Tuesday 08 May 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Crisis-hit Zimbabwe faces its worst food shortages yet with this
year's harvest expected to meet only 30 to 50 percent of national
requirement, according to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET).
FEWSNET is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
network for monitoring hunger, food availability and shortages across the
In its latest food outlook report on Zimbabwe covering the period from March
to July 2007, the network said widespread crop failure caused by poor
rainfall and a long running economic crisis had combined to drastically
slash food production in the southern African country.
"Moderate and severe levels of food insecurity will occur in many households
throughout the country, but especially in the south, and emergency
assistance will be required from about July for an unspecified number of
beneficiaries countrywide," the report reads in part.
FEWSNET said about 1.5 million people out of the 12 million Zimbabweans were
in need of urgent food aid and said the number of hungry people would rise
in the coming months and peak around early 2008 when the network said food
shortages would worsen to levels not seen in recent years.
Relief agencies led by the Zimbabwe Red Cross reported at the beginning of
the year that they were feeding 1.3 million Zimbabweans.
President Robert Mugabe's government has already declared 2007 a drought
year but the cash-strapped Harare-administration has not made a formal
appeal to the United Nations for the world body to institute an
international appeal for food for Zimbabwe.
However, neighbouring Malawi last week announced it had agreed a deal to
sell 400 000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, which also had one of the most vibrant economies in Africa, was a
regional breadbasket but has had to survive largely on handouts from
international food agencies since Mugabe began seizing commercial farms from
whites for redistribution to landless blacks.
Failure by the government to provide resources and skills training for black
villagers resettled on white farms saw agricultural production plummeting by
about 30 percent, causing food shortages and also crippling Zimbabwe's
manufacturing sector that largely depended on the farming sector for inputs.
FEWSNET said: "Deteriorating macro economic conditions have further
exacerbated food insecurity as households are unable to access adequate
amounts of food.
"The situation is not expected to improve much in the drier south of the
country as this year's harvests have mostly failed due to the poor rains.
The most affected provinces include Masvingo, Midlands and North and South
Zimbabwe requires about two million tonnes of maize for annual consumption
but estimates show that this year's harvest will total a mere 400 000 tonnes
maize, the country's main staple food.
Apart from food shortages, Zimbabweans also have to contend with inflation
of 2 200 percent and the highest in the world, unemployment above 80 percent
and shortages of essential medicines, electricity, fuel and hard cash. -
Tuesday 08 May 2007
By Edith Kaseke
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government is ill-prepared for local
government elections it has called for next January and by staging the polls
could scuttle a regional initiative to find a negotiated settlement to
Zimbabwe's fast deteriorating crisis, analysts said.
Zimbabwe has been plunged into its worst political and economic crisis,
which critics blame on Mugabe's controversial policies and the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party charges that the
crisis is chiefly a result of disputed elections it says has been rigged by
the governing ZANU PF party.
After failing to garner enough support to extend his rule to 2010, Mugabe
has rallied supporters in his ruling party to back his candidature for
president next March. Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo this week
said council polls would be held in January.
"ZANU PF is trying to use the local government elections to gauge the public
mood before the presidential and parliamentary elections," John Makumbe a
political commentator and critic of Mugabe said.
"But I don't think the government is fully prepared for these elections and
it will give ZANU PF an opportunity to rig the elections in the ensuing
confusion," said Makumbe.
The analysts said for example, hundreds of thousands of potential voters had
no identity cards and were not on the voters' roll because the Registrar
General's office was not adequately resourced to register voters.
Although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has released some foreign currency,
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede says the money is not enough and that his
department is not operating at full capacity.
Analysts said existing tough security laws, such as bans on public meetings
and rallies in some parts of Harare, the MDC stronghold, made it difficult
for the opposition to campaign for the elections.
The MDC accuses Mugabe of cheating in all major elections since 2000 and
that he is likely to rig his way to victory if the current electoral
environment is not changed. Mugabe denies the charges and instead says the
opposition has lost support and is a bad loser.
The two MDC factions say a Southern African Development Community initiative
led by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to facilitate dialogue between
the opposition party and ZANU PF should ultimately lead to a new
constitution that guarantees free and fair elections among other issues.
Mbeki has said he wants to ensure the outcome of future elections in
Zimbabwe is not contested, something the MDC says is only possible if there
are changes to the electoral rules.
"But already the government has called for elections in January and the
assumption is that these will be held under the current Constitution,"
Eldred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist said.
"Now already its clear that either the MDC will boycott the elections or
that in the event that they participate, the outcome will be contested," he
The analysts said Mugabe had already discounted Mbeki's initiative and was
instead concentrating on further tightening his grip on power.
Mugabe, now 83 years and in power since independence in 1980 will have
served 33 years as Zimbabwe's leader if he wins next year and serve the full
His critics say the veteran leader has presided over a deepening economic
crisis that has resulted in inflation shooting past 2 000 percent, the
highest in the world and left eight in 10 Zimbabweans without jobs and the
country relying on food imports.
"Mugabe is not taking into account the Mbeki initiative and this effectively
puts the dialogue into jeopardy. Elections held under the current
environment will be rigged," said Makumbe.
"This is a complex web of intrigue being run by ZANU PF, and the best way
forward is to set the dialogue into motion and proceed quickly to set an
agenda especially of a new constitution because the elections, including the
local government ones, can be delayed to accommodate the new constitution,"
Mugabe routinely dismisses the MDC as a puppet of his Western enemies and
says the opposition party is being used to try to topple his government from
power as punishment for his seizure of white-owned commercial farms to give
to blacks. - ZimOnline
By Jonga Kandemiiri
07 May 2007
Some Zimbabwean schools have increased tuition fees for the term to begin
Tuesday by as much as 2,000%, citing economic necessity in the face of
inflation that ran at an annual rate of about 2,200% in April. Some parents
in response said they would have no choice but to remove their children from
their now-unaffordable schools.
Correspondent Babongile Dlamini of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from
the second city of Bulawayo that some boarding schools Monday turned away
children arriving for lessons in the new term, demanding cash payment up
Elsewhere, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said members in the
two provinces of Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central have been
receiving death threats from suspected state agents and supporters of the
ruling ZANU-PF party. The union said some teachers might request transfers
or delay returning to work.
The union said rising tension ahead of national elections in March 2008 has
already gripped the two provinces, both of which are ruling party
Progressive Teachers Union General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri that because the union is non-political it is telling its
members to focus strictly on their duties in the classroom and avoid
Archbishop Pius Ncube, 50, occupies a curious position in Zimbabwe. He is
one of President Robert Mugabe's most outspoken critics, and this year offered
to lead a street campaign to oust him. So far Ncube has been untouched by the
repression that has befallen other opposition figures. Possibly this is because
Ncube can be just as scathing about the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (M.D.C.). Possibly it is because he is a Roman Catholic, the religion in
which Mugabe was raised. There are signs that his religion may not protect him
for much longer, however. On Saturday, Mugabe told the Zimbabwean daily, The
Herald: "Once [the bishops] turn political, we regard them as no longer
spiritual and our relations with them would be conducted as if we are dealing
with political entities and this is quite a dangerous path they have chosen for
themselves." After being arrested and forced to leave the country by a government that
has little tolerance for journalists, TIME's Africa bureau chief Alex Perry
spoke to Ncube by telephone at St. Mary's Cathedral in Bulawayo. TIME: Describe your own experience of Zimbabwe's sudden implosion Ncube: At independence, out of 53 countries in Africa, Zimbabwe was
the second biggest economy, second only to South Africa. The infrastructure, the
roads were well done, the railways and telephones were good, the health sector
was good. The schools were the best in Africa — we had a 86-90% literacy rate.
We had a sophisticated economy. And the Zimbabwean dollar was strong. In 1980,
one Zim dollar was one pound sterling — or two American dollars. Mugabe had been drilled in socialism and communism, and people thought he
would tow the Marxist line. But when he took power, he respected what was there.
He included other people in his government and he respected agriculture and the
farms as the backbone of the economy. TIME: What happened? Ncube: Mugabe is extremely power conscious. He's obsessed. Anything
that disturbs his power base, he immediately reacts. In the 1980s, he sent the
[North-Korean trained Zimbabwean Army] Fifth Brigade into Matabeleland to kill
20,000 people. It was crazy. It was his own people. It's absolutely diabolical.
Atrocious. Basically, he can never have any opposition. He wants to be acknowledged as
the only cock on the dunghill. He must have a one-party state. That's always his
mentality. TIME: How has that affected the M.D.C.? Ncube: Mugabe has demonized them. He calls them a puppet of the West,
Tony Blair's agents. A few years ago, he realized he was going to lose power. He
also realized the [white] farmers were backing the M.D.C. So he decided that the
only option was to break up this force, to invade the farms and crush the
farmers. But one the results was economic collapse. Inflation is 4,000%,
according to business people I talk to. Prices double in two days. People are
leaving the country. You can't survive here. The government pretends the
exchange rate is 250 Zim dollars to the [ U.S.] dollar; in reality it's 25,000.
It's disastrous. And as people leave, Mugabe's people, who have a lock on
foreign currency in Zimbabwe, are buying up every business in Bulawayo.
