The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Khaleej Times - Dubai

Forty die of malnutrition in Zimbabwe: Report

18 May 2003

HARARE - Forty people have died from malnutrition in Zimbabwe's southern
city of Bulawayo due to food shortages gripping the country, a newspaper
reported Sunday.

Quoting a city health official, the private Daily News on Sunday said the
people had died in the first two months of the year.  "People do not have
food," the city's director of health services, Rita Dlodlo told the paper.

 Aid agencies say at the height of food shortages last year, at least
two-thirds of Zimbabwe's 11.6 million people required food aid. The numbers
of those in need this year have been revised downwards due to forecasts of
better harvests.
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Mugabe wasn't invited
18/05/2003 21:52  - (SA)

Mashudu Matari

Johannesburg - "In our tradition we don't invite people to the funeral, they
just come because they want to after being informed."

This was the reaction of Max Sisulu, son of the late Walter Sisulu, after
queries why President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe attended his father's

Mugabe's presence caused public outcry and some irate Zimbabweans even asked
that he be arrested.

Jay Jay Sibanda, leader of the Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, said Mugabe
stayed at a top hotel, while many Zimbabwean were starving. Rumours have it
that Mugabe stayed in the luxurious Westcliff Hotel.

"He is not a hero, so he must not attend the funeral of a hero who fought
for liberation. He is a disaster in Zimbabwe," Sibanda said

According to a Zimbabwean government official the South African government,
and not the Sisulu famliy, informed Mugabe about the funeral.

Because it was a state funeral the government was responsible for the
arrangements. Max Sisulu said he was happy with the way things were
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MDC sues key treason witness
18/05/2003 14:06  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party is suing the key witness in the treason trial of its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, a party official said on Sunday.

David Coltart, the MDC legal secretary said that the party is suing
Canada-based political consultant Ari Ben-Menashe for "misrepresentation and
breach of contract" and has asked Canadian police to investigate him for

Ben-Menashe is the state's star witness in the trial of Tsvangirai and two
other senior party officials, charged with plotting to assassinate President
Robert Mugabe ahead of last year's presidential elections.

"We've lodged a criminal complaint and instituted civil proceedings against
him (Ben-Menashe)," Coltart said.

Earlier this year, Ben-Menashe, the first witness to appear in the marathon
trial, claimed that Tsvangirai, his secretary general Welshman Ncube and
senior party official Renson Gasela requested his help in assassinating
Mugabe ahead of the poll, which Tsvangirai lost.

The MDC trio deny the charges, which carry the death penalty on conviction.
They say they hired Ben-Menashe to do consultancy work for them in North
America and paid him 100,000 dollars in fees.

They now want to sue him because they claim he broke the contract. -
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Business Day

Zimbabweans told to put cars on 'diet'


HARARE - "Put your car on diet! Save fuel" was the message sent to drivers
in Zimbabwe this week as the critical shortage of foreign exchange needed to
import fuel continued to hit motorists hard.
An information sheet entitled Fuel Facts and produced by oil firms and
commercial and industrial groups confirmed that the fuel situation
"continues to be critical."

Even fire and ambulance services have not been spared. The capital's
municipality announced this week that all services requiring transport had
been grounded - including fire engines and ambulances.

One of Air Zimbabwe's passenger jets had to land in neighbouring Zambia on
its way from London last week to re-fuel.

The government has this week been frantically seeking 75 million dollars
needed to import fuel.

While the official exchange rate is 824 Zimbabwe dollars to the greenback,
or around 1,300 on the underground market, this week the parallel rate
surged to an unprecedented high of 2,700 to the dollar, dealers said.

As a result very little foreign exchange makes it through to the central

Media reports also said the government had been trying to revive a stalled
deal with Libya to trade agricultural products for fuel.

The plan failed last year when Zimbabwe was unable to supply the promised
goods due to low agricultural production, blamed on poor rains and a
controversial and disruptive land reform programme.

Zimbabwe's foreign earnings have been shrinking in recent years as
production of the major hard currency earners - tobacco, gold and other
exports - has been cut by up to two thirds.

The situation has been worsened by the withdrawal of lines of credit by
international banks because of Zimbabwe's failure to repay on time.

Neither the World Bank nor the African Development Bank can lend to
Zimbabwe, according to local economist John Robertson. "We spoiled our
credit record," he said.

To rectify the situation, Robertson said certain national policies need to
be reversed and relations with the international lenders restored.

"Those multi-lateral institutions such as the Bretton Woods (the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank) have to be re-engaged for
Zimbabwe's survival and this is not a matter of choice," industrialist
Anthony Mandiwanza concurred.

Economists say that for the country to regain international confidence, some
political developments may be necessary.

"The international community would like to see new management in Zimbabwe,"
said Robertson. "The government will actually do Zimbabwe a favour if they
say 'We will resign'," he said.

