Blair talks with South Africa leader over Zimbabwe
Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken to South African leader Thabo Mbeki
about the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.
The talks come amid concerns that Britain is deporting Zimbabwean asylum
seekers back to their country to face death or torture at the hands of President
Robert Mugabe's secret police.
Mr Blair insists that anyone with a legitimate claim for asylum would stay
- but those without would be sent back.
Downing Street says the situation will be monitored closely but each case
will be tested on its merits.
Reports claim members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change are
being arrested or attacked on their return to Zimbabwe.
The Refugee Council says people's lives were at risk because of Government
policy, while shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin has called for an all-party
meeting on the claims.
During their telephone call, the Prime Minister and President Mbeki agreed
the situation in Zimbabwe was very serious.
"It is clearly deteriorating in a way that is giving everyone cause for
concern," Mr Blair's spokesman said.
South Africa Urges Quiet Diplomacy Over Zimbabwe
By Cris Chinaka
BLANTYRE, Malawi (Reuters) - Regional powerhouse South
Africa ruled out sanctions and called for quiet diplomacy Sunday to solve the
deepening Zimbabwe crisis as Southern African leaders gathered for a
Western governments want Monday's meeting of the 14-member Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to rein in Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, whom
they accuse of muzzling opposition politicians and independent media as he seeks
to extend his 22-year grip on power at elections in March.
"We've been working at this for a long time, trying to convince (people)
that what is called (for is) quiet diplomacy. There is no alternative to that,"
South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad was quoted as telling reporters
The South African Press Association said Pahad dismissed some Western
suggestions that "smart sanctions" should be slapped on Zimbabwe -- freezing all
foreign assets and banning foreign travel for Mugabe and his government
"The European Union has all the banks (in Zimbabwe). If they want to impose
sanctions, it's their decision," Pahad said.
Britain, the former colonial power in Zimbabwe, has sought to ratchet up
international pressure on Mugabe, who has led his country since independence in
1980. The West has also been alarmed at a two-year wave of violence that has
accompanied Mugabe's land reforms to transfer white-owned farms to blacks.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair held telephone talks with South African
President Thabo Mbeki Saturday on Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis,
British officials said.
"Both leaders take it seriously. It is clearly deteriorating in a way
giving everyone cause for concern," a spokesman for Blair said.
TOUGH OR SOFT?
Analysts doubted whether the SADC would get as tough with Mugabe as the
West would like.
"The crisis in Zimbabwe has worsened to the level where SADC should have no
problem in finding a strong voice, but somehow I think...we might still be
treated to the same mealy-mouthed statements we've been hearing for months,"
Zimbabwean political analyst Brian Raftopoulos told Reuters.
The violent seizures of white farms by black Zimbabwean war veterans --
backed by Mugabe -- has hit the economy hard.
Nine white farmers have been killed, scores of black farm workers assaulted
and thousands displaced in the land invasions. Aid organizations have warned of
severe food shortages in rural areas.
Last week, Zimbabwe's parliament passed legislation granting Mugabe
sweeping security powers ahead of the March 9-10 presidential elections.
Defense Forces chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe said on Wednesday that
heads of the country's security services would not accept a president who did
not fight in the country's 1970s liberation war against white minority
That was seen as a blow to the hopes of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The MDC urged the SADC to take a stand against Mugabe. "The very least that
we expect is an unequivocal condemnation that what Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe
is unacceptable, and since it's unacceptable he should bring it to an end," MDC
Secretary-General Welshman Ncube told Reuters in Johannesburg.
Mugabe, 77, arrived in Malawi Saturday in combative mood, accusing Britain
of trying to help the MDC win power.
ZIMBABWE 'NOT ON TRIAL'
His spokesman George Charamba said the Zimbabwean government would not be
treated as if it was on trial at the summit.
"This is not going to be a court in which Zimbabwe will be in the dock. All
that is going to happen is that the summit will get an update on political
developments in Zimbabwe on the land issue and on how Zimbabwe is fighting to
retain its rights as a sovereign state," Charamba told Reuters.
SADC chairman, Malawi President Bakili Muluzi, originally called the summit
to discuss the Congo, but analysts say it is likely to be dominated by the
"On the face of it, Zimbabwe might be a peripheral matter, but in effect it
is the most pressing issue for SADC at the moment," said a senior African
diplomat, who declined to be identified.
SADC comprises South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia,
Mozambique, Botswana, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mauritius,
Swaziland, Seychelles and Zambia.
Letter to The Times
FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY
OF THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISTS
Sir, This Institute
welcomes the news (report, January 9; see also letters, January 10) that the
British Government is seeking the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.
For a considerable time we have been concerned with the Mugabe regime’s
persistent attacks on press freedom.
