June 3, 2008
© Dario Pignatelli / Reuters
STREET TUSSLE Bodyguards of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe scuffle with a cameraman from Canadian CBC television and a photographer as they arrive at a hotel in Rome yesterday.
Indeed, it's hard to think of any other single gesture which would so effectively show the ineffectiveness of international institutions in the conduct of both human rights and food aid policy. Even someone standing on top of the dome of St. Peter's, megaphone in hand, shouting, "The U.N. is useless! The E.U. is useless!" couldn't have clarified the matter more plainly.
For yes, Mr. Mugabe is in Rome, at the invitation of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, which is holding a conference to discuss the very real international food crisis.
And yes, he has been formally forbidden from travelling to Europe by the European Union, which considers him persona non grata: For the past several years, he has beaten and murdered his political opponents in Zimbabwe so blatantly that even the Europeans noticed.
Nevertheless, it seems the Italians can't prevent him from being there this week. Since the summit is a United Nations event, U.N. rules take precedence over European or Italian border rules. This is not the first time Mr. Mugabe has taken advantage of this little loophole either.
He attended a previous U.N. food conference in Rome in 2002, during which he stayed at a five-star hotel on the Via Veneto, sent his wife out shopping, and bragged about how his "land reform" program — i.e., the wholesale theft of land from white Zimbabwean farmers and redistribution among political supporters — was going to enrich his nation's food supply.
It hasn't. According to Oxfam, 80% of Zimbabwe's population now lives on less than $1 a day thanks to Mr. Mugabe's policies, and lacks access to basic foods and clean water. Inflation is at 100,000%, this year's harvest was poor, and Zimbabweans are fleeing their country in large numbers.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mugabe is notorious for using food aid as a political weapon, distributing it only to those who reliably vote for him. Thus does his presence at a U.N. food summit contain many layers of troubling irony. Stephen Smith, the Australian foreign minister and one of Mr. Mugabe's more vocal critics, put it less delicately: "Robert Mugabe turning up to a conference dealing with food security or food issues is, in my view, frankly obscene."
And, as noted, the timing couldn't be worse: The U.N. is still (or should be) smarting from its recent failure to persuade Burma's generals — also notorious for using food aid as a political weapon — to accept any outside aid. As a result, a quarter of a million or so Burmese are still not receiving a steady supply of food and water, a month after Cylcone Nargis hit the Burmese coast.
The U.N. secretary-general did, after much wrangling, pay a visit to Burma and the generals did, after much stalling, agree to allow a few foreign aid workers into the country. But even the U.N.'s highest-ranking food relief official recently conceded that "urgent work remains" to be done in Burma. Translation: the regime is still refusing to let relief workers travel to the afflicted region, still refusing to let others into the country, still refusing to let foreign ships land on the coast with aid.
In fact, the root of Burma's humanitarian crisis is a political crisis. The root of Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis is a political crisis too. But because the United Nations was never set up to deal with political crises, it can't really address either humanitarian crisis either.
Officially, the U.N. has to respect the decision of the Burmese government not to feed its people. Officially, the U.N. feels it has to invite Mr. Mugabe to Rome too, despite the E.U. ban. Indeed, one U.N. official justified his presence on the grounds that the U.N. is "about inclusiveness, not exclusivity" and besides, the food issue is so serious and this week's food conference is so significant that "the rest is irrelevant."
But that, of course, is nonsense: It is "the rest", in this case — the vicious dictatorship, the manipulation of agricultural policies for political ends, the fear and violence — which matter, not the rise in international commodity prices, the mass planting of biofuels, or drought. To their credit, Europe's leaders have tried to address "the rest," to put pressure on Mr. Mugabe by restricting his movements, to shun meetings he attends, and to demonstrate, in general, that his behavior is unacceptable. Though not especially effective so far, this isn't an entirely pointless policy: Mr. Mugabe clearly cares how Europe treats him or he wouldn't go out of his way to defy its ban.
The European boycott might work a bit better, however, if the U.N. didn't help the Zimbabwean leader flout it. Indeed, the U.N. should join it. If this really is a serious food conference, after all, then an egregious abuser of his own country's food policy has no place at the table.
© 2008 The Washington Post
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 3, 2008
ROME: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday defended his policy of
seizing land from white farmers in a speech at a U.N. summit on the global
food crisis, saying he is undoing a legacy left by Zimbabwe's former
Mugabe's presence at the summit sparked protests from some world leaders
because he has presided over the collapse of a onetime African bread basket
into a nation where millions go hungry.
The African leader also blamed international sanctions for many of
Zimbabwe's woes and said his own policies have been "warmly welcomed" by his
"Over the past decade, Zimbabwe has democratized the land ownership patterns
in the country, with over 300,000 previously landless families now proud
landowners," Mugabe said.
"Previously,this land was owned by a mere 4,000 farmers, mainly of British
stock," the longtime African leader said.
He contended the land reform was "warmly welcomed by the vast majority of
"It has, however, and regrettably so, elicited wrath from our former
colonial masters," Mugabe said.
"In retaliation ... the United Kingdom has mobilized her friends and allies
in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand to impose illegal
economic sanctions against Zimbabwe," he said.
The sanctions aim to "cripple Zimbabwe's economy and thereby effect illegal
regime change in our country.," Mugabe said.
His government is accused of cracking down on political opposition ahead of
a presidential runoff next month.
June 3, 2008
Mr Mugabe in Rome: his visit was criticised as "obscene"
Richard Owen, Rome
Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, today blamed the fact that
millions of Zimbabweans are facing starvation on Britain and the West, as
well as on climate change and soaring fuel prices.
He said "our former colonial masters" had imposed "illegal sanctions" and
tried to impose "regime change" by supporting the Zimbabwean Opposition. He
did not mention that the Opposition claims to have won March's presidential
election - a vote he had been accused of trying to rig.
Mr Mugabe was addressing the United Nations' world food security summit in
Rome, called to discuss solutions to rising food prices. His presence at the
summit, in defiance of an EU ban, has been described by several Western
spokesmen as "obscene" given his role in the destruction of Zimbabwean
farming. He was politely applauded, but reproved by the chairman for running
over the allotted five minutes.
Speaking with slow deliberation Mr Mugabe, bespectacled and in a crisp white
shirt with a striped tie, said there was a "marked disequlibrium" in world
food equations" which threatened disaster for "all that humanity has
achieved over the centuries".
"The trend towards global food crisis should be a cause for concern to all
global leaders," Mr Mugabe said.
The Zimbabwean leader said that global warming and "the use of agricultural
commodities for biofuels " were linked to the crisis and needed an "urgent
response". Southern Africa was one of the regions most at risk from global
warming, even though the continent as a whole accounts for just 5 per cent
of greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Mugabe said that the frequency and severity of droughts and flooods had
increased over the past decade as the result of climate change.
Extreme weather conditions were exacerbating poverty levels, with farmers
"trapped in a cycle of vulnerability" compounded by a decline in cereal
stocks and "dramatic rises in the prices of food".
Soaring oil, chemical and fertiliser prices had also contributed. The result
was that countries which were net food importers were "failing to achieve
food security for their citizens". This was against a backdrop of "numerous
challenges affecting agriculture in southern Africa" including the HIV/Aids
virus and declining soil fertility.
"My country's prime agricultural policy objective remains ensuring national
and household food security through our own production" Mr Mugabe declared.
In a reference to the violent seizure of white-owned farms he said Zimbabwe
had "democratised land ownership" over the past decade. Zimbabweans were now
the "proud owners" of land previously owned by a few thousand white farmers,
"mainly of British stock".
But although these reforms had been warmly welcomed by "the vast majority of
our people", they had elicited only "wrath" from Britain, which mobilised
friendly governments in a concerted drive to "cripple the Zimbabwe economy".
In addition Britain and its allies had sought to impose "illegal regime
change" by channelling funds through NGOs to opposition parties, which were
"the creation of the West", thus using food aid as a political weapon to
force him from power.
"But these constraints on our agricultural performance have not deterred us
from taking measures to increase agricultural productivity", including
irrigation schemes and small and medium sized dams, Mr Mugabe said.
a.. Have your say
The sad thing is that he is allowed to speak and the African leaders put up
with his antics.
Hamad Lone, London, England
...and all from the mouth of the worlds most incompetent ruler.
He need say no more.
brian smith, milton, canada
When this circus can go on at taxpayer expense while Mugabe's subjects are
starving, is it any wonder that many people see the UN as the problem, not
the solution? These guys fly in from all over the world and expect to be
praised for eating a less lavish lunch?
jon livesey, Sunnyvale, CA/USA
Tue 3 Jun 2008, 14:49 GMT
WASHINGTON, June 3 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's presence
at a food crisis summit in Rome should serve as example to others of "what
not to do" when it comes to food security, the U.S. State Department said on
Mugabe's attendance at the U.N. crisis summit has provoked strong criticism
and organizers left him and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad off the
guest list of a ceremonial dinner.
"In terms of President Mugabe's attendance there, I think about the only
useful purpose that can serve is as an example of what not to do in terms of
managing agricultural and food policy," said State Department spokesman Tom
Under Mugabe's rule, Zimbabwe has gone from being a significant food
exporter to a net importer and many of its people are starving.
"The tragic situation in Zimbabwe is very much in part attributable to the
ruinous policies, not only agricultural policies but other economic policies
that President Mugabe's regime has followed," Casey said.
"I think he has a lot to answer for to his own people."
An estimated 4 million Zimbabweans rely on food aid in a country that was
once the region's breadbasket. Inflation is around 165,000 percent,
unemployment 80 percent and there are chronic shortages of basic necessities
like food and fuel. (Reporting by Sue Pleming)
International Herald Tribune
By Celia W. Dugger Published: June 3, 2008
JOHANNESBURG: The Zimbabwean government has suspended all the humanitarian
work of CARE, one of the largest nonprofit groups working in the country,
because of allegations that the group has sided with the opposition in the
current election season.
CARE provides assistance to 500,000 of the most vulnerable people in
Zimbabwe, including orphans, the sick and the elderly. This month, it would
have fed more than 110,000 people in schools, orphanages, old age homes and
through other programs.
Speaking at a United Nations food conference in Rome, President Robert
Mugabe attacked the activities of nongovernmental organizations and accused
the West of conspiring "to cripple Zimbabwe's economy" and bring about
"illegal regime change."
"Funds are being channeled through nongovernmental organizations to
opposition political parties, which are a creation of the West," Mugabe
said. "These Western-funded NGOs also use food as a political weapon with
which to campaign against government, especially in the rural areas."
Government officials have accused CARE staff of distributing election
pamphlets and encouraging people to vote for the opposition and against
ZANU-PF - the governing party that has been in power since 1980 - in advance
of a presidential runoff this month. CARE vehemently denies the charges and
said the government has not offered any specific evidence to back up the
CARE was informed of the suspension May 28, and it will remain in place
until the government's investigation of the charges is completed. CARE has
told its staff of 300 in Zimbabwe to remain at home pending further notice.
Since it began working in Zimbabwe in 1992, CARE has channeled more than
$100 million in development assistance and disaster relief to the country.
"CARE has strict policies against political involvement and categorically
denies that the organization has encouraged or tolerated any political
activity," said Kenneth Walker, Africa communications manager for CARE
International. "Care requested, but has not yet received details of any
allegations, including names, dates and locations."
