Thu Nov 1, 8:24 AM ET
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe signed a law giving him
more power to choose his successor, state media reported Thursday.
The law gives the parliament dominated by Mugabe's ruling party the power to
pick a successor should the 83-year-old Mugabe retire or die before his term
in office ends.
Previously, elections had to be called within six months.
Mugabe has indicated he will stand for re-election. He has been in power
since 1980 elections that followed a seven-year guerrilla war to end
Critics warn Mugabe could use the legislation to maneuver a favored
successor into position.
But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change unexpectedly voted for the
bill when it was passed by Parliament in September, saying they were backing
the changes as a "confidence-building measure."
The government and opposition are in talks to help end the southern African
nation's political and economic crisis, triggered by violent,
government-sanctioned takeovers of white-owned farms. Zimbabwe's economy is
in meltdown, with shortages of everything from fuel to medication and basic
The chief secretary to the president and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, announced
in a government gazette that Mugabe had signed the bill into law, the
official Herald newspaper said. It was not clear exactly when the signing
The new law also allows for parliamentary elections to be moved up by two
years so they can be held at the same time as presidential elections
scheduled in March.
Under the new act, the number of seats in Parliament will increase from 150
to 210 and all will be elected. Under the previous law, 30 seats were given
to officials considered loyal to Mugabe. Senate seats also increase, from 66
SW Radio Africa (London)
1 November 2007
Posted to the web 1 November 2007
Mediation talks between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition MDC have
been postponed temporarily, dealing a new setback to efforts to find a
lasting solution to the country's crippling economic and political crisis.
The Thabo Mbeki led talks were called off on Wednesday night due to the
death of Patrick Chinamasa' son, who was reportedly studying at a college in
Michigan, United States. A source told Newsreel from Johannesburg that
Chinamasa's son, who was 23 years old, died in his sleep on Wednesday, the
day the talks resumed in Pretoria after a month long break.
Justice and Parliamentary Minister Chinamasa forms part of the Zanu PF two
man negotiating team, along with Labour Minister Nicholas Goche. Tendai
Biti, the secretary-general from the Tsvangirai led MDC camp and Welshman
Ncube from the Mutambara MDC faction form part of the team from the divided
The talks, which are already behind schedule on several fronts, missed
Tuesday's deadline for agreement on a framework for free and fair elections.
'The negotiating teams met the whole day yesterday (Wednesday) and only
broke off late in the evening after Chinamasa got the news that his son had
died in the United States. It was decided as a result that the talks be
postponed temporarily to allow Chinamasa to arrange the repatriation of his
son's body for burial in Zimbabwe,' said the source.
Despite ministers like Chinamasa preaching the evils of imperialism, they
still send their children to the same countries they claim to despise.
Political commentator Solomon Chikohwero branded the ministers as
hypocrites, saying they stand accused of plundering the country's wealth and
spending fortunes on educating their children abroad.
The majority of the ministers educate their children outside Zimbabwe, often
at top universities in the US, Australia and the United Kingdom. Australia
has already deported eight students whose parents are senior members of
Mugabe's cabinet and there are calls for other countries to do the same as
the government's policies deny even basic education for ordinary
We have been asked to circulate two
emails about initiatives in connection with diaspora money supporting the regime
We have also been asked by ACTSA to
let you know that their Annual Conference is on Saturday, 3rd November from 2- 5
pm. The subject is 'Fighting for Democracy: the role of trade unions in
Below, details of the two initiatives re diaspora money. The Zimbabwe Vigil is passing these details on as information only. Support of these initiatives is an individual decision
Resistance (Operation NADA
DINERO) – Moratorium on sending remittances to
A group called Zimbabwe Diaspora
Resistance is calling for a month long moratorium (1st –
30th November) on remittances to
2. Take ZBC off the Internet
W... (who has
attended the Vigil) from
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Thursday 01 November 2007
By Thulani Munda
HARARE - Zimbabwe’s rate of HIV and syphilis prevalence in women
attending antenatal clinics has declined from 21.3 percent in 2004 to 17.7
percent last year, according to a government report released on Wednesday.
According to the national survey of HIV and syphilis prevalence among
women attending antenatal clinic, HIV prevalence was high among women who
were not married compared to those married, while the 30-34 year age group
had the highest infection rate.
It said while the decline was commendable, the country should continue
to scale up interventions to promote behaviour change among youths and
adults while also increasing prevention of mother to child transmission.
“Although this decreasing trend is encouraging, overall HIV
seroprevalence among women attending antenatal clinics in Zimbabwe remains
high at 17.7 percent,” the report reads in part.
It was also recommended that the country should increase the number of
people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) to reduce mortality.
About 91 000 people are currently on ART while latest data on HIV and
AIDS shows that an estimated 260 000 people were in urgent need of the
The objective of the survey was to establish the HIV and syphilis
prevalence among antenatal clinic clients in order to monitor, develop and
plan interventions for prevention and control.
The survey was carried out using 19 sites around the country with 7
207 women between the ages of 15 to 49 years participating.
Meanwhile, infant and maternal mortality rates in the country have
declined over the past few years as the country scales up efforts to improve
maternal health care in the country.
Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa said the number
of women and children dying from maternal complications had drastically
decreased in recent years, although he indicated that more effort was still
required to improve maternal health care.
Zimbabwe’s HIV and AIDS prevalence rate has declined from 18.1 percent
in 2006 to 15.6 percent this year.
“I am happy to announce that our HIV estimates for adults aged 15 to
49 years for 2007 have declined from 18.1 percent to 15.6 percent. This is a
significant drop but the figures are still very high and more should be done
to lower the number,” said Parirenyatwa.
The infection rate has also dropped to one out of every seven persons
compared to one in every five persons living with the virus last year while
weekly deaths have declined from 3 000 to 2 300, according to the
minister. - ZimOnline
SW Radio Africa (London)
1 November 2007
Posted to the web 1 November 2007
Experts on HIV/Aids issues were on Thursday questioning the authenticity of
recent figures released by government which suggested that epidemic's
prevalence rates were dropping.
The government on Wednesday released new statistics that showed that the
HIV/Aids prevalence rate has declined from 18,1 percent to 15,6 percent over
the past four years. The Ministry of Health was quick to claim the "victory"
as a "reflection of the unrelenting campaign by the government".
But experts have questioned the validity of the government's surveys, given
that millions of Zimbabweans are fleeing the country due to the ongoing
political decay and economic meltdown. An estimated 3 million Zimbabweans
have emigrated to neighbouring South Africa in search of employment and
better living conditions. Up to 2 million more are scattered around the
Reports in South Africa suggest that HIV/Aids rates in that country are
rising, as Zimbabwe's are supposedly dropping.
In the South African online publication Health-e, the chief director of
HIV/Aids in the department of health, Dr. Nomonde Xundu, said the migrant
labour system was contributing to the spread of the epidemic.
According to the new statistics, one in seven Zimbabweans is now HIV
positive, a sharp drop from the previous ratio of one in four when infection
rates were at their height in the 1990s.
