By Sola Imoru, Wiesbaden, Germany
Published: Monday, 5 Nov 2007
President Umaru Yar'Adua on Sunday condemned the happenings in Zimbabwe,
saying they were against the rule of law.
Yar'Adua said this in Wiesbaden , Germany , at a media interaction to mark
the end of the third Germany/European Partnership with Africa .
He said, "I want to emphasise that what is happening in Zimbabwe is not in
conformity with the rule of law. I do not subscribe to this.
He said attendance should not be an issue at the conference.
He said, "The issue that will be discussed at the EU-AU Summit is
partnership, which is very important, and therefore the success of the
summit should not be hinged on the attendance or non-attendance of the
Zimbabwean president. The attendance of Mugabe should not be made an issue."
He, however, said that that Zimbabwe had a right to be represented at the
European Union/ African Union meeting coming up in Lisbon , Portugal , on
December 8 and 9.
Other Heads of Government who attended the media briefing are the German
President, Horst Kohler; President Thomas Yayi Boni of Republic of Benin, ;
President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique and President Festus Mogae of
It will be recalled that Zimbabwe had been in a face-off with Britain , her
colonial master, over land ownership issue. Zimbabwe had accused Britain of
reneging on an agreement to relinquish land to the indigenes.
This face-off has thrown Zimbabwe into economic chaos as inflation rate is
alleged to be to over 1,000 per cent. The country is faced with collapsed
infrastructure, an impending food crisis, comatose health systems.
The invitation of the country's President, Mr. Robert Mugabe, had generated
a lot of controversies among the EU and Africa nations.It assumed a
worsening dimension on September 20, 2007, when the British Prime Minister,
Gordon Brown, said he would not attend the EU/AU summit if Mugabe was
Yar'Adua differed from Brown, saying the attendance should not be an issue
at the summit and appealed to members not to allow the crisis in Zimbabwe to
impact negatively on the summit.
He said, "There are so many opportunities which will be provided by the
Africa and Europe summit and therefore the Zimbabwean problem should not bog
down these opportunities expected from the summit," he explained.
In a reaction to the possibility of controversy surrounding the Economic
Partnership Agreement between the EU and Africa splitting the ECOWAS block,
Yar'Adua said, "From the ECOWAS bloc, I doubt if there is going to be a
split. We are going as a bloc. We are progressing and whatever decisions or
agreements that we take, we will do so as a block."
Yar'Adua canvassed improved investment partnership between Africa and Europe
in the areas of comprehensive plans for power and railway system.
He said the problems bedevilling the African continent were human problems
and not African problems.
He said there was willingness on the part of African heads of government to
shape globalisation to benefit their countries and their people.
He lauded the German President, Horst Kohler, for the EU/Africa initiative.
He said the third forum had availed the two blocks opportunities to discuss
'frankly and freely the issues of globalisation, conflicts, peace, disease'.
Kohler urged the developed, developing and the least developed countries to
advantage of the opportunities provided by globalisation.
He said, "For Africa, globalisation means economic development,
constitutionality and fighting corruption, among others. Partnership is a
two-way thing. Globalisation has to reduce poverty every where, including
In his own contribution, President Guebuza called for permanent dialogue
among countries. He urged African countries to solve their internal problems
as the partnership could only make sense in an atmosphere of peace.
by Wayne Mafaro Tuesday 06 November 2007
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has turned down an
opposition request for an all-party meeting to discuss voter registration
and demarcation of voting constituencies for next year's polls, ZimOnline
ZEC chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi told the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party that there was no justification to
call a meeting of the multi-party liaison committee because the matters the
opposition was raising were discussed at previous meetings.
"We are of the view that the issues you propose to be discussed are issues
that have already been discussed and for which concerns of the various
stakeholders have been noted," wrote Sekeramayi in an October 29 letter to
the MDC and signed on his behalf by ZEC spokesman Utolile Silaigwana.
The MDC, which says an audit of the voters' roll by the party had unearthed
anomalies on the register, wanted an all-party meeting to discuss civic
education and a publicity campaign to raise voter awareness of an extended
The MDC, that claims some voters displaced during a government slum clearing
campaign were still appearing under their old constituencies, has also
raised concern that a new electoral commission has not been appointed in
line with Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 18.
"We condemn the action by ZEC to refuse to convene an all-party meeting on
the serious issues that have a bearing on election results," said Ian
Makone, director of elections in the main faction of the MDC led by Morgan
There is no love lost between the ZEC and the MDC. The opposition party
often accuses the commission of favouring the ruling ZANU PF party - a
factor that will probably make squabble-free elections in Zimbabwe hard to
achieve even as ZANU PF and the MDC discuss ways to ensure truly democratic
polls next year.
"Since Murambatsvina, the voters' roll has not been updated and for
delimitation of constituencies to proceed under the current roll makes the
whole process a farce," he said.
Operation Murambatsvina is the official name of President Robert Mugabe's
controversial urban clean-up campaign in 2005 that a United Nations envoy
said displaced 750 000 people and indirectly affected another 2.4 million
out of the 12 million Zimbabweans.
Makone said constitutional amendment enacted with backing from the MDC
required that a new commission and not a "sanitised" version of the existing
one be appointed to register voters, demarcate constituencies and oversee
preparations for next year's elections.
He said: "The constitutional amendment provides for a new electoral
commission. A new commission must therefore be appointed instead of
sanitising the existing commission."
Zimbabwe's voters' roll has been in shambles for years with millions of
names of voters who died or left the country to live abroad still appearing
on the register, while thousands more voters have failed to vote in previous
polls either because their names were entered in wrong constituencies or did
not appear at all on the register.
The MDC has in the past accused the government of taking advantage of the
lack of accurate figures on the number of voters to rig polls and of
gerrymandering constituencies to ensure it wins. The government denies
The MDC and ZANU PF are engaged in talks under South African mediation aimed
at resolving Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. A key objective of
the talks is to ensure next year's polls are free and fair. - ZimOnline
by Edith Kaseke
Tuesday 06 November 2007
HARARE - British-based conglomerate Lonrho plans to raise 70 million
sterling pound to invest in Zimbabwe as some analysts urge on the
conglomerate, saying now is the time to snap up cheap assets in the African
country's imploding economy in readiness for when it rebounds.
Several foreign-owned companies have packed their bags in the past seven
years, galled by President Robert Mugabe's controversial policies, including
the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle blacks, which have called into
question Harare's commitment to uphold property rights.
Mugabe has recently ratcheted up pressure against investors by threatening
to nationalise foreign-owned businesses he accuses of plotting with his
Western enemies to bring down his government and externalising foreign
His ruling ZANU-PF party rammed through parliament an empowerment bill which
will place majority shareholding in all foreign-owned companies, including
mines, into the hands of blacks.
But Lonrho chief Geoffrey White seemed unruffled when he said the South
African but London-listed company was poised to invest in Zimbabwe.
"The Zimbabwean economy will recover ... most people accept the fundamental
infrastructure is solid, for instance a good road system and a good
workforce," White told Reuters. "The question is when the upturn will come.
We want to be there and ready to partake in that process."
He would not be drawn to comment on the political brinkmanship of the
Zimbabwe government. "We will work within whatever legal framework there is
in the country of operation. That's what we do across Africa," White said,
appearing to carefully pick his words.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has impoverished
the majority of its citizens and the World Bank rate it as the fastest
contracting economy outside a war zone.
An inflation rate of nearly 8 000 which is the highest in the world, growing
unemployment, shortages of foreign currency, food, fuel, water, electricity
and increasing political tension seem to confirm this.
Economic analysts say despite the grim economic statistics, Zimbabwe would
at some point recover once the current political stalemate dissipates,
giving more reason for investors to position themselves.
"The thinking of Lonrho and other foreign investors who are quietly coming
into Zimbabwe is that they will not be put off by things that will be swept
aside at some point in future," John Robertson, a Harare-based economic
"So there is justification that some day, the situation will improve.
Normally large companies make long term decisions and they can wither the
current problems," he said.
Lonrho was once one of the largest investors in Zimbabwe and traces its
roots to colonial days when it was formed in 1909 as London and Rhodesian
The company rose to greater fame under the stewardship of controversial
tycoon-owner Tiny Rowland who expanded it to spun the agriculture, mining,
tourism, infrastructure, transport and manufacturing sectors.
Now under White's leadership, Lonrho's return is somewhat a romantic affair
but still pales into insignificance when compared to its peak in 1995, when
it operated in 15 sub-Saharan African countries, with approximately 90
Lonrho is hoping to invest primarily in Zimbabwe's infrastructure sector, he
"We are looking at transport, manufacturing, production - sectors that we
believe will recover relatively quickly and strongly," he said. "We were
very big participants in the economy once and we hope to be again."
Lonrho has already bought controlling stakes in Celsys and chemicals
manufacturer Gardosave for US$5.45 million in cash.
