Gideon Gono has been given a stark choice by Robert Mugabe: either support
the government's widely condemned economic policies, or resign.
Fri Oct 12 06:31:33 SAST 2007
Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has been
given a stark choice by Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe: either support
the government's widely condemned and controversial economic policies, or
The warning came after Mugabe's various public statements and Gono's
Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement announcement last week revealed sharp
policy differences between the two men.
The two men were formerly supportive of each other; they have now publicly
differed on how Zimbabwe should extricate itself from the current economic
quagmire, which is further hurting the poverty ravaged local population.
Gono attacked the government for trying to muscle into foreign businesses
through legislation that would require all foreign-owned companies to cede
51% of their shares to black Zimbabweans.
Currently awaiting presidential assent, the Indigenization and Empowerment
Bill has been touted by Mugabe and his government as a black economic
empowerment initiative. However, Gono recently declared that the move was
tantamount to a "grab all and run strategy", which could prove disastrous to
Gono urged the government not to take over foreign-owned companies,
especially mines and banks. The Reserve Bank governor said that the banking
sector should not be destabilized by a few "well-connected cliques, some of
whom are already making the most noise in support of this initiative, who
would want to amass wealth to themselves in a starkly greedy but
According to confidential sources, Mugabe's stern warning to Gono came after
Mugabe said that he was very disturbed by Gono's statements criticising
government policies such as the slashing of prices by 50% and the
Indigenization and Empowerment Bill.
"Following Gono's recent statements, Mugabe has become livid and told Gono
point blank during the meeting that he should support the policies of the
government or resign and make way for others who were willing to pull
Zimbabwe from the current economic crisis," a source said.
Gono criticized the Indigenization Bill recently, saying "a fine
balance should be struck between the objectives of indigenization and the
need to attract foreign investment."
This angered a number of senior officials such as the Minister of Finance,
Samuel Mumbengegwi, Minister of Indigenization and Empowerment, Paul
Mangwana and Minister of Policy Implementation, Webster Shamu, who
reportedly asked Mugabe to clip Gono's wings.
After his meeting with Gono, Mugabe told supporters of his ruling Zanu PF
party that his government would stick to price controls and would seize
control of profiteering companies.
"We will have to seize the companies and the services... whether transport
or any other service being rendered by a company or organization," Mugabe
said. "If they don't follow our way, we will take over the companies. We are
warning you, be straight forward, this is our country together."
The Reserve Bank governor has made it clear that he is not supportive of the
seizure of companies nor the price slashing.
"Of particular concern to us as monetary authorities would be any attempts
to forcibly push the envelope of indigenization into the delicate area of
banking and finance," Gono said.
On Tuesday, Gono briefed Western diplomats on his latest monetary policy.
The diplomats reportedly wanted to know whether or not they should heed
Mugabe or Gono on economic policy matters. They reportedly also wanted to
know whether Zimbabwe would experience an economic policy shift.
Gono repeated to diplomats that there was a link between political troubles
and the economic crisis, a view that angers Mugabe.
"Our economic challenges and policies cannot be read and viewed in isolation
of the political challenges," Gono said.
Globe and Mail, Canada
From Friday's Globe and Mail
October 12, 2007 at 12:36 AM EDT
KHUNTULU, MALAWI - Something is missing in Malawi these days: anxiety. The
sense of tension and strain that underlay nearly every conversation and
interaction in the past few years, hungry years, is absent. There is a
lightness in most parts of the country, an expansiveness, a certain sense of
It has to do with the nkhokwe, the woven twig corn cribs that stand in the
yards of every house. They're full. They're full to overflowing at many
houses, two-thirds full with plenty of corn at others. Certainly so full
that no one bothers to guard them. Who would steal, when the country has a
grain surplus of more than a million tonnes?
A record harvest, a massive surplus of the staple crop, would be good news
anywhere in the developing world. But it's particularly gratifying in
Malawi, a country that has been plagued with critical food shortages several
times in the past decade. In 2002, an estimated 1,500 people starved to
death in the worst food shortage since independence. In 2005, the United
Nations World Food Program scrambled to supply emergency rations to more
than five million people, nearly half the country.
This year, Malawi is itself supplying the WFP, selling 400,000 tonnes of
maize for use in emergency operations in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The key question is, What happened? How did Malawi go from famine-plagued to
While steady rains have undoubtedly helped, that's not the whole answer.
Over the past couple of years, Malawi has broken with an orthodoxy long
advocated by Canada and other Western donor nations: The impoverished
country has gone back to subsidizing poor farmers. Condemned by donors as an
impediment to the development of a sustainable agricultural sector, the
subsidies have been a raging success.
