Issue: 19 May 2007
On the day that Bob Mugabe's genocidal regime acceded to the chair of the UN's
Commission on Sustainable Development, I found myself in the lovely Cape
village of Franschhoek, once a Boer farming town but now more French and
precious than Provence. Even as bitter debate broke out in the distant UN, I
was checking into a luxurious hostelry and trimming my nostril hairs in
preparation for meeting such luminaries as Liz Calder, publisher of the
Harry Potter books, and the glamorous American novelist Siri Hustvedt,
author of Things I Loved. I had come to participate in the inaugural
Franschhoek Literary Festival, but my thoughts were in New York with the UK
Environment Minister Ian Pearson, who was attempting to explain to African
diplomats that one could not appoint a malignant regime like Zimbabwe's to
the chairmanship of anything, let alone a committee on development. The
Africans did not take kindly to this. 'It's an insult to our intelligence,'
explained Boniface Chidyausiku, Zimbabwe's UN ambassador. The African bloc
agreed, and Pearson went down in flames, victim of what the press called an
'overwhelming' snub to the West.
I would not presume to liken my experience to Pearson's, but I stood at his
shoulder in the righteous fight and paid the price, shouted down as
'pathetic' by an eminent white liberal at a posh dinner attended by such
grandees as Bevil Rudd, grandson of Rhodes's right-hand man, and Mrs Astor,
widow of David Astor, for many years publisher and editor of the Observer.
If it seems odd that events in New York should have almost instant
repercussions at posh dinners in Africa, well, it shouldn't. The world has
grown tiny and the march of history has turned Franschhoek into a playground
for Europe's civilised rich. Also resident here is Tokyo Sexwale, a
revolutionary turned billionaire who is often seen dining at Le Quartier
Français, 'South Africa's finest restaurant', or shopping for delicacies at
shops such as Le Verger. An excited socialite told me Sexwale was in town
for the festival weekend, entertaining no less a personage than President
Mbeki himself. In such rarefied air, the wise man watches what he says about
Zimbabwe. I was not up to it, however.
I first saw Robert Mugabe in the flesh at a UN Earth Summit in Johannesburg
in 2002. His arrival on the podium was preceded by US defence secretary
Colin Powell, who was booed and jeered, and by Tony Blair, who met with
similar indignities. Mugabe, on the other hand, was greeted by a tumultuous
standing ovation. I wrote it off as a passing fad. At the time, black power
fanatics were still pumped up over Mugabe's ethnic cleansing of white
farmers, and one assumed their enthusiasm would wear off once the
consequences of Mugabe's folly manifested themselves.
Not so. By 2004, Zimbabwe's economy was in freefall and his subjects were
growing hungry, but Mugabe was more popular than ever. No, not in Zimbabwe.
His fans were black people elsewhere. He received standing ovations in many
African capitals, and at President Mbeki's 2004 swearing-in ceremony. By
then, it was clear that his 'fast-track land-reform programme' had not
significantly reversed his unpopularity at home, and he had already taken to
bludgeoning black opponents and rigging elections in order to stay in power.
His black supporters didn't care. Mugabe was giving the whites hell. Mugabe
was therefore a hero. 'Mugabe is speaking for black people worldwide,' wrote
the Johannesburg commentator Harry Mashabela.
One assumed this accounted for the Mbeki administration's reluctance to
criticise Mugabe in public. We were told that the situation in Zimbabwe was
delicate, and that 'quiet diplomacy' offered the best shot at staving off
anarchy. For a while this seemed plausible, but in time it became clear that
quiet diplomacy was mostly a cover for covert support. When Western members
of the Commonwealth moved to expel Mugabe, South Africa helped block them.
South Africa also thwarted attempts to place his atrocities on the agenda at
the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Committee. Meanwhile, the
rape of Zimbabwe gained momentum, and Mugabe's popularity swelled to
rock-star proportions. Last year, the cocky little psychopath informed an
audience of African-American New Yorkers that his rule had created 'an
unprecedented era of peace and tranquillity' back home. They gave him a
One understands the wounds of history, but even so one believed there would
come a day when Mugabe's militant fans realised their behaviour was
restoring the reputation of Ian Smith, who prophesised that Rhodesia would
be 'buggered' if the black took over. By the beginning of this year, Smith
was utterly vindicated. Eight out of ten Zimbabweans were jobless, and those
who had work were screwed anyway, because inflation was 2,200 per cent and
they couldn't afford anything. Hospitals and schools were collapsing,
factories closing. Millions were facing starvation. In a report for the
Sunday Times four months ago R.W. Johnson interviewed a game ranger who said
Zimbabwe's hyenas were developing a taste for human flesh, the result of
scavenging on corpses 'cast into collective pits like cattle'. He concluded
that Mugabe's misrule had resulted in as many as two million deaths - twice
as many as perished in the Rwandan genocide - and that 'the number is now
heading into regions previously explored only by Stalin, Mao and Adolf
It was against this backdrop that the UN's Commission on Sustainable
Development met to elect a new leader last Friday. The chair of this body
rotates between regions; this year it fell to Africa to make an appointment,
and African countries were bent on installing Mugabe's man. Western
diplomats initially thought this was some sort of joke, but as the day
passed, it emerged that Africans were indeed of the opinion that a body
dedicated to fostering development could credibly be chaired by a murderous
regime that had reduced a once-thriving nation to absolute penury. The West
was dumbfounded. 'Beyond parody,' said an Australian newspaper columnist.
'Appalling,' said his Prime Minister, John Howard. 'Preposterous,' said the
American human rights lobby Freedom House. But Africans wangled support from
Latin America and their motion was carried.
News of this triumph cast me into abject gloom, and at the festival I
predicted inevitable catastrophe. This was not what civilised white South
Africans wanted to hear on a lovely autumn day, what with the economy
growing at five per cent and surprising numbers capable of forking out R500
a plate to dine with visiting writers. One such dinner took place on an
achingly lovely wine estate that styles itself Haute Cabrière. I was seated
alongside Bevil John Rudd, a genial old fellow with a mad-scientist hairdo,
whose family once owned a big chunk of De Beers Consolidated. The
aforementioned Mrs Astor regaled us with stories of her family's role in the
downfall of apartheid, which consisted of being good chums with Mandela and
hiring Anthony Sampson and Colin Legum to agitate against the dreadful
Opposite us a spiky-haired codger was rattling on in a dismissive way about
sceptics who doubt the sustainability of the South African miracle. 'This is
a wonderful country,' said Ken Owen, the esteemed former editor of South
Africa's dominant Sunday paper. 'I just get richer and richer. Read this
week's Economist! Our economy is roaring ahead at four times the rate of New
Zealand's,' and so on. With several glasses of wine under my belt, I was
emboldened to say, 'Pardon me, but in the light of what just happened in New
York, your optimism seems unfounded.' My fellow diners looked mystified, so
I explained. 'You'd have to be blind to misread the writing on the wall
here,' I said.
It went down badly. Owen said he'd been reading my scribblings in this very
paper, and hadn't liked them at all. 'I thought you were just playing up to
the Brits for the money,' he said, 'but you actually believe this stuff!'
Then he explained to the gathering that ANC policy toward Mugabe was
entirely rational and designed to prevent Zimbabwe imploding. I said, 'Oh,
come on! Zimbabwe imploded years ago.' Jonathan Shapiro, aka the eminent
leftish political cartoonist Zapiro, intervened at this point. He was
willing to allow that the ANC was guilty of double standards when it came to
human rights in Zimbabwe, but I wasn't having any of that. 'Screw double
standards,' I said. 'Mugabe's country is ruined and his people are starving,
but he smashed the white farmers, so blacks - our government included -
support him regardless. These people hate us,' I concluded. 'This is war.'
Whereupon Owen lost it entirely. 'You're pathetic,' he shouted. 'Pathetic!'
It seems to me that last week's events in New York render a terrible verdict
on well-intentioned do-gooders and the climate of impunity they create for
African dictators. These thugs and kleptocrats know there is no downside;
blacks - some blacks - don't care what horrors they inflict on black people,
so long as they can make anti-imperialist noises. As for whites, they will
take any insults you dish out and come to feed your people anyway, thereby
sparing you from the consequences of your incompetence and criminality.
There can be little doubt that this was an essential part of Mugabe's
calculations. I mean, the man has something like eight university degrees.
It cannot possibly have escaped his notice that elimination of white
commercial farmers would precipitate a food crisis. But why worry? He knew
that the UN and allied charities would step in to feed the starving. Indeed,
he was so confident of their generosity that he did not scruple to use
donated food as a political weapon, rewarding loyalists with free grub and
punishing rebellious villages by withholding same while loudly proclaiming
that food shortages and spiralling prices were caused by drought, rather
than deranged government policy.
