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

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The Telegraph

Speech by Mugabe 'proves he is losing his mind'
By David Blair in Johannesburg
(Filed: 10/06/2005)

President Robert Mugabe was accused yesterday of displaying "senile
dementia" when he boasted to Zimbabwe's parliament that "great strides" were
being taken towards "economic recovery".

The president hailed the march of progress in a capital where bulldozers
have demolished thriving factories and township shacks alike, throwing tens
of thousands on to the streets.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change denounced his stumbling,
hesitant performance at the official opening of parliament, saying that Mr
Mugabe had finally lost any "grasp of reality".

The razing of townships and street markets across Zimbabwe has now led to
30,000 people being arrested and 200,000 left homeless.

According to the United Nations, two young children died of exposure last
week, after they were left homeless in mid-winter, with night-time
temperatures falling to zero.

Yet there has been no stirring of protest or resistance.

A general strike called for yesterday flopped, undermined by poor
organisation and the glaring failure of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader,
to stand up to the regime.

This has allowed Mr Mugabe to escape any pressure over his urban clearances.
Five years ago he was heckled by hostile demonstrators at the opening of

This time he rode unmolested to the ceremony in a gleaming Rolls Royce once
used by Lord Soames, the last governor of Rhodesia.

Inside the parliament building in central Harare, Mr Mugabe, 81, sat upon
the green speaker's throne and declared 2005 the year of "investment and
development" for Zimbabwe.

"Investment, both internal and external, is the sine qua non for sustainable
development for any country," he said.

Mr Mugabe added that Zimbabwe was making "great strides towards economic
recovery". Tourism was enjoying a "strong recovery", he said, and the
demolitions in the townships were a "vigorous clean-up campaign to restore
sanity and order in urban and other areas".

In reality, Zimbabwe suffers inflation of 130 per cent and more than one
third of its economy has been wiped out in the last five years.

The president's speech "reflects his senile dementia," said Tendai Biti, the
MDC's secretary for economic affairs. "Any decent doctor will tell you that
once you are in your eighties, you lose your memory, you lose your grasp of
reality and you have no grip of time or space. That's what is happening with
this old man."
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From SW Radio Africa:

We received very alarming information from a resident of Murehwa town, reporting that the residents have been given 24 hours to destroy their homes and leave the area, unless they can provide the legal plans for their building. Most residents do not have any such documents and we hear that the entire town is in a state of shock not understanding what is happening. No questions were allowed as the police said the announcements were final.

The whole tragedy started on Monday when it was announced door-to-door that every household should be represented by someone at the football grounds Thursday afternoon. Thousands of people showed up for the  meeting and were addressed by several officials including the ZANU-PF district coordinator for Murehwa named Siwela, plus a health official, a prisons official and the police chief.

As the meeting began, the officials chanted ruling party slogans expecting the crowd to respond. But it is reported that no-one chanted back the ZANU-PF slogans. Then came the bad news.

Siwela told the crowd that the cleanup operation that took place at the flea markets would now be extended to the residential areas of Murehwa town. Anyone who fails to produce the council plans for their home within 24 hours was advised to begin packing their valuables and removing their roofs before the bulldozers arrive on Saturday. Siwela then told them to leave Murehwa and to go back where they came from.

Tererai spoke to Kumbirai, a Murehwa resident who immediately went to the council offices but their were no plans for his house. He said his landlord bought the building from someone who died years ago, and as it stands now, he has to destroy his beautiful brick building and try to save the roofing material. Kumbirai told us that as people left the football grounds they were in shock, angry, confused and beyond depression.

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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Monday May 30th – Sunday June 5th 2005

Weekly Media Update 2005-20








1. General Comment


MORE confirmation of government’s stranglehold on the public media emerged this week with The Financial Gazette (2/6) reporting that Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga was interfering with the editorial content of the national broadcaster, ZBH.

The paper revealed that Matonga was “personally editing stories for the main 8pm bulletin” because he was not happy with the way ZBH was “covering and reporting the government’s ongoing blitz on flea markets and perceived illegal settlements, claiming the coverage was unacceptable to the ruling ZANU PF”.


According to “sources” quoted by the paper, Matonga had “edited out” footage exposing the brutality of the police during their demolition of illegal structures as it portrayed “government in bad light”. The paper also revealed that this was not the first time Matonga had interfered with the broadcaster’s editorial independence. Reportedly, he had also edited reports on the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in April.

Such crude and blatant interference has transformed ZBH into an unbridled conduit of government propaganda.


The repressive legislative environment and the authorities’ delay in licensing private broadcasters have ensured that ZBH still enjoys a de-facto monopoly and denied the citizenry their right to access alternative broadcast media of their choice.

Although Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa have tried to give the other side of the Zimbabwean story, these are niche market radio channels that are only accessed by the few who have short and medium wave radios.

The government’s assault on the private Press, which has resulted in the forced closure of four papers, has left most Zimbabweans with little choice from the dominant government controlled papers, whose partisan coverage of daily events is well documented.


2. Clampdown


THE Government’s continuing persecution of the country’s urban poor again dominated the media, which carried 206 stories on the campaign.

Of these, 124 appeared on ZBH (ZTV, Power FM and Radio Zimbabwe), 29 in the government-controlled Press, 33 in private papers and the remaining 20 on Studio 7.

Although the government papers typically endorsed the exercise to demolish illegally built houses and destroy flea markets, and largely ignored the scale of human suffering – which the private Press captured – all media failed to fully assess the economic cost of the exercise.


For example, the resulting dislocation of society and its effects on industry, as illustrated by the displacement of so many workers, was not explored. Conspicuous too, was the media’s silence on the legality of the so-called clean up, leaving their audiences in the dark over what by-laws the authorities were relying on to implement the clampdown.

The media only raised the legal element in their coverage of court challenges to the exercise.


This notwithstanding, the government-controlled media’s reportage of the persecution was replete with official bias. Most of their stories merely hushed the tragic realities of the crackdown with reports portraying government as compassionate and committed to addressing the people’s plight by creating the impression that the disadvantages of the “clean-up” were nothing compared to the remedies that the authorities had put in place to help the affected people.


