Zimbabwe hails IMF decision delay
has saluted the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) decision to delay a
judgement on its possible expulsion for another six months.
Zimbabwe is beset with financial
The fund said it would "revisit" the expulsion issue in six months' time.
Zimbabwean state radio said Friday's decision by the IMF executive board "was
achievement against all odds".
The country has been in arrears with the IMF since February 2001 because it
failed to pay interest on the $4.5bn (£2.5bn) it had borrowed from the fund.
Help for vulnerable urged
Last month, it unexpectedly repaid $120m, but needs to find $175m more
Finance minister Herbert Murerwa said: "The IMF has made the right decision
in view of the fact that Zimbabwe has made very significant progress in reducing
its debt (to the fund), introducing reforms and implementing appropriate
Zimbabweans face desperate shortages of fuel
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono said the country's continued membership of
the IMF "holds the key to Zimbabwe's future prosperity".
But the radio broadcasts ignored the fact the IMF were giving President
Robert Mugabe just six months to improve the country's economy.
The IMF's executive board had said Zimbabwe's partial payment had been a
factor in deciding to defer its judgement, as well as the government's "initial
policy steps" in the exchange rate and monetary fields this year.
Those changes included raising fuel prices and relaxing a state monopoly on
key grain and fuel imports.
The IMF has also urged the government to prove more social security for
vulnerable groups, such as those with HIV/Aids and people made homeless by
Mugabe's Operation Restore Order urban clearances.
Zimbabweans face a deep economic crisis, with high unemployment, rampant
inflation, and food and fuel shortages.
Mr Mugabe says Western "sanctions and boycotts" are responsible for most of
the country's financial problems.
If Zimbabwe is ejected from the organisation, it will be the first country to
be expelled since Czechoslovakia in 1954.
The loss of membership would make it more difficult for the country to borrow
money in the future from both private and public lenders.
It would not be eligible for IMF loans which aim to help countries in
temporary economic difficulties - at the price of adherence to strict economic
According to Zimbabwe state radio, central bank chief Gideon Gono had been
lobbying hard to avoid expulsion in the run-up to the vote, holding 11th hour
meetings with officials from the UK, Africa, France and Germany .
Government officials have also denied newspaper reports that it raised the
$130m to pay off a substantial sum of its arrears by raiding the foreign
currency accounts of exporters.
Earlier, Mr Murerwa denied reports in South Africa's Business Day newspaper
that he and Mr Gono would present the IMF meeting with a $50m cheque.
"We have already paid $120m and that's all for [the] time being," he told the
AFP news agency. "We have paid a significant amount of the loan and we will not
be making any payments now."
MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC
Postponing the inevitable
As the Mugabe regime gets
more and more desperate, its economic and political positions get increasingly
incoherent. Having in the past been brazenly disdainful of the International
Monetary Fund, it is now suddenly desperate to remain a respectable fee-paying
member. This objective could have been facilitated by accepting the economic
lifeline on offer from South Africa, but that would have required political
compromises to be made. The regime's desperation is greatest in the political
realm, as evidenced by its spurning outside assistance and opting instead to
squander the country's extremely scarce foreign currency resources to repay a
large chunk of the arrears owed to the IMF. It is like a badly behaved
schoolboy offering his pocket money to a rich uncle, rather than improve his
Zimbabwe's crisis is fundamentally political. There can be
no satisfactory solution to the catastrophic economic crisis that Zanu-PF has
inflicted on the country without dealing with the issues of legitimacy and the
restoration of democratic norms and the rule of law. The key to Zimbabwe moving
forward lies in the strategy that MDC as a Party has mapped out. This involves
the repeal of repressive laws, the demilitarisation of the state, national
dialogue and the adoption of an interim Constitution. This will allow for a
period of transition, during which a comprehensive economic programme,
acceptable amongst others to the IMF, would be put in place, followed by fresh
Zanu-PF is well aware of how deeply unpopular it is amongst
the people of Zimbabwe and persists in clinging onto power by rejecting any
suggestion that involves opening up the democratic space in this country. It is
in this context that the government has spent US$120 million on the repayment of
arrears at a time when fuel and every imported raw material is in chronic short
supply and when the government itself has admitted that the country has only 3
weeks of food left. Whether such a large payment was actually required in order
to impress the IMF Executive Board was always doubtful, but what was certain is
that this would not lead to any immediate new loans from the IMF.
