By ANGUS SHAW
The Associated Press
Friday, February 4, 2011; 11:52 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Britain has sent a formal diplomatic complaint to
Zimbabwean authorities protesting harassment of a diplomat and attempts by
ruling party supporters to disrupt the handover of a British aid project,
officials said Friday.
In a statement, the British embassy said Mugabe's party bussed protesters to
a mission hospital in eastern Zimbabwe where the diplomat, second secretary
Sarah Bennett, handed over British-funded hospital equipment.
Demonstrators mobbed local officials and visiting dignitaries, demanding the
lifting of Western economic sanctions targeted at Mugabe and his ruling
elite. It was "deeply depressing" the project was subjected to party
propaganda, the statement said.
No violence was reported, but the incident came amid rising political
tensions and a new upsurge in political violence across Zimbabwe ahead of
elections proposed later this year.
Bennett was in the remote Mutasa rural district Wednesday to donate mortuary
equipment the area had long lacked.
Rowdy demonstrators carried placards describing Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader in a fragile two-year power sharing
coalition with Mugabe, as a "puppet" of the West.
British Ambassador Mark Canning said in Friday's statement that Britain
spent more than $100 million in aid for local communities last year.
He dismissed claims that visa, business and banking sanctions on Mugabe and
his ZANU-PF party by Britain and European Union hurt Zimbabweans as a whole.
"Only 1 in 70,000 Zimbabweans are affected by the EU's restrictive
measures - because they are targeted at those responsible for human rights
abuses and behavior which undermines democracy and good governance," he
On Sunday, human rights activists reported that political tensions and
violence rose markedly in January ahead of proposed elections this year even
though a date for the vote has not been scheduled yet.
Mob attacks, threats, assaults, questionable arrests by police and at least
one shooting were reported in clashes between rival party supporters in
Harare and its suburbs.
Zimbabwe's state-run radio has accused the prime minister of trying to spark
anti-government uprisings similar to those seen in Tunisia and Egypt.
An independent doctors' group said Thursday it had evidence from witness
accounts that at least 70 Mugabe militants were brought by truck to the
western Mbare township, the center of new clashes this week that left nine
people injured, three of them hospitalized.
Calm returned to downtown Harare after mobs chanting slogans of Mugabe's
party besieged downtown offices of the Tsvangirai-led City Council on
Tsvangirai entered a coalition with Mugabe after violence-plagued elections
in 2008. Mugabe has called for national elections later in 2011 to bring an
end to bitter disputes over power sharing in the coalition.
Harare,February 04, 2011 - The British embassy in Zimbabwe has condemned the
demonstration by Zanu (PF) supporters at a hand over ceremony of a mortuary
constructed by the consulate at a cost of U$$10 000 in the Mutasa area near
Radio VOP reported this week that dozens of Zanu (PF) supporters waving
placards calling for the removal of sanctions disrupted the mortuary
handover ceremony attended by British embassy second secretary, Sarah Bennet
in Mutasa. The youths demonstrated saying Zimbabwe's former colonial master,
Britain must remove sanctions imposed on the country.
"It is deeply depressing that Zanu (PF) should seek to exploit such an
occasion for crude propaganda purposes. The local dignitaries present
expressed their embarassment at such behaviour," said an embassy official,
Keith Scott in a statement on Friday.
"On 2 February, the people of Mutasa celebrated the opening of a newly
refurbished mortuary at St Barbara's mission hospital courtesy of a grant of
$ 10,000 from the British Embassy. However, the handover was marred by a
demonstration against so called sanctions by a small group of protestors
bussed in by Zanu (PF)."
" The Embassy has also sent a formal complaint to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs about the harassment directed at its Second Secretary, Dr Sarah
Bennett, at the event and expressed its extreme disappointment that handover
ceremonies of the sort that Dr Bennett attended on
Wednesday should deliberately be disrupted in this manner," Scott said.
British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mark Canning said it is 'nonsense' for
anyone to say the British imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe but said the
sanctions were imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his sychophants.
"The UK is proud to have been delivering projects such as this for many
years. Whether providing new school buildings or textbooks, or refurbishing
clinics or providing medicines for all , we are getting real assistance to
the people of Zimbabwe. Our substantial aid programme - over 100 million
dollars last year has benefited local communities throughout the country,"
"Unfortunately , we still hear from some quarters the nonsense that the UK
and others are hurting Zimbabwe through "sanctions." Only 1 in every 70 000
Zimbabweans are affected by the EU's restrictive measures because they are
targetted at those responsible for Human Rights abuses and behaviour which
undermines democracy and good governance."
by Own Correspondent Friday 04 February 2011
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s foreign debt stood at more than $6.9 billion at the end
of 2010 while the country has fallen behind on its payments to external
creditors to the tune of $4.8 billion, according to latest data from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said the southern
African country’s total external debt stock amounted to US$6,929 million as
at 31 December 2010, representing 103 percent of GDP.
This is way above the international debt sustainability benchmark of 60
“The bulk of the country’s external debt is owed to multilateral creditors
which account for 36 percent of the country’s total debt,” Gono said.
Bilateral and commercial creditors are owed 33 percent and 31 percent,
Central government was the largest debtor at 57 percent while parastatals
and the private sector owed 35 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
The ballooning arrears on the external debt have prevented multilateral
creditors such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank from
extending new loans to Zimbabwe, demanding that the country clears the
outstanding balances first before becoming eligible for further financial
Harare owes close to US$1 billion in arrears to the IMF, World Bank and
African Development Bank.
Economists and the IMF have contended that the only way Harare could pull
itself out of its current debt trap is through international debt
An IMF staff paper published last July said Zimbabwe was in debt distress
and warned that neither the right economic policies nor its mineral wealth
could immediately resolve the country’s large debt problem.
IMF staff estimate that Zimbabwe’s foreign debt is projected to reach 151
percent of GDP by 2015, with 104 percent of GDP in arrears.
To win debt relief Zimbabwe would need to improve ties with the
international community and qualify for a global scheme for heavily indebted
poor countries that would lead to debt cancellation after a two-year
Zimbabwe has struggled to win donor support despite the formation of a
coalition government last year while private capital inflows have fallen
over concerns about a government plan to force foreign-owned firms to sell
majority shares to locals.
Bulawayo, February 04 2011 - A ZIPRA War Veterans Trust deputy chair has
accused the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldiers of embarking on
unprecedented political violence in Mwenezi area in Masvingo province
targetted at Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.
Retired col Bester Magwizi accused two former ZIPRA and ZNA soldiers,
captain Solomon Ndlovu and col Tshudina Moyo for leading a terror campaign
against MDC supporters in the Maranda area of Mwenezi.
Zipra is a former military wing of the old Zapu which fought for the
liberation of Zimbabwe.
“We were in Mwenezi recently on our community healing programme and campaign
towards a non violent election. We were really shocked to learn that some of
our former colleagues during the liberation struggle are being used by Zanu
(PF) to intimidate, murder and torture defenseless civilians,” Magwizi told
Magwizi cited the MDC‘s organising secretary in the area, one Hove whom he
said was severely tortured and left for dead by captain Ndlovu.
“I confronted these soldiers about their nefarious activities in the area
because I am really disappointed since I am the one who recruited these
people in the liberation struggle while I was the Southern Front 3 commander
in ZIPRA. When I confronted them about what they are doing, they said they
were taking orders from Col Exvia Hungwe. After that I got in touch with
Hungwe and he told me not to interfere with the business of his boys,” said
Magwizi vowed that the trust will continue with its community healing
programme as well as exposing war veterans who are terrorising civilians on
behalf of Zanu (PF).
