The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Robert Mugabe accuses West of trying to starve him out

The Times
June 4, 2008

Robert Mugabe used a UN world food conference in Rome yesterday to accuse
Britain and its Western allies of trying to topple him through "illegal
regime change" by crippling Zimbabwe economically.
There was also serious criticism from a more authoritative source when
Jacques Diouf, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, accused
the West of getting its priorities wrong, worrying about climate change,
cars and biofuels at the expense of feeding the poor.

Mr Diouf said: "Nobody understands how $11 billion to $12 billion a year of
subsidies in 2006 have had the effect of diverting 100 million tonnes of
cereals from human consumption, mostly to satisfy a thirst for fuel for

Mr Diouf called for £15 billion a year to be spent on giving 862 million
hungry people "the right to food". He said that the amount spent on food aid
for the Third World had more than halved in real terms, from £4 billion in
1980 to £1.7 billion in 2004.

Ed Schafer, the US Agriculture Secretary, said that biofuels were
responsible for only 2 to 3 per cent of the predicted 43 per cent rise in
food prices this year. Other participants said that biofuels accounted for
15 to 30 per cent of the increases. President Mubarak of Egypt called for
"agricultural crops to be used as food for human beings, not as fuel for

The biofuel row threatens to derail attempts to find a consensus at the
summit because the United States, Canada and Brazil all have sizeable
biofuel industries. The President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, said that
blaming biofuel for soaring food prices was an oversimplification.

The summit opened with a call from Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General,
for world food production to rise by 50 per cent by 2030 to meet growing
demand. He called for lower export restrictions and import tariffs with
immediate effect.

The conference has been overshadowed by the row over Mr Mugabe and by the
presence of President Ahmadinejad of Iran, who has used his visit to Rome to
attack what he called Israel's "criminal and terrorist Zionist regime".

Mr Mugabe said that Britain had "mobilised its friends and allies in Europe,
North America, Australia and New Zealand to impose illegal economic
sanctions against Zimbabwe. All this has been done to cripple Zimbabwe's
economy and thereby effect illegal regime change in our country."

He blamed the fact that millions of Zimbabweans were facing starvation on
the sanctions, as well as on climate change and fuel prices. Mr Mugabe said
Britain and its allies had channelled funds through nongovernmental
organisations to opposition parties, which were "the creation of the West",
thus using food aid as a political weapon. The Zimbabwean leader said that
his country had democratised land ownership over the past decade and 300,000
Zimbabweans were now the proud owners of land previously owned by 4,000
white farmers, "mainly of British stock". This had been welcomed by "the
vast majority of our people" but had "elicited wrath from our former
colonial masters".

He was applauded politely but reproved by the chairman for running over the
allotted five minutes.

Douglas Alexander, Britain's International Development Minister, retorted
that Mr Mugabe himself was to blame for ruining Zimbabwe, once the
breadbasket of southern Africa.

In his speech Mr Ahmadinejad alleged that unnamed profiteering forces were
driving up oil prices to further their geopolitical aims. "While the growth
of consumption is lower that that of production and the market is full of
oil, prices continue to rise and this situation is completely manipulated,"
he told the summit.

Mr Ahmadinejad had asked for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI but the
Vatican said all such requests had been turned down. It said the Pope was
unable to meet various leaders "because of the number of requests, the
limited time available, and prior commitments". Neither Mr Mugabe nor Mr
Ahmadenijad was invited to a banquet hosted by the Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi last night.

Here we go again blah blah blah. The crux of the matter is loss of power.
Neither Mugabe nor his generals want to lose power as they know what will
happen to them. He started losing his grip in 1997 and he is now holding on
to a very oily rope. Have fun whilst you can Robert, the end is nigh!

Graham, Maidenhead, UK

None of the comments above seem to have addressed Mugabe's allegations that
the Zimbabwean economy was crippled by sanctions as a result of his seizing
the land of white (british) farmers. The reason is clear, his allegations
are based in fact.

E. Akomi, Lagos, Nigeria

What this story illustrates is that poverty in the developing world can no
longer be blamed on American or British imperialism or on Zionism, as some
at the BBC or Oxford would claim. It is rapacious homegrown thugs who should
be blamed. Colonialism ended decades ago.

Richard England, Durham, USA

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Says Army Expanding Role In Presidential Run-Off


By Blessing Zulu
03 June 2008

Zimbabwean opposition leader and presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai
said Tuesday that the country's military has staged a de fact coup d'ťtat by
taking control of large areas of the country and declaring them no-go areas
for the opposition.

Tsvangirai, set to face President Robert Mugabe on June 27 in a presidential
run-off election already marred by extensive political violence in the wake
of the March 29 first-round election, issued the warning after his campaign
was obliged to call off a campaign rally in Manama Mission, a village near
Gwanda in Matabeleland South province that he said has been sealed off by
heavily armed soldiers.

Members of a Tsvangirai campaign advance party heading for Manama were told
that if they proceeded, the police could not guarantee their security given
the presence of potentially hostile military units. The army has been
implicated in political violence by ruling party militia and war veterans
mainly targeting rural opposition supporters.

The incident occurred amid reports that Zimbabwean army officers are calling
civilians to political meetings at which they are being instructed to vote
for Mr. Mugabe.

"I don't mind soldiers having an opinion about who they want to vote for,
but certainly a coercive military strategy to force people to support a
particular candidate and to be active in the campaign has very dangerous
consequences," Tsvangirai said.

"That must be discouraged, they are opening up the military to being
involved in politics, which is dangerous for our democracy," Tsvangirai
continued. "It's tantamount to a military coup, and I think that in Africa
today, one of the most condemned actions is a military coup, because it
undermines democratic development. So I think that's the most dangerous
development that's happening in this country."

In an interview with reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe,
Tsvangirai said that because of the violence unleashed against his
supporters, claiming more than 50 lives, his presidential campaign has been
reduced to a whisper.

Tsvangirai is the founding president of the Movement for Democratic Change,
the two formations of which claimed a majority in the lower house of
parliament in the March 29 general election. His MDC formation maintains
that he won a majority in the presidential ballot, but that the results were
subsequently rigged.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission released its official first-round results
on May 2, crediting Tsvangirai with 47.9% of the vote and Mr. Mugabe with
43.2% and declaring that as no one had claimed a majority of 50% plus one
vote a run-off was needed.

For a government response, reporter Zulu reached Deputy Youth Minister
Saviour Kasukuwere, also a senior member of president Robert Mugabe''s
campaign team., who blamed the wave of political violence on the opposition.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ban to send special envoy to Zimbabwe ahead of elections

Monsters and Critics

Jun 3, 2008, 23:50 GMT

New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to send a special envoy to
Zimbabwe to discuss ways the international body can support fair elections
in the African nation, a spokeswoman confirmed in New York on Tuesday.

Ban said on the sidelines of a UN summit on hunger in Rome that he would
send Haile Menkerios of Eritrea to Zimbabwe with the approval of President
Robert Mugabe.

On June 27 Mugabe is to face opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a
run-off election. Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai won
more votes than Mugabe in the first round on March 27, but less than the 50
per cent needed for outright victory.

Human rights groups say Mugabe's ZANU(PF) party is responsible for nearly
all the election-related violence that has plagued the nation for months.

Menkerios is the assistant secretary-general for political affairs.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe snubs UN request to send envoy to Zimbabwe: report


HARARE, June 3 (AFP)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe snubbed a request Tuesday by UN chief Ban
Ki-moon to send a special envoy to check on security in the build-up to a
key run-off election, state television reported.

Ban made the request at a meeting with Mugabe on the sidelines of an ongoing
UN food summit in Rome, ZTV reported, but the Zimbabwean leader told him
that concerns about security ahead of the June 27 presidential vote were

Mugabe told Ban that he had been overly influenced by Western countries
hostile to Zimbabwe and been "completely blind" to the impact of sanctions
imposed by the European Union and United States, the report added.

Violence has been steadily mounting in the approach to the run-off which
will pitch Mugabe against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader is only participating in the
run-off under protest, arguing that he won an outright majority in the first
round and Mugabe's regime is now trying to ensure it stays in power by
attacking and intidimidating opposition supporters.

Although Mugabe has accused the MDC of terrorising backers of his Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front party, the United Nations has said
the opposition has borne the brunt of the post-election violence.

Mugabe is usually barred from the European Union as part of a package of
sanctions imposed after he allegedly rigged his 2002 re-election.

However he was able to attend the ongoing Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO) summit in the Italian capital as it is being staged by the UN.

In his speech at the FAO summit on Tuesday, Mugabe accused the West of
trying to "cripple" Zimbabwe's economy and "effect illegal regime change".

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Governor promises land to returnees

June 4, 2008

By Our Correspondent

BEITBRIDGE - More than 600 Zimbabweans fleeing from recent xenophobic
attacks in South Africa were taken by pleasant surprise the moment they
crossed the Limpopo River back into the border town of Beitbridge.

Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku, was waiting for them on
Monday, ostensibly to welcome them back. But the ceremony to welcome
distraught Zimbabweans fleeing from violent attacks on foreigners was soon
transformed into a Zanu-PF campaign rally, with the governor promising each
returnee a piece of land. There was a catch in the offer, however.

They must a vote for President Robert Mugabe in the forthcoming presidential
election run-off.

Masuku, who is also a Zanu-PF politburo member, shocked the returnees when
she openly urged them to vote for Mugabe in the election that pits the
long-time President against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president,
Morgan Tsvangirai.

But her overtures were immediately rejected by many among her audience, who
refused to register for the promised land.

Togarepi Chinake the deputy director for the Department of Social Welfare
was the first to make the offer of land as he addressed the returning
residents at the Beitbridge district police headquarters.

"We welcome you home," he said. "I wish to notify you that, if there is
anyone among you, who wishes to start a new life as a farmer, the government
has land that it can offer you. At the end of this meeting, you can register
with us, stating the province where you come from and the one that you
prefer to be resettled in.

Zanu-PF is employing every trick in the book, including violence, shutting
out the opposition from rural areas once more and banning non-governmental
organisations from distributing food aid, in a bid to secure victory in the
forthcoming crucial poll.

The party has also launched a campaign blitz on state radio, television and
newspapers, calling on the electorate to vote for Mugabe.

But having lost to Tsvangirai on March 29 by about 100 000 votes, the
prospects for a dramatic recovery by Mugabe look decidedly bleak, given the
ongoing brutal punishment of voters, especially rural, suspected to have
backed the MDC leader.

"This is our country," said Masuku. "It can only develop if we pull
together. But for that to be achieved we need to defend it from

Zanu-PF has repeatedly claimed that the MDC is a western puppet bent on
returning Zimbabwe to its former colonial power, the United Kingdom. The
fact that Mugabe still lost the election after bombarding voters with such
propaganda for months suggests few still believe their current plight is the
result of foreign factors.

The MDC has denied the charges.

"I urge you to vote for President Mugabe so that the land that we are
offering you today does not revert to the British," said Masuku.

Masuku and Chinake officially delivered the offer of land to the people,
some two weeks after Mugabe said his government would give land to the
victims of xenophobia in South Africa.

"We have land for our people in South Africa who may want to return home,"
Mugabe said while launching his party's campaign a week ago.

The government this week sent about 10 buses to pick up stranded Zimbabweans
in South Africa, after the wave of attacks that claimed the lives of more
than 40 foreigners.

After Masuku's speech, the returnees were asked to complete forms that were
distributed by officials from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare.

Among other details, the forms also sought to find out if any of the people
wanted to be given land, which the government had seized over the years from
white commercial farmers since 2000.

Most of the prime farms have however, been parcelled out to Zanu-PF
officials, ministers and senior government officials.

"What is suddenly so special about us that we are now being offered this?"
asked one returnee, who refused to fill in the forms for land.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Freed On Bail, Zimbabwean Opposition Stalwart Mutambara Vows Defiance


By Thomas Chiripasi, Ntungamili Nkomo & Carole Gombakomba
Harare and Washington
03 June 2008

The prominent Zimbabwean opposition figure Arthur Mutambara, arrested on
Sunday in connection with an article he published in April criticizing
President Robert Mugabe, was arraigned before a magistrate on Tuesday and
freed on bail.

From Harare, Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported.

Following his release, Mutambara told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that that rather than being intimidated by his two
days of incarceration he felt energized and more ready than ever to
challenge the government.

Meanwhile, sources said Zimbabwe's jails are filling up with political
prisoners who are being held in deplorable conditions.

One now in custody is opposition member of parliament for Buhera West
constituency of Manicaland province, Eric Matinenga, arrested on Saturday on
charges he incited political violence.

His lawyer, Tinoziva Bere, said the police refused to let Matinenga be
arraigned on Tuesday as was expected. He said Matinenga denies the

Bere said conditions in Manicaland prisons are alarming. Remand cells
designed to hold 300 people are holding more than a thousand, Bere said.
Most are opposition activists or individuals accused of dealing illegally in
diamonds, he said.

Bere told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
political prisoners continue to be brought to the cells by members of the
ruling party militia and war veterans, rendering conditions at the remand
prison increasingly harsh.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Many Zimbabwean households face hunger: UN

Zim Online

by Hendricks Chizhanje Wednesday 04 June 2008

HARARE - An unusually larger proportion of Zimbabwean households faces
hunger after erratic rains and a shortage of farming inputs combined to
slash cereal production again this year, United Nations agencies said in a
preliminary report on food security in the African country.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme
(WFP) said in the report that the decline in food availability and
accessibility in Zimbabwe was serious, adding that households were "enduring
an unusually high stress response to the shortage of food supplies".

"Such responses would not be expected at this time of year," said the
agencies that visited Zimbabwe last month at the invitation of President
Robert Mugabe's government to assess the country's 2007/2008-season harvest.

The preliminary report, which was shown to ZimOnline on Tuesday, said:
"Production was affected by erratic rainfall patterns, timeliness and lack
of inputs among other factors. Field visits suggest that communal farmers
are likely to be the worst affected by the agricultural downturn.

"A larger proportion of households have insufficient stocks to provide for
their food in the coming year. WFP monitoring affirms, however, that cereal
is generally unavailable."

The UN agencies are due to publish a full report on Zimbabwe next week which
diplomatic sources said was going to reveal an even more precarious food
supply situation in the country.

Giving a hint of what to expect in the report, an FAO economist, Kisan
Gunjal, who was part of the delegation that visited Zimbabwe, told the media
in Rome that cereal production would plummet again this year and food
imports announced by Mugabe would do too little to make up the shortfall.

"Last year output was down 44 percent. This year we are expecting even
further decreases in maize and cereal production," said Gunjal.

Mugabe's announced last month that his government had paid for 600 000
tonnes of maize from South Africa but Gunjal said this would not be enough
to cover the shortfall with Zimbabwe expected to harvest a less than the 800
000 tonnes of maize recorded last season.

Maize is Zimbabwe's main staple food with the country requiring more than
two million tones of the grain per year.

Critics blame Zimbabwe's food crisis directly on Mugabe's haphazard
fast-track land reform exercise that displaced established white commercial
farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded
black farmers.

Food production plunged by about 60 percent as a result while chaos in
agriculture because of the often violent farm seizures also hit hard
Zimbabwe's once impressive manufacturing sector that had depended on a
robust farming sector for orders and inputs.

Most of Zimbabwe's companies have since the beginning of farm seizures in
2000 either closed completely or scaled down operations to below 30 percent
of capacity, in a country where unemployment is more than 80 percent.

Some Western governments roundly condemned Mugabe's presence at an ongoing
UN food summit in Rome this week with Britain and Australia describing it as
"unfortunate" and "obscene" that the Zimbabwean leader could be part of such
a gathering when he was responsible for the collapse of his own country's

In an apparent show of displeasure at Mugabe's presence, the Italian and UN
hosts of the food summit omitted the Zimbabwean leader from the guest list
of a ceremonial dinner for the leaders attending the meeting.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was also not included on the list of
guest to attend the dinner. - ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Lawyers appeal against SA trio's jail sentence

Zim Online

by Lizwe Sebatha and Wayne Mafaro Wednesday 04 June 2008

BULAWAYO - Lawyers representing three South Africans arrested last week with
broadcasting equipment the state says belongs to the United Kingdom-based
Sky News television station on Tuesday appealed at the Bulawayo High Court
against a six-month jail term slapped on the trio.

Magistrate John Masimba on Monday sentenced the three South Africans -
Bernet Hassen Sono, Resemate Chauke, and Simon Maodi to an effective six
months in jail each.

The magistrate found the three guilty of contravening Section 33 of the
Postal and Telecommunications Act Chapter 12, 03 that prohibits the
possession of broadcasting equipment without a licence.

In passing the six month jail sentence, Masimba said although the three
indicated that the broadcasting equipment did not belong to them,
"possession of the equipment was an offence" and leniency on the trio would
"send a wrong signal."

However, lawyers for the South Africans said in the appeal that the jail
sentence was excessive and that a fine would have been adequate punishment.

"The sentence is unheard of and a shock. The magistrate should have
considered the option of a fine and not a jail term. The magistrate did also
not look at the proper provisions of sentence of such an offence," said
Tawengwa Hara, one of the defence lawyers in an interview.

"The offence should only attract a penalty of a fine," added the lawyer.

The jail sentence was imposed on the South Africans days after President
Robert Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba warned that the government
would deal harshly with foreign journalists who sneak into the country to
cover the June 27 presidential run-off election between Mugabe and
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwean authorities have barred foreign media, especially from the West,
from covering the country's elections alleging that the media groups were
pushing a regime change agenda against the government.

But several foreign journalists have continued to sneak into the country to
report on worsening political violence and human rights abuses ahead of the
run-off poll.

