|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, has reiterated that the US
will not back down against pressurising the Zimbabwean government from
resolving the political impasse in the country. Powell says they will
continue pressign all parties in Zimbabwe to find a lasting solution to
return to democracy.
Powell has blamed the dire situation in Zimbabwe on President
Robert Mugabe's failure to bring about democracy. However, he says the US
accepts President Thabo Mbeki's assurances about ongoing talks in Zimbabwe
between Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition MDC to bring about peace in
Powell said: "What we would like to see is serious, open, full
discussions between the government and opposition and not suppressing the
opposition and or detaining the opposition leader...that's not the way one
finds political solution."
Reacting to reports of soured relations between Nelson Mandela,
the former president, and George W. Bush, Powell says the US respects
Mandela's position on the Iraqi war and America's part in it. "We have the
utmost respect for Mandela. He is more than just a great leader in my mind.
He is a friend of mine. I was here for the inauguration. He will always be a
hero in the minds of all Americans. On this issue we had disagreement. As I
would expect Madiba to do he spoke out strongly when he has disagreement
with someone," he said.
Powell said the US felt at the time it was necessary to take
action against Saddam Hussein for the sake of the US and world security.
Zimbabwe Braces For Massive Price Hikes On Staple Food
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--Zimbabwe braced for at least a 500%
increase in the The opposition mayor of the Zimbabwe's capital, Harare is resisting his
eviction from his official residence by the government of President Mugabe.
Elias Mudzuri told the BBC's Network Africa programme on Friday that he had
been told to leave his residence by Thursday and had also had his other benefits
He was released without charge on both occasions and his party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), claimed the arrests were part of ongoing state
harassment, accusing the government of using "political muscle" to interfere
with Mr Mudzuri's work.
Mr Mudzuri was the first opposition figure to become mayor of Harare since
President Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980.
Mr Mudzuri, who said he was in a police cell when he received the letter,
said the local government minister did not give any explanation for his
"He (the minister) has simply written a letter of withdrawal of all benefits.
So there is no more benefit for me. He has given no real reason. It only shows
the vindictive nature of the minister... It also shows that his purported
suspension is not rational," he said.
The MDC say that President Mugabe's administration is not allocating the town
council with enough fuel and foreign currency to carry out essential services.
The MDC mayor was elected overwhelmingly by Harare residents last year in
polls that coincided with those that returned Mr Mugabe to office for another
Mr Mudzuri has expressed his concern over his security because his bodyguards
and aide were removed on Thursday.
"I think they (the government) want to create a scenario where I am probably
harmed," he told the BBC.
But the defiant MDC Harare mayor, said he was staying put as he had nowhere
else to go.
"If I vacate where will I go? I cannot just vacate and start walking in the
The Zimbabwean Government recently announced that it was seeking to introduce
a bill in parliament which will allow the administration to withhold six months
pay of all opposition MPs who boycott President Mugabe's speeches in the
price of corn meal as the government appeared Friday to have given up
enforcing its price freeze on key foods in the beleaguered economy.
Corn meal was set to rise from about 100 Zimbabwe dollars ($1=ZWD814.720) a
kilogram - the fixed government price - to ZWD630 a kilogram, milling
company and food store executives said.
Tiny increases in the past have led to food riots, which pushed the
government to impose price controls buttressed by state subsidies.
The state-run Grain Marketing Board, which has a monopoly on grain sales,
announced earlier this month massive increases in the price of cereals.
The price of corn rose from ZWD9,600 a metric ton to ZWD211,756 on July 3.
Similar increases in wheat prices led to a fourfold increase in the price of
a loaf of bread this week.
Zimbabwe is suffering acute grain shortages as part of its worst economic
crisis since independence in 1980.
Official inflation has soared to more than 300%, unemployment is estimated
at 70% and a black market in food and fuel, where inflation is as high as
600%, is thriving.
The U.N. World Food Program estimates food shortages will leave 5.5 million
out of about 12 million Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid this year.
The corn price increase is expected to be felt next week when deliveries of
the more expensive corn meal, used to make a traditional porridge, begin to
reach stores, industry executives said.
In a rare departure from the government's price control policy, the state
Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said Friday the Grain Marketing
Board had no alternative but to massively hike corn prices even though the
effects on ordinary people would be "negative."
"It would be impossible to keep the retail prices of maize meal, flour and
bread at prices affordable by the majority of ordinary people despite the
fact the prices of these products are controlled," it said in an editorial.
Past price fixing of goods led to shortages on the shelves and intense black
market trading in the scarce foods, it said.
The higher grain prices forced stores to charge consumers more and "it might
be difficult for the government to intervene and keep a lid on soaring
prices," The Herald said.
A 25% increase in corn meal prices in 1998 led to food riots.
Bakers this week increased the price of a regular loaf of bread to ZWD1,000,
defying a government price freeze at ZWD225 a loaf.
The government took no action against the bakers.
John Makumbe, a political scientist at the main Zimbabwe University in
Harare, said much of the country's formal economic activity was now replaced
by black market trading.
Price controls, meant to cushion the 80% of Zimbabweans living in poverty,
threatened the viability of many businesses, risking closure and job losses.
"The black market has been allowed to expand because the government has
literally run out of ideas" to do anything else but let market forces of
supply and demand determine prices, he said.
Black market gasoline and corn already fetch as much as five times fixed
prices. Most regular gas stations have been dry for the past month. Main
stores have not received corn meal deliveries for several weeks.
Part of the economic crisis is blamed on a state program that seized
thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black
Hard currency earnings from tobacco, tourism and mining have collapsed.
Investment and foreign aid has largely ended in protest of human rights
abuses and disputed presidential elections last year that gave President
Robert Mugabe another six-year term in office.
Two national strikes called by the opposition have further dented the
economy this year. Last month, opposition-led street protests were crushed
before they started by a massive show of force.
Dow Jones Newswires
Harare opposition Mayor
President George Bush has been well and truly duped. He flies in,
threatening to get tough with President Thabo Mbeki over his inept handling
Zimbabweans all over await the expected clash with eagerness. Half an hour
later, the world's most powerful leader emerges praising Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy", describing him as an "honest broker".
Honest broker, my foot. Mbeki is bad news. To Zimbabweans, he is a conniver.
If it were not for his steadfast support of his sister-party Zanu (PF),
Mugabe would have been long gone.
Mbeki convinces Bush that talks are going on in Zimbabwe. If this were the
case, surely Morgan Tsvangarai would know about them.
Tsvangarai stops short of publicly calling Mbeki a liar. In private, you can
be sure the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership are seething.
There are many Zimbabweans who view Mbeki as nothing more than Robert
Mugabe's lackey. Bush and his advisers need to meet with the MDC as a matter
of urgency. Only then will they see that the only solution to the Zimbabwean
crisis is the removal of the great comrade.
If Mbeki has nothing positive to contribute to the Zimbabwean saga, he
should keep his mouth shut.
Bush-Mbeki: pragmatism triumphs over ideology
US president's visit points to increasing diplomatic and political
collaboration on regional and global issues
PRESIDENT George Bush's visit to SA and his meeting with President Thabo
Mbeki were important to them and their countries. It marked a turning point
in the relations between the US and SA.
In significant ways pragmatism triumphed over ideology. It was more about
substance than form, more than a photo opportunity, as some in SA and the US
had justifiably feared. It marked the elevation of Africa, and SA in
particular, to the level of strategic partners in US foreign policy.
A US national security report last year identified SA, Nigeria, Ethiopia and
Kenya as "pivotal" regional states crucial to US policy on Africa.
