WCC Calling for Immediate Halt of Forced Evictions
|Posted: Wednesday, June 29 ,
2005, 7:28 (UK)|
|Zimbabwe boys scavenge for
pieces of wood from the rubble of a small business centre destroyed by police in
the city of Chitungwiza, 20 km (12 miles) south of the capital Harare, June 22,
2005. Britain called on June 27 for the United Nations Security Council to
debate a housing crackdown in Zimbabwe and what it says are wider human rights
abuses, after a visiting senior U.N. official reports back.
The forced mass evictions
recently taking place in Zimbabwe have causes disquiet from church leaders as
well as human rights activists and organisations.
The eviction was part
of the government's Operation Murambatsvina - Operation Restore Order with the
aim to eradicate informal settlements. The operation resulted in 250,000 being
left homeless, including women with HIV/AIDS, widows and orphans.
World Council of Churches (WCC) has affirmed and supports the messages of the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference
(ZCBC), which underscores the dire nature of the situation.
statement of the ZCC released on 20th June 2005 it says: "The clean-up operation
has resulted in untold suffering where families are left in the open air in this
cold wintry weather. The misery that this operation has brought upon the
affected people is unbearable. We are witnessing the total loss of livelihood
for whole families for some people who were operating within the parameters of
The statement followed the ZCBC Pastoral Letter published
on 17th June. The letter points out on the way how the operation was carried
out: "Any claim to justify this operation in view of a desired orderly end
becomes totally groundless in view of the cruel and inhumane means that have
"People have a right to shelter and that has been
deliberately destroyed in this operation without much warning. While we all
desire orderliness, alternative accommodation and sources of income should have
been identified and provided before the demolitions and stoppage of informal
trading. We condemn the gross injustice done to the poor."
The WCC calls
on the government of Zimbabwe to immediately stop the evictions, which in fact
started during the winter, and left hundreds without shelter.
As a local
newspaper informed, at least 6 people died, among them 4 children, due to
circumstances related to the operation. Some were crushed to death by structures
that remained after police partially demolished their homes, while others died
after exposure to cold.
The WCC also condemned the government for
commencing such an action while the country is suffering from high unemployment,
increasing poverty, acute food shortages and high levels of HIV and
Also the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has pointed out
the issue as it may undermine anti-AIDS efforts in Zimbabwe.
more, the government is not allowing churches and civil society groups to assist
the evacuees. There is a moral, ethical and theological imperative to assist
those who are suffering.
The WCC has now urged the government to stop
immediately the operation, and instead to address the real needs of suffering
"The government of Zimbabwe and the ZANU-PF need to exercise
its newly achieved parliamentary majority in a way that can move the country
from division towards healing."
"This means reaching out to the
opposition and dismantle the restrictions on fundamental freedoms contained in
such laws as the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and the Private Voluntary Organization Act. It should
also withdraw the NGO bill from parliamentary consideration in its current
form," states WCC in its press
Reporters without borders
PRESS FREEDOM / LIBERTE DE LA PRESSE
29 June 2005 / 29 juin 2005
"Help us to prevent Zimbabwe being an
example of brutal and iniquitous repression"
Open letter to Nelson Mandela
Paris, 29 June 2005
Dear Mr President,
Borders, a worldwide press freedom organisation, would like to put before you an
anguished appeal from independent journalists working in
We have taken this step of contacting you since
Zimbabwe has recently sunk even further into repression. A new law is to come
into effect in the next few days that will provide for prison sentences of up to
20 years for publishing "false information". Zimbabwean law has since 2002
already been one of the most draconian for the press in Africa and the country's
legislative arsenal grows from one month to the next and becomes ever more
terrifying. President Robert Mugabe has been making enthusiastic use of it,
since there is nothing to stop him.
For several years now, his government has rained down
on his country's independent press every means of repression at his disposal.
Police brutality, secret service harassment, heavy punishments handed down by an
easily persuadable justice system and bolstered by draconian laws, have become
the daily lot of journalists who do not sing the regime's praises. The Daily
News, the quality of which you know and which our organisation awarded the
2003 Reporters Without Borders/Fondation de France press freedom prize, has
still not been allowed to reappear, even though the Supreme Court recognised
that the ban against it was illegal. These past weeks, journalists who were
working for it in 2003 have all in turn been receiving court summonses to answer
before the courts for this "unforgivable crime" in the eyes of Robert Mugabe of
not being submissive in reporting on reality. They face two years of their lives
in prison, in jails that former MP Roy Bennett, released on 28 June after nine
months, described as "hell" in which his warders gave him as his sole item of
clothing, a uniform covered in human excrement. They will know their fate on 12
But oppression of Zimbabwe's journalists is not
limited to those on the Daily News. Almost every day our organisation
receives new information about a journalist threatened, harassed, imprisoned,
expelled, beaten or pushed into unemployment. You know the reality of
imprisonment, the real deprivation of freedom that is hidden behind abstract
judicial terms. You know then that beyond these articles of the law, men and
women suffer as you suffered for 27 years because of a racist regime whose
favourite weapons were, apart from the gun, injustice and spreading fear. Today
these same weapons are being used at the borders of your country, between
Beitbridge and Kanyemba.
Despite our appeals and those of other
international organisations, despite repeated requests from governments that are
allies of South Africa, the South African President Thabo Mbeki refuses to
condemn Robert Mugabe's treatment of his people. Beyond your personal courage,
it was internal and international struggles and international campaigning that
allowed you to leave prison on 11 February 1990, after judges had sentenced you
to life imprisonment. Today, Reporters Without Borders appeals to you, to your
authority on the African continent and the respect that you inspire to help
Zimbabwe. We solemnly ask you to do your utmost so that Zimbabwean journalists
can at least carry out their work without fear of the brutality of a predatory
state. Help us to prevent Zimbabwe being an example of brutal and iniquitous
I trust you will give our case your careful
On 2 June 2005, Zimbabwe's
official newspaper published an amendment to Chapter 9.23 of the criminal code,
with the approval of President Robert Mugabe. The new law, approved by
parliament at the end of 2004, provides for longer terms of imprisonment and
higher fines than the anti-freedom laws already in force since 2002, the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA). The law made it illegal for "anyone inside or outside
Zimbabwe to publish or communicate to any other person a statement which is
wholly or materially false with the intention or realising that there is real
risk or a possibility of any of the following:
- Inciting or promoting public disorder or public
violence or endangering public safety.
- Adversely affecting the defence or
economic interests of Zimbabwe.
- Undermining public confidence in a law
enforcement agency, the Prison Service or the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe.
Interfering with, disrupting or interrupting any essential service."
offence will still have been committed even if the publication or communication
does not result in any of the envisaged scenarios.
A journalist sentenced
under Section 31(a) of the new law is liable to imprisonment of up to 20 years
or a fine of 2.5 million Zimbabwe dollars (about 210 euros). The date on which
the law come into force will be published shortly. The Justice Ministry said
that this publication could happen "at any time from now".
