TEXT only 21 August 2013


Zim’s Court Upholds Mugabe Election Victory by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via [FFZE] Zim’s Highest Court Upholds Mugabe Election Victory – Zimbabwe Election: Latest News & Voting Information by Don Gwara, Nicollete Zulu and George Mpofu for FFZE Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court has declared President Robert Mugabe the winner of the July 31 elections and dismissed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s court petition for a re-run with costs. The Court said the elections were free, fair and credible and called for the arrest of Mr Tsvangirai’s lawyers for describing the judiciary as an extension of ZANU-PF. The Court went ahead with the case even after Mr Tsvangirai withdrew his petition on Friday after he was denied crucial materials needed to back up vote rigging charges against Mr Mugabe.

Electoral Court orders arrest of Tsvangirai lawyers by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via BREAKING NEWS: Electoral Court orders arrest of Tsvangirai lawyers | The Herald Herald Reporter Justice Chinembiri Bhunu has ordered the arrest of lawyers representing Mr Morgan Tsvangirai after the Electoral Court dismissed the MDC-T leader’s application which sought to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release of election material used in the 2013 harmonised election. The arrests will be for the “averments” made by the MDC-T leader against the judiciary. Mr Tsvangirai was represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri as lead counsel and Mr Chris Mhike of Atherstone and Cook was the instructing attorney. The MDC-T was reported to have said Zimbabwe’s judiciary was an appendage of Zanu-PF and hence his efforts to quash the victory of President Mugabe would, in his view, hit a brickwall.

Zimbabwe Railways Boss Dies in Car Accident by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Zimbabwe Railways Boss Dies in Car Accident  via VOA Zimbabwe National Railways of Zimbabwe general manager Retired Air Commodore Michael Karakadzai died at Mater Dei Hospital this morning after suffering serious injuries in a car accident along the Bulawayo-Harare road. Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that Karakadzai died soon after admission at the hospital after his car hit a stray animal in Shangani, an area bordering Matabeleland North and South provinces. Charamba said the vehicle of the late NRZ boss overturned after hitting the animal. No further details were given by the police who said investigations are in progress. In Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, NRZ board chairman Kotsho Dube said in a statement the death of the railways boss was a blow to the parastatal which was in the process of reviving operations after decades of loses. The late Karakadzai is among several top army officers who were drafted by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government into state enterprises in 2005. He obtained a Graduate Diploma in Purchasing and Supply from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply in the United Kingdom. Karakadzai also attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in the U.K where he obtained a Masters Degree in Strategic Defence Studies. Australia placed him and other senior army officers under targeted sanctions for allegedly spearheading President Mugabe’s violent presidential election re-run in 2008. At the time of his death, the NRZ was failing to pay workers’ salaries due to serious operational problems. Karakadzai claimed that the parastatal was failing to get external investment as a result of sanctions imposed on him and top Zanu PF officials.

UN hypocrisy slammed ahead of Zim tourism meeting by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via UN ‘hypocrisy’ slammed ahead of Zim tourism meeting | SW Radio Africa  by Alex Bell The United Nations (UN) continues to face serious criticism for ‘legitimising’ the Robert Mugabe regime, by allowing a UN tourism conference to go ahead as planned in Victoria Falls this weekend. Preparations for the high level World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly are almost complete, and more than 140 delegates have so far registered to be part of the conference that begins Saturday. The meeting is being co hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia, and Zimbabwe’s tourism ministry has been busy using the event as an opportunity to re-launch the country as a desirable tourism destination. But the meeting comes as the fallout of the July 31st elections continues, with incidents of intimidation, violence, political reprisals and targeted political harassment on the rise. The election itself remains highly disputed, with evidence being gathered proving that the vote was manipulated to secure a ZANU PF victory. UN Watch, an international group that monitors of the performance of the UN, has called for a boycott of the meeting. The group’s Executive Director Hillel Neuer told SW Radio Africa last week that the UN risked discrediting itself and what it stands for, by allowing the meeting to go ahead. “We cannot understand how a major UN body would decide to legitimise that government. The government is also using this (the meeting) for propaganda reasons and we think this is the wrong place and the wrong time,” Neuer said. Human rights activist Ephraim Tapa told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the UN’s decision to allow Zimbabwe to host the meeting is “hypocrisy at its worst.” “We would have thought this was a good opportunity for the UN to remain true to its values of freedom, of human rights, the rule of law and democracy, which in Zimbabwe were sold short,” Tapa said. He added: “So we are surprised, we are concerned. If this is the stance of the United Nations, then where else can Zimbabweans turn to (for human rights protection)?” The UN meeting comes as Mugabe has been endorsed by the regional SADC bloc as the legitimate President of Zimbabwe, disregarding reports of vote rigging that marred the electoral process last month. SADC has also taken a further step in bringing Mugabe back into the fold, by appointing him to the Deputy Chairmanship of the grouping, a move that puts him next in line for the Chairmanship next year. This decision is being highly criticised, because of Mugabe’s legacy of human rights abuses. “SADC has ditched us. So the people of Zimbabwe must realise that it is none other than ourselves who must confront this dictatorship and all those who acquiesce with his (Mugabe’s) actions,” Tapa said.

