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

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The Telegraph

Terrified victims of a bully's bulldozers
Bill Corcoran in Zimbabwe
(Filed: 10/06/2005)

The victims of Operation Restore Order crept towards our truck from the
ruins of their burnt out homes. Then they peered nervously inside to see if
we had brought aid or heavily armed police.

Once they recognised Trudy Stevenson, an opposition MP for Harare North, in
the back seat, they calmed down and asked if she had any blankets.

"The blankets are coming this afternoon," she said. "We came this morning to
make sure there are no police checkpoints on the road, so the truck can get

The Zimbabwean army and police roared into the large informal settlement at
Hatcliffe on the outskirts of Harare last week with bulldozers and burnt to
the ground or flattened its 3,000 homes.

The raid was part of the operation President Robert Mugabe argues will clean
up urban areas and eradicate a flourishing black market. But the opposition
says the real reason behind the campaign is to punish the urban poor who
voted en masse for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in recent

Since the destruction of the Hatcliffe settlement - which was a sprawling
community of up to 15,000 people - its residents have been living in fear
amid the ruins of their makeshift houses.

They have no shelter, running water, electricity and very little food. To
deepen their hardship, the local school and the clinic were closed down
during the operation.

Possessions were piled up on the sides of the dirt track road next to where
the homes once stood.

Filthy babies lay among mounds of burnt wood and rubbish while their parents
sat listlessly at their side. One resident, Alex Nhema, said that while the
police bulldozed houses, they also forced people to destroy their own homes
at gunpoint.

"They were very aggressive and violent and told us all that we had to take
down our homes and leave this place," he said. "They said they would come
back, and if any of the houses were put back they would burn all the
possessions inside."

There is next to no support from aid agencies based in Zimbabwe. "All the
agencies are afraid to help because they believe that Mugabe will expel them
from the country if they do," said Mrs Stevenson.

The Hatcliffe settlement was not illegal, she insisted. Those who built its
makeshift shacks leased plots from the government for 100,000 Zimbabwean
dollars a year, about £4. "The World Bank even paid for the sewerage and
water services to be put in. Look you can see the remains of the piping on
the ground."

Although the residents were ordered to leave, most have stayed, sitting and
waiting for whatever happens next.

"I don't have anywhere to go," said Mr Nhema, "so I will stay here where my
home was. We were told the police would take us to some place, then they
told us to go back to where we came from. I am from here."

Some of those who left did not improve their lot. For a week, Fr William
Guri, a local priest, has been visiting a government holding camp at a
deserted farm 25 miles away.

"There are Hatcliffe residents among the couple of hundred people held at
this camp, which is behind a large fence and guarded by armed police," he
said. "They have nothing: no food, no shelter and their health is declining

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Hatcliffe Extension residents burned out by police :
Update: Friday 10 June 7.30 pm
This afternoon police set fire to furniture and other belongings of those Hatcliffe Extension residents who had not yet managed to leave - despite the fact that there were not enough police lorries to ferry all the people away to Caledonia Farm by the time they started burning!  My suspicion is that they simply got tired, and decided to finish quickly by burning out everyone remaining - babies, sick, elderly, crippled, etc. included. 
As I write, I have no idea how many people have lost everything they possessed, nor do I know what has happened to those people. It was reported that they were told by the police that they had taken too long to leave, and now they would have to go in the lorries simply in the clothes they were wearing, nothing else - no food, no clothes, no furniture.
It was not possible to get into New Stands this afternoon, because the fires were already out of control when I arrived around 4.00 pm. At this time of year the fields are full of dry long grass and mealie stalks, so fires spread extremely rapidly. I went into the old Holding Camp to ascertain reports that Nyasha Chikwinya (ZanuPF MP '95-2000) had visited and that ZanuPF were registering their members to be allocated stands at the new stands, but the atmosphere there was too tense.  I was told to leave quickly because ZanuPF were writing lists and making threats, but before I could leave their delegation marched up and threatened me.  We decided to leave before the vehicle was stoned.
I fear that we will lose track of many constituents, and have no means of finding out what happens to them.
Concerning your generous donations to all those unfortunate people, please hold on to all donations of blankets, food, etc, for the time being, until we find a way forward.  Meanwhile cash donations can still be used to transport some of the residents to their preferred destination, provided we can trace them - or they contact us! 
Thank you all for your concern and your generosity.  The victims have really appreciated knowing that "people out there" know about their situation and have been supporting them thus far.
Trudy Stevenson MP
Harare North Constituency
Thursday 9 June 4.45 pm
I went out to Hatcliffe Extension this morning, accompanied by 3 friends, and met Fr William Guri (sorry, not Duri as I wrote initially) at New Stands.  We spotted a couple of lorries from the distance, but could not see a heavy police presence.  People were very subdued, sitting on or beside their belongings which appeared packed and ready to go.  They reported that they had been told they would all have to leave today.  On vacated stands the building materials were still piled up or scattered around - ie wooden cabin panels, asbestos roofing, windowframes, bricks, poles - because  people are not allowed to take their building materials with them on the police lorries, only their furniture, food and clothes.  This is a serious financial loss to poor people, and we wonder what will happen to all that building material.
We tried to establish where the people were being taken, but this was difficult.  The municipal police and workers did not want to tell us. "Go and ask at Mbare police station," we kept being told.  This is puzzling, since Hatcliffe Extension is under Borrowdale police station, while Mbare is right in the centre of town.  Eventually we saw one of the police lorries return for its second load, and quickly established that they were being taken to Caledonia Farm - this is the farm just outside the city boundary beyond Tafara, to the east of the city.
Many of the people protested that they did not want to go to Caledonia Farm.  Some were trying to make other arrangements quickly, before the lorries reached their stands - others had already set off on foot to various safer destinations - difficult with their all their furniture, however.  Fr William was of the opinion that it would be better to let the people go to Caledonia, then at least we would know where they were, and in any case there was no chance of their being able to stay put.  The police had told people they were not forcing people to go to Caledonia at this stage, they were going voluntarily, but when they finished all the voluntary trips, they would force anyone still left onto the lorries to Caledonia.
We decided to go and have a look at Caledonia Farm - but before we left, we had a contretemps with the policeman who had been accompanying the returning lorry.  One of the purported municipal workers had reported to him that Nyandoro (UZ student, former president of SRC) was moving around with me encouraging people to resist eviction and encouraging the municipal workers to stop working and join the stayaway instead!!  He was apparently incensed that we did not follow his "order" to go to Mbare police station, and that we had dared speak to people in the returning lorry and discovered the destination!  Nyandoro finally persuaded the two of them that we were on legitimate business, as I am the MP for the area, trying to find out where my constituents are being moved, and he is one of my constituents accompanying his MP! 
After this we headed to Arcturus Road to look for Caledonia Farm. Soon after leaving, we crossed a Defender full of riot police and a police lorry full of "police" in plain clothes in the back, heading for Hatcliffe Extension.  Caledonia took a bit of finding, and we were glad to be in a 4x4, because the last bit is quite tricky, especially coming back out up the hill - but when we eventually found it, we were all shocked. People are not spread around in open fields on the farm, as we had imagined.  They are crowded together in the fenced compound immediately around the farmhouse.  When we drove past (we didn't risk going inside) about a hundred were crowded around the verandah, and a man was addressing them with fist raised in the air - so we could imagine what he was saying!  The people are staying in tents, and the tents are right next to each other, not a bit of space in between.  Laundry was drying on the fence, children were wandering around behind the crowd, and we noticed a police car parked inside.
The main shock was the small size of the place - there is no way all the people from Hatcliffe Extension (there are still roughly 6000 - 8000 people staying there) will fit inside that compound, even if they all remain standing!  And even before the Hatcliffe people started arriving, there were others already there from Porta Farm - and there will be many others coming from all over Harare.  We are told that it is a transit holding camp, and people are only supposed to stay there 3 days for "vetting," before they go "where they belong" - and noone knows where that is or how they will get there.  Fr William however reported that when he visited earlier this week, people from Porta Farm had already been there a week.
The health dangers looming in Caledonia transit holding camp are obvious, but serious.  Moreover, we wonder what people are eating, where they are getting their water, and how the sick, esp Aids sufferers, are being cared for, and what is happening to the orphans.  Another major worry is the children who should be at school.  Zambuko Primary at Hatcliffe Extension had 1,100 children registered.  That school was forced to close on Sunday 29 May, when police destroyed the Holding Camp.  Since then some have managed to attend Hatcliffe 2 Primary for a few days, but now most of those families will be going to Caledonia - and where will all the children go to school?  I am sure the school at Tafara is already overcrowded, and it certainly is not automatic that children get places at any school.
We suspect that people at that Holding Camp are being kept under strict control, possibly not even allowed to leave until they are shipped off elsewhere.  It has all the appearance of a detention centre - and it is extremely likely that they will be forced to attend re-education "pungwes" at night for political correctness.  The "vetting" may well be to sort out the ZanuPF members from the others, then they might well be re-allocated their stands back at Hatcliffe Extension - and the others will be discarded along with the other "rubbish" in this "clean-up campaign".  Certainly Deputy Minister of Local Governmnet Zuwawo (sp?) rang alarm bells when he allocated most of the stands at White Cliff to people from Manyame - his own constituency!
We are deeply concerned about the future of people from Hatcliffe Extension.
Trudy Stevenson MP
Harare North Constituency
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Zim Online

