New York Times
Published: May 17, 2007
Will Robert Mugabe's outrages never stop? For months he has been jailing and
brutalizing opposition leaders and trampling the rule of law in order to
guarantee himself another rigged victory in next year's presidential
If Zimbabwe is to brake its headlong descent into tyranny, famine and some
of the world's lowest life-expectancy figures, the leaders of neighboring
African countries will have to bring strong political and economic pressure
on Mr. Mugabe, and they will have to move quickly. So far they have done the
opposite. In the midst of Mr. Mugabe's reign of terror, his fellow African
leaders appallingly selected the continent's prime example of economic free
fall as the chair of the United Nations' Commission on Sustainable
The leader with the most potential leverage is Thabo Mbeki, the president of
South Africa, which is the region's political powerhouse, as well as the
supplier of 40 percent of Zimbabwe's electricity and one of its largest
investors. A group of southern African nations have asked Mr. Mbeki to
mediate between Mr. Mugabe and his opponents. So far, Mr. Mbeki hasn't done
much more than write a few letters.
If his mediation is to succeed, substantive negotiations will have to start
quickly and be concluded well in advance of next year's election. And, to
assure that the opposition can freely campaign, Mr. Mbeki must insist that
Zimbabwe repeal its legal restrictions on free assembly and that Mr. Mugabe
stop terrorizing opposition leaders.
If the human tragedy of Zimbabwe cannot move Mr. Mbeki, he might at least
consider his own country's narrow self-interest. Potential investors in
South Africa can only be put off by the growing tide of misery and upheaval
just over the border.
Wed May 16, 10:08 PM ET
SYDNEY (AFP) - Zimbabwe's government, furious over the cancellation of a key
Australian cricket tour, on Thursday accused Canberra of funding "terrorist
activities" in the troubled African nation.
Harare hit back days after Prime Minister John Howard banned Australia's
tour of Zimbabwe, saying it would provide a propaganda boost for its "grubby
dictator" Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikyaniso Ndlovu claimed Howard's government
was trying to topple Mugabe by funding political violence in Zimbabwe
through cash channelled to aid groups and vowed the alleged bid would be
"The monies that come to them are to cause violence, terrorist activities,"
Ndlovu told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "I've got a list, a
long list of their terrorist activities here.
"We will not tolerate violence by the puppets here who are funded by the
Australian government," he said, also taking the opportunity to slam Howard
as acting in "Gestapo"-like fashion by banning the cricket tour.
"He is the international Gestapo and a criminal ... he is worse than anybody
else, his actions in banning the cricket is just one example of being the
Gestapo," Ndlovu said of Howard in an angry outburst.
That barb came in response to Howard's claim on Sunday that the "Mugabe
regime at present is behaving like the Gestapo towards its political
Ndlovu also insisted that the cancellation of the cricket tour would have no
impact on Zimbabwe and would hurt Australia more.
Zimbabwe's junior information minister earlier this week said the ban was a
racist ploy designed to keep the country out of international sport, a
charge rejected by Canberra.
The New Republic
by Suzanne Nossel
Only at TNR Online | Post date 05.17.07
At long last, we seem to be approaching--fitfully--global agreement than
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's elected dictator, must go. He is presiding over 80
percent unemployment, an inflation rate of 1,700 percent, and shortages of
nearly all basic goods. In response to his troubles, Mugabe has attacked and
injured opposition leaders, opened fire on protestors, and beaten those who
resist arrest. In a comparison that is as harsh as it gets in southern
Africa, clerics have equated his tyrannical tactics to the worst of
Pretoria's apartheid regime.