Zimbabwe journalists were already under threat of long prison sentences under
existing laws. Section 15 of POSA provides for example for a prison sentence of
five years and a fine of 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars for publishing "incorrect
information". Section 80 of the AIPPA, sets out a prison term of two years and
400,000 Zimbabwe dollars fine for publishing "false information".
25th June 2005
It may be that I am getting old and
so the winter chill gets in to my bones
but the evidence from the garden
supports my belief that this is a colder
winter than usual and we are having
a really cold snap. For the first time
in the ten odd (very odd!) years we
have been here we are having frosts down
by the stream. I can usually grow
green beans throughout the year but this
year they have been nipped by the
frost. And in the vlei behind the house
the grass is almost white from the
morning frosts. So imagine if you can the
appalling plight of those poor
-and the accent is on poor - people who have
been rendered homeless, over
night, by the mindless brutality of
Murambatvina - translated so cynically
by government agents as Operation
Restore Order. It has, in fact created
In all my long years I can think of nothing more mindlessly cruel
countrywide operation. Mindless because it seems to be without
or direction; just a show of strength and the bearing down on
defenceless who may be in need of "re-education."
I have seen
footage of the South African police doing the same thing in
Sofia town and
other black spots in the nineteen forties. That any
government can indulge
in this sort of social engineering is hard to
understand. That it can be a
government that claims to be the champion of
the masses, beggars belief. And
of course that is the point precisely. It
has never been and never will be
the People's government. It came to power
by a ruthless campaign of
suppressing opposition, though it was never the
done thing to say so. While
I can never condone the preceding regime for its
own, often inhuman,
behaviour, of which I was no doubt a part, cutting
people's lips and ears
off for not conforming was not part of its agenda.
I can recall unspeakable
atrocities performed in the name of the freedom
struggle. But I can think of
nothing on a scale such as this. That is, of
course if one pretends that the
Gukurahundi in Matabeleland in the eighties
never happened. Something like
10000 to 20 000 people are said to have been
killed in that little clean up.
People keep saying to me that it is truly
amazing that the people seem to be
so docile. Well, in fact they are not.
There has been a lot of resistance.
But the state machinery is so ruthless,
and so efficient that the majority
of the people affected have been almost
stunned into a state of trauma from
which it is hard to muster the energy
for mass resistance. Also, most of
them are forced to use whatever resources
they have to try and survive,
without shelter, food or work. The informal
economy, which in fact was
largely keeping the country afloat, has been all
but wiped out, it seems. I
have no doubt it willspring up again as there is
no alternative. It will
just be more wary and probably less honest.
There is another "fear
factor." People who live in inflammable buildings
have a really
understandable fear of being burned down. You can easily die
Certainly you loose whatever meagre possessions you have. So if
there is a
choice between the bulldozers followed by fire, or more usually
first, then you even resort to knocking your shack down and
what you can before they get to you. And if you know that
rain that settles the dust!) killed so many people, you
know it can be done
again. And if the new rising star, Didymus Mutasa, is on
public record as
saying "We don't need so many people. It would be better to
have six million
people who are loyal to the struggle and the party "-or
words to that
chilling effect - then you have to be a brave little nobody
to resist the
We sit here in helpless frustration knowing what is going on
and able to do
almost nothing. What can be done?
Well, the NGOs and
civic bodies are trying hard to draw the attention of the
world to what is
happening. The people affected have aptly named the
disaster the Zimbabwean
tsunami. And that is what it is. The world must be
made more aware of the
scale of the humanitarian catastrophe and the gross
breach of human rights
that is taking place. Go to the nearest Zimbabwean
high commissioner or
embassy and register your disgust. And lodge a protest
with your own foreign
office or state department. And in UK with the Home
Office which is still
busily repatriating refugees back here in the
considered view that all is
normal!? Talk to you MP or congressman and get
them involved and make them
aware. By doing something like this it must
eventually come home to those
that can make a difference that this is truly
a catastrophic situation.
Where is Bob Geldorph? (Sp) He should be able to
publicise this better than
anyone and get people to take notice.
And in South Africa there should be
a permanent picket outside the president's
office along the lines adopted by
the Black Sash during the apartheid days.
There was a solid coverage of
the farm evictions. Now of course the news
coverage is minimal as CNN and
the BBC are banned - and of course the
victims areblack and thus not quite
so news worthy? The only really graphic
coverage has been from South
Africa's M.net private channel's Carte Blanche
programme. Consequently the
man in the street has little idea of what is
happening here, and probably
cares less. After all, it's just another
African country behaving according
to stereotype. But this is not just
another African country. This is or was
home to many of you. It still is to
us and to the other ten million or so
people who live here. And we care what
happens. I'm sure you do
I swore many years ago I would never become involved again. But this
fiasco has tipped the balance. We cannot simply sit and watch.
must be done. Let us, if we can, be a bit more like Bishop Ncube
who is really speaking out. He may be killed or suffer untold
horrors for it
but he is clearly beyond fear and is so angry that adrenaline
forward. A truly great man cast in the same mould as Tutu and
Mugabe defends clean-up drive in talks with UN envoy
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe defended his clean-up campaign
with United Nations' Anna Tibaijuka today, saying he had refrained
launching the campaign before last March's disputed election for fear
would have been misconstrued as an attempt to destabilise the
urban support base.
Talking to journalists after
an hour and a half-long meeting with
Tibaijuka, who is in Zimbabwe to assess
the impact of the controversial
clean-up campaign, Mugabe said he fully
briefed the UN envoy about the
background of the operation and that she "was
Mugabe said: "I briefed her about it all in terms
background ..that we had wanted to do this before the elections but
feared it would be said that we were preparing the way for our own
and affecting the position of the MDC (main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party) adversely.
"But now after the
elections, when the MDC has won (in the urban
areas) we decided to undertake
the operation. It has been on our books for a
long time..she was quite
Tibaijuka herself separately told journalists that her
Mugabe was good and constructive but would not elaborate
further. "We had
(a) very good constructive discussion, you know the
challenge of Habitats
and how we implement it," said Tibaijuka, who is also
the head of
More than 46 000
informal traders have been arrested and close to a
million poor urban
families cast into the streets after their shanty homes
were demolished in a
campaign Mugabe says is necessary to smash crime havens
and an illegal black
market for basic commodities and foreign currency in
short supply in
The campaign is also meant to drive out filth and restore
of Zimbabwean cities and towns, according to Mugabe.
But the MDC says the campaign is meant to punish residents for
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party in the March 31 poll in which
government won massively but lost heavily in nearly all the major urban
The UN, European Union, United States, Commonwealth,
international human rights groups have also roundly condemned
for violating the rights of poor people.
Premier Tony Blair this week called for the UN Security
Council to discuss
the Zimbabwe evictions. But the African Union has
refrained from criticising
Mugabe saying the clean-up drive was an internal
matter. Influential South
African President Thabo Mbeki has however hinted
that Africa may act after
Tibaijuka reports back her findings.
Meanwhile Tibaijuka began
touring areas where homes and industries
were destroyed by government
security forces visiting Harare's oldest suburb
of Mbare, where the giant
Mupedzanhamo and Siyaso informal industry sites
were razed to the ground by
police bulldozers. ZimOnline.