This year the rains truly failed, and millions face starvation. The response
of Mugabe's government was dumbfounding: it announced last month that it was
revoking the licences of every aid group operating in Zimbabwe. Later, the
regime relented somewhat: charity would be tolerated provided donors 'stuck
to their core business' and otherwise behaved themselves. 'Government will
not accept food offers from anyone for political purposes,' said the
information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. Furthermore, aid would be accepted
only if it was 'not attached with innuendoes of failure'. The reason for
this, explained Comrade Ndlovu, is that 'Zimbabwe deserves the same dignity
as any other country'.
As I read this I seethed with outrage. This parasite didn't even have the
manners to say please or thank you. But this is beyond etiquette. In the
absence of food aid, a ruler who behaved like Mugabe would long since have
been torn limb from limb by his starving subjects. One recalls the demise of
Louis XVI, of Mussolini and Ceausescu. Is it not time to abandon Mugabe to a
Liberals will think this unfair to innocent people, and they are right:
hundreds of thousands might die if the food convoys do not start rolling
into Zimbabwe soon. On the other hand, as R.W. Johnson reminds us, armies of
the innocent have already perished at Mugabe's hand, but he continues to
thrive. His party recently announced that his reign has been extended to at
least 2010. He presumes to dictate terms to charities. Blacks everywhere
continue to adulate him, and to insult the West by appointing his despicable
government to positions of honour. There is only one way to end to end this
farce: cut off the aid and let Mugabe face the music.
No, I am not advocating anything as dire as regime change. The trick would
be to tie food aid to acceptance of some very modest preconditions - an end
to torture, respect for the rule of law, untrammelled free speech and no
interference in the distribution of food aid. In other words, conditions so
mild and reasonable that even Mugabe's most ardent fans cannot dispute their
justness. If he rejects them, his disciples will be left in no doubt as to
his moral repugnance, and his long-suffering subjects will know exactly who
to blame for their hunger pangs. The end, one hopes, should come swiftly.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: May 16, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Less than a tenth of the wheat crop targeted for this year
has been planted with just two weeks of the planting season remaining, the
government acknowledged Wednesday, blaming acute shortages of cash,
fertilizer, gasoline and tractors.
The Agriculture Ministry warned that shortages of bread and flour would
worsen, adding to the misery in a nation where basics have become luxuries
and hyperinflation has topped 2,200 percent.
The admission about the wheat crop immediately raised questions over the
announcement earlier this month that households would face increased power
cuts in order to give wheat farmers priority power supplies for irrigation.
Water and power outages occur daily, affecting homes and industry, and have
been getting worse.
Zimbabwe imports up to 40 percent of its power from neighboring nations.
Shortages of coal have shut down some power-generating facilities. Like most
state and private enterprises, the utility also has reported shortages of
hard currency for equipment and spare parts to keep domestic services
Maize is by far the most important crop in Zimbabwe, so a weak wheat crop
planting is unlikely to lead to mass starvation. However, poor rains and a
lack of fertilizer and other supplies are expected to wreak havoc on the
next maize harvest.
A U.N. team is visiting Zimbabwe to assess the state of its crops and
predict the country's food needs, said James Breen, a crop specialist with
the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The Agriculture Ministry said about 8,000 hectares (19,200 acres) of winter
wheat had been planted - far short of the targeted crop of 76,000 hectares
Planting more wheat after May 31 was "not worth it" because seasonal
conditions then will drastically reduce yields, the agriculture secretary,
Shadrek Mlambo, told the parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture.
James Jonga, head of the state District Development Fund, told lawmakers it
was impossible to till 2,000 hectares (4,800 acres) of wheat a day to meet
the May 31 deadline.
"It needs at least 1,000 tractors and we do not have that kind of
equipment," he said.
The Agriculture Ministry said at least 240 tractors available to wheat
farmers had broken down, and farmers have received less than half the
gasoline they need for the equipment still working.
In many areas of Zimbabwe, once self sufficient in wheat, mechanized farming
has been replaced by cattle-drawn plowing since the often-violent seizures
of thousands of white-owned commercial farms began in 2000, disrupting the
With Zimbabwe suffering the worst economic crisis since independence in
1980, staples - including bread, medicines and most basic goods - are in
short supply. A black market in scarce commodities is thriving, with sugar
fetching at least ten times the government-fixed price.
Official inflation of 2,200 percent, the highest in the world, does not
factor into black market prices. Business executives estimate that real
across-the-board inflation has already reached 5,000 percent.
The state central bank estimates that at least 3.5 million Zimbabweans have
fled to neighboring South Africa; Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler,
and other countries.
Most fugitives to South Africa seek menial jobs. But the Zimbabwe Health
Services Board reported earlier this month that 42 percent of locally
trained doctors and 34 percent of nurses also have found jobs abroad,
leaving behind poor salaries, housing and working conditions beset by
shortages of equipment and drugs in the collapsing government health
The University of Zimbabwe says it has about half the 1,200 academic staff
"We are now faced with a situation whereby some departments are nearly
nonfunctional. I do not want to use the word that they have closed," Vice
Chancellor Levy Nyagura told the official state media recently.
Thursday 17 May 2007
By Taruona Dhewa
HARARE - For Albert Chikoki, a firewood vendor in Harare's working class
suburb of Glen Norah, business has never looked this good.
As he trudges up the steep slope from the banks of Mukuvisi River on the
outskirts of the suburb, Chikoki throws a freshly cut log onto his pushcart.
Sweating profusely, he begs a passerby to help give the cart the decisive
push onto the tarred road.
Soon, the 37-year old father of three heads straight home where the cartload
of firewood will ensure he puts enough food on the table for the family.
Although he is aware of the damage he is inflicting on the environment,
Chikoki says this is the only "legitimate" option left to him to eke a
living after his company shut down three years ago.
"Business has never been this brisk for me and who would want to go to bed
hungry just because there is no electricity," says Chikoki as he pushes his
overloaded and rickety cart.
Fifty-four-old Florence Chimusuwa is a cross-border trader who every month
travels to Johannesburg, South Africa, to sell some wares and then buy
groceries and electrical products for resale back home.
"I have stopped bringing in soap and cooking oil as these are unnecessarily
cumbersome. I now prefer to bring cartons of candles which can easily sell
out in a few days," says Chimusuwa.
Zimbabwe is grappling with frequent power cuts as the cash-strapped
state-run Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) battles to ensure
constant supplies to industries and homes around the country.
ZESA last week said Zimbabweans, who had already been used to spending
several hours on end without electricity, must brace for 20-hour power cuts
as the parastatal rations the little electricity that is available.
The state power company said it was directing most of the country's power
supplies to winter wheat farming, in a desperate bid to ensure enough food
supplies for the southern African country.
The power crisis is only one on a long list of hardships that Zimbabweans
have become accustomed to as the country grapples with a severe economic
recession described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a
The economic meltdown has seen inflation rocketing beyond 2 000 percent, the
highest in the world, Zimbabweans are grappling with deepening poverty and
shortages of food and just about every basic survival commodity.
Western governments and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party blame the crisis on President Robert Mugabe saying the veteran
Zimbabwean leader had virtually destroyed what was once one of Africa's
brightest prospects at independence from Britain 27 years ago.
Mugabe denies the charge.
"As long as there is unreliable power supply, candles will sell," says
Gladys Sachikonye during an interview with ZimOnline in Harare's working
class suburb of Mufakose.
Sachikonye said she has had to resurrect her candle-making business because
of the frequent power cuts in Harare.
On a good day, she produces 50 candles a day which she sells at around Z$7
000 each, translating to a cool Z$350 000 a day, close to what most average
workers are earning in Zimbabwe.
ZESA's switching off of domestic consumers to aid winter farming has however
riled some Zimbabweans with University of Zimbabwe political science
lecturer John Makumbe saying it would be folly for the government "to act as
if wheat production alone is the economy."
"Once again, somebody has made a big mistake and the entire economy will
have to pay. The decision to prioritise wheat production alone as if this is
the economy is yet another case of a government that is aiding and abetting
the collapse of the little that's left of our economy," said Makumbe, a
staunch Mugabe critic.
With ZESA plunging large sections of Harare into darkness on a daily
basisis, the well-to-do might resort to power generators as substitutes to
ensure constant power supplies.
But for people like Chikoki, they will continue to turn to Mother Nature for
firewood at great cost to the environment. - ZimOnline
Thursday 17 May 2007
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri
HARARE - Zimbabwean police on Wednesday arrested about 20 members of the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic group for marching in Harare
without first seeking permission from the police.
