The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Tsvangirai released after brief detainment
June 06, 2008,
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Tsvangirai, who was reportedly detained by police earlier today, has
released. He was on a campaign trail in the southern parts of Zimbabwe
police reportedly arrested him for yet unknown reasons.
accuses President Robert Mugabe of trying to sabotage Tsvangirai's
in order to preserve his 28-year hold on power. The party called
Tsvangirai's detention "a shameless and desperate act". It said police had
banned several planned campaign rallies because authorities could not
guarantee the safety of party leaders.
"The regime must let the
president do that which the people of Zimbabwe have
mandated him and the
MDC, to help restore the dignity of the people of
Zimbabwe," it said in a
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena blamed the opposition for
today. "They refused to stop at a roadblock. They just crashed
roadblock, led by their MP-elect in the area," he said.
Tsvangirai, who beat
Mugabe in a March 29 election but failed to win the
majority needed to avoid
a second ballot, was detained on Wednesday and held
and questioned by police
for eight hours.
Yesterday, police stopped and held five US and two British diplomats
several hours after they visited victims of political violence. Zimbabwe
also barred relief agencies from doing work in the country, suffering
"It is almost as if the regime is sending out a
message to the region, to
the international community that it doesn't care,
that it has no respect for
life, it has no respect for the rule of law," MDC
secretary general Tendai
Biti told the World Economic Forum for Africa in
Cape Town. The regime is
increasing the decibels of insanity." - Reuters
Police force Zimbabwe opposition chief to halt campaign
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai was forced
to halt his campaign to topple Robert Mugabe at a run-off poll this
after being detained by police for the second time in a
As Mugabe's government ordered charities to halt work over
were biased toward Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic
Change leader was
again frustrated in his attempts to rally supporters for
the June 27 ballot.
MDC officials travelling with Tsvangirai in the south
of the country said he
was initially turned back at a police checkpoint on
his way to address a
group of mineworkers and told he did not have
permission to campaign in the
After circumventing the
checkpoint and making a couple of unscheduled
campaign stops, his entourage
were again halted and this time escorted by
officers armed with assault
rifles to Esigodini police station. He and his
top aides were held there for
some two hours of questioning.
Speaking after their release, MDC chairman
Lovemore Moyo said they were
returning to the southern city of Bulawayo but
were under orders not to
campaign any further.
"They told us we
cannot hold rallies. They said Morgan Tsvangirai should not
those walkabouts as this would attract crowds," Moyo told AFP.
it was not immediately clear if the order signalled a nationwide
campaigning, Tsvangirai has already faced huge restrictions and has
prevented from holding all but a handful of rallies.
The MDC also said
that attempts to hold rallies in township areas of Harare,
from where it
draws much of its support, had been banned.
According to an MDC
statement, police had written to say the gatherings in
four townships had
all been refused authorisation for security reasons as
the party itself had
expressed fears of attacks by Mugabe followers.
"The MDC has no access to
the public media and the only interaction we have
with our members and
supporters is through rallies," said the statement.
The letter by a
superintendent of police, a copy of which was read to AFP,
said: "The MDC
has communicated far and wide, very loudly for that matter,
that the lives
of some of your politicians are under severe threat from
"Our continued investigations so far have failed to
confirm your party's
allegations but still we are not prepared to take any
chances by exposing
you to the public who may be possible
The ruling ANC party in neighbouring South Africa said
authorities' move to
ban opposition rallies signalled "a grave threat" to
holding a fair
Tsvangirai was also detained for
nearly nine hours on Wednesday although
police insisted it was only to check
His latest run-in with authorities came as Mugabe's
government said aid
groups would only be allowed to resume operations if
they pledged not to
interfere in politics, accusing them of openly siding
with the MDC.
The US ambassador to Harare, James McGee, also charged
Friday that Mugabe's
government was distributing its food aid only to
supporters of the ruling
In a country beset by food shortages,
aid agencies now play a major role in
supplying and distributing staples
such as maize and cooking oil.
Relations between Western charities and
the Mugabe regime have long been
strained, with the government previously
forcing aid groups to channel their
efforts through local
However, the order to cease all field work marks a dramatic
downturn in the
"As we speak there are no NGOs. All
NGOs have been asked to reapply for
registration," Deputy Information
Minister Bright Matonga told AFP.
"They were involved in political
activities and behaving like political
parties when they were supposed to
complement government efforts."
Save The Children spokesman Dominic Nutt
said the group was "seriously
concerned ... particularly for the most
vulnerable children who we work
The United Nations warned that
its programmes in Zimbabwe would be hit by
the ban, and UN humanitarian
chief John Holmes said the decision was
The MDC wrested
control of parliament from Mugabe's ZANU-PF in a joint
presidential election on March 29 in which the president
biggest blow to his authority since taking power at
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first-round poll, but officially with
total just short of an outright majority.
Mugabe bans opposition
International Herald Tribune
International Herald Tribune, The Associated PressPublished: June
HARARE, Zimbabwe: The opposition in Zimbabwe said
Friday that its rallies
had been banned indefinitely three weeks before the
while the U.S. ambassador accused President Robert
Mugabe's regime of using
food as a weapon to stay in
Ambassador James McGee said the regime was distributing food
mostly to its
supporters and that those backing the opposition were offered
food only if
they handed in identification that would allow them to
If the situation continued, "massive, massive starvation" would
McGee told reporters in Washington by video conference from
Aid groups in Zimbabwe were ordered Thursday to halt their
leaving impoverished Zimbabweans dependent on the government and
Relief agencies estimate that the prohibition will
deprive two million
people of food aid and other basic assistance.
Friday, the Movement for Democratic Change said that the police had
the opposition party's rallies out of concern for the safety of its
Morgan Tsvangirai, and other party officials. The open-ended ban
affects the opposition.
A spokesman for Tsvangirai, George Sibotshiwe, called
"nonsense," and said the ban was "a clear indication that
the regime will do
everything necessary to remain in
Opposition and human rights groups accuse Mugabe of orchestrating
to ensure he wins re-election amid growing unpopularity for his
rule and the country's economic collapse.
mounting tensions in Zimbabwe have pitted the authorities not only
Zimbabweans who support, or are thought to support, Tsvangirai but
against foreigners accused by Mugabe's supporters of meddling in the
On Thursday, the police detained American and
investigating political violence north of the capital and
released them only
after a harrowing ordeal that included a 10-kilometer, or
6-mile, car chase
and threats to burn the diplomats alive in their vehicle,
As if to underscore the deepening sense of
crisis, traders in Zimbabwe's
battered currency said Friday that it had
fallen to an unheard-of level: 1.8
billion Zimbabwe dollars to a single U.S.
Tsvangirai tried to campaign around Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second
city, on Friday. He was stopped at two roadblocks, the second time
to go to a police station about 50 kilometers from
About two hours later, he and reporters with him were allowed
to leave the
station. They drove back to Bulawayo under police
Sibotshiwe said Tsvangirai was questioned by the police at the
25 minutes, and was told that all party rallies in the country
Government insiders say that the
campaign of intimidation and violence is
being coordinated by Mugabe and a
small clique of police, intelligence and
military officials intent on
winning the runoff and extending their 28 years
actions seemed to be part of an increasingly rough and escalating
campaign by the authorities matched by its actions against relief
The government earlier had barred CARE, one of the world's
groups, from providing humanitarian aid in Zimbabwe, accusing it
with the political opposition before the presidential runoff this
But Nicholas Goche, the social welfare minister, greatly expanded
this week, applying it to all nongovernmental organizations working
country where the economy is in shambles, unemployment has surpassed 80
percent and people are involved in an increasingly desperate struggle to
Aid workers and human rights groups say the suspension of
operations and the detention of the diplomats are part of the
party's strategy to clear the countryside of witnesses to its
to suppress the political opposition and drive its supporters
out of the
wards in which they are eligible to vote.
governing party, is clearly determined to go ahead with the
runoff in the
hope of preserving a veneer of legitimacy for a government
increasingly viewed internationally as a pariah, Zimbabwean
At an emergency meeting Thursday in Harare, the capital,
agencies and aid groups agreed to protest the aid suspension
and issue a
statement about its humanitarian implications, according to the
South Africa calls rally ban 'threat' to fair
Agence France Presse
Published: Friday, June 06, 2008
- South Africa's ruling party said Friday that Zimbabwe
authorities' move to
ban opposition rallies in Harare signalled "a grave
threat" to holding a
fair presidential run-off this month.
