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A tyrant dishonoured

The Herald UK

      EDITORIAL COMMENT June 04 2007

Robert Mugabe made the transition from freedom fighter to tyrant almost a
quarter of a century ago. He has been the diplomatic equivalent of the rogue
elephant in the corner of the Foreign Office reception room ever since.
Successive British governments (including Tony Blair last week) have largely
side-stepped the issue, some to avoid offending South Africa and strategic
or economic allies and others in a desperate effort to maintain their own
impeccable, non-racist, PC credentials. Now Edinburgh University has taken
the lead in belatedly stripping the dictator of the honorary degree it
conferred on him 23 years ago for services to education in Africa. Education
for his own citizens has come at a heavy price. The ordinary people are
starving. Even the army, on whose bayonets his throne rests, is on short
rations and increasingly restive. Inflation is approaching 3700%. What was
once the breadbasket of southern Africa is a wasteland populated by
subsistence-level squatters. The white farmers, most of whom were born in
Zimbabwe and many of whom were third-generation Africans, are
disenfranchised and landless. It was their industry which formerly provided
the country with a food surplus for export.

Mugabe himself has been proven the biggest racist of all. His interference
with the economy and the country's social structure, once a model of success
on a continent that desperately needs role models, has not been limited to
the people he regarded as white "Rhodesians". When the indigenous Matabele
revolted against his iron rule, he sent in a brigade of troops trained by
North Korean instructors to suppress their protests with utmost
ruthlessness. The veldt where they lived is now a legacy of burned-out
kraals and unmarked mass graves. An estimated 20,000 died. If Mugabe had
been a white Bosnian Serb, he would be facing trial for crimes against

Edinburgh academics have now recognised that their early judgment of Mugabe
has been overshadowed by the brutality of his regime, and it is to their
credit that they have decided to withdraw his honorary award.

The government might do well to follow their example in the interests of
humanity and the hungry citizens of a ravaged land. Reasoned diplomacy cuts
no ice with Mugabe.

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Zimbabwe teachers desert schools

Zim Online

Monday 04 June 2007

By Brian Ncube

BULAWAYO - More than 500 public schoolteachers in Zimbabwe's second largest
city of Bulawayo and surrounding areas have deserted their jobs over poor
pay, leaving pupils unattended since the new school term began last month,
ZimOnline has learnt.

Educations officials said finding replacements for absconding teachers was
near impossible as the country was facing a shortage of teachers, most of
who have fled the country for better paying jobs abroad, as Zimbabwe's
eight-year economic crisis hastens an unprecedented brain and skills drain
from the country.

"543 teachers have absconded. Finding replacements is very difficult because
of the serious staff shortages nationwide, said one official, adding that
school authorities have resorted to rotating teachers among several classes
"for the children's sake."

Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere confirmed the exodus of teachers from
public schools, but said his department was working to address teachers'

He said: "We are working on raising teachers' salaries to curb this exodus
and something will be done soon. We do not like it either, so very soon
things will be better in the education sector. We know the plight of our

The public education and health sectors - ironically once the best
achievements of President Robert Mugabe's government - have been hit hardest
by an economic crisis blamed on state mismanagement and marked by inflation
of more than 3 700 percent, rising unemployment and poverty, amid shortages
of food and nearly every basic survival commodity.

Strikes for better pay and working conditions by teachers, nurses and
doctors have become routine in recent years, compromising the quality of
service and standards at public schools and hospitals.

In a statement last Friday the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human
Rights (ZADHR) said the public health sector - the only source of health
services for the majority of Zimbabweans - had virtually collapsed due to
worsening shortages of nursing staff and a doctors' strike.

Doctors at major hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo began striking late last
month, while nurses have been staying away because they cannot afford to pay
bus fares to work.

The loss of life and increased morbidity resulting from the absence of
health workers at their places of work, whether resulting from inability to
pay for transport or from actual strike action, remains the responsibility
of the government, the ZADHR said.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Raymond Majongwe
blamed the "government's lack of seriousness to address teachers'
 grievances" for the exodus of teaching staff that had led standards to fall
at public schools.

Zimbabwe has since 1999 been grappling with an agonising political and
economic meltdown, critics blame on repression and mismanagement by Mugabe,
a charge the veteran leader denies. ZimOnline.

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Church leaders to press ahead with attempts to broker Zim dialogue

Zim Online

Monday 04 June 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - Zimbabwean church leaders say they will press ahead with efforts to
broker dialogue among the main political parties and other key stakeholders
in the country, saying President Thabo Mbeki's initiative to mediate in
Zimbabwe's crisis was "knee-jerk" and short term.

Mbeki was last March asked by Southern African Development Community (SADC)
heads of state and government to lead efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's
eight-year political and economic crisis by facilitating dialogue between
President Robert Mugabe's government and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party.

The South African President last Friday said efforts to mediate dialogue
between Mugabe and the MDC were under way but gave no details on any

Bishop Trevor Manhanga, leading the group of clergymen seeking to facilitate
dialogue in the country, said there would be no duplication of roles because
unlike Mbeki's mediation the church initiative aimed to produce a national
vision document crafted by Zimbabweans themselves to determine the future of
the country.

Manhanga told ZimOnline at the weekend: "We must not be concerned about this
knee-jerk reaction. The church initiative is not about the 2008 election
like Mbeki's initiative.

"It is about the future of the country. It (The future of the country)
cannot come from SADC. Zimbabweans themselves determine their future. We are
very confident that whoever wins next year's elections will get a copy of
the national vision document."

The church leaders spearheading the search for a national vision are drawn
from Zimbabwe's main churches grouped under the Zimbabwe Catholics Bishops
Conference, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Council of

Last year they presented a preliminary document entitled "The Zimbabwe We
Want, Towards a National Vision for Zimbabwe" to Mugabe and the two leaders
of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

Manhanga said budgetary constraints had helped back the process but said the
churches planned to send this month teams of facilitators on an outreach
programme across the country to meet with the general populace to solicit
their ideas on what kind of Zimbabwe they want.