Meanwhile Reuters photographer Howard Burditt found guilty of possessing an
unregistered satellite phone was sentenced to two months imprisonment,
wholly suspended for three years. Burditt was also asked to pay a fine of
Z$20 billion.

Under Zimbabwe's tough broadcasting laws, owners of satellite phones must
register the gadgets with the authorities. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Reuters' photographer sentenced in Zimbabwe

3rd Jun 2008 23:10 GMT

By a Correspondent

HARARE - Howard Nicholas Burditt a photographer with Reuters' news agency
who was convicted on his own guilty plea of contravening Section 27(1) of
the Broadcasting Services Act was on 3 June 2008 sentenced to pay a fine of
$20 billion.

Harare Magistrate Archie Wochionga also suspended two other months in prison
on condition that Burditt will not contravene the broadcasting Services Act
within the next five years.

His satellite phone was forfeited by the state. Burditt's lawyer, Charles
Kwaramba who was standing in for Alec Muchadehama told the court that the
convict was to pay the fine not later than the 6th of June.

Howard Burditt who works for Reuters was arrested in Harare on 5 May 2008
and spent three nights in custody when he was found in possession of a
satellite phone and was released on 8 may 2008.

He later appeared before the court on 28 May and he pleaded guilty to the
charge of contravening section 27 (1) of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA)
which outlaws unauthorised possession, establishment and operation of signal
transmitting stations.

The Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)
had licensed Reuters to cover the Zimbabwean elections, and it was specified
in the contract that they were not to use big machines like satellite phones
in their broadcasting.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robert Mugabe's reckoning looms

The Telegraph

By Mary Riddell
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 04/06/2008

How pleased the starving of Bulawayo will be that the British Foreign
Office is considering stripping Robert Mugabe of his honorary knighthood.
How gratified they must feel that the Development Secretary, Douglas
Alexander, won't be shaking his hand at the United Nations' world food
summit in Rome.

On the other hand, Zimbabweans might have more pressing concerns, such
as staying alive. With the country's run-off election imminent, the tyrant's
henchmen are out canvassing, Mugabe-style. Thousands of political opponents
have fled. Activists have reportedly had their eyes gouged out. Morgues fill
with the bodies of the disappeared.

Mugabe is ensconced in his £450-a-night hotel suite on the Via Veneto.
For him, the dolce vita. For his countrymen, a bitter and a short life: the
average male citizen will die at 37.

Mugabe lectures the world on malnutrition while his country starves.
His presence has, ironically, distracted from one of the world's most
pressing problems: hunger. Whether the meeting hosted by the UN's Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) achieves any consensus is another matter. The
world needs fewer biofuels, more GM crops and a second "green revolution".
Export bans should be lifted; trade barriers removed. Don't rely, however,
on much progress.

Cutting deals has, in any case, seemed secondary so far. Mugabe, whose
arrival provoked no protest from the FAO, has made the UN look pathetic.
Western hand-wringers are appalled. It's a pity their rage against our
leading international institution is so selective.

Zimbabwe, meanwhile, goes back to the polls on June 27. Power ebbs
from Mugabe. In this, his last, desperate chance of victory over Morgan
Tsvangirai, he will do anything to recapture the country he has pillaged.
Expect more abduction, murder and vote-rigging. Many lives, and democracy
itself, are at stake. If ever there was a case for UN intervention, this is

The secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, could send in hundreds of monitors
to ensure fair play. He could despatch a special envoy. Neither move would
involve the Security Council or any red tape. He could just do it. But he
hasn't. This failure has provoked little comment in the West. Yet its
consequences are potentially far graver than Mugabe ordering spaghetti alle
vongole from room service.

Mr Ban's inertia follows a string of shaming episodes. Only last week,
Save The Children reported that UN peacekeepers were sexually abusing
children in Africa. Supposedly a lifeline to the poor, the UN now conjures
up a vision of gravy-train bureaucrats.

Other international bodies and clubs are elitist and wasteful, too.
The revving of presidential jets is enough to convince people that nothing
is going to happen. When Gordon Brown says he will ask the G8 to sort out
the price of oil, the public thinks (with justification) that he might as
well entrust the job to Cleethorpes WI.

But the UN is the worst offender. Yes, it does some fine work. But,
too often, it is a disappointment or a disgrace. Its peacekeepers spread
Aids in south-east Asia. Its functionaries got rich on the oil-for-food
scandal in Iraq. My own memory goes back 14 years, to Sarajevo, where
General Sir Michael Rose was commander of the UN Mission in Bosnia. Rose
told me how he went fly-fishing; his soldiers ate ice creams as they walked
the streets. This looked like light-touch peacekeeping at its best.

Later though, after he had left, thousands of men and boys were
slaughtered in the Srebrenica massacre, as the UN's Dutch contingent looked

Mr Ban never appeared likely to solve the myriad problems of the UN.
He was seen as a safe but uninspiring choice when he was appointed in 2006.
Many would have preferred Ashraf Ghani, the former Afghan finance minister
and an early architect of rebuilding his country after the Taliban fell.

Dr Ghani has just published a book called Fixing Failed States.
Co-written with Clare Lockhart, it exposes how the UN failed Afghanistan. In
2002, "hundreds of thousands" of young people spent what money they had on
business, computer and English classes. With no interest in the "clash of
civilizations", they wanted only to be connected to the outside world.

But instead of putting money into opportunity, the UN used the first
tranche of international aid to finance an airline for its officials and
other international staff. Since then, it has subsidised the service by as
much as £150 million while failing to invest in the Afghan state airline,
which is now almost bankrupt.

The first presidential election was an opportunity for the country to
buy itself an electronic system and modernise. Instead, the UN insisted on
registering voters with thumbprints inked on card. The result was widespread
fraud and no enduring electoral roll. The UN's excuse was that it did not
want to offend the donor who had supplied the cardboard.

Such stories are minor compared with allegations of the graft and
kickbacks in an organisation with a £20 billion budget and an audit trail
that a market trader might find lax. Even so, the failures in Afghanistan
are a grave indictment of the UN. They help explain why the opium trade has
boomed, why the country is on the brink of meltdown, and why the 100th
British soldier could be close to being killed.

Afghanistan and Zimbabwe are two examples among many. Why has the UN
proved so feeble in Darfur, where less than half of a promised peacekeeping
force is in place? Where was Mr Ban as thousands of Burmese flood victims
perished? His supporters say he (finally) helped prevail on the generals to
allow a trickle of aid. Nonetheless, the world's foremost troubleshooter
looked barely more impressive than Paris Hilton on a mission to Rwanda.

True, the UN is only as good or bad as its subscribers. Consensus is
harder than ever; reform much easier said than done. Hence, in America,
impatient advocates are lining up behind John McCain's idea of a "league of
democracies". Dividing the world up into "goodies" and "baddies" sounds
sinister. More practically, it would - to take just one example - be
impossible to get Brazil on board while debarring its new trading partner,
China. The enthusiasm for McCain's scheme proves how low esteem for the UN
has sunk.

Yet the need for a powerful United Nations has never been more acute.
Individuals can change corners of the earth. The best aid worker I know is a
Catholic priest who has helped thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims and
Christians to live and prosper, while bravely facing down the militias who
come to kill his congregation. Nation states, by contrast, can do less and
less. The future of a hungry and divided world depends on joint solutions.

In Italy today, one spotlight is on food. The other is on a tinpot
tyrant whose jaunt is more useful than it seems. Mugabe has inadvertently
reminded the world of the link between a failed dictator and a UN that needs
to refind its purpose. What better starting point than Zimbabwe? Elections
are almost here. The body count is rising. And, thanks to Mugabe's Roman
holiday, the world is watching.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Lord Tebbit: We need no lectures from Robert Mugabe - he's a mad dog on two legs

Daily Mail

By Lord Tebbit
Last updated at 1:37 AM on 04th June 2008

The sight of Robert Mugabe anywhere, anytime is enough to turn the stomach
of any decent man or woman.

There is no real point arguing whether he is mad, bad or both. Some of my
medical friends argue that he may be exhibiting symptoms of tertiary
syphilis, but whatever is driving him to destroy his own country is hardly

He has taken one of Africa's most promising nations and turned it into the
starving, bankrupt and brutalised basket case it is today.

There has rightly been outrage at the way in which he has held on to office
despite the outcome of the recent election, an election he failed to win
despite his best efforts to rig the results.

There should, however, be even greater outrage that he has been allowed by
the wider world to get away with it.

Few tyrants could match Mugabe for the scale of the disaster he has brought
on his own country.

The man is a pariah† -† a mad dog on two legs.

The only contact a civilised nation should have with him is to put him in
handcuffs and lead him to trial.

But what does the United Nations do with this monster? It doesn't just stand
idly by and excuse him, but invites him to Europe and gives him a platform
for one of his foam-flecked racist rants at a conference on† -† of all
things† -† the global threat of starvation.

