Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:03AM GMT
By Irene Hoas
WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa urged southern Africa
to take a new approach to Zimbabwe, which he likened to a "sinking Titanic"
as millions flee economic and political turmoil.
In one of the strongest African comments on Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis, Mwanawasa said the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) had failed to achieve much in negotiations with Zimbabwean President
"Quiet diplomacy has failed to help solve the political chaos and economic
meltdown in Zimbabwe," Mwanawasa said late on Monday in neighbouring
"As I speak right now, one SADC country has sunk into such economic
difficulties that it may be likened to a sinking Titanic whose passengers
are jumping out in a bid to save their lives."
Zambian government newspapers said Mwanawasa had suggested SADC "would soon
take a stand" on Zimbabwe.
(Additional reporting by Shapi Shacinda in Lusaka)
Itai Manyeruke, a member of the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) died after being abducted and severely beaten up by the police on the
11th of March 2007.
Manyeruke, who was abducted in Highfields during the Save Zimbabwe Campaign
prayer rally, died on the 12th of March 2007, he was 30 years old. According
to reports, after the police realized that they had murdered a citizen, they
stashed his body at Harare Hospital mortuary. No notification was given to
relatives and friends and the body was only discovered on the 20th of March
after Manyeruke's relatives hunted for it.
A post-mortem report revealed that the deceased suffered a painful death,
sustaining many fractures on his spinal cord. He will be buried in Buhera
today with his father, a general hand at Swift, footing all the bills since
Manyeruke's funeral policy only caters for burial in Harare.
This brutal murder brings to two the total number of MDC activists slain
since the Save Zimbabwe rally. Gift Tandare was shot dead during a run in
with the police in Highfields on the 11th of March 2007.
CHRA stages successful march
150 members of the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) staged a
successful march to the townhouse yesterday, 20 March 2007.
The marchers were protesting against the continued disregard of a High Court
order by Minister of Local Governance, Ignatius Chombo. On the 2nd of March
2007, in the case of Nomsa Chideya versus the City of Harare, Justice
Kamocha ruled that the commission running the City of Harare is illegal.
However, Chombo and the Commission's Chairperson, Sekesai Makwavarara
continue to defy the ruling.
In addition, they were marching against the continued looting of resources
by the illegal commission. The march took off at the footbridge along Julius
Nyerere road to the Town House. On arrival at the destination, municipal
police attempted to thwart the protest but failed, as the protestors were
too many. They however dispersed after the arrival of riot police.
No arrests were made.
CIO after ZCTU district chairman
Jacob Magombedze, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) chairman for
Kariba district has been summoned by members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) ahead of the April 4 and 5 mass stay away being organized
by labour unions countrywide.
Magombedze is being accused of distributing fliers allegedly containing
subversive information. The interrogation of Magombedze comes in the wake of
the arrest of ZCTU activists in Karoi for distributing fliers urging workers
to take heed of the ZCTU calls for a stay away.
If you are thinking of taking your summer holiday abroad this year and have
not yet alighted upon a suitable destination, then why not bear Zimbabwe in
It looks increasingly likely that Robert Mugabe will not be President for
very much longer. Instead they'll have someone else in charge. The general
rule for African countries is that when some obscene, homicidal and
incompetent tyrant is at last somehow overthrown, the civilised world
breathes a sigh of relief and the new regime is, for a while, garlanded in
roses. Suddenly, from being a basket case, the country is referred to by the
international relief agencies, the NGOs and Western politicians as 'the one
bright spot in Africa', because the incoming tyrant has announced that they
will get the economy back up and running, stamp out corruption and maybe
hold an election or two in a few years' time. The aid pours in and so does
the goodwill. And then, after a bit, everybody begins to realise that the
new boss is just as bad - if not actually many times worse - than the old
boss. The economy is buoyed for a bit by the aid and the goodwill and the
new climate of hope and optimism, but then it is noticed that the corruption
has got a bit worse. Those promised elections never actually come about - or
if they do take place, stuff happens during them which you tend not to see
during elections in the UK, like shootings, the police beating up opposition
supporters and ballot boxes being stuffed or burned. Within a short while -
it can vary from between three or four months to three or four years - the
phrase 'basket case' is being mouthed again and Western governments begin
shaking their heads and thinking about sanctions.
This has happened in almost every African country over the past 50 years. We
forget how happy we all were when Milton Obote replaced the ludicrous Idi
Amin in Uganda back in 1979. It didn't take long for the incompetent,
psychopathic Milt to outdo the incompetent, psychopathic Idi, though. When
Milt was eventually replaced by Yoweri Museveni, Uganda found itself hailed
once again as Africa's One Bright Spot. But just for a bit. Similarly
Tanzania, Angola, Ethiopia, Zambia, Ghana and so on, ad infinitum. Surely,
we all thought to ourselves, the Central African Republic (or, briefly,
'Empire') could not find itself a leader as murderous and unhinged as
Emperor Bokassa, with his 17 wives, proclaimed status as the 13th apostle of
Jesus Christ, reputed taste for human flesh and sponsorship of mass killings
and torture within which he was, apparently, a commendably vigorous personal
participant? Well, let's see how François Bozizé goes down in history. I
would direct you to the Amnesty website for the full details of François's
round-up of opponents, mass detentions and murderous war against his own
citizens. These days, people flee the CAR to find refuge in Chad. Imagine
how utterly desolate your own country must be if Chad, with its despotic
president, its staggering poverty, its chaos and violence, seems a better
bet. Never happened in good ol' Bokassa's day, even if he did have a
penchant for eating people.
So spend your summer in Zimbabwe, then - because I reckon that by late July,
Mugabe may well be gone and Zimbabwe will be the latest recipient of that
brief adornment: 'Africa's One Bright Spot'. There will be hope and optimism
in the air, outside of the country at least. Perhaps the new government will
be headed by Morgan Tsvangirai from one splinter of the Movement for
Democratic Change - in which case, keep your return air ticket about you at
all times. I know one or two Zimbabwean dissidents who view Mr Tsvangirai
with the same level of contempt and mistrust with which they view big Bob
himself. Or, who knows, perhaps it will be that other, smaller, less
powerful splinter of the MDC which accedes to power - led by Arthur
Mutambara, who has rejected international economic sanctions against Mugabe's
Zimbabwe and is scarcely more kindly disposed towards the country's
persecuted white farmers than Bob himself. Mutambara's predecessor, the
excitingly named Welshman Ncube, was actually a cheerful recipient of the
land-grab himself. Mutambara and Tsvangirai do not get on very well. I
predict arrests, one way or the other, a little while after the hiatus.
The last time Zimbabwe received the One Bright Spot in Africa award was late
in 1979, when Zanu's youngish Robert Mugabe, dressed in one of those very
smart and very post-Marxist safari suits beloved of leftish Third World
dictators back then, won the election we had fixed for him after the
Lancaster House agreement - a carve-up presided over by the noble Lord
Carrington. An election designed to shaft the moderate challenger, Abel
Muzorewa. But still, we all thought at the time, anything - absolutely
anything - must be better than the ghastly, racist Ian Smith. In the 1990s,
when I worked at the Today programme, we used to interview Mr Smith from
time to time. How he got through his allotted three minutes without saying
'Told you so, you mugs' is quite beyond me.
Anyway, within three years Mugabe had done for his chief rival, the 'cobra
in the house', Joshua Nkomo, who fled to London. The country was cheerfully
set on its path to a one-party state which, Mugabe averred, was not merely
the Marxist way, but also the African way. Have to say, he's dead right
about that, at least. All hail the African way!
It is perhaps also the African way to endure inflation of a quite remarkable
1,730 per cent and have foreign ambassadors arbitrarily summoned to be told
that they will be kicked out of the country if Bob thinks they are aiding
the opposition movements in any way. And to have the opposition leaders,
including Morgan Tsvangirai, arrested and beaten up when they are holding a
prayer meeting. Beaten up by the famous (in Zimbabwe, at least) 'Fifth
Brigade' police, trained by those paragons of participatory democracy, the
North Koreans. All of this stuff - the ambassadors, the record inflation
level, the attack upon the opposition leaders - occurred within the space
of just one week.
