sourced large consignments of money from "the big
men" who owned cash businesses, such as liquor stores, and sold his US
dollars to them for local currency at preferential rates.

A salesman at a luxury car dealership said customers had to deposit hard
currency - US dollars or Euros - at the factory in Germany, although some
residents told IRIN that they were using foreign currency to buy basic goods
from shops instead of the local currency.

The cash crunch, which makes long queues outside every bank a feature of the
city, is expected to worsen substantially since the German company that used
to supply the paper for Zimbabwe's banknotes, Giesecke and Devrient, decided
to cancel its contract with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), citing a
"deteriorating" political situation in the country.

"Our decision is a reaction to the political tension in Zimbabwe, which is
mounting significantly rather than easing as expected, and takes account of
the critical evaluation by the international community, German government
and the general public," the company's chief executive, Karsten Ottenberg,
said in a statement.

General elections on 29 March saw the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) become the majority party in parliament, usurping ZANU-PF's
domination for the first time since independence from Britain in 1980.

In the presidential poll President Robert Mugabe came off second best to MDC
candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, although Tsvangirai was unable to attain the 50
percent plus one vote required in the presidential poll for an outright win,
and a second round of voting was required. In the lead-up to the 27 June
presidential ballot, widespread violence saw Tsvangirai withdraw from the
poll and Mugabe become the sole candidate.

The run-off has been roundly condemned internationally as a farce, and even
the few African observer missions permitted to monitor the poll declared the
election unfree and unfair.

Printing money

"We have witnessed biting cash shortages before, but the withdrawal of the
German-based company is going to plunge us into a far worse situation, and,
as usual, it is the consumers, not political culprits, who will bear the
brunt," John Robertson, an independent economist based in Harare, told IRIN.

"Of late, we saw the RBZ printing money wantonly to finance elections, and
give civil servants big salaries that were meant to keep them happy ahead of
the polls -- unsuccessfully, though, because of rampant inflation -- but the
central bank had the paper. Now it will no longer be the case and, as prices
keep on rising, we will see less money in circulation," Robertson warned.

He said the reduced capacity of the RBZ to print more money also meant that
it would not be able to make adequate imports of essential goods, such as
the staple food, maize.

"The banking and transacting public should go about their business in the
usual manner, as the above-mentioned development will not have any impact to
the economy," RBZ governor Gideon Gono told the state-controlled The Herald

Signs of cash shortages are already there.

Innocent Makwiramiti, an economist, businessman and former chief executive
officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), said the
withdrawal of Giesecke and Devrient would adversely affect business

"Signs of cash shortages are already there. As businesspeople, we import raw
materials and depend on the local currency we manage to get to buy foreign
currency from the parallel market, but informal dealers are saying business
is being affected by a shortage of notes.

"As a result, we have to depend on bank transfers that don't involve cash,
but that means we are having to buy the foreign currency from the [official]
dealers at double the price, compared to the streets," Makwiramiti told

In order to remain in business, he said, they would have to pass on the
costs to consumers, who were saying the increases in the prices of
commodities had shot up beyond their reach since the 27 June elections.

Makwiramiti said traders who were managing to get large sums of cash from
daily sales were resorting to selling it at a premium. He doubted that the
RBZ would be able to resolve the problem of cash "any time in the near

He pointed out that "Alternative firms that supply the money paper might be
unwilling to do business with a government that has been condemned
internationally, or could ask for the kind of money that the central bank
cannot manage to raise."

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

Back to the Top
Back to Index