Brian Nyathi, a Zimbabwean health practitioner in South Africa questioned
the reliability of the government's latest figures given that so many people
are leaving the country.
He said: "Many people have left Zimbabwe and the ones that are left are so
struck down by poverty and the collapse of the health delivery system such
that they can not access hospitals. We wonder then if these figures can be
The new statistics have however been validated by some non-governmental
organisations including the Centre for Disease Control and United Nations
agencies, including the World Health Organisation.
Health reporter Bertha Shoko said disparities in the figures of people
needing anti-retroviral therapy had also raised eyebrows.
Shoko said that the figures were questionable because they seem to have
increased when prevalence rate is falling. The survey itself only took place
at a few medical institutions.
"Speculation is rife that the UN only accepted the figures for political
diplomatic reasons, " she said.
According to government figures, of the estimated 1,3 million people living
with HIV and Aids, 260 000 are in urgent need of anti retro viral
medication, while 86 000 are currently on ARV's.
Thursday 01 November 2007
By Batsirayi Muranje
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition and the governing ZANU PF party were expected
to discuss media freedom during negotiations that resumed in South Africa on
Wednesday, a day after Harare announced it would review a ban on the country’s
largest private newspaper.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and ZANU PF are holding talks
under the mediation of South African President Thabo Mbeki and aimed at
ensuring free and fair elections in Zimbabwe next year, vital to any attempt
to pluck the country out of political and economic crisis.
Authoritative sources said the MDC, under fire for agreeing to back ZANU
PF-sponsored constitutional reforms without any visible concessions in
return, would push for the reopening of banned newspapers, particularly the
Daily News that was Zimbabwe’s largest circulating paper at its ban in 2003.
"Our negotiators have to get a concession from ZANU PF in terms of an under
taking to give the opposition access to the public media as well as to bring
back the Daily News and other banned papers,” said a source in the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC.
However, the source was quick to point out that Information Minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu’s naming of a new board to consider the Daily News
application may have been a ploy to force negotiators not to discuss the
paper’s case since the new board would review the matter in terms of the
Ndlovu strongly denied he had an eye on the inter-party talks when he
restructured the Media and Information Commission (MIC) on Tuesday.
"It (MIC restructuring) has nothing to do with that but everything to do
with following the court rulings referred to in this matter," said Ndlovu.
"It is now up to the ANZ (Daily News publisher) to make a fresh application
to the new board. Why do you people want to interpret the issue otherwise?”
The MDC that split into two rival camps two years ago is attending the South
Africa-brokered talks with ZANU PF as a single team. The secretaries-general
of the two MDC formations represent the party in the talks.
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Tsvangirai-led MDC, refused to
disclose the items on the agenda of talks that have so far been held in
almost total secrecy. But our sources said Biti held several meetings in
Harare with a team of media experts before leaving for South Africa on
According to sources, the major item of this week’s round of talks was the
media and how a free media could contribute towards free and fair elections
The sources said the MDC would also present to South African facilitators a
dossier on politically motivated violence, which it says has escalated
against its supporters despite ongoing dialogue.
Mugabe and his Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, who met a delegation of
opposition officials last week to discus violence, have dismissed opposition
claims that is supporters were being victimised as lies and hearsay.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa on
Wednesday questioned Ndlovu’s sincerity towards fair resolution of the Daily
News’ saga after he retained government apologist Tafataona Mahoso as
chairman of the new MIC.
The High Court earlier this year found Mahoso to have shown bias against the
Daily News and directed that the government sets up a new panel to
reconsider the paper’s application for a publishing licence.
MISA-Zimbabwe said: "The government should clearly and unambiguously
demonstrate its sincerity and impartiality towards final resolution of the
ANZ legal battle to be declared duly licensed as directed by the courts.
“To allow Dr Mahoso to be involved in this matter, unless we are advised
otherwise, does not inspire confidence that the process will be impartial."
The organization also questioned the criteria used to select other members
of the new board nearly all of who are believed to be staunch supporters of
Mugabe’s government. - ZimOnline
Thursday 01 November 2007
By Lizwe Sebatha
BULAWAYO - War veterans, who have over the past seven years led a bloody
campaign in support of President Robert Mugabe, will today hold a meeting in
Bulawayo to pray for peace during next year's presidential and parliamentary
The war veterans, who are seriously divided over whether to continue backing
Mugabe for the presidency of ZANU PF and the country, have been accused of
unleashing violence against the opposition supporters during every major
election since 2000.
Andrew Ndlovu, who leads a faction of the war veterans opposed to Mugabe's
continued rule, said the former liberation war fighters want to move away
from the "culture of violence" that has characterised elections in Zimbabwe.
Another faction of the war veterans, led by Jabulani Sibanda, has since last
August demonstrated in Zimbabwe's major cities and towns backing Mugabe's
candidature in next year's elections.
A faction of war veterans led by Ndlovu has however fiercely opposed the
marches in support of Mugabe.
Ndlovu said war veterans will pray for peace to prevail before, during and
after the elections that political analysts say Mugabe could lose because of
an unprecedented economic crisis rocking the country.
The war veterans' chief said Bishop Wilfred Neya of the Jesus Promotion
Ministries is expected to lead the prayer meeting at the Small City Hall in
Bulawayo. The two-hour meeting is scheduled to start at 5pm.
"We have taken it upon ourselves as former freedom fighters to organise such
an event because there is often a wrong perception of us war veterans as
rogue elements in society who are bent perpetrating violence.
"There is a wrong perception that we are there to force people to vote
against their will. On the contrary, we are law-abiding citizens who have a
high respect for human rights," said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu added: "It is a non-partisan meeting meant for people from all walks
of life to come together so that we can pray for a peaceful atmosphere to
prevail during the elections."
The meeting comes hardly a fortnight after Ndlovu's faction wrote to ZANU PF
national chairman, John Nkomo and Vice-President Joseph Msika demanding that
Sibanda be stopped from leading street marches in support of Mugabe because
he was expelled from the party in 2004.
ZANU PF is seriously divided over Mugabe's decision to seek re-election next
year, with a faction led by retired army commander Solomon Mujuru said to
have been pushing to stop Mugabe, blamed for ruining Zimbabwe's once
brilliant economy, from standing for re-election next year.
Mugabe last week appeared to have won the battle to seek re-election after
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who leads a rival faction to succeed Mugabe, announced
that ZANU PF will at its extraordinary congress in December endorse Mugabe's
candidature for the elections.
The war veterans, who have a penchant for violence, have since 2000 brutally
suppressed opposition to Mugabe's rule and have sometimes beaten up and
killed those opposed to ZANU PF's rule.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst ever economic crisis that has
manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of nearly 8 000
percent, massive joblessness and poverty. The MDC and Western government
blame the crisis on mismanagement by Mugabe, a charge the veteran leader
denies. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu, Jonga Kandemiiri, Thomas Chiripasi & Netsai Mlilo
31 October 2007
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called a meeting Saturday
of the national executive of his Movement for Democratic Change faction in a
last-ditch bid to defuse a bitter dispute over the leadership of the
grouping's women's wing.
