The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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   Zimbabwe economy running on empty

             By Grant Ferrett
            BBC News, Zimbabwe

      Power cuts along with fuel and water shortages have become common
occurrences in Zimbabwe. Critics of President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party say his
policies have crippled a once vibrant economy and that things have got worse
since the party's re-election in March 2005. Former Zimbabwe correspondent
Grant Ferrett returned to the country to find out.

      I'd been in Zimbabwe just a few minutes when President Robert Mugabe's
face appeared.

      I was in an airport lounge, and state-run television was broadcasting
archive footage of Mr Mugabe.

      But each time his picture came on, a young shop assistant held up her
hand in the flat-palm sign of the MDC opposition over the television screen,
obscuring the view of the 81-year-old leader.

      It was a very public expression of defiance in a country where
criticising the president is a criminal offence and where many people live
in fear.

      She didn't have to keep up her show of disapproval for long.

      The electricity in the airport failed and the television screen went

      Economic demise

      Power cuts have become a common occurrence in Zimbabwe, an indication
of the country's economic demise.

      Another sign was provided by the cost of just a short taxi journey
into the centre of the capital, Harare, which came to 250,000 Zimbabwe

      When I first arrived in Harare seven years ago, the exchange rate was
38 Zimbabwe dollars to the pound. The unofficial rate is now about 25,000 to

      The plunging value of the local currency and the correspondingly
breathtaking rise in inflation - currently down, officially, to a relatively
modest 130% a year - has made life very complicated, as well as very
expensive for most Zimbabweans.

      For a start, it is difficult to keep track of prices which are
constantly changing and you have to carry wads of notes. One celebrated
cartoon shows robbers holding up a man who is pushing a wheelbarrow full of
cash. The attackers demand that their victim throw out the worthless
banknotes and hand over the wheelbarrow.

      The introduction of a 20,000 dollar note reduced the inconvenience.
But close examination reveals that the notes, known as bearer cheques, have
an expiry date of 31 December 2004.

      They were clearly intended to be a temporary measure, but because
Zimbabwe's economic collapse has continued, they are still needed. They also
have the number 50 written in the corner. They were introduced in such a
hurry that the authorities simply used the template of the old 50 dollar

      Empty shelves

      In what used to be my local shopping centre in Harare, there were
empty shelves. Shortages have afflicted the country for the past five years.

      The staple food, mealie meal, was available, but only the more
expensive variety, which is beyond the means of many Zimbabweans.

      There was no sugar, even though there are vast sugar plantations in
the south of the country.

      Uneconomically low, government-controlled prices ensure that much of
it ends up being sold at a higher price outside the country.

      And yet, if the official results are to be believed, Zimbabweans voted
in favour of more of the same in the parliamentary elections.

      Despite presiding over the world's fastest-shrinking economy, the
ruling Zanu-PF party apparently received a bigger share of the vote than in
the last such polls five years ago.

      President Mugabe can claim little support in the capital.

      A widely circulated phone text message asked why it was the Pope who
had died rather than the Zimbabwean leader.

      "I said please take Bob," says the message, "not the Pope."

      It was impossible for me to tell if the ruling party had much support
in rural areas. I was working as a journalist in Zimbabwe without
accreditation, an offence punishable by two years in prison.

      I had hoped to visit some of the previously white-owned farms which
had been redistributed over the past few years, but was advised that the
risks were too great.

      I did speak to some unemployed farm workers, who had been without jobs
since their farm was reallocated three years ago. There are hundreds of
thousands in a similar position.


      I also interviewed a friend who is a successful black commercial
farmer. He bought his farm legally, long before the government's
redistribution programme.

      When I phoned to suggest I visit him at home, he quickly dismissed the
idea. He said he was being watched on his farm, his new neighbours
apparently didn't trust him. He is viewed as an ally of the white farmers
who used to live in the area. So instead he came to meet me in the anonymity
of the capital.

      Sitting in a borrowed car, I spent much of the time glancing in the
mirror hoping no passers-by had noticed the microphone.

      He was anxious, too, and told me that he was thinking of spending some
time away from the farm in the hope that things would calm down.

      He said there was still a lot of intimidation by ruling party
supporters. This man, who told me five years ago that he wanted to be a role
model for aspiring young Zimbabwean farmers, is even wondering if he will be
able to farm at all in another five years' time.

      It is a terrible comment on President Mugabe's government, and shows
perhaps why one young Zimbabwean tried to prevent Mr Mugabe's face appearing
on television.

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Beleaguered parastatals warn of impending food crisis

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 5 May 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's key production and distribution
parastatals have warned of major food shortages in the near future unless
government provides immediate funding to restore viability to these

Their concerns surfaced amid reports that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
has so far failed to make available the Zim $10 trillion (US $1.6 billion)
recapitalisation package for rescuing 16 ailing but crucial state-owned
companies, as pledged in January this year.

Under the Parastatals and Local Authorities Re-orientation Programme, the
RBZ promised financial support to revive production in the parastatals, and
revitalise declining standards of service provision in local government

Five months later, the central bank has failed to disburse the money, citing
a scarcity of foreign currency. In the face of worsening nationwide
shortages, the bank said it had been forced to limit its foreign currency
allocations to importing food and fuel, ahead of other capital expenditure

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), the nation's sole power
supplier, warned of an impending power crisis, just as government said it
had pinned its hopes for a successful winter wheat farming season on the
country's few electrified irrigation schemes.

Addressing business delegates at the Zimbabwe International Trade fair last
week, ZESA's chief executive officer, Sydney Gata, said the company might
"sound alarmist", but it was true that the country would face serious power
supply problems as long as the foreign currency crisis persisted.

"We might sound alarmist but, yes, there is a serious, nationwide power
supply problem looming," said Gata, noting that ZESA needed at least US $2
billion to avert a major power supply crisis between this year and 2010.

ZESA relies heavily on imports from South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo to satisfy the national demand, but Gata
said the company was currently operating at well below normal capacity, and
production would continue declining as more equipment broke down.

The country has been facing worsening power cuts for the last three months,
and it is feared that the electric irrigation schemes set aside for the
winter wheat farming programme could fail to deliver a decent harvest due to
power shortages.

National Foods Holdings (NFH) is the sole producer and distributor of all
basic food commodities in Zimbabwe, and also mills maize and wheat purchased
from the state-controlled broker, the Grain marketing Board (GMB).

In its annual statement, submitted to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange last week,
NFH said future food availability in the country was under threat because of
cash flow problems.

It noted that over the years the company had been forced to import up to 70
percent of the annual national food requirement at high costs, and forex
shortages now hampered its ability to acquire external supplies.

A senior company executive told IRIN that government-imposed price controls
on basic food products had the net effect of destroying profitability, and
ultimately the future availability of food in the country.

