|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Libya's leader is
trying to build alternatives to established bodies
like the United Nations to achieve his own ends, writes Kathryn Sturman.
Since relations with the Arab League soured in the late 1990s, Libyan
leader Muammar Gaddafi has turned his attention toward building strategic
alliances in Africa. As a pariah state under United Nations sanctions, Libya
sought recognition and respectability in the arena of inter-governmental
meetings of African leaders.
Five years later, the extent of Libyan influence within the African
Union, Nepad and the Regional Economic Communities may be gauged against a
history of less salutary military interventions and "petro-dollar diplomacy"
throughout the continent.
To understand the role and impact of Gaddafi's Africa policy, it is
first necessary to consider the internal dynamics of the country that has
been ruled by decree for over three decades.
Libya is a one-party state with no formal constitution or independent
judiciary. Political trials are held in secret, with no due process
considerations. The arbitrary arrest and torture of hundreds of political
prisoners have long been documented by Amnesty International.
The abduction and assassination of political dissidents in exile has
also been reported. The state owns and controls all media and censors
foreign programmes. Independent political parties and civic associations are
Independent trade unions and professional associations do not exist,
workers' strikes are illegal and women's rights are limited (for example,
they require permission to travel abroad).
The Libyan armed forces are estimated to be 90 000 strong, with 25 000
national service conscripts and a large number of militia belonging to the
Revolutionary Guards Corps, the People's Cavalry Force and the People's
Libya has a large inventory of military equipment, however, its
operational capabilities declined after the collapse of its primary arms
supplier (the former Soviet Union) and the imposition of UN arms embargoes.
Libya has allegedly been selling off some of
its old stock of light
weaponry to rebel movements in Africa, fuelling conflicts in exchange for
access to natural resources.
For example, "diamonds for guns" deals have allegedly been negotiated
in the DRC.
Global Watch reports that the Liberian government is exchanging timber
for illegal arms from Eastern Europe, via Libya, among others.
This illicit trade contributes to the destabilisation, by rebels
backed by Liberian leader Charles Taylor, of CTte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone.
During Gaddafi's leadership, Libya has been in conflict with almost
all of its neighbours over the years. The list includes a four-day war with
Egypt in 1977, territorial disputes with Algeria, Niger and Tunisia, the
failed invasions of Chad in the 1980s and the withdrawal from the Aozou
Strip by order of the International Court of Justice in 1994.
Military backing has been offered or given to various incumbent and
rebel leaders, such as the late Zairean dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, in 1996
and more recently, MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba in the DRC and elected
President Angé Felix Patassé of the Central African Republic.
Cash-strapped governments, such as Zimbabwe and Malawi, have also been
recipients of Gaddafi's largess during his motorcade tours of Southern
Africa between 2000 and 2002.
The Libyan leader's generosity to Sub-Saharan Africa has not been well
received at home. Race riots in October 2000, in which an estimated 150
black migrants were killed and thousands expelled from the country, showed a
rejection of Gaddafi's opening of his country's borders to African workers
when an estimated one-third of Libya's youth are unemployed.
At the same time, the suspension of UN sanctions against Libya in 1999
raised economic expectations, spurring Gaddafi to seek full acceptance, if
not internationally or among Arab nations, then within Africa, a United
States of Africa.
In February 1997 some 40 OAU foreign ministers gathered for a council
of ministers meeting that was the first major conference in Tripoli since UN
sanctions were imposed.
From then on, resolutions calling for UN sanctions against Libya to be
lifted and/or flouted by African countries were recorded at every head of
state and government summit.
At the launch of the African Union in Durban in July 2002, delegates
took note of the settlement of the Lockerbie case and "urgently request[ed]
the Security Council to immediately lift these sanctions and embargo imposed
on Libya which no longer have legal or moral justification".
Gaddafi proposed to the OAU's Algiers summit of July 1999, that an
extraordinary session be convened "to discuss ways and means of making the
Thereafter, he presented the African heads of state gathered in Sirte
on September 9 1999 with his grand vision for a "United States of Africa",
with a single army, currency and powerful leadership.
The extent to which Libya bought into African regional politics after
1997 is evident from the establishment of the Community of Sahel-Saharan
States (CEN-SAD) in Tripoli on February 4 1998.
According to the official website (currently under construction):
"CEN-SAD is a framework for Integration and Complementarity. It intends to
work, together with the other regional economic communities and the
Organisation of African Unity, to strengthen peace, security and stability
and achieve global economic and social development."
In other words, the community positions itself as a regional economic
community, like the other regional organisations recognised as the building
blocks of African integration by the OAU Treaty Establishing the African
Economic Community, 1991 (Abuja Treaty).
The Abuja Treaty was intended to work through regional economic
communities from the five regions designated by the OAU.
Those designated by the OAU in the early 1990s were the Southern
Africa Development Community; the Economic Community of Central African
States; the Economic Community of West African States; COMESA and the Arab
However, due to political tensions, including between Morocco and its
North African neighbours and the OAU over recognition of Western Sahara, the
Arab Maghreb Union was paralysed by the mid-1990s and never signed the OAU
Protocol on Relations.
The Arab Maghreb Union Secretariat was based outside OAU territory in
Libyan links with ousted President Patassé of Central African Republic
have also been mentioned.
Incidentally, President Patassé was removed from power during his
attendance of the CEN-SAD Conference and less than three months after the
withdrawal of "CEN-SAD" troops from Bangui.
However, signing of a protocol establishing a Mechanism for
Preventing, Managing and Settling Conflicts in Niamey in March 2003 will
likely serve as a mandate for the other side of Libya's engagements in
Africa, namely military intervention.
Unlike the other regional economic communities and the AU, CEN-SAD
makes no claim to uphold human rights, democracy or good governance in its
objectives. Instead, it broadcasts support for the leaders who are widely
considered to be most in breach of these principles.
If the original goals of Nepad are to be realised to enhance the
development of Africa through improvements in political, economic and
corporate governance, in partnership with the developed world - then
CEN-SAD's capacity and political will to implement these objectives requires
closer scrutiny and debate.
.. Kathryn Sturman is a senior researcher at the Institute for
Bush visit said to be 'tough' for Mbeki
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
JOHANNESBURG — Tough talk from Washington ahead of a visit to Africa by
President Bush next week is creating problems for South African President
Thabo Mbeki, whose refusal to speak out on Zimbabwe and other regional
crises stands in sharp contrast.
