|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
THE ZIMBABWE CRISIS: THE CORRECT POSITION
Statement by Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC President
July 9 2003.
The statement by Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, regarding the alleged dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF, which was aired on the SABC TV on the evening bulletin on July 8 2003, is without foundation whatsoever.
Since the aborted talks between the MDC and ZANU PF in April 2002, there has been absolutely no political engagement between the two political parties. The Mugabe regime has remained intractable and sustained an arrogant and defiant programme of violence, torture, murder, rape and all manner of crimes against humanity.
For over one year since then, several well-wishers, inside and outside Zimbabwe, have expressed an interest to broker dialogue between the two political parties, but ZANU PF, with the assistance of some key regional players, has consistently rebuffed all such efforts.
Therefore, statements claiming that there is dialogue going on are patently false and mischievous. Such statements are manifestly partisan, designed to buy time for the beleaguered illegitimate Mugabe regime and ward off potential genuine brokers.
Seeking help with a crisis, Zimbabweans go to Pretoria
By Lydia Polgreen
- The attention of Zimbabweans is being diverted south this
week as President Bush holds talks in Pretoria with the South African
president, Thabo Mbeki, that will surely include discussion of the political
crisis in Zimbabwe. The opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is on trial for treason in Harare,
has sent a delegation to South Africa in the hope of capturing some of the
spotlight Mr. Bush's meeting with Mr. Mbeki will bring. The delegation hopes
Mr. Bush will press Mr. Mbeki to condemn President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe. "What we have seen is solidarity among African leaders," said Gift
Chimanikire, the party's deputy secretary general, in an interview here
today. "What we have not seen is solidarity from the leaders with the
African people. We hope our presence here can change that." Mr. Bush, who
will hold talks with Mr. Mbeki on Wednesday as part of a five-country tour
of Africa, has called for a change of leadership in Zimbabwe. His South
African counterpart has been hesitant to push Mr. Mugabe to step down
despite the damage the crisis in Zimbabwe could cause to his country's
economy and to regional stability.
The Movement for
Democratic Change has a carefully crafted message for Mr.
Bush: pressure Mr. Mbeki to use his country's standing as a regional
superpower to defuse the crisis in Zimbabwe, and promise to do it on a
specific timetable. "We want to lobby for regional support to bring a
democratic end to the crisis," Mr. Chimanikire said. Last week a judge in
Harare gave the Movement for Democratic Change a boost when it ruled that
the party's challenge to the 2002 election, which President Mugabe won
narrowly amid widespread irregularities and allegations of fraud and
violence, must be assigned a court date. The court case had been stalled for
15 months. Mr. Mugabe, on a tour of Zimbabwe's eight provinces over the
weekend, spoke at huge rallies at each stop in which he ridiculed Mr. Bush
and called for him and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain to stand trial
for war crimes for the "genocide which they recently committed in Iraq." Mr.
Mugabe, who is 79 and has been in power for 23 years, told a roaring crowd
over the weekend in Chivi, a rural town 140 miles southwest of Harare, the
capital, "If Mr. Bush is coming to seek cooperation, then he is welcome, but
if he is coming to dictate what we should do, then we will say, `Go back,
While people across Africa have turned out to protest Mr. Bush's
Harare, where idle young men with no jobs and no place to go fill the
streets, many people wish Mr. Bush would intercede in the Zimbabwe crisis,
forcefully, and cite Liberia as a model. "When Bush arrives he should
immediately send a strong statement toward Mugabe, just like what he did
with Charles Taylor," said Denis Tsanga, a 19-year-old computer science
student in Harare, referring to the president of Liberia. "Because as it is
right now, we are suffering." An intervention like the one under
consideration in Liberia is highly unlikely, and opposition leaders have
said they hope the United States will apply pressure carefully so as not to
seem as though it is bullying a troubled African nation. Indeed, there are
no rebel armies threatening Harare, no tide of refugees. But each day
Zimbabwe slides deeper into misery. With the collapse of Zimbabwe's once
robust farming sector, about half of the country will need food to get
through to the next harvest without starving. But the United Nations food
supplies in the country have dwindled to just a month's worth.
Comment from New Vision (Uganda), 8 July
Wake up, Mugabe!
Kampala - President Robert Mugabe has warned President Bush
to steer clear
of southern African politics during his continental visit this week.
Otherwise Mugabe will declare: 'Yankee, go home!'. Mugabe is losing touch
with reality. In today's global village, countries are increasingly
concerned with the behaviour of their neighbours. This works both ways. The
United States is constantly in the spotlight as the world's dominant
superpower. It has been fiercely criticised for its pre-emptive attack on
Iraq, its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, its abrogation of
international treaties on weapons and climate control, and many other
issues. This is right and proper. The world's most powerful nation should
not remain above criticism, especially when the present administration is so
willing to go it alone without worrying about world opinion. Similarly,
other nations should be willing to listen to criticism and comment from the
United States. The USA has been a strong supporter of the Uganda's economic
and social reform programme but also a stern critic when it believes
government has gone wrong, as with the later stages of Uganda's military
intervention in the Congo. At his country's July 4 celebrations the American
ambassador pointedly welcomed the fact that Uganda now has the chance to
create systems to facilitate 'the peaceful handover of power from one leader
to another' in the near future. The ambassador was perfectly entitled to
express his opinions and the government should certainly listen to them.