Mugabe initially appeared amenable to the church initiative but has since
objected to some of the main demands in the religious leaders' preliminary
document such as the call for constitutional reforms.

The MDC cautiously welcomed the church initiative although in the main the
opposition party appeared skeptical of the initiative fearing Mugabe could
manipulate it to buy time for his embattled government. -- ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe banks "banish" the poor from banking halls

Zim Online


           Monday 04 June 2007

By Pfudzai Chibgowa

HARARE - Standing in the shadow of a high-rise building in central Harare,
24-year old Patricia Marise shifts her weight from one leg to the other.

For hours now, Marise has been seething with anger as she watched the queue
at the automated teller machine (ATM) snake round a block of buildings in
the city.

"The technology had given us false hope. The poor will always bear the brunt
of these innovations," Marise mumbles to herself in frustration.

Commercial banks, grappling with Zimbabwe's hyper-inflationary economic
crisis, have over the past few months come up with novel ideas to decongest
banking halls.

They now impose heavy penalties on clients who make "petty withdrawals" from
banking halls. Instead they have ordered that all clients wishing to
withdraw cash below Z$1.5 million should use ATMs outside.

The new requirement has however resulted in massive queues outside banks of
the poor and not so well-off, withdrawing small amounts from the ATMs.

"Some of us will never see the interior of a banking hall again," quips
Shuvai Chikundana, who is standing three people behind Marise.

"It appears banking halls are now the preserve of the rich and affluent. Isu
tongogumira pamidhuri  (we the poor now just end up at the walls outside
banking halls where ATMs are usually found)."

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe eight-year economic crisis that has seen
inflation shooting beyond 3 700 percent, the highest in the world outside a
war zone.

The majority of Zimbabwean workers who earn average salaries of about Z$400
000 a month, are scrounging to make ends meet as rampant inflation, dubbed
the country's 'economic HIV' by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono, erodes real wages.

The World Bank says Zimbabwe's economic collapse is unprecedented for a
country not at war.

"These machines were meant to reduce queues but now they are more of an
inconvenience," Marise says.

Pontius Dziwa, 54, also on the snaking queue, said the new regulations by
banks were only meant nettle the poor who are bearing the brunt of the
economic crisis.

"We are charged Z$50 for every transaction at the ATM. That is a lot of
money and an additional tax on the money we have entrusted banks with.
Authorities seem to enjoy punishing us for investing our money with them,"
said Dziwa.

In his last mid-term monetary policy review statement earlier this year,
Gono implored banks to consider setting up shop in rural areas in order to
instill in Zimbabweans a culture of saving.

But the constant hike in prices of basic commodities owing to
hyper-inflation has created real hurdles for Zimbabweans battling to make
any meaningful savings.

"It is painful to spend hours on end queuing to collect money that in the
end buys very little on the market.

"In fact, I could find that the retailer has raised prices again while I was
waiting in the queue. Nothing is certain these days," said Marise. -

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Zimbabwe says making pay-outs to white ex-farmers


Sun 3 Jun 2007, 14:08 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has started paying out money to former white
farm owners in compensation for land seized by President Robert Mugabe's
government to resettle blacks, according to a public notice issued on

The government has already allocated Z$10 billion for the purpose. This is
nominally worth $40 million on the official market, but fetches only around
$182,000 on the thriving black market.

Veterans of the 1970s war of liberation invaded white-owned commercial farms
in 2000 with the backing of the government, which went on to appropriate the

 The seizures set it at odds with the West, and the resulting disruption to
farming has been widely blamed for Zimbabwe's food shortages.
The notice issued by the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement
said a compensation committee had fixed the compensation for all acquired

"The former owners or representatives should contact the ministry as a
matter of urgency in connection with their compensation," the public notice

"The list of farmers whose compensation has been determined is available at
the offices of the chief lands officers in the provinces."

More than 4,000 white commercial farmers have lost their properties under
the reforms. Last year authorities passed a constitutional amendment barring
former owners from challenging the seizures in court.

The Commercial Farmers' Union, which now represents some 400 white farmers,
has said properties were being undervalued.

Mugabe's government says it will pay only for improvements made on the
farms, but not for the land itself.

It says this was stolen during the colonial era, which left more than 70
percent of the most fertile land in the hands of a few white farmers.

It has also said that the former colonial power, Britain, reneged on an
agreement to pay for the farms, and that it should be London that fully
compensates the white farmers.

On Friday, National Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is in charge of
the Ministry of Lands and Land Reform, said some white farmers were refusing
to leave farms acquired by the government. He said they had until October to
make way for blacks.

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Zimbabwe inflation could top 24,000 per cent by December: economist

Monsters and Critics

Jun 3, 2007, 13:27 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Inflation in crisis-ridden Zimbabwe could reach a
staggering 24,136 per cent by December, official media reported Sunday.

At 3,714 per cent, Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate is already the highest
in the world.

But an economist writing in the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper
predicted the rate would rise much, much further, if current trends

'If the month-on-month inflation rate persists at around 58.6 per cent,'
economist Brains Muchemwa said, 'then the year-on-year will be ringing
24,136 per cent come December 31, 2007.'

'Even if month-on-month inflation can be tamed to 45 per cent, the annual
inflation rate will still top 11,730 per cent by year end,' said Muchemwa,
who is employed by a local investment bank.

These figures are much higher than those set out by the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), which has predicted the annual inflation rate in
Zimbabwe would reach 6,400 per cent by next year.

Zimbabweans have become used to - though far from happy with - climbing
inflation rates since the turn of the century, when agricultural production
dropped following President Robert Mugabe's launch of a controversial reform

But rates and prices have soared unbelievably in the past three weeks. This
weekend bread prices rose again, to 20,000 Zimbabwe dollars per loaf. At the
beginning of the week, one loaf was selling for around 9,500 dollars.