Since a disputed March 29 presidential election, in which Mugabe came in
second to the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the government has
been cracking down widely on many civic and nonprofit groups, as well as the
opposition. Civic leaders and aid workers say the restrictions on
humanitarian assistance have been increasing in recent days.
The government has been curtailing the operations of nongovernmental
organizations in certain areas. The groups affected include Plan
International, Save the Children and Mercy Corps, according to aid workers.
In the southeastern Chipinge District, for example, the local administrator
summoned representatives of nonprofit groups to a brief meeting Monday and
informed them that they were to stop all work in the field and remain in
their offices until the presidential runoff ends June 27.
In the state-owned newspaper, The Herald, Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who was defeated March 29 in his own bid for a seat in
Parliament, was quoted as saying that nongovernmental organizations, civic
groups, churches and the opposition were working with the British to bring
down the government led by Mugabe.
Similarly, Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche was quoted in the Zimbabwe
Guardian as saying that other aid groups were being investigated for the
"Several other nongovernmental organizations involved in food distribution
in Manicaland Province will also be asked to cease operations while we
investigate them," Goche said, according to The Guardian. "There is a
crucial runoff coming and our information indicates that NGOs are involved
in plans to undermine our candidate."
The disruption of aid has raised alarm among humanitarian groups, which say
that beyond the longstanding economic problems in Zimbabwe, thousands of
additional children have been displaced by the political violence of recent
In a statement Monday, Unicef said that of the dozens of NGOs it had
contacted, more than half had restricted their activities for children "due
to threats, requests to do so by authorities or general concern at current
"It is vital that our Unicef colleagues in Zimbabwe are able to reach all
the children who require their assistance," said Per Engebak, the Unicef
regional director for East and Southern Africa. "Presently this is not the
Not all aid groups report interference by the government, but they are
watching the tense political situation closely nonetheless. One group, World
Vision, said Tuesday that it had "minimized exposure to risk by maintaining
minimal activities in the field and sticking to activities that have little
"We will continue to apply diplomacy and caution in all our areas of
operation," said Leslie Scott, the group's Zimbabwe director.
Elisabeth Rosenthal contributed reporting from Rome and Graham Bowley
contributed from New York.
Monsters and Critics
Jun 3, 2008, 11:56 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - One of Zimbabwe's opposition leaders, Arthur
Mutambara, who was arrested at the weekend on charges of contempt of court
and giving false information prejudicial to the state, was released on bail
Tuesday by a court in Harare.
Mutambara, leader of the smaller faction of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), was arrested Sunday after saying President Robert
Mugabe's government was 'illegitimate.'
A judge in the magistrates court in Harare ordered that he be released on
bail of 20 million Zimbabwean dollars and appear again in court on June 17.
In an article in an independent local newspaper in early May Mutambara
described Mugabe's government as 'illegitimate and illegal' after the
84-year-old leader failed to step down in the wake of parliamentary and
presidential elections on March 29.
The charge of contempt of court relates to the same article, in which
Mutambara also criticised a high court judge for dismissing an application
by the MDC to force the state-controlled election commission to release the
presidential vote results.
Mutambara's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said Tuesday he would be challenging the
provisions under which he was charged in the Supreme Court.
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai inflicted the first ever election defeat on
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, winning a majority in simultaneous
parliamentary and presidential elections.
His proportion of the presidential vote did not - according to the official
count - exceed the 50 per cent needed for him to be declared outright
A run-off between Tsvangirai and Mugabe has been set down for June 27.
Mutambara's faction won 10 seats in the parliamentary election, against the
Tsvangirai faction's 99 seats and 97 for Zanu-PF.
The MDC, founded in 1999 to challenge Mugabe's hold on power since
independence in 1980, split in 2005 over differences on whether the party
should field candidates for a newly formed senate.
The party reunited for the second time in little over a year after the March
1 hour, 19 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Thirteen members of a prominent women's rights group detained
on a march against violence ahead of Zimbabwe's run-off poll have been
denied bail and ordered held in prison, the organisation said Tuesday.
The 12 women and one man from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), including
their outspoken leader Jenni Williams, are due to appear in court again on
Friday, said Tafadzwa Mugabe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
They were arrested May 28 during the demonstration in Harare, said
London-based rights group Amnesty International which called for their
They were marching to the Zambian embassy to deliver a petition over
poll-related violence when they were arrested.
Zambia is the current chair of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), which has tasked South African President Thabo Mbeki with mediating
between President Robert Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition.
Violence has mounted in Zimbabwe since March first round elections that saw
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
defeat Mugabe, but without enough votes to avoid a run-off.
According to the MDC, more than 50 of its supporters have been killed in
attacks by pro-Mugabe militias in recent weeks while tens of thousands have
been displaced in order to prevent them from voting.
Meanwhile, opposition lawmaker Ian Kay, arrested last month on public
violence charges, was granted bail on Tuesday.
"The high court has granted him 60 billion dollars bail (90 US dollars)
after it was upped from 20 billion," Tafadzwa Mugabe said.
Kay, one of the only two white lawmakers, was arrested in Marondera, east of
the capital Harare, on May 22 on charges of fanning violence in Mashonaland
Monsters and Critics
Jun 3, 2008, 15:19 GMT
Johannesburg - International rights group Amnesty International said Tuesday
it feared a group of activists arrested during a protest march in Zimbabwe
last week could face torture as a state clampdown intensified on dissenting
voices in the run-up to a June presidential vote.
The 14 activists with the Women of Zimbabwe Arise group, one of whom is a
man, were arrested during a protest march on May 28 in Harare, Amnesty said
in a statement.
WOZA could not be immediately contacted for comment about the arrests but
Amnesty said WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magadonga Mahlangu were among
the 14, and that the activists were 'in grave danger of torture or other ill
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) also said another of its
parliamentarians had also been arrested in what it called a pattern of
victimization of its leaders.
Eric Matinenga, a lawyer and MP, was arrested Monday in Buhera after last
week seeking a court interdict to stop soldiers campaigning for President
Robert Mugabe, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.
'I suppose that's why they are trying to victimize him,' Chamisa said. 'They
are targeting all opposition leaders. It's becoming a trend.'
A severe crackdown on dissenting voices in Zimbabwe is underway in the
aftermath of March 29 elections, in which Mugabe's Zanu-PF party suffered
its first ever defeat at the hands of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Mugabe also took fewer votes than MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for
president. The two are set to contest a run-off on June 27.
Critics say the campaign of intimidation against opposition members and
activists, seen together with a campaign of violence against opposition
supporters in rural areas that has killed at least 50 people, is designed to
crush the opposition ahead of the election.
Earlier a magistrates court in Harare ordered the release on bail of another
MDC leader - Arthur Mutambara - who was arrested at the weekend.
Mutambara, leader of a smaller MDC faction, has been charged with contempt
of court and giving false information prejudicial to the state over a
newspaper article calling Mugabe's government 'illegitimate' and slamming a
court decision on the release of the election results.
No charges had been laid against Matinenga as yet but police have accused
him of instigating violence, Chamisa said.
Zimbabwean and international media outlets have also been targeted by the
state in recent weeks.
On Monday, a magistrates' court in the second city Bulawayo sentenced three
South Africans to jail terms of between six and seven-and-a-half months
after they were found in possession of 'illegal transmitting equipment'
belonging to the Sky television channel.
Bernet Hasani Sono, Resemate Chauke and Simon Musimani were sentenced to six
months in prison over the equipment, which Sky insisted was not used in its
Two of the three drivers received additional six-week terms for immigration
offences, according to Sky News producer Dan Williams, who said the
broadcaster deplored the harsh verdict and would be appealing it.
The WOZA activists were arrested during a March on the Zambian embassy in
Harare. The women were calling on Zambia as chair of the 14-nation Southern
African Development Community to help bring an end to the post-election
violence, Amnesty said.
Police charged the group with 'distributing materials likely to cause a
breach of the peace.'
Williams was additionally charged with 'publishing or communicating false
statements prejudicial to the state,' Amnesty said.
The women were remanded in custody in Chikurubi maximum security prison
until their next court appearance on June 6, while the man was being held at
Harare central remand prison, the report said.
The state prosecutor won an appeal against the group being granted bail.
Tue 3 Jun 2008, 15:52 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, June 3 (Reuters) - A Zimbabwean court has sentenced three South
Africans working as drivers for Britain's Sky News to six months in jail for
carrying unregistered broadcasting equipment, a state-run newspaper reported
The trio were arrested last month at a police roadblock with a satellite
dish and other items marked with Sky News stickers, having driven to
Zimbabwe to collect the equipment for Sky.
Magistrate John Masimba handed down the sentences on Bernet Sono, Resemate
Chauke and Simon Maodi in Bulawayo on Monday, the Chronicle reported in its
"This country is not a banana republic. It has laws, which must be observed
and respected by both citizens and foreigners," it quoted Masimba as saying.
The magistrate also ordered that the equipment and vehicle be forfeited to
the state, the Chronicle said.
The three men pleaded guilty last week to violating Zimbabwe's tough media
laws, which critics say are aimed at stifling dissent against President
Robert Mugabe. Sono and Maodi were also found guilty of breaking immigration
Sky News said it deplored the harsh sentences and that it would launch an
Mugabe's government is suspicious of foreign journalists, especially from
former colonial ruler Britain, and barred many of those who applied for
credentials to cover the first round of elections on March 29.
There are no signs that it will relax its restrictions to let in foreign
journalists for the June 27 presidential election run-off between Mugabe and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round but not with enough of a
margin to avoid the second ballot. (Writing by Paul Simao; editing by Raissa
SW Radio Africa (London)
3 June 2008
Posted to the web 3 June 2008
The family of MDC MP elect for Mbare in Harare Piniel Denga was attacked by
a group of Zanu-PF supporters at Daybroke resettlement scheme in Chivhu on
Sunday. Denga told us that his elder brother and several nephews and nieces
were force-marched from the family homestead to a torture camp at a place
He explained that when his relatives got to the camp they were ordered to
denounce the MDC and all its leaders. They were also told that Denga had
sold out by standing as an MP for Mbare and that the family had to be taught
a lesson in patriotism. The whole family was then set upon by thugs wielding
His brother sustained a broken leg while one of his nieces broke a hand, and
others received lacerations to their bodies. All members are now safe and
receiving treatment, but have vowed to return to their wards to vote in the
June 27th election.
Denga said that everyone in the area is sick and tired of Zanu-PF violence
and they want to bring things to an end as soon a possible.
The attack on Denga's family comes a few days after family members of
spokesman Nelson Chamisa were also attacked in Gutu last week Friday.
Chamisa said armed soldiers and suspected ZANU-PF militia members assaulted
his mother and grandmother and younger brother at his rural home in the
Chiwara communal lands of Gutu South constituency in Masvingo province. The
attackers then proceeded to seek out and batter Chamisa's other relatives in
SW Radio Africa (London)
3 June 2008
Posted to the web 3 June 2008
A peaceful demonstration is reported to have turned into running battles
between students and riot police at the Bulawayo Polytechnic College on
15 students, including the Student Representative Council President Simba
Kuzipa and SRC Sports Director Leopold Tapi, were bundled into a police car
and taken into custody. One police officer and 3 students are reported to
have sustained serious injuries.
