The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Bush scolds "brutal regimes" as he pushes democracy


Tue 25 Sep 2007, 17:18 GMT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday rallied
fellow U.N. members to what he called a mission of liberation and named
Belarus, Syria, Iran and North Korea as "brutal regimes" that deny people
their rights.

With national representatives seated before him on the opening day of the
U.N. General Assembly, Bush also scolded the governments of Myanmar,
Zimbabwe and Cuba as he called for the spread of democracy, a consistent
theme of his U.N. speeches.

"This great institution must work for great purposes: to free people from
tyranny and violence, hunger and diseases, illiteracy and ignorance and
poverty and despair. Every member of the United Nations must join in this
mission of liberation," he said.

Bush said Americans were "outraged" over human rights abuses in Myanmar and
announced new U.S. sanctions on its military rulers who are facing the
biggest anti-government protests in two decades.

He criticized the Zimbabwe government headed by President Robert Mugabe as
"tyrannical" and an "assault on its people."

"The United Nations must insist on change in Harare and must insist for the
freedom of the people of Zimbabwe," Bush said.

Critics accuse Mugabe of sending Zimbabwe's once-thriving economy to a
crisis of widespread food shortages and soaring inflation. Mugabe accuses
Western countries of sabotaging the economy as punishment for his seizure of
white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

Alluding to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has been ill, Bush said his rule
of the island was "nearing its end" and said free speech and elections
should follow a transition in power.

The comment prompted Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque to walk out
of the U.N. General Assembly hall in protest. Cuba's U.N. mission called
Bush's speech "arrogant."


Addressing the crisis in Sudan's western Darfur region, which has been
ravaged by violence, Bush said the United Nations must follow through on a
pledge to deploy peacekeeping forces.

"In Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Iran, brutal regimes deny their people
the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration (of Human
Rights)," he added.

Bush praised some countries as having "taken strides toward liberty,
including Ukraine and Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and Mauritania and Liberia,
Sierra Leone and Morocco."

Bush repeated U.S. criticism of the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, which he
said "has been silent on repression by regimes from Havana to Caracas to
Pyongyang and Tehran while focusing its criticism excessively on Israel."

U.S. foes see Bush's "freedom agenda" as a way to bully countries which the
Bush administration opposes.

They say that while Washington is pointing the finger at others, it has
faced widespread condemnation for its treatment of prisoners in Iraq and
Afghanistan and terrorism suspects at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba.

Outside the United Nations, around 700 protesters chanted, "Bush and Cheney
out the door, stop the torture, stop the wars." Many wore orange to
symbolize action, and some carried coffins to highlight opposition to the
Iraq war.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim: 'ordinary citizens are suffering'


     September 25 2007 at 08:32PM

US President George Bush on Tuesday called for increased pressure from
the international community on the current leadership of Zimbabwe, where
millions have been forced to flee their homes amidst a continuing oppressive

In Zimbabwe, "ordinary citizens are suffering under a tyrannical
regime," Bush told the United Nations General Assembly as it opened its main
debate session in New York.

"The government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform and
forced millions to flee," Bush said.

The leadership of President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country
since its independence from Britain in 1980, was "an affront" to the
principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 upon which
the UN was founded.

"The United Nations must insist on change in Harare and on freedom for
the people of Zimbabwe," Bush said. - Sapa-dpa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe parliament opens nationalisation debate


Tue 25 Sep 2007, 14:25 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's parliament began debating an empowerment bill
on Tuesday that would give blacks majority ownership of foreign companies,
including mines and banks, a move analysts fear could deepen the economic

The government's introduction of the bill in parliament last month raised
concern that it could scare away the few foreign investors left in the
impoverished southern African country.

Legislators from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
kicked off debate on the bill, saying it was designed to enrich a few
powerful individuals and win votes for President Robert Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party in parliamentary and presidential elections due next March.

"What we are seeing is an attempt obviously to use this as a campaign tool
to woo voters for the elections and to give money to a few people," the
MDC's Paul Mushoriwa said at the start of the debate.

Mugabe's government -- which critics accuse of plunging Zimbabwe into
turmoil by seizing white-owned farms and handing them to inexperienced black
farmers -- says the bill is part of its drive to empower the country's poor
black majority.

Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
mismanaging the economy and accuses the MDC of supporting Western efforts to
topple his government in retaliation for the land seizures.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition says equity bill will further ruin economy

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - A Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker warned Tuesday that a
proposed law allowing locals a majority stake in foreign-owned firms would
further ruin the tattered economy and benefit only the tiny elite.

"What we are seeing is that the government is systematically destroying the
economic foundation which we inherited at independence," from Britain in
1980, opposition Movement for Democratic Change MP Willias Madzimure said.
"The moment this law is passed, it will be used to enrich those already
rich. With this law we are not going to attract foreign investment," he said
during a parliamentary debate on the bill.

Zimbabwe's economy has steadily declined over the past seven years,
characterised by inflation running well past the 6,000-percent mark, with at
least 80 percent of the population living below the poverty threshold.

The draft Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill has raised fears
among foreign-owned companies operating in Zimbabwe that they will lose
control of their firms.

Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana told parliament: "We
are simply redressing colonial imbalances.

"When our people participate in the mainstream economy they will stick it
out no matter the hardships. They will not go anywhere."

He said the indigenisation programme would not be done haphazardly but said
the process would be gradual and in consultation with businesses.

Multi-national firms which may be affected by the new policy include
Barclays Bank, Bindura Nickel Corporation and mining giant Rio Zim.

President Robert Mugabe has warned that his government would seize and
nationalise firms he said were profiteering excessively in a bid to incite
Zimbabweans to revolt against the state.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Stop Rights Violations Now, Says Tutu

25 September 2007
Posted to the web 25 September 2007

South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Tuesday made a new attack on human
rights violations in Zimbabwe. He said in a statement he was "devastated" by
the "horrific" conditions in the country.

Citing low life expectancy, deteriorating health facilities, hunger, and
joblessness, Tutu called on Africans and the world to pay attention to the
situation in the troubled country.

Reports of torture, unlawful detentions, and attacks on political opponents
are "reminiscent of our experiences at the hands of apartheid police," Tutu

Referring to recent attempts at peace talks led by South African President
Thabo Mbeki, Tutu said "The extent to which the crisis could have been
mitigated through more efficient economic management is a matter for debate
by people better-qualified than me" but that there is "no debate" that
"human rights violations. are on the increase." The rights violations "must
stop now."

The world must act on the African concept of ubuntu, or "inter-dependency"
by working to end the crisis, he said. "Zimbabwe's plight is all of our
plight. To ignore its suffering is to condone it."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Basic foodstuffs are now a hot commodity

Mail and Guardian

Ignatius Banda

24 September 2007 06:00

      Sithabile Khuzwayo is one of many women who bring groceries and
clothing from across the borders of neighbouring Botswana and South Africa
to sell at the flourishing flea markets of Zimbabwe's second-largest city,

      She said the hostility of Botswana's locals to Zimbabwean
traders has made buying wares in Botswana risky. ''Before the problems began
in Zimbabwe, we could move around without attracting any trouble, but now we
have become targets. Some traders are mugged and their goods taken by the

      The 30-year-old Khuzwayo complains that ''the exchange rates are
so volatile it has become difficult to price my wares to, at least, show a
bit of profit''.

      The city's markets have become centres of trade and finance
where cross-border traders sell their wares and also source foreign
exchange. For many residents struggling in a harsh economic environment amid
growing shortages of basic commodities, cross-border traders have become the
only suppliers of food.

      Apart from groceries, cheap clothing from Botswana is the other
essential product being sold in Bulawayo's flea markets.

      The dire economic circumstances have attracted thousands of
women to informal trade in Bulawayo, a city of more than two-million people.
Recently even professionals such as teachers and nurses have joined in to

      The scarcity of foreign currency in Zimbabwe has meant that
these small enterprises operate below capacity. It has forced cross-border
traders to turn to the thriving illegal parallel market.

      At the Plumtree border post, where thousands of Zimbabweans
cross into Botswana each week, traders say it is becoming increasingly
difficult to move goods. Groceries are now in short supply after a
government decree forced retailers to slash prices by half. This has left
supermarket shelves empty.

      There was panic last month when the Zanu-PF government announced
it was banning the importation of groceries from neighbouring countries as
part of its price blitz against retailers. Without explanation, the
government accused traders of fuelling the shortages of scarce basic

      The authorities reversed the directive after a public outcry.
The selling of commodities such as cooking oil, maize meal, shoes and
clothing from Botswana in the streets of Bulawayo shows that informal
cross-border trade continues despite the hardships faced by the thousands of
women who have found a lifeline in this sector.

