The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Scotsman

Mugabe: alive, agile and 'happy'

Zimbabwe's embattled and isolated leader said that his government will take
a stake in privately operated mining enterprises in the mineral-rich
southern African nation, but he does not intend to nationalise the industry
as he has commercial farmland.

In a wide-ranging interview, Robert Mugabe claimed his people - including
hundreds of thousands made homeless by a recent controversial slum clearance
and others facing famine because of disastrous land reform - are "very, very

Mugabe, 81, who has ruled since a guerrilla war brought independence 25
years ago, said he plans to retire when his term expires in 2008 and live
between the countryside and the city, farming and writing.

He spoke in a 75-minute interview at the UN World Summit, which he said he
was pleased to have attended even though it produced "very little by way of
expectations" toward promised goals to fight poverty and eliminate trade

For that he blamed the US, saying it should not be allowed to derail the
agenda of dozens of other nations "just because they are the strongest and
wealthiest. The United Nations isn't owned by them."

He said Africa's 52 votes at the UN - more than a quarter of all votes - and
the Non-Aligned Movement's more than 100 member votes should be mobilised to
ensure that the "very important, sacrosanct goals" are not dismissed.

Mugabe also railed against the US-led war in Iraq: "Iraq was attacked and
attacked in violation of international law. ... They went on this rampage,
on this campaign, which has destabilised Iraq, on the basis of lies," he

With globalisation and the fall of the Soviet Union, "the world is fast
becoming a world in which small states are threatened by the bigger ones, by
the bullies."

Mugabe himself has been the subject of international condemnation. His
government is accused of stealing elections, most recently in March, and of
gross human rights abuses to suppress opposition.

On a national level, Mugabe said his government would take a share in
private mining enterprises because it wants Zimbabweans to benefit from
their own natural resources. And he expects companies currently mining
there, including the multinational Anglo American, to understand that

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2005, All Rights Reserved.

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From Associated Press, 17 September

Mugabe: Zimbabwe to take stake in mines

By Michelle Faul

United Nations - Zimbabwe's embattled and isolated leader said Friday that his government will take a stake in privately operated mining enterprises in the mineral-rich southern African nation, but he does not intend to nationalize the industry as he has commercial farmland. In a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Robert Mugabe claimed his people - including hundreds of thousands made homeless by a recent controversial slum clearance and others facing famine because of disastrous land reform - are "very, very happy." Mugabe, 81, who has ruled since a guerrilla war brought independence 25 years ago, said he plans to retire when his term expires in 2008 and live between the countryside and the city, farming and writing. He spoke in a 75-minute interview at the UN World Summit, which he said he was pleased to have attended even though it produced "very little by way of expectations" toward promised goals to fight poverty and eliminate trade tariffs. For that he blamed the United States, saying it should not be allowed to derail the agenda of dozens of other nations "just because they are the strongest and wealthiest. The United Nations isn't owned by them." He said Africa's 52 votes at the UN - more than a quarter of all votes - and the Non-Aligned Movement's more than 100 member votes should be mobilized to ensure that the "very important, sacrosanct goals" are not dismissed. Mugabe also railed against the US-led war in Iraq: "Iraq was attacked and attacked in violation of international law. ... They went on this rampage, on this campaign, which has destabilized Iraq, on the basis of lies," he said. With globalization and the fall of the Soviet Union, "the world is fast becoming a world in which small states are threatened by the bigger ones, by the bullies." Mugabe himself has been the subject of international condemnation. His government is accused of stealing elections, most recently in March, and of gross human rights abuses to suppress opposition.

On a national level, Mugabe said his government would take a share in private mining enterprises because it wants Zimbabweans to benefit from their own natural resources. And he expects companies currently mining there, including the multinational Anglo American, to understand that desire. "What we intend to do is for the state to have a stake in the production of some of our minerals - gold, platinum, diamonds," he said. "We are behind countries like Botswana and Namibia ..." "We just want to be partners. We are not doing anything unusual, and this is the practice in many countries," he said. Zimbabwe mines coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin and platinum group metals as well as diamonds, emeralds and semiprecious stones. Zimbabwe has also signed several agreements for state-owned Chinese companies for mining under joint ventures with the government, he said. But he stressed there are no plans to nationalize the industry, as he had threatened to do when first was elected, and dreamed of created a one-party Marxist state. Mugabe also said his government has no plans to seize white-owned businesses, as Transport and Communication Minister Christopher Mushohwe was quoted as threatening in a ruling party-allied newspaper this week. Mushohwe reportedly said they would take over the businesses as they did commercial farms, if business owners did not cooperate with the government. The government already has seized thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans, leaving thousands of acres of once-cultivated land to run fallow. Together with years of drought, the often violent campaign has crippled Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy and brought banks carrying farm mortgages to their knees.

The Zimbabwe dollar, once traded at the same level as the greenback, is in free fall and collapsed this week to 52,000 to the US dollar. Fuel shortages reached chronic proportions, with queues three miles long. Hundreds of thousands have fled the country. Yet Mugabe denied he has destroyed an economy that once was one of the most vibrant on the continent. "You describe it as if we have a whole cemetery," he exclaimed. "We are very much alive, very agile and very very happy in spite of the difficulties we are having with continuous years of drought." Last week, the International Monetary Fund decided to defer a decision to expel Zimbabwe after Mugabe made a surprise partial payment of millions of dollars toward arrears. He indicated there were financial problems, saying it's become very difficult to find the kind of soft loans that would help him exploit Zimbabwe's natural resources without foreign investors. Still Mugabe insisted his policies were correct, ignoring charges his government steals elections to stay in power, most recently in March, and grossly abuses human rights to suppress opposition. Instead he told a story about a traditional chief, from the minority Matabele tribe that his Shona-dominated government has repeatedly abused: "He said to me: 'Mugabe, we are born chiefs, you were chosen. We have it in our blood to be chiefs. You don't have it in your blood but you depend on the people (for your power).'"