Everything is geared towards the advancement of Mugabe and his party elite. TIME: How does the regime's behaviour affect general morality? Ncube: These people have no moral values. They are totally opposed to
morality. The amount of suffering they have created: half of our children are
out of school. These people have no conscience. What goes, what is allowed, is
what suits Mugabe and what suits his aims of retaining power. They're really
depraved. They are totally corrupt, ruthless, cruel. In South Africa , Mandela set the standard for other leaders to follow. We
have Mugabe, who does anything for power, whose god is power. As a result, moral
standards no longer have any importance in Zimbabwe. Moral standards have
plummeted. Corruption has never been so bad. Young people are so opportunistic
now. Anything goes. People survive by stealing. They say: "Whatever helps you,
do it." They are imitating Mugabe. This is the heritage he has passed on. The only things that matters is the regime's staying in power. They wouldn't
mind if half all Zimbabweans die. Didymus actually said that. He said they only
care about the people that support them. [In 2002, Minister for State Security
Mustasa Didymus said: "We would be better off with only six million people, with
our own (supporters). We don't want all these extra people."] Five hundred
people die of AIDS every day in Zimbabwe, but Mugabe does nothing to improve
health. They are a mafia. A few people are stinking rich and the majority are
below the poverty line. The people are being fed by the World Food Program — a
third of us would be dead if it wasn't for the help that we're getting — but
Mugabe is still berating the West. He never looks into himself and admits his
mistakes. And the truth is that 99% of what we are suffering is because of this
one man. TIME: How long will he stay in power? Ncube: He said he would step down in 2002. Then he ran, and he cheated
and rigged the election. Then he said he would step down in 2008. Now he has
just been nominated by his party. TIME: Could Zimbabwe recover? Ncube: There's been a brain drain. All the intelligent people —
doctors, lawyers, teachers — have left. Zimbabwe could recover still; people are
used to work. Even today, people will walk 20 or 30 kilometers a day to get to
work and back. There is a lot of talent in Zimbabwe. And the West is ready to
invest and get things up and running again. And all we want is what any man
wants: food on the table, shelter, a future for our children, security and
peace. Our only problem is Mugabe. He thinks Zimbabwe is his property. He
prevents everything. We cannot live. We cannot breathe. But we are not his
property. We are not his donkeys. He is riding us. We need to get this guy out.
TIME: The opposition seem very weak, though. Ncube: have a crisis of leadership. Morgan Tsvangirai failed to
deliver. People put their hopes in him, but he seems directionless, and the
party has split. Meanwhile, Tsvangirai tries to convince the U.K. and the U.S.
that he is the opposition. TIME: You've said you would lead a peaceful protest campaign. Ncube: We should all come together. We must be orderly, not violent —
or these people will thump you. I would lead an orderly crowd. The trouble is
getting people to be convinced of that. TIME: Are you not afraid? Ncube:They do harass you in every way. They invent things about you.
They say I am gay, which is far from the truth. This phone is tapped. They could
kill me any time if they wanted to. They say that when you have 20 people
together, one or two of them will be Mugabe's spies. He has infiltrated
everywhere, even the Church. I don't care. I will say what I want to say. I will
not be quietened. I am not their slave. I do get afraid. But there comes a time
when you have to overcome that. I take a stand because I am convinced I am
speaking the truth. And the church must always defend the
Archbishop Pius Ncube, 50, occupies a curious position in Zimbabwe. He is one of President Robert Mugabe's most outspoken critics, and this year offered to lead a street campaign to oust him. So far Ncube has been untouched by the repression that has befallen other opposition figures. Possibly this is because Ncube can be just as scathing about the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (M.D.C.). Possibly it is because he is a Roman Catholic, the religion in which Mugabe was raised. There are signs that his religion may not protect him for much longer, however. On Saturday, Mugabe told the Zimbabwean daily, The Herald: "Once [the bishops] turn political, we regard them as no longer spiritual and our relations with them would be conducted as if we are dealing with political entities and this is quite a dangerous path they have chosen for themselves."
After being arrested and forced to leave the country by a government that has little tolerance for journalists, TIME's Africa bureau chief Alex Perry spoke to Ncube by telephone at St. Mary's Cathedral in Bulawayo.
TIME: Describe your own experience of Zimbabwe's sudden implosion
Ncube: At independence, out of 53 countries in Africa, Zimbabwe was the second biggest economy, second only to South Africa. The infrastructure, the roads were well done, the railways and telephones were good, the health sector was good. The schools were the best in Africa — we had a 86-90% literacy rate. We had a sophisticated economy. And the Zimbabwean dollar was strong. In 1980, one Zim dollar was one pound sterling — or two American dollars.
Mugabe had been drilled in socialism and communism, and people thought he would tow the Marxist line. But when he took power, he respected what was there. He included other people in his government and he respected agriculture and the farms as the backbone of the economy.
TIME: What happened?
Ncube: Mugabe is extremely power conscious. He's obsessed. Anything that disturbs his power base, he immediately reacts. In the 1980s, he sent the [North-Korean trained Zimbabwean Army] Fifth Brigade into Matabeleland to kill 20,000 people. It was crazy. It was his own people. It's absolutely diabolical. Atrocious.
Basically, he can never have any opposition. He wants to be acknowledged as the only cock on the dunghill. He must have a one-party state. That's always his mentality.
TIME: How has that affected the M.D.C.?
Ncube: Mugabe has demonized them. He calls them a puppet of the West, Tony Blair's agents. A few years ago, he realized he was going to lose power. He also realized the [white] farmers were backing the M.D.C. So he decided that the only option was to break up this force, to invade the farms and crush the farmers. But one the results was economic collapse. Inflation is 4,000%, according to business people I talk to. Prices double in two days. People are leaving the country. You can't survive here. The government pretends the exchange rate is 250 Zim dollars to the [ U.S.] dollar; in reality it's 25,000. It's disastrous. And as people leave, Mugabe's people, who have a lock on foreign currency in Zimbabwe, are buying up every business in Bulawayo. Everything is geared towards the advancement of Mugabe and his party elite.
TIME: How does the regime's behaviour affect general morality?
Ncube: These people have no moral values. They are totally opposed to morality. The amount of suffering they have created: half of our children are out of school. These people have no conscience. What goes, what is allowed, is what suits Mugabe and what suits his aims of retaining power. They're really depraved. They are totally corrupt, ruthless, cruel.
In South Africa , Mandela set the standard for other leaders to follow. We have Mugabe, who does anything for power, whose god is power. As a result, moral standards no longer have any importance in Zimbabwe. Moral standards have plummeted. Corruption has never been so bad. Young people are so opportunistic now. Anything goes. People survive by stealing. They say: "Whatever helps you, do it." They are imitating Mugabe. This is the heritage he has passed on.
The only things that matters is the regime's staying in power. They wouldn't mind if half all Zimbabweans die. Didymus actually said that. He said they only care about the people that support them. [In 2002, Minister for State Security Mustasa Didymus said: "We would be better off with only six million people, with our own (supporters). We don't want all these extra people."] Five hundred people die of AIDS every day in Zimbabwe, but Mugabe does nothing to improve health. They are a mafia. A few people are stinking rich and the majority are below the poverty line. The people are being fed by the World Food Program — a third of us would be dead if it wasn't for the help that we're getting — but Mugabe is still berating the West. He never looks into himself and admits his mistakes. And the truth is that 99% of what we are suffering is because of this one man.
TIME: How long will he stay in power?
Ncube: He said he would step down in 2002. Then he ran, and he cheated and rigged the election. Then he said he would step down in 2008. Now he has just been nominated by his party.
TIME: Could Zimbabwe recover?
Ncube: There's been a brain drain. All the intelligent people — doctors, lawyers, teachers — have left. Zimbabwe could recover still; people are used to work. Even today, people will walk 20 or 30 kilometers a day to get to work and back. There is a lot of talent in Zimbabwe. And the West is ready to invest and get things up and running again. And all we want is what any man wants: food on the table, shelter, a future for our children, security and peace. Our only problem is Mugabe. He thinks Zimbabwe is his property. He prevents everything. We cannot live. We cannot breathe. But we are not his property. We are not his donkeys. He is riding us. We need to get this guy out.
TIME: The opposition seem very weak, though.
Ncube: have a crisis of leadership. Morgan Tsvangirai failed to deliver. People put their hopes in him, but he seems directionless, and the party has split. Meanwhile, Tsvangirai tries to convince the U.K. and the U.S. that he is the opposition.
TIME: You've said you would lead a peaceful protest campaign.
Ncube: We should all come together. We must be orderly, not violent — or these people will thump you. I would lead an orderly crowd. The trouble is getting people to be convinced of that.
TIME: Are you not afraid?
Ncube:They do harass you in every way. They invent things about you. They say I am gay, which is far from the truth. This phone is tapped. They could kill me any time if they wanted to. They say that when you have 20 people together, one or two of them will be Mugabe's spies. He has infiltrated everywhere, even the Church. I don't care. I will say what I want to say. I will not be quietened. I am not their slave. I do get afraid. But there comes a time when you have to overcome that. I take a stand because I am convinced I am speaking the truth. And the church must always defend the poor.
Mon 7 May 2007, 17:07 GMT
HARARE, May 7 (Reuters) - A Harare court on Monday released on bail two
Zimbabwean human rights lawyers in a case activists say is part of a
widening crackdown on government opponents.
Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni, members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), were charged with obstructing justice after their arrest on
Friday, the group said.
"The two have been released on bail and they will appear in court tomorrow
when we will make an application for refusal of further remand," Irene
Petra, of the ZLHR told Reuters.
The two were on a legal team that represented opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and several dozen other Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
officials after they were arrested in March and assaulted for defying an
official ban on rallies.
"The two have been released on bail and they will appear in court tomorrow
when we will make an application for refusal of further remand," Irene
Petra, of the ZLHR told Reuters.