The NCA, is a coalition of civic groups in Zimbabwe that is fighting for a
new, democratic constitution for Zimbabwe.
The civic group took to the streets yesterday denouncing the proposed 18th
amendment on the Zimbabwean constitution. The NCA says what Zimbabwe needs
are not piece-meal constitutional reforms but a new, democratic supreme law
for the country.
The amendment will allow the Parliament of Zimbabwe, sitting as an electoral
college to elect a new president in the event that the incumbent dies in
office or is incapacitated.
The amendment will also see parliamentary seats being increased from the
current 150 to 210 while the senatorial seats will be increased from the
current 66 to 84.
Political analysts say Mugabe is using the amendment to deal with the tricky
issue of his succession as it will spare ZANU PF a presidential election and
allow Mugabe to preside over the installation of a successor of his own
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said about 20 protesters had been arrested
during the demonstration in Harare and were still being detained at Harare
Central Police Station last night.
"We do not know their offence. Our lawyers will be informing us in due
course. But there was no basis to arrest them as it was a peaceful march,"
Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri confirmed the arrest of the NCA protesters
but said he could not give figures on those that had been arrested during
A ZimOnline crew witnessed three women protesters being assaulted by the
police at the Africa Unity Square in central Harare.
One of the protesters, Dzviti had to be admitted to hospital after she
sustained serious injuries on her leg as a result of the assault.
President Robert Mugabe's government earlier this year banned protests and
marches in urban areas fearing that the protests could easily turn into mass
The Harare authorities are battling the country's worst ever economic
recession that has seen inflation shooting beyond 2 000 percent, stoking
anger against the government.
Under Zimbabwe's tough Public Order and Security Act (POSA), it is an
offence to demonstrate on the streets without first seeking permission from
But the NCA has in the past consistently ignored the law to march in cities
and towns demanding a new constitution for Zimbabwe and an end to the
country's seven-year old political and economic crisis. - ZimOnline
Thursday 17 May 2007
By Prince Nyathi
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition party has accused a government minister
of purging its supporters from irrigation schemes in Chimanimani district in
Manicaland and replacing them with ruling ZANU PF supporters.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Water and Infrastructural
Development Minister Munacho Mutezo last week ordered 20 its supporters to
halt winter planting as part of a purge of opposition supporters in the
The MDC said its supporters at Tonhorai, Mutema, Nemaramba and Mikiri
irrigation schemes had all stopped planting following Mutezo's instructions.
Chimanimani lies in the dry eastern part of Zimbabwe and relies on
irrigation schemes for food.
The spokesperson for the MDC in Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya, said Mutezo
had ordered ZANU PF supporters to seize all irrigation plots from opposition
Muchauraya said Mutezo had since dissolved all irrigation committees that he
said were being run by MDC supporters and replaced the committees with ZANU
"Mutezo is working with two ZANU PF activists in the area Mubuso Chinguno
and one Mutendadzamera. We are however determined to confront the situation
because this land does not belong to ZANU PF but to the state," said
Munacho could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.
One of the evicted MDC supporters who refused to be named for fear of
victimization, confirmed to ZimOnline yesterday that they had been ordered
by ZANU PF supporters not to plant this winter season.
"We were ordered not to plant any crops this winter season. They are saying
we should get land from Tsvangirai (MDC leader Morgan) and start our own
schemes and stop benefiting from ZANU PF's revolutionary sweat," he said.
"They want to 'Zanunise' all irrigation schemes in the area which are the
source of food in this dry region," said Irvine Sithole, the MDC chairman
for ward 20 in Chimanimani.
Human rights groups and the MDC have in the past accused ZANU PF of denying
food aid to MDC supporters to punish them for backing the opposition party.
The ruling party denies charges that it uses food as a political weapon. -
By Violet Gonda
16 May 2007
Outspoken criminal lawyer Jonathan Samkange has said his arrest was an
attempt to "frustrate" him but warned that it has only made him determined.
Samkange was released on Tuesday after the state withdrew charges against
him due to lack of evidence. Although it's been reported that he was accused
of violating a section of the Immigration Act Samkange said the arresting
officers did not even have any clue as to why they were arresting him. He
said: "Throughout the time all the police officers at no stage - this is a
strange one - I was never told that I was under arrest, I was never really
given a proper explanation as to why they want me, except everyone was
simply saying they were apologising."
Samkange was picked up from his Harare home close to midnight on Monday, and
taken to Avondale police station where he was later transferred to
Rhodesville police station without being told anything. The next morning he
was taken to CID headquarters, and later moved to the Attorney General's
Office where he finally got an explanation. Samkange said: "It is being
alleged that I had filled in an application form for a visa in which I said
(Duye) Chikambo is my visitor or a friend and did not disclose that he was
coming to testify." He denies these accusations.
Duye Chikambo is a politician from Equatorial Guinea who Samkange intended
to call to support Simon Mann's claim that if he were to be extradited to
Equatorial Guinea he would be tortured. Chikambo himself spent six months in
jail on charges of plotting a coup in the West African country. Samkange
said he would have given evidence that was direct because he had been
subjected to the torture. Samkange revealed that Chikambo will not step foot
in Zimbabwe because the moment he lands at the airport the Zimbabwean
government will deport him to Equatorial Guinea.
Samkange is representing Mann, the former British special forces officer
wanted by Equatorial Guinea on allegations of plotting a coup there. The
alleged mercenary was arrested in 2004 for flouting Zimbabwean immigration
and aviation laws. But he was slapped with a warrant for deportation on
completing his prison term last week. Samkange is filing an appeal in the
Legal practitioners say it is increasingly becoming difficult to practice
law in Zimbabwe. On Tuesday 10 lawyers were briefly detained after they
conducted a protest march in Mutare. The legal practitioners were
registering their concerns over police harassment of lawyers.
One of the lawyers that took part in Tuesday's protests, Tinoziva Bere a
councillor with the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), said the arrests are part
of the exercise of intimidating and harassing lawyers so that they do not
continue to occupy the position of being guardians of justice.
Some critics say lawyers are more useful acting behind the scenes rather
than taking part in demonstrations because they are no use to their clients
if they are behind bars. Asked about this, Bere responded: "We are being
abused, we are being harassed, we are being threatened, we are being
arrested, we are being unlawfully detained just for doing our work. They
have denied us access to accused persons in jail and even when they have
arrested our members they have denied them access to lawyers. They have
invaded lawyers' offices and confiscated files and documents from clients'
files, in total disregard of the right of a lawyer to the privacy of
information that he holds in respect of a client."
Bere added: " I think when they defy court orders you have to say at some
point enough is enough we are not lawyers if there is no confidentiality of
information in our custody, we are not lawyers if you can't go to the police
station and get the respect that you deserve!" He said ultimately lawyers
couldn't pretend things are normal and are now starting to behave like "real
lawyers" and speaking out.
The LSZ councilor said the majority of lawyers in Zimbabwe know what is
right and what is wrong and it is only a tiny minority that has been
benefiting from the establishment who have lost courage to defend what is
So far 19 lawyers have been arrested this month alone.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
16 May 2007
Two University of Zimbabwe student leaders Prosper Munatsi and Munyaradzi
Chikorohondo were released Wednesday following a High Court order issued on
Tuesday. State prosecutors had refused to prosecute arguing the students had
not violated the Public Order and Security Act during a demonstration last
week. They said the matter had to be dealt with in terms of the university's
own laws. Upon release Chikorohondo and Munatsi were immediately taken to a
private clinic for treatment following injuries sustained during assaults by
university security guards and police. Munatsi sustained a broken arm while
Chikorohondo was said to be still bleeding from the ear.
The students have also been taken for counselling at the offices of local
NGO, the Amani Trust who assist victims of state violence and human rights
abuses. The university exploded into commotion last week Thursday following
the disruption of a campaign rally that was meant to precede student council
elections. One aspiring candidate Terence Chimhavi was expelled on Tuesday
by university authorities while another 8 candidates suspended. The students
allege this is part of purge meant to allow government-sponsored candidates
a clear run for positions.
Meanwhile the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Youth Movement Freeman Chari
said two members of their group arrested Tuesday have still not been
released. He says their lawyers were not been able to access Collin Chibango
and Wellington Mahohoma who were arrested alongside 60-80 vendors at the
Eastgate Shopping Centre in Harare. The police allege the vendors were
selling products illegally on the black market and that the youth leaders
were inciting them to resist arrest when police tried to pick them up. The
youths however say armed police arrived in Defender trucks and began
assaulting everyone present. When the youth leaders asked why authorities
were arresting ordinary vendors trying to earn a living under a harsh
economy the police arrested them.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 May 2007
Senior Assistant Commissioner Musarashana Godwin Mabunda, exposed by the MDC
last week as a serial torturer, was nearly dismissed from the police force
in 1998 for incompetence.