Where we will go wrong is if we all start refusing to listen to constructive
criticism from our neighbours in the global village. Mugabe should wake up.
Mail and Guardian
Famine stares 5m Zimbabweans in the face
09 July 2003 19:36
The United Nations (UN) warned on Wednesday that famine risks were
increasing because of political and bureaucratic delays by the Zimbabwe
government in appealing for emergency food aid.
A humanitarian situation report by UN agencies in Zimbabwe said current
stocks of foreign donated food will run out in August when tens of thousands
of Zimbabweans are expected to need food aid. It said more than 5-million
people will need emergency aid before next year's harvests.
The government had promised to release in early May its forecasts on local
food production this year, enabling donors to consider a formal appeal for
help and assess the country's food aid needs.
No appeal for aid, which must be accompanied by the local crop forecasts,
has been received, the UN report said.
"Several major donors have made it clear they require such an appeal before
committing resources to fund food aid," it said.
The UN said it takes at least three months from the time of a donor pledge
until food aid is delivered. Because of the lag, UN officials said they
feared aid would not be available for those facing starvation in September
and the following few months.
Two months after it was expected to release them, the government has given
no reasons for not announcing its official crop forecasts or submitting a
formal appeal for aid.
Donor agencies have blamed divisions within the government over making
public crop forecasts that might cast doubts on the success of President
Mugabe's land reform programme that saw thousands of white-owned commercial
farms confiscated and handed over to resettled black peasant farmers in the
past three years.
Zimbabwe once helped feed much of southern Africa. Food production, however,
has been wrecked by erratic rains and the state's often violent seizure of
most commercial farms.
Many large farms that were given to ruling party supporters are lying
fallow. Others have been carved into small subsistence plots occupied by
families without access to fertiliser, tractors and other equipment.
The UN report said its food agency, the World Food Programmme (WFP),
remained "extremely concerned about the lack of food security and the very
limited supply of food in Zimbabwe in the coming year".
Last month, the WFP said almost half of all Zimbabweans will need food aid
at least until next year's harvest in April to avoid starvation.
Crop assessments by the WFP and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation
showed Zimbabwe will have to import more than half of its staple food during
the next nine months.
Their assessments said Zimbabwe will need to import an estimated
1,27-million metric tons of cereals – maize, the staple, and wheat -- to
feed 5,5-million people, or 47% of the population.
Once a formal appeal is made, international aid was likely to provide just
under half the imports, leaving the government to buy the rest.
The southern African nation is facing its worst economic and political
crisis since independence in 1980. Mass famine was avoided this year only by
foreign humanitarian aid.
An estimated 70% of Zimbabweans are unemployed and inflation has soared to
an official rate of more than 300%.
Farm seizures and political violence since 2000 have disrupted production of
tobacco, the main hard currency earner, and slashed hard currency earnings
from mining, industry and tourism, leading to acute shortages of food,
gasoline and essential imports. - Sapa-AP
Bush unites with Mbeki on Zimbabwe
By Randall Mikkelsen
PRETORIA (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush says South African
President Thabo Mbeki is "the point man" to resolve Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis, which Washington has warned threatens regional stability.
In a warming of relations on Wednesday, the two leaders publicly set aside
differences over Mbeki's opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and
presented a united front on Zimbabwe in hour-long talks that also touched on
Liberia, AIDS and trade.
Bush said his decision to go to war in Iraq was the right one, although the
White House said it had been a mistake to accuse Saddam Hussein of having
sought uranium from the African state of Niger for his alleged nuclear
"There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world
peace," Bush told a news conference on Wednesday in the lush grounds of a
government guest house in Pretoria.
President Robert Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe had been expected to expose fresh
divisions, but Bush said he would not second-guess Mbeki's policy of "quiet
diplomacy" on the issue. A U.S. official said later, however, Washington
believed "everyone" including Mbeki must do more on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe suffers chronic food shortages and 70 percent unemployment. Critics
blame the crisis on Mugabe. But he denies responsibility, blaming it on
opponents angry over his seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell warned southern African states last
month political unrest in Zimbabwe posed a threat to the region unless they
pressured Mugabe into reform, while Mbeki showed a reluctance to lean on his
"The president is the point man on (Zimbabwe)," said Bush, on a first trip
to sub-Saharan Africa as president that underlines a rethink of the
continent's strategic importance.
