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

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Caribbean Net News

Zimbabwe: The need for intervention

by Sir Ronald Sanders, a former Caribbean diplomat, now corporate executive,
who publishes widely on small states in the global community
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Conditions in Zimbabwe are getting worse and people are suffering more. A
humanitarian crisis already exists and it is more than likely to escalate in
the coming months causing large scale deaths and a refugee calamity.

Recently, the government of President Robert Mugabe demolished makeshift
homes in the capital, Harare, leaving 200,000 people homeless according to
UN estimates. Among the buildings demolished is an orphanage which housed
children left destitute after their parents died from AIDS.

These people have been forced to pick up what few belongings they have and
to trek on foot to rural areas which are even worse off than the towns.

Last week, the government announced it had extended the destruction of
informal homes and businesses from the cities to rural areas.

Mr Mugabe says that he is taking these actions to clean up Zimbabwe's urban
areas and to crack down on those involved in illegally trading foreign
currency and scarce foodstuffs, such as sugar.

Opposition leaders say the eviction campaign is aimed at driving their
supporters among the urban poor into rural areas, ahead of elections in 2008
so as to re-create a rural peasantry in which voters are brought under the
control of local chiefs and Mr Mugabe's militias.

Scenes of this destruction and the suffering being experienced by the
affected people have been shown on television across Europe. The response
has been round condemnation of Mr Mugabe's policies and calls for
intervention by journalists, charity workers and political activists.

But intervention is not easy, and it is difficult to see how the terrible
conditions in Zimbabwe can be addressed unless neighbouring African
countries decide to act.

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa; today more than half the
population of 12 million depend on food aid. Out of the towns, the food
shortages are even more punishing.

Seven in 10 Zimbabweans are officially out of work, with the parallel
economy increasingly important.

Rampant inflation has been put at 526% a year. The currency, the Zimbabwean
dollar, is dropping in value rapidly. While the official rate is 825 to the
US dollar, the parallel market rate is above 5,000. Foreign currency is in
short supply, given the lack of exports.

These conditions arise from political action.

First, Mr Mugabe's attempt to correct an ancient wrong of the majority of
arable land being placed in the hands of a relatively small number of white
farmers. The problem was approached illegally and violently. The result has
been the dramatic drop in agricultural production and the rapid decline of
the economy.

Second, Mr Mugabe's obvious determination to eliminate his political
opposition through questionable elections, charges against opposition
leaders, and violent action against opposition supporters.

Now comes the forced removal of hundreds of thousands of people from areas
in which they have built homes and try to eke out a living.

The crisis in Zimbabwe demands immediate attention. But by whom?

The United Nations Security Council has no legal basis for intervening in
Zimbabwe even if the all the members could be convinced that UN military
action is necessary to stop further death and destruction. Non interference
in the internal affairs of states has long been considered an important
principle of international order.

When the UN has intervened in Africa recently - as it did in Liberia,
Burundi and Cote d'Ivoire during 2003/2004 - it has done so at the request
of the UN Secretary-General with the backing of African countries.

Intervention by the US and Europe is unlikely to happen. There is no
strategic or economic advantage to the US or Europe committing troops and
resources to Zimbabwe, and they would fear that they would be accused of
pursuing an imperialist agenda.

Even though, Mr Mugabe's excesses seem to justify the intervention of
outside forces to end the suffering of the Zimbabwe people and to ensure the
problem does not escalate, neither the US nor European nations would want to
take on such a role unless African nations strongly supported it.

This is why African nations, and particularly the countries of Southern
Africa, have the greatest responsibility to intervene in Zimbabwe.

The African Union (AU) has the architecture for doing so. Article 3 of the
AU Constitutive Act which was adopted in 2000 identified the maintenance of
African peace and security as a primary aim. The AU has a Peace and Security
Council (PSC) designed to serve as a decision-making organ for the
prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

The problem is that while the PSC has a huge mandate, it has no formal
secretariat to do its work.