Zimbabweans too demoralised for mass action: analysts
Sat 11 June 2005

      HARARE - A two-day mass work boycott called by Zimbabwean opposition
and civic groups fizzled out yesterday with nearly every shop and factory
open for business as political analysts warned that crisis-weary Zimbabweans
were too demoralised for action - at least for now.

      It was virtually business as usual in the capital Harare and in the
other major cities of Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo. The situation
remained tense with the police and in some cases soldiers still maintaining
a heavy presence.

      But several factory, shop and bank managers interviewed by ZimOnline
reporters monitoring the situation said workers had turned up for duty.

      There was a visibly higher turnout at schools which were almost
deserted on Thursday, the first day of the job stoppage called by a loose
coalition comprising the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National
Constitutional Assembly civic alliance.

      The coalition said the work stayaway was to protest against an ongoing
government crackdown against informal traders and shanty dwellers that has
seen more than 22 000 people arrested for trading without licences and
thousands left without shelter after their makeshift homes were destroyed by
the police.

      The mass strike was also to register Zimbabweans' anger at worsening
economic hardships. But University of Zimbabwe Institute of Development
Studies associate professor Brian Raftoppoulos told ZimOnline that after
enduring crisis after crisis since 2000, Zimbabweans were now too battle
weary for mass action.

      He said: "Zimbabweans are demoralised and as such they need to be
conscientised on the effectiveness of mass action and stayaways."

      Besides almost the entire nation - without adequate food, medicines,
electricity, fuel and other basic necessities - was virtually preoccupied
trying to keep body and soul together.

      It would require lots of patient persuasion to revive the defiant
spirit of a few years ago when then Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
secretary general and now MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, could at the stroke
of a pen bring Zimbabwe to a standstill to protest unpopular government
decisions, Raftopoulos said.

      "The organisers had a genuine reason to call for a strike, but
Zimbabweans were pre-occupied. It takes a lot of patience and effort to make
sure that Zimbabweans resume taking heed a call for a stayaway," he said.

      Another UZ lecturer, Joseph Guredzwa said severe repression in the
last five years and constant indication by the government that it is
prepared to unleash the state security apparatus against citizens had only
helped further douse Zimbabweans' desire to confront the state.

      "It must also not be forgotten that experience is working against
stayaway organisers," Guredzwa said.

      He added: "People now view them not as effective ways to communicate
their grievances to the government. They now associate them with state
repression. All they see when a strike is called are the aftermaths. The
state has managed to instill fear in the population." - ZimOnline
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      Zimbabwe anti-government protest collapses
      10 Jun 2005 10:45:00 GMT

      Source: Reuters

HARARE, June 10 (Reuters) - A two-day strike called to protest a crackdown
by President Robert Mugabe's government on informal traders headed for a
total collapse on Friday when most businesses opened as usual for the second
consecutive day.

A coalition of civic groups, supported by the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), had urged Zimbabweans to stay away from work on
Thursday and Friday to protest the destruction by police of illegal homes
and street businesses.

Police said a week ago they had arrested nearly 23,000 people and a U.N.
official has estimated about 200,000 were left homeless.

In a statement, the main Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions which
participated in the call, acknowledged it had attracted "a minimal
response", with its sole success reflected in a boycott by MDC legislators
on Thursday of Mugabe's speech to officially open a new parliament.

State media crowed over the flop on Friday, and the official Herald
newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying the MDC had behaved like "little children,
not yet mature".

"If they want to stay away, the better and we will move on. ... What room is
there for you to discuss anything with them," said Mugabe, whose ruling
ZANU-PF party denies charges it rigged March 31 elections to win a
constitution-changing two-thirds majority in parliament.

A Reuters round-up of the capital's major industrial sites and the central
business districts on Friday showed most firms were open and employees at
work on the second day of the protest.

"I don't honestly see the point of stayaways. Maybe in the past, but not
now," said one woman as she hurried to work.

Thousands of self-employed people have seen their informal business premises
razed to the ground and their goods confiscated in what the government calls
a clean-up campaign meant to snuff out crime, including illegal trade in
scant foreign currency and basic food commodities.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies charges he
has mismanaged the country, leading to chronic shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel, as well as rampaging inflation and unemployment.

The veteran leader says opponents of his drive to forcibly redistribute
white-owned farms among blacks have undermined the economy through sanctions
he argues have affected ordinary Zimbabweans instead of the ruling elite.
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Zimbabwe's merciless recasting
      By Michael Wines The New York Times

      SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2005

      HARARE, Zimbabwe Three weeks after the government abruptly began
demolishing shanties and roadside markets stands here, evicting thousands of
people and bulldozing homes or burning them to the ground, officials are
calling their actions a cleanup of illegal slums and black-market vendors.

      But as the campaign spreads beyond Harare - targeting as many as 1.5
million members of Zimbabwe's vast underclass - it is quickly evolving into
a sweeping recasting of society, a forced uprooting of the very poorest city
dwellers who have become President Robert Mugabe's most hardened opponents.

      By scattering them to rural areas, Mugabe, reelected to another
five-year term in April, seems intent on dispersing the biggest threat to
his 25-year autocratic rule as poverty and unemployment approach record
levels and mass hunger and the potential for unrest looms.

      No matter the precise numbers, the campaign was clearly one of the
most aggressive steps yet. The United Nations estimates that Operation
Murambatsvina, or "drive out the rubbish," has so far left 200,000 people
homeless. Human-rights and civic leaders say the number could be several
times that, a view which seemed plausible during a four-day visit to Harare
and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, and points between.

      Approaching Harare on the road from Bulawayo, pickups and rickety
handcarts groan with the belongings of newly evicted families, and fires
from torched flea markets flicker in the dusk. Police man roadblocks and
drive trucks lorries through slums littered with bulldozed houses looking
for resistance to the ongoing purge, but there is none.

      In shattered Harare-area townships like Mbare and Mabvuku, a slum of
about 100,000 people 16 kilometers, or 10 miles, east of Harare, the
homeless squat beside furniture and clothes rescued from the destruction.
There and elsewhere thousands sleep in the open, on farms and urban streets,
in Zimbabwe's near-freezing winter nights.

      Police ransacked and burned whole blocks of vendors' stalls this week
and last in Bulawayo, and razed squatter camps, slums and roadside stands
last week in Victoria Falls. The campaign has spread to rural areas like
Rimuka, a township 135 kilometers southwest of Harare, where riot police
destroyed homes and stands on Tuesday.

      Mugabe said that the assault was a long-overdue step to rid Zimbabwe
of what he told Parliament on Thursday was "a chaotic state of affairs" in
the nation's cities and towns. The street vendors being uprooted are
black-marketeers who pay no taxes, he has said, and the shacks being
demolished were built illegally on plots already occupied by registered
homes that have been spared destruction.

