From Hada Messia, CNN
April 30, 2011 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Rome (CNN) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived in Rome for the
beatification of the late Pope John Paul II, airport officials said
Saturday, despite his EU-wide travel ban for alleged human rights abuses.
The Vatican did not personally invite Mugabe to the Sunday event, said the
Rev. Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press office.
But a diplomatic relationship exists between Zimbabwe and the Vatican, a
sovereign state that is not a member of the European Union.
"It (the Vatican) cannot tell Mugabe not to come if he wants to take part,
just like it wouldn't tell no to (U.S. President Barack) Obama or (French
President Nicolas) Sarkozy, if they had wanted to come," Lombardi said.
The beatification is the biggest event in Vatican City since Pope John Paul
II's death six years ago.
Hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful will gather in St. Peter's Square
to witness the ceremony, the penultimate step toward the pontiff's
On Friday, workers exhumed the pope's casket from its tomb in the Vatican
"As can be recalled, the Pope was buried in three coffins," Lombardi said.
"The first of wood -- which was displayed during the funeral. The second of
lead, which is sealed. And the third -- external one -- which is also made
of wood and was the one revealed this morning at the moment of the
extraction from the tomb.
"It is in a good state of preservation, even though showing signs of the
passage of time."
After the Sunday ceremony, the casket's permanent home is likely to be the
basilica's Chapel of St. Sebastian.
Beatification means the candidate can be referred to as "blessed," and that
one miracle has been confirmed in his or her name. Another miracle is
required for canonization, the formal act of declaring someone a saint.
While normally a person cannot become a saint until 50 years after their
death, John Paul II was put on a fast track to sainthood by the current Pope
Benedict XVI, who waived the normal five-year waiting period to begin the
The city will also provide 3,000 police and traffic officers, thousands of
volunteers and additional buses and metro services.
A no-fly zone will be in effect over St. Peter's Square, and field hospitals
and medical assistance points will be set up.
The cost of the beatification ceremony to the city of Rome alone will be 3.5
million euros, according to government officials.
By Peter Popham in Rome
Saturday, 30 April 2011
The Vatican yesterday said it had "nothing to hide" after it emerged that
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe, widely condemned over human rights
abuses, would be among the dignitaries attending Sunday's beatification of
Pope John Paul II.
The coffin containing the remains of the late pontiff was removed from the
crypts underneath St Peter's yesterday in the run-up to the beatification.
In a simple ceremony, the white marble tomb where the coffin has reposed
since his funeral in April 2005 was opened in the presence of his former
close associates, including his long-time Polish secretary, now Cardinal
Stanislaw Dziwisz, and the nuns who ran his household. The coffin will be
placed in front of the main altar in the basilica, where it will remain on
display, the Vatican announced, until everyone who wants to view it has done
It was revealed amid some embarrassment that the dignitaries expected to
file past the casket on Sunday morning will include Mr Mugabe. His presence,
explained a Vatican spokesman, was a "function" of the diplomatic relations
between the Holy See and Zimbabwe, "so there is nothing to hide".
Mr Mugabe is the subject of anEU-wide travel ban and the Vatican had to
obtain special permission for him to be allowed to enter the pocket
statelet. It will be at least the third time that Mr Mugabe has taken
advantage of the Vatican's and/or Italy's diplomatic largesse since John
He was present at the pope's funeral, where he contrived to shake the hand
of Prince Charles and again at the World Food Summit in 2008. Zimbabwe's is
one of 87 foreign delegations attending the beatification, which will place
the only Polish pope in history one step away from sainthood.
Britain's royal family will be represented by the Duke of Gloucester. There
was intense speculation about whether Tony Blair would attend, but as of
last night there was no confirmation.
Up to a million Poles are expected to arrive in Rome by Sunday morning,
adding their considerable weight to a temporary doubling of the city's
population. Rome is already festooned with portraits of the most
media-friendly pope in history and newsstands groan under the weight of
souvenir books and knick-knacks.
