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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 07 July 2005
Mugabe clean-up blitz no answer - UN envoy


BULAWAYO - A United Nations (UN) envoy told state officials in Zimbabwe's
second city yesterday that demolishing slums to force the poor back to the
countryside was not a solution to housing problems.

"Rural repatriation does not work," envoy Anna Tibaijuka said after Home
Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said most of the displaced in the demolition
blitz in Bulawayo would have to return to their rural homes as not enough
new housing would be built.

"These people are not here because they want to be, but they are trying to
get a living. Even in the US and Japan, people want to work in the city,
they try to create small businesses where they can get a livelihood, and
Zimbabwe is not an exception," she said.

Tibaijuka was in Bulawayo as part of a fact-finding mission on the
humanitarian effect of the seven-week campaign to demolish shacks and other
unauthorised houses.

President Robert Mugabe has said the drive is to rid Zimbabwe of squalor and
crime but the opposition sees it as a new campaign of repression. Western
governments have harshly criticised the blitz.

During the meeting that was open to the media, the envoy took exception when
officials kept referring to the demolished shacks as "illegal structures".

"There is no need to call them illegal structures or squatter camps because
they are homes to other people. They are special to other people who cannot
have special homes," she said.

The envoy, who extended her trip by five days after spending a week in the
country, said Zimbabwe fared well compared with other African cities in
terms of its slums.

"Zimbabwe is not a bad situation in Africa. From our statistics, Africa has
a slum rate of 72%, but in a study we have on Zimbabwe conducted in 2001, it
had an illegal and slum rate of 3,4%," she said.

The government demolitions campaign has left between 200000 and 1,5-million
people homeless, according to the UN and the opposition respectively.

Two toddlers died in demolitions at Harare area slums last month and four
were reportedly killed at the Porta Farm settlement, west of the capital,
although police have denied that those four deaths occurred.

Tibaijuka bristled when police told her that the crime rate had dropped
since the "clean-up" operation was launched in May.

She said: "The poor are not criminals. They work hard to achieve the little
they get and therefore they should not be criminalised."

She said "humanitarian and human rights aspects" were critical in carrying
out evictions.

Government officials at the meeting that was open to the media said they had
destroyed 5176 houses in Bulawayo but were planning to build 1003 new units.

The envoy, who arrived in Zimbabwe on June 26, is to make a much-awaited
report on her findings to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan after her mission
ends at the weekend. Sapa-AFP
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Globe and Mail, Canada

Why is Africa silent as Mugabe runs riot?

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Zimbabwe's government calls it Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash.
Over the past few weeks, police have swept through the country's cities,
torching and bulldozing shantytowns, markets and other structures in an
"urban renewal" drive that has left hundreds of thousands of poor people
homeless. In one of the latest incidents, on Monday, armed paramilitary
police knocked down 100 wooden cabins in a township of Harare, the capital,
ignoring the screams of three children trapped inside one of them. The
children survived, but their home was reduced to rubble.

The government of President Robert Mugabe says the demolitions are a
"necessary evil," designed to rid the cities of unhealthy slums and wipe out
the criminal gangs that shelter in them. Opposition leaders say the campaign
is an attempt to punish the urban poor, who are the most vocal about the
failings of the Mugabe regime and tend to support the opposition in

Whatever the reason behind Drive Out Trash, the result has been misery. Food
is short in Zimbabwe, yet the police have torn up the garden plots that the
poor depend on for their food. This is the middle of winter in Zimbabwe, yet
the police have driven people out of their homes with little more than the
clothes on their backs. At least three people have died of pneumonia, two of
them children. Two more children were killed when they were crushed under
the collapsing walls of their home. More than 300,000 children have been
forced to quit school after seeing their homes destroyed.

And what is the response of the rest of Africa to this brutality? Silence. A
spokesman said last month that it was "not proper" for the 53-nation African
Union to interfere in the internal affairs of a member, especially if that
member is merely trying to prevent crime and ensure its capital "does not
turn into a slum." Ignoring calls from British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to act against Zimbabwe over
the demolitions, the union sidestepped the issue altogether at its
semi-annual summit in Libya this week. The agenda for the meeting included
gender equality, refugees, the fight against HIV-AIDS, and health care for
women and children. Apparently the health of women and children evicted from
their homes in the middle of winter doesn't count.

The union's indifference to the suffering of poor Zimbabweans was entirely
typical. Other African countries have consistently shied away from
criticizing the Mugabe regime. Mr. Mugabe, in power since 1980, has driven
his once-prosperous country into the ground. The unemployment rate is 70 per
cent, the inflation rate 144 per cent. Four million people are in urgent
need of food. If this catastrophe is a merely internal affair, then the
continental solidarity that African governments espouse is a cruel joke.
Especially shameful is the silence of South Africa, Zimbabwe's immediate
neighbour. Its size and democratic system of government make it ideally
placed to put pressure on Mr. Mugabe to change his ways or step down.
Instead, South African President Thabo Mbeki prefers quiet diplomacy -- so
quiet, it seems, that Mr. Mugabe has barely heard it.

Other countries and organizations can do their part to influence Mr. Mugabe.
The United Nations has sent a special envoy to look into the demolition
campaign. The Commonwealth shunned Zimbabwe after Mr. Mugabe maintained
power in a fixed election in 2002. But in the end, it is other African
governments that bear the main responsibility for getting rid of the bad
apple in the barrel.

As they bid for debt relief and more development aid, Africa's leaders are
claiming they have turned over a new leaf -- that they are fighting
corruption and embracing democratic government. If that is true, they cannot
continue to stand limply by as one of their group makes a parody of the
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Message from Zimbabwe

Gosh it is so weird here right now - I feel completely paralysed.  We are
virtually unable to move - I am down to my last 10 litres of fuel and then
will be grounded.  Everywhere there are people walking  and no-one is
smiling or talking - there is an ominous hush.  You can feel it everywhere -
like waiting to exhale.  No-one has answers any more and we are all stunned
by what is unfolding.

We are also trapped now as we literally cannot move from our homes, except
on foot.  There is no public transport.  Power cuts are frequent and
erratic, shops are emptying rapidly - there is no bread. So I'm thinking
what should I be doing?  I feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights.  I
really don't know what else to do but be as still and quiet as possible.

And the irony of it all is that everything is looking just so beautiful -
those bleached out winter golds against startling poinsettia and
bougainvilla, the sky at night is just overwhelming, but it is very very
cold and many people have nowhere to sleep.  And they are sick and hungry.
And completely abandoned.  You can be arrested now for anything it seems -
carrying too many people in your car (but  there's no petrol anyway),
carrying forex (but you can't buy anything without it), carrying firewood to
those in need!

Buying fruit from vendors is like scoring heroin - all done in hushed voices
with brown paper bags chucked through the back window of the car and a quick
exchange of cash whilst no-one is looking.  There is also no salt, or sugar
or cooking oil.  And have I stocked up my larder to overflowing  So
maybe we'll just starve to death.  Perhaps I could claim refugee status.  Do
I want to? What message do I give my kids if I just turn and walk away?

I feel helpless and almost overwhelmed.  It's as much as I can manage just
to keep my own family reasonably together, let alone help others.

It  seems that finally people outside are beginning to see what's  going on
.  There is a UN envoy here and  some coverage has been getting out. Can I
be brave enough? Am I willing to maybe die? For what, exactly? That's what
I'm not quite sure about - just why is it that my heart feels so sore?

Who and where are the heroes? Roy Bennett who has just been released from
jail and who is willing to die if that's what it takes, Bob Geldof who is
finally focusing people's awareness on what's been happening in Africa for
centuries. The homeless suffering poor have always seemed to be out there
somewhere.  But now I am facing them everyday.

There comes a point where you just cannot turn away anymore and you begin to
feel angry. And with that anger comes energy and courage and the will to
change things.  We so badly need a leader - someone with vision and power
and compassion.

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Source: Trócaire

Date: 06 Jul 2005

Housing demolitions and food shortages, Zimbabwe
by Niall O'Keeffe, Trócaire's Southern Africa Programme Officer - July 2005

It is estimated that over 300,000 people have been affected by the recent
housing demolitions in Zimbabwe. People who, up until recently, enjoyed a
home to live in (some of whom have lived in their houses for 20 years) have
been forced to sleep in the open - a particularly harsh experience in the
Zimbabwean winter.

The indiscriminate campaign to remove the inhabitants has been carried out
with indifference to the presence of - or concern for - children and the
elderly, or to the levels of poverty in which people have been living. Many
of the informal settlements had government approval to remain, had water and
electricity provided by the government, and in some case government
ministers or governors have opened these vending sites and settlements.

The housing demolitions have mainly, but not exclusively, taken place in
areas known for their support to the political opposition; the operation
will benefit individuals in power who have land interests; the result will
be a 'clean' city to present ostensibly a normal city; and, most
importantly, it serves as an expression of power over the people.

The housing demolitions are characteristic of a government which has
expressed a total disinterest in the welfare of its own people, rather it
has used its people to maintain its own position. Human rights abuses
perpetrated by government agencies, or with their tacit support, have taken
the form of intimidation, torture and murder. These abuses have been
systematically planned and well executed to the extent that there is
coercion into supporting the government.

Trócaire's programme in Zimbabwe provides support to a local partner
organisation who, with a trained team of 240 monitors, document cases of
human rights abuse throughout the country. Cases documented contribute to a
monthly report on politically motivated human rights abuses while the
monitors provide a referral for victims of abuse to appropriate care

Selected cases are further investigate and legal proceedings are initiated
in the courts against the perpetrators. Additionally, the project seeks to
erode the current environment of impunity for politically motivated

Court cases of significant political sensitivity test the independence of
the judiciary who have, on several occasions, failed to act independently.
The most infamous of cases, involving the newspaper The Daily News, was a
clear expression of bias by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe as it ruled in
favour of the government and undermined their own position as an independent
court, and leading to the closure of the country's main newspaper.

Trócaire is providing support to local organisations which have brought
cases of human rights abuse to the African Commission on Human and People's
Rights. This African Commission has acknowledged the lack judicial
independence in Zimbabwe and is proceeding to hear several cases of human
rights abuse from the country.

Government food aid is withheld from communities who do not demonstrate
their loyalty. However, the government food supply is now depleted and
millions of people throughout the country are facing food shortages. But to
avoid further wrath of the international community, the Government of
Zimbabwe is concealing the extent of the food shortages.

In a recent visit to the country, one Zimbabwean organisation spoke of three
young children dying in one village as a result of malnutrition. Local
authorities had warned the organisation against publicising the situation.
While distributing food aid in villages can be subjected to political
manipulation, Trócaire supported projects provide food aid distributed in
schools to ensure that children receive at least one meal per day and
through a structure that does not discriminate as all children receive food.

While people in Zimbabwe are disillusioned with the current government, the
constant threat of human rights abuse, coupled with the difficulties of
finding their next meal, has served to ensure that their disillusionment is
not converted into an opposition force of concern to the government.

The Government of Zimbabwe seeks to prevent international and national
development and human rights organisations from operating in the country.
The recent NGO Bill, while presented as a standard regularisation mechanism,
threatens to effectively ban work on human rights in the country. Other
African countries, most notably South Africa, have blindly accepted the
'regularisation' argument frequently put forward by the Government of

There is currently a considerable need for food aid in Zimbabwe and
international pressure should be brought upon the Government of Zimbabwe to
allow humanitarian access. The Irish Government should highlight, amongst
the international community and particularly the United Nations, the need to
facilitate this access. Greater support is required for Zimbabwean
organisations who, under very difficult conditions, seek to counter the
systematic human rights abuse perpetrated by the Government of Zimbabwe on
its people.
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      Woman 'in hiding' after blunder

A woman from Zimbabwe is in hiding after being deported from Britain
following a blunder by a a security firm.

A senior High Court judge angrily condemned the deportation of the woman,
who cannot be named for legal reasons, after a mistake was made by
Securicor, which was responsible for escorting her out of the country.

Mr Justice Collins called on the Government to halt all removals of failed
asylum seekers to Zimbabwe pending a further High Court hearing.

The Government's stance on the issue was thrown into confusion when a Home
Office official told a separate hearing that deportations had already been

This was despite a statement from Home Secretary Charles Clarke which said
its policy remained unchanged and all cases were assessed on an individual

The judge acted after a Refugee Legal Council (RLC) representative told him
there was evidence to suggest asylum seekers were in danger of being
ill-treated and abused in Zimbabwe just because they had claimed asylum in
the UK.

