The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Foreign cash crucial to reviving Zim
Mail and Guardian
Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe
04 March 2008 07:44
Reviving Zimbabwe's moribund economy
inflation-battered citizens to swallow the bitter pill of
spending and higher interest rates to attract foreign cash,
The ousting of veteran President Robert Mugabe
is essential to
pave the way for reforms to put the country back on track,
they believe, and
drastic steps are required to re-instil investor
"They would have to completely reverse the
policies of the
current government, drastically cut on expenditure and push
rates," said Anthony Hawkins, an economics professor at the
"It's impossible to see a
solution without some kind of foreign
assistance, so whoever wins will have
to go on their knees to ask for aid."
Mugabe is to seek a
sixth term in office in joint presidential
and parliamentary polls next
month at a time the country's official
inflation rate exceeds a
mind-boggling 100 000%.
Zimbabwean unemployment stands at
about 80%, even basic
foodstuffs are scarce, and the general infrastructure
is rapidly crumbling.
Life expectancy has plummeted to 37 years for men and
34 for women.
Mugabe is widely blamed for the state of
affairs over his
controversial land-reform policies -- seizing white-owned
redistribution to landless black Zimbabweans and all but killing
agriculture and scaring off foreign investors.
But the octogenarian leader blames his country's woes on
imposed on himself and members of his inner circle by the
European Union and
United States following 2002 elections the opposition and
said were flawed.
Mugabe this month goes up against his
former finance minister,
Simba Makoni, recently expelled from the ruling
Zanu-PF, and Morgan
Tsvangirai, head of the main opposition Movement for
Analysts said any government
elected on March 29 would have its
work cut out to attract trade
"There is need for an immediate post-election
will have to remove price controls [and] subsidies, and
interest rates have
to be removed upwards," said Harare-based economist
"There is also need to come up with
policies that will attract
foreign direct investment in this
While Makoni has declined to elaborate on his
the MDC said it planned to reduce money supply, liberalise
markets and restore relations with former trading partners
to spur economic
It would also provide loans to
help failed companies back on
their feet, halve the number of Cabinet
ministers to save money, and woo
back professionals who have left the
"The MDC does not think that these goals can be
or quickly and recognises that any stabilisation and
recovery programme will
inevitably involve both sacrifice and hardships,"
party spokesperson Nelson
"It [MDC] will
not only inherit a collapsed economy, failing
infrastructure and a massive
humanitarian crisis, but also a civil service
that is highly politicised and
decimated by the loss of both skills and
Tsvangirai has said the country would need $10-billion to revive
Launching his party's election manifesto on Friday,
pledged to revive agricultural production by providing farming
beneficiaries of his land-reform programme.
He also undertook to plug leakages of precious minerals.
mining sector has remained a place that's closed to us," he
"Unless we are there as owners or shareholders, we
to be cheated."
Zimbabwe central bank
governor Gideon Gono said last month he
was drafting a new economic
blueprint for "price stability, inflation
control, investment promotion, as
well as revamping the general productivity
levels of the
Analysts say the country's economic future is
closely tied to
the as-yet-unpredictable outcome of the
"The state of the economy is attached to Bob
[Mugabe]. If he
goes, the economy will improve. But if he stays, things
would continue as
they are," said Godfrey Kanyenze, chief economist of the
of Trade Unions.
Hawkins predicted that
not much would change under Makoni, who
was likely to continue pursuing
"Tsvangirai would be able to get foreign
aid and assistance, but
the question is, will he win?" --
Foreign firms deny fund-raising in Zimbabwe poll
Tue 4 Mar
2008, 15:24 GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Brewer SABMiller and Citigroup
denied a report in a
Zimbabwean newspaper on Tuesday that they were raising
funds for one of
President Robert Mugabe's election opponents.
Herald said the two were among international corporations raising funds
former finance minister Simba Makoni, who is taking on Mugabe in the
"Information available indicates that the London-based
Christine Thompson, who is the policy issues manager with
co-ordinated a fund-raising lunch held in London last Friday,"
London-based SABMiller spokesman Nigel Fairbrass
denied the report.
"SABMiller would like to make it clear that it is not
funding or supporting
any political campaign in Zimbabwe and neither has
this ever been under
consideration," Fairbrass said.
The Herald also
reported that Citigroup was involved in raising funds for
presidential campaign. Citigroup's spokesman in London, Jonathan
dismissed the report as "absolute rubbish".
"Citi does not support
political causes and it would be inappropriate of us
to do so," he
Mugabe frequently accuses Western powers, especially former
Britain, of working with the opposition to oust
War veterans plot Mugabe victory
by Farisai Gonye Wednesday 05 March 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's
war veterans converge in Harare today for an emergency
meeting to plot
strategy to mobilise votes for President Robert Mugabe in a
in three weeks' time.
The veterans are hardliner supporters of Mugabe who
have waged violence and
terror against the opposition at every election to
ensure victory for the
Zimbabwean leader and his ruling ZANU PF
The former fighters of Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence were
vanguard of Mugabe's controversial land reforms in which several
farmers and their black workers were killed or
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans (ZNLWVA) vice-chairman
Chinotimba told ZimOnline that today's meeting at ZANU-PF
Harare was to map out plans for a peaceful but vigorous
programme to win
support for the ruling party which he described as
However, Chinotimba ominously warned that the veterans - who
he said wanted
to rid ZANU PF of enemies working from within the party -
would resort to
violence if attacked.
"We should also discuss
deployment plans because our members are actively
involved in campaigning
for President Mugabe and our party ZANU-PF. We are
not going to wage a
violent campaign," he said.
"In fact, we are urging our members to
campaign peacefully and only to
resort to violence when attacked only as an
act of self-defence," added
Chinotimba, who led the violent seizure of white
farms eight years ago.
Mugabe faces probably his toughest political test
in the March 29
presidential poll that is combined with parliamentary and
and in which he squares up against his respected former
Simba Makoni and popular main opposition leader Morgan
The veterans, who last year led marches across the country in
Mugabe, insist that he is the only one fit to rule Zimbabwe
worsening economic crisis and food shortages blamed on his
Nevertheless, insiders say the veterans, whose support is
Mugabe, are no longer united behind the 84-year old President,
liberation war top commander Dumiso Dabengwa and retired army
Mbudzi's defection to back Makoni as a sign of widening
However, political analysts say that
an unfair electoral field and a
political climate of fear could just be
enough to guarantee Mugabe victory.
The veteran leader - who at one time
boasted that no one could have run
Zimbabwe better than him - has promised a
landslide victory against
Tsvangirai and Makoni to prove he has the support
of ordinary Zimbabweans. -
Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to
Zimbabwe - White House
Office of the Press Secretary
On March 6, 2003, by Executive Order 13288, I
declared a national emergency
and blocked the property of persons
undermining democratic processes or
institutions in Zimbabwe, pursuant to
the International Emergency Economic
Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 1706). I
took this action to deal with the
unusual and extraordinary threat to the
foreign policy of the United States
constituted by the actions and policies
of certain members of the Government
of Zimbabwe and other persons to
undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes
or institutions. These actions
have contributed to the deliberate breakdown
in the rule of law in Zimbabwe,
politically motivated violence and
intimidation, and political and economic
instability in the southern African
region. On November 22, 2005, I issued
Executive Order 13391 to take
additional steps with respect to the national
emergency declared in
Executive Order 13288 by ordering the blocking of the
property of additional
persons undermining democratic processes or
institutions in Zimbabwe.
Because the actions and policies of these
persons continue to pose an
unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign
policy of the United States,
the national emergency declared on March 6,
2003, and the measures adopted
on that date and on November 22, 2005, to
deal with that emergency, must
continue in effect beyond March 6, 2008.