The former pontiff's remains will be reinterred in St Peter's, close to
Michelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding Christ's lifeless body, La Pieta. A
notably belligerent 17th century pope, Innocent XI, will be displaced to
make room for him.
BULAWAYO, April 30, 2011- Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga told Movement
for Democratic congress not to vote unless the elections were free and fair.
Odinga said elections should be preceded by reforms to create an enabling
environment for a free and fair ballot. He was speaking in Bulawayo, the
country’s second largest city where he officially opened the congress of the
main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Zimbabwean
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Odinga told Tsvangirai to move quickly to resolve its democratic challenges.
He also said Zimbabwe should take its rightful place as a centre for
Southern African economic growth.
"You will have to dig deep into your reservoirs of tolerance and compromise
to ensure that this happens, for the alternative would serve neither the MDC
nor its partner in government," said Odinga who has shared power with Mwai
When he arrived in Zimbabwe earlier, Odinga had met Zimbabwe’s President
behind closed doors for over an hour. The standard reported that the two
leaders discussed the country’s constitutional reforms and many other
issues. Odinga’s visit to Zimbabwe has dispelled rumours that he is not
welcome in the country and Mugabe is reported to have told him that he may
stay longer. In fact, Mugabe urged the Kenyan Prime Minister to share Kenya’s
experiences in constitutional reforms.
The state owned Herald News Paper described Odinga as the “Merchant of
Odinga had in 2008 called for the exit of Mugabe during a BBC interview and
this angered Mugabe’s sympathisers. According to Capital News, talks between
the two are said to have bordered on similarities such as the history such
as the struggle for the liberation of Africa, the continent's place in world
politics, reforms in the two countries and global affairs, touching on
international trade and events in North Africa and the Middle East.
Mugabe expressed great interest in the political developments in Kenya
particularly in the unveiling of the constitution.
Written by Jane Makoni
Friday, 29 April 2011 13:12
MARONDERA - Besieged Zanu (PF) parliamentarian Tracy Mutinhiri has
reportedly told party officials that President Robert Mugabe has no
political future and urged them to support the MDC.
It is understood the Marondera East MP told party personal secretary,
Shepherd Kaserere, Mugabe “would not last the Presidential race”. In a
recent report from Kaserere to Zanu (PF) Mashonaland East Provincial
chairperson Ray Kaukonde and Marondera-Hwedza party senator Sydney
Sekeramayi, Mutinhiri was accused of glorifying MDC and denouncing Mugabe’s
Part of the report, which was leaked to The Zimbabwean, said: “In a series
of closed door meetings dating back to 2009 with Member of Parliament, Tracy
Mutinhiri... told me it was high time we joined MDC. “Mutinhiri glorified
MDC and described it as a very democratic party. She expressed wonder to why
Zanu (PF) could remove an educated politician like herself from the party
women wing provincial commissariat post, at a time when MDC was keen to
engage her valuable services to help bring about meaningful and real
political change to the country,” says the report.
Kaserere’s letter said she boasted relationship with key MDC MPs including
Minister of Social Welfare, Pauline Mupariwa, and at a Public Affairs
Parliamentary Support Trust (PAPST) in Chinhoyi July 2010 urged Zanu (PF)
“co-exist” with rival parties. “Mutinhiri indicated that this time around it
was again in Chinhoyi that her political life was taking a new bearing as
the workshop would usher a new life in ‘my new political perspectives’,”
Kaserere’s letter said.