"The company faces serious viability problems in trying to maintain the
balance of optimising service provision, and at the same time increasing
profits. The price control regime (which applies to all NFH products) is
unsustainable, as it compels the company to produce or import at market
rates, but sell at well below market value," the executive explained.

NFH also called on the government to take restorative measures to increase
its production capacity, and warned that the net effect of its collapse
would "seriously impact on the availability of basic commodities in the
domestic market".

Only two of its five milling sites, Bulawayo and Harare, were still
operating, but at only five percent of their monthly production capacity as
a result of the crippling shortage of foreign currency. Its remaining 2,000
workers were facing retrenchment.

The Cold Storage Commission (CSC) is in charge of the livestock and beef
industry - previously a key contributor to foreign currency earnings - and
also provided a pool of draught power to thousands of communal farmers.

It had hoped to get enough financial support to control a four-year epidemic
of foot-and-mouth disease and resume its lucrative exports to the European
Union, but said efforts to restock the depleted herds on its ranches had
fallen by the wayside because of a shortage of funding.

"We are facing serious difficulties, as the funding has not been availed. We
applied for funds for a short- and long-term livestock rearing programme, as
part of the national restocking exercise, but we still have to wait," the
CEO of the Cold Storage Commission, Ngoni Chinogaramombe, told the official
Sunday Mail.

Besides ZESA, NFH and the CSC, the 16 loss-making parastatals targeted by
the RBZ's ambitious recapitalisation programme include national coal
supplier Wankie Colliery Company, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company,
national milk supplier Dairibord, National Railways of Zimbabwe and the GMB.

Economists Erich Bloch and Eddie Cross said the country was indeed facing a
serious round of shortages if production in the key parastatals was not

"The RBZ has no choice but to prioritise food and fuel, as it is the only
national institution that can do that. Major job losses are looming in all
the national parastatals because of lack of capital funding, and detrimental
command economy policies like price controls," Cross commented.

The government has only recently admitted that there was a need to import at
least 1.2 million mt of maize and 200,000 mt of wheat to cover the country's
cereal deficit. State-subsidised parastatals play a dominant role in all the
strategic sectors of the Zimbabwean economy.

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New Zimbabwe

Even Zimbabweans vote in Blair's election

By Innocent Chofamba Sithole
Last updated: 05/05/2005 20:51:37
SEVERAL changes have occurred in the British election campaign.

Well, for a start, I have ceased to be an outsider in this country's
political process. It all changed a few mornings ago when I received an
official polling card from the local authorities and a letter informing me
that I was a registered voter and would therefore be eligible to decide who
rules this land of our former coloniser for the next five years! I had not
realised that by filling out residence forms from the city council upon
moving into my university accommodation last September I was also being
automatically entered onto the voters roll.

I must say I was impressed by this development given the fact that our own
voters roll is an area of major political conflict and how, even after
checking one's name on the roll and re-registering, one's right to vote may
still remain precarious and uncertain. I vividly recall how, in both 2000
and 2002, I found my name missing from the voters roll in Harare Central
constituency and only managed to vote after producing the proof of
registration slips that I had dutifully kept in my wallet for weeks before
the polls.

Is it not ironic, too, that I should enjoy the right to vote in the British
elections when, just last month, the highest court in my country dismissed
Diasporan Zimbabweans' demand to be enfranchised as "lacking merit"! The
argument advanced by justice minister Patrick Chinamasa (Justice Chidyausiku
has not bothered to explain his argument yet) in opposing voting rights for
Zimbabweans abroad is simply flimsy and makes sense only in the context of
the ruling Zanu PF party's belief that all Zimbabweans abroad are 'sell-outs'
and supporters of the opposition. That's a nonsensical position and clearly
lacks merit in the context of the state's ethical and political obligations
to its citizens.

The sovereign state's absolute claim as the primary and legitimate mode of
political community comes with moral obligations to those whose loyalty and
allegiance it demands as a sine qua non for its very existence. Thus there
cannot be any justification in principle for disenfranchising citizens. Any
argument to the contrary calls into question the need to rethink notions of
political community and citizenship; it means we have to establish why
territoriality should account for multiple levels of citizenship and the
state's diminishing moral obligations the farther one is from its borders.

Anyway, let me conclude with an overview of the latest developments in the
British election campaign. Blair had been riding a crest of resurgent public
support in recent weeks, leading the 'creepy' Michael Howard with eight
percentage points in most opinion polls. However, Blair's bubble has burst
dramatically in recent days and New Labour's lead has narrowed to just two
points. It appears the Tory campaign strategists were saving the best for
last - they have invoked the ghosts of Iraq to haunt Blair out of Number 10
Downing Street!

Howard, who is derisively depicted as a spooky vulture by The Guardian's
cartoonist, Steve Bell, has swooped in for the kill. His party has erected
new billboards all over the country with a smiling Tony Blair and the words,
"Wipe the smile off his face on May 5." The image of Blair on the billboard
is seen to change, with the smile on the Premier's face literally
disappearing, as observers move from right to left.

However, Blair's charisma - on which attribute he leads Howard by a whooping
31 percent - may be his only salvation as people go to the polls. Pollsters
say the Tories' assault on Blair's personality is actually fuelling a sharp
rise in his popularity. Voters think Howard lacks the charisma required of a
prime minister. It's a tight race to the finish and no one is leaving
anything to chance.

Voters, yours truly included, will deliver the verdict this Thursday.
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New Zimbabwe


      Mugabe's spurious Africanism

      Last updated: 05/05/2005 20:10:31
      ZIMBABWE has been in the news all over the world a lot in the last few
years. An odd phenomenon of the associated high profile of its controversial
president Robert Mugabe has been the deeply disparate passions he rouses in
different audiences.

      The recent general election his ruling ZANU-PF won, though not without
a lot of controversy, showed that the rural areas are largely where his
support base remain, from the heady days of 1980 and soon after, when the
whole country was behind him. The urban areas that are traditionally thought
to be the locus of the intelligentsia of a country continue to be repulsed
by the man, his party and their message and performance, a trend that began
in the last few elections.

      A central part of Mugabe's message is that even if there has in recent
years been widespread decline in all sectors of performance, wiping out many
of the
      impressive early gains of the post 1980 Independence era, there are
still important reasons nationalists and Pan-Africanists should continue to
support him. Those reasons, the argument continues, include the fact that he
and his government are under siege from a hostile, racist western world that
has not forgiven him for seizing farmland from "their white kith and kin,"
who dominated productive farmland up to 2000.

      According to Mugabe, those western countries have spared no effort to
make the country suffer for his radical deeds at sudden land re-distribution
from 2000 onwards. The country's hyper-inflation, reduced hard-currency
earning capacity as all productive sectors experience decline, the shortages
of many basic goods, hyper-inflation and the many other indices of decline
under his tutelage are all somehow linked to this purpoted diabolical
western conspiracy.

