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Mugabe president, Tsvangirai PM in Zimbabwe peace plan: report

Yahoo News

2 hours, 26 minutes ago

LONDON, (AFP) - Robert Mugabe would remain Zimbabwe's head of state but hand
real power to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister under a
plan proposed by South African President Thabo Mbeki, the Guardian reported

President Mugabe would stay in place until a new constitution was negotiated
and fresh elections were held, the paper said, quoting a senior source from
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The source told the Guardian that the plan included recognition of the first
round vote in March won by Tsvangirai and added that Mugabe staying in place
was acceptable to the MDC if it paved the way for a new constitution and

Mbeki, the chief mediator in the crisis, met Mugabe in Harare Saturday but
Tsvangirai did not attend. Mugabe has said he will only enter talks if he is
recognised as president but the MDC has dismissed this idea.

The MDC source told the Guardian that "all the basic ideas of the MDC" were
in the proposals.

"The important thing is that it recognises the outcome of the March 29
election and that any government will be transitional on the way to new
elections," the source was quoted as saying.

The report did not state Mugabe's response to the plan.

It came with G8 industrial powers gathering in Japan expected to take steps
on Zimbabwe after presidential elections in which Mugabe was the sole
candidate when Tsvangirai pulled out because of violence against supporters.

"I think the G8 will strongly condemn what Mugabe has done. It will strongly
question the legitimacy of his government," Dennis Wilder, the US National
Security Council's senior director for Asia affairs, said en route to Japan.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who is visiting South
Africa, said on his arrival that the crisis was "infecting the whole of
Southern Africa" and said Mugabe's rule lacked legitimacy.

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South African peace plan for Zimbabwe given qualified welcome by opposition MDC

· Mugabe to be titular head under Mbeki proposals
· Tsvangirai would be prime minister until new polls

Chris McGreal in Harare
The Guardian,
Monday July 7, 2008

South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has presented a plan to Zimbabwe's
political leaders that would allow Robert Mugabe to remain as a titular head
of state but surrender real power to the opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, who would serve as prime minister until a new constitution was
negotiated and fresh elections held.

A senior opposition Movement for Democratic Change source, who has read the
document, told the Guardian that Mbeki had sent the plan to Mugabe and
Tsvangirai and that it was generally welcomed by the MDC.

The opposition believes the proposal appears to represent a recognition by
Mbeki - whom Tsvangirai had previously accused of "colluding with Mugabe to
play down the deepening political crisis" - that the Zimbabwean president's
power is crumbling. But the MDC remains suspicious of Mbeki and is demanding
that the African Union be a party to any deal to ensure it is adhered to.

The proposal nonetheless adds to growing international pressure on Mugabe,
who has said that while he is prepared to talk to the opposition, it must
first recognise that he is the legitimately elected president and will
remain so.

Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said he could neither confirm nor
deny that such a document exists.

Nigeria is the latest African government to condemn last month's
presidential election, in which Mugabe claimed 90% of the valid votes after
a military-led campaign of violence against the opposition.

Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised countries are expected to
consider taking "measures" against Zimbabwe, according to the host of this
week's summit, the Japanese prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda. A US official said
Washington expected the G8 to "strongly question the legitimacy of
[Mugabe's] government".

The British foreign secretary, David Miliband, speaking after meeting
Zimbabwean refugees in Johannesburg yesterday, said the crisis in their
country was "infecting the whole of southern Africa".

"No one who meets the people here could do anything other than redouble
their efforts to secure international consensus that the Mugabe regime is
not a legitimate representation of the will of the people of Zimbabwe," he
said. He called for international backing for a US proposal at the UN
security council for sanctions against Zimbabwe's leaders.

The MDC source said the party leadership found itself in surprising
agreement with much of what Mbeki was proposing, describing it as an
important shift from what the opposition described as his previous positions
aimed at propping up Mugabe.

The source said "all the basic ideas of the MDC are there", including a
recognition of the results of the first round of elections in March won by
Tsvangirai. That would be met by making the MDC leader an executive prime

"The important thing is that it recognises the outcome of the March 29
election, and that any government will be transitional on the way to new
elections," the source said.

He said the opposition recognised it would have to make concessions, and
that allowing Mugabe to remain as a titular president was acceptable if it
laid the ground for a new constitution and a fresh vote. But there are
important areas of difference with Mbeki, particularly an MDC demand for an
African Union mediator to work with the South African leader, and for the AU
to act as a guarantor of any agreement. There have yet to be formal
negotiations on the proposal.

Mbeki flew to Harare on Saturday for a meeting requested by Tsvangirai. But
the MDC leader pulled out when, according to the opposition, he was called
at short notice by the South Africans to a meeting with Mbeki and Mugabe at
the presidential offices in Harare.

Tsvangirai was concerned that going to the state house would be seen as
conferring recognition on Mugabe as the legitimately elected president. The
MDC also feared that such a meeting would be used by Mbeki to persuade AU
and G8 leaders that he was on top of the crisis and there was no need for
further international pressure or intervention.

Some of the opposition's fears proved founded when the leader of a breakaway
MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, was invited to the meeting and pictured on
the front of the state-controlled press yesterday smiling and shaking hands
with Mugabe. Mutambara holds the balance of power in the newly elected
parliament. He had previously said his MPs would back Tsvangirai, but there
is clearly a concerted effort by the government to get him to side with the
ruling Zanu-PF.

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Canada, Japan to push for 'strong' stand on Zimbabwe at G8

Andrew Mayeda
Published: Sunday, July 06, 2008

RUSUTSU, Japan - Prime Minister Stephen Harper will argue for tough action
against Zimbabwe when the Group of Eight summit kicks off today with a round
of discussions centred on Africa.

In a bilateral meeting Sunday evening, Harper and Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda agreed to push for a "strong stand alone G8 statement on
Zimbabwe," Harper spokeswoman Carolyn Stewart Olsen said in an e-mail.

The prime minister met for roughly 45 minutes with Fukuda, during which they
also discussed the global economy, climate change and aid to Africa. It was
the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

The regime of Robert Mugabe will be high on the agenda on the first day of
the summit, when G8 leaders will meet with leaders of several African
countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa and Nigeria.

German chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend called for the African leaders
to back tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The European Union has imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the regime
of Mugabe who was re-elected president last week in an election that Western
leaders have called a sham.

For its part, Canada has imposed travel, work and study bans on senior
Zimbabwean officials. Last month, Harper called the presidential election an
"ugly perversion of democracy."

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off vote after
alleging that his supporters had been intimidated by government thugs.

On Monday, the G8 leaders are also expected to discuss rising food prices,
which have hit poor countries in Africa and Asia especially hard.

The leaders will likely issue an "emergency response" to the food crisis
calling for short-term aid for starving countries. They are also expected to
urge developed countries to end export constraints on agricultural products
and release their stocks of food into the market, said Kazuo Kodama, press
secretary with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Harper arrived in Japan on Sunday for the Group of Eight summit amid
heightened concerns about the struggling global economy and dampened
expectations for a breakthrough on climate change.

The summit is expected to be dominated by talk about the global economy,
which has been hampered by slowing growth as well as soaring oil and food

With the economy topping the agenda, G8 officials have been downplaying
expectations of tough new commitments on climate change.

On Saturday, Environment Minister John Baird said Canada isn't expecting the
G8 leaders to set concrete global targets for reducing greenhouse gases.

"I don't think we're expecting a deal," Baird told reporters in Calgary as
he and Harper prepared to depart for the northern island of Hokkaido. The
three-day summit will be held at the hot spring resort town of Toyako.

"That will come under the UN auspices in Copenhagen next year," he added,
referring to a UN climate conference scheduled for Denmark in late 2009.

Fukuda has been pushing for the G8 leaders to support a global target of
halving greenhouse-gas emissions by mid-century.

Environmentalists want the G8 to act even sooner and set mid-term goals for
cutting emissions by 2020.

But the United States has resisted committing to any quantifiable targets,
suggesting the leaders' final statement on climate change could be
significantly watered down.

At a news conference Sunday evening with U.S. President George W. Bush,
Fukuda hedged when asked whether the U.S. was blocking a deal. The Japanese
prime minister was uncertain about whether the leaders could agree to a
long-term global target this week.

Baird said Canada would work "constructively" with its G8 counterparts and
the leaders of other major emerging economies invited to the summit, such as
China, India and Brazil.

"What we hope is we can get some momentum toward solid progress on climate
change," said Baird.

The environment minister said the government would also tout Canada's
climate-change plan, which projects that emissions will drop by 20 per cent
by 2020.

But environmentalists have noted Canada's plan uses a base year of 2006.
When adjusted to a base year of 1990, the standard used under the Kyoto
Protocol, Canada's emissions are actually expected to rise slightly by 2020.

The Harper government has said it will not accept a new global
climate-change deal that does not impose binding targets on all major
emitters, including the U.S., China and India.

At his news conference with Fukuda, Bush echoed that view.

"I'll be constructive. I've always advocated that there needs to be a common
understanding and that starts with a goal," Bush said. "I'm also realistic
enough to tell you that if China and India don't share that same aspiration
then we're not going to solve the problem."

On oil prices, the leaders are considering a range of measures, including
pledges to make their economies more energy efficient, as well as a call on
oil suppliers to increase production, said Kodama.

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UN chief to take up Zimbabwe 'crisis' at G8

ABC, Australia

Posted 54 minutes ago

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has urged Zimbabwe's parties to
restore the "rule of law" and says he will take up the crisis with African
leaders at the Group of Eight summit meeting in Japan.

As he arrived in Japan for the G8 summit, Mr Ban said said that last month's
violence-marred election that gave President Robert Mugabe a sixth term
lacked legitimacy.

"Therefore I urged that political parties in Zimbabwe should work out an
arrangement so that they can really bring back democratic rules, the rule of
law and peace and stability in their country," he said.

"I have been discussing with many African leaders and other world leaders.

"I am going to discuss this with African leaders on the margins of the G8
Toyako summit meeting."

Eight African leaders are taking part in an extended session of the G8 in
the Japanese resort of Toyako including South African President Thabo Mbeki,
who has come under fire for not publicly rebuking Mr Mugabe.