Zimbabwe still has good infrastructure, including road networks and sits on
large mineral reserves, including the world's second largest platinum
reserves after South Africa.
"I have no doubt that most of the provisions which inhibit investment will
be changed once a new government comes into power. We will have laws that
respects property rights," Robertson said. - ZimOnline
by Thulani Munda Tuesday 06 November 2007
HARARE - Zimbabwe's tax collector is hamstrung by a shortage of expertise,
costing the country desperately-needed income, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
(ZIMRA) chairman Gibson Mandishona said yesterday.
Mandishona told a parliamentary portfolio committee on public accounts that
the lack of expertise was costing ZIMRA and the country dearly because the
revenue body had not been able to collect taxes from the informal sector
that now accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.
"We lack expertise in customs and taxes and we should devise ways of
collecting taxes from the informal sector," he said.
When told that ZIMRA was surpassing its targets, Mandishona said: "There is
nothing magical about targets as they are revised on a three-month basis. We
should be looking at 10 times higher as we are operating in a
ZIMRA Commissioner General Gershem Pasi told the same committee that staff
exodus at the revenue collection body was affecting the revenue body's
"We have not been able to recruit this year. We have lost 100 workers and
this has impacted on service delivery," Pasi said.
He noted that in the past ZIMRA used to get targets from the Ministry of
Finance every quarter on the amount of revenue they had to collect in taxes
and customs duties.
"This did not happen this year. In the mid-term fiscal policy review, a
target of $29 trillion for the year was set and we are confident that we
will reach that target," Pasi said.
Pasi told the committee that the ongoing restructuring of ZIMRA would pose
"a lot of human resources challenges".
Under the restructuring, ZIMRA would now have two departments responsible
for taxes and customs, respectively, and headed by commissioners. The two
commissioners will report to the commissioner general and the current staff
establishment would have to split into the two departments.
Pasi said currently 93 ZIMRA managers, including himself, were on fixed
ZIMRA was formed in 2001 following the amalgamation of the former
departments of taxes and customs in line with regional trends.
In 2005, the board approved a restructuring that resulted in five
commissioners being appointed to head the organisation.
ZIMRA was last August reported to be broke after it failed to pay workers on
This saw workers going on strike in September, plunging operations at the
country's border posts into chaos and crippling revenue collection for the
cash-starved Harare government.
The workers wanted ZIMRA to hike salaries by 5 000 percent but management
said the revenue collection body could only afford to hike salaries by 200
percent. The Ministry of Finance had to bail out ZIMRA with cash to pay
salary increases. - ZimOnline
by Patricia Mpofu Tuesday 06 November 2007
HARARE - Zimbabwe's hard-pressed millers, battling to survive under
President Robert Mugabe's command economy, have requested for permission
from the government to raise the price of maize-meal by between 177 percent
and 345 percent to avert collapse.
The staple diet for the majority of Zimbabwe's 12 million-plus people,
maize-meal has been in short supply since June when the government directed
producers and manufacturers to slash by half prices of goods and services.
The shortage of the staple diet was further compounded by a poor
harvest during the 2006/07 agricultural season during which only about 800
000 metric tones of grain was delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
against a national annual requirement of about two million metric tonnes.
Documents in possession of ZimOnline show that the Grain Millers
Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) last Tuesday wrote to the National Incomes
and Pricing Commission (NIPC) requesting an immediate maize-meal price
adjustment to keep the sector afloat.
If approved, the request would see the price of a five-kilogramme bag
of roller meal rising by 228 percent from $68 000 currently to $222 765.
The same bag of maize-meal is going for between $500 000 and $1
million on a thriving black market.
"We are submitting this price review application against a background
of high operational costs that have made the current gazetted prices
unviable and as a result left the millers operating in (the) red," GMAZ
chairman Tendai Musarara said in the letter dated 30 October 2007 and was
addressed to NIPC acting chief executive Esau Ndhlovu.
Like all Zimbabwean manufacturers, the millers are battling a hostile
economic environment marked by runaway inflation of nearly 8 000 percent and
shortages of foreign currency and inputs.
Musarara cited the high costs of packaging, labour and transport as
the main reasons behind the request for the urgent price review by the
"Your commission increased the price of packaging material by about
320 percent. In the interim, the current prices are now rendered unviable
and consequently product supply has been reduced drastically. We humbly
suggest that your commission, in future, effect a corresponding increase in
maize-meal when it reviews the packaging prices. Packaging is our biggest
single input cost," said Musarara.
The national employment council for grain millers recently awarded a
wage increase of 562.5 percent, calculated in line with the Poverty Datum
Line (PDL) estimated at $21 million.
The millers boss said while the GMAZ was grateful to NOCZIM for
committing to allocate the sector 30 000 litres of diesel at the official
price of about $78 000 a litre, the allocation only covered less than 25
percent of its members' requirements.
Musarara said the remaining balance of 75 percent was covered by fuel
procured on the open market, which was 1 200 percent higher.
"We are now collecting maize from remote GMB depots and as a result
our transportation costs have more than doubled," he said.
Sources in the milling sector said yesterday the government had not
yet responded to the request.
But the Minister of Industry and International Trade Obert Mpofu said
he was confident the matter would be resolved amicably by the NIPC, which
falls under his ministry.
"The responsible authorities are looking into the matter and I think
an arrangement acceptable to all the parties will be arrived at," said
"What we want is to see the millers producing," he said. - ZimOnline
by Simplisio Chirinda Tuesday 06 November 2007
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government, which has received widespread praise for
slashing the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the country, says it will not
consider handing out condoms in prisons to halt the spread of the disease.
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare last week said Zimbabwe had
registered a decline in the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, a situation the
ministry attributed to behavioural change and increased condom usage.
Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) chief prisons officer and acting public
relations officer, Getrude Musango told ZimOnline in response to written
questions that the government was not considering rolling out condoms for
Musango said it was not government policy to distribute condoms in prisons
adding that the government would rather embark on "HIV and AIDS awareness
programmes to conscientise inmates about the scourge."
"Homosexuality is an offence in Zimbabwe. ZPS would not consider providing
inmates with condoms but would rather embark on more measures to stop
inmates from engaging in these illicit activities," said Musango.
"Zimbabwe Prison Service does not condone homosexuality. The organization
regards it as an offence such that cases are reported to the police
resulting in charges being laid against perpetrators," she added.
Homosexuality, an offence in Zimbabwe, is said to be rife in prisons
resulting in increased HIV infection rates among inmates.
Observers say distributing condoms in prisons would be an acknowledgement by
President Robert Mugabe's government of the prevalence of homosexuality in
Mugabe has in the past described homosexuals as worse than pigs and dogs.
Some inmates have also complained over being sexually assaulted while in
jails resulting in some of them contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
For example, the late notorious armed robber Norman Karimanzira, died in
prison last year after confessing that he was suffering from AIDS.
It was not clear however if Karimanzira contracted the disease in prison or
while he was still outside.
The Zimbabwean government has generally refrained from commenting on the
sexual assaults in prisons.
Zimbabwe last week said the HIV prevalence rate had dropped sharply this
year to 15.6 percent from 18.1 percent the previous year.
The drop has been attributed to vigorous campaigns by the government and
donor agencies focusing on prevention, condom use and reduction of multiple
Zimbabwe, that is also grappling with the world's highest inflation rate of
nearly 8 000 percent, is at the epicenter of an AIDS pandemic that is mowing
down at least 2 500 people every week. - ZimOnline
by Ntando Ncube Tuesday 06 November 2007
JOHANNESBURG - The South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it will
investigate a refugee reception centre in Cape Town after what it described
as the "tragic" death of a Zimbabwean asylum seeker.
Adonis Musati, 24, is believed to have died of hunger after spending two
months sleeping at the Department of Home Affairs refugee centre attempting
to lodge an application for refugee status.
Commission head Jody Kollapen said Musati's death was evidence that there
was a crisis at refugee reception centres across the country.
Kollapen said: "The fact that a man died while waiting for a service is
tragic and is a clear indication that there is a crisis at refugee reception
"We have sympathy for the government because they don't seem to have the
capacity to deal with the large influx of people crossing into the country .
. . the commission is launching an investigation on the centre."
More than a million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living in South Africa
after fleeing home because of political violence and economic hardships.
However, very few are officially recognised as refugees with many regarded
as illegal immigrants.
The death of Musati comes weeks after Parliament's portfolio committee on
home affairs castigated management at the Cape Town centre for poor
The official opposition Democratic Alliance party has also said it will
probe the Cape Town centre after reports that refugees were being subjected
to severe hardships there.
Portfolio committee chairman Patrick Chauke described the Zimbabwean refugee's
death as an "embarrassment" that he said portrayed South Africa as uncaring
of the plight of its neighbours.
