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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

SABC

SA traditional leaders off to Zimbabwe

February 27, 2005, 17:45

A delegation of South African traditional leaders is due to depart for
Zimbabwe on Tuesday to assess Zimbabwe's land resettlement policy. The
National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) which will be led by Inkosi
Mpiyezintombi Mzimela has been invited by President Robert Mugabe.

"The NHTL feel honoured by this invitation and view this as an indication by
Zimbabwe's regime about its intentions to enhance the status of traditional
leaders and the role they can play in land resettlement and governance,"
Mzimela said in a statement issued today.

Mzimela said the aim of the visit was to also share experiences and
strategies for improved local government systems. He says their approach as
South African traditional leaders is to unite all African traditional
leaders under the banner of the Continental House of Traditional Leaders of
Africa (Cotla). He said the visit had presented the NHTL with an opportunity
to realise their vision, which would turn their past frustrations into
positive energy for renewal and growth.

"We want our people to live in harmony, to be well educated, to feel and
enjoy the fruits of liberation. These are our happy aspirations for our
people and we are dedicated to achieving these goals." Mzimela said
traditional leaders in South Africa were confident that this visit would
strengthen the recognition and struggle of traditional leaders to the
international community and will also provide an invaluable opportunity to
learn about accomplishments and challenges faced by the traditional
leadership sector in Zimbabwe. - Sapa
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Mugabe declares Moyo enemy 'Number One'
Mon 28 February 2005
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has declared his former propaganda chief,
Jonathan Moyo, number one enemy and ordered his ruling ZANU PF party to
deploy whatever "resources and strategies" necessary to ensure Moyo loses
next month's election, sources told ZimOnline last night.

      Moyo, who was last week dismissed by Mugabe as information minister,
is standing as an independent candidate in his rural home Tsholotsho
constituency. The Tsholotsho seat is currently held by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party.

      ZANU PF insiders said Mugabe described Moyo as an "ungrateful and
greedy power monger" during a meeting of the party's inner politburo cabinet
last week.

      Mugabe, who resisted pressure from the politburo to dismiss Moyo much
earlier, is said to have then ordered ZANU PF political commissar Elliot
Manyika to ensure that Moyo's bid for the Tsholotsho parliamentary seat
fails.

      "The President said Moyo had transformed himself from a hard-working
cadre to a top ranking enemy whose failure should be guaranteed," said one
ZANU PF official who attended the meeting.

      The official, who did not want to be named, said Mugabe also vowed to
make sure Moyo does not benefit from mileage he got during his stint in ZANU
PF and the government.

      He said: "The President was clearly agitated by Moyo. It must be
because he alone stood by Moyo when other senior party officials wanted him
booted out. He feels hard done and he did little to conceal that during the
meeting. He made it clear that Moyo should not set foot at Parliament
again."

      Neither Moyo nor Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba could be reached
for comment on the matter last night.

      Manyika would not deny or confirm whether he was under special orders
from Mugabe to ensure Moyo was defeated. But the ZANU PF commissar said the
party was not only pushing to win all the 120 constituencies up for grabs on
March 31, but will also use the poll to put "Jonathan Moyo in his real
place."

      "We are determined to win not only in Tsholotsho but in all the 120
seats. Of course we will also show Jonathan Moyo his real place. He is a
nonentity and we will leave him with no illusion about that," said Manyika.

      Once one of Mugabe's closest and most powerful lieutenants, Moyo fell
out with the President after secretly attempting to block the appointment of
Joyce Mujuru as second vice-president of ZANU PF and Zimbabwe.

      Mujuru, who was eventually appointed to the vice-presidency, was
Mugabe's choice for the post seen as a key stepping stone to the top job.

      Mugabe subsequently fired Moyo from the politburo and blocked his
election into the central committee as punishment for attempting to scuttle
Mujuru's rise.

      He fired him from the government when he defied party rules to stand
as an independent in Tsholotsho.

      Moyo is the author of harsh press laws that have seen hundreds of
journalists arrested and four newspapers including the country's biggest
non-government owned daily, the Daily News, shut down. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Newspaper appeals to court against ban
Mon 28 February 2005
  BULAWAYO - Publishers of The Weekly Times, banned by the government last
Friday, will today appeal to the Administrative Court against the paper's
forced closure.

      The chief executive officer of Mthwakazi Private Limited Company, the
papers' publishing company, Godfrey Ncube, told ZimOnline: "We are taking
legal action against the illegal closure. We are taking up the matter with
the Administrative Court (today)."

      The state's Media and Information Commission, which licences papers
and journalists in the country, cancelled the Weekly Times' licence accusing
the publishers of lying when they applied for registration of the paper that
it would be a "development
      journalism" paper.

      Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso accuses the publishers of
producing an anti-government political publication instead of a general and
developmental news newspaper. Ncube denies Mahoso's charges.

      The Weekly Times, which was limited to Zimbabwe's second largest city
of Bulawayo and its environs, joins three other papers including the country's
biggest non-government owned daily, the Daily News, forcibly shut down by
the government in the last two
      years for breaching its harsh press laws. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Zimbabwe to reintroduce bicameral parliament
Mon 28 February 2005
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has said Zimbabwe will reintroduce the
Senate in the next four to six months, confirming revelations by ZimOnline
last year that the government was planning wide-ranging constitutional
changes.

      Addressing ruling ZANU PF party officials in Manicaland at the
weekend, Mugabe said those who lost in the party's primary elections will be
accommodated in the soon to be established Senate.

      Mugabe said: "Although we had abolished the Senate, which is the Upper
House, we will re-introduce it in the next four to six months. Those who did
not make it during the primary elections will be considered for this Upper
House.

      "The Upper House will take a close scrutiny on the business and laws
passed by Parliament before they are enacted into law."

      Late last year, ZimOnline broke the story indicating that there were
wide-ranging constitutional changes in the pipeline.

      But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa at the time denied the
government was planning to reintroduce the Senate saying ZANU PF would not
proceed with the constitutional changes as it did not have a two-thirds
majority to effect the proposal.

      According to a draft Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 17) Bill,
2004, shown to ZimOnline last August, the government plans to set up a
bicameral Parliament with a Senate of 60 members, with 40 Senators elected
indirectly by proportional representation, four from each province, plus 10
provincial governors appointed by the President and 10 Chiefs elected by the
Council of Chiefs. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Central bank fails to allocate forex to 93 percent of bids
Mon 28 February 2005
  HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) failed to allocate hard cash
to 93 percent of the bids at its foreign currency auction floors last month
in yet another indication of total failure of the forex auction system.

      In the previous month, the central bank was unable to pay 88 percent
of bids on the floors. The forex auction system was introduced by RBZ
governor Gideon Gono at the beginning of last year in a bid to attract hard
cash to the official market and crush the black market.

      But economists and business leaders say the pegging of the auction
exchange rate at $5 957 to the American dollar has rendered the auction
system ineffective and irrelevant with traders and individuals alike now
returning in droves to the black-market for their forex needs.

      On the illegal parallel market, the green back fetches at least $11
500.

      According to a report by the economic research department of local
financial services firm, Finhold, the total amount of bids rose from US$29.4
million on January 3 to US$80.8 million on January 27 but the allotment of
hard cash per auction remained fixed at US$11 million.

      "Against a fixed allotment of US$11 million per auction, the total
amount of bids on the foreign currency auction market rose from US$29.4
million on January 3, to US$80.8 million on January 27, 2005," the report
reads in part.

      Gono has ignored calls by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and
the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce to review his auction system to
bring rates at floors in line with market realities.

      Zimbabwe has grappled acute foreign currency shortages since the
International Monetary Fund cut balance-of-payments support in 1999. The
hard cash shortages have manifested themselves in shortages of fuel,
electricity, essential medical drugs and food because there is no forex to
pay foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

News24

Harare hosts tourism pageant
27/02/2005 13:13  - (SA)

Harare - A Czech high school student was crowned Miss Tourism World at a
ceremony in Harare late on Saturday, where Zimbabwe was chosen to host the
event next year as well.

Zuzara Putnarova won the title of Tourism World 2005 before some 2 000
people at the Harare International Conference Centre.

"It's the best birthday present ever for me," Putnarova, who turns 19 on
Monday, told AFP after receiving the crown from last year's winner Aleva
Seligario of Hungary.

"Though I worked hard for it I can't believe still I have won. I will try to
do my best to promote Zimbabwe as a tourist destination. I loved Harare. The
people are warm."

Putnarova beat 93 contestants from 82 countries.

Racquel Babelcia of Spain was chosen first runner-up, reigning Miss Zimbabwe
Oslie Muringai second runner-up while Alexandra Olynick of Spain was third
runner-up.

The event was attended by Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe.

Michael Orji, spokesperson for the Britain-based Miss Tourism World
Organisation said the pageant sought to "promote tourism across the world
especially in parts of the world in dire need of promotion".

Zimbabwe has suffered a slump in tourist arrivals from the West in the last
four years due to the ongoing stand-off between President Robert Mugabe's
government and the United States and the European Union over alleged rights
abuses in the southern African country.

The EU and the United States imposed a travel embargo on Mugabe and members
of his inner circle after he won the 2002 presidential election, tainted by
allegations of violence, intimidation and electoral fraud.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE SOLIDARITY NEWSLETTER
----------------------------------------------------------
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><
----------------------------------------------------------
Issue 2, Sunday 27 February, 2005

IMPORTANT NOTICE
-------------------------------
We need your help! Standing strong together, as Africans, in unity,
means spreading this newsletter as widely as possible! Whether in
Zimbabwe, or abroad, whether by e-mail or as a printed copy. Don't hang
onto it! Pass it on!
But please remember: any-one that wants to receive this newsletter
directly from solidarity4zim@highveldmail.co.za must subscribe through
e-mail in person!! This is to avoid problems with local and
international Spam laws and regulations. (More info at the end of this
letter)

----------------------------------------------------
"An Injury To One, Is An Injury To All!"
----------------------------------------------------

CONTENTS
-----------------
1. Solidarity In Practice: The Zimbabwe Solidarity Conference
2. Poem: Hey Man, Come With Me!
3. Reporting Back: Third Zimbabwe Solidarity Conference
4. Statement: 3rd Zimbabwean Solidarity Conference
5. News Round-Up Of The Week
6. Voices From Within:  The Youth
7. Analysis : The SADC Protocol And The Observers: Does This Contribute
To Regional Solidarity For Liberation Ideals And Agenda?
8. Opinion And Editorial: No Signs Yet That The Elections Will Be
Legitimate
9. About this initiative
10. Agenda
11. Distribution and Contact information

SOLIDARITY IN PRACTICE - THE ZIMBABWE SOLIDARITY
CONFERENCE
------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------
It wasn't always easy for the many speakers to address the plenary
session of the solidarity conference on the 24th and 25th of February.
The atmosphere at the conference facility in the South African capital
was fiery, and laden with activist energy. Chanting and singing filled
the conference hall on several occasions and came to a climax when
Morgan Tsvangirai approached the hall. The many Amandla!'s and much
spontaneous singing resulted in speeches lasting longer than planned as
well as a very sweaty organizing committee. Jeremy Cronin had to wait at
least ten minutes before the singing crowd, happy to see him stand
before them, allowed him to read out and explain the collectively
drafted statement.  

