Tue 11 July 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwean police on Monday arrested and detained a
legislator of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
over last week's brutal assault of a top official of a rival faction of the
Timothy Mubawu, who is the legislator for Mabvuku constituency for the
larger faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, is being held at Harare
central police station on charges of inciting public violence, his lawyer
Alec Muchadehama told ZimOnline last night.
The police claim that a blue truck used as a getaway vehicle by people
who assaulted fellow MDC legislator, Trudy Stevenson, belongs to Mubawu.
Stevenson, who sustained severe injuries during the attack in Mabvuku,
belongs to the smaller faction of the MDC led by academic, Arthur Mutambara.
She is the party's Member of Parliament for Harare North constituency.
Under the government's Criminal Codification and Reform Act, Mubawu
faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of inciting public violence.
Muchadehama said Mubawu turned himself in, in the afternoon on Monday
after hearing that the police wanted to question him over the attack on
Stevenson. The legislator had spent the rest of the day being interrogated
by the police who later decided to lock him up in the cells for the night.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Tsvangirai-led MDC, Nelson Chamisa,
accused the ruling ZANU PF party of orchestrating the attack on Stevenson in
a desperate bid to tarnish officials of the main faction of the opposition
party that is widely regarded as posing a more potent threat to the ruling
party and President Robert Mugabe's government.
Chamisa also said that Mubawu did not own a blue truck as was being
claimed by the police.
"We are convinced that ZANU PF is the author of the violence in
Mabvuku .. for the record, Mr Mubawu does not have a blue truck and he was
attending a church service at the time the alleged assault was carried out,"
The government - itself accused of using militias, the police and army
to commit violence on supporters of both factions of the MDC - has played up
the attack on Stevenson since last week in an attempt to show the world that
the opposition was in fact the one behind political violence in the country.
The MDC, that came closest to ending Mugabe and ZANU PF's 26-year rule
in elections in 2000 and 2002, split up last year after disagreeing on
whether to contest a senate election controversially won by the ruling
Tsvangirai wanted a boycott of the poll which he said was pointless
because it would be stolen by ZANU PF and was a waste of money in country
facing severe hunger.
But his deputy Gibson Sibanda, secretary general Welshman Ncube and
other top leaders wanted to contest the election because the national
council of the MDC had voted to participate in the poll and also because
they felt boycotting would be tantamount to surrendering political space to
However, analysts saw the senate poll as only having helped bring out
in the open deep seated differences in the top leadership of the opposition
party over what strategy to use to unseat Mugabe.
While there have been previous clashes between supporters of the two
MDC factions, last week's attack on Stevenson is the first high profile case
of violence involving the two sides since last October's split. - ZimOnline
Tue 11 July 2006
HARARE - Zimbabweans will have to contend with rising prices of goods
and services in the foreseeable future amid warnings by analysts that the
June slowdown in the rate of inflation is only on paper and not supported by
major improvements in economic conditions.
The country's annualised rate of inflation, the highest in the world,
trekked backwards to 1 184.6 percent in June from an all time record high of
1 193.5 percent in May.
But analysts immediately dismissed the latest decline in the rate of
change of prices as not reflective of the real situation on the ground and
called for a major review of the government's skewed foreign exchange policy
as well as far-reaching political and economic reforms to address the
"Judging by the rate at which prices have been going up, the new
(inflation) numbers are a world apart from the reality on the ground," said
respected Harare economist James Jowah.
Massive price increases during the past month were recorded for fuel,
urban commuter fares and basic foodstuffs like drinks.
The price of some brands of orange syrups leapt from about Z$425 000
per two-litre bottle to more than $800 000 for the same quantity while
commuter fares rose from an average $60 000 a trip to between $100 000 and
$120 000 for the same trip.
The major driver of price increases during the past month was the
continued slide in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar on the foreign exchange
It slipped from around $340 000 for every United States dollar on the
unofficial foreign currency market when the last inflation figures were
released in mid-May to the current $450 000 against the US unit.
The bulk of the trade in foreign currency takes place on the illegal
but thriving unofficial or parallel market compared to the official
inter-bank market where the greenback has been fixed at Z$101 195 for more
than three months.
"This points to growing underlying pressure for the general price
level to rise even further in the coming months unless there is a serious
attempt to address the problem of the weak exchange rate," noted a senior
official with a financial institution who asked not to be named for
The Harare authorities have resisted pressure to devalue the local
unit fearing that such a move would push up their own cost of servicing the
government debt believed to be around US$4 billion.
The government has also interfered with the running of companies by
fixing prices of basic commodities, a situation that has forced most
manufacturers to go underground, only supplying their products to a robust
Hyperinflation highlights an acute economic crisis gripping Zimbabwe
for the past seven years and which has also spawned shortages of fuel,
electricity, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic
Western donors and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party, blame the crisis on repression and wrong policies by President Robert
Mugabe such as his seizure of productive farms from whites for
redistribution to landless blacks.
The farm seizures destabilised the agricultural sector - the mainstay
of the economy - and caused severe food shortages after the government
failed to give black villagers resettled on former white farms skills
training and inputs support to maintain production.
But Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since
independence from Britain 26 years ago, denies mismanaging the country's
once vibrant economy and says its problems are because of sabotage by
Western governments opposed to his seizure of white land. - ZimOnline
Tue 11 July 2006
HAMASKRAAL - A South African non-governmental organisation (NGO),
Cross-Over Projects, has donated a 10-hectare farm to the Johannesburg-based
Zimbabwe Pastors Forum (ZPF) to use to start income generating projects to
support thousands of Zimbabwean refugees living in South Africa.
The farm in Hamaskraal, about 30 kilometres north of Pretoria, was
last Sunday handed over to the ZPF that is among several groups looking
after the interests of Zimbabwean exiles living in South Africa.
Speaking during the hand-over ceremony, Cross-Over representative,
Elizabeth Gordon, said the church should use the farm to ease the suffering
of thousands of the refuges, many of whom have no shelter or means of
Gordon said: "This farm is big enough to cater for several hundreds of
the Zimbabwean and other refugee communities if fully utilised.
"Viable projects such as piggery, poultry, animal husbandry and crop
farming would help create dozens of jobs for the disadvantaged people."
There are hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean refugees who are living
in South Africa after fleeing hunger and political repression at home.
But the refugees have often complained of ill-treatment at the hands
of South African government officials whom they accuse of xenophobia.
South African churches, which have been highly critical of President
Robert Mugabe's government, have often chipped in to assist Zimbabwean
refugees with for example, hundreds of people being housed at the Methodist
Church in central Johannesburg. - ZimOnline
Tue 11 July 2006
JOHANNESBURG - A South African court will on Thursday rule whether to
grant bail to a Zimbabwean student who is accused of attempting to hijack a
South African Airways plane last month.
The 21-year old Zimbabwean, Tinashe Rioga, is facing charges of
contravening aviation regulations after he attempted to hijack the plane
which was traveling from Cape Town to Johannesburg last month.
A South African magistrate, Suzette Marais, said she will hand down a
ruling on Rioga's bail application on Thursday after hearing submissions
from the student's defence lawyer Josua Greef yesterday.
The state prosecutor is however opposing the granting of bail to Rioga
arguing that the accused was facing serious charges.
The state says the matter is a Schedule 6 offence under the Criminal
Procedure Act requiring Rioga to satisfy the court that "exceptional
circumstances" exist before bail could be granted.
