Where 'Final Edition' Is a Fateful Term Zimbabwe Paper
Alert To State's Animosity
By Craig Timberg Washington Post Foreign
Service Friday, July 23, 2004; Page A24
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- The
journalists at the Zimbabwe Independent gather each Monday morning to discuss
the stories they are planning for the coming week and attempt to ignore, as
best they can, the unsettling fact that any one of their articles could be
Their dilemma: To write skeptically about President Robert
Mugabe or his ruling party is to court the wrath of a government that has
shut down two other newspapers in the past year, they say. But failing to
write skeptically would be to betray the paper's mission and drive away
readers who have rewarded it with a growing circulation as competitors have
Members of the Independent's staff have learned, they
said, that in a country where the government uses the courts to punish its
enemies, the only thing more dangerous than a story critical of the
government is a story critical of the government that contains errors or
"The state is like a fox watching," said Iden Wetherell, who
recently moved from being editor of the Independent to a new position
overseeing projects there and at its sister paper, the Standard. "We know
they're out to get us."
The Independent, a weekly with a circulation
of 25,000, operates out of a dingy, one-floor newsroom about the size of a
fast-food restaurant. Across the street, gleaming in modern splendor, is the
skyscraper housing the headquarters of Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front. From the windows of the newsroom, Mugabe and
other senior party leaders, who have run the country with nearly absolute
power for the past 24 years, can be seen coming and going, past
increasingly squalid streets, in motorcades of black
Party officials control the information that Zimbabweans
receive on the radio, television and in most newspapers. The ruling party
exerts outright control over all broadcasting and runs daily newspapers in
the capital, Harare, and in Bulawayo and Mutare.
The government media
tell Zimbabweans that Mugabe and his government are unfailingly benevolent
and wise and that their main opponent, the Movement for Democratic Change, is
a dangerous terrorist group that operates as a front for British efforts to
reestablish Zimbabwe as a colony.
When British Prime Minister Tony Blair
said in London that he was working with opposition leaders in Zimbabwe in
hopes of ending Mugabe's rule, government newspapers and television stations
repeated the comment for weeks. The editorial page of the Herald, the
government-run daily in Harare, ran a column and a picture of Blair with the
headline: "World now knows the truth about Zimbabwe. Speculation as to who is
at center of 'problems' is closed."
"This kind of constant messaging
is what Zimbabweans have to endure," said Brian Raftopoulos, a political
commentator who contributes opinion pieces to the Independent. "The public
debate is severely curtailed."
Zimbabweans once had more options. The
only independent daily newspaper in Zimbabwe, the Daily News, was firebombed,
then raided and looted by police before finally being closed by court order
in February. At its peak, it sold 100,000 copies.
The Tribune, a
weekly owned by Kindness Paradza, a member of parliament from the ruling
party, was closed by the state media commission in June after several months
of increasingly skeptical coverage of the government. Paradza was expelled
from the party for criticizing the media law that led to his paper's
The editors at the Independent say the closures have made them
more careful to avoid the type of actions the government used as pretenses
against the other papers. Owners of the Daily News, for example, had refused
to register the newspaper under a new media law it was challenging in court.
The Tribune changed the name of its corporate parent but failed, according to
the media commission, to notify it of the change in a timely
The owner of the Independent, Trevor Ncube, has instructed his
editors and business managers to rigorously comply with any law that does not
violate journalistic ethics.
"I've insisted to my management, let's
play by the rules," Ncube said. "Let's not create any excuse for them to come
He added that his caution did not affect news judgment. "I'd
sleep very, very soundly if we get banned because we published an article the
government doesn't like," he said.
Three newspapers remain that are
not controlled by officials of the ruling party. Two of them are owned by
The Independent has experienced several close calls, Ncube said.
The newspaper has published six stories that have prompted attempts by
the government to prosecute it under a two-year-old media law that
criminalized the reporting of inaccurate information.
Wetherell, a second editor and a reporter for 48 hours after one of the
stories -- about Mugabe's use of an Air Zimbabwe jet for a vacation to
Indonesia with his wife -- was published in January. On a recent Monday, the
top editors were called to appear in court over the story.
has not disputed the central facts in the story but has said that Mugabe did
not personally call for the airplane and that to use the word "commandeered"
in the article amounted to a criminal defamation of the president.
government dailies often ridicule the Independent and its editors in articles
and columns. Wetherell, who is white, has drawn particularly vicious
A Herald columnist last month called Wetherell a "bitter
colonial relic." In January, the Herald called Wetherell "our willy-nilly
neighbour, a fellow Zimbabwean by statute" who "we the sons of this black
African soil have to suffer until the scythe of time makes its remedial
The government's willingness to allow the Independent to
publish is a source of anxious conversation among journalists in Zimbabwe.
Many former reporters and editors of other newspapers lost not only their
freedom to publish but also their jobs, in a country where unemployment is
estimated to be as high as 70 percent.
Efforts to start online
newspapers have begun, but Internet access remains slow and limited and is
heavily regulated by the government.
"The freedom of expression is dead,"
said Sam Nkomo, publisher of the Daily News, who is battling criminal
prosecution but trying to get the courts to allow the newspaper to resume
Nkomo said one of the few things he could imagine worse than
losing his fight to reopen the Daily News would be the closure of the
"Then," Nkomo said, "the country would have gone to the
farmers offered land in Nigeria plan to clinch a $4.5 million deal on Monday
which will pave the way for the arrival of the country's first white
"There are a few minor details we need to iron out but it looks
like a done deal," Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) representative
Alan Jack said from Harare yesterday. Zimbabwean farmers have been credited
with reviving commercial agriculture in Zambia and Mozambique,
prompting President Olusegun Obasanjo to court them.