But there also appears to be a lack of political will to deal with the issue
of Zimbabwe, particularly from its most powerful neighbour South Africa. The
Southern African Development Committee (SADC), a grouping of the countries
of Southern Africa, refrains from critical comment engagement with its
member countries. They treat violence and crisis in governance as purely
domestic affairs.

In time, this may prove to be a short-sighted decision. As conditions in
Zimbabwe deteriorate, people will flee across borders to survive. These very
Southern African countries will have to cope with the heavy demands on their
own resources and South Africa will probably be the country facing the
greatest difficulties.

Additionally, in the international community, the actions of Mr Mugabe's
government casts a stain upon Africa and prevents the world's industrialised
nations from doing more to hep Africa.

Undoubtedly, when the G8 countries, the world's richest nations, meet in
Scotland in July to hear Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair plead for a
doubling of aid to Africa, there will be many who will point to Mr Mugabe's
activities, and Africa's non-condemnation of them, as good reason for
holding back.

In the meantime, the media is already playing an interventionist role in
Zimbabwe. At the risk of being imprisoned if they are caught, journalists
representing Western media are slipping across the border from South Africa
to report on activities such as the bulldozing of homes and forcing people
out of towns.

The reports, which they transmit to television screens, in radio broadcasts
and in newspaper articles and photographs, are mobilising public opinion
against the Zimbabwe government, and putting pressure on governments in
Europe and the US to take some form of action.

In turn, Western governments will urge African governments to take the lead
in trying to stop a major humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

Thus, what happens in Zimbabwe is now firmly in the hands of the African
states, particularly the countries of Southern Africa. If they continue a
posture of unity and solidarity despite the terrible conditions of violence
and oppression in Zimbabwe, they are simply postponing a crisis.

Far better that they talk seriously with Mr Mugabe about implementing a
rational plan for genuinely engaging the opposition in the political life of
the country, re-establishing democratic institutions and norms and making
them function in return for aid, trade and investment from the G8 and other
countries that would help to restore Zimbabwe's economy and save its people.

(responses to:
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Sunday Times SA

US, EU worry about Zimbabwe

Tuesday June 21, 2005 08:29 - (SA)

WASHINGTON - The United States and the European Union have expressed concern
about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and said they stood ready to
provide help in the event of food shortages there.

"The US and the EU note with deep concern the continuing governance and
human rights crisis in Zimbabwe, which has led to a near breakdown of the
economic situation of one of the most promising economies in Africa and
caused huge flows of Zimbabweans to flee to neighbouring countries,"
according to a joint statement released here after the annual US-EU summit.

"We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to reverse anti-democratic policies
and to open a genuine dialogue with all stakeholders," they said.

"We also note that serious food shortages are looming in Zimbabwe, and we
stand ready, as in the past, to assist the Zimbabwean people with food aid
and other humanitarian assistance," they said.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn in recent years, characterised by
foreign currency shortages, triple digit inflation and high unemployment.

The country is also facing shortages of basic commodities such as the
national staple cornmeal, cooking oil and sugar.

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Los Angeles Times

Zimbabwe Slum Dwellers Are Left With Only Dust

.. Opposition party sees government order to demolish illegal shacks as
political punishment.

By Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer

MBARE, Zimbabwe - The air was filled with dust and fear as riot police with
guns forced Farisai Gatawa's husband to tear down the couple's one-room
shack on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. That night they slept on
cardboard in the wind. Nyasha, their baby girl of 2 weeks, grew cold,
coughed and would not settle.

At dawn, Gatawa, 27, sat amid the chaos and panic of the spreading
government-ordered demolitions, cradling her dying baby, with not the
vaguest idea how to save her. At 8 in the morning, Nyasha's eyes closed and
no amount of rocking, hugging or nursing would bring her back. It is winter
in Zimbabwe, and the mother believes she died of cold.