Mbeki's championing of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad)
read good governance, law and order, sound economic policies, investor
friendliness in Africa, democracy, human capital development etc sets him
apart as a statesman, "honest broker" and "great leader" with a vision for a
better Africa and better world for all.
It is significant that the world's only superpower recognised Mbeki in this
regard, despite past differences on crucial issues such as the war on Iraq,
the role of the United Nations (UN), pharmaceutical and steel sectors,
Zimbabwe, and adherence to multilateralism in dealing with global issues
such as the International Criminal Court, the World Conference on Racism,
the Kyoto Protocol and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
What does this improvement in relations between Washington and Pretoria tell
us? First, that both countries and presidents take each other seriously.
They see each other as crucial to the pursuit of their national interests.
SA needs US companies to invest to grow the SA economy, create jobs and
transfer skills. Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin recently visited
Detroit to drum up more investment for SA's thriving auto sector. The US
needs markets for its products. It also needs SA's raw materials. Business
and commercial links between the two countries have been intensifying with
more SA companies having secondary listings on Wall Street.
Second, the visit indicated that Bush trusts Mbeki and would defer to him on
regional issues, including the potentially explosive Zimbabwe issue, and
continental issues such as Nepad and the African Union. This is in line with
Pretoria's role as a "pivotal" regional state in Africa.
Endorsement of Mbeki's efforts and initiatives to resolve the Zimbabwean
debacle surprised many advocates of "regime change" who were bolstered by US
Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent call on Pretoria to put more
pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
The discussion on conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Africa signalled
the emergence of a division of labour, where the US supplies the dollars and
expertise and Africa supplies troops. Washington's experience in Somalia has
made it reticent to send its troops to Africa. This explains Bush's
reticence to commit troops to Liberia. With US presidential elections
looming, any miscalculated move that costs American lives may have
disastrous consequences for his presidential ambitions.
However, African lives are important. The urgency of peace-keeping missions
in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo cannot be overemphasised.
Failure to act is inexcusable and unacceptable.
Bush's endorsement of Nepad and Mbeki's role in it was also very
significant. Nepad's success would bode well for stability in Africa. So
Nepad is as much a socioeconomic as a security issue. The US needs to
provide the money. At least 10% of US gross domestic product was spent on
the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after by the Second World War, says
Africa needs tangible assistance to halve poverty, achieve literacy for all
and alleviate HIV/AIDS by 2015. The UN Development Programme has warned that
if things continue as they are, it may take at least 150 years for these
goals to be attained.
Too much has been said too soon about Bush's $15bn HIV/AIDS package, which
raises more questions than answers. Unfortunately the focus on this package
was at the expense of the need to focus on trade.
Africa needs more trade than aid. Free trade alone would help Africa solve
its debt burden, health and education challenges and poverty. More attention
should have been given to what Bush is doing, or willing to do, to make the
next trade round Africa- friendly.
Third, the Bush visit also tells us that increasing diplomatic and political
collaboration on regional and global issues will be a key feature going
forward. Pretoria needs the ear of Washington to be effective as a de facto
leader of the developing world. Mbeki is in the forefront of calls for the
reform of the global architecture of political and financial governance.
The UN needs to be democratised. It is ironic that it is a champion of
democratic values, and yet its governance structures are as undemocratic as
they are unrepresentative of our 21st century world.
SA and Africa need to be adequately represented on the UN Security Council.
Bush can be a good "point man" for Mbeki by ensuring that SA gets a
permanent seat on the security council. The same applies to the distribution
of votes on the councils of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund
and the next round of trade talks in Cancun, Mexico, in September.
The relationship forged in Pretoria can and must be leveraged to maximise
Africa's gains in these and other issues.
Fourth, from a geopolitical perspective, the US and SA have similar profiles
in their respective regions namely the North American Free Trade Area
(Nafta) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Both are
regional economic powerhouses.
Above all they are militarily and politically strong, and thus well
positioned to play meaningful and decisive roles in the politics of their
regions and elsewhere in the world.
For Bush to regain credibility which was severely dented by his war against
Iraq without UN approval and based on questionable intelligence in world
affairs, he needs a globally respectable leader like Mbeki.
Mbeki needs the likes of Bush, Britain's Tony Blair, Germany's Gerhard
Schröder and other G8 nation leaders to deliver his vision for a better
Africa. Bush's visit was a good step in the right direction.
Dlamini is a research associate with the SA Institute of International
Affairs and is also attached to Templeton College, Oxford.
Tsvangirai 'wants talks'
11/07/2003 08:47 - (SA)
Willem Jordaan and Jan-Jan Joubert
The opposition mayor of the Zimbabwe's capital, Harare is resisting his eviction from his official residence by the government of President Mugabe.
Elias Mudzuri told the BBC's Network Africa programme on Friday that he had been told to leave his residence by Thursday and had also had his other benefits withdrawn.
He was released without charge on both occasions and his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), claimed the arrests were part of ongoing state harassment, accusing the government of using "political muscle" to interfere with Mr Mudzuri's work.
Mr Mudzuri was the first opposition figure to become mayor of Harare since President Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980.
Mr Mudzuri, who said he was in a police cell when he received the letter, said the local government minister did not give any explanation for his eviction.
"He (the minister) has simply written a letter of withdrawal of all benefits. So there is no more benefit for me. He has given no real reason. It only shows the vindictive nature of the minister... It also shows that his purported suspension is not rational," he said.
The MDC say that President Mugabe's administration is not allocating the town council with enough fuel and foreign currency to carry out essential services.
The MDC mayor was elected overwhelmingly by Harare residents last year in polls that coincided with those that returned Mr Mugabe to office for another six years.
Mr Mudzuri has expressed his concern over his security because his bodyguards and aide were removed on Thursday.
"I think they (the government) want to create a scenario where I am probably harmed," he told the BBC.
But the defiant MDC Harare mayor, said he was staying put as he had nowhere else to go.
"If I vacate where will I go? I cannot just vacate and start walking in the street."
The Zimbabwean Government recently announced that it was seeking to introduce a bill in parliament which will allow the administration to withhold six months pay of all opposition MPs who boycott President Mugabe's speeches in the chamber.
Pretoria - Zimbabwean opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai has asked South
African President Thabo Mbeki to get negotiations with President Robert
Mugabe's government on track "within days".
Pressure is mounting on Mbeki, in the meantime, about when, how and where
alleged talks between the Movement for Democratic Change and Zanu-PF took
Tsvangirai was referring to talks Mbeki had held with President George W
Bush on Wednesday when the South African apparently said there had been
talks between Zimbabwe's two main parties.
Tsvangirai earlier doubted Mbeki's integrity and accused him of giving Bush
the wrong impression.
He said Mbeki was telling lies about the opposition MDC and Zanu-PF party
when he said they had already had negotiations.
Father Fidelis Mukonori, a clergyman who has negotiated on Mugabe's behalf
in the past, went to Tsvangirai a few hours before the Mbeki-Bush talks to
find out what conditions would be for talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF to
resume, reports Sapa.
Tsvangirai said there had been regular attempts to mediate, but the talks
just couldn't get off the ground.
Bush, who earlier gave his support to the way Mbeki was handling the
Zimbabwean situation, was asked in Botswana about the allegations that Mbeki
had misled him.
Bush evaded the question and said his government was still critical about
the Zimbabwe situation and that "straightfoward talks" had taken place
between himself and Mbeki.
Insisting on democracy in Zimbabwe
Bush said: "It's a disgrace that the Zimbabwean economy has deteriorated to
such an extent.
"It can be laid at the government's door. That's why we will keep on
insisting on democracy in Zimbabwe."
Bush described Mbeki as the "man on the scene" and left him to sort out the
Zimbabwean situation after expressing his confidence in the way the South
African was handling the matter.
