Cartoon from the Cape Times
U.S. tells Zimbabwe to change or face
WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 — The
United States on Tuesday told Zimbabwe's leaders they could face targeted
sanctions if free elections did not take place in March and said President
Robert Mugabe's policies had led the country to ''rack and ruin.''
State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters the United States
was consulting with various governments regarding ''targeted sanctions'' against
Zimbabwean leaders, family members and associates, if the situation there did
''We continue to make our
message loud and clear, as I hope I'm doing again today, that they need to take
steps in Zimbabwe to reassert the rule of law and attention to the norms of a
civic society,'' said Reeker.
stressed no final decisions had been taken on the timing or implementation of
sanctions, which could include a travel ban on Zimbabwean leaders and their
''The policies that the
Mugabe government have taken have lead the country to economic and political
rack and ruin, and it's time for them to think about the future of their
country, the future of their people and focus on democracy,'' said Reeker.
He added: ''And that would include
establishing a system to have free and fair elections as they're scheduled in
Seeking to extend his 21-year
hold on power in the elections, Mugabe pushed through tough laws last week
banning independent election monitors, outlawing criticism and denying voting
rights to millions of Zimbabweans abroad.
Mugabe appeared on Monday to change his
mind, however, pledging to a summit of African leaders in Malawi that the poll
would be fair and that he would allow independent observers.
European Union diplomats had also
threatened sanctions if Zimbabwe refused to allow foreign observers to monitor
the March elections.
secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, Lorne Craner, arrived in
Zimbabwe on Tuesday to make clear the U.S. position, said Reeker.
Under a law signed by President George
W. Bush last month, Reeker said the United States would oppose debt relief and
vote against loan credit or guarantees to the government of Zimbabwe if it did
not change its ways.
Wed, Jan 16 2002 9:20 AM AEDT
Zimbabwe opposition politician attacked
In Zimbabwe, an opposition politician has been abducted and stabbed, during
worsening political unrest in the lead up to the March presidential election.
The opposition MP, was abducted from the town of Lupane, south-west of
David Mpala was beaten unconscious before his abdomen was slit, and he was
dumped near a roadside.
Mr Mpala is now recovering in hospital, under police guard, amid fears that
the war veterans accused of carrying out the attack, will return to kill him.
Eleven suspects have been arrested, but at least nine others are still at
The incident is the latest in a series of violent confrontations between
opposition and ruling party supporters, in the lead up to Zimbabwe's
Presidential election, which will be held in March.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has accused the Government of
orchestrating the violence.
The MDC says Government-sponsored militia groups are terrorising
communities ahead of the election.
U.N. urges Zimbabwe to fulfill free elections
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 15 — U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday welcomed Zimbabwe's assurances that
March elections would be free and fair and urged the government to fulfill those
Annan was ''acutely concerned'' by Zimbabwe's laws
severely restricting press freedom and political campaigning and stressed that
freedom of assembly, a free press and a strong and independent judiciary were
''essential building blocks of democracy,'' U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said.
The U.N. leader encouraged Zimbabwe
''to implement fully and faithfully the actions it has promised to take,
including ensuring freedom of speech and assembly, admitting international
observers, investigating political violence and scrupulously respecting the rule
of law,'' Eckhard said.
Robert Mugabe, in an apparent turnabout, pledged to a summit of southern African
leaders in Malawi on Monday that the March poll would be fair and that he would
allow independent observers.
extend his 21 years in power, Mugabe had only a week earlier pushed through
tough laws banning independent election monitors, outlawing criticism and
denying voting rights to millions of Zimbabweans abroad.
He was also pushing for legislation
banning foreign journalists and outlawing any reporting deemed to sow ''alarm
and despondency,'' but Zimbabwe's parliament dropped that bill from its agenda
on Tuesday after a committee found serious problems with some clauses, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change said.
