The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Mbeki says Zimbabwe talks continue

Yahoo News

By Paul Simao 2 hours, 45 minutes ago

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition factions are
continuing with negotiations to resolve the political crisis, South African
President Thabo Mbeki said on Sunday.

"Those negotiations among the Zimbabweans are continuing," Mbeki said in a
briefing in Pretoria. The South African leader is overseeing the talks
between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

Mugabe's government and the opposition have been deadlocked since the
Zimbabwean leader was re-elected on June 27 in a poll boycotted by MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai because of violence against his supporters.

Western nations also condemned the poll as not free.

Mbeki and other African leaders have pressed Mugabe and Tsvangirai to
negotiate a national unity government, which is seen by the continent as the
only way to avert further violence and reverse an economic slide in

The African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
both concerned by a crisis that has flooded neighboring states with millions
of refugees, have pushed for a power-sharing deal.

ZANU-PF, however, has said it will not accept any deal that fails to
recognize Mugabe's re-election or seeks to reverse his land redistribution
program, which has seen the government seize thousands of white-owned farms
beginning in 2000.

Critics say the policy, which was designed to provide land to poor blacks,
has destroyed the once-prosperous agricultural sector. Zimbabwe is
struggling with chronic shortages of maize, meat, cooking oil and other

Tsvangirai's MDC insists that he be president because he won a first round
of voting in March though without the absolute majority needed to avoid a
second ballot. The MDC leader abandoned the run-off because of attacks on
his supporters.

The MDC said that pro-Mugabe militia have killed 120 opposition supporters
since the March election. Mugabe, who has branded the MDC a puppet
organization of the West and vowed to never let it take power, blames the
opposition for the bloodshed.

The parties also disagree over how long a national unity government should
remain in power. Tsvangirai's MDC wants fresh elections held as soon as
possible, while Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, wants to carry on with his
new five-year mandate.

(Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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Zimbabwe army nearing collapse as recruits lack basic training

The Telegraph

A soldier in Zimbabwe's army now earns £11 a month and new recruits lack the
most basic training, a serving NCO has told the Daily Telegraph.

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 3:12PM BST 27 Jul 2008

Corporal Peter Choto, who joined the army 10 years ago, painted a vivid
picture of a military machine in headlong collapse.

President Robert Mugabe relies on the army to keep him in power and its
generals are now believed to be the most powerful men in Zimbabwe. While
they have grown rich, hyperinflation now exceeding two million per cent has
impoverished their troops.

Cpl Choto - not his real name - earns more than a private soldier. He takes
home £13 per month. The World Bank's definition of absolute poverty is a
monthly wage of £15.

"At least three quarters of us would not take up arms for Zimbabwe," he
said. "We will not go to war for Zimbabwe, I am not going to take a risk
with a rifle for Zimbabwe. That time is gone."

Cpl Choto said the only boots the army could afford were made of "Chinese
plastic". He added: "Chinese boots only last a few days on patrol before
they are in ribbons. I have only one uniform and wear it for the week."

Soldiers survive on minimal food and Cpl Choto said he had been hungry for
"at least a year".

"Three years ago we got porridge, sausage, bacon sometimes eggs. We always
got meat at least once a day," he said. Today, by contrast, soldiers get two
plates of maize meal, known as "sadza", a day.

Cpl Choto said: "There are 500 recruits at the cantonment. If the world saw
pictures of them, the world would be shocked as they are so thin. At least
100 report sick every day.

"They are passing out next week and they haven't been to the rifle range
even once, because that ammo is being reserved for emergencies."

Cpl Choto admitted that he took part in the terror campaign waged against
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change before the presidential

"I was deployed to intelligence, in plain clothes, so I didn't have to do
the beating myself, but I saw it. You have to do the beating or you are
labelled MDC. Then you will just be discharged and sent to prison."

One of Cpl Choto's soldiers personally beat to death an elderly woman in her
60s or 70s.

"My friend came back and confessed and was shaking. We spoke and we said
this is not the way it should be. We are supposed to be protecting, not
making people suffer."

If the army rose against Mr Mugabe, his regime would not survive. But Cpl
Choto said that ordinary soldiers were more likely to leave or desert. "I
will leave the army next year," he said. "Most are leaving, or going AWOL,
or dying."

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Zimbabwe to remove 'zeros' from currency

Yahoo News

By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer Sun Jul 27, 7:42 AM ET

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's bank chief plans new currency reforms -
removing "more zeros" from the plummeting Zimbabwe dollar and raising the
limit on cash withdrawals - to tackle the country's runaway inflation and
cash shortages, state media reported Sunday.

Previous currency reforms have failed to tame Zimbabwe's inflation -
officially pegged at 2.2 million percent a year but estimated by independent
analysts to be closer to 12.5 million percent. It also has become virtually
impossible to get access to cash as the country's economic collapse worsens.

Authorities last week released a new 100 billion dollar bank note. By Sunday
it was not enough even to buy a scarce loaf of bread in what has become one
of the world's most expensive - and impoverished - countries.

The Sunday Mail, a government mouthpiece, reported that central bank reserve
governor Gideon Gono told an agricultural show Saturday he would introduce
the new measures in the coming days to make sure cash shortages are a "thing
of the past."

Zimbabwe's government says western sanctions - tightened last week - are
mainly to blame. Critics blame mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe's
government and a land-reform program that slashed the country's agricultural

To improve liquidity on the market, Gono was going to remove "more zeros,"
the paper reported.

"This time, we will make sure that those zeros that would come knocking on
the Governor's window will not return. They are going for good," Gono was
quoted as saying.

In 2006, the central bank slashed three zeros from the currency when
inflation stood at a few hundred percent, already the highest rate in the
world then.

Computers, electronic calculators and automated teller machines at banks
have not been able to handle basic transactions in billions - nine zeros -
or trillions - 12 zeros - or even quadrillions, with 15 zeros.

A new laptop computer was advertised Sunday at 1.2 quadrillion Zimbabwe
dollars. That's the equivalent of about $25,000 at the official exchange
rate, $8,500 at the black market cash exchange rate, or $2,000 at a third
exchange rate used in electronic money transfers through bank accounts that
don't involve the physical issue of Zimbabwe dollar bank notes.

Zimbabwe's money shortages, inflation and chronic shortages of food,
gasoline, medicine and most basic goods have brought many businesses in
Harare to a standstill. Smaller shops and at least four main restaurants
have shut down.

The state media reported Saturday that nightclubs canceling music shows
because audiences dried up after a 2,000 percent increase in beer and soft
drink prices in the past week. Several bars and clubs were openly accepting
U.S. dollars, even though that is against the law.

The Sunday Mail said Gono warned businesses against accepting hard currency.

"Dollarization is not a position we have taken. We are not in that situation
yet. Report all such persons to the nearest police station," Gono said.

Shortages of local cash have worsened dramatically. Earlier this month, a
German company, under pressure from the Berlin government, stopped selling
bank note paper and printing software to Zimbabwe's central bank.

Gono, according to the Sunday Mail, described the end of a 40-year-long
contract to supply bank note paper as part of the West's "devilish" economic
sanctions against Mugabe's government. The European Union last week
tightened sanctions and the United States followed suit on Friday.

Central bank officials have indicated bank note paper was being sought in
Asia and through neighboring South Africa.

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SAfrican government criticises Zimbabwe sanctions

Yahoo News

20 minutes ago

PRETORIA (AFP) - South Africa's government criticised Sunday the imposition
of new sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his allies, especially with
talks ongoing to try to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

"For us, it is difficult to understand the objectives of new sanctions,"
Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said.

"The Zimbabweans are meeting, let them sort out what they want for their
future. We should not allow outside interference," he told a press

The United States and the European Union broadened sanctions this week on
Mugabe and his closest aides, drawing accusations such moves could derail
the negotiations under way in Pretoria.

South African President Thabo Mbeki spoke before Pahad but refused to be
drawn on the issue of sanctions, saying only that talks were continuing and
that his government wanted a negotiated settlement as soon as possible.

Mugabe, the veteran 84-year old who has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained
independence from Britain in 1980, shook hands on Monday with bitter rival
Morgan Tsvangirai and agreed to negotiate a settlement to the political

Mugabe was re-elected for a sixth term last month after Tsvangirai pulled
out of a run-off second round election, citing a campaign of intimidation
and violence against his supporters that had killed dozens and injured

The ruling ZANU-PF party says Mugabe's re-election unopposed in the June 27
run-off must be recognised for the talks to succeed.

Tsvangirai pushed Mugabe into second place in the first round of voting on
March 29 but failed to win enough votes to secure outright victory,
according to the official results.

He believes the outcome of the March ballot should be the starting point for
any negotiations on power-sharing and his camp has been advocating a
transitional government, with a view to fresh elections.