Skepticism on Harare's Z$3 Trillion Reconstruction
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's announcement that
Harare has earmarked
Z$3 trillion dollars to build homes for those displaced
by the state
clean-up operation has met with widespread skepticism.
political analysts expressed disbelief that the government
funding on this scale or build thousands of homes over a
period of a few
months. Economist Eddie Cross of Bulawayo, a member of the
Democratic Change opposition party, told reporter Ndimyake
Mwakalyele of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the plan is unrealistic and
Despite such doubts, and widespread concern over the impact
of the operation
which the government now says it is concluding, authorities
defend Operation Murambatsvina and plans they have announced to
thousands in what they call Operation Garikai, or "Settle and
Zanu-PF information chief Nathan Shamuyarira expressed confidence
UN special envoy will find that the cleanup did not violate human
added in an interview with reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele that
shortly have the Z$3 trillion in hand, stating that the
already started building houses in Harare and Bulawayo, the
UN envoy had "very good" talks with Zimbabwe's Mugabe
29, 2005 4:23 PM BST
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE, June 29
(Reuters) - A U.N. special envoy said she had "very good"
President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday as she began a probe
widely condemned urban crackdown that has left at least
Anna Tibaijuka, executive director of housing agency
UN-HABITAT, has been in
Zimbabwe since Sunday on a mission to assess the
crackdown which Mugabe's
critics have condemned as a serious human rights
After the meeting she toured Harare's oldest township of
thousands of illegal shops and homes have been flattened in an
locals have dubbed "the tsunami."
"We had very good
discussions, constructive discussion," she told
one-and-a-half hours of talks with Mugabe. She offered no
Western countries and organisations including Britain, the
the Commonwealth and the European Union have criticised the
has caused the deaths of at least two children crushed in
Mugabe's government has defended the demolitions,
known as "Operation
Restore Order", saying they were meant to root out black
market trade in
scarce foreign currency and basic food commodities which had
The veteran leader said he told U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy
his government wanted to implement the
clean-up before March 31
parliamentary polls but had feared it would be
misconstrued as an attempt to
drive out opposition supporters.
had wanted to do this before the elections but then we feared it would
said that we were preparing the way for our own victory and affecting the
position of the MDC adversely.
SWIPE AT BLAIR
whose government is at odds with former colonial power Britain
its controversial land reforms, took another swipe at British
Tony Blair, suggesting he had tried to influence Tibaijuka's
"She is a United Nations director of Habitat and belongs to
Nations and not to stupid Blair," the 81-year-old leader said.
said she would report only to Annan.
The MDC accuses
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party of rigging March elections and has
taken the ruling
party to court challenging some of the results, which came
country's worst economic crisis in decades.
Mugabe told reporters he
believed the demolitions would bring long-term
there is some degree of suffering even when you break down a
slum, but as I
told (Tibaijuka), yes there is discomfort now, but discomfort
in order to
get comfort later."
Tibaijuka later toured Harare's teeming township of
Mbare, among areas worst
hit by the crackdown, ahead of similar visits in
"We are suffering out in the cold during the nights, please
help us get
places to stay," one man shouted in the local Shona language as
team walked along rubble-strewn streets.
Mugabe's government vowed to step up a new housing programme to
those left homeless, which aid agencies have pegged at over 300,000.
Zimbabwe's main opposition says the figure is now more than 1.5
Home Demolitions Continue as UN Envoy Meets Mugabe
29 June 2005
special envoy in Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian impact of the
government's campaign to demolish unauthorized residential structures has
met with President Robert Mugabe. The meeting between the president and
envoy Anna Tibaijuka took place a day after the authorities destroyed more
homes, despite claims that the operation is winding down.
more Zimbabwean families slept in the open Tuesday when police
homes at Porta Farm, about 30 kilometers west of Harare.
The lawyer for
the residents of the settlement, Alec Muchadehama, witnessed
and says the police bulldozed the village even after they
were shown court
orders stopping them from doing so. He said his clients
were told by the
police that they were following orders from an authority
higher than the
Eyewitness reports say the police torched the rubble at the
loaded the homeless on trucks, presumably to be taken to a
The demolition of the Porta Farm settlement took place
after the government
announced Operation Restore Order, which targeted
unlicensed businesses and
unauthorized residential structures is winding
The government says it is launching a major reconstruction program
follow-up to the campaign, to provide houses for some of those who lost
their homes and businesses.
After her meeting with President Mugabe,
U.N. envoy Tibaijuka visited some
areas affected by the clean-up operation.
The United Nations estimates that
more than 200,000 people were made
homeless by the crackdown, launched on
While some of those
evicted have, as directed by the government, returned to
their rural homes,
others are sleeping in the open. Some families are being
housed in church
halls and at a transit camp outside Harare.
A reporter who managed to go
into the camp on Caledonia Farm painted a bleak
picture of the conditions
under which the more than 2,000 families are
living. She spoke of a
shortage of food and insufficient shelter and
described the place as a
The crackdown, which has been widely condemned at home and
abroad as a human
rights violation, comes at a time Zimbabwe is experiencing
economic and political crises since independence in 1980, when
Robert Mugabe came into office. Unemployment stands at more than
percent, and inflation at more than 100 percent.
say the clampdown is necessary to clean up urban areas, and
root out illegal
traders, who hoard basic necessities for sale on the black
illegal dealers in foreign currency.
The government, faced with an
unprecedented fuel shortage, increased the
prices of petroleum products by
around 300 percent on Tuesday. Gasoline,
diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel
will now cost more than $1 per liter at the
pump. The authorities have
cautioned that the price hike is unlikely to
improve supply because of a
serious shortage of foreign currency for
School for orphans destroyed in Norton
29 June 2005
The tragedy of the police
operation in Zimbabwe continues to unfold
before a watching world. On
Wednesday bulldozers razed to the ground Hartzen
A, a primary School in
Norton, simply because it was in a zone considered
mattered little that the school caters mostly for orphaned
farm workers who can't afford formal schools and even
children without birth
The school, situated in the Knowe suburb of Norton,
was knocked down
within minutes of the police arriving, starting with the
Thousands of students have been displaced and it turns
out that Hartzen B
Primary School, a sister school to Hartzen A, was
destroyed last week. It is
a nightmare for children without birth
certificates to get enrolled in
government or council schools and thousands
of pupils at the two schools who
had no birth certificates now have to
overcome that obstacle first before
getting a place with any new
But where will they even get the school fees to enrol at
schools? The destroyed schools offered concessionary rates of
fees and the
entire Norton community relied on them as a community driven
Newsreel spoke to a 10 year old student who made a
heart-breaking appeal to
government to build them another school. She says
as students they have no
idea why the school has been destroyed and that
they were just told to go
home. The kids watched in silence as their
headmaster's office was
Para military force burn homes at Porta Farm
By Violet Gonda
29 June 2005
Zimbabwe is increasingly
becoming a military/police state. SW radio
Africa received reports today
saying Mugabe's para-military police force
burnt down homes at Porta Farm
Members of the residents association at the farm
Davies, the Chairman of the Combined Harare Residents
Association, and said
the demolitions started Tuesday afternoon. The
remaining houses were said to
have been destroyed
Davies said that inhabitants were loaded onto trucks
to move them to
holding camps. He added that he has received a report that
citizens held at
Caledonia farm are being trucked to Sally Mugabe Heights in
the north of
Harare.The attacks are continuing without any respite and
presence of the UN special envoy. Mike Davies said that this
goes to show
that the international community does not have the courage to
stand up to
the Mugabe regime. An angry Davies said, "When will the world
wake up to the
barbarity of this regime and do something? Must there be a
body count before
intervention becomes acceptable"?
are concerns from various sectors about the lack of action by
South Africa - Zimbabwe's neighbour and biggest trading partner.
diplomatic crisis is looming between the G8 nations and the African Union
over Africa's silence on the mass evictions in Zimbabwe. The African Union
recently played down the crisis is Zimbabwe by saying there are more serious
problems taking place in Africa.