Students say many issues had made a decent life impossible at the
institution, but tensions reached boiling point when the College
Administration ordered them to pay top up fees of Z$75 billion. This was
after the students were charged Z$140 million last term.
According to our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme, the problems
started when police ordered the students to disperse. Student leaders
insisted that they needed their grievances addressed because the campus had
become a health hazard, with only one toilet for 3000 students. They
explained that they were living without any food and there was rarely any
water on campus. When they did have water, it was dirty, brown and not
Saungweme said the police answered: "Hazvisi zvedu izvi", meaning 'that is
not our problem.' Reinforcements arrived at this point and running battles
began between the students and the police with the frustrated students
throwing stones at the police.
Our correspondent said he saw one injured police officer and at least three
students who were beaten so severely that they required medical attention.
15 students were thrown into police vehicles and taken to Bulawayo Central
Station. It is not yet clear under what conditions they are being held.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 3, 2008
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Civil and human rights groups predicted more
violence after Zimbabwe's presidential runoff takes place, saying Tuesday
they do not believe President Robert Mugabe will step down if he loses.
However, it is "critical" for the election to go ahead so a winner can
emerge, Gorden Moyo, from the civil rights group Bulawayo Agenda, said in
"Mugabe will not transfer power to the winner," Moyo predicted.
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's longtime ruler, will face opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in the runoff, on June 27.
Rights groups have criticized the violence and intimidation in the run-up to
the vote. There are widespread fears Mugabe will try to steal the election.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says more than 50 of its
supporters have been killed and thousands driven from their homes,
especially in rural areas.
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of Jenni
Williams, Magadonga Mahlangu and 12 other activists from the organization
Women of Zimbabwe Arise.
The women were arrested May 28 after holding a peaceful demonstration in
Harare, the country's capital.
They have been denied bail and are been held in harsh conditions, the
London-based watchdog said.
Arthur Mutambara, head of an opposition faction, was released on bail
Tuesday, his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said.
Mutambara was arrested in Harare on Sunday for allegedly making false
statements that endangered state security.
"Zimbabweans are going through difficult times going into these elections.
They don't know what happens after," Moyo said. "We believe that the
Zimbabwean people are ready to vote. But we are not sure the structures of
violence will be dismantled before that."
Gabriel Shumba, a lawyer who went into exile in South Africa in 2001, after
he was beaten by security forces, said conditions in Zimbabwe were worse
than before the first round of voting, March 29.
He called for the urgent arrival of observers from the region and the
There have been calls for more elections observers from the Southern African
Development Community to be allowed into Zimbabwe. Observers are expected to
arrive in Zimbabwe Sunday.
The groups in South Africa expressed outrage at Mugabe's attendance at a
U.N. food summit in Rome. Mugabe addressed the summit Tuesday, defending a
policy to transfer land from whites to blacks - sometimes violently - that
others blame for Zimbabwe's economic collapse.
Mugabe's appearance "is a big letdown," said Japhet Ncube, deputy secretary
general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union.
Attorney Arnold Tsunga said lawyers were increasingly under threat. He said
human rights lawyer Andrew Makoni had to be driven to South Africa in the
middle of the night when he received death threats.
Makoni has been given refuge by the Southern Africa Litigation Center. "When
the most prominent, the most active and the most courageous human rights
lawyers are targeted and forced to flee, you know that you're dealing with
the most grotesque forms of impunity," Nicole Fritz, the center's director
Three South Africans were sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail in
Zimbabwe for illegally possessing broadcasting equipment allegedly used to
defy a ban on Western coverage of elections in March, their lawyer said.
Tawengwa Hara said the three would appeal the sentence. Hara said magistrate
John Masimba offered the three no option of a fine, as provided in the
nation's media and broadcasting laws.
The South Africans, Bennett Sono, 34, Rese Chauke, 47, and Simon Moadi, 38,
were arrested outside Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, official media
reported May 27.
Sky News in London said the three men were drivers who, though not staffer,
were working for the television network.
"We deplore the harsh sentence given to the three South African drivers. We
will be appealing and hope that the Zimbabwean justice system fully
reappraises its decision," Sky News said in a statement.
Most main Western media organizations were banned by the government from
covering Zimbabwe's March elections.
Associated Press writer Angus Shaw in Harare, Zimbabwe contributed to this
Robert Mugabe's visit to Rome is the best chance we have to apprehend him,
lock him up at The Hague and put him on trial
June 3, 2008 11:30 AM
There are two excellent reasons why Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ex-president,
should not be at the UN world food conference in Rome, and one excellent
reason why he should be arrested while there for arraignment before the
international criminal court. The fact that he is nevertheless there, and
the fact that he has not so far been arrested on criminal charges, speaks
the worst shame to that pusillanimous and feeble creature, "the
The two reasons why he should not be in Rome are these. First, he has
several times over been voted out of office by the people he has bullied,
starved and impoverished, but continues to rule through the gun and
truncheon as, in effect, a coup leader. He has no legitimate standing to
attend the Rome conference therefore; the fig leaf of waiting for a rerun of
a presidential election he has already lost, in the hope that his thugs can
arrange another "win" next time, cannot possibly persuade anyone else at the
Rome conference that he has a right to be there.
Secondly, as someone who has turned a flourishing net exporter of foodstuffs
into a starvation zone, he is one of the last people on earth who should be
allowed into a five-star Roman hotel with his wife and an entourage. What an
irony it is that someone who is so unimpeachably and starkly an example of a
food-crisis engendering problem should dare to show his face at a conference
And yet his presence there offers one possibility of a small contribution to
one part of a solution: arrest him, arraign him for human rights crimes,
lock him up in the Netherlands while trial pends, and while he defends his
glowing record of humane administration of justice, internal peace, and
economic progress, poor struggling Zimbabwe might be able to find its feet
At least our own government has complained about his presence in Rome, and
has been blunt in doing so. But words are not enough. Here is the wretched
dictator within reach of international law: nab him and put him on trial; it
would be the cleanest, quickest, simplest way to give Zimbabwe real help.
June 3, 2008
By Our Correspondent.
BULAWAYO - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai made a surprise visit to the high
density suburbs of Bulawayo yesterday, bringing business in the town to a
virtual standstill wherever he went.
He urged the residents to vote in the forthcoming presidential run-off on
June 27 to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power. Tsvangirai, who
faces Mugabe in the run-off, accused the Zanu-PF leader of destroying the
Tsvangirai was accompanied on the visit, which the MDC dubbed the 'Meet the
People Tour', by his deputy Thokozani Khupe, party chairman Lovemore Moyo
and all newly-elected MDC Members of Parliament and senators for Bulawayo
He kicked off the tour by visiting the main vegetable market in Makokoba
suburb, Bulawayo's oldest and poorest suburb. He then proceeded to Mzilikazi
where he mingled with residents outside MacDonald Hall, urging them to turn
out in great numbers to vote against Mugabe.
"You must go and vote to finish off Mugabe who has destroyed the country,"
said Tsvangirai. He also visited the suburbs of Entumbane, Luveve, Magwegwe,
Pelandaba, Nkulumane, Enganwini and Nketa.
"My son, we are hungry," said an elderly woman at Chigumira Shopping Centre
in Luveve, shaking Tsvangirai's hand. "Please help us from this difficult
situation that Mugabe has brought us. Right now, these stomachs have nothing
At Nkulumane Shopping Mall, Tsvangirai was mobbed by a crowd of more than a
thousand people, who chanted, "President, President, President."
"We need a new Zimbabwe and we will vote for change," said a vendor who had
abandoned her vegetable stall to greet Tsvangirai. "You should know that
Bulawayo will vote for you President Tsvangirai."
Khupe said the tour was one of many planned to enable Tsvangirai to meet the
people before the presidential run-off.
"President Tsvangirai is meeting the people and he will conduct the tours
countrywide while garnering support ahead of the presidential elections on
June 27," said Khupe. "And since we are being prevented from addressing
rallies, this is the best we can do."
The MDC was barred by the police from holding rallies in Victoria Falls and
Hwange over the weekend.
Since his return from South Africa three weeks ago, Tsvangirai has not
addressed a rally in the country. The tour was his first interaction with
the public since he came back.
At the main bus terminus in the city centre, Tsvangirai's bodyguards were
nearly overpowered by a large presence of people who wanted to shake the
hand of the MDC leader, forcing him to make a hasty retreat for fear of his
03 June 2008
ZIMBABWE's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, facing President
Robert Mugabe in the critical presidential election runoff on June 27, has
changed tactics after the government resorted to banning his rallies in a
bid to stop his growing momentum.
After his rallies in Hwange and Victoria Falls were banned on Sunday,
Tsvangirai yesterday changed his approach from public rallies to walking
about in the opposition stronghold of Bulawayo's restless townships in a bid
Accompanied by his party's campaign team, Tsvangirai visited poor and
politically explosive townships such as Makhokhoba, Nkulumane, Phelandaba,
Luveve, Magwegwe and parts of the central business district.
Wherever he went, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader was mobbed
by excited crowds urging him to "finish off" Mugabe in the runoff.
"Welcome to Bulawayo, Mr President," shouted one of the supporters as they
rushed to greet Tsvangirai, who looked pleased and confident despite the ban
on his rallies and the arrest of scores of party activists.
"We want you to finish off Mugabe on June 27," they said.
Tsvangirai has been finding it difficult to campaign since his return home
two weeks ago after more that a month of operating from Botswana and SA.
Zimbabwe is gripped by worsening political violence, which has claimed
scores of lives, mostly of MDC activists.
The MDC and human rights organisations accuse the security forces, army,
police and intelligence units of waging a covert but brutal campaign against
the opposition in a bid to save Mugabe's political career.
Mugabe, who is free to campaign wherever he wishes, has ordered a "warlike"
approach to what he has described as a "do-or-die" campaign. He said the
looming poll would take place in "circumstances of an all-out war".
This was a signal for his militant supporters to use violent tactics.
Attacks on and arrests of opposition leaders and activists, civic leaders,
journalists, lawyers, diplomats and ordinary people accused of dissent have
created a climate of fear, a little more than three weeks before the runoff.
MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara was arrested on Sunday and charged with
"publishing statements prejudicial to the state and for contempt of court"
after he recently wrote a newspaper article criticising Mugabe for his
government's handling of elections in March, which the veteran ruler and his
Zanu (PF) party lost.
The elections were beset by controversy after the electoral commission
failed to release presidential poll results for more than a month.
The editor of the Standard, Davison Maruziva, who published Mutambara's
opinion piece, was also arrested. MDC MP Eric Matinenga, who is also the
chancellor of Zimbabwe's Anglican Church and a prominent barrister, was
arrested on Saturday in Buhera for allegedly "inciting violence".
At least 74 MDC supporters were arrested, bringing to more than 500 the
number of MDC supporters picked up since March. Fourteen members of Women of
Zimbabwe Arise were arrested in Harare for protesting. The MDC says 50 of
its supporters have been killed since the March 29 election.
The MDC is being blocked from reaching some rural areas, Mugabe's former
strongholds, and denied access to the public media, making its campaign
"They are trying to disable and throw our campaign into disarray," MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa said. "But this is only making us more determined
and the people are more resolute to vote out Mugabe this time round than
By Eddie Cross ⋅ zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 2, 2008 ⋅ Email This Post ⋅ Post
The current outlook for Zimbabwe is anything but encouraging. There are
three possible outcomes of the election on the 27th June; the most promising
is a clean, clear win by Morgan Tsvangirai and a swift transition to a
completely new government.
