February (IRIN) - The impact on children of Zimbabwe's mounting political
violence was condemned on Monday by a coalition of child rights NGOs.
statement by a forum of nine NGOs noted with concern that there has been
"consistent and persistent involvement and exposure of children and young
persons in and to acts of violence. These include allegations of assaults,
kidnappings, torture, rape, destruction of property and murder."
warned that the "traumatisation of children not only occurs through their direct
involvement in violence but through witnessing acts of brutality within their
communities. In recent months, hundreds of children have witnessed their homes
being destroyed and are consequently left destitute and displaced. We also note
with particular concern the deteriorating situation on farms, where children of
farm workers continue to be exposed to a climate of threat, intimidation and
The forum also noted that the climate of violence "has led to
disruption of children's education due to the flight of teachers in many parts
of the country, for example, in Bikita, Zaka, Gokwe and some parts of
The statement added that the names of children
charged with crimes had been published by some sections of the media, contrary
to the law, and also condemned "the detention of children and young persons with
adults in detention centres".
"The forum welcomes recent calls by
political parties to ensure that the forthcoming election is violence free and
peaceful and would like to encourage all political parties to commit themselves
to translate this into concrete action.
"In conclusion, therefore, we
condemn the continued use of children in carrying out acts of violence against
their elders and their peers, as well as their victimisation in the current
environment in the country," the statement said.
question that hangs in the air as Tony Blair returns from his long-planned
sojourn in Africa is not whether he should have gone at all. Nor is it
whether he went to the right places, or whether he might have been better
advised to stay at home battling measles and insurgent street muggers. It is
not even a matter of what substantive results were achieved: as with his
Middle East tour last autumn, nobody could reasonably have expected Mr Blair
to come up with instant solutions to intractable, entrenched conundrums. The
key question that remains is whether, having made this high-profile effort,
Mr Blair and his government, and by extension the partner governments of the
Group of Eight, can and will follow through. The prime minister has a history
of spreading himself thin. In setting out in pursuit of concrete, lasting
measures to help Africa, he has set a target against which his ambitions for
the NHS, Britain's schools, and public services in general pale by
comparison. Abroad, as at home, Mr Blair will be judged by his ability to
deliver results. He was certainly right to go. Although it is possible to
quibble about timing; it is also probably true to say there is no good
moment, politically speaking, for a prime minister to appear to put the
welfare of other peoples ahead of the welfare of his own. By taking the time,
even just four days, Mr Blair has underscored his personal and political
commitment to addressing the sort of development problems he spoke of in more
abstract terms at Labour's Brighton conference. His speech to the Nigerian
national assembly in Abuja and his travels in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal
at least have the effect of bringing some kind of temporary focus. This
concern is of a piece with his internationalist vision of a "globally
interdependent world" in which Britain acts as "a force for good", as
described in Bangalore. Like it or not, here is man looking at the big
picture. Agree with it or otherwise, he offers a coherent, rational argument
in notable contrast, for example, to his Washington opposite.
this, too, however easily parodied and scorned, than the Tories' blinkered
introspection and slavish pro-Americanism, as propounded last month by Iain
Duncan Smith at Chatham House. The Conservatives' shadow spokesmen, Bernard
Jenkin and Michael Ancram, were especially crass in claiming yesterday that
Mr Blair dodged "tough" issues by avoiding Zimbabwe or that he was somehow
engaged in appeasement of totalitarianism. It is possible to be unimpressed
by the government's handling of Robert Mugabe and to accept at the same time
that British options are very limited. As Nigeria's President Olusegun
Obasanjo asked, what would critics actually do? Mount an invasion and
parachute the SAS into Harare? Perhaps some Tories would like to do just that
- which is, if one thinks about it, the very attitude that in the past
created many of Africa's most crushing present problems.
Mr Blair now
has a better, first-hand appreciation of the scale of the African task.
Increased aid, lower western tariffs and enlarged trade, more effective debt
relief, improved conflict resolution, regional peacekeeping and concerted
action by industrialised countries are the means to success. Encouraging good
governance, curtailing corruption and western arms sales, and stressing
sustainable, environmentally sound development are some of the main
challenges. As Mr Blair says, it is as much in our own interest as
in Africa's that such good intentions and fond hopes translate into
meaningful achievements. This is (although it can be overstated) an
"historic opportunity" for all, not just prime ministers, who care about
Africa. But having shown such a prominent lead, it is upon Mr Blair that the
onus to deliver now principally falls.
