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

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New Zealand Herald

Mugabe: talks with Blair 'more useful' than opposition

09.08.05 11.20am

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe said on Monday it would be more
useful to hold talks with Tony Blair than Zimbabwe's opposition because he
said the British prime minister effectively controlled the opposition.

"The man who needs to be spoken to in order for him to see reason
resides at No 10 Downing Street ... that's the man to speak to," Mugabe told
thousands at a commemoration of the fighters in Zimbabwe's war of
independence during the 1970s.

"Those in Harvest House, Harare, (opposition headquarters) are no more
than his stooges and puppets. We would rather speak to the principal who
manipulates the puppets," Mugabe said.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says talks with
ZANU-PF would pave the way for Mugabe to retire and the formation of an
interim coalition government that would prepare for elections monitored by
the international community.

But efforts to restart talks between the ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC
have floundered, deepening a political crisis.

ZANU-PF party could talk to the MDC if it dropped its support for
sanctions imposed on his top leadership by some Western nations, Mugabe

MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi said the opposition would not beg for
talks but economic crisis, shown in triple-digit inflation, unemployment of
over 70 per cent and shortages of foreign currency could force Mugabe to

"He will soon realise they cannot continue to bury their heads in the
sand. Even civilised leaders eventually have dialogue with sections of its
citizens who are disaffected," Themba-Nyathi told Reuters.

Last week Tsvangirai said he had no problem meeting Mugabe following
the withdrawal of the remaining treason charges against him by the

Mugabe rebuffed the opposition leader who says the 81-year-old leader,
in power since independence from Britain in 1980, robbed him of victory in a
presidential election in 2002.

"But why does the MDC leader now want to break the boycott? No sir, I
don't want to meet you," Mugabe said, drawing chuckles from the gathering
some of whom held banners with defiant messages like "Talk to MDC? On what?
About what?" and "We did not win elections to form coalition government."

The US, European Union and New Zealand have imposed targeted sanctions
on Mugabe's top leadership for what they see as human rights abuses and
rigging of past elections. Harare says sanctions mainly hurt the poor.


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Cape Times

Embattled Mugabe snubs SA rescue package, boasting he can rely on
August 9, 2005

By Peta Thornycroft

Foreign Service
Harare: President Robert Mugabe has snubbed South Africa's financial
rescue package and said the economy would be revived by assistance from

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the heroes of Zimbabwe's liberation
war, Mugabe did not mention any SA deal, other than an oblique reference to
"shrill" calls. These came, he said, from "many quarters including those we
expect to know better, for so-called talks with the Movement for Democratic
Change. Some of these calls are motivated by the MDC which wrongly thinks it
can compel us to talk to it".

Mugabe, with his usual round of Tony Blair bashing, said China
remained Zimbabwe's most steadfast ally.

" I am happy to announce that our Look East policies are beginning to
assume a concrete form and yield quantifiable economic results for our
nation. My recent state visit to China was most beneficial and is set to
transform our economy in a fundamental way."

He did not mention gruelling shortages of fuel and food, particularly
in southern Zimbabwe where malnutrition is increasing alarmingly. He called
on Zimbabweans to grow more food, saying: "Until and unless we feed
ourselves we remain vulnerable to outside influence and subversion.

"In asking all those on the land to produce, we are asking them to
secure our sovereignty which continues to be challenged by the same forces
we fought against yesterday."

Paul Themba Nyathi, spokesman for the MDC, said: "He really is senile.
His speech was a snub to the South African offer of assistance.

"I have returned today from a trip to Gwanda (south of Bulawayo) and
the malnutrition out there is frightening. Journalists should go and see for

"There has to be intensified pressure from South Africa and the
international community to force Mugabe to allow people to get food now.

"He does not want food aid because he wants to continue to use food to
control people."

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Cape Times

So far, and no further
August 9, 2005

By the Editor

If the South African government needed any further proof that its
current approach to the Zimbabwean crisis has failed dismally, it was
provided yesterday by President Robert Mugabe.

In a strident address in Harare, he outrightly rejected talks with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to resolve the country's
protracted crisis.

And, in a barely concealed reference to the South African government,
he sneeringly referred to the proposal for talks with the MDC by "quarters
which should know better".

Mugabe scoffed: "Today we tell all those calling for such
ill-conceived talks to please stop their misdirected efforts."

Even the possibility that his rather intemperate remarks could
jeopardise a multimillion rand loan from South Africa did not deter him.

If ever it was necessary to review South Africa's hitherto
softly-softly approach to the instability in Zimbabwe, it is now.

South African government officials have often declared that it was up
to Zimbabweans themselves to resolve the turmoil.

However, Mugabe's caustic rejection of talks with the MDC - which he
described as puppets of British prime minister Tony Blair's government -
dramatically exposes the limitations of this option.