      Traders point to the high import tariffs charged by Zimbabwean
customs as one of the reasons for bringing limited volumes of goods into the

       Zimbabwe and Botswana have signed a bilateral agreement on the
avoidance of double taxation as part of what Zimbabwe sees as a move to
bolster trade across the borders. However, Zimbabwean authorities are still
making life difficult for small-scale cross-border traders.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's Mugabe will make United Nations appeal against western sanctions

From VOA News, 24 September

By Carole Gombakomba

Washington - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will make use of his
opportunity to address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to
tell the gathering that Western targeted sanctions on his government are
illegal and should be lifted. Zimbabwe's UN ambassador, Boniface
Chidyausiku, said President Mugabe will make the case to the assembly that
the US Zimbabwe Democracy Act has prevented international institutions and
private investors from bringing capital to Zimbabwe. Chidyausiku said that
if the United States, Britain and other Western nations sincerely want to
help the Zimbabwean people, they should stop shedding "crocodile tears" and
lift the sanctions, which he said are the main cause of growing poverty. US
and other Western officials have often stated that the sanctions target
President Mugabe and senior officials of his government and the ruling Zanu
PF party, barring them from travelling in countries setting such sanctions,
and allowing assets in those countries to be frozen if identified. The
sanctions also prohibit commerce with Zimbabwean companies controlled by
individuals on the sanctions list.

US, British, Australian and other officials are also at pains to note that
their countries provide millions in food assistance and help in fighting the
HIV/AIDS pandemic. Mugabe's critics say misgovernance and corruption led to
economic collapse, more specifically chaotic land redistribution that
destabilized the key farming sector. Chidyausiku told VOA that his country
will present its case against the sanctions alongside Cuba when Havana
addresses the impact of the US embargo on commerce with the island nation.
Zimbabwean analyst Chido Makunike said Mr. Mugabe and his government need to
move beyond blaming the problems in the country on the Western sanctions and
focus on the reasons for the sanctions and ways in which they can work
around them. Makunike said that urging the UN to lift the sanctions "is a
waste of time" as it is not in a position to so so, thus the appeal is a
mere "emotional sounding board." UN sources said President Mugabe arrived in
New York on Sunday. He left Harare late Friday and had been scheduled to
make a stopover in Cairo.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Statement by Archbishop Pius Ncube

I have received a number of enquiries over the past week, asking if
I am about to enter into politics, or if I am considering standing
for the Presidency of Zimbabwe.

I should like to make it clear that in the Catholic Church we have
a rule against the clergy getting into party politics or taking on
civil duties.

Moreover, I personally have not the slightest interest in entering
into politics, and I know nothing about politics. I am a clergyman,
and my passion is to work for the Church.  As such I shall continue
to stand up in defence of human rights which are part of the gospel
of Christ.

We have had bad experiences in Zimbabwe when clergy become
politicians.  When they have to follow a particular party political
line, their Christian values become compromised.  Also, I have seen
that many politicians are concerned chiefly with the accumulation
of power and wealth, rather than with alleviating the suffering of
their people.

My passion is for evangelisation, and as such, Fr Martin Schupp,
Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, has asked
me to take up the role of Pastoral Director in the Archdiocese.
This includes coordinating pastoral work, pastoral structures,
training and courses for pastoral workers.  In this work I shall
work to assist people in coming closer to God, and this includes
promoting human rights and defending the disadvantaged.

I shall continue to speak out for human rights – that is non-
negotiable.  Come rain or high water, in a situation where there is
gross oppression, as in Zimbabwe, I shall continue to speak out.
This is part of the prophetic role of the Church – to stand up and
strongly defend the human rights of the poor and oppressed people.

Bulawayo,  Zimbabwe 25 September 2007

Fr Nigel Johnson SJ
on behalf of the Social Communications Office, Archdiocese of

Tel/Fax + 263 9 884858 / 881009 / 881020
mobile: + 263 11 209718
home: + 263 9 242857

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A deadly water crisis in Bulawayo

I do not think anyone can really understand the seriousness of Bulawayo's
water problems,
until they see for themselves one of the queues at the water bowsers, like
the one in
Emakandeni on Saturday.

We drove past an Ingwebu Bowser at 2 p.m. The queue snaked across the bare
soccer field, like a lazy boa constrictor. Women, men and children were
walking towards
the field from every which way. Hundreds of them, thousands of them. Each
carrying as
large a bucket as one could possibly carry.

Ingwebu Breweries was once a popular Bulawayo City Council beer outlet. The
boasted a number of Beer Tankers which would deliver copious quantities of
the popular
thick rich potent liquid to beer halls across the city.

Now the tankers carry something much more precious, - water - destined for
the City's
high density suburbs, where there is no water at all, for days on end.

Beer sales have come to an end, largely because the people can no longer
afford this
luxury but mainly because the City's five supply dams have all but dried up,
and without
the bowser water deliveries, people would simply die of thirst.

Bulawayo has a population of one and a half million people. It is not a
rural village, it is a
large sophisticated industrial, city with sophisticated water needs.

It is possibly a blessing that the City's industry and economy is virtually
at a standstill
since the price freeze two months ago, as there is not enough water to
quench the thirst
of the people, let alone quench any sort of heavy industrial thirst.

Water supplies have dried up to twice a week in the eastern suburbs, to
almost a trickle in
other suburbs like Tshabalala where bore-holes have been drilled by the
European Union,
and pumps have been installed. However water supplies are just non existent
in suburbs
like Emakandeni, Nketa, and Nkulumane.

On our way back past the Ingwebu Bowser some three hours later, we saw the
incredible sight. The bowser had gone for re-filling, but there snaking
across the dusty
playing field, like a giant anaconda, was a bucket snake. A solemn queue of
placed neatly in line, like tiny round colourful cars in a fuel queue.

There must be honour amongst buckets as few of them were manned, over a
kilometre of
blue, yellow, red and green buckets, waiting patiently, neatly, thirstily
for the Ingwebu

The line at the Tshabalala pumps were as long if not longer. Swarms of
children would
happily volunteer to man the pumps ....... up down up down, water gushing
into buckets,
containers, drums and pots. The line of women swaying with that elegant
balancing gait,
to and from the pumps was endless, disappearing into the distance, as the
pumps are few
and far between.....

I wondered sadly, as I drove back to my haven in the Eastern Suburbs, where
our borehole
is prolific if unpalatable, if the water from the bowsers tasted of beer ?

I also wondered how these folk were managing to flush their toilets......
The majority of the
people of the City of Bulawayo live in the western areas where there is no
water at all
coming out of the taps, and none at all to flush down the sewers ......

Twenty litres per family per day, for drinking, bathing, washing, and
cooking is surely
hardly enough to maintain even the slightest semblance of hygiene.

Our life expectancy has dropped sharply since "Independence" from 65 to 39
years !!

Can you imagine the awful, terrible havoc this lack of water is going to
cause amongst a
people already weakened by HIV AIDS, lack of proper nutrition, and right
now. lack of food
of any sort at all, since the government crackdown on prices.?

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No Mugabe, no summit, vow African countries

The Scotsman
Tue 25 Sep 2007

SOUTHERN African countries yesterday lined up behind Robert Mugabe in a row
over whether the Zimbabwean president would be invited to an EU-Africa
summit in December, saying they would boycott the event if he is banned.

The meeting in Lisbon would be the first in seven years. Plans for an
EU-Africa summit in 2003 were put on hold after Britain and other EU states
refused to attend if Mr Mugabe did. They accuse him of rights abuses.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said last week it would be inappropriate
for him to attend if Mr Mugabe were present because the Zimbabwean leader
would divert attention from important aspects of the agenda.

But leaders of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) have warned the summit could be scuttled if the Zimbabwean
leader is not invited.

The Mozambican foreign affairs minister, Alcide Abreu, said her government
agreed that Mr Mugabe must be invited. "We support the position taken by the
leadership of these bodies [SADC and AU]," she said.

"The SADC position is that of non-participation if one of the region's
leaders, namely president Robert Mugabe, is not invited," said an SADC
spokeswoman, Leefa Martin.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook Oct 2007 to Mar 2008

Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET)

Date: 25 Sep 2007

Executive summary

- Food security has deteriorated in most of the country, particularly in the
southern and western areas worst affected by drought during the 2006/07
agricultural season (Figure 1). In addition to drought, hyperinflation,
price controls, fuel shortages, and economic collapse underlie Zimbabwe's
worsening food crisis.

- Over the next six months, the most likely food security scenario is a
worsening of the crisis, affecting increasing numbers of people through the
hunger season (October 2007 to March 2008). But, the combination of
government imports, international food aid and a normal 2008 agricultural
season will likely mitigate the worst consequences of the crisis, preventing
widespread starvation.

- However, if the government is unable to address the national food deficit
and food aid deliveries are limited, a worst case scenario with more
widespread and extreme food insecurity, affecting a large proportion of
rural and urban populations of the country will quickly emerge.

Current food security situation

A combination of drought, lack of irrigation, seeds and other inputs, spare
parts for machinery and fuel resulted in an inadequate and poor harvest from
the main 2006/07 agricultural season. This harvest provided only 45 percent
of Zimbabwe¡¯s cereal needs, leaving the country with an import requirement
of over 610,000 MT. Every province in the country is expected to face a
cereal deficit this year. The worst-affected provinces are the traditionally
grain-deficit provinces of Matabeleland and Masvingo ¨C both hard hit by
drought. Most households in these areas have run out of their own food
stocks and are already reliant on inadequate and erratic maize supplies
through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the government parastatal with a
monopoly on maize sales and distribution.

The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ), as well as humanitarian organizations are
making efforts to close this cereal gap. A contract of 400,000 metric tons
(MT) of maize has been secured with the Government of Malawi. About 29
percent of this had been delivered by late August 2007. Humanitarian
organizations also plan to import 352,000 MT of food. While so far only six
percent of this humanitarian food aid has been delivered, the bulk of it is
expected to arrive between September and December 2007. With these food
delivery mechanisms, the country still faces a cereal gap of 111,135 MT,
which, given the GoZ¡¯s past performance, is likely to be filled ¨C
especially since there are elections in early 2008.