Therefore, in accordance with
section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act
(50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am
continuing for 1 year the national emergency with
respect to the actions and
policies of certain members of the Government of
Zimbabwe and other persons
to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and
GEORGE W. BUSH
Red Cross fights cholera in Mozambique and
International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
By Martina Schwikowski, International
Mozambique has been affected by a cholera outbreak that hit
'Cholera is spreading to eight provinces rapidly. The Tete
province is the
most affected. It is flood-related and about 20 people are
getting sick per
day,' says Ernestina Jama, the Mozambique Red Cross
health-coordinator. 'A health technician is working there now to
volunteers,' she adds. These volunteers are carrying out
to educate people, hand out medicine and tablets for
water purification. But
despite all efforts, the situation is worsening. In
Mutarara district, 825
cases have been reported and 14 people have already
Out of eleven provinces in the country, cholera has spread to
Tete, Sofala, Manica Province, Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Maputo and
Province. Countrywide 48 people died and a total of 4452 people
When the outbreak started in Mozambique in
October, 100 cholera cases were
reported daily in some provinces. In Maputo
province and in the capital
province itself 80 cases needed urgent treatment
on a daily basis. 'That
number has gone down to two people per day,' says
Jama. 'But in Cabo Delgado
the epidemic is increasing.'
of Health set up 71 treatment centres in all affected areas
and oral re-hydration medicine is provided. The World Health
(WHO) has delivered information and materials, but according to
Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM), the situation is still not under
control. The displaced population is sheltered in over-crowded tents and
faced with water and sanitation problems.
The CVM appealed for US$
99,749 to address the cholera crisis and has so far
received a cash donation
of US$ 32,000 USD from the French Embassy in
Maputo. 'We need more financial
support and also more incentives for 575
volunteers working hard on the
ground to help people,' she said. In Maputo
60 volunteers are involved in
daily first aid action and house visits before
referring patients to the
In the flood-affected provinces, the CVM is
facilitating prevention and
diarrhoea monitoring, while in other
cholera-affected areas less awareness
campaigns have been carried
Cholera has also spread across the border to neighbouring Zimbabwe
National Red Cross Society is also fighting to prevent new cases
on a daily basis in the two provinces of Mashonaland Central and
Reports indicate that traders crossing the Mozambique border to
informal business may have been infected with the disease, but also
contamination of water in flooded areas contributed to the outbreak in
Zimbabwe which resulted in 92 cases of cholera and 9 people losing their
In Mashonaland Central, the two districts of Mt Darwin and
affected. In Mudzi District, in Mashonaland East, the outbreak
reported at Kotwa Growth Point Hospital and currently 35 people
admitted and are been treated.
The Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare set up a treatment camp at the main
district hospital and also
MSF Holland assisted in constructing a separate
treatment centre so that the
numbers of re-infections could be reduced.
Initially the admission rate was
high, but figures have dropped to a few
cases a day.
is getting better. Even if Zimbabwe Red Cross has been
hospital with relief material like water makers and latex
gloves, there is a
need to improve water and sanitation,' says
Some villagers do not have pit latrines. Boreholes, water pumps
and they only have poor supply of clean water. The current
affected the overall health conditions in villages and most
contributed to the cholera outbreak. 'If people do not have any other
they go to unsafe water sources,' concludes Pauline
Makoni: No backlash against Mugabe
Mail and Guardian
04 March 2008 11:13
Former Zimbabwe finance minister Simba Makoni has said there
will be no
backlash against veteran President Robert Mugabe if he topples
him at this
month's general election.
"President Mugabe is someone who
has a very special place in our
history," Makoni said in an interview,
ruling out retribution against Mugabe
over his tainted human rights
"He led our country together with [the late]
Joshua Nkomo into independence in 1980. He led our people
in the decade and a half of our independence. We will not
take those away
from our elders.
"We will accord them the
due respect that our African culture
and African standards demand of us. We
want President Mugabe to know that
under our Mavambo/Kusile ("New Dawn"
government) they have the same rights
as other citizens.
"We are not about retribution and victimisation. We are about
oneness and I believe this is what the people of Zimbabwe
Mugabe has been castigated by the West over
alleged human rights
violations, including the massacre of thousands of
"dissidents" in the early
1980s and the detention and assault of his
United States President George Bush has listed
what he has termed "outposts of tyranny".
But Makoni said he will only consider the concerns of
"We are not going to be looking at concerns
from the West," he
"We are looking only at concerns
of Zimbabweans. We are offering
national re-engagement, national healing,
Makoni, who was expelled from the
ruling party last month after
he announced his plan to take on Mugabe, said
he was expecting to get at
least 72% of the vote.
Zimbabweans go to the polls on March 29 with the population
runaway inflation that breached the 100 000% mark in January
official statistics, while basic goods like cooking oil and
sugar are often
in short supply.
Makoni, who quit as finance minister in 2003
before the economy
went into freefall, said he could not wave a magic wand,
but wanted to
"facilitate the people of Zimbabwe to turn around the
"Our slogan is 'Let's get Zimbabwe working'. I
will not be able [to], and will not even think of trying to
turn around the
economy around by myself."
pledged to restore Zimbabwe's strained relations with
its former trading
partners in the West.
"We are offering Zimbabwe into the
international community," he
said. "We are not in isolation. We belong to
the region, African continent
and we belong to the world
Makoni has been castigated by Mugabe as a stooge
of the West.
But the 57-year-old said he was "no one's tool"
and claimed the
support of many disillusioned Zanu-PF
He said despite challenging Mugabe he does not fear
"I don't believe that any
sensible Zimbabwean in his right mind
would want to harm me for offering
myself to work for them."
'You should vote for
On Monday it was reported that Mugabe's deputy, Joyce
has thrown her weight behind the veteran ruler's bid for a sixth
dispelling speculation linking her to Makoni.
Mujuru was quoted by the state-owned Herald newspaper as saying
at a rally:
"Firstly, you should vote for comrade Mugabe, our presidential
then Zanu-PF councillors, MPs and senators.
"You should vote
Since Makoni announced in early February that
he was challenging
Mugabe for the presidency, there has been widespread
speculation he enjoyed
the tacit support of Mujuru, as well as her
influential husband, Solomon
Mujuru, a former head of the armed
Joyce Mujuru was at one stage seen as Mugabe's chosen
before the 84-year-old decided to seek another term in
Before declaring his candidacy, Makoni had been a
Zanu-PF's politburo and has since claimed that he has the backing
disillusioned party cadres.
Meanwhile, Mugabe on
Friday predicted victory in the polls as he
launched the election manifesto
of his ruling Zanu-PF party.
"We certainly are going to win,"
he told thousands of supporters
at a rally in the capital,
"We of Zanu-PF have gathered here to mark the start,
official start of our march to another victory, another electoral
Zimbabwe's last elections, won by Mugabe in 2002,
as rigged by Western observers and the
Mugabe is also being challenged for the
presidency by main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Zimbabwe sees lower food output, might need imports
Tue 4 Mar
2008, 11:05 GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, March 4 (Reuters) -
Zimbabwe's food output this season could fall
short of expectations due to
lack of fertiliser and heavy rains, and imports
may be needed to meet
domestic needs, a report showed on Tuesday.
Since 2001 the southhern
African nation hasgrappled with food shortages,
which critics partly blame
on President Robert Mugabe's seizure of
white-owned farms to resettle
landless blacks. They in turn lack adequate
seed, fertiliser and
A crop assessment report by the agriculture ministry and the Food
Agriculture Organization, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, said farmers
only received up to 10 percent of required fertiliser during the current
2007/8 summer farming season.
Producers had also failed to meet the
targeted cropping area of 2 million
hectares for the staple maize grain
mainly due to shortages of fuel, which
along with electricity, foreign
currency and water shortages mark a
devastating economic crisis gripping the
"The total expected production from this season may not meet the
targets," said the report, compiled after a crop assessment
out from Feb 3-11.
