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Zimbabwean authorities arrest fugitive banker after 3 years on the run

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: October 26, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Police in Harare have arrested a fugitive banking
executive who has been on the police wanted list for three years for
allegedly contravening strict foreign exchange laws, state media said

James Mushore, a former deputy managing director of Zimbabwe's NMB Bank, was
arrested Wednesday at his home in the posh suburb of Chisipite, police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the official Herald daily.

"Investigations are still continuing," Bvudzijena said.

He told the Herald that Mushore was in police custody and would appear in
court "soon."

Mushore and three other top NMB Bank officials fled Zimbabwe in 2004 after
they were accused of siphoning around US$8 million (€5.6 million) out of
Zimbabwe through a money transfer agency they set up in London.

Police say the agency did not have a license from the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe required under the country's tough banking laws.
The agency allegedly bought foreign currency from Zimbabweans working in
London who wanted to send money back home. The beneficiaries were paid out
in Zimbabwe dollars at highly advantageous parallel market rates.

Mushore took refuge in Britain, but apparently made several recent trips to

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Bank Manager's Arrest Said to Be Politically Motivated

SW Radio Africa (London)

26 October 2007
Posted to the web 26 October 2007

Henry Makiwa

There are claims that the protracted succession politics within Zanu PF are
at the centre of the arrest of former NMB Bank deputy managing director
James Mushore.

On Wednesday police in Harare arrested Mushore, allegedly over long-standing
allegations of foreign currency externalisation.

But observers say Mushore has fallen victim to Robert Mugabe's loyalists
because he is related to Mugabe's rival, retired army general Solomon
Mujuru. Mujuru heads a faction angling to take over the Zanu PF leadership
from Mugabe.

Mushore together with fellow NMB bosses, Julius Makoni, Otto Chekeche and
Francis Zimuto, fled into exile in 2004 after they were accused of having
violated the country's exchange control regulations. At the time, Makoni,
Mushore and Zimuto collectively held over 35 percent of NMBZ through family
trusts, making them the single biggest block of shareholders, ahead of
institutional investor Old Mutual.

Observers say Mushore had started shuttling between Harare and London after
an amnesty deal had been cut for the bankers to return home and bolster the
country's economy. Police arrested him at his Chisipite home.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono is understood to have brokered
the negotiations of the amnesty with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

Journalist Kumbirai Mafunda said speculation was rife in Harare that Mushore
has "bad blood connections".

He said: "We understand that Mujuru is Mushore's uncle and we all know that
there is some serious tussling for power between the retired general and
Mugabe at the moment.

"Speculations here have already concluded with some degree of reason, that
he is a victim of his relationship with Mujuru and that the official
allegation is just an excuse."

Chief police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena could not
be contacted for comment but he told The Herald newspaper investigations
into the allegations around Mushore were still in progress.

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Be vigilant against the west, Mugabe urges security arms

Yahoo News

Fri Oct 26, 6:32 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has urged his country's
intelligence service to be ever on guard, saying the country is under
renewed threats from western powers, a state daily reported Friday.

Laying the foundation stone at the construction site of a national
intelligence school, Mugabe named Britain and the United States, saying
"they have unleashed a multiplicity of players, including non-state actors,
to destabilise our nation."

"The phenomenon of the use of non-state actors has increased the
vulnerability of small states to the dictates of big powers which can use
non-governmental organisations ... to threaten the sovereignty of small
states," The Herald quoted Mugabe as saying.

The national school of intelligence to be named after the veteran ruler -- 
in power since the country's independence from colonial power Britain in
1980 -- will be based on a farm in Mazowe, 40 kilometres northwest of the

It offer degrees and diplomas in security and intelligence studies to
students drawn from Zimbabwe's defence forces, immigration and revenue
authorities and the security service arms of neighbouring countries.

Mugabe said the threats facing his government called for more vigilant
security arms.

"The important role of defending our country cannot be left to mediocre
officers incapable of comprehending and analytically evaluating the
operational environment to ensure that the sovereignty of our state is not
only preserved but enhanced," he said.

"It is the expected purpose of this institution to vigorously interrogate
all issues pertaining to our insecurity and evolve methods for our

Mugabe often accuses Britain and the United States of harbouring plans to
use the opposition to topple him after his government policies and what many
observers regarded as fraudulent elections led to a serious deterioration in
his relations with the west.

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Power cuts to increase in Zim


    October 26 2007 at 04:05PM

Harare/Johannesburg - Electricity outages are set to worsen in
power-starved Zimbabwe from Friday as the authorities carry out repairs at
the country's main hydroelectric power station, state radio said.

Output from the Kariba Hydroelectric Power Station will be cut by 250
megawatts from a capacity of 750 megawatts to allow maintenance to be
carried out from Friday to November 6, the main state power station said in
a statement.

The announcement comes after large swathes of the capital Harare went
for more than 10 days without power after a massive fault on a high voltage

Erratic power supplies have become the norm for Zimbabwe's harried
urban dwellers. Many in poorer suburbs have turned to firewood and candles
for cooking and lighting.

Zimbabwe's cash-strapped government depends on power imports to supply
around 35 percent of its needs, but regional suppliers have cut back on
their exports because the southern African country owes debts of more than

The country, which is already facing severe food shortages, is this
year expected to harvest less than a third of its wheat requirements after
incessant power cuts disrupted irrigation on farms resulting in low
yields. - Sapa-DPA

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Enough Wheat for Six Weeks Only, Say Experts

SW Radio Africa (London)

26 October 2007
Posted to the web 26 October 2007

Henry Makiwa

The government's projection of this year's wheat production has been
analysed by agricultural experts, who say it is only enough for six weeks

Briefing journalists on the 2007/08 agricultural season on Wednesday,
agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo said the Grain Marketing Board has
delivered 13 829 tonnes only. The figure means that wheat production has
fallen by almost 90 percent - it is a mere 12 per cent of the previous high
in output last achieved in the late 1990s.

Zimbabwe's agricultural production plummeted following the chaotic and
violent expropriation of white-owned farmland, which has been continuing for
the last seven years.

Farmer Gerry Whitehead said the government should admit that their skewed
land policies were not working.

He said. "There is no way a country can survive on the grain that the
minister says we have. We are doomed and this is all because the government
has failed to discuss the fundamental issues of loss of power, water and the
economic meltdown."

The government's fast-track land reform programme seized about 4,000 highly
productive white commercial farms. Newly settled farmers were not given
adequate government support, while senior members of the ruling ZANU-PF
party and other government officials, including high-ranking army and police
officers, took over the best estates.

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Debate over cause of Tsvangirai bodyguard’s death

By Lance Guma
26 October 2007

The death of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s bodyguard, Nhamo Musekiwa,
has sparked debate over the cause of his death. A party statement linked the
death to injuries sustained when he was brutally assaulted after an aborted
prayer rally in March. Other reports have however suggested Musekiwa was HIV
positive and that he succumbed to this condition. While news agencies were
unaware of his private health status the revelations have thrown up a debate
over cause and effect, given he was indeed tortured in custody and was sent
to South Africa for treatment.

Experts interviewed said it was a thin line and difficult to prove what
eventually killed Musekiwa. ‘An HIV positive person needs to have a healthy
life style in order to live longer and certainly to be assaulted and
tortured the way Nhamo was compromised his health.’ One HIV counsellor told
Newsreel disclosing Musekiwa’s HIV status has resulted in him being
subjected to discrimination. ‘Its now easy for those who beat him up to run
away from responsibility over his death when they are clearly aware they
affected his overall health,’ he said.

