The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe MDC officials attacked

Trudy Stevenson, opposition MP
Trudy Stevenson was hit with a machete
Five senior members of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change have been injured in an attack, a party spokesman says.

MP Trudy Stevenson was among the injured. A statement from one party faction blamed the attack on the party's founder, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman suggested the attack was the work of government agents trying to sow division.

The MDC has been divided since last year by a damaging split over strategy.

The five injured were among a group of MDC members who were waylaid on the road as they left the Harare suburb of Mabvuku, according to a statement issued by Gabriel Chaibva, spokesman for one MDC faction.


"The thugs blocked the road and threw stones at their car, smashing the windscreen and windows," the statement said.

"The mob pounced on the MDC officials and attacked them with an assortment of missiles, which included stones, iron bars and sticks."

The statement claimed the attackers had shouted slogans supporting Mr Tsvangirai.

Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, said he had not seen the statement, but added: "All I know is Mr Tsvangirai does not have a militia that does that kind of work".

"If there are differences in the party, the [Robert] Mugabe regime wants to exploit them," Mr Bango told the BBC News website.

He blamed the incident on the breakdown of law and order, and said the perpetrators "should be picked up and jailed - we do not need to bring Mr Tsvingirai into this".

Ms Stevenson was hit with a machete on the back of her head and sustained a deep cut just above the neck, Mr Chaibva's statement said.

Councilor Linos Paul Mushonga suffered two broken fingers, and Harare provincial treasurer Simangele Manyere was hit with a stone, and suffered broken teeth and had a swollen face.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Annan's services 'not required in Zimbabwe'


          July 03 2006 at 01:45AM

      Banjul - United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has cancelled a
planned trip to Zimbabwe aimed at resolve an economic and political crisis
in the southern African country.

      Annan said he had held talks with President Robert Mugabe on the
sidelines of the African Union summit, and was told that the former leader
of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa would now mediate to help Zimbabwe out of its

      He said Mugabe had "advised" him that the former president of
Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, "had been appointed a mediator".

      "We both agreed that he should be given the time and space to do his

      Asked if his trip to Zimbabwe was still on Annan said: "You don't have
two mediators."

      He said he told Mugabe that he was committed to help Zimbabwe out of
its crises and would support the work of the mediator.

      Mugabe last year invited Annan to pay a visit to Zimbabwe after a UN
envoy criticised his government's demolitions campaign in which shacks,
homes and shops were bulldozed, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and
without income.

      Mugabe last week attacked what he termed "so-called initiatives to
rescue Zimbabwe".

      Saying these initiatives made it seem the country was about to
"perish", Mugabe said: "What Zimbabwe needs is just and lawful treatment by
the Western world... a recognition that it is a full, sovereign country
which has the right to own and control its resources, the right to chart its
own destiny unhindered."

      The octogenarian leader, who has ruled the country since independence
from British colonial rule in 1980, said his country has "no saviours
outside of its own people".

      Annan arrived in Sierra Leone on Sunday and was to travel to Ivory
Coast on Monday.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dismay over announcement

The Mercury

Annan pulls out of Mugabe talks
July 03, 2006 Edition 2

Beauregard Tromp

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, apparently rebuffed by
President Robert Mugabe, has withdrawn from mediation efforts in Zimbabwe,
leaving the job to former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa.

Annan made this dramatic announcement at the African Union summit in Banjul
yesterday, after holding talks with Mugabe. His withdrawal dismayed the
British government and is likely to come as a shock to President Thabo

Both he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently touted Annan as the
man to take the lead for the international community in trying to resolve
the Zimbabwe crisis.

Annan said: "President Mkapa has been working quietly with President Mugabe.
You do not need two mediators."

Mkapa is Mugabe's own choice of a mediator between himself and Britain, as
he has strongly and publicly supported Mugabe. But he does not enjoy any
official backing, certainly not from Britain.

The meeting between Mugabe and Annan has been eagerly anticipated, with
speculation that the UN was preparing to offer anything from a plan for
Zimbabwe's economic recovery to an exit plan for Mugabe in exchange for
amnesty against prosecution for misgovernance. The result was an anticlimax.

"I told him (Mugabe) I was committed to helping Zimbabwe and the people of
Zimbabwe and would support the work of the mediator," said Annan. "We both
agreed that he (Mkapa) should be given the time and space to do his work."

British Minister for Africa, Lord David Triesman, reacted with
disappointment at the announcement by Annan.

"I think that's very sad. It's a sad outcome," said Triesman, who was
attending the summit. "I hoped Kofi Annan would take an initiative."

However, Triesman added that Mkapa was held in high regard in the UK, in
spite of his strong defence of Mugabe, and so would be welcome to convey
anything to the British government. Mkapa served on Blair's Commission for
Africa which last year produced a major report on Africa's development

Triesman dismissed Mugabe's insistence on characterising the stand-off
between the UK and Zimbabwe as an ideological "colonial" battle, calling it
"cheap theatrics".

He said it was up to the Zimbabwean people to decide their future and the UK
would continue with aid.

Annan also announced that he had asked the African Union to keep its
peacekeeping force in Darfur until the end of December, to allow time for UN
peacekeepers to take over.

The AU's Peace and Security Council, chaired by Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, last week announced that the 7 000-strong AU peacekeeping
force, Amis, would withdraw from Darfur as scheduled in September,
regardless of whether or not the UN was ready to replace it.

Dlamini-Zuma said the AU did not have money to continue funding Amis, but
some observers interpreted the move as putting pressure on Sudan to agree to
a United Nations peacekeeping mission, which it has not done.

But Annan asked the AU to be flexible on the Amis withdrawal date, to allow
time for the UN to negotiate the entry of its peacekeepers.

Annan met Sudan's President Omar el-Bashir at the summit to discuss the
proposed UN mission. - Mercury Foreign Service

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

G8 nations 'must address China's role in Africa or face failing pledges'

The Scotsman

PLEDGES by G8 countries to help Africa could be undermined unless China can
be persuaded to stop supporting rogue regimes and help deal with human
rights concerns, an influential British think-tank warned today.

A year after the G8's summit at Gleneagles, the Institute for Public Policy
Research (IPPR) called for a rethink of development strategies in the light
of China's emerging influence.

David Mepham, head of the left-leaning IPPR's international programme, said:

"G8 countries need to wake up to the scale and significance of China's role
in Africa and understand what this means for their own development
strategies towards the continent.

"China is a growing trading partner for Africa, a significant investor, an
important source of aid and economic assistance and a supplier of military
equipment. Managed well, China's economic presence could bring real benefits
to Africa, with cheaper goods for African consumers and new sources of
investment and aid. Managed badly, China's role in Africa could be damaging
for development and worsen standards of governance and human rights.

"China is currently the biggest international supporter of the Sudanese
regime and the closest ally of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. China has shown
little interest in international initiatives to deal with corruption or to
promote more transparent management of natural resources in Africa.

"The appropriate response for G8 countries is not to demonise China, but to
find new ways of working with Africans and China to tackle the challenges
facing the continent."

The IPPR said China's trade with Africa had more than trebled since 2002 and
a quarter of its oil imports now came from Sudan and West Africa.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Msika criticises his party's chaotic land reforms

      By a Correspondent

      HARARE - ACTING President, Joseph Msika has criticised his government's
land reform programme saying farms had been seized from whites for political
gains rather than for proper agricultural use.

      Msika, known for his acerbic statements, issued strong public
statements against the Zanu PF-led reforms that saw dozens of commercial
farmers losing their lives as well as their workers and opposition

      The vice president, who was holding fort in the absence of President
Robert Mugabe who was in Gambia for an African Union Summit, condemned the
way land had been taken and given to "anybody" who wanted land.

      "We have not sat down to say, really, 'Is this person whom we're
giving land, is he having an aptitude for farming, is he a farmer? Is he
going to develop the land?'" Msika said in comments broadcasts on ZTV.

      He said the programme though meant to take back farms stolen by whites
during colonial rule, had not achieved intended results due to lack of

      The Zimbabwe government has since been attacked by many in and outside
the country for embarking on the land reform programme haphazardly resulting
in acute food shortages in a country that once was the breadbasket of the
southern African region.

      The chaotic reforms were meant to scupper any efforts by the
opposition MDC to win the 2000 parliamentary elections that came
hard-on-the-heels of the failed Constitutional referendum.

      There have also been criticisms that the reforms have largely
benefited those who are well connected to the ruling party and not the
generality of the population.

      Msika also criticised blacks who took up farm offers so they could
merely move into the grand houses that used to belong to the former white
commercial farmers.

      "What they are doing is to go into the houses where whites were living
and they want land, they just plough a small hectarage, and they are saying
that's enough," he said.

      "We have taken this land, and (are) using it for political gains other
than the development of the agricultural industry."