And, since many of his critics now believe that toppling his regime--and
getting a fresh start for Zimbabwe--is more important than holding him to
account, there are increasing calls for Mugabe to be forgiven. Zimbabwe's
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai--whose skull was cracked open in police
custody last month--has hinted that Mugabe should be offered immunity if he
agrees to step down. The International Crisis Group, in a March report,
likewise assumed that immunity would be part of the solution. It is widely
surmised that, if current efforts by South African President Thabo Mbeki
help end to Mugabe's rule, protection from prosecution may be part of the
But, while immunity may seem a tempting solution--no worse than the way many
other tyrants have left office--offering it to Mugabe now would represent a
big step backward. As African countries struggle to crack down on corruption
and clean up messes in their own neighborhood, allowing one of the
continent's notorious strongmen to walk free--without ever holding him to
account--would simply enable future despots. Mugabe missed his chance to
take advantage of a long era of impunity for brutal heads of state--and,
now, it's too late to make an exception.
An immunity offer has obvious appeal: If Mugabe can be coaxed to leave
Harare voluntarily, he could obviate the need for either an internal coup or
aggressive international action (by either South Africa's neighbors or the
international community). Allowing Mugabe to while away the rest of his days
(and, remember, he is already 83) on a beachfront may seem like a small
price to pay for the return of stability in Zimbabwe. It may be of
particular appeal to Mugabe's neighbors, who wish to resolve the region's
crisis without turning on a longtime friend. (Solidarity with Mugabe, who
helped throw off the colonial yoke of white-minority rule in Rhodesia, has
stood in the way regional pressure.)
But while a temporary exile may be needed to get Mugabe to step aside, it
should not be accompanied by permanent impunity for his crimes. Mugabe has
orchestrated state-sponsored assassination, uprooted entire populations, and
starved political opponents. The victims of these high crimes deserve
justice, either by a domestic court or--failing that--an international one.
Human rights violations like Mugabe's cannot simply be overlooked without
threatening respect for human rights worldwide. If powerful human rights
violators are above the law, other tyrants will continue their misery
making, safe in the knowledge that they risk, at most, their authority, not
In fact, Mugabe's self-assuredness over the years owes in part to the
comfortable exiles won by Marcos of the Philippines, Duvalier of Haiti,
Mengistu of Ethiopia, Amin of Uganda, Stroessner of Paraguay, Mobutu of
then-Zaire, the Shah of Iran, and Liberia's Charles Taylor. In most of these
cases, exile meant de facto immunity, since no international courts were
available to try the dictators' crimes.
Most of those countries were better off when those men left, but the mere
fact of their departure isn't a good enough reason to insulate them from
punishment. And this sentiment is gaining in popularity. That's why Taylor's
story ended differently: After a few years spent lying low in Calabar,
Nigeria's president finally succumbed to international pressure and turned
him over to the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. By detailing
Taylor's horrific crimes, proponents of accountability overcame Nigeria's
promises to protect the fallen dictator.
Of course, this bodes well for justice, but poorly for precedent. By some
accounts, Taylor's saga has complicated Mbeki's approach toward Mugabe: What
good is exile if it is not accompanied by immunity? What use is an immunity
offer if it can be unilaterally rescinded?
The answer is not much--and that's how it should be. But by taking a stand
for accountability in Zimbabwe, instead of letting Mugabe skulk away, Mbeki
and others could signal a new era for Africa--one that rejects corrupt and
brutal leaders, no matter their revolutionary pedigree. Considerations of
pan-African solidarity are too often allowed to trump both the fundamental
values of Africa's democracies and the interests of its often defenseless
populations. This pattern has helped prolong the crisis in Darfur and the
strife in Congo. And the message is equally important for Zimbabwe's
opposition: The regime that replaces Mugabe must mark a sharp break from the
past--including true legal accountability.
Rejecting an immunity deal would also reflect the sea-change in
international justice that has taken place in recent decades. The creation
of the U.N.'s special tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and
Sierra Leone--as well as the creation of the International Criminal Court in
1998--have made justice available for perpetrators of some of the world's
most notorious crimes. These courts are beyond the reach of tyrants,
threats, and violence. At the same time, these bodies are beginning to
reshape public expectations so that the idea of brutal thugs retiring in
safe splendor is less accepted than it used to be. People have tasted
international criminal justice, and they are asking for more.