Zimbabwe stands by EU accreditation limits HARARE,
Published: Tuesday February 12, 5:47 AM
Minister Stan Mudenge today ruled out separate accreditation for an EU
observer delegation to a March presidential election.
"We are not
accrediting separately an EU delegation. We will accredit an ACP-EU
delegation," he told state television, reiterating the
government's insistence that the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific
(ACP) countries take the lead in a joint observer mission.
said Zimbabwe has invited only nine individual member states of the EU as
part of the ACP-led team.
FORMER cabinet minister Eddison Zvobgo, who earlier this year
said would not campaign for President Robert Mugabe’s re-election, now
appears to have changed his mind.
Sources in Zanu PF this week
disclosed to The Zimbabwe Mirror that Zvobgo had reconciled with his party
rivals in Masvingo province, as part of efforts to end the feuding
factionalism there, which has pitted him and Dzikamai Mavhaire on the one
hand, against President Mugabe’s loyalists such as governor Josaya Hungwe and
foreign minister Stan Mudenge, led by Vice President Simon Muzenda, on the
A fortnight ago, the sources said, Zvobgo met Mudenge, the
Masvingo Zanu PF executive and all members of parliament in the province to
iron out their differences. The Zvobgo-led faction, the sources claimed,
pledged to work with the current executive in campaigning for Mugabe in the
In a telephone interview from Johannesburg yesterday, Zvobgo
confirmed that he had met with Mudenge and senior politicians in the
province, but said he was not willing to disclose the nature of the
“I met Mudenge and parliamentarians in the province, but I
am not willing to be used in selling your newspaper by the the mere fact that
I met them. What we discussed and agreed on is a matter for deliberation by
the party, not newspapers,” said Zvobgo.
Pressed on whether he was now
willing to campaign for Mugabe, the veteran politician said he had never
dumped Zanu PF. He accused the press of disseminating falsehoods about him,
especially on the presidential election in Masvingo province.
problem is that newspapers sensationalise things for their benefit. I founded
Zanu PF and I will remain Zanu PF,” he added. Mudenge recently announced that
he had met with Zvobgo, and that they had agreed to bury their differences
for the benefit of the party. Mudenge said Zvobgo had agreed to assist the
party in seeking Mugabe’s re-election.
In the past, both Zvobgo and
Mavhaire had been reported in the media as vowing not to support Mugabe’s
re-election campaign. Mavhaire was suspended from his job as Zanu PF’s
Masvingo provincial chairman in 1998 after calling on President Mugabe to go.
Upon reinstatement after one year, he went on to win back his post in
elections held in the province in 1999. But he was eventually and
unceremoniously dislodged from that office in a controversial party
restructuring process led by the late Border Gezi, soon after the June 2000
parliamentary elections. Meanwhile Zanu PF parliamentarians last
week censured Zvobgo and justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, for trading
harsh words in Parliament during a debate on the controversial Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill. They also accused Zvobgo
of behaving like a member of the opposition.
Zvobgo and Chinamasa were
rapped at the party’s caucus meeting on January 30. This followed an
altercation between the two, after Chinamasa chided the Parliamentary Legal
Committee, led by Zvobgo, for failing to table its report on the
constitutionality of the Bill on January 24.
Zanu PF chief whip Joram
Gumbo confirmed that the parliamentarians had censured Zvobgo and
Sources who attended the marathon caucus meeting said the Zanu
PF parliamentarians were concerned that Zvobgo was now using his leadership
of the Parliamentary Legal Committee to launch scathing attacks on party
and government policies brought to the House through proposed pieces
“What irked the parliamentarians is that the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Bill was sent to the legal committee
last December, and when everyone expected it to go for its second reading a
fortnight ago, Zvobgo and his colleagues had not finalised their
“When Chinamasa pointed out this fact and accused the legal
committee of holding Parliament to ransom, Zvobgo went ballistic and accused
the minister of having failed to craft the bill more neatly. What kind of
dishonesty is this?” questioned one Zanu PF backbencher. Chinamasa told
Parliament on January 24, that the legal committee was to blame for delaying
the second reading of the information bill that was first introduced in
December. This irked Zvobgo. The chaos had not been caused by the legal
committee, Zvobgo said in response. It was, he added, the fault of “the
government and the minister in particular, who has failed to put his bill
“The chaos is totally unassociated with my committee.
