New Zealand Herald
1.25pm Thursday June 22, 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe will pay compensation in foreign currency for land seized
from foreigners, but the land owners could still challenge the seizures in
court, a cabinet minister has said.
Since 2000, President Robert Mugabe's government has taken over thousands of
white-owned commercial farms after backing often violent invasions led by
veterans of the country's 1970s struggle against white rule.
The government last August passed laws that nationalised all such farms,
barring farmers from challenging the seizure of their property in courts.
Many economists and critics say the programme has ruined a once-thriving
Some of the confiscated land belonged to foreign countries despite being
protected under bilateral agreements.
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who heads land reform and resettlement,
said those with farms covered by such deals would receive full compensation
and have the right to contest the seizures in court.
"Mutasa assured diplomats in Harare that the farms are not acquired in
accordance with the recent Amendment 17 of 2005 as the farmers will be
allowed to contest the acquisition in court unlike other farmers in the
country," state television reported.
"In those unavoidable cases where land has to be acquired, compensation has
to be paid in full and in the currency of the owner's choice for both land
and improvements," it quoted Mutasa as saying.
Mugabe's government has vowed not to pay white farmers compensation for the
land but only for improvements, arguing that former colonial power Britain
should pay for the land.
According to state television, the issue of farms covered by bilateral
agreements has been a contentious one, forcing the government to set up a
committee to look into foreign land holdings.
Mugabe defends the the land reforms as necessary to redress colonial
policies that put 70 per cent of the most fertile land in the hands of a few
white farmers and accuses the West of sabotaging the economy to punish him
for the land seizures.
June 22, 2006
By ANDnetwork .com
AND Africa - Many a political analyst have predicted doom should the
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe make a sudden exit, either through death
or ill health. Some have predicted that there would be chaos and a free for
all gung ho kind of situation. Others have argued the possibility of a civil
war should President Mugabe's exit not be properly managed.
Todd Moss & Steward Patrick, in their trilogy contribution to The
Zimbabwean argue that the abrupt demise of the Mugabe regime could trigger
serious disorder. They further suggest that the possibility of this means
that the international community, probably led by South Africa, should make
contingency plans for temporary military intervention to ensure physical
safety and public order if necessary. For anyone who has been following the
Zimbabwe situation and have reported and visited Zimbabwe, this kind of
scenario is highly unlikely. As much as Zanu PF is at its most divided state
because of the succession debate, the person who is likely to take over in a
transition period is no kid gloves.
Though there are two Vice Presidents in Zimbabwe at the moment, Joyce
Mujuru, the first female Vice President in Africa is the most favourable and
practical candidate to take over ahead of the ailing Joseph Musika.
According to the Zimbabwe constitution Section 31 under the Executive
summary, the Vice whenever the office of President is vacant or the
President is absent from Zimbabwe or is unable to perform the functions of
his office by reason of illness or any other cause, his functions shall be
assumed and performed by the Vice President whom the President has
designated for such an eventuality.
So in this case, it means by law, President Mugabe could have already
chosen his successor should anything happen to him. We have seen the
ascension of VP Mujuru, a wife of a very powerful former Army General,
Solomon Mujuru. Many have said Mujuru's husband is known as the King maker
within the echelons of power in the ruling Zanu PF. This can be seen in the
context of the events of 2004 where 6 out of 10 Zanu PF provinces had chosen
to back another candidate, only for Joyce Mujuru to emerge and eventually
take over the Vice Presidency in the last hours.
Although there was a fall-out with other Zanu PF bigwigs on this
issue, the party remained intact with those opposing the decision either
being singled out and fired or suspended. However, according to the
constitution, the Vice President will have to organise and election within
three months to choose a new President. The point of reference in question
is whether Zimbabwe can survive the three months following the sudden exit
of Mugabe. If there is such an eventuality, Mujuru who seems a favourable
figure to negotiate with will take over.
Mujuru has earned her stripes, having at one time occupied the
powerful post of Defence Minister after the death of the incumbent, Moven
Mahachi in a car accident. She was the youngest cabinet minister at the age
of 25 when Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980 and she has been in
government ever since. With the opposition pushing for dialogue, it will be
easier to negotiate with her as she has never shown any signs of a person
trying to go it alone.
The current problems being faced by Zimbabweans in trying to bring
some normalcy to the country is that there is so much negative energy
created around President Mugabe's name. It is a foregone conclusion that any
future settlement seems to be pointing to President Mugabe's exit. As much
as he is part of any future settlement, a clear exit plan seems to be tow
line in many quarters. This is because the brand created around the name
'Mugabe' is no longer investor friendly.
Over the last year, we have seen the international community trying to
find ways to bi-pass him and talk to his colleagues. There is fertile ground
for a future acceptance by the international community and investors of
anyone within Zanu PF other than Mugabe. This means Joyce Mujuru's future
position in a transitional power is already guaranteed. She has remained
quiet on international diplomacy and has not been directly tainted by the
policies like the Operation Clean out Trash which left thousands of
Zimbabweans homeless. The operation was personified by President Mugabe
There has also been talk of a possible army coup after Mugabe's sudden
departure but again as former Defence Chief, it will be easy for Joyce
Mujuru to assume the role of Commander in Chief. There is also talk that her
husband, a former general and army commander himself is still very powerful
in army circles, it will be impossible for his former subordinates to plot a
coup. The last issue of civil war has already been overplayed. At the
formation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, there was much
talk of them launching a guerrilla struggle to dislodge Mugabe.
The opposition has in most cases refuted these claims and furthermore,
launching a guerrilla attack after Mugabe's exit will be ill-informed and
illogically. Chances of such a scenario have come and gone. History also
dictates that it is highly impossible to launch a guerrilla attack in
Zimbabwe because of a strict code within the Southern African community
which does not support such an occurrence.
Most political parties in power in southern African countries are
known allies of the Zanu PF regime because of the historical importance of
the party personified by the Zimbabwe government to help any country
attacked. These scenarios have played themselves out in Mozambique, Angola
and the DRC. Finally, after the break-up of the opposition, the
international community and interested parties seemed to have resigned
themselves to dealing with a reformed Zanu PF other than opposition parties
built on shaky foundations. If Mugabe was to go today, the mood is set for
Vice President Mujuru to oversee a peaceful transition.
by Peter Moyo AND Africa
By Lance Guma
LONDON - THE crisis in Zimbabwe dominated proceedings at the 11th
African Caribbean Pacific- European Union (ACPU-EU) joint parliamentary
assembly held in the Austrian capital, Vienna this week. Several delegates
raised issues concerning Zimbabwe in what analysts conclude is the
re-emergence of the country on the international agenda.
The role of China in propping up rogue states also came under the
spotlight with suggestions that Europe should pressurise the Chinese
government to refrain from doing so. Specific mention of the Chinese
involvement in Zimbabwe was raised as an example during the meetings. The
Chinese recently signed a US$1,3 billion dollar energy deal with the
Zimbabwe government to set up power plants, in exchange for minerals still
Speaking to Newsreel from Vienna, MDC spokesman and Kuwadzana MP
Nelson Chamisa said of concern to some of the legislators who attended the
meeting was why countries like Zimbabwe were harbouring fugitives like
Mengistu Haille Mariam.
The former Ethiopian dictator is wanted back in his home country for
crimes against humanity. Former Liberian president Charles Taylor's arrest
and extradition was used as an example of how the continent should be
treating human rights violators. Chamisa says Zimbabwe kept popping up in
Of the countries initially listed as hotspots, Sudan and Zimbabwe
remained unchanged while Togo and Mauritania reported improvements in their
human rights conditions.