He said: "This is an embarrassment for our country. We are portrayed as not
being able to help our neighbours. This is not good, but we are trying our
best to process the paperwork for all refugees as effectively and
efficiently as possible." - ZimOnline
By Carole Gombakomba
05 November 2007
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change says that the country's
electoral commission needs to be replaced under the constitutional amendment
just signed by President Robert Mugabe, as it cannot claim to be truly
The ruling party and opposition agreed in negotiations for a constitutional
amendment which President Mugabe signed into law last week that an
independent electoral panel should be constituted to oversee the elections
coming up next year.
However, this was not spelled out in the amendment legislation and to date
remains to be carried out as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is now
proceeding with various preparations for elections, including the
delimitation of new constituencies.
The government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper quoted ZEC Chairman George
Chiweshe as saying the commission is independent as "the constitution says
we shall not be under anyone's influence, that is exactly what we will
But opposition officials reject the notion that the ZEC, named by President
Mugabe, could be as independent as a panel named by parliament and all
Meanwhile, the new Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, which is expected to bear
upon the operations of the electoral commission, has yet to be officially
Elections Director Ian Makone of the MDC faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, told
reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that a new
commission which respects the spirit of the Pretoria-negotiated accords must
Elections Director Paul Themba Nyathi of the Arthur Mutambara opposition
faction says the electoral commission is still operating legally, but adds
that it should not take any major steps until the legislation enabling the
amendment is in place.
From a legal standpoint, Jacob Mafume, lawyer and national coordinator of
the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said that in the absence of enabling
legislation to alter the composition and operations of the present
commission, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is currently operating within
the bounds of the law.
By Blessing Zulu
05 November 2007
The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction
led by Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday dismissed media reports it is headed for
a split amid an acrimonious dispute over the dissolution of its women's
assembly last month.
Party leaders agreed to suspend the matter Saturday until Acting Chairman
Lovemore Moyo reports on the circumstances surround an extraordinary women's
congress held Oct. 27 in Bulawayo. The congress ousted Lucia Matibenga as
chairwoman following dissolution of her women's assembly executive earlier
in the month, and elected Theresa Makone the new chairwoman of the assembly.
However, Matibenga and others have challenged the legitimacy of the
congress, as a separate congress was held the same day at another location
by her supporters.
Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Blessing Zulu of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the formation is still a united political
The Movement for Democratic Change split into two factions - that led by
Tsvangirai and that now headed by Arthur Mutambara - in October 2005 over
whether to contest elections that November for the senate just reconstituted
by the ruling party.
SW Radio Africa (London)
5 November 2007
Posted to the web 5 November 2007
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has deferred making a decision on the
ouster of women's assembly chairperson Lucia Matibenga, instead choosing to
wait for a report from National Chairman Lovemore Moyo.
A crunch meeting of the National Executive met through Saturday and Sunday
to discuss several issues, including the controversial dissolution of the
women's assembly. On Monday party spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel it
was wishful thinking on the part of those suggesting the party would split
up over the Matibenga issue. He says despite their differences, delegates
all acknowledged they were part of one family and would not allow side shows
to detract from the crisis facing the country.
The MDC resolved to give Moyo an opportunity to report on the parallel
congresses that took place in Bulawayo and elected both Matibenga and her
rival Theresa Makone to the same position. 'Media reports of cracks within
the MDC represent the fanciful delusions of the regime and its surrogates
who are working overtime to plot and sponsor confusion within the democratic
movement,' Chamisa said in a statement. He said the MDC would not be swayed
by unnecessary sideshows that divert attention from the real issues. 'The
MDC has never preoccupied itself with individuals but with issues. We are a
united family of democrats and we have openly debated our issues. This
frankness and open debate has kept alive the internal democracy that we will
continue to nurture and protect,' he added.
Chamisa dismissed rumours there was disharmony in the party over the manner
in which talks with Zanu PF were being handled, adding this was being
promoted by people with a 'death wish' for the party. The weekend meeting
however attracted intense media scrutiny, given Matibenga was barred from
attending. Her rival Makone was also asked to leave the meeting, although
slightly late into proceedings, when the discussion turned to the women's
executive. Despite conflicting accounts of what happened, the delegates seem
to have failed to reach consensus on Matibenga's ouster. Sources in the
party say a middle of the road compromise is being worked out that will not
embarrass either side of the divide and more time was needed to secure
agreement on this.
By Blessing Zulu
05 November 2007
Leaders of Zimbabwe's major parties including President Robert Mugabe, who
heads the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, and
faction leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change have officially
received copies of a draft constitution put together by their negotiators in
South African-mediated crisis talks.
Sources said ZANU-PF negotiators are tacitly calling for a government of
national unity, but MDC negotiators want to see the country shift away from
the executive presidency to a traditional parliamentary model with a prime
Ruling party and opposition sources said that the draft constitution would
only limit the president to two five-year terms and also features a
U.S.-style bill of rights.
Despite these developments, there is concern in some quarters that the
question of Western sanctions could derail the crisis resolution process.
Ruling party negotiators insist the MDC must lobby the U.S. and other
nations to lift their targeted sanctions.
Opposition negotiators say they are not in a position to do this, but
sources said that a compromise might be reached whereby South Africa and
Zimbabwe's opposition might convince the Western nations imposing sanctions
on President Mugabe and his inner circle to lift them temporarily to keep
the crisis-resolution process on track.
Negotiators this week are also to take up the precise date for next year's
The opposition is calling for the local, general and presidential ballots to
be pushed off if the accords reached in Pretoria cannot be implemented in
time for the elections to be held in March as proposed by the ruling party
and President Mugabe.
Senior Researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute for Security Studies in
South Africa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
he considers the compromise draft constitution to be a step in the right
5 November 2007
Vatican City, 5 November 2007 - Over four million people in
Zimbabwe will face critically low levels of staple foods by early next year
unless they receive the necessary food aid to survive over the next six
The Caritas Confederation, the second largest aid network in the
world, will be scaling up its operations to provide food for over 100,000
people until April 2008. Caritas will also help 16,500 families with
agricultural and irrigation support in planting for the next harvest.
Caritas has launched an appeal for US $7 million for Zimbabwe.
Families in rural parts Zimbabwe have produced only 50kg of
maize for the year. Child malnutrition rates have doubled to 12 percent
since November 2006. Urban areas are also under threat with 80 percent
unemployment and 8000 percent inflation making basic food too expensive to
buy for many.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley Anne Knight
said, "The people of Zimbabwe are suffering. Harvests have failed as a
result of poor rainfall and unsuccessful land reforms. The shops lie empty
as the economic crisis worsens. The national health, education and
agricultural services have collapsed. Zimbabweans who can are fleeing the
tragedy that the country has become."
The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has blamed the Government led by
President Robert Mugabe for overseeing the economic and social collapse, for
violating the freedom and fundamental rights of the people, and for failing
to tackle rampant corruption.
Lesley Anne Knight said, "Unless the international community
fills the shortfall in food, Zimbabwe faces a humanitarian crisis. The
Zimbabwe government must ensure this food aid gets through to the people who
need it most. The government there must also ensure it puts the policies in
place, including political reforms, to ensure that a country which in the
past was regarded as the regional breadbasket, can once more feed itself."
The country has had a series of poor harvests due to droughts
and as a result of a poorly implemented land reform process that has left
many new farmers unable to use their land. Zimbabwe produced 40 percent less
food this year than the year before.
Although Zimbabwe is set to import food, even taking into
account their projected imports, there is still a 10 percent gap in the food
At the same time, the economic crisis in Zimbabwe has reduced
the ability of the government to deliver health, education, and agricultural
support services. The situation has been worsened by a polarised political
environment leaving well-established government structures unable to meet
the needs of the people.
The full impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe, with
prevalence rates of over 20% in the age group 19-29 years, has severally
weakened people's capacity to cope in times of need, and life expectancy in
Zimbabwe is now estimated at less than 40 years for both men and women.
Please contact Patrick Nicholson on 0039 06 69879725 or 0039
3343590700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A highlight of the Vigil - and it certainly was high -- was a visit by a
group of wonderful stilt walkers. They had been supporting a demonstration
in support of the National Health Service in nearby Trafalgar Square and
stalked by in their colourful costumes. They were very willing to sign our
petitions but couldn't stand still long enough to do so.
We were joined by a couple from South Africa who talked with great emotion
about how family members were killed (including the pregnant wife) when
their farm was invaded. They took considerable video footage of the Vigil
and were hoping to get some publicity for us in the South African media.
They have taken our contact details and will let us know.
Despite a meeting on Zimbabwe organised by Action for Southern Africa
(ACTSA) nearby we had very good attendance today including Judith Todd. She
was so supportive and encouraging and we were delighted she took the time to
be with us again despite her busy schedule. She is to give the Cambridge
Commonwealth Lecture "Zimbabwe - a troubled past and present: a challenge
for the Commonwealth" on Tuesday, 6th November at 6 pm in the McCrum Lecture
Theatre, Corpus Christi College.