      Msika is known in Zanu PF for speaking his mind. He last year locked
horns with the then powerful Information Minister Jonathan Moyo over the
controversial take-over of the productive Kondozi farm.

      The farm has since been stripped of equipment by Zanu PF chefs who are
tripping over each other to give back stolen pipes and equipment with the
government on the other handing trying to lure co-owner businessman Edwin
Moyo and his white partner to start producing again at the farm.

      A Zanu PF official who had been on a tour of the farms told that the government is furious with itself following
its failure to help the new farmers with capital, inputs and the relevant
farming support so they could produce.

      On the other hand some of those who got the inputs later put them on
the market making a mockery of the whole project.

      "We went to one farm where, believe it or not, a new farmer was
keeping chicks in a hut, using that as a chicken run," he said. "That is
just being lazy and it shows the land was given to people who have not
aptitude for farming because they cannot even take their own initiatives.
Things have to be improved."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Parliament to discipline Cabinet members

Mail and Guardian

      Johannesburg, South Africa

      03 July 2006 11:06

            Zimbabwe's Parliament is to clamp down on Cabinet ministers not
taking the legislature's business seriously, Harare's Herald newspaper
reported on Monday.

            Its website said a parliamentary committee recommended on Sunday
that the conduct of such ministers be brought to the attention of President
Robert Mugabe.

            After a three-day workshop, the parliamentary liaison and
coordination Committee (LCC) also proposed that the guilty ministers be
summoned to the legislature.

            There has been concern among the lawmakers over the failure by
ministers to respond to issues raised in the House.

            President of the Senate Edna Madzongwe said on Friday the
continued absenteeism of ministers from both Houses during question time was
a cause for concern.

            "The attention of presiding officers of both Houses has been
drawn to the concerns ... with regard to the continued absenteeism of
ministers from both Houses during question time as well as failure to
respond to committee reports and motions," she said.

            "Let me assure you all that presiding officers sympathise with
members' sentiments and we will play our part in ensuring that members of
the executive avail themselves in Parliament when requested." -- Sapa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Naivety that pervades Zimbabwe's political landscape

New Zimbabwe

By Mutumwa Mawere
Last updated: 07/03/2006 09:24:10
THE outgoing Secretary General of the UN, Koffi Annan, who met with
President Robert Mugabe at the AU summit in Banjul over the weekend,
described the waves that Africa had gone through over the past five decades
as follows:

"The first wave was decolonization, the struggle against apartheid and first
attempts at nation building.

The second wave, he said, was a disappointing one marked by civil wars, the
tyranny of military or one-party rule, economic stagnation as a result of
corruption, weak governance, inadequate regulatory systems, state-sanctioned
theft and unchecked external interference."

Annan said the third wave was the new era and called on African leaders to
make this of enduring development, peace and respect for human rights. Under
this third wave, Africa had established itself as a defining voice through
the AU and had many success stories to tell such as the New Economic
Partnership for Africa's Development and the Millennium Development Goals
which had been adopted by many African governments.

While many may disagree with Annan's description, it is true that the
formative years of modern day Africa with a few exceptions started after the
Second World War with the raising of post colonial flags at the time of
political independence. Nation states are like any human being with a birth
day and a life. The history of any nation state is nothing but a story of
its people. In that story, certain individuals stand out as a defining rod
in the journey of a people.

In Africa, such individuals who have defined the African story have tended
to be politicians who emerged from the pre-colonial era angry about
colonialism and its impact on the African majority but without a strategic
agenda for nation building.

I was invited to two birthdays on Sunday and I could not help but reflect on
the meaning of a birthday and the difference a day makes in the story of
human beings and nation states. The oldest African country outside Liberia
and Ethiopia is about 50 years with Zimbabwe only 26 years of age.

In the case of Zimbabwe, the first wave has been dominated by one club,
ZANU-PF, and by one individual, Robert Mugabe. Modern day Zimbabwe has only
had one general to define the nation building agenda and the challenge of
leadership is to take responsibility when things go wrong. Indeed, one who
not need to be genius to know that when a general is in the same trench as
the infantry the battle is lost.

Zimbabwe, like many African countries, started with great promise but today
has reduced itself to a basket case. The tragedy is that there exists no
consensus about the reasons why Zimbabwe is in the predicament it is in. If
Zimbabwe was a business enterprise that was incorporated in 1980 and whose
CEO is President Mugabe, what would Kofi Annan say about him? Would we
classify Zimbabwe as a failed enterprise or blame the market for failing to
respond to the great opportunity offered by its sovereign status. A friend
described Zimbabwe as a tree that has lost all branches and leaves but
remains with its roots and trunk and nothing more to show for the passage of

As I alluded to above, the real problem in the story of Africa is that
politicians have dominated the agenda of nation building and Zimbabwe is a
classic example where the ruling party and the opposition seems not to find
each other on the national question. It is ironic that the opposition has
not been able to comprehend what ZANU-PF has been consistently saying but to
deaf ears.

I found the address by President Mugabe at the funeral of the later Hon.
Minister Jokonya as a good starting point in better explaining the
underlying and fundamental problem confronting Africa and Zimbabwe in
particular. The President rejected the notion of international mediation in
what he described as the so-called political crisis. He further said that
Zimbabwe was a "strong man" who recently turned 26 and is not in the
intensive care although he admitted that the economic health was in trouble.
If one listens carefully to the construction of President Mugabe's logic, it
is clear that he takes no responsibility for the economic health of Zimbabwe
but takes credit for defending the sovereignty of the country.

Although there was much anticipation about the meeting between Mugabe and
Annan, the position of President Mugabe has not changed i.e. that Zimbabwe's
sovereignty is not negotiable. Equally, the proposition that Zimbabwe is
facing a political crisis is not accepted and, in any event, would only be
valid if one accepts that the last election was rigged. With few dissenting
voices about the legitimacy of the government of Zimbabwe among the African
political players, President Mugabe and anyone who accepts that the last
elections were free and fair cannot understand why there is much talk about
mediation and a roadmap leading to nowhere.

With respect to the reasons for the economic meltdown, President Mugabe is
convinced and convincing to many that it is a result of conspiracy by the
Anglo Saxon imperialist machinery led by Britain and the USA over the land
issue. However, for historians, they will record that when Zimbabwe turned
20 in 2000, the signs were already evident that the economy was in bad

President Mugabe said: "We tell the world from this sacred (National
Heroes') Acre that Zimbabwe is not about to die, in fact it will never die.
What Zimbabwe needs is a just and lawful treatment by the Western world, a
recognition that it is a full, sovereign country which has the right to own
and control its resources, the right to chart its own destiny unhindered."

In the noise of political debate, the economic question remains unanswered.
Only last week, I was a guest of a company that was started in 1988 or eight
years after the birth of Zimbabwe that is now boasting of a turnover of
about R60 billion and employing about 82,000 people worldwide. The company
was started by a visionary South Africa who like a farmer sowed the seed and
nurtured it to its present day crop. Like a pilot he knew where he was going
and the passengers were never confused about the direction they were taking.
That is a mark of a true general who built an empire much bigger than the
economy of Zimbabwe over a period less than twenty years. I appreciate that
the example may not be appropriate for nation states but what is common is
that true leaders take responsibility for leading and acting like generals
when confronted by an enemy.

While President Mugabe has argued successfully that a post-colonial economy
is defined by the pre-colonial land ownership architecture, the opposition
appears confused and unsure how to respond. Having gone through a
constitutional reform experiment that yielded no change, they still insist
that the real problem is that Zimbabwe has a constitutional injury that can
only be cured by a new constitution. Such a constitution should form the
basis for dialogue between the divided opposition and the ruling party. They
also want Mugabe to admit that the economic crisis is a result of the
political crisis and not wrong policies.

Only the naïve will expect Mugabe to admit to this indictment. The
opposition also contends that new elections supervised by international
observers should be the subject of discussion between Annan and Mugabe
without defining the legal basis under which such discussions would take
place between the Secretary General of the UN and a President of a sovereign
country like Zimbabwe. The opposition also ignores the fact that only
recently, they won the Budiriro election without a constitutional amendment
and also with no international observers.

Some argue that the naivety that pervades the political landscape in
Zimbabwe is part of the enduring problem confronting the country and unless
the two contenders to the political question can hear each other there
appears to be no prospect for change. Even President Mbeki was smart enough
to realize that the roadmap did not provide any basis for dialogue and its
authorship exposes the fundamental problem that freezes Zimbabwe in a
continued state of crisis with no prospect for any meaningful external

Based on the above, the real question is whether President Mugabe is
culpable for what Annan describes as the most disappointing wave of Africa's
journey i.e. the first generation of post colonial history. Although, the
story of Zimbabwe was marked during its infancy by a civil war, one of the
real disappointment according to Annan in the case of Zimbabwe would be its
flirtation with one-party rule that culminated with the contract that was
signed with ZAPU under which the country has to accommodate two Vice
Presidents and the united party's deal has been financed by the tax payers
of the country.