Chamisa also said the European Commissioner on Humanitarian Assistance
and Aid, Louis Michel, was quizzed on why he met Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa despite the Zimbabwean minister being placed under travel
restrictions. Germany's EU parliamentarian Michael Galla raised the issue
during a question and answer session.
Michel responded by insisting the meeting had been at the insistence
of Murerwa who argued they needed to discuss his governments 'turnaround'
strategy. Michel told the meeting he made it clear they were not impressed
by Zimbabwe's arrogance and continued stubbornness in the face of mounting
criticism over human rights abuses.
By Peter N. Spotts, The Christian Science Monitor
Satellites can monitor volcanoes, map deforestation, and help sell real estate. But can they document human-rights violations?
Yes, activists say.
Already, high-altitude images of Zimbabwe's destruction of a settlement has increased pressure on the government to curb its abuses. Now, human-rights groups are focusing on Darfur, Chad, and Burma. In eastern Burma, for example, the government is accused of aggressively attacking an ethnic minority.
Burma "is a black hole," says Jeremy Woodrum of the U.S. Campaign for Burma. "Media and aid agencies can go into Darfur in Sudan, but they can't get into eastern Burma; it's totally off limits."
Even in such closed countries, satellites can detect military destruction, the movement of refugees, even their living conditions. They may be able to show the scale of government rebuilding and whether some groups are benefiting more than others.
The idea of using satellites has intrigued activists for several years, notes Ariela Blätter, director of conflict prevention and response for Amnesty International USA. Some organizations have used commercial satellite images on rare occasions, she adds. "But this new, unimpeachable technology has such a huge price tag" that the community has been slow to adopt it.
A foundation grant and technical help from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington could speed its use. The effort has been underway since this past December, when the MacArthur Foundation handed the AAAS a $110,000 check to help human rights groups use commercial satellite images to document abuses.
The first results appeared May 31, when the AAAS and Amnesty International released before-and-after photos of Porta Farm, a settlement the Zimbabwean government destroyed last June.
The 16-year-old settlement had boasted schools, a children's center, and a mosque, according to Amnesty International's Kolawole Olaniyan. It was home to between 6,000 and 10,000 mostly poor Zimbabweans. The new photos showed the entire settlement destroyed and abandoned. United Nations monitors noted that during the demolition several people, including two children, were killed. The government reportedly is trying to build new homes for the more than 700,000 displaced nationwide by last June's operation, but aid workers say the number of new houses is extremely small compared with the large number of displaced Zimbabweans waiting for shelter, land, and jobs.
The satellite images, taken in June 2002 and again this past April, offered key graphic evidence of what had happened. They "epitomize the apex of a man-made disaster, and they can be of a phenomenal impact in redressing such absurdities, now and in the future," noted Zimbabwe human-rights attorney Otto Saki in a statement May 31. He and colleagues with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in Harare say the images could be valuable in a case they are bringing against government officials accused of masterminding and carrying out the operation.
In Burma (also called Myanmar), satellite images could also help clinch the case that human rights groups have been building based on refugee accounts, says Mr. Woodrum. His group hopes to present its images to representatives of several countries that have relations with Burma. "They have no idea" how serious the situation is, he says.
Last week, the satellite effort drew special mention in the government-run Burmese press. It charged that the cofounder of Woodrum's group, Burmese expatriate and former government prisoner Aung Din, is a "terrorist" in his efforts to "fabricate [an] ethnic cleansing issue against [the] Myanmar government."
So far, much of the AAAS's efforts have focused on documenting past abuses, using archived images that a pair of companies are making available for free, says Lars Bromley, with the science organization's office of international initiatives. The ultimate goal is to develop an early-warning capability that allows groups to focus the public eye on relatively small-scale abuses before they become large-scale crises, he adds.
In one case, groups in India have asked him to track the construction of health care facilities there, he says. Statistical tests applied to the data, Mr. Bromley says, can indicate the likelihood that government officials are giving preference to certain classes or certain economic or ethnic groups when they site new clinics.
Such efforts aren't cheap, he notes. The computer equipment and software needed to process the images cost around $10,000 per workstation, putting it out of reach of many human rights groups.
Still, several human-rights activists are enthusiastic about the prospects for adding eyes on orbit to their expanding arsenal of high-tech and low-tech tools.
Amid the newest "targets" for gathering orbital evidence: eastern Chad. Amnesty International released a major report Tuesday on human rights abuses in the conflict there and is collecting satellite photos to bolster its case.
Copyright 2006, The Christian Science Monitor
A WASTE: Members of the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit find a buffalo that, wounded by gunshot, had lived long enough to escape its poachers but didn't survive.
JEFFREY BARBEE/PULITZER CENTER ON CRISIS REPORTING
On foot and with few resources, the Victoria Falls
Anti-Poaching Unit wields little but hope in its effort to save dwindling
| Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
"It looks like the shooter was aiming for the heart, but he shot low and it may have gotten the bottom of the lungs here," points out Charles Brightman, coordinator of the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit. "That's why this buffalo's been able to run so far, and then died later from its wounds. What a waste. It's a nice old big bull, hey?"
What a waste. It's the story of Zimbabwe these days. Six years after President Robert Mugabe encouraged the violent takeover of white-owned farmland, the country is facing acute food shortages, massive emigration, increasing political repression and more than 1,000 percent inflation. It is also facing environmental devastation.
Poaching here, both commercial and subsistence, is on the rise. Around Victoria Falls, once a top tourist destination, hungry locals are setting tens of thousands of snares to catch protected animals. Poaching gangs with high-caliber weapons are moving into the area. Bush-meat markets, where entrepreneurs illegally sell meat from impala, buffalo, and elephant, are sprouting in impoverished townships. Legal meat is too expensive.
The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit is one small group of Zimbabweans - black and white - trying to fight this environmentally deadly trend.
Here in Victoria Falls National Park, not far from the mile-long falls and some of the fanciest safari lodges in the region, is where Mr. Brightman and the unit's scouts found the buffalo. They'd tracked it from the dozens of vultures overhead.
Brightman's rifle is cocked, and he gives one of his scouts a handgun. Poaching has become a dangerous, high-stakes business in Zimbabwe.
In the past, the unit has discovered hidden butcheries where poachers skin their catch and prepare meat for sale. The scouts have found dead rhinos with their horns cut off - a telltale sign of an international poaching syndicate that will make thousands of dollars selling horns as aphrodisiacs in Asia or as dagger handles in Yemen.
Brightman turns to three other scouts, who've been guarding the carcass: "OK, let's turn him over."
Seven years ago, when Brightman was working as a safari guide, he found himself troubled by an increase in poaching here. When he discovered that the park service had only 10 rangers to counter hundreds of poachers, he decided to try to help. He came up with the idea of an independent antipoaching unit, funded by local businesses and hotels, that would work with the park service. He recruited scouts and convinced other players in the tourism industry to support his efforts.
At first Brightman kept his safari company going. But as Zimbabwe's decline continued, business slowed. Soon, he says, he realized that the anti-poaching efforts were more important - if he succeeded in stopping, or reducing, the killing, he'd always have a chance to restart his business. If he didn't succeed, there'd be no business anyhow.
Today he has 13 scouts, two pairs of handcuffs, a collection of hand-held radios, and an inoperable and battered 4x4 in his yard. With this, his unit attempts to patrol 12,000 acres of bush around Victoria Falls. Though Brightman often takes scouts around in his own 4x4, scouts often still have to walk to their patrol points - a waste of time, and a problem when they find a poacher deep in the bush, he says.
Brightman also tries to find alternative employment for subsistence poachers, although now any job is hard to find.
So far, the group has removed more than 17,000 wire snares and has helped authorities arrest more than 200 poachers.