contrast, the consequences of not having money to import food are immediate and
dire, particularly for people in the rural areas. The government's persistent
refusal to acknowledge the severity of the food crisis and to spurn the
assistance from the international community (which can only be released after an
official request has been lodged) has genocidal implications.
The IMF is
well aware of what is required for Zimbabwe to start moving forward, but has
nonetheless granted the regime a further 6 months reprieve. However, the
language in the announcement of the Board's decision is damning. It notes that
the exchange rate and monetary policy changes that have been made recently "fall
well short of what is needed to address Zimbabwe's economic difficulties" and
calls for the adoption and implementation of a "comprehensive and coherent
adjustment program as a matter of urgency". Having a fully articulated economic
programme is precisely what the regime has proved itself unwilling to do in the
past and there is even less reason to suppose it will do so now.
in the last 2 weeks have dramatically underscored the regime's errant schoolboy
obstinacy. At the same time that the IMF arrears were being paid, the
government forced through the Constitutional amendments which further undermined
private property rights, amongst other problems making it impossible for farmers
to be able to borrow using land as collateral. In its economic policy-making,
the pattern has been for the regime to bring in rapidly changing piecemeal
measures to band-aid the economy forward, but leaving the underlying problems to
fester. Having one or two of the "right" elements in place is not good enough:
it can actually make things worse when the rest of what would be required in a
"comprehensive and coherent" programme are missing.
Our concern right now is that
the recent precipitous monetary policy changes, which were clearly made to
impress the IMF, are so heavily compromised by the lack of fiscal restraint that
the result can only be accelerating inflation (put into over-drive by this
week's 120% increase in fuel prices) and further contraction of exports as firms
cannot respond to the new incentives because of shortages of energy and inputs.
All indications about the next summer cropping season - non-availability of
seeds, fertilisers, finance and other inputs and very low levels of land
preparation - point to another disaster in the agricultural sector, with the
inevitable knock-on consequences throughout the rest of the economy. Zimbabwe
is heading for yet further contraction of GDP and employment and worsening of
The IMF Executive Board is evidently more than aware of this,
stressing the need for "adequate social safety nets and food security for
vulnerable groups, including those affected by 'Operation Restore Order' and
HIV/AIDS". Behind the polite language that is required of an international
institution is harsh and anxious criticism. We in the MDC would go further in
outright condemnation of the incumbent government for wilfully turning one of
the strongest economies on the African continent into its worst basket
The sharp criticism by the IMF needs
to be taken as a wake-up call by the regime to stop its purposeful destruction
and put the country back onto a positive, development-oriented path. The
starting point has to be a willingness to engage with the region, the
opposition, civic society and all other stakeholders on the key political issues
which need to be resolved before a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe crisis can
be forged. This will provide the legal and constitutional basis for a coherent
and internally consistent economic strategy to be formulated and implemented.
Without this, the IMF's 6 month reprieve will just be a postponement of the
Zimbabwe president, in Cuba, decries IMF
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
HAVANA -- Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe arrived in Cuba on Saturday, criticizing the International Monetary Fund,
even though the organization a day earlier deferred a decision for six months on
whether to expel the African nation.
Mugabe blames Western sanctions and
boycotts for many of his country's problems, including 255 percent inflation and
80 percent unemployment, and says powers influential in the IMF have imposed the
The international lending organization is "willed by the big
powers which dictate what it should do," Mugabe told reporters. "We have never
been friends of the IMF and in the future we will never be friends of the
But last week Zimbabwe made a surprise $120 million payment on its IMF
debt of $295 million and the international lender deferred for six months
whether to expel Zimbabwe, saying the arrears payment and economic changes
figured in the decision.