Hyperinflation continues to erode the purchasing power of most households in
urban and rural areas, putting food prices out of reach for most households.
In April 2007, inflation stood at over 3,700 percent; by the end of June
2007 it was about 7,250 percent and in July it had reached 7,630 percent.
Economists predict that the rate of inflation will continue to rise for the
rest of the year.

Until July 2007, maize grain prices on the open market and in
farmer']to']farmer transactions increased gradually, but in July maize
prices shot up because of increased demand and diminished supply. In August
2007, the highest maize prices were recorded in Matebeland, Masvingo and
Manicaland provinces, where supplies of maize were most limited.

Urban populations continue to face higher prices than rural populations.
Unlike Harare, which is in close proximity to surplus supply areas, the
cities of Bulawayo, Hwange, Kariba and Tsholosho recorded dramatic increases
in open market maize grain prices between June and August 2007. Maize prices
rose by between 20 and 33 times during this period in these urban areas,
compared to a national average maize price increase of just 8 percent.

In an attempt to slow inflation, the GoZ implemented price controls on an
array of basic commodities in June 2007. The result was a dramatic decline
in food availability and access, particularly in urban areas. Prior to the
price controls, most basic goods, including maize meal, were available on
formal and parallel markets, albeit at exorbitant and rapidly rising prices.
Since the implementation of the June price controls, however, markets
throughout the country have experienced serious shortages of basic
commodities, including bread, maize meal, cooking oil, rice, beef, chicken
and milk. These shortages have been most profound in urban markets, where
sporadic deliveries of basic goods are met with long lines, and not everyone
makes it into stores before stocks run out.

Price controls have significantly reduced, and, in some cases, wiped out
profit margins for producers of the controlled products, making these
enterprises nonviable. While the GoZ made some upward revisions of
controlled prices in August 2007, these revisions have not increased
supplies of the targeted commodities.

Shortages of basic commodities are having the biggest impact on the poor,
who, because of their limited purchasing power, are forced to make frequent
purchases of smaller amounts of food, and are not able to buy in bulk when
commodities become available. While basic goods can still be found on the
parallel markets at a substantially higher cost, these markets are
constantly disrupted by more frequent police raids. Not only is the food
crisis in urban areas one of access, it has now become an availability
crisis as well.

Protracted economic decline has taken its toll on the country'fs
infrastructure. The national road network continues to deteriorate. Water
and electricity supply cuts are increasingly frequent, with some sections of
major cities like Harare and Bulawayo going for more than one week without
electricity or water.

Consequently, the use of wood for fuel and untreated water collected from
makeshift wells has increased. Issues such as uncollected refuse, burst
sewage pipes and untreated sewage flowing in the open in densely populated
residential areas are increasingly common in all the major urban areas of
Zimbabwe. As a result, the risk of serious health epidemics is increasing to
alarming levels.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Batch of 1 000t Wheat Arrives

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

25 September 2007
Posted to the web 25 September 2007


AT least 1 000 tonnes of wheat, the first consignment of the 36 000 tonnes
that was being held in Mozambique, has arrived in Zimbabwe after Government
secured foreign currency to pay the supplier.

This arrival of the wheat is expected to significantly improve supplies and
ease shortages of bread and confectionery.

Chairman of the National Taskforce on Food Procurement and Distribution and
Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Cde Didymus Mutasa yesterday
said the wheat had arrived in the country.

"I confirm that the first batch of 1 000 tonnes has arrived at the Grain
Marketing Board Grain silos and we are expecting more deliveries soon," Cde
Mutasa said.

Cde Mutasa said GMB should today start distributing the wheat to millers
across the country.

"We expect the GMB to start distributing the wheat so that milling starts as
soon as possible to ease bread shortages," said Cde Mutasa.

National Railways of Zimbabwe -- which is transporting the grain -- 
confirmed the arrival of the consignment, adding that it would play its part
by expediting the transportation of the wheat to ease bread shortages.

"I confirm that we are transporting the wheat from Mozambique to GMB grain
silos in Chegutu. So far we have moved at least 1 000 tonnes," NRZ public
relations manager Mr Fanuel Masikati said.

The 36 000 tonnes of wheat have been held in Beira, Mozambique, while the
international grain supplier awaited payment.

Zimbabwe is presently facing foreign currency shortages owing to the illegal
economic sanctions imposed by the West that have seen lines of credit and
balance of payment support being cut off.

Wheat shortages had forced some of the major bakeries such as Lobel's Bread,
Bakers Inn and Marondera-based Proton Bakers to scale down operations,
worsening bread shortages in the process.

A Lobel's Bread official yesterday said they were expecting deliveries by
tomorrow in line with promises by Government.

"We are expecting deliveries by Wednesday. So call on Wednesday we will give
you an update," Lobel's operations manager Mr Lemmy Chikomo said.

Zimbabwe consumes at least 400 000 tonnes of wheat annually but yields have
been declining in recent years, forcing Government to import the bulk of the
wheat to meet national requirements.

Government last week increased the producer price of wheat from $217 933 to
$42 million per tonne as it seeks to bring back viability to wheat

The new price will be effected on all deliveries beginning this marketing
season, which begins in October.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The cruel irony that is Mugabe

Jamaica Observer


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks, people listen. For, aside from being
the 1984 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he is widely regarded, and
respected, as the moral conscience of South Africa, a country that for
decades subjected the majority of its people to apartheid, one of the most
dehumanising systems of government.

Archbishop Tutu, given his respect for the right
of individuals to choice and free speech, as well as his unwavering belief
that every human being is born equal, played a pivotal role in the anti-
apartheid struggle.

His was one of the unyielding voices challenging the evil regime, eventually
forcing White Pretoria to dismantle its repressive policy of racial

Of course, Archbishop Tutu and his countrymen, particularly those who formed
the African National Congress, who waged this unrelenting battle against
apartheid, received considerable help from the international community,
which maintained sanctions against South Africa, even in the face of strong
opposition from the United States and Britain.

We raise the archbishop's antecedents in the context of his call last week
for Britain to toughen its stance against President Robert Mugabe who,
through his despotic rule of Zimbabwe, has plunged that country into its
worst humanitarian, political and economic crisis ever.

"Quiet diplomacy", Archbishop Tutu quite rightly told Britain's ITV
television network in an interview, has failed to bring an end to the misery
President Mugabe has brought to his very own people.

The archbishop was very critical of his own president, Mr Thabo Mbeki, and
other African leaders who have used this 'soft diplomacy' as an excuse for
their vacillation on the question of Zimbabwe.

For the truth is that President Mbeki and his counterparts have stood by and
allowed Mr Mugabe to abuse Zimbabweans' human rights, crackdown
on dissent and run the Zimbabwean economy into
the ground.

Last week, an Associated Press story informed us that the International
Crisis Group, an organisation based in Brussels, reported that Zimbabwe "is
closer than ever to complete collapse" as four out of five
of Zimbabwe's 12 million people live below the poverty line.
Inflation, which in July was estimated at 7,600 per cent, has been projected
to hit 100,000 per cent by the end of this year, according to the
International Monetary Fund.

Add to that huge power and fuel shortages, Government-introduced price
controls that have done nothing more than leave supermarket shelves empty
and an exchange rate of 30,000 Zimbabwean dollars to one US dollar and one
gets a picture of the hardship that the Mugabe administration has brought on
this country.

The cruel irony is that during the iniquitous rule of the racist Ian Smith
Government over the then Rhodesia, Mr Mugabe was a champion of the very
freedoms that he now represses with an iron fist.

We in Jamaica feel betrayed by Mr Mugabe, as this country was vocal in its
support of what he and his freedom fighters stood for, so much so that our
very own Bob Marley was invited to perform at Zimbabwe's Independence

Last month, we commented on Caricom's timidity to speak out against what is
happening in Zimbabwe. Since then, we still have not heard a single word on
this issue from the region.

It is important, we believe, that Caricom takes
a leaf out of Archbishop Tutu's book and clearly states its position on
Zimbabwe before the Caribbean/African Union summit scheduled for South
Africa next month.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe calls off Bulawayo visit over security fears

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/25/2007 19:40:22
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe last Tuesday cancelled a scheduled
official visit to Bulawayo, the country's second largest city, due to
"security reasons", Zanu PF and intelligence sources confirmed.

He was scheduled to officially open a small to medium scale enterprise
development centre along George Silundika Street, between Sixth and Leopold
Takawira Avenues, on Wednesday morning.

Two big tents were pitched along G. Silundika Street on Monday and Tuesday,
and the roads in adjacent avenues were closed to traffic for the two days.

Sources said an instruction came at about 7pm on Tuesday that the event had
been cancelled, but could not be relayed to all stakeholders on time,
in some of them making it to the venue on Wednesday morning.

Others proceeded to the airport to "welcome" the President, only to be told
that he was no longer coming.

A high ranking Zanu PF official in Bulawwayo said the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) had ordered the event to be cancelled over security
issues which they did not disclose.,

"We don't know really what those security issues are," the official told The
New Zimbabwe.

A security source said the "safety of the President could not be guaranteed",
but would not say more.