Another economist, Moses Tekere, said: "It's time for sacrifice." If
President Robert Mugabe stepped down, "Zimbabwe will get forex" he

But despite the acute shortages of foreign exchange, shop shelves here are
full of expensive imported goods, from cooking oil to trinkets.

And the latest designs in luxury vehicles are a common sight on the streets
of the capital.

Foreign currency shortages have also affected Zimbabwe's supply of
electricity. The country imports around 30 percent of its power needs from
South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Repubic of Congo (DRC).

Last week the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) ordered
registered exporters to pay for their electricity in foreign currency in a
bid to raise the hard currency to pay for energy imports.
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Financial Times

      Mbeki is avoiding the right course on Zimbabwe
      By Robert Rotberg
      Published: May 18 2003 20:39 | Last Updated: May 18 2003 20:39

      What in the world is Thabo Mbeki's game plan for dealing with Robert
Mugabe? The South African president knows that the Zimbabwean autocrat has
been systematically destroyed his country. And, like the British and US
governments, Mr Mbeki wants Mr Mugabe to go. South Africa is the regional
power broker, with ambitions to introduce democracy across the continent.
Its army is the strongest and best trained in sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe's
failure is also Mr Mbeki's failure and is damaging South Africa's image and

      For three years Mr Mbeki has somehow convinced himself that
constructive engagement or quiet diplomacy would move Mr Mugabe. The
Zimbabwean leader has repeatedly promised the South African and Nigerian
presidents that he would reform and reinstitute the rule of law. But he is
still in power, subjecting his 12m people to acute hunger, intimidation,
imprisonment and torture.

      The statistics are stark. Zimbabwe was until recently among the
wealthiest and most balanced African economies. Its people enjoyed excellent
education and medical care, unemployment was low, inflation was kept in
check, the currency was stable and farmers, miners and industrialists
provided jobs and growth.

      No more. Annual inflation is running at 228 per cent. The local
currency has collapsed against the US dollar. Unemployment has reached 80
per cent. Zimbabweans are leaving for relatively prosperous Botswana and
South Africa: 75 per cent of industrial capacity is idle. Planted farming
acreage fell this year by 50 per cent and harvests of maize, a staple food,
are down by 65 per cent. Mr Mugabe has denied food aid to supporters of the
opposition, putting 5m at risk of starvation. Schools are closed and
hospitals are perilously short of medicines and staff. Zimbabwe has no funds
to purchase power from the southern African grid or to import fuel. There is
little food in the shops, and it is too expensive for most Zimbabweans. Last
week the government even confessed that it had no money to pay for printing
the local currency.

      South Africa holds all the physical, economic and political cards: Mr
Mbeki could end Zimbabwe's tragedy in a moment but is reluctant to do so.

      It is true Mr Mugabe assisted Mr Mbeki's African National Congress
when it was fighting apartheid in South Africa. It is true Mr Mugabe is a
first-generation African liberation leader. It is also true that African
presidents are reluctant to criticise or act decisively against their
brethren. But Mr Mugabe's is an egregious case. He has broken his word. He
is a blot on African democratic pretensions. Mr Mbeki's own vaunted New
Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) was designed to be intolerant
of such poor governance.

      When Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator, sent troops into Tanzania in
1979, its president, Julius Nyerere, had the excuse he needed to invade
Uganda and oust him. Mr Mbeki need not go that far. But if his own generals
told Zimbabwe's army commanders and palace guard that the game was up, Mr
Mugabe's protectors would quickly fall into line. Mr Mbeki must be prepared
to make the case for military intervention on humanitarian grounds.

      Alternatively, Mr Mbeki might be able simply to order the 79-year-old
autocrat to go into exile, or else. After all, Mr Mbeki can tighten almost
all the screws on Zimbabwe and the Mugabe leadership. Mr Mbeki would then be
kingmaker and saviour combined. It is a time for tough love.

      Mr Mbeki and his advisers may be reluctant to act because they somehow
doubt that Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader whom Mr Mugabe blatantly
robbed of a presidential election victory last year, is strong enough or
capable enough to take his place. Mr Tsvangirai runs the mostly cohesive,
participatory Movement for Democratic Change. It almost won a majority of
parliamentary seats in the 2001 poll, again rigged by Mr Mugabe. The MDC
leader is not hostile to South Africa. Nor is he a creature of white
Zimbabweans, as Mr Mbeki has hinted. Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC want a new,
fairly run presidential election. They want what many if not nearly all
Zimbabweans want: a chance to live and prosper in a stable, democratic
country, free of violent, predatory rule. Mr Mbeki can deliver a better
future to Zimbabwe and restore democracy to southern Africa, if only he

      The writer is director of the programme on intra-state conflict at
Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and president of World Peace
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      Zimbabwe: Amnesty condemns journalist deportation
      Monday, 19 May 2003, 12:45 pm
      Press Release: Amnesty International

  Zimbabwe: Amnesty International condemns deportation of journalist
  Journalist Andrew Meldrum faces imminent deportation from Zimbabwe by the
government as part of its continuing clampdown on freedom of expression in
the country.