The bulk of the chanting and singing came from a big presence of South
African youth organizations such as Cosas and Sasco. Thy cheered up the
atmosphere with their activist energy as well a provided the necessary
insightfulness with critical questions to the keynote speakers. But
delegates were not only of South African origin. Civics from the SADC
region at large were well represented, and delegates from as far away as
the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Angola were present,
alongside with brothers and sisters from Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia,
Botswana, Swaziland and Zambia. 

Another show of solidarity came from the chair of the conference, Bishop
Rubin Phillip of Kwazulu-Natal, when he asked for moments of silence and
moments of prayer. These allowed delegates a chance to commemorate the
many Zimbabweans who have given their lives for freedom. This sombre
reflections allowed participants to pay respect to the many who, over
the last few years, have been killed, tortured, raped or have been made
homeless as a consequence of their continued struggle for freedom. But
with the Inter-denominational Women's Prayer League from Mamelodi to
back the prayers up many found their moment of silence with Zimbabwean
friends and family on their minds and in their hearts.  

The conference ended in several strong commitments to concrete acts of
solidarity, as can be witnessed by the conference statement (further on
in the newsletter) and the ensuing agenda. The conference agreed that
the focus should not only be on the March 2005 elections, but also
long-term. It was further noted that these problems not only exist in
Zimbabwe but elsewhere in the region but that we have to join forces to
tackle the Zimbabwe crisis first. Delegates emphasised that we have to
repay Zimbabwe for the respect and support it showed us during the
anti-apartheid struggle as much as we would expect their help and
assistance again if ever we in South Africa are faced with the ordeals
Zimbabwe is now faced with. 
 
Bishop Rubin closed the conference with a poem by Freedom Nyamubaya, who
had joined Mugabe's ZANLA army at the age of 15 where her first sexual
experience with men was to be raped in the camp - an all-too-common
experience for many women recruits in the ZANLA forces during the
liberation war. And sadly today this experience is no different for the
many young women in the youth militia camps.

POEM HEY MAN, COME WITH ME!
-------------------------------------------------------
Sometimes I get lonely
While the world is full of life.
I see happy faces torn with joy,
loving girl-friends and loving husbands.
I sit and wonder what is wrong
for I stand with thousands
and I only count as one.

Mother is so far.
Maybe she is dead.
This world gets so frantic -
I really miss home.
Oh! Forget about home,
It's another blood pool.
But I love my people
This, I cannot hide . . .

Hey man, come with me!
let us fight this fight together.
Yes, I store love for you,
but I will always love my people.
If we have a family, let Fighters be our name;
we need no ring, no ceremony -
Let victory be our ring.

Courtesy of Freedom T.V. Nyamubuya, from on the road again, Freedom
Publishers

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------
"All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights!"
- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa,
1955
------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------

REPORTING BACK - THIRD ZIMBABWE SOLIDARITY CONFERENCE
------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------
The Third Zimbabwe Solidarity Conference was held in Pretoria, South
Africa on the 24th and 25th of February. Attendees at the Conference
included representatives from civil society organizations across the
SADC region who had come together to discuss a program of action in
solidarity with Zimbabweans in the run up to the March 31st
parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe, and beyond.

The Conference began with a keynote address by COSATU secretary general,
Zwelenzima Vavi. Vavi noted the historic ties between South Africa and
Zimbabwe, including between the two nation's labour movements before
describing the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe. Assessing the upcoming March
31st elections in Zimbabwe, Vavi said, "it will take a miracle to save
the credibility of these elections." Obstacles to a free and fair
election, Vavi said, included draconian legislation such as the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and
Protection Act (AIPPA), as well as the "chaotic voters roll," which Vavi
said "is in a complete shambles."

Two veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, Wilfred Mhanda and
Freedom Nyamubaya also spoke at the conference. Mhanda emphasised that
the liberation struggle had been a struggle of the Zimbabwean people,
saying, "Mugabe on his own could not have liberated Zimbabwe."
Addressing the upcoming elections, Mhanda argued that election
conditions that would be unacceptable in South Africa should also be
unacceptable in Zimbabwe.

The President of the Young Communists' League, David Masondo, addressed
the conference. Masondo criticized the ZANU (PF) regime, saying that the
history of oppression had been appropriated by Mugabe. Masondo also
identified the role played by repressive legislation and violence,
asking, "How can Zimbabweans resolve their own problems when the
necessary conditions are not there?" "We are very critical of that
stance of our government," he added.

Chris Landsberg, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, described
the possibility of SADC intervening in the Zimbabwean crisis as very
unlikely, suggesting that SADC countries were hesitant to criticize
Mugabe for fear of being seen as "sellouts."

Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) addressed the Conference at the opening of the second day.
Tsvangirai said that ZANU (PF) had betrayed the ideal of "one man, one
vote" espoused by the liberation struggle. Focusing on the March
election, Tsvangirai noted the poor condition of the voters roll, saying
that the MDC estimated that there were between 800,000 and 1 million
dead voters on the roll. "The election will not be free and fair no
matter what the result," said Tsvangirai, citing Zimbabwe's continuing
non-compliance with the SADC Norms and Guidelines governing democratic
elections. Tsvangirai stressed that there was consensus on the issue of
land redistribution in Zimbabwe, but that the MDC disagreed with the
ruling party over the methodology, saying land should go to ordinary
people not politicians.

The President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Lovemore
Matombo, likened the workers of Zimbabwe to "the grass that suffers when
two bull elephants fight."

Through extensive discussions, the Conference produced a programme of
action targeted at drawing greater attention to the suffering of
Zimbabweans and promoting action from all stakeholders in the region.
The Conference identified the resolution of the "persisting political
blockage" as the necessary condition for addressing the social, economic
and moral crises in Zimbabwe. The Conference also stated that the March
31st elections "will not be remotely compliant with [the SADC]
guidelines" and stated its support for a more "hands-on role" by SADC in
the elections. A statement drafted by the plenary session of the
conference is included in this newsletter.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------
"There Shall be Work and Security!"
- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa,
1955
------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------

STATEMENT 3RD ZIMBABWEAN SOLIDARITY CONFERENCE
------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------
24th-25th February, South Africa
the Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation Forum

The Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation forum is a network of
progressive South African civil society organizations, including youth,
women, labour, faith-based, human rights and student formations. Over
the past months our network has grown rapidly in size and influence, and
we say confidently that we have contributed to a much greater
understanding of the crisis and challenges in Zimbabwe within our
organizations and within the broader South African debate.  We convened
our 3rd Zimbabwe Solidarity Conference on the 24-25th February in
Tshwane to assess progress in our work and to discuss a programme of
action going forward.

All dimensions of the crisis in Zimbabwe require urgent attention.
However, it is the persisting political blockage that makes it difficult
to address the social, economic and moral crises in any sustainable way.
Our solidarity efforts need to be directed at the political crisis in
Zimbabwe as a priority but not to the exclusion of the other dimensions
of the crisis.

We commend efforts made by the South African government and by SADC to
foster talks between the major political forces in Zimbabwe to arrive at
a negotiated road-map for a democratic transition. These endeavours have
not succeeded for the moment. There has been a lack of seriousness from
the side of the ZANU-PF government. The unilateral declaration of a
March 31 election date by the Zimbabwean government is in complete
breach of the spirit and intent of that process.

As we move towards March 31, we need to bear in mind that the Zimbabwean
elections of 2000 and 2002 deepened the political crisis, rather than
contributing to a progressive resolution. Since 2002 democratic space
has been further eroded. What Zimbabwe needs now is not another gravely
flawed election but a SADC-facilitated negotiated transition towards
democracy.

Comparing 2005 with the elections of 2000 and 2002 there is one
crucially important difference now. We have in place the SADC Principles
and Guidelines. All SADC governments have solemnly signed these
Principles, which commit them (in terms of clause 7.1) to a scrupulous
implementation. As South African and Southern African citizens we are
proud of these very important and thoroughly progressive Principles and
Guidelines. The fundamental requirements of a legitimate election are no
longer a matter of vagueness, they are clearly benchmarked.

It is already clear that the forthcoming March 31 elections will not be
remotely compliant with these Principles and Guidelines. We believe that
the majority of SADC governments should appreciate very clearly that any
pragmatic compromise on the SADC Principles and Guidelines, in the vain
hope that this compromise will establish some kind of stability in
Zimbabwe will, in fact:
. Perpetuate the Zimbabwean political crisis;
. Undermine the standing of our regional governments in the eyes of
their citizens and the international community at large.
They will also appreciate that this is a litmus test for other elections
in our region.

We support President Mbeki's views that SADC must have a much more hands
on role in the run up to the March 31 elections. We believe that this
must apply with even greater vigour after the end of March. SADC must
actively fulfil its responsibilities in Zimbabwe to open up democratic
space that remains open beyond the election itself. We are disappointed
that SADC, for whatever reason, has in the past weeks been slow to take
up its role in Zimbabwe.

In the coming days and weeks, we, the participating formations within
the Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation Forum will be intensifying our
activities within South Africa and throughout our region, in support of
our vision and in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. We call on all
South and Southern Africans to join us in these activities. Our
solidarity efforts will need to extend way beyond the election itself.

At this week's conference we have agreed upon a wide range of practical
activities aimed at raising awareness and conscientising people about
the crisis in Zimbabwe which include:
. Mass actions aimed at popularizing our vision and mobilizing and
organizing people behind our solidarity efforts. These actions include
support for the COSATU programme and a range of other localized and
national efforts on campuses, within places of worship and in
communities.
. Our solidarity front also welcomes COSATU's efforts with allied
formations in SATUCC. Many of our participating formations will also be
working closely with their regional counterparts.
. We will also be supporting a range of efforts to ensure that South
African civil society formations are represented in election monitoring
initiatives.
. Engaging the media to ensure adequate and impartial coverage of the
situation in Zimbabwe and using our networks to increase access to
information.
. A consolidation of the growing level of participation of mass based
youth and student structures in our solidarity efforts and recognition
of the importance of this involvement.

