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U.N. appeals for more aid to Zimbabwe children

Tue 26 Jun 2007, 12:46 GMT
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GENEVA, June 26 (Reuters) - The United Nations asked donors on Tuesday to set aside their reservations about Zimbabwe's governance and provide funds to help increasingly desperate children in the southern African country.

UNICEF spokeswoman Veronique Taveau said the U.N. children's agency has received only 30 percent of the $14 million it needs for health, education, nutrition and other projects this year in Zimbabwe, where drought stands to worsen a deep economic crisis.

"We need money to be able to provide help," she told reporters in Geneva. "Because of the human rights situation there, lots of donors are resistant to give money. But the situation on the ground, particularly for children, is dramatic."

The IMF and other key Western donors, including the World Bank, suspended financial aid to Zimbabwe more than six years ago over President Robert Mugabe's policies including the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to new black farmers.

Poor harvests this year, attributed to drought as well as insufficient fertiliser and fuel, have worsened poverty in the country where UNICEF said inflation has reached 4,530 percent, making basic goods unaffordable to many.

International aid groups have said more than one third of Zimbabwe's 13.1 million people will require food aid by the start of next year.

Mugabe, sole ruler of Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, blames his country's economic problems on sabotage by Western powers. Britain, the United States and other Western nations deny that they have waged economic war against Mugabe, saying they are trying to support democracy in the country.

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Paying for the man they hate

June 27, 2007

More than 500 Zimbabwean exiles packed into the unlikely setting of the Lewsey Community Centre in Luton. They wore T-shirts proclaiming “Free Zimbabwe” and “Mugabe Must Go”. They roared support when Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwe opposition leader, arrived to address them. They long for the end of Robert Mugabe’s hated regime. The paradox is that they are actually propping it up.

Everyone The Times approached at the rally last Saturday was sending money to desperate relatives in Zimbabwe. Most were scrimping and saving to remit £50, £100 or £200 each month. Some were doing two jobs to prevent their families in Harare or Bulawayo from starving. Some were single-handedly supporting a dozen or more dependents.

Between three and four million people – a quarter of Zimbabwe’s population – have left the country as its economy has collapsed. Half of Zimbabwe’s households now depend on their remittances, according to a survey by Global Poverty Research. Of those exiles at least 500,000 are thought to be living in Britain, more than in any other country except South Africa. They remit more than any other country – upward of £25 million each month by some estimates.

It is money that saves their families from starving, but it also relieves the worst of Zimbabwe’s suffering and frees up hard currency for the regime. “It’s doing a wonderful job of propping up Mugabe,” said John Robertson, a Harare economist. Without it “families would be much hungrier and much angrier”.

With 80 per cent of their compatriots unemployed, and even those with jobs having their salaries rendered worthless by an inflation rate of 4,500 per cent, the Zimbabweans at the Luton rally argued – entirely reasonably – that they had no alternative.

“You don’t want to prop up the regime but you have no choice,” said Tafadzwa Kays, 25, a computer science student at the University of Leicester who works as a cleaner or waiter by night.

Wilf Mbanga, editor of The Zimbabwean newspaper, which is published in Britain, explained the predicament. “They know in their hearts that it helps Mugabe, but the overriding thing is that you can’t sit there and watch your mother dying of hunger when you can send money home.”

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Weeds and wasted lives on the farm run by UN’s rural kingpin

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Farmers seek $14m from Zimbabwe

By Luke Peterson

Published: June 26 2007 21:13 | Last updated: June 26 2007 21:13

A group of dispossessed Dutch farmers has launched a novel compensation claim against Zimbabwe after their farms were seized in a series of violent land invasions they say were backed by Robert Mugabe’s government.

The lawsuit has been launched at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arbitration tribunal housed at the World Bank in Washington. It underlines the potential for private litigants to sue governments for compensation in politically explosive areas using official bilateral investment treaties.

The 14 Dutch nationals have taken advantage of an investment treaty between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands that enables them to bypass Zimbabwean courts.

The farmers allege that Mr Mugabe’s government breached its international law obligations by failing to provide adequate police protection for Dutch property owners in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2002 and by actively supporting a series of violent land invasions that led to their farms being abandoned. They add that the Zimbabwean government subjected them to unlawful racial discrimination by targeting white farmers.

“Dutch investors who lived on and nurtured these farms were entitled to protection under the treaty and are entitled to compensation for the loss of their property,” said Charles O. Verrill from the law firm Wiley Rein, the lead counsel for the farmers.

“We have video of people being forced out of their houses by war veterans – a group that was organised and supported by the government,” he said. “To me, that’s not providing the ‘full protection and security’ that the investment treaty requires.”

The Dutch farmers bred cattle and produced tobacco, flowers, maize, coffee and soybeans. They are each seeking around $1m for loss of property and agricultural equipment. The case is the first against Zimbabwe at ICSID.

Zimbabwe’s deputy ambassador to the US, Gideon Gapare, said Zimbabwe was “fully co-operating” with the proceedings but declined to comment on the merits of the case.

Zimbabwe has until July 6 to file a preliminary defence, as well as any objections to the jurisdiction of the arbitration tribunal which has been convened to hear the dispute. Hearings are scheduled for late October.

