United Nations Security Council
Date: 08 Jul 2008
5929th Meeting (AM)
The crisis in Zimbabwe represented not only a moment of truth for democracy
in Africa, it also posed a challenge to the world, United Nations Deputy
Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told the Security Council this morning.
'When an election is conducted in an atmosphere of fear and violence, its
outcome cannot have a legitimacy that is built on the will of the people.
Consequently, the principle of democracy is at stake,' Ms. Migiro said in a
briefing to the 15-member body after having attended the African Union
Summit in Egypt. The situation could affect regional peace and security 'in
Recalling that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), had been declared the winner of the 29 March
presidential elections -- albeit with only 47.9 per cent of the vote, thus
failing to avoid a run-off election -- she said he had withdrawn from the
run-off because of State-sponsored violence resulting in the killing of more
than 80 of his supporters. Despite calls for a postponement of the run-off
election, including by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, it had
been held on 27 June. Unlike the first round, there were no national
observers on the ground as they had withdrawn, citing the lack of minimum
conditions to operate. That had stripped the election of a critical measure
of transparency and credibility.
However, regional groups had substantially augmented the number of
observers, she said. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) had
deployed more than 400 observers, the African Union over 60 and the
Pan-African Parliament 30, while the United Nations had provided logistical
and technical support to SADC. While the observers, including
parliamentarians, members of civil society and civil servants, had been
harassed and intimidated, they had reported many irregularities, including a
requirement that voters report the serial numbers of their ballots to
officials of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) party. Some voters had deliberately spoiled their ballots in
protest, which had resulted in spoiled ballots accounting for 5.1 per cent
of the vote.
It was notable that the three African observer missions had unequivocally
condemned the electoral process and its results, she said, adding that
African Union observers had concluded that the process had fallen short of
the accepted African Union standards. The Pan-African Parliament mission had
said the elections were not free and fair, while the SADC mission had said
they 'did not represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe'. Those
observations indicated serious flaws in the electoral process leading to the
declared re-election of President Robert Mugabe.
'This profound crisis of legitimacy is further compounded by the paralysis
of State institutions,' she continued. There was no functioning Parliament
and civil society had been silenced. The economy was crippled, with
inflation reaching 10.5 million per cent, and there were severe shortages of
food and basic services. There was also an urgent need to restore the rule
of law and to start building public institutions. It was clear that Zimbabwe
would have to go through a political transition and needed a process of
national healing and reconciliation.
She said that ZANU-PF and MDC, recognizing that Zimbabwe was deeply divided
and that its political future would depend on a transitional arrangement
promoting national unity, had both accepted the need for a dialogue towards
a negotiated settlement, and talks under South African mediation were
ongoing. President Thabo Mbeki was reportedly working towards a direct
meeting between President Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai.
The creation of a Government of National Unity enjoyed broad support in the
region, she said. The African Union had called for a strengthening of SADC's
efforts by the establishment of a mechanism on the ground to support
mediation efforts. The Secretary-General strongly supported that
recommendation and called for the speedy establishment of such a mechanism.
He had offered to put all the means at the disposal of the United Nations at
the service of SADC and the African Union to strengthen the mediation
She stressed that, while the willingness of the parties to talk was
encouraging, the Secretary-General remained gravely concerned that the
situation could deteriorate further with violence spreading across the
country and its effects spilling over into the wider subregion. He also
remained very concerned that the humanitarian situation, if unattended,
could leave 5.1 million people at grave risk. He had called on the
Zimbabwean authorities immediately to lift restrictions on humanitarian
activities and urged them to offer immediate protection to people currently
located at the Ruwa transit centre.
'As the world mobilizes to support a peaceful solution to the crisis and to
help Zimbabwe back on a path to democracy, stability and development, it is
the urgent responsibility of the Government of Zimbabwe to protect its
citizens and to cease immediately all forms of violence,' she said in
conclusion, stressing that perpetrators of crimes must be held to account.
The meeting started at 10:38 a.m. and adjourned at 10:50 a.m.
By Peter Clottey
09 July 2008
The Group of Eight rich nations currently meeting in Japan agreed Tuesday to
impose stiffer sanctions on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and the entire
leadership of the ruling ZANU-PF government. The group said it did not
accept the legitimacy of Mugabe's administration, adding that the Harare
government does not represent the wishes of the ordinary Zimbabwean after
the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the June 27
presidential run-off. But some African leaders sharply disagreed with the
sanctions saying it would not help to resolve the ongoing economic and
political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Critics of President Mugabe have reportedly expressed outrage at the refusal
of African leaders to back the G8-targeted sanctions on the Mugabe
Busani Ncube is the logistics director of the Bulawayo project, a
non-governmental organization in Zimbabwe's commercial capital. He tells
reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are in support of the G8 sanctions
on President Mugabe.
"Zimbabweans generally support any action against the Mugabe regime for
Mugabe to start respecting and to start to take the people of Zimbabwe
serious and accept to negotiate on equal basis with the opposition. They are
supporting any move or decision taken by the G8 leaders to impose further
sanctions on the leadership of ZANU-PF and the government. And they are very
clear that they understand that these sanctions are targeted sanctions at
ZANU-PF cronies and Mugabe," Ncube noted.
He said Zimbabweans are outraged at some African leaders for failing to back
the G8 sanctions on the ruling ZANU-PF leadership.
"We are very disappointed with some African leaders who seem willing to
postpone the Zimbabwe crisis. It seem they are celebrating the crisis that
the Zimbabweans are going through. We are disappointed about their failure
to take a decisive action at the just ended AU (African Union) summit, and
we think that it is high time for the leaders to really be hard on Mugabe,"
Ncube described as unfortunate the unity of purpose and solidarity exhibited
by some African leaders on the Zimbabwe crisis.
"This African brotherhood to say we are supporting or brother in Africa is
not helping the Zimbabwe cause this is what gives Mugabe the power to
brutalize Zimbabweans, to rig the elections because he knows that the
African leaders would not do anything to him," Ncube pointed out.
He said targeted sanctions against President Mugabe and the top leadership
of the ruling ZANU-PF party has taken a toll on the Harare government.
"I think they have helped. Remember, if you can listen very well to ZANU-PF
talks, they talk about the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) the
opposition campaigning for the lifting of the sanctions. It seem they
(ruling party) really feel these sanctions, and I think further sanctions
will put pressure on Mugabe to be serious in negotiations with the
opposition," he said.
Ncube said some Zimbabweans in the rural areas are still being assaulted.
"Yes, the violence is still ongoing. In fact now, ZANU-PF tugs are targeting
MDC members and they are saying you are celebrating before the elections
thinking that you were going to win, but now we are back in power we want to
discipline you for what you have done. We have reported violence in the
rural areas and people are being brutalized, violence is still going on
especially in the rural areas," Ncube noted.
United Nations Security Council
Date: 08 Jul 2008
Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro's
briefing to the Security Council on the situation in Zimbabwe, today, 8
I would like to thank Council members for this opportunity to brief you on
the situation in Zimbabwe. I have just returned from the African Union
Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, where I conveyed to the leaders the
Secretary-General's message that the crisis in Zimbabwe represents a 'moment
of truth' for democracy in the continent.
Today I would like to convey to this Council that the Zimbabwe issue also
poses a challenge to the world. When an election is conducted in an
atmosphere of fear and violence, its outcome cannot have a legitimacy that
is built on the will of the people. Consequently, the principle of democracy
is at stake.
Zimbabwe flawed elections produced illegitimate results. The seriousness of
the situation and its possible consequences has the potential to affect
regional peace and security in profound ways.
Since the last briefing to the Security Council by Under-Secretary-General
Lynn Pascoe, Zimbabwe held a presidential election with only one contender:
incumbent President Robert Mugabe, who sought his sixth term in office. You
will recall Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
was declared the winner with 47.9 per cent of the vote. As you are aware,
this result was not enough to avoid a run-off. Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew from
the run-off, arguing that State-sponsored violence, intimidation and the
killing of over 80 of his supporters made free and fair elections
Despite calls for the election to be postponed until proper conditions were
in place, including by Secretary-General Ban, second round elections were
held on Friday 27 June. Unlike in the first round, this time there were no
national observers on the ground as both the Zimbabwe Electoral Support
Network (ZESN), which had covered the first round in a very efficient
manner, and the NGO [non-governmental organization] Lawyers for Human Rights
withdrew, citing the lack of minimum conditions to operate.
The lack of national observation stripped the elections of a critical
measure of transparency and credibility. However, missions from the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and the Pan-African
Parliament were present on the ground. Anticipating increased tensions in
the second round, regional groups had substantially augmented the number of
observers for the second round. SADC more than doubled its contingent,
deploying over 400 observers, compared to 163 in the first round; the
African Union deployed over 60 observers, compared to just under 20 in the
first round; and the Pan-African Parliament deployed 30. The United Nations
provided logistical and technical support to SADC efforts to increase
observation in the second round.