"If these reports are correct they
signal a grave threat to the prospect of
an environment conducive to a free
and fair run-off election," the African
National Congress said in a
It added that it is "critically important that all candidates
are able to
campaign freely and have free access to the
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
from staging a series of rallies in Harare after police said
guarantee their leaders' safety, the party said.
a letter signed by a superintendent of police, a copy of which
was read by
the MDC to AFP, authorities have based their decision on
statements by the
party concerning assassination threats.
Police detained MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who is hoping to topple
President Robert Mugabe in the June 27
vote, for the second time this week
on Friday and released him without
charge some two hours later.
The ANC said it was "deeply concerned" at
South African President Thabo Mbeki is chief
mediator between Zimbabwe's
ruling party and Tsvangirai's MDC, and has faced
criticism over what many
have seen as an unwillingness to pressure
Tsvangirai has called for Mbeki to be axed as a
Meanwhile, the South African government on Friday called "on
all parties to
desist from any action that may serve to detract from the
having free and fair run-off presidential
Zimbabwe's Stark Choice: Vote for Mugabe or Starve
ABC news, US
Aims to Extend His 28-Year-Reign in Zimbabwe
By KIRIT RADIA
June 6, 2008
The government of Zimbabwe is giving its impoverished
citizens a stark
choice, U.S. Ambassador James McGee said today: Vote for
Mugabe in the upcoming election - or
Millions rely on food aid in Zimbabwe, but yesterday the regime
foreign aid organizations cease operations. The Zimbabwean
food aid programs are now the only source of sustenance for
much of the
McGee told reporters during a videoconference
from the capital, Harare, this
morning that his embassy has solid evidence
that in order to receive food
aid from the government, Zimbabweans must
first show their party
If they have a card from
Mugabe's ruling party they can have access to food,
but if they only have
opposition cards they must turn over their national
identification cards in
order to receive the food they need.
The government holds onto the cards
until after the June 27 election, McGee
says - meaning opposition party
members will not be able to identify
themselves when they go to
The result, McGee said, is that many in the opposition party are
give up their right to vote in exchange for vital food
"What we have is a bunch of greedy people who want to stay in power at
cost," the ambassador said.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack called the move "outrageous."
"That is cruel in the most sinister
kind of way; using food as a weapon,
using the hunger of parents' children
against them to prevent them from
voting their conscience for a better kind
of Zimbabwe," McCormack said.
"That's an example of the kind of thing that
is going on in Zimbabwe today."
The United States is providing $200
million in aid to Zimbabwe this year,
$171 million of which comes as food
aid. The balance comes mainly in the
form of medical assistance like AIDS
McGee says the U.S. has no plans to cut that aid, but
help is blocked by the Mugabe government's ban on
foreign aid operations.
McGee said that around 1 million people depend on
food aid from
international sources. He warns there may be "massive, massive
unless the block is lifted. State Department officials estimate
people will go hungry this month because they won't have access
to food aid
provided by only one of the international charities that were
food before yesterday's ban.
professor of political
science at the University of Zimbabwe, who spoke on
the condition of
anonymity because he fears government retaliation, sees
another reason for
the ban on international aid groups.
"Aid groups being suspended is part
of (President Mugabe's party) ZANU-PF's
strategy to create a situation .
where there [will be] a virtual information
blackout in the country. . It is
likely that in the event of a complete
meltdown, information about massacres
and other human rights abuses will be
slower in reaching the outside world.
Many people in the rural areas are
truly desperate and do not know how they
will survive from one day to the
next," he told ABC News.
end of the month Mugabe will face off against his political rival
Tsvangirai in a run-off election. Tsvangirai was detained by police
his second detention this week.
McGee said he fears for Tsvangirai's
safety. "Given the excesses of the
government here, we are not sure what
they will do," he said.
Despite the political violence and intimidation
McGee said the run-off
should proceed as scheduled on June 27. "Anything
less would give the Mugabe
regime a victory they do not deserve," he
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of elections in March,
but did not
garner enough votes to avoid the run-off.
ruled Zimbabwe since it's independence in 1980, but has resorted
increasingly desperate measure to stay in power in recent years.
called on regional powers, in particular South Africa which has
leverage with Zimbabwe but has been reluctant to use it, to send
monitors to ensure as fair an outcome as possible and to protect
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the U.S.
currently considering imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. However, McGee
the door open to other options pending the outcome of the
The United States protested yesterday's harassment of its
diplomats on a
road north of Harare to Zimbabwe's ambassador in Washington
Zimbabwe's delegation to a United Nations food conference in
ABC News' Dana Hughes contributed to this report from Nairobi,
International accuses government of using food for political gain
Amnesty International (AI)
Date: 06 Jun 2008
International today called on the government of Zimbabwe to
its ban on field operations by non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), and
accused the government of using food for political
suspension of field operations by all NGOs on the order of the
government is likely to increase food insecurity in Zimbabwe and
millions of people to hunger,' said Amnesty International.
suspension of NGO operations is yet another attempt by the government
manipulate food distribution for political ends,' said Amnesty
'Suspension of humanitarian operations by NGOs ensures
that the government
has a monopoly over food distribution through the
Marketing Board (GMB) during the pre-election
Since 2000, Amnesty International has documented how GMB food
has been used
as a political tool against perceived government
Amnesty International said that the restrictions will not only
detrimental effect on food security in Zimbabwe, but also serve as a
for the government to prevent aid workers from witnessing the sharply
increased levels of state-sponsored political violence taking place in the
country since presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 29
'By closing off the space for NGOs in Zimbabwe, the government
to hide the worst of the human rights violations taking place
country,' said Amnesty International
authorities must ensure that food is distributed to all on
the basis of need
-- irrespective of real or perceived political
'Humanitarian organisations and other NGOs should be
allowed go about their
legitimate work without interference. By deliberately
life-sustaining aid, the government of Zimbabwe may be violating
of its citizens to life, food, and health.'
Without giving specific reasons for his action, the Zimbabwean
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche, wrote
private voluntary organisations and NGOs on 4 June 2008, instructing
stop their operations.
The Minister gave his intention to
invoke Section (10), Subsection (c), of
the Private Voluntary Organisations
Act [Chapter 17:05] as the basis for his
Zimbabweans will be worst affected by the ban. They will be
exposed to life-threatening diseases, since the suspension
affects water and
sanitation projects. The ban will also severely impact the
Zimbabwe's over one million children orphaned by AIDS, and the
ill who are on home-based care programmes.
This is not the first time
that government policies and practices in
Zimbabwe have exacerbated
Zimbabwe's food security problems. In 2005,
Operation Murambatsvina, the
government's programme of mass forced
evictions, resulted in hundreds of
thousands of women, men and children
being made homeless, without access to
adequate food, water and sanitation,
millions of people in Zimbabwe have had great difficulty in
to adequate food. One of the major causes of the food crisis
in Zimbabwe has
been the drop in domestic food production. While climatic
HIV/AIDS pandemic and economic problems have all played a role
agricultural productivity, government policies and practices
exacerbated Zimbabwe's food security problems.
information please call Amnesty International's press office in
on +44 20 7413 5566 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW,
Africa Press Officer
Tel +44 207 413
Mob +44 7778 472 109
Aid orgs: Zimbabwe order put AIDS patients at risk
ELIANE ENGELER, Associated Press Writer 31 minutes ago
GENEVA - Aid
agencies in Zimbabwe said Friday the government order for
groups to suspend work would cut off care and medicine to those
Aid groups and Western officials also said many in the
country will starve without food aid, amid allegations
that President Robert
Mugabe's regime is using food to cement his
On Thursday, Mugabe's government ordered aid groups to suspend
indefinitely, saying they had violated the terms of their
agreement. It has
accused at least one group of campaigning for the
opposition in the June 27
presidential runoff between Mugabe and Morgan
Zimbabwe's National Association of Non Governmental
Organizations, after an
emergency meeting Friday in the capital of Harare,
challenged the government
to name charitable, aid and civic groups it
alleged were in breach of
regulations and specify the accusations against
"One cruel direct impact of the ban will be that people living with
will increasingly die since many NGOs provide assistance in the
home-based care and anti-retroviral medication," the group said in a
More than 1.3 million people are living with AIDS,
according to Zimbabwe's
report to UNAIDS for the years 2006-2007. More than
15 percent of adults in
the country of 12 million is believed to be
HIV-positive, the report said.