"It's vital that we conserve these natural resources," Brightman says. "Not only for our own heritage, but for tourism, too. Without visitors to Zimbabwe, bringing in vital foreign currency, all these areas would lose their economic value."
Pay is minimal. Because of inflation and because the unit is funded by local hotels and businesses that are also suffering from the economic collapse, each scout gets only about $25 a month. Brightman and his family are surviving on dwindling savings.
Replacing equipment - whether boots or a Land Rover - is nearly impossible. The value of the Zimbabwean dollar plummets by the day. Meanwhile, the hours are long, the wildlife dangerous, and poachers decidedly unfriendly. One scout needed 12 stitches after a poacher, who also happened to be a neighbor, slammed a brick into his head. Still, Brightman says, there's a waiting list of men eager to work for him.
"We find that most of the guys working are working on their own because they want to help get rid of these poachers," says one scout, who asks that his name not be used because he is afraid that Zimbabwean authorities will punish him for talking to a foreign journalist.
Brightman is the first to grab onto a stiff buffalo leg. He has the tough but relaxed gait of someone who has lived in southern Africa his whole life. His face is boyish but weathered, the look Zimbabweans seem to get from working in the sun and worrying about their country. The group pulls together, and the animal rolls over. The flies crescendo into an angrier, louder cloud.
When they find a carcass, one scout tells me, they will set up an ambush and wait for the poacher to return. They did this once on a Victoria Falls golf course, where workers had found a snared impala. At night, two caddies came to collect their meat, andthe anti-poaching unit pounced. They arrested the men, who were fined.
Brightman pulls out his cellphone to call the park warden. Working with government authorities is crucial for Brightman, even though many conservationists allege that park officials themselves are involved in poaching. If he gets on their bad side, they could easily shut down the unit.
He calls a number on his cellphone: "Hi, senior warden, how are you? I've got a big buffalo bull and it looks like it's been shot with a heavy caliber through the lungs ... it's not far from the safari lodge." He nods and hangs up.
"They're coming," he says.
After making his way out of the bush, through vines and thorns, keeping eyes peeled for snakes and ill-tempered buffalos, Brightman sits in front of his computer, showing slides of animals in various positions of death. These are some of the other poached animals his unit has discovered. The buffalo will be added to the list.
He leans back and sighs: "You know, if a gang of poachers that we arrest have killed a buffalo and sold the meat in the communities illegally, they could make millions of Zimbabwe dollars [$10 using the official exchange rate]. But for the first offense, the fine is 250,000 Zimbabwe dollars.
"Of course," he adds, "it's meaningless to them. They're back in the bush."
Still, he says, he and his scouts must keep working. "Zimbabwe," he says, "she's a beautiful country."
• Travel for the reporter and photographer was funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (www.pulitzercenter.org).
HARARE - One in 10 Zimbabweans need psychological help and one in 10 people
over the age of 30 in Matabeleland is a survivor of torture. These shocking
statistics were revealed this week by Amani Trust and ActionAid in the
lead-up to the June 26 UN international day in support of torture victims.
ActionAid, an NGO that surveyed 824 people affected by Operation
Murambatsvina, found that 69% of the victims were in need of clinical help
or psychological attention. The group conservatively estimated that 820,000
people in Zimbabwe need psychological assistance.
Rape, electrocution, severe beatings on the body and the soles of the feet,
forced nakedness, witnessing the torture of family members and friends and
mock executions are all part of a long list of horrifying state-sanctioned
acts with which huge numbers of Zimbabweans are all too familiar.
The implications are dire for Zimbabwean society as a whole if the situation
is not dealt with immediately. According to a spokesman from the Amani
Trust, Zimbabwe has a population that has been exposed to "multiple traumas"
which, if untreated, will become "chronic disorders".
The population of the country is estimated at 12 million, but at least three
million, including most health professionals, live in exile.
Tragically, the likelihood of any help for these people is non-existent. "As
the government sanctions torture as a method of keeping the population under
control and with the health sector having collapsed, the hope of any of them
receiving the necessary treatment is out of the question," said Amani.
The victims of Operation Murambatsvina are still without shelter more than
12 months after bulldozers razed their homes to the ground. Government has
refused NGOs permission to help them - even with the basic necessities such
as food, clothing and medicines.
To add to their misery, 85% are now unemployed. One in four are HIV
positive and have no access to appropriate medication.
A number of Zimbabwean torture survivors will share their experiences at a
service to be held at St Martins-in-the-fields, Trafalgar Square, London at
5.30 pm on June 26.
One of them, Patson Muzuwa, who is also chairman of the Zimbabwe
Association, welcomed the service as a chance to "mourn what happened to us
in Zimbabwe, which we cannot say in public."
Muzuwa fled his homeland in 2001 after being severely tortured by the
police. He was electrocuted during interrogation and severely beaten on the
ribs, arms and soles of his feet. He sought asylum in Britain after being
beaten unconscious in his house in front of his neighbours. He arrived at
the airport with stitches in his head and two broken hands.
Since then he has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of torture survivors,
speaking to the European Parliament in both 2003 and 2004. He will address
a closed meeting at the House of Lords on Monday.
Craig J. Richardson is associate professor of economics at Salem College,
USA. In this first excerpt from an article for the American Enterprise
Institute, he argues that the chaotic seizure of white-owned farms which
ended property rights is the fundamental reason for Zimbabwe's spectacular
economic collapse. Zimbabwe: a lesson in self-destruction, and a warning to
others Over the past half decade. Zimbabwe has transformed from one of
Africa's rare success stories into one of its worst economic and
humanitarian disasters. Its destruction, like that of Nicaragua two decades
earlier, offers important, cautionary lessons for other developing
countries. Since 2000 Zimbabwe has been in an economic tailspin. Reviewing
International Monetary Fund reports, Zimbabwe simply appears to be a country
falling apart under the collective weight of countless bad policies. But
how the country lost 50 years of economic progress in only five years can be
traced to a single policy: its fast track land reform programme, under which
the Mugabe government, beginning in 2000, seized thousands of white-owned
commercial farms. The other "inappropriate" policies adopted by the Mugabe
government exacerbated the damage, but they were not the underlying cause. A
puzzle remains: the farming sector was only 18 percent of the entire
economy. Other sectors, such as banking, tourism, manufacturing, and mining,
also shrank dramatically during this time, however. How, then, to explain
the discrepancy? The damage done to property rights by the land reforms
caused a series of ripple effects throughout Zimbabwe's other economic
sectors. The destruction of Zimbabwe represents a grim "natural experiment"
that illustrates the tremendous negative consequences of ignoring the rule
of law and provides a cautionary lesson for other developing countries.
Unfortunately, the rebuilding of an economy after property rights have been
revoked is likely to be contentious and slow, akin to rebuilding trust in a
relationship after a serious betrayal. The case of Nicaragua with its
history of land expropriation under the Sandinistas, its resulting collapse,
and its long and difficult struggle toward recovery provide useful clues for
what a post-Mugabe future might hold. By the late 1990s, a broad consensus
had taken shape that land reforms in Zimbabwe were needed, and as late as
1998 the IMF predicted that the Zimbabwean government's land reform would
unfold in a fair and legal manner. However, the IMF - along with everyone
else who trusted the Mugabe government - was soon proven wrong. Beginning in
2000, Harare began seizing control of white-owned farmland, with no
compensation for its owners, and then redistributing it to political cronies
in the Zanu (PF)political party, rather than poor rural farmers. Land titles
were declared null and void, and all contracts and mortgages related to the
farmland were suddenly worthless. If the usual explanations for Zimbabwe's
implosion, such a drought or so-called 'sanctions' are insufficient, why do
the country's land reforms provide a better explanation? The argument here
is straightforward: the expropriation of land without compensation destroyed
property rights--the foundation of the economy--and led to a chain reaction,
which was exacerbated by additional actions of the Mugabe government.