During the coming days further details of the specific activities will
be released as action plans are further developed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------
"The Land Shall be Shared Among Those Who Work It!"
- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa,
1955
------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------

NEWS ROUND-UP OF THE WEEK
------------------------------------------
Media Under Renewed Attack: Paper Closed, Three Journalists Flee, Fourth
In Hiding
------------------------------------
Three reporters for international news agencies have left Zimbabwe after
their office was repeatedly searched and they were threatened with
arrest for espionage and slandering the state. The three journalists,
Jan Raath of the Times of London, Brian Latham of the Bloomberg news
service and Angus Shaw of the Associated Press, left Zimbabwe separately
at the end of the week of the 18th of February. Their departures
followed an announcement by the Central Intelligence Organization that
it had begun a manhunt for Cornelius Nduna, a freelance journalist.
According to Nduna's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, the government accuses
Nduna of possessing two videotapes shot at a youth militia training
camp. The government claims that the videotapes contain information that
is potentially damaging to state interests.
Andrew Moyse of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, an
organization that promotes freedom of the press, called the accusations
against the four journalists were "absolute rubbish." (from New York
Times, 21 Feb)

In the mean time the recently established independent newspaper the
Weekly Times has been officially shut down on Saturday the 26th of
February in Harare. It is alleged the paper violated Zimbabwe's
repressive media-laws. According to the owner of the Weekly Times,
Godfrey Ncube, the government's media watchdog, the Media and
Information Commission, suspended their license for one year. (M&G,
27-2-05)

SADC finally invited to oversee elections
----------------------------------------------------
The Southern African Development Community has finally, 58 days too late
according to their own  guidelines, been invited to monitor the March 31
elections in Zimbabwe. This belated invitation in itself shows ZANU-PF's
blatant disrespect for SADC and its 13 members and it's unwillingness to
abide by the SADC principles and guidelines for free and fair elections,
according to analysts. As a consequence it will become increasingly
difficult for SADC to describe the elections as "credible", as it did in
2002, because it had failed to monitor the run-up to the elections Anne
Hamerstad, an expert on SADC at South Africa's Institute for Security
Studies said. Sehlare Makgetlaneng of the Africa Institute of South
Africa went further to say, "It is already too late to send an observer
mission now. SADC should have been more pro-active."

Invitations have been extended to some 32 countries, including 23 from
Africa and five from Asia.  Several organisations have also been
invited, including the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (COMESA), the Non-Aligned Movement and the United
Nations. (IRIN, 21 Feb)

MDC Launches Election Campaign
--------------------------------------------
The main Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), launched its parliamentary election campaign at a rally on the
21st of February. The rally, held in Masvingo, was attended by thousands
of supporters. Leader of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai said, "We are
determined to see a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe. The time has come
for us to declare that we cannot take any more battering."

The party, launched in February 1999, currently holds 52 of the 120
elected seats in parliament, and plans to field candidates in all 120
constituencies. Tsvangirai made several specific pledges, including the
repeal of the repressive Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the revival of
agricultural production.

Although the Zimbabwean regime has promised equal access to the media,
the MDC campaign launch was not broadcast live on television as the ZANU
(PF) campaign launch had been 9 days earlier. The MDC launch was
reported on in the news bulletin on the state radio. (AFP, 21 February)

SACP Warns "Democracy at Risk"
-------------------------------------------
Following a weekend meeting of its central committee, the South African
Communist Party (SACP) has issued a statement warning that democracy in
the region will be at risk if regional leaders "dilly-dally" on the
issue of a free and fair poll in Zimbabwe. Discussing the proposed SADC
observer mission, the SACP said "a bland and less-than-honest
assessment" of the elections would "send a message to our own mass base
(and the global community) that our commitment to democratic principles
is negotiable."

The party also said that mild criticism or approval of the poll would
"encourage Zanu PF to think that it can steal future elections" and
"make a nonsense of the seriousness with which SADC takes its own
guidelines and principles." The SACP statement came as SADC confirmed
that it would not be sending a team of legal experts to the country to
assess compliance with SADC electoral norms and standards. (Business
Day, 21 February)

COSATU defies SA government in order to protest misrule Zimbabwe
------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------
In defiance of barely veiled threats by South African minister of
Foreign Affairs, Dlamini-Zuma, that COSATU would face the rule of the
law if it were to proceed with demonstrations at the Beitbridge border
crossing, COSATU has come out the pro-democratic and labour rights
activist it really is. It not only disagrees with the current Zimbabwe
policy of the South African government, it will make its concerns clear
by organising several demonstrations in the run-up to the March 31
elections in Zimbabwe. For starters they will be picketing outside the
Zimbabwe High Commission in Pretoria on March 9. On March 16 COSATU will
march to BeitBridge border crossing, and on the night of March 30 and 31
they will hold a candlelight vigil. (Cape Times, 25-2-05)  

VOICES FROM WITHIN - THE YOUTH
-----------------------------------------------
Analysis Neither free nor fair- Zimbabwean elections
Robert Mugabe continues to attack the national sovereignty of the people
of Zimbabwe. Free and fair elections remain the key to open the
dictator's doors, and free the people of Zimbabwe. However, despite the
presence of the SADC principles for democratic elections, the ruling
Zanu PF has already rigged the election. Many methods, including
violence and intimidation, abuse of state institutions and the
disenfranchisement of voters form the dictator's tools for rigging. This
piece seeks to display how Mugabe used the army to win elections for his
ruling Zanu PF party.
Military personnel have variously been deployed at the centre of state
institutions that are responsible for election administration such as
the judiciary, Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), Delimitation
Commission and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
In September 2004, Mugabe appointed a four-member Delimitation
Commission chaired by High Court Judge George Chiweshe who joined the
bench in 2001 following the sacking of experienced and competent judges
largely for political reasons. Judge Chiweshe is a former judge advocate
responsible for military tribunals in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
and a veteran of the liberation struggle.
Another member of the Delimitation Commission, Job Whabira is a former
permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence who in 1998 was accused
of disregarding High Court rulings to release Standard newspaper
journalists who had illegally been arrested and tortured by the military
for writing a story about an alleged coup attempt.
This same trend of appointing persons with a military background has
also previously been reflected in other institutions such as the
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC). For instance, Sobuza Gula-
Ndebele, a lawyer and former colonel in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
was the Chairman of the ESC charged with the running of elections. Gula-
Ndebele has since been appointed the country's Attorney General and the
regime's chief lawyer.
During Gula-Ndebele's tenure, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the
ESC was Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba who at the time of his
appointment to the ESC was a serving soldier. The General has since left
the ESC and has been appointed by Mugabe to head 2 Brigade. It is
generally undesirable to politicize the military, as it is militarise
politics. The apparatus aforementioned have created - something
justifiably so - the impression that the Zimbabwean military is
political party partisan and therefore unprofessional. This impression
is unfair to many professional military officers whose sole desire is to
serve their country as opposed to parochial party interests.
Another facet of the obscurity in Zimbabwean elections is the presence
of many electoral bodies whose terms of reference are not clear. The
Registrar General's office, the Electoral Supervisory Commission and the
new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission are responsible for the holding of
elections in Zimbabwe. Save for the ZEC, and despite the history of its
chairperson, the ESC and the Registrar Generals office have been accused
of rigging elections and their continued presence here is a serious
matter of fact. Another relational fallacy is that the accused ESC,
which is all appointed by Mugabe, is said to monitor the should- be
independent ZEC. This affects the independence and integrity of the
Electoral Commissions.
This exposure is not a baby cry. It is an inspirational note to all
people who cherish democracy. Lastly, it has become a stanza in our
liberation song that "the people's wish will never surrender to terror".
A luta continua.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------
"There Shall be Peace and Friendship!"
- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa,
1955
------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------

ANALYSIS - THE SADC PROTOCOL AND THE OBSERVERS: DOES THIS
CONTRIBUTE TO REGIONAL SOLIDARITY FOR LIBERATION IDEALS AND AGENDA?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------
Much hope has been placed on the SADC Principles and Guidelines
Governing Democratic Elections. Clearly the hope has been that
Zimbabwe's voluntary acceptance of African standards would lead to a
situation in which Zimbabwe would create the internal conditions
for a poll that could be accepted by its regional allies.

However, SADC now finds itself in a serious dilemma. Ever since the
disputed election in 2000, SADC has been fighting a series of rear-guard
actions to maintain its credibility over Zimbabwe. At the UN Human
Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, the
EU-ACP Parliamentary Forum, and in other international
fora, SADC member states have fought to prevent Zimbabwe's further
isolation, and, in so doing, have tried to portray the Zimbabwe crisis
as minimal. This has meant that the more odious features of the crisis -
the gross human rights violations, the burgeoning food
shortages, and the general economic collapse - have all had to be
down-played in an effort to ensure that Zimbabwe's problems are managed
continentally. In the final analysis, the problems of Zimbabwe will have
to be managed regionally.

So SADC has set itself up to be the final arbiter of the forthcoming
poll, and would seem to have walked neatly into yet another trap set by
Robert Mugabe. In essence, the trap is very simple: you can only judge
on what you see. So the Zimbabwe Government plays the SADC Principles
and Guidelines with a very fine sense of judgement, leaving SADC reeling
in its wake.

On the one hand, the Government states baldly that these are only
guidelines and principles, and not a legally binding instrument: every
sovereign state will apply the principles and guidelines within the
context of its own constitution and political situation. Hence observers
must judge not in some absolute manner, but relatively according to
these constraints. For example, Zimbabwe has constituencies and a
first-past-the-post model, not proportional representation, and thus
postal votes are very difficult to incorporate in this model.

But, on the other hand, the Zimbabwe Government applies the Principles
and Guidelines very legalistically over the matter of observers.
According to these principles, a government shall invite observers if it
sees fit, and such observers need only be present 2 weeks before the
poll. It is desirable that they be present 90 days before the poll, but
the minimum requirement is 2 weeks, and the Zimbabwe Government looks
like making this minimum stick.