Some have called it the war on the poor. Hundreds of thousands have been
left homeless as the government enters the fifth week of a national campaign
to tear down every unauthorized shack or street stall in cities big and
small, and even in remote rural villages.

"These are the poorest of the poor," said David Coltart, a parliament member
from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. "This was horrifying,
the scale of it."

Police vans cruise the streets with loudspeakers telling people to pull down
shacks. Men with grim faces attack their modest shelters with hammers,
mallets and their bare hands. Subdued families roost on the leftover rubble
and timber.

In a massive piece of social engineering sure to change Zimbabwe's political
landscape for years, President Robert Mugabe's regime is driving the urban
poor, who generally support the opposition, into the countryside. The
intent, critics say, is to build strongholds of support for the ruling
ZANU-PF party in Zimbabwe's cities and break up pockets of opposition. The
government says it is simply cracking down on illegal stalls and shacks.

Operation Murambatsvina, a Shona phrase for "clean out the filth," has
already sent 200,000 people into the streets, according to United Nations
estimates. Nongovernmental organizations like the Harare Residents Assn.
estimate that at least 1 million will be uprooted before the campaign is
over. About 30,000 were arrested, mostly for trading violations.

U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli described the demolitions as a
"tragedy, crime, horror that the government of Zimbabwe is perpetrating on
its people." On Monday, the U.N. said it would send a special envoy to the
country to investigate the crackdown.

"We are thinking now, 'Are we dirty or are our houses dirty?' " said Mbare
resident George Goko, 32, who was forced to pull down his shack three weeks

Roads across the country are packed with homeless people pushing handcarts
filled with their possessions, or crowding onto buses heading for remote
villages where they or their parents were born. Gas shortages force many to
walk for miles in search of new homes. Once they arrive, they are greeted by
the chronic hunger and unemployment that plague rural Zimbabwe, and village
chiefs who often tell them to go back where they came from.

In Hatcliffe, a shantytown on dry grassland outside Harare where hundreds of
shacks were demolished, Dominican nuns were ordered to tear down a day
center they had set up for 120 orphans.

Anna Chipene, the center's caretaker, sat glumly beside the ashes of a dead
fire, a sad symbol of her life in Hatcliffe. She has no choice but to go
back to her ancestral village.

"All I can do is go to my home area and just wait for the day I die with my
relatives around me," she said.

The nine-room center had a clinic where antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS
were administered. The patients, many of them children, are now scattered.

One of the nuns, Sister Patricia Walsh, is trying to trace them but has
little hope of finding even half. "We are worried sick about them," she
said. "It was the brutality of it that was unacceptable," she said of the

In recent days, police have beaten some Hatcliffe residents still sleeping
there in the open fields, and burned parts of the area to try to drive
remaining people away, opposition parliamentarian Trudy Stevenson said.

Mugabe says the aim of the campaign is to stop illegal activities that are
undermining the economy. "The current chaotic state of affairs, where
small-to-medium enterprises operated outside of the regulatory framework and
in undesignated and crime-ridden areas, could not be countenanced much
longer," Mugabe said as he convened parliament June 9.

The country's informal traders are in fact the most vibrant part of a
national economy collapsing under triple-digit inflation, depleted foreign
currency reserves and land seizures that have stifled Zimbabwe's ability to
feed itself.

The Movement for Democratic Change sees the evictions as purely political,
as the government seeks retribution against those who voted for the
opposition in controversial parliamentary elections in March. The vote was
condemned as a sham by the U.S., the European Union and human rights groups,
including Amnesty International.

Severe hunger, particularly in rural areas, has magnified the effect of the
upheavals. Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic archbishop for the southwestern
city of Bulawayo, said in an interview that since the elections the regime
has distributed scarce grain according to political lines, depriving areas
that voted for the opposition.