During the case the judge said the woman, who was flown to Harare, was now
"in hiding".

He said the Home Office had cancelled the removal directions after the woman
lodged an application for judicial review with the High Court.

But the fax sent by the Home Office to Securicor was dealt with by a
temporary member of staff who was not fully trained and did not realise the
significance of the fax.

"How anyone could fail to appreciate the significance of a fax from the Home
Office telling them removal directions had been cancelled frankly escapes
me," the judge said.
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Harare authorities scrap land sale deals - paper
Thu Jul 7, 2005 10:40 AM GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Authorities in Harare have scrapped land sale agreements
concluded in the past seven years because they were not based on market
rates, state media said on Thursday.

"Harare City Council has rescinded all land sale agreements made between
1998 and this year and is now reselling the land at market rates to the same
buyers, where necessary," the official Herald newspaper reported, citing
Harare Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya.

The paper said prices charged in many of the agreements were too low
compared even with market rates at the time and usually were well below the
cost of servicing the land.

The move would affect mostly agreements entered into between the city
council and churches, individuals and housing co-operatives, some of whose
houses were demolished during the government's controversial clampdown on
shantytowns for failing to meet city by-laws.

Authorities in the Zimbabwean capital were not immediately available for

Harare has been the worst hit by the government's crackdown on illegal
housing and building structures that aid agencies say has left over 300,000
urban residents homeless.

President Robert Mugabe has defended the operation as necessary to weed out
criminal hideouts and to end illegal trading in foreign currency and other
basic commodities.
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Mail and Guardian

      Millions on brink of starvation in Southern Africa

      Johannesburg, South Africa

      07 July 2005 03:44

            More than 10-million people in Southern Africa will need
humanitarian assistance in the coming year because of poor agricultural
production, food agencies said on Thursday.

            Following a recent crop assessment, it was found that Lesotho,
Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland are not able to grow
enough food to meet domestic needs.

            Even if there were considerable commercial imports, serious food
shortages will persist until the next harvest in May 2006, said the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations' Food and
Agriculture Organisation, and the World Food Programme (WFP).

            The agencies said large-scale food assistance across the region
at household level is needed. They said the region also needs to formulate
national policies on staple food prices, agricultural reform, and trade at
national and regional level.

            Together, the 13 member states of SADC produced a cereal surplus
of 2,1-million tonnes compared with 1,1-million tonnes a year ago. Most of
the excess was produced by South Africa, which harvested a surplus of about
5,5-million tonnes this year.

            Assessments had found that about 2,8-million tonnes of food
would need to be commercially imported into the countries to meet the
largest part of the shortfall.

            Of the total amount of food aid required by the countries, the
WFP needs $266-million or 477 000 tonnes pledged immediately so that food
can either be purchased locally with cash donations or shipped to the

            "Given the gravity of the findings, WFP, FAO and SADC today
called on donor governments worldwide to respond quickly and generously with
food aid donations in kind or cash to avoid widespread hunger from
developing into a humanitarian disaster.

            "The assessment teams were struck by the scarcity of maize at
harvest time in some countries, prompting the need for an immediate
response," they said.

            Government representatives from each country, together with UN
and non-government organisations, are discussing the findings at a two-day
meeting which started on Thursday. - Sapa

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'Limited aid for Zim homeless'
07/07/2005 19:57  - (SA)

Johannesburg - The Zimbabwean government has put the number of people
displaced in its urban slum clearance campaign at 130 000 families, and says
it will not be able to rehouse all of them.

Pritchard Zhou, minister counsellor in the Zimbabwe embassy, said the
operation had "won praise countrywide".

The evictions, which he said were aimed at eradicating criminality and
giving people decent homes, had been "grossly and deliberately distorted".

Zhou denied the operation was politically aimed against the opposition in
Zimbabwe or that there was any heavy-handedness involved.

He said three trillion Zimbabwean dollars had been put aside for
reconstruction, but would not say where the money was coming from.

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Police raise Zimbabwe crackdown death toll to 5
Thu Jul 7, 2005 5:27 PM GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe police said on Thursday that five people had
been killed in accidents during the government's two-month crackdown on
illegal shantytowns, which has drawn criticism from rights groups and
Western governments.

Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the deaths, which
included one police officer, were mishaps and not the fault of President
Robert Mugabe's government.

"Five people have died so far although this was not the direct result of
police interventions as has been reported. These include a police officer
who was crushed by rubble in Bulawayo," Bvudzijena told Reuters.

He said the five also included two children reported killed last month after
demolished house structures collapsed on them. He did not give details on
the other deaths.

More than 70,000 people had been arrested since the crackdown began in May,
but that most had been quickly released after paying admission-of-guilt
fines for offences including illegal vending and gold panning, he said.

On Wednesday the official Herald newspaper said police had denied reports
that two women had been killed when they fell off a police or army truck and
that two children were struck dead by a police truck at a squatter camp
demolished last week outside the capital Harare.

Rights groups Amnesty International and ActionAid said last week at least
three people, including a pregnant woman and a child, had died at the Porta
Farm squatter camp and that there were unconfirmed reports of another death.

Squatters whose shacks were demolished at the compound told United Nations
envoy Anna Tibaijuka that a woman and a child were crushed by rubble, while
another boy was run over by a truck.

Tibaijuka has been in the country for nearly two weeks and was due to visit
the northern resort town of Victoria Falls after touring Zimbabwe's
second-largest city of Bulawayo.

She is due to report back to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the
campaign, which has been widely criticised by Western governments as a human
rights violation.

Aid agencies say the crackdown has left over 300,000 people homeless, but
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) puts the figure
much higher at around 1.5 million.

Mugabe's government denies that the demolitions are revenge on urban
dwellers who have backed the MDC in elections since 2000, and insists the
campaign is simply meant to remove shantytowns and illegal markets which had
become a haven for criminal activity.

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ZIMBABWE: Concern that transit camps will become permanent
      07 Jul 2005 18:06:35 GMT

      Source: IRIN

JOHANNESBURG, 7 July (IRIN) - The creation of transit camps as a result of
the Zimbabwean government's forced eviction campaign has a familiar ring - a
homeless people's rights NGO says many of the suburbs in the recent eviction
drive arose as transit camps after demolitions in previous years.

In the cleanup campaign, launched in May, thousands of informal settlements
have been demolished and at least 375,000 people left homeless; the
authorities have claimed it was part of an urban renewal strategy that will
eventually build 10,000 homes at a cost of US $300 million.

The government wants people cleared from illegal settlements to either move
directly to their place of birth in the rural areas, or to one of two
temporary transit centres outside the capital, Harare, and the eastern city
of Mutare. A third facility is yet to be completed in Bulawayo in the south
of the country.

Ironically, Porta Farm, one of the suburbs targeted by the authorities, had
come into existence as a transit camp in 1992 after one of the first
eviction campaigns in Harare, just before the Commonwealth Heads of State
meeting, said Beth Chitekwe-Biti, director of Dialogue on Shelter, an NGO
affiliated to Shack/Slum Dwellers International.

"Evicted families were relocated to a holding camp in Dzivarasekwa, some 10
km south of Harare; the rest were to be repatriated back to their rural
homes. The logic then was: if you could not prove you were gainfully
employed you had no business being in Harare. This relocation was always
meant as a temporary solution - most of the families who had been ferried to
their rural homes came back after a few months and re-established themselves
in Porta Farm," she explained.

Dzivarasekwa was affected by the recent eviction campaign, as was Hatcliffe
Extension, another suburb in Harare created for previously evicted

According to Chitekwe-Biti, Hatcliffe Extension residents were actually
granted leases last year, but because "they were unable to afford services
and permanent structures, they were deemed illegal by the authorities, as
our housing law states that no land can be allocated to anyone if it has not
been connected to services".

She estimated that at least 50 percent of all urban residents lived in
informal dwellings, and commented, "Squatting is illegal in Zimbabwe. The
only form of housing the poor can get without risking eviction and
prosecution is to squat in the backyard [extensions] of formal settlements,
where one has access to basic services."

In the early 1980s the government initiated housing projects with the
assistance of international humanitarian agencies, in which land was made
available to the poor at a nominal cost. "The families had to pay for
services and rates ... and in some instances finance was also arranged to
help people build permanent houses," said Chitekwe-Biti.

However, the projects slowed down as funds from donors dried up. According
to the NGO, there were at least 250,000 people on the waiting list for
houses in Harare alone.

"I did a survey two years ago and found that the government had been
allocating only 1,000 plots a year. As far as I know, no land has been
allocated in the past two years in Harare," she noted.

Dialogue on Shelter, which works with the Zimbabwe Homeless People's
Federation, a network of communities, launched its own housing projects in
the late 1990s. "We successfully negotiated with the local authorities in
the towns of Mutare [on the Mozambican border] and Victoria Falls [on the
Zambian border] to make land available for the poor communities," said

Funds were also raised to provide services to the plots. However, some of
the dwellings in Victoria Falls have also been affected by the recent
eviction campaign.

The NGO is critical of the government's plans to build new homes in Harare.
"We have seen the models - no poor family will be able to afford the
finishes in these homes. It costs at least US $690 to install plumbing as
per the city council's requirements," she pointed out.

Independent estimates show that the majority of poor Zimbabweans earn less
than $200 a month.

Meanwhile, Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy, who is
evaluating the impact of the controversial demolition of informal
settlements and markets in Zimbabwe, told Zimbabwean officials on Wednesday
that rural repatriation did not work. Tibaijuka also heads UN-HABITAT, which
promotes every citizen's right to the city.

Sharad Shankardass, spokesman for the special envoy, pointed out that the
slum rate in Zimbabwe was much lower than most other African countries.

After her visit to Bulawayo, the envoy also expressed concern that local
churches were being overwhelmed by the demand for shelter by displaced
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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Make poverty history - or make dictators history?
Sokwanele Report : 7 July 2005

Leaders of the world's richest 8 countries have gathered at Gleneagles in Scotland to discuss two matters of global significance - how to protect planet earth from irreversible environmental damage, and how to rescue the African continent from debilitating and dehumanizing poverty. While acknowledging that the two issues are inter-related, and in no way wishing to detract from the importance of the first, our main concern here is with the second issue.

The poverty issue has been highlighted in recent weeks by an international campaign under the banner "Make Poverty History", which culminated in the Live 8 concert and mass marches of last weekend. In Scotland alone a crowd of some 225,000 people marched behind banners calling for debt relief, more aid and improved trading terms for Africa. The Live 8 concert brought together an impressive international ensemble of singers and bands, and it is estimated that 5 billion people around the world watched the spectacle on television. Enough to make the point to the world leaders gathered at their plush resort in Scotland that there is enormous interest in the topics under discussion, and great expectations that significant moves will be made to rescue Africa from the debt trap.

A great deal of international lobbying has already been done in preparation for the summit on the issue of debt relief, and a clear consensus seems to be emerging among the most technologically advanced and wealthy nations that Africa deserves a break. At a popular level in the West there is massive support for debt cancellation, and some governments have already pledged to write off all, or a significant part of, historic debts and to increase the level of aid to the continent. There has been noticeably less offered in the way of what in the longer term is of greater importance to the economies of Africa, namely improved trading terms. Nonetheless there remains a considerable amount of goodwill and a clear determination to help lift Africa out of poverty. The discussion is already down to specifics in many cases and the economies of the most indebted countries have been closely examined to determine where and how debt relief should be applied.

The one country in Africa which has been conspicuously omitted from the discussion is of course Zimbabwe. The reasons for this are obvious. The Zimbabwean economy is in terminal decline. All the economic indices are negative. Plummeting industrial and agricultural output, soaring inflation, unemployment and national debt - all combine to give Zimbabwe the unenviable reputation of having the fastest shrinking economy in the world. Surely a prime candidate for international aid - except, as we all know, this is a man-made crisis.