We recently announced the presentation
of the Institute’s Gold Medal to “the independent press of Zimbabwe”. Further,
we have called repeatedly on Commonwealth governments to demand that the Mugabe
regime honour its commitments to human rights and freedom of the press.
Meanwhile, we welcome Jack Straw’s recognition that harassment of
journalists provides a clear example of Zimbabwe’s serious and persistent
violation of Commonwealth principles.
Chartered Institute of Journalists,
2 Dock Offices,
Quays Road, SE16 2XU.
Mugabe launches new salvo at Britain
Chris McGreal, and Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Monday January 14,
Robert Mugabe has accused Britain of declaring war on his country ahead of
a meeting today of southern African leaders today to discuss the escalating
crisis in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the opposition in Harare accused Mr Mugabe of
unleashing a new wave of terror in the run-up to the presidential election in
March. The Movement for Democratic Change said the ruling Zanu-PF's youth
militia had burned homes, offices and vehicles in a campaign of intimidation
while the police watched impassively.
After arriving in Malawi, Mr Mugabe portrayed Zimbabwe as a victim of
neo-colonial aggression by Tony Blair.
"Britain has a war with us. Blair wants his own version of colonialism in
Zimbabwe and we will resist that," he said.
The EU's call last week for open press access to the election was dismissed
as a "mad request especially in this age of terrorism when governments are
coming together to fight terrorism", according to a senior government official
quoted anonymously in the state press.
Southern African leaders are not expected to threaten to impose sanctions
but they are increasingly exacerbated at the economic damage Zimbabwe is causing
to their region.
BA halts Zimbabwe deportation
Hint at ban on expulsions as risks grow for Mugabe foes
Alan Travis and John Ezard
Monday January 14, 2002
British Airways has refused outright to accept a Home Office directive to
fly a deportee from Gatwick to Zimbabwe, it was disclosed yesterday, as
ministers gave their first hint that they are preparing to halt the expulsion of
that country's failed asylum seekers.
The hint comes amid rising fears that
deportees face arrest by President Robert Mugabe's secret police.
It also emerged yesterday that Home Office officials have suspended the
expulsion from Heathrow of another Zimbabwean asylum seeker.
Although the department said: "There is not going to be a suspension of
removals at this point", the official statement stressed that ministers
acknowledge that the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated and are monitoring
the situation very closely.
The shift represents a significant softening in tone compared with the line
taken last week when the two planned deportations were being finalised.
Ministers have the power to halt the deportation of rejected asylum seekers
- some with links to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change - if they
officially declare Zimbabwe to be a "country in upheaval". The power was used
twice by former home secretary Jack Straw.
Many of those sent back to the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, from Britain
have had their asylum applications rejected on the basis of an outdated country
assessment. There have been claims that some have been arrested or attacked on
their return to Zimbabwe, while others have gone into hiding.
Mr Mugabe's central intelligence organisation now controls Harare airport.
Yesterday the Home Office said: "We do recognise that genuine Movement for
Democratic Change activists may well merit asylum."
BA's refusal was in defiance of a directive to put a deportee on the 9.15pm
Harare flight on Friday. The airline invoked its power to refuse if it sees
"reasonable grounds" under the 1971 Immigration Act.
Yesterday a BA spokesman said: "We felt there were reasonable grounds and
so the man did not board."
It was claimed that the planned Heathrow deportation, on the same day, was
suspended because the Home Office received new evidence from the asylum seeker's
Over the weekend the UN refugee agency lent its support to those urging the
British government to suspend deportations to Zimbabwe.
"The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is gravely concerned
about the serious human rights violations in Zimbabwe,"said Anne
Dawson-Shepherd, the agency's UK representative.
"Those who have sought asylum in the UK should be offered a safe haven and
all deportations stopped. Their return to Zimbabwe under current circumstances
could seriously jeopardise their physical safety, their liberty and their life."
The UNHCR said the Mugabe government had sanctioned extra-judicial
executions, hostage-taking, torture, and targeted violence in the run-up to the
presidential elections in March.
Its plea has been endorsed by Amnesty International, which complained that
immigration officers had ignored the recent intensification of attacks on
opposition supporters, and the daily deterioration in the situation, when
rejecting applications from Zimbabwean refugees.
The Refugee Council has also called for the home secretary, David Blunkett,
to take immediate and urgent action and the shadow home secretary, Oliver
Letwin, is pressing him for an all-party meeting this week to discuss the issue.
In a further statement, a Home Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the
concerns expressed internationally about events in that country. We will grant
asylum to those who have well-founded fear of persecution."
MONDAY JANUARY 14 2002
UK deportations to continue
BY RICHARD BEESTON, DIPLOMATIC EDITOR
BRITAIN said yesterday that it will continue to detain and deport
Zimbabwean asylum-seekers arriving in the country, despite a growing outcry from
refugee groups, human rights organisations and opposition parties demanding that
the policy be suspended.
