|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe yesterday wrote to Finance
and Economic Development minister Herbert Murerwa, demanding an explanation
for the cash shortages and the government’s solution for the crisis.
“The ZCTU gives your ministry 14 working days to
address the situation
and also to come up with a long-term solution, failure of which workers
would be forced to mobilise for action to force the government to address
the grave situation,” Chibhebhe said in his letter.
The ZCTU secretary-general would not be drawn into
commenting on what
action the workers would take if the government failed to resolve the
His letter was written as bankers and
Finance Ministry officials were
said to have held meetings over the possibility of introducing a
“differently-coloured” $500 note and higher denomination travellers’-type
cheques for the local currency.
The move is supposed to encourage people hoarding
cash – whom central
bank officials have accused of worsening the cash crisis – to inject notes
into the banking system.
were yesterday evening summoned to a Press
conference – from which the Daily News was barred – where some banking
sector officials were anticipating the new measures would be announced.
However, by the time of going
to print last night, no announcement had
been made and government and banking sector officials were said to be
closeted in a meeting while journalists waited for the Press conference to
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials were yesterday not
immediately available for comment, the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe
(BAZ) confirmed talks over proposed solutions to the cash crisis.
BAZ chairman Washington
Matsaira, who is also the chief executive of
Standard Chartered Bank, told the Daily News: “Yes, there are genuine
discussions to that effect. I cannot say what your source told you is true
or false, but we are all hoping that (the) authorities will issue a
the financial sector said bankers met Finance Ministry
officials on Monday night and discussed the possibility of replacing the
$500 note with a differently-coloured bill.
This is supposed to induce merchants
and other people holding on to
millions of dollars worth of $500 notes to release them and improve Zimbabwe
’s cash supply situation.
Local merchants are said to be failing to deposit at least $100
million every day, while gold dealers around the country and people in fuel
queues could be trading a combined $500 million.
A grace period would be given
to those holding bank notes to hand in
their $500 notes before they became useless, sources said.
“The currency will have a different
colour altogether, but may inherit
most of the current notes’ features,” a source said.
The sources said the introduction of a new $500
note could delay the
printing of the proposed $1 000 note, which was supposed to be introduced in
November and has been made necessary by soaring inflation.
They said central bank subsidiary Fidelity Printers’
have to action on this new money”, making it unlikely that it could also
print the higher denomination notes in time for November.
Banking officials said the proposed introduction of
traveller’s cheques would limit the demand for cash for some transactions.
The cash shortages that have gripped Zimbabwe in
the last few months
have made it difficult for most people to withdraw their money from the
banks to pay for essentials.
They have led to
long queues at banking halls and the threat of riots
by angry bank customers.
Several financial institutions last weekend had to call in riot police
to man queues as customers threatened to storm banks. Cash riots have in the
past caused havoc in Argentina and Zimbabwe’s neighbour, Zambia, was also
forced to use police details to man bank queues when it faced a similar cash
crunch. But the ZCTU said in its letter to Murerwa yesterday that the
deployment of riot police had worsened the situation because state security
agents were harassing clients in their attempt to control bank queues. The
ZCTU told Murerwa that: “People have to pay rent, school fees and buy
groceries with cash, which they cannot get from banks. Up to now, there has
been no reasonable explanation from your ministry on the current crisis or
any measures the government is taking to redress the situation.” By Luke
Tamborinyoka, News Editor and Chris Goko, Deputy Business Editor
Judgment reserved in exemption bid by Mudede, Chinamasa
HIGH Court judge Justice Antonia Guvava yesterday reserved judgment
in an application by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede and Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa for an order to remove them from the list of respondents
in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s presidential election
Mudede and Chinamasa argued in an urgent
chamber application filed on
8 July that they were improperly cited in the election petition, which also
has President Robert Mugabe and the Electoral Supervisory Commission as
The application came
two days after another High Court judge, Justice
Ben Hlatshwayo, granted an order sought by the MDC to compel the Registrar
of the High Court to allocate a date for the hearing of the election
Morgan Tsvangirai wants the High Court to nullify Mugabe’s
March 2002 re-election, citing violence and what he has termed “massive
Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, representing Tsvangirai,
and Mudede played vital roles in the election petition and that their
presence would be required by the court during the petition hearing.
The lawyer queried why Mudede and Chinamasa delayed
to be struck off the list of respondents.
He said if Chinamasa and Mudede believed that they should not be
parties to the election petition, they should have filed their application
in May last year when the MDC launched its court petition.
motivation relates to the fact that the election
petition is now to be heard rather than some Damascan revelation that the
first and second applicants had been mis-joined from the beginning,” the
present applicants have gone through all the processes relating
to the election petition, including the filing of affidavits, the pre-trial
conference, discovery and inspection without once raising the spectre that
they should not be parties.”
De Bourbon said
Chinamasa and Mudede should not have opposed the
application by Tsvangirai to have their defence in the election trial struck
off if they believed they were wrongly cited.
The MDC applied to have the two
respondents’ defences struck off for
allegedly failing to comply with a court order to furnish the party’s
lawyers with documents relating to the 2002 presidential election.
A judgment is pending before Justice Susan Mavangira in the matter.
“If the applicants truly felt
that they were improperly joined in the
election petition, they should concede that application,” de Bourbon said.
“But, in fact, they opposed that application.
“Even now, they have not asked the learned judge
to make an order
against them so that by having their defences struck out, they will play no
part at the hearing of that petition.”
ZANU PF youths turn on their own in Mutare
MUTARE – Four people were injured when a group of suspected ruling
ZANU PF youths attacked the home of Peter Maviza – a ruling party councillor
who is seeking re-election as an independent candidate – and assaulted his
supporters, it was learnt yesterday.
youths are said to be demanding that Maviza withdraw from next
month’s council elections to leave the field clear for ZANU PF candidate
Maviza decided to stand as an independent candidate
after he lost
primary elections that he says were improperly conducted.
He is seeking re-election as councillor for Ward
Five in Sakubva
high-density suburb and has been accused of “dividing the people” ahead of
the local government elections.
about 30 youths descended on his Zororo house on Sunday
afternoon and indiscriminately beat up his supporters, who were attending a
meeting at the house.
“The youths beat up everyone with sjamboks and said they
sent by those in high offices,” he told the Daily News. “They said the
police will not do anything to them and for sure, the police have not done
He said four of his supporters were injured in the attack.
Mutare police spokesman Brian Makomeke yesterday
refused to comment on
the attack, referring all questions to Andrew Phiri at the police
headquarters in Harare. Phiri could not be reached for comment.
But Charles Pemhenayi, the ZANU PF spokesman in the
“We will be glad to know the people who are doing that so that we can have
This is the second time
that Maviza’s home has been attacked and his
supporters assaulted by ruling party youths.
Last Tuesday, more than 100 suspected ZANU PF
youths armed with sticks
and sjamboks attacked the councillor’s house but were dispersed by the
Maviza said his problems began
when he decided to contest next month’s
elections as an independent candidate after the ZANU PF leadership in
Manicaland failed to address complaints from district members that primaries
were conducted in a non-transparent manner.
The councillor said he had received several verbal
unspecified action from ruling party youths.
