|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Comment from the Ottawa Citizen, 21 May
Mere promises to clean house won't end poverty and corruption
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is doing a fine job of ensuring that next month's G8 summit in Alberta will honour its pledge to make Africa a key topic for discussion. Of course, talking about Africa is easy; figuring out how best to help it escape poverty and corruption is much harder. Most of the countries that will be represented at Kananaskis have decades of experience providing African aid. Unfortunately, much of that experience has been bad: conditions in Africa have actually worsened in recent years. The average life expectancy for sub-Saharan Africans is 47 years and dropping, in large part due to the AIDS/HIV epidemic. One-fifth of Africa's population is affected by war. Nearly 500 million Africans live in extreme poverty, a number that, if left unchecked, will grow to 600 million by 2015. Africa is the only region in the world where the number of children out of school is rising. And so on.
Part of the blame for Africa's decline rests with donor countries and international agencies that tried to apply inappropriate forms of aid. Huge infrastructure projects that dominated aid programs in the 1960s and 1970s saddled Africa with roads, dams and railways it could not afford to operate or maintain and massive debts it could never repay. Trade barriers prevented Africa from selling goods to raise much-needed foreign exchange. Western-supplied arms fuelled many of the continent's bloody wars. But mostly, Africa has regressed because its own leaders have failed to govern effectively and stamp out corruption. Now those leaders want western countries to believe they are ready to take responsibility for their own development. They want the G8 and other donors to write off even more debts and pump as much as $64 billion a year into African nations to eliminate the income gap with developed countries. In return, the leaders promise, yet again, to put their houses in order.
These leaders promise to conduct "peer review" of how well African governments respect democracy, uphold the rule of law and crack down on corruption. Yet they have already failed their first opportunity to do so by staying silent about Robert Mugabe's repeated assaults on democracy and property rights in Zimbabwe. It's right that Africans take charge of their own development, and yes, they do need western aid for that. But G8 leaders should only provide new money when they're convinced Africa's pledges are more than just words. Africa's needs are huge, but aid spending must not exceed the continent's ability to administer it properly. Donor nations must find better ways to ensure full accountability for money already spent, a review of how well a given project is meeting its intended goal and proof that the government of the country receiving the cash is respecting the democratic rights of its citizens. Some may see this as paternalistic, but it's not. We have an obligation to ensure that African leaders use aid money for its intended purpose.
In order not to punish Africa's poor if these conditions are not met, G8 countries should continue to channel aid to small-scale projects focusing on health, sanitation and education, implemented by non-governmental organizations rather than state institutions. But more helpful to Africans than aid, the G8 members meeting in Kananaskis should take tangible steps to eliminate trade barriers that block African exports to developed countries. They should stop selling arms to governments that use them to attack their neighbours or their own citizens. And they should insist on strict conditions for increasing aid money to African countries led by people who want the world to believe they have changed their stripes - but who often act as if they haven't.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 22 May
Nepad should be driven by the people
Colm Allan and Zohra Dawood
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) is a unique opportunity to improve governance in Africa and lure investment to our suffering continent. But its conception of government accountability will have to be redefined. The inclusion of African civil society, particularly, in its proposed monitoring mechanisms would give the plan real weight on the continent. Nepad's proponents see it as an external partnership between African leaders and international donor governments. Its foundation stone is a commitment to uphold global standards of democracy and good governance. But if these are to become real, Nepad will have to be transformed into an internal relationship of accountability between African governments and their own citizens.
The acceptance of the outcome of the recent Zimbabwean presidential elections as "legitimate" by many African leaders, including Thabo Mbeki, has cast a shadow over Nepad's commitments. In this context, neither African civil society nor international donors are likely to be convinced by mere promises. Both will want to see credible evidence that reform is happening in corrupt and conflict-ridden African states before they increase their support. From the viewpoint of African civil society, good governance means the accountable management of public resources in the best interests of citizens. It is not a personality trait of individual leaders, rather a continuing relationship of obligation between leaders and African people.
To make any judgement about good governance, this internal relationship has to be continuously monitored. Such monitoring needs to go beyond the formal enactment of democratic policies to substantive parliamentary and civil society oversight of the state. World financial institutions, donor governments and African civil society have a common interest in accurate and reliable information, not just on policy reforms, but about the resources available to African governments and how these are managed. African leaders have proposed a peer review mechanism to monitor compliance with Nepad's commitments. Composed of African heads of state, this would review compliance with good governance obligations by member states every three years. This mechanism will fail in its task if reviews happen periodically and rigorous criteria - and the consequences for deviant governments - are not spelled out. It seems that African heads of state will be left to judge their own performance.
