|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
HARARE, Feb 12 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's
rural health delivery system, once
regarded as one of the best in Africa, is now in a state of distress.
”Diseases are now part of life for most people in rural areas. Families have
resorted to traditional herbalists, known as 'vana tsika mutanda',”
researcher Bright Mombeshora told IPS after a tour of Kasiyo in northern
Mombeshora, who is also a social commentator, said: ”The nurses we found in
one clinic didn't seem to be working at all. If all the health centres in
the country's rural areas are like that, then we have a time bomb on our
”We found the nurses enjoying the sunshine. We asked them, without meaning
any offence, if they were still on strike. They said they had no work to do.
And it looked like they meant it,” he said.
Mombeshora said the biggest job he saw the nurses doing was distribution of
condoms to mostly young clients.
Poor drug supplies, staff shortages and transport problems have rendered the
clinic a sham, he said. The workers said most rural clinics were in the same
Mombeshora said he spoke to ”a lot of people who claimed they no longer go
to clinics, but have resorted to the services of traditional healers. At one
time, I saw a family paying a traditional healer two goats and another
giving away five cattle.”
Lower Guruve district, in which Kasiyo is situated, is infested with malaria
and malnutrition, two of the most deadly diseases that are claiming millions
of young lives in Africa.
Mombeshora said aid agencies are now feeding children under the age of five
in a scheme aimed to fight malnutrition. They also cater for adults who have
not been spared by hunger.
The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) says more Zimbabweans now require food
aid than the 5.5 million people - 50 percent of the population - initially
forecast by a U.N. study last year. Aid agencies have appealed for 197
Mombeshora said heavy rains have created an atmosphere conducive for
mosquito breeding. He said the aid agencies, apart from the feeding schemes
they were carrying out, also distributed drugs to prevent and treat malaria.
Health officials say malaria, which is transmitted by the female mosquito
known as the anopheles, is an added strain on the health delivery systems in
rural Zimbabwe, where HIV/AIDS is also on the increase.
Around 2,500 people die of AIDS-related diseases in Zimbabwe every week,
according to official statistics.
In Shurugwi district, central Zimbabwe, the health delivery problem seems to
be confined to the urban area.
Christopher Mapfuti, a municipal police officer in Shurugwi, home to former
Prime Minister Ian Smith, said: ”All the places and houses that used to be
the best in the town have been turned into gold mining sites. You won't like
it if you had been to Shurugwi before.”
Mapfuti said mounds of ore are found at most of the homes in the town. The
water, used to extract the yellow metal, comes from the town supply. Then
the waste from the final work is pumped into the main drainage and sewer
systems, which are now continuously blocked, he said.
Mapfuti said the Town Council and the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) officials spend most of their time
quarrelling among themselves. While the Town Council would want to get rid
of illegal gold panning, party stalwarts want to maintain support and would
not like to hear of a stoppage to the panning activities.
”The two sides are working against each other, although the council is made
up of ZANU-PF councillors, who should be working together with the party,”
He warns that an outbreak of disease looms in the town. The sewerage water,
he said, flows freely in front of houses where children play and through the
streets, which themselves are on the verge of collapsing due to neglect.
Peter Mataruse, a former Mayor of Chinhoyi, a town close to the Zambia
border, said the economic problems, caused mainly by Zimbabwe's
controversial land-reform programme and sanctions, have paralysed the
country's health delivery system.
”The structures that were built during the good times are collapsing.
Medicine supplies were better before Zimbabwe fell out with the Western
powers and the donor community,” he said.
The United States and the European Union (EU) slammed sanctions on Zimbabwe
for allegedly refusing to uphold the rule of law. Zimbabwe began descending
into chaos in 2000 after the government of President Robert Mugabe ordered
the seizure of lands from 4,500 white commercial farmers for resettling
landless black peasants. Critics say the land-reform programme has destroyed
Zimbabwe agriculture, which was the backbone of the economy.
Mataruse, who now runs a private clinic, said the World Health Organisation
(WHO) and other non-governmental organisations were helping in malaria
control and feeding schemes in his area.