"They were charged with ... defeating or obstructing the course of justice."
Human rights groups have accused President Robert Mugabe's government of
widespread human rights abuses.
The government has threatened to react strongly against opposition forces
Mugabe accuses of trying to topple the veteran leader on behalf of
Zimbabwe's former colonial master Britain.
Last month, the government launched a crackdown on the MDC, accusing it of a
"terrorist campaign" of petrol bombings. The opposition denies the charge.
Analysts expect the government to step up pressure on all its opponents
ahead of general elections next year.
Mugabe, 83, has been in power since white rule ended in 1980 and has been
endorsed by his ZANU-PF party to run again for president in the elections,
which the opposition says it may boycott.
The government has threatened to expel Western diplomats Mugabe accuses of
supporting the opposition, and to ban non-governmental organisations he says
are funding opposition politics.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
May 07, 2007
The secretariat of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) requests your
immediate URGENT intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe
regarding the unlawful arrest and continued detention of human rights
lawyers in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) notes with mounting outrage and
consternation the perpetual harassment of human rights Lawyers in Zimbabwe -
ZLHR is particularly concerned with the unlawful arrest and continued
detention of human rights lawyers, Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni.
Background of the case
Wednesday 25 April: The wives of the two lawyers receive two anonymous calls
at two different occasions and the calls were both threatening the families
of the two lawyers saying that they were going to be dealt with ruthlessly
and that their husbands will meet the same fate. Suspected Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives began following the lawyers ,
keeping their distance and monitoring their movements.
Friday 4 May: The CIOs who were following the two lawyers, together with
police details from the Law and Order section approached the two lawyers at
around 16h30, outside the High Court during the course of their business and
arrested them. They were taken to the Law and Order section at Harare
Central police station "for interrogation" but were not provided with
reasons for their arrest. This time the Zimbabwe intelligence seem to have
handed them to the police. Lawyers attending at the Law and Order section
were able to confirm the presence of the two lawyers but were chased out of
the offices by Detective Inspector Rangwani, who also threatened to
physically assault the lawyers in attendance.
An urgent application (HC 2346/07) was filed by ZLHR at the High Court of
Zimbabwe, and at around 21h30, Justice Tedius Karwi granted a "temporary
order" directing the police to allow lawyers access to Makoni and
Muchadehama and to allow them access to food, medical attention if
necessary, and visitation by their relatives, pending the hearing of the
matter the following day. Despite this, the police defied the court order
and denied access. Two court orders to this effect have been disregarded to
date. Efforts to locate the lawyers have been futile for the past three days
and the harassment and threats to other human lawyers have continued with
ZLHR strongly condemns the unlawful actions of the police in this matter.
Senior police officers at several stations, as well as the entire Law and
Order section, continue to remain a law unto themselves, and impunity for
their actions is further entrenched as each day passes. Further, the
continued contempt of court orders by the police has become an everyday
phenomenon and no person is safe from those who are constitutionally obliged
to protect the people of Zimbabwe. Such actions cannot be tolerated or
condoned in a democratic society.
ZLHR calls upon all human rights organizations, citizens of Zimbabwe,
Individuals beyond Zimbabwe, fellow human rights defenders, advocates and
friends of freedom to take action and write to the Zimbabwean Government to
restore rule of law.
Please write to the Zimbabwean authorities, urging them to:
a.. Immediately release the two lawyers, Alec Muchadehama and Andrew
b.. Immediately cease the molestation, use of threats, mental torture and
interference with privacy, family and home of Mr Muchadehama and Mr Makoni.
c.. Immediately cease the use of intimidation against lawyers who are
officials of the court and should be allowed to carry out their duties
d.. Respect the rulings and judgments of the courts of Zimbabwe and cease
the current culture of ridicule towards such rulings and orders of the High
Court of Zimbabwe.
a.. Director of Intelligence, Office of the President, Private Bag 7700,
Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 708 211
b.. Mr. Khembo Mohadi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs,
11th Floor Mukwati Building, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe,
Fax : +263 4 726 716
c.. Mr. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Fax: + 263 4
77 29 99
d.. Mr. Augustine Chihuri, Police Commissioner, Police Headquarters, P.O.
Box 8807, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 253 212 / 728 768 / 726
e.. Mr. Sobuza Gula Ndebele, Attorney-General, Office of the Attorney, PO
Box 7714, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: + 263 4 77 32 47
f.. Mrs. Chanetsa, Office of the Ombudsman Fax: + 263 4 70 41 19
g.. Ambassador Mr. Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to
the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy,
Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Peta Thornycroft
07 May 2007
After the high-profile police beating of senior opposition politicians in
March, state-sponsored political violence in Zimbabwe is now targeting
mid-level opposition activists and ordinary citizens who are being dragged
out of their homes, and beaten, mostly at night in Harare's high-density
suburbs. Peta Thornycroft reports that doctors, lawyers and opposition
political leaders describe it as a terror campaign perpetrated by state
security agents against opponents of President Robert Mugabe.
Every morning, victims of political violence are showing up for treatment in
various doctors offices in Harare.
The doctors say that since March 11, when many opposition leaders were
arrested and suffered serious injuries in police custody they are treating
at least five people a day, every day. They add they have reports that more
injured people remain at home, unable to travel to town for treatment, or
too poor to afford transport.
One doctor, who asked not to be identified, said he had never seen so many
victims of severe beatings in his career as a private medical practitioner
Victims of political violence say they are unable to seek help at public
health facilities, as they have to produce a certificate from the police
about the cause of their injuries before they can be treated. This was
confirmed by State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa in a telephone interview
"Because the police would have been called in and the hospitals here do not
treat cases like that without reference to the police," he said.
Many of the victims are officials of small branches of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, but some have told doctors they have no
University of Zimbabwe senior political analyst Eldred Masunungure says the
ruling Zanu-PF has embarked on a two-pronged strategy. The first, he says,
is designed to soften up or neutralize the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change in advance of the Southern African Development Community's
mission to bring ZANU-PF and opposition groups to the negotiating table
before national elections next March.
Masunungure adds that Zanu-PF is in election mode and on what he described
as a war footing. He says Zanu-PF has always used violence as an instrument
Alec Muchadahama is a lawyer who handles many of the political detentions in
Harare. He has regularly brought cases of severe beatings suffered by his
clients in police custody to the attention of the courts.
He says political repression, especially beatings, has never been worse with
daily arrests of people he believes are on a police list of opposition
"Apart from those they have arrested and taken to court, there are also
those who police are simply abducted during the night and taken to far off
places in the bushes and assaulted thoroughly - leave them for dead in the
bushes," he said. "And some of them are taken to police stations where they
are also seriously tortured and simply released."
Muchadahama and others have told VOA that some people abducted from their
homes at night disappear, and no one knows whether they are dead, in hiding,
or have fled to South Africa.
State security minister Didymus Mutasa denies the government has been
beating people up in the townships. He told VOA the victims are lying about
"There is nobody who is being beaten. Please do not make me angry," he said.
"I am telling you again and again that there is nobody who is being beaten,
but you are telling lies."
Victims of violence say they are not always sure which branch of the state's
extensive security machinery is responsible for the ongoing reign of terror
in the townships. But different individuals have identified the Central
Intelligence Organization; the military police; or, youth militia loyal to
Zanu-PF as being responsible for their abuse.
The government accuses the opposition of engaging in terrorism and says the
MDC is responsible for 11 petrol bomb attacks, mostly in Harare, since March
15. The majority targeted police stations and Zanu-PF owned homes in the
The MDC denies the allegations; but 31, mostly senior members of the MDC,
are now in prison awaiting trial on terrorism charges. Lawyer Muchadahama
said the only evidence the police have produced so far are some confessions
he says were extracted under torture. He adds that the arrests are
"Because the police are saying on a daily basis they want to carry out raids
in an attempt to arrest would be saboteurs but in this process they are
going for any person who they suspect is an MDC sympathiser or activist and
is treating them in the manor I have described," he said.
Shortly after the interview with the VOA, Muchadahama and a colleague,
Andrew Makoni were detained and held at Harare Central Police Station. The
Harare High Court ruled on Saturday they should be released immediately.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
May 07, 2007
Following the continued defiance of Justice Karwi's Order handed down on
Saturday at 1230hrs (5 May 2007), a further Urgent Application was filed on
Sunday morning (6 May 2007) seeking the production of Andrew Makoni and Alec
Muchadehama before the High Court so that the Court could confirm their
safety and ensure that they were released into the custody of their legal
Whilst this was being filed, police from the Law and Order section at Harare
Central police station visited the offices of the law firm of Mbidzo,
Muchadehama & Makoni taking the two detainees with them. The police, led by
one Detective Inspector Muchada, were armed with a search warrant and
proceeded to raid the law firm. Lawrence Chibwe, the Deputy Secretary of the
Law Society of Zimbabwe, and Otto Saki, were threatened with arrest when
they sought to scrutinise the search warrant. Police proceeded to remove
certain files and documents from the offices and did not allow the lawyers
to take an inventory or remain present during the search.
It is unlawful to search and remove documents from law offices, as they are
protected by legal practitioner-client privilege. This, however, did not
deter the police.
Muchadehama and Makoni were then taken back to CID Law and Order.
