- Mugabe elected SADC deputy chair
- Mugabe to be sworn in on Thursday
- Zhing Zhong Elections – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th August 2013
- Mugabe returns home basking in glory of endorsement
- Mugabe preparing his own sanctions regime
- Southern African leaders back re-election of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe
- Barclays profits up 37pc
- Southern African Group’s Head Urges Zimbabwe Sanctions Review
- Zimbabwe: Top Historian Diana Mitchel Dismisses Baba Jukwa Uprising
- The Truth About The World’s ‘No Go’ Zones
- Implications of the flawed 2013 elections
- Tsvangirai explains why he withdrew presidential election court challenge
- Zimbabwe: Declining Deflation in Zimbabwe Boosts Tm Supermarkets
- Chidyausiku Summons Tsvangirai’s Lawyers Despite Poll Petition Withdrawal
- Zimbabwe’s Mugabe to be sworn in Thursday: aide
- Billionaire Mo Ibrahim blasts Africa’s ageing crop of leaders
- No to prostitution at UNWTO: Mzembi
- Analysis Zimbabwe: SADC Endorsement of Mugabe Last Chance
- What to do when there is no Justice
Mugabe elected SADC deputy chair by ZimSitRep – 08-18-2013
via Mugabe elected SADC deputy chair | Radio Dialogue by: Zenzele Ndebele August 18, 2013 President Robert Mugabe has been elected as Southern African Development Community (SADC) deputy chairperson a development that has dealt MDC-T a heavy blow. This comes amid reports that Mugabe would be sworn in on Thursday. Mugabe was elected by other head of states in Malawi during a SADC 33rd meeting. Mugabe now deputises Malawi president Joyce Banda. According to SADC operations, Mugabe is now part of the powerful Trioka which comprises of the current SADC Summit Chairperson, deputy and the immediate previous Chairperson. The Troika System vests authority in this group to take quick decisions on behalf of SADC that are ordinarily taken at policy meetings scheduled at regular intervals, as well as providing policy direction to SADC Institutions in between regular SADC Summits. The Troika system operates at the level of the Summit, the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, the Council of Ministers and the Standing Committee of Senior Officials. The development means that Zimbabwe will next year assume full control of SADC chairmanship. With Mugabe at the decision making position of SADC, it would be difficult for MDC-T to force the country to be included in future SADC agenda.
Mugabe to be sworn in on Thursday by ZimSitRep – 08-18-2013
via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Mugabe to be sworn in on Thursday President Robert Mugabe will be sworn in on Thursday, beginning a fresh five-year mandate as Zimbabwe’s president following a disputed election, his spokesman said Sunday. “It is now this Thursday,” George Charamba told AFP on the sidelines of a summit of southern African leaders in Malawi. On Friday Mugabe’s main challenger, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew a legal challenge to the election result, claiming the courts would not be fair. That removed the last hurdle to 89-year-old Mugabe’s inauguration for a seventh term. Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, first took the reins of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980 as prime minister. He became president following a constitutional amendment in 1987. Southern African leaders attending the summit had earlier endorsed the result of the election that extended his 33-year rule, congratulating him for holding peaceful elections. Asked whether regional leaders would attend the swearing-in, Charamba said that “everybody will be invited”.
Zhing Zhong Elections – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th August 2013 by ZimSitRep – 08-18-2013
via Zimbabwe Vigil UK Sunday, 18 August 2013 16:36 Supporters of the Vigil and associated groups have agreed to arrange an all-stakeholder meeting in London in October to give the diaspora an opportunity to discuss ways of working together to reclaim Zimbabwe. The decision was made at the Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the regular Saturday Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The Forum was addressed by Dewa Mavhinga, Senior Researcher for Africa with Human Rights Watch and a former regional co-ordinator for Southern Africa of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. He was in Zimbabwe for the elections and gave us a firsthand account of how they were rigged. Mr Mavhinga, who has had meetings with the leadership of most SADC countries, said they had made it clear that, as long as the violence of 2008 was avoided, they would rubberstamp the election outcome. The MDC, he said, had invested too much hope in SADC. ‘Zimbabweans must liberate themselves. You can’t sub-contract it. If you expect action from regional bodies you need action in Zimbabwe.’ Ephraim Tapa, head of ROHR Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement, said he’s been approached by several groups keen to join forces behind a diaspora initiative. It was hoped the all-stakeholder conference would create a broad-based movement with agreed values. A co-ordinating team was set up to work on the logistics of the planned conference consisting of: Patrick Musami, Fungayi Mabhunu, Charles Dumisani Ndlovu, Nkosikona Tshabangu, Jonathan Kariwoh and David Kadzutu. The meeting applauded the response by the poet Chenjerai Hove to an article congratulating Botswana for rejecting the results of the elections. Mr Hove said:’ Botswana is giving a great example in order to reject the notion that we have something called ‘free and fair elections by African standards.’ Why should Africans allow such a stupid claim which suggests that ‘African standards’ are okay for ‘these savages’ if they kill two hundred people instead of one million. We are not sub-humans who should be given a different set of electoral rules and justice. We cannot allow ourselves to be treated as ‘savages’ who don’t have to comply with simple and reasonable ideas of justice. If we accept to treat ourselves as sub-human, the rest of the world will treat us as rubbish. When are we going to demand the highest quality of everything as a people? Our governments allow the importation of Chinese zhing zhongs, cheap products which should be in the garbage dump because we treat ourselves as sub-standard human beings who are doomed to eat even rotten food.’ The forum agreed that the Vigil would deliver a letter to the Botswana High Commission in London next Saturday thanking President Khama for his brave and lonely support for credible, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The meeting also challenged the MDC to refuse to take up their seats in Parliament – although there was a feeling that the more likely outcome would be that the MDC would throw in its lot with another Zanu PF-dominated GNU. The meeting also urged the British government not to recognise the election results and, if necessary, suspend diplomatic relations and the UK’s aid of about £100 million a year. During the Vigil, activist Martin Chinyanga laid flowers on the Embassy doorstep in tribute to 29-year-old Rebecca Mafukeni, an MDC activist who was arrested along with about 30 others over the alleged murder of a policeman and died recently in prison. He posted the following notice on the Embassy wall. ‘RIP Rebecca Mafukeni. May her soul rest in eternal peace. Arrested for a crime she never committed. Remanded in prison for two years as the state fails to determine her and her co-accused’s fate. In their innocence they lost out nearly three years of their freedom. Is this what the people of Zimbabwe voted for? Is this what the people of Zimbabwe deserve? We are deeply pained by the young people whose hopes, dreams and aspirations are dashed because old people do not want to give the way to the young to also learn and grow in wisdom, knowledge and experience. Your fight, Rebecca, remains our fight.’ Ephraim Tapa commented that this death was the fault of the whole of the inclusive government. For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.
