by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 16 June 2008
HARARE - United Nations assistant secretary general for political affairs
Haile Menkerios is expected in Zimbabwe on Monday as international outrage
grew over the southern African country's deepening humanitarian crisis and a
government crackdown against the opposition.
Menkerios is expected to discuss the humanitarian situation with President
Robert Mugabe, two weeks after the veteran leader suspended all work by
relief agencies he accused of using aid distribution to campaign for
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead a run-off presidential election
later this month - a charge aid groups deny.
Officials in Harare said they expected Menkerios to also meet Tsvangirai who
they said would brief the UN envoy on the political violence that has killed
at least 66 members of his opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party and displaced more than 25 000 others and who were in desperate need
of humanitarian assistance.
"He is expected to arrive Monday and he will go back on Friday," said a
government official, who did not want to be named. "If all goes well, he
would meet with President Mugabe and probably Morgan Tsvangirai."
Zimbabwe's foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was not
immediately available for comment on the matter.
Menkerios' planned visit to Harare follows a meeting between Mugabe and the
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the sidelines of the Food and
Agricultural Organisation (FAO) summit in Rome about two weeks ago.
However, a UN official, Michelle Montas, told the press last week that
Menkerios was not coming to Harare as a special envoy but in his capacity
"as the person in charge of African issues in the Department of Political
Affairs (to discuss the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe)."
The European Union and the United States have criticised the ban on aid
groups that they say has cut off support to more than two million
Zimbabweans who received life sustaining support from aid agencies on daily
Human rights groups say worsening political violence in the southern African
country that has destroyed homes, property and livelihoods of victims made
the move to stop humanitarian operations even more devastating for the
thousands of children and women affected by hunger and displaced by
British foreign secretary David Miliband on Sunday stepped up pressure on
Mugabe likening the veteran leader's rule to "sadism" and called on South
Africa to do more to exert pressure on its northern neighbour to end
political violence and repression.
Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, has grappled with severe food
shortages since 2000 when Mugabe launched his haphazard fast-track land
reform exercise that displaced established white commercial farmers and
replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded black farmers.
An economic recession marked by the world's highest inflation rate of more
than 165 000 percent has exacerbated the food crisis, with the government
out of cash to import food, while many families that would normally be able
to buy their own food supplies are unable to do so because of an
increasingly worthless currency.
Most households - especially the poor in rural areas - now depend on
handouts from foreign governments and relief agencies to survive. -
by Jameson Mombe Monday 16 June 2008
HARARE - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party secretary
general Tendai Biti is expected to appear in the High Court today to face
treason charges as President Robert Mugabe tightens the screws on the
opposition ahead of a presidential run-off election later this month.
Biti, arrested last Wednesday as he landed at Harare International airport,
faces the death penalty if convicted of treason but the MDC at the weekend
dismissed the charges against its secretary general as false and based on a
"fake" document written by the government's spy Central Intelligence
"He has not been formally charged but the police have said they want to
charge him with treason arising out of what is obviously a fake document,
headlined "Transitional Mechanism" which was concocted by the CIO," MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa said in a statement.
The police allege that the "Transitional Mechanism" document was authored by
Biti and that it outlined a plan to seize power unconstitutionally.
Biti - who was brought to court on Saturday in leg irons and amid high
security - publicly distanced himself from the document when it first
surfaced two months ago.
The police also say that want to charge Biti with "communicating statements
prejudicial to the state" for allegedly announcing that the MDC and party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the March presidential and parliamentary
elections instead of waiting for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to
announce official results.
The ZEC later confirmed the results announced by Biti although the
commission said Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe but failed to secure the margin
required to take power warranting a second round ballot on June 27.
Meanwhile, in a rare reprimand, Botswana last week summoned Zimbabwe's
ambassador to that country to protest about Biti's arrest and the repeated
detention of Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai has been detained on no less than five occasions in slightly over
the past two weeks while on the campaign trail, in what the opposition
leader is an attempt by the government to derail his drive to end Mugabe's
decades-old rule. - ZimOnline
Zanu-PF plots with a South African outlaw group to bring more terror to the
Four members of the military junta now ruling Zimbabwe in Mugabe's name are
holding secret meetings with representatives of PAGAD, the notorious Islamic
terrorist organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa.