A reliable source from Harare told Newsreel that whilst stationed in
Mashonaland West province in the late 1990's, Mabunda was so incompetent in
his duties that a suitability board of enquiry was instituted to investigate
Although he was severely censured by the board he got off the hook because
of his liberation war credentials. By then Mabunda was an inspector and was
little known in the police force.
'Although he was still a middle ranked officer in the force, he was well
known for his dislike of other members of the force who were not from the
liberation war. His stature as an enforcer came to prominence during the
farm invasions,' said our source.
From this period onward Mabunda saw an opportunity to redeem himself by
taking charge of farm invasions and this led to his rapid rise in the force.
'If Zimbabwe were a democracy and the police force was run professionally
Mabunda would still be an inspector as we speak. Such people are living in
denial and can never agree that there would be life after Zanu (PF) or
Robert Mugabe,' said our source.
Last week the MDC exposed Mabunda as a 'vicious torturer,' behind the serial
beatings of MDC activists at the notorious Law and Order section at Harare
central police station. Mabunda is also a respected elder at his Zaoga
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
16 May, 2008
As violence, strikes and arrests continue in Zimbabwe, the 41st Session of
the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) opened in Ghana
on Wednesday. The Zimbabwe government is due to present its State Party
Report, which responds to allegations and recommendations made by the 2002
ACHPR fact finding mission. A copy of the report is on our website and in it
the authorities deny all the allegations of human rights abuses and blame
external forces for the deterioration of the economy. They do not take
responsibility for anything, including the demolitions of Murambatsvina and
the brutal attacks on the opposition.
Fortunately there are local and international civic organisations in Ghana
presenting Shadow Reports that counter these denials point by point and
present evidence. Irene Petras, director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, is in Ghana and she confirmed that on Monday the African NGO Forum
adopted a resolution on Zimbabwe which cited numerous ongoing violations.
These will be scrutinised by commissioners at the session.
Petras also said there has been a lot of solidarity and understanding of the
challenges currently facing Zimbabweans. She explained that many journalists
and organisations have approached them seeking a true picture of the
situation on the ground. At the opening ceremony Wednesday, Zimbabwean
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa made a presentation on behalf of AU
member states. Petras said he urged member states to ratify the protocol on
the rights of women in Africa and the protocol establishing the African
Court. She hoped Chinamasa would lead by example and make sure Zimbabwe
ratifies both protocols.
The tragedy of Zimbabwe is that there can never be much progress when we
have a government that is in such denial. Other African countries and
international organisations waste a lot of time considering these arguments,
and in the end no punitive measures are taken. This is why it has taken 5
years for Harare to respond to the ACHPR mission's recommendations.
It is also tragic that other African leaders and officials keep defending
Robert Mugabe as their African brother. In Ghana on Tuesday their Foreign
Minister Nana Akufo-Addo is reported to have insisted that Mugabe be invited
to the 2nd European Union-Africa summit due in Lisbon in December. He was
quoted saying: " We can't have a situation where people pick and choose
which Africans they deal with when they deal with Africa on a continental
basis." Mugabe and his closest allies are banned from travelling to Europe
under targeted sanctions imposed by the EU since 2002.
The summit has been postponed over this issue since April 2003, and the E.U.
has been lobbying to block Mugabe's attendance. But attitudes like the
Ghanaian minister's along with his South African counterpart, block progress
by organisations that might otherwise put pressure on Mugabe to abide by the
rule of law.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
BULAWAYO, 16 May 2007 (IRIN) - The government has told striking doctors, who
embarked on industrial action on Monday to demand a review of their daily
wage of less than US$1, that it is broke.
"Government has no money, but we understand the doctors' grievances. We,
however, cannot promise anything positive for now, and our appeal to their
striking personnel is that they should return to work for the public's
sake," Zimbabwe's deputy health minister, Edwin Muguti, told the striking
"That is our most passionate appeal at this point in time. We have seen how
detrimental previous job actions have been to the health sector delivery and
the public at large, and really we don't want a repeat of that," he told
IRIN on Wednesday.
Medical practitioners at four of Zimbabwe's biggest state hospitals took off
their surgical gloves on Monday, demanding a salary hike and an improvement
in their working conditions, which they described as "pathetic and inhuman".
The deputy minister's plea for them to continue working for less than $1 a
day has fallen on deaf ears. Kudakwashe Nyamutukwa, spokesperson for the
Hospital Doctors Association (HDA), said doctors would not resume work until
their grievances were satisfied.
"We offer a very important service but it is sad we are not treated as such
by government," he said. "Doctors employed by state institutions earn less
than US$1 a day, which is very ridiculous. We need a wage review that will
put us above the poverty datum line, otherwise it's pointless going to work
Medical practitioners earn about Z$500,000 a month (US$16), although the
consumer council of Zimbabwe said in its March report that a family of six
required Z$686,115 to meet its basic needs each month. Zimbabwe's latest
official inflation rate is 2,200 percent, the highest in the world.
In previous strike action, which lasted from January to March this year,
demands were for a monthly salary of Z$5 million (US$166 at the parallel
market rate of Z3$30,000 to US$1), but this time the HDA just wants to sit
government down and negotiate.
At the United Bulawayo Hospital and Mpilo Hospital in Zimbabwe's second
city, Bulawayo, patients requiring medical attention by doctors were being
turned away, while some nurses were providing a few with treatment.
"This is sad, really sad. Government has to address the issue of medical
personnel's salaries once and for all," Nobuhle Dube, who was seeking
medical assistance at Mpilo Hospital for a suspected liver infection, told
"Now, in pain as I am, I have to go back home ... because there is no doctor
to administer treatment to me and many others here," he said. "What makes it
even worse is that I cannot afford treatment at private hospitals, otherwise
I would just go there."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Thursday 17 May 2007
By Wayne Mafaro
HARARE - Three Zimbabwean white farmers in Karoi, about 200km north-west of
Harare have written to Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo urging him to stop
a senior army officer from taking over their property.
The three farmers were on 2 April served with an eviction order and were
given 45-days to vacate the property and make way for the new owner, a
senior army officer only identified as N M Dube.
President Robert Mugabe's government last year said it had successfully
completed its land reform programme that saw large white farms parceled out
to landless blacks.
But farm seizures have continued without let-up forcing Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono to publicly appeal late last year restoration
of order the white-run commercial farms.
On Wednesday, the white-representative Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) on
said wheat production would certainly be reduced this year because of
continuing disturbances on commercial farms.
In a one-page letter addressed to Gumbo that was seen by ZimOnline
yesterday, the three farmers Paul, Alex and James Stidolph said Gumbo must
help stop their eviction as they were running a lucrative farming business
at Grand Parade Farm in the Karoi farming district.
"We are three commercial farmers, former owners of Grand Padare Farm Karoi.
The farm was 2 270 ha in extent. In 2001 it was designated for A1
resettlement. We approached the authorities requesting to share the farm as
compliance farmers," Stidolph wrote to Gumbo.
"We fully utilise the farm and fully utilise the large dam we built. Paul
Stidolph does the dairy, James grows wheat, tobacco and jatropha. Alex grows
maize and has a 20 sow piggery and 200 head of cattle," James Stidolph said
in the appeal.
He said the eviction notice ran counter to assurances they had received from
Vice-President Joseph Msika and Lands Minister Didymus Mutasa in March last
year that they would be spared under the government's land reforms.
Documents attached to the letter show that Mutasa had made the assurances at
a meeting held in Harare that was attended by Msika, Chief Kazangarare and
one Samuel Marufu, a relative of the First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Mutasa is said to have told the meeting that he had not been informed of the
true facts when he signed Dube's offer letter. He then promised to reverse
the offer letter.
Trouble for the Stidolph family began in April when Dube and a Mr Marova
from the Ministry of Lands served the family with the eviction notice
ordering the family to immediately cease operations and vacate the property.
"We do not know who gave Mr Marova these instructions. It would seem
Minister Mutasa has either reneged or forgotten his March 2006 promise to VP
Msika, or one of his senior officials has ignored his undertaking to the
"However, the fact remains we are a registered dairy. We do not want to
close down. We want to increase the herd and expand the business," said the
Zimbabwe has survived on food handouts from international food relief
agencies over the past seven years after Mugabe seized white farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and civic groups
say most of the seized farms have ended up in the hands of senior army
officers and government officials.