Africa is at an inflection point when it comes to holding leaders
responsible for corruption, incompetence, and human rights abuses. With the
arrest of Charles Taylor, the continent shifted from willingness to let
bygones be bygones (as the governments of Mozambique, Botswana, and Angola
once avowed) to the beginnings of accountability. Having made these first
steps, Africa should not let the likes of Mugabe drag it backward again.
Suzanne Nossel writes for the blog democracyarsenal.org.
Wed 16 May 2007, 22:50 GMT
By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations said Wednesday an independent
probe was being conducted into whether U.N. vehicles were used to smuggle
diamonds from a mine in Zimbabwe.
Spokeswoman Michele Montas confirmed that Larry Johnson, the deputy legal
counsel, had received a letter alleging that at least one vehicle from the
U.N. Development Fund (UNDP) was involved in the smuggling.
UNDP spokeswoman Cassandra Waldon denied the charge. "No UNDP vehicle has
been used in any illegal activity," she said.
A lawyer representing Bubye Minerals wrote to the U.N. legal office, saying
their rivals in ownership for River Ranch Limited had smuggled diamonds out
of Zimbabwe with the assistance of UNDP, according to the Zimbabwe-based
Financial Gazette newspaper.
Bubye Minerals has accused the directors of River Ranch of seizing the mine
and renaming it.
Waldon said UNDP was a trustee but not on the staff of the African
Management Services Company (AMSCO), a regional project supported by
governments as well as the World Bank's private sector arm, the
International Finance Corporation.
AMSCO helps African countries become globally competitive and brings in
expatriate managers or experts, seven of whom are in Zimbabwe. UNDP supports
the work of the experts, such as security accreditation, Waldon said.
Waldon said similar allegations about UNDP had surfaced earlier this year
and were investigated by AMSCO and the UNDP office in Zimbabwe, which found
Now that the accusations have resurfaced, the AMSCO board of directors had
asked outside investigators to conduct another probe, Waldon said.
But UNDP is not yet conducting a separate inquiry.
"We are following it very closely. We will await the results of the
investigation and UNDP will determine whether any further action is
warranted," Waldon said.
In January, the industry's World Diamond Council said it received reports
that diamonds in Zimbabwe were being smuggled into neighboring South Africa,
where they were being certified as legitimate. The charge is still being
The council said River Ranch was among the smuggling sites named in the
report. River Ranch denied the accusations and a lawyer for the group said
no diamonds had even been mined.
Illegal mining is rising in Zimbabwe as people grapple with an economic
crisis that has seen inflation rise to over 2,000 percent, the highest in
the world, and poverty levels soar.
By Patience Rusere
16 May 2007
Zimbabwe continued its clampdown on students Wednesday, as three students
from Bindura University of Science and Education in Mashonaland Central,
said they have been forced to go into hiding, following threats on their
lives by state security agents.
The three students, Moreblessing Mabhunu, Chiedza Gadzirayi and Tinashe
Madamombe, said they received death threats over the phone from state
security agents, for their alleged involvement with the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, and the Bindura Residents Association.
The students said the security agents told them that their attendance at an
MDC rally over the weekend, and their participation in the Bindura Residents
Association is an insult to ZANU-PF political commissar Elliot Manyika, who
is the party's Member of Parliament for the Mashonaland Central
constituency. The state agents reportedly told the students they were
operating in a "no go territory."
The threats follow a spate of expulsions, suspensions, arrests and beatings
of students and student leaders.
Senior Programs Manager for the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, Phillipp
Pasirayi, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that
the increased crackdown reflects a fear of growing discontent in the student
Meanwhile in Harare Tuesday, Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura of the University
of Zimbabwe, is said to have expelled Terrence Chimhavi, a candidate for the
presidency of the Students Executive Council, and nine others, because they
took part in last week's disturbances at the University, which resulted in
extensive damage to property.