Norway urges widespread audit of development loans by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Norway urges widespread audit of development loans | Public Finance International  By Mark Smulian | 20 August 2013 An audit of debts owed by developing countries to Norway should inspire other countries to examine poor past lending decisions, the country’s international development minister has said. A Deloitte team looked at 34 of Norway’s loan contracts with Egypt, Indonesia, Burma, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, finding that four violated United Nations principles on responsible lending. The four projects highlighted were Deloitte were:  a wave power plant in Indonesia where there were concerns about its technical and commercial viability; serious design faults in a vessel subject to guarantee in Myanmar; allegations of weapon and drug dealing by a Pakistani buyer having been published before a guarantee was issued; and a Zimbabwean state-owned buyer being the subject to widespread allegations of corruption several years before the guarantees were issued. Deloitte said it had not found evidence to suggest that the Norwegian companies were involved in any allegations of corruption. Norway’s international development minister Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås said the audit had prompted a review of unmanageable debt burdens, among the fundamental causes of poverty in developing countries.‘Although the solvency of many countries, such as Brazil, is improving, the debt burden is hampering development in some poor countries,’ Holmås said. ‘These countries are having difficulty servicing old debt agreements made on unfavourable terms. We now want to address this.’ Holmås said Norway had over the last eight years cancelled foreign country debt equivalent to €910m. ‘I urge other countries to follow suit,’ he added.

Zimbabwe Manufacturers Ask Government to Cut Taxes, Mint Coins by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Zimbabwe Manufacturers Ask Government to Cut Taxes, Mint Coins – Bloomberg  By Godfrey Marawanyika Zimbabwe’s manufacturers asked the government to cut taxes and mint coins to boost demand for local goods, stimulate the economy and help reduce the perception of risk in the economy. Local currency coins, paired with the current multi-currency system, would boost local trade, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said in a letter to the government obtained by Bloomberg News. The government should also cut income and value-added taxes to promote spending and boost production, the Harare-based group said. “Currently the high cost of production is rendering local goods uncompetitive,” the group said. “There is need to stimulate consumption in the local market.” Zimbabwe needs to manage perceptions of political risk to businesses and restore confidence in the financial markets to extend four years of economic growth after President Robert Mugabe was re-elected on July 31. Mugabe plans to seize control of foreign-owned mines without paying for them and pay for stakes in banks as part of a program to accumulate $7 billion in assets for blacks, Saviour Kasukuwere, the minister in charge of the program said on Aug. 6. The stock market has plunged 21 percent since the polls, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Since disputed elections in 2008, the government dropped the Zimbabwean dollar for the rand and U.S. dollar in 2009 to help quell inflation that soared to an estimated 500 billion percent. There is often a shortage of smaller-denomination bills in the foreign currencies, making it harder to do business. The economy shrunk 39 percent in the eight years through 2008 after Mugabe began a campaign to seize white-owned farms to redistribute to black subsistence farmers.