From Reuters, 16 September

US plans to punish Mugabe with travel sanctions

By Sue Pleming

United Nations - The United States plans to slap tough travel sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, members of his government and their extended families, a senior US official said on Friday. The move is aimed at further isolating Mugabe and is a sign of growing US impatience with Zimbabwe, whose relations with the West are at an all-time low because of human rights abuses. US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer said the US Treasury was putting the final touches to an order that would bar Mugabe, his senior officials and their families from visiting the United States. Travel visas for study purposes would also be affected. "We are continuing to try to call attention to the human rights abuses, that the last election was not fair and that there was not a level playing field there," Frazer, a former US ambassador to South Africa, said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Mugabe has been at the gathering, where he spoke earlier this week. Last month, Washington froze the US assets of 26 Zimbabwean farms and businesses it said were controlled by key members of Mugabe's government, accusing them of undercutting democracy.

While taking punitive action that targeted Mugabe and his cabinet, US officials said Washington would continue to provide food aid and other humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, which is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain 25 years ago. The latest crisis was triggered by government seizures of white-owned farms for resettlement of landless blacks and allegations of vote rigging in the last election. "Despite what may be taking place within the political context of that government, President Bush is not going to allow people to starve or to face those kinds of abuses," said Cindy Courville, special assistant to President George W. Bush on African affairs. Last month, the United States sent 73,500 tons of food aid to southern Africa with much of that expected to go to Zimbabwe, where about half of the rural population is estimated to need emergency help. On Saturday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be meeting South African President Thabo Mbeki and Frazer said Zimbabwe would be a topic during their talks. Mbeki has in the past been accused of being too supportive of Mugabe and not taking strong enough action against South Africa's neighbor.

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 17 September

Mugabe spurned loan 'in fury over conditions'

By David Blair in Johannesburg

President Robert Mugabe rejected South Africa's offer of emergency cash to bail out Zimbabwe's collapsing economy and "humiliated" his officials when they presented him with a draft rescue package, it emerged yesterday. Mr Mugabe was "apoplectic" when he learned of the stringent conditions attached to a loan from South Africa. The conditions are believed to have included Mr Mugabe being required to open talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, repeal a series of repressive laws and implement ambitious economic reforms. A senior western diplomat said that Mr Mugabe's rejection of this offer had "exasperated" President Thabo Mbeki's government. But he added that South Africa would continue to refrain from public criticism of Mr Mugabe. The loan would have covered Zimbabwe's debts of £160 million with the International Monetary Fund. About one third of the country's economy has been wiped out in the past five years and inflation runs at 265 per cent. When Zimbabwe opened talks with South Africa, it faced expulsion from the IMF, a measure that has not been taken against any country for five decades.

But the western diplomat said that Mr Mugabe had "furiously" cast aside the outcome of weeks of negotiations carried out by Gideon Gono, the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, Herbert Murerwa, the finance minister, and their South African counterparts. The president deliberately "humiliated" Mr Gono and Mr Murerwa by making them read out the conditions before adamantly rejecting them, the diplomat said. Mr Mugabe's aides were left to try to find a way of preventing Zimbabwe's expulsion from the International Monetary Fund. Sources in Harare said that the Reserve Bank raided the foreign currency accounts of exporters, seizing american dollars and paying for them in the worthless local currency. One mining company is reported to have lost £5 million. These draconian measures, together with other devices, succeeded in raising £65 million. This was handed over to the IMF on Aug 31, in time for the organisation's executive board meeting last Friday. That gathering decided to defer Zimbabwe's expulsion for another six months. The country still owes the IMF £95 million.

From The Times (UK), 17 September

Just a single fire engine keeps going in the city without fuel

From Jan Raath in Harare

Harare is a city grinding to a halt for lack of fuel. The Zimbabwean capital has just enough petrol to keep one fire engine running. Prison officers have been unable to drive prisoners to court this week, there have been no refuse collections for a month, ambulances can be seen queueing outside dry petrol stations and thousands of taxis and buses lie idle because they have nothing to run on. Yesterday, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, walked the four miles from his home to his Harare office in a gesture of solidarity with the tens of thousands of Zimbabweans for whom there is no longer any public transport. He said: "This is an intolerable situation. We cannot continue to endure this…The Government must realise it has turned Zimbabwe into what it is today." Zimbabwe’s deepening fuel crisis is not immediately obvious. At peak hours there is still enough traffic on the roads to cause congestion. But those vehicles are mostly running on black market petrol that sells for about 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars (£5) per litre - eight times the official price. At that price Zimbabweans buy no more than they have to. In half a mile yesterday I came across three vehicles stranded by the roadside after running out of petrol.