As his own people starve in their thousands back in Zimbabwe, he ate a
lavish lunch of prawn and pumpkin pate at the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation meeting in Rome and then launched into a vitriolic speech
criticising Britain and justifying his seizure of white farms. It is an
absolute disgrace.

They say you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps† -† and the
UN has told us an awful lot about itself by the way it treats this despot as
if he were a legitimate head of state.

In fact, while the UN was founded to put the world's wrongs right, it is
increasingly becoming part of the global problem.

Although it has its headquarters in New York, the organisation's heart seems
to be with those Third World governments which reek the most of corruption.

And UN officials who should know better are too politically correct to speak
out, instead providing a soap box for any lunatic leader who wants to vent
his spleen.

The UN does, of course, have its uses.

It can be a forum in which action can be agreed upon to deal with crisis, as
it was during the Korean War in the 1950s, or Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in
the 1990s.

It also provides a place where countries which cannot otherwise afford to be
seen communicating with each other can make contact away from the cameras.

But there is little doubt that many of those close to the top of the UN turn
their eyes away from the corruption not only of governments like Mugabe's,
but the atrocities committed by their own peacekeeping forces in Africa as

The UN establishment knows that it is commonplace for Third World
politicians and bureaucrats to have their hands in the till or to spirit
away into their Swiss bank accounts the overseas aid money given by
hard-pressed Western taxpayers.

The problem is that many officials simply don't want to do anything about

Just as the corrupt politicians are getting away with theft and murder, so
the UN is getting away with appalling indifference.

We can only hope that seeing the monster Mugabe in Rome will so outrage the
people and governments of Europe that something will finally be done.

His presence is an insult to Europe and it is time that civilised countries
acted not only against Mugabe but his protectors at the UN too.

Perhaps it is too much to hope that our Government would make a stand.

After all, our ministers have been strong on criticising Mugabe, but too
scared of being branded racist to actively rid Zimbabwe of its tyrant.

Nevertheless, even the Foreign Office might try to persuade our friends and
allies in the U.S and European Union to do something determined.

If all EU member states threatened to withdraw their funding for the UN
unless Mugabe was banned from travelling outside Zimbabwe, it would be a

Unfortunately, many Western governments are too weak-willed to do that,
essentially encouraging the UN to maintain its own pathetically indifferent
stance to tyranny.

What this whole disgraceful affair has now done is to raise the question of
whether the UN has completely lost its way. I would argue that it has† -
and many millions will pay the price.

Whether you believe the U.S. and Britain should or should not have gone to
war in Iraq, there can be no doubt that the UN failed to manage that crisis

Similarly, it sits idly by while Burma's governing junta allows hundreds of
thousands of its own people to die of starvation and disease while the aid
to save them sits just offshore.

As piracy once again flourishes and threatens shipping off Somalia, the UN
does nothing.

It shrugs off reports that it has covered up the most terrible abuses of
women and children by its own peacekeepers in Africa, and once again, does

Worse still, it continues to get away with doing nothing, over and over

While the UN continues to befriend Mugabe, it risks being tarred with the
brush of defeat, corruption and indifference to those it should defend† -
the poor and the oppressed.

Sooner or later, it must make up its mind. Whose side is it on? The people
of Zimbabwe, or their oppressors?

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Army rendering MDC campaign impotent

By Marvis Murray | Staff Reporter
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 19:37

Zimbabwe, Harare --Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said Tuesday that the country's military has staged
a de fact coup d'ťtat by taking control of large areas of the country and
declaring them no-go areas for the opposition.

Tsvangirai, set to face President Robert Mugabe on June 27 in a presidential
run-off election already marred by extensive political violence in the wake
of the March 29 first-round election, issued the warning after his campaign
was obliged to call off a campaign rally in Manama Mission, a village near
Gwanda in Matabeleland South province that he said has been sealed off by
heavily armed soldiers.

Members of a Tsvangirai campaign advance party heading for Manama were told
that if they proceeded, the police could not guarantee their security given
the presence of potentially hostile military units.

The army has been implicated in political violence by ruling party militia
and war veterans mainly targeting rural opposition supporters.

The incident occurred amid reports that Zimbabwean army officers are calling
civilians to political meetings at which they are being instructed to vote
for Mr. Mugabe.

"I don't mind soldiers having an opinion about who they want to vote for,
but certainly a coercive military strategy to force people to support a
particular candidate and to be active in the campaign has very dangerous
consequences," Tsvangirai said.

"That must be discouraged, they are opening up the military to being
involved in politics, which is dangerous for our democracy," Tsvangirai

"It's tantamount to a military coup, and I think that in Africa today, one
of the most condemned actions is a military coup, because it undermines
democratic development. So I think that's the most dangerous development
that's happening in this country."

Mutambara freed

The leader of a faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition party was granted bail
and released from custody on Tuesday after his arrest for publishing an
article critical of President Robert Mugabe.

A court in the capital Harare ordered Arthur Mutambara freed on bail of 20
billion Zimbabwean dollars ($28) after he appeared to face charges of
contempt of court and communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state.

Mutambara, who heads the smaller of two wings of the Movement for

Democratic Change, was ordered to appear in court on June 17. He also cannot
leave the southern African nation until the case is resolved.

"What has happened is nothing compared to what the people of Zimbabwe are
experiencing. Mugabe is violating the human rights of our people," a defiant
Mutambara said after his release, accusing the government of a crackdown on
opposition supporters.

Mutambara made a similar accusation in an article published on April 20 in
the Standard, a privately owned weekly newspaper. He criticised Mugabe's
handling of the March 29 elections and questioned his government's right to
stay in office.

He was arrested on Sunday.

Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF lost control of parliament in the election for the
first time since he led it to power in 1980. Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC faction
won the most seats, with Mutambara's MDC winning a smaller number.

The two MDC factions split in 2005 but recently agreed to combine forces and
work together to unseat Mugabe's government.

Results from a parallel presidential election in March showed Tsvangirai
beating Mugabe but without a big enough margin to avoid a run-off, which
will be held on June 27.

Both MDC factions, however, have raised concerns about the fairness of the
upcoming presidential poll and have called on the government to end what
they describe as an orchestrated intimidation campaign.

Scores of MDC supporters have been beaten and killed since the elections in
March, according to the party. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF say the opposition is
responsible for a wave of violence targeting its activists-.-Harare Tribune

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU-PF goes after NGOs


By Tafara Shoko | Staff Reporter
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 19:39

Zimbabwe, Harare --The ZANU-PF government, moving to prevent a repeat of
what it believes resulted in its defeat by the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), is moving to clean-up what one ZANU-PF insider privy to the
scheme as 'scum.'

The number of the entities that ZANU-PF leaders blame for the loss to the
MDC is long and ZANU-PF has been working to clean it up since the March 29

The list includes workers at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), which
oversees, ZBC TV and Radio, the state electronic media outlets. ZANU-PF, to
show its displeasure with management at ZBH, wielded the axe and fired ZBH
boss Henry Muradzikwa.

In recent days, following Muradzikaw's dismissal, ZBC tv & radio are back on
tune, eulogizing Mugabe & ZANU-PF. The state daily newspapers, Herald &
Chronicle, have essential thrown out their journalistic principles and are
firing on all cylinders promoting Robert Mugabe's candidature during the

Non governmental organizations (NGOs) are another core constituency ZANU-PF
leaders blame for their loss to the MDC. The NGOs are accused to not only
campaigning for to the MDC under the cover for being neutral entities but
also of throwing spanners into the Zimbabwe National Army's (ZNA)
campaigning in the rural areas by reporting the army's activities,
activities ZANU-PF wants to keep under wraps, to the outside world.

This week, ZANU-PF decided to disable all NGOs.

CARE International said Tuesday that the government suspended the group's
aid operations in the country after accusing it of campaigning for the
opposition. At least two other aid groups also said they had been told to
curb some activities. CARE's Africa communications director, Kenneth Walker,
said the order for an immediate halt to aid work came during a Friday
meeting with Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche.

Nicholas Goche has been quoted as saying that other aid agencies could also
have their activities halted.

"Several other non-governmental organizations involved in food distribution
in Manicaland province will also be asked to cease operations while we
investigate them," said.

"There is a crucial run-off coming and our information indicates that NGOs
are involved in plans to undermine our candidate."

Walker said officials ordered that the halt continue during an investigation
into allegations of political activity by CARE staff members in support of
opposition candidates before the disputed March 29 presidential and
parliament elections.

Walker said CARE "categorically" denies it encourages or tolerates political
activity by staff. "We have a very strict policy against political
activity," he said.

The group provides aid to about 500,000 Zimbabweans and had been scheduled
to expand food distribution to about 1 million people this month, he said.

Zimbabwe, once a breadbasket for southern Africa, now struggles to feed its
people without international assistance.

