Tue 4 July 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's political opposition and civic groups on Monday
expressed dismay that United Nations (UN) boss Kofi Annan had let President
Robert Mugabe's government off the hook by agreeing to call off a visit to
Harare that would have piled up pressure on the government.
Annan said at the weekend that he was no longer visiting Zimbabwe to
help resolve the southern African country's deepening crisis because former
Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa was already on the ground mediating
between Mugabe's government and British Premier Tony Blair's government.
The UN chief, who made his U-turn on Zimbabwe after meeting Mugabe
privately on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Gambia, had been
expected to use the Harare visit to persuade Mugabe to give up power in
return for substantial economic aid for his country and immunity from
prosecution for human rights crimes committed while in office.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance that
campaigns for a new and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe said the UN
secretary general had allowed himself to be misled by Mugabe that the crisis
in the country was because of bilateral disagreements and not mismanagement
by the 82-year old President.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said Zimbabweans should expect little
from Mkapa's mediation because the Tanzanian was an ally of Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF party.
"He (Annan) was outmaneuvered by Mugabe because Mkapa's initiatives
are based on ZANU PF philosophy," said Madhuku.
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain, has
always insisted that the country's political and economic problems are
because of meddling in its affairs by Blair's government which he also
accuses of funding the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party.
London denies the charges.
Both factions of the splintered MDC were in agreement that mending of
soured relations between London and Harare would not resolve the crisis in
Zimbabwe which they said was because of misrule and repression by Mugabe and
"The political crisis in Zimbabwe is not a bilateral issue between
Zimbabwe and Britain," said Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, secretary for
international affairs of the main faction of the MDC led by Morgan
"Mugabe should have the courage to agree that there is a crisis of
governance. Land is not at the core of the Zimbabwean crisis. It's not
because of the land that there is no rule of law," he added.
Secretary general of the smaller faction of the MDC Welshman Ncube
described Mkapa's mediation as a "waste of time" saying the author of
Zimbabwe's crisis was Mugabe and his government and not the British
"That (Zimbabwe's fall out with Britain) is not Zimbabwe's ailment.
They are wasting time. They can have as many mediators as they want and it
is not going to work," said Ncube.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions that has threatened street
protests over worsening conditions for workers said it did not expect much
from Mkapa's efforts which it dismissed as yet another clever "time-buying
tactic by Mugabe".
Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst ever economic crisis
characterised by inflation of more than 1 000 percent and shortages of food,
fuel, electricity, essential medicines and just about every basic survival
Many Zimbabweans including some within Mugabe's government say a
solution to the political and economic crisis bedevilling the country is
only possible if the veteran leader agrees to leave power for a new
reformist leader either from his own party or the opposition. - ZimOnline
Tue 4 July 2006
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe may have bought himself more time
after skillfully evading United Nations (UN) pressure by persuading the
world body's boss Kofi Annan to cancel visiting Zimbabwe and instead back
mediation between Harare and former colonial power, London, analysts said.
But they said the veteran leader still has to contend with a deepening
economic crisis at home and should address governance and human rights
concerns in a country where public anger over his controversial rule is near
Mugabe argues that Zimbabwe's political and economic turmoil has been
spawned by a bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain, which emanated
from Harare's decision to forcibly seize land from commercial white farmers,
many of them of British descent.
The UN boss was expected to use the visit to Zimbabwe to push for a
rescue package for the southern African country that included substantial
economic aid and guarantees to Mugabe that he would not face prosecution for
crimes committed while in office - but on condition the 82-year old
President agreed to a timetable to give up power.
The initiative by the UN Secretary General to pull Zimbabwe out of
crisis was said to have had the backing of Britain, the United States (US)
and regional power, South Africa.
Mugabe frequently brands the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) a puppet party and has said it would be better to talk to
British leader Tony Blair, whom he accuses of funding and controlling the
MDC. London denies it has influence over the Zimbabwean opposition party.