Negotiating with business leaders and labour unions in a last- ditch bid to
stabilize the economy last week, the government said it wanted to bring
month-on-month inflation down to 25 per cent by December.

But in a gloomy forecast unusual for a state-controlled newspaper usually
forced to toe the government line, Muchemwa said that inflation was feeding
on itself because retailers and businesses were increasing prices by huge
margins in anticipation of fresh hikes in inflation figures.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe dollar has sunk to record lows on the parallel
market for foreign exchange, it has emerged.

The Zimbabwe dollar is now trading at at least 50,000 to the greenback, the
Sunday Mail said. Dealers in Harare however say the figure is as high as

The local unit is still quoted at 250:1 on the official,
government-controlled market, though sellers of foreign exchange are given a
preferential rate of 15,000:1 at commercial banks.

'Sliding of the local currency against major currencies has been happening
for some time now, but the extent of last week's decline is absolutely
ridiculous,' columnist Stanley Makombe said.

'One just wonders whether what is going on in our economy is real or it's
fiction,' he added.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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2010 'drains' Zimbabwe


03/06/2007 10:13  - (SA)

Harare - Economically-ravaged Zimbabwe is counting its losses as skilled
construction workers trek in droves to South Africa to join the boom spawned
by 2010 football World Cup preparations.

With three years to go before the first-ever World Cup finals to be held in
Africa, Zimbabwean architects, artisans and engineers are leaving the
country for better-paying jobs with construction companies south of the

Tafadzwa Huni, an engineer with a state firm, told AFP he would join the
exodus this month, saying 30 of his colleagues had already left since

"The economic situation (at home) and the boom of opportunities offered by
the hosting of the World Cup has forced me to go," said Huni.

He said he got a job in Pretoria after responding to a newspaper
advertisement but some of his colleagues were recruited by a South African
agent who makes occasional trips to Harare and Bulawayo to scout for

Daniel Ncube, managing director of Ncube Burrow consulting engineers, told
AFP the exodus of professionals was compromising local companies.

"Things are not looking good," said Ncube, who has lost six engineers to
South African companies since October.

"You train an engineer for two years and the next thing he is gone. They
(South African firms) are taking almost everyone: artisans, engineers,
architects and even bricklayers."

The president of the Zimbabwe Institute for Engineers, Martin Manhuwa, was
equally worried.

"We have a serious problem because of increased projects in South Africa
because of the World Cup event," he said.

"Instead of South Africa taking people here they can send some of their work
here. At the rate at which people are going there, we might end up not
having qualified people in the country."

Manhuwa said the institute was conducting an audit of the numbers of
engineers leaving.

To cope with the mounting demand for professionals, South African companies
are placing recruitment advertisements in Zimbabwean newspapers and offering
lucrative salaries and allowances.

"Be part of South Africa's massive programme to develop the infrastructure
of this diverse and rapidly developing country," reads one such advert in a
local weekly.

"We offer competitive salaries of between 3 000 - 4 000 US dollars per
month, negotiable."

For Zimbabwean engineers earning two million Zimbabwean dollars a month (8
000 US dollars at the official exchange rate but 80 US dollars on the
parallel market - the actual value of their salaries) the offer is

Ten stadiums in nine South African cities are to host the 2010 football

South Africa's treasury has so far allocated R17.4bn for World Cup projects,
of which R8.4bn is to go towards building and sprucing up stadiums.

An estimated 3.5 million Zimbabweans have migrated to South Africa, most
illegally, amid an eight-year economic crisis characterised by 80%
unemployment and skyrocketing inflation that reached 3 714% in April.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for the homegrown construction sector
as locals are also benefiting from large-scale projects ahead of the World

Local cement firms are cashing in on the burgeoning demand for the commodity
in South Africa.

And in October last year, China gave Zimbabwe a 5.8-million-dollar grant to
refurbish the 60 000-seat National Sports Stadium to be used for practice
sessions by visiting international teams in preparation for the World Cup.

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A degree of justice

The Scotsman
Sun 3 Jun 2007

WHILE it is tempting to say "and not before time", it would be churlish not
to applaud the University of Edinburgh's move to strip Robert Mugabe of the
honorary doctorate it awarded him in 1984. Given the president of Zimbabwe's
behaviour in his own country in the face of global condemnation, the removal
of the honour is overdue, but in finally taking this step, the university is
sending out a clear message that it will no longer be associated with the

To be fair, the slow movement towards this action has been caused by the
typically methodical bureaucracy of an ancient institution, rather than any
doubt that Mugabe was unfit to describe himself as a Doctor Honoris Causa of

True, a few voices argued against the removal on the grounds that, when it
was awarded, Mugabe was a hero to many, had helped his country move towards
independence, and deserved the honour for his "services to education in
Africa", as the university put it 23 years ago. But times have changed.

It is difficult to know where to begin when making the case for the
prosecution against Mugabe. Soon after he took power in 1980, his Fifth
Brigade began ethnic cleansing, which cost an estimated 20,000 lives among
the minority Ndebele population. Mostly civilians, some were forced to dig
their own graves before being shot in public executions.

Many others have been oppressed: gay people have been harried and jailed,
with homosexual acts outlawed as "unnatural"; the seizure of land held by
white farmers has seen their numbers fall from about 4,500 in 1999 to fewer
than 600 today, prompting a disastrous decline in agricultural productivity;
freedom of speech has effectively been banned by strict media regulation and
the squashing of critical voices.

Annual inflation stands at more than 1,700%. In 2005, instead of helping his
poor, Mugabe ordered the flattening of the shanty homes of 320,000 people -
many of them opposition supporters. With life expectancy among Zimbabweans
standing at 37 for men and 34 for women, and the average monthly pay the
equivalent of £3.50, Mugabe, 83, last year built himself a £13m home which
boasts 25 bathrooms.