Watching Zimbabwe's economic unravelling is chillingly reminiscent of
watching a building collapse in slow motion after a series of timed
explosions. The case study also reveals how the hidden yet fragile
architecture of capitalism can so quickly fall apart once its substructure
is substantially harmed. In 2000 the Zimbabwean Supreme Court declared the
fast track land reform unconstitutional. It was then, for the first time
that Mugabe openly ignored the rule of law. He replaced unfriendly judges
with cronies, securing his desired ruling in December 2001. Land titles and
private land ownership had become a thing of the past. Newly resettled
Zimbabweans were assigned plots of former commercial farmland but were
forced to lease it year to year from the government. With no means to borrow
against their land, the new farmers could not obtain loans. Moreover, their
knowledge of farming was often meagre. - Craig Richardson is the author of
The Collapse of Zimbabwe in the Wake of the 2000-2003 Land Reforms. (Edwin
Mellen Press, 2004) firstname.lastname@example.org www.aei.org
NEXT WEEK: In Part II Dr. Richardson argues that South Africa and Namibia
should learn from the Zimbabwe disaster.
GDP ZANU %of total GDP
AGRICULTURE 15 80 12
INDUSTRY 18 20 3.6
MINING 8 15 1.2
TOURISM 5 25 1.25
SERVICE SECTOR 5 30 1.5
BANKING 6 25 1.5
GOVERNMEMENT 43 100 43
TOTALS 100 64.05
BULAWAYO - The MDC leadership has expressed hope concerning the emergence of
a new consensus about Zimbabwe in the international community.
"This replaces the assumed approach sculptured by Tony Blair at the G8
summit in mid 2005 when the G8 renewed its commitment to helping put the
Zimbabwe economy back on its feet and its support for the approach proposed
by the South Africans. After the Gleneagles summit, SA president Thabo Mbeki
has had a go at getting Mugabe to step aside and allow reform and recovery
on three separate occasions and on each occasion he was frustrated by the
local leadership," said a political analyst.
"The MDC was never happy with the approach being adopted for the resolution
of the crisis over the past year and is quite happy that the Blair/Mbeki
approach has failed. In its place a much more principled and robust approach
has now been crafted and seems to have suddenly gained acceptance across the
globe," he said.
It is four years since US President George Bush announced in Pretoria that
Mbeki was the "point man" on the Zimbabwe crisis. It was a logical choice -
he had the power to coerce the Zimbabwean leadership, and his own country
had just been through a dramatic transition assisted by the global
community. Mbeki accepted the role, but then tried to use his position to
secure an outcome that would have left a so-called "sanitized Zanu PF
government" in power. The reasons for this were purely domestic and had
little to do with what was best for Zimbabwe.
"The country now lies in ruins. Mbeki has failed. But there are hopeful
signs on the horizon," said the analyst. - Staff reporter
INSIZA - President Robert Mugabe told a rally here at the weekend that
white people in Zimbabwe are to be considered inferior to blacks but that
loyal white farmers willing to cooperate with his government would not be
left completely landless.
Mugabe, who has turned whites into a political scapegoat as he struggles
with a severe political and economic crisis blamed on his government, told a
predominantly peasant farming community in Matabeleland South province that
Zimbabwean children should be taught that whites are second or third class
"Nguva yekunanzva varungu yakapera (Gone are the days when we used to
bootlick the white man)," Mugabe told the timid crowd. "We can't slave for
them, they should be our slaves. God gave us our country. So we must not
lose that, it is a divine legacy."
He was speaking during a perfunctory tour to assess progress on Maguta.
Having thrown white farmers off their land, the military has taken over many
of the farms in a move termed Operation Maguta. Military men have set up
camps on the land of black farmers in Insiza and are ordering them to grow
maize to avert widespread hunger. Teams of soldiers are forcing farmers to
plough up other crops such as onions, tomatoes and potatoes without telling
them what price they will be paid for compulsory acquisition of maize.
Mugabe promised to end Zimbabwe's food shortages, provide jobs and end
foreign exchange problems. He said he would do this by creating an
agricultural production boom on former white-owned farms allocated to
264,000 black families. "The land has finally come to its rightful owners,"
he told the crowd. "The soil that we walk is ours - every grain is ours. The
white man is here as a second citizen: you are number one."
Mugabe said the coming year would see maximum government efforts to get
production going among 264,000 households given land under his "fast track
reform programme" with distribution of seed and chemicals. Farming experts
fear the near-bankrupt Mugabe government will be unable to afford the
A regional famine early warning unit reports that up to 3.3 million need
food relief with 380,000 facing imminent starvation. - CAJ News
HARARE - Interference with Internet access could already be in place even
before the coming into law of the controversial Interception of
Communications Bill, according to a statement issued by one of Zimbabwe's
leading Internet service providers.
In a statement issued Friday last week by MWEB, the interference has slowed
down browsing speed and it is suspected "someone" is deliberately blocking
their signal. The widely criticised Interception of Communications Bill
seeks to monitor email and all electronic communication, including spying on
telephone conversations. Industry officials, human rights activists and
lawyers have criticised the Bill as seeking to encroach on civil liberties.
MWEB says "someone" has placed a powerful radio signal close their own
signal which is interfering with their link.
"We are doing the best we can in somewhat limiting circumstances," MWEB says
in its statement in what could be reference to the government's
determination to intercept electronic communication in its continuing
efforts to stop information leaving the country. Last year, the Zimbabwean
government attempted to force the country's ISP's to spy on emails, a move
the ISP's resisted. These latest reports come amid concerns that government
is also interfering with short-wave radio broadcasts to Zimbabwe with
stations like Studio Seven and SW Radio Africa laden with static. - MWEB
BY STANFORD MUKASA
'Mugabe may have offered Zimbabwe for sale to the Chinese as a ploy to
attract western investments'
WASHINGTON - There appears to be a new momentum, spearheaded by UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan and South African President Thabo Mbeki, to resolve the
Zimbabwean crisis. Despite some denials, South Africa appears to be pushing
for a direct meeting between Mbeki and Mugabe as well as with Annan.
The big question is: Why are they trying to be more proactively engaged on
Zimbabwe now after so many wasted years and when they are at the end of
their careers? Even Mugabe is supposedly expected to retire in 2008.
Is this an attempt by Mbeki, in particular, to redeem himself? When Mugabe
finally retires is Mbeki hoping that the world will think he was
instrumental in pushing for Mugabe's retirement?
Annan is to all intents and purposes a sitting duck, meaning that not much
can be expected from his efforts since he is six months away from
retirement. Annan has not shown any active and robust efforts at pressuring
In remarkable contrast, Annan has been very forceful in the process that led
to former president of Liberia Charles Taylor being brought to trial. He has
also played a frontline role in pushing for a solution in the Darfur region
Yet both men have always treated Mugabe with kid gloves, even at the height
one of the world's worst humanitarian crises - Operation Murambatsvina.
The report of the African Commission for People's and Human rights
condemning human rights abuses in Zimbabwe has been treated like a piece
trash by the leaders of the African Union. Efforts by the United Nations
Human Rights Commission to condemn Mugabe were forcefully blocked by African
countries led by South Africa.
Annan and Mbeki will reportedly meet Mugabe on the sidelines of the African
Union summit in The Gambia. Zimbabwe will not even be on the agenda for the
Britain's inactivity can be largely explained by its economic interests in
Zimbabwe. British Airways, for example, enjoys a profitable and near
monopoly of the London to Harare route. As a matter of fact, it has become
the most preferred airline for Mugabe's officials both in government and
party.For Britain and the international community there is another turf war
with the Chinese. In a replay of Cold War politics, there is growing alarm
that China is increasing by leaps and bounds its investments in Africa,
particularly inZimbabwe. If Africa were to fall under the influence of the
Chinese the West fears that it may not have easy access to the continent's
mineral and energy resources.