The first meeting was held last week in a Government safe house in Kumalo,
Bulawayo, when seven members of PAGAD met with General Constantine Chiwenga,
Police Chief Augustine Chihuri, prison boss General Paradzai Zimondi, and
Air Marshall Perence Shiri.
The meeting was designed to establish a flow of arms into Zimbabwe via PAGAD
now the Chinese source has dried up. The South Africans also advised the
Zimbabwe strong men on various terror tactics. A further meeting was
scheduled for June 20.
PAGAD stands, ironically, for People Against Gangsterism and Drugs, and was
first established in 1996 as an off-shoot of the Islamic Qibla movement.
Initially it acted as a vigilante group, but its later activities, including
the bombings of synagogues, gay night clubs, and similar targets led to it
being designated a terrorist organisation by the South African government.
Aos seen as ironic is the fact that Mugabe, far from being an Islam
sympathiser, is a loudly-proclaimed Roman Catholic.
According to a Zanu-PF source, the terrorism advice given by PAGAD to the
junta members last week included the deliberate murder on one's own
supporters, then blaming the crime on the opposition and taking suitably
repressive measures. Some observers believe this has already been tried out
with the recent murder of two Zanu-PD members in Shamva.
The South Africans are also understood to have promised to supply experts to
train inexperienced Zanu-PF militia in terrorist tactics.
The meetings come at a time when President Mugabe is saying openly that
Zanu-PF will never allow the opposition MDC to take over the country, and
hinting that the current situation could lead to civil war.
The harassment of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has continued, with his
arrest, along with 11 party members, on Saturday. He was held for three
hours, then released. No charges were brought.
MDC General Secretary Tendai Biti, arrested last week, appeared in court at
the weekend, after a judge ordered that the police produce him. Today,
Monday, a decision on whether to charge him with treason is expected to be
Meanwhile 40 African leaders have published an open letter calling for the
Zimbabwe presidential election on June 27 to be free and fair. Signatories
include former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, Archbishop Tutu of South
Africa, and Jerry Rawlings, the former leader of Ghana. Observers believe
this may be a sign that Mugabe's previously blanket African support may be
starting to slip.
Posted on Sunday, 15 June 2008
June 16, 2008
Jan Raath in Harare
President Mugabe's lawless militias crossed a psychological boundary last
week as they extended their violence and "re-education" campaign from the
poor townships into the well-off suburbs.
On Friday night a mob of about 20 youths burst through the gate of the Blue
Kerry home for the elderly, in Harare's upmarket Chisipite area, brandishing
sticks and chanting slogans for the ruling Zanu (PF) party. "They were
looking for a lawyer who stays here," an 80-year-old resident said. "When
they found he wasn't here, one of them grabbed me through the wrought-iron
gate I was watching them through but I pulled free. They tried to smash the
gate but they failed.
"So they went on and found the administrator in his flat. They sjamboked
[whipped] him and beat him across the head. He was badly hurt. He's gone
into hiding now."
The mobs have been leaping over the high walls meant to keep long-term white
residents and the black business executives and professionals who became
affluent more recently safe. They have been dragging domestic employees out
of their quarters to pungwes, meetings where they are made to chant slogans
in front of a huge bonfire and sing in praise of Mr Mugabe all night.
Having terrorised great swaths of the country's rural areas with murder,
assault, arson and starvation for having "voted wrongly" in the March 29
elections, the Joint Operations Command - the 200-odd top security officers
directing Mr Mugabe's political survival strategy - have moved into cities
and towns, where support for Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has hitherto been left alone.
"It's a nasty situation," said the 80-year-old care home resident. "We
called the police. They came but said they were not allowed to arrest them."
So far it is not clear if there is more than one gang in Harare's northern
suburbs. But the capital's overcrowded and poor townships have had at least
one Zanu (PF) group in their neighbourhoods for more than a month, wreaking
havoc. Theresa, a middle-aged housewife from Epworth, a sprawling squatter
town on Harare's southern outskirts, said: "They forced me to come to a
meeting last week. We had to sing all night.
