The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe government and opposition hold talks

International Herald Tribune

By Michael Wines Published: June 18, 2007

JOHANNESBURG: Members of the Zimbabwean government and the nation's
political opposition have met in Pretoria for their first face-to-face talks
since South Africa was asked in March to mediate between the two sides.

Both sides have agreed not to reveal details of the talks, which are aimed
at establishing rules for the presidential election in Zimbabwe, scheduled
for March. But one person knowledgeable about the negotiations, which were
held this weekend, said that the meeting was a preliminary session, held to
set the agenda for further talks.

That person, who refused to be named because of the sensitivity of the
talks, said that there was some evidence of progress at the meeting.

Efforts to make peace between the government and the opposition have been
virtually stalled since President Robert Mugabe committed to the talks under
pressure from southern Africa political leaders at a regional meeting in

Leaders of the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, had gone to
Pretoria to begin the talks several weeks ago, but government negotiators
did not show up. Last week, the Zimbabwean police confiscated the passport
of one of the opposition leaders, Arthur Mutambara, who heads a breakaway
faction of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Critics of Mugabe's 27-year rule have been under steady assault by the
police and government vigilantes since January, and hundreds of civic
leaders, human rights advocates and members of the Movement for Democratic
Change have been beaten, abducted or arrested in recent months.
In recent days, however, Mugabe has seemed to soften his stance. Last week,
the government-run daily newspaper The Herald reported that Mugabe had
distributed tractors and plows to a clutch of political leaders, including
opposition politicians, stating that "there must be occasions when we must
be together."

"After all, we eat together," he added.

The gesture was unusual for Mugabe, who calls his political opponents tools
of Britain and the United States and has openly threatened them with

Opposition leaders dismissed the remarks as political theater. But
Zimbabwe's rulers have come under growing pressure to change their governing
style following a disastrous April harvest, which foretells widespread
hunger in a few months, and uncontrolled inflation.

Newspapers in Zimbabwe, citing leaked government documents, reported this
week that the annual inflation rate leaped to 4,530 percent in May, up from
3,713 percent in April. Many economists say that those figures do not
reflect the true inflation rate, which they say is far higher.

The government also appears to be in growing peril from internal dissent.
The Herald reported this week that six men, including officials of the
military and the police, had been charged with treason in connection with an
alleged plot to oust Mugabe and replace him with the government's housing
minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa, who has denied any connection with the supposed plot, once hoped
to succeed Mugabe, who is 83, but has fallen out of favor among Mugabe's
backers. It is impossible to tell whether the reported coup plot was genuine
or was made public for other reasons.

But beyond that, the Movement for Democratic Change is split into two
bitterly opposed factions, at war over ideology, power and prestige. Each
has called the other a tool of Mugabe's spy service, the Central
Intelligence Organization, and each has accused the other of betraying the
party's democratic ideals.

Now, with a crucial national election looming, the question is whether the
two factions can reform their tactics and patch up their differences long
enough to mount a serious challenge to Mugabe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Call for Mugabe to shelve 'ill-thought' bugging Bill

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

18 June 2007 05:16

      Zimbabwe's main labour body on Monday urged President Robert
Mugabe not to sign into law a controversial Bill to bug telephones and
monitor emails.

      Last week Zimbabwe's upper and lower houses of Parliament, both
heavily dominated by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, passed the Interception
of Communications Bill to the anger of local rights groups.

      The Bill allows authorities to spy on letters, phones and

      The state-controlled Herald newspaper, which closely reflects
government thinking, on Monday said the law had been crafted to "net rogue
elements [who] were deliberately communicating lies".

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other
critics fear it will be used to clamp down on Mugabe's opponents and
independent journalists ahead of next year's crucial presidential and
parliamentary polls.

      Wellington Chibebe, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said the Bill reflected growing paranoia
within Mugabe's government.

       "The government has taken it upon itself to stifle whatever
little freedom the Zimbabwean citizens have," he said in a statement.

      "If President Mugabe has any decency left in him he will not put
his signature to this ill-thought and ill-timed Bill."

      The 83-year-old president has to personally sign all Bills
before they become law here. In 2005 he did not sign into law a Bill that
would have outlawed many rights groups. He never publicly explained why.

      There is growing restlessness within once-prosperous Zimbabwe,
where an unprecedented economic crisis has pushed millions of Zimbabweans
into poverty.

      Chibebe said that the fact that the Interception of
Communications Bill forced internet service providers to buy the software
needed to spy on customers' communications meant that some small internet
service providers would be knocked out of business. -- Sapa-dpa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe broke land deal

New Zimbabwe

WHITE commercial farmers were driven out of their farms in a violent land grab
Last updated: 06/18/2007 20:38:43

IN RECENT weeks there have been comments in the media and remarks made about the UK's government's role with regard to land reform in Zimbabwe, something which the country's leader, Robert Mugabe has consistently argued is at the heart of his country's internal crisis and the cause of his external dispute between Zimbabwe and the UK.

It has been said that there is an artificial amnesia about the issue and that there were broken promises made by colonial powers. I would contend that as it is nearly 28 years since that historical agreement was signed at Lancaster House, many have perhaps forgotten what was agreed there and the fact that the British government has since then remained committed to supporting effective and well-managed land reform in Zimbabwe.

In 1979, the Lancaster House Agreement ended the illegal Rhodesian regime. The Zimbabwe-Rhodesia regime, the Patriotic Front, led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, both liberation leaders to whom proper credit is due, and the British government were all represented at the talks and signed the final agreement. Land reform was discussed and the UK's position was set out by the conference chairman, Lord Carrington, a distinguished former Foreign Secretary of the UK.

The independence constitution, agreed at Lancaster House, entrenched protection for property rights for the first 10 years of independence. The Zimbabwean government's acquisition of land was limited to the willing buyer-willing seller principle. Thereafter, the Zimbabwean parliament would be able to alter the constitution in accordance with its own legislation.

No provision was made in the Lancaster House Agreement for a specific fund to support land reform. But a Zimbabwe Donors Conference in March 1981 raised £17-million (about R240-million) for development in Zimbabwe, including land reform. Between 1980 and 1985, the UK provided £47-million for land reform: £20-million as a specific Land Resettlement Grant and £27-million in the form of budgetary support to help the Zimbabwean government's own contribution to the programme.

By 1988, the Land Settlement Grant had been largely spent. The then UK Overseas Development Agency fully endorsed the resettlement, which had taken place and suggested measures for further improving the UK-funded programme. The Zimbabwean government did not respond to these proposals and the grant was closed in 1996 with £3-million unspent.

In 1998, the Zimbabwean government hosted a land conference in Harare, involving international donors and multilateral institutions. Both the UK and Zimbabwean governments endorsed the fundamental principles agreed at the conference: transparency, respect for the rule of law, poverty reduction, affordability and consistency with Zimbabwe's wider economic interests. Sadly, the two-year inception phase agreed at the conference was interrupted by farm occupations and violence in the run-up to the 2000 Parliamentary elections.

In late 2000, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) administrator proposed to the Zimbabwe government a slowing down of the programme to fit Zimbabwe's implementation capacity; the promotion of internal dialogue; and the possible resumption of UNDP technical assistance.

In 2001, a group of Commonwealth foreign ministers (including the UK and Zimbabwe) met in Abuja, Nigeria. They agreed that land reform had to be implemented in a fair, just and sustainable manner, in the interest of all the people of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government agreed to prevent further occupation of farm lands, to restore the rule of law, to take firm action against violence intimidation and honour freedom of expression. At that meeting the UK re-affirmed its commitment to a significant financial contribution to such a land reform programme and gave an undertaking to encourage other international donors to do the same.

But in 2001, the Zimbabwean government amended the Land Acquisition Act to allow it to allocate land without giving the owners the right to contest the seizures. This was in direct contravention of the Abuja Agreement.

The UK remains a strong advocate of land reform and has since 1980 provided £44-million for land reform and £500-million in bilateral support for development in Zimbabwe, more than any other donor.

The UK has honoured its commitments, from Lancaster House onwards, and remains willing to contribute to an equitable land reform programme.

The fact of the matter is that the Zimbabwean government has not adhered to the principles of land reform, to which it has repeatedly agreed from 1980 onwards and its own laws have been arbitrarily overridden. The result has been that the process of redistribution was characterised by the tragic scenes we have seen played out on our television screens and the collapse of the agricultural economy.

Contemporary Britain is not blind to the injustices of the past and wishes to be part of a process that heals and binds people together, promoting the broad ownership and redistribution of land in a way which meets the needs of the poor and creates an efficient agricultural economy. Land reform in Zimbabwe is therefore central to a wider programme of reform, recovery and renewal of the institutions of that country. The decisions surrounding that and the form and nature of its government are not matters which can be decided in Britain. The principle of African solutions for African problems applies in Zimbabwe as it does elsewhere on the continent.

The SADC and the AU now own and have established the principles of good governance in this continent and it is enough that they are adhered to. The good news is that this is now happening all over Africa. Why should it not happen in Zimbabwe too? President Thabo Mbeki, as he carries out his SADC mandate, can count on Britain to work with its partners and all people of goodwill within every section of Zimbabwean society regardless of race, creed or party political affiliation to bring about the speedy recovery of that beautiful country in a way that honours the spirit and letter of the Lancaster House Agreement and respects the vision and foresight of its signatories.

Boateng is the British ambassador to South Africa. This article was originally published in the Star newspaper

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US envoy says Mugabe to fall in next few months

Zim Online

Tuesday 19 June 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - Outgoing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell on
Monday said President Robert Mugabe's embattled government would collapse in
the coming few months, its demise hastened by an economy in free-fall.

Dell, an outspoken critic of Mugabe's administration, said no government
throughout history had ever survived an economic crisis of the magnitude
Zimbabwe was facing, with inflation nearing seven figure digits and the
formal economy barely functioning.