      "Our cities and towns had deteriorated to levels that were a real
cause for concern," Mugabe said in a May 27 speech. Beyond their crumbling
roads and overtaxed utilities, he said, urban areas "had become havens for
illicit and criminal practices and activities which just could not be
allowed to go on."

      But as the campaign spreads beyond Harare - to as many as 1.5 million
members of Zimbabwe's vast underclass, some here predict - it is upending
both the livelihoods and homes of an entire layer of society, the very
poorest city dwellers who have become Mugabe's most hardened opponents.

      By scattering them to rural areas, the government disperses the
biggest threat to Mugabe's 25-year rule as poverty and unemployment approach
record levels and mass hunger looms.

      And by attacking the shantydwellers and so-called informal traders,
whose black-market businesses have supplanted much of the state-dominated
economy, the government also hopes to reclaim control of the foreign
currency that the official economy desperately needs. Both would solidify
Mugabe's control at a time when Zimbabwe's economic and humanitarian crises
seem to have eroded it. "I think they know what the country is going to look
like in a few months, and they want to clear out the towns, to clear these
people way out of here," said one Harare political analyst who refused to be
identified for fear of retribution. "It's a governing strategy, no doubt
about it."

      Whatever the political benefits, however, both witnesses and experts
say that the impact on the campaign's targets is already proving

      With no income and no homes, many families are fleeing to the
countryside, where both poverty and hunger are worse even than in the
cities, and jobs are nonexistent. With no black market to provide basic
goods that the state-run economy has failed to produce, shortages of food
and gasoline are certain to worsen.

      The government has rounded up some of the newly homeless and deposited
them on farms, telling them that they will be offered legal housing later.
But that seems unlikely; in Harare alone, the official waiting list for
housing already exceeds 600,000 families, said Kingsley Kanyuchi, the
chairman of the residents' association in a Harare suburb, Glen Norah, said

      Meanwhile, the evicted are crowding the already overstuffed homes of
relatives and neighbors, or sleeping in the open. Stories of suffering and
death already abound.

      Kanyuchi told of encountering a funeral procession last week for two
children who died of exposure after being evicted. Suicides also are rising
because of the government's "brutal" evictions, said the special rapporteur
on adequate housing at the United Nations' human rights commission, Miloon

      "It's a gross violation of human rights in terms of Zimbabwe's
international obligations," Kothari said in a telephone interview from
Geneva on Friday. "People are desperate. They just have nowhere to go."

      Interviews this week with victims of the campaign only underscored
that. In conversation after conversation, it was clear that the impact of
the demolitions spread far beyond the residents and merchants who were the
campaign's principal targets.
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Harare-Munich Partnership (HaMuPa)
Letter of Solidarity

7 June 2005

It is with deep dismay that we have been following the police crackdown on
informal traders and settlements in Zimbabwe, and in Harare in particular.
The blitz reportedly left more than 20.000 people arrested and about 200.000
homeless, including orphaned children and terminally ill people.

It is totally beyond our comprehension that any government should wage a war
against the poor instead of helping them to fight poverty, as the Zimbabwe
National Pastors' Conference has aptly pointed out. In the case of Zimbabwe,
this is particularly distressing as all the suffering that accompanied the
so-called Third Chimurenga had been justified as being in the interest of
redistribution as a matter of social and historical justice.

We fail to see even a hint of justice in the current "Operation
Murambatsvina". In fact, calling it thus reveals the authorities' contempt
of the poor who had been trying to eke out a living in what is left of
Zimbabwe's economy. This is certainly not the fault of the poor!

We Germans know from our own history that it can be very difficult to resist
an oppressive regime that thrives by systematically spreading fear and
creating a culture of impunity.

Regarding our relationship with Harare as a civic arm of the Zimbabwean
capital's official twinning with Munich, we have felt increasingly helpless
as we have watched the malaise unfolding in our sister city. We are aware
that we cannot do much about it. We also know that Zimbabweans seeking
democracy and prosperity appear to have been abandoned by regional
governments in Southern Africa.

However, many small steps are needed to travel a long road. We are pleased
to see that Zimbabweans are in the process right now of collecting and
disseminating ideas on how to assist each other as well as on how to stand
by democratic non-violent principles. If each and everyone of us can find
just one thing, even the smallest thing, to do in support of this suffering
nation and just do it: all those tiny examples of a little courage might
actually connect and combine. Eventually, the road to a better future might
be there for all to see and walk upon.

We also want to express our sympathy with the Combined Harare Residents
Association's (CHRA) current efforts to both ease the suffering of the
displaced in Harare and encourage people to stand up for their basic rights.

Robert Hochreiter

Harare - Munich - Partnership of the North South Forum Munich e.V.
c/o EineWeltHaus München
Schwanthaler Str. 80 Rgb
80336 Munich
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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

The Ultimate Betrayal
Sokwanele Report : 10 June 2005

Homeless and destitute : ZimbabweOn the eastern outskirts of the City of Bulawayo, on a derelict piece of land not far off the main Bulawayo-Harare Road, there stands a small squatter camp. The area is called Killarney. Homeless, unemployed destitutes started coming to this deserted patch of scrub, beyond the farthest reaches of the residential suburbs, some years ago. They came with virtually nothing apart from the ragged clothes they stood up in, yet within a few months, and out of a few scraps of timber, corrugated iron and assorted junk, they managed to erect a number of makeshift structures. A typical African shanty-town arising apparently out of nothing on the bare veldt. This was no picture postcard scene, but at least the residents had a roof over their heads, walls to keep some of the cold out, and a place to call home - and importantly, within walking distance of an urban centre where the able-bodied could look for work. Quite a community was established under these austere circumstances. The 350 or so families shared one thing in common - abject poverty - which in the last resort is quite a powerful bonding agent. They regulate life together so as to maintain order and decency with a measure of dignity. A few have made desperate efforts to cultivate some vegetables, though in the poor, stony ground and with no water on hand, their efforts are largely futile.

The Killarney residents received no help from the authorities. No water, electricity or other facilities were available to them. Bulawayo City Council was aware of their presence and for obvious reasons the city fathers were not too happy at the informal settlement. Nevertheless, not having any other housing available to which they could move these poor people, and out of compassion for their plight they refrained from moving them on forcibly. Residents of Bulawayo who were aware of the acute needs of these desperate people, assisted them in small ways and a local pastor played a superb role in ministering to both their physical and spiritual needs. Food from a network of caring support groups was distributed to the people through the pastor, and he also organised regular Sunday worship.

But now ZANU PF politics intrudes on this hitherto peaceful scene. The nation-wide so-called Murambatsvina campaign (meaning, clear away the trash) comes to town. Armed, baton-wielding riot police descend on one informal settlement after another across the city - many operating legally with all the required permits to show for it - and in their wake there is left a trail of destruction, burning and looting (the looting carried out by none other than the police themselves). The people of Killarney wait with bated breath. Will they be next in line for the bulldozers and sledge hammers or is it just possible that they will escape the attention of Mugabe's marauding thugs?

On Tuesday (June 7th) word comes to the community - the police are on their way. Expect them within the next 24 hours. In the meantime the people can mitigate their misery by removing from their makeshift shelters any items of value. So they set to work stripping down from these structures such items as the broken sheets of asbestos and plastic which provided some cover from the elements, and removing their few pathetic belongings. Now they have no shelter, and it is cold these winter nights on the bare plain. Ironically they have rendered themselves homeless all over again - out of fear for an even worse fate at the hands of Mugabe's baton-wielding storm troopers.

At the time of writing the police had still not arrived at Killarney. They are expected at any time (and Sokwanele will try to keep readers appraised of developments). In the meantime however, and as perhaps the ultimate betrayal of the poor, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF lieutenants have used the weapon of fear to persuade them to destroy their own poor shacks.

Removing the trash ZANU PF style?

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Zim Online

US condemns evictions
Sat 11 June 2005
  HARARE - The United States has condemned a controversial campaign by
President Robert Mugabe to drive informal traders and homeless people out of
Zimbabwe's cities and towns.