"They made us line up and each one had to confess that we had voted for MDC.
They took our names. Many were beaten, if they confessed the truth or not.
Then after that we had to buy T-shirts with Mugabe's face and a Zanu (PF)
membership card. They hold these meetings every night. And every night there
are long, long queues to confess."
Zanu(PF)'s strategy for the run-off election on June 27 makes a mockery of
assurances to voters that the ballot will be secret. The results in each
polling station are fixed outside the building for public inspection - and
the local Zanu (PF) militia leaders have a copy of the electoral roll for
Trevor, a university student living in Mbare township, said: "In the
election in March, Zanu (PF) got very few votes. So it is easy for Zanu to
know who are their members in the area. So they know the rest of the people
on the roll voted for the MDC. They are saying if Mugabe loses again, they
are going to deal with us."
The sense of fear around the country will have been reinforced sharply by Mr
Mugabe's avowal at the weekend that "we are prepared to fight for our
country and go to war for it", rather than let the MDC win.
At the weekend the advance party of the Pan-African Parliament's observer
contingent concluded that "clearly the situation is not conducive for free
and fair elections".
June 16, 2008
Sam Coates, Chief Political Correspondent and and Jonathan Clayton
Britain and its international allies will urge South Africa to cut off
electricity supplies to Zimbabwe if Robert Mugabe steals the election in two
weeks' time, The Times has learnt.
Plans are being drawn up to persuade Zimbabwe's allies to mount an economic
blockade and diplomats are considering a ban on the children of the elite
going to school in Europe if Mr Mugabe loses the election but refuses to
Concern is growing at the scale of the violence and intimidation before the
rerun of the presidential election on June 27, with David Miliband, the
Foreign Secretary, describing yesterday as "sadism" the murder and torture
in the country.
Mr Mugabe vowed at the weekend that Zimbabwe would never be ruled by his
"puppet" opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). Mr Tsvangirai has been detained five times over
the past ten days. The MDC says that 66 of its supporters have been killed
since the first-round polls in March.
Gordon Brown, commenting yesterday on the action against Mr Tsvangirai and
the MDC, said that it was "further proof, if it is needed, that Robert
Mugabe is becoming more blatant in his attempts to steal the 27 June
Diplomatic sources recognise that the run-up has become so bloody that the
election might not be able to proceed. They still profess hope, however,
that Mr Mugabe will be unable on polling day to overturn his opponent's
adavantage of 47.9 per cent to 43.2 per cent.
Private opinion polls are being quietly held in Zimbabwe; diplomats hope
that the results can be used to show a decisive lead for Mr Tsvangirai and
employed in the propaganda war during polling weekend.
Diplomats are also optimistic that individual polling stations will display
the results of their ballots, making it more difficult for numbers to be
altered in Harare before they are announced.
Mr Miliband spoke over the weekend to Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General,
as part of efforts to increase the number of African election observers from
150 to 400.
Mr Mugabe was quoted in the state-run Sunday Mail as saying that he would be
willing to hand power to a ruling-party ally when he was sure the country
was safe from "sellouts" and from British interference, although he put no
timing on such a decision.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is also drawing up a range of options in
case the President refuses to go. It is hoping to persuade Zimbabwe's
neighbours to create an economic blockade. Vital imports have to come
through Mozambique and South Africa. "One way or another, this summer is
likely to mark the endgame for Robert Mugabe," one diplomat said.
British diplomats are talking up their chances of building a wide coalition
in case of the need for action, in the knowledge that this cannot be
presented to Zimbabwe solely as a British issue. African statesman,
including the former Presidents of Nigeria, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi,
Tanzania and Benin, along with Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General,
signed a declaration on Friday expressing concern at the violence and
calling on African leaders "at all levels" to oversee the election.
Privately, countries such as Nigeria have told diplomats that they are
concerned at Zimbabwe's effect on Africa's reputation; the US has also been
tough. Even China, which signed a trade deal with Zimbabwe, made a "helpful"
intervention at a UN debate last Thursday, diplomats said.
