The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zim civic groups demand a platform


May 30 2007 at 03:14PM

By Nelson Banya

Harare - Zimbabwean civic groups on Wednesday demanded they be
included in political negotiations with President Robert Mugabe's government
and called for an end to a crackdown on opposition activists.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating talks between
Mugabe's government and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) to try to solve a deep political crisis as the country teeters toward
economic collapse.

The Save Zimbabwe Campaign - a coalition of 31 civic and opposition
groups, including the two MDC factions - has said the process needed to be
broadened and should not start until the government stops its crackdown on

Save Zimbabwe Campaign spokesperson Lovemore Madhuku told journalists
on Wednesday the talks should be extended beyond political parties to ensure
broad agreement on the outcome.

"We insist that the dialogue process must be broad-based and not
limited to political parties but must be inclusive of civic society and the
churches," Madhuku said. "We will be making this position known to
everybody, President Mbeki included."

"Our position is that the process must be opened up and transparent
and government should cease its terror campaign ... you cannot negotiate
when people are being arrested and abducted, meetings are banned and the
opposition has no access to the public media," Madhuku added.

South Africa's foreign ministry, meanwhile, said in a document
released in parliament it was concerned that a rift in Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF over his plans to stand for another presidential term in 2008 could
complicate Mbeki's mediation on behalf of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC).

"The ongoing infighting within Zanu-PF, if not contained, would pose
challenges for SADC's mediation efforts, as energy within the party would be
consumed in efforts to come out on top in the succession battle," read part
of the document handed out during a briefing session to parliament's
Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs.

"In the absence of party unity it might be hard for the mediator to
extract firm commitments from the party, during the dialogue process," the
document said.

Zimbabwe's latest political crackdown comes as the country's economy
labours under the highest inflation in the world at more than 3 700 percent
along with crippling shortages of fuel, food and foreign exchange.

Mugabe, 83, blames the crisis on foreign economic sabotage following
his policy of seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks and has
called the MDC stooges of his critics in London and Washington.

Mugabe's government launched a crackdown on the MDC in March after
accusing the opposition party of seeking to overthrow it through street

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of his colleagues were
arrested and badly beaten in police custody after trying to defy a ban on
political rallies and protests.

Last weekend police stormed the opposition's head office in Harare and
arrested about 200 activists who were subsequently released without charge.

additional reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Judge lavishes praise on MDC bomb plot official, grants bail

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo and Lindie Whiz
Last updated: 05/31/2007 05:00:12
A ZIMBABWEAN judge lavished rare praise on a leading opposition official
accused of recruiting and training insurgents, before admitting him on
Zim$150 million bail.

High Court judge, Justice Tedious Karwi released Ian Makone, the Movement
for Democratic Change's (MDC) director of elections and advisor to the
opposition party's leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The judge said: "He has no previous convictions. It is common cause that the
applicant has a long history of being socially and economically responsible.

"He is well educated as he holds two university degrees and was the first
black general manager of the GMB (Grain Marketing Board). He has over the
years held both managerial and directorship positions in many blue chip
companies in the country.

"In considering this application I have taken into account the personal
circumstances of the applicant. In particular, that he is aged 57 years old,
that he is a married man with fixed aboard, that he is a man of substance
and that he has invested very heavily in this country. He appears to have
his roots in this country. He is a well educated man."

The judge said Makone had left the court with the impression that although
he was opposed to the government and wanted to see a change of government,
he was opposed to the use of violent means.

He added that Makone estimates his personal fortune to be valued at over $22

The judge added: "In this respect I must point out that I do not agree with
the approach taken by the respondent, in particular by Assistant
Commissioner Mabunda that the applicant should be kept in custody at all
costs because he is the most dangerous man in the country.

"This attitude would seem to suggest that the applicant is a convicted
terrorist which obviously is not the case. Our law presumes people to be
innocent until proven guilty."

Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi made frantic efforts to have
Makone indefinitely locked up until his trial date.

Mohadi's interference, which resulted in him issuing a Ministerial
Certificate to the court ordering the continued incarceration of the Makone
and at least 31 other MDC activists facing charges of setting off petrol
bombs at several police stations and trying to blow up two passenger trains,
could not be sustained after Justice Karwi gave him bail.

Also arrested with Makone in March this year were Glen View MP Paul Madzore
and prominent journalist Luke Tamborinyoka, who worked for the banned
privately-owned Daily News newspaper. He had joined the MDC as a media

Justice Karwi ruled that Mohadi's Ministerial Certificate was not a good
reason to deny Makone bail and that he was a suitable candidate to be
released on bail.

He added that tight conditions should be imposed on Makone to ensure he
stands trial.

In his ruling, Justice Karwi noted that the State failed to substantiate its
claims that Makone would interfere with investigations, abscond trial and
influence the State witnesses.

As part of the stringent conditions, Makone was ordered to surrender his
travel documents to the police and to report daily at CID law and order
section in Harare.

He was asked to surrender title deeds to his three residential stands in
Bluffhill and Glen Lorne as surety.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe rejects ideas of a new constitution


May 30, 2007, 06:15

Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, has flatly rejected opposition
demands for a new constitution ahead of next year's presidential and
parliamentary polls. In direct response to the calls, Mugabe says the
opposition parties have no mandate to call for a new constitution especially
after voting against a new one in 2000.

Mugabe's rejection of a new constitution has come out of an exclusive
interview he gave to a London-based magazine. He is quoted as saying, "There
is no way a fresh constitution can be written between now and March. The
opposition must have a mandate from the people for that to happen. They are
a minority party and they cannot call the tune," he said.

Divided MDC speaks in one voice
A split opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been speaking
with one voice on the need to reform the constitution before any election is
held. This was Morgan Tsvangirai, an MDC leader, speaking at a memorial
service of one murdered activist.

"No one is going to go into an election without a constitution. We cannot
make a fundamental error of going into an election which is predetermined,"
Tsvangirai said.

However, some believe the issue need not be a stumbling block in President
Thabo Mbeki's mediation efforts. Jonathan Moyo, an independent analyst, is
not ruling out a compromise.

In the year 2000, the MDC campaigned and won and no vote to a new
constitution that would have among other things, limited Mugabe's term to
2002. It is a chance they may well regret.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZLP supports Bishops' pastoral letter

The Zimbabwean

 The Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP), a non-partisan,
non-governmental  organization founded by genuine war veterans, joins other
organizations and individuals in applauding Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops
for  issuing the recent pastoral letter.

The bishops' analysis of the crisis bedeviling Zimbabwe could not have
been  more accurate and candid. Their observations coincide with the
ZLP  has espoused in previous statements and other publications.
The crisis facing the country is basically due to:
 - Bad governance practices;
 - Abuse/violation of human rights;
 -Infringement of freedom of expression, media, assembly and
-Uneven/hostile political landscape;
-Subordination of national interests to those of a few selfish
-Political intolerance; and
-Rampant corruption.

Manifestations of these practices were amply documented in the pastoral
letter. Suffice to add that the recent crackdown on the opposition and
unlawful bashing of lawyers who only wanted to present a petition to
the minister of justice, further demonstrate the extent of government's
intolerance to dissent.

ZLP seeks to advocate for good governance practices and respect for
fundamental human rights by promoting the original objectives and
values that underpinned the liberation struggle. To this end, ZLP finds some
of the laws enacted by Parliament and government's practices enumerated
to be inconsistent with the objectives of the struggle. It is totally
inconceivable that a government, born out of a bitter armed liberation
war, could enact such repressive pieces of legislation as Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA). A few years ago, we engaged reputable human rights
to conduct an audit of Rhodesia's Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) and
POSA. Their conclusion was that POSA was even more repressive than
LOMA. Therefore enactment of such laws surely negates the ideals of the

As war veterans, we believe that we have the legitimate right to
challenge the perception held by some elements in government that they
cannot be
criticized for their policies, practices and laws because the ZANU PF
government is a product of the liberation struggle. Leaders should be
held accountable for their actions and practices. What ZLP found most
disheartening was the leadership's reaction to the pastoral letter.
Instead of candidly embracing the recommendations made therein, they accused
the bishops of pursuing a political agenda (the usual "regime change"
agenda) and making all sorts of threats.