It is generally accepted
that the only salvation for the people of
Zimbabwe will come from the region
and Zimbabwe itself. Davies asked: "How
many bodies does President Thabo
Mbeki need before he will treat this
country with the attention he gives to
Burundi or Congo? Will he take action
when there are 1 000 dead or 10 000?
What about when there are 2 million
Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa?
Zimbabweans continue to suffer while
Mbeki hides behind some debased African
solidarity with a brutal tyrant who
cares nothing about freedom and
everything about power."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on
Wednesday that neighbouring
African countries had a responsibility to
address the crisis in Zimbabwe,
and suggested it could hamper his G8 goal of
helping the continent.
War Veteran leader slams raids
29 June 2005
Out of favour War Veterans
Association leader Jabulani Sibanda has
criticized operation Murambatsvina,
saying government did not consult its
own people first. He says government
cannot help people by going against
them and pushing them into misery.
Sibanda claims the biggest number of
people affected by the destruction of
houses are war veterans, many of whom
had joined hundreds of housing schemes
dotted around the country.
In a wide ranging interview on Behind
the Headlines, the war veteran
leader, who has in the past been accused of
torturing opposition activists,
denied widely held views he is being
sidelined by Zanu PF. He says there are
certain leaders in the party who
have always had a history of marginalizing
war veterans. Although he did not
give names Sibanda has a long running
political battle with Zanu PF
heavyweights Dumiso Dabengwa and John Nkomo.
for the first time on negotiations to combine
forces with the Zimbabwe
Liberators Peace Initiative, a rival war veterans
faction, Sibanda said the
proposals will be deliberated on by the top
leadership and sent down to the
grass roots. Max Mkandla the President of
the ZLP issued a more direct
statement however, stating the two groups were
already mobilizing for a
massive demonstration by the former fighters in the
coming weeks. He says a
meeting last weekend by the top leaderships of both
already agreed on a framework of action.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Tsvangirai threatens to dissolve MDC top
issue date :2005-Jun-30
AS rifts within the
MDC continue to widen, the opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on Sunday
reportedly threatened to further prise apart what is
left of the tie that
binds the party's delicate unity by dissolving the top
six and assume
Tsvangirai, who switched trade unionism for politics in the
late 1990s, has
been at pains trying to patch up the cracks that have
threatened to tear the
party down the middle following numerous incidents of
Apart from Tsvangirai, other members of the top six
comprise his vice Gibson
Sibanda, national chairman Isaac Matongo, secretary
general Welshman Ncube,
his deputy Gift Chimanikire and treasurer Fletcher
Factionalism within Zimbabwe's main opposition political party
ugly head earlier this year after a group of rowdy youths went on
rampage assaulting senior party officials before confiscating their
MDC insiders told this newspaper that, in fit of rage,
to dissolve the top six after a management committee
tasked to investigate
the violence blamed his aides for the chaos.
went wrong when the management committee that was tasked to investigate
cause of the intra-party skirmishes produced a dossier pointing at the
security men, the majority of whom are Tsvangirai's close unit personnel,"
the sources said.
The officials, the source added, called for the
expulsion of Tsvangirai's
"It was at this moment that
Tsvangirai said he wanted to dissolve the top
six. He added that there was
no longer any presidium as he was going to run
the party unilaterally," the
Tsvangirai is said to have cited "too many centres of power
the position of the president" within the MDC as having
prompted him to
Senior party members have since
described the threat by their leader as an
attempt to protect "his people"
from facing disciplinary action.
The sources said Tsvangirai suspected that
Ncube, Chimanikire and other
party officials were behind the crafting of the
dossier that blamed his
aides for the chaos, which saw 30 youths being axed
from the MDC.
At the formation of the MDC in September 1999, Chimanikire was
the party circles as Tsvangirai close lieutenant, but sources
relationship was on the wane owing to intense power
However, sources close to the two claimed otherwise, saying the
imaginary and that it was the work of detractors to cause
confusion within the MDC, which lost the March 31 parliamentary
polls to the
ruling Zanu PF.
"There is chaos at the present moment in the
party. How can one assume
executive powers when it is the role of congress
to reshuffle the leadership
of the party," lamented another source. "He
(Tsvangirai) had the guts to
state that some people have to be removed from
positions of influence at the
The date of the opposition
party's congress has yet to be set although
speculation has it that it could
take place in January 2006.
But does Tsvangirai have the mandate to dissolve
his leadership before
congress and are the people willing to amend the
constitution to give him
Contacted for comment
yesterday, Tsvangirai denied threatening to dissolve
the MDC presidium
saying the reports were emanating from "planted people"
bent on fighting his
"According to the constitution of the MDC, the president has no
fire anyone from the party - that is the role of congress. They
planted people in the party who think they are achieving an
causing confusion and leaking information. Musangano (MDC) is
not there to
fight the leadership of the party, but Zanu PF," Tsvangirai
Party spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi echoed the same
"The party is focused on what is happening in the country at the
where more than a million people have been left homeless and 300 000
children out of school because of the clean-up exercise. Anyone focusing on
anything else is defeating the purpose why this party was formed," Nyathi
Meanwhile, it was believed that Tsvangirai had left the country on
reportedly for South Africa and Nigeria without his usual entourage,
Sources close to Tsvangirai said he had been
invited by Nigeria President
Olusegun Obasanjo to appraise him on operation
while the purpose of his trip to South Africa
remained a mystery.
Although, the purposes of the visits were speculated to
be highly political,
Nyathi said the MDC leader had gone on personal
Said Nyathi: "He (Tsvangirai) is on a private visit, but I have no
to where and with whom, as I am in Gwanda right now."
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Police defy orders, destroy Porta Farm
Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-30
FOR the second day
running, police in Harare yesterday destroyed illegal
dwellings at Porta
Farm in defiance of two High Court orders barring them
Residents who appeared resigned to their fate watched helplessly as
bulldozers razed their lodgings in the on-going clean-up
Trucks, some of them belonging to the Harare City Council, took
ferry the squatters' belongings to Caledonia transit camp.
interviewees said they had little option but to pack their bags. Others
expressed concern for being refused to take their dogs and cats
Some claimed they were duped that the trucks were meant to take them
places of their choice, and not Caledonia.