|FOR THE RECORD: 57 signed the register. EVENTS AND NOTICES:
– Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts– ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515– ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835
|Call for diaspora unity – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th August 2013|
|Sunday, 11 August 2013 11:15|
|There has been a call in London for a conference of the Zimbabwean diaspora to discuss the way forward following the rigged elections which have returned Mugabe to power for another term. The call came from Ephraim Tapa, President of the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) and a founder member of the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past eleven years in support of free and fair elections. Mr Tapa was speaking at a demonstration outside the Embassy on Saturday attended by exiled Zimbabweans from various parts of the UK, including members of the defeated MDC. He said that, following the stealing of the elections, people at home had lost faith in the politics of the ballot box. The MDC project had run its course and Zimbabweans were looking to the diaspora to come up with an alternative programme to save Zimbabwe. He said there were encouraging signs that the various Zimbabwean groups wanted to speak with one voice. A range of reactions to the rigged elections were expressed – from an angry call for revolution from activist Martin Chinyanga to the bitter tears of MDC official Makusha Mugabe. Another senior MDC official Elliot Pfebve, a defeated candidate in the elections, told the crowd of the various ways the voting had been manipulated. He said the people in Zimbabwe were in a desperate situation and looked to the diaspora for help but things ultimately depended on the people of Zimbabwe themselves. During the day hundreds more signatures were added to the Vigil’s petition which calls on President Zuma of South Africa to urge the Southern African Development Community to demand new elections. The plight of Zimbabwe has been spelt out in the demented ravings of Mugabe about the policy of indigenisation and empowerment. An article in the Herald quotes him as telling the first Politburo meeting after the elections ’ZANU-PF is going to deliver on promises made to the people during its highly subscribed and successful election campaign’. The Herald added ‘President Mugabe said Zimbabwe would precisely do the opposite of what the West wished for’ (see:https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/mugabe-says-hell-deliver-on-promises/ – Mugabe says he’ll deliver on promises). For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website. FOR THE RECORD: around 100 signed the register. EVENTS AND NOTICES:
– Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts– ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515– ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835
Mugabe returns home basking in glory of endorsement by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via The Zimbabwe Mail – Mugabe returns home basking in glory of endorsement HARARE – The disputed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived back home from the 33rd ordinary summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Malawi to a welcome by loyalists at the Harare International Airport. Addressing loyalists welcomed him, Mugabe said he will take oath on Thursday after which he will set up a new cabinet. This follows his resounding victory in the harmonised elections held on the 31st of July. Mugabe also said all countries and organisations from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, which observed the country’s elections spoke with one voice resulting in SADC leaders congratulating Zanu PF as the winning party. He said South African President, Jacob Zuma, who was the country’s facilitator since 2009, also reported to the SADC leaders that the elections were peaceful, credible, free and fair. Mugabe who is struggling for legitimacy said the SADC leaders’ election endorsement and positive reports were witnessed by a number of government officials, officials from his office and officials from the Prime Minister’s office, among other key ministries who accompanied him to the summit. Turning to the last minute withdrawal of the presidential election petition by MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe said it has become clear that he went to the courts with full knowledge that he had lost the elections. Tsvangirai has reiterated that his party won the the July 31 with a landslide victory and also hinted that he was staying put. “There have been many questions on why we withdrew the presidential election court challenge. Our National Executive met on Friday and we were given a report by our lawyers stating that there were two problems confronting the court challenge.” “One was that our application to get necessary information from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had been deferred without any conclusion so that heavily prejudiced our ability to present our case,” the outgoing Prime Minister said. “The second was that the Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had narrowed down the petition to one based on affidavits. We had hoped that it would be an open court with witnesses being called in to testify.” “Because of those two roadblocks placed our way it was futile to proceed with the case. It became very clear to us that this case was being predetermined.” “Many of you have been made to believe that this marks the end of the road for us, that by withdrawing the court case, we have conceded defeat. Nothing could be further from the truth. The struggle has not ended. It is just starting.” “This was just the legal route. The struggle continues in the political arena. We have never closed our avenue to continue with the political struggle. This is a political crisis and it requires a political solution. I still enjoy the mandate of my party as well as the support of millions of people who voted for change on July 31. Using that mandate, I will continue serving the people until we achieve the desired results.” Meanwhile, Robert Mugabe will assume the chairmanship of SADC in March next year, taking over from Malawi, after being elected deputy chair this year. The development means Zimbabwe will host the 34th ordinary summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in 2014. The 14-member grouping of Southern African countries holds annual meetings in member countries to discuss issues affecting the region. On his arrival from Malawi, President Mugabe was welcomed by Vice President Joice Mujuru, the Minister of State Security, Sidney Sekeramayi and the Minister of Defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa, other senior government officials, service chiefs and party officials.
Mugabe preparing his own sanctions regime by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via – Nehanda Radio – Mugabe preparing his own sanctions regime By Itai Mushekwe HARARE – President Robert Mugabe is preparing his own set of economic sanctions against Western powers, if they fail to ultimately revoke targeted sanctions and embargoes meted out on his inner circle. This follows recent condemnation of his controversial re-election last month. ‘Robbery’ Mugabe steals another election ‘Robbery’ Mugabe steals another election and will now target the remaining 1,138 white- and foreign-owned companies left in the country, Nehanda Radio, has it on good authority, Mugabe has been infuriated by intelligence briefings from his dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which has reportedly informed him that their “assessment” points to a tightening of the current sanctions regime by both the European Union (EU) and America. This has prompted the 89 year old to hit back amid suspicion that China is playing an invisible hand in the affair. Beijing has all but become, a silent power broker in Zimbabwean politics and recently poured US$500 million into a secretive slush fund used by Zanu PF to cook up poll results in its favour. Mugabe has claimed a contested 61 percent electoral landslide victory, against former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who only scored 33 percent in an election, which Britain, Germany, Australia and the U.S have denounced as unfree and unfair. Those countries have even piled up pressure for an electoral re-run, something which is likely to “fall on deaf ears” as Mugabe is determined to go it alone and push the MDC into oblivion, a newly elected Zanu PF legislator in the country’s Manicaland Province Eastward of the capital told Nehanda Radio. The disclosures come hard on the heels of reports from Chicago, implicating two Mugabe lobbyists, Prince Asiel Ben Israel and Gregory Turner who have been charged for violating federal law by canvassing for the removal of U.S economic sanctions against the Zimbabwean president. The two tried to persuade federal and state government officials including a senator in Illinois and two U.S representatives from Chicago to convince President Barack Obama to withdraw the sanctions. Ben Israel and Turner were set to earn US$3,4 million from the Mugabe regime for their efforts. “We are going to see a lot of tension between Harare and the West. Plans are at an advanced stage to amend the indigenisation law, from a 51 percent threshold ownership of the economy by local blacks to 100 percent across all sectors of the economy as a political move,” said the incoming Zanu PF lawmaker. “The President is not bluffing, and he is going to use the amended law to target more Western companies as his own way of placing business sanctions on European and American firms, until and unless their governments take a paradigm shift on Zimbabwe.” According to the legislator, the proposed amendment calls for foreign companies to give up 75 percent shareholding to the government and: “The remaining 25 percent will be a venture ownership between local businessmen and foreigners. “Zimbabweans will have at least 20 percent controlling stakes in the setup, if the new parliament introduces this bill as we all expect. This way Mugabe is hoping to strike the EU and the U.S where it hurts the most, and that is their pockets.” Intelligence sources also say there is a possibility that the new government, might consider boycotting and withdrawing from foreign banks in favour of local financial institutions. “It’s now all about resources, because they cannot be an economy, if it is not fed with natural resources. Mugabe has gained confidence, from the fact that the country now has the world’s biggest diamond resources. Zanu PF has realised that whoever controls the purse strings has the power. I won’t be surprised if this madness is carried on,” sources told Nehanda Radio. Fears are that the mooted amended indigenisation law is unlikely to be opposed, since Mugabe’s Zanu PF now commands a two-thirds majority in parliament with 158 seats out of the 210 contested seats. The MDC holds 52 seats, and will find it difficult to upset Mugabe’s parliamentary agenda.