The case follows several politically contentious international investment disputes, including a compensation claim by three Italian mining companies against the South African government for expropriating their mineral rights, a case linked to South Africa’s black economic empowerment laws.

A first hearing in the Zimbabwe case was held in December 2006 in Paris, a site selected by the parties as a neutral venue. Zimbabwe’s attorney-general, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, was blocked from attending that meeting by EU-wide travel restrictions on leading figures in Mr Mugabe’s administration.

But after intervention by the secretary-general of ICSID, the French foreign ministry has offered assurances that it will provide visas so Zimbabwean officials can take part in future hearings on French soil.

A handful of countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark, have investment protection treaties with Zimbabwe. A treaty with the UK – which boasted the largest number of nationals farming in Zimbabwe – was never ratified.

“There are other potential claimants from Switzerland, from Germany, and the Netherlands who may be in a position to assert [further] claims,” Mr Verrill said.

Agric Africa, a UK-based group that has helped co-ordinate the Dutch farmers’ arbitration claim, has received a small grant from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, a non-profit organisation established by the financier and philanthropist George Soros.

Additional reporting by Alan Beattie

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Zimbabwe May Nationalize Foreign Banks, Mining

epoch times

HARARE-Zimbabwe will transfer control of all companies, including
foreign-owned banks and some mining operations, to locals if a planned
empowerment bill is passed, a government minister said on Tuesday.
The move is likely to deepen the country's economic turmoil and could give
President Robert Mugabe an opportunity to enrich his supporters and
consolidate ranks ahead of general elections next year, analysts say.
"The bill refers to both public and private companies and yes, this includes
mining companies and banks, which will be impacted like everyone else,"
Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment Paul Mangwana told
Foreign banks with operations in Zimbabwe include units of Britain's
Barclays and Standard Chartered and South Africa's Standard Bank.
Analysts said the new law was unlikely to have a major impact outside the
mining sector, as most of Zimbabwe's economy was already in local hands and
many foreign companies, which once operated in the country, have already
But they said the remaining foreign firms were instrumental in transferring
new technology to Zimbabwe and had kept foreign currency trickling in from
parent companies after donors such as the International Monetary Fund
stopped lending to Harare.
Zimbabwe has seen a sharp fall in investor confidence as the country
struggles with the world's highest inflation rate, a recession now in its
eighth year and Mugabe's controversial economic policies which critics blame
for severe shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.
The economic crisis and alleged human rights abuses have heightened
political tensions and drawn international criticism of the 83-year-old
leader. But he remains defiant, denying he is at fault and accusing the
opposition and Western nations of plotting to oust him.
Economic Death Knell?
Parliament is expected to approve the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Bill, which stipulates that no company restructuring, merger or
acquisition would be approved unless 51 percent of the business goes to
indigenous Zimbabweans.
The bill defines indigenous Zimbabweans as anyone who was disadvantaged by
unfair discrimination on the grounds of race before the former white-ruled
Rhodesia won independence in 1980.
Standard Chartered said it had no comment on the bill, while Barclays said
it was assessing the situation.
"It is early days and the proposed law may not become law or may alter in
part. It would therefore be premature for Barclays to comment further at
this stage," Barclays spokeswoman Laura Vergani said in London.
Analysts have said the bill is likely to unsettle investors and hurt the
economy, still wounded from Mugabe's earlier move to seize white-owned farms
to give to landless blacks.
"This is another move that sends negative signals to potential and existing
investors, particularly in sectors, like mining, where investment decisions
are made over a long horizon," said Best Doroh, principal economist at
banking group ZB Financial Holdings.
Fund manager Sheunesu Juru warned that the proposed localisation of
ownership could take a similar course as the land seizure drive, which
critics say has largely benefited Mugabe's allies and hurt agricultural
"That could be the death knell for the economy," Juru said. "It does appear
as though certain influential individuals have targeted particular firms,
especially in the mining sector."
Although the empowerment bill includes mining companies, Mines Minister Amos
Midzi said earlier this month that special consideration may be given to
miners already operating in the country, such as Impala Platinum and Rio
Mugabe has said there are nearly 300 British companies and several South
African businesses operating in Zimbabwe, a regional breadbasket before
Mugabe's drive to seize land from whites to resettle landless blacks.


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Zimbabwe: Discussion Silent On Common Man Interests

Zimbabwe: Discussion Silent On Common Man Interests

New Zimbabwe (London)
26 June 2007
Posted to the web 26 June 2007
Kuthula Matshazi

THE World Debate programme screened by the British Broadcasting Corporation from Cape Town, South Africa, provided an opportunity once again to hear from some Zimbabweans who aspire to lead in the widely acclaimed "post Mugabe era".
Whilst watching it, I made a Shylock-like bet with my friend that if the forum, during their discussion, ever mentioned social justice issues such as empowerment of the common man to effectively participate in the economy, then I offer my finger to be cut off.