It is common cause that ZANU-PF's leadership is led by a presidium of four
persons i.e. two from ZANU and the other two from ZAPU. The party structures
also are still constructed on the basis of the unity accord. Historians will
remember that unity was only possible when ZAPU accepted the ZANU
interpretation of the national project that accepts that independence was
born out of the womb of colonialism and imperialism. The story of Zimbabwe
will also say that any opposition party that seeks to depart from this
interpretation that blames all the ills of the country on the former
colonial masters will not be acceptable as a partner in the political
discourse on the future of the country. It is no wonder that Professor
Mutambara constructed his message on this premise.

If it is accepted that the international community has no role to play in
the political discourse of Zimbabwe, the question remains why President
Mugabe is interested in any engagement. Having crystallized and fortified
the land dispossession of white settlers which was opposed by the
international community to no avail, the argument advanced is that the
international community should respond with assistance including the British
who need to compensate the dispossessed kith and kin. It is in this respect,
that a dialogue with Blair would then be located to take care of the
interests of the naïve farmers who invested on the regime change project
with wrong partners. Under this logic, it is only ZANU-PF that can protect
the national question and if need be its principals are prepared to die for
the principles that informed their choice to fight the colonial regime.

Annan also made reference to the impact of corruption on economic
stagnation. On this issue, the opposition has failed to put a case of why a
government that has been accepted as legitimate by many African countries
should be removed and replaced by a transitional authority. While reference
is made on corruption by the opposition, real and concrete cases are missing
from the discourse. The issue of weak governance is also an area that needs
critical examination in better understanding of the Zimbabwean story and who
should be held accountable for the economic failure.

Annan also made reference to the conduct of many African governments during
the second wave particularly in respect of state-sanctioned theft (of which
I am a victim in Zimbabwe) and unchecked external interference.

Although some of the African states have made giant steps to make good on
the promise of independence by investing in development, peace and respect
for human and property rights, it is commonly accepted that Zimbabwe has not
only taken retrogressive steps but appears determined to misbehave.
Ultimately, the question many Zimbabweans would ask after the 26 six year
journey with one pilot is whether they are better of today than they were in
1979. Even the pilot accepts that the journey has been bumpy and the
destination elusive.

While other people argue that the wheels are off, the driver is still
convinced that the journey is still worth it and believers should fasten
their sear belts in case of an expected accident. What a journey and I have
no doubt that 100 years from now future generations will look back and I am
not sure what they will say about this generation that allowed itself to be
blindfolded by the few who arrogated to themselves the right to monopolize
the interpretation of history to themselves while the passengers continue to
wonder whether it will be another 9/11.

Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column appears on New every Monday. You
can contact him at:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare's economy 'to shrink 4.7%'

Business Report

July 3, 2006

 Zimbabwe's economy was expected to shrink 4.7 percent this year, the
Zimbabwe Standard reported yesterday, citing an International Monetary Fund

The economy might shrink by a further 4.1 percent in 2007, the Sunday paper
said on its website. The economy has contracted every year since 2000. -
Bloomberg, Maputo

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Railways without borders' mooted for southern Africa

Business Day

Posted to the web on: 03 July 2006

Khulu Phasiwe


Public Policy Correspondent

BOTTLENECKS at southern African border posts cost the region $48bn a year,
mainly due to cumbersome inspection regimes by customs officials on goods
transported across borders, the ninth Africa Rail summit heard last week.

The costly delays have a domino effect on turnaround times of transport and
logistics service providers, with trains and trucks delaying ships, which
then fail to deliver goods on time.

Transport providers are forced to pay huge penalties for failing to meet
their service obligations to their clients.

It is against this backdrop that rail utility Spoornet has called for the
introduction of "borderless communities" or the creation of a single
inspection standard for freight trains.

Spoornet CEO Siyabonga Gama says either option will reduce congestion at the
border posts and ensure that trains run according to schedule.

Gama says delays at the Beit Bridge border post, the gateway between SA and
neighbouring Zimbabwe, can last up to 12 days due to customs clearance

"You cannot allow that to happen. It's criminal," says Gama.

Spoornet national operations centre GM Shulami Qalinge says that thieves on
the Zimbabwean side of the border often take advantage of the stationary
trains and help themselves to their cargoes of maize and petrol.

"The situation is extremely bad," Qalinge says.

Transport Minister Jeff Radebe says while it is important to address the
problems associated with congestion, it is also important that new rail
links be built between countries to encourage trade.

He says the current rail networks mostly link ports and the hinterland -
showing a legacy of "colonial economic and infrastructure planning that
emphasised mineral extraction and not freight movement".

Spoornet says the first step that must be taken towards the establishment of
regional rail corridors in Africa is the harmonisation of the regional rail

The continent has four different track gauge widths and this makes seamless
interconnectivity between countries impossible.

The other challenge is the upgrade and maintenance of the dilapidated rail

"In Africa, one of our greatest challenges is to restore and maintain rail
infrastructure and to develop corridors to enable the economic role of
railways," Spoornet says.

Poor rail infrastructure is cited as one of the reasons for many customers
switching to trucks as a more efficient and reliable mode of transport.

Analysts say the cost of trucking is, however, 28% more expensive than
rail - making the cost of transportation in Africa very expensive.

A survey conducted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
in 2001 says the average costs of using the railways in landlocked African
countries are 20% higher than in other developing countries.

Road networks are also in bad condition, mainly due to the migration to
"road-unfriendly traffic" in the absence of reliable rail networks.

The transport department has challenged African railway companies to take
advantage of their capability to transport large quantities of goods, and
position themselves to be the transport mode of choice for imports and

Gama acknowledges that Spoornet has lost a huge share of its market to the
trucking industry. He says Spoornet's market share has shrunk to 10% since
the deregulation of the transport industry in the 1990s.

The plan is to increase Spoornet's market share to 30% in the next five
years, says Gama.

According to the transport department, rail traffic grew a mere 0,3% between
1993 and 2004, while road traffic rose 5%.

SA's largest research group, the Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research, calculated that in 2004 rail carried 180-million tons of the
country's total freight of 1,150-billion tons. Spoornet had a market share
of 15% then.

Buoyed by SA's growing economy, Radede says the number of new trucks on the
roads has increased 16,5% over the past three years while the number of
locomotives and wagons had decreased 33% and 28% respectively.

"The failure of rail to move increasing traffic required by our growing
economy has no doubt reduced the economic growth of SA. We need to release
the brakes that poor rail services have placed on our economy," Radebe says.

In a bid to regain its market share, Spoornet says it will spend R7,2bn this
year on new locomotives and on upgrading its rail infrastructure.

The parastatal, which recently announced a R31bn capital investment
programme over the next five years, has already ordered 110 new electric
locomotives from manufacturers Mitsui, Toshiba and Union Carriage and Wagon.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Witchcraft ban ends in Zimbabwe


            By Steve Vickers
            BBC, Harare

      Zimbabwe has unbanned the practice of witchcraft, repealing
legislation dating back to colonial rule.

      From July the government acknowledges that supernatural powers
exists - but prohibits the use of magic to cause someone harm.

      In 1899, colonial settlers made it a crime to accuse someone of being
a witch or wizard - wary of the witch hunts in Europe a few centuries
earlier which saw many people burned at the stake after such accusations.

      But to most Zimbabweans, especially those who grew up in the rural
areas, it has been absurd to say that the supernatural does not exist.

      In fact, it is not hard to find vivid stories about the use of magic.

      Alfred, for example, believes that he was bewitched at work some years
ago, making him partly bald.

      He described how after supper one evening as he and his wife were
retiring to bed his hair disappeared.

      "When my wife came into the bedroom she look at me and said, 'What
happened to your hair? Where's it gone?'

      "She saw a bald patch from the forehead going back on the side of the
head. There was no trace of it," he says.

      He spent seven months visiting traditional healers to make it grow

      "She made some incisions round the bald patch, put some powdery muti
(medicine) and lo and behold within a few day the hair had grown."


      There are many other accounts of the use of magic, and the new law
effectively legitimises many practices of traditional healers.

      These include rolling bones to foretell the future, divination,
attempts to communicate with the dead, using muti - traditional powders and
fetishes - to ensure the desired sex of a child.

      But there will be some legal grey areas, like whether it is legal for
a husband to place some charms in his bedroom - charms that may injure his
wife if she is unfaithful.

      Professor Claude Mararikei - a sociologist and the chairman of
Zimbabwe's Traditional Medical Practitioner's Council - argues that
witchcraft has some positive benefits in the modern world.