Bush, whose reassessment was prompted by growing U.S. reliance on Africa's
oil and intelligence al Qaeda could use the continent as a hideout, said
Mbeki was working hard on Zimbabwe.
"He believes he's making good progress. I think Mr Mbeki can be an honest
broker," said Bush, adding they both wanted the same outcome in Zimbabwe.
But Bush said Washington would speak out "when we see a situation where
somebody's freedoms have been taken away from them and they're suffering".
About 100 Zimbabwe opposition supporters waved placards outside the U.S.
embassy as hundreds of South African activists took to the streets for
Bush's visit -- some praising him as a messenger of hope, others declaring
him a dangerous warmonger.
Zimbabwe moved up Washington's Africa agenda last year when Mugabe won
re-election in a poll branded as fraudulent by the opposition and Western
Mbeki said he and Bush were "absolutely of one mind" about how to deal with
"The principal responsibility for the resolution of this problem rests with
the people of Zimbabwe," he said, suggesting Pretoria remained unwilling to
take an aggressive public stance on Mugabe's 23-year rule.
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has praised Washington
in the past, dismissed as "false and mischievous" a statement by Mbeki that
the opposition and Mugabe were in dialogue to resolve the country's
While many South Africans value U.S. promises of aid, the Anti-War Coalition
group held a 1,000-strong demonstration over Iraq that demanded a "people's
tribunal against the warmongers".
Bush kept well away from demonstrations as police threw a tight security net
INVOLVEMENT IN LIBERIA
Bush renewed a pledge to "be involved" in helping end Liberia's civil war.
With about 150,000 troops in Iraq and 10,000 in Afghanistan, Bush said he
would not overstretch the U.S. military if any decision was made to send
forces to Liberia.
Bush met West African leaders in Senegal on Tuesday about enforcing a
fragile ceasefire in Liberia's 14 years of war, and on Wednesday Washington
said it was sending more military assessment teams to help decide on any
Bush, also due to visit Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria, wants to boost
democracy and economic development in Africa, highlight a $15 billion U.S.
programme to fight AIDS and promote a $100 million initiative to stamp out
He discussed anti-AIDS efforts with workers when he toured a Ford Motor Co
factory. With an estimated 4.8 million people believed to have the HIV virus
that causes AIDS, South Africa has more sufferers of the disease than any
Mbeki, who has been criticised for questioning links between HIV and AIDS,
said South Africa was working on a proposal to give it access to the
He has resisted calls to make life-prolonging, anti-retroviral drugs
available in public hospitals, saying they are too expensive, too difficult
to take and potentially toxic.
Zimbabwe a stumbling block between EU and AU
July 09, 2003, 18:15
The European Union (EU) says the African
Union (AU) should not
allow the issue of Zimbabwe to block dialogue between the two groups.
Speaking at the African Union Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, Poul Nielson, EU
Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said the Zimbabwean issue
had unfortunately created a stumbling block between the two organisations.
The AU has insisted on including Zimbabwean officials in talks
with the EU, and this has in the past led to at least two meetings being
cancelled. Nielson said there had been no progress made in this regard,
saying that Zimbabwe was not a central element in their discussions.
He said that while some discussions were taking place, the
stalemate had either slowed down or in some cases stopped development work.
Zimbabweans, human rights groups accuse police of beatings, torture
By Mehul Srivastava
7:21 a.m., July 9, 2003
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – In a dark Zimbabwean cell, walls
splattered with blood and floor covered in ice water, Charles Matorera cried
himself to sleep, he says. Naked and bleeding, all he could think about was
Others had been in that cell before – their blood on the walls now
mixing with his own, he says.
Thousands of people considered opposition activists by the government
have been tortured by police and ruling party militants, hundreds of others
have been killed and many more are still missing, human rights groups say.
The government says it uses the police and military only to suppress
"terrorism" and denies reports its forces are hounding the opposition.
The violence and economic upheaval in Zimbabwe came up during talks
Wednesday in neighboring South Africa between that country's leader, Thabo
Mbeki, and President Bush. U.S. officials have urged Zimbabwe's neighbors to
pressure it into ending the violence and pursuing democratic reforms.
In a joint appearance, Bush said he encouraged Mbeki "to continue to
work for the return of democracy" to Zimbabwe.
But any differences between the two leaders about how to do that were
not on display. Mbeki said he and Bush are "absolutely of one mind" on the
urgency of the matter. And while saying he would continue to speak out on
the situation, Bush said of Mbeki that he has no "intention of
second-guessing his tactics."
With the violence continuing, many opposition activists have now
sought refuge in South Africa, including Matorera, a 28-year-old musician.
Matorera says his ordeal began when he was picked off a crowded road
in downtown Harare by uniformed policemen.
His eyes welling with tears, he described them beating him with boots,
and hesitates before lifting his shirt to show his month-old scars. "They
used their elbows, their knees, taking turns."