  "By attempting to forcibly deport him, the Zimbabwean authorities are
proving to the world, once again, that press freedom in Zimbabwe is not a
reality," Amnesty International said today.

  The order to deport Andrew Meldrum, who is resident in Harare and works
for the United Kingdom-based paper The Guardian, follows ongoing harassment
and renewed claims by government authorities that he was continuing to write
negative articles about Zimbabwe.

  While Andrew Meldrum was speaking to reporters after a meeting with
immigration officials, he was grabbed by police and driven to the airport.
His whereabouts are presently unknown but there are strong fears that he may
be placed on one of the next flights leaving Zimbabwe. His lawyer, Beatrice
Mtetwa, obtained an urgent court order for Andrew Meldrum to be produced in
the High Court later on 16 May, and to restrain the authorities from
deporting him.

  Andrew Meldrum had presented himself to immigration authorities on 13 May
after spending a week in hiding following a night-time raid by officials on
his Harare home while he was away. He was ordered to surrender his passport
and residence permit on 13 May. In a meeting with immigration officials on
16 May, he was ordered to leave the country. Andrew Meldrum has been
fighting a deportation order since June 2002 when he was acquitted of
charges under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) of publishing a false story.

  In its latest report, Zimbabwe: Rights Under Siege, Amnesty International
documented the systematic and deliberate erosion of respect for fundamental
freedoms in Zimbabwe by a government intent on using any means to silence
dissent. "We can only hope that this latest case can spur the international
community, particularly Southern African Development Community leaders, into
publicly condemning the Zimbabwean government for stifling freedom of
expression" Amnesty International stressed.


  Andrew Meldrum, who has worked in Zimbabwe for 23 years, is one of several
journalists taken to court since President Robert Mugabe's government passed
tough media laws last year.

  In June 2002, he was the first journalist to be charged and tried under
Section 80 of AIPPA with "abusing journalistic privilege by publishing a
falsehood" in connection with a report regarding the alleged beheading of a
woman by ZANU-PF supporters. Although he was acquitted, within hours of the
ruling he was served with a deportation order by the Ministry of Home
Affairs. Following a High Court application, his deportation was suspended
and the matter was referred to the Supreme Court. No date had been set for
his Supreme Court hearing.

  On 7 May Zimbabwe's Supreme Court struck down provisions of AIPPA which
made it an offence to publish "falsehoods", after the government conceded
they were unconstitutional.
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From joy and hope to corruption, tyranny and the misery of poverty

For 23 years Andrew Meldrum reported from Zimbabwe. On Friday he was
forcibily deported. Here, he describes how a country which offered so much
hope to Africa became, under its leader Robert Mugabe, a pariah nation

Monday May 19, 2003
The Guardian

Night visits to my home by threatening men in vans with blacked out windows.
Attacks vilifying me in the state press as a "terrorist", an "agent of
imperialism" and "a liar". Threats, by phone, email and conversations with
"friends", in which I was told that I would not be safe in this country.
These were all signs of the antipathy of President Robert Mugabe's
government to a journalist chronicling the decline of his long and torrid

Over the past year I have been harassed, arrested, thrown in jail, put on
trial, acquitted and finally -this weekend - deported from Zimbabwe.

For those 12 months I continued to live and work there, to write about the
country's political crisis, the economic melt-down that has turned one of
Africa's most prosperous economies into one of its poorest, and the abuses
of human rights and other democratic freedoms.

In short, I watched how the regime transformed a functioning democracy into
a police state.

I first arrived in Zimbabwe in 1980 when the country won its independence
and majority rule. I was a young journalist full of enthusiasm for Robert
Mugabe's new order, his policy of racial reconciliation, his socialist
measures to improve the education, health and standards of living of black
Zimbabweans. It was a heady time, when the entire country was infused with
irrepressible optimism.

Sadly, honeymoons never last, and by 1982 I found myself uncovering and
reporting on the horrific mass killing of Zimbabwean civilians by the army's
Fifth Brigade, Mugabe's praetorian guard. The chain of command led directly
to Mugabe. It was a contradiction of all the country's positive
developments. It was clear that the killing was part of Mugabe's drive to
stamp out the opposition party, Joshua Nkomo's Zapu.

