by Charles Tembo Tuesday 09 June 2009
HARARE - Worldwide rights watchdog Amnesty International secretary general
Irene Khan will be in Zimbabwe from 13 to 18 this month to assess the
humanitarian situation in the country known for human rights violations, the
organisation has said.
"The secretary general will lead a high level mission to Zimbabwe, during
which she plans to meet human rights activists, victims of human rights
violations and senior government officials, including President Robert
Mugabe," Amnesty said in a statement on Friday.
Zimbabwe has seen an escalation in human rights abuses especially in the
last decade as Mugabe's administration resorted to violence and torture in
an attempt to silence political opponents and human rights defenders.
Political violence that followed then opposition MDC party's shock victory
in presidential and parliamentary elections last year is said to have killed
at least 120 opposition supporters and displaced 200 000 others.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who defeated Mugabe in the first round
election but failed to secure the margin to take power, withdrew from a June
27 run-off poll saying widespread violence against his supporters made a
free and fair vote impossible.
Mugabe went ahead with the presidential run-off poll despite Tsvangirai's
withdrawal but was forced to negotiate a power sharing settlement with the
opposition after his victory received worldwide condemnation, leading to the
formation of a unity government in February.
The new Harare administration has established a national healing ministerial
team that will address the violence that characterised the troubled country
especially in the run-up to last year's run off poll.
Amnesty International has challenged Zimbabwe's inclusive government to
impose the rule of law in the country and that the administration acts
against state agents and government officials who continue to violate human
Amnesty said it was concerned about the apparent lack of political will by
the power-sharing government to create an environment in which human rights
and media workers could freely do their work. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Tuesday 09 June 2009
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara's MDC formation on
Saturday suffered a body blow when the party's entire district executive and
councillors crossed the floor to join the main MDC group led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in protest against the suspension of a
legislator from the party.
The Nkayi district leadership and all 23 councillors resolved, at a meeting
to examine the circumstances surrounding the suspension of Nkayi South
Member of Parliamemnt Abdenico Bhebhe to leave Mutambara's faction.
"We have decided not to have anything to do with Mutambara because he failed
to tell us why we should denounce Bhebhe," said councillor Kufakwezwe Ncube.
Nkayi Senator Robert Rabson Makhula also attended the four-hour long
MDC-M secretary-general Welshman Ncube had directed that the party's
district leadership should sideline Bhebhe until his suspension from the
party was lifted.
"This is to advise that Mr (Abdenico) Bhebhe was suspended on 9 May 2009 by
the party's national disciplinary committee from being a member of the
party," Ncube wrote in a letter to the party's district executive dated May
"Therefore, until such a time that his suspension is lifted or deposed of in
whatever manner by the national disciplinary committee, he is suspended from
all activities to do with the party and should be excluded in all party
"During his suspension he is to be treated as if he is not a member of the
party. Please ensure that this information is communicated to all structures
in your province, particularly those structures in the districts from which
Hon Bhebhe comes from.''
However, the councillors ignored the directive saying they would stand by
Bhebhe until the leadership explained the charges against him.
Bhebhe is also the party's Matabeleland North provincial chairman.
"If he is victimised they have also victimised us. We can't remain loyal to
a leadership which victimises its members and with that reason in mind the
whole constituency and district leadership has crossed the floor to MDC-T
led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai," said party district chairman Jabulani
Mutambara, a brilliant robotics professor, became the president of the
smaller wing of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party after
it split in 2005 into two rival factions with the larger group led by
Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
(Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will visit Oval Office June 12) (136)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2009
Statement by the Press Secretary on the visit of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe
The President looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe to the Oval Office on Friday, June 12. The Prime Minister, along with millions of Zimbabweans, has been working against the odds to secure a stable democratic future for the people of Zimbabwe. The two leaders will discuss the difficult road ahead in Zimbabwe, including how the United States can support the forces of reform as they work to bring the rule of law, respect for human rights, and free and fair elections back to Zimbabwe.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)
Mon Jun 8, 2009 11:25pm GMT
* More reforms needed for major aid package
* Obama-Tsvangirai meeting set for Friday
* U.S. humanitarian aid to continue
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) - Washington is troubled by the absence of
reform in Zimbabwe and has no plans for now to offer major aid or lift
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa
said on Monday.
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is set to have his first meeting
with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday, part of a bid to
woo financial support for the unity government he shares uneasily with rival
But Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, said
more political, social and economic reforms were needed either before
substantial U.S. aid could kick in or targeted sanctions against Mugabe were
"There is no indication that the U.S. government is prepared to lift
economic sanctions against those in Zimbabwe who have been most responsible
for undermining the country's democracy and destroying its economy," Carson
said in an interview with Reuters.
"Increasingly substantial aid is dependent upon them making political
concessions and fulfilling the agreements that they have already made and in
returning the country back towards more democratic rule," he said.
The White House said Obama was looking forward to meeting Tsvangirai, who
formed a unity government with Mugabe after a bitterly disputed election
last year and a brutal crackdown on the opposition.