“We fought to free this country from all forms of oppression. What our
colleagues are doing is against what the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe died
Radio VOP was not able to obtain a comment from the accused ZNA top
officials on the alleged cases of violence although the Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa has repeatedly denied the soldiers'involvement in
The ZIPRA national healing programme is aimed at forcing perpetrators of
violence to confess and apologise to the community for engaging in violent
The programme has so far been conducted in some parts of Midlands, Harare,
Matabeleland North and South.
By Tichaona sibanda
4 February 2011
Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone on Friday said if Robert Mugabe gave
instructions to the police to act decisively on violence ‘it will end
‘If the Head of State was to address the nation following such serious
political disturbances and order the police to arrest the perpetrators, all
this evil will come to an end without a doubt,’ Makone said.
She told SW Radio Africa that the reason why it seems she is unable to deal
with the violence is because of a legislation that prevents her and Kembo
Mohadi from being involved in the day to day operations of the police force.
Mohadi is co-Home Affairs from ZANU PF. According to the Police Act, it is
only the President who can give instructions direct to the police.
‘I’m a minister merely in charge of policies. My situation then becomes very
difficult to become answerable for someone to who you cannot give a direct
command. The Commissioner-General is answerable to the President. If I have
to ask him to do something I have to put it in writing and this process
becomes cumbersome. Most times you write letters but nothing happens.
‘So you wonder really if he gets these letters. A good example is today, I
left Commissioner-General a letter with instructions from what we discussed
with the President and the Prime Minister yesterday (Thursday). I left the
letter at 8am but by 4pm he said he hadn’t seen it,’ Makone added.
Minister Makone declined to go into the letters details, merely saying;
‘There were instructions of what needs to be done, to stop the violence as
agreed with the President and Prime Minister.’
The Minister said she spent an hour briefing the two principals what was
happening in as far as violence is concerned in Harare from Budiriro to
recent events in Mbare
‘I told them in no uncertain terms who was responsible and the fear and
reluctance by the police to get involved. The police are as guilty as the
perpetrators of violence for standing by while the citizens of this country
are being butchered. This increases the violence.
‘What we have in the police force is a certain amount of fear from some
officers to act against ZANU PF. Then there seems to be another faction that
actively encourages and participates in attacks on citizens. This is the
reason why the ZRP gets the blame for failing to contain violence,’ she
The Minister said following her meeting with the two principals it was
agreed steps had to be taken to ensure peace is restored in Harare, to allow
citizens to go about their normal business without any fear of attacks.
But all members of the country’s military Junta, known as the Joint
Operations Command (JOC), report directly to Mugabe. Until he decides to end
the violence, nothing will happen.
Mbare, Harare, February 04, 2011 - Zanu (PF) youth popularly known as
Chipangano are visiting vendors in Mbare demanding President Mugabe's
birthday donations and voter registration receipts for the forthcoming
referendum to choose a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
Radio VOP on Thursday witnessed the rowdy Zanu (PF) Mbare youths visiting
each vendor at Mbare vegetable market demanding U$ 1 donations for Mugabe's
87th birthday celebrations known as the 21st February movement.
Zimbabweans were last year consulted, amid chaos and violence, for their
views on the new constitution by an outreach programme spearheaded by a
“What we were told is to produce $1 plus the voter registration receipt.
They are saying that the $1 is for the 21st February movement celebrations
due on 26 this month here in Harare,”a vendor told Radio VOP.
Zanu (PF) has in the past threatened vendors at both Mupedzanhamo market and
Mbare vegetable market with eviction if they fail to support the party and
Meanwhile a Mbare Magistrate Rebecca Kaviya on Thursday freed on bail
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Mbare Ward 3 councillor Paul Gorekore
and six other supporters, who were arrested on Monday for allegedly
assaulting some Zanu (PF) supporters.
The seven, who will return to court on February 17, were accused of throwing
stones at Zanu (PF) supporters who were passing outside the MDC offices in
Mbare. The supporters, who are Mbare residents, were allegedly clearing some
debris from their party’s shattered offices, which were demolished by some
Zanu (PF) youths last week.
The incident has since sparked political violence in one of the oldest
townships of Harare which has seen most people injured and hospitalised in
the past few weeks.
Magistrate Kaviya granted free bail to the seven Mbare residents after the
residents’ lawyers Tawanda Zhuwarara and Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) applied for their release on bail.
The State had opposed bail and had led evidence from the investigating
officer, Detective Assistant Inspector Lazarus Jonasi Majonga.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 February, 2011
Taxi drivers and commuter omnibus crews were recently ordered to play ZANU
PF songs in their vehicles and to always display the Zimbabwe flag. SW Radio
Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said members of the Commuter Omnibus
Association and taxi drivers were ordered to attend a meeting in Harare that
was addressed by ‘rank marshals’ who manage traffic at bus terminals.
They were told that it is now mandatory to play music praising ZANU PF and
to display a Zimbabwean flag in their vehicles, if they want to pick up
passengers at the bus terminals.
Muchemwa said specific songs were recommended, including the new ZANU PF
album produced by Sani Makalima. Music by the “Born Free Crew”, played
continuously on the state run ZBC radio and ZTV, was especially recommended.
“It appears ZANU PF is trying to appeal to the youth in urban areas who
traditionally vote for the MDC, by speaking their language through music,”
The Harare based correspondent has also been monitoring the wave of violence
that has engulfed Mbare high-density suburb in the last few weeks. Muchemwa
spoke to Mbare residents who said the recent attacks were orchestrated by
the notorious Chipangano gang of ZANU PF youths.
The locals, who chose not to be identified, said Chipangano is being used to
assault, intimidate, torture or evict any Mbare residents suspected of being
MDC supporters or activists.
The members are well known to locals and to the police, who are under orders
not to interfere with their activities. Muchemwa said the top gang leaders
receive special favours from ZANU PF officials. But lower ranks take
advantage of their immunity by looting and confiscating products from
innocent street vendors.
Mbare residents also reported that unfamiliar characters from outside Harare
are being bussed in to assist Chipangano members. A group of about 200 thugs
took part in attacks at the MDC Mbare office and at the home of councillor
Paul Gorekore on Monday.
“You could tell from everything about them, even from their skin, that they
were not from Harare,” said Muchemwa.
By Lance Guma
04 February 2011
Almost 4 months after appearing to trivialize MDC-T complaints about the
appointments of Johannes Tomana, Gideon Gono and Roy Bennett in the
coalition government, Professor Welshman Ncube finds himself possibly having
to eat his own words, after becoming another outstanding issue.
Last month Ncube declared himself Deputy Prime Minister after toppling
Arthur Mutambara as leader of the smaller MDC faction. But Robert Mugabe has
snubbed his elevation and refused to swear him in as deputy premier claiming
it would create legal problems for the government. Mugabe even suggested
that it would require Mutambara to resign his post to clear the way for
This week commentators were digging up old quotes from Ncube on contentious
GPA issues. In October 2010 Ncube told his twitter followers, “to us it is
not about positions but rather about what we can do to improve the lives of
ordinary people. We are frustrated that our partners have slowed the full
GPA implementation over issues, including the appointment of Gono, Tomana
Political commentator Sanderson Makombe also wrote an article quoting Ncube
as saying, ‘we don’t see why the important business of the State should be
interrupted by such trivial matters such as how this one should be in this
position and that one should not be in that position.’ The position of the
party was further highlighted by Mutambara who claimed Mugabe had the right
to make the appointments.