      He cites the example of a man who stole some bewitched cement that
became stuck to the thief's shoulders so he could not remove the bag.

      "So if you have that knowledge to capture a thief in a cattle kraal
when he comes for the cows, well and good. It's like electrifying the fence
round your house," he says.

      'Waste of time'

      Others believe that the country would be better off without elevating
the supernatural.

      "I think it's a waste of time and energy. The urban areas are not
really caught up in these supernatural issues," says social commentator
Thomas Deve.

            Traditional healers uses leaves and roots for their medicines

      "Claims of witchcraft need to be investigated instead of putting down
every disorder in society that is taking in our society to witchcraft or
modern magic," he adds.

      The church in Zimbabwe has always believed that witchcraft exists, but
it has been careful to establish the source of such supernatural powers.

      "As Christians we've got to recognise that supernatural forces are
good if they originate from God - now witchcraft is one of the things that
originates from the Satanic world," says Reverend Roy Musasiwa who runs a
theological college in the capital, Harare.

      The Witchcraft Suppression Act was used fairly frequently, but
prosecuting someone under the new legislation may prove difficult.

      The new Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act will demand proof
that a person has supernatural powers and that they are using them to harm

      "It's not going to be easy task," says Custom Kachambwa, a judge with
years of experience in the legal field.

      He says witnesses will often be traditional healers, who could be
accused of practising harmful magic in the future.

      But whatever the problems, the repealing of the witchcraft laws is
another sign that Zimbabwe's government is continuing to move away from
Western values and placing more emphasis on the country's own traditions.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Striking Down the Taboos About Albinism

Inter Press Service

Moyiga Nduru

JOHANNESBURG, Jul 2 (IPS) - A variety of ailments can affect people with
albinism, an inherited genetic condition characterised by the absence of
melanin in skin, eyes and hair. But, the challenges confronting albinos do
not end there: all too often, they are shunned and discriminated against as
well, in Southern Africa and elsewhere.

"Traditionally it's a taboo or a curse to give birth to an albino. Some
people believe that having an albino is the result of bewitchment in a
family," said John Makumbe, professor of political science at the University
of Zimbabwe, and president of the Zimbabwe Albino Association -- a
non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in the capital, Harare. He puts
the number of people with albinism in his country at about 14,000.

Suspicion about inter-racial relationships may also come into play. "I was
nearly killed at birth. The midwife thought my mother was misbehaving with
some white missionaries around our area," Makumbe told IPS.

"Many times people refer to me as a white person. Initially it was a form of
insult; now it has become a joke. Some of my friends say 'You white man,
have you got a farm? We want to invade it'," he said, in reference to the
farm occupations that began in Zimbabwe in 2000, ostensibly to correct
racial imbalances in land ownership that dated back to the colonial era.

But, Makumbe is not one to take such comments lying down: "I sometimes refer
to my friends as 'you black boys' or 'you niggers'! Everybody laughs. That's
how you fight stigma." While rare, albinism affects all race groups.

Lorato Moswane, a South African accountant with albinism, chuckles when
asked whether people view her as a white person. "I don't know," she told
IPS, in the commercial centre of Johannesburg. "But whenever I walk around
places people look at me curiously."

All of this can make romantic relationships difficult to forge.

"You can fall in love but the sisters, parents and friends may not like it.
They will say you are degrading their family. The lady will end up dumping
you because she can't stand the pressure. Others will just disappear without
telling you," said Sanele Mtshazo, an investigator with albinism who works
for the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa.

The ailments that typically afflict albinos can compromise their education
and job prospects, although some efforts are being made to remedy this.

"About 96 percent of people with albinism have eye problems. They can either
be short or long sighted," Arnold Christianson, a professor of human
genetics at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, told IPS.

Noted Mtshazo, "Short sightedness.reduces speed in terms of typing and
writing. For example, I need more time to type and write than a person
without albinism.''

"In school I had always to sit in front because of my eyesight, and because
of my slow response to reading and writing I never finished exams," he told
IPS. "In those days, there was no extra time (to compensate for eye
problems). A few universities now allow for extra time.when requested."

Similarly, every school and university in Zimbabwe must ensure that students
with albinism are supplied with examination papers in large print. Learners
also have the benefit of special text books written in large print.

But, while ways of dealing with poor vision can be found in the classroom, a
test for a driver's licence offers less room to manoeuvre.

"Even with spectacles most of us can't pass the eye test for driving, (but)
most employers prefer people with a driver's licence," observed Mtshazo.

Their lack of melanin means albinos cannot do jobs which entail lengthy
exposure to the sun. Melanin "protects the skin (and) the back of the eye,
called the retina, from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. Without
melanin, the sun burns the eyes and the skin very easily," said

This puts people with albinism at higher risk of skin cancer.

"You develop blisters when you stand in the sun; always you have to work
under shelter," said Mtshazo. As a result, "You can't work in
construction.because your body doesn't contain the pigment to protect you
against the sun."

Faced with such challenges, various NGOs for people with albinism are
conducting a variety of initiatives in a bid to improve matters.

"We visit church leaders, tribal leaders and councilors to appeal to them to
help people with albinism with hats, creams and sunglasses," said Joseph
Ndinomupya, president of the Namibia Albinism Association Trust, an NGO
which also looks to companies for assistance.

Elsewhere, the Albinism Society of South Africa has designated September
albinism month.

"We encourage church leaders, social workers and teachers to speak on the
condition of albinism," said Tony Ngwenya, director of the
Johannesburg-based organisation. In South Africa one in every 4,000 persons
has albinism.

While a lack of funding prevents the society from conducting programmes in
the workplace to educate employers about albinism, there is an outreach to
schools at present: "We have a school competition this year. It's an essay
competition on albinism which closes in July. We encourage students to
research and write about albinos."

In Zimbabwe, said Makumbe, there have been successful efforts to move albino
teachers from hot areas to milder parts, where they will be safer from the

"Some ministries have also approached us to employ our people as clerks and
office messengers," he noted. "We tried to get some albinos to work in
industry, but we found that some chemicals affect their skin."

Makumbe's association receives almost 2,500 U.S. dollars a month from Econet
Wireless, a Harare-based company. "This goes a long way to paying salaries
and meeting the rent of our office," he said. "But it's very hard to raise
fund for albinos."

Still, he noted, "In Zimbabwe, discrimination against albinos is gradually
fading away. Women are unlikely to kill their children at birth for fear
that people would laugh at them."

The situation elsewhere in the region is less promising, he believes.

"We have worked with albinos in Namibia but they are not getting the support
of the authorities there. In Botswana, we didn't get anywhere. In Mozambique
it was fruitless. Up to now Mozambicans come over to Zimbabwe to collect
(skin) lotions to deliver to people with albinism in Mozambique."

These words are echoed by Ndinomupya, "Our situation is desperate," he told
IPS, estimating that the number of people with albinism in his country was
in the region of 1,000.

Statistics suggest that it is in Africa's interest to develop solutions to
the problems faced by people with albinism as rapidly as possible.

"It would appear that people in Africa have a higher prevalence of people
born with albinism. The frequency is about one per 4,000 to 5,000 persons,"
noted Christianson, adding that in country like Denmark, it is one in
60,000. (END/2006)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

Inner City Press, New York

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 -- As thousands of Zimbabweans seeking asylum are
forcibly returned, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he will give
"time and space" to Robert Mugabe's handpicked mediator. Speaking to the
press about Zimbabwe on July 2 following the meetings of the African Union,
the UN Secretary General announced that "the former Tanzanian President, Ben
Mkapa, had been appointed as a mediator. I told President Mugabe that I was
committed to helping Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe... and we both
agreed that the new mediator, former Tanzanian President Mkapa, should be
given the time and space to work."

            At the noon briefing at UN Headquarters on Monday, Inner City
Press began questioning by asked if this means that the Secretary-General
will not visit Zimbabwe to see the mass evictions, and that the treatment of
those being forcibly returned to Zimbabwe by South Africa, profiled in the
current Frontline World, will continue unchecked by the UN.  (Video here;
questions start at Minute 12.) The spokeswoman responded that the Secretary
General would not throw his weigh behind a process he didn't believe it, but
that she would check into Mr. Mkapa's mandate and get back to reporters.

            The questions only grow. Rudimentary research shows that after
the 2002 elections in Zimbabwe, Mkapa wrote to Mugabe that "your firmness
was good for all Africa." (AP of March 13, 2002.) Then-Foreign Secretary of
Security Council member Britain, Jack Straw, said this "firmness" included
having "prevented voters from registering, instructed the police to break up
rallies, had the leader of the opposition arrested and reduced the number of
polling stations in opposition strongholds."  Observers have noted that Mr.
Mtapa was appointed by Mugabe himself, less as a mediator than as an
ambassador. Where goes this leave the people in Zimbabwe, particularly those
who fleeing or seeking to flee the country, now said to number close to
three million?