"The two leaders will discuss the difficult road ahead in Zimbabwe,
including how the United States can support the forces of reform as they
work to bring the rule of law, respect for human rights, and free and fair
elections back to Zimbabwe," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
While "deeply concerned" about the lack of reforms, Carson said the United
States would continue humanitarian assistance, particularly for healthcare,
and to boost democracy and governance in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's economy is in ruins with hyperinflation and unemployment at
around 90 percent. Millions are in need of food and the country's
infrastructure and institutions are in shambles -- a situation the West
blames on Mugabe's mismanagement.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says the country's
economic woes are caused by sanctions imposed by the United States and
Targeted sanctions include financial and visa restrictions against selected
individuals, a ban on transfers of military items and a suspension of
Carson said Mugabe and his supporters must recognize that for any major aid
to kick in there had to be an end to the harassment of officials from
Tsvangirai's party, civil society groups as well as opposition politicians
"of all stripes."
In addition, media censorship must end and restrictions removed on foreign
journalists coming into the country as well as a commitment to free and fair
Tsvangirai is set to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday as
part of his visit to Washington, which follows on from a trip to Europe this
In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation last month,
Clinton said it was in the "best interests of everyone" if Mugabe stepped
Carson echoed her comments by saying: "Zimbabwe would probably benefit at
this period from new leadership but democratically elected leadership,
leadership that is a result of a free and fair election process in which
people are allowed to vote without fear of harassment and intimidation prior
to or at the polls." (Editing by Bill Trott)
By Karin Brulliard
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
JOHANNESBURG -- Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is on his first
official visit in Washington this week with a decidedly difficult sales
pitch. He is expected to request funding for a nation that he recently said
remains so unfree and unstable that it is "not a country where I can be
confident about the future of all our children."
The former opposition leader joined forces in February with his nemesis,
autocratic President Robert Mugabe, in a marriage of convenience that
Tsvangirai's party hopes will help build its control and rescue Zimbabwe's
shattered economy. But progress has been hampered by disagreements and
continued human rights abuses by Mugabe allies -- and, most observers agree,
because Zimbabwe is broke.
The arrangement has put Tsvangirai and his party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, in the difficult position of assuring investors and
donors that coffers long looted by Mugabe are safe despite the rocky
coalition. It has also posed a predicament for wary donors, including the
United States, which are so far unwilling to offer economic aid even though
officials in Tsvangirai's party insist money is vital to help redirect the
collapsed nation toward a democratic future.
"The international community has a duty to invest in Zimbabwe," said Finance
Minister Tendai Biti, an MDC member who has won praise for keeping tight
reins on a small state budget that barely manages to pay civil servants. "We
truly want this transitional government to work. There will be catastrophe
if it fails."
Tsvangirai is scheduled to meet President Obama on Friday, the White House
announced Monday. Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the two leaders "will
discuss the difficult road ahead in Zimbabwe" during their Oval Office
Tsvangirai's trip carries echoes of one made 29 years ago by Mugabe, then
the new leader of a recently liberated Zimbabwe. The Carter administration
greeted him with a warm welcome and pledged millions in economic assistance.
But relations soured over decades, as Mugabe ruined Zimbabwe's economy,
violently repressed its people and refused to give up power.
In recent months, Zimbabwe's pleas have won it more than $1 billion in
credit lines from African nations, boosts in humanitarian aid from Western
donors and warmer relations with the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund, which cut ties with Zimbabwe years ago because of $1.24
billion in unpaid debts.
The nation has also received delegations from Western nations, including the
United States. U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.), who met Mugabe and
Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe last month, said an in interview that the United
States should expand aid to reach more Zimbabweans, noting that "we have
more relations with Sudan," a country whose leader is accused of overseeing
But Zimbabwe is far from raising the $8.5 billion it says it needs. The
United States, like other Western donors, channels humanitarian aid to
Zimbabwe through charities but withholds developmental aid. Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a recent television interview that she
thought it "would be in the best interests of everyone" for Mugabe to step
down. She said the United States, which last year gave $260 million in
humanitarian assistance, is reviewing but "not yet ready to change" its
"Is doing so rewarding ZANU?" asked a Western diplomat in Harare, the
capital, referring to Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front. "We're looking for real, true, irreversible change.
We're not rewarding a ploy by ZANU to look good for six months."
MDC officials insist they have made progress. Now in control of the Finance
Ministry, the party has stabilized the previously astronomical inflation
rate. Store shelves are stocked, gas stations have fuel and public teachers
and health workers are back on duty, thanks to new a $100 monthly stipend.
But much remains unchanged. The media cannot report freely, though
Tsvangirai has said restrictions would be scrapped. The attorney general and
the central bank governor are still in their jobs even though Mugabe
appointed them in violation of the power-sharing agreement and MDC leaders
have called for their ouster.
At least 170 farmers have been taken to court recently for "illegally"
occupying their land in a continuation of a decade-long campaign by Mugabe
to reclaim white-owned land despite a regional tribunal's order that it
MDC officials say human rights abuses have declined, but many observers
disagree. In recent months, opposition and civil society activists have been
dragged in and out of courts and prison cells on charges -- widely
considered fabricated -- that they plotted to overthrow Mugabe.
Critics say the detentions point to a central flaw in the power-sharing
government: Though Mugabe's party co-chairs the ministry that oversees
police, it retained key control of other security forces and influence over
the legal system.