Some of the suspended students included Sambulo Mathema, the
secretary-general of the Students Executive Council and others, namely
Roicki Chikate, Kudakwashe Mapundu, Shingai Kunoziva, Dominic Shumba.
Mathema told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that
the expulsion and suspension letters were delivered Monday, but proper
procedures were not followed.
In other student related news, two University of Zimbabwe students - Prosper
Munatsi, who heads the university's Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe
and member Munyaradzi Chikorohondo, were finally released Wednesday, after
their May 10 arrest, at a demonstration at the University of Zimbabwe. A
high court ordered their release Tuesday.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
11 May 2007
Zimbabwe teachers said they are suspicious of some forms that are being
distributed around the country for them to fill in, by unknown sources
including uniformed police.
The form, in Studio 7's possession, requires teachers' personal details
including a photograph. However the form has no letterhead or details of its
Peter Mabhande, president of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, one of the
three teachers' representative unions, confirmed the distribution of the
forms but said his association is urging teachers not to give out personal
information to strangers.
Mabhande said the President's Office and the Ministry of Education have
denied any involvement in the distribution of the forms.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe general secretary Raymond Majongwe
told Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that they suspect the information
being collected will be used against their members during political
HARARE - A massive bank run on deposits hit troubled NMB bank this week
after the eruption of a financial scandal in which the institution was
fleeced of a staggering US$4 million by one of the bank managers. Long
queues of panicky depositors waited outside branches of the bank in central
Harare amid reports the bank was limiting cash withdrawals.
There were many people waiting outside the cash machine at an NMB bank
branch in Harare's main First Street while a queue snaked out of one of the
city branches. Reports that the police fraud squad and officials from the
Reserve Bank's Bank Surveillance Unit had quizzed senior NMB bank managers,
fuelled anxiety among depositors who said the scandal echoed the 2004
banking sector crisis. Although bank sources said the fraud had not
seriously exposed the financial institution, thanks to the RBZ's new
stringent statutory reserves, depositors expressed fears that the central
bank could move to put the bank under curatorship, a move which could lock
up billions in depositors' monies in the bank.
The US$4 million stolen from the bank, catering mainly for high net worth
clients, was reportedly deposited into a Swiss bank account in Zurich. The
salted away cash constituted deposits made by individual foreign currency
account holders, NGOs, diplomatic missions seconded to Harare and exporters
holding bank accounts with the troubled institution. An assistant manager
in NMB's Treasury department, Shame Mandara, who has since skipped the
border, bilked the cash through a personal foreign currency account using
The fraud squad, which opened investigations into the theft last week,
detected almost six months later, believes senior managers at the bank
colluded with the fugitive assistant manager.
The scandal has rocked the financial sector, which had recently been given a
clean bill of health by RBZ governor Gideon Gono following his banking
Angry depositors said they were only being allowed to withdraw a maximum of
$1,5 million. Zimbabweans are struggling under shortages of many basic
goods, including foodstuffs and fuel, while inflation has now topped 2,200
percent. - Chief Reporter
HARARE - Zanu (PF) has made changes to earlier proposals to reconstitute the
Senate amid reports the ruling party was afraid of losing legislative
elections due next March.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa
announced at the end of an extraordinary Central Committee meeting last
Friday that while Zanu (PF) still wanted to increase the number of Senators
from 66 to 84, the party was dropping earlier proposals for appointment
through a proportional representation system.
Under the system, Zanu (PF) was going to appoint senators according to the
percentage of Members of Parliament who would have been elected on a Zanu
(PF) ticket in the Lower House.
Ruling party sources said the proposal was dropped following fears that the
opposition might win the majority in Parliament and therefore would
automatically have the majority of senators if the proportional
representation system was used.