By ejecting Nkomo from his cabinet and arresting army generals allied to
Nkomo and charging them with treason, Mugabe caused a small scale rebellion
of soldiers who supported them. Then the Fifth Brigade rolled into southern
Zimbabwe, Matabeleland, and began the wholesale slaughter of thousands of
the rural Ndebele people, the minority ethnic group which forms about 20% of
the country's population. Scores of thousands more suffered beatings and
hunger as the government stopped food supplies reaching the chronically
drought-stricken area.

It became apparent that the violence was part of Mugabe's drive to
consolidate his power. It continued until December 1987 when a broken Joshua
Nkomo agreed to allow his party to be swallowed by Mugabe's Zanu-PF. The
creation of a one-party state, Mugabe's stated goal, was within his grasp.

Somehow, Robert Mugabe managed to emerge from the horrors of Matabeleland
with his reputation relatively unscathed. No longer an untarnished hero, to
be sure, but he remained a plausible leader. The lot of the majority of
Zimbabweans continued to improve.

Zimbabwe remained a beacon beaming the light of hope on South Africa's dark
system of minority rule. Anti-apartheid activists of all colours flocked
there and insisted that its democracy pointed the way for South Africa's
future. It also became a hive of South African spies carrying out
assassinations and terror bombings. It was an engrossing place to work as a

When Nelson Mandela was freed, Zimbabwe was the first country he visited,
underlining the crucial role it had played in the struggle against

But South Africa's progress was not entirely good news for Robert Mugabe.
The international community ceased to see him as the lesser of two evils,
compared to apartheid. A wave of democracy swept across southern Africa in
which Malawi's Hastings Banda and Zambia's Kenneth Kaunda were toppled by
overwhelming votes.

When Mugabe proposed to declare Zimbabwe a one-party state, members of his
own party's central committee blocked it, saying that they would be going
against the democratic tide, and that they could enjoy de facto one-party
rule without the trouble of imposing de jure control.

Compared to the glowing magnanimity of Nelson Mandela, Mugabe appeared
bitter and spiteful. A turning point came in August 1996 when, while opening
the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, he spewed out a hate-filled tirade
against gays.

I remember scribbling down his furious words describing gays as "worse than
pigs and dogs" and suggesting that homosexuality was akin to having sex with
dead bodies. A group of schoolchildren sat dumbfounded by the speech. From
that point on Mugabe's international image began its decline to despot.

This should not paint a picture that everything has been negative in
Zimbabwe. My experience there has been overwhelmingly positive. Friends who
are doctors, teachers, artists and lawyers bound together to create a
community always encouraging fairness and democracy. But by 2000 the
opposition to Mugabe's rule had grown so great that the churches, women's
groups, human rights defenders and lawyers groups pressed for a new

Mugabe agreed but, wily as ever, he created a document which increased his
power rather than reduced it. His draft constitution was presented to the
country in a referendum in February, 2000.

Despite saturation coverage in the media, the voters rejected it. It was a
stinging slap in the face.

Two weeks later the first invasions of white-owned farms began. Mugabe was
fighting back. The invasions were illegal but the police were ordered not to
take any action against them. It was the beginning of the transformation of
the police into a political entity which simply carries out its master's

In June 2000 came the parliamentary elections. The opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had already won widespread popularity
and campaigned valiantly despite a programme of violence in which more than
200 people, virtually all opposition supporters, were killed. The MDC
narrowly lost the elections, which all credible international observer teams
said were not free or fair.

In addition to the often ugly political developments in Mugabe's Zimbabwe,
he has tragically failed to give effective leadership in the two huge social
challenges facing the country, Aids and famine.

Aids spread so rapidly that a few years ago Zimbabwe had the world's highest
HIV infection rate: 35% of the adult population. Shying away from effective
public education, the government created an Aids fund and then allowed
Mugabe's cronies to loot it.

After Mugabe's seizures of white-owned farms little was done to keep the
land cultivated. It was no surprise when famine gripped the country. Even
when more than half the population were forced to depend on international
food relief, Mugabe could not resist trying to starve areas which supported
the opposition.

Repression of the press began in 2000. Just before the parliamentary
elections, immigration officers served deportation orders on the BBC
correspondent Joe Winter. He won a court order giving him a week to pack and
wind up his affairs.

But that night government thugs went to his house, ransacked it and
terrorised him, his wife and young daughter. Winter left the country and
within days the government deported the legendary South American journalist
Mercedes Sayagues, whom we called La Pasionaria for her fearless reporting
on human rights abuses.

A few months later the Telegraph's correspondent, David Blair, was forced to
leave the country. I became the last foreign journalist in the country.

The determination of the Zimbabwean press, particularly the reporters on the
privately owned Daily News, the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard,
inspired me with their commitment to exposing corruption, beatings, torture,
murder and other unsavoury aspects of Mugabe's rule.