"What is different [this year] is the access to inputs," explained Patrick
Kabambe, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Security. "People are so poor they use recycled seed and no fertilizer. They
can't meet their needs that way and they grow no surplus. People sink deeper
and deeper into poverty. It's a vicious cycle. We had to do something."
Starting in 2006, and on a larger scale this year, the government
distributed coupons to low-income farmers to allow them to purchase
50-kilogram sacks of fertilizer for 950 kwacha ($7) rather than the market
price of 4,500 kwacha. As a result, the average farmer's yield jumped to two
tonnes a hectare from 800 kilograms.
The fertilizer subsidy cost the government $62-million - 6.5 per cent of the
total government budget, a "whack of cash" in the words of one top
economist - but that pales in comparison to the $120-million the government
spent importing food aid in the 2005 famine. And the sale of maize to
Zimbabwe and other countries will inject an additional $120-million into the
national economy, a sizable figure here.
Mary Kalika certainly thinks the subsidy policy makes sense. Ms. Kalika and
her five children farm a little less than a hectare of land in this
nine-house village in central Malawi. "We harvested 42 oxcarts of maize this
year; that is the most ever for this land," she said. "It's very good news,
and it's because of the subsidized fertilizer."
Ms. Kalika has already sold some of her surplus to buy seeds and tools to
plant tomatoes to sell in town for cash. She may put a new roof on their
house, and buy the children school uniforms if the tomato crop does well.
That's Mr. Kabambe's goal, his vision for helping people out of the cycle of
poverty. That seems straightforward enough, but the history of subsidizing
agriculture here is a lesson in the competing interests and influences that
go into the politics of food and aid.
Back in the 1990s, the Malawi government gave the poorest farmers a package
of fertilizer and seeds every year. The program was so popular that in 1999,
they made it universal, for all farmers, and posted a large national
surplus. But starting in 2000, the donor nations on whom this country
depends for nearly half its budget forced the government to scale back and
then finally to scrap the policy, saying it "distorted the market" and would
prevent a sustainable agricultural base.
The result? Smaller and smaller harvests and two years of famine.
Some blame fell on poor rains, but it was also true that the 75 per cent of
the population who are subsistence farmers could not afford either
fertilizer or seeds.
That left them vulnerable to what the development industry calls "shocks" -
such as one household member contracting HIV or malaria and being too sick
to farm - leaving them with too little to eat and forced to sell items of
value to survive. At the same time, larger farmers and traders capitalized
on the poor harvest by stockpiling, while the government made decisions that
were both ill-advised and corrupt, and mishandled the national strategic
grain reserve. The next few years were a disaster.
"We didn't advise the government to stop starter packs [of free seed and
fertilizer]. We said if you want to subsidize, it has to be targeted," World
Bank country director Tim Gilbo said. "It doesn't make sense to subsidize
those who can afford to buy. We didn't have a problem with it, our only
advice was that it should be targeted."
But in fact, in 2002, World Bank staff told The Globe and Mail that the
subsidies were a vote-buying scheme that made it virtually impossible for
any solid agricultural market to develop in the country, and that they were
pushing the government to scrap it.
"Over time we have softened our stance a little," acknowledged Mr. Gilbo,
who was not in Malawi then.
But the market-distortion sentiment was echoed at the time by many donors,
including Canada and Britain, who funded the subsidies - this was the era of
total dominance of the idea that private sector investment and development
was the fastest way to end poverty - and the government was forced to
abandon the program.
Eventually, the Malawi government took a stand, quite out of character in
Africa where donor countries dictate domestic policy. "The president said
[to civil servants] that he would never go begging for food for his people
again," Mr. Kabambe recalled. Stuff the donor countries, they said, in
essence: Bring back the subsidies. Hence the low-cost fertilizer. And a
370,000-tonne surplus last year. And the record-smashing 1.2 million tonnes
"The subsidy is the best thing to happen in the agricultural sector in
years," said Richard Petautchere of the Malawi Economic Justice Network, an
organization that advocates for the poor. "We have the land, we have the
water, we have everything, but that doesn't matter if you just can't buy
seeds or fertilizer."
Mr. Kabambe said donors have also come to see the wisdom in the subsidies -
"they've all come back around to say we want to support this" - and Britain
and the EU have pledged to underwrite the fertilizer coupons for four years.