Southern African leaders back re-election of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via KFGO.com – Southern African leaders back re-election of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe By Mabvuto Banda LILONGWE (Reuters) – Southern African leaders on Sunday endorsed the re-election of veteran President Robert Mugabe, brushing aside a campaign from Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC who said the vote July was rigged and its results should be overturned. The decision by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), which helped broker a power-sharing deal after disputed elections in 2008, clears the way for Mugabe, 89, to be sworn as early as this week for a fresh five-year term. “The summit congratulated his honorable Robert Mugabe for winning the election in Zimbabwe,” a South African foreign ministry official said. At its meeting in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, the group also named Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, as its deputy chairman and said it would hold a summit next year in Zimbabwe’s capital. Unlike the SADC and the African Union observer missions, which broadly endorsed the vote, the preliminary assessment by the leading domestic observers’ body called the election “seriously compromised”. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said registration flaws may have disenfranchised up to a million people out of 6.4 million registered voters. “We were not expecting SADC to immediately tell Mugabe to call fresh elections, but we are going to continue lobbying, while at home we apply various forms of political pressure to achieve democracy,” a spokesman for Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Douglas Mwonzora, told Reuters. The MDC on Friday withdrew a court challenge against the re-election, saying it would not get a fair hearing. It sent delegates to Lilongwe to raise its objections. Lawyers said the Constitutional Court was expected on Monday to formally accept the MDC’s withdrawal application, paving the way for Mugabe to be sworn in for a new five-year term. Under the constitution, a president has to be sworn in within 48 hours of the constitutional court decision. Political analysts said outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been careful not to speak about street protests, fearing a crackdown on his MDC leadership by Mugabe’s security forces. Former colonial power Britain had urged SADC to look carefully at accusations of fraud in last month’s poll and said it was disappointed opposition parties had withdrawn its legal challenge. Britain, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions against Mugabe and senior ZANU-PF leaders for human rights violations and suspected vote rigging and suspected rigging of previous elections. (Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka in Harare and Stephen Addison in London; Editing by Jon Boyle)
Barclays profits up 37pc by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via –BizDay – Barclays profits up 37pc HARARE – Barclays Bank Zimbabwe (Barclays Zim), a unit of British multi-national banking and financial services group, posted a $1,1 million profit before tax in the half year to June 2013, up 37 percent from prior comparable period. George Guvamatanga, Barclays Zim’s managing director, said while post tax profit also increased to $8 million from $5 million during the period under review, internal income suffered slower growth. “This performance was behind our internal income growth targets which suffered from slower growth in transaction volumes and capped fees and charges,” Guvamatanga said. Early this year, banks — through the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe — signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under which the institutions agreed to slash bank charges and cap lending rates among other reforms. The move, analysts have said, eroded banks income, particularly non-funded. During the six months under review, the local unit’s liquidity ratio stood at 57 percent against the regulatory 30 percent. Loans went up 64 percent to $97,5 million, representing a 6,2 percent year-to-date increase. Deposits recorded a 2,4 percent year-to-date growth. “This largely comprises demand deposits. As the loan book grows, liability growth is projected to grow faster than the rate obtained in the first half,” Guvamatanga said. Year-on-year costs went up 8,8 percent while income grew 10,1 percent. “This resulted in a positive jaw, we also project that inflationary pressure in the second half will get higher than the first half but our target is to keep costs within our planned level,” the Barclays boss said. Barclays Zim is one of the four foreign-owned banks under pressure to comply with the country’s indigenisation policy — compelling all foreign-owned firms to cede 51 percent shareholding to black locals. The group did not comment on its indigenisation plan. The other three are MBCA, Standard Chartered and Standard Bank-owned Stanbic. This comes as Barclays Zim has launched projects to boost its presence in Zimbabwe by opening new branches, installing new automated teller machines (ATMs) and developing new, technology-based banking platforms across the country. Setting up new ATMs and opening branches will enhance the banks’ market share in Zimbabwe and put them in a better position to compete against other banks in a country that has more than 20 banks.
Southern African Group’s Head Urges Zimbabwe Sanctions Review by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via Business Week -Southern African Group’s Head Urges Zimbabwe Sanctions Review Joyce Banda, chairwoman of the Southern African Development Community, called on western nations to review sanctions against Zimbabwe after the country’s presidential election last month. “I want the West to review its position on the sanctions in Zimbabwe,” Banda, who also is Malawi’s president, said in remarks at the closing of an SADC summit meeting held in her country’s capital, Lilongwe. “Zimbabweans deserve better and Zimbabweans have suffered enough.” Sanctions against Zimbabweans including President Robert Mugabe were imposed in 2003 by U.S. President George W. Bush, a Republican, and were continued under his Democratic successor, Barack Obama. Mugabe was re-elected for another five-year term. The SADC has 15 members including Angola and Mozambique.
Zimbabwe: Top Historian Diana Mitchel Dismisses Baba Jukwa Uprising by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via Zimeye – Zimbabwe: Top Historian Diana Mitchel Dismisses Baba Jukwa Uprising A senior Zimbabwean historian, Diana Mitchel who alone foretold the downfall of the former Ian Smith Rhodesian government way back in 1977 has spoken against thoughts in the wait for an uprising that is being engineered on social networking website Facebook by the faceless MDC character and Zanu PF de-filer, Baba Jukwa. Mitchell signalled that an Egyptian style revolution is not possible in Zimbabwe where she has had a wealth of experience analysing complex political forces for the past 40 years. The statement comes after the faceless character began coordinating a campaign known as Vapanduki (insurgents) on the website. The campaign is a grouping of people who are all opposed to Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party. Mitchell is credited for her outstanding work in canonising Zimbabwe’s liberation war heroes at a time when they were internationally regarded as terrorists in the 70s. Below was her full argument: Any Zimbabwean, at home and abroad could or should have predicted with absolute certainty that Robert Mugabe and his acolytes would never allow power to slip from their hands. One wonders if the masses of red-clad MDC supporters seen at rallies in the major cities truly believed that their visible numbers and their wishful thinking could somehow vanquish the old dictator. They have learned, once more, as we former `white liberals’ learned in our past, anti-Rhodesian Front struggles, that a `level playing field’ is the first requisite for electoral success in a developing country. Ian Smith taught Robert Mugabe that control of all the institutions of government – which included the incorporation of the national media – was all that was needed to ensure perpetual rule for the incumbent government. It was the horrific deaths among a relatively few civilians and a miniscule, white-led military, along with a lot of external support for African nationalist freedom fighters, which succeeded in overturning 88 years of white minority rule. Without weapons or powerful external support, how could free Zimbabweans in the MDC or its leadership have forgotten those lessons of the recent past? So recent are those lessons for now, Zimbabweans will cling to peace as a preferred option. The flames of the Arab Spring’s violent revolutions are not an attractive model for change right now.