So it seems that SADC will be forced into giving this poll the thumbs
up, if only because they will not be present in the country long enough
to satisfactorily observe the pre-election process. Furthermore, since
they have studiously refrained from commenting on all the many adverse
aspects of Zimbabwean political life in the past, they will be unable to
draw on their own previous knowledge if they want to maintain face. SADC
will be unable to comment on the effects of sustained political violence
on an electorate if it has not previously admitted their existence.
Indeed, the President of Tanzania has already denied that violence has
been a problem, and this notwithstanding the report of the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights now adopted by the AU.

As the introduction to the SADC Principles and Guidelines puts it: the
SADC region has made significant strides in the consolidation of the
citizens' participation in the decision-making processes and
consolidation of democratic practice and institutions. It was the
denial of citizen participation that led to the many struggles in
Southern Africa, and to the liberation of all Southern African countries
from colonial and racist regimes. Zimbabwe now provides an important
test of the commitment expressed above, and all are watching to see
whether SADC will expand this commitment to ensure full participation of
Zimbabweans in their choice of government. Or will SADC founder on the
rock of narrow interpretations of national sovereignty, and another
bright new African start be dulled by misplaced solidarity with an elite
out of step with its people?

OPINION AND EDITORIAL - NO SIGNS YET THAT THE ELECTIONS WILL BE
LEGITIMATE
------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------
Serious question marks remain over whether the outcome of the
parliamentary elections will be legitimate. For the elections to be
considered legitimate the entire campaign period, and not just polling
day, needs to be conducted as closely as possible in accordance with the
guidelines and principles agreed to by all SADC leaders at their summit
in Mauritius on 17 August 2004. This is not happening at the moment.

The hostile electoral conditions currently preclude citizens from freely
electing leaders of their choice - the litmus test of any legitimate
poll. Last week MDC Director of Elections, Ian Makone, was arrested by
police for 'illegally' hosting a training seminar for the party's 120
election candidates.

The new Electoral Commission is yet to prove its independence. State
controlled newspapers still refuse to carry adverts from opposition
parties yet provide acres of free space to the ruling party to push out
its election message. The launch last Sunday of the MDC's election
campaign was not carried live by The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC). Instead it gave the event four minutes coverage later that
evening. This was followed by a two hour live interview with President
Mugabe on Zanu PF's manifesto pledges. This does not equate with
Government claims that it has allowed opposition parties 'reasonable'
access to the state controlled electronic media.

Disturbingly, incidents of political violence appear to be increasing.
Three MDC candidates were assaulted by a group of armed soldiers as they
returned home from the MDC's campaign launch rally in Masvingo last
Sunday. On 21 February MDC activists were abducted in Hurungwe East and
taken to Zanu PF offices where they were severely beaten.

President Mugabe, in his recent speeches, has repeatedly called for
peaceful elections. The problem however, is that even if he and his
government are genuinely committed to peaceful elections they may not be
able to control rogue elements amongst the war veterans and the security
forces from engaging in spontaneous acts of political violence. The
culture of political violence that has been allowed to go largely
unchecked for the past five years cannot be brought to heal overnight.

The Government can however send out a strong message of deterrent by
ensuring those guilty of perpetrating violent acts are swiftly brought
to justice. Rhetorical commitments to peaceful elections need to be
backed by tangible action on the ground.

Despite the electoral playing field being tilted in favour of the ruling
party, the MDC, which has entered the elections under protest, appears
to be cautiously optimistic about its prospects. The party has fielded
candidates in all 120 constituencies. It claims that its activists are
galvanized for the campaign. And it believes that its policy programmes
for job creation, food security and economic recovery resonate with the
basic aspirations of the electorate.

High turn out amongst its core supporters is critical for the MDC,
however fears remain that many will be unable to vote due to the
discriminatory manner in which the voter registration exercise was
conducted and the inaccuracy of the voters' roll.

Whatever happens, these elections will not resolve Zimbabwe's protracted
crisis. However, a good showing by the MDC will increase pressure for
meaningful inter-party dialogue to find a peaceful and democratic
solution to the crisis.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------
"All Shall be Equal Before the Law!"
- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa,
1955
------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
----------------------------------------
Over the past decades numerous South African progressive civil society
organizations have emerged that work on issues that form an integral
part of the current crisis in Zimbabwe. These range from humanitarian
issues such as food relief, to issues such as human rights and civil
liberties, from democracy to trade union work. But ever since the
intensification of the Zimbabwe crisis in 2000, Zimbabweans have rightly
been complaining that their fellow Africans, and first and foremost
their South African neighbors, have hardly done enough to aid the plight
of the people of Zimbabwe. However, over the past year several South
African civil society organizations of all walks of life have committed
themselves to working together in order to maximize their out-pout with
regards to the crisis, as well as show solidarity in practical sense as
well as on a moral level. COSATU's courageous attempted fact-finding
missions to Zimbabwe are only one example of practical solidarity for
the people of that country. 
The Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation forum is a network of
progressive South African civil society organizations, including youth,
women, labour, faith-based, human rights and student formations. Over
the past months our network has grown rapidly in size and influence, and
we say confidently that we have contributed to a much greater
understanding of the crisis and challenges in Zimbabwe within our
organizations and within the broader South African debate.

DISTRIBUTION DETAILS AND CONTACT INFO
---------------------------------------------------------------------

This Newsletter is the plain text version of the email Zimbabwe
Solidarity Newsletter. The main idea behind the Newsletter is that it
can be distributed in Zimbabwe so that people without internet access
may receive it as well. Therefor we also provide a print-easy foramt of
this Newsletter. The print-easy Newsletter can be printed out onto three
pages A4, front to back.  Please help us distribute the print-friendly
copy in Zimbabwe! The more access to information and solidarity the
better! The print-friendly copy can be requested by sending an e-mail
with subject 'request print-friendly' to
solidarity4zim@highveldmail.co.za The print-friendly Newsletter is
distributed via e-mail as an Adobe Reader (PDF) document.

The below applies for the email Newsletter:
To subscribe or unsubscribe one can contact
solidarity4zim@highveldmail.co.za with the word 'subscribe' or
'unsubscribe' as subject. Please note that you must subscribe in person
(that is; you must e-mail from the address you wish to receive the
newsletter on). The default format of this Newsletter is Rich Text
(HTML), a more graphic layout but also a larger file. A Plain Text
format can be requested by sending us an e-mail to
solidarity4zim@highveldmail.co.za with 'request plain text' as subject.

Letters, reactions or opinions can be sent to
solidarity4zim@highveldmail.co.za with the words 'Newsletter reaction'
in the subject.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
-----------------------------------------------
We are still in the process of establishing a team of translators in
order to provide you with the option to receive a Shona and/or Ndebele
version of this newsletter. We hope to have this ready asap.
Last weeks issue can be requested by sending us an e-mail with 'request
issue 1' in the subject.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Australian

Mugabe vows to destroy poll rival

February 28, 2005
MARONDERA, Zimbabwe: Long-serving Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has
celebrated his 81st birthday vowing to crush the main opposition party in
next month's elections and accusing British Prime Minister Tony Blair of
seeking to recolonise the country.

Mr Mugabe said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was a front for
Mr Blair.

"Only 33 days are left for us to demonstrate that we are united," Mr Mugabe
told about 30,000 people gathered in Marondera, 74km east of Harare, on
Saturday.

"That vote should also kill once and for all the machinations of that man in
Number 10 Downing Street who for some reason thinks he has the divine power
to rule Zimbabwe and Britain."

Mr Mugabe said he would return to haunt his opponents if his ruling party
lost the March 31 parliamentary elections, which the party has termed "the
anti-Blair election".

Waving a miniature Zimbabwe flag at cheering supporters, Mr Mugabe said: "Mr
Blair can never lower this flag again . . . never ever. On March 31 we must
dig a grave not just six feet but 12 feet and bury Mr Blair and the Union
Jack and write on top 'Here lies the latter-day British imperialist and the
Union Jack, never again to arise'."

Zimbabwe's parliamentary election will be closely watched as a test of the
country's adherence to the principles of the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community on democratic elections.

Mr Mugabe's 81st birthday was last Monday but the celebrations were moved to
Saturday to allow the participation of school children.

The reputation of Mr Mugabe - who has been at the helm of the southern
African country for nearly a quarter of a century, since independence from
Britain in 1980 - started fading in recent years after the country slid into
economic decline as land reforms were jump-started with the violent
occupation of white-owned farms.

He was re-elected in March 2002 in presidential polls that were disputed by
the MDC as fraudulent and marked with violence.

Following the disputed polls the US and EU imposed travel bans on Mr Mugabe
and members of his inner circle.

AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

BBC

      Zimbabwe to look at former rebels
      Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu says Heath Streak and Andy Blignaut
will be considered for the Test series in South Africa starting on 4 March.
      The two all-rounders recently ended their dispute with Zimbawe Cricket
and are badly needed by their country.

      Taibu, whose team are struggling in a one-day international series in
South Africa, said: "It's very good news for Zimbabwe cricket that they are
back.

      "Assuming they are fit and ready they will be looked at for the Test
series."

      Former captain Streak, 30, was sacked in April 2004 after criticising
Zimbabwe Cricket's selection policies.

      Following Streak's dismissal, 14 players resigned in protest but Gavin
Ewing, and Barney Rogers have returned to the fold.

      Blignaut and Streak are now poised to do likewise.

      When Streak announced he had put aside his differences with ZC on
Friday, the board's managing director Ozias Bvute announced: "Heath is
immediately available for selection."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Posted on Sun, Feb. 27, 2005

     Africa polices some, but powerful get pass

      BY LAURIE GOERING

      Chicago Tribune

      JOHANNESBURG - (KRT) - African leaders appear increasingly unwilling
to stand for undemocratic seizures of power on the continent, but they
remain reluctant to act against established regimes that commit atrocities
or flout democratic principles, analysts say.

      That seems to be the case in Togo, Sudan and Zimbabwe this month, as
the continent's leaders work to show their commitment to good government and
democracy, but react differently to crises across the continent, the
analysts say.

      Togo's longtime dictator, Gnassingbe Eyadema, died unexpectedly early
this month, and the army quickly put his son Faure in power, violating the
country's constitution, which called for the head of the National Assembly
to take the top job.

      African leaders, particularly Togo's neighbors in West Africa, called
the hastily arranged succession a coup and swiftly demanded that the younger
Eyadema call elections and step down. Under heavy pressure and faced with
rapidly imposed economic sanctions and an arms embargo, the old dictator's
son finally backed down, promising presidential elections within 60 days in
the tiny nation.