Maviza is one of five ZANU PF activists who are standing as
independent candidates in next month’s polls because of disputes over
primary elections in their respective wards, which they say were improperly
British MP to present feedback on Zimbabwe
BULAWAYO – British Member of Parliament Kate Hoey will soon present
to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and table before Parliament the
results of a fact-finding mission she undertook in Zimbabwe this month.
Hoey, a former sports minister who led protests
against the use of
Zimbabwe as a venue during this year’s cricket World Cup games, came into
the country as a tourist on 19 July and left the country on Friday.
She said she would present her findings to Straw before
before the British Parliament when it resumes sitting this week.
“I have been getting some disturbing reports about the
Zimbabwe, so I decided to come and see for myself. The hunger situation,
human rights abuses and the deteriorating economic situation which I have
witnessed are shocking,” she told the Daily News before she left the country
She said she had also visited Zimbabwe to
see what her government
could do to assist those who are “on the sharp end”.
“What is particularly worrying was that Matabeleland,
Bulawayo, has been hardest hit by food shortages. But despite the terrible
stories of hunger and human rights abuses that I heard, I was touched by the
cheerfulness of the people, their solidarity and determination,” she added.
During her visit, Hoey met several
local stakeholders, including
opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai in
Tsvangirai on Sunday
confirmed meeting Hoey, saying: “I just met her
and updated her on the current economic and political situation.”
While in Bulawayo,
Hoey visited feeding schemes and Killarney squatter
camp, where she attended a church service conducted in a shack.
She also visited
Makokoba, Bulawayo’s oldest and one of the most
impoverished suburb. In the high-density suburb of Gwabalanda, she visited
HIV/AIDS victims and home-based care organisations.
Hoey also met outspoken Roman
Catholic archbishop Pius Ncube,
economist Eric Bloch and human rights and political activists.
She also drove to Tsholotsho, where she
said she was told that
thousands of people may die if they do not receive food aid in the next few
“I was genuinely horrified
that areas that were producing food are now
decaying at a time when there is no food in the country,” she said.
Hoey represents Vauxhall in
central London, which covers Brixton,
where there is a concentration of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers.
The MP, who will represent Britain
at a regional Commonwealth African
parliamentarian summit in Kenya next week, said she would also present her
impressions of the situation in Zimbabwe at the forum.
Zimbabwean government officials have in the past
blamed the country’s
worst economic crisis in 23 years on the British government, which they
accuse of attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
The government has imposed a travel ban
against several British
government officials in response to similar sanctions introduced by the
European Union and several other Western governments.
From Chris Gande
Norwegians seek urgent survey of displaced people
THE Norwegian Refugee Council has recommended an urgent survey to
determine the number of people internally displaced in Zimbabwe by political
violence and the seizure of white-owned land.
report on the plight of internal refugees in Zimbabwe, the
organisation said at least 250 000 people had been internally displaced in
the past three years.
Most of them are said to be farm workers, who lost jobs
under the government’s fast-track resettlement programme. Under the plan,
the government has taken over most white-owned land to resettle black
peasants and aspiring commercial farmers.
number of former farm workers and their families have been
forced off the appropriated properties.
Many people around the country have
also been displaced from their
homes by political violence that has affected Zimbabwe in the past three
“It is of great concern
that a large number of people in Zimbabwe
remain internally displaced without protection and largely excluded from
existing humanitarian assistance,” the Norwegian Refugee Council said.
“In the short run there is an
urgent need for a country-wide survey to
assess the situation, get more detailed information about the coping
strategies used by the ex-farm workers themselves, and identify those who
remain internally displaced. However, even before such a survey has been
undertaken, the government and the humanitarian community should agree on
how to assist displaced farm workers – especially how to include them in
their food aid programmes.”
internally displaced people have become destitutes and have been
hit by severe shortages of food that have left at least 5.5 million
Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid.
Most internal refugees have,
however, been left out of humanitarian
Norwegian Refugee Council said in its report: “There is a need for
urgent action to give ex-farm workers access to land and farm inputs before
the 2003/2004 agricultural season. This could include more ex-farm workers
being included in the government’s land distribution scheme (especially
being allocated A1 plots) as well as finding temporary solutions to use the
largely under-utilised land allocated for commercial farming (the A2
The group added: “For those displaced by the
political violence, there
is only one solution. The government must recognise its obligations under
international human rights law as well as reiterated in national legislation
to protect all its citizens without regard to political affiliations.
“This explicitly obliges the government to
protect people from being
arbitrarily displaced. While tending to the short-term humanitarian needs,
the government and the humanitarian community must also seek long-term
solutions for the former farm workers. This should build on the coping
strategies already pursued by the affected people and must, among others,
focus on regularising the
access to land, working conditions on the “new” commercial farms, job
security and social services.
“Special attention must be given to the most vulnerable groups.
“Orphans who have been detached from the
safety nets that many of the
commercial farms used to offer, need special attention and should be given
priority by initiatives already being implemented to assist Zimbabwe’s
growing orphan population.”
Man-animal conflict continues in Hwange
HWANGE – The heavy duty truck grinds to a halt with a noisy screech
of tyres to avoid ramming into the large herd of elephants leisurely
crossing the road. As they amble across the road, the huge animals turn to
gaze at the equally monstrous truck as it drives past them.
“The section between Lukosi and Fatima turn-off is a dangerous
stretch. One has to keep a sharp eye for wild animals,” says truck driver
Kennias Ncube. “There are elephants, lions, buffaloes and hyenas crossing
from the Hwange National Park at various points in search of water and
But as a
haulage truck driver operating along the Victoria
Falls-Bulawayo road, Ncube’s problems with wild animals is pale in
comparison to those faced by communities around the Hwange National Park.
slightly more than 14 600 square kilometres, the vast
Hwange National Park is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Southern
Africa, second only to South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
Among its inhabitants are
endangered species such as the wild dog and
the black and white rhinos.
A conservationist’s dream, the sanctuary is however
viewed with less
enthusiasm by local communities who have to co-exist with the national park’
s wild inhabitants.
Most communities on
the fringes of the Hwange National Park view the
animals in the sanctuary as a threat not only to human life, but to their
livestock and food security.
Their wariness has been worsened by drought, which
has led to the
drying up of animal watering pans in the national park.
Severe diesel shortages have compounded the problem,
engines that feed the pans with water idle.
Parks and wildlife officers in the Hwange National Park confirmed the
water problem but declined to comment further.
The result of the
water insecurity, according to Lubimbi councillor
Sikhumbuzo Tshuma, is a human-animal conflict that has worsened this year,
with elephants straying into human inhabited areas in search of water along
the Gwayi and Shangani rivers.
Most affected by the resulting destruction are
communities near Fatima
Mission, Gwayi Siding, Cross Mabale and Cross Dete on both sides of the
Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road.
far-flung areas such as Lubimbi in Binga have been affected, as
animals leave the national park in search of water.
Tshuma told the Daily
News: “We have two herds of about 50 elephants
that have been here since January. They are destroying crops in nutrition
gardens along the Gwayi and Shangani rivers.
