WILLIAM Nyamangara, the
managing director of Sovereign Publishers (Private) Limited, and Mhlabene
Bhebhe, the company's origination manager, were on Tuesday briefly detained
at Harare Central Police Station for allegedly printing subversive
The company was contracted by the opposition MDC to print
flyers calling for mass protests against the government.
Nyamangara said he was accompanied to the police station by his lawyer, Linda
Cook. "The police said the documents we were printing were subversive
and said we should accompany them to the law and order section at Harare
Central Police Station where they recorded statements from us."
Nyamangara said the police released them without pressing charges against
them, saying they would proceed by way of summons.
He said the
police ransacked the company's offices and confiscated about 120 000 flyers
ready for collection by the MDC.
On Wednesday, a policeman who
answered the telephone at the law and order section, said the two Sovereign
bosses had been summoned to record their statements, but he refused to give
The MDC leadership last week resolved to call for
mass action this week to express "discontent and disgust" over the growing
economic and political crisis, in the country, including the increased State
repression of its supporters.
One flyer reads in part: "The time
for action is up. It's 10 months since Mugabe's government rigged the
election won by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai. "We continue to
experience hardships every day under Mugabe's government which we did not
"Food is in short supply and unemployment continues to
Cape Town - A furious debate has erupted over a DA pamphlet
issued for the Swellendam by-election, showing disturbing photos of victims
of violence in Zimbabwe.
A photo of President Robert Mugabe, raising a
fist, appears next to the body of a white Zimbabwean farmer lying under a
blood-soaked blanket, and a black man on whose back the letters MDC had been
carved by Zanu-PF supporters.
The message conveyed by the pamphlet is
that the ANC condones these kind of incidents and that only the DA "stands
between the ANC and a one-party state like Zimbabwe". The pamphlet was
compiled by DA strategist Ryan Coetzee.
ANC Overberg organiser, Cameron
Dugmore accused the DA of launching "a desperate attempt to once again
mobilise the fears of white voters in the crudest possible
According to him, there are scores of white voters who believe that
the DA is polarising communities with the pamphlets and that it could create
the kind of circumstances which gave rise to the problems Zimbabwe
"The pamphlet is racist and inciting and a huge
set-back in the the ANC and NNP's attempts to build unity and partnerships in
communities," Dugmore said.
NNP media director Alie van Jaarsveld
labelled the pamphlet as a Conservative Party "swart gevaar" (black threat)
type of propaganda pamphlet and an insult to the intelligence of Swellendam
"The irony is that Zimbabwe's situation is exactly the result of
the kind of approach the DA has taken in South Africa," Van Jaarsveld
Coetzee referred enquiries to Theuns Botha, Western Cape DA leader.
Botha claims the sharp reaction of the ANC and NNP is a sign the pamphlet
He said it was surprising that the two parties labelled
the pamphlet as racist when there were more black than white victims of
Zanu-PF violence in Zimbabwe.
"It's in no way an attempt at mobilising
white voters against a so-called "black threat" - the fact of the matter is
that the ANC's handling of the issue is shocking," Botha
Responding to the question of what bearing Zanu-PF's actions in
Zimbabwe had on local issues in Swellendam, Botha said: "The DA cannot win
back the province or govern the country by means of the Swellendam
by-election. It is just a small but important step in the process demanding
that people be made aware of the direction in which South Africa's
Obasanjo tells Mugabe to go Dumisani Muleya IN a
surprise move Nigerian Pre-sident Olusegun Obasanjo has called on President
Robert Mugabe to step down after 23 years in power to make way for a
Obasanjo told the London Sunday Times last weekend that the
embattled Zimbabwean ruler should prepare his departure from
"It's entirely up to him but obviously he knows he has to
work for a succession," Obasanjo said.
Pointing out that he was
more than a decade younger than Mugabe, Obasanjo said the Zimbabwean leader
should emulate his example.
"I don't need to tell him, but if I say I
am thinking about my succession, that is an indication that I think he should
think of his. In my part of the world, there are many ways you can tell a man
to go to hell."
The issue of Zimbabwe, including Mugabe's retention
of power, threatens to cast a shadow over the Commonwealth heads of
government summit due to be held in Abuja in December. Britain has made it
clear Tony Blair will not attend if Mugabe is present, the Sunday Times
Obasanjo advised the Movement for Democratic Change to
abandon its electoral court case and renew negotiations with Zanu
"My solution is to get out of court and start talks for
reconciliation," he said.