“How ironic then that when the next round of negotiations on the full
implementation of the GPA commences, Welshman Ncube’s name will appear
alongside Roy Bennett, Johannes Tomana and Gideon Gono as an outstanding
issue. Trivial is it professor?” Makombe wrote. It has also been confirmed
that Ncube has requested a meeting with Mugabe to resolve the new dispute.
Makombe meanwhile believes, “The debacle over Ncube’s ascendancy and
subsequent request to be sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister exposes how
shoddy the drafters of the GPA and Constitutional Amendment Number 19 were,
in not anticipating such arising challenges. These documents provide ample
academic discourse on how not to write a constitution,” he said.
The MDC-N meanwhile released a statement on Sunday saying Mugabe “has no
power or right to appoint any person into the cabinet without the approval
of (their) party through (its) leadership. Equally clear, is the right of
each party to reshuffle, reassign or recall any of its representatives, the
President being required only to formally make the appointments as requested
by the parties.”
Makombe however said attempts by Ncube’s party to compare their current
redeployment of Mutambara with the cabinet reshuffle by Tsvangirai last
year, were misplaced. “The appointment, deployment and reshuffling of
ministers is expressly provided for in the constitution by amendment No 19.”
While in the case of the President, Prime Minister and their deputies; “Such
vacancy shall be filled by a nominee of the Party which held that position
prior to the vacancy arising.” The problem is even though ‘they are free to
choose whoever they want to fill that vacancy. The debate is whether the
same office is currently vacant?”
With Mutambara not having resigned, it means there is no vacancy legally.
By Alex Bell
04 February 2011
The World Diamond Council (WDC) on Friday insisted that Zimbabwe’s diamond
future is still under discussion, dismissing reports that the country has
the go ahead to start exporting its controversial Chiadzwa stones.
Members of the diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), last
month voted in favour of an amendment to an agreement that was proposed last
November in Jerusalem, and turned down by the Zimbabwean authorities.
Zimbabwe was suspended from exporting its diamonds in 2009 because of rights
abuses at the Chiadzwa diamond fields, including violence and smuggling. The
country’s Mines Ministry insists that such abuses have stopped, and have
threatened to sell the diamonds without KP approval.
State media groups have since reported that Zimbabwe has the “green light”
to resume exports. But the WDC said in a statement on Friday that before
exports can resume, the Zimbabwean authorities “need to complete a series of
consultations with Mr. Mathieu Yamba, the Chair of the Kimberley Process,
representing the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
“We believe these consultations are sensitive and ongoing. Mr. Yamba has
called for understanding and patience as efforts are made, in good faith, on
all sides to reach a conclusion,” the WDC said.
The group added that it would continue to advise members of the diamond
industry that, until a conclusion is reached, exports of Chiadzwa diamonds
do not carry the approval of the KP.
The amended agreement is being viewed as a last ditch attempt by the KP to
reach a consensus on certifying Chiadzwa stones, with critics arguing that
the KP is being forced into a corner by Zimbabwe’s threat to export without
approval. Commentators have expressed concerned that this new agreement
doesn’t make the issue of human rights a priority.
Of particular concern is the amendment to a ‘violence clause’ that will make
it harder for those who allege human rights abuses at Chiadzwa to seek a
formal investigation by the KP. Under the amendment, it will now take three,
rather than two member countries to endorse a call for monitoring by the KP.
By Brian Latham - Feb 4, 2011 9:12 PM GMT+1000
Zimbabwe must demonstrate how it will prevent diamonds from its Marange
fields being smuggled over the border to Mozambique if it wants to freely
export gems from the deposit, which it mines minister says is the biggest
diamond discovery in a century.
Zimbabwe must “provide a credible anti-smuggling enforcement plan” that
includes cooperation with the government of neighboring Mozambique, the
Kimberley Process said in documents sent to Zimbabwe on Dec. 29 that were
obtained by Bloomberg.
The documents were confirmed as genuine by Mathieu Yamba, current chairman
of the Kimberley Process, in an interview today from Kinshasa, Democratic
Republic of Congo. Zimbabwe has yet to respond, he said, declining to
comment further. The Kimberley Process is an organization that includes
governments and diamond industry companies and is designed to reduce the
trade of diamonds used to finance conflicts.
The deposits in eastern Zimbabwe could generate $2 billion in annual export
income, the state-controlled Herald newspaper cited mines minister Obert
Mpofu as saying in October. Zimbabwe, a member of the Process, isn’t
certified to exports the gems from the field because it has not met a
standard to demonstrate that proceeds from sales aren’t financing conflict.
Mpofu declined to comment when called today.
Zimbabwe’s government must also give the Kimberley Process and the Kimberley
Process Local Focal Point, a coalition of Zimbabwean civil rights
organizations, “unfettered access” to the Marange diamond fields, the
Process states in the documents.
“If abuses or smuggling continue, then we would expect the self-cessation
mechanism in the KP agreement to come into play and for Zimbabwe to
immediately stop exports,” Human Rights Watch Africa Researcher Tiseke
Kasambala said in an e-mailed statement from Johannesburg today.
Human Rights Watch, based in New York, and Partnership Africa Canada have
said that proceeds from diamond smuggling are helping to enrich allies of
President Robert Mugabe and could finance a violent election campaign by his
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party. Zanu-PF has denied
benefiting from gem smuggling.
Any violation reported to the Kimberley Process Work Monitoring Group must
put a stop to the export of diamonds within seven days, the Process states
in the documents.
Zimbabwe must also provide a clear time line during which control of the
Marange fields will be handed from the military to the police, the agreement
The World Diamond Council yesterday said in a statement that Zimbabwe will
be able to export gems from Marange, which is also known as Chiadzwa, if an
agreement can be reached with the Kimberley Process. Talks between Yamba and
Zimbabwe are currently being held, the council said, giving no further
Fri Feb 4, 2011 2:55pm GMT
By Alfonce Mbizwo
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has licensed five independent power producers
whose projects are aimed at helping a struggling power sector by doubling
current electricity output to 4,450 megawatts, a government minister said on
Power shortages have hurt mining and industry in the southern African state
slowly recovering from hyperinflation that crushed the economy about two
Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma told Reuters that
Zimbabwe had also secured $30 million from the African Development Bank
(ADB) to fund maintenance at the states's main Hwange Power Station.
"They said they would make $30 million available, which will be channelled
mostly to Hwange," he said.
Hwange's six generating units have a capacity to produce 950 megawatts but
the whole station is currently producing only about 40 percent of that.
"We still have to sit with ADB to decide other areas where the money will
have the greatest impact, but as I see it, there is a critical shortage of
skills and we need more money for spares," Mangoma said.
Mangoma, a minister from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change party, said Zimbabwe wanted to bolster its power grid and
"We have also licensed a number of independent power producers in the last
few months that will come on stream in the next three to four years," he
The new plants will have a collective capacity of 4,540 MW, more than double
the current 2,000 MW capacity.
Zimbabwe, whose mining firms are major power consumers, now needs about
2,700 MW and imports an average of 300 MW from neighbouring countries.
Its other major energy plant, Kariba Hydro Power Station, has a capacity of
750 MW but is undergoing maintenance that has reduced its capacity by half.
A unity government formed between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in 2009 brought
stability to the economy, which contracted most of the past decade due to
what analysts see as gross mismanagement by Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF.
"We have one of the most advanced legislations on the continent on power
management but our political and economic situation was such that it was
hard to attract any investment," said the minister.