"For this reason there is need to
look into contigency plans for food
imports," it said, adding that a final
assessment would be conducted early
Rugare Gumbo was unavailable for comment but he has
previously said Zimbabwe
would produce 3 million tonnes of maize this year,
more than the country's
Food shortages have helped drive prices higher, pushing inflation
100,000 percent in January and adding political pressure on Mugabe, who
faces a challenge from a former ally and the main opposition leader at the
polls later this month.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence from Britain in 1980, will
contest for the presidency against
former finance minister Simba Makoni, who
was expelled from the ruling party
three weeks ago and long time rival
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Zimbabwe, which has lost its
status as the regions's bread basket status
over the last seven years, has
had to import grain from South Africa, Zambia
December, Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi said the food import bill
expected to more than double in 2007 to $405 million, straining the
country's scarce foreign exchange resources.
Mugabe denies his
policies have plunged a once prosperous country into
crisis and instead
blames Western powers for punitive sanctions he says have
economy. (Editing by Michael Roddy)
Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Rejects Mugabe Charge He'll Reverse Land
By Blessing Zulu
Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change has accused President
Robert Mugabe of propagandizing
with a claim the MDC will roll back land
reform by returning formerly
Mugabe said in
launching his political manifesto late last week that white
already trooping back into Zimbabwe in anticipation of an MDC
Tsvangirai said his manifesto calls only for an audit of
land ownership to
bar holdings of multiple farms - a number of Mr. Mugabe's
ministers own more
than one farm and vast tracts of formerly productive
farmland are lying
fallow across the country.
Tsvangirai said the
size of the plots allocated will depend on the region -
i.e. that they will
be larger in the drought-prone southern regions than in
Rival candidate Simba Makoni, a former finance member and until
official of the ruling party, has also ruled out giving land
back to its
former white owners.
Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing
Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe in an
exclusive interview that his
manifesto prioritizes economic recovery
following a "stabilization" phase in
which the focus will be on meeting
ponders Zimbabwe ban
Monday, 3 March 2008, 23:35 GMT
By James Pearce
The British government is considering
banning all Zimbabwean sports
people from competing in the United
The BBC's Inside Sport programme has learned that this is
being discussed to prevent Zimbabwe's cricket team touring
Cricket chiefs have warned that England
could lose the rights to host
the 2009 World Twenty20 if Zimbabwe are
But Downing Street sources say Prime Minister Gordon Brown
take a tough stance against Robert Mugabe.
visas to all Zimbabwe sports people would be a highly
For example, Cara Black could not defend her Wimbledon
title, Olympic swimming champion Kirsty Coventry would not
be able to enter
the UK and golfer Nick Price would be unable to play in the
There could also be a knock-on effect for England's World Cup
2018 and for Zimbabwe's competitors at the Glasgow Commonwealth
There would be no issue with the 2012
Olympics, as the government has
already had to sign the host city contract
that guarantees entry into the
country for anybody with International
Olympic Committee (IOC)
A more likely compromise
would be to stop Zimbabwe's cricketers from
coming to the UK although this
would not please the sport's governing body,
the International Cricket
Or the government could stop the tour but allow Zimbabwe
to compete at
the Twenty20 World Cup later in 2009.
International Cricket Council (ICC) has refused to ban Zimbawe
numerous protests during matches involving the country and a source
BC there was no chance of it changing its mind.
government stopped short of banning England's cricketers
Zimbabwe, although authorities in Australia and New Zealand
have done so
with their sides.
Former Zimbawean cricketer Henry Olonga welcomed
the renewed attention
given to the issue.
He told BBC Radio 5
Live: "It's great to see that Gordon Brown is
taking a much stronger stance
than his predecessor.
"Zimbabwe's in a desperate position, 100,000
per cent inflation,
there's poverty across the whole country, so it's a
The England and Wales Cricket
Board (ECB) is trying to reach a
financial compromise with the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union (ZCU) to call off next
summer's two Test matches and three
But the ECB does not yet seem to be close
to any deal.
The government will want to wait until after the
elections in Zimbabwe
at the end of March before making a
Government denies ban on Zimbabwe athletes
Last Updated: 4:50pm GMT 04/03/2008
Minister's spokesman has denied reports that Gordon Brown is
blanket ban on all Zimbabwean sportsmen who wish to enter the
Instead, the Daily Telegraph understands that the
government will use
passport legislation to block Peter Chingoka, chairman
of Zimbabwe Cricket,
from attending the International Cricket Council's
annual conference at
Lord's in June.
Visas could also be refused to
Zimbabwe's players if Chingoka insists on
pressing ahead with their
scheduled tour of England in 2009.
In public, the government is sticking
to its standard position, which is to
pass the buck on to the England and
Wales Cricket Board.
But at a meeting with the ICC last week, it was made
clear that there is no
appetite for Zimbabwe's tour.
presents an awkward conundrum as Zimbabwe are due to return to
that same summer to participate in the World Twenty20
Any attempt to eliminate them from what is supposed to
be a global
tournament could lead to the whole event being shifted to a
The government may feel that they can be selective
about visas, granting
them for the Twenty20 tournament but not for the tour
(which would consist
of at least three 50-over internationals).
an approach would risk the wrath of the ICC, who are committed to
the completion of all scheduled tours on pain of hefty fines and a
one-year ban for any countries that default.
But the imminent appointment
of former ECB chairman David Morgan to the ICC
presidency should at least
give England a sympathetic ear within the
to the government's non-committal response, both the
Conservative Party and
the Liberal Democrats supported the idea of political
"I think the Prime Minister is right to try to ensure
that the cricket tour
doesn't go ahead," said the Conservative leader David
Don Foster, shadow secretary for Culture, Media and Sport for
Democrats, said he agreed that Chingoka should be denied entry
But he also criticised the idea that individual
Zimbabwean sportsmen - like,
for instance, the Manchester City striker
Benjani Mwaruwari - should suffer
because of Robert Mugabe's dictatorship.
Mugabe faces elections later this
month, but has previously been accused of
manipulating the system.
His information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu,
suggested that any ban would be
racist. "I don't think the British
Government will sink so low as to
implement that," he said, and if they do,
well, we are appealing to the
world community to express their concern and
urge the British to stop that
Meanwhile, the accountancy
firm KPMG have been investigating claims that
Zimbabwe Cricket's lavish
funding from the ICC has been misappropriated.
Their findings are due to
be discussed at the ICC board meeting in Dubai on
March 17-18, and if any of
these allegations can be substantiated, the whole
affair will take a new
Tories 'would back ban on Zimbabwe
The Independent, UK
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
The Conservative leader David
Cameron today gave his backing to calls for an
official ban on next year's
planned tour of England by the Zimbabwe cricket
Mr Cameron was
responding to BBC reports - denied by Downing Street - that
Gordon Brown is considering action to exclude all visits by
the southern African country in order to isolate the regime
The Prime Minister's spokesman said No 10 was "surprised"
by the BBC report,
and insisted that it was a matter for the English cricket
whether the tour went ahead.
"It is not the case that the
Prime Minister is considering a blanket ban on
Zimbabwe's sportsmen," Mr
Brown's spokesman said.
"If (the cricket authorities) decided they want
to ban Zimbabwe, we would
Speaking at a press
conference before the Downing Street comments were made
public, Mr Cameron
made clear that he would be ready to offer his party's
backing if the
Government opted for a blanket ban.
"I think the Prime Minister is right
to try to ensure that the cricket tour
doesn't go ahead," said the Tory
"If the sort of steps he is speaking about are necessary, then he
our backing. The end he is trying to achieve is the right end, so
I would be
very happy to hear what the means are he thinks are necessary to
BBC1's Inside Sport programme last night cited
"Downing Street sources" as
saying Mr Brown was keen to take a tough stance
on the Mugabe regime's human
rights abuses and was considering a blanket
A compromise option could be only to stop Zimbabwe's cricketers from
to the UK, although this would not please the sport's governing body,
International Cricket Council (ICC).
The programme said cricket
chiefs were warning England could lose the right
to host the 2009 Twenty20
World Cup if Zimbabwe was banned.
Currently, the Zimbabweans are due to
play two five-day and three one-day
internationals next summer.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would have to pay an estimated
£225,000 in compensation under ICC rules if the one-day matches were
cancelled. There would be no penalty for scrapping the five-day games as
Zimbabwe was no longer classed as a Test-playing nation.
