Wed 12 July 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party on Tuesday said it would defy a security law requiring it to
notify the police before holding public meetings after police authorities
banned two rallies of the party earlier this week.
The government's Public Order and Security Act requires Zimbabweans to
first notify the police before holding public meetings to discuss politics.
But the police have frequently used the law to ban meetings by the MDC,
churches and civic society groups seen as not supporting President Robert
The spokesman of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the splintered
MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said the move to disobey the tough security law was in
order to "protect the existence and continuity of our party".
He added: "We have made this resolution with the future of our party
in mind. We have been forced to cancel rallies and meetings by the police.
That would be a thing of the past because as of now, we will simply go ahead
with any meetings without informing the police. We will do so until the
(police) force is de-politicised."
The Tsvangirai-led MDC is the larger faction of the opposition party
and is widely regarded as the main challenger to Mugabe and his ruling ZANU
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be immediately reached for
comment on the decision by the MDC not to notify the police ahead of
But the police have over the past years arrested thousands of
opposition activists found holding meetings without clearance from the law
The police last Sunday banned Tsvangirai from addressing a rally in
the city of Kwekwe, about 200km west of Harare over fears he would use the
meeting to mobilise support for anti-government protests that the opposition
leader has threatened to call to force Mugabe to accept sweeping political
The law enforcement agency also last Sunday banned another rally by
the MDC that was scheduled for the town of Chinhoyi 120 km north-west of
Harare this time round arguing that the sports stadium that was to be used
as the venue of the meeting did not have toilets - a claim dismissed by
opposition officials as strange and flimsy.
Chamisa said that the two meetings banned last Sunday were only two of
several other meetings that the opposition party's provincial, district and
ward structures had attempted to hold but were stopped by the police.
"Meetings at every level are supposed to be underway to prepare for
mass protests against the government. They are using repressive laws to
cripple our planning process for the big event," Chamisa said.
Tsvangirai and his MDC have told Mugabe to either give up power to a
transitional government that should write a new constitution and organise
fresh elections under international supervision or be forced out of office
through mass protests.
Mugabe, who has in the past sent armed soldiers and police into the
streets to put down dissent, has vowed to ruthlessly crush any uprising
against his rule, warning the opposition that attempting to remove him from
power would be a "dice with death".
Zimbabwe has remained on knife edge since the MDC first threatened
mass anti-government protests last March while worsening economic hardships
and food shortages continue stoking up tensions in the troubled southern
African country. - ZimOnline
Wed 12 July 2006
HARARE - A Zimbabwe High Court judge has ordered six senior ruling
ZANU PF party officials in Mbare suburb to vacate a charity home they seized
In a ruling delivered last Wednesday, High Court Judge Anne-Mary
Gowora said the ZANU PF officials must immediately move out of Benevolent
Charity Home and return the property to its rightful owners.
"Applicant's possession of the shelter be permanently restored within
24 hours after the service of this order upon them, failing the deputy
Sheriff be authorised to remove respondents from the shelter," ruled Justice
The six ZANU PF officials, Jim Kunaka, Fortunate Tavengwa, a Mrs
Rukweza, a Mr Mutamba and a Mr Ngorima, a Mr Matsikira last month took over
the charity home accusing the owners of failing to effect renovations
recommended by the Harare City Council.
At least 75 people who include widows, orphans and the destitute were
thrown onto the streets with the ZANU PF officials saying the property
should only cater for ruling party supporters in the suburb.
But a senior official at the home, Teshia Choga, challenged the
property seizure at the courts seeking the eviction of the ZANU PF
officials. In his affidavit presented to the court, Choga said the take-over
was a clear violation of property rights.
A wave of lawlessness on farms over the past six years has seen
thousands of ZANU PF supporters violently seize farms and farm equipment
from white farmers with tacit support from President Robert Mugabe's
A pliant judiciary, after the purging of independent judges critical
of the Zimbabwean government, has in very few cases ruled against the
government buttressing charges by human rights groups that they are at the
beck and call of the Harare authorities. - ZimOnline
Wed 12 July 2006
HARARE - The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic group says
it will today stage demonstrations in major cities around the country to
press President Robert Mugabe to address the six-year old economic and
political crisis in Zimbabwe.
In a statement to the media on Tuesday, NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku,
said the group, which is fighting for a new, democratic constitution for
Zimbabwe, will stage demonstrations in Harare, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and
Bulawayo over the worsening crisis in the country.
"The demonstrations are part of the continuing campaign for a
democratic constitution that will extricate the country from the country's
deepening political and socio-economic crisis.
"With an inflation rate of over 1 000 percent, an unemployment rate of
more than 80 percent, soaring transport costs, a collapsing health delivery
system and whole lots of hardships, the country's crisis has reached its
apex," said Madhuku.
The Zimbabwe government has violently crushed NCA demonstrations in
the past accusing the pressure group of attempting to incite Zimbabweans to
rise against President Robert Mugabe's government.
Under Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act (POSA), political
parties and civic groups must first seek permission from the police before
staging any demonstrations. But the NCA has often defied the law which they
is say is undemocratic.
Madhuku yesterday reiterated his stance saying the group will not seek
permission from the police to stage the protests.
"To the police, we say: these are peaceful actions that are not a
threat to public order and security in any way. POSA may as well be shelved
to give citizens a chance to express their views.
"It is the duty of all responsible citizens to stand up and say NO to
the hardships that are being imposed on us by a political system that
thrives on a flawed constitution," he said.
Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena said the police were aware of today's
demonstrations and "would be on top of the situation."
"If the NCA has genuine reasons to demonstrate, they must apply for
permission. We heard of plans to stage the demonstrations last week and we
have been monitoring the situation," said Bvudzijena.
William Nhara, principal secretary in the Ministry of Interactive
Affairs, lashed out at Madhuku whom he accused of being an attention-seeker.