The printing press of the Daily News were blown up, the editor of the
Standard, Mark Chavunduka, and his reporter, Ray Choto, were abducted by
army officers and viciously tortured. Yet Zimbabwe's journalists refused to
be deterred from writing about events as they happened.

Systematic human rights abuses, the thwarting of democracy, corruption -
these are the issues any journalist is obliged to cover. I continued to do
work, the best work I could, and that led to my arrest and imprisonment last

After my trial and acquittal and the government's failed attempt to deport
me, I returned to my work. The steady drivel of articles vilifying me in the
state press did not get me down, largely because of the hearty support and
encouragement I received from people of all colours and walks of life when I
walked on the street.

That support, and phone calls and emails from fellow Zimbabwean journalists
helped me to shrug off the government's threats.

But last Friday I was abducted and thrown out of the country, despite a
court order to halt the action.

When all is said and done, I still blame Ian Smith for Zimbabwe's troubles
today. He ran a system which deprived the majority of their rights and
dignity. The Rhodesian regime was so violent that only violence could unseat
it. Only the most ruthless could overthrow Smith's system, and that was
Robert Mugabe. Violence begets violence. And we can see now that Mugabe only
values his own power and will use any force to maintain it.

I am angry at how Mugabe has subverted Zimbabwe's democracy and reduced
people to misery. I am appalled that the police kidnapped the opposition
member of parliament Job Sikhala a few months ago and tortured him with
electric shocks. I am furious that the regime has targeted ordinary citizens
such as Raphinos Madzokere, who has been hospitalised twice for torture, has
seen his home destroyed and now lives on the run with his wife and three

I am determined to continue reporting on these abuses in the hope that they
will stop, and to help bring the perpetrators to justice.

I am confident that the people of Zimbabwe will succeed in restoring the
country's democracy and basic freedoms, and will rebuild the economy to
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The Star

      Zimbabwe faces crippling strike as anger over fuel prices hots up
      May 19, 2003

      By Basildon Peta

      Zimbabwe's powerful labour movement has called on its supporters to
stock up on food in readiness for an indefinite job stayaway that could make
or break the country.

      The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions warned yesterday that it would
mobilise for an indefinite strike unless recent fuel price increases were

      ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo hinted that the mass strike could
start at the beginning of next month.

      Addressing workers in the city of Kadoma, 150km west of Harare,
Matombo urged supporters to "store a bucket of mealie meal and some of their
meagre earnings at home because when we go on stayaway this time around we
will not come back until our demands have been addressed".

      He said the government had to "clearly, unreservedly and unambiguously
reduce fuel prices" or face the strike action.

      But the government has ridiculed the ZCTU's demand to reduce fuel
prices, saying the union was "dreaming".

      Matombo also accused the government of "constantly taking labour for
granted" and disregarding calls for a minimum wage.

      "It is like talking to an insensitive chimpanzee - they feel no
remorse about the current crisis. But I promise you that if workers unite,
we will tame the chimpanzee. We want all workers to earn at least Z$125 000
(R1 250) a month by the end of June," Matombo said.

      Meanwhile about 40 people have reportedly died from malnutrition in
Bulawayo due to food shortages.

      Over 7-million Zimbabweans require food aid due to shortages caused by
a drought and President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land seizures. - Independent
Foreign Service
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The Star

      Mourning the reign that buried us
      May 19, 2003

      By Thandi Chiweshe

      As South Africa and the progressive world mourned Walter Sisulu over
the last two weeks, I felt a deep sense of sadness.

      Not so much for Walter Sisulu himself, but for Robert Mugabe and
others like him.

      This was brought home very keenly to me when my aunt, who has never
really been involved in politics, said to me, "I wish I could go to that
man's funeral. I didn't know him, but just the things that have been said
about him make me want to go and bid him farewell."

      I asked her what she would do if Mugabe died, and she declared: "That
one, I will dance on top of this roof!" She told me that she would take a
week off to "celebrate" adequately. I felt so sad. Not hurt. Just sad.

      My aunt is 48 years old. She lived through the worst years of our
national armed struggle. She experienced the pains of colonialism. And she
was there when independence finally came. I learnt a few of the
revolutionary songs from her. In those days she spoke fervently about the
new Zimbabwe, and the new vistas opening up for women like her.

      Her two children, myself, and many others we know, went to school for
free. We were the beneficiaries of free health care, affordable housing,
good wages, and most importantly, of peace. I remember most of that. I just
assumed that these are normal things that every normal human being simply

      That was ten or so years ago. We are no longer there. We have sunk
somewhere down into the mud of misery and despair.

      This is what my aunt now knows, lives through, and will remember about
Robert Mugabe.

      My aunt exemplifies where millions of Zimbabweans are today. As we
marvel at the outpourings of love, adulation and celebration of Walter
Sisulu, we wonder if our very own erstwhile revolutionaries are listening
and watching? How do they feel, we want to know? Do they see the sadness of
all this?