The original proposal for changes in the Senate included having 60 Senators
elected indirectly under a system of proportional representation, 10
provincial governors, 10 senator chiefs and four senators appointed by
President Mugabe to represent special interest groups.
This has been discarded because it does not fit into proposed plans by Zanu
(PF) to have Parliament choose a new president in the event that Mugabe is
re-elected and chooses to resign or die in office. If the opposition holds
the majority in the House, it would mean Parliament would choose an
Cognisant of these changes, the ruling party has decided that, while the new
Senate will still be increased to 84, the number will be differently made
up, with 50 senators directly elected by voters in senatorial constituencies
as at present, 18 senator chiefs increased from 10 at present, 10 provincial
governors [at present they sit in the House of Assembly], and six Senators
appointed by President Mugabe, as at present.
Chinamasa said the drafting of Constitution Amendment No. 18, capturing all
these changes, would start soon. Chinamasa said local government elections
were due in January, while the rest of the polls, presidential and
legislative, were set for March.
It must be quite embarrassing to the rotten Zimbabwe government to read
media reports that both Malawi and Zambia will be exporting thousands of
tonnes of maize this year. These two former British colonies used to import
maize, their staple food, from Zimbabwe year in and year out.
To make matters look even more depressing; Zimbabwe will be exchanging one
tonne of sugar for two tonnes of maize with Malawi. Granted, the past
cropping season has not been as wet as it normally should have been, but to
have to import maize from countries that we used to sell that produce to is
a serious indictment against the Mugabe regime.
While it is a noble idea to import maize from the nearest countries around
us, it is also very clear to even a casual onlooker that the regime is in
the process of amassing adequate levels of maize in preparation for its
usual 'carrot and stick' tactic of forcing the electorate to vote Zanu (PF)
in the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. Experience has
consistently demonstrated that because of the evil embedded in that party,
Zanu (PF) is always quick to take advantage of each and every humanitarian
disaster to further its own political ends.
The only people who are going to benefit from drought relief distributed by
the government will be Zanu (PF) card holders, whether or not they are
members of that satanic party. The people of Zimbabwe, particularly those
living in the rural areas, are fully aware of the requirement that they
should have their Zanu (PF) cards to hand if they should wish to purchase or
receive free of charge any food that the designated state structures may be
availing to the public.
In order to tighten the screws, the regime has demanded that all NGOs in
Zimbabwe re-register with the relevant government departments, as well as
sign new memoranda of understanding. The primary intention here is to ensure
that NGOs that may wish to distribute food aid to the starving masses are
effectively controlled, so that the beneficiaries of the food aid be people
who will vote for Zanu (PF) and its aged leader, Robert Mugabe.
Traditional leaders such as chiefs and headmen are going to play a crucial
role in drawing up lists of people who should be assisted with drought
relief. Traditional leaders are generally notorious for supporting the
bloodthirsty Zanu (PF) dictatorship.
In the past, the MDC has tried to import and distribute food to needy
Zimbabweans, but the frightened Mugabe regime would not allow that to
happen. In fact, some of the imported food ended up being confiscated by the
evil regime, much to the frustration of the opposition MDC. It is doubtful
that this time around the MDC could repeat this futile exercise since the
party has extremely limited financial and other resources.
In other words, Zanu (PF) is setting the stage for rigging the 2008
elections virtually 10 months in advance. Frankly, when given a choice
between voting for the MDC and starving to death, or voting for Zanu (PF)
and staying alive, any sensible person would choose the later.
The politics of the stomach will play a critical role in the forthcoming
presidential and parliamentary elections. It is therefore necessary to
educate the public to understand that they can proceed to acquire the Zanu
(PF) cards and so have access to food, but that they do not have to vote for
that demonic political party in the elections. The people need to be assured
that Zanu (PF) will not be able to know how they voted in the elections.
Civil society, including the churches, needs to urgently play this role for
the sake of democracy in Zimbabwe.