"It would appear that Mugabe has managed to buy himself time again
with this initiative," said John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
political science lecturer and Mugabe critic.
"They (government) have taken off world pressure but pressure is
growing at home, which is where the crux of the matter is," Makumbe added,
referring to an imploding economy that has seen one of the world's highest
inflation rates, deepening poverty and shortages of foreign currency, fuel
Echoing the views of most analysts, Makumbe expressed scepticism about
the outcome of London/Harare mediation by former Tanzanian President
Benjamin Mkapa, saying the focus should rather be on bringing Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party and the MDC to the table to agree a negotiated solution
to Zimbabwe's multi-faceted crisis.
Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has ratcheted up pressure
against Mugabe by threatening anti-government protests, which the Zimbabwe
leader has vowed to crush.
The MDC, which has been weakened by government harassment and internal
feuding which culminated in a split into two feuding camps, has been the
closest to unseat Mugabe from his long rule, narrowly losing major elections
to the government in 2000 and 2002, which international observers said were
"I think this (mediation) is a bit misplaced in so far as the Zimbabwe
crisis is concerned," a Harare-based economic analyst told ZimOnline.
"Britain should be the last party to come into the picture of any mediation
efforts, which should start here in Zimbabwe," the analyst added.
The analyst said the push by Mugabe for talks with London, the last
which collapsed in Abuja, Nigeria in September 2001, was only because the
Zimbabwean leader wanted Western countries to lift up a visa ban on him and
his top officials that has seen them unable to go shopping in European and
Last week, Mugabe told mourners at the burial of former Information
Minister Tichaona Jokonya that what Zimbabwe needed to prosper was lifting
of Western sanctions and fair treatment, not rescue packages.
But most economic experts differ, saying the country's recovery
prospects lie with a massive economic package from international donors and
lenders to kick-start an economy in comatose for the last seven years.
"This mediation is not the best platform for solving the problems that
the country is facing. It is a diplomatic score by Mugabe who will obviously
feel contended by it," Eldred Masunungure the head of the UZ political
science department said.
"(But) there is need for an all encompassing solution to the Zimbabwe
crisis, which takes into account the concerns of the opposition, the ruling
party and everyone else.that is an all inclusive package," added
He said only after such a solution, as was originally planned by
Annan, could talks with Britain make sense.
Annan had before his weekend meeting with Mugabe publicly said he
expected to visit Zimbabwe after failing to take up Harare's invitation to
do so last year.
The EU, US, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland have for the last
four years maintained targeted sanctions against Mugabe, his wife Grace and
top government officials as punishment for failing to uphold democracy, the
rule of law and human rights and for rigging elections.
Mugabe contends the sanctions have had a wider impact beyond himself
and his officials, saying the ordinary Zimbabwean was the one suffering the
Analysts said the issue of Zimbabwe's refusal of UN help to house
thousands of people left homeless by a government slum clearing campaign
appeared to have been overtaken by the latest agreement between Annan and
A UN envoy said 700 000 people were left homeless and without a means
of livelihood after police bulldozers razed down shantytowns, city back yard
cottages and informal business kiosks.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) last month said Zimbabwe is
increasingly likely to become a failed state plagued by unrest and violence
if the international community does not act to address its deep political
and economic crisis.
"It would seem the international community has missed yet another
opportunity to help resolve the problems facing Zimbabwe and it is now
entirely upon the people here to seek a way out of the crisis," Makumbe
The ICG said Zimbabwe's political tensions had left President Robert
Mugabe's government "increasingly desperate and dangerous" with no clear
plan for resolving the southern African country's woes.
Zimbabwe responded by accusing the Brussels-based group of fanning a
military coup in the country, a charge the ICG denied. - ZimOnline
Tue 4 July 2006
BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean man arrested last year for allegedly insulting
President Robert Mugabe will finally face trial later this month.
Bassanio Chikwiri, was arrested last year in the southern Gwanda town
in Matabeleland South province after he called the 82-year old Mugabe an
autocratic leader who had single-handedly destroyed Zimbabwe.
