|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Hlatshwayo said he could not grant an interim order
compelling police in
Masvingo to allow the NCA to hold a public meeting at Chevron Hotel, pending
the determination of the urgent application because doing so would have been
tantamount to granting a final order without giving the police the chance to
The NCA last week gave the police
notice of its intention to hold a meeting
in Masvingo as part of its series of meetings throughout the country to
discuss various issues including the need for a new constitution for
On Tuesday, a Masvingo
senior police officer wrote to the NCA saying the law
enforcement agency was not going to sanction the meeting because “the time
you intend to hold your meeting is not conducive for the public.”
Under the government’s
draconian Public Order and Security Act Zimbabweans
must seek police permission before holding political gatherings.
The police have have
been accused of using POSA to prevent the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party and other government opponents from
holding public meetings with their supporters.
NCA lawyer Ray Muzenda had told Hlatshwayo in the
court application that the
decision by the police in Masvingo to prevent the NCA meeting impeded on the
civic body’s freedom of assembly and association.
The civic alliance’s chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said
the decision by the
court yesterday refusing to grant an interim order against the police
effectively upheld the police’s ban on the meeting.
Madhuku said: “This smacks of political decision-making by the court.
“It’s surprising that the same court which granted the
government an order
last month to stop the MDC’s “final push” without giving the MDC a chance to
respond, says it could not grant our order because the police had not been
given a chance to reply.”
Mugabe’s speech fails to inspire nation
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and
ordinary Zimbabweans yesterday criticised President Robert Mugabe for
skirting the hardships facing the nation like the shortage of bank notes
during his speech to Parliament on Tuesday.
They said while Mugabe touched on
some of the issues, he appeared to
lack a clear and focused strategy to resolve the problems which they said he
only referred to in general terms during his speech to mark the opening of
the fourth session of the fifth Parliament.
But Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF applauded his speech
saying it sign-posted
the way to economic recovery and social prosperity for Zimbabweans.
Janet Maupa, 53, from Murehwa communal lands who
was at Parliament on
Tuesday, told the Daily News: “I am not sure whether or not our situation
will at all improve.
“The problems in the
country are too big for one person and I believe
with prayer, we will be able to overcome our problems. I don’t think the
President is aware that we are short of almost everything including our own
bank notes. This has never happened before.”
A bank teller with a Harare commercial bank,
who left his work to
witness the opening of Parliament by Mugabe, said he was disappointed by
what he said was Mugabe’s failure to acknowledge and take full
responsibility for the fast deteriorating economic and social crisis in the
MDC Member of Parliament Ben Tumbare-Mutasa
said Mugabe’s speech
lacked focus as it dwelt on the general.
Tumbare-Mutasa, who is legislator for Seke
constituency, said: “The
speech was not specific. He failed to really explain the problems and
challenges being faced by the ordinary people.
“It would have been more relevant if he had addressed
economic issues such as the acute shortages of cash, the rising inflation,
unemployment and violence because this was a different session. He should
have demonstrated that we are in a precarious situation that needed honest
men who accept the truth.”
MDC parliamentarians and
the opposition party’s leader Morgan
Tsvangirai abandoned their boycott of Mugabe and attended his address to the
House on Tuesday.
Tsvangirai later said the apparent shift of position on Mugabe by his
party was meant to create a conducive environment for dialogue between
Zimbabwe’s two biggest political parties to find a solution to the deepening
Another MDC legislator, Renson Gasela,
said Mugabe had failed to give
detailed information on how his government was going to avert starvation in
Gasela said: “The
nation needs to be assured that next year there will
be enough to eat. The address was too general to address the food needs of
The government has appealed for 700 000
tonnes of food from
international donors after poor rains and chaotic land reforms combined to
slash food production by 50 percent.
ZANU PF MP for Makoni North constituency Didymus Mutasa said:
“President Mugabe’s speech marked a turn of attitude on everyone. The
presence of the MDC MPs in Parliament means they want to make things work
ZANU PF candidate’s eligibility questioned
MASVINGO – The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
yesterday said it will challenge in court the eligibility of a ZANU PF
candidate, Jacob Chademana, to stand in council elections here.
Chademana, who is a sitting councillor, was nominated by ZANU PF to
contest in ward eight but MDC officials yesterday claimed that he was not a
registered voter in that ward.
MDC chairman for
Masvingo Shaky Matake told the Daily News yesterday:
“We have information that Chademana was not on the voters’ roll and to us
one cannot be on the roll on the nomination day.
“We have since instructed our lawyers to take the matter to court.”
Presiding officer Ignatius
Mushangwe had to extend deadline for
nomination by almost two hours on Monday this week to allow Chademana to
submit his papers.
yesterday said: “It is true that you cannot contest in a
ward that you are not registered as a voter but you can apply for transfer
and a special certificate will be issued to you. These special certificates
are issued to candidates only and this what happened in this case (Chademana
’s case).” Council elections in Masvingo and other towns are scheduled for
30 and 31 August.