"I am a co-minister of home affairs and should be in charge of the police.
But just recently, the attorney general . . . gave an order to the police to
arrest journalists," said Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC's home affairs minister.
"When something like that happens, it becomes difficult to convince the
international community that we are in charge."
Some civil society activists complain that the MDC has waffled when it comes
to continued abuses. Tsvangirai regularly voices somewhat diplomatic
criticism of "forces" within ZANU-PF, but he has also drawn fire for
comments such as those he made to a South African newspaper last month that
the renewed arrests of prominent activists was a "mishap" and that the
seizures of "one or two farms" had been "blown out of proportion."
"They're remaining absolutely bloody silent," said John Worsely-Worswick of
Justice for Agriculture, a farmer's group that has long opposed Mugabe.
"I've had a number of farmers recently say, 'Listen, we were better off
before this inclusive government.' . . . That's an alarming thing to have
But, he added, "it's much easier being in the opposition than being inside
Special correspondent Farai Mutsaka in Harare, Zimbabwe, contributed to this
SAPA/AFP Published: 2009/06/09 08:42:06 AM
Gold remains one of Zimbabwe's top exports, but output has tumbled as miners
complained that the Reserve Bank the only authorised buyer for 21 years --
offered unfair prices and then delayed on payments, or failed to pay
entirely. Mining operations have also been hamstrung over the last decade by
nationwide power cuts and severe shortages of foreign currency, needed to
buy and maintain equipment. That's slowly changing since the unity
government between long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his one-time
rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, de-regulated the industry in March.
Now miners are allowed to market their gold freely and to retain all their
earnings, whereas previously the Reserve Bank pocketed a percentage.
"During the first three months of the year nothing was happening in the gold
mining industry, but there is renewed confidence and optimism in the gold
mining sector since the deregulation," said Joseph Malaba, chief executive
officer of the Chamber of Mines.
"There is increased output when compared to the start of the year when there
was nothing," he told AFP.
No gold was lodged for sale in the first quarter of the year, but in April
and May miners brought in 600 kilogrammes, according to the chamber. Last
year the country produced only 3,576 kilos of gold --compared to a peak of
27,108 kilos in 1999.
Some miners are selling their gold through the chamber. Other firms are
exporting directly to South Africa, and local banks have also indicated
their interest in becoming gold buyers.
Blanket Mine, which shut down last year, resumed operations in April and
expects to produce 24,000 ounces (680 kilogrammes) by September this year.
The mine, owned by Canada's Caledonia Mining, has so far sold 766 ounces of
gold to Rand Refineries in South Africa.
The president and chief executive officer of Caledonia, Stefan Hayden, said
he hoped that there would not be a policy shift by the government.
"Provided a stable operating and monetary environment is maintained in
Zimbabwe, it is hoped that commercial lending activities can resume which
will allow Blanket to realise its next operating goal of becoming a
40,000-ounce per annum gold producer in 2010," he said in a statement.
Turk mine, owned by Canada's New Dawn Mining, has returned to full
operations and plans to produce at least 1,150 ounces of gold by October.
Since joining the unity government, Tsvangirai has pledged to rebuild the
economy in a nation where unemployment is at 94 percent and half the
population depends on international food aid. He is embarking on a foreign
tour this week to convince western donors to open their pocketbooks despite
their reservations about Mugabe's continued role in government. Zimbabwe
says it needs 8.5 billion dollars over three years to revive the economy and
the civil service, including schools and hospitals, but has yet to win major
direct aid to the government.
Jun 9, 2009, 2:09 GMT
Hong Kong - Two bodyguards protecting the daughter of Zimbabwean president
Robert Mugabe will not be prosecuted for allegedly roughing up two
photographers in Hong Kong, officials said Tuesday.
Government lawyers have decided the male and female bodyguards hired to mind
20-year-old Bona Mugabe, who is at university in Hong Kong, behaved as they
did because they were 'genuinely concerned for the safety of Miss Mugabe.'
The two Zimbabwean nationals, who have not been named, allegedly assaulted
Briton Colin Galloway and American Tim O'Rourke on February 13 outside a
5-million-US-dollar villa in Hong Kong provided for Bona by her father while
The photographers were working for The Sunday Times in London, which was
investigating the Mugabe family's links to Hong Kong, and complained to
police after O'Rourke was alleged grabbed by the neck and Galloway gripped
and bruised by a man in his 30s.
The incident took place one month after Robert Mugabe's wife and Bona's
mother, Grace, allegedly assaulted another photographer who took pictures of
her shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui. The Department of Justice later decided she
was entitled to diplomatic immunity.
The case involving the bodyguards was classified by police as common assault
and advice was sought from Hong Kong's Department of Justice in March as to
whether a prosecution should be brought.
A department spokeswoman told the German News Agency dpa, 'They saw it as
their duty to protect Miss Mugabe from any sort of danger, whether actual or
At the time of the incident, Bona was about to leave the villa, which Robert
Mugabe reportedly bought through a middle-man last year, to go to
university, the spokeswoman said.
'The bodyguards were genuinely concerned for the safety of Miss Mugabe. They
appeared to have believed that they were acting properly in intercepting the
complainants who they considered to be trespassing,' she said.