“She later urged me to stop participating in Zanu (PF) politics or risk
losing the secretaryship at her Zanu (PF) constituency office. Mutinhiri
went on to commend European countries as models of development and good
governance.” After his visit to China in May last year, Kaserere told
Mutinhiri of emerging superpower’s good governance and a strong economy,
“she remarked that Chinese were a transparent and sincere people who no
longer wanted to do business with Mugabe and Zanu (PF) as they now preferred
“Ever since, Mutinhiri has never made secret about her love with MDC and was
becoming anti-Zanu (PF) with each day,” he said. “This was characterized by
her banning of party sloganeering at all her gatherings. “Days on end she
would remind me that Zanu (PF) was out of touch with the people, Mugabe was
no match for Tsvangirai and would not last the Presidential race.
“He (Mugabe) was also too old to make meaningful contributions to the
country as president... right thinking Zanu (PF) followers including me
(Kaserere) would do themselves a big favour by joining MDC before it was
late.” Observers said Kaserere had political ambitions of his own and trying
to destroy Mutinhiri’s political career.
Since she won the Marondera East Rural constituency, she has urged Zanu (PF)
thugs to desist from violence against political rivals parties. Mutinhiri’s
calls raised the ire of Kaserere, who teamed up with other party members,
including ward 22 councillor Mutizwa Huni, Village 14 secretary Anthony
Jera, party gender officer Faith Ngoma and others to victimise suspected MDC
Mutinhiri could not be reached for comment, but sources said she was being
punished by Zanu (PF) because of her stance against violence and
by Staff Reporter
MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has commended South Africa
President Jacob Zuma, the regional SADC grouping's point-man on Zimbabwe
saying his facilitation efforts will help prevent a repeat of the 2008
Tsvangirai told thousands of MDC-T supporters at the party’s congress in
Bulawayo that President Robert Mugabe will have no choice but to leave
office if he's defeated in the next elections.
The MDC-T leader accuses Mugabe of clinging onto power after losing
elections in 2008.
Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential vote then but pulled out
of the second round run-off accusing his rival of unleashing violence
against his supporters.
"We are heartened by the brave stance of our colleagues in the region and by
the facilitator, President Jacob Zuma," Tsvangirai told delegates to the
party’s congress at a city stadium.
"The region has given us reason to believe that SADC and the AU are ready to
prevent the circus of 2008 … where losers of national elections are
accommodated through power sharing arrangements."
Regional leaders recently chided Mugabe over political violence in the
country at a SADC meeting held in Zambia sparking a furious response from
the Zimbabwean leader.
Mugabe returned from the meeting to tell Zanu PF supporters in Harare that
he would not take instructions from Zuma or any other regional leaders.
"A facilitator is a facilitator and should facilitate dialogue between
Zimbabweans by way of persuasion. He cannot prescribe that we do A, B, C,
D,” the Zanu PF leader raged.
“We are a sovereign state and we don't accept any interference. Not even our
neighbours should tell us what to do," he snapped.
However, Tsvangirai told supporters that the region would ensure measures
are put in place to facilitate “free and fair” elections.
"We applaud the position of SADC in ensuring that the process towards a free
and fair election in Zimbabwe is fully supported, enhanced and
consolidated," Tsvangirai said.
"The AU and SADC, as the guarantors to the GPA, have shown that they are
ready to nurse this process and to ensure that a credible government is put
in place through a free and fair election.
President Mugabe has demanded that fresh elections must be held this year to
choose a substantive government claiming the coalition administration is now
But Patrick Chinamasa one of Mugabe's senior aids justice minister recently
told state media that he felt the country would not be ready for fresh polls
Tsvangirai has also said new elections cannot be held until 2011 insisting
key reforms including drafting a new constitution must be completed first.
"The next months are going to be critical in ensuring that we put in place
the necessary mechanisms and building blocks to guarantee and protect the
people's vote and the people's will,” he said.
"We are in the last mile of our democratic struggle to create a new Zimbabwe
but we all know that the last kicks of a dying horse are vicious."