In the afternoon at around 1600hrs, Justice Chitakunye granted a further
a.. The Respondents be and are hereby directed to physically deliver the
Applicants before this Honorable Court within one (1) hour of the service of
this order on any one of the Respondents.
b.. The Applicants' legal practitioners be and are hereby granted leave to
serve copies of this order on any of the Respondents or officers of their
Armed with reinforcements, 7 lawyers attended at CID Law and Order section
to serve the Order. The situation was extremely tense and several lawyers
had to withdraw from the police station fearing imminent arrest by
increasingly hostile and uncooperative police officers. The Order was
eventually served on the Respondents at 1824hrs, meaning that Muchadehama
and Makoni should be brought to the High Court before 1924hrs.
In a further act of defiance, the police again ignored this Court Order.
Lawyers waited in vain at the High Court until around 2130hrs. It is now
unclear where Muchadehama and Makoni spent the night. ZLHR lawyers are
currently searching for their whereabouts.
Muchadehama and Makoni were due to appear in court on behalf of clients
today in several critical matters affecting personal liberty. Efforts are
being made by other lawyers to deal with the cases, but the police defiance
of three court orders has directly contributed to the violation of
constitutional rights of other Zimbabweans to protection of the law,
presumption of innocence, and being represented by lawyer/s of their choice.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 05/08/2007 02:32:48
ZIMBABWEAN lawyers will march on Tuesday in as demonstration to protest the
alleged harassment of legal practitioners by police after two lawyers were
arrested by police on Friday.
The International Bar Association on Monday led international calls for the
"The arrest and detention of (Andrew) Makoni and (Alec) Muchadehama is
another example of the precarious situation in which human rights lawyers
work in Zimbabwe," said Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International
"We are witnessing an extremely worrying turn in the rule of law situation
in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe's government has escalated attacks on
political dissenters in recent weeks and no effective international action
is being taken to stop the flagrant violation of international law in that
country. Lawyers who denounce these attacks on fundamental freedoms and
defend victims are now targets."
Makoni and Muchadehama are representing a dozen opposition activists held on
charges of detonating a series of bombs across the country. It was still not
clear what charges the two lawyers faced late Monday.
Beatrice Mtetwa, the President of the Law Society in Zimbabwe said lawyers
would march from the Harare High Court at lunch time on Tuesday to protest
at the arrest of their colleagues.
Zimbabwean police have crushed several opposition protests in recent weeks,
and it was not immidiately clear if they would allow the lawyers to march.
Mtetwa said: "There is no law that says police must approve the march. It
only says they have to be notified, and we have done that."
Muchadehama and Makoni, both of Harare law firm Mbizo, Muchadehama and
Makoni, were arrested last Friday after challenging a certificate issued by
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi imploring a magistrate to refuse a
defence application to have charges dismissed against 13 members of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Mtetwa's said their march would be in protest of the going harassment of
lawyers in general, and the arrest of Muchafehama and Makoni in particular.
Justice Tedious Karwi ordered on May 4 and May 5 that the lawyersbe released
over the weekend after ruling that the detentions were unlawful, but police
In recent months attacks and threats on lawyers by state agents have been on
the increase, says the Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights (ZLHR).
The ZLHR says another lawyer, Richard Chikosha, was assaulted by the police
over the weekend while trying to serve police with Justice's Karwi's order
directing the two lawyers' release.
"Chikosha was dragged to the police station where he was assaulted by police
and warned by (Musarashana) Mabunda to 'go and reverse Justice Karwi's
order'," the ZLHR said.
Mabunda, a veteran of Zimbabwe's liberation war, is the head of the CID's
Law and Order section in Harare.
The ZLHR said it understands Muchadehama and Makoni will be charged under
section 184(e) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for
obstructing the course of justice.
"No further details of the evidence against them has been provided to their
legal representatives," it added.
May 07 2007 at 09:49AM
Harare - A rogue buffalo killed three people in Zimbabwe's
wildlife-rich Zambezi Valley, including a husband and wife working in their
fields, a newspaper reported on Monday.
Thirty-three-year-old Adam Wesile was killed as he tried to rescue his
wife Felistas from the buffalo in their cotton field in Mushumbi, northern
Zimbabwe, said the Herald.
"When they saw (the buffalo), the couple believed it was a cow
resulting in the woman advancing towards it, intending to drive the beast
away," the paper reported police spokesperson Michael Munyikwa as saying.
It was, however, too late for the woman to run away when she realised
it was a buffalo, the paper said.
She was killed on the spot, and her husband was injured as he tried to
rescue her. He died after being admitted to the nearby Guruve hospital, the
Another 25-year-old man identified only as Chimanga was killed by the
buffalo on the same day while collecting firewood, the Herald said. It did
not specify when the attacks took place.
The buffalo is still on the loose and police have warned villagers in
the area to be careful. Game rangers are trying to hunt down the animal, the
There are regular cases of people being killed by wild animals here,
especially elephants, crocodiles and buffaloes. - Sapa-DPA
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 05/08/2007 03:56:54
LEO Mugabe, the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Transport and and Communications faced a mini-revolt from fellow committee
members on Monday when he blocked MPs from quizzing a minister over the
alleged abuse of the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) fuel by Zanu
Tempers flared when Mugabe, a Zanu PF lawmaker for Makonde, declared that a
question on the alleged corruption involving fuel by the opposition MDC's MP
for Harare Central, Murisi Zwizwai, was "out of order".
Mugabe abruptly declared the meeting closed as MP's pressed on with their
questions to Energy Minister, Mike Nyambuya, and NOCZIM acting Chief
Executive, Isaac Mhaka.
Zwizwai first asked Nyambuya why Zanu PF was benefiting from Noczim fuel,
but was ruled out of order by Mugabe who said the allegations of corruption
were "not a party issue".
The meeting was called after the committee found out that money allocated in
the budget for road construction was not being utilised, with constructors
citing lack of fuel.
Nyambuya told the committee that there were "competing priorities" and
government had provided a list of government departments and parastatals to
be provided with fuel.
Zwizwai rephrased his question and asked: "The schedule you have given us
listing those being given fuel does not include Zanu PF. So why is Zanu PF
getting NOCZIM oil?"
Before, Nyambuya could respond, Mugabe interrupted: "We are not talking
about political parties. We are talking about transport -- public transport.
"I do not want to be misunderstood on our role and functions. We have no
problem with whoever you give fuel. We just want roads to get fuel."
Zwizwai interjected and said the reason why the roads were not getting fuel
was because it was going to Zanu PF, which was not on the priority list, so
the question should stand, but Mugabe, again ordered Nyambuya not to
The MDC MP said he would ask the question in open Parliament.
"Chairman, you are becoming over - protective," Zanu PF's Chitungiwza
Senator, Forbes Magadu muscled in. "You have made this to degenerate. I am
very cross with you."
He was also ruled out of order by Mugabe.
A visibly angry Luveve MP Esaph Mdlongwa warned Mugabe: "Next time you
should take us seriously."
Prior to that, Mhaka told the committee that the country requires 3 million
litres of diesel and 2,5 million litres of petrol per day at a cost of US$
3,3 million but NOCZIM was providing 270 000 and 300 000 litres per day
The private sector was also importing fuel but this was not enough to meet
daily national requirements.
By Peta Thornycroft, Zimbabwe correspondent
Last Updated: 1:03am BST 07/05/2007
The fate of Simon Mann, the alleged British mercenary, lies in the
hands of two of Africa's cruellest despots, as Zimbabwe prepares to decide
if he should be extradited to Equatorial Guinea to face coup charges.
The old Etonian, currently in jail in Zimbabwe for trying to buy
"weapons of war" from the state arms company, could be handed over to one of
President Robert Mugabe's few remaining allies after a magistrates' hearing
in Harare on Wednesday.
The 53-year-old is accused by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's regime
in Equatorial Guinea of plotting a coup against him in 2004. It was foiled.
Mr Mugabe, who has bankrupted Zimbabwe and needs cheap fuel and friends, has
been feted by the oil-rich Obiang regime after the arrest of Mann and a
private army of 69 mercenaries at Harare International Airport.
If Zimbabwe's capricious courts, regularly more loyal to Mr Mugabe
than the constitution, agree to the extradition request, Mann can appeal to
the High Court, and if that fails, the Supreme Court - which can take years
to hand down decisions in cases which Mr Mugabe deems sensitive.
If the extradition request is refused, however, and providing
Equatorial Guinea doesn't appeal the decision to the High Court, Mann will
be freed on Friday from the filthy Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on the
outskirts of Harare, where scores of inmates die every year from
malnutrition and from where no one has ever escaped.
The former SAS officer would then be able to fly home to be reunited
with his second wife Amanda and their four children on his estate, Inchmary
in Hampshire. His youngest son was born after he was arrested in Harare.
Oil is at the heart of the case. President Obiang has become rich from
the United States' exploitation of Equatorial Guinea's oil, while its
population of 500,000 is among the world's poorest. It was this oil,
according to President Obiang, that attracted Mann and associates in London
to plan the coup.
Mann, frail, thin, but in good spirits when he appeared in leg irons
in a makeshift court at the prison last week, has undoubtedly suffered, but
not badly in comparison with ordinary Zimbabwean prisoners. He receives
regular visits from British diplomats and his lawyer routinely sends his
driver to the prison with food.
During the hearing, Zimbabwe refused entry to officials from Amnesty
International who would have testified to Equatorial Guinea's shocking human
Zimbabwe's filthy jails are luxurious compared to President Obiang's
prison in Malabo, where inmates die like flies. Mr Mann told his legal team
they should "consider me dead" if he is extradited.
