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African Union says Mugabe to attend EU-Africa summit

Reuters

Wed 12 Sep 2007, 16:14 GMT

By Henrique Almeida

LISBON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - All African heads of state, including Zimbabwe's
Robert Mugabe, will attend a long-delayed EU-Africa summit in Portugal later
this year, African Union president Ghana said on Wednesday.

Mugabe and more than 100 other Zimbabwean officials are banned from
travelling to EU nations under sanctions imposed in 2002, a restriction that
threatens to derail an EU-Africa summit scheduled for December in Lisbon.

The AU said it would be unfair not to invite Mugabe despite widespread
criticism in Europe over alleged human rights abuses and the possibility
that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown would not attend.

"It would not be fair not to invite a member of the African Union," said
Akwasi Osei Adjei, Ghana's Foreign Affairs Minister. Ghana currently holds
the chair of the AU.

"I believe we are coming with all the members of the African Union, the
heads of state of the African Union," he said. "So, definitely the
invitation will be issued (to Mugabe)."

Summit plans have been on hold since 2003 as Britain and other EU states
have refused to attend if Mugabe did. EU president Portugal has been seeking
a compromise but has so far sent no invitations.

Osei Adjei's comments appear to be the first by an AU official stating
clearly that Mugabe will come to the long-delayed summit.

Asked about the issue, Portuguese Foreign Minister, Luis Amado, whose
country holds the rotating EU presidency, said: "Certainly the problem of
participation is always (a problem) to consider." He did not elaborate.

South Africa and other African nations insist that Mugabe be allowed to
attend the summit. European Union officials have suggested that Zimbabwe be
represented at a lower level than Mugabe at the meeting, the first in seven
years.

Osei Adjei urged Brown and Mugabe to resolve their differences to make the
summit a success.

"I have seen somewhere that the British prime minister is saying that if the
president of Zimbabwe comes he may not come," Osei Adjei said. "And I am
saying to them: Why don't you use the diplomatic means to resolve whatever
problems there are."

"We don't want a situation whereby certain issues drag the important issues
that we are going to discuss."

The issue of the 83-year-old Zimbabwean leader, who has vowed to run for
another term as president next year, is the main reason the European Union
and Africa have not held a summit since their first effort in Cairo seven
years ago.

Mugabe blames Western sanctions for hyper-inflation, food shortages and a
spiralling economic crisis. Critics say Mugabe has destroyed the economy
with his policy of taking over white-owned farms.


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The EU must take a stand against Mugabe

conservatives.com

Despite hand-wringing by the EU over whether to invite Robert Mugabe to the
EU-Africa summit in December, Conservatives have again demanded the EU
refuse an invitation on the day the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt.
Hon. Don McKinnon laments that the world's efforts have achieved little.

Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden commented:

"The EU's Africa strategy is compromised by its failure to apply rigorously
its own rules and standards, particularly in the area of good governance."

"Zimbabwe is surrounded by Commonwealth member states. I asked the
Secretary-General whether they could not do more to bring about urgent
change for the better."

The Secretary-General replied:

"In respect of Zimbabwe, the Commonwealth gets an A+ for effort and a D- for
achievement. But we are in good company - the UN, US, UK, and EU, have all
tried to bring about change in Zimbabwe, and this has made little
difference."

The Secretary-General stressed that it was up to the African countries to
decide on their relationship with Zimbabwe.


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Leaked summit document came from Zimbabwe not S.Africa

Reuters

Wed 12 Sep 2007, 13:26 GMT

LUSAKA (Reuters) - A document criticising Britain over the crisis in
Zimbabwe, which was leaked at a regional summit last month, came from Harare
not South Africa, a senior Zambian official said on Wednesday.

The briefing paper on talks between President Robert Mugabe's government and
the Zimbabwean opposition circulated among diplomats ahead of a summit in
Lusaka of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in mid-August.

Reuters and some newspapers reported after being briefed by officials and
diplomats in Lusaka that the document came from South Africa and was to be
presented to the summit by President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating in the
crisis.

South Africa denied it had produced the document, which blamed former
colonial power Britain for Harare's isolation by the West and said London
was trying to destroy dialogue between Mugabe's government and the
opposition.

But it also said the Zimbabwean government was nearing a deal with the
opposition following Mbeki's mediation.

"The document was actually a Zimbabwe government position paper for the
summit concerning the situation in that country and not one from South
Africa," a senior Zambian foreign affairs official told Reuters on
Wednesday.

"There were several documents given to officials prior to the summit and
even during the summit and the mix-up on originality of some of the
documents could have been caused by this," he said.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said after the summit that the SADC leaders
did not put pressure on Mugabe to enact reforms and had relied on a report
to the meeting by Mbeki. South African sources say this was a verbal, not
written, report.