We do not find anything offensive in the pastoral letter. On the
contrary, the letter exposes the truth. Even those who believe in their own
lies/propaganda cannot dispute the naked truth that the people are
indeed suffering. The bishops were merely telling government the same truth
they told the Smith regime when it violated human rights. The current ZANU
PF leadership supported the bishops' stance then. What double standards!
We remind government that the truth is not situational, it is immortal.
Injustice remains injustice, whether perpetrated by a white person on a
black person or by a black person on a fellow black person.

Of concern to us were the remarks made local government minister
Ignatius Chombo who sought to divide the bishops by alleging that some of
had dissociated themselves from the letter. Chombo should be reminded that
during the liberation war, some of the bishops and members of the
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, were persecuted, deported or even
killed by the Smith regime for supporting the people's cause.
The truth is that Chombo is one of the beneficiaries of ZANU PF's
patronage and will therefore defend the system at all costs.

We urge the bishops to dismiss his remarks as the usual ZANU PF's
divisive tactics and remain united and focused in their noble mission to
injustice, inequality and corruption, that pervade Zimbabwean society.
ZLP supports the bishops' initiatives.

Issued by National Council
29 May 2007

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police move into staff quarters at disputed farm

Zim Online

Wednesday 30 May 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - Police last weekend forcibly moved into staff quarters at Portwe
Farm in Matabeleland North province in clear defiance of a High Court order
issued last week to move out of the farm they occupied two months ago.

The police, who were led by a superintendent Desmond Dube, broke locks and
forcibly occupied the staff houses at the property owned by white farmer
Dave Joubert.

The occupation of the staff houses is in open disregard of a High Court
order granted by Justice Francis Bere last Wednesday ordering the police to
vacate the property.

Bere also ordered the police not to interfere with operations at the
property and to return guns and keys they confiscated from the Joubert

"The police have now taken over the servants' quarters. They have now
squeezed out all workers from the houses they were staying in and the police
are now occupying the houses," said Jourbert's wife, Margaret.

Contacted for comment, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said he was not
aware of the matter.

"I know nothing about the issue, the police should have applied for the farm
through the Ministry of Lands . . . I have not been appraised about this
farm in Matabeleland North. Maybe Bvudzijena (Wayne, the police
spokesperson) would shed more light on this matter," Mohadi said.

Bvudzijena refused to comment on the matter referring questions to Lands
Minister Didymus Mutasa, who could not be reached for comment.

The police invaded Portwe Farm last March and declared that the farm now
belonged to the law enforcement agency. They chased away foreign tourists
who were at the safari lodge on the farm and seized keys to all buildings at
the farm.

President Robert Mugabe's government has over the past seven years chased
away about 90 percent of the country's 4 500 white farmers plunging the
southern African country into acute food shortages. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim students to bring own food

Zim Online

Wednesday 30 May 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - School heads in Zimbabwe have ordered students in boarding
schools and colleges to bring their own food saying the institutions can no
longer afford to provide meals to students because of high costs.

In a letter to the Ministry of Education dated 24 May 2007, the Association
of School Heads said the situation in boarding schools was now unbearable as
the schools were no longer able to provide meals to students.

The school heads say students must bring their own sugar, cooking oil and
maize-meal, all in short supply in Zimbabwe. Those who fail to bring the
food items would be chucked out from boarding facilities.

"We write this letter to inform you that boarding schools in the country are
now ordering students to bring their own mealie-meal, cooking oil and sugar
with immediate effect," read part of the letter written to Education
Minister Aeneas Chigwedere.

"Since we cannot increase fees without your approval, we have decided to put
the burden on the parents who have to make sure that their children have
enough food to eat. Most boarding schools are no longer able to provide food
to students because of the high costs involved," added the letter.

Students at Silveira Mission in Masvingo province confirmed the new
requirement saying they had since been told to bring their own food to

"We were served with letters to pass on to our guardians and parents over
the latest requirement last week," said one of the students, who refused to
be named.

Masvingo regional director for education, Obert Mujuru, said although he was
aware of the latest move, schools must first get permission from Chigwedere
before they can implement the new requirement.

"It is true that some boarding schools including those run by churches now
want students to bring their own food. The move is illegal since the
minister has to approve the whole thing before it is implemented," said

A fired-up Chigwedere said school heads who implement the move risk being
dismissed from their jobs.

"We will never allow them to order students to bring their own food," said

"I received the letter from the Association of Schools Heads on Monday on
that issue but to me they are just joking. Anyone who implements this will
be fired."

Zimbabwe's education system, once revered as one of the best in Africa, is
in shambles in tandem with a deep political and economic crisis that is
blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies.

Lack of state funding has seen most government schools operating on
shoe-string budgets, compromising the quality of education while thousands
of teachers who are among the lowest paid civil servants, have fled the
country to seek better paying jobs elsewhere. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Student leaders arrested in Bulawayo

30th May 2007 09:27 GMT

By a Correspondent

THE National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Student
Representative Council (SRC) president, Clever Bere and his deputy Mehluli
Dube, were arrested and detained yesterday in a university control room for
hours by the police.

Zinasu reports that all hell broke lose around 0900 hours yesterday when
Bere and Dube were going about their normal business on campus.

"They were and were captured by the Chief Security Officer, Banda. The two
student leaders were detained in the university control room. They were
denied access to both fellow students and their lawyers," said a Zinasu

The student leaders were later transferred from the NUST security office
around lunch time and were kept in detention at Bulawayo Central police

"The two student leaders had retreated into hiding following a police hunt
in Bulawayo following the 10th of May 2007 peaceful demonstration by
students at the NUST in Bulawayo where 53 students were arrested including
the student chorister , Themba Maphendeka," the student representative body

During the demonstration, police used "war methods" to handle students with
pens and papers. Tear gas was fired towards them resulting in five students

Meanwhile, the security situation at NUST remains volatile, says Zinasu. Its
president, Promise Mkwananzi, commenting on the clampdown on student
activities by the establishment, said: "The students of Zimbabwe will not
intimidated by the mighty show of force by the Zimbabwean police. Students
are right, and right is mighty."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Another student leader abducted in Goromonzi

By Lance Guma
29 May 2007

A day after two student leaders were abducted in Bulawayo another one
Tellington Kwashira, was abducted by suspected ruling party thugs in the
Goromonzi farming area on Wednedsay. Kwashira is the ZINASU Education and
Research secretary and was serving his industrial attachment with the
General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) in
the area. A ZINASU statement said he was on an official farm workers
assessment visit before being taken to a ZANU PF office near Ruwa along the
Harare to Mutare highway. It's there that he was allegedly detained and

The mob accused Kwashira of working with the British government to reverse
the land reform programme in Zimbabwe. ZINASU said lawyers from the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) were making frantic efforts to secure his
release. The University of Zimbabwe has meanwhile suspended Maureen
Kademaunga, the out-going SRC Secretary General. Authorities accused her of
inciting students to demonstrate over the continued strike by lecturers,
high fees and the general decline in the living standards of students at the

Meanwhile the two student leaders abducted from NUST, Mehluli Dube and
Clever Bere were released Tuesday evening. ZINASU say the two were assaulted
and sustained minor injuries. SRC President Bere and his deputy Dube were
picked up by university security guards on Tuesday and detained for several
hours in the security control room. It's thought they were then transferred
from this location into the hands of state security officers.

In another sad reflection of how difficult it is for students to learn
properly its reported children in boarding schools will now be required to
bring their own food during term time. Schools are struggling to cope with
the hyper-inflationary environment and see this as a way of coping. Already
most schools have introduced top up fees mid term to make up for the
shortfalls created by skyrocketing prices.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe spend $US 1.6 million on propaganda

African Path

Trust Matsilele

May 30, 2007 11:33 AM

Harare: The cash strapped Zimbabwean government is alleged to have
paid over $US 1.6 million dollars to The New African magazine as the
government fights to clear bad publicity that emanated from the 11 March
atrocities which left top MDC leadership with life threatening injuries
while claiming Gift Tandare's life.

The New African is a leading pan African magazine which has in the
past defended African governments from being demonised by the western media
viewed by many African leaders as imperialistic and racial in nature with
the view of recolonising Africa.

Sources close to the New African magazine established this development
and were alarmed that Mugabe could spend such a figure when the country was
experiencing economic woes.