One way of containing the rising Chinese influence in Africa is for the West
to make a counter offer of hefty investments. Mugabe may well have
deliberately offered Zimbabwe for sale to the Chinese as a ploy to attract
The opposition movement, especially the MDC, must not waver in its key and
non- negotiable demands for free and fair elections supervised by the
international community, and held within a year.
BY DANIEL MOLOKELE
This past Saturday June 16, 2006 was celebrated as one of the most solemn
national holidays in South Africa. The nation joined hands across all forms
of divides, be it political, ethnic, class, race or creed and paid tribute
to the class of June 16, 1976. This was the generation that said enough is
enough to the repressive minority Afrikaner regime in South Africa.
This was the generation that refused to continue as silent unwilling
partners in a national discourse that favoured their white counter parts
right from the cradle to the grave.
In the final analysis, the very same generation decided to die standing up
for their rights instead of living on bowing down to the repressive laws of
apartheid. That chose to cry for their own freedom and marched into the
dusty streets of Soweto chanting the revolutionary war cry; 'Amandla
ngawethu!' That preferred to sing their own song, a song that demanded their
Today another generation lives in a different country simply because they
decided to demand freedom.
I recently watched the 1987 movie, 'Cry Freedom'. The story is inspiring,
but I was also inspired by the fact that most of the movie's scenes were
shot in Zimbabwe. I clearly identified some of the filming locations.
Specifically, I saw the dilapidated block flats of Mbare, the streets of
Gweru and in particular, the scene that was shot outside the Midlands Hotel.
As the memories of Zimbabwe keep flowing back into my present set of
circumstances, I also painfully remember that while the people of South
Africa are now free at last, the same cannot be said of my own people.
Zimbabwe, which hosted almost the entire shooting of the movie almost 20
years ago, is now a pale shadow of the democracy it once aspired to be.
The same repressive monopolistic laws that the apartheid regime relied upon
30 years ago are in place in Zimbabwe today. Zimbabwe might be independent
but her people are still not free yet. They are still bound - and by the
very same people who they once looked to for freedom. The liberators of
yesteryear have become the oppressors of today.
While the people of South Africa celebrate, I take time to think of my
people back home. I still cry for freedom. I am praying and hoping that one
day the people of Zimbabwe shall be free indeed. "Amandla nga wethu!
Mayibuye iZimbabwe entsha! Mayibuye!"
Part I of a three-part series in which PETI NYEMBA questions the extent of
Britain's past responsibility in the evolution of Zimbabwe and its present
duty to its former colony.
It is astonishing that Britain can stand innocently on the side-lines and
watch a country and its people collapse into total ruin.
We ex-citizens of Zimbabwe are viewed with indifference; hammering on the
door of No. 10 Downing Street that stands firmly closed. The world is doing
nothing about Zimbabwe simply because there is nothing of value left in the
country and it is tired of stories about AIDs, famine, corruption and
How did this whole sorry mess evolve in Zimbabwe?
In 1884 England, France and Germany held The Congress of Berlin to discuss
how to divide Africa between them. Not surprisingly, there were no African
representatives invited! France ended up with the biggest patch of land but
the English, largely thanks to the ruthless Cecil John Rhodes, eventually
captured a number of magnificent countries.
The greatest prize of all was securing the Union of South Africa, where
Rhodes and his friends found some of the world's largest deposits of gold
and diamonds. The pioneers drove the stake of the Union Jack into South
Rhodes was a man of vision and soon turned his eyes northwards toward the
rich lands ruled by Lobungula. A Charter Company was formed and in l890 the
Pioneer Column marched through unknown territories to claim the country for
Adventurers, miners, artisans and ambitious businessmen moved to populate
the new country. Inevitably 'remittance men' arrived; 'British black sheep'
sent by embarrassed titled families.
The good, the bad and the ugly jostled down together. Their lifestyle was
reminiscent of early days in the Wild West of America. In time the pioneer
look faded and little Britain emerged; better roads were built, fine
buildings constructed and eventually one of the finest and most efficient
civil services in the world was established.
Soon a two-tier system was implemented; the whites were in command and the
blacks, like children, were to be given health, education and the continuity
of their tribal rule - provided they behaved themselves. This system was
never discussed with the resident blacks; it was just imposed with
everything neatly graded 'Blacks Only' and 'Whites Only'.
Black tribes were moved from their traditional lands onto arid Tribal Trust
Lands. They were bewildered; had they not helped the visiting whites to find
the gold stones? It became apparent that the whites were determined to stay;
there was nothing they could do about it. His Majesty Lobengula died of a
The first Chimurenga (rebellion) began when outspoken black leaders actively
stood against the imposed British way of life. The Mashonaland Rebellion,
when many innocent whites were killed, ended with the capture of the
ring-leader, Mbuya Nehanda.
Nehanda and another leader, Kaguvi, were executed in Salisbury on 27 April
1898. Future black leaders were beginning to rise up, one of them being
Rumbles of discontent among the whites began in the 1950s and grew louder in
the 1960s when their population rose to 269 000. Growing numbers of liberal
whites stood up to challenge educated blacks.
Of course the modern medical facilities ensured the survival of more rural
babies, mothers and children. The school system was relatively nationwide,
but very often distance prevented primary school children from attending and
enough senior schools were built to offer a place to only 25% of those
Primary school children! Deliberately planned or a financial constraint is a
question mark - but it was a recipe for
However a spark of hope was on the horizon. Missionaries had arrived in the
country well before the Pioneer Column and they had firmly established,
particularly in Matabeleland, the doctrine of Jesus Christ who taught that
all men were equal. Alarm bells rang in government offices as increasing
numbers of black secondary school students slipped over the border in search
of tertiary education in places like Fort Hare. Future Black leaders were on
their way. One of them was called Robert Mugabe.
The rumbles of discontent commenced in the 1950s and grew louder in the
1960s when the white population rose to 269 000, the highest ever or 'was
ever to be in the future' as it happened. Growing numbers of liberal whites
stood up on the side of educated blacks and were isolated for it. - Next
week - the Second Chimurenga.
By a Correspondent
HARARE - Were it not for the immense suffering of Zimbabweans, the state
media's coverage of the economic crisis, including a new world record of
1,193% inflation in May, would be laughable.
The Chronicle, in an attack on Britain that was weird even by its distorted
standards, criticised London for supporting humanitarian programmes with the
aim, the paper said, of giving "a hungry person fish so they keep coming on
for more instead of teaching them how to fish for themselves."
It did not, of course, ask: "Who killed the fish?"
As usual, the regime's mouthpieces avoided linking the economic downward
spiral to official mismanagement and corruption, focussing instead on the
old canard of non-existent Western sanctions and the new fig leaf - the
so-called economic revival programme. It is the latest of many such revivals
all characterised by long sets of initials - this one is NEDPP - and not
The state-run Sunday Mail is so keen on NEDPP that it saw nothing to worry
about in an acknowledgement by Economic Development Minister Rugare Gumbo
that the authorities had raised just US$350 million (14%) of the targeted
US$2.5 billion in the three months since NEDPP's launch.
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), in its report covering June
5-11, highlighted other examples of what it termed the state media's
"fixation with projecting NEDPP as already working."