Rioga, a student at the University of Cape Town, allegedly seized a
cabin crew member during flight and threatened to kill her unless he was
allowed into the cockpit. He wanted to divert the plane to Maputo,
But he was over-powered during the flight and was subsequently
arrested. - ZimOnline
July 10 2006 at 06:18PM
Harare - Zimbabwe's towering inflation rate has shed 8,9 percent in
the first half of the year, showing a sliver of recovery since it started
spiralling upwards a year-and-a-half ago, officials said on Monday.
The country's rate - described as the highest in the world outside a
war zone - dropped to 1 184,6 percent from 1 193,5 percent, Central
Statistics Office official Cyril Parirenyatwa announced in Harare.
Citizens however continued to pay high prices - with goods on average
"about 13 times as expensive in June 2006 as they had been twelve months
before," said Parirenyatwa.
"A bundle of goods and services that cost 100 000 Zimbabwean dollars
in June 2005 would on average cost 1 184 600.00 in June 2006," he said.
The dip in inflation is the first since December 2004 when figures
dropped to 624,8 percent before rocketing upward again.
Zimbabwe's inflation rate crossed the 1 000 percent threshold to reach
a world-record high of 1 042,9 percent in April.
It sparked off a spate of price increases.
The price of bread climbed by more than 50 percent to 130 000
Zimbabwean dollars (about R8,50) while public transport fares doubled.
Officials at the government agency said despite the decline, prices
were not expected to drop.
"A decrease in the rate of inflation does not mean prices dropped, but
simply means that they increase slowly," Reese Mpofu, a second CSO official,
On a year-on-year basis items that recorded price hikes were domestic
power, electricity, gas, and other fuels by 184,8 percent, purchase of
bicycles 58,9 percent and electrical appliances 45.7 percent.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis, characterised by
spiralling inflation, soaring poverty levels, an unemployment rate hovering
at over 70 percent and chronic shortages of fuel and basic goods.
More than four million of Zimbabwe's 13 million inhabitants also face
food shortages, according to United Nations agencies. - Sapa-AFP
From PBS Frontline/World (US), 27 June
Prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has spent years defending
Zimbabwean journalists, many of whom have been arrested for their work.
Mtetwa represented journalists from the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only
independent daily newspaper, until it was shut down by the government in
2003. She has also defended international correspondents, including British
and American journalists arrested inside the country while reporting on
Zimbabwe's increasingly controversial elections. In this interview, Mtetwa
talks about her ongoing efforts to protect press freedoms and the risks her
job entails, including her own arrest and her assault while in police
custody in 2003. She also explains how the ruling Zanu PF Party continues to
"mutilate" the country's legislature - it has amended the constitution 17
times - to stay in power. In 2005, Mtetwa received the Press Freedom Award
from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
What motivates you? And why on earth would somebody want to do your job when
the ruling party keeps on stacking the legal odds so heavily against you?
Beatrice Mtetwa: Why do I do it? Well, certainly not for money, there's not
much of that. I just feel very strongly that we need to continue showing up
the system for what it is. We need to make sure we've got a record of this
period in the history of this country. We need to litigate, we need to go to
court to say the law says this, and see how it is interpreted because I feel
very strongly that if anyone were to look back at this - you know, some of
the cases we take to court - they have very good records to show how things
were done. It is easy to say a judge is not being impartial; it's easy to
say that, if you've taken a case before them and you see how they've made a
decision. We go to the Supreme Court all the time with constitutional
challenges, not because we expect to win. But for me it is very important
that we must give the Supreme Court judges the opportunity to confirm what
they are there for. We take the cases there; we know we are going to lose
them, not because it's a bad case, but because the judges are politically
compromised. And you are only able to say, "See what we mean?" Because the
judgment will be there, it will speak for itself. And we'll be able to use
it in the future to say that this person is not fit to be a judge in this
new era. They should be out.
Are human rights lawyers ever threatened by the ruling party, or the police?
Have you ever been harassed yourself?
You do get threatened; you do get harassed. I was beaten up one time by a
policeman. I've been shoved around. But I do not consider that I've had it
as bad as some of my other colleagues because, generally, the police know
that if you do something to me, I'm not going to take it lying down. I'll
publicize it, I'll do everything that needs to be done to be sure that
everybody knows what happened to me. And also, I worked for the government
in the 1980s, and you find that a lot of the people who are in these
positions of authority are people that I know very well. Sometimes it's a
bit difficult for those in authority to be as rough with me as they would
like to be. Because they know that I am not a political person, that I'm
doing this job... because it is the right thing to do, not because there is
any glory or cash to it and not because I'm trying to antagonize the
government. No, I'm doing it because it's a job that's got to be done.
Can you describe what happened when you were say you were beaten by a
I was assaulted by a policeman in October 2003. I had been in a car
hijacking. In retrospect, I think I probably had been followed. I had an
attempted hijack on the first of October in 2003 and then a second one on
the 11th of October. And these were people that had been following me. And
when the police were called, instead of the policeman coming there to really
assist me, he said, "Oh, it's you. Human rights lawyer. Now we are going to
show you who you are." They locked me up, and they said this happened to me
because I was drunk. I said, "Fine, if I'm drunk, take me to have a
Breathalyzer test or a blood test" - which they've got to do within two
hours. But they didn't. They drove around with me, and he beat me up. His
attitude was that when you talk about police brutality, you'll now be
talking from experience. I wear glasses normally, and he smashed my glasses
in and the glass was broken. It was actually quite traumatic, and I think
that was actually the worst I've ever had in terms of being beaten up.
Have you ever been under surveillance?
Oh, yes, quite a number of times. I always feel that I am under
surveillance - when they think that I might lead them to one of my clients
when they don't know where he is. When Andrew Meldrum, the American
journalist, said they were after him, I was under surveillance because they
thought that I would lead them to where he was. I used to think this was
very silly because the last thing that I would do if I knew where he was
would be to drive to where he is. And it's very funny because they
[surveillance people] always use the same cars; they just stick out like a
sore thumb. So you're able to have a nice joy ride and check out how they're
going to react in certain instances. So the job does have some light moments
when some of the state officials bungle things. I'll tell you one story when
they bungled big time. They wanted to deport one American evangelist, and
obviously there was no basis for deporting her, but she was suspected of
conniving with opposition politicians, so they started an operation they
called Operation Zion. When they went to her premises to start the operation
to have her deported, they left the entire file behind on her premises. She
called me, and I said, "Just keep it." It was hilarious because it had
everything, all their notes saying this is what we'll say she did, the
entire plan... When we went to court to stop her deportation, we just used
their notes saying that this has all been dreamed up. Nobody even came to
defend that case.
Robert Mugabe, for all his brutality, is probably...
Oh, he's very bright, he's very effective.
It seems as if there are a multitude of functioning laws in Zimbabwe . Are
they more form than function?
The most incredible thing about Zimbabwe is that it looks like it is there,
like it is working, like things are being done properly. The government
doesn't go out there and do things without following the law. What they do
is go out there and change the law and make it to what they want it to be.
So there's all this veneer of respectability, you know, of a system that
works. Why is it necessary, for instance, to amend the constitution to oust
the jurisdiction of the courts when agricultural land is acquired? Because
the government wants to say, "We are acting in terms of the law." But is
that a fair law? Of course not. The government wants to be legitimate, and
for it to be legitimate, it will go out of its way to make laws that will
legitimize the illegitimate. That's basically how they're doing it.
How has this affected the fairness of elections?