The New African magazine carried over seventy seven sponsored pages of
propaganda which Harare has suffered. Soon after the March 11 incidents
Zimbabwe's ruling party got more sanctions from western governments. Mugabe
has also received attacks from fellow African leaders such as the Zambian
president Levy Mwanawasa and Ghana's John Agyekum Kufuor.

The issue featured an exclusive interview between Mugabe and Bafour
Ankomah (Editor of the magazine). On the interview Mugabe boasted of police
violence and made renewed threats to his opponents.

Some of the pages carried pictures of the alleged petrol bombed police
officers. Media reports have however denied such reports after
investigations established that the two female officers got burnt when their
paraffin stove burst. Zimbabweans have been reduced to using paraffin stoves
and firewood due the electricity blackouts.

Political have since questioned the democracy Zimbabwean government
claims to be existing in the country when they saw pictures of burnt police
officers on the magazine when the former ZBC cameraman was abducted and
murdered by alleged state agents for selling pictures of brutalised
Tsvangirai to the western media.

The Zimbabwean Republic Police used to be part of the country's middle
class during the Ian Smith regime and just after independence and have now
been reduced to Stone Age scavengers. Police use firewood and paraffin
stoves as the country can only afford to buy electricity that light only
four hours of the day.

Zimbabwean government is known for manipulating state media for
channeling ZANU PF party propaganda and this has extended recently following
the establishment of the Short Wave radio station meant for overseas market
and the recent big purchase on New African.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Infighting could hamper Zim mediation'

Wed, 30 May 2007
A tussle for power in Zimbabwe's ruling party could undermine attempts to
broker a truce between the government and opposition in Harare, a South
African foreign ministry document said on Wednesday.

"The ongoing infighting (succession issue) within Zanu-PF, if not contained,
would pose challenges for ... mediation efforts," reads the document
distributed among MPs at a parliamentary foreign affairs committee meeting.

"Energy within the party would be consumed in efforts to come out on top in
the succession battle," it states.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, widely blamed for the country's
political and economic meltdown, was chosen in March as Zanu-PF's candidate
for presidential elections next year despite growing domestic opposition.

Although no one has publicly challenged his leadership, analysts have said
that opposition to Mugabe within Zanu-PF is on the upswing with party
members failing to give him backing for plans to delay elections until 2010.

"In the absence of party unity it might be hard for the mediator to extract
firm commitments from the party during the dialogue process," said the
foreign affairs document.

President Thabo Mbeki, who has long refused to publicly criticise Mugabe,
has been mandated by regional heads of state to broker talks between
Harare's government and opposition.

The briefing document said Mugabe appeared to remain firmly in control, as
was apparent from his presidential nomination "despite earlier indications
that some factions within the party would block any attempt by (him) to
stand again for leadership of the party and the country".

It stressed the need for constitutional reforms ahead of next year's polls,
and cited as a challenge "recent state interventions to contain the
expression of discontent by political and civil society oppositional

Deputy foreign affairs director general Jessie Duarte told the committee
that attempts to broker negotiations were on track.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chaos in the fractious Zanu-PF embarrassing

The Zimbabwean

CHAOS in the fractious Zanu-PF Bulawayo province took a new turn
following the suspension of close to 50 party members who belong to the
Jabulani Sibanda faction ahead of provincial electins, it has been

The 50 members aligned to the Sibanda faction were for indiscipline and
absconding from meetings addressed by the Secretary for the
Commisariat, Elliot Manyika. The suspension letters were written by the
chairman of the disciplinary committee, Silas Dlomo.

In his letter Dlomo said the members failed to attend a meetings called
by Manyika on 12 and 13 May under instruction of the party Chairman John
Nkomo. The meetings were also supposed to focus on the auditing of party
structures and registration of new members.

The latest developments come against the posponment of elections to
chose an provincial executive following violent clashes between rival
the selection of grassroots structures that will act as an electoral

The ruling party was on 21 April forced to suspend elections for a
coordinating committee that covers high density suburbs such as
Magwgwe, Pumula, Luveve and Gwabalanda after rival factions clashed over
election procedures.

Police were called in to quell the fighting, which pitted factions
aligned to disposed war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda and another one
supports politburo members from the region. However,  no one was
arrested during the skirmishes.

The interim executive is said to be hugely unpopular in the province as
it was handpicked by ruling party heavy weights following the expulsion of a
Themba Ncube led executive in 2005.

Ncube was expelled along with five provincial chairpersons who took
part in what is now known as the Tsholotsho Declaration , which sought to

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Journalists postpone launching self-regulatory council

Zim Online

Wednesday 30 May 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - Zimbabwean journalists on Tuesday postponed indefinitely launching
a self-regulatory council for the media, amid startling revelations
President Robert Mugabe's office was pressuring the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists (ZUJ) not to back the council.

ZUJ is the largest representative body for journalists in the country.
However, the union is not well placed to resist or confront the government
because the majority of its members and some of its top leaders work for
state-owned newspapers, radio or television.

The government has in the past used threats of dismissal from work to force
individual ZUJ members or leaders to conform.

The proposed voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe to regulate and monitor
standards and ethics in the profession is a project of the Media Alliance of
Zimbabwe (MAZ) -- a partnership of ZUJ, the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa and the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe.

MAZ had already postponed the launch of the council on several occasions
before Tuesday.

ZUJ vice-president Jacob Phiri said the union still supported both MAZ and
the setting up of a voluntary media council but had requested postponement
of the lunching of the council because "we thought launching the council on
May 29, 2007 did not give us ample time to consult our members."

Phiri -- who himself works for the state's Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings -- 
did not explain what exactly ZUJ wanted to consult journalists about. He
however insisted that it was not true that the union had developed cold feet
on the council after Mugabe's press secretary and spokesman, George
Charamba, threatened some of its members.

Charamba has opposed creation of a voluntary council fearing it could pull
the carpet from under the feet of the government's Media and Information
Council that has tightly controlled journalists and banned critical

Sources privy to MAZ told ZimOnline that ZUJ had baulked at the last minute,
fearing some of its key members working for state newspapers, radio and
television could face reprisals or even dismissal from their jobs by
Charamba, who is also permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and
exercises tight control of the government's vast media empire.

"The union fears the government which has launched a crackdown on democratic
forces and others it perceives as enemies. Media workers employed by the
government fear losing their jobs if the are seen embracing MAZ," said a
journalist with the government's Herald newspaper. He did not want to be
named for fear of possible victimisation.

Charamba was not immediately available for comment on the matter but he has
had running battles with ZUJ accusing it of working with MISA-Zimbabwe under
the guise of MAZ to tarnish the image of the government as part of a
Western-backed plot to oust Mugabe. The union denies the charge.

For example, the government's Zimbabwe Newspapers company, which runs the
country's biggest papers and employs the most journalists, two weeks ago
stopped membership subscriptions by its employees to ZUJ, reportedly on the
orders of Charamba.

Sources said stoppage of subscriptions -- which ZUJ is contesting in court -
was meant to cripple both the union and the voluntary media council before
it was even launched.

Mugabe's government is widely regarded as among the worst oppressors of the
media in the world.

The Harare administration has passed laws requiring journalists to obtain
licences in order to practise in Zimbabwe. The government can withdraw
licences from journalists who refuse to conform, while those caught
practising without a licence are liable to a two-year jail term.

Besides journalists being required to obtain licences, newspaper companies
are also required to register with the state media commission with those
failing to do so facing closure and seizure of their equipment by the
police. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Detained MDC activist await June 4 trial

30th May 2007 09:36 GMT

By Lance Guma

IT HAS been over 62 days since 32 MDC officials were arrested and locked up
in Harare's remand prison without trial. Among them is one of Zimbabwe's
finest journalists, Luke Tamborinyoka.

Now working for the opposition MDC as an Information Officer, Tamborinyoka
was arrested with MDC activists under what the opposition says are flimsy
reasons of allegedly petrol bombing police stations in the country and other

Those visiting them say the group remains resolute in fighting for
democratic change and have expressed hope the wheels of justice will slowly
move to set them free.

On Monday the 4th June the High Court will decide on an urgent bail
application put in by defence lawyers. Crisis in Zimbabwe programmes manager
Pedzisai Ruhanya has been visiting several of the detainees and says most
still have visible head scars from beatings administered by security forces.