The Truth About The World’s ‘No Go’ Zones by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via stuff.co.nz – The truth about the World’s ‘No Go’ Zones “Why?” The question is a familiar one for adventurous travellers. This is just after you’ve announced your intention to go on holiday to Zimbabwe, or Iran, or Colombia, or Kashmir. It’s met with raised eyebrows, and that inquiry: why? Why? Because it’s worth it. And because it’s really not that bad. Many countries that are still popularly considered no-go zones for travellers – from members of the Axis of Evil to those with a history of conflict – suffer from little more than a bad reputation. From incredibly hospitable locals to world-class attractions with few tourists, there’s every reason to venture out and discover that the reputation rarely matches the reality. The following countries are not only vastly misunderstood, they also offer an amazing travel experience for those prepared to take a chance and see for themselves. IRANSmart Traveller advice: Reconsider your need to travel While it’s frequently portrayed as a country full of anti-Western fundamentalists, Iran is one of the friendliest places you could hope to visit, with foreigners welcomed with almost embarrassing levels of goodwill. Far from being dangerous, the main risk many visitors face is being fed too much by well-meaning hosts. “When people get to Iran they’re very surprised at how relaxed it is, and how peaceful it is, and how helpful the people are,” says Sue Badyari, the chief executive of tour operator World Expeditions. “Even when people sign up to go to Iran, they’re excited by the prospect that it’s a bit edgy, but when they get there that whole notion is very quickly dispelled.” It’s not just the local people who draw visitors but also Iran’s mosques, its historical sites, and its ancient cities such as Esfahan and Yazd. Intrepid Travel general manager Robyn Nixon says her company’s tours to Iran fill up quickly. “The experience that people have there is quite amazing,” she says. “It really changes people’s opinions quite dramatically. The hospitality, the vast range of what it has to offer in terms of architecture, food, culture … Lots of our travellers say it’s one of their favourite destinations.” COLOMBIA Smart Traveller advice: Exercise a high degree of caution Reputations die hard, and when many think of Colombia it’s paired with images of Pablo Escobar, a violent drug trade and marauding militia. While pockets of danger do still exist, Colombia has largely opened up as a tourist destination in the past five years. “There’s a hint of mystery about Colombia,” says Natalie Davidson, South America expert at Sydney-based travel agent Classic Safari Company. “But there’s more to it than that. There’s the history of the country itself, the sense of adventure in visiting, and the diversity of options for travellers, from beach holidays on the Caribbean coast or an island stay, to hiking, diving, coffee plantation stays and jungle options.” Visitors can go salsa dancing in Cali, soak up the bar scene in Medellin, tour museums in Bogota, and experience Spanish colonial charm in Popayan. And, Badyari says, it can be done in style. “The Colombians are investing heavily in infrastructure, as well as great hotels, bars and restaurants, and it really is putting itself on the map.” ZIMBABWE Smart Traveller advice: Exercise a high degree of caution “I think we hit rock bottom here,” says Sean Hind, a wildlife guide at Kanga Camp in northern Zimbabwe. “But that was a few years ago, and you definitely notice that things are getting better now.” Hind has been working in tourism in Zimbabwe for 15 years, and says changes since the 2008 election have helped tourists gain the confidence to return. “Bringing in the US dollar certainly helped to stabilise things,” he says. “And then the power-sharing agreement [between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai] … It’s definitely better.” There are many reasons to be positive about Zimbabwe. The end of the Zimbabwean dollar meant the end of spiralling inflation. Politically, too, things are looking up, with a largely peaceful – although admittedly disputed – national election held recently. Tourists are starting to trickle back into the country, attracted by the natural beauty in places such as Hwange National Park, Matopos, Mana Pools and the famous Victoria Falls. While it isn’t cheap, there’s enough infrastructure left over from Zimbabwe’s brighter days – from fly-in, fly-out safari camps to luxury hotels in Victoria Falls – to ensure that visitors have a comfortable stay. TURKEYSmart Traveller advice: Exercise a high degree of caution Turkey? What’s Turkey doing on the list? It opened up years ago; it’s part of Europe; it’s a tourism hot spot. That, at least, was true until recent unrest, when violence gripped Istanbul and many travellers began adjusting plans accordingly. But it’s not time to give up on Turkey. While you should certainly monitor government travel advisories, there are more than enough reasons to visit. “A lot of the destinations mentioned here have something in common – they’ve either had a history of civil unrest or there’s a perception that there’s a level of high risk, being Muslim countries,” Badyari says. “One thing with all of these places is that they recognise that their reputation in the tourism market is one of adversity. So when travellers do go to these countries you find the people there are extra-friendly; they go out of their way to be very helpful. Turkey is one of those.” Istanbul, the centre of the country’s recent unrest, is also its biggest tourism drawcard, with sights such as the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. If you decide to steer clear, however, there are still options such as the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia, the salt waterfalls of Pamukkale, the historical sites at Gallipoli, and sailing on the Mediterranean.PAPUA NEW GUINEA Smart Traveller advice: Exercise a high degree of caution You’re going to need to take precautions in PNG. The country is still developing, says Stuart Thompson, the sales and marketing representative for Papua New Guinea Tourism, and there are certain measures travellers should take. “You want to do your research first,” he says. “PNG Tourism recommends people travel with a trusted tour organisation; have a guide to host you, and plan your itinerary before you leave home.” What’s the pay-off? A country of 1000 different tribes and 830 spoken languages; some of the best fishing and scuba-diving in the world; vast rainforested mountain ranges; World War II history in places such as Milne Bay and Rabaul; and the Kokoda Track. Don’t fancy the hike? Take a cruise. “People like P&O and Princess Cruises are always looking for new destinations, and Papua New Guinea is that destination,” Thompson says. “I think there are eight or nine cruises being offered in the area already, mostly departing from Brisbane.” UGANDA Smart Traveller advice: Exercise a high degree of caution Still tainted by the horror of the Idi Amin regime some 30 years ago, Uganda has struggled to attract the mainstream tourism market despite its relative safety. There’s an edge to Uganda – and its draconian anti-gay laws win it few friends – but travellers still find plenty of reasons to visit. “Uganda is a bit more off-the-beaten-track,” says Julia Salnicki, Africa expert at the Classic Safari Company. “It appeals more to adventure-minded travellers who don’t want to pay the higher prices of Kenya and Tanzania.” Those willing to make the journey since Amin’s time have found a country still rich with natural beauty, from the raging waters of the infant Nile to the rolling green hills around Lake Bunyonyi. “There is also the Queen Elizabeth National Park,” says Julia, “where the highlight is a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel to see a huge variety of bird species, and there is the chance to walk in Chambura Gorge to look for chimps; and Kibale National Park is a wonderful forested park.” The primary motivation for most people to visit, however, is to spend an hour face-to-face with an endangered species in its natural habitat. “The compelling reason to go, of course, is the mountain gorillas,” says Robyn Nixon from Intrepid. “And being aware of the scarcity of the gorillas does make travellers venture to places like that.” ISRAEL Smart Traveller advice: Exercise a high degree of caution There’s no good news coming out of Israel. Flick on the TV and all you’ll see is tensions in the Gaza Strip; rockets being fired across borders; politicians muttering about war. It scares people off. “Israel is not attracting a lot of commercial interest,” Nixon admits. “There’s a view that it’s really inconsistent [in terms of safety].” But what’s it like on the ground? Joanna Savill is an Australian who has been living in Tel Aviv for the past four years. She says the reality for travellers who visit Israel rarely matches the reputation. “This tiny country is actually one of the safest places to travel, simply because of the attention to security,” Savill says. “You do have to get used to seeing 18-year-old kids carrying M16s, even on the beach, and be prepared to open your bag when you’re entering supermarkets and shopping malls. “But the rest of the time it’s one of the safest countries to be in.” Savill admits she’s had a few scares, recalling crouching in stairwells when air-raid sirens have gone off, but says the rewards are worth the risk. “Tel Aviv is a 24-hour party city that people compare with New York. It has fun city beaches, great coffee, delicious fresh food, beautiful people, and a vibrancy that Aussie cities could only dream of.” MEXICO Smart Traveller advice: Exercise a high degree of caution From drug-related violence to rampant petty crime, there are plenty of reasons for travellers to fear Mexico. It’s not safe to hail taxis. You can’t go out at night. Whole states have become war zones. While some of that may be true occasionally, with a bit of research and a few safety precautions Mexico is there to be explored. Nixon from Intrepid visited Mexico City last year and says she had a largely positive experience in a vibrant destination. “Generally speaking, I felt really safe,” she says. “I felt as if it was no different really to any big city in any part of the world. “We travelled on the metro, and went out in the evenings … Obviously I am an experienced traveller, but I felt very comfortable.” For a country supposedly so mired in turmoil, the most surprising thing about Mexico is that’s it’s a lot of fun. Hanging around a taco stand in Mexico City is fun; experiencing the Day of the Dead festival in Oaxaca is fun; lounging on the beach in Cabo San Lucas is fun. This is a country that knows how to have a good time, despite (or perhaps because of) the problems it faces. INDIA (KASHMIR) Smart Traveller advice: Reconsider your need to travel In the vastness and exoticism of India it can be easy to forget Kashmir, the troubled corner of a usually peaceful land. This disputed territory still carries certain dangers, though perhaps not as many as it used to. “There’s only very recently been any relaxation in the government advice on this region,” Badyari says. “Until very recently Kashmir was strongly advised against. The [advice] is that a road trip between Lei and Kashmir is now safe – but any other region beyond that is still ‘Do not travel’.” Of the travel operators