      Joining the United Nations, European Union, Amnesty International and
other key bodies that have criticised the campaign as insensitive and
inhuman, Washington called on Harare in a statement released this week to
abandon the campaign and instead turn its energies to avert a humanitarian
crisis threatening Zimbabwe.

      "We urge the government of Zimbabwe to end this campaign and to turn
its attention to the humanitarian needs of its people, including those
recently displaced by operation Restore Order (the official code name of the
campaign)," the statement from the US government read in part.

      An estimated four million Zimbabweans or about a quarter of the
country's population could starve unless the World Food Programme and other
food relief agencies deliver 1.2 million tonnes of food required to keep the
country going until the next harvest expected around April 2006.

      Apart from food shortages the crisis-riddled southern African nation
also faces shortages of several other basic survival commodities such as
fuel, electricity and essential medical drugs because there is no hard cash
to pay foreign suppliers.

      The government blitz against informal traders and shanty dwellers,
defended by Mugabe as necessary to clean up cities and towns of filth and
crime, has left tens of thousands of families that were otherwise able to
fend for themselves without a means of livelihood and also without shelter
after their makeshift homes were destroyed.

      Another 22 000 people most of them breadwinners in their families were
also arrested during the campaign for selling goods without licences.

      In a statement earlier this week, the EU called Harare's campaign
"brutal" and "a blatant proof of the Zimbabwean government's lack of concern
for the well-being of the civilian population."

      UN envoy on the right to housing Miloon Kothari called the forced
evictions a "new form or apartheid" designed to ensure only the rich stayed
in towns while the poor are restricted to backward rural areas.
      Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, the
labour movement and other civic groups this week called a two day work
boycott to protest against the government campaign.

      But the mass protest was poorly supported with organisers blaming
intimidation by the police and army for workers' lack of enthusiasm for the
strike. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

ZANU PF supporters invade cattle ranch
Sat 11 June 2005
  MWENEZI - Suspected ruling ZANU PF party supporters have invaded a
thriving cattle ranch in Mwenezi district in southern Zimbabwe putting about
2 500 breeding cattle at risk.

      In yet another example of chaos and lawlerssness on Zimbabwe's farms,
a group of nine ZANU PF supporters allegedly led by one Muzorori drove into
the ranch in a government vehicle and harassed workers at the farm forcing
the terrified workers to flee into the bush.

      The owner of the farm Brian Cawood, who survived the purge in the
farming community five years ago, confirmed the disturbances and described
the latest developments at the farm as "an act of sabotage."

      "These genetics (cattle breed) cannot be replaced by any amount of
money and are considered a huge national asset, which has taken generations
of selected breeding to bring it where it is today.

      "To destroy, or contaminate it now with inferior scrub stock can only
be termed as sabotage of an irreplaceable national asset," said Cawood.

      Beef is in short supply in Zimbabwe after hordes of ZANU PF supporters
slaughetered hundreds of cattle for meat during the invasions in the last
five years which President Robert Mugabe defended as genuine demonstrations
of land hunger by blacks.

      The country's commercial herd has been reduced from 2 500 000 before
2000 to about 150 000 at present as a result of the disturbances on the
farms five years ago.

      Zimbabweans have virtually survived on food handouts from the
international community in the last five years as a result of the collapse
of the key agriculture sector because of the seizure of farms by the
government and its supporters.

      An estimated four million people or about a quarter of Zimbabwe's
population could starve this year unless international food agencies
urgently provide 1.2 million tonnes of food required to feed the country
between now and the next harvests expected around March next year. -
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The Guardian

Thrown on the scrapheap

Pro-democracy group Sokwanele offers an insider's view on the police
crackdown that has led to the arrest of thousands of street traders in

Friday June 10, 2005

In a long-planned operation codenamed Operation Murambatsvina - Shona for
Operation Drive Out Trash - Zimbabwe's police have used sledgehammers and
bulldozers to reduce brick homes to rubble, and they have torched flimsy
shacks. At the same time, thousands of informal businesses have been
destroyed, with more than 20,000 traders arrested, their possessions smashed
or irretrievably confiscated by those entrusted to uphold the law.
Few Zimbabweans have bought into the Zanu PF line, relentlessly propagated
by the state-controlled media, that the crackdown is about dealing with
"criminal elements".

The onslaught came like a military raid with overtones of a Zimbabwean
Kristallnacht. As on November 9 1938, when rampaging Nazi mobs violently
destroyed Jewish properties and businesses, the Zimbabwean police have
completely disregarded the law, focusing instead on wholesale destruction.
Sokwanele has spoken to many homeowners who have been targeted, but who
regularly pay rates, lights and water bills, and to vendors who rent their
stalls from the city council or operate with current vending licences. The
police didn't ask to see any of their papers.

With one brutal blow, Robert Mugabe set out to achieve multiple political
objectives; most significantly, a pre-emptive strike against a restive urban
population, a show of force designed to intimidate and subdue. By driving
the poor into the impoverished rural areas, the urban population will be
reduced, making future uprisings more manageable. And rural containment,
with almost no access to modern communication systems, will make political
resistance easier to control.

There is another objective too: with the Zimbabwean economy painfully on its
knees, the destruction of informal businesses also represents a frantic
attempt to force the informal sector to bring its foreign currency into the
formal banking sector. The final Zanu PF objective - cruel retribution
against an urban population that voted overwhelmingly for the opposition
MDC - is a bonus.

Mr Mugabe's press laws make certain that the shivering, shocked faces of his
defenceless victims will never appear on TV screens around the world. The
police made doubly sure of that by carefully cordoning off areas where they
were active to prevent cameras from recording the wreckage. Be assured,
however, that the devastation cannot be overstated.

In a country where unemployment exceeds 75%, informal businesses help
millions of Zimbabweans and their families to survive. Zanu PF's latest
actions leave the poor with three remaining options: beg, steal or starve.
Hundreds of thousands of people, including children, the elderly and the
frail, have been rendered instantly homeless during Zimbabwe's cold winter
months. The UN has estimated that as many as 3 million people - nearly a
quarter of Zimbabwe's population - could eventually be affected by the
police action.

With desperate humour, some Zimbabweans have dryly suggested that Mr Mugabe
is trying to "Make Poverty History" by simply eradicating the poor. But
there is nothing even mildly amusing about the fact that Mr Mugabe is, yet
again, comprehensively violating human rights, and that he is doing it with
impunity: on Friday last week a Zimbabwe court threw out a legal challenge
to Operation Drive Out Trash, in effect declaring the actions lawful.
African leaders are shamefully quiet, with the shocking exception of
Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, who has defended the Zimbabwean
government's right to do as it pleases. The silence from the South African
leadership is particularly deafening, given that theirs is a nation that
experienced similar forced mass evictions under apartheid at the hands of a
totalitarian party battling, like Zanu PF, to cling to power against the
will of the majority.

Sokwanele is frequently asked by Zimbabweans, when will the world say enough
is enough? The answer is simple: the world will say enough is enough when
Zimbabweans themselves say enough is enough. Commenting on Guardian
Unlimited just two months ago, in the aftermath of the rigged parliamentary
elections, we said that the first painful step towards recovery had to be
made by Zimbabweans. We therefore welcome and support all calls for peaceful
non-violent dignified action to protest against the barbaric treatment of
the poorest people in our community.

We implore the world, and especially African leaders, to pay close attention
to events in Zimbabwe in the next few weeks. Mr Mugabe used his Independence
Day speech on April 18 to remind the public that Zanu PF was a party of
violence. "Let it be forever remembered that it was the bullet that brought
the ballot," he said.

Some Zimbabweans have speculated that the destruction comprises a deliberate
political attempt to provoke riots, thereby giving Mr Mugabe the opportunity
to clamp down hard and declare a state of emergency and invoke martial law.
The police have said they are prepared to deal "ruthlessly" with anyone
taking part in the two-day strike that started yesterday in protest at the
police crackdown.

The world, and Africa, must make sure that the Zanu PF government is held
accountable for any violence that it metes out in the face of peaceful
non-violent action.