The proposed peer review shows that Nepad leaders do not yet recognise accountable governance as a relationship of obligation between governments and citizens, rather than between governments. Competent and independent members of African civil society would be better placed to judge whether African governments are accountable to the people and to monitor compliance with Nepad. What is really needed is the creation of specialised independent monitoring institutions in all signatory states. Such bodies would have a number of advantages - foremost among them their independence from governments and heads of state. They would be able to monitor policy implementation, institutional performance and financial management continuously and in detail. The information they generate would reinforce the ability of African civil society to hold its own governments accountable. It would lay the basis for transforming Nepad into an initiative driven by the African people, rather than African governments alone.
Independent monitoring institutions would be an important break with the ineffectual approach adopted by donor governments and world financial bodies in the past. Many donor governments have been justly criticised for handing out aid on the basis of geopolitical and other considerations, and of judging the way it is used on the strength of their own strategic and political objectives. Financial institutions have been similarly criticised for imposing external macro-economic adjustment programmes on developing states in order to open up their economies and make them more competitive - generally at the expense of social welfare and educational infrastructure. Independent monitors would use as their standards domestic policy undertakings and Nepad commitments. The information they gather, and their assessment of government performance, could then provide the basis for attaching conditions to donor aid. These, in turn, would act as an incentive to Nepad signatories to bring about democratic reforms.
Of course, it will only be possible to base penalties and incentives on their information if the monitoring methods are rigorous and reliable. Two areas would have to be covered. The first is a focus on the central features of democracy, including basic constitutional, legislative and policy frameworks, to establish whether these can support democratic governance structures. Specifically, the monitors would seek to measure the degree of parliamentary and civil society oversight of signatory states. Secondly, a detailed review of public sector performance would be needed. What human and financial resources do governments make available through the national budget? How is the budget organised and how is money transferred to sub-national levels? How effectively do the executive members who manage resources plan for their use? How well do they implement these plans? Finally, how much service delivery or investment in infrastructure actually results?
Finding answers to these questions will mean detailed access to information on government budgets, tax revenues and spending. This in turn implies constitutional and legal provisions guaranteeing transparency and access to information. If these legislative guarantees are not in place, monitoring will be a non-starter. Any judgement on the performance of African leaders, or the accountability of African governments, will amount to little more than speculation.
Colm Allan is director of the Public Service Accountability Monitor at Rhodes University. Zohra Dawood is executive director, Open Society Foundation, South Africa, and is writing in her personal capacity.
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
General - More Section 8's and Section 7's were handed out in the last week.
Burma Valley - There has been continuous wire theft and the settlers seem to be fencing off their plots.
Bindura - The owner of Avoca Farm reported the chain on his gate was broken and a lorry carrying fertiliser entered the barn complex and proceeded to offload the contents. Lagnaha 1 Farm has been issued a Section 8 Order.
Glendale - The owner of Kildrum Farm received a Section 8 Order. The settlers on the farm expressed a wish to grow wheat. They intimated they would like to use the owner’s irrigation equipment. The leading "war vet" for the area is still threatening many of the farmers.
20.05.02 Beatrice - A resumption of pressure by workers against a farmer to pay terminal benefits was brought under control by the police. An elderly couple returning from leave found settlers on their verandah with their belongings. When the police were contacted, they were told they received a Section 8 in January and therefore should be out of their house. At this stage they remain in their house. Eight farmers were visited by ZRP who took inventories of their movables and firearms, and questioned them on their farming intention for the coming year. On 18.05.02 and 19.05.02, all farms were visited by ZRP with a questionnaire: the questions covered 1 – Owner; 2 - farm name on title deed; 3 - what designation the farm had received, and if so, was it for A1 or A2 settlement; 4 - how many settlers are resident on the farm; 5 - list of moveable assets; 6 - list of household furniture; 7 - list of firearms including serial numbers; 8 - how many workers employed; 9 - how many cattle; 10 - list of reports to police.
Harare South - the owner of one farm, who had arranged to meet with the DA, was approached by the resident settlers and verbally abused whilst waiting. A labourer on a farm was assaulted. The DA and settlers arrived on one farm wanting to see owner who was not present and said that they were coming to plant a crop on the farm. Three farmers in the area were visited with the same questionnaire as Beatrice.
Macheke/Virginia – two work stoppages, one new farm invasion and tyres stolen on Centre Pivot were reported.
Wedza - Six farmers received Section 8 orders over the weekend. One farmer was told to vacate his property by the end of June, and had switchgear stolen from two transformers and the pump station. 61 head of cattle were also moved on to this farm. The owner was asked to do land prep for wheat and that he could move his ungraded tobacco off the farm.