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'Change of Zim government a necessity'


    July 07 2008 at 06:40AM

By Lebogang Seale

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has blamed some of the causes
of the squalor in Alexandra, Joburg, on President Robert Mugabe's wanton
plundering of the Zimbabwean economy.

Miliband was speaking after a visit to the township on Sunday as part
of Britain's efforts to reinforce the partnership between Alexandra and the
London police.

He said some of Alexandra's congested conditions were because of the
influx of Zimbabweans fleeing from poverty caused by Mugabe's repressive
regime and destructive economic policies.

"Problems here are caused by Zimbabweans and that flow can only be
reversed if Zimbabweans called for a credible and legitimate government,"
said a visibly angry Miliband.

That government, he said, would be the one chosen through the March
elections - in which the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the
majority vote.

He said he was touched by the harrowing experiences recounted by
Zimbabwean refugees at the Johannesburg Central Methodist Church, when he
visited them earlier on Sunday.

"Many told traumatic stories of torture, brutality and killings," he

Miliband, who arrived in the country yesterday for tomorrow's South
Africa-UK bilateral talks, said it was "imperative" to find a solution to
the worsening Zimbabwean crisis.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on July
07, 2008

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MDC accuses Chinamasa of mischief

July 7, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE – The Movement for Democratic Change has rubbished claims by government that its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is trying to abandon the SADC-led talks while preparing to launch an armed insurrection against President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Tsvangirai on Saturday boycotted a meeting at which he was supposed to meet face-to-face with Mugabe under the facilitation of South African President, Thabo Mbeki.

Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, attended the meeting together with his secretary general Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Ncube’s deputy.

“I hope that the MDC Tsvangirai faction will not do a Savimbi on Zimbabwe,” Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on national television Saturday.

“What in fact is becoming clear is that if the country is not careful, it would be precipitated into a period of instability and turmoil. I think that the next weeks will show whether we now have a Savimbi in our midst and a Savimbi who is committed to plunging this country into turmoil.

“The next few weeks will demonstrate.”

Chinamasa was referring to Angola’s former rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, who died in combat on February 22, 2002. At 67, the UNITA leader had been leading the rebel group in a war against the Angolan government for more than 30 years.

MDC director of information Luke Tamborinyoka told The Zimbabwe Times that the attempt by Chinamasa to liken Tsvangirai to Savimbi was mischievous.

“That is the ranting of a discredited minister who lost an election,” said Tamborinyoka.

“His comments are not only silly; they are also mischievous. Chinamasa does not have any moral authority to point a finger at us as he belongs to an elite crop of politicians who have just imposed themselves on the people.

“I wonder why it is so difficult for him to see that it is actually his boss (Mugabe) who is publicly talking negotiations while acting war behind everyone’s back.

“The MDC’s position is very clear. We are not going to take part in any negotiations when several of our elected MPs are on the police wanted list on trumped up charges of political violence while more than a thousand of our supporters are in jail.”

Chinamasa, who put up a dismal performance at the polls when he lost the Makoni Central parliamentary seat in Manicaland Province to the MDC’s John Nyamande, is now one of President Mugabe’s chief strategists. Chinamasa has become more vocal since his humiliating defeat.

Tsvangirai stuck to his guns on Saturday, saying he would not take part in the talks if Mbeki was not paired with an African Union representative. He has said he hopes this would help speed up the sluggish talks as well as defuse Mbeki’s apparent bias towards Mugabe.

Mugabe has just secured his sixth term as President in a presidential runoff election, which Tsvangirai pulled out of at the last minute. He accused Mugabe of waging a violent campaign against his party to incapacitate his bid to challenge him in a free and fair election.

Mugabe has accused the MDC leader of agitating for military intervention against his government under the guise of peacekeepers. The saber-rattling leader says it is treasonous for Tsvangirai to call or ask for military intervention.

Tsvangirai has defended his position by pointing out that the deployment of peacekeepers is the only solution in an environment pf prevalent state-sponsored violence.

“What do you do when you do not have guns and people are being brutalized by the army out there?” Tsvangirai asked journalists.

“The only appeal we can make is for the UN to consider that proposal. I think that we are in a desperate situation out in the rural areas because people are being brutalised and being frog-marched to meetings without their will.”

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Zimbabwe youth militias accused of holding women as sex slaves

Los Angeles Times

One 21-year-old had hoped that her ordeal would end after the presidential
runoff, but the terror continues.
From a Times Staff Writer
7:15 PM PDT, July 6, 2008

HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- She has to call the young men her "comrades." She cooks
food for the comrades and serves them. She sweeps the comrades' floor and
cleans up after them.

And whenever any of the comrades wants sex, she is raped.

Asiatu, 21, is a prisoner of the comrades at a command base of the ruling
ZANU-PF party, one of 900 set up by the party to terrorize Zimbabweans into
voting for Robert Mugabe in the one-man presidential runoff late last month
and extending his 28-year rule.

The election is over, but the terror isn't.

"I'm still at the base. I'm being raped by four or five men daily," she
whispers, bursting into tears. "Any time they want, night or day.

"To me, a comrade is a murderer, someone who's cruel."

She has been at the base for about 10 weeks, ever since she was abducted in
the middle of the night because her mother is a supporter of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

She has to stay most of each day and night at the base, a sex slave of the
thuggish youth militias unleashed by the government. The Times interviewed
her during one of the several short daily periods she is allowed to leave
the base.

When asked why she doesn't escape during her free time, she gives a chilling
explanation: "They promised me if I run away, my mother will be killed."

A slight, pretty figure, about 5 feet tall, Asiatu wears a flowing black
dress with splashes of red. Her braids are tied back by an extravagant puff
of red tulle. Her eyes are sad and fearful. And she rarely smiles.

She says she looked forward to the June 27 runoff and the result, assuming
that she would be freed.

But with the election over and no sign to the end of her imprisonment, she
has lost hope. She is fearful she may be pregnant, and terrified she may
have AIDS. She is the sole breadwinner in her family but has not been able
to sell vegetables because she spends most of her time at the base.

"I pray to God most of the time. I pray, 'You are the one who knows my
future. Help me. Stop this happening to me.' "

A base commander who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity said that
Mugabe had said the bases would continue to operate. Some in the ruling
party say new operations are being planned. But the commander said that
there was no government money to feed the youth militias at the bases and
that supporting them had become difficult.

That could be a problem for ZANU-PF: For most of the young shock troops,
their main motivation is the hope of a quick dollar to feed their families,
with food scarce and opportunities to get ahead almost nonexistent.

The camps were set up after ZANU-PF's defeat in the March 29 parliamentary
and presidential elections. They provide a base from which to burn houses,
displace people and beat, maim or kill opposition activists.

Kindergartens, schools and houses were commandeered for the bases. Some
outposts, deep in the bush and modeled on the bases of Zimbabwe's liberation
war, consist of nothing more than a piece of land with a tent, a desk and a
chair for the commander, with several hundred militia fighters standing

In most of the bases across the country, young women have been forced to
cook for the youth militias, serve them and be their sex slaves, according
to young women and men forced to attend the camps daily.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the June 27 vote because
of the violence. But Mugabe, who finished second to Tsvangirai in March,
pushed ahead with the runoff despite international condemnation. He was
declared the winner soon afterward and hastily inaugurated.

The MDC reports an upsurge in unwanted pregnancies among victims of rape.
Written testimonies by victims show many cases of women raped because they
or their close relatives were MDC activists. However, the party does not
have a tally of how many rapes have been reported in the political violence.

Asiatu's ordeal began one afternoon when 35 ZANU-PF militia members came to
her house because her mother is an MDC member.

"I was eating and they kicked my food," she says. "They started beating me,
saying I was an MDC member. They said I should be killed." Three days later
they came at night and forced her to go to the base.

"I was just crying. I thought they wanted to kill me," she says.

To protect her, The Times is not disclosing the location of the base. She
does not go by the name Asiatu in her community.

On her first day at the base, she says, she was severely beaten on her back,
buttocks and the soles of her feet with wooden poles.

"They said they should leave me to faint in order to satisfy their bosses.
They said they were 'treating' me to make me a ZANU-PF member."

After a week, the daily beatings stopped, but the rapes began.

Wiping tears from her eyes, she describes the first time: "Someone came and
gave me a plate of sadza [the staple cornmeal porridge] and said, 'Go in
that room with this plate of sadza.' And there was a man sleeping in bed and
he raped me."

There are three women at the base, she says. The number of militia members
there have dropped to 11 from 50 before the election.

There are political meetings at the base, with songs and slogans.

"I just go to save my life. But I will never be ZANU-PF," Asiatu says. She
has hated ZANU-PF since her mother's younger sister was kidnapped and slain
in political violence after 2000.

Before the election, she says, she saw hundreds of people beaten at the
base, about 10 to 50 people a day. She says she saw two MDC activists stoned
to death. Militia members pelted the two with bricks and rocks, taking about
three hours to kill the men.

"They said, 'They are activists of the MDC, so they should be killed in
order to kill the MDC.' "

Elizabeth, 30, an MDC activist and vegetable seller, says she was raped at
the same base before the election. She says some militia members wore sacks
or cardboard boxes on their heads to hide their faces. (Elizabeth also is
not known by that name in her community.)

As she was raped, militia members and other young women sang songs taunting
the opposition, such as, "Dig a hole and bury yourself, because your time
has come."

"It made it more terrifying. I didn't think I was going to survive," she

Unlike Asiatu, she was not kept at the base as a sex slave, but raped as a
punishment for her MDC loyalties. She later reported the names of her
assailants to the police, who arrested two men. But they were released two
days later without charges.

"Right now I fear they will come again," says Elizabeth, who has decided to
drop out as an MDC activist. "I just want to live a quiet life. I'm just
scared. But I'll still support the MDC."

Despite everything, she still believes that, somehow, change is coming. She
stares into midair, a slight smile curling her lips. She speaks in a dreamy
voice, almost as if she can see it materializing in front of her.

"I think it will come," she says. "I don't know when, but I know it will
come one day."

Asiatu has given up believing in the possibility of her own freedom, yet she
has not lost her belief that the country will somehow be transformed.