Masvingo, February 04, 2011 - A closed door meeting which was attended by
Zimbabwean Vice President John Nkomo is believed to have given a green light
for the complete takeover of sugar conglomerates Hippo Valley and Triangle
and parcel out the land to indigenous black farmers who are Zanu (PF)
According to a source who was privy to information that was discussed at the
meeting,Nkomo had given orders that the move be carried out "with immediate
The meeting was also attended by Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister,
Titus Maluleke, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Herbert Murerwa and
Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge, among other Zanu (PF)
The move comes soon after the take over by Zanu (PF) supporters of Mkwasine
Estates in the Lowveld two weeks ago.
It also comes after the Provincial Lands Officer, Lovemore Moyo, was sacked
for refusing to give the sugar growing industry to the blacks.
Sources who attended the meeting at Benjamin Burombo Building which houses
the governor’s office said Nkomo said that there was no going back with
taking the land as once threatened by President Mugabe last year at the
party's congress held in Mutare.
“He said that the government is no longer sparing Hippo Valley or Triangle
as had been planned. What is being left for the sugar conglomereates is just
the milling of the cane. All growing will go to Zanu (PF) supporters,” said
The source added; “He instructed the Governor to be given the list of all
beneficiaries who are going to benefit.”
Radio VOP was unable to get a comment from Nkomo but Masvingo Governor,
Titus Maluleke said:
“It was a closed door meeting that is why we chased journalists away. For
you to ask me what we said is foolish, go and write what you think we said.”
Fri Feb 4, 2011 1:07pm GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - China has offered Zimbabwe $3 billion for vast platinum
reserves, a local private newspaper reported on Friday but said the deal was
likely to be rejected by the government over its terms.
Zimbabwe, with an estimated $6 billion yearly economy, has the world's
second largest platinum reserves after South Africa. It has relied heavily
on Chinese investment to prop up a staggering economy largely shunned by the
West over President Robert Mugabe's suspected human rights abuses.
Quoting sources in Zimbabwe's unity government, the weekly Zimbabwe
Independent said the master-loan-facility from the Export-Import Bank of
China would give the southern African country money to revive an economy
wrecked by what many see as chronic mismanagement by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
"Sources said the deal has been received with scepticism in government
circles because it has stringent conditions," it said, citing these as
"mortgaging platinum reserves, ceding Chiadzwa (state) diamond revenues and
Finance Minister Tendai Biti reportedly told the Independent talks were
going on with the Chinese, but declined to discuss details.
Biti and Mines Minister Obert Mpofu were unavailable for comment. Chinese
officials were also not available for comment.
On Monday, Economic Planning and Development Minister Tapiwa Mashakada told
Reuters the state-run China Development Bank could fund up to $10 billion in
Chinese investment in Zimbabwe's mining and agriculture sector.
The announcement could be aimed at trying to prod Western investors to sink
more money into Zimbabwe out of fear they will lose ground to China,
Western investors, already cautious of doing business with Zimbabwe due it
its precarious political position, are also worried about a law that says 51
percent of firms worth over $500,000 should be owned by black Zimbabweans.
Resource-hungry China, which has strong ties with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
from the 1970s, has been steadily increasing its investments. Its Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi is due to visit Zimbabwe next week to explore business
opportunities in the mineral-rich country.
A unity government formed by Mugabe and rival Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in 2009 has brought stability to an economy crushed by
hyperinflation about two years ago.
Masvingo, February 04, 2011 - A Masvingo Magistrate who labelled the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as a party of 'puppets" was recently
forced to recuse himself from a case in which MDC Nyanga North legislator
Douglas Mwonzora is being tried for alleged fraud.
Oliver Mudzongachiso, who in December convicted another MDC MP and Deputy
Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Tongai Matutu for
assaulting Chief Serima, reluctantly opted out of the case after complaints
from Mwonzora’s lawyers.
Mwonzora’s legal team had complained to Chief Magistrate Hlekani Mwayers
that they would not get a fair trial after the magistrate's anti-MDC
utterances at a Masvingo hotel.
The Masvingo magistrate is reported to have told patrons during a beer binge
at Masvingo’s Chevron Hotel that he was going to convict MDC “puppets.”
On Thursday Mwonzora, who is a lawyer by profession, confirmed to Radio VOP:
“The magistrate recused himself from the case on Tuesday after we had
complained of his conduct which was likely to influence the case. He
announced his decision at the court in Masvingo because he was clearly not
Mwonzora represented Matutu in his assault case which was presided over by
Mudzongachiso who convicted him and fined him U$ 100.
By Alex Bell
04 February 2011
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on Thursday warmly welcomed the disputed
Zimbabwe ambassador unilaterally appointed by Robert Mugabe, in a move that
analysts say further undermines his efforts to mediate in Zimbabwe’s
Ambassador Phelekezela Mphoko was among a group of ten officials who
presented their credentials to Zuma on Thursday, despite warnings that
Mphoko’s appointment was unconstitutional. Zuma appeared to pay no mind to
this, warmly greeting the new envoy. Zuma said that it was important that
the situation in Zimbabwe be speedily resolved and hoped that Mphoko would
provide greater insight into the challenges in his country.
Mphoko in turn said he was appreciative of South Africa's mediation efforts,
and said the country had proved to be an "all weather friend" to Zimbabwe.
He also echoed ZANU PF’s sentiment about targeted sanctions placed on the
Mugabe regime by the West, praising Zuma for refusing to support the
Mphoko, who used to be Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Russia, is a known Mugabe
loyalist and said to have close links to Zimbabwe’s intelligence services.
He also controversially dismissed the Gukurahundi atrocities as a ‘Western
conspiracy’ during a panel discussion on Zimbabwe in 2009. At the same
discussion he openly jeered other participants, who included human rights
attorney Beatrice Mtetwa, calling them “sell-outs”, accusing them of
misrepresenting the situation in Zimbabwe.
The MDC in South Africa has since slammed South Africa’s acceptance of
Mphoko, saying the move will “weaken” Zuma’s mediation efforts in Zimbabwe.
The MDC’s Chairman in South Africa, Austin Moyo, told SW Radio Africa that
Zuma is undermining the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that, as mediator
in Zimbabwe’s political crisis, he is meant to be supporting.
Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of ambassadors is a serious bone of
contention in the unity government as, under the GPA, Mugabe is meant to
consult Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on all new appointments.
“Zuma is actually supporting a unilateral decision taken by ZANU PF,” Moyo
said, adding: “We think that, as a mediator, he is not acting fairly.”
Prime Minister Tsvangirai has asked the United Nations, the EU, South Africa
and other counties not to recognise ambassadors appointed by Mugabe, because
their appointment was done without any consultation with his partners in the
shaky coalition government.
But political commentator Professor John Makumbe on Friday told SW Radio
Africa that the latest developments are “a clear indication of which side of
the Zimbabwe crisis Jacob Zuma and South Africa are on.”
“This sends a strong message to the MDC-T that they should stop being so
dependent on SADC and the African Union, without themselves being active and
leading activism in Zimbabwe,” Makumbe said.
He continued that the MDC’s lack of activity on the ground in Zimbabwe is
worrying, saying the party should be leading the people in driving change.
“We are seeing more of ZANU PF that the MDC on the ground. The MDC is not
even reacting to ZANU PF. They should be actively pushing for change, not
waiting for others to give it to them,” Makumbe said.
