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Life and loaves in a Zimbabwe bread line

Los Angeles Times

With hyperinflation at 7,900% and people using up their savings just buying
food, life has been reduced to the queue.
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
8:18 PM PST, November 12, 2007
HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- We have been waiting for bread for nearly two hours in a
rubbish-strewn lane behind a supermarket. It is midmorning, the sun already
blazing down on the 50 or so people in line, when three policemen stroll to
the front.

A low rumble of discontent rolls along the line, like thunder.

Then a stranger named David Kaodza materializes behind me, out of nowhere.
"I was right behind you, remember? You saw me before." He has a ready smile
and the ingratiating patter of someone jumping the queue.

In Zimbabwe, where hyperinflation has reached 7,900% and people have used up
their entire savings just buying food, life has been reduced to this: the
queue. Go to any Zimbabwean town these days, and you'll find lines
everywhere, like an invasion of giant pythons slithering into every
supermarket door.

Kaodza, a hustler in a country where the flour has all but run out and bread
has become a luxury, gives a quick tutorial on how to get ahead in a queue.
You don't just line up and wait to buy. There is an unspoken etiquette, with
subtle rules. Only those in a police or army uniform get to ignore the queue

For people such as Kaodza, queuing is no mere dull necessity; it's become a
business. They are master queue tacticians, managing to be in line in three
or four places. They reserve themselves a place at the top of the queue,
scamper to the end and reserve themselves a place there by making a deal
with the last person to let them back into line later. They wait for the
queue to build up a little more and scurry to grab another place at the end.

According to local etiquette, you can leave the line, but never for long. To
rejoin, you need the recognition of the person you made an agreement with.
But if you neglect to pay the guard in charge of the queue, you still won't
be able to creep back to your place, Kaodza says.

"It's every man for himself. Sometimes you say you were in the queue and you
just came back and someone says, 'I didn't see you.' And you're just
canceled from the queue."

Kaodza always carries a few old newspapers to read. His mantra: Trust no
one. And develop a thick skin. He is used to insults.

"There are people in the queue who hate me because I manage to get four
twists [loaves] and they can't even manage to get one twist. It's do or die.
One has to win. The other has to lose."

Misleading newcomers about the length of the wait, and even what the queue
is for, is a common ploy to minimize the competition, Kaodza says.

Not everyone in line is as lucky or pushy as he is. Many are hungry, tired,
desperate to get food for their family, and spend all their days waiting.

"That woman behind you, she came a long way," says Kaodza, who knows
everyone in the line. "She was dirty, that woman, because where she comes
from there is no electricity and water's a problem.

"She wakes up very early, and by the time she's walked to town she is all

He says some people collapse in the queue but others are afraid to help, for
fear of losing their place.

"It's better not to be a witness for anyone who's sick in line, because if
they die, the police will take you away to the next of kin and you will have
to explain what happened," Kaodza says in a matter-of-fact tone.

As we wait, several women wearing the uniforms of city street cleaners trawl
by, loudly proclaiming that they should join the front of the line because
they have to work all day. At first people guffaw at their clumsy attempts
to queue-hop. But when the smell of freshly baked bread begins to waft out
the doorway, there are shouts of indignation. The women manage to squeeze
inside the door just as the first loaves are handed over.

The first batch runs out. The doors close. The line grows restless.

"People are prepared to fight in the queue," Kaodza says.

The security guard at the door starts throwing his weight around,
threatening to beat some people who are trying to rejoin the queue, while
apparently failing to notice others sneaking through.

As I huddle close to the wall trying to look unobtrusive, the guard suddenly
points his finger at me. All eyes swivel in my direction.

"Look at that white woman there -- she's queuing up. And you're asking me to
let you go to the front!" he shouts. White people, it seems, rarely queue.

Behind me, Kaodza laughs.

"Those people obviously didn't pay the guard," he whispers.

Kaodza usually gets six to eight twist loaves. He cuts each in half and adds
a smudge of margarine and a couple of slivers of sausage and sells them. He
makes up to 3 million Zimbabwean dollars, or $6, a day on sandwiches, and in
five days earns more than most teachers did before their recent pay raise.


In another queue at another supermarket, an unlikely friendship was born.
The two men were essentially rivals for bread. One of them, Shane Johnson,
35, hoped to get a few rolls for his wife and two children; the other was a
profiteer, determined to get hundreds to resell at an inflated price.

They saw each other most days in the bread queue. A few weeks back they
found themselves next to each other. They struck up a cautious conversation.

"You have to be so careful who you talk to. You should have the freedom even
in a queue to say what you are thinking, but you can't because you're too
afraid," Johnson says, fearful that the queues are full of "dodgy
characters" and police informants.

But long hours slowly wore down their reserve.

"Eventually, we started becoming very close," says Johnson's friend, a
27-year-old who gives his name only as Nicholas, afraid of repercussions
from the authorities if his full name is published. "If he has to go
somewhere, I'll go and wait in the queue for him. Or if I can't wait in the
queue, he'll wait for me. We look out for each other."

The main bread factory ran out of flour weeks ago: Now the only bread is
found at small bakeries in supermarkets.

As shortages bite deeper, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group
warned in a September report that Zimbabwe was "closer than ever to complete

President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from
Britain in 1980, blames the West for the catastrophy. But each measure
adopted by the ruling ZANU-PF party seems to have made things worse.

By printing money, it triggered hyperinflation. Its remedy was to set prices
in Operation Dzikisa Mutengo (Operation Reduce Prices) in late June, which
emptied the supermarket shelves of basic goods and ran some small businesses
into the ground.