In Harare Saturday, Zimbabwe state radio called the
postponement an "achievement against all odds" because of what it said was a
campaign against the United States and Britain and others "opposed to Zimbabwe's
The European Union, the United States and
leading Commonwealth countries including Australia and Canada have imposed
sanctions against Mugabe.
The IMF suspended aid to Zimbabwe in 1999 after
disputes over unbudgeted expenditures, the value of its currency and the cost of
its participation in the war in Congo. Within a year the World Bank and the
African Development Bank followed.
By 2001, Zimbabwe had stopped making
payments on all foreign loans. Two years later, the IMF suspended the country's
voting rights and began the process that could lead to the country's
"IMF is almost never a real assistance to developing countries,"
Mugabe said after arriving on the communist-run island, which withdrew its
involvement with the IMF many years ago.
Mugabe, making his ninth visit to
Cuba since 1978, said he was looking forward to meeting with his ally and
"brother," President Fidel Castro.
Zimbabwe's economy has been in free fall
since March 31 parliamentary elections, widely seen as fraudulent, gave Mugabe's
African National Union-Patriotic Front 55 of parliament's 120 elected
The IMF board said the deferral gives Zimbabwe with a further
opportunity to strengthen its cooperation with the IMF in economic policies and
The Sunday Times - Britain
September 11, 2005
Tyrant? You can only be talking about Tony Blair . . .
Barak was given an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwean
I MET him at his state house with its beautiful
gardens. He broke the peaceful atmosphere by making an entrance with many
armoured cars after my arrival. I then had to wait several hours before he
appeared. The conversation was pleasant, though he lacked any warmth.
asked him about the incident with Tony Blair and the Prince of Wales at Pope
John Paul II’s funeral, one of the rare occasions when he has been able to
travel to meet western leaders.
RM: We were allotted seats close to
those of the British . . . the United Kingdom begins with U and Zimbabwe is Z,
so we are at the bottom of the alphabet and they put us together with Prince
Charles and, of course, the prime minister . . . The incident was more between
me and the prime minister. We’d never met, but he deserted his seat because he
realised that our own seats were next to their own. But Prince Charles remained
He’s a real gentleman. We’ve known each other. All members of the
royal family have visited us. They’ve been to the state house. We were not
strangers to each other. So we sat next to each other. I didn’t expect the
prince would behave in the same crude way as the prime minister . . . We’ve
talked to each other several times. And we always remember that he was the one
sent on April 17, 1980 to lower down the British flag in a ceremony at one of
our stadiums here. We chatted . . .
DB: At the funeral?
RM: We chatted,
yes. And of course we reminisced on the past, over the past. And, I assure you,
as far as Zimbabwe’s concerned, my own government was concerned, we have not
changed in attitude. Changed in terms of our respect for the royal family. We’ve
still got them as good friends.
DB: Was your conversation about politics or
RM: Just social and pleasant.
DB: Jack Straw’s remark regarding
the “un-handshake” [Straw says he mistakenly shook Mugabe’s hand at a UN summit]
. . . That was quite a memorable remark: “I didn’t recognise him because it was
RM: That’s nonsense. Absolutely nonsense. I recognised him
immediately. I didn’t soil him through the greeting, did I?
DB: I read an
article where [Blair] called you a tyrant.
RM: Well, look at the two of us .
. . When Mozambique was in trouble [Zimbabwe] went to the assistance of Samora
Machel, his government and the people of Mozambique to resist this onslaught —
this attack on their sovereignty . . . What did Blair and [George W] Bush do in
Iraq? They went to destroy the sovereignty of the people in Iraq.
are suggesting that if somebody’s a tyrant, it’s not you . . .