Chikwiri's trial has however failed to take off over the past few
months partly because the magistrate assigned to hear the case was away.
State prosecutor Admire Zvongouya yesterday assured the accused that
his trial would finally kick off on the 17th of this month after many false
starts in the past.
"The trial will finally take off on 17 July; we have had to postpone
it for a number of reasons, and chief among them is that the presiding
magistrate is on vacation," said Zvongouya.
Chikwiri, a builder by profession, denies insulting Mugabe saying he
was being falsely accused as punishment after he refused to take part in the
government's controversial home building exercise for thousands of victims
of a home demolition exercise last year.
Several Zimbabweans have been arrested, beaten up and tortured by
police, soldiers or agents of the state's spy Central Intelligence
Organisation for denigrating Mugabe, held by many in the southern African
country as directly responsible for the collapse of its once brilliant
Two men were last week beaten to death by police in the city of
Bulawayo after one of them had remarked that it were better President Robert
Mugabe had died instead of former information minister Tichaona Jokonya, who
died two weeks ago.
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
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
Tue 4 July 2006
HARARE - Harare North legislator Trudy Stevenson was last Sunday
seriously assaulted in Mabvuku suburb in an incident that highlights
inter-factional violence bedevilling Zimbabwe's splintered opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
Stevenson, who belongs to the smaller MDC faction led by Arthur
Mutambara, was beaten up in Mabvuku after she had ventured into the area to
pick up members of her faction's Harare district for a meeting in the
Mabvuku is a bastion of the larger wing of the wrangling MDC led by
the opposition party's founder Morgan Tsvangirai.
Stevenson, one of the few white legislators in Zimbabwe's Parliament,
was found by the police unconscious and with a broken leg in probably one of
the worst incidents of inter-factional violence within the MDC. She is
recovering at Avenues Clinic in Harare.
Two other members of her party, Lainos Mushonga and Simangele Manyere,
were also injured during the attack.
The spokesman for the Mutambara faction, Gabriel Chaibva, blamed the
rival Tsvangirai-led faction for orchestrating the vicious attack on the
Harare North legislator.
"She was waylaid by a mob of about 40 people who blockaded the road
and started assaulting her with a machete and stones," said Chaibva.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena also confirmed the incident saying:
"I have just received the report. They (Mutambara faction) claim it's the
anti-senate (Tsvangirai faction) camp," said Bvudzijena.
But Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for the Tsvangirai camp dismissed
the allegation saying the police must arrest those who had assaulted the
"Those are just allegations. The police must arrest all those involved
in the assault. As the MDC, we don't cherish any violence," said Chamisa. -
Tue 4 July 2006
BULAWAYO - About 500 vendors on Monday stormed the offices of Bulawayo
executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube to protest against the continued
harassment by municipal police officers.
The vendors, with the backing of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
protest group, brought business at the Town House to a stand-still as they
demanded an audience with the city's mayor whom they accused of sanctioning
Zimbabwean police, who are normally quick to pounce on anti-government
demonstrators, yesterday ignored the protests giving the women protesters
free rein to vent their anger against the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party mayor.
Addressing the protesters yesterday, WOZA chairperson Jenny Williams
said: "We want an end to the arrests of vendors. The municipal police are
arresting people who are trying to eke a living and we wonder how they want
them to survive.
"We are telling the Mayor to order his officers to stop this and
respect human dignity and human rights. It is everyone's right to be alive,"
said Williams whose organisation has staged various anti-government protests
in the past.
A Zimbabwe High Court judge last year ordered Bulawayo's municipal
police to stop harassing the vendors. But the police and the council have
continued to raid the vendors whom they accuse of operating illegally.