Mugabe blames Western sanctions for hyper-inflation, food shortages and a
spiralling economic crisis in his formerly prosperous nation.

Critics say Mugabe precipitated the crisis by his controversial policies
including the seizure of white-owned farms.


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S.Africa says no special deal to bail out Zimbabwe

Reuters

Wed 12 Sep 2007, 15:24 GMT

CAPE TOWN, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Any economic bail-out for Zimbabwe from South
Africa would have to conform to its constitution and be passed by
parliament, South Africa's finance minister said on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told parliament South Africa's constitution
made it clear that additional money could only be withdrawn from the
National Revenue Fund by going through parliament.

"So there's no under the table deal, it has to be by an appropriation and if
it needs to be, by a special appropriation," Manuel said in reply to a
question on whether the government planned to commit money to assist its
northern neighbour. Zimbabwe is struggling under a severe economic crisis,
highlighted by inflation of more than 7,600 percent and chronic shortages of
food, fuel and foreign currency, which critics blame on President Robert
Mugabe's policies.

The southern African country has in the past requested a loan from South
Africa, one of the countries within the 14-member Southern African
Development Community tasked last month with developing an economic recovery
plan for Zimbabwe.

But Manuel confirmed that South Africa's central bank had an arrangement
with Zimbabwe, dating back to the 1960s, which made provision for a credit
facility backed by Land Bank bills.

However, this 75 million rand facility was almost exhausted and expired at
the end of the year.


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Change of Heart By the EU And Commonwealth?


SW Radio Africa (London)

12 September 2007
Posted to the web 12 September 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

It is widely believed a number of European Union and Commonwealth countries
want to re-engage with the regime in Zimbabwe, in the hope of helping its
millions of impoverished citizens. Already a concerted campaign has been
launched by several EU countries to invite Robert Mugabe to the December
EU-Africa summit in Portugal.

Most people from the working class to the very poor are going for days
without eating bread or a decent meal as there are no basic goods in shops.
And the international community has kept a close watch on the unfolding
crisis.

On Tuesday, Commonwealth chief Don McKinnon suggested it would be useful to
have dialogue with Mugabe if it was going to help the millions of suffering
Zimbabweans. It has been stressed however that any dialogue with the regime
will only be done under certain conditions.

An aide to McKinnon, John Phillips, said a 'democratic Zimbabwe would need
to make an overture to come back and we would make the overture to receive
it.' An analyst told Newsreel the first stage was to break the ice between
the international community and the Mugabe regime. South African President
Thabo Mbeki is believed to have been approached about the idea and may well
have passed on the message to Harare.

MDC chief representative in the UK Hebson Makuvise said they have been
following recent statements on Zimbabwe with keen interest. Makuvise
disclosed that two weeks ago he held a meeting with officials from the
Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Foundation, where it was pointed
out to him that it was a non-starter to have Mugabe in Portugal for the
EU-Africa summit.

'We need to know what has caused them to have a change of heart in this
short space of time. Mugabe hasn't changed. He's still the same old brutal
dictator but perhaps they know something that we don't,' Makuvise said.

Makuvise added that he has heard reports from his sources that the EU and
Commonwealth were delicately exploring ways of pushing for free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe next year.

'What could be happening is that the international community may have
signalled its willingness to monitor next year's elections and the only
person who can extend that invitation is Mugabe. So this could be another
reason for seeing a flurry of messages calling for Mugabe to be invited to
the EU-Africa summit in Portugal,' Makuvise said.

Makuvise remained adamant that inviting Mugabe to the Portuguese summit
would be sending wrong signals to repressive regimes in Africa.

'The idea of smart sanctions is to isolate such regimes and make them think
and change their policies. Have we seen any of this from Zimbabwe? No. What
we see is more repression against defenceless people by Mugabe. We will
certainly go back to the EU and the Commonwealth and seek an explanation
over these worrying developments,' he said.


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Mugabe gov't presents succession bill to parliament

Reuters

Wed 12 Sep 2007, 17:35 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Sept 12 (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe's government introduced
a bill to parliament on Wednesday that would allow the veteran leader to
choose a successor if he were to retire.

Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said the
bill is Mugabe's latest attempt to tighten his grip on the country after
nearly three decades in power, ahead of presidential and parliamentary
elections next year.

The MDC has also said the bill threatens to undermine talks to break a
political impasse with the government, battling a deepening economic crisis
marked by the world's highest inflation rate and soaring unemployment.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill seeks to give parliament the power to
elect a new president should the incumbent fail to serve a full term.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said debate on the proposed law would
start on Tuesday.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has vowed to win
next year's elections and said nobody could ever force him into exile.