It is, of course, not South Africa's responsibility alone to find a
way out of the impasse in Zimbabwe. But the Southern African Development
Community and the African Union have not distinguished themselves so far
during the crisis.

As Zimbabwe's neighbour, and as host to many refugees already from
that country, there are additional reasons for South Africa to renew efforts
to help end the conflict there.

At the very least, it must make any financial assistance to Zimbabwe
strictly conditional on talks with the MDC. Somewhere, some time, a line
must be drawn. That time has now arrived.

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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's civil society, and diminishing political space

Zimbabwe's civil society is one of the most vocal in the region. Zimbabwean
authorities say most are dabbling in politics and are in fact corrupt
themselves. Writing for New today, Zimbabwean lawyer Dr Alex
Magaisa says many are in it for the money, and not for the cause

By Dr Alex Magaisa
Last updated: 08/09/2005 09:07:32
THE publication of two articles on New last week attracted an
avalanche of responses. A key and one of the more tantalising challenges
that came my way, could be crystallised in a famous line attributed to
Lenin, "What's to be done?" which in this context, this must be read in the
context of Zimbabwe.
A mere mortal that I am, I do not claim a monopoly of ideas nor do I hold
the single key to the resolution of the Zimbabwe problem. No single person
does. But I also have faith in the power of ideas and believe that critical
thought provides the invaluable therapy against the ills of complacency and
taking things for granted. The experience of the last 5 years has taught us
that the resolution of the problems is not and will not be accomplished in
one event. Rather, it is a process and like all processes, there are going
to be phases through which the country must pass and we all need to generate

In this article, I attempt an examination of Civil Society Organisations
(CSOs), more commonly known as Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in the
process of transformation in much the same way I did in relation to the MDC
in a previous article. The principal aim is to demonstrate that instead of
constructing a unified force designed to pursue the common theme of
democratisation and protection of human rights, the CSOs may have, albeit
unwittingly, disabled the opposition political organisations, in particular
the MDC. I am particularly concerned with the competition for political
space between the MDC and the CSOs, that claim to be apolitical, and the
resultant shrinkage of space for the opposition, among other consequences.
There are some who will choose to interpret this as an attack on CSOs. It is
not. At the basic level, it is a call on CSOs to take a critical
self-assessment of their role and purpose in the political process within
the Zimbabwean context. Like the MDC, they too need to redefine their
perspectives, strategies and purpose in light of past experience. Let me
hasten to add that there are many people within the CSOs who have done great
work at very high risk and whose work deserves commendation. But too much
commendation and less critical assessment explains why Zimbabwe is in the
state it is today so the better to leave praises to a late stage and to
others and concentrate on possibilities for reform.

Firstly, a closer assessment of the political landscape in Zimbabwe reveals
wider and more complex dynamics than mere appearances sometimes suggest. In
particular, there is a tendency to reduce everything to the dialectical
relationship between ZANU PF and the MDC - to portray and understand the
Zimbabwe problem from two dominant angles represented by each of those
political parties. The successes or failures of the MDC are therefore often
measured against the position of ZANU PF. This, I fear, is incorrect. This
is a simplistic picture that obscures the myriad of actors and forces on the
Zimbabwean political landscape. These actors and forces must be subjected to
greater scrutiny as regards their role in the processes of change and march
towards democratisation obtaining in the country. As I have indicated, of
particular concern is the phenomenon of the Non Governmental Organisation,
more fashionably referred to as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) often
presented as necessary vehicles in Africa's march towards democracy and
human rights protection.

It is unfortunate that there is that view that people can participate and
make an impact on the political process through vehicles that do not
actually seek political power and that have no mandate to make laws but at
best, appeal to moral conscience, pressure, goodwill and support mostly from
external forces. Instead of strengthening the political process, the
proliferation of CSOs on the political landscape, has simply highlighted the
problem but not mobilised enough to effect change. In fact, while providing
people with a convenient forum for debate, it may also turn them away from
the political organisations, which are the key to political change and
transformation. There is no shortage of opposition forces. The problem is
that there is division within the opposition forces between those who
participate within the realm of the political party and another large group
that calls itself CSOs whose individuals prefer to be known as "activists",
at the same time proclaiming to be apolitical. For whatever reason, they do
not want to be called politicians. Unlike the ruling party, those who are in
the opposition are thus divided into the "political" for MDC and the
"apolitical" mainly in CSOs. As I see it, Africa and in this case, Zimbabwe
cannot afford people who claim to be apolitical.