ZBH alone devoted 32 stories to reporting approvingly of government’s “commitment to house all” and “providing appropriate structures for informal traders” following the commissioning of 50 000 housing stands in Harare, which it said were part of the 250,000 stands set aside countrywide for the homeless, and the re-opening of Mupedzanhamo flea-market in Mbare. (ZTV 1/6, 6pm & 2/6, 8pm, Power FM and Radio Zimbabwe, 2/6, 6am).

But the state broadcaster never asked the logic behind government’s vicious and abrupt closure of Mupedzanhamo, only to re-open it almost immediately after “restructuring”.

Instead, ZTV (2/6, 7am) claimed “accommodation problems faced by many cities and towns are set to be a thing of the past as government will make available 250 000 stands across the country at zero deposit” without reconciling this with the country’s reported two million housing backlog.


The government papers followed suit. They carried seven unquestioning stories in which they reported government as having set aside housing stands for the public and opening new vending complexes for informal traders. No attempt was made to fully inform readers about the location of the stands or the criteria to be used to allocate them. Neither did the papers challenge the authorities’ logic of first making Zimbabweans homeless before declaring that new plots would be available.


Instead, The Sunday Mail and The Sunday News (5/6) passively welcomed the allocation saying it was a “blessing in disguise to prospective house owners” as government had come up with “comprehensive plans” to “boost provision of housing” by relaxing “municipal requirements governing the allocation of stands and construction of houses” and reducing the cost of building a new house by “at least 60 percent”.

To present the clean-up as paying dividends, The Sunday Mail reported that police had recovered “fuel with a street value of $55 million” destined for the black market as the authorities’ clampdown moved to Harare’s “crime ridden Highfield high-density suburb”.


The government media’s excitement over the alleged success of the clampdown resulted in them failing to establish the exact operational framework of the exercise, which appears to have mutated rapidly to include seemingly ad hoc measures.

This was illustrated by the passive manner in which ZTV (3/6, 6pm & 4/6, 7am), Power FM (3/6, 8pm) and Radio Zimbabwe (4/6, 6am) reported warnings to property owners by City of Harare public relations manager Leslie Gwindi to refurbish and paint their properties or face legal action.


Even the national broadcaster appeared to be setting the agenda of the clampdown by recommending issues that it felt should be investigated. For example, although ZTV (30/5, 7am) Radio Zimbabwe (30/5, 6am) claimed there was a public outcry to have the “clean-up” encompass phone shops because they were charging exorbitant rates, no one was quoted saying this.

In fact, the government media’s partisan coverage of the matter resulted in them relying heavily on the authorities for comment almost to the exclusion of other pertinent sources. See Fig 1 and 2.


Fig. 1 Voice distribution in government controlled Press



Ordinary people


Local Govt.
















Notably, almost all the ordinary people quoted were victims of the clampdown who endorsed government’s operation and called on the authorities to find them alternative accommodation and vending stalls.

In addition, the papers carried seven editorials and opinion pieces that supported the exercise.


Fig. 2 Voice distribution on ZBH




Local Govt


Zanu PF


Ordinary people


















Power FM











Radio Zimbabwe












Similarly, ZBH stories were dominated by official comments, all defending the operation. Professionals such as the government-controlled Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre (SIRDC) and pro-governments analysts also supported the operation.


Although ZBH appeared to have made attempts to balance official opinion with that of the opposition MDC on the clean-up exercise, its insincerity was clearly illustrated by the way it misrepresented and editorialised the MDC’s contribution. For example, ZTV (1/6, 8pm) only stressed the MDC’s purported acknowledgement of the “on-going clean up exercise” but ignored the party’s strong objections to the manner in which it was being conducted.

This was only revealed later in the bulletin when the station quoted MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai dismissing the exercise as an “an indiscriminate abuse or assault on the people’s basic survival…actually making a lot of people destitute, desperate…where there are no jobs, no options of basic survival.”


The government media’s attempts to portray the opposition party as supporting the crackdown were also evident in the Chronicle (30/5 and 31/5). The paper claimed that the MDC dominated Bulawayo City Council, which has always conducted annual demolitions of “illegal tuck shops in Cowdray Park, supported the “clean-up” but was only distancing itself from the exercise “to avoid a backlash during the (council) elections” scheduled for September.

The city’s MDC mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube was not given space to respond to the allegations. But the Zimbabwe Independent (3/5) did, and quoted him categorically refuting that his council supported the clampdown. The Standard (5/6) also quoted the MDC’s Gweru mayor, Cecil Zvidzayi, saying his council was equally against the operation.


But the official media remained relentless in its distortion of the MDC’s position. Commenting on the opposition party’s plan to sue government over the crackdown, ZTV and Radio Zimbabwe (3/5, 8pm) cynically accused the MDC of being “insensitive to the plight of ordinary people as they are wasting billions of dollars on court cases instead of funding developmental projects that benefit the people”.

However, Studio 7  (30/5, 1/6 & 3/6) reported the opposition party as having launched an appeal for assistance to help those affected by the crackdown.

The three reports by Studio 7 formed part of the 53 stories that the private media carried on the authorities’ assault on the country’s urban poor.


Except for an editorial in The Daily Mirror (1/6) endorsing the destruction of people’s homes under the operation, the rest of the private media’s stories were informative as they brought to the fore the tense political atmosphere, public outcry, human suffering and rights abuses sparked by the exercise.

Unlike ZTV (30/5, 6pm, 8pm), Radio Zimbabwe (3/6, 6pm & 8pm) and The Herald (3/6), which reported more people as “voluntarily” and “willingly” pulling down their illegal structures and therefore “complying” with the government exercise, Studio 7 carried six stories that revealed that it was actually a result of coercion and fear.

For example, the station (3/6) reported the police as ordering “people to tear down their own homes at gunpoint”.