Mr. Gilbo said that of course it was positive that Malawi has a food surplus
this year, but he argued that this national surplus will drive the price of
maize low, which means farmers earn less for any surplus they grow and also
remove any incentive to grow more than they will eat the next year.
"All those farmers who begged, borrowed and stole to buy extra fertilizer
last year are now looking at that decision and rethinking it," he said. "The
lower the maize price, the better it is for food security but worse for
Only getting more people out of subsistence agriculture and into the larger
economy will ultimately end poverty, Mr. Gilbo said. He noted that there is
an "opportunity cost" to Malawi spending so much on subsidies - money that
otherwise might have been spent on anti-malarial bed nets or roads to the
most isolated villages - and subsidies, a blunt instrument, may not be the
best way to get the poor what they need most.
And, he said, there is a risk of "silver bullet syndrome," with people
overconfident that Malawi is now food-secure. "What concerns me is this
feeling that Malawi has changed from an import nation to an export nation,"
Mr. Gilbo said. "This year you had good conditions, subsidies, lots of
rainfall and the neighbours are short. If next year there is no rain and
South Africa has a huge surplus - then what? It's just not true to say that
the fertilizer subsidy has overcome all the problems."
Mr. Kabambe said he understands the need to develop the market, but the
World Bank and others are not always realistic. "There are parts of this
country where the 'market' doesn't exist. We can't say the market will take
care of it," he said. "The government has a responsibility."
His emphasis, instead, is to try to persuade farmers to grow crops other
than maize - high-value items such as Ms. Kalika's tomatoes, that can be
sold for cash - and to promote small-scale irrigation so farmers are less
vulnerable to fluctuations in rainfall.
But in the meantime, the fertilizer coupons stay. "We have no time-frame for
ending subsidies; over the medium term they're going to be there," he said.
"They will be phased out as income levels of farmers rise. We see it as a
worthwhile investment. Look at the cost of doing nothing."
Friday 12 October 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Hundreds of war veterans marched through the streets of Zimbabwe's
Bulawayo city to show solidarity with President Robert Mugabe, who is
fighting to silence dissenting lieutenants from his ruling ZANU PF party
eager to see him step down.
The veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war are hardline supporters of
Mugabe and have in recent weeks held pro-Mugabe marches across the country,
in what ZANU PF insiders say is an attempt to silence a faction in the
ruling party that is pushing for a new leader to be appointed at a party
congress in December.
The veterans - who insist Mugabe is the only one fit to rule Zimbabwe
despite a worsening economic crisis blamed on his leadership - marched from
Makokoba's Stanley Square into the city centre, waving placards denouncing
the veteran leader's Western critics and singing war songs.
Veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda told the veterans the march was "to show
support and solidarity to President Mugabe and we say everyone should
support the President and any party member who does not support this
revolution will be considered a sell-out."
Sibanda later accused some senior leaders of ZANU PF's Bulawayo province who
did not come for the solidarity march of being against Mugabe.
"Some of the people who did not come for this solidarity march are against
the President and those people surrounding President Mugabe," Sibanda told
ZimOnline. He did not mention the names of the ZANU PF members he claimed
were opposed to Mugabe.
Party insiders say many of the senior ZANU PF politicians from Bulawayo and
the surrounding Matabeleland region are in league with retired army general
Solomon Mujuru, heading the faction that is pushing for Mugabe's replacement
The Mujuru camp last December successfully blocked Mugabe's bid to extend
his rule to 2010 without going to the ballot but the veteran leader made an
about turn and offered himself to stand in next year's elections.
Zimbabwe holds presidential and parliamentary elections next year. Mugabe,
who earlier this year said there was no vacancy for his position, has said
he will stand for re-election next year to take his rule to more than three
But there is growing speculation Mujuru's faction could nominate a surprise
challenger to Mugabe at ZANU PF's congress in December. - ZimOnline
Friday 12 October 2007
By Wayne Chinyoka
HARARE - Zimbabwe's agricultural production is poised to plummet further
amid revelations that the country has so far secured less than five percent
of the agricultural sector's fuel requirements for the 2007/08 season.
In a development likely to hurt the key tobacco sub-sector, only nine
million litres of fuel have been acquired by the cash-strapped Harare
authorities against a demand of about 200 million litres.
A senior official in the ministry of energy and power development Morgan
Mudzinganyama said the situation was further compounded by the late delivery
of the fuel at a time most tobacco farmers should have started planting
"We do not have enough fuel. Only nine million litres is coming into the
country for the whole season," Mudzinganyama told a parliamentary portfolio
committee on energy, mining environment and tourism yesterday.
