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

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New York Times
Letter From Africa

Around Ruined Zimbabwe, Neighbors Circle Wagons

Published: July 6, 2005

LILONGWE, Malawi - As leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized nations meet in Scotland, African countries will press them to get involved in the fight against poverty. But when the Western nations asked African leaders to take action against Zimbabwe's forced uprooting of its poorest citizens, they were told to mind their own business.

Associated Press

In Zimbabwe last month, a family whose "informal settlement" was demolished. The outside world can do little to help.

When the Group of 8 foreign ministers urged African leaders in June to confront the demolition of shanties in Zimbabwe, a campaign that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, South Africa, Zimbabwe's southern neighbor, had a ready and caustic response.

"I am really irritated by this kgokgo approach," said Bheki Khumalo, President Thabo Mbeki's spokesman, using a Sotho word that implies scaring a small child into submission. "South Africa refuses to accept the notion that because suddenly we're going to a G-8 summit, we must be reminded that we must look good and appease the G-8 leaders. We will do things because we believe they are correct and right."

Some Westerners who have watched events in Zimbabwe might find that response astonishing. They blame President Robert G. Mugabe for turning once-prosperous Zimbabwe into a slow-motion train wreck of a nation, penniless, malnourished and cursed with one of the lowest life expectancies on earth - 33 years.

With mass hunger looming, some Western leaders see Mr. Mugabe's decision to force hundreds of thousands of people into rural areas by razing their homes and businesses as brutal punishment of his opponents and as a pre-emptive strike against civil unrest. Not long ago, President Bush condemned human rights abuses by Mr. Mugabe's government. And to the Group of 8 ministers - Sherpas for the July meeting in Scotland - there is little correct or right in standing by as a catastrophe unfolds.

Yet that is clearly not the way that many African leaders, Mr. Mbeki foremost among them, have chosen to see it. Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia are among those that have praised Mr. Mugabe's economic policies in recent months, or stopped protesters from criticizing them. The African Union, the organization created five years ago to promote continent-wide economic, political and human-rights standards, responded to the Group of 8's recent demand by calling Zimbabwe's crisis an internal matter.

Mr. Mbeki, who has long argued that "quiet diplomacy" is needed to solve Zimbabwe's problems, has been silent on the mass evictions since they began in mid-May. In a brief interview in June, Mr. Khumalo, his spokesman, refused to be drawn into a discussion of Mr. Mugabe. But he said he was puzzled by the West's focus on Zimbabwe as a fix-it project for African rulers. And he added that Western leaders, who have their own long list of neglected tragedies, could be seen as hypocritical in lecturing Africans.

That points to an easily forgotten truth: if the West has put colonialism behind it, Africa has not. Many problems that colonial rule created still exist, even though - with the exception of South Africa - most of the continent has been free for at least a quarter century. Bearing a grudge over that legacy is not merely understandable. As Zimbabwe has shown, it can also be exploited with telling effect.

Outsiders may see Zimbabwe's fiscal and political collapse as a direct result of Mr. Mugabe's strongman rule and quasi-Marxist economics. But within the country, Mr. Mugabe has cast the crisis as Western punishment for his heroic seizure of the nation's best farmland from the whites who had long controlled almost all of it. Weathering the problems, he has said, is a necessary step toward the independence that Zimbabwe won in name 25 years ago, but which has yet to be fully achieved.

In parliamentary elections in March, Mr. Mugabe's opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, laid the blame for the nation's crisis at the president's feet. Mr. Mugabe labeled the opposition a tool of white colonialists and called the election "the anti-Blair campaign" - in effect, calling a vote for his critics a vote for a return to British rule.

Zimbabwe's neighbors may not share such fervent views. But they must still include them in any calculations about how to address Zimbabwe's woes, for the evils against which Mr. Mugabe says he is waging war are their problems, too.

Land is but the best example. Before Mr. Mugabe began taking over commercial farms in 2000, 70 percent of Zimbabwe's most productive farmland was owned by whites. Agriculture is in tatters today, but only a tiny sliver of land remains under white control.

Mr. Mbeki is hard put to challenge Mr. Mugabe's management of the land problem, however chaotic: better than 80 percent of South Africa's arable land remains under white ownership today, more than 10 years after white rule ended. And just like Zimbabwe, South Africa faces problems with the urban poor - a series of spontaneous riots in townships and shantytowns took place this year, by mobs angry that the government has yet to deliver promised utilities and jobs.