The observers included parliamentarians of both ruling and opposition
parties, members of civil society and civil servants. I would like to say a
word of appreciation for the work of these observers, many of whom were
themselves intimidated and harassed in the conduct of their duties and
showed commendable courage.
On election day, observers reported many irregularities. A serious example
is that voters were required to report the serial numbers of their ballots
to ZANU-PF officials, rendering the concept of anonymous voting utterly
meaningless. Some people spoiled their ballots in protest -- spoilt ballots
accounted for 5.1 per cent of the total votes.
Voting took place on 27 June and official results stated that President
Mugabe won with 85.5 per cent of the votes. He was inaugurated on 29 June
and subsequently travelled to Egypt to participate in the African Union
It is of note that the three African observer missions present on the ground
issued unequivocal condemnations of the electoral process and its results.
The Pan-African Parliament observer mission said the 'elections were not
free and fair' and 'conditions should be put in place for the holding of
free, fair and credible elections as soon as possible, in line with the
African Union declaration on the principles governing democratic elections'.
The SADC mission said the process leading up to the presidential run-off
election did not conform to its Principles and Guidelines Governing
Democratic Elections. In addition, it stated that the elections did not
represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
Finally, the African Union observer mission also concluded that the election
process fell short of the accepted African Union standards, citing the
violence in the run-up to the elections and the lack of access to the media.
These observations clearly indicate that the electoral process leading to
the declared re-election of President Mugabe was seriously flawed. This
profound crisis of legitimacy is further compounded by the paralysis of
State institutions. There is currently no functioning Parliament. Civil
society has been silenced and intimidated. The economy is crippled, with
annual inflation reaching 10.5 million per cent by the end of June,
unemployment being over 80 per cent and severe shortages of food and basic
services exist. There is an urgent need to restore the rule of law and to
start building public institutions.
It is clear Zimbabwe will have to go through a political transition bringing
together its people around a common project. It will also need a process of
national healing and reconciliation that should include wide-ranging and
participatory national consultations.
Recognizing the country is deeply divided and that the political future of
Zimbabwe depends on a transitional arrangement promoting national unity,
both ZANU-PF and MDC have accepted a dialogue towards a negotiated
settlement. Talks are ongoing, under South African mediation, to press for
an urgent solution to the current political impasse. President [Thabo] Mbeki
has been actively consulting with the concerned parties and is reported to
be working towards a direct meeting between President Mugabe and MDC leader
In my meetings with the African Union Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping, and
other African leaders, some of whom expressed fear of seeing the situation
deteriorate further, I expressed my appreciation for their efforts so far
and my hope that they would remain fully engaged in helping the people of
The creation of a Government of National Unity, as a way forward, enjoys
broad support in the region. In their declaration, the African Union called
on SADC's efforts to be continued and strengthened by the establishment of a
mechanism on the ground to support the mediation efforts.
The Secretary-General strongly supports this recommendation and calls for a
speedy establishment of such a mechanism. I also reiterate the
Secretary-General's offer to put all the means at the UN's disposal at the
service of SADC and the African Union to strengthen the mediation process.
While the willingness of the parties to talk is encouraging, the
Secretary-General remains gravely concerned that the situation could
deteriorate further, with violence spreading across the country and its
effects spilling over to the region.
Secretary-General Ban also remains very concerned about the humanitarian
situation in the country. If unattended, the food shortage could leave 5.1
million people at grave risk. The Secretary-General therefore calls on the
authorities in Zimbabwe to immediately lift restrictions on humanitarian
activities. He also urges them to offer immediate protection to people
currently located at the Ruwa transit centre, who were relocated from the
South African Embassy where they had taken refuge.
As the world mobilizes to support a peaceful solution to the crisis and to
help Zimbabwe back on a path to democracy, stability and development, it is
the urgent responsibility of the Government of Zimbabwe to protect its
citizens and to cease immediately all forms of violence. The victims of the
violence experienced in the past weeks deserve justice. Those who perpetrate
crimes must be held to account. The United Nations stands ready to play its
part in supporting such a process.
Mail Online, UK
By James Chapman
Last updated at 12:09 AM on 09th July 2008
Gordon Brown last night used horrific photographs of the tortured and burned
body of an opposition party worker in Zimbabwe to unite world leaders in
condemnation of Robert Mugabe.
The Premier showed the graphic images to other G8 leaders before they agreed
to back fresh sanctions against the tyrant.
In a highly unusual move, Mr Brown brandished pictures released by the
opposition MDC of Joshua Bakacheza's badly disfigured corpse.
Russia - which traditionally objects to any interference in the affairs of
other nations - dramatically caved in and agreed to unite the G8 in
condemnation of Mr Mugabe.
The United States is now expected to table a motion on behalf of G8
countries at the United Nations within days, which could bring in sanctions
and see the appointment of a UN special envoy to Zimbabwe.
He would effectively sideline the widely- criticised South African President
Thabo Mbeki and attempt to broker an exit for Mugabe.
Mr Brown hailed the breakthrough at the summit on the Japanese island of
Hokkaido, saying: 'This is the strongest statement. It shows the unanimity
of the international community reflecting the outrage people feel about the
violence and intimidation and the illegitimate holding of power by the
'What we've agreed is that we will send a United Nations envoy to press for
change in Zimbabwe.
'What we have also agreed is financial and other sanctions will be imposed
on members of the Zimbabwe regime.
'To bring together Russia, France, Germany, Italy, America and Canada, all
the G8 countries, with Japan, in putting this statement forward shows that
the whole international community is now not prepared to accept an
Although Mr Brown presented tighter sanctions as a done deal, any UN
resolution would still have to be approved by China, which has a veto on the
Security Council and is a longtime ally of Zimbabwe.
Sending a UN envoy is also a matter for the UN secretary general, not
something that can be decided by the G8.
Nevertheless, the agreement of all G8 leaders will increase pressure on Mr
Mugabe following his declared victory 'Innocent people murdered' last month
in an election campaign marred by violence and the withdrawal of his only
rival over brutality against his supporters.
The body of Mr Bakacheza, an MDC driver, was discovered four days ago, in a
secluded area on a farm in Beatrice, 20 miles outside Harare, ten days after
he was abducted.
On the afternoon of June 25, together with another MDC activist, Tendai
Bakacheza was driving along the Harare-Mututu highway.
They were helping the widow of murdered MDC activist, Tonderai Ndira, to
move her furniture from her home in Mabvuku, a township area on the
outskirts of Harare, where she no longer felt safe.
Three unmarked trucks ambushed them and 16 men armed with AK assault rifles
took over the vehicle, throwing out Mr Ndira's widow and her two children.
According to Mr Chidziwo, they were taken to the farm in Beatrice, where
they were tortured, beaten and interrogated. Mr Bakacheza was shot three
times and Chidziwo once. They were left for dead, but Mr Chidziwo survived.
A Downing Street source said: 'Joshua is just one of the many innocent
people murdered by Mugabe's thugs in recent weeks.
'But by highlighting the way he was brutally murdered while helping a widow
and her children, the Prime Minister was telling other leaders that this is
a tragedy which is going on right now as they sit talking, and every day we
wait to act, more innocent people will suffer.'
Harare Tribune News
Updated: July 8, 2008 18:24
Zimbabwe, Harare-- Highly placed sources within both ZANU-PF and the smaller Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by Arthur G. Mutambara have confirmed to the Harare Tribune that the next government Robert Mugabe will form will comprise members drawn from their ranks, minus those people from the main MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
This arrangement will be used by the then new government to argue to the international community that there is a government of national unity in Zimbabwe, as has been demanded since Robert Mugabe won a one man election contest on June 27.
Lending credence to this coming arrangement, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi , Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister, speaking in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, confirmed that Robert Mugabe will form a government of national unity, but failed to elaborate the role Tsvangirai will play in the new government.
ZANU-PF leaders, in forming the proxy-GNU with the full participation of the smaller MDC faction, hope to loosen the noose of condemnation they have been receiving from around the world, in addition to enabling them to stay in power. The proxy-GNU will be used as a ticket to argue for the removal of target sanctions that are already in place.
These revelations come days after members of the AGM-MDC faction attended the GNU talks held at the behest of Thabo Mbeki, which Morgan Tsvangirai and his aides refused to attend. Mr. Mbeki is the SADC appointed mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis.
Mbeki is reported to favour a government of national unity modeled on the 'Kenyan Solution' in which Mugabe remains president, with Mr. Mutambara, from the smaller MDC faction, taking on the role of prime minister.
ZANU-PF leaders, led by Emerson Mnangagwa, have decided to forge ahead with this arrangement without Morgan Tsvangirai because they don't agree with Tsvangirai's insistence that Mugabe should step down and should not lead any GNU between ZANU-PF and MDC.
An arrangement like that, in which Mugabe is not the leader, ZANU-PF leaders fear, will leave them exposed to possible prosecution for their crimes or the seizure of their lucrative businesses which they acquired using tax payer money.