Contrary to common posturing, the numerous CSOs are in fact political
vehicles and to the extent that they are, they are political actors, which
compete for political space against genuine political parties. For most
opposition forces in Africa political space is limited, dominated as it is
by the ruling liberation parties. The opposition forces have to fight for
that space under very difficult conditions. Now, considering that in most
cases both the main opposition party on the one hand and CSOs on the other
are engaged in battles for space against the same ruling party, it is easy
to see that how they too become competitors against each other for the
limited space that they are able to get. The ruling party never sees the
main opposition party and the CSOs as different in character or goals that
they pursue. Anything that challenges the position of the ruling party is
identified under the large and all-encompassing banner of "the opposition".
Whatever the protestations to the contrary, that is the reality of our
situation. The tragedy here is that instead of pursuing the similar goals
that ought to unite them, the opposition party and the CSOs become embroiled
in a fight amongst themselves, for the limited political space.

This pretence that "we are civil society" and not political organisations is
based on a fallacious distinction, which fails to take into account the
context within which they operate. To be sure, to most of the population in
Zimbabwe, there is no distinction between the MDC and CSOs that have been
fighting for human rights, etc. To the extent that the CSOs attempt to
portray themselves as apolitical and impartial advocates for rights, they
only serve to confuse a population that is already mentally harassed by the
conflict between the two main protagonists. The "No" Vote against the
proposed 2000 Constitution is the clearest demonstration that the
distinction is known only to those who lead and run CSOs but not the masses.
It seems widely accepted that the No Vote was more an _expression of protest
against the ruling party rather than the Constitution itself, although of
course those in the CSOs that led the "NO Campaign" would have us believe

We understand them - in order to get more donor-funds, they need "claim"
certain victories. So the "No Vote" is used to state the case for CSOs
relevance rather than the MDC, which incidentally rose from within the realm
of the so-called apolitical CSOs.

In addition, it is inconceivable, within the context of African politics,
that CSOs can purport to be fighting for human rights without at the same
time being engaged in politics. In all of Europe, America, Asia, the first
and most important fight was the struggle at the political level. What is it
that makes people believe that they can simply change the opinion of ruling
parties in Africa, from self-appointed positions in CSOs without first
engaging in the struggle for political power? Arguably, it is necessary to
change the political system in order to achieve the human rights goals. In
other words, the achievement of human rights is largely dependent on whether
one can transform the political system.

This is what the liberation movements had to do against the colonial
forces - human rights did not just come through campaigns run by
"apolitical" CSOs - the goals had to be achieved through political means
and political parties were constructed regardless of how often forms of
political organisation were banned. It is simply a pity that after getting
political power, the liberation movements cared less about human rights. To
the extent that there is a crop of CSOs that purport to be apolitical, they
are wasting energy and resources by failing to take a politically bold
approach. They are competing for limited space with political parties, which
are better positioned and oriented towards political transformation. The
same youths who should be running with and for the political parties are
instead lured by the donor handouts that come through CSOs.

It is easy to see why people are easily tempted into believing that CSOs are
key to change of fortunes on the continent. That may be so only to the
extent that they conscientise the masses with regards their rights and
mobilise people to be more vigilant. Others indeed play crucial social
functions. But let us pause for a moment. Do CSOs contest elections? How
does political power change? No - CSOs do not contest elections and they do
not form governments. Yet that is exactly what Africa needs today - an
active political culture in which every person realises that they are
political and have a role to play in politics. Yet this phenomenon of CSOs
appears to be breeding the norm of being apolitical. As I have stated,
Africa cannot afford to have millions of apolitical people at this stage.

Another problem with CSOs, which also has negative consequences for the
opposition movement is that despite preaching accountability and good
practice to the politicians some of their leaders adopt the behaviour and
lifestyle of politicians. The public cannot distinguish between the leaders
of political parties and the leaders of CSOs and this causes the masses to
despair about the whole political process. The behaviour of some CSO leaders
is probably unsurprising because as I have argued, they are politicians
operating under camouflage. Ironically, it is never clear to whom they are
accountable. There is something incorrect about an organisation that is
funded by one group of foreigners and yet claims to act in the best
interests of another mass of people, especially in matters of
self-determination. In whose interests do those who get funds really act?
They can close the organisation the next day and not have to face
accountability to the local masses. I had occasion to witness the
unfortunate relationship between some donors and some CSO leaders at one
conference in London. It was sad to see whole men and women almost crawling
like toddlers at the feet of donors - all to satisfy the donors! Instead of
engaging on matters of substance with the Zimbabwens that had gathered at
the event many of the leaders were too busy chatting up donors in
anticipation of another pay-day. It's simple really: They tell them all they
want to hear.

Thereafter they retire to the hotel and hop onto another plane to Washington
and the routine goes on . Then they return home with US dollars and arrange
a meeting at one of the Harare hotels, where an invited "distinguished"
guest speaks and this and that . and so on and so on. All too often a few
months after taking a position a leader of a CSO relocates from Glen View to
Avondale. He trades his battered Datsun Pulsar for a Toyota Land Cruiser -
which more often, is ferrying relatives to a funeral or a wedding, and o,
yes, they also get fuel coupons because they are "working for the good of
the people", they may not paid "salaries" but get "allowances", etc. Yes,
his lifestyle changes. Sometimes the chairperson, is also the chief
executive and he is also a consultant . and so on. And you tell me
politicians do not do the same?