The ECB has
already held talks with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) to try
to reach a
financial settlement to call off the tour.
A spokesman for the Department
of Culture, Media and Sport said: "There are
ongoing discussions between the
Government and the England and Wales Cricket
Board, but no decisions have
An ECB spokesman said the board would not comment until it
had discussed the
matter with Government officials.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband said a Zimbabwean tour of
England would not
send out "the right message".
"The situation in Zimbabwe is obviously
deeply concerning. I think that
bilateral cricket tours at the moment don't
send the right message about our
concern," he said.
bowler Henry Olonga - who protested against Mugabe at the
2003 Cricket World
Cup - said he would welcome any action from Mr Brown.
"It's great to see
that Gordon Brown is taking a much stronger stance than
(Tony Blair)," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"Zimbabwe is in a desperate
position - 100,000% inflation and there's
poverty across the whole country,
so it's a desperate, desperate situation."
Shadow foreign secretary
William Hague said: "Any action to highlight the
dire situation in Zimbabwe
and isolate the regime is to be welcomed.
"But rather than posturing
about sport, what is urgently needed is tougher
sanctions from Europe and
the rest of the world, and for Gordon Brown to
deliver on his promises to
turn the heat up on Mugabe.
"Zimbabwe's leaders continue to go
unpunished, and even Robert Mugabe was
able freely to visit Europe just a
few months ago."
Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster said:
"It's vital that the
Government sends a clear message to Robert Mugabe that
this country will not
tolerate a regime that continues to show such blatant
democracy and fundamental human rights.
ultimately being a decision for sports governing bodies, the
mustn't shirk from taking the lead and calling for a ban where
But he added: "We cannot have a situation where
ministers grant visas to
people like Peter Chingoka, the chair of Zimbabwe
Cricket, whenever it suits
them, but seek to penalise sportsmen and women
making an honest living in
"A blanket ban on all
athletes is not the way forward. Each case must be
considered on its
Meanwhile, Manchester City Football Club called on the BBC to
Benjani Mwaruwari after Inside Sport named the Zimbabwean
striker as someone
who could be caught up in any ban.
Paul Tyrrell said: "Although we are pleased that the BBC have
quickly distancing themselves from the claim regarding Benjani,
important to make the position crystal clear regarding his ability to
and work in the UK.
"The player last month received a three-and-a-half
year work permit from the
Home Office to play for Manchester City. We have
been assured work permits
and the BBC should apologise to the player
Excerpt: 'A Billion Lives'
Tents Are for Arabs
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe looks older and frailer than I remembered
him from photographs and film footage. He moves slowly and is thinner. He leans
on the right arm of his chair for support as he speaks. As someone who
campaigned against apartheid during my student years, I am slightly in awe of
the hero of the liberation struggle against Ian Smith's white minority regime as
he peers at me through thick glasses. I feel like a student undergoing an
examination by an eminent professor.
The president is notorious for keeping people waiting and I think we have
done quite well to see him by 9:15 a.m. this rainy Tuesday, December 6, 2005,
after only fifteen minutes in an anteroom of the presidential palace in Harare.
I know this will be one of my most difficult missions and meetings ever. Nearly
three years earlier, my predecessor as UN relief coordinator, Kenzo Oshima, a
more polite and diplomatic envoy than me, had been kept waiting for hours in the
presidential antechambers before being lectured for an hour about UN
shortcomings. This time, probably because of the international publicity
surrounding my mission, we do not have to wait and it seems I will be allowed to
speak uninterrupted. It is a unique opportunity to speak truth to power.
Zimbabwe was called "the jewel" and "the bread basket" of Africa after its
liberation from white minority rule in 1980. The economy, the infrastructure,
and the educational system were among the best on the continent. Twenty-five
years later it is synonymous with economic collapse and political repression. It
started at the end of the 1990s. Large and productive farms were nationalized
and white farmers were forced to hand over their estates to ill-prepared
veterans from the liberation struggle and political activists from Mugabe's
party, the Zanu-PF.
The need for land reform in a country where a few white colonizers had
claimed the best farming land is indisputable. But reform was brutally enforced
in the worst possible manner for the farmers, the agricultural sector, and the
population at large. Production plummeted, the black farm laborers lost their
jobs, and little food made it to the markets or to foreign exports. A country
that had had a large food surplus could not feed itself, and had to rely on
foreign emergency aid and remittances from the growing number of Zimbabweans who
have to leave the country to make a living.
As both domestic and foreign investors fled the country, a general breakdown
in the rule of law fueled the economic crisis. Mugabe's government was however
undeterred and continued to fund ambitious public programs that principally
benefited the political and tribal groups that supported the government. To
cover the enormous state budget deficits the National Bank was instructed to
print additional money that created inflation, and later hyperinflation. Today
the Zimbabwean economy is arguably more mismanaged than any other in
I am primarily going to discuss the massive homeless problem Mugabe has
created almost overnight through his "Operation Restore Order," a brutal
eviction campaign that began seven months ago. I spent hours yesterday walking
among some of the seven hundred thousand destitute and homeless people who are
living under makeshift plastic sheeting or in the open after being evicted from
shantytowns across Zimbabwe. The evictions were not only particularly brutal and
chaotic in the way they spread throughout the country, but profoundly political,
turning out many who did not support the government party and leaving urban
areas to regime supporters who would like cleaner and leaner cities and less
competition for jobs. Those evicted were not only among the poorest and most
vulnerable in the country, many were sick with AIDS or tuberculosis.
I saw and spoke to dozens of families who had lost everything when their tiny
"illegal" brick houses were bulldozed, or their small vending shacks burned and
torn apart by security forces in an operation that began in May.
The presidential office is smaller and nicer than the grotesquely oversized
staterooms that so many African presidents preside in. As planned, I start our
discussion by describing the shocking scenes I saw in the slums of Hopely Farm,
and the Whitecliff and Hatcliff suburbs on the outskirts of Harare. I explain
that we need to discover how we can most rapidly and effectively help with food
and shelter for the homeless.
President Mugabe carefully enunciates each syllable in his academic English
as though addressing someone who does not speak his language. He is immediately
on the defensive. While acknowledging his awareness of "a problem," he seems
intent on downplaying a situation that has scandalized the world with its
callous indifference to human suffering. His most outrageous comment comes as I
try to impress upon him the urgent need for emergency shelter for the thousands
of families with children who are at great risk with no shelter, no food, and no
income. The UN is willing to supply tents immediately as a short-term answer to
As I press, the tenor of Mugabe's calm, lecturing tone rises. There is a hint
of barely repressed anger as he says, "We do not feel comfortable with the term
'shelter.' Shelter has connotations of impermanency and we build for
permanency." As I seek to return to the need for immediate action he is clearly
angered. "Keep your tents, we do not need them. Tents are for Arabs!" Stunned, I
ask him to repeat what he said. "We want to give real houses to our people.
Tents are for Arabs," he says again. It is a phrase that in its absurdity will
reverberate through my office.
"We may have an accommodation problem," Mugabe continues, "but the 700,000
figure is exaggerated. People can be sheltered by their families." He embarks on
a semantics lecture, suggesting the term "shelter" sends the wrong meaning: "The
word connotes impermanency. We want permanent housing here. In terms of
humanitarian needs it is not even as bad here as in South Africa. The South
Africans have sent delegations here to learn from our housing programs.
"When I was a boy herding my godfather's cattle and it rained I looked for
'shelter' where I could find it — under a tree or in a nearby hut. That is
shelter. You can provide food if you want to and build permanent houses with us,
but not provide 'shelter' in the form of tents."