The key agriculture sector shriveled after President Robert Mugabe ordered
the seizure of farms from whites beginning in 2002, leading to an economic
collapse that has left millions unable to pay for food and other essentials.

Mugabe claimed the land seizures were to benefit poor blacks, but many of
the farms were doled out to the loyalists who have helped him cling to power
since independence in 1980.

There are widespread fears Mugabe will try to steal the election when he
faces opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a June 27 presidential runoff.
Mugabe finished second in the first round behind Tsvangira

There is a crucial run-off coming and our information indicates that
NGOs are involved in plans to undermine our candidate.

Nicholas Goche
Rights groups decry violence and other intimidation in the run-up to the
vote that has killed more than 50 opposition supporters.

Thousands of Zimbabweans have been driven from their homes, especially in
rural areas where Mugabe lost much support in the first round of voting.

On Tuesday, Mugabe accused the West of using non-governmental organizations
to channel funds to the opposition.

"Further, these Western-funded NGOs also use food as a political weapon with
which to campaign against government, especially in the rural areas," he
said at a U.N food summit in Rome.

The United States criticized the decision to halt CARE's work, calling it a
"tragedy" and said it showed a "hardened indifference on the part of the
Zimbabwean government to the plight of its people."

"It is a cruel irony that this is taking place while President Mugabe is in
Rome feigning interest in the issue of food security," State Department
spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington.

Walker said Zimbabwean officials alleged the group's staff distributed
brochures in support of the opposition and threatened to withhold emergency
food from Mugabe supporters.

Rachel Pounds, Zimbabwe director for Save the Children, said the group was
told by a local official in a rural area to suspend aid work, but that other
work was continuing.

"We weren't told anything specifically about why," she said.

An official of Atlanta-based ASAP-Africa said his organization had been
asked late last week to pull its dozen or so field workers out of rural
areas but officials gave no reason.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter was
sensitive, said the group had complied and added that such requests were
typical at election time.

World Vision said its Zimbabwe operations had not been affected by the
"crackdown on NGOs." But it said in a statement that it has minimized
"exposure to risk by maintaining minimal activities" and was closely
monitoring the situation.

Civil and human rights groups predicted Tuesday that there will be more
violence after the presidential runoff, saying they do not believe Mugabe
will step down if he loses.

"Mugabe will not transfer power to the winner," Gordon Moyo, with the civil
rights group Bulawayo Agenda, said in South Africa.

ZANU-PF leaders indicated that they will continue to route out the entities
aligned with the MDC "to make the playing field level" -.-Harare Tribune

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Eric Matinenga still in custody

By Roy Chinamano ⋅ ⋅ June 3, 2008 ⋅

Eric Matinenga,MDC-Buhera West., a prominent lawyer to majority party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, who was picked up on Saturday in Buhera and was being
charged with inciting public violence is still in police custody.
Matinenga had travelled to Buhera with his wife to investigate the alleged
arrest, assault and detention of his clients among whom was Mbambata Nkomo
and to serve a court order he had obtained against the Zimbabwe Defence

His lawyer, Tinoziva Bere, said the police refused to let Matinenga be
bought to court on Tuesday as was expected.

Matinenga was elected as member of parliament for Buhera West on March 29
and is the sixth MDC legislator to be arrested ahead of the presidential

Since the March 29 5 MDC House of Assembly and Senate elects have been
arrested. And they are
Marvellous Khumao,MDC-St Marys., Sen.Tapela Lutho,MDC-Bulilima-Mangwe., and
Norman Mpofu,MDC-Bulilima East.

Early this month police also arrested Heya Shoko,MDC-Bikita West., Ian
Hamilton Kay,MDC-Marondera Central., and Amos Chibaya,MDC-Mkoba.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Summary of Eric Matinenga's illegal arrest and detention

4th Jun 2008 00:39 GMT

By Tinoziva Bere

1. Advocate Eric Matinenga is a registered legal practitioner, a former
President of the Administrative Court of Zimbabwe and currently an Advocate
of the High Court of Zimbabwe in the Advocates Chambers and the duly elected
Member of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe for Buhera West Constituency.

2. He recently successfully sued the Zimbabwe National Army over harassment.
Torture and political persecution of MDC supporters in Buhera West

3. The Investigating Officer for the case is Chief Superintendent Makone,
who is assisted by Detective Sergeant Jonhera and Detective Sergeant

4. Advocate Eric Matinenga has been detained for longer than the period
stipulated at law or permitted in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and
no effort has been made to respect his rights.

5. On the 31st May 3008 Adv. Eric Matinenga travelled to Buhera to
investigate the alleged arrest, assault and detention of his clients among
whom was Mbambata Nkomo and to serve a court order he had obtained against
the ZDF arising from in respect of harassment, torture and their illegal
activities in the area led by one Major Svosve.

6. On arrival at Buhera Police Station Adv. Eric Matinenga stated the nature
of his business and produced his Law Society of Zimbabwe identity.

7.† Adv. Eric Matinenga was denied access to his clients and instead he was
subjected to questioning by an officer he remembers only as Assistant
Inspector Jim. The said officer advised Adv. Eric Matinenga that he would
not be allowed to see the accused persons but was free to leave but as Adv.
Eric Matinenga was protesting his right to see his clients, one Major Svosve
whose notoriety is recounted in the High Court papers in case no. 2624/08
arrived and beckoned to Assistant Inspector Jim to come to him at which
Assistant Inspector Jim rushed out of the office to go and consult privately
with Major Svosve.

8. On his return from his conference with Major Svosve, Assistant Inspector
Jim no longer wanted to release Adv. Eric Matinenga and instead said he
could no longer let Adv. Eric Matinenga go.

9.† Assistant Jim then took Adv. Eric Matinenga to another office where
another officer whose name Adv. Eric Matinenga does not know and another
person who appeared to be a civilian discussed briefly and Assistant
Inspector Jim then ordered Adv. Eric Matinenga to go and wait at the Charge
Office and Adv. Eric Matinenga complied.

10. When Assistant Inspector Jim followed, he advised Adv. Eric Matinenga
that he had been instructed to and he had no choice but to arrest and detain
Adv. Eric Matinenga

11. Adv. Eric Matinenga asked why and was simply told "public violence". He
asked for specifics and none was given. He was told that he would know from
Law and Order section from CID Mutare. He was immediately ordered to remove
his shoes, belt and jacket.

12. One Muchinjikwa and another officer then asked to search Adv. Eric
Matinenga‚€™s car which they did and despite finding nothing of interest to
them, they still detained the car and confiscated the car keys. Adv. Eric
Matinenga‚€™s wife had to walk to main road and use other means of transport
to go and find shelter for the night.

13. This arrest occurred around 12.31pm at Buhera Police Station on 31st May

14.† At the time of arrest of Adv. Eric Matinenga, the arresting officer had
no reasonable grounds to suspect Adv. Eric Matinenga of having committed any
offence a key requirement in Zimbabwe law.

15.† Adv. Eric Matinenga was not informed ‚€œforthwith‚€ by the person
arresting him of the cause of arrest. This failure persisted even when Trust
Maanda, one of Adv. Eric Matinenga‚€™s legal practitioners attended Buhera
Police Station to see Adv. Eric Matinenga and sought answers from the police
on Sunday the 1st June 2008. The police officers at Buhera said that they
did not know the reason for Adv. Eric Matinenga‚€™s arrest and were merely
keeping him for CID Mutare. Mr Maanda was made to wait for 2 hours before he
could see the client, the Adv. Eric Matinenga.

16.† When Mr. Maanda finally met the CID Mutare officers, namely Detective
Sergeant Murambiwa, Detective Sergeant Jonhera and Chief Superintendent
Makone none of them knew the reasons for arrest and detention. Mr. Maanda
was then allowed to see the Adv. Eric Matinenga who was still in the dark as
to why he was being detained. At the cells, the CID officers also followed
and Mr. Maanda explained to the officers that he could not take meaningful
instructions without reasons for arrest and detention and details of the
nature of the offence charged if any. Chief Superintendent Makone instead
expressed surprise that a person of the stature of Adv. Eric Matinenga could
up to that time not be aware of the allegations he was facing and referred
Mr. Maanda back to the Charge Office to be told of the reasons of detention.

17. At the Charge Office all that was in the Detention Book was an entry of
Adv. Eric Matinenga‚€™s name with no information of who had arrested Adv.
Eric Matinenga. The CID officers left promising that they would return early
Monday, the 2nd June 2008 to record statements from Adv. Eric Matinenga and
take him to court.

18. On Monday Mr. Maanda and I went to Buhera Police Station and arrived at
around 1pm. We were allowed to see Adv. Eric Matinenga but in the presence
of 3 police details. When we asked for privacy for us to consult we were
advised that seeing Adv. Eric Matinenga through the fence as arranged by
them was a favour they had granted us as CID Mutare were the only persons
who could allow access to Adv. Eric Matinenga. The police details in
question did not the reasons why Adv. Eric Matinenga had been arrested or

19. In my conversation with Adv. Eric Matinenga I established that he still
had not be advised of the nature or details of the allegations against him.
No statement had been recorded at all. I inspected the DB and it had entries
which Adv. Eric Matinenga had not seen before suggesting that one Chogugudza
was the arresting officer and the alleged offence was "public violence". The
car which had been taken the day before was not appearing in the DB and had
apparently taken without legal formality.