"If the situation continues like this, the country will remain ashes," she
says. But when she expresses her hopes, the fear seems to lift for a moment.
Her voice is firm and clear: "There's going to be a change. I feel change

Then it is time to return to the base.

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Robert Mugabe is more vulnerable to oil sanctions than Ian Smith

The Telegraph

By Nick Butler
Last Updated: 12:33am BST 07/07/2008

Forty years ago this week the UK parliament passed the formal order imposing
sanctions on Southern Rhodesia in accordance with Security Council
Resolution 253. Forty years on, the names and the faces have changed.

Salisbury is now Harare, Lourenco Marques - a name which could have been
invented to serve as the location for a Graham Greene novel - is now Maputo.
But the infrastructure of southern Africa has altered very little.

The main road and rail links from South Africa to Zimbabwe still run across
the Limpopo river at the Beit Bridge; the pipeline which brings oil still
stretches through Mozambique from the coastal port of Beira.

What happened to the sanctions regime after 1968 was chronicled in forensic
and gripping detail in the report published in 1978 by a young QC called Tom
Bingham, now our senior Law Lord.
The Bingham report describes the evolving situation from Southern Rhodesia's
first unilateral declaration of independence in 1965 onwards - the build-up
of stocks by the Smith government, the involvement of South Africa and
Portuguese-controlled Mozambique in deals which broke the spirit and the
letter of the sanctions order, including the creation of a front company
called Freight Services which bought oil from the majors - principally Shell
and BP - and delivered supplies to those known in South Africa under the
code name "our friends in the North".

The sanctions regime of the 1960s and 1970s was never likely to succeed. But
could oil sanctions work now? Has enough changed to make an attempt to use
oil to force Robert Mugabe from power a practical option? At first sight the
answer seems to be that so little oil is now used in Zimbabwe that sanctions
would make no difference.

The country is now so poor that oil consumption is below 20,000 barrels a
day - less than it was in the 1970s, despite an increase in population.
Prices for the very limited volumes sold are strictly controlled, inevitably
creating a black market. For the overwhelming majority of the population,
oil is simply unattainable.

In reality, however, oil supplies sustain the mobility - and therefore the
power - of the military. To cut off those supplies would immobilise the
force on which President Mugabe's regime depends.

Sanctions are often described as clumsy instruments which harm the innocent.
In this case the impact would fall primarily on those responsible for
oppression and could force a shift in the balance of power within the

Three suppliers account for the bulk of Zimbabwe's oil - Libya, Kuwait and
South Africa. Recent discussions with Equatorial Guinea to secure additional
supplies do not appear to have reached any conclusion.

Some of the oil majors - Shell, BP and Chevron - maintain what passes for a
network of retail stations but with supplies so limited most of the stations
are deserted.

Any sanctions would therefore focus, as in the 1960s and 1970s, on the
transit links - in particular the road link from South Africa and the
pipeline from Beira through Feruka to Msasa outside Harare. Does a
sufficient coalition exist to make sanctions more effective now?

Mozambique is nervous about being drawn into any conflict but is likely to
co-operate fully with any UN sanctions regime which is imposed. Around 80pc
of Zimbabwe's oil flows through the line from Beira. Most South Africans
detest the Mugabe regime and are highly nervous of an exodus of refugees
across the Northern border.

President Mbeki is still in power but his waning authority might not be
enough to counter the moral and political weight of a Security Council
decision. From the Bingham report it is clear that the governments of Harold
Wilson and Ted Heath saw sanctions as symbolic rather than as a way of
forcing a change of government.

Negotiations between London and Salisbury continued intermittently
throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The fact that the sanctions regime was not
working was obvious to all concerned at all times.

Things now are rather different. There is a real desire across the political
spectrum here and internationally to see Mugabe go. One suspects that Gordon
Brown and David Miliband are fully aware that stripping President Mugabe of
his honorary knighthood is not a sufficient policy.

Sanctions could work, particularly if they had the active support of the
Mozambique government in Maputo. The oil companies would not relish the
prospect of another sanctions-busting inquiry and could easily cut off the
flow of imported products, in particular the jet fuel which is bought by
those using Zimbabwe's airports. But the process of imposing sanctions would
be slow.

The most effective measure would be to interrupt supplies. Zimbabwe's
vulnerability is the concentration of the supply lines. If the single
pipeline link were broken and the road and rail crossings closed at the Beit
Bridge, President Mugabe would have no alternative sources within reach.

Robert Mugabe is now more vulnerable to a loss of oil supplies than Ian
Smith, the Rhodesian premier, ever was. The question is whether Western
leaders have the nerve to defy the inevitable charges of colonialism by
denying Mugabe the oil he needs to survive.

Nick Butler is chairman of the Centre for Energy Studies at Judge Business
School, University of Cambridge

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How Inflation May Topple Mugabe

Wall Street Journal

July 7, 2008

Amid Zimbabwe's political violence is an economic lesson for anyone who
doesn't keep an eye on inflation. The country's dictator, Robert Mugabe, who
was sworn in on June 29 to his sixth term as president, has killed a few
hundred of his opponents in the past few months, but his country's inflation
is killing far more than that. With food aid only trickling back into the
country and hundreds of thousands without enough cash to buy food, it was
clear during a trip there last month that the crisis is deepening.

Consumer prices have more than doubled every month this year, in some cases
doubling every week. A conservative estimate provided by Robertson Economic
Information Services, a Southern African consultancy, says that prices are
now three billion fold greater than seven years ago. That's right, billion.
The exchange rate is currently an astronomical 90 billion Zimbabwe dollars
to one U.S. dollar.

When I first went to Zimbabwe in 1996, $1 would buy you eight Zimbabwe
dollars - a depreciation in exchange rate of perhaps 10 billion fold in 12
years. A decade ago, 500,000 Zimbabwe dollars would have bought you a house;
today it can't buy you anything.

Incredibly, the situation on the ground is even worse than any available
data can reflect. Inflation numbers are almost meaningless, with some
reports showing that prices triple now on a daily basis, and for some food
items prices double hourly. Hyperinflation is approaching the status of the
post World War I Weimar Republic and post World War II Hungary, the worst
recorded inflations in history.

Joshua Kipuru (not his real name, since he is concerned about reprisals for
criticizing the government) told me via telephone that he gave up trying to
get cash at his bank in Harare last week, since the lines were too long and
slow moving. In the end Mr. Kipuru bought groceries with his debit card,
which remarkably still works. The card, he explained, maxes out at just
under 10 billion Zimbabwe dollars. So he had to run it 74 times, given that
his food bill was nearly 730 billion Zimbabwe dollars.

Buying anything is a "bizarre experience," said Lucy Chimtengwende from
Bulawayo, who spent $12 U.S. on lunch recently, with the bill in local
currency being an astonishing 1.1 trillion Zimbabwe dollars. The menu had no
prices on it, she told me by phone, prices are quoted to you and are
constantly changing. And if you want to pay by check, good luck. Most
proprietors don't accept them, and for those that do, the price is double,
given the time it takes the vendor to receive payment.

Ms. Chimtengwende was breaking the law by paying for her meal in U.S.
currency (or "greens" as they're known locally), as was the owner of the
restaurant accepting it. But the economy is dollarizing as the local
currency literally becomes worthless: "We are billionaires and can't buy
anything," bemoaned Mr. Kipuru.

The only immediate hope to end to this inflationary nightmare is if the
presses are turned off and the Mugabe government simply runs out of
currency. There are local indicators of this; the lines to get cash from
Harare's banks are getting longer by the day, suggesting a restriction in
the supply of banknotes.

Mugabe's supplier has also reportedly cut off the printing press. In the
weeks prior to the March 29 election, the German company, Giesecke &
Devrient (G&D), ran its printing presses at maximum capacity, delivering
432,000 sheets of banknotes to Mugabe's government each week. The money,
equivalent to nearly $173 trillion Zimbabwe dollars ($32 million at that
time), was then dispersed among key constituencies, notably the security
forces, as bribes.

After the March election, G&D kept the presses running, worsening the
situation. Thankfully, after a public protest outside its German
headquarters, critical articles in the German and international press, and
pressure from the German foreign ministry, G&D announced on July 1 that it
would stop printing the bank notes.

It is uncertain how much of a supply Mugabe's regime still has, but with the
current inflation rate driving demand for cash skyward, it is possible the
regime will run out of notes in weeks, unless another supplier, perhaps from
China, steps in.

While the international community, the African Union and Zimbabwe's
neighbors may not be able to stop Mugabe, the economy might. With no means
of exchange, a barter economy is already taking hold with services being
traded instead of cash. If Mugabe doesn't relinquish power soon, Zimbabwe
will resemble a medieval economy - and a poor one at that - within weeks.

Mr. Bate is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Why African leaders have not condemned Mugabe

New Vision, Uganda

Sunday, 6th July, 2008
By David Mpanga

If a white fiction writer had dreamt up the Zimbabwe-under-Mugabe plot, he
would have been roundly condemned as an Afro-pessimist and a racist. But we
have all seen that after ruining the Zimbabwean economy with misplaced
policies, purportedly intended to emancipate the downtrodden black man,
Mugabe "secured" an 85.51% "landslide victory" by beating his opponents into

Having failed to declare official results for over a month when it looked
like the great hero of the revolution was losing, the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission reclaimed its reputation for efficiency by counting all of the
ballots and verifying the results of the presidential run-off election in
one day. So it is back to business-as-usual in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe is back in the driving seat, attending big conferences for African
big men and haranguing the West. While Morgan Tsvangirai (of the Movement
for Democratic Change) is still the BBC's favourite opposition leader,
hiding out in a Western embassy and giving "secret" interviews, which prove
what the Baganda have known for some time; the cockerel's crowed curses do
not kill the kite (ebikolimo by'enkoko tebitta kamunye).

Now the West is aghast as to why African leaders have failed to come out and
condemn Mugabe's actions in unequivocal terms instead of feting him as a
hero at the African Union Summit in Egypt.