Luckily for me, and as I expected, nothing of that sort was ever mentioned. But before I proceed, I must clarify what I mean by effective participation of the common man in the economy. I refer to a situation where ordinary Zimbabweans create a national economy through ownership of the means of production and accessing opportunities as well as directly benefiting from the wealth produced by the economy.
This ownership of the means of production can take the many complexes of socially, politically and financially engineered structures present in economics and business. But at the end of the day we need to see a national economy dominated by the majority of Zimbabweans and serving their interests and not that of a few.
Mozambique and Zambia have been growing their economies at an average five percent per annum over the past five years and yet there is little to show in terms of meaningful uplifting of people from their poverty. In the 2006 Human Development Index rankings of the United Nations Development Programme, they trail Zimbabwe, which has been experiencing a rapid slide since 2001.
Another country suffering a similar fate as Zambia and Mozambique is
Tanzania which is placed below Zimbabwe on number 162 of 177 countries on the human development index rankings, yet they have many of the preconditions required by neoliberal models of development to supposedly prosper -- such as good governance, stability and the will to engage in the Fishmonger type economic structural adjustment programme.
These countries are in fact, under the International Monetary Fund's structural adjustment programme. Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique occupy numbers 151, 165 and 168 respectively. Zambia though has moved one step up with Mozambique remaining at the same position while Tanzania has moved two steps up since 2005.
Despite sustained economic growth, it appears that the results for the ordinary Mozambicans has been modest at best. It would be interesting to watch, over the medium to long term how the fortunes of these countries would unwind. But one might argue that these countries are not reaping benefits of sustained economic growths as much as their foreign investors.
But back to the Cape Town meeting. Opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Arthur Mutambara spoke with passion of his vision for Zimbabwe. He said he wanted to see a Zimbabwe with very high ambitions and not just modest aims such as only achieving economic stability. He said he wants to see a rise in the country's gross domestic product - the amount of goods and services produced in an economy in a given period.
The problem is that he did not tell us how the increase in the GDP would translate to better lives for ordinary Zimbabweans. GDP scarcely tells us how these goods or money earned would be redistributed. For all we know the goods could be destined for external markets whose revenues would be invested abroad and not in Zimbabwe.

Mutambara did not tell his audience under what structure this GDP would be produced. From his past pronouncements, he has always favoured the neoliberal based global economy structure. But he has said little or nothing on how he is going to tame the long standing problems of farm subsidies, lack of desire to support primary commodity prices, and of course create a free and fair trading system, just to mention a few of the litany of long standing problems of the neoliberal based international economic system. Just after the Cape Town interviews, we got reports that he Doha trade talks had collapsed. These problems stand to directly challenge Mutambara's grand ambitions and yet we hear little of that addressed.
More importantly, Mutambara has failed to allay our fears of the intentions of the Fishmonger thugs who want to make the land reform reversible as a prerequisite for international financial assistance. How would Mutambara reconcile the need to strengthen and even consolidate the land reforms on the one hand and surrendering to the demands of the Fishmongers who state that "land reforms" (read land reforms reversal) are part of broad prerequisites needed for the resumption of financial support for Zimbabwe, on the other?
Another myth that is tied to Mutambara's economic recovery model is to romanticise the South Korean economic recovery and parade it as the epitome of success of economic structural adjustment programmes. But all these people who articulate this point fail to tell us that South Korea was deliberately given support as a means of protecting the geopolitical strategic interests of the United States against the perceived communist influence in that part of the region.

On The World Debate, John Page, the World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa region brought up the South Korean myth and suggested that Zimbabwe could be raised from its current state to dizzy heights. Well, we remain to have our scepticism proved wrong.
Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited's Anthony Mandiwanza made a sound contribution. He said Zimbabwe should address the underlying reasons for the erosion of the middle class, which mainly lie on the issue of social justice. He said that while a few people were "ultra rich", many were in abject poverty.

Mandiwanza, decried the difficulty, in many instances, of these "ultra rich" individuals to account for their wealth. Apparently, he was questioning how some of us, amid an economic depression could accrue such amount of exponential wealth whereby a small number of people are filthy rich. It seems that Mandiwanza is disapproving of the cancerous nature of corruption that has pervaded our nation.
The European Union representative stood up to suggest that they had not placed any economic sanctions on Zimbabwe but restrictions on certain government officials. According to Donald Losman, in his book titled International Economic Sanctions: The Cases of Cuba, Israel and Rhodesia, economic sanctions are penalties inflicted upon one or more states by one or more others, generally to coerce the target nation(s) to comply with certain norms that the boycott initiators deem proper or necessary.
The forms that economic sanctions take also include interfering or restricting the movement of people, restriction of capital flows and withholding wealth in the boycotting countries. Patterson Timba of ReNaissance Financial Holdings argued that even if we suppose that the EU did not apply the economic sanctions as the EU suggested, it had ultimately caused the boycott of many companies by the Western banks that cite political risk as the factor not to extend lines of credit to them. Disturbing lines of credit and starving the Zimbabwe government of international financial assistance has been the "targeted" nature of the EU economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
This brings my second definition into consideration, which also describes economic sanctions.

