Mon Dec 3, 2007 7:35pm EST
By Paul Simao
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A group of prominent writers, including Nobel Prize
winners Gunter Grass and Nadine Gordimer, accused European and African
leaders on Tuesday of political cowardice by failing to put the Zimbabwe and
Darfur crises high on the agenda of a key summit this weekend.
Leaders of the European Union and the African Union will meet on Saturday
and Sunday in Lisbon to discuss trade, migration and other issues.
But the meeting, the first to be held since 2000, has been dogged by
controversy over inviting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is widely
blamed for running his country's economy into the ground and suppressing
Some activists also have criticized the participation of leaders from Sudan,
which has drawn international criticism for its alleged support of militias
accused of atrocities in the restive Darfur region.
"No time has been set aside for formal or informal discussion (of the
Zimbabwe and Darfur issues). What can we say of this political cowardice?"
17 African and European writers said in an open letter to African and
Germany's Grass and South Africa's Gordimer were joined by Nigerian writer
Wole Soyinka, also a Nobel laureate, and former Czech president Vaclav
Havel, a playwright.
"Millions of Africans and Europeans would expect Zimbabwe and Darfur to be
at the very top of the agenda. It is not too late," they said.
The letter was released by the non-governmental organization Crisis Action.
A spokesman for the group said it would be published in a number of African
and European newspapers.
It was the latest salvo in a dispute that threatens to overshadow the
summit, which the EU hopes will strengthen its economic and political ties
with Africa at a time when China is making inroads on the impoverished
The prospect that Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980,
will attend has loomed over the meeting for several months.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will boycott the event
rather than share the stage with the veteran Zimbabwean leader. Czech Prime
Minister Mirek Topolanek is also expected to stay away.
The 53-member AU has held firm in its demand that Mugabe be allowed to
attend, and the majority of EU governments have backed its stand.
Germany and Portugal, which holds the rotating six-month EU presidency, are
among those who have said they do not want the impasse to block the summit.
Mugabe, who sparked international outrage earlier this year when his police
arrested and beat dozens of political opponents, became persona non grata in
much of Europe after winning a 2002 election described as rigged by
Mugabe and more than 100 Zimbabwean officials are banned from traveling to
EU nations under sanctions imposed that year.
Britain, which ruled Zimbabwe until independence in 1980, is expected to
send a junior delegation to the summit.
(Editing by Richard Williams)
- Authors who signed the letter:
Vaclav Havel; Guenter Grass; Roddy Doyle;Tom Stoppard; Jose Gil; Colm
Toibin; Wole Soyinka; Mia Couto; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Gillian Slovo;
Ben Okri; Nadine Gordimer; John Maxwell "J.M." Coetzee.
By Daniel Dombey in Washington
Published: December 4 2007 02:00 | Last updated: December 4 2007 02:00
The US yesterday announced new sanctions against Zimbabwe, the first it has
imposed since 2005, in response to what Washington says is an escalation in
the use of violence in the country.
The moves, which places travel bans on 38 Zimbabwean nationals including
state security officials and officials' family members studying in the US,
come after the beating and hospitalisation of Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's
opposition leader, in March.
They are also intended to bolster the stance of Gordon Brown, the British
prime minister, who is boycotting a European Union-Africa summit in Lisbon
this month because of the attendance of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president.
Additional financial sanctions, implemented by the US Treasury, will
"The Mugabe regime has acted to systematically destroy all groups opposing
its continued oppressive rule, including opposition political parties, civil
society, students, private business people and other groups," said Jendayi
Frazer, US assistant secretary of state for Africa, in comments unveiling
the sanctions. "If the violence fails to cease, we will be expanding our
She said more than 6,000 instances of human rights abuses had been reported
by non-governmental organisations since January.
"It is intolerable that those closest to Mugabe are enjoying the privilege
of sending their children to the US for an education, when they have
destroyed the once outstanding educational system in their own country," she
The US is continuing to provide food aid and HIV assistance. The last round
of US measures against Zimbabwe, two years ago, extended the range of
sanctions to about 130 people with ties to the government.
Zimbabwe has accused western officials of "feverish support for the
opposition leaders", in the words of Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, the foreign
Zimbabwean leaders have also long decried alleged outside interference in
Zimbabwe's internal political affairs and denounced efforts to "recolonise"
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
By Studio 7 Staff
04 December 2007
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer said
Monday that the administration is expanding its list of top Zimbabwean
officials and family members against whom travel and financial sanctions are
imposed as a response to what she said was an increase in human rights
violations by Harare and to increase pressure on the government of President
Robert Mugabe for broad democratic reform.
She said the United States supports "without reservation" the crisis
resolution process unfolding under the aegis of the Southern African
Development Community. "However, Frazer added, "the ongoing human rights
during the course of the SADC process call into question the Mugabe regime's
true commitment to that process."
She cited the reported arrest and beating of 22 members of the National
Constitutional Assembly, a civic group, who demonstrated Nov. 22 during a
visit to Harare by South African President Thabo Mbeki, the principal
mediator of the crisis negotiations. The National Constitutional Assembly
demands a new "people-driven" constitution.