20. We then confronted Constable J. Kapfudza who was the person in charge at
the Charge Office to tell me what they were detaining Adv. Eric Matinenga
for and she said she did not know. In response to my request that she
releases the Adv. Eric Matinenga‚€™s vehicle she said she could not release

21.We then waited for Chief Superintendent Makone who was said to be the
Investigating Officer. When he finally arrived we met him and he said he
could not shed light on the allegations but was transferring Adv. Eric
Matinenga there and then to Mutare for appearance in court the following
day, We suggested that since they all did not seem to know the details of
the alleged offence the ends of justice would not be defeated by them
releasing him to us in order for him to come and answer questions or record
a statement but our request was declined. Chief Superintendent Makone asked
me to come to the CID offices at 10am if I wished to assist accused to
record a warned and cautioned statement and I promised to be there.

22. Adv. Eric Matinenga was then transferred to Mutare by Chief
Superintendent Makone and detained overnight at Mutare Central Police

23. At 9am I was informed that the officers assigned by Chief Superintendent
Makone to record a warned and cautioned statement from Adv. Eric Matinenga
were ready for us and Mr. Maanda and I went. After some search we found the
officers at Police Provincial HQ, Murahwa Building .

24. The officers who attended us were Detective Sergeant Murambiwa,
Detective Sergeant Jonhera whom we had seen the previous day.†† They typed a
preamble which we asked to have so that we could return to Mutare Central
Police Station to consult Adv. Eric Matinenga over the newly disclosed
allegations. Detective Sergeant Jonhera said he could not do so without
first consulting and getting approval of Chief Superintendent Makone. After
a phone call D/S Jonhera advised that he could not give us a copy of the
preamble. We then pleaded that it be read slowly so that we could write
notes and take to our client for consultation and that was done.

25. The preamble was a contravening section 187 (1) (a) as read with section
26 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law Codification Reform Act, incitement to public
violence at Mbambata Nkomo's homestead and Muindisi Homestead of Gwebu
Village Buhera on 31 May 2008 where it is alleged that I incited MDC youths
to attack ZANU PF supporters in Buhera West Constituency

26. We then asked to see or client and D/S Jonhera asked us to go with him
ask to the Central police station to see Chief Superintendent Makone who
would authorise us to see or client. We left for Mutare Central Police
Station where we saw Chief Superintendent Makone. Makone referred us back to
D/S Jonhera. We waited for a two hours before Jonhera could come. We were
then invited into Makone's office. We were advised that the allegations had
changed from those we had heard from the preamble read to us. The preamble
now had different names of the complainants and other details.

27. The second preamble to the charge was ‚€œpublic violence which occurred
on 31st May 2008 between 9.00hrs and 24.00hrs at the following homestead all
in Gwebu at Makotami Homestead, Phillip Gwebu‚€™s Homestead, Richman
Gwebu‚€™s homestead, Wellington Ncube‚€™s homestead and Tinei
Makwavarara‚€™s homestead, where it is alleged that you paid moneys to a
group of about 50 to 60 MDC youths and thereafter thanked them for
unleashing acts of violence against Zanu Pf supporters and further
encouraged them to continue perpetrating violence against Zanu PF
supporters. It is further alleged that the same youths went on to attack the
aforementioned homesteads assaulting the occupants

28. We then sought and were granted for the first time some privacy and an
opportunity to consult in private with Adv. Eric Matinenga. This was the
first time that Adv. Eric Matinenga had ever been told some sort of detail
about the nature of the allegations against him.

29. Adv. Eric Matinenga denied the allegations and did so in writing and was
asked questions which he answered in writing too. The long hand statements
were taken for typing and so we waited again. On return Adv. Eric Matinenga
was then given typed statements which he signed.

30.† We then asked to go to court and were advised that it was too late.

31. Chief Superintendent Makone went away and when he returned he advised
that we should be available for further statement recording because he could
be pressing more charges from investigations that he said were ongoing. We
gave him contact details and left.

32. We approached the Area Public Prosecutor to see if Adv. Eric Matinenga
could not be brought to court and were told that he was busy with some
officials from Harare and could not attend us. The set-down prosecutor
indicated that it was too late to have any new cases and that in any event
the prosecution could not expedite any case.

33. Adv. Eric Matinenga has therefore spent 72 hours since arrest in
violation of the laws of the country and has no choice but to seek relief of
this court to have his arrest and detention declared unlawful and an order
for immediate release granted.

34. Adv. Eric Matinenga avers that these allegations are politically
motivated to silence him and his Constituents, punish him for challenging
the army excesses in Buhera West and to intimidate MDC members in the area.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's land reforms are an example to all, claims Mugabe

Independent, UK

By Peter Popham in Rome
Wednesday, 4 June 2008

As an exercise in chutzpah it took some beating.

Taking the stage at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation
summit on food security in Rome yesterday, President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe presented his ravaged nation as a text-book case of land reform -
its only problems being the result of "illegal sanctions" and the
machinations of opposition parties "which are a creation of the West".

The country's gross national product has plummeted 40 per cent since the
land invasions by Mr Mugabe's self-styled "war veterans" began in 2000,
dispossessing the white farmers whose corn, wheat and beef had kept Zimbabwe
and the region around it in food surplus. The militants lacked the skills to
run the farms, most of which have in turn been taken over by Mr Mugabe's
cronies. Now most of those farms lie idle.

As result, Zimbabwe is today forced to import tens of thousands of tonnes of
maize to stave off famine, and if it were not for famine relief provided by
the UN the people would starve. Zimbabwe's inflation rate is more than
165,000 per cent, and residents rely on remittances from Zimbabweans living
abroad to help keep them afloat. But nothing could be farther from President
Mugabe's rosy vision of his nation.

"My country's primary agriculture policy objective remains that of ensuring
national and household food security through our own production," he told
the conference yesterday. "In this regard, Zimbabwe has recognised the
importance and centrality of land... Over the past decade, Zimbabwe has
democratised the land ownership patterns in the country, with over 300,000
previously landless families now proud landowners."

Disillusionment with Zimbabwe's economic collapse and its failure to feed
itself are seen at the root of the challenge to his power in the last
election in March, which has forced the run-off election to be held on 27
June. But that's not how the President sees it. The people have warmly
welcomed his policies, he claimed. Only the iniquity of the British and
their friends have caused difficulties.

"While this land reform programme has been warmly welcomed by the vast
majority of our people, it has however... elicited wrath from our former
colonial masters," he told the conference. The UK in turn "has mobilised her
friends and allies in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand to
impose illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. They have cut off all
development assistance, disabled lines of credit... all this has been done
to cripple Zimbabwe's economy and thereby effect illegal regime change in
our country." Those behind the efforts to unseat him, he said, were
"opposition political parties, which are a creation of the West".

Back in Zimbabwe, the latest target for the government's ire is the aid
group Care, which has had all its work suspended because of allegations that
it sided with the opposition party during this year's election season - a
charge denied by a spokeswoman at group headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, in
the US. "Care has strict policies against political involvement and
categorically denies that the organisation has encouraged or tolerated any
political activity," said Lurma Rackley.

In Rome meanwhile, Mr Mugabe was vaunting the achievements of his
government's agricultural policy, which included irrigation, building small
and medium-size dams, farm mechanisation and low-interest loans.

Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary, skipped Mr
Mugabe's contribution.

From Washington, Tom Casey, the State Department's spokesman, said Mr Mugabe
could only serve "as an example of what not to do in terms of managing
agricultural and food policy", and that Mr Mugabe "has a lot to answer for
to his own people".

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UN food security conference's poverty of ideas

The Telegraph

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 04/06/2008

Away from the grotesque grandstanding of Robert Mugabe, there was much
serious debate yesterday at the UN conference on world food security. Ban
Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, called for food production to be
increased by 50 per cent by 2030. Yet, like too many UN conferences, it is
questionable whether much of this high-minded talk will translate into

The British Government chose the easy option of writing a cheque. But
money is not the real issue, and much can be learned from India's "green
revolution" and the rise of countries like Brazil and Vietnam as
agricultural powerhouses.

Agricultural productivity in the world's poorest countries is dire,
with farmers stuck in barely democratic co-operatives, earning less than a
dollar a day by cultivating small plots with back-breaking toil.
Higher-yield, genetically modified crops are treated with suspicion. That is
a mistake: the use of specially bred "miracle rice" was what enabled India
to feed itself in the last century, and GM crops are today's equivalent.