Tsvangirai's personal prestige is on the line, as he made clear Tuesday in a
meeting with his MDC faction's members of parliament, ordering them to
respect his leadership or find another political home. The faction's image
sustained further damage when its youth assaulted partisans of Lucia
Matibenga, the dismissed women's wing head.
Sources in the faction said MDC parliamentarians Emmanuel Chisvuure of
Budiriro, Harare, and Amos Chibaya of Gweru, Midlands, were assaulted
following the meeting by youths loyal to the newly elected leadership of the
women's assembly. The youths were also said to have issued threats against
lawmaker Paul Madzore of Glenview, Harare, and Harare Province Chairwoman
Parliamentarian Chisvuure told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA that he was
shocked to be attacked at the headquarters of the faction by his own
There were unconfirmed reports the faction's youth executive in Bulawayo,
the second largest city in Zimbabwe, had been dissolved for backing
Matibenga. But members of the executive said they intend to ignore the
reported dissolution order.
Faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Tsvangirai called the meeting of the
faction's top body Saturday to discuss issues including what he called party
Political analysts warned that the trouble in the Tsvangirai faction could
spill over into the crisis talks being mediated by South African president
Thabo Mbeki, and hobble the opposition faction as it attempts to gear up for
national elections next March.
Senior researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute for Security Studies in
South Africa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the ruling ZANU-PF party
could take this as a sign of weakness in the opposition and pull back from
its negotiation commitments.
Meanwhile, despite denials by the Zimbabwean government of reports that
violence against opposition members is increasing, an MDC activist in
Budiriro district said he was kidnapped and severely beaten late Tuesday by
suspected state agents.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.
Correspondent Netsai Mlilo reported from Bulawayo on the outrage among women
members of the Tsvangirai faction over the dismissal of the female
By Peter Clottey And Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
31 October 2007
Portugal, host of the 2007 European-African Summit in December, has
confirmed that it will invite Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe over British
An advisor to Portuguese Secretary of State Pedro Courela said this week
that all the African Union heads of state will be invited to the EU-AU
summit in Lisbon.
The question of Mr. Mugabe’s role in the summit has hung over summit
planning for months. Now it remains to be seen whether Britain and other
European countries such as Sweden will boycott or otherwise downgrade their
participation in the summit because President Mugabe is very likely to be on
the summit podium.
Political analyst John Makumbe, a senior lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe and a prominent critic of the president, said Mr. Mugabe's presence
at the summit would offer European as well as African leaders with an
opportunity to confront him.
Editor Patrick Smith of the London-based Africa Confidential newsletter said
Portugal's invitation to Mr. Mugabe put Britain in an awkward situation, as
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's has very publicly vowed to boycott the event
if Mr. Mugabe were to attend.
Mail and Guardian
01 November 2007 10:27
A decision by the European Union to allow Robert Mugabe to a
summit is a rare diplomatic coup for Zimbabwe's leader whose relations with
the West have plummeted almost as fast as his country's economy.
The 83-year-old, subject to an EU travel ban for allegedly
rigging his 2002 re-election, has already indicated he will attend the
Africa-Europe summit in Lisbon on what he is unlikely to regard as a
"I will go if I get the invitation," he said in a television
interview last week before Wednesday's confirmation by Portugal, current
holder of the EU presidency, that Zimbabwe would indeed be invited to the
December 8 and 9 meeting.
In power since the former British colony won independence in
1980, Mugabe has shown no sign of mellowing in his old age and likes to
boast that he can still pack a "knockout punch".
Meanwhile, Mugabe has signed into law a compromise Bill giving
him room to pick a successor, a government notice said on Thursday.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill -- agreed between Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
September -- allows Mugabe to choose a successor if he were to retire
mid-term by empowering Parliament, which is dominated by his party, to vote
for a president.
The constitutional changes stemmed from ongoing talks between
the MDC and the government, which are being brokered by South African
President Thabo Mbeki as part of a regional drive to resolve Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis.
The MDC has said it would keep pressuring the government to
change the Constitution and repeal tough security and media laws.
Master on human rights?
On his last trip to the West, Mugabe used his address to the
United Nations General Assembly in New York as a platform to denounce United
States President George Bush as a hypocrite whose hands were dripping with
"He kills in Iraq. He kills in Afghanistan. And this is supposed
to be our master on human rights?"
It was a characteristically defiant performance from Africa's
longest-serving leader who is standing for another five-year term next year.
Despite the country's economic woes -- inflation stands at
nearly 8 000% and unemployment is at 80% -- street protests have attracted
only patchy support and the opposition has been wrapped up in internal
squabbles since its leadership was assaulted by the security forces in
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has vowed to boycott
Lisbon if Mugabe attends, has found that denounciations of Mugabe are water
off a duck's back for a man who blames Zimbabwe's problems on the former
Relations between London and Harare were generally warm in the
first two decades after independence but soured when Mugabe embarked on a
controversial programme to expropriate land still largely held by the white
About 4 000 farmers were forced to hand over their land in what
he trumpeted as a programme to right the injustices of the colonial era.
The land reform scheme and his subsequent crackdowns on
opposition members, judges and journalists triggered an uproar and "smart
sanctions", including travel bans, against Mugabe and his inner circle by
the EU and US.
An intellectual who initially embraced Marxism, Mugabe was
praised when he won the election that ended white minority rule in 1980, a
few weeks after Zimbabwe gained independence.
Born in 1924, Mugabe's first job was as a teacher but he took
his first political paces when he enrolled at Fort Hare University in South
Africa, where he met many of Southern Africa's future black nationalist
Mugabe then resumed teaching, moving to Northern Rhodesia (now
Zambia) and Ghana before returning to what was then Southern Rhodesia in
As a member of various nationalist parties which were banned by
the white-minority government, he was detained with other leaders in 1964
and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.
He used that period to consolidate his position in the Zimbabwe
African National Union and emerged from prison in 1974 as Zanu leader. He
then left for Mozambique, from where his banned party was launching
guerrilla attacks on Rhodesia.
Economic sanctions and war forced Rhodesian leader Ian Smith to
After Zanu-PF, which drew most of its support from the Shona
majority, swept to power in the 1980 election, Mugabe announced a policy of
reconciliation with the country's white minority but most subsequently left.
Mugabe also crushed dissent among the minority Ndebele people
with his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, which killed an estimated 20
000 suspected "dissidents".
In his early years Mugabe was widely credited with improving
health and education for the black majority. But social services later
declined and the HIV/Aids epidemic shattered gains in healthcare. - AFP,
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
1 November 2007
Posted to the web 1 November 2007
The High Court has ordered Senate President Edna Madzongwe to vacate a farm
in Chegutu she had occupied before the owner Mr Richard Thomas Etheridge was
evicted through a due legal process.
Mr Etheridge took Sen Madzongwe to court seeking a spoliation order against
her and the Minister State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa. Justice Joseph Musakwa, who presided over
the case, yesterday granted Mr Etheridge the relief he sought.
