"I didn't do anything other than my job," says Beatrice Mtetwa, reacting to the news that the CPJ has honoured her with one of its annual Press Freedom Awards.
The Zimbabwean lawyer has defended the rights both of Zimbabwean journalists and of foreign correspondents working in the country, and the CPJ award reflects the fact that internationally, Ms Mtetwa is best known for her work in defence of the media.
But she says she also takes a lot of cases involving constitutional law, mostly in the area of human rights.
In one of Ms Mtetwa's better-known cases, she rushed to Harare airport having obtained a court order to prevent the deportation of Guardian correspondent and US citizen Andrew Meldrum in 2003.
Mr Meldrum had been abducted by the police after an earlier court ruling had granted him leave to remain in the country. His whereabouts were unknown for some time until he appeared at the airport.
"Seeing her in action was quite amazing," says Mr Meldrum's wife, Dolores Cortes, who witnessed the incident. "She goes for it and will never let anything pass her by."
Beatrice Mtetwa continues her work despite having been arrested on trumped-up charges, beaten and tortured by the police.
For several years she represented the Daily News, an independent and often critical paper that was subjected to criminal defamation charges by the government, before finally being closed down in 2003.
Ms Mtetwa is continuing with the case of 45 former Daily News journalists who have been charged with working without official accreditation in the period before the paper was shut down.
Love for the job
"She is the kind of person who has a love for the job," says Columbus Mavhungo, an executive member of the Zimbabwe Journalists' Union, and a former Daily News staff member.
As someone who has used the law to secure justice, often against the interests of the government, Beatrice Mtetwa is concerned at the erosion of the independence of Zimbabwe's judiciary.
"The space has become narrow, especially in the superior courts - especially when appointments are made not on the basis of expertise but of political patronage," she says.
She is equally worried by government moves against the independent press: "The media space has also shrunk. More and more violations are occurring and are not getting exposure."
"The magistrates are ordinary civil servants, without perks. There is now a situation in Zimbabwe where it is in the lower courts that people are most likely to get a fair hearing."
"The state say they will appeal but they seldom follow through. It's done more to please their political masters than anything else."
It was in a magistrate's court that Beatrice Mtetwa won her most recent battle in favour of foreign correspondents: Toby Harnden and Julian Simmonds of the British Sunday Telegraph, who were arrested during presidential elections in April.
Toby Harnden describes her as a "heroine".
"Despite the constant harassment and a brutal beating, she maintains not only her dignity but also a wicked sense of humour and a love of life that are a delight to experience," he says.
"If it wasn't for Beatrice, Julian Simmonds and I
might still be languishing in jail with another year to serve."
Those of us who have chosen to stay in Zimbabwe and to "tough it out" are
variously regarded as "heroes", "stupid" and all sorts of things in between.
The truth is, we each have our own reasons for staying and fighting it out.
I sometimes wonder if the grass is greener on the other side? Last time I
seriously looked was 25 years ago. At that time "the other side" did not
impress me. The one thing it did do for me was to reinforce my feeling of
being "African". There was no doubt when I got off the plane in Harare that
I was "home". That has not changed for me and most who have flown the nest
have found themselves hankering after their African roots.
This past week, while the MDC seems to have been on the path to self
destruction over the Senate issue, I was in South Africa, not in a city, but
out in a rural district taking a break on a small farm with my wife and
daughter and our grandson. I should have been at the MDC bun fight but this
short holiday had been planned for some time and in my life, family comes
first whenever I can chose.
It was instructive to see the South African underbelly - not the sort of
face that it puts on for the world to see and not in a mainstream tourist
area. It was not encouraging. I saw a major tea estate abandoned by its
owners, the tea rank and in some areas dying from the withdrawal of
irrigation. I asked why and was told that the estate was the subject of a
land claim and was also a target by local Labor Unions who were demanding
conditions of service for staff that the estate simply could not meet.
The farm we stayed on was also the subject of a land claim - mounted by some
of the staff on the farm. The owners who had been there for 23 years said
that there was no basis for the claim and that the organisation dealing with
land claims had ruled in their favor. However there was ample evidence that
they were holding up maintenance and the replacement of assets on the farm
with a consequential loss of production and damage to the local economic
But it was in the social sector that I was most disturbed by what I saw. The
wounds of apartheid are still there for all to see. Racist's attitudes
persist, the staff housing on farms is generally appalling and worst of all
are the "homeland" slums created by the apartheid regime over the previous
40 years are still there with little or no sign of any form of
transformation. The housing being built by the State was simply a more
sophisticated (and probably less comfortable) shack under a bare tin roof.