Only about 600 out of the about 4 000 white farmers that were there before
Mugabe's controversial land reforms in 2000 are still farming in Zimbabwe. -
Thursday 17 May 2007
By Nigel Hangarume
BEITBRIDGE - Zimbabwe state security agents have raided vehicle clearing
agents at Beitbridge border post seeking to impound vehicles they suspected
had been imported by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party ahead of next year's elections.
In a move that clearly highlighting panic within President Robert Mugabe's
government, agents from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) earlier
this week stormed the vehicle clearing firms at Beitbridge in an attempt to
seize the "MDC vehicles".
The feared state agents ransacked computers and files and also interrogated
and threatened workers at the firms in a bid to squeeze information on the
suspected imported vehicles. But the search failed to yield the desired
MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said his party was aware of moves by
President Robert Mugabe's government to stop it from importing vehicles for
use in next year's presidential and parliamentary elections.
Biti said last month's move ordering Zimbabweans to pay import duty for
luxury vehicles in foreign currency was part of the attempt to cripple the
opposition and stop it from effectively campaigning around the country.
"That was the main reason why the government passed that statutory
instrument. It's not a rumour but a fact," said Biti yesterday.
The MDC secretary general said government had rushed to implement the
requirement after state agents gleaned that information from party files
they confiscated during a raid at the MDC headquarters on 28 March.
"We had wanted to import 20 vehicles for the provinces and administration,
the president and chairman's office but now we can't do it," Biti said. "We
are witnessing clear, unadulterated fascism by this government."
A senior official at one of the clearing agents at Beitbridge confirmed the
raid by the CIO agents but did not want to be named fearing a backlash.
"The CIO guys just came and demanded to see papers of cars they said had
been cleared by our company on behalf of the MDC. They went through all the
files, computers and interrogated us but we told them we knew nothing about
it," said the official.
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa could not be reached for comment on
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga scoffed at the MDC charge saying
the new law on vehicle imports was aimed at raising foreign currency for the
country and did not look at a person's political affiliation.
"It's a lie that the CIO are looking for any vehicles belonging to the MDC.
It's a load of lies. The law applies to everyone. Everyone is paying duty in
foreign currency including individuals.
"Why should they (MDC) expect to get special treatment?" said Matonga. -
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
16 May 2007 03:40
African and European continental parliamentarians said on
Wednesday they hope their differences over Zimbabwe's attending the European
Union-Africa Summit in December will blow over.
The EU has imposed "targeted sanctions" against Zimbabwe,
including a ban on Cabinet ministers travelling from that country to Europe.
Addressing a press conference after the EU delegation's visit,
EU delegate Michael Gahler said the non-attendance of Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe at the Franco-African Summit at Cannes in February was a
He said the EU has a firm standpoint on the matter, "and we have
a strong feeling that in Africa there are strong feelings about this".
"[But we] hope that good services are rendered from different
countries behind the scenes, and we hope that the summit is a success."
The President of the Pan African Parliament, Gertrude Mongella,
said such tensions are not new to the world. "We hope there can be an end to
the tensions we see now."
The two parliaments said their talks this week focused on
preparations for the EU-Africa Summit, which will be held in Lisbon.
It will be the first such parliamentary participation at an
Asked whether China would have observer status at the summit,
Gahler said the topic of China's interest in Africa would be on the agenda,
directly or indirectly. "China in Africa is an issue of great interest in
Africa and beyond." -- Sapa
Published: May 16 2007 03:00 | Last updated: May 16 2007 03:00
Enemies of the United Nations could not hope for a greater gift than the
election of Zimbabwe to chair the UN commission on sustainable development.
A more suitable role for one of President Robert Mugabe's henchmen might be
to head a commission for sustainable dictatorship: Zimbabwe's lurches on
despite the wilful destruction it has visited on its people.
In putting forward Francis Nhema, Zimbabwe's environment minister, for the
chair, African governments have inflicted on themselves - as well as the
UN - an astonishing blow. The commission, created in 1993, is the UN's main
forum for addressing the relationship between development and the
environment. Africa's turn to fill its chair - which rotates among regions -
offered an opportunity to occupy the moral high ground.
Scientists now widely predict that climate change will be cruellest where it
will hurt most: in Africa. The greenhouse gases thought to cause climate
change are largely of the industrial world's making. Developing nations are
predictably reluctant to foot the costs of others' prosperity. But the case
for burden-sharing has no credibility coming from a Zimbabwean government
The debate over climate change is already sharply divided. WithZimbabwe at
its head, it will be even harder for the UN commission to forge a global
This unedifying spectacle in Turtle Bay encourages the view that UN
organisations are costly talking shops. It detracts from the reality that
good sense can sometimes prevail among African leaders.
Earlier this year African governments were faced with a similar dilemma over
Sudan's bid to chair the African Union. Thankfully, they persuaded President
Omar al-Beshir to withdraw his candidacy. Thus, the region was spared the
absurdity of handing power to someone whose role could have included
influencing the AU peacekeepers struggling to contain a conflict partly of
his own making.
In the UN forum, however, absurdity has prevailed. Despite the fact that
some African governments are tired of the ill repute Mr Mugabe brings to the
continent, its leaders are seemingly incapable of taking a collective
decision to freeze him out.
The timing of the UN debacle is unfortunate for another reason. It sends a
bad signal as talks start to re-capitalise the African Development Bank and
replenish funds for the World Bank's International Development Association.
Even if the issues are separate, Africa has scored a spectacular own goal.
By Austin Peters
Last Updated: 12:05am BST 16/05/2007
Zimbabwe should be stripped of international status due to their poor
playing standards, according to the MCC's World Cricket committee.
Australia yesterday pulled out of a tour to the country in September, in
protest at president Robert Mugabe's policies. Now the MCC's World Cricket
committee, chaired by Tony Lewis - one of six former England captains on a
15-man panel - said the decline in playing standards linked to the Mugabe
regime, was unlikely to improve while he was in power.
A statement read: "The committee believes the decline in the standard of
cricket in Zimbabwe is directly related to the political situation there and
that an improvement is unlikely under the current regime.
"Once the social unrest has been addressed, ICC should, by means of regular
review and guidance, assist the Zimbabwe Cricket Union in rebuilding as a
serious cricketing nation."
Australian officials yesterday confirmed that plans to stage matches at a
neutral venue had been scrapped after being rejected by Zimbabwe Cricket
chief executive Ozias Bvute.
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Officials claim arts festival has bolstered Zimbabwe's image, but dire state
of the country is hard to disguise.
By Meshack Ndodana in Harare (AR No. 112, 16-May-07)
A country misrepresented by the media or sliding towards disaster?
Contradictory interpretations on the state of Zimbabwe have abounded in
recent weeks, in the wake of several events: the most recent, the Harare
International Festival of the Arts, Hifa, was seen as a roaring success,
while the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, ZITF, that preceded it and the
Workers' Day celebrations on May 1 were damp squibs.
Hifa executive director Maria Wilson said more than 56,000 tickets had been
sold by the last day of the festival, which ended May 6, and about 150
international artists had performed in what she said was the biggest
In contrast, the trade fair, which has been running for 48 years, flopped
again, having been shunned by international exhibitors. Workers' Day
celebrations were a non-event with most workers failing to turn out for the
festivities scheduled in all major centres.
At the same time, World Press Freedom Day on May 3 saw the banning of
another journalist because he allegedly did not have a license from the
Media and Information Commission, MIC, a child of the dreaded Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
But what exactly is Hifa? Is it an oasis of hope in hell or the new face of
ZANU-PF public relations? The answer apparently comes from Wilson herself.
She said in an interview with the official Herald newspaper that the
festival had succeeded in fulfilling its objective of fighting the
stereotype of Africa as a dark continent.
"Much of what we hear about Africa is war, disease and poverty. Yet there is
unbelievable courage in the people that is never spoken about," she said.
"I believe as Hifa we have done and shown what we set out to prove - that
the Zimbabwean people have not been getting the right coverage."
Commenting on Wilson's remarks, a veteran journalist, now retired, said,
"Now I understand why Hifa is the only gathering that does not have to seek
police permission. That right is even denied the churches."
He was referring to the prayer meeting planned for March 11, which saw the
police descend on attendees and brutally assault them.
The journalist said he was also surprised that during the six-day Hifa
festival, Harare was awash with foreign journalists all properly accredited
by the MIC.
"All internet cafes in major hotels were full of journalists filing stories
to their newspapers around the world and the MIC was conveniently quiet
about it," he said.