Scotland on Sunday is proud to have taken a leading role in convincing the
University of Edinburgh that such a man is undeserving of an honour in its
name. While others, including the university's student association, have for
a longer time demanded the removal of the degree, our involvement appears to
have been key to a change of heart.

The removal of the honour - set to be formalised by the ruling senate on
Wednesday - will not make Mugabe lose any sleep, but it is more than
tokenism. Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the main Zimbabwean opposition, has said such a move will embolden
the anti-Mugabe movement and show the dictator the world does not approve of
his actions.

But the university's decision must be just the latest in an ongoing
expression of the world's opprobrium. First, the University of Massachusetts
and Michigan State University in America should follow Edinburgh's lead and
strip Mugabe of the honorary degrees they awarded him. Beyond that, the
world must show a coherent message: although Zimbabwe was suspended from the
Commonwealth seven years ago, just last month the United Nations voted to
let it chair its global Sustainable Development Commission, despite the
rampant crisis in its own economy.

The British government has also often been too lukewarm in its criticism.
Although Tony Blair did take issue with Mugabe's record during his
'farewell' tour of Africa last week, the attack was muted. Even then, the
Zimbabwe president responded by claiming Britain was backing "terror" by his
opponents - and launched yet another crackdown against the MDC and others.

Against such a man, the world must continue to criticise and cajole, while
backing South African president Thabo Mbeki's efforts to mediate a solution
to the political and economic crisis. That must include Mugabe's forced
retirement, and every little helps in that effort - even the removal of
three letters after the dictator's name.

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Man without honour

The Scotsman
Sun 3 Jun 2007

THE first shots of Argentina's invasion of the Falklands were being fired as
Lord Carrington, the British foreign secretary, drew up the letter asking
Edinburgh University to consider giving Robert Mugabe his honorary degree.

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act,
Carrington wrote to the university's then principal, Dr John Burnett, on
April 2, 1982, asking Edinburgh whether it would consider bestowing a degree
on the Zimbabwean leader.

Carrington, who had met Mugabe during the Lancaster House negotiations on
the future of the African country, and who had visited Harare, then called
Salisbury, wrote: "I was struck by the intensely high regard that Mr Mugabe
holds for our ancient institutions in the field of learning."

The foreign secretary added that Mugabe was a scholar in his own right,
having gained a degree from London University by correspondence and having
taught university classes. He continued: "Despite our divergence of view on
a number of matters, [I] respect him for his intellectual qualities and
stature as the leader of his country."

That letter was one of Carrington's last actions as foreign secretary,
resigning two days later in the wake of the failed intelligence that led to
the Falklands invasion. But his successor, Sir Francis Pym, continued to
follow up the issue - even while war in the South Atlantic was raging - and
Edinburgh University's Senate agreed unanimously to award the degree for his
services to education, in Africa.

So it was that on July 20, 1984, Mugabe arrived in Edinburgh for the
conferring of his degree, of doctor honoris causa. A fortnight later, the
Foreign Office wrote to the university to say that their man in Harare had
reported that: "Mr Mugabe was delighted by the dignified ceremony at the
university and by the flattering laudation which he received."

It now seems incredible that Mugabe, the former guerrilla leader renowned
around the world for brutal repression of opponents, was ever awarded the
honorary degree that will be finally withdrawn by the university this week.

But, at the time, the university and the UK Foreign Office were merely part
of the wave of enthusiasm for the newly established Zimbabwean democracy. In
contrast to the chaos of countries such as Mozambique and Angola, and the
internationally shunned apartheid regime in South Africa, Zimbabwe was a
country where whites and blacks seemed to be working together, despite the
legacy of a brutal civil war.

However, the euphoria has since evaporated as the true face of the Mugabe
regime has become clear to the outside world. Mugabe's dismal record on
human rights, along with his calamitous mishandling of the Zimbabwean
economy, bringing hunger and poverty to the former breadbasket of Africa,
have led to a growing clamour for the degree to be revoked.

Last March, Scotland on Sunday launched its campaign to have the degree
officially withdrawn following a new series of carefully orchestrated
attacks by Mugabe supporters against peaceful opposition events.

His police attacked and broke up a prayer rally which had been banned from
convening. They arrested activists of the Movement for Democratic Change
including party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was severely beaten while in
detention, suffering a fractured skull.

Scotland on Sunday's online petition attracted support from across the
world. Meanwhile, a number of prominent graduates and recipients of honorary
degrees backed the campaign. Two of them, composer James MacMillan and
writer Liz Lochhead, threatened to return their degrees in protest if the
university failed to act speedily.

The campaign moved to the Westminster Parliament when Edinburgh South MP
Nigel Griffiths tabled a motion, asking for the degree to be revoked, in the
House of Commons. At the university itself, students - along with the
current and former rectors, Mark Ballard and Robin Harper, both Green MSPs -
led calls for Mugabe to be stripped of his degree.

Behind the scenes, the university authorities changed their own rules to
allow a degree to be removed, after first checking whether they had the
legal authority to do so. In April, the university's Academic Senate
commissioned three of its own professors, including a legal expert, to
examine whether there were grounds for removing the award.

The "three wise men" will this week report to the Senate that information
about Mugabe, which was not to hand in 1984, has since become available.
Their report links Mugabe and his regime to brutal purges in the south-west
of the country against the minority Matabele people in the early 1980s.

At the time of the incidents, many observers defended the regime, claiming
the killings and beatings were the result of a lack of control over an army
fighting against South African subversion and struggling to control
opponents intent on murdering white farmers and destabilising the country.
Many believed, moreover, that the accusations were the result of propaganda
from Apartheid-era South Africa.

But firm evidence of the scale of the mass killings, and the Mugabe
government's role in the atrocities, began to emerge during the late 1980s
and early 1990s. Authoritative reports from Catholic missionaries said that
Mugabe's regime had been behind the killing of about 20,000 of his fellow
countrymen. By 1996, Mugabe was well on his way to becoming an international

In 2000, the seizure of white-run farms led to the deaths of 11 white
farmers and 115 black farm workers. A further 200,000 black farm workers are
estimated to have lost their homes during the attacks, which were condemned
by the UK and the European Union.