He said it would not be possible for Zimbabwe to stand on its own if the
international community was to pullout from supporting the country's health
The biggest problem facing the rural health system is the shortage of
doctors and nurses, who mostly prefer to work in towns where facilities are
Chivhu General Hospital in Mashonaland East Province, for example, has no
doctor. Cuban doctors, who had been deployed to the town, went home on
leave. And the lone Zimbabwean doctor in charge of the health facility
joined the private sector as most of them are now doing. Some have gone to
Britain, South Africa, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The staff at Chivhu hospital referred all questions to the Provincial
Medical Director, who was also not available, for comment when IPS called.
Residents interviewed by IPS said the hospital mortuary, which caters for 36
clinics and hospitals, was built to hold eight bodies at one time. It now
holds as many as 32 corpses. AIDS, cholera and malaria are reported to be
the main cause of death.
Immediately after independence from Britain in 1980 Zimbabwe launched a
programme to build clinics and hospitals throughout the country. These
structures are now either falling apart due to lack of maintenance or are
without beds and equipment as a result of poor and erratic funding.
Recently doctors went on strike demanding an 8,000 percent pay rise. They
said the increment was necessary in a country which is reeling under a
galloping inflation, now estimated at 600 percent.
Women unite against Rape
CRISIS COALITION supports Women's Coalition in condemning in the deepest
possible terms the rape of women and children. The gang rape of a
38-year-old woman in the city centre by five "street men" brought emotions
to a boiling point as women came together to say "Enough is Enough: No to
The incident sent shockwaves within the organisation as it brings other
issues to the fore. The gender insensitivity of the police was raised as the
force found enough manpower to round up unescorted women at night but they
now they are can't contain the problem of street men.
The Executive Mayor of Harare, Ms Sekesai Makwavarara got the ball rolling
by speaking out against rape as it scars the victim for life. She narrated
how a girl was raped by her own brothers. This shocking incident highlights
the fact there is nothing called a safe place for a woman, they are
vulnerable even in their own homes. Rape cases are also being reported at
churches, which used to be safe havens for women.
Crisis echoes the sentiments put forward by Janah Ncube, the Women's
Coalition director who demanded the end to violence against women and
children because they make the backbone of society. She challenged
legislators to push through the Sexual Offences Bill which has been on the
Parliamentary shelves for four years. Representatives of different
organisations did not mince their words as they drove home the message that
there is no place for rapists in Zimbabwe.
Songs and placards manifested the determination of the women to rid society
and the streets of rapists. They were numerous calls to castrate rapists and
deny them bail should they be caught. For Mr Matutu of Musasa Project anyone
who stooped so low as to rape is mentally deranged and as such he must be
removed from society. But they message that carried the day for the women
was the call to castrate the rapists.
¨The legal framework must be tightened so that rapists do not get away with
light penalties and they must not be granted bail under any circumstances.
¨The powers must clamp down on the street family camps that have spouted all
the country's CBDs because so much more sexual violence is being perpetrated
against those women and children who stay on the streets. About 124 street
girls, some as young as 11, are being treated for STIs and some are even
¨Crisis also urges the societies that deal with the welfare of children to
embark on an aggressive and sustained grassroots campaign to empower those
who might need information on how to deal with rape within families.
¨Society has to change attitudes towards rape victims as stigmatisation will
result in the victims going underground and the perpetrators will go
¨Men must be a forefront of anti-violence campaigns.
Women have a right to free movement and the right to be protected against
sexual violence !!
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is a grouping of more than 350 civil society
organisations fighting for a democratic Zimbabwe.
WE wish to register our disappointment at the new Cabinet reshuffle by President Robert Mugabe. We are perturbed that the new cabinet reshuffle does not show any commitment on the part of government to resolve the ever-deepening economic and political crisis in the country.
Apart from the recycling of Ministers, especially in such crucial ministries like Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Health and Higher Education, there is total disregard of peoples’ concerns which were captured by the Constitutional Commission appointed by President Mugabe in 1998.Zimbabweans have said they do not want a huge cabinet as this puts a strain on the national coffers.