Blair is the tyrant! Here the opposition is free to run in an election, and they
did so. They got 41 seats . . . I have never been a tyrant in any way that
anyone can describe.
DB: You and your country have received some
unfavourable publicity lately. How do you explain the sudden escalation?
Well, it has always been the British leading the onslaught against Zimbabwe. And
this because of the land issue. We disagree with Blair because he reneged on the
agreement, the understanding we had reached at Lancaster House when we
negotiated our independence, that the British would assist us with funds to
enable us to acquire land for a settlement.
DB: When will you finish?
RM: My life?
DB: No. Being president.
RM: Well, I’m president by
virtue of election. I was elected for six years. I’ve got about two and a half
DB: Is that your last term?
RM: I want to rest. Yes.
that final or maybe you will change your mind?
RM: No. I've no thought of
changing my mind. I think I want to retire and the party will choose someone
else. I'll be in the background within the party and remain in the party.
DB: What do you think is the biggest misconception about Robert Mugabe?
RM: It is that they regard me as far too independent . . . I'm popular with
the grassroots in Africa and everywhere. Even in South Africa. But . . .
But not overseas.
RM: Overseas — because I fought against imperialism. I
fought against Anglo-Saxons. It's the Anglo-Saxons. They’re out and out racist,
which is my problem. And this world is not just Anglo-Saxon, which they must
remember — the Bushes and the Blairs — that we also exist in this world.
What is the most hurtful thing they wrote about you?
RM: It’s the
misrepresentation that I’m a tyrant. I’m not.
DB: That’s the most insulting?
RM: Yeah, yeah. If there was judgment by some supreme power of the three of
us — Bush, Blair and Robert Mugabe — I’d be the first to receive greater justice
from the Almighty . . . I’ve killed no one like they are doing. People are dying
in Iraq, even Americans dying. And what for?
DB: Who are your best
supporters outside Africa?
RM: China . . . they are our greatest friends.
DB: Do you have friends in Europe?
RM: We have had excellent relations
with France, and also Germany. I’ve been invited to Africa-France meetings, and
I’ve attended them with [Jacques] Chirac. Italy’s also a good friend.
Are you friends with Chirac?
RM: Yeah, yeah. We have a rapport.
DB: If I
was Tony Blair, what would you tell me?
RM: I’d tell you that you must
change your ways so that we can co-operate . . . We are open for discussion.
DB: Every discussion includes compromise.
RM: Well, compromise depends
on what you are discussing. On the land question there is no compromise. None at
all. No, no, no.
The full interview with Mugabe will be on Five News at
5.55pm today with a special report on Five News tomorrow at
Zimbabwe's maize stocks depleted, report says
September 10 2005 at 02:12PM
Harare - Zimbabwe holds only three weeks' supply of its national staple
maize, the topmost official in the agriculture ministry was quoted as saying on
"Although we have been importing, we only have three weeks'
supply of maize," the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted Simon Pazvakavambwa,
permanent secretary in the agriculture ministry, as telling a business
"If we are not careful, there will be no food on the table
next year," he said.
The United Nations World Food Programme estimates
that 4,3 million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid but the government of
President Robert Mugabe has said far fewer people - 2,4 million - are hungry in
a country of close to 13 million.
|'There will be no food on the table next
Pasvakavambwa said the shortage
was brought about by drought and the increasing prevalence of subsistence
He blasted what he termed "cellphone farmers" -
agriculturists who let their land lie fallow.