He said: "The first phase of Zimbabwe's liberation from (Mugabe's
controversial rule) is coming to an end as the economy is collapsing around
us and the second phase to define the future of Zimbabwe past a few old men
is coming in the next few months.

"The acceleration of economic collapse signifies an end game for President
Mugabe and the country."

Inflation, which is the highest in the world, is the most visible sign of
Zimbabwe's deep recession that has left more than 80 percent of the labour
force without jobs and spawned severe shortages of food, fuel, hard cash and
just about every basic survival commodity.

The government's Central Statistical Office (CSO) that normally announces
new inflation figures by the tenth of every month has this time round
remained mum on new inflation data.

But figures made available to ZimOnline last week by senior CSO personnel
showed inflation had accelerated to 4 530 percent in May from 3 713.9
percent in April on an annual basis.

According to Dell, even these extraordinarily high figures supplied by the
CSO were a gross understatement of the levels of inflation in Zimbabwe.

The US diplomat said independent analysis showed inflation was at 3 000
percent in February and that it doubled to 6 000 in March, 12 000 in April
and was currently pegged at 20 000 percent.

"By year end the inflation rate will be at 1. 5 million percent," said Dell,
who did not say where the independent analysts who supplied his figures or
how they calculated the rate of inflation.

Dell, who blames Zimbabwe's crisis on misrule by Mugabe, admitted that the
veteran leader played a key historical role in the anti-colonial struggle.
However, he said Mugabe had overstayed in power and his policies in recent
years were eroding what would otherwise have been an entirely proud legacy.

"Mugabe did not see his expiry date . . . he is a man who played a largely
historical role from independence through the first quarter of a century,
its a legacy someone should have been proud of but he overstayed and is now
presiding over a discredited regime," Dell said.

Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba was not immediately available to respond
to the criticism by Dell, who leaves Zimbabwe at the end of the month for a
new posting in Afghanistan.

Mugabe - now 83 and seeking another five-year term in 2008, which will take
his reign in the southern African country to more than three decades - has
in the past denied ruining Zimbabwe's economy and has instead claimed he is
being sabotaged by the West over his seizure of white-owned land for
redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim ranked among 10 states at great risk of violent conflict

Zim Online

Tuesday 19 June 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe was ranked among 10 states in the world at most risk of
violent internal conflict and upheaval in a survey by the United States (US)
Foreign Policy magazine and the US Fund for Peace.

The survey whose results were released last week placed Zimbabwe - facing
economic collapse, hyperinflation and acute food shortages - fourth on the
list of states at risk of failure, only behind the strife-torn Arab
republics of Iraq, Sudan and Somalia.

Analysts for the Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, which is a
non-profit organization dedicated to conflict resolution, assessed 177
countries across the world and rated them based on 12 social, economic,
political and military indicators.

The indicators cover a wide range of elements associated with state failure
such as extensive corruption and criminal behavior, large-scale involuntary
dislocation of the population, sharp economic decline, group-based
inequality, institutionalised persecution or discrimination, brain drain and
environmental decay.

Zimbabwe has not experienced civil war but the country has faced political
violence and gross human rights abuses since 1999 when the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party emerged as the first real threat to
President Robert Mugabe's decades long hold on power.

The southern African country has also witnessed an unprecedented economic
meltdown after Mugabe's farm seizures destabilised the mainstay agricultural
sector. The economy, once of the most vibrant in Africa, has contracted by a
third since 2000 when the government began confiscating white commercial
farms to give to landless blacks.

The survey ranked Sudan as the most vulnerable state due to the raging
crisis in its Darfur region. Iraq is second, while the four African states
of Chad, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea also made it
into the top 10 of failed states.

A key feature noted in the failed states annual report was that three of the
worst performing states, Chad, Sudan and Zimbabwe had leaders who have been
in power for more than 15 years.

Mugabe, 83, has ruled Zimbabwe since its 1980 independence from Britain and
is seeking another five-year term in 2008, which will take his reign to more
than three decades.

The report warns that failed states are not just a danger to themselves but
to other countries noting how turmoil in Sudan, an oil producing country, as
having effect on other countries in the world.

"You just cannot turn your eyes away from mass atrocities, which often
accompany failing states," said Fund for Peace president Pauline Baker.

There have been fears that Zimbabwe's crisis, already blighting the image of
the southern African region as an investment destination, could destabilise
the entire region were the country, tucked at the heart of the Southern
African Development Community, totally collapsed into violence and
anarchy. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC official set free

Zim Online

Tuesday 19 June 2007

By Wayne Mafaro

HARARE - Police on Monday finally released an opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) official who was arrested last Friday two days after
a High Court judge ordered his immediate release.

Nicholas Nqabutho Dube, an MDC information officer based in Johannesburg,
was arrested on Friday after the police found him in possession of a
passport belonging to MDC leader Arthur Mutambara.

Dube had been sent by Mutambara to facilitate the issuance of a visa in the
passport at the British high commission in Harare.

Dube's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, confirmed that his client had been set free
adding that the Attorney General's office had refused to prosecute his
client. Nkomo also said Mutambara's passport had also been released.

"He has been released without charge. The police had sought to charge Dube
under section 36 (f) of the Immigration Act which punishes the unlawful
possession of someone else's travel document.

"The AG's office refused to charge him saying Dube was not in unlawful
possession of Mutambara's passport as he was authorized to carry it," said

The police last Saturday defied a High Court ruling by Justice Felistas
Chitakunye ordering them to release Dube as well as Mutambara's passport.
Mutambara was on Monday still stranded in South Africa.

Mutambara, together with Morgan Tsvangirai were due to visit the UK under
the banner of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign to mobilise support for the
resolution of Zimbabwe's seven-year old political stalemate. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Of Rumours and Coups - putting the Harare coup attempt into perspective

Africa News, Netherlands

19 June 2007 - The Zimbabwe Crisis Platform. Again, perhaps more so than
ever before, the air in Harare is heavy with rumours of coup d'états and
Mugabe's soon-to-be downfall. Several months ago a story emerged about a
stand-off in Mugabe's office where ex-army officiado and Zanu-PF bigwig
Solomon Mujuru had barged in to plea for Mugabe's retirement. A verbal
scuffle ensued which saw Mujuru so enraged that he pulled out his handgun
and pointed it at the old president's head. Both security details present
then pulled their guns on one and other and an uneasy tension must have
followed. The affair is said to have ended in Mujuru walking away with his

Now, only last week, a new story surfaced about a foiled attempt to
overthrow Mugabe's presidency by means of violence. Allegedly two military
aircraft - reportedly the last two still capable of flight - were loaded
with heavy bombs. In order to have sufficient fuel for their intended
mission - even for the armed forces a scarcity these days - they had to fly
to a military airstrip to refuel. Once there and refuelling soldiers who had
not been made part of the plan noticed the unexpected aerial activity and
investigated. They then arrested the pilots. Their plan had been to bomb
Mugabe's opulent Asian villa and the official presidential palace.

The story continues that one of the military men involved in the plot fled
to the Zimbabwe embassy in France - plots in Africa always involve France in
one way or the other - where he volunteered his information out of fear for
more violence and bloodshed following a coup. The embassy then passed on the
information to Harare where the planes were then apprehended and several mid
ranking army personnel have now been arrested. It is said that the kingpin
is still on the run and might have fled the country.

What can we make of these stories? Are they to be believed or dismissed
outright? In the volatile and fluid situation which is the crisis of
Zimbabwe it is never too easy to verify whether a story is true or not.
There are often no ways to double check. Specifically now that freedom of
speech has been successfully battered into the ground and media hardly
exists any more, save a few web-based papers abroad. If the stories aren't
true, it at the very least means that people are getting so fed up with
their situation in Zimbabwe that their fantasies are running wild.

But now what if these stories are accurate? What does this mean? And what
would it mean if at some point one of these violence-prone scenarios does
really happen? If the air-raid-on-Mugabe story is true it would mean that
local housing minister Emerson Mnangagwa - former trustee and right-hand man
of Mugabe - has been carefully planning a coup d'état for a year or so with
mid-ranking army officers. The snitch officer in Paris is said to have
confessed that once Mugabe was overthrown they would put Emerson Mnangagwa
in place. And this while Mnangagwa has of late been trying his outmost best
to get close to Mugabe again after his failed attempt to mobilise Zanu - PF
support for his candidature for vice-president instead of Joyce Mujuru who
was Mugabe's then favourite (since then she has fallen out of grace due to
her family's open defiance of Mugabe).

But perhaps there is another possibility. Perhaps the Zimbabwe presidency
orchestrated the coup attempt in order to create another opportunity to
clamp down on internal dissent. After all, Mugabe is more unpopular than
ever before and internal Zanu-PF disagreement with him is growing. He could
now set an example of several military men in order to keep the security
forces - for which money is running out - in line. In the same token he
could take out one of the main contenders for power; Mnangagwa. Or is it
Solomon Mujuru that he wants to take out?

One could also argue that it would make good sense for Mujuru to have
Mnangagwa implicated in a coup attempt against Mugabe in order to eliminate
him politically as a contestant for highest office. After all, Mujuru can't
stand Mnangagwa it is said and would rather fight him than have him become
the next president. And Mnangagwa had just offered Mugabe his hand in
friendship and support, with Mugabe offering him the presidency in 2008.

Yes, Mugabe's plan that should pre-empt a successful SADC mediated
settelement is to stand in the 2008 elections as Zanu-PF's only candidate
and then in the same year announce his retirement in order to give power to
Mnangagwa who will be 'confirmed' in power by a majority -and recently
enlarged - Zanu-PF parliament. If he retires at all, of course.