May 7, 2007
Amnesty for a dictator like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe would be bitter
medicine. But if it's needed to pry this 83-year-old thug from power, then
Morgan Tsvangirai is willing to discuss it. Mr. Tsvangirai, the heroic
Zimbabwean opposition leader, proposed immunity from prosecution in an
article on the opposite page Friday. The proposal can't be dismissed out of
hand when it comes from Mr. Tsvangirai, whose consistent and scathing rebuke
of this brutal regime has meant constant risk to life and limb.
Mugabe thugs all but brained him at an anti-Mugabe pray-in. His skull
was fractured; he spent a week in the hospital. That was on March 11. Not
three weeks later, the police entered his offices once more to arrest him,
hours before a speech on Mugabe criminal misrule. Any form of amnesty for
this tyrant would rightly be controversial. The man heads one of the worst
tyrannies on the planet. "Operation Clear the Trash" two years ago is but
one horrible example of his disastrous misrule. He bulldozed entire towns
and cities, making refugees of an estimated 1.5 million people. These towns
were reckoned "illegal." Many just happened to be strongholds of the
opposition. This is a country where annual inflation reaches four figures
and potatoes are a "strategic crop" because mass starvation is near.
If not a comfort, or at all just, other nations have found a beginning
to recovery when they grant immunity to a dictator and his cronies. The
opposite trend is emerging of late in several once-tyrannized African and
Latin American nations. The Liberian warlord Charles Taylor was arrested
last year in Nigeria and goes on trial next month at The Hague. The late
Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet did not escape trial despite amnesty. The
Pol Pot treatment, in which a monster lives out his days in remote
anonymity, is becoming a thing of the past. As Mr. Tsvangirai put it: "These
are dangerous times for dictators." Amnesty would be a "Catch-22," he
rightly says, but is perhaps one worth considering.
Without it, Robert Mugabe will cling to power until he dies. He can only
figure that a jail cell or worse awaits him after removal. He has too many
enemies to expect otherwise. Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute
sums up persuasively the argument for amnesty: "Mugabe is one odious man,
and he should be in jail, but his country is far more important than him. If
he steps down peacefully and as a quid pro quo has a luxurious lifestyle in
exile, so be it." In the end the decision belongs to Zimbabweans acting in
defense of their country, which is far more important than what happens to
one single thug.
May 07, 2007 Edition 1
Mediation by President Mbeki in the Zimbabwe crisis is a big joke.
Mbeki is not a neutral mediator. He is Mugabe's supporter, biased in favour
When the entire world was begging him to denounce Mugabe's suppression of
democracy, he refused.
The "quiet diplomacy" policy was a ploy to hide his support of Mugabe. He
has blamed the British for withholding the compensation of the white farmers
whose farms have been redistributed.
He has endorsed the past elections in Zimbabwe as free and fair. He has
described Mugabe's government as a democratically elected government, in
spite of credible reports by independent international reporters of
suppression of the media and widespread intimidation of voters.
Mbeki failed to denounce the brutality perpetrated by Mugabe on the
Mbeki made remarks about the land redistribution issue to Tanzanian
university students in a tone that gave the impression that he is spreading
the propaganda of Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
The only honourable thing Mbeki can do now is offer Mugabe political asylum.
That would enable Zimbabwe to investigate the allegations of mass murder and
other crimes against him.
Mbeki could assist Zimbabwe by appointing a retired judge like the
honourable Willem Heath to conduct research into what is necessary to bring
Zimbabwe back to stability and democracy.
No negotiations involving Mugabe himself can solve the country's crisis.
He has completely destroyed his country's economy and caused untold
suffering to the people of Zimbabwe.
If Mbeki attempts negotiations with Mugabe, it will be a futile exercise
that will extend Mugabe's stay in office and lengthen the period of
suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.
It is 6pm and I'm about to achieve a
dream that is shared by many of my young countrymen. I am going to leave behind
the fear, misery and poverty of life under Mugabe. I am going to escape from
Zimbabwe to South Africa. In truth, as a registered journalist with a visa in my
passport, I can enter South Africa whenever I wish. But thousands of Zimbabweans
can't. Instead they choose the method I am trying tonight - climbing the border
fence between the two countries. There to stop us will be the South African border patrols, who
will arrest us if we surrender and shoot us if we make a run I'm at the border town of Beitbridge, about a kilometre from
the checkpoint. At a local filling station I join a group of 14 young men, all
from Tsholotsho in Matabeleland. I tell them I want to escape into Mzansi
Africa, as we call
South Africa, and I'm made welcome. When night falls, our
leader, a young man called Mandla, takes us quietly across the bush until we can
see the border fence. It's a three-metre-high maze of barbed and razor wire -
ironically a leftover from South Africa's apartheid days when it was built to
stop ANC guerrillas infiltrating the country. Before we can attempt to climb the fence a South African
border patrol shows up. At a word from Mandla we scatter in the dark. The patrol
passes on, and we regroup. We find seven of our number have disappeared. Now we tackle the fence. Razor wire looks vicious, but there
are ways of crossing it. I struggle at first, but a cunningly placed jacket, a
roll over the top, a couple of scratches, and I'm across. So are the others. We
congratulate each other. We are in South Africa. We are met by the Omalayitsha - an organisation of highly paid
human smugglers - who load us into a truck and take us south to
Johannesburg. At Johannesburg I confess my identity to Mandla, who laughes
at my stupidity. For me the adventure is over, because I am legally in the
country. Not so my companions. What does the future hold for them, as illegal
immigrants? The answer is, they stand a fair chance of remaining in South
Africa, principally because, coming from Matabeleland, they speak South African
languages such as Zulu, Sotho, Venda, Ndebele and Xhosa. This means they can
integrate into society relatively easily. They can apply for asylum, but in Jo'burg the authorities
apply the strict rule of law that says they can't be refugees because Zimbabwe
is not at war. However, authorities down in Cape Town are said to be a softer
touch, and have so far granted 2,000 Zimbabweans permission to stay in the
country. Other escapees from further north in Zimbabwe tend to speak
Shona, a language not known in South Africa. They face a
bleaker future. Many head for the United
Methodist Church in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, where they get food, clothes and
blankets. At present 1,500 refugees are sheltered at the church. South African police systematically raid houses, shops and
clubs in the search for the estimated one million Zimbabweans currently living
illegally in the country. They are sent back to their home country by train. Nicola Simmonds, information and communications chief at the
International Organisation for Migration on the Beitbridge border, which
oversees the deportations, says the South African government have sent 130,000
Zimbabweans 'home' during the past 10 months. Currently between 200 and 400 are
dealt with every day. Back on Zimbabwean soil, they are usually freed, unless they
are wanted for criminal offences. Many - perhaps most - will soon have another
crack at escaping. They'll be joined by others. As long as Mugabe holds sway,
they'll keep on trying.
buthelezi finds out how it feels to flee Robert Mugabe’s regime the
Border patrols will arrest us if we surrender
or shoot us if we make a run for it Three of those at the border chose to swim
across the Limpopo river. Crocodiles got them all
It is 6pm and I'm about to achieve a dream that is shared by many of my young countrymen. I am going to leave behind the fear, misery and poverty of life under Mugabe. I am going to escape from Zimbabwe to South Africa.
In truth, as a registered journalist with a visa in my passport, I can enter South Africa whenever I wish. But thousands of Zimbabweans can't. Instead they choose the method I am trying tonight - climbing the border fence between the two countries.
There to stop us will be the South African border patrols, who
will arrest us if we surrender and shoot us if we make a run
I'm at the border town of Beitbridge, about a kilometre from the checkpoint. At a local filling station I join a group of 14 young men, all from Tsholotsho in Matabeleland. I tell them I want to escape into Mzansi Africa, as
we call South Africa, and I'm made welcome.
When night falls, our leader, a young man called Mandla, takes us quietly across the bush until we can see the border fence. It's a three-metre-high maze of barbed and razor wire - ironically a leftover from South Africa's apartheid days when it was built to stop ANC guerrillas infiltrating the country.
Before we can attempt to climb the fence a South African border patrol shows up. At a word from Mandla we scatter in the dark. The patrol passes on, and we regroup. We find seven of our number have disappeared.
Now we tackle the fence. Razor wire looks vicious, but there are ways of crossing it. I struggle at first, but a cunningly placed jacket, a roll over the top, a couple of scratches, and I'm across. So are the others. We congratulate each other. We are in South Africa.
We are met by the Omalayitsha - an organisation of highly paid human smugglers - who load us into a truck and take us south to Johannesburg.
At Johannesburg I confess my identity to Mandla, who laughes at my stupidity. For me the adventure is over, because I am legally in the country. Not so my companions. What does the future hold for them, as illegal immigrants?
The answer is, they stand a fair chance of remaining in South Africa, principally because, coming from Matabeleland, they speak South African languages such as Zulu, Sotho, Venda, Ndebele and Xhosa. This means they can integrate into society relatively easily.
They can apply for asylum, but in Jo'burg the authorities apply the strict rule of law that says they can't be refugees because Zimbabwe is not at war. However, authorities down in Cape Town are said to be a softer touch, and have so far granted 2,000 Zimbabweans permission to stay in the country.
Other escapees from further north in Zimbabwe tend to speak Shona, a language not known in South Africa. They face a
bleaker future. Many head for the United Methodist Church in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, where they get food, clothes and blankets. At present 1,500 refugees are sheltered at the church.
South African police systematically raid houses, shops and clubs in the search for the estimated one million Zimbabweans currently living illegally in the country. They are sent back to their home country by train.
Nicola Simmonds, information and communications chief at the International Organisation for Migration on the Beitbridge border, which oversees the deportations, says the South African government have sent 130,000 Zimbabweans 'home' during the past 10 months. Currently between 200 and 400 are dealt with every day.