On Friday party spokesman Nelson Chamisa was adamant that they blame his
death on the torture. ‘If someone is HIV positive and they get run over by a
car, what will you say is the cause of their death?’
Chamisa said Musekiwa was in good health before the beating but soon after
had to be transferred to South Africa for treatment. Whatever the actual
cause of death it should not take away from the fact Musekiwa was arrested
alongside party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and brutally assaulted and
This is indisputable and his memory should be respected for his dedication
in trying to help Zimbabwe become free at last.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Mugabe vows to attend summit


    October 26 2007 at 07:53PM

Luanda - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said he is determined
to attend a Europe-Africa summit in Lisbon next month despite pressure from
Britain that he be kept off the invitation list.

"Portugal said they would invite me," Mugabe said in an interview
published by state media in Angola on Friday.

While he had yet to receive an approach from the Portuguese, Mugabe
said: "I will go if I get the invitation."

The build-up to December's summit in the Portuguese capital has been
overshadowed by the row over the possible attendance of Mugabe who is
currently subject to a European Union travel ban.

Gordon Brown, prime minister of Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler
Britain, has vowed to stay away from the summit if Mugabe attends the

Governments belonging to the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) regional bloc, which is currently trying to mediate between
Zimbabwe's feuding government and opposition ahead of elections next year,
have also threatened to miss the summit if Mugabe is not allowed to attend.

Mugabe thanked SADC for its stance, adding that "Europe should not
choose who of us should come and who should not".

Were that to happen "then we are a finished people", added Mugabe who
has ruled the southern African nation since independence in 1980.

Europeans "have lots of sins themselves and many things we don't like
they are doing" but "we will not say that if so-and-so comes to the United
Nations we will not go," he added.

Mugabe's relations with his former allies in the West plummeted when
he embarked on a controversial programme of land reforms which saw thousands
of white-owned farms expropriated by the Zimbabwean government.

While the beneficiaries were meant to be landless blacks, many of the
farms ended up in the hands of ruling Zanu-PF members.

A series of targeted sanctions, including the travel ban on Mugabe and
his close associates, was imposed by the EU and United States in the
aftermath of elections in 2002 which he is alleged to have rigged.

Mugabe said he was not at odds with Europe as a whole but merely
Britain which he says has reneged on an agreement to fund land

"Our problem is purely bilateral, between Britain and Zimbabwe, and
that has to do with land," said Mugabe. - Sapa-AFP

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Crisis Group Organise 'Rock the Vote' Concert for Saturday

SW Radio Africa (London)

26 October 2007
Posted to the web 26 October 2007

Lance Guma

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has organised a 'Rock the Vote Concert,'
which has been scheduled for the Harare Gardens on Saturday.

The concert launches what the group calls the 'Alternative Civic and Voter
Education Campaign' and is aimed at empowering the youth with voter
education. They have lined up the cream of urban music talent including
Roki, Sniper, Exq, Cindy, Alexio Kawara, Vimbai Zimuto and Cadet Trio. The
concert will also have seasoned performers Chiwoniso Maraire and Chirikure

A media liaison officer in the coalition, Nixon Nyikadzino, told Newsreel
the concert is the first of many that are going to be used to encourage
Zimbabweans to take part in the 'democratization of the country.' He said
they have deliberately lined up artists with a huge following among the
youth, to try and tap into their interest. The concert is being run with the
sub theme of 'A better future with an inspired vote,' and will encourage
youths to take part in voting at the next elections. Admission to the
concert is free.

Asked if they anticipated any disruptions from the police Nyikadzino said
the possibility always remained, but they have asked the police to be part
of the security at the show.

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High Court Rules Women's Congress Should Decide Matibenga Fate

SW Radio Africa (London)

26 October 2007
Posted to the web 26 October 2007

Lance Guma

The High Court on Friday ruled that the standing committee of the MDC had no
power to dissolve the women's executive led by Lucia Matibenga.

The same court however ordered that a special congress set for Sunday should
go ahead and allow the women's congress to decide the fate of Matibenga and
her executive. Both sides however claimed victory, with party Secretary
General Tendai Biti saying the go ahead for the congress vindicated their
position. Matibenga meanwhile maintains they won their case since the court
did not endorse the dissolution of her executive. The High Court deliberated
on the case for 2 hours before granting the go-ahead for the congress, which
Matibenga herself was seeking to have barred.

According to Matibenga the agenda has been changed from having elections, to
the women's congress being asked to map the way forward. She insists no
elections can take place on Sunday as the constitution says they have to
wait 4 months before an election can be conducted to replace the assembly.
Biti on the other hand was quick to issue a statement acknowledging the
concerns of women's groups but said their position to dissolve Matibenga's
executive had been vindicated by the courts. The statement did not say how.
He stressed that it was important for the party to remain accountable to its
members and civil society in general.

Narrating the origins of the problem Biti said the National Council had
resolved to conduct a commission of inquiry into the disharmony in the
women's executive. 'That commission of inquiry was answerable to the
national chairman of the MDC, Hon Lovemore Moyo, who was then to report to
the Standing Committee, which was empowered to act in any manner whatsoever
to remedy the situation,' Biti argued. He said the decision to dissolve the
executive was driven by the 'overwhelming sentiment of the women who had
given evidence.' Biti is adamant the decision was not based on, 'patriarchy,
chauvinism or contempt of the feminist movement,' as some people had

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Zanu PF Endorse Mugabe As Electoral Candidate

SW Radio Africa (London)

26 October 2007
Posted to the web 26 October 2007

Henry Makiwa

Robert Mugabe has secured endorsement to represent Zanu PF at next year's
presidential election, after receiving resounding support from the ruling
party's central committee in Harare on Friday.

The central committee meeting had met to thrash out issues to be discussed
on the agenda of the ruling party's special congress in December, where many
believed Mugabe would face stiff competition for the ruling party's
leadership. Power struggles have been raging within the party following the
emergence of three factions, one led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru,
another by former security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa, while the other is
comprised of Mugabe's loyalists.

All the uncertainities were however quelled today when ruling party
spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, announced that the central committee had
determined that "the party's 2004 candidate" would stand for re-election.
This effectively gives Mugabe automatic approval of his candidacy at the
party's extraordinary congress in December.

It remains to be seen if the debate on Mugabe's endorsement will be
effectively closed, as the mood was "stale and bleak" according to witnesses
who attended the Zanu PF press conference in Harare.

Journalist Stanley Kwenda said: "We did not see the obvious factionalists at
the press conference but many were leaving in droves before the press
conference even began. Only a small group of Mugabe loyalists could be heard
celebrating somewhere within the party's headquaters. Mnangagwa looked quite
relaxed and content, even though many thought he would be angling for the
party's leadership. We suspect he draws some source of confidence from
today's outcome."

After Friday's approval of the congress agenda, carefully designed to lead
to Mugabe's endorsement without contest, the approval of Mugabe's candidacy
will become a mere formality in December.

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Food and luxuries return to Zim shops, but cost an arm and a leg


Tawanda Jonas
26 Oct 2007 07:08

Price-freeze abolished … for now.


Zimbabwean shop-shelves that stood virtually empty for the past four months
have slowly started to fill up. "Luxuries" like chocolates, wine, and canned
foods - most imported from South Africa - have returned to shops

But, one must be prepared to pay a fortune to buy these goods as prices have
skyrocketed. Shop owners and businessmen are trying to cushion themselves
against the high costs of foreign currency on the parallel market to use to
buy raw materials for manufacturing.

The Zimbabwean government recently lifted the blanket ban on price increases
as shops had run out of stock and Harare realised that the new rules were
only aggravating the country's economic situation.