      The much more powerful and well-connected government of Sudan,
however, has faced no such pressure over its ongoing abuse of civilians by
government-backed militias and government troops in its western Darfur
region.

      Numerous rounds of African Union-mediated peace talks have achieved
little beyond widely violated cease-fires. African nations have deployed
1,400 troops to Darfur, but only to monitor the situation, not to protect
civilians. Despite the African Union's ineffectiveness, African leaders
earlier this month pointedly warned the international community against
taking action of its own against Sudan, from deploying troops to imposing
sanctions.

      Leaders of Sudan, Chad, Gabon and the Republic of Congo called for the
international community to "continue to give its support to African efforts
already under way," though those efforts, two years into the conflict, have
achieved little.

      "When African leaders really want to lean on somebody, they do. The
peer pressure is enormous," said John Prendergast, an Africa analyst with
the International Crisis Group in Washington. "There's a consensus that's
developed that any kind of non-democratic transition of power, or military
coup, will be vociferously imposed and overturned."

      But the same leaders "bristle at anyone who tries to tell a government
in Africa how to govern," Prendergast said, and that means that the African
Union has hesitated to take any action on Darfur without the Sudanese
government's approval.

      In Sudan, the African Union has staged "an impotent, irrelevant
intervention that doesn't have an impact on people's lives on the ground,"
even as the World Heath Organization reports 10,000 people a month dying in
Darfur and a growing threat of famine, Prendergast said. That inaction, he
said, threatens to compromise the African Union's standing as a body capable
of dealing with Africa's problems.

      The union faces a similar situation in Zimbabwe, where longtime
President Robert Mugabe has overturned many of the country's democratic
freedoms and destroyed its once-strong economy in an effort to cling to
power in the face of growing popular discontent.

      In part because Mugabe, 81, was a staunch ally of South Africa's
anti-apartheid fighters, South African President Thabo Mbeki remains
reluctant to take action against him, even as Mugabe's regime jails
political opponents in advance of parliamentary elections set for next
month. Because Mbeki is a driving force behind the African Union - and
because the union remains reluctant to interfere in the affairs of member
leaders - Mugabe faces little pressure to change his ways, despite the
United States recently listing Zimbabwe as an "outpost of tyranny" alongside
North Korea, Iran and Myanmar.

      Mbeki has bristled at that comparison, calling it an "exaggeration,"
even as Zimbabwe continues to reject election observer missions, break up
opposition campaign meetings and arrest opposition officials.

      John Stremlau, head of international relations at Witwatersrand
University in Johannesburg, says African governments - like governments in
most parts of the world - find it hard to balance validly intervening in a
troubled neighbor's affairs and unfairly violating that country's
sovereignty.

      Stremlau said he has been encouraged that the African Union has sent
peacekeeping troops to such places as Burundi and Congo, and that Mbeki
recently touched on the affairs of nearly a dozen other African countries in
a South African national address, something that would not have happened a
decade ago.

      Still, if pushed far enough by a renegade regime, African leaders -
particularly in West Africa - have shown a willingness to intervene.
Liberia's notorious President Charles Taylor eventually was forced into
exile after fomenting a brutal civil war there. But such interventions
remain rare, and they usually come about as a result of sustained pressure
from abroad as well.

      Analysts insist that is the key to bringing about change in Sudan's
Darfur region. As the U.S. Congress puts growing pressure on the Bush
administration to take stronger action in Darfur, the United States may soon
"start twisting arms in the (U.N.) Security Council," Prendergast said.
"Then you'll see something start happening."

      Specifically, he believes growing U.S. pressure and a new threat of
some type of Security Council-mandated international troop intervention in
Darfur could push Sudan's government to at least accept a larger contingent
of African Union troops in Darfur, one with a mission to protect civilians.

      "For the government of Sudan to be influenced sufficiently to accept a
mandate that is much more interventionist, it has to see the larger
international community, particularly countries like the U.S., pushing for
that stronger mandate," Prendergast said.

      If the U.N. Security Council fails to threaten strong action against
Sudan, he said, "Sudan gets the message loud and clear that there is no
cost" to continuing its campaign of what has been called ethnic cleansing
against African peasants living in a region that has spawned a rebel
uprising against Khartoum.

      U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan earlier this month called the
government-backed campaign of rape, murder and pillage in Darfur "little
short of hell on Earth" and urged stronger peacekeeping efforts in the
region. At least 70,000 have died in Darfur and 2 million been displaced
from their homes, the United Nations estimates.

      ---

      © 2005, Chicago Tribune.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

SABC

Cosatu's Zimbabwe blockade gains momentum

February 27, 2005, 17:15

More and more organisations are joining the Congress of SA Trade Unions'
(Cosatu's) blockade to Zimbabwe which starts on March 9 and will continue
until the Zimbabwean election on March 31.

The latest to join Cosatu's blockade campaign is The Young Communist League
(YCL), the youth wing of the South African Communist Party. The YCL follows
hot on the heels of trade union Solidarity which announced last week that
they too will join the protests. There is also support from the SA Council
of Churches.

Buti Manamela, the national secretary of the YCL, says they are concerned
that freedom of speech and rights relating to the electoral process have
been suppressed. Manamela says as young communists they should act because
they enjoy these particular rights in South Africa and therefore cannot
allow others to be refused such rights on the continent.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

In Togo, a success for African diplomacy

        By Lydia Polgreen The New York Times
        Monday, February 28, 2005

DAKAR, Senegal When Togo's military installed the son of the country's
longtime strongman as president this month, ignoring the Togolese
Constitution, the action seemed taken from a very old playbook, a throwback
to an era in African history when coups and tyrannical governments were the
rule rather than the exception, and African leaders were reluctant to
criticize one another, lest their own foibles come to light.
.
But the African response to the Togolese military's actions was taken out of
a new playbook, one in which the old insistence on "African solutions to
African problems," is no longer what it once seemed: a euphemism for African
leaders' looking the other way while despots and corrupt governments
rampaged.
.
.
Faure Gnassingbé stepped down Friday as interim president after three weeks
of intense pressure from Togo's neighbors to move the country back to
constitutional rule. Gnassingbé is the 38-year-old son of Gnassingbé
Eyadéma, who died on Feb. 5. He had ruled Togo with an authoritarian hand
since 1967, four years after he helped lead Africa's first post-colonial
coup.
.
Gnassingbé's departure has been hailed as a huge success for African
diplomacy. "We have demonstrated a capacity to solve our own problems,"
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, executive secretary of the Economic Community of West
African States, or Ecowas, the regional trade group that led the effort to
restore the Constitution in Togo, said in a telephone interview Saturday.
.
The swift reversal was the result of a new phenomenon: African leaders and
institutions showing resolve and unity, Chambas said. Ecowas and the African
Union were quick in their condemnation, and worked from the first day of
Gnassingbé's rule to push him from power.
.
"We have spoken with one voice, we have been clear about the principle and
we have insisted that there is a minimum bar for governance, and when it is
not met we will not tolerate it," Chambas said.
.
Western nations played a role, but it was small. The United States, the
United Nations and European countries issued strongly worded statements
condemning the change of power and later insisted that Gnassingbé step down.
But the diplomatic effort to force the Togolese government back to
constitutional rule was almost entirely an African affair.
.
"Africans took the lead on this, which is precisely what we want them to
do," said a senior Western diplomat in Lomé, the Togolese capital. "This is
exactly how it is supposed to work."
.
But it often does not work that way.
.
Chris Landsberg, an analyst at the Center for Policy studies, a private,
nonpartisan research institution in Johannesburg, said that the tough words
on Togo were a good sign, but that Africa had plenty of tougher problems
that called for action. "If only they could insist on democratic norms,
irrespective of the size of country, the historic legacy of country,"
Landsberg said, adding, "If only they can find a way to remind themselves
that we must start to be tough with the Zimbabwes as well."
.
Zimbabwe has been ruled by Robert Mugabe for more than two decades and has
slipped deeper into ruin as he has become increasingly despotic. But Mugabe
is still widely seen as an icon of African resistance to colonial rule.
African leaders, notably South Africa's influential president, Thabo Mbeki,
have advocated a policy of quiet diplomacy to nudge, not shove, Mugabe into
retirement.
.
African - and Western - leaders have also been reluctant to criticize other
African leaders who were at first heralded as hopes for a new era of
democratic rule but who have since shown signs of leaning toward autocracy,
like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
.
"As much as you have a body of 25 countries showing eagerness and enthusiasm
to break from the past, we can't remind ourselves enough that we have
another 25 or more outside of that club," Landsberg said. "It is as though
you have a contradictory, two-speed Africa: those that are serious about the
future and those that aren't."
.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The African Union's heavy hand
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Published February 27, 2005

WASHINGTON -- It is unclear just why the African Union decided to put Togo
in its sanctioning sights, or by what authority it has done so. The
undemocratic succession in Togo has certainly been unfortunate, but the
union has its share of autocratic regimes, which apparently feel they have
the right to sanction Togo for the same undemocratic conditions that prevail
in their own countries.

    The African Union's 15-member Peace and Security Council recommended
Friday that the union impose sanctions on Togo and suspend the country from
the union. The recommendation comes in wake of the military's installation
of Faure Gnassingbe to replace his father as president. Gnassingbe Eyadema,
died Feb. 5 after 38 years in power. Mr. Gnassingbe has claimed he would
hold presidential elections in 60 days, but under Togo's constitution the
head of the national assembly was supposed to serve as interim president
until elections are held.

    Togo is itself a member of the AU council, but was not represented at
the meeting. The Togolese ambassador to the African Union, Koffi Esaw, said
he had been asked to leave the chamber.

    The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has already
imposed diplomatic, travel sanctions and an arms embargo on Togo. The AU
council said it supported and endorsed the ECOWAS sanctions and called on
the U.N. Security Council to give its backing to AU sanctions.

    The African Union's concern over Togo does demonstrate a willingness to
exert greater continental responsibility, which is positive. But the African
Union should be focusing on the countries where armed conflict is raging,
where genocide is taking place or where repressive regimes have brought
economic ruin to their countries. Sudan, Zimbabwe and the Democratic
Republic of Congo come to mind. There are also some continental issues that
the union should be addressing more energetically, such as working together
to halt arms and narcotics trafficking.
     Given Africa's other conflicts (some which the union is failing to
address adequately) and the presence of other authoritarian leaders in the
union itself, the AU actions on Togo smack of overreach.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Differences between image and reality
By: Jim Jones
Posted: '27-FEB-05 11:00' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2004

JOHANNESBURG (Mineweb.com) --Few informed people in Africa dispute the
thesis that their continent has an image problem amongst many outsiders. It
is not hard for those with a superficial view to believe that the slaughter
in Sudan's Darfur region is common to other countries, including South
Africa whose modern economic sector is the equal of those of many of the
world's developed countries.