The fuel would be sold at $59 000 a litre compared to the black market price
of around $550 000 a litre.
The shortage of fuel for farmers comes at a time when the Harare authorities
have set an ambitious target of almost doubling the tobacco output from 77
million kilogrammes to 120 million kg.
Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo this week said the target was within sight
and that his ministry was doing everything in its power to ensure that the
target is achieved.
The news of the shortages also comes against the backdrop of a declaration
last week by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono that the 2007/08
season would be "the mother of all agricultural seasons".
Any fuel shortages would pose a major challenge in Zimbabwe's quest to
rebuild the collapsed tobacco industry and increase its foreign exchange
At the height of its agricultural boom in the late 1990s, Zimbabwe earned
more than a third of her foreign currency from tobacco exports. - ZimOnline
Friday 12 October 2007
By Lizwe Sebatha
BULAWAYO - Grade Seven examinations were thrown into chaos on Wednesday when
several schools in Bulawayo received blank exam papers forcing school
authorities to rush to photocopy question papers before the exam could
In a classic demonstration of falling standards in Zimbabwe's education
sector, five schools in Bulawayo received blank question papers for the
Content exam that was set for Wednesday.
ZimOnline on Thursday established that five primary schools, Lockview
primary in Matshemhlope, Lotshe Primary in Mzilikazi, Mahlatini and
Mkhithika which are in Cowdray Park and Lobengula Primary, were affected by
the embarrassing blunder.
The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC), that administers public
exams in the country, has been accused of serious maladministration with
several cases of incompetence being reported almost every exam time.
Teachers and headmasters at the affected schools told ZimOnline yesterday
that the Content Paper had to be delayed for over three hours as they
battled to photocopy question papers from neighbouring schools.
"The pupils were supposed to write the Content Paper in the morning at 9am
but had to start after 12 mid-day as the Education Ministry was making
efforts to photocopy the paper.
"This obviously affected many students as they were also hungry when the
examination resumed at 12.30pm," a teacher at Lockview Primary School told
Ministry of Education provincial education director Dan Moyo confirmed the
gaffe by ZIMSEC when contacted by ZimOnline yesterday.
"The affected students at the schools had to be 'quarantined' while we were
photocopying the paper to avoid leakages," Moyo said.
"It was a difficult situation as we had to decide either to photocopy the
paper or cancel the examination altogether and call for a re-write, a
situation that was going to inconvenience all schools."
ZIMSEC has struggled to run exams after President Robert Mugabe's government
localized public examinations in 1998.
There have been numerous reports of exam paper leakages and mix-ups of
students' results raising fears that standards of Zimbabwe's once revered
education system could be seriously compromised.
Morale among Zimbabwean teachers, who ended a two-week strike over poor pay
and working conditions, is still said to be low after the government awarded
them a 420 percent salary raise that will see the lowest paid teacher
earning Z$14 million a month.
The teachers, who were among the lowest paid civil servants before the
salary adjustment last week, say the money is still way below the poverty
datum line that currently stands at Z$16 million a month.
Thousands of experienced teachers have fled Zimbabwe, which is in the grip
of a severe economic crisis, in search of better paying jobs in neighbouring
countries, such as South Africa and Botswana. - ZimOnline
Friday 12 October 2007
JOHANNESSBURG - Zimbabwe is one of the 10 countries seen missing a
worldwide target to slash hunger by half before 2015, according to a report
The World Hunger Index painted a gloomy picture for developing
countries in the fight to eradicate poverty and hunger by 2015 as agreed at
the United Nations Millennium Summit of 2000.
The index said the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi,
Swaziland, Liberia, North Korea, the Comoros, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau
and Venezuela are unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goal targets
related to hunger and child mortality.
"The ten countries that have experienced the greatest setbacks towards
achieving the Global Hunger Index target by 2015 are the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Burundi, Swaziland, Liberia, North Korea, the Comoros, Yemen,
Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, and Venezuela," said the report.
Once southern Africa's breadbasket, Zimbabwe has grappled severe food
shortages over the past seven years due to persistent drought and a chaotic
land reform programme that saw President Robert Mugabe's government seize
white farms, that produced the bulk of the country's food needs, for
redistribution to landless blacks.
The Harare authorities say they will this year import 400 000 tonnes
of maize from Malawi and a further 200 000 tonnes from Tanzania to cover the
Only two regions of the world - Latin America and the Caribbean and
East Asia and Pacific - are on track to reach all MDG targets related to
hunger and child mortality, according to the report.