But African leaders deserve some sympathy here. For once they are doing the
right thing by refusing to be hypocrites. They cannot condemn Mugabe for
abusing his people's rights, ruining his country's economy or rigging
elections because all of them are guilty of those very sins to varying
degrees. Moreover, by plumbing the depths of moral and political depravity,
Mugabe has handed all of the African leaders a "get out of jail free" card
by setting the governance standard for Africa so low that Uganda, for
example, can now claim to be at par with the Netherlands. So how can you
expect our leaders to condemn a man who is their true hero and mentor?

African revolutionary leaders are firm believers in a twisted version of
Jesus' admonition - Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. They see
no reason why they should not sin against their own people because the West,
being guilty of the sin of colonialism, cannot cast any stones at them.

The West has also come to expect African leaders to sin against their people
and therefore finds itself caught up in the morally dubious position of
calling upon corrupt and murderous election-riggers that it supports to
condemn a corrupt and murderous election-rigger whom it no longer supports.

Yet we, the much-abused African people, are ourselves not without sin. We
are guilty of the sin of apathy. We expect that it is the duty of someone
else to guarantee our inherent human rights to peace, democracy and good
governance. Thus, we have become the perpetual victims of egomaniacal
demagogues and warlords who "liberate" us from colonialism or African
oppressors at the price of turning our countries into their personal
fiefdoms and we, the apathetic Africans, into their slaves. African leaders
will only condemn the bad deeds of other leaders if we the African people
stop tolerating, facilitating and participating in corruption, nepotism,
waste and human rights abuse at home. In reality we are all Zimbabweans to a
degree. We are violated by our black skinned oppressors who, ironically,
oppress us in the name of liberating us. Only our active participation in
holding our governments to account and in guaranteeing our own basic
freedoms will stop all of our leaders from becoming absolute Mugabes.

The writer is a lawyer

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ZACF interviews two libertarian activists from Zimbabwe

by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front - ZACF Sunday, Jul 6 2008, 8:39pm address: Postnet Suite 47, Private Bag X1, Fordsburg, 2033, South Africa

A member of the ZACF poses the same set of questions to two activists from Zimbabwe.

The first interviewee, Biko Mutsaurwa, is an anarcho-communist from the Uhuru Network and facilitator for the Toyi Toyi Artz Kollektive in Harare.
The second interviewee is Comrade Fatso, AKA Samm Farai Monro, a cultural activist and artistic facilitator for Magamba! The Cultural Activist Network.

The interviews were conducted in Johannesburg on 21st of June, 2008 - the day before MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced his decision to not participate in the June 27 presidential election run-off.

Interview with Biko Mutsaurwa, anarcho-communist from the Uhuru Network and facilitator for the Toyi Toyi Artz Kollektive. Conducted in Johannesburg on 21st June 2008 by the ZACF.

ZACF: Have you heard about the regime's alleged 3-stage election scheme ("electoral cleansing", falsify the vote, declare a state of emergency)?

Biko: About the regimes intentions to outrightly rig the Zimbabwe electoral outcome I could say that i am convinced merely from watching the regimes reactions to the 29th March elections results that Mugabe has refused to accept that he was defeated in that election. The state media has continued to propagate the myths that there was no election winner. So I’m clear that their intention was to rig the election. With regards to how the regime is actually intent on cleansing after the elections, decimating the middle lay of activists within the Movement for Democratic Change I could say that I have second hand information, actually I got it from my mother who was forced-marched to a ZANU PF rally this Wednesday, 18th June 2008 where war veterans from the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association addressed that rally and they came to say that they were not there to campaign but they were there to inform the people that ZANU PF was not going to accept the electoral victory of MDC and also that they were going to come back to beat up the residents of Chitungwiza, where I stay with my family, primarily because Chitungwiza has been traditionally voting for the MDC.

ZACF: Can you tell us something about conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe, the extent of repression etc.. We'd like to hear about something else other than the repeated arrests of Tsvangirai & other MDC big-shots.

Biko: The arrests of senior MDC leaders comes in the wake of ZANU PF’s realisation that this time around the MDC leadership is prepared to call upon the masses of Zimbabwe to rise up and defend their vote using peoples power.The specific incident that gave rise to this awakening in terms of ZANU PF’s realisation was Tendai Biti’s announcement of the parallel voter tabulation result on 30th March. The arrests are merely a signal that ZANU PF is going to incapacitate the higher MDC leadership and later decimate the middle-layer MDC leadership that is community organisers so that there is no organised resistance in the wake of ZANU PF’s rigging of elections but also, which is much widespread, there have been very serious instances of ZANU PF militia in the rural areas mutilating the bodies of murdered MDC activists. A case in point is a very close friend of mine, Comrade Tonderai Ndira, who was a community organiser but also - in the wake of what is happening - was agitating for the armed self-defence of the oppressed communities particularly in the rural areas. He was murdered in one of the rural areas by the Central Intelligence Organisation in the remote rural district. His brother could only recognise him by a wrist band that he wore. That is the extent to which ZANU PF is prepared to deal with ordinary people. There are so many numerous names of people that have been murdered by ZANU PF.

ZACF: And the economy: hyperinflation, availability of food & other basic necessities, unemployment are common knowledge. Perhaps you have some comments on the origin of the economic crisis?

Biko: The ZANU PF regime came into power masquerading as a socialist party. It had as part of its ideological tradition the Stalinist conception of revolution. By 1991 even workers rose up against the ZANU PF dictatorship but by then it had consolidated its power and by 1990 ZANU PF had ceased to event act as a pseudo-leftist party and it outrightly embraced the right wing policies of the Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, by adopting the economic Structural Adjustment Programmes.The revolution that is currently underway in Zimbabwe is a revolution that has been sparked by the peoples reaction to the adverse effects brought about by the economic Structural Adjustment Programmes of the 1990s. By 1999 we see the formation of the MDC, and the rest is history.

ZACF: What is the role of the MDC? Have they handled things well or badly? Again, historical comments on how they've blundered in the past might be helpful.

Biko: The MDC emerged in 1999 from the initiatives of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions as a workers party, but by the year 2001 it had been hijacked by middle class intellectuals and capitalists and therefore became a cocktail of ideologies. There have been a big number of mistakes that have been committed by the MDC. The MDC has not aligned itself towards the working people in terms of its economic policies. The MDC continues to look outwards towards foreign direct investment from imperialists nations and mutli-national corporations as the way forward for rebuilding the decimated ZImbabwean economy. But in terms of strategy and tactics I believe that this time the MDC has learnt from its mistakes of not agitating for peoples power, but what remains a very serious weakness at this particular point is the inability to prepare the masses for an uprising. Yes its good enough to have the leadership calling for people to get into the streets, but its not good enough because you need to have the people prepared through training, through regular actions with regards to bread and butter struggles that people are going through, because only through action can people attain confidence in using action as means to liberate themselves, which is the only way for ZImbabwe.

ZACF: Can you tell us a little about the current state of resistance & prospects for the future; whether resistance is organised primarily or only by MDC or whether there’s other resistance; the trade unions movement, civics etc.?

Biko: The Zimbabwean pro-democracy movement has been infected by a disease that we call the ‘commodification of resistance syndrome’. There are a lot of NGOs getting a lot of money from imperialist nations but they are not organising concretely where the masses of the working people are. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions remains a militant organisation but it has been weakened by the high rate of unemployment. Our belief as the Uhuru Network is that the key focal point is organising in communities where the majority of working people are, and here we see the very significant role of the combined Harare residents associations, but we feel that the hierarchical structure of most of these organisations organising in the communities is an impediment to the workers and poor people organising themselves in a manner that actually embodies the new forms of organisation that we envision for a new Zimbabwe.

ZACF: Have you read an article by Dale McKinley of the APF on the strategy of resistance for Zimbabwe? And what were your thoughts?

Biko: I have read articles that comrade Dale wrote in response to a discussion that had been initiated by comrade Oupa Lehulere of Khanya College with regards to the centrality of the industrial working class proletariat contrasted to the role of the social movements organising in communities. I think by and large he does to an certain extent balance the role of social movements in communities with the industrial working class. What I’m not clear about is what kind of organisational structure comrade Dale argues before, because one of the major impediments that I myself have experienced in terms of organising is that workers are usually disempowered by the vanguardist politics of the revolutionary parties and the hierarchies in terms of central command, for example when organising strikes. So I can’t really say that I understand what comrade Dale would argue for in terms of structure, but that would be a key concern for me.

ZACF: Please tell us a bit about the regime's methods of repression. How far does it depend on firearms etc; how important is the Chinese connection in terms of arms trade etc.? Can you confirm whether or not the infamous arms shipment got through to Zimbabwe?

Biko: The shipment was actually confirmed to have been received by a minister in the regimes cabinet, so the shipment is in Zimbabwe now. It is also another thing though that the fascist regime is prepared to use all means of violence, firearms are central to that to suppress any resistance. So firearms are key. ZANU PF years ago trained youth militia under the National Youth Service Training Programme and those militia are currently on standby and will be unleashed after the elections for the cleansing of activists. Currently what they are using are the youth structures of their party which are by and large very active in all the various wards of the country. The police and the army were the first to perpetrate repression and violence and this we saw in the pre-29th March period and also of significance is the large number of activists who have been murdered, middle layer leaders within the MDC, who were actually murdered by members of the army during Operation Command which is in charge of running the country. The army the police and the CIO.

ZACF: What about the repressive forces receiving training in Korea?

Biko: It is very key because I’m in fact aware of a number of places, particularly in Harare’s Milton suburb that are being used as training centers by not only Korean but also Chinese military personnel to train ZANU PF cadres in methods of torture. This I can confirm because I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes.

ZACF: How long is it actually going to take to get rid of Mugabe, and what happens then? A government of national unity or the MDC? What kind of policies will such a government adopt? Is there a danger of a return to neo-liberalism; and what can be done to resist this?

Biko: Frankly I am not a firm believer in parliamentary politics as a tool for the liberation of the working and poor people, so I’m pretty much indifferent to what is going to happen after Mugabe because what is clear to me is that the working and poor people in Zimbabwe are not ready to take control of their lives because they have been brainwashed by the ideology of the ruling class. The MDC, if assumes in power - which I would say will happen in the next year or so if peoples power and the resistance is organised properly - will pursue neo-liberal polices. The only positive thing that I can see about an MDC government is slightly broadened democratic space within which I think revolutionary organisations, activists and movements can operate much more flexibly to fight neo-liberalism.