The 2002 election was widely condemned for irregularities, including
obstruction and intimidation of opposition members.

In 2005, Mugabe's regime began to demolish unauthorised shanty houses in
slum areas of the country with the government claiming the move was aimed at
illegally built, disease-rife shacks. However, the move was widely seen as
an attack on opposition strongholds and condemned by the United Nations,
which estimated that 700,000 Zimbabweans had been made homeless.

The plight of Zimbabwe under Mugabe remains an international sore. Prime
Minister Tony Blair, who has been vocal in his criticism of Mugabe in the
past, came under attack from one of his own backbenchers last week for his
failure to speak out over Zimbabwe during his visit to Africa. Blair instead
confined himself to voicing support for the mediation efforts of South
African president Thabo Mbeki, who has in turn been criticised for his
policy of quiet diplomacy towards the Zimbabwean dictator.

Attention will now switch to next year's Zimbabwean elections, which
observers predict will be marred by intimidation, massive vote-rigging and a
skewed media. However, while local media are likely to ignore the decision
to strip Mugabe of his university degree, it will receive massive coverage
in the South African media, which is eagerly consumed in Zimbabwe.

Bruised and bloodied by Mugabe's thugs, the Zimbabwean opposition will also
be energised by the knowledge that they are not alone in their condemnation
of the dictator.

Sir Nicholas Winterton, the vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe All-Party
Parliamentary Group, said: "Removing his degree will have an impact. Mugabe
will no doubt dismiss this as 'colonialism' as he always does. But it will
have an effect on the people of Zimbabwe and I believe on more moderate
members of his party and government, who will realise that the world is not
ignoring or forgetting the plight of the people of Zimbabwe."


 oder, Scotland / 1:32am 3 Jun 2007

  When will the world get it right Mugabe never was a democrat of any kind!
problem is the British were aware of what was going on in Matabeleland in
1984 and looked the other way, at the polling stations were Mugabe`s bully
boys stood with their AK47`sready to help ouy anyone who did`nt understand
the democratic way of electing Mugabe! LORD Soames said this was not
intimidation! it was put down to PR stunt "getting to know you better"

  AJ fi Fife, Fife / 1:46am 3 Jun 2007

  Carrington was a poor judge of character!!!!

  But what do you expect from someone who dressed up as a goat during the
orgy attended by Profumo!!!!

  sandy, USA / 2:24am 3 Jun 2007

  this is another example of the lack of humanity by the UN of poor black
innocents ruled by the likes of this monster......i wonder what certain
members of the UN are given to look the other way while the likes of a
mugabe murders his own people??

   Colin B, Bearsden / 2:35am 3 Jun 2007
  At least Carrington resigned over the Falkland Islands and Nott offerred
to resign. Des Browne has mislead and apologised to Parliament so often eg
allowances, Navy hostage stories, Cockpit video that did exist, late armour,
delays in Cronoer cases you have to wonder why this inarticulate numpty (
and Scottish Solicitor )is still in post ( what does he have on Bliar and
Brown ) beware Your Majesty this Privy Councillor! JAck Straw was only
interested in democracy when it suited him - he and Hain did not care less
about the GIbraltar people's views

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Lonrho breaks taboo with Zimbabwe venture

Sunday Telegraph
By Sylvia Pfeifer, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:22am BST 03/06/2007

Lonrho breaks taboo with listed Zimbabwe venture
Cash crisis: Under Robert Mugabe, inflation in Zimbabwe now exceeds 3,700 per cent

Investors will be given the first opportunity to invest in Zimbabwe through an innovative vehicle about to list on the London stock market.

LonZim, which is backed by Lonrho, the Aim-listed rump of Tiny Rowland's business empire, is in the process of raising £50m, which will be invested in a range of assets such as commercial property, infrastructure and telecommunications.

The flotation, which is being managed by Collins Stewart, will hold symbolic significance for Lonrho as its history began in Zimbabwe in the 1950s with Rowland. It is also likely to prove controversial given its focus on Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe's rule has left the country in almost terminal decline: the economy has collapsed, inflation exceeds 3,700 per cent - the highest in the world - and life expectancy has fallen to just 37.

During his farewell tour in South Africa last week, Tony Blair shied away from clashing openly with Mugabe's government, instead arguing that Zimbabwe was an issue for the African continent's leaders to resolve.

David Lenigas, the executive chairman of Lonrho, which will take a significant stake in LonZim, defended the move, saying no one had yet raised any concerns about the concept.

"From an economic perspective, this country is almost at base zero, there is only one way to go - that's up. We are firmly of the view that large-scale private foreign investment is the best way to bring countries out of poverty, not NGO [non-governmental organisation] money. Everyone criticises people who want to invest in Zimbabwe but we're the first company that is doing this from a large-scale perspective," he said.

"What happens after Mugabe moves out? I don't know," he added. "Nobody will know the outcome politically of Zimbabwe, but in the meantime you've got a whole fantastic country that really is crying out for large-scale foreign investment."

The offer already has strong support from a wide range of international institutional investors as well as high net worth individuals, although it will also be open to retail investors. Lonrho itself still has more than 20,000 retail shareholders, many of them part of the old "Barmy Army" of ultra-loyal shareholders who used to revere Rowland. His empire was dismantled in the late 1990s, when the mining assets were spun off as Lonmin. Since taking over at Lonrho, the ebullient Lenigas has embarked on a drive to rebuild a pan-African conglomerate. The company still has several registered subsidiaries in Zimbabwe but they are not active.

While Lenigas will be chairman of LonZim, the vehicle will have a chief executive who hails from Zimbabwe. Lenigas said the company had already identified a number of investment opportunities, especially in the commercial property sector.