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UN assists Mujuru's venture

CHARLES RUKUNI - Jul 26 2008 06:00

A public management company constituted by the United Nations and the
International Finance Corporation (IFC) and based in Johannesburg has been
providing assistance to a mine owned by one of President Robert Mugabe's top
lieutenants for the past four years, in an apparent breach of United States
legislation aimed at bringing about democratic change in Zimbabwe.

The US government, which had recently threatened to impose stiffer sanctions
on Zimbabwe following the disputed run-off presidential election, has been
made aware of this operation on several occasions but has so far taken no

The African Management Service Company (Amsco), an entity jointly managed by
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the IFC, the private
sector arm of the World Bank, has been providing assistance to River Ranch
Diamond Mine which is owned by Solomon Mujuru, the former commander of the
Zimbabwean army and husband of vice-president Joyce Mujuru, since November

Mujuru, a member of the ruling party's politburo, is one of the nearly 130
Zimbabweans on the US's targeted sanctions list. The list also includes more
than 30 companies or properties owned by people linked to Mugabe.

The US imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe's top lieutenants under its
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera), which was passed in
2001 "to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic
recovery in Zimbabwe". The sanctions, however, became effective only on
March 7 2003.

Zidera was aimed at supporting "the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to
effect peaceful, democratic change, achieve broad-based and equitable
economic growth and restore the rule of law".

The legislation
The sanctions are administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control
(Ofac) of the US treasury department. Ofac says the sanctions prohibit
people from the US or anyone in the US from engaging in any transaction with
any person, entity or organisation undermining democratic institutions and
processes in Zimbabwe.

This also precludes anyone on the designated nationals' list or immediate
family members of these designated individuals from engaging in these

Prohibited transactions include exports, imports, trade brokering, financing
and facilitation, as well as most financial transactions.

 The regulations define US as: "Any US citizen, permanent resident alien,
entity organised under the laws of the US or any jurisdiction within the US
(including foreign branches), or any person in the US."

Zidera specifically mentions international financial institutions such as
the World Bank, the IFC, the African Development Bank and the African
Development Fund.

Amsco, which is registered in the Netherlands but has its operational
headquarters in Johannesburg, lists the African Development Bank as one of
its shareholders.

River Ranch
Mujuru took over River Ranch Diamond Mine in April 2004 when he was invited
to join by Saudi Arabian billionaire Adel Abdul Rahman al Aujan, who had
taken over the mine from Bubye Minerals, a company owned by Michael and
Adele Farquhar.

The Farquhars took River Ranch to court in an ownership dispute, but lost
the battle in 2006. They have appealed against the ruling but the appeal has
so far been blocked.

The mine was discovered in 1971 by Kimberlitic Searches, a subsidiary of De
Beers, but it forfeited its rights in 1991 following a wrangle with the
Zimbabwe government over the marketing of the gems. The mine was taken over
by Auridiam, an Australian company that entered into a joint venture with
Canadian company Redaurum.

The mine was officially opened in November 1995 but ceased operations in
February 1998 Redaurum decided to pull out because of low global diamond
prices. It was then taken over by Bubye Minerals as a going concern.

Bubye Minerals entered into an agreement with Aujan under which Aujan's Rani
International would buy out the Australian and Canadian shareholders.

Aujan took over the mine on April 26 2004 after when he fell out with the
Farquhars and invited Mujuru and Tirivanhu Mudariki, a businessman and
former Zanu-PF MP, to join as directors through their company Khupukile

The assistance
Amsco started helping the mine in November 2004 by providing five
professionals, including the managing director, the chief financial officer
and the chief of security.

In an official statement in 2007, Amsco managing director Ayisi Makatiani
said Amsco started providing management assistance in response to a request
from the mine. It was not specified who in River Ranch asked for the help.

The man Amsco seconded to River Ranch as the managing director was George
Kantsouris, a South African who was present at the board meeting at which
Mujuru and Mudariki were brought into the company. According to the minutes
of that meeting, a copy of which the Mail & Guardian has in its possession,
Kantsouris was to represent Rani International. Rani International has
operations in South Africa and Mozambique.

Amsco's interest in the mine has been even more surprising because the mine
was barred from selling its diamonds at least until the end of last year,
because of the ownership dispute.

River Ranch legal adviser George Smith said the company started trading
again this year but this could not be verified with the Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe, which is responsible for marketing diamonds.

The mine has officially been operating since June 2006 and employs more than
300 people.

Deaf ears
The Farquhars and their lawyer, Terrence Hussein, have questioned the
financial and technical support given to the mine in view of Zidera but say
they have not received any response.

They have written to the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell,
who left the country last year, as well as to Secretary of State Condoleezza

In their letter to Rice in June last year, they said: "Our complaint is as
follows: The World Bank which funds the IFC, which funds Amsco, is providing
funds and assistance to River Ranch Limited in circumstances where the mine
was acquired using unlawful means.

"The World Bank is providing financial assistance to River Ranch Limited,
whose shareholder is retired General Mujuru, a specified person for targeted
sanctions in terms of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.

"This is compounded by the fact that in terms of the said Act, members
appointed by the US government are to veto any funding to such persons.

"We wonder whether the members appointed by the US are aware that they are
breaking your own country's laws and are also funding the breakdown of law,
order and property rights in Zimbabwe."

Bubye never received an official response, though its lawyer spoke with a
person named Dan Fogerty in Rice's office on several occasions.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 19th July 2008

Another big Vigil: people are very anxious about the talks underway between
the MDC and Zanu-PF.  We were told by the MDC that talks would not take
place until the violence was ended and political prisoners were released -
and then found that talks were taking place anyway.  Everyone at the Vigil
was shocked at the sight of Morgan Tsvangirai shaking hands with Mugabe but
we trust that the MDC leadership realises that there will be no help from
the West to rebuild Zimbabwe unless Mugabe is side-lined and his evil
cronies ousted from power. If necessary we will still be protesting outside
the Embassy if a MDC minister visits London to try and get aid for a
government in which Zanu-PF pulls the strings.

The Vigil was briefed about a meeting this week with Tibetan exile groups in
London to discuss a protest against China planned for Friday, 8th August,
the day the Olympic Games open in Beijing.  As we reported last week we have
already had discussions with the Burmese and we hope for a big joint protest
against China's support for dictators.

More and more people are coming to the Vigil, around 30 - 50 new people
every week. It is apparent there is need to explain the Vigil's relationship
with Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), our partner
organization on the ground in Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwe Association, with
whom we work closely in London.  We've written a clarification (see below).

Some time back a film-maker contacted the Vigil wanting a Zimbabwean to take
part in a short video called 'the Father'. Doubt Chiminyo, a long-term
supporter of the Vigil, agreed to star in the film.  You can see the video
by clicking on the link in the right hand column on this website: Zimbabwe
Protest Videos.

It was one of the hottest days of the year in London and the sight of the
day was a wedding couple in full gear riding past down the Strand in a
rickshaw drinking champagne.

The Glasgow Vigil reports a successful day last Saturday.  Their Vigil was
well-supported by the public and at a post-Vigil meeting supporters
discussed ideas for further activism.

For latest Vigil pictures check:  Additional excellent photos
from Luke Cody, an Australian photographer who visited the Vigil, are posted
on the following link.

FOR THE RECORD: 185 signed the register.

·   Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 2nd August, 2 - 6 pm Venue: Argyle
Street Precinct. For more information contact: Ancilla Chifamba, 07770 291
150, Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137 or Jonathan Chireka, 07504 724 471.
·   Protest outside the Chinese Embassy. Friday, 8th August.  More
information as plans develop.
·   Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays
10.30 am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Apart from the Vigil there are 2 other organisations that operate at the
Vigil on Saturday afternoons: Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR)
and the Zimbabwe Association.  There has been confusion about the
relationship of the 3 organisations so a clarification is outlined below.
·   The Zimbabwe Vigil: the Vigil is a non-party political group of
human rights activists who protest weekly on Saturday afternoons outside the
Zimbabwe Embassy, London. To be a member of the Vigil all you have to do is
attend on Saturday afternoons (and sign the register if you wish to).  There
is no cost for joining the Vigil and you do not have to be a member of the
other two organisations.
·   ROHR: is the Vigil's partner organisation based in Zimbabwe.  ROHR
grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in
Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil mission statement (see above) in a
practical way.  ROHR in the UK actively fund raises through membership
subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in
·   The Zimbabwe Association is a member of the Zimbabwe Vigil
Coalition and is a support group for Zimbabwean refugees and asylum seekers.
They offer members help and advice on asylum matters and have been
responsible for a long-running campaign to stop detention and removals of
Zimbabweans in the UK.  There is a small annual fee for membership. For more
information check:
NB the 3 organisations support each other but operate separately as far as
support for individuals is concerned.

Vigil co-ordinators
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.

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Mugabe, ZANU-PF, under pressure

Trymore Magomana 26 July, 2008 06:06:00
When the GNU talks conclude within two weeks and the GNU is singed, Mugabe
will lose all effective power

It has come to light that Robert Mugabe, leader of ZANU-PF, only signed the
MoU last week Monday after Mbeki, long derided by his critics for his
failure to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, told him that he faced prosecution
for his crimes in the past 28 years.
As Mbeki was piling pressure on Mugabe, the Chinese, long beloved friends of
ZANU-PF, had told Mugabe to "behave," fearing that the continuing crisis in
Zimbabwe would overshadow the Olympics.