Whether true or not, whether fact or fabrication it is important to keep
these possible scenarios in mind; the demise of African states and their
slide into anarchy, violence and bloodshed have too often surprised

[Several key analysts and internationally acclaimed experts from Zimbabwe
and South Africa will provide key insights and analysis of the situation in
the country. These analysts can not be mentioned by name as they live and
work in Zimbabwe; with the current levels of repression in Zimbabwe by state
agencies it is no longer possible to freely express opinions of the nature
that will be presented here. Their names are known to the Africa Interactive
editorial team.]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe is the problem in Zimbabwe - a Pan-Africanist Perspective

Africa News, Netherlands

18 June 2007, by Cyprian-Orina Nyamwamu in Nairobi. John Kamau's article
(Business Daily 29th May 2007) on Zimbabwe calling on the world to give
Mugabe a break was the most articulate article regarding Zimbabwe to have
filtered to the Kenyan press this year. Sadly the Article was peppered with
propaganda aimed at achieving sympathy for Mugabe's despotic rule in

Destroying Zimbabwean society

As we speak, Mugabe has succeeded in destroying Zimbabwean society all in
the name of fighting imperialism. The problem in Zimbabwe did not begin with
the land acquisition programme that Mugabe ordered after losing a referendum
on a new constitution in 2000. The problem is Mugabe's understanding that he
is Zimbabwe and even if all Zimbabweans were to die, so long as he remains
the President, so be it. You have in Zimbabwe a despot who has appropriated
his gallant role in the struggle for Zimbabwe's independence and majority
rule as a basis for killing ethnic Ndebele's and suppressing opposition in
the name of ZAPU and now MDC. This despot has created a humanitarian and
economic crisis that has driven nearly 3 million Zimbabweans out of their

A campaign of annihilating

Between 1981 and 1987, Mugabe ran a campaign of annihilating a whole Ndebele
population using the red-tagged Fifth Brigade simply because Joshua Nkomo
was Ndebele and had demanded for Multi-party democracy and power sharing in
Zimbabwe. When Gukurahundi ended in 1987 and as the world began to embrace
liberal democratic systems of governance, Mugabe embraced the IMF-imposed
liberalization programme that hurt the people of Zimbabwe and delegitimised
his rule further. The economic crisis began with the failure of the SAPs and
has been compounded by the chaotic and inept governance system that Mugabe
has created to safeguard his populist rule.

Constitutional amendments

Mugabe's after destroying ZAPU, then sought to entrench his rule through
constitutional amendments aimed at giving him unparalleled power to dominate
Zimbabwe's politics. Mugabe is also fearful of the repercussions that will
follow him after he leaves power emerging from the killings he sponsored and
supervised in Matebeleland and parts of Midlands.

Violent land invasions

After Mugabe lost the 2000 referendum, mainly since the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
led a campaign that was well coordinated against the Mugabe constitutional
amendements, he then had to jump to the violent land invasions by war
veterans and ZANU-PF stalwarts to reward cronies aimed at consolidating
support that he had lost over time. Here, a dictator who had sensed defeat
needed a quick populist act to hold his base together. Mugabe, a Shona,
witnessed  for the first time parliament receive up to 57 MDC MPs and nearly
lost the presidential election in 2002. The whole of Matebeleland voted for
MDC as was the case in Shona dominated provinces because the country was
doubtful of Mugabe's credentials to lead a modern nation and steward a
modern economy. I can report that indeed the 2002 Presidential election was
stolen. Morgan Tsvangirai without doubt won that election.


Since 2002 Mugabe has been involved in a Mugabe-succeed-Mugabe subterfuge.
In continuing with this strategy Mugabe has packaged himself anew. He has
presented himself as the African leader of the anti-neo-colonialist and
anti-imperialist war and therefore the tackler of Blair and Bush; as the
custodian of Zimbabwean interests against whites and foreigners and the
selfless and strategic leader of a Zimbabwean revolution. He is none of
these three.

A failed leader

Mugabe is a failed leader of the Zimbabwean independence. He has actually
become the negation of the Zimbabwean independence and freedom. Any one who
plans and executes a programme of killing more than 20,000 of his own people
in the name of fighting about 400 insurgents in Matebeleland, consolidates a
dictatorship. This dictatorship mismanages the economy and disregards the
voices of it's own people calling any one who has a different even better
view a stooge and reactionary. Any one who represses his own people, who
bangles on land reforms in attempting to achieve political ends of
maintaining the status quo must fail the test of patriotism and
Pan-Africanism. Dr. Mugabe is not a Pan-Africanist but a dictator who is
exploiting Pan-Africanist sentiment. He is not an anti-imperialist leader
but a fascist who is exploiting anti-imperialist sentiment to legitimize the
tyranny and torture he is unleashing on his own people.

A bankruptcy of vision

He is not working towards giving the people land formerly owned by whites.
What Mugabe is doing is to reward his cronies to ensure continued rule until
death. Mugabe is not a strategic leader of Zimbabwe but a coward who feels
dwarfed by emerging leaders in his country. He only uses his organizing
skills to marshal political power against opponents successfully. MDC's
weakness to date has to be attributed to the weakness of its leader to
marshall numbers on sentimental platforms as Mugabe has managed, rather than
a bankruptcy of vision to deliver Zimbabwe.

Ineptitude rule

Sadly Mugabe has succeeded to portray his Zimbabwean victims as villains and
to blame his ineptitude rule on Blair and Bush. Africans who have yearned to
see the minority whites in Zimbabwe kicked and fellow blacks given land are
so happy. They ask, what was Mugabe supposed to do? To this I reply, Mugabe
should have facilitated the making of a democratic constitution in Zimbabwe,
implement a comprehensive agrarian reform, seek a SADC assisted plan to
finance economic modernization and hand over leadership to the next
generation of elected leaders.

Polythene roofed shelters

Mugabe supporters who no longer care about Zimbabweans living in polythene
roofed shelters in economic exile in South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia
blame economic ruin in Zimbabwe to the sanctions imposed by the USA and
Britain. While the sanctions particularly those outlined in the Zimbabwe
Democracy Act, passed in the US should be condemned unreservedly, the fact
is that diplomatic sanctions are  in the nature of  personalised travel bans
and freezing of assets of ZANU-PF cronies. What about Mugabe's and ZANU-PFs
mismanagement of the economy through corruption, cronyism and looting? So
are we going to sit and whine about Blair and Bush? Kenya inherited same
problems of unequal land distribution from British colonial rule and while
little has been done to deal with the land issue, Kenyatta, Moi or Kibaki
have not used land to secure political victory and destroy the economy and
the society.

Economic independence

While we must resist imperialism and neo-colonialism in all its forms and I
am a believer of economic independence, I am not about to side with fascist
dictatorship, the murder, harassment and torture of innocent Zimbabweans
simply because they oppose Mugabe's misrule. I am not about to tolerate
human rights violation and torture by a fellow African because he thinks he
is fighting imperialism yet he is corrupt and self aggrandizing. You can not
hurt the people and destroy the economy and cause a humanitarian crisis the
proportion it reached in Zimbabwe in the name of developing the same people
and fighting imperialism. We know you fear prosecution for killing ethnic
Ndebeles when out of the Office and fear a failed legacy marred by impunity
and gross human rights violations, after many years of gallant and
celebrated struggle for independence.

Stand with the people

As Africans we must refuse to stand with the tyrants and stand with the
people. The legacy of Mugabe can not now become of greater significance than
the millions of suffering and dying Zimbabweans. The arguments that even in
Kenya opposition activists get killed and beaten in demonstrations and that
since USA has Guantanamo Bay so then Mugabe's acts of terror and debauchery
are tolerable are too shocking for my comprehension. Is Bush torturing
Americans in Guantanamo bay? Is Blair torturing Britons or Iraqis in Abu
Ghraib? Why should Mugabe and Museveni torture the victims of imperialism
for us to win against imperialism?

Deep political, economic and social crisis

Logically, President Mbeki should act with urgency and negotiate the safe
exist of Mugabe from the Presidency of Zimbabwe. Mugabe is the problem and
can not solve the countries deep political, economic and social crisis.
ZANU-PF is no longer a nationalist liberation political party but a
machinery for marshalling sentiments to secure Mugabe's dictatorship and the
enrichment of government functionaries. The MDC should consider organizing a
broad National Democratic Alliance/ Front to persuade Mugabe and ZANU PF to
undertake political reforms to facilitate a free and fair election in March
2008 where the will of the people shall prevail.

Constitutional and electoral reforms

Those who speak in support of a new Zimbabwe should in my view state this:
If ZANU PF were to win, which is unlikely if constitutional and electoral
reforms are undertaken to level the ground, then so be it. But I doubt if
electoral reforms are realistic since the real problem in Zimbabwe is Mugabe
who is determined to succeed himself. And the March 2008 election offers an
opportunity for that feat.

Cyprian-Orina Nyamwamu
Chief Executive Officer
National Convention Assembly (NCA) and NCEC,

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Assaulted MDC leader has safe harbour in SA

From The Weekender (SA), 16 June

Sara Hudleston

Grace Kwinje, the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
official who was "deported" last week from SA, after arriving at OR Tambo
International on a British Airways flight from London without a valid visa,
is still in the country, courtesy of the home affairs department. In March,
she was one of 50 opposition activists beaten by police in Harare following
a rally. Kwinje was treated for her injuries at Milpark Hospital in
Johannesburg before leaving for the UK. She is back in SA for two weeks to
receive further medical attention and post-traumatic stress treatment. This
week it was established that Kwinje, who was returning to SA from London
where her children now live in exile, was detained overnight at the airport,
and not, in fact, deported. An MDC source in SA this week confirmed that
Kwinje could have been legally deported to London , but was saved by the
intervention of senior party officials who engaged the home affairs
department. Sources close to Kwinje say she arrived in SA without a valid
visa. Although she held a visa that had been issued in Harare before she was
airlifted to Johannesburg in March, and had been stamped until 20 June, it
was only valid for a single entry.