When they were giving
evidence to the Constitutional Commission, the people said there is no need for
deputy Ministers but to our utter disgust the deputy ministers have been brought
in again and furthermore Governors for
We as Crisis Coalition
Although the appointment of the Cabinet is the President’s prerogative, we are of the view that appointments to public office must be reflective of the people’s aspirations. Instead of expediting the process of the appointment of an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission, the President appoints a Minister who is answerable to him. We need an independent anti-corruption watchdog that is not answerable to the President but to Parliament.
Issued on the 11th of February 04
New evidence in treason trial
In the High Court yesterday, Judge Paddington Garwe admitted
key documents from a legal action instituted by the MDC against Ari Ben
Menashe currently underway in Canada. The documents completely contradict
the evidence given earlier in the trial by Ben Menashe, the Canadian
businessman who claims he was contracted by Tsvangirai to assassinate Robert
Mugabe. When the trial last adjourned on 28 January, defence advocate George
Bizos submitted these documents to the court, asking for them to be admitted
as part of Tsvangirai's defence. State lawyers objected, and Judge Garwe
said he would issue a ruling on the documents when the trial resumed
yesterday. The documents absolutely shatter the already shaky evidence given
by Ben Menashe.
The evidence Ben Menashe gave
to the court when he appeared in person last
year was that the assassination of Mugabe was discussed during EACH of three
meetings at which both he and Tsvangirai were present, on their own and with
others. The meetings took place in London on 22 October and 3 November 2001,
and in Montreal on 4 December of that year. When Tsvangirai was indicted,
the State said there were audio tapes of the first two London meetings, and
a video tape of the third Montreal meeting - all of which would show that an
assassination plot was discussed in ALL the meetings. The audio tapes of the
London meetings were never produced in court - the prosecutors said they
were inaudible. With difficulty, defence lawyers eventually forced the
Attorney General to produce the transcripts of the audio tapes, which were
full of gaps, and which showed no evidence of any assassination plot being
discussed. Indeed the transcripts were entirely consistent with what
Tsvangirai and his colleagues had said all along, namely that the meetings
were to discuss a political consultancy agreement, not an assassination
plot. Ben Menashe was forced to claim that the discussions regarding the
"plot" were not contained in the transcripts and must have taken place
during the "gaps" in the transcript.
video tape of the third meeting was grainy, of poor quality, and
barely audible in places. It also showed signs of being doctored. At that
meeting, Ben Menashe repeatedly used the word "elimination" and spoke of the
"agreement" that he alleged had been reached in the previous two meetings.
In evidence he alleged that the "agreement" reached in the first two
meetings in London was to assassinate Mugabe, because nowhere in the video
tape of the Montreal meeting is there any discussion regarding an
assassination plot. In other words the third meeting in Montreal does not
stand alone evidentially, and a conviction for treason is entirely dependent
on the State being able to prove that both the first two meetings had a
sinister purpose. Accordingly, Ben Menashe's verbal assertion that the first
two meetings had a sinister purpose is absolutely crucial if the State is to
prove Tsvangirai guilty of treason.
In April 2003 the MDC
began legal proceedings in the Superior Court in
Montreal, where Ben Menashe's company Dickens and Madson is based, to
recover US$97 600 it paid to Dickens and Madson for consultancy services
which were never provided. In their reply to the MDC's court documents filed
in October 2003 (called a "contestation"), Dickens and Madson and Ben
Menashe say that "very shortly after Plaintiff (the MDC) contacted Defendant
(Ben Menashe and Dickens and Madson) and entered into the contract, it
became apparent...that the purpose of the meeting was to seek the overthrow
by violence of the Government of Zimbabwe". The contract, accepted by Ben
Menashe in his "contestation" document as being legitimate, was signed on 23
October 2001, AFTER the first meeting in London. Therefore, by Ben Menashe's
own admission in his legal submission to the Montreal court, assassination
was not discussed at the first meeting - in complete contradiction of his
evidence given in the criminal trial that the assassination plot was
discussed at the first meeting.