"In the result the application is granted in terms of the draft order as
amended," said Justice Musakwa. However, the judge refused to entertain the
commercial farmer's other application seeking to have Cde Madzongwe held in
contempt of court for allegedly defying the previous order. Justice Musakwa
ruled that it was not procedural to deal with the application saying court
rules provide that contempt of court proceedings are instituted by court
Mr Etheridge used to own Stockdale Farm in Chegutu, which has since been
acquired in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and allocated to the
Senate President. After Cde Madzongwe moved on to the farm, Mr Etheridge
obtained a provisional order blocking her from occupying the farm pending a
determination of the case in the High Court. But later Cde Madzongwe moved
in despite the court order forcing the commercial farmer to seek a
spoliation order against her and the minister.
At the hearing, the minister indicated that he was not opposed to the
interim relief although he would contest the final relief. In his
application, Mr Etheridge argued that eight days after the provisional order
was granted the minister, in July, published the acquisition of the farm. He
was given extension of time to wind up his business. During that period it
is alleged that Cde Madzongwe once again occupied the farm in circumstances
of fresh spoliation.
Mr David Drury of Gollop and Blank, who represented Mr Etheridge, argued in
court that there had been fresh spoliation by the Senate President as shown
by the occupation without due process.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Date: 01 Nov 2007
By David Snyder
Moddie Jakachira takes a seat on a small, plaid-covered couch, pulls her
daughter close, and lights up the tiny space of the room with the broad
smile of a survivor. At 41, Moddie has joined that rare group of
HIV-positive Africans who, sliding toward the mind-boggling mortality
statistics of the AIDS pandemic, stepped back literally from the edge.
Through an innovative pilot program, Catholic Relief Services is offering a
nutritional boost to nearly 3,000 people like Moddie who are living with HIV
in southwest Zimbabwe. With support from the World Food Program, CRS
provides participants with a monthly ration of nutritious food for their
entire household. Meanwhile, the international agency Doctors without
Borders supplies patients with powerful antiretroviral medications. The
potent combination of medication and nutritional support is having a
profound, positive effect on many people's lives. Moddie Jakachira is one of
"Before I started [antiretroviral medication], I was very, very sick,"
Moddie says. "I was losing weight, sweating. I cannot even explain."
Moddie receives her medication at Mpilo Opportunistic Infection Clinic in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city. When she began treatment, the
clinic staff taught her that good nutrition maximizes the impact of the
medicine and reduces the potential for side effects. But in Zimbabwe, where
the average resident earns less than $1 a day, many of the foods Jakachira
needed to purchase were simply out of reach.
"I am a widow with four children, so when I was sick, life was tough for
me," Moddie relates. "I was suffering trying to have some food."
It is a common problem, says Sister B.N. Dube, who supervises the clinic.
Many in this impoverished suburb of Bulawayo are struggling.
"We counsel people on what nutrition they should pursue," Dube says. "But it
was a big problem for them to get those foods."
'You Can See the Changes'
One month after she began receiving antiretroviral medications, Moddie
learned that CRS was offering nutritional support. She met CRS' criteria for
entering the program, and soon began receiving cornmeal, cooking oil and a
highly nutritious powder of corn-soy blend each month. It is enough to
sustain her and her four children. Before receiving the rations, Moddie and
her family subsisted on only one or two meals a day. Now they enjoy three
meals a day, and Moddie says the change has made an immediate impact.
"The children are getting healthy, and gaining weight," she observes. "If
you are a mother, you can see the changes."
Infused with the promise of a future she thought she might never have,
Moddie is now sharing her experiences and telling others in the community to
get tested for HIV, to talk to the clinic about medications and to eat
nutritious foods. One of the people she spoke to is her friend and neighbor
Sikhalekile Ndlovu who, thanks to Moddie's encouragement, is also now on
antiretrovirals. Sikhalekile receives food from CRS, too, and her
now-healthy diet has enabled her to recover from a year of on-again,
off-again hospitalization. Side by side on the small couch, the two women
share an easy joviality, punctuating even the painful memories of their
shared past with spirited bursts of laughter.
'Hoping to Survive'
"I was seriously ill for a whole year," Sikhalekile recalls to the
accompanying nods of Moddie.
Despite the dramatic turns in her fortune, life for Moddie remains
difficult. She was once a trader, ferrying goods across the border from
nearby South Africa and selling them for a profit in Zimbabwe. Moddie had to
give up that job when she fell ill. Although she is now healthy enough to
work again, Moddie's long bouts of illness left her without any money to
restart her business. By renting part of her small house to two other
families, she earns barely enough to pay the school fees for her children.
Every day, she says, is a new challenge.
But even in the crowded, blue-painted room, you cannot help feeling that
both Moddie and Sikhalekile will somehow rise above the struggles they face.
From a room next door, the bouncy tones of South African kwaito music spill
through the door and fill the air around the women - a fitting soundtrack to
two lives that might have ended amid the vast anonymity of AIDS statistics.
"I am hoping to survive," Moddie says. "When you are sick you are feeling
that 'Maybe I am going to die.' But now that I have started
[antiretrovirals], and I am getting food, I have started a new life."
David Snyder is a photojournalist who has traveled to more than 30 countries
with CRS. Most recently, David visited country programs in Southern Africa
and East Africa, including Zimbabwe.
By Lindie Whiz
Last updated: 11/02/2007 04:31:29
ZIMBABWEAN magistrates this week embarked on industrial action as government
officials scrambled to reach agreement on improved pay.
The industrial action began in stages in Binga, Masvingo, Gweru and Harare
on Tuesday, but had spread to all parts of the country late Thursday.
At the Rotten Row Magistrates' Courts in Harare on Tuesday, the regional
magistrate presided over all remand cases.
Striking judicial officers refused to meet an emissary sent by Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Chinamasa, whom the magistrates want to resign, sent an official to address
the magistrates and persuade them to return to work, but the man, identified
only as Ranga, beat a hasty retreat when he was told he "had no locus standi
to address judicial officers on such critical issues", said one source at
Chinamasa turned up on Wednesday and addressed the magistrates, promising a
solution would be found by Friday.
The magistrates agreed to return to work, but only to hear remand cases
The judicial officers want their conditions of service and pay reviewed.
Magistrates earn Z$16 million (about £6) per month before tax, and want that
reviewed upwards to Z$150 million, according to their demands.
A trigger to the strike action, according to some court officials, was a
government decision to award salary increases to regional magistrates and
chief law officers in the Attorney General's Office.
The two groups are understood to have been awarded salary increments of
between $90 and $140 million, effective last month. Officers in the
provincial courts were left out of the deal.
Zimbabwe's judiciary system is currently faced with a high turnover of
senior and experienced staff who are leaving in droves in search of greener
pastures in neighbouring countries like Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
Only last week, the senior public prosecutor for the Western Division based
at the Bulawayo Magistrates' Courts, Phineas Mpofu, gave a 24-hour notice
and joined the exodus.
The Bulawayo Magistrates' Courts are operating with 11 magistrates instead
of a prescribed establishment of 20.
Graduates from the University of Zimbabwe's law department hardly spend a
year with the public service as they quickly resign to join private practice
where the remuneration is better.
