|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
DA warns of 'Zim genocide'
02/03/2004 22:15 - (SA)
Cape Town - Opposition
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Tony Leon said on
Tuesday that it was not impossible that there may be a politically motivated
genocide in Zimbabwe in the coming months.
Speaking at a news conference on the failure of South Africa's foreign
policy regarding Zimbabwe at his party's campaign headquarters in
Johannesburg, Leon said that after much consideration of available evidence
"including the recent revelations on BBC television of government sponsored
murder and torture training camps, we believe there is now a possibility
that (President Robert) Mugabe's regime may begin to engage in the
systematic murder and torture of its political opponents in the run up to
the next election".
An election in Zimbabwe is scheduled to take place early next year.
Leon said agents of the Mugabe government and Zanu-PF loyalists had already
engaged in mass intimidation, scores of opposition activists had been
brutally tortured and rape had also been a means of intimidation.
He said Zimbabwean parliament Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, who he was tipped
to succeed Mugabe as president, was head of the Central Intelligence
Organisation during the 1982-87 Matabeleland genocide.
Leon noted that he had been embraced at the ruling African National Congress
conference in Stellenbosch in December 2002.
Leon charged that Mugabe had reportedly visited the camps and his government
had full knowledge of what was going on inside them.
"Genocide is thus by no means an impossible outcome of this process, given
the disturbing precedent of the Matabeleland massacres of the 1980s."
Leon suggested it would be "deeply irresponsible" of the South African
government and the international community not to make contingency plans in
the event that the Mugabe government and his ruling Zanu-PF "begin to kill
or rape large numbers of Zimbabweans" in the election run-up.
"One of the greatest failings of the international community during the
1990s was its inability and unwillingness to take action to avert genocide
in Rwanda. In the case of Zimbabwe, it would be tragic if the international
community waited until it was too late to avert disaster."
Leon said his party would write to France - which currently presides over
the UN Security Council - to outline our concerns and request the Security
Council to make a concrete contingency plan which could be implemented in
the event that mass killings or mass rapes begin in Zimbabwe.
It would also write to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court and request that he open an investigation "into the crimes of
Robert Mugabe and his associates".
Dubai:Saturday, March 06, 2004
Time to go, Comrade
| By Nimal Fernando, Day Editor | 06-03-2004
Dear Comrade Bob,
I write this more in sorrow than anger. Sorrow in seeing
you piling on the agony on your nation. Sorrow in seeing how you've become
hardly a shadow of your former self and frittered away whatever credit you
built up in your early years, which at least had promise if not performance.
Sorrow in how you insist on hanging around long, long after your sell-by
Just last December, Australia, a respected member of the
54-nation Commonwealth, urged your fellow African leaders to ask you to
resign as President of Zimbabwe. This followed Zimbabwe's (read your)
suspension from the Commonwealth's decision-making councils following
alleged intimidation and vote-rigging in your 2002 re-election. The election
was deemed grossly unfair by a Commonwealth observer group.
This is why you were not invited to the December party in
Nigeria, although you tried in vain to wangle a last-minute invitation.
Surely, you must realise the extent of world opinion against you. Or are you
one of those hardy souls whose skin makes that of an elephant resemble
gossamer silk? Now you are suffering more loss of face because you cut your
nose off to spite it, by pulling Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth. Let's
take a look at your sorry record...
Apart from your infamous land-grab venture, which ruined
your nation's vibrant farm sector, and economic policies which sent foreign
investors rushing to the airport, you and those empowered by you have a
string of human rights violations.
Under your despotic rule Zimbabwe's economy is in
free-fall. Inflation is well on its debilitating way towards 700 per cent.
Millions of your people are facing food shortages while nearly 70 per cent
of those who are able to work, can't - because there's simply no work to do.
Even the legal system seems unable to escape your
unwelcome embrace. The highest court in the land has rejected demands by
human rights groups for your government to release two official reports on
the massacres of civilians following Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in
A five-judge panel has ruled that releasing the reports on
the killing of at least 20,000 people by soldiers between 1981 and 1987 in
the western Matabeleland province was not in public interest.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the independent
Legal Resources Foundation have argued the reports were suppressed to cover
up atrocities by troops.
You, as president, had sent a brigade of troops of your
majority Shona tribe to crush an armed rebellion by fighters of the minority
Ndebele tribe that ended with the rebels' surrender in 1987. But since you,
as president, are vested with powers which the courts cannot inquire into,
the ruling had said that you are the best judge on matters of policy.
Coming back to the gut issue, the UN and other relief
agencies have now placed Zimbabwe's food insecurity on a higher state of
alert, putting Zimbabweans who have no ready access to a basic daily diet to
two-thirds in a population of 11.6 million.