Crisis more complex than meets the eye
BOTH the loving critics and critical lovers of Zimbabwe now
generally acknowledge that the country is in a deep crisis. Whether the
crisis is engineered (by enemies of Zimbabwe) or is imaginary (as some would
like to believe) is neither here nor there.
The fact of the matter is
that the crisis is not only perceived but is
directly felt by virtually everyone and everywhere. Moreover, even if the
crisis were a matter of mere perceptions and not the reality, people’s
perceptions are often more significant than the reality.
In some situations, perceptions
are incongruent with the reality on
the ground. However, in today’s Zimbabwe, both the perceptions of a crisis
and the reality of it converge.
In short, the Zimbabwe crisis is much more than a
imagination; it is no longer an
This is not to suggest that the crisis affects
everyone equally. Every
crisis has its gainers and losers. It is the gainers who are apt to deny the
reality of the crisis for the simple and self-serving, but perfectly
understandable, reason that the prolongation of the crisis translates into a
prolongation of their enrichment or advancement of their interests.
While the crisis has plunged the vast
multitude of Zimbabweans into
misery, it has simultaneously yielded many benefits to a strategically
positioned minority. Of utmost significance is that the gainers or
beneficiaries of the crisis are both state-aligned – i e in government and
the ruling party and close associates – and in the opposition.
In this sense, there is a convergence of interest
(strange though it
may be) in the indefinite prolongation of the crisis. Both the opposition
and the state elite circles are fishing in troubled waters and harvesting
Given this scenario, any resolution
of the crisis has to contend with
the forces that accrue benefits from it. The Zimbabwe crisis is therefore
more multi-faceted, multi-layered and complicated than meets the naked eye.
The vital question
therefore is: who in government, the ruling party,
the opposition and, indeed, in civil society, is benefiting from the crisis
and has a stake in its perpetuation?
These elements will place roadblocks of all
types in their valiant
efforts to torpedo the early resolution of the crisis because it is in their
interest to do so.
So, at a time when
the generality of Zimbabweans are desperate for a
speedy and sustainable resolution of the crisis, this cross-cutting elite
may be desperate to nullify any efforts to
arrive at such a resolution.
The logic of this is that the brighter and more
hopeful the prospects
for an amicable solution, the more determined and forceful these forces
become to throw all sorts of spanners into the works.
The long and short of it is that there are those with a
interest in the continuation of the crisis and that these elements are both
inside and outside the government. In a sense, the crisis unites them; it is
a unifying factor.
The fundamental difference is that
one faction of this elite is
governing and the other is not but seeks to govern. This is the unhappy
paradox of the Zimbabwe crisis. For this elite, the deeper the crisis, the
higher the yields.
Early in the
last century, Italian social scientists saw society
divided into two major groups, the elite and the non-elite. The former was
further sub-divided into the governing and the non-governing elite, while
the non-elite comprises the masses or the povo, in local parlance.
The gladiation for power
is essentially an elite affair, that is, a
struggle between the governing and the non-governing elite, with the
non-elite being used in a struggle that is really not theirs and from which
they seldom directly benefit.
A new beginning?
MANY in Zimbabwe will applaud the decision this week by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to extend an olive branch to
the government in the hope that the two opposing sides can finally sit down
to end Zimbabwe’s withering political and economic storm.
The MDC’s tactical move to end its
year-long boycott of parliamentary
addresses given by President Robert Mugabe is all the more important because
of the poisoned climate that exists in Zimbabwe after the government last
month detained MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his top leadership for no
reason other than that they sought to lead a peaceful anti-government
hope that the MDC’s magnanimity in the face of
persecution of its members by the government will be reciprocated by Mugabe
and his officials so that, in the words of the MDC, a conducive atmosphere
is created in the country for a “dignified exit for Mugabe from the
foolhardy and irrational Zimbabweans – not to mention their
unmitigated disloyalty and unpatriotism to the cause of the motherland –
still honestly expect our Old Man and his team to come to grips with a
crisis that the latter created and nurtured in Zimbabwe in the past two
The time has long passed for Mugabe and his
administration to accept
the painful reality that they have done their bit for Zimbabwe – many would
say ruined the country in the process – and that they have to immediately
give way to a new beginning.
political leadership at the helm of Zimbabwe and new ideas that
build and bind the nation together are sorely needed to pluck this beautiful
and economically rich land out of the deep economic and political hole which
the present leadership has dug it into.
Yet there are obvious
hurdles and dangers that both the MDC and Mugabe
’s governing ZANU PF will have to overcome if meaningful talks to resolve
Zimbabwe’s crisis are to take place.
First, hawkish elements from ZANU PF spoiling for a
against the MDC and the maintenance of the untenable status quo will have to
be sidelined if the envisaged talks are to produce the desired results.
In tandem, hardliners within the MDC
advocating strong-arm tactics
against the government will have to keep their cool and give peace a chance,
aware as they should be of the many-sided intricacies of the crisis and that
ZANU PF, even at this eleventh hour, still holds the upper hand.