The first tranche of payments to Dickens and Madson was paid
on 1 November
2001. A second tranche was accepted by Ben Menashe's company on 8 November,
shortly AFTER the second London meeting. In the High Court in Harare, Ben
Menashe claimed that the contract was merely "a cover" for the assassination
plot. Yet in the document submitted to the Canadian court, Ben Menashe
contests the MDC's right to recover the money on the basis that the contract
was a legal agreement. And he accepted a second payment of money AFTER the
second London meeting, at which, he claimed in Harare, the assassination of
Mugabe was discussed. The inference contained in Ben Menashe's
"contestation" document is that when the contract was entered into it had an
innocent purpose and that likewise when he received the money, pursuant to
the contract, he was entitled to hold on to the money because it was a
lawful contract. The final inference contained in his "contestation" is the
allegation that because it was the MDC that was in breach of the innocent
contract (not him), that is to do political consultancy work, he is, as a
result, not obliged to return the money. Furthermore, in Ben Menashe's
"contestation" document filed in Montreal, he again contradicts the evidence
he gave in the Zimbabwean criminal court. He claims that the second meeting
in London on the 3 November 2001 was videotaped, and that the tape was
"produced as evidence" in the criminal trial, something that never happened.
The only video tape ever produced was of the third meeting in Montreal.
The nub of the matter is that Ben Menashe's evidence in the
was that the "contractual" discussions were sinister from the very first
meeting in London. In his determination to hold on to the money paid to him
by the MDC, he has now driven a horse and carriage through his own evidence
in the treason trial, by stating in the Canadian courts that the first two
meetings were entirely innocent and that he only "discovered" the MDC's
nefarious intentions later. Given that the third meeting does not in itself
provide evidence of the "plot", the State case is now in tatters, not that
there was any case in the first place. An honourable, professional Attorney
General would now admit that this is now "caedit questio" (the end of the
trial) and withdraw proceedings against Tsvangirai. However given the fact
that this trial has everything to do with politics and nothing much to do
with law or justice, a withdrawal of charges is unlikely.
22 October 2001: first meeting in London.
23 October 2001: contract signed
1 November 2001: $50 000 paid to Dickens & Madson
3 November 2001: second meeting in London
8 November 2001: $22 196 paid to Dickens & Madson
4 December 2001: third meeting in Montreal
Zimbabwe inflation reaches new high
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's official rate of inflation, which dropped 20.8
points in December, came in at a new high of 622.8 percent in January
compared with the year earlier, according to government statistics.
The Central Statistical Office (CSO)
figures showed that the rate of
inflation jumped 24.1 points from 598.7 percent in December. In November
inflation had stood at 619.5 percent.
The rate remains one of the highest in the world,
translating to almost
three times the January 2003 rate of 208.1 percent.
Former Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa in November
predicted the southern
African country's inflation rate would hit 700 percent in the first three
months of this year before climbing down.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono in December said measures
would be put in
place to bring down inflation to below 200 percent by end of this year.
Analysts said the jump in January was expected as the
experienced in December was artificial as "the underlying inflationary
pressures have not diminished yet."
One analyst said
the drop in December was "a flash on the pan" as the month
was a slow one with factories shutting down for holidays and retailers
trying to get rid of their stocks.
"The increase in year-on-year inflation was largely
accounted for by the
increases in the average prices of beverages, bread, cereals, meat, fruits
and vegetables," said the CSO.
average annual inflation has been climbing upwards since 2000
when it stood at 55.9 percent, rising to 71 percent a year later. It reached
133.2 in 2002 before it shot to 365 percent last year.
The country has in recent
years been plagued by political and social
instability as well as severe food shortages, caused partly by drought as
well as a controversial land redistribution programme dispossessing white
Zimbabwean Crisis Affects Mozambican Railways
Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
February 11, 2004
Posted to the web February 12, 2004
The central branch of Mozambique's publicly owned ports and railway company
(CFM-Centro) has failed to attain its targets in terms of cash collected,
and it blames the situation largely on the economic crisis in neighbouring
Zimbabwe, its main client, reports Wednesday's issue of the Beira daily
"Diario de Mocambique".
Of the targeted 445.7 billion meticais (about 18.6 million US dollars), the
company collected last year only 426.4 billion meticais, resulting from the
handling of various types of cargo along the Beira Corridor.