There are reports that there were plans by a faction of the feuding Zanu PF
executive in Bulawayo province to demonstrate against Mugabe over his
alleged "soft spot" for Jabulani Sibanda, the controversial leader of the
war veterans who was expelled from the party but now seems to have been
given a prominent role by the 84-year-old leader to drum up support for his
re-election next year.

Another Zanu PF official said: "Some people planned to demonstrate against
that. If that failed, they planned to cause drama at the President's
pre-event briefing by speaking up against the President's co-operation with

The source added that the mood in the party over the Sibanda issue was so
tense that the Zanu PF old guard in Matabeleland is saying Mugabe must
choose between them and Sibanda.

"The CIO sensed that the President could find himself in an embarrassing
situation and advised him not to come."

Sibanda was expelled from the party for his involvement in the infamous
so-called 'Tsholotsho Declaration' where a group of politicians aligned to
Emmerson Mnangagwa were accused of plotting a "smart coup" to remove some
top leaders at the party's December 2004 conference.

Sibanda is now back in Mugabe's favour, and recently led pro-Mugabe
demonstrations by war veterans in Harare.

Analysts say Mugabe has patched up his differences with the Mnangagwa camp
to shield him from another faction led by Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Several cabinet ministers and other high ranking government officials had
already arrived in Bulawayo from Harare for the event.

Police officers had spent most of the previous week rehearsing traffic
control at intersections all the way from the airport to town, while
security agents also perfected their operations.

The exhibition centre is housed on the first floor of a building which used
to be owned by Geddes Ltd, a division of pharmaceutical giant CAPS Holdings.
The company has scaled down operations in the city.

The centre accommodates 60 back-yard companies who manufacture an assortment
of items such as clothing, bed linen, furniture, washing detergents,
crochet, curios, among others.

It is the brainchild of Sithembiso Nyoni, the Minister responsible for SMEs.
It has been operating for about three months.

"We were all happy that the President would officially open the centre. That
would give the centre publicity and attract customers. Right now we are
because people don't know about the centre," said an operator interviewed on

Sources said Mugabe also cancelled the opening of a national SMEs expo in
Harare, which was supposed to be done on Thursday.

"The idea was that he was supposed to open the Bulawayo one and then proceed
to open the Harare one. We are told he is going to do the ceremonies in the
near future," said a source.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Iran, Zimbabwe review expansion of ties

Islamic Republic News Agency

UN Headquarters, New York, Sept 25, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert
Mugabe here on Monday reviewed avenues to bolster all-out bilateral

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 62nd session of the United
Nations General Assembly.

Underlining the need for unity of the developing states against the US and
British neocolonialism, he called for further activiation of various groups
such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Group 15 and Group 77 in order to
develop the United Nations.

The Iranian president further appreciated the active presence of Zimbabwe in
the NAM Ministerial Meeting on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity held in
Tehran early September.

For his part, President Mugabe, criticized the unilateralist approach and
misuse of the UN Security Council by the bullying powers, and urged the
developing states to confront such approaches by the big powers.

The two presidents underscored the need for formation of a joint economic

Ahmadinejad, heading a high-ranking delegation, arrived in New York on
Monday to take part in the UN General Assembly session.

During his stay in New York, the president is scheduled to address the
assembly and hold talks with the UN secretary general as well as presidents
and senior officials of several countries on the sidelines of the UN

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Statement of James D. McGee

Ambassador-Designate to the Republic of Zimbabwe
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee:

It is an honor and a privilege for me to appear before you today as
President Bush's nominee to be Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe. I
appreciate the confidence that the President and Secretary Rice have in me
by putting my name forward for your consideration. If confirmed, I look
forward to working with the administration, this Committee, and the Congress
in advancing U.S. interests and in helping our efforts to put Zimbabwe back
on the path of democracy and economic prosperity.

Although Zimbabwe once enjoyed a sound economy and vibrant democratic
institutions, the country today is suffering under authoritarian misrule.
The Government continues to commit unspeakable human rights abuses while
enforcing policies that have produced economic collapse, food shortages, and
the destruction of once strong judicial, financial, health and educational
institutions. Regional stability is threatened as the people of Zimbabwe
flee their rapidly disintegrating country to neighboring countries. If
confirmed, I would continue our government's efforts in assisting the people
of Zimbabwe in their pursuit of a democratically elected government that
respects human rights and the rule of law. Such a government could promote
the welfare of its people by implementing the economic reforms needed to
bring prosperity to Zimbabwe and contribute to regional growth and

In undertaking this assignment, I would call on my years of experience in
Africa and elsewhere, representing the United States and working to promote
democratic values. During my 26 years in the Foreign Service, I have served
as Ambassador to Swaziland, Madagascar, and the Comoros. In these and other
assignments, I sought to strengthen our bilateral relations while advancing
U.S. interests by pressing for democratic reforms. I worked closely with
pro-democracy civil society organizations in Swaziland to help write and
eventually enact the first constitution that country had seen in over thirty
years. In Madagascar, I helped the country to prepare for and implement
successfully free and fair elections following the election crisis of 2001.
I would work diligently to strengthen pro-democracy organizations in
Zimbabwe. I strongly believe that there is a deep reservoir of democratic
knowledge, capacity, and desire in Zimbabwe that needs continuing support to
challenge the government to enact democratic reforms and to keep hope alive
that change is possible.

Mr. Chairman, it must be stated that while the prospects for democratic
transformation in Zimbabwe are very challenging, we remain strongly
committed to facilitating peaceful change. Our goal must be that the
presidential and parliamentary elections take place as scheduled for next
year and meet international standards. However, unless the Government of
Zimbabwe quickly establishes conditions for a free and fair election and
rigorously implements a level playing field, the presidential and
parliamentary elections scheduled for next year will not reflect the will of
the Zimbabwean people. It is imperative that there be a substantial period
of time for all candidates to campaign on a level playing field.

Still, we must continue our efforts. Abandoning the people of Zimbabwe to
the worst effects of their government's misrule is not in America's
interests. Returning Zimbabwe to a democratic state with a strong economy is
necessary to promote regional stability and economic growth. Therefore, we
must use the tools at our disposal to achieve the results we seek. The
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and our targeted sanctions
program have increased the pressure on those individuals that have
undermined democracy and prosperity. We are working with like-minded members
of the international community to increase this pressure. We must continue
to lend our support to regional efforts to pressure the Government of
Zimbabwe to enact needed reforms. The United States strongly supports the
Southern African Development Community's (SADC) initiative to resolve the
political and economic crisis, but the Government of Zimbabwe continues its
repression and intimidation of civil society, religious organizations,
businesspeople, and political groups. It is essential now more than ever for
the United States to continue its support for civil society and
pro-democratic elements in Zimbabwe. We need to play a major role in
ensuring that these organizations survive the current repression to
participate in Zimbabwe's eventual recovery.

We must also continue our humanitarian assistance to the Zimbabwean people
and ensure that it reaches the people in need. In fiscal year 2007, United
States food aid amounted to over $170 million. Today the United States is
helping to feed nearly one-in-five Zimbabweans. Non-food aid humanitarian
assistance is approximately $5.1 million, and HIV/AIDS programs were
increased to $31 million in fiscal year 2007. This funding is helping to
deliver anti-retroviral treatment to 40,000 Zimbabweans. These actions
demonstrate the generosity and compassion of the American people.

Resolution of Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis would stem the flow
of migrants seeking a better life outside Zimbabwe. It would restore
Zimbabwe's contribution to regional economic growth and enable the country
to feed itself, rather than depending on international handouts. With a
democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe, SADC could be a stronger instrument of
regional economic development, providing opportunities for African growth
and for U.S. private investment.

Zimbabwe is at an increasingly difficult point in its history. I welcome the
opportunity to take on the challenges that will be faced by the next U.S.
ambassador to Zimbabwe. If confirmed, I will do my best to protect Americans
and American interests while working to help the people of Zimbabwe restore
their country to a democratic and prosperous member of the international
community. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I thank you for this
opportunity to appear before you today. I am happy to answer any questions
you might have.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Genocide in Zimbabwe?

The Zimbabwean

A trip to the rural areas in Mashonaland East last week was yet another
shocking reality check on the human suffering caused by One Man and His
Party. I saw so many thin people with dull eyes and dull skins, children not
in school because there is no money for fees.... and so their suffering

I would like to draw attention to two articles in the Genocide Convention -
Zimbabwe is a signatory to this Convention!  My comments are in brackets.
There are two salient articles in the Convention:

Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following
acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

Killing members of the group; (over 300 MDC members murdered since 1999)
causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (it is
estimated that approx. 70% of Zimbabweans are acutely stressed)
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (Gukuruhundi Genocide
Matabeleland 1982 over 25,000 people brutally tortured and murdered;
Operation Murambatsvina where over 700,000 peoples homes were raised to the
ground; the mass evictions of farmers and their employees)
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (forcing young
people - some as young as 15 - into Militia camps for training in violence
and torture).
  Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:

Conspiracy to commit genocide; (Zanu PF Minister Didymus Mutasa's infamous
quote that "we would be better off without those 6 million people who don't
support the party".
Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (Pres Mugabe "go out and
bash them" the oppostion, students, unions)
Attempt to commit genocide;
Complicity in genocide.
  The following are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to
destroy a group's existence:

Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing
Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members
of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or
coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.
Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group
includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group's
physical survival , such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical
Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation
of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation
or expulsion into deserts.
Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion,
prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended
to prevent procreation.
Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by through
fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other
methods of coercion .  The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines
children as persons under the age of 14 years.
 It is must be noted that only the "prevention of births..." second last
bullet point has not applied in Zimbabwe.  ALL THE OTHERS HAVE, AND ARE

So why may I ask, is SADC, especially South Africa, as well as the rest of
the supposedly civilised world, standing back while this is taking place?
Where is the black brother/sisterhood?  Does it only apply President to
President?  Does it matter not that a conservatively estimated 3500
Zimbabweans are dying every week, HIV and starvation.