The massive stress to which the Zimbabwean economy has been subjected is the result of bad governance, which in turn is the result of the democracy deficit and lack of accountability of the government to its people. Were the government accountable to the people it would not get away, at such a time of famine and unprecedented hardship, with the profligate expenditure of (conservatively) US$ 400 million on military hardware. Nor would it dare undertake, as it has, an insane attack upon the informal sector that supports over 3 million families and makes a substantial contribution to the national economy. These crazy decisions of the executive - which in Zimbabwe's case means one man, Robert Mugabe - were only possible within a political environment in which that one man knew he would not have to answer for them, at least not immediately. If there was ever any doubt about the direct causal link between the lack of democracy and bad governance, and between bad governance and national poverty, a case study of Zimbabwe under Mugabe's misrule should settle that doubt once for all.

Which means that the G8 and other industrialised, first world countries are absolutely right in not even considering Zimbabwe for debt relief at this stage. Since the causes of Zimbabwe's economic decline are entirely political it follows that a solution to the political crisis must be sought before any economic assistance is offered. Specifically because the prime cause of the misery of Zimbabwe's millions is the lack of democracy in the country, the international community should seek first to remedy this deficit. Here we applaud the comments made by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on the eve of the summit, to the effect that aid to Africa is useless if African leaders are corrupt. "We should not be afraid to stop aid to dictators, like Zimbabwe's Mugabe", he added.

It is extremely unfortunate for those suffering under the dictator that the debt relief and increased aid to be offered to other African countries as a result of the G8 meeting should not be made available to Zimbabwe at this stage, but the victims of Mugabe's misrule would surely be the first to say that this is the right decision. Any debt relief offered to Zimbabwe under its present rulers would simply entrench them in power. A few more ground attack aircraft from China or armoured personnel carriers to send into the high-density suburbs perhaps, or another fleet of Mercedes to hand around to the dictator's cronies …

Let Zimbabweans know they are being excluded from this round of debt relief and donor aid precisely because they are still under the yoke of this loathsome dictator. And let them know also that when they have found the courage to rise up and assert their stolen rights of freedom and democracy, they will certainly be in line to receive very substantial aid and support from the West. The United States for one has already signalled as much. This is not to call Zimbabweans to arms but a simple recognition of the unfortunate but inescapable reality that until the country is set fair on a course to democracy even the most sympathetic nations will remain severely constrained in what they can do to alleviate the suffering.

On the other hand if Zimbabwe is not to receive any immediate economic aid does this mean the subject should be removed from the G8 agenda? On the contrary we ask what other help its suffering citizens are entitled to expect from this summit? We suggest five urgent priorities:

  1. First and foremost emergency relief for the victims of Mugabe's recent (and ongoing) "Operation Murambatsvina". News of this pogrom against the poor is already circulating widely and has drawn international condemnation. Indeed at this moment the UN Secretary-General's personal envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, is continuing her investigation into this massive humanitarian disaster that has rendered more than a million Zimbabweans homeless and destroyed the livelihoods of an even greater number. Sokwanele has posted a number of reports and photographs of this brutal assault upon the poor and we, and others, have highlighted the wretched plight of the victims.

    They are in urgent need of emergency relief aid in the form of food, blankets, shelter, fresh water, toilet facilities and medical care, which clearly the bankrupt Mugabe regime has neither the means nor the will to supply. Accordingly it would be a wonderful gesture if the G8 and other world leaders would acknowledge the crisis and begin to mobilize resources for relief. We must emphasise that what we have in mind here is not aid and debt cancellation, but simply emergency relief supplies to assist, in the short term, the huge number of victims.

    Furthermore as the Mugabe regime is the perpetrator of these atrocities it is hardly to be trusted to administer relief supplies to the victims, so the relief effort would have to be supervised by an international body of standing such as the United Nations. Let the UN exercise its authority here to insist on direct access to those in desperate need and the right to supervise the whole operation.

  2. Second, we see the need for a far greater degree of honesty from the international community in acknowledging the root causes of the present suffering. Especially does this apply to African leaders who, to date, have gone to great pains to avoid condemning Mugabe and his totalitarian regime. In fact their refusal to confront the core issue here calls into question their seriousness in committing to the values of freedom, democracy and good governance - and hence their own eligibility to participate in any new anti-poverty partnership with the West.

    Bob Geldof who organised the Live 8 aid concert for Africa, put it this way:

    "What about the absolute, absolute thuggery, brutality and mayhem of that mad creep Mugabe? Why does Africa refuse to acknowledge what is happening in that country? This man is mad. He's destroying his country; he's killing his people."

    Admittedly we wouldn't expect African leaders to use quite such undiplomatic language (!) but this is the reality after all, and the sooner Thabo Mbeki and other regional leaders admit it publicly the better. Acknowledging the problem is surely the first step towards finding a solution.

  3. The next priority must be to intensify international efforts to isolate the Mugabe regime diplomatically. The targeted sanctions applied against the ZANU-PF leadership by the European Union, the USA, Switzerland and a handful of Commonwealth countries, are hurting and should be intensified and extended to cover all those who are collaborating with the Mugabe regime in any significant way, and so prolonging the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.

  4. Closely related to the above, we note and endorse the call of human rights activist and writer Judith Todd for total sanctions to be applied. On June 30 Ms Todd (herself a victim of an earlier form of tyranny in this country under Ian Smith) called for "very serious action against the genocidal regime". She referred to the possibility of stopping all arms sales, all sales of spare parts, bank loans and "everything that can extend the life of the regime." As the evil monster of apartheid was undermined by the application of an increasing range of international sanctions, so might the end of the Mugabe regime be hastened. Every day by which that objective is brought forward means one less day of acute suffering for millions of Zimbabweans.

  5. Finally the international community must give urgent consideration to supporting and assisting in every way possible those progressive forces within Zimbabwe which are working for peaceful, non-violent change. One of the tragic consequences of prolonged misrule and the melt-down of the economy is that millions of Zimbabweans have taken refuge beyond the borders of the country of their birth. Refugees and asylum seekers have their own desperate needs which must still be addressed urgently, but we are referring here to the needs of those activists who have demonstrated exemplary courage in leading the struggle for freedom and democracy from within Zimbabwe. Sadly they are often lacking the resources and support which they require and deserve, and we would call the attention of all democratic, freedom-loving peoples to this deficit.

The international campaign to end poverty in Africa has been dubbed "Make Poverty History". We applaud this campaign and salute all who have worked so hard to turn such a slogan into reality. And from our unique Zimbabwean perspective we would raise another banner to place alongside the first, reading "Make Dictators History".

Any help the world can offer in making our dictator history would indeed be most welcome !

* The images were sent to Sokwanele by an activist in the UK who asked that we let Zimbabweans know that "we are listening and we care about what is happening to innocent Zimbabweans". Both banners were erected along a main road in Scotland, a short distance from where the G8 leaders are meeting.

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Sudan Tribune

EU parliament condemns Mugabe regime, Ethiopia violence
Thursday July 7th, 2005 20:16.
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STRASBOURG, France, July 7, 2995 (AP) -- The European Parliament on Thursday
condemned Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for what it called oppression of
his own people and called for an immediate end to the demolitions of

The E.U. assembly also condemned the violent repression of protest rallies
in Ethiopia last month in which police shot at demonstrators, killing at
least 36 people. The protests were sparked by the opposition's allegations
of fraud during parliamentary elections in May.

In a resolution on Zimbabwe, the E.U. legislators called on Mugabe to stand
down and insisted that unrestricted access be granted to relief and
humanitarian agencies assisting those made homeless in the demolitions of

In recent weeks, Mugabe has launched a so-called urban renewal drive aimed
at clearing away all structures deemed illegal. Aid workers and opposition
leaders estimate the campaign has displaced up to 1.5 million people.

"Mugabe has been responsible for the destroying of homes and livelihoods of
as many as 1.5 million Zimbabweans. That number will rise if we don't take
rapid action," said Liberal Democratic deputy Elizabeth Lynne.

The assembly also urged the E.U. governments to close loopholes in existing
sanctions against the Mugabe regime, asked them to stop returning asylum
seekers until the situation in the country improves and requested the
appointment of a special E.U. envoy for Zimbabwe.

It also called for the curtailment of all economic links with Zimbabwe that
directly benefit Mugabe's government and criticized South Africa and the
African Union for not acting against the regime, saying South Africa had a
"special responsibility" in relation to Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called on Zimbabwe's
neighbors to follow the lead of the E.U. and condemn what he called the
gratuitous and violent actions by Mugabe against his own people.

Straw, whose country holds the E.U. presidency, said the reputation of
African countries was at stake. Addressing the European Parliament, he added
the 25-nation bloc would review its sanctions against Mugabe's government,
which were first imposed in 2002.

E.U. foreign ministers renewed sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year
in February, expanding a visa travel ban to 120 officials. Other sanctions
include a ban on arms sales and the freezing of Zimbabwean assets in
European banks.

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The Economist

Africa acknowledges it must help itself

Jul 7th 2005
From The Economist print edition

In return for a lot more aid, Africa has promised to monitor itself a lot
more rigorously. That new resolve is already being tested

WHILE the leaders of eight of the world's richest countries gathered this
week at Gleneagles in Scotland, their African counterparts, who run most of
the world's poorest countries, gathered at the coastal town of Sirte, in
Libya, for their own jamboree under the aegis of the African Union (AU).
Despite a vast gulf in media coverage of the two meetings, they were, in
fact, tightly linked. For in the new mood of scaling up aid to the poorest
countries, Africa's own institutions, with the AU to the fore, are now being
expected by rich countries to shoulder more of the burden for curing the
continent's ills.

In the next few weeks the revamped AU, together with its much-vaunted
offshoot, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, better known as
Nepad, will face their first big tests of credibility. If these two bodies
prove as feeble as their predecessors, the current wave of Afro-optimism in
western capitals may fast turn to cynicism, as it has done before. Indeed,
some fear that the AU, in particular, has already fallen down on its job.

The AU, which was a relaunch in 2002 of the decrepit old Organisation of
African Unity (OAU), and Nepad were both created out of a fresh resolve by
African leaders to "own" more of Africa's problems themselves rather than
rely on the usual alphabet soup of international agencies and NGOs to feed
their starving and stop the continent's civil wars. Nepad was set up in 2001
as the economic development arm of the OAU (and then of the AU), made up of
all 53 of Africa's countries. This new spirit of African ownership matches
the latest trend in the development world, whereby donor countries and
multilateral organisations devolve as much responsibility as possible for
anti-poverty and health programmes to the recipient countries themselves,
rather than micro-manage them as in the past.

So documents like the recent report of the Commission for Africa, set up
last year by Britain's Tony Blair to "take a fresh look at Africa" and how
to develop it, burst with enthusiasm for the AU and Nepad. In turn, these
two bodies have explicitly promised to uphold human rights and democracy, to
fight corruption and promote good governance. And both outfits promise to
hold their members to account, to prod them to meet these stringent

The most explicit mechanism for doing so is Nepad's African Peer Review
Mechanism (APRM). The 23 countries who have so far joined this voluntary
scheme all offer themselves up for scrutiny by a panel of outside experts.
Confidential reports are then handed to the subject governments, and a
programme of action for improvements in such things as transparency and
democratic accountability is agreed on and made public. At least, that is
the plan. Last week, the experts handed their verdicts to the first two
guinea pigs, Ghana and Rwanda; final reports and action plans are due out
next month.

The implicit deal with rich countries is that if the AU and Nepad can start
to enforce western standards of financial transparency and democracy in
African countries, then more aid will flow their way to foster the good
work. An early example of this hoped-for new trust between the West and
Africa was last year's decision by NATO countries to lend the AU logistical
help to move African soldiers around the vast area of Darfur, Sudan's
troubled western province, as part of a drive to encourage Africa to run its
own peacemaking and peacekeeping show.

Cheerleaders for the AU point to other, arguably more successful,
interventions. The AU's robust refusal this year to endorse a coup in Togo,
after President Gnassingbé Eyadéma died (and his son tried to take over),
led to an election, though its fairness was disputed-and it resulted in the
same son becoming president. The AU has also been trying hard to broker a
peace between northerners and southerners in embattled Côte d'Ivoire.

But the AU and Nepad have a pack of sceptics on their heels. The AU, they
say, has already clattered into its first serious hurdle: Zimbabwe. AU
observers were mealy-mouthed about the flawed election there in March, and
the organisation has refused to condemn, let alone try to stop, President
Robert Mugabe's recent urban clearances which have left about 300,000
homeless. Mr Mugabe remains a hero for many Africans; but the AU, by its
refusal to say or do anything about his flagrant abuse of human rights, has
let itself down.