Nigeria, another major player in sub-Saharan Africa, also has difficulty challenging Zimbabwe's mass uprooting of its citizens: in 1990, a previous Nigerian government ousted 300,000 slum-dwellers in one fell swoop to vacate land for offices and shops.

Not all Africans subscribe to the kid-gloves approach to Zimbabwe's problems. South Africa's trade-union movement, a shaky part of Mr. Mbeki's governing coalition, has lately vigorously criticized both Mr. Mugabe and South Africa's silence on its troubles.

But for now, such criticism is isolated. The most vocal demands that Africa fix Zimbabwe's crisis - from Westerners - are doomed to failure by virtue of their origin, said Peter Kagwanja, the director of the southern Africa project of the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization in Washington.

"Mugabe is simply telling them, 'You're pawns of the whites,' " said Mr. Kagwanja, who is based in Pretoria. "It's the same card he played in Zimbabwe against the M.D.C.," the Movement for Democratic Change, during the recent elections.

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The Scotsman

Mugabe claims demolition is part of new housing plan


ROBERT Mugabe's government has gone on an all-out propaganda blitz to
convince a visiting United Nations envoy that a devastating wave of shanty
town demolitions is part of a plan to build hundreds of thousands of new
houses to restore "dignity" to Zimbabweans.

Up to a million Zimbabweans have lost their homes in the past seven weeks,
human rights groups say.

Now the president says he intends to build 1.5 million houses for the
homeless over three years. The sudden switch in tone coincides with the
visit of the UN envoy on housing, Anna Tibaijuka. Since her arrival on 26
June, she has been wined and dined by Mr Mugabe's ministers.

Analysts say Mr Mugabe has neither the money nor the means to fulfil his
promises. "Zimbabwe is effectively bankrupt and has no capacity to implement
an enterprise of this scale," the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human
Rights said.
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Zim Online
Mugabe's clean-up drive triggers refugee exodus
Wed 6 July 2005

HARARE – Zimbabweans fleeing President Robert Mugabe’s urban clean-up campaign have begun flocking into neighbouring countries to seek refuge there often as illegal immigrants, the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) has said.

The Pretoria-based forum said the number of Zimbabweans that have approached its offices for help to apply for asylum in South Africa and Botswana - the favourite regional destinations for displaced Zimbabweans - has more than trebbled to 800 per week in the last two weeks.

But ZEF co-ordinator Gabriel Shumba said several more Zimbabweans were simply slipping into neighbouring countries to quietly settle there as illegal immigrants because many believed it was futile to apply for asylum because they perceive regional governments as too reluctant to accord refugee status to Zimbabweans.

THE government evictions have thrown thousands of people onto the streets.

“A lot of the people want legal advice and assistance on how to apply for asylum in South Africa and Botswana. Others say they just left Zimbabwe with nothing after the clean up exercise robbed them of their livelihoods and shelter,” said Shumba.

“(But) most of those fleeing the country will end up settling as illegal immigrants,” added Shumba, whose group offers legal and humanitarian assistance to Zimbabweans living abroad after fleeing home because of hunger or political persecution.

There were more than four million Zimbabweans or more than a quarter of the country’s 12 million people living abroad, many of them in South Africa, Botswana, Britain, United States and New Zealand, before the latest exodus triggered by Mugabe’s controversial clean-up exercise which he says is necessary to restore the beauty of Zimbabwe’s cities and smash crime.

But main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the campaign is a Pol Pot-style scheme to depopulate urban areas, where his Movement for Democratic Change party enjoys more support, and push people into rural areas where they are easy to manipulate.

More than 46 000 informal traders were arrested in the last five weeks and close to a million people cast onto the streets without food or clean water after the police and soldiers demolished shanty towns and backyard cottages in urban areas.

The international community has roundly condemned Zimbabwe’s urban renewal exercise and the United Nations and the African Union have sent envoys to Harare to probe the mass eviction of poor families from urban areas. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Harare demands withdrawal of AU envoy
Wed 6 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe has asked the African Union (AU) to withdraw its
envoy and to follow "proper procedure" when appointing a new emissary to
assess Harare's controversial urban clean-up campaign, authoritative sources
told ZimOnline.