No sign of any sort of security of tenure that would encourage the occupants
to upgrade their shacks or even build their own homes. A wide modern highway
connected these sprawling rural slums to the nearby provincial capital, a
modern City with all the trimmings. People still had to commute 30
kilometers to work each day - not the urban middle class or rich, but the
For a country in a hurry to transform itself after decades of oppression and
discrimination, South Africa is simply not moving fast enough. Big companies
are building up their relationships with the new elite and exporting their
surplus cash abroad as an insurance against any future shocks. Many are now
major global players - South African Breweries are now number three in the
world, Anglo is a resources giant with as much invested in the USA as in
South Africa. Rembrandt is a global tobacco company - one of the eight
majors and Barlow's stretch across the globe. But they are not investing
anything like what they could be investing in South Africa itself. New
legislation for the diamond industry seems like a warning shot across their
bows, that caution is justified. The fact that De Beers is now only
producing a small part of their global output in South Africa and is
headquartered outside the country that gave its birth is simply a fact of
White and black South Africans show few signs of any kind of real
integration and reconciliation. There is a great deal of overt racism and
those of us who come from Zimbabwe still feel a racial tension that somehow
never was a part of our life "back home".
I listened to the cultured voice of the IMF representative in South Africa
saying in a speech in Johannesburg that the South African policy of
retaining a strong Rand was "entirely appropriate". What utter bull, the
experience of every country that has achieved rapid growth in the past 50
years is that you must undervalue your local currency to achieve the kind of
home grown investment and development that will transform the living
standards of the majority. This kind of ideological nonsense, which favors
the rich at the expense of the poor, is why when we finally find our feet in
this Zanu PF mud hole, that we must be careful to maintain our independence
of policy and development strategies and avoid being dictated to by the
industrialized countries and the multilaterals.
Well after our break away, it was back to the mud hole - what a relief to
get back to empty roads and silent vacant farms. It was a bit of a shock to
find bread at Z$25 000 and maize meal at Z$8 000 a kilo, but where else in
the world does your home staff pick up your dirty clothes, wash them and
iron them and repack your wardrobe? Where else are people with nothing, so
cheerful and generous so caring and concerned? Where else can you walk into
the customs and immigration and be greeted by your first name and welcomed
home - even if they then try to stick you with a huge customs bill.
As expected, the annual rate of inflation in September rose 100 per cent.
Scary stuff and I remain very apprehensive about all those who are economic
prisoners here and are on fixed incomes. If you know of anyone in this
category - please keep your eyes open and help when you see signs of stress.
If you have relatives at "home" and are not helping - then start doing so.
There is no doubt now in my mind that thousands are going to die in the
coming months. This is going to be our most "silent" spring season ever.
As for the Senate debate in the MDC - I was just as confused as you were by
what I heard. Hopefully the mature and sensible leaders that we have in the
Party are sorting it out. I remain convinced that we are right not to
participate and are glad that the majority who wrote to me after last weeks
note agreed. But we need to make these decisions in the right way and then
get back to the real fight, which is how to stop Zanu PF digging their own
grave in that mud hole.
Bulawayo, 17th October 2005
Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:33 PM BST
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's ruling party has nominated veteran politicians
as candidates for a controversial Senate poll to try to contain a power
struggle over President Robert Mugabe's likely successor, analysts say.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF has nursed a simmering feud since last November, when he
bulldozed the party into endorsing his choice to fill the vacant post of
second vice-president both in the party and in government, a stepping stone
to the presidency.
Analysts say Mugabe has tried to manage anger over his imposition of Joyce
Mujuru by giving jobs to those who were opposed to his move, and is also
using the November 26 elections for a new Senate to bring opponents in from
ZANU-PF provincial councils have nominated dozens of veteran politicians,
including Dzikamai Mavhaire, a senior official once suspended from the party
after calling on Mugabe to retire.
The list also includes former military commander, General Vitalis "Fox-Gava"
Zvinavashe, who retired from the army two years ago and is identified with a
faction opposed to Mugabe's selection of Mujuru as vice president.
Veteran politician Edgar Tekere, a former ZANU-PF secretary-general sacked
in 1989 after publicly criticising Mugabe and branding him a dictator, also
made the list. Tekere recently returned to ZANU-PF.
"These nominations show that Mugabe wants as many of the old guard by his
side so that he can watch them, and try to manage any wrangles over the
succession question," said Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei of the University of
"This is all part of his game of political patronage to consolidate his
position," Dzinotyiwei said.
MUGABE SHOCKED THE PARTY
Mugabe shocked the party last November when he appointed Mujuru, a woman
from his own ethnic group, as co-vice president instead of Speaker of
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, a ZANU-PF heavyweight long seen as
The 81-year-old veteran Zimbabwean leader, who has been in power since
independence, is expected to retire when his term ends in 2008.
Analysts say he ditched Mnangagwa, from the Karanga tribe, because he did
not believe anyone outside his Zezuru ethnic group would protect him from
possible prosecution for human rights abuses when he steps down.