The Chinese are doing everything they can to make sure the Olympics are a
success, and appear to be reluctant to countenance any situation that would
jeopardize that.

In advance details relayed to the Times, Mugabe will avoid facing Liberia's
Charles Taylor fate by giving up all effective power. To prevent further
humiliation to Mugabe, the GNU ZANU-PF and MDC will sign will leave him as
the president, but for all purposes, power will be in the hands of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his twenty-men cabinet.

In recognition of the landslide win by the MDC on March 29, the deal being
pushed by Mbeki will stipulate that eleven cabinet posts be reserved for
officials from the MDC while nine posts will go to ZANU-PF.

The new GNU/Transitional authority, upon taking office, will immediately
fire all ZANU-PF bigwigs who have committed human rights abuses in the past.

It is envisaged that the likes of Emerson Mnangagwa, Gen. C Chiwenga,
Perence Shiri, and other high ranking ZANU-PF officials with innocent blood
dripping from their hands will be banished from any positions of power.
Gideon Gono will be removed from the helm of the RBZ.

"Killers and torturers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,"
an MDC official privy to the GNU talks said.

Donor Power

The government that will be led by Tsvangirai will be in power for exactly
18 months, following which fresh elections would be held. That transitional
authority will, out of necessity, work closely with donor countries that
have pledged to help rebuild Zimbabwe.

The countries that will be at the fore in helping rebuild Zimbabwe include
the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Sweden, Holland, Norway,
Canada and Australia.

These countries, which are part of the so called  Fishmongers Group, are
reportedly already at an advanced stage preparing for a post Mugabe era. At
present, they have pledged to donate US$4 billion dollars towards the
reconstruction of Zimbabwe.

Fearing that the transitional authority/government of national unity might
not deliver, the Fishmongers Group has warned that in order to receive aid,
the GNU would have to restore the rule of law and repeal repressive
legislation like AIPPA and POSA

The group has also expressed it's wish to see those who committed human
rights crimes prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Farmers who lost their land and property over the last eight years will
either receive compansation or be given back their farms, most of which are
now lying idle across the country. --Harare Tribune News

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Zimbabwe: kudos and caution

Sunday Times, SA

Sunday Times Editorial Published:Jul 27, 2008

Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change should be
congratulated for pulling off what many consider a miracle when they signed
the memorandum of understanding that will pave the way for power-sharing

Before the signing - with President Robert Mugabe's security apparatus and
militias having tried to pummel the MDC into a pulp - their differences
appeared intractable.

President Thabo Mbeki, whose eight years of trying to resolve the Zimbabwean
crisis were as effective as the efforts of a neutered bull during mating
season, must be lauded for pulling off this week's breakthrough.

Now Mbeki and his negotiating team need to keep the trust of both parties by
maintaining absolute neutrality.

They must not, as has happened countless times over the past eight years, be
hoodwinked by Mugabe and his cronies, who have in the past been cunning in
their ability to stave off pressure by pretending to negotiate.

The MDC has proved its commitment to a peaceful solution by coming to the
table despite ongoing violence and the harassment of its leaders and
members. Mugabe must reciprocate by ending the state-sponsored violence and
dropping trumped-up charges against MDC leaders.

As the negotiators huddle down, we would urge them not to shut their ears to
the voices of civil society, which has as much to contribute to the healing
and rebuilding of Zimbabwe as the parties themselves.

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Zimbabwean delegates demand luxury

Sunday Times, SA

Francois Rank Published:Jul 26, 2008

Unhappiness over accommodation adds to tension at power-sharing talks
Delegates to Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks switched guesthouses in South
Africa this week after tension arose because some had swankier rooms than

The delegates - who include Zimbabwean justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
and Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti - were also
unhappy about their accommodation's supposed lack of luxury.

The South African government is footing the bill for the talks, which are
aimed at ending Zimbabwe's political crisis.

The talks are taking place in complete secrecy.

An employee at the Ingwenya Country Escape in Muldersdrift, about 45 minutes
from Johannesburg, told the Sunday Times that the 12-member delegation had
booked into the three-star, 160ha estate on Tuesday.

The MDC delegates were flown in separately by the South African Air Force
after they refused to fly with the rival Zanu-PF delegation.

Ingwenya, which boasts a brand-new, state-of-the-art conference facility as
well as a spa, wine garden, restaurants and a whisky bar - was swept by
security teams before the delegation arrived.

The SA government paid R750000 for total exclusivity of the venue until
August 5, forcing the lodge's management to cancel other reservations and
planned conferences.

But the delegation left a mere 24 hours after checking in - because they
were unhappy with the accommodation.

"They arrived here and demanded five-star service and accommodation.
However, we are a three-star venue. They brought in their security to sweep
the area and searched us and our offices. They paid R750000 and decided
that, after spending a night here, we were not good enough," the source

Among the problems the delegates had was the fact that not all the rooms
were the same. This caused friction among some of the delegates, who
believed they were not being treated equally.

Delegates were also unhappy that the rooms did not have minibars.

The atmosphere at the lodge during their short stay was said to be "very
tense", with delegates refusing to socialise after the meetings or around
the breakfast table.

But the tension did not stop the delegates from enjoying the alcohol on
offer at the guesthouse. "They only drank expensive whisky like Johnnie
Walker," said the employee.

The source said the group left on Wednesday night, escorted by police. They
are believed to have moved to a five-star guesthouse in Pretoria.

The delegation also includes MDC deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma, who
represents the main faction of the MDC; Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, respectively secretary-general and deputy
secretary-general of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction; and public
services minister Nicholas Goche, who represents Zanu-PF.

President Thabo Mbeki's legal adviser, Mojanku Gumbi, SA's minister of
provincial and local government, Sydney Mufamadi, and the director-general
in the presidency, the Rev Frank Chikane, are facilitating the talks.

Meanwhile, AP reported on Friday that the talks were proceeding well.

SA presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said the Zimbabwean talks got
"fully under way" on Thursday and were "continuing and they are proceeding
well". The parties have committed themselves to negotiating "an inclusive
government" within two weeks.

Both sides are under pressure: the opposition from fear of more
state-sponsored violence, and longtime Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe from
widening Western sanctions.

The US on Friday broadened its sanctions against targeted Zimbabweans and
their companies, calling Mugabe's regime "illegitimate" and "brutal".

The Zimbabwe parties also agreed to negotiate a slew of other issues,
including the revival of the shattered economy and a new constitution.

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Feeding starving Zim should top agenda

From The Sunday Tribune (SA), 27 July

Restoring the emergency feeding programmes the Zimbabwe government ended
last month should be the first item on the agenda of negotiations taking
place in South Africa between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF and the opposition
MDC. That is the call from veteran MDC politician, Paul Themba Nyathi, who
says people in his home area in the south of the country are "starving".
Welfare minister Nicholas Goche, one of two Zanu PF negotiators now in
Pretoria at the talks, banned all field work by humanitarian agencies on
June 4. He accused NGOs of campaigning for the MDC ahead of the June 27
presidential run-off election. "There is nothing to eat in my home area
(Gwanda, Matabeleland South) and we are going to have a major tragedy unless
the aid agencies get going now because they will have a lead time before
they can actually get out and start feeding people even if the ban is lifted
now," Nyathi said. "We are two months away from the next planting season and
there is no seed and no fertiliser. There is absolutely no planning going
on," he said.

Much of Matabeleland South, and places like dry, infertile Binga, depended
on food aid even before Zimbabwe's agricultural sector collapsed after the
seizure of most white-owned commercial farms from 2000. The June ban should
not have been critical, but this past summer season, Zimbabwe grew less
maize than at any time since statistics were kept. Emergency feeding usually
starts in September, but it is needed immediately, a senior NGO worker said
in Harare on Thursday. "It is not only in the south, but many other places
where there is nothing at all to eat now," he said. In many areas incessant
rain in January and then a long dry period killed off the small amount
planted. So far the government has only imported 60 000 tons of maize from
South Africa since May, enough for a few weeks. That maize is largely
restricted for sale to Zanu PF supporters, according to researchers in

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Historic talks are just the start of a far deeper process

Sunday Times, SA

Second Opinion
Published:Jul 27, 2008

The signing of the memorandum of understanding among the key political
parties in Zimbabwe on Monday presented a unique and historic occasion where
national leaders showed political maturity by committing themselves to a
dialogue process.

It is important to make a few observations that will allow all of us to put
everything into perspective and context. There is always the danger of
missing the forest for the trees.

The memorandum we signed in Harare is a very important document as it
allowed us to begin negotiations on matters affecting our people.

There is a political, economic and humanitarian crisis of immense
proportions in our country. More importantly, there is an unprecedented
political stalemate.