Even though the actions of the bodyguards 'might have caused the
complainants to believe that disproportionate force had been used', she
said, events had to be taken in their context.
'Miss Mugabe was about to leave the house in a two-car convoy with her
security personnel when the complainants suddenly appeared at the scene, and
the (bodyguards) were apprehensive for her safety in the circumstances which
confronted them,' she said.
'Regard ... needed to be had to the difficult they faced in weighing to a
nicety each and every action they took to ensure her safety, particularly
when they saw it as their duty to protect Miss Mugabe from any sort of
danger, whether actual or perceived.'
Reacting to the case, O'Rourke said: 'I am not surprised by this decision
but what does it say about Hong Kong and freedom of the press? It looks
The lawyer representing the two photographers, Michael Vidler, said: 'We are
very concerned about this decision and we are taking advice from legal
He said both photographers immediately identified themselves as journalists
and neither bodyguard expressed concern at any stage for Bona Mugabe, who
was not seen anywhere in the vicinity of the alleged assault.
A tape recording taken by Galloway and handed to police made it clear the
alleged assaults took place, in the words of one of the two bodyguards,
'because you were taking pictures', he said.
Vidler said: 'It appears that in Hong Kong, anyone linked to any regime like
Zimbabwe, and anyone with links, however distant, to any head of state,
whatever we think of that head of state, can casually disregard the rights
of the press to investigate a legitimate story.'
By Patience Rusere
08 June 2009
As Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai concluded the first phase of
his European diplomatic initiative and headed for the United States,
Zimbabwean non-governmental organizations remained on the Continent to lobby
Europe and its governments.
The NGO delegates said their objective is to define priorities for aid and
keep Zimbabwe on the radar of the European Union ahead of Spain's assumption
of the presidency in 2010.
Represented on the delegation are the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the
Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition, the NGO Human Rights Forum and the National
Association of Non-Governmental Organizations.
The NGOs launched their five-day tour on Sunday in The Netherlands, quickly
moving on to Spain, and will continue to Sweden, Germany and Belgium.
Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition Chairman Macdonald Lewanika, reached in Madrid,
told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the
delegation is promoting humanitarian aid and democratic reform as priorities
and trying to boost Spanish awareness of the Zimbabwe question as the
country prepares to take over the EU presidency.
June 9, 2009
By Ray Matikinye
BULAWAYO - Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leader, Jenny Williams on Saturday
said her civic and consumer rights organisation will roll out prolonged
street demonstrations to press the new government to speed up socio-economic
transformation that will benefit the ordinary people of Zimbabwe through
Williams said her organisation had yet to witness tangible reforms of the
media and in the security sector as the police still harassed people and
continued to violate their rights under the Public Order and Security Act
She said POSA remained in place to curtail basic freedom and right of
assembly and expression while the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) interfered with journalists efforts to perform their
"Socio-economic issues have not been addressed and this is putting the
squeeze on the ordinary people who have remained poor," Williams told a
public meeting to debate outstanding issues that have stalled full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by President
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Williams said although there had been an improvement in the supply of goods
in the shops, the people did not have the money to buy them.
"When housewives try to eke out an honest living, the police chase and
harass them even when local authorities are frequently increasing their
service charges. These women have to raise school fees, clothe and feed
their families but the new government seems not to notice their contribution
for the upkeep of their children," Williams said.
She said those in government should account for the promises they made when
they signed the GPA and fulfil the electoral promises and pledges they made
to convince voters to vote for them in the disputed polls that led to the
signing of that accord.
WOZA has been spearheading street demonstration against price increases on
basic commodities, food shortages and other social ills which it deems have
worked to impoverish the ordinary Zimbabwean
Williams said WOZA viewed it as inappropriate that the government would
prioritise the drafting of a new constitution ahead of putting in place the
process of national healing and reconciliation after politically inspired
violence traumatised thousands during the general and presidential polls in
March and June last year.
"National healing does not need to wait for a constitution. We need a truth
and justice commission that will reveal who did what; on whose behalf and
for what purpose," Williams said.
She said although WOZA would submit its views in the drafting of a new
constitution, it would not participate in the select committees set up by
Parliament because doing so would "be drinking from a poisoned chalice".
June 9, 2009
By Tendai Dumbutshena
IN A state of the nation address delivered in Parliament last week South
Africa's President Jacob Zuma said Zimbabwe should be assisted to rebuild
its economy and hold free and fair elections.
His reference to free and fair elections was significant. It recognizes the
crucial importance of free and fair elections if Zimbabwe is to break with a
past that plunged it into crisis. Amid the incessant lies and propaganda it
is easy to forget what got Zimbabwe into this mess. It certainly was not
sanctions. It was Zanu-PF's refusal from 2000 - the year it faced its first
serious electoral challenge - to allow Zimbabweans to freely elect their
The desperate need to avert defeat in the 2000 parliamentary elections
triggered the farm invasions which predictably became an instant catalyst in
the downward spiral of the economy. To protect its rule Zanu-PF went further
to curtail civil liberties in ways known to those familiar with the
Zimbabwean situation. The party also had no compunction about acting outside
the law in many cases in defiance of court orders. In other words the rule
of law became a casualty in the party's quest for eternal power.