Zimbabwe's public sector workers bear the brunt of the country's economic
collapse. Teachers and health workers routinely go on strike as their
salaries are wiped out by record high inflation of over 8 000%, the highest
in the world.
From The Cape Times (SA), 1 November
Zimbabwe correspondent for the Cape Times, Peta Thornycroft, has received a
lifetime achievement award for a career of courageous journalism from film
star Angelina Jolie. On Tuesday night, in Beverly Hills, Jolie presented
Thornycroft, 62, with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International
Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) for her dedication and bravery in reporting
on apartheid South Africa and, for the last few years, on Zimbabwe. "In the
face of a media crackdown in Zimbabwe, Peta Thornycroft renounced her
British citizenship in 2001 and became a Zimbabwean so that she could
continue to report in the country," said the IWMF, a global network for
women in the news media. "A journalist for more than three decades,
Thornycroft is one of the few remaining independent journalists in Zimbabwe.
She has also paved the way for, and supported, other journalists. She helped
to establish the Media Monitoring Project, an independent trust that works
to promote responsible journalism in Zimbabwe and helped to form the Public
Broadcasting Initiative, a project that brought broadcast journalism
training to journalists." Thornycroft has managed to continue reporting from
Zimbabwe despite a major crackdown by the government against the independent
media and despite never having been officially accredited as a journalist, a
legal requirement which Mugabe's government introduced a few years ago as it
intensified political repression.
In 2002 she spent five days in jail after she travelled to Chimanimani,
483km east of Harare, to pursue a story about "people having homes destroyed
for being suspected of voting for the opposition", as she said. She had
already talked to dissidents and set up an appointment with a local Mugabe
supporter. "You have to get two sides of the story," she said. While waiting
in a Chimanimani café for the appointment, Thornycroft noticed "that the guy
opposite from me was on his cellphone and that he was making a phone call
about me. But I didn't run for my car. I didn't try to avoid it". Four
policemen then arrested her. She spent five days in prison before being
freed, after an outcry from the international media community about her
arrest. No charges were filed against her. Since then, she rarely spends
nights at home but moves from one location to another, continuing her
reporting. She has "a sixth sense of how to stay safe", including when to
take risks. She sometimes tells people: "I'm leaving now, if you have not
heard from me in five hours, call a lawyer." However, she has been known to
break her own rules by forgetting to call home after getting engrossed in a
story. This was Thornycroft's second international award for journalism this
year. In June she received the James Cameron Lifetime Achievement Award for
excellence and courage in reporting from the field. The award commemorates
the veteran British journalist who died in 1985
THE CRISIS COALITION ALERT
01 November 2007
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (Crisis Coalition) held a rural outreach
programme in Guruve South on the 31st of October 2007 giving an overview of
the governance crisis in Zimbabwe and perspectives on the 2008 elections
with close reference to the SADC initiative.
The meeting attracted an audience of two hundred people (200) including five
village heads. Mr. P. Ruhanya of the Crisis Coalition and Mr. Mandiwanzira
of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) made presentations on the
The following resolutions were made;
No to elections without a new constitution.
Development programmes should be isolated from politics as those supporting
the opposition are usually denied loans, food and agricultural inputs.
The ruling ZANU-PF party should be confronted through holding joint meetings
with the opposition.
People should be allowed to vote using their national identification cards
instead of referring to the voters roll.
There should be independent electoral officers.
People of foreign origin should be allowed to vote as they are citizens of
Delimitation of boundaries should be done by an independent body.
Village heads should not be used for partisan political programmes.
People should be engaged in intensive voter education.
Election officers should not be politically biased to avoid cases of
Need for independent media structures and the reinstatement of Daily News
and The Tribune.
Afrique en Ligne
Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe and Mozambique Thursday scrapped visa
requirements for their citizens with immediate effect, a senior Zimbabwean
Government official announced here.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said the move was intended to
facilitate trade and the movement of people between the two countries.
He said Mozambique and Zimbabwe signed the deal to scrap visas last
month, and this took effect from 1 November.
"We signed an agreement on 7 October, 2007, on the abolition of visa
requirements for both our nationals. The implication of this agreement is
that nationals of our countries will no longer be required to apply for
visas when th ey intend to visit either country," said Mohadi.
He said Zimbabwe was also negotiating with South Africa to abolish
visas requi rements for their citizens.
Harare - 01/11/2007
1st Nov 2007 18:27 GMT
By Sydney Chisi
TRADITIONALLY in any struggle, women have always been known to be critical
in the formulation of community course as well as national discourse. This
has been so, because they constitute the largest number of the population
and consideration of their role and their capacity has always been critical
in policy development.
However, for a time immemorial women have found themselves being
marginalized in all aspects of national development and community
This can be in access or distribution of resources. This has made women to
be taken as second best citizens that can not be part of the decision making
process and effectively determine their own destiny as a constituency for
Zimbabwe with a total of 52 percent female population, and currently facing
the worst human made economic catastrophe, will continue to witness the
suffering of women as they try to make ends meet as well as fighting for the
emancipation of other fellow citizens.
The battle to liberate Zimbabwe from the jaws of the current dictatorship
can not be complete without seeing a meaningful participation of the
critical female component of the society. After the 1980 independence,
Zimbabwe has seen a marked decrease in women participating in the national
debate or in anything that might be termed 'political' by the society.
This has been due to a plethora of reasons such as culture, religion,
political polarization including violence and the state of the economy. This
situation can best be explained by the fact that MDC as a political party in
itself is not a 'magical recipe' which can be driven or prepared by anyone
or everyone to remove Mugabe's regime from power.
It requires political maturity, experience and the support of the people
that one is leading. Political maturity is judged by being consistent on a
people centered principle and the ability of forecast in the events of a
changing political environment.
The events leading to the dissolution of the Lucia Matibenga led executive
should be seen not as an onslaught on women as an entity or as strong
leaders alone, but it is a complete murder on participation of the people of
Zimbabwe in the political processes.
I would not want to dwell on issues or reasons or lack of, that led to that
ill-timed and irresponsible decision, by the MDC. As a young person who for
long has been driven by the desire to see a new Zimbabwe, who looked upon
MDC as a proper and an alternative to the current dictatorship, I would want
to say that what has happened in the past two months has been too fast,
confusing and heartbreaking, especially for a bitter struggle that is now
This is so, because of the sudden halt to consultation and the concept of
continuity without reflection on elitist decision making process that the
party has decided to embark on. The conclusion by the commission appointed
to deal with the Mati's group, that these women had failed, should be seen
as sexist, and a total disregard of the bigger picture.
Without looking at the party in its combined form, who would step up and say
the Youth Assembly has done an exceptionally good job? Who would say that
all the departments in the party have done a very good job to an extend that
Mugabe could have been out of office had it not been of Mati and her
There are big man, high profile man who have failed the party in the past
two years after the split. Just as the Zimbabwean political environment is
very difficult to operate in for the achievement of a new political and
democratic dispensation it should be noted that women's wing has not been
spared either. So in terms of measuring magnitude of failure, the party as
a unit has failed dismally.
