Click here to see a collection of pictures of what is happening in Zimbabwe at the moment.
Straw says Africa is blind to Zimbabwe's crisis
Britain and Africa are heading for a war of words after the
government criticised leaders of the continent over Zimbabwe. Jack
the British Foreign Secretary, says there is a lack of commitment by
Africa's leaders to recognise the scale of horror unfolding in
Straw was referring to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's
campaign that, according to the United Nations, has left 200 000
homeless. Straw has urged African leaders to confront Mugabe about
government's human rights violations.
Thousands of self-employed people have seen their informal shops
and goods confiscated in the six-week campaign. President Robert
government says illegal structures in cities are a haven for
in foreign currency and scarce food items and other banned
The campaign has sparked angry criticism from Zimbabwe's main
party, as well as human rights and religious groups, who say it
targeting the urban poor.
The United Nations said it
planned to send a special envoy to Zimbabwe to
Local authorities in Harare have also warned they will enforce
ban on growing crops like the staple maize in open areas
stream-banks, which they say have caused environmental
degradation in urban
State Dept . Daily Press Briefing June 22,
Press Release: US State Department
State Dept . Daily Press
Briefing June 22, 2005
Daily Press Briefing
Adam Ereli, Deputy
June 22, 2005
Do you have a
QUESTION: Yes. The Zimbabwe Government appears to have taken
another step in
its urban clearance program that you've criticized before.
This time they
seem to have banned the practice of urban agriculture. I
wondered if you had
MR. ERELI: I hadn't seen that. I'll have
to see what we -- if we have
anything new to say on that particular
development. Obviously, the
Government of Zimbabwe has a fairly -- has a
deplorable record of actions
taken against the interests of and welfare of
its citizens. And we spoke to
them, the most recent one of those a few days
ago, in talking about the
destruction of people's homes and businesses for
unacceptable reasons. We
called on the Government of Zimbabwe to stop it.
Unfortunately, we haven't
seen -- I don't think we've seen them change their
pattern of abuse.
QUESTION: Are you undertaking any particular diplomatic
initiatives here? I
just notice that The Washington Post editorialized this
morning that this
campaign sort of bears resemblance to some of things that
Pol Pot did in
Cambodia. And there may be estimates of several hundred
thousand people left
MR. ERELI: Well, obviously, we've got
-- we've taken bilateral measures in
terms of sanctions and other
restrictions, government to government. We work
diplomatically to call
attention to these outrages, to make -- to exert
efforts to influence and
cause the Government of Zimbabwe to change its
internationally through the Commonwealth and through other
and regionally through the South African group, SADC, and
is a tough task when you've got a leadership that is so intent on
abusive policies. But it is an effort that, I think, we continue
and will not relent on.
QUESTION: Okay. That same commentary that I
mentioned faulted the South
African Government. They have a policy of quiet
diplomacy towards Zimbabwe,
which apparently isn't working. Have you been in
contact with South Africa?
MR. ERELI: It's a subject that we are
regularly engaged with the Government
of South Africa on. I'll leave it to
speak to its policies and explain
what's behind them. But obviously, we are
trying to encourage others to take
actions, meaningful actions, that move
Zimbabwe and the leadership of
Zimbabwe in the right direction, but also say
that we are very active in
supporting fundamental freedoms in Zimbabwe and
helping the people of
Zimbabwe exercise their democratic rights in seeking
to redress wrongs that
they perceive in their own society.
were no more references to Zimbabwe]
Africa: a land of opportunity or
a problem to be avoided?
Africa is a problem. Britain has been unsure
of what do about Africa since the end of its empire. It just knows that Africa
is a problem. A problem of Britain's own making, at least in part. As Tony Blair
and Gordon Brown lead the effort to bring more aid to Africa, it is worth
reflecting on Britain's past encounters with Africa: the slave trade, cotton,
sugar and rubber trades all fuelling the industrial revolution, and colonialism.
The "civilising mission" came with the best of intentions, but often had
negative impacts. Our current track-record is little different.