At present, Zimbabwe's president has a six-year term but if the bill is
passed, it would run concurrently with the tenure of parliament for five
years.

Unlike other bills, constitutional amendments are not referred to a
parliamentary legal committee for scrutiny but would require a two thirds
majority to pass, a majority Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF enjoys.

Last week, ZANU-PF's top decision making body said it wanted unspecified
changes to the constitutional bill. The changes would be announced by
Chinamasa on Tuesday.

The MDC is pressing for a new constitution and says amending the
constitution is in bad faith as this is one of the sticking points in talks
being mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Zimbabwe, once one of the continent's most prosperous countries, drew fresh
international condemnation earlier this year when police arrested MDC
members during a protest to pressure the government to enact reforms.

Zimbabwe is wracked by inflation of 7,600 percent and over 80 percent of its
workforce is jobless. Critics blame the crisis on Mugabe's policies, such as
the seizure of white-owned farms for blacks.

But the defiant 83-year-old leader says Zimbabwe has been unfairly punished
by the West over the land seizures.


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Sokwanele - Zimbabwe Election Watch

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

Zimbabwe Election Watch
Issue 6: 12 September 2007

Executive Summary

Analysts confirmed last week that Zimbabwe cannot have free and fair polls next year if there are no radical political and electoral reforms in line with Southern African Development Community (SADC) election guidelines.

In their view, South African President Thabo Mbeki's pronouncement on 30 August that Zimbabwe will have free and fair polls (in 2008) ignores the political situation on the ground where the ruling Zanu PF has an upper hand against the opposition.

The analysts note that Zanu PF has "unfettered access to state resources …, while the majority of the opposition survives on shoe-string budgets."

To illustrate this, we include an article from the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper which reports that Zanu PF is mobilising resources, including a staggering Z$600 billion, for its election campaign "since Mugabe has vowed to win at all costs".

David Chimhini, executive director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust, says Zimbabwe cannot have free and fair elections "when we have failed to adopt the SADC election guidelines of which we are a signatory." He also stresses the need to level the playing field, which is currently tilted in favour of Zanu PF.

In a surprising turn of events, our lead story reports that the Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, has for the first time complained of pressure from politicians to register "certain groups of people". It transpires he has unlawfully used an interpretation of the Citizenship Act to deprive millions of potential Zimbabwean voters, mainly farm workers, of the right to vote.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has urged Mudede to re-launch mobile voter registration, saying that insufficient publicity led to the poor turnout. The ZESN notes that the operation has also been undermined by insufficient funding, unqualified personnel and corruption among traditional leaders.

An article from SW Radio Africa, which is barred from operating in Zimbabwe, says Zanu PF has demonstrated its priorities by allocating Z$12,662 trillion or 33 percent of the supplementary budget to defence and security organisations while the National Water Authority is struggling for resources to provide adequate water for the people.

Once again Mugabe is buying the support of senior members of the army and police, as well as the Central Intelligence Organisation, by spending thousands of US dollars on luxury vehicles while the country has no foreign currency for essentials like drugs.

It transpires there may have been an ulterior motive to the recent war veteran march in support of Mugabe. Just days afterwards, they requested the government hike their monthly allowance five times: From Z$2 million to Z$10 million per month.

Violence continues to be a hallmark of Zanu PF's modus operandi. A member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party in the Marondera area has been stabbed to death while his friend has been paralysed. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is looking into this latest incident as a case of political violence.


Registrar-General complains of pressure from politicians to register 'certain groups of people' for next year's elections
Source Date: 06-09-2007

Registrar General (R-G) Tobaiwa Mudede has for the first time complained of pressure from politicians with regard to the voter registration exercise, which the opposition claims has been used to disenfranchise its support base.

A report by the Defence and Home Affairs Parliamentary committee also disputes the R-G’s view that the Citizenship Act requires that people born locally to parents of foreign descent must first renounce their “potential foreign citizenship” before they can be recognised as Zimbabwean citizens.

Failure to renounce their foreign title, according to the Registrar General, results in forfeiture of Zimbabwean citizenship.

Mudede has used this interpretation of the law to deprive millions of Zimbabweans of the right to vote.

But quoting the Government Gazette General Notice 584 of 2002, under the subheading Renunciation of foreign Citizenship, the committee said a person who is a citizen by birth cannot be deprived of his or her citizenship, and cannot be asked to renounce foreign citizenship he or she never acquired...

The committee undertook the probe on citizenship after the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told Members of Parliament that Mudede was unlawfully withdrawing citizenship from people with rightful title to citizenship, resulting in a flood of lawsuits that his department was losing.

The report shows that in his evidence before the committee Mudede claimed he was under pressure from politicians to register certain groups of people to vote in next year’s elections.