Equally, it has had nothing to say about the post-electoral clampdown in
Ethiopia, where it is based. This has perplexed some of the AU'S staunchest
supporters. Demonstrators have been shot dead, opposition leaders detained
and the election result postponed. Wiseman Nkuhlu, who heads Nepad's
secretariat, says "there is no justification for that kind of thing and the
AU must deal with the Ethiopian situation." An impression is gathering that
the AU is happy to take on smaller or more clear-cut cases, like Darfur or
Togo, but baulks at more complex and demanding ones, such as Zimbabwe and

Likewise with peer review. Moeletsi Mbeki, a businessman and brother of
South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, argues that it is nothing more than a
"sop to donors". Sceptics doubt whether the upcoming reports on Ghana and
Rwanda, the two first countries to face scrutiny, will be rigorous enough.

If the AU and the APRM are to disprove the doubters, now is the moment.
Kenya, a byword for corruption again, is the next country to face its peers;
a report is due out in a few months. If rigorous and detailed, it would go a
long way to showing that African governments can be trusted to police
themselves. In the same spirit, critics are waiting for the AU to uphold its
own professed principles on democracy and human rights in countries like
Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Otherwise it and Nepad will be rightly condemned as
the same useless talking-shops of the bad old days. And that would once
again erode the willingness of the latest generation of western donors to
pay more for an Africa that shrinks from taking the tough measures needed to
put its house in order

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Supplementary Budget to Address Food Security Issues, Says Murerwa

The Herald (Harare)

July 7, 2005
Posted to the web July 7, 2005


THE Government will come up with a supplementary budget to address the
issues of food security arising from the drought, the Minister of Finance,
Cde Herbert Murerwa, said yesterday.

He told Parliament that Government had not anticipated a drought season this
year, hence, it had not budgeted for such an eventuality.

Government has so far set aside $100 billion to feed 2,4 million people in
need of food aid

The minister said this while responding to a question by Glen Norah MP Ms
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) during a question-and-answer session.

The opposition lawmaker wanted to know whether the $3 trillion that had been
earmarked for the reconstruction exercise following the clean-up campaign
had been budgeted for.

Cde Murerwa said the money for the reconstruction operation had not been
budgeted for and this was going to be raised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) through private companies while this year's budget would be
rationalised to meet the challenges.

The Government, he said, was doing everything possible to make sure that
those who had been displaced by the operation were accommodated.

Cde Murerwa dismissed allegations that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
would decline as a result of the clean-up operation.

He was responding to another question by Harare North MP Ms Trudy Stevenson
(MDC) who said the GDP was going to fall because the exercise had affected
operations of the informal sector which was a significant contributor to

Cde Murerwa said a more organised informal sector that would emerge after
the clean-up campaign would contribute meaningfully to the fiscus unlike in
the past when the sector was involved in shady deals.

The Government, he said, was confident that the central bank would be in a
position to recover the $3 trillion, which was disbursed under the
Productive Sector Facility (PSF) because of the nature of the contracts
between the bank and the beneficiaries.

The minister said the beneficiaries of the facility had offered collateral
in the event of them failing to repay the advanced loans.
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Annan says Zimbabwe events hurt Africa
NEW YORK, July 7 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, urging greater
involvement by African leaders in Zimbabwe, says events there are hurting
the entire continent's credibility.

Speaking to Financial Times prior to leaving for Scotland to attend the
Group of Eight summit, Annan asked African leaders to break their silence
over the forced evictions from urban centers in Zimbabwe carried out by the
government of President Robert Mugabe.

The secretary-general told the Times it was responsibility of Africa's
leaders to "come out and protect the region."

Earlier, Olusegun Obasanjo, chairman of the African Union, refused to
publicly condemn Mugabe, but offered his "good offices" in the country, the
Times said.

Annan noted African governments recognize the need to improve governance and
fight corruption. But he also cautioned: "What is important and what is
lacking on the continent is (a willingness) to comment on wrong policies in
a neighboring country."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
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Mail and Guardian

      Zimbabwe evictions 'win praise countrywide'

      Mariette le Roux | Pretoria, South Africa

      07 July 2005 05:11

            The Zimbabwean government put the extent of displacement under
its urban slum-clearance campaign at 130 000 families on Wednesday, saying
it will not re-accommodate them all.

            Minister counsellor in the Zimbabwean embassy Pritchard Zhou
told a seminar in Pretoria the operation has "won praise countrywide".

            The evictions, which he said are aimed at eradicating
criminality and improving living conditions, have been "grossly and
deliberately distorted and politicised".

            They are simply targeted at "cleaning up" Zimbabwe's cities, "to
try and remove the dirt that has become a nuisance", and to "establish an
environment conducive to investment".

            Zhou denied the operation is politically aimed against the
country's mostly urban-based political opposition, or that there is any
heavy-handedness involved.

            Reports of deaths and injuries are being investigated, but Zhou
said police are not involved in such incidents "in any way".

            Fatalities have occurred during the demolition of shacks, which
he said is mostly done by occupants themselves.

            He denied reports of people falling off trucks transporting them
to resettlement camps, and said a child crushed to death by a vehicle during
the campaign had been left by its mother to cross a road alone.

            Zhou said Z$3-trillion have been put aside for reconstruction,
but could not say where the money came from.

            A "significant portion" of it will be used to erect 5 000
two-roomed houses by August 17 for the most needy among those evicted.
Owners of these houses will be given a bond to extend their homes at their
own expense.

            Zhou added: "Clearly there are people [among those evicted] who
will not be able to get houses because they will be unable to pay."

            The government's focus is on acquiring land and making available
"recently priced stands". Most people are able to afford their own houses,
Zhou said. A lack of access to land is the real problem.

            The operation became necessary, he explained, as illegal
businesses were damaging the economy and townships had become a haven for

            Illegal trading, street dwelling and loitering had reached
"unacceptable levels" and demanded a "decisive response".

            Zhou confirmed that thousands of people were arrested, saying
this forms part of the operation's aim to "flush out criminals".

            The Zimbabwean government has put in place "elaborate
rehabilitation measures", he said.

            Temporary camps set up for the evictees are, however, not
intended as accommodation, but to process people before they "leave to go
somewhere else".

            One option, Zhou said, is for people to migrate to the country's
rural areas.

            "Almost everybody has a rural home."

            On "illegal" traders who have lost their livelihoods, he said
the informal sector is not being obliterated but merely reorganised.

            "We want to make sure that whatever trading is done is
legitimate, that people are registered and pay taxes."

            He pointed to an apparent abundance of work on farms, saying
"there is that alternative that is available".

            Zhou said illegal traders will be relocated to new sites, but
did not specify how many of them. "Many" sites are ready for construction,
and some have been finalised.

            A total of 1 192 flea-market stalls in Harare are ready for

            On alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, he denied there is
any harassment of citizens, adding: "What human rights are there if people
live in these conditions?"

            He said the ultimate objective is that "our places should look
like Europe or America".

            The evictions have already started to yield positive outcomes,
he claimed.

            Most central business districts are now decongested, "clean and
peaceful", and crime has gone down by 25%.

            "And basic commodities that have disappeared from the shelves of
most shops [due to black-market trading] are re-emerging."

            He lamented attempts to "demonise" Zimbabwe, saying the West is
seeking to make an example of the country.

            The destruction of townships is not an uncommon feature in the
region, and "happens in South Africa every day".

            "The objective is to ensure Zimbabwe is taught a lesson so that
its neighbours get to learn that if you handle the land question in the way
Zimbabwe has handled it, you will be targeted," Zhou said. -- Sapa

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New Zimbabwe

Where are the Africans to speak for Zimbabwe?

By Nobuhle Nyathi
Last updated: 07/07/2005 19:03:12
WHAT is happening in Zimbabwe and why is it different? The Zimbabwean
government began its "Operation Murambatsvina" (Operation Drive Out Filth)
by arresting vendors all over the country.

By the end of the week beginning 25 May, they had arrested 20, 000 vendors
and seized their wares. They proceeded to destroy some of the council
designated places that vendors were operating from. This in a country where
there is 75% formal unemployment. The informal sector kept Zimbabweans
alive. Through it we were able to pay rent, pay school fees for our children
and buy food.

This operation then moved into people's dwellings, here I am not talking
about just plastic and metal structures at Hatcliff Extension, Killarney,
Joshua Nkomo and Ngozi Mine settlements, I am talking about cottages in
every street in what we know as the high density suburbs, all these were
razed down. The only time we as Zimbabweans have known anything of this kind
was during the war of liberation when the cruel Smith regime forced people
to relocate to "protected villages", but even that madness pales into
significance when compared with what is happening in Zimbabwe today.

When this operation started without any notice whatsoever, churches and
other humanitarian organisations that wanted to assist people who had been
left suddenly homeless in the middle of winter without any food were stopped
from assisting the affected. Government argued that these people should go
to their rural homes; government said that assisting these people would
encourage them to stay in cities. This is what the people's government of
Zimbabwe said. In Harare those who were "lucky" were taken to a transit
camp, Caledonia Farm. Suddenly we had a strange situation in which people
who were living in brick cottages with electricity and clean water were
reduced to sweating it out in plastic shacks. The rest were told to go to
the rural areas. There isn't much food there we are in need of food aid. We
do not even have mealie-meal in the shops, yet our President was on
television not so long ago telling the world that "We do not need the food,
why foist it down our throats. Give it to those countries that need it."

The impression was given by government that it was only getting rid of
illegal structures and arresting people involved in legality yet the fact of
the matter is that in many cities vendors are licensed by their local
councils and they operate according to law in vending sites designated by
councils. As an example I will cite Unity Village and Fort Street Market in
Bulawayo. There is also the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue Flea Market in Harare, all
these and numerous other were officially opened by Mugabe's ministers and
were hailed as efficient and successful employment projects. There are
hundreds of such places in our cities yet all these have been closed because
according to government, criminal activities are taking place there. Why not
arrest the criminal and leave the place operating for the benefit of others?
The idea that the best way to deal with a criminal is to destroy where
he/she stays is as unworkable as it is impractical. If this were the way to
catch criminals, we would not have State House today for we would have long
reduced it to rubble.

Many informal settlements had been given tacit approval by the government.
Hatcliff Extension, which went up in smoke in May, was now accepted and
recognised as a legal settlement by Parliament. World Bank was even funding
its water network.

In the early 1990s when city councils were insisting that they would destroy
backyard cottages and structures that the people had put in their homes
without council permission, government intervened and said the councils
should let the structures be. It was against this background that these
cottages and structures mushroomed in people's homes. For government to turn
back on the people today and say that these structures are now illegal and
go on to destroy them is callousness writ large.

In fact if the idea behind the clean-up is to rid the country of criminals
let us look for those who bombed us in the camps of Nyadzonya and Chimoi.
Let us look for those who killed 20 000 people in Midlands and Matabeleland
during the Gukurahundi. Let us look for those who benefited from Willowvale,
those who abused funds from the War Victims and Compensation Fund. You do
not create employment by destroying the informal sector. Razing down people's
houses will not bring forex to Zimbabwe.

Make no mistake; Zanu PF is no longer a progressive liberation movement. It
has become a repressive party that is out of its depth in this modern world.
Its intellectually-challenged functionaries are utterly clueless on how to
manage a modern economy. Survival in the party depends on saying: "We are
behind the president". The huffing and puffing that Mugabe engages in every
time he speaks about sovereignty is meant to tell the world that: "We have
the right to oppress our people, after all we liberated them".

The tragedy is that fellow Africans who should speak on our behalf are
engaged in massive hand wringing. We have now been left in a tragicomic
position where dubious institutions like the World Bank now speak on our
behalf and tell Mugabe to stop the demolition of people's houses. Imperial
powers like Britain and USA now carry the torch of our freedom and dignity.
This is just not on and it stinks to high heaven. We would like it more if
Mbeki spoke for us, we would like it more if Benjamin Mkapa spoke for us, we
would like it more if Zimbabwe Broadcast Holdings, South African
Broadcasting Corporation, Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation told our story.
But they are not interested. Instead it is left to Blair, Bush, BBC, CNN to
tell our story.

Africans keep silent. Through their silence they urge Mugabe on and give the
misleading impression that there is wisdom in encouraging Mugabe's brutality
so as to spite the West.