Besides, it was only the private media that exposed the policy contradictions riddling the authorities’ implementation of the exercise. For example, Studio 7 (2/6) questioned government’s demolition of Hatcliffe Extension, an official holding camp of former inhabitants of squatter settlements set up as a joint project between the Harare City Council, the World Bank and USAID.

In the same vein, the Zimbabwe Independent (3/6) noted that when “all these illegal settlements mushroomed across the country we had the same self-righteous government in power”. The Standard (5/6) raised similar sentiments and revealed plans by civic and political organizations to protest against the operation.


Radio Zimbabwe and Power FM (5/6, 8pm) only reported a call for mass action in the context of the authorities’ calls “for members of the public to desist from violence and stayaways being perpetrated by the MDC”. 

The critical manner in which the private Press handled the matter was reflected by the way they sought to balance the authorities’ comments with independent views as shown in Fig 3.


Fig. 3 Voice distribution in private Press



Ordinary people


Local govt.












However, as Fig 4 shows, Studio 7’s stories were unbalanced because they lacked official comment, especially on allegations of the aggressive and violent nature with which the government operation was being conducted.


Fig. 4 Voice sourcing on Studio 7






Ordinary People





Foreign Diplomats

Studio 7












3. Food security


THE government media’s attempts to downplay Zimbabwe’s perilous food security situation was reflected in the way it handled the visit by the World Food Programme head, James Morris.

All 10 reports in the government-controlled media (six by ZBH and four by its print counterparts) gave the impression that Morris’ visit was inconsequential because government was already importing food on its own and was unwavering in its rejection of food aid attached to “political” conditions.


For example, all of ZBH’s stories on Morris’ visit were punctuated by its reporters repeating President Mugabe’s declaration that “no one would die of hunger” and emphasising that government would only accept food assistance “without political strings attached”.

In addition, ZBH’s stories on ZTV (1/6, 8pm) and Power FM (2/6, 1pm) passively gave the impression that the WFP was forcing its food aid onto Zimbabwe. They quoted the Minister of Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche, commenting on Morris’ visit thus: “We have not made any request… All we said is we welcome assistance from organisations and countries of good will… We are going ahead with our own programme (of importing food)”.


The Herald and Chronicle (2/6) also suppressed the authorities’ apparent U-turn on food aid in their coverage of the government’s meetings with Morris. For instance, they gave more prominence to President Mugabe and Goche’s belligerence on the food issue at the expense of providing details of the meetings.

In fact, despite quoting Goche as telling Morris that Zimbabwe needed 1,8 million tonnes of food, the official papers continued to portray government as being in control of the situation.


In this vein, a comment in The Herald (3/6) claimed that Morris’ visit would “go a long way” in “thwarting” the “nefarious designs” of some Western countries as he “found first-hand, that the Government has put in place various measures to ensure that people do not starve” in spite of “floods, droughts and illegal sanctions”.

It was only the private media that openly discussed the food situation in the 12 stories they carried on the subject.

For instance, Studio 7 (2/6) and the Independent revealed that government’s meeting with Morris was “a humiliating climb-down” by President Mugabe who rebuffed assistance before the election and predicted a bumper harvest. 


And while the government Press projected Morris as being satisfied with Zimbabwe’s situation, the Independent quoted him telling journalists in South Africa, after his meeting with President Mugabe, that he intended to pass on to Kofi Anan, the UN Secretary-General, calls by civic leaders that the UN should send a “special rapportuer to investigate Zimbabwe’s humanitarian crisis”.



The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:


Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at

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Sinking into the mire

Friday June 10, 2005
The Guardian

The bulldozing of whole residential districts and the suppression of street
traders in Harare and other urban centres in Zimbabwe has taken the country
back to the era of the Rhodesian pass laws, when a black person could not
live or work anywhere without the specific permission of the authorities. At
least that is the practical effect of what the government calls its "Get Rid
of Rubbish" campaign. No doubt some of the structures destroyed were illegal
and some traders had invalid licences. But after many years in which settled
communities and patterns of trading had come into being, with people paying
their rent, utility, and licence bills, one must look elsewhere than the law
for a motive.

Article continues



Most independent observers agree that the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front is both punishing people who voted against them in the
March elections and trying to ensure that the big urban areas, which all
tend to favour the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, can be more
easily controlled in future elections. It is this long-term aspect which is
most ominous. It suggests that Zimbabwe may have moved beyond the point
where the death or removal from power of President Robert Mugabe would
represent an opportunity for a political new start on which the opposition
and the more sensible figures within Zanu-PF could agree. Instead, the next
generation of leaders in the ruling party are already fighting over who
should inherit Mugabe's coercive and predatory state. Expulsions, reshuffles
and demotions are symptoms of the struggle going on inside the party. An
opposition hit by constant detentions and harassment, and by the suppression
of most of the independent press, has not been able to do much. The limited
success of the two-day protest against evictions shows the difficulty.
Going on the streets is dangerous, while more formal methods of opposition
are stymied by a government which has become more sophisticated in observing
the outward forms of democracy. That was the lesson of the election. It was
orderly enough to be endorsed by most African observers. But it was neither
free nor fair, as a report by the International Crisis Group says, because
of factors such as manipulation of the electoral roll to disenfranchise
opposition supporters, and the huge number of ghost voters. A combination of
even worse economic decline and serious African pressure from outside might
change the situation. But one would not wish the first on the suffering
Zimbabwe people and of the second there is as yet no sign.

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The Times

June 10, 2005

Mugabe plays the great leader as he bulldozes thousands of homes
From Jan Raath in Harare

THE President arrived for the state opening of parliament in a black Rolls-Royce, medals pinned to his chest. He inspected a guard of honour of mounted police lancers. He then delivered a 35-minute speech condemning lawlessness and demanding “greater cohesion and unity” from his countrymen.
At first sight this was a fine example of democracy in action, except that the country was Zimbabwe, the President was Robert Mugabe and the parliament was elected in polls last March that were widely denounced as fraudulent.