The call by Obasanjo, generally regarded as
Mugabe's strongest ally on the continent, has been met with indignation by
senior Zanu PF officials who the Independent spoke to
Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira dismissed the
"You can ask Obasanjo about that," he said. "We have not
discussed that because there is no reason to."
Zanu PF chair John
Nkomo yesterday also refused to talk about Mugabe's succession. "We have
never discussed it," he said. "Why should we
Obasanjo's statement follows calls from himself and
South African President Thabo Mbeki for the Commonwealth to lift Zimbabwe's
suspension from the world body. But observers suggest this more indulgent
approach could be a quid pro quo for Mugabe to exit the political scene well
ahead of the next presidential poll in 2008.
Asked by Business Day
if Mbeki also thought Mugabe should go,South African presidential spokesman
Bheki Khumalo said it was up to Zimbabweans to decide.
forthright message comes amidst an escalating succession battle in Zanu
A recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), titled
"Zimbabwe Beyond Mugabe: Danger and Opportunity", illuminated the
intensifying struggle for power.
"Two camps have emerged in the
struggle for post-Mugabe leadership of Zanu PF," the ICG
"Emmerson Mnangagwa and(Zimbabwe Defence Forces com-mander
General Vitalis) Zvina-vashe are on one side, while onthe other are retired
army com-mander Solomon Mujuru, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, current
army commander Constantine Chiwenga, Air Force commander Perence Shiri, and
sacked Finance minister Simba Makoni whom Mujuru has been pushing as
successor to Mugabe.
"This group seeks initially to consolidate its
control of the army by ensuring that Shiri succeeds Zvinavashe when the
latter retires this summer, though the impatience of the top military brass
over the political stalemate is growing, adding to the general aura of
uncertainty," the ICG said.
THE Economic Department of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) has released distressingly illuminating economic data which,
with intense clarity, evidences the magnitude of the poverty that afflicts
Zimbabwe, and the immense extent that such poverty is intensifying. In a
period of only seven years, the Food Poverty Line (FPL), being the market
cost of a food basket providing a person 2 100 calories a day, has increased
by more than 1 444%, as shown in Table 1A (below).
Thus, a minimum
life-sustaining basket of food for a family of five cost $675,27 per month in
1996, and $10 427,06 in 2002. As horrific as that cost escalation has been,
it has been even more appalling on a month-by-month basis during the past
year, with the increase in the FPL between March 2002 and January 2003 being
a devastating 285%, as demonstrated in Table 1B (top right).
minimum basket of food for a five-person household cost $7 333,81 in March,
2002, and a huge $21 619,40 by January, 2003 (and, in practice, markedly more
than that for many, due to an inability to obtain basic foods such as maize
meal and bread at official, controlled prices but only at considerably
greater cost within the black market, or by purchase of more costly
In order to evaluate the impacts of these disastrous cost
escalations, the ZCTU Economics Department has identified the movement in
wages, in real terms (as correlated in relation to the Consumer Price Index)
and the data evidences incontrovertibly that wages have effectively declined
over the past seven years, as shown in Table 2 (below right).
reflects a continuing increase in real wages until 2001, they almost doubling
in six years, but then they declined sharply in the next year and, by
January, 2003, the average real wage was only 71,9% of that in 1996, whilst
as ascertainable from Table 1B, the FPL had increased by
A further, very informative summary is given in Table 3,
which details the Total Poverty Line (TPL), in urban and in rural areas. It
defines TPL as the total consumption of households whose food expenditure
exactly equals the Food Poverty Line (FPL), correlating that with the
consumer price index (CPI), and shows that by January 2003 the TPL for a
household of five persons in urban areas has risen from $1 415,53 in 1996 to
$44 697,31, whilst for a similar household in rural areas the increase has
been from $1 251,48 in 1996 to $38 517,18 in January, 2003.
devastating figures are then related to average minimum wages, it becomes
clear how widespread poverty must be, for even in a household with two wage
earners generating an average wage, monthly income is only $32 957,62 as
against the minimum monthly expenditure necessary of $44 697,31. In such a
household, the joint wages amount to only 73,7% of minimum necessary
expenditures - and that is for the fortunate where two of the family have
employment. Generally that is not the case, for an estimated 70% of the
employable population is unemployed.