A new electoral system used in March allowed the government to pinpoint how
groups of a few hundred or even a few dozen voted. Ballots from each polling
booth were collected in separate boxes for three groups - those with last
names beginning with A to L, M, and N to Z. Government critics charge that
the system allowed the ruling party to isolate small pockets of opposition
support and, even by surname, mete out retribution.

"Their vote is no longer secret. It's only secret in a small group," said
Topper Whitehead of the Free Zimbabwe Support Group, an organization of
anti-government activists. "They [the authorities] want to dilute the
opposition and punish people for voting anti ZANU-PF.

"The people have got nowhere to go, so they have to go back to their rural
areas, and they become much easier to control because they join the rural
folk who are more spread out and more reliant on the government."

But the reception is cold in many of these rural districts. Operation
Murambatsvina has already begun to reach into the countryside, with rural
settlements on the demolition list. So some local chiefs are turning away
evictees flooding in from the cities, withholding maize, the staple food, as
well as permission to build homes and businesses.

"The vast majority of chiefs are not quite party hacks, but they have been
totally subverted and they've been given cars and all" by the ruling party,
said Coltart, the opposition lawmaker.

Farisai Gatawa and her husband, Archford, watched baby Nyasha's little
coffin vanish into the ground, then set out a few days later for Murewa, his
parents' hometown.

"We had no choice but to go, but we're sleeping in the open there. In the
rural areas, they're saying to go back to Harare. The chief and the other
people told us to go back," Farisai said.

Lavenda Richard also buried a daughter this month. In Mabvuku, outside
Harare, 2-year-old Chaneni Nyika toddled toward her mother with her hand
outstretched for a piece of sugarcane when a wall under demolition toppled
on her, killing her and crushing her mother's leg.

"I feel so angry. It goes straight to the government. They're the ones I
blame," Richard said.

Now she has nowhere to go. "If I go to the country, the head man will turn
us away and say, 'You never did anything for this area.' I don't even know
where to start."

After refusing most food aid last year, Mugabe recently agreed to let the
World Food Program resume general emergency distribution for up to 4 million
people, about a third of the population. But it could take four months
before the food arrives.

Opposition figures argue that not only will the evictions undermine efforts
to rally anti-government forces as hunger and shortages bite in coming
months, they will also enable ZANU-PF to extend its network of patronage and
control by giving supporters new housing and licenses for market stalls.

Public Works Minister Ignatius Chombo told the pro-government Herald
newspaper that the administration would provide affordable urban housing to
people on farms around Harare and would make sure that "genuine" informal
traders were relocated to designated areas.

The minister for small and medium businesses, Sithembiso Nyoni, spelled out
plans in a recent television interview to carefully screen future traders
and recipients of housing, forcing the poor to prove they support the
government, Coltart said.

"They have said that they will have screening processes, they will want
police reports. There's no doubt that that is also part of the intention, to
make your livelihood dependent on having a [ZANU-PF] party card, as is the
case in rural areas," Coltart said. "If there's a whole sector of society
that's reliant on ZANU-PF to live, that will inevitably erode our support."

Many regime critics, like Archbishop Ncube, have called for peaceful
protest. But people are hungry and have no shelter.

"The fire has gone out of the people," Whitehead said. "They have been
beaten into submission."

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Gulf Daily News, Bahrain

                 Tuesday        21 June 2005


                We must help Zimbabwe

                  I ALWAYS read with great interest Cathy Buckle's column,
even though it is seldom that she writes.

                  Every time I read her column, I find myself, being
British, totally embarrassed by the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans and the
lack of support they receive from my government.

                  How can a country send troops to Iraq to rid the place of
a despot and not do the same for Zimbabwe?

                  This guy running the country is no different than Hitler,
Mao, Stalin etc.

                  I think myself and most of my fellow countrymen know the
reason why. It is purely financial, we will reap the rewards from Iraq ie
OIL. But Zimbabwe, what have they got to offer? Absolutely nothing.

                  I rest my case.