I sincerely hope that the current UN Secretary General will not have to make
the same apology, to Zimbabweans, as his predecessor did over the Ruwanda
Genocide. Perhaps the apology could be made now, as the Genocide in Zimbabwe
is an ongoing exercise.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dry Bulawayo hit by diarrhoea outbreak

By Henry Makiwa
25 September 2007

Bulawayo's water crisis has continued to worsen following revelations
Tuesday that Zimbabwe's second largest city has been hit by a diarrhoea

New figures released by Bulawayo's authorities indicate that the city has
recorded 431 diarrhoea cases since the beginning of this month, up from 350
diarrhoea and two dysentery cases in August. The outbreak has been
attributed to the acute water shortages that are aggravating the health
problems of the city's 1.5 million residents.

Bulawayo Mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, insisted Tuesday that the council is
making "every effort" to ensure those who have contracted diarrhoea receive
treatment, and he took a swipe at government for neglecting the city.

Ndabeni-Ncube said: "We are hoping to avoid cholera because its difficult to
control, but as of now we are doing everything to contain the diarrhoea
cases. The situation is critical and as water levels deteriorate, residents
will be getting water once in every eleven days, and we expect that to
happen as from the beginning of October.

"The main bone of contention between us and government is that they want to
impose ZINWA (the Zimbabwe National Water Authority - to run the city water
management system) on us but we refuse. Our people have worked hard to earn
and own the city's water management system and it is also the source of 40 %
of council's revenue, so we can't give it up. Government will not assist us
in any way, they don't give us any grants, let alone loans, so we will
rather go it alone," he said.

Stringent water rationing has been introduced in a bid to make the contents
of the fast-dwindling dams last until the onset of the expected rains in
November, but the council acknowledges that the poor inflows of water into
the southern city's reservoirs has led to an increase in waterborne

The city's authorities announced in the state-run Chronicle newspaper
Tuesday that they have cut the bowser water supply to schools from
4 000 litres per day to 1 000 litres, citing "abuse of the facility by some
learning institutions".

This comes as the water shortage continues to worsen with some suburbs going
for up to three weeks without running water.
Some residents are resorting to fetching water from unprotected sources,
hence the diarrhoea outbreak that has hit Bulawayo.

Residents in the city have been extremely tolerant in dealing with the
crisis. One resident reported how a bowser had gone to be refilled and the
people had gone away, but left a one kilometre line of colourful buckets
snaking across a dusty playing field, waiting for the bowsers return.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NCA's brief demonstration takes police by surprise

By Henry Makiwa
25 September 2007

Members of the National Constitution Assembly (NCA) caught the police by
surprise in Harare late Tuesday evening when they demonstrated in Zimbabwe's
capital, Harare.

At least 200 activists of the civil society organisation that is calling for
a new "people-driven" constitution made a brief but marked appearance in
central Harare before the police dispersed them. The sloganeering group
denounced both the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC for
"conniving to patch up" the constitution following last week's endorsement
by parliament to amend, Amendment 18.

One activist who refused to be named described how the police were caught
napping when they converged on the capital.

She said: "We marched for not more than 100 metres, chanting slogans and
singing while distributing leaflets with our messages, before the police
started showing up.

"Knowing what they are capable of inflicting on us if arrested, we had a
strategy of quickly dispersing and that is exactly what we did. The most
important thing is that we had aired our views and sent the message across.
We do not want this patched up constitution, we need a whole new one," the
activist said.

The NCA last week officially cut ties with the MDC, accusing it of "selling
out" and "abandoning the principle of a people-driven constitution" after
the opposition endorsed an amendment of the contentious Amendment 18.

The amendment, once turned into law by Robert Mugabe's signature, will give
Mugabe powers to appoint a successor and boost parliamentary seats.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NCA to continue fighting for a new constitution

The Zimbabwean

Staff reporter

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) coordinator - South Africa Office
last Thursday called all progressive civic society movements in South Africa
to express their dissatisfaction over the recently passed 18th amendment Act
as it Zimbabweans in the constitutional making process.

Addressing over 400 demonstrators at the Zimbabwe consulate in Johannesburg,
Tapera Kapuya said the NCA remained resolute on its opposition to the
constitutional amendment on the basis of principle and morals.

"We as the NCA oppose the ammendment of the constitution as it directly
descriminates the entire Zimbabwe populace on participating in the
constitutional making process.

"The NCA opposes the move taken by the Movement for Democratic Change to
back an immoral way of writing the country's constitution," said Kapuya to a
rapturous applause from the protestors.

Kapuya said in order for Zimbabwe to have democracy they was an urgent need
of having a home grown constitution that would see every Zimbabwean
participating in its making process.

NCA national spokesperson, Maddock Chivasa who also addressed the gathering
said it was only through a people driven constitution that would see
Zimbabweans having free and fair elections.

"Its sad to note the MDC has endorsed the 18th Amendment Bill as this will
see next year's elections being not free and fair as the new Act gives more
room to Zanu PF to entrench its power,"said Chivasa.

Zimbabwe is holding presidential, parliamentary and council elections in
March 2008.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Amendment 18 - The Great Betrayal

25th Sep 2007 15:21 GMT

By Socialist Worker

HARARE - For the first or second time, at least known publicly, the two main
political parties agreed on constitutional amendments supposedly meant to
resolve the crisis in the country. The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
Bill, No 18 was unanimously
passed by, "amid thunderous applause from both Zanu -PF and
MDC legislators."

The Bill harmonises presidential, parliamentary and local authority
elections next year to be done in one day, increases the number of MPs and a
few other cosmetic changes.

111 MPs voted for the Bill and none voted against. Speakers
from ZANU PF and MDC spoke vociferously, applauding the coming together of
the enemies for a decade. The ZANU PF chief Whip Joram Gumbo had this to
say, "We from this side of the House want to say the chickens have come home
to roost. We realise now that we are
Zimbabweans. We, as Zimbabweans, are able to come together
and solve our issues."

The MDC (Tsvangirai) deputy president, Thoko Khupe stated:
"We supported the Bill because we do not want to see Zimbabwe
burning.. It does not mean we have abandoned our demand for a new
people-driven Constitution. It is our understanding that this will be
delivered in due course."

Welshman Ncube, of the MDC (Mutambara) was even more forthright .
"Zimbabweans are faced with a national crisis. We may differ, but we agree
there is a crisis. Some where along the way we lost each other. This is our
attempt to find each other."

Another opposition leader stated - "Today is the beginning of a
historic moment in this house....We are in the process of making
history and finding solutions to the crisis."

Quiet stunning from viciously warring parties in the last few years,
including in the opposition. Tuesday the 18th of September was
the outcome of the secret ongoing Mbeki talks between the two MDC's and ZANU
PF led by Chinamasa and Goche for ZANU PF and Tendai Biti and Welshmen Ncube
for the two MDC's.

"Treachery" - varombo kuvarombo vapfumi kuvapfumi.

This deal is not for the poor and oppressed who have bravely withstood the
hard times we have been going through and have been the necessary fuel to
the existence of the MDC. Now the last decade of inspiring work by labour,
civic society and social movements has been sacrificed by leaders only
interested in getting into power and accumulating wealth. Indeed on that
Tuesday 18 September 2007, while 'they' took Zimbabwe through this 'historic
moment', labour and students activists were in police cells over the ZCTU
stayaway. Truly the moment was historic.

A turn in the direction of where the struggle for liberation is going.
Yesterday showed us that "varombo kuvarombo, vafumi kuvafumi," must now be
the slogan of the day and that the opposition leaders have accepted Mugabe's
invitation at the tractor feast that "Nyaya yekudya inyaya yedu tose . kana
toita politics tinenge taguta." The ideological mist that masked a false
unity of purpose in the opposition forces has now been blown away.

Virtually all key civic society groups and the ZCTU have rightly
denounced it. Arnold Tsunga, the chairman of Crisis Zimbabwe
Coalition and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director said - "We think
the MDC has sold out, and it will be very difficulty to work with them in
future, taking into perspective the minor adjustment they and ZANU PF have
agreed to."

Lovemore Madhuku and the NCA were even more blistering in
their attack: We are disgusted by the MDC. I don't see myself sitting under
the same tent with both Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara discussing
the future of this country. We are severing ties with the MDC over their
going into bed with ZANU PF... The MDC's decision to abandon the principle
of a people driven Constitution and opting for a process driven by political
parties in Parliament is an act of treachery."