      While many Zimbabweans have rejected this as absurd scapegoating for
failure, this is a message that has found a receptive audience in many parts
of the black and developing worlds. To many present or recently past victims
of group discrimination and marginalisation, Mugabe comes off like a

      How many leaders, particularly in a donor-dependent Africa struggling
to find its feet in the world, dare to tell off US president George Bush or
British Prime Minister Tony Blair the way Mugabe does? And he not only does
so fearlessly, but eloquently and using examples of these countries'
marauding tendencies that one cannot fault. Their pretext for going into
Iraq and razing that country to the ground is one such example that Mugabe
uses to point out how his harshest critics are far from paragons of virtue
in their own conduct.

      As such Mugabe has successfully cast himself in the mould of a great
Africanist, and at least rhetorical defender of larger developing world
interests against the depredations the powerful western countries would like
to visit upon them. Many people all over the world obviously feel there is a
vacuum in that regard, and Mugabe would seem to fill it very nicely.

      Allegations of human rights violations, stolen elections, corruption
and economic mismanagement can then all be dismissed as nothing more than
the expected propaganda of that hostile western world Mugabe is bravely
challenging. Or even if true, the truth of the suffering that Zimbabweans
experience at the hands of Mugabe somehow pale in importance to the greater
"good" he is doing being a spokesman for the downtrodden of the rest of the

      The many reasons that Africans and many others across the globe have a
mixed, love-hate relationship with the western world are obvious and many.
As a Zimbabwean who once greatly admired Mugabe but have little respect for
him any more, it is not difficult for me to understand his emotional appeal
to an African who listens to his rhetoric from afar and does not have to
live under his ruler ship.

      But our standard for our leaders must be much higher now than how well
they articulate our many resentments at past and present, real and perceived
mistreatment from the West. It might have been largely enough to rally us to
support the continent's various liberation struggles many decades ago, but
today the challenges are quite different. Among them are unemployment,
HIV/AIDS and many other chronic health issues, development of human capital
and physical infrastructure, agricultural and industrial productivity,
unfair trade terms and so on.

      The solutions to these great challenges will continue to elude us as
long as we allow ourselves to be mesmerized by rulers who appeal more to
emotions over past wrongs and their present effects, than they do to what
concrete plans they have to deal with those challenges. Twenty-five years
after the old (81) and now very westernized, comfortable and bourgeoisie Mr.
Mugabe came into power as a scrappy guerilla leader, he has rhetorically
reverted to a role he is no longer fit to play!

      Instead of merely telling us about the great structural inequalities
of the world, he should be using his power to show us his ideas for
strengthening Africa for its future generations to have a chance not to be
the permanent marginalised of the world. Instead the crafty old Mugabe talks
"radical" as his promising country crumbles from lack of inspired leadership
and ideas.

      The man who scores a lot of points among many sectors all across
Africa and beyond for "telling off the white man" builds a lavish personal
mansion in Harare at a time of deep hunger and deprivation among his fellow
citizens. He spends millions of dollars in hard currency to buy fighter jets
from China when many companies are operating sub-optimally or closing down
because the country does not have enough foreign currency to import
essential raw materials, worsening an already critical economic situation.

      For the same reason, fuel queues unheard of in many poorer countries
have been endemic in Zimbabwe for more than six years. Pictures of that
embarrassing situation have been beamed all across the world again in the
last few weeks that fuel has virtually dried up. He, his fashionable
youngish wife and their large entourages still somehow find the wherewithal
and justification in this environment of deprivation to make trips to the
shopping capitals of south-east Asia, having been banned from the Western
capitals that were their first-choice playgrounds. Despite the travel ban
imposed on him and his cronies by many western countries, many of them find
ways to continue their close ties to countries they have been coached to
attack as the source of all our problems.

      The "land" that he makes such a hullabaloo about having reclaimed from
the whites, which reason some in Africa and beyond still respect him for,
      his many sins and failures, becomes less productive every year because
of the many associated effects of widespread economic implosion, further
impoverishing those he pretends to wish to empower. The rhetoric that sounds
so "radical" from outside Zimbabwe has cost the country incalculable
goodwill way beyond the western countries it is directed at. African leaders
who cynically cheer Mugabe's populist rantings in public would never think
of following his ruinous example.

      Much is made of his "look east" (Asia) policy in response to his being
spurned by the west, but many other African countries who do not need to
look particularly in any one direction have just as good or better relations
with south-east Asia, while also having mutually beneficial relations with
much of the rest of the world. They have those good relations without
needing to be virtual captives, second-generation colonies like is happening
with a Mugabe with precious few options. A country with a chronic forex
crunch will be indebted to this new colonizer for years to come. This is not
the conductof a smart African leader!

      However emotionally appealing Mugabe's rhetoric and antics may appear
to someone listening to and observing them from outside Zimbabwe, we should
all wish for and agitate for a far higher standard of leadership from
Africa's rulers than has been provided by the likes of Mugabe. The
Africanism he spouts so eloquently and romantically, stirring the hearts of
many of us who are still wary of the west for its treatment of us in recent
centuries, is totally spurious. For Africa to stand on its feet and stop
sliding behind the rest of the world by every measure, we need far more from
our leaders than the likes of Mugabe are able to deliver.

      It is time to admire African leaders based on problem-solving
abilities, rather than merely on how well they articulate resentments whose
origins may are easy to understand. But their articulation not only does not
at all help us move forward, but actually keep us feeling sorry for
ourselves; wallowing in stagnation or regression, as Zimbabwe under Mugabe
is doing while some people cheer him on for his impoverishing, hypocritical
rhetorical "heroism."

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The Mercury

      62 'coup suspects' await release

      SA men may be freed next week
      May 5, 2005

      Johannesburg: The 62 South African men accused by Zimbabwe authorities
of being coup plotters could be released next Tuesday after 12 months in
Chikurubi prison in Harare, their lawyer said yesterday.

      Lawyer Alwyn Griebenow said he was not sure if the men would be
released on the due date, but he would fly to Harare to find out what the
situation was.

      The men were still awaiting the outcome of an appeal lodged by
Zimbabwe's Attorney-General, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, against the reduction of
their sentences, which would have seen them released in March.

      "No date has been set for the appeal, which will only be of academic
value as the men will be back in South Africa already," said Griebenow.

      Zimbabwean court officials confirmed on March 2 that the men were
scheduled for immediate release after a successful appeal against their
sentences in the high court. A week later, with all the paperwork completed,
their lawyer and families waited in vain for their return which was delayed
when Gula-Ndebele filed an application to appeal against the high court's

      "The suspension of a sentence for early release of a prisoner only
applies to Zimbabwean citizens," Gula-Ndebele said at the time.

      Griebenow said the appeal would only be of value to two pilots who had
received 16-month sentences for their role in the alleged plot to topple the
government of Equatorial Guinea.