ZACF: What about the role of other regional and international powers, such as South Africa, UK, US, and China? Economic interests, inter-imperialist rivalries, links to government & opposition etc.

Biko: Central to efforts by the international community to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis has been South Africa, particularly Thabo Mbeki’s role as the mediator of the Sadc initiated dialog. Thabo Mbeki I think is by and large motivated by the South African state’s sub-imperialist interest in the economy of Zimbabwe. I think also key to understanding his relationship to ZANU PF is the relationship between the ANC, as a party, to ZANU PF. We must also understand that Comrade Mbeki, if I might call him a comrade (laughs), was educated - or his education was financed - by ZANU PF; he was staying in Harare at the hospitality of Robert Mugabe, and when he goes to meet Robert Mugabe he meets him as his superior in terms of the nationalists as a movement. The role of the West and the UK is motivated by the failure of the ZANU PF regime to resolve the land issue in ZImbabwe and also the question of ownership of means of production, which is central to the struggle. The United Kingdom, as a state, harbors a hope that they might be able to reverse the loss of the estates and perhaps companies or economic interests in Zimbabwe as a result of Mugabe’s pseudo-leftist parties if an MDC government comes to power. The US is an imperialist nation whose motives around “resolving” international problems is purely economic. They would want to open up the economy of Zimbabwe to the multinational corporations that come from that particular state. So they do not have the interests of the Zimbabwean people at heart. In terms of the international community helping with the resolution of the crisis it can only be people to people solidarity; poor and working people, revolutionaries and organisations - similar minded - in various countries all over the world rendering solidarity to the Zimbabwe people with the interests of the empowerment of poor and working people in Zimbabwe.

ZACF: What can you say about Thabo Mbeki, and do you think that Jacob Zuma will be any better when he comes to power?

Biko: The relationship with the Zimbabwean state if ZANU PF is in power will clearly be acrimonious because Jacob Zuma appears to be the new favourite puppet of the West in light of his ability to hoodwink the trade unions - Cosatu as a movement - into supporting him. It has become clear I think to most of the imperialists that Jacob Zuma has the popular support of the people but he is clearly another puppet in terms of his relations with companies, the capitalists, and arms dealers and he won’t have anything to offer the people of Zimbabwe, the ordinary masses; but he will be, after Mbeki, the imperialists next favourite puppet in terms of how their strategies are implemented within the Southern African region.

ZACF: In terms of international solidarity, what can we do? Who is helping in SA and elsewhere?

Biko: The transportation workers union I think signaled the direction that workers need to take, unlike what we have seen - even though Cosatu has been militant at times - but we have seen a lot of talk-shops around what’s going on in Zimbabwe. But I think concrete action along the lines of what SATAWU did in stopping the shipment of arms is the next direction.

ZACF: Any comments on the recent so-called xenophobic pogroms in South Africa? Anything about Zimbabweans who fled the pogroms back across the Limpopo? How significant is this from a Zimbabwean point of view and what does it say about the South African government and people?

Biko: Firstly I’d like to register my understanding of the fundamental causes of the xenophobic attacks which I think are primarily rooted in the rate of unemployment currently obtained in South Africa, which is a direct result of the capitalist economic structure that the South African state is pursuing, and also the artificial food shortages which are superficially created by the global capitalist complex in order to initiate a hike in prices. I think those particular causes resonate with the situation obtaining in Zimbabwe and do point to us having a common enemy, which is capitalism. It is particularly disappointing though that the xenophobic attacks also point towards and indicate to us the lack of understanding of each others struggles that we as working people face, which we have to overcome in order to be able to overcome the system. The impact of people fleeing the xenophobic attacks and coming back to Zimbabwe has on one hand the effect of bolstering the vote of the MDC, because clearly those people are people who are disaffected by the ZANU PF regime. But it has also tragically had the effect of worsening their plight because the violence that did obtain in that short period in South Africa is incomparable to the violence being perpetrated by the ZANU PF regime back home, and these people are primary targets because most of them did flee after some resistance activities and it is like throwing these activists back into the lion’s den, and this is the tragedy of our situation.

ZACF: There are rumors that MDC agents could actually have acted as provocateurs and brought about these attacks in order to cause Zimbabweans to flee back home and therefore bolster their support during the elections. Do you think this is a possibility, or do you think its the South African government trying to divert responsibility?

Biko: Whilst I cannot really comment with confidence about what really happened in South Africa as I was in Zimbabwe I am inclined to believe that third force conspiracies are really something to drive us away from the responsibility that the ANC government has towards the poor and working people in South Africa which is the fundamental cause. Like I said before the MDC is actually a cocktail of ideologies and is a party that cuts across class; most of the influential people in the MDC are not really pro-working people so it is actually possible that people whose interests do not lie with the working people might be able to have their buddies to influence this but I would much rather focus on the role that the polices pursued by the ANC government have had on the xenophobic attacks.

ZACF: What role do you think nationalism might have played in these attacks?

Biko: Capital is globalised, the capitalist in Jo’burg is able to send huge amounts of money to Harare in seconds whereas the peoples’ movement is restricted by these borders, and that people are forced to recognise these ideological constructs limited to the ruling classes propaganda with these geographical zones and I think that has been key to shaping the thoughts that we have seen manifest in this very tragic way during the xenophobic attacks. And I think that our role as progressives and revolutionaries is then to try to share the ideas that we uphold of a world that has no borders, and I think that is the way forward in addressing xenophobia across the world.

ZACF: Any messages to the international anarchist movement? Any appeals or suggestions for how the international anarchist movement can support the struggle in Zimbabwe and help the advancement of anarchist ideas there?

Biko: Firstly, ahoy comrades and we appreciate the efforts that the movement has been receiving so far. We as the Uhuru Network have significantly benefited from our relationship with the ZACF in terms of the literature that we have managed to get and also the experiences that we share with comrades. Currently the realisation that we need to remind each other that the anarchist movement is a very small movement within the broader leftist movement but also within the pro-democracy movement and that our true anarchist comrades are at risk, especially when we have levels or repression such as are obtaining in Zimbabwe. We need to constantly communicate, interact, share experiences and also information about actions happening because when shit hits the fan it is only an anarchist that will be able to give appropriate solidarity to a fellow anarchist comrade.

Toyi Toyi Artz Kollektive

Interview with Comrade Fatso AKA Samm Farai Monro, cultural activist and artistic facilitator for Magamba! The Cultural Activist Network, Zimbabwe. Conducted in Johannesburg on 21st June 2008 by the ZACF.

ZACF: Have you heard about the regime's alleged 3-stage election scheme ("electoral cleansing", falsify the vote, declare a state of emergency)?

Fatso: I heard of this plan, I think I read about it in the media and its obvious that they’re going ahead with the first two. At least there definitely is electoral cleansing going on, in the sense of getting rid of opposition support from the rural areas, where the majority of voters are, and also getting rid of any local election observers and poll monitors. And on declaring a state of emergency; its quite likely that’s something they could do in the build up to or straight after the elections. All they’d need is a peaceful demonstration or even less they could once against fabricate stories of supposed conspiracies, and I wouldn’t put that beyond them.

ZACF: Do you think this is an accurate understanding of Mugabe's intentions and, if so, will he pull it off?

Fatso: I think what is likely is they will rig the elections. They’ve shown they don’t give a damn about even the foreign observers; there have been two people shot in front of Namibian election observers a couple of days ago. If they don’t declare a state of emergency a very likely scenario is that, after winning, they’ll patch together a government of national unity which would be more in the sense of absorbing the MDC and then slowly taking it apart as it becomes part of the government, which of course ZANU PF would run.

ZACF: Can you tell us something about conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe, the extent of repression etc.. We'd like to hear about something else other than the repeated arrests of Tsvangirai & other MDC big-shots.

Fatso: What’s going on on the ground is the abduction, torture and murder of grassroots activists from across the board. Mainly MDC activists are being targeted but also those from Women of Zimbabwe Arise, from the National Constitutional Assembly, different movements have also been targeted. Four bodies of MDC activists were found a few days ago. They were from Chitungwiza, which is the biggest township in Harare, and they had been abducted, tortured, beaten and murdered. And there are also political prisoners. WOZA’s leadership has been arrested and is being held until after the elections. What ZANU has now started is that dictatorial trend of taking political prisoners, which it didn’t necessarily do in the past. Those are some of the things that are happening.

ZACF: And the economy: hyperinflation, availability of food & other basic necessities, unemployment are common knowledge. Perhaps you have some comments on the origin of the economic crisis?

Fatso: Everyone knows about the hyper inflation and that we’re moving into the trillions. You have to spend trillions of dollars on certain basic things. Economically there has been a decline, really since the 1990s, with the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes and the commercialisation of parastatals, the removal of tariffs on Western imported goods and the removal of subsides that supported local industry. All of this was World Bank backed Structural Adjustment Programmes which led to the average worker being twice as poor in 1995 as they were in 1980, it led to a large amount of school drop-outs, it led to increased unemployment and worse wages. So the economic decline really started more in the 1990s, and that’s something that doesn’t get reported on that much in foreign media. And of course then this precipitated Mugabe fighting against those demanding economic justice; the workers and students. Mugabe fighting against them by using the land issue, and beginning to repress his opposition and destroying the economy in order to entrench their patronage system; so there’s been a steady decline since the mid-nineties until now.

ZACF: What is the role of the MDC? Have they handled things well or badly? Again, historical comments on how they've blundered in the past might be helpful.

Fatso: I give respect to MDC for having fought the struggle and for having risked so much. I do think that strategically they’ve made mistakes, and their relationship with the people hasn’t always been as direct as it should have been and their information hasn’t gotten out as much as it should have. I do respect them still for putting themselves in the forefront of the struggle, but I think also that there has to be a lot more coordination with the civics and social movements.

ZACF: Some people have criticised Tsvangirai for having spent so long outside of Zimbabwe, trying to muster International support instead of providing leadership on the ground. Any comments?