On the day Hifa began, workers gathered in all major centres to celebrate
Workers' Day. Their main aim was to raise awareness around the plight of
workers - who earn between 300,000 Zimbabwe dollars (20 US dollars) and
600,000 Zimbabwe dollars per month - and demand a living wage for them.
The government ignored them. Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Nicholas
Goche, who had been invited to address the main gathering in Harare, snubbed
it. Lovemore Matombo, the president of the main labour body, the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU, announced at the gathering that his union
would in the next three months rally workers on the streets if employers and
government failed to increase their wages.
"While foreign journalists were touting the success of Hifa they failed to
see the penury the ordinary Zimbabwean is living in," said the veteran
journalist. "The elitist Hifa hid from visitors the fact that 80 per cent of
our people are living on less than one US dollar a day and that their
government does not care a hoot about it."
On May 3, while the hype around the arts festival was reaching a crescendo,
journalists in Zimbabwe were being barred from celebrating World Press
Freedom Day and the MIC was in the process of banning independent journalist
Nunurai Jena for a year for "being caught practising with an expired
Under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
journalists must obtain licences from the media commission or face two years
in jail if caught practising without them. The commission has forced the
closure of four newspapers in the past four years and left scores of
journalists without jobs. In its recent World Press Freedom Review, the
International Press Institute said although Zimbabwe was not the most
dangerous country for journalists to work in, it was probably the most
In contrast, there were no accredited foreign journalists at the 2007 trade
fair, ZITF, which ran from April 24 - 28, ostensibly because there was no
desire on the part of the government to advertise how much lustre the
country has lost as a regional manufacturing giant.
The international trade fair, for more than 40 years the pride of all
Zimbabweans, has been reduced to a pale shadow of itself and can no longer
be used to promote the country. In the past, heads of state fell over each
other to officially open the trade showcase but now they no longer wish to
be associated with it. President Robert Mugabe officially opened this year's
Absent from exhibitor stands were machinery, locally assembled vehicles,
information technology products, furniture, clothing and farming equipment.
Replacing these quality products, which were the cornerstone of the success
of the annual exhibition over the past four decades, were low-quality
handmade clothes, leather products, traditional medicines and goods from
small-to-medium-sized enterprises, SMEs.
SMEs were the most visible category of exhibitors at the fair, with many
displaying similar product ranges. Government and some business
organisations such as the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the
country's trade promotion body, ZimTrade, were marketing SMEs as Zimbabwe's
counter to western sanctions.
But, the irony is that despite their sanctions-busting role, SMEs are still
forced to rely on imported raw materials. Entrepreneurs say they have no
option because of factory closures triggered by foreign currency shortages,
as well as power and water cuts.
According to figures announced by Industry and International Trade Minister
Obert Mpofu at the end of the fair, 733 of the 815 exhibitors were local.
The remaining exhibitors were drawn from 12 countries, mainly from southern
Africa. South Africa, Zimbabwe's biggest trade partner, was conspicuous by
its absence. Last year, the fair attracted 713 exhibitors.
Industry and International Trade and Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
Company officials were at great pains to play up the increase in exhibitors.
But commentators compared this year's fair to a flea market.
In 1995, the trade fair attracted 1,200 exhibitors. Of these, 500 were
foreign exhibitors from 37 countries. That year, 65 South African companies
took up an entire exhibition hall.
The few foreign exhibitors at ZITF 2007 were somewhat reserved as to whether
it had been worth their while to come to Zimbabwe. In contrast, foreign
artists enthused that they could not wait to come back to Harare for next
year's Hifa event, a great ZANU-PF public relations coup.
Meshack Ndodana is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe
16th May 2007 16:10 GMT
FOR attending the recently held ZINASU General Council meeting over the
weekend, three students from Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE)
Tinashe Madamombe, Moreblessing Mabhunu and Chiedza Gadzirayi are being
hunted down by members of the Central intelligence Organisation (CIO) and
others from the police Criminal Investigating Department (CID).
Since Sunday night, the CIOs (including one identified as Mutasa) and the
CID members (including a one Makoni) have been constantly seen on campus in
a white mazda pick up truck especially at night looking for the three.
However, Tinashe and Moreblessing have since moved out of the campus
residence after they received anonyous calls threatening them with death if
they were to continue to associate themselves with ZINASU, which they
labelled to be an appendage of the MDC.
At the same time, the two are also being searched for in connection with
attending an MDC rally held in Bindura some 2 weeks ago. They said they had
to 'deal' with them for singing derogatory songs and also for addressing the
crowd that had gathered there.
Chiedza and Tinashe have also received threats for being secretary and
spokesperson respectively for the newly formed Bindura Residence Association
citing that having been assisted by CHRA to form the residence association
was an MDC initiative to 'infiltrate' what they term 'a no-go territory' in
reference to Bindura and an insult to Manyika.
Just early this morning, Mabhunu received a call from a CID officer Makoni
who was alleging that the three are at an 'advanced stage' in planning to
burn a building at the university saying that instructions and funding came
from ZINASU at the General Council meeting.
Meanwhile, the two students, Prosper Munatsi and Munyaradzi Chikorohondo
who were arrested at the University of Zimbabwe on the 10th of May 2007
after a demonstration were released today and the state will proceed by way
of summons. Students were protesting against the on-going strike by
University lecturers and ever deteriorating living conditions on campus.
Zinasu - Defending Academic Freedoms in Zimbabwe
The First Post
The police response to a demonstration at the University of Zimbabwe was
swift and brutal
The Avenues medical clinic in Harare was fuller than usual this weekend.
Several beds were occupied by students injured in riots at the University of
Zimbabwe. One of those who was able - and willing - to talk was Nathaniel
Nare, 21, in his fourth year of an honours degree course in accountancy.
Nathaniel, who comes from Beitbridge on the South African border, didn't
look good. One leg was in plaster, and the rest of his body was bandaged
heavily, the result, he told me, of blows with batons and dog bites.
He said trouble began after the students gathered in a hall on campus to
protest at deteriorating standards at the university. Only two lectures have
been given in Nathaniel's course since February, and final examinations are
"After speeches from student leaders," Nathaniel told me, wincing with pain,
"we began singing songs and chanting slogans, denouncing the university
vice-chancellor, Professor Levy Nyagura, and President Mugabe, who is
chancellor of all the universities.
"Security officers entered the hall, and started beating students with
batons. We fought back, throwing chairs and bottles at them. The fighting
spilled out into the open - and then we heard the sound of teargas guns. The
riot police had arrived.
"We ran for it, choking in the gas, trying to get to our residence at New
Complex 4, but we found our way barred by a bunch of police. They had us
trapped, and we all got beaten. I thought I could escape, but they unleashed
two dogs, which soon had me on the floor.
"I passed out, and next thing I knew, I was here in this bed. They tell me I
have broken a limb, and I think some of my ribs are broken too. I hurt all
By now Nathaniel is crying quietly. This is how it is for a young man in
Zimbabwe who is just trying to get an education. All around him are fellow
students with similar injuries - and in similar states of
FIRST POSTED MAY 16, 2007
Embassy Magazine, Canada
May 16th, 2007
By Brian Adeba
First, Liberal MP Keith Martin pushed for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
to be indicted under Canada's crimes against humanity laws last year. Then
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay met Arthur Mutambara, one of the
leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition parties, the Movement for Democratic
Change, two weeks ago and promised moral support.
Last week, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal introduced a motion in the Senate
requesting Canada to cut off diplomatic ties with the southern African
country. Such a motion in the Senate would normally not raise eyebrows, but
the fact that it passed unanimously indicates that there is a growing
consensus of displeasure among Canada's politicians about the political
situation in Zimbabwe.
The motion will now move on to Parliament, where Mr. Segal said he has
garnered the support of three MPs-two fellow Conservatives and one from
another party, though he refused to disclose their names.
"It will send a signal to the people of Zimbabwe that Canada is very
concerned with the lack of democracy," Mr. Segal said.
"The best way to stand up for the people of Zimbabwe is to withdraw our
diplomatic mission to make it clear that it is not business as usual, that
we view this as a crisis."
Mr. Segal said he was appalled by the recent beatings of opposition leaders
in March by the Zimbabwe police, and that all signs show that President
Mugabe is far from embracing democratic values.
Mr. Segal followed up with a question in the Senate as to whether his motion
had been forwarded to the relevant authorities, Senator Marjory LeBreton,
leader of the government in the Senate, answered that the authorities have
been made aware, but stressed that the prevailing opinion is that severing
ties with Zimbabwe is not going to solve anything.