Zimbabwean police have often disrupted protests by WOZA accusing the
women of seeking to incite people to rise against President Robert Mugabe's
Several members of the group have also been arrested in the past for
demonstrating against the government without first seeking clearance from
Under Zimbabwe's tough security laws, it is illegal to demonstrate or
gather in groups of more than three without approval from the police. WOZA,
which has been a pain in the neck for the Zimbabwe government, has however
often defied the security law. - ZimOnline
Tue 4 July 2006
HARARE - The MDC has watched closely developments at the seventh
African Union summit held in Banjul, Gambia, over the weekend.
The MDC notes with concern the acceptance by the United Nations
secretary-general Mr Kofi Annan of President Benjamin Mkapa as the mediator
in the conflict "between Zimbabwe and Britain."
In our view, there is a serious structural crisis in Zimbabwe, but it
has to be located correctly. The crisis in Zimbabwe is one of governance. It
is a crisis of a weak and usurped Constitution, a crisis of a privatised and
militarised State that has failed.
As we speak now, real inflation is over 1 500 percent, 80 percent of
the people are living below the poverty datum line, 80 percent are
unemployed and more than 3 000 die every week of hunger and the HIV/Aids
pandemic. That is the true nature of the Zimbabwean crisis.
In our view therefore, incorrectly identifying the crisis necessarily
predicates an incorrect solution. The mediation that is required urgently is
between the stubborn dictatorial Mugabe regime and the brutalised people of
The Zimbabwean crisis will not go away unless the dictatorship is
totally rooted out of the country's political culture.
More importantly, since this is a regional crisis, it will be wise for
the SADC region to come up with its own point persons and intercessors. In
this regard we note previous and failed efforts involving the appointment of
President Joachim Chissano.
Further, whilst it is important for the Zimbabwean crisis to be
acknowledged in the UN, sight must not be lost of the fact that it still
remains a Zimbabwean, SADC and African crisis. The region, through SADC,
must accept and recognize that the Zimbabwean crisis is having a pervasive
and negative multiplier effect in the entire region.
That being so, Zimbabweans and the region itself must be at the core
of any process and roadmap connected with resolving the crisis. The African
Union too must recognise that this is an African crisis and like SADC, it
must not pass the baton stick to the UN.
Understandably, the region and Africa are arrested by fatigue and
frustration vis a viz their failure to rein in on the dictatorship in
Zimbabwe. However, Africa must recall its recent United Front against the
apartheid regime when everyone played her role.
Of further concern to us is the ability and capacity of President
Mugabe in appointing a mediator in a situation where he is a major actor.
Principles of natural justice and common sense dictate that one cannot be an
umpire and wicketkeeper in the same game.
Clearly in our view, if the UN accepts the need and obligation of a
point person, then it as an international body, must appoint its own
In addition it is our experience from the past, that appointing point
persons with ambiguous and ill-defined terms of reference, is a disaster.
The whole process can become a smokescreen for averting, delaying and
postponing the urgent action that is required in respect of the crippling
crisis in Zimbabwe.
Be that as it may, we trust that President Mkapa shall understand the
true nature of the crisis and the solutions it requires.
To us, there can be no solution to the Zimbabwean crisis unless
Zimbabweans are allowed the opportunity of writing a new, democratic
people-driven Constitution for themselves and by themselves.
Once this Constitution is accepted in a referendum, clearly, free and
fair elections under international supervision must be held. This is the
point we make in our ROADMAP, which would be a useful starting point for
President Mkapa or any other intercessor for that matter.
We now look forward to further developments.
* Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is the MDC Secretary for
By Carole Gombakomba
03 July 2006
An official of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights said
Harare has been given another chance to respond to a report on rights
violations produced by the Commission, adding that the document was not, as
reported by the state-run Sunday Mail, rejected by African Union ministers
at a weekend AU summit in the Gambia.
The Zimbabwean government has been opposing tabling and adoption of the
report by African Union heads of states at summits since 2004, initially
saying that it had not received the report through the proper diplomatic
channels, then that it had not had time to draft a response. But Harare has
since responded, disputing the charges.
A legal officer at the African Commission on Human Rights, based in the
Gambia, said the AU ministers discussed the report and Harare's response for
about five hours, but that Zimbabwean officials challenged details of the
report. In the end, the AU ministers gave the Zimbabwean government another
chance to make an official response.