Bank Sues Zim’s New Farmers Over Loans by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via RadioVop Zimbabwe – Bank Sues Zim’s New Farmers Over Loans  By Criswell Chisango Several new farmers who confiscated farms under the government backed and often violent land reform programme are seeing red after one of the country’s leading commercial banks filed lawsuits against them for allegedly defaulting in repaying loans advanced during the 2009-10 farming season. Samuel Muyemeki of Mapira and Associates Legal Practitioners, who is representing six farmers facing litigation recently applied for a postponement of the matter in which CBZ Bank is suing the new farmers for defaulting on paying back loans on the basis that there had been some developments after the summons were issued. ‘’There were some developments between the days that summons were issued as there were deductions and adjustments made by the government. The plaintiff (CBZ Bank) was reluctant to give statements and it is defective as the bank is claiming high figures when government paid at least 75 percent of loans advanced’’ Muyemeki told the court. However, Bruce Tokwe of Titan Law Chambers representing CBZ Bank insisted that the matter be heard urgently. ‘’The law of contract is based on repayment of loans advanced and these contracts were simple as the defendants (new farmers) flouted in repaying loans advanced by my client. To make such an application is embarrassing and flouting the rule of the honorable court. The defendants failed to repay loans advanced to them and you can read outside the contract’’ said Tokwe. Magistrate Robson Finsin will on August 27, 2013 deliver a ruling on the matter in which CBZ is seeking an order compelling the new farmers to repay the loans in full. Farmers, who grabbed farms under the Zanu PF -led land grab exercise are battling to restrain local banks from attaching their farming equipment after they failed to repay loans advanced in 2009-10 season. CBZ’s Karoi branch has taken nearly 50 farmers to court over unpaid loans advanced to them to fund working capital and purchase farm inputs three years ago. However, the farmers most of whom were ‘’self-actors’’ are protesting the bank’s demands as unwarranted as they got the inputs late while some of the inputs were never delivered to them by the bank. One of the farmers said CBZ turned the loans into overdrafts which became costly to them. ‘’CBZ was quick to sue farmers when they had breached the contract by not providing farmers with fertilizers especially Ammonium Nitrate that has been promised. CBZ issued us with vouchers when they knew they had not procured fertilizer’’ said James Mandeya, a farmer in Tengwe about 50 kilometers west of Karoi town. According to some farmers, the CBZ vouchers were not redeemable anywhere except at the Grain Marketing Board that had no fertilizer for them but was selling only for cash at the time. ‘’I am surprised why CBZ is taking such drastic measures against us as we never got all inputs on time. I got part of the inputs in November after the rainy season and that was a loss for the majority of us’’ said Mhoidian Nyakambangwe, who is being sued for over $22 000. ‘’My vouchers specify that I got half of the amount of inputs charged here. My appeal is for the Government to intervene and save us. If they can write off rates in all councils why not assist us by offsetting the mounting debts’’ pleaded Nyakambangwe in an interview with Radio VOP held in Karoi. Economist, Godfrey Kanyenze, founding Director of Labour and Economic Development Institute of Zimbabwe attributed the failure by farmers to repay loans as uncertainty in the farming sector. “It is unfortunate that producer prices were determined during selling seasons but farmers could not plan to see if the crop they want is viable. The uncertainty within farming sector affects cash crop production. It is a challenge faced by those who want to sponsor farming ventures and it is risky” said Kanyenze.

Councillor Muzuva elected Harare Deputy Mayor by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Councillor Muzuva elected Harare Deputy Mayor | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe Kambuzuma Councillor, Thomas Muzuva, (MDC-T) was today elected as the Deputy Mayor for Harare. MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, confirmed the development to The Zimbabwean. Mwonzora said Muzuva was elected by a special caucus of elected councillors. “Councillor Muzuva of Kambuzuma has been elected the Deputy Mayor for Harare by a special caucus of councillors who won in the just ended elections. His election was held in the most transparent manner,” said Mwonzora. He added that the process of choosing mayors and deputy mayors in other areas where the MDC-T won in the July 31 elections was ongoing. He said candidates have already been shortlisted in the respective areas. “As for the other areas, the process is still ongoing. Candidates have been shortlisted already so what is left is to determine the people that would be occupying those positions,” said Mwonzora.