The tragedy is that the decimated
state of Zimbabwe's economy is so apocalyptic that very few employers can
fund wage increases sufficiently to compensate for the never-ending erosion
of purchasing power and thereby lift incomes above the TPL, and has been
subjected to such destruction that there are few opportunities of job
creation for the millions who are unemployed and, therefore, suffering the
most. It prompts a query as to what exactly the president had in mind when he
said, a little over a year ago, that nobody could have managed the economy
better than he had done!
Flower, Olonga are national heroes: veteran
DOHA: Zimbabwean cricketers Andy Flower and Henry Olonga should be
honoured as national heroes if and when president Robert Mugabe is ousted,
the country's veteran golfer Tony Johnstone said on
Johnstone, a staunch critic of the Zimbabwean government, was
in the forefront of anti-Mugabe protests even before the World Cup began and
laid the blame on the International Cricket Council (ICC) for going ahead
with matches in the strife-torn African country. "Anybody who doesn't think
that Zimbabwe isn't in an absolute, unadulterated shambles, have got their
heads in the sand," the England-based Johnstone, who won the Qatar Masters
in 2001, told AFP. "The ICC shouldn't have scheduled the World Cup matches
in Zimbabwe in the first place."
Flower and Olonga hit the headlines
with their black armband protests against the Mugabe regime during the World
Cup and were subsequently threatened with their removal from the squad. "The
Mugabe government's policies have been blamed for food shortages and unrest
in Zimbabwe and I think what Henry and Andy have done is simply brave," said
Johnstone. "Their criticism of the regime is right because where there is no
freedom of speech and expression. There is no democracy. "The regime there is
ruthless and these guys have been unbelievably brave because they live there
with their families. They should be declared national heroes when the
situation improves. "It's alright for me to criticise the government because
I don't live there anymore and I don't have to worry about my family. But my
heart lies in Zimbabwe."
While Flower was allowed to play all the
matches in the World Cup, Olonga was dropped after the first match and was
only recalled for Wednesday's outing aganst Kenya at Bloemfontein. Flower has
already announced he will quit international cricket after the World Cup and
has sent his wife and two children to England where he will be playing county
cricket for Essex. -AFP
scenarios for the near future of Zimbabwe, the fall of President Robert
Mugabe's government within a year is the most likely, the SA Institute of
Race Relations heard on Thursday night.
Professor Tony Hawkins of the
Graduate School of Management at the University of Zimbabwe told an institute
meeting that scenario planners generally list three possibilities: "the
status quo, the slow decline, and accelerated decline".
Speaking as an
economist, he thinks the accelerated decline and fall of the Mugabe
government "within six months to a year" is the most likely.
economic indicators [in Zimbabwe] except inflation and indebtedness
are heading down," and inflation is likely to rise to about 400% by the end
of the year.
Looking to how the crisis might unfold, Hawkins said
there are "stirrings" within the ruling party that suggest a possible exit
strategy for Mugabe. He discounted the possibility of a military coup and
said international pressure seems unlikely to bring change. Publish Date:
14 March 2003 Source: SAPA
The Situation in Zimbabwe & Implementing
Sanctions Friday, 14 March 2003, 10:40 am Press Release: US
Joint Statement Philip Reeker Washington, DC March 12,
2003 Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Mark Bellamy
and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor J.
Scott Carpenter on the Situation in Zimbabwe and Current Steps
Towards Implementing U.S. Sanctions
MR. REEKER: We have a special
briefing for you this afternoon on the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, a
crisis which has been created by Robert Mugabe and his cronies. And we have
two specialists in this field to talk to you a bit about that this
As you will recall, last week the President imposed certain
sanctions by Executive Order, and they will be able to expand on that a
little bit as necessary. You have that information. We will be distributing a
brochure, which highlights a number of these issues, as well as some
follow-up documents of things that have emerged since the brochure itself
But let me get straight to introducing our guests. We
have the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs from the
Department of State Mark Bellamy, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Scott Carpenter. Each of our Deputy
Assistant Secretaries will have brief opening remarks and then be here to
take your questions.
So without any further ado, why don't I turn it
over to both of them.
MR. CARPENTER: Thank you, Phil. This is the
report that we are going to be issuing today, and we are here to talk about
Zimbabwe. In case anybody is here to talk about Iraq, this is the wrong
Zimbabwe is a place where human rights are violated every day
and people are still awaiting freedom, they are still awaiting prosperity.
Mugabe has brought the country of Zimbabwe untold suffering. This report
catalogs what he has done to the country.