The true scale of the crisis was revealed this week by Nomutsa Chideya, clerk of the city council, who said that the situation was so bad that all the fire brigade had left was a quarter tank of fuel in one fire engine. "If there is an emergency, we won’t be able to attend," he said. "We have to pray there will not be a crisis. We have not received diesel for the past four weeks. We are not able to attend to any sewerage or water pipe bursts because all our vehicles are grounded." Council sources confirmed that there had been no refuse collection for more than a month. Mr Chideya said that the city council had been forced to buy 10,000 litres of diesel on the black market. "We will face the consequences later. At the moment we will have to deal with the situation." The fuel shortage is crippling Zimbabwe’s industry, too. Last week, Patison Sithole, the chief executive of the country’s only sugar refinery, said that it had halted exports. It has stopped receiving deliveries of coal needed for the refining process because the National Railways of Zimbabwe does not have the diesel to move the coal. Farmers’ unions said that the country was facing the worst agricultural season since independence in 1980. Already devastated by President Mugabe’s mass land grab, the farming industry is facing unprecedented disaster because what little fertiliser, seed and crop chemicals are available cannot be delivered for lack of fuel.

Air travel is frequently disrupted. A German diplomat recently had to scrounge lifts on each leg of a three-stop trip with Air Zimbabwe because there was no jet fuel. Zimbabwe’s fuel crisis is now entering its sixth year. Economists say that it has never been so bad and can only worsen as the economy deteriorates and hard currency earnings needed to import fuel grow scarcer. Mr Mugabe’s Government appears to be juggling its dwindling resources ever more desperately. Last week Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor, said that funds earmarked for fuel imports had been temporarily diverted to make a partial repayment on the country’s debt to the International Monetary Fund. The IMF was threatening to expel Zimbabwe. Mike Davies, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents’ Association, said that Harare’s ambulances may have run dry, "but you can bet that the tanks of Sekesayi Makwavarara are full". Mrs Makwavarara, a Mugabe loyalist who heads the commission that runs Harare, is awaiting a US$27,000 (£15,000) allocation from the central bank for an official visit to Moscow. That sum would pay for 35,000 litres of fuel, more than the Harare council’s monthly needs, said Mr Davies.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 16 September

Killer war vets sentenced to 4 years

Loughty Dube

Three Lupane war veterans accused of kidnapping and assaulting MDC MP, David Mpala, who later died of injuries sustained during the attack in 2003, were recently sentenced to four years in jail each. War veterans Seith Themba Jubane, Nicholas Minenhle Ncube and Patrick Ndlovu were part of a group of six who kidnapped and assaulted the former Lupane MP in 2003. Two other accused, Raymond Gumbo and Boyana Ndlovu, have since died while Ndaba Mpofu was acquitted of all charges. Lupane magistrate, Sikhumbuzo Nyathi, sentenced the war veteran trio to two years each in prison for the assault charges and another two years each on the kidnapping charges. The three were however not jailed for the third offence relating to the theft of $15 000 that was in Mpala’s vehicle when he was attacked. The state prosecutor, Sanders Sibanda, told the court that war veterans were at a meeting at Lupane business centre when they were alerted that there was an MDC vehicle around. The group is alleged to have seized Mpala and dragged him to a bush behind the business centre where they assaulted him and stabbed him until he lost consciousness, leaving him for dead. Mpala was hospitalised and never fully recovered and later died of injuries that he sustained during the attack. It is alleged that after the attack the group drove off with Mpala’s vehicle. Police in Tsholotsho discovered Mpala’s vehicle in the possession of the accused the following day. Recently Zanu PF thugs in Mbare and Umguza attacked MDC MPs Edward Mkhosi and Gift Chimanikire but the perpetrators have not yet been brought to book.

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 16 September

Air Zim flies three passengers

Roadwin Chirara

Problems at Air Zimbabwe continue to mount after revelations that the airline managed to fly only three passengers on its Bangkok-Dubai route on Friday, September 2. On the same day the airline cancelled its flights to Bangkok from Beijing after it had been notified that there were no passengers from the Chinese capital to Thailand. The national airline flew the three passengers in Bangkok to Dubai on its leased 245-seater plane. On arrival in Dubai the airline managed to pick up 80 passengers from the Emirate city for the trip to Harare. Bangkok was recently added to the airline's Asian destinations after earlier efforts to launch the route failed due to lack of passengers to the Thai capital. The Independent heard that the three passengers on the flight from Bangkok were over-weight on their luggage allowance and Air Zimbabwe wanted them to pay extra for the surplus. "That was not all," said one of the passengers on the flight. "We thought because there were only three of us on the plane, there would be free seating in business. But we were told to go to the economy class." After protesting, the passengers were eventually allowed to take business class seats.

The airline's problems have been worsened by its leasing of a Boeing 767-200 from PB Air of Thailand at a total cost in excess of US$2 million for the duration of the three-month deal. Air Zimbabwe is also said to have committed itself to servicing the Bangkok route during negotiations for the plane with the Thailand company in return for the company charging below market rates for the lease of the plane. Air Zimbabwe spokesperson David Mwenga could not comment on the issue saying he did not have the figures and information on the flight. "I am sorry I cannot comment without having the information on the date in question," Mwenga said. The airline is currently being charged US$3 200 per flight hour compared to the Iata rate of US$8 000 for planes in the 245-seater range. The airline will also be subjected to insurance costs which are pegged in US dollars over the duration of the lease arrangement. Currently Air Zimbabwe is charging $25 million for a return ticket to Beijing, $12 million for a return ticket to Dubai while Bangkok travellers will be expected to fork out $28,4 million for a return ticket.