SURAT, April 30, 2011- The recent seizure of blood diamonds, allegedly
originating from Zimbabwe has led to the demand for resignation of country's
mines minister Obert Mpofu.Rough diamonds worth Rs 10.17 crore were seized
in Surat recently by India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
The two men booked for it confessed that the diamonds came from Zimbabwe's
Marange diamond field. Following this, the Centre for Research and
Development (CRD), a leading non-governmental organization in Zimbabwe, that
investigates and exposes high level corruption by government officials and
gross human rights violation in Zimbabwe's diamond fields, has called upon
Mpofu to publicly apologize for the incident and resign from his post.
The CRD released the statement on Thursday on the website of Rapaport, an
international diamond consultancy company, which fixes diamond prices every
week. The CRD has stated there is a continued loss of revenue due to weak
security throughout the diamond supply chain and unlicensed diamond mining
activities, mainly due to Mpofu's apparent failure to implement the joint
work plan developed by Zimbabwe and the Kimberley Process Certification
The CRD said that large quantities of rough diamonds without Kimberley
Process (KP) certificates intercepted by the DRI in Surat suggested that
this could be the work of a syndicate involving well placed people with
tremendous power in the mining companies and in government.
"The fact that government was not aware or pretended not to be aware of any
missing diamonds despite such heavy losses reveals shocking levels of
incompetency and corruption," the group stated.
Similar smuggling incidents have been reported recently, including a
consignment of 4,000 carats of Marange rough diamond was seized in Dubai in
September-2010. Other diamond parcels suspected to have originated from
Marange were also seized in Israel and Belgium last year.
In the preliminary investigation, the duo arrested by DRI had revealed that
they brought the blood diamond consignment of 48,000 carats worth Rs 10.17
crore from Zimbabwe via Manicaland, Mosambique, Kenya and finally reached
Mumbai. The CRD has urged the Zimbabwean parliament and cabinet to institute
a thorough investigation into the continued smuggling of diamonds from
Zimbabwe and asked the Southern African Development Community regions,
mainly Mozambique and South Africa, to emulate India by taking tough action
against individuals and syndicates caught in illegal possession of Marange
Written by Mxolisi Ncube
Friday, 29 April 2011 15:34
JOHANNESBURG – An international human rights organisation has rapped some
African governments, including that of Zimbabwe, for their human rights
abuses, which have seen forced evictions of citizens.
Amnesty International, which last week expressed concern about the lack of
effort by the President Robert Mugabe’s government to address the legacy of
human rights violations and respect for human rights, said this week that
Zimbabwe remained one of the biggest violators of human rights. This is
despite the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009.
In a report titled “Housing is a human right; Stop Forced evictions in
Africa”, the organisation said that it had in recent years documented cases
of mass forced evictions in Zimbabwe, Angola, Chad, Egypt, Equatorial
Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan and Swaziland.
“Amnesty International calls on African governments to immediately stop
forced evictions and ensure that any evictions which are carried out comply
with international and regional standards,” said Amnesty International in
“Governments are called on to legislate and enforce a clear prohibition
against forced evictions, adopt national guidelines for evictions, which
should be based on the UN Basic principles and guidelines for
development-based evictions and displacement and should comply with
international human rights law.”
Governments should also take immediate measures to ensure a minimum degree
of security of tenure to all people currently lacking such protection, in
genuine consultation with the affected people. They should also ensure that
all victims of forced evictions have access to effective remedies and the
right to reparations, including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation,
compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition, something which
Mugabe has disregarded, as people who were evicted from farms and through
operation Murambatsvina have seen a recurrence of similar evictions without
compensation during the past five years.”
AI bemoaned the fact that most of the estimated 700 000 people who were
evicted through Murambatsvina in 2005 – losing their homes and livelihoods
as a result of Mugabe’s campaign of mass forced evictions and demolitions of
homes and informal business structures - were still living in the
government-imposed abject poverty.
“During the evictions police and soldiers used excessive force, property was
destroyed and people were beaten. In June 2005 the government launched
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Better Life), and claimed it would provide
housing to those who lost homes during Operation Murambatsvina.