Mr. Bush used his speech at the biennial meeting of the Corporate
Council on Africa to call for the resignation of Liberian leader Charles
Taylor and the establishment of an interim authority in Congo, where human
rights groups say more than 3 million people have died in a long-running
Mr. Bush also criticized Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's
government, which the United States and other Western powers have refused to
recognize after fraud-tainted elections last year.
Also last week, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell described Mr. Mugabe
as a "tyrant" and called on neighboring South Africa to adopt a tougher
stance on Zimbabwe.
On Monday, it was announced that Mr. Powell will accompany Mr. Bush to
A spokesman for Mr. Mbeki's government rejected Mr. Powell's comments
and said South Africa would maintain its policy of "quiet diplomacy" toward
A source in Mr. Mbeki's ruling African National Congress told The
Washington Times that the government was deeply divided about Mr. Powell's
remarks as well as President Bush's upcoming visit, the second to
sub-Saharan Africa by a U.S. president in office. President Clinton's was
"This is going to be a tough couple of weeks for Mbeki," the source
said. "He will have to smile and will no doubt be delighted to be seen
hosting the world's most powerful leader, but, behind the scenes, he will
need to work hard to hold his party and even his close supporters together."
"The South Africans see this continent as their own domain, and the
comments by Bush and Powell, calling so directly for change in Liberia,
Congo and Zimbabwe, have shocked a lot of people who are starting to realize
that their own refusal to take tough action on thorny issues, especially
Zimbabwe, has created a vacuum, which other countries, like the U.S., are
moving to fill."
Nelson Mandela has said he does not expect to meet Mr. Bush after the
former South African president opposed U.S.-led war on Iraq. South Africa
came out strongly against the war, and recent talk about intervention in
Liberia is expected to cause concern in Pretoria.
An antiwar coalition of 300 groups has applied to the South African
police for permission to mount nationwide protests when Mr. Bush arrives in
the country on Tuesday.
Mr. Bush's comment that in Zimbabwe "the freedom and dignity of the
nation is under assault" is likely to cause the most difficulty in meetings
with Mr. Mbeki, who has refused to publicly criticize Mr. Mugabe.
Mr. Mugabe's economic policies, including a coercive land-reform
program, have led to the fall of the local currency unit from 58 to the U.S.
dollar three years ago to 2,700 to the dollar at present.
The United Nations estimates that 70 percent of the country's 12 million
people live under conditions of famine and that more than 2 million black
Zimbabweans have sought refuge in South Africa.
Despite several South African initiatives to encourage Mr. Mugabe, 79,
to either step down or enter negotiations with opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change, there has been little
At the beginning of June, the MDC led a weeklong strike and called for
new elections, but the government responded by charging Mr. Tsvangirai with
treason and jailing him for two weeks before he was released on bail.
Mr. Tsvangirai said in an interview that the presence of the U.S. leader
in Africa would help draw international attention to Zimbabwe's plight.
In contrast to South Africa's position, the governments of Uganda,
Botswana and Senegal — also on Mr. Bush's itinerary — have made clear they
do not support Mr. Mugabe or his policies. President Festus Mogae of
Botswana repeatedly has called for a return to democracy in Zimbabwe and
said in a recent television interview that the country's problems were
caused by a "drought of good governance."
The U.S. government has indicated that it might be willing to underwrite
substantial aid for a recovery program in Zimbabwe if Mr. Mugabe allows
internationally supervised elections in which he does not stand as a
candidate. But the only South African response to the idea came from Deputy
Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, who told a local newspaper, "We would like to
discuss this with the U.S. and find out what they mean."
Mr. Bush also will visit Nigeria, where he will deliver the keynote
address at a summit on cooperation between Africa and the United States.
Government downplays US 'military sanctions'
July 03 2003 at 05:09AM
By Jeremy Michaels, Charles Phalane & Sapa-AFP
The government has downplayed the United States' suspension of R50-million
in military aid to South Africa ahead of a landmark visit by US President
George Bush next week, but analysts say the move is "tantamount to military
sanctions" and adds to the list of contentious issues between President
Thabo Mbeki and the American leader.
In a move to put the squeeze on countries that were not co-operating with
Washington's bid to sidestep the International Criminal Court (ICC), the US
announced late on Tuesday night that it was suspending $47-million in
military aid to 35 countries that were refusing to give Americans immunity
from prosecution by the tribunal.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said on Wednesday that the
decision would not adversely affect Bush's visit since South Africa had
known well in advance about the July 1 US deadline to sign article 98 of its
American Service Members Protection Act of 2002.
"This matter is in the process of discussion and it will not have an impact
on the visit.
"It is one of the issues that will be on the agenda when the (Bush)
delegation comes," Pahad told a news conference in Pretoria.
But Pahad's estimates of the aid, which he put at about $3-million,
contrasted sharply with official figures given to the Cape Times by the
Sam Mkhwanazi, spokesperson for Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, put the aid
figure at $7,6-million, more than double Pahad's estimate.
Political analyst Chris Landsberg said that while the US sanctions were
clearly "not targeted at SA", they underscored the uneasy relationship
between the world's superpower and South Africa, a regional powerhouse.
South Africa knew it had to relate to the US as the global superpower, while
the US in turn knew that "even if it wanted to find a substitute for SA as a
pivotal regional player, it cannot find that alternative, so they have to
relate to each other.
"Both South Africa and the US would like a more problem-free basis for their
relationship, but this is tantamount to military sanctions and it shows that
the US wants to relate to other global players, but only on its terms," said
"America is so carried away with its global power, it just doesn't know how
to respect others."
The US fears that the ICC - which will try cases of war crimes, crimes
against humanity and genocide - would be used for politically-motivated
prosecutions of US citizens.
It therefore came up with Article 98 to compel countries to agree to exempt
the US from the ICC. If countries refused to sign, they forfeit military
assistance from the US.
South Africa is the only country on the itinerary for Bush's Africa visit
that has not signed the exemption. Botswana, Senegal, Nigeria and Uganda
have all retained military assistance by signing it.
Pahad said some countries had negotiated for waivers and exemption from
signing by holding bilateral talks with the US.
Pahad said the cabinet had not yet discussed the matter, but Foreign Affairs
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had indicated to parliament that under its
obligations to the ICC, South Africa could not sign.
South Africa was looking at ways to tackle the concerns raised by the US.
However, a clearer understanding of the way forward would emerge from the
meeting between Dlamini-Zuma and her US counterpart Colin Powell.