The others are not so promising - in one scenario Mugabe wins by rigging and
fear and carries on, appointing a minority government and using the powers
of the presidency to govern in the same way as he is managing the affairs of
State today. A third option is that he will win and then retire - handing
power to a chosen successor from the ranks of the Zanu PF who would then
start to implement reforms but protecting those who have participated in the
present regime and securing their assets.
Under each of these scenarios there would be consequences. If we assume the
second scenario becomes a reality then we can predict with some certainty
what conditions will be like - there will be no international assistance and
some of existing aid might well be withdrawn. Inflation - now at over 1
million per cent will continue to surge, reaching unprecedented levels
within 3 months.
Most likely this will be accompanied by a sharp increase in the flight of
both people and capital and we can expect that the situation in South Africa
will deteriorate even further. At this point several other possibilities
present themselves - a coup against Mugabe, the collapse of the regime and
anarchy is also possible. Whatever happens the outcome will simply make
If they manage to wrangle option 3 and this might well be the real game plan
of the JOC and its external masters. Then it very much depends on who takes
over and when. They would have to move fast - difficult just after an
election, and the incoming leadership would have to clearly demonstrate its
capacity to implement the reforms that are necessary to get inflation under
control and some kind of recovery under way. Not impossible, but very
difficult as the new leadership is unlikely to unscramble the bad egg of
agriculture and reverse the recent changes in legislation that is crippling
mining and industrial recovery. Donors and multilaterals are unlikely to
step up to the plate any time soon and without them it seems unlikely that
we could feed the country or stabilize the economy at large.
So we are left with option 1. The main concern here is how do we get there
and what will be the reaction of the security chiefs and the senior players
in Zanu PF? I have no doubt about the people; the present wave of political
violence unleashed by Zanu PF on the people is counterproductive. It is
being translated into anger - both in the MDC and among the general
population. This makes the situation worse for existing power brokers as it
is now most unlikely that the MDC leadership will entertain any sort of
amnesty for them under the new dispensation - their options have narrowed
significantly in recent weeks - mainly because of their own intransigence.
I would expect therefore, that in a free and fair run off, Mugabe would be
trounced by Morgan Tsvangirai - beaten most likely by more than two thirds.
The main threat to such an outcome is in the way the election process is
managed - still totally under the control and management of Zanu PF through
the JOC and the ZEC. Standing between them and a free and fair outcome are
the region who are obligated to deploy observers not only to watch the run
off itself but also the run up to the election. We want them here right away
and we want them deployed to those areas where the violence is worse.
The other element that stands in the way of such an outcome is the MDC. They
are trying to cripple the electoral capacity of the MDC in every way - many
of our leadership in the front line have been killed, abducted, beaten and
generally harassed. They are working in every field to reduce our capacity
to campaign and win the run off - radio stations are being jammed,
newspapers burned (yesterday we had 60 000 copies of the Zimbabwean plus the
vehicle they was in burned in the Midlands) and journalists harassed and
Only the MDC and its election agents can stop the rigging of this election -
no one else has either the capacity or the legal right to do so. So our
capacity to fund and support that operation (it is a massive undertaking) is
crucial. The JOC is making sure that no stone is left unturned in their
efforts to block funds and other resources reaching the MDC from any
But lets assume the MDC is able to control the rigging - and we get a
majority vote for Morgan, what will then happen? We saw what happened last
time - they simply prevaricated until eventually they were forced to
announce a result that was patently false and force a run off. That process
was protected by Mr.Mbeki of South Africa who not only went along with the
masquerade but also endorsed the call for a run off and has subsequently
made the spurious claim that the solutions to the crisis lay in the hands of
the Zimbabwe people themselves. His intelligence resources here have told
him what the real situation is and he simply chooses to ignore it and
continues with the crude political fabrications of Zanu PF.
This time there are no easy solutions for Mbeki, if the MDC wins, the region
has no option but to endorse the outcome and insist on a transfer of power.
In recent weeks elements in Zanu PF and in South Africa have been
desperately trying to get negotiations going on some form of national unity
government. This would be the easy way out for Mbeki, as it would ensure the
full compliance of the military in such an accord.
However for the MDC this could only be considered if as the first step,
Mugabe retired and announced that he was accepting the outcome of the
elections on the 29th March and handing over to Morgan Tsvangirai. This is
not going to happen and this route or easy option is not a possibility.
We are therefore left with the hard reality - can the region enforce a
constitutional process resulting in the full transfer of power from Zanu PF
to the MDC because our own Court system and even the State machinery itself,
is incapable of such a transition without military resistance. I personally
think it can but South Africa holds the keys. I doubt that the rank and file
in the military or the Police would accept a coup against the constitution
and the electoral results. I doubt that the region or the AU would accept
that outcome or reaction. I think a transition would take place.
Under these circumstances I would expect very dramatic policy and other
changes to emerge within days, I would expect inflation to be fully
controlled within 6 months and for basic needs to be covered within 3
months. After that the stabilisation and reconstruction process will get
underway and will, within a year be superceded by rapid economic growth and
recovery. Such an outcome would have immediate impacts on the region as a
whole but especially on South Africa. For that country these changes could
not become at a more important time. South Africa will itself be engaged in
a transitional process - from the Mbeki era to new ANC leadership and maybe
even a restructuring of political forces in South Africa. While this is
going on it would bring much needed stability and enhanced growth to the
South African economy.
It’s time to back sanity and to finally defeat tyranny.
Eddie Cross is the MDC Member of Assembly elect for Bulawayo South,and the
MDC Policy Coordinator he writes in his personal capacity.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Date: 03 Jun 2008
Zimbabwe election period: OCHA Weekly Situation Report Issue No. 8, 19 - 25
I. SITUATION ANALYSIS
The run-off campaign has started. The state owned Sunday Mail reports that
'ZANU-PF campaign would put more emphasis on door-to-door meetings than
rallies. According to Zanu-PF, they want people to have greater
participation, campaigning for the President. In that way there will be
fewer rallies and more small meetings that we want to be interactive.
Meanwhile, the MDC President has returned to the country after staying out
of the country after the first election because of 'treat on his life'.
Observed impacts of the period before the run-off elections:
- Continued displacements due to politically motivated violence
- Loss of livelihood, particularly in urban areas as some people are denied
access to utilizing vending stalls unless they have a certain party card;
- Loss of agricultural produce and livestock due to thefts after
displacement or burning as an act of political intimidation;
- Increased strain on the health institutions as health personnel are
targeted for assisting victims;
- Disruption of the education system as some teachers are targeted and some
schools are used as political base.
- Isolated incidences of violence as a result of the door-to-door campaigns;
- Up-scaling of targeted violence particularly on teachers involved in
elections in rural areas;
- More targeted attacks on politically recognized figures, especially those
that played an active role in the first elections;
- More displacements, increased incidences of violence, injury and fatal
- Increased disruption of the educational system as schools are used as
- Regardless of the outcome of the presidential elections, a further
deterioration of the humanitarian situation; either triggered by a further
isolation of Zimbabwe or a new rise in violent attacks surrounding the
hand-over of power;
- Increased vulnerabilities as government food supplies are used as a
political tool to further the interests of a political party.
Meanwhile, the impact of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa may continue
for some time. It is not yet very clear how many Zimbabweans are returning
home as a result of the attacks. However, it is highly likely that most
Zimbabweans would rather go to other neighbouring countries such as
Mozambique, where there is an organized way of returning home, and assess
the situation for a possible return to SA. It is also not clear how
returnees will be received back in their communities during the on-going
II. UPDATE ON HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES
- The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zim VAC) has postponed
the fieldwork for the Rural Food Insecurity Household Access Survey from the
planned start in May until after the election period. The new date is yet to
- Food distributions remain on hold in Buhera district (Manicaland Province)
upon request by the district local authorities because of tensions in the
area following the March elections. The WFP Zimbabwe CO continues to
negotiate with local authorities for access.
- WFP alongside with the UNCT continues to assist the NGO community and
cooperating partners in negotiating access and humanitarian space in the
- ZLHR has reported an escalating phenomenon of disappearance of political
party members and human rights defenders around the country.
Mobile and Vulnerable Populations
- In the last five weeks, IOM and its implementing partners have assisted
over 4,970 mobile and vulnerable people in thirteen districts countrywide.
The assistance was in the form of blankets, soap, sanitary wear,
supplementary food and emergency sanitation. IOM also continues its health
activities to support MVPs throughout Zimbabwe with mobile clinics and other
health services, as well as responding to emergency health needs.
Assessments were conducted in Manicaland, Midlands, Mashonaland Central,
Matabeleland North and South, and Masvingo provinces.
- Child Health Days (CHDs) that were planned to be carried out the last week
of June have been postponed to the first week of August 2008 due to the
run-off of the presidential election.
- Nutrition sentinel site surveillance which previously extended the
assessment from April to June has again been postponed due to the run-off of
presidential elections. Data collection is rescheduled to take place in July
- The education sectors in Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland are
affected. In Matabeleland violence is reportedly more verbal than physical,
while in Masvingo, violence is rampant in Masvingo south, Chiredzi and
Chivi. In Manicaland, Mutasa is not advisable to access at this time.
III. PRACTICAL ARRANGEMENTS
The following arrangements continue to be in place, to facilitate effective
humanitarian coordination and in anticipation of resource mobilization:
1. The suggested contingency planning alert window is now extended, 15 March
to 31 August 2008. It covers in space and time all possible outcomes of the
electoral process, including the impacts of the second tour of the
presidential elections. OCHA has a collocation agreement with WFP during the
period, including essential NGO Staff.
2. OCHA is maintaining an Emergency Relief Supply and Capacity Matrix for
Zimbabwe, with the excellent cooperation of humanitarian partner
The emergency stockpiles list is posted on
3. Possible gap areas in coordination support have been identified, as well
as needs for surge capacity from HQ and the regional level.
4. Humanitarian analysis, monitoring and advocacy are being strengthened in
view of the increased pressure on ongoing programmes.
5. Weekly situation reports will be issued throughout the entire expanded
alert period until 31 August 2008.
6. Daily meetings by the UNCT Crisis Group have strengthened UN security
arrangements for the country although there are serious telecommunications
issues which WFP has offered support through provision of VHF radios.
7. Emergency Focal points contact list updated. Posted on
8. Capacity mapping of the key humanitarian agencies/NGOs in Zimbabwe.
9. Strengthening of the IASC and cluster implementation.
10. Enhancement of information sharing mechanisms and information management
tools where OCHA has stepped up the production of information support tools
including situation reports, maps, humanitarian updates and contact lists on
a 24-hour basis. Weekly Technical Coordination Meetings are taking place
every Monday at 2:30, at UNICEF. They provide a broad forum where
humanitarian actors can build consensus on humanitarian analysis,
operational challenges and best practices on how to operate in a context of
restricted humanitarian access, including violence and intimidation.