interviewed for this story, only Classic Safari Company books trips into Kashmir, sending travellers to see the Mughal Gardens of Srinagar, the summer resort of Gulmarg, and the valley of Pahalgam. For independent travellers, the cities of Jammu and Srinagar are considered the safest to visit. For hardy travellers willing to brave the inconvenience of nightly curfews and the risk of occasional unrest, the reward is a spectacularly beautiful land in which you’ll have a rare experience in India: being one of only a handful of tourists. FIVE PLACES YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO VISIT LIBYA The home of one of the world’s most underrated tourist attractions, the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna, also has an “unpredictable security situation”. That includes the threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping. Best to leave this one for now. AFGHANISTAN A drawn-out war and the threat of Taliban attacks have rendered Afghanistan a no-go zone for travellers. Only the hardiest – or foolhardiest – would attempt a visit. However, as part of the old hippie trail, Afghanistan still has a place in our hearts. SYRIA Civil war in Syria is not just destroying lives and homes, but also centuries-old buildings and monuments. It will be a long time before Syria can be considered a tourist destination, and even then the country will sadly never be the same as it was. PAKISTAN With terrorist attacks in its cities and unrest on its borders, Pakistan is off the tourist agenda, although Smart Traveller advice for the country overall is “Reconsider your need to travel” rather than a blanket “Do not travel”, a warning confined to particular areas of the country. We hope Pakistan can recover over time – it has too much to offer in terms of culture to be completely disregarded. IRAQ Probably one of the most surprising things about Iraq is that the entire country isn’t rated “Do not travel”. The northern region of Kurdistan is a mere “Reconsider your need to travel”. Even that, however, is a very risky proposition. via The Truth About The World’s ‘No Go’ Zones | Stuff.co.nz.
Implications of the flawed 2013 elections by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via The Standard – Implications of the flawed 2013 Elections As a South African, I am troubled by President’s Jacob Zuma’s appeal to Zimbabweans to “accept the outcome of the elections”. By Leon Hartwell Why should our northern brothers and sisters accept elections that were not credible? Zuma’s statement is misleading as the real “outcome” of the elections is not the results. Rather, it is the betrayal of an ideal for which our liberation heroes in the region fought. Zuma’s initial endorsement of the process disregards the long-term damage that this election will do to an important neighbour who has not yet successfully transitioned from independence to freedom. Government exists not simply to rule, but to promote and provide a better life for its citizens. Consequently, the right to vote is essential as it acts as a cyclical safeguard to remove a government that fails to perform. This year, Zimbabweans were once again deprived of truly exercising their right to vote under free and fair conditions. To be clear, the issue is not that Zanu PF emerged as the winner of the elections. Rather, the electoral process leading up to Zanu PF’s victory has not been credible, which will have implications for Zimbabwe. What makes matters worse is that the past three years — both politically and economically — have been some of the best years Zimbabwe has had in almost a decade and a half. A lot of the progress that was made could easily be reversed. The Global Political Agreement (GPA), which came into being after Zimbabwe’s violent elections in 2008, gave birth to the Government of National Unity (GNU). The GPA was intended to “create a genuine, viable, permanent, sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwe situation”. In essence, it aimed to create a situation of sustainable peace and promote reforms in a host of areas that would make the government of Zimbabwe more accountable and democratic. The GPA also forced political parties into a series of engagement and negotiation processes which helped to build trust. After several failed attempts by political parties since 1999 to change the highest law of the land, the GNU wrote and enacted a new Constitution earlier this year. Before the elections, actors across the political divide described the process leading up to the creation of the new Constitution as a form of “national healing”. Whether the same sentiments now prevail is doubtful.Mugabe may change charter to suit himself The new Constitution could also easily be amended given Zanu PF’s two-thirds majority in Parliament and the party’s history of tampering with the highest law of the land. Since 1987, Zanu PF amended the Lancaster House Constitution, each time making it less democratic and accountable. In 1996, Zanu PF changed the first section of the Bill of Rights to a preamble, thereby diluting fundamental rights. Within hours of the elections, in his capacity as Minister of Justice and Zanu PF’s Deputy Secretary of Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa reportedly told the media that “the new Constitution may need cleaning up”. It is thus not unforeseeable that the Constitution will be amended. Even if the Constitution remains unchanged for the time being, there is a risk that important aspects of it will not be implemented. The new Constitution was negotiated with the intent that certain reforms have to be undertaken, thereby changing the relationship between the state and her citizens. More than 90% of Zimbabweans, who voted in the Referendum in March 2013, endorsed the Constitution, which means the government has a duty to implement and respect it. Key institutions — like the media, the security sector, and the judiciary — were misused in the run up to the elections. Consequently, how likely is it that the reforms related to these institutions will be implemented? Why would the rule of law and the new Constitution be observed on a daily basis if so many laws were broken in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the elections? Zimbabweans independent but without freedom President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF lay claim to the title of Zimbabwe’s “liberators” yet they continue to purposely confuse independence with freedom. Independence is simply self-rule; freedom is when a person’s liberty is promoted and protected by adherence to a host of rights. One of those fundamental rights is the right to vote under free and fair conditions. Madiba [Nelson Mandela] linked his freedom to the idea of democracy. During the Rivonia Trial in 1964, Madiba stated, “I have fought against White domination, and I have fought against Black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Economy might recede in the wake of Zanu PF victory Economic implications of the flawed election could also be severe, and in the worst case scenario, have a negative impact on the political situation. The importance of the GNU was that it helped to stimulate Zimbabwe’s economy. After years of economic depression and inflation of 6,5 quindecillion novemdecillion (i.e. 65 followed by 107 zeros) percent by December 2008, the Zimbabwean economy grew by more than 9% per annum in 2010 to 2011 before it slowed down to 5% in 2012. Zimbabwe experienced economic growth, not only due to dollarisation of the economy, but also because businesses had more confidence to invest in a country which they thought was moving in the right direction. Both local and foreign businesses will be particularly wary to invest in the Zimbabwean economy because the political and economic environment for the time being remains unpredictable. During the peak of the crisis years (1998 to 2008), Zimbabweans preferred to acquire foreign assets and keep their money in foreign bank accounts because controversial money printing caused the Zimbabwean dollar to collapse overnight; people feared expropriation and did not have confidence that the economy would bounce back. A 2008 study by Léonce Ndikumana and James Boyce found that Zimbabwe’s external assets were 5,1 times higher than the country’s entire debt stocks, demonstrating a huge lack of trust in the Zimbabwean economy. Today, Zimbabweans remain wary of Zanu PF’s policy as set out in its 2013 election manifesto to re-introduce the Zimbabwean dollar. Furthermore, according to Zanu PF’s election manifesto, there could be major problems for the 1,138 “foreign-owned companies” that have been targeted for indigenisation. Zimbabwe’s external debt, which is said to be US$10,7 billion, is unsustainable and requires careful management as well as possible debt forgiveness. It will be interesting to see how creditors will react to Zimbabwe’s flawed electoral process. If Zimbabwe is unable to deal with the debt situation and fails to channel more money (including diamond revenue) into the country’s treasury, then attempts to get lines of credit from non-transparent sources could increase, leaving the country in a more vulnerable position. Zuma’s statement urging Zimbabweans to simply accept the results of the elections pays little attention to the seriousness of the situation at hand. Many Zimbabweans feel cheated because the credibility of the process that produced Zanu PF’s victory was deeply flawed, thereby also betraying the essence of democracy. The implication is the return and increase of mistrust and suspicion, and possibly also the reversal of many political and economic achievements by the GNU. For the time being, the country’s transition from independence to freedom remains unresolved. *Leon Hartwell is an independent political analyst
Tsvangirai explains why he withdrew presidential election court challenge by ZimSitRep – 08-18-2013
via Tsvangirai explains why he withdrew presidential election court challenge — Nehanda Radio By Morgan Tsvangirai There have been many questions on why we withdrew the presidential election court challenge. Our National Executive met on Friday and we were given a report by our lawyers stating that there were two problems confronting the court challenge. One was that our application to get necessary information from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had been deferred without any conclusion so that heavily prejudiced our ability to present our case. The second was that the Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had narrowed down the petition to one based on affidavits. We had hoped that it would be an open court with witnesses being called in to testify. Because of those two roadblocks placed our way it was futile to proceed with the case. It became very clear to us that this case was being predetermined. Many of you have been made to believe that this marks the end of the road for us, that by withdrawing the court case, we have conceded defeat. Nothing could be further from the truth. The struggle has not ended. It is just starting. This was just the legal route. The struggle continues in the political arena. We have never closed our avenue to continue with the political struggle. This is a political crisis and it requires a political solution. I still enjoy the mandate of my party as well as the support of millions of people who voted for change on July 31. Using that mandate, I will continue serving the people until we achieve the desired results.