For a reaction to the weekend's developments, Carole Gombakomba of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Harare-based human rights lawyer Jacob
July 04, 2006 Edition 1
Once again Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was let off the hook at the
African Union's weekend summit in Banjul, Gambia. He seems to have evaded
censure or even any commitment to assume real responsibility for the
disaster in his country.
United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan met Mugabe at the summit to
discuss how he could help find a way out of Zimbabwe's rapidly worsening
crisis, after President Mbeki and Tony Blair had recently passed the buck to
But Annan seems to have been rebuffed by Mugabe in Banjul, and to have
accepted this. He announced after the meeting that he would not be mediating
in Zimbabwe after all and would leave that job to former Tanzanian president
Mkapa no doubt has his virtues, but he is hardly an adequate substitute for
Annan as an impartial referee. Mkapa is clearly on Mugabe's side. He has
publicly defended Mugabe's lawless land reforms, which is why Mugabe earlier
chose him to mediate between himself and Britain. This very mandate, though,
was designed to reinforce Mugabe's own skewed interpretation of the Zimbabwe
problem as being mainly about the country's incomplete process of
decolonisation from Britain.
By accepting Mkapa's mediation, Annan and Mbeki have also now implicitly
endorsed this flawed reading of the crisis. Britain's role is at most a
small part of the problem, which is essentially about Mugabe's massive
misgovernance, including his abandonment of the rule of law.
So it would seem that the wily Mugabe has once again outwitted Mbeki and
Annan. Unless, of course, they are complicit.
The AU summit also gave Mugabe another get-free pass by declining once again
to adopt a report from its African Commission for Human And Peoples Rights
that criticised Zimbabwe.
It seems neither the UN nor the AU have either the smarts or the guts to
This is depressing news for ordinary Zimbabweans. It is also depressing for
South Africans, who are feeling the impact of the meltdown next door in the
form of increased violent crime from illegal Zimbabwean immigrants.
03/07/2006 20:56 - (SA)
Johannesburg - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has again outwitted
President Thabo Mbeki, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the African
Union, said the Democratic Alliance on Monday.
DA chief whip Douglas Gibson said: "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
"These are the only conclusions to be drawn from the fact that President
Mbeki's latest tactic of allowing Mr Annan to make the running has failed.
"After silent diplomacy, which bore no fruit at all, there was a period when
nothing was done.
"Recently, the tone of voice of the ANC government changed slightly and
President Mbeki agreed with British Prime Minister Blair that Mr Annan
should be the one to tell President Mugabe to go and to dress it up with
offers of aid," said Gibson.
However, according to the DA, President Mugabe has now "outplayed" Annan,
who has reported that he will allow the international mediator (former
Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa) to carry on with his work.
Violations report not on the table
"Predictably, President Mugabe will not co-operate with the mediator and we
will be back to square one.
"The difference this time will be that Zimbabwe's human-rights violations
(as reported in 2004) are now not condemned or even judged by African heads
"Ministers ensured last week that this report would not be on the agenda for
the heads of state," said the DA.
The official opposition said also that the Sudanese government had had its
Despite an earlier agreement by the AU that it simply lacked the resources
to do the job in Darfur and that the UN should step in, this decision had
now been reversed.
The DA said: "Because Sudan refused to have the UN involved, the AU has
backed down and will now itself try to do the job of peacekeeping.
Can only shake their heads
"The AU efforts will fail and what has been described as the biggest human
rights crises in the world will continue unchecked."
"To set the seal on it, AU leaders refused to pass the governance report
before them, which would have united them in opposition to constitutional
changes allowing presidents to extended periods in office.
"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," said the DA.