How is it that, even as you lay blame for Zimbabwe's food
woes on a conspiracy by western governments, your nation keeps mass
starvation at bay with corn, sorghum and soy flour donated largely (80 per
cent) by Europe and the United States?
So what you fondly imagine to be your trump card has
become the joker in the pack. That tired old racism charge just won't wash
anymore. Even young Zimbabwean students have seen through your ploy to paint
the Commonwealth with a "white-hegemonist" brush. You are one more example
of a freedom fighter who lost his way.
Do the decent thing, comrade. For God's sake , just go.
Anti-poverty summit: Chavez and Mugabe lead the real `race to the bottom'
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
(KRT) - The
following editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Friday,
X X X
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe,
presiding respectively over two of the world's worst performing economies,
played key roles at an international summit to combat poverty last weekend
In tragic irony, the two purported to give sage advice to other developing
countries at the 12th meeting of the G15, while their own economies are
losing nearly 10 percent of GDP per year under protectionist and
anti-democratic policies. Messrs. Chavez and Mugabe hail each other as
''freedom fighters,'' while both persecute journalists, violently suppress
the opposition and undermine democracy.
Mugabe addressed the G15 with a moralistic and indignant keynote speech,
blaming rich nations for reverting to ``colonial times of unmitigated
Although famine and poverty have decreased in every other sub-Saharan
country, half of Zimbabwe's 12 million inhabitants face malnutrition and
Since Chavez looks to Cuba's Fidel Castro as a role model, is there any
wonder that he embraces an infamous leader like Mugabe as a ''brother'' in
their common ``struggle''?
To his credit, one of President Mugabe's points does ring true: rich nations
that insist on free markets in developing countries have themselves
neglected to drop tariffs, subsidies and other impediments. Still, to create
any moral or political legitimacy, the G15 must censure, rather than honor,
leaders who trample democracy and deflate their nation's economy.
Truly, Presidents Chavez and Mugabe are leaders in the real ``race to the
From The Times (UK), 6 March
Ailing judge defies Mugabe
From Jan Raath in Harare
A High Court judge has
thrown out the "confessions" of six Zimbabwean
opposition activists charged with murdering a pro-government militia leader,
claiming that they had been tortured. Judge Sandra Mungwira said that 14 out
of 15 police witnesses had "shamelessly lied". Police had assaulted the
activists and their relatives, deprived them of sleep and food and
threatened them with guns. The six had also been prevented from seeing
lawyers or receiving medical attention. Judge Mungwira's stand was all the
more courageous because she is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and nearly
collapsed as she left the courtroom. Tomorrow she flies to Britain for
treatment. The case centred on the activists, from the Movement for
Democratic Change, being accused of abducting and strangling Cain Nkala, the
head of the notorious war veterans' militia, in western Zimbabwe in November
2001. The discovery of his body in a shallow grave north of Bulawayo was met
with condemnation of the MDC by Mr Mugabe, who branded the party a terrorist
organisation. Thousands of war veterans destroyed the MDC's offices in
Bulawayo and for weeks MDC supporters were dragged out of their homes and
assaulted. Judge Mungwira called the investigation into Mr Nkala's death "an
appalling piece of fiction". She said police had visited the grave of Mr
Nkala the night before one of the six accused was supposed to have guided
them to the site. The trial began in October 2002. Three of the six had been
in custody since November 2001, in violation of a Supreme Court order for
their release. Judge Mungwira made her ruling in an atmosphere of overt
political intimidation. Nine High Court judges have resigned in less than
Dear Family and Friends,
My son is 11 years old and in his last year at junior school. This is not
an elite white's only institution, just a good small Christian school
where there are 12 white children in a school of 180 students. I believe
it is a school truly representative of real life in Zimbabwe where
children of all colours and backgrounds have mastered the art of race
relations, tolerance and dignity in a country in turmoil.
My sons year began with a leadership camp where he and his classmates were
taught the finer skills of being school prefects. Throughout the year all
the grade 7 students are rostered for a week at a time to be a monitor of
one of the junior classes. As a monitor you get to wear a distinctive
white hat and you patrol the playground and corridors at break time, lunch
time and when the school is congregating for assembly. As a mother it has
been awesome to watch the transformation in my son and to see him being
confronted with the same questions and problems that our country faces.