From The Zimbabwean, 16 September

I see not

By Mufaro K Mangono

I see not the child that dies from starvation, All I see are fields abundant of " bumper harvest"
Who is it you said his dwellings were demolished, For all I see are houses that lavish Borrowdale Brooke
You say you are troubled you are not happy, Yet all I see are people who are smiling
Sorry if l sound sarcastic and rude, But it is just that l see not
Are you serious that queuing is an art, For all I see are queues to functions and cricket matches
How come you cry foul of the people you chose, For I see not how it was not your choice
Please make up your mind for you words contradict, Could it be l am the only one who is smart
I could oil all your hustles, For the country has so much of it
I see not the tears that now compensate water supply, Nor do l see the people who live in darkness
But I do see a ‘clean’ environment, I see the birds that are happy and eating our wheat
What of current news let us talk of history, Who cares of help, I certainly don’t
People, people pathetic people, complaining and ungrateful, I simply see you not
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British Government Asked to Reconsider Its Position on Zimbabwean Asylum
Ambrose Musiyiwa
Leicester, England
September 16, 2005

Asylum seekers, British lawmakers, Zimbabwean human rights activists and
opposition party leaders, British and international non-governmental
organizations, as well as British and international religious leaders have
called upon the British government to reconsider its policy of deporting
failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

The failed asylum seekers feel the Home Office is throwing them right back
into the lion's den from which they thought they had fled when they came to
Britain. They dread falling back into the hands of President Robert Mugabe's
secret police and its Gestapo interrogation and torture tactics. For those
who will survive these with their lives and sanity still intact, there is
the added despair of state-imposed homelessness to deal with.

Over the past four months alone, the Zimbabwe government has killed three
children; made between 200,000 and 1.5 million people homeless when it razed
their homes to the ground; destroyed over 100,000 businesses and has
arbitrarily arrested over 30,000 innocent people.

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These recent attacks have been targeted at Zimbabwe's urban population and
are a calculated punishment for that population's continued support of the
opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (M.D.C.).

Reports coming from Zimbabwe suggest that this is only the beginning. Worse
abuses are on the way.

Despite being aware of the on-going, brutal, state-sponsored oppression and
violence and the accompanying beatings, torture, political killings, forced
evictions and arbitrary arrests that the Zimbabwean population is being
subjected to, the British Home Office says it is safe to send people back to

In the first three months of 2005, 95 Zimbabweans were forcibly removed from
Britain and there are plans to return a further 116 to Zimbabwe.

Immigration minister, Tony McNulty says: "Since returns were resumed to
Zimbabwe last November, we have received no substantiated reports of abuse
of any person returned to the country."

However, officials in the Zimbabwe government have publicly said Britain is
training spies, mercenaries and agents to destabilize the country and is
sending them into Zimbabwe under the guise of returning failed asylum

On arrival the deportees are invariably met by Mugabe's secret police,
detained, tortured and interrogated. Some of the deportees have not been
heard from since. Their families, both in Zimbabwe and in Britain, report
that the last they heard of them was that they had been picked up by the
secret police.

Archbishop Pius Ncube, winner of the 2005 Burns Humanitarian Award (Scotland's
equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize), and a long-standing critic of Mugabe,
says it is not safe to return asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.

He says: "People who were asylum seekers in Britain and are returned have
been detained by the police in Zimbabwe, some being tortured and forced to
confess that they were in anti-government activities."

The M.D.C. leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition party lawmakers
and non-governmental and human rights organizations operating in Zimbabwe,
have said it is not safe to return failed asylum seekers.

The U.S. Department of State spokesman, Adam Ereli has talked of the
"tragedy, crime, horror" and obscenity of what the Zimbabwean government is
perpetrating against its own people while the head of the European Union,
Jose Manuel Barroso says the situation is causing very "grave concern."

Baroness Williams of Crosby, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords,
has gone further and accused the British government of acting illegally in
breach of the U.N. Convention on Refugees.

She says: "It is clearly not safe for people with any record of political
party activity to go back to Zimbabwe."

Labor M.P., Kate Hoey, who secretly visited Zimbabwe recently, emphasizes
that anyone who has a slightest involvement with any kind of opposition
politics is in real danger.

"There should be an immediate stop on all removals until we have got to the
bottom of some of the cases in a lot more detail but also until we see a
changed situation in Zimbabwe," Hoey says.

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, is aware of the brutality of the Zimbabwe

Speaking in June, the foreign secretary said: "Over the past three weeks,
the Mugabe regime has launched a brutal crackdown on some of the most
vulnerable Zimbabweans".

"There are also reports of children being detained in prison and separated
from their parents."

In July, a senior British judge called on the government of Prime Minister
Tony Blair to halt all deportations of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe
pending a further High Court hearing.

The comments came as scores of Zimbabwean asylum seekers went on a hunger
strike to protest against being forced to return to their troubled country.

Judge Andrew Collins said he acted after a representative from the Refugee
Legal Council told him there was evidence to suggest that asylum seekers
were in danger of being ill-treated and abused under President Robert Mugabe's
regime, simply because they had claimed asylum in Britain.

He said it could be "arguable" on the basis of this material that it was
unsafe to send back failed asylum seekers to the country.

Collins said there were between 70 and 80 applications before the High Court
at the moment involving Zimbabweans fighting removal on the grounds that
they fear for their lives or that they would suffer inhuman and degrading

Justice Collins "stayed" the cases while the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
(A.I.T.) looks at new evidence of the current situation in Zimbabwe. The
A.I.T. will hear one test case to set out definitive guidance.