One of the main reasons for the country's interest in Africa is to win a
share of Africa's oil production for its booming economy
July 04, 2006 Edition 1
The Wooden Horse subterfuge, by which, as chronicled by Homer in the Iliad,
the ancient Greeks captured and set fire to the famed city of Troy, has
bequeathed to the modern world the maxim: "Beware the Greeks when they come
It alludes to the hollow wooden horse that the Greeks left outside Troy
after besieging the city for 10 years, ostensibly to propitiate the gods for
a safe journey home, but in reality to (successfully) entice the Trojans to
drag the horse into the city and thereby enable the soldiers secreted within
it to open the gates to their brethren waiting outside.
Today the adage has become a generalised proverb about the risk of accepting
handouts rather than a cautionary that applies specifically to Greeks
There are, however, those who are wont to modify the proverb by giving it a
new specificity. They would have it read: "Be wary of the Chinese when they
come offering free aid".
Although wariness of China is the product of many factors, a few stand out
nChina's spectacular impact on the outside since the death in 1976 of Mao
Zedong, the guerrilla leader who founded the People's Republic of China
(PRC) in 1949.
nThe associated proliferation in many countries of inexpensive Chinese
products, and for some, including South Africa, the resulting devastation
wrought on local industries unable to compete with merchandise made in
China, particularly those specialising in the manufacture of textiles and
nThe limited Western and African understanding of China in general and the
Chinese language and culture in particular - a limitation that is reinforced
by mythologies of the "inscrutable Oriental mind".
As China's ambassador to South Africa, Liu Guijin, has observed,
Sino-African relations date back centuries to include the visits to Africa's
eastern coast in the 15th century by the Chinese navigator Zheng He and, in
the mid-20th century, the building by Chinese engineers and technicians of
the Tanzania-Zambia railway line from Dar es Salaam to Lusaka.
But the intensity of Chinese interest and involvement in Africa has
escalated exponentially in recent years. The visit to Africa in the past the
three months of the president and premier of the PRC, Hu Jintao and Wen
Jiabao respectively, exemplifies the point; Wen having paid a two-day visit
to South Africa late last month.
The main driving force behind China's high-profile visits to, increasing
investment in, and growing trade with, Africa is national interest. The same
applies ipso facto to South Africa, which, according to Liu, is China's
largest trading partner in Africa.
To make these observations is to recognise reality, not to target China for
One of the aphorisms about foreign policy is that states, from Argentina to
Zimbabwe, have permanent interests, compared with which, its friendships are
transient and secondary.
One of the main reasons for China's intensifying interest in Africa is to
win a major share of Africa's oil production for its booming economy as well
as a substantial share of Africa's rich deposits of minerals.
China's need for oil is compelling. It is the world's second largest
consumer of oil after the US and is set to become the world's largest within
the next 10 to 15 years.
There is, of course, nothing untoward about China's use of trade and
diplomacy in its search for new supplies of oil in Africa.
The same cannot be said about (according to the Oxford Dictionary of
Contemporary History) American complicity in the overthrow of the Iranian
radical leader Mohammed Mussadeq in 1953 in order to re-establish control
over, and exploitation of, Iran's oil fields by a foreign consortium, or,
some observers would add, the US-led invasion of oil-rich Iraq in 2003, in
which the quest for control of oil was an undeclared motive.
There are additional benefits for China from its trade with Africa aside
from access to Africa's oil and raw materials from cobalt to platinum. One
is a favourable trade balance of four-to-one with Africa as a whole and
three-to-one with South Africa in particular.
Another is its access to African markets, where inexpensively produced
Chinese merchandise can be sold, as the 25 000 South African textile workers
who have been retrenched over the past two years can testify.
A third is the allies it wins in the United Nations for China's campaign of
portraying Taiwan, aka the Republic of China, as a renegade province and
preventing it from gaining substantial international recognition as a
The price China pays for these advantages is the assistance it offers to
poorer African countries, either in the form of loans or aid. Often, as
noted in an article entitled China's African Strategy published by the
American Foreign Policy Council, China offers debt relief to its African
debtor states, thereby transmuting loans into aid.