Back on Zimbabwean soil, they are usually freed, unless they are wanted for criminal offences. Many - perhaps most - will soon have another crack at escaping. They'll be joined by others. As long as Mugabe holds sway, they'll keep on trying.
From The Star (SA), 7 May
Harare - The ruling party has resolved differences over a power struggle to
succeed President Robert Mugabe and backed him to stay in office for another
six years, the Sunday Mail newspaper reported. Didymus Mutasa, the powerful
No 3 official in Mugabe's Zanu PF party, said Mugabe's succession was now
off the agenda, according to the newspaper, a government mouthpiece. "There
is absolutely nothing to talk about on the succession issue for the next six
years because we shall have the president as our leader. He is not going to
be succeeded for that period," Mutasa was quoted as saying. Mutasa
acknowledged that two main factions in Zanu PF had vied for supremacy over
who would replace 83-year-old Mugabe. But he said both factions had closed
ranks behind Mugabe's continued role as president. The party agreed that
Mugabe could not leave when he was needed by both the party and the nation,
which were facing what he described as "difficulties", Mutasa said,
according to the newspaper. "So it was quite right of him (Mugabe) to say:
'I am not going away, I cannot be running away from a burning house. I
should stay and put out the fire'," Mutasa was quoted as saying. He insisted
Mugabe's decision to stay on until at least 2013, when he would be almost
90, did not leave the party divided. "As trained and loyal liberation
fighters, everyone was rallying around the incumbent leader," Mutasa said in
an interview with the state media, the Sunday Mail reported.
The tenor of Mutasa's remarks was reminiscent of several previous occasions
when Mugabe, Mutasa and other close loyalists clamped down on calls within
the party for Mugabe, the only ruler since independence in 1980, to step
down. In 2004, the ruling party faced its deepest split over Mugabe's choice
of Joyce Mujuru, wife of the influential former army commander General
Solomon Mujuru, as the nation's second vice-president. She became the first
woman in the post and effectively blocked former parliament Speaker Emmerson
Mnangagwa's place as first in line to replace Mugabe. Mugabe railroaded
Mujuru into office, but last year, relations between the two cooled as
General Mujuru became increasingly critical of Mugabe and the couple's
faction strengthened against Mnangagwa's group. Mugabe's critics blame him
for the nation's economic meltdown, citing mismanagement, his failure to
curb high-level graft and for sanctioning state-orchestrated violence
against opponents. These include beatings by police and the hospitalisation
of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Official inflation is running at 2
200%, and Zimbabwe faces acute shortage of most basic goods. "Six years? God
help us. I don't know how much more of this we can take," said one
businessman, who asked not to be identified. It is an offence in Zimbabwe,
punishable by jail, to publicly insult Mugabe.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 3 May
This is an edited extract of Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe by
Judith Garfield Todd
Then take Zimbabwe's registrar general, Tobaiwa Mudede. After independence
he displayed humility and kindness, helping many people in many different
ways. When my father was approached for help by an old white woman in a
retirement home he was able to go to Mudede. She wanted to pay a final visit
to relatives in South Africa, but had no travel documents. The two men
successfully did all in their power for her and she had a wonderful last
trip. Yet, over the years, Mudede became one of the most villainous faces of
the Mugabe regime. In 2001, my Zimbabwean passport lapsed, as is normal,
after 10 years. Mudede refused to renew it. Along with his master and fellow
Zezuru tribesman, for that was the level to which they had sunk, he and
President Mugabe were intent on wiping out the citizenship and voting rights
of any Zimbabwean of whatever colour or background thought to be against
their ruling clique.
My father was one of the first individuals affected. Stripped of his
citizenship before the 2002 presidential elections, his name was put on a
special list supplied by Mudede to all polling stations of those not allowed
to vote, even if, like his, their names were actually printed on the current
voters' roll. I was proud of his response. He did not blink at reality and
defer action by saying, "This is an African problem for which there must be
an African solution." No. He went and confronted the evil directly himself.
Although almost 94 years old and rather shaky, he went to the polls to vote.
He got as close to the ballot box as he could before he was turned away by
the hapless presiding officer, Noyce Dube, former pupil and then headmaster
of Dadaya Secondary School, whose parents had been married to each other
decades before by the very man he was now having to deprive of his right to
The late Justice Sandra Mungwira found in May 2002 that I had been stripped
of my citizenship illegally. She ordered Mudede to treat me as a citizen by
birth and to renew my Zimbabwe passport. Her decision was later endorsed by
Justice Benjamin Paradza, now a refugee in New Zealand. Mudede appealed
against the high court rulings to the Supreme Court which, like the voters'
rolls and citizenship records, was being cleansed and was under the control
of fellow Zezuru Godfrey Chidyausiku. By then, practically all high offices
in Zimbabwe were held by members of Robert Mugabe's Zezuru clan. Pending the
findings of the appeals court, Mudede reluctantly issued a temporary
passport of one year's duration in which he pre-empted any judgement by
declaring that I was a permanent resident of Zimbabwe, not a citizen.
The case was argued before Chief Justice Chidyausiku and others in January
2003. On February 27, in an agonisingly confused and confusing judgement,
the court found that I was a citizen of New Zealand and Zimbabwe and
concluded: "For the avoidance of doubt the respondent has two days, from the
handing down of this judgement, within which to renounce her New Zealand
citizenship in accordance with the New Zealand Citizenship Act. In the event
of her failure to do so, she will lose her Zimbabwean citizenship by
operation of the law." I managed to do what was ordered, painfully
participating in what I knew to be a charade. The New Zealand authorities
responded in July stating that they had received my application on February
28 for renunciation of citizenship, but that this application could not be
processed as I had never laid claim to New Zealand citizenship. They could
not help me to renounce what I did not have. My temporary passport expired
on July 30 2003 and I was stranded in Bulawayo with no citizenship and no
Judith Todd, the daughter of Sir Garfield Todd, erstwhile prime minister of
colonial Southern Rhodesia, spent eight years in exile in Britain as an
opponent of white minority rule in Ian Smith's Rhodesia. She returned to
Zimbabwe shortly before independence in 1980, and soon realised that, far
from being the solution to Zimbabwe's ills, Robert Mugabe and his ruling
Zanu PF were increasingly becoming the problem. As the country slid into
economic and social decline, Todd had a front-row view from her position as
director of an international aid agency. Her memoir will be published this
month in South Africa by Zebra Press.
The East African
By Karl Limo
A certain boxer, I forget which, when asked if he was not scared
fighting a challenger nearly twice his size, replied curtly: "The bigger
they come, the harder they fall!" I am not going to say the same regarding
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who, after 27 years of rule, effectively
brought his country to its knees.
When I heard Mugabe over the radio in the early 1980s, he
sounded so articulate that my admiration of the man was instant. And, when I
learnt that he had seven University degrees and certificates, I thought to
myself: This is the kind of person I would gladly have as my president.
WITH TIME however, I am not under the same spell because of how
he has turned Zimbabwe - once one of the region's breadbaskets, into one of
Africa's basket cases. Today, Mugabe has few genuine sympathisers, but a
growing number of denigrators and detractors.
Inflation is officially fixed at 1,700 per cent, but raging at
around 4,000 per cent in real terms - the highest anywhere in the world!
It is estimated that nearly a quarter of the country's 12
million people has fled, or are on their way out, just to survive. Others
are escaping political persecution and hounding by the authorities,
including the military which, still answers to Mugabe!
BUT, IF the bigger they come, the harder they fall, why is "Big
Mugabe" not falling from power at all - let alone hard? At 83 years and
still boisterously intransigent, the man has decidedly fallen from grace.
Charles Onyango-Obbo, has posited why "African strongmen tend to
seem more powerful and entrenched at the point when their political record
is at its worst."
Taking Idi Amin's Uganda (1971-79), he reasons that, "When an
economy collapses, the few parts of it that are still working are almost
always in the hands of regime officials and supporters. The opposition
supporters have nothing and, therefore, they can't fund anti-government
policies ?" ('Mugabe is full of passionate certainty, the rest lack
In other words, the Opposition needs an economy that is doing
well (so as) to thrive. How true!
But, this only applies to the internal opposition. What about
those who oppose the regime's heavy-handed policies, programmes and
protracted political peccadilloes on the outside, like the West?
What about those in Africa? What about their regional and
continental blocs? We have the African Union and the Southern African
Development Committee (SADC) in place. The latter met in Dar es Salaam on
March 29 and gave South Africa President Thabo Mbeki the task of resolving
the "Zimbabwe Crisis."
Apartheid South Africa looked the other way when Ian Smith
unilaterally declared independence for Southern Rhodesia from Britain in
1965. The same applies today only that the players have changed, and the
country is now Zimbabwe!
THE ORGANISATION of African Unity (OAU) - AU's forerunner - had
many military dictators. Nothing much has changed, and today Mugabe gets a
standing ovation at AU gatherings.
Speaking at the University of Edinburgh, in 1997 the late
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere said: "I once described the OAU as a Trade Union of
African Heads of State. We protected one another against whatever we did to
our own people in our respective countries. To condemn a Mobutu, or Idi Amin
or a Bokassa was taboo! It would be regarded as interference in the internal
affairs of a fellow African State!"
What has changed from OAU (May 25, 1963-July 9, 2002) to AU
today? Can Mugabe truly be said to be on his last legs?
Karl Lyimo is a freelance journalist based in Dar.