We've got elections every couple of years, but the electoral laws are
absolutely unbelievable because they are made to suit the particular system
that the government favors. The government appoints the electoral officials,
who will run the elections the way they want them to be. Zimbabwe is a
signatory to the election guidelines that the Southern African government
community signed. When the elections came last year, we actually presented
the government with a report on the elections and how unfair the whole
electoral system was and how the election laws do not actually follow the
guidelines that we agreed to in 2004. The government's minister of Justice
responded by filing papers saying that those are mere guidelines and that we
are not bound by them. Yet they are the minimum standards for the conduct of
elections in the region. Why should you pass laws that do not comply with
the minimum standards that you have agreed to as a region if you actually
want truly independent elections?
Has the president ever said anything directly about you?
I don't think he even knows I exist.
I'd be surprised if he doesn't - everyone else does. Describe some of the
things known to have happened to people in police custody.
When people are in police custody, anything can happen. You can get beaten
up; you can be tortured; you can be denied access to your relatives, food,
lawyer; you may not be taken to the toilet. I had one client who I went to
see in prison custody; he was given torn prison uniforms that exposed his
private parts, and this wasn't just torn, it had actually been worn
previously by someone who had had diarrhea and it had not been washed. It's
just so dehumanizing. It's not enough that you've been put in custody; they
really, really want to break your spirit.
Do people in opposition groups face a lot of legal restrictions?
The problem with Zimbabwe right now is that from looking at it and
considering the political landscape, one can say, yes, there is political
diversity. But there's so much you can't do. The laws that the government is
creating make it virtually impossible for you to function properly, whether
in opposition or as a human rights defender. The Public Ordinance Security
Act criminalizes normal meetings that people must have if they are in
politics. That law has never been applied to people in the ruling party. So
opposition politicians have difficulty just meeting their constituencies
because they must first go and inform the police that they want to have this
meeting. They cannot organize protest marches because the law criminalizes
that. You must get authority from the police to organize a normal march.
And, of course, you are not going to get that. We had the mayor of the
capital city of Harare arrested a couple of years ago because he was holding
a meeting with residents of Harare in counsel property; these were counsel
premises. And the police went and arrested him and said it was an illegal
political meeting. Fortunately, the courts refused to place him on remand
because the judge said, "Well, if a mayor cannot go out and meet residents,
which is what he's there to do, that's his job, then I don't know why he'd
be there. The police have no business stopping this kind of meeting." So
clearly, if you are in opposition - and this was an opposition mayor - the
government creates by way of legislation, by way of zealousness and general
harassment, a way of stopping people going to meetings. There are so many of
these examples that on a practical level, opposition politicians cannot
Who makes the law in Zimbabwe today?
The ruling party currently has a majority in parliament, and obviously,
whatever laws the government wants to pass, they pass... Whether the law is
constitutional or not, they can disregard any protest that the law might be
unconstitutional because they'll be able to railroad it through using their
majority status. The constitution is very easy to change in Zimbabwe if you
have at least a 75 percent majority, and the ruling party has that. So
basically, the ruling party is making the laws and obviously they make laws
that suit them, that ensure they continue being in power, that ensure they
make life as difficult as possible for those they perceive as being in
opposition or those who are opposed to how they are running the country.
How many amendments have there been to the constitution? And what effect has
The constitution has been mutilated at least 17 times as of last year, and I
have no doubt there will be a further mutilation. I use the word
"mutilation" deliberately because the ruling party has not amended the
constitution to give people greater rights, greater freedoms. With every
amendment, they have eaten away at the freedoms that have been there -
sometimes, in fact, to reverse the gains that have been made in court. Prior
to the Supreme Court being reconstituted, we had a lot of very good
constitutional judgments where the Supreme Court would interpret the
constitution to give greater rights to people. Each time the Supreme Court
gave a judgment that gave greater freedoms, the ruling party would run back
to parliament to pass an amendment that would take away the right that the
Supreme Court would have given. So we've had a lot of amendments brought in
specifically to try to defeat what the Supreme Court would have given. The
most recent amendment, No. 17, was basically to say that if your land is
taken from you, sorry, the courts have no jurisdiction whatsoever. Whichever
way you look at it, it's clearly unconstitutional because if the government
takes an action against you and deprives you of certain property rights, you
should be able to get a court to determine whether they are fair or not,
particularly in Zimbabwe's situation, where the land issue has been used to
benefit a few well-connected individuals.
to be continued...
Posted to the web on: 10 July 2006
THE recent dramatic surge of Zimbabwe's domestic debt from Z$15-trillion to
nearly Z$43-trillion has painted a grim picture of the economic situation
and cast an increasing pall over prospects of an economic recovery.
Latest central bank statistics show the public debt was Z$42,9-trillion on
June 16. The debt was Z$21-trillion on June 2 and Z$27-trillion on June 9.
This means, if we assume a population of 15-million, the debt per Zimbabwean
stands at about Z$2,8bn. Officially, Zimbabwe has 12-million people but some
estimates say if locals in foreign countries are included, the figure is
more likely to be 15-million.
Zimbabwe's running national budget is $124-trillion. The budget deficit is
expected to be 4,6% as government anticipates collecting Z$110-trillion in
revenue and spending Z$123,9-trillion. This shows the extent of the debt
The country's debt has continued to skyrocket against a background of
deteriorating macroeconomic fundamentals and the socioeconomic situation.
The central bank's overnight accommodation recently stood at 850%, the
inter-bank rate at 693,3%, and treasury bill yields at 510%. Inflation is
1193%, while the exchange rate has crashed to about Z$400000 to the US
Apart from domestic debt, some of it in the form of securities borrowed from
the central bank, Zimbabwe's foreign debt is US$3,9bn. This means the
country is caught up in a debt trap detrimental to the already battered
economy. The situation is worsened by the fact that Zimbabwe is isolated
internationally and cannot get foreign direct investment, donor funds, or
debt cancellation - all crucial to economic growth.
The domestic debt has become a problem not only because of its massive size,
but also the rate at which it is mounting. The other problem is that a large
portion of the debt is in short-term bonds that attract high real interest
rates, and this creates a debt vicious circle.
The government amassed the debt by its uncontrolled social expenditure
patterns and by profligacy. President Robert Mugabe's regime is notorious
for dishing out money like confetti every time there is an election, to buy
votes. It also spends recklessly for other political reasons, for instance
paying former combatants in the anticolonial struggle to placate them when
they show signs of unrest.
The government recently printed money on a massive scale to pay an army of
restless soldiers and civil servants. This brought the government wage bill
to more than 40% of the budget.
The fiscal and monetary consequences of the debt are enormous - it always
leaves the government facing bankruptcy, even though Mugabe holds the view
that a government cannot become broke because it can always print money.
While this is true in the most simplistic of terms, it betrays economic
ignorance. Printing large sums of paper money not backed by wealth is a sign
Given the situation, it would be difficult, if not impossible, in the short
to medium term to improve the fiscal position from a chronic deficit to a
surplus in order to reduce the growing threat to the economy from Zimbabwe's
huge debt burden.
While there are a number of options that can be exercised to deal with the
debt, there are no easy answers. The government can divest itself of some
nonperforming national assets and use the proceeds to reduce the debt.
Privatisation and commercialisation are the main options - although they
always carry a political cost.
The domestic debt has grown rapidly over the past six years, with an
increasing deficit. Since independence from Britain in 1980, Zimbabwe has
always had a debt problem, but the situation has been worsened by Mugabe's
pretentious socialist spending policies.
Government has never been able to marshal enough revenue to finance its
expenditure. This has resulted in deficits that have had to be financed
either by borrowing from the domestic market or externally.
Because the government has been overborrowing locally and cannot borrow from
outside, it has now resorted to printing money to finance its expenditure
and pay interest on the debt. This has become highly inflationary,
contributing to the havoc in the economy.