Prior to her detention in the airport's holding facilities, Kwinje, who is a
journalist, managed to e-mail friends and the international media telling
them that she was being deported to the UK. BA spokesman Steven Forbes said
that immigration officials had originally instructed Kwinje to return to
London immediately, but that she had refused to board the plane as she had
been parted with her luggage, which was only found later. As a result, she
was to leave on the next flight the following day. "But by the time she was
reunited with her luggage, the department of immigration relented and
extended her visa so she might receive the medical attention she needs,"
Forbes said. Kwinje reportedly feared being deported back to Zimbabwe after
the beatings of MDC officials in March . Like many of the others in the
group, including Morgan Tsvangirai, Kwinje suffered extensive injuries from
severe blows to her body and her ear, which almost was torn from her head.
Kwinje later claimed in a newspaper article that she was again attacked by a
group of unknown assailants while being lifted into an emergency aircraft
bound for Johannesburg.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Isolated' Mugabe told to step down - sources


     June 18 2007 at 04:29AM

By Independent Foreign Service

Embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been told by his
trusted lieutenants that it is time for him to step down, and is considering
retiring to either Malawi or Namibia.

Sources revealed at the weekend that Mugabe has been told by Happyton
Bonyongwe, the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Nathan
Shamuyarira, the Zanu-PF information secretary and Didymus Mutasa, the
security minister, that he will lose the next election if he stands.

Mugabe has been advised to appoint a successor immediately to save
Zanu-PF from embarrassment in the 2008 poll.

A senior Zanu-PF official said at the weekend that Mugabe was now
seriously considering stepping down.

"He has become increasingly isolated and is feeling it. His trusted
friends in the party, Mutasa and Shamuyarira, now regard him as burden to
Zanu-PF and are pushing for him to go," the source said.

Last week, a high level security meeting was held after a foiled coup,
of which Solomon Mujuru - retired army general and husband of Deputy
President Joyce Mujuru - is alleged to have been the mastermind. At that
meeting, the source said, Mugabe was told by his lieutenants that his time
was up.

"He is considering Malawi and Namibia as possible retirement homes,"
the source said. "He has properties (farms) in those countries and has
started making moves because he knows that he will be unable to live safely
in Zimbabwe when he is no longer president."

ZimDaily, an online publication, reported that Mugabe had used a
recent trip to Malawi to look at a farm he was offered by President Bingu wa
Mutharika. Mugabe is also said to have been guaranteed a safe haven in
Namibia by his long-time ally Sam Nujoma.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on June
17, 2007

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Student leaders barred from writing exams

Staff writer
18 June, 2007

The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) has reported that Masvingo
University Students Union President, Whitlaw Mugwiji and Secretary General,
Edson Hlatswayo have been barred from writing examinations. The two had
mobilised students to defy the illegal top up fees demanded by the
university. This led to their arrest and they are now on a pending verdict,
after a hearing on 21st May. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are working
with them to draft a High Court order to try to get them permission to sit

In the meantime students at Hillside Teacher and Bulawayo Polytechnic
College have declared an indefinite class boycott, citing the ever
increasing cost of living at colleges. Students on Teaching Practice are
getting a stipend of Z$66,000 - the equivalent of three 300 ml bottles of


SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Slavery has been 'legalised' say rights advocates

Photo: IRIN
A life with little hope
HARARE, 18 June 2007 (IRIN) - Slave wages and the deaths of about 10,000 Zimbabwean farmworkers as a consequence of the government's land-redistribution policy are some of the issues highlighted by rights groups in a recent report published on the plight of the country's one million farmworkers.

The change from predominantly white farm owners to mainly black farmers brought about by the President Robert Mugabe's fast-track land reform programme, launched in 2000, had not improved the lot of farmworkers and was condemned by human rights lawyers in a recent statement,
'The Legitimisation of Contemporary Forms of Slavery - The Case of Farm Workers in Zimbabwe'.

"Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights [ZLHR] joins like-minded Zimbabweans in condemning, in the strongest of terms, the treatment and conditions which Zimbabwean farm workers have had to, and continue to, endure," the ZLHR said.

''The main problem is that farmworkers have, for a long time, been treated with contempt by their employers''
It called on the government and farmers to "be cognisant of the harsh and ever-deteriorating economic environment present, and the need for the workers to survive," a sentiment echoed by the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ).

"The main problem is that farmworkers have, for a long time, been treated with contempt by their employers. They are viewed as belonging to rural areas whose people do not need much money to subsist, but the bottom line is that they are workers just like those working in offices, and deserve the respect due to employees," GAPWUZ deputy secretary-general Gift Muti told IRIN.

Although GAPWUZ secured a wage hike in May this year, most farm owners kept paying their employees the old salaries. Under the new wage structures, the highest paid farm workers, timber plantation workers, should be paid a monthly wage of Z$300,000, (US$3.65 at the parallel market exchange rate of Z$82,000 to US$1), those in horticulture should be getting Z$200,000 (US$2.43), while general labourers involved in the production of maize and wheat should earn Z$96,000 (US$1.17) a month.

Less than a dollar a month wages

In terms of the old salary structure, which is still being adhered to, a general farm worker earned Z$30,000 (US$0.36) a month - enough to buy two loaves of bread at current prices - and far below the country's poverty datum line, estimated at Z$3.5 million (US$43).

Zimbabwe's seven-year recession has created an unemployment rate of 80 percent, and an annual inflation rate of more than 3,700 percent - the highest in the world.

Earlier this year farm workers and a joint parliamentary committee on agriculture and labour blamed the poor wages on the failure of GAPWUZ to sufficiently represent their interests.

''Sometimes I think God has condemned us to a life of poverty. My parents were virtual slaves on white men's farms before the blacks took over. Now it seems worse for me, and I don't have any hope for my children or their own offspring getting out of the trap''
Mulandu Bauleni, 44, who works on a maize and wheat farm in Mashonaland Central Province, told IRIN: "In the last three years, we have not been visited by any representatives of the unions and our views are never sought when negotiations are being carried out. I fail to understand how they can succeed in ensuring good wages for us when they don't understand the plight we have."

Bauleni said his two children were supposed to be in grade two and four respectively, but were no longer in school because he could not afford to buy their uniforms or pay the fees of Z$25,000 (US$0.30) per term.

"Sometimes I think God has condemned us to a life of poverty. My parents were virtual slaves on white men's farms before the blacks took over. Now it seems worse for me, and I don't have any hope for my children or their own offspring getting out of the trap," said Bauleni, who was wearing tattered overalls, his only clothes.

'Life is getting worse'

The farm Bauleni works on was taken over by a senior government official of the ruling ZANU-PF party in 2001. He is still living in a shack and the family survives on two meals of maizemeal porridge per day, sometimes supplemented by fish caught in the farm's dams or streams by his children.

Bauleni said his employer had told them he would not adopt the May wage increases because of the drought. "But that is a lie. His crops are irrigated and the dam is half full, despite the poor rains. Besides, we have helped him get high maize and wheat yields, and there is evidence that he is getting lots of money from our sweat, since he has bought a new car and two tractors."

On a nearby farm, Joyce Muzondo, 30 and a single mother, said they worked long hours but were not paid overtime and sometimes went for months without receiving any wages.

The workers got no sick or maternity leave and many were leaving farms in search of better paying activities, such as illegal gold panning, beer brewing and prostitution.

Samual Rundori, a tobacco and maize farmer in Mashonaland Central Province, who was given 400 acres by the government in 2003, admitted that some new farmers were treating their workers like captives, but defended the low wages he was giving his employees.

"It should be realised that, as new farmers, we are operating under difficult conditions. Whereas the former commercial farmers had large pieces of land, our plots are smaller and we don't have adequate infrastructure for money-spinning farming," Rundori told IRIN.

"Besides, we are finding it difficult to access loans from banks that require us to produce collateral security, which we currently don't have, while at the same time we have to repay the government for the inputs it has been giving us."

The government began issuing 99-year leases in 2006 and said farmers would be able to use them as collateral, but most banks are rejecting them, arguing that the leases don't guarantee repayment in the event of default because the land remains state property.

10,000 farmworkers may have died

A report on human rights violations incurred between 2000 and 2005, 'Adding Insult to Injury', by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the Justice for Agriculture Trust, both non-governmental organisations, said the government's land-reform programme had cost the country billions of US dollars, and as many as 10,000 farmworkers may have died as a result of being displaced by farm invasions.

A survey examined 187 formerly white-owned commercial farms over a six-month period between 2006 and 2007, of which 94 percent had been parcelled out to new owners.

''A plausible case can be made for crimes against humanity having being committed during these displacements''
Researchers found that about one percent of displaced farmworkers and their family had died, which, if "extrapolated to the entire population of one million farmworkers and their families, 10,000 people could have died after displacement from the farms."

The report estimated that the total financial losses incurred by the commercial farming sector as a result of the land redistribution amounted to US$8.4 billion and that about 1 in 12 Zimbabweans had suffered at least one human rights violation, while "many experienced multiple abuses".

The survey suggested that "a plausible case can be made for crimes against humanity having being committed during these displacements", and identified the perpetrators as war veterans, ZANU-PF members and police officers, as well as parliamentarians, officials from the presidency and other government representatives.

"These finds point to an organised seizure of land planned by officials, not a spontaneous seizure carried out by landless blacks, as government claims," the report said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara says Mugabe is not ready for serious talks

By Violet Gonda
18 June 2007

ZANU PF and the MDC finally held the first round of talks in South Africa
this weekend after a number of attempts by President Thabo Mbeki to get the
parties to the negotiating table. Senior officials from both ZANU PF and MDC
confirmed the meetings took place but remain mum on the issues discussed.
However, there are mixed reactions on the weekend's development. Some
observers believe progress has been made as the ruling party had been
dragging its feet on the SADC led initiative. But others are not pinning
much hope on the talks.
Many believe the Mugabe regime is not playing fair while the negotiations
are underway, as there are numerous examples which show there is no
political will on the part of the regime.
. Arthur Mutambara, the President of one faction of the MDC involved in the
talks had his passport seized and four of his officials arrested last
. Two MDC activists who were abducted from Matobo district were found dead
last week;
. Several MDC activists, one of them a parliamentarian, are still in police
custody on what the opposition says are trumped up charges.
. The regime is going ahead with constitutional amendments to harmonise both
the parliamentary elections.
. On Monday the ruling party started the voter registration exercise under
the supervision of the controversial registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede. This
is despite the opposition saying an independent electoral commission should
be appointed. This is also one of the demands the MDC has submitted to SADC
through Thabo Mbeki.