What is the rage and lunacy that leads respected people to act as Mugabe's
cheer leaders while he unleashes Armageddon on a defenceless population?
Nobuhle Nyathi is a regular contributor to our guest column and writes from
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

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      Zimbabwe snubs AU

      Njabulo Ncube
      7/7/2005 9:28:46 AM (GMT +2)

      AN embarrassing diplomatic stand-off between the Zimbabwean government
and the African Union (AU) loomed large this week after Harare snubbed an
envoy seconded by the continental body to assess the effects of the
government's crackdown on shantytowns.

      The debacle has set the ZANU PF government, which has constantly
counted on the AU and other regional bodies for endorsement and to fend off
international censure, on a collision course with a continental body that
could be breaking with the past in its quest for debt and other concessions
from the wealthy G8 and European Union states.
      Bahama Tom Nyandunga, a member of the AU Commission on Human and
People's Rights and a special rapporteur for refugees, asylum-seekers and
the displaced, was this week shuttling between his hotel room and the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in pursuit of accreditation for his mission,
which is increasingly in doubt and could be aborted.
      "I am in my hotel room waiting for accreditation and instructions from
my AU superiors," said Nyanduga, who is staying in Harare's Ambassador
      Throughout the week, officials in the Foreign Affairs Ministry
maintained that they could not accommodate Nyanduga on their schedule, which
they claimed was crammed because of UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka who has
been in the country since June 31 on a similar fact-finding mission.
      Tibaijuka has been taken on a guided tour of the country to assess the
impact of the government's six-week demolition campaign.
      Although government officials have branded Nyanduga's visit
"unprocedural and in breach of protocol", diplomatic sources claimed
yesterday that authorities in Harare had been informed of the envoy's
mission before he jetted into the capital last Thursday.
      Nyanduga yesterday declined to comment on the government's statements,
saying he could only do so after completing his mission.
      Government sources said Harare wanted Nyanduga withdrawn with
immediate effect and a new emissary appointed after all protocol had been
      The envoy's tour of duty in Zimbabwe was at the behest of AU
Commission chairman Alpha Konare.
      The government's stand-off with the AU follows last year's highly
publicised furore over a damning rights report on Zimbabwe, prepared by the
African Union's Commission on Human and People's Rights, was tabled at the
AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last year.
      Although the government protested that it had not had sight of the
report - which condemned political repression and rising human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe - prior to its tabling, the report was adopted by the AU's
executive council in Abuja, Nigeria, last February.
      Analysts said this week the government was wary of Nyanduga, a member
of the commission which produced the damning report and feared an equally
scathing attack on its Operation Restore Order, which has rendered hundreds
of thousands of people homeless at the height of Zimbabwe's winter.
      Although the continental body has since the start of the Zimbabwean
crisis in 2000 displayed habitual reluctance to confront President Robert
Mugabe over the goings-on in Harare, diplomatic sources accredited here said
the government's refusal to give Nyanduga the greenlight to assess the
impact of the clean-up exercise had greatly strained relations between the
AU and Zimbabwe.
      Official comment was not immediately available from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.
      AU Commission chairman Konare was expected to meet President Mugabe on
the sidelines of the AU summit in Sirte, Libya, over the stalemate involving
the envoy, according to diplomats in Harare.
      Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was also expected to meet the
Zimbabwean leader.
      The government's clean-up operation has incurred the wrath of the
United States, Britain, the Commonwealth and the European Union. Just this
week, Australia and New Zealand mooted new tough sanctions against Zimbabwe
over the controversial clean-up exercise.
      The G8 leaders meeting in Scotland have also blasted the exercise,
which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change claims has rendered 1.5
million people homeless, a charge President Mugabe refuted at the AU meeting

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      US shocked at clean-up

      Njabulo Ncube
      7/7/2005 9:29:28 AM (GMT +2)

      A TWO-MEMBER United States Congressional staff delegation visiting
Zimbabwe yesterday hinted Washington would not change its policy over
Zimbabwe in the wake of the government's on-going clean-up operation, which
it described as a gross violation of human rights.

      Gregory Simpkins and Pearl-Alice Marsh, professional staff members of
the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee (HIRC),
said the goings-on in Zimbabwe had disappointed Washington, which had been
slightly encouraged by the peaceful March parliamentary polls.
      The two delegates arrived in Harare on July 2 and were due to leave
the capital yesterday evening after meeting Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor Gideon Gono and State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa. They said
it was very unlikely the US would soften its stance on Harare, whose leaders
have been slapped with travel sanctions.
      "Although the elections in March were not perfect, they were peaceful,
so we were beginning to feel very optimistic about the government, that we
were going to open some avenues for dialogue and come up with something
positive," said Marsh in an interview with The Financial Gazette yesterday.
      "But Operation Restore Order has been one of the most disheartening
things I have seen in my life. The motive behind it is inexplicable. I can't
understand why you drive old women, women with HIV/AIDS and even orphans
with HIV/AIDS out of their homes . . . just to let them suffer," said Marsh.
      Simpkins, who together with Marsh is responsible for advising the HIRC
and members of the US Congress on all issues related to Africa, added his
voice to Washington's disappointment with President Mugabe's policies.
      "We do understand the government wants to clean-up the urban areas but
the way it is doing it is unbelievable. It's cruel and shocking. This
(Zimbabwe) was an oasis of development in the region where we had Angola and
the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and other countries that were
suffering from lack of development. We had hoped this would be a model for
other countries to industrialise, to have working markets but it seems since
then the situation has devolved, gone backwards and countries that were
behind you eight years ago are now moving forward ahead of Zimbabwe. It does
not make any sense," said Simpkins who was last in Zimbabwe in 1997.
      Marsh, who revealed that she was a great granddaughter of descendants
of slaves, said blacks in the US expected President Mugabe to be the least
person to be vindictive against his fellow blacks in towns.
      She added: "It's not surprising when white racists treat black people
this way but it is not understandable to see a black leader who should love
and care for his own treat black people this way."
      The delegation was in the country to assess the current political,
economic and health conditions as well as important bilateral issues between
the US and Zimbabwe.

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      Zimbabwe's rich get richer

      Hama Saburi
      7/7/2005 9:33:28 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S nouveau riche are amassing more wealth regardless of the
hostile economic conditions - the worst to hit the southern African state -
while the poor are getting poorer by the day.

      While a family of six needed $1.2 million to see it through the month
in June last year, the budget, comprising of mostly basics, has ballooned to
$4.2 million.
      The $4.2 million estimate given by the local consumer watchdog - the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) - is however misleading in that it is
still to take into account a massive three-fold rise in fuel prices that
will certainly trigger a wave of other price increases.
      It has been tough for the poor, in particular, given that the minimum
wage in the private sector is just over $1 million vis-à-vis a poverty datum
line (PDL) set at $3.5 million as of April this year. Put simply, incomes
are only 30 percent of the PDL used in the assessment of poverty.
      "In other words, earnings are now worth nothing," said Godfrey
Kanyenze, an economist with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, who also
noted that while the ordinary people were bracing for tougher times ahead,
the rich were splashing billions of dollars on luxury vehicles.
      "This is not sustainable. That is why lowly paid workers are ending up
finding ways of redistributing income that may not necessarily be legal -
that is, crime," said Kanyenze, adding: "Now they (the rich) are coming up
with security arrangements at their homes simply because it's now catching
up with them. It is no longer safe to live in low-density areas - and
poverty is the root cause of all these problems."
      Analysts said the rich - though few and far between - were taking
every little opportunity available to fatten their pockets and bank
balances. The opportunities included dealing in scarce commodities and
foreign currency.
      The analysts said it was sad that not much of the new money went
towards cushioning the less privileged, who were wallowing in abject
      Businesses, meanwhile, are slashing their social responsibility
budgets, which had taken some of the pressure off the country's heavily
levied taxpayer, citing reduced economic activity that has raised the
spectre of retrenchments.
      In the absence of donor funding, the government, for years under
pressure to adopt sound fiscal practices and avoid living beyond its means,
is unlikely to increase spending on social services.
      Life, thus, might just get worse for the poor.
      A ravaging drought that hit the country last season, necessitating
food imports, is draining the little foreign exchange available. Add to that
the government's controversial clean-up campaign that has left thousands of
families homeless and you have a cocktail for more suffering.
      Analysts say the blitz on people's homes has increased the number of
the destitute, making the battle to ease the plight of the poor more
difficult for the government.
      "The easier way out of poverty is to empower those who are
marginalised through the redistribution of national assets such as land.
Unfortunately, with our land redistribution, people are sitting on pockets
of land which they cannot fully utilise because of lack of resources," said
      Observers said the country's well-to-do citizens had stocked up on
most of the basic commodities to last them the period of shortages and had
even earned large discounts on the huge volumes purchased.
      The same school of thought argued that the same class of people was in
charge of the distribution of the scarce commodities that are now selling at
twice or three times the normal retail price.
      With demand now far outstripping supply, there was real temptation to
divert the much sought-after products onto the illegal black market where
the premium was much more attractive, they said.
      True to these economic dictates, most basic commodities such as milk,
bread, sugar and cooking oil, have vanished from the supermarket shelves and
are now only obtainable on the parallel market, where they are fetching
"obscene prices".
      For example petrol, whose price went up to $10 000 per litre a week
ago, is selling for as much as $70 000 per litre on the black market.
      "The rich can easily get these scarce products. A lot of people have
to buy these products outside the country, but how many can afford that? And
even with these shortages, it is still the rich people who are buying the
little that is available, and that is assuming they had not stocked up on
these products," said the CCZ spokesman Tonderai Mukeredzi.
      "The CCZ is lobbying for a review of the minimum wage to suit our
basket . . . at least that way consumers can afford the basics," said
Mukeredzi, who concurred that the relentless cost increases had busted
family budgets, with many now considering it a luxury to have three square
meals a day.
      As the authorities grapple with the problem of stemming the economic
decay, a number of policies that could have benefited the poor have
literally been put on the backburner.
      For example, the much-vaunted indigenisation of the economy is now
moving at a snail's pace, with focus now basically on survival.
      It is mainly in the mining sector where the emotive indigenisation
issue is still alive, although most of the empowerment deals are still in
the pipeline.
      For instance, the empowerment partner in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines
Limited is still to raise the foreign currency for the 15 percent stake that
has been on offer for the past couple of years.
      Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe is also yet to announce its
empowerment partner in the multi-billion-dollar Unki platinum project.

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      Stocks, Zim dollar lower

      Staff Reporter
      7/7/2005 9:30:26 AM (GMT +2)

      STOCKS continued to drift lower yesterday, weighed down by firming
money market rates and growing concern over company profitability, while
rising demand drove the Zimbabwe dollar to fresh lows of $10 150 against the
United States greenback on the official currency market.

      Only $3.7 billion worth of stock was traded on Tuesday, and traders
said they anticipate volumes to remain thin ahead of inflation data for June
expected from the Central Statistical Office early next week.
      Many already expect inflation to come in higher, but a
weaker-than-expected report will likely renew market calls for some reaction
from the central bank, still sticking to a year-end target of 50-80 percent
despite the recent 180 percent rise in fuel prices and a sudden surge in
state spending.
      Yesterday, shares opened weaker and analysts said any new buying would
likely be toned down as investors paused to weigh their options in an
environment clouded by growing unease over future corporate earnings amid an
increasingly dim outlook for the wider economy.
      The main index continued Monday's losses with a 1.03 percent decline
on Tuesday to 2 746 964 points, investors discounting a small stream of
corporate activity that included a vote from Kingdom Holdings shareholders
for a share consolidations and a rights offer announcement from NMB. Kingdom
shed $1 to $599 in morning trade yesterday, while NMB stood still at $300.
      On the foreign currency market, bankers once again said they saw the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe allowing the local dollar to weaken against key
currencies towards what they believe to be a "fair value" - at least $17 000
versus the greenback.
      Bids rose from the previous auction's US$162 million to US$168
million, pushing the Zimbabwe dollar down to $10 150.

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      Bennett flies to SA for treatment

      Njabulo Ncube
      7/7/2005 9:32:01 AM (GMT +2)

      ROY Bennett, the former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
legislator for Chimanimani released from prison after eight months in jail
for contempt of parliament, has left the country for what he termed an
intensive recuperation programme in South Africa.