Fatso: I think it was, on the one hand, a wise idea for him to leave the country and drum up support in the region. I think he achieved a lot within Sadc. Definitely he achieved quite a few breakthroughs with Sadc heads of state in getting them to support the peoples’ side of what’s going on in Zimbabwe, but I do think he stayed out for too long and peoples’ hopes started dissipating. And he is now back - I think he came back a bit late - but he is now back and he obviously always has risks of arrest and assassination on his head. You’ve seen what they’ve done to Tendai Biti the Secretary General, who is one of the key players and one of the brightest minds in the MDC. By taking Tendai out of the game they have definitely dealt quite a harsh blow to MDC.

ZACF: Can you tell us a little about the current state of resistance & prospects for the future; whether resistance is organised primarily or only by MDC or whether there’s other resistance; the trade unions movement, civics etc.?

Fatso: I think there’s various types of resistance, MDC’s is one form. Amongst the civics I think the most powerful movement is Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a very powerful social movement made up of women, which focuses on social justice issues, takes to the streets where necessary, believes in direct action and is a national movement that has got sections all over the country. And then there are other forms of resistance. There are the civics, and there’s those like ourselves that use arts and culture in the struggle. We’ve got our network Magamba! The Cultural Activist Network, and we put on different resistance shows as ways of keeping peoples inspiration high, giving people that food for resistance. I think there are different forms of resistance that happen and no, its not at all exclusively the MDC.

ZACF: At the Southern African Social Forum in 2005 you had a performance in Harare Gardens that was openly critical of the regime, in broad view of everyone, yet there wasn’t any state repression metered out against people that participated. Is that because of the high profile of cultural activists, or what do you attribute that to?

Fatso: It’s a difficult one. They do come and threaten and monitor; they monitor our performances, they call us up afterwards to interrogate us informally. Sometimes they probably think their presence is enough to stop people coming, and sometimes their presence does stop some people coming into our shows. We’ve had that before, where people said “No I’m not coming in because I know those guys, I know what they’re capable of”. But their strategy is also to censor the arts, I mean my album has been banned. They’ve given a blanket silence in all state media meanwhile the non-state media has given it very good reviews -of course, its a resistance album - but they censor those who don’t support them.

ZACF: Please tell us a bit about the regime's methods of repression. How far does it depend on firearms etc; how important is the Chinese connection in terms of arms trade etc.?

Fatso: The regime will always resort to using arms and especially right now, in the build up to elections, there are more reports of people being shot. The soldiers and Youth Militia are all being used in an attempt to destroy the peoples will. With regards to the Chinese, there has been an important connection there; they have provided everything from police vehicles, baton sticks, army vehicles, arms and the like. So there is a definite connection.

ZACF: Can you confirm whether or not the infamous arms shipment got through to Zimbabwe?

Fatso: I’ve got no specific information of on that.

ZACF: How long is it actually going to take to get rid of Mugabe, and what happens then? A government of national unity or the MDC? What kind of policies will such a government adopt? Is there a danger of a return to neo-liberalism; and what can be done to resist this?

Fatso: One never knows how long it will take to get rid of Mugabe, but I do think its the final days of ZANU PF. I don’t think they can go on much longer. I think a form of government of national unity is what would come about, even MDC have talked of this; that there is such polarisation in Zimbabwe that the MDC alone may not be able to take all the people with it. So there is likelihood that if the MDC was to form a government of them bringing in certain elements of ZANU PF, more reformed so-called progressive elements. There are progressive aspects to what MDC wants to put in place; they talk a lot about a people-based economy and people-centered constitution, but it needs to be seen in practice because one problem with Zimbabwe is that there’s a big likelihood that, in a new, independent and free Zimbabwe, that in order to get foreign investment a lot of the country and its resources will be sold off to foreign investors and foreign corporations. That would be a very quick-fix way of bringing money into the economy, but of course we’d end up seeing resources being in the hand of foreigners and Zimbabweans not benefiting. So I think that’s one think to look out for, and another is getting into debt. We have a huge illegitimate foreign debt that we should not pay. Some of it was incurred by Rhodesia and the rest was incurred by ZANU PF and none of that should be paid back; its illegitimate. The policies that should be put in place should be policies that focus more on social and economic justice, and I think that if those kind of policies don’t start to be put in place then people, because the democratic space would technically be larger under the MDC one would hope, people will still have that knowledge and tradition of the basic struggles for water, the basic struggles for food that formed a lot of the core struggles during our struggle for democracy today and would hopefully be able to continue the struggle for social and economic justice. I don’t think it ends with MDC being in power, I think freedom is never fully attained and a lot of the movements will morph into new movements and new movement will be born and the struggle for peoples basic socio-economic rights will continue.

ZACF: What about the role of other regional and international powers, such as South Africa, the UK, US, and China? Economic interests, inter-imperialist rivalries, links to government & opposition?

Fatso: I think a new Zimbabwe will be a prime picking ground for South Africa, the UK, US and also I think its very important for any government in place to be aware of what progressive policies have to be in place and not selling off the country and its assets, because Zimbabwe had the second biggest industrial base in the region with self-sufficiency in food, and that’s something which has to be reestablished without selling it out to the foreigners.

ZACF: What can you say about Thabo Mbeki, and do you think that Jacob Zuma will be any better when he comes to power?

Fatso: I think Mbeki has been an absolute dismal failure in being the Sadc appointed mediator. Zuma’s statements have been progressive, but then he’s also someone who is known to be a populist and known to ride on popular waves of popular thinking. So his statements and the new ANC leadership’s statements on Zimbabwe have been much more progressive than anything we’ve heard from Mbeki and his ANC, but the proof of it will be in the action rather than in the public statements.

ZACF: In terms of international solidarity, what can we do? Who is helping in SA and elsewhere?

Fatso: I think a lot of Zimbabwean people were very empowered by the regional solidarity that came about from the civics especially in South Africa around the arms issue, Cosatu affiliated trade unions refusing to offload, refusing to transport the shipment. The South African Litigations Center taking the boat to court. I think that was very powerful civic solidarity; the South African government had nothing to do with it. That was showing how social movements and civics can be a powerful force for good within society. So I think actions like that where social movements take the forefront, don’t wait for governmental action, I think that’s important. Many forms of solidarity can happen; even in the concert today when people walk in they will sign individual letters addressed to Thabo Mbeki on Zimbabwe, and those will be sent to him. So different forms of awareness raising, different forms of solidarity are key in struggle.

ZACF: Any comments on the recent so-called xenophobic pogroms in South Africa? Anything about Zimbabweans who fled the pogroms back across the Limpopo? How significant is this from a Zimbabwean point of view and what does it say about the South African government and people?

Fatso: I think what its shown is what happens after more than ten years of elitist policies within South Africa that have lead to a blossoming so-called black diamond middle class and a hugely growing economy but a population where 40% are unemployed and most of the people live in absolutely squalid conditions. That should be a wake-up call. The neo-liberal policies that have been in place have not worked, they’ve benefitted the rich and not the poor and that should be a wake-up call to the ANC about what policies its putting in place. And at the same time, from our side, a better Zimbabwe means a better South Africa in the sense that we won’t have all these refugees coming over to South Africa if we didn’t have the crisis in Zimbabwe in the first place.

Comrade Fatso
Magamba! The Cultural Activist Network


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Bank warns of liquidity crunch in Zim financial sector

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou Monday 07 July 2008

HARARE - A leading Zimbabwe bank has warned that the country's financial
sector may face a liquidity crunch owing to a new regime of interest rates
announced last week by the central bank in a bid to tame run-away inflation
now estimated by banks and independent analysts to be above 10 000 000

Kingdom Financial Limited in a market report described the new interests
rates as "frighteningly high" and "out of sync" with inflationary trends.

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last Wednesday reviewed secured and
unsecured overnight accommodation rates to 8 500 percent and 9 500 percent
from 6 500 percent and 7 000 percent respectively.

"These interest rates are very frighteningly high and out of sync with the
inflation rates of around 10 million percent," the bank said. "The rates are
too ghastly to contemplate if one takes into account their effect on bank
survival in the event of a money market liquidity crunch which will force
banks to go to the central bank for accommodation."

The bank said money market liquidity has, hitherto, been sustained by fiscal
and quasi-fiscal expenditures through tobacco and gold purchases, civil
service salary inflows, presidential election administration expenditures
and funds going towards various subsidised credit facilities.

"The high policy rates have created a situation whereby banks are now
dangerously vulnerable to the continued existence of high expenditures by
the authorities because any slow down in their fiscal and quasi-fiscal
activities will cause weeping and gnashing of teeth by banks and their
clients," Kingdom Financial Limited warned.

The bank appealed to the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe to engage the
central bank with an aim of reducing the interest rates in order to avoid an
imminent "liquidity crunch."

In 2003, Zimbabwe's financial sector faced a serious liquidity crunch that
saw the central bank closing more than 10-asset management companies and
about six building societies and commercial banks.

Gono blamed the crisis on corruption in the financial sector and poor
corporate governance.-ZimOnline

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From Zimbabwe to the C-Suite

Business Week
Our responsibilities for addressing bad leadership. It occurs not just in politics, but in the workplace and everyday life
 June 30, 2008 10:27 AM

During the last week the tut-tutting morphed into screaming and yelling. But it was too little too late. Despite all the recent hand-wringing and blame-gaming by many of the world's most powerful and prominent leaders, Zimbabwe's longtime despot, Robert Mugabe, received 85.5 % of the vote in Friday's sham election. So without further ado he went ahead before the weekend was over and had himself sworn in, for the sixth time, as president.

The question now is what can be learned from this experience. What happened in Zimbabwe is not, of course, idiosyncratic. Human history is chock full of examples of bad leaders, even evil leaders, who do what they want when they want in spite of what others think or say.

Let's be clear-eyed then. Let's admit that Mugabe got away with murder. He reminded us, because apparently we still need reminding, that leaders who have power and authority, and who are determined at all costs to keep what they have, can do so. More precisely, they can and they will do so unless and until someone from somewhere, from inside or outside, stops them.

Bad leaders, especially the really bad ones, do not wake up one fine morning, see the light, and on their own volition reform. Not on your life. In fact, history teaches just the opposite. The worse leaders are, and the more deeply embedded they are, the more willing and able they are to defy their enemies and squelch the opposition.