Zim’s inflation continues falling by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Zim’s inflation continues falling | The Zimbabwean by Clemence Machadu The country’s inflation has been on a consecutive downward spiral over the past six months, with a cumulative marginal fall of 1.73 percent. What is more interesting is that the monthly margin by which inflation is falling continues to even grow bigger. If that trend continues steadily, we will have deflation before the end of the year. The latest inflation rate for the month of July, released yesterday, saw inflation substantially falling down to 1.25 percent. Inflation topped 2.98 percent in February 2013, but fell down by 0.22 percent to 2.76 percent in March. It continued to fall in April, by a marginal 0.27 percent, to 2.49 percent. Come May it sheds 0.29 percent, to land at 2.2 percent. June saw inflation again falling down by 0.33 percent to 1.87 percent. The biggest fall in inflation was realised last month, when inflation fell down by 0.62 percent to 1.25 percent. Zimbabwe’s inflation is the lowest in SADC region and the continued fall will further improve the attractiveness of the country’s macroeconomic environment. The sustained fall in inflation means that the real consumption levels of Zimbabwean consumers is going up, albeit with the same level of income, thereby improving their standard of living. It also gives households the incentive to save, thereby improving the country’s liquidity. The low inflation rate is also ideal for attracting foreign investors. A stable inflation rate is indispensable for planning purposes, as companies’ and national budgets will not be eroded, resulting in budget deficits. Analysts are even forecasting that inflation will continue on a downward trend for the next months.

Victoria Falls Bridge in the bright lights by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Telecel lights up UNWTO | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile phone firm, Telecel, has contributed towards the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly through a $100, 000 project that will see the lighting up of the Victoria Falls bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Zimbabwe and Zambia will co-host the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly which is set to be held from August 24-29 this year in Victoria Falls and Livingstone, respectively. The bridge illumination, according to the mobile network firm, has a provision for up to 1,8 million colour options and will continue for 15 years. “The project, which is the first of its kind, is being worked on through several partners, most notably SSLI and Philips Electronics. Telecel will also ensure that its voice and data services are optimised for visitors to the Victoria Falls,” read the statement. Telecel General Manager, Angeline Vere, said the bridge linking Zimbabwe and Zambia is not only an iconic monument but symbolises the link between the two countries. “The bridge not only links Zambia and Zimbabwe with one another but it is a shared structure jointly owned by the two countries. As such it can be seen as a symbol of the ties that bind the two countries together and of their joint hosting of the UNWTO general assembly. “Moreover, since Telecel is paying for the illumination of the bridge for the next 15 years, it will be a lasting monument to the holding of this assembly and continue no doubt to delight visitors to the Victoria Falls,” said Vere.