Starvation is also a concern in what was
once a regional breadbasket but now
suffers from the world's highest
inflation rate that puts the price of
staples out of reach. The halting of
private aid group operations leaves
poor Zimbabweans dependent on the
government and Mugabe's party.
The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, James
McGee, said Friday the Mugabe regime
is distributing food mostly to its
supporters and that opposition loyalists
are offered food only if they hand
in identification that would allow them
to vote in the runoff.
situation continues, "massive, massive starvation" will result, McGee
reporters in Washington by video conference from Harare.
spokesman Sean McCormack called the order "a vicious
attempt to use food as
a political weapon."
"It's just another despicable act in a litany of
despicable acts committed
by this government against its own people," he
said in Washington.
The order hampers aid delivery to more than 4 million
people and puts at
least 2 million at greater risk of starvation, homeless
according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of
John Holmes, who heads the office, called the
He said the U.N. would "do our best to make up for
this" shortfall, though
much of the world body's aid to Zimbabwe is funneled
through private groups.
Life expectancy is only 35.5 years in Zimbabwe,
and more than half the
population of 12 million people lives on less than $1
a day, according to
The World Food Program said the
government order "will halt our food
distributions in Zimbabwe and put lives
at further risk."
"WFP food distributed by NGO partners will cease,
preventing 314,000 of the
most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe from receiving
food in June," said Peter
Smerdon, the U.N. agency's spokesman in
Britain's foreign aid chief called the decision to restrict
agencies' work "indefensible," and said it showed "the lengths
Mugabe will go to cling to power."
Douglas Alexander said
from London that it was "offensive and absurd" for
the government to suggest
international NGOs were interfering in politics.
welfare minister, Nicholas Goche, said when ordering the
aid groups to
suspend operations that they were violating the terms of their
with the government, according to a brief statement seen Thursday
CARE International said earlier this week that it was
ordered to stop its
aid operations pending an investigation of allegations
it was campaigning
for the opposition. CARE denies doing that.
International's Africa communications director, Kenneth Walker, said
government order will affect the people "very badly."
"Nobody is going to
starve to death tomorrow," he said. "But obviously the
longer the suspension
remains, the more dire the circumstances become."
The suspension of
CARE's activities alone immediately affects half a million
The U.N.'s Children Fund said the decision meant more than
would not receive food aid, education and health care. With
one child in
four an orphan and families struggling with skyrocketing
already have been paying a heavy toll.
their situation further deteriorate through stopping aid workers
delivering relief to those in need is unacceptable," UNICEF said in a
Human Rights Watch said the halt of aid groups' work was
"This is part of a campaign. There has been extreme
campaign of violence,
and torture" against opposition supporters, Norris
said. "This is to
intimidate and spread fear before the
UN: Zimbabwe aid cutoff endangers 2 million people
HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 15 minutes ago
UNITED NATIONS -
The U.N.'s top humanitarian official says at least 2
million people in
Zimbabwe are facing a greater risk of starvation,
That's after the Zimbabwean government on Thursday ordered
aid groups to
halt their operations there.
U.N. humanitarian chief
John Holmes on Friday called the decision
Much of the
U.N.'s aid in Zimbabwe is funneled through non-governmental
He says restricting that flow will affect at least 2
Holmes' comments came after
U.S. and British diplomats warned that
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is
using food as a weapon ahead of the
June 27 runoff election.
World bodies, governments slam
Zimbabwe NGO ban
†UNITED NATIONS, June 6 (AFP)
World bodies and governments Friday strongly criticised an
Zimbabwe for all non-governmental organisations to stop work
the presidential run-off on June 27.
The United Nations'
humanitarian affairs bureau OCHA said the ban, at a time
food security in Zimbabwe, would disrupt the delivery of
and hit more than four million Zimbabweans who rely on it.
children's charity UNICEF also warned that more than 185,000 children
miss the essential support they need, including healthcare and
describing the move by Harare as a "violation" of children's
And UN humanitarian chief John Holmes strongly urged Zimbabwe
to rescind its
"This is a deplorable decision that comes at a
juncture for the people of Zimbabwe," he told a press
Holmes, who heads the UN Office for the Coordination of
(OCHA) warned that if voluntary organizations and NGOs
were not able to
work, "humanitarian aid for at least two million of the
most poor and
vulnerable of Zimbabwe's people, particularly children, will
In Brussels, the European Union's top relief
official urged Harare to lift
the ban immediately, while Britain, the
colonial power in Zimbabwe until
1980, accused President Robert Mugabe of
using hunger as a "political
are key implementing partners of UN
agencies, and curtailing operations
affects the implementation of UN
programmes in Zimbabwe," OCHA spokeswoman
Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in
The UN's rapporteur on the
right to food, Olivier De Schutter, said refusing
humanitarian aid and
preventing NGOs from working was "scandalous."
The EU's humanitarian aid
commissioner Louis Michel said he was "deeply
distressed" at the thought of
depriving needy Zimbabweans of aid and that it
was "essential" to allow aid
agencies unrestricted and secure access.
"The presidency condemns the
instructions issued by the government of
Zimbabwe to suspend all NGO field
operations in Zimbabwe immediately and
without further notice," EU president
Slovenia said in a statement.
The European Union also expressed concern
about the detention Friday of
Zimbabwe opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai,
for the second time in a week.
The EU's executive Commission is the
biggest aid donor to Zimbabwe,
providing 90.7 million euros (141.4 million
dollars) last year in
humanitarian assistance and other support to its
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office described the
move as a
"tragedy," while his International Development Secretary Douglas
said it was "absurd" to suggest NGOs were involved in political
"For Robert Mugabe to use the threat of hunger as a political
weapon shows a
callous contempt for human life," he said, in comments echoed
by the US
ambassador to Zimbabwe and the State Department in
Accusing Harare of playing politics with aid, Amnesty
Zimbabwe should immediately lift its ban on
operating in the country.
suspension of field operations by all NGOs on the order of the
government is likely to increase food insecurity in Zimbabwe and
millions of people to hunger," the London-based rights group said.
which works with local partner organisations on reconstruction and
development projects in five areas in Zimbabwe, said international NGOs have
had limited access to rural areas for humanitarian work.
Ten MDC activists hospitalized after Zanu PF attack in Gwanda
06 June 2008
Ten MDC activists were admitted to Bulawayo's Galen
House medical centre
Tuesday after being attacked by Zanu PF thugs in
Gwanda. The activists had
been gathered near Manama Mission awaiting the
arrival of MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai who was due to address a rally. A
convoy of 4 unregistered
vehicles arrived in the area much to the excitement
of those gathered, who
thought Tsvangirai had finally arrived. A man in one
of the cars asked the
crowd what they were waiting for and when the crowd
said Tsvangirai, they
jumped out of their vehicles and started assaulting
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the attack was led by
Mlungiselwa Nkomo, Edward Sibanda and Jacob Ngwenya. The trio
terrorizing villagers in Gwanda, brandishing AK-47 rifles and tear
Tsvangirai was later forced to abandon the rally after
soldiers camped inside the designated venue, effectively
sealing it off from
his campaign team. Saungweme told us the vehicles
involved in the Gwanda
attack were the same ones used to trail Tsvangirai's
convoy in Esigodini on
Friday. Police at a roadblock later barred the convoy
from proceeding with
their campaign journey. The team was also detained for
about 3 hours at
Esigodini police station.