      Speaking before his departure for Johannesburg, Bennett hinted he
would be suing the government and some people for his "illegal"
incarceration as well as for theft of livestock and agricultural produce at
his Charleswood Estate, a prime property in Manicaland expropriated by the
      According to party insiders, the MDC legislator, who was released from
Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison last week, needed specialist treatment as
he had contracted various diseases in the lice-infested jail, whose
conditions have long been the source of complaints by human rights groups.
      Bennett, who left Harare on Tuesday afternoon aboard a South Africa
Airways flight to Johannesburg, said he would be in South Africa for six
      The former legislator, who earned time in prison for contempt of
parliament after shoving Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, during an emotive debate on the Stock Theft
Amendment Bill, said he was not feeling well and needed specialist
treatment, which was not available in Zimbabwe.
      "I am going away for six weeks to seek treatment in South Africa after
what I went through in prison," said Bennett, who cut a frail figure - a far
cry from his familiar rotund figure - when he walked out of Chikurubi Prison
on June 28.
      A debate in parliament on stock theft on May 18 2004 started it all
for Bennett, a renowned commercial farmer in Manicaland.
      Chinamasa accused Bennett's ancestors during debate of being "thieves
and murderers" to justify government's seizure of his Charleswood Estate.
      The combative minister said then that Bennett would never be allowed
to set foot on his property again. An incensed Bennett charged at Chinamasa
and floored him. Didymus Mutasa, then Anti-Corruption and Monopolies
Minister, also joined the fracas, which could have turned the chamber into a
free for all.
      Bennett was found guilty of contempt of parliament by the special
privileges committee. It recommended that he be sentenced to one-year
imprisonment. ZANU PF's majority in parliament carried the day and the House
adopted the recommendation.
      Bennett said this week he would forge ahead with his bid to reclaim
his Charleswood farm and get compensation for the produce, especially coffee
and livestock, seized from the property by ZANU PF supporters.
      "My farm (Charleswood) was an EPZ (Export Processing Zone). The
government had no right to take it in the manner it did. As for the cattle
and the coffee, someone somewhere in government has to pay," said the former
MDC legislator.

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      RG bids to bar MDC electoral fraud expert

      Njabulo Ncube
      7/7/2005 9:32:26 AM (GMT +2)

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai's court
challenge against President Robert Mugabe's 2002 presidential victory has
taken a new twist, after it emerged that the Attorney-General (AG)'s Office
is opposed to the MDC's plans to include an expert on electoral fraud on its
legal team.

      Although lawyers representing the MDC leader had managed to strike a
deal with the AG's Office, which is acting on behalf of Registrar-General
Tobaiwa Mudede, to have Roland Topper Whitehead attend the ballot
inspection, the director of the AG's civil division, Loyce Matanda-Moyo,
said her department would seek to bar Whitehead from the proceedings at the
Harare High Court next Monday.
      Another sub-plot to the case, which has seen little progress in the
past three years, looks set to be played out after Tsvangirai's lawyer,
Bryant Elliot of Coghlan, Welsh and Guest, warned the AG's Office against
barring Whitehead.
      The scheduled opening and inspection of the ballot boxes follow
several months of delays by Mudede in releasing the required materials. The
High Court had to intervene two months ago to force the registrar-general to
      Elliot wrote to Matanda-Moyo on Tuesday, saying Whitehead would be
part of the inspection team but would not handle any election material, in
terms of a compromise proposal agreed to by both parties at a meeting with
the Registrar of the High Court on June 23 2005.
      "At that meeting, Ms Mudenda, who was present on behalf of the civil
division, agreed with Mr (David) Coltart's compromise proposal that Mr
Whitehead be present at the inspection but not handle the election material.
The proposal was made after debate and in a spirit of compromise in order to
move forward. Ms Mudenda, on behalf of your client, expressly agreed with
this compromise proposal.
      "We hereby demand that your client strictly complies with the terms of
the court order dated May 27 2005. It was agreed at the meeting with the
Registrar (of the High Court) on June 23 2005 that the inspection would
commence on Monday July 11 2005 at 10am. We confirm that in accordance with
the court order, Mr Whitehead will be our client's authorised representative
at that inspection.
      "If your client or his representatives in any way obstructs this
inspection, our client will bring further contempt of court proceedings
against him," Elliot wrote.
      Earlier this year, High Court Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee found Mudede
to be in contempt of court after he delayed releasing ballots of the hotly
disputed 2002 presidential poll to the court. He was fined $5 million, while
the court also handed down a 60-day prison term, which was wholly suspended
provided Mudede released the ballots within 10 days of the ruling.
      Matanda-Moyo had written to Tsvangirai's lawyers saying the AG's
office would seek an order barring Whitehead from the inspection on the
grounds that he was not an expert as claimed.
      "After carefully scrutinising Mr Whitehead's qualifications and
experience, we have concluded that Mr Whitehead is not an expert in
examining electoral material. The fact that Mr Whitehead is out (of)
employment does not entitle him to examine election materials as he is not
an expert in the field.
      "Our instructions remain the same and our client is going to challenge
the expertise of Mr Whitehead and also seek an order barring the presence of
Mr Whitehead at any proceedings relating to election materials,"
Matanda-Moyo wrote.
      The MDC legal department insisted yesterday it was up for the fight
and would not yield on Whitehead, a computer expert who has previously
prepared a dossier on alleged ghost voters and other irregularities on
Zimbabwe's voters' roll.
      No comment could be obtained from the AG's Office.
      President Mugabe garnered 1 658 212 votes against Tsvangirai's 1 262
403 in the March 2002 presidential election.

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      World anger mounts over clean-up

      Njabulo Ncube
      7/7/2005 9:34:06 AM (GMT +2)

      EVER since the Zimbabwe government chose to take the country on the
inexorable path to oblivion - first with the violent seizure of white-owned
farms and then with a series of bloody elections - international pressure
has often risen to a crescendo when a major international summit gets
underway, only to die down along with the last word of a communiqué that
scarcely mentions the tiny southern African nation.

      However, the current outcry over the government's demolition of shanty
towns at the height of winter has seen institutions such as the African
Union (AU) - which normally defers to President Robert Mugabe - falling out
of step with Harare.
      If reports over the past week are anything to go by, the AU, which
angered Harare by dispatching its own envoy to assess the effects of the
government's campaign "outside of procedure" and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki-
who met opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai over the weekend, could finally
be waking up to smell the coffee that has long been brewing in crisis-ridden
      More international indignation over the Zimbabwe government's
controversial crackdown on shanty towns and informal traders was expressed
by the usual suspects - apart from the United States and Britain - Australia
and New Zealand.
      The two countries' foreign affairs ministers issued a joint statement
urging the G8 meeting in Scotland to extend Harare's isolation in almost all
spheres of international relations, including sports.
      Canberra and Wellington announced this week that their respective
Foreign Affairs Ministries had cobbled up a joint action plan on Zimbabwe
which outlines stringent measures which they hope could tighten the noose
around Harare's bruised neck.
      Both countries already have the ZANU PF government on a set of
targeted sanctions which, among other things, prevent several of its
officials from entering their ports.
      The latest action comprises a new range of measures aimed at
increasing pressure on President Mugabe's government to cease what the two
states described as Harare's "abhorrent and egregious" destruction of homes,
livelihoods and basic human rights.
      With President Mugabe showing little signs of halting the "clean-up"
campaign, Australia and New Zealand said they had drawn up seven tough
measures their governments want implemented to pressurise Harare to respect
democracy and the human rights of an estimated half a million people
rendered homeless and jobless by the operation.
      In a statement issued this week, Alexander Downer, the Australian
Foreign Affairs Minister and his New Zealand counterpart, Phil Goff, said
tough action was needed against Zimbabwe, which they described as a "rogue'
      "The continued failure of the Zimbabwe government to respect democracy
and human rights needs to be addressed firmly by the international
community," said the two foreign affairs ministers.
      The two nations said as part of decisive action against Harare, they
would make joint presentations to the International Cricket Council (ICC)
urging the world cricket governing body to alter the rules to allow teams to
boycott tours to countries such as Zimbabwe where serious human rights
abuses are said to be occurring.
      The New Zealand cricket team's tour to Harare and Bulawayo next month
is  already shrouded in controversy, with Goff in the forefront of calls for
his country's cricketing board to cancel the trip, alleging gross human
rights abuses. However, the New Zealand cricket board faces stiff sanctions
from the International Cricket Council if the team fails to fulfil the
fixtures in Zimbabwe.
      Goff has also indicated Wellington will not allow Zimbabwe to fulfil a
reserve fixture in December, saying the Harare cricketers would certainly be
denied visas.
      New Zealand and Australia said they were pushing for a sporting ban on
all Zimbabwe representative teams "with like-minded countries". The two
countries have implored the G8 meeting, which started yesterday and runs
until tomorrow, to "address the Zimbabwe issue".
      They have also warned they will make urgent representations to the UN
Commissioner for Human Rights and members of the Security Council to urge
the UN to investigate past and present human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
      The MDC accuses ZANU PF of using unorthodox means to win the past
three elections, among them intimidation and alleged brutal assaults of
perceived opposition supporters and stuffing of ballot boxes, charges the
ruling party has vehemently denied.
      Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC whose party estimates that
about 1.5 million people have been rendered homeless by the demolitions, met
President Mbeki on Sunday to ask him to exert pressure on the veteran ZANU
PF leader to halt the alleged human rights abuses against urbanites, the
majority of whom have voted for the MDC since its formation in 1999.
      "Zimbabwe is an albatross to all African leaders and therefore we want
to see a strong message at the G8 meeting that the regime has  gone beyond
acceptable behaviour of any government that it be called to order,"
Tsvangirai told a Press conference in Johannesburg on Monday, a day after
meeting Mbeki.
      "African leaders should be at the forefront of criticising  what is
taking place in Zimbabwe for their credibility to be enhanced at the G8
meeting and at all other forum," said the opposition leader who was also due
to meet with Nigerian President Olusegun  Obasanjo.
      The AU is understood to be  exerting immense pressure on Harare, with
diplomats based in Harare indicating that the continental body was at pains
to read the actions of President Mugabe in the wake of the destruction of
structures of the urban dwellers presently reeling from abject poverty due
to a deteriorating economic environment.
      Some AU leaders, who are meeting in Sirte, Libya, are understood to be
annoyed by the Zimbabwean leader's actions and would attempt to sway him
from his "vindictive path."
      However, there is no mention of Zimbabwe on the agenda of this week's
53-member AU summit, in what some critics said was in keeping with the AU's
habitual deference to President Mugabe.
      Analysts who spoke to this newspaper pointed at attempts by the AU to
hurriedly dispatch to Zimbabwe one of its senior representatives to assess
the impact of the demolitions without following laid down protocol as a sign
that patience could be finally wearing thin within the continental body.
      "We know the AU is usually docile on matters involving its African
brothers especially Zimbabwe. In fact Zimbabwe is not on the agenda of the
AU summit taking place in Libya but the latest action to sneak in a senior
person to spy on Operation Restore Order speaks louder than words. AU
leaders are not happy. Mugabe's actions are unacceptable even by the crude
African standards," said an African diplomat based in Harare.
      "There is pressure from the West and within Africa itself. The action
against urban dwellers is unacceptable, coming after the rejection of ZANU
PF in urban areas. This smacks of revenge," the diplomat, speaking on
condition of anonymity, added.
      Australia and New Zealand also said they would also support continued
moves to expel Zimbabwe from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
      Other actions would entail joint Australia/New Zealand demands to
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) members, including South
Africa, to exert diplomatic pressure on Zimbabwe to conform to international
human rights standards.
      Both have proposed to the UN Security Council that the actions of the
Zimbabwe  government be referred to the International Criminal Court.
      The heightening of international pressure comes as Anna Kajumalo
Tibaijuka, UN secretary general Koffi Annan's special envoy; inexplicable
extended her fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe at the weekend, ostensibly to
cover parts of the Midlands and Matabeleland.
      There are unconfirmed reports that the UN had instructed the emissary
to look beyond the surface and "not be led by the nose by government
      President Mugabe, whose government ordered the demolitions under the
guise of rooting out black market trade in scarce foreign currency and basic
commodities, has also been condemned for his government's actions by the
Commonwealth, the European Union, the United States of America and Britain,
all of which have  placed the combative Zimbabwean leader under limited
      The ZANU PF government, undeterred by international criticism, has
instead pledged an unbudgeted $3 trillion for a massive reconstruction
programme to accommodate the homeless citizens.
      However, critics say the gesture is meant to undercut the universal
outrage that has greeted the crackdown.