"These people want to take
heart in the fact that they own pieces of land but they do not utilise it," he
said, adding: "How can the country have targets when we have such
Farming experts told a parliamentary committee on farming this
week that there would be no meaningful production even if it rained as the
country had only 26 000 tons of maize seed against a required 51 000 tons. -
Zimbabwe civic groups plan conference to discuss new
author/source:Zim Online (SA)
The conference whose theme is: "Deciding Zimbabwe’s Destiny –
A New Constitution For All, By All – Now!" is set to be attended by the all the
major political parties and civic groups in the country
Harare - Zimbabwe
civic groups will next week convene a conference to discuss the way forward in
the wake of the government’s railroading of constitutional amendments in
parliament last week. The conference whose theme is: "Deciding Zimbabwe’s
Destiny – A New Constitution For All, By All – Now!" is set to be attended by
the all the major political parties and civic groups in the country. Among the
groups scheduled to attend are the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe
National Students Union, Zimbabwe Liberators Platform and the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists. Jacob Mafume, a Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) board
member whose group is organising the conference, confirmed the plans but
referred questions to his boss Arnold Tsunga. The ZLHR said the conference will
provide a platform "to meet, discuss, devise strategies and build consensus on
the way forward" on the constitutional reform. Last month, President Robert
Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party used its majority in the House to railroad
controversial constitutional amendments that will, among other things, create a
senate and empower the government to seize land from the mainly white farmers
without recourse in the courts.
ZLHR criticised the government’s
handling of the constitutional reforms in parliament saying the manner in which
the Bill was passed "clearly highlight the need for a constitution that is owned
by the people and adopted through a popular process rather than a partisan
approach." The lawyers said the conference will seek to "develop an agenda on
how the nation can be galvanised into bringing about a new constitution,
adopting measures that will compel the authorities to address the need for
restoration of the freedoms and democracy that have been incrementally eroded by
the government since independence." The organisers did not divulge what these
"measures" would entail. But the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) led by
Lovemore Madhuku has in the past demonstrated in the streets demanding a new
democratic constitution. Contacted for comment on Thursday on the planned
conference, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who was at the forefront in
pushing the constitutional reforms in parliament, scoffed at the civic groups’
proposals. "I suppose it is just a way of accounting for the funds they
(non-governmental organisations) get from donors. The Zanu PF government
finished the constitutional matter by passing a landmark Bill last month. Where
were they? Everyone was consulted," he said.
Chinese People's Daily
HIV/AIDS infection rate declines in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's rate of
HIV/AIDS infection is declining due to behavior change among the adult
population, a government official said on Friday.
Health and Child Welfare
Minister David Parirenyatwa said the number of people infected by the AIDS
pandemic now stands at 21 percent, down from 24 percent last year.
number of people living with the virus is now 21 per every hundred people as
compared to the previous figure of 24 per every hundred people," he said.
The minister stressed the need for married couples to be faithful to each
other and the young people to practice abstinence until marriage as a way of
combating the disease.
He also said that the government was battling to
reduce the infant mortality rate from the current 75 per 1000 children.
revealed that the government intended to provide free maternity care for all
mothers in the country so that the local health delivery system was in line with
the Millennium Development Goals.
UN appeal for southern Africa draws a blank
Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Not one penny has been pledged to the United Nations emergency appeal
to avert a famine threatening 10 million people in southern Africa, the world
body has said. The UN launched a plea for $88m (£48m) at the end of August for
food and agricultural assistance to six countries in the region. "Ten days
later, we have received zero pledges for this appeal. It seems we are losing the
battle for the world's attention to get help to these vulnerable people," said
Jan Egeland, the UN's humanitarian chief. He told the Guardian that, without
timely donations, many people could die - as they have in Niger. He was most
concerned about Malawi, where 4.2 million people were in need of immediate food
aid. "We are trying to break the world's wall of silence regarding hunger in
Malawi," said Mr Egeland. "It is not a Niger situation yet, but we want to
prevent that tragic situation from happening again." Malawi's chronic food
shortages had created a situation in which 45% of children under five were
stunted. UN figures show that a third of the total population is undernourished.
Mr Egeland said that across southern Africa, 10 million lives were at stake,
including four million people in Zimbabwe and others in Lesotho, Mozambique,
Swaziland and Zambia. The United Nations wants the donor community to act now on
southern Africa while there is still a chance to avoid a crisis such as the one
in Niger, where warnings of looming disaster went unheeded for too long. Mr
Egeland said the United States, Japan and some European countries were giving
aid to southern Africa, but it was not enough.