The process we have started will result in a political solution to the
stalemate. We are determined to accomplish this within two weeks from

But let me emphasise that the agreement we seek to achieve is only a
short-term measure and a stop-gap effort in pursuit of the resolution of our
national challenges. It is neither the sustainable answer nor the long-term
solution to our dire circumstances.

Beyond the political agreement, we need to execute a programme of national
healing and rehabilitation for our people. This cannot be done in two weeks.
What happened in our country in the past four months has traumatised our
citizens. Our people have been brutalised and dehumanised. The culture and
practice of our country's politics have been taken back 20 years.

There is a need for public meetings throughout the country, in every city
and in every village. The Zimbabwean political leaders we had on that hotel
stage - Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and myself - must address rallies
together and say jointly to the people of Zimbabwe: "It is okay to belong to
different political parties. It is okay to vote for whomsoever you wish,
and, yes, the will of the people shall be supreme, respected and sovereign."

This has to be the jointly presented message to all citizens. Only then can
the healing process start.

In addition to agreeing on the borders of our country, and agreeing on the
name of the country, why can't we have a constitution that we all defend and
revere? A people-driven democratic constitution should be the basis of a
sustainable solution to our national problems.

Such a constitution cannot be achieved in two weeks; in that period, only a
commitment to the requisite processes and time frames of its development is

Furthermore, why can't we have a shared economic vision, a 20 to 30-year
economic vision for our country? This must be developed, discussed and
agreed upon by all political parties, civic society organisations, the
business community and the population at large.

There must be total buy-in and ownership of this uniquely Zimbabwean
economic vision by all national stakeholders. However, the conception of the
vision must be buttressed by creative and intelligent borrowing and learning
from other successful economies and cultures.

Can't we envisage a globally competitive Zimbabwe in 20 years' time, in
terms of gross domestic product, per capita income, entrepreneurship,
business growth, exports, productivity, competitiveness, financial literacy
and quality of life?

We can then disagree and compete on strategies and tactics for achieving
that common vision. The envisioning process cannot be done in two weeks. The
most we can do is commit to the concept and principle, while defining the
necessary processes.

In conclusion, the pursuit of the political settlement we are currently
engaged in, and the efforts to address the long-term issues I have outlined
above, must be driven by the national interest.

We must be driven by what is good for the people of Zimbabwe. The best
interests of our current and future citizens should be at the core of our
value system. We must start thinking in terms of a cross- party generational
agenda where we subordinate partisan interests to the national interest.

Resolving both the short-and long-term problems affecting our country
constitutes our generational mandate. We shall rise to the challenge.

.. Mutambara is president of one of the Movement for Democratic Change
formations in Zimbabwe

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Grrrrrrrrr Go get 'em, tiger

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Look at the website at the index of articles and images of
post-election 2008 violence in Zimbabwe. Look at the pictures of opposition
workers, of men, women and children who were singled out by members of a
government army patrol and youth militia and beaten, battered, burnt and
tortured, and then tell me that any action taken against Robert Mugabe would
be an "extreme measure".

Look at the pictures of the children with their eyeballs beaten out, or the
men and women so tortured that entire chunks of their buttocks have fallen
off. Look at the pictures of wounds unable to heal because of the
withholding of medical treatment. Look at the burnt faces and bodies, the
whipped backs, the broken limbs, the burnt-out homes and displaced citizens.
And then after you recover from the sickening feeling, tell me why Robert
Mugabe should continue to enjoy the title "The Right Honourable" and
membership in the Order of Jamaica.

I've tried to think of a convincing justification for the prime minister's
sentiment that the current situation in Zimbabwe doesn't warrant the
Jamaican Government stripping President Robert Mugabe of the Order of
Jamaica - the fourth highest rank in our national honours system - awarded
to him.

Perhaps, I thought, because the honour was conferred on Mugabe during a
former prime minister's time, the matter would require some formal
discussion with P J Patterson as to how and when to strip Mugabe of the
title. But then I thought, no, Golding should not confer with Patterson
about the symbolic punishing of the leader of a country under whose watch
the extermination of members of its citizenry occurred because of their
opposing political views.

Mugabe was awarded the OJ in 1996 "in recognition of his outstanding
contribution to the fight for liberation and the overthrow of apartheid in
Southern Africa, and his distinct leadership in the pursuit of freedom and
human development throughout the African continent". At great risk to his
own life, during the 1970s, Mugabe led a seven-year guerilla war against the
white-minority rule of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and sought and won the
freedom and independence of his people in 1980. He was hailed a hero and a
freedom fighter and lauded internationally.

Perhaps, I thought, Golding's rationale might be that the honour should
remain with Mugabe because it represents a particular period of Mugabe's
life and his significant struggle on behalf of the Rhodesian people during
that time. But no, seven years of struggle is no pay forward for 28 years of
the worst kind of dictatorship.

Granted, Mugabe's greatest achievement was in educating his people -
Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa at 85 per cent of the
population - but it takes very different skills to manage a war than it does
to run a country, and in a bid to hold on to power he has derailed democracy
by rigging elections, muzzling the press, and bulldozing the homes of
supporters of the political opposition.

He has used food as a weapon against opposition supporters and has turned a
blind eye to the state's brutally violent crackdown on dissent. And finally
he has wrecked the Zimbabwean economy to the point where at least 80 per
cent of Zimbabweans are now living below the poverty line. As educated as
the Zimbabwean people are, primal fear and hunger even kept them from
exercising their franchise.

I can only reason that Prime Minister Golding won't interfere in the
politics of another country because he feels he must set his own house in
order first and seek to bring to justice those home-grown thugs who continue
to murder the Jamaican people.

To that end, I welcome the Government's announcement of harsh penalties in
the roll-out of the anti-crime plan. And I stand firmly in the prime
minister's corner when he says, "I listen to some of my friends in the human
rights organisations and I get a sense that what we really ought to do is go
in with some powder puffs, and we really ought to sit down and engage these
people to persuade them that we must stop killing off people."

Bravo, prime minister. When the human rights activists were busy, as he put
it, "picking out" what interests they were going to pursue, some 27 of our
own people lay dead and dying in West Kingston, with their skin peeling away
at their bodies, and their flesh being eaten by dogs.
Grrrrrrrrrrr. Go get 'em, tiger.

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Hope springs infernal


    July 27 2008 at 10:20AM

By John Makumbe

There are mixed reactions to the resumption of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) mediation process on the Zimbabwe crisis.

Some Zimbabweans view the talks spearheaded by President Thabo Mbeki
as a crucial first step in the right direction.

But others are sceptical, especially given the fact that Mbeki, who
has been at this task for more than a year, seems largely to have failed to
deliver realistic results to date.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's Zanu-PF party seems to
have given some desperate Zimbabweans reason for hoping against hope, that
this time the talks might resolve the crisis.

 Some of us, who have witnessed Mbeki's lacklustre performance, are
advising caution for several reasons.

The first is that contrary to the MDC's initial demand that the
violence being perpetrated by Zanu-PF be stopped, it seems to be continuing

It will be surprising to most Zimbabweans if Morgan Tsvangirai signs
on the dotted line while so many of his supporters are being butchered by
Mugabe's political hoodlums under the supervision of the military junta in

The MDC also demanded its more than 1 000 activists in prison be
released and charges against them dropped, but this has not yet happened.

At the time of writing, 20 MDC Members of Parliament-elect are in
hiding, inside or outside Zimbabwe, for fear of being lynched by Mugabe's

The MDC is unlikely to sell out to Mugabe and Zanu-PF by concluding
any agreement before strict safeguards are ensured for the safety and
security of these people.

It is common cause that the military junta in Harare is desperate to
reduce the MDC's parliamentary majority through foul means in a short a

It has already become clear that the mediation talks, currently taking
place in South Africa, are generally a continuation of the same agenda the
two teams have been working on at least since last year.

But several rather difficult matters are likely to get the talks
bogged down for much longer .

For example, Zanu-PF is desperate that the two parties agree to share
power through the so-called government of national unity (GNU), while the
MDC prefers a national transitional authority or government.

The MDC is painfully aware of Mugabe in the 1980s forging a GNU with
Joshua Nkomo's Patriotic Front - Zimbabwe African People's Union (PF-Zapu).

In the end, PF-Zapu was swallowed up, and most of its members are now
relegated to the political wilderness.

Further, Zanu-PF knows that without riding on the back of the MDC, it
will be next to impossible to run Zimbabwe for five years under Mugabe's

Interestingly, not many serious countries have indicated that they
recognise Mugabe as the president and head of state of Zimbabwe since his
farcical, one-horse contest on June 27.

Indeed, without some kind of power-sharing deal, Zimbabwe will be very
difficult to sell to any country in the international community that has the
potential to help it in economic terms.

Zanu-PF's desperation for a GNU is a blatant and shameless attempt to
use the MDC.

As Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC, stated, if Zanu-PF won
the run-off election, then it should just go ahead and run the country for
the next five years.