Mnangagwa has pledged his loyalty to Mugabe, but analysts say tension has
built since ZANU-PF's congress last December, pitting a Zezuru faction
backing Mujuru against politicians from the larger Karanga tribe allied
loosely with officials from the minority Ndebele and Manyika ethnic groups.
Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional law lecturer and chairman of political
pressure group National Constitutional Assembly, said Mugabe was using the
Senate nominations to extend his political patronage to keep a close eye on
"Within ZANU-PF, Mugabe's style has generally been to try to keep potential
rivals close so that he can control them by giving them jobs," he said.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has plunged into chaos
over whether to contest the November 26 Senate elections, with its leader
announcing the MDC is boycotting them, but one faction saying the party is
((ZIMBABWE-ELECTIONS, Reporting by Cris Chinaka; Editing by Ross Colvin;
Harare Newsroom: +263-4 799-112-5; firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Ian McPhedran
October 19, 2005
AUSTRALIA is pressing the world's most powerful nations to put Zimbabwe's
brutal dictator Robert Mugabe on trial in the International Criminal Court.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer stepped up his attack on the
Mugabe regime for crimes against its own people.
"The thing about President Mugabe is he's not a threat to anyone else . . .
but he is a terrible threat to his own people," he said.
The Australian Government was pushing the UN Security Council to refer Mr
Mugabe and his henchmen to the global court.
Zimbabwe is not a signatory of the court so can only be prosecuted by a
Security Council resolution.
The UN's peak body is considering a damning report from the Special
Representative on Zimbabwe.
"President Mugabe has simply destroyed the economy of the country," Mr
"Half the country is suffering from a lack of sufficient nutrition that he
has to have food aid for a country that was once a great agricultural
Mr Mugabe made a speech this week at the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation in Rome. Mr Downer said the speech was "offensive" and
Australian officials were instructed to walk out of the conference venue
when the Zimbabwean strongman got to the podium. They were the only ones to
"This is a country that used to be the breadbasket - the food bowl of
Africa - a major exporter of food and under his regime he has simply
decimated agriculture," Mr Downer said. "And they are begging now for food."
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 October 2005
A Zimbabwean asylum seeker, with a Malawian passport, was finally
deported to Malawi on Saturday by guards who gave him no notice. He had
avoided deportation from the UK a couple of times by refusing to get on the
plane. Another failed asylum seeker was deported on Monday, and a third was
due to be removed Tuesday night. The removals come just days after an asylum
tribunal ruled that it was not safe to return failed cases to Zimbabwe.
Although the home office said it would consider the tribunal's findings,
deportations are continuing while a general policy is being formulated.
The tribunal ruling had given many Zimbabweans a false sense of
security, and the Legal Refugee Centre is advising people to wait about 3
weeks to find out how best to proceed. But it appears those who came into
the UK on Malawi passports will be deported even if they have proven they
are Zimbabwean. Many people escaping from Zimbabwe acquired passports from
Malawi to avoid detection and because they are easy to get.
Dr Martine Stemerick has been active in assisting Zimbabwean asylum
seekers and lobbying for a ban on removals. She told us that the deported
asylum seeker, who will not be identified for safety reasons, is now in
Malawi where he has no relatives, no place to stay and no money to live on.
He had been waiting for a response to his appeal but none ever came. Dr
Stemerick also said he was not given the 24-hour notice that he is entitled
to under current UK immigration laws. In fact he was watching TV in the
lounge when guards came to escort him to the airport.
What is also disturbing is that the guards allegedly treated him very
roughly when he attempted to resist getting on the plane. Dr Stemerick said
they bashed his nose and put a cloth over it as they forced him onto the
plane. He was bleeding as he got on and his hands were allegedly bruised as
well. The guards returned his papers to him at Addis Ababa airport in
Ethiopia. A sister of the deported man told Dr Stemerick that the guards
said "We can kill you." Accusations of verbal abuse by guards have been
levelled by other asylum seekers in detention.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 October 2005
The government has been limiting the activities of NGO's, including
their feeding programmes in remote areas gripped by starvation. What is
surprising is that many NGOs are going along with it, leaving people to
starve just to keep the peace with government officials.
A classic case is that of Save The Children. We found out that for
over three years, the people of one particularly poor region had been
receiving a life-saving monthly food handout from Save the Children UK.
Everyone over the age of 55 relied on a generous allocation of mealie-meal,
cooking oil and beans.
But ever since the introduction of the ill-fated Non-Governmental
Organizations Bill in 2004, the Mugabe regime banned humanitarian
organizations like Save the Children from continuing with their general
feeding programmes. Save the Children UK was allowed to continue with
developmental work only, such as digging wells to provide drinking water.