The minister has held this House to ransom by his failure and inability to
put his things a bit more neatly,” said a visibly infuriated Zvobgo, amid
applause from MDC legislators.
The Parliamentary Legal Committee also
comprises of Welshman Ncube of the MDC and Kumbirai Kangai of Zanu
Gumbo last week said Zanu PF parliamentarians, with the support of
the top hierarchy of the party, had also warned that in future, disciplinary
action would have to be taken against “errant” party members.
it clear that Zvobgo should not have lashed out at Chinamasa. In doing this,
Zvobgo erred because the correct position was that the legal committee was
employing delaying tactics in coming up with its report,” said Gumbo. Gumbo
could neither confirm nor deny reports that the parliamentarians had accused
Zvobgo of siding with the opposition MDC.
But sources said some
parliamentarians openly termed Zvobgo an MDC sympathiser and wondered why he
was not quitting Zanu PF. They allegedly accused Zvobgo of undermining his
own party’s government, as part of his revenge for being dropped from cabinet
and the supreme Zanu PF decision making body, the politburo, by President
“If one traces and analyses events over the past two years, you
will find out that Zvobgo has been firing broadsides at the party and
government and this is very worrying. In fact, he is more of an MDC member of
parliament than Zanu PF,” said one irate Zanu PF
Mugabe dropped Zvobgo from his cabinet in July 2000 and
went on to dump him from the politburo in December the same year. Zvobgo was
the secretary for legal affairs in the party’s highest organ. He retains his
membership of the central committee, and is the Zanu PF MP for Masvingo
This week Chinamasa confirmed that parliamentarians had raised
their concern over his verbal clash with Zvobgo, but declined to give
“It is true that the MPs were not happy with what happened in
parliament between myself and Dr Zvobgo. I can’t say much on the matter
because it is a party issue which was resolved using the proper channels,”
Zvobgo declined to comment on the matter. All he could
say was: “Let bygones be bygones”.
Zimbabwe-Japan tractor deal was this year temporarily suspended amid
the Japanese government’s reservations about the way in which the
beneficiaries of the scheme are identified.
This follows reports of
allegations that influential politicians and prominent businesspeople were
“hijacking” tractors meant to improve tillage programmes in draught
power-starved communal areas. The reports have, however, been dismissed as
Zimbabwe has been receiving an average of 200 tractors annually
from Japan, under the KR2 scheme. The programme was run by the ministry of
lands, agriculture and rural resettlement, in collaboration with the
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU), the Indigenous Commercial farmers Union (ICFU),
Farmers Development Trust (FDT), Agricultural Rural Development Authority
(ARDA), Agricultural Technical Extension Services (AGRITEX) and
government-owned agriculture colleges.
However, sources in the ZFU,
one of the largest beneficiaries of the programme for the past three years,
told The Zimbabwe Mirror this week that the KR2 programme faces possible
cancellation because the Japanese government is not convinced that the
implementation of the scheme is transparent. “As soon as the tractors arrived
at our offices, phone calls from Cabinet ministers and their allies in the
business sector inundated our offices, with most of them demanding at least
one or two tractors,” said an official from the ZFU.
directive comes from above, people at the ZFU have no choice but to let these
people take the tractors despite the fact that they are meant for small scale
farmers in the communal areas,” said the official.
This week an official
from the Japanese embassy confirmed that Zimbabwe would not get any supplies
of tractors this year. The official however, declined to disclose the reasons
why his government has decided to cancel the programme.
“I can confirm
that there are no immediate plans to release tractors and other farming
implements for Zimbabwe this year,” he said.
The official said although
there were reports that some politicians were benefiting from the tractors,
he was not in a position to disclose the reasons why his government was
temporarily canceling the deal.
“We are not involved in the distribution
of the tractors, but what we know is that the tractors are for small-scale
“If ministers are small-scale farmers, which I doubt very much,
there is no problem in them benefiting from the tractors, although it raises
some eyebrows,” said the official.