Unless the government deals with the debt problem soon, it may well find
itself locked in a terminal fiscal crisis that could easily feed into the
country's myriad other social and political troubles, and cause further
problems for Mugabe's politically bankrupt regime.
Muleya is Harare correspondent and Zimbabwe Independent news editor.
Sadly we have two deaths to report of relatives of supporters - an
indication of the collapse of Zimbabwe's health service. No sooner had we
taken a collection for the funeral of Tafara's mother, who died this week,
than Geraldine, taking a call from Zimbabwe, collapsed in tears when told
her aunt had died. We may look a cheerful group, dancing and singing on a
lovely summer's day, but the pain of being separated from loved ones is ever
present. We are never far from what happens at home. Everyone is trying to
get money together to send home to help their families.
We were saddened by the news of the violent attack on Trudy Stevenson, a
supporter of the Vigil, and have sent her a message of sympathy. We were
also appalled by the failure of Kofi Annan to confront Mugabe at the African
Union Summit in the Gambia and the failure of African leaders to show
commitment to good governance.
The Vigil was glad to have two stars from Qabuka - Patson and Terri-Ann -
enhancing the singing. The play received a 3 star review in the Times this
week. Thanks to Nomuhle who came all the way from Liverpool. Unfortunately
she could only stay a short time because she was summoned home because her
child was not well. Another visitor was Peter Tatchell, the human rights
campaigner. He was warmly welcomed by his friends at the Vigil. But the
biggest star was the oldest person ever to sign our petition - a 99 year old
lady who had worked in Zimbabwe. What was amazing was that she was able to
get around on her own. She had just come from a wedding.
Am American student from Columbia who is doing an article on the Zimbabwean
band Mann Friday was with us to gather background information. She
interviewed several people including on e of our Vigil co-ordinators "Dumi
of the Vigil". He told her how his involvement in the Vigil had given him
purpose. The band played at a fundraiser for us some time back.
Vigil supporters took part in the overnight demonstration outside the Asylum
and Immigration Tribunal this week. We are anxiously awaiting the verdict
on the landmark Zimbabwean asylum case which is expected at the end of the
The Vigil is increasingly in touch with activists around the world.
Givemore Chari, the President of the Bindura SRC, has been corresponding
with us. He reports that he is now safely in South Africa after crossing
the Limpopo in fear of his life. He wrote "What the Vigil is doing is
greatly appreciated by all students and Zimbabweans".
For this week's Vigil pictures:
FOR THE RECORD: 46 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28
John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go
down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub).
Monday, 10th July, 7.30 pm, there will be two speakers:
1. Anna Meryt will report on the meeting at the House of Lords
chaired by Baroness D'Souza to commemorate victims of organised violence in
Zimbabwe held on Monday, 26th June, UN International Day in Support of
Victims of Torture.
2. Harris Nyatsanza will report on the proceedings on the case of AA
versus the Home Office at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and also on
the 24 hour solidarity vigil.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
By Mathew Nyashanu and Grey Samakande
BIRMINGHAM - HAVING boasted one of the most magnificent health
delivery system for decades, today, Zimbabwe's health delivery system is
dilapidated beyond repair.
Despite the fact that President Mugabe's government inherited a
working health delivery system from the colonial government, they have
failed to sustain and expand the existing infrastructure.
This was all caused by poor governance and massive politics of
patronage where management was compromised by nepotism and corruption.
Political appointments in key health institutions made it impossible
for the experienced and well-trained workforce to discharge their duties
without disruption. Many doctors, nurses and healthcare workers have
gradually seen their professions being eroded away both professionally and
in monetary value.
The preaching of socialism by President Mugabe in the early years of
independence made it possible for the government to destroy the healthcare
Many people who could have even paid for health services were treated
free of charge in exchange of their endorsement of Zanu PF come election
Because of poor insight into management, the government never realised
that they were driving the health delivery system into oblivion. All
descending voices of healthcare workers were marginalised and labelled
reactionaries by the pro-socialist government of President Mugabe.
Zanu (PF) failed to realise that the cornerstone of a good health
delivery rested upon well-paid workers.
The signs of a mutilated health delivery system surfaced in the run up
to the war veterans' land occupation. The same period saw the development of
a strong trade union movement within professions.
The well-trained healthcare professionals realised that their services
were badly needed in developed countries like Britain, USA and Australia.
This was followed by a mass exodus of healthcare workers, which has
left the country with a skeleton staff to serve the health delivery. Instead
of increasing incentives for the doctors and nurses leaving the country,
President Mugabe's government is launching a scathing attack on the
professionals while thousands of people are suffering from uncontrolled
At all his rallies, the President tells his supporters that the
problem is Tony Blair. One political scientist said that President Mugabe
doesn't realise that people have a burning question about his obsessed cry
about Tony Blair.
If he regards himself as the leader of Zimbabwe, then he should be
able to deliver without blaming any external power. If he believes that the
problems are a product of Tony
Blair, he should also accept that he has failed as a leader.
If the present state of affairs in the system continues unabated, many
people are going to die. A way forward to save the health of the people is
now completely in the hands of President Mugabe who only should step down to
pave way for a civil government.
By Selbin Kabote
SO much has been said about the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD) and the role it can play in the continent's development.
NEPAD is an ambitious programme and the issue as to whether it is totally
worthless or not, is still very much unproven at this stage.
I am expressing this opinion with certainty since so far, the
implementation of NEPAD as an economic reform programme has been moving at a
very slow pace.
The African Renaissance programme, which was authored by the South
African President Thabo Mbeki, became the New African Initiative, before
finally being re-Christened NEPAD.
Under NEPAD, African countries would receive aid from the West to
fight poverty and underdevelopment. The programme also intends to facilitate
a surge of foreign and local investment.
However, in return, Africa has to ensure that there is an end to
corruption and the brutal treatment of opposition political parties, the
judiciary, the churches, the media and other groups of individuals who hold
different views from the African leaders.
What I have been observing during the past few years is that one of
the biggest problem facing NEPAD and Africa at this stage is the inability
of African leaders to reach clear decisions on what they are trying to
achieve even through the peer review mechanism. Under this mechanism,
African leaders are supposedly going to review each other's policies and
open themselves up.
At the moment, if you go around, you hear a lot of people giving as an
example the political and economic problems in Zimbabwe, and "Saying does
this not make the talk about democracy and promoting development in Africa,
a waste of time", if the West is not willing to make a stand on it.
I am of the opinion that if the West is going to set a series of goals
for Africa to achieve, then one has to decide what defines the goals.
Against this backdrop, I feel that in defining goals, one has to ask
questions like, "Were the elections that were held in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and
Zanzibar, during the past few years fair or flawed?
So until you set your base level and decide how the people are going
to determine whether they have achieved that base level, then it is very
difficult to offer constructive criticism on NEPAD.
If NEPAD is to live up to the expectations of African and Western
political observers, then they should also be some reforms in international
trade, which need to be urgently addressed. However, even if the reforms are
addressed, that alone would not solve Africa's problem of being isolated
from the global community. In my opinion there is need for a lot of more
domestic reforms to go alongside the reforms in the international trading
On how NEPAD can progress against the background of xenophobia and
corruption in some African countries; I think results in this area could be
determined on where you set the benchmarks.
If NEPAD says democracy is a good thing and many African leaders
agree, then one has to explain what is meant by democracy, which in my view
is a difficult concept. I think the other problem is that democracy does not
just happen. It can take years or decades to grow and to become established.
"Issues like corruption, the suppression of the media and xenophobia are
difficult issues that have to be dealt with within the NEPAD secretariat,
and peer review mechanism.