As part of the MDGs, the international community set targets to cut
hunger in half and under-five mortality rates by two-thirds by 2015.
According to the Global Hunger Index, most countries will not reach
all these targets if progress continues at current rates.
The top ten countries on track to meet the Global Hunger Index target
based on the Millennium Development Goals are Cuba, Kuwait, Fiji, Peru,
Uruguay, Egypt, Tunisia, Djibouti, Syria and Iran.
This is the second year the index has been released by International
Food Policy Research Institute in conjunction with German Agro-Action and
"Worldwide, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi
experienced the greatest setbacks towards achieving the Global Hunger Index
target for 2015, followed by Swaziland, Liberia, and North Korea," the
The researchers attributed the setbacks in the fight against hunger to
conflicts affecting the countries. - ZimOnline
Friday 12 October 2007
By Grace Kwinjeh
JOHANNESBURG - The Standing Committee of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai has just suspended its Women's League
leadership in a top-down coup.
This makes me step back and consider two views of women's liberation.
"The emancipation of women is not an act of charity, the result of a
humanitarian or compassionate attitude. The liberation of women is a
fundamental necessity for the revolution, the guarantee of its continuity
and the precondition for its victory," said late Samora Machel, the founder
of liberated Mozambique.
For Machel, "to destroy the system of exploitation and build a new society
which releases the potential of human beings . . . is the context within
which women's emancipation arises."
Here is another context and quotation: "Feminism is the radical notion that
women own their vaginas', according to an anonymous sister, with vagina
meaning an expression of feminism, womanhood, strength, resilience,
struggle, as well as our body and reproductive capacity."
The female body is a site of struggle. This is the reason why in war
situations, opposing parties take pride in raping women.
A Congolese feminist, Christine Schuler Deschryver, estimates that in the
conflict-ridden eastern DRC "more than 200,000 women, children and babies
are being raped every day, and right now, thousands of women and children
are being taken into forests as sex slaves."
In Zimbabwe, where I was jailed and tortured for peacefully participating in
a protest march last March, patriarchy has resulted in some democracy
activists temporarily losing the value system that helped us to stand
against President Robert Mugabe's tyranny in the first place.
We are seeing regular instances of sexism and misogyny, sadly perpetrated by
would-be liberators whose leadership is now marked by moral decadence.
Sexism is immoral and should be treated as such.
We would have short-changed ourselves as women if we agree to yet another
reproduction of the debauchery, unfairness and inequality that we inherited
at independence, and that soon reared its head in Mugabe's ruling party when
he ordered the mass arrest of women for being on the street alone at night
That which united democrats in civil society and the MDC when we went to
battle against Mugabe's regime was a common understanding of what we wanted
to achieve in a new Zimbabwe.
That included a clear vision of the positioning and placing of women, who
have endured decades of patriarchal oppression passed on like a baton stick
from one system to another, from the settler colonialists to the
nationalists - and now sadly to the present-day liberators.
Even before the MDC was formed eight years ago, Zimbabwean women made great
strides in fighting for their emancipation. We took on Mugabe before the
boys even woke up to their own oppression.
The women's struggle was led by women like Everjoice Win, Shereen Essof,
Priscilla Misihairabwi, Nancy Kachingwe, Yvonne Mahlunge, Isabella
Matambanadzo, Thoko Matshe, Janah Ncube, Lydia Zigomo, Rudo Kwaramba, and
Sekai Holland, fellow torture survivor and head of the Association of
Our first fight was for recognition as equal human beings to our male
The Legal Age of Majority Act now recognises us as adults, we can vote, open
bank accounts and even marry should we choose to - none of which were
possible without the consent of a male connection, be it brother father or
uncle. We were perpetual minors.
The Matrimonial Causes Act now recognises our right to own property,
independent of our husbands or fathers. After we challenged physical abuse,
Parliament passed the Domestic Violence Act.
This background made some of us suitable candidates for leadership in the
At what point, then, did we women become minors once again, answerable to
male authority, becoming subjects of agendas that have nothing to do with
our empowerment or liberation for that matter?
With the MDC's attack on its Women's League, we are relegated once again to
second class citizen position.
The first contact women like Lucia Matibenga (former head of the MDC women's
league), Sekai Holland and myself have with our bodies each morning after we
wake up and take a bath, is the scarring inflicted by Mugabe's police.
These scars are deep, physical and psychological, but their political
significance is that they can be the source of our liberation. They are our
badges of honour, marking us as comrades who have been on the frontline
facing the enemy head on.