            Before the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN's
refugee agency UNHCR to explain its position "on which of those leaving
Zimbabwe are refugees and the propriety of forced return to Zimbabwe?"
Within hours, this response was received:


To: [and 2 at UNHCR]

Sent: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 11:50:23 +0200

Subject: Re: Two UNHCR press questions: forcible return to China of
Huseyincan Celil, and UNHCR actions / position

  Dear Matthew

There are indeed many Zimbabweans deported from South Africa. However, we
have not found them to be refugees or asylum seekers in the process of
requesting refugee status. South Africa has strong legal structures in place
for refugees to prevent refoulement -- the forcible return of refugees to
the country they have fled -- and we believe that is the practice. We
monitor the process to the extent that our resources permit, including
visiting the detention centre where most of those deported are held. An area
of concern for UNHCR has been the slow processing of asylum requests -- 
which affects those from many countries incluidng Zimbabwe -- but the
government has now launched a "backlog project" that aims to clear some
100,000 pending applications over the next year.

Instead of being refugees and asylum seekers, the deportations of
Zimbabweans have involved migrants. While the story you noted mentions some
two million Zimbabweans in South Africa, we do not have an authoritative
figure. That figure could well be correct since the lowest estimates are
still hundreds of thousands, which may be rising with the economic
deterioration in Zimbabwe. I was there a few weeks ago and life is clearly
difficult. However, relatively few Zimbabweans have requested refugee status
in South Africa. The queue of asylum applications (submitted by July 2005)
facing the backlog project in early April of this year numbered more than
103,000. Of those, about 10 percent were Zimbabweans. The largest number of
applicants were from Democratic Republic of Congo. Most Zimbabweans here
have not requested asylum and those are the people who are being deported.
This is a situation that UNHCR will continue to watch closely to ensure
those with the right to refugee status receive it, but the problem you are
enquiring about is mainly the bigger, more complex question of migration.
Migration is moving up the list of international concerns and will be
discussed this coming autumn at the United Nations.

Best regards, Jack Redden, Senior Regional Global Public Information
Officer, Pretoria

            This is certainly a faster and more comprehensive response than
from, from example, the UN Development Programme (see last week's Inner City
Press UN Reports, and see below). But not only does it not address the
headlined case of refoulement from Uzbekistan to China -- UNHCR does not
explain why people who flee saying that in Zimbabwe they face torture, rape
in prison or even, in the continuum, the destruction of their homes in
Operation Murambatsvina -- "Drive out Filth" -- are not refugees.  In fact,
Mr. Redden was quoted last month that " The number of Zimbabweans applying
for asylum in South Africa rose sharply in the first three months of this
year to 7,211. Zimbabweans account for 38 percent of the total 18,800
requests." And yet by November 2005, only 86 Zimbabweans had been approved
for refuge status.

            Some question whether the approach of UN and UNHCR to South
Africa's and others' treatment of those fleeing Zimbabwe is less a matter of
following international law and more a matter of history and politics. The
same may be asked of the fast announcement and seeming deference to a
purported mediator who had already made his position known, and who was
unilaterally appointed by Mugabe himself. We'll see.

            Inner City Press also asked if the Secretary General's
discussions in Banjul included the situations in Uganda, including the
negotiations with the Lord's Resistance Army, whose leaders are under
indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.  The
spokeswoman said she was not aware of any discussions on the topic, but
would check. The UN Development Program over the weekend, simultaneously
with UNHCR, was asked in writing:

"that if and when UNDP restarts disarmament programs or assistance to
disarmament programs in eastern Uganda / Karamoja, an announcement be made.
The decision to halt is still not on UNDP Uganda's web site (or UNDP's web
site); this request is that confirmation and any restart be announced, as
was the halt, and last week's Fenway Park award ceremony, at the noon
briefing of Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, hence the
cc's [to Kofi Annan's Spokesman's Office].

 Also, we'd like to request an interview with either UNDP's Africa regional
director Gilbert Houngbo and / or the Administrator.  You could tell Mr.
Houngbo, to whom this is cc-ed, that the interview will concern not only the
Uganda issues, but also, inter alia, UNDP's activities in Somalia  and the
DR Congo (the disarmament component of which we would like information on,
beyond that at and, respectively). Also, Kenya.

  For your information, I am pasting below two articles from Uganda, in
which the UPDF reiterates it will continue with cordon and search
disarmament, and a particular incident in Karamoja; also, one re disarmament
in Kenya. Please ensure confirm that notification will be provided of any
restart by UNDP disarmament programs or assistance to disarmament programs
in eastern Uganda / Karamoja. Thank you.

            As of mid-afternoon Monday, no response had been received. A
next question will concern UNDP's engagements with Zimbabwe. And the beat
goes on...


 USA (UNHQ-NYC) Tel: 718-716-3540

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Consumer Basket to Hit $60 Million

The Herald (Harare)

July 3, 2006
Posted to the web July 3, 2006


THE cost of living for a family of six for the month of June is set to shoot
to almost $60 million from $49,1 million owing to the recent increases in
prices of goods, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said on Friday.

CCZ chairperson, Mr Phillip Bvumbe, said the latest figures would be
released during the first week of July as data was still being received from
the various regions.

"The consumer basket for the month of June is expected to be around $58
million due to the recent increases in goods such as medical aid fees,
rentals, transport, bread and petrol," he said.

Surveys for the consumer basket are conducted twice a month while the basket
is calculated by averaging the prices of goods in retail outlets across the
country. The consumer basket has maintained an upward trend since the
beginning of the year owing to incessant price increases which continue to
erode consumers' purchasing power. Mr Bvumbe condemned parallel market
activities as well as profiteering by some retailers, which he said were
impacting negatively on the consumers. On the other hand the consumers'
disposable incomes have continued to decline in the face of escalating

Mr Bvumbe, however, said reintroduction of price controls would not work in
a hyperinflationary environment where annual inflation is hovering around 1
200 percent. Instead, he called for dialogue and support for the new
National Economic Development Priority Programme in a bid to revive the
country's economy. -- New Ziana.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

AU rejects Zimbabwe report

From The Sunday Argus (SA), 2 July

By Beauregard Tromp

As UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised African leaders gathered in
Banjul, Gambia, for their positive steps towards human rights and democracy,
they again rejected a report by one of their own agencies which criticised
gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The African Commission on
Human and People's Rights report on Zimbabwe was presented to a ministerial
meeting of the AU held ahead of the organisation's summit of leaders which
began in Banjul yesterday. But the ministers rejected the report in a vote
and it will not be presented to the presidents for possible adoption. This
setback for human rights on the continent followed an earlier decision by
the AU ministers not to adopt a charter of democracy and good governance
which would have punished African presidents who doctor their constitutions
purely to cling to power. The ministers sent this report back for
consideration by a special committee of officials after objections from
several governments, most notably that of Uganda. Ugandan president Yoweri
Museveni recently amended his country's constitution to do away with the
two-term limits for presidents.

The proposed charter, strongly backed by AU Commissioner Alpha Konare, would
have allowed the AU to suspend member governments who manipulate their
constitutions to cling to power in this way. This would have considerably
extended the frontiers of the AU's efforts to entrench democracy on the
continent. At present the organisation only has powers to suspend member
governments which come to power by "unconstitutional means" - mainly
military coups. Yet, increasingly, African leaders, many who have seized
power by coups, entrench and consolidate their power through fraudulent
elections or through manipulating constitutions to extend their terms in
office. The Zimbabwe report by the African Commission on Human and People's
Rights was first presented to the AU summit in Abuja in 2004, but was not
considered then because the AU accepted Zimbabwe's argument that it had not
been given an opportunity to respond. A year later the AU again failed to
adopt it on the grounds that it had not been translated into all the
organisation's official languages. Human rights activists regard these moves
as evasive tactics by the AU to avoid confronting human rights abuses by
President Robert Mugabe's government.

The moves cast an ironic light on the praise which Annan bestowed on the AU
in his address to the summit yesterday. He pointed to the view by African
leaders just nine years ago that human rights were "an imposition, if not a
plot by the industrialised West". "Since then, I believe African leaders
have demonstrated that human rights are African rights. The rejection of
those who sieze power through coups is now accepted as a founding principle
of this union," said Annan. "I believe that Africa is close to establishing
a norm that will make it no more legitimate to cling to power by
unconstitutional means than it is to come to power by them, and which will
rule out ad hoc constitutional amendments to prolong the power of a
particular ruler," he added. He was referring to the proposed charter, which
has now been put on hold. Annan hopes to meet Mugabe on the periphery of the
meeting this weekend to discuss humanitarian problems in Zimbabwe and the
need for political and economic reforms, including a bail-out package. Last
year Annan's special envoy Annan Tibaijuka published a highly critical
report on Mugabe's campaign to eliminate shacks and informal settlements.
Annan has been trying to arrange a follow-up meeting since then but Mugabe
has been keeping him at bay.