I am of the view that there is need for democracy and its weaknesses
to be defined within the various countries, and steps taken to overcome
them. I am strongly convinced that if NEPAD is to succeed as a blueprint for
Africa's development, it is therefore very important to define what
democracy means to different African countries. Efforts should also be made
to determine the benchmarks used to define democracy.
For example, South Africa may be accepted as a democratic country,
which however has a problem of corruption and xenophobia, then under NEPAD,
President Thabo Mbeki, should then put in place programmes aimed at
resolving the problems or try to reduce them.
I am of the opinion that when this has been done, the peer review
mechanism will then judge the progress that he makes over time in meeting
those goals. My final analysis is that there is no clarity on the issue of
benchmarks, and this is what NEPAD will have to clearly define if it is to
have some credibility.
The British mining company African Consolidated Resources (ACR) has
raised 4 million pounds (about 7. 35 million U.S. dollars) for investment in
the Zimbabwe's mining industry, the company said in a press release on
ACR has diamond, platinum and gold claims rights in Zimbabwe, and has
successfully raised capital from the sale of 33 million shares, which were
quoted at 12 pence a share in London.
The company said the money will be ploughed into its ongoing
exploration and investment programs in Zimbabwe. It also said Zimbabwe's
mineral reserves are considerably undervalued and under- exploited owing to
the lack of both capital investment and modern exploration processes.
The company becomes the latest entrant in Zimbabwe, which has shown
vast potential and continues to lure international investors.
Ian Fisher, executive chairperson of ACR, said his company will step
up its activities in Zimbabwe, though the perceived negative sentiments that
were being fanned by some sections of the international community that were
sceptical of the proposed empowerment policy by the Zimbabwean government.
The Zimbabwean government has firmly stood by its decision to
indigenize the mining industry by making sure that laws are staked in favor
of the locals.
The mining sector has been one of the major contributors of foreign
currency to the national economy and it contributes approximately 8 percent
towards Zimbabwe's gross domestic product (GDP).
Business In Africa
Posted Mon, 10 Jul 2006
Harare - Stung by high inflation and interest rates of more than 1 200
percent, gold mining companies in Zimbabwe appealed to the Central Bank at
the weekend for an urgent review of a state price subsidy, warning the
industry would collapse if this was not done.
Gold accounts for a third of Zimbabwe's total foreign currency earnings.
But producers were reeling under a harsh economic environment characterised
by high inflation and interest rates, and shortages of foreign currency and
other essential inputs.
The gold miners' appeal to the Central Bank was lodged by the Chamber of
Mines, an umbrella mining industry body, which warned that companies in the
sector were on the verge of collapse.
It said producers' viability would be restored with a support price of
Z$6.8mn (about $67) per gram, up from the current Z$2.5mn.
The demand for a price review comes a week after one of the country's
biggest gold producers, Falcon Gold, said it was considering shutting down
due to viability problems.
It also comes in the wake of reports that most companies have scaled down
mining operations to stay afloat.
Last year, gold production fell 40 percent from 21 300kg in 2004 to 13
The Chamber of Mines cited rising operating costs for the demand for a price
review, amid sharp increases in labour, electricity and fuel costs.
The Central Bank, which has the sole right to buy all gold produced in
Zimbabwe, had in the past turned down the requests of the gold miners,
accusing them of smuggling the precious mineral out of the country.
Experts suggest that the environment would make smuggling inevitable, as the
rewards for producing through legal channels were unacceptably
By Fred Hiatt
Monday, July 10, 2006; Page A17
When communism collapsed in 1991, no one expected democracy to triumph
everywhere and instantly. But no one expected the other side to fight back,
either. After all, what was "the other side"?
Yet when President Vladimir Putin hosts the first summit of Group of Eight
leaders in Russia this week, the most notable thing won't be that his
country has failed to become the consolidated democracy that the G-7
countries expected when they invited Russia to join a decade ago. What will
be remarkable -- but has been little remarked on -- is that Putin has become
a leader and an emblem of an active movement to combat the spread of
"What seems to be the case," Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told me, "is that governments that are
authoritarian have decided to fight back."
Lugar chaired a hearing last month on "The Backlash Against Democracy
Assistance," which is the title of a report he commissioned from the
National Endowment for Democracy, a private, federally funded organization
created in 1983 to promote democratic institutions around the world. The
organization found the backlash to be most pronounced in what Carl Gershman,
NED's president, calls "hybrid regimes": autocracies that maintain some
nominally democratic processes, usually including elections, and that
generally claim to be democracies.
Many of these regimes tolerated civic groups promoting freedom and human
rights during the 1990s and allowed them to receive help from democracy
promoters in the United States and other nations. But after the Rose
Revolution swept away the corrupt regime of Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia,
followed by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Putin and other leaders
decided they could no longer take any chances.
They concluded, Gershman said in a recent talk, that, as Abraham Lincoln
noted in a different context, "a government cannot endure permanently half
slave and half free." And so they accelerated their harassment of civic
groups, radio stations, political parties and any other independent
voices -- with arbitrary detentions, visa bans, impossible funding rules,
intrusive registration requirements and more.
For the most part, the regimes claim that these measures are aimed only at
protecting state sovereignty, defeating terrorism or countering espionage.
That's good news, in a funny way; most of them still feel compelled to
describe themselves as democrats. Even now there is no "other side,"
But it also makes the measures difficult to combat. Post reporter Peter
Finn's account last week of how the Kremlin has eliminated Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts from most Russian radio stations without
formally banning the programming -- instead harassing, insinuating and
threatening to revoke licenses -- provides a good example.
And the rebounding dictators are learning from each other. In January Putin
signed legislation regulating nongovernmental organizations that will give
30,000 bureaucrats the option of revoking the registration of any
troublesome group. Now Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Robert Mugabe in
Zimbabwe are pushing similar legislation. China reportedly sent researchers
to Uzbekistan and other former Soviet states to compare notes on democracy
countermeasures; meanwhile, Belarus's dictator, Alexander Lukashenko,
"reportedly acquired China's latest internet monitoring and control
technology while in Beijing in December 2005," NED reported.
The man who helped provoke all this -- Georgia's democratic president,
Mikheil Saakashvili -- was in Washington last week warning that Putin and
his ilk may be interested in more than defense; they may want to roll back
democracy in Georgia, Ukraine and beyond. Bush, who spent two hours with the
Georgian, appears to understand this.
Putin is, in fact, working hard to undermine democratic Georgia, a nation of
fewer than 5 million people bordering Russia on the south. He has banned
imports of Georgian produce, wine and mineral water; he is manipulating
secessionists inside the country. Saakashvili's success in promoting
economic growth and diminishing corruption may be too dangerous an example
for Putin to abide.
A key question for this week will be whether the G-7 leaders make clear that
undermining neighboring democracies is not an acceptable policy. France and
Germany will be reluctant to allow principle to interfere with commercial
interests, which lie with Russia, not some tiny nation to the south. So it
will be up to Bush.
Saakashvili seemed to be delivering just such a message when he handed Bush
a photocopy of a 1936 letter his government had discovered in the KGB
archives. The letter, handwritten by leaders of fiercely independent people
of the mountainous Khevsureti region, was addressed to the "Great American
Government." It bewailed the encroaching Bolsheviks, who were forcing the
locals onto collective farms and preventing them from practicing their
"We won't surrender as long as a single Georgian in Khevsureti is alive,"
they wrote. "We'll defend ourselves with swords and daggers. . . . We hope
you will help us. You are the only ones who can . . . ."
The letter never reached Franklin Roosevelt, of course, and all its
signatories were promptly murdered by the KGB (then known as the NKVD).