This also followed revelations by some businesses like Edgars that they
could only restock by April next year should the price increase freeze be

Even though the food is back on the shelves, the majority of Zimbabweans
simply cannot afford to buy anything.

A loaf of bread costs Z$350 000, a pint of milk Z$400 000 and a 2 litre
bottle of cooking oil is Z$3,5m.

One rand buys you Z$130 000 and a R100 is being traded at Z$13m.

The greenback was trading at Z$1m to US$1 on the thriving parallel market,
where hard currencies are readily available.

A sneak tour of shops in the capital revealed that a modest pair of shoes
will set you back Z$10m, while a shirt and trousers costs Z$4m and Z$5m,

No-sooner had government lifted the ban, did prices start skyrocketing.
Prices are now being increased on a weekly basis and are timed to be in line
with the "parallel market rate" of foreign currency.

One fuel baron who runs a chain of service stations in the capital Harare
said the price of diesel and petrol is pegged against the parallel market
rate of the US$.

Observers and economic analysts say they believe the current spate of price
increases is likely to leave several companies out of business as sales are
likely to slump in the coming months.

"You don't have to blame the businesses for these price increases, if
anything, it is a reflection of how our government has failed to curb the
black market or the parallel market not only that of foreign currency but of
all goods, commodities and foodstuffs," said an economist with a top local

He added that sales were likely to drop: "Sales are going to tumble because
no-one can afford these prices which being stoked up by the parallel market
rate of foreign currency.

"Businesses need foreign currency to purchase raw materials and spare parts
for their plant and machinery, so they have no option but to go to the
parallel market to purchase the forex because it is not available at the
central bank. Infect, the central bank also purchases forex from the
parallel market," he said.

Foreign currency remains crucial for Zimbabwe to settle its international
debts and obligations and to have balance of payments.

There have also been reports that the Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono has
mortgaged a mine for a loan facility to import fuel into the country. Fuel
has been in short supply in Zimbabwe for the past three years and has only
been available on the black market.

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The Bleeding Wound: Zimbabwe's Slow Suicide

Dissent Magazine
Fall 2007
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa
by Peter Godwin
Little, Brown and Company, 2007
344 pp $24.99

Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa
by Peter Godwin
Grove Press, 1996 418 pp $14 (paper)

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight:
An African Childhood
by Alexandra Fuller
Random House, 2001 315 pp $13.95 (paper)

African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe
by Doris Lessing
HarperPerennial, 1992 442 pp $13 (paper)

The Stone Virgins
by Yvonne Vera
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002
184 pp $12 (paper)

ZIMBABWE was known as the 'jewel of Africa,' as Samora Machel, the Marxist president of Mozambique, told Robert Mugabe when the new nation won its independence in 1980. As the second-most-industrialized country on the continent, the former Southern Rhodesia already had a decent infrastructure, including roads and railways ('You were lucky to have had the British,' another Mozambican leader told Mugabe, no doubt wistfully); an energetic, talented, book-hungry populace; and democratic institutions such as a relatively free press and a functioning judiciary. The problems, of course, were immense: there was the need to recover'economically, psychically, spiritually'from over a decade of brutal civil war; and there were vast disparities between whites and blacks in wealth, education, skills, and land ownership. But in addition to having had some historic, manmade luck, Zimbabwe was naturally lucky, too: beautiful, mineral-rich, and astoundingly fertile. Zimbabwe's vast, sophisticated commercial farms were ingeniously irrigated and passionately tended; they produced, and often exported, fruits, flowers, peanuts, grains, tobacco, cotton, coffee, poultry, pigs, and some of the best beef in the world. Doris Lessing, who was raised in Southern Rhodesia, called the country 'paradise,' and she is among the least sentimental of writers.

This year, Zimbabwe ranks number four'perched between Somalia and Chad'on the Failed States Index of Foreign Policy magazine. Zimbabwe's catastrophe is so multilayered, its paradise so lost, that to describe it is a daunting task. Mugabe's government has tortured, raped, and killed opposition activists; closed newspapers; jailed journalists. But not only opponents are targeted. In 2005, in an operation called 'drive out the rubbish,' the state forcibly evicted an estimated 700,000 black, mainly poor city dwellers: burning their homes, destroying their businesses, savagely beating them. Zimbabwe's human-rights score on the Failed States Index equals Iraq's; only Sudan is worse.

The country's once-promising economy is in a grotesque free-fall. Beginning in 2000, most of the country's commercial farmers, who were white, were driven from their lands, violently and without compensation; hundreds of thousands of black farm workers have, consequently, also lost their homes, livelihoods, and access to medical care'particularly devastating in a country where at least one-fifth of the population is HIV-positive. The newly appropriated farms, many now in the hands of Mugabe's cronies, lie in ruins: and so in what was once the breadbasket of Africa, famine looms for millions.

Zimbabwe's inflation rate is the highest in the world: as of late June, it stood officially at 4,500 percent and unofficially at 9,000 percent, though both those figures will in all likelihood be obsolete by the time you read this. (The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe has predicted that inflation will reach 1.5 million percent by the end of the year, which conjures images of Weimar-era wheelbarrows stuffed with cash; last year, the government estimated that a family of five would need seventeen million Zimbabwean dollars'per month'to survive.) Four out of five Zimbabweans are out of work; a quarter of its citizens, including many of the most skilled, now live abroad; and thousands of Zimbabweans stream each week into a none-too-welcoming South Africa in search of food, jobs, and asylum. This summer, in a belated response to the inflation'which, bizarrely, he has blamed on Britain'Mugabe imposed dramatic price controls; this led to panic buying, closed stores, and production shutdowns. Armed youth militias were sent to patrol the markets and threaten shopkeepers.

Zimbabwe's decimated health care system, combined with AIDS and poverty, have produced a life expectancy for women of thirty-four years: shockingly, the world's lowest. (Equally shocking: it was sixty-one years in 1991.) On the political front, Zimbabwe's judiciary and electoral processes have become bitter farces, the rule of law is virtually nonexistent, and its corruption is considered startling even on a continent known for kleptocracy. The World Bank has called Zimbabwe's woes unprecedented for a country not at war, while the International Crisis Group has, ominously, compared its meltdown to that of the Congo at the end of Mobutu's rule.

For a calamity of this magnitude, there can be no one cause. Zimbabwe experienced two wrenching years of severe drought in the early 1990s. At the same time, unwise structural readjustment programs, imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, led the country to sell its grain reserves in search of foreign currency; the confluence of these factors couldn't have been worse. In the 1980s, Zimbabwe was surrounded by the destabilizing forces of violence and failure'in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia'much of it fueled by the apartheid regime in South Africa; this deepened an already paranoid style of governance. Still, however complex Zimbabwe's recent history may be, every discussion of its ruin centers, always and inevitably, on one factor: Robert Gabriel Mugabe, head of the country's ZANU-PF party and Zimbabwe's president for twenty-seven years. As the Failed States Index report points out, 'Though many events'natural disasters, economic shocks, an influx of refugees from a neighboring country'can lead to state failure, few are as decisive or as deadly as bad leadership.'

MUGABE'S authoritarian tendencies'and his murderous ones'were evident early on. Just two years after his election in the country's first multiracial vote, he unleashed a reign of terror against Matabeleland, a province in the southwest that he suspected of housing a dissident movement. The word 'genocide' has been used to describe this assault, which lasted five years; it may or may not be accurate, but there is no doubt that tens of thousands of unarmed civilians were beaten, raped, starved, and killed in a merciless scorched-earth policy. And from the first, the ruling party's rapaciousness, combined with its sense of utter impunity, was startling to outside observers and native citizens alike; one United Nations official remarked on the rapidity with which Zimbabwe had created a 'boss class . . . to the accompaniment of Marxist rhetoric.'