For the past three years,
beneficiaries of the scheme have been buying the tractors for $600 000, which
is spread over a period of three years after an initial deposit of $272
are many discomforting trends defining contemporary global politics in the
postSeptember 11 terrorist attacks.
Africa continues to be showered with
kindest words that become a mockery when judged against tangible deeds from
the developed north.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in particular,
makes the greatest noise about Africa, declaring it to be one of his second
term's foreign policy priorities. In an article in a UK newspaper early this
month, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw argued that Blair's visit to Africa last
week could help bring peace to the continent and that the key purpose of
British foreign policy was to make the world safer for British
But Blair's African foreign policy needs critical
The main purpose of Blair's four-day trip to Nigeria, Ghana,
Sierra Leone, and Senegal he says was to develop support for a new
partnership between Africa and the developed world.
But there is a
growing view among Africans that Britain considers Africa seriously only when
its vital interests are threatened.
In this light, the way Blair and
Straw have dealt with, and continue to interact with Zimbabwe where British
descendants own large tracts of land and are in conflict with president
Robert Mugabe's embattled government is a big test of the UK's "new"
relationship with Africa.
Notwithstanding Mugabe's undemocratic rule and
disregard for the rule of law, it has still to be seen whether Britain has
the political willpower to acknowledge its historical role in the Harare land
crisis and its failure to honour its part of the 1979 Lancaster House
agreement which ushered in Zimbabwe's independence. The UK has reneged on its
promise to finance land reform in the country.
shortcomings, land remains a source of potential conflict in much of
One way in which Britain could atone for its role
in this historical injustice is to pledge substantial amounts of money as
London's contribution to the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad). This could also be followed by vigorous support for African
countries in various global forums where Britain has influence. The European
Union should be the first arena in which Britain should support attempts by
Africa to improve its access to richer markets, particularly agricultural
products which Tanzanian Minister of Industry and Trade Mohammed Simba calls
"matters of life and debt for us".
The second platform that Blair can
use is the G8 summit to be held in Canada in June.
Here it would be
useful if Blair demonstrated the same level of enthusiasm as he showed in the
war against terrorism, especially the reconstruction of Afghanistan, followed
by the Tokyo gathering where massive financial and technical support was
pledged to Kabul by the rich countries.
Having said that, Straw's recent
utterances on Africa also need to be understood within the context of the
long history of British intervention in Africa, especially in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe's undemocratic rule creates lots of room for Britain, as the former
colonial master, to take a high moral ground on issues that it partly created
during the decolonisation process.
In his statement, Straw said Britain
"cares about Africa because it is no longer possible to neglect the world's
problems without running the risk of eventually suffering the consequences".
The hope is that the UK makes good on this promise as there is little doubt
that British diplomatic and humanitarian intervention in some parts of Africa
have made profound positive change. A case in point is Britain's
participation in the Sierra Leone peace-enforcement initiative which reversed
a chaotic and desperate situation.
Having said that, it is doubtful
whether Britain's enthusiasm to rein in Mugabe, for example, can be extended
to deal with the likes of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Rwandan
counterpart Paul Kagame.
One does not have to be a rock scientist to
figure out that since the second rebellion in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Kagame and Museveni's activities in that country went beyond
protecting their national boundaries from "negative forces" as they keep
telling the world. The fact is like Mugabe, Kagame and Museveni close allies
of Britain have been involved in atrocities and raping of natural resources
of the Congo.
In a letter to the British Minister of Overseas
Development, Claire Short, Museveni made it clear recently that he relied on
the goodwill of Britain to strengthen his military hardware, not to improve
the lot of his poverty-stricken nation.
Kagame and Museveni are
clearly not promising democratic African leaders that Britain should
encourage to underpin the success of Nepad. Multiparty politics are not on
the cards in Uganda, while Rwanda continues to wave the "genocide card" in an
attempt to stop travelling the road to a multiethnic democracy in that
Blair's trip to the continent should not go down in history as
yet another African safari by a western leader, as last undertaken by Bill
Africa should not be the continent reserved for empty kind words
or political symbolism.