Britain's relations with independent Africa lack
the "feel-good" aspect of the Americans with their red, white and blue-stamped
food aid. Nor have we maintained personalised, semi-colonial ties like the
French. Lacking the "solidarity" ethos of the Nordic states or Canada's pride in
its peacekeepers, Britain's development community doesn't do much flag-waving.
This is not such a bad thing. We escape the worst accusations of paternalism:
Gerard Prunier, the French analyst of Rwanda, once claimed: "France has seen
itself as a large hen followed by a docile brood of little black chicks." While
Francophone Africa was important to the French quest for international stature
during the post-war years, the rest of the continent's loyalty wavered between
the Soviet Union and the US, with the UK trailing well behind, despite the
Anglophile tendencies of many African elites, and schoolchildren, examined by
Cambridge and Oxford boards.
For British governments, Africa was a source of
"trouble" and not of "opportunity", says Professor Christopher Clapham, of the
Centre for African Studies at Cambridge University. Britain has maintained only
a minor military presence on the continent. It contributes between 0.2% and 0.4%
of its GDP to aid. It takes in refugees from wars and civil unrest. It supports
African scholars in British universities and sends teachers abroad to share
their skills. On that continent, the VSO and British Council go about their
business without much fanfare.
This may have changed. For the first time,
Africa is on the British political agenda. Since getting elected in 1997, the
Blair government has toyed with Africa as a theme, most visibly in creating the
role of the Department for International Development. But promises of debt
relief and increased aid are balanced by cuts to the number of Africa-watchers
within the FCO and the closure of embassies in Africa.
The post-9/11 security agenda also envelops
Africa in a further set of concerns. Intelligence agencies say Africa combines a
highly combustible mixture of poverty and Islam. They fear it will become a
recruiting ground for terrorists, provide networks for money-laundering and be
the site of further al Qaeda attacks, such as the 1998 US Embassy bombings in
Kenya and Tanzania. But the security risk is over-emphasised, to the detriment
of African economies reliant on tourism. At the same time, western oil companies
are investing in Africa's oil reserves, to balance those of the Middle East.
Africa's political and economic importance, declining after the Cold War, is
perversely reinforced by the new war on terror.
While policy-makers sometimes seem
over-sensitive about the colonial past, the public dismiss it as ancient
history. Thanks to school curriculums that rarely engage with Africa, many are
ignorant of its impact, even where it took place. How many Britons realise we
governed the former Italian colony of Eritrea for 10 years before handing it
over to the Ethiopians and setting the stage for 30 years of bitter warfare? Or
that the spread of Aids in Africa is linked to economic change and forced labour
migration that split up families and generated new norms of sexual behaviour and
Zimbabwe typifies our discomfort with the legacy
of settler colonialism. Those who, like Peter Hain and Peter Tatchell, supported
Mugabe's forces against Ian Smith's rebel government, feel betrayed by the
current regime. Others, with family connections, memories of Victoria Falls or
investments, are simply outraged. Since 2000, the British government has cut
development aid, military training and imposed "smart" sanctions along with the
rest of the EU. But despite this megaphone diplomacy, conditions in Zimbabwe
have only worsened. The problem, however, is not that we condemn the actions of
the Zimbabwean state, but that we do not condemn the violence, corruption and
oppression of other states with the same intensity.
Let's be honest, Africa is also an opportunity
for government and industry. Africa is an avid consumer of British exports. Some
£1bn worth of arms, last year, for example. Somehow, since 1999, arms sales to
Africa have almost quadrupled and licences have been issued for the export of
military equipment to some of the poorest states, and most oppressive
governments, on the continent: Eritrea, Angola and Somalia.
Meanwhile, the NHS is propped up by thousands of
African doctors and nurses. The BBC claims that African teachers "rescued"
London schools from collapse. Despite having invested in years of education and
training, African states are now short of professional staff, with catastrophic
consequences for health services over-whelmed by poverty and
Colonial economies were designed to contribute
to the metropolitan economy – and to a large extent they still do. But tariffs
on processed crops ensure that most exports are of raw, unprocessed goods and
European subsidies squeeze African farmers out of the market. When British
farmers complain about competing with mange-tout flown in from Kenya or Zambia,
they shouldn't think that "ordinary" Africans benefit from these
capital-intensive farms and their global networks. Development aid also supports
a substantial UK-based community of experts, consultants and volunteers. Their
interventions, however well-intentioned, are often unpredictable and too rarely
bring the promised results.
