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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Click here to see a collection of pictures of what is happening in Zimbabwe at the moment.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Straw says Africa is blind to Zimbabwe's crisis

June 23, 2005, 06:45

Britain and Africa are heading for a war of words after the British
government criticised leaders of the continent over Zimbabwe. Jack Straw,
the British Foreign Secretary, says there is a lack of commitment by all of
Africa's leaders to recognise the scale of horror unfolding in Zimbabwe.

Straw was referring to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's clean-up
campaign that, according to the United Nations, has left 200 000 people
homeless. Straw has urged African leaders to confront Mugabe about his
government's human rights violations.

Illegal structures
Thousands of self-employed people have seen their informal shops demolished
and goods confiscated in the six-week campaign. President Robert Mugabe's
government says illegal structures in cities are a haven for illegal trade
in foreign currency and scarce food items and other banned activities.

The campaign has sparked angry criticism from Zimbabwe's main opposition
party, as well as human rights and religious groups, who say it is unfairly
targeting the urban poor.

The United Nations said it planned to send a special envoy to Zimbabwe to
investigate the crackdown.

Local authorities in Harare have also warned they will enforce an existing
ban on growing crops like the staple maize in open areas including along
stream-banks, which they say have caused environmental degradation in urban

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Excerpt from:

State Dept . Daily Press Briefing June 22, 2005
Press Release: US State Department
State Dept . Daily Press Briefing June 22, 2005

Daily Press Briefing
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 22, 2005

Do you have a question?

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
any --

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
policies, both internationally through the Commonwealth and through other
organizations, and regionally through the South African group, SADC, and

It is a tough task when you've got a leadership that is so intent on
continuing abusive policies. But it is an effort that, I think, we continue
to exert 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.

[there were no more references to Zimbabwe]
Back to the Top
Back to Index
Africa: a land of opportunity or a problem to be avoided?
Sara Dorman June 23
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 gender roles?

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 Aids.

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 realities.

Dr Sara Rich Dorman is lecturer in African Politics at the School of Social and Political Studies, Edinburgh University.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Global Politician

Mugabe Forbids Food Growing In Backyards - Millions Starving
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 will.

The reasons given for his actions are absoluteely. The people are
struggling to get food and stand for hours on end in food queues. The people
are just trying to feed themselves in a country which has been on the verge
of famine for years, and millions would already starve to death were it not
for food from the UN or (secretly) from South Africa. They are, at best,
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, including food.

So far, only the United States criticized Mugabe's action. South
Africa has not only kept quiet, but actually supported the regime, both
secretly and openly.

Where is the world?

Mugabe has said he will allow a UN inspection. But the Useless
Nations - as the UN really should be called - will probably do little or
even nothing.

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
has done anything close to the evil that this man has gotten away with.

The Black African states are refusing to deal with Robert Mugabe, and
some even admire him. They will never condemn him - even if he slaughters
millions of 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
outright Dictator.

So where are the British now to take responsibility for this maniac
whom they helped to get in power? I haven't seen bombers flying over
Zimbabwe, Naval forces in the Mozambique channel or the SAS sneaking into
southern Africa, 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 down.

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.

Sanctions 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.
Politically Correct 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 Black.

Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia,
during the "Bush War", which resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to power. He
was educated in Harare, the capital of the country, before leaving for South
Africa, where he spent some time in the Navy. He wrote a book called
"Government by Deception" about African politics related to Zimbabwe and the
effects Mugabe's policies may have on other countries.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


AI Index: AFR 46/017/2005 (Public)
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
rights groups
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
people of Zimbabwe.

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
Secretary-General, to publicly condemn the ongoing mass violations and take
effective action to stop them.

"The appointment of a UN Special Envoy to investigate the mass violations
taking place in Zimbabwe is welcome," said a representative of the
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 immediately."

"The AU and UN simply cannot ignore such an unprecedented, wide-ranging
appeal on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, particularly from African civil
society," said a coalition representative. "African solidarity should be
with the people of Africa -- not their repressive leaders."

Amongst the human rights and civic groups signing the Joint Appeal are
Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, the Inter Africa Network for Human
Rights (AFRONET), Amnesty International, the Centre on Housing Rights and
Evictions (COHRE), the International Bar Association's Human Rights
Institute, and the International Crisis Group.

For interview requests, please ring the following local coalition contact

UN: Tel: +1 212 867 8878 ext 4 or +44 (0)7778472 109
Lagos: Tel: +234 (01) 5550277 / 493560
Johannesburg: Tel: +27 (082) 4112946, +27 (011) 4037746; +27(082) 5487441
Windhoek: Tel: +264 (0)61 223 356
Cairo: Tel: +20 (0)2 347 4360 or +20 (0) 12 347 5203 or +41 (0)79 503 1485
Harare: Tel: +263 (0)11 209 468 or +263 4 708 118

Public Document
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:

For latest human rights news view

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Stuff, New Zealand

Govt can not stop cricket tour of Zimbabwe - Goff
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
abrogate that," 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

NZC chief executive Martin Snedden said the team would be liable for a fine
of more than $US2 million ($NZ2.82 million) for unjustified cancellation
under 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 million being
paid to the International Cricket Council when there are other pressing
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 Zimbabwe.

"We have, more consistently, I think, than any other country, perhaps with
the exception of the United Kingdom, totally condemned the Zimbabwe regime.
We have sanctions against Mugabe and his henchmen, I guess symbolic, they're
not about to come to New Zealand, they wouldn't be welcome here. They can't
come here."

He had done what he could with NZC.

"I've written to Martin Snedden. I've pointed out the human rights abuses
that concern the Government and New Zealanders. I've pointed out what has
happened in the past. For example, last year the English cricket team took
steps to ensure that they would not be required to shake hands or meet with
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.

New Zealand Cricket Players' Association executive director Heath Mills said
the players were "very sympathetic" to the situation in Zimbabwe.

"Like all New Zealanders they are concerned with what they see going on
there, the pictures that we see on the news etc," he said.

"However, I think the players recognise that they are part of an
international cricketing 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 international obligations.

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," he said.

Other touring in recent years had ensured they did not meet with any
political representatives while on tour and NZC had given players that

Back to the Top
Back to Index

NewstalkZB, New Zealand

Cricket tour seen as PR coup for Mugabe
23/06/2005 13:46:10

Opposition politicians in Zimbabwe say a tour by the Black Caps will
inevitably give support to President Robert Mugabe.

Shadow Justice spokesman David Coltart says his country is in crisis, with
the Mugabe regime targeting impoverished people who voted against him in the
last election.

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
"appalling regime"

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 elections.

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 tour.

Spokesman Nkanyiso Maqeda told Newstalk ZB it is a betrayal of the
Zimbabwean people, who have been left destitute.

He says the government is desperate for any form of international legitimacy
and recognition.

Mr Maqeda says when any international community engages in activity with the
current regime it is seen as a public relations coup.

Back to the Top
Back to Index