Frazer said she believed the Zimbabwean elections which the government has
called for March 2008 would need to be postponed so that reforms agreed in
South African-brokered crisis negotiations now in progress can be
implemented to ensure that the presidential and general elections will be
are free and fair. However, she deferred to the Zimbabwean parties involved
as to the timing of those critical elections.
Frazer added that the crisis in Zimbabwe seemed unlikely to come to a
resolution with a democratic transition of some sort until the middle to end
of next year. Expectations that the collapse of the economy would "bring
down" Mr. Mugabe's government have not been borne out, she acknowledged. "I
think that we have a ways to go," Frazer said, "to a point where we have a
change to democracy in that country."
Frazer told an audience at a forum on human rights in Zimbabwe organized by
the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that
violations of human rights including the arbitrary arrest and beatings of
opponents of the government of President Robert Mugabe have not diminished
although the political opposition and ruling party have been in crisis talks
under South African mediation since March.
She said that in light of Mr. Mugabe's "escalated use of violence, United
States will be imposing additional sanctions against the worst perpetrators
of the regime's brutality." She said financial sanctions will be imposed on
"several additional Zimbabweans not yet sanctioned who played a central role
in" such human rights abuses, and two more companies that owned or
controlled by "specially designated individuals."
She said the U.S. government had on Monday imposed travel sanctions on 38
more individuals "including nine state security officials involved in human
rights abuses and anti-democratic activities in recent months."
Frazer said those affected by the travel sanctions include "at least five
adult children" of Zimbabwean officials implicated in such activities who
are studying in the United States. "It is intolerable that those closest to
Mugabe are enjoying the privilege of sending their children to the United
States for an education when they have destroyed the once outstanding
educational system in their own country," she said.
However, Frazer said the sanctions could be reversed "once the politically
motivated violence ceases and the government implements the reforms needed
to restore Zimbabwe to what it once was, a democratic and prosperous
By Patience Rusere and Sandra Nyaira
03 December 2007
The debate over whether Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should attend the
European-Africa summit opening in Lisbon on Saturday has been resolved, but
now the summit organizers and leaders attending must resolve the question of
whether to take up the Zimbabwean crisis - and how to manage Mr. Mugabe
Some observers have raised the possibility that having prevailed and won an
invitation to the summit, Mr. Mugabe might hijack it to serve his own
political agenda. The Times of London said many of Mr. Mugabe's opponents
fear that "the wily octogenarian may spring a propaganda coup about his
future on the EU-Africa summit this week."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will not attend the summit
as he does not want to share a podium with Mr. Mugabe, whom he accuses of
violating human rights and creating a humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe with
Nor will any cabinet-level U.K. official be present. Instead, Britain will
be represented by Baroness Amos, a former development secretary who is
expected to tackle Mr. Mugabe during a summit session on governance and
Observers said Mr. Mugabe will counter critics by pointing to the crisis
negotiations in progress with South African mediation as evidence Harare is
serious about holding free and fair elections next year, when he will stand
for another term in office.
Some argue that South African President Thabo Mbeki has an interest in
highlighting gains in the talks he has been mediating, so he'll support Mr.
But there are indications Mr. Mugabe may not have the wholehearted backing
of the African leaders at the summit. Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa
Monday urged Mr. Brown to “continue with his efforts" until the Zimbabwe
crisis is resolved.
Independent political analyst Hermann Hanekom of Cape Town, South Africa,
told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe
may try to capitalize politically on the event, but larger African issues
will come to the fore - although Zimbabwe is likely to come up in security
or governance talks.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom were headed for the Portuguese
capital to protest Mr. Mugabe’s presence there, as Sandra Nyaira reported.
By Blessing Zulu
03 December 2007
The Zimbabwe dollar has crashed in recent days to a new all-time low of Z$4
million to the U.S. dollar as foreign exchange dealers on the country's
bustling parallel currency market react to central bank warnings that new
banknotes are soon to be issued.
Although the currency often experienced steep declines, the latest drop
exceeded its predecessors in steepness and magnitude with the currency
depreciating several fold in less than a week fueled by hyperinflation
conservatively estimated at 15,000%.
The central bank previously overhauled the national money supply in July and
August 2006 when it lopped three zeros off the currency and told consumers
and businesses to exchange all their old banknotes in a chaotic three-week
The monetary authority has already restricted the amounts that can be
deposited in banks, intending to prevent speculators from swapping gains
into new notes.
An informal survey found that prices of basic commodities, transport costs
and other essentials of life have rise fourfold to fivefold in the past few
days alone. Reflecting the astronomical prices for ordinary goods, banks
have been running out of cash, and the Reserve Bank's warning that it will
soon issue another currency and call in old notes is seen as a move to pull
cash in circulation back into the official financial sphere.
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono has warned what he describes as the
informal-sector "cash barons" that a new currency will be issued any day -
but economists say Gono's announcement has given impetus to the further
collapse of the currency as individuals and businesses as well as
speculators are rushing into hard currencies.
Economist Tony Hawkins told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the crisis has its roots in central bank money-printing to
finance the government.