The U.S. State Department said on
Tuesday that Mugabe's policies had led Zimbabwe to ''economic and political rack
and ruin'' and warned its leaders they could face targeted sanctions if the
March elections were not free.
Union diplomats have also threatened sanctions if Zimbabwe refused to allow
foreign observers to monitor the March elections.
U.S. 'Deterioration' In Zimbabwe
Tuesday January 15, 2002 9:00 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States expressed dismay Tuesday at
``significant deterioration'' of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, and at the growing
government-sponsored political intimidation, violence and harassment of
But the United States has not yet decided to impose sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe, his family or any government officials, as a new law
would allow, said State Department spokesman Philip Reeker.
``The policies that the Mugabe government has taken have led the country to
economic and political rack and ruin, and it's time for them to think about the
future of their country, the future of their people, and focus on democracy,''
Last month, President Bush signed a law that would allow targeted
sanctions, including travel bans, against Mugabe, members of his family or
government officials, Reeker said. The United States is in the process of
consulting with other governments about what those sanctions might be, but has
made no decision, he said.
The State Department's top human rights official, Assistant Secretary of
State Lorne Craner, arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday to ``reiterate our position
in terms of dismay at the political environment in Zimbabwe, which has been
marked by significant deterioration,'' Reeker said.
The United States also worries that instability in Zimbabwe could have
repercussions for all of southern Africa, officials have said.
Mugabe, who is fighting for his political survival, has clamped down on the
opposition ahead of upcoming elections.
Two bills pushed through Parliament last week give the police sweeping
powers of arrest and seizure ahead of the elections, and also limit independent
election monitoring. Lawmakers also were scheduled to debate a bill banning
foreign journalists from the country and requiring local journalists to register
with the government or face jail.
In the latest violence, an opposition lawmaker was wounded critically in an
attack by 20 ruling party militants, opposition officials said Tuesday. There
also has been a new round of looting designed to force white landowners from
Mugabe says he is working to distribute farms to landless blacks. But his
opponents and human rights groups say he is sanctioning violent land seizures to
US, Britain threaten sanctions against Zimbabwe
HARARE, Jan 16 AFP
President Robert Mugabe's government has come under strong attack from
Washington and the former colonial power Britain, with threats of sanctions
against Zimbabwe over new draconian laws and "government-sponsored political
The United States, the European Union and right groups have slammed
Mugabe's law changes as a move to tighten his 22-year-old grip on power ahead of
a presidential election in March.
Former colonial power Britain is considering targeted sanctions against the
Zimbabwean government amid concerns at political violence and Mugabe's clampdown
on the opposition, a British government minister told the BBC yesterday.
British junior foreign minister Baroness Valerie Amos said nothing was
being ruled in or out but admitted that targeted sanctions were an option,
including freezes on assets and travel bans.
Washington also warned Zimbabwe's leaders that they could face targeted
sanctions to punish the "rack and ruin" wrought by the policies of Mugabe's
US State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said Washington was
talking to "various governments" on sanctions against Zimbabwean leaders, family
members and associates, measures which could include travel bans.
The warning came after Lorne Craner, US assistant secretary of state for
democracy, human rights and labor, arrived in Zimbabwe, a week after the passage
of new laws seen as restricting opposition politics.
Reeker said Craner would reiterate US "dismay" at the political environment
in Zimbabwe and argued that respect for the rule of law and the judiciary had
deteriorated, compounded by "government-sponsored political intimidation".
"We continue to make our message loud and clear, as I hope I'm doing again
today, that they need to take steps in Zimbabwe to reassert the rule of law and
attention to the norms of a civic society."
According to press reports, Britain and the United States have begun a
joint effort to identify millions of dollars thought to be stashed away in
foreign bank accounts by Mugabe and his inner circle.
The move could be a precursor to Washington and the EU imposing personal
sanctions on Mugabe and leading members of his government, the Financial Times
The so-called "smart" sanctions would involve freezing bank accounts and
refusing visas so Mugabe and his circle could not visit western countries, the
Britain also said it would cease deporting asylum-seekers back to Zimbabwe
until after the country's elections.