Speaking after learning his passport had been released late on Monday
Mutambara said it is clear that Robert Mugabe is not taking these talks
seriously as he continues to harass the opposition. Mutambara said the
intention was to destabilize and disrupt opposition activities: "In
particular they were trying to undermine a Save Zimbabwe Campaign that we
were going to take to Europe. Out colleagues Morgan Tsvangirai, (Lovemore)
Madhuku, (Bishop Levee) Kadenge and the others have already left so what
they have done is to undermine that coalition, to undermine that working
together spirit."
Mutumbara was supposed to have left with the other leaders on Saturday but
could not because of the passport seizure. Three of the four opposition
leaders arrested on Friday were released Saturday while Nicholas Nqabutho
Dube - who carried Mutambara's passport - was released Monday afternoon.
They were all released without charge. Mutambara said he is now making
preparations to meet the other opposition and civic leaders in Europe this

He said the political parties have been given strict instructions not to
talk to the press by the South African President, as part of his conditions
for involvement. But the MDC leader was willing to talk about the situation
on the ground back home and how it affects the mood of the talks. He said:
"What is happening right now - the torture and murder of our members, the
torture and abuse of our members is an indication that Mugabe is not ready
for any serious talks with the opposition."
Mutambara believes Mugabe is only going through the motions of discussions
and is not prepared to discuss with the opposition as equals. "So yes,
Mugabe is not negotiating in good faith and hence it undermines the
effectiveness of this process because we don't see any sincerity in the
efforts of Mugabe because of what he is doing to the opposition."

When asked why the opposition is going ahead with this charade, Mutambara
said they agreed to give the Mbeki initiative a chance but ultimately
freedom will come from Zimbabweans themselves.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Writers from SA join in Mugabe protest

From The Star (SA), 18 June

Hans Pienaar

South African writers Zakes Mda and Ingrid de Kok have already added their
names to a worldwide reading appeal on September 9 to protest against the
policies of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. The appeal, launched by the
International Literature Festival Berlin in Germany, is to radio stations
and other media to broadcast readings of poems by leading Zimbabwean poets
and the foreword to a book on Gukurahundi, the massacre of Ndebele
dissidents and state actions against them from 1980 to 1988. Ulrich
Schreiber, of the Peter Weiss Foundation, said: "Through this reading, the
International Literature Festival Berlin would like to help draw attention
to the situation in this post-colonial country. This reality has been
concealed long enough - unfortunately also by members of the political class
in South Africa, which holds a special responsibility concerning this
matter. It also attacks the silence, caused by a false sense of solidarity,
which is one of the bases for Mugabe's power." Apart from radio stations,
schools, universities, theatres and other cultural institutions in Africa
and elsewhere will be asked to read Elinor Sisulu's foreword to the book,
Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and
the Midlands 1980-1988. Sisulu said one of the most painful aspects of the
Gukurahundi massacres was the continuing "wounds of silence".

From The Weekender (SA), 16 June

Assaulted MDC leader has safe harbour in SA

Sara Hudleston

Grace Kwinje, the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
official who was "deported" last week from SA, after arriving at OR Tambo
International on a British Airways flight from London without a valid visa,
is still in the country, courtesy of the home affairs department. In March,
she was one of 50 opposition activists beaten by police in Harare following
a rally. Kwinje was treated for her injuries at Milpark Hospital in
Johannesburg before leaving for the UK. She is back in SA for two weeks to
receive further medical attention and post-traumatic stress treatment. This
week it was established that Kwinje, who was returning to SA from London
where her children now live in exile, was detained overnight at the airport,
and not, in fact, deported. An MDC source in SA this week confirmed that
Kwinje could have been legally deported to London , but was saved by the
intervention of senior party officials who engaged the home affairs
department. Sources close to Kwinje say she arrived in SA without a valid
visa. Although she held a visa that had been issued in Harare before she was
airlifted to Johannesburg in March, and had been stamped until 20 June, it
was only valid for a single entry.

Prior to her detention in the airport's holding facilities, Kwinje, who is a
journalist, managed to e-mail friends and the international media telling
them that she was being deported to the UK. BA spokesman Steven Forbes said
that immigration officials had originally instructed Kwinje to return to
London immediately, but that she had refused to board the plane as she had
been parted with her luggage, which was only found later. As a result, she
was to leave on the next flight the following day. "But by the time she was
reunited with her luggage, the department of immigration relented and
extended her visa so she might receive the medical attention she needs,"
Forbes said. Kwinje reportedly feared being deported back to Zimbabwe after
the beatings of MDC officials in March . Like many of the others in the
group, including Morgan Tsvangirai, Kwinje suffered extensive injuries from
severe blows to her body and her ear, which almost was torn from her head.
Kwinje later claimed in a newspaper article that she was again attacked by a
group of unknown assailants while being lifted into an emergency aircraft
bound for Johannesburg.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UNICEF Humanitarian Action: Zimbabwe Donor Update 18 Jun 2007


  • 2007 CAP appeal just over 30 % funded

  • Major food crisis looming with 4 million people in need of assistance by the end of 2007.

  • Rapid deterioration of health, water and sanitation systems resulting in an increased number of vulnerable children and women


The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is characterized by the simultaneous presence of acute humanitarian needs and more protracted, chronic vulnerabilities. The most acute humanitarian needs include those of populations affected by serious food insecurity, HIV and cholera outbreaks as well as those displaced during the fast-track land reform programme, Operation Murambatsvina (OM) and more recent re-evictions. The more chronic vulnerabilities include inadequate access to basic social services, lack of agricultural inputs and disrupted livelihoods.

Recent studies report that the prevalence of stunting, which is the indicator for chronic malnutrition, is 30%. This is the highest since 1988. Acute malnutrition has remained relatively static at around 6% since 1999. The Government has declared 2007 a drought year with expectations of only a third of the harvest Matabeleland South is estimated to have lost about 95% of its potential harvest, while boreholes and dams are drying up.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries hardest hit by the HIV epidemic, with an adult sero-prevalence rate estimated at 20.1%. An estimated 1.6 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2006. More than half of all new infections occur among young people, especially girls. As a result, life expectancy has dropped from 61 years during the early 1990s to 34 years at the end of 2005 creating the highest percentage of children who are orphaned in the world, i.e. 24%. Of the estimated 1.6 million orphans about 75% have been orphaned by AIDS. In 2007 alone, 130,000 children will loose one or both parents. These children are in immediate need of psycho-social support and need access to basic social services.

The economic situation has led to the deterioration of the basic social services. Inflation is officially at over 4,500%, and in real terms perhaps twice that. The health and education systems, eroded by a combination of deteriorating infrastructure, public expenditures and high attrition of human resources, are now characterized by shortages of essential supplies, reduced accessibility by the poor, low motivation of staff and weakened planning and management capacities. Health has seen the highest erosion of human resources, from “brain drain” and AIDS with a 60 per cent and over 30 per cent vacancy rate for doctors and nurses respectively. With AIDS patients occupying about 70 per cent of hospital beds, the strain on health services is enormous, making it difficult to maintain critical services. For example, the proportion of children who had not received any vaccination increased from 12% in 1999 to 21% in 2006. UNICEF's existing Child Health Days seeks to address this. The current campaign seeks to immunise all children under five.

Access to safe water supply and basic sanitation continued to decline due to the general economic decline, eroded institutional and community capacity, persistent droughts and the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In rural areas, a third of the population does not have access to an improved drinking water source. There are currently 24% (17,000) of communal water supply facilities not functioning. As a result there is a daily shortage of safe water supply amongst approximately 2,500,000 people. Furthermore, Bulawayo city water supply reservoirs are currently 27% full (nine month supply as of 1 May 2007 due to the below average rainfall and insignificant inflows into the supply dams. The remaining reservoir water will not have adequate piping capacity to supply the city, resulting in constant water cuts and rationing. The most affected are the high-density residential areas, where the most vulnerable reside. Additionally, water and sewage systems in most urban areas have broken down due to age, excessive load, pump breakdowns and poor operation and maintenance. The breakdown of sewage systems has resulted in large volumes of raw sewage being discharged into natural watercourses, which ultimately feed into major urban water supply sources. In addition, Zimbabwe continues to experience cholera epidemics. The epidemics have been associated with poor hygiene, sanitation and shortage of safe drinking water supply in the affected districts. The situation is expected to deteriorate in the second half of 2007.

The education system in Zimbabwe has been eroded by a combination of deteriorating infrastructure, reduced public expenditure and high attrition of human resources. It is now experiencing low enrolment rates, declining attendance and completion rates, low transition rate to secondary, shortage of learning space and teaching and learning materials. Population movement in farms due to a government land reform programme has resulted in the establishment of nearly 628 satellite schools which lack basic infrastructure. Two million primary school age children attend school with a textbook pupil ratio of 1:8 and over 1.5 million 13-18 year olds at secondary school with textbook pupil ratios of 1:6. As a result performance rates have been declining. For instance, grade 7 pass-rates are 37%.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Advocates Disappointed by New UN Rights Council


By Lisa Schlein
18 June 2007

The advocacy group, Human Rights Watch says the U.N. Human Rights Council
has under-performed in its first year of existence. Human Rights Watch says
the Council, so far, has not lived up to the promise of being a stronger,
more effective body than the Human Rights Commission that was replaced last
June. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva where the new Council has
been meeting.