In response to the decision of Justice Collins in the High Court, Tim Finch,
director of communications at the Refugee Council said:

"As a result of [the] hearing no more asylum seekers will be returned to
Zimbabwe until at least October and that will be a huge relief to the men
and women who faced being flown back to the country . Many of them are
opponents of Mugabe and they would have been in real danger if they'd been
sent home .

"The comments of the judge show that ministers are under intense pressure to
back down and stop all returns to Zimbabwe until the situation there
improves radically. This is clearly the right thing to do and the government
should act now. There is no need for any more expensive and time-consuming
court hearings when everyone can see that returning people to Zimbabwe is so

Barry Stoyle, chief executive of the Refugee Legal Centre, said:

"We are very concerned at the dangers faced by asylum seekers who are
returned to Zimbabwe. We are pleased that the Court has agreed there is an
arguable case that they face persecution. We look forward to being able to
argue the matter in full before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

"We are concerned that some Zimbabwean asylum seekers are still detained. It
is now only proper for the Home Office to release all detained Zimbabwean
detainees pending the outcome of the test cases."
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Zim Online

Harare plans counter protests at UN
Sat 17 September 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has organised to have its supporters
stage demonstrations at the United Nations today in support of President
Robert Mugabe to counter planned anti-Mugabe protests at the same venue, a
top Harare official said on Friday.

      A group of Zimbabwean exiles calling themselves, Association of
Zimbabweans Based Abroad, will today hold demonstrations at the UN's New
York headquarters in a bid to draw the attention of the world body to
Zimbabwe's five-year old political and economic crisis.

      But State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa said the Harare
administration had planned counter protests to show the world it had
supporters beyond Zimbabwe's borders.

      "We knew all along that our enemies will use the UN meeting to paint
us black in front of the world," said Mutasa, who is a close confidante of
Mugabe and oversees state intelligence, food aid distribution and land

      "But we have our own supporters and sympathisers who understand our
cause. They will hold demonstrations in our support. We have organised that
and plans are in place. The world will have a chance to see that we have
supporters, even beyond our borders," he added.

      World leaders are meeting in New York for the UN Summit and Zimbabwean
exiles, many of whom fled home because of hunger or persecution by Mugabe's
government, say they want to use the platform provided by the summit to
showcase the veteran leader's brutality.

      Mugabe addressed the Summit on Wednesday and attacked the West for his
country's problems.

      Zimbabwe is grappling its worst economic crisis that has manifested
itself in shortages of fuel, food, electricity hard cash and almost every
other basic commodity.

      Critics blame the crisis on repression and misrule by Mugabe, chiefly
his seizure of land from white farmers that destabilised the mainstay
agriculture sector and in a large part contributed to perennial food
shortages in the country.

      But Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980, denies ruining the once prosperous country and instead blames his
country's problems on sabotage by Western governments out to fix Harare for
seizing land from whites to resettle landless blacks. - ZimOnline
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Zim Independent


No way out of the woods yet

BEWILDERING signals of Zimbabwe's relations with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) have again emerged from government with the usual sabre-rattling
from President Mugabe and more mellow comments from the Ministry of Finance
and the central bank.

Mugabe, who recently authorised the payment of US$120 million towards the
IMF's US$295 million debt, saw it fit last weekend to attack the
international banking institution on his arrival in Cuba. While in the warm
embrace of the communist state which has promised Zimbabwe assistance in
health and education, he sang the Fidel Castro refrain that the IMF was not
of any help to poor countries.

It should be remembered that Cuba withdrew from membership of the fund in
April 1964. The move was the culmination of a period of difficulties in
Cuba's balance of payments starting in 1959. Castro has since then not
missed an opportunity to take potshots at the IMF and to rally other Third
World countries to break ranks with the "ruinous institution".

He has called it the "executioner which pulls the string so that the
guillotine's blade falls on the heads of Third World nations''.

To blend in with his surroundings, Mugabe did not disappoint.

"We have never been friends of the IMF and we shall never be friends of the
IMF," Mugabe warbled on arrival in Cuba on Saturday. "The IMF is never of
real assistance to developing countries. It is wielded by the big powers. It
is the big powers which dictate what it should do."

But his Finance minister Herbert Murerwa and central bank governor Gideon
Gono were meanwhile working feverishly to ensure that Zimbabwe is not
expelled from the fund. Gono justified the payment of US$120 million saying
was " important as a matter of national pride, dignity, security and
survival to sacrifice present comforts in fulfilment of wider global

Murerwa also expressed optimism after the decision to spare Zimbabwe from

"I am happy Zimbabwe has been given another lifeline," he said. "We will
look at ways in the next few months to cut down on more of our debts and
patch up our relationship with the IMF."

While Mugabe believes that Zimbabwe "shall never be friends" with the IMF,
his Finance minister sees hope in maintaining cordial relations with the
fund. He has also spoken out against price controls which Mugabe is known to

While Gono pleaded with the IMF not to "take precipitous actions (to expel
Zimbabwe) whose effect is to blunt or negate the turnaround efforts
currently underway ", Mugabe sees the IMF as a hostile construct of the
capitalist order.

Put simply, the IMF is a key facet of Gono's so-called turnaround programme
but features very differently in President Mugabe's Fidelist mindset. He
already has many converts in the higher echelons of the party who subscribe
to his belligerent views on the World Bank and the IMF.

Therein lies the tragedy of Zimbabwe's quest for economic recovery. Policy
contradictions in the handling of the economy within the Zanu PF government
have ensured nothing tangible is achieved. Murerwa and Gono seem condemned
to the same fate as Makoni, Chambati and Chidzero.