MPs of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change boycotted yesterday’s ceremonies, and even as Mr Mugabe was speaking his security forces were continuing their three-week drive to raze the shantytowns of Harare and Bulawayo — MDC strongholds — that has left up to a million people homeless.
In the squatter settlement of Hatcliffe, in northern Harare, police were loading hundreds of people into lorries and dumping them outside the capital in a transit camp surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. They were guarded by police and crammed cheek-by-jowl with evictees in tents.
“It’s like a prison,” Trudy Stevenson, the MDC MP for the area, said. “It’s a recipe for disease like nothing I have seen for a very long time.”
In his speech, Mr Mugabe defended Operation Murambatsvina (drive out trash) as a “vigorous clean-up campaign to restore order” in urban areas. “The current chaotic state of affairs where (small businesses) operated outside the regulatory framework and in undesignated and crime-ridden areas could not be countenanced much longer,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s Roman Catholic bishops declared that a “grave crime has been committed against poor and helpless people”. They added: “We warn the perpetrators of this crime that history will hold you individually accountable.”
Yesterday was supposed to mark the start of a two- day national strike against the urban blitz, which has destroyed hundreds of thousands of shacks, squatter camps and makeshift roadside shops. The strike, the first big attempt at mass protest for more than a year, was called by the Broad Alliance, a bloc comprising the MDC, the national labour movement and civil rights groups. But its hopes for a nationwide show of defiance against what it called a “criminal regime” were crushed again by a Government with the apparent ability to cow its subjects indefinitely.
After a show of force that included arrests, roadblocks, swoops by military helicopters and patrols by heavily armed riot police, most workers caught rattletrap minibuses into the city’s commercial and industrial areas for a normal day’s work. “We are afraid the Army will come and get us in our homes,” Kelvin Muchazwepi, a welder at a transport company, said. “There were police everywhere last night and on Tuesday there were helicopters.”
Rutendo Mabwe, a supermarket till operator, said: “We fear the state agents. They can come any time and kill you. Also, we were told if we did not come to work today we would be fired.”
Jobs are hard to come by after six years of economic collapse that has led to 80 per cent unemployment. The informal street traders and artisans had become vital for the survival of urban populations, but Mr Mugabe’s crackdown has wiped out almost all street business. The flower sellers, soapstone sculpture hawkers, itinerant panel beaters and vegetable touts have all but disappeared from towns and cities. Their homes — for the most part respectable brick structures — are now heaps of rubble.
Miloon Kothari, a UN housing expert, described the policy as “a gross violation of human rights” that was creating “a new kind of apartheid”.
Political analysts have little doubt that the destruction is punishment meted out to the urban poor who have consistently voted against Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party in the past three elections, and an attempt to depopulate the urban areas to ensure that it does not happen again.
Despite Zimbabwe’s desperate economic plight, Mr Mugabe showed no sign of changing course yesterday. He used his speech to announce plans to create a second chamber, a senate; to streamline his Government’s land reforms under which white-owned farms are seized; to introduce mandatory penalties for illegal trade in foreign currencies; and to open up the foreign-owned mining sector to Zimbabweans.
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The Scotsman

Zimbabwe's shame

The Committee of the Scotland Zimbabwe Group, an organisation dedicated to
promoting friendship and co-operation between the peoples of Zimbabwe and
Scotland, has heard with great concern of the recent horrific events in
Zimbabwe's main cities.

An estimated 100,000 of the poorest Zimbabweans have been evicted from their
homes by government policy. These homes, and the market stalls by which many
have eked out a living, have been destroyed by the police, who have
confiscated their goods. A further estimated 23,000 arrests have been made
throughout the country.

The difficulty of receiving news from Zimbabwe leads us to fear the figure
may be well in excess of this number.

This destruction of homes and livelihood is reminiscent of one of the
darkest periods in Scotland's history - the Highland Clearances - or, more
recently, the forced removals in apartheid South Africa or the destruction
of Palestinian communities.

We wish to express our solidarity with the dispossessed, and to salute those
courageous voices in Zimbabwe, such as that of Archbishop Pius Ncube of
Bulawayo, who recently received the Burns Humanitarian Award for his
forthright defence of human rights.

Last year, the British government removed the ban on the return of asylum
seekers to Zimbabwe, and since November has deported a number of Zimbabweans
who have been persecuted on their return. We urge the government to agree
not to return any other asylum seekers to Zimbabwe until their safety can be

Vice-convener, Scotland Zimbabwe Group
Carlingnose Point
North Queensferry, Fife
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The Scotsman

Army takes to streets to counter Zimbabwe general strike


POLICE and army lorries rolled on to the streets of Harare yesterday, at the
start of a two-day general strike to protest against the demolition of
shanty homes and the arrests of thousands of street traders.

Shops, businesses and banks in the centre of the Zimbabwe capital were
mostly open, but customers were scarce and the normally bustling streets
were quieter than normal.

Open lorries crammed with police officers were seen in Newlands suburb, near
the city centre, while a handful of army vehicles maintained a quiet but
menacing presence in the main business district. Strike calls appeared to
have been only partially heeded in Harare and the second city of Bulawayo.

But Lovemore Madhuku, the civil rights lawyer and National Constitutional
Assembly leader who helped to organise the strike, maintained that up to 50
per cent of workers had stayed at home.

"Big businesses find it is either risky for them to close shop, or they want
to leave the struggle to ordinary people," he said.

Meanwhile, supporters of the president, Robert Mugabe, cheered in Africa
Unity Square at midday, as the ageing leader, decked in medals, arrived in a
Rolls-Royce for the opening of parliament. Looking sombre and gaunt - there
were rumours that his health had taken a turn for the worse earlier this
week - the president inspected a military guard of honour before he entered
the white colonial-era parliament building with his smartly dressed young
wife, Grace.

In his speech, Mr Mugabe defended the brutal blitz on shacks and street
traders that began three weeks ago.

"The current chaotic state of affairs, where [street vendors] operated in
undesignated and crime-ridden areas could not be countenanced for much
longer," he said.