"As the economy does start to grow significantly, hotels are going to be one of the first big kick-off areas. There are some pretty undervalued properties in Zimbabwe at the moment," he said.

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Blair's blunder gives next despot free rein

The Scotsman
Sun 3 Jun 2007

TONY Blair's farewell tour is turning into a very public humiliation. His
final goodbyes in America, Africa and Europe were intended as a celebration
of his achievements on the global stage - like an ageing rocker promoting a
'Greatest Hits' compilation. Instead, his exit has become an ignominious
reminder of how his legacy has been besmirched by Iraq.

By far the best speech I saw Blair make was at the Labour Party conference
in Brighton in October 2001, just weeks after the September 11 attacks.

Blair argued the case for pursuing the terrorists responsible and the states
that harboured them, as part of Britain's moral duty to confront barbarism
wherever it was found. His clinching argument was over Rwanda.

"I tell you," he said, "if Rwanda happened today as it did in 1993, when a
million people were slaughtered in cold blood, we would have a moral duty to
act there also."

To me, this was a powerful and convincing argument. The old belief that
national boundaries must be respected at all cost is simply a licence to
fascist despots to commit genocide with impunity. The position newly adopted
by the Left, that dictators should be left alone as long as they don't
bother anyone outwith their borders, is moral cowardice. Blair was right
then, and he is still right today. Our collective guilt over Rwanda is
testament to that.

Now, however, the interventionist cause he so eloquently espoused is
tattered and forlorn, and the Prime Minister must accept his share of the
blame. The Iraq misadventure has made it far more likely that the world's
next genocidal maniac or ethnic cleanser will be able to carry out their
crimes without being unduly bothered by the international community; and I
write as someone who, on the face of the evidence presented at the time,
supported the military action to remove Saddam.

The legacy of Bush and Blair's botched war in Iraq is a world where any
suggestion of military intervention - regardless of the good it could do or
the evil it could counter - will face knee-jerk opposition rather than sober

In 1999, when Slobodan Milosevic attempted the ethnic cleansing of Muslims
in Kosovo and the United Nations refused to intervene, Blair ordered in
British air strikes and ground troops to prevent the slaughter.

Faced with a civil war in Sierra Leone in 2000, Blair sent in the Paras, not
only to protect British nationals, but also to quell the revolt by
opposition groups that had been responsible for sickening atrocities. In
that corner of Africa he is regarded as a hero and Britain as a liberating
force for good.

What are the chances of Britain acting in the same way if similar challenge
arose tomorrow?

Those who truly care about the plight of the developing world are
justifiably concerned about this. Oxfam - an organisation not known for its
militaristic tendencies - warned in April this year that the Iraq experience
must not prevent us from halting the next Bosnia or the next Rwanda. Oxfam
director Barbara Stocking put it this way: "We must say 'never again' as
much to our failure to stop these atrocities, as to repeating Iraq."

The signs are not good. One of the reasons why British troops are taking
such a battering in Afghanistan is that other Nato nations are proving
reluctant to commit their own troops into such a deadly theatre. And this is
an operation fully endorsed by United Nations Security Council resolution

Last week in South Africa, Blair made a plea for "liberal intervention"
where required. "We should be prepared to intervene, if necessary
militarily, to prevent genocide, oppression, the deep injustice too often
inflicted on the vulnerable." But his words had a hint of desperation about

When asked about Robert Mugabe's brutal regime in Zimbabwe, Blair ducked the
issue and said it was a matter for African nations to sort out among
themselves. Blair's enemies will cheer the sight of a chastened Prime
Minister unable to intervene, even diplomatically, but this should be
lamented, not celebrated.

This week's G8 summit in Germany will be yet another opportunity to give
Blair a kicking. George W Bush's intransigence on climate change is a final
'up-yours' - more proof, if any were needed, that the Prime Minister has
consistently over-estimated his ability to charm America's most right-wing
administration for a generation.

By now Blair must be regretting his farewell tour. Surely he must have
realised there was little use in him playing the diplomat this late in the
game. Which world leader worth their salt would do him any of the favours he
has been asking as he clocks up the air miles during the world's most lavish
leaving do? In particular, what sense does it make for him to attend the
forthcoming EU summit, where there is hard bargaining to be done on the
future of Europe's constitution, just days before he steps down?

Other leaders know power has already passed to Gordon Brown, and they are
already treating Blair with condescending pleasantries. How exquisitely
galling for him. But loss of influence is something that Tony Blair has been
learning for some time.


  AM2, Glasgow / 1:25am 3 Jun 2007

  Excellent analysis.

 gerad, london / 1:53am 3 Jun 2007

  spot on

 I'm no really here / 2:05am 3 Jun 2007

  He only visited SA to do the Nelson Mandela thing. Gives him some good
picture for the inevitable up-coming book.

  Lost in America, usa / 2:41am 3 Jun 2007

  Yet another presumption of global warming, as a reality, slipped in. It is
anything but proven and the acceptance of this as the truth will have huge
consequences for all of us as our weak-kneed political ruling class, and
that's what they are, turn our economies upside down to solve a problem that
doesn't exist.
  I despair that there is any hope for us; where is the leader with an ounce
of common sense and where is the electorate that will for that person?

  AJ fi Fife, Fife / 3:04am 3 Jun 2007
  Blair's mark in history will be entirely negative!! Getting lucky in
Sierra Leone doesn't exactly balance out the horrific situation in Iraq!!!!

  A life sentence is what's required for Mr Blair!!!!

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HIV/AIDS in Africa: It's All About Sex, Stupid


      [Opinion] There is plenty of HIV/AIDS information out there, but it's
just not useful

      Masimba Biriwasha

     Published 2007-06-03 10:40 (KST)

It's not a revealing discovery that sexual engagement with multiple partners
increases the likelihood of getting some kind of an infection, HIV included.
But such practices is increasingly getting attention as HIV/AIDS workers
grapple with a ballooning epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, where just 12
percent of men and 10 percent of women know their HIV status.