Landsberg said that while there were significant irritants in the
relationship between SA and the US - the invasion of Iraq and the crisis in
Zimbabwe, among others - there would be "a lot of egg-dancing" between Mbeki
"They won't say nasty things in front of each other, they'll say them when
it's all done," he said.
Nobel peace laureate and former US president Jimmy Carter and Spanish judge
Baltasar Garzon said on Wednesday that they supported the international war
crimes court, despite Washington's decision to suspend military aid to
countries that do not exempt US citizens from prosecution.
The support from Carter and Garzon, who led international efforts to
prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for war crimes, came on
the first anniversary of the ICC's existence.
"It is my hope that as the court begins its work, the sight of mass
murderers and others being held accountable will send a strong message to
the United States about the power of law and collective international
action," Carter wrote in a letter published on Wednesday.
The high-profile Garzon said "sooner or later countries such as the United
States will realise that the best option for peace is the ICC and they will
join our ranks".
The European Commission expressed regret on Wednesday at the US decision to
suspend military aid.
"We regret what the United States is doing," said a spokesperson for
External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten.
He added that at least 90 countries had resisted United States "pressure"
over the ICC.
"We want as well to express our admiration" for all the countries seeking to
make the fledgling tribunal an "international success", he said.
The European Union (EU) strongly backs The Hague-based court, the world's
first permanent international tribunal to try cases of war crimes, crimes
against humanity and genocide.
European countries preparing to join the EU said on Wednesday that they
would continue to back the newly created ICC despite the US decision to
slash their military aid.
"We regret that the American Congress has taken this decision but the
position of Slovakia has not changed," Slovakian Foreign Minister Eduard
Six countries set to join the EU in 2004 - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia - have been targeted by the sanctions.
Bulgaria, which hopes to join the 15-nation bloc in 2007, is also on the
Bush plans to steer clear of African hotspots
July 03 2003 at 06:18AM
Washington - There are plenty of hotspots in Africa, and American President
George Bush will be steering clear of them on his five-country tour of the
continent next week.
Bush will be focusing on countries that have made headway in democratic
development - South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and Botswana - and in Uganda he
will highlight the country's success in reducing the HIV/Aids infection
Salih Booker, executive direction of Africa Action, says he is not surprised
that the president is avoiding countries wracked by war.
"If he goes to bad news places, he raises expectations that he will commit
himself to finding solutions," Booker said.
So Bush won't be going to Liberia, Congo and Sudan, all of which have been
plagued by civil strife for years.
In a somewhat different category is Zimbabwe, where arbitrary rule by the
government has impoverished the population and caused political unrest. The
United States does not recognise Zimbabwe's government, led by President
Ahead of Bush's Monday departure, he and top aides have been weighing the
possibility of dispatching US troops to Liberia as part of a multinational
force to help stabilise the situation.
The administration has said it will be impossible to bring peace to Liberia
so long as President Charles Taylor remains in power.
The three-year civil war has claimed thousands of lives and displaced an
estimated 1 million people. The country has been at peace for only brief
periods since 1989, with Taylor widely seen as the culprit.
During his trip, Bush is expected to be dogged by questions about US policy
toward Liberia, particularly in Senegal and Nigeria, both relatively close
"Everybody is going to be asking about it," says Princeton Lyman, a former
ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa.
No conflict since World War 2 has claimed more lives than the Congo war,
which began in 1998. An estimated 3,3 million people have died, victims of
ethnic hatreds, competition for resources and outside intervention.
The conflict has taken place largely in eastern Congo, across the border
from Uganda, where Bush will be conferring with President Yoweri Museveni.
Ugandan military involvement in Congo, recently ended, is seen here as a
contributing factor to the Congolese tragedy.
The UN Security Council recently approved the creation of a French-led
emergency force for Congo and also extended the mandate of a separate UN
In Sudan, more than two million have died since 1983 but the country has
made large strides toward peace in recent months.
"Sudan is getting closer to a real win," says former Assistant Secretary of
State Chester Crocker. The progress is largely the result of US and African
The conflict matches the Muslim-dominated north against the Christian and
There are 48 sub-Saharan countries, and the National Security Council expert
on Africa, Jendayi Frazer, explained the rationale for the five Bush settled
on in an interactive online "Ask the White House" forum on Wednesday.
"South Africa is the largest trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is
the continent's most populous country with 120 million people," she said.
"We also wanted to visit a country that is primarily francophone
(French-speaking) so we are going to Senegal, West Africa's longest-standing
democracy. We will visit Botswana, the country with Africa's strongest and
fastest growing economy.
"And we will visit Uganda, which is the only country in the world to have
reversed the AIDS prevalence rate."
For all the continuing death and destruction on the continent, analysts
agree that the situation was probably worse a few years ago.
"The balance sheet is a lot better but there is still a lot of fragility,"
says Crocker. Success stories include Sierra Leone, Angola, Ivory Coast and
the 2000 peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Herman Cohen, a former assistant secretary of state, says Rwanda remains
unstable nine years after the horrific genocide of 1994 when 800 000 were
killed in a matter of weeks.
He says peace cannot be assured until a government led by the Hutu majority
takes power, replacing the minority Tutsi-led government. - Sapa-AP
Bush, Mbeki clash looms
United States President George W Bush is set to clash with his South
African counterpart Thabo Mbeki over Washington’s insistence that South
Africa plays a leading role in ensuring the formation of a transitional
government in Zimbabwe ahead of fresh elections, a move Mbeki says he is not
willing to pursue.
Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Assistant Secretary of State
for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner have called for President Robert
Mugabe’s exit from power and the formation of a transitional administration
that would organise a fresh presidential election following Mugabe’s
disputed re-election last year.
Bush, who embarks on his first ever African safari from 7 to 12 July,
will meet Mbeki in Pretoria where the resolution of Zimbabwe’s political
stand-off will top their agenda.
Bush will also visit Nigeria, Uganda and Botswana.
But even before the Pretoria summit begins, signs of a rift on how to
end Zimbabwe’s political crisis are emerging between Mbeki and Bush, and
analysts warn that Mbeki appears determined to play Mugabe’s advocate during
the talks, a move that could widen their rift on Zimbabwe.
On Tuesday, Kansteiner said the US would discuss South Africa’s role
in the setting-up of a transitional government and the subsequent holding of
a fresh vote in Zimbabwe, a task which Mbeki has said he is not willing to
“We, in fact, are encouraged by what we hope is the beginning of a
dialogue inside Zimbabwe between the key parties and players (and) that that
dialogue will lead to some kind of transitional framework that will enable
the people of Zimbabwe to have their voice heard in an election that is
internationally monitored and that is free and fair,” Kansteiner said.