There is not space here to detail all of the rest of the 27-year misery of
Mugabe's increasingly vicious and mind-numbingly incompetent rule - just
time to remind ourselves of the headlines. A country whose population is
starving and intimidated, where Aids is prevalent in nearly one quarter of
the population, where the life expectancy is now below 40 years of age. And
all of this in a country which is wonderfully fertile and should be rich, or
at least comparatively rich. The African way, then.
It will not surprise you one bit to learn that Robert Mugabe still has the
fervent support of the leadership of his neighbouring countries and, in
particular, of South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a palpably decent man,
is about the only black politician left in South Africa to question the ANC's
unyielding support for the useless and violent Zimbabwean regime and he is
howled down whenever he raises his head above the parapet (as he did once
again this week). South Africa, of course, holds the record as holder of the
Bright Spot In Africa award, despite its exponentially rapid descent -
economically, socially, democratically - over the last half-dozen years.
Virtually all of the African countries, though, are prepared to throw their
weight behind Mugabe - Tanzania, Angola and good old Ethiopia have done so
in the last week.
And you can see why they would do so: when Mugabe sticks two fingers up to
the West, he is reinforcing that crucial African shibboleth, the central
plank upon which every African country depends - that it is not their fault
that inflation is 1,730 per cent, or that people are starving or being
murdered - it is somehow ours. Legacy of colonialism, etc. And the slave
trade, come to that. Zimbabwe is the way Zimbabwe is not because of
appalling governance, or because of a ruthless black predatory elite, but
because European powers once owned the place. If you're an African dictator,
you can't diss Mugabe because that would imply that your own country - more
than 50 per cent dependent on overseas aid, corrupt, tyrannical and with a
population who can expect to live to about 45 at best - is also to blame for
its own benighted state.
Still, Mugabe should soon be gone. And then, as I say, we will have someone
else. Hard to imagine anybody could be worse than Bob, isn't it? Things must
get better, surely?
Monsters and Critics
Mar 21, 2007, 8:51 GMT
Harare - A spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
undergone an eye operation after he was brutally beaten by suspected state
agents on Sunday, reports said Wednesday.
Nelson Chamisa had an eye operation on Tuesday morning at Harare's Avenues
Clinic, the official Herald reported.
'I had an eye operation this morning (Tuesday) and preliminary indications
show that it was severely damaged. Right now doctors are observing my
fractured skull,' Chamisa told the Herald.
He said he was in great pain.
Relations between the opposition and President Robert Mugabe's government
are at their lowest ever ebb following an attack on MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and a number of his colleagues - including Chamisa - at an
aborted prayer rally on March 11.
The MDC believes Chamisa was set upon by state agents as he tried to board a
plane Sunday morning to Brussels for an ACP/EU joint parliamentary assembly
But police say the attackers are mysterious, according to the Herald.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had taken pictures of the
badly assaulted Chamisa, which they would use in their investigations.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
21 March 2007
The Liberal Democrats today attacked the Government's confusion over its
stance on Zimbabwe, with apparently contradictory approaches being taken by
Margaret Beckett, Tony Blair and the British Ambassador in New York.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, Michael Moore MP said:
"British diplomacy is in a mess and risks letting Robert Mugabe off the
hook. In New York the British ambassador has been leading the charge to have
matters discussed in the Security Council. In Parliament yesterday, the
Foreign Secretary appeared unaware of this and said she preferred to put
matters to the UN Human Rights Council.
"The Government's uncertainty will only allow Mugabe and those countries
which protect his regime to escape international reproach and the Prime
Minister's comments today have only added to the confusion on this issue.
"The Foreign Secretary must provide an urgent clarification - does the
Government want this issue discussed at the Security Council or not?
"The situation in Zimbabwe is serious enough to warrant not only discussions
at the Security Council, but the adoption of a resolution which contains
sanctions that target this tyrannical regime.
"Zimbabwe has reached a crossroads. The Government must not let such a vital
opportunity slip through its fingers due to diplomatic confusion."
21/03/2007 10:44 Harare - Zimbabwe's central
bank governor has threatened a crackdown on fuel dealers for hiking prices
by up to 200% recently in the face of growing shortages, a media report said
"Service stations have really made life unbearable for us now," Gideon Gono
is quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper as saying.
"As governor, I will not sit and read stories and hear reports of people
being ripped off. Service stations should either behave or ship out. The law
will take its course shortly. We have no sympathy for them."
Fuel prices in the beleaguered southern African country have rocketed in the
last fortnight amid fresh shortages on the back of spiking inflation and a
Urban and long distance transporters have put up their fares by at least
150%, and petrol is now sold at garages for Zim$13 000 compared to Z$2 000
Diesel costs Z$15 000 a litre.
Although the official price of petrol and diesel is pegged at Z$335 and
Z$320 respectively, no service station is selling at that price as it is not
"The spirit of profiteering in this country is now as deadly as the
disease(HIV/AIDS)," Gono said.
According to central bank figures, Zimbabwe requires 730 million litres of
petrol and 900 million litres of diesel annually to operate at full
The country has faced serious fuel shortages since 1999, which the
government blames on sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and
members of his inner circle at the time.
At the worst, gas stations went without fuel for months on end, buses and
private cars were forced off the road and commuters had to walk or cycle to
Since controversial land reforms saw properties taken from white farmers for
redistribution among landless blacks several years ago, sparking an economic
downturn, inflation in Zimbabwe now stands at 1 730% and unemployment at
Mugabe recently launched a violent crackdown on leaders of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
Sunday Times, SA
21 march 2007
By Donwald Pressly
An urgent letter of appeal to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe regarding
the deteriorating situation of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe has been
sent by Advocate Pansy Tlakula, a statement from her office said.
Tlakula, who is head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission
(IEC), wrote the letter in her capacity as special rapporteur on freedom of
expression of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights.
Tlakula sent the letter following a complaint that she received from the
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) while visiting Zimbabwe at the end
of last week.
The complaint relates to the assault, unlawful detention, harassment and
detention of a number of journalists and media practitioners, a statement
from her office said.
According to the complaint journalists Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and Tendai Musiyu
were severely assaulted by the police following their arrest on March 11
when the police disrupted a national prayer day in Highfield that had been
organised under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.
The statement noted that it was "of great concern" that Mukwazhi's
whereabouts remained unknown until his appearance in court on March 13 as
the police withheld information about his whereabouts to his lawyers who
were denied access to the detained journalists.
The two journalists were subsequently taken to hospital for treatment
following the assaults.
To date they have not been formally charged despite having spent 48 hours in
Tlakula said: "I actually met Tsvangirai Mukwazhi during my visit and I saw
with my own eyes the serious injuries he sustained on his back during the
beating by the police. Not only was he in pain but was also traumatised by
the experience. His eyes were full of tears as he was narrating to me the
incidents of the March 11. His car, equipment and laptop were also
confiscated by the police."
Tlakula said she also brought to Mugabe's attention the complaints of three
other journalists who were arrested last year whilst conducting their lawful
duties as journalists.
She has called upon the Zimbabwe president "to respect the rights enshrined
in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a
State Party, in particular Article 9 of the Charter which guarantees every
individual's right to receive information and express and disseminate their
opinions within the law and the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of
Expression in Africa which states that 'freedom of expression and
information, including the right to seek, receive and impart information and
ideas, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through
any other form of communication, including across frontiers, is a
fundamental and inalienable human right and an indispensable component of
Tlakula has called upon Mugabe to ensure that his government upheld the rule
of law and desisted from wanton arrest and torture of journalists.
"There seem to be a consistent and worrying trend developing in some parts
of the continent where Freedom of Expression is under attack. Initially this
attack used to take the form of either undue restriction or outright ban of
private media establishments in particular.
"Recently we are seeing an increase in the incidents of arrests, unlawful
detention, assault, harassment, disappearances, death in detention and
murder of journalists and media practitioners in countries that are member
states to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
"These heinous acts are sadly perpetrated against journalists while
conducting their lawful duties. The Gambia, Eritrea and Zimbabwe are a few
cases in point."
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
March 21, 2007
Posted to the web March 21, 2007
THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) will soon state its
position regarding the current political and economic developments in
Zimbabwe, President Mwanawasa has said.