It has been 10 years since Annan addressed the summit of the then
Organisation for African Unity for the first time in Harare. At that time
Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of southern Africa. Ten years later Annan is
trying to broker a deal with a very different country, one which suffers
from chronic poverty and is infamous for having the highest inflation in the
world. Annan lauded Africa for its advances in increasing primary school
enrolment, especially of girls. He also praised the drop in Aids prevalence
in several African countries due to the implementation of prevention and
treatment strategies. Annan singled out South Africa for praise in economic
growth, it being the third largest investor in Africa after the UK and
China. Annan also cautioned about a new scramble for Africa taking place - a
reference to the drive by China and others for Africa's oil and mineral
resources. Annan said he hoped this would benefit men and women of Africa
and that agreements signed with investors would be equitable.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Margaret Dongo interview

From PBS Frontline/World (US), 27 June

Margaret Dongo, one of Zimbabwe's most famous freedom fighters, took up arms
at the age of 15 in the chimurenga (or liberation war) against colonial
rule. In 1980, when Zimbabwe gained independence, Dongo joined Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF Party, and she held a number of government posts. She
eventually became disillusioned with the ruling party, and in the 1995
elections, Dongo ran for parliament as an Independent, but lost to the
official Zanu representative. She challenged the results in court and won,
becoming the first Independent member of parliament in Zimbabwe. Dongo
served until 2000.Today she is president of the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats
and continues to advocate for democracy and human rights. In this interview,
Dongo talks about the early struggle, about serving under Mugabe, and about
why Zimbabwe is an important yardstick for Africa's future.

Alexis Bloom: You've had many different chapters in your life. What was your
involvement in the liberation struggle?

Margaret Dongo: I was one of the former freedom fighters. The liberation
struggle was in 1975. And I was 15 years old. I got training at one of the
military camps. I was trained as a medical assistant, the equivalent of a
nursing assistant. In every section platoon, there has to be someone with a
nursing background who could render immediate assistance - be it in the
battlefield or inside the camp. You were giving first aid to the victims of
the struggle. It was a very good experience because it strengthened me both
mentally and physically. If you go into the refugee camp or if you cover
guerrilla warfare, living in those camps is not a happy life. There's no
shelter, you're almost living like an animal, there is no preferences in
terms of sex - a woman and a man are treated in the same manner. I thought
life was going to be easy, but for me it was about the ideals of the
liberation struggle.

Why did you join the struggle?

The reason that I joined the liberation struggle, my dear, was that I wanted
to remove the discrimination, the imbalances in terms of economy, in terms
of land distribution, in terms of social life. I remember very well my dad.
I grew up in a highly political family. I remember the early 1970s, when I
could hear my dad talking about the discrimination, how they were not
allowed to move in the apartments and so forth, black shoulders with white.
When I joined the struggle, we were fighting for democracy, even though that
word was not used widely during those times. What we used to talk about was
oppression. We were fighting against lack of equal access to education, lack
of equal access to employment, lack of equal access to distribution of
wealth. The same thing as if it's happening under a black government, people
have to fight it. I've always said to people, I didn't hold a gun to remove
[Ian Smith]. But I did hold a gun to fight for these imbalances, in a
democratic system that prevailed at that time.

What about Zimbabwe today?

There is no reason why Zimbabweans today should watch our country go down
the drain. Look at the time it took to build it up. That one can just
destroy it overnight is something very painful. There are people who
perished, people who fought a genuine fight, people who wanted genuine
change. It was not about creating another dictatorship, creating another
oppressive system, where you cannot exercise your rights. Today most people
have to leave as a result of instability in the economy - some to
Mozambique, to Tanzania, to Zambia, to Britain, some to America. If you look
at the political environment, people aren't allowed the freedom to speak
their views. As long as fear of the unknown exists, it becomes difficult.
Where is the liberation now? We talked about exile back during the political
movements - the ANC, the Zanu, Zapu times - and yet today, again, exile is
an issue on the table.

to be continued...

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

AU criticized as Annan and Mbeki back off from Zimbabwe

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      03 July 2006

      There has been widespread international criticism of United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and South African President Thabo Mbeki, who
this weekend left it up to former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa to try
and find a solution to the ongoing Zimbabwean crisis. It had been hoped that
a planned meeting between them and Robert Mugabe at the African Union summit
that started Sunday in Banjul, Gambia would bear fruit. But reports say that
Annan met Mugabe for less than an hour. He then told journalists that Mkapa
has been working quietly with Robert Mugabe and there was no need for two

      Tim Hughes at The South African Institute of International Affairs
said he was overwhelmingly disappointed at the outcome of the summit. He
said: "What is particularly significant is that the AU itself did not place
any pressure it seems on Mugabe to accept Kofi Annan and the United Nations
as an honest broker." This was the general reaction of most analysts and
political activists who had hoped for some progress this time around. A
statement released by MP Douglas Gibson, foreign affairs spokesman for South
Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance said: "Robert Mugabe has again
outwitted President Thabo Mbeki, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the
African Union. This man is able to thumb his nose at the world in the
knowledge that nothing will be done to hasten his departure from power and
that the majority of African Heads of State approve of what he does."

      After meeting Mugabe Annan said they had both agreed Mkapa should be
given the time and space to do his work. What he did not address was the
fact that Mkapa is Mugabe's friend and ally who praised him recently and
attacked those who criticise the land reform programme. Hughes said he is
hardly surprised that Mugabe picked Mkapa. He described the former Tanzanian
leader as one of his staunchest allies and said he will play the role of
defender instead of being an honest broker. According to The Star newspaper
in South Africa, Mkapa "does not enjoy any official backing - certainly not
from Britain." The paper said the British Minister for Africa, Lord David
Triesman, reacted with disappointment at Annan's announcement saying he had
hoped Kofi Annan would take an initiative. Triesman also said it was up to
the Zimbabwean people to decide their future, and that the UK would continue
giving aid.

      Annan has also been ridiculed for praising the African heads of State
for taking positive steps towards human rights and democracy, even though a
report by The African Commission on Human and People's Rights condemning
serious violations by the Mugabe regime was again not adopted by the heads
of state. This is the fourth time this report by the African Commission has
been rejected. The first time was at the AU summit in Abuja in 2004 when
Zimbabwe complained that it had not been given ample time to respond. In
2005 the AU again failed to adopt the report, saying it had not been
translated into all the official languages of the organisation. Tim Hughes
said its still early days for the AU but it has failed significantly so far
in Darfur and in Zimbabwe.

      In another very disappointing development the AU ministers failed to
adopt a charter of democracy and good governance which was seeking to punish
African leaders who amend their constitutions in order to hold on to power.
The statement by the DA's Douglas Gibson said: "Those who care about the
African union can only shake their heads and wonder whether the sad past of
the OAU is to be repeated."

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Refugees in Zimbabwe attack UNHCR for lack of care

      By Dennis Rekayi

      CHIPINGE - Refugees in Zimbabwe boycotted the World Refugees' Day
celebrations held at Tongogara Refugee Camp accusing the United Nations'
refugee agency of neglecting their welfare.

      The World Refugees' Day celebrations were held a fortnight ago and the
day is recognised internationally.

      Out of about 2 500 refugees staying at the camp only about 200, mostly
children, attended the celebrations which were graced by Cabinet Ministers,
senior government officials and officials from the refugee agency, the
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

      The refugees are mostly from troubled countries such as Rwanda,
Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.
      They allege the UNHCR office in Harare had failed to provide them with
adequate blankets during this winter period and that they do no have
sufficient food rations.

      Esther Kiragu, the UNHCR protection officer in Zimbabwe, said at times
her office fails to cope with the needs of the foreign nationals.
      "At times we do not have it all," Kiragu said when asked to comment on
the refugees' complaints.

      The refugees alleged the UNHCR always provides plenty of foodstuffs
during the annual World Refugees' Day celebrations but at the same time fail
to cater for their basic everyday needs.

      "We have boycotted the celebrations because we have not been given
blankets yet it is very cold here," said a 28-year old man from Rwanda.

      Another refugee from the DRC said: "Food is just not enough here so
what is there for us to celebrate when we are starving."

      Nicholas Goche, the Minister of Public Service, Manicaland Governor
Tinaye Chigudu, Morris Sakabuya, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and
Isaac Mukaro, the commissioner for refugees in Zimbabwe, all attended the

      This is not the first time refugees stationed at Tongogara Refugee
Camp have rebelled against authorities.