Amid increasing fears of a crackdown by President
Mugabe’s regime on political opponents ahead of the presidential elections in
March, the Home Office came under pressure at the weekend to suspend its asylum
rules, described by one Zimbabwean in London as “living in denial”.
Despite the criticism, the Home Office insisted yesterday that it was not
prepared to soften its policy. “At the present time there is no change in the
policy with regard to removals,” a spokesman said. “We will only grant asylum to
those who have a well founded fear of persecution.”
The tough Home Office stand seemed at odds with the Foreign Office, which
is supposed to advise other government departments on foreign policy issues.
Tony Blair spoke by telephone to President Mbeki of South Africa yesterday
about the worsening situation in Zimbabwe. The Prime Minister’s official
spokesman said: “The situation is clearly deteriorating in a way that is giving
everyone cause for concern.
“We are obviously having to keep a close eye in terms of the situation
there and what other measures can be put in place.”
He said that asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe would continue to be judged on
the individual merits of their case. But he added: “Clearly, the fact that the
situation has deteriorated means it will be having an effect in relation to
people’s asylum claims.”
Earlier, Baroness Amos, the Foreign Office Minister responsible for Africa,
predicted that, because of repressive legislation passed in Harare, Zimbabweans
would be unlikely to have free and fair elections on March 9. Britain is
pressing for the Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe’s membership because of the
human rights abuses, and is pushing for the European Union to impose sanctions
against Mr Mugabe and his ruling elite.
The only person willing to defend Zimbabwe’s human rights record is Mr
Mugabe, who accused Mr Blair of being a liar for criticising his methods and
said that he condemned violence and wanted only to live in peace.
But his own countrymen have not been convinced. Yesterday Dingilizwe Ntuli,
a Zimbabwean journalist working for a South African paper, fled the country
after he was denounced as a “terrorist” on television by Jonathan Moyo, the
Hundreds of Zimbabweans facing similar threats have sought refuge in
Britain since politically inspired violence erupted nearly two years ago, aimed
at members of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, white farmers,
journalists or anyone seen as a threat to Mr Mugabe. Less than 10 per cent have
been permitted to stay, but about 10 to 15 new refugees are arriving each week
and there are fears of “an avalanche” as the violence worsens.
Alan Wilkinson, a director of the Zimbabwe Association, which offers
support to 180 Zimbabwean asylum-seekers in Britain, described the Home Office
system of detention and deportation as “brutal”. He said that those deported
were at risk of their lives.
“We have had cases of people dragged off the plane at Harare and beaten by
the Zimbabwean secret police,” he said. “We have had seven cases of Zimbabweans
deported from London who promised to get in touch with us on their return but
have disappeared without a trace.”
Those concerns have been taken up by a broad group of sympathisers,
including the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Refugee Council, the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Amnesty International.
Oliver Letwin, the Shadow Home Secretary, accused the Government of a
“massive bureaucratic muddle” in its handling of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers and
called on David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, to halt all deportations. “The
whole purpose of our asylum system is to protect people in this position,” he
Nick Hardwick, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “There is a
real possibility that people’s lives are at risk now . The Home Office needs to
take immediate and urgent action.”
The UNHCR said Britain should halt all deportations to Zimbabwe for six
months. “Those who have sought asylum in the UK should be offered safe haven,” a
spokeswoman said. “Their return to Zimbabwe . . . could seriously jeopardise
their physical safety, their liberty and their lives.”
South Africa urged to use sanctions against Mugabe
Tim Butcher in Johannesburg
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, leader of the Zimbabwean opposition, pleaded
yesterday for sanctions to be imposed on his country before the presidential
election in March.
His call came as police arrested 22 members of his party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, in Kwe Kwe, following violent clashes with supporters of the
ruling Zanu-PF party who had burned down an MDC office.
Mr Tsvangirai said that after two years of "softly-softly" diplomacy by
Zimbabwe's neighbours, which had failed to stop President Mugabe's abuse of the
rule of law, it was time for genuine sanctions.
Targeted measures should be imposed
immediately to freeze money and assets held overseas by Mr Mugabe and his
associates, while South Africa should impose a fuel, transport and electricity
Mr Tsvangirai told BBC Television: "We are aware that smart sanctions, if
they are immediately implemented will have the personal effect on the leadership
He encouraged South Africa, the regional superpower, to use its economic
muscle against the Mugabe regime.
"I think SA will have to go it alone and do something effective on the
ground," he said. "The threat to undermine the elections by the military and the
president himself should send shockwaves to South Africa.
"And South Africa should say, 'OK, under those circumstances we are going
to cut fuel, we are going to cut transport links'."