As the international pressure increased, Zimbabwe's parliament adjourned
debate of a controversial new media bill, discussing instead what were described
as "unconstitutional" amendments to the country's labour laws.
The labour bill, in addition to the proposed media bill, and two other
security and electoral laws muscled through parliament last week, are seen as
further clampdowns on freedoms ahead of the presidential vote.
Opposition lawmaker David Coltart described the adjournment as a "strategic
retreat", saying the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) did not have sufficient numbers in parliament to vote on any
The Labour Relations Amendment Bill would ban stayaway strikes, and give
the labour minister authority to strike unions off the register.
The bill is seen as targeting urban workers -- the power base of the main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
In the past, mass job stayaways have brought the country to a virtual
standstill, and cost the country's crumbling economy millions in lost
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, formerly secretary-general of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), is President Mugabe's main challenger in the
The debate on the labour bill came after regional leaders on Monday
endorsed Mugabe's promise to hold free, fair and peaceful presidential elections
at a special summit meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Their endorsement came under heavy criticism last night from South Africa's
Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a key ally of the
The labour body called for "the withdrawal of all the draconian laws
currently being pushed through parliament".
International hunt for Mugabe family assets
Wednesday January 16, 2002
Commonwealth, EU and US officials have begun investigating the overseas
assets of Robert Mugabe, his family and close associates, in readiness for
possible sanctions against Zimbabwe.
EU foreign ministers meet on January 28
to decide if Mr Mugabe genuinely intends to hold free and fair elections in
March, with international observers present, and whether he has made efforts to
curb violence by his supporters.
In October the EU invoked article 96 of the Cotonou agreement governing
relations with African states, which allows for sanctions if a range of issues
such as human rights and good governance are not addressed.
The US Congress has already agreed to consult its international partners
about a collective response to the Zimbabwean crisis.
Although Mr Mugabe apparently gave assurances about allowing foreign
observers and journalists to cover the election at the meeting of the Southern
African Development Community in Malawi on Monday, formal invitations have yet
to be issued.
Tracking assets salted away by Mr Mugabe, his family and political friends
will not be easy, as the president himself has managed to avoid the scandals
that have swirled around some of his ministers, top civil servants and generals.
Yet the Mugabes have been able to acquire a string a properties in the
country, including a new £6m mansion in a quiet Harare suburb.
He himself has acknowledged corruption in his cabinet. In 1999 he told
ministers: "I know they [international contractors] are buying you for tenders
and that some of you are accepting huge bribes."
The Zimbabwean magazine Legal Forum has described the country as a
"racketeering state" characterised by minimal economic development, stagnation
leading to recession and unbridled greed by the ruling elite.
But unlike the crude daylight robbery of Sani Abacha and his circle in
Nigeria, the money trail left by Mr Mugabe's associates is likely to be
Reports of the personal enrichment of Mr Mugabe's associates and close
relations have been legion, particularly after the military intervention in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, where secretive joint ventures were set up to
exploit the vast resources of diamonds and minerals.
His own extravagance, and that of his wife, has caused a national outcry.
In the 1990s Mr Mugabe was Africa's most-travelled president. According to
an investigation by the Zimbabwe Independent business weekly, he spent £180m in
the decade on fuel alone for commandeered Air Zimbabwe planes to fly to to more
than 150 countries.
His party, Zanu-PF, is also an international business empire with a vast
array of interests held through part ownership of a company called Zidco
Holdings. Set up shortly after independence, Zidco has stakes in numerous aspect
of the Zimbabwean economy, from property and duty-free shops to building
materials and army supplies.
Run by a southern African family originally from Malaysia, its assets and
profits are a secret, guarded by two key Mugabe allies on the board: the former
justice and security ministers Emmerson Mnangagwa and Sidney Sekeramayi.