      Three years ago armed police had to intervene to quell disturbances
that had been sparked by refugees from the DRC who wanted their Rwandan
counterparts removed from the camp accusing them of having participated in
the 1994 genocide which left about a million Rwandans of Tutsi origin and
politically moderate Hutus dead in 100 days of blood shed.

      Zimbabwe is home to about 11 000 refugees most of whom stay in urban

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

For African states, ending graft is like committing suicide

East African

By Charles Onyango-Obbo

There are African presidents who, occasionally, break with the mould and
speak the plain truth. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni used to be a great
one for that.

These days, you can expect some refreshing performances from Nigeria's
Olusegun Obasanjo, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, and
even Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. But, most particularly, Senegal's Abdoulaye

Last week Wade, one of the crafters of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad), said it had failed miserably. Under Nepad, Africans
leaders agreed to adopt higher standards of managing their countries'
affairs; stop stealing the people's money and oppressing them; and allow
their peers to review the way they were running things. In exchange, the
donor countries would increase their development aid support; and write off
the foreign debt of the nations that made the grade.

Wade said nothing had come out of Nepad partly because lousy managers had
been appointed to run it, and very few countries had submitted themselves to
peer review. Though aid and debt forgiveness came, there was little to show
for it. "Nepad has not built a single mile of road," he said. He promised,
however, that the problems that have plagued it would be fixed. That said,
any new efforts might still change Africa's corrupt ways only marginally, if
at all.

One reason is that corruption today forms the building block of nearly every
African political enterprise. Something happened on this fair continent when
the euphoria of independence began to fade at the close of the 1960s and the
commodity export economies started collapsing in the 1970s. In the 1980s,
most African countries were buried and only started to resurrect in the
mid-1990s. Some, like Somalia, still remain in limbo.

The economic crisis into which most countries plunged eroded the ability of
governments to win legitimacy and support through offering public goods like
new schools, hospitals and roads.

Because bankrupt governments could no longer win popularity through things
like provision of services, the architecture of patronage changed.

Governments' main resource was no longer, for example, how many jobs they
created, but how many of the existing jobs they could give out to cronies.

Where previously a government would build a road to a county and then top it
off with a dispensary, it now moved to picking out a few people from the
tribe living in that area and feeding them on "behalf" of their tribe.

Several governments succeeded remarkably at this. Corruption and nepotism
came to serve a representational purpose. To this day, delegations come from
upcountry to many African State Houses not to demand a road or electricity
for their district, but to complain that the president hasn't appointed
their "son" to a plump job.

But for corruption to become as entrenched as it has, it needed something
else to fuel the culture of unaccountability. That partly came through the
donor money that was poured into some of the basket cases.

Donor funds were seen either to be free, or were viewed as strangers' money;
therefore, the kind of guilt that people feel at stealing from a neighour
was absent when they looted it.

In this way, many African countries plunged into the Catch-22 morass they
are in today. Because they are poor, corruption thrives. And as long as
their governments remain corrupt, they can't deal with graft - one of the
key factors entrenching poverty.

No African country has been able to deal effectively with corruption through
conventional reform. In those that have made some successes, like Rwanda,
the old state and extraction networks first had to collapse and dissolve in
the war and genocide of 1994.

The moral of this tale is very scary.

Charles Onyango-Obbo is Nation Media Group's managing editor for convergence
and new products.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Murder victims' families demand Z$250 million each from Zimbabwe police

Zim Online

Mon 3 July 2006

      BULAWAYO - The families of two men brutally murdered by police
officers here last week are demanding Z$500 million from the law enforcement
agency as compensation for the loss of their relatives, ZimOnline has

      The men, Gift Jubane, 25 and Prince Ndebele, 17 and who were cousins,
were beaten to death by at least two police officers after one of them had
remarked that it were better President Robert Mugabe had died instead of
former information minister Tichaona Jokonya, who died earlier last week.

      The deceased men's families also want police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena to retract claims he made last week that sought to portray the
death of their relatives as having been accidental after they were assaulted
by police constables who were investigating the theft of a water pump.

      "We were upset by the police's behaviour. First they murder our sons
and then they lie to the nation that they were theft suspects," a relative
of the deceased men, who did not want to be named said.

      Senior Assistant Commissioner Lee Muchemwa in charge of police in
Bulawayo is said to have agreed to pay the money demanded by the deceased
men's families, while Bvudzijena said the police officers accused of
murdering the men would appear in court.

      "We do not condone such behaviour from our officers and right now they
are serving punishment under the Police Act. After that they will appear
before a criminal court to face murder charges. We are grieving with the
families but unfortunately, that is as far as we can go," said Bvudzijena,
who also denied seeking to cover up on the murder of the men.

      Bvudzijena said he had relied on information supplied by the police in
Bulawayo when he claimed the men had died accidentally after they were
assaulted during an investigation.

      Several Zimbabweans have been arrested, beaten up and tortured by the
police, soldiers or agents of the state's spy Central Intelligence
Organisation for denigrating Mugabe, held by many in this country as
directly responsible for the collapse of its once brilliant economy.

      But last week's murder of the Bulawayo men is the first time that
anyone has been killed for insulting Mugabe.

      While ordinary Zimbabweans have to face the wrath of the police, army
and secret service agents if caught insulting Mugabe, journalists face up to
20 years in jail if convicted of denigrating the 82-year old President in
their articles.

      A grinding economic crisis that has seen inflation shooting beyond 1
000 percent and caused shortages of food, fuel, electricity, essential
medicines and just about every basic survival commodity has seen Mugabe -
once revered as founder of the nation - become an object of hate as
Zimbabweans blame repression and wrong economic policies by his government
for ruining the country. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bulawayo Mayor gets dose of WOZA 'Tough Love'

      By Violet Gonda
      3 July 06

      Bulawayo Mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube was forced to listen to the plight
of informal traders when an estimated 500 activists from Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA) marched to City Hall, Monday. WOZA had warned the Bulawayo City
Council to stop participating in the government's ongoing evictions of
informal traders. "The Mayor was given a deadline of one week to stop these
activities or he would face a dose of 'Tough Love' from WOZA. The week being
up, WOZA delivered on its promise."

      Thousands of people were left homeless and without their informal
businesses when the government embarked on Operation Murambatsvina last
year. Despite telling the international community that the evictions had
been stopped the government is continuing with the illegal evictions,
including raids on street vendors who are trying to eke out a living in the
face of crippling economic hardships.

      Some of those affected are WOZA women who making their living from
selling vegetables to feed their families. It was these women who took to
the streets in Bulawayo to put pressure on the MDC mayor to lobby the
Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo and the Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri to allow people the right to trade.

      WOZA Coordinator Jenni Williams said, "We want the mayor to make more
effective representation to Chombo and Chihuri that under the African
Charter we have a right to trade and government is unbound to give us the
means to survive without turning us into criminals and prostitutes."

      One of the demonstrators Rudo said the women who marched peacefully
from the Revenue Hall to the City Hall were able to talk to the mayor who
promised to address their grievances. They sat outside the entrance to City
Hall singing in Ndebele, "Ndabeni, please tell Chombo, Chihuri and Mathema
that we want to be allowed to sell."

      But observers say the likelihood of the MDC mayor being able to
influence the government were slim, especially as Minister Chombo has been
on a warpath driving out MDC mayors across the countries.

      When asked if much could be expected from the Mayor, Williams
responded by saying, "Well he is our City Father. He was put there by people
and he can be removed by these people. In the same way how can a mother tell
her child - sorry I can't sell, I can't send you to school because my hands
are tied by Chombo. It doesn't work that way. He has to be accountable to
the people and if he calls himself a city father of the City of Kings, he
must make a plan."

      Meanwhile sixty-three WOZA members arrested on Valentine's Day
appeared in court again Monday in Harare. They are being charged under the
Miscellaneous Offences Act for conduct likely to disturb the ordinary
comfort of the public. The trial has yet to begin and has once again been
postponed, this time to 11th July.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Army Officers Face Charge of Obstructing Justice

The Herald (Harare)

July 3, 2006
Posted to the web July 3, 2006


TWO army officers based at Inkomo Barracks in Nyabira who allegedly received
and concealed pistols used by the jailed Tynwald trio in another robbery
committed at Amalinda Farm are facing the charge of obstructing or defeating
the course of justice.

Warrant Officer Atherecious Mutenga (43) who was represented by Mr Charles
Chinyama and Lieutenant Munyaradzi Chatonzwa (26), were not asked to plead
when they appeared in court last Friday.

They were remanded in custody to today for a ruling on their bail

Prosecutor Mr Douglas Chesa said the incident took place in January this
year when the two soldiers received a stolen .22 rifle and a Star pistol
from a fellow soldier Weston Kandira after his alleged robbery with some of
the jailed Tynwald robbers and rapists.