Monday, 7 May 2007, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Former Zimbabwe Test player Andy Flower has been named as England
coach Peter Moores' assistant, replacing Matthew Maynard with immediate
The 39-year-old has retired from playing cricket with Essex to take up
the England job.
He will join up with Moores as England prepare for the first Test
against West Indies, at Lord's on 17 May.
Moores said Flower was his number one choice adding: "I feel he will
have a significant impact in the future."
It is Moores' first change in the backroom staff since succeeding
Duncan Fletcher on 1 May.
He added: "Andy will be joining up with the team for preparation for
the first npower Test Match at Lord's next week and I am grateful to ECB and
Essex CCC for moving so rapidly and enabling the back room team to be
confirmed in time for my first match in charge of the England team."
Flower had been working with Moores and the England Academy over the
winter as a batting coach and used that time to qualify as a Level Four
He said: "I hold Peter Moores in the highest regard...and believe that
his selection as England head coach was an inspired choice and reflected
well on his work and that of Rod Marsh prior to Peter in setting up the
"From my time working with Peter at the National Academy, I know that
we shall work very well together and I am excited about entering into this
new challenge of coaching an international team."
Flower had not played for Essex this season because of a hip injury.
He retires having played 63 Test matches, averaging 51.54 with the
bat, and scoring 16,379 first-class runs at an average of 54.05.
He added: "I would like to express my gratitude to Essex County
Cricket Club who provided me with the opportunity to play County Cricket and
supported me so well in my development as a coach."
Maynard had been assistant coach since May 2005 but he and the England
and Wales Cricket Board mutually agreed it was time for him to move on.
He said: "It has been a great privilege and invaluable experience for
me to work so closely with Duncan Fletcher, the rest of the management team
and all the England players at the outset of my coaching career."
From Mineweb (SA), 6 May
An extraordinary drama unfolds in the multi billon dollar Katanga
copper-cobalt fields as Camec gains control of 22 percent of Katanga Mining
with an agreement to purchase another 7.7 percent.
Johannesburg - In events that have confounded even some specialist
investors, Central African Mining announced on Friday that its has gained
control of 17m shares in Katanga, a stake of 22%, and has an agreement to
buy another 7.7%. The cold transactions belie an extraordinary drama
unfolding in the multi billon dollar Katanga copper-cobalt fields. One
important link is Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean citizen who South African
authorities want on South African soil. On Sunday, sources in Harare
confirmed that Rautenbach would be leaving the city on Monday, for
Lubumbashi, in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC). It is understood that Rautenbach may be leaving Harare for good,
given the recent filing in Harare of extradition papers by South African
It is no secret that following a deal in February last year, Rautenbach
holds around 17% of Camec's shares. The issue that's likely to burn some
tender parts in investment circles is the presence of Georges Forrest, the
"old King of the Congo", and a standing 22% shareholder in Katanga Mining.
Of all the projects in the fabulously copper-cobalt rich Katanga province,
some with dubious pedigrees, few have cleaner papers than Katanga Mining,
Nikanor and Tenke Mining Corp, owned 57.75% by copper giant Freeport
McMoRan. However, of these three mega projects, there is no question that
Katanga Mining will be first in production. Nikanor is battling with cost
overruns and an intractable flooding problem, while the Tenke Fungurume
project may only come on stream early in 2009. At Katanga Mining,
operational cost over the life of mining is likely to be around $0.45/lb,
amongst the lowest in the world. First copper production is anticipated in
While Camec is known not least for executives Phil Edmonds, who once played
cricket for England, and Andrew Groves, a young wheeler dealer, Katanga
Mining is characterised by a small army of professional mining executives,
not least Robert Buchan and Arthur Ditto, who each own around 7.5% of the
company. The background to the past week's power outbreak in Katanga can be
most conveniently traced back to February last year, when Camec bought
Rautenbach's apparent rights to mining concessions 467, 469 (previously
named C19 & C21) in Katanga province, and 50% of the cobalt-rich Mukondo
concession. The other half of Mukondo was sold in June for around $60m by
John Bredenkamp, also a Zimbabwean, to Dan Gertler, known as the "new King
of the Congo". Gertler is a 14% shareholder in cash-strapped Nikanor, which
last week announced that it was involved in negotiations over a possible
change of control.
Gertler, the foreigner closest to the ear of DRC president Joseph Kabila,
immediately ordered a halt to activities on Mukondo, and nobody appears to
be clear about what happened next. Rautenbach's intractable attitude has
played a part, along with his contract with Camec to run Mukondo. Camec has
fiercely denied any problems with ore supplies; on the contrary, on March 1,
it stated that it's on target to produce 40,000 tonnes of copper cathode and
6,000 tonnes of cobalt cathode and concentrate for the 2007-8 financial
year. Camec's DRC metallurgical facility, moreover, has targeted annual
production template capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year of copper cathode,
according to Camec, and 12,000 tonnes a year of cobalt cathode by 2008-9.
Rautenbach has had squabbles in and around the Katanga copper-cobalt belts
for years. In November 1998, he was named the MD of state-owned
copper-cobalt miner La Generale des Carrieres et des Mines (Gecamines)
during a visit to Harare by then-DRC president Laurent-Desire Kabila. Some
of Gecamines' best cobalt-producing areas were transferred to a joint
venture between Rautenbach's Ridgepointe International and the Central
Mining Group, a Congolese company controlled by Pierre-Victor Mpoyo, then
DRC minister of state.
Rautenbach, who had no mining experience, was also made MD of the joint
venture. Rautenbach's business practices saw Kabila replace him with Forrest
in March 2000. Rautenbach was stripped of all connections to Katanga,
including the Kambove and Kakanda processing plants, and the large parcel of
deposits known as the Kababancola Concessions, including Mukondo. These
assets were officially transferred to Bredenkamp's Tremalt, which
established a new joint venture, Kababancola Mining Company (KMC). It was
thus that Bredenkamp held rights to exploit six Gecamines concessions
containing at least 2.7m tonnes of copper and 325,000 tonnes of cobalt over
25 years, all for a piffling payment of just $400,000. Put another way,
Bredenkamp continued where Rautenbach left off, but split the profits as to
34% for the DRC government, 34% for the Zimbabwe government, and 32% for
Tremalt, after generous gratuity payments to senior political and military
figures in the DRC and Zimbabwe.
Kabila was assassinated in January 2001, and replaced by his son Joseph and
it was another year before Rautenbach's name cropped up again. This time he
emerged as one of the largest exporters of heterogenite (cobalt ore) from
the DRC, via Congo Cobalt Company, known as CoCoCo. But then Rautenbach's
name was also linked to another DRC entity, Boss Mining which, it was said,
had acquired two lucrative mining concessions, C19 and C21, as well as 50%
of Mukondo. These were, of course, part of the same portfolio of assets once
stripped from Rautenbach and dealt to Bredenkamp. Early last year, in an
affidavit submitted to the British Virgin Islands High Court by a Rautenbach
ex-partner, Geneva-based lawyer James Anthony Tidmarsh, Rautenbach was
allegedly offered an opportunity as a "sleeping partner" in KMC, but refused
and launched an international arbitration action to challenge his being
stripped of the concessions. In April 2002, Rautenbach withdrew the
application following a settlement with the government of the DRC. KMC was
apparently simply presented with an instruction from the DRC government to
transfer its most valuable assets to Rautenbach's Boss Mining, or face
losing the lot.
Camec has played the Mukondo issue right down. In its interim results notice
on December 5 2006, shareholders were told that Camec's "joint venture
partners at Mukondo were taken over and the new owners gave us formal notice
to terminate operations until a new operational agreement was effected". In
other words, Gertler wanted a fair deal. Discussions were continuing, but,
Camec added, as Camec's Luita processing plant comes on stream, Mukondo
operations "become of less relevance". Concessions C19 and C21, Camec
stated, "host numerous significant copper cobalt deposits, which are already
being developed to feed Luita to maximum capacity". The DRC recently
appointed a Commission under the authority of the Minister of Mines to
review various mining agreements entered into by the DRC government, or by
state bodies such as Gecamines, within a period prior to mid-July 2007. Some
60 mining agreements fell for review starting on May 15, with a decision
expected after mid-July 2007. Katanga Mining's Kamoto agreement was ratified
by presidential decree on August 4 2005; Nikanor's titles were similarly
ratified on October 13 2005, and the Tenke Fungurume agreements on October
27 2005. However, presidential decrees are not everything, and even these
contracts may be scrutinized for fairness and equity. In Camec's case, by
contrast, objections may be raised over more fundamental issues, not least
how the contracts were first obtained during the DRC's 1997-2003 war, under
the Zimbabwe military's Operation Sovereign Legitimacy (Osleg).
7th May 2007 00:57 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
A CITIZEN who is blissfully unaware of their rights is dangerous, both to
themselves and to the stability of the state.
In Africa, the task of ensuring all citizens know their rights has never
been routinely or entirely assigned to the government.
As a result, in many African countries, the right of the citizens o exercise
their right to vote in elections has been effectively circumscribed through
a simple device - deny them vital information on the crucial role of the
citizen in ensuring they choose the people who must lead them.
In this connection, in Zimbabwe, if Zanu PF succeeds in preventing a change
of leadership being executed through some deft horse-trading or sleight of
hand treachery, the party may usher into our politics a w era of honesty and
openness from which future generations of politicians might benefit
Since independence, most citizens have tended to accept as gospel truth
whatever has been passed on to them by the ruling party.
The device employed was simple: in the new dispensation, there was no room
for dissent, because it could be exploited by the enemy - that being the
vanquished colonial regime.