Matorera's apparent crime: recording an album critical of Robert
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president since it won independence from Britain in 1980.
The musician was never charged.
"They took away my clothes, ... called me a woman, made fun of my
private parts," says Matorera. "I started talking, telling them whatever
they wanted to hear, just so they wouldn't beat me anymore."
Matorera said he escaped by faking an epileptic seizure while being
transferred from his cell, hid in a forest for two days and hitched a ride
with farmers across the Limpopo River into South Africa.
Every day new political refugees arrive in South Africa: a woman who
tells of being raped in front of her father to punish her for supporting the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change; an ex-policeman who weeps
recounting how he lost an eye when attacked with an ax on a Harare street.
More than 1,000 people were tortured in Zimbabwe last year and 58 were
killed, according to human rights groups.
An Amnesty International report described ruling party youth militia
who were trained in torture methods. It detailed beatings given to those
with opposition posters in their homes, and torture of family members to get
information about political opponents.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena dismissed the reports of torture as
"very, very false" and said the police investigated all the cases cited by
Amnesty and found them to be without foundation.
He also called Matorera's story "ridiculous."
"We would not arrest anybody for criticizing the president," he said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe faces political and economic devastation. Once,
its farmers grew enough food to help feed its neighbors. Today it depends on
international food aid to ward off starvation within its own borders.
The economic problems are blamed in part on the government's
often-violent program to give white-owned farms to blacks.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has accused Mugabe of using
"violent misrule" to stay in office. Mugabe was proclaimed the winner last
year in an election international observers said was tainted by violence and
MDC says Mbeki misinformed Bush on Zimbabwe
July 09, 2003, 16:30
Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader, today accused President Thabo Mbeki of misrepresenting Zimbabwe to
George W. Bush, the US President, while the Zanu-PF hailed Mbeki as an
Tsvangirai accused Mbeki of making "false and mischievous"
statements to Bush saying that no talks were taking place in Zimbabwe
between the ruling party and MDC. According to Associated Press, the
opposition leader said Mbeki's statement to Bush that a dialogue had begun
was "without foundation whatsoever".
Mbeki, repeating remarks he made in a television interview in
South Africa, said he informed Bush that Zimbabwe's ruling party and the MDC
have begun talks on their nation's deepening political and economic crisis.
"We have urged the government and the opposition to get together... they are
indeed discussing all issues. That process is going on," Mbeki said in
"Statements claiming that there is dialogue going on are
patently false and mischievous," said Tsvangirai. "Such statements are
manifestly partisan." He said claims on talks between Robert Mugabe, the
Zimbabwean President's, party and the opposition were aimed at "buying time"
for Mugabe and at delaying efforts by "potential genuine brokers," such as
the US, to help end the political and economic crisis.
Earlier talks between the two sides broke down because of the
dispute over Mugabe's narrow and tainted re-election victory last year and
demands that the opposition drop a court challenge of the election. Earlier
this year, Mugabe again insisted the opposition recognise his election and
drop the case before he would go to the negotiating table.
The opposition has demanded unconditional talks. "Since the
aborted talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF in April 2002, there has been
absolutely no political engagement between the two political parties. The
Mugabe regime has remained intractable and sustained an arrogant and defiant
program of violence, torture, murder, rape and all manner of crimes against
humanity," Tsvangirai said today.
He said several well wishers inside and outside Zimbabwe have
expressed an interest in brokering new dialogue between the two political
parties but Mugabe's party "with the assistance of some key regional players
has consistently rebuffed all such efforts."
Zanu-PF warns Bush
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's ruling party warned Bush that his tour of
Africa should serve as a lesson to the American leadership that Africa was
"not for sale". "No one should ever take the continent for granted. We are
not for sale. America's hegemony has neither space nor place in Africa,"
Bigvai Gumede, Zanu-PF's South African chairperson, said in statement
released in Johannesburg. "Africa has come of age," he said.
He said Africa did not need a lecture from western leadership on
how to run its affairs. "The destiny of Africa lies with ourselves. The
African Union and New Partnership for Africa's Development are our
Institutions. "These institutions were designed by Africans to serve their
needs," he said. Gumede hailed Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian
President, and other leaders for their "exemplary leadership" in assisting
the Zimbabweans in solving their country's problems.
Mbeki has consistently pursued a policy of "quiet diplomacy" in
his dealings with Zimbabwe while the US government has urged him to use
stronger measures to force political change there. "As far as South Africa
and Zimbabwe are concerned Bush and his entourage should know we are one
people. We share a common border, history, culture and destiny," Gumede
said. - Sapa
Fuel Body Battles for Funding
Business Day (Johannesburg)
July 9, 2003
Posted to the web July 9, 2003
HARARE The Zimbabwe government's latest bid to raise desperately needed
funds to import fuel for the economy's spluttering engine received little
attention this week.