He told Newsreel that physical signs of abuse and torture were clearly
visible but that the prisoners have put on a brave face each time they
receive visitors.

Ruhanya who worked with Tamborinyoka at the banned Daily News newspaper,
said his colleague showed signs of trauma from the whole ordeal.

He argued that the reason the activists were being kept in custody for such
a long time was because the state knew the charges would not stick in a
court of law and as such they were being made to serve an unlawful sentence
via the prolonged detention.

Ruhanya said the detainees were also confident they would be acquitted if
they ever got their day in court. He slammed the judiciary for accommodating
deliberate delays by the state who argued the police need more time to
investigate despite arresting their 'suspects' first.

In March police crushed a prayer rally organized by the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign in Highfield. Over 600 MDC activists have been arrested tortured
and hospitalized in a government crackdown that followed soon after.

Several senior officials, including Glen View Member of Parliament Paul
Madzore, Ian Makone, and Information Officer Luke Tamborinyoka have been
locked up for over two months now without trial.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Passport Shortage Breeds Corruption

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Getting out of Zimbabwe is now a prized activity, so it comes at a high

By Tecla Dehwa in Harare (AR No. 114, 30-May-07)

Anyone visiting the passport office in the capital Harare will have
encountered the hordes of people trying to get documents so that they can
leave a country where the economy is in freefall and the political impasse
makes the prospects of recovery remote.

They are also likely to be familiar with the corruption engendered by a
shortage of passports, the low pay of public servants and the sheer
desperation of their customers.

I learned this the hard way, when I was invited to attend a week-long
seminar in South Africa at the beginning of May.

My passport expired in 2005, and although I submitted an application for a
new one in early 2006, I am still waiting.

The registration authorities resumed issuing passports only recently after
getting an injection of funding from Zimbabwe's central bank. The
registrar-general, Tobaiwa Mudede, said recently that his office had a
backlog of 300,000 applications.

The passport office at Makombe Complex is packed with Zimbabweans all trying
to get the documents they need to leave the country. Professionals are
abandoning ship, heading for Britain, Canada, Australia and the United
States, while poorer people visit neighbouring states to trade.

With no passport in sight, I joined the many people applying for an
Emergency Travel Document or ETD - a temporary permit valid for six months.
I assumed the procedure would be simple enough, as I had a formal letter of

I soon realised my mistake.

ETDs are intended for emergencies only, but the Makombe Complex office
issues at least 100 a day, often to people planning to cross into
Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa to buy cheap goods for sale
back home. Friends abroad help by supplying fake letters of invitation and
false addresses.

The booming demand generated by the cross-border trade - itself a product of
Zimbabwe's dire economic circumstances - has opened up a lucrative seam for
corrupt passport officials.

At the core of the business is a syndicate of men and women who appear to
control the number of applications issued per day. By doing so, they create
an artificial shortage, making applicants willing to pay a premium to get
the right document.

The speed at which you get your ETD then depends on your willingness to pay
an extra "fee", or on having the right connections.

The application form is of course free of charge, but even that is hard to
come by. When I got to Makombe Complex, the forms had run out.

At this point, I was approached by a young man who told me his name was Adam
and said he could help me get an ETD for 300,000 Zimbabwe dollars, ZWD. It
is hard to translate this sum - at the official rate it would work out as
1,200 US dollars while at the parallel market rate it is just about eight
dollars - but bear in mind that it represents a month's wages in Zimbabwe.

Adam told me to go to a particular office and see a woman called Maggie.
"You can get your ETD in three hours," he promised, as we exchanged details.

When I got to the right office, I asked for Maggie. Somebody pointed her out
to me among a bevy of ladies chatting idly behind their desks. When I
mentioned Adam's name, she handed over a photocopy of the form with a
nonchalance that belied her knowledge of what was going on. "Fill in the
form and take it to Window 7," she said coldly.

At Window 7, located outside the complex, people shove their way forward to
submit completed application forms or to collect their ETDs.

After 40 minutes of pushing, I submitted my form, two passport-size photos
and the letter of invitation explaining the urgency of the application. The
form was stamped, and I was packed off to yet another office, where I paid
the official fee of 5,000 ZWD. Then I had to go back to Window 7, where I
was told to return the following day to collect the ETD.

My mobile phone rang three hours later. It was Adam. He gave me the name of
a building in town, an office number and the name of a woman to whom I was
to give the 300,000 ZWD as payment for the express service.

I queried this, since I had not actually received the ETD. "You got the
form," came the answer. "You would never have got it otherwise. We want to
process your ETD."

I did not go and pay. After two hours, Adam phoned again to find out whether
I had settled the bill. I said I was not going to pay 300,000 ZWD for an
application form. He said he was prepared to send someone over to collect
the money if I wanted. "It's up to you," he said and hung up.

The following day, I was at the ETD collection window early in the morning,
along with the usual crowds. The collection times are indicated as 9 am, 11
am and 2pm. I waited for my name to be called out but nothing happened all

"Check tomorrow," said Maggie casually, when I enquired at her office. It
was the same story every day for a week.

Meanwhile, I was pestered about the outstanding payment every two or three

I saw many other people collecting their ETDs although they had submitted
their applications after I did. From the conversations taking place, I could
tell money was changing hands somewhere.

I was running out of time, as I would still need to get a South African visa
processed afterwards. It was becoming evident that it was up to me to
achieve progress.

On the Tuesday of the second week, I telephoned a senior government official
whom I know and told him my story. "No problem," he said. "Let's meet at the
passport office tomorrow morning."

As soon as we entered the office where Maggie worked, everybody greeted my
friend warmly, although no one seemed to recognise me at all. He explained
that I was a colleague of his and needed to travel abroad urgently.

Maggie asked for my application form as if I was a complete stranger. When I
reminded her that I had submitted an application the previous week, she
feigned surprise.

"Go to the collection window while I check what happened," she said. She
quickly dialled the extension, and as we got to the collection point, the
ETD was being processed.

I took it, thanked my influential friend, and left in disgust.

Tecla Dehwa is the pseudonym of a reporter based in Harare.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Farmers Lose Out in Illicit Food Trade

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Villagers trade their crops for scarce commodities which black-marketeers
have bought up in the towns.

By Hativagone Mushonga in Harare and Chitomborwizi (AR No. 114, 30-May-07)

The crowd has been queuing outside a supermarket since five in the morning,
after hearing there is sugar on the shelves. By ten in the morning, the day
is growing hotter and the crowd is becoming increasingly restless.

To their surprise, they see a uniformed policeman emerge from the back door
of the supermarket, carrying two large boxes filled with packs of sugar. For
a few seconds there is stunned silence, and then the crowd pounces on the
policeman. As they pull at his uniform and tear the boxes apart, he runs for
his life.

The incident, which happened on May 19in the small farming town of
Marondera, 70 kilometres east of Harare, reflects a growing mood of anger
not only at the basic shortage of food, but also that when it does arrive,
it is spirited away by black marketeers - often regime insiders or others
with good connections - and resold at many times the price.

Many of the people queuing up in towns across Zimbabwe have come in from
surrounding rural areas, where the local shops are bare with no deliveries
for weeks on end.

It is unsurprising that the crowd in Marondera erupted - they would have
been well aware that after hours of waiting, they might still get nothing.
Meanwhile, the policeman and others like him would have cleared out the
sugar either to sell it on the black market at five times the price they
paid for it, or to barter it with rural peasants for their valuable maize

People in rural areas have traditionally been more supportive of President
Robert Mugabe than the urban population. Incidents like the one in Marondera
may herald a growing militancy among these people because of the widespread
perception that the illicit trade is in the hands of wealthy regime figures,
who are getting rich from the misery of the majority.

"What is painful is that now, like piranhas, they are preying on the poor in
the rural areas," said a worker with one of the relief agencies that provide
foreign food aid to Zimbabwe. "They take the basic commodities they have
corruptly procured from supermarkets in the urban centres to the rural
areas, and exchange these with either maize or soya beans, which they then
sell to the Grain Marketing Board [GMB] at a huge profit."