"He is merely trying to get some credibility to his one-man
organisation after what he did to the NCA constitution. I am sure no
responsible government would watch him and his people destroy this country
through the so-called peaceful demonstrations," said Nhara.
Last month, Madhuku controversially extended his term at the helm of
the NCA after he amended the civic group's constitution to run for a fresh
term, a move that attracted a lot of criticism in civic society.
Meanwhile, two NCA leaders in Gweru and Masvingo, Edward Fika and Ray
Muzenda were on Monday picked up by the police over today's
demonstrations. - ZimOnline
Wed 12 July 2006
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe National Students' Union (ZINASU) yesterday
vowed to challenge in court hefty fines imposed on several National
University of Science and Technology (NUST) students for protesting against
tuition fee increases earlier this year.
Authorities at the Bulawayo-based NUST last week ordered about a dozen
students to pay fines ranging between Z$30 million and $50 million each for
allegedly destroying the university's property during the violent
But ZINASU President Promise Mkwananzi, yesterday urged the students
to ignore the university's demands adding that the fines smacked of "pure
harassment" by the university authorities.
"We are working with our lawyers to challenge these fines in court
because we believe they are not only ridiculous but illegal as the
disciplinary hearing that handled this matter was not properly constituted,"
NUST director of information, Felix Moyo refused to comment on the
matter last night.
Thousands of students at state-owned universities and colleges
destroyed property worth billions of dollars after during violent
demonstrations earlier this year after the Zimbabwean government increased
tuition fees by more than 100 percent. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
11 July 2006
The World Food Program has reported that Zimbabwe was the only country among
10 Southern African nations that did not present data on food security at an
assessment conference late last month in Johannesburg.
A WFP statement said Harare was not ready to present food data. Yet the
country's Central Statistical Office has informed the Southern African
development community that the cereal harvest in the current market year is
some 1.7 million tons.
However, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has projected a cereal
harvest of at most some 1.2 million tons, while the U.S. Department of
Agriculture has estimated Zimbabwe's maize output at just 900,000 tons.
The secrecy which has enveloped Zimbabwe food production data deepened
earlier this year when Agriculture Minister Joseph Made warned foreign
organizations against doing crop assessments, calling them illegal.
The WFP has said it would need US$85.5 million to feed some 3 million people
in the region. But it has warned that the number could surge when the "lean
spell," also known as the "hunger season," begins as harvested crops are
WFP Executive Director James Morris said AIDS has made matters worse in
Southern Africa, leaving those with symptoms of the disease too sick to work
in the fields and diverting household disposable income to be spent on
For another view on the uncertain outlook for Zimbabwean food security,
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to senior
political analyst Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis group in
Pretoria, South Africa.
By Peter Clottey
11 July 2006
In Zimbabwe, the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
says it opposes the selection of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa
as the mediator between Zimbabwe and Britain. The party insists there can be
no solution to the Zimbabwean crisis unless Zimbabweans themselves are given
the opportunity to form a new, democratic based constitution.
Nelson Chamisa is the spokesman for the MDC. He told English to Africa
reporter Peter Clottey why his party does not want Benjamin Mkapa to
mediate. "We are not particularly excited and motivated by the fact that if
you look at the whole frame work and context of the former president Mkapa's
intervention his self appointment by Robert Mugabe and I'm sure you know
that Mugabe is at the center, in fact he is the problem in this country. So
Mugabe cannot then be seen to the best person to describe the kind of
solution we need in this country, president Mkapa seem to be bias. In fact
this whole concept of mediators is only being used by Mugabe to try and buy
time. And also if you look at Mugabe himself, the terms of reference that he
has been given that is to try and look at the crises in Zimbabwe as a
bilateral crises between Britain and Zimbabwe, that is totally not true. It
is a crisis of governance; it's all to do with Mugabe who is trying to
suppress his own citizens. So if there is any negotiation or if anything
take place between the dictatorship and indeed the defenseless citizens in
Chamisa explains what he sees as the needs of Zimbabwe. "In fact we need a
resolution, Zimbabwe is burning and we have no luxury of continuing to
discuss on the merits or otherwise of initiative because Rome is burning. Be
that as it may, there is certainly no reason for us to put our confidence in
president Mkapa. President Mkapa in the past has shown his allegiance, he
has shown his loyalty to ZANU-PF and Mugabe. And its unfortunate that under
the circumstances it is not going to be very easy for president Mkapa to do
things that are going to buy him the confidence of ordinary Zimbabweans. We
expect any measure of solidarity I'm sure you know that solidarity knows no
borders; ultimately we believe that we as Zimbabweans has to appropriately
diagnose the problem so that we can come up with the appropriate solution
Chamisa says, "We are in the process of trying to get into proper context
and perspective of the crises in the country and we are not going to leave
any stone unturned. We will try to get all the critical blocks such as the
African Union and of course the United Nations through the secretary
general. We will try to get them understand that our crises is crises of
governance, which has to be cured here in the country by having a free and
fair elections under international supervision. Where we have endorsement
and legitimate in the outcome. Then we have a post ZANU-PF and president
Mugabe reconstruction and stabilization program."
10 July 2006
The recent attack on Trudy Stevenson, a Movement for Democratic Change, or
M-D-C, member of parliament, is a reminder of the violence that has stalked
Zimbabwean politics in recent years. The U.S. endorses the investigation by
the M-D-C of this violent act and calls for an investigation by the
government as well.
Standards of political conduct in Zimbabwe have been eroded by years of
organized assaults on opposition figures, the independent media, judges, and
civil society. The moral rot is deepest in the Zimbabwe African National
Union Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, which has been responsible for the vast
majority of the offenses. Few, if any, of the perpetrators of these acts
were ever punished.
A recent report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Nongovernmental Forum says that
there is widespread evidence of human rights abuses by the government of
Zimbabwe, headed by President Robert Mugabe. According to the Forum, since
July 2001, more than fifteen thousand cases of organized violence and
torture have been reported in Zimbabwe.