“But very few benefited from Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle, which also
failed to comply with international standards on adequate housing,” said
Amnesty. It added that a greater number of the few beneficiaries were
allocated small bare plots of land on which they had to build homes with no
assistance, and at least 20 per cent of any houses built were earmarked for
civil servants, police and soldiers.
Windhoek, April 30, 2011 - Zimbabwe is still ranked the worst offender of
media freedom in the Southern African region, although there has been some
sort of stability, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has noted.
In a report ahead of World Freedom Day on Tuesday, MISA noted in its report
"The media under siege - a journey through the media environment in Southern
Africa", that it had recorded about 27 Alerts in Zimbabwe during 2010.
"The media still suffers repression through arrest and prosecution of
journalists. In 2010 alone, there have been 13 arrests of journalists in
Zimbabwe, compared to 7 cases of detention in 2009 statistics," it noted.
Journalists such as Andrison Manyere, Nunurai Jena, Kudakweshe Zvarayi,
Flata Kavinga, Nkosana Dhlamini, Dumisani Sibinda, Nqobani Ndlovu and
Nevanji Madanhire had suffered detention in their lines of duty at the hands
of security agents in Zimbabwe.
MISA said this was a sign that the coalition government had completely
failed to protect media freedom in Zimbabwe.
"Since the beginning of the coalition government the number of threats
against journalists has continued to rise up."
Zimbabwe established a statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission to control the
media by statute through the draconian Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) thereby violating the international principles of
independent and free media that was supposed to exist in Zimbabwe. ZMC has
since imposed heavier registration and accreditation fees to journalists who
intend to operate in Zimbabwe.
According to MISA this process is seen as a tool through which the
government intends to dispel more journalists from operating in Zimbabwe.
The broadcasting sector in Zimbabwe is still to be liberalised.
NASSAWADOX, April 30, 2011- The Zimbabwe Artists Project celebrates the
artistry and accomplishments of women from rural Weya in eastern Zimbabwe.
Through education, sale of their art in the U.S., and special projects, ZAP
helps women become economically self-sufficient.
Franktown United Methodist Church will host this extraordinary exhibit of
the Zimbabwe Artists Project throughout the month of May.
Professor Richard Adams, ZAP's founder, will speak during both the 8:30 and
11:15 a.m. services on May 1. Also, Sunday school classes are welcome to an
informal gathering and discussion in the Fellowship Hall at 10 a.m.
On Monday, May 2, Adams will spend time with the elementary Montessori
students, sharing stories of the artists of Weya, their customs, wildlife
native to the area, etc. For more information, contact Jo Ann Molera at
Women of Weya are subsistence farmers, mothers, and householders as well as
artists. Most women live on their own, providing for families. Some are
widowed, others are single heads of households, since throughout Zimbabwe
men leave the rural areas to seek work in cities. Sales of their art helps
women afford food, clothing, school fees, medicines, transport, seeds and
fertilizer, among other things.
ZAP's goal also is to communicate with Americans about Zimbabwe's history
and culture, as well as about the artists' lives. In the United States, ZAP
helps communities to see common humanity across boundaries of culture and
privilege.Zimbabwe Artists Project strives for a genuine partnership with
the women of Weya. The goal is to foster self-respect and self-reliance
through collaborative projects.
Zimbabwe Artists Project has its roots in Lewis and Clark College Overseas
Programs. Adams, a sociology professor, led students to Zimbabwe in 1994,
1997 and 1999, on programs focused on gender and social change. In 1997,
artists from Weya, who were host mothers/sisters for the students, asked him
to find a market for their art in the U.S. He founded Zimbabwe Artists
Project in 1999 as a nonprofit.