What, then, is to be done? Are we destined, doomed to be bystanders? Are we destined, doomed, even when faced with the worst of the worst, to being ineffectual altogether? Or are there some things that can and should be done, some things that we, as followers, can and should do to stop or, at least, to slow, bad leadership? Recall that though I am talking here about a tyrant, bad leadership in its various guises is ubiquitous.

So the question of what to do is not exactly exogenous. It arises in everyday life, in the workplace and in the market place, as well as in world affairs. Here, then, are some rules to effect, in so far as humanly possible. They can guide all of us who encounter bad leadership, be it in public or private settings, and whether we are participants or simply observers.

Have the punishment fit the crime. Mugabe, for example, could be tried at some point in The Hague, at the international tribunal which has been increasingly empowered by public opinion to consider cases resembling his. Nor should corporate leaders be exempt from this general rule. They too must be held to account for wrongdoing.

Institutionalize checks and balances. Again, this applies not only to the public sector, but also to the private one, in which agents such as boards and shareholder activists are, in fact, being emboldened to take on errant chief executives.

Institutionalize term limits. Whether a large group or a small organization, this is a simple enough device, intended to preclude people in positions of authority from abusing their authority over a long period of time.

Obtain independent information. Never take the party line at face value. The party line is just that, no less and decidedly no more. Those of us lucky enough to be free agents owe it to ourselves and to others as well to take the time and trouble to secure information that is relatively objective, as opposed to subjective.

Find allies and if necessary take collective action. Going out on a limb to take on the powers that be is generally risky, and mostly ineffective. Better to act in concert, than to be a lone ranger.

Act early. The more deeply entrenched the bad leader, the more difficult he, or she, is to uproot. Timing, then, is all. Waiting to spring into action until things trend from bad to worse is a mistake, nearly without exception.

Provided by Harvard Business—Where Leaders Get Their Edge

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Hold on a moment while I "Collapse"


We often get asked "why on earth do you continue to stay in Zimbabwe"?

Well the answers are many and varied, wonderful weather, amazing people,
gentle lifestyle ...... (oops unable to say that too often these days !!)

One thing that has always astonished to me is the gradual downward slide
that has occurred in this country. If we had gone to sleep as life was in 1980, the
war of independence was over, those who had left had already left, life was tenable
if not darn good.

But if we had woken up the next day, and found  Zimbabwe as it is today, we
would undoubtedly have packed and been gone within a week.....

It was the gentle and gradual slide of the nicer things in life, that passed
us by, as they happened oh so slowly , and as we got used to one horror, so another
arrived to eclipse the previous one.

Somehow thirty years down the line, we are still on the downward spiral, the
only difference is that the spiral is not gradual anymore ,

it is pretty well perpendicular  and instead of scrabbling around a bit
trying not to slip down the  slope, we are all hanging on by our veritable fingernails, our
feet dangling precariously, flailing madly,  in mid air.

"Meltdown" is a favourite by -word these days, "economic collapse"..... is
it here ? surely, has it happened and we did not notice because of its slow insidious
tentacles enfolding us all and dragging us down into te quick sand ?

I tried to visualise a country "collapsing" I closed my eyes and I saw
buildings in ruins, bricks and mortar tumbled around like those boulders at the Giants Causeway
at Maleme Dam.

I envisaged, slow hordes of people pushing scanias along the Beitbridge
Road, their pitiful bundles piled inside, photos, albums, precious papers, with Aunty
Bettys ashes  perched on the top in a wooden casket. (I always did have an over
active imagination !!)

The movie "Gone with the wind" springs to mind, as I remember the scene
where the blood covered soldiers tramped home in their droves, bandages on their
heads, ragged grey overcoats bloodstained and in complete tatters.  ( Oh yes I have
always had a very vivid imagination to say the least !!)

The once beautiful homestead called "Tara" is in the background and it is a
blackened  ruin with smoke  pyres rising into the grey skies.........

And yes while this very scene has indeed happened to many of the folk in
this country, farmers, villagers, businessmen even Members of Parliament ,have
all had to cope with the destruction of their lives and their livelihoods. Countless
lives have been lost, countless lives have been ruined, the country has still not officially

Some say it is the money from the "diaspora" that is keeping us going ......
it is certainly not the economy, as that is definitely in tatters.

Banks collapse don't they ?

Certainly three of the biggest banks in Zimbabwe had the collywobbles last
month as the monthly wages for some of Zimbabwe's companies launched into the
trillions and the banks computers just could not cope. Hundreds of people we not paid. We
waited for three weeks for money to arrive in our bank !!

What comes after trillions ? Quadrillions are next and then quintillions ?
That is obviously why we did Latin at school, so we could count our money......

What would one take if one had to make a run for the border, I mused, would
I take my photos,? Precious documents certainly like birth certificates etc.
Jewelry of course and not much else as there would be no room on the scania or donkey cart !!

Most of our systems have already collapsed ... power provision is erratic ,
water provision is inadequate. Formal fuel supplies are non existent, utility
bills do not arrive and have to be called for.... cell phones are frustrating to the
point of mass murder and the road repair system is faltering steadily.

Money supply is appalling, commodities in the shops are non existent and yet
we stay, we have our own systems which have replaced those that should be
provided by the government and the municipalities, (and for which we still pay
exorbitant taxes !!)

And yet we stay on, .... are we too old to move ? Too scared ? Too inured
with memories of life as it was in days gone by ?

For many folk in Zimbabwe life has probably not changed at all. The rural
folk never had anything before and they still have nothing, their lack of potable water
is nothing new, they never had electrification, they always grew their own crops and
really very little has changed in their lives except that their bellies gnaw a lot more
now than they used to ......

On the other hand there are many who have gained obscene wealth from the
largesse system.

Now being a capitalist, I have no problem with wealth, but when one has
become enormously wealthy at the expense of the country, that is a problem which
leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.

My cheque book is just far too small !! How does one write a cheque
containing fourteen digits in the miniscule space provided, one's writing has to become
minute to say the least. The largest cheque one can write as we speak is nine
hundred and ninety nine billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and
ninety nine thousand dollars and ninety nine cents !!

So as dinner for three on Tuesday night at a local restaurant was one
trillion three hundred billion dollars, we had to write two cheques for the pleasure !!
Mind you this was only about sixty US dollars but horrors with all those zeros !!

But we still have our friends, our lovely homes, our animals, our beautiful
gardens...... some if us lucky ones at least have these things, many are
living lives of desperation and quiet suffering. It is too awful to go to a shop these days
and see the grim faces of the elderly and the poor, shaking their heads in bewilderment,
trying in vain to count the zeros on the few goods that are available on the shelves.

However many of our lively youngsters are adamant that Zimbabwe is the only
place they wish to spend the rest of their lives !!

The glorious outdoors are still glorious, where on earth in the world can
you spend every weekend fishing, camping, boating and enjoying life's simple
pleasures. There is a very active mountain biking club, a Matopos Conservation Club, Boy
Scouting still has a very strong place in Bulawayo, we have ardent bird watchers too, and
life somehow goes on .....

The horrors of the first world are far away, we cannot afford video games,
we have no arcades and malls to "hang out" in. Porn, drugs and the like are quite far
removed from this country and instead the youngsters take advantage of a lifestyle
that is simple and carefree in the extreme.

I know God will not give me anything I cannot handle;
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much"

- Mother Teresa

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Close shave with Mugabe's Harlem allies

July 7, 2008

By Jane Taruvinga

NEW YORK - "Mugabe is right, U.S. hands-off Zimbabwe" was the headline that
caught my eye when a friend gave me a flyer which she picked from the
Abyssinian Church in Harlem, New York.

On the flyer was the name of an organization, the December 12th Movement. A
telephone number was listed and I called it. When a woman answered the phone
I asked her to clarify what the flyer meant.

"We are having an event on Thursday July 3rd at 6.30pm" she advised,
somewhat impatiently. "Come there and you will find out what we mean."

The line went dead.

Prior to this incident, I had watched and listened with horror to the news
coverage of Zimbabwe over the last three months. Most of my news sources
have been family, relatives and friends in Zimbabwe as well as online
newspapers run by Zimbabweans, because only state run newspapers are allowed
in today's Zimbabwe. They informed me that most schools in the countryside
outside the cities were deserted as the teachers had fled. Teachers were
being targeted for brutal victimisation by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF

Some of them had acted as polling agents in the March 29 elections, which
Mugabe lost. I read the heartbreaking story of a headmaster who, fearing for
his life had fled the school, but had returned after being assured of his
safety. A week after his return, he was kidnapped by Zanu-PF militiamen.
After two days, his worried wife found his Identity card, tie, shoes, and
pair of trousers on the verandah of their home.
She went to the police and was told to go to the local mortuary. His body
was there. I have seen pictures of people with their faces smashed in, their
backs raw and bones sticking out. I read about people whose homes had been
burned; people who had been murdered in cold blood.

Though these events were taking place far away back in Zimbabwe, the stories
were real to me because the names of the victims were familiar. These are
names that, no matter where they are in the world, if Zimbabweans hear such
names they immediately recognise them.

But in the comfort of my life here in New York, I thought I could switch on
and off the horrific drama that was unfolding in Zimbabwe when it suited me.
Then a week ago I received a phone call that my elderly parents in their
seventies had been beaten up by the notorious Zanu-PF youths, led by members
of the army. Mugabe's war had come too close to home. I was distraught with

I spent sleepless nights calling my sisters back at home, trying to persuade
them to go to our rural village. They were reluctant to go, because in the
rural areas far from the prying eyes of the world, Zanu-PF's militiamen were
unleashing an orgy of violence and intimidation. The rural peasants were
reliving the Chimurenga War of the 1970s. People were being rounded up and
made to sing war songs. The opposition supporters (MDC) were paraded and
forced to take turns beating each other up.

In our village, they went around beating up everyone, including a Mugabe
supporter, my father. My father's philosophy is simple. If people don't vote
for Mugabe, there will be war again. In past elections I threatened to
withdraw the money that I sent home. Then I threatened not to speak to him
if he went ahead and voted for Mugabe. But, when he became seriously ill and
needed surgery, I forked out the US$500.00 required.
I have at my disposal in New York many news sources out of Zimbabwe. I
remember telling my sisters on the phone that I had seen Tsvangirai's new
red campaign bus. I also told them of incidents that had happened outside
Harare, which they did not know about. My family's knowledge of what's
happening in Zimbabwe has been limited to what is passed on to them by word
of mouth. Sometimes they will find out what happened weeks after an incident
took place - like the beating of our sister-in-law's cousin and his wife
(both teachers) and their son.