Speaking to journalists at the Lusaka International Airport yesterday before
his departure for Namibia, President Mwanawasa said foreign ministers from
SADC countries would soon meet to make a stand over Zimbabwe.
President Mwanawasa said he had received a report from Zambia's High
Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Sheila Siwela, about the recent political
developments in that country but could not disclose the contents.
"The ministers of foreign affairs in the SADC region will in a few days time
meet over this matter," Mr Mwanawasa said.
Recently, President Mwanawasa expressed his concern at the happenings in
Zimbabwe where opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleagues were
allegedly assaulted and detained by state police.
Meanwhile, Mr Mwanawasa hailed the sound relations that exist between Zambia
He said Zambia and Namibia shared a lot in common and was happy that he had
been invited to grace that country's independence celebrations.
The President said he would extend his visit by three days in order to
exchange beneficial talks with his Namibian counterpart.
"We have a lot to discuss with Namibia, because we are collaborating in
agriculture where we have a joint venture which we are studying. I hope we
can implement it some time this year in August," the President said.
Grace Kasungami reports from Windhoek that President Mwanawasa arrived in
Namibian to a thunderous welcome.
First Lady, Maureen Mwanawasa, Mines and Minerals Minister, Kalombo Mwansa
and other senior Government officials are accompanying Mr Mwanawasa who is
on a four-day state visit.
Host President Hifikepunye Pohamba, First Lady Penehupifo, Prime Minister,
Nahas Angula, his deputy, Dr Libertina Amathila, Namibian cabinet ministers
and members of the diplomatic corps accredited tohu Namibia, were on hand to
receive President Mwanawasa.
An advance delegation comprising Home Affairs Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha,
Transport and Communications Minister, Peter Daka, Gender Minister Sara
Sayifwanda and other senior Government officials were also at the airport to
receive Mr Mwanawasa.
The welcome party at Hosea Kutako International Airport also included
Zambia's High Commissioner to Namibia Griffin Nyirongo, Zambian mission
staff, MMD cadres and scores of Zambian students from various learning
institutions in Namibia.
President Mwanawasa's plane touched down at 12:05 hours amid songs and
dances from various Namibian cultural dance groups.
Mr Mwanawasa was treated to a 21-gun salute that ran concurrently with the
Zambian and Namibian national anthems.
Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Wednesday March 21, 2007
Zimbabwe's archbishop, Pius Ncube, has accused the South African government
of failing to use its power to force change in Zimbabwe as Robert Mugabe
threatens to crush opposition to his 27-year rule.
"They [South Africa's leaders] are in the best position to put pressure on
Zimbabwe, to call for sanctions if necessary," the archbishop of Bulawayo
told the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
"They could force Mugabe to change but they have been watching this thing.
It's now the eighth year it has been deteriorating."
His criticism came as South Africa reluctantly agreed as president of the UN
security council to allow a British request for a briefing on the
humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
South Africa's UN ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, earlier said he would not
permit the briefing on the grounds that the political and economic crisis in
Zimbabwe "is not a matter threatening international peace and security".
Britain's UN ambassador, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, said he asked for the
briefing "because of the widespread condemnation of events in Zimbabwe, the
attacks on the leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the
impossibility of the present situation".
Mr Kumalo's justification for keeping Zimbabwe off the security council's
agenda has drawn criticism at home, not least because South Africa has been
confronted with a wave of hundreds of thousands of economic refugees from
its northern neighbour competing for precious jobs and fuelling xenophobia.
Tony Leon of the Democratic Alliance, South Africa's opposition leader,
said: "As the situation continues to get worse on a daily basis, there is a
distinct possibility that the southern African region will be negatively
affected by the fallout from Zimbabwe's implosion. This fallout could in all
likelihood constitute a threat to international peace and security."
South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has pursued what he describes as a
policy of quiet diplomacy, arguing that open confrontation with Mr Mugabe by
the British government and others has only strengthened the Zimbabwean
Mr Mbeki's reluctance to publicly criticise Mr Mugabe has also been
interpreted as tacit agreement with his seizure of white-owned farm land.
But Ayesha Kajee, head of the democracy in Africa programme at the South
African Institute of International Affairs, said Mr Mbeki also wanted to
avoid confrontation with other African leaders.
"I think initially there was an element of Mugabe is not the type of leader
who will give in to overt pressure so let's try and influence him behind the
scenes, and let's not alienate his supporters in the region whose support is
needed for Nepad [Mr Mbeki's strategy to revive African economies]," she
"But given the present situation in Zimbabwe, I think South Africa needs to
condemn human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. South Africa needs to do that in
order to maintain its reputation as an ethical player in the region."
South Africa's trades union confederation, Cosatu, has accused the
government of being soft on Mr Mugabe.
The former archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel peace laureate, Desmond Tutu,
last week criticised African leaders for "hardly a word of concern let alone
condemnation" over events in Zimbabwe.
"We Africans should hang our heads in shame," he said in a statement. "Do we
really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh and blood,
fellow Africans, are being treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were
ever treated by rabid racists?
"What more has to happen before we who are leaders, religious and political,
of our mother Africa are moved to cry out 'enough is enough'?"
Eric Bost, US ambassador to South Africa, said he was disappointed with the
lack of action.
But Ghana's president, John Kufuor, who chairs the African Union, said the
rest of the continent was not indifferent.
"What can Mbeki as a man do? Are you proposing that Africa composes an
expedition team to march on Zimbabwe and oppose? It does not happen like
that. We are in our various ways trying very hard," he said.
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
21 March 2007 11:49
South Africa's foreign policy has shown an eagerness to abandon
democratic and human rights values in order to shield oppressive regimes,
Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon said.
In a Human Rights Day statement, Leon said South Africa can
rightfully and proudly proclaim that there will never be another
But millions of people in the world, and in South Africa's
neighbourhood, are still living "under a tyrant's heel" and are denied basic
civil rights and political liberties, he said.
"The hard question which South Africa needs to answer on this
Human Rights Day is profound: Do we defend the oppressed in other countries,
do we fight for the protection of human rights across the globe?
"Looking at our current foreign policy, the answer to this
question is regrettably too often in the negative."
South Africa's conduct at the United Nations has indicated "a
disappointing eagerness" to abandon democratic and human rights values in
order to "shield oppressive regimes from world attention", Leon said.
Among stances on other countries, this includes a recent "no"
vote at the UN Security Council on a resolution to condemn human rights
abuses in Burma and a reluctance for the crisis in Zimbabwe to be debated.
"Instead of furthering an agenda based on the protection and
promotion of human rights ... we are more concerned with using bureaucratic
excuses to shield tyrants and despots from international scrutiny."
Leon said it "speaks volumes" that the government did not
condemn the recent arrest and torture of Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
South Africa was one of 22 countries absent from the UN General
Assembly when a resolution was adopted to condemn Holocaust denialism in
In doing so, the country had stood "shoulder to shoulder" with
some of the world's "worst abusers of human rights".
"The government cannot profess a commitment to upholding and
protecting human rights when, on the international stage, we go out of our
way to temporise with tyranny." -- Sapa
21/03/2007 19:14 - (SA)
Brussels - The African Union (AU) denounced on Wednesday EU "double
standards" in taking action against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe while
ignoring abuses by other African leaders.
AU representative in Brussels, ambassador Mahamat Annadif, said: "I would
have preferred that there were no double standards at European level, even
for judging heads of state."
"We talk about Zimbabwe, but for me there are other heads of state who are
just as important to avoid as Mugabe, but they have support ... which means
that today, no one says a word to them," he said, without actually naming
any names in particular.
He put some of the inconsistency down to Britain's attitude to its former
colony, which was to make Zimbabwe "its problem".
Annadif's remarks came after British Prime Minister Tony Blair called for
tougher EU measures against Zimbabwe, describing the situation there as
"appalling, disgraceful and utterly tragic".
The EU slapped sanctions, including travel bans and an arms embargo, on
Mugabe's regime after controversial elections in 2002 won by the
long-serving ruler, which the opposition insists were rigged.
The sanctions were extended last month until February 2008.