Youths and some single
mothers said they depended on fishing from Lake
Chivero or fish mongering
along the main Harare-Bulawayo highway.
George Phiri (66) a Malawian, who
entered Zimbabwe in 1962, said he applied
for a passport last month
anticipating to go back to his roots, but to no
He had been living
on the farm since 1994 and looks after his two orphaned
am going back to Malawi with my daughters' kids. They are Zimbabwean and
they would want to live in their country, but I have no one to leave them
with," he said.
Mejury Mafa (28) said she did not want to go to
Caledonia, but had no
She said her reluctance to move stemmed
from the fact that when they were
first brought to Porta Farm in 1991, the
government told them they would be
vetted and then taken to another area
with provisions for basic amenities.
But 14 years down the line, nothing
concrete has happened.
She said the people felt they were being betrayed
arguing that last year the
government pledged to resettle them at housing
co-operatives such as the
Sally Mugabe Heights.
A Form One pupil at Porta
Farm School, Moreblessing Chitumbe (14), said he
was willing to move
because the place was unhygienic.
"I am happy that we are living this place
because it was overcrowded. I have
always dreamt of living in a decent
place. The only unfortunate thing is
that some pupils here in Grade 7 and
Form 4 had registered for examinations
but they do not know where they would
end up at," she said.
The residents' lawyer, Alec Muchadehama said: "These
carried out despite two High Court orders that prohibited
They were shown the orders by the people but they still
"I don't know what would be done if court orders are not
obeyed but there
are two options that can be followed and that is going to
court to reverse
the action or sue for contempt of court."
Judge Wilson Sandura, made the initial ruling in 1995 when
to evict the Porta residents saying the local authority
could only move them
if permanent homes with proper infrastructure were
last year, Justice Susan Mavangira ordered the then Local
Minister Ignatius Chombo not to demolish the residents' shacks
attempts at eviction.
Mavangira said in the order: "The respondent and anyone
acting on his behalf
or through him be and is hereby interdicted from
dwellings or threatening to demolish and evicting or
threatening to evict
the applicants from Porta Farm Squatters Camp Area,
Porta Farm, Harare."
Harare city spokesperson Leslie Gwindi, said they were
"tired" of the court
"Those people must be removed. We have said
before that they were settled on
a sewer farm. They should just go. We are
tired of these court orders."
Some Porta Farm squatters were taken to the
property in 1991 during the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm)
Most of them were from Epworth, Mbare Musika, Mukuvisi and
others have settled at the camp over the years.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Two AirZim planes grounded
The Daily Mirror
issue date :2005-Jun-30
TWO Air Zimbabwe planes are currently
grounded because of a shortage of
spares while another one is overdue for a
routine maintenance check, namely
the C-check, senior government officials
Transport and Communication permanent secretary Karikoga
Kaseke told a press
briefing at the ministry's head office yesterday that a
BE 146 British-made
aircraft was grounded due to lack of spares.
capacity utilisation of the BE 146 is not very high, it is very costly
operate, it needs spare parts which we cannot access because the British
refusing to sell them to us saying we are under sanctions," said Kaseke.
second craft that has also been grounded is the Boeing 737, again owing
shortage of spares.
However, Kaseke pointed out that the spares shortages for
the 737 jet were
because the manufacturer, Boeing, had phased out spares
required for the
737-model. Boeing, he added, was in the process of
"Boeing issued air worthiness directives
that certain parts can no longer
be used on these aircraft (the 737). Until
Boeing comes to us with those
parts, we have decided to comply and that
aircraft cannot fly," said Kaseke.
The Daily Mirror has it on good authority
that the third plane has long been
overdue for a routine maintenance check
also known as a C-check, but Air
Zimbabwe has failed to ground the plane
that is reported to be still flying
Neither Kaseke nor
Transport minister Chris Mushohwe could confirm that the
question had surpassed its C-Check date. Both told reporters
that they would
investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, Kaseke confirmed that the troubled
national airliner had flown
people from Britain on empty stomachs because of
an invoicing dispute with
the airliner's food suppliers in the UK.
over-invoiced us by 2 000 pounds, and refused to supply the Air
plane with food at the last minute," said Kaseke.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Bulawayo to ration water
Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Jun-30
THE Bulawayo City
Council will tomorrow introduce water rationing to
conserve the precious
City's town clerk Moffart Ndlovu told this newspaper that the
would be done in terms of the Urban Council's Act as Bulawayo's
sources were drying up.
Ndlovu said as a result of the ration,
houses in the high and low density
suburbs were allowed to use 450 and 600
litres of water a day respectively.
The town clerk said hotels, hospitals and
clinics will be allowed to consume
80 percent of average water usage for six
months, while commercial
consumers, schools, churches, institutions, sport
clubs, and colleges would
be allowed 60 percent for the same
"Charges would be imposed for all excess consumption per kilolitre.
consumer exceeds the allocation on three consecutive occasions the
would be doubled," Ndlovu said.
"Consumers are therefore
required to monitor their daily consumption of
water by reading water meters
daily. This would help deter any unnecessary
loss of water."
that anyone who contravened the provisions of the ration would
The city's two major suppliers - Lower Ncema and Mzingwane Dams -
The city's director of engineering services, Peter
Sibanda, recently told a
full council meeting that the available water
supplies would last for 18
months based on the current daily consumption
rate of 144 597 cubic metres.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
Rising inflation pushes up medical
The Daily Mirror Reporter
HOSPITAL and general practitioners consultation fees are set
to go up on
Friday by 50 and 30 percent respectively due to rising
said earlier this week.
Zimbabwe Medical Association
(Zima) president, Dr Billy Rigava, told New
Ziana that the increase in
general practitioners' consultation fees had been
necessitated by rising
inflation, resulting in high maintenance costs of
rentals and electricity, among others.
The current recommended Zima general
practitioners' rate is $350 000 per
"The increase has been due to
the rapid change in the rate of inflation and
high costs of maintaining
practices, rentals, electricity, stationery and
cleaning material," he
Annual inflation currently stands at 144.4 percent.
Rigava said the
new tariffs were still modest as they were far below medical
which was two to three times above the consumer price index.
medical staff are also being reviewed by between 50 and 150
effect from July 1," he said.
He attributed this to the recent increase in
the wages of domestic workers
which now range between $850 000 and $1, 2
million depending on grade.
Rigava commended the government for assisting
Zima members to source fuel,
saying that this had enabled them to carry out
their work without hassles.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Medical
Aid Societies (Namas) has
also announced that hospital fees will go up by 50
percent this Friday,
while pathology and radiology investigation costs will
go up by 80 percent.
The association's chairperson, Florence Kazhanje,
attributed the increases
to inflationary pressures and shortage of foreign
currency to import drugs
"Health care costs have risen
tremendously for reasons beyond our control.
A significant amount of
medicines as well as hospital equipment are
imported," she said, adding that
fees would be reviewed quarterly.