Canada's approach to Zimbabwe has emphasized diplomacy, but Hany Besada, a
senior researcher on fragile states at the Waterloo-based Centre for
International Governance Innovation, said the recent flurry of activity on
the Hill regarding Zimbabwe shows that some Canadian politicians are getting
wary of Canada's position of quiet diplomacy.
"There's been a lot of inaction on the ground for a long time, and Zimbabwe
is becoming a sinking Titanic and that's frustrating some people," said Mr.
Mr. Besada said the frustration is not only about Canada's policy, but also
about the ineffectiveness of the role of regional players like South Africa
and the African Union. But while calling the new interest on Zimbabwe a
positive development, he cautioned that severing diplomatic ties would have
devastating consequences on the local population, even though Canada's
developmental aid to the country has been falling since 2002, when it stood
at $12 million per year.
Shutting Missions Doesn't Help
John Schram, who served as Canada's ambassador to Zimbabwe from 2002 to
2005, shared Mr. Besada's concerns. Mr. Schram said while he understands the
frustration with what is happening in Zimbabwe now, severing ties is not the
"Such grand actions such as closing embassies do show action and get
attention, however briefly," he said in an email.
"But it's been my experience over many years in Africa that they seldom
influence government or leaders."
Closing embassies never does anything to help ordinary people "we are
supposed to help," Mr. Schram argues. If anything, he said it would remove
any influence Canada ever had in Zimbabwe.
"A sure way for Zimbabwe to react to the closing of our embassy will be to
crack down, not only on official CIDA aid recipients, but on Zimbabwe
partners of Canadian civil society," Mr. Schram said.
During the Apartheid era in South Africa, Canada did not close its mission
and Mr. Schram, who also served as envoy there, said the move proved to be
effective in the long-term in the fight against the government's racist
"By keeping our embassy open in Pretoria, we did a very effective thing, and
I have a hand-written letter from Nelson Mandela saying so," said Mr. Schram
in an interview.
Furthermore, Mr. Schram said closing embassies is a costly endevour and "it
almost has to be reversed at great expense once change does come." He said
it's better to keep the mission in Zimbabwe, to maintain pressure while
promoting dialogue among Zimbabweans. In addition, he said the Mugabe
government is not likely to notice if Canada severs ties with it.
"If China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa and Nigeria cut off
ties, that would likely sting, but I am afraid Canada is regarded as a white
colonial country that's taken sides with other white colonial countries in
Europe, and I don't think he'd be worried about it," said Mr. Schram.
More Effective to Work with UN
Cutting off diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe is not an effective way of
influencing positive change since commercial ties between both countries are
negligible, said Amir Attaran, professor of law at Ottawa University.
"What you are really talking about is a diplomatic relationship that is
close to naught," he said, adding that Canadian politicians would be more
effective if the Senate and Parliament request that Canada recommend to the
UN Security Council to pass sanctions and freeze the assets of Zimbabwe's
leaders under Chapter Seven regulations.
Linda Freeman, co-founder of the Canadian Research Consortium on Southern
Africa and professor of political science at Carleton University, said even
though the Canadian embassy's role in Zimbabwe might be minimal, closing the
mission in Harare will only will add to the polarization between North and
South, with Canada being seen as joining the league of nations seen as
oppressive in the developing world.
According to Mr. Besada, an effective role Canadian politicians can play is
to pressure the government to urge the UN and the African Union to take an
active role in Zimbabwe.
The Age, Australia
May 17, 2007
FEDERAL authorities are investigating whether family members of the ruling
Zimbabwean regime are living in Australia.
The Government has said it could employ "smart sanctions" and kick out
relatives of those running the African nation to place further pressure on
President Robert Mugabe's regime.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the Government was looking at
blocking relatives from being educated in Australia.
He said he had asked his department for a full report on how many
Zimbabweans linked to the regime were in Australia.
Prime Minister John Howard has banned the Australian cricket team from
touring Zimbabwe, warning that Mr Mugabe would use it as propaganda weapon.
Mr Mugabe, who has been in power for 27 years, is said to have authorised
brutal beatings of political opponents and has been blamed for the deaths of
tens of thousands though the implementation of hard-line economic policies.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland said sanctions
against the rulers of the regime could be effective if applied correctly.
Cape Argus (Cape Town)
16 May 2007
Posted to the web 16 May 2007
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader said his party would not contest next
year's general elections unless President Thabo Mbeki's mission to create
conditions for free and and fair elections succeeded.
Tsvangirai's remarks on the BBC's Hard Talk programme raises the spectre of
more chaos in Zimbabwe if the opposition carries through its boycott threat.
Tsvangirai, leader of the main faction of the divided Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said he saw no point in contesting an election with
a pre-determined outcome.
"It is no use going into an election that is already rigged ... with a lot
of violence against the opposition, no voter education, no credible voters
Although he shared the views of critics of President Mbeki's quiet diplomacy
in Zimbabwe over its failure to produce results, Tsvangirai said he hoped
Mbeki's latest initiative on Zimbabwe would produce results.
Mbeki was mandated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
mediate in Zimbabwe and ensure that next year's elections are not disputed.
But several officials of President Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party have
already publicly poured scorn on the mediation effort.
ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira recently said the ruling party would
not talk to the MDC because it was not a loyal opposition party.
"We are not in disarray but Mugabe is trying to decapitate the opposition
ahead of next year's elections," said Tsvangirai.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
16 May 2007
Posted to the web 16 May 2007
ZIMBABWE's ruling Zanu (PF) party is battling with fresh divisions in its
ranks over President Robert Mugabe's controversial plan to seek re-election
for another five years.
The resurfacing of explosive clashes in the ruling party involves a proposed
extraordinary congress later this year to endorse Mugabe as the party's
candidate for president next March.
This will ensure that Mugabe clings to power until 2013, extending his
presidency to 32 years while Zimbabwe's economy collapses.
Although it has been publicly claimed Mugabe was endorsed by his party's
central committee on March 30, senior Zanu (PF) officials -- particularly
those aligned with former army commander Gen Solomon Mujuru -- are disputing
that he has been approved.
They argue that Mugabe's candidacy was unprocedural.
This has set Mujuru's faction on a collision course with a group of Mugabe
loyalists led by party commissar Elliot Manyika, who is pushing for a
congress to endorse Mugabe properly.
The power struggle has fuelled infighting and widened cracks in the
crumbling Zanu (PF), threatening Mugabe's bid to contest next year's crucial
Undeniable evidence of this internal strife was publicly displayed recently
after members of rival factions physically attacked each other during
provincial executive elections in Masvingo.
There were also open clashes among senior party officials during recent
failed party elections in Bulawayo.
Manyika was at loggerheads with top Bulawayo party officials, reflecting
widening Zanu (PF) rifts. Mugabe has said that he cannot leave now because
his party will disintegrate.
Manyika said that the party would hold an extraordinary congress to endorse
Mugabe's candidacy, but this is being opposed by his colleagues.
"It has been the tradition of the ruling party to call for a special
congress to nominate officially the ruling party's presidential candidate
for any impending election," he said. "The extraordinary congress is called
by the central committee."
Although Manyika said the congress will be held, Zanu (PF) secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa said there were no such plans.
The conflicting remarks over the congress exposed Manyika's clandestine
manoeuvres to get approval for Mugabe after a failed attempt on March 30 to
secure support for him.
16 May 2007
HARARE - Elephants in Zimbabwe have killed two more people, including a game
ranger, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The ranger, Admire Kayungwa, was trampled to death last week by a wounded
elephant in the wildlife-rich Gonarezhou National Park, which borders South
Africa and Mozambique, the official Herald newspaper reported.
Kayungwa, 37, was killed at Chipinda Pool Campsite, according to the report.
He and two colleagues had shot at an elephant wounded in a fight with
another jumbo. But the injured animal turned the tables and charged at the
men, killing Kayungwa.
In the second attack, a 53-year old man was trampled by an elephant when he
went to fish in the Zambezi River in northern Zimbabwe.
Relatives of Rogers Dzikamunhenga of Chirundu launched a search for him when
he did not return home last Monday, the Herald said.
His body was found two days later with the right leg severed and the stomach
ruptured. He too had been trampled by an elephant, according to the report.
The attacks are the latest in a string of deadly attacks by elephants and
other wild animals in Zimbabwe. Two weeks ago, an elephant trampled a
48-year-old man to death in northern Zimbabwe while his wife and son looked
Two British tourists a mother and her 10-year-old daughter were trampled to
death by an elephant in the once-thriving tourist area of Hwange National
Park in March.