Some of Zimbabwe's intermittent electricity comes from South Africa, and
diplomats believe that they might be able to persuade the South African
Government to restrict or turn off the supply. Although this has been seen
as tantamount to declaring economic war, public opinion has changed because
South Africa is experiencing its own power shortages. There is also
opposition to the sale of electricity to Botswana and Mozambique as well as
British officials are also examining ways of widening sanctions against
Zimbabwe in ways that will not hurt the population further. Plans to freeze
the financial assets of the Zimbabwean elite, in ways similar to those used
on North Korea and Iran, are being considered.
The European Union may follow Australia in banning the children of the
country's leaders from being educated in member states. A military
intervention is highly unlikely unless there is a "complete breakdown of law
Officials recognise that South Africa will be critical in attempts to put
pressure on Mr Mugabe to go. That President Mbeki is still close to the
Zimbabwean leader is seen as a problem.
Jacob Zuma, the president of the ANC, has been significantly more
sympathetic, appearing publicly with Mr Tsvangirai and offering support. Mr
Zuma wields considerable influence inside South Africa because he is
regarded as the heir apparent before elections next year, and is already
operating a "shadow government".
Ways the world can act
- Travel ban on about 100 top Zanu (PF) officials and executives. Ban does
not cover world diplomatic conferences, hence Mr Mugabe's recent appearance
at the UN food summit in Rome
- Seizing of some assets
Future sanctions may include:
- Widening of travel ban to include relatives of Zanu (PF) members thought
to be involved in human rights abuses
- Children of officials prevented from attending schools overseas
- Freeze bank accounts and assets held in US or EU by regime members,
officials and relatives
- Complete trade embargo and ban on purchase of goods
- Action against Western companies maintaining a presence
- Freezing all aid
- Increased pressure on neighbouring states to suspend Zimbabwe from the
Southern African Development Community
- Pressure on China to break off Zimbabwe relationship, which has allowed it
to mitigate the impact of the current sanctions
June 16, 2008
We must cut off Zimbabwe's access to foreign currency to force a free and
In less than two weeks the fate of the people of Zimbabwe will be determined
by the result of a run-off presidential election. If Robert Mugabe is
allowed to steal that election the tragedy will be complete. The scale of
the catastrophe that Mugabe has precipitated in his country is almost
unimaginable. In just ten years, life expectancy has plummeted from 61 years
to less than 36 - the lowest in the world. The economy has disintegrated -
inflation by the official measure stood at 164,900 per cent in April,
unemployment is more than 80 per cent; the shops are empty, the health
service has collapsed, the school system no longer functions and millions of
Zimbabweans have fled.
Amid the chaos and misery for ordinary Zimbabweans there exists a grotesque
contrast. It is to be found in the ostentatious houses, newly built in the
suburbs of Harare by Mugabe's party cronies and the military top brass; in
the expensive cars that chauffeur the Zanu (PF) elite around the capital and
the luxury foods available to those with access to foreign currency. But
this grotesque contrast is most sinisterly apparent in the foreign currency
miraculously found to arm and equip the forces that brutalise Mugabe's
opponents, while public services and infrastructure crumble.
In view of the extreme circumstances facing Zimbabwe, I urged Gordon Brown
two weeks ago to warn Mugabe that unless his Government met the basic
minimum standards for a free and fair election on June 27 we would work with
our allies in the region and the wider world to do the thing that his regime
fears: cut off access to the foreign currency that keeps them in power. This
step could be taken straight away by Britain using the powers of the
Exchange Control Act 1947.
Since everything hinges on what happens in the coming days, a sharp and
aggressive strategy with immediate consequences is justified and this is the
only tool with sufficient force to secure the guarantees that we need now to
ensure there is a fair election. We propose that its application should be
reviewed weekly and be lifted immediately should the regime meet basic
requirements for fair elections.