“Hyenas and lions are also killing domestic
animals. Together with
occasional visitors like buffaloes, these animals are threatening the
movement of people, especially school children who walk long distances to
and from schools.”
villagers say the presence
of the animals in Lubimbi has precipitated
a crisis of unimaginable proportions in a community already reeling under
the impact of drought and two failed cropping seasons.
In Lukosi, about 10 kilometres out
of Hwange, villagers fight off
elephant raids and foraging buffaloes are also destroying crops.
Clarence Moyo, a curio trader in the area,
views the conflict between
villagers and wildlife as the result of human expediency.
He pointed out: “The interaction between humans and
wild animals has
always been characterised by conflict. On our part, we kill the animals,
displace them by transforming wildlife habitat areas into human settlements
and agricultural land.
“We complain of
competition for water sources, threat to food
security, restriction of movement, reduced school attendance and a general
disruption of daily life. But people need animals just as the animals need
said the human-animal conflict in Lukosi was less pronounced
because the area did not have reliable water sources. Said Moyo: “Because of
the scarcity of water, the animals just pass through here without causing
serious damage. The only problem is that when they stumble upon green
vegetable gardens, they always want to come through the same way and end up
establishing a seasonal animal migration trail. “Warthogs are also a
constant nuisance, but the danger comes with periodic prides of lions and
hyenas, which threaten both domestic animals and people.” According to
Tshuma, local communities have had little success in securing protection
from the wild animals. He said management and control of the Lubimbi
environmental resources fell under the Communal Areas Management Programme
For Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE), under which wards with wildlife
resources are supposed to use money from the organisation to buy their own
ammunition and then invite CAMPFIRE’s Problem Animal Control Unit to scare
the animals away. This is done by either shooting into the air or killing
one of the animals if a problem herd is aggressive. Tshuma said: “We have
failed to meet the CAMPFIRE official at the rural district council to
present our problem. We are now planning to approach the Department of
National Parks and Wildlife for protection. That is the only way we can
remove these animals and save our sources of food.” CAMPFIRE director
Charles Jonga said his organisation was aware of the problems faced by the
Lubimbi community, adding that he had communicated CAMPFIRE’s concerns to
the local council. From Oskar Nkala Staff Reporter
The MDC is putting the cart before the horse
THE notion of nation-building and compromise are good qualities in a
revolutionary politician or political organisation. Taking into stride foes,
friends and supporters in order to reach a lasting solution to political
crises is the stuff that great politicians are made of.
Moreover, even having to take risks that at the end of it
all may not
work out in one’s favour is indicative of political bravery. It is perhaps
this type of political focus that is driving the MDC into making
ground-breaking political overtures to woo ZANU PF back to the negotiating
table in order to thrash out new power dynamics in Zimbabwe.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s presence at the opening of
Parliament, which was
addressed by his rival, President Robert Mugabe, had many tongues wagging.
The people and colleagues that I came across were expressing different
viewpoints about the MDC leader’s presence in Parliament.
For many this move by Tsvangirai was an endorsement
legitimacy – which all along the opposition leader had been strongly
refuting. For others it was a sign that, finally, the political stalemate
was thawing and a flood of democracy will envelope Zimbabwe.
For the sceptics, however, it was much ado about
nothing, small events
being blown out of proportion in order to feed the gullible Zimbabwean
populace with false hope.
To all intents
and purposes, Tsvangirai’s visit to the Parliament of
Zimbabwe can best be described as quite a surprise and not necessarily a
A surprise primarily because it was not the culmination of
process of dialogue between ZANU PF and MDC, at least not a publicly known
In fact, the same day that
Tsvangirai graced our Parliament building,
there had been a crisis in the nomination process for opposition candidates
in the local government elections scheduled for August.
There had also been the charging of the MDC spokesman, Paul Themba
Nyathi under the public Order and Security Act (POSA).
So when Tsvangirai turned up in Parliament, it was
difficult to judge
whether ZANU PF was reciprocating such a well-intentioned gesture of
reconciliation when it wasn’t even allowing the opposition to field
candidates for local government elections, as well as charging a prominent
member of the opposition with another unconstitutional claim backed by POSA.
Did Tsvangirai and his party seriously consider their
desire to go to
Parliament with all this in mind? If they did, then they miscalculated.
This is because gestures such as the one they
undertook in Parliament
are not public gaffes; they are only undertaken on the basis of visible
political action on either side of the political spectrum and with obvious
commitment from the ruling party to meet certain criteria about the
political playing field.
issued by the MDC after the opening of the fourth
session of the fifth Parliament was self-explanatory. They had done it for
the purpose of “putting the ball in ZANU PF’s court”.
This is, however, a fairly weak
standpoint. ZANU PF has never learnt
to play any game fairly. Putting the ball in ZANU PF’s court is no guarantee
of the game being fair.
The dramatic shift from not recognising Mugabe’s
legitimacy to tacitly
endorsing his presidency by attending his address in Parliament is not
placing the ball in ZANU PF’s court in order to get a return serve – it is
placing the ball in ZANU PF’s court and then never getting that ball back.
Since 2002, the talk within the MDC is
the illegitimacy of Mugabe, and
now it is all about getting Mugabe to talk.
The issue is in what capacity does Mugabe come to the
table? It is clear that he will come strictly in his capacity as the current
President of Zimbabwe and with the intention of retaining that same office.
It has been said before, you don’t sweet-talk a sitting president to let go
of the presidency. Instead, you manoeuvre your way around his or her
presidency with the purpose that he or she will see the inevitability of
The way that the MDC has
embarked on is impolitic and it is tantamount
to begging Mugabe to give them political space.
The intention is not to belittle the MDC’s
efforts, but merely to put
them into perspective. There are fundamental issues that the opposition
needs to be reminded of.
first and the most important is that the people of Zimbabwe are
struggling essentially for democracy and not for power-sharing agreements.
One might argue that people do not eat democracy, but in order to eat people
The MDC is negating on this principle about the
frustrations with the reluctance of the citizens of Zimbabwe to take to the
streets during the final push is understandable, but that does not mean such
mass mobilisation strategies must be abandoned, nor does it mean engaging in
inter-party dialogue with ZANU PF when the latter is feeling extremely
comfortable in maintaining its hegemony. The MDC is not yet ready for the
benevolence that it is trying to show to ZANU PF. It is not very intelligent
to be benevolent when you are in a weak position. For now it is Mugabe who
can afford to be benevolent as well as be accepted for it, even by die-hard
opposition party supporters. The second issue that the MDC needs to be
reminded of is of the disempowering nature of rushed talks and power-sharing
arrangements. It cannot be a singular priority to talk to ZANU PF. If this
is the situation within the opposition party, then the options are going to
run out and the sole reason for the MDC’s existence will be to engage in
talks. Talks must take place, but it must also be a fundamental priority to
continue to build political consciousness around the principles of democracy
within the Zimbabwean populace. Talks that are not backed by obvious mass
presence do not achieve the desired results. Tsvangirai’s presence in
Parliament is essentially his and his party’s prerogative, but it is my view
that it was not a prudent thing to do for the reasons that have been
outlined. Shaking hands with Joseph Chinotimba and company is a dangerous
enterprise. In the talks that Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and others had
with Pik Botha and Frederic de Klerk in the run-up to South African
independence, the tide was clearly against apartheid and South Africans did
not need newspaper adverts in order for there to be demonstrations. The MDC
runs the serious risk of putting the cart before the horse. By Takura
How most people will remember Mugabe
EVERY leader in the world must wonder how they will be judged after
they have gone, from the leadership or from this world. But you would not
imagine that thought passing through their mind while they are in power.