Unity meant the one-party system. Unity meant one leader. Unity meant one
ideology, that of the ruling party.
In almost every country which achieved independence after 1957, the citizen
was implored not to countenance dissent from the norm. This resulted in long
periods of one-party, one-leader rule, until there was either a military
coup or democratic elections forced on the regime by Western governments
withholding vital aid, until they were held.
Later, many such governments tried to devise other strategies to ensure the
people were kept blissfully unaware of their rights.
Or new laws were introduced which effectively made it illegal for citizens
to demand such rights as a matter of routine.
In Zimbabwe, such devices as the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order Security Act (POSA) were designed
for just such purposes.
A well-rounded citizen is one who obeys the laws of the country but is not
hesitant to challenge them if they smell a rat - a law that violates, even
nominally, their right to free speech, shelter, education, assembly,
association and food.
Although Zimbabwe has been touted as having one of the most ate populations
in Africa, the extent of the ignorance of the citizens of their rights is
In Zanu PF, this is entrenched in the history of the party as a liberation
In Mozambique, Zambia and Angola, from the two parties operated during the
liberation war, there were hardly any recognisable laws in the camps.
Purges were almost routine, as were executions of dissidents. Wilfred Mhanda
(aka Dzinashe Machingura) tells in graphic detail how cruelly dissidents
were handled in the Mozambique camps of Zanla.
In fact, to many analysts familiar with the history of the running of the
liberation camps, there is a disturbing similarity with recent government
changes in the running of the country.
For instance, the printing of new money, although justified as a device to
steady the economy, has all the hallmarks of a liberation movement resorting
to extraordinary methods to salvage its strategy for survival.
The almost omnipotent role of the central bank governor is viewed by some
conservatives in this light as well. He now virtually runs the economy, in
consultation with the President, rather than the Minister of Finance.
A military council, headed by the President and defence and intelligence
chiefs is similarly viewed as a typical device appropriate for a liberation
movement in crisis mode.
But the most poignant example is the cloak-and-dagger atmosphere surrounding
the change of leadership in Zanu PF.
Although it was once emphasis ed by President Robert Mugabe himself that the
success routine was enunciated clearly in the party constitution, all that
ms to have thrown out of the window. Ad hoc devices appear to be preferred
this time around.
Even the republican constitution itself is now being amended as if it was a
social club's or a cooperative's. There is no longer any weighty debate
surrounding such amendments.
The greatest danger we may face as citizens of a country structured as a
democracy - but hardly operating as one, at the moment - is to allow these
hasty, piecemeal amendments to take effect, without examining them
thoroughly, in terms of what precedents they could be setting for us in
At the heart of all this feverish activity is the bungling capacity of Zanu
PF, and how readily the party can abandon all rules and regulations in the
interests of achieving its desired goals - in this particular case, the
assurance that it remains firmly in power, even if it loses the 2008
presidential and parliamentary elections.
That the party can even contemplate such a nefarious strategy is an
indication of how successfully it has undermined all or most of the
democratic structures guaranteed by the constitution.
Also, this is itself an indication of how, because of their lack of
enthusiasm for analyzing their rights as citizens in a democratic country,
Zimbabweans allow this country to drift towards an abyss, a dark hole out of
which it may not emerge until its people decide to take their destiny in
their own hands, and not leave it in the slimy, blood-soaked hands of a
party which has boasted that it was created out of blood.
What has occurred recently in our country - the killings, the destruction of
property and the arrest of citizens on allegations of committing crimes
later proved to be fictitious - are examples of how we, as citizens, have
not devoutly dedicated our lives to ensuring that we limit the extent to
which a government determined to hang on to power at all costs can abuse our
rights as citizens.
Today, there are foreigners visiting the country who accuse us of being
co-conspirators with Zanu PF in our own persecution.
They believe that if we had denied the party the co-operation which has
enabled it to ride roughshod over all our rights, neither AIPPA nor POSA
would have been passed by Parliament.
There is now a suspicion that the Zimbabwean psyche is basically
subservient. One wag has said: "A typical Zimbabwean citizen is one who
fights for their rights as gallantly and courageously as those heroes and
heroines who waged our struggle against colonialism."
But there are cynics, people who believe our preoccupation with
wealth-creation is one of our major character flaws. "In pursuit of wealth,
a Zimbabwean is prepared to sell their own mother if the price is right."
Clearly, this is a gross exaggeration. Yet people from Zambia and Malawi,
and even South Africa, tell of how carefully they have learnt to deal with
Zimbabweans when they have the "wealth bit between their teeth". They
characterise our women as being without scruples when it comes to money -
"more than other women from the region".
The men, they say, are no different. "They become quite ruthless where
matters of money are concerned," it is alleged.
Yet, has there been any concrete evidence that Zimbabwean politicians are
necessarily more corrupt than politicians in other countries of the region?
But someone said recently that the case of the former president of Zambia,
Frederick Chiluba, is instructive in this respect. According to this
self-styled analyst: "If this man was a Zimbabwean, nobody would ever have
discovered he had stolen so many millions from the State.
The trail would have led to a deadend - that's how different the Zimbabweans
are from the rest of the leaders in the region."
As citizens who want to safeguard our wealth from the clutches of these
politicians, we should sharpen our weapons to protect our rights, all our
Dowagiac Daily News
Monday, May 7, 2007 10:09 AM EDT
I studied African politics for my political science minor in college about
the time white Rhodesia gave way to Zimbabwe.
We heard as guest lecturer South African Alan Paton, author of "Cry, The
Beloved Country." He died in 1988.
With all its natural resources, from a gold-mining region to the
tourist-tempting Victoria Falls and wildlife such as lions and hippos,
nobody foresaw prosperous Zimbabwe being reduced to misery by Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe's ruinous policies imploded this promising African nation into one of
the poorest and most repressive countries on the globe.
In the 1980s, Zimbabwe enjoyed the second largest economy in southern
Africa. It afforded the best education and health care on the continent.
Today, nobody is even sure of the population. Eleven million? Thirteen
million? It's hard to count with everyone heading for the red hills, risking
crocodiles in the Limpopo River and lions in South Africa's Kruger National
Park as they fled, led by intelligent people, such as doctors, lawyers and
Mugabe has steadily become single-minded in clinging to power at all costs,
devastating his economy and presiding over a police state.
Unemployment is at 80 percent. Living standards are said to be at 1953
The World Health Organization says life expectancy is 34 for women and 37
for men - lowest in the world.
Inflation hit 1,792.9 percent in February and is projected to reach 3,700
percent by the end of 2007.
What this means, I read, is that one brick costs more than a three-bedroom
house with a swimming pool did in 1990.
Traffic is no longer a common sight on roads. Telephones don't work. Power
is out. Factory stacks spew no smoke.
You don't hear much about it because foreign journalists are routinely
refused permission to venture there.
Like Castro in Cuba or Saddam in Iraq, "Comrade" Mugabe's photo looks down
on the whole mess through his gold glasses in framed photographs in every
bare-shelved store, gas station, hotel reception area and government office.
He commands the front page of every newspaper to rail about the West
plotting "monkey business" against his country.
In an interview on his 83rd birthday, Mugabe said, "Some people say I am a
dictator. My own people say I am handsome."
So he's delusional, too, cooped up in his 25-bedroom villa in the capital
Harare with Italian-marble bathrooms and roof tiles from Shanghai.
Since 2000, Mugabe has encouraged mobs to invade farms owned by the
remaining tens of thousands of white residents, who back his opposition.
He stokes the paranoia that Britain and the United States are bent on
recolonizing Zimbabwe. He wants people to fear him more than hate him, and
hate themselves most of all.
The ruling party, Zanu-PF, has already endorsed him as its candidate for the
2008 presidential election.
John Eby is managing editor of the Daily News.
A band of exiled Zimbabwean
journalists and researchers have published a newspaper issue dedicated to
covering the troubled state of
It is also the story of The Daily News, a private newspaper founded in 1999. When it finally closed in 2004, it had risen to become the nation’s leading independent news source, despite the bombing of its printing press, the arrest of its staff, the occupation of its offices by police, and constant harassment by state monitors.
Under the slogan “Telling It Like It Is For World Press Freedom Day” (which is May 3), the Daily News in Exile features detailed reports, statistics, editorials, cartoons, and photographs that recount recent and historical press freedom violations in Zimbabwe.
The paper is being published by the Amnesty International Irish Section, and is written by Geoffrey Nyarota (the founder and former editor-in-chief of The Daily News), Sandra Nyaira (a Daily News correspondent), and researchers Nyasha Nyakunu and Simeon Mawanza.
The Daily News in Exile, listen to their radio magazine, or learn more
about the status of media repression in
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
07 May 2007
The United States and Britain have expressed their opposition to the
election of a member of the cabinet of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to
chair the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.
But news reports, among them a Financial Times article, said it is likely
that Environment Minister Francis Nhema will be elected to the post this
week as it is the turn of Africa to name the panel's chief and nomination
has broad African support.
The commission's brief is to examine the relationship between development
and the environment. The U.N. panel was established in 1993.
The FT quoted a U.N. diplomat as saying Nhema "looked almost certain" to
clinch the commission chair after securing the African nomination last
The U.N. is expected to announce the new appointment on May 11.
U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Friday that "we don't think
that Zimbabwe would be a particularly effective leader of this body," as
development in Zimbabwe has "been going in only one direction. And it's
Zimbabwe's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador
Boniface Chidyausiku, told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe that the rotating committee chair process at the institution
made it a foregone conclusion that Nhema would chair the panel, over Western