Whatever sanctions were applied by Western countries in response to
developments in the country could at worst only have deepened self-inflicted
It is worth reminding people about the genesis of this crisis so that false
solutions are not readily embraced. The purpose of the inclusive government
is to dismantle the repressive apparatus built by Robert Mugabe's regime to
resist democratic change. If it fails to do this - so far it has failed -
there is no chance that free and fair elections can be held. Building blocks
for a new society have to be put in place now. Failure to do this will
render useless and irrelevant the tenure of the inclusive government.
The MDC and Zanu-PF are certainly not pulling in the same direction now.
They see the inclusive government as an opportunity to gain a decisive
advantage over their opponents. Eric Cross, the MDC's policy adviser, wrote
an interesting article last week which gave a good insight into the
strategic thinking of his party. He argued that the MDC's control of
economic and service delivery ministries gave it the power to improve
peoples' lives. There will be political rewards to be reaped.
Cross said Zanu-PF erred in thinking that control of portfolios related to
security would prove crucial in the electoral battle that lies ahead.
Without money, control of these security services and other ministries such
as land and agriculture was meaningless - poisoned chalices as he called it.
Those in the pound seat are those able to mobilize financial and other
material resources - that is the MDC.
Come elections, so the argument goes, having amply demonstrated its capacity
to deliver on bread and butter issues the MDC will romp home. The ends
justify the means.
Whatever setbacks and humiliations suffered by the MDC in the inclusive
government will be worthwhile when the people vote en masse for the party.
It all seems plausible in theory but in the real world of Zimbabwe politics
the thinking is deeply flawed. Since 2000 Zanu-PF has realized that it has
lost the support of the majority of Zimbabweans. After it resorted to
violence and electoral fraud to avert defeats in 2000 and 2002, it thought
it could change its fortunes through an economic recovery based on a
successful land reform programme.
The party believed its own propaganda that the Asian countries like China
were eager to pour billions of dollars into Zimbabwe in an act of Third
World solidarity. Nothing of the sort happened. Instead the economy
continued to bleed. Rampant corruption exacerbated the situation.
What Zanu-PF did not accept was that it was the economy and not the MDC that
posed the greatest threat to its rule. While it concentrated on attempting
to destroy the MDC through a campaign of violence and repression an
imploding economy impoverished the overwhelming majority of people. The
worst affected lived in rural areas considered to be the party's stronghold.
There was a heavy political price for Zanu-PF to pay. It happened on March
29, 2008 when the party lost a lot of support in rural areas to the MDC.
This is despite the chaos in the MDC and the violence and intimidation in
the rural areas.
That is why Mugabe had no choice but to use the most savage violence in the
period leading up to the June 27 presidential run-off. By many accounts the
party's position has further weakened. It stands no chance of winning a free
and fair election.
It is therefore naïve of the MDC to think that Zanu-PF will allow a free and
fair contest whenever Mugabe decides to face the electorate. This is simply
not going to happen. Mugabe and the securocrats who underpin his power are
busy plotting for the election. What Zanu-PF has successfully done over the
years is to claim sole proprietorship of the liberation struggle. It is a
claim Zimbabwe's intellectuals have not seen fit to challenge.
Based on that claim Zanu-PF believes it has the right to rule the country in
perpetuity. If there was any doubt about this Mugabe dispelled it last year
when he said the bullet was mightier than the pen. What was won on the
battlefield could not be lost in a polling booth. This thinking justifies
the use of violence and other foul means to protect what is rightfully
It is this thinking that informs their approach to the next election.
They know they cannot win a free and fair election. Violence and fraud will
be the order of the day.
This explains why nine months after the signing of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA), there has hardly been any movement towards the
democratization of the country. The state's repressive apparatus is still
intact. Arbitrary arrests and detentions are still the order of the day.
This week saw the beginning of the trial of four MDC and civil society
members. The state - controlled print and electronic media still serve
Zanu-PF. The defence forces, police and CIO still remain appendages of
Zanu-PF. The MDC is only being used to bestow legitimacy on Mugabe's rule,
raise money and get sanctions lifted. While the MDC performs these tasks
with enthusiasm Zanu-PF stalls on vital political, media and other reforms.
The inclusive government provided respite for a regime that had reached a
cul-de-sac. It gave Zanu-PF space for a cynical tactical retreat.
In a perverse way it is in the interest of Zanu-PF to keep a number of white
farmers on the land. They need targets for the ongoing and unending farm
invasions. This gives their campaign of terror cover and a cloak of
legitimacy. The massive violence inevitable in the build-up to the next
election will be unleashed in the name of completing the land revolution. It
is surprising that the MDC is largely silent on the issue of youth militias
who are now scandalously on the government payroll. They are waiting to be
deployed when their services are needed. Mugabe will not decrease his
capacity for violence hence the resistance to any reforms that create an
open and accountable system of government that makes egregious abuses of
power extremely difficult.
The MDC must therefore disabuse themselves of the notion that they will win
an election on the basis of their performance in the inclusive government.
They are allowing Mugabe to stall on reforms essential for making it
difficult for him to steal yet another election. They have taken their eyes
off the ball to concentrate on what is Mugabe's agenda - globetrotting to
raise money and get sanctions lifted.