Africa’s greatest living Englishman reduced to idiot status by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Africa’s greatest living Englishman reduced to idiot status | Columnists | BDlive BY SIMON LINCOLN READER THAT Robert Mugabe is hopping mad is not surprising. His Ghanaian first wife’s family kept his (then) siphoned loot in that country when she died; his second wife behaves like a cross between Imelda Marcos and Linda Lovelace. The media accuses him of being much older than he actually is; he despises black peasants — in a black country largely reduced to peasantry; and travel bans keep him from his beloved London tailors and the landed gentry (whom he considers his peers). Wouldn’t you be spitting spinal fluid? When they are not indignantly describing their own president as “Showerhead” on web forums, there are white South Africans who recklessly perpetuate the myth that Mugabe is entirely responsible for the vote riggings, rapes, farm invasions and theft of mineral rights in Zimbabwe. Of course he’s the face of a dictatorship, but the real perpetrator of terror is the Joint Operations Command, the pre-independence brutality machine that still survives. It commissions shadowy Israelis to lobby against sanctions in Washington. It uses food parcels and prepaid phone vouchers to incentivise disaffected youths to rape opposition MPs. It tells blatant whoppers that indigenisation will advance the lives of Zimbabwe’s poor. Africa’s greatest living Englishman has been reduced to a useful idiot. It is also these South Africans who, when they’re not preventing vineyard-wrecking baboons from being shot (in the name of progress), suggest that South Africa should invade Zimbabwe and effect regime change. Even if this were a remote possibility — with what? Weapons we don’t know how to discharge or Gripen jets we don’t know how to fly? Imagine the headlines: “SA invades Zim, drops broken submarine on leafy suburb of Borrowdale, Swiss fail to intervene.” Still, regime change isn’t entirely impossible. Two emerging developments can be used to construct hypotheses. To get a glimpse of the true Zimbabwean economy, one only needs assess its oil consumption — a paltry 15,000 barrels a day, significantly less than pre-2000 levels. It’s precarious: 70% of this oil arrives from South Africa and the remainder, wretchedly, via Mozambique. Now, as reluctant as the African National Congress (ANC) is to intervene, this could change were the Zanu PF to recognise the Economic Freedom Fighters as its policy equal (and thus its spiritual equal too). Such recognition would establish unprecedented antagonism between liberation movements. The most logical ANC response would be to avoid overt aggression and simply thwart the oil supply. Zanu PF is not particularly good at averting disasters, many of which it thrusts upon itself — food, genocide and health, to name a few. Oil, however, is primary to the Joint Operations Command’s survival, and without it the security and military apparatus would be weakened. It is unlikely that big Western oil would come to Mugabe’s aid as BP did during Ian Smith’s sanctions-ridden premiership, and even the Chinese wouldn’t be able to expand supply through Mozambique in time to save Zanu PF. The second hypothesis is less subtle but no less consequential. Last week, reporters of the UK Times newspaper dived for cover after exposing a deal Zimbabwe had allegedly signed with Iran to export high-grade uranium. Iran’s claim of using nuclear energy exclusively for power generation has been discredited. It wants to bomb Israel. What makes this scenario intriguing is the presence of Israelis in Zimbabwe: it’s no secret they are up to their necks in the diamond fields of Mutare. It is even alleged that an Israeli security firm called Nikuv International Projects recently applied a type of technology to the electoral roll that turned one voter into 100,000. The Israeli government and its supporters would take considerable exception to a mischievous arrangement with Iran. If the remaining few Zimbabwean nuclear scientists started dropping mysteriously, South Africa, with all its mothballed jets and crashed submarines, would be well advised not to play hero. This is all speculation, of course. Besides, there is no guarantee that regime change would meet overexcited expectations, especially after the revelation that Morgan Tsvangirai allegedly accepted $100m from Zanu PF in 2009 and snapped up a house in Perth, overlooking the yacht club, that is now valued at R70m. Meanwhile, the leader of the smaller opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction, Arthur Mutambara, has a lack of gravitas that has seen him dressed in a suit accompanied by a cap worn back to front. Unless South African power utility Eskom allows Zimbabwe to reopen its account and scraps its current pre-paid electricity sales arrangement, I can’t see the value in being angry about Zimbabwe, despite its pervasive tragedies. Robert Mugabe is angry enough for all of us. via Africa’s greatest living Englishman reduced to idiot status | Columnists | BDlive.

US will lift Mugabe sanctions only after reforms by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via US will lift Mugabe sanctions only after reforms – Times LIVE On Sunday, Southern African leaders called for the West to lift sanctions against Harare as they gave their seal of approval to Mugabe’s victory in disputed elections. But Washington was unimpressed. “We have made clear to the government of Zimbabwe and the region that a change in US sanctions policy will occur only in a context of credible, transparent, peaceful reforms that reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “Our program of targeted sanctions will remain in place as long as these conditions continue to exist in Zimbabwe,” she added. In March 2003 the United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe and on a list of his relatives. Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader at 89, first took the reins of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980 as prime minister. He became president following a constitutional amendment in 1987. He will be sworn in on Thursday for his seventh term, which will last five years.

Democratic Alliance wants Zim election report by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Eyewitness News: DA wants Zim election report  (Edited by Gia Kaplan) The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants a copy of the full Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer report on Zimbabwe’s elections to be tabled in Parliament so that it can be scrutinised. Last month, Robert Mugabe leader won a seventh term as the country’s leader after beating opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The 89-year-old’s Zanu-PF party won by more than 60 percent. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai slammed the election as a fraud, claiming it was rigged. While election observers from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared the elections free and peaceful, the vote has been met with serious criticism from the West. Despite this, Southern African leaders including President Jacob Zuma have endorsed Mugabe’s victory. The DA’s Ian Davidson said it was premature for South Africa to endorse Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s re-election, given reports of serious irregularities in the election. “We clearly want to know what’s in the SADC report. Because we do know that when the initial findings were made known they indicated that the elections were free and peaceful which is quite different from being free and fair.” Earlier this month, DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said, “The were indications leading up to the election date, which we think was too soon, that there were irregularities with the registration process, the voters roll and intimidation by members of the military and the police.” Meanwhile, Mugabe has been elected deputy chairman of the 15 nation SADC for the next year, putting him in line to be chairman. He has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