Spot FM and ZTV even described plans to grant Beitbridge town status as part
of official efforts to fulfil "the objectives of NEDPP" and "create a
favourable image of the country." The Herald wanted everyone to rally behind
the programme and also - even more absurd given the shortages of
commodities - to look for "affordable commodities or cheaper substitutes."
Most of the state media buried the latest inflation news, while The
Chronicle went one better and ignored it altogether. The monitors noted,
however, that the private media gave forthright coverage to the rapidly
deteriorating economy, and continued to blame it on the Mugabe regime's poor
The Zimbabwe Independent was particularly outspoken, castigating the
authorities for criminalizing price increases when it was the state itself
that had created the fertile ground for such "illegality."
"Where would industry be without the forex black market," the paper
declared. "Where did (reserve Bank Governor Giodeon) Gono get the forex he
bought with the $46 trillion he printed last year? Is government not the
chief distributor of fuel that finds its way onto the black market? The
government raised the spectre of illegality. Now it must live with it."
On international relations, MMPZ said the state media "continued to gloss
over the country's pariah status and the international community's efforts
to find a solution" by portraying Harare as generally having good relations
with the rest of the world.
To bolster this slant, the propagandists used sporadic business deals which
the regime allegedly signed with companies in Asia or Africa as showing that
international concern over Zimbabwe stemmed only from a British and US
agenda to remove Mugabe.
BY LITANY BIRD
Dear Family and Friends,
Zimbabwe tells a very strange story to the casual passer by. We are a
country so full of contradictions and extremes that sometimes just the
fragments tell their own story about the situation here.
Driving on the main road through the town this week I noticed that two big
shops have just suddenly gone. A couple of weeks ago they were there but now
they are unexpectedly closed; windows bare, doors locked, iron bars and
grills padlocked and protecting empty showrooms.
Three years ago during a particularly bad fuel shortage I used to accompany
my son to a nearby junior school by bicycle. There was no way to avoid a
short but steep hill and I always had to get off and walk. My daily
challenge was to stay on the bike until I reached a big boulder half way up
the hill. This week I saw with sadness that the boulder has gone.
This big black rock, the size of a family car, has been painstakingly
chipped into little stones by a man, a woman and two children over the last
few months. We do have municipal police in our town but it seems they are
more concerned with impounding unlicensed bicycles than protecting the
environment for us and those who come after us. Now a rock, thousands of
years old, is stacked in little piles on the side of the road for sale to
On a recent journey there were six police road-blocks in a distance of just
70 kilometres. This is another fragment of Zimbabwean life where you are
left with more questions than answers. As you repeatedly slow down for the
road-blocks you begin to feel you are travelling in a country at war. You
keep asking yourself just exactly what it is the police, who seem younger by
the day, are looking for?
Another view of Zimbabwe is the display of wealth by the nouveau riche.
Luxury cars and extravagant four-wheel-drive vehicles worth multiple
billions of dollars fill car parks and block roads in shopping centres in
affluent parts of suburban Harare. The new super rich people of Zimbabwe
seem keen to show off their wealth and are keen to be seen. At the dirtiest
little beer hall or bar on the side of the road there is always at least one
Mercedes or one luxury double cab - more often though there is a whole line
Life in Zimbabwe is such a strange mixture of wildly contrasting
circumstances and these days almost nothing is as it seems. For the past
week only one thing has been certain: If the electricity is on there is a
world cup football game being shown on TV, if its off, then there's no game
I end with the very sad news that a man so many of us felt we knew, passed
away this week. Wrex Tarr, a businessman, an entertainer, newsreader, a
national archer and rifle shottist died aged 71 in East London. Apparently
he died while entertaining a happy crowd of bowlers at the club after the
day's play. Until next week, ndini shamwari yenyu.
Disgusted at police brutality
EDITOR - This is an open letter to express my displeasure and disgust at the
brutality being perpetrated by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, specifically
members of the Zipurisa Rinorova Povo (ZRP) stationed at Glen Norah Police
The incident happened on June 16, 2006 at around 1730hrs, when the 100%MDC
Ward 28 youth chairman, Charles Muchena, Ward 28 youth organising secretary,
Enock Chikohora, and an activist, Tonderai Matandiri, were brutally beaten
with clenched fists and rubber batons by members of the ZRP as they tried to
protect vendors. The vendors were being harrassed by the police, their wares
were being impounded and loaded into police trucks. Some had babies on
their backs as they fled to evade arrests at Glen Norah spaceman shopping
To my surprise there were no Harare municipal police, who should have been
accompanying the ZRP on such operations.
As they were shoved into the truck, the vendors were told they were being
charged for breaching Harare municipal by laws c/s 4(a)(i) - an illegal
vending charge - and were forcibly fined Z$250,000 each. It was Sgt Tambo,
force number 055860R, who fabricated the charge at the police station after
Muchena and Chikohora tried to tell Sgt Danha 112505M and Cst Katura 057104T
that they were not vendors but victims of circumstances. Their forced
admission of guilt form numbers are 3045690A, 3045689A and 3045688A.
I would like to warn the police that the winds of change are coming and
don't buy your vegetables from illegal vendors when you knock off duty,
MR THUNDER, Glen Norah
Where are prison farms?
EDITOR - According to a Herald report in November 2003 the Commissioner of
Prisons, Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi, stated that the Zimbabwe
Prison Services had acquired farms where it would build new prisons as part
of its efforts to decongest prisons.
One wonders if the likes of a Parliamentary Committee, The Red Cross, NGO's
and the United Nations have toured these well overdue but apparently
well-hidden new premises.
Research has not shown any budgeted expenditure for these facilities.
Perhaps the Retired Major General should be interviewed to demystify the
In view of the well overdue regime change now in sight, it is expected that
new premises will be urgently needed for many of the 100.000 or so gangsters
now robbing, raping and ruining the country.
KEVIN BLUNT, Bloemfontein
Not long to go now
EDITOR - Yesterday I travelled out to a communal area to visit some
desperate people. People whose children cannot even go to school anymore
because they are so malnourished and hungry. These are ex-commercial farm
workers who were dispossessed, displaced and dumped in arid areas and marked
forever as "enemies of the state" . As a result, when they queue for donor
maize meal (delivered by government truck) they are told that they "are not
on the list" and therefore not eligible. The fact of the matter is that
they do not hold a Zanu (PF) party card.
There are some areas in Zimbabwe considered "sensitive areas" by donors and
NGO's and therefore politically no-(n)go areas. It is beside the point that
there are people starving by the thousands. Quite frankly this sickens me.
They may have been confronted by the state thugs, the CIO, and as a result
are then scared off. For Heaven's sake, there are hundreds, if not
thousands of lives at stake, and they, the NGO's, allow themselves to be
intimidated by a few thugs in dark glasses. However this must not detract
from the many other non-sensitive areas where NGO's are feeding
My advice is "Face fear and it no longer becomes fear, but a challenge."
Many of us Zimbabweans know that.
Time is running out for this genocidal regime. The top dog might obtain
immunity from prosecution, but there are thousands of state sponsored thugs
who will face criminal prosecution, and there is a pile of evidence and
plenty of witnesses to see justice is done. Not long to go now.
As one travels through what was once a thriving, diversified and productive
commercial farming area, there is little to see other than thousands of
acres of nothing. Some huts, patches of rape and tomatoes. Citrus orchards,
that by now would have been in full export production for over six years,
are full of weeds and long grass. Two farms (out of 50) have wheat planted
(guess the "chefs"?).
The "success" of Land Deform - while the people of Zimbabwe starve? Perhaps
no-one was listening four years ago when I said "this is a planned
genocide". The results are now here for public viewing, if anyone is
AMBUYA WATSAMWA, Harare
Moved by their plight
EDITOR - Although I am not from Africa I feel moved about my Black Brothers
who are asylum seekers and want to settle in England. I am a Jamaican who
came to this country in 1961. I do volunteer work with a group which helps
asylum seekers, so I experience and understand what they are going through.