JOHANNESBURG, April 30, 2011- The radical Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF)
which is advocating for total independence for Matabeleland Province, says
it has started investigating reports circulating on the internet alleging
that two of its senior leaders are moles for the country's spy agency, the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Classified information leaked to one investigative online publication this
week linked two MLF leaders both of them former Zipra cadres to the spy
agency.According to the leaked information, the CIO recruited one of the MLF
officials way back in the 90s when he was serving a death sentence at Khami
Security Prison on the outskirts of Bulawayo.
MLF Director of Information, Sabelo Mavikinduku Ngwenya told Radio Vop that
his organisation,s security department has started investigating the reports
but will not judge the two officials based on what the media reported.
“ Its true we have received that information about spies within our
organisation but this is an internal matter and not for public
consumption, ” said Ngwenya.Ngwenya also admitted that there were concerns
from some members of the party about the two officials when they were
elected into the executive.
One of the former Zipra cadre in MLF, Max Mkandla was quick to respond to
the allegations after he was mentioned as one of the alleged moles.He denied
being a CIO spy and accused members of his party spreading such rumours as
“ I want those who say I am a CIO spy to prove it.If they say I am a spy,
they too are terrorists because their actions are those of terrorists, ”
Mkandla told Radio Vop.He runs an independent war veterans organization, the
Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative (ZLPI) which has been shunned by his
former Zipra colleagues.
According to the leaked information from CIO files, one of the undercover
agents in MLF has promised to deliver the mysterious leader of the
secessionist organisation Fidelis Ncube to the CIO dead or alive.Ncube
affectionately known by his liberation war name, General Nandinandi lives on
a plot in Gaborone.
Sources have told Radio Vop that Ncube, although well protected by his
people and Botswana security is closely being monitored by CIO operatives in
Two former police detectives who know one of the MLF alleged CIO moles, said
they have read the classified report and everything said about the two
officials is true.One of the former detectives is related to the alleged
Harare, April 30, 2011 - Fear has gripped the NewsDay newsroom after unknown
“criminals” broke into the newspapers’ offices of Newsday in Harare on
Easter Monday and stole the editor’s laptop, hard drives and other
components from computers used by senior editorial staff.
It is not yet established whose work it is although there is speculation
that it could be the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) which is keen
on sniffing out the newspaper’s sources of news and information.
The newspaper said the stolen laptop and computer hard-drives contained
vital information and data.
The Editor’s office was broken into and newsroom computers vandalised.
Senior journalists whose computers were wrecked include the assistant
editor, Wisdom Mdzungairi, political editor Kelvin Jakachira, sports editor
Wellington Toni, chief reporter Owen Gagare and chief business reporter
The thieves also targeted computers used by senior parliamentary reporter
Veneranda Langa, business reporter Victoria Mtomba and sub editors Sam
Mutsvanga and Lillian Chitare.
Sources said reporters at the newspaper were worried about the developments
and were not sure about their safety.
The sources said the newspaper has stepped on the toes of the establishment
after it carried sensitive issues including an article that the army
commander, General Constantine Chiwenga was airlifted to China after he fell
ill and a story in which political analysts were calling on President Robert
Mugabe to rest.
Senior army officials summoned Langa, the author of the Chiwenga story to
“Reporters are very afraid,” said an insider. “They are not sure what’s
going on because they are indications the break-in had the assistance of
The sources said reporters were now wary about handling sensitive stories.
Written by The Zimbabwean
Friday, 29 April 2011 16:57
BULAWAYO - There was drama at Barbourfields Stadium as Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC security evicted three supporters of his vice-president
Thokozani Khupe. The three women, Dorothy Bhebhe, Lungile Ncube and Beauty
Lifa, lost in the structure elections and are now just ordinary
“Thina besingakwazi ukuthi asivhunyelwa ukungena eBarbourfields Stadium”,
said Bhebhe to party security details. But the young men deployed to keep
the peace at the stadium would not have any patience with the trio. “Get
out, get out, get out,” said Tongai Nerwande, a security detail deployed by
the party’s HQ. The three women were spotted by alert supporters of Bulawayo
businessman, Matson Hlalo.