But the early years under Mugabe were full of good things too. Even as Matabeleland was massacred, the rest of the country hummed with hopeful energy, and literacy zoomed to almost 80 percent: an astonishing figure for Africa. (Lessing writes that on the day the education budget surpassed that for defense, members of Parliament 'cheered and wept.') Mugabe's policy of racial reconciliation was rare and inspirational; an early speech welcoming all citizens of the new nation as friends and allies is 'still remembered,' Philip Gourevitch wrote, 'as one of the great declarations of the age.' There is no doubt that the vast majority of Zimbabweans, especially in the rural areas, trusted Mugabe and, in many cases, loved him; as Lessing noted, 'Never has a ruler come to power with more goodwill.' Mugabe's descent into unrestrained tyranny, and the bizarre wreckage of his country, were not inevitable: one can easily imagine very different scenarios that are neither fantasies nor wishful thinking. This makes the country's destruction even more bewildering, infuriating, and tragic.

IN HIS NEW BOOK, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, the journalist Peter Godwin paints a portrait of an imploding Zimbabwe that is alternately tender and furious. But it is a portrait that is also startlingly, almost willfully, partial, and it sent me looking to Zimbabwe's complex past'exactly the place Godwin refuses to go'in an attempt to understand its present despair. And to try, too, to find voices other than those of Zimbabwe's liberal whites'not because their views are wrong or unimportant, but because there is much that they cannot tell us.

Godwin was born and raised in Southern Rhodesia; his mother was a doctor who often worked in the countryside, his father the manager of a mine. They were tolerant, and progressive, and they knew that white rule was wrong. So did their son; still, as he recounts in his first memoir, Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, he fought for Ian Smith's apartheid government. Duty was considered a higher value than individual conscience; and anyway, an eighteen-year-old Peter naively promises himself when he enters the war, 'I wouldn't do anything I disagreed with or was ashamed of.'

This would prove to be untrue'all the more reason, at war's end, for Godwin to welcome ZANU's triumph and the end of Zimbabwe's international isolation. 'I reveled in that brief and liberating period of social anarchy that marked the change between societies,' he recalls. 'I loved the bizarre mix of people. The Scandinavian sandal brigade and the Third World groupies, the sudden flood of communist diplomats . . . .The cultural boycott was over. . . .Now Bob Marley performed at our independence celebrations.' But disillusion arrives quickly: Godwin becomes one of the first reporters'and risks his life'to expose the Matabeleland massacres. (An old black woman, whose name Godwin never learns, tips him off: 'You must write about this thing in your newspapers, otherwise it will never stop until all of us are killed.') Appearing in the Sunday Times of London, Godwin's expos's infuriate the government, which declares him an enemy of the state. On the eve of arrest, he flees the country.

But it is the little details of Godwin's early childhood in Rhodesia rather than the dramatic later events in Zimbabwe that are the most engaging parts of Mukiwa: for it is in these details that the complexity of life, and of human relations, in a racist regime are revealed. We see how inequality'how difference'looks to a child; the injustices peek through, so there is no need to shout about them. 'We had cook boys and garden boys, however old they might be,' Godwin writes. 'We knew them just by their Christian names, which were often fairly strange. . . .They believed that having a name in the white man's language would attract the white man's power. . . Sixpence, Cigarette or Matches were commonly used. . . . Baby girls were often called after the emotion felt by the mother at birth'Joy, Happiness, Delight. But, as far as I know, there were no girls called Disappointment, Pain or Exhaustion.'

Godwin spends his early years roaming the countryside with his nanny, Violet, whom he dearly loves; unbeknownst to his parents, he even joins her Apostolic sect, whose revival meetings thrill him. And he trails his mother as she makes her rounds (there were, of course, separate clinics for blacks and whites), helping to dispense sugar-cube vaccinations. (Years later, as a reporter in Mozambique, Godwin's life will be saved when the fierce guerrilla who captures him turns out to be a grateful former patient.) We watch a young Peter begin to notice his world, and to try to make sense of it: 'White people didn't get such interesting diseases as Africans. They sometimes got ill, and even died, but this was rare.'

In his new book, the childhood idyll is long gone. Godwin, who now lives in New York, charts the decline of his country, and of his parents as they age, and the ways in which the former makes the latter so much sadder and scarier and worse. This is a book written in bitter anger: Mugabe, Godwin writes, is 'the man who would grimly turn his country into an African Albania rather than relinquish power.' And disappointed sorrow: 'A people who once rose against white rule and joined guerrilla movements in the thousands has now been cowed.'

Godwin offers a panoramic look at a crumbling nation. There is the human-rights collapse, epitomized by a hospital full of wounded protesters, including 'middle-aged black ladies' beaten by Mugabe's thugs. There is the explosion of crime, forcing his parents to install a 'rape gate' to protect against violent intruders'though his father is viciously carjacked anyway. There is, most crucially, the takeover and ruin of the once-proud farms by drunken, unskilled youths; and the rigged, indeed absurd, elections: ' 'I shan't be voting for Mr. Mau Mau,' says Dad.'

GODWIN is especially sharp, and heartbreaking, in evoking his parents' descent into penury (their pensions aren't adjusted for inflation). In one scene, at a bakery, 'Dad loads his little basket with a small selection of loaves, which he will later freeze, and, as a special treat . . . two croissants.' The total: Z$12,000. 'The black shop assistant manages to look sympathetic and embarrassed at the same time. . . . Dad slowly counts out all the notes in his wallet but they fall short. . . . He points to one of the loaves, and she removes it. . . .But the total is still too much, so he hands back the rolls one at a time.' Through it all his parents, then in their seventies and ailing, remain modest, level-headed, sane. They insist on using the public hospital rather than seek out special treatment; they hold hands like teenagers, 'murmuring to each other like new lovers'; most of all, they refuse self-pity. Godwin is lucky to have such folks.

Yet some of Godwin's most vivid scenes are also the most problematic, and raise questions not about what he sees but about what he doesn't. One day, Godwin drives his father to a grocery store to collect bottle-deposit refunds. 'Our line sullenly watches these diplomats and black-marketeers, expatriates, and corrupt government officials packing their Pajeros and Range Rovers and Mercs with mountains of groceries,' he recalls. The point is well-taken; yet Godwin seems unaware that this is precisely what blacks must have felt about his parents, and virtually all other whites, in the pre-independence days. In another vignette, white farmers at a pre-departure party speak of the 'great life' and 'good fun' they have lost. But Godwin doesn't stop to think that for most blacks, the former dispensation was probably not great, or good, or fun. Godwin is right to insist that the politics of resentment that Mugabe has fomented'evidenced most clearly in the farm takeovers'are both practically destructive and morally ugly, and should never be mistaken for justice. But he seems loath to acknowledge that the vast inequities between blacks and whites, both before and since independence, were both unsustainable and wrong.

Another striking scene takes place at Godwin's sister's gravesite. (She had been killed, at age twenty-seven, by 'friendly fire' during the civil war.) The cemetery is a shambles, and apparently people now live, or at least farm, in it: dirty toilet paper is littered among little plots of maize. Coming upon his sister's grave, Godwin finds a fresh mound of excrement. ' 'Fuck this!' I shout, and I hurl the flowers away. . . .It lands near two women who are bent over, hoeing their cemetery corn, their babies strapped to their backs. They stop their hoeing, look up for a moment . . . and one laughs.'