He called on oil-rich nations
to be more generous. "They have had windfall earnings in this last year," he
said. "We can save a life for $1 a day. There is no better investment in the
world." Other relief specialists echoed Mr Egeland's warnings. "Southern Africa
is the most pressing humanitarian crisis today," said James Morris, director of
the UN's World Food Programme, after visiting the region last month. Yesterday,
his agency said hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in Mozambique would
go hungry unless the international community made positive steps to tackle the
food deficit. Oxfam has also issued an urgent appeal for southern Africa, saying
neglect now could result in disaster. The charity has begun distributing food in
Malawi and will supply seeds to farmers in the region. "Niger was forecast six
months in advance, yet rich countries did almost nothing until the 11th hour.
People died as a direct result," said Neil Townsend, Oxfam's humanitarian
coordinator for southern Africa. "Now there is an impending crisis in southern
Africa. If rich countries wait to give money, once again, until television crews
show children dying, people in southern Africa will pay the price of their
neglect." The international agencies linked the region's food shortage to poor
rains and high rates of HIV/Aids.
In Zimbabwe, however, many critics of
President Robert Mugabe place the blame squarely on his mismanagement of
agriculture in a country once regarded as a regional breadbasket. "Zimbabwe's
decline in maize production has been dramatically greater than its neighbours
over the past five years," said the Washington-based Centre for Global
Development. "The policy of land seizures and the chaotic disruptions on the
farms is likely the main reason the staple maize production fell by
three-quarters." However, the drastic drop in Zimbabwe's food production has not
only been caused by the seizures of white-owned farms. The Mugabe government is
also accused of neglecting the poor black subsistence farmers that it claims to
have helped. On Thursday, only weeks before the seasonal rains are due,
Zimbabwean officials admitted there were not adequate supplies of seed and
fertiliser for the growing season. Privately, UN officials say they are
frustrated by Harare's refusal to agree an emergency appeal to help the hundreds
of thousands of people made homeless by the Mugabe government's housing
SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda and Tererai Karimakwenda
It has emerged that most victims of Operation Murambatsvina in Bulawayo
will not benefit from a new housing scheme launched by government soon after the
clean-up exercise ended. Over a million people were made homeless during the
operation and following the worldwide condemnation of the operation, government
promised that it would construct houses to accommodate them. An investigation by
our correspondent in Bulawayo, Themba Nkosi revealed that 98 percent of the
victims will not be allocated the houses because of the high price being asked
for the deposit. Government has built more than 150 houses under Operation
Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai in Bulawayo, but most of them have been allocated to
members of the police, army and prison services. Nkosi told us that members of
Mugabe's security forces can afford the deposits but not the victims of the
clean-up exercise. Most of the victims are still homeless and many are destitute
and harbour deep resentment towards the government for deceiving them. To add
insult to injury, government has been allocating stands that are not
Officials from the ministry of local government were at Hopley Farm
outside Harare on Thursday allocating stands to people from various high-density
areas who had already filled out applications. The new stands are meant to be
given to the displaced victims of Operation Murambatsvina, but our correspondent
Simon Muchemwa reports that the applicants who benefited Thursday are not the
victims living outdoors at Hopley or other camps, but people who already have
stands elsewhere. Muchemwa said there are suspicions that many of those who were
invited to apply are relatives of Zanu PF chefs. He estimates about 200
applicants showed up Thursday, a good number of them with applications already
filled out. The majority were in their mid-twenties. Although there is some
construction taking place at Hopley, Muchemwa said many of the stands were
vacant and beneficiaries would need enough money to build within a specified
time period. As it is now, the stands have not been serviced and there is no
running water. The displaced families being kept at Hopley Farm by the
government still have to walk about 2 kilometres to find clean water from the
Mukuvisi river near Glen Norah. Currently, wooden poles supporting asbestos
roofs serve as shelter for the families living at Hopley. Some have wrapped
plastic around the poles to block the cold winter air and rain. Basically they
are living outdoors while the government continues to limit access to them by
those wishing to help. Muchemwa said there was a heavy presence of army and
police officers on Thursday.