South African government officials say South Africa and the United States
both want to see democracy established in Zimbabwe, but there are still
differences of opinion about how this can be achieved.
Americans say Bush is giving Mbeki room to put his strategies in place, but
that they are waiting to see results.
After Mbeki's and Tsvangirai's conflicting statements, questions have arisen
about what exactly the South African government means by talks taking place.
A highly-placed South African source says moderate MDC and Zanu-PF members
are having secret talks and trying to find a solution.
There's a different story being told in MDC circles, however.
Sources say informal talks are taking place now and again between MDC
members and Zanu-PF officials.
He referred to an informal lunch between a Zimbabwean minister and a
well-known MDC official about three weeks ago.
"Shortly afterwards, the South Africans said we were having talks, but such
discussions normally don't achieve anything.
"I do my best not to be seen with a Zanu-PF official, because then the South
Africans say we are negotiating."
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 10 July
Mugabe makes overtures to the opposition
Harare/Gabarone - Emissaries from Zimbabwe's ruling
party, and South Africa,
have approached the opposition in recent days about restarting talks to end
the nation's political and economic crisis, the opposition said on Thursday.
In the latest overture, a Roman Catholic priest linked to the ruling party
visited Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai on
Wednesday, just hours before US President George Bush and South African
President Thabo Mbeki discussed the crisis, opposition officials said.
Father Fidelis Mukonori, used as a Mugabe emissary in the past, wanted to
know the opposition's terms for restarting talks and whether any progress
could be made to bring the two sides to the negotiating table. He met with
Tsvangirai just two hours before Mbeki told Bush the two Zimbabwe parties
had begun talks to end the nation's crisis. Tsvangirai said that claim was
"patently false and mischievous".
Responding to Mbeki's
claim, Tsvangirai said emissaries from churches, civic
groups and the South African government were shuttling between the parties,
but no talks were under way. "So far, none of these efforts has succeeded,"
Tsvangirai said. Previous talks broke down because of the dispute over
Mugabe's narrow victory in last year's disputed elections and demands that
the opposition drop a court challenge to the poll. Addressing supporters in
recent weeks, Mugabe has again insisted the opposition recognise his
election and drop the case before he would meet with them. The opposition
has refused and demanded unconditional talks. Tsvangirai said he was
encouraged Bush and Mbeki mentioned the urgent need to address the political
crisis in Zimbabwe. "Significantly, we note that President Bush said that
they share the same objective to restore democracy, peace, and peoples'
freedoms to Zimbabwe," he said.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece,
Thursday Bush "snubbed" the Zimbabwe opposition by saying he was "of one
mind" with Mbeki on Zimbabwe. The opposition has described Mbeki as a
"dishonest broker" who failed to use the leverage of Zimbabwe's most
powerful neighbour to pressure Mugabe to negotiate democratic reform.
Meanwhile, the Information Ministry described Bush's statement on Zimbabwe
after his meeting with Mbeki as "a loud climb down" after both Bush and US
Secretary of State Colin Powell had called for regime change here. In a
statement, the ministry said Bush had been misled on conditions in Zimbabwe
and "now leaves the region better enlightened on the issues at stake". Bush
retaliated later on Thursday, slamming Zimbabwe's "bad governance". Bush
said, after meeting Botswana's President Festus Mogae, that he would
continue to speak out for democracy in Zimbabwe. "e expect there to be
democracy in Zimbabwe, in order for the people of that country to advance,"
Bush said in the capital of Botswana, a country viewed by Washington as a
rare African example of good governance. It's a shame that the (Zimbabwean)
economy has gotten so weak and soft. It is a shame for Botswana, it's a
shame for southern Africa, and that the weakness in the economy is directly
attributable to bad governance. Therefore we will continue to speak out for
democracy in Zimbabwe," Bush added, on the third leg of a five-nation
The opposition blames Mugabe
for plunging the economy into its worst crisis,
with 70% unemployment and acute shortages of food, gasoline and medicine.
Official inflation has soared to more than 300%, but a thriving black market
in food and fuel has led to inflation estimates of about 600%. The official
currency exchange rate is Z$824 to the $1, but the black market exchange is
as much as Z$2 700-$1. A state programme to seize thousands of white-owned
farms for redistribution to black farmers has crippled the agriculture-based
economy in the past three years. Investment and foreign aid has dried up in
protest of human rights abuses and last year's tainted presidential
Daily News 11 July 2003
ZANU PF factions court MDC
THREE factions within the ruling ZANU PF party have made secret
representations to the opposition Movement Democratic Change (MDC) in a bid
to strike a deal that would break the political impasse between Zimbabwe’s
main political parties.
Sources close to the
discussions said factions within ZANU PF backing
different candidates to succeed President Robert Mugabe had sent emissaries
to the MDC, selling different proposals that they hoped would break the ice
and lead to a power-sharing agreement.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday
told the Daily News that he was
fully aware of the overtures made by emissaries of senior ZANU PF officials
to the top leadership of his party, proposing scenarios to end the political
leadership in my party has received emissaries of senior ZANU
PF officials who have put forward various proposals,” he said.
added: “The MDC leadership is fully aware of these
unofficial initiatives. We have no official position from ZANU PF, all we
have had are factional positions. It is up to them to get organised, the MDC
has its position already.
“But talks about talks are not talks. We have been
emissaries from ZANU PF leaders representing various interests. The clergy
and businessmen with links to ZANU PF have also come up with their
proposals. But all these are not the official ZANU PF position.
“Until and unless there is resumption of the official
by (South Africa’s ruling African National Congress) ANC secretary-general
Kgalema Monthlante and Professor Adebayo Adedeji (on behalf of Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo), which had an official agenda, then there are
no talks to talk about.”
Sources said approaches
from the ZANU PF camp had intensified in the
past month, especially when Tsvangirai was detained in June on charges of
calling for the overthrow of Mugabe.
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube is said to have
fully briefed about the overtures while he was in remand prison.
Tsvangirai’s disclosures come after South African
Mbeki told American President George Bush on Wednesday that ZANU PF and the
MDC had resumed dialogue, which both parties have denied.
However, MDC officials yesterday said three ZANU PF
brought their proposals to the opposition party, one proposal being for the
formation of a ZANU PF-MDC government of national unity.
Another faction proposed a transitional government
headed by a ZANU PF
leader with a long grace period within which to prepare for fresh elections.
The third group had proposed the amendment
of Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
The amended Constitution would include sections from a draft document
rejected by Zimbabweans in a referendum in 2000 and from a draft produced by
the National Constitutional Assembly.
This would lead to the country being headed by a
and an executive prime minister after fresh elections were held, the sources
Moves to break the political
impasse in Zimbabwe come after talks
brokered by South Africa and Nigeria collapsed last year when the ruling
party demanded that the MDC withdraw a court case challenging Mugabe’s
re-election in March 2002.
Repeated efforts to rekindle the talks have since failed.
Efforts by local inter-denominational church groups to help
dialogue between the two parties have also not yielded any results.
By Sydney Masamvu
Daily News 11 July 2003
High Court bars Mudzuri
THE High Court yesterday granted an interim order barring suspended
Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri from performing his duties, as
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
urged city councillors to ignore government directives against the mayor
unless they were endorsed by the full council.
Justice Susan Mavangira said
Mudzuri should desist from violating
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo’s suspension, but should show
cause why the High Court should not make a final order in the matter.
Justice Mavangira said: “The first
respondent (Mudzuri) is hereby
interdicted from carrying out any mayoral functions whilst on suspension,
including reporting for duty at Town House or any other public gathering or
function as a mayor.
is hereby interdicted from interfering with any
investigations into his allegations of misconduct.’’