This will not get the country a free and fair election whenever Mugabe has
his ducks in a row and is ready for jambanja (violence).
WILSON JOHWA Published: 2009/06/09 06:20:47 AM
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is reviewing the dispensation
that allows undocumented Zimbabwean migrants to live and work in SA
HOME Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has referred back to the
drawing board the proposed special dispensation giving undocumented
Zimbabwean migrants already in SA the right to live and work for up to a
Her department is also reviewing the recently introduced visa-free entry
facility that allows Zimbabwean passport holders the right to work in SA for
90 days .
Home affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said yesterday Dlamini- Zuma was
reviewing all processes in the department.
The proposed special dispensation for Zimbabweans was among the measures
sent back for discussion on the "nature, scope and implication of the
Government insiders said that in some quarters it was believed there had not
been enough consultation before announcing the measures.
Other concerns were that neighbouring countries did not have renewable
visa-free entry for Zimbabweans, and visitors to SA from countries such as
Mozambique qualified only for a limited period during the year, and had no
right to work.
Set to be rolled out from the department's new refugee reception centre in
Pretoria, the facility was aimed at addressing the humanitarian situation in
Zimbabwe, where many now live off foreign remittances.
Registration of border jumpers was also meant to improve the security
situation. In addition, the special permit for undocumented Zimbabwean
immigrants would have saved money spent on deporting people who almost
always returned to SA.
Loren Landau, head of the Forced Migration Studies Programme at the
University of the Witwatersrand, suspects that any change of plans by home
affairs was for the sake of short- term domestic interests.
During an "economic downturn and job losses, there will always be sentiments
against immigration", he said yesterday.
Shortly before the elections, then Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula announced that the department would introduce a special
permit meant for undocumented Zimbabwean migrants in SA.
Valid for 12 months, the proposed document would have given the holder
access to services such as health and education.
In April, home affairs suspended deportations while granting Zimbabwean
passport holders reciprocal visa- free entry into the country with the
option to work. Such a provision was unusual in the region. While
Mozambican, Lesotho and Swazi nationals enjoy visa-free access into SA, they
do not have an automatic right to work.
The government was keen on implementing a uniform policy for all
neighbouring countries but it was under pressure from local and
international rights groups to accommodate Zimbabweans fleeing the crisis.
Last week Medecins Sans Frontieres called on the government and United
Nations agencies to urgently address the humanitarian needs of Zimbabweans
"Every day, despite claims that Zimbabwe is 'normalising', thousands of
Zimbabweans continue to cross the border into SA, fleeing economic meltdown,
food insecurity, political turmoil and the total collapse of their health
system," said the medical group's SA head, Rachel Cohen.
By Alexandra Lesieur - 4 hours ago
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - African political and business leaders will look at
ways for the continent to weather a global economic crisis that has snuffed
out years of strong growth at the World Economic Forum on Africa opening
"It's an opportunity to assess what is happening globally, the effect for
our major economies and the steps that are required in the short and long
term to deal with the changing dynamic that is occuring globally," said
Katherine Tweedie, director of the meeting.
Five national leaders will be among the 800 delegates to the June 10-12
Forum in Cape Town, including South African President Jacob Zuma, Rupiah
Banda of Zambia and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
At the last gathering one year ago, many African countries were optimistic
about their economies. The continent had posted growth of more than 5.0
percent for the last five years, due largely to surging demand for raw
materials that led to record commodities prices.
That's all changed now, as the global downturn has slashed demand for raw
materials, leaving many export-dependent countries in a pinch.
The United Nations said last week that Africa's growth rate would likely hit
a 20-year low of two percent in 2009.
South Africa, the continent's biggest economy, has slipped into its first
recession in 17 years, with thousands of jobs already lost this year, mainly
in the crucial mining sector.
"Compared to where we were this time last year, then I think that a lot of
people are coming to the summit because they want to know what is
happening," Tweedie said.
"What steps do you take as a leader in your own business when you are short
of capital and there's no financing (and) is Africa a safe place to invest
right now," she told AFP.
Falling demand for natural resources, the main export for much of Africa,
will take centre stage at the Forum, along with talks on foreign investment
Half of the delegates work at banks, especially in Nigeria, or in big
corporations, and are to discuss "what business can do to be part of the
solution," said Adeyemi Babington-Ashaye, deputy director of WEF on Africa.
More generally, the talks will also focus on building ties with businesses
from the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
China will also loom large as a major investor across the continent, with
Jiang Jianqing, head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China,
Zimbabwe's new Finance Minister Tendai Biti will also make a special pitch
to lure business back into the country, where a unity government took office
in February in a bid to end a decade of political and economic problems.
And with the football World Cup just one year away, the Forum will also
devote a special session to the games, as South Africa prepares to kick off
the curtain-raiser Confederations Cup just two days after the business
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1. Update on Karori Farm
Update on Karori Farm
Over the weekend Brigadier Mujaji again broke in to the complex using his
soldiers and this time he stole 100 irrigation pipes in addition to the
63 he stole last week. He tried to force our workers to load and ferry
them but they all refused so Sgt Mukoni stole a tractor and they took the
pipes themselves and started irrigating wheat they had sown in my tobacco
lands. The matter was reported to the police yet again but there was no
response. Mujaji and his soldiers have now shut down the farm for three
weeks allowing no work to take place. The objective is to force Lock to
negotiate to leave the farm and remove the orders on Mujaji. Mujaji is
acting totally illegally and knows it. He is in defiance of three High
Court Orders, a writ of arrest, a Supreme court order. Lock who has been
acquitted of illegal occupation owns the crops and equipment but the
police will not intervene to allow him to operate.