11. Mapping and monitoring high-risk geographical areas.
Head of Office (Harare),
+263 4 792681
Desk Officer (Geneva),
+41 22 917 2732
Desk Officer (New York),
+1 917 367 3001
Press contact (Geneva),
+41 22 917 2653
Press contact (New York),
+917 367 5126
Published: June 03, 2008
By Charles W. Corey
The United States government is "going to continue to speak out ... to be a
voice and beacon for freedom" in Zimbabwe as that country approaches its
June 27 presidential runoff election, State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said June 2.
McCormack, speaking at the department's daily press briefing, had been asked
if the United States had a contingency plan to monitor conditions inside
Zimbabwe if the Mugabe government made good on its threats to throw U.S.
Ambassador to Zimbabwe James D. McGee out of the country.
"We have a whole embassy of people who are focused either in whole or in
part on issues in this election. We are going to continue to speak out. We
are going to continue to be a voice and beacon for freedom," McCormack said.
Ambassador McGee and the chiefs of mission from the United Kingdom, the
European Union and Japan, plus officials from the Netherlands and Tanzania,
recently were detained and questioned for 45 minutes by security forces at a
roadblock near the capital, Harare, and again outside a hospital. (See
"Police Harass Diplomats After Visit to Zimbabwe Hospital (
The State Department spokesman told reporters May 13 that the incidents are
"indicative of the kind of atmosphere that exists in Zimbabwe right now,"
and that if foreign diplomats in Zimbabwe are being treated this way, "you
can only imagine for Zimbabwean citizens what life is like if they make an
effort to speak up, to voice their opinions."
A senior State Department official said the diplomats had gone to meet with
Zimbabwean citizens who had been hospitalized after being attacked by forces
loyal to President Robert Mugabe. Violence has been escalating in the
country since the March 29 election, in which Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party
lost its majority in parliament and Mugabe himself trailed behind challenger
Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential vote. (See "Violence Against
Zimbabwe's Opposition Contrary to Democracy (
McCormack also was asked June 2 to comment on reports of the recent arrest
in Zimbabwe of two Zimbabwean opposition leaders.
"It's troubling, it's disturbing and it is part of a continuing pattern on
the part of ZANU-PF to try to intimidate those who would like to speak up
with views different than those held by the government," he responded,
calling the move "another example of the intimidation that we have
For that reason, he added, "it is incumbent upon us as well as other members
of the international system to apply as much possible pressure and leverage
as we possibly can to see that a runoff election is executed in such a way
that people can actually vote their conscience - that they can vote for the
candidate of their choice - that people are able to do so in an environment
free of threat and intimidation and that candidates have an opportunity to
use the media, use whatever public media they would like to use, to get out
their message - so that people can understand the platform, values and the
person for whom they are voting."
Source: U.S. Department of State
May 31, 2008
FELLOW Zimbabweans, it is with deep regret and trepidation that we announce
the formation of the Zimbabwe Resistance Movement, a military organisation
comprising of serving and former members of the Zimbabwe armed forces and
We thought it would not come to this, but unfortunately the situation on the
ground in Zimbabwe has forced us to take this unprecedented move. We are
firm believers of democracy but we are also alive to the fact that the
democratic means are not necessarily the only options available to achieve
We have discovered that the problem in Zimbabwe is a military one and
therefore, require a military solution to bring a resolution to our long
suffering. We acknowledge the efforts that have been made by numerous
political, civic and student groups to achieve a democratic transition, but
also note the arrogance of a few politicians, generals, colonels, police
chiefs and top brass of the CIO.
It is against this background, that we, serving and former military, police
and CIO men and women believe that we would be doing our once great nation a
disservice if we do not challenge the status quo by all means that are open
to us, including but not limited to militarily means.
For the benefit of our geriatric leadership that is fond of conspiracies, we
would like to place it on record that we are a stand alone organisation,
with its own leadership and doctrine. We, are however, not averse to
alliances with like minded people, groups and organizations that are
committed to the removal of the evil and despotic Robert Mugabe regime by
any means necessary.
WHO ARE WE?
We are a group of serving and ex-servicemen and women who were and/ or are
intimately involved in the operations of the Army, Air force, Police, CIO
We are aware of what is happening at all military, police and CIO
establishments such as 1 Commando, Inkomo, Magunje, Ngezi Barracks, KGV1,
Chikurubi, Manyame Airbase, Suri Suri, and Thornhill.
We would not hesitate to use the confidential and classified information and
knowledge that we have about sensitive security and military state that we
have to strike fear and pandemonium into the ranks of this dictatorship,
which is causing untold suffering and hardships on its people that it claims
it fought to liberate from colonialism.
We are in everyday contact with Officers and other ranks in the armed forces
and security services that places us at an unassailable position of knowing
the strengths and weaknesses of each battalion, squadron, brigade etc.
Furthermore we have minute and intimate personal details of the politicians,
generals, CIO directors and police commissioners who are wreaking havoc on
our people. These details include, and are not limited to their residential
addresses, the security details, the communal areas that they hail from,
their farms, the schools that their children attend, their itineraries and
mistresses. We reserve the right to strike this dictatorship where it hurts
most and as they have chosen to be indiscriminate in their attacks on the
Zimbabwean people, we are also going to be indiscriminate. History abounds
with cases where the people have chosen to be as indiscriminate in their
revenge as those who instigate the killings in the first place.
Let those who are instigating the current wave of killings of innocent
children, men and women not say we were not warned when the people's
juggernaut exacts revenge on the perpetrators.
We reserve the right to use any means available and necessary to get rid of
him and other impediments to the realisation of a full democracy in our
We aim to cripple and suffocate the dictatorship's financial ability to
continue to finance the killings and we will be targeting the financiers of
this killing spree. To this end, we are hereby serving notice to Gideon
Gono, who has unashamedly abdicated from his professional role, opting
instead to align himself with the cause of the people's suffering.
We will exert our energies on exterminating and disrupting the operations of
businesses that finance the regime such as Barclays Bank and those that are
fronts for the people who are the cause of our suffering.
It is widely acknowledged that the dictator and his surrogates use companies
registered in the relatives' names as conduits of siphoning money and
resources from the state. It therefore does not surprise anyone that today
they live opulent lifestyles and have amassed huge fortunes despite having
no known history of primitive accumulation.
We are guided by our desire to free Zimbabwe from the burden of the Mugabe
Zimbabweans should know that the MDC won an absolute majority in the June
2000 parliamentary elections; that Morgan Tsvangirai won by over 500 000
votes in the March 2002 presidential elections; and that he won convincingly
in the March 2008 elections. They should know that Mugabe is still there
because of intransigent generals who are afraid of Tsvangirai's
pronouncements that he will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
if and when he assumes the reins of power.
Zimbabweans should also know that even if Tsvangirai were to win again on
June 27, there is little likelihood that these generals acting in cohort
with Emmerson Mnangagwa are going to allow the people's will to prevail,
just like they have denied us since 2000. Mnangagwa knows that Mugabe is
terminally ill and that he will handover power to him by the end of this
year. We will take our fight with Mnangagwa to Zambia where his family live
so that he will realize how traumatic it is to indiscriminately butcher
defenceless people for simply having exercised their democratic right.
Some of us, as serving soldiers, police officers and prison officers, we
have already been denied our democratic right to choose who we want to lead
us as we been directed to vote in front of our superiors. We would like to
place it on record that we will do this under protest and urge our country
men and women to do to Mugabe what he has denied us.
We would like to urge our people to be extra careful and vigilant in these
dangerous and desperate times as there are lot of blood thirsty vulnerable
young people who are armed and have been freshly minted by Gideon Gono, an
arch accomplice in the suffering of our people.
The people who are killing and maiming the defenceless men, women and
children are predominantly young recruits and war veterans who are being
armed and let loose to commit the greasily murders.
MDC and human rights activists as well as lawyers should avoid walking alone
and patronizing the areas they normally frequent. We advise that they lie
low until after the elections as the current abductions that are just an eye
before the storm.
Fellow Zimbabweans, there is only one outcome to expect on 28 or 20 June
2008, the delayed but eventual DEPARTURE of Robert Mugabe and if that is not
announced by the puddles who run ZEC, then that is our call to ARMS.
Afrique en ligne
Harare, Zimbabwe - The first group of 433 Zimbabwean victims of xenophobia
attacks in South Africa arrived home Tuesday aboard the buses which the
government dispatched to bring them back.
Officials said the group had been picked up from various centres in
Johannesburg, where the worst cases of the attacks occurred.
Last week, the Zimbabwean government dispatched buses to South Africa to
rescue nationals caught up in the xenophobic attacks which swept through
many South African cities in the past three weeks.
Zimbabweans are thought to be the most affected by the attacks, because they
make up the largest number of African migrants in South Africa, at about 2
The attackers accused the African migrants of taking away jobs, contributing
to price hikes for basic goods and services and fuelling crimes.
Officials said the buses would do many more runs into South Africa to bring
home more Zimbabweans.
Those who have arrived in Zimbabwe are being taken to their home towns and
The government has also promised to resettle some of the returnees on land
seized from white farmers in the last few years under its controversial
Harare - 03/06/2008
June 3, 2008
LONDON (BBC) - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has issued a
powerful challenge to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intervene in
He is asking for effective action to protect Christians from what he says is
the brutality being used against them.
Dr Williams warned last month Zimbabwe was poised on the brink of disaster.
Now he has called on Mr Ban to explain what is being done to prevent
murderous, state-organised violence, directed especially against Anglicans.
The archbishop has watched with dismay and frustration as the Zimbabwean
police have attacked political activists and singled out Anglicans for harsh
treatment, while the country's neighbours in southern Africa have appeared
unwilling to act. Now he seems ready to shame the UN into taking effective
"We are concerned to know what the UN Security Council. is doing to defend
Mothers' Union meetings at churches and prevent people being torn away from
altar rails on the orders of ruling party or state official," said Dr
"We plead once more for immediate high level SADC [Southern African
Development Community] and UN mediation and monitoring to ensure a free and
fair presidential run-off, and the protection of its citizens from
For several weeks the police have disrupted Anglican services in Zimbabwe
and attacked worshippers with batons. In one case they beat women as they
knelt in front of the altar in the act of taking the bread and wine of the
Anglicans have been targeted since the Church replaced former Bishop Nolbert
Kunonga, who was a strong supporter of President Robert Mugabe. Since then
the deposed bishop has been able to prevent Anglicans getting into the
Dr Williams said: "There is a continuing failure to enforce court orders
permitting Anglicans to worship in their cathedral church in Harare and
Other Anglican leaders have gone on record demanding that the international
community take responsibility for dealing with the violence and intimidation
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, himself once a refugee from Idi Amin's
Uganda, last year cut up his clerical collar live on BBC television,
promising to go without one until Robert Mugabe had gone.
He issued a joint statement with Dr Williams last month calling on Zimbabwe's
neighbours to act far more robustly to avert a "spiral of communal violence".
Dr Sentamu said on that occasion: "I didn't believe the softy-softly
approach of [South African President] Thabo Mbeki would work.
"I think it's time we acknowledged that African countries are sometimes
incapable of creating good governance on their own.
"We must stop saying this is just an African problem. this is an
Rowan Williams has now reinforced the call for international action, and
pointedly directed it at Mr Ban.
The head of the Anglican Communion is telling the UN Security Council that
someone must take responsibility for Zimbabwe, that doing nothing is not
enough and the ball is now in the UN's court.