It is one of those situations when you do not know whether to cry, laugh, or
shout. With the UN resident coordinator Agostinho Zacarias and my OCHA
colleagues Agnes Asekenye-Oonyu and Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, I am failing to get
the head of state to admit the gravity of the situation in his country — that
his people are in desperate need of precisely the things we offer. Through the
UN agencies, the International Organization for Migration, and excellent local
and international NGOs, we can help meet acute emergency needs. But instead of
saying "How can we help you help our people," the man wants to lecture me about
the shortcomings of official UN terms and concepts!
I try to explain that there is no money for any form of more permanent
housing since the donors are reluctant to help even with temporary shelter. They
regard Zimbabwe's problems as the direct result of Mugabe's evictions, and his
agricultural and economic policies.
"Donors will only pay for temporary shelters. They think it's indefensible
that there are no tents allowed. Disaster victims accept tents in Louisiana,
Florida, and in Europe. Why not here?" I ask.
"The UN is politicized," Mugabe says. "You want to provide an image of
refugee camps here. Our attitude to tents is negative." Nodding from the nearby
black leather sofa in Mugabe's small, white-walled office are the permanent
secretary of the President's Office and the ministers of foreign affairs and
defense. It is difficult to know whether he believes what he is saying because
the nodding ministers never seem to tell him what he does not want to hear.
The UN is politicized, Mugabe says, because it is dominated by Britain and
its stooges — among whom I, a Norwegian, am soon lumped. Mugabe is particularly
angry with the UN because a field visit several months earlier by Anna
Tibaijuka, the African head of UN Habitat, our organization for urban issues and
housing, had first alerted the world to the full extent of Zimbabwe's housing
He suggests that Tibaijuka would be better advised to visit Nigeria, which
has a far greater "cleanup" program under way than Zimbabwe. "It is clear to us
that the UN is being used by Britain for political purposes," he repeats. "That
is why we are sensitive to your own presence."
Mugabe's body language and that of his ministers express their profound
skepticism about the motives behind the UN's work in Zimbabwe. Mugabe speaks
slowly. "We are beginning to lose confidence in the United Nations and even the
Urban renewal campaigns and removal of unauthorized buildings and squatters
take place all the time all over the world. I had, however, called Zimbabwe's
eviction program "the worst possible thing at the worst possible time" when it
was at its brutal height in May, June, and July. I had no interest in
castigating the government of Zimbabwe. Apart from protesting against apartheid,
I supported our Scandinavian assistance to the liberation struggles against the
white minority regimes of both Rhodesia and South Africa. But we have to tell
the truth about what is taking place in the country that President Mugabe
I lean forward, seeking eye contact, and try again: "The purpose of my
mission on behalf of your fellow African, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is to
discuss how we can more effectively contribute to meet humanitarian needs in
Zimbabwe. The challenges here are, as we all know, daunting: There are more than
three million who need food assistance. There are one million orphans caused by
AIDS. We are willing and able to assist the people if we know whom you will
cover and if you will do more to enable the work of the humanitarian
organizations. We are less effective here than in most other places due to all
the restrictions on our work. We use tents in the emergency phase for the
homeless in Europe, America, and Asia. Tents will only be one of the ways we
would like to provide shelter to the most needy of the hundreds of thousands who
are homeless. I saw thousands yesterday who have nothing. Your government
housing programs are small and still not completed. Those who live under plastic
sheeting or out in the open want the tents that we can provide."
"Yes," he says, fixing me with a challenging stare. "Kofi Annan is an
African, but he and the organization are being used politically, or, more
specifically, manipulated by Britain and Blair. Even the innocent Prince Charles
is now being manipulated."
Mugabe says his government embarked long ago on a "massive housing program"
at a time when people were living in shanties and housing was scarce.
"Everyone in Zimbabwe has somewhere to go, everyone is rooted somewhere in
the country, in rural areas. Harare is never a permanent home and those who come
from outside behave like people from other countries. We have a situation here
but even in terms of humanitarian aid our needs are not as bad as South
Africa's. South Africa sent a delegation here to look at our housing program,"
I tell him that I spoke to an old woman yesterday who was looking after her
daughter's children because their mother had died of AIDS. I met the old lady in
a hut made of plastic sheeting and branches that she had built with her
grandchildren on the same spot where the security police had bulldozed her brick
house. Operation Restore Order had failed to send her back to "where she came
from." She had nowhere else to go. His campaign had only managed to raze the
result of a lifetime's toil.
Mugabe is tired of discussing the eviction campaign and moves on. "The food
system is under control. All we need," says the president of a country that was
once the breadbasket of Africa, "are the agricultural imports. The situation is
not as severe as people make out. We give food to everyone despite the
propaganda stirred up by NGOs for political reasons. We can organize food for
our people although perhaps not always of the kind that they like the most," he
says. "We even provide assistance to others. We also have cattle. We sent beef
When I urge that his government enable the work of the essential NGOs, Mugabe
remains unimpressed. "The problem with NGOs is that they cannot accept that
Zimbabwe can do it better. They want to bring in their own people, outsiders,
and we don't like outsiders. We have invested a lot in education and have the
most highly skilled workforce in Africa."
My mission has been planned in detail with Kofi Annan and Ibrahim Gambari,
former Nigerian foreign minister and currently UN undersecretary-general for
political affairs. If in the course of my visit, progress can be made on
providing assistance to the victims of eviction, Annan might later visit
Zimbabwe to deal with political issues. At first Harare had rejected my mission,
but Gambari spoke to Mugabe at an African Union meeting in October and managed
to convince him to agree to see me in Zimbabwe.
Relations between the United Nations and the government are at an all-time
low. Anna Tibaijuka's report concluded that the eviction campaign had made more
than 110,000 families, or close to 600,000 people, homeless. More than 100,000
others had lost their principal source of income, leading to the widely quoted
figure of 700,000 victims of the operation.
Relations between the donor nations and Mugabe are even frostier. The United
States, United Kingdom, and other Western nations have had repeated diplomatic
rows with the government. In my meeting with the ambassadors of donor countries
two days earlier there was resentment against government policies. Some of the
longest-serving ambassadors were even expressing a deep personal anger against
the government. "We will not give any money, ever, to build housing for the
evicted people," one ambassador said. "Why should we pick up the bill for the
atrocities committed by the government?"
The donor meeting concluded that we could have money for tents, but not for
permanent housing. Again, we humanitarians find ourselves in a political
crossfire: Mugabe will not agree to tents, and the donors will only fund
Ignatius Chombo, Mugabe's minister for local government, was even more blunt
when I met him yesterday in my hotel: "Anna Tibaijuka is nothing but a tool in
the hands of those who want to undermine us. The report is a fabrication of
facts. It is the same people who attack us for taking land from the rich." The
meeting with Chombo in my hotel had been an open confrontation. He refused to
admit any problems when I insisted that the Tibaijuka report was the official UN
line based on available facts and that the situation would only deteriorate
unless there was a government policy change.
After an hour and a half in Mugabe's office, we are running out of time. We
are due this afternoon to meet church leaders in the southern city of Bulawayo,
where opposition to government policies has been strong and suppression of
dissent brutal. I ask the president for a few private minutes, to which he
agrees immediately. As his ministers and my UN colleagues leave, Mugabe leans
forward for the first time to listen to me. "The situation is very bad and it is
my impression that it will get worse unless you move from confrontation to
finding common ground and new policies between yourself and international
actors, including donors and the U.K. Can we in the UN help facilitate such a
dialogue under the leadership of the secretary-general?"
In private Mugabe becomes less a headmaster and more a real interlocutor. "We
did not want confrontation, neither with the U.K. nor with other Western
powers," he says. "If you in the UN or other international actors can help
provide dialogue among equals, we want to make progress." In the next few
minutes we agree to set up a task force of the government, UN agencies, and
selected donors to look at the reasons for Zimbabwe's disastrous food
production. We agree to facilitate access for humanitarian agencies, and to
start a pilot program for 2,500 temporary shelter "units" for the evicted. It is
not what I had hoped for, but it is a step toward a working climate that can
I have a final issue to raise: "As you know there has been a lot of interest
in my mission. I have avoided speaking to international media while here in
Zimbabwe. Tomorrow in Johannesburg I will, however, have to report on what I
have seen to a press conference. You may subsequently find the coverage tough,
but I hope the improved dialogue to seek policy change can continue?"