“The South Africans have a very important role to play in that and
they are playing it. We want to talk about that and we want to see how we
Powell last week and earlier this week indicated that Washington was
ready to lead international donors in mobilising economic aid to rescue
Zimbabwe, also sapped by an economic meltdown triggered by the political
crisis, if ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
agreed to form a transitional government.
Powell urged Mbeki to take a more active role in ending the stalemate
between ZANU PF and the MDC, which started “peace” talks last year but then
But Mbeki on Tuesday indicated his unwillingness to take up any role
in pressuring Mugabe to agree to resume the talks, opting to continue with
his widely condemned quiet diplomacy on Harare.
Speaking from Jamaica, where he was attending a summit of Caribbean
leaders, Mbeki said he would not pressure Mugabe into holding fresh
“It’s incorrect really to be
saying that we should stand outside the borders of Zimbabwe and decide
what the Zimbabweans should do about their own country,” he said.
Asked whether he would push Mugabe to hold elections to ensure a
peaceful transition of power, Mbeki said: “That’s their decision. The future
of Zimbabwe needs to be decided by the Zimbabweans.”
Suggesting that calls by the US for him to be more active in resolving
Zimbabwe’s crisis were misplaced, Mbeki said: “If South Africa and another
country teamed up to decide policy in the US, everybody would lock us up.
They’d think we were crazy.”
Political analysts yesterday said it was unlikely that Mbeki would
change his soft stance on Mugabe after meeting Bush but would try to
convince the US leader that Mugabe was
more-or-less ready for some talks.
Harare advocate Archibald Gijima, echoing the views of most analysts,
said it was unlikely that Bush would convince Mbeki to take a more vigorous
approach against Mugabe. “Mbeki is likely to show himself to be independent
and as a no-pushover and this will complicate matters. Mbeki’s approach to
Zimbabwe so far discloses him as a person with a hidden admiration for the
wiles of Mugabe, hence his softly-softly approach,” he said.
“But Bush will ask for a more result-oriented approach, and Mbeki
fears to take that approach.
“They will agree that there are problems in Zimbabwe but Mbeki will
try to justify Mugabe’s regime. The signs of growing differences are already
The analysts said a cornered Mugabe always gave an indication that he
was willing to talk, although he also always did not implement the decisions
of such talks, as shown by several summits held on Zimbabwe in the past
three years of heightened crisis.
“You have only to look at Abuja where agreements reached with the
international community were later ignored by Mugabe as he pushed his own
agenda to seize land, one of the causes of the current economic crisis,” a
bank analyst said.
He was referring to international talks in the Nigerian capital two
years ago which agreed a programme of land reform that needed to be followed
by Harare for it to win international financial aid for the reforms. Mugabe
later tore up the accord and seized productive land, triggering the country’
s worst famine.
Efforts to get comment yesterday from Mbeki’s spokesman Bheki Khumalo
apparent rift between Washington and Pretoria over the resolution of
Zimbabwe’s crisis were fruitless. Khumalo was reported by aides to be out of
his office. Efforts to contact South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma and her spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa were also unsuccessful.By
Three former judges join UK immigration
THREE former Zimbabwe High Court judges who resigned at the height
of clashes between the government and the Bench over the rule of law and
property rights on farms seized by the government from white farmers without
paying compensation have joined Britain’s immigration authority as
adjudicators, The Daily News established yesterday.
A spokeswoman for the British High Commission in Harare confirmed that
former justices James Devittie, Michael Gillespie and David Bartlett were
now working for Britain’s immigration department.
The former judges resigned from the Bench between 2001 and 2002,
without disclosing the reasons they were stepping down for, although both
left after handing down judgments viewed by many to have been unpalatable to
The high commission official who was responding to questions by this
newspaper said, “Mr David Bartlett, Mr James Devittie and Michael Gillespie
were appointed as immigration adjudicators by the UK’s Immigration Authority
“These positions are filled through open competition. Any British,
Irish or Commonwealth citizen, with appropriate legal qualifications and
experience can apply.’’
Nearly all of Zimbabwe’s former Bench led by former chief justice
Gubbay, which was highly regarded for its professionalism and fierce
defence of justice and the rule of law, have now either resigned or left
through old age after several bitter clashes with President Robert Mugabe
and his government especially over the government’s controversial land
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF viewed judgments by the Gubbay Bench
demanding that they implement just and transparent land reforms as an
attempt to forestall redistribution of land in the country, a charge the
Bench denied. Mugabe called on judges he said were opposed to his land
reforms to resign while some pro-government militants were allowed to harass
and intimidate the judges.
When he resigned, Gillespie said he was doing so because he could not
continue sitting on the Bench when the government was attempting to
compromise the independence of the judiciary and bend the rule law to suit
its political goals.
Gillespie also blamed the executive of encouraging the breakdown of
the rule of law by frequently disobeying court orders it felt were not in
line with its political programme.
The judge wrote: ‘’The judges have been threatened publicly by war
veterans with attacks upon, and occupation of their homes.
“A judge, finally, who finds himself in the position where he is
called upon to administer the law only as against political opponents of the
government and not against government supporters faces the challenge to his
conscience: that is whether he can still consider himself to sit as an
The government denied the charges levelled against it by Gillespie.
Devittie did not give reasons why he was stepping down but resigned weeks
after a election victory in Buhera North constituency by Mugabe loyalist
Kenneth Manyonda against opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Devittie nullified the election result because of violence during the
campaign period by ZANU PF supporters. Two MDC activists Tichaona Chiminya
and Talent Mabika were murdered during the run up to the election allegedly
by war veteran Tom Kainos “Kitsiyatota” Zimunya and state Central
Intelligence Organisation operative Joseph Mwale. Devittie also then ordered
the Attorney General to prosecute Mwale and Zimunya who were identified as
the alleged murderers. The two are still to be prosecuted almost two years
after Devittie’s recommendation that they be brought before the courts.
Bartlett, who also did not give reasons why he was leaving the bench,
resigned after he had ordered the Attorney General’s office in November 2001
to investigate Parliament Speaker and Mugabe confidant Emmerson Mnangangwa
over allegations that he illegally authorised the release of a hard core
criminal from jail when he was Justice Minister.
However, a government inquiry released early this year exonerated
Mnangagwa of any wrong doing.