      In Shona we say, "usapunze mukombe wasvika", meaning don't drop the
gourd of water when you are so close. So close to delivering it to the
person who needs it. So close to home. Of course for those who have never
fetched water 5km away as some of us women have done, the meaning of the
idiom might be lost.

      There is no chance of going back to the well. What is it that the
people of Zimbabwe will remember most when Mugabe dies?

      Let's make some comparisons between him and Sisulu.

      Sisulu was 90 years old and showed it. At least in the grey hair. What
is it with our president and Pallette hair dye number 10? Or is it number 1?
We all want to look and feel good but having a Michael Jacksonesque identity
crisis at that age is laughable.

      Secondly, everyone speaks about Sisulu's love for his wife and family.
Unlike many others of the revolutionary ilk who traded their old wives for
newer models, Walter stuck to his.

      Then there are the children. Sisulu's children look like his children,
not his grandchildren.

      Imagine meeting Mugabe and Chatunga, his and his second wife Grace's
pre-teen son. Any man who reproduces at Mugabe's age displays a selfishness
and a recklessness that should immediately disqualify such a person from
public office..

      After many years of struggle, Sisulu handed over to the next
generation of leaders in South Africa. "Kutonga madzoro" as we say in
Shona - leadership is taken in turns.

      Not for Mugabe. He sees himself as the alpha and the omega of
Zimbabwean nationalism. Hearing Mandela tell the world that he was recruited
into the ANC by Sisulu is so refreshing.

      It is only recently that Edison Zvobgo consigned Mugabe to a footnote
in the history of Zanu. "When we formed Zanu - myself, Enos Nkala,
Ndabaningi Sithole and others ...," Zvobgo told us. No prizes for guessing
who the nameless others are.

      Zimbabwe's history has been rewritten to unashamedly give Mugabe a
starring role and write others out of the story.
      How a person can so monumentally self-destruct the way Mugabe has can
only be regarded as profoundly remarkable.

      To build a legacy in one decade and destroy your own achievements in
another must take either great genius or great megalomania and stupidity.

      No amount of historical revisionism is going to remove the terrible
legacy Mugabe is leaving us. The bad has eclipsed the good in a way that
makes it so hard to remember the good.

      Yet there was so much that we could choose to remember.

      Even the revered Nelson Mandela did not deliver a quarter of what
Mugabe delivered to the people post-independence. That is a fact.

      While Mandela was the nice dancing president, symbolising a new South
Africa, Mugabe at the time provided what people wanted - practically. But
try to tell that to a person born in 1991 and she will spit in your face:
"Matakadye kare haanyaradzi mwana" - once upon a time won't quieten a crying

      To get to a point where you hate your own people and your people hate
you must be a very lonely and painful place to be. Unless of course you
don't care?

      Today we mourn Sisulu and celebrate his life. We are mourning Mugabe's
reign and will celebrate his passing.

      a.. Thandi Chiweshe (not her real name) is a Zimbabwean feminist
living and working in Harare
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World Socialist Web Site

US and Britain in plans for "road map" for Zimbabwe
By Chris Talbot
19 May 2003
A series of meetings involving African leaders and representatives from the
United States and Britain have taken place in Southern Africa aimed at
forcing the removal of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. The plan is to
bring in a transitional government in Zimbabwe made up of the ruling Zanu-PF
party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that will then
adopt economic emergency measures.

The US is taking a more prominent role in Zimbabwe in exchange for British
support for the war in Iraq. US Under Secretary of State for Africa Walter
Kansteiner has just completed a weeklong visit to South Africa and Botswana.
In an interview with the British Independent newspaper he declined to use
the term "regime change" for Zimbabwe-preferring instead to demand "regime
legitimacy" which he said called for a "Road Map" like that which the US is
seeking to impose in the Middle East.

Last week Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi met Mugabe for talks followed by a
separate meeting with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe has intimated
that he may be prepared to retire, though he refused to consider
negotiations with the MDC unless they drop a court case challenging the
validity of last year's presidential elections.

So far Tsvangirai has refused to recognise Mugabe as president. He also
demanded a halt to jailings and torture of MDC members, the repeal of the
Public Order and Security Act and anti-press laws introduced by Mugabe last

African leaders are under great pressure from the West to effect Mugabe's
removal. They have been told that future trade and investment plans,
including the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) intended to
gain more western support for Africa, depend on them showing that they can
bring about "good governance" among their peers. Mbeki, in particular,
appears to have got the message after the Iraq war that the "little
countries" of Africa, as he put it in a speech to the African Union last
month, could "be punished if we get out of line".