"As long as you speak the truth and do not undertake the errands of others it
is all right," Mugabe says. We have been talking for thirty minutes. He rises to
shake my hand.
My journey to Bulawayo in a tiny single-engine plane is a nightmare as we fly
through intense turbulence, falling through deep air pockets in driving rain. I
arrive exhausted to a scene of misery as bad as anything I saw in Harare and
accompanied by an atmosphere of suffocating political oppression. As I am
meeting courageous priests and spokesmen for the homeless and poor in our hotel,
my local UN contacts interrupt us with a message: "The authorities say that we
must either allow them to sit in on the meeting or they will send the police to
break it up."
We quickly agree that I will leave by the back door, and the clergymen will
go out through the front door. In this way, I hope to avoid putting them at risk
by appearing with me.
The media attention for our mission and the political fallout will soon be
even greater than expected. The following day, we travel to South Africa and
urge the South African deputy foreign minister to do more to encourage and
enforce policy change in Zimbabwe.
Before I fly back to New York, the OCHA regional office sets up an
international press conference at Johannesburg Airport. Forty journalists,
including from all international news agencies and most large television
networks, are in the room as I enter. As always, and as I promised Mugabe, I try
to tell the simple truth, what I saw, heard, and smelled: the dramatic realities
There is a freefall in life expectancy from more than 60 years in the early
1990s to between 30 and 40 today. The eviction campaign and the agricultural
policies of the government have been "the worst possible things at the worst
possible time" and have contributed to changing the country from being the
breadbasket of the region, with admirable standards of living, to a place of
widespread starvation — unless there is massive international assistance. I try
to end my remarks on a note of optimism: "I believe the country has a real
chance to turn the corner as there is more awareness nationally, regionally, and
internationally, but we have to work together to change the situation."
I am then asked to characterize the social decline. I reply that the halving
of life expectancy can only be described as a "meltdown." I repeat this word in
a long interview with the BBC, which has set up a temporary studio next door.
Harare has banned the BBC from reporting inside Zimbabwe and I know that Mugabe
will not like what he hears on its television and radio broadcasts.
The president is indeed unhappy with the next day's banner headlines in the
international and South African media: "UN envoy: Zimbabwe in meltdown." Two
days later, in a stormy address to activists in his Zanu-PF party, Mugabe calls
me "a liar and a hypocrite." "He came here to see our achievements, we receive
him, and then he goes away telling lies about Zimbabwe to Western media. He did
not even speak proper English," he says in a parting shot at my Norwegian
accent. Several thousand party activists stand to cheer with raised clenched
The public shouting match notwithstanding, my colleagues in Harare afterward
report increased dialogue on policy change in the failed Zimbabwean agricultural
sector, and improved access for humanitarian organizations, including to the
victims of the eviction campaigns. The World Food Programme continues its very
effective and well-funded food distribution and South Africa engages more
actively in helping Zimbabwe improve its dialogue with international financial
institutions. But hard-liners remain in control of most policies and neither the
evictions from unauthorized housing nor the equally disastrous evictions of many
farmers from their well-organized farms has stopped. Kofi Annan did not go to
"I see you called it a 'meltdown,' " the secretary-general says when I call
him to report. "Yes, it was actually a term that a leading Zimbabwean diplomat
had used to describe the situation in his country. I thought it was a good word,
considering what has happened," I answer.
Since my visit to Zimbabwe, the deep social and economic crisis has continued
to worsen, while Robert Mugabe's regime has solidified its grip. It is the only
peacetime economy that has suffered a dramatic decline of some 30 percent in
recent years. Inflation has grown from 100 percent in 2003 to several thousand
percent in 2007. Perhaps as many as three million have fled the economic turmoil
to seek work in South Africa, Europe, and elsewhere. When I visited a clinic for
people with AIDS in Zimbabwe in December 2005, I was told there are more trained
Zimbabwean nurses in Manchester, England, than in Harare.
The political opposition has for years been harassed, persecuted, and
detained. But the political parties are also weak because of infighting that
prevents the formation of any real alternative to the Zanu-PF and Mugabe. This
former hero of the struggle against white minority rule has succeeded in
maneuvering so that neither the African Union nor the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) can or will challenge the terrible governance in
Zimbabwe. In mid-2007, when its mismanagement was glaringly evident for all to
see, the summit meeting of the SADC in neighboring Zambia concluded that Mugabe
was doing his best to solve the problems of Zimbabwe. Since then the Zanu-PF
"unanimously" selected the eighty-three-year-old Mugabe to be the only candidate
for the upcoming presidential elections in 2008.
Zimbabwe is thus yet another case where those who could press for positive
change, its African neighbors, look the other way. Conversely, those who once
refused to support the struggle against apartheid, and still have little moral
authority in this part of the world, the U.K. and the U.S., are spearheading the
attacks against Mugabe. At the 2007 summit between the EU and Africa, U.K. prime
minister Gordon Brown was alone in boycotting, while the African leaders felt
compelled to "stand by" the symbol of Africa's inability to get rid of its worst
The international paralysis and the internal rivalries among opposition
groups signal continued crisis and collapse in Zimbabwe. Mugabe is greeted with
applause in many African countries because of his image of "standing up" to
unpopular and rich Western powers and white estate owners. Only a united,
effective, and democratic national opposition movement, supported by principled
African neighbors in the SADC, and international organizations such as the AU
and the UN, can foster real change. Only then can Zimbabwe regain its position
as the jewel and breadbasket of Africa.
Copyright © 2008 by Jan Egeland
Tsvangirai Campaign Gathers Pace
SW Radio Africa
4 March 2008
Posted to the web 4 March 2008
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has stepped up his campaign for
presidential and parliamentary elections, due to take place
on 29th of this
His spokesman George Sibochiwe told us the
former trade unionist has had a
tremendous start to his campaign trail,
which has seen him set foot in
Zanu-PF strongholds. On Saturday he addressed
an enthusiastic crowd of over
15 000 supporters at Chipadze Stadium in
'We know there was a concerted effort led by Elliot Manyika
to stop people
from attending the rally in Bindura, but despite death
defied the Zanu-PF machinery to come and hear what our
leader had to offer
in a new Zimbabwe,' Sibochiwe said.
leader told the crowd that the 29th March elections were a chance
Zimbabwean to vote for change; 'This year's elections are a chance
everyone to vote for a new beginning and a change that you believe in
trust in. For the country to come out of its current mess, every
should go out and vote for a better future of our country and our
At the rally Tsvangirai also introduced the MDC candidates
Central province who are participating in the elections. A
the MDC said after Chipadze, Tsvangirai addressed another
rally at Chakonda Business centre in Shamva also in
province. An estimated 10 000 people attended the
But a rally that was supposed Tsvangirai at Juru Business centre
Mashonaland East was cancelled after the police sealed of the place and
people gathered to disperse, as they claimed that the police had not
notified about the event.
Contrary to these claims, the police
in the province had been notified by
the MDC Mashonaland East provincial
leadership of the event seven days
before, in line with the amended Public
Order and Security Act.
Various parliamentary, council and senatorial
candidates in different parts
of the country held other successful rallies
with large gatherings.
Police Arresting MDC Election Candidates And Supporters
4 March 2008
Posted to the web 4 March
The MDC formation led by Morgan
Tsvangirai have reported that police
continue to arrest their candidates and
supporters as they peacefully
campaign around the country.
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the police are coming up with trumped
charges in order to keep them in detention. He believes they are trying
curtail their campaign activities by intimidation.