Mr. Mutambara had earlier claimed in a written op-ed that he attended the meeting, in which he was pictured shaking hands with Robert Mugabe while smiling, thinking that Mr. Tsvangirai would also attend. But sources within the small MDC faction disputed his claim.
"They [Arthur Mutambara, Priscila Misihairabwi, Welshman Ncube] attended the meeting because ZANU-PF has promised them influential cabinet post ions in the proxy-GNU that is favoured by Mbeki, one that doesn't include Tsvangirai," one official within the smaller faction of the MDC told the Harare Tribune.
Mugabe is reported to have already drawn up a list of people who will be in his new cabinet and is set to announce it as soon the GNU is formed with the blessing of Mbeki. Secretary general Welshman Ncube, who led the rebels who broke away from Tsvangirai, Mutambara and other leaders from the smaller faction of the MDC have been given cabinet positions. Ncube is understood to have been given the role of arttoney general, on account of his massive experience as a lawyer.
Mbeki is reported to have assured Mugabe that "South Africa will do everything it can" to water down any sanctions the United Nations security council is likely to take after the G8 leaders meeting in Japan. Mbeki is expected back in Zimbabwe next week when the proxy GNU will formed.
The decision by the small MDC faction to join hands with ZANU-PF, will reduce the main MDC's parliamentary gains to nothing. With their combined majority, Mr. Mugabe & Mutambara are able to form a viable government. That scenario means that ZANU-PF will be happy to dismantle the ZANU-PF militia and stop the intimidation and harassment of MP's belonging to the main MDC.
The cessation of violence is one of the tenets on the long list of demands by the international community led by Britain and the US. In the absence of violence, the outcry by the international community will end and the proxy-GNU will be able to function smoothly-.-Harare Tribune News
By Farai Maguwu | Harare Tribune News
Updated: July 8, 2008 20:20
Mediation efforts to resolve the political impasse in Zimbabwe must
include civil society.
That SADC and the AU have systematically sidelined Zimbabwe's civil
society in high level talks aimed at bringing normalcy to the troubled
Southern African nation is one of the main reasons why their efforts have
ended in monumental failure.
The regional and continental blocs have stuck to the one - man
mediation process being handled by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
Mbeki has unsuccessfully mediated in the conflict for eight years in a row.
Here are the reasons why civil society must not only be consulted, but must
be on the negotiation table:
1.. Civic leaders in Zimbabwe can act as a bridge between the two
polarized political institutions, that is ZANU PF and MDC
2.. Civil society in Zimbabwe comprises of various organizations
with expertise in negotiation, mediation, peace building and constitution
making, something that may exists in limited quality and quantity in one
3.. Zimbabwe's civil society is in touch with the grassroots people
and therefore has a better understanding of the gravity of the current
political impasse and its direct impact on the lives of the Zimbabwean
4.. Civil society has played a crucial role in the struggle for the
creation of a new democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe and it will be unfair
to exclude its leadership in the final stages of the struggle.
5.. Civil society has suffered birth pangs of our emerging democracy
as epitomized by the forced closure of hundreds of NGOs in recent months.
It is important that the new Zimbabwe that we envision must create room for
civil society to carry out its mandate without political interference. A
political dispensation that does not recognize the legitimate existence of
civil society is anything but democratic. A strong participation of civil
society in the mediation process is the surest sign that the process is not
a fluke and that both ZANU PF and MDC are ready to govern with the people of
Zimbabwe must avoid another Lancaster House style agreement that is
flawed and one which forms the basis of a future Fourth Chimurenga. I fully
agree with president Mbeki when he says Zimbabweans must solve their own
problems but there is need for the process to be legitimated by SADC and the
AU through officially mandating certain eminent Zimbabwean civic leaders to
participate in the mediation process. ZANU PF and the two MDC formations
must also agree to create space for civil society on the negotiating table.
Leaving everything to president Mbeki is disempowering to Zimbabweans
and limits the pace at which peace and normalcy returns to the country. It
is therefore crucial that SADC and the AU invites Zimbabwe's civil society
to the negotiating table through its umbrella body, the National Association
of Non Governmental Organizations (NANGO). NANGO can then assemble a team of
professional and prominent Zimbabwean civic leaders to participate in the
Farai Maguwu works with the Center for Research and Development in
Mutare. He can be contacted on email@example.com
July 9, 2008
HARARE - The government of President Robert Mugabe has taunted Britain to
invade Zimbabwe if the former colonial power considered itself as a super
Bright Matonga, the deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, said
Zimbabwe was not scared of Britain. He was reacting to comments by British
foreign secretary David Miliband that Mugabe was an illegitimate leader
following the controversial re-election of the Zimbabwean leader on June 27.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential runoff
citing violence and intimidation against his supporters, leaving Mugabe to
stand alone, which he amazed observers by doing.
Miliband said Britain would make efforts to ensure Mugabe's leadership was
"Zimbabwe is not scared of Miliband," said Matonga. "He is wasting his time
as we do not listen to what he says. Zimbabwe is not scared of the British.
If the British feel they are such a global superpower as they claim, then
why do they not come to Zimbabwe and invade the country."
He said Britain was not qualified to comment on Zimbabwe, and should stop
meddling in its internal affairs. Matonga lived and studied in the United
Kingdom for many years, returning to Zimbabwe with his newly married British
wife just in time to take over a large commercial farm at the height of the
farm invasions. A novice in Zanu-PF circles, he has quickly emerged as the
party's and government's most vocal spokesman.
"The sooner Miliband realises that Zimbabwe is not a British county the
better it is for him and the British," said Matonga. "He should concentrate
on improving the ratings of his Labour party through action at home and to
stop poking his nose into the internal affairs of a sovereign country.
"Zimbabwe ceased to be a British colony on April 18, 1980."
Miliband, who has just visited South Africa, said Britain would redouble
efforts to ensure Mugabe's government was not recognized. He appealed to the
international community to support a US-sponsored draft UN Security Council
resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.
He said a government in Zimbabwe should be formed on the basis of the March
29 presidential election which Tsvangirai won by 47 percent to Mugabe's 43
percent, according to official results. This led to the run-off as none of
the candidates had secured more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid the
In the subsequent one-man poll officials says Mugabe received 85.5 percent
of the vote following an orgy of brutal violence. The international
community has refused to recognize the result.
Pressure has been mounting on Mugabe, with G8 leaders meeting in Japan
describing his government as illegitimate. The group also resolved to impose
new financial measures against Mugabe and his aides. "We don't accept a
government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people," said
the G8 leaders in a statement.
The leaders recommended the appointment of a UN envoy to resolve the crisis,
a move said to have angered South African President Thabo Mbeki who is
attending the meeting. Reports say the leaders appeared dissatisfied with
the role of Mbeki - appointed by SADC - in the mediation process between
Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition.
The opposition has described him as biased in favour of Mugabe.
The UN Security Council recently issued a non-binding resolution expressing
dissatisfaction at the conduct of Mugabe's re-election. Miliband urged the
international community to rally behind UN Security Council resolution to
impose sanctions next week in New York.
African Union leaders meeting in Egypt a week ago also recognized that
Mugabe's re-election had been flawed, and issued a resolution urging the
establishment of a government of national unity.
At the weekend Mbeki was in Harare in the hope of meeting Mugabe, Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara, leader of the breakaway faction of the MDC. Tsvangirai
boycotted the meeting, saying meeting Mugabe at State House would lend
legitimacy to his presidency.
Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru and the Zanu-PF negotiating team
comprising Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, as well as Mutambara and
his team of his secretary-general Welshman Ncube and deputy Priscilla
Misihairambwi attended the meeting at State House on Saturday.
Loyalty steers Gono while ruling party destroys economy.
Andrew Higgins, Wall Street Journal
08 Jul 2008 16:00
Custodian of a currency in free fall in a country ravaged by hyperinflation,
Gideon Gono, Zimbabwe's central-bank governor, scoffs at "traditional
economics" and seeks guidance elsewhere.
He says he reads the Bible.
This, says the guardian of Zimbabwe's monetary policy, has taught him the
importance of obeying Robert Mugabe, the country's 84-year-old leader and
architect of policies widely blamed for the destruction of a
once-flourishing African economy.
"Anyone who says the bank governor should violate the head of state is
violating a principle that Jesus Christ demanded of his disciples," says Mr.
Gono, a churchgoing Christian and former commercial banker. "A key element
Christ looked for in his disciples was loyalty."
Zimbabwe's central bank -- like the nation's judiciary, broadcast media and
other institutions -- has lost all autonomy and provides no check on the
ruinous course set by Mr. Mugabe and his corruption-riddled ruling party,
Mr. Gono "has to answer to his master," says Tapiwa Mashakada, an economist
and the shadow finance minister of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. "There is no dividing line anymore," he says, between the interests
of the nation and those of the ruling party.
Of all the world's central bankers, Zimbabwe's gets the biggest -- or at
least the longest -- salary. Mr. Gono won't say how much he earns exactly as
head of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe but does claim to have "more digits" on
his pay slip that any of his peers. He earns trillions of Zimbabwe dollars.