The NCA gave other reasons to reject the deal, including that: (1)
it allows Mugabe to appoint his own successor through Parliament,
instead of there being elections; (2) the size of parliament has been
massively increased beyond the capacity of the country and economy, from 150
to 210 MPs and Senate from 66 to 93 - all these will be given brand new 4 x
4 double cabs! (3) it does not provide Zimbabweans in the Diaspora with the
right to vote as in other SADC countries; (4) the appointment of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission remains under the control of Mugabe, who also
retains his massive executive presidency powers and control of the state,
courts, security arms and media; (5) the Bill of Rights remains the same not
guaranteeing the rights of workers, the poor and oppressed or effective
freedoms of movement, association and expression. There can be no free and
fair elections under such conditions yet the MDC did not even bother to
consult its members and civic society before agreeing only consulting the
British Ambassador!!

(6) All elections are being reduced to one day , which is impossible
logistically. As some have already commented, this is a sick deal in
which the MDC has got even less than Muzorewa got from Smith!
Like Smith, Mugabe is today in a tight corner as the economy collapses, and
instead of escalating resistance with other forces as
the Patriotic Front did in 1978, the MDC is giving the Mugabe regime a
life-saving boat!

Reasons behind Betrayal
However, progressive Social Movements, Labour and Civil Society,
must celebrate this event as a refreshing moment which has vindicated a
whole decade of ideological analysis of how to deal with the Mugabe
dictatorship. Since at least 2001, we in the ISO have warned about how the
opposition MDC has been hijacked by elitist capitalist forces and the need
to construct an autonomous alternative anti-neoliberal united front to carry
on the struggle, with the MDC, but independent of it if need be.

We argued - "Thus any strategy of fighting the dictatorship based on a
movement dominated or controlled by the MDC will remain prisoner to the
glaring ideological and strategic confusion it has shown since 2000 and is
bound to fail. its primary preoccupation is towards reaching a sell -out
settlement with the Zanu PF dictatorship that will not benefit the poor and
working people. The possibility of
an elite political settlement between the ruling party and opposition
around a western supported full neo-liberal programme is thus real. This
will be centred around the neo-liberal economic turnaround
programme of ESAP 2 that has been spearheaded by Gono since 2003. The drive
towards a settlement is driven by several factors including the ruling
classes' fear of an economic-social implosion because of the worsening
economic crisis with unforeseeable political implications, and the fact that
both parties are now dominated by elites who subscribe to neoliberalism and
are exhausted and fearful of the crisis of the last decade.. (ZANU PF)
elites now want the peace to grow and launder the wealth acquired in the
last decade but cannot do so in the context of a crisis ridden state under
siege from the west.

But to ensure that Zanu PF elites do not relapse as they did in 1997, the
forces of global neo-liberalism demand a political guarantee in the form of
co-option in government of their trusted agents in Zimbabwe, the MDC and
(the exit of Mugabe). On the other hand, the opposition is dominated by the
petite bourgeois elite, who long ago prostrated themselves before western
neoliberal political and economic forces and are now eager to get into state
power, even as junior partners, and accumulate property as a neo-colonial
dependent capitalist class"

It is such elitist settlement to pre-empt social-revolution, that the
Mbeki Talks and Const Amendment 18 are designed to achieve
supported by Mbeki and the west, with, as Mukundu of MISA aptly puts it -
Tsvangirai likely to be "the unwilling sacrificial lamb, sacrificed at the
altar of quiet diplomacy and the quest for power by those inside his
'cabinet," and as a price for Mugabe to agree to retire - a price not only
the opportunist elites in MDC will be willing to pay but also the west, who
have always seen Tsvangirai as naïve and dispensable. The West's interests
in Zimbabwe may be summarised simply - Re-launch of the Free Market
dictatorship in Zimbabwe.

The West would want to be vindicated that the SAP's under the IMF work but
were mismanaged in Zimbabwe, besides banishing forever the "bad precedent"
set by Mugabe on the land question. Mbeki wants to ensure that Tsvangirai
does not set an example for COSATU/SACP to follow as Chiluba did in Zambia.
So they will be prepared to ooze from all their financial tanks into the
"New Zimbabwe" as soon as the new deal succeeds. SAP's have had a history of
dismal failure and in the Latin Americas they have been shoved off by
resurgent anti-neoliberal forces. It will only be wise to sanctify them with
a Zimbabwe renewed and reengaged.

This explains the ICG, EU and McKinnons of the Commonwealth now wanting
dialogue with Mugabe.

Working People Convention and Jambanja now!
But the elites in power and in opposition may not have it all their way. Now
that the talks have been lubricated by the Number 18 Amendment, and vice
versa, the driving seat seems to have been secured. But the major question
remains the destination. Number 18 represents a political crisis and storm
coming down. This is however still veiled by an unpredictable Mugabe
trajectory, momentarily shrouded in speculation. It remains to be seen how
Mugabe will manage his political campaign for the coming elections. The
economic crisis that has threatened Mugabe's political power is still
pending. Price hikes may be well on their way back to madness. So the
economic crisis resolution is yet to be propounded. Neither is it all clear
in MDC (Tsvangirai). There are stirrings of serious opposition, with reports
that the youths, the women section, key provinces like Harare and Bulawayo,
the Diaspora and other radicals are opposing the sell - out deal, with
support coming mainly from the self-seeking MPs. Indeed over the week-end,
Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba, had revealed such stirrings and
predicted that whilst the MDC (Mutambara) executive would easily support the
deal, it was
going to face stiff and insurmountable resistance in the Tsvangirai
one, sending Biti into oblivion.

The above provides a historic moment for the progressives in labour, civic
society, revolutionary socialists and MDC radicals to reclaim the
initiative, smash this sell -out neoliberal elitist deal and re-launch the
struggle to smash the dictatorship and the attempts at accelerating ESAP.
These forces must urgently convene a 2nd Working People's Convention which
will discuss the treacherous Mbeki Talks and Amendment 18 and the way
forward. Central will be that harmonised elections be done in 2008 but only
under a democratic, people driven and anti-ESAP constitution. If the regime
rejects this, then the struggle must be shifted to all out mass action -
jambanja or civil disobedience in which there is no co-operation whatsoever
with the regime but a determined struggle to throw it out as has happened

The ZCTU has already started the ball rolling, but to succeed we need united
action of labour and civic society. Like Smith in 1978, the regime is
nowcornered, which is why its making concessions. History teaches us that
success is possible. For instance the March 1961 Zhii -Zhanda strikes forced
Nkomo to abandon the sell -out constitutional deal he had made with the
British giving blacks 15 out of 65 parliamentary seats. In 1978, after ZANU
refused to accept the Internal Settlement deal, Nkomo also withdrew from
any further deals with the Smith- Muzorewa regime and opted for continuing
with the struggle under the Patriotic Front. In 2005 Tsvangirai gave in to
pressure not to go into the Senate elections.

The same can happen today if we are resolute!
Jambanja Ndizvo!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New threat to Zim economy

Mail and Guardian

Mail & Guardian reporter

24 September 2007 06:00

      Zimbabwean businesses have warned Robert Mugabe's government
that legislation allowing for the seizure of foreign-owned companies will
have dire consequences on an economy that already is ravaged by crisis.

      Anxiety is rising after the government moved closer to passing
the law with a second reading of the Bill in Parliament this week. Business
leaders, desperate to stop the Bill, have warned government to concentrate
on economic recovery, instead of pressing for expropriation of foreign

      Foreign investment in Zimbabwe would plunge by up to 30% upon
enactment of the Bill, while the economy -- which has shrunk 50% since
2000 -- will face further ruin, they said.

      Two of the largest foreign-owned banks, Standard Chartered and
Stanbic, have warned that they could be forced to withdraw from the country
if they lose their majority stakes.

       "Removal of the possibility to hold a controlling interest might
make it difficult for existing companies or potential new investors being
able to justify their continued interest in the country," Standard Chartered
said in a report prepared for three parliamentary committees examining the

      Standard Bank, which has announced a plan to sell up to 30% of
its business in Zimbabwe to black staff members, said foreign banks would
not allow the use of their corporate identities by businesses in which they
no longer held majority control.

       "International banks who see their shareholding cut to 49% would
refuse to allow the new entity to use their brand name and other
intellectual property belonging to the international group, requiring that
the new bank develops its own brand identity, which would not be immediately
recognisable to the outside world," Stanbic warned in its own submission.

       "Acquisition of equity in foreign-owned entities, without
sufficient funding, has the danger of being seen negatively as

      Seizing 51% of foreign assets in Zimbabwe "would make our
country relatively less attractive to foreign investors when compared with
countries with significantly lower thresholds", Standard Bank said.

      Foreign banks have provided much of the support for agriculture
and their withdrawal would further weaken what was once the mainstay of
Zimbabwe's economy. Barclays and MBCA, which is owned by Nedbank, are the
two other major ­foreign-owned banks in Zimbabwe.

      Jack Murehwa, president of the Chamber of Mines, said the
proposed legislation was vague on how government intended to treat existing
agreements and would further weaken Zimbabwe's international standing.

      "Zimbabwe is now seen as a high-risk destination because of
uncertainty over security of tenure and lack of confidence in the rule of
law," he said.

      Mugabe has been increasing his control of the economy in recent
months, ordering price cuts and threatening the takeover of private
businesses, which he accuses of undermining his rule. His policies have
worsened the crisis and raised tension.