The government, through Syfrets Corporate & Merchant Bank, went to the
market to raise Z10bn for the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) to
Syfrets, a subsidiary of Zimbank, of
which the Zanu (PF) government is a Mr Mbeki had said talks between the government of Robert Mugabe and the
opposition were progressing.
Speaking for the opposition in Harare, Morgan Tsvangirai denied direct talks
were under way and he accused Mr Mbeki of seeking to "buy time" for Mr Mugabe.
However, Mr Tsvangirai later issued another statement welcoming the "sense of
urgency" displayed by the South African and US leaders over the situation in his
George Bush is on a five-day tour of Africa and has pledged to work towards
bringing stability to the continent.
The BBC's Barnaby Phillips says the two leaders had different approaches to
the problem, but were very diplomatic after their talks.
President Bush said he and President Mbeki shared the same objectives and
that he trusted President Mbeki to be an "honest broker."
But Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mbeki's statement about talks in Zimbabwe was
"without foundation whatsoever".
'Crimes against humanity'
Mr Tsvangirai said that there had been "absolutely no political engagement"
between his MDC and President Mugabe's Zanu PF since April 2002.
"The Mugabe regime has remained intractable and sustained an arrogant and
defiant programme of violence, torture, murder, rape and all manner of crimes
against humanity," he said.
"Therefore statements claiming that there is dialogue going on are patently
false and mischievous.
"Such statements are manifestly partisan, designed to buy time for the
beleaguered illegitimate Mugabe regime and ward off potential genuine brokers."
The US president said he had encouraged Mr Mbeki to "continue to work for the
return of democracy" in Zimbabwe.
"I do not have any intention of second-guessing his tactics, we share the
The US has taken a strong line on President Mugabe since his election win
It has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe's government and called for Mr Mugabe's
But South Africa has instead called for dialogue between Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party and the opposition party MDC.
Mr Tsvangirai said in his later statement on Wednesday that he hoped the
efforts of Mr Mbeki and Mr Bush would result in formal political talks on
restoring democracy in Zimbabwe beginning "within days rather than weeks".
Bush and Africa
Our correspondent says President Mbeki evidently welcomes American moves to
lift restrictions on trade and to spend more on foreign aid.
President Bush had earlier pledged to work towards bringing stability across
He said his administration would help resolve Africa's crises, from the civil
war in Liberia to the Aids epidemic in southern Africa.
He also praised South Africa, which he called a "force for freedom, stability
President Bush also highlighted the fight against Aids.
He praised efforts to tackle the disease in South Africa, which has the
largest HIV-infected population in the world.
Mr Bush reiterated his pledge to spend $15bn on fighting the disease over the
next five years throughout the continent.
majority shareholder, was originally directed by Noczim to raise Z60bn for
However, there has been a muted response to the petrofin bills offered so
Last week the company was unsuccessful in its bid to raise Z5bn on the
Noczim is desperate for cash. The country needs 40m a month to import fuel.
But the cash-strapped government has largely been unable to secure money
both in local and foreign currency to purchase fuel to deal with a crisis
that has been escalating since 1999. The Zimbabwean government has been
printing hard currency to meet its most pressing financial obligations.
President Robert Mugabe's reported trip to Tripoli recently to negotiate a
new fuel deal with Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi has yielded no relief from
the crippling fuel shortages, despite government officials' promises soon
after the president returned that supplies would start flowing in "as soon
Zimbabwe currently owes Libya 67m in cash and agricultural goods as part of
a $360m deal struck by Tamoil and Noczim two years ago in exchange for fuel
. Tamoil stopped supplies last year after Zimbabwe failed to pay its
installments. Zimbabwe is also seeking to resuscitate a deal with the Arab
Bank to get fuel. Harare, which had a 90m financing facility with Libyan
bank, owes the institution 43m.
Zimbabwe procures fuel through short-term and long-term credit financing and
cash. Most arrangements to secure loans fall through as it is unable to
service its debts.
Mail and Guardian
MDC asks Bush to 'save Zimbabwe'
09 July 2003 10:16
Supporters of the Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change marched
on the United States embassy in Pretoria on Wednesday to bring the crisis in
their country to the attention of visiting US President George Bush.
The group of about 100 people carried posters urging Bush to intervene.
"Bush, like Iraq, save Zimbabwe," some placards read. Another said: "Help us
Bush arrived in Pretoria on Tuesday night for a brief official visit to
The MDC protesters were hoping to deliver a letter for Bush to embassy
Two lanes of Pretorius Street in front of the embassy were closed to traffic
going into the city. Metro police from Pretoria and Johannesburg were lining
the street, keeping a close watch.
A strong police contingent stood guard at the entrance to the embassy. The
demonstration was the first in a series planned by different groupings at or
near the embassy during the day.
By mid-morning, the Anti-War Coalition was expected to protest against the
Bush visit because of the war he initiated against Iraq.