Blocking Zimbabwe's access to foreign currency would be a serious step and I
do not propose it lightly. I know that many ordinary Zimbabweans rely on
remittances from friends and relatives abroad. But access to foreign
currency is what sustains Mugabe's brutal rule; blocking it is the only step
that will have an impact on his regime because it would threaten its ability
Since I raised this matter with the Prime Minister, the political situation
in Zimbabwe has deteriorated even farther. Aid agencies have been banned
from distributing desperately needed food, Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition
leader, has been detained five times and prohibited from holding rallies;
more than 60 opposition supporters have been killed, and thousands have been
beaten, intimidated and driven from their homes. Mugabe at the weekend said
that he was willing "to go to war" if he lost. The Joint Operations Command,
made up of the heads of the military and state security organisations, is
already directing a violent campaign to "decompose" the Movement for
Mr Brown said that he was willing to consider any measure that might secure
a free and fair election, but I fear that in the end we will settle for
nothing more than the usual hand-wringing and ritual condemnation.
The British Government has faced a difficult dilemma in tackling the
Zimbabwe crisis. The Foreign Office has been understandably fearful that
robust action against Mugabe's regime would play into his hands by
discomforting our allies in southern Africa and by allowing him to
characterise the MDC Opposition as stooges of Zimbabwe's "colonial
The Government's reticence may have been understandable while hope remained
that Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa, would act decisively, but
that hope faded long ago. In any event, anyone who has recently read the
pages of the Zimbabwe Herald recently, or heard the broadcasts of the state
radio or television channels, will know that the virulence of Mugabe's
anti-British/anti-MDC rhetoric is already so extreme that he could not
increase the level of vitriol even if he wished to.
Critics of the measures I have proposed argue that blocking foreign currency
from entering the country would precipitate greater suffering. I do not
underestimate the severe consequences.
The alternative, however, is to do nothing. That may spare us our moral
qualms but it would not spare us the responsibility for the far greater
disaster that will engulf Zimbabwe if Robert Mugabe is allowed to steal the
election. The consequences for Zimbabwe's people of that outcome would be
catastrophic beyond any imagining.
Nick Clegg is leader of the Liberal Democrats
By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor
Last Updated: 11:13PM BST 15/06/2008
Gordon Brown has launched his strongest attack yet on Robert Mugabe,
denouncing his "criminal regime".
The Prime Minister condemned the latest arrest of Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition leader, and said that "over 2,000 people" had been beaten or
tortured during the election campaign.
"These are the acts of an increasingly desperate and criminal regime and are
further proof that Robert Mugabe is becoming more blatant in his attempts to
steal the election," the Prime Minister said. He is likely to raise the
subject in his talks today with President George W Bush.
Britain will also condemn Mr Mugabe before the Security Council. An official
stressed Mr Brown's strength of feeling about Zimbabwe, saying he had
discussed it in all his meetings with foreign leaders in the past week.
Mr Brown accused Mr Mugabe of "using food as a political weapon" and said
that "four million people now face hunger and starvation".
He added: "I say to those orchestrating the violence: the world is
16 June 2008
By Fortune Tazvida
It is most likely Zimbabwe is now being governed by an 84 year old who is
mentally deranged and surrounded by hangers on who are just cheerleading him
on to new levels of madness.
Comments by Mugabe that there will be war if he loses the presidential
run-off election and that he would rather cede power to a fellow Zanu PF
member should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.
Firstly all the murderers and pill-poppers in Zanu PF need to be reminded
that only the people of Zimbabwe have the right to determine who leads them
not 'shoe shopping' Grace Mugabe, 8 percent Simba Makoni, handkerchief
Kenneth Kaunda or pipe smoking Thabo Mbeki.
We have had enough of this nonsense were some people think they are the
eternal custodians of all that is Zimbabwean.
Yes we know its hard to swallow, but the long and short of it all is that
despite your monopoly of the state media, killing of opposition officials,
use of state resources and food for votes schemes, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai
and the MDC beat Zanu PF and Robert Gabriel Mugabe during the March 29
That will never change. Millions of Zimbabweans want change and Mugabe
behaves like he owns the country.
We have always never understood the use of violence by Zanu PF and Mugabe.