By Alex Bell
04 February 2011
South African based refugee rights group, PASSOP, has accused the Zimbabwean
government of robbing its citizens in South Africa, where more than a
hundred thousand Zim nationals are still waiting for passports.
Zimbabweans who have applied for permits to remain in South Africa legally
are still waiting for their government to issue them passports so they can
get the permits. But the Zim authorities have not made good on their
promises to roll out the documents, even shunning meetings with civil
society to explain the delay.
The crisis means South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, has arranged to travel to Zimbabwe in search of political
intervention. PASSOP’s Anthony Muteti told SW Radio Africa on Friday that
Dlamini-Zuma is planning to visit her Zimbabwean counterparts, co-Ministers
Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone in the next two weeks, in an attempt to get
the political “buy-in” needed to get out of the current deadlock.
“We think it is insulting that a South African Minister should be required
to go to Zimbabwe to encourage the Zimbabwean government to do their job and
deliver on their promises,” Muteti said.
Muteti explained that Zim nationals are feeling angry and frustrated that no
information has been made available about when they get their passports,
after paying R750 for the documents. He added that many people are also
afraid for their futures, because thousands of Zim nationals had to apply
for South African permits without their passports.
“It is more worrying for people whose fate is dependent now on getting these
documents, because this will determine if they can stay in South Africa or
not,” Muteti said.
South Africa has extended its moratorium on Zimbabwean deportations until
later this year, in order to process the estimated 270 000 applications for
permits made last year. The documentation process was launched last
September, as a special amnesty period for Zim nationals to regularise their
stay in the country.
The process has been hampered by Zimbabwe’s failure to produce enough
passports for its citizens, amid suspicions that the delays are politically
motivated. Commentators have said that ZANU PF could be behind the delay,
because they are trying to prevent the Diaspora vote in the coming
Muteti agreed that people are suspicious saying that: “It is obvious that if
people go back home they are not going to vote for ZANU PF.”
By Reagan Mashavave
Friday, 04 February 2011 16:52
HARARE - Churches in Zimbabwe have called on political parties to end
country-wide violence and said any future election must be held after the
full implementation of key reforms in accordance with the Global Political
In a statement, the Heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe comprising
the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops
Conference (ZCBC) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) said they
are concerned about the “revival of the structures that perpetrated violence
in the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections.'”
The church leaders urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
which is the guarantor of the unity pact that formed the unity government of
rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to
ensure that the GPA is fully implemented by its signatories.
The clergy said they are ready to assist the parties in the GPA to dialogue
and resolve sticking issues yet to be resolved.
"All aspects of the Global Political Agreement should be fully implemented
before an election is held," the church leaders said.
"We also call on the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the
guarantors of the GPA, to ensure that the agreement is fully implemented
accountably and timeously. The church is ready and willing to facilitate and
support dialogue between the Principals and political parties to ensure the
resolution of the outstanding issues."
Political violence has been rising in the country since the announcement by
Mugabe last month at his Zanu PF's party conference that he will call for an
early election even before key reforms have been implemented by the unity
Violence erupted in Mbare, Budiriro and at Town House in Harare in the past
weeks between supporters of Zanu PF and Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). The MDC has complained that the police have been partisan, arresting
mainly their supporters leaving Zanu PF supporters.
The churches appealed for political parties to call for peace and said they
would organise prayer vigils under the '”Campaign for Peace” programme,
aimed at encouraging peace in the country. The churches said a comprehensive
national healing exercise is needed in the country to avoid violence
repercussions in the future.
"We implore our political leaders in the coalition government to reflect
deeply on the timing of elections bearing in mind the unhealed state of the
nation and the fragile state of the economy. However, whenever elections
come, it is essential for government to implement the SADC guidelines in
full if they are to be credible," the church leaders said.
"The Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration should also
facilitate a comprehensive and inclusive process of crafting the national
healing framework that will deal with issues of truth telling,
acknowledgement of the past wrongs, reconciliation, restorative and
transitional justice issues."
The church leaders appealed to the police and the army to play a
non-partisan role in ensuring that there is peace in the country.
"The church calls on the security forces to maintain peace and security for
all citizens. They should exercise their duties in a non-partisan manner to
fulfil their constitutional mandate" said the church leaders.
They also called on journalists to adhere to professional ethics and
“exercise justice and fairness in their reporting.”
Parties in the unity government have been haggling over the resolution of
outstanding issues in the GPA since the formation of the unity government
almost two years ago.
Outstanding issues in the GPA include appointments of senior government
officials, media, electoral and security sector reforms, removal of targeted
sanctions on Mugabe and his associates.
by Lunga Sibanda
ZIMBABWE on Friday inked a US$28 million deal which saw the Mauritian firm,
Essar Africa, assume control of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company
Essar Africa acquired 54 percent shareholding in the company from the
After the signing ceremony, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube
said: “The work begins now to restore Ziscosteel to the giant that it was
before it was bled to the ground by corruption and mismanagement. We believe
we have signed the best deal for the company, and the country.”
The deal at one time hit a snag when Dutch bank, ING, demanded that the
US$28 million Essar was due to pay to the government be used to settle a
US$28 million debt the bank was owed by the state-run fixed telephone line
The government guaranteed the loan agreement between TelOne and the Dutch
bank in the early 1980s.
Ncube said TelOne had since reached an agreement with ING, allowing the
Essar deal to be signed.
Essar Africa came ahead of several other international companies which were
angling for Ziscosteel, including Jindhal Steel and Power of India, Arcelor
Mittal of South Africa, Reclamation and Murray and Roberts (SA),
Sino-Zimbabwe and the Gateway Consortium and Steel Makers Zimbabwe.
At its peak Ziscosteel used to produce close to a million tonnes of steel a
year, but operations have virtually ground to a halt and most of its 4,000
strong workforce retrenched.
Essar Africa is planning to increase production at Ziscosteel up to 14
million tonnes a year.
The resumption of production at Ziscosteel will breathe life into Redcliff
town as it was built around the company. Ziscosteel, as a result, used to
provide the bulk of Redcliff Municipality’s revenue and the suspension of
production at the company adversely affected the council’s revenue inflow.
The council has for some time now been failing to meet basic service
provision and pay its staff.
by Tobias Manyuchi Friday 04 February 2011
HARARE -- Zimbabwean authorities say they are working to harmonise with
national laws recommendations by special committees appointed last year to
help the government set the percentage of shareholding foreign-owned
companies in different sectors of the economy must transfer to locals.
The decision to set varying empowerment thresholds for each sector was a
major shift by President Robert Mugabe and hardliners in his ZANU PF party
who had pushed for adoption of a harsher version of the controversial
indigenisdation law that required foreign firms to cede 51 percent stake to
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai opposed the law.
Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said work was underway to
synchronise the recommendations with the country’s laws and in line with
recommendations by Cabinet.
“Work is in progress to align sector committee reports with the various
sector legal instruments, policies and also regional best practices in order
achieve the objectives of indigenisation and economic empowerment act,”
Kasukuwere said in a statement.
The empowerment committees that are dominated by top Mugabe allies and
supporters looked at the financial services, mining, agriculture, energy,
transport and motor industry, telecommunications and information
communication technology, trading, engineering and construction.
The committees also looked at tourism and hospitality, arts, entertainment
and culture, education and sport, services, and manufacturing sectors.
Kasukuwere said work was also underway to finalise by end of this month,
consultations on the mining sector that Mugabe has said should be the first
to be brought under black control.
According to the government locals should own 51 percent of all mining firms
while those exploiting the country’s rich alluvial diamond deposits should
be 100 percent black owned.