But there is nothing to run after so much has been ruined.

There is a possibility that the MDC might agree to power-sharing
through a GNU on condition Tsvangirai, and not Mugabe, will be the president
and head of state. Mugabe and his military junta are highly unlikely to
accept that.

The MDC will not accept Mugabe as president and head of state under
the GNU. The talks are likely to break down on this crucial point.

It will require a skilled mediator to get any of the two parties to
change their position on this matter, and Mbeki does not seem to possess
such skills.

But as they talk, the crisis escalates. Impeccable sources indicate
that Zimbabwe is now bankrupt. Zimbabwe reportedly may have just enough food
for the next two weeks.

For the first time in 28 years, Mugabe looks worried; Tsvangirai seems

God help us all.

*Prof John Makume is a lecturer in political science at the University
of Zimbabwe

This article was originally published on page 39 of Tribune on July
27, 2008

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Zimbabwe is Africa's 'pearl' in crisis

BY BOB ANGELL - Idaho Statesman
Edition Date: 07/27/08

As evidenced by the recent articles in the Idaho Statesman, the media is
finally beginning to recognize the terror and hopelessness which torments
yet another innocent African population. The horrors of Darfur and Kenya are
still fresh in our minds, only to discover that Zimbabwe may soon follow
their paths. The news has been focused on the political situation in the
country, but what about the human side of life there?

Following its independence in the early 1980s, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia)
was termed the "Pearl of Africa" due its beauty, richness of minerals, vast
agricultural lands stunning natural parks and an abundance of wild game. It
had a stable government and warm, friendly people who possessed the highest
literacy of any black African nation. Its economy was an exporter of food
and goods to the neighboring countries. Almost all could find a job and
employment was stable.

Robert Mugabe, a Shona, (the majority tribe) and leader of the largest
independent party was elected its first (and only) president. Initially, he
was a moderate leader bent on franchising his people after years of
suppression. He welcomed and encouraged foreign investment, insuring its
security, promoted tourism, established a national airline and did many
other things to open and sustain the well being of the country. But in the
late 1990s something went wrong, terribly wrong.

First was Mugabe's proclamation that Zimbabwe was a nation for black people
only; whites were no longer welcome, nor would their property rights be
protected. Further, he began a ruthless campaign to drive white farmers and
ranchers off their property without compensation - often using violent
means. Black farmworkers, as well, were often brutalized, their houses
burned and their goods confiscated.

Mugabe claimed the newly nationalized lands were to be distributed to the
"people," but in actuality, they went to his family, friends and cronies.
Within a few years, the huge agricultural machine which drove the economy
began to wither and die. Unemployment and inflation began to escalate,
educated Zimbabweans fled in droves and capital investment all but stopped.
The people began to suffer, and it has only gotten worse. Consider life
there today:

1. Unemployment is estimated at over 85 percent.

2. Only a few private schools remain open; public schools, for the most
part, are closed.

3. There is no currency. Inflation has rendered the Zimbabwe dollar
valueless, wiping out all savings and purchasing power.

4. There is little fuel, and transportation has all but ceased.

5. There are meager supplies of food, and many items cost more in Zimbabwe
than they do here. Starvation has become a reality to many.

6. The average wage for those who can find employment is estimated to be

7. Hospitals lack doctors, staff or supplies. Local clinics have no funding
and medical care is lacking for all but the wealthy - this in a country
where more than 30 percent of the population is HIV positive. Estimated life
expectancy has plunged from age 60 in 2003 to less than 40 today.

8. The vast game herds in the national parks and on private lands are being
poached into oblivion to feed the now starving population.

9. Food sent to the country as humanitarian aid for the people is
confiscated by the government and doled out to their supporters.

10. The code of law has been disbanded, and only the Marxist leaning,
totalitarian government remains. Democracy has been eliminated and human
rights have been crushed. For these decent people there is no future.

I ask myself how these things could be allowed to happen in the civilized
world we live in and why we are so powerless to change them. I don't have
the answers.

Bob Angell lives in Boise and has owned a ranch in Zimbabwe for many years.

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Influx of Zimbabweans drain Botswana resources, FM says

57 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Botswana appealed to for international help Sunday to
ease the impact of an influx of Zimbabweans whom it says are draining its

"The influx of Zimbabweans, whether there is or there is no government (in
Harare), is an issue to be dealt with," Foreign Minister Phandu Sekelemani
said on South African public broadcaster SA FM.

"We ask the international community to help us because it is a drain on our
resources," he said.

"Even after the failed presidential (June 27) run-off, we have more 215 who
crossed last week... But we cannot turn them back once they qualify" for
refugee status.

According to government sources late last year, Botswana was playing host to
an estimated 250,000 Zimbabweans -- a number that was growing as conditions
under President Robert Mugabe went from bad to worse.

Botswana, Zimbabwe's western neighbour, earlier this month urged other
nations in southern Africa not to recognise Mugabe's re-election in a
presidential run-off vote in which he was the only contender.

Sekelemani reiterated calls for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC).

"As a country that practices democracy and the rule of law, Botswana does
not ... recognise the outcome of the presidential run-off election, and
would expect other SADC member states to do the same," he said.

"It is therefore Botswana's position that Zimbabwe not be allowed to
participate in SADC meetings until such time that they demonstrate their
commitment to strictly adhere to the organisation's principles."

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SA border post swamped by asylum seekers


July 27, 2008, 16:15

The South African border post with Zimbabwe in Musina has been swamped by
foreigners queuing to apply for asylum status. Most say they have been there
since Friday and sleep on pavements without water, food and ablution

The London-based Save the Children organization, which deals with the plight
of children worldwide, has also expressed dissatisfaction over the
administration of a newly established Refugee Reception Centre in Musina.

The centre was opened last week by the department of Home Affairs. The
organisation's representative in Musina, Mandla Motshweni, says the centre
is not assisting or taking care of displaced children.

Meanwhile, the acting director of the Home Affairs' Department, Mantsele
Tau, says a deadline for displaced foreigners around the country to register
with the department will be announced soon. He says the recent deadline was
specifically for Johannesburg. This comes after hundreds of refugees
descended in a rush on the Home Affairs offices at Borcherd's Quarry at
Nyanga on the Cape Flats in a desperate bid to get temporary documents
guaranteeing them legal status in the country for six months.

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"Botswana has a moral high ground on Zimbabwe issue" - Skelemani

27.07.2008 6:53:05 P

The Botswana government says it remains proud of the stance it has
adopted against Zimbabwe following the disputed election process in that
country which saw the opposition withdrawing, citing political violence and
anarchy meted by the government backed militias.

Botswana has insisted that they do not recognize Robert Mugabe as the
legitimate President of Zimbabwe.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phandu
Skelemani, said Botswana was disappointed that other SADC countries have not
only failed to condemn Robert Mugabe for his behaviour, but have also not
stated their position.
He, however, said, like Zimbabwe, SADC is better reminded of the
ramifications of breaking one's own laws and regulations.

Skelemani said Botswana supports and welcomes the negotiations between
the rival parties in Zimbabwe "not as a solution but rather a resolution."

He said the route of the negotiations does not altogether cure the
Zimbabwean disease but only provides the citizens of that country with a
less violent route back to democracy.
"We hope and pray that they will have an agreement in place."

More important, said Skelemani, is that the parties should agree who
becomes the president and under what circumstances.

The key, said Skelemani, is that all the parties at the negotiations
be treated as equals.
He said at the talks, Robert Mugabe's position should be confined to
the leadership of ZANU PF, with Morgan Tsvangirai being the leader of MDC
(Movement for Democratic Change).
"If they are not treated equally then they are starting on a wrong
footing," said Minister Skelemani.

"It is not for Botswana to tell the Zimbabweans who to choose as
President," said Minister Skelemani.
He said tensions in Zimbabwe remained high which made it difficult to
rule out an all out civil war if the situation is not resolved quickly and
with sensitivity.
Skelemani, who has since become the public face of Botswana's hard
stance against Zimbabwe, said although Botswana remains deeply disappointed
by other SADC countries, severing of ties with the organization was not an
He said instead, Botswana will continue to push for adherence.

"When we joined the organization it was on the hope that its members
will live by the standards they have set for themselves. We are
disappointed. The President of this country has said it. But in all this we
are happy because Botswana has a legitimate claim to moral ground," said
Skelemani said unless the issue of Zimbabwe was resolved, Botswana
will not be attending the coming SADC Heads of State Summit.

It will be a sign of protest at a failure by SADC to live up to the
rules they have set for themselves as member countries.

On what Botswana's hard position has achieved, Skelemani said it was
Botswana's position that is bringing pressure on Mugabe to negotiate.
"He knows that the blind solidarity he used to enjoy from SADC is no
longer guaranteed. They may not acknowledge it but they can no longer take
us for granted."

He said it is important for the Zimbabweans to understand that the
love Botswana gives them cannot be taken for granted.