Although once a
large net exporter of food, Nigeria's largely subsistence farming sector has
been unable keep pace with its rapidly growing urban population. The country
currently spends about $2.5 billion a year on food imports.
leave for Nigeria with a team of lawyers this weekend, and plans to set up a
CFU office there to facilitate the arrival of the first group of pioneers.
The government will provide him with office space, equipment, and a car and
driver. Eight Zimbabweans are expected to settle in Kwara state this year,
but the government has budgeted for a further 10 in the first phase. The
state has about 2.3 million hectares of unutilised agricultural land
"If all goes well, the first guys will be coming up next week
and we'll have the bush cleared in the next two months," said Jack, who
already has plans drawn up for his house on the Niger. "Pity I forgot to ask
for a jacuzzi," he joked.
The gently sloping, riverside land is where
Nigeria's first community of Zimbabweans will settle. "We have the results
back from soil tests," said Jack. "It's perfect."
Jack, who lost his
tobacco and maize farm through Robert Mugabe's land reform programme, said
more Zimbabwean farmers were expected to follow. "They're under a lot of
pressure right now." Fewer than 400 white farmers remain on their land,
compared with 4 500 in 1999.
Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki opened
talks with the CFU in February and within two months the first delegation of
six farmers arrived. After being granted an audience with Obasanjo and
finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, they became convinced their hosts meant
Jack's second visit included two irrigation experts and
involved inspecting the farms on offer and calculating how much money was
needed to turn them into viable ventures. The deal now on the table includes
a $250 000 government loan per farmer at a nominal interest rate, with
another $250 000 guaranteed. Jack said double that amount was needed to get
commercial farms off the ground. "We will need to start talking to commercial
The farmers will also be granted pioneer status, which means
they'll be exempt from tax or import duties on farming equipment for five
years, and be allowed to bring in key staff to train local workers. The
governor has also pledged to build roads and houses and provide security
Despite preference by the Zimbabweans for
freehold title, the government fears this would provide ammunition to
political opponents and is offering bankable 99-year leases. The governor has
also promised the contract would include a clause making it difficult for a
future government to renege on promises or repossess the land. All land in
Nigeria currently vests in the state.
Some farmers had expressed
concern at the violent clashes, some over land, between Christians and
Muslims which have claimed hundreds of lives this year. But Kwara State has
so far been spared conflagrations engulfing the volatile northern states.
"They have been guaranteed nothing like that will happen here," said Nigel
Crompton, representative of Kwara Saraki, speaking from the state capital
The pioneers have also been assured no villagers would
be resettled to accommodate their farms. Crompton said a cargo hub was being
planned for Ilorin airport. Once completed, international flights will be
diverted from Lagos airport, leaving empty cargo planes bound for Europe
available to the Zimbabweans.
Each pioneer will receive a 1 000
hectare farm suitable for mixed crops and dairy products for local
consumption and cut flowers and vegetables for export. Large-scale planting
is expected to commence early next year.
Participants in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Seminar on "Promoting an Independent and
Pluralistic African Press", held in Windhoek, Namibia, from 29 April to 3 May
1991, declared: "Consistent with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an
independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and
maintenance of democracy in a nation and for economic
This "Windhoek Declaration" marked a highlight in the
so-called second wave (of democratisation) on the continent. Ironically, it
was also at Windhoek - almost thirteen years later (end of February 2004) -
when Zimbabwe's Minister of State for Information and Publicity signed a
co-operation agreement with his Namibian counterpart on closer collaboration,
including a planned joint weekly newspaper on regional issues.
in-depth interview offered to the local state-funded newspaper "New Era" (5
March 2004), he praised the Presidents of both countries "as two leaders that
have remained steadfast, committed, not only as nationalists but also as
Pan-Africanists, and as global leaders". He urged both countries to pursue
the common task of "doing justice to the kind of solidarity that was born
during the liberation struggle, and which must be upheld today and in
He further identified the following common challenges: "We are
here to cement these historic bonds and ties, and look at the new challenges
that we are facing, as we in particular begin to consolidate the economic
objectives of our liberation struggle, and identifying the critical role
of information, information not only in terms of the press, the print
media, but also the electronic media and other multimedia platforms that are
new, that are being used and that are accessible to these generations that
may be prone to losing the bigger picture of the essential story."
Honourable Minister was not always using such language. As a
Zimbabwean scholar still abroad he stated at a Conference on Robben Island as
late as February 1999 that "it would be a mistake to justify the struggles
for national liberation purely on the basis of the need to remove the
white minority regimes from power and to replace them with black majority
regimes that did not respect or subscribe to fundamental principles of
democracy and human rights ( ) ruling personalities have hijacked the
movement and are doing totally unacceptable things in the name of national
liberation. Being here at Robben Island for the first time, I am immensely
pained by the fact that some people who suffered here left this place only to
turn their whole countries into Robben Islands."
Only three years
later, in March 2002, he - now in a ministerial rank - praised the results of
the Presidential elections in his country as an impressive sign "that
Zimbabweans have come of age that they do not believe in change from
something to nothing. They do not believe in moving from independence and
sovereignty to new colonialism, they do not believe in the discourse of human
rights to deepen inequality."