      The sources said that Mugabe was also expected to meet Alpha Konare,
chairman of the AU Commission that runs the daily affairs of the union and
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in Libya on the sidelines of the AU
summit, to discuss the issue of the continental body's envoy to Harare.
Obasanjo currently chairs the 53-member AU.

      A senior Harare official, speaking anonymously, said: "What has been
put forward is that the AU withdraws its envoy currently in the country to
allow for proper procedures of notifying the government ahead of such a
mission ....this is as it should be, it is common in any diplomatic
relationships and Zimbabwe is not any different."

      Balame Tom Nyandanga, a rapporteur for refugees on the AU Commission
on Human and People's Rights, is stuck in Harare, since arriving last
weekend as government officials refuse to clear him to visit families who
were evicted under the urban clean-up operation, insisting his mission was
un-procedural and in breach of protocol.

      Konare dispatched Nyanduga to Harare in a major U-turn as
international pressure mounted on the union not to remain silent in the face
of gross human rights abuses inflicted by the Zimbabwe government on poor
urban families it evicted en masse from their homes.

      The government exercise that Mugabe says is necessary to smash crime
and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities has displaced close to a million
people, many of whom are now living in the open without food or clean water.
The AU had earlier said it would not interfere with the widely condemned
clean-up operation because it was an internal matter.

      Yesterday, Nyanduga said he would extend his stay in Zimbabwe as AU
officials tried to convince Harare to allow him to proceed with his mission.

      "I am still in the country but I don't know for how long. I am
continuing to be in touch with the government on that (assessment
trip)....there will come a point in time at which we will talk about it,"
Nyanduga said.

      But the sources were adamant Harare wanted Nyanduga out of Zimbabwe
although they said he would not be deported as European Union election
observer team leader, Pierre Schori, was expelled just before the country's
2000 general election.

      Harare has however accepted a United Nations envoy, Anna Tibaijuka,
who is now in her second week in Zimbabwe touring different parts of the
country to assess the impact of the mass evictions and how the world body
could intervene.

      Earlier this week, UN boss, Koffi Annan told journalists he had been
in touch with Mugabe and that he was awaiting Tibaijuka's report before
deciding on what course of action to take.

      "I personally have been in touch with President Mugabe. We have
discussed this issue several times," Annan said in response to a question
whether he was happy with Africa's silence on the mass evictions. -

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Zim Online

Clean up operation scuppers US policy rethink on Harare
Wed 6 July 2005

      HARARE - A United States (US) Congress delegation visiting Zimbabwe to
assess whether the US could review its policy towards Harare has said it is
highly unlikely Washington will soften its stance on the southern African

      Saying they were "astounded" by the suffering President Robert Mugabe
was inflicting on poor urban families through his controversial urban
clean-up campaign, the delegation said it would be difficult for relations
to return to normal after the campaign which they castigated as "cruel and

      Gregory Simpkins, who is part of the two-member delegation, told
ZimOnline: "After a peaceful election (in March) we thought things were
improving in Zimbabwe. But we were very astounded by what we saw. The
(clean-up) operation has an understandable goal but it has been done in an
unbelievably cruel and self-destructive manner."

      Simpkins' colleague, Pearl Alice Marsh, added: "That makes it
difficult for the relations to return to normal. We had come here to see if
the US can revisit its policy on Zimbabwe, to come up with the most
effective policy that would stimulate development and increase humanitarian

      Marsh and Simpkins are both professional staff members of the US House
of Representatives International Relations Committee (HIRC). They advise the
key foreign relations committee and members of Congress on Africa.

      The two arrived in Zimbabwe last weekend and have toured the country's
second largest city of Bulawayo where like in every other city in Zimbabwe,
thousands of families have been forced onto the streets without clean water
or food after their informal businesses and homes were destroyed by soldiers
and the police.

      The Congress staffers yesterday met Mugabe's confidante and
intelligence minister Didymus Mutasa and were last night scheduled to meet
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.

      Mutasa last night said he had told the two Americans "what we believe
and not what they wanted to hear."

      The Zimbabwe government official added that Harare would not welcome a
thawing of relations with Washington, "if that will be based on Zimbabwe
surrendering its sovereignty . that will not happen. We want to be treated
equally and then we can start talking. Not a slave and master relationship."

      The US, European Union, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland have
banned Mugabe and his top officials from visiting their territories and also
imposed a military sales embargo on Harare.