Zimbabwe's annual for May galloped to 1 700 000% as the Zimbabwean
dollar continued to crash causing prices of goods and services to skyrocket.
Tuesday 3 June 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
from our correspondent in Harare
A top official in the Ministry of Finance says the Robert Mugabe government
has now forecast the figure to reach between 1 800 000% and 2 000 000% for
the month of May.
May inflation rose by 961 396 percentage points from the April figure of 732
604% to 1 694 000%.
The 1 694 000% was for the CSO's inflation computations for the period from
May 1 to May 23.
Non-alcoholic beverages and cereals continued to be the major drivers.
The official said the Central Statistical Office (CSO) had been conducting
weekly computations of inflation for the entire month of May. "They have
computed weekly moving averages on the figure," the official said.
"Last week the figure was 1 694 000% and this week we expect it to hit 2 000
000%. We will only know next week when they compile data for this final week
The annual inflation figure for March stood at 355 000% while that for
February was 165 000% but the CSO insists that even these figures were not
official. "As government, our reasonable approximation for June now stands
at not less than 4 000 000% and not more than 5 000 000%," the official
The weekly moving inflation figure for the first week of May was 1 200 000%
according to the source.
However, CSO acting director Moffat Nyoni disputed the figures saying
inflation figures for May had not yet been computed.
Nyoni insisted that the CSO was experiencing problems with the availability
of products which affected the consumer basket used to calculate inflation.
He also said the CSO was yet to compute inflation figures for April despite
the removal of duty on food imports.
"The number of observations we use have been affected," Nyoni said. "It has
gone down and this affects the strength of our figures which will be very
weak. Inflation is nowhere near that figure. We have a time lag and the May
data will be available late in June."
Nyoni however conceded that the figure for March stood at 355 000% saying it
had been leaked. He said the figure was not officially released.
Economists and the business community said they believed inflation for May
would end the month closer to 2 000 000%.
"It is impossible for inflation to end the month at less than 2 000 000%,"
said businessman Morgan Chogwe. "Our calculations show that inflation has
already surpassed 1 600 000% in recent weeks."
Economist John Robertson said his estimates for May year-on-year inflation
had been 1 800 000%. "My projections had placed inflation at 1 800 000% for
May," Robertson said. "It seems I was not far off the mark."
Inflation has continued to rise steeply on the back of increased money
supply, spiralling domestic debt, declining production and scarcities of
foreign currency and food.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been accused of injecting huge and
unsustainable amounts of local currency into official circulation causing
inflation to skyrocket.
Several listed companies whose financial years ended between February 29 and
March 31 now face suspension if they fail to release inflation-adjusted
results owing to the CSO's failure to release inflation figures.
There now appears to be no respite for the general public, as prices of
goods continue to rise. Companies have been pushing up their prices in line
with the deregulated inter-bank exchange rate.
The Zimbabwean dollar was this week trading at US$1:$620 million, up from
US$1:$480 million last week.
A loaf of bread which was selling for $180 000 earlier this year is now
going for around $280 million in most shops. It is going for between $400
million and $450 million on the black market. A 2kg packet of sugar which
was pegged at $7 million is now selling for $700 million.
A kilogram of meat which was at $30 million is now selling for between $1,5
billion and $2,5 billion.
A 750 grammes bar of soap which at the beginning of the year was $2 million
now calls for one to fork out $1,8 billion.
In January, a packet of fresh milk was selling at $1,3 million. The same
packet now sells for $190 million, while a kilogramme of salt which was
selling for less than $2 million is now pegged at $440 million.
Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines now predicts that the country's annual gold
output will decline even more to 4 tonnes this year - a far cry from its
theoretical output capacity of around 30 tonnes a year.
Author: Tawanda Karombo
Posted: Tuesday , 03 Jun 2008
Reeling under a plethora of operational constraints and debilitating
shortages of raw materials and foreign currency, Zimbabwe's gold mining
sector - which has the theoretical capacity to produce 30 tonnes of gold per
year - will produce a meagre 4 tonnes of the precious metal this year, the
country's chamber of mines has revealed.
Zimbabwe recorded a sharp decline in gold output last year as figures
indicated that the yearly production figure had tumbled to just 7 tonnes
from the moderate 11 tonnes produced in 2006.
The Zimbabwe chamber of mines president Jack Murehwa told Mineweb that owing
to the combined effects of foreign currency and raw material shortages as
well as investor scepticism brought about by the government's controversial
indigenisation legislation, gold production for the current year was
projected to fall even further.
"We (are) projecting production to be around 4 tonnes for this year," said
Murehwa who is also chief executive of Impala Platinum's Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has over the past few years witnessed a tumble in minerals output -
with the exception of platinum - and this trend in minerals output decline,
the chamber of mines president said, is attributable to a number of
"The falling production can be attributed mainly to the pricing policy and,
over the past one and a half years, the non-payment for gold deliveries from
our single buyer of gold."
Under Zimbabwe's laws, only Fidelity Printers, a subsidiary of the central
bank can buy gold bullion from producers.
Murehwa added: "From our perspective, declining mineral production,
especially gold, is largely because mines are either closing or curtailing
production due to distorted local prices, power supply problems and
inability to purchase imported inputs".
Zimbabwe's mining sector, which is currently in turmoil following the
recent amalgamation of the Economic Indigenization and Empowerment Act, has
also bled its skilled labour-force as most of the qualified personnel opt
for employment in other countries such as South Africa, Namibia and
Australia among others.
The Indigenization and Empowerment Act seeks to force all foreign owned
companies to cede shareholding capacity amounting to 51 percent to local
Rio Tinto, Impala Platinum, Anglo Platinum and Central African Gold are some
of the foreign owned companies that might be affected by the new
However, Murehwa says Zimbabwe's mining sector could yet recover if the
government manages to address issues such as the pricing system and the
The Zimbabwe chamber of mines says the government must expedite and
resuscitate "exploration activities".
This, said Murehwa "begins with the consideration of already submitted
applications for Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) which have remained
unsigned for the past 4 years".
"If we want mining investment in this country we need to have in place a
legal framework that will persuade the investors to use their funds here
rather than elsewhere," he remarked.
Afrique en ligne
Harare, Zimbabwe - A senior government official in Zimbabwe Tuesday
suggested a monthly minimum wage of Z$100 billion (Z$7.5 billion=US$1),
saying more and more workers had been driven into poverty by hyperinflation
and other economic hardships.
The country is going through its worst economic crisis in history, with
inflation at more than 300,000 percent, 80 percent unemployment and
widespread shortages of food and other basic essentials.
National Incomes and Pricing Commission chairman Godwills Masimirembwa said
current monthly minimum wages of an average Z$6 billion were grossly
insufficient to meet even basic living expenses for workers.
"The current situation for workers needs urgent intervention. It is
disheartening to note that some employers are still awarding salaries not
enough to meet some basic food needs," he said.
He said frequent inflation-led price hikes for food and other essential
goods and services often left employees impoverished.
"There is need to adjust salaries and wages regularly, not on a quarterly
basis, to cushion employees from the current price hikes," he said.
On Monday, the country's consumer watchdog, the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe, said a family of six now needed Z$25 billion a month to survive -
catering only for basics.
Harare - 03/06/2008
World Economic Forum (Geneva)
3 June 2008
Posted to the web 3 June 2008
The World Economic Forum is about to convene in Cape Town, South Africa, for
its 18th meeting on Africa (4-6 June). During the meeting, Zimbabwe will be
among the critical themes to be addressed by the leaders participating in
the event at this crucial time for Zimbabwe.
It is therefore with great disappointment that the World Economic Forum has
received information that Arthur Guseni Oliver Mutambara, a member of the
World Economic Forum community of Young Global Leaders and President of the
Movement for Democratic Change (Mutambara faction) in Zimbabwe, will not be
able to attend the meeting as he has been arrested on allegations related to
the publishing of statements prejudicial to the state and for contempt of
Having invited members of the government and of the opposition, the Forum
provides a neutral platform to allow its stakeholders to come together from
around the world to engage in meaningful dialogue to shape the global,
regional and industry agendas. Therefore it is imperative that all those
invited to the World Economic Forum on Africa, including Mr Mutambara, be
allowed to travel freely in order to participate in the meeting without
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization
committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in
partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Tuesday, 03 June 2008 08:22
Human Rights Council, June 2008 Session
30 May 2008
We, the Zimbabwean women and women worldwide, urgently call for
stopping of violence in Zimbabwe and protection of women and girls, in this
post election catastrophe.
This is an emergency as the country gears up for a presidential
run-off on the 27th of June 2008.The violence persists and is real. No
election observers are yet in the country, despite our calls, appeals, cries
to Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and the
We are watching a silent genocide of the poor and powerless, due to
political induced murders, criminal actions, and collapse of basic services
resulting in deaths due to lack of health care, food, shelter for the
displaced, especially after the March 29th, 2008 elections. Most of the
affected are women and children.
. The post election murders, burnings, lootings and intimidation
have most affected women and girls since its rural targeted and 80% of women
live in rural areas.
. Over 800 homes have been burnt down, making it traumatic for
mothers who have to feed the children and care for the sick
. Over 10 000 people have fled their homes, are displaced and
squatters with relatives and with fear of going back home. Children
displaced are not in schools
. Over 50 people have been murdered in cold blood, and mostly from
. An estimated 7000 teachers have fled their schools as a number
have been beaten in the eyes of parents and pupils.
. Doctors for human Rights report that over 2000 serious cases of
physical torture and beatings have passed through their hands and a lot of
those they treated have suffered serious fractures to an extent that most
are permanently handicapped.
. The oldest victim of the post election violence is an old woman
with 12 grandchildren all of them orphaned and whose son is alleged to have
campaigned for the opposition.
. The youngest female victim is a 15-year-old girl who was stripped
naked together with her pregnant mother forced to lie down and beaten on the
breasts and buttocks, just many women have been so battered.
. Several girls and women are feared raped. The youngest child
seriously assaulted is only 3 years.
. More than 3,000 Zimbabweans die every weak due to AIDS, and their
life expectancy is 34 years for women.
. Unemployment is 80% and inflation is 165 000 % and the highest in
. 95% of women of the 200 000 women made homeless and jobless by
the government 2005 Operation Murambatsviina. Women's church gatherings
disrupted, women beaten up and abused while at prayer.
. Over 3 million Zimbabweans are in South Africa where they are
facing xenophobic attacks
This situation is an extra-ordinary emergency for women and girls.
Every person and institution must do everything in their power to stop the
violence, restore rule of law, and allow Zimbabweans to exercise their right
to vote and live in peace.
We, as Zimbabwean women and women worldwide:
Re-iterate the long-standing position of Civil Society Organizations
(CSOs) that the failure by government and law enforcement, such as police
and army to respect the rights of all citizens is the greatest threat to
peace, democracy and development in Zimbabwe.
Really concerned by a real danger of civil strife catalyzed by the
growing humanitarian crisis. We are witnessing increasing levels of tension
and political polarization among the population, which turned out to vote on
March 29. The media reports on the party political position adopted by the
law enforcement, which should ordinarily maintain neutrality. The recent
purchase of military weapons adds to this fear.