It now takes more than 16 billion of these to buy a single U.S. dollar. U.S.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke earns only six figures, $191,300.
Mr. Gono, 48 years old, will be subject to a travel ban and asset freeze if
draft sanctions are approved by the U.N. Security Council in a vote expected
to come this week. He already figures on a U.S. Treasury Department list
blocking the assets of Zimbabweans accused of "undermining democratic
processes or institutions." Three of Mr. Gono's children were forced to
leave Australia last year, he says. When he visited South Africa to try to
raise money, Mr. Gono got jeered by opposition activists. A company in
Germany last week cut off deliveries of banknote paper.
Lamenting in a telephone interview that he has "the most difficult job" in
central banking, Mr. Gono says he would like to tame inflation but his hands
are tied. Critics who blame him for the profligate printing of money, he
says, don't understand that "traditional economics do not fully apply in
Politics, he says, are "more dominant as far as the country's economic
difficulties are concerned."
Zimbabwe's big political problem, he adds, isn't Mr. Mugabe but the failure
of squabbling politicians to "speak with one voice." He wants those who call
for sanctions, as Mr. Mugabe's opponents have sometimes done, banished.
As head of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe until 2003, Mr. Gono served as
the dictator's personal banker and provided foreign currency to fund foreign
shopping sprees of Mr. Mugabe's second wife, Grace, according to opposition
activists. Mr. Gono declined to comment on this, saying bankers must respect
Despite his close ties to Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Gono once had a fairly good
reputation in business circles. He was credited with turning the Commercial
Bank of Zimbabwe, a failing also-ran, into the country's third-biggest
commercial bank. He also helped negotiate deals with Libya and other oil
producers for deliveries of badly needed fuel.
After his appointment to the central bank in 2003 by Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Gono
won plaudits for trying to tackle inflation. He raised interest rates and
started to overhaul a foreign-exchange system that had been abused to great
personal gain by ZANU-PF insiders. For a time, Mr. Gono even voiced
criticism of Mr. Mugabe's most disastrous policy, a land-reform drive that
destroyed commercial farming and with it the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy.
Inflation, at around 600% when Mr. Gono took over, fell to under 150%.
The respite was brief. The country's main source of foreign currency, farm
exports, continued to fall. Government revenue dried up and pressure to
print money to pay the salaries of soldiers and others became irresistible.
By mid-2005, inflation was again accelerating. Mr. Gono proposed that the
country "build more jails" to deter graft. His tirades against corruption
were undermined by allegations that he, too, was milking the system.
Inflation is now so high that officials no longer release figures. It
reached 100,580% in January and has since been propelled into the
stratosphere by a surge in government spending ahead of parliamentary and
presidential elections in March and a run-off ballot last month. In June,
says John Robertson, an economist in the Zimbabwe capital Harare, prices
were roughly eight million percent higher than the same month last year.
Mr. Robertson says he has met Mr. Gono several times to discuss monetary and
exchange-rate policy. Often, says Mr. Robertson, Mr. Gono seemed persuaded
of the need for sound, market-driven policies but then "did exactly the
opposite," apparently under pressure from Mr. Mugabe. Mr. Gono's
performance, says Mr. Robertson, has been "passionate, flowery, exuberant
and often evangelical, but mostly ineffective."
Mr. Gono declined to comment on his discussions with Mr. Mugabe but says "it
is only a governor who lacks substance who goes against his own president."
Every few months, Mr. Gono presents a review of the central bank's policies.
Each ends with the same message: "In God's hands I submit this Monetary
09 July 2008
Our president's current initiatives are intended only to shield Mugabe
South African President Thabo Mbeki's current diplomatic efforts are aimed
at preventing world outrage over the electoral robbery in Zimbabwe from
being translated into effective action against Mugabe's regime. The strategy
is basically to play for time, in the hope that with sufficient delay the
attention of the world will wander off elsewhere, and the current
determination to act meaningfully against Zanu-PF will dissipate. In
addition, as time passes, Mugabe's hold on power will be incrementally
legitimised - not least through news organisations continually referring to
the Zanu-PF leader as "the Zimbabwean president."
The basic idea then is conjure up the illusion that there is some
quick-and-easy solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. This gives those who are
reluctant to see the sanctioning of the criminal cabal currently ruining
Zimbabwe an excuse to oppose real action. Zanu-PF is playing along with this
game by making the right noises about being ready for talks around the
creation of a government of national unity.
There is almost no likelihood of a deal unless, of course, the Movement for
Democratic Change capitulates. Zanu-PF is not going to surrender power
willingly. And it has made clear that it has no intention of compromising on
the key issues of contention between it and the MDC. On his return last week
from the African Union summit in Egypt Mugabe stated, "I am the president of
the republic of Zimbabwe and that is the reality. Everybody has to accept
that if they want dialogue."
On the other side the MDC, as well as the Western powers which will
eventually have to fund the reconstruction of Zimbabwe, have made it quite
clear that they do not accept Mugabe's June 27 victory as a legitimate one.
The South African government meanwhile is refusing to say whether or not it
recognises Mugabe's election victory. But here again the intention is fairly
transparent. There is an obvious desire to grant Mugabe recognition, but
Mbeki thinks it politic to wait until the storm blows over before doing so.
One could attribute a measure of cunning to all Mbeki's manoeuvrings, and
there will always be people taken in by them. But there is nothing new in
all this. The same tactics of obfuscation and delay were employed by Mbeki,
to not inconsiderable effect, following Mugabe's fraudulent victory in the
2002 presidential poll.
On the day of the announcement of Mugabe's victory (March 13 2002) Mbeki
desisted from immediately endorsing the outcome, as he had done after the
stolen election of 2000. He said that "It would be incorrect to comment now
on whether the elections in Zimbabwe were free and fair". He then
strenuously opposed the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a
year. As soon as it was safe to do so the South African government endorsed
the result as credible and legitimate and announced that it would "continue
to relate to the Government of Zimbabwe as the elected government of that
country." Then as now, Mbeki embarked on diplomatic initiatives ostensibly
to facilitate a peaceful settlement to the crisis but which served only to
deflect the international pressure on Mugabe.
Then too Mugabe played along with these efforts. On April 3 2002 Dumisani
Maleya reported in Business Day "Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has put
a hold on his plans to appoint a new cabinet after his recent controversial
election win, giving a chance to talks with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change that were initiated by the SA and Nigerian governments."
The dispute over Mugabe's victory, Maleya stated, had "prompted African
heads of state - Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Bakili Muluzi of
Malawi and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique - to intervene and try to
negotiate a coalition government in the troubled country. Sources said
whether Mugabe would consider a government of national unity depended on the
result of the delicate talks."
In October 2002 the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that Minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was off to Zimbabwe "acting as part of the
international collective, to assist the people of Zimbabwe in their strides
towards national reconciliation, which will lay a firm foundation for their
political and economic recovery." On the agenda of her meeting with the
Zanu-PF government were "Efforts aimed at reconciliation among Zimbabweans
specifically focusing on the resumption of political discussions between the
Zimbabwean government and the opposition MDC."
Six years on the "tacky cleverness" of Mbeki's Zimbabwe diplomacy, as the
Mail & Guardian described it back then, simply comes across as tawdry. While
Mbeki was able to run circles around Tony Blair's underlings he is also
faced with a more formidable adversary in the current British minister for
Africa, Mark Malloch Brown. Lord Malloch-Brown is the son of a former South
African diplomat who worked at the United Nations before being recruited by
Prime Minister Gordon Brown to his cabinet. In his comments to the British
media Malloch Brown has displayed a shrewd grasp of the situation in
Zimbabwe and the character of the people he is dealing with. In an interview
on Channel 4 he pointed out that any government of national unity proposal
"could be very, very dangerous because it could reduce international
pressure on Zimbabwe to, indeed, conform with these demands for democracy on
it." In another interview he noted the danger of "offering people immunity
for them to leave office. Because, as you subsequently discover the scale of
their human rights crimes, rightly there's an outcry that they should face
Zanu-PF is already paying Malloch Brown the compliment of making him a
target of their racist propaganda. Last week Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba accused him of being "at one point ... the citizen of a colonial
republic called Rhodesia... So when he pronounces himself on Zimbabwe he is
simply recalling an historical period where the white man reigned supreme in
Zimbabwe." On Saturday The Herald referred to him as "a former Ian Smith
Western opinion now regards Mbeki with an emotion that most closely
resembles disgust. British officials are regularly asked their view of South
Africa's policy towards Mugabe, and it is amusing to read their efforts to
avoid saying what they really think of it. As interestingly Zanu-PF
officials have taken to referring to Mbeki with the kind of patronising
contempt usually reserved for servants. His diplomatic efforts are regularly
praised. And after Morgan Tsvangirai shunned a recent meeting in Harare
Mugabe admonished him for being rude to the help. The Zanu-PF leader said
that Mbeki had come all the way from South Africa to "help us find solutions
to our problems and he is not even paid for that. What has happened today is
a show of utter disrespect. To say sorry to him is not enough."