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Inner Circles, Outer Circles and Subsets of Zimbabwean
By Ralph Black
With no end to the current crises in sight, discussion as to the possible
solutions to the multi-layered crises in Zimbabwe
sounds like a high school mathematics lesson on the introduction to
According to press reports the US Congress is considering the
effectiveness of an initiative that would encourage, the outer circle of
Zanu-PF’s leadership to embrace a reform strategy that would effectively isolate
the liberation war party’s inner circle leadership, positioning the party near
the centre of the polarized political field.
A simultaneous initiative is being considered to entice key members of
the opposition’s outer circle, to drive the opposition’s embattled strategy in a
direction that would result in the synthesis of both parties outer circle
leadership in the creation of a subset of political leaders that would reach a
compromise on the way forward.
The political calculus of this plan could work. However, several factors have not been
considered, by political strategists.
The outer circle leadership of Zanu-PF has its political umbilical firmly
attached to the body politic of the Zanu-PF inner circle, leadership. Any attempt to carelessly or surgically
detach this umbilical at this point will result in literal bloodshed. The proposed militarization of the war
veterans by the military and security heavyweights within the ruling party’s
inner circle, speaks to this reality.
Further, the Outer circles of the opposition party – the MDC, is
grappling with their own survival and have no political clout to survive a
separation from the party’s body politic.
The first challenge of the outer circle of the MDC leadership would be to
overcome the dynamics of sheer indifference or the threat of the fragmentation
of the opposition’s political base.
The proposed lifting of the targeted travel restrictions for select
members of Zanu-PF’s moderate or outer circle leadership figures is an
insufficient start. This proposed
strategy would ring fatal for any individual worthy of such exemption, and the
chances for a peaceful-nonviolent transition to democracy will undoubtedly
fail. Let the facts speak for
themselves. During the parliamentary
vote on the constitutional amendments that firmly set in place the foundation
for Mugabe’s new apartheid, none of the earmarked moderate Zanu-PF leaders voted
against the passing of the oppressive amendments. If any hope of a moderate wing emerging from
within the ruling party existed the outcome of the parliamentary vote speaks
volumes. Further the absence of over a
third of the opposition legislatures from parliament during the constitutional
vote signals, if nothing else the sheer indifference of opposition legislatures
to the future of the country or deep division within the opposition
The following is recommended;
To the Zanu-PF moderates, rally behind a steel and velvet personality
within the party, that has earned the respect by blood or diplomacy of the
leadership circles and support base.
Support of such a personality – and such personalities exist, should
center on his/her acceptance of the following;
- Unconditional undertakings to embark on complete
- Complete commitment to restore the rule of law,
the independence of the judiciary, security services, armed forces and
- A commitment to abide by the terms of a new
constitution, and the promotion of accountability, transparency in leadership
and an unwavering adherence to the principles of human rights.
- Unfaltering commitment to holding free and fair
elections within a reasonable time frame.
To the MDC, abandon the lukewarm approach to unseating Zanu_PF. Mobilize, organize and empower the opposition
support base to confront the abuses of the current regime through the
implementation of a civil disobedience campaign, which should escalate in
intensity finally rendering the country inoperable and ungovernable. The effective implementation of such measures
would unify the party’s support base and signal to the regime the legitimacy of
the party’s call for reform, reaffirming that the opposition party is a
sufficient agent of change. The
theoretical framework for adopting extra democratic measures to confront the
ruling party must be based within the nationalist framework of;
- Complete constitutional reform
- The unconditional restoration of the rule of law,
and the independence of all democratic institutions.