Writing in the American Journal of Political Science, Yale University assistant professor Nikolay Marinov's essay titled Do Economic Sanctions Destabilize Country Leaders?, defines economic sanctions as "government-inspired restrictions on customary trade or aid relations, designed to promote political objectives". The reasons the EU gave as evidence that they did not apply economic sanctions were in fact evidence against them that they have indeed applied economic sanctions because restricting movements of people is considered economic sanctions.
By failing to articulate the red hot ambitions of the ordinary people to own and benefit from their resources, Mutambara once again failed to show us how if, as the leader of Zimbabwe, he is going to empower us so that, as Mandiwanza said, we could be able to participate in the economy just like the rest of the ultra rich individuals.
Kuthula Matshazi is a Zimbabwean journalist and presenter of a current affairs programme, African Perspective on CHRY radio station in Toronto
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Women protest over soaring cost of living in Zimbabwe

the zimbabwean

NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) women activists on Tuesday morning took to the streets in Zimbabwe's second largest city-Bulawayo protesting over the souring costs of sanitary pads-forcing many to use newspapers and risk infection.
Over 100 women activists-waving placards and denouncing President Robert Mugabe-demonstrated outside offices that house state propaganda papers-The Chronicle and the Sunday News respectively.
They swiftly dispersed before heavily armed riot police could disembark from their trucks and vans that had been 'stopped at red robots.' There were no arrests.
Regional gender chairperson of the NCA, Sidumiso Moyo told the agency after the protests: "We wanted to send a message to the government that women have been worst affected by the economic crises.
"…They can no longer afford basic necessary sanitary pads forcing them to recycle pieces of cloth and uses newspapers thereby risking infection." A survey in the city revealed that sanitary pads are selling for $500 000.
Recently, state security agencies seized a consignment of donated sanitary pads meant for distribution to farmworkers in Zimbabwe's farming areas who could no longer afford them due to their souring costs.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) had given the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) its allocation of the pads sourced with the help of international partners.
On seizure, the farmworkers were told that the pads had been poisoned by former white commercial farmers, which is a blatant lie as the ZCTU, with the help of international partners and friends sourced for the sanitary ware- CAJ News.

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Police grilled re Z$8,6 billion

the zimbabwean

Brendon Tulani
HARARE -The Home Affairs ministry has failed to account for $8.6 billion ($8.6 million revalued) in advances to senior police oficers and other junior members for the past three years.
This has raised suspicion  from the Comptroller and Auditor General and members of a parliamentary probe that the money could have been misappropriated by senior offficers.
The report made available to parliamentarians on the committe raps shoddy accounting practices on a number of funds
To mask the anomally, ministry officials reconfigured the block grant to a Police Procurement Fund without Treasury approval. The police Procurement Fund (PPF) has never been opertional since inception in December 2004
'We understand from the Comptroller and Auditor General report  that there are people who defrauded the fund, chairman of the Parlimanetary committee on Home Affairs and Defence and opposition MP Trudy Stevenson told a parliamentary  hearing probing the issue.
But Home Affairs secretary, Mike Matshiya pleaded with the committee for 'a better appreciation of the situation..
'' These are matters of deviation that may have been  circumstantial. The block grant could have been clogged by other advances,' Matshiya said.
 He blamed an acute shortage of trained manpower due to an exodus of experienced staff, citing worsening conditions of service.
The difficulties in reconciling the advances appears to confirm reports, denied by the government, that there has been mass exodus from the police force owing to low salaries and other conditions of service over the past three year. The period coincides with that when police have carried out repressive measures against citizens and opposition groups.
Unconvinced by the explanation, Masvingo Senator Dzikamayi Mavhaire wondered at irony of the  situation in the Home Affairs ministry: ''You seem to have staff to spend public funds but not enough to account for it properly,' he querried.
'Do not let your explanations raise our suspicions further.'
Home affairs ministry officials particularly those from the police administration blamed a computer platform they were using for their failure to balance their books and reconciling receipts from various stations.
'We are contuining with recovery of those advances in liason with the Pension Office though the exrcise is painfully slow because of difficulties in tracing those that have lready left the force.
In February this year, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri lied under oath when he told another  parliamentary committee that none of the 400 vehicles the place has placed on order with vehicle mnufacturers had been delivered.
Matshiya and other officials contradicted their boss when they told a follow-up meeting on the committee that only 127 vehicles out of the total ordered were still outstanding.

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Zimbabwe Statement on the arrest of its Regional Chairperson

the zimbabwean

MISA- (26-06-07)

  MISA-Zimbabwe has learnt with great shock and dismay of the arrest of MISA Regional Chairperson and freelance journalist Thabo Thakalekola on charges of treason by the Lesotho Mounted Police Department.
 Thakalekola, was arrested on 22 June 2007 by the Lesotho Mounted Police’s criminal investigation department soon after completing his morning Rise and Shine radio broadcast on Harvest FM radio.
 Thakalekola’s arrest follows his reading on air of a letter which sought to persuade the Commissioner of Police to arrest the Prime Minister of Lesotho,  his entire Cabinet and Principal Secretaries and the ruling elite accused of a string of corrupt practices. He had been given the letter by members of the Lesotho Defence Forces.
 CID officials took Thakalekola into custody and demanded that he reveal the names of the people who gave him the letter. When MISA Lesotho visited him just after his arrest on 22 June 2007 he refused to disclose his sources “because I am not obliged to reveal my sources as a journalist.”
 MISA-Zimbabwe commends and applauds the Regional Chairperson for refusing to be intimidated and sticking to the cardinal rules of the profession by declining  to disclose the sources of the contents of the letter.
 His professionalism should serve to inspire journalists throughout the southern African region who operate in similarly repressive environments on the need to respect and adhere to the ethics of the profession.
 For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:
 Media Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe
84 McChlery Drive
P.O Box HR 8113
Tel/Fax: 263 4 776165  / 746838
Cell: 263 11 602 448