Talking about the Commonwealth: several African newspapers have carried a
story that we are presenting our petition to the Commonwealth. (See Vigil
Diary: 13 and 20 October). We hadn't actually thought of this so thanks for
the idea. The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting is being held in
Kampala from 23 - 25 November and we are writing immediately to the
organisation's Secretary- General, Don McKinnon of Australia. He will
remember his old friend Robert Mugabe for his insults after Zimbabwe stomped
out of the Commonwealth four years ago.
A message from the front desk which deals with the public: they are so
impressed by Patson's sons Wilfred and David and the other children. They
say they are responsive and helpful to everyone who passes by the Vigil and
give a really good impression. We are proud of them.
For this week's Vigil pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 102 signed the register. Supporters from Becontree, Bedford,
Birmingham, Bournemouth, Crawley, Darlington, Glasgow, Ilford, Kettering,
Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Northampton,
Oxford, Reading, Romford, Sheffield, Sittingbourne, Slough, Southampton,
Southend, Tunbridge Wells, Watford, Worthing and many from London and
FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 5th November 2007, 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe
Forum. The Forum will show a DVD produced by Solidarity Peace Trust entitled
A Criminal State. The video graphically traces how the riot police beat
Morgan Tsvangirai, Sekai Holland, Grace Kwinjeh and killed Gift Tandare at
the Save Zimbabwe prayer meeting in Highfield. Activists are to report back
on assignments to do with current campaigns. CHANGE OF VENUE: Strand
Continental Hotel (first floor, main bar), 143 The Strand WC2R 15A. From the
Vigil, a 10-minute walk along the Strand away from Trafalgar Square after
Waterloo Bridge but before Somerset House. Nearest underground: Temple
(District and Circle lines) and Holborn (Piccadilly and Central lines).
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
SW Radio Africa (London)
5 November 2007
Posted to the web 5 November 2007
Power failures have persisted across the country and have now spread from
Harare to smaller towns, with many of the few remaining businesses being
forced to shut down because of the outages.
Serious blackouts that have been experienced in Harare for the past two
months have now extended to other urban centres where residents are
receiving power for as little as two hours a day, if at all. This has forced
some key essential service providers such as hospitals and banks to close,
as they cannot function without power.
It's reported that most clinics and hospitals, that are usually spared power
cuts, have been running standby generators for over a week and are fast
running out of fuel.
A Masvingo clergyman, Reverend Onismo Goronga, says even the church has been
severely affected by the power woes.
He said: "Here (in Masvingo), we have been quite blessed until lately when
we are receiving two hours of power, between 3AM and 5AM each day. The whole
crisis has brought up a change of pattern to our day-to-day lives.
"Its hard for us to do services on Sundays as we need power for our public
address systems. At home, we have to do all the ironing, the mobile phone
recharging, cooking and much more in a space of two hours in the early
morning hours. Both industry and our social lifestyle will soon collapse if
government fails to rectify the electricity problem."
The government is reeling under a massive unpaid electricity bill to
neighbours South Africa and Mozambique. Mozambique last month cut off
electricity supplies to the country until Zimbabwe pays off its debts.
November 05, 2007 01:48 PM
By Torby Chimhashu
OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai is fighting for his political life
after his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's national executive
council humiliated him by refusing to endorse the election of Theresa Makone
as the new head of the women's assembly.
Tsvangirai had pulled all stops ahead of Saturday's meeting. He met
provincial officials and his party's parliamentary caucus in the vain hope
to secure endorsement for Makone, whose husband, Ian, is one of Tsvangirai's
top advisers and financiers.
Makone was controversially elected as the head of the women's assembly
after the ouster of Lucia Matibenga, who commands widespread support in the
trade-union backed party.
Matibenga's supporters said her ouster was "unconstitutional" and
accused Tsvangirai of failing to uphold the party's internal procedures.
Tsvangirai had tried to whiz through Makone's "election" in his
presidential report, telling party officials that the matter was now "water
under the bridge". But he came out a cropper against officials who insisted
on a full debate since the item was on the agenda.
In a dramatic moment, Makone was asked to leave the meeting in a clear
message that the national council did not recognise her election. Matibenga,
who had indicated she would attend, was asked to stay away.
Several senior MDC officials took turns to attack the process that
secured Makone's "election", itself a damning condemnation of Tsvangirai,
who has staked his political career on the risky move to dump Matibenga for
one of his friends.
Exactly two years ago, in October 2005, Tsvangirai suffered another
humiliation when the national council voted to participate in senate
elections due later that year despite his opposition.
Tsvangirai later prevailed when he vetoed his national council,
leading to half the party's MPs leaving to form another MDC faction. The
party has never fully recovered its lustre.
At Saturday's meeting, national executive council officials heard
allegations that Makone, who was elected at a Bulawayo restaurant owned by
Tsvangirai's deputy, Thokozani Khupe, had splashed thousands of scarce South
African rands to senior party officials in all provinces in a bid to secure
The Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) and the Feminist Political
Education Project (FePEP), who observed the 'elections', said: "The entire
electoral process of the MDC (Tsvangirai) Women's Assembly was severely
flawed and could not have constituted a legitimate process in terms of the
MDC's internal party procedures, basic electoral norms and the SADC
guidelines regarding elections.
"Some provincial chairpersons and district chairpersons had been given
sums of between Z$40 to Z$60 million, cell phones and taken on shopping
trips to South Africa."
Nelson Chamisa, the party's spokesman, emerged as a surprise opponent
of Matibenga's ouster during the meeting. Chamisa was joined in this by
former Harare mayor, Elias Mudzuri, deputy secretary general Tapiwa
Mashakada, Kwekwe MP Blessing Chebundo and Thamsanqa Mahlangu, the youth
Several other senior officials have thrown their weight behind the
'Friends of Lucia Campaign' which has been a rallying point for Matibenga's
Following the tension-filled deliberations, the national council
agreed to reopen debate on Makone's "election" on November 11, when the
national chairman Lovemore Moyo would be available.
Moyo missed Saturday's meeting as he is in South Africa, where the MDC
is involved in talks with the Zanu PF to find a political solution to the
country's economic crisis and set ground rules for next year's general
Chamisa said in a sparsely-detailed statement: "We resolved to put the
issue about the women's assembly aside and wait for the report from the
national chairman, Mr Moyo, who was not at the meeting as he is engaged in
the Mbeki-led initiative.
"The national chairman will compile a report about what happened in
Bulawayo regarding the women's assembly and we expect that report in a few
"However, there is consensus on the way forward and the party will
soon make its position known to the public."
Tsvangirai has led the MDC since its formation in 1999. After the
split of October 12, 2005, and the latest schism, many observers say
Tsvangirai is now ripe for internal challenges for power, with a possibility
of senior figures deserting him to form a new political grouping which might
attract cross-party backing
SW Radio Africa (London)
5 November 2007
Posted to the web 5 November 2007
The much-hyped performance by Jamaica reggae star Luciano on Sunday failed
to live up to it's billing, as poor organisation and low crowd attendance
marred the show.
Luciano drew media attention last week upon his arrival in Harare when he
applauded Mugabe's chaotic land seizures. His show, organised by the
government in a vain attempt to spruce up the country's battered image, was
thrown into doubt after most of his band members were denied transit visas
by the British authorities. He was then forced to opt for the backing of the
local reggae band, Transit Crew.
According to fans the support of the government dampened Luciano's appeal
and he suffered the same fate other pro-Zanu PF artists have suffered. In
recent years top musicians such as Andy Brown, the late Simon Chimbetu and
Cde Chinx also had their fans shun them after they publicly supported the
"Luciano's political statements won him few fans amongst the neutrals that
may have wanted to just go out and have fun," said fan Albert Mthembo.
"The obvious fact is that most reggae fans in the country are youths from
the locations who can identify with its messages of social equality, and
they could not afford the gate fee hence the poor attendance. The Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority who organised it poorly marketed the concert. The show was
a flop," Mthembo added.
An estimated 2000 people attended the show at the 10 000 capacity City
Sports Centre which ZTA boss Karikoga Kaseke had chosen in anticipation of a
huge crowd. Some revellers returned home when they were told to park outside
the Harare Agricultural Show grounds, some distance from the venue and prone
to car thieves.
November 05 2007 at 01:26PM
By Lavern de Vries
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is to launch an investigation into
the death of a Zimbabwean refugee who died outside the home affairs offices
on Friday, reportedly of starvation.
Fellow refugees said the man, Adonis Musati, had spent the past two
months sleeping on the pavement outside the department's Foreshore office in
the hope of obtaining asylum documents.
A lack of money and an overwhelming fear he would lose his place in
the lengthy queues led to him not eating for two weeks, they said.
"He approached some construction workers opposite the department. They
offered him a loaf of dry bread. He ate it and later died," said a refugee.