Tony Blair telephoned South Africa's President Mbeki on Saturday night to
discuss the deepening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
A spokesman for Mr Blair said: "Both leaders take it seriously. It is
clearly deteriorating in a way giving everyone cause for concern."
Mr Tsvangerai's remarks won the backing of South Africa's opposition
Democratic Alliance. Its leader, Tony Leon, said South Africa should withdraw
its representatives at the conference of SADC, the grouping of southern African
states, to protest at the body's powerlessness on Zimbabwe.
Mr Tsvangirai said that SADC, which meets today in Malawi, was too
incoherent and divided to have any genuine effect on the Zimbabwean
The summit was given a circus air as Mr Mugabe arrived claiming "God is on
our side" before launching a personal attack on Mr Blair, accusing him of being
Meanwhile Mr Mugabe was attacked by the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner
Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The South African Nobel Prize winner said: "Mugabe
seems to have gone bonkers in a big way.
"It is very dangerous when you subvert the rule of law in your country,
when you don't even respect the judgments of your judges.
"It is a great sadness what has happened to President Mugabe. He was one of
Africa's best leaders, a bright spark, a debonair, well-spoken and well-read
The Commercial Farmers' Union said that another 23 white farmers had been
forced off their land since Jan 1 in another wave of land seizures by mobs loyal
to Mr Mugabe.
SADC feels heat over Mugabe
Both international community and opposition call for tough action
THE international community and Zimbabwe's opposition stepped up
pressure on African leaders last night to take tough action today against
President Robert Mugabe to stop him from turning his country into an economic
and political ruin.
Ahead of today's Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in
Malawi, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair held telephone talks on Saturday with
President Thabo Mbeki on the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.
"Both leaders take it seriously. It is clearly deteriorating in a way
giving everyone cause for concern," Blair's spokesman said.
London has threatened to toughen its stance by pushing for Harare's
suspension from the Commonwealth if politically repressive laws are enacted.
Just hours before 22 of his members were arrested following violent clashes
with ruling Zanu (PF) party supporters, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), urged the SADC leaders to "retrieve their
credibility" by acting against Mugabe.
Tsvangirai, who supports selected sanctions against Harare's leadership,
wants the SADC to unequivocally demand that Zimbabweans be allowed to freely
choose their leader in March. If this does not happen , the SADC must make clear
that the outcome would not be binding.
Drastic action had to be taken by the SADC should this happen, he said days
after an army general signalled that the army would not support his victory.
Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon urged Pretoria to recall its
diplomatic staff in Harare if two bills to muzzle the opposition were not
These calls come just a day after the European Union gave Mugabe until
Friday to assure Brussels that he would invite observers to the election and
allow the media to cover it. They also follow renewed threats for sanctions
Violence and a statement by the army that it will only support a Mugabe
victory strengthened calls for action. Joining Mbeki's condemnation of remarks
by Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe, Zimbabwe's army chief, Mozambican President Joaquim
Chissano, chairman of the SADC organ for defence, politics and security,
promised a probe of the statement.
Though the summit's agenda is too general, it is understood that SA intends
pushing for a thorough discussion of the situation in Zimbabwe. With Sapa-AFP
FARMERS will be
hoping that 2002 will bring respite to their shattered lives. After very nearly
two years of terror and turmoil, Zimbabweans are desperate to end the insanity
that has plunged their country headlong into anarchy. During the last 23 months,
supporters of the ruling party have murdered farmers in cold blood. Women have
been raped, while farmers and workers alike have been captured and beaten
brutally, often resulting in terrible mutilation. Farming families have been
driven from their homes by chanting, threatening gangs of state-sponsored
militants while the police looked on dispassionately. Hundreds of thousands of
farm workers face an uncertain future, even as they contemplate two years of
terror at the hands of farm invaders who have beaten them, gang raped their
wives and daughters and burnt their homes to the ground. Thousands have been
evicted and forced to live in the wild, all in the name of reform.
It is an obscenity and
Zimbabwe has become a depraved nation, scorned by the free world. Meanwhile the
next three months are likely to offer no relief because Mr Robert Mugabe, who
turns 78 next month, is determined to win a presidential election even though
the numbers are stacked against him. Between now and the election, the pressure
is likely to escalate while Mr Mugabe's curious ally, Professor Jonathan Moyo,
piles on his creepy propaganda and demonizes everyone who doesn't want to be
associated with the ruling party - which rather pits him against the majority of
huge benefit and it is now glaringly obvious that the troubles that began
shortly after the February 2000 referendum were intended to last until the 2002
election. In fact, the Zimbabwe Crisis was planned very carefully, before the
referendum was even held. We know this is true because the late Dr Hitler
Hunzvi's war veterans' organisation wrote a menacing letter to the British
government promising bloodshed. That the British chose to do nothing with the
letter - and did not even bother to warn farmers of the threats made against
them - was unfortunate but unchangeable.