A couple of years ago Mr Mugabe whimsically told a journalist that if he
ever found himself out of a job (presidential salary around £16,000 a year), he
could go back to teaching and his wife Grace could earn a crust by sewing.
But investigators are expecting to find rather more substantial assets.
Among the pleasures of life for Mr and Mrs Mugabe have been their regular
shopping expeditions to London.
If sanctions bite, the couple may find that their credit line this spring
is considerably diminished.
IFEX _ International Freedom of Expression Exchange
ALERT: Zimbabwean government wants radio broadcasts
Originator: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
(MISA/IFEX) - Zimbabwe's Minister of State for Information and Publicity
Jonathan Moyo wants the European Union (EU) to urge the British and Netherlands
governments to stop sponsoring short wave radio stations that broadcast in
On Friday 11 January 2002, Moyo was talking to "The Sunday Mail" about the
current deliberations between the EU and Zimbabwe taking place in Brussels,
Belgium. He said that Britain and the Netherlands are sponsoring illegal short
wave radio station broadcasts in Zimbabwe. "The British are funding their
citizen, Jerry Jackson, who in September 2000 ran a pirate radio station calling
itself Capital Radio, working with [Movement for Democratic Change, MDC]
legislator and Rhodesian war veteran David Coltart, Mike Auret Jnr. and other
Rhodesians," said Moyo. "Who else is having access to the EU sponsored illegal
broadcasts besides the treacherous MDC?" asked Moyo.
In the course of the deliberations, the EU asked the Zimbabwean government
to send a letter to the EU Presidency within a week, detailing its actions on
all points covered in the discussion. The EU Heads of Mission in Harare was
invited to report urgently on the progress made in view of an assessment by the
General Affairs Council on 28 January.
The "Voice of the People" and "SW" are the two radio stations to which Moyo
was referring in his attack. Both are operating short-wave stations broadcasting
news on the situation in Zimbabwe. Moyo accuses the two of being pro-opposition.
Jackson is the former director of Capital Radio; the first station to challenge
the monopoly of the state-owned and run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
at the Supreme Court. ZBC's monopoly was subsequently overthrown, deemed
For further information, contact Zoe Titus or
Kaitira Kandjii, Regional Information Coordinator, MISA, Street Address: 21
Johann Albrecht Street, Mailing Address; Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia,
tel: +264 61 232975, fax: +264 61 248016, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
, Internet: http://www.misa.org/
Annan ''acutely concerned'' by Zimbabwe laws restricting
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 15 — Secretary-General Kofi Annan is
''acutely concerned'' at Zimbabwe's new laws restricting campaigning ahead of
upcoming elections, a U.N. spokesman said
emphasizes that freedom of assembly and association, as well as free and
vigorous mass media, protected by a strong and independent judiciary, are
essential building blocks of democracy,'' said U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who
is fighting for his political survival, has clamped down on the opposition ahead
of presidential elections scheduled for March 9 and 10.
Two bills pushed through Parliament
last week give the police sweeping powers of arrest and seizure ahead of the
elections, and also limit independent election monitoring. Lawmakers also were
scheduled to debate a bill banning foreign journalists from the country and
requiring local journalists to register with the government or face jail.
Annan noted Mugabe's ''firm
assurances'' given to Monday's summit of southern African leaders from the
14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the free and fair
conduct of the elections, Eckhard said.
Mugabe pledged to ensure the elections were free and fair, and agreed to allow
international observers and journalists to witness them.
Annan ''encourages the government of
Zimbabwe to implement fully and faithfully the actions it has promised to take,
including ensuring freedom of speech and assembly, admitting international
observers, investigating political violence and scrupulously respecting the rule
of law,'' Eckhard said.
As part of his
fight to retain power after 21 years in power, Mugabe has cracked down on the
opposition. The deteriorating human rights situation has sparked international
condemnation and concern.
he is working to distribute farms to landless blacks. But his opponents and
human rights groups say he is sanctioning violent land seizures to gain