      "If judgment is given in their favour they won't have to wait until
September 1 to be released," he said.

      Two of the men due for release on Tuesday were ill with tuberculosis,
Griebenow said.

      The men had been "well and fit" when they had been arrested, and
presumably picked up the illness in prison, he said.

      Francisco Marcus, who had been in prison hospital for more than six
months, was "already very weak and can barely walk", while Melane Moyo had
been in and out of the hospital.

      Accusations of mistreatment of the prisoners had surfaced during their
imprisonment. Griebenow said their living conditions were "horrible".

      Their prison food had little nutritional value, they slept on the
floor, and sometimes weeks went by without running water, he said.

      He said that the Zimbabwe prison authorities, in conformance with
prison uniform regulations, had refused permission to hand over jerseys
knitted for the men. - Sapa

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Cape Times

      Inexperiencd SA media failed Zimbabwe - Thloloe
      May 5, 2005

      By Karen Breytenbach

      The SA media had failed Zimbabwe because inexperienced reporters could
not properly analyse the nuances of the political situation leading up to
the election.

      This was one of the major criticisms voiced by Joe Thloloe, recently
resigned editor of news and chairman of the South African National
Editors' Forum.

      "If at a journalist is incapable of writing a fair and in-depth
political story and is likely to produce propaganda, we'd rather drop the
story and go for something else," he said.

      Thloloe, joined by the head of SABC television news Snuki Zikalala and
Wadim Schreiner, researcher for Media Tenor, an academic publication on
journalism trends, spoke on media freedom and television news at a World
Press Freedom Day gathering on Tuesday at Stellenbosch University.

      Thloloe was reluctant to say why he had resigned while on sabbatical
to write a book, or why there was a recent spate of resignations at

      Trends such as the "juniorisation of newsrooms" due to commercial
pressures, had caused news bulletins to compete with soapies for
entertainment value and to move away from serious political reporting. There
was also a lack of mentorship, because editors too are fairly young, he

      "We are abdicating our responsibility to the public, because we forget
to ask the hard questions.

      "We hold ourselves accountable only to those who hold the purse
strings - mainly our advertisers," Thloloe said.

      Thloloe argued that the news should be educative rather than merely

      "We must not forget our comrades in the war for press freedom, who
fought and died for our constitution... and Article 19 of the UN Declaration
of Human Rights. We cannot undermine our democracy with tabloid stories
harkening back to the Bantu press of the 1930s," he stressed.

      "In dealing with Zimbabwe we simply chose sides, we did not critically
analyse," he said.

      Zikalala also felt strongly that news should be fair and
substantiated. His editors would not dare to write an opinion into a
bulletin on Zimbabwe, he said.

      "I say verify, verify, verify. Who said the elections were not free
and fair? If you can substantiate it you can write it, but don't give me a
mere opinion," he said.

      Zikalala agreed that juniorisation had led to "shallow and negative
reporting" and said newsrooms should work on the beat system, whereby each
reporter would be assigned an area of expertise.

      "We cannot ignore market forces, but we try to implement a
developmental news approach. We want to offer a plurality of voices," he

      Zikalala admitted that the SABC was not politically neutral.

      Schreiner said the SABC did not use government news sources more often
than the press or radio did, although its tone was more sympathetic.

      He felt that focused on the Schabir Shaik trial at the expense of
other political coverage.

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Daily News online edition

      Unease, ethnic tension hits post-election Zimbabwe

      Date: 5-May, 2005

      LONDON - Unease is mounting after the Zimbabwe parliamentary election
in spite of declarations of support from the region and a seal of approval
from the Southern African Development Community.

      Many analysts, domestic and regional, foresee a period of instability
in a society now sharply divided between urban and rural communities and
between ethnic groups, with popular legitimacy still evading the government
after the poll.

      In particular analysts say President Robert Mugabe may be unable to
recreate the balance between tribal groups that held the ruling Zanu-PF
party together. Here the key concern is whether, with the election storm
passed, he is able to begin co-opting again the

      Karanga leaders he ditched some months earlier.

      Mugabe has moved quickly to neutralise the potential threat. He
created a new Ministry of Rural Housing, to be run by former parliamentary
speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, the leading Karanga in parliament.

      Mnangagwa was named among Zanu PF's 30 nominated members of the
150-seat parliament. Compared to his former influential post this is a
substantial downgrading, but his calculation must be that it will continue
to allow him a political toehold in Zanu-PF politics.

      Mnanagagwa, the wealthy and powerful former head of the secret police,
was seen as the key representative of the southern Karanga majority ethnic
group, now generally displaced by Mugabe's Zezuru confidantes.

      Mnangagwa, one of the richest men in Zimbabwe, failed to gain a seat
in the election after his break with Mugabe at the time of the Zanu-PF
conference late last year. Then he was alleged to be plotting a palace coup
in the "Tsholotsho Declaration" group, named after the venue for the meeting
of dissident Zanu-PF leaders.

      He had been tipped as a potential presidential successor and last year
made an abortive bid for a vacant vice presidential post. This went to Joyce
Mujuru, wife of retired army commander Solomon Mujuru, whose close associate
Sydney Sekeramayi remains

      defence minister - all in this key security group are Zezuru. Mugabe
loyalist Didymus Mutasa, 70, took over control of the Central Intelligence
Organisation as minister of state for national security.

      Another Zezuru, former diplomat Tichaona Jokonya, was named
information minister, a post held from 2000 to 2005 by Jonathan Moyo, who
was expelled by Zanu-PF but won a seat as an independent last month.

      Herbert Murerwa was named finance minister to succeed Christopher
Kureneri, who was arrested last year on charges of smuggling more than US$1
million out of the country and violating nationality laws.

      Murerwa had been minister of higher education and was acting in charge
of finance since Kureneri's arrest. He presided over the 1998 collapse in
the value of the Zimbabwean dollar, when Zimbabwe intervened in the DR

      As anticipated Foreign Minister Stanislaus (Stan) Mudenge, a Karanga,
was sidelined to higher education while Zimbabwe's high commissioner in
London, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, a Karanga, took over the foreign ministry.

      In a sign of defiance to Western opinion Mugabe named Willard Chiwewe,
former permanent secretary in the foreign affairs ministry, among 10
provincial governors. Chiwewe caused a diplomatic flurry during the
take-overs of white-owned properties when he issued a statement warning
diplomats they would share the same fate as Mugabe's opponents if they
associated with them. This was after Canadian ambassador James Wall was
roughed up by war veterans at a Canadian aid agency.

      Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, has been made deputy minister of
science and technology. His older brother Leo Mugabe also won a
parliamentary seat. He is the son of Mugabe's sister Sabina, who was also
elected in the rural constituency of Zvimba South.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is challenging
Zhuwao's victory in Manyame, pointing to a 10 000-vote discrepancy between
the number of votes cast and the final tally announced by the electoral

      Enos Chikowore, a former minister who failed to get a job in the new
cabinet, was reported to have killed himself shortly after meeting with
Mugabe. He was in severe financial difficulties and was seeking
reinstatement in the cabinet as a way out, according to local reports.

      Mugabe was meanwhile reported to have turned down the resignation of
Reserve Bank chairman Gideon Gono who objected to the president's plans to
expand spending through payouts to Zanu-PF loyalists.

      The official results gave Zanu-PF 78 of the 120 contested seats in the
March 31 elections, the Movement for Democratic Change 41 and an independent
(former information minister Jonathan Moyo) one seat - but the opposition
claims it actually won as many as 94 seats.

      International analysts said that the election and the support given
Mugabe by the rest of the region had significantly set back plans for more
aid and other support from the US and European Union - it has made African
pledges on good governance much less credible, they say, and that much
harder to convince donor nation electorates.

      The SADC monitoring team, led by a SA government minister, Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka, and a SA team led by the country's labour minister Membathisi
Mdladlana, set the seal of approval on the election, as expected, but SADC's
approval seemed more a verdict on its code of conduct for elections than on
the Zimbabwean poll. South Africa has officially described the Zimbabwe
election as reflecting the will of the people, but has not called it 'free
and fair'. Addressing reporters after cabinet's fortnightly meeting earlier
this month, government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said the question of
whether the elections were free and fair did not arise in cabinet. However,
"Government agreed that it reflected credibly the will of the Zimbabwean
people," he said. Cabinet was pleased by the "convergence" by all parties to
a new constitutional dispensation, Netshitenzhe said. But the African Union
(AU) observer team issued only cautious approval and stopped short of
endorsing the actual results as charges surfaced of massive rigging by
Mugabe supporters. A statement issued by team head Kwagwo Asari-Gyan said
that at the "point of ballot" the vote was conducted in a "peaceful and
orderly manner". However, he stopped short of declaring that the poll was
free and fair, claiming that the AU team could not comment on this as it had
not witnessed the full electoral process. The poll has again widened the
split between African leaders and the developed countries, just when they
appeared to be moving closer. The US, Britain, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand and the European Union refused to recognize the elections as
democratic while elsewhere African voices are being raised in favour of
bringing Zimbabwe back into the international fold. The UN, too was
qualified in its approval. Secretary general Kofi Annan's spokesman said in
the statement that "that the electoral process has not countered the sense
of disadvantage felt by opposition political parties who consider the
conditions were unfair" and he called on the government to work for
"national unity and economic recovery". But in his victory statement,
President Robert Mugabe urged the opposition to accept defeat, saying they
should "not look for all kinds of excuses which might complicate
relationships." In South Africa there has been considerable anxiety and
dismay following the poll. The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) called
for investigations into the allegations of fraud and said it believed the
elections took place in "a flawed political and legal context." The SA
Communist Party commented as the polls opened that "the situation is poised
on a potential knife-edge, to a degree that is perhaps not fully
appreciated". "The danger lies not in today's actual poll, but in what the
coming days and weeks may produce," it said in a statement. But to emphasise
the African nationalist line that Mugabe represents to many Black South
Africans, the small Pan Africanist Congress congratulated Zanu PF "for being
the party of choice for the sixth time by the people of Zimbabwe". However,
it was clear that the overall climate did not allow a free poll in the rural
areas villagers were cajoled and threatened, food was used as a political
lever, in some constituencies there was outright rigging, civil society
organisations and the media were cowed, and potentially critical monitors
were vetoed. Pius Ncube, the outspoken Catholic archbishop for Bulawayo ,
south of Zimbabwe, slammed what he described as the "evil and systematic
denial of food to hungry people" - incidents were reported mainly in
Matabeleland, in rural districts giving support to the opposition MDC. Ncube
called for civil disobedience. The election outcome was always clear - as
one commentator in the Financial Gazette noted, with heavy sarcasm, "Yes, a
resounding victory for Zanu-PF because it is so serious when it comes to
elections that it does not leave anything to chance ...". The constitutional
weighting towards Zanu-PF meant it already had 30 seats in the bag, and some
weeks earlier the government disenfranchised the entire expatriate voting
population - on one estimate 20 percent of possible voters, probably all
opposition supporters. Yet in the main towns the MDC still held onto its
seats, emphasizing again the class-based rural-urban split and also the
vulnerability of rural voters. They have little access to outside
information except through the state radio, and are more susceptible to
pressure from the ruling party. Contact of rural families with relatives in
the cities has been progressively weakened over the years of the crisis
because of the cost of local travel. Even so there was some inexplicable
rural voting. In one constituency nearly all the voters suddenly switched
from their usual support for the small Zanu-Ndonga party to Zanu PF - the
independent media saw this as just one example of wider rigging. While at
one level the battle between Zanu-PF and the MDC showed itself as one
between an entrenched remnant of the liberation struggle basing its power on
patronage politics, and a modernising sector based on a new middle class, a
parallel ethnic politics has also been coming prominently into play.
Mnangagwa was the most senior representative in government of the Karanga
tribe, the biggest ethnic group among the majority Shona, and comprising
over a third of the population. They now have almost no senior officials
while Mugabe's smaller Zezuru tribe, comprising around a quarter of the
total population, has taken the top posts. By putting out into the cold all
the top Karanga leaders in favour of his clan Mugabe was storing up trouble,
say analysts, and his move to give space again to Mnangagwa indicates he
knows this, though his offer may be too little. His record shows an ability
to balance tribal forces astutely, but the collapse of the system at the
party congress four months ago indicates that strains have now become very
difficult to handle. In addition the Zimbabwe economy is too weak to allow
the government large-scale resources for patronage to oil the way for
co-option of leaders. Mugabe's key card here has been the former white
farms, which he has doled out as rewards for loyalty to his largely Zezuru
supporters. There has been speculation that Mnangagwa and Moyo, who won his
seat in Tsholotsho despite an intense public campaign against him from Zanu
PF and Mugabe, will seek to form a "third force" between the Movement for
Democratic Change and the ruling party. The offer to Mnangagwa seemed aimed
at blocking that. In an ethnic scenario Moyo would bring in Ndebele
support - he recently publicly re-discovered that his family had been
persecuted in the Zanu PF Matabeleland pogrom in the early 1980s. Mnanagagwa
would bring along the Karanga and smaller tribes such as the Manyika, whose
Zanu-PF representatives voted for him in the party congress and suffered the
political consequences - the Manyika provincial chairman of Zanu PF, Mike
Madiro, was expelled from the party along with five other non-Zezuru
provincial chairmen for backing Mnangagwa. In addition to creating a senate,
Mugabe is planning to scrap separate presidential and parliamentary
elections, he said in an interview after the election. He also intends
boosting the number of members of parliament from 150 to about 200. The
changes would be along the lines of the draft constitution rejected in a
referendum in January 2000, a popular verdict that for the first time
signaled to him Zanu-PF's loss of support and galvanized him into a taking
over the white commercial farms. The MDC has also called for "an entirely
new" constitution and system of government; without this there cannot be
free and fair elections, it says. Meanwhile Zimbabwe's main opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, decided to take up the 41 seats
it won in last month's parliamentary elections, which it claims were rigged.
The move has been seen as a sign of rapprochement in the political elite.
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said at a press conference in Harare,
"We must defend and occupy all the democratic space which we have won." But
the MDC remains in a quandary about its future course. Ncube said one
suggestion was to convene an alternative "people's parliament" based on the
correct election results, but this faced likely suppression by Mugabe if it
tried to meet within Zimbabwe's borders. The MDC maintains the party would
have won 94 seats in a free election, while more conservative estimates
suggest at least 60. The party is lodging token objections in court to
results in 13 of the 120 elected constituencies as a public demonstration of
the prevalent irregularities, he said. In addition to legal action, the MDC
would "engage in wide ranging consultations" but Ncube refused to detail
what might be considered. Backing for the party has come from urban workers
and middle class people, and from the white farming community - all those in
fact who were outside the charmed Zanu PF circle. The white commercial
farmers have now fallen away. For many of the others in the MDC the
emigration route will now seem the most realistic option. This human
resource drain will make social or economic revival in Zimbabwe even less
likely. The poll has left a dismal sense in Zimbabwe that little will change
until Mugabe goes. Again, the Financial Gazette commentator noted that
change would come "on its own like the sun, whether there is rigging and/or
violence, because its time will be ripe. No one can stop it - just as no one
could stop the Pope from dying ..."