It is a sad state of affairs when the CSO sector is seen as an employment
creator. When that happens, you suspect the cause is only of secondary
importance. In Europe, they leave lucrative City jobs to volunteer or earn
considerably reduced wages in charities. In Africa, people leave the private
sector to join CSOs for the salary quoted in foreign currency, for the
vehicle and other perks. Few do so for the cause. People look after each
other, just as the politicians do. Unlike directors of companies, issues of
conflict of interest, duties and powers are not properly regulated. Like
their political party counterparts, the CSO leaders become entrenched in the
organisation or in the sector. Perhaps worse, as soon as he loses his
position, he goes on to set up another one. They hop from one CSO to another
and it is as if their very lives depend on the persistence of the crisis.
The result is a vast collection of CSOs led by different individuals some
with egos the size of Zimbabwe, fighting for donors among themselves and
fighting for space against political parties. So today you hear of a
"coalition", tomorrow there is a "forum" and the next day there is an
"alliance", etc. There are forums, coalitions and alliances all representing
the same smaller CSOs. What is the sense of purpose? Is there really any
justification for these different layers? If only they were political
organisations designed to seek political power and therefore control change.
But they are not and at best can only highlight.

Unsurprisingly great talents and resources that would otherwise accrue to
political parties are instead diverted to the numerous CSOs. There are many
strong and active members participating within the realm of CSOs who could
make a huge difference if they could be bold enough to declare their
political aspirations and take on the challenge. Many of us, especially the
intellectuals, prefer to stand behind the cover of CSOs and proudly proclaim
our "apolitical" credentials. But there is also another argument which might
explain the existence of CSOs - that the opposition parties themselves do
not offer sufficient space to others, in particular ambitious ones who may
not have been around at the time of formation of the party. So for example
it is not unusual to hear young cadres arguing that the MDC has been
"privatised" by a certain clique and we are therefore not able to
participate in its structures at the appropriate levels. Could it be that
the opposition is losing talent by closing its doors? Could it be that the
same people eventually end up forming CSOs to play a role in the political
process and to gain visibility within the context? It may confirm the
argument that some of the people in CSOs may in fact be politicians who have
not managed to find space or have been rebuffed by the main opposition
party. That is something to seriously think about.

What then is the point of all this? It is this that even though Zimbabwe
appears to have one dominant opposition party, there is in fact a
potentially powerful force represented at present by so-called apolitical
CSOs. There are too many opposition forces fighting each other for the same
space, same resources, same limelight and for the same goal yet some are not
bold enough to stand in the clear. There is unnecessary and unhelpful
division. The scenario is therefore akin to where you have different
opposition parties contesting against the ruling party, which wins not
because it is more popular, but because of split votes in the opposition.
The key is to unite as political force from a common political platform.

So for example, the MDC leadership must desist if it has such tendencies,
from the "privatisation of internal space" and open up avenues for other
actors that could be powerful partners - both individuals and organisations.
If such an opening were available, there is really no need for a new
political animal on the scene but that people now talk of such an animal
should however warn the MDC and other opposition parties of the need to open
up and consolidate. As for CSOs, I reiterate the point that this business of
being impartial and apolitical is not necessary. It is not to disparage the
many good men and women out there, but to suggest that there is need for
redefinition of purpose and strategy. What we see and hear from them has
become all too predictable.
Dr Magaisa is a Zimbabwean lawyer formerly Lecturer in Law at the University
of Nottingham. He is also a writes a legal and business column for the
Zimbabwe Independent. He can be contacted at

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Mandela 'must speak out on Zim'
08/08/2005 22:05 - (SA)

Geneva - A United Nations human rights expert on Monday sharply criticised
major African leaders, saying their failure to condemn President Robert
Mugabe's housing demolition campaign in Zimbabwe was tantamount to a

The UN special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Miloon Kothari,
said Zimbabwe was heading towards a disaster if the government failed to
change course on the forcible eviction of about 700 000 people from

Kothari said: "The silence of major governments in Africa continues to be

"And of influential individuals like Nelson Mandela, I don't understand why
they don't speak out.

"There is a kind of a cover-up that is there as far as President Mugabe is

Direct animosity towards people

Kothari also called on leading developing nations outside Africa, such as
Brazil and India, to speak out against the demolitions.

He said: "What needs to be impressed upon President Mugabe is that he has to
change course - you cannot rule a country by arbitrarily demolishing
thousands and thousands of people's homes."

Kothari said: "You cannot run a government by that kind of direct animosity
towards your population because what we are looking ahead to is a much
greater disaster."