When Zimbabwe gained its
independence in 1980, it had a model constitution, an intact, respected
judiciary which was functioning. Zimbabwe was poised to become a success
story for democracy, a success story for free markets, something that was
desperately needed in southern Africa at the time.
years, these bright prospects started to dim. Mugabe embarked on a reign of
terror to consolidate political power -- his political power. Using troops
trained by North Koreans, he crushed his major political opponent, Joshua
Nkomo, killing over 20,000 Zimbabweans and torturing thousands more in the
process. This bloodbath brought a decade of increasing subservience to
Mugabe, but by the mid-'90s, profound economic mismanagement and electoral
manipulation led to the emergence of a significant opposition and a new
threat to Mugabe's power.
But, rather than change course and address
underlying problems, in early 2000, Mugabe proposed a series of
constitutional reforms designed to further the referendum to entrench his
power. Opposition parties and NGOs boycotted the process and the referendum
was rejected by voters despite government-organized violence.
Shortly afterwards, a violent campaign against real or suspected opponents of
the regime began. In the parliamentary elections, Mugabe's ZANU-PF Party was
opposed by the Movement for Democratic Change. Waves of political violence
were unable to deter voters from giving the MDC nearly 50 percent of the
The March 2002 presidential election, a process declared
fundamentally flawed and illegitimate by international observers, as well as
the South African Development Community, resulted in Mugabe's retaining
power. The vote also resulted in an intensification of violence against
Mugabe's opponents, further restrictions on press, further restrictions on
other freedoms, and a continuation of land seizures and profound economic
The failure of Zimbabwe gives a bloody example of the primacy
of human rights -- the failure of Zimbabwe gives a bloody example of the
primacy of human rights and democratic principles. By riding roughshod over
the political and human rights of his fellow Zimbabweans, by demonstrating
his total disregard for human rights and democracy, Robert Mugabe has
succeeded in reducing a once promising nation with a bright future to a state
of ruin, desolation, and isolation.
The publication we have
prepared, "Zimbabwe's Manmade Crisis," recounts, in at times gruesome detail,
how the people of Zimbabwe have suffered, how the people of Zimbabwe continue
to suffer. It is a sterling example of how depriving people of their human
rights tears at the fabric of society, destroys their economic well-being,
and sews the seeds of chaos and perhaps of collapse.
tragic case of Zimbabwe gives further evidence, if any were needed, of the
core importance of human rights in the maintenance and progress of
In the words of the International Crisis Group's 2002 Report
on Zimbabwe, "ZANU-PF and the Government are still systematically using
violence to punish the MDC and civil society and compel them to accept the
flawed election results. Food is becoming scarcer, and with the regional
drought, compounding the land seizure crisis. UN agencies warn of possible
That's the conclusion of my short statement. I'd invite Mark
to add his comments, and then we will take questions.
MR. BELLAMY: Thanks, Scott.
Scott has described the
situation in Zimbabwe, and give some background. I would only like to say
that we thought it worthwhile to talk about Zimbabwe today because there are
many other crises in Africa, which perhaps get more attention, and global
attention generally is not focused on Africa to the same extent that it is on
the Gulf, Middle East, and other areas today, but it's important that we not
lose sight of the tragedy that has overtaken Zimbabwe, tragedy which Scott
has just described to you.
The booklet that we are releasing today
catalogues the increasing repression, coupled with the disdain for the rule
of law and the increasingly flagrant human rights abuses that have occurred
in Zimbabwe over the past couple of years. All of these are linked to the
economic collapse of the country, about which I will talk a little bit more
in a few moments.
Last week, on March 7th, the President issued an
Executive Order, which freezes the assets of Robert Mugabe and 76 other
Zimbabwean officials deemed most responsible for the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Among other things, the Executive Order prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging
in any financial transactions with these listed individuals.
a range of targeted sanctions in place on Zimbabwe, as does the EU and a
handful of other countries. These targeted sanctions can only be effective if
they are consistently and rigorously applied. This is especially true of
travel sanctions adopted by the United States and the EU. By taking away
travel and financial privileges of those most responsible for the crisis in
Zimbabwe, we raise the costs of their misrule, we underline Zimbabwe's
diplomatic isolation, and we give hope to those in Zimbabwe who are
struggling for a better future.
Let me -- Scott has described the human
rights and political crisis in Zimbabwe. The pamphlet we are issuing today
goes into much more detail. I would just want to leave with you a few
indicators of the economic ruin -- and I think ruin is not too strong a word
-- that has overtaken Zimbabwe in a very, very short time. Our latest
estimates show that there may be as many as 2 million Zimbabweans today who
are displaced persons, and this includes over a million farm workers and
their families who, in the past year-and-a-half, have lost their homes and
their livelihoods. Increasingly, we see in Zimbabwe number of people who are
on the move in the country, in search of food and work.