Still, one of the disturbing things about Mbeki's current actions is the
opaqueness of his motives. This applies to his unrelenting efforts to shield
both Mugabe and suspended police chief Jackie Selebi from any kind of
accountability. Mbeki seems to be keeping even his cabinet in the dark about
the reasons for his actions. In his column in The Weekender Bryan Rostron
reported that at the cabinet meeting on June 25 [see here] Mbeki had refused
to discuss the Zimbabwe issue and had then, at the very last minute,
"announced that the next day he would proclaim an extension of police chief
Jackie Selebi's contract for a year. No discussion."
By George Parker in Toyako and Harvey Morris at the,United Nations
Published: July 9 2008 03:00 | Last updated: July 9 2008 03:00
Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe last night faced a growing likelihood of
global sanctions after world leaders, including Russia, backed international
action to resolve the crisis provoked by June's flawed elections.
A statement by the Group of Eight, calling for measures against those
responsible for violence in Zimbabwe, came as the Security Council sat down
in a closed session to consider sanctions that would target Mr Mugabe and
his closest supporters with a worldwide travel ban and the freezing of their
Western states, including the US, which sponsored the resolution that would
be binding on all UN members, hoped to have the document finalised today and
voted on by the end of the week.
Russia, along with China, has so far opposed action to punish the Mugabe
regime. A veto by either would force the 15-member council to abandon the
package. South Africa, a temporary member that has no veto, still opposes UN
involvement in a dispute it believes Africans should resolve.
Thabo Mbeki, South African president, who attended the G8 summit in Japan
this week, insisted the "quiet diplomacy" he is leading on behalf of African
states was paying dividends.
The decision by Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president, to put his name to the
G8 call was seen as a significant shift in Moscow's position that could tip
the balance in favour of sanctions. However, Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN
envoy, added a note of caution by saying the G8 statement deliberately made
no reference to the Security Council.
The G8 communiqué also called for Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, to send
a special representative to Harare to try to broker a political settlement,
after Mr Mugabe declared himself winner of a run-off election the opposition
refused to contest in an atmosphere of violence and intimidation.
An African delegation to the G8 was told that the crisis in Zimbabwe was
harming the whole continent.
George W. Bush, US president, Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and Nicolas
Sarkozy, French president, were all forceful in insisting that the UN had to
get involved and that Zimbabwe was an international crisis.
Gordon Brown, British prime minister, showed his colleagues a picture of the
mutilated body of a driver for the Movement for Democratic Change, the
opposition, who was allegedly the victim of an attack by Mr Mugabe's
The sanctions package includes a list of Zimbabwe's 12 senior leaders,
headed by Mr Mugabe, who would be personally targeted by the UN measures.
July 9, 2008
By Our Correspondent
DURBAN - African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma has strongly
rebuked President Robert Mugabe for refusing to step down despite the
longstanding crisis which his government has failed to resolve.
Zimbabwe has endured turmoil as a result of Mugabe's skewed economic and
political polices which have bred widespread suffering and violence since
Zuma was speaking at a celebratory ANC dinner in KwaZulu-Natal to welcome a
new ANC leadership and pay tribute to outgoing premier and ANC chairman S'bu
Like Mugabe, Zuma always makes his points through clenched fist. A popular
icon on the South African political establishment, Zuma easily edged
besieged South African president Thabo Mbeki out of the leadership of the
ANC at the party's landmark national congress held in Polokwane in December
Zuma is a popular candidate to replace Mbeki as President of South Africa
when the latter steps down next year after a two-term tenure of office. Zuma
who was dismissed from the position of Vice President after he faced charges
of corruption, enjoys popular support in the left wing of the ANC, including
from many in the ANC Youth League, the South African Communist Party and the
Congress of South African Trade Unions.
Zuma supporters numbering in the thousands gathered to support him during
his sensational trial in Durban. But the courts must first clear him on the
charges of corruption that were revived in the wake of his victory over
Mbeki. Zuma has adopted a radically different approach to the Zimbabwe
crisis from Mbeki's "softly softly" handling of the Mugabe regime, which has
incurred widespread wrath against him both in and out of Zimbabwe.
Acknowledging Ndebele at the dinner, Zuma said: "You are a good political
student who knows how to step down with dignity. You have learnt from our
great leaders such as Madiba (Nelson Mandela).
"In Africa we have some political leaders who refuse to bow out and try to
change the constitution to accommodate themselves as in neighbouring
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for 28 years, won another five-year term in
controversial circumstances after he stood in a one-man presidential runoff
which was boycotted by opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The election on June 27 has been widely condemned as a sham. International
pressure has been mounting with the recent announcement by G8 leaders
meeting in Japan saying Mugabe's government was illegitimate.
African leaders have urged Mugabe and the opposition to establish a
government of national unity.
Zuma also publicly acknowledged the challenge of leading the volatile
province of KwaZulu-Natal, especially when political tensions between the
ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party were at an all-time high.
Of Ndebele, he said: "Flanked by a highly capable deputy (Zweli Mkhize) you
provided dynamic leadership and managed a precious and peaceful co-existence
with the IFP."
Similar tensions have arisen in Zimbabwe leading to the wholesale murder of
Amnesty International recently said it had received reports of over 150
deaths and over 340 people injured as a result of state-sponsored human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The number of casualties has risen sharply since
Tsvangirai refused to meet South African president Thabo Mbeki and Mugabe on
Violence appears to be targeted at active supporters of the MDC and their
families, particularly those in rural areas and low income suburbs where the
MDC appears to have gained more votes than the ruling the Zanu-PF party in
the March 29 elections.
Manicaland, Masvingo as well as Mashonaland East and West provinces have
been particularly badly affected while the numbers of reported incidents of
violence are on the increase in Harare.
By George Ayittey | Harare Tribune News
Updated: July 8, 2008 20:25
Nothing coming out of Zimbabwe makes sense. The country is now a
certified "coconut republic," where common sense has been butchered and
arrogant insanity rampages with impunity. A loaf of bread costs 6 billion
Zimbabwean dollars and one U.S. dollar exchanges for one trillion Zim
The rate of inflation is over 3 million percent - whatever that means.
Even African villagers laughed off the June 27 coconut run-off election, in
which President Robert Mugabe, the sole candidate, won a "landslide
victory." Morgan Tsvingirai, his rival and leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) withdrew amid escalating violence,
beatings, torture and assassination of opposition supporters.
Over 90 members of the opposition have been killed since the March 29
elections. Even babies have not been spared of the insane brutalities - as
if they have anything to do with Western colonialism and imperialism.
Meanwhile, over 200 opposition supporters have sought sanctuary on the
compound of the U.S. Embassy in Harare.
Zimbabwe is a tragedy in more ways than one. It is a despicable
disgrace to Africa and reinforces the racist notion that black Africans are
incapable of ruling themselves. We took over from the departing white
colonialists and in country after country we ran our economies into a sump
and ruined our countries. The exceptions are few. Ian Smith, the former and
late prime minister of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, must be dancing in his grave.
This hurts and cuts deep into my African pride.
The crisis took long to unfold and I repeatedly warned of the
impending implosion in Zimbabwe after my visit there in 1990. In my book,
Africa Betrayed, I wrote this: "It would be wise for Mugabe to retire now,
after running the country for 10 years, rather than to stay on to fall from
grace to grass." A liberation hero I once admired, he has transformed
himself into a murderous despot.
In May 1999, I attended a conference organized by the Mario Soares
Foundation in Porto, Portugal, to address conflict and security issues in
the Central and Lake Regions of Africa (Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire). I opined
that the response of the international community to Africa's crises had been
woefully inadequate. It waits until an African country implodes before
rushing in blankets, tents and high-protein biscuits to cater for the
refugees. Prevention is better than cure, I intoned. I stunned the audience
when I warned them that, as they seek to resolve the crises in the Central
and Lake Regions of Africa, they should be aware that there were other
African countries standing in line ready to blow. Specifically, I mentioned
Ivory Coast, Togo and Zimbabwe. But few paid heed.
Barely six months later after the Porto Conference, General Robert
Guie seized power in the Ivory Coast in December, 1999, unleashing a chain
of events that led to a civil war. The country is still divided between the
Muslim north and the Christian south. Zimbabwe started to unravel after the
Feb 2000 referendum and I warned in a PBS interview with Bill Moyers (Wide
Angle) that the country faced the grim prospects of a military coup or civil
war. Togo imploded in 2005.
Zimbabwe's economic situation started to deteriorate by the late
1990s. The country had been rocked by a wave of strikes by workers, nurses,
teachers to protest rising food and fuel price hikes. In 1998, even doctors
went on strike to protest shortages of such basic supplies as soap and
painkillers. And while the urban poor were rioting about food prices, the
Mugabe government ordered a fleet of new Mercedes cars for the 50-odd
cabinet ministers while 77-year old Mugabe himself and his wife and his
36-year-old wife, Grace, attended lavish parties and conferences abroad. In
1999, President Mugabe further angered voters by tripling and quadrupling
the salaries of his ministers.