Kothari said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was ready to spearhead a
co-ordinated campaign by the world body on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Human suffering

According to a UN report released last month, about 700 000 Zimbabweans had
lost their homes and livelihoods in the campaign and a further 2.4 million
people had been affected.

The report by the UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka said the demolitions had been
"carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference
to human suffering".

Kothari, an Indian legal expert, said he was concerned that there had been
no moves by Zimbawe's authorities since the UN report to compensate those
who had been thrown out of their homes.

Mugabe on Monday said he had invited Annan to Zimbabwe "so that he can have
an appreciation of what we are trying to do for our people in the sphere of
housing and informal business".

Zimbabwe's president also lashed out at critics, calling them "long-distance
philanthropists who romanticise shacks".

Kothari said he was willing to travel to Zimbabwe to provide help with a
fair housing policy.
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The Telegraph

Zimbabwe stands alone as the delinquent in Standard's British Empire

The results from Standard Chartered set two records yesterday. The bank's
profits from its rapidly growing business in Asia sent the shares to a new
high, while it managed to set a benchmark for euphemisms.

What were once plain old provisions are now known as impairment charges in
Standardspeak, adding a new twist to Barclays' description of bad loans as

Standard's delinquents are in Zimbabwe, where Mervyn Davies, the chief
executive, delicately described "margin compression", and "difficult trading
conditions" before deciding on discretion.

Of course, margins are not the only things being compressed there, as the
700,000 people made homeless as their houses were flattened by Mugabe's
heavies in June have found. Mr Davies worries about his 900 staff, so his
evasion is understandable. He knows that Zimbabwe, when it was Rhodesia, was
one of the bank's most profitable investments. Now, its assets there have
been written down to nothing.

Zimbabwe stands as a bleak reminder of how things can change in emerging
economies, the places where Standard operates. In the early 1960s, Zimbabwe
was richer than Thailand, which has itself only just got over a serious
banking crisis in the late 1990s. The expanding Asian middle class may be
signing up for mortgages, loans and credit cards in vast numbers, but it
would be naive to expect a seamless transition from emerging market to
mature economy.

Fortunately, there is no sign of trouble elsewhere in Standard's new British
empire. The historical connections which have caused grief in Zimbabwe are
allowing the bank to run a close second to HSBC in China and India; two
British institutions in pole position to exploit two emerging world
traders - not least the trade with each other. It's not a bad place to be.
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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe: The nightmare continues

Carole Landry | Harare, Zimbabwe

09 August 2005 09:29

Ronald Matsito has been unable to pick up the pieces since his
home of 15 years and his small hardware shop were bulldozed two months ago
during the Zimbabwe government's clean up campaign.

"I can't see a way forward," says Matsito (55) a father of five
who lives in Mufakose, a working-class district in southwest Harare. "I've
lost everything."

"I have no relatives, no one to ask for help. The people are all
in the same predicament."

Hundreds of thousands of victims of a ten-week demolition blitz
are living on the edge in Zimbabwe after their homes, market stalls and
shops were destroyed.

Promised housing has for the most part yet to materialise,
forcing many of the new homeless to live in tents while others are
recovering scraps from the rubble of their former homes to rebuild a smaller

Tens of thousands of people are sleeping out in the open,
exposed to the bitter cold of the southern hemisphere winter, according to
aid agencies.

An unknown number have moved to the countryside where food
shortages are acute. Others have been taken in by family and friends in
already crammed homes.

After his two-room home was destroyed, Matsito erected walls by
piling his belongings, wrapped plastic sheeting around them and found a slab
of corrugated steel to use as a roof.

His makeshift house lies next to where his backyard dwelling and
home of 15 years once stood.

Matsito, who gave a false name out of fear of reprisals, turned
to United Nations aid agencies for blankets "because the children were
shivering at night", and now depends on hand-outs to survive.

His face drawn and looking thin, Matsito says he sometimes walks
three kilometers to buy bread due to shortages. He worries about the price
of maize, the staple food, which has increased three-fold since he lost his

"I have enough maize now for eight days. Where will I find the
next bag?" he asks. Most of the homeless survive on sadza, a thick maize

With unemployment at 70%, finding a job seems an impossible
prospect for those like Matsito who have been robbed of their livelihoods.

Street and market vending remain outlawed after most of the
city's stalls and so-called home industries, small artisan shops, were

At Hatcliffe Extension, a township of about 20 000 people in
northwest Harare, Farai Sibanda's family spent six weeks in a transit camp
before being told by Zimbabwean authorities that they could go back to the
dirt field where their home once stood.

The family of eight spent close to a month sleeping outside
before construction workers showed up with material to build new homes in
the coming weeks as part of the government's new Operation Garikai, or Live

But the Sibanda family got fed up of waiting, so last week they
took some of the material to build a small shack -- although they expect
that it too will be taken down.

"I don't think the government has the money or the wish to build
housing for these people," says opposition lawmaker Trudy Stevenson.