For years when I have picked my son up at the end of the school day it has
been like pulling teeth to try and find out what he's been doing. It
didn't seem to matter how I worded the enquiry about his day or how
specific the question was, until now all I've ever had was one word
answers. If I asked how his day was, or his teacher or a friend, he would
just say: "OK". If I asked what he'd done in maths, english, sport or art,
the answer was always "nothing". I had begun to wonder if he ever did
anything at school but now that he's a monitor everything has changed. Now
when I ask him how his day was, the words just pour out. He tells me about
errant 8 year olds who leave litter in the playground, thow stones at
walls, talk in line, wear the wrong shoes or are heard swearing. He tells
me of punishment he's given out to deviants, how many people he's
recommended for detention and how many kids he's given lines to. On Friday
all the children who have been given lines to write during the week, have
to hand the work in to the monitors for checking. Lines which say "I will
not talk at assembly" or "I will not swear at the monitor".
As the weeks have progressed and his familiarity with authority has grown,
my son and I have had many conversations about the fine line between being
a good leader and a bad one, how to earn respect and how being firm but
fair can change to arrogance and cruelty very easily. We've also talked a
lot about a boy who was a monitor last year who was known throughout the
school as Rough Roger. Rough Roger always gave out his punishment with a
slap or a push or some form of humiliation like pulling a boy's shorts
down or sticking a foot out so the child tripped. My son said that
everyone in the school had been scared of Rough Roger but few had dared
report him or stand up to his bullying use of authority because if they
did Rough Roger would come for them later with angry revenge and make your
life hell. My son thought that if the whole school had stuck together then
perhaps they could have stopped Rough Roger but he said that too many kids
had been hurt or humiliated by him and were scared and so they just did
nothing, knowing that Rough Roger would be out of their lives at the end
of the year when he left for senior school.
Through the eyes of a child the situation in Zimbabwe has been captured -
bullying, force, arrogance and fear. Also through the eyes of a child the
answer to Zimbabwe's problem is staring us in the face - united we are
strong but divided we are weak victims cowering in the corners. Until next
week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 6th March 2004.
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa from: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ; in Australia and New Zealand:
email@example.com ; Africa: www.kalahari.net
Mugabe lashes out at homosexuals - again
March 06 2004 at 02:42PM
Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Saturday
lashed out anew at
homosexuality and also promised to stamp out corruption, which he said was
destroying the crisis-ridden southern African nation.
Mugabe, who turned 80 last month, was speaking at a special thanksgiving
ceremony for his long life organised by prominent Zimbabwean churchman
"I'm morally revulsed by homosexuality," Mugabe told the function, which
also featured popular gospel singers and choirs.
Mugabe, who has called homosexuals "worse than pigs and dogs", said same-sex
marriages also deserved outright condemnation.
"It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam, Eve and Eve," he said in biblical
reference to humanity's first parents.
"Let us never entertain the theory that man and man can form a family."
Mugabe also waxed eloquent on corruption - a theme he has taken up
recently - saying Zimbabweans had the right to prosperity honestly gained.
But anyone guilty of corruption would be brought to book no matter "who it
is that offends - a relative of mine, a great man in business, a great
Offending businessmen would also be dealt harshly with because they were
"offending against the rules of our society... ruining our own heritage."
The function was attended by government officials, prominent Zimbabweans and
hundreds of flag-waving students.
Reverend Musindo, the organiser of the function, described Mugabe as a
"black, political, economic Moses" whose vision was "to raise millionaires
and billionaires" in the country.
The economy of the former British colony has been in a nose-dive in recent
years with international support drying up, and rates of inflation and
interest skyrocketing to record highs of more than 600 percent.
Mugabe's reputation as an African stateman started fading in recent years
after the country - once the region's breadbasket - slid into economic
decline as land reforms which had been left unresolved for years, were
jump-started with the violent occupation of white-owned farms. - Sapa-AFP
Minister Turns Up Heat over Cricketers' Zimbabwe Tour
By Andrew Woodcock, Political Correspondent, PA News
Extra pressure was today piled on England cricket chiefs days
ahead of a key
meeting on the national team's planned tour of Zimbabwe, as sports minister
Richard Caborn issued a parliamentary statement confirming that he did not
support the trip.
The chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, David Morgan, is due to
brief the International Cricket Council on the ECB's intentions at a board
meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, on March 9 and 10.
In recent months, the ECB has appeared close to cancelling the trip, planned
But the ICC has indicated that, unless England are specifically ordered by
the Government not to go, cancellation could be regarded as a breach of the
ECB's commitments, with potentially massive financial repercussions.
And the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) has called on England to honour their
commitment to the tour.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question, Mr Caborn said any tour
would proceed "in defiance of Government, Liberal Democrat and Conservative
But he stopped short of giving the ECB the direct instruction that might
give them a way out of the impasse, saying: "The decision to tour in
Zimbabwe is entirely a matter for the ECB. There are no powers for the
Government to intervene in any way."