Mudzuri was suspended in April for
alleged incompetence. He was
arrested twice this week when he attempted to return to work.
Justice Mavangira said Mudzuri did not make any
attempt to legally
challenge and have the suspension order of 29 April 2003 set aside. She said
the suspension order stood and Mudzuri must abide by it until or unless it
was set aside.
Chombo this week also
instructed the Harare City Council, which was
elected on an opposition MDC ticket, to remove the mayor from his residence
and withdraw his perks.
Acting mayor Sekesayi Makwavarara on Tuesday met Chombo
council officials and agreed to implement Chombo’s directive, which
commentators said appeared to backtrack on the MDC’s position not to
recognise Mudzuri’s suspension.
MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai yesterday told the Daily News that he
summoned Harare city councillors to the party’s headquarters in Harare
because there was confusion about the directives being issued by Chombo.
He said there
should be no further resolutions against Mudzuri’s
benefits “because suspension is not dismissal”.
Mudzuri and Makwavarara attended yesterday’s meeting.
Tsvangirai said an MDC council could not
be expected to advance the
interests of the ruling ZANU PF and advised the councillors that Chombo’s
directives should not be implemented unilaterally unless the full council
made a resolution and explained why certain directives were being
“We implored councillors
to work as a team. No one should work as a
conveyor belt for Chombo unless council takes a resolution,” Tsvangirai
not dismissal and therefore one cannot withdraw the
benefits of the mayor and then attempt to evict him. Chombo has no power to
fire the mayor,” Tsvangirai said.
A councillor who attended the meeting but spoke on
condition he was
not named said as far as he was concerned, Chombo’s directive was
non-existent and should not be implemented until the full council debated on
it and took a position.
said the council was expected to meet soon and look
into the latest directive by Chombo.
Tsvangirai said he told the councillors to work for
the people of
Harare and warned that errant individuals who attempted to cause confusion
in council business would be decisively dealt with.
He said it was agreed that Mudzuri should take legal
Chombo’s decision to suspend him.
sources who attended the meeting said that a group of MDC
youths mobbed Makwavarara as she left the meeting and attempted to assault
her, accusing her of implementing a ZANU PF decision to humiliate Mudzuri by
agreeing to his eviction.
The source said the youths only cooled down after
Tsvangirai told them
to behave, assuring them that the situation was under control.
Harare’s first opposition mayor in 23 years, Mudzuri has over the past
year accused the government of undermining his authority by failing to
approve vital loans for municipal services. Staff Repo
Daily News 11 July 2003
Tsvangirai remanded to October
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who is facing a second treason charge for allegedly advocating
the unconstitutional removal of President Robert Mugabe, was yesterday
further remanded out of custody to 6 October.
Tsvangirai, who is out on $10 million High Court bail, appeared for
remand before Harare magistrate Faith Msinga.
The state is charging
him with treason, or alternatively violating the
Public Order and Security Act, or inciting public violence.
Tsvangirai was detained at
the end of a five-day mass action called by
the MDC to press Mugabe to come to the negotiating table and resolve
Zimbabwe’s deepening political crisis.
The opposition leader is already on $1.5 million bail, which he was
ordered to pay last year in connection with another treason case, in which
he is accused of allegedly plotting to assassinate Mugabe ahead of the 2002
He is jointly
charged with MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and
Renson Gasela, the MP for Gweru Rural. The MDC officials deny the charge.
Chagonda is representing Tsvangirai, while Mehluli
Daily News 11 July 2003
Mbeki has his job cut out
BY reassuring United States of America President George W Bush and
the whole world that Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) parties are holding talks to find a solution to
the country’s deepening crisis, South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has
assumed a huge responsibility.
Mbeki parried criticism by Bush of
tyranny and economic chaos in
Zimbabwe by claiming: “The two parties (ZANU PF and MDC) are indeed in
discussions. The process is going on. They should move forward and urgently
to find a resolution.”
Mbeki and told a joint Press conference with the South
African President that Mbeki was the “point man” on the issue of resolving
the Zimbabwe crisis.
We have no reason to doubt Mbeki’s sincerity in this
difficult task of
trying to find a solution to Zimbabwe’s problems.
Neither do we have cause to believe what several
have suggested, that Mbeki is a “dishonest broker” and that he is in it
merely to try and buy more time for his liberation war ally President Robert
Mugabe and his embattled government.
fact, we would be the first to acknowledge that Mbeki is too
intelligent a man not to see the futility of trying to shield a dictatorship
in this Global Village. And more so, it should be clear to all concerned,
Mbeki included, that the problems of Zimbabwe cannot be postponed any
But claims by Mbeki that progress is being made
in Zimbabwe and that
the two main political parties are already in negotiations to find an
amicable solution to the country’s problems raise more questions than
Not least because both ZANU PF
and the MDC parties that Mbeki claims
he has coaxed into negotiating are vehemently denying they are involved in
any such talks. So who is talking to who, or rather, who is fooling who, we
sake of his own credibility and that of the negotiation
process itself – that is if it is happening at all – Mbeki must persuade and
insist that both ZANU PF and the MDC parties must put aside selfish
political gimmickry and openly acknowledge the talks.
If Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai believe, as they should do,
that it is in the best interests of Zimbabwe that their two political
parties talk, then they should have the courage of their convictions and
This, if only
because it will help reassure the many widows and
orphans whose loved ones were killed in mindless political violence that
there is in an end in sight to the political thuggery that has been allowed
in this country for far too long.
And as Mbeki would probably agree, through an admission
that they are
negotiating, a measure of commitment and public responsibility is placed
upon the politicians to ensure the talks are successful.
But more importantly, the talks are so crucial to
that, while they cannot take place in the Press, they cannot be held under
the table either.
There are many Zimbabweans,
some of whom do not belong to either ZANU
PF or the MDC, but who have a positive contribution to make to ensure the
talks are successful.
After giving his word that progress was being made
on Zimbabwe, Mbeki
must know that from now on, Zimbabweans and the whole world are scrutinising
every step he makes or statement he utters on the crisis bedevilling this
If a not inconsiderable
fraction of Zimbabwean society had concluded
that Mbeki was now part of the problem, then now is the time for the South
African leader to redeem his image by ensuring that the word becomes flesh.
This Mbeki can
easily do by brokering honest and robust dialogue
between ZANU PF and the MDC to find a solution to Zimbabwe’s crisis.
Daily News 11 July 2003
Police turn to POSA to repress journalists
SINCE the striking off of Section 80 of the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) two months ago, the police are
increasingly relying on the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to arrests
and charge journalists perceived to have written falsehoods or denigrated
Under Section 80, which made it a
criminal offence to publish
falsehoods, more than 35 journalists were arrested since March 2002. None of
the journalists have however been convicted. On the contrary, in the case of
Andrew Meldrum in 2002, the Magistrates’ Court dismissed the charges against
co-accused, Lloyd Mudiwa and Geoff Nyarota, both formerly with The
Daily News, later challenged the constitutionality of Section 80.
Supreme Court found in their favour and this piece of law was
It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the
police have now
turned to POSA for alternative charges against journalists and other media
persons. Section 15 of POSA makes it a criminal offence to publish or
communicate false statements prejudicial to the state.
A person may be fined or imprisoned for up to five years
publishing a false statement likely to promote public disorder or undermine
public confidence in the police, armed forces or prison officers. Clause 16
makes it an offence to make a public statement knowing there is a risk of
“undermining the authority of or insulting” the President. This includes
statements likely to engender feelings of hostility towards the President,
cause “hatred, contempt or ridicule” of the President. It also includes
making any “abusive, indecent, obscene or false statements” about him
personally or his office.
Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe notes that Section
15 presents one of the greatest dangers to the freedom of expression to be
found in any piece of legislation in operation in Zimbabwe.
Not content with stemming the right
to receive and impart information
under the provisions of AIPPA, this provision ensures that even where an
individual is unaffected under AIPPA, the information she/he may produce is
policed by the authorities under POSA.
Therefore, POSA can be applied not only to journalists,
broadcasters, but also to civil society organisations and any person whose
function is to produce reports on various issues and recommend steps to be
taken to address shortcomings. It also applies to businesses like the
banking sector and anti-corruption bodies, where they produce information on
how bad policies are affecting the sector and make recommendations on how
this can be improved.
The provision is a re-enactment of
Section 50 of the Law and Order
Maintenance Act (LOMA), passed in the pre-independence era. In the case of
the late Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto, the Supreme Court ruled that Section
50 of LOMA was unconstitutional and a contravention of the right to freedom
first problem with Section 15 is that, although a publication is
defined, the act of publishing is not. One wonders whether this is
restricted to producing written documents, or does it include transmission
by sound or visuals? Is electronic transmission also subject to this
provision? As the term is so vague, every person who produces any type of
document read by even one other person is potentially at risk.
The definition of the noun,
“publication” under Section 2 is overly
broad and vague and therefore open to abuse. This allows for great
discretion at the hands of the prosecuting authorities. For example, what
must be proven to show that the economic interests of the country have been
is vague in that people are unsure as to whether their
work is subject to the provision and what consequence could arise from it,
and they are therefore unable to regulate their conduct accordingly.
expand the offence to include persons publishing outside
Zimbabwe is simply unenforceable. Will the authorities travel to the ends of
the world to prosecute a perceived offender? One can assume a great deal
about authorities who wish to police information being produced not only in
their own country but believe that they may also dictate laws and impose
penalties on individuals outside their area of jurisdiction.
It would also
be extremely difficult to say with certainty whether a
statement is false or not. The provision does not make concessions for
stating an opinion that can be interpreted in many ways, nor for aspects
such as sarcasm, irony or metaphor, which may be superficially false but may
contain an element of truth in them; nor is it taken into consideration that
words may hold different meanings for different communities or persons, so
it is often difficult to say with certainty that two groups will understand
a statement in the same manner.
To the extent that these categories are not
specifically excluded, the
section falls foul of Section 20 (2) of the Constitution.
A newspaper reporter or a research officer in a
organisation who publishes an article criticising the police or the defence
forces or the prison services will, obviously, in most instances be aware
that it may undermine public confidence in the particular agency.
If the article is found to contain falsities, whether
or not they were
intended, the author is liable to be prosecuted. Further, as conviction does
not depend on harm actually being done, the person is open to prosecution
for a speculative offence that has harmed nobody.
MISA-Zimbabwe notes that this is unacceptable, as there
would be no
complainant, and the section would be unenforceable. The effect will be that
journalists and ordinary people will be hindered in publishing their work,
as they will be fearful of falling foul of Section 15.
There will be self-censorship in order to escape censure
Act. This prevents the free flow of information and therefore contravenes
Section 20 (1) of the Constitution.
Sub-section (2) of Section 15 of POSA prohibits the publication of a
statement by a person who knows it to be false or does not have reasonable
grounds for believing it to be true, if the statement actually gives rise to
one of the four listed consequences. By going beyond defence, public safety,
public order and the country’s economic interests, the sub-section exceeds
the permissible limits set out under Section 20 (2) of the Constitution.
Section 16 is taken from Section 46 of LOMA. It prohibits the making,
publicly and intentionally, of any false statement (including an act or
gesture) about or concerning the President or Acting President if the person
knows or realises that there is a risk or possibility of engendering
feelings of hostility towards or causing hatred, contempt or ridicule of
him, whether in his official or personal capacity. It is also an offence to
make an abusive, indecent, obscene or false statement about the President,
also in his official or personal capacity. None of these terms are defined,
and this should be done if people are to regulate their conduct accordingly.
This provision creates a speculative crime, which impinges on the
constitutional right to freedom of expression and the corresponding articles
in international human rights instruments. In addition, the offence is
committed even where the statement made is true, and however much it may be
in the public interest to publicise it. This goes far beyond the common law
crime of criminal defamation, in which it is a defence to prove the
statement is true and in the public interest. Further, Zimbabwe has an
Executive President and therefore it is perfectly permissible for him to
come under public scrutiny and criticism as a politician responsible for the
policies and practices of the government in power. Any attempt to protect
him and repress such legitimate criticism seriously undermines democracy and
free expression, therefore this section should be challenged through the
courts. MISA-Zimbabwe notes that Sections 15 and 16 are an unacceptable
attempt to protect the government and public officers from scrutiny and put
paid to any expectation that the people may have of holding their officers
accountable and transparent. It also fails to take into account that there
are other remedies under common law, which would allow wronged parties to
take action against the publishers of the statement. It should be kept in
mind that these sections are being enforced selectively and with increasing
regularity by the authorities against editors and journalists from the
private media, as well as civil society leaders who have published reports
critical of the current government, and many others who are perceived to be
supporters of the opposition. No case has been prosecuted to finality, and
in most instances, the charges have been dropped following legal advice from
the Attorney-General’s Office. POSA, like AIPPA, is damaging what is left of
democracy in Zimbabwe and any democracy-conscious, reasonable authority
would work towards its repeal. By Rashweat Mukundu Rashweat Mukundu is a
research and information officer with the Media Institute of Southern
Daily News 11 July 2003
Staff exodus hits Air Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE’S national airline, Air Zimbabwe, has lost at least five
experienced pilots in the last three months, who sources at the
government-controlled company said had left because of poor pay and working
“We have had five resignations in a
space of three months,” a source
at the parastatal told the Business Daily. “The fellows cite poor
Company insiders said
there were fears that the airline could lose
another four of its 39 pilots.
Sources said most of the former Air Zimbabwe pilots
Middle Eastern airlines, which are reportedly offering them more lucrative
Some of the airlines are said to be
offering the Zimbabwean pilots
between US$5 000 and US$7 000 a month.
US$7 000 would be the equivalent of $5.8 million at a
bank rate of
$840 and $17.5 million on the thriving black market.
In Zimbabwe, the pilots earn less than $2 million.
However, Air Zimbabwe managing director Rambai
Chingwena said the
problem of loss of experienced staff was not peculiar to his company, saying
the aviation sector was “a pretty volatile industry”.
He said the parastatal, which is operating below
capacity because of
Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, had pinned its hopes on its training
programmes to ensure that it was adequately staffed.
While admitting that the company had lost experienced
Chingwena said Air Zimbabwe has the capacity to take the losses in its
stride and move beyond them.
He told the Business Daily
that the company was this year training 12
pilots, 50 percent more than the six who were groomed last year.
Pilots are only one of the
groups of skilled Air Zimbabwe employees
who have left the national airline in the last few years because of what
they say are unattractive working conditions.
Several engineers have left in the past few years
because of working
Those remaining were at the
forefront of a wrangle over salaries in
September last year, which led to salaries being hiked.
Without elaborating, Chingwena said
management at the parastatal was
doing everything in its power “to retain staff” and ensure successor
programmes were as successful as possible.
Apart from staff leaving because of working
conditions, Air Zimbabwe
has also been hit by severe foreign currency shortages, as well as a decline
in foreign tourist arrivals and domestic travel.
Hard cash shortages have affected the purchase of spare
parts and the
payment of staff allowances.