The issue of failure that comes immediately is the failure to deal with the
issue of life after the split. Effective and efficient grassroot structures
have not taken shape. What we have are individuals who were elected on 19
March 2006 without the capacity to deliver or to which the party has not
taken upon itself to capacitate them.
This would automatically mean that some of this dead wood can also be found
in the Matibenga's team and everywhere else. A non performing team would not
take a year and half to realize that it has failed to an extent that
warrants dissolution. What procedures have been taken to deal with these
ladies if any? If there were any, how come they were never made public such
that not only would the public be shocked, but Mati herself?
The issue whether the decision to fire these women was constitutional or not
should not be a surprise given that MDC as a party also did not uphold one
of its congress resolutions that it will only participate in an election
under a new people driven constitution. They went on and agreed to amend the
Lancaster Constitution. Thus at this rate one can safely conclude that the
Matibenga issue is a tip of serious political underhand one of it emanating
to the secretive talks currently going on with Zanu(PF).
The hype that was generated by the 2006 congress was never sustained, the
prospects of an extended winter season, which never saw the light of day
despite the fact that we have already witnessed two winters, died a natural
death and substituted with metaphors and rhetoric instead of practical and
realistic people driven resistance. Of major and regime changing failure was
to define a new position and identity especially after the Welshman Ncube's
formation formally announced that it was going it alone.
Morgan was described as weak and indecisive.today moderate MDC supporters
are made to revisit that statement, which at some point they thought was
coming from a political midget in the form of Arthur Mutambara. This failure
had a catastrophic impact on the electorate as to who was now leading the
process, and how were they going into an election.That issue is still not
addressed but firing people has taken primary stage.
Lucia and her team should be viewed as people who operated in an environment
that was on a self destructive course soon after the split in 2005, a system
that bit by bit, was metamorphosising into to the Zanu(PF) traits, but
hiding behind the rhetoric of democratic principles. Making that move does
not stop at women alone, or their voice within the national question, but it
goes beyond the boundaries of women as victims of an intolerant political
system that is trying to redefine itself through a centralized democracy.
The spirit of participation has been derailed if not killed, by those who
thought that this was an act of redefining a new course. If the party really
thinks that firing these women is an act of strengthening MDC, is just the
same as asking Morgan Tsvangirai to go as well in the spirit of leadership
But because both Morgan and Lucia are pinnacles of the party, no one would
want to dice with even the thought of seeing Morgan out, at least not now.
I thus do not see, why it can be easy to let one grassroot person be
replaced by a person who was asked to be Susan Tsvangirai's beauty
specialist, whose husband then working for Agribank was tasked to handle MDC
Now the couple has got political positions in the party. Mai Makone became
the Provincial chairperson for Mashonaland East, but not only is she willing
to bulldoze into the women's executive, but also tried to get through into
Harare north Constituency for next year's parliamentary elections. Her links
to Jocelyn Chiwenga for 'business' purposes exposes the leadership of MDC
whose president suffered humiliation at Makro at the hands of the same Joy
Those within the civil society would support the sentiments that there is a
new kid on the block, an organization called Restoration of Human Rights
(ROHR). Word is that it has a strong link to activists in the United Kingdom
some who have fallen victim to the Morgan axe namely Ephraim Tapa,
President, Justin Shaw-Grey, International Coordinator, one Robertson,
Treasurer, Julius Mutyambizi-Dhewa, Committee member. Theresa Makone's
brother Standrick Zvorwadza, calling the shorts from Zimbabwe as the
The discontent we find in MDC today as far as primary elections are
concerned is centered on those who are 'funded' by ROHR against those who
are perceived as 'people of the people'.
Recently Mai Makone proposed to fund ROHR activities in Zimbabwe, provided
she is made one of the board members. So the name Makone not only has it
been linked with women politics alone but the general direction and caliber
of new leadership emerging in MDC using money as a lubricant.
So if today Mati complains on how she could have been effective given they
did not have the utilities that defines an office. No desk, chair, car nor
fax machine, very soon we will notice all offices being furnished with A1
equipment. Already all female district chairpersons were given a phone and a
But looking at the links that Makone has, then those who carried out and
sanctioned this act, can justifiably say they need to 'strengthen' the
party. Is the political determination now being defined by the elite in the
MDC and a complete shut out of the poor?
This brief history might not be very useful to those calling the shorts, but
goes to show why the people of Zimbabwe are not yet prepared to be lead by
mediocre caliber whose background has never been centered on the people, and
whose history does not show any signs of having been in the struggle the way
people like Morgan or Mai Mati went through.
For Tendai Biti to interpret the High Court judgement as supporting MDC's
act as constitutional and force such a suicidal act and political poison
through people's throats so that everyone thinks that we are left with no
option is totally misplaced and unfortunate. However it has turned out that
as of now it is the people who longer have any other option but to withhold
their crucial vote in an election which Zanu(PF) had no campaign strategy.
The question of legitimacy of such an outcome should be a reflection point
especially when the Tsvangirai himself has been questioning Mugabe's
legitimacy, and that of Welshman's formation. Legitimacy comes from the
people, and as witnessed with events that took place in Bulawayo, it a
serious indication to those people who no matter what happens, their
personal and selfish ends wins the day at the expense of democratic and
What is shocking in the whole process is that ever since this process took
centre stage, critical voices usually associated with MDC issues have been
silent. Nelson Chamisa the party's spokesperson's silence has been very
loud, Mudzuri who is tasked with organizing political structures has also
been quiet, though word has it that he is also a target.
It is saddening to note that as we speak today Morgan's formation is split
around not around personal differences, or because of the exit of Lucia and
her team. It is split around the fundamentals to which the party was formed.
What are the operational methods to which the party could be the vehicle of
the birth of a new Zimbabwe?
This was put to test and evident on Amendment 18 of the constitution, to
which after Welshman had appealed that they were discussing as one MDC
(Hansard) in mediation talks, this was a process of 'finding each other' to
which Zvizvai (MP) shouted 'murima imomo' (in that darkness). This
symbolizes the secrecy of the talks, the nicodimus approach to solving the
Zimbabwean crisis. For as long as there is a process that leaves others from
detail, then there is no unity and allows room for mistrust and doubt.
Going ahead and agree to CA18 under such a heavy cloud of internal dynamics,
and stretching of organizational governance, usually leaves few lone voices,
who can be labeled as rebels. Do we find outspoken people like Matibenga in
this group? The eventual sacking of her executive, unlike the split of the
intellectuals due to CA18, this move went to the unexpected consumer, the
grassroot and the majority women. So ever since the talks began, Morgan has
seen his command producing three irreconcilable factions, unfortunately,
cascading into each other, eventually breaking down the whole institution
Like always, the civil society has shown a deliberate interest in opposition
politics especially the Tsvangirai formation. And recent events from the
women's movement who petitioned MDC and eventually got the chance to go and
observe the 'women's congress' shows that Morgan is losing grip from one of
the critical stakeholders in the political arena, the women's movement. And
if what is said to have taken place in Bulawayo at Fast Climber restaurant
owned by Thoko Khupe, has got anything to go by, then I foresee these women
opting a reformed Zanu(PF) for their vote.