But they were ordered to discontinue the feeding.
Local ZANU PF officials accused the NGOs of engaging in a subversive
political programme in support of the MDC. Our elderly sources in this one
area said this was absolute nonsense. They confirmed that NGO officials had
not been talking politics to them at all. It is a known fact that Zanu PF
want to use food to buy votes and many observers feel the regime is involved
in a slow form of genocide, by starvation.
Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International said all people have a right
to food and in the case where a government itself is unable to feed them, it
is obliged to use all the means at its disposal and allow the international
community to step in and help. As for the government's paranoia, Gaughran
said there is no evidence that any credible NGO in Zimbabwe has used food as
a political weapon. She said on the other hand there is plenty of evidence
that the Zimbabwe government and the Grain Marketing Board have politicised
the distribution of food.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
by Tichaona Sibanda
18 October 2005
The failure by the Judiciary to nullify Zanu (PF) victories in
constituencies that were engulfed with violence in the March parliamentary
elections has again shown that the justice system in the country is heavily
Political commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga said the unwillingness by the
Judges to overturn the election results, despite overwhelming evidence of
violence, indicates a system that is upholding the interests of its masters.
'I don't know what the judges wanted the MDC candidates to bring.
Maybe they expected them to bring dead bodies and broken limbs or people
stitched up from election violence. Or worse they wanted them to bring
entire villages that were displaced or people who fled the country and
sought refuge outside Zimbabwe to come and testify,' said Mhlanga.
Almost all judges on Monday agreed that Robert Mugabe's henchmen used
food and violence to win votes. The judges were delivering rulings on a
number of election petitions filed by losing MDC candidates from various
parts of the country.
MDC Legal Secretary David Coltart said the judgements on the facts
were fair but was disappointed that the results went against them. It has
long been known that the Supreme and High Court benches are stuffed with
Zanu (PF) supporters and sympathisers.
'You only need to look back and see who makes up the judiciary and
whose interest they are actually serving.and you shouldn't be very
surprised,' said Mhlanga.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Mail and Guardian
Ray Faure | Johannesburg, South Africa
18 October 2005 01:52
South Africa is ranked number 46 in the latest Transparency
International Corruption Perceptions Index.
Although its score of 4,5 on a scale of 10 beat the global
average of 4,11 and was way above the average of three for African
countries, it only ranked third on the continent -- being pipped by Botswana
in 32nd place with a score of 5,9 and Tunisia in 43rd place with a score of
According to Transparency International, 31 of the 44 African
states listed on the CPI 2005 scored less than three -- "a sign of rampant
Zimbabwe and Zambia were ranked joint 107th with a score of 2,6,
while Namibia was 47th (score 4,3), Lesotho 70th (3,4) and Mozambique 97th
It was no surprise that Nigeria ranks second worst on the
continent and 152nd globally with a score of 1,9.
"Nigeria is marked by severe corruption, and has consistently
received one of the worst scores in recent CPIs. This can be attributed to
the prolonged military dictatorship and the resultant ad hoc nature of
issues of governance. In addition, the lack of emphasis on accountability
has led to the entrenchment and institutionalisation of the practice of
"In particular, anti-corruption initiatives lack a holistic
approach and two major components in the legal framework are missing, ie.
access to information and whistle-blowers protection laws. Despite this
worrying situation, the slight improvement recorded since last year can be
attributed to the vigorous pursuit of sanctions by the government and the
energising of some structures for combating corruption," Transparency
Chad, however, with a score of 1,7, had the dubious distinction
of not only being named the most corrupt nation on the African continent,
but also the world's most corrupt state.
According to Transparency International, the African state is
marked by political instability, human rights abuses and weak press freedom.
Chad is also the location of the challenging World Bank-funded Chad-Cameroon
oil pipeline project, which is attempting to defy the "resource curse" by
using oil revenues to reduce poverty. The project depends heavily on the
political will of the government to respect the rule of law.
"While Chad has achieved a degree of transparency not seen in
other oil-rich countries, ongoing reports of mismanagement or corruption
must be followed by government action," points out Transparency
International. - I-Net Bridge
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Date: 18 Oct 2005
Zimbabwe: Appeal No. 05EA016 Programme Update No.2
The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.
Appeal No. 05EA016; Operations Update no. 2; Period covered: September 2005; Appeal coverage: 15.7%;
Launched on 26 July 2005 for CHF 2,481,818 (USD 1,788,110 or EUR 1,487,813) for 5mon ths to assist some 15,000 persons (3,000 households)- http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?05/05EA016.pdf
Operations Update no. 1 - http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?05/05EA01601.pdf dated 26 August 2005 was issued.
This Operations Update provides a revised plan of action for the period October -December 2005, in light of funding received.
Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 100,000.