- Economic and political empowerment of the nations
Political appeasement of the kind and nature currently being undertaken,
by the opposition reduces the political prospects of the opposition party to
affect change. The opposition should
concentrate on building its capacity to negotiate, rather than selling out to
the ploys of the proponents of the “Third
The political flatulence emanating from the proponents of “the third way”
will remain such unless a radically different approach to dealing with the
Zanu-PF lead government is formulated by the forces of democracy in Zimbabwe and
supported by the international and regional community.
Black is the Director of Communications for the Association of Zimbabweans Based
Abroad. He can be contacted by e-mail
at email@example.com. He writes in
his personal capacity.
Ralph B. Black B.Th CRCST
Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2005 10:31 PM
Subject: On Mugabe and Katrina - Article
On Mugabe and Katrina
By Ralph Black
What Hurricane Katrina has done to the U.S. Gulf Coast,
Mugabe’s Murambastvina has done to
In the week leading up to the American Labor day holiday Hurricane
Katrina wreaked havoc and devastation along the US Gulf Coast. The residents of New
Orleans bore the brunt of the Hurricane, with an expected
death toll of an estimated 10,000 people.
Over 250,000 people have been displaced and are officially designated
refugees. Chilling tales and images of
chaos, death and untold suffering have been beamed across the
US, giving the
American people a wake up call, exposing the vulnerability of their ordered
society to natural disasters. A
collective lesson has been thrust upon the consciences of mankind. The object of this lesson authored by Mother
Nature, is that there is a thin line between order and anarchy, prosperity and
poverty. .It can be safely assumed that those affected by the ravaging effects
of Hurricane Katrina have a clear insight into the suffering of the 700,000
Zimbabweans displaced by Mugabe’s Operation Murambastvina.
Operation Murambastvina unlike Hurricane Katrina struck
the Zimbabwean poor without notice. In
the hours of the 19th of May
2005 and in the following weeks, the Zimbabwean Government bulldozed
thousands of dwellings, Aids clinics and orphanages, leaving 700,000 Zimbabweans
homeless and affecting an estimated 2, 4 million citizens. Aids patients amongst them children were
violently removed from the hospices and clinics that rendered them care and
thrust into the open air to face the elements. An estimated 500,000 children lost their
educational opportunity, without the hope of ever attending school again. Operation Murnmbastvina, directed by the
Zimbabwean government was executed with depraved indifference to its likely
effects on the lives of the marginalized and poor. Those affected by the Zimbabwean Governments
policy of social reconstruction by sledge hammer and bulldozer, now live in
holding camps, not as comfortable as the New Orleans Superdome or the Houston
While much has been made of the sluggish response of the
US government to
the American tragedy, the American people can be assured that their elected
officials have responded, to the suffering with tones of compassion in
comparison to the Zimbabwean government’s response. Ironically the US military and national guard
are engaged in saving lives and reconstruction efforts, whilst the Zimbabwean
military and Zanu_pf youth Militia were involved in the destruction of dwellings
and places of healing and business.
Those displaced by Katrina have received federal assistance to rebuild
their lives in the form of housing, educational, medical, employment assistance,
while on the other hand across the world in the Southern African Country many
displaced by the Mugabe’s government have been left to starve and die in the
bush. To add insult to injury the
Zimbabwean government has actively prevented humanitarian assistance from
reaching the homeless, hungry and sick people, sighting errors in the number
reportedly affected by its inhumane policy of social reconstruction.
Perhaps there is a fundamental difference between an act of nature
allowed by God and the act of devastation directed by man. The former tests the spirit and character of
humanity, in the face of human suffering, while the latter reveals the insane
motivation of men intoxicated by power to inflict suffering on the venerable, in
an attempt to immortalize their rule.
Ralph Black is the Director of Communications for the Association of
Zimbabweans Based Abroad. He can be
contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. He
writes in his personal capacity.
Ralph B. Black B.Th
Click here to donate to the
Hurricane Katrina relief effort.