Both sides will have to tone down their
poisonous vitriol and take
concrete steps that form peace-building blocks on the irreversible one-way
route to a new and democratic Zimbabwe which, despite understandable
misgivings, must still define a place and role for a departing Mugabe.
A truly honest and impartial mediator, who is
trusted by both
belligerents, will have to be found to bring the two sides to a negotiating
table and to read the riot act, if necessary, to those who step out of line
in the hope of benefiting in whatever form from Zimbabwe’s chaos.
No doubt, many in the MDC will only be too aware that
history shows the ruling party too often as being unwilling to accommodate
the genuine interests of its rivals, preferring to bludgeon them into
submission and then swallowing them to make the peace of the dead.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 23 July
Leading firms 'handle loot of farm squatters'
Chiredzi - Two South African
corporate giants are under fire for allegedly
handling large consignments of produce stolen from Zimbabwe's white farmers
by supporters of President Robert Mugabe. The mining group Anglo American, a
London-listed FTSE 100 company, and the sugar company Tongaat Hulett are
both accused of processing sugar cane stolen from white farmers who are
under threat of dispossession under Zimbabwe's chaotic "land reform".
Farmers in south-eastern Zimbabwe say Mr Mugabe's "settlers" are routinely
stealing their crop and sending the cane to mills owned by an Anglo American
subsidiary, Hippo Valley Estates, and by Triangle Ltd, owned by Tongaat
Hulett. The farmers claim they have repeatedly reported the theft to the two
companies and to the police in Chiredzi, 300 miles south-east of Harare, who
they claim refuse to take action. "We are victims of the government's
madness over land, and now British and South African companies are
processing cane stolen from us," said Peter Henning, 63, a farmer whose land
has been "listed" for nationalisation. In their defence, the companies say
it is pointless to let the cane just rot, and say they are bound by
Zimbabwean law to process the produce.
of the issue is that when farms are "listed" for government
take-over, a lengthy legal process is triggered before the Zimbabwean
government can claim the deeds. The government says just 300 white-owned
farms out of 6,000 listed have been processed to finality. But in the
meantime, Mr Mugabe's supporters are helping themselves to the fruit of the
land regardless, farmers claim. None of the 50-odd white-owned, 240-acre
sugar cane farms adjacent to Hippo Valley Estates has been legally taken
over, but white farmers say they cannot harvest their crop because their
workers are kept away by the threat of physical violence. In its defence,
Anglo American says it is an innocent party caught in the middle of the land
tug-of-war, and denied that it was using the legal tussle for its own
profitable ends. "We are stuck in the middle of a very difficult legal
dispute," said its external relations director, Edward Bickham. "We are
obliged to accept cane under Zimbabwean law, because it goes off if you
don't." Anglo American added that it had not paid for cane if ownership was
disputed, but had asked the courts to determine who should receive payment.
It also said the sums involved were not millions of pounds, and that Hippo
Valley had sent letters of support to farmers trying to have their farms
delisted for takeover.
Valley had provided sanctuary to 10 evicted commercial farmers and
their families, and fuel to others, it added - although farmers said they
had been charged commercial rates in both cases. "This is a complex matter,
and we will resolve it through the courts," said Anglo American's Zimbabwe
chairman, Godfrey Gomwe. Triangle's managing director, Simon Cleasby, who
takes the same position, said it was against the law to refuse cane
delivered by a "licensed grower". But a barrister in Zimbabwe, Adrian de
Bourbon, said the "licensed growers" were the white farmers, not the
settlers, and added that the law allowed mills to decline to accept cane if
they had "reasonable cause". "The disputed ownership of the cane is a
reasonable cause," he said. Eric Le Vieux, 38, another farmer involved, said
the two companies had been sent letters from lawyers insisting that trade in
the stolen cane stop. "They have said we can see them in court," Mr Le Vieux
said. "The system has brought chaos to Zimbabwe." Crops and livestock have
been stolen from hundreds of former white farmers violently evicted from
their homes in the last three years. But according to the pressure group
Justice for Agriculture, the sugar cane saga is the first in which
corporates are accused of handling stolen produce. Its spokesman, John
Worsley-Worswick, said: "Farmers and their workers in the Chiredzi area have
been beaten, arrested, lost their homes and livelihoods and their future
From The Economist Intelligence Unit, 23 July
Printing cash isn't going to help
The government's July 18th injection of Z$12bn
(US$14.6m) into Zimbabwe's
financial system - and the announcement that a Z$1,000 banknote is to be
printed for the first time - is likely to create as many problems as it
solves. There is no doubt that the shortage of banknotes is creating
increasing difficulties for Zimbabweans. Banks are unable to supply notes to
their customers; ATMs work only in the city centres; and there are long
queues at the banks and building societies as people wait for cash to be
deposited by other customers before they can withdraw money. However, with
inflation already running at 365%, the move will have little impact on cash
availability. It is also likely to exacerbate inflation, which has risen
from 199% at the end of 2002. Huge food - and fuel - price increases are
imminent. As it is, it is virtually impossible to buy petrol or diesel at
filling stations at the office price of Z$440 (5.3 US cents) a litre. With
the exception of commuter bus operators, which are allowed to buy diesel at
the official price when it is available, people are either paying a
black-market price in Zimbabwe dollars or using foreign currency to pay an
importer. The government has agreed in principle to allow the oil
multinationals to import fuel and sell it at market prices, but the scheme
has still be finalised. When it is, petrol prices will treble, with
far-reaching knock- on effects for the rate of price rises.