Meanwhile MDC victory
celebrations in Lower Gweru were disrupted on Thursday
by a serving soldier
identified as Mangena who drew out a pistol and shot at
the wheels of an MDC
Isuzu truck. The incident took place in front of MDC
legislators Sam Sipepa
Nkomo, Amos Chibaya and Gweru mayor Sesel Zvidzai.
Mangena is said to have
chased a group of MDC women who were cooking at the
venue, forcing them to
abandon their pots in the bush. Despite parliamentary
elections having ended
two months ago Mangena is said to have shouted at the
top of his voice that
the MDC had torn down his posters.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
18 MDC activists abducted in Chipinge
By Tichaona Sibanda
Zanu-PF militia brandishing AK 47 rifles, on Friday abducted
activists from their homes in Chipinge in early morning raids,
the MDC MP for the area.
Prosper Mutseyami, the MP elect
for Musikavanhu constituency in Chipinge
district, said the raids were led
by two well known Zanu-PF thugs,
identified as Morris Mukwe and Simon
Eight of the activists were picked up from Rimai and the other
Murembe, two villages that overwhelmingly voted for the
'They moved around in a Toyota Hilux truck and were brandishing AK
rifles. This was a well-coordinated plot as all those abducted were key
election officials for the party in the forthcoming presidential run-off,'
It is understood that the 18 MDC activists were badly
tortured at Checheche
police station where the militant group dumped them.
From Checheche the
activists were driven to Chisumbanje police station where
they are currently
being held. Police have charged them with inciting
violence in the
constituency. But the MDC rubbished the allegations, saying
they are trumped
'How can we beat people who
overwhelmingly rejected Robert Mugabe and voted
MDC? The police are saying
we are beating up people belonging to Zanu-PF,
but as far as we know there
are no longer people from Zanu-PF in the
constituency, if we go by what came
out during the March elections,'
Other militias in the
district have taken over the home of Mathius Mlambo,
the MDC MP for Chipinge
East. Over 50 war veterans and militias brandishing
guns invaded his home on
Tuesday and have been camped there since.
'I managed to flee when I got a
tip-off that they were coming for me. My
family is also in hiding but I
understand they've killed some of my goats
and cattle and have been partying
and playing loud music on my stereo,'
Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Robert Mugabe's military cabal
Last Updated: 2:48PM BST
The military leaders playing a pivotal role in
President Mugabe attempt to hold onto power in Zimbabwe.
General Constantine Chiwenga,
commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Gen Chiwenga is the overall armed forces chief and
the most important member of the Joint Operations Command (JOC). This makes him
possibly the single most powerful figure in Zimbabwe today.
Gen Chiwenga, a veteran of the war against white
rule, has always been seen as a highly political officer, closely linked to
Zanu-PF. Gen Chiwenga’s wife, Jocelyn, is a notorious figure in her own right,
who has benefited from the seizure of white-owned farms and been implicated in
organising assaults on MDC supporters
Augustine Chihuri, national police
Another veteran of the war against white rule, Mr
Chihuri infuriated the opposition by making it explicitly clear that all
policemen must support Zanu-PF. He is believed to have ordered the police to
turn a blind eye to Zanu-PF’s violent campaign against the MDC.
Mr Chihuri has been rewarded for his loyalty with
Woodlands Farm near Shamva, once a white-owned property.
Air Marshal Perence Shiri, air force
One of the most notorious figures in Zimbabwe, Air
Marshal Shiri led a brutal campaign against dissidents among Zimbabwe’s minority
Ndebele people in the 1980s. Then an army officer, he commanded the Fifth
Brigade which murdered about 8,000 people and tortured or abducted tens of
thousands more between 1983 and 1986.
If Mr Mugabe is overthrown, Mr Shiri might be
vulnerable to prosecution.
General Paradzai Zimondi, prisons
After retiring from the army, Gen Zimondi was kept in
the state’s security apparatus with a post running the prisons service. A
trusted officer, he is believed to be especially close to Mr Mugabe.
Before the election’s first round, Gen Zimondi told a
gathering of prison officers: "I am giving you an order to vote for the
President", adding: "I will only support the leadership of President Mugabe."
ZANU-PF plans to take over parliament and stop
A new formation of hardline supporters of Robert Mugabe -
is his wife, Grace - is urging the government to abort the
and instead reconstitute the old parliament dominated by
the ruling ZANU PF
party and let the veteran leader keep his
Friday 6 June 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
correspondent in Harare
The group of former freedom fighters yesterday
said it wanted the June 27
second round presidential election shelved until
Western countries lifted
sanctions against Mugabe's government, which the
group said have hurt the
economy and turned voters against the Harare
Old Mugabe parliament to be re-constituted
group, calling itself the Revolutionary Council and led by war veteran
Pasipamire, said its major objective was to defend Mugabe's
land reforms that saw white farmers expelled and their farms
handed over to
blacks, most of them supporters or top officials of ZANU PF.
Revolutionary Council we hereby demand that the whole electoral
set aside and the old parliament be re-constituted with President
remaining the head of state," said the group that announced its
Zimbabwe's political scene late on Wednesday night.
(election) will be held until the sanctions are lifted . . .
not a priority now as they serve no purpose except regime
change," the war
veterans group said.
War veterans are key allies of Mugabe who he often
uses as shock troops to
intimidate political opponents.
Pasipamire said Grace was the patron of the Revolutionary Council,
wife was not immediately available to confirm her role in the
or whether she subscribed to its call to abort the electoral
She is currently in Rome, Italy "probably spending most of
her time shopping
while Mugabe is attending the UN Food and Agriculture
said a reporter.
Mugabe's wife advotcates for
But Grace last week told ZANU PF supporters that her husband
handover power to opposition Movement for Democratic Change
leader Moragn Tsvangirai even if he were to win the second round
presidential election later this month.
Grace - 40 years junior to
the 84-year old Mugabe and known for her love for
shopping - said her
husband would give up power only to someone from his
The run-off election is being held because Tsvangirai defeated
Mugabe in a
March 29 poll but failed to garner more than 50 percent of the
to take power under the country's electoral
Tsvangirai, who polled 47.8 percent of the vote in March against
43.2 percent starts as favourite to win the run-off election.
analysts say political violence that has to date killed at least 60
supporters and displaced thousands others might just tilt the scales in
favour of Mugabe.
But MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa on Thursday
dismissed the Revolutionary
Council as a ZANUPF-sponsored group out to sow
confusion ahead of the
Chamisa said: "The run-off is a
legal requirement . . . we don't care a jot
about a ZANU PF-sponsored
organisation afraid that Mugabe's time is up."
Detention of US
Meanwhile, the Mugabe regime yesterday indefinitely suspended
all work by
aid groups while police held a group of U.S. and British
several hours after they visited victims of political violence
ahead of a
The United States blamed the seven
diplomats' detention firmly on Mugabe's
government, which Washington accuses
of trying to intimidate opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's supporters
ahead of the June 27 run-off election.
Aid work was suspended nearly a
week after Mugabe's government banned some
aid groups from distributing
food, accusing them of campaigning for the
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in elections held on March
ambassador James McGee said police stopped the diplomats' vehicles at a
roadblock and slashed their tyres. Mugabe supporters threatened to set the
vehicles ablaze unless the diplomats went with police to a nearby station,
The diplomats, also accused by the government of
literature for Tsvangirai, were released after several
Aid agencies accused of irregularities.
"A number of NGOs
involved in humanitarian operations are breaching the
terms and conditions
of their registration [...] I hereby instruct all PVOs
Organisations)/NGOs to suspend all field operations until
said Nicholas Goche, Minister of Public Service, Labour and
Vote check fraud - correction
Paranoia sometimes gets the better of
Zimbabwe's currency "becoming unusable"-industry
Fri 6 Jun
2008, 16:50 GMT
HARARE, June 6 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's fast depreciating
increasingly being rejected by traders as they battle a severe
crisis, the head of the country's main industry body said on
Zimbabwe's currency hit new lows this week, trading at 1.2
against the U.S. dollar on Friday amid political uncertainty
presidential run-off election set for June 27.
