The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe's unwanted 'foreigners'
By Justin Pearce
BBC News website, Zimbabwe

In the third part of his series following an undercover trip to Zimbabwe, Justin Pearce talks to Zimbabweans who have lost their citizenship, years after their parents or grandparents went there from neighbouring countries.

People living in the bush
The children of non-Zimbabwean parents have lost their citizenship
It takes 10 minutes to walk from the dirt road, to the place in the bush where about 30 people are camped out.

"They didn't know where to put us, because we have no rural home," one woman explains. "Our grandparents came from Malawi."

In the wake of the government's crackdown on illegal buildings and unlicensed traders, Zimbabweans of foreign parentage are finding themselves in a particularly difficult situation.

The seven families living in the bush on the edge of Bulawayo have been there since their homes in the Killarney informal settlement were destroyed by the police in July.

Some people were not even aware they were classified as aliens
Human rights activist
While thousands of Zimbabweans who can trace their ancestry to a Zimbabwean rural village are being transported to the countryside, those whose parents or grandparents were immigrants are left in limbo.

"To say every Zimbabwean has a rural home is not true," says Alouis Chaumba, head of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe.

"Some are the grandchildren of people who came here during the Federation."


In the 1950s and early 1960s, Zimbabwe - then Southern Rhodesia - was part of a federation with Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi).

People from those countries, as well as from neighbouring Mozambique, migrated to seek work - many of them on white-owned farms - in the more developed Southern Rhodesia.

They and their children became integrated into Zimbabwean society, and most acquired Zimbabwean citizenship.

But a change in the citizenship law shortly before the 2002 presidential elections meant that being born in Zimbabwe no longer automatically conferred nationality.

Zimbabweans who had one or both parents born outside the country were reclassified as aliens, unless they formally renounced claims to foreign nationality.

Although most observers believe the law was designed to disenfranchise whites, it also affected the status of Zimbabweans who have roots in other African countries.

"Some people were not even aware they were classified as aliens," one human rights activist says.

The loss of citizenship has made the future still less certain for those who have lost their homes, particularly the younger generation.


Among the older people who can remember life in another country, some feel that the best option is to go back to where they came from.

"I have been working here since 1953, first as a domestic cook," says Jose, an elderly Mozambican whose home in Killarney squatter camp was destroyed two months ago.

Elderly man
Only the oldest people still have links with neighbouring countries
"In 1970 the man I worked for left the country. After that I made a living by fishing - and then in 1984 I moved to the dump site, where business was much better."

He is referring to Ngozi Mine, a dumping ground outside Bulawayo where many Killarney residents scratched out a living by recycling rubbish.

"Some of my relatives went back to Chimoio, in Mozambique. I would like to go back - but I don't have the money or a passport," Jose says. "I would be so thankful if I could go back."

But most of the so-called aliens have spent all their lives in Zimbabwe and have lost contact with their roots in neighbouring countries.

No options

"I was born in Harare - my parents are from Mozambique," says Patience, the 23-year-old mother of two young children.

"My father came from Mozambique in 1956."

Man cooking on a fire
The youngest have nowhere else to go
She and her 19-year-old brother had been living in the Porta Farm settlement on the edge of Harare, which the government destroyed in July.

From there, some people were trucked back to villages; others were dumped in the Hopley Farm resettlement area on the opposite side of the capital.

For two weeks, the police denied access to humanitarian agencies who tried to bring in the food and clean water that the settlement lacked.

"For those of us who had no rural home, the only option was to go to Hopley Farm," Patience says.

All names in this piece were changed to protect interviewees.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Globalist

Too far gone and gone too far.

Globalist Perspective > Global Development
Dateline Zimbabwe: Who’s to Blame?

By Todd Moss | Wednesday, August 24, 2005

As Zimbabwe careens out of control, Robert Mugabe and the international community are both pointing fingers — mostly at each other. Todd Moss and Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development argue that Zimbabwe’s current economic malaise has been made much worse by the country’s political tensions and the mismanagement by those in power.

imbabwe, once a vibrant and diversified economy, had been a hope for Africa's future. Today, it is a country in deep crisis and the signs of collapse are everywhere.

Political troubles and the abandonment of sensible economic policy closed off the aid tap, scared away foreign investment and chased much of the talented workforce away.

The economy has contracted in real terms in each of the past five years, inflation is in triple digits, the local currency has lost 99% of its value and almost half of the country faces food shortages.

Unsurprisingly, up to one-quarter of the population has fled the country. Many of the "costs" of the recent economic collapse in humanitarian terms are evident.