At the same time, huge increases in the price of maizemeal,
the food staple,
and wheat are imminent. In the black market, the price of bread has more
than doubled in the past month, while coal prices have also doubled. All of
which suggests that inflation will be well above 400% by August, or possibly
even the end of this month. Economists are divided over how long it will
take the rate of price increases to reach four- digits, but even the
optimists expect inflation to reach 700-750% by year- end. Devaluation is
also very much on the agenda - despite official denials. Towards the end of
July business and government will meet to discuss further devaluation from
the current rate of Z$824:US$1 to around Z$1,400:US$1. Representatives of
Zimbabwe's main export industry, tobacco, says that the sector needs a rate
of at least Z$1,600:US$1, as farmers are getting Z$4m for every hectare of
tobacco they produce--half their production costs. By October, when the next
crop is planted, costs will have reached Z$10m a hectare. Without rapid--and
substantial--devaluation tobacco production, already running at one-third of
its peak levels, will fall further from an estimated 90m kg in 2003 to 60m
kg in 2004. All of this is grist to the mill of the South African and US
presidents, who discussed the Zimbabwe "issue" early in July. The greater
the economic pressure on Mugabe, their argument runs, the easier it will be
to get the intransigent 79-year-old to step down and head off for political
asylum. However, that assumes a much greater recognition of economic reality
in Harare than is, in fact, the case. Being in, or close, to government is
paying handsome dividends for a large number of senior officials in the
ruling Zanu PF. Corruption and crony capitalism is serving them very well -
why should they want to change a winning streak?
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 20 July
Panicking Zanu PF 'chefs' strip country of assets
Panicking high ranking
officials of the ruling Zanu PF party are allegedly
systematically stripping down the country of most of its valuable assets as
they realise that President Robert Mugabe's reign is coming to an end, it
emerged last week. Economic experts said the entire country was being
methodically plundered by high-ranking Zanu PF and government officials who
plan to eventually flee the country and retire in comfort with their
offshore holdings. In separate interviews with Standard Business, government
critics said some Members of Parliament and Cabinet ministers were on a
massive looting spree. "Asset stripping is a process when regimes are
preparing to depart from government. It is a key aspect of a failed
government and is taking place on a day-to-day basis," said Tendai Biti of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). "It is a process in which public
assets are transferred to private hands, the private hands being the very
same cronies that have been controlling the public sector," charged Biti,
the MDC's secretary for economic affairs. The black Zanu PF cronies have
graduated from petty middle-class businessmen to real bourgeoisie owners of
the means of production," he added. He said asset stripping was taking place
in various forms with the government's haphazard land grab exercise
providing new scope for the scam.
recent reports of Zanu PF officials owning vast tracts of land at
the expense of the landless was testimony to the asset stripping exercise.
He said certain quarters with government links had muscled in on strategic
national utilities. "Asset stripping is taking place in many forms. We saw
that with the land reform programme where we have Zanu PF MPs, government
ministers and governors owning about seven farms each," Biti said. Biti, the
MDC legislator for Harare East, said another form of asset stripping had
emerged in the form of forced asset transfers, especially those belonging to
state enterprises. Government ministers and ruling part legislators have
recently acquired significant stakes in public and private quoted companies
as part of the government's privatisation process. "There is a strategic and
deliberate attempt within the ruling elite to amass as much wealth cutting
across as many sectors of the economy as possible. They are establishing a
monopoly that guarantees control even in the event that they lose political
power," said one independent economic commentator.
A civil society
spokesperson said senior Zanu PF officials had already taken
positions in the ownership of the media, telecommunications, banking, real
estate and farming. "In farming they have literally taken over the entire
agro-industry," he said. "They understand that transition or political
change is inevitable so they want to underwrite and predetermine the course
of that political change." The spokesperson said civic organisations were
currently compiling a dossier of some of the underhand deals and forced
sales of shares to make reports to Transparency International Zimbabwe
(TIZ). TIZ chairman, John Makumbe, said corrupt Zanu PF officials were
finding safe havens for offshore banking in neighbouring SADC countries such
as South Africa, Namibia and Botswana where they have non-resident accounts.
Other state assets had already been sold to Libya and companies such as its
Tamoil, a Libyan firm involved in fuel deals with Zimbabwe. "Nobody actually
knows what has been sold to Libya, the number of farms and the percentage of
shares Libya holds in Zimbabwean firms is a mystery," Makumbe said. Zanu PF
refused to comment on the allegations levelled against its members. Party
secretary for information, Nathan Shamuyarira, said he had nothing to say
Zimbabwe appeals for food aid
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government has finally
appealed for food aid to stave off looming starvation among its people, the
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says.