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Business Day

Mugabe's clean-up 'a tactic to stifle MDC'
Hopewell Radebe


Deputy Political Editor

CIVIL society structures in Zimbabwe have accused President Robert Mugabe of
demolishing shacks and market stalls under the pretext of restoring order in
the cities to reduce the dominant position of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in urban areas.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokeswoman Bella Matambanadzo said the group
believed Mugabe had absorbed the militia youth he previously trained and
used to terrorise the countryside during elections into the Zimbabwean

These youths were now being used in the campaign in which people's houses
and informal trading stores had been razed.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the campaign was an attempt to punish
and intimidate the party's supporters ahead of local government elections,
expected to take place within the next two years.

Yesterday police said they were taking the campaign to prosperous suburbs of
the capital, where they will target illegal property developments and houses
that have been turned into offices.

Addressing a conference arranged by the Centre for the Study of Violence and
Reconciliation in Johannesburg to discuss the crisis, Matambanadzo said a
lack of fuel in Zimbabwe meant that destitute people were forced to carry
furniture on their backs as they moved from one town to another searching
for shelter, as they could not afford transport costs.

She said an estimated 1-million Zimbabweans had been left homeless since the
government launched its three operations targeting informal settlement

Themba Nyathi said that the demolitions were designed to hide the Zimbabwean
economy's backward slide.

"They are trying to hide the poverty of the people to display false claims
that the country's economic reforms are improving the lives of ordinary
Zimbabweans." With Sapa
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The Mercury

      We can't fix Zim, says SA govt
      June 21, 2005

      By Basildon Peta & Hans Pienaar

      South Africa said it had "noted" Zimbabwe's clampdown on street
traders and informal settlements which had left more than one million people

      But the Department of Foreign Affairs said only the people of Zimbabwe
could resolve their problems and South Africa could only lend a helping

      The department spoke after the Democratic Alliance and the African
Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) launched a broadside at South Africa's
continued silence in the face of the unrelenting clampdown described by
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz as "inhuman and tragic".

      A video at a press briefing in Johannesburg yesterday by the
Solidarity Peace Trust showed the extent of the callousness of the exercise,
with women and children hardest hit.

      One woman, shown on the video holding an infant, sought refuge in
nearby bush after her shack had been demolished.

      President Robert Mugabe has justified "Operation Restore Order" as
meant to clean up the cities. But his critics have said it is aimed at
vengeance on the urban poor who constantly back the opposition.

      ACDP President Kenneth Meshoe accused South Africa of continuing to
show disregard for the plight of Zimbabweans. The DA said President Thabo
Mbeki should condemn the Zimbabwean government's clampdown to ensure
Africa's credibility at next month's G8 summit.

      Separately, the United Nations Development Programme's former deputy
head, Hilde Johnson, who is Norway's Minister for International Development,
told The Mercury from Oslo that on the international development scene
officials were "desperate".

      "It is a credibility issue in terms of the African leaders and the
development of the whole continent, and how they address critical situations
in their own sphere," she said.

      "How can one move in the direction of preventing conflict (and other
goals) . . . getting African leaders to solve their own problems when there
is less of an interest in getting strongly involved in Zimbabwe?"

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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe commandeers Air Zimbabwe jet

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/21/2005 08:52:54
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last Saturday commandeered an Air Zimbabwe plane
from London to pick him up from Cairo, Egypt, New can reveal.

Air Zimbabwe officials turned-up at Gatwick Airport as the plane was about
to take off for Harare and ordered passengers who had booked the business
class to get off the plane, leading to a three-hour delay.

A passenger who was on the plane told New "Air Zimbabwe
officials flatly refused to say why the passengers were being ordered off
the plane. At that stage, no-one knew the plane had in fact been re-routed
to go via Cairo to pick-up Mugabe, his wife and their shopping."

Mugabe was returning from a Group of 77-China summit in Doha, Qatar.

This is not the first time Air Zimbabwe has been forced to leave passengers
behind at considerable expense to the ailing airliner which is a shadow of
its former self.