The reason is that no-one person can monopolise violence. Violence begets
violence. Does Mugabe assume when he threatens war, he is the only who can
Zimbabweans all over the world need to stimulate a collective response to
this madness in our country and stop this one person who acts like he own us
and determines our fate. Its a matter of who fires the first shots.
by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 16 June 2008
OPINION: At 84 and with 28 years in power, President Robert Mugabe genuinely
believes that Zimbabwe's sovereignity is still under the threat of
imperialism and it would, therefore, make no sense for him to relinquish
state power prior to the annihilation of the alleged vestiges of imperialist
forces that are allegedly manifesting themselves in the form of resistance
to the land reform and indidenisation programmes.
The outcome of the March 29 election has been described by Mugabe as a
triumph of imperialism against nationalism.
Mugabe, who still has to recognise his competitor, Morgan Tsvangirai, as an
independent thinking Zimbabwean, is convinced that Zimbabweans made a
mistake by voting for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the
runoff elections offers another chance for the mistake to be corrected.
Mugabe believes as many of his colleagues that the change agenda is being
driven from without and the driving force for this kind of agenda is the
desire by the former imperial power, the United Kingdom, to entrench the
status quo ante in so far as the control of Zimbabwean resources is
Whether the threat of imperialism to the sovereignty of Zimbabwe is real or
imagined is not the issue but what seems to ignite emotions is that there
appears to be no guarantee that the post-Mugabe era will not lead to the
reversal of the recent changes in land ownership pursuant to the operation
of the controversial land reform programme.
The interest Zimbabwe continues to enjoy at the global level is then used as
evidence that there is more at stake than the interests of the long
suffering majority Zimbabweans. It is argued by supporters of Mugabe that he
is their most potent weapon against imperialism and Zimbabweans are more
vulnerable without his personal protection and stewardship.
An argument has been advanced that targeted sanctions have been put in place
to undermine the regime for the political expediency of imperialist forces.
The real beneficiaries of the sanctions regime, in the eyes of Mugabe, are
the imperialists and their kith and kin that stand to benefit from the
change of government.
The threat of imperialism has provided Mugabe with a convenient excuse for
clinging on to power in so far as he can argue that his regime has been
prevented from delivering on its promise by external forces that were lying
low as long as his leadership played along with the neo-colonialist agenda
of entrenching the pre-colonial class and racial relations.
If the argument that Mugabe was a good leader until he started attacking the
property rights of the white Zimbabweans is accepted, then the imperialist
conspiracy theory gains traction. Zimbabwe is then seen as a target for
Mugabe, who is a disciple of Karl Marx believes like his mentor that
colonialism was an aspect of the prehistory of the capitalist mode of
production. It was Lenin who identified imperialism as the highest stage of
capitalism and it cannot be denied that monopoly finance capital was
dominant in Lenin's time as it is now forcing nations and private
corporations to compete to control Africa's rich natural resources and
Even critics of Mugabe have to accept that no significant changes have taken
place in post-colonial Zimbabwe through the invisible hand of the market and
to a large extent the inherited class relations that were predominantly race
based are still intact. The people who had most to lose in post colonial
Zimbabwe did not do anything to protect their interests, choosing to leave
the burden on people whose views and attitudes were inherently
The colonial government was structured is such a way to benefit a target
group and, therefore, an argument has been advanced that the post-colonial
state should focus on the majority who were, in any event, excluded by the
colonial state. However, evidence suggests that the primary victims of the
post-colonial order are the very people the system was supposed to
Imperialism is mostly understood in relation to empire building as the
forceful extension of a nation's authority by territorial conquest so as to
establish economic and political domination of other nations. It also
describes the imperialistic attitude of superiority, subordination and
dominion over foreign people and is often autocratic and monolithic in
character. The term is also equally applied to domains of knowledge,
beliefs, values and expertise.
When it is argued that Zimbabwe is a failed state, the counter arguments
that are then used typically are framed in anti-imperialist language. It is
often argued that imperialists do not have any regard for the values,
beliefs and traditions of their victims.