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Zimbabwe:Torture victims must be remembered

African Path . com

June 26, 2007 11:26 AM

ZIMBABWEAN civic societies and Human Rights NGO Forum in South Africa on Tuesday called on perpetrators of sate-sponsored political torture on opposition and civic society activists in Zimbabwe to be punished and the matter to be on the political radar of current negotiations between Zanu-PF 
and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to resolve the political and economic catastrophe in Zimbabwe.
The call was made on International Torturer Day seminar held in Johannesburg in support of torture victims in Zimbabwe organized by Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project (ZTVP) and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition to reflect the plights of torture victims and dramatic increase in the incidence of torture in Zimbabwe since 2000.
Speaking at the seminar, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition-South Africa office media Manager Elinor Sisulu said torturers in Zimbabwe should be held accountable for their evils and urged for the matter to be involved on the current negotiations between Zanu-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"Zimbabweans are no strangers to sate-sponsored violence and torture. Zimbabwean history is characterized by abuses and violence both in the post colonial period and the post-colonial period. A culture of impunity and lack of accountability has shielded many from liability and Zimbabwean torture victims are wondering whether their desire to hold the torturers accountably will be sacrificed once again as part of a negotiated political deal", Sisulu said.
ZTVP projects officer Francis Spencer called on South Africa and international community to intervene in holding the perpetrators of gross human rights violations accountable.
"We know that violence and torture has taken place in Zimbabwe and that it continues to take place with impunity, our demand is for South Africa and the international community to come in holding the perpetrator accountable. Today we call for an end to the repression and torture in Zimbabwe we need a plane of action that involves constructive dialogue between all stakeholders and civic society within Zimbabwe and diaspora to bring an end to destruction of a country and its people.
Victims of High profiled murder on the Cain Nkala murder case Gilbert Moyo; Remember Moyo; Sazini Mpofu; Khethani Sibanda attended the seminar.
Speaking at the seminar Sazini Mpofu accused solders and police in Zimbabwe for perpetrating torture and failing protect citizens.
"The most worrying issue is that our police and solders in Zimbabwe who should protect the citizens are the ones who are now increasingly victimizing and torturing people. They are perpetrating torture and standing as witness on Zanu-PF and government stage managed cases against opposition civic society activists", Mpofu said.

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Zimbabwe: Citizens to Mark UN Torture Day in Johannesburg & London

SW Radio Africa (London)
26 June 2007
Posted to the web 26 June 2007
Tererai Karimakwenda

June 26 is a day recognized by the United Nations as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, and this year Zimbabweans have organized commemorative events in Johannesburg and London. 2007 saw an increase in the number of torture victims in Zimbabwe after the government banned a prayer session in March and arrested opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The world saw images of how badly beaten and tortured he was. And since then, hundreds of pro-democracy activists have been abducted and tortured.
In London, a UN Torture Day service of solidarity will be held at St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden. It is sponsored by several organizations including the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum,

Amnesty International, Redress, International Bar Association, International Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture and the Zimbabwe Association.
Carla Ferstman from Redress said these church services are to commemorate not only victims of torture who died, but those who survived and need healing. She explained that acts considered torture are not just the physical and psychological acts can be considered torture. The act simply needs to have a serious impact on the individual being victimized. The London service will end with a procession to Zimbabwe House where flowers will be laid in memory of those who have died.
The Johannesburg service is being organized by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition South Africa team, along with the Zimbabwe Torture Victims Survivor Project. Khetani Sibanda from Crisis is encouraging people to attend, saying there would be presentations based on research done by the Survivors Project. There will also be a video highlighting the experiences of women who were subjected to torture by state agents. Sibanda told us there has been an increase in the number Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa since the government intensified it's terror campaign against perceived enemies in March. He said most of those who have suffered this year have been women.

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Zimbabwe: Lean Harvests Spell Disaster For Hungry Families