      But Simpkins said Congress had started to change its stance towards
Harare after Zimbabwe's general election last March, which was violence-free
although disputed and needing much more improvement.

      The international community has roundly condemned Harare's clean-up
campaign as a gross violation of poor people's rights.

      The United Nations and the African Union have sent envoys to probe the
mass evictions of families which Mugabe has defended as necessary to smash
crime and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities and towns. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Bid to hoodwink UN envoy falls flat on its face
Wed 6 July 2005

      MUTARE - Senior government officials were caught with their pants down
in the eastern border town of Mutare at the weekend after an attempt to
hoodwink visiting United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka went awry.

      At least 36 families evicted in the government's controversial
"clean-up" exercise in the city which has been roundly condemned by the
international community, were ordered by Manicaland provincial administrator
Fungayi Mbetsa to pull down their tents at their holding camp at Sports Oval
and vacate the place ahead of a visit by the UN envoy.

      But the government's bid to cover up the extreme suffering at the
holding camp and hoodwink the UN envoy fell flat on its face.

      Sources said as the evicted residents were pulling down their tents,
Manicaland provincial governor Tinaye Chigudu was on the way to the holding
camp accompanied by the UN envoy, only to find the families still at the
camp but now without tents and hurdled together in the biting cold.

      A source privy to the incident said: "Manicaland provincial
administrator Fungai Mbetsa told Red Cross staff (at the camp)on Saturday
afternoon to pull down the tents and fast-track the relocation of the
families to hoodwink the UN.

      "But he didn't communicate this to Chigudu who went on to take
Tibaijuka to Sports Oval in the evening only to find the families hurdled in
the open."

      According to sources, Chigudu had a tough time explaining why the
families were sleeping in the open.

      The families went on to brief the UN envoy about their plight in the
presence of Chigudu and other senior government officials who were at pains
to explain the situation.

      Asked about the incident, Chigudu yesterday said: "It was not
intentional to collapse the tents. The provincial administrator thought the
families were leaving the camp on the same day.

      "I managed to explain the situation well and everything has been
clarified. We have nothing to hide." - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

SA opposition wants Mbeki to condemn evictions
Wed 6 July 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - South African President Thabo Mbeki must condemn Robert
Mugabe's "Operation Murambatsvina" in the strongest possible terms to ensure
Africa's credibility at the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in Scotland this week,
the Democratic Alliance has demanded.

      South Africa's official opposition party said South Africa enjoyed
access to the highest levels at the G8, thanks to the efforts of President

      The DA said it supported unreservedly the Summit's focus on relieving
poverty in Africa and the emphasis on bringing good governance to our

      "What a pity it is then that President Mbeki continues to undermine
his own efforts and standing by his blind spot on Zimbabwe. He speaks with
clarity on so many other issues. Why does he jeopardise the response of the
G8 by continuing with his silence?" asked the DA.

      President Mbeki has said that he will only comment on the situation in
Zimbabwe once the UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka issues her mission's

      As Tibaijuka has decided to extend her mission for a second week, it
will be some time before the report becomes available. The people of
Zimbabwe cannot afford to wait, said the DA.

      Unless urgent and focused action is taken by President Mbeki on
Zimbabwe, there is every chance that a humanitarian crisis of unimaginable
proportions would be allowed to develop - to the cost of all who live in the
region, the opposition party cautioned.

      Furthermore, the African Peer Review Mechanism would never be taken
seriously by world leaders unless President Mbeki and his fellow African
leaders were seen to be taking action against "acts of despotism perpetrated
by the likes of Mugabe".

      "Unless President Mbeki breaks his silence on Zimbabwe, there is
little chance that African demands for increased aid and investment will be
taken seriously at the G8 summit," said the DA.

      "That will be a tragedy for Africa. For this reason President Mbeki
must issue an unequivocal message at Gleneagles condemning the demolitions
campaign and the ongoing socio-economic implosion of Zimbabwe." -ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Demolitions continue without let up in Harare
Wed 6 July 2005

      HARARE - The police yesterday forged ahead with the demolition of
houses and shacks in a poor Harare suburb weeks after the government said it
was winding up the controversial exercise.

      The police razed houses and stalls in Hatcliffe Extension in Harare in
a surprise operation after the government said last week that it was winding
up the "clean-up" campaign.

      The government immediately said it was launching a new programme of
reconstruction, Operation Garikai (Live well). It also said it was setting
aside about Z$3 trillion for the construction of new houses for the evicted
residents before the beginning of the rainy season.