Godwin's anger is not only justified, but bracing. Who would not feel the same? Yet there is something puzzling about his lack of interest in the women's plight. What does it say, what does it mean, that women must raise their food, and their babies, among graves? To ask this question is not a matter of political correctness or pity, nor does it suggest that Godwin should mute his rage. It is a matter of broadening one's perspective, of expanding one's sightline, of synthesizing one's personal reactions with the realities of the wider world. The critic Vivian Gornick once observed how George Orwell, in 'Shooting an Elephant,' 'shrinks from the natives, yet his repulsion is tinged with compassion. At all times he is possessed of a sense of history, proportion, and paradox.' This is precisely what Godwin too often lacks.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun contains another story, too. On one of Godwin's visits home, his mother abruptly reveals a secret about Godwin's father, a man of propriety and deep reserve who had always struck his son as the quintessential Englishman: 'George Godwin, this Anglo-African in a safari suit and desert boots, with his clipped English accent.' But it turns out that George Godwin was actually Kazimierz Jerzy Goldfarb, and Kazimierz Jerzy Goldfarb was a Jew from Warsaw whose mother and sister were murdered at Treblinka.

Naturally, this sends his son'who, as an expatriate white from Africa, is already struggling with his 'mongrel' identity'into a tailspin. Large chunks of Crocodile chart Godwin's search for his father's family's fate, and his more general research into the Holocaust, about which he apparently knew almost nothing. But Godwin attempts, also, to synthesize his father's history with the present realities of Zimbabwe, and this is where the book falters most. Because Godwin fails to discover, or to formulate, any organic link between the destruction of the Jews and of Zimbabwe, he slips into a series of sloppy, fundamentally misleading analogies.

'A white in Africa is like a Jew everywhere'on sufferance, watching warily, waiting for the next great tidal swell of hostility,' Godwin claims. Well, no. Mugabe's treatment of the white farmers is utterly indefensible: they were terrorized and sometimes assaulted, and an estimated fifteen were killed. But Harare is not Sderot'much less Warsaw in 1939. And more than that: can it be that Godwin has forgotten, so quickly, the violence and inequities of Rhodesia's white-supremacist regime? Earlier, and in a similar vein, Godwin writes that Zionism 'resonated too closely with my white African narrative,' and that Israel's similarities to apartheid-era South Africa are 'uncanny': a truism of the Southern African left. But this comparison, too, mistakes discrete parts for a much wider whole, and therefore clouds rather than illuminates reality. Godwin substitutes hyperbolic, emotionally charged parallels'a 'this equals that''for the difficulties of real thought.

LIKE PETER GODWIN, Alexandra Fuller came of age as white-led Rhodesia was bloodily transformed into majority-rule Zimbabwe. (Her family also lived in Malawi and Zambia.) The Fullers were the kind of riff-raff that the Godwins probably never met. Fuller's mother is a drunk, and she belly-dances in bars, and her hands are 'worn, blunt with work: years of digging in a garden, horses, cows, cattle, woodwork, tobacco.' Alexandra's father is rough, though very good with guns''Dad is away in the bush, fighting gooks''and the parents refer to blacks as 'Affies,' 'cheeky kaffirs,' and 'bloody baboons.' Their house is ugly, their food disgusting, and their land so bad that when Mugabe appropriates it, he gives it to an enemy. In the Fullers' garden stands 'an enormous cardboard cutout of a crouched, running terrorist,' which the family uses for target practice.

And whereas Godwin, as a child, spent long hours listening to the stories of the black servants and reverentially absorbing their wisdom, Fuller, known to her family as 'Bobo,' is a brat who bosses them around while threatening to fire them. Paradoxically, though, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, far more than Godwin's books, sings with a lush, raw love for Africa. Fuller is close to the feel of the dirt and the things that grow in it, to the shrieks of the animals and 'the smell of people who are not afraid to eat meat,' to the pitilessness of the sun and the fury of the rains.

Fuller's powers of observation are so trenchant that she suggests a world, or sometimes several worlds, in a few sentences. Also, she has a nice and useful feel for the incongruous. 'There go the horses, two white faces and one black peering over the stable doors . . . And here come the dogs running, ear-flapping hopeful after the pickup. . . .And there goes the old cook, hunched and massive . . . He is almost seventy and has just sired another baby; he looks exhausted. He's sitting in the kitchen doorway with a joint the size of a sausage hanging from his bottom lip . . . .The gardener stands to attention on his bush-broom, with which he is sweeping leaves from the dusty driveway. 'Miss Bobo,' he mouths, and raises his fist in a black power salute.'

The Fullers are not lucky. In 1974, when Alexandra is five, they move to a farm in a bad location, 'right into the middle, the very birthplace and epicenter, of the civil war in Rhodesia and a freshly stoked civil war in Mozambique. . . . We erect a massive fence with slanting-backward barbed wire at the top.' Although they work very hard, they do not prosper; the commodity price of tobacco rules their lives.

But their real bad luck lies elsewhere. Alexandra's mother gives birth to five children, three of whom die before they are toddlers. It is the second death'for which Alexandra blames herself'that tips her mother from wacky neurosis into something closer to madness. Like Godwin, Fuller tries to understand the connection between her family's trauma and her nation's. Ironically'precisely because she is less 'political' than Godwin, and because she tells her story through a child's eyes'she is more successful at allowing us to feel her sense of that terrible bond between personal and historic cataclysm.

'After Olivia dies, Mum and Dad's joyful careless embrace of life is sucked away, like water swirling down a drain,' Fuller recalls. 'The war and mosquitoes and land mines and ambushes don't seem to matter.' The parents drink constantly and the family, carrying 'our new, hungry sorrow,' takes off on a grief-stricken holiday. 'So we drive recklessly through war-ravaged Rhodesia,' Fuller writes. 'We are driving through a dreamscape. The war has cast a ghastly magic . . . .Everything is waiting and watchful and suspicious . . . .The only living creatures to celebrate our war are the plants, which spill and knot and twist victoriously around buildings and closed-down schools. . . Rhodesia's war has turned the place back on itself.'

After the third child's death, 'things get worse,' and Fuller's mother has a breakdown. For Alexandra, the center cannot hold in either home or world'the war is over but the violence continues'and she watches a dance of disaster unfold. '[Mum's] is a contained, soggy madness, which does little more than humidify the dry, unspoken grief we all feel. But then the outside world starts to join in and has a nervous breakdown all its own, so that it starts to get hard for me to know where Mum's madness ends and the world's madness begins. . . .The world is a terrifying, unhinged blur and I cannot determine whether it is me, or the world, that has come off its axis.' It is Alexandra's older sister, Vanessa, who finally explains the simple, prosaic truth: 'Bad-luck things happen. That's just the way it is. . . .It doesn't mean anything, Bobo. . . .If you start thinking that bad luck comes all together on purpose or that it has to do . . . with you or with anything else, you'll go bonkers.' There is cruelty in that randomness, but perhaps a glimmer of freedom too.

DORIS LESSING left Southern Rhodesia for London in 1949, when she was thirty; as a member of the Communist Party, she had been declared a Prohibited Immigrant by the government in Salisbury. She returned to Zimbabwe for the first time in 1982, and visited again in 1988, 1989, and 1992. Of her initial exile, she recalls, 'I did not want to live in Southern Rhodesia, for if its climate was perfection, probably the finest in the world, and its landscape magnificent, it was provincial and tedious.' But, she adds, 'These rational considerations did not reach some mysterious region of myself that was apparently an inexhaustible well of tears, for night after night I wept in my sleep and woke knowing I was unjustly excluded from my own best self.'