It is alleged that Vimbai Munyanyi, a party member from Magwegwe District,
and MDC-T Bulawayo Provincial Security Officer, Aleck Moyo, falsely accused
MDC Bulawayo Provincial Vice Organising Secretary, Tsepiso Mpofu, of
smuggling three haulage truck loads of people into the stadium. All
accredited delegates who had swarmed the stadium were then removed in order
to do a fresh audit. All participants checked were found to have been
“I do not know why Vimbai Munyanyi and Aleck are so afraid of me to the
extent that they would tell lies,” said Tsepiso to MDC-T SECurity personnel.
In the first aborted elections for the chairmanship of Bulawayo Province,
Gorden Moyo’s supporters, namely Busani Ncube, Alfred Ncube and Artwell
Sibanda, among others, illegally entered the polling station. The three are
not even in the party structures and were therefore non-delegates. At the
same time security barred Mpopoma youths from accessing the polling station.
It was not surprising therefore that total votes cast were more than the
number of accredited delegates. Ugly scenes of violence erupted. Moyo won
the post of MDC-T Bulawayo Provincial Chairman after a controversial
endorsement by Tsvangirai.
Collected Department Releases: United States - Southern African
Development Community Delegation Meeting
Fri, 29 Apr 2011 14:52:45 -0500
On April 28, a delegation from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) consisting of representatives from Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, and the SADC Secretariat met with U.S. officials from the National Security Staff, the Department of State, the Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Agency for International Development to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.
U.S. officials included Ambassador Mary Yates, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for African Affairs at the National Security Staff; Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the Department of State; Susan Page, Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the Department of State; Andy Baukol, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa at the Department of Treasury; and Larry Garber, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ambassador Tuliamani Kalomoh, Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia, led the SADC delegation. The delegation also included Ambassador Lucy Mungoma, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia; Ambassador Sonto Kudjoe, Deputy Director General, Africa Multilateral, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa; Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu, Presidential International Relations Advisor, South Africa; and Tanki Mothae, Director, SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation.
The United States affirmed the importance of SADC’s role as guarantor of the 2008 Global Political Agreement and lauded SADC’s recent announcement that it would support Zimbabwe’s efforts to formulate guidelines for peaceful, free and fair elections. Assistant Secretary Carson and U.S. officials emphasized concern over the recent increase in politically motivated arrests, harassment, intimidation and violence throughout Zimbabwe.
The U.S. delegation emphasized its ongoing support to Zimbabwe in the areas of public health, education, agriculture, and food assistance and its desire to help Zimbabwe become a country that is peaceful, stable, democratic, and prioritizes sustainable economic development and social prosperity for its citizens.
Launch of regional briefing – business & human rights in Anglophone Africa
The non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource
Centre has launched its first regional briefing on “Business & human
rights in Anglophone Africa – a round-up of recent developments.”
The briefing provides a reality-based snapshot of business’ human rights impacts in the region. It highlights concerns raised by civil society, company responses to allegations of misconduct, positive initiatives by business, and developments in law, policy and lawsuits. Subjects in the briefing range from efforts in new oil economies such as Ghana and Uganda to avoid the “resource curse”, to a landmark ruling by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights regarding tourism and indigenous people in Kenya.
“Every day we update our website with reports about companies and human rights in Africa, from sources ranging from local NGOs to international media. This short briefing steps back to look at key developments and trends. It also casts an eye forward to flag likely issues on the horizon, such as: Wal-Mart’s probable entry into South Africa; increasing uranium mining in Namibia; and the resource-related implications of the referendum in South Sudan.”
“On my recent research missions to Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia I have been impressed by the work that civil society groups are doing on business & human rights. I have found that some companies still do not understand their human rights responsibilities; others are taking steps to assess and manage their impacts on human rights. These local voices are reflected in the issues we draw attention to in this briefing.”