Commonwealth should act on Mugabe’s ruthless rule by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via Commonwealth’s member states should act on Robert Mugabe’s ruthless rule in Zimbabwe | Herald Sun  ALAN HOWE HERALD SUN YOU could do worse than be born in Zimbabwe. But not much worse. Zimbabweans die young, the UN estimating their average lifespan about 46 years, among the lowest on earth. The rate of HIV infection is astronomical and perhaps 84,000 of its 12 million people will die from the disease this year. Infant mortality is rampant. President Robert Mugabe brazenly rigs election to stay in power while his henchmen bludgeon and murder political opponents. The standard of living in this luckless southern African nation whose beautiful undulating countryside could almost be in Victoria’s northeast, has evaporated. According to the International Monetary Fund, gross annual domestic product per person has plunged to $559, the second lowest in the world. It is a country blessed with extraordinary natural resources, and at least two of the world’s greatest tourist attractions – Victoria Falls and the nearby Hwange National Park. But its hotels are mostly empty. It has gold and huge platinum reserves. The Marange diamond field, found seven years ago, is the biggest discovery anywhere on earth for a century – not that its diamonds do much to improve the lot of locals. In June, former mines minister Edward Chindori Chininga published a report into the corruption and theft that accounts for the nation hardly benefiting from Marange. The following week he was dead in an inexplicable car accident. Unlikely car accidents are a common cause of death for outspoken Zimbabweans. The country was long a Commonwealth of Nations member and English is widely spoken there. It is proud a cricketing nation with Test status, one of only 10. So why is the international community – but particularly the Commonwealth – paralysed when it comes to dealing with this wicked one-man gerontocracy? The Commonwealth has 54 member states, including powerful and influential nations such as India, Canada, UK and Australia – covering more than 20 per cent of the globe and accounting for a third of the world’s population. A boastful, but contemptibly weak organisation, it meets every two years, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government conferences. Julia Gillard hosted the last, in Perth; another is due in Sri Lanka within weeks. These are the most humiliating assemblies of world powers, held while real opportunities to help the poorest countries slide by with the canapes and security guards. Having been suspended by the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe won’t be at Sri Lanka. But Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Sierra Leone and Lesotho can attend. According to the UN, you won’t find poorer countries anywhere. But – like Zimbabwe – the fate of these nations won’t be discussed. What there will be is the traditional restatement of perhaps the Commonwealth’s most important document, ironically called the Harare Declaration and formulated in that city in 1991. From the chaos of Zimbabwe’s capital, the declaration perversely announced that the Commonwealth believes in peace, order and prosperity, individual liberty, raised living standards, human dignity, democracy and that intolerance and prejudice are unacceptable. That’s a joke. Gay-hating Robert Mugabe doesn’t believe in any of that. But in that blighted country is a man who does, a fellow we would rather was its leader. A coincidence that, because his people also want him to lead them. Indeed, a majority of them voted for him at last month’s elections. He is Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, a man who has been constantly harassed, arrested, falsely charged with treason, severely beaten and tortured by Mugabe’s “special” forces. When the journalist Edward Chikombo got out pictures of Tsvangirai’s injuries – including a fractured skull – Chikombo was abducted and murdered. Two years later, Tsvangirai was seriously injured in a car crash that killed his wife Susan, but we know how unsafe that country’s roads are. Despite all that, the grieving father of seven talks in the manner of Nelson Mandela: “Let bygones be bygones,” he said as he tried to unify the country after the farcically corrupted polls. “Let us embrace our opponents, even though some of them are unrepentant. In this Zimbabwe, there are no losers. There is space for everyone. I don’t want to become a prisoner of bitterness and despair.” It’s time for a new Coalition of the Willing to bowl Bobby out. That could be done for a fraction of the cost of the failures in Afghanistan. I doubt you’d lose a life. Mugabe’s cowardly lackeys won’t fight an organised force. So let’s hope the Prime Minister elected by Australia in 19 days is more than willing. Alan Howe is Herald Sun executive editor