"We will press the EU to widen the political sanctions that were introduced
in 2002 and introduced very much as a result of our prompting at the time,"
Blair told parliament.
"That assets freeze and travel ban we will seek to extend as far as we can."
Reporters sans Frontières (Paris)
March 21, 2007
Posted to the web March 21, 2007
Scheming by Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is killing
off the few remaining independent news media outlets while the
government-controlled Media Information Commission (MIC) continues to use
obligatory press accreditation as way to pressure journalists in an entirely
unacceptable fashion, says Reporters Without Borders.
"The infiltration of the last privately-owned media by the intelligence
agencies has had a disastrous impact on pluralism," Reporters Without
Borders said. "Unable to live with a free press, casting suspicion on the
publications they manipulate and paying little heed to the journalists they
employ, the intelligence agencies have just helped to undermine the already
moribund press even further."
The press freedom organisation added: "As for the discredited,
government-dominated MIC, it continues to practice an utterly unacceptable
form of blackmail on the last journalists not to have fled the country,
intimidating them and threatening them with unemployment."
Two recent episodes have highlighted the disastrous political and financial
consequences of CIO meddling in the media. The editor of the privately-owned
weekly "Financial Gazette" ("FinGaz"), Sunsleey Chamunorwa, was denied entry
to his office on 13 March 2007 on the grounds that he had been dismissed.
"FinGaz" chief executive Jacob Chisese, a CIO ally, announced to the shocked
staff that changes were to be made to the newspaper but refused for the time
being to say who would replace Chamunorwa. In February, the MIC refused to
renew the newspaper's licence - without which no publication can operate -
until it revealed the name of its owner.
The newspaper has in fact belonged to the CIO since 2001 as a result of a
financial operation using central bank governor Gideon Gono as a cover. "It
held out until today because Gono refused to bow to pressure from the ruling
party and the CIO, which complained about its editorial line and claimed it
was harming the party and favouring the [opposition] Movement for Democratic
Change," a source within the newspaper said on condition of anonymity.
Chamunorwa received a visit from CIO members, who ordered him to change his
editorial line, the same source said. Presidential spokesman George Charamba
wrote a column in the government daily "The Herald" on 10 December 2006 in
which he warned Chamunorwa about his news coverage. "Tick, tock, tick, tock,
the clock ticks," he wrote.
Tichaonoa Chifamba, the head of the company that owns the "Daily Mirror" and
its Sunday version, the "Sunday Mirror", announced to his staff on 7 March
that they would be forced to stop publishing for lack of funds. The CIO took
control of these two newspapers in 2004 after ousting the man who founded
them, Ibbo Mandaza. Thereafter sales plummeted to as low as 2,000 copies a
day and it accumulated 500 million Zimbabwean dollars (about 1.5 million
euros) in debts. The journalists, who had not been paid for the past month,
are now out of work.
At the same time, journalists are threatened with being stripped of the
ability to work legally if they displease the government. After freelancer
Nunurayi Jena submitted his accreditation to the MIC for renewal on 31
December, as all Zimbabwean journalists now have to do every year, he was
told on 23 February that the MIC needed to examine his file more closely
because his accreditation for 2006 was granted in a "fraudulent" manner.
Journalists who work without MIC accreditation can be sent to prison for two
years under a draconian law called the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Journalists have recently been convicted for working without MIC
accreditation for the first time since the AIPPA was adopted in 2002. Three
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation journalists - regional bureau chief Andrew
Neshamba, reporter Trymore Zvidzai and cameraman William Gumbo - and Peter
Moyo, a Zimbabwean journalist working for South Africa-based E-TV, were
arrested on 5 February in Mutare, the capital of the eastern province of
Manicaland, where they had gone to cover illegal diamond mining in the
village of Marange.
After being held overnight, Moyo and Zvidzai were fined 40,000 Zimbabwean
dollars (approx. 120 euros) while Gumbo and Neshamba were charged with
"criminal abuse of duty" and are to be tried on 21 March
The New Republic: Leaders Pledged To Democracy Allow Robert Mugabe's Reign
Of Terror In Zimbabwe
March 21, 2007
(The New Republic) This column was written by Joshua Kurlantzick.
A group once known for meetings where thuggish African dictators gathered
essentially to congratulate themselves on staying in power, struck a bold
new note. On a continent that in the 1990s had witnessed waves of
democratization and the end of apartheid, Africa's young generation of
leaders made their break from the past. They announced The New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD), a vision of progress in which fighting
corruption, empowering average people, and ruling justly would be critical.
For African nations in the future, NEPAD's charter announced, "Good
governance [is] a basic requirement for peace, security and sustainable
political and socio-economic development."
One of the driving forces behind NEPAD, South African President Thabo Mbeki,
made it clear that the leader of Africa's most powerful nation also would no
longer tolerate the brutality and human rights abuses of the past. Mbeki
helped negotiate peace deals to end the civil wars in Congo, Burundi, and
Liberia. He traveled the continent preaching the virtues of democracy. His
words seemed to have an effect - when a coup overthrew the elected
government of tiny Togo, the African Union, successor to the OAU, condemned
the coup plotters. Other new African leaders, like Nigeria's Olusegun
Obasanjo and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, made similar pledges to negotiate
peace on behalf of warring groups in other countries and push for better
But when it comes to one of the region's most brutal dictatorships, this new
Africa is nowhere to be found. Over the past two weeks in Zimbabwe, the
regime of Robert Mugabe has cracked the skull of Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and beat up another member
of the opposition, putting him in critical condition. Mugabe has pledged to
remain in power until he is 100 - he is currently 83 - and has driven the
Zimbabwean economy into the worst hyperinflation in the world while also
burning down the homes of thousands of urban dwellers. A nation once
regarded as the breadbasket of southern Africa now faces widespread famine.
As James Kirchick recently argued, Mugabe's terror may even constitute
genocide, since he has deliberately organized mass murder against his
opponents. All the while, alas, Africa's new democrats say virtually
The crisis in Zimbabwe has been building since 2000, when Mugabe essentially
lost a referendum on his rule and struck out first at a small minority of
white farmers and then at the MDC and its urban supporters. But for several
years, much of the Western press attention - including The New Republic -
focused on the plight of the white farmers. Their situation was indeed dire,
and several were killed, but today many of the white farmers already have
fled Zimbabwe, and the brunt of Mugabe's wrath has focused on the MDC and
anyone else who dares to question him, including the urban middle class and
people from minority tribes historically hostile to him and his ethnic
group, the Shona.
Since late February, the crisis in Zimbabwe seems to be approaching a peak.
Perhaps because Mugabe faces renewed pressure from people in his own party
and the MDC, which had been weakened in recent years, he appears to have
decided to crack down harder. (Some news reports suggest that Mugabe even
fears a coup from dissatisfied elements of his security forces.) Besides the
beating administered to Tsvangirai, Mugabe recently prevented four other MDC
members from leaving the country, and his security forces shot live bullets
at an opposition demonstration on March 11. Police reportedly have been
administering random beatings to people across the slums of Harare, the
Other African states could wield leverage over Mugabe. South Africa now
holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, the
biggest bully pulpit. Zimbabwe's economy has become highly dependent on fuel
and other types of aid from Pretoria, as well as cross-border trade with and
remittances from South Africa, where as many as one million Zimbabweans have
fled over the past several years since Mugabe's brutality increased.
But neither Mbeki nor many other African leaders have stepped up. As Mugabe
has fixed a series of elections in recent years, South African observers
have blessed these rigged polls. Over the past two weeks, the South African
foreign ministry issued a mealy-mouthed statement asking Mugabe to respect
the rule of law and to push for "a lasting solution to the current
challenges faced by the people of Zimbabwe." Mbeki himself remained silent.
As reporters noted, Mbeki's weekly African National Congress (ANC)
newsletter prodded South Africans to address the continuing scourge of
racism in their own country and made no mention of Mugabe. The ANC even
called the Mugabe crackdown "alleged" despite television footage of
Zimbabwean thugs beating opposition activists. The African Union, meanwhile,
criticized Mugabe's treatment of the MDC but did little else, simply calling
for a "constructive dialogue" in Zimbabwe. Ghana's president, another
supposed new African leader who also currently chairs the AU, told the
press, "Please don't think that Africa is not concerned. Africa is very much
concerned. What can Mbeki as a man do?"