Musati's death was evidence that the situation at home affairs had
reached crisis proportions, said HRC chairperson Jody Kollapen.
"We have sympathy for the government because they don't seem to have
the capacity to deal with the large influx of people crossing into the
country, but the fact that a man died while waiting for a service is
tragic," he said.
Kollapen said the government needed to find alternative measures to
address the problem.
"They might consider using expertise in other government departments
to process applications to ensure that someone doesn't die while waiting to
According to Patrick Chauke, head of Parliament's home affairs
portfolio committee, the department's director general was in the process of
refining a new system aimed at the speedier assistance of asylum seekers.
"This is an urgent need that has to be taken seriously. One man has
already died and if we don't address the challenge of helping asylum
seekers, many more will die.
"This is an embarrassment for our country we are portrayed as not
being able to help our neighbours," Chauke said.
The deadline for the provisional system is not yet known.
The results of Musati's post mortem will be made available later
today. Police are in the process of identifying him and his next of kin to
ensure his body is returned home.
A memorial service will be held for Musati on Thursday evening outside
the home affairs department.
Musati's death follows the manhandling of another refugee after a
peaceful sit-in on Thursday by refugees who refused to leave the offices as
they had not been served, despite waiting seven hours.
Braam Hanekom and an-other member of the refugee advocacy group People
Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) were
arrested during the incident.
.. Those interested in assisting the refugees with food can contact
Hanekom at braam@ passop.co.za
This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Argus on
November 05, 2007
Mon 5 Nov 2007, 10:11 GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Industrial Commodities Holdings
(Pty) Ltd has ordered 13,000 tonnes of white maize from Zambia, its chief
executive said on Monday.
Fanie Steyn told Reuters 7,000 tonnes of the order was sold to the United
Nation's World Food Programme (WFP) and bound for Zimbabwe. The rest was
destined for South African clients, he said.
The stock is yet to arrive due to talks over price, he said. He said there
was a possibility of more imports from Zambia, but gave no idea of the size
"Negotiations have been going on for months. We ordered it two weeks ago,"
Another industry source had told Reuters over 100,000 tonnes of white maize
imports were bound for South Africa by May next year, as the country faces a
1 million tonne harvest deficit.
He said 1,000 tonnes had already crossed the border in recent weeks,
suggesting that locals were seeking out cheaper maize from countries like
Zambia, in order to escape soaring prices on the South African Futures
However, Steyn suggested that price may not be the only reason.
"It's not necessarily (about) price. It's logistics and location," he said
but hinted that finding maize free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
might also be behind the imports.
South Africa is one of the only African countries that produces GMO maize,
arguing that these crops have the potential to protect it from frequent
Maize prices topped 2,000 rand earlier this year as the market contemplated
the chances of a maize shortage. South Africa is forecast to have produced
6.9 million tonnes this past 2006/07 season, versus demand of 8 million
Blogger News Network
November 5th, 2007 by Peter Davies
Imagine living in a place where the electricity supply is so erratic that
you have to cook your food over a primitive, open wood fire in the back
yard. What little fresh meat and dairy produce there is, goes rotten
because (of course) refrigeration won't work without power, and there's no
hot water. According to Cathy Buckle, they had just 35 minutes of
electricity in a period of 38 hours last week. Zimbabweans have to rely on
candles to see after dark - if they can get them.
Meanwhile, has the Zanu PF politburo forced Mugabe, and his mad ministers of
state to drop their plans to "purge" the few remaining white farmers from
their land in Zimbabwe? AllAfrica.com reports that the Marxist State's
".decision-making body, the politburo, last week rejected a land reform
report that proposed a further purging of the few remaining white farmers".
The report continues, "Politburo members argued that the eviction of more
farmers would bring the economy to its knees because they were the ones
providing the little supplies that were still trickling onto the market.
They further argued that the report was driven by nothing other than racism
since swathes of land were lying idle following the emotive fast-track land
Words that make sense indeed. Well, Mugabe needs the politburo right now,
as he prepares for re-election next March, so he seems to have quietly
dropped this latest outrage. I doubt it signals a general reform of Mugabe's
An interesting insight into efforts being made to remove Mugabe from power
in Zimbabwe emerged through a report carried in the Zimbabwe Independent.
This business weekly claims, quoting "impeccable sources", that Mugabe
"rejected overtures by former South African president Nelson Mandela and
other international statesmen for him to retire ahead of next year's
elections to avoid further deterioration of the economy". Apparently Nelson
Mandela is patron of a group funded by British business billionaire, Richard
Branson. Called "Global Elders", members include ex UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan and former US President Jimmy Carter. When Mandela's approach
was rejected by Mugabe, the group asked Kofi Annan to make a second
approach - that was also rejected.
Last week, I promised to provide a contact for people who want to help
struggling pensioners in Zimbabwe. The Charity I have received the best
reports on is SOAP (an acronym for "Supporting Old Age Pensioners.") They
distribute parcels of food, and other basics to hundreds of pensioners
trapped in Zimbabwe. Because of shortages of food and other basics in
Zimbabwe, I understand that most of the goods are now sourced from South
Africa. People who would like to make a contribution can contact Patricia
Williams by email email@example.com, who is based in the UK and works
closely with SOAP. (I have deliberately not included any direct Zimbabwe
contact for fear that my anti-Mugabe articles may compromise the good work
the charity is doing.)
Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part
in the capture and interrogation of terrorists. Davies' novel, Scatterlings
of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia's war on terror,
and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now
Zimbabwe) and its people.
Monday, November 5th, 2007
Mount Pleasant, Harare-Innocent Matshe is the chairman of the Economics
department at the University of Zimbabwe. To him, I am Alex, a Canadian
sociology student. Whether he believes this or not I don't know, but he
accepts my unannounced visit with relaxed good humour and ushers me into his
"In order to understand Zimbabwe's current situation," he says, "you need to
know about three things."
First, about the IMF's "structural adjustment" requirements of the early
nineties, which decimated social spending across the board and whose only
measurable outcome was a massive rise in foreign debt.
Second, about the protest march led by Zimbabwe's former freedom fighters on
President Mugabe's Statehouse in 1997. Mugabe, who derives most of his
popularity from his credentials as a freedom fighter, was panicked by the
protest, and made a spontaneous, unbudgeted payout to the country's
50,000-plus guerillas of over $5,000 each.
"In a country with a population of thirteen million, that's a crippling
portion of the national purse," says Matshe. "The next day-Black
Friday-Zimbabwe's dollar lost 71% of its value against the greenback."
And thirdly, about Zimbabwe's entry in 1998 into the Democratic Republic of
Congo's civil war, an adventure "which to this day no one knows the precise
Together, these three factors brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy
on the eve of the presidential elections in 2000.
"But they were as nothing compared to what came next," Matshe continues.
Facing the distinct possibility of defeat at the polls, Mugabe instigated
his now-famous land reforms which reduced the number of white farmers in
Zimbabwe from around 4,000 to 300. "Everything went haywire."
Elsewhere on this campus of crumbling stone buildings, brown lawns and
purple jacaranda trees, Jubilee and Agreement feel otherwise. The two
English students have a more favourable view of the government, citing their
nation's woes as the result of "disagreements with the West."
An examination questions are posted on the bulletin board outside their
"The poets in Mabvumira Enhetembo (1969) pursued apolitical issues because
the viciousness of the colonial system allowed them no leverage to address
issues that had to do with the liberation and emancipation of African
In a shaded alcove beside the Crop Science building, a group of students
tells me everyone knows who's going to win the next election in March.
"It's obvious. They control everything-there's no point even in voting."
"What?" exclaims another. "If you don't vote, how can you complain?"
A brief debate ensues about the merits of participating in a rigged
On the issue of why Zimbabwe is so breathtakingly broke, however, everyone
agrees. "The government," they cry, almost in unison, in the tone of voice
you'd use to address a child or a simpleton.
There is little love lost here for the current regime, but few ideas about
how to change it.
"Last July we organized a small demonstration outside student housing to
protest tuition increases. The police came with teargas-"
"You have to admit, the protestors themselves were a little violent."
"All protests are violent!"
"Anyway, now we've all been kicked out of our residence. The only people
allowed to stay there are foreign students."
"So what's it like in Canada?"
"Canada's good," I tell them.
"Can you get a job when you graduate?"
"Maybe not the exact one you're looking for. But yes."
"How much do clothes cost?"
"These pants were forty dollars."
"Forty dollars! American?" That is a doctor's monthly wage in Zimbabwe.
"What is the AIDS rate?"
"I don't know-less than one percent."
"Oh my god! Ladies, are you interested or what?" says a young man, gesturing
at me to the girls.
My turn again. Don't you feel a touch nervous talking to a foreigner about
politics? I ask.
"Why should we? We can talk to whoever we like."