Lessing's portrait of Zimbabwe is the richest of any that I know. Here is the 'moment of social evolution' presented from a dizzying array of angles. Lessing shows us the 'triumphant malice' of whites eagerly pointing to black failures, and the hopefulness of those who want to help the country prosper. She meets black villagers desperately yearning for work, for literature, for the life of the cities; and she observes former guerrillas, now government 'chefs,' who have 'taken to thievery as if born to it.' She tells of the students who shout 'Tiananmen Square!' as they protest government corruption. She watches the visitors: international aid workers traipsing in and out of the country, and South African soldiers on holiday who 'have had to forgive themselves too much.' She sees the squatters, too: angry, ignorant, destroyers of the land they covet. She admires the idealistic organizers mobilizing women in the villages, who remind her of the early Russian revolutionaries. And she finds an odd parallel of arrested development: whites, she writes, were drowning in childish self-pity, while blacks were in thrall to a fantasy, equally childish, of instant modernity, instant wealth, instant justice.

What Lessing encounters, again and again, is a country of complexity, contradiction, and movement: a country in the midst of remaking itself. The stakes are high, the expectations even higher, the outcome never overdetermined. Lessing loved Zimbabweans' sense of 'intense personal involvement' in the country's future, so different from the ironic apathy of the West. Despite the country's daunting problems, she wrote in 1988, 'what came across was not the flat dreary hopelessness of Zambia, the misery of Mozambique, but vitality, exuberance, optimism, enjoyment. . . . Relish. . . in the unexpected, was very much the note of new Zimbabwe.'

Lessing discovers something else too, something subtler and deeper and harder to bear. Again and again she finds people'mainly blacks, though not only they'stunned and grief-stricken by the war, yet unwilling or unable to explore their bewildered pain. 'It is not possible to fight this kind of war, a civil war, without the poisons going deep,' she observes. 'Something has been blasted or torn deep inside people, an anger has gone bad, and bitter, there is disbelief that this horror can be happening at all.' Zimbabwe was reeling from violence, brutality, betrayal, yet determined to refashion itself without acknowledging its wounds; its development was predicated, in fact, on the repression of trauma. Lessing listens to a young ex-guerrilla named Talent who says, in a rare moment of exposure, 'I was lucky, I wasn't one of the pretty girls''for the pretty ones were used for sex. Lessing continues, 'But it seems the War has never really left her: she has terrible headaches and sometimes cannot move for days. . . .A war ends, you bury the dead, you look after the cripples'but everywhere among ordinary people is this army whose wounds don't show: the numbed, or the brutalized, or those who can never, not really, believe in the innocence of life, of living; or those who will for ever be slowed by grief.'

THIS IS THE TERRAIN that the black Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera explores in her novel, The Stone Virgins. (Vera died two years ago, at age forty.) It is set in Matabeleland during the massacres: 'Then independence arrived and brought with it a spectacular arena for a different war, in which they were all casualties.' Brutality's tenaciousness, and its mystery, is Vera's subject.

The Stone Virgins reads like a slow-motion atrocity film. Its central act is a horrific rape and mutilation'the victim's lips are sliced off'by an ex-guerrilla named Sibaso of a village girl named Nonceba. (Sibaso also decapitates Nonceba's beloved sister, Thenjiwe.) The novel, which is highly impressionistic, alludes to the ways that suffering changes Nonceba, splitting her off from a former, now irretrievable self: 'Now she is alone, the shadow to her own being. The other is vanished with a sudden and astonishing finality.'

Most striking is Vera's portrait of Sibaso. She has not an ounce of liberal sympathy, or even liberal explanation, for this monstrous predator. He is a man who not only loves violence but who needs violence: 'If he loses an enemy, he invents another.' He is good at what he does, for he has honed 'all the fine instincts of annihilation.' Most tellingly: Sibaso is 'a hunter who kills not because he is hungry but because his stomach is full, and therefore he can hunt with grace.' He is a man, in short, whose nihilistic violence foretells the civil wars of places like Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as the madness of today's jihadist groups. He kills not because he is oppressed but because killing suits him; his sadism is not a cry for help but a shout of joy.

Vera understands that sadistic violence not only shatters but actually unmakes the world of the survivors. In one scene, a group of government soldiers carefully skins alive an Indian shopkeeper, then massacres all the customers, including children, in his store. She writes: 'They committed evil as though it were a legitimate pursuit, a ritual for their own convictions. Each move meant to shock, to cure the na've mind. The mind [is] not supposed to survive it, to retell it, but to perish.'

MOST OF US accept the fact that violence is sometimes necessary in the pursuit of political aims; all of us feel comforted by this fact. For if violence has an aim, it has a limit. The violence itself may be obscene, disgusting, criminal; the aim might be impossible or unjust. Still, this kind of violence has not seceded from cause and effect, claims and demands; Primo Levi described it as 'hateful but not insane.'

But the violence that 'cures' the mind, which is to say negates it, is something different. This is the 'curing' that took place in Auschwitz, and several decades later in the hills of Rwanda, and it was the aim, I think, of the rape camps in Bosnia. This is what Levi called 'useless violence': the infliction of unbearable pain, humiliation, and suffering, just for its own sake and no other. It is a kind of moral autism. Unburdened by tradition, by politics, by consequences, it claims for itself an absolute freedom.

In The Stone Virgins, Nonceba wonders 'what exactly it took for a man to look at a woman and cut her up like a piece of dry hide without asking himself a single question.' It is we who must ask this question, especially in this age of martyrs' brigades and suicide-killers. And yet the answer, I think, may be impossible to come by, for the very texture of such violence defies reason. (This is why, Jean Am'ry claimed, in Auschwitz it was intellectuals who were particularly defenseless.) It is wishful thinking, for instance'and an odd sort of narcissism'to believe that the torture-carnage that has swept through Iraq will end if America pulls out its troops (though that might be a good idea); or that the thirst for martyrdom will be quenched if Israel pulls back her borders (though that might be a good idea). The cult of suffering and death, the exultation in suffering and death, does not necessarily answer to traditional political solutions.

Zimbabwe isn't Rwanda or Cambodia or Sierra Leone. Yet in thinking of its ruin, I am haunted by Lessing's warnings about the hidden poisons of war. One can't help wondering if Zimbabwe would, or at least could, have become a very different place had it found the space, the means, and the courage to delve into the violence of its birth. Those wounds that 'don't show' have revealed themselves, and they bleed.

Susie Linfield is the director of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at New York University.

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Zimbabwe watcher Chan set for Mugabe's end

New Zealand Herald

5:00AM Saturday October 27, 2007
By Chris Barton
Stephen Chan insists Robert Mugabe isn't mad. But he understands why many
think the 83-year-old president of Zimbabwe has lost the plot.

"It does seem so because he's let go and sabotaged the whole foundation of
the economic well-being of the country," says the professor of international
relations and dean of law and social sciences at the University of London's
School of Oriental and African Studies.

"Anybody who does something like that has to seem as if he's not completely

Chan was there when Mugabe came to power in 1980 and is determined to be in
Zimbabwe again at the next elections to bear witness to the machinations he
believes will bring about the tyrant's end.

Here to deliver the 2007 Chapman Lectures at Auckland University, Chan
argues Mugabe is clearly extreme, but not mad. He points to the president's
masterly diplomatic tactics that have out-manoeuvred the likes of Tony Blair
and other Western leaders who have wanted him removed. And how, despite the
country's atrocious situation - in the midst of perilous food shortages, an
Aids pandemic and economic meltdown resulting in an estimated 3500 deaths
every week - Mugabe is still able to garner "an awful lot of pan-African
sympathy". Hence the title of Chan's lecture yesterday - "The Perplexing and
Complex Enigma of Mugabe: Rightly Atrocious or Atrociously Right?"