      Contacted for comment on yesterday's demolitions, police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena said the police will press ahead with the demolitions until
all "the people in all areas have complied."

      At least 46 000 people have been arrested in the "clean-up" exercise
while close to a million people were rendered homeless after their houses
were demolished in a campaign the government says is necessary to restore
the beauty of cities and towns.

      The United States, Britain, Amnesty International and church groups
have all condemned the clean-up" exercise as inhumane and an assault on the
rights of the poor.

      The United Nations dispatched its special envoy Anna Tibaijuka to
probe the evictions which sparked an outcry from the international

      Today, Tibaijuka takes her visit to Bulawayo, an opposition
stranglehold where she is expected to meet officials from the government,
non-governmental organisations, churches and victims of the government
crackdown. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Evictions disrupt HIV/AIDS treatment programmes
Wed 6 July 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwean doctors yesterday said the eviction of thousands
of people around the country was going to worsen diseases and disrupt
HIV/AIDS treatment programmes.

      In a statement to the press yesterday, the Zimbabwe Association of
Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said the government's clean-up exercise
would result in "the exacerbation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as community
structures are fractured and dispersed".

      Zimbabwe has one of the highest infection rates for HIV/AIDS with the
disease claiming at least 2 500 people every week.

      The doctors said the eviction and displacement of people during the
government crackdown will disrupt AIDS treatment programmes resulting in
"the inevitable emergence of widespread drug-resistant HIV as treatment
programmes are disrupted".

      At least a million people have been rendered homeless after the
government demolished thousands of houses in a campaign the Harare
authorities argue is meant to spruce up the image of cities and towns.

      President Mugabe, who is under tremendous pressure from the
international community over the evictions, has also defended the campaign
as necessary to smash the illegal foreign currency parallel market blamed
for the country's economic woes.

      United Nations envoy Anna Tibaijuka is already in the country to probe
the mass evictions which have been condemned by the United States, Amnesty
International and church groups as an assault on the rights of the poor. -

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Africa ignores a mote in its eye

This story was published Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

The Christian Science Monitor

(CSM) - This is Africa's week on the world stage. It began Saturday with
actual stages in many countries where rock stars played up the continent's
needs during the "Live-8" concerts. That was followed by an African summit
on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday a Group of Eight summit opens with a
heavy focus on aid to Africa.

But ignore the guitar chords and diplomatic accords for a minute. A better
window into what really ails Africa, and what can be done about it, is
playing out in Zimbabwe, scene of the latest human-rights disaster in Africa
after Darfur - the tragic crisis that still lingers.

This week, a representative of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will finish
up a probe into the forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean
urban-dwellers to rural areas since May 19 by armed paramilitary police.
This mass exodus, dubbed Operation Drive Out Trash, is the latest crude
attempt by strongman Robert Mugabe to smash a rising political opposition to
his rule, which is spiraling downward with increasing violence.

Mugabe's quarter-century of mistakes has left his country's economy in
ruins. Some 4 million people are in urgent need of food relief, about 80
percent of workers are jobless, and tens of thousands have fled the country.
Many opposition supporters have been killed.

On Saturday, leaders of the Southern African Methodist Church said there was
"little doubt that we are witnessing a tragedy of unprecedented enormity" in
Zimbabwe, adding: "We have on our hands a complete recipe for genocide."

At the least, it's a humanitarian disaster, and Annan's probe reveals he may
be inclined to ask for armed international intervention. The 1994 Rwanda
genocide, and the lack of political will to stop it, is still very much on
his conscience.

The fact that the African summit didn't say boo about the Zimbabwe tragedy
shows just how much the West should be wary of giving more aid to nations
whose leaders can't even speak out against Mugabe.

Annan did boldly tell the 53-nation summit that people "threatened with such
terrible crimes are entitled to look for protection not only to their
regional neighbors, but also to the international community as a whole." And
taking a lesson from Sept. 11, he added that "ignoring failed states creates
problems that sometimes come back to bite us."

Well, Zimbabwe's starting to bite. Refugees are pouring out, hunger is
rampant, and violence escalates.

Ginning up foreign aid is fine.