Hence, as the article cited above observes, China reaps a double benefit of
praise for its generosity: first for advancing "loans" to penurious African
states and then by granting debt relief to them.
There are no free lunches in international relations, however. Loans that
metamorphose into apparently gratuitous aid have a hidden price tag. So do
donations proper. Chinese aid is no exception.
Gratuitous aid can reduce the independence of the recipient African state
and make it a hostage to Chinese foreign policy. Further deleterious
unintended consequences can ensue. Witness the plight of the textile
industry in South Africa.
There is yet another potentially more harmful consequence of "free" Chinese
Unlike the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and most Western
countries, China does not generally make the extension of aid dependent on
conditions that minimise the risks of corruption and optimise the chances of
The result is that Chinese aid is as likely to subsidise profligate and/or
dictatorial governments as it is to advance the welfare of ordinary Africans
These developments threaten a project of particular importance to President
Thabo Mbeki and, through him, to South Africa.
One of the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad), of which Mbeki is a co-architect, is to promote corruption-free,
good governance in Africa, for its own sake as well as a means of securing
sustained developmental assistance from the rich G8 countries.
Aid that fails to advance democratic government, no matter whence it comes,
African countries must articulate that message unequivocally if Nepad is to
help make the 21st century one that witnesses an African renaissance.
.. The Star's contributing editor Patrick Laurence is the editor of Focus,
a journal of the Helen Suzman Foundation. He writes in his personal
By a Correspondent
HARARE - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday quipped his government did
not want to "tarnish" Kofi Annan's image in his last six months in office as
the UN Secretary General hence it turned down his offer for mediation
between Harare and London.
Speaking tongue-in-cheek upon arrival at the Harare International
Airport, Mugabe told his ministers, service chiefs and supporters Annan
understood his desire to have former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to
mediate under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) in a bid to thaw frosty UK-Zimbabwe relations.
Relations between the two countries have been sour since Harare
embarked on a controversial land reform programme that resulted in the
deaths of commercial farmers and their employees.
Political violence in the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary and 2002
presidential elections worsened the situation with Britain and her allies
imposing targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his lieutenants.
The Zimbabwean leader claims the sanctions are illegal and are hurting
the country's economy badly. Mugabe said Annan's role in Zimbabwe's crisis
would have been "superfluous" since Mkapa, a member of Tony Blair's Africa
Commission, had already agreed to take the lead.
Said Mugabe: "He understood that and we also did not want his name to
be tarnished during the last six months of his career."
"This is the right approach as far as we are concerned. SADC knows our
position better than Europe and that is the position that we accept and we
are looking forward to working with members of SADC."
It has been clear for some time now that Mugabe was going to turn down
Annan's mediation role offer.
It's not yet clear when Mkapa is expected to start mediating between
the two countries but he will be working with officials from the SADC region
in his role.
Mugabe and Annan met on the sidelines of the African Union Summit that
was held in Banjul over the weekend.
The Summit was thrown into controversy by the invitations given to the
presidents of Iran and Venezuela, Mahmoud Ahmadnejad and Hugo Chavez
Controversial host President Yahya Jammeh, who banned a free
expression forum at the Summit, invited the two leaders who do not see eye
to eye with the US President, George W. Bush and other western leaders.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 07/04/2006 06:41:34
ZIMBABWE'S ruling Zanu PF party has suspended a senior official from
Masvingo province following accusations that he "worked against the party".
Samuel Mumbengegwi, a Senator and Minister of State for Indigenisation and
Empowerment suspended Issaih Masvayamwando Shumba from the party after
allegations that he campaigned for independent candidates during senate
elections last November.
Shumba is the Deputy Minister for Education, Sport and Culture and Member of
the House of Assembly for Mwenezi. He was Mumbengegwi's deputy as provincial
chairperson for Masvingo until his suspension when the allegations were
first made against him.
Shumba received his letter of suspension Sunday at a Zanu PF provincial
meeting chaired by Mumbengegwi.
The same provincial meeting suspended other members together with Shumba.