There is little use of fertiliser or machinery: they are prohibitively
expensive thanks to punitive tariffs. Such protectionism is holding back
productivity and economic growth. It is unsurprising, therefore, that 45 out
of the 49 least developed countries are net food importers, and not because
their peoples are occupied in more lucrative industry or services sectors.
Meanwhile, politicians, in Europe and America, should recognise that
the subsidised growing of biofuels has been an error. Their environmental
benefits are disputed and their effect on world food prices has been
significant. Yet the EU refuses to accept this is mistaken and has decided
that 10 per cent of all transport fuel should come from biofuels by 2020.
The subsidies should be repealed.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Leaders at UN food summit tone down menu over fears of hypocrisy

Times Online
June 4, 2008

Richard Owen in Rome
World leaders attending the UN food summit in Rome settled down today to a
"modest" lunch in order not to be accused of "hypocrisy" as they were at the
last world food summit six years ago.

Lobster, goose and foie gras have given way to pasta, mozzarella, spinach
and sweetcorn. "It does not look good if leaders discussing global
starvation are seen to be dining lavishly," an official of the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said. "At the last summit in 2002 we did not
give enough thought to the menu and were open - unfairly, in our view - to
the charge of hypocrisy."

The summit six years ago aimed to halve the number of the world's hungry by
2015. Like this week's meeting, it was held amid tight security at the FAO's
palatial headquarters, housed in the former Fascist Ministry for the African
Empire near the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus.

The 2002 menu, published by The Times, began with foie gras on toast with
kiwi fruit and lobster in vinaigrette, followed by fillet of goose with
olives and seasonal vegetables and ending with a compote of fruit with
vanilla, all accompanied by an array of fine wines.

This time the catering was scaled down. Leaders first ate vol au vent
stuffed with sweetcorn and mozzarella, followed by a pasta dish with a sauce
of pumpkin and shrimps, and then veal meatballs and cherry tomatoes, with a
fruit salad and vanilla ice-cream for dessert. The wine was a
"straightforward but very acceptable Orvieto Classico", officials said.

Tomorrow the lunch menu features cheese mousse, pasta, green beans and
pineapple with ice-cream, all washed down with a Nero d'Avola Cabernet from
Sicily. On Thursday, the last day of the summit, delegates will be offered
courgette tart, parmesan risotto, ragout of veal with sautee potatoes, and
lemon mousse for dessert with a strawberry sauce, with Pino Grigio from
Trentino as the wine.

The inclusion of mozzarella is seen as a UN vote of confidence in the
cheese, which is made from buffalo milk. Earlier this year buffalo farms in
the Campania region were quarantined because of a scare over allegedly high
levels of dioxin, the result of the Naples rubbish crisis, in which
uncollected mountains of waste have turned toxic and been set on fire by
desperate residents.

Tonight the food summit delegates repair for dinner to the Renaissance-era
Villa Madama, in the hills overlooking Rome, which is used for government
hospitality. Italian officials said, however, that neither Mr Mugabe nor
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, had been invited to the banquet,
hosted by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister.

The FAO was founded in 1945, initially to help countries devastated by the
Second World War to re-establish food supplies and later to help the newly
independent countries of the Third World. It works alongside IFAD (the
International Fund for Agricultural Development), which finances Third World
farming projects, and the World Food Programme (WFP), which supplies
emergency aid.

That 2008 menu in full:

Vol au vent avec mais et mozarelles

Pates a la creme de potiron et crevettes, Paupiettes de veau avec tomates
cerises et Bailic Epinards a la romaine

Salade de fruit avec glace a la vanille

Vin: Orvieto Classico Poggio Calvelli 2005


Italy destroys millions of tons of oranges deliberately every year to
artificially keep retail prices high. Hypocrites, stink to high heaven

Orlando Mayo, Jaen, Espana

Why didn't they hold the meeting in Zimbabwe so they could all see what
Mugabi has allowed to happen to his country, and how most of the population
are starving.

liz, Fort Myers, USA

"At the last summit in 2002 we did not give enough thought to the menu and
were open - unfairly, in our view - to the charge of hypocrisy." Never
underestimate the power of denial. Of course they were hyprocrits. It's
beyond silly to suggest anything else. The UN is full of hypocrits!

Sonya B., Raleigh, NC, USA

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zims Petition UN, SADC, SA High Commission

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

3 June 2008
Posted to the web 3 June 2008

Lekopanye Mooketsi

The South African High Commission in Botswana on Friday locked out
Zimbabweans who tried to hand in a petition.

However, High Commission officials denied refusing the Zimbabweans access to
their premises but the petition was handed over outside the High Commission
building on Queen's Road in the Gaborone main mall.

Earlier the Zimbabweans were welcomed at the South African Development
Community (SADC) headquarters and the United Nations (UN) offices where they
handed their petition.

Reason Machenere, of an organisation called the People to People Coalition
of Zimbabweans in Botswana, said it was only the South African High
Commission chiefs who snubbed them.

On Friday morning, unemployed Zimbabweans, who usually converge on White
City to look for piece jobs, participated in peaceful demonstration.

The petition centred on the June 27 Zimbabwean presidential election run-off
and the recent xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa. The
demonstrators decried the upsurge in violence in Zimbabwe especially in the
rural areas, perpetrated by alleged youth militias, war veterans and state
agents sympathetic to ZANU-PF. They noted that the eruption of violence has
led to the displacement of people and arson attacks on their properties.
They pointed out that there has been an influx of Zimbabwean refugees into
neighbouring countries.

The petition called on SADC, UN and the South Africa government to urgently
deploy credible election observers for the impending election run-off. In
addition, they should ensure that observers are visible in remote rural
areas, especially those affected by the post March 29 election violence. The
observers should monitor the campaigning, voting, counting, collating,
announcement of results and the inauguration process of the winner.

They should also ensure that the results are announced by the Zimbabwe
Election Commission (ZEC) within 48 hours after voting. After March 29
presidential elections, the results were only announced after a month.

Both SADC and UN should make arrangements to have observers in provincial
command centres and national command centre for transparency during the
counting, verification and announcement processes.

The UN should send observers to ensure voters are safe before, during and
after voting. "Zimbabweans need to see and feel the existence of the UN in
Zimbabwe, region, continent and world at large. UN, SADC and AU to send
peacekeepers before, during and after elections.

UN, SADC and AU to immediately send a special envoy to investigate
incidences of violence and to provide humanitarian assistance to victims,"
part of the petition reads.

The petition further calls on UN, SADC and the South African government to
act on the findings of the retired generals from South Africa, appointed by
President Thabo Mbeki, who reported that state institutions in Zimbabwe were
also involved in violence. Some of the institutions are the police, army and
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). The petition says the generals
also reported that national institutions have been partisan in their
dealings with violence in Zimbabwe. "It is against this background that we
call upon UN to exercise its mandate of protecting the people of Zimbabwe as
that country is now stateless since no one is protecting the people of
Zimbabwe. The police are also perpetrators of violence."

SADC has been called to appoint an additional mediator to work with
President Mbeki, who should stay in Zimbabwe until the crisis is resolved.

Another area of concern is the upsurge of xenophobic attacks on foreigners
especially Zimbabweans in South Africa.

The South African government has been urged to ensure the safety of
foreigners in that country against xenophobic attacks.

The demonstrators carried placards some of which reads: SADC deploy
observers, Mugabe is feasting on our people. "ZANU PF is the most notorious,
corrupt opposition party in Africa."

Another placard pronounced the death of ZANU-PF as March 29 (elections day)
and burial date as June 27 (run-off day).

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Civic organisations reject national unity

June 4, 2008

By Munyaradzi Mutizwa

THE prospect of a government of national unity, which senior Zanu-PF
officials have been trumpeting ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off
election, has been unequivocally dismissed as a non-starter by leading civic
society organisations and pressure groups.

One speaker at a forum organised Tuesday in Johannesburg dismissed the GNU
as a "project of losers and an insult to Zimbabweans".

Speaking at a press briefing organised by the Institute for a Democratic
Alternatives for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM) held in Johannesburg the civic
organisations said SADC should facilitate such an arrangement only if
President Robert Mugabe refuses to hand over power to his challenger, MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, should the latter win as is being widely

Tsvangirai humiliated Mugabe on March 29 by winning 47, 9 percent of the
presidential poll to Mugabe's 43, 2.

The chairperson of IDAZIM, Arnold Tsunga, said his organisation was an
advocacy and policy making institute aiming to facilitate good governance in
Zimbabwe through democratic transitional alternatives.

Tuesday's meeting brought together many civil society representatives. They
included former Minister of Information and political analyst Jonathan Moyo,
who is the Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North and Gabriel Shumba from
the Truth and Justice Coalition. Abel Chikomo from the Media Monitoring
Project of Zimbabwe, Bishop Levee Kadenge of the Christian Alliance, and
Clever Bere of Zimbabwe National Students Union also attended.

"It is our belief that Zanu-PF which is now a clear minority is going to
loss the presidential run-off election", Bulawayo Agenda executive director
Gorden Moyo said.