Rampant shortages of basic commodities -- such as mealie meal, the
national staple diet, bread, rice, potatoes, cooking oil and even soap --
kept inflation raging at more than 110 percent. Zimbabwe's gross domestic
product dropped from US$8.4 billion in 1997 to about US$5 billion in 2001, a
fall of around 40 per cent"(The Times of London On Line, March 06, 2002).
With the flight of investors and closure of businesses due to attacks by
militants -- more than 30 businesses were attacked in May 2001 alone -- jobs
became scarce, pushing Zimbabwe's unemployment to nearly 60 percent. In
2000, 400 companies closed and some 9,600 jobs were lost.
The state treasury stood empty, pillaged by kamikaze kleptocrats and
drained at the rate of $3 million per week by some estimates by a mercenary
involvement in Congo's war (The Washington Post, March 3, 2002; p. A20).
Cabinet ministers, army generals, relatives of President Robert Mugabe,
prominent figures in the ruling party and a score of the well-connected
launched lucrative business ventures to plunder Congo's rich resources:
diamonds, cobalt and gold. Plunder of Congo's mineral riches and lucrative
deals kept Zimbabwe's army generals fat and happy. Accordingly, the
commander of the defense forces, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, warned in
February 2002 that the country's military, police and intelligence chiefs
would not accept a "Morgan Tsvangirai" as a national leader if he won the
March 9 election since he was not a veteran of Zimbabwe's independence
Mugabe angrily rejected criticism of his government for the economic
crisis. He always blamed British colonialists, greedy Western powers, the
racist white minority and the IMF, which he denounced as that "monstrous
creature." But Zimbabwean voters knew better. When Mugabe asked them in a
February 15 2000 referendum for draconian emergency powers to seize white
farms for distribution to landless peasants, they resoundingly rejected the
constitutional revisions by 55 percent to 45 percent. Paranoid and
desperate, Mugabe played his trump card. He sent his "war veterans" to seize
white commercial farmland anyway.
To be sure, there is basic inequity in the distribution of land in
Zimbabwe. Whites account for only about 1 percent of Zimbabwe's population
of 12.5 million, yet 4,500 white farmers continue to own nearly a third of
the country's most fertile farmland. But the land issue has become a
political tool, ruthlessly exploited by Mugabe at election time to fan
racial hatred, solidify his vote among landless rural voters, to maintain
his grip on power and to divert attention from his disastrous
Marxist-Leninist policies and ill-fated misadventures in the Congo.
Race, however, has little to do with the crisis in Zimbabwe. Robert
Mugabe himself did well in the beginning after independence in 1980 and a
handful of African countries, such as Benin, Botswana, Ghana and Mali are
doing well. Neither does British colonialism, American imperialism,
ethnicity, religion or gender have anything to do with Zimbabwe's crisis.
The most singular cause has been the stubborn refusal of the leadership to
relinquish or share power when their people are fed up with them. This has
been the gruesome post-colonial African road to implosion that was
religiously taken by Liberia (1990), Somalia (1993), Rwanda (1994), Burundi
(1995), Zaire (1996), Sierra Leone (1999), Ivory Coast (2000) and Togo
(2005). Terrified of their own failed policies and the prospect of rejection
at the polls, the leadership always cited some bizarre reason why they would
never allow the opposition to win power.
The African Vampire State
The source of Africa' s perennial crises can be traced to the alien
system of governance imposed on Africa by its leaders after independence in
the 1960s -- in particular, defective political and economic systems that
were blindly copied abroad and imported into Africa: The political system of
"one-party state" system with "presidents-for-life" and an economic system
of dirigisme or state interventionism. These systems are alien to Africa's
own indigenous institutions. The traditional African system of governance
was confederacy and participatory democracy based upon consensus-building
under its chiefs. The ancient empires of Africa - Songhai, Ghana, Mali and
Great Zimbabwe - were all confederacies, characterized by great devolution
of authority and decentralization of power.
The traditional African economic system was free market and free
enterprise. In contrast to the West, where the individual was the basic
social and economic unit, the extended family was the economic unit in
traditional Africa. It acted as a "corporate entity," owned the land on
which food was produced for consumption. The surplus was sold on village
markets. There were markets in Africa before the colonialists stepped foot
on the continent. Timbuktu, Salaga, Kano, Mombasa and Sofala were all great
market towns. Prices on Africa's traditional markets have always been
determined by bargaining. Chiefs do not fix prices and market activity,
especially in West Africa, has always been dominated by women.
All these suddenly changed after independence. Markets were suddenly
portrayed as "western institutions" to be controlled and even destroyed. And
democracy suddenly became a western luxury Africa could not afford. In their
places were erected the "one-party state system," where opposition parties
were outlawed and one buffoon ran for president, always won 99.9999 percent
of the vote to declare himself "president-for-life." No such nonsensical
system existed in traditional Africa. Chiefs were chose, OK? And if they did
not govern according to the will of he people, they were removed. No African
chief declared his village to be a "one-party state" and himself
The "one-party state" was a political system that concentrated a great
deal of power in the hands of the head of state. Any political system that
concentrates a lot of power in the hands of one individual ultimately
degenerates into tyranny, regardless of the geographical area where it is
established. As Lord Acton once said: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute
power corrupts absolutely." Similarly, the economic system of state
interventionism, under the guise of socialism, concentrated enormous
economic power in the hands of the state.
Very quickly after independence, the head of state and government
officials discovered that they could use the enormous power vested in the
state to enrich themselves, punish their rivals and perpetuate themselves in
office. Gradually in post-colonial Africa, "government," as we know it,
ceased to exist. What came to exist is a "vampire state" - a government
hijacked by a phalanx of unrepentant bandits and vagabonds, who use the
machinery of the state to enrich themselves, their cronies, tribesmen and
exclude everyone else - the politics of exclusion. The richest people in
Africa are heads of state and ministers. Quite often, the chief bandit is
the head of state himself.
Billions of dollars in personal fortunes have shamelessly been amassed
by African leaders while their people wallow in abject poverty. At an
African civic groups meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in June 2002, Nigeria's
President, Olusegun Obasanjo, claimed that "corrupt African leaders have
stolen at least $140 billion (£95 billion) from their people in the decades
since independence" (The London Independent, June 14, 2002. Web posted at
www.independent.co.uk). Robert Mugabe has amassed a personal fortune of
more than $100 million in Malaysian banks while his people suffer. But he is
not alone. The African Union claimed in an October 2004 report that
corruption alone costs Africa $148 billion a year, which is 6 times the
foreign aid Africa receives from all sources in a year.
The fortunes of African heads of state were published by French Weekly
(May, 1997) and reprinted in the Nigerian newspaper, The News (Aug 17,
1. General Sani Abacha of Nigeria 120 billion FF (or $20 billion)
2. President H. Boigny of Ivory Coast 35 billion FF (or $6 billion)
3. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida of Nigeria 30 billion FF (or $5 billion)
4. President Mobutu of Zaire 22 billion FF (or $4 billion)
5. President Mousa Traore of Mali 10.8 billion FF (or $ $2 billion)
6. President Henri Bedie of Ivory Coast 2 billion FF (or $300
7. President Denis N'guesso of Congo 1.2 billion FF (or $200
8. President Omar Bongo of Gabon 0.5 billion FF (or $ $80 million)
9. President Paul Biya of Cameroon 450 million FF (or $70 million)
10. President Haile Mariam of Ethiopia 200 million FF (or $30
11. President Hissene Habre of Chad 20 million FF (or $3 million)
Name one traditional African leader who looted his tribal treasury for
deposit in Swiss banks. Said Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael), former
founder of the Black Panther Party in the United States, "[Modern] African
leaders are so corrupt that we are certain if we put dogs in uniforms and
put guns on their shoulders, we'd be hard put to distinguish between them"
(qtd in The Washington Post, April 8, 1998; p.D12.
The vampire state does not care about nor represent the people. It
sucks the economic vitality out of the people. Eventually, however, it
metastasizes into a coconut republic and implodes. The implosion nearly
always begins with a dispute over the electoral process: A refusal to hold
elections or the results of outrageously rigged elections. Blockage of the
democratic process or the refusal to hold elections plunged Angola, Chad,
Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, and Sudan into civil war. Hard-liner
manipulation of the electoral process destroyed Rwanda (1993), Sierra Leone
(1992) and Zaire (1990). Subversion of the electoral process in Liberia
(1985) eventually set off a civil war in 1989. The same type of subversion
instigated civil strife in Cameroon (1991), Congo (1992), Kenya (1992), Togo
(1992) and Lesotho (1998). In Congo (Brazzaville), a dispute over the 1997
electoral framework flared into mayhem and civil war. Finally, the
military's annulment of electoral results by the military started Algeria's
civil war (1992) and plunged Nigeria into political turmoil (1993).