Global info

By Davison Makanga  

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jun. 25, 2007 (IPS/GIN) -- More than a third of Zimbabwe’s population will be in dire need of food aid by early 2008, due to poor harvests and economic decline.
Critics are blaming the government’s poor planning for the country’s escalating food crisis. Zimbabwe has suffered poor harvests since the government started its chaotic land reform program in 2000. For a number of years, the ministry of agriculture’s predictions of a ‘‘bumper harvest’’ have come to naught.
The Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program have said that more than 2.1 million Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas will be in dire need of food aid in the third quarter of this year. That figure is set to escalate to 4.1 million by early 2008.
“Zimbabwe’s looming food crisis is the result of another poor harvest, exacerbated by the country’s unprecedented economic decline, extremely high unemployment, and the impact of HIV/AIDS,’’ said Amir Abdulla, the World Food Program’s regional director for Southern Africa. The food organizations estimate a 44 percent decline in tonnage from last year’s harvest to this year.
‘‘This year’s crisis is partly caused by the drought, but we cannot deny the fact that the economic crisis and poor planning are the major causes,’’ said Vincent Gwaradzimba, secretary for agriculture in the opposition political party the Movement for Democratic Change.
At the height of the 2006-2007 cropping season, the government caused problems by purchasing substandard fertilizer from South Africa. The fertilizer fiasco not only cost the treasury but also affected the harvest.
Perennial drought regions such as Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo are entering a crisis situation because many families have harvested nothing and could run out of food as early as next month.
‘‘It is not even true to say that we will only start starving by July. The facts on the ground show that there is no food in the granaries. Pupils are staying away from school because of this,’’ a primary school teacher in Masvingo province said.
‘‘We only received maize two weeks ago when ZANU PF was campaigning for a parliamentary by-election,’’ the teacher added, asking to remain anonymous.
Moreover, some senior government officials are reportedly threatening relief agencies. Manicaland province governor Tineyi Chigudu was quoted as lashing out at the World Food Program’s implementing partners for working “in cahoots” with the Movement for Democratic Change.
In Matebeleland South, ruling ZANU PF Member of Parliament Abednigo Ncube threatened to close World Vision Zimbabwe, an international Christian relief organization that provides food aid. Ironically, these are provinces hardest hit by food shortages.
The accusations have led the National Association of Nongovernmental Organizations to again refute ZANU PF members’ allegations that it is pursuing the Movement for Democratic Change’s agenda.
‘‘To the best of our knowledge, there are no nongovernmental organizations that seek to buttress opposition politics. NGOs are there to implement government plans to develop communities,’’ said Fambai Ngirande of the NGO association.
President Robert Mugabe announced that the government will institute a mechanization program aimed at providing agricultural equipment to promising new farmers, regardless of political affiliation.
‘‘It is a national event ... the realization is important that there must be occasions when we must be together. After all, we eat together,’’ Mugabe was quoted as saying in the state media.
Experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program’s Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission have cautioned that urban areas are equally affected by the food crisis. They estimate that roughly 1 million people in urban areas will face food shortages over the coming months and could need food assistance.
The government of Zimbabwe has entered into a contract to receive 400,000 tons of maize from Malawi and is expected to import a further 239,000 tons of wheat and rice.
Another estimated 61,000 metric tons of maize could be brought into the country through informal cross-border trade and remittances in kind, especially from South Africa. This leaves a gap of 352,000 tons of cereals to be met by food aid.
Meanwhile, the climate change office in the ministry of environment and tourism has pointed to global warming as being the cause of erratic climate trends in Zimbabwe. Washington Zhakata, the coordinator of the office, said a number of factors linked to global warming are affecting the country.
‘‘We have realized that of late [that] there is less rainfall and more drought, so we are going to be affected by this trend,’’ Zhakata said.
By Tonderai Kwidini
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jun. 25, 2007 (IPS/GIN) -- Zimbabwean health providers vaccinated roughly 2 million children against polio earlier this month, in a campaign jointly implemented by UNICEF and the country’s ministry of health and child welfare.
The weeklong effort was part of an ongoing national immunization campaign against polio. Parents took their children to centers around the country to receive the vaccinations.
Richard Chirewa, who survived polio as a child, said he is glad that something is being done to eliminate the disease. Chirewa’s hunched posture makes him look older than his 30 years. He is a resident of Kambuzuma, a dusty and poor Harare suburb where he survives as a street vendor.
He has spent the last 10 years of his life selling sweets and cigarettes on a street corner. He said he cannot do any physically challenging job because of his physical disabilities. He became paralyzed as a child because he was not vaccinated for polio after birth.
‘‘My mother died just after I was born and I had no one to take care of me until I was taken to Jairos Jiri, where they tried to treat me for polio,’’ Chirewa said. Jairos Jiri is a Zimbabwean organization that takes care of disabled people.
You only need to spend a little bit of time with Chirewa to notice his strong determination. His eyes are bright with enthusiasm and confidence when he talks about doing business. His friends call him “boss.”
“I was not immunized because immunization was not available to all families when I was 4 years old,” he said. “I would be willing to be involved in the immunization campaign to ensure that children are immunized because there is no cure for polio. Once you are paralyzed, that’s it,’’ he said.
UNICEF's head of health in Zimbabwe, Colleta Kibassa, said the nationwide vaccination campaigns “are the single most important support toward reducing child illnesses and deaths in Zimbabwe” right now.
During this month’s drive, children were not only immunized against polio but also against diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and hepatitis B. They also received vitamin A supplements.
Apart from Zimbabwe, an increase has been reported in polio cases in neighboring countries such as Botswana and Namibia.
‘‘The campaign in Zimbabwe is on track to meet its bold targets and is vital for child survival amid the challenges facing Zimbabwe today,’’ UNICEF country representative Festo Kavishe said in a statement. Although Zimbabwe was declared to be polio-free in 1999, the country is presently going through difficult economic times.
The vaccination campaign has come at a critical time because families in Zimbabwe are under increasing pressure from the record high inflation, unemployment and AIDS orphan numbers. The health system has virtually collapsed because of the lack of medicines and the flight of health practitioners to other countries.
This month’s effort targeted parts of the country where health facilities are not easily accessible and was aimed at all children under the age of 5. They received the first round of polio vaccinations in a two-phase campaign.
Funds from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, Canada's International Development Agency and the government of Ireland made the roll-out possible.
About $1 million was spent on vaccines, logistics and payment of staff. A host of health workers volunteered and received training and other support from UNICEF and the ministry of health and child welfare.
During the immunization campaign, long winding lines formed at various schools, shops and churches, which were all turned into public health facilities.
Because of this and other campaigns, vitamin A coverage has been boosted from less than 10 percent in 2005 to more than 80 percent today, according to the ministry of health and child welfare. Overall immunization coverage, which had dropped by almost 50 percent, has once again reached more than 70 percent.
Much of this success is due to the hard work of neighborhood health committees and religious and traditional leaders who have been at the forefront of encouraging mothers to bring their children for vaccination.
‘‘Our aim must remain to reach all of Zimbabwe's children," Kibassa said.
UNICEF, with help from the U.K. and Japan, has also been providing support to the Zimbabwe Expanded program on Immunization. The children’s organization has helped to procure vaccines, secure cooling equipment for vaccine storage and provide technical support to the health workers.