And what of the Africans among us? Britain is
happy to employ African nurses and doctors, and consume their fruits, vegetables
and wines, but the determination of asylum claims reveals a woeful lack of
knowledge of African states. Ignorance, intentional misreading of documents and
an unwillingness to believe African applicants dominate the process.
The UK's policies on returning failed
asylum-seekers to their homes, often still unstable and unsafe, were condemned
by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees this month. The British Red Cross says
there are at least 25,000 failed asylum-seekers who have evaded deportation,
living in destitute poverty on our streets. Poor Africans in Africa need our
help; Africans among us are still a problem.
The political need
to lower numbers of asylum-seekers and refugees wins out over concerns about
human rights abuses, the rule of law or the quality of life for Africans. Africa
remains a problem that can't be allowed to get in the way of political
Dr Sara Rich Dorman is lecturer in African Politics at the
School of Social and Political Studies, Edinburgh
Mugabe Forbids Food Growing In Backyards -
Jan Lamprecht - 6/23/2005
Just as Eddie
Cross of the opposition MDC predicted a short while
back, Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe has wiped out homes, and even
bulldozed grocery stores - in
mid-winter. Eddie Cross estimated two million
Blacks will become homeless as
a result of the dictator's actions. The UN
estimates that this campaign,
which has taken only 1 month, has already
resulted in 1.5 million Blacks
losing their homes. As unbelievable as this
may sound, at the time when
Zimbabwe needs to import 1.2 million tons of
food to support its population,
Mugabe has banned people from growing food
in their own yards in urban areas
to feed their own families. It appears to
me that Mr. Mugabe wants to be in
complete control of the food supply so
that he can starve people at
The reasons given for his actions are absoluteely. The people
struggling to get food and stand for hours on end in food queues. The
are just trying to feed themselves in a country which has been on the
of famine for years, and millions would already starve to death were
for food from the UN or (secretly) from South Africa. They are, at
just managing to survive.
In my book, Government by
Deception, I wrote about the need for
socialist governments to create a
dependency on politicians. They work hard,
as they try to control the
populace, to find ways of making the people
depend on them for everything,
So far, only the United States criticized Mugabe's
Africa has not only kept quiet, but actually supported the
secretly and openly.
Where is the
Mugabe has said he will allow a UN inspection. But the
Nations - as the UN really should be called - will probably do
What is happening is despicable. South
Africa's Apartheid regime was
never even 1/100th as evil as Mugabe's
dictatorship. What is happening there
is unprecedented in southern African
history. And yet, the world has not
seen the worst of Mugabe. If he is
backed into a corner, this man
will not just make millions homeless -
he will kill millions.
He already wiped out 20,000 to 30,000 people
belonging to the minority
Matabele tribe in 1985 when out entire villages
were destroyed. They were
throwing Black people down wells. An old school
friend of mine (see
TheBeardedMan Blog spot) was a Policeman in Zimbabwe and
had the opportunity
to see some of the aftermath of Mugabe's mass murder in
the 1980's. Mugabe
is capable of murdering not merely tens or hundreds of
thousands - he is a
murderer on the scale of Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin
and Pol Pot.
This is the work of a megalomaniac who is punishing
those who voted
against him in past elections.
I find it
incomprehensible that no major country in the world will
sponsor a war
against this complete maniac of a man. Not even Saddam Hussein
anything close to the evil that this man has gotten away with.
Black African states are refusing to deal with Robert Mugabe, and
admire him. They will never condemn him - even if he slaughters
his own people.
And the British talk, but never act. The British
Bulldog is toothless.
Yet, the British were the ones who
strong-armed Zimbabwe's first
democratically elected, pro-Western Black
Prime Minister, Bishop Abel
Muzorewa into handing over to this
Chinese-sponsored Communist cretin -
Mugabe - who used intimidation to win
his first election back in 1980. He
has cheated in several elections ever
since. He clothes himself in a weak
charade of so-called "democracy" - but
he is, and has almost always been, an
where are the British now to take responsibility for this maniac
helped to get in power? I haven't seen bombers flying over
forces in the Mozambique channel or the SAS sneaking into
as happened during the era of Ian Smith's rule.