But if Mugabe is an enigma, so is the 58-year-old Chan. Born in New Zealand
to immigrant parents, he rose to fame in the 60s and early 70s as a student
activist. He was president of the Auckland University Students Association
in 1973 and editor of Craccum in 1971. Of his many protest efforts, the
storming of the American Consulate for a sit-in in 1969 is one of the more
memorable - the event required synchronisation of the building's lifts so 33
protesters could storm the premises at the same time.

The same year he stood as an independent Labour candidate in New Lynn. He
was at university with Helen Clark and Phil Goff and while he admires Helen
as "one of the best prime ministers in the world", their political path was
not for him.

"By God, they were straight down the line - I didn't want to be like that."

After university he edited the arts newspaper New Argot and, in 1975, the
weekly newspaper City News. He also battled the literary establishment of
the day, negotiating a place for avant-garde, beat generation poetry among
guru figures like James K. Baxter and the "controlled and polished" Karl
Stead. "A great deal of the ethos was to try and introduce at least a little
bit of anarchy into the whole proceedings." And then, in 1976, the
poetry-writing activist with anarchist leanings and a brown belt in karate
left, vowing to stay away for at least 10 years.

Was he angry with New Zealand? "Angry is too strong a word. I was a little
bit pissed off - frustrated perhaps," says Chan on the phone from London. "I
was frustrated that it had been relatively easy to do a very great deal in a
short space of time - what I was looking for when I went overseas was to
find harder tests."

Which is what he did, gaining another MA and a PhD in London and then making
a career out of Africa - first as civil servant with the Commonwealth
Secretariat, then in a variety of academic and advisory posts in Kenya,
Lesotho, Mauritius, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In preparation for this trip Chan weighed the pluses and minuses of an
eventual New Zealand return.

"I think I'm going to stay out. I'll come back without the ambivalence of
the past - I think I have grown out of that now."

Not that he doesn't have feelings for the place. When the All Blacks crashed
out the Rugby World Cup he watched the game in South Africa and had to
retire to his room with a bottle of whisky. And when he saw Lord of the
Rings: Return of the King - in Croatia where his wife, Ranka, is from - the
landscape got to him. " It was beautiful and really nostalgic. I got very
sentimental and people wondered why this mad Chinese person was blubbering
in the middle of a Zagreb cinema."

But Chan cannot live on good scenery alone. "I like going to great
orchestras of the world and being involved with great philosophical
debates." He likes the intellectual and cultural life he now has: Europe on
his doorstep, 100 universities he can "dip in and out of" and the ability to
engage with the life of emerging nations in Africa.

"I don't identify myself as a New Zealander. I'm grateful for what it gave
me but I see myself far more these days as a cosmopolitan type." Despite his
quietly-spoken, cultured British tones, Chan doesn't see himself as
particularly British either. But he does admit to European tendencies -
strongly advocating the European Union as vital for the international
relations of tomorrow. His Chinese heritage is problematic too.

"I certainly see myself as Oriental - when you look like me you can't get
away from that." But at a recent meeting in Beijing he overheard his host
describe him as "sort of Chinese".

A strange hybrid. It's a phrase Chan uses to describe the work he does -
like the tripartite talks between Africa, America and China - "an
interesting cocktail". He was with the African delegation - "the chemistry
is a fun gig". The Americans - "scared shitless about how much power Chinese
might have in the future" - thought he ran the Africans, something, he
hastens to add, isn't true. The Chinese used him as an avenue to sweet talk
the Americans, and the Africans - many of whom were Chan's friends - were
quietly amused. "They're enjoying it, because finally they get to play one
off against the other - so they've actually got some muscle to flex."

CHAN has been a Mugabe watcher for some time. One of his books, Robert
Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence, published in 2003, chronicles the path
of the freedom fighter turned despot. " ... if before it had been possible
to speak both well and ill of Mugabe, after the 2000 election it was
possible to speak only overwhelmingly ill of him. Complexly bad - not mad -
but complexly bad."

In 1980, as a civil servant with the Commonwealth Secretariat, he was part
of reconnaissance team sent to what was then Rhodesia to oversee its
transition to independence. But while Chan has a long involvement in
Zimbabwe, he has never actually met Mugabe.

"I think he knows who I am - I'm told my book was hand-delivered to him and
to every member of his politburo but we have never actually exchanged
greetings and I'm not really sure that I'd want to right now."

Chan says Mugabe sees himself as a Chairman Mao-like figure who wants to go
down in history as a great pioneer of nationalism and who regards the
hardship he's caused as something that will eventually bottom out.

"This is very much the case where the grand vision causes so much chaos and
so much hurt and hardship to his people that the vision isn't worth it and I
don't think it is, quite frankly."

But while Mugabe's farm invasions have been a disaster, what may play out
over the coming months to allow the aging megalomaniac a dignified exit is
going to cause more outrage.

Chan expects an announcement at the coming African-European summit in
December to signal the beginning of the end for Mugabe.

He says a formula has already been brokered by South Africa which will allow
for the four million-plus Zimbabweans in exile to vote at the next elections
in March. There are also plans for changes to public order legislation and
how the vote should be conducted - vital because previous elections were
widely viewed as rigged. Chan says the South Africans are hoping they can
twist Mugabe's arm enough to make him play along.

"Despite all his tactical brilliance he is running out of options," he says,
noting Mugabe is being treated for cancer. "Not even the great Mugabe is

The bargaining point is what "basket of immunities" Mugabe might be granted.
Chan says behind-the-scenes lobbying is under way not to pursue calls to
have Mugabe indicted before the Hague for crimes against humanity.

"Most of the people [in Zimbabwe] are struggling to survive - all they want
is for an end to this nightmare." Getting their lives back on track in
exchange for Mugabe getting to live out the rest of his life in his palatial
retirement home is a price Chan claims many are prepared to tolerate.

The scenario he paints is Mugabe winning the election then "going out in a
blaze of glory" by handing over to a successor and retiring to a package.
His party - the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front - would
still be in power, but the new president would magnanimously bring
opposition parties such as the Movement for Democratic Change into
coalition. "If opposition parties and Mugabe's own party come to an
agreement about what they are prepared to tolerate, that's probably about as
good as you're going to get."

Chan agrees it's an unsavoury and cynically pragmatic solution. With South
Africa in the driving seat, Zimbabwe will, at least, get infrastructural
reinvestment it so desperately needs. "In the long run South Africa will be
the major beneficiary - they are going to wind up owning Zimbabwe, their
engineers and infrastructural experts will lead the way in investment."

As for Mugabe's legacy, Chan says that will be left to history.

Today, Chan still writes poetry and is an 8th dan in Shorin ryu karate and
similarly seriously graded in several other martial art forms. He regularly
teaches his skills for free to poorer communities in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Whenever he goes to Zimbabwe, he's aware of being monitored, but he says
he'll be there next year. "It would be being untrue to not go back - I'm
quite determined, having played a small part in his [Mugabe] getting to
power in the first place, that I'm bloody well going to be there when the
man goes."

Stephen Chan lectures at Auckland University on October 30 and November 1 -
more information at

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MPs Witness Sewage “Horror”

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

In tour of Harare suburbs, parliamtarians shocked to see raw sewage flowing
in front of locals’ houses.