The poll pits
President Robert Mugabe against opposition leader Morgan
Callisto Jokonya, president of the Confederation of
(CZI) accused Mugabe's government of printing money,
driving inflation and
undermining the currency.
"We need to act as a
matter of extreme urgency to reduce money supply
growth. If we continue with
the current policy of injecting massive amounts
of liquidity into the
economy, we will continue to see a continuous
depreciation of the local
currency," Jokonya said.
"This will make doing business more and more
difficult and we will reach a
point where we risk the local currency
In May, Zimbabwe introduced special high-value
"agro-cheques" which the
central bank said were meant for convenient
payments to farmers during the
current agricultural marketing
These notes, in 5 billion, 25 billion and 50 billion
denominations, are now
largely used across the economy, effectively becoming
regular banknotes in
the inflation-ravaged economy.
But the CZI said
the moves had failed to stop the declining confidence in
"Already, we are seeing in both urban and rural areas a
small traders, landlords and individuals are refusing
payment in local
currency and insisting on either barter deals, for example
cooking oil or foreign currency," Jokonya said.
number one enemy is the excess of the Zimbabwe dollar on the
State media reports on Friday said the central bank could soon
zeros off the currency to help consumers cope with the effects of
officially at over 165,000 percent and the highest in the
Analysts estimate inflation to be considerably
Critics blame Mugabe's policies, such as the seizure of farms
from whites to
resettle blacks, for the economic crisis, which is also shown
by 80 percent
unemployment and shortages of food, fuel and foreign
But the veteran ruler denies ruining one of Africa's most
economies and blames Western sanctions for the
(Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by Muchena Zigomo and Ron
Zimbabwe economy could 'fly' post-Mugabe
6 hours ago
TOWN (AFP) - Despite current woes, Zimbabwe has enviable resources and
infrastructure for a bright economic future after President Robert Mugabe's
departure, political and business leaders said Friday.
18th World Economic Forum on Africa, Zimbabwe's opposition
business people said that once the country's political crisis is
the economy holds endless opportunity.
They expressed hope for the future
despite Zimbabwe drawing more
international outrage Friday by suspending all
aid work, while police
detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the
second time this week.
Tsvangirai faces President Robert Mugabe in a
run-off election on June 27.
"Our economy can be stronger than South
Africa. We have the potential when
we get our legitimacy to fly ... to
become a global economy," Arthur
Mutambara, leader of a faction of the main
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told
Mutambara was recently arrested in Zimbabwe following a
Zimbabwe businessman Nigel Chanakira,
chief executive of Kingdom Meikles
Africa, said business opportunities still
existed in the southern African
nation despite an official inflation rate of
more than 165,000 percent.
"The reality of the matter is that countries
don't fall off the face of the
earth. People live in Zimbabwe, people
conduct business and still try and
fashion a life out of that.
the midst of the chaos there are business opportunities. Services are
required, basics are needed. People can play a role from that perspective
amidst the unpredictable macro economic indicators.
"This is no time
for an African renaissance, it is time for the African
He outlined a plan including talks with the West, a conference on
reform, a donor conference and multilateral institutions engaging in
Zimbabwe to rebuild the economy.
"Talks with the West have to take
place whether we like it or not. We are
entrenched and steeped in history
... pointing fingers at one another just
doesn't cut it any more," he
"It takes the brave."
Chanakira said land was still "the
Achilles heel of Zimbabwe" and would need
to be urgently
Mugabe embarked on a chaotic land reform programme in 2000
which resulted in
some of the country's most productive farms being handed
to people with no
previous farming experience or ruling party cronies who
let the land grow
Chanakira said the country's natural
resources and more than 800 mines were
engines of growth, but he warned:
"Clearly investment requires a signal and
the political signals have not
Simba Makoni, a former finance minister who finished
third in first-round
presidential elections in March, said the tourism,
manufacturing sectors could all be revived relatively
"You can literally switch on tourism once there is
normalisation... there is
no threat of fear. You can kickstart agriculture,
there is still a core of
Tendai Biti, MDC
secretary general, said reviving the economy also meant
investments, such as almost 500 million dollars (319
million euros) for
anti-retroviral drugs. Reviving the education system
would require schooling
to be free, he said.
"There is the issue of national healing, we need to
heal that country. It
has been traumatised. It has been brutalised," he
said, adding victims of
Mugabe's regime would need
Collen Gwiyo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said
income in Zimbabwe was equivalent to 300 South African rand (25
dollars) a month.
"Where on earth can a human being survive
on 300 rand a month. Unemployment
is above 80 percent. Poverty levels again
are almost equal to the rate of
unemployment if not higher," he said.
Zimbabwe overshadows African
Associated Press June 6, 2008, 2:35PM ET
By CLARE NULLIS
CAPE TOWN, South
Senior Zimbabwean opposition figures accused President Robert
waging war on detractors Friday as concerns about the escalating
overshadowed the final day of an African economic
"The regime is increasing the decibels of insanity at every
Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic
of the arrests and murder of opposition supporters and the ban
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won the most votes in the
first round of voting in the
presidential election, but not by an absolute
majority, according to
official results. His party says that more than 60 of
its supporters have
been killed in mounting violence before the runoff.
meltdown is also worsening, Biti told political and
business leaders at the
World Economic Forum on Africa, with an inflation
rate of 1.8 million
percent. He said that a packet of chicken now cost 4
dollars and cheap sausages 6 billion.
Biti accused African leaders of
staying silent. At Friday's closing session,
South African President Thabo
Mbeki -- who is the main mediator in
Zimbabwe -- made no reference to the
Jendayi Frazer, the assistant U.S. secretary of state
for African affairs,
appealed to Mbeki to put pressure on Mugabe "not to
starve the population
and to allow international organizations to
"It's unbelievable that the government will actually kick out
organizations which are providing services to the people," Frazer said
the suspension of aid organizations' operations. She said it was vital
southern African nations send as many observers as possible -- and
quickly -- for the June 27 presidential runoff.
Zimbabwe was headed toward civil war, Biti said: "There's a
war already but
it's a war against an unarmed people that's not fighting
Despite this, he said that if Tsvangirai won the June 27
runoff, it would
not seek to retaliate, but would try to establish an
He said this would be without Mugabe, 84, who was
"well past the age of
"We have to promote him upstairs
as a statesman. We have to respect him as a
founding father," he
Biti ruled out a Kenyan-style power sharing arrangement to keep
power, but also give Tsvangirai a senior government post. Kenya's
presidential polls triggered the nation's worst ever political
which ended when President Mwai Kibaki kept his post and
Odinga became prime minister.
Odinga told the forum
Thursday that Mugabe's government was an
"embarrassment" to the rest of
Arthur Mutambara, leader of a small faction of the Movement for
Change, branded Mugabe and his entourage as "genocidal
Mutambara, who was arrested last week for writing a critical
article and was released on bail, said he would most likely be
upon his return home.
"But that's nothing compared to
what's going on in my country," he said.
Zille's open letter to Mbeki on Zimbabwe
DA leader calls on SA president to speak out before it is
"An open letter to President Mbeki: Speak out on Zimbabwe
before it is too
Dear President Mbeki,
There is a crisis
in Zimbabwe. Everyone recognises this now.
This week, the international
community was united in its condemnation of the
arrest and detention of
Morgan Tsvangirai by the Zimbabwean security forces.
Yesterday, Kenyan Prime
Minister Raila Odinga described President Robert
Mugabe as a dictator and an
embarrassment to Africa.
You said nothing.
What will it take for
you to acknowledge what is happening in Zimbabwe? How
many more people must
be detained, tortured or killed?