The British had a
lot to say at the time, but where are they now? In
the 1960's, when Rhodesia
issued the Universal Declaration of Independence,
the British sent the Royal
Navy to hunt down tankers bringing oil to
Rhodesia. The UN declared Rhodesia
a "threat to world peace" and the whole
world immediately declared
"comprehensive sanctions" on 250,000 of White
people, who were trying to
stand in the gap, trying to prevent absolute
vicious dictators like Mugabe
from bringing that country down to where it is
now. White people were
allegedly the vicious criminals which the world could
not wait to kick
But no destruction ever took place in Rhodesia. Rhodesia grew
amazingly fast, despite total and complete world sanctions. Rhodesians,
White and Black, never went hungry despite comprehensive world sanctions.
Rhodesia had to export its beef and other products illegally, but both
Blacks and Whites had food. They had more work too. Things were so much
better back then - but everyone attack the government of Ian Smith. And now?
Mugabe is laying waste to the country and has been bringing complete ruin to
it for the past 5 years. Yet, the world is silent.
were employed only against White people in Rhodesia and
South Africa - but
when a Black Megalomaniac Dictator commits crimes ten
thousand times worse
than any White regime ever did, we hear only silence.
hypocrites only see evil among Whites, but a Black man
can do anything he
wants, even to other Blacks. There is no evil too great -
as long as you are
Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then called
during the "Bush War", which resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to
was educated in Harare, the capital of the country, before leaving
Africa, where he spent some time in the Navy. He wrote a book
"Government by Deception" about African politics related to Zimbabwe
effects Mugabe's policies may have on other countries.
AI Index: AFR 46/017/2005
News Service No: 170
23 June 2005
Embargo Date: 23 June
2005 09:00 GMT
Zimbabwe: Unprecendented call for UN and AU action
over evictions by 200
As the human rights situation in
Zimbabwe steadily deteriorates, with more
than 300,000 now evicted from
their homes by the government and a UN Special
Envoy appointed to
investigate the destruction and evictions, a coalition of
more than 200
African and international NGOs today issued an unprecedented
Joint Appeal to
the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) to help the
Strongly condemning the mass forced evictions, the coalition of
organizations urged Nigerian President Obasanjo, as Chair of the AU, to put
the crisis in Zimbabwe on the agenda of the upcoming AU Assembly --
scheduled to take place in Libya on 4 - 5 July.
The coalition also
called on relevant bodies at the UN, including the
publicly condemn the ongoing mass violations and take
effective action to
"The appointment of a UN Special Envoy to investigate the mass
taking place in Zimbabwe is welcome," said a representative of
coalition. "But effective action must also be taken immediately to help
those already sleeping on the streets, beside the rubble of their homes --
and to ensure that the evictions and demolitions stop
"The AU and UN simply cannot ignore such an unprecedented,
appeal on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, particularly from
society," said a coalition representative. "African solidarity
with the people of Africa -- not their repressive
Amongst the human rights and civic groups signing the Joint
Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, the Inter Africa Network for
Rights (AFRONET), Amnesty International, the Centre on Housing Rights
Evictions (COHRE), the International Bar Association's Human Rights
Institute, and the International Crisis Group.
requests, please ring the following local coalition contact
UN: Tel: +1 212 867 8878 ext 4 or +44 (0)7778472
Lagos: Tel: +234 (01) 5550277 / 493560
Johannesburg: Tel: +27 (082)
4112946, +27 (011) 4037746; +27(082) 5487441
Windhoek: Tel: +264 (0)61 223
Cairo: Tel: +20 (0)2 347 4360 or +20 (0) 12 347 5203 or +41 (0)79 503
Harare: Tel: +263 (0)11 209 468 or +263 4 708
For more information
please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:
For latest human
rights news view http://news.amnesty.org
Stuff, New Zealand
Govt can not stop cricket tour of Zimbabwe -
23 June 2005
Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff is defending the
Government's stance on
New Zealand Cricket's (NZC) decision to go ahead with
a tour of Zimbabwe.