Rhetoric of such calibre has earned
Jonathan Moyo the label 'Goebbels of Africa'. This is certainly too demagogic
itself, given the historically unique dimensions of German holocaust to which
the Nazi propaganda minister relates and associates with. But name calling of
this kind documents the degree of polarisation and level of dissent in the
Zimbabwean society today. The current clamp down on the independent media in
Zimbabwe is certainly neither exclusively nor decisively the result of a
personal vendetta by a previously progressive scholar.
is just one - though admittedly due to his track record notably exotic -
example of relatively high profile calibre representatives of a post-colonial
establishment seeking own gains by populist rhetoric covering up their
selfish motives. They have become part and parcel of a set of deep-rooted
anachronistic values within a system of liberation movements in power. After
seizing legitimate political control over the state, these turned their
liberation politics under the disguise of pseudo-revolutionary slogans into
oppressive tools. Their "talk left, act right" seeks to cover the true motive
to consolidate the occupied political commanding heights of society against
all odds preferably forever - at the expense of the public interest they
claim to represent in the light of deteriorating socio-economic conditions of
living for the once colonised and now hardly liberated (and even less
Sadly enough, it was the same Jonathan Moyo, who
at an early stage of the sobering post-colonial realities in Zimbabwe offered
courageous and sensible analytical insights into these processes. While being
a Lecturer at the Department of Political and Administrative Studies of the
University of Zimbabwe, he presented thought provoking and painful
reflections on the liberation war (chimurenga) with all its dubious
Read this from a paper in late 1992: "There can hardly be any
doubt that the armed struggle in Zimbabwe was a pivotal means to the goal of
defeating oppressive and intransigent elements of colonialism and racism.
However, as it often is the case with protracted social processes of a
conflict with two sides, the armed struggle in this country had a deep
socio-psychological impact on its targets as well as on its perpetrators. ( )
For the most part, the armed struggle in this country lacked a guiding moral
ethic beyond the savagery of primitive war and was thus amenable to
manipulation by the violence of unscrupulous nationalist politicians and
military commanders who personalized the liberation war for their own selfish
ends. ( ) This resulted in a culture of fear driven by values of violence
perpetrated in the name of nationalism and socialism."
erstwhile critical scholar represents the same mindset he had questioned.
According to a news report by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA),
he used a press conference on 30 April 2004 in Bulawayo to threaten, "there
was enough space in Zimbabwe's prisons for journalists caught dealing with
foreign media houses". As "terrorists of the pen" they would be targeted
next. The report quotes the Minister as saying: "President Mugabe has said
our main enemy is the financial sector but the enemy is media who use the pen
to lie about this country. Such reporters are terrorists and the position on
how to deal with terrorists is to subject them to the laws of Zimbabwe." This
is tantamount to paranoia and indicative for the recent efforts to censor
even private communication.
As the mere distribution of and access to
information can be damaging to the security interest of those represented by
the Minister, the next onslaught is directed against the private ISPs
(Internet Service Providers). The state owned telephone-company announced
early June 2004 that ISPs had to enter new contracts stipulating that they as
service providers prevent or report to the authorities anti-national
activities and malicious correspondence via their telephone lines. If they
fail to do so, they will be liable, i.e. penalised.
earlier appalling interferences resulting in the closing of independent
newspapers and the imprisonment or expelling of journalists on a systematic
scale. The government and its executive branches are eager to emphasise that
this repression is in compliance with the existing (and for such purposes
enacted) laws and hence fully within "legality" (which, of course, is a far
cry from legitimacy). This simply shows that the "rule of law" can apply in
the absence of any justice. It is the strategy of the ban that constitutes
the rule of law. It does not even spare government friendly media productions
and displays the intolerant, all-controlling nature of the system.
prominent example is the banning of the live broadcasted
television production "Talk to the Nation" in mid-2001, which was sponsored
by the National Development Association (NDA). The explanatory statement by
an official of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is a
remarkable example for the "innocence" of a totalitarian mindset: "Live
productions can be tricky and dangerous. The setting of the NDA productions
was professionally done but maybe the production should not have been
broadcast live. You do not know what someone will come and say and there is
no way of controlling it."
Along such an understanding, media
operating independently or beyond direct control of government were
increasingly hampered and closed down, as the prominent example of the Daily
News showed. On an alleged breach of a legal clause under the notorious
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Media and
Information Commission (MIC) has now in June 2004 closed The Tribune for at
least one year. Its publisher, himself a former ZANU-PF MP, was reportedly
suspended earlier on by the ruling party for "disrespecting" ZANU-PF top
structures as he had denounced AIPPA in his maiden address to
It therefore does not come as a surprise that the latest
annual overview on the state of media freedom in the Southern African region
by the Media Institute of Southern Africa - issued on the World Press Freedom
Day (26 April) - records more than half of all 188 media freedom and freedom
of expression violations in 2003 among the ten monitored countries in
International agencies committed to the freedom of
press and the professional ethics of independent journalism are in agreement
that the situation in Zimbabwe is intolerable. It prompted the Annual
General Assembly of the International Press Institute (IPI) on 18 May 2004 in
Warsaw to adopt the unanimous decision "to retain Zimbabwe's name on
the 'watchlist' of nations that are seriously eroding media freedom". And
the Board of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) condemned at its
57th World Newspaper Congress in Istanbul early June 2004 the "attempts
to silence independent media". At a meeting in Windhoek during early June
2004 a total of 24 newspaper editors from eight countries in Southern
Africa organised in The Council of the Southern African Editors' Forum
(SAEF) suspended its Zimbabwean wing.
The narrowing down of the
post-colonial discourse to a mystification of the liberation movement in
power as the exclusive home to national identity and belonging finds a
corresponding expression in the increased monopolisation of the public sphere
and expressed opinion.
Amanda Hammer and Brian Raftopoulos, co-editors of
a recent volume on "Zimbabwe's Unfinished Business" summarised this in their
introduction as "efforts to control or destroy the independent media and to
silence all alternative versions of history and the present, whether
expressed in schools, in churches, on sports fields, in food and fuel queues,
at trade union or rate payers' meetings, in opposition party offices or at
Such desperate initiatives to enhance control
signal at the same time a lack of true support among the population, who
otherwise could be allowed to speak out freely. The repression of public
opinion beyond the official government propaganda is therefore an indication
of the ruthless last fight for survival of a regime, which has lost its
original credibility and legitimacy to an extent that it has to be afraid of
allowing a basic and fundamental principle of human rights - the freedom of
* Dr Henning Melber is Research Director at The Nordic Africa
Institute in Uppsala/Sweden and has been Director of The Namibian Economic
Policy Research Unit (NEPRU) between 1992 and 2000. Before studying
Political Science and Sociology he was trained as journalist (1971/72) and
sacked from the local German newspaper in Windhoek (1972) for disputes over
political and professional-ethical reasons. He joined SWAPO of Namibia in
1974. This is the shortened introduction to the forthcoming "Media, Public
Discourse and Political Contestation in Zimbabwe", published in the "Current
African Issues" series with The Nordic Africa Institute.
Zimbabwe Again Postpones Trial of Suspected S. African
Mercenaries Peta Thornycroft Harare 22 Jul 2004, 16:08
The trial of 70 suspected South African mercenaries has been
delayed once again to give lawyers more time to prepare. The men were
arrested at Zimbabwe's international airport in March and accused by the
government of plotting to overthrow the government of Equatorial
Guinea. For security reasons, the High Court allowed this trial to take place
where the men are being held, in Zimbabwe's maximum security prison 25
kilometers south of Harare. Unlike in ordinary courts, the public and
unregistered journalists are not admitted.
Before the trial was due to
begin Wednesday, some families of the imprisoned men, who all travel on South
African passports, said they believed a plea bargain had been arranged
between prosecutors and the defense.
But lawyers acting for the men
denied any plea bargain had been discussed or struck with state prosecutors.
The trial, which had been postponed twice before, will resume next
Defense lawyer Alwyn Griebenow said this time the case has been
postponed at the state's request and the defense had no objection. He said,
if all goes well, the trial would last between one and two weeks, but he said
it could also last 18 months.
After the men were arrested two cabinet
ministers, in charge of home affairs and foreign affairs, said the men had
bought weapons in Zimbabwe to be used in a coup in oil-rich Equatorial
Foreign minister Stan Mudenge called for the men to be executed
if found guilty. The indictment contained no specific evidence linking the
men to a plot in Equatorial Guinea.
The defendants claim the weapons
were bought in Zimbabwe for a security contract they had to guard a diamond
mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their lawyer, Mr. Griebenow, said
the security law under which the men have been charged carries a sentence of
up to 10 years in prison.
Equatorial Guinea, with which Zimbabwe recently
signed an extradition treaty, has asked Harare to send the 70 men to
Equatorial Guinea for prosecution, along with 15 other men detained at the
same time, in Malabo.
Families of the 70 alleged mercenaries say they
fear the men would be executed if they are sent to Equatorial Guinea.
As we go through the last six months of the year, we
look at the bold measures introduced in the monetary policy to correct the
fiscal and monetary imbalances.
While some gains have been recorded in
slowing down inflation and bringing relative stability to the financial
markets, Zimbabwe still remains in a hyperinflationary
Lack of export-led growth strategies has exposed our
currency to significant import pressures, to the detriment of the inflation
High lending rates have eroded the spending power of consumers as
they struggle to make ends meet. Coupled with high costs of borrowing,
the informal sector businesses, which were becoming the major employers
in Zimbabwe, are folding due to a significant drop in speculative
The formal sector, though benefiting from low-cost borrowings
made available under the productive sector facility, have failed to translate
this benefit into increased output, exports and employment as they face a
multitude of problems emanating from exogenous factors.
in the agro-sector - the engine of our economy - are still far from over. And
without taking bold measures to address the anomalies in this sector, the
little gains achieved will be reversed in totality.
year-on-year inflation has been slowing over the past six months, mainly
driven by the societal buy-in, and because the figures are coming off a
The first six months of the year were also characterised by
heavy restocking both in the formal and informal sectors, leading to a
significant drop in prices.
However, it might be too early to register
victory as current inflationary pressures emanating from high import costs
due to the anticipated weakness in the Zimbabwe dollar still haunt us.
Already, since the last two months to June 2004, producer and consumer prices
Inflation levels will continue to be high as
labour demands and commodity shortages and price controls are looming. The
situation is likely to be compounded by the anticipated rise in the
government expenditure ahead of the general elections to be held early
Currently, the government is financing its budget deficit through
domestic sources, thereby crowding out the productive sector. This type of
deficit financing is inflationary and increases money supply.
there are current efforts to restructure government debt through issuing
long-term paper, which has more appeal to institutions and individuals with
long-term investment horizons. So far, only three issues, all of which were
not fully subscribed, have been issued.
This should be an on-going
exercise and the momentum should be accelerated if we are to preserve any
gains scored so far.
The foreign currency auction system has brought some
normalcy to the exchange rate. The introduction of the diaspora floor rate of
Z$5200 has somewhat officialised the parallel market and, according to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the strategy is yielding positive results
through increased inflow of the much-needed commodity into the official
This has meant that foreign currency is available to crucial
sectors of the economy at a fair price, leading to price stabilisation. The
rate, however, needs to be reviewed regularly if this momentum is to be
The demand for foreign currency has been on the increase
lately and this is expected to continue because many companies now need to
restock ahead of the festive season.
With this in mind, there is need
to look for more ways to increase foreign currency inflows by re-engaging the
international community, boosting exports and continuously reviewing the
The exchange rate will be controlled or managed until the
end of the year, although quarterly devaluation will be witnessed. As a
result, the exchange rate is projected to end the year at $6500 to the US
dollar. And if this is done, exporters' viability will be restored in a
In the process of eliminating speculative activities among
financial institutions and individuals, the RBZ adopted a policy where
interest rates would be market-related. This ushered into the market
instruments earning yields in excess of 320 percent.
This has since
been reviewed downwards as the impact of keeping interest rates at those
levels would have been inflationary.
A bulk of these instruments ($1.18
trillion) matured towards the end of June 2004 and to sterilise liquidity
associated with these maturities, the RBZ introduced special treasury bills
(TBs) offering lower rates in line with its inflation forecast of 200 percent
by the end of 2004. This forced move would have the effect of increasing
pressure on interest rates to move upwards. However, the RBZ has allowed
institutions to redeem TBs whenever they seek accommodation.
on these bills will form the basis of interest rate outlook for the next six
to 12 months. We thus expect interest rates to hover around 100 percent. With
the rollover of the productive sector facility and the fact that not much
will be paid in tax, there will be no significant impact on interest
Even under deficit conditions, the fact that using TBs as
security, banks can access accommodation from the RBZ at 118 percent gives
little reason to believe that interest rates will rise significantly above
However, at these levels, negative real interest rates are
likely to continue in the short to medium term. This is mainly explained by
the fact that at current levels of inflation, 90-day rates should be trading
above 150 percent.
The task is really demanding and difficult for the
RBZ governor, but cooperation between key stakeholders is the answer to
economic recovery. The survival of exporters should be on top of the agenda
in the next monetary policy review, while lending rates should be reviewed to
assist the informal sector, which critically needs funding for its
operations. Consumers need to be cushioned if long-term recovery of the
economy is to be achieved.
Fidelity Life Asset Management shall not be
held liable for any losses as a result of the investment advice in this
The United States was one of the founders of the United
Nations, which, back in the years immediately following World War II, seemed
like a good idea.
It has become increasingly apparent that what may have
been a good idea at the time no longer works. The United Nations has outlived
its usefulness, whatever that usefulness may have once been. It is time for
the U.S. to withdraw from the U.N. and politely invite the organization to
find a new home.
Nairobi might be a suitable locale.
American left continues to pay homage to the United Nations, it does so
without examining the facts in evidence, and the evidence is that the U.N.
has become a corrupt debating society.
Fact 1: The U.N.'s highly touted
oil-for-food program for Iraq was a colossal failure, at least in terms of
what it was supposed to accomplish.
Although the program was designed to
aid Iraqis, the only Iraqis who benefitted were Saddam Hussein and his
henchmen. According to a growing body of evidence, Saddam wound up picking up
something in excess of $10 billion through oil smuggling and program
kickbacks, money that was not only spent on elaborate palaces but also
funnelled to various terrorist groups.
That evidence also indicts, among
others, France, Germany and Russia, all of whom had sweetheart oil deals with
the Iraqi government. Those agreements were the primary reason for the
opposition to the decision by the U.S. to enforce the U.N. resolutions
against Iraq. Indeed, despite their opposition to the U.S.-led coalition that
effected the regime change in Iraq, those countries were among the first to
demand a part in the reconstruction process and to demand that the financial
deals they made with the Saddam regime be honored.
Fact 2: The U.N.
has virtually ignored the disaster that Africa has become.
of the nations on the continent are members of the U.N., and although the
U.N.'s secretary general, Kofi Annan, is Ghanian, there has been no effort
made to do anything to provide aid to a continent that seems to be coming
apart at the seams. Sudan may be a member of the U.N. Commission on Human
Rights, but all available evidence points to the fact that in the Sudan, the
only human rights belong to the Muslim majority in Khartoum. Slavery is still
being practiced, the victims members of non-Muslim peoples living in the
south of the country. So, too, is enforced famine and "ethnic
The U.N. totally ignored the genocide that took place in
Rwanda in the 1990s, that resulted in millions of deaths.
The U.N. has
ignored the depredations of Robert Mugabe, who, in "nationalizing" Zimbabwe,
has effectively turned the country from a food exporter into a food
Fact 3: The U.N. is anti-Semitic.
Although Israel is a
member of the United Nations, only the veto of the United States on the
Security Council has prevented any number of resolutions condemning Israel.
That, however, has not stopped public criticism of Israel's efforts to simply
The latest outrage was a ruling by a U.N. court, and a later vote
by the General Assembly, calling the barrier Israel is building to separate
itself from the Palestinians a violation of international law.
worth noting that the purpose of the wall is to keep terrorists out, not to
fence anyone in, and that since construction began, the number of homicide
bombings has dropped drastically. It is further worth noting that the U.N.
has never condemned terrorist acts against Israel. The U.N. also never said
anything about a wall in Berlin which was designed to keep people in. The
U.N. had no part in the collapse of that wall.
Fact 4: The U.N. is
A new book was recently published, much to the dismay of Annan,
who did everything he could to stop it. The book was written by a group of
current and former U.N. employees. The current employees were threatened with
the loss of their jobs if the book was published.
It was. The title of
the book is "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures." It chronicles
various U.N. peacekeeping missions which were less about peacekeeping and
more about sex-and-drug parties.
Other reports reveal embezzlement and
theft, on a massive scale, in relief operations in both Somolia and Cambodia,
the money being pocketed by U.N. representatives, among them Annan's
For all the rhetoric that seems to emanate from the U.N., the
organization essentially exists only because of the good graces of the U.S.,
which increasingly finds itself the target of U.N. criticism. It is time for
the U.S. to separate itself from the U.N., both as a member state and as
a beneficient landlord. Moving the U.N. headquarters to Nairobi might give
the U.N. diplomats a chance to see what life is like in their home
countries. And it would certainly save American taxpayers a lot of money.
ZIMBABWE MAGISTRATE TAKES ON THE STATE Fri 23 July
HARARE A magistrate has given the state until Friday next
week (July 30) to reveal the names of top government and ZANU PF officials
who are trying to scuttle further investigations and the prosecution of ZANU
PF member and businessman, Cecil Muderede.
one of several ZANU PF and senior government members accused of corruption
and externalisation of foreign currency. The magistrate ordered the state to
reveal the names of the officials who allegedly gave instructions to a senior
police officer to stop investigations into Muderede's case. An investigating
officer in the case, Chief Superintendent Musarashana Mabunda, had told a
stunned court that top politicians and senior government officials were
giving him instructions to stop the investigation and prosecution of
The magistrate's order followed a request by the
businessman's lawyer who argued the revelation of the names would have a
bearing on the bail application of his client.
The order comes
amid allegations that a list of top government officials targeted for
investigation over their involvement in various corrupt schemes has been
trashed despite President Robert Mugabe's assurances that no one would be
spared in the anti-corruption crackdown. The list of 30 was originally
compiled early this year by the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Sources, who do not want to be named, told Zim Online that top politicians
from Muderede's home province Mashonaland West are afraid the businessman
might spill the beans on their various illegal activities and are therefore
trying to stop police from carrying out further investigations. Zim
'MERCENARIES' TRIAL: STATE AND DEFENCE NEGOTIATE ON
CHARGES Fri 23 July 2004
HARARE Zimbabwe's High Court today
postponed to July 27 the trial of 70 suspected mercenaries held in Harare
since March. This is to give the state and the defence time to negotiate and
agree on the charges to be brought against the suspects.
suspected mercenaries were arrested in March after their plane landed at
Harare Internatonal Airport en route to what the state says was a mission to
oust the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang
The defendants deny they are mercenaries, saying
they were heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo to guard mining
operations. The trial of the men, most of whom hold South African passports,
had intially been set to start on Monday but was twice postponed. The latest
postponement was by mutual consent of both the defense and the
Alwyn Griebenow, one of the defence lawyers, said in a
statement, 'we are trying to limit the issues in dispute'.
said an agreement on the issues could limit the trial length to about 'one to
two weeks'. He, however, warned that failure by the state and the defence
councel to reach a compromise could cause a lengthy trial lasting up to 'one
and a half years.'
One of the issues under discussion, he said, was
the charging of the 70 men under the public order and security laws, which
could see the men being jailed for up to 10 years if found
Lawyers acting for the 70 men are also pushing South Africa
through the courts there to intervene and prevent the men from being deported
to Equatorial Guinea where they might face the death penalty. Harare has
not ruled out the possibilty of handing the suspected mercenaries to the
West African country. Zim Online
Heads of electoral commissions meet in Zimbabwe Thurs 22
VICTORIA FALLS - Heads of electoral commissions in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have gathered in
Victoria Falls to discuss ways of strengthening their capacity to handle
Belinda Musanhu, the coordinator for the meeting and an
official with the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) yesterday
said the meeting would discuss ways of improving electoral standards in the
'This is an annual general conference of the SADC
electoral commissions' forum. Generally, they do not specifically focus on
one country's electoral standards but they ask each country to present a
report on how it has handled elections.'
'The issue of Zimbabwe
might be discussed but it is not going to be the central issue although there
is going to be another conference between August 2 and 3 in Victoria Falls.
This meeting would be about the regional initiative about electoral reform.'
Previous elections held in Zimbabwe have attracted international and domestic
criticism for being undemocratic.
The opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and the civic movement have constantly clashed with
the government over skewed electoral laws. Civic leaders and the opposition
have maintained that the present legislation governing the conduct of
elections in Zimbabwe is biased in favour of ZANU PF which has used the
advantage of incumbency to allegedly rig elections. Zim Online
MDC claims supporters are denied food Fri 23 July
MUTARE Ruling party ZANU PF and opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) officials in the eastern province of Manicaland are
trading accusations over access to maize.
Pishai Muchauraya, the
MDC's provincial spokesperson, accused ZANU PF officials of moving around
compiling a list with names of his party's supporters. These, he said, will
then be not be allowed to buy maize grain from the Grain Marketing Board
The Board is the monopoly maize distributor in Zimbabwe
selling the staple food to shops and, in times of need, to ordinary people.
Muchauraya told Zim Online that ZANU PF's provincial youth chairperson,
Enock Porusingazi, and the District Administrator for Chipinge, Morris
Sakabuya, are involved in the compilation of the lists. Both are candidates
in next year's parliamentary election. Porusingazi denied the
allegations, and Sakabuya could not be reached for comment.
PF provincial spokesman, Stanley Shamido, said he was unaware of any exercise
or plot by the ruling party to prevent hungry opposition supporters from
accessing food. "I am hearing it from you, but the party's position has
always been clear that all deserving people are entitled to food," he said.
Shamido pointed out that his party did not run the state-owned GMB, but
promised to investigate the allegations.
Muchauraya insisted MDC
supporters were being victimised to make them abandon the opposition party
for ZANU PF, and food was being used as a bait.. "We are aware of the dirty
tactics ZANU PF uses. It has done it before and has always been doing it, but
people need to be vigilant," he said.
"One of our members, a
businessman, was barred from buying maize at the GMB. The reason was that he
supports the MDC. He is not alone. We have also gathered that some shops run
by ZANU PF activists and officials are refusing to sell maize meal even to
our ordinary supporters.
ZANU PF has in the past been accused of
using food to buy votes.The party has always denied the charge. Zim
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe's government has announced changes to the country's electoral laws,
which it claims will protect the nation from vote-counting fraud. But
the opposition charges that the changes, being introduced ahead of next
year's election, are merely cosmetic because of other rules that prevent the
opposition from campaigning.
The proposals, which were approved this
week by the politburo of the ruling Zimbabwe African Nation Union - Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF), include tighter control of the counting process, translucent
ballot boxes and the appointment of an independent electoral commission to
oversee the poll. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
dismissed the reforms as "meaningless." "The political environment in
Zimbabwe is characterized by violence and draconian statutes that curtail
freedom of speech, assembly and association," party spokesman Paul Temba
Nyathi said. "Unless political space is opened up, any electoral reforms
are technically meaningless," he said. Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party,
which has ruled the country since independence in 1980, controls all radio
and television broadcasts and much of the print news media. Laws
passed in 2002 make it a crime to criticize the president and public
gatherings are illegal without police permission. The MDC claims that
while ZANU-PF is always granted the right to hold political rallies, other
parties are often denied a permit. Human rights groups say that the
Zimbabwe government has been guilty of widespread torture and abuse against
its own citizens. In an election in May, observers reported that voters
had been intimidated and bribed with food in a country where the United
Nations estimates that 70 percent of people do not have enough to eat.
As recently as four years ago, Zimbabwe was one of the largest food exporters
in Africa. In 2000 Mr. Mugabe embarked on a coercive land-reform program and
forced most of the country's 4,000 white commercial farmers off their
properties. Agricultural production collapsed and critics claim that
instead of the land being given to rural peasants, the best farms were taken
by government ministers and their families. Mr. Nyathi said there was
still time to create a democratic environment before next year's
election. "All we are asking is for the Zimbabwe government to respect
citizens' fundamental right to freely participate in the democratic process
and elect leaders of their choice," he said. "These are not unreasonable
demands." Zimbabwe's last general election in 2000 was marred by
state-sponsored violence and charges by international observers of
vote-rigging. Mr. Mugabe won a presidential ballot two years ago, and most
Western countries, including the United States, refused to recognize the
Robert Mugabe: Zimbabwe has taught the West about human
rights From a speech made by the President of Zimbabwe at the opening of
parliament in Harare 23 July 2004
This neo-colonial dependence
syndrome has been our repeated ruin. Traditional business enterprises that
have shaped and defined our thrust are, in the majority of cases, unambitious
subsidiaries of major companies in South Africa, Britain and America, caught
in a time warp and hopelessly hide-bound. Consequently, enormous
possibilities presented by burgeoning Third World economic regions doing much
better than the much vaunted, yet risky and even declining West, have escaped
Happily, we have not gone too far down this path. We have halted the
policy of blind privatisation, and the expectation is that our parastatals,
once reformed and commercialised, and properly re-oriented, will be the
cutting edge of our economic policy.
In the wider international arena,
my government remains committed to meaningful collaboration with all
peace-loving countries and peoples of the world, based on mutual respect and
We nonetheless remain patently opposed to the current
mutant strain of imperialists who have arrogated to themselves the role of
patrons of democracy and human rights, which they shamelessly trample upon in
their pursuit of bloated self-interest.
Those who only yesterday were
our colonialists and for decades trampled upon our own rights as Zimbabweans
have no human rights or democracy lessons to impart to us when we taught them
these values through a protracted armed liberation struggle that cost us
thousands of lives.
Reporter FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Chris Kuruneri, who is
facing charges of externalising large sums of money, will remain in remand
prison while the police finalise investigations, a Harare magistrate
Ms Memory Chigwaza made the order after dismissing
another application for a trial date by Kuruneri, who is accused of breaching
the Exchange Control Act, during his routine remand hearing.
reasons given by the court still stand. This case is complicated and the
police need adequate time to investigate," Ms Chigwaza said in her
brief ruling before remanding Kuruneri to August 5.
his lawyer Mr Bruce Mujeyi of Gollop and Blank, had made an application
similar to the one he made on his last remand hearing on July 8, but was
opposed by the State.
State representative Mr Bright Mugomeza said
Kuruneri had only been in remand prison for three months and the State was
not yet ready with his trial date.
"It is premature for defence to
make such an application. I tried to contact Mr Jagada, but I failed," Mr
Mugomeza said, referring to Mr Joseph Jagada, the chief law officer in the
However, the defence argued that three months
behind bars was a long time.
"He (Mr Mugomeza) doesn't say why he stands
here in the comfort of his suit and says that three months is a short time
when we are talking about the liberty of an accused.
"The State should
proceed against my client by way of summons when they are ready," he
Mr Mujeyi said they had come to court on a number of occasions to
"hear flimsy" reasons by the State.
Soon after the ruling, Mr Mujeyi
asked the court for the time it would take to have his client
"I cannot estimate on time considering that there are five
counts," Ms Chigwaza said.
Earlier, a dejected Kuruneri, clad in an
executive suit, sat quietly in the dock as he followed the
Soon after the ruling was handed down, a prison officer
whisked him back to the holding cells.
A handful of his relatives,
among them his wife who sat in the court gallery, immediately left the
courtroom in despair.
On the last remand hearing, the minister made a
similar application, which was dismissed.
Kuruneri had also submitted
that charges against him be dropped and that the State should proceed by way
of summons or he be given a short remand.
Charges against Kuruneri, the
most prominent figure to be arrested under the Government's anti-corruption
drive, arose between 2002 and this year after he allegedly externalised R5,2
million, US$582 600, 30 000 euros and £34 471.
It is alleged that the
minister illegally externalised the funds to South Africa, where he is
constructing a property in Cape Town.
Kuruneri has since admitted to
building the eight-bedroom mansion, but claimed the money used for the
project was earned outside the country before he was appointed a Government
He has also said the house cost him "only R7 million, not R30
million as reported by some sections of the South African media".
minister is also alleged to have contravened the Citizenship Act of Zimbabwe
by possessing two passports without the permission of the Minister of Home
The State alleges that Kuruneri possesses a Canadian passport
while also being a holder of a Zimbabwean diplomatic
Kuruneri was arrested on April 24 and was remanded in custody
by a Harare magistrate.
He had requested the court to remand him at
any Government hospital on medical grounds, a request turned down by the
Kuruneri had said he suffers from acute back pain.
went on to apply for bail at the High Court, but his request was dismissed
after the court ruled that he could abscond if freed on bail.
also said the prosecution had a solid case against the minister on three of
the five charges, which could induce him to flee the country to evade
Kuruneri challenged the High Court's decision to deny him bail at
the Supreme Court, arguing that is was riddled with
The case was referred back to the lower court on a
technicality, but the matter was heard again at the Supreme Court after the
defence sought leave to appeal.