Kasukuwere has previously said that he was in consultations with Finance
Minister Tendai Biti over how to raise money for an empowerment fund that
shall warehouse shares for future transfer to blacks.
But analysts say neither the cash-strapped government nor impoverished
blacks will be able to raise money to buy shares in large foreign-owned
mines or factories.
Among the large multinational corporations targeted by Zimbabwe’s
empowerment laws are cigarette manufacturer BAT Zimbabwe, which is 80
percent British-owned; UK-controlled financial institutions Barclays Bank
and Standard Chartered Bank, food group Nestlé Zimbabwe, mining giants Rio
Tinto and Zimplats, and AON Insurance. – ZimOnline.
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries and small business representatives said banks administering the
loan facility have not adequately responded to questions about the slow
Gibbs Dube | Washington 03 February 2011
Inflows of foreign direct investment have been scant since the national
unity government was launched in February 2009, due to political instability
and the indigenization program Harare has been pursuing
Zimbabwean business leaders have expressed concern over the failure by local
banks to disburse US$70 million in loans under the Zimbabwe Economic and
Trade Revival Facility set up by the government and the African
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries and small business representatives said banks administering the
loan facility have not adequately responded to questions about the slow
ZNCC President Trust Chikohora said business people who applied for loans
expected to start receiving funds soon after the facility was set up last
Chikohora said his understanding is that banks are working on legal
documents that will ensure businesses receiving commercial credits will pay
back the loans. VOA was not able to confirm this explanation with the
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.
Chikohora said some applicants are panicking for fear the delay in
disbursing the money could be fatal to their firms. “We need loans urgently
so that businesses do not shut down due to lack of capital,” the Chamber of
Commerce chief said.
Businessman and Mzilikazi Senator Matson Hlalo commented it is unfortunate
that such credit facilities always benefit the same companies based in
The African Export-Import Bank contributed US$50 million towards the credit
facility while the Harare government pledged US$20 million. Inflows of
foreign direct investment have been scant since the national unity
government was launched in February 2009, due to political instability and
the indigenization program Harare has been pursuing.
Click here to read an article from The Farmers Weekly
Solidarity Peace Trust
Reflections on Human Rights Discourse and
Emancipation in Africa in the Twenty-first Century
By Professor Mike Neocosmos - Centre for Humanities Research UWC, South Africa
We invite you to participate in discussion stimulated by this article by following this link and submitting comments on this or other essays included in the section on our website known as the Zimbabwe Review. You may also respond via email: please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that some comments may be selected for publication on our website alongside the article to further stimulate debate.
Whoever is engaged in popular struggles for democratic emancipation in Africa today is confronted with an immediate problem concerning human rights. While on the one hand a discourse of rights is seemingly necessary for thinking democratisation given that the state regularly flouts these, on the other human rights seem to refer to a discourse mainly propounded by neo-liberal interests whether local or foreign. Several repressive regimes in Africa and elsewhere (Zimbabwe, Sudan, maybe Cote D’Ivoire, Iran) oppose a discourse of nationalism to one on human rights. As an activist, one finds oneself in a seemingly irresolvable discursive contradiction between human (predominantly individual) rights and national (or group or identity) rights. At times this contradiction is central to government itself. For exampling in Thabo Mbeki’s South African government, a central contradiction appeared in the form of a commitment to neo-liberal conceptions of rights on the one hand along with a sensitivity to national and racial oppression in Africa on the other. This was reflected in government reactions to a number of different issues including Zimbabwe. In fact this contradiction is arguably constitutive of the subjectivity of the new South African bourgeoisie itself. On the one hand their private accumulation is premised on an adherence to neo-liberal precepts including human rights, on the other a sensitivity to racism and to a lesser extent to Western hegemony in African affairs is also evident. The manner in which the vagaries of this contradiction were navigated explains much regarding Mbeki’s presidency (Neocosmos, 2002).
But this contradiction is not one which an emancipatory vision should accept, in South Africa, Zimbabwe or anywhere else. I will argue here that this is a contradiction which emanates fundamentally from within state ways of thinking politics, and that to transcend it one should situate oneself outside state thinking. In fact both sides of this debate deploy forms of politics which are ultimately depoliticising. What I mean should become clearer as I proceed with the argument. I propose to do this through a discussion of Human Rights Discourse (HRD). The nationalist discourse deployed by the ZANU-PF regime is evidently a state form of nationalism: it is both selectively anti-imperialist (after all economic connections with multi-nationals are not resisted) and not so in a way which proposes a popular democratic way of addressing what used to be called ‘the national question’. Nationalist rhetoric is therefore combined with the systematic oppression of the people. In fact arguably nationalist discourse is deployed purely opportunistically in order to acquire short term support. Raftopoulos states quite clearly how nationalism as expressed in the ‘land question’ and the oppression of the people are combined in Zimbabwe: “the ‘sobering fact’ that needs to be kept in mind about the period… from the late 1990’s to 2008, is not just the massive changes on the land, but the widespread state attack on the citizenry of the country that has been the modality of the politics of land.” (Raftopoulos, 2009:58). The form of nationalism deployed here conforms clearly to state nationalism, not a popular liberatory nationalism of a Fanonian type for example.
Civil society struggles in Africa today are said to operate within a discourse of human rights linked to a linear conception of history: (e.g. authoritarianàdemocraticàradical democratic) whereby popular forces push in one direction and the state pushes in another within a more or less agreed understanding of what politics consists of. But if the concern is emancipation, there can be no conception of emancipation which does not break fundamentally with the state’s way of conceiving and engaging in politics. For example, in emancipatory politics, political principle must be consistently opposed to corruption; in particular it must be understood that corruption is not simply about individual politicians stealing money, but much more fundamentally about not distinguishing state from market and capital; in this sense there is no fundamental difference between the Zimbabwean state and the subjectivity of empire, despite the fact that the state in Zimbabwe may in other ways be out of sync with global hegemonic politics.
In democracies the right to rights is only available to certain groups of the population; others – usually the weakest and poorest – do not possess the right to rights and are regularly subjected to state violence. As The French philosopher Jacques Rancière (2006) insists, the idea of a ‘democratic state’ is an oxymoron. All states can only be oligarchic. It is just that some states are forced to adhere to the rule of law and to respect rights to a greater or lesser extent due to a history of popular struggles. The point must be to think popular politics as human emancipation, not to be limited by a subjectivity which focuses on adhering to a supposed Western ideal.
We should never ever forget that given that in Africa the state acquires its legitimacy primarily from the West and only very much secondarily from its people, the conflict as a result of which people are experiencing the destruction of their livelihoods and increased repression is at bottom one between state and empire. This should be apparent from the fact that the African state – which has been singularly unable to genuinely represent the nation since independence – owes its survival primarily to whether it conforms to Western precepts. Today this means whether it is labelled ‘democratic’ or not by the West, i.e. whether it fulfils a number of measurable criteria and not by whether democracy is rooted among the people. After all during the period of the so-called ‘Cold War’, ‘democracy’ and its attendant notion of ‘human rights’ was never the main criterion for judging African states; arguably the centrality of human rights in the assessment of African states only became central after 1975. It has been argued that this emphasis was the result of an explicit strategy by the United States in its attempt to respond to the USSR’s popularity on the continent (Mamdani, 1991), but it can also be shown that this emphasis became dominant after the end of ‘Third Worldism’ in Europe; i.e. after the end of the view of Africans as agents of their own liberation and hence the apparent end of their contribution to forging alternatives in world history (in particular with the end of the Vietnam war). The disillusionment of student radicals in particular with the post-colonial state led to the replacement of the idea of Africans as subjects of history by the notion of Africans as victims of history, incapable of exercising agency: victims of natural disasters, of pandemics, of oppressive states, and ultimately of their own supposedly authoritarian cultures.