He made no mention of the 200,000 Zimbabweans who have been made homeless by
"Operation Clear Out Trash".
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Independent, UK

Mugabe takes his revenge on poor by destroying thousands of homes
By a Special Correspondent in Bulawayo
10 June 2005

It's sunrise on the outskirts of Bulawayo. In the orange half-light you can
see the huts are little more than bare mud walls. Everything that can be
salvaged has been stripped off. The contents of the meagre homes now lie a
few feet away in a scrapheap of rusting sheet metal, plastic pots and broken

Amid the wreckage, entire families huddle together under plastic sheets to
get some shelter from the winter chill.

Julius is the first to crawl out, his breath making clouds in the cold air.
He explains that the police came on Monday and told them they were evicted
and they would be back to burn their homes down. No reason was given. "We
removed everything we have," he says, pointing to the plastic-covered pile
where he had been sleeping. "We are scared and we can't afford to lose

Julius's family is one of the poorest in Zimbabwe's already poverty-stricken
second city, the capital of Matabeleland and the heartland of opposition to
President Robert Mugabe. Yesterday, as Mr Mugabe travelled in an open-topped
Rolls-Royce to the state opening of Parliament, Julius became the latest
victim of what the government, dominated by Mugabe's Shona tribe, is calling
"operation clean-up", aimed allegedly at beautifying cities.

The mud huts of Julius's village lie on a disused plain, scattered among the
dry husks of the failed maize crop, that has left them on the edge of

A church worker, who preferred not to be named, hands out small sacks of
porridge to the gathering crowd. "This is devastating. What are you
cleaning? Nothing, you are cleaning nothing," he says. "This is a
punishment, these people who have nothing are being punished for voting
against Mugabe."

Human rights activists, churches, unions and opposition groups have
unanimously condemned the "clean-up" as a brutal crackdown on the urban poor
to punish them for voting against the government in the 31 March elections.
In a matter of days, the campaign has seen the destruction of street markets
and the mass arrest of traders; the demolition of shanty towns and the
collapse of the informal economy upon which millions of the country's poor

In the centre of Bulawayo, the once thriving 5th Street market is now a
solemn stretch of twisted metal and charred wood.

Last week, without warning, police trucks arrived and the demolition began.
Tons of fruit and vegetables, cooking oil, salt, sugar and other basic
supplies were confiscated and the stalls were torched. Those who avoided
arrest sit listlessly on the pavements. The little that is left is hawked
cautiously on street corners. Sweet potatoes are offered warily, as though
they are drugs.

Outside City Hall, faded white squares mark the spot where traders had laid
out flowers, curios and carvings for the few remaining tourists who come to

Today sees the second day of a nationwide two-day strike called by the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in response to the crisis.
But it is virtually impossible for the "stay away" action to work in a
country where only 800,000 from a population of 12 million have formal
employment. There has been concerted intimidation with police saying they
would be "ruthless" with strikers and going from door to door to warn
employers that they face arrest if their businesses shut.

Military helicopters and fighter jets were running sorties yesterday over
the poorer districts of the capital, Harare, while the police and troops
were out in force on the streets of Bulawayo.

At least three members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions were
arrested during dawn raids, accused of organising strike action.

A human rights activist said, on condition of anonymity, that people were
scared and memories of the 1980s massacres in the opposition stronghold of
Matabeleland were still fresh.

"They know that, as things stand, if they take to the streets the army or
the police will shoot them," she said.

People still refer in hushed tones to the pogrom of the so-called
Gukurahundi - which means the rain that washes away the chaff. During that
period, Mr Mugabe unleashed the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade in a
killing spree to suppress opposition protests.

Despite yesterday's protests, police continued to drive out residents of at
least one of Harare's poorest townships and the mass arrests, said to top
30,000, continue unabated.

"Police are now in Hatcliffe ... rounding everyone up and piling them on
lorries. Their belongings are being put on separate lorries, so they fear
they will lose everything," Trudy Stevenson, an opposition MP, said. "They
are not being told where they are being taken, but they have the impression
it is far away."

An opposition statement urged all Zimbabweans to participate in the strike.

According to UN estimates, at least 200,000 people have been made homeless
and that follows a warning from the World Food Programme that Zimbabwe faces
a "humanitarian crisis" with four million people at risk of famine.

Six Roman Catholic bishops condemned the crackdown, saying: "A grave crime
has been committed against poor and helpless people. We warn the
perpetrators ... history will hold you individually accountable."

Yesterday, Mr Mugabe quashed three days of rumours over the state of his
health to appear at the opening of parliament, which he used as a platform
to defend his decision to deprive tens of thousands of people of homes and

"The current chaotic state of affairs where [small businesses] operated
outside the regulatory framework and in undesignated and crime-ridden areas
could not be countenanced for much longer," he told parliament.

The 81-year-old President said the government would introduce mandatory
penalties for illegal trade in foreign currency and precious metals, which
official say has thrived in shanty towns.

Mr Mugabe's critics say the real reason for the destruction is the
President's desire to empty the cities to pre-empt a major uprising. By
forcing hundreds of thousands of potential opposition supporters into rural
areas where the government controls the food supply, hunger can be used to
cement the government's grip on power. A civil rights activist said: "What
we are going to see is selective starvation. What Mugabe wants is a Pol
Pot-style depopulation of the cities, corralling people into the
countryside. Once they are there, they will be hungry and anxious and
therefore compliant. "

The tactic is working in Julius's village. At the hut next door, Thenkiwe
and her seven children are boiling some water but have nothing to put in it.
Her husband has already left to find a day's work somewhere.

Julius, like his neighbours, has no rural retreat to go to. So he stands
around and squints in the direction of town, waiting for the police and the
bulldozers to come. The children won't be going to school today, for fear of
being separated from their families.

The volunteers, who have run out of sacks of porridge, offer a prayer:
"Lord, hide them from the police."


* 1980: Robert Mugabe becomes Zimbabwe's Prime Minister after independence.

* 1987: He changes the constitution and becomes executive president.