By Chris Gande
03 December 2007
Electoral system reform legislation making its way through the Zimbabwean
parliament would effect some "significant" changes but falls short in many
respects, according to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a civic
election monitoring group.
The organization, which mobilized thousands of monitors in the 2005 general
election, has issued a new report which concludes that the “effectiveness of
any electoral reforms depend on how electoral laws are applied and enforced
The ZESN report notes that the legislation introduces provisions to make
certain forms of intimidation of participants in elections criminal
offenses, and also stipulates that an intimidating practice will at the same
time constitute an electoral malpractice.
But for this new regimen to be effective, it says, an “independent electoral
commission needs to be given powers to direct the police chief to ensure
that proper investigations are conducted.. It adds that “legislation alone
cannot prevent malpractices.”
The organization said the legislation should ensure there is an impartial,
efficient and active electoral commission and that there is rigorous
observation and monitoring of all stages of the electoral process. It added
that before final delimitation of constituencies such an independent
commission should take into account public comments.
ZESN noted that the proposed electoral law amendment bill does not address
misuse of state funds for electoral purposes, which it described as a
serious defect because it would allow the ruling party to “exploit an unfair
Meanwhile, the Christian Alliance, another civic organization, has launched
a national voter registration awareness campaign intended to compensate for
what it says was a flawed and ineffective government mobile voter
Phase one of the official mobile registration drive put around 80,000 new
voters on the national roll, a total critics say fell far short of what it
should have accomplished. A so-called "mop-up" campaign that followed was
not much better, ZESN said.
The Christian Alliance launched its own campaign in Bulawayo on Sunday with
an appearance by gospel musician Pastor G and several dance groups. Police
approved the launch rally but organizers said posters announcing it were
Christian Alliance campaign convener Useni Sibanda told reporter Chris Gande
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that apart from encouraging people to
register the coalition of religious leaders is urging them to get more
By Brenda Moyo and Jonga Kandemiiri
03 December 2007
Though the Movement for Democratic Change faction headed by Morgan
Tsvangirai has made noises in recent weeks about pulling out of South
African-mediated crisis talks with the ruling party, the likelihood of such
a move now seems diminished..
Tsvangirai himself, publicly critical of the talks for some time, told a
rally in the Harare suburb of Glen Norah Sunday that the talks are only “on
paper,” meaning that there has been no progress on the ground reflecting
ruling party commitments.
But spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai opposition formation told
reporter Brenda Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that for now the
formation is not talking about breaking off the talks but simply questioning
the ruling party's sincerity.
Both factions of the MDC, which split in 2005 into factions now headed by
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, are represented at the negotiating table
facing officials of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe. The
Mutambara faction took issue with the Tsvangirai grouping's threats to pull
out, saying that had to be a joint decision.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, a close ally of the MDC
from its inception in 1999, said it doesn’t expect much to come out of the
talks. Union officials said they don’t expect South Africa to put pressure
on President Robert Mugabe and expect ZANU-PF to eventually pull the rug out
from under the opposition.
ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri
that even if Tsvangirai’s faction of the MDC exits the talks, its decision
to vote with the ruling party to amend the constitution on electoral points
will remain on the record.
Imire Safari Ranch
“What is man without the beast? If all the Beasts were gone man
would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man…
All are connected”. – Chief Seattle
Imire Safari Ranch, would like to thank each and everyone of you, who without hesitation, have put your hands deep into your pockets and hearts, to help us find the culprits who were responsible for the murder of our four beautiful Rhino.
The letters of prayer, love and concern, condolence and reward have helped all of us on Imire to realise that we are not out there in the wilderness alone. It's been extremely heart warming and healing to know of the joy that the Imire Rhino have brought to so many people all over the world.
The response has been overwhelming, we have realised that the agonies are shared by so many. The cry for justice, the need to protect and cherish what is left of these already endangered animals, is the call and concern of so many voices.
The Trust Fund in Zimbabwe is growing very fast and the generosity is incredible. Someone will squeal very soon. The reward notices will be out next week throughout the country. They are to be spread throughout Zimbabwe, under the instruction of the National Parks. It will be broadcast on the radio stations, ZBC and in the newspapers. The support of the National Parks has been exceptional.
We have recently set up a new account. It is a Trust Fund which is being run by Steve Turk. Any monies that have been put into the Zimbank a/c have been transferred to this fund.
For Zimbabwean Residents:
Imire Black Rhino Fund
01 4000 481 8602
For Foreign Donors:
SAVE FOUNDATION DONATION FUND
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Swift Code CTBAAU2S
A/C number 1004 4343
Post a Cheque to
229 Oxford Street
e-mail a credit card number to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +6189 444 9270
Tatenda is very happy and settled in his new home, joining his new family whenever he can. He loves his walks with the dogs and PigglePoggol the warthog, he is beautiful. What a privilege it is to be his Mum.
Thank-you, again from all of us on Imire, and from us all in Zimbabwe for your support and wishes to find the perpetrators of this evil crime of destroying what isn’t ours anyway, the Black Rhino.
We will keep in touch with you all.
John and Judy Travers