However, the bigger picture that is brewing under the oceans of politics is
the building up of a people's convention. This might thus persuade the
revival of the birth of the third force which was highly discouraged if not
suppressed during the first meeting. As it stands, clear lines of departure
are evident between the leadership in the NCA led by Madhuku and silently
but surely ZCTU and on the fringe ZINASU (major players in the 1999 People's
Convention that gave the birth to MDC).
Of late we have not seen the solidarity that MDC used to give ZCTU in its
actions, we witnessed Chibebe 'snubbing' Morgan when the later invited the
civil society for a briefing on CA18, opting to send a junior officer.
Listening to Chibebe one is left with no doubt that with Matibenga being
fired, MDC might face a new political cemetery meant for it. This is
becoming more real as people look for alternatives.
However, even if he erred, Morgan still remains a significant political
figure whom those willing to moot the third force still respect. This thus
means that an immediate turn around of events rests upon Morgan himself.
Because of the potential and capacity of bringing people together, it is
unfortunate that Morgan has become the centre of ridicule from many sections
of the society because of his poor judgment.
The committee of the stakeholders' taskforce on the constitutional review
which was mandated to go and meet the political parties met Morgan and
Arthur separately. From that meeting, Morgan highlighted that a new
constitution was already done and that most of what civic society is craving
for was already included. This thus means that MDC and the civic society
will not have a rallying point especially at the platform like Save Zimbabwe
Campaign. The drafting of a new constitution between Zanu(PF) and MDC goes
to justify the extend to which MDC has to embark on a clean-up process to
which people who are viewed as stumbling blocks, like Mati had to be dealt
When the Taskforce reconvened on Tuesday 30 October, agreed that MDC's
actions are a clear indication that they are no longer part of the broad
front. This will definitely be good news to Tsvangirai's ears who during his
heated meeting with his party structures on the same day indicated that one
of the agenda item for their next meeting on Saturday 3 November will be to
streamline their relationship with NGOs.
The Civic Society thus agreed to go ahead with the people's convention after
December. What will be the message to the people at this convention? What if
the 'people' request for an alternative from the current opposition
leadership? How does the civil encourage people to vote for an alternative
democratic dispensation when it no longer agrees with the leading political
front? People are following these events very closely and are keen on
knowing the way forward.
But not everyone is worried by the expulsion of Lucia and her team. These
people are either uninformed or they think criticizing process is in turn
criticizing Morgan in his personal capacity. This leaves with dictatorial
tendencies being defended by a group of misguided people whose agenda is to
be closer to Tsvangirai by being seen not to oppose him.
It is these kind of people that we also see in Zanu(PF) who would choose not
to see or hear anything negative that the country is going through. As
people fail to deal with this issue, violence will definitely erupt with the
same formation as people jostle for power and psychological association with
the leader a concept of borrowed strength.
So it might be that time again when Harvest will be a no go area for certain
individuals who might have openly voiced against the new method of operation
that has been adopted within the MDC. As I write this am getting news of the
thorough beating of two MPs Chibaya and Chisvuure, is the latest sad event
that indicates the failure of brains and resort to brawn.
Their crime is that they support Lucia Matibenga and that they had bussed
people for the women's congress. This happened soon after Morgan had made it
clear that the party was not turning back on the outcome of the 'congress'
It is thus my thinking that the whole Lucia Matibenga saga should be viewed
from a point that MDC has been highly infiltrated by agents of destruction
and some people have allowed those agents to stay. The failure of the MDC to
have an effective leadership training and investing in such has led to many
structures being incapacitated to be proactive in identifying and analysis
crisis and the needed remedy.
The MDC abandoned investing in an intelligence department. This has allowed
a free influx of state machinery, due to the fact that there haven't been
any mechanisms to stop that. Whilst it can not be stopped completely,
certain dynamics within the party, could easily be attributed to factual
intelligence work. It can also be observed with no doubt that some of the
office bearers are at 'work' for the regime.
Whether Lucia stays or goes (which is highly likely, given that her stay
will further weaken the only Morgan's stance), it should be known and
realized that this event has dealt a serious blow to citizen participation
in building of a democracy. It was anticipated that Morgan had an
outstanding task of going to the people to explain constitutional amendment
It might be too late to expect Morgan and MDC to change, but equally too
late to change the hearts of those who once believed in the same party as
our solution to the Zimbabwean crisis.
Today the Law Society of England and Wales has launched an appeal to collect
£100,000 by the end of the year to help the Law Society of Zimbabwe maintain its
services for lawyers and society in Zimbabwe. President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, was in London last
week to raise awareness of the challenges and threats to their lives that she
and her colleagues face on a day to day basis as a result of their commitment to
their professional duties as lawyers. This followed a meeting in Nairobi with
Andrew Holroyd, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, to discuss
the Law Society of Zimbabwe's request for capacity building support and basic
materials such as books and IT equipment. Andrew Holroyd, Law Society president, says the Law Society of Zimbabwe is a
vital voice in defence of the rule of law, constitutionalism, the independence
of the judiciary and human rights. 'I cannot be sure that I would be as brave as Beatrice and her colleagues,
but all solicitors will share my determination to do what we can to support our
colleagues in Zimbabwe. Given the speed with which the justice system in
Zimbabwe has collapsed over the space of only a few years the strengthening of
the rule of law is a top priority. The Law Society of Zimbabwe needs our help to
support its stances in defence of the rule of law and Zimbabwe's own legal
constitution.' The Law Society, through its charity, aims to use the money collected to: Beatrice Mtetwa, Law Society president of Zimbabwe, says: 'The Law Society of Zimbabwe has always been an important voice in defence of
the rule of law, constitutionalism, the independence of the judiciary and human
rights. Lawyers in my country have been subjected to threats, intimidation,
arbitrary arrests and detention, false prosecutions, abductions, assaults and
torture in attempting to resist attacks on legal institutions. We appreciate the
help the Law Society is giving us to help protect human rights and legal
standards and agitate for the return to the rule of law in Zimbabwe so that the
country is given a chance to develop.' For more information and to donate please visit www.lawsociety.org.uk. Last month the Law Society hosted a visit from the Law Society president of
Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, to highlight the dramatic deterioration in the rule
of law and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe. Mrs Mtetwa spoke to an audience
of lawyers and human rights activists to launch a report: Self Regulation at
a Crossroads: Attack on Lawyers and Independence of the Legal Profession in
Zimbabwe. The report catalogues the systematic persecution of the legal profession
through threats, surveillance, violence and torture. Most notably, on 8 May 2007
, Beatrice Mtetwa was chased by riot police and severely beaten with baton
sticks. The report highlights the Zimbabwean governments attack on the independence
of the legal profession in the context of a lack of accountability of the state
and a complete breakdown in the rule of law. Finally, the report also makes some
short and long term recommendations for a return to peace, democracy and the
rule of law in Zimbabwe . Download the report (PDF, 973kb) For more information please call Melissa Davis in the Law Society press
office on 020 7320 5811
Today the Law Society of England and Wales has launched an appeal to collect £100,000 by the end of the year to help the Law Society of Zimbabwe maintain its services for lawyers and society in Zimbabwe.