Zimbabwe is running at over 200 percent. Unemployment has climbed to 70
percent. The economy in Zimbabwe is expected to contract by 11 percent in
2003. This is following a 12 percent contraction in GDP in 2002. I think it's
fair to say it's often said that Zimbabwe has the dubious distinction of
being the fastest contracting economy in the world today.
commodities are largely, or many basic commodities are largely unavailable,
due to price controls, a shortage of foreign exchange. Tragically, in a
country that, until only two years ago, was considered a breadbasket of
Southern Africa and was a reliable exporter of agricultural surpluses, 7.2
million Zimbabweans, almost half the population, are today in need of food
assistance; and one of the more poignant results of the food crisis in
Zimbabwe is the fact that a Zimbabwean newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS today
has a life expectancy of one year. Two years ago, a Zimbabwean newly
diagnosed with HIV/ AIDS had a life expectancy of seven years.
is only one indication, only a few indications of the magnitude of the crisis
that has overtaken what was once one of Africa's most promising and
I mentioned targeted sanctions a moment ago.
Sanctions are part of the answer. They're not the entire answer. Clearly,
what is needed is concerted international pressure on the Zimbabwean
Government to abandon its course of repression and to move towards early free
and fair elections, which are the only real solution to the political crisis
gripping the country.
That's my opening statement, and I'll be happy to
respond to questions. I think Scott will -- we'll sort of do a division of
responsibility here on human rights issues and on the booklet and on other
QUESTION: To my knowledge, since the travel sanctions
were imposed, with the exception of one trip to New York that you guys were
forced to give him a visa for under the UN agreement, Mugabe has really only
traveled to one place, and that was to Paris, at the invitation of President
You talked a little bit about how you thought that these
sanctions needed to be imposed uniformly and something else --
BELLAMY: Rigorously and consistently.
QUESTION: -- rigorously applied,
consistently. I know the Secretary has spoken about this up on the Hill, as
have others. But, you know, specifically with France, what are you saying to
them now, if you're still talking to France, considering the diatribe we had
MR. BELLAMY: We talked about Zimbabwe with France just
yesterday, as a matter of fact, and what we said was that, to be effective,
sanctions have to be consistently and rigorously applied, and we said at the
time of the French Government's invitation to President Mugabe that we were
disappointed in the French decision and that we didn't see a justification
And we continue to feel, and we've told our French friends that
the sanctions can work if they are systematically applied.
Yes, but has the French invitation and Mugabe's actual visit there destroyed
the effectiveness of --
MR. BELLAMY: I don't think so, because my
understanding is that the EU is in the process of renewing the EU travel ban
for an additional year, so the EU travel sanctions will remain in
QUESTION: Yeah, but the only reason the EU is able to do that is
because they gave the -- I mean, because they allowed the French to invite
MR. BELLAMY: I'm hoping they'll do better this year than -- next
year than they did this year in enforcing them.
QUESTION: So you
don't want to take a shot at the French, I guess?
QUESTION: The list of
those affected by the asset freeze included, I believe, the wife of Mugabe
and a sister. I'm wondering, is this just because of the familial connection
or because of something that they were involved in? And B, what is the effect
of these -- of an asset freeze? Do they have any known assets in this
MR. BELLAMY: The effect of an asset freeze will be to freeze
any assets they have in this country and to prevent them from engaging in
financial transactions of any kind with U.S. citizens. I cannot answer the
question as to what assets may actually be -- they may actually have in the
country. Frankly, I don't know. Treasury has the responsibility for
actually enforcing this Executive Order and they are in the process of
drawing up their procedures for doing that right now.
In terms of
Mrs. Mugabe and others, persons -- I believe that all the persons included in
this action in their own right are considered to be financial actors, if you
will, in Zimbabwe, people who are not on the list by virtue of being a spouse
or the relative of somebody else who is on the list.
understand that several people on the -- several people that are on that list
have children going to school in the States. What's the effect on
MR. BELLAMY: Well, the Executive Order obviously doesn't address
the question of children in school in the States. But it does make it -- it
does make it difficult if not prohibitive for them to conduct normal
financial transactions in order to keep their children in school.
QUESTION: As in paying tuition?
MR. BELLAMY: Yes, that's
QUESTION: So have you -- did you guys look into this at all,
the effect that this would have? I don't know if it's a huge number of
children that are involved.