The political crisis starts when public furor, protests and violence
erupt over election disputes. A gaggle of politicians and stake-holders
scramble to resolve the crisis. They talk endlessly. The country is
paralyzed. Frustrations mount. Several scenarios become possible.
Opposition leaders may be bought off and co-opted to join the errant
regime. A "government of national unity" may be attempted. But even before
the ink on the agreement is dry, squabbles erupt over the distribution of
ministerial positions. Neither side is satisfied with what they get and
hostilities resume. The regime may resort to brutal repression of the
opposition (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zimbabwe) or even extermination with the
macabre logic that if the opposition doesn't exist, then there would be no
one to share power with (Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan).
But sooner or later, the people come to see through the political
chicanery and posturing. The public loses faith in the electoral process and
the ability of politicians to resolve the crisis. Some group then decides it
is no use talking and the only way to remove the tyrant in power is by
force. The group then takes "to the bush" and that is how nearly all rebel
insurgencies start in Africa. Charles Taylor of Liberia launched his rebel
insurgency in 1989 after losing faith in the ability of the then president,
General Samuel Doe, and opposition leaders, Gabriel Baccus Matthews and Amos
Sawyer to resolve it. Similarly, Laurent Kabila of Zaire (now DRC) in 1996.
It only takes a small band of determined rebels to start an insurgency,
wreak mayhem and utter destruction. Yoweri Museveni, now president of
Uganda, started out with only 27 men. Charles Taylor of Liberia with less
than 200 and Laurent Kabila with about 150.
The insurgency, always mounted by politically-marginalized or excluded
groups, always starts from the countryside. Rebels don't set out to redraw
artificial colonial boundaries. Nor does ethnicity have anything to do with
the insurgency. Somalia is ethnically homogenous; yet it imploded. The
insurgency is about capturing POWER, so the rebels head straight towards the
capital, where political power resides. Along the way, they pick up recruits
and their ranks swell with unemployed youth (child soldiers). Government
soldiers, sent to crush the rebels, often defect, bringing along their
valuable weapons (Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zaire). Eventually the
despot flees into exile (Generals Mobutu Sese Seko, General Siad Barre,
General Joseph Momoh of Sierra Leone) or is killed (General Samuel Doe,
General Juvenal Habryimana).
Since 1990, one African country after another has imploded with
. In 1990, Liberia was destroyed by the regime of General Samuel
. In 1991, Mali by the regime of General Moussa Traore,
. In 1993, the Central African Republic was destroyed by the
military regime of General Andre Kolingba,
. In 1993, Somalia was ruined by the regime of General Siad Barre,
. In 1994, Rwanda by the regime of General Juvenal Habryimana,
. In 1995, Burundi by the regime of General Pierre Buyoya,
. In 1996, Zaire by regime of General Mobutu Sese Seko,
. In 1997, Sierra Leone by regime of General Joseph Momoh,
. In 1999, Niger by the regime of General Ibrahim Barre Mainassara,
. In 2000, Ivory Coast by the regime of General Robert Guei.
. In 2005, Togo by the regime of General Gnassingbe Eyadema.
Note the frequency of the title "General". The paucity of good
leadership has left a garish stain on the continent. More distressing, the
caliber of leadership has deteriorated over the decades to execrable depths.
The likes of Charles Taylor of Liberia and Sani Abacha of Nigeria even make
Mobutu Sese Seko of formerly Zaire look like a saint. The slate of post
colonial African leaders has been a disgusting assortment of military
coconut-heads, quack revolutionaries, crocodile liberators, "Swiss bank"
socialists, brief-case bandits, semi-illiterate brutes and vampire elites.
Faithful only to their private bank accounts, kamikaze kleptocrats raid and
plunder the treasury with little thought of the ramifications on national
In the case of Zimbabwe, the final chapter has already been written.
The country is finished. It has followed the same post-colonial African road
to implosion. Robert Mugabe is no longer in charge. He is just a "hostage
president." A "Joint Operations Command" (JOC) is in charge, after a
"military coup" in April 2008. Ominously, JOC is led by these military
generals: Constantine Chiwenga, Perence Shiri, and Philip Sibanda.
Reshuffling at the top, however, amounts to reshuffling on the deck of
the Titanic. It won't save nor restore credibility to the dying regime.
People have already lost faith in the leadership and the political process.
Over 200 Zimbabweans have sought refuge on the compounds of the U.S. Embassy
in Harare. Over 4 million Zimbabweans have fled the country. A group of them
will return from exile - with bazookas. But that won't be the end of the
Zimbabwe's or Africa's saga.
First, there are other African countries that are also standing in
. Angola: President Jose Eduardo has been in power since 1979;
. Burkina Faso: President Blaise Compaore since 1987;
. Cameroon: President Paul Biya since 1982
. Chad: President Idriss Derby since 1994;
. Egypt: President Hosni Mubarak since 1981;
. Equatorial Guinea: Teodoro Obiang since 1979;
. Gabon: Omar Bongo since 1967;
. Guinea: President Lansana Conte since 1984;
. Libya, Moammar Ghaddafi since 1969;
Second, Africa's post-colonial story also shows that rebel leaders who
seize power are often no better. They are themselves "crocodile liberators,"
exhibiting the same dictatorial tendencies they loudly condemned in the
despots they removed: Charles Taylor versus General Samuel Doe and Laurent
Kabila versus Mobutu Sese Seko. As Africans often say: "We struggle very
hard to remove one cockroach from power and the next rat comes to do the
09 July 2008
DON'T expect any early resolution to the Zimbabwe crisis. Thanks to the
pusillanimity of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), insufficient pressure has been brought to bear on Robert
Mugabe to force him to agree to an acceptable power sharing deal.
So the crisis will bleed on for many more months, as the collapsed economy
leads to mass starvation and hundreds of thousands more desperate refugees
flee into neighbouring countries, particularly SA. A huge new exodus has
So it is to be hoped President Thabo Mbeki, whose timid mediation is largely
to blame for this alarming situation, has a plan in mind to accommodate this
human flood so that we don't have a recurrence of the xenophobic violence
that did so much damage last month to our already battered international
What was needed at the AU summit in Egypt was a resolution based on the
organisation's own observer team as well as those of the SADC and the
Pan-African Parliament declaring Mugabe's run-off election to be null and
void and his presidency thus unrecognised.
It should have gone on to call for a panel of high-calibre mediators,
including the likes of former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi
Annan, to negotiate the appointment of an all-party transitional executive
council such as we had during our own transitional phase here in SA, backed
up by an AU peacekeeping force, to hold the ring and arrange for a new
runoff election to be held under UN supervision.
Reports indicate that Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia's aged but gutsy president, had
prepared a proposal along these lines. As chairman of the SADC, Mwanawasa
carried some clout and is said to have won the provisional support of
several countries, including Botswana, Tanzania, Mauritius, Kenya and
Rwanda. The hope was that acting in unison they would be able to get some
momentum going at the summit.
But fate intervened, with Mwanawasa suffering an incapacitating stroke.
Without him, the initiative faltered. Only Botswana, under its feisty new
president, Ian Khama (son of the great Sir Seretse), had the courage to
speak out in forthright terms against Mugabe's sham election. The others
went to ground and Mbeki had his way with his call for a government of
national unity. That enterprise, I believe, is doomed to failure for three
a.. Mugabe will not agree to serve in a unity government of which he is not
the leader - and certainly not in one led by Morgan Tsvangirai;
a.. Tsvangirai will not agree to serve in a unity government led by Mugabe,
whom he beat in the March 29 election. He is not fool enough to be
emasculated the way the old Zapu leader, Joshua Nkomo, was when Mugabe
sucked him into a unity deal in the 1980s. He also knows his party would
reject him if he headed that way; and
a.. There will be no economic assistance for Zimbabwe from any of the
western powers or financial institutions such as the International Monetary
Fund and the World Bank as long as Mugabe heads the government. And without
that there can be no economic recovery in Zimbabwe. The whole exercise will
So the stalemate will continue, as will Zimbabwe's precipitous economic
collapse. Two weeks ago Zimbabwe's inflation rate was estimated at 1-million
percent. This week it is 4-million percent. Next week it will be 8-million
percent. Yesterday the Zimbabwean dollar was 8-trillion to the rand.
Supermarket shelves are empty. A whole range of businesses are collapsing.
The country's largest chicken producer closed down last week because it can't
get food for its chickens.
So starvation is staring the country in the face.
Yet the ruling elite still live high on the hog. They have exclusive access
at an absurdly favourable exchange rate to what little hard currency is
still coming into the country. The reserve bank is their private piggy bank.
They are still building huge mansions and buying top of the range sports
It is obviously an unsustainable situation, but the question remains: "When
and how will the crunch come?"
That's a conundrum. The ruling elite are obviously reluctant to give up
their fancy lifestyles. Even more compelling is their fear of prosecution
for crimes against humanity during the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland
during the 1980s - compounded now by the atrocities they have committed
during the brutal election runoff campaign.