... Zanu PF summoned Mudede in May to appear before its caucus for a hearing for which the sole item on the agenda was “Citizenship problems.”

Sources who attended that meeting ..., told The Financial Gazette at the time that ruling party legislators had pointed out to Mudede that they risked losing the support of millions of potential voters, mainly farm workers, who were affected by laws compelling them to renounce foreign citizenship.

The Parliamentary report says: “The R-G gave the following evidence: due to forthcoming elections, some politicians are campaigning to increase their support base using services provided for by the Government. The resistance to dual citizenship has been an ongoing battle fought in various fora.”

Contributing to the report, Zanu PF Senator for Highfield-Glen Norah-Glen View, Charles Tawengwa, said based on the cases that the R-G had lost in the courts it appeared that the Government was victimising its citizens.

Source: Financial Gazette, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.fingaz.co.zw/story.aspx?stid=1162

SADC standards breached


Election monitor urges relaunch of voter registration exercise
Source Date: 03-09-2007

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has urged the Registrar-General to re-launch mobile voter registration…

ZESN reported there was insufficient publicity for the mobile registration, leading to poor turnout.

According to the report the operation's success was further undermined by insufficient funding, unqualified personnel and corruption among traditional leaders.

The election monitoring group said only 80,000 people were registered, adding that a large number of people displaced by the government's 2005 slum clearance campaign known as Operation Murambatsvina were not served by the mobile registrars.

The report commented adversely on the involvement of members of the police, the Central Intelligence Organisation and the prison service in the registration process.

ZESN Officer Denford Beremauro commented that the country is poorly prepared to hold proper and professional elections in early 2008 as planned.

Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2007-09-03-voa54.cfm

SADC standards breached


Sceptical of outcome, Zimbabwe public weighs in on amendment
Source Date: 07-09-2007

Public hearings in Harare and Bulawayo on the Zimbabwean government's proposal to amend the national constitution in ways that would significantly change the electoral landscape are primarily turning up opposition to the measure…

Though parliament was registering public opinion on the proposed amendment, some who attended the hearings said they doubted whether the public input would have an impact on the final shape of the legislation to be tabled in parliament.

Experts noted that as a constitutional amendment, the law does not have to be vetted by a parliamentary committee but can go straight to the floor for debate after which the ruling Zanu PF party, armed with the two-thirds majority it claimed in the 2005 general election, could easily pass it for signature by President Robert Mugabe.

Another issue of concern is timing - presidential and general elections are just seven months off, and many of the constitutional changes that are envisioned in the draft of the legislation would tip the scales in favour of Mugabe's ruling party.

For instance, the amendment will create 60 new house seats, for a total of 2010, giving the ruling party an opportunity to gerrymander ruling party-safe districts.

Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/Zimbabwe/2007-09-07-voa57.cfm

SADC standards breached


Zanu PF seeks $600 billion for polls
Source Date: 31-08-2007

The ruling Zanu PF is mobilising resources, including a staggering $600 billion budget, for its election campaign ahead of the 2008 poll that President Robert Mugabe has vowed to win at all costs.

Documents obtained from Zanu PF show the ruling party is pulling out all the stops to mobilise vast resources to fund its ambitious campaign for the joint parliamentary and presidential elections in March.

Zanu PF has huge state resources -- including the state security agencies, money and vehicles -- at its command and will be using them during its campaigns. By contrast, the opposition parties have limited resources... Foreign donations are prohibited.

Source: Zimbabwe Independent, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabweindependent.com/viewinfo.cfm?linkid=11&id=11308&siteID=1

SADC standards breached


Security and defence gobble up half the budget as elections approach
Source Date: 07-09-2007

…Defence and security institutions have gobbled up almost half of a (supplementary) budget whose revenue was never disclosed. The budget was presented by Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi…

With the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) struggling for resources to provide adequate water for people, the President's Office, under which the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) falls, and the Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs, got a staggering Z$12,662 trillion, 33 percent of the supplementary budget.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti says if slush funds allocated to the same security institutions are added up, then 43 percent of the budget is going towards financing the security aparatus...

Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news070907/budget070907.htm

SADC standards breached


New wheels for Mugabe's army, police bosses
Source Date: 29-08-2007

Critics say President Robert Mugabe's regime is splashing resources on the security agents to appease them in view of the economic crisis and rising political tensions ahead of next year's polls.

Zimbabwe has spent thousands of US dollars acquiring luxury vehicles for army and police chiefs, at a time when the country has no foreign currency for essentials such as drugs, it has emerged…

The army chefs have Toyota Prados and Mercedes Benz, depending on their ranks, while hundreds of Toyota Yaris (have been acquired) for the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)….

The army remains President Mugabe's centre of power.