What preoccupies them then is the immediate benefit to be derived from
their action at that moment: expediency – politic rather than just.
Would sacking so-and-so boost their popularity with the electorate
before a do-or-die poll? Would sending troops to quell a minor bar-room
brawl in an opposition stronghold affect the result of an imminent
by-election in that constituency?
Would liquidating a popular so-and-so in the
party be good for their
image if it was proved in a postmortem that he died of AIDS, not a bullet in
While he lay recovering
after coming out of a coma in a hospital in
Saudi Arabia earlier this month, Idi Amin may or may not have thought of
suspect that even after he has gone to the
Corporals-Who-Became-Presidents Parade in the Sky, few people – his wives,
close relatives, admirers of Hitler and Attila the Hun – will remember Idi
Amin with genuine fondness.
Like Robert Mugabe, he must
have mysterious, indefinable redeeming
qualities which only those closest to him may remember.
But for the rest of us Idi Amin was a
political buffoon, apart from
being a political tragedy for Uganda and Africa.
Uganda, unlike Tanzania, never had a “Nyerere” or even
after independence. Milton Obote, Godfrey Binaisa and the soldiers,
including Yoweri Museveni, have all not distinguished themselves as leaders
of unparalleled rectitude.
Museveni has for a long
time been touted by the West as the ideal
African leader, but his bloody struggle with the Lord’s Resistance Army has
cost too many lives for him not to lose some of the shine on his reputation
as a shining example for other African leaders to emulate.
His “no party” political system had
already cast doubt on his concept
of democracy. Some thought he was just another African dictator trying to
mask his latent autocratic designs behind a wall of avuncular benevolence.
Mugabe was at one time
compared in his brutal rule with Idi Amin at
the height of his infamy. Some thought the comparison was odious. The man
was more educated and far more intelligent than the hardly-literate
corporal. Moreover, he liked cricket, whereas Idi Amin was a former boxer.
Others said, with
tongue-in-cheek earnestness, that Nelson Rolihlahla
Mandela was a former boxer as well. But Mandela and Idi Amin spoken of in
the same breath? It was too sick to contemplate.
Still others said it was precisely
because Mugabe was so much better
equipped intellectually than Idi Amin that he was more dangerous.
Mugabe once quoted from Aesop’s Fables
to make a point in one of his
speeches. Yet, speaking without notes and mostly in Shona, he has made
statements which have sent cold shivers down the spines of most people who
had always, mistakenly, believed that such an educated man could not be
capable of such brutality.
unkind to speak of Idi Amin so harshly. He was not expected to
recover from the coma, but the tough former corporal did.
Seriously, he may
not last long enough to take an active part in a
debate about his final resting place.
How will history remember Idi Amin? How will
history remember Mugabe,
as he is an old man in somewhat dubious health? Will songs be sung to him,
and not just by the people who benefited from his patronage, but even those
whose relatives perished in one or two of the atrocities for which he has
been held responsible?
statues be erected to him, or will future generations be told
that, were it not for his cruel rule, their country might indeed have flowed
with milk and honey?
While he was on the point of death, many Ugandans were
Idi Amin’s family ought to be granted their wish to bury him in Uganda.
They were divided. Some thought as a Ugandan, he was entitled to be
buried in his homeland. Others thought for what he had done to this same
homeland, he should not be buried in Uganda. There would be riots if his
body was brought back to the country, they feared. Was Idi Amin a cannibal?
Or were these rumours floated by his most implacable enemies, among them
Obote, whose government he toppled? But that he was a disaster as the
president of Uganda cannot be disputed. I have met a number of Ugandans who
have spoken, strangely to my mind, of Idi Amin less harshly than they have
of Obote. All of it had to do with ethnicity, that bane of African politics
that has laid to waste political careers stretching from Cape to Cairo. I
doubt that Idi Amin would expect the majority of the people of his country
to remember him as the leader who dragged them out of the dungeons of the
Acholi domination of Obote to a new era of freedom under his own
Nubian-dominated regime. I bet most will remember him for his uncouth
conduct of state affairs, his expulsion of the Asians and his humiliation of
the British. Some people might say that in expelling the Asians he was
promoting a crude indigenisation programme of his own. Mugabe might be seen
in better light than Amin because his land reform programme has found many
admirers across the continent. Curiously, even his anti-imperialistic stance
in relation to the land reform programme has been received with grudging
respect among Africans, who nevertheless acknowledge that he has been one of
the worst violators of his own people’s human rights on the continent. It
will be a long time before his detractors can convince such Africans that
the land reform programme was the mother of all political gimmicks – pure
and simple. If it had not been so brutally initiated by the war veterans
with the invasions of the commercial farms, ZANU PF would have lost the 2000
general election – again pure and simple. There will be many biographies
written about Mugabe, most of them “unauthorised”, for this is a very
secretive man. Only people like James Dambaza Chikerema could write
authoritative biographies of Mugabe without the fear of being contradicted.
They grew up with him and from that background the biographer could flesh
out the essential ingredients that went on to shape the future philosophy of
the man who launched the Gukurahundi. Some of us, as reporters, knew him
while covering him and other nationalists after his return from Ghana. He
was an eloquent speaker of English and distinguished himself as such during
the glorious days of the National Democratic Party. For some of us, his
emergence as the leader of ZANU after Ndabaningi Sithole was deposed was
something of a shock. We were admittedly far away from the theatre of this
high drama, but we still wondered how he had risen so fast. The true story
of his meteoric ascension may be told after he has left the political stage,
which may be sooner than we have always thought. No doubt there will be an
element of The Mugabe Way even in his exit. By Bill Saidi
S.Africa seeks quicker return to talks in Zimbabwe
PRETORIA, July 30 — South Africa said on Wednesday it was pressing for a
quick resumption of formal talks between Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
and the opposition, key to fixing the economic crisis battering the African
South African Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota told a news briefing
that relations between Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had ''significantly improved
over the last couple of weeks'' and formal talks were now a matter of time.
Talks between the two political opponents broke down last year, soon
after the MDC launched a court challenge to Mugabe's re-election in April
2002. The MDC and several Western governments say the presidential elections
In response to the challenge, the government said mediation efforts
between it and the MDC must wait until the courts have ruled. A hearing has
been set for November.
Zimbabwe church leaders -- after meeting separately both Mugabe and
Tsvangirai -- said on Tuesday they were close to drawing Mugabe's government
and the MDC into talks over a deepening crisis in the southern African
''There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a significant
improvement in relations between the two parties and South Africa will hold
nothing back in supporting the process,'' Lekota told reporters, adding he
reflected the views of the South African cabinet which held a retreat last
''The (formal) talks need to resume as quickly as possible and we are
anxious that this happens,'' he said, suggesting South Africa was talking to
both Mugabe and the MDC.