Zimbabwe's recent economic crisis is so deep that it has set the country back more than half a century. In 1953, the average person living in then-Southern Rhodesia had an average income of $760 per year (in constant 1990 U.S. dollars at purchasing power parity rates). In mid-2005, the average Zimbabwean had fallen back to that level, wiping out the income gains of the past 52 years.

Finding a scapegoat

The scale and speed of this income decline is unusual outside of a war situation. In fact, the income losses in Zimbabwe have been greater than those experienced during recent conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

The government's frequent claims of external plots to destabilize Zimbabwe encompass a long and increasingly irrational list of saboteurs, such the International Monetary Fund, the British government and an international gay conspiracy.

Placing blame

In occasional bouts of official schizophrenia, the government sometimes combines these threats, such as President Robert Mugabe's public rant against Tony Blair as the "the gay government of the gay United gay Kingdom."

Zimbabwe’s recent economic crisis is so deep that it has set the country back more than half a century.

Another recent example is the claim in the Herald, a government mouthpiece, that the United States, at the behest of the UK, is now controlling the weather in order to cause a drought in Zimbabwe.

While these outbursts suggest either cynical propaganda or growing paranoia among the leadership, they are simply not credible explanations of the crisis.

A less hysterical version of external blame could be related to the cutoff of international aid. Certainly, donors have withdrawn hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from Zimbabwe and the government could plausibly argue that this precipitated the crisis and contributed to any additional infant deaths.

Doesn't hold water

An alternative explanation, and a favorite of President Mugabe (as well as some relief organizations and even visiting IMF missions), is that severe drought is primarily responsible for the collapse in output in Zimbabwe.

On the face of it, this seems possible, especially since so much of Zimbabwe's economy is based on rain-fed agriculture and the country faces a regular cycle of rainfall variability.

Testing this hypothesis

Economist Craig Richardson, using rainfall data from Zimbabwe's own Department of Meteorology, has shown that this argument does not hold up to the evidence. He shows that the "drought" between 2000 and 2001 was only about 22% below average — and less severe than at least 12 other recent low-rainfall periods.

Zimbabwe is a country in deep crisis and the signs of collapse are everywhere. Up to one-quarter of the population has fled the country.

More importantly, Richardson shows that the tight historical relationship between GDP growth rates and rainfall cycles over two decades no longer held after 1999. Indeed, when rainfall recovered, the economy continued to decline.

Comparing Zimbabwe to its neighbors, data suggest that rainfall patterns are regional. Since 1948, there has never been a two-year period in which an important drop in rainfall in Zimbabwe's maize-producing regions was not associated with a corresponding drop in Zambia and Malawi as well.

Despite this pattern, Zimbabwe's decline in maize production has been dramatically greater than its neighbors' over the past five years. National maize production fell 74% from 1999 to 2004, while in Malawi it fell just 31% and in Zambia it actually increased. Thus, it appears that Zimbabwe's unlucky weather does not sufficiently account for its economic collapse.

Bungling along

If neither the drought, donor withdrawal nor nefarious economic plots explain the depth and persistence of the crisis, this leaves few other plausible culprits than misrule. In many ways, it seems obvious that Zimbabwe's current economic difficulties are linked to specific government policy decisions.

Author Samantha Power even used Zimbabwe as an example of "how to kill a country," suggesting ten ways in which Mugabe destroyed his country's economy.

Precipitous decline

The list of misgovernance is long. The policy of land seizures and the chaotic disruption on the farms is likely the main reason the staple maize production fell by three-quarters. This impacted rural incomes, exports and food security. Indeed, Zimbabwe once exported food, but now requires massive food aid.

The income losses in Zimbabwe have been greater than those experienced during recent conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

In addition to the frontal attacks on agriculture, the rest of the economy suffered from the undermining of property rights and absurd macroeconomic management.

The government has run huge budget deficits (22% of GDP in 2000) and printed money to cover the gaps — with the predictable results of high inflation (which hit 620% in November 2003).

Overall, manufacturing has shrunk by 51% since 1997 and exports have fallen by half in the past four years. Political troubles combined with the abandonment of sensible economic policy also closed off most of the aid tap, scared away most foreign investment and chased much of the talented workforce out of the country.

Political motives

While many of these actions appear economically irrational, they may be explained in a perverse political logic. It can hardly be a coincidence that the economy began its precipitous fall just as the ruling party unleashed a wave of political violence and repression directed against a rising opposition movement.

Most noticeably, the forcible appropriation of commercial farms seems calculated to undermine the financial and popular support for the opposition.

Grim outlook

Unfortunately, the mismanagement and economic lunacy continues today. Inflation remains in triple-digits, the 2005 budget includes a more than tripling in public expenditure and the government clings to propaganda — such as its implausible forecast of 28% growth in agriculture this year.