For example, over the past few years the term "small house" has gained
currency in Zimbabwe, a country with 18 percent HIV prevalence rate among
the 15 to 49 age group. Small house simply refers to the extra-marital
affairs that married men or women have in secret.

"Small houses are a form of concurrent relationship in which a person is
having regular sexual relations with another person, while at the same time
continuing to have sex with their current primary sexual partner," says Lois
Chingandu, Executive Director of Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information
Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS)in an ongoing electronic forum discussion on
accelerating-prevention measures in Zimbabwe.

Usually, such relationships often include a powerful element of
sexual-economic exchange. Because of women's subordinate economic status,
they often enter into the relationships to gain financially, making
themselves vulnerable to HIV infection. Also, in many African countries,
cultural and traditional practices encourage multiple partnerships for men.
Like in many societies around the world, men's sense of masculinity is often
associated with sexual prowess.

AIDS researchers say multiple concurrent sexual partnerships are largely to
blame for the high rates of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Researchers increasingly attribute the resilience of HIV in Botswana - and
in southern Africa generally - to the high incidence of multiple sexual
relationships," reports the Washington Post. "Europeans and Americans often
have more partners over their lives, studies show, but sub-Saharan Africans
average more at the same time."

While it's clearly a fallacy to say such partnerships are unique to
sub-Saharan Africa, they do indeed facilitate the transmission of HIV
because of other reasons.

"The fact is that concurrent sex or small houses are a key driver of the
epidemic for a number of reasons; people do not know their status when they
engage in sex, condom use is zero in these relationships despite high HIV
awareness levels; mutual fidelity is very rare; small houses are themselves
driven by other drivers like power dynamics and gender inequality, which
make it difficult for women on both sides of the relationship to demand
protection, even when they know they are at risk," says Chingandu.

World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that sub-Saharan Africa alone
accounts for 65 percent of all new HIV infections. The primary transmission
of HIV is through heterosexual contact.

The catch, however, is that most of the people do not know that they are HIV
infected. Reducing the number of partners is key to HIV prevention but must
be promoted alongside the provision of other services such as HIV testing,
stigma reduction, access to treatment, and correct and consistent use of
existing prevention methods.

In many parts of sub-Sahara Africa, HIV/AIDS lives in the shadow of silence,
fear and death, and many people prefer not to know their status.

The UN estimates that nearly 80 percent of the people with HIV in poor and
developing countries do not know they have it. In Africa alone, nearly 20
million people with HIV are not aware they have the virus.

The stigma associated with HIV/AIDS makes many people to shun HIV testing

And when people enter into a sexual relationship, they trust each other
after a period of time to forgo protective measures, putting themselves at
risk. The rate of the spread of the disease increases in the event of
multiple concurrent sexual relationships.

Unfortunately, the AIDS response in Africa has largely steered away from
matters of sex and sexuality. While there's tons and tons of printed
material on HIV and AIDS, it often ignores the heart of the matter: sex.
NGOs, government and AIDS funders have concentrated efforts on alleviating
the social manifestations of the disease. There's every justification to
provide services to the affected populations but equally important is the
need to tackle often-taboo subjects associated with sex in wide-scale

"Africans are overwhelmed with information on AIDS but not nearly enough
that is useful," said Washington Post's Craig Timberg, in a recent online
chat with his readers.

If heterosexual contact is main cause of the spread of the epidemic, it is
imperative for African societies to start exploring the cultural,
traditional, social, economic and political dynamics that define sexual
behaviour, especially between men and women.

There's need to bring the sex back into HIV/AIDS work. Programs that promote
safe sexual relations, even in multiple partnerships, need to be emphasized
to harness the high rates of new infections.

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Zimbabwe's total eclipse

by Mike Rook

What keeps Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe in power? How can this infamous
octogenarian linger on leading a failed state? Isn't Zimbabwe supposed to be
a parliamentary democracy, and if so why donʽt Zimbabweans simply vote him
out of office?

As a Zimbabwean exiled in the United Kingdom I am often asked these
questions by Zimbabwe watchers who are obviously not familiar with what is
actually happening on the ground in that misruled and impoverished country.

It is my considered opinion that the Zimbabwe problem most certainly isn't
given the amount of global attention it deserves: and that is an insult and
tragedy for the majority of poor frustrated souls trapped within its
borders, who are desperately trying to avoid starvation and malnutrition in
what used to be the breadbasket of Africa.

Tragically just as Zimbabwe's 1980 independence celebrations welcomed the
advent of a glorious African sunrise, the new millennium 20 years later
heralded Zimbabwe's devastating total eclipse.

In the early days of Mugabe's stewardship prior to him orchestrating
promotion to an all powerful presidency, he regularly attended Parliament
for Prime Minister's Questions. At that time he was very much in tune with
domestic issues, and quick witted with a sharp repartee.
Mugabe then was undoubtedly the people's choice and undoubtedly accountable
to the electorate. He was yet to be uncovered as one of Africa's leading

Mugabe's Achilles heel is his inability to surrender authority gracefully,
and in the fullness of time after the euphoria of independence had subsided
it would become patently and embarrassingly obvious to Zimbabweans, that
their President had metamorphosed into an immovable object set in stone. The
awful revelation that Mugabe actually believes he's infallible and
Zimbabwe's only saviour and redeemer crept up on Zimbabweans surreptitiously
like a malevolent spectre, creating as much dread as would the arrival of
the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.

The cause and effect of Mugabe's obduracy has manifested itself in the
killing maiming and torture that is now tragically Zimbabwe's trademark and
its President's stock in trade. It is common knowledge that leaders of the
opposition, trade union dignitaries, influential members of civic groups and
independent journalists who dare stand up to the notorious Mugabe regime
suffer severe beatings and torture, or are simply eliminated altogether.