Although much of Zimbabwe experienced a drought over the growing season,
some areas such as Mashonaland saw reasonable yields of maize and soya
beans. That opened up opportunities for speculators to move in and procure
the crop in exchange for the deficit goods they had bought up and

A visit to Chitomborwizi, 120 kilometres from Harare, revealed the extent of
the practice. Villagers there are exchanging their hard-won maize with
whatever basic commodities are offered, even though these come at a huge

The skewed pricing means a bar of soap will buy 10 kilograms of shelled
maize, while a 75 centilitre bottle of cooking oil - or one of the many two
kilogram packs of sugar the Marondera policeman was carrying -are worth
about 50 kg of maize.

The next stage is to turn the cereals into cash by selling it to the state
purchasing agency, the GMB, once again at a huge mark-up. The GMB is
desperate to buy whatever grain it can in a drought year.

"It is unfortunate that the villagers who worked so hard in a very difficult
environment in a drought year are going to be the end losers," IWPR was told
by one "barter trader" or black marketeer who had come from Harare to buy
crops in Chitomborwizi. "But what can I do if such an opportunity presents
itself to me? As we say in our language, for a beast to be fat it must eat
another beast.

"I am also trying to survive; I am also trying to feed my kids, cloth and
educate them. So if I can make some extra dollars or even a huge profit -
why not? My heart bleeds for the villagers, but the situation in the country
is now like dog-eat-dog."

Edmore Matongo, a local smallholder, said he no choice but to barter grain
for food, although he was fortunate that he and his family had harvested
about six tonnes of maize from their plot this season and were able to set
aside one tonne to trade.

"We haven't had sugar in a very long time. I have kids and they can't
remember how sugar tastes, and it is just not fair," he said. "Remember how
a long time ago on payday or after getting a bonus, fathers would buy
special treats for the children? This harvest is like a bonus and I just
want to treat my kids."

The surplus also means access to basic products like soap. "It has been a
while since we bought washing soap and I am now afraid that we might get
sickness if we don't do anything about it. It is important to eat and it is
also equally important for us to be able to wash our clothes and bathe with
soap," said Matongo.

Logically, farmers like Matongo should be able to sell their grain to the
GMB themselves and then spend the cash on goods as they see fit, rather than
losing out in barter deals. But payment from the GMB is often late and comes
in the form of cheques, which means a further delay as farmers have to
travel to urban centres to obtain cash. Often, they simply cannot wait.

"We need ready cash so we can buy things as they become available. Also
children need pocket money on a daily basis as they go to school," said

The farmer is well aware of the risk that the villagers get the balance
wrong and trade too much of their crop.

"My worry is that if we are not careful, we will run out of maize before
year end and begin begging again or waiting for food aid," said Matongo.

More than 1.7 million people are receiving food aid in Zimbabwe, and it is
estimated that about half of the country's 13 million people will need food
assistance this year.

The prolonged dry spells seen in most southern districts of Zimbabwe during
the 2006-07 season have contributed to low yields, and the final production
figure for maize, sorghum and millet is forecast to be insignificant.

Hativagone Mushonga is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Illegal Exports, Hoarding to Blame for Sugar Shortage'

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

30 May 2007
Posted to the web 30 May 2007


THE sugar industry yesterday said it had released 23 184 tonnes of sugar
into the market since April and blamed the current shortage on illegal
exports and hoarding.

Zimbabwe Sugar Association head of delegation and Starafricacorporation
chief executive officer Mr Tendai Masawi told the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Industry and International Trade that at least 5 600 tonnes of
sugar were being supplied to the market every week.

Of the 23 184 tonnes of sugar that had been delivered, 10 240 tonnes were
from the two refineries of Gold Star White Sugar in Harare and Bulawayo, 4
111 tonnes from Triangle in Chiredzi while the remaining 8 833 tonnes were
of brown sugar.

Chairperson of the committee and Chipinge South legislator Cde Enock
Porusingazi (Zanu-PF) asked the industry to explain why there was still a
shortage on the formal market yet normal supplies were being delivered.

"The 5 600 tonnes, which you claim you are putting on the market every week,
are not visible. There is no change. There is still a public outcry over the
shortage of sugar," he said. In response, Mr Masawi blamed the current
shortage on illegal exports by unscrupulous traders coupled with hoarding of
the commodity.

"There is a tendency of the product finding its way illegally into the
regional markets such as Mozambique," he said.

Mr Masawi said the industry was still waiting for the Government's response
over the request for the review of the price of sugar since the current
price was not viable.

Mr Steve Frampton, the general manager of Zimbabwe Sugar Sales, who is in
charge of the export portfolio under the ZSA, said the sugar that was meant
for the local market was readily available in Mozambique.

He said the industry only exported sugar to Namibia and Botswana under the
Sadc Protocol on Sugar.

"We do not export to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique yet you find our local
brand of sugar in those countries," Mr Frampton said.

He said unscrupulous Zimbabwean traders were taking advantage of the
transport logistical problems faced by the sugar industry in Mozambique by
smuggling the sugar and selling it in areas along the border.

Mberengwa-Zvishavane Senator Cde Richard Hove (Zanu-PF) wanted to know what
the sugar sector in Zimbabwe was doing to curb the hoarding and smuggling.

Mr Masawi said there was need for the industry to work together with the
police and other stakeholders in dealing with the illegal activities.

"I do not think we have the capacity to check on who is doing what at the
border. We have to work together as a team with the police, immigration and
others to curb the smuggling of sugar," he said.

Retail outlets, Mr Masawi said, should ration the selling of sugar and not
to sell the commodity through the back door as a way of dealing with the
black market.

Police were urged to closely monitor the delivery and selling of the
commodity as some retailers and wholesalers were suspected of selling just a
few stocks before off-loading the rest on the black market.

Some unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of the shortage of sugar by
selling a 2kg packet for up to $80 000 against the gazetted price of $13

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Water Supplies in Northern Suburbs Resume -- Zinwa

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

30 May 2007
Posted to the web 30 May 2007


ZIMBABWE National Water Authority yesterday announced that the northern
suburbs of Sentosa, Mt Pleasant Heights, Bluffhill and parts of Avondale and
Avonlea that have not received domestic water for the past two months can
now access it following the repair of a motor at the Avondale/Lomagundi pump

Residents in the five suburbs have had to use borehole water while those
without boreholes had to transport water from other suburbs. Some families
were doing laundry at relatives or friends' homes that had running taps.

They were also recycling bath and laundry water for other uses such as in
water closets.

The Avondale/Lomagundi pump station supplies water to the Emerald
reservoirs, which in turn feed the affected suburbs.

Senior officials from Zinwa yesterday took a Herald news team to the
resuscitated pump station. Zinwa installation and maintenance manager
Engineer Smart Senderayi said the affected suburbs had gone without water
supplies for almost two months after the electric motor got burnt.

Residents from the suburbs also confirmed receipt of water but urged the
water authority to be consistent and also equitably distribute available
water to all residents.

Meanwhile, Zinwa reports that Prince Edward pump station suffered power
problems for almost two hours resulting in reduced pumping to the Letombo
reservoirs and Chitungwiza. Pumping to the two places dropped by 14
megalitres from the usual 66 megalitres a day. Yesterday Zinwa was not
pumping to Borrowdale Brook, Hatcliffe and Hogerty Hill but indications were
that supplies would resume this morning.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Nepad: the reform strategy that needs to be reformed

Pretoria News

May 30, 2007 Edition 1

The annual G8 summit of wealthiest nations has become something of a talking
shop for "what to do about Africa" as successive G8 presidencies try to come
up with fresh solutions to the continent's problems.

After a strong focus on aid and debt relief at the 2005 summit in
Gleneagles, this year's summit in Germany will see a return to a recurring
theme in G8-African relations: the need to reward good governance with
greater investment for long-term growth.

Germany is talking up about "reform partnerships" with select countries such
as Ghana that pursue "responsible government", including improving women's
rights and holding free and fair elections.

But Africa already has a "reform" strategy: New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad).

When the home-grown African development plan was unveiled at the G8 summit
in Kananaskis, Canada five years ago, it was hailed as marking a new era of
"responsible" African governance.