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Harare Commission

Commissioners running the City of Harare must be placed on the travel ban list for their continued role in causing untold suffering to residents of Harare. They have continued to fight against the citizens by defying judicial rulings.

Those who must be banned from travelling to Europe and the United States of America are:
Sekesai Makwavarara (Chairperson),
Professor Jameson Kurasha (University of Zimbabwe lecturer),
Sasha Jogi (President of the Institute of Urban Planners),
Alfred Tome, District Administrator for Harare
Musavaya Reza (Provincial Administrator for Harare),
Killian Mupingo (ZUPCO Board Member),
Richard Mahachi (architect in private practice),
Sylvia Masango (a principal director in the office of Vice President Joyce Mujuru),  and
Madzudzo Pawadyira (Civil Protection Unit Director).

The main reason the Commissioners remain in office despite court judgments is that these men and women are specifically serving the interests of the ruling Zanu PF and are instrumental in the looting, abuse and mismanagement of City of Harare resources through the manipulation of tender procedures to favour those linked to the ruling party. For example, Commissioner Sasha Jogi is contracted by the City of Harare as a planner on the Newlands Bypass Project, a clear conflict of interest.

We appeal to members of the public with personal information about these Commissioners (email, mobile, landline and others) to contact CHRA by writing to us on or call us on mobiles: 011 612 860, 011 443 578, 0912 924 151 and 011 612 811. 

The time is now to end tyranny and extravagant spending using or abusing our hard-earned resources as ratepayers of Harare.

Be responsible; participate in this action of the masses by contributing information and ideas that you have. Together we will win this struggle.


Precious Shumba
Information Officer
Combined Harare Residents' Association
Mobile: 011 612 860 or 0912 869 294
Tel: 04-705114

"Stand Firm. Be of Good Courage"

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Torture in Zimbabwe: the scars we share

Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 3:24 AM
Subject: Sokwanele Newsletter : Torture in Zimbabwe: the scars we share