When my sisters visited our sister-in-law they found out that she had just
arrived from visiting the trio in hospital. They are still in hospital
today, more than a month after the vicious assault.

It was against this background that I was driven by curiosity to find out
who these supporters of Mugabe in New York were. I asked a friend who has a
video camera to come along with me. My idea was not only to find out the
identity of these supporters but also to capture them on video.

When we arrived at the Abyssinian Church the event was already in progress.

The room was packed. I looked around me and noticed that most of the people
were old folk. There were a few young people. Perhaps I could best summarise
the people as mostly not college educated. I turned to the man seated next
to me and asked him how he had found out about the meeting. He grinned at
me, revealing a mouth half full of teeth, and pulled out a letter from WBAI.
"I am a member," he said with a grin."

I took the form from him. It was from WBAI, requesting members to send
contributions. I handed it back to him.

"Don't you listen to WBAI?" he asked me. "That's where I got the information
about this event, they announced it."

Sure enough, I noticed something that had not occurred to me before. Most of
the audience comprised WBAI listeners. I did an internship at the station a
few years ago. WBAI is an extreme left-wing radio station, which relies on
contributions from listeners. These members have a lot of control over the
program and if they don't like what they hear, they call up to complain.
When I went on air to read international news, which included reports about
the bloody land invasions in Zimbabwe, the listeners called the station soon
after I came off air. They called me names.

This was the crowd in that room. WBAI listeners and members - most of them
blacks - are basically anti-American government and anti-white. They are the
generally inflexible. They view every issue in a black or white context, and
regard all black people as victims of white oppression. And presiding over
them at Thursday's meeting was one Viola Plummer. She rallied against Human
Rights Watch, Amnesty International, accusing them of supporting the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe. The MDC, she told her
audience, was a front of the white people.

When a young black reporter asked her why Mugabe had banned all the NGOs,
she replied that they were distributing food as well as the opposition
pamphlets. What about Save the Children (UNCEF), the reporter asked.

"They are all the same," Plummer said, "including CARE. "

As her audience cheered her on, she vowed to fight to the death. Trade
unions in Zimbabwe were the most racist, she declared. The Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions, of which Morgan Tsvangirai was secretary general, has an
almost exclusively black membership. Plummer claimed that the international
organizations in Zimbabwe were funded by the Bush administration and the
British government.

To the people of Zimbabwe, Violet is a foreign dignitary. Over the last
several years, she and her entourage have been the guests of Robert Mugabe's
government. In his book, Against the Grain, Geoffrey Nyarota says as Zanu-PF's
circle of friends in the international community diminished, the December 12
Movement of Harlem in New York shot to prominence in Harare.

"The head of the movement acquired an avant-garde name, Comrade Coltrane
Chimurenga, to reinforce his revolutionary credentials," Nyarota says.
"Comrade Chimurenga and one Sister Violet Plummer undertook an annual
pilgrimage from Harlem to Harare, their visits timed to coincide with
Zimbabwe's independence celebrations on April 18.

"The delegation from Harlem was flown across the Atlantic and accommodated
in the five-star Sheraton Hotel at taxpayers' expense. After being feted,
entertained and flown to exotic tourist attractions like the Victoria Falls,
they were paraded at the Independence Day festivities.

"They inevitably granted so-called exclusive interviews to the Herald, the
Sunday Mail and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's radio and television
channels in which they extolled the virtues of the ruling party and the
allegedly profound wisdom of its leaders. They told Zimbabwe's
long-suffering taxpayers what a good job their President was doing for the
nation and urged them to support Zanu-PF unflinchingly.

"Soon after the land invasions in 2000, Comrade Chimurenga was quoted by the
government media as having unreservedly endorsed the 'Third Chimurenga', or
Third Revolution, whose centrepiece was the violent occupation of
white-owned farms. In New York, Mugabe relied on the December 12 Movement to
organise an occasional demonstration, even at short notice - rent-a-crowd
events, as Bill Saidi aptly summed up their timely interventions - in
support of Zimbabwe's President and government."

An editorial in the June 12, 2007, issue of the New York Daily News has this
to say of Plummer. "Who is Viola Plummer? Let's go to the record. In 1985,
she stood trial with seven co-defendants on charges of plotting to crash out
of prison two members of the gang that pulled off the 1981 Brink's armored
car robbery in which a guard and two cops were killed in Rockland County.

"Acquitted of the most serious charges, other members of the group,
including Plummer's son Robert Taylor, were convicted of possessing weapons
such as dynamite and machine guns. In the transcript of an undercover
recording introduced at the trial, a leader of the bunch, Coltrane
Chimurenga, instructed Taylor in the ways of armed robbery."

As she angrily rallied against white injustice here and abroad last
Thursday, her audience cheered and clapped their hands. She characterised
what was happening in Zimbabwe as white retaliation for the land invasions.
Some in the audience were wearing Zanu-PF T-shirts with the campaign
message: "100% empowerment, VOTE for Mugabe."

But the people of Zimbabwe, including her contacts in Zanu-PF do not seem to
know who Viola Plummer really is? Viola Plummer is a former aide to
councilman Charles Barron, who is also known as a former member of the Black
Panther Movement. She was fired by New York City Council Speaker Christina
Queen after she threatened to assassinate a New York City councilor over a
legislative dispute.

The councillor had refused to support her measure to have a street renamed
after a black activist called Sonny Carson. Prior to this incident, Viola
Plummer went on trial after being accused of trying to stage the jail
break-in to free two fellow activists who had been jailed for their
involvement in the1981 Rockland County robbery.

Plummer ended up only being convicted of falsely identifying herself to the

Plummer was in Zimbabwe during the independence celebrations this year and
prior to the June 27 presidential runoff. At the meeting, she said she had
attended the inauguration of Mugabe in Harare on Sunday, June 29.

During the question and answer session, I constantly raised my hand to speak
but was not chosen. When I realized that time was running out, I let it be
known to those around me that I was a Zimbabwean. One man called out that a
Zimbabwean wanted to say something. I was ignored. I stood up without a
microphone and asked the audience if they wanted to hear from me, since I
was a Zimbabwean. I was yelled at to sit down.
I complied.

When the microphone was about to pass by me again, several people pointed at
me demanding that I should be granted an opportunity to speak. I was finally
given the microphone but I did not go far. The majority of the people in the
audience did not want to hear the truth that Mugabe is no longer a hero in
Zimbabwe; that he is now an enemy of the majority of the people he liberated
in 1980.

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Lions, help the lambs

The Times, New Jersey

Monday, July 07, 2008
As we celebrated the birth of our government a few days ago with patriotism
and pride, millions of people continued to cower in fear from the ravages of
a despot who dares to call his rule democracy.

Robert Mugabe, the man who decades ago wrested Rhodesia from British
control, promised to lead the newly named Zimbabwe into a shining future.
But the freedom fighter has become a tyrant and that shining future has been
tarnished and dimmed. With an inflation rate of 1 million percent, its
citizenry bloodied and battered, and new horrors reported every day, the
onetime "breadbas ket of Africa" may be beyond saving.

But the outrage around the world at the brutal tactics of Mugabe to insure
himself another term as president is starting to coalesce into action.

Last week, the United States pressed fellow U.N. Se curity Council members
to impose sanctions to push for change in Zimbabwe. A draft resolution
Washington offered to the council for consideration proposes freezing the
financial assets of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and 11 of his
officials and banning them from traveling outside the country.

The plan also calls for immediate talks on forming a unity government with
the opposition, whom Mugabe's thugs physically assaulted when they could not
be beaten politically.

Hoping to embolden leaders of the African nations neighboring Zimbabwe, the
United States is preparing to act on its own as well, according to
Ambassador James McGee, who said sanctions could include expanding the list
of about 130 officials now banned from visiting the United States and
imposing financial penalties.

These measures are vital, and we are glad to see at least some planning for
substantive action. But the real pressure must come from those coun tries
surrounding Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans continue to risk their lives by
not obeying Mugabe and his edicts.

During the recent runoff "election" with Mugabe as the only candidate, we
saw photographs of the "voters" who had been herded to the polls and made to
cast a ballot. They held up red-painted fingers to show they had complied
with the gangs who enforce Mugabe's will.

Mugabe's hands are dripping with blood, and there are fewer and fewer who
will risk his wrath to bring about the will of the people.

African Union leaders say they are "deeply concerned" about the violence and
hope that a government of national unity can be achieved through

Sterner stuff is necessary, and the rest of the world should insist that
these leaders, the old lions of Africa, show more ferocious force. The
rapidly deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe will not respect borders; what
happens in that country will certainly have repercussions in the rest of
Africa and the world.

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Ireland accused of propping up Mugabe

Independent, Ireland

By Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

Monday July 07 2008

THE Government has come under fire for "propping up" the regime of
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe with more than €500m of taxpayers' money.

The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has invested over €578m in a
variety of Zimbabwe-based companies, which accounts for 3pc of its €20bn
fund for our future pension needs.

Fine Gael Foreign Affairs Spokesman Billy Timmins called for the investment
of taxpayers' money by the NPRF in Zimbabwe-linked companies to be halted.
It was outrageous that the fund was propping up the Mugabe regime, he said.

"Fine Gael has, in the past, called on the Government to cut economic and
political ties with Zimbabwe and it is unfathomable to learn now that the
State Pension Fund is being invested in companies operating there," he said.

Green Party Senator Dan Boyle, who previously brought forward a bill to
require the NPRF to invest ethically, described it as entirely inappropriate
to be supporting the "vile regime".

"Under existing legislation, the NPRF Commission's only obligation is to
maximise profits. It is clear to me that many taxpayers do not want public
money invested in companies with links to evil regimes or in the arms
industry in general," he added.

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For those interested in the history of Zimbabwe's inflation...

This is an interesting website -

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