The company's executive director, Joaquim Verissimo, says there are a number
of factors to explain this shortfall of 19.2 billion meticais, about 4.3 per
cent of the expected sum.
But the main factor, he stressed, was the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, which
uses the Beira port and rail system for much of its imports and exports.
The economic chaos in Zimbabwe means that the country's trade has shrunk,
and that it is unable to pay on time for its reduced use of the Mozambican
Currently, according to Verissimo, Zimbabwe owes CFM-Centro 336,000 US
dollars, that it is not paying "for lack of hard currency". The debt must be
paid in hard currency - CFM stopped accepting the increasingly worthless
Zimbabwean currency two years ago.
Furthermore, CFM's counterpart, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) "is
in no condition to meet the established indicators in terms of 'transit
time', the length of time that CFM wagons stay on the other side of the
border, and also it fails to make available in time the necessary rolling
stock", said Verissimo.
CFM-Centro's response to lower than expected income is to reduce production
costs. This was partly managed last year, when 216 billion meticais were
spent, instead of the expected 232.4 billion, a reduction of about seven per
These costs concern the maintenance of equipment, including wagons,
locomotives and other rolling stock, and the repair and protection of
infrastructures. Verissimo said that to render this area more profitable,
the company is striving to create stocks of spare parts "to allow
maintenance operations to become regular and continuous", and also should
have a procurement system, whereby "whenever there is need of spare parts we
may be able to locate the supplier in time to solve specific problems, and
always have equipment available".
The company has also decided to get rid of its own body of security guards,
since Verissimo believed that it is CFM's vocation to manage a security
force. Instead, this job has been given to a private company, and CFM will
no longer have to manage and pay for its own security guards. Any losses
through negligence will be charged to the private company, rather than paid
for by CFM.
Speaking of the dramatic scaling down of the workforce, Verissimo said that
the process has been almost completed. Out of a total of 6,014 workers the
company once had, CFM-Centro is now left with only 1,148.
This has permitted a substantial increase in the wages of those who remain
and, through a social reinsertion programme, the retrenched workers have
received training in various areas, and many have started their own small
businesses. The minimum wage at CFM has now risen to 2,151,000 meticais
(about 88 US dollars) - more than double the statutory minimum of 994,611
meticais a month.
Zimbabwean analyst terms "reshuffling dirt" recent changes in Mugabe's
cabinet [Interview with TI's John Makumbe]
BBC Monitoring Service from Short Wave Radio Africa 10 Feb 2004
Robert Mugabe announced a mini reshuffle of the cabinet yesterday. Only one
cabinet minister has lost his post while Mugabe has reinforced his cabinet
with former senior soldiers and CIO [Central Intelligence Organization]
operatives. Former parliament Speaker Didymus Mutasa is now minister of
special affairs in the president's office in charge of the anti-corruption
and anti-monopolies programme. Mugabe sacked Edward Chindori-Chininga, the
mines minister, and replaced Herbert Murerwa, the finance minister, with
Murerwa returns to his former post as Minister of Higher and Tertiary
Education. Mugabe retained his ministerial team - which he called the war
cabinet - largely intact. Jonathan Moyo is still information minister,
Patrick Chinamasa the justice minister and Joseph Made, the agriculture
minister. John Nkomo retains special affairs minister in charge of lands,
land reform and resettlement.
New governors have been appointed for Harare and Bulawayo. Two new ministers
of state have been appointed. These are Webster Shamu, who was appointed
minister of state for policy implementation and Josiah Tungamirai, who is
the minister of state for indigenization and empowerment. Brig (retd)
Ambrose Mutinhiri takes over from Elliot Manyika as minister of youth
development and Manyika becomes minister without portfolio. I spoke with
political analyst [Dr] John Makumbe about this cabinet reshuffle.
[Makumbe] Well, it's really reshuffling dirt. It's, you know, when you have
rubbish in the bin and it's smelling terribly, you just take a piece of wood
and you reshuffle it around, it doesn't make any difference. It still smells
[SW Radio announcer Violet Gonda] [Laughing] So, were you surprised with any
of the changes though?