Tired of being ticked off over corruption and human-rights abuses when they
went cap in hand for aid to Western countries, the 53 members of the African
Union (AU) agreed to secure aid and investment on the back of improved

Spearheaded by Africa's two largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria
along with Senegal, Egypt and Algeria, Nepad, South African President Thabo
Mbeki told the United Nations, "would extricate Africa out of her long night
of misery."

Five years after the UN declared Nepad the general framework for
international co-operation with Africa, observers are still sceptical about
its ability to improve the plight of the continent's poorest.

"African people continue to remain the have-nots at the bottom of the
world's pyramid, even if their leaders - in cases like the Angolan oil
oligarchy or individual despots like Mugabe - bathe in abundant wealth and
privileges," Dr Henning Melber, former research director at the Nordic
Africa Institute in Uppsala, said recently.

The disillusionment over Nepad set in as early as 2002 when G8 leaders,
despite welcoming the reform pledges, responded with an Africa plan that
offered little in the way of new aid.

"G8 leaders want to dictate the terms of Africa's development without a
corresponding commitment in real terms," a South African newspaper remarked

Others complained about an "elitist" project that focused too heavily on
creating the conditions for private investment, described by a German
cabinet briefing last year as "an important factor in Africa's economic

"Nepad's economic policies need to be more nuanced," according to Adam
Habib, democracy and governance director at South Africa's Human Sciences
Research Council.

"The development process rarely takes place with just private investment."

Nepad members should look to Europe for examples of how public money serves
as the cornerstone for development projects, he urged.

"You had public money leading the direction and private investment

"Nepad ducks all that and just hopes the money comes in without moulding

Another key shortcoming of Nepad is that only 26 out of 53 AU members have
signed up for the voluntary African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which
evaluates the progress of members towards democratic reforms.

Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya have been through the review and South Africa and
Algeria are currently in the spotlight, with South Africa mounting a
spirited challenge to criticisms of its policies on, among other things,

In Ghana the review has been credited with prompting parliament to pass
bills protecting people with disabilities and protecting women from domestic
violence. All three countries reviewed also use the reports to court foreign

"The African Peer Review Mechanism is actually very good although it doesn't
work 100%," Habib says.

"It forces governments to take seriously things that are normally not on the

But with countries called on to submit themselves voluntarily for appraisal,
some of Africa's more autocratic regimes, such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, are
unlike to get a dressing down from Nepad any day soon.

Even if they did, there is no guarantee a bad Nepad report would act as a
deterrent to foreign investment.

Both countries have received significant investment from China in recent
years as part of its no-questions-asked scramble for Africa's mineral and
energy resources, contributing significantly to a strong continental growth
rate of 5.5% in 2006.

Defending Nepad's effectiveness, spokesperson Thaninga Shope-Linney said:
"Nepad will not build streets or bridges, it's about opening up
possibilities for sustainable development. We're not counting on short-term

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Africa's Zimbabwe Problem

Cato Institute

May 30, 2007

by Brett D. Schaefer and Marian L. Tupy

Brett D. Schaefer is Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs
in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and
Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at the Heritage
Foundation and Marian L. Tupy is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute's
Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

Zimbabwe was recently elected to chair the U.N. Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD), to the dismay of human-rights groups and nations, like
the United States, that would like the United Nations to take its
responsibilities seriously. This election is more than a travesty; it is a
cruel demonstration of disregard for the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe
on the part of the U.N. and those African countries that helped Zimbabwe to
the chairmanship.

The United Nations defines sustainable development as "development that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs." The CSD was established in 1992 to
promote sustainable development, review implementation of various
environmental agreements, and provide policy guidance to local, national,
regional, and international levels. Explicitly noted in the documents that
the CSD is supposed to promote is the notion that "Good governance within
each country and at the international level is essential for sustainable
development" and that "Peace, security, stability and respect for human
rights and fundamental freedoms... are essential for achieving sustainable
development and ensuring that sustainable development benefits all."

Looking the world over, it is difficult to find many countries that fail to
abide by these principles to a greater degree than does Zimbabwe. When
Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980, he inherited well-developed
manufacturing and mining sectors, a competitive agricultural sector, a
thriving tourist industry, and sound infrastructure. The country has rich
mineral deposits of asbestos, chromite, coal, copper, diamonds and other
gems, gold, iron ore, nickel, and platinum. The country was rightly regarded
as one of the bright lights in Africa.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Mugabe began facing serious challenges to his
authority. In response to the growing opposition, he initiated a ruthless,
seven-year campaign to maintain political power. During that time, Mugabe
has targeted his opponents for abuse, legal harassment, and economic
punishment, and used his authority to reward allies and elicit support from
the police, the military, and other key groups. Notably, Mugabe started to
expropriate large, mostly white-owned, commercial farms. With property
rights and the rule of law severely weakened, credit and investment dried
up, sending shockwaves through an economy that was heavily reliant on
agricultural production.

Those policies have resulted in a precipitous economic decline, political
repression, and a humanitarian crisis rivaling that in Darfur. Over the last
seven years, Professor Craig Richardson of Salem College estimates the
economy has shrunk by 40 percent, wiping out almost 60 years of gradual
economic improvements. The standard of living has dropped to levels last
seen in 1948. The World Health Organization estimates that Zimbabwe has the
wor'd's lowest life expectancy - 34 years for women and 37 years for men.

Unemployment is at 80 percent. The currency is nearly worthless and
inflation currently exceeds 3,700 percent per year. Last week, the
black-market exchange rate for one U.S. dollar reached 40,000 Zimbabwean

The economic meltdown has led to environmental devastation. Zimbabwe, once
known for its flourishing wildlife, used to have a sophisticated tourism
industry that accounted for up to 6 percent of the country's GDP. Hunger and
lawlessness have put an end to that.

Brian Gratwicke, an Oxford-educated environmentalist and Zimbabwean national
who runs a U.S-based nature and wildlife website estimates that "Eighty
percent of 250,000 head of game that lived on privately owned commercial
farms have been poached by land invaders - often with the encouragement of
senior ZANU-PF officials who wanted to wrest control of the farms from their
rightful owners." To make matters worse, Gratwicke argues, chronic
environmental problems such as deforestation and overgrazing, water
pollution, uncontrolled fires, human-wildlife conflict, and wildlife-borne
disease are spreading through Zimbabwe.

On both environmental and development grounds, Zimbabwe is a terrible
example to the rest of Africa and the world. Electing Zimbabwe to chair the
committee charged with guiding U.N. policy in those areas is absurd.

The election of Zimbabwe to the chairmanship of the CSD cannot be dismissed
as an unfortunate aberration. The nomination of Zimbabwe to the chairmanship
was widely reported and strongly criticized by the U.S. and other countries.
Despite that criticism, the African regional group in the U.N. refused to
back away from nominating Zimbabwe. Moreover, the African group and the U.N.
have made a habit of such outrageous appointments. For instance:

  a.. Zimbabwe currently serves on the Executive Board of the World Food
Program, despite the fact that Zimbabwe, considered the breadbasket of
Africa only a decade ago, is now unable to feed itself and regularly appeals
to international programs for food aid. The primary reasons for the
devastation of Zimbabwe's once flourishing agricultural sector are the
politically motivated seizure of commercial farms, most of which were given
to Mugabe's cronies, and other anti-market economic policies.

  b.. Zimbabwe was elected to the Executive Board of the U.N. Children's
Fund for a three-year term beginning in 2008 despite the fact that,
according to UNICEF itself, one in four children in Zimbabwe are orphans.
This tragic situation is in significant part due to the policies of the
Zimbabwean government that have increased the spread of HIV/AIDS, reduced
life expectancy, and eroded the health care system.

  c.. Zimbabwe was elected to the Governing Council of the United Nations
Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) for a term expiring in 2010 despite
the government's Operation Murambatsvina, which demolished informal housing
and markets and rendered 700,000 urban Zimbabweans homeless or unemployed.
It is believed that 70 percent of the urban population may have lost shelter
or employment and over 2 million (more than 15 percent of Zimbabwe's
population) are believed to have been indirectly affected by loss of
customers, employees, or markets. The government told those affected to
"return to their rural origins," even though most had no such home to which
they could return. Indeed, many had initially become homeless when the
government sanctioned the seizure of commercial farms.
The ability of Zimbabwe to routinely be elected to such privileged positions
in the U.N. is illustrative of just how little regard many states have for
the purposes of the U.N. and the influence those states have over the
decisions, elections, and activities of the organization.