Times have changed, thank goodness. But history hasn't ended, and the spread
of democracy still can't be put on autopilot.
By Mutumwa Mawere
Last updated: 07/10/2006 07:17:43
LAST week I was privileged to be one of the speakers at the Brightest Young
Minds (BYM) conference in Johannesburg.
I also attended a Gala Dinner for the 100 students at the Presidential Guest
House on Saturday night.
For my column this week, I could think of no better subject than to share
with you my presentation to the BYM.
When I was invited to speak to the BYM, I did not know anything about the
organization but was given discretion to choose my topic. I was impressed by
the theme behind the BYM and the sponsors who saw the need to bring 100
young men and women together for a week to exchange ideas on how to
contribute to Africa's promise.
For me, it was a great experience to share my insights with these minds on
Africa's challenges and promise and the role of the youth in shaping and
defining Africa's destiny.
I started my presentation by acknowledging Africa's rich history and
resource endowment. With 54 countries, Africa is continent with a lot of
promise and yet full of challenges and contradictions. South Africa, being
the youngest country in the continent is leading the way in redefining the
continent's corporate architecture in terms of the ownership of economic
assets as well as in changing the composition of the board rooms of Africa's
key corporate players.
What was striking about the BYM class of 2006 was the skewed representation
of white students compared to blacks. Notwithstanding the small number of
black students represented in the team, I was impressed by their input and
I told the students that life is nothing but a nuisance of time. However,
when great minds decide to apply their minds for the collective good, life
can have meaning not only to the current generation but to the future
Each generation has the obligation to create the footprints that tomorrow
can be used as references to yesterday's generation. Being the luckiest
generation to be alive, twelve years after the birth of South Africa, the
obligations are quite onerous not only because there are few examples of
success stories in Africa but because the contemporary history of Africa has
been defined by conflicts, economic failure, and an apparent inability by
many African leaders to take responsibility for their failure to provide
leadership and choosing the easy road of blaming former colonial masters.
I used Zimbabwe's history to illustrate some of the key issues that may help
them better deal with South Africa's potential growing pains and
opportunities. Zimbabwe is one of the luckiest countries to produce two
strong individuals in the pre-colonial and post-colonial eras who both have
complained against the former colonial power for different reasons.
On 11 November 1965, Ian Smith and his team chose to declare independence
from Britain unilaterally. Like the USA, Smith knew the consequences and yet
he had the courage to take the lead. One is never sure what the real cost of
UDI was to the people of Zimbabwe. However, as Smith signed the declaration
of independence, his team was already at work looking at the economic and
political implications. Sanctions were imposed but soon the world was
impressed with how the settler community managed to regroup and create what
was described in 1980 as a sophisticated industrial and financial system
outside South Africa. Zimbabwe also produced Mugabe who was one of the
liberators and was supportive of the sanctions regime against UDI.
In 2000, Zimbabwe attracted the attention of the international community for
different reasons. The economy was already in intensive care and the land
reform was in earnest. However, the institutional response to the sanctions
regime sets Mugabe and Smith apart. One was able to organize a small
privileged settler community to take responsibility and move on and the
other has not been able to get out of the quagmire. The inherited economic
and financial system is fast crumbling while sovereignty is the primary
focus with no discernible economic strategy underpinning the policy choices.
I told the students that the white population in post-colonial Africa is
analogous to animals in a zoo. Their number can increase through either
reproduction or immigration.
The latter is controlled by blacks and yet even after 26 years of
independence, the genius of Mugabe has not been able to provide any economic
solution to the perceived white problem. If one assumes that Zimbabwe had a
problem with about 5,000 white farmers who controlled most of the productive
land, what should have been a better response to the land question? Can
animals in a zoo be a real threat? In terms of actuarial analysis, would
whites still pose a threat to a growing black population in 50 years for
instance? Why was there a hurry to resolve the land issue in this
generation? Was the urgency worth the cost? If not, why was the country
condemned to poverty in the interest of resolving the rights of only 5,000
people who cannot reproduce themselves in sufficient numbers to pose a
threat to the majority?
In the case of South Africa, about 4 million whites still pose a serious
strategic threat to more than 42 million blacks to the extent that laws are
being enacted to protect the rights of the majority. In as much as South
Africa has produced the Old Mutuals, Sanlams, Liberty (even before Mandela
was freed), I asked the students why post-colonial Africa has failed to
produce new mutuals in the form of institutions to underpin black values.
The Asians have demonstrated what is possible in one generation and yet
countries like Zimbabwe have chosen to focus for 26 years on the minority
without creating conditions and policies conducive for the majority. While
we may disagree with Ian Smith, no one can argue that the Rhodesian economy
in 1980 was good for his constituency and yet 26 years after independence
can we rationally argue that the Zimbabwe of today is what its liberators
had in mind? If not, should the blame be on the bilateral dispute with
Britain or should it be on the brightest minds in Zimbabwe and indeed in
Africa that have failed to call a spade a spade.
I told the students that the knowledge, execution and capital gaps that
confront and characterize contemporary Africa need to be bridged through an
investment in improved literacy. On the knowledge front, there are many in
Africa who genuinely believe that Zimbabwe is a victim of white conspiracy
and imperialist maneuvers. They argue that if whites had never visited
Africa, the continent would have done better. Even the older African
countries still hold this view and believe that animals in zoos where blacks
are gate keepers are a threat. If this proposition is accepted, then the
probability of Africa taking ownership of its destiny is remote.
I challenged the students to critically examine the African journey from the
womb of colonialism to today. If we look at the people in whose hands Africa's
resources are, one would be shocked to find out that the majority are
alienated from what God has given to Africa not because of a conspiracy but
because of bad policies. I made the point that it is important to look at
the interplay between bad policies and development. If our students and
scholars were in the engine room their input will go a long way towards
better putting in place an environment where leaders are made accountable
for bind stewardship instead of allowing them to play victims even where
evidence suggest otherwise.
The corporate civilization of Africa still has to be written and it is
important that an investment be made to ensure that such a civilization will
include black players. Is it not ironic that black corporate citizens are
more often called criminals and crooks than genuine businesspeople? You will
find that more in known about the new black businesspeople than the real
players in the South African economy. You will find more said about the
likes of Ramaphosa, Motsepe, Sexwale than Rupert, Oppenheimer etc. While the
former represents new money (only twelve years old), the latter represents
more mature and old money and yet very little is known and written about it.
I told the students that they should study Africa's history in its entirety
rather than focus on selective issues. Africa needs genuine role models and
even those who have chosen the political theatre as their vocation have also
been labeled criminals.
At the dinner on Saturday, I was encouraged when the students said to me
that they were greatly inspired by my presentation and had spent the rest of
the week debating the issues that I had flagged. As we continue to grope for
solutions for our beautiful continent, we cannot help but admire the inert
capacity that is available and yet not utilized. I made the comment sometime
back that God made minerals and hid them and our job is to find them in the
strange places of the world. The conflicts in Africa and myriad of problems
may just be a sign that there is a plan for future generations in Africa to
benefit from the endowment. Imagine an Africa free of conflicts and bad
leaders, what would have happened to its minerals and its great minds?
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column appears on New Zimbabwe.com every Monday. You
can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Violet Gonda
10 July 2006
Consumers were last week hit by another price increase as the economy
continued to deteriorate. The price of beef went up from about ZW$500 000 to
ZW$1.5million per kg. Beef prices had already shot up two months ago from
ZW$300 000 to ZW$500 000. This means the cost more than doubled in the last
Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa who visited several supermarkets and
butcheries in Harare said the prices vary depending on where you are. He
said it is more expensive in supermarkets like Bon Marché, TM and OK where a
kilogram of beef is going for around ZW$1.5million. But on the outskirts of
the capital it is about ZW$750 000 per kilogram.