There is 500 tons of maize that has been contracted to the Jesuit
Province Food Programme and this cannot be reaped or delivered due to the
presence of the Zimbabwe National Army and in addition 150 tons of
tobacco and 300 head of cattle. Lock has spoken to the Prime Minister
and the Minister of Home Affairs who have confirmed that it is a criminal
issue and has nothing to do with land as all the papers are quite clear
but nothing is done about it. It is appalling that this is happening and
even being denied by our leaders says Lock, who seem more pre-occupied
with getting money than dealing with the real issues on the ground. Lock
is the only commercial farmer who has all the authority to be on the land
but the army want to use force to steal it because no one is stopping
I've travelled to numerous countries throughout Africa and have a good
idea of what to expect when I arrive. Zimbabwe was different. The BBC has been banned (the official line is "not welcome") from reporting
in the country for a number of years - so getting a clear idea of day-to-day
life in the country isn't easy. This was going to be a journey of discovery.
Leaving the town of Messina in South Africa, we made the 15km drive towards
the Zimbabwean border. Signs of Zimbabwe's economic collapse were evident before
we even entered the country. Lines of four wheel drives packed to the hilt with food and household
provisions were streaming north towards Zimbabwe. Going the other way, carrying
all their worldly possessions, streams of weary people headed on foot into South
Africa. As I stopped for a toilet break on the South African side, signs placed above
each lavatory summed up just how far Zimbabwe's economy had fallen. "Toilet paper only", they read. "No newspaper, no cloth, no Zimbabwe
dollars." Border dispute I arrived at Beitbridge border station and nervously made my way to the
immigration desk, fully expecting a prolonged grilling. After all, arrest and jail awaited me should they discover that I was a BBC
reporter. The border guard inspected my British passport, carefully checking my name
and photograph. Then he looked up and his eyes narrowed as he muttered: "Mr
Thomson, British citizen…" He paused, as if about to announce that he knew what I was up to. Then came
the killer question. "Do you know the score from the Champions League match last night?" My fearsome inquisitor was a fellow Manchester United fan. We spoke for five
minutes about the form of the team, whether Ryan Giggs was past his best and
when Ronaldo might leave for Real Madrid. Before I knew it, my visa cheerfully stamped, I was strolling into Zimbabwe.
During the seven hour drive to Harare we were frequently stopped at police
checkpoints, but arrived unmolested just as night was falling. One of the first things you notice about the city is how dark much of it is.
Few street lamps or traffic lights work and vast areas are swathed in darkness.
The following day we headed out into the city to take a look at the
Zimbabwean capital in the daylight. There are lots of shiny buildings,
clean(ish) and good roads. Many of the food shops that I was told had bare
shelves now seem stocked to the rafters. It could be any European city. We were even caught up in a rush hour of sorts
on the first morning. Lots of nice newish looking 4x4s stuck in jams - strangely
reminiscent of Hampstead in London. All of which is odd when I'm told unemployment levels fall somewhere between
80% and 94%. Below the surface Yet while things look polished enough on the surface, scratch a little and
the shine quickly disappears. Harare's water and electricity supply comes and goes. My hotel was without
either commodity for nearly two days. Many public sector workers - once the biggest employer - are either not
getting paid or are on strike. And the shops are full, but many people -
particularly from the slum areas I visited - can't buy a thing. A few months ago there was little to buy. Even if you did find a loaf of
bread, with inflation running at more than 200,000,000%, it would take
wheelbarrow load of Zimbabwean dollars to purchase it. The introduction of foreign currencies like the US dollar and South African
Rand has conquered inflation and empty shelves. But given that few people here
have access to foreign currency, most can now only window shop. As we travel out of Harare the true state of the nation becomes clearer than
ever. Petrol is expensive and hard to come by, so there are few cars on the roads.
Those who can afford wheels are in for a bumpy ride. Many roads are so heavily
potholed that even the biggest of trucks have to take care. The number of police road blocks increases as we leave the capital. While we
are lucky and usually waved straight through, locals tell me that police often
ask drivers for "presents" before letting them pass. The nation's education system - once the pride of Zimbabwe - is literally
falling apart. One school I went to in the impoverished north had to cram 700 pupils into
just five classrooms because the roofs of the others had collapsed. I was told
that they had been eaten by termites. A teacher at the school admitted to me that the classrooms they were using
probably were not safe either and staff simply crossed their fingers on a daily
basis. Hospitals are not much better. I was left speechless after visiting one.