Human Rights Watch and others critical of the U.N. Human Rights Council say
African and Asian countries, as well as Cuba, Russia and China are behind
efforts to weaken the organization. They say their almost single-minded
focus on censuring Israel for its conduct in the Palestinian occupied
territories has deflected attention away from other troubled parts of the
world, such as Sudan and Zimbabwe.

But, Global Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch, Peggy Hicks, tells VOA
Western countries must also share the blame. "The fatal blow has not come
just from countries that want to stop scrutiny, but also been dealt by
countries that ought to be human rights supporters and ought to be doing the
right thing within this body. As I said, some States have had a very
inconsistent level of engagement. So, the Council is a new institution. It
needs time to be able to engage more effectively. It has got off to a very
weak start. But, there certainly is room for it to do better and
hand-wringing and writing it off is not going to serve human rights
victims," he said.

Many developing countries would like to do away with the practice of
assigning special investigators to report on nations with poor human rights
records. They claim this process of naming and shaming is not productive and
does not make a big difference to people suffering abuse.

Hicks disagrees. She says the threat of condemning a country on its human
rights behavior often persuades governments to make changes. "A great
example of this is Nepal in the last session of the Commission where Nepal
feared a resolution following its imposition of martial Law. And, because of
its concern over a possible resolution, it ultimately agreed to a human
rights monitoring mission. That mission made a real difference and saved
lives on the ground," she said.

The United States has been skeptical of the Council since its formation and
has refused to become a member. Hicks regrets this decision and says the
United States would be much more effective by being at the table than by
staying away. "By saying that it does not want to run, it sent a signal that
it does not care. Now, I think they have tried to mitigate that signal by
engaging quite effectively here-both at the Council here in Geneva and, as I
said, in New York in the elections. But, they would be more effective if
they were at the table," she said.

Hicks says the Council has important work to do and she hopes it is up to
the task. She says countries such as Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Sudan, Belarus, Iraq and Iran should remain on the human rights watch

She says the Council should get behind a proposal to send a rights
monitoring mission to Sri Lanka. As in the case of Nepal, she says she
believes such a mission could make a real difference.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Coup plotters to appear in court Friday

By Tichaona Sibanda
18 June 2007

Six men, including a former army officer, will go on trial Friday for
allegedly plotting a coup to overthrow Robert Mugabe, reports said on
Monday. They have all denied the charges.

Albert Mugove Matapo, a retired army captain, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore
Mudzuradhona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mapfure and Shingirai Mutemachani,
face treason charges, which carry the death penalty on conviction, according
to their lawyer Jonathan Samkange.

Court records indicate that the defendants allegedly wanted to replace
Mugabe with Rural Housing and Amenities Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The
Zanu (PF) strongman has denied any involvement saying the accusations are
'stupid'. The Prosecution team told the court Matapo wanted the soldiers to
take control of country after which he planned to invite Mnangagwa and
others to form a government.

High court Judge Tedias Karwi ordered that the bail application for the six
men should be held in an open court, dealing a major blow to efforts by the
State to keep the matter under wraps. However there seems to be doubt among
Zimbabweans over the foiled coup attempt.

The MDC's secretary for Security and Intelligence Giles Mutsekwa said the
government has an obligation to release the details of the plot to the
nation as the issue was of national interest.

'We are beginning to see loopholes in this whole thing and we are getting
indicators that this was a stage-managed coup plot. For a start nowhere in
the world do you get people who matter in the country facing a threat of a
coup but managing to travel outside the country as if nothing has happened,'
Mutsekwa said.

He was referring to Mugabe and defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi. A few
days after reports of the foiled plot, Mugabe flew to Tripoli for talks with
the Libyan leader while Sekeramayi is reported to be visiting China.

'I suspect this is another plot by the regime to eliminate threats from
inside its divided camp and to divert attention from the real issues of
political and economic problems. The names of the suspects tell you a big
story. Only two of them have a military background and yet a coup is all
about soldiers taking over power and not civilians,' Mutsekwa added.

On Saturday high court Judge Tedias Karwi refused to grant the six suspects
bail at the request of state prosecutors but insisted there be transparency
by holding the trial in public. The state Herald newspaper reported that
Matapo allegedly conspired with his co-accused and recruited members of the
security forces from the Zimbabwe National Army, the Air Force of Zimbabwe
and the police and gave them some tasks in preparation for the coup.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Court throws out freedom bid by detained MDC activists

By Lance Guma
18 June 2007

Several MDC activists who have been in detention for over 2 months on
trumped up terrorism charges had their bid for freedom blocked by a Harare
magistrate on Friday last week. Glen View legislator Paul Madzore and 12
others had an application to have the case thrown out refused by magistrate
Gloria Takundwa. On Monday the same thing happened when Raymond Bake, a
coordinator with the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), also had
his application thrown out. The magistrates on both occasions argued there
was reasonable suspicion the accused committed the offences and so they
could not throw out the case. Madzore and the other 12 were remanded to the
29th June.

Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama has had a frustrating time handling the
cases. Not only are the applications being handled separately, he has had to
process both bail and refusal of remand applications at different intervals
in both the Magistrates and High Courts. On Tuesday he will be back at the
High Court trying to argue for his clients to be granted bail. The state
case has been falling apart bit by bit and a number of activists were
released following the dropping of charges by police. Mugabe's regime is
accused of launching a deliberate crackdown on the opposition in an attempt
to weaken it ahead of scheduled elections in 2008.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Power Company, who employ one of the MDC activists in
detention Morgan Komichi, are making frantic attempts to fire him on
allegations of absenteeism. Komichi is an instrument technician at the
Munyati Power Station and has been locked up in remand prison for over two
months. The ZPC insist he should attend a disciplinary hearing to answer the
allegations. The MDC official is however reported to be battling for his
life and is in a prison hospital. The ZPC however told his lawyers the
hearings would proceed even in his absence.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Another Attempt to Reclaim Media Independence


By George Nyathi

HARARE, Jun 18 (IPS) - Zimbabwean media practitioners have launched a
self-regulatory media body for journalists despite government threats of
unspecified action against them.

The nongovernmental Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) launched the Media
Council of Zimbabwe (MCZ) earlier this month. If MCZ members have their way,
the ruling ZANU-PF will cease its stranglehold on the operations of the
country's media and task this autonomous body to independently regulate and
monitor the media in Zimbabwe.

Several newspapers, including the country's independent daily newspaper, The
Daily News and its sister publication The Daily News on Sunday, have been
shut down by the government following the introduction of tough media laws
aimed at restricting media reporting.

The repressive laws that the government introduced in the past five years
have also seen the imposition of state permits on local reporters. Foreign
journalists have been barred from working in the country.

CNN and BBC have been among the international broadcast organizations which
have become victims of the government crackdown. The government deems these
organizations as the distributors of negative information on the Zimbabwean

Government officials have seen a connection between the launch of the
opposition political party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and what
they regard as the independent media's anti-government propaganda aimed at
pushing the masses to revolt against President Robert Mugabe's 27-year-long

The government believes that the independent media supports the MDC while
rubbishing government policies.

Zimbabwe's economy has seemingly irreversibly slid into an abyss that the
MDC blames on what it has termed unsound economic, social and political
policies that have left Zimbabweans beggars in a country overflowing with
natural resources.

The country's inflation rate currently hovers above the 3,000 percent mark,
with independent analysts predicting that it could reach close to 10,000
percent by the end of the year if the government fails to come up with a
rescue package for the economy.

The launch of the self-regulating Media Council of Zimbabwe, according to
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Matthew Takaona, is a signal from
journalists that they can regulate themselves, in contrast with the current
scenario where news operations are regulated by a government appointed

Tafataona Mahoso, who has been described by his opponents as a ZANU PF
praise singer and media hangman, currently chairs the official Media and
Information Commission.

Addressing about 150 journalists and members of civil society that gathered
to witness the launch on 8 June, Takaona said the media council seeks to
supervise and maintain professional and ethical conduct among the country's
media practitioners.

''An independent, non-partisan and apolitical media council, as opposed to a
mandatory regulatory body, is the best system for promoting freedom of
expression. As the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists we support the launch of
the voluntary media council and hope it ushers in a new era for the media in
this country,'' said Takaona.

He also emphasized that the body should fairly arbitrate on media issues to
avoid legal suits as is the order of the day in the country presently.
Failure to come up with mature decisions could adversely affect the council.

''This media council comes amid storms from within and without the media
fraternity. As such, I would like to urge those elected to this council to
desist from making naive decisions that will affect the lifespan of the
council because as journalists, we have felt the pain of government

''I also want to urge the elected members to desist from dabbling in
politics as we are not in the business of politics but to regulate and
arbitrate, as effectively as possible, media disputes with both government
and civic society,'' Takaona pointed out.

The 14-member board includes Reuters Harare correspondent Chris Chinaka,
leading financial weekly The Financial Gazette deputy-editor-in-chief and
veteran journalist Edna Machirori, former Standard newspaper editor Bornwell
Chakaodza, and Associated Press correspondent Angus Shaw.

Other members are Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyer Irene Petras,
prominent Harare lawyer Lawrence Chibwe, church representatives Oscar
Wermter and Sebastian Bakare, retired judge George Smith, former Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Muchadeyi Masunda and law
lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe Geoff Feltoe.

The other three members will be drawn from editors' associations and the
publishers of newspapers in the country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Map to be focus of prayer for Zimbabwe at Southwark Cathedral

London SE1 community website

A brightly-coloured map of Zimbabwe was dedicated last week at Southwark Cathedral by the Bishop of Woolwich.

Map to be focus of prayer for Zimbabwe at Southwark Cathedral

The Diocese of Southwark has a long-established partnership link with the Anglican church in Manicaland, Central Zimbabwe and Matabeleland.

"As the mother church of the Diocese of Southwark, it is good to have such a beautiful and visible sign of our partnership link with Zimbabwe," says the Very Revd Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark.