HARARE - The majority of respondents to an opinion poll conducted by The
Zimbabwean last week vehemently oppose amnesty for President Robert Mugabe
for crimes he has committed against the people. Zimbabweans voted
overwhelmingly to deny Mugabe amnesty, by a margin of more than eight to
"Amnesty for Mugabe?" asked the Zimbabwean of its readers, both actual and
virtual - online at www.thezimbabwean.co.uk and simultaneously in a
front-page splash in the hard copy last Thursday.
Readers had the opportunity to respond by e-mail or sms. By Tuesday 303 sms
messages (86,1 percent) answered "No" amnesty for Mugabe, and 49 answered
"Yes". Most of those agreeing to amnesty suggested conditional pardon
hinging on an early departure of the ageing despot. All the email responses
"Yes I think Tsvangirai should give Mugabe amnesty if it will ensure he will
step down sooner," said one sms.
From the flurry responses it emerged that, to most Zimbabweans, the issue of
amnesty was a choice between peace and justice and between retribution and
While an overwhelming majority staunchly rejected the chance of amnesty
proposed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in return for Mugabe's early
departure, the minority who voted for amnesty suggested that no-one was
God-ordained to judge another human being.
"God Almighty will deal with him. Its not for us to judge him," said a
Zvimba-based reader supporting amnesty.
A Bulawayo-based reader charged that Tsvangirai was not qualified to comment
on amnesty for Mugabe and forgiveness for the 80s Matabeleland genocide.
"How can one Shona forgive another Shona for a massacre of Ndebeles?" read
The majority who voted against amnesty said Mugabe had committed heinous
crimes and that without justice there could be no healing and no guarantee
of the rule of law. From the tone of the messages, it emerged that no group
felt this more keenly than the relatives of the "disappeared" - those
kidnapped by the state and taken to secret detention centres and tortured.
"Hey, hey, hey, Morgan, no amnesty for this man. For three days I was
tortured and you want him to walk away scot free? Urikurasika papi? (You are
losing the plot)," said an sms from Highfield by an anonymous reader.
Other readers were more dramatic or extreme.
"Mugabe must go same way like Saddam," read a terse sms from Entumbane.
Other readers suggested that Zimbabwe rush through an amnesty for Mugabe to
ensure his early departure and then annul it soon after the fall of his
The first act of a post-Mugabe democratic government should be to set up a
truth and reconciliation commission, modelled along the South African
experience, said Maggie, a Zimbabwean working in Johannesburg.
"All this suffering was caused by him. Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and
corruption. No amnesty."
Other readers suggested Mugabe was supposed to be put on trial at the
International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity.
An e-mail sent from Canadian-based James Maramwire reads: "At other times,
an amnesty, which may later be unpicked or annulled, may help to secure
peace. In cases involving the worst crimes, justice must never be sacrificed
The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government claims it has made a landmark oil
discovery in Chinhoyi, a resort town in the north of the country, amid
reports the find has provoked new tensions between central government and
the provincial leadership.
President Robert Mugabe's government claims it has found more than 1 million
barrels of oil after testing a well drilled at Maningwe, a farm located a
stone's throw from Chinhoyi Caves, which was grabbed from a white farmer at
the height of the land grab.
The well flowed at 50 barrels a day, providing reassurance that the
oil-bearing rocks that contain the massive oilfield extend into Zimbabwe.
The discovery, which will become the first oil field in Zimbabwe if
confirmed by fuel experts, gives a big boost to the economic prospects of
the crisis-torn country and has also raised the political stakes over who
controls the valuable energy resource.
Fears that oil ambitions could ignite political conflict between the
Minister of Energy, Mike Nyambuya, and Nelson Samkange, governor of
Mashonaland West - the province in which Chinhoyi falls - were aroused last
month when Nyambuya reportedly declared that all oil exploration and
research should be handled by the Energy Ministry in Harare and the
Geological Survey department.