Six terms is unethical by ZimSitRep – 08-20-2013
via LETTER: Six terms is unethical | Letters | BDlive THE call by the Southern African Development Community to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe following the recent farcical elections is a joke. The fundamental flaws in the recent Zimbabwean elections run deeper than the structural and procedural issues of voters’ rolls, polling times and people being barred from voting. The single biggest problem with these elections extends beyond basic constitutional deficiencies and goes to the heart of a key political theoretical and philosophical concept: presidential term limits. I am surprised at how little attention the fact that six-term President Robert Mugabe was gunning for another five years in office received from journalists, analysts and regional and international organisations and observers. No election in which a six-term incumbent makes a bid for another term at the rei ns could ever be construed as free and fair. Presidential term limits are not simply to give as many different people the opportunity to occupy the top position; term limits exist to further limit the scope for abuse of powers supplementary to and within the constraints of the separation of powers configuration of the modern democratic state. Term limits are therefore indispensable to any state and government configuration hoping to claim a true democratic nature. After more than 30 years at the helm, the distinction between the person, the ruling party and the government and state apparatus like the police, military and judiciary becomes nonexistent. In many respects, Mr Mugabe has become the contemporary African personification of Louis XIV’s “L’état, c’est moi.” He is the state. Mr Mugabe’s candidacy rendered the election outcomes null and void. Marius Redelinghuys Democratic Alliance Gauteng Legislature Communications Director

Inside Mugabe’s Zimbabwe – a photo story by Robin Hammond by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
Inside Mugabe’s Zimbabwe | a photo story by Robin Hammond | Panos Pictures. The West is accustomed to tales of barbarism committed in third world countries by military regimes led by ill-educated thugs in uniform – Bokassa, Amin, Pol Pot. But it has been flummoxed by Mugabe. He is a highly educated, suave and eloquent man who wears Savile Row suits. He speaks beautiful English. He fooled us all. As a rookie reporter in 1975 I was the first journalist to write his biography. His articulate charm and sophisticated persona, coupled with his glorious vision for a Zimbabwe free from the humiliating shackles of colonialism, where every person would walk in dignity, regardless of race, tribe or creed, made me his ardent supporter. Take a few minutes to browse this collection of 50 images

No Sadc endorsement of polls yet by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via ‘No Sadc endorsement of polls yet’ – Zimbabwe Election: Latest News & Voting Information LILONGWE — Malawi President Joyce Banda yesterday said Sadc was yet to pass its verdict on the credibility of Zimbabwe’s elections. “We are still waiting for the Sadc and AU (African Union) report to say the election was credible,” Banda, who is the new Sadc chairperson, told journalists at the end of the summit. “We were also waiting for the court verdict, but we hear (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai has withdrawn, so we don’t know what is happening. The issue of credibility and fairness will be dealt with once we receive reports from the observer missions.” Sadc leaders had appeared to be endorsing President Mugabe’s disputed victory when the summit opened on Saturday. Meanwhile, Mugabe reportedly met Botswana President Ian Khama in Lilongwe for bilateral talks. It was not immediately clear what the two leaders discussed. Botswana had urged Sadc to carry out a forensic audit of the July 31 polls saying there was evidence that they were manipulated.

Do Western Sanctions Really Hurt Zimbabwe’s Economy by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013