This comes as little surprise to those who have followed the United Nations
and its many failures over the years. Nevertheless, it should embarrass
those governments in Africa that claim to be trying to improve the lives of
their people, enhance the quality of government across the continent, and
elevate the influence which the region is given in international fora and
the seriousness with which it is taken.

There is something fundamentally wrong when African countries feel
comfortable, and even are insistent, about putting a country like Zimbabwe
forward as a candidate for influential positions despite that country's
record of violations and abuses directly related to the position it would
assume. How can the rest of the world be comfortable giving Africa a
permanent seat on the Security Council, for instance, if the continent
cannot even rouse itself to put forward suitable candidates for lesser

This article appeared in the National Review Online on May 24, 2007.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New copper deposits found in Zimbabwe

Business In Africa

Published: 30-MAY-07

Harare - Zimbabwe's biggest mining company, Riozim said on Tuesday that it
had discovered copper in the south of the country, but did not reveal the
size of the deposits.

Company chairman, Eric Kahari, said Riozim had also found new gold deposits
along the country's mining belt in central Zimbabwe.

The company currently mines just gold and diamonds, but has announced plans
to venture into other minerals in response to strong commodity prices on
international markets.

Kahari said Riozim planned to undertake intensive exploration work at the
copper deposits, while commercial mining was due to begin anytime on the new
gold mine.

"Further exploration on these (copper deposits) claims will be carried out
in 2007. Work on the One Step Gold Prospect took longer than anticipated to
complete but has now progressed to project implementation stage," he said.

Zimbabwe's only copper mine, Mhangura, closed more than ten years ago due to
viability problems.

It was shut down when copper prices were depressed on international markets.
These have now risen due to record levels on the back of huge demand from
China and India. -panapress

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt raises salaries for civil servants more than 100% as teachers threaten strike

By Tererai Karimakwenda
May 30, 2007

Teachers had just begun a sit in strike on Wednesday to protest against poor
salaries and working conditions when government agreed to hike salaries for
its workers by more than 100%. According to a circular from the Zimbabwe
Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the lowest paid teacher will now be earning
Z$2 586 000 per month, up from only Z$456 000. And the highest paid will be
earning Z$4 267 000 per month, up from
Z$723 000. It now remains to be seen whether government will actually pay
these salaries, after disappointing civil servants on numerous occasions in
the last few years.

Meanwhile our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said some Harare teachers
expressed concern over police flyers that were circulated around the
schools, requesting headmasters to provide personal information about the
teachers, including names, identification numbers, residential addresses,
rural addresses, passport numbers, date of issue, office of issue and

Muchemwa said there was a statement on the form which said 'the above
information will help in identifying the subject.' Many teachers who saw the
forms said they now feared for their lives.

Schools in Mbare, Highfields and Glen Norah have since confirmed receipt of
the forms.

A representative of the Progressive Teachers Union also indicated that
several teachers in the rural areas received letters from CIOs threatening
them with unspecified action if they continued to work with the opposition

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Lawyers Under the Cosh

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

The regime appears to be trying to deter lawyers from representing
opposition activists.

By Joseph Sithole in Harare (AR No. 114, 30-May-07)

Lawyers seem to be the latest victims of the current wave of state-sponsored
intimidation and violence, in which opposition leaders and activists have
been arrested, beaten or tortured in police detention on spurious charges.

The most high profile lawyer to fall victim to the campaign was the
president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, on May 8.

She was amongst a group of lawyers who had gathered outside the High Court
in the capital Harare to protest the detention by police earlier of their
colleagues, Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni, who were seeking the release
of their clients, opposition activists.

Mtetwa and four colleagues were bundled into a police van and later brutally
assaulted in broad daylight.

Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold combined presidential and parliamentary
elections in March next year. In the past, these ballots have been marked by
unbridled violence, which, according to human rights organisations, in 2000
claimed the lives of about 200 opposition activists.

A Harare lawyer said the arrest of lawyers was aimed at intimidating them
and also instilling fear in the opposition.

"Lawyers will be afraid to represent opposition activists. If that happens,
it would be a major victory for ZANU PF. [Also], if lawyers can be beaten in
broad daylight, how many people can dare venture out when they know there
would be no one to represent them?

"It is a campaign of terror which has assumed a new dimension where even
lawyers are seen as political activists."

An activist of the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, in the poor suburb
of Mabvuku suggested that the pressure being heaped on lawyers also
discouraged people from seeking their help, "In the end, nobody would like
to be associated with so-called regime change agents.

"Lawyers are not a power base for any party. It is their intermediary role
which the government is trying to destroy in its fight with the MDC."

But he disputed the claim that lawyers were being targeted as a group,
saying it was only the brave few taking cases involving the opposition who
were being singled out.

The attorney general, Sobusa Gula Ndebele, said he didn't have information
about the beating of lawyers, and there has been no official comment
President Robert Mugabe or any other government officials.

Mugabe's silence contrasts with his cavalier response to the beating in
police custody of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters following
an aborted rally on March 11.

Mugabe afterwards told an emergency meeting of the Southern African
Development Community in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - which had been called to
discuss the assaults - that his government would bash those who break the
law, a euphemism for those who oppose him.

Most of the criticisms of the lawyers have come from government spin-doctors
who accuse the Law Society of Zimbabwe of representing the interests of

Chairman of the Media and Information Commission Tafataona Mahoso and other
government officials, particularly Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba,
writing under pseudonyms in state newspapers, have accused the society of
fronting for white legal firms.

Analysts say this gives the police the mistaken impression that they are
dealing with sellouts, with officers believing that they are working in
defence of the national interest when going after lawyers.

The president of the Law Societies of Southern Africa, Sternford Moyo, said
at least ten lawyers had been arrested in the latest crackdown. He was
himself briefly detained the week before last on unclear charges.

The attacks on lawyers have provoked worldwide condemnation, which has gone
unheeded by government. The Pan-African parliament based in South Africa
recently proposed sending a fact-finding mission to assess the human rights
situation in the country. The proposal was met with anger by the Zimbabwe
government, which said it had no mandate to do so.

This in part explains recent efforts by Zimbabwe justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa to divert the attention of the African Commission on Human Peoples'
Rights away from human rights violations by the government towards a distant
colonial past.

Chinamasa was in Ghana last week for a session of the commission discussing
human rights. He said the body should demand that Britain honour its
obligation under the 1979 Lancaster House constitutional agreement, which
brought about independence, to compensate white farmers for any land
acquired by the state.

Joseph Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR reporter in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

How Property Ownership Changes Your World View

Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 6:56 AM
Subject: How Property Ownership Changes Your World View

It is clear that access to private property under secure title has far
reaching implications. In this article the authors talk about world view but
I think the same summary might apply to democratic principles. People with
property to defend will generally be more open, more questioning and secure
and more willing to challenge the status quo, especially if the matter is
associated with greater economic freedom and choice. That is why small
farmers on land with secure title in some form, are always at the core of
opposition politics in developing countries. It also explains the nature of
the peasant sector in Zimbabwe as a residual centre for political support
fot the Mugabe regime despite its failures. It explains why so many tyrants
actually destroy security of income and title when seeking to entrench their
rule. Perhaps the most famous example was the destruction of the Kulaks in
Russia under Stalin.