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'National Blood Bank Levels Still Low'

The Herald (Harare)

May 5, 2005
Posted to the web May 5, 2005


THE national blood bank levels are still below the required optimum level of
3 000 units although the current blood supply is said to be satisfactory,
the National Blood Transfusion Services (NTBS) has said.

NTBS procurement and public relations manager Mr Emmanuel Masvikeni said
blood bank levels were still low but there was a great im provement in the
blood supply.

"The current state is satisfactory although it is still below the required
optimum level of 3 000 units. Though still low, there is great improvement
in blood supply as compared to the same time last year," he said.

Mr Masvikeni attributed the improvement in blood supply to new strategies
employed by NTBS.

"We introduced a donor follow-up in tertiary institutions countrywide and
university blood donors helped us to increase blood collections during
school holidays since they would be open then," he said.

Research has revealed that pupils are the major blood donors and usually
there is a shortage of blood during and soon after school holidays.

Meanwhile, in a bid to recruit more adult donors, NBTS would be conducting a
blood donation drive at Meikles Hotel tomorrow in conjunction with M-web.
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Zim National HIV/Aids Conference Report Out

The Herald (Harare)

May 5, 2005
Posted to the web May 5, 2005

Beatrice Tonhodzayi

THE Zimbabwe National HIV/Aids Conference report was on Tuesday released to
the public, just short of a year after the country's first ever HIV/Aids

The conference, which was attended by more than 600 delegates from
governments, business and civic groups across Southern Africa as well as
from around the world, took place between June 15 and 18 last year.

Key among recommendations in the report, which was distributed to
journalists from different media houses at a workshop organised by the
National Aids Council (NAC), were issues of prevention, care and treatment,
workplace programmes and economic, legal and institutional support.

The objective of the workshop, according to Mr Tendai Chidzenga of NAC, was
to disseminate the report of the conference to journalists and agree on the
role the media can play in pushing the recommendations forward.

Under care and treatment for instance, the World Health Organisation's goal
is to treat 3 million people by 2005.

However, despite concerted efforts by the Government, it still has only 6
500 people on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).

While several others are sponsoring their own treatment and many others are
on company treatment programmes, the numbers still fall short of the
intended targets.

It was, therefore, one of the report's recommendations that workplaces
adopted programmes that looked after the welfare of their employees and
facilitated easy access to treatment in the event of it being needed.

Couples, the report recommended, should not be separated because of working
demands while there was need for companies to put in place better retirement
care packages

This was because employees, who contributed to the national Aids levy and
medical aid sometimes found themselves destitute after leaving work.

It was also recommended that effective strategies involving the informal
sector be implemented since the informal sector was increasingly becoming a
major employer in the country.

Delegates to the conference, said they were concerned that with the scaling
up of ART, suppliers might run out of drugs.

They also raised the issue of ART affordability and called on the Government
to take appropriate measures to ensure that raw materials for the production
of Anti-Retrovirals (ARVs) were exempted from import duty.

The Government was also challenged to ensure the availability of foreign
currency for the procurement of these supplies.

Delegates to the conference noted that the orphans and vulnerable children
referral system was not clear and was uncoordinated.

Various line ministries, including the Ministry of Education, Sport and
Culture, Youth, Gender and Employment Creation and Health and Child Welfare
dealt with orphans and vulnerable children.

Each ministry, however, had different rules for the children they assisted
resulting in confusion.

Some of the issues raised after the conference have already been looked into
with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe already allocating foreign currency for
the purchase of drugs since January.
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The Herald

Resolve fuel crisis urgently: ZNCC

Business Reporter
THE business community has called for an urgent solution to the current fuel

In interview with the Herald Business, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
president Mr Luxon Zembe said his organisation had been receiving reports
from the business community on the impact of the fuel shortage on their
business operations.

"Our members have lodged complaints that business is now grinding to a

"Industry is operating at lower capacity as fuel shortages have had a
negative effect on production and productivity levels.

"The situation is worse in instances where machinery and engines are fuel
driven. What you must realise, at the end of it all, is that industry ends
up paying unproductive workers," said Mr Zembe. Besides, he said, the
crisis, which had also taken its toll on public transport, had resulted in
loss of crucial production time as workers now reported late for work.

Mr Zembe said while a lasting solution to the crisis was being worked out,
it was imperative that the available fuel be fairly distributed to all
sectors of the economy.

He pointed out that although it was quite understandable for some economic
players such as farmers to receive preferential treatment in fuel
allocation, it was also critical to ensure other sectors were not neglected
as this would have unfortunate ripple effects on the rest of the economy.

Meanwhile, the ZNCC president said as a business grouping, they anticipated
that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono would urgently
look into the issue of the exchange rate, among other pressing issues, when
he delivers his post-parliamentary election monetary policy statement

Dr Gono is expected to unveil, anytime soon, his first post-election
monetary policy statement review through which a number of changes to and
improvement in the previous ones are anticipated as efforts to turnaround
the economy move a gear up.

"There is no doubt there is need for adjustment of the exchange rate.