      This week government cheered official data showing that
inflation had dropped to 6 592% from 7 600% in July. But the figure is still
the highest in the world and critics point out that real inflation is
probably much higher.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Army urged to defend Zim's sovereignty

From The Herald, 25 September

Herald Reporter

The army must use the two options it has to defend the sovereignty and
independence of Zimbabwe - the ballot box and the gun should it be
necessary, a senior officer has said. Speaking at a graduation ceremony for
47 soldiers who completed a sergeant's platoon course at 22 Infantry
Battalion in Mudzi District last Friday, Commander of the Mechanised Brigade
in Inkomo, Brigadier General David Sigauke said the army's core business was
to defend to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zimbabwe. He said
the army does not only attach importance to monetary gains but had added
responsibilities and there was need for them to discharge their duties
diligently. Brig Gen Sigauke said this calls for selfless, loyal, dedicated
and principled soldiers. "It therefore remains our duty to defend our
rightful heritage. As soldiers, we are privileged to be able to pursue this
task on two fronts, the first being through the ballot box and the second
being the use of the barrel of the gun should the worse come to the worst,"
he said. "I may therefore urge you as citizens of Zimbabwe to exercise your
electoral right wisely in the forthcoming elections in 2008, remembering
that 'Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again'," said Brig Gen Sigauke. The
army should remain focused, resilient and vigilant especially this time when
the economy was on a slide and conflicts are the order of the day on the
political front, he said. The graduates - who were sergeants and corporals -
underwent a 22-week course covering subjects such as weaponry, field craft,
tactics, communication, map reading, military law, military civic education
and administration. Brig General Sigauke said the course had prepared the
soldiers to withstand any future challenges and ensure the army prevailed in
any campaigns. "This course is a career course, hence besides preparing you
for future deployments, it also prepares you for promotion and career
guidance," he said. He said the prevailing economic hardships and shortages
of basic goods were as a result of the illegal regime change inspired
sanctions imposed by the British and their allies in response to the land
reform programme.

[Do you detect a veiled "vote for Mugabe or else"?]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Students arrested for spurning government programme

By Henry Makiwa
25 September 2007

Police in Masvingo arrested two student leaders at the weekend following a
resolution by Zimbabwe's main students union to rebuff proposals by
government to introduce a cadetship programme to tie all university students
into the civil service after graduation.

Whitlow Mugwiji, President of Great Zimbabwe University who spent three
nights in police cells last week, and Courage Ngwarai, a Student
Representive Council member, were arrested by campus security Saturday for
"criminal nuisance." The two are still detained at Masvingo Central Police

According to sources, the two student leaders were in the company of other
general council members from the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
when campus security guards threatened the student leaders with violence,
apparently because they were coming from a ZINASU meeting. The other student
leaders, including Mehluli Dube and Zwelithini Viki, escaped but were
briefly detained on Sunday after they had taken food for the incarcerated

The Students Solidarity Trust spokesperson, Masimba Nyamanhindi, said the
student leaders had been long targeted by the secret police, especially
after the leadership resolved they would oppose the government proposal to
retain all graduates into the civil service.

Nyamanhindi said: "We had held discussion about the government proposal for
cadetship and we had all resolved that we should make out a political
programme to protest it.

"It is quite apparent that the government wants to curb the brain drain that
is happening and they want to do so by tying all graduates into civil
service for three years, which we are refusing. This is tantamount to
slavery because we all know that civil servants are the lowest paid and
their salaries are not consummate to their skills. Mugwiji and Ngwarai were
against this and are targeted by the secret service."
Mugwiji, who is currently on suspension, is being charged with trespassing
while Ngwarai is being charged with causing malicious injury

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe Levy Nyagura,
has suspended UZ Students Executive President, Lovemore Chinoputsa and
Secretary for Legal Affairs Fortune Chamba, over the peaceful demonstration
the two led last week at the campus.

They were subsequently arrested and beaten by campus security and sustained
injuries in the process. The two have been suspended for 'unbecoming
behaviour and damage to property,' pending a disciplinary committee hearing
on a date to be advised.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe to go , says Zanu(PF)

The Zimbabwean

- 25-09-07
In a very strange and interesting twist, Zanu (PF) is agreeing to get
 rid of President Robert Mugabe as part of concessions made with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the SADC initiated negotiations
aimed at finding a solution to Zimbabwe's serious political crisis,
 this paper can exclusively reveal.

Details hidden from the media and the public about the negotiations as
 well as agreements from meetings between Zanu (PF) and MDC officials in
 South Africa have been leaked to this paper. They show that Mugabe was
 identified as a serious problem in the national crisis as well as the
 issue of succession in Zanu (PF) by South Africa, which is succeeding
 with MDC to convince the ruling party to agree to a deal that would see
 Mugabe stepping down and not contesting next year elections.  In return,
 MDC is making an undertaking to exempt Mugabe from prosecution for human
 rights and political abuses, widely believed to have been the source of his
 fear that has made him fight hard to cling onto power all along despite
 failing to stop unprecedented economic recession. Mugabe has also been
 guaranteed by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that the international
 would spare him prosecution whilst he chooses where and how he goes into
retirement, with the possibility of going into exile.  Mbeki has been
 racing against time and reportedly set himself a June next year deadline
 having the Zimbabwean political crisis solved and its economy starting to
 in order to have his country's hosting of 2010 soccer World Cup finals
 safe (see a related story on page**). He managed to convince the MDC to
 settle for a piecemeal 18th amendment to the constitution instead of a
 new one.  "Yes part of the deal, and which became the catch for the MDC, is
Mugabe will be going," a highly placed source said. "He will not
 contest next year's elections and this will be managed at the Zanu (PF)
congress later this year. SA has managed to convince senior officials
 in Zanu (PF) and Mugabe himself, who is expected to announce his
 retirement at the special congress together with (Vice President) Joseph
Msika. A
candidate will be chosen to represent the party at next year's
A senior official in Zanu (PF) confirmed that the decision to hold the
special congress was a result of the negotiations and the lobbying
 following massive resistance from a faction that has been pushing for
Mugabe to
 stay put and contest next year's elections.  "The special congress is for
electing a new leader and Msika will be retiring as well unless
 something changes or someone backtracks on this agreement," the official
It is said that Mugabe initially tried to resist the massive lobbying
 for him to go but was eventually convinced by Msika and his other advisors,
themselves admitting that the aging dictator has failed to solve his
 mess of economic mismanagement. Msika told parliament last week following
passing of the amendment bill that "this is the legacy I want to leave
 you with" which sources said was an indication that he will be retiring at
 the special congress.  Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick
Chinamasa and Zanu (PF) secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa
 both declined to comment on this matter. - By Itai Dzamara

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Nothing done to killer cops

The Zimbabwean

( 25-09-07)
By Bayethe Zitha

BULAWAYO - Police authorities are reportedly shielding junior officers who
shot and killed two innocent civilians in Zimbabwe's biggest city of
Bulawayo this month, amid revelations no dockets have been opened against
Two Bulawayo men, Collin Siziba (23) and Misheck Gumbo, died recently after
they had been shot by police on different occasions in the city.
Siziba was the first to be shot by members of the Criminal Investigation
Department's (CID) Vehicle Theft Squad, who said they suspected him to be an
armed robber.
The police officers, who were driving a Toyota double cab vehicle with South
African numbers, blocked Siziba's vehicle, a BMW, also bearing South African
registration numbers, in the high-density suburbs of the city on September
Most armed robbers drive South African numbered vehicles.
Siziba and his United Kingdom-based brother, who had both travelled Bulawayo
to visit their relatives, suspected that the lawmen were armed robbers and
quickly drove off, trying to flee.
After a high-speed chase, which took them to the city centre, police shot an
unarmed Siziba on the neck while he was sitting on the passenger seat of the
vehicle, after his brother, who had been driving, had abandoned the vehicle
and fled.
Siziba died at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo, where he underwent a
five-hour operation after having initially been admitted at  Mpilo hosptial
under police guard for more than a week.
His relatives accuse the lawmen of having resisted to have Siziba transfered
to Mater Dei in time, despite having the bullet still lodged in his neck.
When police realised that they had made such a mistake, they tried to charge
Siziba's brother, Prince with reckless driving, but the prosecution refused
to handle the case, saying the slain man's brother had a valid argument.
A few days later, on Friday 15 September, police again fatally shot Misheck
Gumbo (31) a reveller at a shebeen in Pumula high-densiyt suburb, after he
had allegedly made a comment that he could pay them a bribe equal to their
salaries, in trying to bribe his way out of arrest.
An angry police officer is said to have taken out his gun and shot Gumbo on
the chest, killing him instantly.
Gumbo's relatives are now suing police for Z$30 billion for the cold-blooded
murder of their relative.
"We cannot just sit and watch while police behave like a Mafia gang. They
have to meet the costs we incurred in burying our relative and also
compensate us for that loss," said a Gumbo family spokesman on Monday.
Police sources this week revealed to The Zimbabwean that no docket had been
opened by the lawmen against the killer cops, after authorities directed
that they should not be taken to court.
"The two boys were arrested and detained for three days and released at the
instigation of the provincial commanders. The chefs are guarding against a
situation whereby these officers will be prosecuted and found guilty. This
will then mean that their families can successfully sue the organisation, so
the decision is a financial rather than a legal one. I can safely tell you
that nothing will happen to any of the concerned members. Remember there is
another Z$20 billion civil suit for the death of Artwell Magagada after he
was shot by a Superintendent early this year," said a senior police officer
who is stationed at the Bulawayo provincial headquarters.
He identified the two junioir police officers who killed Gumbo as Constables
Zivago and Arutura, both of whom have two years service with the police,
while an Assistant Inspector Frank Mbano killed Siziba.
Police national spokesman, Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, confirmed
that the three police officers were still active in their duties, claiming
that police were still investigating the two cases.
This is the third such killing of an innocent individual by Zimbabwe's
trigger-happy police officers in Bulawayo, after Superintendent Milos Moyo
shot and killed Magagada, a fast food outlet worker while shooting at people
who were celebrating in the city centre in the early hours of New Year's
Moyo is set to appear in court on Thursday.
Sources at the police headquarters in Harare have revealed that more than 15
such murders have been recorded conutrywide and swept under the carpet, as
the cash-strapped organisation tries to save its pockets at the expense of
innocent blood.
"Including Gift Tandare, we have recorded about 15 such murders in the whole
country, with Harare (7) and Midlands (5) provinces recording the highest
number. Nothing has been done to the offending officers and they are still
serving. Some of these are mere gold panners who will be fleeing arrests,"
said a source.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Most Zimbabwe refugees cite political reasons for exit: survey


Nearly 60 percent of the refugees who have poured into South Africa from
neighbouring Zimbabwe say they have left their homeland for political
reasons, a report found on Tuesday.