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      Heads you lose, tails you lose

      Rangarirai Mberi
      7/7/2005 9:32:52 AM (GMT +2)

      YOU can just picture them - company executives - huddled together in
some dimly lit boardroom watching a PowerPoint presentation from some
know-it-all "consultant" claiming to have figured out where the economy is

      Zimbabwe has just staggered into the last half of the year, but the
future has never been foggier. For businesspeople and ordinary Zimbabweans,
trying to plan ahead and forecast where the economy will be by year-end has
become impossible.
      Consultants have for years been paid for telling business executives
just what they want to hear - "just do the right thing and your profits will
obviously shoot through the roof". But making a plan that can remain
relevant over the long term is something executives now only speak of with
      Now perhaps the best thing business can do is to ditch snooty
suit-and-tie consultants for cheaper backyard fortune tellers who can throw
a few bones and predict what more shockers the Zimbabwe government will brew
over the next six months.
      The first half of the year has been very unusual for Zimbabwe and its
battered citizens.
      A serious drought slashed crop output and the government was forced to
admit, after months of denial, that it needed foreign aid to feed its
people. Conservative official estimates said the country needed at least
US$420 million for grain imports.
      Then there came the March 31 general election. ZANU PF campaigned on
an "anti-Blair" platform; the vote was more than a mere parliamentary
election, but a chance for patriots to send a strong message to British
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his imperialist minions.
      The opposition campaigned under a "food and jobs" banner, hoping to
capitalise on the deepening poverty.
      ZANU PF won comfortably, presumably because, in Zimbabwe, "anti-Blair"
sentiment is much stronger than the need for "food and jobs".
      Then on May 18, police raided flea markets in Harare, saying they were
the cause of Zimbabwe's foreign currency crisis.
      In the few weeks that followed, the police were laying waste to
thousands of homes and industries, hundreds of thousands of people were
being made homeless, the United Nations and the African Union were sending
in investigators, "Operation Murambatsvina" was being wound up and Zimbabwe
was spending $3 trillion to build two million houses.
      As the half-year reached its close, the battle was being lost on the
inflation front, with the rate rising in May at its fastest pace since
January 2004. The fuel crisis worsened, while its price went up 180 percent,
further damaging the inflation outlook.
      An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team arrived in Zimbabwe. They
came, they saw and they shook their heads.
      With all the carnage of the first half, people employed to make
forecasts for businesses at the half-year are having a hard time of it. They
have to guess, close their eyes and hope the coming half will not be half as
unpredictable as the first.
      Entering the last half, business remains uncertain over a range of
fundamental issues. How fast will inflation rise? How high will the Reserve
Bank lift rates in response? How low will the dollar be allowed to slide?
What will Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa do in his half-year fiscal review
later this month? Will he raise taxes to boost depleted revenues? Slash them
to give hard-up workers temporary relief? Will he quit?
      Observers say two factors in the coming weeks will be key to
determining where the economy could be headed in the coming six months.
      Zimbabwe might become the first country ever to be expelled from the
IMF, unless the fund's board decides to give the lone efforts of the central
bank another chance to save a seemingly incurable situation.
      Zimbabwe has not been under an IMF programme for six years, but
expulsion from the fund would end any leftover investor interest in the
country and break whatever resolve might be remaining among those who
believe "the economy will never collapse".
      At the United Nations, Anna Tibaijuka, the world body's special envoy
to Zimbabwe, will make a report to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It is
distinctly possible Tibaijuka will prepare a generally favourable report on
Zimbabwe's clean-up operation, but it is unlikely her report will smell of
roses either.
      If Tibaijuka issues a critical report, Zimbabwe's many international
foes will jump on it and turn up the heat on the country, delaying any
possible recovery.
      But even if she reports positively, the effects of "Operation
Murambatsvina" will remain with Zimbabwe long after her report is forgotten.

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      At the deep end!

      7/7/2005 9:51:15 AM (GMT +2)

      IT is panic stations. Zimbabwe's protracted fuel crisis has, to all
intents and purposes, ground the wheels of industry and commerce to a halt.

      Admittedly the country has in the past experienced fuel shortages.
That was when we used to call them challenges. But now, the nation has a
deep-seated crisis on its hands because the pendulum has swung too far the
other way. If there is any semblance of normalcy, it is either a false
impression or because Zimbabweans have lost the ability to be shocked!
      The fuel crisis has had the net effect of worsening an already shabby
and debilitated economy, which unfortunately is the government's true
memorial. The untenable situation exposes the isolation of Zimbabwe as
probably the only major Southern African Development Community member state
with serious fuel shortages under which the economy can easily implode.
      The nation is at the very deep end. Nothing is insulated because the
crippling crisis is like a poison-tipped arrow aimed right at the economy's
failing heart. Industry is laden with gloom as company closures loom and
thousands of jobs are threatened. Once again it is the ordinary people -
whose rights are the last thing anyone remembers when a system crumbles
spawning ever-shrinking accountability - that are feeling the sharpest edge
of the knife in this crisis. Sadly, there does not seem to be any solution
in sight.
      The fuel crisis in Zimbabwe is as tricky as it gets, coming as it does
against a backcloth of an unprecedented foreign currency crunch, and a
collapsing export sector. It is however also important to note that the
problem is emblematic of everything wrong with government's Band Aid
approach to serious issues - an approach which at best brings nothing but
stop-gap measures and at worst no solution at all. This suggests that the
government should now go back to the drawing board and adopt a more
assertive approach in dealing with the fuel crisis.
      First, a cost benefit analysis of the relevance of the monolith that
is the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe is long overdue. Pertinent issues to
address revolve around whether Zimbabwe needs the parastatal, which has
failed to rise to the occasion and where billions of public funds have in
the past silted up the pockets of corrupt officials? Should it be retained
in its current form or should it be transformed into a regulator whose
responsibility would only be to ensure that there are no malpractices in the
fuel industry?
      Secondly, there is the issue of institutionalised corruption in the
fuel sector. We have here in mind the uncouth fuel importers, most of whom
have always been bent on deception and are not ashamed of betraying or
sabotaging their country at its most desperate hour. Late last year the
country was plunged into yet another fuel crisis when they abused the
foreign currency allocated to them by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through
the auction system. A smoking gun was found in the incriminating figures
released by the central bank, which showed that, on average, the fuel
importers had been allocated more than what the country required per month.
Still the country experienced fuel shortages though for a short time. The
economic disruptions brought about by the short-lived but costly fuel
problems however came at a particularly irksome moment for the sickly
economy as have the current shortages.
      And there is no telling whether this abuse, just like the case with
self-centred politicians that have turned the land reform programme into a
despicable land grab orgy, has been nipped in the bud. It is therefore time
to grasp the nettle and get to the bottom of the mess as regards fuel
imports by making public the identities of the owners of the fuel companies
implicated in abusing the scarce foreign currency and how these companies
got their dealerships. It should just not end there. The culprits should be
brought to justice, their licences revoked and companies liquidated. This
will, if we might add, provide President Robert Mugabe who has taken great
umbrage to pervasive corruption - if his public statements and elaborate
tones are anything to by - with a perfect opportunity to take the
anti-corruption crusade to its full expression.
      And last but not least, the belated huge fuel price hike effected last
week should be seen as the first step in the quest for a long term solution
to the nagging fuel crisis. Although this should have been done a long time
ago, were it not for government's populist policies, it should nonetheless
be viewed as a welcome victory for pragmatism. For a long time government
refused to listen to the voice of reason when there was a chorus for
staggered fuel price increases to bring them in line with international
prices as far back as the early 1990s. Suffice to say that this was just a
case of postponing the inevitable. Always hamstrung by political expediency,
government ignored the influence of realities and continued digging in its
heels on the issue of fuel price hikes. And Zimbabwe is now about to count
the cost of such shortsightedness. Will the fragile economy be able to
absorb the sudden shocks wrought by an increase of the magnitude seen last
week? That is the question.

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      ...and now to the Notebook

      7/7/2005 9:46:49 AM (GMT +2)

      Last week CZ was away with his Notebook. And this was a subject of a
scandalous speculation among several of his colleagues in this thankless
profession. Some said this is July so CZ was on strike for a pay rise.

      Others said he had gone to join fellow sell-outs in the diaspora.
Others even talked of him having disappeared the way most lesser patriots
are rumoured to have disappeared in the past . . . a lot of speculation
indeed but the worst was that CZ's Notebook was missing because the author
was busy taking the UN Envoy around! Criminal isn't it? CZ is a patriot and
a half and he will never work with foreigners against the wishes of his own
      Anyway, the truth is that CZ was just out of town on an otherwise
innocuous mission and as fate would have it, technology failed him. You
know, relying too much on these mod cons can be a problem!

      Shown the door?
      So we are told that the war vet on a mission finally decided to throw
in the towel . . . obviously with a heavy sack-cloth of embarrassment ...
after those deafening obloquies from all the civilised citizens of this
country about the fellow's animal-like behaviour? Fine and dandy. Hopefully
it is true that the demons that had always been riding on the man's back
decided to go on vacation, giving him a chance to balance his deeds and
misdeeds and realise that as a human being, his sums were in the negative .
. . he was a pervert too criminal to deserve that office? CZ has this
curious feeling that the man had to be shown the door! Don't you feel so
      Whatever the case might be, CZ will always violently argue that
henceforth the man does not deserve to be anywhere near any other public
office because he is too dangerous.
      CZ still waits to hear our big-mouthed women NGOs making a lot of
noise about this case. Placards with such messages as: "Tougher Rape Laws
Please! Stop Child-Abusers! Castrate Rapists!" Anything will do. The matter
is still far from being settled. Or is it?

      News from Malawi points to the fact that our in-law Bingu wa Mutharika
could soon find himself supervising criminally underpaid workers at his
Bennet Farm in Kadoma as an impeachment motion has been moved in Parliament.
Yes, the thugs - the "ruling" UDF parliamentarians - made so much noise in
the otherwise august House that the Speaker collapsed and was rushed to
hospital and the House had to adjourn indefinitely. The Speaker-man has
since died . . . sorry! The only consolation being that he has gone to his
heavenly reward.
      So we wait and see what will happen next.
      Remember wa Mutharika was handpicked by former President Bakili
Muluzi - hence his wa Muluzi nickname - before he decided to forsake Muluzi
and his UDF to abuse the horse and cart constitutional loopholes to remain
in office . . . unlike our own Munyaradzi Gwisai's mischief. Now the UDF and
the main opposition Malawi Congress Party have teamed up against him.
Hopefully some juju and more constitutional loopholes will work to his

      Last week Zimbabwe belatedly "celebrated" the Education for All
initiative under the theme "Send my Friend to School" when actually more
than 300 000 schoolchildren had dropped out of school because of the ongoing
(winding-up) Tsunami.
      Would CZ be branded less patriotic if he would suggest that the event,
which took place in Gwanda last Friday, deserved to be held under the theme
"Take my Friend from School?" Whole families and over-extended African
families have been dumped in some "protected" villages the same way Mr Ian
Douglas Smith did during those years. Some of the schoolchildren that had
registered for their exams in schools in their neighbourhood are suddenly
hundreds of kilometres away thanks to the vindictive wisdom of the owners of
this country!

      Know what? Because of the queues that are almost everywhere . . .
fuel, sugar, cooking oil, bread, margarine, transport, cash, lodger cards,
common sense, madness . . . anything . . . some Zimbos have decided to be
patriotic enough as to go to the extent to renaming their beloved country
Queuembabwe as their small contribution toward the national effort to boost
forex inflows through tourism. They rabidly argue that the queues that have
become part of our quotidian existence are in their own way good enough to
attract tourists even from our former Western source markets . . . remember
it is only in this country that such queues are so attractively found . . .
so can any Zimbo show good cause why this good country cannot exploit this
"God-given" extra tourist attraction? Reports reaching CZ point to the fact
that tourism authorities are actually busy trying to package and sell this
newly found "natural" attraction to our Chinese friends. "Majestic Vic
Falls, Awe-inspiring Great Zimbabwe and Breath-taking Queues . . . the
British don't have them!"
      Henceforth, we are Queuembabweans and it is so sad that we are going
to change from being Zimbos to Queuembos. Happy Queuemboz!
      CZ is a perennial survivor. Try him!