Mr Caborn added: "However, because of the deteriorating political and human
rights situation in the country, I do not support the tour, in the same way
that I would not support any activity capable of being used by the Mugabe
regime for propaganda purposes."
Liberal Democrat sports spokesman Don Foster, whose question sparked the
written reply, challenged the ECB to call off the tour now.
"This reply makes it clear that the Government disapproves of this tour," he
said. "In my view, it amounts as near to a directive as the Government can
give within our democratic system. The ECB should respond to it as such.
"A high-profile tour simply cannot be contemplated at a time when the
international community is seeking to isolate Zimbabwe and force an end to
the tyranny that has driven people to starvation and led to appalling abuses
of human rights.
"I understand the ICC are discussing this at their meeting next week. The
ECB should make it clear that it has no option but to abandon its plans."
In January, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw wrote to Lords, asking the ECB
board to consider whether the tour would be consistent with Britain's
approach of isolating Zimbabwe because of the poor human rights record of
President Robert Mugabe's regime.
ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said at the time that Mr Straw's comment came
as close as could be expected to explicit advice not to go.
In a statement ahead of next Tuesday's meeting, the ICC said: "The policy of
the ICC Executive Board, endorsed unanimously by all countries in October
2002, is that safety and security issues are to be the only matters taken
into account in evaluating a tour unless there is a clear direction from
government that a tour should not go ahead."
The meeting is due to consider a paper on the issues surrounding the tour
drawn up by ECB board member Des Wilson. The document, which is understood
to set out a case for cancelling tours on moral grounds, has not yet been
adopted as policy by the ECB.
UN to stop funding NGOs in sub-Saharan Aids fight
March 06, 2004, 13:49
The UN agencies that sponsor Aids programmes say they will no longer direct
funds to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in some sub-Saharan states
because they lacked accountability.
NGOs today called the move retrogressive, saying it would harm efforts to
fight the epidemic in a region where some 26.6 million people are estimated
to be infected with the deadly HIV virus or have full-blown Aids.
Koichiro Matsuura, who chairs the funding committee for UNAids, the UN
agency that leads the fight against the epidemic, said the UN agencies
endorsed yesterday a proposal by Zambia and Zimbabwe to stop channelling
Aids funds to NGOs because they lacked accountability.
"Aids money will no longer be given to NGOs. This is what the countries have
proposed and it has been endorsed. The money will only be channelled through
the governments' central authorities dealing with Aids," said Matsuura,
after a two-day ministerial conference on how to accelerate the campaign
against Aids in Africa in the Zambian town of Livingstone.
Move supported by other nations
The move was supported by fellow African nations Lesotho, Swaziland,
Botswana and Namibia and will also be introduced there, said Matsuura, who
is also the director general of the UN Educational and Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
"The consequences of this retrogressive move will be grave to the fight
against Aids. There is too much bureaucracy in government institutions,"
said Clement Mufuzi, the national coordinator of the Zambian NGO the Network
of People Living with HIV (NZP+).
Some donor groups and Aids activists have complained that only a small part
of international funding is spent on medicine or care programmes, with most
going towards the salaries and allowances of both public and NGO
bureaucrats. The UN's World Health Organisation has said it intends to
provide Aids drugs worth $5.5 billion to three million people in poorer
countries between 2004 and 2005. - Reuters
Zimbabwe Opposition Threatens Parliamentary Vote Boycott
Copyright © 2004, Dow Jones Newswires
(AP)--Zimbabwe's main opposition party threatened
Friday to boycott next year's parliamentary elections unless the government
takes steps to ensure a free and fair vote.
In a statement, the Movement for Democratic Change set out a list of
"minimum demands" that must be met before it can decide whether to
participate in the March 2005 polls.
They include the formation of an independent election commission,
transparent voting procedures and the repeal of sweeping security and media
The conditions were agreed at a meeting Friday of the party's
The opposition currently controls 54 of Parliament's 120 elected
seats. President Robert Mugabe appoints 30 other lawmakers, giving him an
overwhelming majority, which he has used to pass laws aimed at stifling
criticism of himself and his ZANU-PF party.
Under the country's draconian security laws, police approval is
required for any public gathering, including campaign rallies.
A state-appointed commission oversees elections, which opposition
leaders and independent observers say have been marred in the past by
intimidation and vote rigging. The opposition has asked the courts to
overturn the 2002 presidential election in which Mugabe was narrowly
The government has refused previous opposition demands for reform.