* 1998: Economic crisis sets in; riots and strikes follow.

* 2000: Zimbabweans seize hundreds of white-owned farms.

* 2001: Donors cut aid in response.

* 2002: Mugabe is re-elected. Observers declare the election flawed.
Commonwealth suspends Zimbabwe for a year. State of disaster declared over
worsening food shortages.

* 2005: Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF, wins a parliamentary poll, enabling him to
change the constitution. The opposition cries fraud.
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Mugabe defends razing of shanty towns

Opposition criticised as strike wins limited support

Jeevan Vasagar in Nairobi and agencies
Friday June 10, 2005
The Guardian

President Robert Mugabe yesterday defended the razing of shanty towns and
the arrest of thousands of street traders, which has left at least 200,000
people homeless, as a "vigorous clean-up campaign to restore sanity" to
Zimbabwe's cities.
In an address to parliament, Mr Mugabe said the evictions were part of an
effort to curb crime. The ruling party accuses black-market traders of
sabotaging the economy.

"The current chaotic state of affairs where [small businesses] operated ...
in unregulated and crime-ridden areas could not have been tolerated for much
longer," the president said at the state opening of parliament.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims the demolitions
were an attack on its urban supporters, and its 41 MPs boycotted
parliament's opening session in protest.

But a two-day strike called by opponents of Mr Mugabe enjoyed limited
support yesterday, as schools, banks and most businesses remained open.

Paramilitary units in riot gear were deployed in the capital, Harare,
sealing off a large part of the city centre before the opening of

Police had warned for days that they would "deal ruthlessly" with anyone
joining the strike.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said police had arrested three of its
activists for organising the strike in the second-largest city, Bulawayo.
Police denied making the arrests, dismissing the strike as a "non-event".

For the past three weeks, police using sledgehammers and bulldozers have
destroyed shanty town homes and traders' stalls in a campaign named
Operation Murambatsvina.

The evictions were condemned by church groups yesterday. In a statement,
Roman Catholic bishops described it as "a grave crime".

"We warn the perpetrators ... history will hold you individually
accountable," six Zimbabwean bishops said.

Despite international condemnation, police continued to drive out residents
of at least one Harare township yesterday.

An opposition MP, Trudy Stevenson, told AP: "Police are now in Hatcliffe ...
rounding everyone up and piling them on to lorries. Their belongings are
being put on separate lorries, so they fear they will lose everything.

"They are not being told where they are being taken, but they have the
impression it is far away and that they might be kept in a holding camp
under guard."

An opposition statement urged Zimbabweans to take part in the strike to
protest at the actions of "this criminal regime".

But critics said the opposition had undermined the strike by waiting until
Wednesday to back it.

"I think the MDC has failed to provide dynamic leadership," said Mike
Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association, one of the
organisers of the strike.

In his speech to parliament, Mr Mugabe attacked foreign critics of his human
rights record. He called complaints about the fairness of the March election
a "smokescreen for their neocolonialist intentions".

Mr Mugabe, 81, laughed off rumours earlier this week that he had died of
heart failure, and showed no obvious signs of ill health during his speech,
though observers said he occasionally sounded confused and stumbled over his

The president, who has led the country since winning majority rule in 1980,
vowed to complete the takeover of 5,000 white-owned farms for redistribution
to black Zimbabweans despite "residual problems", including international
investment treaties protecting some properties.

Parliament would also amend the constitution to provide for the creation of
a new senate, a single electoral commission and streamlining procedures to
complete the government's land reforms, he said.

Who, what and why

Why is this happening?

The government says it wants to crack down on illegal traders and clean up
Zimbabwe's urban areas.

How many homes have been demolished?

More than 22,000 people have been arrested, and more than 200,000 have been
forcibly evicted and their homes demolished.

What has happened to the people?

Thousands of people are sleeping in the open, setting up makeshift shelters
by roadsides. Others have been able to shelter with relatives or return to
the countryside.

Is anyone helping them?

Church groups are distributing food and blankets, but say they are
overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis.

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New Zimbabwe

'Great Zimbabwe built by Indonesians'

By Mduduzi Mathuthu
Last updated: 06/10/2005 11:34:01
THE treasured Zimbabwean stone wonder -- the Great Zimbabwe -- was built by
Indonesian mariners, a controversial new book claims.

"Without the input of Indonesians, the Great Zimbabwe might never have come
into being," writer Robert Dick-Read claims in his new book The Phantom

In the book, Dick-Read also claims that several monuments like the Nyanga
and Khami ruins were built by the Indonesians, modelled on structures that
still exist in Madagascar.

Dick-Read further makes the staggering claim that the name Zimbabwe (short
for Dzimba dza mahwe or house of stone) could be derived from Zomba-be`, a
Madagascan word which he says appears to have the same meaning.

People who reject this theory, he says, are "contrarians by nature who love
to complicate simple things".

The latest claims contradict popular wisdom that the 32 feet high and 800
feet stretch of stone walls were built by the local Karanga tribesmen around
500 AD.

Archeologists and historians have struggled to solve the mystery of Great
Zimbabwe due to the absence of written language nor any oral traditions. The
greatest puzzle for historians is why the civilization declined around 1600,
after the great archeological triumph that is Great Zimbabwe.

In The Phantom Voyagers, Dick-Read traces the journey of Indonedian mariners
who settled first in Madagascar, then Africa, long before the arrival of the

Says Dick-Read: "Within the walls of Great Zimbabwe there is an anomalous
structure known as 'The Conical Tower' that has so far defied explanation,
but which like so much else in Zimbabwe may find an explanation in

He further draws similarities between some minor features of the monument
and similar structures in Madagascar. Mbira music, he adds, could have its
origins in Madagascar.

But George Landow, a Professor of English and Art History at Brown
University in the U.S rejects Dick-Read's analysis as flawed and reflecting
a refusal by Europeans and their friends to embrace the fact that the Great
Zimbabwe was built by the Karanga.