"We Africans should hang our heads in shame," Archbishop Desmond Tutu
announced this week. "How can what is happening in Zimbabwe elicit hardly a
word of concern let alone condemnation from us leaders of Africa?" Tutu went
on. "Do we really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh
and blood, fellow Africans, are being treated like rubbish, almost worse
than they were ever treated by rabid racists?"
Why have so many new African democrats refused to criticize Mugabe? Some
still remember Mugabe's role as a valiant fighter against white rule in
then-Rhodesia and are reluctant to criticize this old lion. This is
particularly true for Mbeki, a technocrat whose (wise) neoliberal economic
policies have strengthened South Africa's fiscal situation but left him open
to attack for betraying poor black South Africans, some of whom may have a
quiet respect for Mugabe.
Or the answer is worse. By refusing to question Mugabe's vote rigging and
intimidation, these new African democrats may believe they can insulate
themselves from similar treatment. After all, so many of these new leaders
have fallen far short of their promises. Nigeria's Obasanjo tried to rewrite
his nation's constitution to obtain another term in office. Uganda's
Museveni continues to fix the political process in order to stay in power.
Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi, another supposed new leader, has turned
increasingly authoritarian. Little wonder, then, that Mugabe remains
By Joshua Kurlantzick
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Date: 21 Mar 2007
BULAWAYO, 21 March 2007 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean government has officially
declared 2007 a drought year, but insisted it would not ask for food
assistance because it has the capacity to feed its own people.
Agricultural minister Rugare Gumbo told IRIN the government had issued the
declaration after a countrywide food assessment revealed that most provinces
had been severely affected by a ravaging dry spell that had wilted crops,
especially maize, Zimbabwe's staple food.
"Crops have dried up due to moisture stress and, as government, we saw it
fit to declare this year a year of drought after an assessment showed that
most parts of the country had been affected," said Gumbo. "Most provinces
need food, but this will be done by government through its drought-relief
programmes, coordinated by committees. We have the capacity and won't need
Last week, the official newspaper, The Herald, reported that the government
would be importing 400,000 metric tonnes of maize, mainly from South Africa,
to cover a possible shortfall that might arise after this season's harvest.
The most affected provinces, according to Gumbo, were Matabeleland South,
Matabeleland North, Midlands and Masvingo, all in southern Zimbabwe, and
Manicaland in the west.
Traditional leaders and legislators, including those from the ruling ZANU-PF
party, urged government last week to put urgent drought relief measures in
place, as some areas were already in need of food supplies.
Angeline Masuku, governor of Matabeleland South and a top official of the
party, who has been outspoken about the food crisis in her province, told
IRIN that any delay in food aid could have grave consequences for many
"Southern Zimbabwe is naturally dry and because rains have been scarce this
year, the drought that we are witnessing is unparalleled. There have been
droughts in the past six to seven years, but the one we are witnessing this
year looks more severe," she said.
"We have asked government to step up food distribution and hand over grain
to families. The food will not necessarily be free to everybody, as the
middle aged and able bodied will be asked to do some work before they can
receive anything ... government has therefore promised to intervene
urgently," Masuku said.
In rural Matobo, a drought-prone district in southern Zimbabwe,
state-procured maize is available at the state-owned Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) outlets, at the highly subsidised price of US$2.70 for a 50kg bag. The
current informal market exchange rate is Zim$18,000 to US$1.
But, despite the low cost, villagers like Ellen Sibanda cannot afford the
maize, and said they needed free aid. "We are just finishing the fresh
mealie [maize] cobs that we planted in our tiny fields, and in a week's time
or so we will be grounded. There won't be anything for us to eat." About 83
percent of Zimbabwe's population lives on less than US$2 a day.
Communal farmers pointed out that maize was often not available at the GMB
outlets. "Even when it is there, some of us cannot afford it. We don't have
the money, and what we need is free food aid, like what we used to get from
World Vision and World Food Programme (WFP)," said one.
"Nothing in the fields"
The government called a halt to general feeding programmes run by
humanitarian agencies and their nongovernmental organisation partners in
2004, saying the country was expecting a bumper harvest. Since then, aid
agencies have downscaled their operations to target vulnerable groups, such
as people living with HIV/AIDS and the elderly.
WFP is currently providing food assistance to 1.5 million beneficiaries
through various feeding programmes for vulnerable groups.
"There is absolutely nothing in the fields here [in Matabeleland South].
People are already going hungry because the crops did not do well. We do
selective distribution in compliance with government policy, but what looks
apparent is that, ultimately, wholesale food distribution will be needed,"
an aid worker commented.
As the country endures its seventh successive year of drought, Zimbabweans
are battling with shortages of food, foreign currency and fuel, on top of an
annual inflation of more than 1,700 percent.
Movement for Democratic Change Press Statement
Movement for Democratic Change Vice President Thokozani Khupe MP
on Occasion of EU-ACP meeting Brussels, Belgium
Wednesday 21 March 2007
I come here representing a people who are suffering at the hands of an
intransigent dictatorial regime of Robert Mugabe.
I am here because our Secretary for Information and Publicity and Kuwadzana
Member of Parliament Hon Nelson Chamisa, who was supposed to be here, is
agonisingly lying in a hospital we cannot disclose, for fear of further harm
or assassination, having been brutally assaulted by members of Robert Mugabe
Central Intelligence Organisation at the Harare International Airport. This
was in the close proximity of his fellow Members of Parliament from ZANU PF
who are with in this meeting, and should be hanging their heads in shame.
The events of the past ten days have shocked all reasonable people across
the globe. These events confirm our long held and propelled position that,
Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF are a clique of thugs, who are bent on terrorising
the people of Zimbabwe as a way of hanging on to power.
The barbaric assault and torture of President Morgan Tsvangirai and other
leaders of the pro-democratic movement is an indication of the extent to
which this regime is prepared to use sadist violence against defenceless
citizens of Zimbabwe.
It is clear to us that the stature of President Morgan Tsvangirai and other
pro-democratic leaders has brought the eyes of the world on Zimbabwe.
However, the MDC would like to inform the world that, there are so many
other acts of violence that have been, and are, on a daily basis, inflicted
upon the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe which have not gained the principled
international condemnation that the events of the last few days has gained.
In this regard, we implore the world to condemn, with the same compassion,
the brutality of Robert Mugabe, on the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe. It is
these people that make Zimbabwe. It is these people who, more than anyone
else, are subjected to slavish violence.
The situation in Zimbabwe must be resolved as a matter of urgency. The MDC
has always maintained that it is possible to resolve the political problems
through dialogue by all in Zimbabwe. This informs, despite provocation, our
non-violent democratic resistance to Robert Mugabe's dictatorship since our
formation. The Road Map, a document, which we have developed, remains our
We wish to warn that the use of violence upon citizens of Zimbabwe, who have
for a long time been mere recipients of violence will very soon invite the
same, if not worse retaliation by ordinary Zimbabweans. The MDC has warned
Robert Mugabe of this eventual reality. The pockets of retaliation that we
have seen in the last few days may very well be unfortunate confirmation of
More than ever in the post-colonial Zimbabwe, the people of Zimbabwe need
the assistance, in all ways possible of all progressive forces of the world.
Any delay, will result in a political stalemate, which will take longer to
resolve. The political polarisation between the political majority, who are
the ordinary defenceless citizens of Zimbabwe, and the tiny minority
protected by guns and Israeli made water canons will soon develop into
exponential hatred making the prospects of speedy national healing even more
In this regard, as we have always stated the crisis in Zimbabwe is an
African problem, which in the main must be resolved by Africans. We need the
solidarity of our fellow Africans when going through such violence and
oppression, and we welcome those few who have spoken in condemnation against
these abuses and rights violations. It is only when we stand in solidarity
around democratic principles and the rule of law that any nation can
The majority governments in our bountiful African continent have some
connection or other to the struggles for national independence. In this
regard, they fully understand the values for which they waged people wars
for national liberation. It is the very same values, which we are fighting
for, as such we call upon them to ensure that the ideals of the struggle for
national liberation find expression in the ordinary lives of the people of
The MDC remains committed to the ideals for the struggle for national
liberation, in this post liberation struggle. We shall fight on every square
inch of the Zimbabwean soil, the region, the continent and the world to
realise these ideals. Our demand for consistently clear and reasonable;
elections in 2008 under a people driven constitution. This is
Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:58PM GMT
LONDON (Reuters) - Ten protesters were arrested on Wednesday after staging a
sit-in at Zimbabwe's embassy in London over a crackdown on the opposition by
President Robert Mugabe.