The rates for a private suite at the
Avenues Clinic will go up to $ 2 494
800 per day, up from $ 1 663 200, while
a general ward will cost $ 1 034 250
from $ 689 500.
A general ward per
day at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals will cost $ 349
350, up from $ 232
900, while a private suite will be $1 009 350 from $672
900. An executive
suite at the same hospital will now cost $1 358 700 from
Kazhanje said the recent hiking of membership fees by various medical
societies was justified and was still below medical inflation.
said when inflation stabilised between January and April, minimal
were passed on to members with some societies going for between
five and six
months without increasing their fees.
She also attributed the increases to
drug prices that had significantly gone
up and to profiteering among
"Since January last year, drugs have gone up by more than 3000
are still going up. During the past two months, they went up by
and 200 percent," she said.
"We are seriously concerned about
the pharmacy benefit. We do believe that
there is a lot of profiteering
going on on the part of medicine suppliers."
She said hospital fees were top
on the list of claims followed by radiology
and pathology investigations
while drugs and consultation fees ranked
Kazhanje called on the
government to licence Namas members to operate
dispensaries so as to ease
the costs of drugs.
Commenting on investments by medical aid societies, she
said their members
were only allowed to invest 25 percent of the total
and the proceeds were used to cushion members from
However, she said most of these investments were being
eroded by inflation,
resulting in societies failing to subsidise
She urged the government to avail foreign currency for procurement of
to prevent suppliers from sourcing it on the illegal market as this
in inflated prices.
Cardinal urges Zimbabwe rethink
The head of the
Catholic church in England and Wales has joined calls
for the deportation of
failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers to be halted.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy
O'Connor said it was a "gross injustice" to
send them back to the crisis-hit
His statement followed Anglican leader Rowan Williams'
branding of the
deportations "immoral" on Tuesday.
Office said hunger strikes continued in detention centres,
Zimbabweans refusing food on Tuesday.
Support groups put the
numbers involved closer to 100.
Pressure has been mounting
in recent days for the Home Office call a
halt to the deportations as
increasing evidence of human rights abuses in
the troubled African state
comes to light.
Recent moves in Zimbabwe to demolish informal
settlements - which the
UN says has left 275,000 people homeless - have
drawn objections from the
Politicians from all
side have led calls for a rethink, and scores of
Zimbabwean detainees have
been holding a no-food hunger strike since last
week in protest at the
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Murphy
O'Connor, said the
Zimbabwean government seemed to be conducting a
"systematic campaign of
terror" against its own citizens.
would be "at odds with Britain's humanitarian traditions" to
the removals, he said.
"At the very
least, a moratorium on returns should be observed while
community attempts to get to grips with a
fast-deteriorating situation in
He also said he welcomed indications that the government
The Home Office said
representations in a number of cases were being
heard, but that overall the
policy of removing failed asylum seekers back to
Zimbabwe had not
Decisions would be made on a case by case basis, a
Newspaper reports claim deportations have been put
on hold until after
the G8 summit next week.
This was dismissed
the prime minister's spokesman on Wednesday.
"The policy hasn't changed. It is still the government's
consider individual applications on an individual basis," he
Support group the Zimbabwe Association said it had
the hunger strike was holding strong.
pregnant woman who was being held in one detention centre had been
on health grounds, said the group's co-ordinator Sarah Harland.
added that a number of bail applications would be made on behalf
detainees on Friday.
Africans have a duty to tackle Mugabe - Blair
2005 at 06:44PM
By Ed Johnson
London - British Prime
Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday that
neighbouring African countries
had a responsibility to address the crisis in
Zimbabwe, and suggested it
could hamper his G8 goal of helping the
it was harder to argue for a boost in international aid to
Africa with such
a prominent example of "abuses of governance and
President Robert Mugabe's so-called urban renewal campaign has
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.
Mugabe says he is trying to
fight crime, maintain health standards and
restore order in Zimbabwe's
cities. But the opposition, which has its
strongholds among the urban poor,
says the blitz is intended to punish its
supporters, who voted against the
government in recent parliamentary
asked in the House of Commons whether he would call on South
President Thabo Mbeki to help the suffering people of Zimbabwe when
attends the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland next week.
he would, and added, "We will continue to exert all the
pressure we can. But
in the end the best pressure will come from those
"We have to make sure that African countries realise the
responsibility there is to sort this out themselves," he
"We are going to the G8 to try to make the case for helping
Africa," Blair added. "There is no doubt at all that it is harder
that case whilst abuses of governance and corruption occur in
"Now I do not believe that what is happening
in Zimbabwe should
prevent us from still taking action on poverty in Africa.
I think that would
be wrong. But it is right also to say that of course we
attention not just to the abuses in Zimbabwe but also the urgent
of changing what is happening in that country for the benefit of
citizens." - Sapa-AP
Controversial draft proposal for senate to be tabled
[ This report does
not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 29 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF
approved a draft plan proposing constitutional amendments to
create a new
senate, but political analysts warn that the election criteria
will lead to more internal strife as cadres jostle for
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa told IRIN he intended
approved draft proposal in parliament before the end of this
the senate would "improve the governance and decision-making
government" by ensuring broader representation and exhaustive
"We went through the proposals and wholly agreed on the
need for the upper
house. The next stage is to take it to parliament, where
I do not expect any
delays," Chinamasa told IRIN.
According to the
draft, the 65 members of the senate will review and
legislation from the lower chamber.
The bill proposes establishing
boundaries for five senatorial constituencies
Zimbabwe has eight administrative provinces based on existing
boundaries, but 10 political provinces, each with its own
the cities of Bulawayo and Harare are included as
Chinamasa said the bill would also seek to
determine the powers of the
ZANU PF political
commissar Elliot Manyika told IRIN that the governors of
Harare and Bulawayo
Metropolitan provinces, who are directly appointed by
the president, would
automatically join the senate.
Interest groups would be allowed to
recommend suitable candidates to the
Senate president, who would make the
final decision on whether or not to
After internal party
primary elections to select suitable candidates, a
total of 50 senators are
to be elected, leaving the remaining 15
nonpolitical members to be appointed
by the state president from special
interest groups, such as members of the
council of chiefs, women and
representatives from the agricultural and
business sectors. Candidates
younger than 40 years of age will not be
eligible for senate positions.
ZANU-PF political commissar Elliot Manyika
said the senate was not just for
ZANU PF although the party would lead its
re-introduction. "All Zimbabwean
people, regardless of political loyalty
would be allowed to vote for Senate
members according to their provinces.
But ZANU-PF will still go ahead if
supporters of other parties choose not to
vote. We have the candidates and
we have the voters," he
Political analysts have condemned the new senate as a
and warned of further factional fighting in the ruling
party as candidates
scramble for positions in the new house.
observed that the party had no choice but to take the route of divisive
primary elections, although President Robert Mugabe's main motive in
creating it was to appease losers in the parliamentary elections held on 31
March in the hope of holding the party together.
election criteria has always divided ZANU-PF. With all the
waiting for accommodation in government, the battles will
leave the party
much worse than it is at the moment. The appointment process
equally disastrous, which leaves the party with no choice but to
the divisive primaries," said Daniel Molokela, a Zimbabwean
analyst based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Eddie Cross of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the
creation of the
Senate was a waste of time and resources on "self-serving,
projects" when there were pressing issue like widespread fuel
shortages still requiring government attention.