None of the African leaders want to be seen openly to be acting as a Western
stooge, however. One of the criticisms they have of Tsvangirai is that he
has lost much credibility for being so obviously dependent on the support of
the British and wealthy white farmers. Earlier this year Obasanjo called for
the Commonwealth-made up of Britain and its ex-colonies-to lift the
suspension of Zimbabwe it imposed last year after accusing Mugabe of rigging
the elections. Since no more land occupations are taking place he even
argued that the situation in Zimbabwe was improving.

It seems that Obasanjo was only persuaded to abandon this conciliatory
position and to hold the meeting with Mugabe after manoeuvrings by
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon. Commonwealth observers made no
criticisms of the fraudulent Nigerian presidential elections and McKinnon
immediately recognised Obasanjo as president.

Mbeki is also under pressure to abandon his previous refusal to be seen
interfering in the affairs of his smaller neighbour.

South Africa risks destabilisation if Zimbabwe continues to spiral out of
control. Zimbabwe now faces over 200 percent inflation; large sections of
its industry are no longer functioning and up to 60 percent of skilled
professional workers are said to have left the country. Over half the
population face starvation due to famine and despite the country's fertile
land, agricultural production has slumped. Many of the black farmers that
seized land under Mugabe's occupation programme have been forced to give up
through lack of investment. Hundreds of refugees are attempting to cross
into South Africa.

Kansteiner promised US financial support to smooth the path for Mbeki to
persuade Zanu-PF leaders to remove Mugabe and agree to work with the MDC.
According to the Financial Times he said, "Zimbabwe will need a tremendous
amount of reconstruction, and if the process leads to a breakthrough, we are
ready to jump in with both technical and financial resources."

This could include technical aid to rebuild infrastructure, paying for new
elections, as well as direct bilateral aid.

Diplomatic efforts are now concentrated on sorting out the infighting within
Zanu-PF over Mugabe's possible successor. Commentators are suggesting that
Mbeki; the US and Britain are all backing Simba Makoni who was sacked by
Mugabe as Zanu-PF finance minister last year. Makoni is known to favour
International Monetary Fund policies, but is said to lack support in the
Zanu-PF hierarchy.

Clearly pleased by the support from Kansteiner, Britain's Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw made a two-day visit to South Africa this week to put more
pressure on Mbeki. In an interview with the Financial Times last month Prime
Minister Tony Blair requested "a bigger focus by the international community
on Zimbabwe".

He explained, "I have never had a difficulty with the concept of
intervention, it doesn't, as I say, necessarily mean that it is armed
intervention, it can be diplomatic intervention, it can be pressure."

Whilst full scale armed intervention in Zimbabwe may have been ruled out,
given the exhausted and overstretched state of Britain's armed forces, there
have been several rumours of covert operations being planned. This could
presumably involve giving the MDC more support in its campaign against the
Mugabe regime. The latest report from the pro-Zanu PF Sunday Mirror is of a
secret meeting that took place in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, not far
from the Zimbabwe border.

The meeting is said to have been at a game ranch belonging to the powerful
Oppenheimer family, associated with De Beers diamonds and Anglo-American
gold mining. It was attended by South Africa's foreign minister Aziz Pahad,
whose spokesman confirmed to the Mirror that the meeting had taken place.
Also present were a British military general, an official from the World
Bank, a US official (this could have been Kansteiner since he was in
Botswana at the time), and British ex-Tory minister for Africa, Baroness
Chalker-an advisory director to Unilever, the British multinational with
extensive operations in Africa.

The meeting was hosted by Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of the president and
deputy director of the South Africa Institute for International Affairs, as
well as a prominent Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyama. Also in
attendance was Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, said to have stopped over
on his flight to London to discuss the conflict in the Democratic Republic
of Congo. Apart from the fact that it discussed the "problems in Zimbabwe",
the Mirror has no further information on what was being plotted.
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Our man in Harare

Democracy needs dissenting voices

Monday May 19, 2003
The Guardian

It is no surprise that a president who has used intimidation, police torture and electoral fraud to hold on to power, would not want events in his country reported overseas. Until three days ago, there was only one foreign correspondent left reporting inside Zimbabwe, the Guardian's Andrew Meldrum. Now there are none.

Meldrum was seized by police and security agents last Friday, driven to Harare airport and illegally expelled. This was in contradiction to a high court order, secured by his lawyer that day, declaring his deportation would be unconstitutional. As Meldrum noted yesterday, it was not a deportation but an abduction. Unlike other foreign correspondents assigned to Harare, Meldrum had permanent residency rights. He first arrived in 1980 and has written for the Guardian from there for the past 20 years. Earlier moves to expel the reporter by the Mugabe regime came to a full stop last July, when another brave high court judge ruled Meldrum's residency rights gave him all the rights of a Zimbabwean citizen.