Outstanding needs: CHF 2,093,035 (USD 1,617,492 or EUR 1,344,247).
Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: Zimbabwe 2005 Annual Appeal no. 05AA017- http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?annual05/05AA017.pdf
Operational Summary: The relief efforts promoted by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and the Federation have alleviated the suffering of approximately 1,500 most vulnerable households affected by the 'clean up' exercise, particularly those of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS (OVC) and those who sought shelter in holding camps (in June and July 2005). However, at the onset of the rainy season, the needs of most households affected by the 'clean up' exercise remain largely unmet. Combined with the effects of a drought that severely impacted on the 2004/05 agricultural season, the capacity of thea ffected households to cope with the situation is limited.
To date, the appeal has received 15.7% coverage and further donor support to meet the needs of the targeted 3,000 household s is encouraged. An extension of the current emergency operation is envisaged- should the pledged funding be received after the end of October 2005.
The 'clean up' operation- started by the government of Zimbabwe in May 2005- was concluded in July 2005, when operation 'Garikai/Hlalani Khulhe' (operation stay well) was launched. Under operation 'Garikai/Hlalani Khulhe', construction of shelter for the families affected by the 'clean up' operation is planned by the government of Zimbabwe. Most of affected people- scattered all over Zimbabwe- are seeking opportunities for resettlement; some in the government designated areas, other in rural areas and others by being hosted by families and relatives within the cities. This phenomenon is negatively affecting he t most vulnerable, especially OVC and the chronically ill people, who in the process can hardly access basic services such as medical care, shelter, food, water and sanitation. The situation is worsened by the general economic decline currently being experienced in Zimbabwe, the protracted fuel shortage crisis and the effects of the drought experienced during the 2004/05 agricultural season-resulting in a poor harvest.
Currently, the people affected can be classified into the following categories:
- The people who went to rural areas directly from where they where removed and those who initially went to holding camps and later moved to rural areas. According to recent reports from the Mashonaland, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces Red Cross branches, some of these families are returning to urban areas. Initial reports and verifications portray changes in the whereabouts of the same families as of September 2005 since their coping mechanisms and safety nets have been drastically reduced. Several households have been contacting the national society's provincial offices seeking for assistance, mostly in the form of food and other basic requirements- like shelter.
- The households that remained camped within illegal settlements (previously demolished), such as in Epworth, Hopley, Hatcliffe and White Cliff suburbs- in Harare, Victoria Falls, Gwanda, Beitbridge and Bulawayo. Assistance to this group presents operational challenges because of the government directive of assisting only those within designated areas and with housing development approved by the city councils. Most of the households in this category are destitute, with increasing difficulty in meeting their basic needs and with very little capacity to look into strategies to access accommodation schemes. Some children in these illegal settlements are malnourished due to lack of adequate food and have no proper communication channels to present their problems and needs.
- The households that will benefit from the housing being constructed in designated areas and those who have been allocated stands by local authorities. These families currently use basic infrastructure of very low standard for shelter. While some of them are on the government's waiting list, the progress of h t e construction of the houses is slow due to alleged constraints such as lack of fuel and building materials. It is estimated that only a few are going to benefit from the programme compared to the high numbers of households affected by the 'clean up' exercise.
Red Cross action
Emergency Appeal no 05EA016 was launched on 26 July 2006 for CHF 2,481,818 million to provide assistance to 15,000 vulnerable people for a period of five months. It followed the release of CHF 100,000 from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 10 June 2005. With the DREF allocation, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (1)- with support from the Federation- was able to offer in itial assistance by providing relief items to meet th e basic needs of 1,400 vulnerable households within the holding camps in all the provinces. Between May and July 2005, the Red Cross distributed blankets, kitchen sets, soap and jerry cans. It also provided portable toilets for use in transit camps.
Following the dismantlement of the holding camps in July, the Red Cross continued to ensure th e availability of safe drinking water for the affected (by distributing water purification tablets to 1,500 households) and improved hygiene (by conducting hygiene education in the newly designated area of Hatcliffe, Harare). The national society is still constructing five two-bed roomed houses for the identified most needy child-headed vulnerable households. The houses will be ready for occupation by mid-October 2005. Property titles for the land have been granted by the councils concerned.
As part of livelihood recovery programme, 1,000 households in rural areas are receiving seeds and fertilizers.
(1) Zimbabwe Red Cross Society- http://www.ifrc.org/where/country/check.asp?countryid=13
For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:
In Zimbabwe: Emma Kundishora, Secretary General, Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, Harare; Email: email@example.com; Phone: +2188.8.131.52.16; Fax: +2184.108.40.206.39.
In Zimbabwe: Françoise Le Goff, Federation Head of Southern Africa Regional Delegation, Harare; Email: i f firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: +2220.127.116.11 55, +218.104.22.168.56; Fax: +222.214.171.124.84.