"Besides, you're just a student like us."
"What do you want to do after you graduate?"
"Leave the country."
"But it's hard if you don't have any family outside Zimbabwe, or a lot of
"Why don't you sneak across the border?"
"That's for unskilled workers. For us, there's no point."
"If you have an education, there's no way you can get a decent job without
working papers. We don't want to clean toilets."
"It's not like we want to leave. We love Zimbabwe, you know? Despite
"But everyone who can is leaving. Everyone!"
The students of Crop Science have one remaining professor in their
By Arno Kopecky
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 3 November
Mail & Guardian reporter
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC were the "closest
they have been" to reaching an agreement over key sections of a new
constitution this week, but rowed over Western sanctions and presidential
term limits. Officials on both sides involved in the talks, mediated by
President Thabo Mbeki, report that they have agreed to a set of reforms,
further to electoral changes agreed in September, which would form the basis
for a new constitution by next year. "This is the closest we have ever been
since the talks began [in April]," one senior Zimbabwe government official
said. "The talks have in fact gone on a lot smoother and faster than
initially envisaged. But there is some work to be done yet." Mbeki has been
eager to help the two sides stitch up some sort of deal by the end of this
month, allowing both parties to go into elections next March with no
grievances. There has been controversy over charges by the MDC that Zanu PF
is on a fresh campaign of violence against opposition activists. Elements
within the MDC are using the charges to press for a boycott of polls, but
President Robert Mugabe has called the threats "amateurish". But it now
appears the parties could be close to some agreement on the key issues of
security and media laws. It is understood that a proposal is being discussed
to soften the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa)
and the Broadcasting Services Act, laws which media activists and the
opposition say severely restrict civil liberties. Aippa places harsh
restrictions on the media, including severe prison sentences for
journalists, while strict broadcasting laws have maintained a state monopoly
over the airwaves for 27 years.
However, an outright deal may yet be held back by sharp differences over MDC
proposals to limit the president to two five-year terms. Zimbabwe's current
constitution places no restrictions on the number of terms a leader can
serve. But even as representatives of the two sides were inching towards a
deal in South Africa, it was the internal events in their respective parties
back home that grabbed the headlines. While Mugabe celebrated victory over
his internal rivals and consolidated his hold on Zanu PF, Tsvangirai was
swamped by renewed conflict in the MDC and was battling to secure his
position. Mugabe has now managed to ensure that he will not have to stand
for re-election at an extraordinary Zanu PF congress, originally called to
choose a fresh party leader ahead of elections next March. But by following
a twin strategy of sending his supporters on street marches while, behind
closed doors, arm-twisting his senior officials to approve an agenda for the
Zanu PF congress that does not include election of a new president, Mugabe
is now secure in power. Instead, it is his deputy and leader of a rival
faction, Joice Mujuru, who suddenly finds her own future insecure. Mugabe
last week pressed his senior politburo into announcing that there was no
requirement for him to seek a fresh mandate as Zanu PF leader, as he was
elected at the last congress in 2004. Although Mujuru was also elected then,
her post will be contested. But just as Mugabe entrenched his position,
Tsvangirai's leadership was shaken after he sacked the popular head of his
party's women's league, overruling a recommendation from his senior
executive backing her. Her sacking has spawned violent clashes among
supporters, a throwback to clashes two years ago that led the MDC to split
into two factions over its strategy on elections. Supporters fear a further
split of the Tsvangirai faction.
Comment from The Cape Times (SA), 5 November
The stage is being set for what European and African leaders hope is a
controlled explosion at the second European Union-Africa summit in Lisbon on
December 8 and 9. The meeting has been postponed for four years because the
Europeans refused to waive their travel ban on Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe to allow him to attend. African leaders refused to attend unless
Mugabe was allowed to. So the summit did not happen. But now the EU has
relented. Fearful that the wider inter-continental relationship has been
hijacked by the Zimbabwe dispute, they are now prepared to admit Mugabe.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and perhaps one or two other EU leaders
won't be there, but probably not enough to scupper the summit.
The EU view now is that Mugabe should attend the summit to hear for himself
the criticism of his gross misgovernance. However, it would rather defeat
the object if Zimbabwe were to completely dominate the summit, to the
exclusion of the many issues which the Europeans want to discuss, such as
illegal immigration and terrorism. So they are hoping to contain the
Zimbabwe question. According to a European official, the Zimbabwe issue is
already being scripted. The European leaders will soon draw straws to see
who will attack Mugabe at the summit. The African leaders have agreed, this
official said, that the EU has to do that. They have also pointed out they
cannot possibly endorse the attack. So, EU leader X will castigate Mugabe,
Mugabe will presumably explode and accuse the Europeans of being
neo-colonial, homosexual, bedwetters etc, a few African leaders will give a
pro forma response agreeing with him in more congenial terms, and the
discussion will move to higher pursuits.
As long as everyone - presumably excluding Mugabe - has read the script and
practised his or her lines, it shouldn't degenerate into a dog fight. Which
is not entirely satisfactory. Yes, there are other issues which Africa and
Europe need to discuss. But none is as important as the principles
underlying the Zimbabwe issue. The way Mugabe has trampled on the rule of
law, the constitution, and good political and economic governance,
encapsulates what is most desperately wrong on this continent. All the other
agenda items are secondary. Perhaps the EU leaders will agree to a more
accommodating policy towards immigrants from Africa, for example. Yet the
truth is that it is leaders such as Mugabe who stampede their people into
Europe by making home so inhospitable. It is astonishing how this one man
has had two continents dancing to his perverse tune for so long. Even in
that playground of egoists called politics, he stands out. Perhaps most
maddeningly, after systematically destroying the opposition for seven years,
he now seems to be agreeing to some partial reforms which will probably
enable him to win an election with barely any explicit cheating.
If the African leaders had a real commitment to the democratic values they
espouse, they could advance the cause of this continent dramatically in
Lisbon. Imagine if, at that dramatic moment when Mugabe has responded to the
EU attack and turns, appealingly, to his peers for moral support, they were
to throw away the agreed script and pick up Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
instead. And, one by one, put the knife into Mugabe. Within their narrow
perspectives, the African leaders undoubtedly believe that they would then
be striking a mortal blow against Africa. In fact, if they were able to take
a step back and view this continent from a global perspective, they would
see instead that they would be striking the most spectacular blow anyone
could ever strike for the continent. In one vivid, political bloodbath,
broadcast around the world, they would dramatically demonstrate to their
global detractors that the new Africa has arrived and has no tolerance for
brutal dictators. Et tu, Thabo?
HONG KONG, Nov. 5
Column: Military Might
China has been promoting arms-for-oil deals with Africa as the continent is
becoming one of its major sources of oil. Since last year, top Chinese
leaders and military officers have made frequent visits to Africa. And at
the Zhuhai Air Show under way this week in southern China's Guangdong
province, military delegations from African countries including Sudan,
Angola and Zimbabwe have made frequent appearances.
In 2005, Angola exported to China nearly 17.5 million tons of crude oil,
becoming China's second largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia. Oil from
Angola makes up nearly 14 percent of China's annual oil imports, valued at
US$6.58 billion. In the months of January and February last year, Angola
surpassed Saudi Arabia to become China's largest supplier of crude oil,
providing 456,000 barrels per day.
China's influence in Angola is becoming increasingly noticeable. The
residences of many of the country's top leaders were built by Chinese
workers. In June last year, China Petrochemical Corporation, the SINOPEC
Group, signed a US$1.4 billion deal with the Angolan Sonangol Company to
develop new oilfields. China also offered Angola a loan of US$3 billion to
help rebuild its economic infrastructure, destroyed by years of civil war.
At the Zhuhai Air Show, which opened last Thursday, military delegations
from Angola and Sudan were allowed to make very careful examinations of FC-1
fighters and K-8 trainer aircraft. Angola and Ethiopia were the first
African countries to receive Su-27 SK fighters; Angola has ordered eight.
It can be predicted that revenues from oil exports could make Angola one
of the most prosperous countries in the region. With respect to the
traditional influence of Russia in this country, it would be comparatively
more difficult for Chinese arms to enter this market in large batches.
However, through an arms-for-oil deal, it is possible that Angola may resume
importing weapons systems from China, particularly light weapons.
Sudan's armed forces have the strongest Chinese color in the region.
From its military trucks to T-62 light tanks and F-7 fighters, they are all
Chinese products. Sudan has also expressed an interest in purchasing 12 FC-1
fighters; the technical details of the deal are currently under negotiation.
In 1996, Sudan purchased 6 F-7M fighters from China, and another two Y-8
transport aircraft are also in service.
Other Chinese weapons currently in service in the Sudanese forces
include Type 54 122-mm howitzers, Type 59-I 130-mm cannons, Type 81 122-mm
rocket guns, Type 59 57-mm air-defense guns, mortars of different calibers,
eight J-6 fighters and a number of J-7 fighters.