Still… Mr Mugabe's
intricate plan to win through chaos, fear and famine may yet unravel before his
eyes. He is no longer in a position of strength and could well lose, even if he
wins. Should the election proceed without adequate monitors and observers,
should the violence be unrelenting and should the results be obviously skewed,
Mr Mugabe's government is unlikely to be recognised by those countries that are
important. It may well be that history repeats itself and, just as the United
States and Dr Henry Kissinger grew weary of Mr Ian Smith's government, Zimbabwe
will find the taps are closed and the country faces genuine isolation. It is all
very well for Mr Mugabe to rely on his fence sitting friends in SADC, but the
final word generally belongs to the US and the Bush administration which,
contrary to the beliefs of many, is taking Zimbabwe very seriously.
predictions are always akin to tempting fate and very dangerous. Despite that,
it seems more than likely the Zimbabweans will find themselves coming to terms
with a new government during the course of this year. If it is not as a result
of the March presidential poll, then it will be when overwhelming pressure from
outside forces the current regime to capitulate.
Either way, it would be a
little previous to give in now when the sensible thing to do would be to work -
and work hard - for a free and fair election. ZANU - PF is right about one
thing: the western world is opposed to it and opposed to its leader. For once in
the history of Africa, the west's desire for change is motivated largely by good
rather than by greed. That means that a change of government will bring about a
return to normality. But it will do more, because already the Americans have
promised a renewal of aid programmes, debt relief and help with putting the
country back on its feet.
It would not take long
for Zimbabwe to prosper again. Professional doom merchants predict that it will
take decades, but that is nonsense. The economy is small, but strategically
important. That means wealthy nations would like to see it recover quickly
because Zimbabwe is the fulcrum on which the rest of the region balances. A
relatively small injection of capital would see the country regain its place and
even boom. The doom merchants also promise that organised agriculture is dead.
Again they are wrong. Farming will never be the same, but that could well be a
good thing, but it does not mean that the farms will always be swamped by
thousands of squatters. Many, perhaps even most, of the so-called new owners of
Zimbabwe's commercial farms will move off or be moved off if there is a return
to the rule of law in the country. It would take no great effort to achieve this
if the laws of the land were followed.
Sadly, what ZANU -PF set out to
achieve is being achieved in some sectors of the economy and in some population
groups. The ruling party wanted a population so utterly demoralised that it
simply gives in and accepts the status quo - and they wanted that giving in to
happen before the presidential election. If Zimbabweans, and especially
Zimbabweans with influence lie on their backs like puppies waiting for the
stomachs to be tickled, then the country is doomed to the government it
deserves. But if there is a resurgence of will, of tenacity and courage, the
election will go the way all sensible, right thinking people want it to go. The
madness will end and the world will once again smile on the country. In other
words, it is now the time to fight for what is right, to make demands knowing
full well that they will not be honoured and to stand up to tyranny. It is not
right that individuals can have no effect on matters, for every small act of
brave commitment will help. Nor is it right to say that there is no point in
standing up to the terror because the election will be rigged. It may well be,
but whether it can be rigged sufficiently is a debatable point - especially
after the ruling party failed to take Chegutu.
Africa's biggest economies slowing, Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE'S economy is set to shrink 6 percent next year as government-led
farm occupations and a foreign currency shortage slash production, the
International Monetary Fund said.
Zimbabwe is on course for the biggest
contraction among 42 developing countries profiled by the IMF in its World
Economic Outlook report. Growth in South Africa, the continent's biggest
economy, will slow to 2.2 percent this year and 2.3 percent in 2002, from 3.1
percent last year.
African economies are suffering amid falling commodity
prices as a slowing world economy has cut demand. South Africa is the world's
biggest producer of platinum, which fell 21 percent six months, and the No. 2
producer of palladium, which more than halved in value this year.
ongoing turmoil in Zimbabwe continues to undermine economic activity'' while
falling commodity prices ``have weakened the outlook for many of the poorest
countries -- mainly in Africa -- whose exports are often closely tied to export
earnings from a small range of non-fuel commodities,'' the IMF said.
in Nigeria, the No. 2 economy in Africa and the seventh largest oil exporter in
OPEC, will fall to 1.8 percent in 2002, from 3.8 percent in 2000 and 4.2 percent
Nigeria's economy is set to slow after oil lost a third of its
value his year, while falling prices for coffee, cotton and copper impacted
In Zimbabwe, a shortage of foreign exchange prevents
businesses buying production materials while farm invasions cut agricultural
Zimbabwe's opposition calls on South Africa to impose
The main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, has called on
the South African Government to impose direct sanctions on Zimbabwe to encourage
President Robert Mugabe not to undermine presidential elections due in
He has made the call as regional leaders prepare for a summit of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The BBC reports Morgan Tsvangirai described the organisation of southern
African nations as being useless and said he believes nothing will come out of
the meeting involving 14 countries.