Most of the perpetrators, says the report, are the Zimbabwean police.
According to the report, "People in detention are generally at a much
greater risk of abuse unless there are extremely strong safeguards in place
governing the process of detaining people." In its latest human rights
report, the U.S. State Department says that in the past year, the government
of President Robert Mugabe "maintained a steady assault on human dignity and
basic freedoms." U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy,
Human Rights and Labor Jeffrey Krilla says that Zimbabwe "continues to move
in the wrong direction":
"They continue to arrest and detain opposition leaders and their supporters.
And then last year they closed down an independent newspaper, showing just
how unwilling they are even to accept criticism. So the Zimbabwean
government continues to be a real human rights offender on the continent."
President George W. Bush said Zimbabwe "has not been a good case study for
democracy." Mr. Bush said the U.S. "is concerned about a leadership that
does not adhere to democratic principles, and obviously concerned about a
country that was able to, for example, feed herself, now has to import food
as an example of the consequences of not adhering to democratic principles."
The U.S. reaffirms its call on the ruling party to negotiate with its
domestic political opponents in good faith and to take the reforms needed to
bring an end to the crises its misguided policies have wrought on a once
prosperous and democratic nation.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States
The Herald (Harare)
July 11, 2006
Posted to the web July 11, 2006
A FAMILY of five in Zimbabwe now requires at least $68,4 million if it is
not to be classified as poor.
According to the latest statistics released by the Central Statistical
Office (CSO) yesterday an average Zimbabwean family must spent $22 million
on food only.
This family will then require an additional $42,4 million for other
expenditures which include accommodation, clothing, transport and health
care, among others.
The latest data reflects that most Zimbabweans are living in abject poverty.
In other words, the breadwinner for an average family has to earn at par or
in excess of $68,4 million per month, well above what the majority of
Zimbabweans are currently earning.
Most industrial and farm workers are earning less than $20 million per
month, rendering them "very poor".
CSO deputy director Mr Cyril Parirenyatwa said on average, the Poverty Datum
Line increased by 1 596 percent in the last 12 months from $4 million in
June last year.
The latest figures are marginally higher than the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe's June food basket for a family of six which now stands at $61
Unlike the PDL which takes into account both rural and urban households, the
CCZ basket is confined to urban centres only.
Poverty lines vary from province to province just as prices differ from
supermarket to supermarket.
According to CSO, June's PDL for all the country's 10 provinces ranged
between $53,6 million and $77,1 million.
With its PDL currently at $53,6 million, Manicaland is the cheapest of the
country's 10 provinces.
The PDL for Matabeleland North province was computed at $77,1 million,
making it the most expensive
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/11/2006 12:20:04
A POWER struggle has ensued at the Information Ministry following the death
of Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya two weeks ago, New Zimbabwe.com has
The acting Information Minister, Paul Mangwana, last Thursday forced the
cancellation of a meeting between managers and editors from the country's
state media and President Robert Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba.
Sources Monday said there was bad blood between Mangwana and Deputy
Information Minister Bright Matonga on one hand and Charamba on the other
Sources said Charamba had summoned the editors to a meeting last Thursday
but called it off hours before it took place, under pressure from Mangwana.
The official line trotted out to the editors was that Charamba was busy.
The sources added that since being appointed acting minister following
Jokonya's death last month, Mangwana, who is also the Anti-Corruption
Minister has centralised power in an effort to frustrate Charamba and
Matonga, who defeated Mangwana in the Zanu PF primary elections for Ngezi,
is accused by his acting boss of planting false stories in The Mirror
implicating him in violence prior to the polls and ordering a state media
black-out on him, sources said.
Mangwana has not forgiven Charamba for not heeding his pleas for the media
black-out to be lifted, the sources said.
Our sources added: "Mangwana told Charamba that all meetings with government
departments and managers from the state media had to be sanctioned by him
and in frustration, Charamba cancelled the meeting last Thursday.
"Mangwana said that as he was now aware of Charamba's intentions, the
meeting could go on another date."
One editor from the government run Zimpapers stable told New Zimbabwe.com
that Charamba wanted to use the meeting to "give directions following
Neither Charamba nor Mangwana were available for comment late Monday.
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
July 10, 2006
Posted to the web July 10, 2006
On May 6 I had the honour of being invited to officiate at the commemoration
of World Press Freedom Day. The occasion brought together media
practitioners and civil society activists who are committed to the existence
and promotion of a free press.
The other objective of the day is to impress on the rest of society the
importance of a free press. The event is also observed to lend solidarity to
media practitioners who operate in difficult circumstances in repressive
states. In my remarks to the gathering I spoke about the role of a free
press in the fight against poverty. I mainly relied on the work of the 1998
Nobel Prize for economics laureate, Professor Amartya Sen.
In evoking Prof Sen I alluded to his thesis which argues that in open
societies, famine is not possible because the state is always on the alert
on account of pressure from organs of civil society which are given voice by
a free press. Prof Sen provides case studies of societies that experienced
ravaging famine, resulting in heavy loss of life. Without exception all the
societies he cited had repressive governments, which did not permit a free
press. Examples of such states include North Korea and Ethiopia under the
Mengistu regime. On the inverse this gi fted thinker cited democratic
societies with a free press and stated that despite suffering droughts and
crop failure they had never experienced famine.
Included in this league were Botswana and Zimbabwe. I pointed out to the
participants at World Press Freedom Day that were Prof Sen to revisit his
study he would have a different take on present day Zimbabwe. It is within
this context that I urged the press to join hands with the rest of civil
society to speak out against quiet diplomacy as a method of finding a
resolution to the cascade of problems engulfing our neighbour. Clearly even
when I made my remarks a number of voices had previously spoken out against
quiet diplomacy. In utilising the platform accorded to me to amplify calls
for the end of quiet diplomacy, I was joining the ranks of many in the
global community who are convinced they can longer remain silent about the
realities of Zimbabwe. There is nothing normal about a society in which
inflation has passed the 1 000 percent mark. There is nothing normal about a
society in which close to three million citizens out of a population of 13
million have left the country in less than seven years.