"They are thinking that they will be grateful that they are back
at Hatcliffe and will shut up."

"They will be forgotten," says Stevenson who is trying to
mobilise aid for the demolition victims.

While the homeless say they blame President Robert Mugabe for
their hardships, there is no talk of protest action, mostly out of fear.

"We are afraid of pursuing anything. We are just waiting," says
Sibanda, who feels he is powerless.

"The worst thing is that we were made to feel that we cannot
make decisions. The people who gave us the stand can come and take it away.
The people who evicted us from Hatcliffe are the same ones who took us
back." - Sapa-AFP

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A meaningful encounter

By LAURA TODE - IR Staff Writer - 08/09/05

A few weeks ago, Jennifer Peterson stood paralyzed in the boxed cereal aisle
at the supermarket. Bombarded by the splashy packaging of Froot Loops,
Cheerios, corn flakes and the like, she found herself overwhelmed by the
choices, not because she couldn't decide, but because she's seen firsthand a
lack of choice.

Peterson recently returned from a visit to Zambia and Zimbabwe, two
neighboring African countries, one on its way to democracy, the other
struggling under corrupt leadership. The experience, she says, changed her.

Peterson, an engineer who works for HKM Engineering in Helena, was chosen by
Rotary International for a Group Study Exchange - a program that provides
professionals the opportunity to visit other countries to learn more about
International Rotary programs and meet Rotarians in other countries who
share the same profession.

Peterson said she had never traveled abroad, except to once cross the border
into Mexico.

In April, Peterson traveled to Zambia and then to Zimbabwe on a six-week
exchange. She traveled with three other professionals from Montana and a
sponsor from Rotary International.

The team visited schools, medical clinics, hospitals and orphanages, many of
which would not be in operation were it not for Rotary donors. Still, the
educational and medical services that were provided were vastly different
from what Peterson expected.

"Every time we'd plan to visit one of these Rotary projects I'd have this
huge knot in my stomach. I just didn't know what I would encounter, whether
it be a hospital or a school or what," Peterson said. "And I'd always come
away inspired."

In both Zambia and Zimbabwe, poverty is widespread and food, medicine, fuel
and money are in short supply. It's estimated that a quarter of the
population in Africa has AIDS and thousands of children are born HIV

Despite sharing a border, the two countries are different in many ways.

"Zambia is on its way up," Peterson said. The country has an established
democracy, a stable economy and the infrastructure to grow. Still, Peterson
said she was surprised at how little the people had in comparison to her
American point of reference.

The people of Zimbabwe suffer under a corrupt government, which has all but
destroyed the national economy. The poverty and oppression leads to more
social problems and fewer services to those in need. Aid organizations have
been driven out by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who fears an uprising.

Peterson said many of the places she visited three months ago in Zimbabwe no
longer exist. Markets, schools, orphanages and clinics have been closed down
or demolished in Mugabe's Murambatsvina, roughly translated - Drive Out the

Peterson said Zimbabweans who are associated with any non-governmental
agency and aid organizations that are not government sanctioned have been
targeted under the Drive Out the Trash program along with poor families
living in shanty towns in cities.

She was told that he so fears being removed from office that he seized the
ballot boxes from a nationwide election held in April. Many residents
believe that he lost the election to an MDC, Movement for Democratic Change,
candidate. A United Nations investigation said that in a matter of months,
some 700,000 people lost their homes and or their livelihoods, and many,
many citizens have been denied access to education and medical care.

In addition to Drive Out the Trash, Mugabe implemented what he calls a land
reform program in 2000. Since its inception, hundreds of farms have been
seized from families who have owned them for generations, and the property
has been given to high-ranking government officials, who have halted
production. Peterson stayed with one such family, stripped of their farm.

"Right now, an optimist in Zimbabwe is someone who thinks it won't get
worse," Peterson said, quoting one of her hosts in the country.

In the face of such adversity, it was the hope, courage and generosity of
the people Peterson encountered that moved her.

Not a day goes by when she doesn't think of the children she encountered in
Africa, many of them orphans, many of them born with AIDS. Orphanages were
filled with children who were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS, and
only the sickest children received hospital care, she said.

"I just wanted to make it all better for the children," she said. "I've
thought long and hard about what you can do. I've literally been haunted by

One of the ways Peterson said she plans to help the children of Zambia and
Zimbabwe is to support education in those countries, both through Rotary
International and by private, direct donations.

In Zambia, the Montana Rotary District purchased brick-making equipment to
help rebuild a newly established school that was once a tavern. Some 2,000
children attend the school, which is without indoor plumbing.

"They just stopped serving beer there two years ago," she said. "They were
serving beer at the time the school was there."

In a Rotary-supported school in Zimbabwe, Peterson made a connection with a
girl named Pretty.