Eddie Cross

How Property Ownership Changes Your World View
Published:May 28, 2007
Author:Julia Hanna

Executive Summary:
When Argentine squatters were granted property title it changed the way they
viewed the world. HBS professor Rafael Di Tella discusses his research into
how property ownership affects our beliefs and also our attitudes toward
 About Faculty in this Article:

Rafael Di Tella is a professor in the Business, Government and the
International Economy unit at Harvard Business School.
More Working Knowledge from Rafael Di Tella
Rafael Di Tella - Faculty Research Page
What happens when a person owns property? Aside from the well-established
financial benefits of equity and potential access to credit, there is the
equally strong pull of the American Dream and everything it suggests-the
idea that through hard work and determination, it's possible to get ahead,
own a home, and achieve some level of success, security, and happiness.
But how does this vision change in parts of the world where property rights,
if they are present at all, are threatened by weak law enforcement,
corruption, crime, and arbitrary government policy? In a recent paper
published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, HBS professor Rafael Di
Tella, Sebastian Galiani of the University of Washington, St. Louis, and
Ernesto Schargrodsky of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella delve into this
question by comparing the beliefs of two groups of squatters living in the
Solano neighborhood on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
What the scholars found could be the start of a better understanding of why
capitalism remains unpopular through large swaths of the world-particularly
in areas where property rights are weak or nonexistent.
In an unusual set-up that Di Tella describes as "a natural experiment,"
about 1,800 landless families (organized by a Catholic priest) occupied the
area in 1981, believing it was owned by the state. In fact, it was made up
of privately held tracts of land belonging to 13 owners. Over the years, the
squatters resisted several eviction attempts, until a change in government
in 1984 resulted in a state proposal to pay off the owners and allocate the
land to the squatters. Each owner was given the option of accepting the deal
or suing to obtain higher compensation. By 1998, 9 of the owners had
settled, and the tract of land was transferred to the squatters. With the
remaining 4 lawsuits still pending, 62 percent of the squatters now hold
title to their land, while 38 percent do not.
As a result, squatters who enjoyed the security of property rights existed
in proximity to those with no legal claim to the land on which they lived.
For Di Tella and his coauthors, the situation presented the ideal
opportunity to research the beliefs of those who hold property rights versus
those who do not, all other conditions being equal.
"In the United States, there are few dramatic policy changes that will
create situations like this," Di Tella says. "In Latin America, you can
observe things that you would not in a more stable environment."
Gauging beliefs
The researchers asked survey questions to gauge the squatters' stance on
beliefs common to a capitalist society. For example, did the squatters agree
that it is possible to be successful on one's own, or did they think it
necessary to have a large group supporting one another? To what degree did
they believe money was important to be happy? Do people who put effort into
working end up better, worse, or much worse than those who do not? Finally,
did the squatters believe that other people could be trusted?
Di Tella and his coauthors found that squatters with land titles believed
individual achievement is possible by a margin of 31 percent over those who
did not hold title to their land; the margin for those with the materialist
view that money is important to be happy was 34 percent; and 17 percent more
squatters with titles believed that other people could be trusted. The only
question that did not show a significant difference related to the
meritocratic belief that effort pays off-in this case, the majority of both
groups believe that this is true.
When Di Tella benchmarked these results against a sample of residents from
the Buenos Aires metropolitan area with generally higher income and
education levels, their responses tallied closely to the beliefs of
squatters who hold titles. This showed the importance of property rights in
closing the belief gap between a group of very poor squatters and the
general population.
Changing lives
"How is it that property changes peoples' lives?" asks Di Tella. "In
developing countries, there are many claims or challenges to property
ownership, which generate differences in the beliefs that people hold.
Important research has been done to demonstrate the material effects of
property ownership, like increased access to credit.
"However, I've been more interested in looking at the immaterial effects of
how that influences people's view of the world and, by extension, how those
beliefs may or may not foster development."
Capitalism, Di Tella says, is not popular in most parts of the world-and in
Latin America, the backlash against free markets has reached epidemic
"Why is capitalism so unattractive outside of the United States and other
rich countries? This paper shows that secure property rights are one part of
the answer," he says. "If people don't own property, they don't believe that
they can build on their success."
How is it that property changes people's lives?
Two other strands of Di Tella's research also point to how beliefs affect
attitudes toward capitalism. In one, he notes that because the economies of
poorer countries are often dependent on volatile resources such as oil and
minerals (which are often controlled by a relatively small number of
individuals) it is in fact true that hard work and effort don't pay off for
the vast majority of people.
"As a result, voters favor high taxes," Di Tella says. "It's like a tax in a
casino-people believe that it should be high because so little effort has
been expended in winning the money."
Corruption is another issue. "If you perceive the system to be illegitimate,
the tendency is to demand justice through increased government intervention
and policies," Di Tella observes. These three factors, taken together,
create an unfriendly environment for capitalism.
"I'm concerned about beliefs and how they are formed because I think that
the rejection of pro-market reforms in Latin America or Eastern Europe or
Africa is not related to economic interests, as most economists claim, but
to the way that people see the world," says Di Tella. "We think it's
important to understand what causes these changes in beliefs because they
form the underpinnings of capitalism and have a profound effect on
About the author
Julia Hanna is Associate Editor of the HBS Alumni Bulletin.
Editor's picks: HBS Working Knowledge related articles
Real Estate: The Most Imperfect Asset
Keywords:Society & Social Values, Social Sciences Research, Latin America

Latest on Society & Social Values
How Property Ownership Changes Your World View
Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets
The Business of Global Poverty
  Latest on Social Sciences Research
How Property Ownership Changes Your World View
The Speed of New Ideas: Trust, Institutions and the Diffusion of New
An Empirical Approach to Understanding Privacy Valuation

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tony flies in

Wednesday May 30, 2007
The Guardian

After Washington, it is Africa's turn to bid farewell to Tony Blair. His
parade started in Libya yesterday, will gather steam in Sierra Leone and
will finish in South Africa. Libya's abandonment of its nuclear programme
must count as a coup for British intelligence and diplomacy, and the
military intervention in Sierra Leone in 2000 was equally decisive. Mr Blair
can safely bask in the reflected glow of both success stories.

But a look at the countries that Mr Blair is not visiting on his final tour
is instructive. Ethiopia, the country where Mr Blair launched his campaign
against poverty, is off the itinerary. The shine has worn off its prime
minister, Meles Zenawi, a member of Mr Blair's Commission for Africa, after
elections two years ago ended in mass arrests and Ethiopian tanks rumbled
into Somalia to oust the Islamic Courts, opening fire on civilians in
Mogadishu. There will be no visit to Uganda either, after its president
Yoweri Museveni, another Africa commission member, changed the constitution
to remain in power indefinitely. Both leaders found it easier to talk about
the principles of good governance for other countries than actually applying
them to their own.
By making his tour, Mr Blair is inviting the question that all G8 leaders
gathering next week in Heiligendamm on the Baltic coast will be challenged
with: what did the commitments made to Africa at the G8 conference in
Gleneagles actually achieve? The legacy is mixed: 18 countries in Africa
have benefited from debt cancellation, and in Ghana and Malawi it has made a
real difference. The money saved has respectively made education free and
trained 4,000 extra teachers. Oxfam has no hesitation in calling this a
significant victory. But 17 of the world's 41 poorest countries are still
struggling to meet the G8's conditions, and other countries with crippling
debts, such as Kenya, remain excluded. Even now the world's poorest
countries still pay the richest $100m a day in debt repayments.

The gap between promise and delivery remains wide in the field of aid. Oxfam
calculated that the G8 will miss its target of increasing annual aid levels
by $50bn by 2010, with a shortfall of $30bn. This is not Mr Blair's fault.
Since 1997 British expenditure on aid has more than doubled and, with 0.47%
of GDP now spent on aid, Britain is moving credibly towards the UN-agreed
target of 0.7% by 2015. But aid from Italy and France is falling, and aid
from Germany, the US and Japan far short of what was promised. If G8
countries were like priests, most would have to retake their vows.

Aid works where it is properly delivered, but giving the cotton farmers of
Mali access to world markets would be even better. Hot on the heels of the
G8 meeting comes a critical decision by trade ministers - the last chance to
conclude WTO talks by the summer and to agree cuts in agriculture subsidies
and tariffs. This round of talks risks being hijacked by a familiar row
between Europe and the US about whose subsidies should be cut first. On his
first visit to Brussels as French president, Nicolas Sarkozy signalled that
he would protect the interests of French farmers and resist attempts to cut
supports while US farmers benefited from the same policies. Mr Sarkozy said
it was "goodbye to naivety". It could also be goodbye to a good deal on
trade for Africa.

There are other areas of the Gleneagles agenda where the outcome has fallen
short of expectation. Both Darfur and Zimbabwe remain woeful, questioning
Africa's ability, either military or diplomatic, to sort out its problems.
That should not be a reason for the G8 to walk away from its commitments, or
to move on to other agendas. Mr Blair, along with Gordon Brown, has put
African poverty on the international agenda and kept it there. That does not
mean that he is leaving with the task of solving it anything like finished.

Back to the Top
Back to Index