Last year, the former editor of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper
and his chief report Dumisani Muleya were arrested for correctly reporting
that the 81-year-old leader had commandeered a jet from the state-owned Air
Zimbabwe for use during a holiday in Asia.

In December 2003, Mugabe and his wife had used another Air Zimbabwe jet to
travel to an international conference in Geneva and to visit Egypt, which
forced Air Zimbabwe to charter another jet for more than US$1 million.

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New Zimbabwe

Tsvangirai, Ncube to diffuse SA tribal tensions

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/21/2005 09:57:27
ZIMBABWE'S opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders are
scrambling to South Africa on Wednesday to diffuse tensions between the
party's supporters after five activists were arrested following violent
tribal clashes which left a man dead and two missing.

The party's President Morgan Tsvangirai and secretary general Welshman Ncube
are expected to read the riot act to the MDC's South African leadership,
sources said.

New exclusively revealed last week how a vicious war for the
control of the opposition party in South Africa had led to the death of
activist Lungile Moyo, originally from Lupane.

The rival groups of MDC supporters, one called MDC Zimbabwe Action Support
Group (ZASG) and the other from the mainstream party, the MDC South Africa
branch, have been battling for turf since last year, according to sources.

Sources say the former group is mainly composed of MDC activists who
recently fled Zimbabwe, many of whom are on the police wanted list for
alleged political offences. The group mainly has Shonas speakers.

On the other hand, MDC South Africa branch is said to be composed of mainly
Zimbabweans who have been resident in South Africa for a long time, largely
Ndebele speakers driven into exile by a post-independence army crackdown in
the Matabeleland region. This group, according to sources, views ZASG as
full of infiltrators and political opportunists.

Remember Moyo, the leader of ZASG told New this week that two
MDC activists and members of his group Liberty Ncube and Musa Mhlanga were
still unaccounted for, almost two weeks after the clashes. The two were
kidnapped at gunpoint outside the Royal Hotel, Hillbrow, in Johannesburg,
and Moyo has given this website names of their alleged captors and the
registration details of the car used. One of the people he named has since
been arrested.

"Apparently the kidnappers work at the MDC security desk in Braamfontein and
purport to be true MDC members," Moyo said. "However from what has
transpired it becomes clear that their political affiliation, orientation,
disposition and purpose are otherwise."

Describing the clashes as "an injury to political activism for exiled
democracy advocates", Moyo appealed to the South African police to act
swiftly to rescue the two activists alive or find their bodies.

"A search at mortuaries has yielded nothing, and each passing day gives us
hope the two will be found alive," said Moyo who was acquitted last year on
allegations of murdering war veterans leader Cain Nkala.

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      Zimbabwe nets 161 illegal immigrants in cleanup operation 2005-06-21 15:13:23

          HARARE, June 21 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zimbabwe Police have arrested
335 commercial sex workers and rounded up 161 illegal immigrants as part of
an operation to clean up lodges and flats in Harare.

          Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Whisper Bondai was
quoted on Tuesday by the Herald as saying that the commercial sex workers
and the immigrants were nabbed mostly in the Avenues area, after police
raided lodges that had allegedly been turned into brothels.

          "During the cleanup operation to restore order, we raided lodges
and flats in the Avenues area and arrested a total of 335 prostitutes and
161 immigrants," said Bondai.

          The spokesman said the arrested immigrants had fake travel
documents while others failed to produce valid travel documents or permits.

          The immigrants are from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Algeria, Ghana and Liberia.

          Bondai said people should not politicize the arrest of aliens
since Zimbabwe was a friendly country that was simply trying to maintain

          "We are a friendly country and not enemies to the various
countries that had their citizens affected. What we are saying is that they
should use the proper channels when visiting Zimbabwe," he said.

          The Avenues area, he added, was fast becoming a hotspot for
criminals engaged in illegal foreign currency transactions. Enditem

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