Zimbabwe: Declining Deflation in Zimbabwe Boosts Tm Supermarkets by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via AllAfrica.com – Zimbabwe: Declining Deflation in Zimbabwe Boosts Tm Supermarkets By Tawanda Karombo Turnover at Pick n Pay’s Zimbabwean joint venture TM Supermarkets grew by 5% during the quarter period to the end of June as the supermarket chain continues to boost its presence in the country by adding more outlets. By increasing the number of its stores’ TM Supermarkets is hoping to compete with rival operator OK Zimbabwe. Although experts say retail margins dropped 3%-5% from a high base of about 20% in the past four years’ operators still believe the sector presents significant opportunities’ hence a rush to revamp outlets and introduce new stores by operators. Analysts said on Thursday that the 5% growth in turnover for TM Supermarkets had been aided by declining inflation in Zimbabwe. The inflation rate in Zimbabwe has been projected to close 2013 at about 3%’ down from an earlier projection of 5%’ with officials attributing this to a weaker rand. Despite a relatively stable inflation outlook’ economic difficulties that Zimbabwe has encountered before and after elections in the country could put pressure on margins for most retail operators in the country. President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party won the elections amid allegations of vote manipulation. “Inflation has been controlled within target and’ thanks to a weaker rand’ the retailers are importing stock using a currency that is weak. But the overall picture remains of a struggling economy that is unable to function properly as evidenced by high imports'” said economist Johannes Kwangwari. TM Supermarkets is revamping its outlets in Harare’ Gweru and Masvingo’ the company said on Thursday. Two more outlets are planned to open before the end of the current financial year’ a development that is expected to further strengthen the group’s retail presence. “Trading in TM Supermarkets was within expectations for the quarter ended June 30 2013. Turnover grew by 5% compared to the corresponding period in 2012′” Meikles Africa said. Meikles has a 51% stake in TM Supermarkets. It said gross margins were similar to those achieved in previous trading periods. Although there was a marked economic slow-down ahead of the Zimbabwean elections’ Meikles said the election period did not disrupt business. “However’ business across the board slowed down’ while these processes (referendum and elections) were underway. The markets became more illiquid; turnover on the stock market reduced’ bank deposits decreased and it was reported by Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries that capacity utilisation dropped to 45% from 55% in 2012.” Earnings before interest’ tax’ depreciation and amortisation in the supermarkets division jumped more than 50% to $11.2m during the year period to end March. Looking ahead’ Meikles said it was working on various initiatives to safeguard and improve its performance. “We expect the new government to play its part by putting in place policies that promote a conducive economic environment to attract both local and foreign investors'” the company said.
Chidyausiku Summons Tsvangirai’s Lawyers Despite Poll Petition Withdrawal by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via RadioVop Zimbabwe – Chidyausiku Summons Tsvangirai’s Lawyers Despite Poll Petition Withdrawal. Chidyausiku Summons Tsvangirai’s Lawyers Despite Poll Petition Withdrawal By Professor Matodzi Harare, August 17, 2013 – Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has summoned MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers together with those representing President Robert Mugabe to appear in court on Monday despite the withdrawal of an election petition challenging the octogenarian leader’s claim to victory in last month’s polls. Chidyausiku summoned the lawyers to appear before a full bench of the Constitutional Court on Monday morning without elaborating on what he would want addressed even though Tsvangirai dropped his poll petition. On Friday, Chidyausiku cancelled the sitting of the Constitutional Court, which had been scheduled for Saturday after the MDC-T leader withdrew his election petition challenging Mugabe’s victory in the Constitutional Court. The former trade union leader withdrew his petition in protest against the respondents’ attitude. The respondents include President Mugabe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice Rita Makarau, the elections management body’s head and Lovemore Sekeramayi, ZEC’s chief elections officer. He said High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu had not granted him an order allowing him access to all the voting and election material which he had requested through two urgent chamber applications in the Electoral Court. This he said seriously handicapped his “prosecution of the petition”. The respondents reneged on Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s instruction to file court papers including the heads of argument by Friday. Chidyausiku made the order when he met legal representatives for Tsvangirai and all the respondents on Wednesday during a case management meeting. He also stated that Mugabe had made some unsavoury comments at the Heroes Acre criticising his decision to approach the courts in the presence of Chidyausiku, who was expected to preside over the poll petition. He also protested against adverse pre-trial publicity which has been championed by the state-run media, particularly the Herald. Tsvangirai vowed to pursue democratic means to fight Mugabe’s claim to victory in last month’s election in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared the Zanu PF leader as the winner of the presidential election with 61 percent of the vote while Tsvangirai garnered 33 percent.
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe to be sworn in Thursday: aide by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via Times LIVE – Zimbabwe’s Mugabe to be sworn in Thursday: aide Sapa-AFP Robert Mugabe will be sworn in on Thursday, beginning a fresh five-year mandate as Zimbabwe’s president following a disputed election, his spokesman said. “It is now this Thursday,” George Charamba told AFP on the sidelines of a summit of southern African leaders in Malawi. On Friday Mugabe’s main challenger, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew a legal challenge to the election result, claiming the courts would not be fair. That removed the last hurdle to 89-year-old Mugabe’s inauguration for a seventh term. Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, first took the reins of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980 as prime minister. He became president following a constitutional amendment in 1987. Southern African leaders attending the summit had earlier endorsed the result of the election that extended his 33-year rule, congratulating him for holding peaceful elections. Asked whether regional leaders would attend the swearing-in, Charamba said that “everybody will be invited”.