The latest arrest
took place in Bulawayo on Monday. According to Chamisa
Tabitha Khumalo, a party official and parliamentary
candidate, while she was
meeting voters door to door. It is not clear why,
but Khumalo was released
Meanwhile the MDC candidate for St. Mary's, Marvellous
Kumalo, plus 12 MDC
supporters, are in police custody. Chamisa said they
were arrested on Sunday
while distributing posters. The police allege that
they were carrying
prohibited weapons and are charging them with inciting
Chamisa said there was no violence at any time and they had
no weapons. The
group was remanded in custody till March
Chamisa said there have been other arrests of candidates and
around the country under similar circumstances. Reports this week
from parts of Masvingo province and from the Mbare high-density
Harare. But the MDC said rural areas are being targeted even
Chamisa complained that there is no way the elections can be free
He explained that the Tsvangirai MDC is only participating because
to "utilise every instrument of democracy" at their disposal.
spokesperson nominated for a big award
The National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) is humbled by One World
organisation's nomination of NCA
National spokesperson Madock Chivasa for an
award of fighting for democracy
and good governance.
One World a coalition of more than 1500
organisations across the globe for
fighting to promote social justice and
human rights last Friday nominated
Chivasa to win international award
tilted: "One World's Person of 2007" for
fighting for democracy, good
governance and working to improve governments'
policies towards marginalized
people in Zimbabwe.
Announcing the nomination One World (OW), said
Chivasa was arrested more
than 20 times by the police agents sympathetic to
President Robert Mugabe's
regime since he was a student leader at University
In 2002 he was given a life ban at the University of
Zimbabwe where he was
leading more than 15000 students who were
privatisation of education at tertiary
The human rights watchdog said irregardless of the fact
that "he is young;
he is currently amongst the most vocal people and critics
of the current
human rights violations and dictatorship in Zimbabwe where a
lot of people
are persecuted for speaking against the Zanu-PF
Responding to the nomination Chivasa 28 said: "The
nomination is a clear
indication that there is human rights crisis in
Zimbabwe and it is a clear
indication that there are people out there who
appreciate the work activists
are doing in Zimbabwe", he said.
will not be disappointed if I am not the final winner of that
award but the fact I was nominated still carries a massage on
the need to
fight for human rights in Zimbabwe", added
Chivasa was nominated among
international human rights defenders and Girl
Child Network (GCN) Zimbabwe
director Betty Makoni.
Makoni was nominated for her fight against
violence towards women, women's
human rights and her advocacy work against
the cultural acceptance of abuse
and exploitation of girls and women in the
She is a notable activist and advocate for girls who do not have
education, and whose rights have traditionally been
the homeless been disenfranchised?
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights sent
out this press release today, concerning the residents of Hopley Farm. Read this link for
more about Operation Murambatsvina. Both the images above can be downloaded from
Flickr account in high resolution format.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expresses its deep concern and anger
at the continuing miserable state of affairs at Hopley Farm just outside Harare.
The continued desperation of people residing there has become all the more acute
in light of the upcoming elections. Hopley Farm is an area to which destitute
and generally deprived people were taken in the wake of Operation Murambatsvina
which caused alarming levels of economic, social and now political dislocation.
The travails of this displaced community are many:
- The residents of Hopley Farm have experienced serious problems in being able
to register to vote. Some were advised that they are aliens and therefore are
barred from registering in continuing misinterpretation of Zimbabwe’s
citizenship laws. Others were told they needed as proof of residence a letter
confirming their residency at Hopley Farm from the local authority on the
ground. This local authority is the District Chairman of the local ZANU-PF
Committee who gave his letter of authority with an arbitrariness which was
generally linked to his position as an office-bearer for the ruling party. It
was only after affected residents registered complaints with the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) that some were able to register.
- A transparent and elected Residents’ Committee has been informed that is has
been dissolved by ruling party cadres and members are harassed when they attempt
to carry out their functions.
- Food and other aid is allegedly being grabbed for political purposes with
confirmation of political allegiance allegedly required if one is to benefit
from this aid. Distribution of any aid that does come has been taken over by the
ruling party cadres.
- Donors who sourced food aid have allegedly been banned from the community
and there are reports (which ZLHR is currently seeking to verify) that some
individuals have died of starvation.
ZLHR notes the failure of Hopley Farm residents to register. This is sad
vindication of our warnings during the forced evictions that such
disenfranchisement would occur due to the Operation. It begs the simple question
- are the homeless disentitled from voting … in which case creating homelessness
as happened with Operation Murambatsvina amounts to deliberate
disenfranchisement by the party in power.
The requirement for proof of residence from an office-bearer of a contesting
party who manipulates the procedure is shameless proof of absence of the rule of
law and manipulation of the electoral process which does not augur well for any
hopes of a free and fair election. Also notable is the refusal to allow
residents to be represented by the persons they elect. Shameful as it is, it is
merely a replication of the city level position where the citizenry was to the
very end disenfranchised of their right to city-level mayoral representation. In
the broader national context of past elections whose results have been
contested, this repudiation of democratic values is merely symptomatic of a
national democratic deficit.
ZLHR notes the abuse of poverty struck individuals and wishes to state
categorically that should the allegations regarding starvation as a result of
manipulation of food aid be true, they could amount to serious crimes at both
local and international law.
In the circumstances, ZLHR calls upon:
- ZEC and the office of the Registrar-General to investigate the allegations
that some poverty-stricken people were barred from registering to vote by the
deprivation of proof of residence or misinterpretation of citizenship laws, and
take swift corrective measures;
- ZEC to take action as required in terms of their mandate to investigate
allegations of electoral misconduct, including manipulation of food aid to
secure votes or dissuade voters from supporting the party of their choice
- All person involved in voter intimidation, harassment, vote-buying and other
such activities to forthwith cease such conduct
- All person interfering with the rights of persons to life and food to
forthwith cease such conduct
- The government to take action to protect persons living on the edge at
Hopley Farm and ensure that their fundamental right to participation in
government is protected and that they are not deprived of basic sustenance
- Humanitarian organizations and the international community to take action to
ensure that persons at Hopley Farm obtain urgent humanitarian assistance.
Simba Makoni: who is he and what are his
Science, business, politics; just three areas where
Simba Makoni, 57, has built extensive experience. You can add to that
international trade and diplomacy. He will need all of that and more to overcome
the biggest challenge he has set himself: becoming Zimbabwe's next president.
Elections are slated for 29 March.
His life story resembles that of many Zimbabweans of his generation. Born
in then Rhodesia, he left the country to study in the UK and earned himself a
couple of degrees: a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and Zoology from Leeds University
and a PhD from Leicester Polytechnic in Medical Chemistry.
Anstiss interviewed Zimbabwe's
newest presidential candidate Simba Makoni. (click here to listen) His colleague Bram Posthumus now takes a look at the
He then went home to celebrate the end of the last
white supremacist government to rule this land, Ian Smith's. Soon after, at age
32, he found himself in Robert Mugabe's cabinet - and in Parliament.
Winds of change
But Mr Makoni did not last very
long in the new Zimbabwe. He joined the fledgling Southern African Development
Community (SADC) in 1984 and ended his career as its Executive Secretary. This
was the time when civil war raged in Angola and Mozambique, when South Africa's
apartheid operatives bombed targets in Zimbabwe, Zambia and elsewhere.
But even though he presided over SADC in very
difficult times, Makoni's legacy remains unclear. He was - and is - very much
the technocrat; competent, yes, as his admirers never fail to point out. But
never quite the visionary, which probably explains how he could weave seamlessly
into his next job: head of Zimpapers, the state-run newspaper conglomerate and
publisher of the daily government mouthpiece, The Herald. In the meantime, he
also ran his own consultancy business.
Clearly, he never had major difficulties with party
politics. After all, he served as a member of the ruling ZANU-PF's inner
sanctum, the Politburo, until he was sacked when he announced his plans to run
for the presidency as an independent candidate. But he did clash, on a number of
occasions, on economic policy.