President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, was in London last week to raise awareness of the challenges and threats to their lives that she and her colleagues face on a day to day basis as a result of their commitment to their professional duties as lawyers. This followed a meeting in Nairobi with Andrew Holroyd, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, to discuss the Law Society of Zimbabwe's request for capacity building support and basic materials such as books and IT equipment.
Andrew Holroyd, Law Society president, says the Law Society of Zimbabwe is a vital voice in defence of the rule of law, constitutionalism, the independence of the judiciary and human rights.
'I cannot be sure that I would be as brave as Beatrice and her colleagues, but all solicitors will share my determination to do what we can to support our colleagues in Zimbabwe. Given the speed with which the justice system in Zimbabwe has collapsed over the space of only a few years the strengthening of the rule of law is a top priority. The Law Society of Zimbabwe needs our help to support its stances in defence of the rule of law and Zimbabwe's own legal constitution.'
The Law Society, through its charity, aims to use the money collected to:
Beatrice Mtetwa, Law Society president of Zimbabwe, says:
'The Law Society of Zimbabwe has always been an important voice in defence of the rule of law, constitutionalism, the independence of the judiciary and human rights. Lawyers in my country have been subjected to threats, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detention, false prosecutions, abductions, assaults and torture in attempting to resist attacks on legal institutions. We appreciate the help the Law Society is giving us to help protect human rights and legal standards and agitate for the return to the rule of law in Zimbabwe so that the country is given a chance to develop.'
For more information and to donate please visit www.lawsociety.org.uk.
Last month the Law Society hosted a visit from the Law Society president of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, to highlight the dramatic deterioration in the rule of law and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe. Mrs Mtetwa spoke to an audience of lawyers and human rights activists to launch a report: Self Regulation at a Crossroads: Attack on Lawyers and Independence of the Legal Profession in Zimbabwe.
The report catalogues the systematic persecution of the legal profession through threats, surveillance, violence and torture. Most notably, on 8 May 2007 , Beatrice Mtetwa was chased by riot police and severely beaten with baton sticks.
The report highlights the Zimbabwean governments attack on the independence of the legal profession in the context of a lack of accountability of the state and a complete breakdown in the rule of law. Finally, the report also makes some short and long term recommendations for a return to peace, democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe .
Download the report (PDF, 973kb)
For more information please call Melissa Davis in the Law Society press office on 020 7320 5811
International Herald Tribune
By William Pesek Bloomberg NewsPublished: October 31, 2007
It's rare that a business deal intrigues investors and political scientists
alike. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China's move to buy 20 percent of the
largest African bank is such a transaction.
It's the biggest overseas investment by a Chinese company, in this case the
world's No. 1 bank by market value. ICBC's $5.6 billion purchase of the
Standard Bank Group stake is the largest in South Africa since apartheid
ended in 1994.
Yet there's something even bigger at play here. This is arguably the first
Chinese investment in Africa that doesn't carry a whiff of political
strategy. Nor is it directly related to the desire of China for resources,
which can often help despots more than African households.
ICBC's Standard Bank deal may be the watershed that begins propelling
Chinese designs on Africa from talk to just plain business, and smart
business at that.
"From the regulators' point of view, this kind of diversification is a great
idea," says Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University.
"Chinese banks are too highly concentrated in China and it's not in their
best interest that banks depend exclusively on Chinese growth. That kind of
dependence is highly pro-cyclical and can feed booms and busts."
Standard Bank has offices in 18 African countries, including Nigeria and
Kenya, and 21 other nations like Argentina and Taiwan. The
Johannesburg-based bank has 713 branches in South Africa and 240 throughout
the continent. The deal is a sign that even if the Chinese Communist Party
has strategic reasons for investing in Africa, companies are heading there
for the economic potential.
Until now, the Chinese push in Africa has raised warning flags around the
globe, and rightfully so. To get resources to feed its 11.5 percent economic
growth, China has hopped into bed with some of the most unsavory African
regimes, like those in Sudan and Zimbabwe. That see-no-evil-hear-no-evil
approach is raising eyebrows.
Warren Buffett can deny it all he wants, but it's hard to believe that his
Berkshire Hathaway would have dumped its entire holding of PetroChina, the
biggest Asian oil company, without the public criticism over Chinese support
PetroChina's state-controlled parent is the biggest foreign investor in
Sudan. PetroChina's stock gained more than 11-fold since Buffett first
bought it in 2003. And yet he recently abandoned what he says is "absolutely
a first-class company."
Buffett was under increasing pressure from human rights groups over
accusations that the Sudanese government supports genocide. There was even a
role for the actress Mia Farrow, who helped publicize the worldwide campaign
to dub the games next year as the "Genocide Olympics."
ICBC's stake in Standard Bank comes without that kind of baggage. It's a
state-controlled Chinese bank, making it hard to figure out where politics
end and business begins. Yet the deal shows China is now making bets on the
Standard Bank is gaining access to the fastest-growing major economy and
fattening its capital base. China is getting a foothold into the nascent
African investment banking and insurance industries. It's also a way for
China to use its growing cash piles overseas rather than making fresh
domestic loans that may go bad or fuel inflation.
All this is stellar news for Africa, which usually suffers from the "paradox
of plenty." All too often, inhabitants of resource-rich nations fail to
prosper while corrupt politicians and their cronies get wealthy and ignore
the development needs of the struggling masses.
That has been the African experience for far too long. And the failure of
Western efforts to reverse the dynamic left the region's leaders open to
One interesting element of ICBC's deal is how different it is from the usual
overture from Western banks. It didn't come laden with demands about how
much control ICBC will have over Standard Bank. It didn't require pledges
for financial change. It's merely one bank buying a piece of another with
transparent terms and conditions. It's a sign Chinese managers are willing
to treat Africans as peers.
The West hasn't learned that lesson with its aid programs and lecturing. By
trying a new tack, China may be testing what development economists have
argued for years: Africa doesn't need more aid, it needs more genuine
investment and trade.
Bono and Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs will keep plugging away, and
thank the gods for that. But Chinese companies appear to see something in
Africa many in New York, London and Tokyo don't. Africa represents huge and
lucrative business opportunities if it gets its act together.
That's a big "if." With the exception of Botswana and Ghana, the biggest
consistency in Africa seems to be to pull the rug out from under wide-eyed
investors. Chinese interests are offering Africa a rare opportunity to
improve its economies.
Another interesting angle here concerns investors. Looking at ICBC along
with other Chinese deals of late - like Citic Securities buying a stake in
Bear Stearns - it's clear something transformational is afoot.
In recent years, China sought foreign investments in financial firms to
shore up capital and gain expertise. Now, cash-rich from trade, stock
offerings and rising share prices, China no longer needs Wall Street's
money. Increasingly, it's foreigners who want a cut of Chinese money.
"Getting access to China's market may no longer require putting money in
China," said Brad Setser, director of research at Roubini Global Economics
in New York. "It may instead require accepting investment from China."
China may have just found a way to tame its own pressures and tap Africa
without the baggage of the past.