In fact after Palestine the Zimbabwean Diaspora is the largest in the world
per head of population. It would be immoral to remain silent in the face of
diminishing human rights and the closure of space for free expression and
As Botswana we more than anybody else are right at the coalface of the melt
down in Zimbabwe. For instance, statistics released by the police indicate
that many crimes are committed by desperate illegal immigrants from
Zimbabwe. In turn this has precipitated a backlash from local citizens in
the form of increased xenophobia and vigilante justice. On account of the
fact that our government and other members of SADC and the African Union are
wedded to the futile concept of quiet diplomacy, it is left to civil society
to speak out and call for more vigorous forms of enga gement to bring about
It is against this backdrop that we should embrace the formation of the
Botswana Civil Society Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ). Since its
inception the organisation has embarked on a protest march and rally in
support of victims of the political and socio-economic crisis in that
country. Other activities have included an inter-denominational church
service and a symposium attended by rights groups from the region. For too
long many Batswana concerned about the Zimbabwe situation have been silent.
This silence was interpreted by victims of the crisis as a sign of
complicity with the policies of the Zimbabwe government.
The programme of action spearheaded by BOCISCOZ has therefore cleared the
mist and demonstrated to many citizens of Zimbabwe that we don't all support
quiet diplomacy and its devastating effect on their lives. The origin of the
Zimbabwe crisis is contested terrain but to many it is crystal clear that
the root cause is gover nance. That said the people of Zimbabwe want a
resolution. They want a return to normalcy and wish to regain their dignity
and rights. On available evidence they cannot expect solace from SADC and
the African Union. For all practical purposes, the two organisations have
chosen other priorities over Zimbabwe. In their bizarre choice of priorities
SADC and the African Union have vindicated the view of sceptics that they
remain little more than talk shops.
We must note that one fine day Zimbabwe will be back to normality. It would
be a sad indictment if on that day Batswana are cited among those who
remained silent during a time of darkness and deprivation. Hence we must
give our support to the lawful and legitimate activities of BOCISCOZ.
July 11 2006 at 07:46AM
Any mediation to end the internal crisis in Zimbabwe should take place
between Robert Mugabe and his people, and not between Mugabe and Prime
Minister Tony Blair, the British government said on Monday.
With its remarks, it rejected former Tanzanian president Benjamin's
Mkapa's reported mediation efforts between the two countries.
Britain said it did not recognise any mediation between itself and
Zimbabwe as being necessary because the problems in its former colony
stemmed from bad governance and not from a bilateral dispute, as Mugabe was
trying to portray it.
The remarks from Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office seem to
have put paid to efforts by Mkapa to help his ally, Mugabe, win back
Mkapa's appointment as mediator between Zimbabwe and Britain was
announced at the African Union summit in the Gambia last week by UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Nick Shepherd, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson, said
Britain was happy to talk to anyone who was interested in helping to find a
solution to Zimbabwe's internal crisis, but not in the form of international
mediation. Weekend reports in Zimbabwe said Mkapa had left for Britain to
meet representatives of Blair's government to kickstart hih mediation
But Shepherd said he was not aware of any such visit by the former
Mkapa's so-called mediation effort has been the major topic in
Zimbabwe's state-controlled press, which has run articles welcoming the
The Herald newspaper went so far as to publish Mkapa's curriculum
vitae to demonstrate his ability to break the impasse between Britain and
Shepherd said Britain would not slam the door on anyone who approached
it with efforts to end the problems in Zimbabwe.
"We welcome any efforts to press Zimbabwe to tackle the misgovernance
that has created theinternal crisis there," he said.
He said if Britain did talk to anyone regarding Zimbabwe, it would do
so without regarding that person as mediator.
This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on July
From PBS Frontline/World (US), 27 June
How has the land issue been defined by the courts?
There are a number of cases where black farmers' land has been taken and I
have been able to go to court and say there is no color imbalance that is
being redressed here. If you're taking a farm from a black Zimbabwean who
bought it in 1995, when the government had first choice to buy that land,
and the government said I don't want it and you buy it - and you have that
land taken away from you and given to a ruling party person, clearly it is
wrong for that person not to have the court entertain him. Farmers cannot go
to court now because Amendment No. 17 says it's outside the court's
jurisdiction as far as agricultural land is concerned. So these people will
never be able to challenge the right to acquire their land comparatively
when in fact they were supposed to be the beneficiaries. I'm sorry, that
just cannot be constitutional.
You also have a lot of clients who have been journalists.
Zimbabwe has very repressive media laws, and those laws have made it
difficult for journalists to practice their profession freely in Zimbabwe.
As a result, we get more arrests in the media, and I found myself having a
lot more journalist cases from 2002 when new information and protection of
privacy laws came in that criminalized a lot of journalistic work. If you
write a story the government doesn't like, you can be arrested. The Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act is a very poor name. Because it
really doesn't give anybody access to information; if anything, it takes
away access to information. It was this law that shut down at least four
newspapers in Zimbabwe. So there's nothing that makes the media accessible.
It is a very big piece of legislation; it makes it impossible to have
independent media houses that can report independently because they get shut
down. The government determines who gets registered [to operate] and who
doesn't. Journalists can be locked up because they have reported what the
government regards as falsehoods. You can go to jail for at least two years
if you're convicted under that law. It forces media houses to register every
two years, which is crazy because you go into the media to publish as a
business. And to answer every two years as to whether or not you'll remain
in operation means you actually make the media self-censoring. Journalists
start to self-censor because you don't want to be without a job tomorrow. At
the end of the day, this piece of legislation literally limits the flow of
information in Zimbabwe because people are afraid of doing their job because
they could be arrested or shut down.