South Africa has been slammed by critics for its ''quiet diplomacy''
approach in dealing with Zimbabwe, but its moves have been backed in recent
months by U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
The MDC accuses 79-year-old Mugabe of mismanaging the economy over
the last 23 years, leading to record unemployment of over 70 percent,
inflation of 365 percent and lately an acute shortage of currency.
Mugabe has retorted that the economy has been sabotaged by his local
and foreign critics in retaliation for his programme to seize white-owned
farms for distribution to landless blacks.
Fifa intervenes in Zimbabwe crisis
the stand-off between the Zimbabwe Football Association and
the country's sports minister could escalate have been heightened by the
intervention of Cosafa - southern Africa's governing body.
Furious at what he perceived to be government interference in football
matters, Cosafa chairman Ismail Bhamjee wrote a letter to Zifa and advised
them to stand their ground.
Bhamjee, who is also a Fifa executive committee member, wrote: "The
directive issued by your minister will not be accepted by Fifa, Caf or
Cosafa and could result in the suspension of Zifa from these international
Taking his cue from Bhamjee's chilling warning, acting Zifa chairman
Vincent Pamire told BBC Sport website that they were not going to let
politicians bully them out of office.
Pamire fumed: "We're going to carry on. We know we're only answerable
to Fifa and Fifa has told us to stay put and act as if nothing has
"We always say success is a daughter to many but failure is an orphan.
Everyone now wants the glory because we've qualified for the Nations Cup".
Pamire, who took over the hot seat when Leo Mugabe was forced out,
said Zifa cannot and will not abandon its position regarding the
government's involvement in football affairs
"Football is the most popular sport in this country and sometimes we
"But I hope politicians will take heed of Fifa's warning and stay away
The dispute arose when the sports minister Aeneas Chigwedere decided
he had had enough of Pamire and his board.
He ordered Zimbabwe's supreme policy-making body, the Sports and
Recreation Commission, to wield the axe and get rid of Pamire's
But as Fifa has already ordered Zifa to hold new elections by 30
September 2003, the sports minister was accused of making an "ill-timed and
Pamire also rejected out of hand Chigwedere's assertion that the Zifa
administration was inept.
"We're very, very competent because despite all the problems we've
had, we managed to qualify for the Nations Cup finals.
"With our meagre resources we are in the semi-finals of the Cosafa
Cup, so this shows that we're very competent."
Asked whether he was prepared to meet the sports minister for talks,
Pamire he was not prepared to waste his time if "politicians continually
make a difficult job impossible."
Trading Grinds to a Halt At Tobacco Sales Floor
July 30, 2003
Posted to the web July 30, 2003
TRADING came to a halt yesterday at the Tobacco Sales Floor after
disgruntled small-scale tobacco farmers disrupted normal business demanding
an immediate upward review of the exchange rate.
The farmers disrupted trading at around 11am, as they demanded an audience
with the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board.
Authorities from the board promised
the farmers that they were going to take
up the matter with the relevant authorities, as they could not do much at
When Herald Business visited the Tobacco Sales floor yesterday afternoon,
most farmers were loitering around the premises while waiting for feedback
from TSL management on the way forward.
One small- scale tobacco grower, Mr Johaness Nyamayaro of Macheke said there
was an urgent need of an upward review of the cash crop.
"The prices of inputs such as fertiliser and chemicals has shot up in recent
months. There is need for an adjustment of the price, particularly the
exchange rate and the selling price," he said.
Yesterday prices at the auction floor had reached an all time low of between
US$1,10 and US$1,15 per kg.
The farmers said they wanted an upward review of up to US$3,50 to US$4 per
Another small scale farmer, Mrs Eniya Chiwawura of Banket said the existing
price was not enough to enable them to meet production costs.
She said the price of fertiliser had shot up to $45 000 per bag from $16 000
Transport costs have also risen astronomically with farmers from Mashonaland
West being charged between $5 000 and $8 000 per bale.
"There is need to ensure that farmers get good prices to ensure that tobacco
farming remains viable. If the prices are not adjusted, then the future of
tobacco farming will be threatened," she said.
Mrs Chiwawura said there was also need to adjust the exchange rate from the
existing $824 that is being paid for the greenback.
The Government announced early this year that it would quarterly review a
number of measures aimed at enhancing economic growth including the exchange
TSL managing director, Mr David Machingamira said they would do everything
possible to resolve the crisis.
Tobacco is auctioned at three floors namely Tobacco Auction Floors, Zimbabwe
Industry Tobacco Auction Centre and the Burley Marketing Zimbabwe.
Business was reportedly going on at a smaller pace at other auction floors.
Last year, trading briefly came to a halt at the auction floors when farmers
disrupted business in protest against the low prices.
The matter was resolved after the Government agreed to review the prices.
Zimbabwe's Ruling Party to Hold Important Meeting
30 Jul 2003, 15:59 UTC
Leaders of Zimbabwe's
ruling ZANU-PF party will hold a crucial meeting late
Wednesday to discuss the future of negotiations with the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change. The talks follow this week's meetings between church
leaders and representatives of the two political parties.
It is expected that President Robert Mugabe will brief his party leadership
on his talks with the church leaders and their request for details of the
ruling party's plan for dialogue with the opposition.
Observers here say the key issue for the ZANU-PF leadership to decide is
devising an exit plan for Mr. Mugabe and choosing his successor. But they
said, in order to speed up the talks with the opposition and address
Zimbabwe's rapidly deteriorating economic situation, the leaders may skip
the leadership issues for the time being.
The rising hope of political dialogue follows meetings between the ruling
ZANU-PF party and Zimbabwe's leading church representatives. The talks
between Zimbabwe's Anglican, Catholic and Methodist churches and the party
were attended by President Robert Mugabe.
The church leaders met with the head of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, on Monday.
The latest flurry of talks follows President Bush's visit to Africa earlier
this month. Mr. Bush agreed with the South African president, Thabo Mbeki,
that Zimbabwe must urgently resolve its political crisis and hold new
Mr. Mugabe has said he will not meet with Mr. Tsvangirai until he drops his
legal challenge to last year's presidential elections, which many political
commentators say were rigged. The MDC said it would suspend the legal
challenge if serious dialogue begins.
Zimbabwe is in the midst of the worst economic crisis since its independence
in 1980, with unemployment running at 70 percent and the country running out
of everything, including currency needed to buy essential supplies.
Zimbabwe tackles cash crunch
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa has said the Z$500 note is to be withdrawn within 60 days, hoping to get people to deposit their notes and replenish the banks with much-needed cash.
It will then be replaced with a new version, as well as the country's first Z$1,000 denomination.
Zimbabweans have been left with an urgent need for cash owing to runaway inflation which is heading towards 400% and soaring foreign exchange rates.
The Z$700m a day being printed despite dire shortages of both ink and paper is being grabbed as fast as it can be produced.
Long queues at Harare banks are now becoming as routine as the queues at petrol stations, according to Tony Hawkins, economics professor at the University of Zimbabwe.
"But for the average Zimbabwean, the maximum you can draw is perhaps a fifth of that, and as I drove through Harare going to my bank I saw long queues of people outside all the banks and the ATMs.