He said the organisation has no cohesion and is full of double standards
He has called on South Africa to go it alone and impose direct
"It is within the capacity of South Africa to cut fuel, to cut transport
links, those kind of measures, even if they're implemented at a lowly level,
send the right signals," he said.
He said he was disappointed in the international community's softly softly
approach but said smart sanctions could still have an impact and implored it to
put more pressure on the Government to ensure the elections in March are free
Zanu PF goes on the rampage
1/14/02 8:40:27 AM (GMT +2)
SEVEN MDC supporters were in a critical condition at Murambinda Hospital in
the Buhera district of Manicaland province yesterday after they were attacked
with axes and other sharp instruments by alleged Zanu PF supporters and war
veterans on Saturday.
In Harare the homes of two MDC MPs were stoned on Saturday in escalating
violence by Zanu PF supporters.
Tichaona Munyanyi, the MP for Mbare East, and Gabriel Chaibva, the Harare
South MP, were the latest high-profile MDC members to be attacked by Zanu
Innocent Gonese, who is the MP for Mutare Central and the MDC chief whip,
yesterday said 32 party supporters were arrested and detained at Murambinda
Gonese said: "I went to the police station to represent them, but the
police refused me access to them, which is illegal because as a lawyer I am
allowed by the law to see my clients."
He said the police told him they could not allow him to see the victims
until officers from the Criminal Investigation Department from Mutare put
forward charges against the 32.
Pashayi Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson for Manicaland, and Roy Bennett,
the MP for Chimanimani, yesterday said they were making frantic efforts to
transfer the seven victims to the Avenues Clinic in Harare.
They were expected in the capital last night. The seven are: Asaniel
Magaya, 32, Daniel Machinga, 29, Bigai Nyika, 24, Zivai Menyani, 22, Tonderai
Muchongwe, 27, Rosemary Muveregwi, 29, and Stella Makwarimba, 42.
Muchauraya said the MDC supporters were attacked when Zanu PF supporters
raided the MDC offices at Murambinda Growth Point accusing the opposition party
of organising meetings in the province.
He said the seven sustained several stab wounds over their bodies as a
result of the attack. Muchauraya said Wilbert Marimbere, an MDC activist, was
arrested by the police when he went to report the incident. He said Muchongwe, a
manager at a shop at the growth point, was caught in the crossfire.
An officer at Murambinda Police Station yesterday confirmed the incident
but would not give details of the alleged attack.
He said: "The information about that event can only be divulged by the
Officer-in-Charge who is currently out of office on business."
Muchauraya said that Zanu PF supporters and the war veterans went ahead and
disrupted some of the 10 rallies the party had lined up for Buhera South and
North, saying opposition rallies were now illegal in Zimbabwe.
Bennett said at Masasa business centre in Buhera the police on Saturday
tear-gassed about 5 000 MDC supporters who had gathered for a rally.
"When we arrived to address the rally, our supporters had fled and gathered
in the bush where we managed to address about 2 000 people. The police told me
that MDC rallies were now illegal, but I insisted that the position was
unconstitutional," Bennett said.
He said one of the policeman told him that he should go to Britain and
address the whites there. "But I said I am a Zimbabwean and a legally elected MP
with a mandate to carry out my duties without any hindrance," he said.
Bennett said Zanu PF supporters failed to disrupt MDC rallies at Nyanyadzi
and Chikova business centres when more than 500 villagers at each of the rallies
last Friday stood their ground.
He alleged that the Zanu PF supporters then went to an irrigation scheme
and canal he constructed for more than 800 families, disrupted the work and
chased away some of the residents.
"Zanu PF rallies are poorly attended in Manicaland. As a result they move
around disrupting our meetings," he said.
Didymus Masenda, 23, Chaibva's aide, said: "We were set upon at about
4.30pm on Saturday and the attack lasted about 20 minutes. The Zanu PF
supporters, who had been at a meeting at the nearby football ground about 100
metres from here, stoned us when they dispersed."
Munyanyi's flat at the Shawasha hostels was stoned by Zanu PF supporters on
Saturday night. Yesterday, two MDC supporters were severely assaulted in Mbare
by Zanu PF supporters for belonging to the party.
Maxwell Kanyandu, 26, and
Blessing Muwani, 24, said they were kidnapped from their homes and severely
beaten up by Zanu PF supporters.
Fortune Mabika of Epworth was severely beaten up by Zanu PF youths
yesterday morning for not belonging to any political party.
Mabika, 21, said he was attacked by a group of about 60 youths who were
chanting Zanu PF slogans.