But doing something about Zimbabwe's spouting volcano is urgent.
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Financial Times

Mugabe casts a shadow as Africa seeks wider relief
By Tony Hawkins in Harare, John Reed in Johannesburg and David,White in
Published: July 6 2005 03:00 | Last updated: July 6 2005 03:00

People leaving last week-end's Live8 charity concert in elated mood in
Johannesburg were greeted with an ugly sight. A newspaper distributed by
Zimbabwean émigrés featured a front-page photograph of a severely burned
three-year-old girl who fell into a kitchen fire after stumbling over debris
created by President Robert Mugabe's urban-clearance programme.

With a United Nations special envoy investigating the evictions under
Operation Murambatsvina ("throw out the trash"), Zimbabwe promises to cast a
pall over the G8 summit.
Leaders of the 53-nation African Union yesterday said they would seek
across-the-board debt forgiveness, going well beyond the selective debt
relief planned by the G8. Meeting in Sirt, Libya, the AU was quoted in news
agency reports as saying it had adopted a common position to take to the G8

Zimbabwe, however, will play little, if any, part in the formal agenda. Tony
Blair, Britain's prime minister and the summit's host, has called the
situation in Zimbabwe "a disgrace" but he also said he would not hold the
meeting hostage to it. Diplomats say Zimbabwe is unlikely to feature in the
summit's final communiqué or other texts.

However, Zimbabwe is likely to be mentioned by some G8 leaders even though
its deepening political and economic crisis highlights the African
governance problems that the Gleneagles summit also wants to address.

While Mr Mugabe's government said the operation aimed to destroy substandard
housing, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused it of
uprooting 1m people, including its supporters. Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's
president, has urged G8 leaders to send a "strong message" on Zimbabwe and
"the excesses of dictatorships like Mugabe's". However, he also conceded:
"To expect [Zimbabwe] to stand out as an issue at the summit is expecting
too much."

Nor do many in Zimbabwe expect the UN to rein in Mr Mugabe. Tanzania's Anna
Tibaijuka, the UN's special envoy appointed last month in response to the
international outcry, is expected to condemn Operation Murambatsvina.

However, Tichaona Jokonya, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, expressed confidence
last week that in any Security Council debate Zimbabwe would be supported by
countries such as China and France.

African leaders have also been reluctant to speak out against Mr Mugabe,
whom many respect for his role in the overthrow of white minority rule.

Their stance at Friday's session of the G8, to which the leaders of South
Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania and Ethiopia - along with
the head of the AU commission, Alpha Oumar Konare\ 2 5 3 \ 2 6 0 have been
invited, is unlikely to be any different.

Still, some believe that the west has a window of an opportunity to ratchet
up pressure on Mr Mugabe at the G8 and through the UN.

Operation Murambatsvina has not only exacerbated Zimbabwe's chronic
shortages: it has even caused unease within Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
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NZ urges ICC to cut Zimbabwe from tour schedule
Wed Jul 6, 2005 5:08 AM BST

By Kazunori Takada

WELLINGTON, July 6 (Reuters) - The New Zealand government has written to
international cricket's governing body asking it to exclude Zimbabwe from
future tours because of concerns about human rights abuses under President
Robert Mugabe.

New Zealand's government is leading a push to have Zimbabwe banned from
international cricket after saying it would not welcome a team from the
troubled African nation.

Foreign minister Phil Goff, in a letter to the International Cricket Council
(ICC), also urged that the New Zealand team be allowed to cancel its
scheduled trip to Zimbabwe without facing a hefty fine.

"We believe that the International Cricket Council cannot ignore these gross
abuses as if they were not happening when scheduling the Futures Tours
Programme," Goff said in the letter, dated Tuesday.

"We therefore request the ICC, as a matter of urgency, to consider revising
the Futures Tours Programme to exclude tours to Zimbabwe and by Zimbabwe
while this situation continues in that country," he said.


New Zealand has already announced it would refuse to issue visas to the
Zimbabwe team in a reciprocal tour scheduled for the end of this year.

The British and Australian governments have both announced they would
support plans to exclude Zimbabwe from international sport.

However, New Zealand's cricket association has said they would proceed with
the tour to avoid paying the ICC a minimum fine of $2 million for any

Zimbabwean cricket has been in crisis for several years.

At the 2003 World Cup, held mostly in South Africa but with a few games in
Zimbabwe, players Andy Flower and Henry Olonga wore black armbands to "mourn
the death of democracy".