Companies mentioned in this briefing:
To discuss the briefing,
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre tracks the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of 5000 companies in over 180 countries. The site is updated hourly and receives 1.5 million hits per month.
The Centre has regional researchers based in six regions:
· Mayling Chan, East Asia Researcher, based in Hong Kong
· Amanda Romero Medina, Latin America Researcher, based in Colombia
Ella Skybenko, Eastern
Europe/Central Asia Researcher, based in
We plan to recruit a researcher based in the Middle East later this year.
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Dear Family and Friends,
I wish I could tell you that Zimbabwe joined the estimated 2 billion
international television viewers to watch live coverage of the royal
wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton on Friday the 29th March
2011. Sadly I cannot as the majority of Zimbabweans were not able to
watch the royal wedding because state controlled ZBC TV did not screen
In the middle of the day when you couldn’t find a news channel that
wasn’t covering the royal wedding, ZBC TV were dishing out the same
old same old. The daily dose of propaganda jingles praising Zanu PF
and Mr Mugabe followed by an assortment of political lectures and
finger pointing which is thinly disguised as news reports. While the
Royal couple stood at the altar and exchanged vows we were being told
that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and capable of running its own
affairs. Then came a peculiar and ironic lecture from a senior Zanu PF
official telling us not to belittle the efforts of SADC and to stop
using the media to perpetrate hate speech.
While an antique horse drawn carriage carried the newly married Duke
and Duchess of Cambridge from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace,
ZBC TV were still ignoring the event. The real irony in ZBC TV’s non
existent coverage of the British Royal Wedding, was the fact that
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the UK, Gabriel Machinga, was on the
official guest list to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. It
was a controversial invitation and one British newspaper, the Daily
Mail, had described Machinga as a servant of President Robert
Mugabe’s “murderous and kleptocratic regime.”
At the end of the day when the worlds news channels were replaying
highlights of the Royal Wedding, ZBC TV were still showing the finger
in what was obviously a deliberate snub. The evening news bulletin
carried repeats of all their midday reports as well as politburo
member Simon Khaya Moyo paying tribute to China on celebrating the
90th anniversary of communism. And then, like a jug of iced water and
with an undeniably smug look on her face the news reader told Zimbabwe
about the British Royal wedding in a sort of “Oh, by the way” tone
of voice. Thirty minutes into the main news bulletin of the day and in
a single sentence unaccompanied by either film clip or still
photograph, the announcer said Prince William and Kate Middleton had
got married. Without drawing breath, the news reader then turned to
her colleague and said: “and now for business news we cross to…”
So Zimbabwe won’t remember the Royal Wedding of the 29th March 2011
even though Britain gives us multiple millions of pounds in aid every
year. In fact just two months ago in February, the UK said they were
considering increasing aid to Zimbabwe to more than a �100 million a
year, as a ‘reward’ for democratic reforms. It was a very
controversial proposal which political analyst Professor John Makumbe
summed up beautifully when he said: “Even if they did get the money,
you and I both know that ZANU PF are the kind to take the money and
still beat you over the head.”
Zimbabwe will remember the 29th March as one of those strange days
when heavy, unexpected, unseasonal rain came sweeping in and sent
people running. Not running in, but running out, into the rain to try
and cover their newly harvested maize cobs lying out in the open to
dry. We well also remember the 29th March as the day when Zanu PF
finally stopped threatening us with elections which they said were
coming before the end of the year. Finally the state controlled Herald
newspaper ran headlines that there won’t be an election in 2011
after all and Zanu PF politburo member Patrick Chinamasa said he
thought Zimbabwe wouldn’t be ready for an election until 2013. It
remains to be seen if this dramatic climb down by Zanu PF will see a
reduction in the wave of violence and an end to the widespread arrest
of MDC officials.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy. 30 April 2011.
Copyright � Cathy Buckle. www.cathybuckle.com