If Blair can turn his promises into concrete
action and tangible benefits, he will truly become a friend of Africa. But he
still has much ground to cover before this can be realised.
lectures in the international relations department at Wits University and is
a member of the Centre for Africa International Relations.
If Blair can
turn his promises into concrete action, he will truly be a friend of
Africa Feb 11 2002 12:00:00:000AM David Monyae Business Day 1st
THE Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Don McKinnon, was in
the United States last month, holding talks in advance of the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Coolum, Australia in March. While
in Washington, McKinnon discussed the issue of debt relief with officials
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also held talks with several
Bush administration officials on terrorism and the current crisis in
In an interview with allAfrica.com in Washington, the Secretary
General said that, despite President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land
reforms and election policies, the Commonwealth is not in a position to bar
him from attending the Australia meeting.
Q: The United States is not
part of the Commonwealth but you’re here in Washington DC and you have had
talks with Bush administration officials. What did you tell them? A: The
United States is of course not part of the Commonwealth, but Washington DC is
an important city, being the base for the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the World Bank. We do a lot of work with the World Bank on a number of
projects around the world and of course the influence of the IMF on a number
of Commonwealth countries is considerable.
There is also the issue of
terrorism, which is very much still dominating the world. I had a very good
discussion with Vice-President Dick Cheney … talking about the kind of things
that we in the Commonwealth are doing and about the commitment by the
Commonwealth’s 54 leaders to a very strong statement related to terrorism -
the fact that we don’t believe that Commonwealth states should harbour
terrorists. And of course we have a Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting
[at the end of January] to advance the discussion on terrorism.
Let’s talk about your discussions at the IMF. Are there any specific areas
that you tackled with regard to Commonwealth countries in Africa? A: The
biggest one of course is debt relief. You’ll be aware that the Commonwealth
was in the forefront of starting this whole programme on debt relief about
five years ago. We believe debt relief for a lot of African countries is very
important. One of our last Finance Ministers meetings called for the speeding
up of the process and for reducing the conditions required prior to debt
The talks I had with the IMF Managing Director, Horst Kohler,
suggest that he also understood these problems of conditionality. He also was
very much aware, of course, that there is not the amount of funds to write
off debt that they had hoped for, but they’ll continue to persevere. So
the Commonwealth is certainly on side with those nations that have done
their very best to not only change their economies, but can no longer move
forward until they get substantial debt relief.
Q: You are launching a
Commonwealth fund for Africa. What is the fund about and how does it fit in
with what you have discussed with the IMF? A: This is a fund which will be
somewhat similar to our previous Commonwealth Fund for Africa and which we
hope will be launched pretty soon this year, with the help of the World Bank,
to make credit available to business people within the African region who
need support. The shortage of capital is quite considerable. On the other
hand, finding projects that suit our donors is a major exercise as well. But
I think if we can get this fund off the ground, with the help of those in the
subsidiaries of the World Bank, I believe we can see some promising
opportunities for entrepreneurs in Africa.
Q: If we may talk in terms of
specific countries, who will benefit from this fund? A: We have to say that
the parameters of this fund will be the 19 Commonwealth countries in the
African region. It will not extend to those outside the
Q: There is a Commonwealth country that is currently in the
political as well as economic limelight and that is Zimbabwe. President
Robert Mugabe’s land redistribution and election policies are causing a lot
of concern in a lot of places. You know President Robert Mugabe on a personal
level. Can you provide a little insight into the way he sees this whole
situation? What is his mindset at this particular point in his country’s
history? A: Well, I am not a psychoanalyst and I am not a psychiatrist. I am
really a politician. There are a lot of very sad things occurring in Zimbabwe
at the present time, not the least of which are the incredible food shortages
that are emerging in a country which was really self-sustainable in food for
a very long time, and exported a lot of food. Commonwealth ministers have
expressed their concern on numerous occasions about a number of activities in
that country. I certainly communicated to President Mugabe the concerns of
other countries about a lot of other activities going on there at the
present time. We obviously want to see a change. In the meantime, I do expect
the Commonwealth will be invited to provide observers for the elections in
March and also, of course, we would like to have people there on the ground
fairly soon to enable them to assist with the whole process of leading up
to elections. But we do remain concerned about a number of those issues
that have been dealt with by the legislature in recent times and certainly
have conveyed those concerns to the appropriate people.