"Since Europeans first encountered the ruins of Great Zimbabwe," he writes,
"it has been the focus of ideological concern and conflict. Unwilling to
believe that sub-Saharan Africans could have built such a structure,
adventurers and ideologues long claimed the ruins a mystery, theorising that
ancient Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans, or Hebrews created the structures. In
fact, since archaeologist Gertrude Caton-Thompson's excavations in 1932, it
has been widely known that Great Zimbabwe is truly of Africa and less than
1000 years old.

"Nonetheless, the White Rhodesians, whose ideology proclaimed the land
'empty' of people and culture before they arrived, tried to rewrite
history -- even asserting that an African genesis for Great Zimbabwe was
tantamount to treason," says Landow.

Some archeologists have surmised that the site's impressive stone structures
were the work of Egyptians, Phoenicians, or even Prester John, the legendary
Christian king of lands beyond the Islamic realm.
The Phantom Voyagers is published by Thurlton Publishing in England, a copy
can be obtained by e-mailing the publishers at or writing to Thurlton Publishing, 5 St
James Villas, Winchester, Hants, SO23 9SM, England

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RBZ, Zesa Holdings Officials Implicated in Forex Dealings

The Herald (Harare)

June 9, 2005
Posted to the web June 9, 2005


RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and power utility Zesa Holdings officials
were yesterday implicated in a case in which a transport firm is facing
charges of dealing with more than US$460 000 on the parallel market.

Innocent Douglas Chigudu, representing the transport company, told the court
that the firm sold the foreign currency to various individuals and
organisations, including the RBZ and Zesa Holdings. However, he failed to
provide the State with the names of the officials the firm dealt with,
saying at that time it seemed to be a nationally accepted practice.

When the State asked Chigudu to name the officials involved in the dealings,
he said the company had not kept any records because they never thought the
company would be indicted in court.

However, Chigudu Transport, through its director Chigudu, pleaded guilty to
the charge of contravening sections of the Exchange Control Act when it was
arraigned before Harare magistrate Mrs Sandra Nhau.

Outlining the State case, Mr Obi Mabahwana said between July 31 in 2003 and
October 28 last year, Chigudu Transport offered transport services to Care
International, a non-governmental organisation, and charged in foreign
currency. The company was paid US$462 108, 69.

Instead of depositing the foreign currency in the company's foreign currency
account or selling it through authorised dealers, the company sold the
foreign currency on the parallel market.
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Rush Limbaugh Show

      Africa Lesson for Head Boomtown Rat

      June 9, 2005


       RUSH: Bob Geldof, the former ringleader of the Boomtown Rats and the
organizer of the first Live Aid, is doing another one you may have heard,
and, you know, some people are starting to raise some questions about
this -- and they're valid questions. We're researching, by the way, I've
been working on this ever since Bush and Blair announced another $658
million to Africa yesterday. I want to find out just in the last 20 or 30
years, how much money we've actually sent to Africa through various arms,
just our foreign aid budget. How much that we send to the UN goes to Africa,
all these different things, because I want to prove the point that just
throwing money over there is not the answer. Is never is. Look at our own
situation with poverty, and theirs is 30,000 times worse, but look at our
own. We've never been able to eradicate poverty. We've transferred in this
country since the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson over $5 trillion or maybe
more than that now to wipe out poverty. It didn't. Welfare reform did. You
try to attach some incentive. But over there you don't have freedom. You
don't even know the money is getting to the people it's intended for. It's
not enough to say that you have corrupt governments over there. You've got
communist governments over there. You've got militant Islamic governments.
You've got governments like Mugabe. You've got governments that existed like
Mohamed Farrah Aidid Skyhook, that warlord in Somalia. Ethiopia was a
government-sponsored famine, and Geldof didn't realize it till he actually
went over there and followed some of the trucks around himself, and he found
out it was the government that was denying all of this relief aid to the

      It's typical of communist or tyrannical despot totalitarian
governments. They end up killing their own people. But, see, here's what we
have learned so far, and this is another thing. It is so complex to try to
figure out how much money the United States has given to Africa in any given
period of time. We have somebody on the inside at the government level
that's working on this for us, and the range on humanitarian and related aid
this year, three to 19 billion. Now, I know it's a huge range. But somewhere
this year alone, between three and 19 billion has been sent from this
country, in one way or another, to Africa. It's so complex getting a handle
on it is going to take some days. I find it interesting that it's going to
take days to get it because not even government knows without looking it up
how much we are spending in Africa. So Geldof is talking about his new Live
Eight or whatever it is he's calling it, and he's very, very sensitive now
to this charge, "Hey, wait a minute. You're throwing good money after bad
here because these are nothing but a bunch of corrupt governments." Geldof
says, "'People are going to continue to die if world leaders use the excuse
of corruption in Africa to stop them from helping the world's poor.' The
Live Eight organizer demanded that leaders should get off the corruption
thing and fulfill long held promises to help the world's poor. In response
to George Bush's comments that political corruption in Africa has to be
addressed before we start looking at aid to Africa he said, 'Africans are
simply too poor to stay alive anything that hits them that does not affect
us they die of.'"

      Well look it, Mr. Geldof. I'm very sensitive to your argument. We're
trying to do just that in Iraq, and people on your side of the aisle are
talking about what a waste it is -- anywhere we go where we try to get rid
of a corrupt government, try to get rid of oppression and tyranny. The left
used to be all for this. Any time we try to do this the left in this country
just ramps up and opposes it and tries to say that we're the ones who are
corrupt. So there's no winning here. Geldof said, "There are, of course,
extremely corrupt governments in Africa, but there are very corrupt people
in our part of the world. The difference is that we are rich." Okay. Can I
ask...? I'm going to ask the question. I ask this question all the time.
It's a think piece. You live in the United States of America. You are an
American. Why is it that your country, with barely 230 years of existence,
knows prosperity like no other country on earth ever has -- countries that
have been around, civilizations that have been around far longer than we
have? I mean, they can't hold a candle to us, and I don't care what area you
care to measure. It doesn't matter. There's not a country in the world or a
civilization in the world that has produced the prosperity and the standard
of living. (interruption) What are you laughing at, Mr. Snerdley? Okay,
what's the liberal answer to the question? (interruption) Well, okay, fine.
The liberals are going to say, "Because the Americans came and destroyed
everything," right? Right. Well, let me tell you something. You think they
had toilets in Europe before we came along? They didn't. They still don't
have toilets in Europe that make any sense even after we're here.