Zimbabwe ranks as the worst-hit among six southern African countries that
experienced severe food shortages in 2002-03 due to a combination of
drought, floods and economic mismanagement.
WFP representative in Zimbabwe Kevin Farrell told reporters Mugabe's
government had indicated Zimbabwe faced a maize deficit of 711,000 tonnes
after harvesting about 900,000 to augment opening stocks of 284,000 tonnes
held by the state Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
The appeal comes about a fortnight after WFP urged the government to request
donor aid for some 5.5 million people seen needing emergency food in the
current marketing season.
"We now have the appeal in hand and certainly it has been a bit of a while
in coming...We are trying to resource 350,000 tonnes on top of the
carry-over that we have of a little over 100,000 tonnes," Farrell said.
The remaining shortfall was to be partly covered by bilateral donations from
Britain and the U.S.
"In the meantime we are faced with this immediate problem looming at the end
of August, beginning of September, the real risk that we're going to run out
"We are appealing to donors for pledges to be made soon so that we can
minimise that pipeline break. As the year progresses clearly the overall
food security...both in the rural and urban areas is getting more
difficult," Farrell said.
WFP said in June it would take at least three months after a donor pledge
was made for food to arrive in the country.
A cause for concern was that the GMB had not indicated whether it had any
plans to independently import significant quantities of food in the coming
"The general situation is more difficult than last year because of this
unknown quantity, which is how much is going to be able to come in
commercially. It's going to be difficult to fill that deficit without some
involvement of the private sector," Farrell said.
The GMB has a monopoly on all imports and exports of maize and wheat, but
Farrell said Mugabe's government had indicated it would now allow some form
of private sector participation in maize imports to ease shortages.
Zimbabwe political tension eases
July 24, 2003, 15:30
Political tension between the Zimbabwe
government and the
opposition eased this week after reconciliatory gestures from both sides,
but officials said today the parties have not yet resumed substantive talks.
Zimbabwe is grappling with a deep political and economic crisis
blamed by many on President Robert Mugabe's government. The crisis has
worsened since Mugabe's controversial re-election last year in a poll
rejected as fraudulent by Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader.
President Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian
President, have been trying to get Mugabe and Tsvangirai's parties to the
negotiating table to ease apolitical crisis manifesting itself in often
violent electoral contests, isolation by Western powers and withdrawal of
In what many hailed as positive gestures, this week, for the
first time in three years, opposition lawmakers did not boycott Mugabe's
speech on Tuesday marking the opening of parliament. Even Tsvangirai, who is
on trial for allegedly trying to have Mugabe assassinated, attended the
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which holds just over
a third of the 150 seats in parliament, said it had decided to attend to
create an environment for political dialogue. Mugabe made no mention of this
possibility in his speech.
Although Mugabe issued his usual warning to his political
opponents that anyone who tried to destabilise his government would face the
"full wrath of the law", analysts said by his fiery standards his speech was
The 79-year-old former guerrilla leader, who dismisses
Tsvangirai as a "pathetic puppet", did not call the opposition any names in
the main speech and in a subsequent statement at a state banquet for
Instead, he said parliament should be treated as an "honourable
house" for all political players, and that the MDC MPs' presence during his
address augured well for the country.
The tightly controlled state broadcaster ZBC has since Tuesday
put a positive spin on what it calls a "sign of thawing of relations and
that talks are possible". But the chief spokesperson for Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party said "substantive negotiations" could only take place when the MDC
drops its legal challenge and recognises Mugabe's government.
Mugabe's government walked out of political talks with
Tsvangirai's MDC in April 2002 after the opposition went to court to
challenge the election result, saying the South African and Nigerian
mediation efforts must wait until the courts have ruled on the case.
The election petition has been set for hearing in November.
The MDC said this week it was working to resume talks with
ZANU-PF and that Tsvangirai had strengthened a negotiating team led by
Welshman Ncube, MDC secretary-general, in readiness. - Reuters
Zimbabwe's leaders need to rise above zero-sum game
As SA showed in its transition, reconciliation and rebuilding require a
broader vision backed by the people
THE recent public display of warmth and mutual support between presidents
George Bush and Thabo Mbeki, although carefully crafted, indicated the
importance of the need for a stable and constructive relationship between
the US and its key ally in southern Africa.
Even on the thorniest question of Zimbabwe, the two presidents demonstrated
a public bonhomie. There are three reasons why they would agree that the US
would follow SA's lead in resolving the Zimbabwe crisis.
First, although both, in Mbeki's words, were "absolutely of one mind about
the urgent need to address the political and economic challenges of
Zimbabwe", the presidents avoided dwelling on those issues that potentially
divide SA and the US.
These include the efficacy (or not) of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe, and
the war against Iraq. Instead they clearly sought to stress the many policy
areas that unite SA and the US, including combating the threat of terrorism,
and the need to expedite free trade, tackle HIV/AIDS and support good
governance through the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Second, the US does not, at least compared to SA, have much at stake in
Zimbabwe. Washington is, as Bush put it, willing to support Mbeki as "the
point man" and "honest broker" towards SA's troubled neighbour.