"And when you get that cash, it's only going to buy you perhaps five loaves of bread or a few litres of fuel," he explained.
The crisis - precipitated by the seizing of white-owned farmland which hammered production for both domestic use and exports - has been aggravated by a long drought.
Talks brokered by church leaders seem to be inching the two sides closer to the table.
In the meantime, shortages of foreign currency also mean fuel is hard to come by, making the daily commute a challenge for urban workers.
The government's recent attempts to extend oil deals with Libya have foundered over opposition to the idea of giving the Libyans Zimbabwe's oil infrastructure in exchange.
Officially, unemployment is over 70%, and tight price controls coupled with inflation have led to shortages of basic goods.
UN Integrated Regional
July 30, 2003
Posted to the web July 30, 2003
Should talks resume between Zimbabwe's rival political parties, the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is likely to insist on the
government restoring the "rule of law", analysts told IRIN.
Efforts to reopen the dialogue between the ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC have
intensified in recent weeks with the country's clergy stepping in as
The MDC on Wednesday confirmed that its
president, Morgan Tsvangirai, had
met with local church leaders in a bid to get the stalled talks restarted,
as a first step on the road to a negotiated settlement of the Zimbabwean
The clergy was awaiting written responses from both parties, which could
lead to a formal meeting, the local Daily News newspaper reported.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches president Bishop Sebastian Bakare is leading
the church delegation. He is accompanied by Trevor Manhanga, the head of the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Patrick Mutume of the Zimbabwe
Catholic Bishops' Conference.
The apparent "public" thaw in relations between the opposition and the
government came last week after the MDC attended the opening of parliament.
Opposition MPs last year boycotted the occasion, saying they did not
recognise the legitimacy of President Robert Mugabe as the head of state.
The MDC is challenging Mugabe's victory in court, alleging that the polls
held in March 2002 were marred by violence, intimidation and vote-rigging.
Noting recent statements made by the MDC, observers said Mugabe's legitimacy
would continue to surface throughout the proposed dialogue, but it would
take a back seat to some of the more pressing issues facing the country.
The MDC's legal affairs secretary, David Coltart, told IRIN: "If the talks
between the MDC and ZANU-PF are done in an earnest way, and endorsed by the
international community, we will consider holding in abeyance the
presidential challenge. We have also said if the talks yield a final
agreement with constitutional guarantees then the MDC will withdraw the
The court challenge is due to start on 3 November.
"The key issue the MDC is likely to raise during the talks is the
restoration of the rule of law, and that includes repealing repressive laws
which restrict political activity," chairman of the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network Reginald Matchaba-Hove said.
Human rights groups argue that the Public Order and Safety Act, for example,
pushed through parliament in 2001, severely curtails political expression.
The act bans any political gathering without police consent.
Another issue which should be urgently addressed, Matchaba-Hove added, was
the humanitarian crisis now affecting close to five million Zimbabweans. "It
is important that the leaders consider the seriousness of the humanitarian
needs in the country and jointly produce a solid programme to sell to
donors. Inflation is now close to 365 percent, which is an indication of how
badly the economy is doing."
"In tandem to all of the other pressing issues, there should be a discussion
of the drawing-up of a new constitution which is democratic, and allows for
checks and balances. The discussion should focus on addressing electoral
reform to ensure that the next election would be substantially free and
fair. Mugabe's legitimacy is a detail which can be discussed at a later
stage," he said.
Crisis in Zimbabwe spokeswoman Everjoyce Win agreed, saying that changes to
the country's constitution were key to resolving the political impasse.
"The talks should not focus on who has the right to govern or not, but
address fundamental shortcomings of the constitution. Talks should consider
how the rule of law has been subverted, and what can be done to restore some
legitimacy to the state," she said.
Mugabe's government walked out of political talks with the MDC in April 2002
after the opposition went to court to challenge the presidential election
result, saying mediation efforts must wait until the courts ruled on the
Man-Made Element to Crisis
UN Integrated Regional Information
July 30, 2003
Posted to the web July 30, 2003
Alongside the impact of drought, Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis has also
been man-made, the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal (CAP) for 2003/04 has
"What initially appeared as a food crisis in Zimbabwe in 2002 has turned
into a major humanitarian emergency due to the deteriorating economy,
immense policy constraints, the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, and
depleted capacity in the social service sector," the appeal said.
The country was in its fifth successive year of economic
decline and "faces Zambia Formulates Black Rhino Recovery Plan
By Singy Hanyona
LUSAKA, Zambia, July 29, 2003 (ENS) - One month before the World Parks
Congress to be held in Durban, South Africa, Zambia has formulated a national
policy on rhinoceros management and rehabilitation.
Though Zambia's rhino population declined from an estimated 12,000 to 8,000
in the pre-1970 era, and rhinos were totally eradicated in the country during
the 1980s, Zambia still has no management strategy for administering rhino
horns. The animals' horns are valued in traditional Asian medicine and as
decorative dagger handles in the Middle East.
The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), the country's sole wildlife management
entity, says that in terms of recordkeeping the country does not currently
comply with the UN Convention on the Protection of Endangered Species of Fauna
and Flora (CITES). Zambia is a Party to the CITES Convention, which it ratified
Conservation experts and wildlife managers from the 14 member countries of
the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) gathered in Zambia's capital
Lusaka this week to fine tune the draft rhino policy document. The process,
supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, would see a reverse in
destructive trends and impart positive attitudes for the conservation of rhinos
The policy will also provide guidelines and strength to the rhino
conservation fraternity. It will provide a framework that will guide the
reintroduction of rhinos in Zambia's established private state owned wildlife
Kampamba cites the civil and liberation wars as factors in the decimation of
rhino population in Africa. "The wars led to influx of refugees from many
neighboring countries. The refugees came with illegal firearms, which were used
in killing wildlife," said Kampamba.
He noted that since the 1970s, Zambia has had inadequate trained manpower and
rhino management plans to guide the design and implementation of conservation
strategies. "This is why we're talking about the rhino policy now," he said.
The ZAWA Working Paper on the National Rhino Policy and Management Strategy
indicates that political will has been lacking in rhino management, citing
political patronage of those involved in the rhino horn trade and corruption
within the law enforcement agencies.
But Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patrick Kalifungwa
says the new policy is aimed at reversing the negative trend and helping to
conserve rhinos as Zambia's rich wildlife and cultural heritage.
The environment minister said that already the government has introduced the
white rhino in the former fugitive range in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park near
Victoria Falls, one of the largest wildlife estates in Zambia.
"It is for this reason that we need to formulate a policy that will
standardize rhino management and monitoring strategies with other countries in
the sub-region. We need to network with other countries in the region on law
enforcement surveillance," said Kalifungwa.
The development of the national policy is also seen as one way of justifying
Zambia's membership in the regional rhino protocol and conservation group.
At the apex of regional wildlife management, there is the SADC Protocol on
Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement, signed by heads of member states in
August 1999. The protocol recognizes that the viability of wildlife resources in
the region requires collective cooperative action by all the 14 member
Musonda says the rhino policy must be seen in the broader context of the
World Bank supported Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. "This can help in tapping
some of the financial resources for poverty reduction," said Musonda.