Source: NewZimbabwe.com (ZW)
Link to source: http://newzimbabwe.com/pages/army31.16852.html

SADC standards breached


Panic in Harare as war vets demonstrate in support of Mugabe
Source Date: 29-08-2007

An unruly mob of about 5,000 war veterans, escorted by three police vehicles, demonstrated noisily through the city of Harare on 29 August, waving placards and chanting revolutionary songs in praise of President Mugabe…

War veterans' leader Jabulani Sibanda told journalists that…the war veterans were rallying behind Mugabe and would not accept any other candidate to stand on a ruling party ticket in next year's presidential ballot.

Observers say the march is a prelude to Zanu PF's violent offensive now gathering momentum before presidential elections next year.

Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa said it was shocking that the war veterans (many of whom were “fake” individuals too young to have fought in the liberation struggle) were literally escorted by excited policemen during their march…

(In a separate interview with SW Radio Africa, Chamisa said the police had refused to grant their party permission to hold rallies around the country at least 113 times during August alone).

Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/viewinfo.cfm?id=5804&linkid=35&linkcategoryid=27&siteid=1

SADC standards breached


War veterans want Mugabe to hike perks five times
Source Date: 07-09-2007

…Two weeks after pledging undying loyalty to President Robert Mugabe and declaring him the only one fit to rule the country, veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war have asked the government to hike their monthly allowances five times.

The veterans … wield immense influence in the governing Zanu PF party after waging violence and terror against the opposition at every election to ensure victory for the ruling party.

In a letter to Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche, dated 3 September 2007, the ex-combatants said they want their allowances hiked from $2 million to $10 million per month…(school-teachers earn about $3 million per month)…

They … appear to have timed their request for more money well, a few months ahead of key presidential and parliamentary elections next year when the government needs the veterans the most to intimidate the opposition and to mobilise votes for Zanu PF.

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=1975

SADC standards breached


Zimbabwe opposition candidate in Marondera reported stabbed to death
Source Date: 04-09-2007

Officials of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said an activist in rural Marondera had been stabbed to death late Friday while another member of the party who was stabbed in the same incident was paralysed as a result.

Sources in the MDC faction of Morgan Tsvangirai said Jabulani Chiwoka, a candidate in rural district elections to be held in January, was killed by suspected members of the ruling Zanu PF party while Tafiranyika Nyandoro was hospitalised and immobile.

The alleged incident of political violence in the approach to national elections in early 2008 was said to have occurred in Marondera, Mashonaland East, a stronghold of the ruling Zanu PF party that has at times been a "no-go zone" for the opposition...

In a recent report, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said that seven months into 2007, the year has broken previous records for reported political violence, citing the approach of local, general and presidential elections in early 2008...

Attorney Tafadzwa Mugabe of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (said) his group had received a report of the incident and was looking into it as a case of political violence.

Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/Zimbabwe/2007-09-04-voa99.cfm

SADC standards breached


Mugabe donates Z$300 million to Catholic women
Source Date: 29-08-2007

A top ally of President Robert Mugabe last weekend handed $300 million to Roman Catholic Church women.

Oppah Muchinguri, head of the women’s wing in his ruling Zanu PF party, said (the money) was donated by the Zimbabwean leader to help the women start income generating projects….

Sources said Muchinguri told the women that the donated money - which has raised eyebrows coming as the country heads for crucial presidential and parliamentary elections next year - was meant to help them start farming projects…

Mugabe regularly distributes freebies to voters ahead of major polls in what critics view as an attempt to curry favour with the electorate.

Identified perpetrators: Oppah Muchinguri, head of the women's wing in Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=1925

SADC standards breached


Service providers setting up spy equipment
Source Date: 29-08-2007

Mobile and Internet service providers (ISPs) have begun installing surveillance equipment, in compliance with the controversial Interception of Communications Act, the Zimbabwe Internet Access Providers (ZIAP) confirmed this week…

Industry sources say mobile phone companies have also begun importing the equipment necessary to give government access to data, calls and other information…

Heads of service providers who do not comply with the new law face imprisonment of up to three years…

Source: Financial Gazette, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.fingaz.co.zw/story.aspx?stid=1131

SADC standards breached

Further comments in relation to Zimbabwean legislation:
The spying law says persons who are authorised to make applications for interception of communications include the chiefs of Defence and Intelligence, the Director-General of the President's department of National Security, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. All of these positions are held by people loyal to the Zanu PF party, making it likely that the law will be used for political gain and to monitor and control the opposition movement, human rights activists and the media.


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Zimra Goes On Strike


SW Radio Africa (London)

12 September 2007
Posted to the web 12 September 2007

Henry Makiwa

Workers at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on Wednesday downed tools
following the parastatal's failure to pay staff in time for the past three
months.