But if Africa, as the ill-informed might believe, is a continent wracked by
unredeemed corruption, violence or tyranny, why are so many mining companies
investing and prospecting in so many sub-Saharan nations? Why are they
sinking hard currency investments into prospects and mining ventures in
countries as diverse as Mozambique, Mali, Angola or the Democratic Republic
of Congo? They are all states, that until, recently were torn by unrest or
civil wars.

And why are they apparently less attracted to, South Africa, the continent's
most advanced economy and a country with sophisticated legal, financial and
corporate structures?

The recent experiences of Anglo American and its group companies might go
some way towards explaining the apparent paradox.

AngloGold Ashanti, the Anglo group's 51%-owned subsidiary, is particularly
peeved at the South African government's apparent determination to shift the
goalposts of black economic empowerment (BEE). Early on, when it was clear
that a greater part of the country's mining sector should be transferred to
black hands, AngloGold transferred substantial gold mining assets in the
Free State to Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Minerals (ARM). It was part
of the foundation for Motsepe's vast corporate and personal fortune and,
according to AngloGold, represented a transfer of 21.8 percent of its mining
assets to a BEE company. And that, it is argued, went a long way to
satisfying one subsequently-codified condition of the Minerals Bill that 25
percent of the industry should be in black hands by the year 2014.

Progress towards this transfer is necessary if mining companies are to have
their "old-order" mineral rights converted to "new-order". In other words if
they are to retain title to the mineral resources they mine - to retain
security of tenure.

Not so fast, has been the response of minerals minister Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka who remains concerned at what she sees as AngloGold's slow
progress towards BEE compliance. According to Johannesburg's weekly
Financial Mail this concern is holding up AngloGold's rights conversion
process. And the minister seems unrepentant - the asset transfer to ARM was
then, before the new rules were put into effect. More is needed and, the
minister said, mining legislation has been left deliberately vague so that
any "stupid mistakes" can be subsequently rectified if necessary. The goal
posts, it seems, can and will be shifted as it suits a government whose
agenda includes the transfer of economic power to previously- disadvantaged
black South Africans.

This is not the only reason that AngloGold is not investing in new mines in
South Africa and is focusing its expansion on other countries in Africa or
Latin America.

The strength of the South African rand has left many of the country's gold
mines struggling with financial losses - better be invested where costs are
largely denominated in currently-weak dollars.

Anglo Platinum, the 75%-owned subsidiary does not have AngloGold's choice.
It has to operate where the platinum reserves are - in South Africa. But it
has been cutting back its earlier ambitious expansion plans, in part because
of the effect of the rand's strength on investment returns, while
emphasizing mine-sharing developments that help it comply with the BEE
rules.

De Beers, which is 45-percent owned by Anglo, has warned of closures and
cut-backs at five loss-making South African mines. In the meantime, De Beers
is going hell for leather in extracting gems at its two profitable
operations. But it also faces a BEE dilemma. Will the transfer of shares in
the currently-unprofitable operations be acceptable to government?

Solving the economic conundrum of the strong rand could well be possible by
the removal or, at least, a serious relaxation of stringent exchange
controls that lock the savings of South African residents (corporate and
individual) into the country. But finance minister Trevor Manuel was
tellingly silent on the issue when he presented his budget last week.
Removing exchange controls is probably more of a political issue than an
economic one.

Anglo chief executive Tony Trahar is walking on eggs. His group's latest
results indicated that its comparatively heavier reliance on South Africa
led to it under-performing against BHP Billiton whose interests are
geographically more diverse. Last year when he made what was, perhaps, an
injudicious mention of the risks of investing in South Africa, he incurred
the ire of South African president Thabo Mbeki. In fact, Trahar had said
that while there were risks as there are in most countries, they were
reducing in South Africa. Mbeki chose to ignore the qualification and went
on a vitriolic public rave about Anglo.

Now Trahar is now facing the prospect of another spat with the Mbeki
government - this time over iron-ore miner Kumba. Anglo has managed to build
a two-thirds stake in Kumba. It is a diversification that is absolutely
necessary for the group. A couple of years back South Africa's Industrial
Development Corporation raised objections over Anglo's intentions of
increasing its stake in Kumba. And this has now translated into a call by
Sandile Nogxina, director general of the department of minerals and energy,
that an earlier "agreement" lead to an eventual reduction in Anglo's stake
to less than half of Kumba's equity.

Another shifting of the goal posts? ". we have no legal undertaking to bring
the stake below 50 percent" says Trahar. The idea, encompassing BEE
objectives, was discussed under a different set of circumstances. Trahar has
apparently decided that there is no point in pussyfooting with the Mbeki
government. As some cynics point out, there is little point in being soft
with a government that might change the goal posts.

All of this might, conceivably, lead to a dressing down from Mbeki when he
writes his weekly column in the ANC's on-line newspaper. That was where he
attacked Trahar. And it is where his party acolytes have attacked the likes
of Nobel laureate bishop Desmond Tutu for daring to question the ANC's
performance in the decade since South Africa achieved majority rule.

South Africa's transition from minority to majority rule was, on the whole,
relatively peaceful. The white-supremacist National Party had a change of
heart under the presidency of FW de Klerk and negotiated the 1994 transition
to majority rule that resulted in a resounding popular victory for an ANC
party led by Nelson Mandela.

Since then the ANC's popularity at the polls has increased, to the extent
that the 2004 election gave the party a majority of more than two thirds --- 
enough, in theory at any rate, to change the constitution.

Since succeeding Mandela in 1999, Mbeki has been commendably active in
seeking to settle African wars and to bringing some semblance of unity and
democracy to the continent's more-benighted countries. There is, though, a
glaring discrepancy.

His much-criticised strategy of "quiet diplomacy" with Zimbabwe contrasts
starkly with the vigorous moves of the Ecowas (Economic Community of West
African States) countries led by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo that
reversed the Togolese army's undemocratic attempt to foist a new president
on Togo. Togo's people will now have the chance to vote for a president of
their choice to succeed the deceased former dictator Gnassingbé Eyadéma.

At the tip of the continent, Mbeki has publicly endorsed Zimbabwe's
fraudulent 2000 parliamentary election that robbed the popular Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) of victory and kept president Robert Mugabe's
once-popular but increasingly unpopular Zanu-PF party in power. Then in
2002, Mugabe was re-elected president in a rigged poll and an election
characterized by fraud, violence against the Mugabe regime's opponents and
downright dishonesty.

This year's parliamentary election, too, will be rigged by Mugabe's
strong-arm tactics and by downright electoral fraud. Mbeki is the one person
who could pressure Mugabe into allowing free and fair elections. But he has
yet to criticize unequivocally the undemocratic progression into collapse
being overseen by a dictator just north of South Africa's own border. In
Zimbabwe democratic transfer of power is simply unacceptable to a president
whose party ruled without real opposition in the years since independence.
His unexpressed but apparent view is that non-interference in neighour's
internal affairs is unacceptable, no matter how revolting those affairs
might be.

You never know when you might need to call up future favours.

Sure, Africa is not an easy continent in which to do business. But it is not
an homogenous whole. In west Africa there are attempts to consolidate the
escape from years of dictatorship and a realization that escape can only be
under-pinned by economic policies that encourage development of countries'
minerals wealth. Elsewhere, post-democracy complacency carries its own
risks.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

SA and US head for showdown over Zim?
Mabasa Sasa Political Editor

SOUTH African Premier Thabo Mbeki's tongue lashing directed at the United
States government in general and secretary of state designate Condoleezza
Rice in particular over the Zimbabwe 'crisis' has heightened speculation
that the two countries could be headed for a showdown over how to handle the
impasse between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change precipitated by the governance of the country.

Early last week, President Mbeki blasted Rice's labelling of Zimbabwe as one
of "six outposts of tyranny" along with Cuba, Iran, Belarus, Burma and North
Korea asking "to put all these countries together and say Zimbabwe is one of
those outposts of tyranny, how do you justify that?" Speaking to the
Financial Times, President Mbeki said, "It's an exaggeration and whatever
the (United States) government wants to do with that list of six countries,
or however many, it's really somewhat discredited." President Mbeki inferred
that Rice's statements went against Washington's efforts to promote
democracy worldwide and did nothing to help a politically divided Zimbabwe.

Surprisingly, the American state department responded almost immediately in
an attempt to play down differences with South Africa over how best to
proceed in the Zimbabwe 'crisis'. Regardless, Washington did not backtrack
on the secretary of state's utterances and even tried to justify the naming
of Zimbabwe as an "outpost of tyranny".

State department spokesperson Mark Boucher told the media that the United
States and South Africa had worked closely over the past few years in trying
to restore 'democracy' in Zimbabwe.

"In general terms, I'd say we've had positive discussions with South Africa
on the question of Zimbabwe. We've welcomed their engagement in Zimbabwe. I
think President Mbeki said in that interview that he could assist Zimbabwe
in holding free and fair elections, and that's certainly a goal we share
with South Africa.

"So, our governments have often pursued different ways of working on the
problems of Zimbabwe. But I think, to a great extent South Africa is trying
to work to correct some of the same problems that we are focused on." Local,
regional and international observers have also questioned Rice's assessment
of democracy in Zimbabwe pointing out that countries like Pakistan and Saudi
Arabia were run by undemocratic regimes yet nothing was said about them
because they were bosom buddies of the United States.

A Zimbabwean political observer with the University of Zimbabwe questioned
the United States' sincerity as well as that of all the Western states,
organisations and groupings in the country in the global democracy and human
rights discourse.

She said, "It is patently clear that the US-organised elections in Iraq were
a disaster regardless of the fact that the outcome was probably the best
possible one for the Iraqi people. They were not free and fair. Not by a
long shot. The violence was widespread and the apathy was terrible."There
are many other cases. What the US is doing right now is no different from
what it allowed Colonel Oliver North to do during the Iran-Contra Affair in
his 'Project Democracy' scam." However, President Mbeki has time and again
stated that the role of the international community was to assist Zimbabwe
rather than to dictate to it, particularly when it comes to the holding of
free and fair elections.