By Pedzisai Ruhanya
Deputy News Editor
Commuter omnibus operators hike fares
COMMUTER omnibus operators in Harare and Bulawayo have hiked fares
by up to 150 percent, citing rising operational costs and the exorbitant
price of fuel on the black market, which most public transporters yesterday
said was their main source of diesel and petrol.
In a move commuters said would only worsen their plight, public
transport operators raised fares by between 100 and 150 percent and warned
they could further hike the fares to cushion their businesses against the
spiralling cost of vehicle spare parts and fuel.
A snap survey by The Daily News yesterday morning showed that most
commuters who before the fare hike were paying around $300 for a single trip
from residential suburbs into Harare city centre were being asked to fork
out between $500 to $800 for a trip.
In Bulawayo most public transporters were demanding $600 for a single
trip into the city centre from surrounding residential areas.
“We are buying fuel on the black market and we just have to increase
our fares to make a profit. The price of spare parts has also gone up
considerably and we cannot wait for government approval before increasing
our fares,” said commuter omnibus owner Felix Mangura.
“We might increase it to $1 000 but
we are still consulting on that,” added Mangura, whose buses ply the
Marlborough to Harare city centre route.
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who is supposed to sanction
public transport fares, could not be reached for comment on the matter by
the time of going to print last night.
Officials of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Commuter Omnibus Services
(ZCOS) – which groups together public transporters and normally negotiates
fare changes with Chombo’s ministry – professed ignorance over the latest
fare increases by its members.
A ZCOS official Felix Papaya said:
“We have not heard anything like that. As far as we are concerned our
members have not increased their charges and we have not discussed anything
The fare increase by urban public transport operators follows hard on
another fare hike by long distance and rural bus operators who raised their
charges by 33 percent.
The long distance bus operators also cited rising costs of running
their businesses and the fuel shortage which has forced most of them to buy
diesel and petrol from the black market, where prices are more than five
times official prices set by the government.
Zimbabwe, which is grappling with its worst foreign currency crisis
since independence from Britain 23 years ago, is facing its most critical
fuel shortage because there is no foreign currency to pay for oil imports.
A barter deal between Zimbabwe and Libya for oil in exchange for prime
investment opportunities for Tripoli in the Southern African nation’s
economy which stalled earlier this year, is said to have been resuscitated
after a visit to Libya by President Robert Mugabe.
But Tripoli is still to resume pumping oil to Harare.
Commuter transport operators told this newspaper that a new fuel
rationing system introduced by the government last week, under which
operators must show road fitness certificates in order to get coupons for
petrol or diesel, had only helped worsen the situation as most did not have
the certificates and were resorting to buying fuel from the black market.
A commuter bus conductor said: “Over 60 percent of the vehicles on the
road do not meet the requirements to get fuel coupons and they will only be
able to get fuel on the black market.
“Most vehicles do not have certificates of fitness so they will not
receive the coupons.”
Bulawayo United Passengers’ Association (BUPTA) chairman Strike Ndlovu
said: “Such operators should face the wrath of law. It is not lawful to
charge $600 and as BUPTA we have tried to press the city council to put some
by-laws in place that will compel all
operators to stick to reasonable fares.”
Zimbabweans reeling from fuel shortages bite
Prior to 2000, tobacco raised over US$500 million (Z$412 billion) in
foreign currency annually. Midway into the 2003 selling season, tobacco has
brought in just slightly above US$30 million (Z$247 billion).
More than six months since a fuel supply deal collapsed, Libya has
once again come to the rescue of President Robert Mugabe by reviving a
barter agreement on oil with Zimbabwe.
“Experts from the two governments, including Energy and Power
Development Minister Amos Midzi, met to review the bilateral co-operation
path, and the ways to reinforce that co-operation in oil and investment in
various economic fields,”
a joint statement said without giving further details.
Libya last year renewed a US$360 million (Z$296.6 billion) fuel deal
with Zimbabwe in exchange for beef, tobacco and sugar but the supply line
was cut after Zimbabwe failed to meet its end of the bargain.
While the stopgap measure may temporarily alleviate fuel shortages,
long-term fuel security is not guaranteed.
Hardest hit by the fuel shortages are labourers, especially poor
households in Zimbabwe’s high-density suburbs.
Chipo Chikosha is a single mother. Every day she gets up at 3:30 am
and by 4 am is on the road, walking a distance of 20 km from the suburb of
Glen Norah in the capital, Harare, to the city centre where she works as an
office orderly at a law firm.
“I cannot afford the fare of Z$300 charged by the commuter omnibuses,”
she said. With a salary of Z$50 000 per month, Chipo pays her rent and buys
food. Despite a government regulation stipulating that passenger omnibuses
may only charge fares of
between Z$60 and Z$300 for urban routes, commuters in Harare and
Bulawayo have to contend with fares ranging from Z$300 to Z$1 000.
The prohibitive fares have meant that highways from residential
suburbs into downtown Harare stream with bicycles and pedestrians walking to
work every morning and home again in the evenings.
Two years ago the government reduced the import duty and sales tax on
bicycles to encourage more people to cycle to work, as passenger vehicles
were grounded owing to the chronic shortage of fuel.
It is now common to see trucks and tractors with trailers transporting
people to and from town. The government has tried to ease the problem by
introducing urban train services.
The train service, dubbed “Freedom Trains”, charges
and was expected to cushion commuters from unscrupulous bus owners who
overcharge. However, passengers have raised concerns over safety and
complained of overcrowding.
An economist with the Zimbabwe Economic Society said the trains were
being run at a loss by the state-owned National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
“The scheme will put the NRZ into more debt,” the economist said.
Zimbabwe needs around US$400 million (Z$392.6 billion) to meet its
fuel needs annually. Much of this money used to come from agriculture,
especially tobacco, which until 2000 was the country’s main foreign currency
earner. Prior to 2000, tobacco raised over US$500 million in foreign
Midway into the 2003 selling season, tobacco has brought in just
slightly above US$30 million. Newly resettled farmers are yet to raise their
production to pre-2000 levels.
Production on the “new farms” has also been stalled by shortages of
fuel and inputs. The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union, a body of mostly peasant and
small-scale farmers, recently made an appeal to the government to have fuel
supplied to the new farmers. But while the majority of people have to do
without transport, those who control the hugely profitable parallel market
in scarce goods and hard currency are enjoying boom times.
A garage owner identified only as Chirasha said they sell hardly a
quarter of their allocations through the pump at the official price of
Z$450. “We have customers who are prepared to buy in bulk at Z$1 500 per
litre,” he said.