Peterson said that the government offers education to children through grade
six, but for further education, the student must have a sponsor. She said
that $300 a year will cover all the costs for a Zimbabwean student to attend
a boarding school for continuing education.

One of the top students in her class, Pretty, was in the sixth grade and
couldn't afford the tuition to continue her education. Peterson recognized
her potential almost instantly, and she decided then and there to pay her
way through school.

"She definitely had it all going for her - even more than I did at that
age," Peterson said. "She was just born in a different place, that's all."

Reporter Laura Tode can be reached at 447-4081 or by e-mail at
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Botswana Daily news

Zim elections observer missions criticised
09 August, 2005

GABORONE - SADC and Botswana Observer missions to Zimbabwes March
parliamentary elections have been criticised for declaring the elections
free and fair.

Speaking at a Ditswhanelo focus seminar on Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa,
a human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe, said: One wonders what yardstick the
Botswana and SADC missions used to reach such conclusions.

If that is how they observe, then we might as well do without them
because they do not serve any purpose.

There can be no free and fair election in a situation where the entire
electoral process is riddled with fraud.

How can the chairperson of the delimitation committee eventually be
appointed to chair the electoral commission? she asked.

In her presentation, Mtetwa noted however that the missions reports
could be attributed to the fact that they only arrived a few weeks before
polling day and thus could have missed most undesirable incidents.

Mtetwa regretted that in Zimbabwe the rule of law is perpetually
disregarded, especially by the ZANU-PF government.

If court orders can not be enforced because they are against
government, then the whole judicial system is flawed, she said.

She said that currently the competence of the countrys judicial system
is highly compromised because judicial officers always operate under fear.

Judges should normally operate under no incentive except their
remuneration because otherwise it would compromise their job.

The lawyer castigated the Zimbabwean government for introducing
legislative changes, which would hit hard on the rule of law.

She cited the Public Order and Security Act, miscellaneous offences
and access to information and security Act, saying they limit civil societys
role in a democracy.

Another legal eyesore she cited was the bill that seeks to curtail
freedom of movement of Zimbabweans saying, it infringes on fundamental human

Another speaker, Bishop Trevor Manhanga, condemned SADC for speaking
through both sides of the mouth.

SADC should not be so hypocritical by condemning Zimbabwe and being
silent on Swaziland. Is Swaziland really a democracy? I think the same
measuring stick should be applied across the board because otherwise it
becomes ineffective.

He argued that ousting ruling ZANU-PF from power in Zimbabwe will not
be a panacea to their problems rather the change in approach would.

Organisations like SADC should help put a framework in place where
anyone who wants to contest the election would do so freely and would be
unintimidated. BOPA

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Peoples Daily

AIDS scourge hits education sector in Zimbabwe

"Teachers are at substantial risk of getting infected with HIV/AIDS
and already one third of them are likely to be infected with the virus,"
local newspaper The Herald reported on Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe National Commissioner for United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Josiah Mhlanga, was quoted as
saying that an evaluation of the Life Skills Program had shown that most
HIV/AIDS initiatives focused on pupils with little emphasis on the teachers.

"Teachers are a key resource in responding to HIV/AIDS in the
education sector and need to be trained and equipped to maximize the impact
of education on the epidemic along the prevention to care continuum," said

Mhlanga said it was crucial that teachers have the skills to educate
children on sexuality, reproductive health and the impact of HIV and AIDS on
their work and daily lives.

UNESCO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary
Education, held a week-long workshop recently to review the HIV/AIDS
syllabus for teachers' colleges and build the teacher 's capacity on issues
to deal with post-test support services.

This would complement the compulsory teaching of HIV/AIDS and Life
Skills Education in primary and secondary schools, which the government
initiated in 1995.

All these initiatives have resulted in people, even young children,
having some forms of knowledge about HIV/AIDS.

Source: Xinhua

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The Star, Canada

Aug. 9, 2005. 01:00 AM

Mbeki should be less neighbourly

When it comes to twisting the arm of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe,
there's probably only one person with the muscle to do it: South African
President Thabo Mbeki.

And twist he must, for Mugabe is running his country into the ground.
Triple-digit inflation, a jobless rate above 70 per cent, severe hunger and
fuel problems, political oppression, and a cruel urban relocation scheme
have created a human rights disaster.

Mbeki has considerable leverage. South Africa is Zimbabwe's largest
trading partner, and the two leaders share a bond in having thrown off white
rule, but Mbeki embraced democracy while Mugabe did not.

The head-shaking reality is that Mbeki is not using his leverage and
moral standing. Instead, he's pursued a course of "quiet diplomacy." A more
vigorous approach, with South Africa ready to give a $1 billion (U.S.) loan
to Zimbabwe, would be to demand reform. Any such incentive may lack force,
though. Mugabe, who just closed an economic deal with China, may feel he can
afford to spurn loans with unwelcome conditions.