[Makumbe] Oh, yes, I was surprised that, you know, he appoints, you know,
Didymus Mutasa, a well-worn out and expired, you know, former minister,
former Speaker of parliament and a man who terrorizes people in his own
constituency. He appoints him to the cabinet as minister of anti-corruption
and monopolies, anti-monopolies programmes. You know, it is really a joke
because there are very few people who are, you know, less transparent than
[Gonda] What about Joseph Made? He has lost the lands portfolio and that's
been given to John Nkomo. Is this a demotion or what? What is really
happening there? What's your take on this one?
[Makumbe] No, it's not a demotion. He still has the agriculture and he now
also has the resettlement. Now the resettlement is now in both John Nkomo's
third portfolio [laughing] and in Made's portfolio, which shows you the kind
of brain that was doing the designing of the cabinet, because the, you know,
Lands is taken from agriculture, but resettlement is now in both agriculture
as well as in lands. It's a bit of a distortion, it's a bit of, you know,
[Gonda] And what about Elliot Manyika? He becomes minister without
portfolio. Does this mean that he wasn't really doing well with the militia
because that was - the militia were under his ministry?
[Makumbe] Well, I think he has not really been demoted as such. He is the -
the phrase minister without portfolio is simply because Mugabe doesn't want
to openly call him minister of the commissariat. He is going to even
concentrate more on the militia and on ensuring that more hooligans and
hoodlums are trained to beat up people as we get to the 2005 election. But
of course Mugabe couldn't have called him minister of the commissariat
because that would have been obvious.
[Gonda] And is it worrying that now that ministry is going to be led by a
retired Brigadier Mutinhiri?
[Makumbe] It is very worrying because this is, again, part and parcel of the
militarization of the government, which Mugabe has been, you know, pursuing
for some time with the appointment of military personnel into Noczim
[National Oil Company of Zimbabwe], into the GMB [Grain Marketing Board],
into the governorship for Manicaland, and now it is also gone to the
ministry of employment creation, youth, and it is obvious that this is going
to be a double-effort with, you know, that minister and that ministry with
Manyika's ministry working very hard on the commissariat, and on ensuring
that the Green Bombers [ZANU-PF militia] do their job, the war veterans do
their job and even the military are brought in to, you know, subdue the
[Gonda] And I understand that Harare and Bulawayo now have governors. Are
these really necessary since there are mayors in these areas?
[Makumbe] These are superfluous positions because they have nothing to do,
because there are executive mayors in both Bulawayo and Harare, and even as
we talk I think the two guys appointed wonder where their offices will be.
They can't be at the town houses, they can't be at the civic centres. They
probably will be in the Ministry of Home Affairs or local government. It is
really superfluous. It is really jobs for the boys, that's all it is.
[Gonda] And the two new ministries, one that's going to be led by Webster
Shamu and the other by Josiah Tungamirai, I think Tungamirai is going to be
the Minister of State for Indigenization and Empowerment, and Webster Shamu
is going to be the Minister of State for Policy Implementation. Are these
[Makumbe] These are totally unnecessary. It's like saying all the other
portfolio ministries are not really concerned about policy implementation.
How are they running? What do they do if it is not policy implementation?
And then the indigenization and empowerment for Tungamirai in what sense?
All ministries, all government departments should be empowering everybody,
should be empowering all Zimbabweans, whether indigenous or not. These are
really, again, jobs for the boys. Tungamirai is, of course, being rewarded
for behaving himself and allowing, you know, [late Vice-President] Muzenda
to hold on to the Gutu North Constituency and then winning this election. So
he's being rewarded duly.
Webster Shamu is obviously a well-known hooligan of the party. He's one of
those ZANU-PF hoodlums who will beat up a person and then say whom did we
beat up, you know. And he is being brought in preparation for the 2005
[Gonda] And Chris Kuruneri takes over, you know, has taken the finance
ministry from Herbert Murerwa. Can he handle that job?
[Makumbe] I don't really think so, but I think he is probably better that
Herbert Murerwa, who really knew precious little about the ministry of
finance. Kuruneri at least knows a few things, at least he knows what GNP
means. But he is as much immersed in the, you know, scandals that are going
on to do with businesses and shady deals as any of the lot in ZANU-PF.