His assertion appeared to conflict with Samkange's grant of licences of
exploration and research to the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).
Although officials at the CUT were tight-lipped when The Zimbabwean visited
the campus last Friday, sources in the Faculty of Fuels and Energy confirmed
that the university had run a series of tests on samples of oil from the
"Initial tests indicate the presence of large quantities of light and high
quality oil and huge quantities of associated gas," said our source. A
visit to the site, eight kilometres from Chinhoyi along Kariba Road,
revealed that the place had been cordoned off by gun-toting state security
A Zimbabwe flag has been hoisted at the site. The Zimbabwean was unable to
verify reports that the Maningwe mole, located in a rugged terrain, was
oozing with oil. A svikiro (spirit medium) at the site denied our news crew
access, claiming there were rituals which had to be carried out before the
site was opened to the public. Authoritative sources said there was a
dog-fight between central government and the provincial leadership over the
oil find amid reports both Samkange and Nyambuya were keen to benefit
financially from the grant of licences to foreign firms clandestinely
enquiring about acquiring exploration rights over the territory.
Sources closely following the oil deal said there was an Iranian investor
who had enquired about signing a production-sharing agreement with the
provincial leadership. The investment reportedly involves sums ranging
around US$4,5 million. Nyambuya was unavailable for comment, while Sanmkange
did not return several calls to his office.
Legal experts said Zimbabwe's constitution was ambiguous as to which
jurisdiction has the ultimate authority over mineral rights. It envisages
that both central and provincial governments have the right to cut deals
with private companies but stipulates that the revenues from taxation should
be distributed fairly. - Chief Reporter
HARARE - Zimbabwe will seek the waiver of US and EU travel bans on a crony
of President Robert Mugabe - Francis Nhema - controversially elected weekend
to head an influential United Nations organisation responsible for
Combined votes of Africa and most of Latin America, against strong
opposition from the EU, installed Nhema, Zimbabwe's incumbent Environment
and Tourism Minister, in the chair of the United Nations Commission on
Sustainable Development last Friday.
It is understood that Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has
immediately asked the Zimbabwean ambassador to UN, Boniface Chidyausiku to
petition the EU and US to lift the travel ban on Nhema because it made it
impossible for him to function.
Ian Pearson, Britain's minister for Climate Change and the Environment,
said: "Zimbabwe's election will be seen as an outrage by millions of people
who look to the United Nations for help to escape from poverty. They will be
asking how the body charged with promoting sustainable development can
maintain credibility while being chaired by a representative of a government
whose failed policies have destroyed its own economy." - Chief Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Army barracks in Mount Darwin (Mashonaland) have been
revived by the arrival of nearly 1000 former freedom fighters who are
currently undergoing re-orientation courses in the use of firearms and
weapon handling under highly trained army instructors, CAJ News Agency can
The former ex-combatants are fused with the youth brigade members commonly
known as Green Bombers in a new Zimbabwe National Army mould to create a
defence force which is politically loyal.
Asked to comment of this new development, the Zimbabwe National Army
spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Tsatsi said the environment determines the
tactics and strategy to be adopted.
"If the environment demands a politically oriented unit, that's it," he
The ZNA has of late experienced massive desertions by junior officers who
see a black future in the army.
Members of the army have on numerous occasions been involved in armed
robberies and theft. - CAJ News
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's bodyguards smashed the car windscreen of
an elderly woman at the weekend, pulled her out of the vehicle, damaged her
dashboard with a barrel of a gun and severely assaulted her for allegedly
blocking the way for the ageing leader's motorcade in a leafy Harare suburb.
The woman had just turned from the TM Supermarket entrance onto the
Borrowdale Road when she pulled over to answer her cell phone.
She was accosted as she was chatting on her phone by bodyguards on outriders
from the Presidential cavalcade and the beating started. She claimed she
heard no warning sirens.