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Shelves Bare As Food Prices Rocket

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

June 10, 2005
Posted to the web June 10, 2005

Godwin Gandu

Zimbabwe's worst economic recession in years has given rise to a thriving
black market in fuel, basic commodities and foreign currency. Basic
foodstuffs are no longer available in shops. Shortages have pushed prices up
by about 100% in the past six months.

"Total output for the manufacturing sector went down 40%, agriculture 50%
and tourism down 70%, with unemployment shooting up to 80%. Ineptitude has
knocked business confidence to such a low level, the lowest in years," John
Robertson, an economist, told the Mail & Guardian.

Zimbabwe has been steadily losing some of its most skilled citizens -- 
according to the Reserve Bank there are 3,5-million people in the diaspora.
The brain drain has severely impacted on the education, health and
engineering sectors.

In the past five years, the Bretton Woods institutions have refused the
country balance of payments support. The International Monetary Fund
continued Zimbabwe's suspension while international sanctions and continued
isolation continue to bite.

"I don't see any meaningful recovery in the next six to nine months," said
Eric Block, an economics commentator. "It's likely to get worse, but we have
to start making some difficult decisions in order to start the recovery."

The country's slide comes amid five economic blueprints since independence.
But none of the turn-around strategies has worked.

"We should address the problem of forex first, that is the root of the
problem," a market analyst who refused to be identified told the M&G.

"Unfortunately we don't print United States dollars, and we don't generate
enough forex internally. We need balance of payments support and foreign
direct investment that brings in foreign currency."

In the past few weeks the police and Central Bank officials have raided
hotels and market place stalls hunting for foreign currency, netting a
paltry US$50 000.

"The politicians should start making friends with the Western world. In
order to start these friendships we need to stop calling people names and
restore law and order," Block said.

But this jars with the strategy of the ruling Zanu-PF government, its
avowedly anti-imperialist stance, and its "look East" policy, which Simon
Badza, of the University of Zimbabwe's political science department, has
described as a "temporary management solution that I don't think can take us
very far.

"Harping on about the Chinese and their contribution to the liberation
struggle 25 years after independence brings little benefit to the country."

The economic and political problems in Zimbabwe defy logic. Confronted with
similar challenges, many a government would have resigned or would have been
voted out of office.

Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube has mooted an Eastern
European-style velvet revolution to force the government's hand. "Zimbabwe
offers a unique African situation in which that isn't workable," Brian
Raftopolous, of the Harare-based Institute of Developmental Studies,

"Any form of political resistance will be ruthlessly crushed, it's a non-
starter," said Badza. "Even the African Union or the region will not
recognise anything of that sort."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change also appears to have adopted
this logic and is advocating a "constitutional reform process that is
transparent, inclusive and people driven."

But that is cold comfort for citizens whose livelihoods have been destroyed.
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      Zimbabwe Unrest

      10 June 2005

Zimbabwe is reeling from economic collapse. More than seventy percent of
Zimbabweans are unemployed, inflation exceeds one-hundred-fifty percent, and
there are severe shortages of fuel, food, and foreign exchange.

Now, tens of thousands of poor Zimbabweans must cope with the fact that the
government is demolishing their homes and closing down their unregistered
businesses. By putting street vendors out of business, the government of
President Robert Mugabe is shutting down one of the few ways the poor can
earn incomes. And the housing demolition campaign is making Zimbabwe's
humanitarian crisis even worse. Miloon Kothari is a United Nations

"I think it is irresponsible for any government, anywhere in the world, and
it is a violation of their human rights obligations to evict people from
their homes, whether their homes are informal or formal, without any notice
and with force. As we have seen in this case in Harare, the police have used
excessive force in carrying out the demolitions."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called Zimbabwe under President
Mugabe an "outpost of tyranny." At a recent press conference with South
African President Thabo Mbeki, President George W. Bush commented on the
situation in Zimbabwe:

"We are concerned about a leadership that does not adhere to democratic
principles, and obviously concerned about a country that was able to, for
example, feed herself, now has to import food as an example of the
consequences of not adhering to democratic principles."

Mr. Bush said, "The world needs to speak with common voice in insisting that
the principles of democracy are adhered to by the ruling party in Zimbabwe."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States
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Growing disillusionment with opposition, analysts

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 10 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - Bitter divisions in the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a lack of visible leadership on the
part of its civil society partners are to blame for the failure of the
recent stayaway in Zimbabwe, political analysts said on Friday.

The public largely ignored calls for a two-day work stoppage on Thursday and
Friday by the 'Broad Alliance', a grouping of civil society groups and the

The alliance hoped to demonstrate mass disapproval of the ongoing national
'clean-up operation', in which thousands of illegal market stalls and homes
have been razed by police.

Political observers said there had always been doubt that the stayaway would
gather broad support because of the heavy deployment of soldiers and
paramilitary police, but the extent of its failure was a sign that the
public had finally lost confidence in the ability of the opposition and its
alliance partners to rally opposition to President Robert Mugabe's

Johannesburg-based lawyer and activist Daniel Molokela told IRIN the failure
was caused by a lack of consultation, opposition from within by some members
of the alliance, and a lack of visible leadership leading the stayaway.

"For such mass action there should be broad consultation with all
Zimbabweans, including those in the diaspora. There was none of that, just
as there was no visible leadership, apart from National Constituent Assembly
chairman Lovemore Madhuku," Molokela noted.

"People need visible leadership, and they can only participate in the
presence of clear objectives and well-coordinated activities. This failure
will have catastrophic results for the future of public political action in
the country," said Molokela.

Mduduzi Mathuthu, the editor of, a popular news website,
said in an editorial, "The strategy adopted by the Broad Alliance will
backfire spectacularly, with disastrous consequences for the opposition as a

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai denied that internal party divisions over
whether or not to join the mass action call were partly to blame for the
failure of the stayaway, but admitted that some members of the MDC, who
called for mass action immediately after the 31 March parliamentary
elections, had accused the party leadership of inaction.

"The frustrations and differences of opinion have been misinterpreted as
infighting," Tsvangirai told the weekly Zimbabwe Independent.

Apart from news reports that three members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions were arrested in Bulawayo, the situation across the country remained
calm on Friday as most employees turned up for work.

Efforts to get a comment from Madhuku were fruitless, but ZANU-PF political
commissar Elliot Manyika said the Broad Alliance was 'stillborn' and praised
Zimbabweans for showing political maturity by putting the interests of the
country first.

"The people of Zimbabwe are mature enough to know that there is no credible
opposition that can lead this country. What we have is a disruptive and
immature group of very poor chancers," said Manyika. "ZANU-PF is in charge
of this country, and happy that Zimbabweans will always refuse to be
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Zimbabwe Changed My Mind: Guns Are A Human Right

by Joe Katzman at June 10, 2005 11:48 AM

As many of you know, I'm from Canada. We have a pretty different attitude to guns up here, and I must say that American gun culture has always kind of puzzled me. To me, one no more had a right to a gun than one did to a car.

Well, my mind has changed. Changed to the point where I see gun ownership as being a slightly qualified but universal global human right. A month ago in Yalta, Freedom & The Future, I wrote:

"Frankly, if "stopping... societies from becoming the homicidal hells Mr. Bush described in his Latvia speech" is our goal, I'm becoming more sympathetic to the Right to Bear Arms as a universal human right on par with freedom of speech and religion. U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice's personal experience as a child in Birmingham [Alabama] adds an interesting dimension; I hope she talks about this abroad."

This week, I took the last step. You can thank Robert Mugabe, too, because it was his campaign to starve his political/tribal opponents and Pol-Pot style "ruralization" effort (200,000 left homeless recently in a population of 12.6 million) that finally convinced me. Here's the crux, the argument before which all other arguments pale into insignificance:

The Right to Bear Arms is the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world.

And Zimbabwe is the poster child for that proposition. So let's start with what's going on:

Zimbabwe's Slow-Mo Genocide

Not only is Mugabe in the middle of a "ruralization" program with clear echoes of the Cambodian genocide, the Washington Post reports that the country's granaries are nearly empty. That means starvation.