Q: What was
President Mugabe’s reaction when you communicated those concerns to him? A:
That’s something I can’t talk about; you have to talk to President Mugabe
about that. My job is to ensure that he is fully aware of the concerns of
other Commonwealth countries and leaders, particularly, of course, African
leaders who are, by and large, concerned about what’s happening
Q: So in the build-up to the Commonwealth summit in Australia, do
you think President Mugabe will press you to accommodate him, or is the
Commonwealth likely to press him in the direction of change? A: I would not
want to prejudge any decision that will be taken by the Commonwealth
foreign ministers when they meet at the end of January. But, by and large,
the Commonwealth doesn’t have the capacity to say: “You shall not come”.
The Commonwealth is an extraordinarily diverse, widely spread,
very accommodating grouping of countries, some 54 countries, and at times
they have had to accommodate those they have had other views on. But
certainly at this stage, Zimbabwe will be represented at the Commonwealth
heads of government meeting.
Q: Even after that statement by General
Vitalis Zvinavashe, that the army, of which President Mugabe is
Commander-in-Chief, will only support leaders who fought in the liberation
war against white rule? A: That is of concern, because it does have a bearing
on our active encouragement to have a free and fair election. And of course
it’s not considered a free and fair election if there are threats from an
element of the Zimbabwe government apparatus towards what could be a
political party that could take power. What we want to see is the kind of
election that can take place freely in other parts of the world, where people
can freely declare what they want to happen without being intimidated by
statements by such generals that to do so would endanger either that
particular party or support for it.
Q: So what is the Common-wealth going
to do about it? What means do you have at your disposal to bring pressure to
bear on Mugabe, whether we’re talking about the election or land reforms? A:
We really are actively encouraging other courses of action in a number of
fields. For example, on the land redistribution programme, we certainly
believe that the involvement of the United Nations and ourselves could make
that whole process a lot easier and a lot more acceptable and sustainable.
But at the end of the day, we do not have any battalions. We do not have the
authority to mount a series of sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is really only
the moral authority of the Commonwealth, backed by the other 53 members who
expect a higher level of standards on something like this.
Q: Did the
issue of Zimbabwe come up in your discussions with the Bush administration?
A: I discussed a lot of things with a lot of people all in different parts of
the administration, and I wouldn’t wish to go into details, but certainly the
subject of Zimbabwe has come up.
Q: Does that mean combined pressure
could be expected from the Bush administration and the Commonwealth? A: There
is already a lot of pressure, but whether it is having the appropriate
response is a judgement yet to be made. After all, there has been a lot of
critical comment about what’s happening in Zimbabwe by a lot of the African
leaders, apart from the European Union, the United States and leaders from
different parts of the Commonwealth. A lot has been said, but the question is
more if there has been an appropriate response? The answer to that is
EU observer leader works to win over Zimbabwe
HARARE, Feb. 11 — The Swedish head of an EU observer team
met Zimbabwe officials on Monday to win permission to stay in the country
after arriving in defiance of a ban on observers from Sweden overseeing March
elections. Former Swedish government minister Pierre Schori's meeting
in the capital Harare coincided with the petrol bombing of the southern
African country's only independent newspaper and a company printing
opposition election material. Human rights groups have warned of a
''climate of fear and terror'' in the run-up to the March 9-10 presidential
poll, when President Robert Mugabe is expected to face the biggest challenge
to his 22 years in power. Mugabe has allowed European Union officials
to monitor the poll but objected to representatives from six EU states,
including Sweden and former colonial ruler Britain. Mugabe accuses
Britain of seeking to undermine his rule after disputes rooted in the
often-violent seizures of white-controlled land since 2000. He is angry with
Sweden, which supported Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, for siding with
Britain. Schori was meeting government officials on Monday to discuss
his accreditation to observe the election and was confident that he would
sway the government, his spokesman Stefan Amer said. ''We expect
that it will be so, that he will get accreditation,'' Amer told
Reuters. ''Meanwhile, we are working as normal, we're getting more
observers tomorrow and we will be training them and sending them out as soon
as possible.'' Amer said Schori, who arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday,
expected the first of his 150-strong team of observers to be in the field by
Friday. The EU has threatened sanctions and warned it will freeze the
assets of Mugabe's family and inner circle and bar them from travel unless
Harare allows the deployment of the EU team. Apart from the select
EU countries, Zimbabwe has also invited Commonwealth, Organisation of African
Unity and regional observer teams to oversee the elections. Several
Commonwealth observers were accredited on Monday, Thomas Bvuma, a spokesman
for the Electoral Supervisory Commission, told Reuters.