Since the parliamentary and presidential
elections on 29 March, it has
become clear that President Mugabe will do
whatever it takes to stay in
power. I refer to:
† a.. The arrest of
opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
† b.. The
halting of food aid to 100 000 children in MDC strongholds;
† c.. Zanu-PF's
systematic intimidation campaign, which has reportedly
resulted in the
killing of 65 MDC supporters and the displacement of 25 000
Rumours of an assassination plot against Morgan Tsvangirai;
† e.. The
intensified use of the state-controlled media as a propaganda arm
† f.. The arrest and intimidation of journalists, including three
Africans jailed for six months for being in possession of broadcasting
† g.. The detention of US and British diplomats.
developments, added to the systemic flaws in Zimbabwean electoral law,
remove any vestige of hope that the presidential run-off election on 27 June
will be free and fair.
What are you in your role as mediator doing to
ensure that the election
reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people? How
have your mediation efforts
improved the situation in Zimbabwe?
time for quiet diplomacy is well and truly over. It has served only to
up a dictator and prevent real change in Zimbabwe. By appeasing Mugabe
endorsing every fundamentally flawed election in Zimbabwe, you are
in the tyranny that has befallen that country.
Now that you are starting
to think about your legacy, you should focus on
policy areas where you can
make a real difference in the time you have left.
Zimbabwe is one of
It is essential that you publicly call on President Mugabe
† a.. Immediately halt state-sponsored political violence and
of opposition parties;
† b.. Release all journalists and
opposition supporters currently detained
by the security forces;
Lift all restrictions on independent media, both domestic and foreign;
Allow for the deployment of international electoral observers to
monitor the presidential run-off election; and,
† e.. Reinstate the NGOs
responsible for food aid in areas of need.
These measures, if implemented,
will not ensure that the presidential
run-off election is free and fair. But
they may enable the will of the
Zimbabwean people to triumph despite the
systemic flaws in the electoral
As the President of the
leading power in Africa and the appointed mediator
in Zimbabwe you are in a
position to exert considerable pressure on Mugabe
to implement such
measures. It is well within your power to lobby for
suspension from the Southern African Development
Community and the African
Union. There is nothing stopping you from imposing
targeted travel and
financial sanctions on Zanu-PF's ruling elite.
Your perceived complicity
with the Mugabe regime has done immeasurable
damage to South Africa's
reputation abroad and to the morale of our people
at home. I urge you to
take this one last chance to signal to the world and
the region that your
government is committed to furthering democracy, not
despotism, on the
OF THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE
This letter was first published in South
African Today, a weekly letter from
the leader of the Democratic Alliance,
June 6 2008
Will South Africa act over Zimbabwe?
Friday, 6th June 2008
Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is as dependent on
South Africa as Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, and The LA Times editorial board has a good example of how South Africa could force Mugabe to back
down if it wanted to:
Mugabe is beyond hope, but it's worth attempting an international
pressure campaign against his chief enabler, South African President Thabo
“Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa,” Mbeki famously answered
those who have urged him to curb Mugabe's excesses. That's true. It's more like
a protectorate of South Africa. South Africa supplies food, fuel, money,
remittances and electricity to its neighbor. The electricity runs Zimbabwe's
vital platinum mines, in which South African firms own a large interest.
Platinum prices have hit record levels, and anxious manufacturers, including the
Chinese, are desperate to prevent disruption of supplies. Could a threat to cut
off the free electric power make Mugabe's minions more amenable to a political
Decisive action from South Africa increasingly looks like the only thing that
can avert a violent confrontation.
Tsvangirai Sets Out His
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
MDC leader's plans for taking the country forward win the backing of
By Thompson Bveni in Harare (ZCR No. 149,
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has unveiled lofty
Zimbabwe if he prevails in the June 27 presidential run-off
President Robert Mugabe.
Roundly criticised in the past as
lacking vision, Tsvangirai won plaudits
this week from analysts critiquing
policies spelled out during his state of
the nation address on May
The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, who outpolled
in the first round on March 29, envisages implementing a wide range
social, political and economic policies.
Included in his plans for
Zimbabwe are a new constitution; reform of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe;
both supply-side and demand-driven interventions
to address the country's
hyper-inflation; the repeal of repressive
legislation; and the establishment
of a truth and justice commission with
the power to pay reparations to
victims of state-sponsored violence.
"It is my belief that [Tsvangirai's]
policies are well-thought out and the
correct ones to take the country out
of the wilderness," said John
Robertson, a Harare-based economist. "He has
the ear of the international
donor community. He will get the assistance he
needs to implement the clear
policies that he has continued to
The rejuvenation of the battered economy is a priority.
Describing it as the
most dysfunctional in the world, Tsvangirai said the
MDC government was
determined to effectively address the hyperinflation
bequeathed to the
country by Mugabe. The MDC would use a combination of
demand and supply-side
He said he would work
tirelessly to ensure that macroeconomic stability was
accompanied by an
immediate supply-side response, both as a way to sustain
the former and to
raise industrial capacity and productivity levels and
On the demand side, he has said that the country's hyperinflation
be tamed if government's unrestrained appetite for resources were
To entrench a culture of fiscal discipline, the MDC
intends to introduce
complementary institutional measures, starting with the
reform of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The bank has been accused of
presidential campaign. An MDC government, he said,
would make the bank
independent of the executive but accountable to
parliament. Its mandate
would also be streamlined to focus on the
maintenance of price stability,
monetary policy, and bank
Another institutional measure would involve tightening the
public enterprises. To ensure that they do not perpetually
remain a drain on
the government budget, the MDC intends to house them in a
new ministry of
public enterprises, which would set clear performance
targets and criteria
for which all public enterprises would be held
"We have lofty ambitions for our economy. The Zimbabwean
economy is an
enclave economy that is a fraction of its potential size.
Income per capita
is unacceptably low and, due to ZANU-PF's cronyism and
distribution, which was also quite uneven, is now at
ZANU-PF's affinity for command economics made control
the preferred tool for
government intervention in the economy over the last
three decades," said
An MDC government would create an
alternative people-centred economy and the
new parliament would move quickly
to pass legislation to establish an
economic development council.
new, people-driven constitution, to be introduced within 18 months of the
formation of an MDC government, is also high on his agenda. Lovemore
Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, said
Tsvangirai's espousal of a new constitution made him a good candidate to be
lead the republic.
"This is what we have been calling for. It is
sweet news to our ears. We
maintained all along that all the problems of
this country stem from a bad
constitution, the lack of a democratic
people-driven constitution," said
"Apart from the issue of a
people-driven constitution, other policies that
he says he will pursue when
in government after the elections resonate with
what the generality of
Zimbabweans want. He might not be the best that we
have, but he is a better
president than Mugabe."
Robertson agreed that the policies put Tsvangirai
in good stead to steer the
Zimbabwean ship out of troubled waters. "Morgan
will be acceptable to the
international community. Mugabe will not. Morgan's
policies and intentions
are acceptable, judging from what we have deciphered
from what he has been
saying about the way forward for the country," he
Tsvangirai, a veteran trade unionist, would establish a truth and
commission that would look not only at human rights abuses but also
Mugabe regime's corruption, looting and asset-stripping.
address the "most egregious of the regime's abuses", the new parliament,
which the MDC has a majority, intends to pass legislation to deal with
compensation and reparations for the victims of Gukurahundi and
Murambatsvina. Both military campaigns were launched to shut down opposition
to the rule of ZANU-PF. During Gukurahundi, beginning in the early 1980s, up
to 20,000 people in Matabeleland and the Midlands were killed by government
forces for their perceived loyalty to Joshua Nkomo and his ZAPU party.
Murambatsvina, begun in 2005, was designed to drive MDC supporters out of
the urban areas; close to 2.5 million people were displaced.
alone is not enough. Our people must be compensated," said Tsvangirai
13-page state of the nation address.
The de-politicisation of the work of
state security agents and other
national institutions, including the Central
Intelligence Organisation, CIO,
is also part of his plan.