"Unless there's food aid," you say.

No. It means starvation. Period. I give you The Daily Telegraph:

"Millions of people are going hungry not, as Mr Mugabe's government claims, because of poor rains but as a direct result of its policy of denying food to opposition supporters and enriching its loyalists....

...An investigation by The Telegraph found that control of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe's state-owned monopoly supplier of commercial maize, was passed this year to one of Mr Mugabe's most loyal henchmen, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, an alleged war criminal.... The organisation, which is meant to supply maize at subsidised prices to all Zimbabweans, has instead been selling maize only to supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Backers of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change went hungry.

Worse still was the country's Food For Work programme. Thousands of opposition supporters would provide 15 days' labour only to be told at the end there was no GMB food for them."

But surely we can set up parallel channels for aid groups? Not really. Back to The Telegraph:

"The GMB is so corrupt and politicised that aid groups shipping food into Zimbabwe are being forced to set up their own expensive parallel storage and distribution facilities, rather than using those of the GMB.... There is also evidence that the Zimbabwean government is deliberately blocking the work of these international aid groups....

A warehouse of supplies organised by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was blockaded for three months by Zanu-PF militants and an attempt to increase the flow of humanitarian supplies by the World Food Programme (WFP) has also been blocked. The WFP relies on recognised agencies to do the final distribution on the ground and aid sources said the mere presence of a British charity, Save the Children (UK), on a list of possible distributors is hindering expansion.

Aid groups are routinely criticised in the state-owned media in Zimbabwe, accused of being tools of the "imperialist, colonialist West".

Zimbabwean Pundit has more along these lines, and Norm Geras (a leftyblogger who has been covering Zimbabwe for a long time) offers Snapshots from the Brink. There is every reason to expect that, just like Ethiopia in the 1980s (and see pictures and description here), aid will continue to be blocked and diverted to Shona tribal areas that support Zimbabwe's murderous regime. Or just confiscated once the aid workers go away.

And PubliusPundit notes that peaceful measures are fizsling, even as reports of "roundups and holding camps" are filtering out from the opposition.

Getting the picture? Even putting aside one's understandable suspicion of this next source's overall judgement, his description from the Telegraph rings true to common sense:

"What we are seeing is nothing but humanitarian torture," an aid worker said. "It takes three months to die of starvation and this is a torture every bit as bad as beating someone with barbed wire or hanging them from handcuffs."

Um, ever studied what dying of starvation actually involves, dude? It's just a little bit worse than hanging from handcuffs - and there's nothing humanitarian about it.

Anyway, the eternal cluelessness of NGO types isn't the issue here. The point is simply this...

Read those reports again - and tell me exactly how sending aid is going to do anything other than make the donors complicit in Mugabe's tribal-political genocide. Because all it's going to do is ensure that those carrying it out are well fed.

This is the collaboration that dares to wear compassion's mask in our culture today. It is NOT the answer. To anything.

Bystanders of the World

Nor will there be salvation from afar. Perry deHavilland writes from London:

"And where are the marchers in the west? Where are the protesters calling for justice in Zimbabwe? Where is the outrage from those tireless tribunes of the Third World, the UN? Why can I not hear the snarls of fury from the alphabet soup of NGOs? What of the legions of Guardian readers finding out about all this? What are they going to call for? Amnesty International is getting a lot of (bad) publicity from having called Guantanamo Bay 'a gulag' whilst now admitting they do not actually know what is happening there, yet why are they not straining every fibre of their being in opposition to this African horror?"

Surely you jest, Perry. Comrade Mugabe is an anti-colonialist hero to many of them. He got his lifetime pass long ago - and he's been using it for a very long time. Or did you miss the massacres of thousands and reign of terror during the 1980s?

Besides, lighten up! Mass forced starvations aren't just a catastrophe, they're an important neo-Marxist tradition! The poor guy is just trying to be part of the club with his comrades in Russia, North Korea, North Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, and Cambodia. Really, it's all just a differently-relevant culture with its own distinct narratives to cherish as it joins the global rainbow struggle for social justice and equality against the global patriarchical capitalist henegmony. Anyway, don't you know the evil U.S. regime is killing Iraqi babies and serving them at White House banquets with hoisin sauce?

In fairness, some of the liberal commeners here over the last year or so appear to be happy to put a bullet or three in Mugabe. They just haven't thought through the implications of their European idols' inaction for the entire premise of their foreign policy approach. If not the USA, who will bell the cat? Overthrow and/or partition is actually an operation that could be executed with just a few thousand troops, as long air and naval support was there. Heck, Italy and Spain (who both have small carriers and harrier jets) could probably get together and do it all themselves.

Why don't they? Why haven't they even threatened to intervene in Zimbabwe, let alone tried? Why have President Bush's approaches to European allies to take a role on the ground in Sudan been left unanswered as Darfur's people are killed?

And if they won't act in these situations, or even make the attempt, why should we believe in [a] any role for Europe as moral arbiters of much of anything (experience at perpetrating genocide isn't a qualification, mes amis); or [b] their ability and/or willingness to be useful military allies in a serious situation.

Pass another shrimp Gerhard, and let's toast our peaceful selves as we hold a conference for the victims. Afterward. Meanwhile, we'll try not to think about the inconvenient fact that far more citizens died at the hands of their governments last century than ever died in its wars. Or what we might do about that outside the walls of this nice hotel.

Belmont Club is more optimistic, and thinks Mugabe will "overreach":

"One way or the other, what is nearly certain is that conditions will continue to worsen. The second probability is that Mugabe will not react gently to Stay Away. He has gotten away with so much, so often from the spineless "International Community" -- you know the one that provides unparalleled "legitimacy" -- that he will odds-on overdo his response. What then? I think Professor Stanford Mukasa, a Zimbabwean teaching journalism at a US college had it right when he said that Zimbabweans could not expect the cavalry to ride over the hill, massacre or no."

Still, he becomes more hopeful when he notes that unlike the Europeans, President Bush is looking for regional powers who might be willing to intervene with American air and logistical support, in order to prevent genocide. South Africa is a natural choice, in his mind. It has the geography, and the military capability too.

Unfortunately, Belmont Club is dead wrong.

First, because Comrade Mugabe is still a hero to many in South Africa's ANC. Second, because South Africa knows, as all African countries know, that deposing Mugabe probably means partition. Should Zimbabwe become the next Yugoslavia, the legitimacy of almost every African border and government would immediately be called into question. Better by far that Zimbabweans should suffer genocide, which would disturb the perks and bank accounts of Africa's leaders hardly at all. At least Perry was realistic about that part:

"But of course the South African ANC government, far from being a possible solution to the rapidly deteriorating situation across the border, is aiding and abetting in the Cambodia-ization of Zimbabwe. I look forward to Saint Nelson Mandela taking a loud, public and sustained stand against Mugabe's madness. Yeah, right.

If Tony Blair was serious about doing something about poverty in Africa, he would be sending guns to the MDC and to anyone else who is willing to resist and threatening to have some gentlemen from Hereford put a .338 hole between Mugabe's eyes unless things change radically. What a pity Zimbabwe does not have oil or maybe more people would give a damn what is happening there."

Sgt. Mom adds:

"Perry is quite right, in that South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe’s other neighbors, should be taking the lead here. He is a bit wrong on the oil issue though; Sudan has oil, and no-one seems to give a damn there either."

Good point. Perry isn't giving up, though - and here's where he hit me:

"Clearly the only chance for the people of Zimbabwe is for someone, anyone, to help them to rise up and meet violence with violence. They do not need aid, they need guns and ammunition so that supporters of the MDC can start shooting at anyone associated with ZANU-PF or the 'security' services. Time for Mugabe's swaggering police thugs to be met with a hail of gunfire rather than terrified sobbing."

The Dynamics of (In)Action

I think Perry is right. More to the point, I think there's a reason that he's right in ways that go beyond just Zimbabwe.