Upon receiving the guns from Kandira, who is currently in remand prison on
armed robbery charges, the duo allegedly concealed them at an unknown place.

After the arrest of Kandira, he indicated to the detectives that Mutenga and
Chatonzwa took the two guns he used in the commission of the offence.

The two were subsequently picked up for questioning.

During police interrogations, they gave contradicting statements in regard
to the whereabouts of the guns leading to their arrest.

                  Relevant Links

                  Southern Africa
                  Legal and Judicial Affairs
                  Arms and Military Affairs

Kandira will appear in court before regional magistrate Mr Peter Kumbawa for
armed robbery trial on July 10.

He allegedly broke into a farmhouse at Amalinda farm together with the
jailed Tynwald robbers, Tichaona Tshuma and Brian Chiyangwa on Christmas Day
last year.

They got away with four pistols, ammunition and other household goods valued
at $400 million.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African summit - all talk, no action


            By Elizabeth Blunt
            BBC Africa analyst

      The Gambian capital, Banjul, had never seen anything like it; more
than 40 African presidents, all at the same time, in the tiniest country in

      Colonel Muammar Gaddafi arrived by road from Senegal with an enormous
entourage, all of whom had to be shipped across the Gambia River by a relay
of ferries.

      President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran - invited by the Gambians as a
special guest - cruised the dusty streets in a massive stretch limousine
version of the American Hummer.

      The event taxed The Gambia's facilities to the limit - and sometimes

      Since the luxury hotel at the new conference centre wasn't ready in
time, the heads of state were lodged in a suburban housing estate on the
other side of the road - 52 identical red roofed bungalows which will now go
on sale to the public, allowing them to buy a little bit of history and say
"Thabo Mbeki or Ellen Johnson Sirleaf slept here".

      Appeals for solidarity

      Some African summits in the past have produced blazing rows, furious
walkouts and gruelling all-night sessions. By those standards this was a
relatively low-key affair.

      The fireworks at the opening session came not from the African
participants, but from President Ahmadinejad and his fellow guest, Hugo
Chavez of Venezuela.

      Both made stirring appeals for solidarity against capitalist and
imperialist hegemony.

      President Ahmadinejad also complained that the death chambers of the
Jews were given more importance than the rooms where thousands of African
slaves died before being shipped to the Americas - which did provoke a
walkout, but only from the European diplomatic observers.

      The big issue hanging over the African Union at the moment is the
situation in Darfur in western Sudan, where the AU has made its first big
peacekeeping deployment.

      But 7,000 troops are not nearly enough to stop the violence over such
a huge area, and the AU is running out of money to keep them there.


      Right at the beginning of the week's meetings the AU peace and
security council agreed that they would pull out at the end of the force's
present mandate, at the end of September, and that they wanted the United
Nations to take over.

      All they had to do was to persuade Sudanese President Omar Hassan
al-Bashir to accept it. But there has been no breakthrough. President Bashir
came, and was polite but adamant.

      Now the AU has agreed to keep its troops there until the end of the
year, still hoping that by then the UN will be accepted. There has been an
appeal to donors to help fund the operation.

      There were other bilateral meetings about other trouble spots, but
again, not much movement.

      UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who had been offering to play some
kind of mediating role in Zimbabwe to help it out of its crisis with the
opposition and the international community, had a meeting with President
Robert Mugabe during the summit, only to be told that Mr Mugabe has already
arranged help from another mediator - former Tanzanian President Benjamin

      One expected initiative failed to materialise - a proposed African
Charter on Democracy and Governance. Most of its provisions were accepted.

      Even presidents who had come to power through coups d'etat themselves
were willing enough to outlaw coups in the future. What they couldn't all
accept was a clause that tried to stop governments changing their
constitutions to keep themselves in power.

      So that project has been sent back for further study and will be
presented again next year.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Pie in the sky

Free Market News Network

      Monday, July 03, 2006

      ZIMBABWE has placed a $US200 million ($290 million) order to buy a
fleet of Chinese-made fighter jets and military vehicles, even as the
African country's depleted food stocks and remaining hard currency run out.

      Reports in Zimbabwean media and South Africa's leading business
journal, Business Day, say Robert Mugabe's Government has ordered 12 FC-1
fighters. Six are expected to be delivered this week. The purchase makes
Zimbabwe one of the biggest customers of China's new-generation jet fighter.

      After news of the deal broke, Zimbabwe's Defence Minister, Trust
Maphosa, confirmed the order before the country's legislature. He said the
purchase was necessary to replace the existing fleet of aircraft, which had
been grounded because of Western sanctions.

      Once the envy of Africa, the Zimbabwean air force has deteriorated
badly since sanctions were imposed by Western countries in protest against
the increasingly despotic character of Robert Mugabe's regime.

      In 1998, the Zimbabwean air force played a key role in defending the
government of Congolese president Laurent Kabila from a coalition of rebel
forces during a bloody civil war. Since then its planes, mostly British-made
Hawker Hunters, have been grounded due to lack of parts and maintenance.

      As relations with the rest of the world have grown colder, Zimbabwe
has become increasingly dependent on China, one of the first countries to
establish diplomatic relations with Mr Mugabe's government when it came to
power upon independence in 1980.

      Since then the Chinese Government has helped build Harare's national
sports stadium, hospitals, dams and school dormitories. It has also dug
wells and established clothing factories.

      Last month, a high-level trade delegation, which included the central
committee of the Chinese Communist Party, visited Harare to discuss trade.

      Chinese construction companies are also involved in building Mr
Mugabe's Saddam Hussein-style mansion in Harare.

      Meanwhile, Malaysia's former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has
confirmed that during his rule the country gave Mr Mugabe timber to build
his new mansion.

      Asked if the gift could be interpreted as a misuse of public funds, Dr
Mahathir, who enjoyed a close personal relationship with Mr Mugabe, said
yesterday: "No, we give timber to everybody because we want to promote
Malaysian timber."

      Last year a Chinese state-owned company, the China International Water
and Electric Corporation, was awarded a government contract to farm 100,000
hectares in southern Zimbabwe from which white farmers had been driven off.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robertson calls for ICC fact-finding mission

Cricinfo staff

July 3, 2006

Charlie Robertson, one of Zimbabwe's senior administrators and the head of
the group of provincial chairman, has called on the ICC to send in a group
of neutral observers to see for themselves what he described as "the
complete joke" that cricket has become in Zimbabwe.

Robertson has made several approaches to the ICC on behalf of stakeholders
opposed to the board run by Peter Chingoka, but to date all have been

"We are amazed that no representative of the ICC has been sent here on a
fact-finding mission, with a mandate to meet with the cricket stakeholders,
both players and administrators," he told Cricinfo. "The ICC seems hell-bent
on dealing only with the current ZC administration - which has in effect
been put in place by the government's Sports and Recreational ministry - to
the exclusion of all other stakeholders. The current constitution is null
and void in terms of recent developments under the guise of this ministry.

"Do we now bypass the ICC? What recourse do we have? Perhaps we need to get
some real cricketers here ...Barry Richards, Ian Botham, Michael Holding and
Sunil Gavaskar to name a few ... on a fact finding mission to report back to
the whole of the cricket fraternity, and the ICC.

"Surely the ICC is answerable to the stakeholders and not a self-imposed
hierarchy. We need to muster support from the other Test-playing nations to
lobby the ICC and galvanise it into making a principled stand, without
political considerations, before all our players and administrators are
forever lost to the game here."

"The ICC's procedures mean we deal with one administration for each of our
members, hence in this case we are dealing with ZC as they look to resolve
ongoing organisational and operational issues," an ICC spokesman explained.
"This position is consistent with our processes in dealing with all our
members. Another point of consistency is that we do not seek to become
involved in the running of the game within individual members unless invited
to do so by that member. We have made offers to go to Zimbabwe in the past,
the last of them in January when Ehsan Mani [ the ICC president] wrote to
Chingoka, but our policy has always been to let members run their own

Robertson countered that while the ICC continued to refuse to acknowledge
the seriousness of the situation and accepted what it was being told by
Zimbabwe Cricket, the game was dying.

"Our cricket is a complete joke and the standards are shocking," he
shrugged. "The bottom line is we do not have anything that resembles
first-class cricket. In the Mashonaland Country Districts, all 24 grounds
that we have been using and maintaining are totally derelict, including
Harare South, a first-class venue where we have hosted England, South
Africa, West Indies and New Zealand."

And unsurprisingly, Robertson, who has publicly rowed with board chairman
Peter Chingoka, slammed Zimbabwe Cricket's leadership and claimed that
morale within the board was "at an all time low". He added: "Most people
with cricketing knowledge have either resigned or been pushed out."

© Cricinfo

Back to the Top
Back to Index