[Gonda] And what about Chinori-Chinenga, who has lost his job? He is the
only minister that has lost his job. What is your take on this?
[Makumbe] I think he was a clear non-performer. He did nothing while he was
in charge of mining. People were smuggling gold and taking it, you know,
out. They were smuggling several mineral ores - unprocessed and, you know,
dragging them out of the country. He was a clear non-performer and he
deserved what came to him.
[Presenter] Political analyst John Makumbe.
Source: SW Radio Africa
Renewed EU sanctions may harden Mugabe
The renewal by the European Union of sanctions
against Zimbabwe will
stiffen the intransigence of President Robert Mugabe's government and worsen
the economic crisis in the southern African country, analysts and
politicians in Harare have said. The EU is due next week to begin debating
whether to maintain the sanctions, which include a travel ban on Mugabe and
71 of his top associates, imposed in February 2002, on grounds of human
rights abuses and electoral fraud. Western diplomats in the Zimbabwean
capital say the sanctions are likely to be renewed and even widened to
include more of Mugabe's aides. But renewal might not achieve the desired
results, and if anything could harden the government's stance, according to
political scientist Joseph Kurebwa. Kurebwa said sanctions usually had the
effect of achieving a "siege psychosis. "Instead of forcing the target
regime to democratise, sanctions tend to have the opposite effect, of
hardening the regime," he said. The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), which has argued that Mugabe stole the March 2002 presidential
poll from its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, wants the sanctions maintained. MDC
vice president Gibson Sibanda said: "They (sanctions) have had an impact,
they (leaders) are squealing", adding that those targeted could no longer
"fly out of the country to buy luxury goods which are no longer available to
everyone else". Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF) has blamed the sanctions for the country's economic crisis:
inflation exceeds 600 percent, unemployment is above 70 percent and about 80
percent of the population lives in poverty. But the MDC's Sibanda riposted:
"There is nothing that the sanctions have done to the economy. The economy
had already melted down. The sanctions are aimed at individuals." Kumbirai
Kangai, a member of Zanu-PF's decision-making politburo, said
sanctions-which have also been imposed by Australia, New Zealand, Norway,
Switzerland, and the United States -- "have done damage to the country", but
not the leaders they were intended to punish. "In fact the sanctions hurt
most the average person. They are meant to hurt leaders, but far from it.
The leaders still... move without much inconvenience," he said. The
Commonwealth, which groups mainly former British colonies, suspended
Zimbabwe from its governing councils after the 2002 elections, and renewed
the suspension last December at a summit meeting in Nigeria, prompting
Mugabe to pull Zimbabwe out of the grouping. Political analyst Kurebwa said
some of the funding that could have come through bilateral deals with some
European countries has been suspended "because we are now an international
outcast." The EU has restricted assistance to Zimbabwe to humanitarian aid
since 2002 -- about 52 million euros over the past six months alone to
combat the effects of famine. Rights activist Brian Raftopuolous said,
"Symbolically (sanctions) will help to confirm the isolation of the regime,"
adding: "I think the situation has not improved sufficiently for them to
remove the sanctions. "There has been no substantive improvement in
politics, the press. The judiciary has shown that its agenda is the agenda
of the ruling party." Zanu-PF's Kangai, meanwhile, is convinced that
"nothing has happened which would justify the extension of the sanctions.
"The situation in the country has improved significantly... there is no
political violence," said Kangai. "There is no... subversion of the
judiciary. We take the position that the sanctions should be removed," he
Libya in a Noose
New Vision (Kampala)
February 12, 2004
Posted to the web February 12, 2004
Abdul Rahim Tajudeen
On Tuesday Feb 10, Libya's foreign minister, Mohammed Chalgam, met with
embattled Prime Minister of Britain, Mr. Tory Blair in Downing Street. It is
not usual for foreign ministers of small countries from the third world and
even less so from Africa to be so received.
Even some of our all powerful heads of state struggle hard to get a few
minutes of photo opportunity in front of the Downing Street fireplace before
they are huddled off to some Junior foreign office minister, or at best the
beggars department otherwise known as the Department for International
But Libya is not and has never been just another third world country.