Not that much will be achieved anyway by the payment of the US$120 million
to the IMF as Zimbabwe can still not access any balance of payments support
as it is still suspended.

Murerwa and Gono's run-around to normalise relations with the IMF will turn
out to be a waste of time as long as Mugabe continues to second-guess his
ministers and confuse the country on real government policy with regards to
relations with the Bretton Woods twins.

This obscurantist mode that has become so predictable has seen the country
failing to implement its own economic policies, from the Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme (Esap I and II), Zimprest, the Millennium Budget, the
Millennium Economic Recovery Programme, the National Economic Recovery
Programme (Nerp), and the National Economic Revival Programme (Nerp) to the
expansively titled Towards Sustained Economic Growth - Macro-economic
Framework, 2005-6.

There is a long history of half-heartedness by Mugabe's government in
drawing up and executing turnaround programmes. It gets worse when the
presidential coach and horses drives through fragile foundations.

Business leaders at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress last
week heard of the co-operation and consultation between Business Unit South
Africa and President Thabo Mbeki's government on economic issues. That
remains a pipe-dream here where government thinks co-operation with social
partners and the international community is a global conspiracy to evict the

If President Mugabe is serious about turning this economy around, he must
lead the charge to demonstrate willingness to adopt a cooperative approach
to international financial relations.
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Zim Independent


Mugabe's false bravado laid bare

PRESIDENT Mugabe and Prince Charles appear to have divergent interpretations
of what happened when they met at the Pope's funeral in Rome. Mugabe has
praised the Prince of Wales as a "real gentleman" for controversially
shaking hands with him at the funeral but has dismissed Tony Blair, who
snubbed him, as a "tyrant".

Reports say Vatican officials triggered a diplomatic incident when they gave
Mugabe, Charles and Blair seats close to each other at Pope John Paul's
funeral in April. Blair switched seats but the prince took the president's
outstretched hand. Charles's spokesman claimed at the time that he had been
"ambushed" and that he found the Zimbabwean regime "abhorrent".

But in a recent interview with Daphne Barak, an Israeli television reporter,
Mugabe claimed the two reminisced on the past. Herbert Murerwa says he
introduced Mugabe to the prince and they chatted throughout the
one-and-a-half-hour ceremony.

This followed Tony Blair's hasty departure from his seat when he realised he
would be sitting next to Mugabe.

"We'd never met," Mugabe claimed, "but he deserted his seat because he
realised that our own seats were next to their own. But Prince Charles
remained in place. He's a real gentleman."

They spoke about Charles' forthcoming marriage, Murerwa said.

However, Mugabe's and Murerwa's recollection of events has once again been
challenged by Clarence House. A spokesman for the prince said: "The prince
was caught unawares during the peace-be-with-you part of the funeral, the
traditional handshake part. Partly he was unaware and partly it would have
been very disrespectful to the church at the time for the prince not to
shake Mugabe's hand."

He added: "The prince was very much there as an official representative at
the Pope's funeral and certainly didn't view the hour-and-a-half as a time
to start having conversations with people. To claim he had conversations
with either Herbert Murerwa or President Mugabe is not true."

In his interview Mugabe denied being a tyrant and accused Blair of being

"If there was judgement by some supreme power of the three of us - Bush,
Blair and Robert Mugabe - I'd be the first to receive greater justice from
the Almighty," he said. "I've killed no one, like they are doing (in Iraq)."

Mugabe's selective recall of events is sometimes breathtaking. Has he
forgotten the 20 000 who perished during Gukurahundi? Is he washing his
hands of responsibility for that episode?

As for his assertion that he has never met Blair, he needs reminding of the
hour they spent together at Gleneagles in Scotland during the 1997
Commonwealth summit. Blair certainly hasn't forgotten the long rambling
account Mugabe gave of the land issue with its usual distortions and
contrived claims.

"I never want to see that man again," he was reported to have said after the
ordeal. His resolve was confirmed by Mugabe's undiplomatic behaviour at the
Durban Chogm in 1999 when he made all sorts of personal attacks on the
British leader in interviews with British tabloids. Now he expects to
negotiate his way out of the predicament he has created for himself.

Last week Muckraker remarked that President Mugabe was a hypocrite, putting
on a brave face to mask his actual fear of Zimbabwe's expulsion from the
IMF. The fear was evident in Zimbabwe's hasty payment of US$120 million
(it's now risen to US$131 million) to reduce its debt to the IMF.

Our sentiments, and Zimbabweans' mounting frustration with Mugabe's
posturing, found full expression in the Tuesday Herald's reaction to the
president's attack on the IMF. Following the reprieve, Mugabe rushed to Cuba
where he told his fellow outcast Fidel Castro that Zimbabwe was not a friend
of the IMF and was "unlikely to be its friend in future".

Commenting on Mugabe's two-faced behaviour, Herald political and features
editor, Caesar Zvayi, said: "This statement left some people puzzled,
especially in light of the sacrifice Zimbabwe made by using the scarce
foreign currency reserves to pay part of the debt to the IMF. Some people
felt that President Mugabe's statement was an expression of false bravado
and contradicted . . . Gideon Gono who campaigned vigorously for Zimbabwe's
continued membership of the IMF."

The message should be clear enough. We are here dealing with a charlatan who
is impervious to reason and is only too glad to bite the hand that feeds
him. Zvayi's analysis shows the man has been consistently hypocritical since
Independence in 1980.