Billionaire Mo Ibrahim blasts Africa’s ageing crop of leaders by ZimSitRep – 08-18-2013
via Billionaire Mo Ibrahim blasts Africa’s ageing crop of leaders – #Zimbabwe independent daily news online Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim on Saturday castigated Africa’s ageing leaders for crowding out young blood. The philanthropist said the average age of leaders on the African continent was around 60 years, yet half of the population was under the age of 19. Speaking at a lecture in honour of South Arica’s first black president Nelson Mandela, the businessman drew comparisons between African and American leaders. “People in their 40s are being elected to run a country which is not only the greatest superpower, but has a GDP … of 15-trillion dollars a year — 15 times the total economy of Africa.” “And here we have somebody in a neighbouring country, at 90 about to start a new term. What’s wrong with us?” Ibrahim said, alluding to Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who at 89 was last month re-elected in disputed polls that extended his 33-year rule by a fresh five-year term. Ibrahim said that had Obama’s father taken him back to Kenya when he was still a boy, “where would he be today? My guess, he would never (have) been president of Kenya.” He urged Africa to create space for young people to help in running and developing the continent. “That is the challenge we need to think of,” said Ibrahim, who is in his sixties. The telecoms tycoon has set up the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership — the world’s biggest individual prize — awarded to a democratically-elected African leader who has served their mandated term and left office in the last three years. Last year it was not awarded for a third time in four years as no suitable candidates were found. Launched in 2006, it carries a $5 million prize paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on, with a further $200,000 per year available for 10 years for good causes backed by the winner. The inaugural prize went to former president Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 2007 and Botswana’s ex-president Festus Mogae won in 2008. Former Cape Verde president Pedro Pires won the 2011 prize.
No to prostitution at UNWTO: Mzembi by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via Daily News – No to prostitution at UNWTO: Mzembi Sharon Muguwu HARARE – Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has dismissed any hopes and thoughts of legalising prostitution ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference. Mzembi told the Daily News that there was no way they would legalise prostitution as it goes against religious and national values. “We are a Christian nation, we are guided by Christian ethics and they do not allow such practices. Our own cultural values and ideologies do not accommodate that at all. I am not saying it’s not there, that people are not practising it but we will not legalise it. Mzembi went on to add, “In fact, each delegate has been given a provision to bring along a spouse or partner and there are activities lined up for them. The spouse/partner team will be led by my wife Barbara who will entertain them and promote tourism, moving around with them during the course of the conference. I am actually seeing Victoria Falls as a family destination and my future plans if I am retained is to modernise the tourist destination. I will not mess around with the natural heritage.” “We have identified an area (1 200 hectares) which we can turn into a modern destination. It will be a co-heritage of the Victoria Falls; we are looking at near the airport and outside the environs of the natural place. We intend on building convention centres; we are coming up with an activity menu that will involve the youth,” he said. The minister said they wanted to build a strong economy from the popular tourist destination. “It will be just like what they have done at the Niagra Falls — this is not something from the textbook but it’s something we have been looking at. I have been looking at the destination’s rivals and they are doing well in terms of revenue generation. The Niagra Falls generates about $30 billion per year, while the Victoria Falls generates about $1,5 billion, both economies combined,” he said. Following the recent harmonised elections, Mzembi admitted that things have improved significantly from bookings to everything else. “We have been overwhelmed by the reactions following the elections. Many countries confirmed their attendance following the passing of the elections and for us this is a vote of confidence from the world to show that the elections have been endorsed.” “We however appeal to our own private sector that are holding on to rooms to give way to the visitors because we are experiencing a challenge there, the rooms are not enough.” He added that measures had been put in place to make sure that the delegates are connected with the outside world through accessible Internet services. The conference will run from August 24-29. More than 1 200 delegates, among them ministers of tourism from 186 countries, captains of the tourism industry, tourist wholesalers and stakeholders will be present. The UNWTO membership includes 161 nations and more than 300 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities. The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, ZTA will host a Tourism Night to welcome visitors and musicians billed to perform on 24 August include Alick Macheso, Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Mokoomba, Mbira Dzenharira, Sandra Ndebele, Suluman Chimbetu and Victoria Falls-based band Chicken Bus. The musical will take place at Victoria Falls Primary School where musicians that composed the UNWTO theme song will have a chance to perform it.
Analysis Zimbabwe: SADC Endorsement of Mugabe Last Chance by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via Zimeye – Zimbabwe: SADC Endorsement of Mugabe Last Chance By Chris Tongogara Saturday’s endorsement of Robert Mugabe’s so called election victory against opponents should be swallowed with a pinch of salt. Despite the regional fathers yesterday calling Mugabe by the para-prefix ‘Comrade,’ congratulating him for conducting a ‘peaceful’ election, Mugabe and his ZANU PF party should understand they are now in a corner which the world now sits pop-corn in hand to see how well they can manage a country post election. Reality begins here. Some Special Words For ZANU PF First of all I meant to painfully and regrettably congratulate you for the “sweeping victory” over the opposition. You claim you won but in truth and fact, you stole the election in broad day light. While you have chosen to fool the world through an open rigging process, at least behind closed doors and in your hearts, you know what you did. You can’t believe you are back in action via the back door. While your loyal friends and sheepish comrades in the SADC and AU have endorsed your victory, the onus is now on your doorsteps to deliver what you promised. We will be here on the terraces watching you play your game. The starting point is to choose a vibrant cabinet. You need innovative people who think and lead the country to another level. It’s about time you dropped dead wood among your ranks and all the screamingly corrupt souls among you. Those who have been indolent, unproductive, unreasonable and confused in office must go. Those who have elbowed their way in and survived by threats and intimidation must also go. Simultaneously, Mr. President, please shrink the bloated cabinet. There are too many duplicated ministries for no reason. As an example why should we have two ministries of education instead of one? Primary & Secondary Education should be merged with Higher Education just to become Ministry of Education. Ministry of Industry & Commerce, Economic Development, Indigenization & Empowerment, should just become one solid entity as Ministry of Energy and Transport must be a single entity. The list is endless and the duplicitousness is just overboard. Then you hear about Ministers without Portfolio. Seriously? I would also advise your Zanu PF leaders to stop being obsessed with taunting the West. It would appear like you have lots of regrets than joy in not being associated with the West. With China at hand, why should you lose sleep over sanctions? In any case aren’t these just travel restrictions that you use as “economic sanctions” to fool Chimbwido, Povo and unenlightened mjibha in the streets. You know the truth. Liaise with China, India, South Africa and Iran. Seek aid and move on. There is nothing the West has that is not available in the said countries. There is still life without the West. It’s pointless to keep pouting about other sovereignties that have their own life and do not care a dot about you. Also return to the grassroots people and apologize for the ill treatment that you have given them for the last 33 years. They have voted for you religiously and you have paid them with torture, violence and harassment. Added to that, you have insulted them with empty promises. This time, if you are a party whose leaders have blood and hearts, start living responsibly. Go back to the people and deliver on your promises. Try to seek rapport and make peace with those villagers whose wishes you have sacrificed for three decades. People are not fools. Five years is just around the corner. Cut foreign trips and unnecessary spending as you prioritize on revamping the ailing economy. In the same width, please stop using Air Zimbabwe as your party taxi cab. When you make use of the national airline, please settle your bills in a timely manner as ethical people. This time make sure you report true earnings of the diamond to the people. The ordinary Zimbabwean is sick and tired of knowing what the country has but is failing to do through because of one or poor leadership. We have enough resources on diamond to turn the economy around and move towards sustaining ourselves. But through selfish acts, we keep extending the begging bowl to embarrassing levels. To Zanu PF this is normal and there is nothing to be ashamed of. This is wrong. On the idea of creating a “Blacks Only” Stock exchange. Please stop fooling yourselves and do not get carried away by self-serving cheap pub talk that works well for inebriated plebeians. We do not live in an economic vacuum where we call the shots, make rules and still expect the world to treat us seriously. Once we sound racist or immature on economic practices, despite our right to our resources, we have started digging our own graves and soon we could be back to 2005 poverty. In the same breadth some so-called leaders’ mouths need to be guarded because the childish vitriol uttered in some quarters only works to scare the investor and the banker away. Without a serious investor, we will only have chicken farmers and opaque beer sellers. This is an already consumerist economy of cheap food stuffs and clothes and there won’t be much to improve our fledgling economy. Cheap talk and politicking will do more harm than good for a once promising Zimbabwe. The sad thing is some of these leaders need control to know how to choose words and open their mouths at the right moment. Some words go far and only return to hound the economy. So talker beware! My last advice to Zanu PF is to kindly ask them to respect our education system. Please pay the teachers and police more money to serve well. Stop making endless empty promises and convert diamond wealth into civil servants salaries as well as capital injection for industry and commerce. With such bold baby steps, we could be heading somewhere. Otherwise the next five years could be the worse season in Zimbabwe history as some redundant leaders are re-cycled in a tired cabinet without any ideas on how to lead the nation and turn things around. Talk is cheap and it takes wisdom and true leadership to serve and make a difference. You have all the tools to run government and now on your own in cabinet. We will be waiting to see how you will deliver without anyone to blame for your failures.