In 2005, Sudan exported to China 6.6 million tons of crude oil, about
5.2 percent of China's total oil imports in that year. China has a 40
percent stake in Sudan's largest international oil consortium.
As Africa's largest oil producer, Nigeria is a target country for
China's friendly relations drive. In 2005, Nigeria exported 1.3 million tons
of oil to China, which made up 1 percent of China's oil imports. Bilateral
trade between the two countries reached US$2.83 billion. Last year, China
National Offshore Oil Corporation invested US$2.27 billion to acquire a 45
percent stake in Nigeria's offshore oilfields. This is China's largest
investment ever in Africa so far.
At the same time, China's military influence has started to penetrate
into Nigeria. In 2005, Nigeria spent US$251 million on the purchase of 12
F-7 NI and three FT-7 NI fighters, the very first time for Chinese combat
aircraft to enter the country. African military observers claimed that
payment for this deal was most likely arranged through oil exports.
Congo is China's eighth largest source of oil supplies. In 2005, Congo
exported 5.5 million tons of crude oil to China, amounting to about 4.4
percent of China's oil imports. As an international arms embargo on Congo is
still in place, it would be unlikely for China to sell military equipment to
Congo during this period. But Congo is a traditional client for Chinese
weapons systems. At present, the Congo military forces are armed with 30
Type 59 tanks. Other Chinese weapons still in service in the Congo Army
include approximately 30 Type 63 107-mm rocket guns, Type 60 122-mm
howitzers, Type 59 130-mm cannons and various types of mortars.
Last year China declared that it would provide to Egypt a loan of US$50
million and economic aid worth US$10 million. In addition, the two countries
signed a cooperation agreement in oil and natural gas development.
Egypt is one of the countries with the most Chinese-made weapons in
Africa. The largest project between the two countries was the agreement on
the production of 80 K-8 trainer aircraft, signed in February 1999.
Production of the trainers in the agreement has been completed. The total
value of the deal is US$347 million. In 2005, Egypt ordered another 40 K-8
trainers, making the total number of K-8s in the country 120. At present,
there are 53 J-7 fighters still in service in the Egyptian Air Force.
Chinese military equipment can be found in other African countries,
including Mauritania, Algeria and Zimbabwe, to name a few. In 2006, China
sold Algeria one 5,500-ton training ship, and its three C-85 (Project 802)
500-ton-class missile fast craft are also fitted with Chinese-made C802
ship-to-ship missiles. In 2001, China delivered one 400-ton class patrol
boat to the Mauritanian Navy. Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe have respectively
acquired eight, four and six K-8 trainers from China. China is also
promoting its K-8 trainer to Kenya, Sudan, Ghana and Tanzania.
Zimbabwe is already acquiring stocks of Chinese weapons. The country's
main battle tanks are virtually all made in China. At present, the Zimbabwe
Army is equipped with 30 Type 59 Tanks and 10 Type 69 Tanks, and more than
half of its armored transport vehicles are Chinese-made Type 63s. The
Zimbabwe Air Force is also armed with nine J-7 fighters.
With China's demand for oil from Africa increasing, more Chinese weapons
are expected to enter this region in the years to come.
(Andrei Chang is editor-in-chief of Kanwa Defense Review, based in Hong
November 05, 2007, 15:45
Britain says it remains in full support of President Thabo Mbeki's mediation
efforts in Zimbabwe.
Briefing the media in Johannesburg on the upcoming Commonwealth heads of
Government meeting in Uganda later this month, British High Commissioner to
South Africa, Paul Boateng, says despite Britain's stance around the human
rights situation in Zimbabwe, his government is hopeful of a speedy
resolution of an agreement between opposing parties.
5th Nov 2007 09:18 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
THE highly optimistic prospect of Portugal and Spain offering President
Robert Mugabe free cautionary lessons on the history of dictatorships has
been embraced by many Africans who believe Mugabe should come away from the
summit next month a chastised man.
The hosts, Portugal, said through their foreign minister last week that
Mugabe would be invited to the European Union summit with the African Union.
Luis Amado did not specify Mugabe, in particular, but said, diplomatically,
that "every country" in the EU and the AU would be invited. Since Zimbabwe
is still an AU member (touch wood?), there is every likelihood that Mugabe
will be in Lisbon for the summit.
As of this moment, the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, might not be
there himself. He might, as a gesture of protest at Mugabe's presence, send
a junior official from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Would the Portuguese risk alienating an influential EU member by refusing to
seat such a low-ranking official? That is highly unlikely.
Portugal could redeem itself by somehow arranging for Mugabe to be lectured
on its own and its neighbour, Spain's, political flirtation with
dictatorships, in the thoroughly odious persons of Antonio Salazar and
General Francisco Franco.
Describing Mugabe as a dictator might be regarded by many as highly
After all, there is an opposition party in the Parliament. After all,
regular elections are held to choose members of the two legislative houses.
What more do you want? Some critics might ask.
What about the legislation which allows the president, albeit for a period
of six months only, to pass laws without the benefit of Parliament's
This provision does not distinguish the reason for the presidential powers
in any way.
There may not be a threat to the country's security from Mars, or the threat
of an outbreak of bubonic plague - anything goes, in a way.
He can pass a law on road traffic or bus fares or the ownership of a house
in the high-density and low-density areas.
What about his overwhelming control of the entire electoral process? As one
commentator has put it, "he could change the rules while the game was still
Moreover, Mugabe has been compared with Idi Amin, a man who redefined
African dictatorship long after Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and Emperor
Haile Selassie had been tagged with the infamous title.
At most, Mugabe can be accused of having made it almost impossible for any
opposition party to ever replace Zanu PF as the governing party in Zimbabwe.
The accusation that his party has used murder to frighten the opposition
would be incontestable in any court outside Zimbabwe.
The Judiciary has recently scored some successes, particularly in the highly
contentious denial of an operating licence to the publishers of the
independent The Daily News and The Daily News On Sunday.
Yet history tells us that, when it comes to the crunch, when the survival of
Zanu PF's hegemony is at stake, few judges dare to throw mud in Mugabe's
face - and hope to survive.
Until the mid-1970s, both Portugal and Spain were run by these two
dictators, Salazar and Franco, respectively. Under Salazar, Portugal
acquired the reputation of being the most notorious colonial power in
The struggles for independence in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau were
tackled with a brand of savagery that prompted the Portuguese people to lend
their support to the Carnation revolution. Marcello Caetano, a rightwing
protégé of Salazar had taken power and continued his mentor's savage
suppression of the revolutions raging in Africa.
He was overthrown in 1974 and by 1975 Portugal had granted Mozambique and
Angola their independence, to be followed by that of the smaller colonies.
After Franco's death, Spain underwent a revolution of its own and opted for
democracy, after years of the brutal reign of the general.
Both countries can be safely described as models of European democracy,
although there are occasional lapses. But both are rated highly among EU
countries where the basic freedoms that constitute democracy are entrenched.
So, it can be done: a de facto dictatorship such as Zimbabwe, can be
transformed into a democracy with little bloodshed. Mugabe has always
prepared to face the ultimate challenge to his rule: a full-blown revolution
which he would crush with the same brutality and finality as he handled the
1980s so-called dissident war in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.
Zanu PF, from the beginning, was not comfortable with a two-party political
system, even if the other party, PF-Zapu, was its liberation war-time ally.
From what is now known, there was hardly a conceivable chance for the
dissidents to overthrow the government.
They constituted less than a ragtag army, confining their sorties to
ambushes on non-strategic targets. The present opposition is, of course,
another matter entirely. In 2000, it gave Mugabe the greatest scare of his
political life. He has probably still not forgiven Morgan Tsvangirai for
outsmarting him in a game in which he probably believes himself to be The
The problems in Tsvangirai's faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
have not been directly linked to Zanu PF, or its virtual alter ego, the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
It is quite likely that, as many commentators have observed, a number of the
MDC heavy- and middleweights have been seduced by the prospect of landing
rich pickings in a deal with Zanu PF before the 2008 elections.
Yet it is also quite probable that the party may overcome the rifts and
emerge united before the elections. That prospect is largely inhibited by
the MDC's short political history.
The 2005 split was expected to be healed sooner rather than later, with the
two agreeing to field a single presidential candidate in 2008. All that is
now unlikely to happen, unless we have all miscalculated the options, or
misunderstood what drives Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
Both men may not be guided by personal ambition and may, even at the last
minute, decide that their original dedication to the "bigger picture" - the
defeat of Zanu PF - must continue to be their beacon.
For most disillusioned Zimbabweans, the likelihood of another five years of
Zanu PF rule must be too ghastly to contemplate. There is hardly any chance
that the seven-year economic decline would be quickly halted with another
Zanu PF victory in 2008.
The potential donors waiting in the wings, some with meticulously prepared
rescue packages to lay on the table of the new government, may blink once or
twice before deciding to return home - their rescue packages unopened.