"We know for certain that they are feeling the pressure. Mugabe
himself has said it that Botswana has saddened him. The look on his face
also showed that indeed he was stunned by Botswana's position," said

The Minister said it is important to underscore the fact that Botswana
derives no pleasure from adopting its hard stance against Zimbabwe and

"Unfortunately it is a bitter medicine that has to be administered to
cure the disease. We know it is not the nice kind of medicine but it is
meant for good. We sincerely hope that when everything is said and done the
disease will be cured," said Skelemani.

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Power-sharing will not aid Zimbabwe

Financial Times

Published: July 27 2008 18:16 | Last updated: July 27 2008 18:16

Given the desperate plight of the state of Zimbabwe, any effort to achieve
political reconciliation, stop intimidation and violence and halt the
collapse of the economy should be welcome. Yet the talks under way in
neighbouring South Africa this week, to try to form some sort of government
of national unity, leave much to be desired. There is good reason to fear
that even if they were to succeed, the outcome would do nothing to resolve
the misery of Zimbabwe's inhabitants.

To be sure, Robert Mugabe, the man who has presided over the disintegration
of democracy in his country, was forced to shake hands last week with his
arch-rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. It was an important symbolic gesture. But he
did not mean it. His ruling Zanu-PF party has made it clear that any outcome
that fails to recognise his election as president would be unacceptable.

The opposite is true: his unopposed election last month, after widespread
murder, rape, beatings and arrests of opposition supporters, was a cruel
farce. Any outcome that fails to curb his sweeping powers now, and set a
rapid timetable for his departure and a transition to genuine elections,
will be doomed to failure.

Mr Tsvangirai's dilemma could hardly be sharper. He has less than two weeks
to negotiate a deal that satisfies his followers at home and his
sympathisers abroad that a post-settlement Zimbabwe is secure in his hands.
He must limit Mr Mugabe to a purely titular role, yet convince him and his
senior cronies that they have a real part to play.

For his part, Mr Mugabe must fear prosecution for corruption and crimes
against humanity. He has installed a vicious administration that lives off
the ill-gotten profits of a collapsing economy, while starvation looms for
more than 5m people and millions more have fled to find jobs in South Africa
and further afield, destabilising the entire region.

The idea of a government of national unity is promoted by Thabo Mbeki, South
Africa's president, who has denied that Zimbabwe is in crisis and repeatedly
failed to condemn Mr Mugabe's actions. He seems to think the sort of
solution negotiated in Kenya after that country's disputed elections would
be appropriate: leaving Mr Mugabe as president and making Mr Tsvangirai an
executive prime minister. But Kenya and Zimbabwe are very different

In Kenya, the army is genuinely independent, able to take orders from either
side in a government of national unity. In Zimbabwe it is utterly partisan,
controlled by Mr Mugabe's henchmen, who have orchestrated the political
violence and royally reaped the fruits of corruption. In Kenya, the courts
at least have a semblance of independence, whereas in Zimbabwe they are the
creatures of the ruling party.

Hitherto, the international community has been powerless to prevent Zimbabwe's
collapse. Sanctions have not been effective. But without international
support, and a very generous aid programme, no deal will succeed. That is Mr
Tsvangirai's trump card. An outcome that leaves Mr Mugabe in office means
continuing misery and isolation.

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Mbeki and Zuma amnesty to avoid a repeat of Zimbabwe?

Michael Trapido

A key issue in reaching a settlement in Zimbabwe is going to be parties
being able reach an accommodation on the outgoing president and Zanu-PF. As
in the case of the National Party prior to 1994, there is too much baggage
being carried by Mugabe and his party for them to simply allow for a
transition to the party of the majority. The MDC would be compelled to
charge many high ranking members of the Zimbabwean government with crimes
against humanity.
My feelings on Mugabe must play second fiddle to the desperate plight of the
poorer communities of South Africa and Zimbabwe. An estimated 5,1-million
Zimbabweans are staring starvation in the face

Justice is easier to contemplate when you are sitting at home with the
heater on, waiting for your lunch, than it is when you're in a shack,
starving, while state-sponsored or inspired thugs are butchering your
family. Try and remember that while you are being trying to be "brave" on
behalf of Zimbabweans.

Hopefully, as part of any deal, the Zimbabwean Constitution can be amended
to ensure that no president or party can ever hold the country hostage

In South Africa, there are definite parallels to be drawn from what is
happening up north, although in our case it is one of the ANC embroiled in a
power struggle with itself.

This is going to hit home in the build-up to the Zuma hearing and,
unfortunately, after the elections next year if matters are not brought to a
head. The only difference between the hearing and post-elections is the
faction who will seek to control the organs of state and the media.

In order to understand where I'm coming from you need to read two articles.
The first appeared on IOL in 2005 and sets out the history of the arms deal
in some detail from 1998 until June of that year.

The subsequent fall out between the president and Zuma culminated in the
latter being elected as the ANC's president and candidate for the national
presidency. Woven into the fabric of this conflict was the unlawful use of
state organs, which occasioned a war between the police and Scorpions and
focused our criminal justice system on politics rather than fighting crime.

That war continues, with the judiciary now tearing itself apart and the NPA
facing enormous pressure in having to deal with a trial that's become a
political football rather than a quest for justice.

Now read Karyn Maughan's article on the latest bombshell from the arms deal.

In a report by an ANC task team the president's involvement in the arms deal
is coming under increasing fire while Zuma's role appears to have been the
subject of lesser criticism. While Mbeki's denials are placed in doubt,
calls for a Zuma amnesty as a "pragmatic solution" are put forward.

As I said in an article many months ago, Jacob Zuma must be given amnesty.
That was before our judiciary started ripping itself apart and threats of
killing for Jacob Zuma began. Many of those who scoffed at such a suggestion
have reassessed the situation and have started to contemplate the same
thing. These calls are going to get louder as time marches on.

Now, however, I need to include President Mbeki in the same way. The last
thing this country needs is to go through the next elections, become
optimistic for the future only to find that it's payback time. This time it's
the Zuma camp taking it's revenge on the Mbeki camp and our criminal justice
system is once again being used to settle old scores while the economy takes
a hammering.

If the president is backed into a Mugabe-like-corner, what's next on the
inter-factional agenda requiring delayed elections, prosecutions or the

While it might have slipped everyone's minds there is an enormous amount of
anger on the ground. If non-delivery, post-Polokwane, runs parallel to the
current trends then the ANC won't have to worry about the DA, FF or the UDF
because losing voters will be the least of their problems. The factions won't
be arguing with each other - they'll be too busy trying to work out how to
stop a mass revolt.

If the xenophobia riots weren't sufficient warning of the current mood what
will be? I went in among the people and their anger was real. Not
criminals - ordinary folks who were bitter about corruption in local
councils, exiles putting up shacks next door to them overnight, the list was
endless. They were ordinary people, not criminals! Ordinary people. When
ministers tried to call for calm they found an anger even they did not
expect, JZ included.

Before we find ourselves in another Zimbabwe-type debacle, the ANC must get
together and thrash out a settlement covering both factions once and for
all. Call in the opposition so that they can ensure that the Constitution is
amended so as to avoid the ANC ever turning on itself again.

These include making press freedom non-negotiable, total independence of the
judiciary and criminal justice systems so that they can never be employed as
instruments of politics again. That will not threaten the party it will
safeguard it, its members and the citizens of this country.

If we could overcome 40 plus years of apartheid by negotiation using all
parties then why not go down the same route? This country is crying out for
political certainty so we can deal with the rest of our problems.

Don't let pride come before a horrendous fall.

 This entry was posted on Sunday, July 27th, 2008 at 11:31 am

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West cannot have it both ways

July 27, 2008

By Norman Ngwenya

IF THE West insists on carrying out recriminations against Zimbabwean
government officials then they must also be ready to expect Zimbabweans to
revise the whole idea of reconciliation as implemented in 1980.

Great Britain arm-twisted us into ensuring that all pre-980 Rhodesian war
crimes suspects would not be brought to trial.

The mercenaries within the Rhodesian military machine perpetrated genocide
against Zimbabwean refugees in Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana with the
acquiescence and/or authorization of government in Salisbury. These people
now live in the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand. They have been sheltered and provided sanctuary
by the countries that now insist we should implement some politically
motivated witch-hunt, designed to punish the defiant and recalcitrant
architects of land reform.

If at all we are going to send anyone to The Hague then the process must
include all crimes committed by all including the Rhodesian mercenaries.
Ordinary Zimbabweans like me must dedicate ourselves in ensuring that these
Rhodesian war criminals face justice alongside the post-1980 war crimes

The West cannot have it both ways. They cannot insist that we forgive, in
the spirit of reconciliation, people like General Peter Walls, Ken Flower,
Ian Smith, and other war crimes perpetrators, while insisting that
reconciliation should not be extended to the more recent suspects of
genocide like Edgar Tekere, Constantine Chiwenga, Gabriel.Mugabe, Tapfumanei
Mujuru, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Enos Nkala and Sidney Sekeramai [who are
suspected of instigating the Five brigade atrocities in Matabeland].