Washington's focus is (unsurprisingly) on the war against terror and on
stabilising the Middle East, as well as forging a modus vivendi with Mbeki
on such bigger strategic, global issues.
As a result, whereas the US has to move toward peace between Israel and
Palestine, in Colin Powell's words, "with great speed and deliberateness",
Zimbabwe can be traded to maintain or improve relations with SA. This is
realpolitik (and double-standards) par excellence.
Third, both apparently agree that the crisis has mainly to be solved by
Zimbabweans themselves, with outside assistance where necessary. Despite
claims that progress is being made in talks between the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and ruling Zanu (PF) about ways of ending the
political crisis, herein lies the rub.
Judging from SA's experience, four conditions are necessary for peaceful
First, there must be external consensus a united regional and international
community urging the parties to the negotiating table and, if necessary,
using strong-arm tactics (such as in SA's transition: restricting of
military support for the African National Congress (ANC) and the tightening
of sanctions against the apart- heid regime) to do so. Such consensus does
not exist over Zimbabwe, with the southern African region apparently, though
perhaps decreasingly, at odds on how to proceed. The European Union and
despite Bush's new rhetoric the US have until now moved to adopt sanctions,
not Africa's "constructive engagement", as the means of urging political
It is not enough to say Zimbabweans need to sort out their own problems
while their country degenerates to the status of a collapsed state. As
Kosovo and Rwanda have shown, it is best to avoid humanitarian catastrophe
before the situation demands international intervention.
Also, it would have been more useful if Bush and Mbeki could have agreed on
a road map for peace and reconstruction in Zimbabwe, rather than just vague,
uncontroversial yet meaningless generalities about the need for democracy:
after all, would any international leader oppose the desire for a thriving
democracy? The difficult part, as Bush knows from Iraq, is finding a way to
Instead, by way of example, a first step on such a road map could have been
a calling for a Zimbabwe Peace, Democracy and Reconstruction Summit. Held
under the aegis of the African Union (AU) involving the top leadership of
Zanu (PF) and the MDC, and chaired by Mbeki it could outline a number of
These would include fresh elections under international/regional
supervision; the restoration of full human and civil rights; rule of law;
security of tenure and so on. There could be related sets of multiparty and
civil society conferences built into this approach, interventions fully
backed by the AU and the donor community.
Second, there is a need for internal consensus in terms of agreeing on the
imperative for negotiations that there is more, put simply, to be gained
from compromise than from a continued standoff. This is not so in Zimbabwe,
where to date there exists at best only a process about negotiations rather
than a negotiation process.
Hence opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's angry retort to Mbeki's claim
that "Zanu (PF) and the MDC are, indeed, discussing". The MDC leader said
such "false and mischievous" statements were only buying time for President
Robert Mugabe since "there has been absolutely no political engagement"
between the two protagonists since April last year.
Tsvangirai's rebuke is excusable only given the extreme levels of state
violence and intimidation meted out to his supporters. His frustration may
also be a function of attempts to bypass him in the negotiations, confirmed
by faceless "senior diplomatic sources" from SA, in spite of his status as
official leader of the opposition and the man, at least judging from the
last election, that many (if not the majority of) Zimbabweans would like to
have as their president.
Just as a suspension of the armed struggle by the ANC and the release of
political prisoners by the National Party government were crucial to the
successful commencement of a negotiation process in SA, it is unrealistic to
expect the MDC to commit to formal, open talks with or without Tsvangirai
without the normalisation of domestic political activity.
Third, there has to be clear method, timeframes and signposts on the road to
political transition. Yet currently southern African shuttlediplomacy with
Harare does not amount to more than diplomatic grandstanding, notably by
Finally, the need for established method demands prescient, generous
leadership, notably in terms of devising strategies to strengthen your
opposition to enable them to deliver their constituency.
Mugabe has preferred, however, to weaken the MDC by violence and tie it down
in various judicial processes including the Tsvangirai treason trial, to the
point that there is both little trust and goodwill, so that aims and
strategies can only become radicalised.
Far from possessing leaders with vision such as Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk
and Mbeki, Zimbabwe is especially blighted with those who see negotiations
as a zero-sum game.
The success of SA's transition illustrates pivotally that no progress can be
made without the support of the majority of citizens.
Crucially, no amount of diplomatic eggshell dancing can ultimately avoid
asking the same question of Zimbabweans themselves, whatever regional or
international leaders may think.
Mills and Hughes are respectively the national director and parliamentary
research fellow of the SA Institute of International Affairs.
ZIMBABWE: NGOs fear clampdown
IRINnews Africa, Thu 24 Jul 2003
Activists feel the legislation will be used to further impede their
JOHANNESBURG, - Civil rights groups in Zimbabwe are concerned that
their operations could be further curtailed following reports that the
government is to amend legislation governing NGOs.