What about judges? Are they subjected to the same sort of self-censorship?
The judiciary in Zimbabwe took a turn for the worse for us lawyers in 2001
when judges who were seen as independent were forced off the bench. And
judges who it is generally believed look at things from the government
viewpoint were appointed. For me, the system requires a complete overhaul
because any judges who are there are dangerous because they are quite happy
to do the politicians' dirty work, to interpret the law to suit those who
made them judges. Even if there's a change, you cannot trust them. If you're
willing to be used by the ruling party now, it means tomorrow you'll be
willing to be used by whoever will be in the ruling party next, and that's
just as bad. We need to get completely new judges who would be appointed in
terms of a very transparent selection procedure.
Have judges fled the country because of judgments they've passed?
Certainly some judges have been forced to flee the country after direct
threats. There was a judge who was dealing with one of the newspaper closure
cases. He was threatened by people in government and he fled - literally
fled the country. Those who left did so because they couldn't continue
working under conditions where they were constantly under threat. The
Supreme Court heard the war veterans demonstrate, and they were jumping all
over the court while the court was in session, but nothing happened to those
people. So clearly judges have been threatened. Even those who have remained
from the old era - maybe two or so in the high courts - are afraid. They
have stayed, but the freedom is just not there anymore. I don't think
members of the judiciary feel that they have the freedom to really be
judges, impartial judges, without interference. They know if they give
judgments that aren't popular, they could lose their jobs and find
themselves in deep trouble.
This interview between Alexis Bloom and Beatrice Mtetwa took place in
February 2006 at a guesthouse in Harare. It has been edited for clarity.
Comment from The Sunday Argus (SA), 9 July
Civil disobedience in Zimbabwe will be the only way to defeat the old man of
African politics, writes Basildon Peta
For a man of many despicable transgressions, Robert Mugabe can count himself
extraordinarily lucky. The world continues to watch while he gets away with
just about everything. In view of the hype that President Thabo Mbeki and
British prime minister Tony Blair had raised about Kofi Annan's
"intervention" in Zimbabwe, few had expected that Mugabe would easily
bulldoze his way past the UN secretary-general at the just ended African
Union (AU) summit in Gambia. Yet that's exactly what the 82-year-old
Zimbabwean leader did, once again, displaying his disregard for Mbeki and
other important international players who can help end the trauma in his
country. Mugabe's economic genocide in a once prosperous country, his
relentless suppression of his people, now reduced to paupers and scavengers,
his flagrant disregard for the rule of law and legendary contempt for
democracy are all disgraceful in this age of African renewal.
Yet the man seems to get away with just about anything. Leaders with the
most leverage fail to rein him in. Annan is only the latest in a chain of
such. Mugabe's subjects remain too scared to confront him. Disenchanted
deserting soldiers would rather deploy their military expertise against
innocent South Africans in violent robberies instead of pointing their guns
at the main author of their miseries. Although Mugabe has shut down all
possibilities of being dislodged from power via democratic electoral means,
it is popular wisdom that a military coup in Zimbabwe remains a very remote
possibility. While Mugabe continues to plunge his country and people into a
wretched existence, it's ironic that he continues wrestling to the ground
just about everyone who tries to stand up to his excesses. Getting Annan to
call off his visit to Zimbabwe and to step aside in favour of former
Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa is Mugabe's latest success. When former
AU chairman Olusegun Obasanjo tried to get former Mozambican president
Joacquim Chissano to mediate in Zimbabwe, Mugabe slammed the doors.
The reason: Chissano had not been vociferous enough in support of Zimbabwe
despite being the best man at Mugabe's 1996 wedding to Grace. Fearing
further embarrassment, both Obasanjo and Chissano quickly backed off. As
usual, Mugabe got away with it. Mkapa is a staunch ally of Mugabe. He of all
African leaders has spoken strongly and publicly in support of Mugabe. Mkapa
was not appointed by the UN, the AU, Southern African Development Community
or any other institutional body. He is Mugabe's own appointee although
Mugabe says Mkapa will work within the auspices of SADC. Mkapa's mandate and
terms of reference as mediator are unclear but it seems Mugabe has set the
agenda. He says Mkapa's main brief is to mediate between Zimbabwe and
Britain. Which perhaps explains why many Zimbabweans are highly sceptical of
this mediation effort. They disagree with Mugabe and Mkapa's location of the
root cause of the Zimbabwe crisis. It's within Zimbabwe and not in Britain.
"Principles of natural justice and common sense dictate that one cannot be
an umpire and wicketkeeper in the same game," says University of Zimbabwe
(UZ) political science professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, also shadow foreign
minister of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in reference to
Mugabe's appointment of Mkapa. Mugabe is a party to the dispute to be
mediated. Yet in appointing Mkapa, he easily assumes the role of judge, jury
and executioner. And he gets away with it. Annan lets him off the hook.
Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette newspaper speculates that Mkapa might pull the
rug from beneath Mugabe's feet by insisting on an exit plan as a
pre-condition to resolving the diplomatic stand off between London and
Harare. The newspaper says Mkapa is keen to succeed where many others
failed. Tanzania's withdrawal this week of its ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Brigadier Hashim Mbita, a staunch ally of Zanu-PF, in favour of Adadi
Mohamed Rajab, seems to give credence to this hypothesis.