In Geneva: Terry Carney, Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa, Africa Dept.; Email: email@example.com; Phone: +41.22.730.42.98, Fax: +41.22.733.03.95.
All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org
October 18, 2005
By Peter Fabricius
America's top Africa official Jenday Frazer says she is "disappointed"
with Africa's leaders for "looking away" from the Zimbabwe crisis.
Frazer, former US ambassador to SA and now assistant secretary of
state for Africa, was in South Africa where she met foreign minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma yesterday.
She acknowledged that South Africa was not looking the other way on
Zimbabwe in so far as it was trying to mediate there.
But on the other hand it was not openly saying there was a crisis
there either as it had, for instance, in the Togo crisis.
"When I say African leaders are looking the other way, I ... mean they
haven't taken it up as the African Union," Frazer explained.
The whole international community should be taking up the Zimbabwe
issue because the country could easily descend into violence.
She said she agreed with the South African government that only
Zimbabweans could solve their problems. But she disagreed that Zimbabweans
should be left to do this in isolation. "It is ironic that the ANC should
take that stance since the ANC itself built a strategy which included both
inside and outside forces for change here. It is not either/or. It can't
Harare, Zimbabwe, 10/18 - Security forces in Zimbabwe Sunday seized a large
consignment of drug weighing 900 kilograms from cross-border traffickers who
entered the eastern city of Mutare from Mozambique.
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said the drugs, consisting mainly of
marijuana, had a street value of ZWD1.5 billion (ZWD26,000=1USD), and was
probably destined for the lucrative South African market.
He said a combined police and army team laid an ambush for the traffickers
in Mutare, near the border with Mozambique, but all the peddlers escaped and
abandoned the consignment after their car was hit.
He said apart from the drugs, security forces recovered Mozambican passports
and the vehicle and trailer in which the drugs were being transported.
Zimbabwe, which lies at the heart of southern Africa, is a major transit
point for drugs going in all directions, particularly South Africa, the
Police regularly confiscates the illicit products and jails the offenders,
but so far this has proved not to be a sufficient deterrent.
October 18, 2005
The unrest between Zimbabwe's players and board has again spilled into the
open with the leaking of a letter from almost all the team calling for the
reinstatement of Phil Simmons.
Simmons, who was replaced by Kevin Curran as national coach in August, had
stayed on the coaching staff and remained as an employee of Zimbabwe Cricket
(ZC). Ten days ago his contract was abruptly terminated, a decision he
contested claiming that it had been taken in contravention of the board's
own rules. The case is now in the hands of both sides' lawyers. Insiders
told Cricinfo that ZC had spoken to Zimbabwean immigration officials about
the possibility of Simmons's work permit being withdrawn.
But in a letter to Peter Chingoka, the ZC chairman, 30 players, including
Tatenda Taibu, the captain, and Heath Streak, asked for the decision to be
reconsidered. "We believe Phil still has much to offer ZC as national coach,
and we feel the decision to terminate his employment is unjust and unfair
and is not in the best interests of Zimbabwe cricket."
Some board members openly blamed Simmons for the team's problems, something
the players disputed. "A number of factors have affected our ability to
perform as a unit," the letter continued. "So it would not be right to make
Phil the scapegoat. Phil knows a great deal about the game, and has taught
us much in a short period. We therefore have faith in him and believe that
Phil has a great awareness of the current squad of players as individuals,
therefore we still believe he has the best chance to position the national
team to win games in the future."
The letter concluded by stating that they believed Simmons was "the right
person to continue as national coach and to take the team to India. Please
may we urge you as concerned players who want the best for Zimbabwe cricket
to reconsider your decision to terminate Phil's employment."
This is the second time the players have united to write to the boad in five
weeks. In September, they lambasted the board for its treatment of them, and
were especially critical of the handling of controversial new player
It also raises serious questions about the role of Curran. Although not
mentioned in the letter, in calling for the reinstatement of Simmons the
implication is that Curran would have to step aside.
This is sure to be yet another embarrassment for the Zimbabwe board, and one
which comes on the day that Streak announced that he would be putting his
role as captain of Warwickshire ahead of any international demands. On
Saturday, a full-strength Zimbabwe side were humiliated by Kenya in a
Zimbabwe is in crisis. Rampant inflation, soon to hit 400 percent a year,
has debased the currency, wiped out the livelihoods of people on fixed
pensions and cut almost everyone's living standards.
Everything from sugar to petrol to vegetables is hard to find and expensive.