By Irwin Chifera
16 May 2007
Zimbabweans are continuing to cross into neighboring countries illegally,
despite the risks. This has prompted the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) in Zimbabwe to launch a campaign aimed at making Zimbabweans
aware of the dangers of illegal migration. Voice of America's Irwin Chifera
filed this report from Hippo Valley.
The road show, dubbed "The Safe Journey Campaign" began in Chiredzi last
week with the official opening of an administration center.
The facility is dedicated to educating youngsters about the importance of
traveling with proper documents and the dangers associated with illegal
border crossing. The venue - called "The Safe Zone Youth Centre" -- will
also be used to integrate deportees back into the local community.
Its coordinator, Folen Murapa-Maphosa, explained the purpose in more detail:
"This centre was formed with the youth in mind, especially those between the
ages of 15 and 25. The idea is to give them information and education on
how and where they can get travel documents as well as to occupy their free
time so that they are useful to the community."
She says, so far, most of the people seeking assistance are, indeed, people
who cross illegally --more commonly referred to as border jumpers.
The road show has moved to other parts of the South Eastern Lowveld area
including Hippo Valley, Triangle And Mkwasine.
The road show consists of a truck that converts into a stage and a giant
The truck will also take the show to Bulawayo and Plumtree, where an
enthusiastic crew of actors will perform interactive productions.
The Safe Journey Roadshow also warns the audience that illegal migrants
often face attacks by those mistrustful of them. It also warns those who
cross borders illegally that they will be subject to violence and abuse by
potential employers, and have no access to health care or legal protection.
Murapa-Maposa acknowledges that while some participants have promised to
obtain proper travel documents, others say they'll continue to cross
illegally because of economic hardship in their country.
In her words, "The youths are satisfied with the information they are
getting and most are rushing to get travel documents. However we have a
situation where others are saying they will continue to do border jumping."
The road show has been staged in the southeast of the country, specifically
because the majority of border jumpers reportedly originate from this
Last year, the I-O-M opened a reception and support center at Beitbridge.
Since then, the Center has received at least 130-thousand Zimbabweans on
being deported from South Africa.
May 16, 2007 10:46 AM
JOHANNESBURG-OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is
planning to commence a massive "registration and voter" campaign for
Zimbabweans in South Africa to come and participate in the forthcoming
parliamentary and presidential elections, party youth national chairperson
Thamsanqa Mahlangu told a conference held in Everton yesterday.
The conference organised by Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum intended at
bringing together youth activists from Zimbabwe, South Africa and the SADC
region in order to come up with permanent solutions and strategies around
Zimbabwe's seven years old political and economic crisis.
"As MDC, we will set down to come up with a influential register and
voter campaign in Zimbabwe to see that over three million fellow Zimbabweans
in South Africa will come and vote in the next parliamentary and
presidential election. There is a siginificant number of Zimbabweans here
who can make a change in Zimbabwe", Mahlangu said adding "...this campaign
should be aimed at encouraging Zimbabweans to come to register and vote".
"We are our own liberators", Manhlangu said calling on Zimbabweans in
South Africa not to look for the solution on Zimbabwe situation from
president Thabo Mbeki and Africa leadership's mediation with the Zimbabwean
"We Zimbabweans have the influence to liberate yourself we should not
count on the mediation process as a way to solving the political problem in
Zimbabwe. Let president Thabo Mbeki go on with this mediation but we as
Zimbabweans we should fight to come up with a home grown approach to
eliminate Mugabe and his regime which is our sole foe".
Mahlagu conversely blamed Zimbabweans and members of the opposition in
South Africa for isolating themselves and concentrating on tribal issues as
a substitute of strengthening opposition politic.
"We have a problem here of Zimbabweans and some the party members who
are dividing people on tribal lines. We as MDC we shun tribalism here and
encourage Zimbabweans to work together towards one goal of achieving and
bringing a change in Zimbabwe", said Mahlangu.
Speaking at the same conference vice national chairperson and Mkoba
Member of Parliament honourable Amos Chibaya said opposition leaders in
South Africa has a pivotal and gargantuan in uniting and strengthening
opposition politic here.
"We know that the party is working in establishing structures here but
given the situation that we are now moving towards to our congress and party
supporters are still dividing themselves the leadership is still faced with
big task to break these lines, mobilise and unity people before the
congress", Chibaya said.
Today the UN General Assembly, that unerring barometer of world opinion,
will acclaim Zimbabwe's election to chair the UN Commission on Sustainable
Development, the panel that deals with development and the environment.
Thunderous applause from Africa's numerous delegations, doubtless joined by
Zimbabwe's good friend China, will make up for the West's inexplicable lack
Zimbabwe's triumph is certain because it is Africa's nominee. Under an
unwritten UN rule, this was Africa's turn in the seat, so what Africa says,
goes. African governments clearly appreciate the example Zimbabwe sets in
tackling global warming.
Why, only this week the Mugabe regime announced that households are to be
rationed to four hours of electricity a day. No matter that the reason for
this enforced curtailment of consumption is the catastrophic mismanagement
of Zimbabwean resources: results are what count.
Nor is this President Mugabe's only pioneering contribution to curbing
global warming. Few people can lay their hands on petrol these days, and
with inflation at 2,200 per cent and soaring fast, fewer still can afford
it. Tractors rust on the farms that made Zimbabwe an African breadbasket.
Hoes are ever so environmentally friendly. Mugabe's 'land reforms' threw not
only white owners, but 350,000 black families who worked for them, off the
land and out of work. Result, maize production is down by 80 per cent, so
Zimbabweans are doing their bit by having only one meal in two or even three
They are also dying earlier, at 35 instead of 60 in 1990, and, along with
the absence of medicines for all but the elite, the spread of HIV/Aids to a
fifth of the population is doing wonders for population control. Pity that
people are forced to cut wood for fuel, but nothing's perfect.
Before the vote, Western governments stuffily protested to African capitals
that Zimbabwe was neither developing nor sustainable. They made no more
headway than they have on Mugabe's sickening human rights violations.
Africa's leaders are a tolerant lot 'tolerant of the foulest regime, for
fear of being held to account in their turn. They also have a wicked sense
of humour, never better on display than at the UN. Four years ago Africans
unanimously chose Libya to head the UN Commission on Human Rights; their
honouring of Zimbabwe is similarly witty.
They are blessed in their friends. Yesterday Oxfam again roasted the G8 for
failing to redouble aid to Africa. No matter that respect for democracy and
clean government was supposed to be part of the 'new deal'. Poor Tony Blair,
poor Bob Geldof. Poor Africa. Would the last Zimbabwean to flee the country
remember to turn out the light, if there's a light to turn out? (The Times)
Wed May 16, 2007 7:43 PM BST
By Joe Bavier
KINSHASA, May 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean businessman Billy Rautenbach's stake
in Central African Mining & Exploration (CAMEC) (CFM.L: Quote, Profile ,
Research) is at the root of a row between the London-listed miner and
Congo's government, the deputy mines minister said on Wednesday.
Victor Kasongo said Congolese authorities had been contacted by South Africa
requesting assistance in Rautenbach's arrest on charges of "fraud,
corruption, and theft," at a time when the central African country is trying
to shake up its mining sector.
"What country can accept to have a fugitive as a company's top guy on their
territory?" Kasongo told Reuters. "We are not happy with how (CAMEC) are
operating in Congo. We want them to be a level player."
"They will be reviewed along with all the other contracts."
Following Congo's first democratic elections in more than four decades last
year, President Joseph Kabila's government has embarked on a campaign to
clean up the mining sector after decades of mismanagement and a 1998-2003
war that left infrastructure in ruins.
A review panel is due next month to begin looking into more than 60 existing
concessions deals to ensure they comply with international legal and ethical
CAMEC, which was co-founded by former England cricketer Phil Edmonds and is
listed on London's AIM exchange, has denied any wrongdoing connected to its
operations in Congo.
It has suggested Kasongo's statements may be commercially motivated,
following the company's recent acquisition of a 22 percent stake in rival
Kasongo said the deal had yet to receive approval from Congo's state copper
miner Gecamines, a partner in the project.
Rautenbach, who owns an 8 percent stake in CAMEC, has a long business
history in Congo. He was previously appointed head of the bankrupt Gecamines
during a period when Zimbabwe was supporting the Kinshasa government against
The majority of Congo's mining deals were negotiated during the six-year war
or the subsequent three-year transition, which saw rebel groups and
government loyalists govern the country in the run-up to elections. Many of
those contracts have come under heavy criticism at home and abroad for
Encouraged by the belief that last year's elections will usher in a new
period of stability, interest from major international mining companies in
Congo's vast mineral wealth has flourished in recent months.