The Kenyan intellectual Wa Mutua has outlined this point extremely clearly. For him we can understand the politics of human rights in Africa through a metaphor of savage-victim-saviour. Indeed Wa Mutua shows that the ‘victims’ of the ‘savagery’ of the African state (which it is assumed has its roots in African culture as the state is supposedly ‘neo-patrimonial’, ‘prebendal’, ‘venal’, etc) require their ‘saviours’ from the West. As Wa Mutua explains, “although the human rights movement arose in Europe, with the express purpose of containing European savagery, it is today a civilizing crusade aimed primarily at the Third World… Rarely is the victim conceived as white” (2002: 19, 30). The metaphor of a ‘civilising crusade’ is particularly apt as a formalistic conception of democracy, disconnected from any popular roots in African culture and simply grafted onto a largely untransformed colonial state, is at the heart of the West’s current relations with Africa and Africans, in the same way as a ‘development mission’ had been at the core of these relations post-independence and a ‘civilising mission’ during the colonial period itself.
The contemporary context of empire has been identified by the Indian scholar Partha Chatterjee as a ‘democratic empire’. Chatterjee (2004) has stressed the role of international NGOs in spreading human rights discourse which, he argues, forms one of the main pillars of imperialism today. It is important to emphasise this point here as these NGOs are constitutive of the currently hegemonic conception of democracy and human rights. It should also be recognised that in the new form of imperialism it is not simply that the power of governments to make decisions on their own economies is undermined; even perhaps more importantly, national sovereignty is being undermined by human rights discourse. This takes a number of forms including the trial of gross violators by the International Human Rights Court in the Hague and the propagating by international NGOs (Amnesty International, Oxfam, MSF, etc) of Western conceptions of human rights. The connection between empire and human rights is explained very clearly by Chatterjee as follows:
Of course, if the responsibility of Western democracies extends to ensuring that democracy and the rule of human rights is to be accepted throughout the world and if there is any (obviously misguided) resistance to such acceptance, then democracy and human rights must be imposed by force if necessary as in Iraq and Afganistan. Chatterjee (2004:100) continues:
However this is not all, while supra-national courts such as the International Court of Justice in the Hague – which undermine the ability of nations to construct a culture of accountability of politicians to the people – are set up by agreement between states in multinational fora such as the UN, there is also another much more subversive and insidious aspect to the establishing of the hegemony of HRD: the operations of ‘international civil society’ so-called.
Not surprisingly then, donors and NGOs (domestic or foreign) are playing the politics of human rights along with the United States. In this context then, allowing one’s politics to be guided by HRD is to construct a vision founded on the power of empire. This is the opposite of thinking an emancipatory future. But given that the authoritarian state stresses a state nationalism, how are we to think a way out of the contradiction in order to make emancipatory politics possible? In order to answer this question we need to understand that HRD depoliticises politics. This is most clearly the case as HRD does not consider people as political agents but rather insists on producing juridical agents. Appealing to the law in order to claim one’s rights not only individualises, but it shifts the domain of struggle from politics to the state’s law and transforms people with agency into passive victims so that their wrongs can only be redressed by a trustee. Human rights discourse undermines rights as it undermines people’s capacity to engage in independent politics as the thought of politics is weakened: people no longer think politics but think the law. The question of the use of the law vs the use of the street to achieve one’s ends is simply a tactical question and not one regarding the thinking of politics. Thinking HRD leaves the state as the ultimate legitimator and arbiter of one’s choices. The politics of human rights is ultimately a form of state politics. It is not possible to think emancipation in this manner for the state cannot emancipate anyone.
Rather a politics of emancipation should be using categories such as justice, equality and freedom in which an Idea of equality is constructed, not as a future goal but as a practice in the present. HRD is an impoverished understanding of justice and equality: in the words of Arundhati Roy (2010), ‘justice, that grand, beautiful idea has been whittled down to mean human rights’. The dominance of HRD is also an indication of the weakness of the popular forces not of their strength; it is rather an indicator of the dominance of state politics in thought and increasingly of imperial political solutions in practice. When we talk HRD we are in fact demanding a new relation between citizens and state; but we need to transcend both the thought of citizens – to talk in terms of people in general (including say foreigners and all ‘non-citizens’ or ‘lesser citizens’ which the state – any state – regularly excludes on and off from citizenship rights) – and the thought of the state itself in order to talk of justice, freedom and equality between people. In emancipatory politics the notion of the citizen must be transcended and replaced by people who think, i.e. people who combine agency with an Idea so that the reference point of such politics is not the state but the Idea in practice (e.g. the idea of equality). Citizenship, from an emancipatory perspective, is not about subjects bearing rights conferred by the state as in human rights discourse, but rather about people who think (an Idea) exercising political agency through their engagement in politics as militants/activists and not as politicians; in this manner, citizenship which implies a relationship between citizens and state is itself transcended (Neocosmos, 2006). The starting point of any emancipatory project in Africa – anti-imperialism founded in popular democratic struggles – is quite simply unthinkable through HRD. Democracy and rights can therefore never be defined by the state without being compromised.
In this context it is interesting to reflect on the political causes of the ongoing xenophobic violence in South Africa for example. If we are not to reduce such forms of violent discrimination to economics (poverty, inequality etc), a procedure which removes any notion of agency from thought, we have to begin to account for how Africans are systematically ‘othered’ in that country, and how state discourses and politics of ‘othering’ have not been challenged by alternatives (political or intellectual). The main obstacle to the development of political alternatives to xenophobic exclusion has been precisely a state conception of citizenship which excludes people on the basis of a certain understanding of indigeneity, and the dominance of a politics of human rights which had the effect of demobilising people by insisting on the state as the only resolver of political contradictions, through the juridical system in particular. In that country it has been the absence of alternative politics to state thinking which has produced an inability to conceive a different way of thinking rights as political agency. ‘Human’ rights discourse shifts the emphasis from rights as popular agency to rights as state delivery to passive recipients of state largesse. The state then sees itself as representing interests, in this case the assumed interests of passive citizens. Whether passive citizens in the eyes of the state, or victims in the eyes of the international NGOs of empire, the people of Africa are denied their agency by HRD. Rather we should always bear in mind that emancipatory ‘politics begins when one decides not to represent victims… but to be faithful to those events during which victims politically assert themselves’ (Badiou, 1985:75, my translation).
Full references to all sources cited in this paper are available on
For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty - Deputy
Director, Solidarity Peace Trust Email: email@example.com Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869 Address: Suite 4
For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty - Deputy Director, Solidarity Peace Trust
Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869
Founder and Executive Director of Camfed International
Posted: February 4, 2011 12:20 PM
If you drive south of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, for 90 minutes,
you will arrive in Wedza. Turn right onto the dirt road and you will see a
village in the near distance silhouetted against the vast landscape. At the
gum tree plot, take the left branch and at the end of the track you will
arrive in an immaculate swept yard with two small red brick dwellings, one
thatched and one galvanized. And here you will find Plaxedes, the village
With a wide smile, Plaxedes will invite you into her home. She will lean her
crutches against the bricks, crawl up the two polished steps and over the
door's threshold, take up one of the floor cushions and arrange her
paralyzed leg with a relieved sigh. And she will tell you how the sewing
machine beside her enables her to give a home to five orphan children, to
feed and clothe them and send them to school. "And so", she says, "I thank
God for this little machine."