"We want it to be used as a focus for prayer for Zimbabwe and her people at this difficult time, and we want the people of Zimbabwe to know they are in our prayers."

The dedication by the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, took place during Southwark Cathedral's annual service to celebrate Bernard Mizeki, Zimbabwe's first Anglican martyr.

Designed and made by two artists from Southern Africa, Mbuyisa and Moji Maphalala and English artist Edith Slee, the map incorporates traditional Zimbabwean fabric and beadwork, with colours mixed from red Zimbabwean soil.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe not welcome at Europe-Africa summit, says Portugal

18 June 2007, 21:47 CET
(LISBON) - Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado said Monday Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe would not be welcome at a EU-African Union summit
being held in November in Lisbon.

"Personally I have no interest in Mugabe coming to Lisbon," Amado said,
adding that the veteran leader's presence would be a "factor of

The EU imposed a travel ban on Mugabe and more than 100 people closely
linked to his regime after the Zimbabwean leader won elections in 2002 that
international observers said were rigged and marred by intimidation.

The octogenarian president has also been slammed for leading the once-model
economy into ruin and trampling on democracy and human rights. The southern
African nation currently has the world's highest inflation rate.

"It is a question of principle for the UE, in the same way that for the
African Union the presence of the presidents of all the member states is a
question of principle," Amado said.

Leading African politicians have denounced any suggestion that Mugabe be
barred from what would be the first Europe-Africa summit in seven years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month accused Mugabe of
"unspeakable acts" but said the November summit would go ahead even if he

"It cannot be the case that we do not work with a continent just because one
country commits unspeakable acts. So everybody will be invited," said

Germany holds the rotating EU presidency until the end of June. It will then
be taken over by Portugal, which will host the summit in Lisbon.

Ghanaian Foreign Minister Nana Addo Akufo-Addo, whose country heads the
African Union, and his South African counterpart Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma both
came out against the idea of a ban on Mugabe attending the summit.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai rally - change of venue

By a Correspondent



The Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is to speak at a rally
of Zimbabwean exiles in Luton on Saturday 23rd June.  His visit comes as
crucial discussions are underway about the future of Zimbabwe.

Mr Tsvangirai, President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will
be in the UK from 20th June for a few days as part of delegation from the
Save Zimbabwe Campaign.  Others in the delegation include Arthur Mutambara,
leader of a breakaway faction of the MDC, the Rev Levee Kadenge, convener of
the Zimbabwean Christian Alliance, Lovemore Madhuku, Chair of the National
Constitutional Assembly, and others including the student leader Promise

The Save Zimbabwe Campaign is the umbrella organisation under which
opposition forces in Zimbabwe are campaigning for change.  It organised the
prayer meeting on 11th March which resulted in the brutal assaults on many
opposition activists including Mr Tsvangirai.

The rally will be held at Lewsey Community Centre, Landrace Road, Luton LU4
0SW on Saturday, 23rd June 2007 from 1- 4 pm

For more information, contact:

Ephraim Tapa, Chair, MDC UK                                          07940
793 090

Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa, Secretary, MDC UK                  07984 254 830

Jaison Matewu, Organising Secretary, MDC UK              07816 619 788


By car: Leave M1 at J11 and take A505 Dunstable Road to Luton, Dunstable.
After three-quarters of a mile you will reach Poynters Road roundabout. Take
3rd exit onto Poynters Road and after half a mile turn right into Leagrave
High Street.  Take the first turning left in to Amhurst Road. Turn right
into Kirkwood Road at the T-junction, then first left into Abercorn Road. At
the crossroads turn left into Brunel Road, then right into Thatch Close and
immediately left into Haymarket Road.  Turn right at the T-Junction with
Landrace Road. Lewsey Community Centre is a short distance from the turning.

Nearest Rail Station: Luton

Bus: 38 - 2 minutes from Coach and Rail Station. Alight behind Arndale
Shopping Centre.

For help with directions, contact: Racheal Lupafya, 07944 040 482, 07960 087


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Probe unearths 100t of sugar

The Herald

Herald Reporter

AT least 100 tonnes of sugar were found at the premises of two companies in
Harare yesterday as investigations by the Anti-Corruption Commission, the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade and police unearthed serious
illicit dealings in the commodity.

The companies where the sugar was discovered do not have licences to trade
in sugar.

Brickwall Private Limited in Msasa, where 71 tonnes of sugar were
discovered, is a holder of a licence to sell bicycles.

Officials at the company said the firm was still awaiting a licence to deal
in sugar from the Ministry of Industry and International Trade.

A Chinese businessman, only identified as Alec, runs the company.

Produ-Trade Private Limited in Willowvale, where about 30 tonnes of sugar
were found, buys its sugar from Brickwall and later repackages it before
selling to selected white commercial farmers at inflated prices.

Brickwall gets its sugar supplies directly from Triangle Limited.

The two firms were yesterday issued with tickets for overcharging.

At Produ-Trade, which is along Woolwich Road, the sugar is put into
two-kilogramme packs and placed into larger plastic bags together with a bar
of soap, 500 grammes of salt and 250 grammes of matemba and sealed.

The new packs would then be sold to selected white commercial farmers.

The company's managing director Ms Jannel Snook said the new packs would be
sold to farmers who would then "give the sugar, soap, matemba and salt to
their farm workers".

Some companies, she said, buy 10kg and 50kg bags of sugar for their workers'

Surprisingly, the company has a wholesale licence, under the name
Machikichori Wholesalers, which makes it illegal for them to sell sugar to
people without retail licences.

Ms Snook said the company also had a food processing licence and the
packaging of sugar, matemba, salt and soap was part of the food processing

Invoices seen by The Herald showed that the sugar was being sold at prices
higher than the gazetted ones.

For example, an invoice for the sale of sugar made to Tanganda Estates
showed that 10kg of white sugar which costs $167 000 was sold for $190 000.

Sugar has been in short supply since the beginning of the year.

Parliament has since instituted a probe into the dealings of the sugar
industry as the commodity is in abundant supply on the black market.

Unscrupulous businesspeople and individuals, including supermarket managers
and workers, are hoarding sugar which is channelled to the black market.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai no longer coming to Canada

the Southern African

      :: MAP Feature Service
      Monday, 18 June 2007
      TORONTO - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders who had been
scheduled to arrive in Canada next week are no longer coming, Toronto MDC
chairman, Andrew Mudzingwa has confirmed.

      Mudzingwa told The Southern on Sunday that Morgan
Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other opposition and civic leaders
cancelled their Canada leg of a tour of western countries that begins in UK
on Wednesday.

      Mudzingwa did not give reasons for the cancellation of the trip but
sources said there had not been enough time to make the necessary
arrangements for a "suitable" reception by Canadian political leaders.

      "The local branch is also still restructuring," said the source.

      It would have been Tsvangirai's second visit to Canada following the
disastrous trip he made a few years ago when he met Ben Menashe who later
turned into a material government witness in Tsvangirai's treason trial
which collapsed due to lack of adequate evidence.

      Mutambara, who spent many years studying in the US, was here in late
April this year, when he met Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter MacKay.

      However, Tsvangirai's UK trip is still on. Zimbabwe Vigil says
Tsvangirai and Mutambara will be accompanied by Christian Alliance convener,
Levee Kadenge; National Constitutional Assembly chairperson, Lovemore
Madhuku; Zapu Party leader, Paul Siwela and Zimbabwe National Students'
Union president, Promise Mkwananzi.

      The SZC came into prominence in March when it organised a prayer
meeting that resulted in the police arresting and torturing Tsvangirai and
other opposition leaders.

      The torture was condemned worldwide and brought more global awareness
of the Zimbabwe political and economic crisis.

      It led to an emergency summit of Southern Africa Development Community
leaders after which South African president, Thabo Mbeki was chosen to
mediate between President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF and the MDC, in
hope to stave off a civil unrest that could spill into the region.

      The talks have been progressing slowly against a tight deadline of
March 2008 when a free and fair election is supposed to be held under terms
agreed by both parties.

      President Mugabe has refused efforts by the opposition and other
players to have the elections moved further into 2008 to allow more time for
the talks, arguing that his party is ready for elections anytime and the MDC
should also be ready if it is a serious political force.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rio Tinto's Murowa expansion on hold

18 June 2007 Rio Tinto's planned US$200 million expansion of its Murowa
diamond mine in Zimbabwe may end before it begins, due to changes in the
country's currency regulations and mining laws. The Zimbabwe government has
asked the mining company, which owns 78 percent of the mine, to voluntarily
end an agreement permitting it to keep foreign currency off shore. The
government previously stated that it would mandate all companies to hand
over 40 percent of their foreign currency to it.

      According to media reports, it is understood that Rio Tinto will not
proceed with the Murowa expansion unless a clear agreement over foreign
currency management is reached. Also under negotiation is the mining company's
expected level of "indigenisation," r eferring to the transfer of wealth
from the minority whites to Zimbabwe's majority blacks. Rio Tinto is
currently renegotiating with government, though talks have been going on for
almost nine months.

      The latest draft of Zimbabwe's new mining laws does not include a
"scorecard" provision, which would credit companies for historical social
spending in Zimbabwe in exchange for a lower government stake in their
company. This provision was included in previous versions of the laws that
have circulated in recent years.

      Locally listed public company RioZim holds the remaining 22 percent of
the Murowa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Doomsday' Warning for World Cup

Cape Argus (Cape Town)

17 June 2007
Posted to the web 18 June 2007

Melanie Peters

FORENSIC expert David Klatzow has warned that authorities must act fast to
improve police services in the Western Cape to prevent a "doomsday scenario"
during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

"We are experiencing a crime crisis. There is still time to salvage the
situation. We need to act quickly or else in two to five years we'll be
another Zimbabwe."

This follows the Weekend Argus's coverage yesterday of a damning report on
the meltdown of police services in the province and the near collapse of
forensic services.

Klatzow is one of the key compilers of the controversial report dealing with
the state of police and their inability to protect the SA crime capital.