Demand cessation of organized and targeted intimidation against the
citizens, particularly the use of women and girls as weapons of 'war',
evidenced by the brutal battering of women's buttocks, rape and sexual
Demand the immediate disbanding of the militias, comprised of youths,
security agents and one terror group code named Chipangano, which have
caused terror and havoc in the rural and urban areas exacerbating the
humanitarian situation by creating internal refugees. We demand the
disbanding of torture bases where gross abuses of women are taking place
including forced labor (cooking and cleaning) and sexual abuse.
Request the Leadership of SADC, the African Union and the United
Nations to demand ZANU PF government to stop using violence against its
people and TAKE TANGIBLE actions if the violence continues
Request especially the Human Rights Council to:
I. Establish programme of engagement with Zimbabwe for protection
of human rights especially for women, girls and children. The UN must deploy
human rights monitors during the run-up to the Presidential Elections.I.
Mandate and support UN Special Rapportuer on Violence Against Women must do
a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe and support the efforts of community,
grassroots and other organisations living in a culture of fear, survivors of
violence and abuse.II. Mandate and support UN Special Rapporteur on Human
Rights Defenders must put in place ways of ensuring safety and protection
for women human rights advocates and activists, who find themselves in fear
of life and who ability to engage publicly is compromised. V. Engage with
Zimbabwe government and authorities and stop the violence, and demand the
state to protect ordinary people's lives.. Encourage and support for
humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, especially in support of food, health
and education for rural communities and mostly the displaced.rganizations
and Individuals are encouraged to sign on this statement, and submit to
email@example.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from
email@example.comThis e-mail address is being protected from
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots,
Zimbabwe Women's Coalition
Girl Child Network
Rozaria Memorial Trust
Saturday, 31 May 2008 12:06
The winning Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillor in
Dambatsoko Ward, Sadza Communal Lands, Mashonaland East, Councillor Manase
Kwenda, and several polling agents are being tortured in an open area in the
The councillor and polling agents, including youth activist Innocent
Njova,were abducted at gun-point after a mob, which must have included the
police, used sniffer dogs to track them down in the hills where they have
been hiding for the last two weeks.Two weeks ago, the village headman, who
is a cousin of the councillor and a rival for the Kwenda chieftainship, went
around the village making villagers sign statements that they had voted for
the MDC, but they would never do so again.He also confiscated their t-shirts
and went around with youths destroying the shops of MDC activists.
"If no action is taken quickly they are going to kill him. This is
what they are doing, killing the winners so that you can have bi-elections,
and no opposition person will run in the election for fear of being killed,"
said our source.Councillor Rusere from Shumba in the same area, has already
died in Harare were he was receiving treatment after torture.An MDC
spokesperson said the government was trying the same strategy which it used
after the 2000 referendum when they beat and tortured people up to two weeks
before the election.
"They stopped at the same time that the election observers came into
the country, then the election was held and declared to be free of violence,
yet the violence had already affected the voting.
"This is why Morgan Tsvangirai has said observers and peacekeepers
should be in place by June 1, but it does not look like we are going to get
that. If you ask me, I think President Mbeki is complicit in this."
The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Tuesday, June 03, 2008
It's an obscenity that Robert Mugabe has the gall to show his face in Rome
for the world food summit this week. Nonetheless, his presence might serve
one purpose: to remind other participants of the central role that
politicians play in determining who eats, and who doesn't.
There is a reason why Zimbabwe has almost no food, while nearby Malawi has
more than it can use. Political leadership matters. Zimbabwe is an extreme
example. Another extreme example can be found in Burma, where the junta is
evicting the destitute from emergency camps and sending them off to hunt for
grains of rice or to fish for frogs amid the floating corpses.
Most of the world's governments, even the bad ones, do not intentionally
starve their own people. Still, all governments make decisions that affect
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Few governments can resist the urge to gain votes by meddling in those
markets. Canada too is complicit. Our agriculture minister, Gerry Ritz, is
adamantly defending Canada's supply-management practices to the World Trade
Organization. Those practices insulate our farmers from foreign competition.
This is no time for our government to be discouraging competition in the
global food market.
Nor is it a time to be paying livestock producers, insulating them against
rising feed prices so they can stay in the market, artificially, and help
keep those prices high. Yet, that's exactly what our government is doing.
The World Food Program has called the rise in food prices a "silent
tsunami." But this crisis is no mere force of nature, impersonal and
unpredictable. It is a crisis made, at least in part, by humans.
By Gilbert Muponda |
Monday, June 2, 2008 21:42
Zimbabwe's current business operating environment characterized by hyper
inflation discourages most lenders to lend capital since lenders lose value
due to inflation .In hyper inflationary environment wealth is transferred
from lenders to borrowers who only ?repay? the amount that was agreed
without adequate compensation the diminished value of currency due to
This in turn results in lack of long term investments as most participants
become short-term focused. In addition as a direct result investors would
prefer ownership as shareholders and share in the upside of the business
rather than just be paid interest which doesn?t fully compensate for
inflation. This trend has forced Banks and other financial institutions to
become major players on the Zimbabwe stock Exchange .The operating
environment demands that various regulations and institutions be reformed
and modernized to be better placed to deliver expected services to the
The Zimbabwe stock exchange needs to be reformed and restructured to be more
effective in assisting both investors and entrepreneurs reach their
respective goals. Initial Public Offering (IPO), also referred to simply as
a "public offering," is when a company issues common stock to the public for
the first time. They are often issued by smaller, younger companies seeking
capital to expand, but can also be done by large privately-owned companies
looking to become publicly traded. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) is the
primary institution involved in this and sets the various rules,
requirements, terms and conditions of conduct of IPO?s.
The ZSE needs to be reformed to be able to make it more effective and
responsive to the needs of entrepreneurs especially small and medium scale
businesses who struggle to raise capital even though they may have all the
other ingredients for success. The ZSE needs to the reformed from an elitist
club into a more inclusive institution that transforms upcoming , promising
ideas ,ventures and projects from dreams into reality. If it cant be
reformed and restructured to meet those goals then the is an urgent need to
set up a rival exchange to do that.
The money paid by investors for the newly-issued shares goes directly to the
company (in contrast to a later trade of shares on the exchange, where the
money passes between investors). An IPO, therefore, allows a company to tap
a wide pool of stock market investors to provide it with large volumes of
capital for future growth. The company is never required to repay the
capital, but instead the new shareholders have a right to future profits
distributed by the company and the right to a capital distribution in case
The existing shareholders will see their shareholdings diluted as a
proportion of the company's shares. However, they hope that the capital
investment will make their shareholdings more valuable in absolute terms.
Among the requirements of conducting an I.P.O in Zimbabwe is the need for
the company to be of a particular size and to have a trading record of a
specified period (minimum 3 years), and be showing certain level of
profitability. These requirements exist mainly to protect investors and also
to make the ZSE?s life easy and simple.
There global trends that ZSE can tap into an enhance both the quality and
quantity of investment option available for investors. Specifically the ZSE
needs to actively encourage small to medium scale businesses to pursue the
possibility of IPOs as a way to raise capital for their operations since the
high level of inflation makes it almost impossible to keep borrowing to keep
pace with higher requirements of working capital.
Whilst it?s important to adhere to historic standards trends in other
markets show the increased popularity of Black cheque IPOs. A blank check
IPO exists to raise money, and then seeks to use that money to acquire
another company. Blank check companies, also known as special purpose
acquisition vehicles, are formed for the sole purpose of acquiring other
businesses. They generally tap investors in the public markets prior to
making acquisitions, and generally have an agreement to return funds to
investors within a specified period if they fail to close deals.
Companies like to raise money first and decide what to do with it later. For
investors, however, that can be tricky .Everybody wants a blank check.
So-called blank check initial public offerings are in the midst of a
renaissance, though they might not provide much of a thrill. In the
Zimbabwean environment this can be particularly helpful when many businesses
are closing down. A Blank cheque IPO can be very effective to acquire such
businesses with a view to turn them around or merge them with other related
businesses and create shareholder value in the process.
Unfortunately this very important task has been left only to parastatals and
other government entities which have been burdened with acquiring
enterprises which at times they can hardly add any value to. This role needs
to be opened up to the private sector. And it has to encouraged by enabling
legal instruments and a reformed and restructured ZSE which can facilitate
such transactions. Blank cheque IPOs can fill in the void in terms of
raising capital to acquire such businesses and reduce the burden on the
A Special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is an investment vehicle that
allows public investors to invest in areas sought by a management team or
private equity firms. SPACs are shell or blank-check companies that have no
operations but that go public with the intention of merging with or
acquiring a company with the proceeds of the SPAC's initial public offering
The idea of investing in a company where you have no idea what the business
will be is hardly new. During England's 18th Century South Sea Bubble, a
promoter raised money through a stock offering for "a company for carrying
on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody is to know what it is."
Monday, 02 June 2008 18:57
SA's crisis of governance is deepening as calls for President Thabo
Mbeki to step down before his term ends grow more strident by the day,
reports Karima Brown in Business Day, Johannesburg
Mbeki's critics say the African National Congress (ANC) should impeach
or recall him, or else opt for an early election to address the "governance
and leadership vacuum" that has gripped the country.
The Democratic Alliance has also called on Mbeki to step down. Last
week the Sunday Times called on Mbeki to go in the "interest" of the
The crisis in Zimbabwe arguably Mbeki's biggest foreign policy
failure - was cited as the reason he should leave office.
Yesterday the ANC was again officially forced to support Mbeki's role
as mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, despite deep misgivings about his
efforts among senior ANC leaders.
While ANC spokeswoman Jessie Duarte said the party believed that Mbeki
"should continue to mediate" the conflict, ANC national executive committee
(NEC) members privately questioned Mbeki's neutrality after the Sunday Times
reported on a letter written by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to Mbeki, in which he accuses Mbeki not only of bias but
of trying to meddle in the internal affairs of the MDC.
ANC president Jacob Zuma has defended Mbeki's role as mediator, but he
is on record as saying that the crisis in Zimbabwe is untenable. ANC
insiders say Zuma has defended Mbeki on Zimbabwe "as much as he possibly
can", but could no longer extricate Mbeki from allegations that he is biased
in favour of Zanu (PF).
When asked for comment on whether Mbeki should continue as the
Southern African Development Community's (SADC's) point man on the Zimbabwe
crises, an NEC member said: "We didn't appoint him; ask the SADC why he is
still in charge."
However, the ANC's leftist ally, the South African Communist Party
(SACP), yesterday repeated its call that Mbeki must go, saying it is not
because of some "personal irritation" but because of the serious vacuum in
governance and leadership on a series of challenges.
The SACP has blasted Mbeki's handling of the political and economic
meltdown in Zimbabwe, saying he has not "provided leadership". It has also
said developments at the Ginwala commission of inquiry (into whether former
National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli is fit to hold office)
suggested that there were grounds to "impeach" the president.
SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin told a media briefing in
Johannesburg that the party did not make its call lightly. "It's not a call
we make off the top of our heads, however, there is an all-round crisis of
coherence, of governance of leadership -- be it on Zimbabwe, the SABC, our
criminal justice system and the economy. Our call is in fact a deeply
patriotic one," Cronin said.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said the party wanted an
alliance economic summit and a governance summit as part of a "series of
measures" to deal with the governance crisis . He said the drama at the
Constitutional Court -- which stemmed from allegations that Judge John
Hlophe had tried to "interfere" with the work of the court as it pertained
to matters relating to Zuma -- was just "one more symptom" of the overall
crisis in the country's criminal justice system.