What to do when there is no Justice by Shelley – 08-18-2013
via The Zimbabwean – What to do when there is no Justice Eddie Cross I believe that we as white Africans, with our difficult background and links, must earn the right to be recognised as Africans in every sense of the word. Many people are asking why we went into this election. In the rallies leading up to the election, Morgan Tsvangirai stated repeatedly that no matter what the outcome of the election, it was fraudulent. He knew that for four years Zanu PF had not been sincere about establishing the conditions for a free and fair poll. Instead they had been working feverishly behind closed doors to manipulate the conditions under which the elections would be held and flatly refused to implement the measures required. This was a “do or die” exercise for them knowing that in 2008 they had been beaten by a much weaker MDC and simply could not stand up to a genuine electoral process in any form. Not one of the reforms demanded and agreed under the Global Political Agreement were implemented. Instead they repeatedly tried to conjure up justification for a snap election where the MDC would have to meet them on the electoral battlefield under the conditions they needed to be able to deliver a result at will. They first tried this in 2010, then repeatedly through 2011, 2012 before finally getting what they wanted through the use of a Supreme Court bench that was totally subverted and under their direct control and direction. The ambush was carefully planned – they waited until the end of the life of the Parliament and Presidential tenure in June and then secured a decision by the Constitutional Court to the effect that the elections had to be held on the 31st July. MDC protested as did all the other political parties and a joint approach was made to the SADC to demand the full implementation of agreed electoral reforms and for this purpose, an extension to the poll date to allow the changes to take place. A second session of the Constitutional Court was held where these demands were brushed aside and the SADC leadership felt that nothing more could be done to get the necessary reforms put in place. And so Zimbabwe went into an election which was firstly, illegal in terms of our own laws and the principles that under pinned the GPA which was designed to help us resolve our deep seated difficulties. The President then used a piece of legislation that he should not have used under the new constitution to ram through the required electoral regulations that would govern the election itself. He did that in 2005 to give him conditions that clearly distorted the subsequent electoral process. In the process they disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of citizens who had voted in earlier elections. This was followed by a totally flawed and manipulated voter registration exercise which left over a million young urban voters unregistered and denying voter rights to hundreds of thousands of people classified under the previous constitution as “aliens”. Then we discovered that they had employed an Israeli firm “Nikov” to assist with the manipulation of the voters roll. This had been taken from the Registrar Generals Office to the Military Headquarters in Harare and despite strenuous efforts we were unable to get a copy of the roll until about six weeks before the poll and the voter registration exercise. An analysis of this version of the roll revealed huge discrepancies – hundreds of thousands of dead voters, voters moved out of their electoral Districts, altered registration numbers, half a million duplicated names with genuine ID numbers. 73 Constituencies had more voters than population. The agency responsible for the analysis met with the Electoral Commission and then wrote to them raising these matters on the 22nd and the 24th of June, with no response or explanation. To date we have not been given access to the roll in digital form despite Court orders and a clear constitutional obligation. The entire electoral process was fraught with irregularities and illegal aspects – ballot papers were printed in a factory linked to the Police and in total secrecy. Millions of ballot papers are unaccounted for in the process. Immediately before the poll, rumors swept the country that the pens used in the polling stations would fade after use leaving the ballot paper blank. Then an even more specific allegation that some of the ballots had been printed in Israel on special paper that would automatically erase the original marks and create a cross against the vote for Mugabe. In a recent e mail, I received a note from a person who had worked in the industry for 30 years and who claimed that this was possible. The law states quite clearly that no voter shall vote unless they are on the voters roll – ZEC allowed hundreds of thousands to vote on “Interim Voter Registration Slips” – backdated and circulated in blank form to all Districts well before the ballot. When the special ballot was organised for those officials who would be on duty on the day, applications were made for more than double the theoretical numbers involved and thousands of young Police “recruits” – probably from Militia Camps tried to vote – leading to an illegal extension of voting and even then the ZEC tried to get those denied the special vote, the right to vote on the day – a right that many exercised opening, the possibility of duplicate voting throughout the country. To date no reconciliation has been made available of either ballots or special votes. Then on the day they allowed 200 000 people to vote under assistance and 400 000 people who had voted in previous elections were denied the right to vote. Traditional leaders in all areas supervised their people before and after voting reinforced by threats that if villages voted MDC, the war would resume, or the armed forces would mete out retribution. Finally, informal polling stations sprouted up in many areas and in addition polling agents and even observers were intimidated and driven out of targeted areas. In one Constituency in the midlands we have confirmed 14000 false ballots for the position of President. Under the new dispensation we had very little time to mount an objection to the Poll and we submitted our challenge to the presidential ballot on Friday the 9th of August. Under the new Constitution this Court hearing is described as a trial. We expected therefore to call experts and actual witnesses as well as physical evidence gleaned from the ballot boxes that had been sealed on the day of the vote. These are all in Harare under the control of ZEC. To get access we needed the Electoral Court to rule that we should be given access to the boxes and their contents. On the 14th of August the Court sat and the Judge declared that he was “reserving judgment indefinitely”. The day before this decision the Chief Justice declared that the hearing of the Constitutional Court to decide on the merits of our challenge to the presidential ballot would not hear witnesses or live evidence but would be based solely on the material contained in our original petition to the Court. It was clear to us at that juncture that we could not expect justice in any form from our Courts. That the hearing on the 17th August (an unheard of practice where the entire Bench would sit on a Saturday morning) would simply be a repeat of the Court hearing in July when it was used to tie the hands of the SADC and force through the snap election. We met as a National Executive and resolved to deny them the right to abuse our system for political ends and leave the planned summit of regional leaders hands free to decide on the elections on a purely political basis. Late on Friday afternoon we withdrew our challenge to the presidential ballot. Now SADC leaders have met and have ruled (as expected) that the ballot was acceptable. Nothing now stands in the way of Zanu PF to swear in Mugabe for his 7th term in office. It’s a sick joke – the whole thing, in my view it ranks with the standing ovation given to Idi Amin by the AU when he was committing genocide in Uganda and eventually had to be driven into exile by a military invasion from Tanzania. It’s no wonder the rest of the world finds it difficult to take us seriously.