I am a very caring genuine person, so if there is any people living in the
Manchester Area who are isolated, lonely and desperate I would be willing to
get in touch with any African brothers. I would take them out for a bit to
eat a drink or a coffee and a chat all at my cost. Any brothers can write to
me at L. Samuels, 25 Thorncombe Rd, Alexandra Park, Manachester M16 7YA.
L SAMUELS, Manchester
Life after Mugabe
EDITOR - Despite the vaunted auspices of the Kennedy School of Government I
am sure that many of your readers will find the no doubt well intentioned
outline by Messrs. Moss and Patrick for Life After Mugabe namby-pamby and
platitudinous and avoids the nitty-gritty.
"Recovery from crisis means seeking accountability for past crimes and
abuses". They cite the example of the Contact Group in Bosnia but are no
doubt mindful how the similar approach by the heavily American coalition
policy in Iraq, not even mentioned, where the failure to retain any of the
previous regime led to disaster and despite millions appropriated still has
not led to a regular electricity supply among other shortfalls.
There is no mention of the police or other authorities who not only flouted
legal processes pursuing the Murambatsvina but did not deign to reply to any
objections or complaints, not bearing any personal liability. By contrast
Mrs. Tibaijuka's report to the UN, yet to be reported in detail in The
Zimbabwean, was unequivocal: "The Government of Zimbabwe is collectively
responsible for what has happened" How will western taxpayers feel about
being liable to foot this bill?
SANDY KATZ, Alton UK
Speak out young people
EDITOR - The designation of 2001 - 2010 as the "International Decade for a
Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World" is a clear
indication in itself that young people will immensely benefit from this
global movement. It is for this reason that I strongly feel that as young
people we should be empowered to take a leading role in the creation of a
culture of peace. This we can do partly by joining civil society
organizations in the area of human rights, democracy and good governance to
make a quick, short list which could be extended many times over. I also
recommend that we receive training related to the aforesaid issues.
In other words, as young people we should fully and actively participate in
public life since that is what citizenship is all about. After all this is
our decade to show the world what we are really made up of. This is the most
prime opportunity we should take as a matter of urgency as if to compete
with time which is moving faster. This has to be especially when taking
into cognisance the fact the majority of us were quite ignorant about the
existence of such a designation.
I have been forced to write this letter after the realisation that as young
people we are more often than not inconspicuous, inarticulate and
unorganized. Our voices are seldom heart at public meetings in communities
where it is customary for only the big men to put their views. Furthermore,
it is rare to find a body or institution that adequately represents young
people (youth) in a certain community or area. As a result, outsiders and
government officials invariable find it more profitable and congenial to
converse with local influentials than with the uncommunicative young people.
Young people, we are today a residual, the last in the line, the most
difficult to find, and the hardest to learn from.
Young people, let us show our deep commitment to promoting the dignity of
the person by affirming the inviolable and inalienable dignity of the
person, defending the intrinsic right to life, fostering a social climate
propitious to integral development, solidarity and mutual respect. Above
all else, let us refrain from using violence as a way of settling
differences of any magnitude. This is so largely because violence is in the
words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr "a descending spiral begetting the very
thing it seeks to destroy". Violence adds deeper darkness to a night
already devoid of stars. This is food for thought.
M MUTSA, Bindura.
Not so smart sanctions
EDITOR - I would like to highlight a few points about these so-called smart
sanctions. I used to wonder how people like Patrick Chinamasa live under
such sanctions and then I opened my eyes. All Pat did was virtually move out
of his Greystone Park house and live on a farm. He doesn't care what you say
to him because as Roy Bennett found out, even touching him can send you to
So what I would like to suggest to the international world, is not to impose
sanctions on the leaders alone, but their whole family effectively. By this
I mean people like Kangai, Tinotenda and Chengetai Chinamasa must come home.
Some of them are using their mothers surname and that doesn't take too much
investigating to figure out. The same must apply to Gono's kids (Passion,
Praise and Pride) who are living a fabulous life in Australia.
Simba Murerwa is in the states somewhere also having a good time. Mushowe
has a few scattered, Mnagngwagwa has several daughters all over the world
too. Parirenyatwa's step kids are also reaping the benefits. So open your
eyes people, why should the children of hard working Zimbabweans suffer and
be stuck in this country whilst those of the government officials get free
education (at bank rate, forex is almost free). Can you not see that the
money gained through the Reserve Bank is gained by oppressing normal people
and is now funding the education and upkeep of their children. MAKE THEM
COME HOME and study at Midlands State or make them go to Fort Hare or
something. It's only fair. WAKE UP!
MATICHII ZVANAKA, Harare
How low can we go?
EDITOR - I noted with great concern an article published on 09/06/06. It is
unheard of to use Holy Bible pages in place of toilet paper. But in Prisons
this is what is happening. Resources are being overstretched to cater for
large numbers of prisoners - more than the maximum holding capacity of the
prison, resulting in shortages of basic requirements like food, soap, toilet
paper, and dirty blankets. Sickness is rampant. There is need for immediate
action from responsible authorities. Zimbabwe deserves a better reputation
DANFORD ZIMUTO, London
June 22, 2006
By ANDnetwork .com
Ghana is committed to strengthening bilateral relations with Zimbabwe,
particularly in the economic, cultural and agricultural sectors, a diplomat
said on Wednesday.
"It is the desire of my government and the people of Ghana that the
relations between us be improved," said Ghanaian Ambassador to Zimbabwe John
Gbenah after paying a courtesy call on Zimbabwe Vice President Joseph Msika
at his Munhumutapa office.
Gbenah cited the economic, cultural and agricultural sectors as some
of the areas in which the two countries could cooperate, and proposed the
setting up of a joint commission to explore areas of cooperation between the
two African countries whose relations date back to the liberation struggle.
Recently, the two countries would embark on student exchange programs
for their mutual benefit, said Gbenah, who has been in the country since
February this year.
Last year the City of Harare, in recognition of the role that the
first Ghanaian president Kwameh Nkrumah played in the emancipation of
Africa, renamed Union Avenue after him.
This is the highest honour a council can bestow on some prominent
personalities for their meritorious service, either of a national or local
Monday 26th June 2006
A year on from the G8 and Live 8, parts of Africa are making good
progress. But it's not thanks to the money and the debt relief that often
prop up the wrong kind of leader. By Robert Calderisi
Cameroon's president, Paul Biya, looks at the world upside down. In
power for almost a quarter-century and seen by almost no one except his
aide-de-camp, Biya regards his country's saintly Catholic cleric Christian
Tumi as an opposition leader because of his strong support for human rights.
"I was born a Cameroonian," the down-to-earth cardinal told me, "and became
a Christian and priest. Why can't I have views about what is happening in my
country?" On May Day this year, the international community voted for Biya
rather than Tumi by awarding the country $4.9bn in debt relief.
Another winner in the moral sweepstakes has been the small Republic of
Congo, run by a man who overthrew an elected government in 1997. The African
Union once vowed to shun anyone who took power militarily. Yet, five months
ago, the continent's supreme political body chose Congo's Denis
Sassou-Nguesso as its chairman. True, he was a compromise candidate, as it
was Sudan's turn to take charge and a last-minute sense of decency
prevailed. But the AU might as well have installed Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.
The world was also kind to Sassou-Nguesso, writing off $2.9bn of Congolese
debt in March. To his credit, the World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz,
tried to block this measure on learning that Sassou-Nguesso had chalked up
an $81,000 bill at a New York hotel. He was overruled. The World Bank press
release said grudgingly that something would have to give if the money was
"not to be hijacked by vested interests".