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      New fuel rules on the cards?

      Staff Reporter
      7/7/2005 9:36:25 AM (GMT +2)

      A DEEPENING fuel crisis that has virtually crippled industry and the
public transport system has given birth to calls for relaxation of rules
governing importation of the precious liquid.

      Industry experts said high-ranking government officials were toying
around with the idea of loosening fuel importation rules because it was now
apparent that the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and a special purpose
vehicle formed for oil procurement had failed to cope owing to acute foreign
currency shortages.
      They said the energy ministry, conspicuous by its silence in the face
of a degenerating crisis, might be forced to allow Zimbabweans in the
diaspora to bring in fuel and distribute it through the underutilised formal
      The same might also apply to exporters, who are allowed to retain part
of their receipts in foreign currency accounts, said the sources.
      "It is not going to be easy though, given the distortions that could
emerge if this issue is not handled properly," said a source.
      Zimbabwe, which requires at least US$40 million monthly to meet its
fuel needs, is experiencing serious shortages of the resource despite a
massive 300 percent increase in the price of petrol, diesel and paraffin
announced last week.
      The country is struggling to attract sufficient foreign exchange in
the form of foreign direct investment and aid after the withdrawal of
balance of payments support by the International Monetary Fund in the late
1990s and the land seizures of 2000 which alienated Western donors.
      Some analysts said this week that changing the current distribution
system might pose major headaches for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
The energy ministry may also have problems supervising the importers and
curbing the black market, they said.
      Gideon Gono, the governor of the RBZ, has said that most of the 120
players in the fuel sector are dubious and that the number needs to be
trimmed to not more than 20.

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      Diplomatic fight over woman

      Mavis Makuni
      7/7/2005 9:49:28 AM (GMT +2)

      THREE men fighting over a woman? On the diplomatic front? An unlikely
story to be sure, but that's exactly what happened about a week ago when
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy, Anna Kajumalo
Tibaijuka, was about to arrive in Zimbabwe.

      Tibaijuka's brief was to assess the effects of the government's
nationwide clean-up operation which has caused an outcry both locally and
internationally because of the untold and unnecessary human suffering it has
engendered. The man-made disaster unfolded against a background of
cacophonous official rhetoric designed to convey the impression that
throwing hundreds of thousands of jobless, poverty-stricken, terminally ill
and starving people out of whatever shelter they had and condemning them to
the mercy of the elements was the action of a caring and revolutionary
people's government.
      But it would seem that even the most fervent proponents of this
head-in-the-sand approach could see that no one was buying the story or else
why would the United Nations secretary-general still want to send someone to
assess the situation on the spot. To make matters worse, Tony Blair, the man
who seems to have the power to cause the most exasperation and jitters in
official circles each time he opens his mouth, had commented on Operation
Restore Order/Murambatsvina. He had welcomed Tibaijuka's appointment as
Annan's special envoy to Zimbabwe and expressed hope that she would come up
with a good report. Blair is also reported to have claimed to know the lady
envoy personally. That did it.
      Up into the fray stepped Ambassador Tichaona Jokonya and his deputy
Bright Matonga, the heirs to the propaganda throne unceremoniously vacated
by Jonathan Moyo in February when he and the ruling party parted ways. The
new minister of information and publicity may claim to have a different
vision and agenda but he seems reluctant to give up one of the last vestiges
of the Moyo era - paranoid propaganda that seeks to expose an anti-Zimbabwe
conspiracy each time our endless national crises spark negative
international reactions.
      In lengthy monologoues on television, Jokonya and Matonga accused the
British premier for the umpteenth time of interference in Zimbabwe's
internal affairs and leading, along with George Bush, a campaign for regime
change in Zimbabwe. Jokonya ridiculed Blair for announcing that he knew
Tibaijuka personally, saying what a "terrible thing" this was to say about
someone who was supposed to undertake her assignment impartially. Then, in
apparent self-contradiction and without a hint of irony , Jokonya let it be
known that he knew Tibaijuka even better than Blair and he knew she would do
a good job. So there, you have it, a clear case of selective logic and
do-as-I say-not-as-I-do. In their tug-of-war with Blair, Jokonya and Matonga
were anxious to claim Tibaijuka as a sympathiser on their side.
      When Jokonya was appointed to take over the information and publicity
portfolio in President Mugabe's "development cabinet" hopes were high that
he would adopt a more realistic and rational approach in place of Moyo's
reliance on hate-filled bombast, belligerence and subterfuge to defend the
indefensible. It was during Moyo's era that propaganda techniques such as
exaggeration and repetition were taken to extremes. As a result we ended up
with outright fabrications which were then forced down the nation's throat
ad nauseam.
      One of these unlikely tales is the illogical claim that Blair is
responsible for all Zimbabwe's problems and he should therefore be denounced
whenever officials are unable or unwilling to tell the truth about the
endless self-inflicted crises bedeviling the country. Needless to say, these
neither won Zimbabwe a single friend nor advanced its cause an inch.
      It came as a great shock therefore to discover that Jokonya, a former
diplomat who is supposed to have more class and tact, is prepared to inherit
some of Moyo's idiosyncrasies, especially with respect to the tired
anti-Blair mantra. It has been recited so often for so long that the most
pertinent question to ask is how one man can so outclass the entire
Zimbabwean government that so much time and energy has to be spent on trying
to contain him. I had frankly hoped that Jokonya's diplomatic instincts
would convince him to advise against this rather crude and counterproductive
approach which has unwittingly made Blair the politician with the highest
profile and most recognisable name in Zimbabwe. When Blair speaks, Zimbabwe
not only listens but goes into hysterics.
      It was difficult to understand why Minister Jokonya and his deputy
were so alarmed by the suggestion that the UN secretary-general's envoy
would produce a "good" report unless their idea of good is at variance with
what everyone else expects. Every objective person hopes Tibaijuka will tell
it like it is. The most important reason why it is unacceptable to try to
paint a rosy picture of this truly horrific situation is that it involves
human beings who will simply not disappear into thin air. They need help to
survive and to rebuild their lives.
      It is all very well to extol the government's benevolence in embarking
on Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle after spending a night in a warm and
comfortable bed without confronting the question of where hundreds of
thousands of displaced fellow human beings will sleep tonight. These are
people who must be as deeply traumatised by witnessing the destructive force
used in the clean-up exercise as those caught up in the fury unleashed by
mother nature in natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis or flooding.
Instead of attacking Blair, Jokonya's ministry should be telling us what
psychological services the government is providing to help these victims
come to terms with their loss and grief. Remember most of these people have
lost all they have accumulated in a lifetime.
      Jokonya, who on the day he attacked Blair praised the African Union
for its arrogant statement that it would not comment on the clean-up
exercise because that would be tantamount to meddling in Zimbabwe's internal
affairs, has not explained how this hands-off approach will benefit the
victims of the mass destruction of accommodation and livelihoods. The
Ministry of Information should help us to understand what purpose the AU
serves if the excellencies who have proclaimed themselves life presidents
and emperors can be praised for turning a blind eye and walking by on the
other side while hundreds of thousands of people in a member country are
reduced to living in the open like animals in a game reserve.
      People of good will everywhere must come to the rescue of these
victims who, in practical terms, are no different from the victims of the
tsunami in Asia some months ago. For this help to be forthcoming, the truth
must be told and not swept under the carpet. Honourable Special Envoy
Tibaijuka should ignore the antics around her and focus on the victims and
their needs.

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      Empowerment Act overtaken by time

      7/7/2005 9:53:38 AM (GMT +2)

      CERTAIN reports emanating from the public media that are ascribed to
the Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment indicate that
government might soon introduce, through Parliament, a new law to be called
the Empowerment Act.

      There has not been a bold and clear explanation from the
powers-that-be on why this decision has been arrived at, but indications are
that government intends to place the issues of indigenisation and
empowerment on the permanent national agenda.
      The issue of indigenisation and empowerment - commonly known in other
countries as affirmative action - has been topical since the day we attained
our independence but the perplexing thing is why government has only lately
reawakened and realised the need for a formal affirmative action policy?
      Before I delve into the full discussion, I shall attempt to explore
the historical foundations of the policy of affirmative action. This
significant subject is easily traceable to the American Civil Rights
Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Its fundamental purpose was to seek a
recognition for and assert the role of Afro-Americans in matters of
nation-building because for centuries they had laboured under the yoke of
slavery and oppression.
      In the United States, the sonorous and vigorous political agitation by
these revolutionaries necessitated the launch of a formal affirmative action
policy through which some members of the formerly oppressed and marginalised
black population were catapulted to positions of influence, which process
allowed them to play a role in business, education, sport and other national
activities from whence they had been side-lined.
      Affirmative action,or empowerment or indigenisation, whatever one
might want to call it can come about either through formal or informal
recognition by governments.
      In the Zimbabwean context, the process and its implementation came
naturally because of the post-independence nation-building demands. It was a
spontaneous and overdue demand by indigenous Zimbabweans, young and old, who
wanted to play a role in the running of their economy and other national
      In the post-independence era, the cruel legacy of colonialism had
continued to manifest its vestiges as most sectors of the economy remained
under foreign control and of particular reference are the financial,
manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors.
      Towards the early 1980s and 1990s, Zimbabweans began to discover the
slackened pace at which economic transformation was moving and as such
hushed and at times loud noises were made by individuals and groups who
demanded a controlling stake in the national economy.
      Indeed government responded and put into place policies that allowed
indigenous people to access those sectors of the economy that predominantly
remained under white control.
      Some notable groups that came to the fore and tenaciously and at times
with uncouth methods coerced government into liberalisation, and former
white capitalists into surrendering sizeable portions of their controlling
stakes were the Affirmative Action Group, the Indigenous Business
Development Centre, and other similarly named organisations.
      As can be noted, these came into being not because of formal
acknowledgement by relevant authorities of the issues of indigenisation and
empowerment, but because economic transformation had taken unnecessarily
long to be addressed by government.
      During the early 1990s - years that coincided with the introduction of
ESAP - majestic inroads were systematically and gradually made thereby
marking the most important period during the empowerment of the indigenous
      The financial sector is a typical example of one of those significant
areas of the economy that were penetrated by indigenous people, culminating
in a number of banks, insurance companies and other related organisations
falling under the control of black Zimbabweans.
      In leaps and bounds local black people also took control of the
manufacturing sector. The mining industry, one of the major components of
our economy, still lags behind because local people have for unknown reasons
failed to claim a stake in it.
      One sector that had for some time remained under white control is that
of agriculture but government obliterated white control through the
controversial land reform programme that commenced in the year 2000 and is
still on-going.
      The sudden influx of indigenous people in the agricultural sector,
most of whom have no capacity and capability in matters of agriculture,
proved to be another significant turning point in the pro-transformation
      While there is nothing wrong in passing legislation, laws must only
come about because they are relevant and also as a response to genuine need
to regulate and promote development.
      The law-making process must not be necessitated by political
expediencyand populist endeavours nor should it be a result of a superficial
business-like attitude.
      At the stage at which our nation finds itself in, during the course of
its development especially the gigantic role that the previously
disadvantaged and marginalised black people are playing in the Zimbabwean
economy, there might be no need to go to Parliament to introduce belatedly
this kind of a law.
      The South African scenario is distinguishable from ours in that early
into their democratic dispensation, a government-initiated formal
affirmative action policy was introduced. The Black Economic Empowerment
Charter and the subsequent Employment Equity Act which called for the
introduction of black people into strategic employment and business
positions signified another possible dimension in tackling the touchy issue
of empowerment.
      As regards our own scenario and as already has been observed, a
legislative solution to the issue of black empowerment might be very
belated. It might only signify government's spectacular show of ignorance as
well as a gross misunderstanding of where we are coming from with the issue
of black empowerment.
      This is not the time to abuse Parliament by wasting its time in
debating and promulgating laws that have clearly been overtaken by time. The
law, as it gets into the society, must only come because it is desirable,
indispensable and introduces meaningful and positive changes into the
      lVote Muza is a legal practitioner with Gutu and Chikowero law firm.
He can be contated on e-mail:

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