Mugabe over the years has created a mafia style elitist hierarchy that
condones volumes of violence and rules by instilling abject fear. He is
somewhat of a recluse and has few real friends. He buys enduring loyalty and
support by surrounding himself with slavish sycophants and by dishing out
obscene amounts of largesse, in the form of confiscated large scale
commercial farms and lucrative political appointments. To fund such corrupt
practices more money has to be printed, fuelling Zimbabwe's ever rising
inflation that is already the highest on the planet at almost 4 000 percent.

America and the European Union apply targeted sanctions against an
indifferent Mugabe and his henchmen. The United Nations and the African
Union issue bland statements and admonishments that are ignored. As for
Zimbabwe's immediate neighbours, the Southern African Development
Coordination Conference countries, the less said about them the better.
After lots of loud trumpeting the SADCC simply left Zimbabwe to South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki; whose quiet diplomacy comprises a consistent deafening

Zimbabweans have a forecast life expectancy of only 36 years, and like
wretched helpless upended tortoises they are painfully wasting away as the
world watches and waits.

However Zimbabweans recently received a much needed lifeline and a
tremendous morale booster when Australia's Premier John Howard fired a
warning shot across Mugabe's bows. In a blunt outspoken no nonsense
statement Howard described Mugabe as a grubby dictator and his behaviour
akin to Nazi Germanyʽs Gestapo; and more to the point he backed up his words
with action by cancelling Australia's forthcoming Zimbabwe cricket tour.

Meanwhile to their everlasting shame fellow African governments who could
initiate positive change carry on fiddling and farting while Zimbabwe burns.


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 2nd June 2006

We know now just how bad the situation is for the Mugabe regime on the
international stage: a British Caribbean passer-by was spitting with
impotent rage at our protest. "You are licking the arses of the whites", he
said. While African governments continue to pay lip service to solidarity
with Mugabe it is clear they are embarrassed and the black press around the
world is beginning to be outspokenly critical of his brutality and
hypocrisy - including some newspapers in the West Indies. It has driven the
head-in-the-sand diehards hysterical. They are so wedded to the image of
Mugabe as the great liberator that they are in a state of deep denial and
continue to swallow Zanu-PF propaganda however absurd.  Mugabe is reported
to have paid over US$1.6 million to the London-based magazine "New African"
to counter bad publicity emanating from the 11 March beatings. We are sorry
that this money has not gone towards desperately needed food and medical
care in Zimbabwe. Our Caribbean critic was faced by Vigil supporters who
have themselves been tortured and have had relatives killed by the regime.
But he would not be shaken from his prejudice and neither will the man who
drives the van for Global Foods who always hurls insults at us as he drives
past.  It is partly to stand against brain-washed people like these that we
hold our demonstration every Saturday outside the Embassy.

Despite these incidents lots of Zimbabweans and South Africans were among
people who stopped by to express their support on a beautiful, sunny, warm
day.  We were glad to be joined by a group of students from Reading
University.  They spent the whole afternoon with us. They were lucky to hear
Patson, down from Leicester, doing his fabulous triple: dancing, singing and
playing the drum all at the same time. Like many of our supporters, he has
been using his exile to gain qualifications and has been absent for a few
weeks writing exams.

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 72 signed the register.

-         Monday, 4th June 2007, 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe Forum. The
speaker is the activist, Alois Mbawara, of Free-Zim Youth. Upstairs at the
Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand
from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn
right and you will see the pub).
-         Monday, 11th June - The Zimbabwe Solidarity Campaign based in
Belfast are presenting a petition: "ZIMBABWE: A CALL FOR THE UK GOVERNMENT
TO TAKE ACTION" to Stormont (home of the Northern Ireland Assembly).  Meet
at the gates of Stormont at 10:45 am. From there the group will walk up to
Parliament Buildings at 11:00 to present the petition at 11:30.  Carmel
Hanna of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has agreed to receive
the petition.  To sign online, go to:

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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No Test return for Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Monday 04 June 2007

By Prince Nyathi

HARARE - An International Cricket Council sub-committee has recommended
Zimbabwe should not be allowed to resume its Test programme, citing the
team's poor showing in recent months.

The newly formed ICC Cricket Committee, headed by former India captain Sunil
Gavaskar, met in Dubai this week, and ruled the Zimbabwe team could only end

self-imposed exile by "demonstrating its ability to perform at a standard
that does not risk undermining the integrity of Test cricket."

The ICC granted a Zimbabwe Cricket request to suspend its Test programme in
January 2006, after Full Member countries had expressed concern at the
quality of Zimbabwe's inexperienced team.

Zimbabwe Cricket had hoped to bounce back in November this year, with a home
series against the West Indies.

But Gavaskar's committee, which comprises some of the game's past and
present luminaries, dashed these hopes last week, recommending Zimbabwe
should be relegated to the community of Associated Members.

Zimbabwe performed dismally at the ICC 2007 World Cup last month, and the
team was equally pathetic at the ICC Champions Trophy in India, in November

The ICC committee recommended said in a statement that it did not:  "support
the return of Zimbabwe to Test cricket until such time as the team
demonstrates its ability to perform at a standard that does not risk
undermining the integrity of Test cricket.

"In order to be able to judge when Zimbabwe's performance merits a return to
Test cricket, the committee felt the team first needed to continue in its
current practice of playing a number of representative four-day matches.

The committee encouraged the scheduling of such matches against ICC Full
Member A teams and Associates with, for example, the inclusion of Zimbabwe
in the next ICC Intercontinental Cup."

The recommendations are expected to be adopted by the ICC executive in June,
and would all-but end Zimbabwe's association with nine other members of the
Test community.

However, cricket officials in Harare said they had not given up on resuming
playing Test cricket, saying they were still working on a programme to
ensure the Zimbabwe's young cricketers acquired enough experience to be able
to return to the Test game.

 "We have not given up on that target, and will continue to assess the
situation and evaluate ourselves in conjunction with the ICC," said Zimbabwe
Cricket communications manager, Lovemore Banda. - ZimOnline.

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