A basic tenet of our justice system in Zimbabwe stipulates that all people
accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent
jurisdiction. A war crimes tribunal that operates to settle political scores
in a kangaroo-like fashion is not such a court. The international tribunals
seem to prosecute politicians from Third World countries or other weak
countries like Milosevic, Chavez, Mugabe (if he is handed over), Saddam
Hussein etc

As part of the 1979 peace initiative, the West insisted that we embrace
reconciliation as a precondition for their support for an independent
Zimbabwe. It was a strategy to ensure that Harare would turn a blind eye to
the thorny issue of bringing to account war crimes suspects. It was a racist
neo-colonialist policy aimed at protecting suspects of genocide who where
predominantly of Anglo Saxon extraction. Lord Carrington, the then British
foreign secretary ensured that a monstrous racist war crimes suspects like
Ian Smith, Ken Flower, Abel Muzorewa, Peter Walls and others escape what was
otherwise a necessary and inevitable trial for the crimes these and many
others had been accused of.

It is interesting to note that the West no longer feels that a policy of
reconciliation is appropriate and beneficial for the people of Zimbabwe.
They no longer support reconciliation because the war crimes suspects they
are targeting include former freedom fighters and nationalists and who
championed the fight to destroy the last bastions of racism and colonialism
in Southern Africa.

It appears that the ANC of South Africa is now on notice that its officials
risk being arraigned before ICC, should they pursue the radical politics of
land reform.

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Mugabe just acting President-Bots

By Mellisa Dube-Koketso ⋅ © ⋅ July 26, 2008

Botswana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,Phandu
Skelemani, has said Mugabe should listen “to the noise” and accept that he
is not the President of Zimbabwe. The call comes as state media reported
that ZANU PF will not accept any settlement that falls short of Mugabe as
executive president.
The Minister repeated that Botswana does not recognize Mugabe as president
of Zimbabwe. He added that the so called Run-Off election on June 27 did not
produce a President.

Skelemani stressed that Botswana relations with Zimbabwe will never go on
smoothly if the situation in Zimbabwe remains the way it is and a negotiated
settlement with the MDC is reached.

He said Mugabe signed SADC protocols which govern the conduct of elections
and the expectation is that he should follow them to the letter. He
emphasized that Mugabe was not forced to sign those protocols, “and he has
to abide by them”.

Skelemani warned that negotiations underway in Pretoria must not swallow the
MDC “to do a Nkomo” on Tsvangirai

Skelemani warned that the MDC would “risk emasculation” if it allowed Mugabe
to retain the presidency. Asked about Mugabe’s stated desire to hold on to
power, Skelemani replied, “What power? Power to run the country into the

The Minister said to the Botswana government Robert Mugabe of ZANU PF and
Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC are equal leaders of Zimbabwe.

Botswana Observers saw dreadful things
The accounts of Botswana election observers brought back from Zimbabwe
deepened Botswana’s official revulsion. Ruth Seretse, the deputy director of
Botswana’s directorate on corruption and economic crime, led the 50-person
observer team. She said in an interview that she saw ZANU-PF youth militia
beating people at a rally for Tsvangirai in Harare.

“People ran for their lives,” she said. “The riot police just stood there.”

For two weeks, she monitored faxes and text messages from Botswana observers
deployed across the country. Some of the most disturbing reports came from
Bakwena Oitsile, a retired major general in Botswana’s army. He said in an
interview that in one village in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West Province, he
found 14 houses, as well as grain stores, burned and reduced to ashes.
Pregnant women and children there had nothing left but the clothes on their

In another village in the province, he arrived just hours after an attack on
June 17. In one hut, he discovered the body of a man just beaten to death
and his wife, still alive, with a deep cut on her head. Another woman’s
index finger had been cut off. Her hand was still raw and untreated.

“She was in great pain when we were there,” he said. “She was screaming.”

Additional reporting by Gerald Harper

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Homes set ablaze in land row
Sunday News Reporter
OVER 80 people are stranded 22 kilometres along Solusi Road after more than 33 of their houses were set ablaze a recently by police officers on the instruction of an unnamed Sheriff.
Yesterday the Governor for Matabeleland South province, Cde Angeline Masuku, who thought the problem fell under her jurisdiction, visited the affected settlers only to learn that they fall under Matabeleland North province as their area was considered to be Insuza.
Cde Masuku is the chairperson of the land committee in Matabeleland South province.
When this paper visited the settlers, children were playing on open ground, while some clothes hung on the farms fences, but most of the adult settlers looked dejected.
However, the man they are fighting over the farm, Dr Tanius Mumbengegwi, also expressed disappointment at their behaviour and said they were using tribalism to lobby for his removal from the land contrary to Government policy that black owned farms should not be invaded.
The spokesperson of the group, Mr Enock Moyo, said the group was approached by a Mr Ndebele, who is a deputy sheriff, who told them to pack their property and vacate the farm.
“I had two houses that I had built but was yet to fully put to use. After we had removed our property the houses were set on fire. They referred us to the authorities,” he said.
Mr Moyo said they had received a letter from the same sheriff in 2004 ordering them to leave the land.
“In the process of evicting, us we managed to save some property but some of it was burnt into ashes,” he said.
Mr Moyo alleged the sheriff was in the company of close to 12 police officers from Nkulumane 12 police station.
He said the police officers were fully geared for the eviction with button sticks and guns.
“They harassed us and we lost a lot in the process. Someone lost two bags of maize. They took the property on their own and threw it here without anyone among us as a witness. We lost a lot of things that we cannot account for,” said Mr Moyo,
He said Dr Mumbengegwi started chasing them from the farm in 2004 and even took them to the police where they were kept in police custody for some time before appearing in court where they were freed.
There have been numerous reports of land wrangle between a number of settlers and black commercial farmers.
Mr Moyo said they were saddened by Dr Mumbengegwi’s treatment.
“He doesn’t have to treat us this way since we were settled by the land committee. He had to approach the land committee or authorities like the Governor and air his grievances. We were resettled by government,” he said,
The settlers said Dr Mumbengegwi was giving a number of indications that were confusing.
“He is saying he bought the land and also claims that he was given the land by land committee,” said Mr Moyo.
Dr Mumbengegwi yesterday said he bought the farm in 1987 and has had the problem with the settlers since 2002.
“When they moved in the first time they were told to stay put on the land while an alternative place was being searched for them. When they were later told to move they refused,” he said.
He said the farmers were villagers from a place near Solusi, which is two kilometers away from the farm.
“They are local people who are using tribalism to have me taken away from the land,” he said.
The settlers said their claim to the land rested on a newspaper copy where the land was listed by the land committee as theirs.
They said they also had a letter that the land committee wrote to them giving them the land.
“We have a newspaper and a letter from the land committee stating that they had settled us on the land. In the early days they used to come and even brought us food and told us that we should prepare for the pegging. That has however stopped,” he said.
Mr Mumbengegwi however said they do not have any offer letter.
“They are just stubborn,” he said.

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Information Minister ditched white British-born wife, France

HARARE's political rumor mill is of late working overtime and
journalists are gripped in a frenzy of love speculation. This is because
junior deputy Information Minister, Bright Matonga, has ditched his white
British-born wife of 11 years, Anne Pout.

Sunday 27 July 2008, by Bruce Sibanda

He has hurriedly married a rich businesswoman, Sharon Mugabe, a niece of the
Robert Mugabe.

Matonga has officially moved out of the Matonga matrimonial home on a farm
they grabbed from a commercial farmer and has since moved in with Sharon ,
an immensely wealthy businesswoman.

The 36-year-old widow who has stolen the heart of the capricious Matonga who
stands a good chance of being named as new Minister of Information any time
now, runs a marketing communications firm, Imago Y&R.

Matonga has become the darling of the British media as he routinely lambasts
the Gordon Brown government at the slightest opportunity, while defending

Since Monday he has been refusing to take questions on his relationship with
Sharon Mugabe.

Sharon's is the daughter of Albert Mugabe, the President's late brother, the
trade unionist who died in a swimming pool drowning back in the 1980s.

She was an intergral member of ZANU PF elections campaign team. Imago Y&R,
formerly Michel Hogg Young & Rubicam, was sold to Sharon Mugabe by Zimbabwe's
marketing guru Michael Hogg in 2005 after a failed bid by rival Gary
Thompson's agency, Gary Thompson & Associates. The take-over marked one of
the biggest empowerment transactions in the sector. Mugabe acquired the
controlling stake in the leading advertising, marketing and communications
firm. She renamed it Imago Y&R.

It is now being alleged that Imago Y&R secured the lucrative Zanu-PF
contract through its chief executive's personal relationship with the junior
information Minister.

Matonga was responsible for vetting companies that submitted tenders for the
Mugabe election campaign.