A host of reasons explain Mbeki's reticence. His neighbour may be a
despot at the helm of a failing country, but he's a hero to many South
Africans for getting whites out of government and off farmland. Mbeki's
African National Congress party has reservations about the effectiveness of
Zimbabwe's political opposition. And South African businesses like the great
mining deals they're getting in Zimbabwe.

But every passing day makes these reasons look like excuses. A new
U.N. report found that Mugabe's recent slum-clearing has left 700,000 people
homeless. Parallels between a world that stood by during so many years of
apartheid, and one that's standing by now, are plain.

The U.N. Security Council is under pressure to meet regarding the
report. But as with Darfur, where China has oil interests, it's hard to
imagine Beijing backing U.N. intervention in Zimbabwe, where China has
mining interests. That puts pressure on Africa for a home-grown solution -
to alleviate the suffering in Zimbabwe, but also to ease Mugabe's exit.

If it's African cover that Mbeki needs, he's got the U.N. report -
produced by a Tanzanian. And he should turn for help to Nigeria's president
Olusegun Obasanjo, a Mugabe critic.

If he could find the moral courage he summoned to fight apartheid,
Mbeki could use these two African levers, as well as his own weight and that
of Zimbabwe's neighbours, to bring Mugabe to the negotiating table. Delay
just prolongs the despot's day of reckoning.

This is an edited version of an editorial from the Christian Science
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Time for action over Zimbabwe's on-field performances

How much longer must this go on?

Martin Williamson

August 9, 2005

On Sunday at Edgbaston, we witnessed Test cricket at its very best in an
epic match which went down to the wire. If that was the international game
at its best, what was laughingly labeled as a Test at Harare Sports Club
yesterday was it at its worst.

The dictionary defines a Test as "a procedure for critical evaluation; a
means of determining the presence, quality, or truth of something." However
you dissect that definition, the quality of Zimbabwe cricket and its right
to be deemed fit to mix with the best in the world was clear for all too

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the political background which has
stalked, and some would say blighted, Zimbabwe cricket in recent years, the
blame for yesterday's farce was not the fault of the Zimbabwe board. Yes,
the side that took the field was so weak was partially the result of its
questionable management and partially the legacy of the way the country as a
whole is run, but the game should never have never happened in the first

The calls for Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to be stripped of their Test status
have been doing the rounds for some time. But comparisons between the two
are misguided. Whereas Bangladesh is a generally cricket-mad country which
can - and will - only get better, Zimbabwe is in terminal decline, in more
ways than one.

A minority sport, and one for many years almost exclusively a white
preserve, the numbers playing the game were always tiny in a country less
than a tenth of the size of Bangladesh in the first place. Political
upheavals which led to the emigration of a majority of those who played the
game seriously undermined the game's future. Commendable attempts were and
are made to keep the flame burning, but with little to build on and almost
no money in the pot, the signs are that it is fast being extinguished. To
only ones who can save it are those running world cricket.

So desperate are certain members of the ICC to keep Zimbabwe in the fold -
and the reasons are as much to with who supports who in a hugely political
environment - that all calls for their Test status to be reviewed are flat
batted by those who decide such things with a skill woefully lacking in any
of Zimbabwe's batsmen yesterday. But Zimbabwe's continued presence makes a
mockery of sport, and it has gone on long enough.

For much of last year, Zimbabwe were able to deflect criticism by pointing
out that many of their first-choice players were on strike. But against New
Zealand, they fielded their strongest side for the first time since March
2004, and on home soil for good measure. That made the outcome even more

Even the government-backed Herald had seen enough. "Maybe the umpires and
the match referee should have ordered the teams to get the second Test
underway And it would have been finishing anytime from tomorrow." reflected
Lawrence Moyo, who was last month named the country's Cricket Writer of the
Year. "If what was on display at Harare Sports Club yesterday is too be
reviewed at the highest level then Zimbabwe should not be playing Test
matches in the interests of the world's Test match standards."

If the situation is now being questioned so publicly inside Zimbabwe, then
the cricketing world - and I don't mean the administrators who are not
representative of the rank and file - saw the reality some time back. The
ridicule with which yesterday's game was received showed that nobody is
fooled. Even in winning inside two days, New Zealand at times appeared to be
on cruise control. An outing against a half-decent club side would have
tested them more.

The only hope now for Zimbabwe cricket is that they are put into intensive
care and relieved of the burden of playing incessant international cricket.
The endless humiliations will eventually kill the game for good, but with
some careful management it might just survive. Less exposure to the big
guns, more lower-key tours, and some targeted funding might just keep it
limping along. But so severe is the problem, that it might already be too

Sadly, the latest farrago is likely to be brushed aside, as have all the
previous ones, and the integrity of Test cricket, which some claim to put so
much store in, will continue to be eroded along with the future of the game
in Zimbabwe.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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