The company has
also struggled to raise forex to pay international
agencies such as the International Air Transport Association.
tourist arrivals are estimated to have fallen by at
least half in the past three years because of Zimbabwe’s image as an unsafe
This has worsened foreign currency
shortages and affected the airline’
By Chris Goko Deputy Business Editor
Daily News 11 July 2003
Zimbabwe finds new beef markets in Angola, DRC
ZIMBABWE is now concentrating its beef exports to Angola, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique after the suspension of the
country’s beef imports by several markets because of foot-and-mouth disease,
it was learnt yesterday.
Association (CPA) chairman Dirk Odendaal told the
Business Daily that most of Zimbabwe’s beef was going to these countries
after the suspension of imports by markets in the European Union (EU) and
The EU, which was the major importer of Zimbabwean beef, suspended
imports after the outbreak of foot-and mouth-disease in 2001.
the ban, the 15-member economic bloc imported 9 100 tonnes of
beef from Zimbabwe every year.
Odendaal said there were no beef exports
to Libya, which has expressed
an interest in meat from Zimbabwe.
“There is not even a single kilogramme of beef going
to Libya. We are
exporting beef to these three countries,” he said.
Recurring foot-and-mouth cases have affected attempts by
producing industry to secure other markets for its exports. The CPA chairman
said attempts to boost the country’s dwindling beef herd were being hampered
by inadequate grazing land.
farmers now have very little pasture to feed their cattle
after these so-called farm invasions,” he said.
The government has taken
over most white-owned farms under its land
reform programme, which analysts say has severely destabilised Zimbabwe’s
Cattle producers have also been hit hard by drought,
resulted in the death of more than 10 000 cattle in the past few months.
Business Reporter 1.
General comment 2. Crisis overwhelms media 3.
Bush safari enrages government media
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Monday June 30th – Sunday July 6th 2003
Weekly update 2003-26
1. GENERAL COMMENT
2. MEDIA OVERWHELMED BY CRISIS
3. BUSH SAFARI ENRAGES GOVT MEDIA
MMPZ notes with concern the manner in which journalists controlling Zimbabwe’s media have apparently normalized the grinding socio-economic hardships in the country to the extent that they no longer consider these stories of great news value. As a result, investigative news about the real effects of inflation on the public; transport problems; the alarming collapse of the health delivery system; and rampant corruption in all sectors of Zimbabwean society have either been given scant attention or ignored altogether.
The media’s preoccupation with political stories at the expense of investigative reports on the socio-economic crisis during the week under review was well illustrated by the placement by The Daily News of a speculative political feature article, Is Mbeki buying time for Mugabe’s embattled regime? on its prime news page, page three, while the hard news story of starvation in Binga was buried on page seven.
But if the Press’ coverage of the socio-economic crises afflicting Zimbabweans was questionable, ZBC’s reporting of these issues was deplorable. Its coverage demonstrated a woeful failure to fulfill its duty of providing news, giving incisive commentary and analysis of the extent in the decline of the living standards of the public. For example, amidst fuel, cash and commodity shortages in an environment characterized by hyperinflation officially pegged at over 300 percent, ZTV preferred allocating one hour 34 minutes and 50 seconds or 44 percent of the total time (excluding business, weather and sport segments) allocated to its 8pm main news bulletins to the national soccer team’s campaign for a slot in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament scheduled for Tunisia next year. In addition, ZTV’s 30-minute long Behind the Camera and its one-hour long Face the nation programmes were devoted to soccer. A song composed by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo for the team was also allocated time within ZTV’s 8pm bulletins before and a day after the match. In fact, the song, Go Warriors, was incessantly played on all ZBC stations, and even eclipsed the saturation airing of the government’s land reform programme jingle, Rambai Makashinga.
While some newspapers described this as putting politics aside to follow something the public could cheer about, MMPZ would say this government-led campaign for the national football team was more a case of politicians interfering in the sports arena in order to distract the public from the hardships inflicted by a government bereft of ideas about restoring the economic prosperity of the country.
THE media’s obsession with political rivalry between ZANU-PF and the MDC appears to have resulted in other fundamental issues, such as the country’s deteriorating socio-economic crisis receiving superficial attention. Nowhere was this more evident than in coverage of the current transport problems and cash shortages. The private media were the main culprits. For example, they lacked clear information on how the recently introduced fuel coupon system for commuter transport, ostensibly to stop leakages of fuel to the black market, would be implemented. Neither did they discuss the practicability of such a move by government.
Although the government-controlled media faired better, with regard to information on where to access the coupons and the necessary documents required for one to get coupons (The Herald and ZTV 2/7, 7am), they generally reported the socio-economic problems in isolation of the country’s general economic collapse, and indeed, how Zimbabweans are coping with it. For example, ZTV (1/07, 7am) merely announced that the Rural Passenger Transport Organization had hiked its fares for “rural and long distance” journeys “by at least 33% with effect from today” due to viability problems. ZTV provided no analysis of the effects of the fare increases on the public nor explain whether such a move would help alleviate transport shortages. Instead, the station (2/07, 6pm) trivialized the commuter transport problem and presented it as if it was an issue confined to three Harare suburbs. It reported that residents of Budiriro, Glen View and Mufakose had called on government “to introduce a weekend commuter train service to ease transport problems being experienced in the areas”. Although the report noted that the transport situation had worsened “due to the continued fuel shortage” and that some operators had been “forced to withdraw vehicles from the roads after failing to secure foreign currency to import spare parts”, ZBC failed to go beyond such simplistic statements to explain the gravity of the situation in the country in general.
The Herald (2/7 & 3/7) however, gave a different explanation to the transport blues. It pointed out that most commuter transport operators had pulled out because about three-quarters of them did not have the requisite papers needed to acquire fuel coupons.
The Daily News (3/7) put the figure at 60 percent but attributed the reduction in the number of commuter transport vehicles to high operational costs and exorbitant fuel prices on the black market. It further reported that the few operators who remained on the road had taken advantage of the situation and had increased their fares by 150 percent in Harare and Bulawayo. The Herald (3/7) concurred saying commuter fares had been increased to between $500 and $1000.
However, both papers failed to translate their percentages of vehicles now out of commission in actual figures. Nor has any section of the media attempted to establish how commuter operators arrive at the fares they set and compare them with an independent assessment of running costs.
The Manica Post (4/7) revealed that the problem was not only confined to the two major cities but – not surprisingly – to Mutare as well. It reported that a new fuel arrangement where buses are required to queue for fuel at designated service stations during peak hours had left commuters stranded in that city. Reportedly, the problem was compounded by a blitz on the omnibuses by the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), which was impounding and penalizing “unroadworthy” vehicles. The paper noted that 75 percent of public vehicles in Mutare do not have certificates of fitness or route permits. Like the two dailies, the paper did not explain what 75 percent represented in figures.
Despite their tenacity in pin-pointing some of the causes of the transport crisis, the government-controlled media in general, failed to question government’s stop-gap measures to solve the fuel shortages and the resultant transport crisis. Rather, The Herald (3/7) tried to blame the multinational oil companies for the fuel shortage, saying they had yet to import fuel in response to government’s deregulation of the fuel procurement sector. Also, the paper (2/7) attempted to give Zimbabweans some false sense of hope saying fuel supplies would resume in the “near future following the reviving of a trade deal between Zimbabwe and Libya,” without clarifying when exactly supplies would arrive and how long they would last. This sense of hope evaporated when The Daily News (6/7) revealed that President Robert Mugabe had only managed to secure US$30 million worth of fuel from Libya, an amount that would last the country a mere three weeks.
The long fuel queues were by no means the only queues that dotted the country as Zimbabwe’s fast dwindling workforce continued to struggle at the banks to convert a portion of the salaries into cash. All the media reported the issue and for once agreed that the Reserve Bank’s decision to print $4billion dollars worth of bank notes was not the solution. The Chronicle and The Herald (1/7) observed that although the injection was welcome, they urged the central bank to guarantee a steady money supply by printing more notes of higher denominations. However, they remained blind to the underlying implications of such a move on the country’s inflation.