Her sentiments are echoed by Andrew Sardanis, a private investor and
businessman, who said, "Rhino management is very expensive venture. You need
financing to manage animals such as a rhino."
Poaching, the illegal killing of wildlife, has been cited as the leading
cause of the extermination of wildlife in Zambia and the Southern African
According to ZAWA, the population of black rhinos across Africa has been
reduced drastically by poaching, from an estimated 65,000 rhinos in the 1970s,
to less than 3,000 in 1990s.
"The reason for the decline was the sudden growth in rhino horn trade in the
Middle East," says the ZAWA report. During that period, wars, breakdowns in law
and order, corruption and the availability of modern weapons enabled well
organized gangs of poachers to bring about the near obliteration of the species.
Russel Taylor of the World Wide Fund for Nature regional office in Harare,
Zimbabwe, says rhinoceros horn is the most highly priced commodity in the world.
The horn is used in traditional oriental medicines as a fever reducing drug, and
is prized for dagger handles in Yemen.
The early history of the rhino can be traced from the Eocene age, about 60
million years ago. Since then, according to experts, no other land mammal in the
world has been destroyed at such a rapid rate.
critical shortages of foreign exchange to maintain essential infrastructure,
fuel and energy needs".
Commentators have linked the country's economic woes to its political crisis
and the government's fast-track land reform programme. Aid agency
assessments have shown that Zimbabwe still has the highest number of people
in need of food aid, around five million, despite recoveries in most other
countries affected by last year's food shortages.
"As of the end of June, the inflation rate reached 364 percent and is
forecast to reach over 500 percent by the end of the year. The industrial
and agricultural sectors have been severely undermined by the state of the
macroeconomy, causing mass unemployment and worsening rural and urban
poverty," the document noted.
The UN Inter-Agency appeal also warned that the "rapid and continued decline
in the government's capacity to support national food security and sustain
life-saving social services will need to be urgently addressed by
humanitarian agencies in 2003/04", adding that "a much greater attention to
preparedness measures will be necessary to prevent starvation and increasing
A loss of skills in the health and social services sector due to emigration
and HIV/AIDS was noted as another factor aggravating the crisis.
"Thus, Zimbabwe faces a severe food security crisis in 2003/04. With a
cereals deficit close to 1.3 million metric tonnes (mt), the country has
sufficient food to feed its population for just four to five months. It is
estimated that 5.5 million people will require food aid during the coming
year. The Zimbabwe government is unlikely to have the resources to finance a
major maize import requirement," the appeal added.
The CAP for Zimbabwe covers the period July 2003 to June 2004 and requests
nearly US $114 million, mostly for programmes in the social services and
agricultural sectors. This amount is over and above the World Food
Programme's $308 million call for food aid requirements, made in the
Regional Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Southern Africa.
GOVERNMENT'S ROLE UNDER FIRE
The role of the Zimbabwe government in response to the humanitarian crisis
was also highlighted in the appeal.
"Despite consistent efforts on the part of the United Nations Humanitarian
Coordinator (UN HC) and agencies throughout the year, coordination and
cooperation between the government and the humanitarian agencies could be
much improved," the appeal observed in the section on progress over the past
As an example, it pointed out that while needs assessments are "the
cornerstone in planning an effective response" to the crisis, this process
has "frequently been difficult and delayed, with negotiations [with
government] sometimes taking several months".
"The government also strongly influences the operational environment [of aid
agencies], including issues such as respect for human rights and
humanitarian principles, and NGO operations. NGOs are integral to
humanitarian planning and implementation capacity, so that restrictions or
delays in building their capacity and constraining their operations impact
directly on the speed and volume of aid delivery to beneficiaries," the CAP
Adding that "at the policy level, government commitment is a precondition to
the strategic aim of moving toward recovery and a development agenda".
It was therefore critical to foster stronger linkages between the government
and humanitarian agencies.
THE YEAR AHEAD
The "main causes of the humanitarian crisis identified in the 2002/03 CA
[Consolidated Appeal] were: policy constraints; socio-economic conditions;
environmental factors (drought and cyclone Eline); all of which were
aggravated by the impact of HIV/AIDS".
These factors would still be relevant in the coming year. But the state
control of prices, currency exchange rates and a monopoly on the import and
marketing of maize and wheat were characteristics of an "economic framework
within which the economy has contracted by one-third in four years". This
had contributed to greater vulnerability as "structural unemployment is
estimated at over 70 percent, and rising, as the major sectors generating
employment" and forex continued to contract.
The 2003/04 CAP would concentrate on three main areas of humanitarian
response: preventing loss of life through food, nutrition, and critical
health interventions; mitigating the impact of the crisis on vulnerable
groups; and developing a productive dialogue among stakeholders to
strengthen coordination and provide focus.
It was noted that recovery interventions and policies were essential to
reducing Zimbabwe's reliance on international relief assistance and
strengthening food security.
But recovery "is only viable if a wide range of [policy] reforms takes
place" - reforms which the international community was committed to
supporting, if they led to a long-term resolution of the problems affecting
Zimbabwe's most vulnerable.
Black rhino in the Luangwa Valley Reserve in eastern Zambia, 1972
(Photo by M. Boulton courtesy FAO)ZAWA Director for Research, Planning and
Information George Kampamba says the development of this policy would see the
reintroduction of the black rhino, poached to extinction in Zambia.
Recent encounter with a white rhino in Zambia (Photo courtesy Safari Par
Excellence)Winnie Musonda, a representative of the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP), wonders at the general decline of the
Zambian economy due to the falling prices of copper, and she suggested that the
country's wildlife resource be an alternative source of income.
Tyrants Beware: Luxury Exile Days May Be Numbered
Wed July 30, 2003 12:08 PM ET
By Fiona O'Brien
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Ugandans say former dictator Idi Amin, now on his
deathbed in Saudi Arabia, used to keep the severed heads of rivals in his
refrigerator and once placed some on his dining table to remind guests he
was not to be crossed.
Obese and ill after almost 25 years of comfortable exile in Saudi Arabia,
Uganda's "butcher," who also fed the remains of victims to Lake Victoria's
crocodiles at one point, appears likely to die unpunished for his crimes.
Now in his late 70s, he is not the only tyrant to see out retirement
Haiti's Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who fled his island in 1986 after
an upsurge of popular protest against his brutal 15-year rule, has been seen
driving his red Ferrari around the French Riviera.
Ethiopia's Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose "Red Terror" was marked by purges,
war and hunger, is on a ranch in Zimbabwe granted refuge by his friend
President Robert Mugabe.
Uganda's Milton Obote, accused by domestic opponents of being even more
brutal than Amin, is in Zambia, while Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner, who
gained a reputation as an iron-fisted leader who sheltered Nazi war
criminals, is in Brazil.
Liberia's Charles Taylor, wanted for war crimes in Sierra Leone, has been
offered asylum in Nigeria.
Yet with Amin's death apparently imminent, many Ugandans are asking how such
a man has been able to escape scot-free.
"While he is calmly exhausting his life-span in the splendor of a Saudi
Arabian hospital, our people are breathlessly struggling in the attempt to
salvage some life out of the debris of his destruction," a comment in the
New Vision newspaper said Wednesday.