The youths forced Mabika to toyi-toyi with them
carrying the Zanu PF flag and then beat him up at their base at Chiremba
The Harare violence seems to be part of a calculated nationwide campaign to
instill fear into the hearts of voters ahead of the presidential election on 9
There have also been reports of violence in Mt Darwin, Kuwadzana,
Chitungwiza and Ruwa, where suspected MDC supporters have been beaten up by Zanu
PF youths. Efforts to get comment from the police were fruitless.
Presidential Guard allegedly beats up postmen
1/14/02 8:46:39 AM (GMT +2)
THREE postmen, Farai Mutero, 25, Gabriel Guzha, 32, and Vengesa Muyangwa,
30, were allegedly beaten up by soldiers outside the State House on Friday after
they had stopped for one of them to retrieve an article that had dropped from
Mutero said: "I stopped to pick up the article and my colleagues stopped
too. That is when a soldier shouted to warn us that this was a no-stopping area.
We were about to move on when about five or six other soldiers summoned us."
Guzha said the soldiers misinterpreted his gesture when he raised his hands
and apologised for stopping. They accused him of waving the MDC open palm symbol
Guzha said: "They accused us of being members of the MDC and took us to a
secluded area. They ordered me to hang by my hands from an iron bar across two
trees while pedalling on an imaginary bicycle. I was severely whipped on the
back and buttocks. Muyangwa and Mutero were also beaten up, particularly
Another postman was reportedly beaten up in the same area by soldiers last
Wednesday. They allegedly accused him of delivering anthrax-contaminated mail."
Asked for comment, Mbonisi Gatsheni, the spokesman for the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, said: "They should go to the police. We don't deal with such cases."
Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Posts and Telecommunications
Workers' Union, said: "We condemn this attack unreservedly. Our members were
doing their normal duty and have always passed through those areas delivering
mail. We have now instructed management to make sure that the postmen do not go
to that area for their safety."
Dragging Zimbabwe into the dark past
1/14/02 8:15:27 AM (GMT +2)
THE passage of two odious pieces of legislation into law by Parliament
last week and this week marks a dark period in the history of Zimbabwe.
The only parallels closer to home are South Africa's apartheid era and
Rhodesia just before the dawn of independence in 1980.
The Public Order and Security Bill was passed into law last week and this
week the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill will become law.
Both legislations seek to conspire to deprive Zimbabweans of their freedoms.
They can only be justified if Zimbabwe is in a state of war.
The silence of the churches which have a record of fighting injustices is
unsettling. These laws are not defensible even before God.
All the MPs who last week sat in the House and who will this week do the
same to allow passage of the Bills, must be reminded that they are accomplices
in the suppression and subjugation of the very people whose trust put them in
Parliament. The two laws are being enacted primarily to deal with the opposition
and the privately owned Press in this country.
Since last year, The Daily News and the other independent newspapers have
combined to drown the shrill propaganda from the State-controlled media. Now
more readers read the independent Press than they do the government-churned
insults to their intelligence.
In fashioning the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill, the
government is showing its determined intolerance at anything that contradicts
its lies. But more profoundly, this Bill, in short, is an admission by the
government that it is fast losing the battle of continuing to mislead the nation
about its record, its failures and the bankruptcy of ideas on how to lift
Zimbabwe from the abyss into which the Zanu PF government has plunged it.
As a result of the realisation that it is fighting a losing battle for the
minds of the voters, the government and the ruling party are combining to bar
independent newspapers such as The Daily News from being widely distributed
throughout the country, while readers who are seen reading the independent
publications are beaten up and the newspapers torn up or burnt.
In order to shore up the fortunes of State-controlled newspapers, the
government is hoodwinking the public by urging them to see who has been given
farms and where.
But after the presidential election on 9-10 March, those so naive as to
believe the government will remain largely where they are - landless, unemployed
and facing more hardships.
What can so frighten the government and the ruling party, to the extent
that they are uncomfortable with people hearing alternative views if the record
of success of the government and Zanu PF is so self-evident?
The truth is that with record-high unemployment, Zimbabwe contributing one
of the largest flight of economic refugees to the world, a foreign currency
crisis, inflation at 103 percent, the flight of capital and a collapse in health
services, the government is aware it has no success story with which to approach
That is why it is resorting to these crude measures in order to overstay
After Rwanda in 1994, the belief was that the international community would
not stand by while governments brutalised their citizens.
Evidently, the international community is more preoccupied with appearing
politically correct than with the concerns and liberties of ordinary
Meanwhile the lives of innocent Zimbabweans continue to be lost, because
someone wants to remain in power at all cost and by any means necessary.
How much more Zimbabwean blood must be shed before the world abandons its
ambivalence towards the government in Zimbabwe? What is the difference between
the terror of the Taliban regime against the people of Afghanistan and the
nightmare of Zanu PF terrorism that is transforming the country into one huge
It is time the international community acted. Decisively.