The Institute for Democracy in South Africa's survey found 58 percent were
motivated into leaving by political concerns such as rights abuses and
attacks by the security services while 51 percent cited economic reasons in
a country which has the world's highest inflation rate and widespread food

Daniel Makina, the lead author of the report by the Pretoria-based institute
which questioned 4,654 refugees in Johannesburg, estimated that the total
number of Zimbabwean refugees who could be classified as resident in South
Africa was between 800,000 and one million.

The figure is considerably less than the two to three million estimate put
forward by the South African government, a disparity Makina suggested could
be explained the fact most Zimbabweans only cross over for a temporary

The survey also found 85 percent of the Zimbabwean refugees are less than 40
years old and that some 60 percent had received a college education.

The majority of refugees want to regularise their situation but do not
necessarily want to settle in South Africa.

"Should the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe stabilises, the
majority of the migrants (66 percent) intend to go back," said the report.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC President Mutambara Gears for Elections

The Zimbabwean

 The MDC President, Professor Arthur G.O. Mutambara, Deputy President,
Gibson Sibanda, Secretary General Welshman Ncube, Treasurer General,
Fletcher Dulini Ncube and other senior party's officials were in Bulawayo
over the weekend during which they met party members. The MDC leadership
addressed three public meetings in the second capital of Zimbabwe over two
days. Very successful meetings were held in Pumula/Luveve and Lobengula/
Magwegwe constituencies. Constitutional Amendment Bill No 18 and voter
registration and education for the March 2008's harmonized elections
dominated the discussions at all the meetings.

 On the issue of Constitutional Amendment 18, the Party Secretary General,
Professor Welshman Ncube explained to members that they had reached
consensus on Amendment 18 to go through Parliament as the first step towards
resolving the national crisis in the country. The Secretary-General said by
agreeing to Amendment 18, the opposition had paved the way for the
likelihood of a new constitution.

 The Official Leader of the Opposition and MDC Deputy President Gibson
Sibanda explained that the opposition had concurred with Amendment 18
because ZANU PF had agreed to take out sections that the MDC was opposed to.
He noted that the approved Amendment 18 did not have provisions that would
make it easy for ZANU PF to rig the polls. He highlighted the fact that
there will not be any appointments to the House of Assembly as all members
will now be directly elected. The Presidential appointees have been a thorn
in the flesh as it gave the incumbent President a head start of 30 unelected
MPs before the elections have even begun. These have now been whittled down
to 5 only in the Senate. More importantly, the management of elections will
now be conducted by ZEC from start to finish dealing a heavy blow to Zanu PF's
rigging mechanism which relied heavily on Mudede.  The Deputy President went
on to explain that it was not a new phenomenon that a President is elected
by Parliament to complete the tenure of an elected one in the event of a
resignation or for some other reason. The British and the American have such
similar provision with the South Africans even electing their President in
Parliament. He cited the recent changes in leadership in Britain . He urged
people to study the Amendment and make informed debate before rushing to
make commentaries that the Opposition has sold out!

 President Mutambara said there should not be any confusion over the week's
events in Parliament. He urged supporters to brace for a tough election
campaign to remove Robert Mugabe and the ZANU PF led government from power
in the March 2008's harmonized elections. "We are on a war for democracy.
Don't be confused about what happened in Parliament. It's a process to
ensure there are free and fair elections to fight it out and defeat Mugabe.
Don't get any illusions.  It is not the time for celebrations; it's time to
fight the democratic war in Zimbabwe ." The MDC President warned supporters
against relying on the coalition to deliver democracy. "Don't count on
coalitions.  We are alone in this fight.  We must strengthen our party
structures. We must have our own candidates countrywide.  Let's not depend
on others. We must depend on ourselves." The President urged supporters to
go and register in their large numbers for the March polls saying that it
was the only viable option available to start resolving the country's
economic and political crisis. He urged members to educate friends and
relatives on how voting would be conducted to reduce spoilt ballot papers.

 During question and answer sessions, supporters wanted to know what the
party was doing to ensure that people would not be harassed and tortured by
the notorious ZANU PF youth militia. Others wanted the voting conditions of
the visually impaired to be reviewed so that blind and illiterate voters are
assisted by people of their own choice and not police officers. The
Leadership responded by saying that all these concerns shall be addressed in
discussions around the electoral laws.

 Gabriel Chaibva

MDC Information and Publicity Department

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe - a fallen state

Tuesday, 25 Sep 2007 15:13
When the first 200,000 Zimbabwe dollar banknote was released earlier this
summer, it was a stark reflection of how far the economy of this southern
African nation has fallen.

Though blessed with natural resources that would be the envy of any nation
in the world, Zimbabwe has an inflation rate of 7,638 per cent and its
people are literally starving.

There are few that would blame any other factor than Zimbabwe's long-time
president Robert Mugabe, and his Zanu-PF party.

Dr Sentamu recently said of Mugabe: "Like Idi Amin before him in Uganda,
Mugabe has rallied a country against its former colonial master only to
destroy it through a dictatorial fervour."

Though reviled by many today, there was a time when Mugabe was regarded as a
freedom fighter.

Mugabe's rise to power

Mugabe emerged as a leader during the Chimurenga, the bloody Rhodesian bush
war fought against Ian Smith's regime during the 1960s and 70s.

He was arrested in 1964 and spent the next decade behind bars, not even
being allowed out to attend the funeral of his four-year-old son. While
behind bars he completed three degrees by correspondence, including a law

This time spent in prison cemented Mugabe's place as a leader and increased
the esteem in which he was held worldwide. When elections finally took place
in Zimbabwe in 1980 he was swept to power.

During the 17 years that have passed since that time, Mugabe's reputation
has suffered badly as his country has been transformed from one of the
richest in Africa to arguably the most poverty-stricken.

Race, farms, poverty

Much of the antagonism during the war centered on the fact that white
farmers owned most of the arable land. Though Mugabe vowed to change this,
the situation remained the same for the next decade after he came to power.

However, in 1997, Mugabe announced that the white-owned farms would start to
be acquired and that Britain should pay compensation to their owners, as
originally the land was stolen by British colonists.

Then, in 2000, the Zimbabwe parliament passed a ground-breaking amendment
allowing for the seizure of all white-owned farms without the permission or
reimbursement to their owners.

Since then thousands of farms have been occupied and agricultural output has
plummeted drastically.

The cost

In his book The Shackled Continent: Africa's Past, Present and Future,
Robert Guest, the Africa editor of the Economist for seven years, wrote: "In
1980, the average annual income in Zimbabwe was $950, and a Zimbabwean
dollar was worth more than an American one.

"By 2003, the average income was less than US$400, and the Zimbabwean
economy was in freefall. [Mugabe] has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly three
decades and has led it, in that time, from impressive success to the most
dramatic peacetime collapse of any country since Weimar Germany".

The mismanagement of Zimbabwe's farms has led to an agricultural crisis in
the country. Zimbabwe is blessed with thousands of acres of arable land and
was once regarded as the "bread-basket" of southern Africa, but now cannot
feed its own population.

Unless massive aid is given, it has been estimated that up to six million
people are in danger of starvation.

An ongoing crisis

Renson Gasela, the shadow agriculture minister for Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change, the opposition party in Zimbabwe, recently
told SW Radio Africa: "They [Zimbabweans] will be slain by one of the
cruelest weapons of any era, starvation. They will die slowly and painfully.
They will die hungry.

"People might say we are exaggerating but I can see many deaths happening
this year. There is absolutely no food. Individuals have no food."

The UN's high commissioner for refugees chief, Antonio Guterres, recently
estimated that over three million Zimbabweans have fled the country.

Among these have been many of the country's most badly-needed professionals.

Both the leadership of Britain and South Africa have been criticised for
their seeming inaction on the situation in Zimbabwe.

In the past there have been many instances of the world ignoring crises on
the dark continent. The question now is whether the world can afford to
ignore the increasingly worsening crisis is Zimbabwe. The only certainty is
that this question will soon be answered.

Joseph Corcos

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP
Back to the Top
Back to Index