It was penned - "in desperation", according to Klatzow - by a group of 15
forensic specialists, senior advocates and politicians over a three-month
period. It outlines the inefficiencies of police and the "crying need" to
devise strategies to improve and protect the frayed blue line.

It has been handed to Premier Ebrahim Rasool's office and underpins a call
from prominent Capetonians, including Mayor Helen Zille, for Rasool to set
up a judicial commission of inquiry into the police crisis.

The report highlights low police morale, poor physical and mental health,
devastated forensic science services, poor communication skills, sector
policing, policing in the rural areas and the security gap left by
disbandment of the old military commando system.

It also speaks of concern about the scourge of gangs on the Cape Flats and
the proliferation of drug abuse.

It says rampant crime affects the most vulnerable, business, farmers'
ability to grow food and the ability of the province to prosper economically
so that it can uplift the poor.

It says that it is imperative that a constructive, multi-faceted initiative
be set up in the Western Cap to tackle the problems.

Klatzow said good police were in the minority in the service. Many members
were functionally illiterate, and others battled to communicate in English,
a language that was the official language of the police but a minority
language in terms of the population of the province and of the police
themselves, most of whom spoke Afrikaans or Xhosa at home.

Klatzow said affirmative action was crippling the police. Posts were allowed
to stand empty rather than be filled by whites. "We are obsessed with race."

He quoted provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros's description of
the level of efficiency in some police stations as "wheel-barrow cases" - if
they were not picked up and pushed they simply stood around and did nothing.

In May, Zille wrote to Rasool on behalf of a group of concerned people,
including business leaders and politicians calling for "radical
interventions" in specialist areas such as detective training and

Rasool's spokeswoman Shado Twala said the premier had responded to the mayor
saying he was seeking advice about setting up a commission.

Centre for Constitutional Rights director Paul Hoffman, who worked on the
report, said a commission would allow police to suggest improvements and air

Provincial police spokeswoman Director Novela Ptelwa said the police were
outraged by the publication in Weekend Argus of the report. She said: "The
report is flawed. Most of these problems are a national one. The commandos
fell under the auspices of the South African National Defence Force and the
laboratories under the Department of Health."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African adventure

Edmonton Sun

Bono and Vanity Fair offer overly cheery view of Dark Continent


A "Special Issue" Vanity Fair magazine is devoted to Africa, with U2 singer
Bono as guest co-editor choosing stories and personalities that reflect the
56 countries of the continent.

Perhaps the most interesting of the big names Bono says have done a lot for
the continent -- an eclectic mix of celebrities like Brad Pitt, George
Clooney, Archbishop Tutu, Bill Clinton, Jordan's Queen Rania, Bill Gates,
Muhammad Ali, Oprah, Chris Rock, Warren Buffett -- is President George W.

In his Editor's Letter, Graydon Carter acknowledges that Bush wasn't his
choice -- Vanity Fair rarely misses an opportunity to slag him.

But Bono insisted that Bush be included as a friend to Africa, noting he has
quadrupled American aid to the continent, pledged $15 billion for AIDS and
another $1.2 billion to combat malaria in vulnerable countries.

The magazine consists of mostly positive or encouraging stories: Surfing on
South African beaches; a music festival in the Sahara; Kenya's revival from
endemic corruption; rogue airlines in the Congo; the fight against AIDS;
China's lust for African oil.

The magazine is perhaps more optimistic than the facts of Africa warrant,
with little mention of countries that show little hope for reform or
progress such as Angola, Sudan (Darfur), Somalia, some west and central
African countries we hear little about.

The most glaring example of African hopelessness -- economically and
politically -- is Zimbabwe, where aging Robert Mugabe, at 83, is the world's
longest reigning tyrant. The last Stalinist this side of Pyongyang.


What's so discouraging is not the despotism of Mugabe's Marxist regime, but
that the rest of Africa tolerates, even reveres him.

At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) was the most
self-reliant and hopeful country of sub-Saharan Africa.

Whites who made Rhodesia work when Ian Smith broke from Britain, overnight
became loyal to Zimbabwe.

Mugabe even thanked Smith for making the country self-reliant. The future
looked promising.

Today, the dream has long become a nightmare. Under Mugabe's rule, life
expectancy has plunged from 63 to 33. Some 3,500 white-run farms (that
employed black labour and produced abundant food) have been reduced to 500.
Mugabe's cronies have produced starvation.

This year, drought has intensified human misery.

There's little hope for change since Mugabe crushes all opposition.
Inflation is 3,000%. Zimbabwe elections are rigged, with the likes of former
PM Jean Chretien forgiving Mugabe's debts to Canada, thus encouraging

To Britain's shame, in 1994 Mugabe was named Knight Commander of the Bath
(KCB), an honour the Queen should never have made, and should long ago have
revoked, as universities are beginning to do with honorary degrees awarded

The leader of a gallant opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, opposes both corruption and tyranny and is
constantly harassed, with no support from the Graydon Carters or Bonos, who
don't include him as one of the hopes of the continent. In fact, many of
those Bono honours, also refuse to criticize Mugabe.

Before he died in 1999, the old warrior for independence, Joshua Nkomo, sent
his family to live in Canada to escape their possible assassination by
Mugabe's thugs.

In short, Zimbabwe is the sorriest country of Africa, when it could be the
most hopeful.

Blacks and whites are both Mugabe's victims, but are unable to do much
without foreign support, and there is no pressure from the rest of Africa.

That's the story Vanity Fair should do, if it truly wants to help Africans.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

JAG Open Letter Forum No.490

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 610 073 If you are in trouble or need advice,
 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines


Letter 1 - Phil Brereton

Dear Editor
This week we hear that the British Government is compensating a soldier who
was left paralysed after an accident with a vehicle while on duty in the
army.  He is to receive £ 4,000,000
There is a wonderful lad who was defending his country against the influx of
communism into Zimbabwe in the 1970s, who was only six months into his
national service training, when he was hit by shrapnel from a mortar fired
from Mozambique side of the Zimbabwean border.  He was nineteen at the time.
He has been paralysed from the neck down and virtually bed ridden ever
since.  He excelled at all school sports and was Captain of most of the
teams he played in.  He is bright and had a wonderful future in a wonderful
country called Rhodesia. It boomed under Western sanctions.

But Britain, led by the Labour party knew better and went all out to install
a so called western style, one man one vote, democracy ( sic !!) on a truly
tribal system. Tribal Chiefs were the respected leaders of the various
tribes in the country at the time and,  Ian Smith and his Democratically
elected Government evolved a system getting the Chiefs to form a collective
Council, to join in with the Government to learn to develop and encourage
their people to look after the areas set aside for the various tribes, and
to learn how Western Governments operate.  There was no colour bar to join
the electoral roll, only a fairly low financial criterion.  No Commercial
farmers or industrialists were permitted to buy or operate in these areas,
which covered thousands of hectares.  Now every one knows what Britain has
brought about.  Absolute chaos and poverty. A bust corrupt communist regime,
and now a massive exodus of it`s wonderful people to countries where they
can at least survive..
But Trevor cannot leave.  His family sold their farm years ago to get the
finance to support their son.  He has two full time African nurse aids who
have been loyal to him for some 25 years. He has no Government to turn to.
His father has had two strokes and is bed ridden His brother is working in
security in Afghanistan to earn foreign currency to support his family. He
lost his farm to Mugabe`s cronies, with no compensation.  The family have
been helped in various ways by friends and fund raising locally.  He can
survive for a couple more years.  He is one of the forgotten tribe in
Zimbabwe. Where can he look for the future It seems the silence is deafening

Where is true justice?

A friend of Trevor`s
Phil Brereton


Letter 2 - P. Mangwende

Dear JAG,

I quote from the Zim Independent's Muckracker regarding the Regime's free
tractor extravaganza:

"However, that said, there were obviously individuals receiving government
gifts who should know better. For those business people wondering why the
CZI has lost its voice and no longer speaks for them the answer is not
difficult to discern: current CZI president Callistus Jokonya is among the
beneficiaries. So is ZNCC president Marah Hativagone. And will anybody take
Doug Taylor-Freeme seriously as a spokesman for the farming community after

If this is correct, has he no shame?

If so, I rest my case Mr Taylor-Freeme.

Pat Mangwende

Letter 3 - Willy Robinson


CFU Congress (in August 2007) appears to be seen as "a big day out" by a
number of people.
In 1991, CFU published a comprehensive document on what would happen if the
Government's proposed land reform took place - i.e. reduced production,
possible disruption to the economy, marginal job loss, possible slight
inflation and an outside chance a slight devaluation to the Zimbabwe dollar
as I recall.
Congress might well seize this golden opportunity to compare the projected
down turn in agricultural production (as printed in 1991) as against the
actual up to July 2007 - Budget vs. Actual to give Zanu a score.
Somewhere between Alan Burl's calling all the farmers to the Sheraton in
1991, and the year 2 000, there appears to have been a change of ideology at
CFU and it was decided (at a higher intellectual level?) that the very
professional document was actually completely incorrect, and at the very
least very politically incorrect.
The document was A4 with a green and white cardboard cover and I gave my
copy to Jag for their perusal.
Depending on the ethos of the 2007 Congress, the CFU could probably decide
if it is happy with the progress it has made in the last seven years with
agriculture and its membership.
If CFU is indeed well pleased with its seven year plan, I think it would be
jolly good for them to appoint Robert Mugabe and Gideon Gono as CFU
Mr. Mugabe, amongst other jobs, is patron of Cricket Zimbabwe and has done a
wonderful job there as we all know.
Mr. Gono on the other hand, has had immense fiscal experience and has done
wonders with the Zimbabwean economy.
But most of all they are both avid agricultural enthusiasts and experts.
They both revel in their contribution to agriculture in Zimbabwe.
CFU Trusteeship could well be the pinnacle of their careers.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for

Back to the Top
Back to Index