Are IMF goals for Africa realistic?
1/14/02 8:16:35 AM (GMT +2)
By Cyrus Rustomjee
THERE is a scene in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland in which Alice and
the Red Queen find themselves stuck in one place despite all their efforts to
"I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time," Alice says
despairingly. "Everything's just as it was."
Perhaps this is an apt analogy for Africa's experience in the international
economic and financial system over the past 40 years. Sub-Saharan Africa ranks
as the poorest, least developed part of the world even as other regions have
surged ahead, exiting from profound poverty and improving the lives of their
citizenry. Many lessons of the past 50 years of economic and social development
seem to have bypassed Africa.
It is not as if the continent hasn't tried. In recent years, African policy
makers have been setting a new and better standard of performance on the job.
Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, for example, are all achieving high
levels of sustainable economic growth and have begun to significantly improve
their social indicators of development. Many others have been pursuing strong
and stable macroeconomic policies for several years.
But as fast as Africa tries to run, she still seems to be left standing in
one place. Clearly the major responsibility rests with Africans ourselves.
But what of Africa's partners in development - in particular the
International Monetary Fund (IMF)? Have appropriate steps been taken to ensure
real African ownership of international assistance, especially IMF-supported
An important step in this direction has been taken with the recent efforts
by the Fund and the World Bank to promote a central role for African governments
and civil society in defining their poverty reduction policies - the programme
known as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). This approach is the
focus of a four-day conference be ing held this week in Washington that allows
all the parties in the PRSP process to give voice to their views and suggest
ways in which it can be improved.
But much more needs to be done if Africa's ownership of assistance
programmes is to be strengthened and poverty defeated. There are seven key
steps that should be addressed:
First, member countries with IMF-supported
programmes should be offered more leeway in the timing and choice of structural
reforms. National authorities should have the freedom to align their reform
efforts with their administrative and institutional capacity.
Second, IMF loan disbursements should not be at pre-set intervals. Rather,
they should be determined by each country's ability to meet the conditions
attached to Fund programmes. That would offer elected governments a more
reasonable basis for planning, and it would underline their responsibility for
achieving progress. It also would remove the sense of all-or-nothing that too
often hangs over Fund programmes.
Third, international aid - including IMF programmes - needs to be defined
in terms of the Millennium Development Goals, internationally agreed objectives
designed to address African, and indeed global poverty, systematically. Will
these goals be a chimera, or will they be the path to a permanent exit from
poverty for Africa?
Much will hinge on how the international community reacts to the challenge,
which is significant, of providing the necessary financial resources to help
African countries achieve these goals. If it does, ownership and the elimination
of poverty will be achievable. If not, the promise which ownership offers will
Fourth, the IMF should strengthen and expand technical assistance
programmes in monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policy; sound budget practices
and expenditure management; development and supervision of financial
institutions; and the building of statistical database capacity. Africa's acute
capacity constraints require more international resources as well as improved
co-ordination of existing programmes and better use of the continent's own
Fifth, debt relief, through the Enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries
framework, needs to be accelerated. This is a shared international
responsibility. All remaining eligible countries not yet in the system should
have access to debt relief by the end of the year, and those
the programme should have completed the process and received debt relief.
Given Africa's vulnerability to the current global economic downturn, the
debt relief targets for all countries need to be regularly re-evaluated and
updated. Without this, countries face the potential of continuing to bear
unsustainable debt burdens despite creditors' best intentions.
Sixth, specific internal and external steps can be taken to promote
domestic ownership, including devolving decision-making authority to the
sub-regional level, where Africa's institutional and administrative capacity
constraints and its unique social, economic and political circumstances are best
understood; upgrading the role of IMF representatives in member countries; and
strengthening the representation of African members in the Fund, especially in
terms of increasing Africa's quotas and its voices in the IMF Executive Board.
The Fund itself should promote its ongoing process of introspection and reform
to improve the way in which it serves its low-income members.
Finally, the IMF's financing facilities should be continually re-evaluated
and modified to make them more effective for low-income African members.
True national ownership of economic and social programmes will prevail when
a member country exits a long-term financing relationship with the IMF and is
able to stand on its own feet.
This may be achievable in the medium term if member countries that are
making progress with economic and social reforms continue to advance, and if the
IMF helps members identify the measures needed for successful African countries
to achieve access to international capital markets.
Central to this process will be a close working relationship between the
IMF and the architects of the New Partnership for African Development, to ensure
common strategies and objectives. But African countries must also promote
domestic ownership. Indeed, we in Africa must redouble our efforts to strengthen
our own macroeconomic and structural policies, building upon the successes
revealed by our own strong performers.
Fortunately, there is growing and compelling evidence that this is
precisely what is taking place. But to rest on our laurels will simply mean that
too many countries will be left standing still.