Last month, it withdrew a request to the U.N. for help financing and
organizing next year's vote.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 05, 2004 12:59 ET (17:59 GMT)
Street Kids Outwit Authorities
The Herald (Harare)
April 6, 2004
Posted to the web March 5, 2004
SCORES of people living on the streets, who were rounded up last week in a
clean-up campaign code named Operation Snow, are pouring back onto the
streets of the capital, casting a shadow of doubt over the ability of the
authorities to end this deeply entrenched social problem.
Two weeks ago, police in Harare rounded up over 200 people living on the
streets and about 36 illegal immigrants, in what they claim was a clean up
campaign to restore sanity on the streets of the Sunshine City.
"I won't go anywhere," says a streetkid who simply identified himself as
George. "They can do anything, beat us, dump us on farms or anywhere, but I
will still return here (Jason Moyo Avenue).
He says they were forcibly rounded up by the police and dumped at a farm in
"They want to use us," he charges with his friends laughing just outside a
place close to a food outlet. "Manje isusu havambotikwanisa, vanotokwata
During this campaign dubbed Operation Snow, young people living on the
streets aged below 16 were taken to children's homes, which are battling to
look after them because of limited budgets.
"We don't have enough money to look after them," says a woman working at an
orphanage in Waterfalls. "This is our biggest problem and if they can't get
enough food, they return to the streets."
She says some of the streetkids were wild and it was not easy to make them
abide by some of the rules at the home.
"Some of them are weird characters and dumping them in homes is not a
solution at all," she says. "It's a social problem with no easy answers."
Police spokesman, Ass Comm Wayne Bvudzijena, says people living on the
streets were rounded up in conjunction with the social welfare department in
an effort to rid the streets of the capital of some criminal elements.
"It's the social department that decided where these people were to be
sent," he says. "Streetkids are always a problem and have been involved in
criminal activities and hence the need to remove them from the streets."
People living on the streets, he says, are not supposed to be there and the
public should not give them money as this perpetuates the problem.
"They think its right for them to stay on the streets when its only proper
for them to stay in establishments," he says. "Well-wishers should not give
them money but should instead give it to institutions that look after
orphans and streetkids.
"We never dumped them or harassed them, but where they went, it's the social
welfare that made the decision."
When contacted for comment, the director of the social welfare department,
Mr Sidney Mhishi was said to be away on business and would only be available
Conditions in the capital's streets had deteriorated in the last few years
with increasing numbers of people moving in, messing up sanitary lanes,
parks and other alleyways while others washed their clothes and hung them
out to dry on lamp posts and disused meter posts. This was offending other
people in the city.
Africa Unity Square in the heart of the capital, had become filthy as scores
of people living on the street used the park as toilets.
A concerted media campaign forced the city council to clean-up the park to
regain its lost glory.
Some of the people living on the streets are turning to crime to get money
to buy food.
Several people, mostly women say streetkids are harassing them, snatching
food and other valuable possessions from them and in some serious cases
being gang-raped by them.
A total of seven streetkids were locked up for cases ranging from rape,
theft and plain robbery in a crackdown on the streets by the police.
"If they arrest us and dump us in the bush, where do they think we will get
money to buy food," says another woman with a baby strapped on her back at
the corner of Jason Moyo Avenue and Fourth Street. "I've this baby who needs
food and I've to beg from people for me to be able to survive."
When asked why she was living on the streets, the woman who preferred to be
called Mai Raiza, gave a string of tall tales.
"I've no parents, no husband, no sister, no brother. I don't have relatives
and I don't know where the father of this child is.
"Can you please help me, I'm starving. Do you have $100, please
ndibatsireiwo," she says pleading.
Social commentators blame the city council and the police for failing to
draw in other stakeholders to manage this volatile problem, in which lack of
coordination has weakened the thrust of this clean-up campaign.
"Zimbabweans must learn to take their responsibilities seriously," says one
social analyst. "We need to put programmes in place to rehabilitate these
Name calling, he says, is one major sign of a society that has run out of
ideas to manage this social problem.
"Now we are calling them 'ruthless, heartless, robbers, rapists and
murderers," he says.
He attacked some non-governmental organisations, which were sourcing money
from donors in the name of street people only to enrich themselves and
forget about the intended beneficiaries.
This social problem in the end is a vicious cycle -the police round up
street people year in, year out and these people too, remain defiant and
return to the streets as soon as they are taken off the streets.
In 2002, the police rounded up more than 200 people from the streets and
this had been done several times in the past with no clear-cut solutions in
Until a lasting solution is found to this pressing social problem, the
police, city council and the social welfare department will remain entraped
in the merry-go round politics of this social problem.