Speculation is that Rajab, a lawyer by profession, is being deployed to add
impetus to Mkapa's mediation effort because new Tanzanian president Jakaya
Kikwete also wants Mugabe out and is eager to help Mkapa. But Lovemore
Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly, dismisses all this
as wishful thinking. Like many Zimbabweans, Madhuku thinks Mkapa's mediation
effort is doomed because it is based on Mugabe's own self-serving philosophy
that the problems in Zimbabwe are a result of a bilateral problem between
Zimbabwe and Britain over the land issue. The problems in Zimbabwe stem from
poor governance and Mugabe's determination to cling to power at all costs,
says Madhuku. His sentiments are echoed by another UZ political scientist,
John Makumbe, who says that if Mkapa is realistic, he should re-focus his
mediation between Mugabe and his opponents in Zimbabwe because the root
cause of the crisis is within Zimbabwe.
"It seems Mkapa is the best way for Mugabe to avoid anything constructive,"
argues Makumbe. Political activist Welshman Ncube says Mkapa's intervention
is useless because the author of Zimbabwe's woes is Mugabe himself and not
Britain. Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions head Wellington Chibebe says
Mkapa's mediation is a tactic by Mugabe to buy more time for himself and
ward off meaningful foreign intervention in Zimbabwe. Apart from bad
governance, Mukonoweshuro says the crisis in Zimbabwe is also one of a weak,
usurped constitution, and a privatised and militarised state that has
failed. Unless Mkapa acknowledges that position, he is wasting everyone's
time. Britain too insists that the Zimbabwe crisis is not a result of a
bilateral dispute. Whether Mkapa succeeds in undertaking whatever mission he
aspires to achieve, the fact is that Mugabe has once again had his way by
trashing Annan and handpicking a friend. It is thought that Annan's
involvement could easily have attracted the UN Security Council's
involvement in Zimbabwe. Mugabe did not want that. So how does this old man
of African politics always have his cake and eat it? Makumbe thinks Annan
easily let Mugabe off the hook because the secretary-general only has a few
months left before his reign ends. He thus did not want to assume a
responsibility which in all likelihood is un-resolvable in the few months
left before a new secretary-general is sworn in.
In Zimbabwe itself, Mugabe easily gets away with anything because of his use
of brute force to suppress his people. Hungry Zimbabweans no longer have the
stamina to take to the streets. Most are consumed in daily survival issues.
Prominent opposition activist Roy Bennett, who fled Zimbabwe and is now
seeking asylum in South Africa, thinks the people of Zimbabwe have been left
to their own devices by the international community. Unlike South Africans
who were partly inspired to rebel against the apartheid regime by the
backing they got from the international community, Zimbabweans don't enjoy
that luxury. Mugabe has also ensured a lifeline by maintaining a well-oiled
propaganda machinery. He dwells on issues that appeal to black Africans
still recovering from their disempowerment in the colonial era. Black
leaders who have to answer to their black constituents cannot therefore
tackle him effectively. It also seems the man survives on luck. Analysts
agree that the only way for Zimbabweans to nudge the international community
into meaningful intervention is by overcoming their fear of embarking on a
sustained civil disobedience campaign to make their country ungovernable
with visible repercussions for the entire region. Unless that happens,
Mugabe will continue having it his way.
The Harare-based UNESCO southern African regional office on Monday
launched a campaign to promote application of herb among the public in
southern Africa due to HIV/ AIDS and high cost of medicines.
The campaign details the effectiveness of some herb as immune boosters
and natural antibiotics, the office said, adding that there had been a surge
in the use of herb worldwide largely because of the HIV and Aids pandemic.
Apart from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia will also be
Moringa, lemon grass, comfrey, garden mint, African potato, ginger and
garlic had been identified as the most commonly used in the region as well
as many parts of the world, the office said.
Moringa, which is very popular among those infected with HIV/ AIDS, is
known for killing bacteria and destroying germs. It also improves the immune
system and builds up the body's defense system against opportunistic
infections, it said. Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in
the world, at 20 percent.
About 3000 people die each week from AIDS related illnesses and about
one million children have been orphaned by the pandemic.
From IRIN (UN), 10 July
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe says it hopes to more than double the number of
people on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to 70,000 by the end of this year,
with help from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Raymond Yekeye, of the National AIDS Council, confirmed that the government
was expecting a grant of around US$60 million for the procurement of ARVs,
and to support HIV voluntary counselling and testing programmes. He told
Agence France-Presse that although 32,000 people had been accessing ARVs
since 2004, when the free rollout programme was launched, there were still
an estimated 300,000 people in urgent need of the drugs. Zimbabwe recently
recorded a drop in HIV prevalence from 24.6 percent two years ago to 20.1
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
11 July 2006 11:25
Econet's decision to release 10 000 new payphones into the
Zimbabwean market before the end of the year is part of a deliberate
strategy to create and stimulate employment creation, the company said in a
statement on Monday.
Spokesperson Sure Kamhunga said in addition to the thousands of
jobs that are expected to be created by the new payphone lines, which each
require an operator, Econet estimates that over 500 jobs will be created in
He said that Econet could have easily added another 50 000
cellular lines to the new lines but opted to divert these to the payphone
sector in which the company is already a dominant player through its
"The release of payphone lines is a deliberate strategy by the
company to not only widen access to telecommunication services by those
unable to own or afford a cellular handset, but also to create jobs as each
payphone needs an operator. This is our own contribution to the urgent task
we all face to get our economy back on its feet," Kamhunga said.
"We expect to create more than 500 jobs in downstream industries
such as distribution. Other sectors to benefit include construction and
those that sell phones and accessories. This is easily one of the largest
investments this year in our hard-pressed Zimbabwean economy," Kamhunga
said. - I-Net Bridge
The Herald (Harare)
July 11, 2006
Posted to the web July 11, 2006
A critical shortage of essential diabetic medicine has hit the country,
forcing diabetics to run around looking for alternative drugs.
Surveys conducted by The Herald showed that Actraphane, an insulin that
helps diabetics control their blood sugar levels, is not available in almost
all pharmacies in Harare.
Even major hospitals like Chitungwiza and Parirenyatwa do not have the drug
Officials at Parirenyatwa Hospital said they had been frantically looking
for the drug for several days without success.
"Even our partners in the private sector whom we sometimes go to in
instances like these do not have it.
"If you should find it anywhere, even if it is out of town, please advise us
for we need it," said an official at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Diabetes is a chronic condition and there are two types which are common.
There is type one, also known as insulin dependent diabetes, which requires
those with the condition to take daily dosages of insulin.
Those with Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes,
might not have to take daily dosages of insulin and control their blood
sugar levels by observing a strict diet.
A third type of diabetes develops during some pregnancies but usually
Indications are that Actraphane, which is imported, is used by most
diabetics in Zimbabwe.
While other insulins such as Actrapid were selling in a few pharmacies,
doctors said it was not advisable for diabetics who had been using
Actraphane to switch to a new drug without consulting their doctors.
"They need to see a doctor who will look at things like how long they have
been on Actraphane before advising them to switch to something else.
"Unless there are other factors, it should be possible to switch to
something else, like Actrapid," said Dr Obadiah Moyo, a surgeon who is also
the chief executive officer for Chitungwiza Hospital.
In separate interviews, diabetics called on Government to ensure that all
essential drugs are always readily available and at affordable prices.
Mr Innocent Musana of Mufakose said people's lives were put at risk each
time an essential drug ran out.
Diabetics' lives are also put at risk each time prices of drugs shoot up to
"Some pharmacies are selling these diabetic drugs for $10 million. Surely
you do not expect everyone suffering from diabetes to be able to afford
"After all, this is a chronic condition, which anyone can get, even
children. No one chooses it, it just happens and Government has to look
after our interests," he said.
Others challenged the local drug manufacturers to start making the insulin
locally, instead of importing.
Diabetes, they said, had been there since time immemorial and there was no
excuse for these companies to fail to produce the insulin.
Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare were
It has always been the ministry's policy to keep its hospitals well stocked
with essential drugs.
At a recent annual general meeting for the Community Working Group on
Health, a representative of the Zimbabwe Diabetics Association called on
Government to establish levies similar to the National Aids Levy for other
chronic diseases besides HIV and Aids or for the Aids levy to be shared
among all chronic diseases, diabetes included.
Common symptoms of type one diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent
urination, sudden weight loss, extreme tiredness and blurred vision.
Diabetes, being a chronic life-long condition, requires careful monitoring
Without proper management it can lead to hyperglycemia, which is associated
with long-term damage to the body and the failure of various organs and
By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 July 2006
The police have arrested the MDC MP for Tafara and Mabvuku Timothy
Mubhawu in connection with last week's attack on Harare North MP Trudy
Stevenson and 4 other Mutambara MDC officials. State television announced
that Mubhawu handed himself in Monday after the police announced they were
looking for him. They claim Mubhawu, an MP with the Tsvangirai MDC, is the
owner of a blue truck that was used by thugs who assaulted Stevenson and 4
officials from the Mutambara MDC as they were leaving Mabvuku after holding
a meeting on July 2nd. At least 9 people alleged to be MDC members have been
arrested so far in connection with this case.
Nelson Chamisa, the information secretary for the Tsvangirai MDC told
us Tuesday that the police are "dilly-dallying" and are having difficulty
charging Mubhawu. He said Mubhawu does not have a blue truck and was not in
Mabvuku at the time of the assault. Chamisa also told us the police have
indicated they are under pressure to implicate more senior officials in the
MDC in order to paint a violent picture of the party. He blamed ZANU-PF for
the violence and accused the police of failing to protect innocent citizens
like Trudy and the others. Since the group was attacked as they left a
meeting, Chamisa said the police were fully aware of their presence since
they had given clearance for the affair and they monitor all meetings in
Zimbabwe. He said Mubhawu had no knowledge that a meeting was taking place
As for the other MDC members who were arrested last week in the case,
Chamisa said they were released on Saturday and were not even questioned
about the attack on Stevenson. He said the police used the arrests to try
and get more information about the mass action that the MDC announced it
would organise. Chamisa added that the questions centred around the nature
of the action they were planning and had nothing to do with the attack on
Asked if any of their party officials had been in touch with the
Mutambara MDC to discuss the situation created by this incident, Chamisa
said the other MDC party exists only in the press. He told us there is only
one MDC and MP Stevenson is a member of that MDC and has never resigned from
it. He said: "We have no time for peripheral issues here."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
11 - 7 - 2006
China's growing economic and political role in Africa makes it
an essential component of the international effort to "make poverty history"
there, says Leni Wild.
This week marks the anniversary of the G8 summit in Gleneagles,
Scotland, which was also the culmination of possibly the largest
civil-society mobilisation in history - the campaign to Make Poverty
History. Yet one important issue wasn't on the agenda in 2005 even though it
was changing the face of development in Africa. What's more, it doesn't seem
to be sufficiently on the agenda at the St Petersburg summit on 15-17 July
2006. This is a pity, because it has the potential to shape (for better or
worse) the future prospects for growth, investment and governance on the
continent. That issue is China.
China's increasing role in Africa - from bilateral trade to aid
or soft loans, from debt relief to arms sales - has, until recently, gone
largely unnoticed. Policymakers, both in Africa itself and in the broader
international community, have on the whole been slow to react to the
emergence of China as a key external actor in Africa. The Commission for
Africa's report for example, mentioned China's involvement in Africa only in
Yet China's policy towards the continent has evolved rapidly
over the last decade. It is driven by both economic and political
imperatives. In the process it is both creating new opportunities for
African development and posing some serious challenges. These are changing
the context for development in the continent. And China needs to be engaged
if Africans themselves are to benefit.
The economic opportunity
The G8 has tended to see Africa as a problem to be solved. By
contrast, China has looked to Africa as a new investment opportunity.
China's trade with Africa has risen from $12 billion in 2002 to
around $40 billion in 2006. China is now Africa's third most important trade
partner after the US and France. The country's prime minister, Wen Jiabao,
announced in December 2005 that trade with Africa was set to increase to
$100 billion within five years.