By Mutumwa D. Mawere
Last updated: 06/04/2008 00:28:56
AS OF Monday this week, the official death toll from South African
xenophobic attacks totals 62 with 670 injured and 1,300 people arrested and
an economic cost still to be determined.
As we all reflect on this unfortunate development in South Africa, one of
the most positive outcomes is that an opportunity has been created for a
frank and honest conversation about what it means to be African.
Apartheid is buried but the image of what it means to be South African and
who is entitled to be a South African may find its roots in the construction
of a colonial and subsequently an apartheid state. It is undeniable that
white South Africans are as foreign to South Africa as are post-apartheid
What makes a white South African immigrant a more acceptable face of South
Africa than a black African? Could one of the answers lie in the economic
definition of black people as well as Africans in the various legislations
that have been passed in post-apartheid South Africa?
In terms of South African legislation, "black people" is a generic term
which means Africans, Indians, and Coloureds. It is accepted that the term
African is restricted to indigenous people. When South Africans negotiated a
settlement to end apartheid, a new definition of a South African was then
agreed and crystallised.
Under this framework, white South Africans and black people who were
citizens of the country prior to 1994 are the only ones who are entitled to
legitimately claim to be authentic citizens in terms of Black Economic
Empowerment (BEE) definition.
Accordingly, in the context of the black economic empowerment project that
was framed by apartheid beneficiaries as an instrument of assimilating the
black political elites, a new definition of an eligible black for economic
empowerment was then coined i.e. historically disadvantaged individual (HDI)
or previously disadvantaged individuals (PDI).
The constitution of South Africa was then crafted, recognising the
historical legacy of apartheid and the need to level the economic playing
field. Both black and white political and non-political actors accepted a
construction that a black immigrant is not meant to be an economic
beneficiary of the post-apartheid dispensation at the expense of black South
African persons and notwithstanding any commitment to a pan-African project.
It can then be rationally argued that xenophobia's roots must be located in
the minds of the framers of the black economic empowerment project. It
would, therefore, be wrong to blame the practitioners of physical violence
when the construction of the post-apartheid state had in its foundation an
anti-black African immigrant tone.
It can also be argued that xenophobia may not be a reflection of only the
attitudes of the perpetrators of violence but a generally held view that
South Africa belongs to a certain class of people and benefits of economic
progress must be reserved. Indeed, if economic power can be transferable to
black elites on often non-transparent basis through so called BEE deals,
then it can be argued that why should the poor not be part of the deal when
they all fit into the definition of PDI and HDI?
The following are some of the acts that have been passed by the post
apartheid parliament dominated by the African National Congress (ANC) on
which the xenophobic passion may have its roots. These include:
1. Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003*It provides a
legislative framework for the promotion of black economic empowerment;
empowers the Minister of Trade and Industry to issue codes of good practice
and to publish transformation charters; to establish the Black Economic
Empowerment Advisory Council; and to provide for matters connected
therewith. The Minister is not empowered to look after black emigrants.
2. Diamond Amendment Act 29 of 2005 and Diamond second amendment Act 30 of
Deals with beneficiation activities in the mining sector and clarifies the
empowerment requirements in respect of beneficiation activities first
contemplated in the Mining Charter
3. Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998*
Relevant to the determination of the Human Resource Management criteria of
the BEE Scorecard
4. Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002
Dealing with the Mining Charter
5. Petroleum Products Amendment Act 58 of 2003 -
Dealing with the Petroleum Charter
6. Precious Metals Act 37 of 2005
Deals with beneficiation activities in the mining sector and clarifies the
empowerment requirements in respect of beneficiation activities first
contemplated in the Mining Charter. Assented to on 15 April 2006.
7. Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act 5 of 2000*
The South African Government procurement framework
8. Revenue Laws Amendment Act 32 of 2005 (second amendment)
Dealing with the tax treatment of certain forms of broad-based employee
9. Skills Development Act 97 of 1998
Relevant to the determination of the Human Resource Management criteria of
the BEE Scorecard
A number of regulations and charters in various sectors have been put in
place reflecting the consensus that only pre-1994 black people as defined
ought to share the economic spoils of South Africa to the exclusion of black
emigrants. This view is not held only at the lower end of the economic
spectrum but is a shared one among black and whites.
In the post-apartheid Africa, it has now been accepted that there are two
Africas i.e. South Africa and the rest of Africa. In South Africa, it is now
an economic and legislative imperative to empower black persons. However,
the untapped resources of the rest of the continent are regarded as fair
game for the reconfigured/empowered South African enterprises with no policy
on empowering the rest of the black Africans.
At the continental level, there is no conversation about the need for
pan-African empowerment charter. The absurd development is that South
African capital is now being exported on a tricky foundation that is
premised on the notion that empowering the pre-1994 blacks is a necessary
and sufficient condition for economically colonising the rest of the
Although the decolonisation project was prosecuted on the basis that an
injury to one black person was an injury to all, the post-apartheid
empowerment project is reserved to black persons as defined. Some may
legitimately ask how a movement like ANC with its commitment to the
pan-African project could end up being the architect of a new Africa that
makes black Africans born outside the perimeters of the country less African
than their white and Indian colleagues.
The heritage of South Africa can only confer benefits to black people as
defined ignoring the consequences of the Berlin Conference of 1885 that
split the continent into convenient economic units that separated brothers
and sisters depending on who was privileged to be the master.
What would be the consequences if other countries in Africa were to adopt
the same attitude that only their indigenous people should benefit? In the
case of South Africa, the xenophobic sentiment resonates with many white
people who genuinely believe that they have a better claim on South Africa
than their fellow black immigrants.
It has been argued that the recent xenophobic attacks were motivated by
President Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe. A proposition has been made that white
and black Zimbabweans anxious for change may have invested in the xenophobic
project as a way of encouraging Zimbabweans living in South Africa to return
to Zimbabwe and vote as well exposing his alleged hypocrisy.
The anger expressed by black South Africans was as predictable as the
consequences of a superficial empowerment process. It is clear that South
Africa through its various laws has accepted that it is a different African
country and black Africans have to take note and plan accordingly.
White South Africans have argued that the country is an attractive
destination for black Africans after 52 years of uhuru precisely because
they made it happen. They feel vindicated that Africa will never be a viable
project without their intervention and control.
If black Africans can in their millions run away from the anti-imperialist
legend, President Mugabe, then it is argued that this is enough evidence
supporting the deeply held view that Africans were not ready for
The framers of the colonial state justified the denial of civil and economic
rights to black Africans on the basis that they had brought the civilisation
that created the state as an institution and to the extent that they gave
themselves credit for entrepreneurship that then funded the state, they
maintained that they were entitled to exclusively benefit from the fruits of
However, in accepting BEE, a new language has been created in South Africa
and is supported by law that being a pre-1994 black person one has an
entitlement to extract from whites part of what they accumulated during the
colonial and apartheid eras.
It must accept that if apartheid South Africa had been governed the same way
that for example Zimbabwe has been governed, then surely the influx of black
Zimbabweans would be unthinkable. What is not deniable for example is that
the estimated 3 million Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa are
critical drivers of economic growth and they do contribute to the fiscus.
Unlike their white immigrants, black Zimbabweans have failed to invest in
being South African in as much as whites have done. Indeed, it would be
unthinkable for a black Zimbabwean born South African to aspire to be a
Mayor of Cape Town in post-apartheid South Africa, for example, in as much
as Mayor Helen Zille has done without attracting xenophobic attacks.
Having lived and worked in South Africa for the past 13 years, I also came
to the conclusion that it is important to be part of the solution than be
part of the problem. I acquired South African citizenship not because
Zimbabwean citizenship is inferior but because I am an economic contributor
to the South African project in as much as any other immigrant.
If Indians and whites can be accepted as South Africans then surely it
cannot and should not be the case that Zimbabwe-born persons like us should
apologise for being part of the South African story.
Recognising that when English people came to South Africa they saw the need
of creating an Old Mutual in 1845 to serve their interests and the
Afrikaners followed suit in 1928 by creating Sanlam, I am proud to say that
I was one of the founding members of Africa Heritage Society (AHS), on the
same principles of mutuality that underpinned Old Mutual and Sanlam with the
only difference that we do not hold the same racists views that informed the
As a member of AHS, I believe strongly that it is important that we begin to
engage in conversations about what kind of Africa we want to see. Should we
have a black only Africa? Should we have an empowered South Africa only with
its empowered companies exporting the model to the rest of the continent?
Who is an African? Who should benefit from Africa's resources? Is the South
African BEE related legislation consistent with the values of pan
Africanism? What would be the implications on Africa's growth and
transformation if other African countries were to cut and paste the South
African empowerment legislation and enact similar laws in their countries?
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column is published on New Zimbabwe.com every
Monday. You can contact him at: email@example.com
By Our Reader
Published: Tuesday, 3 Jun 2008
In 1979 as students in the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, we protested on
the streets of Kaduna, the state capital, when we had a whiff (rightly or
wrongly) that the British government was vacillating over the independence
We clearly preferred Robert Mugabe to Joshua Nkomo, because he looked
smarter and liked well cut suits.
We considered Abel Muzorewa a charlatan and we composed and sang derogatory
songs to express our disgust. There were enough Zimbabwean students and
teachers on campus to instigate and give impetus to this line of reasoning
We ranked Mugabe alongside greats like Che Guevara, Walter Rodney, Bob
Marley, Frantz Fanon and Karl Marx, who were our heroes then.
I look back now with a tinge of regret that we could not see through this
It is such a shame that all that has changed. It is possible that this new
image is a creation of the West, but the fact that one man believes that he
should continue to rule, even after 28 years can be disturbing.
He has presided over his impoverished country despite his age and failing
I am still amused that there could be people urging him on, perhaps to
protect their own narrow interests and feather their nests.
Last week, he called Gordon Brown a 'dot.' It bothered me that he had
degenerated so badly to the point where he could get so personal about his
disagreements with Britain, which actually predates the present Prime
One is also worried by the patronising role South Africa is playing as a
leader in that region; except of course if one can be assured that Thabo
Mbeki may be putting him under some pressure behind closed doors.
It is nauseating that in this day and age when Africa has witnessed the
ascendancy of a female president (ahead of the USA) and the abhorrence of
military rule and sit-tight leaders, this anachronistic remnant could
6 Highclere Street
Sydenham SE26 4EU
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Forget First Lady. Grace Mugabe is known as the First Shopper of Zimbabwe.
The former secretary and mistress of Robert Mugabe, she laid bare her
appetite for all things luxurious when the pair finally married in 1996,
inviting 12,000 people to the wedding, the most lavish event the country had
Forty years her senior, President Mugabe bowed to his young bride's request
for a grand family mansion in Harare, and no expense was spared on the
decor. He also commandeered the national airline to whisk her around the
world on elaborate shopping sprees.
The latest destination for the Imelda Marcos of Africa is the Eternal City,
where she is ensconced on the Via Veneto, a stone's throw from Rome's many
designer shops. Confronted with her opulent tastes while her homeland
teeters on the brink, she goes on the defensive, telling one reporter who
tailed her on a previous trip around the boutiques of Paris: "Is it a crime
to go shopping? These shops are here for people to shop in."