"Without that we are likely to witness, in the near future, diversion of
resources on to the parallel market. "The governor needs to come up with
other ways for incentivising the export sector."

Dr Gono was also expected to come up with measures to keep a tight leash on
the rate of inflation whose deceleration is currently under threat from many
pressures within the economy..

The ZNCC president said if the Productive Sector Facility was to be phased
out next month, as originally planned, it was important to keep the
Distressed Companies Fund alive as well as find new ways to determine
deserving firms.

"The governor also needs to come up with measures to ensure the momentum
gathered towards reducing inflation is maintained."

Dr Gono was also expected to shrink the gap between inflation and deposit
rates as part of efforts to encourage savings, currently being discouraged
by the negative real interest returns arising from the disparity between
inflation and deposit rates.
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The Herald

Reorientation funds to redeem Zimpost

Business Reporter
THE $250 billion allocated to Zimpost under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's
Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation Programme (PLARP) should go
a long way in redeeming the ailing postal service provider, and effectively
turn around its fortunes.

Zimpost is the country's sole postal service provider is therefore of
strategic importance to the country's economic well-being. However, the
semi-Government institution has been plagued by perennial industrial
relations problems which have culminated in a spate of worker dismissals and
suspensions, an undesirable situation that has threatened to throw its
service delivery into the abyss.

Ageing equipment coupled with lack of sufficient working capital have
contributed their share to the poor service Zimpost clients have had to
endure for a long time.

There appears to be an urgent need to have this company rehabilitated and
ensure service delivery is efficient and commensurate with, perhaps
international standards, and money being paid by consumers for such

As with several other troubled parastatals, RBZ has allocated Zimpost a
total of $250 billion under PLARP.

A thorough audit will be carried out by the Reserve Bank to ensure these
funds are put to good use.

"As monetary authorities, we firmly believe that implementation of our
reorientation audit framework would greatly enhance Zimpost's effectiveness
in meeting domestic demand, as well as supply postal services to the rest of
the world," the central bank says in its audit framework for the parastatal.

"Success of PLARP framework significantly hinges on ensuring that all
resources disbursed are productively employed and fully accounted for
through robust corporate governance systems. "All these requirements for
success are well within our reach and RBZ is fully committed to playing a
pivotal role in ensuring that this is achieved."

The PLARP funds to Zimpost are expected to help the institution recapitalise
its operations as well as assist in computerisation, transportation, network
expansion, upgrading postal equipment and establishment of communication

On the other hand, the reorientation audit would seek to ensure that the
turnaround funds are effectively and efficiently utilised and that there is
"transparency and accountability" during deployment of the funds.

RBZ would also take stock of Zimpost's current holdings of computer
equipment, motor vehicles, postal equipment and facilities, as well as other
assets and certify their state.

Various other areas such as assertion of Zimpost's legal framework of
existence, the board and its committee members, external auditors among
other administrative issues would also come under the spotlight.

The central bank would also "assess Zimpost's orientation to strategic
synergies with other players, in the distribution of goods and services, and
money transfer services" both within the country and outside.
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S.Africa press condemns "anti-panic" proposals
05 May 2005 16:11:23 GMT

Source: Reuters
By Gershwin Wanneburg

JOHANNESBURG, May 5 (Reuters) - South African media on Thursday condemned
government plans to outlaw statements sparking "public panic", but officials
said fears that the move was aimed at stifling a highly critical press were

The government announced plans to bring in new restrictions after
environment group Earthlife Africa last week warned that a former state
nuclear testing site still posed a threat.

President Thabo Mbeki and Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka both called Earthlife irresponsible, and Mlambo-Ngcuka said
the government would consider laws prohibiting statements that created
"public panic".

South African media criticised the proposals. Business Day said in an
editorial they were already "horribly familiar" to those working in
"oppressive African states".

"(The government's) words should send shivers down the spine of anyone who
had the temerity to speak out against the crude racism of apartheid, only to
be silenced for 'inciting racial conflict'," the respected daily said.

But government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said the proposals had nothing to
do with muzzling the media and were aimed at preventing public panic.

"This government not only believes in what is contained in the constitution.
It is responsible for what is written in the constitution," Netshitenzhe


He said the statements by Earthlife in particular had the potential to sow
panic as it had suggested that thousands of residents surrounding the plant
might need to be evacuated.

Other newspapers -- many of which have clashed with Mbeki over issues from
official corruption to AIDS -- also attacked the proposals.

"We don't think government should tamper with the right to freedom of
expression which is enshrined in our constitution," The Citizen newspaper

Unlike his predecessor Nelson Mandela, Mbeki's ruling African National
Congress (ANC) has faced frequent charges of being intolerant of
criticism -- especially from the media, whom Mbeki has accused of having a
racist agenda.

Mbeki late last year rounded on Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu after
he accused the former liberation movement of stifling debate of
controversial issues such as HIV/AIDS and Zimbabwe.

Over 5 million South Africans are HIV positive -- the biggest caseload in
the world. Mbeki's government has frequently been accused of failing to
tackle the epidemic head-on, while Mbeki has also faced flack for not taking
a tougher line on crisis-hit Zimbabwe.
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Time to declare our independence from the United Nations
      By Tom DeWeese
      May 4, 2005

The United Nations is a mess. It now finds itself buried under scandals. It
has Oil for Food scandals. Sex scandals. Power-abuse scandals. Smuggling
scandals. Theft scandals. And unpaid traffic tickets. Rob, rape, and pillage
seems to be the UN's modus operandi.

Yet why is anyone surprised? The UN considers itself above the law of mere
nations. And it answers to no one. There is no vote on UN leaders (other
than by the culprits themselves). There is no international referendum on
its policies. The UN sets its own standards of conduct and it controls its
own judge and jury. These, of course, are the very reasons why many have
opposed U.S. membership in the UN. And it's why many have feared the UN
gaining any sort of power to gain its own ability to tax, field an army, or
create a court system. Possessing these three powers drastically changes the
UN from a volunteer membership organization to a global governing body.

Compliant nations simply give the UN a pretense of legitimacy.  The United
States government plays to the folks at home by talking tough about the need
for "UN reform." Yet not once has the Republican-led Administration or the
Republican- controlled Congress taken any steps to withhold funds for UN
programs. Instead, the U.S. continues to go along with nearly every policy
scheme, international conference and peace-keeping mission, paying the
majority of the funds, thus supplying huge amounts of tax-payer money to UN
coffers so that business as usual goes on down at UN headquarters.

There is one public entity to which the UN at least pretends to react. The
court of public opinion. There is a growing awareness, at least in the
living rooms of common Americans, that something is very wrong with the UN.
The UN's greatest fear is that  those Americans might influence our leaders
to withdraw from the world body. If that ever happens, then the UN is
finished and it knows it.