Later in the day the Congress of SA Trade Unions, SA Communist Party and the
African National Congress are to demonstrate against US foreign policy.
In their letter, the MDC welcomes Bush's pledge to help Africa against Aids.
It also thanks the US for its consistent condemnation of human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe. - Sapa
Anti-Mbeki demo foiled
SEVERAL people were assaulted in Harare yesterday and two arrested
when riot police put down a demonstration against South African President
Thabo Mbeki and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on the eve of a visit to
Pretoria by United States leader George W Bush.
Mr Mbeki had said talks between the government of Robert Mugabe and the opposition were progressing.
Speaking for the opposition in Harare, Morgan Tsvangirai denied direct talks were under way and he accused Mr Mbeki of seeking to "buy time" for Mr Mugabe.
However, Mr Tsvangirai later issued another statement welcoming the "sense of urgency" displayed by the South African and US leaders over the situation in his country.
George Bush is on a five-day tour of Africa and has pledged to work towards bringing stability to the continent.
The BBC's Barnaby Phillips says the two leaders had different approaches to the problem, but were very diplomatic after their talks.
President Bush said he and President Mbeki shared the same objectives and that he trusted President Mbeki to be an "honest broker."
But Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mbeki's statement about talks in Zimbabwe was "without foundation whatsoever".
'Crimes against humanity'
Mr Tsvangirai said that there had been "absolutely no political engagement" between his MDC and President Mugabe's Zanu PF since April 2002.
"The Mugabe regime has remained intractable and sustained an arrogant and defiant programme of violence, torture, murder, rape and all manner of crimes against humanity," he said.
"Therefore statements claiming that there is dialogue going on are patently false and mischievous.
"Such statements are manifestly partisan, designed to buy time for the beleaguered illegitimate Mugabe regime and ward off potential genuine brokers."
The US president said he had encouraged Mr Mbeki to "continue to work for the return of democracy" in Zimbabwe.
"I do not have any intention of second-guessing his tactics, we share the same outcome."
The US has taken a strong line on President Mugabe since his election win last year.
It has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe's government and called for Mr Mugabe's resignation.
But South Africa has instead called for dialogue between Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the opposition party MDC.
Mr Tsvangirai said in his later statement on Wednesday that he hoped the efforts of Mr Mbeki and Mr Bush would result in formal political talks on restoring democracy in Zimbabwe beginning "within days rather than weeks".
Bush and Africa
Our correspondent says President Mbeki evidently welcomes American moves to lift restrictions on trade and to spend more on foreign aid.
President Bush had earlier pledged to work towards bringing stability across Africa.
He said his administration would help resolve Africa's crises, from the civil war in Liberia to the Aids epidemic in southern Africa.
He also praised South Africa, which he called a "force for freedom, stability and progress".
President Bush also highlighted the fight against Aids.
He praised efforts to tackle the disease in South Africa, which has the largest HIV-infected population in the world.
Mr Bush reiterated his pledge to spend $15bn on fighting the disease over the next five years throughout the continent.
Demonstrators numbering about 3 000
marched through the streets of the
capital city’s central business district, carrying placards denouncing Mbeki
’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” on the crisis in Zimbabwe.
The protesters, who told this reporter that
they were supporters of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), attempted to gather at
Africa Unity Square, a popular meeting point for demonstrators.
They were supposed to march to the US embassy,
where they were to
present a petition meant for Bush to US Ambassador Joseph Sullivan.
The American president arrives in Pretoria today for
talks with Mbeki,
whose agenda is expected to include the quick resolution of a political
impasse that has contributed to a crisis that has brought unprecedented
suffering to the majority of Zimbabweans.
reporter yesterday morning witnessed several demonstrators and
some passers-by being beaten by the riot police as the protesters tried to
march to Africa Unity Square.
Armed riot police were still patrolling
the square yesterday
afternoon, seemingly in anticipation of more protests.
An MDC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said the march
was not organised by the party, adding that it was a spontaneous
demonstration by Zimbabweans facing severe economic hardships.
US embassy spokeswoman Lucy Hall yesterday said no
petition had been
delivered to the diplomatic mission by the protesters.
In their petition, which was shown to this
reporter, the protesters
appealed to Bush to intervene because Zimbabweans were being “raped,
impoverished, attacked, maimed and murdered” for holding views that were
different from the ruling party’s.
other people in the world, Zimbabweans must be freed from
the Mugabe regime,” the petition read in part.
The petition accused the Zimbabwean
government of pursuing “power with
the morality of a sewer rat” at the expense of long-suffering Zimbabweans.
In their petition, the
protesters said by remaining silent on the
Zimbabwe crisis while pretending to be neutral, Mbeki had lost the moral
authority to mediate in the crisis.