Zimra workers today sat outside their offices waiting to be addressed by the
company's bosses who were engaged in long meetings all afternoon mooting
plans to resolve the crisis.

Last month the parastatal responsible for organising government funds from
the country's corporate companies through taxes, again failed to pay its
workers forcing Commissioner General Gershem Pasi to publicly admit that
Zimra was broke.

On Wednesday sources said the workers were demanding a 500 percent salary
hike.

A Zimra worker who refused to be named said: "The company is broke and we
all know it but we need to be paid. In a circular to all the staff
countrywide Zimra said the organisation did not have any cash and was
negotiating for funding with the Ministry of Finance.

But we are working and need to be paid as long as we are here. As such we
are demanding a 500 percent increment."

Zimra is facing serious cash flow problems as a result of the ongoing price
blitz instituted by the Mugabe regime. The programme has seen the revenue
collected by the parastatal body dwindling.

The high number of people losing their jobs has also worsened Zimra's plight
and this has contributed to the reducing tax base.

A recent government study said that Zimra could lose as much as Z$1,3
trillion in lost revenue as a result of the blitz.


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Land Resettlement Minister Allocates Farm And School to His Lawyer


SW Radio Africa (London)

12 September 2007
Posted to the web 12 September 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

A well known farm school with over 200 pupils is under threat after Minister
of State Security and Land Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa, gave the farm on
which it is located to his personal lawyer.

The chairman of the Associated Trust Schools, Jameson Timba, confirmed that
Mutasa allocated Rydings School on Enthorpe Farm to his lawyer Gerald
Nqobile Mlotshwa, as part of the Land Reform Programme. Timba said the
lawyer attempted to occupy the farm by removing the headmaster from his
residence. Mlotshwa was the interim chair of the school in November and
December last year. He made an offer to buy the farm around May but was not
successful.

The lawyer then appointed Mutasa's nephew, businessman Themba Mliswa, as
chairman of the school's board of governors. The appointment disregarded a
new board that had already been chosen by parents and the Association of
Trust Schools.

Timba said the school's parents petitioned Robert Mugabe, asking him to
nullify the acquisition by Mlotshwa. The petition said in part: "We are
concerned that our children's education will certainly be disrupted. We are
concerned that a school has been acquired by an individual under the guise
that it is land for agricultural purposes."

Mugabe has not replied to this petition and Timba said he had great concerns
as the acquisition sets a bad precedent and causes instability within the
private community schools in the country.

The Zimbabwe Independent revealed last week that Mlotshwa was forced to
stand down as the interim chairperson of the school in June this year amid
allegations of maladministration. They said the lawyer had tried but failed
to buy the farm and all of its immovable and fixed assets for Z$2,5 billion.
He allegedly donated money to the school then turned around and took 40
cattle from the school, saying the donated money was payment. He then moved
the cattle to Mliswa's farm.


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SADC leaders must tell Mugabe to back off

Mmegi, Botswana
Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Some Botswana civil society organisations and political parties have come
together in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in their political
hardships. The objectives of the solidarity effort, I believe, is to
mobilise Batswana to protest against the persecution of the people and to
demand of SADC leaders to speak out against their colleague, Mugabe.

Argument by SADC leaders that the problems of Zimbabwe are for Zimbabweans
to solve is mean. SADC leaders know better from their close association with
Mugabe and their excuse of silent diplomacy is a portrayal of the whole
bunch as lacking guts to tell the man, "back off, and stop tyrannising
people!" These leaders are actually accomplices in what Mugabe is doing and
they know it.

In the era of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the hands-off Zimbabwe
policy, adopted by SADC, makes nonsense of the fuss about Darfur and other
flashpoints where human rights violations may be occurring. The world was
concerned about Ian Smith racially-conceived UDI and apartheid South Africa.
SADC's Frontline states concept reflected this prevailing trend of
regarding other people's business as one's own business. Nobody ever thought
or said the problems of these countries were theirs alone and other
countries must stop poking their noses in these problems. Nor did
governments and organisations engage in fighting apartheid because the
whites were the culprits. Tyranny has no colour. A tyrant is a tyrant
whether white, black, foreign or domestic.

The nonsense about Mugabe and his government being sovereign and immune from
interference, must be debunked. Sovereignty cannot be compatible with
despotism. It is the people who are sovereign - not a despotic president or
an illegitimate government. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Who
can say the voice of Mugabe is the voice of God? How can a man who
persecutes the masses, harasses the free press, manipulates the independent
judiciary, batters the country's economy, antagonises investors, domestic
and foreign and drives Zimbabweans from their country like Shelley's "West
wind," "...from whose unseen presence the leaves dead are driven like ghosts
from an enchanter fleeing," be sovereign? The exodus of Zimbabweans from
their own country exceeds that of any country at war. In Mugabe's country we
do not hear of internal displacement, which normally occurs in war-ravaged
countries. In Zimbabwe, there is no place to run to! Pathetic.