MR. BELLAMY: We have in the past looked
at this issue. We don't have a perfectly precise picture of the number of
children studying in the United States. I don't think the number is very
large, though. Our initial indications were that it was not a large number of
dependants studying here.
QUESTION: We haven't heard much recently
about the effects of the drought and about food supplies. Can we assume from
that, that generally speaking, people are receiving enough food to keep them
alive through this period, or what's going on on the ground, is what I really
MR. BELLAMY: Our reports are that the food shortages continue to
be severe, that the Zimbabwean population are working their way through
towards the end of their coping mechanisms. That food is -- food aid is
continuing to get into the country. So while there is severe malnutrition,
severe hunger and possibly starvation in some areas, mass starvation has
We do know that the forecasts for crop production this
year are very grim -- as you would expect, very grim indeed. And that the
crisis Zimbabwe is in is likely to be a continuing one. Zimbabwe is going to
need continued and increased food aid through the next year. And a greater
and greater percentage of that is going to be -- well, I say increased food
aid. A greater percentage of what Zimbabweans are consuming is going to be
food aid rather than food that the government is able to import.
QUESTION: Can you address the issue of or at least assess the level
of cooperation by South Africa and its leadership in essentially
squeezing Zimbabwe? Is it sufficient, as far as you're concerned?
MR. BELLAMY: South Africa has pursued, for the past two years what it
has characterized as a policy of quiet diplomacy in an effort to ameliorate
the situation in Zimbabwe. We have been in fairly close and continuous
contact with South Africa over this time on the crisis in Zimbabwe. We
continue to feel that South Africa does have influence and can -- can use
that influence to shape events in Zimbabwe. And we would like South Africa to
exercise that influence towards the objectives I mentioned earlier; that is,
pressing the Zimbabwean Government more forcefully to end its policies of
repression and pressing the -- and working towards early free and fair
elections in that country.
QUESTION: And yet both they and the
Nigerians are leading the call for the commonwealth suspension to be -- for
the suspension to be suspended.
MR. BELLAMY: For the suspension to be
suspended. We --
QUESTION: So, you know, I don't see how you -- you
know, you talked to the French, you talked to the South Africans, presumably
you talked to Nigerians, and they're all going the wrong way on this, from
your point of view?
MR. BELLAMY: Several of the commonwealth
members, I don't remember whether South Africa was part -- I think Nigeria
was one of the members who offered the observation the other day that the
situation in Zimbabwe appeared to be improving. We obviously strongly
QUESTION: The South African Foreign Minister?
BELLAMY: And I think -- I know the Nigerians also noted that. Obviously, we
have made clear to both the South Africans and the Nigerians that we don't
agree with that analysis. We think the situation in Zimbabwe is worsening
and, as I have just said, we believe now is not the time to lift the
sanctions but rather to maintain firmness and consistency and rigor in
applying those sanctions. That's obviously going to be a decision
the commonwealth has to make, and I don't want to predict how it will come
out, but I know that there are a range of different opinions within
QUESTION: Short of your lobbying efforts, which
thus far, with all due respect, don't seem to me particularly successful with
the three countries, South Africa, Nigeria and France that we were just
talking about, is the United States prepared to do anything else? I mean,
what is there more that you can do unilaterally aside from the sanctions that
-- I'm not suggesting regime change -- aside from the sanctions that the
President put in place, are there other things that you guys are thinking
about, are exploring?
MR. BELLAMY: I don't think it's fair to say we've
been unsuccessful. We have maintained and extended our own sanctions. The EU
has maintained its sanctions. There have been some lapses in the application
of the sanctions. But it's important that those sanctions will go on for
another year. The EU, largely because of controversy over the Zimbabwe issue,
cancelled this year's EU-Africa summit. That would have been a second
occasion for Robert Mugabe to go to Europe and he was denied that
The commonwealth sanctions are being debated,
but they are still in place and we are going to work to keep them in place.
So I don't -- I don't think that we've done badly in that regard. The key
over the coming year will be to keep the sanctions in place and to instill, I
think, a new sense of urgency particularly on the part of Zimbabwe's
neighbors, that the humanitarian crisis in the country is coming to a head,
the pressures in Zimbabwe itself are building, and this is the time that we
need to apply maximum pressure on the Government of Zimbabwe to abandon these
repressive policies and to begin a process of liberalization leading to early
free and fair elections.