He told the Financial Times that the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) observer mission headed for Zimbabwe to cover the March 31
Parliamentary elections was not coming to point out shortcomings but rather
to help the government here facilitate the staging of free0 and fair polls.

The media and the international community have viewed President Mbeki as one
of the few non-Zimbabweans best placed to intervene in the country's affairs
though the West and the neo-liberal media have tended to ridicule him for
his brand of 'quiet diplomacy'.

For his part, he has maintained that Zimbabweans alone are the ones who are
capable of identifying their problems and solving them or calling a mediator
should one be required.

Coincidentally, the SA-USA fallout came when the European Union (EU) was
extending so-called targeted sanctions and travel bans on President Robert
Mugabe and 96 senior Zanu PF officials until February 20, 2006.

The EU has said the restrictions will remain in place until they are pleased
that the ruling party has put an end to politically motivated violence and
what has been described as the illegal resettlement of people on farms is
put to a halt.

Interestingly, many observers have noted that political violence is not the
problem it was between 2000 and 2002 and both Zanu PF and MDC officials have
come out saying they would not tolerate deviants. Furthermore, progress has
been made towards the implementation of the Sadc electoral guidelines though
anti-government groupings have been raising concerns about the ruling party's
commitment to the holding of free and fair elections.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

MIC denies threatening Zimbabwe Independent
By Staff Writer

PRESS watchdog, the Media and Information Commission (MIC) has denied that
it threatened the Zimbabwe Independent with withdrawal of its license as
well as revoking the paper's staffers' accreditation after it emerged that
some of the staffers were moonlighting for foreign media houses, a practise
which is at variance with existing Zimbabwean media laws.

The MIC, through its Executive Chairman, Dr Tafatona Mahoso, pointed out
that what was sent to the Zimbabwe Independent was, in fact, "a routine
communication in the daily operations of the MIC." "The routine
communication" was actually send on 28 January 2005 and not "last week" as
The Sunday Mirror of 20 February 2005 suggested. The letter, referenced as
"Accreditation of Stringers and Correspondents for Foreign Mass Media
Services," reads in part: "As a rule, journalists are directly linked to
their employers. This is especially true of full time journalists, since
they cannot be accredited unless they have an employer who certifies their
applications. Another link is through the code of ethics and code of conduct
which the employer submits with its application for registration.

"Even freelance journalists are required to supply the names of mass media
services they usually string for, as part of the accreditation process.

"The prevailing arrangement between your mass media service and the Mail and
Guardian with regard to correspondents is not consistent with regulations."
The letter goes on to highlight the options open to the Zimbabwe Independent
"for regularising the situation." These include the opening up of an office
in Zimbabwe by the foreign mass media service that wishes to retain and use
the services of Zimbabwe Independent correspondents. The office, once
opened, would then accredit all its journalists in Zimbabwe. The MIC pointed
out that this was not the case with the South African owned Mail and Gurdian
which is published by M and G Media Limited.

The other option highlighted by the MIC was for the foreign mass media to
apply to the MIC, with the permission of the Zimbabwe Indpendent to get the
journalists accredited as foreign correspondents while the third option
would to have the Zimbabwean organization approach "the Commission with a
request to gather and export news to another mass media service abroad, and
identify for special accreditation those journalist doing the gathering and
exporting of news." In the light of the presentation of the letter quoted
above, The Sunday Mirror deputy editor, Ruzvidzo Mupfudza said, "It is
unfortunate that this vital document was not brought to the attention of our
reporter at the time when he was making enquiries into the matter for it
would have shed a whole new light on the whole affair at the time. The
interpretation, semantics and tone in the story would have been altered
significantly had this been done. However we sincerely regret the subsequent
errors in fact and intepretation that might have appeared in our story as a
result of this omission, particularly concerning the timeframe when this
communication was supposed to have happened. Indeed, we apologize for
inaccurately stating that the communication between MIC and ZimInd
publishers over the issue of accreditation took place two weeks ago, instead
the correct date is 28 January 2005." He also reiterated that where sources
showed a preference for remaining anonymous it was the publication's duty to
protect their confidentiality and was in no way part of a clandestine
conspiracy theory.

The Sunday Mirror deputy editor added that, "We would like to make it
abundantly clear that our publication abides by and in no way seeks to stray
from its mandate of serving nationalist and Pan African values and would in
no way be party to agendas and scheming that would run contrary to those
values or jeopardize the future of this nation." When the reporter was
pursing the story, he had given the MIC the right to respond but was
rebuffed, with Dr Mahoso saying, "Talk to the people at the Independent.
What are they saying? Even if something like that happened, we wouldn't
discuss it with the press."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Govt hesitates on NGO bill
Kuda Chikwanda Chief Writer

GOVERNMENT seems hesitant to enact into law the controversial
Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Bill, almost three months after the bill
was passed by parliament after fast-track debate - with the National
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) saying it is still
awaiting response on presentations against the bill it made to President
Robert Mugabe.

"We are yet to get a response from the President, but I must add, we did our
level best to antagonise its enactment into law. We sincerely hope that the
President will take into consideration our presentations and not sign the
bill in the state it is right now," said Nango executive director, Jonah
Mudehwe.

Asked to comment on the delay in promulgation into law of the bill, Patrick
Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs confirmed
knowledge of the presentations made to President Mugabe who is supposed to
assent to the bill becoming law.

"I am aware that certain representations were made by stakeholders who are
against the bill to the President. When the President will sign the NGO bill
into law, I cannot say. Only the President knows whether he will sign the
bill into law or not, after taking into account those considerations made by
stakeholders," said Chinamasa.

The NGO bill seeks to ban foreign NGOs concerned principally with "issues of
governance". NGOs primarily concerned with the promotion and protection of
human rights, and receiving foreign funding for achievement of such mandate,
are classified as dealing in issues of governance, and subsequently are
denied registration under provisions in the bill, once it becomes
legislation.

The bill which has been criticised for numerous factors - amongst them the
economic impact of its enactment into law - was noted for the hurried
fashion in which it was debated in parliament.

The delay in signing the NGO has baffled players in the non-governmental
sector who had expected to see the bill becoming law around the same time
that Electoral Act Amendments Act bill and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) bill were signed into law - considering that fast track debate of the
three bills had occurred at the same time. On how the funding had been
affected, Mudehwe said the delay in signing had created an atmosphere of
confusion, not only within the local NGO community, but also in the foreign
donor community.

"It has been quite confusing. To some extent some NGO's have found new
survival strategies from the time the bill was gazetted. However, some NGOs
have already been affected by decline in funding while some foreign donors
have temporarily with held funds because of such uncertainty on the status
of the bill," said Mudehwe.

Humanitarian groups have continued to denounce definitions of the terms
"political governance" and "issues of governance" in the bill, saying they
were too wide; and could possibly impact on the operations of a host of
organisations involved in charity work such as animal welfare and
environmental work.

Other civic bodies have expressed concern that the work of NGOs often
overlapped with human rights issues.

NGOs argue that if enacted into law, the bill will have an adverse effect on
the economy, particularly unemployment, as thousands employed in the NGO
sector are likely to lose their jobs.

The bill will also allow for the setting up of a regulatory council that
will decide whether a particular NGO will be registered or not.

While some sectors alleged last year that the bill had been aimed at NGOs
deemed to be providing funding for the opposition MDC, speculation was also
rife that the proposed legislation would target organisations long viewed as
a thorn in the side of government such as the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), Amani Trust, Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

      The spectre of ethnicism- friend or foe?
      Analyses
      Ruzvidzo Mupfudza Deputy Editor

      "YOU are now free, dangerously free.

      I hope you can discipline your minds and say if it is time to work you
must work. Don't disgrace us please. You are the fortunate ones and having
been the fortunate ones, please carry your fortunes with you and don't turn
them into misfortunes," so said President Mugabe on the occasion of sending
off students awarded presidential scholarships at Fort Hare in South Africa,
on March 4, 2004. But it is a speech he could have directed to incoming
Members of Parliament at the end of the highly polarized parliamentary
elections of 2000.

      Those were elections that were characterised by a lot of mayhem. In
that year, father literally turned against son, mother against daughter,
brother against brother and sister against sister. In Guruve a family
gathering was ostensibly called during the height of the election campaign.
The two surviving heads- "fathers" of the clan had been heavily involved in
assisting the vakomana- liberation fighters- during the armed struggle. They
were staunch Zanu PF supporters. But among their disgruntled younger kith
and kin, pro- MDC elements had emerged. This development and the eventual
polarisation that emerged within the clan had little to do with a clash of
ideologies and policies. It had a lot more to do with long- set allegiances
being brought against the cruel reality of rampant unemployment, stagnant
hopes and the sudden appearance of "salaries." Those involved on both sides
of the campaign, especially in putting up posters and carrying out "terror
campaigns" got a little something from either side- usually large doses of
the "scud." The meeting was called to ostensibly castigate sell- outs. The
"sell- outs" were defiant. Rifts in the family emerged along political party
lines. Today one of the sons who was rabidly pro- MDC is selling
miscellaneous objects at Mbare Musika and is dirt poor. He served his
purpose in 2000 and was discarded like an over- used rag into the dustbin of
political expediency. At least he still alive. Some lost their lives. The
fortunate ones, the ones who were fighting for power, got what they wanted.
But at what cost? Don't disgrace us, would have been apt call during the
election campaign back then. It would have been even more apt during the
parliamentary life- span up to until now. And as the Ides of March loom on
the horizon, that call has even more resonance. The allure of power is
difficult to resist. Particularly when it comes with perks and kickbacks
that result in more power and influence. And when two politically ambitious
elephants fight, it is always the people at the grassroots who suffer.

      Lately, the ethnic card has become the potential trump card of some
highly ambitious individuals. The smoke and mirrors of perceived Zezuru
hegemony has been transformed to a bowl of sour grapes which many are
ravenously feeding off. In essence, the infamous Tsholotsho Declaration
mobilized around this perception, feeding off it voraciously and almost
succeeding in pulling of its sleight of hand trick with the truth. But in
politics, it is not the truth that matters. Rather it is the appearance of
truth that has more clout. There are people in Midlands, Masvingo,
Manicaland, Matebeland and all over the country with roots in these regions
who feel that the rod of power belongs to them by divine right this time
around.