Articles are surfacing and pundits are pondering, questioning the future of
the UN. To sidestep the obvious that the UN has utterly failed in its stated
mission to promote world peace, or to even have a hint of influence in
making anyone's life better voices are beginning to suggest the word
"reform." Reform the UN, make it more "workable."  American leaders, looking
for a way to get around the growing argument to dump the UN may latch on to
such a reform movement. But they should be careful what they wish for
because they may not get the kind of reform they are expecting.

The UN is never without a contingency plan for its well-prepared agenda of
global governance. A major thorn in the side of those who seek to drive the
UN into a position of international power is the Security Council and the
veto power of its permanent members. Many say the United States controls the
UN with its veto power. Solution: take it away.

One of the twelve points of the Charter for Global Democracy, which surfaced
prior to the UN's Millennium Summit in 2000, was a plan to "reform" the UN
by doing away with the Security Council and replacing it with an "Assembly
of the People." The Assembly would be made up of "people from the world" in
the form of non-elected, non-governmental organizations (NGO's). Take note,
these are the same NGO's which write the background material for most of the
UN treaties like Agenda 21, the Biodiversity Treaty, Rights of the Child,
and even the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty. NGOs are special interest groups
(almost all leftist) who are seeking to create the UN as a global
government. They are the ones pushing for UN tax schemes, standing armies,
and the International Criminal Court. While the average citizen focuses on
the Security Council and its dramatic, even heroic image, NGOs have become
the driving force in setting UN policy.

To them it would be a dream come true for the UN to scrap the Security
Council, which still pretends to be a place where nations simply air their
differences. They would then be free to install the Assembly of the People
through which their drive for UN power could accelerate unabated by pesky
U.S. vetoes.

The fact is the UN is not an instrument for guarding the peace. The UN is
the source for international unrest and "reform" will not fix it. Most
urgently, American leadership must not fall into the trap set by British
Prime Minister Tony Blair to allow the UN to take the lead in rebuilding
Iraq. Worse, Blair is also attempting to bully the United States into
embracing the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol. Such a foolish move would be a
disaster to the U.S. economy and would do nothing to cool the planet.

For the past fifty years, as the UN lived off the perception that it
provided a forum where nations could air their differences off the
battlefield, more wars were fought than ever before in human history.
Instead of removing the threat to peace, the UN has encouraged, even
nurtured, regimes that waged violence on their neighbors, and indeed,
oppressed and tortured their own people.

The first great challenge to the UN's ability to provide peace was the
Korean conflict in 1954. Allowed to operate on its own, the United States
would have waged war against this aggressor and eliminated the communist
regime and its threat forever. However, because American leadership abided
by United Nations diplomatic authority instead of reason, not only was the
regime allowed to survive, the conflict was never resolved. Indeed the North
Korean communists' greatest ally, Red China, was also allowed to take root
and grow. As a result of that UN failure, today, both North Korea and
communist China are two of the leading international threats to peace. These
are festering sores that the United States will eventually have to deal
with, most certainly over UN objections.

Almost the exact scenario was played out in the Vietnam conflict in the 1960's
as UN resolutions tied American hands from destroying the communists,
allowing another brutal regime to remain in power, again within the axis of

Today, fifty years after the inception of the United Nations, the
international community is a dangerous place. Instead of peaceful,
prosperous, stable trading partners, the world is full of brutal, murdering
dictatorships which starve and torture their own people while threatening
the security of their neighbors, as once-great powers cower and use
diplomatic doublespeak to ignore responsibility. Most of these international
thugs have two things in common. 1) Each has a voice and a vote in the
United Nations. 2) None would be a threat if they didn't.

The United Nations has come under the control of outlaw nations, petty and
tarnished former superpowers and self-ordained special interest groups. Each
promotes a socialist agenda that seeks to redistribute the world's wealth
into their own coffers as they diminish the power of the United States and
enslave the citizens of nations in a dark ages of poverty and misery.

That's why terrorist states like Libya and Syria are allowed to serve on the
UN's Human Rights Commission as Israel is condemned in resolution after
resolution. It's the reason why a prosperous, industrious nation like Taiwan
is refused membership in the UN while a murderous thug like Zimbabwe's
Robert Mugabe is given a prominent voice at UN conferences.

The United Nations is not "dysfunctional," as some "reformists" have
claimed. It is a criminal enterprise in which no moral nation should ever
participate, let alone perpetuate.

Many of our elected officials indicate that the United States is bound to
some kind of forced membership in the UN, as if it's our legal duty.
Congress has resisted Congressman Ron Paul's efforts to pass his "American
Sovereignty Restoration Act" (H.R. 1146), which calls for the complete
withdraw of the United States from UN membership. Critics say it just isn't
reasonable in today's society. They say that the United States would become
isolated from the rest of the world. They say that the United States is
bound by a treaty to stay in the UN.

But according to legal and Constitution scholar, Herb Titus, the Charter of
the United Nations is neither politically nor legally binding upon the
United States or the American people. Says Titus, "The Charter of the UN is
commonly assumed to be a treaty. It is not."  Instead, Titus explains, the
UN Charter is a constitution. As such, it is illegitimate, having created a
supranational government, deriving its powers not from the consent of the
governed (the people of the United States and peoples of other member
nations) but from the consent of the peoples' government officials, which
have no authority to bind either the American people nor any other nation's
to any terms of the Charter of the United Nations.

Titus goes on to explain: "Even if the Charter of the UN were a
properly-ratified treaty, it would still be constitutionally illegitimate
and void because it transgresses the Constitution of the United States in
three major respects: 1) It unconstitutionally delegates to the UN the U.S.
Congress' legislative powers to initiate war and the U.S. president's
executive power to conduct war; 2) It unconstitutionally transfers to the
United Nations General Assembly the US House of Representatives' exclusive
power to originate revenue-raising measures; and 3) It unconstitutionally
robs the 50 American states powers reserved to them by the Tenth Amendment
of the U.S. Constitution."

Titus declares that H.R.1146 is the only viable solution to the continuing
abuses by the United Nations. He says, "The U.S. Congress can remedy its
earlier unconstitutional actions of embracing the UN Charter by enacting
H.R. 1146."

The world of the UN is like a parallel reality. It is no place for a nation
born from the minds of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. How would
today's American leaders in Congress react if they were suddenly brought
before a tribunal of Founding Fathers and told to justify American
participation in such a folly?

Rather than wasting more time and money on hearings and debates over a new
UN Ambassador, the Congress would better use its resources to simply ignore
the UN and quit. It is past time for the American people to demand action of
our elected officials to uphold the U.S. Constitution they have sworn to
defend. Just as our Founding Fathers did when confronted with tyranny, it's
time that the American people declare their independence from the United

Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president of
the American Policy Center, an activist think tank headquartered in
Warrenton, VA. The Center maintains a website at

© Tom DeWeese 2005

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