Yet a starving population living on the bedrock of absolute deprivation has
seldom been known to rise up in revolt. The lives of such people are focused
entirely on the day-to-day struggle for survival. They tend to be
It was the prospect of that condition of a dominant elite, a demolished
middle class and a passive peasantry arising in Zimbabwe that led me to
suggest three years ago that Mugabe was following a course of "Pol Pot in
slow motion". Well, the Cambodian tyrant's objective has now reached full
measure in Zimbabwe.
Of course Pol Pot came to a sticky end. He was overthrown and imprisoned by
other leaders of his Khmer Rouge party, and died in his bed hours after
hearing they had agreed to hand him over to an international tribunal.
I am not one to suggest that history necessarily repeats itself, but it is
worth noting that there are widening rifts within Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party
and its military commanders in the powerful Joint Operational Command (JOC).
A report in last Saturday's Washington Post - which corroborated information
I received through diplomatic sources at the time - gives a detailed account
of a meeting Mugabe held with the JOC leaders the day after the March 29
"In a voice barely audible at first," reporter Craig Timberg writes, citing
two people who were present at the meeting, Mugabe told the JOC leaders he
had lost the presidential vote and intended announcing in a TV broadcast
next day that he was giving up power.
"But Zimbabwe's military chief, Gen Constantine Chiwenga, responded that the
choice was not Mugabe's alone to make," Timberg reports. Chiwenga went on to
tell Mugabe that the military could either take control of the country and
keep him in power, or Mugabe could contest a runoff election while senior
army officers supervised a military campaign against the opposition.
Thus was born the strategy codenamed CIBD: Coercion, Intimidation, Beating,
Timberg goes on to report that at a subsequent meeting of Zanu (PF)'s
politburo, Vice-President Joyce Mujuru warned that the violent strategy
might backfire. But she was overruled by Chiwenga and JOC chairman Emmerson
Mnangagwa, widely regarded as Mugabe's heir apparent.
That, together with the fact that some participants at the meeting were
sufficiently disapproving to leak the damaging information to a major
foreign newspaper, is evidence of dissent at the very centre of the power
Those rifts will surely widen as the economic crisis worsens and even the
piggy bank shrinks. The crunch may well come when the Mugabe regime - which
we now know is in fact a junta - runs out of money and can no longer pay its
But that is still some distance away. Meanwhile, the refugees are on their
a.. Sparks is a former editor of the Rand Daily Mail and a veteran political
Nation News, Barbados
Published on: 7/9/08.
BY PETER WICKHAM
ALTHOUGH I AM NOT INCLINED towards the view that skin colour is necessarily
a sound basis for the establishment of familial linkages, I nonetheless
acknowledge that persons of African descent constitute a "family" of sorts.
This reality often causes me great discomfort since it is well known that
you can choose your friends, but you have no control over the identity or
behaviour of your relatives. As this is a global family, the situation is
more complex, as I am related to a range of personalities across the world
that have assumed leadership positions and now behave in a manner that I
This scenario is not unusual in any family, but in this instance I, like
many other people who look like me, am increasingly uncomfortable with the
fact that while some family members are behaving badly, leaders within our
family remain silent. Although leaders need not express opinions on the
misbehaviour of family members, the fact that these leaders are quick to
condemn persons outside the family imposes a reasonable expectation we
should hear some comment on similar behaviour within the family.
On Wednesday, March 6, 2002, in an article entitled Thoughts On Zimbabwe I
expressed reservations about the Robert Mugabe land redistribution programme
and the fact that David Comissiong appeared to be partial to Mugabe's logic.
My comments drew a swift response from him with a suggestion that I was a
"junior political scientist" and as such was not competent to speak on such
I cannot deny that he is senior to me in years and considerably more exposed
to matters related to Africa, hence I, like many others, believe that it is
imperative that he and several of his cohorts in the Pan African Movement
give us the benefit of their experience with an opinion on the behaviour of
President Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
As one reflects on this issue, it is clear that "conspiracy" is an
appropriate label since this situation has deteriorated since the year 2000,
to the point now where the economy of that county has collapsed and Mugabe
has maintained power by resorting to violence. Yet, Mugabe has been welcomed
to the African Union summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and leaders have thus
far said little publicly about the way that he has held on to power and the
negative impact that his leadership has had on the masses of Zimbabweans.
Similarly, Pan Africanists in Barbados and the Caribbean have had much to
say about the negative impact of colonialism and colonialists but have now
lost their tongues when they need to condemn one of their own.
All too frequently, I find that we in Barbados demonstrate the extent to
which we are hypocrites and in this instance the Pan African "Movement" is
guilty of speaking eloquently against the misbehaviour of colonialists, but
conveniently ignoring the misbehaviour of the colonised. Sadly, the Pan
African Movement is not alone, since several other potentially influential
groups are also now silent.
Another fine example is the Anglican Church, sections of which have recently
been very vocal in their condemnation of the liberal attitudes of the
British and American branch. Such Anglicans have labelled themselves
"traditionalist" and have been led by persons such as the Archbishop of
Uganda, Henry Orombi, to the birthplace of Christianity to form a new
Christian "caucus" which will ultimately fracture that communion.
The basis of the concerns of the African and Caribbean traditionalists is
well-known; however, I am fascinated that this continues to be a priority of
the church in a region that is ravaged by AIDS, poverty, corruption, human
rights abuses and poor governance. The last [poor governance] should be an
immediate concern of this communion that had much to say about apartheid two
It is clear to me that African leaders both here and in the Caribbean are to
some extent embarrassed about the behaviour of some African family members
and believe that silence is the best approach in these circumstances.
Clearly African leaders believe that to condemn other African leaders
weakens the case of the African family; however, I am inclined to think that
their silence is more destructive. To my mind, a mature family is one that
can identify and address critical issues on its own and BEFORE others need
to intervene. In this regard my family has demonstrated either a refusal or
an inability to recognise the problem of Zimbabwe and clearly lacks the
capacity to resolve its problems. Sadly, this immaturity is also clear to
those outside the family.
* Peter W. Wickham (Wickham@sunbeach.net) is a political consultant and a
director of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES).
Friday, Jul. 11, 2008
You were a prohibited alien in South Africa and Rhodesia for 30 years for
speaking out against apartheid and white rule. What do you think of Robert
Mugabe? He's a monstrous little terror. Mbeki from South Africa supports him
and a lot of the other black leaders have only just decided that he's bad.
They don't like to criticize one of their own. Mugabe has created a caste, a
layer of people just like himself who are corrupt and crooked. It's not a
question of just getting rid of Mugabe and everything will be alright
because it won't be.
Will you visit Zimbabwe again? Good God no. It's ruined. Under the whites it
was an extremely efficient country. It could grow absolutely anything. We
had railways and post offices and roads and water that worked. You can't
just put that back overnight.
People have written that you are contrarian. Do you agree with that? I tend
to speak my mind, which is not necessarily a good idea. I do not think I am
the soul of tact.
Globe and Mail, Canada
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
July 8, 2008 at 9:19 PM EDT
No amount of Western pressure will force Robert Mugabe to release his death
grip on Zimbabwe. For as long as the African Union - and particularly
neighbouring South Africa - refuses to take a firmer stand against his
illegitimate hold on power, Mr. Mugabe will feel no compulsion to turn over
power to the opposition he has robbed of an election victory. But this week,
G8 leaders may have given other African governments a compelling reason to
stop turning a blind eye to Mr. Mugabe's trampling of democratic and human
According to a senior Canadian official, representatives of seven African
nations were cautioned that the AU's tolerance of Mr. Mugabe's regime was
hurting public opinion of Africa in G8 countries - and that unfavourable
perceptions could adversely affect the flow of aid dollars. That warning may
seem rich, considering that Western nations - including Canada - are already
failing to live up to their lofty aid commitments. But that does not mean
other African countries can afford to dismiss it.
Regardless of Mr. Mugabe's fate, aid should be boosted to other states
prepared to make good use of it. Yet in the absence of strong domestic
support, that will remain low on the priority lists of most Western
countries. Publicity campaigns on the part of world leaders and advocacy
groups to boost that support are severely undermined, fairly or not, by the
sense that African leaders are unwilling to take ownership of their
continent's problems. And as the AU continues to place responsibility for
resolving the Zimbabwe crisis in the hands of South African President Thabo
Mbeki, a man who scarcely appears to consider it a crisis at all, it is
difficult for the public to come to any other conclusion.
Through his deputy information minister, Mr. Mugabe predictably dismissed
this week's G8 condemnations and threats of sanctions. "They want to
undermine the African Union and President Mbeki's efforts because they are
racist, because they think only white people think better," Bright Matonga
said. Such rhetoric finds an audience in Zimbabwe, where the wounds of
colonialism have yet to heal. But what was reportedly said to African
leaders behind closed doors may prove more difficult to brush off.