Such stories show why many Africans are disgusted with their
governments, and with the west's well-meaning efforts to help. As many
sceptics predicted, progress towards implementing the decisions taken at
last year's much-hyped G8 summit - especially doubling aid by 2010 - has
Africa has made significant strides over the past year, but none of
them was a consequence of Gleneagles.
The most important development was probably also the dullest. In
February, Nigeria was given a formal credit rating by international bond
agencies for the first time. This was due not just to high oil prices, but
also to the determination of the finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who
has reversed decades of economic mismanagement. Nigeria still has a long way
to go to gain the full confidence of the international community - and its
own people - but good economic housekeeping in the continent's most populous
country is good news for all.
Economic growth has been rising, too, giving African governments
breathing space, after decades of being choked between burgeoning
populations and falling markets. Unfortunately, most of that growth was the
result of the oil boom rather than improvements in agriculture, the source
of Africa's greatest wealth. Oil has also filled the coffers of some
unsavoury regimes (Angola, Gabon, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Equatorial
Guinea), most of whose leaders have been in office for more than 20 years.
The dean of the group, Omar Bongo of Gabon, came to power when Harold Wilson
was managing a now-forgotten sterling crisis in 1967.
Over the past year, however, some of Africa's "big men" got their
come-uppance - or at least an inkling of their limitations. Liberia's
Charles Taylor was arrested on the Nigeria-Cameroon border and taken into
custody by the international tribunal in Freetown, which will probe his role
in human-rights abuses in Sierra Leone's civil war era. Kenya's president,
Mwai Kibaki, suffered a humiliating defeat in the November referendum on a
revised constitution that would have given him more power. The Ethiopian
prime minister, Meles Zenawi, faced street battles over the dubious results
of the May 2005 elections. In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni settled for 59 per
cent of the vote. And in Nigeria, the senate, not western editorial writers,
killed President Obasanjo's chances of revising his country's constitution
and running for a third term.
The "big men" also had to make way for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a
survivor of many election campaigns and death threats in Liberia, whose main
rival for the presidency was an international soccer star. At her
inauguration, she instructed incoming ministers to open their bank accounts
to public scrutiny - and promised to get the lights to stay on in Monrovia
by July this year. Six hundred miles to the east, Benin, the first black
African country to change ruling parties democratically in 1991, held its
fourth multi-party presidential election in a row.
There was even encouragement on the HIV/Aids front, with the World
Health Organisation estimating that 17 per cent of those requiring
antiretroviral drugs were actually receiving them. While still woefully
short of overall needs, the coverage was higher than anyone could have
predicted just a few years ago.
But it is too early to be upbeat about Africa. Like slowing the spread
of HIV/Aids, progress in opening up the political debate has barely begun.
In 1983, the novelist Chinua Achebe wrote, in a blistering essay called "The
Trouble with Nigeria" that still applies to most of Africa: "There is
nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong
with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The
Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to
the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the
hallmarks of true leadership."
Africans hoped that foreign aid could be used to make their
governments more open and honest. But in many places, the opposite has been
true, and in the one big showdown with a dictator this year, it was the west
that backed down.
The Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline was meant to be different. It was the
largest private sector investment in Africa in a decade when its principal
backer, ExxonMobil, invited the World Bank to help design it properly.
Central to the effort was a law assigning most of the oil revenues to
reducing poverty in Chad. Last December, the country changed the law to
include spending on defence. The World Bank promptly shut down its
operations in Chad and blocked the overseas account holding the money. This
was a sound decision, even though some thought it an overreaction - as if
bankers were expected to invite defaulters on mortgages for a friendly
Four months later, the bank backed off when Chad's president, Idriss
Déby, threatened to close the pipeline altogether. The geopolitics was
understandable: rebels supported by Chad's neighbour, Sudan, had invaded the
capital that month, and few people wanted the Déby government overthrown
while it was hosting 200,000 refugees from the Darfur region next door. But
the political impact and moral consequences were poisonous. Direct military
assistance would have been better than allowing the government a free hand
with the oil revenues. Like Nigeria's success in improving its public finan
ces, this damp squib of a showdown in Chad had continent-wide implications -
but, in Chad's case, of a negative kind.
Sticks and carrots
In other places, gangrene lurks just below the surface. On 2 March
2006, Kenya's internal security minister justified a raid on a major Nairobi
newspaper and television station that had criticised the government: "When
you rattle a snake, you must expect to be bitten." Certainly, the African
Union's feeble efforts to corral Mugabe do not point to the "peer justice"
promised in the much-heralded New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) that the continent adopted in 2001.
Darfur's people continue to suffer terribly. Although the
international community may not have been able to stop the Rwandan genocide
in 1994, it could have done more to halt the carnage in western Sudan. The
Rwandan killings lasted a hundred days. Darfur has been going on for three
years. Despite the presence of AU troops and a series of truces, the
murders, rapes and pillaging continue. Some people question the importance
of "yet another" African crisis. But this is no ordinary event. Most civil
conflicts in Africa, in places as diverse as Côte d'Ivoire and the so-called
Democratic Republic of Congo, have been ended or checked by a combination of
international sticks and carrots and the presence of foreign peacekeepers.
The horrors of Liberia and Sierra Leone - though not yet Somalia - are a
thing of the past. But Darfur is like a seeping sore, reminding us every day
that no one has been crueller to Africans in recent decades than Africans
In the past five years, western countries have taken great steps to
protect themselves (in Afghanistan and Iraq), and have stirred up a hornet's
nest. Africans may rightly ask how the west can respond so forcefully to the
deaths of 3,000 Americans in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania on 11
September 2001, and yet hesitate to send troops into Sudan after the killing
of 180,000 people and the displacement of two million others. US efforts to
stem international terrorism in Somalia by supporting local warlords have
fallen flat, as the wrong set of villains took Mogadishu this month.
International efforts to save the people of Darfur, who face daily
terrorism, might have proved more successful.
Which brings us back to foreign aid. As long as dictatorship prevails
across much of Africa, the objectives of the G8 leaders at Gleneagles will
remain a dead letter.
Countries as canny as Ghana, Mali and Mozambique, which have steadily
opened their economies to private investors and their politics to different
opinions, do not receive enough aid, while others such as Ethiopia and
Cameroon receive far too much. The west must start using more sticks and
fewer carrots. And more aid should be targeted at specific Africa-wide
causes, such as establishing regional universities and researching new drugs
for malaria, rather than just dispersing it over many countries, watering
weeds as well as flowers.
A year on from the Live 8 concerts, energies should be aimed at other
causes - for instance, barring western arms sales to unrepresentative
governments, quarantining any state that imprisons journalists for
expressing personal opinions, abolishing laws that make it a crime to
criticise African presidents, focusing aid on the few countries that have
used it properly, or seizing illicit African holdings in western banks, the
way the British navy intercepted slaving ships on the high seas once the
abominable trade in human beings was outlawed. Few African leaders would
understand that parallel, but most of their citizens would.
Robert Calderisi's "The Trouble With Africa: why foreign aid isn't
working" will be published by Yale University Press in July (£18.99)
19 of the world's poorest countries have had their debt cancelled
11 million children have died from conflict and disease (or one child
every three seconds)
1 million HIV sufferers now have access to treatment, with the aim to
have universal access by 2010
500,000 women have died in pregnancy or childbirth (or one woman every
4,500 teachers can be recruited in Zambia after the relief of national
debt from £7bn to £500m
300,000 children are able to go to school in Burundi thanks to the
removal of education fees
Research from the Oxfam report "Gleneagles G8: one year later"/Savita
This article first appeared in the New Statesman.
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