Chirasha added that after filling only a few cars, petrol attendants
tell the remaining customers the pumps are dry. The rest of the fuel is then
pumped out at night to be stored and sold at unknown destinations. Some fuel
dealers are selling fuel in foreign currency at US 75 cents a litre.
Newspapers are awash with adverts saying “bulk fuel available”. A new scam
involves towing clapped-out cars to fuel stations where they are parked
until fuel is available. Once the car has been filled, it is immediately
towed to a secluded spot and drained. The fuel, bought at Z$450 a litre, is
then resold at Z$1 500 to desperate motorists. The police have begun
monitoring the situation and a few arrests have been made.
Earlier this month the government introduced fuel coupons for commuter
taxis and omnibus operators. The move followed an announcement that the
state is to ban all vehicles from carrying petrol and diesel in containers,
to prevent parallel marketeering.
Zimbabwe gobbles up R75 m facility
ZIMBABWE has already gobbled up 68 million rands of a 75
million-rand facility it has with the South African Reserve Bank, it was
learnt this week.
The funds are said to have been used to buy fuel, and for electricity
importation of food.
South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told that country’s
National Assembly in Cape Town early this week that the facility had been in
existence since June 1987.
According to the South African Press Association (SAPA), Manuel made
the comments in a written response to a question from a member of the
“Zimbabwe has used up almost R68 million (Z$7.276 billion) of the R75
million (Z$8.025 billion) overdraft facility the South African Reserve Bank
has granted it,” SAPA quoted Manuel as saying. He said the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe had also lodged securities in the value of R82.5 million (about
Z$8.827) for the facility, which “matures” on 31 December 2003.
It was not immediately clear what sort of securities Zimbabwe’s
central bank could have used for the facility.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing a severe foreign currency crisis in the
past three years because of plunging exports and the flight of donors and
foreign direct investors wary of government policies that have eroded the
rule of law and property rights.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), from which most international
financial institutions take their cue, suspended balance of payments support
to Harare in 1999 because of unsustainable economic policies.
The Bretton Woods institution has given Zimbabwe up to 6 December 2003
to deal with its economic problems and come up with “workable economic”
policies or it will review the country’s status in the institution. Zimbawe
faces possible expulsion from the IMF if it continues with its ruinous
Banking sector officials yesterday said the exhaustion of the country’
s facility with the South African central bank half way through the 2003
financial year was an indication of the worsening hard cash squeeze in
Zimbabwe, for which they said there were no immediate solutions in sight.
The southern African nation has continued to experience foreign
currency outflows from its capital account, which amounted to US$347 million
(about Z$285.9 billion) in November last year, and has continued to default
on its foreign obligations. Zimbabwe’s foreign commitments now stand at
Executives in Zimbabwe’s banking sector said with the country’s
foreign currency inflows continuing to decline, it would be difficult for
the Harare authorities to repay the money owed to South Africa.
They said Zimbabwe had the option of seeking a breathing period to
secure the funds or asking for the amount of money it could utilise from the
facility to be increased.
“We have said Zimbabwe is plunging deeper into debt, but these
revelations by Manuel show that we are now probably below the bottom end,” a
bank executive told The Business Daily. “The options from here are very few.
It’s either we will buy time, seek for the extension of the facility or
default, of which the latter is not a viable option as we have seen with the
IMF and other multilateral agencies.”
There was no immediate comment from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
yesterday, with the central bank’s deputy governor said to be attending
US taking out carrot and stick once again
IN ONE of my articles to a local paper I wrote thus: “Well-said,
Powell, but you miss the point on undertones about United States economic
interests in Zimbabwe. Although they intend to bring ‘prosperity’, they are
I will not touch on what President Robert Mugabe or Zanu PF have done
wrong. This is an exclusive to US President George W Bush and his Secretary
of State Colin Powell. And I have not switched camps because I do not belong
to any camp.
America is a new colonial and military power of the 21st century; not
accidentally but deliberately. This has been a scheme that has been in place
for quite a while and documented within the last 10 years.
This is where I am concerned about America’s thrust when they focus
to Zimbabwe and Africa in general.
According to a document titled Rebuilding America’s Defenses
Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an
opportunity and a challenge: does the United States have the vision to build
upon the achievement of past decades? Does the United States have the
resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and
What we require is a military that is strong and ready to meet both
present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully
promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts
the United States’ global responsibilities.”
One would be tempted to think what the heck, it’s only some individual
patriotic Americans exercising their freedom of speech. Yes and no. Yes,
they are American citizens, indeed, expressing their thoughts and no, these
are no ordinary American citizens.
The crafters of this document are right-wing governing Republican
hawks. Donald Rumsfeld is the Secretary of Defence and Paul Wolfowitz his
deputy. Several of the other authors of the document are influential policy
advisers of the current Republican government.
These and other Republican hawks drive the policy direction of Bush’s
instance, the infamous pre-emptive doctrine is contained in this
It’s the policy that was used to strike Iraq. The justification of the
pre-emptive strike was that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
However, until now nothing been found. Instead they are using the argument
that all the same a dictator has been overthrown without telling us the
chaos currently happening in Iraq as well as the silence over civilian
So basically, here is a liar who has been caught lying but is not
ashamed to stand in front of the world with a straight face.
Powell raises concerns about the rule of law. When the US invaded
Iraq, that was a breach of international law. The US opted out of the
International Criminal Court in order to protect its soldiers who committed
The US has been and is still helping fund rebels and revolts against
governments all around the world.
In the US homeland, they have been arresting and detaining visible
minorities without charges under the guise of national security. A report
from the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, reports that the Bush
government refuses to disclose the number of people it incarcerated.
Attorney-General John Ashcroft stopped giving out the total after it
reached about 1 200 way back in November 2001.
Dalia Hashad of the American Civil Liberties Union believes the number
is now 3 000 or more and more men were still disappearing.
A blistering report by the US Justice Department’s own internal
watchdog has accounted so far for 762 men.
These men were singled out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and
jailed an average of 80 days, some up to eight months. Some had been picked
up on unsubstantiated tips or paranoid whims.
Just recently, they have been inciting Iranian students to revolt.
Unfortunately, their involvement has had a negative impact on the
demonstrations. In their bid to portray the Iranian ruling mullahs as
villains, the Americans now are.
The carrot-and-stick principle that Powell proposes is very ludicrous
and derogatory to a people’s status. It assumes that money is the fixer of
everything. Never. And Bush and Powell know that too. You can’t buy us so
cheap, Bush and Powell.