The outriders, which guide President Mugabe's motorcade and are synonymous
for continuously sounding their sirens as a warning to motorists to move off
the road, have been recently silenced in as yet unclear circumstances.
Only the front outriders have been sounding their sirens to warn motorists
to clear the road.
The elderly woman becomes the second person to be assaulted inside a week
along the Borrowdale Road, with another driver assaulted last week near
Borrowdale Junior School.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba was not available for comment. But an
official in the President's Office said it was up to the President's close
security personnel to ensure his safety by "any means necessary."
President Mugabe's long motorcade is usually guided by police outriders
travelling on 750 to 1 000cc motorbikes. They are followed by police cars
and these by the President's official cars, with trucks of army personnel
and Mugabe's ambulance forming the tail.
Outriders travelling way ahead of the motorcade clear the way for the rest
of the entourage using the wailing sirens.
When the motorcade sweeps down the road, all vehicles are supposed to pull
over and pedestrians should stop walking.
We applaud the Australian government for its principled stand against the
human catastrophe that is Zimbabwe today - for which one man, Robert Mugabe,
is responsible. We would like to see other countries adopting such a stance
It sends an unambiguous message that what is going on in the country is
totally unacceptable by decent human beings.
Some people have said one should not mix sport with politics. But the Mugabe
regime itself does. In the case of cricket, Mugabe is himself the patron of
Zimbabwe Cricket - which has transformed itself into Zanu (PF) cricket. It
is run by Zanu functionaries. Any cricket teams visiting Zimbabwe are
paraded by the government as a propaganda coup and lined up to shake the
bloodied hand of the dictator.
As has happened in the past, the visiting team would have been accommodated
in five-star hotels. Fuel would have been found for them to be bussed in
luxury to and from the ground with a police escort to ensure that they were
not disturbed by hungry, angry crowds. The local media would have fawned on
them and trumpeted that all is well between Zimbabwe and the international
On behalf of most Zimbabweans - thank you John Howard.
They can't be serious
It is despicable that a country that has wilfully destroyed its
infrastructure and its economy for the sake of power and greed should have
been given a responsible post in an international forum. That such a forum
should be dedicated to sustainable economic development is farcical.
If the United Nations want the world to take it seriously, it has to start
with itself. When its members elect countries like Zimbabwe to sit on its
human rights commission at a time when that country is in the process of
trampling wholesale on the human rights of its own citizens, they cannot
expect to be taken seriously.
The election of Francis Nhema, Zimbabwe's minister of tourism, to the head
the UN's Commission on Sustainable Economic Development (CSD) could not have
been done by people who mean business. Zimbabwe is now a basket case and
will need massive injections of foreign aid to get it functioning again.
It has nothing to teach the world about sustainable development.
Maybe it is time for the countries who are bankrolling this organisation to
think seriously about whether they should withdraw their funding and use it
for some more noble purpose.
JOHANNESBURG - A strong coalition of Botswana human-rights organisations,
churches, schools, civil organisations and political parties have condemned
the political and socio-economic issues taking place in Zimbabwe.
In a press statement made available to CAJ News Agency on Tuesday afternoon,
the coalition - that includes the Botswana Civil Society Coalition on
Zimbabwe said they would want the chief mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis,
Thabo Mbeki, to double efforts.
The coalition also took the opportunity to salute their own fearless Member
of Parliament Boyce Sebetela, who stood firm against Mugabe's regime in the
"We furthermore call for serious engagement by SADC, and its appointed
liaison, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, with the government of
Zimbabwe in holding law enforcement accountable for this behaviour," reads
Other notable organisations that expressed concern over Mugabe's misrule of
Zimbabwe are the Botswana Council of Churches, Botswana Council of
Non-Governmental Organisations, Botswana Secondary Teachers Trade Union,
Botswana Centre for Human Rights, The Media Institute of Southern Africa ,
Africans Association, Amnesty International Botswana and the International
Socialists Botswana. - CAJ News