No report received.
Norton - On River Gardens Farm there was a "Herald" headline entitled "Maize allegedly poisoned". The maize pictured was green maize, which was not poisoned, but is nearly ready to be shelled after harvesting. The maize referred to is Diplodia infected maize, that is unfit for animal or human consumption. It was infected during wet weather in the 2000/2001 season. The farmer in question has not been allowed to return to his farm for the last three weeks, even though the farm had not been listed until last Friday and is a single owned farm of only 126 hectares. Illegal occupiers still had an illegal roadblock up when Police last went to visit the property. The situation along the Porta Road, where farmers have been illegally evicted from their farms, remains mostly unchanged, although one farmer appears to be allowed back on to his farm.
Selous - On Virginia Farm many of the workers’ houses have been dismantled by settlers. On Mount Carmel Farm an in-calf Eland Cow was found snared.
Chegutu - On Kalembo Farm a vehicle was stolen.
Chakari - On Deweras Farm President's Office officials continue to utilise DDF tractors and GMB inputs, thereby depriving the owner of the use of his land to earn an income. The owner and his father are on a single-owned farm and have previously sold three farms to Government. They have nowhere else to go. On Tawstock Farm settlers are demanding the use of the owner’s pumps and pipes. There is still no one allowed to plant Wheat in this Farmers' Association area.
General - At a meeting on 20.05.02, the Governor has asked farmers in the area to plant Wheat, but that they must have dialogue with the settlers to see if they also want to plant Wheat. It was pointed out that farmers would be committing an offence under the law if they did plant Wheat, as most of them have Section 8 Orders. No unlisted farms have had anyone removed from them, and no settlers put on to farms after the 31st March 2001 have been removed.
Masvingo East and Central - Nothing to report.
Chiredzi - On Thursday 16.05.02, the cane cutter labour from Triangle Limited downed their tools and claimed they were going on strike. They ran through the school, which had prior warning that they would be coming and had just managed to move children to safety stockrooms. The labour proceeded to shake doors and rattle windows. On 17.05.02, they stated they would stay at home. On 18.05.02, the same crowd moved through Chiredzi Town and Police had to use tear gas to disperse them. A meeting was held at the Council Office on the afternoon of 17.05.02 which was addressed by the Governor and Junior Lands Officer and attended by A2 resettled people and a few farmers. The Governor told the A2 Settlers to move on to properties, as the owners would start vacating between 25 – 29.05.02. The A2 Settlers were also told the cane crop belonged to them (A2 settlers). Rampant poaching and theft are ongoing through the Chiredzi area. The Wasarasara Ranch owner reports 5 km of fencing has been stolen. Samba Ranch reports on 17.05.02, 30 settlers arrived and said they wanted to begin pegging their plots. "War vet" Mashiri stated if anyone was to get land it would be the settlers first.
Save Conservancy - On going poaching, snaring occurring within the Conservancy.
Mwenezi – on Limburgia Ranch two cattle were snared and a goat was taken from a pen overnight. The police reaction was reluctant. The police sergeant, Mudzingwa, sent out to investigate, apparently has a "stand" on Limburgia, which would explain his reticence. He is the appointed ZRP representative on the local land committee. The Kayansee Ranch labour was told on the afternoon of 17.05.02, to vacate the property immediately. The owner has 1700 head of cattle. He reported to the Beit Bridge Police who said they could not react unless instructed by the Police, Gwanda.
Gutu / Chatsworth - Blyth Farm reports that last week settlers stole 35 x 10 feet corrugated iron sheets from the sheep kraal and pigsty. They then tried to steal building materials from the farm labour houses. They succeeded in stealing 21 x 2.3m and 15 x 6m treated gun poles, 4 steel windows and frames, 2 doorframes, steel chairs and equipment from the dip tank. This was reported to Chatsworth Police Station and Sergeant Maekeka attended the scene, telling the owner the DA and the District Lands Committee had told the Police that the farm had been allocated to the settlers and that everything on the farm now belonged to the settlers. A question was raised as to how the owner could now lay charges with the Police if the farm and its belongings now belonged to the people he was accusing of theft! The farm has only received a Section 5 notice and no evaluation has been carried out. This was further reported to the PA who confirmed these actions were not correct. He was assured the matter would be looked into and the DA informed. As of compiling this report no stolen property has yet been returned.
No report received.
Nyamandlovu - DDF want to plough on certain farms to grow a wheat crop. A Mr Mkwananzi revisited Porter Farm and demanded the keys for the camp, which he was denied. After looking at the irrigation set up he then left. Other than these incidents Nyamandlovu has been reasonably quiet.