This suggests that — regardless of rain clouds or imaginary foreign scheming — economic misrule will continue to cost Zimbabweans not only their children's opportunities for a better life but, for many, any life at all.

Michael Clemens, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, co-authored this report.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Mercury

      Time has come to pressure Zimbabwe
      August 24, 2005

      By Lance Greyling

      Assistance should be given in small amounts and be monitored
      to ensure it is going to the people, writes Lance Greyling.

      The ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe has become a divisive issue in South
African politics. Everyone has a different opinion on both the causes and
the solutions to this crisis. What is not in dispute, however, is that there
certainly is a crisis in Zimbabwe and that South Africa has a key role to
play in helping resolving it.

      The humanitarian crisis is beyond question, with the United Nations
reporting that the latest "Operation Murambatsvina", meaning get rid of
rubbish or trash, has displaced more than 700 000 people and has affected
the livelihoods of 2.4 million more.


      This humanitarian crisis has predictably also led to millions of
Zimbabweans seeking refuge in South Africa. Resolving this crisis is not
only important for Zimbabwe but for regional stability and our own country's
future prosperity.

      The Independent Democrats have been outspoken against the South
African government's policy of quiet diplomacy. We have also spoken out
against the ongoing human rights abuses by Zanu-PF and its promulgation of
repressive laws restricting basic human freedoms.

      It was these laws and the political climate preceding the last general
elections that made it impossible for us to sanction them as free and fair.
Be that as it may, we now need to deal with the reality that confronts us
and find lasting solutions to this crisis.

      In dealing with Zimbabwe we also need to consider our own constraints
and ability to assist. On a political level, the perception has certainly
been that the South African government has been more supportive of, or
biased towards, Zanu-PF and that our role as an honest broker has been

      The ID believes that we can overcome this constraint by pushing for a
true national dialogue to take place in Zimbabwe between not only Zanu-PF
and the MDC but also all civil society groupings. A lasting solution to this
crisis can only be found through the Zimbabwean people themselves. The ID
believes, however, that South Africa can play a pivotal role in ensuring
that such a dialogue takes place.


      It is also necessary, however, for South Africa to pressurise
Zimbabwe, through constitutional reforms, into repealing the numerous
repressive laws that have been promulgated over the past few years in order
to change the political climate in that country.

      The other constraint that faces South Africa is our own socio-economic
challenges. Recently a national land summit was held, where among other
things it was reported that the government is devoting far too few resources
towards land reform, making it impossible for us to reach our target of 30%
redistribution by 2014.

      The R3.5 billion that South Africa is considering lending to Zimbabwe
could just as easily be spent on trying to resolve our own land issue.

      To put it into perspective, this amount of money would also employ 10
000 teachers for the next five years and would enable the government to
upscale the provision of anti-retrovirals to HIV positive people by roughly
five times. This loan to Zimbabwe, therefore, represents a very real cost to
South Africans.

      The ID believes, however, that the South African people feel a very
real concern for the suffering of the Zimbabwean people. South Africans
would be prepared to make a sacrifice if they knew that this money was going
to be spent directly on alleviating the suffering of the ordinary

      Many countries in Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, made tremendous
sacrifices to help the struggle against apartheid and it is only fair that
we should help the Zimbabwean people in their time of need. The ID would
therefore support the granting of humanitarian assistance, particularly for
those displaced by "Operation Murambatsvina".


      This assistance should be given in small amounts and closely monitored
to ensure that it really is spent on the people of Zimbabwe. The South
African government can follow the admirable lead of the South African
Council of Churches in this regard.

      The ID would, however, emphatically not support any payment by South
Africa of Zimbabwe's arrears to the International Monetary Fund.

      If Zimbabwe can default on a loan from the IMF then what possible
assurances will South African taxpayers have that it will not default on a
loan from South Africa. The loan is between Zimbabwe and the IMF and it is
up to those two parties to find a possible debt repayment solution. South
Africa simply cannot afford to become a lender of last resort for countries
who cannot repay their debts.

      We feel immense compassion for the people of Zimbabwe and we will
resist the temptation of turning this into an issue for our own political
gain. It is for that reason that we have requested a meeting with President
Mbeki to discuss the Zimbabwean crisis and the options that are open to us
in resolving it. Now is the time for all South Africans to unite around
finding a lasting resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis.