"In order to ensure that the operations of Non-Governmental
Organisations are consistent with, and supportive of, government policies
and programmes, the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill will amend the
current act and broaden the definition of NGOs to include trusts," the local
Daily News reported President Robert Mugabe as saying at the opening of
parliament this week.
Rights activists and NGOs allege that the legislation is the latest
attempt by the government to crack down on dissent in the country. Over the
past two years the government and rights organisations have been at
loggerheads, with the authorities accusing NGOs of furthering foreign
"We are not shocked by the news and, in fact, this has been on the
cards since the early 1990s. However, this is the first time that it looks
like the legislation may actually come before parliament. This signals to
civil society that the government is running scared, afraid of criticism.
Our major concern is that our work, especially in rural areas, will be
further impeded. Already members of civil rights groups cannot go into
certain areas to conduct interviews regarding human rights violations,"
Crisis in Zimbabwe spokeswoman Everjoice Win told IRIN.
Last year NGOs resisted a government order to register under the
Private Voluntary Organisations Act, saying they were operating as trusts
and were, therefore, not governed by the legislation.
"If the bill is approved by parliament, the government will have
unfettered access to the operations of NGOs. Authorities will have the right
to investigate who our funders are and, if they choose, may even deregister
some of the groups," Win said.
But, one analyst told IRIN, if the move was indeed an attempt to
muzzle opposition, the government may find itself faced with several legal
"It is really an exercise in futility since there are several groups
registered as trusts and as private companies. Existing legislation
prohibits any government interference," senior political science lecturer at
the University of Zimbabwe John Makumbe said.
Meanwhile, the government also announced plans to introduce
legislation giving workers part-ownership in local industries as part of a
black empowerment drive. But critics say the initiative was politically
motivated and aimed to convince domestic investors to remain in Zimbabwe.
It is estimated that foreign investors pulled out Zim $17.3 billion
(US $20 million) from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in the first six
months of this year, more than five times the amount of funds withdrawn by
foreign businesses last year.
"The promise of greater shares in the economy is directed at those who
already have money. So, black economic empowerment will not make any
significant difference, especially since the economy is in free-fall,"
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE PR COMMUNIQUE - July 24, 2003
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
AGRIZIM. The Way Forward.
"And then suddenly there was no more free and virgin land to destroy.
That's all there was; there wasn't any more. And slowly, imperceptibly, the
fact of that disaster began to make itself felt in the economy of a whole
great nation. The shortage began to make itself felt in a living standard
slipping slowly downward....
People didn't know about what was going on. Neither farmers nor city
people. I knew perhaps better than most because I had seen over the whole
of the world what had happened to nations when their agriculture grew sick
and their soil impoverished. What happened was first ECONOMIC SICKNESS and
finally DEATH, not only of agriculture but eventually of the nation and its
I knew in my heart that we as a nation were already much farther along the
path to DESTRUCTION than most people knew. What we needed was a new kind of
pioneer, not the sort which cut down the forests and burned off the
prairies and raped the land, but who created forests and healed and
restored the richness of the country God have given us......."
- Louis Bromfield - Pleasant Valley - 1946 -
The current state of affairs appear to have happened before. "The more
things change the more things stay the same?"
The effects of the use of this POLITICAL WEAPON are likely to have the same
effect that Bromfield has related.
Because the POLITICAL WEAPON here is LAND.
Who will pay the price?
Has it started to pay yet?
Has it paid enough to want to stand up yet?
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE
COMPENSATION/RESTITUTION COMMUNIQUE - July 24, 2003
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
LOSS DOCUMENT FACILITATORS
The issue of compensation/restitution to farmers for what they have lost as
a result of the fast track resettlement programme is very clear. The farmer
has the right to claim according to the law of Zimbabwe and International
Before farmers can initiate this process there are certain responsibilities
that they have to be aware of and conform to.
· Farmers can only be compensated or restituted if they submit a claim for
what they have lost.
· Certain formats and procedures exist that have to be followed in order to
document and present the facts.
· The Valuation Certificate from the Valuators Consortium is vital and will
form part of the final document and could represent approximately 40% of
the total amount claimable by farmers in that other disturbance losses
(consequential losses) could constitute the greater part of the claim.
To assist farmers to fill in their claims in the prescribed format we have
trained 18 facilitators around the country. They started facilitating and
compiling documents on the 1st July 2003.
All farmers are urged to have their documentation completed by the end of
November 2003. This will assist us in processing the information and in
preparation of the initial steps in the International arena by the 1st
The sooner negotiations take place the sooner compensation/restitution
could be achieved. The first phase of this is the correct documentation of
losses and claims and their quantification and verification.
The following are a list of numbers you can dial in the various centres.
Bulawayo 091 236 317
Chiredzi 011 609 823, 011 425 056, 031 2675, 031 2638, 031 3337.
Kadoma 011 208 767, 068 245 74, 068 235 15
Harare 04 499 783, 04 494 837, 04 883 399, 091 234 876, 04 735 217
Marondera 011 611 298, 079 239 23.
Mutare 020 63651.