"It is not
the intention of MDC to persecute or victimise any peaceful
member of the
uniformed services, whether officers or junior members," he
assurance has been explained in the MDC policy paper statement
uniformed forces. But let me say to all very clearly - the violence
stop now. There will be no tolerance or amnesty for those who continue
injure, rape, and murder our citizens. We consider these criminal acts,
political acts. Criminal acts will be prosecuted."
Tsvangirai said one of
the first acts of parliament will be to repeal
including the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act, Aippa,
used to control the media; the Public Order and
Security Act, Posa; the
Broadcasting Services Act, the Official Secrets Act,
and some aspects of the
criminal code, laws the MDC leader argues were
crafted by Mugabe merely to
sustain his power.
In tackling the emotive land issue once and for all,
Tsvangirai said his
government would create a land commission, an
independent and professional
policy organ that will recommend to parliament
how the land question should
be finally resolved.
Once the land
commission had completed its work, he said his government
expected the land
question to be completely depoliticised by the commission's
input, making it possible to rely on the market mechanism to
ownership of land in the long term.
"We intend to banish the colonial
system of separate land tenure systems for
commercial and communal
agriculture. However, we realise the need for
creativity and flexibility as
we move from the current system to the
universally applicable one for all
farmers," he said.
To ensure the productive use of land and to discourage
holding, his government would institute a progressive land
tax. The revenue
generated from that tax would be applied to the provision
and other social services in that
Turning to restoration of basic services, which have collapsed
regime, he envisages doling out free anti-retrovirals,
education, and rehabilitating hospitals.
urgent importance, nobody in our country should ever go hungry again.
Innovative and completely depoliticised food delivery mechanisms are
urgently required whilst we get our agricultural production up and running
again," he said.
On the international front, he said an MDC
government was ready to return
Zimbabwe to the family of democratic nations,
including the Commonwealth,
from which Mugabe personally withdrew the
country in 2003. Analysts say
Mugabe's scorched earth policies have cost
Zimbabwe international finance
and friends to take the country forward,
especially in the past eight years.
Thompson Bveni is the pseudonym of an
IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.
'Zim rivals prepared for unity government'
††††June 06 2008 at 10:13AM
Prime Minister Raila Odinga says President Thabo
Mbeki has told him that
both Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and
opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai want a government of national unity.
But Mugabe wants it
after the presidential run-off election on June
27, whereas Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change wants it to happen
Odinga, who is attending the World Economic Forum Africa conference,
Mbeki in Cape Town yesterday. He said the president had told him that
the Zimbabwean antagonists realised that neither can rule the country
without the other.
Several commentators have said the rising
political violence will make
a free and fair election impossible, and this
is why the MDC might not want
to contest it.
Odinga said he had
advised Tsvangirai to contest the poll.
Some analysts believe
Mugabe - who came second to Tsvangirai in the
initial election on March 29 -
wants to beat him, by force if necessary, on
June 27 so that he can be the
top dog in a government of national unity.
Tsvangirai has said he
was prepared to consider joining Zanu-PF
leaders in a transitional
government, but not as a junior partner to Mugabe.
Mbeki, Odinga said he would ask him to tell Mugabe that
"the game is
Emerging after the meeting, Odinga said he had expressed
about Zimbabwe and that Mbeki had told him he too was concerned
"I told him he must ensure that
Mugabe does not tamper with the
elections, that Mugabe must ensure the
elections are free and fair."
Mbeki had assured Odinga that the
Southern African Development
Community - which appointed Mbeki as its
mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis -
would send in a large force of observers
to the election.
Odinga had earlier told journalists that it was
Tsvangirai had been arrested and held by Zimbabwean police
for several hours
The only solution for the
crisis would be SA "taking a firm stand on
article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on June
Cost of Mugabe and Milošević and Castro
|6 June 2008
as expected falls ever more steeply to total disaster. The gang of
military/security leaders previously dependent on Mugabe now look to be running
the shop, desperate as they are to cling on to power and privileges at the cost
of ruining their own country. A text-book
Yet the UN still gives Mugabe a forum to rave away. And we taxpayers end up
paying for it.
I have been looking at the True Cost of Stupidity.
Take Serbia and Slovenia.
After the initial flurry of violence
when Slovenia broke from the then Yugoslavia, Slovenia has patiently got on with
developing its economy.
Serbia by contrast got on with more violence
against Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. This led to reduced investment, sanctions
and even in the end a NATO bombing.
Result? In GDP per capita terms,
Serbia is still struggling to match its economic position of 1991.
the Cost of Milošević(ism) can be accurately measured. It is the space between
the two lines of a simple graph of total GDP measured over time:
- one line shows Serbia's actual awful performance
- the other line
shows what Serbia would have achieved by growing at an average of 3 percent a
year over the past seventeen years. (Note: a conservative estimate - of course
it could have done a lot better than that with common sense leadership and
To calculate that gap, a mathematician uses the Trapezium
rule. In Serbia's case the "opportunity cost'" of Milošević and Miloševićism now
runs towards hundreds of billions of dollars.
It is no exaggeration to
say that Miloševićism in all its forms delivered a set-back to Serbia from which
it will never recover. There is no conceivable chance of Serbia growing faster
than Slovenia for the decades required for Serbia to "catch up" the ground lost
in the past seventeen years.
The political costs of this madness also
have compounded up. Montenegro and Kosovo have broken away - had Serbia
developed to its natural potential they could be clamouring to stay with Serbia
and share its success.
Ditto for Mugabe.
Running the Trapezium
formula on Zimbabwe's performance over the past twenty years and comparing it
with eg Estonia is a profoundly depressing experience.
Milošević for reasons of selfish paranoia has created national losses running to
scores of billions of dollars, losses on a scale far exceeding anything
development assistance might now do to put right.
Zimbabweans will pay
for this folly for many decades to come through low living standards, higher
disease and death rates, worse roads, poorer education, weaker institutions.
Castro Communism is another horror story. Back in 1959 Cuba was richer
than Singapore. Singapore got on with developing and building itself up,
maintaining solid policies over forty years. It is now one of the most
successful countries in the world. Castro's Cuba scarcely changed at all.
Market-based steadiness pays.
stupidity does not pay.
Small sustained differences in performance mean
big differences in absolute outcomes.
The steady and quite rich get
steadily quite a lot richer.
The poor have to be more than steady to
start to close the gap.
The stupid get enormously worse off.
Gaps can be closed by sustained good performance (see China, India,
But once you've fallen far behind you are severely
weakened; the effort needed to sustain such performance over decades is usually
In this sense it scarcely matters if the political
flotsam and jetsam comprising Milošević's former party make it into Serbia's
government again under some or other coalition deal.
The damage has been
done, on an unimaginable scale. Let them play a walk-on part in wandering
through the rubble to try to start some modest rebuilding.
Crawford is a former British diplomat who served as ambassador in Sarajevo and
Belgrade. This article originally appeared on charlescrawford.biz
by the cynical realities of power
††††† IAN BELL June 07
There is a new fad among thuggish dictators. Perhaps, on second
is not so very new. You might even call it symptomatic. Given
between allowing aid to the people or having outsiders bear
witness to his
behaviour, the average tinpot clown does not hesitate: the
people can rot.
First Burma, now Zimbabwe.
It is one of the problems,
if that's the word, with established guilt. Once
there is nothing left to
lose, nothing is unthinkable. Why should the
300,000 Zimbabweans currently
dependent on direct food aid (there will be
many more after the harvest)
matter to Robert Mugabe? They hate him anyway.
Reality has caught up with
the old paranoia. No doubt he tells himself that
if people starve because he
has forbidden foreign agencies to distribute
food, they only have themselves
to blame. They chose the wrong allegiances,
cast the wrong votes. When they
go hungry, they will only hate him that
little bit more. They too are
Judging by his appearance at the emergency meeting of the UN
Agriculture Organisation in Rome, the octogenarian Mugabe's
less to do with delusions than with cold deliberation. First,
benefit of African neighbours still naive enough to believe it,
the perverted version of the old liberation narrative.