Compared to many Zimbabwean citizens, Meldrum was lucky. He was manhandled into a car by the police and security agents and driven out to the airport with a hood over his head. But, unlike many Zimbabweans, he was not beaten up or tortured. Nor, even worse, did he just disappear. No one is safe from the once-respected Zimbabwean police.

As Meldrum reported earlier this month, 10 high-profile Zimbabweans, including three members of parliament and one lawyer, have accused the police in the past two months of torturing them with electric shocks. Earlier allegations of systemic abuse in the country have been confirmed by Zimbabwean civil rights organisations and Amnesty International. Then there is the daily plight of civilians across the country. What was once a thriving capital city, now suffers regular power cuts, mile-long petrol queues and empty supermarkets. A newly elected mayor, from the opposition party, was illegally sacked by ministers. GDP has declined by 12%, unemployment risen to 60% and inflation exceeded 200%. Outside the capital, life is even grimmer. A UN report suggested 6 million people in rural areas were facing famine.

Meldrum has diligently - and bravely - chronicled this catastrophic collapse of Zimbabwe's economy and its government's lack of respect for human rights. Hence his expulsion. Thankfully, a few courageous voices still remain in the country. Two different high court judges tried to protect Meldrum's rights. A brave independent daily paper, plus three independent weeklies, continue to scrutinise the government. A few local reporters still courageously file for the international press. Ultimately, like earlier repressive regimes, Mugabe's mob will realise that truth cannot be suppressed.

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World Net Daily

The South African mirage

Posted: May 19, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern

There's more wrong in Africa than AIDS, although you'd never know it from the headlines.
All the focus seems to be on that totally preventable, killer disease because of the price tag and the massive lobbying behind it.
The Senate last week passed HIV-AIDS bill which is close to identical to the one approved by the House earlier this month.
It's big money: $15 billion over 5 years for 12 countries in Africa plus Haiti and Guyana. We already spend $1.2 billion a year on AIDS. This will more than double that.
It's said that the hope is our "contribution" will encourage other nations to be more generous.
But while AIDS is an emotional, hot-button issue with enormous activism behind it (read: politicians are worried about votes), the reality of Africa is more than that. Unfortunately, the pols and the media are focusing their attention on the Middle East, ignoring the simmering broth of problems on that vast continent.
I've written before about the horror of Zimbabwe with the political corruption, the ominous cooperation with Libya, the intentional destruction of the economy, the deliberate starvation of the people, the genocide and thievery practiced against the white population, the wanton devastation of wildlife to say nothing of the enormity of the damage to the environment. It only gets worse.
The reaction of most of the world is to ignore it. When was the last time you saw any major media coverage of these horrors?
The poster child of Western media, of course, is South Africa and the patron saint is Nelson Mandela. It's great PR, but the image is far from the truth.
I was in South Africa recently and was able to see it through the eyes of a newcomer, but a view enhanced by the people who live there. I stayed with family and friends, associated with residents and talked to business people and journalists. The picture of the real South Africa left me with mixed feelings and most uneasy about the future.
On the surface, you might not know anything was amiss. In fact, if you were there solely as a visitor on "tour," you would not get the real picture. And that is unfortunate.
I arrived there without a preconceived notion of what to expect. Quite frankly, just the logistics of doing the trip took all my attention, so, when I arrived, it was, in a way, like being there with a clean slate. I had no expectations and so the impact on me was strange.
Without doubt, South Africa is an exquisitely beautiful country. The coastline from Durban to Capetown takes your breath away at every turn of the road.
Johannesburg is a sprawling city with a built-up downtown that once was thriving and now has become more unused and shabby at the edges. The outskirts are filled with the millions of poor blacks with no jobs and no futures. Whites and blacks with any level of money, live in fortified homes. Crime is rampant.
But the major coastal cities of Durban, Port Elizabeth and Capetown are different. At first glance, they look like suburban U.S. cities. They have malls and parks and housing and schools and businesses. There are well-paved streets and highways.
Of course, when you see monkeys in the trees and baboons on the roadside, you know it's not "home"!
In areas inland, small towns seem to be thriving. The wine country of South Africa looks just like Napa and Sonoma in California and their products are sensational.
While the image of the country portrayed in Western media is of whites exploiting blacks, that's not universally true. There are many examples of white owners opening opportunities for their employees. One case in point is the Paul Cluver Winery. Dr. Cluver and his family provide housing and schools for employees, train managers in the wine business, provide travel and education for them in the United States and Europe, and give land to these black employees to develop their own wines under their own label.
They have created entrepreneurs and new opportunities for blacks who, before that, had no viable economic future. And, by the way, the wines are absolutely superb.
Away from the coast, some of the small towns are so insulated from the realities of the country as a whole, that people feel safe enough not to lock their doors. But those are rare and, in fact, that sense of security may not last long.
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