Neither Makoni the businessman nor
Makoni the politician have ever been against economic liberalisation. This
policy was forced through in the 1990s to revitalise Zimbabwe's stagnant
economy. For the more robustly socialist of his fellow party members, that was
absolute anathema. Still, most of them changed their minds when they found out
how quickly they could get rich on the back of hastily and shoddily executed
economic reform. There was, however, one big voice against the way things were
going and it was not Mr Makoni's. That voice belonged to Morgan Tsvangirai, then
a union leader, now the main presidential candidate for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
The only widely reported policy clash came in 2000,
when Mr Makoni was hailed as one of the few who could take Zimbabwe out of the
economic tailspin, which was only just beginning. He proposed to bring the value
of the Zimbabwe dollar in line with market value. In one word: devaluation.
"NYET", thundered President Mugabe and Mr Makoni was fired. Since then, the
value of the Zimdollar has plummeted to almost nothing.
Set to lose
And now, he runs as an independent
candidate. What are his chances? Pundits in the Zimbabwe press say: considerable
but if there were a second round (that happens when no candidate gets more than
50 percent of the vote), he'd probably lose. A minor faction of the MDC has
decided to back Makoni. Dumiso Dabengwa is the first ZANU (PF) heavyweight to
pull behind the independent. Hardly surprising. Dabengwa hails from the
disadvantaged southwest of Zimbabwe. Between 1982 and 1987 he spent five years
in jail while Mugabe's troops slaughtered an estimated 30,000 of his fellow
Matabeles. Symbolically, Makoni started his election campaign in the capital of
this region, Bulawayo.
But there are still more reasons why Mr Makoni is
considered unlikely to prevail. One: bar one of two other bigwigs, ZANU-PF is
unlikely to be split by the Makoni candidacy. In the past 12 months, party
leader Robert Mugabe has neutralised two potential breakaway factions that could
have posed a challenged to his leadership. Two: the rural areas, which is where
the vote is traditionally decided, are still under ZANU-PF control, through a
combination of genuine support, vote buying and intimidation. This is very
difficult to break into and since hundreds of thousands of people were dispersed
in operation "Murambatsvina"(clean out trash) in 2005, a large part of the urban
constituency, hostile to Mr Mugabe, has been physically removed.
Finally and sadly, one must also take cognisance of
the fact that the president and his friends have a reputation for dealing with
their political opponents with merciless, ruthless efficiency.
Zimbabwe among worst tourist
by Thenjiwe Mabhena Wednesday 05 March
HARARE - Zimbabwe is among the worst tourist
destinations in the
world, according to a report by the World Economic Forum
(WEF) that was
released on Tuesday.
The troubled southern
African country that is in the grip of a severe
economic crisis came a
distant 117 out of the 130 countries that were
surveyed in the Travel and
Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2008.
The report, the second
after last year's inaugural report, lumped
Zimbabwe among countries such as
Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Lesotho and
Chad, which anchored the rankings
at number 130.
Switzerland was ranked as the most attractive
followed by Austria and Germany. Spain, the United
Kingdom, Sweden, Canada
and France were all in the top 10.
WEF report measures factors that make it attractive to develop the
and tourism sectors looking at the regulatory framework, the business
environment and infrastructure as well as human and natural
Zimbabwe's tourism sector, that was one of the biggest
currency earners, has been in the doldrums since 2000 when President
Mugabe began a crackdown on critics that drove away potential
Harare has since 2004 been splashing millions of dollars
to spruce up
Zimbabwe's battered image without much success as tourists
continued to shun
Zimbabwe's dismal ranking is
further confirmation of the country's
bitter economic crisis that has
spawned shortages of food, electricity,
essential medicines and just about
every basic survival commodity.
The country is also grappling with
the world's highest inflation rate
of over 100 000 percent, massive
unemployment and poverty that critics blame
on mismanagement by Mugabe. -
Edo to Partner Farmers
Posted to the web 3 March 2008
State government has opened talks with white Zimbabwean farmers with a
to allowing them to farm in the state.
The Special Adviser to the
Governor on Communal Farming, Mrs. Uwa Osunbor,
said in Benin that with the
fresh initiative, the Edo governor was
determined to take agriculture to a
new level in the state in line with his
campaign promise on
Freedom fighter -
Monocle - Issue 11, Volume 02
has been arrested more times than he can remember. The
Zimbabwean newspaper editor has been in jail, had his passport
taken and his
citizenship revoked. His staff at The Zimbabwe Independent and
have been tortured. The vendors who sell his papers have been
beaten up, and
readers slip them into brown paper bags at the newsagent.
There were times
when people found holding a Ncube publication risked being
beaten to death
by lynch mobs. "Life has not been short of excitement," he
says with a smile
and little understatement.
Sat in a boardroom in an affluent Johannesburg
suburb, Ncube can afford to
smile. Not only has he established the two
newspapers in Zimbabwe, he also revived the
fortunes of a prestigious South
African publication, the Mail & Guardian
while taking control of its mother
publisher, M&G Media.
Ncube is plotting his next move: building a pan-African media company.
Africa to take its rightful place within the international community it
needs a media that is independent and vibrant," he says. "We see ourselves
as important players in building a democratic and accountable continent." No
one is likely to be more important in this than Ncube, a man who has become
successful in one of the continent's least democratic countries. He grew up
in Bulawayo, the son of domestic workers. His interest in news was spurred
by his father, who brought papers home from the wealthy white family he
Trevor started a scrapbook, cutting out articles about
figures. "I didn't care for Michael Jackson, it was Henry
Gerald Ford." Rather than getting a job when he left school
money for the family, he went to university to study economics.
selfish," he says, "but I had my parents' support."
break in media came through an unlikely source. A major economics
took place in Harare in the 1980s, and after the event Zimbabwe's
broadcaster decided to run a series of discussion programmes. "The
arose: 'Who is going to chair this thing?' I had been very vocal
floor, asking questions. Out of the blue they chose me." Ncube was
as a celebrity and became assistant editor at what was then the
only independent newspaper, the Financial Gazette. "I didn't have
training as a journalist," Ncube admits.
Many have doubted Ncube's
journalistic talent. Editors at the Mail &
Guardian, which he bought in
2001, turned him down for a job in 1994. "I do
have the letter somewhere,"
His business acumen has never been in doubt though; after
rising to the
editor's chair at The Financial Gazette he was fired for his
on Robert Mugabe's government. So Ncube launched The
Zimbabwe Independent in
He bought out his partners and within
six months it was running a profit;
within a year he set up The Standard, a
Sunday newspaper. The group owns a
share in a printing press and the
country's largest independent distribution
challenge has been in Johannesburg. The Mail & Guardian had a
as an ANC paper through the years of struggle against apartheid.
By the time
Ncube bought it, seven years after the election of Nelson
reputation had changed. "It was regarded as an enemy by South
liberators," he says. "It was seen as anti anything that was black.
had been crossed."
In the years he has been in charge, those perceptions
have changed. A
readership that Ncube characterised as "white and
conservative" is now 60
per cent black. Its website is the largest newspaper
site on the continent.
The paper's readers include government ministers and
the country's decision
Buying the paper was a risk for a man
who readily admits he "didn't have a
clue" about the South African market,
but it has paid off. While its
circulation is just one-tenth of the
established Sunday Times, the Mail &
Guardian has seen its numbers rise.
From 36,000 copies a week in 2001, it is
now selling 52,000 - with a target
of 70,000 in the next two years.
For all his hopes, Ncube cannot hide his
concerns for South Africa. The
paper's success comes at a time when the
media there is facing huge
challenges. Journalists have been threatened over
stories attacking the
government. Newspapers also criticised Jacob Zuma, the
leader of the ANC -
expected as the next president.
that press freedoms may again be limited. "The test often
comes during bad
times," he says. "Bad times come when politicians feel
under threat. With 20
million South Africans living below the poverty line
there could be a
revolution. But one gets comfort from our constitution and
civil society. It is important for the whole world that South
Ncube now has his sights set on the rest of the continent. He is
negotiations with investors in Nigeria, East Africa and the south.
his motives are not about profit. "Africa has to become a continent
dictatorship is unacceptable." As someone who stood up to Mugabe and
Ncube is not to be taken lightly.