The Government had no legal means and would not
try to exercise any means
through the law to physically prevent New
Zealanders from leaving this
country, he said today.
"That is a
fundamental right of all New Zealanders. We're not about to
Mr Goff told National Radio.
"We're not in a position to stop the team
going at all."
Nevertheless, the Government would prefer the tour not
take place "because
of the appalling things that the (President Robert)
Mugabe regime is doing
to its own people".
NZC yesterday said players
had unanimously agreed to embark on the five-week
tour to Zimbabwe in August
after an independent security report gave the all
executive Martin Snedden said the team would be liable for a fine
than $US2 million ($NZ2.82 million) for unjustified cancellation
International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations.
Mr Goff said Green Party
co-leader Rod Donald had suggested to him that the
Government could pay the
$2.8 million fine.
"I don't think New Zealand taxpayers would appreciate $2.8
paid to the International Cricket Council when there are other
needs," he said.
Mr Donald had also said the Government
could stop the team going.
"Well you can't stop them going. Only a
dictatorial, autocratic regime can
stop New Zealanders from leaving their
own country," Mr Goff said.
"That's exactly what we're protesting about
in terms of what Mugabe is
Mr Goff said he did not think this
country had any problems with its image
abroad in relation to
"We have, more consistently, I think, than any other country,
the exception of the United Kingdom, totally condemned the
We have sanctions against Mugabe and his henchmen, I guess
not about to come to New Zealand, they wouldn't be welcome
here. They can't
He had done what he could with
"I've written to Martin Snedden. I've pointed out the human rights
that concern the Government and New Zealanders. I've pointed out what
happened in the past. For example, last year the English cricket team
steps to ensure that they would not be required to shake hands or meet
Robert Mugabe," he said.
"I've indicated how they did that and
suggested to New Zealand Cricket that
they do the same. They've apparently
picked up that suggestion."
Asked what he would do if he were New Zealand
cricket captain Stephen
Fleming, he said that if he did not have contractual
obligations, he would
opt out of touring Zimbabwe.
Cricket Players' Association executive director Heath Mills said
were "very sympathetic" to the situation in Zimbabwe.
"Like all New
Zealanders they are concerned with what they see going on
pictures that we see on the news etc," he said.
"However, I think the
players recognise that they are part of an
community and that if we wish to remain so we have
obligations to fulfil,
and one of those is touring Zimbabwe."
Players had not been asked
directly whether they would prefer not to go if
it were not for the
NZC was contracted to the ICC and the players
were contracted to NZC.
"When they sign those contracts they have
obligations to fulfil in terms of
a touring programme for the next 12 months
and they are cricketers, that's
how they earn their money, so they will be
going on this tour," Mr Mills
He confirmed the Government had
said it would prefer players in the team to
not have any contact with Mr
Mugabe or his representatives.
"The players are keen, they respect that,"
Other touring in recent years had ensured they did not meet with
political representatives while on tour and NZC had given players that
NewstalkZB, New Zealand
Cricket tour seen as PR coup for
Opposition politicians in Zimbabwe say
a tour by the Black Caps will
inevitably give support to President Robert
Shadow Justice spokesman David Coltart says his country is in
the Mugabe regime targeting impoverished people who voted
against him in the
He accepts that sport and
politics should be separate issues.
Mr Coltart told Radio Rhema's Bob
McCoskrie that cannot happen in his
country, however, when the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union's President is Mr Mugabe
He says the tour
will inevitably be seen as support for what he calls an
Mr Coltart says the world does not seem to appreciate what is
going on in
Zimbabwe, or care.
He says many people in his country
are suffering from malnutrition or AIDS,
and now poor people are being
thrown into the streets for voting against
President Robert Mugabe in recent
He says it is inappropriate for the New Zealand cricket
team to tour.
Another opposition group, the Movement for Democratic
Change, is also deeply
disappointed New Zealand Cricket has decided to
Spokesman Nkanyiso Maqeda told Newstalk ZB it is a betrayal of
Zimbabwean people, who have been left destitute.
He says the
government is desperate for any form of international legitimacy
Mr Maqeda says when any international community engages
in activity with the
current regime it is seen as a public relations