Studio 7 (30/06) quoted economic analyst, Tony Hawkins, as saying more efforts were needed to alleviate the shortages and “not just printing bank notes” adding that the move, among other issues, would fuel inflation to “500% by December”. Similarly, The Financial Gazette (3/7) columnist, Witness Chinyama, pointed out that Zimbabwe was already at the “stagflation” stage and warned that the cash injections without other measures to resuscitate the economy would only fan inflation. The Sunday News (6/7) made similar observations and called on the central bank to “tackle inflation first…to satisfy the demand for cash”.
Regional and international efforts to resolve Zimbabwe’s worsening economic and political crises assumed greater prominence in the media as the scheduled visit to Africa by US President George Bush, particularly to South Africa, drew closer. In a typical replay of the previous week, the government-controlled media dismissed the trip as insignificant and narrowly interpreted the US’s calls for the restoration of democracy and the formation of a transitional government in Zimbabwe to mean that Bush’s visit was a neo-colonial expedition to oust President Mugabe from power.
The private media was less emotional in their coverage. Although they welcomed and apparently celebrated Bush’s stance on Zimbabwe, they also tried to analyze whether he would be able to successfully sell his approach to his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki.
At the beginning of the week, ZBC (1/07,8pm) reported that, “Some of Zimbabwe’s neighbours have refused to be used as launch pads for the US and Britain’s plans to effect regime change in Zimbabwe”. Zambia and Botswana were named as the two neighbours that had refused to cooperate with the US but there was no official comment from the two countries. In the same report, the government-controlled broadcaster echoed Mugabe’s earlier unsubstantiated allegations that the US and Britain had helped to fund the MDC mass stayaways and that they were lobbying “Zimbabwe’s neighbours, especially South Africa, SADC member states and the African continent … to isolate Zimbabwe on the international scene and put pressure on the government for the removal of President Robert Mugabe …”.
This myopic view of Bush’s visit resulted in the government-controlled media delivering vitriolic and racist attacks against the US leadership. The Herald (1 & 2/7) is a case in point. The paper carried two opinion pieces attacking the US State Secretary, Colin Powell, for his call to restore democracy in Zimbabwe with fresh internationally supervised elections via a transitional government. In its article on July 2nd, the paper castigated Powell for allegedly having “chosen money and conservative political thinking over his black history” and wanting Zimbabweans to do the same. The paper’s relentless racial slurs were also repeated in its article (5/7), Zimbabwe does not need a transitional government. Not to be outdone, The Sunday Mail’s Munyaradzi Huni (6/7) described Bush as a “Texan gunslinger” who “stole” the American presidential election, and accused him of “dangling the carrot in billions of American dollars to buy out the African leaders so that they can allow him to spread his stinking imperialistic wings”. Huni then observed - without a shred of evidence - that Bush had cancelled his trip early this year and rescheduled it so that it coincided with the African Union summit in Mozambique in order “to whip them (African leaders) into line using one stick.”
Besides introducing a racist angle to Bush’s trip, the government-controlled media tried to downplay the significance of his visit following Mugabe’s address during the 54th Session of the ZANU-PF Central Committee. ZBC (3/07, 8pm) quoted him as saying, “When Bush visits here, it shouldn’t send tremors to your spines [because] Africa is united with us in opposing them”. There was no effort to investigate why Mugabe had to calm the nerves of his colleagues if Bush’s visit was indeed a non-event. Neither did The Herald or Chronicle (4/7) explore this in their report of the same event. As if taking a cue from Mugabe’s speech, The Sunday News (6/7), Bush’s Africa tour bound to fail - analysts, quoted government-controlled media’s favourite analysts dismissing Bush’s tour.
The private media avoided personal attacks on either government or US authorities and instead examined the US and South African approaches to the Zimbabwean crisis. For example, while The Standard (6/7) comment, Bush visit: What’s in it for Zimbabwe?, agreed with the Bush Administration that Zimbabwe needed a return to democracy but was opposed to the US calls for ‘regime change’ wherever it desired. “Our advice to the US is that acting in this high-handed manner can only alienate people and needlessly lose the goodwill of its friends in Africa. Powell’s dramatic language ran the risk of being interpreted as war-mongering and parallels being drawn with the Iraq war,” it stated. The Daily News (3/7) pointed out that despite the US’s call to Thabo Mbeki to take a more proactive role on Zimbabwe, the South African President was unlikely to change his approach. It quoted Mbeki as saying, “It’s incorrect really to be saying that we should stand outside the borders of Zimbabwe and decide what the Zimbabweans should do about their own country.”
In fact, ZBC (3/07, 7am) conveniently used Mbeki’s statements to buttress the impression that Mbeki and African leaders were behind Zimbabwe. However, while ZBC viewed Mbeki’s comments as a positive development, The Daily News (4/7) did not. In its article, Is Mbeki buying time for Mugabe’s embattled regime? the paper charged that Mbeki had become an obstacle in efforts to force Mugabe to relinquish power. MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube also criticized South Africa’s stance on Zimbabwe saying it reflected that country’s diplomatic immaturity, Sunday Mirror (6/7).
While the government-controlled media generally gave the impression that South Africa would not relent in its apparently sympathetic stance on Zimbabwe, The Daily News (1/7) and Studio 7 (2/7) revealed that it was willing to discuss with the US and reach common ground on how to deal with Zimbabwe. They both quoted a South African official, Aziz Pahad, as having said South Africa wanted more clarity on American plans to bankroll the economic revival of Zimbabwe once Mugabe stepped down.
Meanwhile, Studio 7 (2/7), The Zimbabwe Independent (4/7), The Standard (6/7), The Daily News on Sunday (6/7) and Sunday Mirror (6/7) reported that the MDC would send delegations to South Africa and Mozambique to lobby Bush and African leaders respectively, to pressure ZANU PF to engage the opposition in dialogue. The government-controlled media ignored the news, although that did not stop the Sunday News (6/7) maligning the MDC as “stooges” and “puppets of imperialism,” for wanting to meet Bush.
The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message. For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at http://www.mmpz.org.zw
2. Crisis overwhelms media
Bush safari enrages government media
The paper, titled Decision Time in Zimbabwe and published
Tuesday, sets out steps for a potential negotiation process in the country.
The Belgian-based think-tank said getting Zimbabwe’s
parties to the negotiating table should be the top priority for South
The ICG added that although the majority
of Zimbabweans were ready for
change, President Robert Mugabe’s exit plan remained the biggest obstacle to
the successful resolution of the country’s problems.
“The future of the country depends more on how he
leaves office than
when he leaves.”
The organisation accused
South African President Thabo Mbeki of
hypocrisy for not challenging Mugabe’s insistence that the MDC recognise his
legitimacy before dialogue can resume between Zimbabwe’s main political
The ICG said
South Africa’s governing party, the African National
Congress (ANC), had itself refused to recognise the apartheid regime’s
legitimacy as a condition for talks.
“The MDC should not be pressed to drop its case
against the legitimacy
of the 2002 elections as a condition for those talks,” the group said.
“It is surprising that South Africa appears not
to contest this Mugabe
demand, given that during the ANC’s struggle for change, it refused to
accept the legitimacy of the South African apartheid government as a
condition for negotiations,” the ICG added.
Mbeki and other African leaders involved in the mediation process
encouraged the MDC to recognise Mugabe for dialogue that broke down last
year to resume, a condition the opposition has refused to accept.