      .. Lance Greyling is a member of parliament and is the African
affairs spokesman for the Independent Democrats.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Survey Finds 1.2 Million Hit by Zimbabwe Clean-Up Operation By Ndimyake
      23 August 2005

A survey by London-based ActionAid International shows Operation
Murambatsvina, the Zimbabwean government's campaign to demolish unauthorized
urban housing, had a much larger impact on the population that previous
studies had indicated.

The report, carried out in collaboration with the Combined Harare Residents
Association and the Zimbabwe Peace Project, is based on interviews with more
than 23,000 people in Harare, the capital, and five other cities including
Bulawayo, Mutare, border town Beitbridge, tourist destination Victoria
Falls, and Kariba, in the northeast.

The report concludes that the the operation affected nearly 1.2 million
people, many more than the July report submitted by United Nations special
envoy Anna Tibaijuka to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, which was highly
critical of the operation.

In an interview conducted by reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe, ActionAid's Zimbabwe program director, Ian Mashingaidze,
explained the differences between the latest survey and the Tibaijuka

Since the Tibaijuka report came out last month, U.N. organizations have been
trying to reach out to those left destitute by Operation Murambatsvina, but
have found it difficult to do so, especially in the countryside. U.N.
organizations and their local partners also have security concerns, U.N. and
other humanitarian officials say.

The U.N. resident coordinator for Zimbabwe, Dr. Agostinho Zacarias, told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he is now
working to establish a memorandum of understanding with the Harare
government that would provide for unrestricted access to the many thousands
in need of humanitarian aid.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Facing IMF Expulsion, Harare Steps up Appeal to Pretoria
      By Blessing Zulu
      23 August 2005

With an International Monetary Fund assessment team in Harare, the
government made an urgent appeal Tuesday to South Africa to pay $175 million
to the IMF on its behalf with no conditions attached, official sources said.
Unless Zimbabwe arranges to make payment on its arrears to the organization,
it could soon lose its membership.

A reserve bank official speaking on condition of anonymity said Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono appealed to
Pretoria after President Robert Mugabe made it clear he would not accept
political conditions which South Africa has indicated will be attached to
any financial bailout package.

The conditions include opening talks with the political opposition in
Zimbabwe, and the rescinding of laws on public order and the media which are
seen as repressive. The South African government is also recommending
constitutional reforms.

The central bank source and reports elsewhere said the IMF team, which will
consult directly with President Mugabe later in the week, will also urge him
to accept the terms Pretoria has put on the table. Yet his ruling ZANU-PF
party Tuesday pressed ahead in parliament with constitutional revisions that
will tighten its grip on power.

South African Finance Ministry spokesman Logan Wort declined to confirm or
deny that Zimbabwe sought the unconditional $175 million loan. He said talks

Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with economist Iraj
Abedian of the Pan-African Advisory Service in Johannesburg about Harare's
chances of getting the loan it so desperately needs from Pretoria without
political concessions.

Should the IMF team's report to management in Washington lead to the
expulsion of the country from the Bretton Woods organization, serious
consequences could follow, says economist Eric Bloch of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe,
an advisor to the central bank.

Mr. Bloch told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
state assets, including Air Zimbabwe passenger planes, could be impounded on
foreign soil.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 4:12 PM
Subject: FW: Zimbabweans rated among saddest people in the world
[Source unknown]

News: Zimbabweans rated among saddest people in the world

Zimbabweans have been rated as some of the saddest people in the world in a recent international study published in the Danish newspaper, 'Berlingske Titnedeh'.

Ghana, the highest in Africa, scored 7.7 points ahead of Canada, Guatemala, Luxumburg, Holland and Sweden which scored 7.6 points.

According to the study, the citizens of Denmark, Malta and Switzerland are the happiest in the world. They scored eight points on a scale of 10.

People living in these three countries came at the top of a list of 90 countries which were included in a sample survey about how "people living in these countries enjoy their lives".

Iceland and Ireland came in second position with a score of 7.8 points.

The process of ranking the citizens of these countries in a list of international happiness was based on a study conducted by Professor Ruud Van Hoven, at the Erasmus University located in the Netherlands over the last 20 years.

The patterns in Denmark point to an increase in the levels of satisfaction with life, whereas the indications in Switzerland and Malta point to a decrease in satisfaction.

Van Hoven argues that the model of the northern European country fulfils all of the five main criteria of a society that enjoys good standards of living, in relation to the levels of income, democracy and good governance, the low levels of corruption and the high margins of freedom.

Armenia and Ukraine, Moldova, Zimbabwe and Tanzania came at the bottom of the list, with Tanzania scoring a mere 3.2.

Editor's Comment: Now, if you are a Zimbabwean reading this, we urge you not to take it too seriously as you will only pull us even further down the joy-scale.

Back to the Top
Back to Index