By Mike Nyoni in Harare (AR No. 140, 25-Oct-07)

Zimbabwe’s state-owned Herald newspaper this week ran a huge colour picture
on its front page with the caption, “Legislators and senators looking at
flowing raw sewage during a joint tour of the parliamentary portfolio
committees of local government and health and child welfare in Budirirro,

Next to the picture was a report that the water utility, the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority, ZINWA, had sharply increased water penalties for
domestic consumers who use more than 20 cubic metres a month, with the
additional revenue to be used for development and maintenance of existing

The painful irony for most Zimbabweans is that water is never available on
demand. In the capital, Harare, posh northern suburbs can go for three days
without water. This month they went for two weeks without electricity as

Despite the dire water and sewage problems, widespread shortages of fuel and
basic food stuffs and skyrocketing inflation at around 8,000 per cent, the
ruling party is focusing on the forthcoming special congress to select a
candidate - or simply endorse President Robert Mugabe, many believe - to
represent ZANU-PF in the presidential election scheduled for March next

In the second city of Bulawayo, 450 kilometres west of Harare, the local
authority has imposed stringent water rationing measures in poor townships,
allowing residents supplies for a few hours every three days. Those
fortunate enough to have boreholes sell water to people desperate for the
precious commodity.

Back in Harare, Deputy Minister for Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development Walter Mzembi warned of the health hazards posed by the lack of
constant supplies in poor residential areas and council clinics. During a
tour of Highfield, Glen View, Budiriro and Chitungwiza southwest of Harare,
members of parliament reported a sharp rise in cases of water-related
ailments such as diarrhoea.

Residents complained of high water bills despite going for days on end with
no water in their taps; and of sewage flowing in front of their houses,
posing a threat to the health of their families.

Mzembi attributed water shortages partly to the failure by the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority, ZESA, to provide power. “As you know, no power
means no pumping [of water] so we are holding meetings with the ministry
[responsible for power distribution] to spare areas with water pumps [from
power cuts],” Mzembi told Chitungwiza residents during the October 23 tour
by parliamentarians.

He said the government was setting up a framework which would put residents
“at the centre of water management systems” in the country so that they
could appreciate the problems ZINWA was facing.

Unfortunately, that is not what the residents and ratepayers in the country’s
major cities where water distribution and the sewage system have been taken
over by ZINWA want. They say this has pushed them out of the equation.

Previously, residents and ratepayers elected representatives to local
government in the form of ward councilors. In this way, they were able to
periodically express their support or disapproval through biennial
elections. But government has removed these institutions and replaced them
with a state company which is seen to represent the interests of government,
not those of ratepayers. ZINWA has neither their support nor their sympathy,
so they are not interested in its problems.

In his latest monetary statement on October 1, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono allocated a staggering 14 trillion Zimbabwe dollars (approximately 14
million US dollars) to ZINWA to refurbish major waterworks across the
country and improve the sewage system. So far there has been no noticeable
change, as the touring MPs discovered on their tour.

The front page picture in the Herald didn’t tell the full story, or the
horror that the parliamentarians felt when they came face-to-face for the
first time with what for most poor residents has become a “normal” life.
None of the daily reports in the official media had prepared them for the
degree of squalor they saw.

Anthony Mapurisa in Highfield told the MPs he had been living with the
stench of the raw sewage flowing close to his house for a whole month.
Another said he had been doing so for the past three months. As the
residents spoke, the smell of the sewage flowing in front of the shocked MPs
was so overpowering that one reportedly vomited.

Mike Nyoni is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe's sex workers look to their neighbour for business

LUSAKA, 26 October 2007 (IRIN) - An influx of Zimbabwean sex workers into
the Zambian capital, Lusaka, is testing the government's patience with its

Although there are no official figures for the number of Zimbabweans
resident in Lusaka, unofficial estimates have put the figure at 10,000 or
more, and many are said to be engaged in activities the government frowns

"We have had numerous reports and concerns over Zimbabweans engaging in
commercial or illicit sex," Mulako Mbangweta, a spokesperson for the
immigration department, told IRIN.

"Surely we can't allow such a situation to go unattended to in this era of
HIV/AIDS. Some of them have documents which say they are in Zambia for a
visit, just a mere visit, but they are ending up doing businesses or taking
up prostitution and, therefore, are not qualified to be mere visitors."

Zimbabwe is in its seventh year of an economic recession that has seen
inflation reach more than 6,000 percent - the highest in the world - and
unemployment levels of above 80 percent. It has been estimated that as many
as 3 million Zimbabweans have left the country for neighbouring states, such
as Zambia, Botswana and South Africa, or have gone further afield to England
and the United States.

According to international donor organisations, more than a third of
Zimbabwe's population, or 4.1 million people, require emergency food

Although the size of its economy makes South Africa the most favoured
destination for Zimbabwe's economic migrants, there are no visa requirements
for Zimbabweans travelling to Zambia and many simply stay on after their
visitor's permit has expired.

"We are very much concerned about the large numbers of Zimbabweans who are
entering and staying in Zambia without any proper or valid documentation. We
are therefore sending them back and, at the same time, we are also blocking
others from entering our country because we simply do not have the capacity
to keep them here - the numbers are just too large," Mbangweta said.

Survival tactics

The Zimbabweans often survive by street vending, begging and working in the
sex industry, but earlier this year the Zambian government clamped down on
street vending in Lusaka, leaving sex work as the only option available to
many women.

Zambia's immigration department recently raided a guesthouse in the capital
where all the rooms had been rented by 51 Zimbabwean sex workers. All were
immediately deported to Zimbabwe by bus. Since July, 300 Zimbabweans have
been prevented from entering the country through the Southern Province
border posts of Chirundu, Kazungula and Kariba.

Marjory Kwenda, a Zimbabwean cross-border trader has had to engage in sex
work since the Zambian authorities enforced strict by-laws preventing
vendors from trading.

"In the past, I could bring in things like sweets, chocolates and nice
jewellery, which I easily sold on the streets: the market was massive and
the demand was high. Now I have to sell these things in the shanty compounds
[squatter camps] where few people are able to buy, and sometimes I can't
even sell anything in a day," Kwenda told IRIN.

"So I have been supplementing my income to sustain my stay. During the day I
sell my products in these shanty compounds; at night I go to taverns and
nightclubs to hook up a man or two. Zambian men are really nice because they
pay for the [sex] services promptly, they don't give me any problem."

When asked whether she understood the risks of engaging in commercial sex
work, Kwenda said: "I always insist on condom use, though some of them
refuse and force me to sleep with them without using a condom. It is one of
the hazards of this occupation, but there is nothing much one can do about
such circumstances."

Frederick Chintu, a Lusaka resident, told IRIN the sex trade was fast
becoming the mainstay of employment for Zimbabwean migrants in Lusaka and
Livingstone, the country's tourism capital, because "in most cases, they
literally take over the entire lodge or guest house, and rent a room each".

Chintu told IRIN: "If they rent the entire guesthouse, they start parading
themselves at the reception. Any client who walks in at any time can just
choose which woman he will sleep with for a short time, since their charges
in most cases are uniform.

"They are usually aged between 16 and 40 years, and so it's a question of
one's taste, whether to go for the young one or pick on the elderly and more
experienced, but they would all be there at the reception."

Both countries have high rates of HIV/AIDS: in Zimbabwe 20.1 percent of
people aged between 15 and 49 are HIV positive, while in Zambia the
infection rate for the same age-band is 17 percent.

Clementine Mumba, a spokesperson for the Treatment and Advocacy Literacy
Campaign, an HIV/AIDS prevention advocacy group, told IRIN: "This issue of
having Zimbabweans taking up prostitution here will have a very negative
impact on our country.

"These people are desperate for cash and can do anything, regardless of
whether they are infecting or getting reinfected. Some don't even know their
HIV status, for that matter. It's a very negative picture for our country."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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