When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown takes the role of spokesman for the
change agenda in Zimbabwe, the implied hypocrisy is easily exposed and used
as a basis for mobilising support for the entrenchment of the status quo.
Mugabe believes that no imperialist is qualified to talk about rule of law
and property rights when history informs that natives were never protected
by the law.
Proponents of the change agenda argue that it is irrelevant to imply that
imperialism is at the root cause of the Zimbabwean crisis. Mugabe's ZANU PF
party has been in control of the state for a sufficiently long time to
address the alleged ills of colonialism and it is then argued that it would
be opportunistic for an incumbent to seek to remain in power using old and
While Mugabe mourns about the vices of imperialism it is instructive that he
also believes that sanctions have had an adverse impact on the economy. Why
would he want his country to benefit from an evil system like imperialism?
Should he not have developed an alternative ideology that works for the kind
of Zimbabwe he wanted to see when he was fighting for liberation?
The role of imperialism in undermining the sovereignty of developing nations
will continue to be a subject for debate. To what extent was the colonial
state subsidised by the imperial state? It has been argued that Rhodesia
survived not because the settlers were waiting for handouts from the
colonial master but because the settlers themselves believed in the idea of
creating a new civilisation that they funded from their own initiatives but
underpinned by a repressive colonial state.
In terms of institution building, it has been accepted that the settlers
were clear that they wished to be self-governing and in some instances there
were clashes with the imperial state. The settler farmers formed their own
system of government owned by its members. They believed that the colonial
state was their creation and, therefore, they did not see any role for the
natives who were regarded as inferior.
The colonial agricultural system was underpinned by a collective approach to
business. Building societies and friendly societies were established to
support the colonial state. There was a realisation among the settlers that
they were on their own and had to fend for themselves.
In 1927, Old Mutual opened its first office in Harare. However, we still
have to form our own "New Mutuals". The role of the state actors in
empowering citizens to take ownership of their future cannot be understated.
Why is it that the last 28 years of self-governing have not been translated
into institution building where citizens, informed by the experiences of the
colonial state, take ownership of their own destinies?
It should not be sufficient to critique imperialism without offering
alternatives. Regrettably it has become a habit in developing countries to
point a finger at others without offering viable and sustainable
alternatives. If Mugabe were to be re-elected, what new ideas can be
expected from him?
The world is informed by interests and will continue to be so whether Mugabe
is in power or not. What is important is that a leadership be put in power
that believes in service and not in blaming others for things they can do
Imperialism should not be a threat to organised people. After 28 years in
power someone must accept responsibility for failing to provide the kind of
leadership required by a rainbow nation like Zimbabwe. It should not be
acceptable to argue that after 1980 and its promise, race should be used as
an election strategy by an incumbent who has failed to lead. - ZimOnline
by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 16 June 2008
HARARE - The Botswana government said on Sunday that it had formally
protested against the repeated detention of Zimbabwean opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and arrest of his secretary general Tendai Biti.
In the clearest sign yet that regional governments were growing impatient
over President Robert Mugabe's controversial rule, Gaborone said it summoned
Zimbabwean ambassador Thomas Mandigora last Thursday to express displeasure
at the arrests that it said violated a regional treaty on the holding of
free and fair elections.
Zimbabwe police have detained Tsvangirai on no less than five occasions over
the past two weeks, in what the opposition leader has said was an attempt by
the government to derail his drive to end Mugabe's decades-long rule.
Police have also charged Biti with treason but his Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party says the charges are trumped up. Biti, who appears in
court on Monday, faces the death penalty if convicted.
"Botswana is alarmed by these arrests and detentions as they disrupt
electoral activities of key players and intimidate the electorate thus
undermining the process of holding a free, fair and democratic election,"
Botswana foreign affairs minister Phandu Sekelemani, said in a statement
issued by presidential spokesman Jeff Ramsay on Sunday.?