As for Gono, he has been repeatedly warned that so long as the politics is
wrongly pitched, he is fighting a lost battle. It doesn't matter what
home-grown economic concoction he might dream up, Mugabe has become the
albatross around this nation's neck.

Gono has to face up to that reality. Nobody takes seriously the drivel about
Zimbabwe being under Western sanctions, whether legal or otherwise.

And let's hope Morgan Tsvangirai learns a thing or two from this episode. He
urged the IMF not to expel Zimbabwe because that would compound people's
suffering. Instead of being hailed for his patriotic stance, he was
subjected to a nasty bit of character assassination by a suborned journalist
in the Herald .

Meanwhile, who will take Mugabe seriously when he talks about Zimbabweans
enjoying improved living standards "as we work to fulfil the expectations of
the millennium declaration"?

He welcomed the support of "our development partners" in achieving the
Millennium Development Goals. These are presumably the same development
partners who are having difficulty getting aid to the victims of

As for improved living standards, we need to remind ourselves that this is
the same leader whose policies have seen the economy shrink by a third in
recent years, unemployment climb to 75%, and poverty escalate. And then he
stands on a public platform and says poverty eradication is a priority!

We can understand why George Charamba should complain, as he did on
Saturday, when the Zimbabwe Independent exposes this hypocrisy. It is all
rather inconvenient.

But when the Herald is inviting its readers to swallow every claim Mugabe
makes, somebody has to point out that the man is seriously delusional.
Poverty is on the rise. More people are poorer and unemployed today than
they were last year. Murambatsvina has added to their miseries.

Mugabe is not only head of state and of government, he is at the centre of
policy-making and his word is law. There is no "butt outside the president",
as Charamba would have it. He is accountable for the mess we find ourselves
in whether his dissembling spokesmen like it or not.

Meanwhile, Charamba's defence of Nolbert Kunonga is understandable. The man
is an apologist of the regime that now sustains him. But it is too late to
rescue him.

Anglicans everywhere are aware of the damage done by this fawning prelate.
Forget the smoke-and-mirrors stuff over ties to empire and just ask the
ordinary Zimbabwean church member what he thinks of the bishop. There's your

Muckraker was intrigued by a website providing details of the Silver Jubilee
and reflecting the Zanu PF regime's claims to be conducting a turnaround

A quick inspection found it was the product of a company called IC
Publications which publishes Baffour Ankomah's New African , a magazine that
has proved sympathetic to Mugabe's policies.

The company's publications, including New African , have " a reputation for
editorial excellence, cutting edge reporting and integrity and are known for
their independent, objective and balanced reporting", we are told.

If that is so, we're sure New African's old-school editor will have no
difficulty in telling us who paid for his trips to Zimbabwe which resulted
in glowing accounts of President Mugabe's land reforms?

Another apologist, Viola Plummer of the December 12 Movement, appeared on
the History Channel's biography of Mugabe last Friday evening. Thankfully,
her naïve attempts at solidarity were eclipsed by more authentic voices,
most notably former Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota and US activist Salih

But the producers should be told to run their material past one or two of
the people they interviewed before screening to avoid embarrassment. Ian
Smith was not "colonial governor" and Sir Robin Renwick was not "former
ambassador to Rhodesia". He was ambassador to Pretoria.

But we liked Chester Crocker's comments on Mugabe's state visit to
Washington shortly after Ronald Reagan became president. "Mugabe had the
habit of sticking his finger in your eye," Crocker noted. Apparently he
lectured Reagan on his Central American policy in much the same way he later
lectured Blair on land. Crocker was told not to invite him back!

Joshua Nkomo was shown arriving in the UK after having been hounded out of
Zimbabwe in 1982. "In my 35 years of struggle against white supremacy," he
said, "I have never suffered as I have in the two years of Mugabe's rule."
Let's remember that on Unity Day this year.

We enjoyed Newsnet chief correspondent Reuben Barwe's snap survey on what
people feel about life in Zimbabwe. The question said it all.

It went like: "Would you say if you have survived in Zimbabwe you can
survive anywhere else in the world?"

Most respondents agreed although nobody openly said they wished they were
somewhere else. The gist of the matter being: there is no worse place to
live in than Zimbabwe, a dubious distinction indeed for any country.

When Mugabe told his war cabinet that what the country needed were " amadoda
sibili " the message wasn't really clear. But everybody now knows the full
meaning of that statement. The only question is: is there an end to this

Lands minister Didymus Mutasa has threatened imprisonment for multiple-farm
owners. He told provincial land committees in Masvingo that owning more than
one farm amounts to "corruption" and that his ministry would take
appropriate action.

"How can a single person own more than one farm?" Mutasa wondered aloud.
"These are chefs with many farms and we want to end that corruption so that
everyone gets land," he said.

We want to see who will be made an example of in this long-drawn-out fiasco.

President Mugabe made equally stern threats in 2003 but those who stole more
than one farm appear to have called his bluff. Then there were all those
audits that amounted to nothing.

The miscreants are still holding on to their ill-gotten gains and walking
about freely in defiance. Even John Nkomo tried it when he was Lands
minister. Why should there be any action now?

Speaking at the same meeting, Minister of State responsible for Land and
Resettlement Flora Buka talked of more land audits in the pipeline. What
else does she do for a living, we wonder?

But she had good reasons for keeping herself busy with more land audits. "We
want to avoid a situation whereby we go down in history as people who took
land then failed to use it," she said.