"We as civic society in Zimbabwe are saying any discussion of a government
of national unity at this moment is unnecessary, it will save nothing
because the previous unity did not save any purpose. It was dismantled. Let
us have a run-off election first because any government of national unity
will only favour Mugabe. We should not waste out time on this. It is a
project of losers"

Tsunga said Zimbabwe was now a "de facto military state" in which the
military was propping up Mugabe's unconstitutional rule.

Student leader, Clever Bere, called on the civic society to utilize the
remaining weeks before the election to implement strategies to ensure that
the people displaced by the current violence will vote on election day.

"It is any insult and fallacy to talk of government of national unity. Let
us work out in the next 20 days to make sure that all the displaced people
vote in the run-off", he said

Moyo said civic organisations in Zimbabwe should ensure that all voters
displaced by the current violence will be transported back to their
respective constituencies in time for the election.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Call for fair election...violence condemed By Trymore Magomana

| Staff Reporter
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 19:40

Zimbabwe, Harare --South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
called Tuesday for a repeat later this month of what she said were
democratic first-round presidential elections in Zimbabwe. Her call came as
US President, George Bush, condemed post election violence and called for
international observers to be allowed to monitor the historic poll.

"The (first round of) elections were free and fair and we would like to see
the same situation, the same environment and conditions for this run-off,"
Dlamini-Zuma told a joint news conference with her Slovenian counterpart
Dimitrij Rupel.

Zimbabwe will hold the second round of presidential elections on June 27
after President Robert Mugabe lost the first-round poll to opposition rival
Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29.

Violence broke out in mostly rural parts of the country after Mugabe's
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) lost its
majority for the first time in 28 years in general elections, also held on
March 29.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims at least 50
of its supporters have been killed, hundreds injured and at least 25,000
displaced in retributive attacks in the aftermath of the polls.

The ruling party meanwhile blames the violence on the MDC.

Dlamini-Zuma said Tuesday that South Africa had decided to increase the
number of its observers monitoring the run-off vote.

"We have also spoken to all sides (urging them) to try and make sure that
there is no violence," she added.

"Our president (Thabo Mbeki) has even put a team together of retired
generals to go and check what these violent activities are," Dlamini-Zuma

Dimitrij Rupel, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, added that
the bloc "hopes that democratic wisdom will prevail" in the presidential

"I believe Zimbabwe will pass this test," he said.

Dlamini-Zuma was in Slovenia Tuesday to attend a meeting with the European
Union troika, composed of current EU president Slovenia, its predecessor
Portugal and France, which will succeed it on July 1.

Violence condemed

Meanwhile, US President George W. Bush accused Mugabe's government Monday of
a "deplorable" pre-election campaign of violence against opposition figures
ahead of a June 27 presidential run-off.

In a statement, Bush urged the Southern African Development Community, the
African Union, the United Nations, and other international organizations "to
blanket the country with election and human rights monitors immediately."

"The continued use of government-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe,

†While Robert Mugabe makes political statements in Rome, his people
continue to face empty markets at home

US President George Bush
including unwarranted arrests and intimidation of opposition figures, to
prevent the Movement for Democratic Change from campaigning freely ahead of
the June 27 presidential run-off election is deplorable," said the US

He spoke after, Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a rebel faction of the MDC
party was arrested Sunday over a written attack on President Robert Mugabe,
becoming the most senior opposition politician to be detained ahead of the

After a brief appearance in court, a Harare magistrate has since released
Mutambara from police custory.

"We call on the regime to immediately halt all attacks and to permit freedom
of assembly, freedom of speech, and access to the media," said Bush, who
vowed to help ease what he called "government-induced starvation in

"We also are concerned by reports that misguided government policies are
projected to result in one of the worst crop harvests in Zimbabwean
history," he said, as Mugabe attended a UN food crisis summit in Rome.

"While Robert Mugabe makes political statements in Rome, his people continue
to face empty markets at home," Bush said, adding that US food aid to
Zimbabwe was about 170 million dollars in 2007 and fed more than one million

"We will continue these efforts to prevent government-induced starvation in
Zimbabwe," the US president pledged.

Mugabe's trip to Rome was the first time he has left Zimbabwe since a March
29 general election which saw his ZANU-PF party lose control of parliament
and Mugabe come second to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

While the official electoral commission pronounced that Tsvangirai fell just
short of an overall majority in March, the MDC is adamant its leader won
more than 50 percent of the votes and is only participating in a run-off
election at the end of the month under protest.

Mugabe is usually subject to a travel ban from the European Union and the
United States after he allegedly rigged his 2002 re-election but he is able
to attend UN meetings-.-Harare Tribune

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Editor threatened by war veteran

3rd Jun 2008 23:12 GMT

By a Correspondent

HARARE - The Editor of the Kwekwe based newspaper, The Midlands Observer,
Flata Kavinga was on 29 May 2008 threatened by a war veteran. According to
Kavinga, he was approached by the war veteran named Diva, while he was
standing in a queue in the bank. Diva began by asking Kavinga if he knew the
Midlands Observer Editor because there was a 'programme of action' to deal
with him.

The war veteran accused the paper of being pro-opposition by supporting the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and writing articles critical of the
state. Furthermore, he accused the paper of being anti-government as it only
publishes articles meant to discredit ZANU-PF.

Upon notifying Diva that he was in actual fact the Editor of the said paper,
Kavinga was told to be careful or face the consequences.Meanwhile, another
Midlands Observer journalist, Kudakwashe Zvarayi was on 1 June 2008
threatened by some top ZANU-PF officials of Kwekwe district, after being
spotted putting on a MISA-Zimbabwe world press freedom day t-shirt.

According to Zvarayi the officials said "who are you to demand media
freedom. Who has deprived you of this freedom which you are clamoring for?
If you continue putting on this t-shirt we are going to beat you up and burn
the t-shirt also."MISA-Zimbabwe condemns the threatening and harassment of
media practitioners going about their professional duties. This is moreso in
light of the increase in the number of journalists who are being wantonly
victimized for writing articles viewed to be 'unfavorable" to the interests
of certain individuals.

MISA-Zimbabwe calls upon the responsible authorities to bring to book
perpetrators of politically motivated violence against journalists and
ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe . This is moreover in light of the post
election violence which has become rampant in the rural-areas in the run-up
to the run-off elections scheduled for 27 June 2008.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Feminist groups say run-off won't solve Zim crisis

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 04 June 2008

HARARE - Feminist groups in Zimbabwe on Tuesday said a second round
presidential election later this month would not resolve the country's long
running political and economic crisis.

The June 27 run-off presidential election is being held after opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated President Robert Mugabe in March but fell
short of the margin required to takeover the presidency.

The Feminist Political Education Project (FePEP) called for a negotiated
settlement involving the main political players and all stakeholders and
that would eventually lead to the holding of truly democratic elections to
enable Zimbabweans to freely choose a new government.

"It (run-off) will not address the root causes of the present crisis in
Zimbabwe given the current socio-political environment," FePEP said in a
communiquť after a three-day meeting in Harare. "What Zimbabwe urgently
needs is a negotiated settlement by all political actors," the women's group

There are growing calls within Zimbabwe, the southern African region and
beyond for Mugabe and Tsvangirai to forgo the run-off election and instead
start negotiations for a transitional government of national unity that
would be tasked to stabilise the political and economic environment before
new free and fair elections are held.

Proponents for a government of national unity or transitional authority
argue that the run-off election would not end the economic crisis,
especially if won by Mugabe, while victory for Tsvangirai could see army
hardliners staging a coup to forestall the opposition leader taking power.

In addition to political crisis, Zimbabwe is also grappling with its worst
ever recession marked by the world's highest inflation of more than 165 000
percent and acute food shortages.

The FePEP said a run-off election - that had already seen a rise in
political violence and human rights abuses - could further polarise a
divided nation and possibly plunge Zimbabwe into civil unrest.

FePEP is made up of women politicians, human rights actors and
representatives of women's rights non-governmental organisations.

The organisation appealed to the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to immediately institute a process that gets all the political actors
to a negotiating table to discuss the form and nature of the transitional
arrangement, while also urging full and equal representation of women at the
negotiating table.

"The outcomes of the negotiations should of necessity include a clear
economic turnaround plan that is responsive to women's needs and a
constitution that addresses gender equality and women's human rights," the
group said.

The organisation expressed concern at the "feminisation of the current wave
of the politically motivated violence" in the country which had seen women
particularly targeted for rape and other sexual attacks.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party says at least 50 of its
supporters have been killed in state-sponsored violence since the March 29
harmonised elections that saw Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF losing the control of
Parliament to the opposition for the first time since independence in 1980.

The MDC accuses Mugabe of unleashing state security forces and ZANU PF
militias to wage violence against the opposition party's supporters and
structures in an attempt to regain the upper hand in the second ballot - a
charge the veteran leader denies. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index