Six boxes of matches cost 20,000 Zimbabwe dollars. If you change £40 you are
given a wad of notes as thick as two bricks. Unemployment is estimated at 75
percent, with over 70 percent of the population living under the poverty
Only the rich and the clique around the regime, with their access to foreign
currency sources, live well. Operation Murambatsvina, the government's
"Operation Restore Order" which swept people out of their shacks and tiny
businesses, has left 700,000 people without homes or their livelihoods or
Near the Harare to Bulawayo main road Simbisdo Hadebe lives with her three
children. They were cleared from another part of Harare in May and have
lived since with only asbestos sheets and cardboard boxes for shelter.
"Mugabe attacks rich pepole abroad but he tortures the poor at home," she
says. Workers cannot afford to get a bus to work, so tens of thousands of
them walk for ten kilometres or more.
The crisis is causing tension in the ruling party and the MDC opposition. It
is divided over whether to contest the next set of elections, for the
Senate, on 26 November.
The result may be a return to genuine mass action in the country, with
Tuesday of next week set to see the beginning of a campign over political
rights and collapsing living standards.
© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if
you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.
The QandO Blog
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 18, 2005
|Because it gives an international
platform to dictators and tyrants like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe:
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday railed against President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, calling them "international terrorists" bent on world domination like Adolf Hitler.Of course, if you were Mugabe, you might be a little paranoid about being "unseated" by others who see your rule as tyrannical, oppressive and murderous. Of course, that said, it won't be by the US or Britian, and it certainly won't be the the UN which steps in to save the people of Zimbabwe. No, as in Darfur, the plight of the people being oppressed and killed will be ignored while the likes of Mugabe and the bandits who run the Sudan are left to rail against the rest of the world at UN sponsored events.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has simply become another in a long line of UN organizational forums for tin-pot dictators to spout their anti-American and anti-Western tripe.
"The voice of Mr. Bush and the voice of Mr. Blair can't decide who shall rule in Zimbabwe, who shall rule in Africa, who shall rule in Asia, who shall rule in Venezuela, who shall rule in Iran, who shall rule in Iraq," he said.It is instructive to note with whom Mugabe aligns himself.
Of course Robert Mugabe has been the hand at the tiller which has run the ship of the prosperous nation of Zimbabwe aground on the rocks of tyranny, oppression, fraud, corruption and outright political murder and turned in into a sinking derelict.
Mr. Mugabe accused Britain and the United States of working to unseat him because of his forcible redistribution of white-owned farms among blacks, helping plunge his country into its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.But that doesn't mean it's his fault, oh no, it's the Bush/Blair cabal's fault. And, this being the UN, also known as the world's largest debating club for third world dictators, Mugabe had a chance to play to supporters:
Some FAO delegates applauded several times during Mr. Mugabe's fiery speech yesterday.It is time to consider something new in terms of an effective world body. The UN is simply no longer an appropriate vehicle for the pursuit of peaceful goals among democratic nations any longer. It has long since destroyed any credibility it might have had through its corruption and ineffectiveness.
We've seen discussions about the formation of an alternate body come and go, but at this point it should be clear that the UN is not the institution that can handle the job.
It will take a bold leader to say "enough" and pull the US out of the organization. It has had its day and its deterioration into an ineffective and expensive organization has been percipitious. It survives today on impetus, tradition and a lack of an alternative.
Maybe it's time to seriously discuss a "League of Democracies" or some alternative world organization where being a tin-pot dictator actually disqualifies you from memebership instead of automatically providing you with a forum, paid for by others, from which to spew lies, disinformation and hate.
Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:57 PM GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Maize exports from South Africa nearly tripled last
week to over 60,000 tonnes due to heavy shipments to Zimbabwe, data showed
Maize exports totalled 60,498 tonnes for the week to October 14, compared to
21,377 tonnes the previous week, according to the South African Grain
The bulk of the exports, 45,048 tonnes of white maize, went to Zimbabwe,
which is suffering from food shortages along with several other southern
Earlier this month, the Zimbabwe government said it would have to import
222,000 tonnes of maize to feed around 2.2 million needy people.
Aid agencies say around four million people, a third of the population, will
need food handouts until the next harvest comes in around next April.
Smaller amounts of white maize went to eight other African countries, with
Angola buying 4,817 tonnes and Botswana 4,364 tonnes.
Exports of yellow maize, mostly used for animal feed, were little changed at
2,600 tonnes to four neighbouring countries.
The higher exports will put a small dent in a huge surplus in South Africa
following a bumper grain harvest this year.
Producers say the surplus could reach five million tonnes if official
estimates for the 2005 crop of 12.18 million tonnes prove correct.
Maize prices, which tumbled early in the year on the big crop but have
staged a recovery, gained on Tuesday mainly due to a weaker rand, traders
Benchmark December white maize futures climbed 2.9 percent to 841 rand per
tonne by the midday close and December yellow maize added 3.3 percent to 789
The rand against the dollar was trading at 6.593 by 1230 GMT, about 7 cents
weaker on its levels late on Monday.
Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:00 PM GMT
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's nomination court will decide next week on
whether to allow opposition candidates to stand in senate elections in
defiance of their leader, a state newspaper said on Tuesday.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai said last
week he was against the party taking part in the polls, despite opposition
from senior colleagues, triggering the party's worst crisis since it formed
On Tuesday the Herald newspaper said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
had "dampened" attempts by Tsvangirai to block MDC members from filing
nomination papers next Monday ahead of the November 26 vote for the restored
second chamber of parliament.
"ZEC chairman Justice George Chiweshe, who was responding to a letter
written by Mr Tsvangirai ... that those registering to contest the Senate
polls as MDC candidates should be deemed independents, said nomination
courts would accept papers from candidates who meet laid-down criteria," the
ZEC officials were not available for comment on Tuesday.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, confirmed that the MDC leader had
written to the ZEC.
"Mr Tsvangirai has taken note of the statement from the chairmain of the ZEC
and he has adopted the position that he shall see the colour of the sky when
the clouds clear on Monday," Bango told Reuters.
At the weekend Bango said Tsvangirai had launched a campaign to reunite a
party he says is split over the senate polls.
Tsvangirai says the senate polls are likely to be rigged by President Robert
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, which denies MDC charges that it has
fraudulently won parliamentary and presidential elections since 2000.
The pro-participation faction within the MDC says a boycott of the Senate
vote would merely widen ZANUJ-PF's already comfortable majority in the
house, while further edging out the opposition.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi said last week that the party's
decision-making national council had voted in favour of participation by a
narrow two-vote margin and that its decision was binding.
Mugabe has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980. The
European Union has imposed travel sanctions on Zimbabwean government
officials over the accusations of vote rigging in parliamentary polls in
2000 and in Mugabe's re-election two years later.
Mail and Guardian
18 October 2005 08:59
Absa's claim that it had no knowledge of irregular lending
practices at its Zimbabwe associate, the Jewel Bank, is "nonsense", says a
senior employee formerly stationed at the Harare bank.
In August, reports revealed that the Jewel Bank -- then known as
the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) -- in which Absa has a 25% stake, had
helped Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) acquire a stake in
two privately owned newspapers. This happened under the stewardship of the
then MD Gideon Gono, now Zimbabwe's Central Bank governor.
At the time, Absa said it had no operational control and thus no
knowledge of the bank's day-to-day activities.
Tom van Heerden, seconded by Absa to Jewel Bank as senior credit
manager in 1998, this week told the Mail & Guardian: "There is no way they
[Absa's South African management] could not have known."
Van Heerden said he had told Absa that Gono "lent out money
left, right and centre without authorisation". Van Heerden's immediate boss
at Jewel, director for credit and now CEO of the bank Nyasha Makuvise, was a
"willing sidekick" who did not oppose Gono. All of Van Heerden's attempts to
have loan transactions turned down were thwarted by Gono and Makuvise's
Van Heerden's Harare tenure ended in 2000, two years before the
CIO transaction. But during his time, he said he regularly informed his
South African bosses about flagrant disregard for procedure and the bad
shape of Jewel Bank's debtors' book.
His direct South African contact was Lukas de Swart, who was
general manager, people management services. Absa spokesperson Errol Smith
said De Swart was "probably retired".
Van Heerden said Gono's generous lending practices were extended
to a wide range of clients including Zimbabwe company Chitchem, National
Railways of Zimbabwe and Zisco Steel, as well as individual Zimbab-wean
On the debtors' book, Van Heerden found the bank did not make
adequate provision for bad debts. Stated properly in accounting terms, the
book would probably have rendered the bank insolvent.
Van Heerden's continued disagreements with Gono and Makuvise led
to his stint ending before December 2001, as originally scheduled. The end
began with an attempt to suspend him. In a letter, dated September 2000,
Absa noted, "there were sufficient grounds to continue with a disciplinary
inquiry", adding "we have found that the relationships between yourself and
your superiors at CBZ have deteriorated to the point that no viable basis
exists to continue with the employment relation".
The letter refers to "incompatibility" between Van Heerden and
"the managing director [Gono] and credit director [Makuvise]". Van Heerden
believes that, for Absa, "their stake was more important" than the concerns
he was raising.
This week, Smith continued to insist that Absa had no
operational control of Jewel Bank. He said the bank was not a subsidiary but
an associate in which Absa held a minority stake. He refused to respond to
Van Heerden's claims, but said they had never arisen at board level, where
Absa had representation. Smith said this suggested the matter was resolved
Smith said Van Heerden's deployment to Jewel did not constitute
operational involvement, but was "part of the price, and related to
technology and skills transfer". Van Heerden's secondment agreement was
between Absa, Van Heerden and CBZ.