Police said seven men and three women were detained for "trespassing on
Mary Kasirowore, a member of the UK executive committee for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told Reuters the group organised the
demonstration to protest against "recent events" in Zimbabwe.
"It's a peaceful protest," she said. "Contrary to what Mugabe wants the
world to believe about the MDC, it's a peaceful organisation."
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of activists say they were beaten
after defying a ban on rallies earlier this month. Pictures of Tsvangirai's
battered face have prompted international condemnation of Mugabe's
Kasirowore said the protesters left the diplomatic mission, known as a high
commission, with police after 90 minutes. They entered by pretending they
needed to renew passports.
Britain has called for more sanctions against Zimbabwe. Opponents of Mugabe
frequently demonstrate at the Zimbabwe High Commission in London but
Kasirowore said it was the first time they had entered it.
The Nation, Malawi
by Editor, 21 March 2007 - 06:51:53
Those who speak for President Bingu wa Mutharika have made it abundantly
clear: He will not speak on the Zimbabwe crisis in which the Harare regime
is accused of arresting and beating up Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of other opposition leaders last week Sunday
for defying a ban on protests against government.
The President's chief political advisor Hetherwick Ntaba says maintaining
public silence on any issue is not a crime and that there is no law, no
constitutional provision in Malawi and no international agreement anywhere
which requires a head of state to make public statements on any important
issue. Ntaba concludes that Mutharika has chosen silence and the NGOs must
respect the decision.
This is where the problem lies. There might be no law to force the President
to speak on Zimbabwe. He might have personal reasons to remain silent on
Zimbabwe but he should not forget that he is our President and if Malawi is
to forge ahead on the international scene, we expect him to speak for the
country on issues like the one in hand.
Those who are asking Mutharika to condemn the situation in the Zimbabwe are
not doing so because other countries such as Zambia, South Africa, UK or the
USA have condemned Robert Mugabe's regime. They are asking the President to
comment because what Mugabe is doing is morally wrong.
Malawi has made strides in human rights and democracy since 1994. There
could be no better way to show this to the world than taking a stand on
human rights abuses anywhere in the world. What more with Zimbabwe with
which the country has some historical links?
It is time for Malawi to stick her head out and be counted on issues that
matter to the international community. Zimbabwe is a country burning and
Mutharika cannot pretend to be indifferent because the future does not
belong to those who remain neutral during a moral crisis.
Thursday 22 March 2007
By Thabani Mlilo
HARARE - Ruling ZANU PF legislator for Mudzi West, Acqueline Katsande, was
last Saturday gang raped by three suspected armed robbers in her home in
Mudzi district in what observers said was a clear sign of rising lawlessness
in the country.
Police sources told ZimOnline that the robbers broke into Katsande's house
in Mudzi and went straight to her bedroom where she was sleeping.
Two robbers allegedly took turns to rape her while the third one stood
guard. They later ransacked the house and disappeared with household
property worth millions of dollars.
Katsande later reported the crime to the police.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the incident saying the
police were investigating the matter.
"I can confirm that we did receive such a report which occurred last
Saturday. The culprits have not yet been arrested and we appeal to anybody
with information that can lead to their arrest to please come forward," said
Incidents of violent crime are on the increase in Zimbabwe because of a
severe economic crisis that has seen inflation zooming beyond 1 700 percent,
the highest in the world outside a war zone. - ZimOnline
The Nation (Nairobi)
March 22, 2007
Posted to the web March 21, 2007
Southern African countries have been hit by a huge of wave of economic
refugees escaping the crisis in Zimbabwe, the world's fastest declining
The crisis has been raging for seven years.
Analysts warn that the Zimbabwean situation is a time bomb waiting to
explode following President Robert Mugabe's latest manoeuvres to hang on to
power until 2010, side stepping a presidential election due in 13 months
South Africa and Botswana, which share borders with Zimbabwe and are still
sticking to their policy of "quiet diplomacy" in dealing with Mr Mugabe, are
the hardest hit by the influx of refugees.
President Mr Thabo Mbeki of South and his Botswana counterpart Mr Festus
Mogae say Zimbabwe's sovereignty "must be respected." Mr Mugabe himself has
often told his neighbours to keep away from his country's internal affairs.
According to latest figures released by Zimbabwean police, Botswana and
South Africa deported 142,000 Zimbabweans during the second half of last
year. Zimbabwe has a population 12 million.
Zimbabweans are flocking in droves to Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana,
Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi in search of jobs.
The high literacy rate, reputed to be one of the highest in Africa has also
made Zimbabweans an easy target for employers in these countries who want
Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi have not yet
resorted to costly deportations but have all expressed concern about the
influx of economic refugees from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, once a promising economic giant in Africa is going through a
severe economic crisis and is facing serious food shortages due to recurring
droughts and the government's fast-track land redistribution programme,
which disrupted agricultural production and slashed export earnings.
The crisis, which critics blame on Mr Mugabe's mismanagement of the economy
and political posturing, has also disrupted trade links in Southern Africa.
Despite being classified by the International Monetary Fund as the world's
fastest shrinking economy - with the highest inflation rate in the globe of
1 200 percent - Zimbabwe remains the second biggest economy in Southern
Africa outside South Africa.
It is therefore understandable that when Zimbabwe sneezes the whole region,
catches a cold.
However, with Mr Mugabe determined to cling on to power and the
international community tightening economic sanctions against his regime,
Zimbabweans have resorted to turn their backs on their country facing
neighbours with better economic prospects.
It appears, it is payback time for Mr Mbeki and his Botswana counterpart Mr
Mogae - leaders with political and economic muscle to whip Mr Mugabe back
into line - but have maintained that Zimbabweans should be left alone to
deal with her own problems.
Although there are no reliable data on the number of undocumented Zimbabwean
immigrants in South Africa, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe estimated that last
year close to three million Zimbabweans are living across the border.
About 200,000 Zimbabweans are estimated to have sought economic refuge in
Botswana. Another half a million have sought political asylum in countries
such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States and the United Kingdom
since the economic problems started surfacing.
The UK is trying to deport 10,000 failed asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, which
it says are economic refugees but most of them acquired Malawian and South
African on the black market and will never return to Zimbabwe. But the
effects of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown are more pronounced for its
South African deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Aziz Pahad admitted
recently that the increased number of Zimbabwean economic refugees fleeing
the meltdown in their country called for an urgent solution.
Last year, a South African newspaper the Sunday Times claimed that it had
unearthed information linking Zimbabwean soldiers deserting Mr Mugabe's army
to a spate of armed robberies in that country.
Neighbouring Botswana has its hands full too. Last year the government
abandoned a project to erect an electric fence along its border with
Zimbabwe after ministers in Mr Mugabe's government said their neighbour was
trying to create a Gaza Strip.
Botswana argued that the fence was meant to keep away wild animals and
livestock from Zimbabwe, which had the foot and mouth diseases (FMD),
Zimbabweans said it was meant to keep away illegal border jumpers.
Zimbabweans in Botswana are also facing increased xenophobia by locals who
accuse them of stealing their jobs, abetting criminal activities and
spreading FMD. Six members of the Botswana Defence Forces have been brought
before the courts for forcing a group of 12 Zimbabweans found sleeping in a
house in Gaborone to have unprotected sex while they took pictures.
Meanwhile, South Africa has said it would be concerned if Zimbabwe's
political tensions spur President Mugabe's government to declare a state of
The chief government spokesman Themba Maseko told reporters South Africa's
chief concern was the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe's
government is accused of a brutal crackdown on opposition leaders.