Sure, there are problems in Zimbabwe, but I do not think that we need
America to come and interfere in our affairs. As events and time have shown,
only the power of the people can solve the problems of Zimbabwe. Not
American money and politics.
First and final, America only cares about its own interests. When Bush
was asked during the 2000 presidential campaign whether he would consider
sending military help to Rwanda, he said he wouldn’t because it was not of
strategic importance to the US.
So now with a re-election around the corner, what is he coming to
Africa for? Specifically why has he chosen to pinpoint Zimbabwe? Is Zimbabwe
the worst-case scenario in Africa?
This is not to imply that there are no serious problems in Zimbabwe.
It’s just that I am trying to emphasis how Bush wants to extend his hands to
Zimbabwe. As well, he wants to access the Zimbabwe’s resources and plunder
If they need Zimbabwe’s
resources, they are very welcome but they have to come through the
We need to conduct our politics and commerce in our own terms just
like the US.
Also, is it not wise for the US to save money and close its embassy in
Harare if it does not recognise the current government? America needs money
as it reels under the largest
(US$500 billion – Z$412 trillion) budget deficit seen in decades.
n Kuthula Matshazi is a Zimbabwean based in Canada
AU must make a stand
THE African Union (AU) will next week have another chance to put its
high ideals to the test by boldly condemning Harare’s naked abuse of power
and flouting of internationally accepted norms of good governance.
The AU will meet in Maputo next week for its second summit, its first
major meeting since the 39-year-old Organisation of African Unity was
transformed into the AU, a body whose aim is to maintain peace and promote
economic development on the continent.
Next week’s Mozambique summit coincides with the first visit to the
continent of American President George Bush, who has not minced his words in
condemning the blatant repression of its people by a government that is
determined to hold on to power at all costs.
It would be a shameful act on the part of Africa’s leaders if they
failed to take a stand on the basic issues that have been highlighted by
those bodies that have been voluble in their criticism of the rights abuses
The continent’s leaders have allowed themselves to be drawn into a
racial trap over the Zimbabwe crisis, with condemnation of human rights
abuses, the erosion of the rule of law and sheer bad governance being
as attacks on Zimbabwe’s sovereignty by racist Western colonialists.
Yet these are issues that are critical to a continent that is working
hard to shrug off the stigma of perennial violent conflicts, lawless
dictators and horrific human rights abuses.
They are especially crucial for the AU, which has adopted as its
economic programme the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD),
which is anchored in the
observance by African governments of the rule of law and good
governance to reverse the continent’s economic decline, endemic poverty and
costly civil wars.
African leaders will best serve their own cause and the cause of
democracy in ZImbabwe if they publicly and firmly denounce Harare for
failing to live up to the principles espoused by the AU and NEPAD.
An organisation whose self-given mandate is to maintain peace on the
continent and provide the impetus for Africa’s growth cannot remain silent
on one of its members’ blatant disregard for the basic rights of its
The Zimbabwean government has suspended its people’s right to freely
disseminate information, assemble and express themselves through legislation
that outlaws basic freedoms given to Zimbabweans by the country’s
Violent government supporters have made it impossible for some
Zimbabweans to exercise their right to belong to or support a political
party of their choice and even to read newspapers of their choice.
As human rights watchdog Amnesty International pointed out in a letter
sent to three southern African leaders recently, Harare is in breach of the
continent’s own African Charter, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory and which
gives Zimbabweans the right to free association and assembly as well as
expression and dissemination of their opinions.
By continuing to be publicly politically correct about the ZImbabwe
crisis, African leaders have allowed President Robert Mugabe’s government to
merrily continue with its tyranny, even giving the impression that it has
the support of the rest of the continent.
Because of the AU’s continued public silence, Mugabe’s regime has been
able to arrogantly ignore promises made to African leaders on its land
reform programme and repressive legislation it has pledged to significantly
The AU must begin to make it clear to Mugabe that his regime’s antics
will not be tolerated, otherwise history will dismiss it as a toothless and
The consequences of this failure will be serious for NEPAD and for
Zimbabwe’s closest neighbours, which are already playing host to hundreds of
thousands of the country’s economic refugees.
If the AU fails to vigorously meet the challenge presented by
Zimbabwe, it will merely become another albatross around the continent’s
Bakare criticises fellow clergy for silence
ZIMBABWE Council of Churches (ZCC) president Sebastian Bakare
yesterday called on Zimbabwe’s Christian leaders to stand up against
political violence, human rights abuses and worsening economic hardships in
Bakare, who is the bishop of the Anglican Church’s Manicaland diocese,
criticised the deafening silence by many of the country’s clergy in the face
of open abuse of power by individuals and groups linked to the government.
“People linked to the government have abused other people and we as
church leaders are witnesses to that. But I am surprised that at times you
have remained quite,” Bakare told delegates at the ZCC’s annual conference
held in Harare yesterday.
The ZCC groups together most of Zimbabwe’s main Protestant
denominations with the Roman Catholic Church accorded observer status to the
The outspoken Bakare said: “What are you doing to ensure your
followers feel safe in these hardships? People are being assaulted on a
daily basis and the violence appears to be increasing, but you have
continued to remain distant witnesses as if you live on another planet. Let’
s unite and condemn what is wrong in our society.”
Zimbabwe’s human rights situation has deteriorated as the government
resorts to strong-arm tactics to quell rising discontent against its rule
fuelled by a biting economic crisis, the worst to hit the southern African
nation in 23 years of independence.
Violence and lawlessness on commercial farms seized by the government
from white farmers without paying compensation has only worsened the
The World Economic Forum last month ranked Zimbabwe among the worst
and most corrupt countries out of 21 African countries it reviewed.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, the largest umbrella body for human and
civic rights organisations, said in a report last month that human rights
abuses had escalated in the country in the first six months of this year
with state security agents allegedly taking a leading role in perpetrating
human rights violations.
The government, which last month deployed heavily armed soldiers and
police to crush opposition-led mass protests against its rule, denies
charges it is autocratic or that it has has abused people’s freedoms and
But many Zimbabweans have castigated the country’s church leaders for
largely remaining silent while mostly pro-government militias have wreaked
havoc across the country hunting down and beating or even killing opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.
Bakare said: “Our nation has established a culture of violence that
continues incessantly. Murder, gang rapes, various forms of torture,
harassment, destruction of property – all these evil acts reflect a society
where both the law and law enforcement agents have ceased to be a resource
for its citizens. Some people have become a law unto themselves. The church
has remained a witness.”