Last year, most of the country's top players walked out on the national team
over a race row, leading to calls for international teams to boycott

The ICC threatened to fine countries who refused to tour, but Australian
leg-spinner Stuart MacGill lodged a personal protest, refusing to take part
in his team's trip and telling selectors he could not "tour Zimbabwe and
maintain a clear conscience".

Shortly after his announcement, Australia's tour was cancelled and no fines
were issued.

Later that year, England's planned tour of the country was postponed after
the ICC took away Zimbabwe's test status, which has since been returned.

The issue has resurfaced after Western countries and organisations including
Britain, the United States, the Commonwealth and the European Union
condemned a new housing programme in Zimbabwe, which has claimed the lives
of at least two children crushed to death in demolished houses.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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  G8: Call on Zimbabwe to End Mass Evictions
      05 Jul 2005 23:45:25 GMT

      Source: Human Rights Watch

(New York, July 6, 2005) - G8 and African leaders meeting today to discuss
ways of fighting poverty in Africa should urge Zimbabwe's government to end
its campaign of forced evictions, which has destroyed the homes and
livelihoods of thousands of Zimbabweans, Human Rights Watch said today.
During a recent fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch
interviewed scores of victims and witnesses of the government's "Operation
Murambatsvina" ("Clear up the Filth"). Since May 19, police have burnt,
bulldozed and destroyed the houses and informal businesses of thousands of
Zimbabweans, many of whom have been sleeping on the streets for the past six

"G8 and African leaders should recognize how massive human rights abuses
also fuel poverty in Africa," said Tiseke Kasambala, researcher in Human
Rights Watch's Africa Division. "They should call on the Zimbabwean
government to respect fundamental human rights and stop the evictions."

The United Nations estimates that up to 360,000 people (more than two
percent of Zimbabwe's population) throughout the country have been evicted
and that most are now homeless. Tens of thousands have been forced to move
to Zimbabwe's rural areas, and the authorities have relocated some 4,000
people to a government-run transit camp. Hundreds of others have moved in
with families or friends in urban areas, often leading to severe

In some cases, police used excessive force to carry out the evictions. Armed
with guns and axes, police repeatedly ordered people to go back to rural
areas. Victims told Human Rights Watch that the police used threats and
intimidation to force them to destroy their own houses. In some cases, those
who refused were beaten with baton sticks.

Police also destroyed houses and buildings without considering the safety of
residents or their possessions. Three people reportedly died during mass
evictions on Porta Farm on June 29 and 30 including one child who was
crushed to death by falling rubble during attempted forced removals by

"The forced evictions have caused widespread devastation," said Kasambala.
"Thousands have lost their homes and livelihoods. It will take years for
them to rebuild their lives."

The Zimbabwean government says that the evictions are necessary to improve
living conditions and reduce the crime rate in urban areas. But the
government has also failed to address the acute housing crisis in Zimbabwe
especially in the urban areas. The authorities turned a blind eye to the
unplanned backyard extensions in many high-density areas, which mushroomed
as a result of the housing crisis. The Zimbabwean government also forcibly
evicted people from legal housing and business structures. The evictions and
demolitions were carried out inhumanely, with little or no warning and
without due process in violation of international and Zimbabwean law.

"I gave birth yesterday. We have been sleeping in the open for three weeks,"
said a young woman in Sakubva, Mutare, who was evicted from her home in
early June. "For now, I am sleeping with the newborn in this shack while my
husband and two other children sleep outside. We don't know what to do."

Those evicted include thousands of Zimbabweans who left drought-hit rural
areas and came to the urban areas to improve their livelihoods or who were
displaced during the government's land resettlement program such as ex-farm
workers. People fleeing violence in the rural areas during elections in 2000
and 2002 and others who were implicitly encouraged by the government to take
over farms on the outskirts of Harare were also among those evicted. In
addition, the government forcibly moved and resettled people in areas around

"The large numbers of people uprooted by the evictions will put pressure on
scarce resources in the rural areas which have already been hit hard by food
shortages," said Kasambala.
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Prelude text


Letter 1:

Dear Jag,

JAG has heard rumours that some of our members are prepared to return to
their farms and attempt to resume production. Every farmer has the right to
make his own decisions.  Every farmer is facing his own range of crises and
problems. JAG while not wishing to be prescriptive, does have a duty to
point out some of the pitfalls returnee farmers will face.