Zimbabwe is impoverished, blame the west. If a Zimbabwean dollar that was
worth more than the US equivalent at independence in 1980 is now valued
(according to the Economist) at 250 million to one greenback, blame a
British plot. If "popular" land seizures have only exacerbated an economic
catastrophe, blame an international plot among the whites.
back in Zimbabwe, distribution of food aid is first taken under
control, then the foreign agencies themselves are banned. Food
Mugabe's weapon of choice for some time. Obey and you could eat;
you would starve. Outsiders capable of meeting the people's
basic needs - of
liberating them from state control - were disrupting a
neat, sinister system
in which the carrot was the stick. Worse, the
foreigners could see what was
and is going on. They had to go.
In this, Mugabe is no different from all
the others in the fraternity of
repression. He proclaims himself a victim,
yet cannot stomach the thought of
witnesses. He offers elaborate
explanations for his country's plight, as in
Rome, but cannot bear to have
them examined. And he has a run-off election,
due for June 27, still to
His tame generals and police, his militias and his "veterans", have
at work terrorising (when not murdering) supporters of the Movement
Democratic Change. This week Morgan Tsvangirai, the leading opposition
figure, was arrested twice within the space of three days. British and
American diplomats were detained and threatened. Meanwhile, the school
teachers who manned the polling booths during the general elections are
being hunted down.
London fulminates; Washington deplores; the world
looks on aghast. Mugabe
doesn't care. It suits him when Douglas Alexander,
Secretary, calls his appearance in Rome obscene.
Only opinions in southern
Africa (and perhaps in Beijing) count for
anything. Judged by non-existent
results, even the views of all those
delegations from the African Union, the
Southern African Development
Community and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki do not
Mugabe is not dissuaded. Either he is in power or he is finished.
ago there was some hope that after losing to Tsvangirai by 47.9%
(the MDC insist that their man got the necessary 50+%), the aged
would retire to his bank accounts and his Malaysian holiday home.
He, and no
doubt those around him, decided otherwise. As the Third World has
time and again, parasites can prosper even in a desolated
What does the world propose, after all? More sanctions? Most of
available have been applied. They only have an effect, in any case,
regime identifies its own fate with the fate of an afflicted country.
diplomacy? Mr Mbeki, the only regional figure with any sort of
has been making glib, positive noises for more than a
Military action? The west could not; the African Union - or South
come to that - will not. The presence of three million Zimbabwean
has been an excuse for ethnic violence in Mr Mbeki's own country,
the Liberator retains his peculiar status for
Zimbabwe begins to look like one of those unfolding crises for
is no immediately obvious solution. If things are bad now, wait
28, and the morning after the run-off poll, if that blatantly
actually takes place. All the great hopes of 1980 will die
finally with the
tawdry, familiar formula: president for life. All that will
remain will be
the long wait to see which dies first: Mugabe or
Cast your mind back to Mr President crashing the Rome party.
the horrified fascination with Mugabe's gall, defiance and
hypocrisy was a
chilling truth. This time, even he did not attempt to deny
that his country
is in dire economic straits. His analysis of the reasons
half-truths and sheer fiction. He blamed everyone but himself.
in order to formulate his accusations he had to recognise the
crisis the UN
food organisation had gathered to discuss.
offers an extreme example, but if the developed world is serious
feeding Africa in the 21st century - or serious about helping Africa
itself - an old problem will have to be addressed. The west can
accused of exploiting the mechanisms of food, aid and trade
The World Bank and the IMF have miserable, if not
Usury abroad and agricultural subsidy at home have
proved lethal. But if all
that changed, would things improve?
We have nothing to be proud of,
despite all those grand G8 promises. In real
terms, food aid to the Third
World fell from £4bn in 1980 to £1.7bn in 2004.
meanwhile, became less fashionable among aid
organisations. Biofuels, our
latest wheeze, feed no-one. And Africa, one way
or another, is producing
less food than ever while the hungry, priced out of
their local markets,
All true, if only as a sketch of a complex situation. Yet there
further problem. If there is, in fact, nothing we can do about
do we hope to establish food security for Africa when there are
other "problems of governance" in the continent? New versions of the
colonialism? Bullying of a sort that may fix dictators, but aids only
transnational corporations? Recent western attempts to impose democracy
elsewhere have been patchy, shall we say. In the case of Zimbabwe, we do not
even pretend to offer that sort of intervention.
It amounts to a
depressing conundrum for this new, nervous century: a
responsibility to act
without the means to do so. Mugabe and the Burmese
generals have destroyed
the assumption that even dictators will grab aid
Grand, well-meaning conferences in fine European cities can
west to their heart's content, but they will not even begin to
cynical realities of power, in the Third World or the First.
Fear versus democracy
JOHANNESBURG, 6 June 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabweans living
in South Africa
returned in droves earlier this year to vote; this time many
are unlikely to
make the trip for the second round runoff for the presidency
on 27 June
between President Robert Mugabe, leader of ZANU-PF, and Morgan
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), because
resigned to a Mugabe "victory".
In elections on 29 March,
the ZANU-PF party lost its parliamentary majority
for the first time since
independence from Britain in 1980, and Mugabe
trailed opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential vote. But
Mugabe, an 84-year-old
former guerrilla fighter, has insisted he will not
leave State House,
regardless of the outcome of the runoff.
Mugabe has repeatedly branded
Tsvangirai and his MDC as agents of
imperialism, buying their way to 48
percent of the presidential vote in
March - just short of the 50 percent
plus one that Tsvangirai needed for a
splinter group of war veterans, the Revolutionary Council, with First
Grace Mugabe as its patron, has called for the June poll to be
faction argues that elections cannot be held with the country
"sanctions" - a reference to the freeze on donor aid - and was ready
up arms to "defend the revolution".
The statement followed comments last
week by Chief-of-Staff Maj-Gen Martin
Chedondo, who said the army was not
apolitical, and ordered all soldiers
intending to vote for the opposition to
Emmanuel Hlabangana, director of Diaspora Dialogue, a
pro-democracy organisation for Zimbabweans in exile, said
government was furiously trying to undermine the MDC before the
"The undemocratic statements which have been made have only
discourage some people from going back home to vote, because they
their vote will not count. The establishment wants to create a
mentality among Zimbabweans to lose hope," he told IRIN.
losing in the first round of voting, ZANU-PF wants to make sure that
election will be so close that Mugabe will declare himself the winner,
arm twist Tsvangirai into a government of national unity with himself
[Mugabe] as the leader," said Hlabangana.
Political violence and
intimidation have also escalated: Tsvangirai was
detained by the police
twice this week; the diplomatic community has been
harassed; on Thursday all
aid organisations were ordered to stop their
operations on grounds of
"political activity" by some, and accused of
Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the militant Progressive
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), which has a branch in South Africa, said
of his members had fled the country after they were they were
backing the MDC.
"In my interactions with our members,
many have indicated that they are not
prepared to go back home and vote.
They say - based on statements issued by
war veterans, the army and ruling
party officials - it is not likely that if
Mugabe loses, he will surrender
Fambai Ngirande, the advocacy and communications manager for the
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, a civil society
body, told IRIN from the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, that even
country many were too afraid to vote.
political violence was systematic and targeted. Those
who were affected were
known and perceived opposition supporters, election
agents for the
opposition in the last elections, and opinion leaders such as
nurses. Because in our elections people can only vote where
ordinarily resident, very few will be brave enough to go back to
were displaced from in order to vote," Ngirande said.
election agent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, told IRIN that Mugabe was
when he said he would not relinquish power. "Nobody goes into
thinking that they will lose, otherwise there would be no point
contesting. What the president meant is that he does not think he will
and hand over power."
Asked to comment on statements from the military
and war veterans that they
would not recognise a Tsvangirai victory,
Mnangagwa said they were speaking
in their "private capacity".
[Mugabe] loses the election, I will be the first to go to him as his
election agent and say: 'Boss, we have lost. We brought democracy to
Zimbabwe and we should defend it'. I will ask him if I should draft his
resignation speech, or whether he would rather draft his own
[This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations]