Tue 25 July 2006
HARARE - The main faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai says it will boycott the
official opening of Parliament by President Robert Mugabe today.
Vice-president of the faction Thokozani Khupe said they were
boycotting the opening ceremony because the event had become a charade used
by Mugabe to deliver empty promises to the people while doing nothing to
resolve Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic crisis.
Khupe said in a statement: "We have taken a decision that we shall not
be part of this charade .. Mugabe has often taken advantage of this occasion
to deliver hollow speeches that have nothing to do with the people of
"He has often delivered empty promises to the people when it is clear
his government has neither the concern nor the solutions to resolve the
worsening multi-layered crisis."
It was not possible to immediately get comment from Justice Minister
and government leader in Parliament Patrick Chinamasa on the decision by the
Tsvangirai-led MDC to boycott the opening of the House.
A spokesman of the smaller faction of the opposition party led by
prominent academic Arthur Mutambara said it would attend today's event.
"Of course we are going to attend. It (Parliament) is the very
institution that we were elected to go to and represent the people," said
the spokesman, Gabriel Chaibva.
The MDC, which narrowly lost to Mugabe and ZANU PF in elections in
2000 and 2002, split into two camps last year after disagreeing over how to
end Mugabe's decades-old rule.
The larger Tsvangirai-led wing of the party is seen as posing the
greatest threat to Mugabe and ZANU PF.
Tsvangirai and his MDC party have said they will call mass
anti-government protests this winter to force Mugabe to give up power to a
transitional government that will be tasked to write a new constitution and
organise fresh elections under international supervision.
But Mugabe, who has in the past deployed the army to smoother dissent,
has vowed to ruthlessly crush street protests by the opposition, warning
Tsvangirai that attempts to instigate a Ukraine-style revolt against the
government would be a "dice with death". - ZimOnline
Tue 25 July 2006
HARARE - Two Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) senior officials
yesterday appeared in court on charges of contravening exchange regulations,
in what the union claimed was a ploy to weaken it ahead of worker protests
scheduled for early August.
ZCTU informal projects co-ordinator Elijah Mutemeri and projects
manager Vimbai Mushongere, who were arrested in August 2005, are accused of
trading US$22 000 on the illegal black-market in contravention of the
Exchange Control Act.
The two labour officials are alleged to have sold the foreign currency
supplied by donors to a local company, Cudmore Enterprises, at the parallel
market rate of one American dollar to Z$5 362. The official exchange rate
for the local dollar at the time was 847 to one greenback.
However, the trial failed to kick off yesterday after Harare lawyer
Alec Muchadehama, who is representing the ZCTU officials, told the court
that his clients had not been served with summons to attend trial as
required under rules and procedures of the court.
The state opted for the matter to be rescheduled to allow it to serve
the accused with summonses.
The trial of the ZCTU officials is coming days after Labour Minister
Nicholas Goche said he had asked the police to consider pressing criminal
charges against the top leadership of the union for allegedly violating
Goche last December appointed a government auditor, Tendai Tsamba, to
probe alleged financial irregularities at the ZCTU's Harare head office.
ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe warned at the time that the
probe was a witch-hunt by the government targeting leaders of the union
perceived as too close to the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Chibebe yesterday told ZimOnline: "We suspect that these charges are
meant to cow the ZCTU and cause us to redirect our focus to attend to these
issues (and not preparing for protests). We cannot be swayed."
The ZCTU, which last week said it called protests by workers in the
last week of July, says it will now be taking to the streets in early August
to press for more pay and better living conditions for workers.
The protests by the ZCTU are likely to coincide with protests by the
MDC meant to force President Robert Mugabe to accept sweeping political
reforms the opposition party says are a prerequisite to resolving Zimbabwe's
economic crisis. ZimOnline.
Tue 25 July 2006
BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean magistrate on Monday rejected an application
by an opposition politician, Paul Siwela, to be removed from remand over
charges that he sought to incite people to revolt against President Robert
Siwela, who is the president of a little-known Bulawayo-based
opposition party, the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) is being
jointly charged in the matter with political activist Jethro Mkhwananzi.
A lawyer representing the duo, Nicholas Mathonsi, had sought to have
the two removed from remand yesterday arguing that the courts had taken too
long to resolve the matter following their arrest about two years ago.
But the magistrate Jennifer Chikate dismissed the case saying she
needed more time to consider the matter before making a ruling.
Siwela and Mkhwananzi are being accused of violating the tough Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) after they allegedly told people at a public
meeting in Bulawayo in 2004 to rise and topple Mugabe whom they accused of
butchering the Ndebele people during the early 1980s.
At least 20 000 minority Ndebeles in southern Zimbabwe were killed
after Mugabe sent in North Korean-trained soldiers to crush an armed
uprising by former liberation war fighters aligned to the late nationalist
Joshua Nkomo in the early 1980s.
The killings only stopped after Nkomo's ZAPU party agreed to be merged
into Mugabe's ZANU PF party.
Lawyers for the two politicians last year attempted to have them
discharged on grounds that the state had failed to avail enough evidence to
warrant a conviction but a regional court threw out the application.
Mkwanazni and Siwela, who contested the 2002 presidential election and
lost heavily to Mugabe, face a 20 year jail term if they are convicted of
seeking to cause an illegal overthrow of the government.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and Western
governments have often accused Mugabe of using the country's harsh security
laws to stifle political dissent. - ZimOnline
Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:23 PM GMT
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa will offer
scant hope of rescuing the economy from disastrous and relentless decline
when he tries to juggle numbers in a fiscal review this week, analysts said
Murerwa on Thursday presents a half-yearly policy statement for a country
crippled by the world's highest inflation rate and unemployment of over 70
percent that have raised the spectre of street protests against President
Robert Mugabe's government.
Economists say Murerwa has little room to steer the economy out of a
freefall which critics blame on skewed policies, including the controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for distribution to landless blacks.
Several Western countries and donor agencies have withheld financial support
to Zimbabwe over the land reforms, as well as charges, denied by Harare,
that Mugabe has rigged elections and abused human rights to suppress
"Dr Murerwa has major problems of a rapidly shrinking tax base stemming from
loss of foreign currency earnings which have resulted from the loss of
crucial commercial farms," said private economic consultant John Robertson.
"The outlook for the economy looks extremely bleak and the government cannot
find economic answers to problems that have been caused by political
decisions," Robertson told Reuters.
Analysts said Murerwa might raise the non-taxable income ceiling to pacify a
restive and poor urban population in the face of threats by labour unions
and Zimbabwe's main opposition to stage anti-government protests.
PUBLIC ANGER SIMMERS
Mugabe has warned his security forces would ruthlessly crush any protests,
but analysts say simmering anger over constant increases in the price of
basic commodities could push Zimbabweans out onto the streets regardless.
"I believe the government is still concerned that if the situation continues
to deteriorate it gives the opposition and labour unions ammunition to
mobilise people into protests," said Harare-based economist James Jowa.
But any tax concessions would offer only a short-term effect in the face of
rampaging inflation of over 1,184 percent, Jowa added.
"If the economic dislocation is to be addressed it requires radical measures
including addressing the land reform programme but Murerwa cannot do that
because of his limited powers," he told Reuters.
"So he will just tinker with a few variables in order to give the government
some breathing space but he will fall far short of addressing the
deep-rooted causes of the economic problems."
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies charges
that he has mismanaged the economy and instead charges that the former
colonial ruler has spearheaded a campaign to sabotage Zimbabwe over his land
By a Correspondent
HARARE - ZIMBABWE'S Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, which in
the past seven months has sold 30 tons of ivory to Chinese dealers, has with
immediate effect, suspended ivory sales to all dealers until a proper
monitoring system has been put in place.
Parks spokesperson, Retired Major Edward Mbewe said the decision to
suspend the ivory sales was reached at a recent meeting between the
authority and the little-known ivory dealers' association to deal with
confusion and corruption in the trade and come up with stringent conditions
for monitoring the operations of all ivory dealers.
According to the state-controlled Herald, Mbewe said the suspension
would only be lifted once a committee set up by the dealers and the
authority had completed drafting a working document to be used in regulating
ivory trade on the local market.
"We are saying we are suspending the ivory sales to dealers with
immediate effect. This came out at a meeting held recently by the authority
and the recently established Zimbabwe Ivory Manufacturers' Association," he
"This decision would allow the parties to come up with a better
working system, making it possible for the authority to effectively monitor
the activities of ivory dealers," he said.
The 30 tons of ivory snatched by the Chinese dealers represents the
tusks of some 2,250 elephants. Under the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species, which controls the world's ivory trade, the Zimbabwe
government has a special concession that allows it to sell lots worth £270
"It's an incredibly profitable trade," one game ranger said recently.
"They've not only run the parks' stockpile right down, but elephants are now
being poached across the border from Botswana and other neighbouring
countries to fulfil the demand, which seems to be bottomless."
The purchases are typical of China's rapacious scramble for Africa, in
which oil, minerals and all manner of raw materials are being eagerly
snapped up and too much corruption is said to have crept into the system.
Unlicenced dealers are also said to have taken over the trade.Mbewe
said soon after their recent meeting, the authority and the dealers set up a
six-member committee comprising three people from each side in an effort to
formulate an operational guideline.
The authority would chair the committee while the ivory dealers'
association would come up with the secretariat.
"There is also need to put in place stringent monitoring measures to
control the country's ivory domestic market and ensure that all licenced
ivory dealers adhere to what is required of them by our laws and the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) guidelines,"
Adds the retired Major: "Our ivory is really cheap which might
influence the conduct of our dealers and we are saying we must tackle such
issues before resuming the sale of ivory," he said.
This would enhance the monitoring of licenced dealers as well as the
detection of unscrupulous dealers.The authority last year suspended the sale
of ivory to all licenced dealers following the busting of an ivory smuggling
syndicate that involved two Chinese nationals.
The syndicate was found with 72 elephant tusks at a house in
Former Bikita East legislator Walter Mutsauri (Zanu-PF) and his
brother, Kuzozvirava, also appeared in Court for allegedly abusing his
trophy dealers' licence by selling 67 elephant tusks classified as raw ivory
to Chinese nationals --- Qingling Zhang and Cong Yuling.
China's voracious appetite for raw materials to sustain a fast-growing
economy has seen Chinese trade and investment pouring not only into Zimbabwe
but Africa as a whole in the past few years hence the ivory trade is
dominated by the Chinese.
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
24 July 2006 01:15
Power cuts that have plunged most parts of Zimbabwe into
darkness could worsen during the next few weeks following electricity supply
interruptions from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from where Zesa
Holdings imports 100 megawatts (MW), the state-owned Herald newspaper said
The power utility has an electricity import contract with Snel
of the DRC, which runs until the end of next month. The most affected
customers were domestic and residential consumers, the newspaper said.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company managing director
Edward Rugoyi said the power interruption was a result of "vandalism of
transmission infrastructure in the Kisangani area in DRC", which transports
electricity to Zimbabwe via Zambia.
"Already, regular power cuts being experienced across Zimbabwe
have resulted in most families resorting to using alternative forms of
energy to cushion themselves against prevailing power outages," the Herald
Some families have since bought generators and solar panels,
while other forms of energy for household use like gas and firewood have
become common and cheaper alternatives in most high density areas.
Sawdust and wood shavings have also become cheaper sources of
energy for households in Kuwadzana and Epworth where families spend hours
queuing at companies that manufacture wood accessories to collect the
shavings, the Herald said.
The country was facing power shortages with Zesa Holdings
currently weighed down by a 600MW deficit.
"Zimbabwe's neighbours, particularly South Africa, were also
facing supply constraints due to a surge in demand this season," the paper
"This has really affected us since we get 100MW from the DRC,"
Zesa also imports 200MW from Mozambique and up to 450MW and
300MW from South Africa and Zambia respectively.
He said supplies could be restored "probably in the next two to
three weeks but only if the vandalised equipment was replaced".
A survey by the Herald revealed that power cuts were worsening
Residents said the situation was deteriorating "by each passing
A bundle of firewood enough to prepare a single meal, now costs
between ZIM$150 000 ($1,40) and $250 000 ($2,40).
Paraffin, which is another alternative source, has also gone up
with a 750ml bottle now costing about Zim$500 000 ($4,94).
"Once predominant in the rural areas, solar power usage has
become a cheaper and reliable form of energy for urbanites, while others
were investing in generators, though costly," the newspaper said.
The monthly cost of using a generator with an average of a
24-hour power cut in a month would be $14-million [$138], "which is much
more expensive than using electricity", the Herald noted.
Apart from the recent interruption, operational constraints were
also weighing down Zesa's capacity.
Kariba hydroelectricity power station has become the only
reliable source of power and was producing 720MW. Erratic coal supplies and
ageing equipment have adversely affected the power generating capacity of
Hwange power station with only two units currently operating, the newspaper
A few weeks ago the station was producing less than 90MW and
production patterns have become inconsistent.
Although Zesa was facing operational challenges linked to
unavailability of foreign currency, Rugoyi said the pricing structure for
Zesa had not been economical and there would be little reason for customers
to receive quality service.
"Since 2003, all our customers have been on tariff holiday and
this has hamstrung the company's capacity," he said.
Zimbabwe's electricity was" the cheapest in the region", if not
the whole of Africa, where a bunch of firewood was much more expensive than
a household's monthly electricity bill, the paper said.
The country was overburdened by costs on electricity imports
(about 35%) which exerted pressure on Zesa margins that were already
overstretched by weak and high input costs.
Zesa last week increased tariffs by 55% to cover the recent coal
price increases but would have little or no significance when it comes to
boosting Zesa coffers.
Currently, the company was generating Zim$1,2-trillion in
revenue per month while the monthly import bill stood at Zim$800-billion.
This means that from its internally generated revenue, the power
utility was left with $400-billion for other overheads "which was not
enough", the newspaper said.
Botswana and Mozambique were also facing power shortages.
Zimbabwe was working "tirelessly" to address power shortages by
embarking on joint ventures with countries such as China. - I-Net Bridge
By Violet Gonda
24 July 2006
Businessman and close Zanu PF associate John Bredenkamp was arrested
after returning to Zimbabwe. According to news reports, Bredenkamp was
picked up from his Thetford Estate outside Harare early Friday morning. He
was said to have been taken to Harare Central where he was interviewed by
the fraud squad, before being transferred to a suburban police station,
The businessman, who is believed to be one of the richest people in
Africa, was entitled to apply for bail at the magistrates court in Harare
but failed. Journalist Peta Thornicroft told us the courts are paralysed due
to the economic situation and with no fuel and no transport Bredenkamp
remained in custody.
He is allegedly being probed on allegations of flouting exchange
control regulations, tax evasion and contravening the Citizenship Act. It's
been reported that Bredenkamp had more than one passport - a Zimbabwean
passport expiring in 2013, a South African passport expiring in 2011 and a
The state mouthpiece - The Herald Newspaper - reported early last
month that the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) raided
Bredenkamp's companies to investigate cases linked to economic crimes.
The arrest has surprised many as the mogul was regarded as a major
financial supporter to the Mugabe regime. He is also well known as a key
collaborator and business associate of many heavyweights in the ruling Zanu
PF, like Emmerson Mnangagwa, and is believed to have in the past been spared
scrutiny because of these links.
Reacting to the investigations on Bredenkamp last month foreign
journalist Andy Meldrum said; "He was involved in many business deals, many
arms sales with government contracts in the DRC - at the time of the
Zimbabwe arms involvement in the DRC, and also involved in trying to broker
a land agreement between some white farmers and the government about three
to four years ago."
Before aligning himself with the Mugabe regime, Bredenkamp was
reportedly involved in sanctions busting for the Smith regime in return for
a highly profitable concession to smuggle tobacco out of Rhodesia. Rhodesia
also had an arms embargo but Meldrum said this did not deter Bredenkamp;
"When he became adapt at evading international sanctions he then learnt that
instead of selling tobacco you could do much better - according to reports -
if you sold international arms."
Soon after independence in 1980 Bredenkamp is said to have switched
horses and became an associate of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF.
Educated at Prince Edward School in Harare, he is estimated to have a
personal fortune of over £440 million. A few years ago he was listed in the
UK Sunday Times as having one of the largest fortunes in Britain.
But despite being one of those believed to have kept the Mugabe regime
in power it seems his days of living in style in Zimbabwe are numbered.
Observers say he is probably being targeted now because of his close
links with Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ZANU PF chef who is considered to have
lost favour with the party's top officials.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
24 July 2006
Themba Nkosi our Bulawayo correspondent has just spent a week in South
Africa and when he crossed the border into Zimbabwe he says he suffered a
culture shock. When he travelled to Johannesburg, the exchange rate to the
British pound was hovering just above Z$800 000. Five days later at the
Beitbridge border post, he discovered that the Zimbabwe dollar had hit the
Z$900 000 mark. 'The prices of everything you can think of had changed five
times during my stay in Johannesburg. To be honest I got stressed out the
moment I set foot on my motherland,' he said.
In South Africa Nkosi was able to check, on a daily basis, the prices
of commodities in stores and supermarkets. There was no increment on any
single commodity. Not surprisingly, Zimbabweans in South Africa have played
a leading role in the growth and stabilisation of the economy.
'Almost three million Zimbabweans are based in South Africa and they
dominate in every commercial sector of that country's economy. You have
doctors, economists, engineers, teachers, nurses, bankers, miners and the
semi-skilled all spread right round the country. They say it pains them to
see South Africa prosper while Zimbabwe is crumbling,' Nkosi said.
He said many of the people he spoke to were unsure they would return
if there is a change of government, citing the state of the economy. Many,
he said, believe it would take over 10 years to reconstruct the country's
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Times, UK July 24, 2006
By Jonathan Clayton
Faced with a torrent of illegal immigration, South Africa is
losing patience with Zimbabwe
DARKNESS falls early and swiftly over the Limpopo River, marking
the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Each night it also brings hope to dozens of impoverished
Zimbabweans who emerge from thick bushes along its banks, slip into
crocodile-infested waters and slowly wade across to the other side in search
of a better life.
In recent months, as President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe has
teetered close to economic collapse, the steady stream of illegal immigrants
has turned into a torrent that the South African authorities are struggling
South Africa deports about 265 Zimbabweans a day. Countless more
slip through undetected or simply wait a day or two before trying again and,
more often than not, succeeding.
More than 51,000 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants were deported
between January and June this year, the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times
newspaper reported yesterday.
"Last year, 97,433 Zimbabweans were deported compared with
72,112 in 2004 . . . as floods of people fled economic collapse," the paper
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a seven-year recession. Inflation has
rocketed to nearly 1,200 per cent and the economy has shrunk by more than a
The country is also grappling with severe fuel shortages and a
lack of foreign currency. Every day ordinary Zimbabweans struggle to find
basic essentials in a country that, only seven years ago, was known as
southern Africa's bread basket.
The influx from Zimbabwe is having an enormous effect on its
southern neighbour's budget. Pretoria spent a total of £15 million on
immigration control last year - more than double the figure for 2004.
Few illegal immigrants find the good life. A report from the
Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe said that refugees suffer from destitution and
harassment. Many women turn to prostitution or are paid a pittance working
Mr Mugabe has in the past blamed Western sanctions and drought
for the crisis. Critics largely point the finger at Harare's economic
policies, particularly land reform. About 4,000 white commercial farmers
have lost their land since Mr Mugabe introduced his fast-track land reform
programme in 2000. The new owners - most of them cronies from the ruling
party - have failed to maintain the farms.
South Africa has in recent months shown signs of increasing
exasperation with Mr Mugabe. Aziz Pahad, Deputy Foreign Minister, has spoken
of the danger of a "failed state on our doorstep" and has called for
"fundamental changes" to Mr Mugabe's economic policies. Official figures
issued in Harare suggest that about 3.4 million people - a quarter of the
population - are now living abroad. Some 1.2 million are believed to have
fled to South Africa, more than any other country.
By a Correspondent
ZIMBABWEAN women living in the United Kingdom converged in London
Saturday to express their dissatisfaction at the continued suffering of
their colleagues, families and friends back home under Zanu PF rule as
prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket with the value of Zimbabwe
dollar plummeting everyday.
Led by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) women's
wing, the women had a powerful message asking President Robert Mugabe to
either sort out the mess that Zimbabwe finds itself in or quit and allow
those with fresh ideas to take over the reigns of power.
In an emotional speech, Adella Chiminya, the widow of the late MDC
activist Tichaona Chiminya, killed after being doused by petrol at the
height of political disturbances in the country, said all the women of
Zimbabwe were asking for was Mugabe and his colleagues to sit down with all
the other political players in the country so that a way could be found of
resolving the crisis that continues to affect mainly women and children.
"We want our dignity back as the women of Zimbabwe. We come here today
on behalf of the brutalised people of Zimbabwe, the women who cannot afford
the basics they need to survive, the children who are dropping out of school
because they have no school fees, the people living with HIV/Aids but cannot
get access to drugs, the children being forced into training camps to fight
for the ruling party," said Chiminya.
"We are saying that as the women of Zimbabwe we are tired of all this
nonsense. We want change and let me warn those in Zanu PF who are not
feeling the pain of the crisis that it (change) is coming whether they like
it or not."
Chiminya said it was time for Zimbabwean women all over to unite and
contribute to the struggle to remove the Zanu PF government from power.
After all, she said, women were in the majority in the country and a
sense of unity and purpose could end their suffering.
"We have been used too many times as political pawns in this game and
we are always there to pick up the pieces - we are suffering daily because
of the stories we hear, the things we go through. This must not be allowed
to continue," she said.
The women were joined by youth from across the political divide and
the men's fellowship of the MDC and others that meets every Saturday at the
Vigil outside Zimbabwe House.
The women carried placards denouncing the Zanu PF government, chanted
slogans, sang and danced the day away as some Londoners joined their protest
calling for change in Zimbabwe.
Victoria Tarupihwa, the women's chairperson for North London said
Saturday's protests against the Harare government were also meant to provide
women in the UK with a focal point where they could meet and share ideas on
how to help their womenfolk back home.
"As women in the UK and those at home, we are all suffering because of
Zanu PF policies. Families are being broken up because people are trying to
go out there and eke out a living," she said.
"But the most painful part that is making us cry here today is our
youth, our children who have no future at all for as long as Robert Mugabe
remains in power. Back home they have no jobs and here they are illtreated
and they are going into drugs and crime. We want to be back home with our
families so we have to fight as women for our rights and for things to
change. Mugabe should resolve the worsening crisis or leave."
She said it was heartening to note that so many women had turned out
to support and encourage each other to contribute to the struggle back home
in any means possible.
"Today women in Zimbabwe have no sanitary products and we can get them
freely so what we are saying is what can we do as Zimbabwean women in the
diaspora to help our mothers, our sisters and others back home.
We have lost our dignity because of Zanu PF and we want things to go
back to where they were," said Tarupihwa.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans living in the UK will meet on Friday outside
Zimbabwe House in London before marching to 10 Downing Street where they
will present Prime Minister Tony Blair with a petition asking the British
government to up its game on attacking Harare's human rights record and
making sure some people will one day be made to pay for crimes against
Organisers say it is time for international pressure to be increased
on Harare. The protesters are seeking a resolution to the country's
Business Day Correspondent
A GROUP of 11 dispossessed Zimbabwean farmers of Dutch origin are poised to
take their case for compensation in respect of confiscated land to an
The Dutch Farmers Association, with UK-based AgricAfrica, registered the
case on behalf of the farmers at the International Centre for the Settlement
of Investment Disputes, a World Bank resolution forum. The claims total more
The case has been brought in terms of a bilateral investment treaty between
the Netherlands and Zimbabwe. According to the treaty, the Zimbabwean
government has promised to pay compensation to Dutch nationals in the event
of a dispute arising out of an investment in Zimbabwe.
Arbitrators are expected to hear the case by the end of August. Should the
ruling by the tribunal be favourable, it could set a precedent for similar
claims against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government in the
The centre's rulings are enforceable in the 140 states that have ratified
the organisation's convention. Three arbitrators, drawn from a list of the
finest legal minds, will consider the matter. The Zimbabwean government is
permitted to choose one arbitrator.
The Dutch claimants are being represented by Wiley Rein & Fielding in
Washington, Bishop & Sewell in London, and by Coghlan Welsh & Guest in
AgricAfrica chairman Bob Fernandes used to work as a property valuer in
Zimbabwe. Since the land invasions began in 2000, he has been involved in
the valuation of more than 3000 title deeds of Zimbabwean agricultural
He said the body created by Zimbabwean farmers, Justice for Agriculture -
which helped bring cases to the Zimbabwean courts, many of which resulted in
favourable rulings that were not obeyed by the government - had set a good
precedent that should see the Dutch farmers' case being successful.
The case has been partly funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa, a nonprofit organisation.
Since 2000, the Zimbabwean government has taken over 4000 white-owned
The government last year passed laws that nationalised the farms, barring
farmers from challenging the seizure of their property in courts. Economists
and critics say the policy has ruined a once-thriving agricultural sector.
Some of the confiscated land belonged to foreign countries, and was being
protected under bilateral agreements.
Zimbabwe Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who heads land reform and
resettlement, said last week that those with farms covered by such
agreements would receive full compensation and had the right to contest the
seizures in court.
But Fernandes said while the Zimbabwean government had offering some
compensation to dispossessed farmers, it amounted to less than 10% of the
value of the expropriated land. "With the current rate of inflation, it
means farmers would be paid a fraction of what the farms are worth. If the .
arbitration (is successful), the compensation will reflect the farms' true
worth," he said.
"It will also set a precedent for claims by the rest of the farmers."
Should the Dutch farmers' case succeed, the foreign-exchange starved
Zimbabwean government will have to pay the amount awarded.
Once liability is established, the arbitrators will set the amount the
former farmers are owed. This should happen by the end of January at the
latest. The centre's association with the World Bank may be an added
incentive for Zimbabwe to settle the Dutch group's claim.
"If it refuses to pay, the law allows for Zimbabwe's assets to be seized in
any one of the 139 countries that signed the New York convention on the
recognition of arbitral award," Fernandes said.
"But this is unlikely to happen as every . compensation ruled on in the past
has been paid."
The Zimbabwean government has vowed not to pay white farmers compensation
for the land, only for improvements, arguing that former colonial power
Britain should pay for the land.
According to state television, the issue of farms covered by bilateral
agreements has been contentious, forcing the government to set up a
committee to look into foreign land holdings. The committee is chaired by
the foreign minister and comprises Mutasa and central bank officials. It
will determine whether to "compensate and acquire, give back the farm to the
former owner, or move the settled people," state television said.
Mugabe defends the land reforms as necessary to redress colonial policies
that put 70% of the most fertile land in the hands of a few white farmers,
and accuses the west of sabotaging the economy to punish him for the land
seizures. With Reuters
The ladies took centre stage at a vibrant Vigil attended by women chairs of
MDC UK branches. They were introduced by Suzeet Kwenda-Ruwona, Women's
Chair of the MDC UK Executive. She said how sad it was that so many
Zimbabweans in the UK were in denial: they would try and pass themselves off
as South Africans or even West Indians. She said "Our dignity has been
taken away from us by Mugabe. What is our country coming to?" Another
speaker was Adella Chiminya whose husband was burned to death in 2000 by
Zanu-PF. She said women must take a leading role to change Zimbabwe and
urged more people to come to the Vigil, which she said was making an impact
back home. We were so glad to have these lively MDC ladies with us: they
entered whole-heartedly into the spirit of the Vigil.
The speakers were introduced by Ephraim Tapa, Chair of MDC Central London
Branch. We were all inspired by his presence. This week he learned that
his younger brother had died in Harare - a victim of the failing Zimbabwean
health service. His funeral was today. Ephraim's brother collapsed while
doing the family shopping and for three hours there was no help. The police
were called but said they had no petrol. An ambulance passed by but wouldn't
take him because he had no money. When he got to hospital the doctors were
on strike. Ephraim managed to contact a family friend, a doctor, who rushed
to the hospital to help but it was all too late. This man could have lived
if treated in time. He had 5 children and was also looking after 3 children
of a deceased sister. Ephraim, himself a torture victim, is the sole
surviving sibling of 4 and the only person this family can look to. Ephraim
said the tragedy would reinforce his commitment to the struggle for change.
People in Africa have no idea how hot it can get here. After a baking,
humid week, we were relieved to have a little rain. We were astonished to
see a Masai warrior pass by in full regalia. He explained he didn't speak
English very well, but was happy to join our Vigil. We were briefly joined
also by people from Afghanistan and Iraq who know how a country can be taken
over by evil. Supporters came from all over England today: Leeds,
Liverpool, Derby, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and many places closer
to London. The youngest was seven months old and spent the afternoon
jiggling on her mother's back to the singing and dancing. On a sad note,
three supporters from Liverpool, Netsai, Fungai and Dorcas, had a nightmare
journey home. Netsai, who is 7 months pregnant, put her swollen feet up on
a seat and was ordered off the coach. They spent the night in the bus
station waiting for the next coach.
For this week's Vigil pictures:
FOR THE RECORD: 76 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
1. Monday 24th July, 7.30 pm, Zimbabwe Forum - Harris Nyatsanza and
Chengetai Mupara will debate the issues around the recent Zimbabwean asylum
case (decision this week) and look at possible outcomes and how these will
affect the diaspora. We will also continue to look at ideas for action and
updates on actions agreed at recent meetings. Upstairs at the Theodore
Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the
Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and
you will see the pub).
2. Friday, 28th July, Protest outside 10 Downing Street. Meet at the
Zimbabwe Embassy at 12.30, then proceed to 10 Downing Street where a letter
will be presented to the Prime Minister's Office at 2 pm.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 07/25/2006 00:38:37
THE governor of Zimbabwe's central bank embarks on mission impossible this
week as he attempts to persuade a restive population that an economic
turn-around is still achievable after the latest round of price increases.
The latest increases over the weekend saw the price of bread and transport
going up by more than 50 percent. Beer prices also went up.
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, seen by his supporters as some kind of
messiah with answers to the country's economic woes, presents another
monetary policy review next Monday.
His policy statement will be preceded by a mid-term fiscal policy
announcement by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa on Thursday this week.
Gono has been basking in borrowed glory following a slight decline in
Zimbabwe's record inflation in June -- annual inflation slid by 8,9 percent
points to 1 184,6 while the month on month figure fell by 10 percent to 17,3
Gono's monetary policy reviews often result in wild predictions about the
prospects of economic recovery.
His critics say while he has got the economics right, he doesn't have the
political support to create the necessary environment for growth.
A loaf of bread went up Saturday from between $130 000 and $140 000 to $210
000 and $230 000.
A single trip from Glen Norah or Mufakose into Harare's Central Business
District was increased from $100 000 to $150 000 Sunday. From Chitungwiza to
Harare it now costs $200 000 up from $150 000.
Even the retail price or bottle store price of beer went up last week rising
from $150 000 per pint to $220 000.
Fuel prices rose recently settled on $500 000 per liter from $200 000 in
By Brighton Ncube
Last updated: 07/24/2006 10:44:30
WE ARE seven months into year 2006 and the problems in Zimbabwe seem to be
getting worse each day.
We are seeing the rise in inflation, unemployment rate, cost of basic goods
and closure of manufacturing firms.
The people of Zimbabwe are getting weary of the situation and day after day
are looking with faith and hope that one day a new dispensation will come --
a new era where basic necessities like food, shelter, fuel will be readily
available. Where inflation will be single digit with an economy capable of
creating jobs - a longing for those old good days.
Students leave in what we can describe as existential despair because they
don't know what will be their fate after graduating from college. One old
lady was heard joking saying that her piece of land in the rural areas needs
people with a bachelors degree to plough it because she had two of her
unemployed University of Zimbabwe graduates helping her in the fields,
tilling the land.
I remember last year I was working on a project with a Professor here in the
USA and we needed part-timers to input certain data for our research
project. I suggested to my Professor that I had students from the University
of Zimbabwe who could help in that regard. I got in touch with a Professor
from UZ to co-ordinate the students and start working on the project. We
needed 50 students for the project and each student was going to get
US$500.00 for working on this research for three weeks. The project did not
take off because the computers at the UZ were said to be down.
Later we were told that students needed to book a one-hour slot to use the
internet each day and after an hour give space to someone else. Under
pressure to finish the project, I moved it to the Wits University in South
Africa and it was completed in no time. It pained me to know that my
countrymen could not benefit from this funding because the University lags
in technology in this modern century. How are they producing quality
students if researchers cannot access the internet at UZ? What are we doing
to our bright minds?
The same UZ Professor later told me that in Zimbabwe e-mails and the
internet were a luxury for few people. Such a situation cannot be left to
continue forever. We need to rethink as Zimbabweans, unite and fight the rot
that has befallen our country. Now it's no longer time for talking and
blaming each other but action.
I feel now is the time we need to engage and find a solution to these
problems as Zimbabweans not to look for consultants. My definition of a
consultant is someone who is engaged to think for you on a problem that you
can practically solve for yourself. The problems in Zimbabwe are affecting
both the MDC and Zanu PF members alike. This in itself calls for a
collective action and the type of maturity that supercedes partisan
During the previous elections in the United States, senator John Kerry said
that Americans have a democratic choice to choose whoever they want to be
their leader but after the elections we respect people's choices and "wake
up the following morning as Americans." That's the mentality in my view that
needs to be instilled in Zimbabwe. We can differ in our political
persuasions but we still wake up the following morning as Zimbabweans in
need of a prosperous country. Let me suggest few ways which I think the
leadership in Zimbabwe can consider in dealing with problems besetting the
country. They are as follows:
* Dialogue - We cannot fight forever as a people. Our leaders need to humble
themselves and share ideas on how to deal with the problems the country is
facing. Magnanimity is a function of power hence l think Zanu PF should
engage other stakeholders in this process and do this in good faith. In this
respect one might suggest a forum to be formed that will have in its
composition people from Zanu PF, MDC, Churches and civic society.
This forum will work diligently and get ideas on how to best work as a
nation and as Zimbabweans forgetting for a moment our political
affiliations. When people meet and talk its surprising the great strength
they draw from each other and the steps they will take in achieving good
results. Right now nothing is happening on the ground and we expect some
manna from heaven or a miracle to happen to correct our problems. People
need to humble their pride and talk to each other for the betterment of the
Gideon Gono cannot and will not be the messiah or savior for the country's
economy by himself. We just need a collective effort to move forward and
that should be done as of yesterday. President Benjamin Mkapa cannot work a
miracle for us. If we engage in talks as Zimbabweans we can then form a
Commission that can then approach the international community for assistance
or dialogue. Zimbabwe cannot be all that desperate for a negotiator given
the great minds that are in the country. I think we need to start somewhere
and then ask for other people's involvement after having started something
* International community - Zimbabwe does not exist as an Island. We need to
engage other governments and get help from developed countries. This process
does not demean us as a nation nor does it make us less of a people nor
bring us back to colonialism. We live in a global village and we need to
benefit from the fruits of this village. In this regard l would suggest that
fighting the west or calling them names would not improve our political and
economic crisis. China alone will not heal our land. We need to be friends
with all people of the world and benefit from their prosperity and they in
turn benefit from what we can offer as a nation. Zimbabwe is full of
untapped resources which can be exploited and improve our economy.
* Corruption - Good ethics and morality is fundamental to development in a
nation. There is need for the government to fight corruption from all angles
and in all its forms. It has become a norm that people profiteer through
unscrupulous means in Zimbabwe and still get away with it. There is no
longer any conscience for doing illegal and evil things. We long for those
leaders of high moral standard and integrity. Integrity in essence being
doing the right thing even though one can get away with doing the wrong
thing. We need to re-establish a Zimbabwean sensibility and have a people
who have their nation at heart. I once heard a prominent businessman saying
that he was getting too rich in Zimbabwe due to the current problems in the
country. He said, "Regai zvinetsane Mugabe naTsvangirai isu tirikuguta
tichiita mari vakomana." (Let Mugabe and Tsvangirai be on each other's
throat whilst we feed and make money guys). Some are wishing that the
current problems prevail for the next ten or more years so that they can
make lots and lots of money through corrupt means. Surprisingly we have also
been reading about corrupt law enforcement officials, which shows the depth
of the rot.
* Respect - This is a hard one but we need to respect each other as human
beings and more still as Zimbabweans. We have different talents that can be
used for the betterment of the country only if we can respect each other as
human beings. What have been the results of our bashing each other on the
media, political rallies etc.? Nothing but just a display of political
immaturity. We can scandalize and harangue others as much as we like but
that won't create jobs and decrease inflation. I think now is the time when
we need people to put pen and paper together to give constructive ideas on
nation building. Respect embraces among other things political tolerance and
respect for ideas from other people even if one does not agree with those
* Opposition - All mature democracies have strong opposition. Opposition
when viewed positively is good for development. It enables us to create
checks and balances on each other. In Zimbabwe the term opposition has been
interpreted to mean hatred, enmity and murder of those with a divergent view
or political persuasion. People need to learn that opposition is healthy and
good for them. The opposition needs to be strong, united and realistic. In
future if Zanu PF is out of power, we will expect it to mount a strong
opposition - just like that so that the incumbent government does not relax
in office and lead us to trouble.
* Constitution - This point has been re-hashed many times. Zimbabwe just
needs its own home grown new constitution that will reflect its democratic
values. The first move for all major changes to occur would be for all
stakeholders to agree on a new constitution for the country.
This is a step in constructive writing were we don't major on minors by
spending time attacking each other but rather putting our energies into good
use. I hope we can engage in a mature cross-fertilization of ideas and start
seriously addressing the country's problems. There is need for a program of
action that will get a buy-in from all stakeholders for nation building and
healing. Failing to plan that program of action is planning to fail as a
I call upon the Council of churches, Morgan Tsvangirai, AGO Mutambara and
President Mugabe to set up a delegation and start having meetings as soon as
possible. Some of us in the Diaspora will be willing to give input and
suggestions. I don't think we will even fail to start the process.
Brighton Ncube writes from the United States. He can be contacted at:
HARARE - Suspected ties between Morgan Tsvangirai's faction of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a prodemocracy German
foundation are under investigation in Zimbabwe.
Reports said yesterday that the security authorities were investigating a
German nongovern-mental organisation (NGO), The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
(FES), for allegedly paying some bills on behalf of Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe passed an NGO bill in 2004. It required independent organisations
to submit to government scrutiny and banned foreign funding for
organisations involved in governance programmes. However, the bill was never
signed into law by Mugabe.
The government said the controversial bill was a response to a proliferation
of NGOs it alleged were being used by foreign powers as conduits for
channelling funds to the MDC.
Once seen as the strongest challenge to President Mugabe's government, the
MDC split into factions last year over whether to participate in senate
The FES, which was banned by the Nazis in 1933, is a pro-democracy
organisation aligned with the Social Democrats in Germany. The German
foundation was alleged to have given money to Tsvangirai's group for
meetings in April at a hotel and at a training centre in Harare, thereby
contravening "sections of the Political Parties Finance Act, which forbids
foreign funding of political parties" a report said.
The payments by the FES are supposed to amount to a total of 219-million
Zimbabwean dollars (less than $2000).
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the MDC's Tsvangirai faction, denied receiving
funding from the German foundation.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has met Botswanan President Festus Mogae to brief him
on the situation in the country's crisis-hit neighbour, Mogae's office said
last week. Mogae's press secretary, Jeff Ramsay, said Tsvangirai requested
the meeting to brief Mogae on developments.
Botswana has been hit by a wave of refugees and a spike in crime blamed on
Zimbabweans fleeing desperate circumstances.
Businesses and residents in Gaborone and Francistown, the latter only three
hours from the Zimbabwean border, are increasingly targets of crime ranging
from hijackings, to housebreaking, armed robbery and brutal assaults.
Foreign Staff, Sapa-AFP
By Peter Clottey
24 July 2006
The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, recently met President Festus Mogae of
Botswana in Gaborone. President Mogae is the current chairman of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC). Observers believe Tsvangirai
is lobbying the group to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe for reforms
that would help solve the crisis in Zimbabwe. But party spokesman Nelson
Chamisa said Tsvangirai met with Mr. Mogae to present the MDC's road map for
improving the leadership of Zimbabwe's government. Chamisa spoke with VOA
English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the meeting.
"The president of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, with a team of three other
party senior officials, met with President Festus Mogae of Botswana in
Gaborone yesterday in the afternoon. Of course they also met president Mogae
in his capacity as the chairperson of the SADC region. So this is part of
the MDC's plan to try and galvanize, mobilize and conscientize support
regionally and also continentally, to try and bring pressure to bear on the
Mugabe regime to adopt democratic reforms and the road map we have outlined
as a party."
Chamisa explains the objective of the meeting between MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and President Mogae. "We hope to achieve first the solidarity
from our fellow colleagues from the continent and also in the region. Second
we also want to make sure that our region and of course the continent clear
us to our proposed alternative or proposal of the road map to the resolution
of the crises in Zimbabwe which entails the issue of all stakeholders
concern. It entails a new Constitution being written by Zimbabweans as
opposed to the Constitution we are using, which was just given to us. We
also want to have free and fair elections under international supervision
that will put to rest this question of illegitimacy and quite especially
around political power. And of course the last thing is to make sure that we
put into proper context the crises in Zimbabwe, its character cause and
nature that entails the view of the MDC. Our view is that the problem is a
crisis of governance, a crisis of leadership and a crisis of a dictatorship
we are facing in Zimbabwe."
He said both men were very frank and honest in the discussion, which he
says, helped achieve the maximum objective.
By Thato Chwaane
7/24/2006 4:39:11 PM (GMT +2)
The Botswana Civil Society Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ)
handed a petition to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Co-operation, Mompati Merafhe outside the government enclave in Gaborone
The petition highlighted the political, social and economic
crisis faced by Zimbabweans. The minister was asked to pass the petition
onto President Festus Mogae.
The petition marked the last week of 'Operation Murambatsvina'.
Reading the petition, the director of Ditshwanelo - The Botswana Centre for
Human Rights, Alice Mogwe, said the exercise has affected the majority of
the poor population. "Inflation is currently at 2 000 percent, the highest
in the world by a vast margin," she said.
She said many Zimbabweans have escaped hardships in Zimbabwe,
escaping poverty, hunger and oppression and have entered neighbouring
countries. She said that 'silent diplomacy' has not been effective in
addressing the situation in Zimbabwe.
"The truth must be spoken and the state of the crisis in
Zimbabwe acknowledged by all the governments of SADC region. Smart sanctions
which target only those abusing their positions of power and oppressing the
citizens of Zimbabwe should be seriously explored by the Botswana Government
and civil society," Mogwe said. A Zimbabwean speaker, Father Nicholas
Mkaronda, said that the Murambatsvina operation destroyed the houses of the
weak, poor and vulnerable.
He said the pastors opened the doors of the churches and
welcomed the displaced people, providing accommodation for them. He said the
government evacuated people from those churches and many were seen walking
up to 100 km back to those churches. He noted the atrocities made against
the people, including children who were left out in the open winter to die.
Children come back from schools to find they have no houses. Some living
with HIV/AIDS were exposed.
Mkaronda said they would continue to speak as a civic society to
put things right in Zimbabwe. Kgosi Michael 'Spokes' Gaborone noted that
although he acknowledged the difficulties faced by Zimbabweans and the
government was willing to assist them, they should desist from crime.
"Ga ba re robatse - We do not sleep because of them," he said.
He said some engaged in sex work together with their Batswana counterparts.
Gaborone said that in Tlokweng alone there were between 3 000 to 4 000
Zimbabweans. He said they were no longer able to go to the lands or send
children to schools. He said that the Botswana government and other SADC
leaders needed to deal with the issue of Zimbabwe. He also appealed to
non-governmental organisations to assist.
He suggested that Zimbabwean refugees could be sent to Dukwi
refugee camp. He invited the speakers to visit different areas where the
Zimbabweans frequent to see their plight.
By Thato Chwaane
7/24/2006 4:37:11 PM (GMT +2)
The media and advocacy manager of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition,
Elinor Sisulu has dismissed arguments that those critical of the Zimbabwean
government are puppets of the West. Sisulu said in Gaborone that Zimbabwe
has relied on foreign help ever since the liberation war against colonial
She said arguments by Zimbabwe High Commissioner to Botswana, Tommy
Mandigora that criticism levelled against the Robert Mugabe government are
sponsored by Britain are hypocritical. This is because the Zimbabwean
government has benefited extensively from donor funding. She said the first
role of the independent Zimbabwe government was to organise a conference for
reconstruction and development and major international donors were invited
and huge amounts of money was pledged. Sisulu said even Zimbabwean
liberation organisations drew their support from Western NGOs, Nordic
countries, USSR and China. She said many Zimbabweans had received
scholarships through organisations such as the British Council and the World
She said there are few governments in Africa who do not rely heavily
on foreign funding, most of which comes from the West. Sisulu was speaking
when the Botswana Civil Society Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ) handed
over a petition to the Botswana Minister of Foreign Affairs Mompati Merafhe
last week. She said BOCISCOZ members have not only identified themselves
with the poorest of Zimbabwe but have become a target of the Zimbabwean
She advised that the members should not be apologetic for benefiting
from donor funds, as long as they are used to further the interests of the
most marginalised and materially deprived people of the continent. Sisulu
said Mandigora writes about the wonderful achievements of the Zimbabwe
government especially in education but he does not mention how these gains
have been reversed in the last five years. She said research revealed that
Zimbabwe had the highest inflation rate in the world and the lowest life
expectancy. She said that Batswana are seeing the living evidence of the
Zimbabwean crisis through the many Zimbabweans who stream over the border,
both legally and illegally looking for means of survival. Sisulu said that
the crisis affects Batswana as they face the influx of refugees resulting in
problems of crime and xenophobia. She said Botswana's economic interests are
threatened by what happens in Zimbabwe. She said the Zimbabwean government
is exporting poverty to its neighbours and that Operation Murambatsvina was
an example, where the poorest sections of society were targeted. She
questioned how the 700,000 displaced people would fit into the 5,581 houses
that the High Commissioner had claimed had been built by the end of 2005.
She said the operation was a criminal act and immoral action in any African
culture. Speaking during the handing over of the petition, the director of
Southern African Women's Institute for Migration (SAWIMA) Joyce Dube called
on Botswana to assist Zimbabwe. Dube who left Zimbabwe in 1990 said their
organisation deals with people who are physically and emotionally tortured
and economic migrants. She said a lot of people have left Zimbabwe. She said
that their children have been turned into murderers and rapists. "I am a
mother, why should I be raped because I belong to the opposition party?"
She said that there is a saying that if your neighbour's house is
burning and you do not assist, then even yours will burn.
By Daniel Fortune Molokele
Last updated: 07/24/2006 06:46:39
A LOT of concerned Zimbabweans have written to me enquiring about the latest
developments pertaining to the First Preparatory Zimbabwe Diaspora
Conference that was held on Saturday 24th June 2006.
Well, it is now a month since almost one hundred Zimbabwean activists and
professionals from various backgrounds gathered at the Holy Trinity
Cathedral in Braamfontein, suburb in Johannesburg. Most of the delegates who
attended the event have since then described it as a big success.
The Forum is a national network of at least twenty five different Zimbabwean
civic society organizations that are based in South Africa. It was
officially launched on 27th November 2005 in Johannesburg. In essence, the
Forum seeks to co-ordinate the Zimbabwean CSOs common vision and strategy in
the struggle for a new democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe.
The vision of the forum is of a democratic Zimbabwean society where all
citizens are able to participate in all decision-making processes that have
an impact on their lives be it at home or abroad. The mission of the forum
is to promote civil society by uniting and strengthening the CSO sector to
enable it to influence development policy and advocate for a new prosperous
and democratic Zimbabwe.
In February 2006, the Forum adopted a three tier plan to host the first ever
Zimbabwe Global Diaspora Conference in Johannesburg in April 2007. in
particular, the Forum resolved that prior to the global conference in April
2007, it had to host two major preparatory conferences in Johannesburg.
The first one will be held in the first half 2006 and would be attended by
delegates mainly from the Zimbabwean institutions and organizations that are
based in South Africa. The second conference would be held in the second
half of 2006 and would also be also attended by delegates from the local
South African institutions and organizations that have shown a vested
interest in helping to resolve the crisis situation affecting the Zimbabwean
It is therefore in line with the above cited resolution that the Forum
hosted the first preparatory conference on 24th June 2006. I was privileged
to be an integral part of the conference proceedings as one of the
Among the key invited speakers at the event was Mr. Silas Dziike (Zimbabwe
Lawyers Association), who spoke on the Constitutional, Human Rights,
Immigration & Citizenship Issues; Dr. Samukeliso Dube (Zimbabwe Doctors for
Human Rights) who presented a paper on the Health & HIV-Aids, Women & Gender
Issues; Pastor Steven Chiadzwa (Zimbabwe Pastors Forum) who led a discussion
on the Humanitarian, Education, Culture & Recreational Issues and Mr. Luke
Zunga (Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad) who gave an animated paper on the
Business & Socio-Economic Issues.
A special international solidarity address was given by Ms. Violet Mariyacha
(Zimbabwe Campaign for Justice) who traveled all the way from the United
Kingdom to attend the event.
After a full day of open and insightful deliberations, the delegates adopted
some key resolutions in line with the preparations for the April 2007 global
Diaspora conference. A full report of the 24th June event is now available
upon request to any interested person.
The 24th June 2006 conference also called for an increased participation
from the various Zimbabwean activists and organization based outside the
country. In particular, an appeal was made to the Zimbabwean communities in
the United Kingdom, North America and Australasia to play a leading role in
ensuring that the April 2007 conference becomes a truly global event.
The historic April 2007 Conference will seek to create a global platform
that will discuss both the short and long term role of the millions of
Zimbabweans now living outside the country. Some of the major outcomes of
the conference include the following:
* The setting up of a global forum and leadership for all Zimbabwean
institutions and organizations that are based in the Diaspora. The global
will also have national and continental chapters all over the Diaspora.
* The adoption of a visionary policy document that will help to define the
role of the Diaspora in the political and socio-economic development of
Zimbabwe from both a long term and short term perspective.
* A critical and thorough analysis of both the opportunities and challenges
that are affecting Zimbabweans now living in the Diaspora
Daniel Molokele is a Zimbabwean Human Rights Lawyer who is based in
Johannesburg. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 18 July
The French toast Mugabe! Not a world headline perhaps, but on Harare's
embassy party circuit it separates the men from the boys, so to speak. The
French, on July 14 toasted President Robert Mugabe and the people of
Zimbabwe. So do most other nations represented in Harare. The stoics, the
Europeans and the United States hold the line. The British on the Queen's
birthday, the Dutch, Swedes, Norwegians, (Danes quit Zimbabwe) do not toast
Mr Mugabe on their national days, and restrict raising charged glasses and
murmurs of good wishes to the people of Zimbabwe. No one seems to get
invited to the Italians, so no one is sure if they do or they don't. One
European diplomat is careful to be sure he always has an empty glass ahead
of the toast on July 14, so he can raise his glass but not drink to Mr
Mugabe. Embassy parties are serious business. Zimbabwe's foreign affairs
ministry wants the official speech 10 days in advance, and that is when they
decide whether or not to send an official. If the toast is for the people
and Mr Mugabe, then deputy foreign minister Obert Matshalaga goes along. If
Mr Mugabe is not included, then he stays away. France's outgoing Harare
envoy Michel Raimbaud soon leaves Zimbabwe, his last foreign post before
retirement, knowing his softer line didn't help and the crisis continues.
Even when Jacques Chirac ignored European sentiment and invited President
Robert Mugabe to Paris in 2003, nothing changed for the people of Zimbabwe.
Mrs Grace Mugabe however had a wonderful shopping spree at Paris's top
shops. The French party always has wonderful cheese, according to Harare's
top man on the embassy circuit, who wonders why the British continue to
serve up Haggis on the Queen's birthday, as it doesn't do well in Africa.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
July 24, 2006
Posted to the web July 24, 2006
Sweden is mobilising donors and other European countries to support
Zimbabwe's fight against HIV/AIDS, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten
Rylander said on Friday.
Most Western donors froze aid to Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe's
controversial fast-track land reform programme began in 2000, followed by
reports of violence and intimidation during the 2000 and 2002 elections.
"We want to pool resources and channel them through the civil society
organisations and the United Nations," Rylander told reporters in the
capital, Harare, adding that the country's drop in HIV prevalence - from
24.6 percent in 2003 to 20.1 percent in 2005 - was a positive development
that had to be sustained.
The ambassador recently urged Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to "mend
fences" with the West in order to better address the issues of AIDS, the
world's highest inflation rate and worsening poverty levels.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]