The Supreme Court reserved judgment in
the appeal for bail by the minister and later dismissed the appeal, citing
lack of merit, after a week
Reporters POLICE should ensure that next year's parliamentary elections are
"conducted in a peaceful and tranquil environment" since the country would be
under the international spotlight, President Mugabe said
Speaking at a pass-out parade for 361 police recruits at
Morris Depot in Harare, where he was the reviewing officer, the President
said this was critical since the country's detractors would, as usual, seek
to deliberately misrepresent the situation and the electoral process in
"In view of this, it is necessary for the police to
prepare for the polls in time so that they are conducted in a peaceful and
"The message of a peaceful and non-violent election
campaign should be adhered to in both letter and spirit.
"In the same
breath, I wish to strongly warn those who are bent on indulging in violence
and any other illegal activities with a view to tarnishing the country's
image, that the full wrath of the law will descend upon them.
of this, challenges that lie ahead, therefore, demand unflinching commitment,
vigilance and unfettered dedication to duty by our police officers," he
In April this year, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri also
alluded to the same issue.
He said the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
did not entertain "lukewarm" officers who might have joined it for reasons
other than serving the people of Zimbabwe.
The commissioner said then
that the police would not fold their hands when individuals intent on
triggering violence to batter the image of the country, do what they want
during the election period.
Turning to corruption, President Mugabe said
his call for the nation to re-energise efforts to fight graft during his
address to the nation on the opening of the Fifth Session of the Fifth
Parliament on Tuesday has been further reinforced by the establishment of the
Department of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies in his
"Amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act have
further buttressed police work.
"Let it be known that even those
criminals who surreptitiously escaped the police net and sought refuge in
other countries will still face the full wrath of the law.
Government takes cognisance of the ZRP's desire to contain economic crimes in
the short, medium and long terms," he said.
The recent launch of a new
Police Strategic Plan, "Vision 2008: Policing for National Economic Revival",
the President said, was a bold step aimed at reversing the cancerous effect
of white-collar crime which has manifested itself through various
These included fraud, money-laundering, tax evasion,
under-invoicing of exports and imports, corruption, externalisation of
foreign currency and smuggling of gold and other precious
President Mugabe said the expeditious implementation of the
strategic plan needs to be premised on significant incentivisation of police
operations and complementary avenues created by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
such as the whistle blower facility.
"It is my hope that the
anti-graft campaign will continue to benefit from co-operation among various
stakeholders and members of the public who expect to see a turnaround in the
economy," he said.
The President said the synergies derived from the
framework of regional co-operation against transnational crimes should be
fully exploited in view of the current crime situation in the southern
Organised crime, manifesting itself through murder,
robbery, car-jacking, stocktheft and money-laundering, he said, cannot be
overcome without fostering strong relationships with regional
"In furtherance of the objective of regional co-operation,
Parliament has approved the Southern African Development Community Protocol
on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials, that
empowers member states to enact laws prohibiting unrestricted possession and
trafficking in illegal firearms.
"The protocol will bolster the
operations of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation
through the creation of a database for the swift exchange of information on
firearms, their movement and use," he said.
The President said members of
the security forces, including the police, should not lose sight of what
gives significance to their professional standing, since the Government they
serve is an outcome of a century-long revolutionary struggle against
colonialism and imperialism.
"The maintenance of peace and stability
must, therefore, be predicated on sustaining our national sovereignty and
independence as a people who owe unending gratitude to the gallant sons and
daughters who perished for the cause of national liberation.
common knowledge that efforts of the ZRP in safeguarding national peace and
tranquillity form the cornerstone of economic and other forms
"In this regard, the force's unwavering dedication to
duty since independence must be applauded, more so in light of the hostile
campaigns and efforts by Western imperialists to undermine and dislodge
a democratically elected Government in Zimbabwe," the President
The rich menu of courses undertaken by the recruits, which include
the history of the liberation struggle, the President said, underlines
efforts to integrate practical approaches and theory, which should be seen as
a calculated and useful thrust to imbue the young men and women who
graduated yesterday with correct values.
The President said the
promotion of gender equality should be pursued as a matter of national policy
in all Government ministries and departments.
This, he said, was in view
of the global shift towards greater recognition of the role of women in
"The increasing number of women joining the ranks of the police
force as reflected by those on today's parade is a positive development that
is deserving of praise.
"This well-balanced configuration of course
participants thus indicates a visible effort to transform the police force
into a sensitive, vibrant and dynamic organisation geared to deliver
excellence," he said.
Out of the 361 graduating recruits, 110 were female
while 230 were male.
Other areas touched on by the President included
HIV/Aids in the police force and the need to devise strategies to combat the
epidemic and also distribute anti-retroviral drugs to infected members of the
He also made reference to the need to vigorously pursue the
recapitalisation of the force in the coming financial year.
pass-out parade was witnessed by senior Government officials, senior police,
army and air force officers.
The senior Government officials present
included Minister of Home Affairs Cde Kembo Mohadi, Minister of Industry and
International Trade Cde Samuel Mumbengegwi, Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Cde Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Higher and Tertiary
Education Cde Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank governor Dr Gideon Gono.
Experienced, preferably older, maid wanted
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Mrs. Coates 091-300
Received 16th July 2004
DESPERATELY SEEKING an experienced groom for polo
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Please contact: Sam Baker on 073-2585 (Ruwa) or
Advert Received 16th July 2004
We are looking for a gardener/domestic
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Mrs Faustino on; 572999 or 091
Received 19th July 2004
Gardener/general hand needed as soon as possible
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and update credit applications and securities. Send CV to firstname.lastname@example.org ______________________________________________
Advert Received 20th July 2004
Dear Sirs, I wonder whether you have a
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