      You ever been to Europe and used some of their toilets, even some of
the "finest" hotels? It's amazing. That's just one example. You want to
drive around some of those little lawn mowers with two seats on them they
call automobiles over there? You want to go to a hospital over there? It
boggles the mind. It literally boggles the mind. You take a look at the
agriculture over there. You want to try to feed the world with European
agricultural? The Soviets wouldn't have been able to stay alive if we hadn't
subsidized wheat sales to them all during the cold war, for crying. All they
can do is put prisons on their property and put people in them. I'm serious
about this. If that liberals want to come around and say we've exploited all
the riches around the world let them. They couldn't be more wrong as they
are wrong about virtually everything they believe in. We spread our wealth.
We do everything we can to uplift people and it just burns me a new one to
listen to people like Geldof and whoever else say we're not doing enough!
Nobody else is doing anything, and the governments of those people that are
not being fed always get somehow left out of the equation. They never are
held to account. Only the United States is. It's a typical liberal class
envy argument, and I've lost my patience for it. It's just flat out crazy
and it's wrong. Now, you ask yourself, there's an answer to my question. Why
is it we are human beings just like they are human beings in Africa. We are
human beings like there are human beings in China, in North Korea, wherever
else. Why is it that we have led the world in inventions, why is it that we
lead the world in technology, why do we lead the world in standard of
living? There is a simple answer to it. It's called freedom! Human
experience here is allowed to maximize, or permitted, whatever. Our freedom
allows human beings in this country to be the best they can be, to pursue
excellence however they care to or decide it.

      People around the world just don't have the freedom that we do, and
certainly they don't have it in Africa and I would think after all these
years we have seen... I mean, these appeals to help Africa are legendary,
and they've been Andrea forever, and we respond to every one of them. One of
the most recent was Somalia. And you know why we went into Somalia is
because the New York Times kept publishing pictures of little starving black
kids with flies buzzing all around them, and after awhile the American
people said, "We got to do something. We can't stand this. I can't believe
there are people living like this." Bammo! So we go over there and with the
intention of feeding those people, and what happened? The warlord that ran
Mogadishu and Somalia took every bit of food that we sent over there and
confiscated it in order to keep his people under control. He had no interest
in feeding his people. That led us into a military confrontation, and you
all know what happened, Blackhawk Down. Because we didn't have the guts to
let the military have what they say they needed to defeat the guy once it
came to that.

      The idea that we're not trying to help is crazy. The idea that a bunch
of rock stars could have a concert in Philadelphia and make a difference,
they could make a difference in their own minds and everybody else would
think they're big hearted and compassionate and they may well be, but we've
got to be realistic here about what is going to solve the problem. Right now
people are talking about solving it, but what they really mean is, "I want
credit for caring, and I can tell you how to do it, and I can tell you how
to do it, and I can tell you how to spend your money, and I can tell you how
to spend yours." Well, yeah, everybody can do that, but until there's some
systematic, genuine reform in the way those people live over there, it's
going to be the same result. I don't know why this is so hard to understand.
There are hundreds of years of history that demonstrate it. So, anyway.
"Yeah, their are corrupt governments here in our part of the world but we
are richer than they are." Well, why are we richer? Our governments are rich
because of what? Our people! This government is said to be rich. Yeah, well,
it may be, but it isn't rich until it starts taxing people, and it can't tax
what's not earned, and it can't tax what's not produced. So, yeah, if we're
rich it's because people here have the freedom to be rich and prosper and
produce, which is something that doesn't exist in these totalitarian
regimes. And I resent this business of us being compared to those African
governments like Mugabe and elsewhere in Zimbabwe because, "Well, everybody
is corrupt, some are just richer than others." This is such ignorance. It's
a classic illustration of liberal ignorance on parade. Don't examine my
results, don't examine the result, I only want to be judged on my
intentions. Yeah, well, if we gave out stars for intentions you liberals may
deserve a couple gold ones here and there, but when it comes to results, you
get big Fs -- sorry, we can't give Fs anymore. What is it? -- threes.


      RUSH: I have a story from the UK Times by Richard Beeston. The
headline: Why the West's Billions May End Up in the Wrong Hands -- "The G8
summit could help to make poverty history for a number of African countries,
but corruption remains a major worry. Some of Africa's most corrupt and
brutal regimes will benefit to the tune of billions of pounds from the
agreement reached by Tony Blair and President Bush to write off the debts of
the continent's poorest nations. Even as the Prime Minister returned
triumphant from Washington with a deal that could salvage his hopes of
making Africa the centerpiece of this year's G8 Summit in Gleneagles, the
continent's woeful record on human rights, corruption and good government
was already casting a shadow over his plans. Ethiopian police shot and
killed 22 demonstrators in central Addis Ababa yesterday for protesting
against fraud in recent elections. Hospitals in the capital said that a
further 100 were injured... The violence was blamed on the Government of
Meles Zenawi, a member of Mr Blair's Commission for Africa, the body
entrusted with promoting the continent's recovery. There were also renewed
fears that Ethiopia and Eritrea may be about to embark on a new round in
their bloody battle for control of disputed areas along their border."

      This whole story describes the same situation in African country after
African country after African country. Mozambique, Ghana, Guinea, Chad -- 
and you don't even have to talk about Zimbabwe where we're going to forgive
this debt where the value of that is billions, and you wait. You just see
how much relieving the debt in these countries is going to benefit the
people who live there. I'm going to tell you right now, flat out zero,
diddly-squat, because you're still going to be left with the same
governments. But at the end of the day Tony Blair and everybody is going to
be able to say, "Look at how we cared, look at our generosity, look at what
we did."

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