But while many former tyrants are unlikely ever to face criminal proceedings
for their wrongs, analysts say the world today is more intent on trying
those once considered immune.
"There has been a real sea-change in the attitude of the international
community," Amnesty International's Christopher Hall told Reuters.
"In the past, crimes were seen as political or diplomatic problems, now they
are seen as ordinary crimes of rape, murder, that all states have a duty to
investigate and to prosecute."
The 1998 arrest of Chile's Augusto Pinochet in London sent a message that
the days of impunity for tyrants were ending, even though he was later
released on grounds of poor health.
United Nations tribunals for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and
Rwanda have also drummed that point home.
More significantly still, analysts say the establishment of an International
Criminal Court (ICC) may have set international law on an irreversible
"Times are changing...exile is becoming harder to find," Human Rights
Watch's Reed Brody wrote in a recent editorial.
"It is unfortunate that Idi Amin will die in his "tent" without being
brought to justice for his crimes, but the world is a smaller and smaller
tent. One day the Idi Amins of this world will find they have nowhere to
But only about 90 countries -- with the notable exception of the United
States -- have so far ratified the ICC, which will be a permanent tribunal
to try individuals for the most serious international crimes such as
genocide and war crimes.
"There is a general movement toward international jurisdiction, but we still
have a long way to go," Cambridge University legal expert Anthony Rogers
He said that for the court to work effectively, states will also have to get
over their deep-rooted reluctance to investigate the affairs of other
In the meantime, Ugandans will have to find their own ways to reconcile the
wrongs of Amin's 1971-1979 rule. While many wish they had seen him punished,
others say it is best just to try and put the past behind them.
"He should be accorded a state burial as a former president," Kampala shop
owner Badru Mulongo said. "People say he killed many people but I think
there is no leader who has not killed."
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE
Thought for the Day - July 30, 2003
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
AGRIZIM. The Way Forward.
"Friends of the Land."
"Knowing that whole regions of the country, once incredibly rich, were on
the verge of becoming deserts, these men - forestry experts,
industrialists, doctors, government officials, writers, bankers,
professors, farmers - resolved to educate the people to the danger. They
knew our soil was being destroyed, our forests cut down without
replacement, our towns and farms being washed away by floods, our water
supply shrunken, whole areas of once fertile agricultural land turned into
desert. Approximately one-fourth of our good soil had already been
destroyed, they realized, with another one fourth rapidly on its way out.
These facts about which the greater part of the citizens knew nothing at
all. "Friends of the Land" proposed to inform them.
"Friends of the Land" knew that we had nearly nine million "okies" on our
roads - homeless farm workers and their families on relief most of the
year, living miserably......
They knew that country banks were closing because thousands of once rich
farms no longer had money to deposit or were no longer worth anything as
security for loans.
They knew that once prosperous cities were on the verge of becoming ghost
towns.....because of careless and unintelligent farming methods or because
the water supply was rapidly falling."
- Louis Bromfield - "Pleasant Valley" - USA -1946 -
History is such a boring subject, because it is so repetitive. From
Bromfield in America to Nkomo in Zimbabwe - all people ultimately
understand the importance of being a "Friend of the Land" if they have a
real feeling and understanding for land. Politicians using land as
political weapon qualify for temporary membership of "Friends of the Land",
but feeling for and understanding of the land, are ultimately prerequisites
for holistic membership.
Zambia Formulates Black Rhino Recovery Plan
By Singy Hanyona
LUSAKA, Zambia, July 29, 2003 (ENS) - One month before the World Parks Congress to be held in Durban, South Africa, Zambia has formulated a national policy on rhinoceros management and rehabilitation.
Though Zambia's rhino population declined from an estimated 12,000 to 8,000 in the pre-1970 era, and rhinos were totally eradicated in the country during the 1980s, Zambia still has no management strategy for administering rhino horns. The animals' horns are valued in traditional Asian medicine and as decorative dagger handles in the Middle East.
The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), the country's sole wildlife management entity, says that in terms of recordkeeping the country does not currently comply with the UN Convention on the Protection of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). Zambia is a Party to the CITES Convention, which it ratified in 1981.
Conservation experts and wildlife managers from the 14 member countries of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) gathered in Zambia's capital Lusaka this week to fine tune the draft rhino policy document. The process, supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, would see a reverse in destructive trends and impart positive attitudes for the conservation of rhinos in Zambia.
The policy will also provide guidelines and strength to the rhino conservation fraternity. It will provide a framework that will guide the reintroduction of rhinos in Zambia's established private state owned wildlife sanctuaries.
Kampamba cites the civil and liberation wars as factors in the decimation of rhino population in Africa. "The wars led to influx of refugees from many neighboring countries. The refugees came with illegal firearms, which were used in killing wildlife," said Kampamba.
He noted that since the 1970s, Zambia has had inadequate trained manpower and rhino management plans to guide the design and implementation of conservation strategies. "This is why we're talking about the rhino policy now," he said.
The ZAWA Working Paper on the National Rhino Policy and Management Strategy indicates that political will has been lacking in rhino management, citing political patronage of those involved in the rhino horn trade and corruption within the law enforcement agencies.
But Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patrick Kalifungwa says the new policy is aimed at reversing the negative trend and helping to conserve rhinos as Zambia's rich wildlife and cultural heritage.
The environment minister said that already the government has introduced the white rhino in the former fugitive range in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park near Victoria Falls, one of the largest wildlife estates in Zambia.
"It is for this reason that we need to formulate a policy that will standardize rhino management and monitoring strategies with other countries in the sub-region. We need to network with other countries in the region on law enforcement surveillance," said Kalifungwa.
The development of the national policy is also seen as one way of justifying Zambia's membership in the regional rhino protocol and conservation group.
At the apex of regional wildlife management, there is the SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement, signed by heads of member states in August 1999. The protocol recognizes that the viability of wildlife resources in the region requires collective cooperative action by all the 14 member countries.
Musonda says the rhino policy must be seen in the broader context of the World Bank supported Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. "This can help in tapping some of the financial resources for poverty reduction," said Musonda.
Her sentiments are echoed by Andrew Sardanis, a private investor and businessman, who said, "Rhino management is very expensive venture. You need financing to manage animals such as a rhino."
Poaching, the illegal killing of wildlife, has been cited as the leading cause of the extermination of wildlife in Zambia and the Southern African region.
According to ZAWA, the population of black rhinos across Africa has been reduced drastically by poaching, from an estimated 65,000 rhinos in the 1970s, to less than 3,000 in 1990s.
"The reason for the decline was the sudden growth in rhino horn trade in the Middle East," says the ZAWA report. During that period, wars, breakdowns in law and order, corruption and the availability of modern weapons enabled well organized gangs of poachers to bring about the near obliteration of the species.
Russel Taylor of the World Wide Fund for Nature regional office in Harare, Zimbabwe, says rhinoceros horn is the most highly priced commodity in the world. The horn is used in traditional oriental medicines as a fever reducing drug, and is prized for dagger handles in Yemen.
The early history of the rhino can be traced from the Eocene age, about 60 million years ago. Since then, according to experts, no other land mammal in the world has been destroyed at such a rapid rate.