Gaborone said the "politically motivated arrests" posed a serious threat to
the holding of a free and fair run-off presidential election in Zimbabwe
later this month, adding that the arrests were unacceptable and violated the
principles and objectives of the Southern African Development Community
Tsvangirai starts as favourite to win the run-off poll that is being held
because the MDC leader defeated Mugabe in a March 29 poll but fell short of
the margin required to takeover the presidency.
But political violence has marked campaigning for the run-off poll, amid
charges by the MDC that Mugabe has unleashed state security forces and
ruling ZANU PF party militias to wage violence against the opposition party's
supporters and structures in an attempt to regain the upper hand in the
The opposition party says that at least 66 of its members have been killed
in political violence over the past two months while several thousands more
had been displaced from their homes.
The government denies committing violence and instead accuses the MDC of
carrying out violence in a bid to tarnish Mugabe's name.
The action by the Gaborone authorities is the first public sign of
disapproval from government in a region that has come under attack in some
quarters for its policy of quite diplomacy towards Mugabe.
Last month, Zambian government also expressed concern to Harare officials
over the continued attack of President Levy Mwanawasa by Zimbabwean
state-owned media that has accused the Zambian leader of aiding Western
attempts to topple Mugabe's government. - ZimOnline
See the poster for this event
Day of Prayer 21st June Salisbury Cathedral Close 10-4pm
June 16, 2008
Simon Mann, the Old Etonian mercenary accused of plotting a coup against the
president of Equatorial Guinea in 2004, will stand trial in the tiny
oil-rich West African nation tomorrow amid signals that the legal process
has been rigged against him.
Mann's Equatoguinean defence lawyer Ponciano Mbomio Nvo was unceremoniously
stripped of his right to practice in the country last week - coinciding with
a sudden announcement that the trial was about to begin.
Mr Mbomio Nvó has been replaced by José Pablo Nvó, a lawyer who has been
described as being a supporter of President Obiang's ruling political party.
Mr Mbomio Nvó told The Times last week that it was impossible for Mann's
trial to begin any time soon because the correct legal procedures, based on
the Spanish judicial system, have not been observed.
He said that the preparation of the case was still at the police stage and
that the defence had not even been informed of the specific charges that
Since Mann was extradited from Zimbabwe in January, where he served a
three-year prison sentence for immigration irregularities, Mr Mbomio Nvó has
been building a case based around the former mercenary's illegal
No extradition treaty existed at the time that Mann was flown out of
Zimbabwe to the notorious Black Neach prison in Malabo, the capital of
Equatorial Guinea. His defence lawyers launched an immediate appeal against
the decision to extradite him, but Mann went missing for three days during
the legal wrangle and only resurfaced once he was in Equatoguinean custody.
By the middle of last week Mr Mbomio Nvó had still heard nothing from the
state prosecutor's office nor seen any of the evidence against his client.
Under the Spanish system of examining magistrates, both the prosecution and
defence are given several weeks to examine the files before a trial begins.
In April Mr Mbomio Nvó was accused of defamation by Equatoguinean attorney
general José Oló Obono - a man whom Mr Mbomio Nvó has defended in the past
and whose release he secured from Black Beach prison.
At the time Mr Mbomio Nvó said he was not alarmed nor surprised by the
development and continued to practice as the country's only independent
However, the coincidence of the announcement of the start date for Mann's
trial and Mr Mbomio Nvó's suspension for a year by the country's College of
Lawyers will raise suspicions that the Old Etonian and former friend of Mark
Thatcher will not be fair.
Amnesty International claimed that the 2004 trial of Mann's co-accused
conspirators, including Nick du Toit, was similarly flawed.
Mann, a former officer in the SAS, was arrested in 2004 with 70 other men
when his plane landed in Zimbabwe to collect a shipment of arms purchased
from the country's state arms manufacturer.
Another group, which included du Toit, was arrested in Equatorial Guinea
itself. Together they were accused of hatching a plot to overthrow the
country's president, who seized power in a coup in 1979.
Although Mann "confessed" in a television interview that he was the
"manager" of the plot, he denied he was the "main man". He implicated Mr
Thatcher, son of the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, as part of the
conspiracy. The Equatoguineans have issued an international arrest warrant
for Mr Thatcher through Interpol.