The depreciation of the national herd has resulted in the price of
beef gradually going up as demand gets greater. Although the government
blames the economic crisis on targeted sanctions imposed by some western
governments and on the drought, analysts lay the blame largely on Robert
Mugabe's policies, in particular the failed agrarian reform.
The former head of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Renson Gasela said
the effects of this are now with us and this is why there is a shortage of
beef in the country. The agricultural expert said it takes a long time to
grow a national herd and a lot of it had already been decimated by the
drought in the early 90s. A programme had been put in place to revive the
herd after the drought but Gasela said: "The herd that had been grown was
adversely affected by the land reform programme."
He said the destructive policies have meant that for example the
"commercial herd, which used to support the Cold Storage Commission (CSC) so
that it was able to keep abattoirs operative and export to the European
Union, was decimated to less than 100 000 from around 500 000."
Gasela said at its peak both the commercial and communal herd
consisted of millions.
Zimbabwe has one of the fastest shrinking economies in the world with
inflation nearly 1200%. The crisis is having a serious effect on the general
population. The average monthly family basket is estimated at ZW$45million
but the average consumer earns between ZW$20 & ZW$25 million a month.
Meanwhile it's reported that the government has begun a crackdown on
people using fake passports to cross the border to neighbouring countries.
It is estimated that at least 100 Zimbabweans h it by economic hardships are
crossing into South Africa illegally every day to source commodities that
are in short supply in Zimbabwe.
The state controlled newspaper the Sunday Mail reported that Plumtree
police arrested 24 people who intended to cross into neighbouring countries
using counterfeit emergency travel documents (ETDs).
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
10 July 2006
In the first of a series of reports from
Zimbabwe, Trócaire's Orla Fagan
meets some of those who have
lost their homes and livelihoods under
the Zimbabwe regime's
'Operation Murambatsvina' evictions.
Click here to to read Trócaire's
Zimbabwe Country Profile.
In May 2005 the ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe
implemented Operation Murambatsvina, a forceful eviction
of more than a half million citizens from their dwellings in Harare and the
demolition of their homes.
At the time President Mugabe reasoned that the demolition took
place because he wanted a better standard of housing for his citizens.
Outside help was offered to build housing for the victims of the evictions
but it was rejected because the standards did not meet the Zimbabwean
However, no provisions had been made for the dwellers in Murambatsvina who
have been left without homes, posessions and livelihoods. A year after the
bulldozers moved in and destroyed the lives of so many in the space of 20
minutes, the people affected are suffering greatly. The government has
abandoned them and they are left struggling to earn a living and fend for
themselves and their families.
Nelson Pachawo, 25, is a victim of Operation Murambatsvina. He moved to
Harare when his parents passed away in 1998 and he was left to provide for
himself and his two sisters. Nelson settled in Murambatsvina and after
working in various odd jobs, gathered enough capital to open a small street
shop. Here he earned his living and supported his wife and young baby. While
life had its difficulties, they had a roof over their heads and a shelter
for their firstborn.
"The day the bulldozers came," Nelson told Trócaire, "I lost everything..my
home, my business, my possessions. Myself, my wife and our baby were left
homeless and destitute in the space of 20 minutes." The Pachawo family now
lives in transitory accommodation and in September they will be forced to
move on. Nelson sells t-shirts in the neighbourhood but there isn't enough
income to sustain the family. "I can't see a future," he continued.
"Everything I had worked so hard for is all gone now. I don't know what will
become of us."
Another young man,
Tajadzwa Masendeke, (pictured right)
came to Murambatsvina in 2000 with
his mother, who has since died. They
came to Harare because they couldn't
earn enough to feed his two sisters and
one brother, who remained in the country
with Tajadzwa's grandmother. "I am very
angry with what has happened to me,"
he said. "I had a window framing
business and I could afford to eat three
meals a day. Now I'm lucky if I get two
meals a day and most days I eat only
once." He continued: "I am fortunate I have a room to stay at night. I share
this room with nine other people and some of my friends now sleep in night
clubs because there is nowhere else." Tajadzwa now runs a small barber shop
from the room but police constantly harass him because he has no licence.
Some victims of the demolition have been fortunate to come into contact with
local non-government organisations that provide them with basic skills to
enhance their opportunities to make a living. For most of the victims, life
remains a struggle and their only hope is for a change of government and the
dawn of a new era which will bring democracy to Zimbabwe.
As the new elephant in the room, China attracts all the attention. But a
couple of powerful beasts are already on the premises.
July 10, 2006 01:20 PM | Printable version
If I see another article or hear another broadcast announcing the inexorable
rise of China, I may well start to emit the kind of low moan usually
associated with England talking penalties.
By the end of the 20th century, the mainland's emergence as a major new
global presence was palpable. What has happened since is that the numbers
have got bigger and Beijing's confidence has grown. But the currently
fashionable equation that follows - that China's rise means it will
inevitably become a superpower to rival, or surpass, America - is far from
certain. Yes, the world balance is changing, and the US has got itself into
all kinds of trouble under Bush. But longer-term, the rebalancing of the
globe has been mainly to the detriment of Europe. America, as Europeans so
often forget, is a two-ocean power, and the picture in the Pacific is not as
cut-and-dried as it may seem, despite being on Beijing's home turf.
As the new elephant in the room, China naturally attracts all the attention.
But there are already a couple of powerful beasts roaming the premises.
American forces may be overstretched by Iraq, but the US nuclear presence,
its fleet and bases, are still a determining element in the east Asian
strategic balance. US technology, military and civilian, is streets ahead of
China's, and its growth in these areas shows no sign of slowing down.
Japan is still the world's second-biggest economy, enjoying recovery from
its long recession. Even if constitutional restrictions apply, it has large
and highly efficient armed forces, including a navy that is better than
China's. It has recently become involved in Iraq.
When Koizumi steps down in the autumn, his successor is likely to go further
in the hawkish stakes, and that usually consists mainly of talking tough to
Beijing. If it wanted to, Japan could almost certainly arm itself with
nuclear weapons in a matter of six months or so.
Australia counts itself Washington's best friend. Countries such as
Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand want to make the most of China's
rise, but they are also keen to keep on goods terms with the United States,
offering military co-operation in some cases.
Taiwan depends on the American link for its survival in its present
democratic form. Off to the west, India, which has a pretty impressive
growth record itself, has been declared Washington's strategic partner and,
while opening mountain border crossings to China, has got the Bush
administration to agree to supply it with nuclear technology (even if
Congress is taking its time to give approval).
There are, naturally, many ways in which the countries mentioned above have
developed a dependence on China. Beijing funds the US federal deficit from
its $900bn in foreign reserves. Japanese companies rely on mainland assembly
lines. Australia's mining companies boom on the back of sharply ratcheted
prices charged to China for their minerals. Trade between China and India is
But, in terms of the realpolitik that rules after the popping of the new
world order balloon, the widely proclaimed coming dominance of China has got
quite a few hurdles to cross. With the domestic economy seriously
unbalanced, and the Communist party counting on growth to give it a form of
legitimacy, the mainland needs the world quite as much as the world needs
Energy dependency forces the mainland to pay escalating prices to keep the
economy running The limits of China's economic negotiating clout were shown
in the unceremonious collapse of its bid to keep down iron ore prices this
year. Its domestic banking and financial system are still well below what an
economy of its size needs. Exports come largely from foreign-invested firms.