As a child, Plaxedes contracted polio. Walking is slow but this does not
stop her attending events in her district that help her to help others. This
was how I met Plaxedes, at a secondary school meeting called to share
information on new resources to increase girls' access to education.
Plaxedes is an inspiration to me and yet, she would be the first to say she
is by no means unique in the extent of her compassion and her giving in her
community. The village is stitched together by the thousands of kindnesses
enacted every day by its members: subsistence farmers who reserve a portion
of their harvest for schoolchildren who would otherwise go hungry; fledgling
entrepreneurs who use their small profits to buy school books for siblings
The culture of philanthropy is alive and very well in Africa. International
aid strengthens and extends it, but in the communities where I have spent
time, it is all-pervasive.
The organization I founded in 1993, Camfed (the Campaign for Female
Education) was in large part inspired by the generosity shown to me by a
community in a village in Zimbabwe. During my visit to Mola to research
girls' exclusion from education, the people of Mola fed me, shaded me,
walked and talked with me for hours each day, to the extent that I
understood the possibilities of our partnership for education -- and
especially for girls.
Seventeen years later, Camfed has changed the lives of over one million
children. And right now, women high school graduates across five countries
in Africa are attending college, running small businesses, and working as
teachers, IT specialists and accountants.
Their advancement could very well have taken them away from their
communities. Instead, Camfed graduates are active in their villages using
their skills and resources to improve as many lives as possible. They are
teaching financial literacy to marginalized women and bringing vital health
care information to rural schoolchildren. Through example, they are
demonstrating the power of philanthropy: Camfed graduates are supporting the
education of 118,384 children out of their own pockets.
These young women have lived the reality of exclusion. As children, their
families were too poor to send them to school. Today, many of them have
earned university degrees -- but they have not forgotten how it feels to
yearn for an opportunity to go to school or to agonize about their future.
Their philanthropy is driven by those memories and by a sense of obligation
to share their good fortune.
I recall an 18-year-old girl named Rachel in Zambia who was given a grant to
start a business of her choosing. She decided to breed goats, so she could
sell the meat and the milk, and donate the kids to orphan children. She
herself was an orphan, stepping into young adulthood with no resources and
it was her first opportunity to earn her own money. I asked why she chose to
use her grant to help others when she herself was struggling. Her answer was
"If someone gives you a gift, you cannot keep it to yourself. You must pass
BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[4th February 2011]
Parliamentary Public Hearing on Fuel Crisis: Monday 7th February
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy will be conducting a public hearing on Monday on the fuel crisis that has resurfaced in the country in the past few weeks. Members of the public are invited to attend the hearing to express their views.
Details of the hearing are as follows:
Monday 7th February
Time: 10.30 am
Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Building, Harare
Chairperson: Hon. Chindori-Chininga Clerk: Mr Manhivi
The main objective of the hearing is to hear public views on what should be done to address the current fuel crisis. Key stakeholders in the fuel sector, such as NOCZIM, fuel service providers and Ministry of Energy and Power Development officials, have also been invited to attend.
If you want to make an oral submission at the hearing, signify this to the Committee Clerk before the hearing begins so that he can notify the chairperson to call on you. An oral submission is more effective if it is followed up in writing. If you have a written submission, it is advisable to take as many copies as possible with you for circulation at the meeting. If you are able to take a copy to Parliament before the meeting and give it to the Committee Clerk, he will duplicate copies for the members of the Committee.
If you cannot attend the hearing, written submissions and correspondence are also welcome and should be addressed to:
The Clerk of Parliament
Attention: Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy
P. O Box CY 298
If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament. IDs must be produced. As there are sometimes last-minute changes to committee programmes, it is recommended that you avoid possible disappointment by checking with the committee clerk [Mr Manhivi] that the hearing is still on. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 or 252936-55. Mr Manhivi’s mobile number is 0772 247 864.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
Written by Pauline Henson
Friday, 04 February 2011 15:39
Here in the UK diaspora we have seen little else on our tv screens but
images of Egypt erupting into near anarchy over the past ten days. I wonder
whether ZTV has carried similar images of the disturbances. It would hardly
be in the interest of Zimbabwe’s propaganda media to show the near collapse
of another dictatorial regime – and in Africa too – but urban Zimbabweans
with their satellite dishes will I suspect be fully in the picture; whether
they make the connection with their own situation is quite another matter.
The BBC has made much of the fact that this revolt is in the ‘Arab world’ as
if Egypt is not also on the African continent. The demonstrators themselves
have pointed out that this is not an Islamist revolt; it was not the Moslem
Brotherhood who initiated or led the uprising, it was ordinary Egyptian
citizens tired of thirty years of Mubarak’s dictatorial rule.
By Thursday, having announced on national television that he would stand
down but not until September when the next elections are due, Mubarak
unleashed his thugs: paid supporters and released prisoners onto the streets
and the bloody battle for control of Cairo’s central Tahrir Square began in
earnest. Mubarak is quoted as remarking that he has a Ph.D in obstinacy and
I was reminded of Robert Mugabe’s comment that ‘he had degrees in violence’.
Wherever they are in the world, dictators operate in the same way, through
physical violence against their own people. By releasing his supporters onto
the streets, Mubarak has succeeded in turning Egyptians against each other,
another tactic that Zimbabweans will recognise from their own dictator’s
behaviour. No one can predict how the situation in Egypt will be resolved.
The problem is complicated by Mubarak’s alliance with Israel which is also
supported by massive aid from the US. Earlier predictions that the whole
Middle East might go up in flames might still become a dangerous reality.
While all of this may seem very far removed from the situation in Zimbabwe,
it should be remembered that in both situations the core of the matter is
the presence of a long-time dictator who no longer has the support of the
people. In Zimbabwe, the ongoing violence against opposition supporters in
Mbare and the continuing land seizures with white farmers locked out of
their own homes tell us very clearly that Zanu PF is in election mode. The
news this week of some 70.000 youths being trained at Inkomo army barracks
outside Harare, specifically to fight the MDC in forthcoming elections
further supports that view. Mugabe’s declaration that he is entitled under
the constitution to hold elections any time he chooses shows his contempt
for democracy and the GPA which he signed two years ago. Unfortunately,
there appears to be no one to exert pressure on him as the US has on
Mubarak; certainly not the South Africans or the Brits who are content to
believe the lie that all is now well in Zimbabwe with its government of
Today, Friday is being called the Day of Departure by the demonstrators in
Tahrir Square. Mubarak has apparently told Egyptian radio that he is ‘fed up’
but fears that if he goes Egypt will disintegrate and chaos will ensue. That’s
a very familiar line from dictators: the argument that only they have
brought stability and order to their countries and without them the whole
structure will fall apart. Mugabe makes exactly the same point but after
three decades in power, his own ‘day of departure’ might not be so far off.
Whether the demonstrators in Egypt will succeed in ousting Mubarak is not
clear but what is clear is that they have proved to the undemocratic
‘leaders’ of the world that people power cannot be ignored, the support of
the masses can no longer be taken for granted. The message for oppressed
people all over the world is that it is possible to overcome fear in pursuit
of a greater goal than personal safety. Will Zimbabweans hear the message
and will they understand its relevance for them?
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH. aka Pauline Henson author of Sami’s
Story, an account of Murambatsvina seen through the eyes of one young boy,
available on Lulu.com