ZANU PF has a military history and what Mugabe calls 'degrees in violence'
that we all know of. However, we have been too slow to address other forms
of violence perpetrated against us by our brothers in the democratic
We are told by men in the MDC: "It is taboo, it causes unnecessary
confusion, divisions, we have one enemy."
If we keep believing this, it means that like our sisters in ZANU PF we may
find ourselves on the eve of independence in the same position they were in
at Lancaster House.
Their leading woman in the state, Joice Mujuru, was suddenly elevated to
Vice President but served merely as a place holder, for as the succession
battle rages it is clear she is not Mugabe's natural successor. She has not
pushed any women's agenda beyond party politics and sloganeering.
Everjoice Win, gender officer at ActionAid, insists that we will not unite
with Mujuru for the sake of biology. Having a vagina does not necessarily
mean we are the same.
Says Win: "Whatever "deal" is worked out to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, women
and their rights should be at the centre of it. We want feminists -women who
care about the rights of other women and who are prepared to rock the
patriarchal boat - to be in leadership positions and to be there when the
deal is made."
But of the top six dealmakers from two MDC factions and the government, only
one is a woman.
For a long time, women have been bashed into silence: 'If you speak out he
will beat you up more'.
Yet whether we speak up or not, we still take a beating. Now, at what may
become a time of renewed patriarchy under the mantle of the democratic
opposition, it is a historical obligation for any woman to stand up against
the kind of bigotry that is being forced on us, even by our own brothers in
the new liberation movement, a movement still not mature enough to treat us
a.. Grace Kwinje is the deputy secretary for international relations in
the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai. She is presently a visiting scholar with
the Centre for Civil Society and writes in her personal capacity.
By Patience Rusere
11 October 2007
The British government says it is keeping in touch with U.K. companies with
operations in Zimbabwe as to the implementation of so-called indigenization
legislation passed by the Harare parliament and awaiting signature by
President Robert Mugabe.
The legislation would allow the state to take a 51% stake in all companies
in which the majority interest is not held by indigenous black Zimbabweans.
It remains to be seen if Harare will move to enforce the legislation, once
signed by President Mugabe, in the case of foreign owned mining companies
and banks, many British-based.
London's stance was clarified Wednesday in a debate in the House of Lords
when Minister of State Lord Mark Malloch-Brown of the Foreign and
Commonwealth office responded to a question about the risk to British
interests posed by the bill.
Contacted today, the Foreign Office initially declined to comment further on
the matter, saying the question was "commercially confidential." But a
Foreign Office official later reiterated some Malloch-Brown's points in an
e-mail dispatched late Thursday.
British sanctions against top Zimbabwean officials also came up in the Lords
Malloch-Brown said these had not had a great impact as the individuals
targeted had "prudently moved their assets out of the UK" before they could
Malloch-Brown disclosed that the Foreign Office is "pressing hard" for the
European Union to send an envoy to Zimbabwe to assess human rights
conditions ahead of a December summit in Lisbon of and African Union
The Foreign Office communication said Britain is "exploring with EU partners
how best an EU envoy could help support the transition to democracy in
Zimbabwe, particularly in advance of the elections in 2008." It said Foreign
Secretary David Miliband would "discuss this further" with other EU foreign
ministers Oct. 15 in Brussels.
Baroness Park of Monmouth, who sits in the House of Lords, told reporter
Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that however concerned
Britain may be about the Zimbabwe crisis, it cannot compel the Harare
government to change policies.
By Blessing Zulu
11 October 2007
Electricity shortages in Zimbabwe are set to worsen with power suppliers in
the region further restricting supplies due to the state power authority's
failure to pay arrears.
Officials at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority said the state entity
owes US$42 million to various suppliers. Mozambique's Cahora Bassa has cut
back electricity flows to Zimbabwe to 100 megawatts from 300 megawatts,
while the Democratic Republic of Congo's national utility has cut
transmissions to 50 megawatts from 150 megawatts.
Zimbabwe's inability to produce sufficient electricity has forced it to
import 35% of the national requirement of 650 megawatts from neighboring
countries, especially South Africa, but also Mozambique and the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Chairwoman Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed the cutbacks by regional
Economist Daniel Ndlela told reporter Blessing Zulu that due to the deep
power cuts the few Zimbabwean companies remaining afloat are struggling to
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
11 October 2007
Zimbabwe will not be joining the Commonwealth of Nations countries
assembling in Kampala, Uganda next month - it pulled out of the organization
in 2003 under heavy pressure from Britain and others over the conduct of its
2002 presidential election.
But Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon told VOA Wednesday that he
is certain Zimbabwe will rejoin the Commonwealth - but the ball is in Harare's
Zimbabwe quit the Commonwealth, a grouping of mostly former British
colonies, after it was suspended amid allegations that the 2002 presidential
election was rigged. Of the 53 leaders expected at the Kampala meeting, 18
are from Africa.
Commonwealth head since 1999, McKinnon voiced satisfaction that South
African President Thabo Mbeki is reporting progress in the talks he is
mediating between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for
McKinnon urged President Robert Mugabe to "listen very carefully to the very
serious concerns raised by leaders" of other Southern African countries
whose economies are suffering due to the spillover from Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis.
McKinnon said the Commonwealth Secretariat, along with national leaders, had
been engaging Zimbabwe on the issue of rejoining the world body, but with
Executive Director David Chimhini of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust told
reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Harare's
decision to stay aloof from the Commonwealth involves a certain cost to the
Scott A. Morgan
October 11, 2007
The current pace of negotiations to resolve the internal strife within
Zimbabwe is not fast enough at least one African President Believes. His
views are so strong that he will be in Harare before the end of October to
see if he can do what others have failed to do so far. That is bring the
ruling ZANU-PF and the main Opposition MDC together to reach a settlement to
end the current impasse.
President Sade of Senegal who incidentally came up with the blueprint for
NEPAD (New Economic Program for African Development) along with President
Mbeki of South Africa and the former President Obassanjo of Nigeria is
concerned about both the state of Affairs within Zimbabwe and the lack of
progress with the mediation of President Mbeki. President Mbeki has recieved
copious amounts of criticism for his policy of "Quiet Diplomacy" while
dealing with the Zimbabwe Crisis. In the eyes of some critics this policy
has been seen as shielding President Robert Mugabe from International
Criticism and Scrutiny.
Over the last few years there have been several attempts to resolve the
ongoing crisis in the Southern African Country. SADC( Southern African
Development Council) the regional bloc dealing with economic and security
issues has been divided over Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth after
that body was divided over how to deal with the crisis. Some states wanted
Censure while others wanted Sanctions to be placed on the country. To this
date only the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has attempted
to deal with the situation only to have its efforts thwarted.
The main reason for the Mission by President Sade is that there is no
Official African Union Position regarding Zimbabwe. That body did send a
fact finding mission to Zimbabwe after the Controversial 2002 Presidential
Elections but there have been no other attempts by that body to mediate the
crisis. The ongoing economic and political crises threaten a planned EU-AU
summit planned to take place in Portugal in December. British Prime Minister
Brown has indicated that if President Mugabe attends the summit he will not
attend. Several Southern African States have said that they will not attend
if President Mugabe is not allowed to go to the summit.
Regional Countries most notably South Africa and Botswana will watch with
baited breath as Zimbabwe holds both Parliamentary and Presidential
Elections in 2008. The last couple of Election Cycles in Zimbabwe have been
marred with violence. More often then not they have been committed by
supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF. In Recent Weeks there have been an
increase in the number of protests that have been dispersed by State
Security Forces (Police and CIO Agents). Whether or not History repeats
itself remains to be seen.
This step by President Sade is crucially timed. He notices that the efforts
of President Mbeki have yet to show any progress. The Economy continues its
free fall and the crackdown on those who oppose the Government can be
arrested on a whim.
Another Idea that he has is to allow Britain to be part of the process. This
may be a non-starter in Harare but it is a step that may need to be taken.
Senegal is the first African Power to openly question the Process of
Mediation in Zimbabwe. Which country will stand up and agree with this bold
initiative? There is not much time left for Zimbabwe however.
LONDON - 12 October 2007
One of the biggest demonstrations ever held by Zimbabwean exiles is to take
place in London outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, Strand (opposite Charing
Cross) tomorrow, from 2 6 pm.
Priests and religious, parish justice and peace groups and Zimbabweans will
gather to mark the fifth anniversary of the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been
held outside the Embassy every Saturday since October 2002 to protest
against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and to campaign for free and fair
The Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
has called on all its members in the UK to attend.
The demonstration will be attended by Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party
Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, who (at about 3 pm) will be presented with
a petition to hand to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown (see attached
The petition reads: "A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our
dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the
UK government, and the European Union in general, to suspend government to
government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint
commitment to uphold human rights in the region. The petition has been
signed by thousands of people passing by the Vigil.