But the ICG said South Africa remained the only country
influence to force Mugabe to agree to unconditional dialogue with the MDC,
although the ANC could be worried that political success by the MDC would
have negative long-term effects on the ANC’s future.
The group said: “South Africa must be the primary foreign actor that
sits down with the two sides. On the other hand, South African policy
continues to be constrained by the wariness with which its ruling party, the
ANC, regards the MDC. The Zimbabwean opposition party is considered an
indirect, long-term political threat because it is a labour-based movement
with a social agenda. The last thing ANC leaders want now is a model for
that kind of political success on display in Zimbabwe.”
Daily News 11 July 2003
CFU appeals to Utete
THE Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) has appealed to Presidential
Land Review Committee chairman Charles Utete to convince the government to
cease evicting the country’s remaining white farmers from their properties,
it was learnt yesterday.
The CFU is reported to have told Utete that the
would effectively kill commercial farming in Zimbabwe.
CFU president Colin Cloete told the Daily News that
had “recently” made representations to Utete following a fresh spate of
evictions by the government.
“We told Utete
that we needed law and order to prevail and that a
predictable and stable environment was necessary for the remaining farmers
to continue with operations,” he said.
“The government has not been sticking to
criteria and policy and
people are still being evicted up to today. We told him that we needed a
meaningful end to the fast-track programme that would benefit everyone in
the farming sector.”
It was not possible
to obtain comment yesterday from Utete, whose
committee was appointed in May to examine anomalies in the government’s
controversial land reform programme.
Under the programme, the government has seized most
to resettle black peasants and aspiring commercial farmers.
The CFU says at least 25 other farmers have been
issued with eviction
notices in the past fortnight, even though the government claims the
redistribution exercise was concluded last year.
John Worsley-Worswick, vice-chairman of another farmers’
Justice for Agriculture, yesterday told the Daily News that about 400
farmers have been evicted since January in Mashonaland West.
However, Peter Chanetsa, the provincial governor, denied
had been fresh evictions in Mashonaland West.
do things legally and remove people according to the laws of the
country, passed by Parliament,” he said. “There are no new farm invasions
taking place. I will take action against anyone doing things outside the
law. People should not blame me for things I don’t know.”
Cloete said his
organisation had asked Utete to use the influence of
his committee to convince the government to allow the remaining commercial
farmers to continue their operations without further harassment.
“We are are
hopeful. I think the government will listen to Utete,
otherwise we don’t see any reason why the President set up the committee,”
The land reform programme is blamed, along with
drought, for food
shortages that United Nations agencies say have left 5.5 million Zimbabweans
in need of emergency food aid.
to a report produced by the UN’s Food and Agricultural
Organisation and World Food Programme last month, commercial agriculture has
declined by 90 percent since 2000, when the fast-track land reform programme
Daily News 11 July 2003
Youth service recruit dies as others flee camp
MASVINGO – A recruit of Zimbabwe’s controversial national youth
service programme died at a Masvingo camp under mysterious circumstances,
while several others are reported to have fled the training centre because
of severe food shortages, it was learnt this week.
State Security Minister Nicholas Goche referred to the
death at a
graduation ceremony at Mushagashe National Youth Service Training Centre,
located about 25 kilometres north of Masvingo city.
Goche, who was guest of honour at the ceremony on Wednesday, told
guests that the national service recruit, Ellena Musarurwa, died soon after
enrolling under the controversial programme.
He however did not elaborate
on the circumstances surrounding the
understand that one of your recruits died soon after enrolling here
and I am very sorry for that,” he said before the graduation ceremony.
According to officials at the training centre, where 625 recruits
graduated on Wednesday, Musarurwa collapsed and died soon after enrolling at
the training camp in April this year. The officials said her death could
have been partly the result of the rigorous training programme undergone by
recruits and the unfavourable conditions prevailing at the training camp.
The officials said among the hardships, recruits were
food shortages, which are also affecting more than five million Zimbabweans
who are said to be in need of emergency food aid.
Sources within the Youth Development Ministry, under which
national service programme falls, said at least 10 other recruits deserted
the Masvingo camp because of the conditions at the centre.
Camp authorities are said to be searching for one of
(name supplied) who is alleged to have led the deserters.
Youth Development Minister Elliot Manyika and his
deputy Shuvai Mahofa
could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.
But a source at the camp told The Daily News: “Some
of our recruits
ran away but you know the minister (Goche) could not say that. One recruit
died and circumstances surrounding her death are not known yet.”
“The college is hunting for (one recruit) and others who
ran away from
the camp,” the official added.
national youth service programme has come under fire from
critics, who say the government is using it to train pro-ruling ZANU PF
militia who have been accused of serious human rights abuses in the past
Graduates of the programme, derisively referred to by members of the
public as “green bombers”, are accused of violence against supporters of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and members of the public.
Opposition party officials and non-governmental
organisations say the
graduates have been used by ZANU PF to intimidate voters in the run up to
There have also been
reports of male recruits and trainers sexually
assaulting members of the public and female recruits.
The government has however denied the allegations.
Goche this week told guests at the Mushagashe
training camp graduation
ceremony that graduates of the centre should be co-opted into the civil
service and armed services.
“We would want to see these youths being absorbed into the
civil service including the army, police, the Central Intelligence
Organisation and the prison service. These youths are our future war
From Energy Bara Bureau Chief
Zimbabwe Earns Low Ranking on Human Development Index
11 Jul 2003, 15:04 UTC
Zimbabwe faired poorly
this year in the annual United Nations Development
Program's Human Development Report.
Zimbabwe is now ranked 145th out of 175 countries on the Human Development
Index. The index covers average levels of a nation's human development by
reflecting achievements in longevity, knowledge as measured by adult
literacy, and a decent standard of living as measured by Gross Domestic
Product per capita. Zimbabwe was ranked 128th last year, and 117th the year
The report says life expectancy in Zimbabwe dropped sharply during the last
year, and is now estimated at 35 and a half years, compared to nearly 43
years in the last report. In the early 1980s, life expectancy in Zimbabwe
was more than 60 years.
Life expectancy has also fallen in other Southern African countries due to
the AIDS pandemic. Although other countries such as Botswana have higher HIV
infection rates than Zimbabwe, increased poverty levels in Zimbabwe have
resulted in people infected with the virus developing full blown AIDS and
The country's Human Development Index has been decreasing since 1985, and
the U.N. report says Zimbabwe is one of the worst performers among
developing countries. Zimbabwe was ranked 90th out of 94 developing
countries in the annual report's Human Poverty Index.
It's not all doom and gloom for Zimbabwe however, as the country has managed
to maintain the highest adult literacy rate in Africa.
President Mugabe elected AU vice chairman
12 July 2003
The president Cde Robert Mugabe who is attending the African Union summit in
Maputo has been elected vice chairman of the AU Southern African Bureau.
His election follows the election of Mozambican president Joachim Chissano
as chairman of African Union, taking over from president Thabo Mbeki of
Observers say the election of president mugabe is an endorsement of his
popularity among africans, dispelling notions that Zimbabwe is not in favour
of other African states.
Cde Mugabe on Thursday chaired the session on the New Partnership for Africa
’s Development Nepad, which reviewed the progress made on the implementation
of the programme.
A progress report presented by out going chairman president Mbeki noted that
the war on terrorism has over shadowed the focus on the fight against
poverty, hunger and development in Africa.
The report also highlighted the weak state of the world’s economy and
uncertainity in global markets as posing serious challenges for African
President Mugabe also met with the Director General of the Arab Bank for
Economic Development in Africa Mr Medhatt Lofty.
The bank has financed several economic developmental activities in Zimbabwe,
which include agriculture, road construction and fuel procurement to the
tune of US$90 million.