CONDEMNED British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw condemned Monday's
petrol bomb attacks on a printing house and the provincial office of the
Daily News, which Mugabe's government says is a mouthpiece for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
poses the main election threat to Mugabe, who has been in power since leading
Rhodesia to independence in 1980 after a protracted guerrilla war against
white minority rule. ''As we get these reports they are obviously
taken fully into account by the European Union and by ourselves. It is a very
unsatisfactory situation,'' Straw said. A Daily News journalist
told Reuters that two petrol bombs were thrown into the newspaper's offices
in the second city of Bulawayo. Another two were hurled at the nearby Daily
Print printing house. Nobody was injured and damage was limited
Newspaper Offices Bombed in Zimbabwe The Associated Press, Mon 11 Feb
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Two gasoline bombs were hurled Monday at
provincial offices of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, which the
government has accused of supporting the opposition.
A gasoline bomb
also was thrown at a nearby print shop in Bulawayo, about 230 miles southwest
of Harare. The print shop had printed some opposition election campaign
Neither premises was seriously damaged.
The attacks are
the latest political violence ahead of presidential elections on March 9-10.
President Robert Mugabe, 77, and his increasingly unpopular ruling party are
fighting for political survival after nearly 22 years in
Mdududzi Mathuthu, The Daily News' chief reporter in Bulawayo,
said the bombs smashed a plate glass window at the entrance to the paper's
offices, burning a carpet in the lobby. No one was inside and there was no
damage to the upstairs offices.
On Thursday, ruling party militants
pasted Mugabe's campaign posters on the street-level windows. While cleaners
were removing them, militants warned staff to leave the posters or their
office would be burned down, Mathuthu said.
Owners at printers Daily
Print said the firm had produced campaign material for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. Damage to the shop was minimal.
comment was immediately available from police.
Opposition activists on
Sunday accused ruling party supporters of attacking them to prevent an
election rally at Gokwe, 200 miles west of Harare.
Mugabe Challenged to ‘Name Gays’ Monday, 11th February
2002 Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is being challenged to name the
members of the British Cabinet whom he alleges are gay.
comes from human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell following remarks that
Mugabe made at a recent presidential electoral campaign rally.
said of UK prime minister Tony Blair’s cabinet: "I have people who are
married in my cabinet. He has homosexuals, and they make John marry Joseph
and let Mary get married to Rosemary.”
Mugabe went on to say: “We are
saying they do not know biology because even dogs and pigs know biology. We
can form clubs, but we will never have homosexual clubs. In fact, we will
”We were laughing yesterday and saying was it lack of the
knowledge of biology that led these people to do what they do. My dogs and
pigs at home always know which one of them is female and which is the male
and it is never the other way among them.”
Mugabe concluded: ”Let’s
teach these people a little bit of biology,”, referring to British government
Ministers who he claims are gay.
Tatchell said: “Since President Mugabe
claims that Tony Blair’s Cabinet is full of homosexuals, he should
substantiate his allegations. I challenge the President to name the gay
British Cabinet Ministers.”
Tatchell continued: “He won’t, and can’t,
because there are none. Not one of Tony Blair’s Cabinet is gay or lesbian. Of
50 government Ministers, only Nick Brown – the Minister for Work – is gay.
President Mugabe is not only homophobic, he is also factually
The human rights campaigner, who has twice attempted citizen’s
arrest of Mugabe, added: “It is quite bizarre for Mugabe to make
homosexuality a major Presidential election issue. His obsession with gays in
Tony Blair`s Cabinet is an odd election priority."
He said: "Zimbabwe
is facing ruin with rocketing inflation, mass unemployment and
semi-starvation in many rural areas. All Mugabe can think about is
homosexuals in Tony Blair`s government."
Tatchell remarked: “This is
further proof that he has lost the plot and is unfit to lead