1) By returning to your farm voluntarily you will cancel any claim to
compensation or restitution

2) In order to resume production you will be compelled to borrow very large
sums of money.  In the event of your not being able to repay these borrowed
sums on time, you may find yourself in court and your farm taken from you
legally.  Also you will remain liable for any outstanding unpaid sums.

3) Under present circumstances no farm has any collateral value.

We offer the above advice free of any political bias.

Bruce Gemmil

Letter no 2

Dear Jag,

Re: The End of the Mugabe Era.

In his letter Eddie Cross says that a small group had got together in 1973
and had concluded that we could not win the war, that time was running out
and that if a deal was not struck in the near future, eventually power
would be taken away from Smith and his cohorts and we would be left to
mercy of our history and our time.' (My italics).

I would be fascinated to know the details of this proposed deal, as the
prevention of Robert Mugabe from becoming president would have saved us all
a lot of trouble.

Philip Mackie
Letter No 3

Dear Jag,

Jo Schermuly is dead right, the UK isnt paradise. The closest to Paradise I
have known, was when I lived in Zimbabwe! and the Uk is a poor second.!!
However, in comparison to life in Zimbabawe at this time, for the majority,
we living here in the UK have a far cosier life. We live in the lap of
luxury and are spoilt rotten. With some exceptions, I have the utmost
admiration and respect for people living inside Zimbabwe who are trying to
survive with all the odds stacked against them and they need our prayers
and support. Back in 2002 I analysed the situation in Zim and didnt like
what I came up with, unlike Eddie Crosse, I cant say I was 'spot on'......I
left because I didnt have the 'guts' to face what was happening. Grant you,
not everyone who has moved to the UK from Zim have had it as easy as
myself, but the difficulties Zimbabweans face here are minimal to what
Zimbabweans face on a daily basis in Zim. The Uk offers plenty of work,
money is worth its face value, there are a lot of 'freebies' to be had and
there is peace of mind. We are 'educated' on a daily basis via the media.
For example I have learnt how to peel a carrot, we are advised on what
foods are good for us, potatoes are the 'in thing' at the moment!. We are
advised on exercise to prevent obesety, we must wear sun protection when
outdoors, the advice and guidance we get is endless. We are very precious!!
For those who are thinking of moving over here, be warned, life is very
different and one has to learn to turn 'a blind eye' to all the immorality.
But to get a 'kick start' in life, this is a good place to start.

Gayle Williams

Letter No 4

Dear Jag,

Would like to add to the attached comments. Roy you have been an
inspiration to many people. You have proved the resilience of us white
Zimbabweans. May the Lord continue to do a great work in you and through

God's richest blessings to you and your family.

Andy& Steph Walton

Letter No 5

Dear Editor,

I would be grateful if you printed this letter.

Dear Roy,

I would like to welcome you back.

Thank you for standing up for the people of Zimbabwe.
Thank you for help me see the light again.
Thank you to your family.
Thank you Heather for standing up for us when Roy could not.
Thank you for not giving up. When "MOST" would.

I could go on and on.


Charmayne Minter

Thought for the Day

 Homeland by Michelle Frost

Within my soul, within my mind,
There lies a place I cannot find.
Home of my heart. Land of my birth.
Smoke-coloured stone and flame-coloured earth.
Electric skies. Shivering heat.
Blood-red clay beneath my feet.

At night when finally alone,
I close my eyes - and I am home.
I kneel and touch the blood-warm sand
And feel the pulse beneath my hand
Of an ancient life too old to name,
In an ancient land too wild to tame.

How can I show you what I feel?
How can I make this essence real?
I search for words in dumb frustration
To try and form some explanation,
But how can heart and soul be caught
In one-dimensional written thought?

If love and longing are a "fire"
And man "consumed" by his desire,
Then this love is no simple flame
That mortal thought can hold or tame.
As deep within the earth's own core
The love of home burns evermore.

But what is home? I hear them say,
This never was yours anyway.
You have no birthright to this place,
Descendant from another race.
An immigrant? A pioneer?
You are no longer welcome here.

Whoever said that love made sense?
"I love" is an "imperfect" tense.
To love in vain has been man's fate
>From history to present date.
I have no grounds for dispensation,
I know I have no home or nation.

For just one moment in the night
I am complete, my soul takes flight.
For just one moment.... then it's gone
and I am once again undone.
Never complete. Never whole.
White Skin and an African soul.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
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