A group of southern African dignitaries has given its stamp of approval to Zimbabwe’s recently re-elected President Robert Mugabe. At an annual summit on Sunday, an influential regional bloc called the Southern African Development Group, or SADC, appointed Mugabe its new deputy chairperson, commended him for a peaceful re-election and called for Western powers to reconsider their sanctions against his administration.
Mugabe will be re-inaugurated this week following his disputed July 31 electoral triumph. Zimbabwe has had no other leader since it gained independence from white rule in 1980; after 33 years in power, the president and his party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, maintain strict control over the national economy, politics and media.
Mugabe claimed a high margin of victory over his longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, has participated in a unity government with ZANU-PF since the last national election in 2008. That poll also pitted Tsvangirai against Mugabe, but the proceedings erupted into violence after an early survey showed the MDC in the lead. More than two hundred people died, and the SADC stepped in to help broker the power-sharing agreement. Since then, Zimbabwe’s economy has regained some stability after years of runaway inflation and upheaval. But Tsvangirai and other MDC members were often targeted by forces loyal to ZANU-PF; they have suffered political roadblocks, personal harassment and even violent attacks over the past five years. July’s election was peaceful, but opposition members hotly contested the results. Tsvangirai filed an electoral petition but withdrew it this week, explaining that a fair hearing would be unlikely. That leaves Mugabe to resume his post once again, and the SADC hopes that the election results will herald a re-evaluation of the West’s approach to the ZANU-PF regime. “I believe Zimbabwe deserves better, Zimbabweans have suffered enough,” said Malawian President Joyce Banda, the incoming chair of the SADC, according to AFP. Zimbabwe’s population of 13 million has indeed suffered. Poverty and unemployment are high, while infrastructure is sorely lacking. Diseases like HIV/AIDS, typhoid and malaria give the country an average life expectancy of 53-55 years — among the world’s lowest. The country is rich in minerals, but this has not been translated into sustainable economic growth nor prosperity for its people. ZANU-PF officials point to Western sanctions as a major reason for these ills, but Westerners charge that corruption and mismanagement are to blame. Indeed, the outgoing Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who belongs to the MDC, told Al Jazeera in an interview last month that the ruling party was largely responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic woes. “Let’s take inflation – this is not caused by external intervention … Economic management and mismanagement has everything to do with the self-induced policy distortions, and ZANU-PF is the [grandmaster] of self-induced policy madness and macro-economic insanity,” he said. The United States asserts on the website of its embassy in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare that “U.S. sanctions are not blocking Zimbabwe’s economic recovery,” and that its policy specifically targets “individuals and entities that have undermined democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.” American sanctions against Zimbabwe were first instituted in 2003. They came in response to disastrous fiscal mismanagement, most notably the land reform program that Mugabe began to implement with new zeal at the turn of the millennium. The program saw thousands of white farmers forced off their homesteads, often violently, which only exacerbated racial tensions and did nothing to spur development in a country where more than half the population still lives in poverty. These problems were only compounded over the years by skyrocketing inflation that imperiled the livelihoods of millions of people. Then-President George W. Bush signed a presidential order listing 77 individuals who were prohibited from conducting business with American citizens, and whose assets abroad would be frozen or blocked by the United States. The list was expanded in 2005 to include 33 entities and 128 more people. But contrary to popular belief, the restrictions do not prohibit general trade or humanitarian assistance funding. Just last year, the United States was Zimbabwe’s 11th largest trade partner with about $110 million in bilateral exchanges. The European Union has had similar sanctions in place against Zimbabwe; assets of selected officials and institutions are frozen, but trade continues. The EU was Zimbabwe’s third-largest trade partner last year, with $875 million in total exchanges. (Zimbabwe’s top two trade partners are South Africa and China.) Hundreds of millions of dollars in aid money from all around the world — led by the United States and the European Union — is also still flowing into Zimbabwe, though funding has dropped in recent years due to the stabilization of the country’s economy and recessions in donor countries. But concerns about corruption and poor governance keep both aid and trade lower than what they could be — and they have also impeded the flow of foreign direct investment. Zimbabwean authorities announced earlier this year that 2012 FDI amounted to $400 million, up from $387 million the year before. Despite this positive upward trend, those figures are quite small considering the country’s dire need of funds. It doesn’t help that Zimbabwe consistently ranks among the worst countries on earth in terms of transparency and ease of doing business. Improvements in the Zimbabwean economy under the unity government have prompted some easing of restrictions; this year, shortly after Zimbabwe held a referendum and passed a new constitution limiting Mugabe’s powers, the United States removed two Zimbabwean development banks, eight people and one farm from its sanction list. The European Union removed 81 people and eight other entities from its list. Decisions like these are meant to reward and encourage positive steps for growth; removing people and entities one by one gives the Western world an ongoing bit of leverage and influence in Harare. For that reason, a full removal of sanctions isn’t in the cards yet. Free and fair elections would be a necessary prerequisite for Western power players to bring all of Zimbabwe’s officials and institutions back into the fold, but most observers maintain that this last round of voting was marred by irregularities. For the time being, President Mugabe will continue to point to sanctions as the primary cause of Zimbabwe’s economic woes — in that way, sanctions give him a rhetorical edge that helps the aging leader curry favor with voters after 33 years of failed leadership. But even as SADC authorities call for an end to restrictive policies from the West, Zimbabwe will have to achieve new levels of domestic political and economic liberalization before global superpowers even begin to reconsider their approach.