Mugabe, whose husband died two years ago, now officially lives with Matonga
in her mansion in Borrowdale Brooke.

She has been spotted on several occasions in the company of Matonga at one
or the other of her many business enterprises, including a designer fashion
boutique in the Eastgate Shopping Mall.

His close friends say Matonga's actiona s are deplorable. Anne is a former
municipal information- technology manager.

They met while he was still at a college in Southend-on-Sea, a resort town
east of London, where he studied media production and technology at South
East Essex College.

Halfway through the four-year program, immigration officials tried to deport
him after a change in rules for foreign students made him ineligible to
stay. Anne is said to have intervened and averted her then boyfriend's

After his graduation, Matonga worked as a delivery driver and a freelance
journalist and was literally living off Anne. Now he has ditched her for

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Mugabe is sensing the worst case scenario

Mmegi, Botswana

 Friday, 25 July 2008   |


When the first modern war crimes tribunal was created during the height of
the Balkan wars, policy makers thought no one of consequence would ever be
arrested. Now, the ex-president of Liberia is on trial.

A vice president of Congo is in custody. Former leaders of Cambodia are in
the dock. And the once all-powerful president of Yugoslavia died in a jail
cell. The current president of Sudan Hassan Omar el-Bashir is under
indictment, accused of ethnic slaughter in Sudan's Darfur non Muslims and
crimes against humanity. Bashir could become the first sitting head of state
to be charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC). All these seemed so
impossible just 15 years ago.

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the accused architect of Bosnia's bloody
four-year war and of Europe's first genocide since the Holocaust, highlights
the long and winding path of international justice. It's a tale of successes
along with many teething pains. Karadzic, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs
during the 1992-95 war, evaded arrest for 13 years after he was indicted for
the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the U.N declared safe zone of
Srebrenica in 1995. Since the creation in 1993 of the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a confusing array of war crimes courts
have cluttered the legal landscape, all with the declared purpose of
punishing the leaders, instigators and planners of mass crime in times of

Scores of people, mainly Serbs from the former Yugoslavia and Hutus from
Rwanda, have been convicted. In the process, the courts have refined
international law. Heads of state are no longer immune. General amnesties
are no longer accepted unquestioned. Using children in war is outlawed. Rape
has been defined as a weapon of war, and abusing women or forcing them into
marriage are punishable crimes. Looting and plunder the age-old prize for
warriors adds prison time. The cornerstone has been laid for another 100
years worth of jurisprudence, which has faced down this beast of impunity
that has nibbled on the edges of civilization for a century. Beyond crimes
that have occurred, the threat of prosecution also is meant to deter others.
That goal has been met with measured success. People are really beginning to
think of these tribunals as an effective deterrent.

There is a critical mass of high level cases. Some people believe that the
risk of prosecution was a factor that prompted the political settlement in
Kenya earlier this year and in the promise by Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe to end a campaign of violence against his political opponents. Mugabe
is hearing the footsteps behind him.

Thank you
Banks Ndebele

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New US sanctions 'to stifle Zimbabwe reforms'

Yahoo News

Sun Jul 27, 8:45 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - The latest US sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's
regime are designed to stifle economic recovery in Zimbabwe, his chief
spokesman was quoted Sunday as saying.

Secretary for Information George Charamba told the state-run Sunday Mail
that the sanctions aimed at impeding Zimbabwean companies from finding
partners in China, Iran and other eastern countries.

The US government last week expanded its sanctions regime by adding to it
the names of several dozen individuals as well as 17 companies and
parastatals linked to the Mugabe regime.

Since the imposition of targeted sanctions after disputed 2002 elections,
some Western firms have shied away from doing business in Zimbabwe -- 
prompting Harare to adopted a "Look East" policy for trade and investment

Zimbabwe, currently gripped by a post-election crisis, has been ravaged by a
record hyperinflation which shot up from 165,000 percent in February to 2.2
million percent in June.

"The companies slapped with sanctions are those companies that are trying to
validate the 'Look East' policy by entering into partnership with
non-traditional investors," Charamba said.

"Western interests are now threatened by these non-traditional investors
from China, Iran and other Asian countries," he added.

The US Treasury Department said the sanctions would be imposed on 17
companies or entities as well as on an Omani national.

It said Mugabe, 84, his senior officials and regime's cronies "have used
these entities to illegally siphon revenue and foreign exchange from the
Zimbabwean people".

Among the targeted entities are Operation Sovereign Legitimacy, described as
the commercial arm of the Zimbabwean armed forces, and the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, a marketing and export agent for all
minerals except gold and silver mined in the country.

Others are the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, the country's largest steel
works, as well as a number of banks and holding companies.

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Leaders’ excesses will sink Africa deeper into poverty

Print E-mail
Written by Mfonobong Nsehe   
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace in Harare. The First Lady allegedly squandered $80,000 on a shopping spree in Italy.
July 28, 2008: When Sudanese Telecoms billionaire Mohammed Ibrahim launched the annual $5 million prize for exemplary leadership in Africa, he imagined that the money would be enough to motivate African leaders to shun corruption, greed and self-interest and work towards developing their countries.
He actually imagined that the money would go a long way in improving the continent’s leadership problem.

But what attraction does $5 million really hold for a typical African leader who controls billions of dollars of a country’s resources?

While Ibrahim’s intention in giving the prize was well motivated, it is unlikely that the money will do much in solving Africa’s leadership problem. Ibrahim’s gift was a sort of incentive to leaders to shun greed and corruption, and encourage selfless service in governance.

It is wrong to assume that the morality of African leaders can be bought with money. That you can never solve a greed problem with money.

The only way Africa is going to overcome its leadership problem is for the leaders themselves to have a paradigm shift in thinking, shun their avaricious tendencies, and scrap the idea that once in power, they are responsible for themselves and their families.

Africans have gone through decades of untold pain, suffering, poverty and misery not because the continent is poor, but because the leaders have committed to serving themselves before anyone else.

As far as natural resources are concerned, Africa is arguably the world’s richest continent. It houses about 50 per cent of the world’s gold, a huge chunk of the world’s diamond reserves, chromium, cobalt, manganese, millions of acres of untilled farmland, as well as other natural resources. In spite of this, Africans are still the most impoverished people in the world. Its people live in the poorest situations imaginable.

The bottom 25 spots of the United Nations  quality of life index are regularly filled by African nations. Over 400 million people in Africa live on less than a dollar per day.

Africa has not been on the road to recovery as a result of the role of post-independent and contemporary African leadership.

 These  leaders do not care about the situation of their countries. How can one explain the fact that in an economy like Zimbabwe where millions of children can barely get an education, the country’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe squandered $80,000 on a shopping spree in Italy, as reported on the  June 8, 2008 edition of the Zimbabwean Times .

Even the leaders who steal the country’s resources do not even do the country the favour of “reinvesting” the resources in their countries. Instead, they stash the money in off-shore accounts and invest in foreign companies.

The late Nigerian military dictator, Sani Abacha stole billions of dollars from the country’s coffers and stashed them in foreign accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens. His son, Mohammed Abacha, bought shares in foreign blue-chip companies.

African leaders have never been able to control their greed. General Olusegun Obasanjo, the immediate former president of Nigeria who during his tenure as president “fought” corruption was eventually discovered to have misappropriated billions of dollars of the country’s funds which was meant to deal with Nigeria’s electricity crisis. Nigeria currently has the worst power situation in Africa. Parts of major urban cities go for days without electricity supply.
King Mswati III of Swaziland has spent millions of dollars on palaces for his numerous wives, $400,000 on a single Mercedes car, and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually celebrating his birthdays, while his people live in abject poverty.

Mobutu Sese Seko, the infamous Zaire despot embezzled the country’s resources such diamonds in the Congo and country funds to the tune of billions of dollars. It was said that he had the capacity to pay the entire military from his personal coffers. At a time, he was said to have been richer than his own country.

Even in situations where money is used within the country, it is often spent on frivolities that hardly benefit the economy or those in dire need of government assistance. Lavish palaces like Cameroon’s Unity Palace, fleet of cars and jet planes have become status symbols for African regimes and symbols of political greed.

Former Emperor Bokassa of Central African Republic for example, wasted $20 million of his country’s money on a meaningless coronation. During his reign, poverty, political killings, and outrageous plundering of state resources characterised his government.

African leaders have  the mentality that once in power, they have to secure the future for themselves, their children’s and relatives’. Most of them get into power, neglecting the needs of the people who voted them into power (in democratic situations), and instead, devote their energy towards unscrupulously enriching themselves and relatives.

This mentality is transferring to the youth—the future leaders. Unless African leaders do away with that mentality, Africa will always remain retrogressive .  What is needed in Africa is paradigm shift in the thinking of African leaders, and a change in the entire political ideology in Africa.

It all starts with the mind. Once our current African leaders and future leaders change their mindset and resolve to serve their people and not themselves, Africa will well be on its way to seeing a new day.

Nsehe is a communications student at Daystar University, Kenya. E-mail:

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