Mbeki has come under fire in the past three years for
not adopting a
tough stance against the erosion of the rule of law and property rights as
well as human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
He has repeatedly said southern African economic powerhouse South
Africa cannot intervene in Zimbabwe because it is a sovereign nation, saying
the solution to the Zimbabwe crisis lies in the hands of the country’s own
However, analysts say the failure by Mbeki and
other African leaders
to try and rein in the Harare regime could hamper the continent’s attempts
to implement its economic programme, the New Partnership for Africa’s
NEPAD prioritises good
governance and the rule of law as crucial to
the continent’s development. In their petition, yesterday’s demonstrators
said: “We also hope that you (Bush) will insist on strict supervision of
NEPAD’s peer review mechanism, under which Zimbabwe becomes a test case.”
Bush is expected to call
on Mbeki to work towards finding a quick
resolution to the Zimbabwe crisis, which could include Mugabe stepping down
before the expiry of his term in 2008 and a transitional authority being put
in place to prepare for fresh elections.
The US says Mugabe’s re-election last year was
irregularities and that free and fair elections should be held. The
government has, however, dismissed the American president’s visit to Africa
as a non-event.
By Angela Makamure
Judge attacks police
HIGH Court judge, Justice George Smith has rebuked police officers
at Harare Central Police Station for the arrest and detention of Master of
the High Court Charles Nyatanga two months ago, ostensibly for an offence he
allegedly committed in 1995.
Nyatanga was picked up from the High Court on 2 May and
police cells at Harare Central Police Station on allegations of fraud
involving the sale of an industrial stand belonging to Harare businessman
Justice Smith said the
decision by a constable Chikundila to detain
Nyatanga was “so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral
standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question
could have arrived at it”.
“If no evidence of fraud had been discovered over the
should Nyatanga now suddenly decide to flee the country?” Justice Smith said
in a judgment on Nyatanga’s application for an order declaring his arrest
and detention illegal and unlawful.
He added: “As
acts complained of were committed eight years ago, the
police have had ample time to complete their investigations. Nyatanga could
not possibly, at this late date, obstruct their further enquiries. It seemed
clear to me that the prime motivation was so that he would be locked up in
cells for the weekend. In other words, the intention was to punish him
although it is not clear why he was to be punished.”
Chikundila, who was the investigating
officer in the matter, allegedly
went to the High Court with Maparanyanga to arrest Nyatanga.
The police allegedly refused to disclose to
Nyatanga’s lawyers the
offence for which they were arresting him. In a preamble to the warned and
cautioned statement he wished to record from Nyatanga, Chikundila wrote that
Nyatanga “unlawfully and with intent to defraud, misrepresented to Fidelis
Maredza of the Deeds Office to transfer the Title Deed No.00899/95 belonging
to Bobby Maparanyanga meant for Lot 1 of Willowvale.”
Nyatanga denied the allegation, saying the
transfer was effected
lawfully following a lawful sale in execution. Justice Smith said
Maparanyanga’s involvement in Nyatanga’s arrest raised suspicion and should
“Why was Maparanyanga allowed to
accompany Chikundila to Nyatanga’s
office in the High Court?” Smith queried. “Why was he permitted to be
present when Nyatanga was warned and cautioned and asked to make his
statement? Why was he allowed to wander from office to office in the police
station speaking to various policemen handling the case? Why was he allowed
to help shepherd Nyatanga into the cells?”
Now remember, this is a growth estimate for a country
· a stable, democratic government;
· the rule of law, with a competent and independent judiciary;
· a sound financial and banking system;
· conservative fiscal and monetary policies;
· a powerful private sector;
· rich human and natural resources;
· most favoured nation status internationally;
· good infrastructure and communications.
So why such a low growth rate? What are the
threats posed by this
First, the threats of slow
growth in a developing country and in
particular, South Africa.
South Africa can be classed as a middle-income country,
disguises the fact that the great majority of its people are in fact outside
the mainstream, poor and disadvantaged.
the rural areas, especially in the former “homelands,” are
as low as any on the rest of the continent.
Their situation is made worse by the
huge disparity with the urban
elite, many of whom are wealthy, even when measured by European standards.
The sophistication and size of
the cities hides a country where the
great majority live in shanties and rural slums. They also hide a country
whose social infrastructure has been shattered by decades of systematic
state-sponsored discrimination against the black majority and against the
South Africa is
a country where an astonishing three-quarters of all
children are raised in dislocated family structures.
After 40 years of rule by the
Nationalist Party under apartheid, South
Africa is riven through with potential areas of conflict – rich and poor
(the former now a minority, the latter now enfranchised and driving the
political agenda); ethnic – South Africa has 11 official languages; racial –
not just the white/black divide but also the large Asian and mixed-race
also ideologically divided – African National Congress (ANC)
structures are an old-style labour movement as are those of its ally, the
South African Communist Party. Set against this power structure is the
extreme right-wing element from the old days of apartheid.