Yet if the EU-AU summit is used by both sides to force Mugabe to face the
stark reality of his country's future under his continued rule, it could
have performed a salutary deed, not only for the people of Zimbabwe, but for
the continent as a whole.
Whether the African leaders admit it or not, the crisis in Zimbabwe has
given the continent the reputation of a part of the world where soluble
problems can be left to fester until gangrene sets in and one or two limbs
have to be chopped off.
This is where, if they care anything at all about their countries'
contribution to the stability of the continent they once exploited, Portugal
and Spain can help Mugabe see the light.
Montag, 5. November 2007
Itai Dzamara - Israeli intelligence operatives have been hired by the Zanu
(PF) government to implement systems that will enable the regime to snoop on
phone and internet communications by opposition and civic society leaders as
well as journalists.
It is unclear what has happened to the much-touted Chinese snoopers and
their equipment, imported last year at huge expense by the Mugabe regime, to
Highly placed sources say a list of names has been given to Mossad for
monitoring. The Zimbabwean broke the news recently that Israeli spies had
been recruited to work with CIO in strategic areas such as airports,
government offices and banks.
"They (Mossad) are working with CIO to snoop on the targeted people and have
brought some equipment for that purpose," a government source said this
It is believed that Mossad operatives are erecting spying equipment across
the country brought from Is-raeli and for which the regime is paying huge
sums of foreign currency.
They are targeting the finance and banking sectors where Mugabe and his
cronies suspects schemes are underway to cause sabotage in order to achieve
The paranoid Zanu (PF) regime recently passed a spy bill to make it "legal"
for it to spy on the communi-cations of its citizens. It has ordered
internet service providers to install, at their own expense, equipment to
make it possible for government snoopers to tap their clients'
communications. But experts say gov-ernment lacks the capacity and equipment
for the huge task.
"It is not going to be easy, even with the Israelis' expertise," a
communications expert said on condition of anonymity.
5. Nov, 08:01
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 3 November
Trevor Ncube's article ("Opportunity knocks for Zimbabwe", October 5) cannot
go unchallenged. One would have expected him to make use of his lofty
position to differentiate clearly the forest from the trees where the
situation in this wretched country is concerned. Ncube states categorically
that "except for extremists on the fringes of the opposition and civil
society, few Zimbabweans are interested in pursuing vengeance against Robert
Mugabe, the founding president, and many would happily forgive him in
exchange for political and economic freedom". This is so unbelievable that I
would challenge him to back up that statement with statistics. I have always
had a niggling suspicion of where Ncube's sympathies lie; now they have been
confirmed in the crudest possible way. To assert, as he does, that a
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) government would be a disaster without
any evidence for this statement is the worst possible form of partisanship,
bordering on political sloganeering. MDC governing principles are laid out
very clearly in the party manifesto. It is self-evident that the problem in
Zimbabwe has always been Mugabe and Zanu PF. Even if Mugabe were to go
today, the country's slide into oblivion would continue. It is the
principles, not the principals. Ncube seems to have been ensnared into the
trap of believing that it's principals who matter. This underlies his
suggestion of having Simba Makoni, Strive Masiyiwa, Gideon Gono and so on as
compromise presidential candidates for Zanu PF.
Having any one of these men at the helm will not suddenly dismantle the
institutionalised system of control and patronage that has melded party and
state at all levels of society and ruined a once-prosperous country. To
suggest Gono as a possible future president defies belief. Gono is one of
the very worst things to have happened to this hapless country. His reckless
printing of money to spend on quasifiscal and quasi-Zanu PF campaign
activities has devalued the currency and so pushed up inflation to
stratospheric levels. For a person of Ncube's stature to regurgitate the
Zanu PF drivel that sanctions are hurting the common man is a cataclysmic
disappointment. I consider myself a common man, with neither wealth nor
connections. I shall set forth what is hurting me, and leave the venerable
Ncube to tell me if it is sanctions causing it. We have had no water in the
entire city of Kadoma for three months. The Zanu PF council took money from
each ratepayer in the first three months of the year to pay for new water
pumps. It is now late October and the pumps still have not even arrived in
the country. The council informs us that they are being fine-tuned in South
Africa, seven months after they were paid for. The entire city survives on a
few privately owned boreholes, and water is now being sold. I was fired from
my job as a high school science teacher because of my MDC activities. I have
thus lost the only career which I am trained for; and, of course, my wife
and four children suffer. But I am the lucky one. As I write, seven of our
MDC members have been murdered in cold blood, and thousands seriously
assaulted, since the talks began in South Africa.
We have a serious shortage of sugar, which is not imported. There is also a
serious shortage of beer. There are no other basic commodities in the shops
because of Mugabe's Operation Slash Prices. Electricity comes on at about
10pm and is switched off at 4am. So people have to iron clothes and prepare
the next day's meal at night. Of course, that is also the time to go to that
borehole to fetch water since the boreholes use electricity. By no stretch
of the imagination can these indignities, humiliations, deprivations, abuses
and calamities visited upon us be linked to sanctions. The farcical and
wholly fallacious codswallop that the MDC is involved in the talks only "for
political self-preservation" makes one doubt Ncube's integrity. The MDC had
a clear roadmap from its 2006 Congress: to conduct a democratic resistance
campaign; to force Mugabe to the negotiating table; and to create conditions
for a peaceful, free and fair elections under international supervision. We
are now in the second stage of this roadmap. The tenor of Ncube's article
sounds suspiciously like that of a die-hard Zanu PF cadre who only wants the
removal of Mugabe as president, but with that party remaining in power. With
apologists such as Ncube, Zanu PF has little need for its own spokespeople.
In language couched in opposition-sounding terms, Ncube does the job better.
Ncube has missed a glaring opportunity to use his position not only to
inform, but to also guide debate on the Zimbabwe crisis among the people of
influence who read this newspaper.
Ketayi Makosa is MDC chairperson in the Kadoma district
SW Radio Africa (London)
5 November 2007
Posted to the web 5 November 2007
Clemence Takaendesa, the MDC activist shot dead in KweKwe last week, will be
buried in Gokwe on Wednesday, a week after he was murdered by retired army
Brigadier Benjamin Mabenge.
Takaendesa's body was sent to Bulawayo for a post-mortem on Sunday, while
his brother Taurai Chigede, who was seriously injured in the same shoot-out,
was transferred to the Avenue Clinic's intensive care unit in Harare.
MDC youth chairman for KweKwe district Searchmore Muringani, said
Takaendesa's relatives have raised concern that Mabenge might once again
walk free from police custody, as he has done on numerous occasions in the
last seven years.
'He (Mabenge) has been a suspect in a number of murder cases involving MDC
activists and all the time he has walked free and not been sent to court. He
has also received a presidential pardon for a number of high profiles arson
attacks on the homes of MDC activists,' Muringani said.
When police took Takaendesa's body to Bulawayo, two of his relatives
accompanied them because of the fear his body would be tampered with.
The relatives are demanding justice and are determined that Mabenge will
face trial for murder charges. The retired Brigadier, well known for his
volatile temper and penchant for violence, shot dead Takaendesa and
seriously wounded his young brother on Wednesday last week while the duo
were fishing with friends in the Mbemeswani River in KweKwe.
The river runs through Mabenge's farm, which he grabbed from a white farmer
in 2001. The retired army officer has told the police the brothers and two
of their friends, who escaped unhurt during the shooting, were poaching. But
the MDC has denied the claim saying Mabenge does not own exclusive rights to
the river that passes through his farm. The MDC has said a preliminary probe
into the death of Takaendesa last week would show that the retired Brigadier
killed him in cold blood.
The retired army officer has a history of violence and causing mayhem is the
Midlands town. Between 2000 and 2005, under the protection of Zanu-PF
strongman Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mabenge left a trail of broken bones among MDC
By Patience Rusere
05 November 2007
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned that Zimbabwe faces a
"widespread and severe food security crisis" if the government doesn't meet
grain import targets or if international food aid is delayed in the next few
FEWSNET also notes that while a million people in urban areas are at risk of
going hungry, there is relatively little food aid in the cities now or on
The U.S.-based agency says the recent flow of cereals from Malawi has helped
to improve conditions and that there is enough food in the country to meet
demand - but says the Grain Marketing Board is unable to get food to all the
places it is needed.
FEWSNET said conditions should improve marginally through December because
of food aid flows now reaching the country. But it warns that conditions
could deteriorate again between January and March as the "hunger season"
reaches its peak.
Food experts say about four million Zimbabweans, roughly a quarter of the
country's population, face hunger between now and the next harvest in April.
Agriculture secretary Renson Gasela of the opposition faction headed by
Arthur Mutambara told reporter Patience Rusere that he disagrees with
FEWSNET because from his observations, hunger has been on the rise even in
the past month.