Unfortunately, Madam, that fate is unavoidable anymore. There is all the
evidence of calamity everywhere one looks, a disaster worse than
government's obsession with the conveniently distracting Hurricane Katrina.
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IDEX Online
Mugabe Wants Share of Zimbabwe Mining
(September 18, '05, 5:16 Edahn Golan)

Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, says he wants the government to have a stake in private mining projects in the country, including diamond mining. The internationally pariah leader promises, however, not to nationalize the enterprises.


In an interview with the Associated Press, Mugabe said that because he wants the people of Zimbabwe to benefit from their own natural resources, he expects companies mining in Zimbabwe, such as Anglo-American, to cooperate.


“We just want to be partners. We are not doing anything unusual, and this is the practice in many countries,” he said in the interview conducted during the UN Summit last week.


While exploration activities have been limited in the harshly ruled state, there is mining activities in the African country, including coal, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin and platinum group metals as well as diamonds, emeralds and semiprecious stones.


“What we intend to do is for the state to have a stake in the production of some of our minerals - gold, platinum, diamonds,” he said, adding that they are behind countries like Botswana and Namibia.


He has no plans to nationalize the industry, he told the news agency, even tough he had threatened to do so in the past.

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Thousands of Zim farmers lose court cases
    September 18 2005 at 06:34AM

Harare - More than 4 000 legal challenges brought by white farmers in Zimbabwe to the seizure of their farms have been nullified after President Robert Mugabe's signing into law of controversial amendments to the constitution, it was reported on Sunday.

The state-controlled Sunday Mail said the challenges would no longer be valid after Mugabe signed the Constitutional Amendment Bill into law nine days ago before he left on a trip to Cuba and the United Nations General Assembly in York.

The new laws, which were officially published last Wednesday, state that farmers no longer have the right to contest the seizure of their farms in court.

 More than 4 000 white farmers have lost their farms in Zimbabwe in the last five years following Mugabe's launch of the land reform programme meant to give land to new black farmers. Most of the white farmers had launched legal challenges to the seizure of the land.

"The challenges automatically fell away when the bill was passed as the properties whose acquisition they (the white farmers) were contesting now belong to the state," the Sunday Mail said.

Nelson Mutsonziwa, the chief law officer in the attorney-general's office, said the white farmers' challenges were now "useless".

"Around 4 000 cases were pending before the Administrative Court and the passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill into law means they are all being nullified. All the challenges are now useless and there is only need to formally withdraw the issues before the courts," Mutsonziwa said.

The passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill - which also allows for the setting up of a Senate and the withdrawal of passports from those deemed to threaten "national interest" - was fiercely resisted by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and rights activists.

They and other critics say the new laws on land infringe on property rights and will scare away potential investors.

But the government said the constitutional amendments were necessary to "remove conflict from the land issue" once and for all. - Sapa-dpa
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Mugabe defends urban demolitions
Robert Mugabe has been ostracised by many world leaders
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has denied his country is in the grip of an avoidable famine, and defended his controversial slum clearance policy.
Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Mugabe said the demolition of vast urban areas was an effort to boost law and order and development.
He insisted that the slum clearances were followed by well-planned building projects designed to rehouse the poor.
Some accuse him of bulldozing slums housing opposition supporters.
Mr Mugabe defended the demolitions, insisting that Zimbabwe must move forward, rather than tolerate poverty and haphazard urban development.
He said Zimbabwe would not lower its urban living standards to allow for mud huts and bush latrines, and did not need "development in reverse".
Humanitarian concerns
"We find it strange and anomalous that the government of Zimbabwe should be maligned and condemned for restoring order and the rule of law in its municipal areas," he told the UN in New York.
 We pride ourselves as being top, really, on the African ladder

Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe President
"Our detractors fail to acknowledge that Operation Restore Order soon gave way to a well-planned, vast reconstruction programme.
"Properly planned accommodation, factory shells and vending stalls are being constructed in many areas of our country for our people."
An estimated 700,000 people lost their homes during the slum clearances, which were described as a humanitarian crisis by the United Nations and heavily criticised by Human Rights Watch.
Zimbabweans 'happy'
In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, Mr Mugabe denied that Zimbabwe was in the grip of a famine.
He said that the country has ample stocks of potatoes and rice, yet the population insists on eating corn, a traditional staple.
The people of Zimbabwe are "very, very happy," Mr Mugabe said, blaming corn shortages on years of "continuous drought".
"We pride ourselves as being top, really, on the African ladder," Mr Mugabe told AP.
"We feel that we have actually been advancing rather than going backwards."
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VOA news
Zimbabwe's Mugabe: Claims of Humanitarian Crisis Unfounded

18 September 2005

Robert Mugabe (file photo)
Robert Mugabe (file photo)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe told the U.N. General Assembly Sunday that claims of a humanitarian crisis in his country are unfounded.

Mr. Mugabe said those who criticized Zimbabwe's recent program to demolish illegal dwellings and street stalls were trying to tarnish the image of Zimbabwe and depict it as a failed state.

A recent U.N. report called Mr. Mugabe's so-called urban cleanup campaign a disastrous policy that left 700,000 people without homes or jobs.

President Mugabe told the General Assembly that what he calls "Operation Restore Order" cleared the way for a vast reconstruction program that would lead to new factories and homes.

He also criticized what he called Zimbabwe's "detractors and ill-wishers" for reporting starvation in the country. He said those reports were not true.

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