Since the Al Fatah revolution of 1969 which overthrew feudal regime of the
pro-Western King Idris Sanusi and brought the young Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
and his peers of Arab nationalists, Social revolutionaries and
anti-imperialist regime into power, Libya has remained a thorn in the flesh
for the West.
At the height of the Cold War, Libya was regarded as being in the Communist
camp even though among the Soviet Union bloc countries, Libya was not a
Unlike many hapless recruits into this ideological war between the East and
West Europeans, Libya dared to thread a 'third way' through its 'Green Book'
which sought to resolve the contradiction between capitalism and socialism
and offer a new basis for ordering society.
Essentially, Libya's ideological position centered on Arab nationalism,
Islamist solidarity and anti-imperialist internationalism internationally
and populist welfarism at home. Its oil resources gave it choices that were
not readily available to many poorer nations.
The populist domestic agenda gave the regime a secured popular base that
ensured that it could do whatever it pleases internationally.
The confrontation with the West became the defining character of the regime.
The more the West ostracised the regime, the more popular it became.
Gaddafi's ideological mentor, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, used to say that
any day he woke up and did not hear, see or read the Western media insulting
him, he wondered what he did wrong the previous night.
As long as they were calling him names, he knew he was on the right track!
That was the mould of Libya and Gaddafi in the 70s through to the 90s. Libya
became a Mecca for all kinds of revolutionaries from across the world
seeking support for their causes.
It gave Libya an international presence that was disproportionately larger
than its size and even that which its relatively considerable oil resources
entitled it to.
The confrontation with the west has been the most consistent leit motif of
the regime for more than three decades. That is why when the Soviet bloc
collapsed, Libya still remained ideologically hostile to the West and
America in particular.
Western opposition to Gaddafi rather than being a hindrance, has become a
great ally to the Libyan regime in maintaining power. Now that Tripoli is
playing chummy with the West, I am not sure how it will play out in the end.
There are objective reasons for this pragmatism. One, sanctions really
affected Libyan society in many ways and they paid a very heavy price for
it. On balance, the billions of dollar they agreed to pay for Lockerbie and
related acts of international terrorism is nothing compared to what they
have lost due to sanctions and will lose if it stays.
Two, the world has changed for the worse in terms of progressive
internationalism in favour of reactionary forces and Libya is responding
Three, many governments and political groups associated with Libya whether
in Africa, Latin America or the middle East are engaged in real politics
with imperialism and Libya became tired of standing on its own.
Four, sanctions forced Libya to begin to cut its coat according to its size;
it is not able to support global revolution on its own. Five, Libya started
counting its gains against imperialism instead of losses. Many groups it
supported are either ruling regimes or significant partners in government.
Take a sample of Libya associates: ANC/PAC; AZAPO (South Africa), SWAPO
(Namibia), ZANU (PF) (Zimbabwe), NRA (Uganda), RPF (Rwanda), PNDC (Ghana)
and others in Africa. In South America, you have FMLN in El Salvador, Lula
in Brazil, Chavez in Venezuela, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, etc.
And in the Middle East and Asia, you have mainstream/factions of the PLO,
various Arab nationalist/Islamist groups. In other parts of the world you
have all kinds of nationalist and anti-capitalist groups such as the IRA,
Basque Nationalist, Black separatist groups in America, etc.
The other side of this array of discontents and global revolutionism are the
reactionary regimes supported by Libya such as Idi Amin in Uganda, Charles
Taylor in Liberia and through him, Fodey Sankoh in Sierra Leone. However
contradictory foreign policy positions are typical of many countries, big or
By the time the Pakistani Father of he Islamic Bomb sang and he was promptly
'pardoned' by president Musharaf, too many waters had passed under the
Libya confessed when it was clear that the secret would be outed anyway. It
will no longer have any capacity to go ahead with its nuclear program. So
its full disclosure did not amount to much. It would have been found out
Disclosures on WMD became the cheaper option politically and economically. I
can see what is in it for both Washington and Tripoli for now, but in the
long run, I do not know. But my guess is that Gaddafi has opened a window he
can no longer close.