Piracy acts deters the supply of advanced intellectual property. A serious
downturn in the US and European house markets would have a big knock-on
effect via the impact on consumer demand. Western protectionism may yet
cause similar problems.
Although the mainland faces no threat of invasion, soaring spending on the
People's Liberation Army shows how much China wants to become a big military
power. But the PLA depends on Russia for weapons, and Putin is careful about
what he sells. All of Chirac's lobbying efforts could not get the European
Union to lift its arms embargo. On Taiwan, Hu Jintao has been obliged to
adopt a softly-softly approach, and the PLA has kept its finger away from
the missile trigger since Bill Clinton saw it off in 1996.
Diplomatically, China has collected some pretty dodgy friends - Burma,
Zimbabwe etc. It has a seat on the security council, but nothing to equal
the alliances America still enjoys in the region (and the growing ties with
India). The Shanghai Group linking Beijing with the autocracies of Central
Asia is held together by one thing: a desire to keep America out of the
The inability of Beijing to restrain its "little brother", North Korea, is
deeply embarrassing. To which one might add that true superpower status may
prove a touch tricky for a regime which faces tens of thousands of popular
protests a year as it scrambles to keep a lid on debate; which presides over
a yawning wealth gap and a major urban-rural divide; which is fighting a
losing battle against pollution and a barely more successful one against
corruption, and which cannot bring itself to confront its past. Not to
mention the D word, democracy, or the A one, accountability.
The mainland of the early 21st-century is sometimes compared to the Germany
of the late-19th century as it seeks a greater place in the world to
displace the old order. The answer to the kind of problems outlined above is
that they will go away as China powers ahead, though how this will come to
pass is never quite stipulated. For sure, like Bismarck's Reich, China's
rise will continue, albeit with bumps along the way. But, when it comes to
the world beyond crude economics, Beijing has a lot more to do to justify
the prophecies. After all, it knows how the Kaiser ended up.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/10/2006 20:21:35
ZIMBABWE has expanded the scope of its sodomy laws.
An intimate hug or smooch between people of the same sex may now constitute
The dramatic changes to the country's criminal law, which took effect last
Saturday, are contained in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act of
2004 passed by parliament two years ago but which only took effect last
It creates 15 new crimes, abolishes others and redefines sodomy and rape.
Lawyers, police officers, prosecutors and judges complain that they were not
adequately trained or informed about law reforms in the two-year gap between
their passage and adoption.
Before the changes to the law, sodomy, under Section 73, referred only to
anal sexual intercourse between males. The code has expanded the scope of
It now includes not only acts of anal sexual intercourse, but also includes
any act involving physical contact between males that would be regarded by a
reasonable person as an indecent act.
Professor Geoff Feltoe of the University of Zimbabwe, in a commentary on the
new criminal code, says a seemingly intimate embrace or hug between two men
would presumably be construed as a crime.
Zimbabwe has refused to bow to pressure from gay groups to abolish its
sodomy laws. President Robert Mugabe regularly lashes out at gays and
lesbians, and once famously called them "worse than dogs and pigs".
The reforms also include the redefinition of crimes of assault, culpable
homicide, while new crimes which include unauthorized borrowing, making off
without payment, inciting or assisting suicide, computer-related crimes
(cyber crimes), threatening to commit specified crimes, obstructing a public
official, among others, have been created.
The crime of rape, Section 65, continues to be a crime that is committed by
a male who has non-consensual sexual intercourse with a female. However, the
crime has been extended to cover a situation where a male has non-consensual
anal intercourse with a female.
A new sexual crime, aggravated indecent assault, has been created. This
crime is committed where a male or female commits an indecent assault
involving non-consensual penetration with intent of any part of the body of
the victim or perpetrator. It is more serious than the crime of indecent
assault, which does not involve any such penetration.
In his analysis, Professor Feltoe said the crime of assault, which had a
distinction between "common assault" and "assault with intent to cause
grievous bodily harm", (GBH), has been abolished. All assaults - except
indecent assaults - now fall under the single crime of assault. The
seriousness of the assault will now be a matter of sentence.
A new crime, negligent assault (Section 90), has been created. This covers
situations where the accused person did not intend to inflict serious bodily
harm but was negligent in causing such harm.
Inciting or assisting (Section 50) is another new crime that has been
created which consists of inciting another to commit suicide or assisting a
person to commit suicide.
The traditional practice of handing over of a female person to settle a debt
or delict has seen the creation of a new crime called pledging a female
It is now a crime to borrow or use without authorization any property
belonging to another. The crime, unauthorized borrowing, used to cover use
of a car or boat only but now includes any property.
Another new crime, making off without payment, has been created. This crime
will cover situations where "services" rather than "goods" are stolen. Also
within the scope of this crime is the consumption of goods for which payment
after consumption is required but has not been made: in these circumstances
the intention to "deprive another person permanently" of ownership,
possession or control is incapable of proof, because it may only have been
formed after the goods were consumed and therefore no longer capable of
being owned, possessed or controlled by anybody.
Threatening to commit specified crimes (Section 184) is another new crime in
the code. A person who threatens to commit such crimes as murder, rape,
kidnapping or other crimes specified in the section will be guilty of an
A person commits this crime where he or she threatens to commit the crime,
intending to inspire or realising that there was a real risk of inspiring in
the person threatened a reasonable fear or belief that the accused would
commit the crime concerned.
Theft by false pretences as a crime has been abolished and in future what
used to be theft by false pretences would be treated as cases of fraud by
The crime of stock theft has also been changed. Now there is the continuing
nature of theft and stock theft. Previously the law on theft provided that a
person continued to commit the crime of theft for as long as the stolen
property remains in the possession of the thief, but the code drastically
changes this rule to provide that theft or stoke theft continues to be
committed, regardless of whether the offender has lost possession of the
property. A thief may be tried in whichever magisterial district he/she last
possessed the property.
On the uttering (Section 137 (2)), although the Common Law crime of forgery
is retained, the code abolished the existing crime of "uttering", which
basically is passing off as genuine a forged document and provides that in
future uttering will be treated as fraud. If the utterer also forged the
document in question, he or she will be liable both for forgery and fraud.
Sections 162 and 168, that deal with computer-related crimes, create a
series of new crimes pertaining to the deliberate misuse of computers,
credit cards, passwords and personal identification numbers. Such misuse
creates the potential for fraud, sabotage and other harm to the public
interest. Such crimes are often collectively described as "cyber crimes".
Subornation of perjury is no longer chargeable under Common Law. The Common
Law crime of subornation of perjury has been abolished. Instead, if person X
incites person Y to commit perjury, person X will be charged with incitement
to perjury or if the incitement succeeds and person Y gives false testimony,
person X will be charged as an accomplice to the perjury committed by person
The code also caters for the Common Law crime of incest (with modifications)
but also now accommodates Customary Law notions of incest under a crime
called sexual intercourse within a prohibited degree of relationship
(Incest, Section 75).
Other new crimes include corruptly concealing from a principal a personal
interest in a transaction, obstructing a public official, impersonating a
police officer or public official, deliberately supplying false information
to a public authority and negligently causing serious damage to property
Previous crimes like housebreaking, arson and malicious injury to property
and contempt of court have either been codified or completely reformulated
to become unlawful entry into premises, malicious damage to property,
defeating or obstructing the course of justice, respectively.
Professor Geoff Feltoe says the "adoption of the Criminal Law Code by
Parliament is a landmark development for the Criminal Law of Zimbabwe" which
now has its own unique homegrown definitions and essential elements of some
Common Law and statutory crimes aimed at addressing local crime trends.