QUESTION: Can you give us a sense at all
about the opposition in the country and whether you think that the government
-- if there's any instability, that could lead to the fall of the government
in any way?
MR. BELLAMY: The opposition inside Zimbabwe takes many
forms. There is the opposition front, the MDC, but there are labor unions,
there are student groups, there are many elements of civil society, all of
whom are subjected to fairly severe repression; and if you've noticed,
political gatherings, political expression, political dissent in Zimbabwe is
coming under increasingly quick and severe repression wherever it
Despite this, we believe that many Zimbabweans are continuing
to hold on, and to maintain hope, and to struggle for a better future, and I
think it's incumbent on all of us to give them hope and to give them support,
without trying to pick what the future Government of Zimbabwe will be,
without trying to choose sides in a future Zimbabwe, simply to support,
broadly speaking, all those groups in Zimbabwe who form the democratic
QUESTION: Are you working with these groups through any
kind of specific programs, maybe through NDI or IRI or any of those?
MR. BELLAMY: For many years, we've had relationships with many of
these groups in Zimbabwe, going back to the 1980s and the 1990s, and we
continue to maintain most of those relationships.
QUESTION: You said
that there was some starvation, and I seem to recall -- in pockets in
Zimbabwe -- I seem to recall at one stage there was a proposal for food drops
with or without the approval of the Government of Zimbabwe.
happened to that proposal? If there are these pockets of starvation, why have
such food drops not taken place?
MR. BELLAMY: I don't know that there
was ever a proposal, or certainly not a formal proposal, for the idea of food
drops in Zimbabwe.
We have said on a number of occasions that it's
important that the international community do everything possible to ensure
that food aid is not politicized and that the food that we give to Zimbabwe
is fairly distributed. The key to that is effective monitoring inside the
country and effective action on the part of the donors and the embassies that
are in Zimbabwe.
We've done a better job, I think, in the past three
months of this monitoring, and although we continue to be concerned about
reports of politicization of food aid or food aid being used for political
purposes, we haven't had many reported incidents recently, and this is,
perhaps, a positive trend.
Now, I should hasten to say that that
covers the aid that we, the international community, give. We don't have good
mechanisms for monitoring what the Zimbabwe Government does with the food
that it brings in on its own.
QUESTION: Wasn't it, in fact, you that
were pilloried by the Zimbabwean press for that suggestion about food
MR. BELLAMY: No, I didn't specifically mention dropping food. I
talked about the importance of doing everything we could to ensure that
hungry people in Zimbabwe got food.
QUESTION: But they interpreted
it, Mugabe and his --
MR. BELLAMY: As a threat of invasion --
QUESTION: Yes, exactly, that the US is preparing to -- within six
months, the US is going to invade, and that's not on the table,
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) has bemoaned the lack of good corporate governance in the country,
saying lawlessness was now prevalent in most companies.
interview with The Daily News, Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president, said
there was no more corporate governance to talk about in most organisations
throughout the country.
He said: "The lawlessness everyone is
talking about has spread to the business community. Very few companies are
still observing principles of good corporate governance."
Matombo said the proposal to have minimum wage levels raised from $16 621,32
to $26 635 was woefully inadequate taking into account the escalating cost of
The labour body last week recommended to the Tripartite
Negotiating Forum that minimum wages be increased by an average of 60
The move was, however, deemed unsustainable as most
companies faced closure owing to the harsh macro-economic
environment. Matombo dismissed the assertions, insisting that not all
companies were under stress. He said: "In fact, according to a study
carried out recently, the minimum wage should be $88 000."
According to statistics, a majority of professionals, among them teachers,
earning below $88 000 were living below the poverty datum line. The
ZCTU said most workers were being paid slave wages and, as such, working was
no longer worth their while.
Matombo castigated the "hypocritical
stance" of some companies which in spite of moaning about the economic
hardships, still declared huge profits and yet poorly paid their
Matombo said: "Over the past six years salaries and
packages for top managers have risen phenomenally, while those of general
workers have remained almost static." However, in a separate
interview, Mike Bimha, the Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ)
president, said there were some companies which were doing well and
maintained principles of good corporate governance.
"Certainly there are a number of indigenous companies that are performing
better and have managed to employ strategies to remain afloat in a volatile
The EMCOZ boss said organisations in a profitable
position should reward their employees accordingly as it was ultimately in
their best interests.
He, however, challenged some indigenous
entrepreneurs to be innovative and employ professionals to manage their
THE fuel crisis has hit hard on operations
of security companies in Mutare, with many of them failing to fulfil their
cash-in-transit services with various financial institutions, executives at
several firms said on Wednesday.