China's need for energy is to a large extent fuelling this
trade. As the Chinese economy rapidly expands (it could be the world's
second largest economy by 2016), so too has its demand for energy.
Africa's impressive endowment of natural resources has therefore
exercised a strong pull. China is now the world's second largest consumer of
oil after the United States; almost a third of its oil imports currently
come from Africa (the exporting countries include Angola and Sudan, and
increasingly Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria).
China has also seen Africa as a potential market for its own
products, particularly textiles, clothing, furniture and footwear. This
brings some benefits to African consumers (who can purchase cheap goods) but
it has, in some countries, displaced African producers. South Africa,
Lesotho and others have seen parts of their textile industries almost wiped
out by an influx of goods from China, leading to large-scale job losses and
trade union protests.
The political imperative
China's relations with African countries have also been used to
bolster its international standing.
Political ties with African states are partly linked to China's
perceived vulnerability over Taiwan. As the Beijing government's Africa
policy-paper makes clear, "the one China principle is the political
foundation for the establishment and development of China's relations with
African countries". China has sought to use its ties to African countries to
encourage them not to recognise Taiwan.
China's ties with African countries also provide a buffer from
international criticism: again, its policy-paper states that China's
relationships with many African countries are based on "the principles of
independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's
This creates a quid pro quo relationship when China is investing
in countries like Zimbabwe or Sudan, in which neither side is questioned
about their human-rights records. This mutual support has also been crucial
at an international level: African votes have been key, for example, in
blocking resolutions at the UN human-rights commission condemning China's
human-rights record just as China has been key in abstaining in votes in the
UN Security Council on Darfur.
These political ties have been cemented by soft loans,
investment in infrastructure and through arms sales. China has undertaken
the construction of large prestige projects linked to institutional
interests. In states like Uganda, Mozambique, Gabon and Mali this includes
the building of football stadiums and even government offices or national
parliaments. What's more, it increasingly provides development assistance,
from the direct funding of civil servants salaries (in Liberia and the
Central African Republic) to soft loans to governments. In Angola, China's
$2 billion soft loan enabled the Angolan government to resist pressure from
the International Monetary Fund and others to improve the transparency of
its oil sector and to tackle corruption.
The African choice
African leaders have largely embraced the Chinese. China's
anti-colonial approach and ability to "get the job done" has clear appeal.
As Sierra Leone's ambassador to Beijing, Sahr Johnny, points
out: "We like Chinese investment because we have one meeting we discuss what
they want to do, and they just do it. There are no benchmarks and
preconditions, no environmental impact assessment" (see Lindsey Hilsum, "We
love China", Granta, 2005.)
But who really benefits from this investment? An unemployed
textile worker in Lesotho will have a rather different view to a Liberian
civil servant whose wages are paid by the Chinese. And a member of the
Sudanese government, procuring arms from China, will have a very different
view to a member of an African human-rights group, campaigning to end
conflict. This makes it important to disaggregate interests and to ask which
Africans benefit from Chinese investment in each country (for more on this
see Raphael Kaplinsky, Asian Drivers: Opportunities and Threats, Institute
of Development Studies, 2005).
What can be said with certainty is that China is changing the
context for development on the continent. Duncan Green, head of research at
Oxfam, argued at an ippr conference on China and Africa that there was now a
triangular dynamic to development with key actors in Africa, the US and
western Europe, and Asia. This gives many African countries some newfound
leverage: China can provide a new political opportunity, if Africans are
able to use Chinese support as a counterbalance to western-imposed
However China also presents a new test for the African Union
(AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). The African
Peer Review Mechanism was created to ensure that the policies and practices
of African states conformed to agreed political, economic and corporate
governance standards. To date, China's support for pariah regimes, its
assistance without political conditions and its lack of adherence to
international standards on corporate social responsibility could undermine
these regional initiatives.
We've seen China's strategy for Africa, but now Africa needs to
assert its own strategy for China. The AU and Nepad should co-ordinate
African strategies for China and ensure that African interests and common
values take centre stage.
What the G8 must do
But what of the G8? Should it give up on the momentum that was
built up last year or can it too learn from China?
The principal lesson might be: "do not demonise". The United
States in particular seems intent on "containing" China or presenting it as
a threat (as reflected in statements by Robert Zoellick, formerly of the US
state department). This will not work. China's role in Africa, and in the
world, is here to stay and it is only likely to increase. This leaves
greater engagement as the only option.
China should be invited to the Africa Partners Forum (a grouping
of key African governments, big development donors and African and
international institutions). Joint initiatives should also be established.
Britain's department for international development (DfID) is forging joint
development partnerships with China. Others should follow.
It may even be that development donors can learn from China's
successes. In the last twenty years or so, China has lifted an estimated 400
million of its own people out of extreme poverty. In contrast, the numbers
living in absolute poverty in Africa have increased by an estimated 77
million. Perhaps what China offers is proof that there is no
"one-size-fits-all" model for development.
But the G8 - and all development donors - must also be clear on
the need to support African-led initiatives on human rights and good
governance. China does present real opportunities, in terms of increased
trade and investment, and new forms of political leverage for Africans. But
despite the rhetoric of solidarity and mutual support, it could also
undermine the growing demands from African civil society for more progress
by their governments on issues like corruption, governance and human rights.
Bob Geldof and his colleagues may have overlooked China in 2005
but they would be wrong to make the same mistake again. The challenge now is
to engage with China to strengthen common interests and build understanding.
Only then will we see real progress in making poverty history.
Leni Wild is a research fellow in the international programme at the
Institute of Public Policy Research (ippr). She is the author of the report
Strengthening Global Civil Society (April 2006) and is currently leading on
a new research project on "The role of China in Africa". A final report will
be produced in autumn 2006.