Which brings us to Chester's Zimbabwe and the Kitty Genovese Incident. The title is derived from Phillip Bobbitt's book "The shield of Achilles," which has one chapter called "The Kitty Genovese Incident and the War in Bosnia." If you don't know who Kitty Genovese was, don't worry - his post explains. This is the key, from Bobbitt:

To summarize, we can say that there are five distinct stages through which the bystander must successively pass before effective action can be taken: (1) Notice: he must become aware that some unusual occurrence is taking place; (2) Recognition: he must be able to assess the event and define it as an emergency; (3) Decision: he must then decide that something must be done, that is, he must find a convincing reason for action to be taken; (4) Assignment: the bystander must then assign some person, himself or another, or some institution to be responsible for action; he must answer the question, "who should act in these circumstances?" (5) Implementation: having decided what action should be taken, he must then see that it is actually done. If at any stage in this sequence, a crucial ambiguity is introduced, then the whole process must begin again. The presence of ambiguity in urban life, not the callousness of urban dwellers, is precisely what makes emergency intervention in cities so problematic...

In international politics, the problems multiply. Worry about commitment traps. Situations that don't engage the bystander's interests, even to the level of the citizen bystander who understands that the duty of mutual protection is the first requirement of shared citizenship. Not to mention the danger of active opposition from others who perceive the situation to be very much in their interests. Or dysfunctional frameworks for action that nearly guarantee failure, as I explained in Congo: the Roots - And the Trap.

The effect is predictable, as is the nearly-unblemished failure of the so-called "international community" over the last 30 years. As Bobbitt notes:

So it was with the horrifying events of the three years 1991-1994 in the former state of Yugoslavia: fascinated, frightened, appalled, the civilized world was anything but apathetic. And yet, like Kitty Genovese's murderer, the killers in Bosnia returned again and again, once the threat of outside intervention dissipated, leaving the rest of us as anguished bystanders.

Cambodia, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda... the list goes on more or less ad infinitum. When the world wasn't standing by, the U.N. was busy helping the murders. As A.L.'s post about U.N. doctor Andrew Thomson's experiences noted: "If You See Blue Helmets, Run!" Actually, the whole quote from Thomson is even better:

"Thomson, who spent two years pulling bodies out of mass graves in Rwanda and the Bosnian town of Srebrenica - corpses of people who had sought safety with the U.N. - concludes: "If blue-helmeted U.N. peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs."

Emphasis mine.

Or Else Get Weapons: The Right to Bear Arms

There's another quote in Chester's post from Bobbitt. I'm going to suggest that its real implications aren't the ones Chester is thinking of as he imagines a rescue that in reality, will never come:

"Time and again, numbers have been overcome by courage and resolution. Sudden changes in a situation, so startling as to appear miraculous, have frequently been brought about by the action of small parties. There is an excellent reason for this.

The trials of battle are severe; troops are strained to the breaking point. At the crisis, any small incident may prove enough to turn the tide one way or the other. The enemy invariably has difficulties of which we are ignorant; to us, his situation may appear favorable while to him it may seem desperate. Only a slight extra effort on our part may be decisive...

It is not the physical loss inflicted by the smaller force, although this may be appreciable, but the moral effect, which is decisive."

Notice. Recognition. Decision. Assignment. Implementation. Courage and resolution. The moral effect. And of course, countervailing force. That is what is required to stop genocide.

Are we more likely to find it among those marked for death and persecution, as they begin to realize their fate? In a global hyperpower that will inevitably have competing and compelling responsibilities besides our 21st century "problem from hell"? Or in a fraudulent "world community" that abets mass hatred (Durban), stands by or collaborates with murderers (Rwanda, Srebrenica), allows existing perpertrators of genocide to represent it on Human Rights (UNHRC), and sees world crises mostly as opportunities to fatten their budgets and rack up air miles (tsunami relief, the Toyota Taliban generally).

A look at the U.N.'s record, and indeed that of the world over the last 30 years, answers that question decisively.

I'll leave the last words to this radio speech by Tendai Biti, an MDC member of parliament. Via Belmont Club:

"I can't tell you - and the hundreds of Central Intelligence Organisation officers who I know are listening to me right now - about who is going to provide the leadership, who is going to do what, and so forth - but what I can guarantee you is that the anger is overflowing in the veins of the average Zimbabweans. They will defend themselves. The time for smiling at fascism is over."

Not in Africa, in the U.N., or among the West's liberal-left New Class and NGO set. But perhaps, just perhaps, in Zimbabwe. Facing an armed populace, the rag-tag gangs of thugs that have characterized genocide's recent history are outmatched - and even the armed forces of the state discover that orderly liquidation of their victims turns into a formidable proposition.

Arm Zimbabwe's opposition. Now. Heck, take a leaf from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, and send HEAPs (Holocaust Education and Avoidance Pods). And tell the world (and especially our hypoccritical Euro "friends") why.

The Right to Bear Arms. It's not just for Americans any more.

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      Zimbabwe Opposition Assesses Strike
      By VOA News
      10 June 2005

Interview with Lovemore Madhuku
Listen to Interview with Lovemore Madhuku

The two-day general strike called by the Broad Alliance of opposition
organizations came to an end today having had relatively little visible
impact on an already depressed level of economic activity. The stay-away was
intended to protest the state's heavy-handed shutdown of informal businesses
and its eviction of millions from their makeshift homes.

The government ignored calls from at home and abroad for a halt to its
demolition campaign, instead expanding and intensifying official
destruction. Police and other state agents descended on Old Tafara and
Highfield in the capital, the St. Mary's section of Chitungwiza and in
Marondera, Rusape and Murewa, razing all structures deemed illegal. These
included a number of chicken coops, obliging their owners to immediately
slaughter their entire poultry stocks.

Hundreds of people who had set up new shelters in Mbare and Hatcliff
Extension after the demolition of their homes were rounded up by gun-toting
police, bundled into lorries and dispatched to Caledonia Farm outside
Harare. The officer in charge at Caledonia Farm, Inspector Eunice Gamuchirai
Marange, said there are no sanitation facilities and urged the authorities
to set up a clinic. But State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa told Studio 7
the government will meet its responsibilities.

Meanwhile, general strike organisers admitted that they needed to do more to
mobilize the population. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Tnions issued a
statement saying there was a "minimal response" to the strike call.  But
National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the
emergence of a united front was significant, and defended the Broad Alliance
despite the apparent failure of its first major protest action.
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Sekeramayi, Defence Chiefs Receive Russian Medals

The Herald (Harare)

June 10, 2005
Posted to the web June 10, 2005


THE Russian Federation on Wednesday conferred commemorative medals on
Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi and Zimbabwe Defence Forces chiefs in
appreciation of the strong military ties between the two countries.

Russian Ambassador Mr Oleg Scherbak conferred the medals on the occasion to
mark the 60th anniversary of the Russian defeat of the German Nazi army
during the Second World War.

Apart from Dr Sekeramayi, those who were conferred with the medals were the
Secretary for Defence Mr Trust Maposa, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commander
Lieutenant General Phillip Sibanda and Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air
Marshal Perence Shiri.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr Sekeramayi paid tribute to Russia for bestowing
them with the medals.

He said Russia played an instrumental role in offering military training to
Zimbabweans during the liberation struggle.

"Some of our officers are what they are today because of the doctrine they
received while being trained in Russia. Some of the guerilla tactics that
you used during the (Second World) war were also in a way modified by us in
the fight against (white) settlers," he said.

The minister said some Zimbabweans also participated in the Second World War
by serving as soldiers in the British Army.

"Their contribution in the war was not recognised as they came back home
empty handed while the British soldiers who fought in the war were given
farms (in Zimbabwe) as pensions for fighting the war," Dr Sekeramayi said.

Zimbabwe, he said, would continue to source military equipment from Russia
and to learn new military tactics in order to defend its territorial
integrity. Mr Scherbak applauded the strong military ties between Zimbabwe
and Russia, saying there was nothing as important as the will to defend a
nation's sovereignty.

"But today out of all reflections on that major military conflict in the
history that swept across the continents and at the seas I would like to
single out the most important: Without any doubt it is the will and ability
of a nation to defend its territorial integrity against open aggression.
This requires a highly trained and well equipped armed force under skilled
leadership at all levels of command," he said.