Outsiders see these
huge fissures in South African society and they
are uncertain as to how the country and its governing class will deal with
the potential for conflict. They watch the behaviour of the ANC and its
leadership very closely for any signs that they might not be able to cope
with the potential for trouble.
It’s a tough game to play. There is no room for
mistakes and when you
make mistakes, you are punished immediately and without mercy.
South Africa has, despite all the threats, done an
outstanding job of
its first decade under a majority government.
Outsiders remember that President Mugabe did an
outstanding job in his
first decade in power. It’s the longer term that worries the careful
observer. Here, the record is not so good.
South Africa has made two serious mistakes in the past
The first was the failure to get to grips with the emerging health
crisis posed by HIV/Aids. With an economy that is built on migratory labour,
with millions of foreign migrants in its cities and towns and a vast
underbelly of poverty, homelessness and unemployment, South Africa was “made
Rodney Ambros, an executive of the Zimbabwe Tobacco
groups growers, said deliveries of the crop to auction floors had fallen
from an average of one million kg daily to around 700 000-800 000 kg due to
withholding by farmers.
farmers, faced with rising production costs, were pressing the
government for a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar to ensure viability in
the industry, the country’s biggest export sector.
“Farmers are not happy with
the exchange rate of $824 to the US
dollar, and want this increased to about US$1 600 to the dollar,” said
“Inflation (over 300
percent) has pushed up production costs, and most
farmers obtained their inputs on the parallel market at exchange rates of up
to $2 500 to one US dollar,” he said.
Ambros conceded that the government, which
was forced by farmers and
mining companies to devalue the dollar from $55 to the current exchange rate
of $824 to the greenback less than a year ago, was unlikely to give in to
fresh demands for devaluation.
said farmers were hoping the authorities could be arm-twisted, at
the least, to agree to a subsidy if talks on devaluation fail.
Zimbabwe’s biggest export, and this year the country
expects to market 100 million kg of the crop.
Meanwhile, tobacco prices on the
country’s auction floors are firming,
due to increased international demand and good quality.
Tobacco Industry Marketing Board general
manager Stanley Mutepfa told
PANA prices had firmed from US$1.90 (Z$1 565.6) per kg last week to US$2.35
(Z$1 936.4) a kg on Monday this week.
Zimbabwe is the world’s third biggest tobacco producer
and China, but output is dropping after most commercial farmers were driven
off their farms by the government in a controversial land redistribution
exercise. - PANA
Government evicts 25 farmers
MORE than 25 commercial farmers have been evicted from properties
around the country in the past two weeks, despite claims by the government
that its land reform programme was completed last year, the Commercial
Farmers’ Union (CFU) said yesterday.
CFU president Colin Cloete told The Daily News that
the government had
continued serving farmers with Section Eight notices and the number of those
ordered out of their farms had risen in the last two weeks.
Under the Land Acquisition Act, farmers served with
Section 8 notices
must allow the government to survey, demarcate and allocate their land, as
long as the owners’ living quarters are untouched.
The owner immediately cedes the right to occupy, hold or use the land,
other than to occupy the homestead area.
spite of the supposed end to the fast-track land resettlement
programme, there has been a large number of evictions, predominantly in
Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central, over the past two weeks,” said
“These illegal evictions have disrupted
production extensively and
several wheat crops, as well as export flower crops and preparations for
summer food crops, have been affected,” he added.
It was not possible to secure comment from the Lands and
Ministry on the matter.
But Cloete said 19
horticultural farmers who had already planted crops
for export had also been evicted from their farms in the past fortnight,
which would adversely affect Zimbabwe’s lucrative horticultural industry.
The CFU president
said: “Also of concern is that Section 8 acquisition
orders are still being issued, many to farms which do not qualify for
acquisition in terms of the government’s published criteria, and many to
farms which are currently producing both food and foreign-currency-earning
appeal to the relevant authorities to put a stop to these
disruptive evictions. It is in the nation’s interest that production be
optimised wherever possible,” said Cloete.
He however said it was not
possible to quantify the losses that would
result from the latest round of evictions.
Under its controversial land reform programme, the
taken over most white-owned land in what it says is an effort to redress
colonial imbalances in land distribution.
it has allocated land taken over from white farmers to
landless black peasants and aspiring commercial farmers.
resettlement programme is partly blamed for food
shortages that United Nations agencies say have left 5.5 million Zimbabweans
in need of emergency food aid.
Black farm workers and white farmers have also been
displaced by the
Cloete said more than 2 000
farmers had been displaced since the land
seizures began in 2000, adding that only 700 white farmers were still
many evicted farmers were also living in destitution, as were
most former farm workers.
He told the Daily News: “Some have not been able
to farm for over two
years and the government took everything that they owned, yet compensation
is not being paid out. So we have farmers who have had to sell their cars to
pay school fees and their resources have run out. Some are now trying to get
jobs in the cities but the situation is tight.