Were democracy functioning in Zimbabwe, there would be a consensus that the
problems of Zimbabweans should be left to the Zimbabweans to solve, but
unless and until SADC ensures that its own electoral principles and
guidelines are adhered to in Zimbabwe, to expect the people to solve their
own problems defies political logic and is but whistling in the dark.

We hear President Mbeki is optimistic the coming 2008 general elections will
be free and fair. We do not begrudge him the tendency, it is his intrinsic
nature. Tsvangarai, too, is back from Australia brimming with optimism that
Mugabe's game may be up; his new optimism, based on the free-fall of the
economy is astounding, and unconvincing.
The economy has been in a free fall mode for some time and nothing has
happened. What we are familiar with is that every time "magic Mugabe" is
under pressure from the wicked fluctuations of the economy, orchestrated by
Bush and B'liar, some angel from Libya or China comes to his rescue. This
time it may be SADC itself. We know Salamao, the SADC Chief Executive, has
some rescue package under wraps, which may just come handy for "Uncle Bob"
to the chagrin of Morgan.

Rigging of elections does not start at balloting or counting of the ballots,
it begins with tempering with constituency boundaries in winner-takes-all
electoral system, known as gerrymandering; it is done through partisan
electoral officers as well. Is SADC ready to plug all the loopholes through
which cheating can be committed at 2008 elections? We doubt it. Not when
they say the problems over there are exaggerated!

It is disappointing to listen to people arguing in favour of Mugabe on the
false premises that he is right to have redistributed land to the indigenous
people of Zimbabwe as he has done. They forget that the farms confiscated
from whites were in fact parcelled to ZANU-PF big shots, party elite and
friends, not to the common people. Anybody keen to know about the land
redistribution issue should read, REPORT OF ZIMBABWE MISSION 2001, compiled
by International Bar Association. One of the conclusions of this objective
and well-written report states: "The delegation does not dispute the urgent
need for land reform. On the contrary,....the inequitable land distribution
of the colonial era still remains. The delegation believes that reform to
remedy that situation is both a legitimate and urgent aspiration of the
people of Zimbabwe. However, the social justice goal of land reform must be
attained within the law and not outside it."

That is precisely my gripe with Mugabe's land redistribution programme in
Zimbabwe. He left everything in the hands of Chenjerai Hunsvi and his War
veteran thugs, some of whom were not born when the Chimurenga against Ian
Smith was on. The principle of the rule of law, was flouted shamelessly by
Mugabe and his cabinet.

On 21 December 2000, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe (sitting a s a full
constitutional court) in one of the many cases brought before it by the
Commercial Farmers Union, delivered judgement in which it found that the
government failed to act in accordance with the resettlement programme in
terms of its own constitution. It described the settling of people on farms
as, "...entirely haphazard and unlawful...not done in terms of a programme
of land reform Act." It went on:

"A network of organisations operating with complete disregard, for the law,
has been allowed to take over from government. War veterans, villagers and
unemployed towns-people have simply been moved into farms. They have been
supported, encouraged, transported and financed by party officials, public
servants and the CIO and the army. The rule of law has been overthrown in
the commercial farming areas and farmers and farm workers on occupied farms
had consistently been deprived of the protection of the law."


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Four Years After Being Banned, Newspapers Still in Legal Battle to Resume Publishing



Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

PRESS RELEASE
12 September 2007
Posted to the web 12 September 2007

On 11 September 2003, the Supreme Court passed its "dirty hands" judgment
against Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the banned
"Daily News" and "Daily News on Sunday" newspapers.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku's judgment led to the closure of the
publishing company on 12 September 2003, when police armed with automatic
rifles burst into the newspapers' offices in central Harare at about 5:00
p.m. (local time) and ordered all staff to leave. Nqobile Nyathi, the
editor, and Simon Ngena, the production manager, were arrested and taken to
Harare Central Police Station. They were later released.

Dr Tafataona Mahoso, chairman of the governmental Media and Information
Commission, was quoted as saying he would have been surprised if the police
had not taken any action because "the 'Daily News' does not exist in terms
of the laws of the country" (quoted in "The Herald" of 13 September 2003).
These actions were widely condemned by both local and international actors
as a serious violation of media freedom.

Four years later, the matter is still pending before the courts as the ANZ
continues its fight to be duly registered and licensed to resume
publication, as required under the restrictive Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), in what can easily pass as one the
longest unresolved court cases in Zimbabwe's judicial history.