He noted that the
economic costs of the Senate would include increased
spending on a "bloated
bureaucracy" of no national value.
"Zimbabweans can expect more misery
with the coming of the senate. This
country does not need that much
representation, so it will not address the
problems we are facing. We need
food and fuel but the ZANU-PF government
seems to be too occupied with
itself, accommodating more loyalists in
positions of power and ignoring the
people altogether," Cross told IRIN.
Manyika said there was no timeframe
for the Senate to come into being, and
it would depend on how long it took
to finish the legal steps of setting it
"All I can say is that
this is an important national institution. The party
agrees with President
Mugabe that it is urgent, so it must come as soon as
the legal processes are
finalised," he said.
The first senate, set up at independence in 1980,
was disbanded in 1987 when
President Mugabe consolidated his power by
abolishing the post of prime
minister and assumed executive presidency.
After its victory in the March
2005 parliamentary elections, ZANU-PF said it
would reintroduce the upper
house to improve national representation in
Govt doctors in Zimbabwe strike over pay, fuel
29 Jun 2005 17:28:25
HARARE, June 29 (Reuters) - Junior-level
state doctors in Zimbabwe have gone
on strike to press demands for higher
pay, disrupting operations in the
capital Harare's major health centres,
state radio reported on Wednesday.
It said the doctors were also
protesting over authorities' failure to
provide hospitals with fuel
allocations. Petrol has been in critically short
supply over the past few
months, resulting in thousands of vehicles being
"The doctors are also protesting over the failure by the
allocate car loans and housing stands," the radio said. Health
the doctors' representatives were not immediately available
Zimbabwe's health workers have staged a series of strikes
over the past few
years to press for hikes in wages they say have failed to
keep up with
rising living costs as the country suffers an economic crisis
on President Robert Mugabe's government.
has in the past been forced to deploy army medical staff to
help out at
state hospitals hit by regular health workers' job boycotts.
Most of the
institutions are also perpetually understaffed as most doctors
move to neighbouring countries and further abroad in search of
pastures soon after graduation.
Mugabe, in power since independence from
Britain in 1980, rejects charges he
has misruled Zimbabwe, and blames its
economic woes largely on sabotage by
his opponents in retaliation for
controversial land reforms that has seen
white-owned farmland forcibly
redistributed among blacks.
UK Deportations encouraged by MDC?
June 29 2005
BRITISH Prime Minister Mr
Tony Blair says his government consulted the
mdc before deciding to deport
hundreds of Zimbabweans seeking asylum. Mr
Blair made the latest claims
while responding to a question on Zimbabwe
during his monthly Press briefing
at his residence on Monday.
"The problem we have at the moment, and
remember we remain in close
contact with the mdc over there, and
incidentally the arrangements that we
have for returning people to Zimbabwe,
we have discussed through the mdc,
and I am not saying that may not shift if
they give us new information, but
it is something we have taken care to get
right," he said.
Responding to a question on why the issue of
Zimbabwe was not being
referred to the UN Security Council, Mr Blair said
while they felt very
passionate about Zimbabwe there were people who opposed
heavy-handedly with Zimbabwe and pres mug. Asked for comment, mdc
secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube denied any engagement with Blair
and said he was not aware of any such contacts.
"I am not aware
of anyone from the mdc who has been in contact with
Blair or his government
on the deportations or any other matter. The last
time we were in contact
with Blair was in London in November last year,'' he
said. The latest
sentiments by Mr Blair come about a year after he tacitly
admitted that his
government was working closely with the mdc in drawing up
a cocktail of
punitive measures against Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's fuel drought will not go away
June 29, 2005,
Zimbabwe has been gripped by a fuel crisis owing to a foreign
crunch. Foreign currency inflows during the period Jan - April 2005
to US$385 million, about 30% down on the same period last
Traditional foreign currency earners, gold exports amounted to
million, down by 10% compared to the same period last year. Tobacco,
Homelink funds for Zimbabweans in Diaspora have taken a knock owing to an
unfavorable fixed exchange rate offered by the central bank. What is now
left is a thriving parallel market where the greenback is fetching $23 000
Zimbabwe dollars against a $9 000 offered for those sending money from
abroad and fixed Zim $6 200 rate.
A Harare street lies deadly quiet
on what should be a busy working day.
Everyone waits at a garage, hoping to
fill up. Along Samora Machel avenue,
the queue is a few kilometers long. "We
spent the whole night here. There is
no more business down town and it's all
chaos," said one of the members of
the queue. "We don't know if people still
have any ideas to help us out of
this dilemma," said Rufaro Mudiwa, who has
also been waiting for hours for a
few drops of petrol.
says external pressures are to blame. "Zimbabwe is under
sanctions as we speak. That's why we have these problems
nationally. But the
situation is improving more fuel will come," says Bright
minister of information.
But economists don't share the optimism. "Fuel
crisis seems to be
deteriorating. Judging from the fuel queues, the
shortages seem to be
critical," said Farayi Dyirakumunda, an
And some believe there's little hope of international
Zimbabwe out. "The indications are not positive. Politics
has taken centre
stage and the current set up is not positive for us," said
Despite government promises, Zimbabwe's fuel crisis is
likely to persist.
The country is buckling under an acute shortage of
compounded by a rise in international oil
Motorists have been spending many days in petrol queues. A lot of
time has been lost and companies are losing out millions of
dollars in the
process. An IMF delegation was in the country last week and
is now pinning its hopes on a possible balance of payments
Economists warn that support will be hard to come by.
Zim trouble threatens G8
Jun 29 2005
London - Aid groups smuggled out dramatic video of
thousands of impoverished Zimbabweans on the move after their
torched and bulldozed their shanty homes.
footage, aired on news broadcasts around the world last week,
shows how much
the world's poorest continent needs help.
But it also raises
questions about whether its governments can be the
kind of partners British
Prime Minister Tony Blair envisions as he presses
leaders of the world's
richest countries to help lift Africa out of poverty.
Robert Mugabe says the shanty demolitions are part of an
But the Zimbabwean opposition says they target its support
the urban poor, and international human rights groups and
leaders, lawyers and doctors say they are a cruel attack
on the poor and
"The events in Zimbabwe have shaken the
confidence of some people as
they approach the G8," David Triesman,
Britain's minister for Africa, said.
Next week, the leaders of the
G8 convene in Britain to discuss Blair's
proposals to double aid to Africa,
increase its access to foreign markets
and decrease its debt
Blair said it was harder to argue for a boost in
international aid to
Africa with Zimbabwe as such a prominent example of
"abuses of governance
Irungu Houghton, an
Africa specialist for the British aid and
development group Oxfam,
questioned whether the focus on Zimbabwe was driven
by those looking for an
excuse not to act.