Bakare said the church in Zimbabwe risked becoming irrelevant to
society unless religious leaders boldly stood to defend justice, truth and
Several church leaders rose to endorse Bakare’s statement but many of
them privately told The Daily News that they feared they would be victimised
themselves if they spoke out against human rights violations by
The political impasse between the ruling ZANU PF and opposition MDC
parties was also hampering efforts to heal the nation, some of the church
leaders said yesterday.
United Methodist Church bishop Herbert Sekete said in his church they
were dealing with issues of political violence by condemning it and also by
ensuring safety, food and treatment to those injured because of political
A priest from Harare said fear of being labelled enemies of the
government had hamstrung attempts by the ZCC to confront the government on
human rights and governance issues.
The priest, who spoke on condition of not being named, said: “Most ZCC
are afraid of being labelled by the government. That fear and
reluctance to be frank on
critical issues has severely affected the ZCC’s response to problems
affecting Zimbabwe. Staff Reporter
We have had no electricity in the Mufakose area bordered by Mutamba
Avenue and Crowborough Way for nine days now. The Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA) has given no explanation or apology. Would ZESA have
the courtesy of explaining the problem and saying when the electricity will
be turned back on.
Governments that do not tolerate the opposition are not democratic
To oppose or not to oppose is a question already answered by the
label “the opposition party”, which even the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation, under the influence of the Minister of Information, happily
announces during its bulletins. And so it is that in a democracy, which
Zimbabwe is said to be by those who do not fully understand the term, the
opposition is there to oppose.
The questions to answer are:
(a) Oppose whom? Oppose the incumbent, from top to bottom. The
opposition has to oppose all that can be opposed about the sitting
(b) Oppose how? By all democratic means available to the opposition
(c) Oppose for what purpose? In order to look good in the eyes of the
electorate for them to get rid of the incumbent at the next election; to be
able to form the next government and to allow the electoral runner-up to be
the opposition party. Thus, the opposition party’s official job is to fight
tooth and nail to be the government and the opposed.
4 Oppose when? Oppose as long as there is a sitting government to be
These seem to me to be very simplistic guidelines for the opposition
party and our main opposition party has understood these few points from its
However, we have had a government whose democratic credentials are at
best questionable, which has not grasped the idea that when the opposition
is opposing, they are actually doing what they are paid to do.
The opposition opposes in order to replace. They cannot replace unless
the opposed is removed, eliminated, gotten rid off, brought down, chased out
of office, etc. Whatever term you want to use, the meaning is remove and
But in the Zimbabwean style of democracy, the idea of democracy is
described, even by those with professorships in some academic subject, as
treason. However one tries to describe the word treason,
the word “unlawful” creeps into the description. The word “opposition”
Any opposition which does not aim to replace what it opposes must not
be paid to serve in a democracy. Any government which does not tolerate the
official opposition is not democratic.
The ZANU PF government is not a democratic government.
Mbeki assures Carribean leaders of African progress
July 03, 2003, 09:45
Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, said the concerns
about issues of peace, stability, democracy and human rights in Africa are
Mbeki addressing the summit of the Caribbean Regional Economic
Community (CARICOM) in Jamaica, in his capacity as chairperson of the
African Union, said the the recent formation of a new and inclusive
transitional government of national unity in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), will spearhead the volatile country to democracy. Mbeki said:
"The leaders of the people of Zimbabwe are engaged in dialogue to find a
solution to that country's political, economic and social problems."
"Burundi is on course, moving towards the day when its people
will exercise their right to elect their own government, free of military
rule. Work is progressing to constitute a peaceful settlement in Liberia and
neutralise the elements that have brought instability to large parts of the
region of West Africa," Mbeki said.
Mbeki acknowledged that much remained to be done to build a
peaceful, democratic and prosperous Africa. He called for unity and
solidarity between the Caribbean and Africa, CARICOM and the African Union.
"Together, we have the task to decide what we should do to engage one
another in a practical way, to use our intellectual and material resources
to confront the common challenges of poverty and underdevelopment in Africa
and the Caribbean," Mbeki said.
The African diaspora
Mbeki said the second Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and
Government of the African Union will take place in Maputo, Mozambique in a
week's time. One of the agenda items is to look at the role of the African
diaspora. The Summit will also discuss the question of the
concrete measures on the implementation of unity.
He pledged his support for the Carribean's preparation to host
the 2007 Cricket World Cup. "We would be very happy to share our experiences
and I believe that our common objective must be that this tournament, hosted
by the people of the Caribbean, must be even better than the one that Africa
hosted earlier this year," Mbeki said.
"We will leave Montego Bay, Jamaica, the land of Marcus Garvey
and other African heroes and heroines, and depart from the Caribbean later
today and return to Africa. With your permission, we will tell your brothers
and sisters across the Atlantic that the leaders and people of the Caribbean
are determined to intensify the struggle, acting together with the leaders
and peoples of Africa, to ensure that our common dream for the renaissance
of the peoples of African descent is no longer deferred," Mbeki told the
Zim not on AU summit agenda
03/07/2003 10:06 - (SA)
Liesl Louw, Media24 Africa Office
Johannesburg - The Zimbabwe crisis is not on the official list of African
flashpoints under discussion at next week's African Union heads of state
summit in Maputo.
Dr Jakkie Cilliers, executive director of the Institute for Security Studies
in Pretoria, said the leaders were expected to "completely avoid" the
subject during the summit, which kicks off next Thursday.
President Robert Mugabe will be among the 40-odd heads of state to attend.
"South Africa has ensured a unified stance in Africa on Zimbabwe where one
did not exist before," Cilliers said on Wednesday during an information
session about the summit.
"The AU now regards it an internal matter."
In terms of the AU constitution, the organisation may only intervene when a
head of state is elected unconstitionally. AU observers have declared
Zimabwe's presidential elections "free and fair".
Has compromised AU's credibility
A diplomat from a leading G8 nation said it was clear African leaders "will
once again disappoint the international community" when it comes to
He said the AU's handling of Zimbabwe had compromised its credibility.
But, Cilliers believes it would have been "unrealistic" for a "gathering of
weak Afrian countries" to unite against Mugabe.
"Mugabe is the leader of a liberation struggle, with much prestige, who
played a major role in history."
Cilliers believes if the AU criticises Mugabe during the summit he would
simply walk out.
At a previous summit in Durban last year, Mugabe apparently attended the
entire event without uttering a word.
Cilliers believes that, in time, the international community will put
Zimbabwe on the back burner when it comes to its relationship with the AU.
"The AU is the only structure that exists, so they don't have much choice."