Those suspended are: Saunders Magwiza who was a Zanun PF councilor for Ward
2 in Chivi (suspended for three years); Philiph Hungwe (a brother of former
Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe) (suspended for three years); Philemon
Maramba who was Zanu PF councilor for Ward 3 in Chivi (suspended for three
years). Councilors for wards 4, 5, 13, 14 and 16 in Chivi (whose names were
yet to be received) were removed from their positions.
The political commissar for the Zanu PF Chivi District Coordinating
Committee (DCC), Tinos Huruva, who was the campaign manager for Enita
Maziriri for the March 2005 parliamentary elections, was suspended from the
party for five years.
In Mwenezi, councilors for wards 3 and 12 were removed from their positions.
The Member of the House of Assembly for Chivi North, Enita Maziriri faced
the same charges and was found guilty but got away with only a reprimand.
In a bizarre development, two traditional chiefs in Masvingo, Chief Shumba
and Chief Murinye, were dragged into the saga and charged with the same
offense of campaigning for independent candidates in the Senate elections.
The two traditional chiefs were given prohibition orders not to do Zanu PF
work or participate in the activities of the party.
Chief Chivi was so incensed with the suspensions of councilors and others
from his area that he went to the Masvingo meeting on Sunday with a high
powered delegation of his headmen.
But his suffered the indignity of being chased away from the meeting
together with his accompanying headmen.
Sources said Mumbengegwi was using the "Tsholotsho ghost" to get even with
people who did not campaign for him in the primary elections for the March
2005 Zanu PF primaries for Chivi North constituency which he lost to Enita
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 07/04/2006 06:41:30
A ZIMBABWEAN court on Monday postponed the 'obstruction of justice' trial of
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to July 17 after he failed to turn up.
The trial -- seen as a fight-back by the powerful Zanu PF camp headed by
Solomon Mujuru against those who opposed the ascendary of his wife, Joice,
to the Vice Presidency -- emanates from the minister's alleged attempt to
block the prosecution of Security Minister, Didymus Mutasa's supporters on
Five other accused persons in the case including the head of the Central
Intelligence Organisation in Manicaland, Innocent Chibaya, turned up at the
Rusape Magistrates Court and were granted free bail.
Appearing for the state, Manicaland area prosecutor Levson Chikafu said he
had established that the state had failed to serve summons on Chinamasa but
did not give reasons. He expressed confidence that the Minister would be
present on the new trial date.
There had been fears that Chinamasa would not avail himself for trial after
failing to come back to Zimbabwe from the United Nations Human Rights
session in Geneva which ended on June 22.
Over the weekend, the state media reported that he was in Gambia for an
African Union summit.
The court, which was packed with Zanu PF supporters, CIO officers and
journalists from the state media, ordered James Kaunye, the state's key
witness to attend without fail.
The charges relate to accusations that Chinamasa tried to bribe one Joseph
Kaunye to drop a case of political violence involving Mutasa's supporters.
Statements recorded by the police said Chinamasa approached Kaunye and said
if he dropped the charges, Mutasa would build a weir on his farm as well as
finance a dairy project.
Kaunye claims that he was brutally assaulted by Mutasa's supporters to
frighten him out of Zanu PF's primary elections in which he wanted to
challenge the Minister.
Zanu PF sources said Mutasa, one of Mugabe's most loyal and trusted
lieutenants, had held talks with the President to use his influence to get
the charges withdrawn to avoid "embarrassment that may be caused to the
However, Mugabe is said to have turned down Mutasa's pleas following
pressure from Vice President Mujuru who is locked in a bitter struggle with
Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe.
The case is said to have turned into a Zanu PF succession battle, with the
Mujuru camp hoping that it would thoroughly discredit Chinamasa and Mutasa
so as to prevent them or reduce their influence in the succession dog fight.
Chinamasa's supporters also fear that Attorney General Sobusa Gula- Ndebele
is hitting back at him following their well-documented clashes in cabinet.