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday March 21, 2007
Harare- Zimbabwe's registrar general needs 1 million US
dollars to process identity documents ahead of next year's planned
elections, reports said Wednesday.
Tobaiwa Mudede told a parliamentary committee on defence and home
affairs that his office would have to work flat out to meet the
deadline for the 2008 polls.
Although presidential elections have always been formally
scheduled for next year, until 10 days ago it looked as if they would
be postponed until 2010.
President Robert Mugabe, 83, had thrown his weight behind a plan
by some in the ruling party to postpone the polls for two years so
that they would coincide with parliamentary elections.
But the plan sparked huge resistance from the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and most tellingly from some powerful
figures in Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.
In a surprise announcement to a Namibian newspaper earlier this
month, Mugabe said elections could go ahead in 2008.
He said he wanted both parliamentary and presidential elections to
be held then, and he also said he would stand as the ruling party's
candidate if his party wanted.
The 1 million dollars is needed for the importation of
photographic materials such as films, bromide paper and chemicals
from South Africa so that temporary identity documents can be issued
to would-be voters, the Herald said.
"We will have to work flat out because time is running out,"
Mudede was quoted as saying.
"We will have to work day and night to make sure we do not fail to
meet the deadline of the 2008 elections," he added.
Mudede's comments were an about-turn on remarks he made at the end
of February when he gave a categorical no when asked by an MDC
legislator if identity documents could be made available for those
who needed them during election times.
© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency
MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC UK)
Stop this dictator from killing our people
Mugabe stop detaining our leaders Now!
We demand Elections in 2008!
We demand new Constitution by 2008!
WE Demand Human Rights and Freedom of Association!
A CALL TO ALL DEMOCRATIC FORCES AND OTHER CIVIC ORGANISATIONS!
Prof Mutambara is detained at Harare Central Police, last week Morgan
Tsvangirai; Prof. Mutambara and Lovemore Madhuku were detained and severely
assaulted by the Police. We need to act now against this regime.
Join the March against Mugabe's brutality, killings, and torture on the 24th
of March 2007 in Manchester...From all Saints Park (Oxford Rd) to Peace
MUGABE MUST GO!!!!!!
Assembly Point: All Saints Park (Oxford Rd, Universities)
Time : 12:00 pm
For more details contact: Artwell Ndlovu. 07702610035, Prince Gumpo
Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:19 PM BST
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Western powers sought to persuade Africa to confront
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday and one African leader said
quiet diplomacy had failed in a country he likened to a "sinking Titanic".
Prime Minister Tony Blair said Mugabe's regime was "appalling, disgraceful
and utterly tragic for the people of Zimbabwe" and damaging the whole
"Let's be very clear: the solution to Zimbabwe ultimately will not come
simply through the pressure applied by Britain. That pressure has got to be
applied within Africa, in particular within the African Union," Blair told
"We will continue to do all we can to make sure that Africa realises this is
the responsibility of Africa as well as the Zimbabwean government."
Few African governments have joined the criticism of Mugabe although leaders
meet in Tanzania next week to discuss Zimbabwe where inflation has soared to
1,700 percent, unemployment jumped to 80 percent and there are frequent
shortages of food, fuel and foreign exchange.
Regional economic and political powerhouse South Africa has been targeted by
some human rights groups for being soft on the Harare government, which
activists last week accused of arresting and beating opposition figures
including Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer of Australia, which four years ago led
moves to suspend Zimbabwe from the 53-nation Commonwealth after the
country's flawed presidential election, said he believed Africa was ready to
"My takeout from the diplomatic representations we've made around southern
Africa over the last week or so is that there is a very significant increase
in the degree of concern," Downer told Australian radio.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said the region would have to get involved
through the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
"Quiet diplomacy has failed to help solve the political chaos and economic
meltdown in Zimbabwe," Mwanawasa said late on Tuesday in neighbouring
"As I speak right now, one SADC country has sunk into such economic
difficulties that it may be likened to a sinking Titanic whose passengers
are jumping out in a bid to save their lives."
HUNGRY FOR CHANGE
Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, one of the few African statesmen
with Mugabe's liberation-era credentials, said the West was wrong to try to
bully the 83-year-old ruler, still regarded by many as a hero of Africa's
"Mugabe should not be demonised... he will not accept any humiliation. He
needs to be talked to see sense," Kaunda told Reuters in an interview in
Lusaka. "We need to find an answer and not to throw accusations at him."
The African Union's ambassador to the European Union said the West was in
danger of being "two-faced" in its attitude.
"There are leaders other than Mugabe with whom you would also not want to be
seen, but who have support from various influence zones and to whom no one
tells anything," Mahamat Annadif told reporters.
The United States and Britain have threatened to tighten sanctions on
Zimbabwe's leadership following the violent crackdown on opposition leaders.
London is also seeking action in the U.N. Security Council and the United
Nations human rights commission.
"Sanctions have never solved any problem in the world, they have only made
African people suffer," Annadif said.
Mugabe last week told his Western critics "to go hang" and his foreign
minister threatened to throw out Western ambassadors who continue to
criticise his government.
Zimbabwe officials have said the country's food crisis will likely worsen
this year because of a drought, potentially exacerbating political tensions.
Mugabe blames the crisis on Western sabotage following his seizure of
white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.
Ten people were arrested for staging a sit-in at Zimbabwe's embassy in
London in support of the MDC.
"Contrary to what Mugabe wants the world to believe about the MDC, it's a
peaceful organisation," Mary Kasirowore, a UK MDC member, told Reuters.
Mugabe has accused the MDC of violence and says it is a front for Western
countries opposed to his rule.
BY Clifton O. Mulegi
The unfolding events in Zimbabwe have put the African continent in the
limelight pitting the integrity of its leaders in democratic dispensation.
Having been set free from the yoke of colonialism as early as 1957, with
Ghana as the forerunners, the continent experiences all forms of atrocities
with some leaders still drinking from the colonial cups.
What can the continent lay acclaim to, when the economic and democratic
gains made by the founding fathers has been destroyed? The likes of Kwameh
Nkrumah of Ghana, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya,
Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania, the noble sons of Africa are no more.
The violation of human rights by African governments, elicits no admiration.
For while other continents the world over are grappling with economic wars,
African leaders are deeply entrenched in spreading their tyranny through
dictatorship and human rights violation.
After a spirited land reform by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, what
has been left of the once prosperous nation is a country with dilapidated
infrastructure, looming poverty, famine, lack of electricity, 80 %
unemployment and an inflation at 1,700%. The lands were expropriated from
the whites and given to the blacks, who lack capital, skills and manpower to
turn them around to productive ventures. The government of Mugabe forced
potential investors from taking interest in the country resulting in a
Having taken power in 1980, President Mugabe exhibits all forms of tyranny
and injustice to his countrymen with an aim of hanging onto power. His
government has suppressed the opposition and other voices of reason and
relegated the later to prisoners in their own motherland. At 83 years Mugabe
contends seeking another term if asked by his ruling party ZANU-PF the
period after 2008.
His administration arrested and tortured opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and other figures on Sunday during a prayer meeting. The court chamber was
treated to a session of horror and uncertainty as it resembled the butcher
gallows, now with the victims being none other than the poor, noble citizens
of Zimbabwe. Even as the country receives international condemnation, Mugabe
remains adamant and unperturbed, threatening and railing at Western envoys
and asking those dissatisfied to quit. Mr. Tsvangirai's tribulation arises
from a long standing eight-year political rivalry between his party,
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
Many can not forget former Ethiopian dictator Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam,
self-exiled in Zimbabwe. Mengistu, despite escaping from the hangman's
noose, has been sentenced to 17-year-jail term, which he is yet to serve due
to Mugabe's reluctance to hand him over.
The action is a challenge to both the African Union (AU) and the United
Nations (UN) for Zimbabwe's is a situation that requires more than human
intervention. Imposing economic sanctions is not enough, but all forces
should be geared towards forcing Mugabe out of power. Diplomacy can not be
applied where the same language seems foreign. President Mugabe who is a
replica of Saddam in Africa should be made to account for his misrule by
whichever means, even if it means going to the extremes.
However, Zimbabwe's scenario compounds the complex ailing African leaders.