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Article: 26 June 2007
Today, 26 June, is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. One day out of a year to support the victims of torture is not enough in Zimbabwe. Every day should be a day where we support those who have suffered this horrific form of abuse at the hands of Mugabe and the Zanu PF regime.
You may have heard the phrase "winning hearts and minds" before, a political euphemism to describe a campaign to win over restive populations, usually in military situations but sometimes used during political campaigning too. The term is only as meaningful as the intentions of the speaker, and critics would argue that it is often little more than empty propaganda; nevertheless, "winning hearts and minds" is a useful marker to use to differentiate between Zanu PF policies, and the policies of some our neighbouring countries where human rights and democracy are important.
Look at the following quotes* made by Robert Mugabe over the years of his stranglehold on power - are these the statements of a man who is concerned with ‘winning over hearts and minds’?
1983 - in response to victims in the Gukurahundi:
"We have to deal with this problem quite ruthlessly. Don’t cry if your relatives get killed in the process … Where men and women provide food for the dissidents, when we get there we eradicate them. We don’t differentiate when we fight, because we can’t tell who is a dissident and who is not.”
“Those who try to cause disunity among our people must watch out because death will befall them…”
2002 - At a party conference in Victoria Falls:
“This is total war. We will have a central command centre. This is war, it is not a game. You are all soldiers of ZANU (PF) for the people. When we come to your province we must see you are ready. When the time comes to fire the bullet, the ballot, the trajectory of the gun must be true.”
“We hear others say we want to go into the streets to demonstrate, to unseat a legitimately elected government. It will never happen and we will never allow it. If a person now wants to invite his own death, let him go ahead.”
2007 - Directly after the world had seen the evidence of police brutality in the form of images of bruised and badly injured civic leaders, an unrepentant Robert Mugabe uttered these ugly words:
"Our arms of Government, the police will act very vigorously and severely on those who go on a defiance campaign. We hope they have learned a lesson. If they have not, then they will get similar treatment."
The combination of real violence combined with public promises of more violence and threats of reprisals clearly reveal that this regime is not at all interested in winning over the "hearts and minds" of the population. On the contrary, torture, violence and mass intimidation are carefully used, with calculated deliberation, to trample on the care and consideration that Zimbabweans have for one other - to create divisions, to fragment our society, to drive us apart and turn us against each other. Zanu PF's tactics of force-feeding our nation a diet of lies, hate and fear is an attempt to fill our hearts and minds with anxiety and dread, to use torture and intimidation as a tool to control us. They want to bruise and damage our hearts; they seek to scar and break our minds.
There are many among us who have been kicked and literally felt the hard boots of cruel thugs, or felt blows being delivered with hatred on their bodies. Many who have suffered terrible physical injuries and still struggle today to reclaim their minds from the awfulness of their experiences. Those who haven't felt those blows may consider themselves ‘lucky’ to have not had the experience.
But don't kid yourself: when the Zanu PF government tortures a few amongst us, we all end up carrying the burden of fear and we all share the scars of pain. The Mugabe regime understands this, and deliberately builds seeks to maximize the effects of mass torture, riding high on the symptoms they provoke in an entire nation of people.
The UN Convention Against Torture defines the term as follows:
"Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."
So 'torture' includes deliberate state-sanctioned verbal abuse, intimidation, threats of violence, promises of reprisals - all delivered with the purpose of intimidation and coercion.
This is Mugabe's Zimbabwe: as a nation we are all subjected to regular threats of death, threats of violence, and non-specific but all-encompassing promises of “wrath”, whatever that may mean. All of this is mainlined directly into our private lives and homes through our televisions, radios and newspapers, right to where our parents and children can see and hear it too.
The intimidation has no boundaries and extends into every aspect of our lives: our need to source food, our need to buy petrol, to run our businesses, to provide healthcare to the sick among us, to educate our children. Every facet of our lives, what is important to us as civilised human beings, has been infiltrated with the Zanu PF policy of violence and verbal filth.
The price that torture exacts on its victims is considerable. A study** carried out by psychologists between two groups of people - those who had never experienced torture, and those who had - found clear evidence of significant consequences. As a person living in Zimbabwe, ask yourself if you, or anyone you know, experiences symptoms like these (all of these being symptoms extracted from the study results): nightmares; diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities; restricted expectations; sleep disturbance; irritability; concentration impairment; hyper vigilance; startled reactions; living with a continued state of tension; avoidance of trauma and any thoughts of causes of trauma; detachment from others.
It simply isn't possible for a nation of people to live unaffected by an atmosphere of pervasive fear. Nor is it possible for a nation to avoid the reverberations of fear and intimidation that occur when a few among us are singled out for deliberate calculated violence and cruelty. When Mugabe’s police / army / green bombers / war veterans torture some of our friends and colleagues, all of us end up with a burden that feels slightly heavier, all of us inherit a little of the fear, all of us feel a little more joy stolen from our lives, all of us sink a little further into despair struggling with the knowledge that our children’s future has become a little darker.
Victor Frankl was a man who experienced and witnessed the worst extremes of torture at the hands of the Nazis in the Concentration Camps during WWII. He understood the price that torture exacted from its victims, but he also recognised that humans have the capacity to withstand atrocities in even the most awful circumstances. Frankl says it best in his own words, and so we include here an extended quote:
“The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become moulded into the form of the typical inmate.
Seen from this point of view, the mental reactions of the inmates of a concentration camp must seem more to us than the mere expression of certain physical and sociological conditions. Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him - mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp.” ***
We all know that we are engaged in a fight for big important principles: democracy, justice, human rights, freedom and equality. But what we need to understand too, is that we are all engaged in a fight for our “hearts” and our “minds”. This is a fight that party politics can’t touch; we as individuals have to cling to our hearts and minds ourselves, and it us up to us alone to stand strong in the face of fear and intimidation.
We also need to understand that, just as we all can’t help but inherit a little of the burden of the victims pain, so we all have the power to choose to lighten the burdens of others. We need to stand by those who have felt the extreme range of violence, and we need to understand that by supporting them, we support ourselves too because in doing so we are ‘fighting back’ and salvaging a little bit of the humanity that the Mugabe regime tries so hard to strip from us.
26 June 2007 is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This is our day, a day when we need to spend time reflecting on how we can support those who have felt the worst extremes of torture, as well as supporting ourselves through the side-effects of having our minds washed daily with putrid abuse. We need to renew our commitment to our sense of humanity, our dignity, our sense of personal purpose and pride. And we need to do this knowing that we do so in the face of a deliberate calculated strategy that seeks to batter our hearts and minds into submission. Ask yourselves today if you really want to remain passive in the face of torture, or if you’d prefer to fight for your hearts and minds and reclaim some of your freedom. As Frankl would say, ‘choose your own attitude, choose your own way’. Only you can make that choice.
* All quotes taken from the May 2007 report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, “Their words condemn them: The language of violence, intolerance and despotism in Zimbabwe”
** AM J Psychiatry 1994; 151: 76-81 []
*** Taken from Frankl’s book titled “Man’s Search for Meaning”

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