He said it was unfair to single out one country,
particularly one that
"is not in any way reflective of what is happening on
"Africa has turned the corner in a number of
countries, and it makes
sense to invest in Africa now," Houghton
Blair has argued that an aid package similar in scale and
to the Marshall Plan that lifted Europe from the rubble of World
War II is
the proper response to profound changes in Africa.
The world appears to be responding.
G8 finance ministers agreed
earlier this month to cancel $40bn worth
of debt owed by 18 of the world's
poorest nations, most of them in Africa.
European Union leaders
have pledged to double their aid to the world's
poorest nations by
That momentum could be slowed by the bad news from
"That's why we are passionate about giving advice to
Christopher Kolade, Nigeria's high commissioner to
Kolade, whose country holds the chairmanship of the
said Africans were pursuing a course of quiet diplomacy on
The West, though, has pushed Africans to take a firmer
and more public
"We have to make sure that African
countries realise the deep
responsibility there is to sort this out
themselves," Blair said.
South Africa and other close neighbours
who have the greatest
influence on Zimbabwe are loathe to publicly criticise
Mugabe because he was
a comrade in the region's common struggle against
colonial rule, said Peter
Kagwanja, a specialist on southern Africa for the
Kagwanja, whose think tank tracks
conflicts around the world, said it
would be a mistake for the G8 to draw
conclusions about all of Africa from
But it also was
wrong for Africans not to be tougher on Zimbabwe, he
New Zealand Herald
Government may fund legal challenge over
Tensions between the Government and New Zealand
Cricket rose last
night as international cricketing authorities insisted the
Black Caps tour
to Zimbabwe must go ahead.
Minister Phil Goff yesterday asked what NZ Cricket's
position on a tour to
Zimbabwe would be if it was left to make a moral
decision without the burden
of a severe financial penalty.
He also pointed out NZ Cricket chief
executive Martin Snedden had not
returned a telephone call to discuss the
"They have said that they haven't really taken
much time to examine
the ethics of touring, because the dominant issue is
the issue of the
He said if money was the main
issue, the Government would discuss with
NZ Cricket what actions could be
taken to ease the burden. That could
include financing a legal challenge to
the International Cricket Council's
rules in a world court.
Goff said normally sports bodies would want their sport to be kept
from politics and he would agree.
"There comes a particular point
in time where the issue of human
rights is so overwhelming, and the abuse of
them so gross, you simply cannot
separate the fact that we would be in
Zimbabwe at the same time as hundreds
of thousands of people were being made
"If we don't draw the line here, where do we draw the
"Do we wait for the mass deaths of people?"
said Mr Snedden was caught between "a rock and a hard place" on the
Mr Snedden has been in London at the ICC's annual
meeting, and has
said he will comment when he gets back.
Black Caps are due to tour Zimbabwe for a test series, and a
tri-series also involving India, in August and September.
tour is cancelled for other than security reasons, NZ Cricket
minimum $2.8 million fine, suspension from international cricket and
possibly other costs such as compensation for the loss of television
ICC chairman Ehsan Mani said in London yesterday that the
go ahead, and nations were bound by the future tours contract.
He said the
ICC's responsibility was to cricket, and what was best for the
However, he also said no one, which would include NZ Cricket,
raised the issue of touring Zimbabwe at the meeting so it had not been
Mr Goff also took a swipe at South Africa's
Government, saying it
would not acknowledge the grossness of human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe.
South African cricket said yesterday that it would not
heed New Zealand's
call for an international cricketing boycott of
Mr Goff has asked the Governments of Britain and
Australia to support
a New Zealand approach to the ICC to stop tours to
Zimbabwe at the moment.
But last night, Green Party co-leader Rod
Donald said the Government
could and should announce sporting sanctions
against Zimbabwe as a first
step to stopping the tour.
without that, Mr Goff's comments were "bluff and bluster".
National Bank, a major sponsor of the Black Caps, says it will
Cricket officials "as soon as possible" for talks on the Zimbabwe
Discussions would be held with Mr Snedden "to find out
stand" when he returned, bank spokeswoman Cynthia Brophy said
Ms Brophy refused to confirm if any clients had closed
in protest at the bank's financial support of the team, as
suggested on some
radio stations yesterday.
* Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff says the Government could
Cricket pay for a legal challenge to the International Cricket
rules in a world court.
* If the challenge succeeds,
the Black Caps could pull out of the tour
without being penalised millions
Malawi president's Zimbabwe farm adds to McConnell
JACK McConnell is
facing fresh embarrassment over his African mission with
the revelation that
Bingu wa Mutharika, the president of Malawi, has a farm
in Zimbabwe that is
under the protection of Robert Mugabe.
Mr wa Mutharika, who received the
First Minister in Malawi last month and is
due to visit Scotland in the
autumn, owns a substantial property near the
town of Kadoma, about 100 miles
from Harare, The Scotsman has established.
The estate has survived recent
upheavals in Zimbabwe thanks to Mr Mugabe's
leader's relationship with Mr Mugabe - whose police are engaged
campaign of demolitions that have left more than 300,000 people
recent days - may raise fresh doubts about the First Minister's
Mr McConnell's relationship with the president was thrown into
last week by moves in the Malawi parliament to impeach Mr wa
corruption charges - allegations he denies.
Zimbabwe say Mr wa Mutharika's links with Mr Mugabe stretch back
years - he is believed to have acquired the farm as long ago as
many landowners have seen their farms seized by gangs backed by
Mr Mugabe in
recent years, the Malawi leader's property remains untouched.
Scotsman has learned that last month, officials from Mr Mugabe's
expelled trade union officials from Bineth Farm after workers
that Mr wa Mutharika had not paid their wages for several months.
incident led the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to claim that Mr
regime treats Mr wa Mutharika as "a first-class citizen ahead of
Paul Themba Nyathi, a member of the Zimbabwean parliament
who speaks for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
yesterday cast doubt on Mr
McConnell's Malawi mission.
"We are aware
of the close links between the two men, wa Mutharika and
Mugabe. What the
Scottish Executive needs to do is insist that if Mr wa
Mutharika has these
links then he should speak up with them," Mr Nyathi said
by telephone from
Unless Mr wa Mutharika proved he was putting pressure
on Mr Mugabe over
abuses in Zimbabwe, Mr McConnell should cancel the
president's visit to
Scotland, Mr Nyathi said.
"It's not good enough
to pretend it's all just business as usual - the world
has a responsibility
to act, and that includes Scotland."
But Mr McConnell's spokesman said
the First Minister was unlikely to discuss
Zimbabwe with Mr wa Mutharika.
"This isn't an issue that was raised during
the First Minister's visit to
Malawi," he said. "It may be something we
raise at future meetings but it is
not at the top of our agenda. Our focus
is on helping the people of
Zimbabwe asylum 'U-turn' row
Africa remains in the
spotlight as the Times claims immigration
officials were told to halt the
deportation of Zimbabwean asylum seekers
until after the G8
The paper says the move is to avoid embarrassing Tony
the Home Office has responded to say there has been no
change in policy.
The Daily Mail says officers were told to cancel
seats booked on
flights, and escort officers were stood down.
It adds critics will question the timing of what appears to be a