      Ethnicity, like nationalism, is a social construct. And when
nationalism is frayed not just at the edges, but has cracked at the centre,
ethnicity thrives. It rises to the fore like a ferocious serpent threatening
to devour the very notion of nationalism itself. Factions galore arise. The
truth of the matter is that both Zanu PF and MDC cannot run away from this
fact. Last Sunday the MDC chose to launch its election campaign manifesto in
Masvingo. Ironically, only recently, at the Masvingo Civic Centre, MDC
president, Morgan Tsvangirai had been met with placard- waving supporters
accusing him of being a dictator. But if there had not been people in the
MDC's echelons, would the launch have been set in Masvingo? For Zanu PF,
Masvingo has always been a political verbal and physical bloodbath- always
the hovering nemesis of the party's hegemony. There was the kingpin of
Masvingo necarpet politics, the late veteran nationalist, Dr Eddison Zvobgo.
He was forever wary of perceived Zezuru hegemony and Rozvi ascendancy. He
was however known to joke that during his political career he had been Ndau
and/ or Rozvi whenever the occasion called for an appropriate socially
constructed hat to don. A large part of the ethnic social construct hinges
on colonial expediency and the divide and rule tactic that it employed.
According to Aeneas Chigwedere colonial missionaries and later the Native
Commission used these constructs in order to further their own agendas.
Historically, many of the contemporary ethnic groups did not exist as we
know them today. The word Shona did not even exist and might have come from
two corrupted Ndebele concepts.

      The "Shona" had a habit of disappearing into mountain strongholds,
abandoning their homesteads at the sight of an amaNdebele- madzviti raid-
(kutshona). It might also be a corruption of the derogatory amasvina.

      ".as education expanded in the thirties and forties, colonial
divisionism set in and we were sundered and fragmented and set against each
other. On the one hand, missionaries carved out their own territories and
spread their venom in the regions under their control- venom garbed as
history and which we were not slow to imbibe and in turn spread to the
unfortunate 'students' under our control," confesses Chigwedere bitterly in
his neglected book, The Karanga Empire.

      One of the most successful attributes of colonial Rhodesian hegemony
is that many people, today, remain under the control of this divisionism. It
is quite clear, for example, that the battle for Tsholotsho, in which the
political showman of them all, former minister of Information and Publicity
in the Office of the President, Jonathan Moyo is blood- thirstily involved,
has resorted to using an ethnic base as a launchpad. Interesting, Zanu PF
used Harare while the MDC used Masvingo. Ethnicity, or more crudely, tribal
politics thrives on perception and not facts. For example, an overlooked
fact is that the Rozvi did not constitute members of the Moyo totem alone
but was, rather, a confederacy of various peoples with different totems.
These people got together and ganged up on their neighbours taking their
land and destroying their chieftainships, imposing their own status quo in
the process. "Vamwe vedu vari kuti rozva, complained the victims of these
conquests, and the name Rozvi was born. Back then, people referred to their
language and way of life as chikaranga chedu. Today, the concept of Rozvi
and Karanga have been reduced to "tribal" politics and Zimbabwe, dangerously
free, is set for some puerile but interesting politics.

      To be continued.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Sunday Argus (SA), 27 February

Out of a job, but Moyo's living the high life

He's down, but Mugabe's former information minister isn't out - he may even
have found someone to foot all his bills

The question on every political speculator's lips right now is; who is
backing Jonathan Moyo's lifestyle? Who is his controller? Last week,
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe sacked his once ultra-powerful
information minister for daring to announce his candidacy as an independent
for the March 31 parliamentary elections. That was after Mugabe had ensured
the ruling Zanu PF party did not nominate him as a candidate. His abrupt
departure from cabinet deprived Moyo at one stroke of a free government
house, cellphone, car, fuel, DStv subscription, air travel between Harare
and Bulawayo, and access to limitless funds from the president's office. Yet
there has been no noticeable decline in his extravagant lifestyle. The
ministry of information falls within Mugabe's office which apparently has a
"black hole" of a budget as the feared Central Intelligence Organisation is
also funded from this vast, and largely unaudited allocation.

Political pundits here suspect that outgoing Speaker of Parliament Emmerson
Mnangagwa is Moyo's financial and political backer. After all Moyo's fall
from Mugabe's grace began late last year when he called a meeting of Zanu PF
bigwigs to oppose Mugabe's appointment of Joyce Majuru - rather than
Mnangagwa - as vice-president and therefore, very likely, his anointed
successor. Mnangagwa's cellphone was switched on but went unanswered most of
Friday. He is on the campaign trail trying to win back the parliamentary
seat he lost to the Movement for Democratic Change in 2000, which forced
Mugabe to rescue him from political oblivion by appointing him Speaker.
Although Moyo has departed as Zimbabwe's most unpopular member of the
cabinet, his former ministry carries on with its devilish work, as the
authoritarian law he created, the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, is still being used against the media. His minions at the Media
and Information Commission are still hounding journalists.

In Moyo's office, George Charamba, permanent secretary to the information
ministry has been flexing his muscles. He and Moyo fell out a couple of
years ago, and insiders speculate he is very busy doing an audit on
expenditure within the information ministry over the past five years of
Moyo's tenure. He is said to be examining especially closely the local and
foreign currency costs of setting up and launching Moyo's local band, Pax
Afro, at the Victoria Falls at a glittering function, last year. Then there
were the costs of staging and running live satellite links for Moyo's
"solidarity" concerts in Mozambique. And the many dinners at the attractive
and expensive restaurant in Harare's northern suburbs where Moyo hosted a
wide variety of local dignitaries and foreign visitors. Trans Media is a
company conceived of by Moyo, shortly after he became information minister.
It is wholly owned by the president's office and generates about R10 million
a year from commissions from DStv Africa, and satellite uplinks from Harare.
It paid for the aircraft Moyo hired last November for the fateful meeting he
arranged in Tsholotsho - the Matabeleland constituency he will contest on
March 31 - where he is accused of plotting with six provincial chairmen, and
others, to back Mnangagwa to fill the empty vice-president's post.

Though Moyo had directly opposed his boss, Mugabe appeared reluctant at
first to punish his wayward information minister. He liked Moyo. He knew
that in his largely inept and moribund cabinet, Moyo was the most hard
working. He had sold a propaganda message to Mugabe's supporters - inside
the country and in Africa and abroad - blaming British and other
"neo-colonial" forces for Zimbabwe's economic ills. Tony Blair and Co had
turned on Zimbabwe not because of its destruction of the rule of law, but
because it was reversing British colonialism by taking back the farmland
"stolen" from Zimbabweans by white British settlers, Moyo proclaimed over
and over again. As late as the Zanu PF congress last December, even after
the fateful Tsholotsho meeting, Mugabe acknowledged indirectly that Moyo had
done a good job. But the pressure from within Zanu PF - where Moyo had made
many enemies - was too heavy, and these enemies forced Moyo's expulsion from
the politburo. He therefore lost his seat on the Central Committee and was
no longer eligible to stand for the party in next month's general election.

"Jonathan is too American. He is not one of us. He has no background in the
party, because he is too American," is the refrain from many members of Zanu
PF's inner circle. Moyo was indeed the outsider. No veteran of the
liberation struggle he; until Mugabe drafted him into government, Moyo was
an academic who had led a privileged life, compared to most Zimbabweans. His
tertiary education had been paid for in the United States. He was among the
creme de la creme of upcoming African academics, even if his performance at
the University of Zimbabwe, before he left for Kenya to join the Ford
Foundation nearly 10 years ago, was patchy and caused the same sort of
tensions among his professional colleagues as his political behaviour did in
the cabinet. He then worked briefly at the University of Witwatersrand in
Johannesburg.

It is a well-entrenched - but true - part of the Moyo legend that as an
academic he was among the sharpest critics of Mugabe's policies, including
Mugabe's persistent efforts to establish a de-facto one party state. His
abrupt metamorphosis into Mugabe's most strident mouthpiece widely branded
him as a brazen opportunist. The swiftness of the transformation surprised
almost everyone who knew him. In 1999, from Wits, he was appointed spokesman
for the Constitutional Commission which Mugabe had set up to try to channel
and divert the demands of civil society for a more democratic constitution.
Moyo had actually been brought in to provide some balance to the largely
pro-Mugabe commissioners, according to inside sources. But upon arrival, he
immediately unfurled his new colours. As a result Mugabe drafted him into
the cabinet in 2000. Now he is back where he was in 1999, as a Mugabe
critic, boasting that if it were not for his efforts, Mugabe's government
would have imploded long ago. He still embraces Zanu PF thinking though -
that Zimbabwe's "sovereignty" (whatever that may be) is under threat from
journalists, Cosatu, non-government organisations, Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Americans, the British, Scandinavians etc.

And he will no doubt persuade many voters of Tsholotsho that he is a better
defender of Zimbabwe against these enemies than Zanu PF is. Despite his
spectacular flip-flop, he is popular in Tsholotsho, and can draw a crowd
even in Bulawayo, and not just because he has been smart in pumping
government money into the constituency - almost as if he knew that he might
one day have to come back here as a candidate on his own and try to rebuild
his career from the grassroots up. Moyo can and certainly will deploy his
considerable propaganda skills to take credit for the new government grain
silo, a stretch of wider public road - and other improvements to the
wretchedly poor Tsholotsho village. He handed over blankets in winter and
computers to schools in summer in an area from which more people have fled
to South Africa to escape economic misery than any other part of Zimbabwe.
Apart from the patronage, he is also now seen as a hero by many ordinary
people in Matabeleland - who evidently lack a sense of irony - because he
showed Zanu PF two fingers. Jonathan Moyo could very well win the Tsholotsho
seat, according to many real and would-be political analysts, even though
the MDC insists that he will split the Zanu PF vote and help the MDC retain
the seat in won in 2000.

Yet observers say the sitting MP, Mtoliki Sibanda is not one of the MDC's
brighter lights. He has hardly said a word in parliament and has done little
for his constituency, either materially or in the hand-shaking department.
He won the primary election again this year mostly because he had no
coherent opposition. The Zanu PF candidate, Musa Ncube, is neither an orator
nor popular and her education level is low. Moyo on the other hand - like
him or loathe him - has a presence, is fluent and quick-witted. If only for
entertainment value, the Tsholotsho election should be one of the ones to
watch on the way to March 31. If he wins Tsholotsho, many people speculate
Mugabe will bring him back into the cabinet as his choices are sorely
limited by the poor quality of candidates in Zanu PF. And if not -
especially if it is true that Mnangagwa is his godfather - he may bide his
time, plotting to come back in from the cold after the 81-year-old Mugabe
has shuffled off. It's a little too early to pronounce the great survivor
politically dead.
Back to the Top
Back to Index