Mr Scherbak said the guerilla warfare tactics that were used by Russia
during the Second World War were later to become the backbone of the
liberation struggles across the African continent including Zimbabwe.

"One major conclusion - without gallantry and sacrifice of a soldier
fighting for the right cause no victory can ever be won no matter how
sophisticated an army can be," he said.

Among those who attended the occasion were senior officers from the ZDF and
advisers from the Russian army.

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Zimbabwe's bishops tell government to stop violence immediately

By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Zimbabwe's bishops criticized the
government's "Operation Restore Order," which has driven tens of thousands
of people from their homes, and called on the authorities to "stop this
violence immediately."

Noting that people's dignity and human rights are being violated, the
Zimbabwean bishops' conference warned the perpetrators, "History will hold
you individually accountable."

Since late May authorities, including riot police, have been demolishing
homes and vendors' stalls in shantytowns around the capital, Harare, as well
in other Zimbabwean cities and the tourist resort of Victoria Falls.
Government officials said the operation is aimed at getting rid of illegal
settlements and reducing crime in the black market, which has flourished in
the past five years amid a worsening economic crisis.

In some areas, police provoked riots "by moving in on unarmed and peaceful
citizens," the bishops' conference said in an early June statement from its
Harare headquarters.

"The use of violence to achieve any perceived goal by the authorities is a
most worrying factor in our nation," the bishops said.

"The excuse of fighting crime through collective and indiscriminate
punishment is unacceptable," the bishops said, noting that the desired end
does not justify using inhumane means.

Dominican Sister Patricia Walsh described the horror of seeing only rising
smoke early May 30 as she drove toward Hatcliffe, a shantytown that is home
to about 40,000 people in Harare.

All the residents were outside "in the midst of their broken houses,
furniture and goods all over the place, children screaming, sick people in
agony," Sister Walsh said in an e-mail.

Since 1992, Dominican sisters have helped feed thousands of people in
Hatcliffe, where they run a clinic as well as a home for 180 AIDS orphans.
Structures built by the Dominicans were left untouched by the police "but
had to be dismantled immediately, otherwise they, too, would be destroyed,"
Sister Walsh said.

The bishops said they found it "difficult to understand how the government
could unleash such violence on the nation."

"The informal sector has, over the years, been encouraged by the
government," they said, noting that some people's structures were registered
with the city, and monthly taxes were paid.

"Their destruction does not make our country more prosperous," the bishops

They said they were surprised that the government gave insufficient warning
before its crackdown and did not offer alternative accommodation and sources
of income to the affected people.

"The timing of the operation could not be worse, leaving many people
exposed" to the winter cold of the southern African country, they said.

"The assumption that all people have somewhere to go is false," the bishops
said, calling the operation a "grave crime" against poor and helpless
Zimbabweans "who are already facing many hardships."

Zimbabwe's economic crisis can be seen in chronic shortages of food, fuel
and foreign currency as well as record inflation and unemployment. President
Robert Mugabe's government, which is widely blamed for the crisis, in turn
blames profiteers who buy foreign currency, fuel and food for resale at much
higher prices on the black market.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe said that while it
is "strongly in favor of the idea of fighting crime in the country" it is
concerned that the behavior of police involved in the operation is
excessively violent.

The vendors under attack set up their shelters and conduct their activities
"in full view of the local governing authorities," the commission said in a
statement from Harare.

"Why did they not forbid them from constructing these structures from the
start or allocate them designated trading points?" the commission asked.

Noting that in the past law-enforcement agents have met calls to respond to
crime with delays, "reluctance and even resistance in some cases," the
bishops said the current initiative "is unwarranted and in most cases

Sick and disabled people have been beaten and goods have been stolen and
destroyed in the crackdown, they said.

"When dealing with human beings, police must exercise caution so that human
rights and dignity are always respected. The current operation is degrading
the weakest members of our society," they said.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which says Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party fraudulently won general elections in March, has described the
operation as a vindictive drive against its mostly urban support base. The
government denies both charges.
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The Age, Australia

Africa needs more than a passive audience
June 11, 2005

Critics of Live 8 and the Blair agenda are rightly wary of simplistic
solutions. But helping Africa also requires a simple first step: get the
world's attention.
When the Nine Network and Foxtel secured rights this week to screen the Live
8 concerts, they didn't talk much about poverty, debt and aid, the reasons
for holding the "spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime event" on July 2. They
highlighted the roster of rock stars at glamorous venues - in London, Paris,
Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia - who have been asked by Bob Geldof to appeal
to the conscience of a global audience of 2 billion, much as Live Aid did 20
years ago. The timing, and naming, of the concerts is linked to Britain's
hosting of the G8 summit from July 6 to 8, which has the issues of poverty
and Africa at the top of its agenda. The continent is home to almost all of
the world's poorest people, those living on less than 50 cents a day. The
number of Africans living in poverty, which doubled from 1981 to 2001,
totals about 750 million. The idea of Live 8 is to give popular momentum to
an ambitious program adopted by the British Government.

This agenda, and the related Make Poverty History campaign, is big in
Britain, not as big in Europe and is struggling for attention in the US.
When Prime Minister Tony Blair went to Washington this week to seek support
for his program of aid, debt relief and trade access for Africa, President
George Bush made a pithily simple observation that summed up criticism of
the agenda. It presumed "that the countries in Africa make the right
decisions", he said. "Nobody wants to give money to a country that's
corrupt, where leaders take money and put it in their pocket." Yesterday,
though, the US and Britain agreed on debt relief to 18 countries that meet
criteria for good governance.

Advocates for Africa argue that it has improved overall standards of
governance, and they are right. The problem is that the greatest poverty and
hunger coincide with the areas of tyranny, conflict and corruption. The
world's worst humanitarian crisis is in the region of Darfur, where 180,000
people have died and 2 million have been displaced in a two-year conflict
with the Sudanese regime. In Zimbabwe, where the Mugabe regime is plumbing
new depths of insanity, the United Nations estimates up to 4 million people,
a third of the population, face starvation as the economy and agriculture
collapse. Even as the regime finally accepted the need for food aid, it
began razing homes and factories in the main cities, Harare and Bulawayo,
which are opposition strongholds. The stated aim is to force people back to
their "rural homes" - areas controlled by the ruling Zanu-PF party. The
campaign, Operation Murambatsvina, meaning "clean out the filth", carries
chilling echoes of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, which denounced "microbes"
attacking the body of the state when it depopulated opposition cities 30
years ago. Only now has the UN set up a tribunal to try some of those
responsible for up to 2 million Cambodian deaths.

There is hope of swifter progress in Darfur. A small force of about 2300
African Union troops has curbed the conflict and NATO this week offered
much-needed logistical support. Global opinion has helped persuade the UN to
initiate International Criminal Court investigations. What this illustrates
is that regardless of the simplistic aspects of Live 8 - which is probably
true of most popular campaigns - the absence of ideal conditions for its
agenda, the lack of a perfect solution, is not an excuse for doing nothing.
We have observed before that the citizens of Western democracies often fail
to realise their power to influence their governments. If, for instance, the
public had not responded so strongly to the televised tragedy of the Asian
tsunami, would aid have flowed as it did? Africans have occasionally
benefited from similar responses. In 1999, US secretary of state Madeleine
Albright went to Sierra Leone, where she met children whose limbs had been
hacked off. The reaction of American TV viewers helped generate a political
commitment to end that conflict.

Most of the time, though, Africa does not feature on our television screens.
When it does, our leaders are able to issue statements of grave concern,
then look the other way. If that happens again after Live 8, then it will
indeed have been a TV event that turned out to be a hugely indulgent waste
of time. There is a more optimistic possibility that Live 8 will play its
part in the public rejection of a mood of hopelessness that has helped seal
the fate of generations of Africans. Most of Africa's problems are the
result of human actions and can be resolved by human actions. The key
question is whether Live 8's global audiences realise their collective power
to make a difference.

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