"To mark our Fifth Anniversary we are submitting this petition to all EU and
SADC governments. The Vigil wants to make it clear that we are not asking
for a halt to humanitarian aid, but we would like to see government to
government assistance to the SADC countries halted until they honour their
human rights obligations to Zimbabwe. We suggest that the money should go
instead to the suffering people of Zimbabwe."
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 2 to 16pm 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. For more information see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
© Independent Catholic News 2007
Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party
Tuesday 9 October 2007
The Maori Party has today released a statement, following a caucus briefing with leading Zimbabwe political figure, Sekai Holland.
The Maori Party supports the initiative taken by Southern African Development Community (SADC) in bringing together Zimbabwe President H. E Robert Mugabe and the other member nations.
"The important point for us – is that African nations have indicated that mediation and talks are their immediate priority – and we believe it is appropriate that the Maori Party supports their aspirations for such talks to take place" said Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party.
"We do, however, condemn the extreme violence that occurred in the attacks of March 11 this year – which the talks seek to address" said Dr Pita Sharples.
"The Caucus was briefed this morning about the fatal shooting of Mr Gift Tandare, youth chair of the National Constitutional Assembly in Harare, as well as being alerted to the numbers of members from the Movement for Democratic Change that were assaulted and taken into custody, including Sekai Holland" said Dr Sharples.
"If such violence continues, the talks will inevitably fail" said Dr Sharples.
"The hope of the people, is that these talks will pave the way for a free and fair election in which all Zimbabwe people, including the four million or so who live outside of their homeland, are able to take up their democratic right to a vote".
"Ms Holland talked to us about the way in which abuse by one person, brings shame to the whole community" said Dr Sharples. "She shared also that the solutions are to be found in focusing on their own unique culture and indigenous mechanisms to assist the people in their journey to peace, justice, equality and development".
"These are values that we uphold as Maori, and are indeed, part of the common beliefs of indigenous peoples across the world".
"We endorse the call for the United Nations to give urgent priority for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to be provided to Zimbabwe" said Sharples.
"The key point that has been shared with us is that reconciliation and liberation can only be achieved with the full involvement of all leaders of the South African Development Community working together, including President Mugabe" said Dr Sharples.
"The irony of the current situation is that the struggle for liberation of which Dr Mugabe was a leading figure has turned into another struggle for liberation in which it was reported to us, that sadly Dr Mugabe is now the oppressor of his own people. We are hopeful that a peaceful resolution initiated by the Southern African Development Community will eventuate for all the people of Zimbabwe" said Dr Sharples.
"We endorse the call of the Movement for Democratic Change and of many Zimbabwe people for the United Nations to give urgent priority for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to be provided to Zimbabwe" said Sharples.
"The violence must stop; the talks must proceed unhindered; and the United Nations must step in and acknowledge the crisis that is occurring in Zimbabwe" ended Dr Sharples.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State Summit held in Lusaka, Republic of Zambia, on 16-17 August 2007, commended President Thabo Mbeki in the progress made in the negotiations between Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotric Front (ZANU-PF) and both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change.
The Lusaka summit elected his Excellency Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, President of the Republic of Zambia as the SADC Chairperson; and was attended by the Heads of State from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic (Tanzania), Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Sekai Holland is giving a public address at the Law School (Victoria University of Wellington); 5.15pm-7.15pm; Tuesday 9 October. Contact Driden Kunaka : ph 021 - 046 - 6814
October 11, 2007
Tino Mawoyo has been stripped of the Zimbabwe A captaincy following
misbehaviour by him and other players in camp in Bulawayo early last month.
A Bulawayo-based newspaper reported how players broke camp rules by bringing
women into their hotel rooms during their matches against South African
National Academy played at Queens Sports Club. The same publication also
reported that Mawoyo was arrested outside a sports club for public drinking
but was not taken to the police station after the police were paid off.
The publication of the story sent shockwaves through Zimbabwe Cricket
leading to a disciplinary inquiry. National selector Vumi Moyo, who was the
team manager at the time, was asked to submit a report and he did not deny
the that that the players had brought women into their rooms.
Sources said if the police had charged Mawoyo, he would have been suspended.
Pace bowler Blessing Mahwire has replaced Mawoyo for the South African
Airways Challenge pool B match against Gauteng at Bulawayo and ZC board
member Cyprian Mandenge has taken over as team manager.
Mawoyo, who captained Zimbabwe at the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in
2004, remains a vital member of the Zimbabwe A squad at the top of the
batting order. He was promoted to the senior team against India A and South
Africa A but struggled and was demoted back to the A team.