Of note is President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt who in 2005 refused to release
an ailing opposition leader Mr. Ayman Nour. Mr. Nour then 43 years was
serving a five-year jail sentence for forging documents of his Ghad party
plus 32 other charges.
Nigeria continues to experience the same with President Obasanjo reigning on
the candidacy of Vice-President Abubakar. The Vice-President is set not to
contest due to corruption charges levelled against him by his former ally's
government. Nigeria, the world's eighth richest country in oil production,
is threatened with rampant corruption, human rights abuse, political
instability and declining infrastructure. An armed group has held hostage
well over 100 foreigners linked to the oil industry since 2006, in protest
to Obasanjo's rule.
Sudan deserves attention due to the crimes in Darfur orchestrated by the
Khartoum government. Since 2003 the population of Darfur has experienced
crimes with 2.5 million being displaced and an estimated 200,000 killed. The
government of President Omar el Bashir has failed to protect the blacks in
the south from the Arab insurgency. The peace efforts made by southern
leaders, not to mention the late Dr. John Garang, is now futile, with cases
of murder, rape and abductions widely reported.
The government wants to restrict UN movement in Darfur. Even the proposed
African Union-UN hybrid force has been denied access to Sudanese soil, with
President el Bashr writing a letter to the world body rejecting its plans.
Other African countries on the list of shame include Uganda under President
Yoweri Museveni, Libya under Col Muammar Gaddafi, Senegal under President
Wade, and Guinea under President Langsan Conte. All these leaders, with some
facing or doing their octogenarian period and ailing are still determined to
hang onto power. They have manipulated their countries' constitutions in
their favour and undermined competitive democracy. They are not wise to
learn from the likes of Mobutu Seseko of Zaire, Sani Abacha of Nigeria and
Idi Amin of Uganda who couldn't embrace change until it dawned on them.
If Africa is to reclaim its glory on the global forum, then leaders should
pay homage to these humble words of a poet, Saxon White Kessinger "Sometime
when you are feeling important, sometime when your egos in bloom, sometime
when you take it for granted that your going would have an unfillable hole.
Just follow these simple instructions and see how they humble your soul."
Take a bucket and fill it with water, put your hand in it up to your wrist.
Pull it out and the hole that is remaining is a measure of how you will be
The Nation, Malawi
by Golden Gadzirayi Nyambuya , 21 March 2007 - 06:49:49
I would like to break my silence on Zimbabwe and make my stand bold and
clear to the world. This voice goes to my countrymen and women during this
difficult time of transition.
This article is accessible to everyone including President Robert Mugabe's
intelligence officers. I am sure they read newspapers. I believe in freedom
and am prepared to die for it. I need not prove this but I believe with all
my heart that when my time is up, I will stand and face my sunset with grace
and honour. I know it's tough, but why live an oppressed life anyway, why
not just die once? Besides, what is a life lived for self??
The problems in Zimbabwe are complex and no single argument can stand on its
own to sustain itself before this complex galaxy of problems and my clever
and well schooled but not so smart leader of my beloved country, President
Robert Mugabe knows how to go around this and take advantage of the
For him, it's now just about life and not good legacy. The Zimbabwean
situation is a host of many problems created, I believe, wholly by
Zimbabweans themselves. At the epitome, thereof, is the dire need for the
African to attain his or her economic independence from the Western
governments which up until now have tight grips and jaws well unconquered on
the well being of the African.
If you allow a person to come into your life and mess it, you have yourself
to blame and not the person that has done so. You have allowed them to do
so. The only comfort you can have is to simply say, you allowed them to do
so for they had a lesson to teach you. Learn fast and do not live to learn
the same lesson again.
Africans must be let to find solutions to their problems. The Western
governments must stay out of the African political and economic process. Our
problems have deep roots in colonialism and now that Africa is "politically
independent", so to speak but in low tones, we face a new form of "ism",
namely imperialism, leading to other "isms" too.
Western governments are the sole authors of colonialism and how are they
going to help us solve a problem they worked so hard and helped to create?
Albert Einstein once said, "You can never solve a problem at the same level
at which it was created ..", let us heed to this wise advice.
This said, I believe that Western governments must become part and parcel of
the African and Zimbabwean solution. I may seem to be putting my blame on
the West, no, I simple believe they are not part of he solution like most
I see and read so much on what Western governments see in Africa and
Zimbabwe and all I see most if not all the times is them projecting an image
of their wishful thinking.
Not to say they are wrong, it's just how they see things but we have to
speak for ourselves. Everyone has a right to think what they want and speak
it out while at the same time they have a right to not think what they don't
want and not to speak what they do not want to speak.
An undercover reporter recently spotted some Zimbabweans eating mice and as
Zimbabweans know, mice are a delicacy. The reporter spread the news that
Zimbabweans have resorted to mice because of economic hardships. The story
of the mice is partly true but the reporter did not mention that this dish
is an all-time Zimbabwean delicacy.
Helping a butterfly out of its cocoon won't help it fly but the opposite is
true. The African must evolve out of the cocoon of colonialism.
The Western governments watched and did nothing as Rwandans massacred each
other. In fact, they knew well before hand of the events and did nothing.
Who has been the sponsor of all the wars fought on African soil? Need I say
Today, we have a problem of small magnitude compared to the Rwanda massacre
but it receives so much negative and derogatory attention world over. Why?
Once I met an esteemed European Particle Physicist working at the
prestigious CERN, John Ellis; he was curious when he heard I was from
He quickly came to me said: "Tell me about the Zimbabwean problem because
what I read in all the European media is the symptoms and no one tells us
the real problem." People like Ellis will be quick to read and ask the right
Going further, as an African, I blame ourselves for our own misfortunes but
I believe without an iota of doubt that we will get out of these ashes much
stronger. Let us fight to break our bondage from the Western governments.
Let us violate human rights just like the Europeans have done to themselves
for centuries until they discovered democracy.
A child never knows a fire burns until they have touched one. After all
these struggles, we will know how we really want to be governed. If we are
generations behind the so-called first world, let us as a united and humble
African people accept our current fate.
We will learn and prosper from all these lessons. Why should we let other
people speak into our own lives? No matter how advanced one may be or appear
to be or project themselves to be, no one has the right to speak into
someone's life. All men are created equal. We must seek internal solutions
from deep inside the heart of our African soul.
If the West succeeded, why will the African fail? Did anyone go to Europe or
America to free them? No! So the African must free him or herself. For six
years we have held ourselves hostage, people of Zimbabwe, my fellow
countrymen and women, let' arise and join hands on the African table of
brotherhood to solve our problems, for the time is now.
I am for life and condemn in the strongest terms possible the treatment of
opposition leaders in the recent foiled rally. Aurthur Mutambara, Morgan
Tsvangirai and all others that have been tortured by security forces do not
deserve this, let alone any human soul.
It's wrong on any yardstick or barometer of any moral standards. But let us
believe in ourselves. This is the solution to our problems. If we believe
Mugabe must go as I more than do, we will as a united African people, tell
him successfully to vacate office as soon as yesterday. I am not for the
idea of seeking alliance with any Western government for this, for by doing
so, we are not free but still slaves, mental slaves.
Can't we think for ourselves? Why do we call Uncle Sam, Uncle Ben and Uncle
Amos? We have good neighbours, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi,
Namibia, Tanzania to mention but a few of our good friends.
It's time to hold hands and solve once and for all the Zimbabwean problem
that has now blown out of proportion because of waiting for the impotent
voice of the so-called donor or the international community to save our
I believe Mugabe must go as of yesterday, and let this be a truly
African-driven move if we are to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe and
Mugabe is African, like it or not, he is ours, he is our creation, we put
him into power whichever the way, we have the power to take him out without
the help of any non-African effort. No condemnation from the US, UK, New
Zealand or Australia on the recent events will help solve our problems as
Zimbabweans and Africans.
Our problems as a truly African people of all walks of life, for example,
all skin colours, nations, creed, sexual orientation are interwoven into but
one single garment that ties us together into one destiny before the United
We have the capacity as an African people to decide our fate. I need no
justice but peace and love for my people and all peoples of the World. No
force can stand before an idea whose time is upon the face of the deep.