"We cannot operate at full
throttle as we have to deploy drivers to scrounge for fuel from filling
stations," said Alfred Hitschmann, the managing director of
He said: "Most of the time we fail to get fuel after
spending long hours in the queues. We lose business in the
Hitschmann, whose firm runs a fleet of 16 vehicles for
its cash-in-transit services, said the company was now forced to postpone by
two to three days trips to clients in Chipinge and Nyanga.
Chitkem, operations manager, Howard Kamuchira said criminal elements could
use the fuel shortage to strike businesses which handled large sums of money
and relied on cash-in-transit security services.
"We are the only security company that offers the service in Murehwa. We are
failing to operate effectively because of the fuel crisis. This would
eventually lead criminals to pounce on our clients in the belief they have
lots of cash."
He said some clients were now forced to offer their
vehicles to transport the cash, while the company provided an escort
Other security firms echoed similar concerns, appealing to
filling stations to accord them - along with ambulances and funeral
service vehicles - preference in the allocation of petrol and
Chamu Ngwerume, the chairperson of the Harare-based
Security Association of Zimbabwe, said cash-in-transit services were the
most affected in the security industry.
Ngwerume said: "The
transportation of cash from the Reserve Bank to banks and from bank to bank
as well as from businesses to banks has been reduced. I am afraid some banks
will run out money if the crisis persists."
Tafadzwa Musekiwa's predicament, anyone would forgive the 27-year-old
opposition MDC Member of Parliament for Zengeza for resigning his
As he aptly put it, it wouldn't be wise for him to die in
Zimbabwe when he could contribute to the struggle for genuine democracy in
safety outside the country.
His clashes with the police and
ruling Zanu PF officials over the last few years read like a litany of a
When he announced his resignation this week,
Musekiwa, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom
since last November, said there had been real attempts on his
A few weeks before he fled the country, the young legislator
escaped through the window from his house - naked - after it had had
been tear-gassed by the police. He sustained serious injuries on his feet
and body while fleeing that night.
On many other occasions, he
was either arrested, tortured or harassed by the police on very spurious
charges of infringement of the law. It cannot be denied that the young man's
life was in real danger.
On 16 August last year, the outspoken but
popular MP was barred from attending his father's funeral in Chivhu. It
reminds one of the time when the Ian Smith regime denied Robert Mugabe the
opportunity to leave detention to attend the funeral of his son,
Nhamodzenyika, in the early 60s.
The irony, though, is that
Mugabe's government, most of whose members underwent severe torture and
suffering under the Smith regime, is meting out the same harsh treatment to
its fellow blacks.
But it is highly debatable whether Musekiwa's
decision to escape to the safety and comfort of the UK leaving the
battlefield at home was right or not.
While his resignation will
obviously give Zanu PF members a reason to celebrate that one more opposition
MP is out, it sends a very bad message to the rest of the nation and the
world. It is a clear testimony of what repression can lead to.
Torture and detention instill fear, especially in the hearts of the young,
like Musekiwa. He fell prey to the evil machinations of his political rivals.
It would be very unfortunate if others within his party follow his in his
footsteps. For that would be easy victory for Zanu PF. There would be more
Zanu PF, which was given a rude shock when the
newly-formed MDC won 57 of the contested 120 seats in the 2000 parliamentary
election, is working hard to have a two-thirds majority. This majority would
obviously enable it to amend the Constitution in any manner it deems
To date, the MDC is down to 51 seats following the death of
Kuwadzana MP Learnmore Jongwe, the resignation of Mike Auret (Harare Central)
due to ill health, and the expulsion from the party of Munyaradzi
Gwisai, the MP for Highfield, among others. Should anything else
happen to just one more MDC legislator, then Zanu PF, which is very
experienced and shrewd in political games, will have the desired two-thirds
majority to enable it to make legitimate
An exit package will be announced for
the President and a Zanu PF member will replace him, sealing the fate for
both the MDC and the nation.
This is very feasible. The
MDC should urgently take a closer look at itself and its strategies to bring
about real change.
There are justified murmurs that the MDC
leadership is soft and not prepared to sacrifice their lives in the same
manner that their adversaries within Zanu PF did during the liberation
struggle of this country.
Those murmurs should not be dismissed,
but should be taken as a genuine desire by loyal supporters who feel that
their leaders should go back to the drawing board to save the country from
further economic destruction.