Everything in it, and I mean everything, was in some way broken, missing or
collapsed. At Victoria Falls - one of the seven natural wonders of the world - you can
still spot the odd tourist, but they are few and far between. On driving to a school in a town east of the falls I discovered that tourism
is being overtaken by prostitution, which is fast becoming the biggest business
around. The school's head told me that something like a third to a half of all girls
there, some as young as 13, were so desperate for money that they were selling
themselves for as little as a packet of biscuits. But while the country is falling apart around them, most Zimbabweans I met
have kept both their pride and their sense of humour. At a small health clinic, I had just finished asking a nurse a string of
questions about what provisions they had for patients. Did they, I asked, have
bandages, food, drugs, ambulances, phones and sheets? All these questions were answered with a resounding "no". I then enquired
whether there was anything the clinic did have. The two sisters looked at
each other, then fell about the room laughing before the answer finally came -
Today programme, Zimbabwe
I've travelled to numerous countries throughout Africa and have a good idea of what to expect when I arrive. Zimbabwe was different.
The BBC has been banned (the official line is "not welcome") from reporting in the country for a number of years - so getting a clear idea of day-to-day life in the country isn't easy. This was going to be a journey of discovery.
Leaving the town of Messina in South Africa, we made the 15km drive towards the Zimbabwean border. Signs of Zimbabwe's economic collapse were evident before we even entered the country.
Lines of four wheel drives packed to the hilt with food and household provisions were streaming north towards Zimbabwe. Going the other way, carrying all their worldly possessions, streams of weary people headed on foot into South Africa.
As I stopped for a toilet break on the South African side, signs placed above each lavatory summed up just how far Zimbabwe's economy had fallen.
"Toilet paper only", they read. "No newspaper, no cloth, no Zimbabwe dollars."
I arrived at Beitbridge border station and nervously made my way to the immigration desk, fully expecting a prolonged grilling.
After all, arrest and jail awaited me should they discover that I was a BBC reporter.
The border guard inspected my British passport, carefully checking my name and photograph. Then he looked up and his eyes narrowed as he muttered: "Mr Thomson, British citizen…"
He paused, as if about to announce that he knew what I was up to. Then came the killer question.
"Do you know the score from the Champions League match last night?"
My fearsome inquisitor was a fellow Manchester United fan. We spoke for five minutes about the form of the team, whether Ryan Giggs was past his best and when Ronaldo might leave for Real Madrid.
Before I knew it, my visa cheerfully stamped, I was strolling into Zimbabwe.
During the seven hour drive to Harare we were frequently stopped at police checkpoints, but arrived unmolested just as night was falling.
One of the first things you notice about the city is how dark much of it is. Few street lamps or traffic lights work and vast areas are swathed in darkness.
The following day we headed out into the city to take a look at the Zimbabwean capital in the daylight. There are lots of shiny buildings, clean(ish) and good roads. Many of the food shops that I was told had bare shelves now seem stocked to the rafters.
It could be any European city. We were even caught up in a rush hour of sorts on the first morning. Lots of nice newish looking 4x4s stuck in jams - strangely reminiscent of Hampstead in London.
All of which is odd when I'm told unemployment levels fall somewhere between 80% and 94%.
Below the surface
Yet while things look polished enough on the surface, scratch a little and the shine quickly disappears.
Harare's water and electricity supply comes and goes. My hotel was without either commodity for nearly two days.
Many public sector workers - once the biggest employer - are either not getting paid or are on strike. And the shops are full, but many people - particularly from the slum areas I visited - can't buy a thing.
A few months ago there was little to buy. Even if you did find a loaf of bread, with inflation running at more than 200,000,000%, it would take wheelbarrow load of Zimbabwean dollars to purchase it.
The introduction of foreign currencies like the US dollar and South African Rand has conquered inflation and empty shelves. But given that few people here have access to foreign currency, most can now only window shop.
As we travel out of Harare the true state of the nation becomes clearer than ever.
Petrol is expensive and hard to come by, so there are few cars on the roads. Those who can afford wheels are in for a bumpy ride. Many roads are so heavily potholed that even the biggest of trucks have to take care.
The number of police road blocks increases as we leave the capital. While we are lucky and usually waved straight through, locals tell me that police often ask drivers for "presents" before letting them pass.
The nation's education system - once the pride of Zimbabwe - is literally falling apart.
One school I went to in the impoverished north had to cram 700 pupils into just five classrooms because the roofs of the others had collapsed. I was told that they had been eaten by termites.
A teacher at the school admitted to me that the classrooms they were using probably were not safe either and staff simply crossed their fingers on a daily basis.
Hospitals are not much better. I was left speechless after visiting one. Everything in it, and I mean everything, was in some way broken, missing or collapsed.
At Victoria Falls - one of the seven natural wonders of the world - you can still spot the odd tourist, but they are few and far between.
On driving to a school in a town east of the falls I discovered that tourism is being overtaken by prostitution, which is fast becoming the biggest business around.
The school's head told me that something like a third to a half of all girls there, some as young as 13, were so desperate for money that they were selling themselves for as little as a packet of biscuits.
But while the country is falling apart around them, most Zimbabweans I met have kept both their pride and their sense of humour.
At a small health clinic, I had just finished asking a nurse a string of questions about what provisions they had for patients. Did they, I asked, have bandages, food, drugs, ambulances, phones and sheets?
All these questions were answered with a resounding "no". I then enquired whether there was anything the clinic did have. The two sisters looked at each other, then fell about the room laughing before the answer finally came - "No!"