If farmers have no facilitators in their areas; we will be hosting our next
training course at St Lucia Park in Harare on the 30th July 2003. It will
be a one-day course and lunch and teas are included.
This whole exercise depends on the co-operation and determination of
farmers and must be community driven. Your community must select the
facilitators they can work with and have confidence and trust in. This
will ensure that the interests of farmers are presented in a professional
format and with the necessary confidentiality.
For more details on the course please contact me at 011 207 860 or the JAG
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
1 I presume letter number 1 of Open Letter Forum 119 was written by Ben
Freeth? Should I be concerned that he would not put his name to this letter
or was it an oversight?
2 Thank you for the opportunity to allow open debate on the issue of CFU
without bias or prejudice. I think it has allowed a second opinion to
appear. And what a wonderful surprise to see that Willy actually believes
that some good men stand for CFU!!
3 I was always really concerned about the voting procedure and form that
the "new" CFU took with their last restructuring. Like the changes that
took place in the national constitution from 1986 to 1992, I believed that
we were putting too much power into the hands of a few men. But in exactly
the same way as the EGM in March 2003 for ZTA, I watched a whole generation
of farmers vote unanimously for the changes, just accepting what their
leadership was asking for. And so today, we all live with the changes that
or do we??
That is the challenge that we as future farmers should be looking at. Is
the current constitution right for us? Should we be accepting the Status
Quo? Should we not be making the changes necessary to ensure the survival
of our farmers and their children??
I look forward to seeing you at this afternoon's farmers meeting.
My dear Jean,
I am pleased to hear that you are now gently amused.
Regrettably I am no longer in that category.
I have been informed that Vice President Crawford has now asked Mr. Cloete
to stand again as President - I know not why as yet.
Yesterday I sought spiritual guidance and was advised by a priest that the
CFU is an Evil Organization and that I would never achieve anything by
trying to alter its ways, from now on. I did try many more than three
times, as have many others and now will take spiritual guidance in favour
of your challenge, and will now move on.
Letter 3: Ben Freeth
BLACK AND WHITE
The importance of doing things in black and white cannot be over-emphasised
enough. What is in black and white will stand over time where mere words
(dialogue?) will not.
· When I pay my bills I produce a cheque book (black and white) and receive
a receipt (black and white).
· When I rent a house I sign a lease agreement (black and white).
· When I travel across the border I produce a passport (black and white).
· When I buy a car I get a registration book to show ownership (black and
· When I vote for responsible Government I place my cross in the right box
(black and white).
· When I buy a farm I get title deeds to prove it is mine (black and
· When I borrow money I produce my collateral (black and white).
When my legal rights are usurped or my property is stolen and I lose what
is mine, my fall back is the courts so that I can pay my bills, stay in my
home, get insurance money for my car, travel out of the country, regain my
farm or develop it through the bank (black and white). There will be those
(in the ?????) who will do everything they can to persuade me not to go
black and white because they know the power of black and white.
If I do not carefully document all my losses and the incidents where my
legal rights have been usurped before asserting them I will have no chance
of recouping those losses so that my rights can triumph over the wrongs.
If I do not assert those rights, quite frankly I do not deserve to keep
It's over to you. Get with it. GO BLACK AND WHITE. BE PART OF JAG.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
The People Take On the Great Leader in New Play
The Daily News (Harare)
July 24, 2003
Posted to the web July 24, 2003
SUPER Patriots And Morons, a play about His Excellency, the
who has ruled his small African nation as a dictator since it attained
independence from the colonialists will be shown in 10 provinces in
The play will kick off tomorrow in all the provinces. Each province has its
own cast and for the past 16 days Rooftop Promotions has been conducting
rehearsals for the actors and actresses.
Also in attendance and helping with the rehearsals were seasoned actors
O'Brian Mudyiwenyama, Jasen Mphepho, Mackay Tickeys and Daves Guzha.
Super Patriots And Morons will also be staged in Harare at the Mannenberg on
His Excellency, the Super Patriot, has ruled his small African nation with
an iron hand and has successfully muzzled the Press, cowed the judiciary,
and is intolerant of the opposition that he sees as a front of the
All this, in the determined pursuit of perpetuating his personal rule. The
country is his, in the true sense of the word.
When this crumbles, bastardising the country's socio-economic fabric, the
Super Patriot's world starts giving in, thus triggering a series of logical
questions from the populace.
Led by a pregnant woman Shami, the people, who see the Super Patriot as the
source of their pathetic predicament resolve to take the Dear Leader head
The ground is set for a dramatic confrontation. The Super Patriot with every
state machinery at his disposal to defend his personal rule, and the people
with nothing to lose but their misery.
It is a case of the people versus the powerful Great Leader.
What is at stake is their respective existence. Both sides have no room for
compromise in this battle for the ultimate survival. He who wins lives.
Produced by Daves Guzha and directed by Calle Kjellgren, the play which will
take place in Harare features Daves Guzha, Mackay Tickeys, O'Brian
Mudyiwenyama, Jasen Mpepho and Eyahra Mathazia.