Many a reader of the popular "Daily News" look back with nostalgia to the
reportage by its dedicated editorial team as they fulfilled their
journalistic roles as the thermometers and stethoscopes of the country's
daily socio-economic, political and cultural temperature and pulse. Their
role was simply that of telling truth to power without fear or favour.

What is certain, though, is that some day in the future, the "Daily News"
and "Daily News on Sunday", together with other publications which met with
a similar fate - such as "The Tribune" and "Weekly Times" - will, like the
proverbial phoenix, rise again to afford Zimbabweans increased access to
alternative views, opinions and ideas that foster democracy and spur
Zimbabwe's socio-economic development.

MORE INFORMATION:

For further information, contact Zo Titus, Programme Specialist, Media
Freedom Monitoring, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61
232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, Internet: http://www.misa.org


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Murambatsvina victim dies in Mbare



By Henry Makiwa
12 September 2007

One of the millions of victims of Robert Mugabe's chaotic campaign to
forcibly clear slum areas across the country has been found dead at her make
shift home, in Harare's high-density suburb of Mbare.

Sources in Zimbabwe's capital said Wednesday that a middle-aged woman had
been found dead by her neighbours in a wood-and-plastic shack she has been
calling home since the Mugabe regime destroyed her's in 2005. The cause of
the death is not known.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has since taken the lead
role in planning funeral arrangements and notifying the victim's immediate
relatives.

CHRA vice chairman, Israel Mabhoo accused the government of "having a hand"
in the deceased's demise.

Mabhoo said: "All these death could have been avoided if the government had
the smallest of soft spots for its people in the heart. Had they considered
that they are robbing someone of a home and livelihood we wouldn't be at
this stage. The deceased woman was now living amongst a community of
squatters in Mbare who like herself, had been driven out of their houses. We
understand that she fell sick and eventually passed away. She had no
immediate relatives close by so her body is still lying uncollected in
Mbare."

Operation Murambatsvina was the large-scale government campaign to forcibly
clear slum areas in urban areas. The government implemented the programme in
May 2005, directly displacing 700 000 people, and ultimately affecting up to
2.4 million, according to the United Nations. Many of the victims are still
living in the open.

The campaign met with harsh condemnation from Zimbabwean opposition parties,
church groups, non-governmental organisations, and the wider international
community. The UN has described the campaign as an effort to drive out and
make homeless large sections of the urban poor, who comprise much of the
internal opposition to the Mugabe regime.

Reports of the latest death come as the government launch a new "clean up"
campaign in Harare's central business district, aimed at flushing out street
vendors, vagrants and touts.

According to The Herald newspaper, the Harare City Council has launched a
four-month blitz to rid the CBD of "illegal entities".
The paper reports that municipal police will be deployed from 6am to 10pm in
the CBD and the Avenues area until year end to remove such 'elements' from
the streets.

A municipal spokesperson told the state mouthpiece that 879 people had been
arrested while 1,1 tonnes of perishables had been confiscated since the
campaign began last week.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Drought, disease, poverty hitting southern Africa

Reuters

Wed 25 Jul 2007 3:53:45 BST
By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, July 24 (Reuters) - Drought, AIDS and chronic poverty in the
landlocked southern African states of Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe are
putting hundreds of thousands at risk of hunger, a U.N. official said on
Tuesday.

"You have got very severe drought in three countries, some of the worst
harvests on record in Swaziland and an incredibly high levels of HIV/AIDS in
Lesotho," John Holmes, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator, told reporters.

"This is occurring on the basis of very vulnerable populations to start
with," he said.

Carol Bellamy, the former director of UNICEF, the U.N. children's fund, in
2002 used the phrase "perfect storm" in relation to several southern Africa
countries -- drought, environmental degradation, near starvation and AIDS
sapping the strength of the working population.

Asked if the situation was approaching a "perfect storm" now, Holmes said,
"You could say that," because there there was a triple threat in all three
countries, who have suffered from poverty for years.

In Swaziland, with only 1 million people, a third of all people between 15
and 49 are afflicted with HIV/AIDS. The harvest is the worst ever, prompting
the government in June to declare a national disaster.

Holmes said that more than 400,000 people in Swaziland will require
humanitarian assistance, and requested $15.6 million in emergency
assistance.

Lesotho earlier this month declared a food emergency and an appeal will be
issued shortly, Holmes said.

The tiny country has experienced the most severe drought in the last 30
years, which slashed the the corn harvest by more than 40 percent. More than
400,000 people, or a fifth of the population, need emergency food aid.

In Zimbabwe, where diplomats blame some of the disaster on the policies of
its leader, Robert Mugabe, about half of the financial appeals have been
fulfilled.

An earlier appeal for $253 million has drawn a response of $123 million with
nearly $100 million donated by the United States, Holmes said.

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