"We all line up for bread, for milk, meat, for cooking oil and sugar,"
Johnson says. "You talk to the guys in the queue, and they all feel the same
way: There's nothing you can do."

People also queue for hours for cornmeal, a staple known as "mealie meal,"
or for matches, candles, and even plastic buckets to catch rainwater.

Johnson, softly spoken, thoughtful and polite, is not a hustler. "I hate
queuing. I absolutely hate it, because I don't like to be pushed around," he

But Nicholas has undergone a transformation, thanks to the bizarre economic
conditions. In late August, he quit his job as a truck driver, giving up a
wage that was being gobbled up by inflation, and discovered he had an
unplumbed talent for trading.

In August, his wage was $3.20. Now he makes about $70 a week selling drinks.
Selling rolls is a sideline that earns him $5 a day. For comparison,
teachers earned as little as $4.80 a month until the government raised their
wages last month to a minimum of $28.

The people who struggle most are workers who don't want to give up the
security of even a meager salary for the uncertainties of profiteering.

"There are a lot of people who don't know how to do it," Nicholas says.
"They have it worse because they don't know how to go out and buy and sell.
They wake up a bit late. They don't know where to go and who to see. They
don't know how to talk to people."

Johnson's path could not be more different from his friend's. He had owned a
thriving electronics repair business since 1995. But rents kept going up and
customers evaporated. In a decision he likened to a painful divorce, he
closed down in March.

Between trips to queue up, he does a few freelance repairs for old clients,
while his wife works.

When he is in line, he frets about his children. There is his little girl:
He always dashes out of the line to pick her up from nursery school. He
knows he can't afford a decent school for her next year. There is his
3-year-old son, who has asthma. With hospitals unaffordable, no
transportation and the family savings gone, what happens if he has an


If there is one main conversation piece in the queue, it is the queues
themselves. Rumors fly about how a fight broke out in one somewhere, or how
a supermarket fridge or window was broken when tempers got frayed. Then
there are the inevitable stories about another, better queue nearby, for
sugar or mealie meal, stories no one is sure whether to believe.

There is always wariness and distrust. Fears of "dodgy characters" and
plainclothes secret police loom large, though it is impossible to know
whether they are in the queue.

In Zimbabwe, people live with fear all the time. Even so, most days the
conversation in the queue eventually drifts to politics. People blame
Mugabe, whom they call "our father" or madala (old man) or "Bob," for the

"They're too scared to talk about him as the president. Most people wish
that he was dead," Nicholas says.

"They say he's killed our country," says Charles Moyo, 45, a night-shift
worker who queues every day for bread for his four children.

Although people often share their anger, most find it difficult to break
through the layer of distrust. There are many passing friendships in the
queues, but most don't exist outside the line.

Johnson and Nicholas drop by each other's house and socialize whenever they
can. But just as the friendship was born out of the economic crisis, it
might die that way too.

Although Nicholas is something of a success in today's Zimbabwe, earning
enough to save a little and even lend cash to friends, Johnson realizes that
he will never have the aggressive edge that makes his friend such a talented
trader. After losing his business, he knows he is not made for Zimbabwe's
dog-eat-dog economy.

"I'll be honest with you, it's not for me," he says. "To buy and sell? I
don't do that. I prefer to work for a living."

Ten years ago, he considered leaving for a job possibility in another
country, but decided against it. "You say to yourself, maybe it will get
better. It just gets worse and worse and worse."

Now, within the month, he plans to seek a better life in South Africa or

"If there was some sort of hope, I'd stay," he says with a resigned smile.

The low mutter of gossip is interrupted as trucks chug along the supermarket
lane, emitting foul black fumes into our faces, the wheels a foot from our

Then all at once there's a sudden surge forward, a whiff of exhilaration.

Finally, I shuffle through the back door of the bakery with the crowd and
exchange my 80,000 Zimbabwean dollars -- about 16 cents -- for two small
twist loaves, still hot when they are placed in my hands.

As I leave the bakery, I find another queue inside the supermarket: the fast
queue, where police and friends of the supermarket manager get their bread.

The smell of baked bread is intoxicating.

People carry their loaves carefully, as though holding a small and fragile
creature. They walk out with smiles of victory.

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Evicted Zim farmers take their case to Paris


     November 13 2007 at 11:52AM

By Peta Thornycroft

A handful of Zimbabwe's evicted white farmers are inching towards
receiving compensation from President Robert Mugabe's bankrupt
administration in an international tribunal.

Five years after their homes and livelihoods were stolen by Mugabe's
cronies, a group of 10 Dutch citizens who farmed in Zimbabwe and considered
it home, have presented their case for compensation to a tribunal in Paris.

Lands minister Didymus Mutasa, who continues to seize some of the few
hundred remaining white-owned farms, mostly for his relatives or associates
from his home province, Manicaland, appeared in the Paris court, even though
there is a European Union visa ban on him and all senior members of the
ruling Zanu-PF.

The ban was lifted for Mutasa to give evidence at the tribunal in
Paris 10 days ago. The hearings were closed to the media and the public.

More than 4 000 white far-mers and hundreds of thousands of their
workers lost their only homes and incomes and jobs during the land seizures,
which began in 2000.

The 10 Dutch/Zimbabwean farmers took their case to the
Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes,
calling for Mugabe to accept liability for breaches of a bilateral
investment treaty with the Netherlands.

Mutasa admitted in court that the treaty had been breached. The court
is expected to present its rulings and the amount of compensation the
farmers should receive before March next year.

Sources within the farmers' group say the total amount claimed by the
10 farmers was about ?25 to ?33-million (about R242- to R320-million).

If Mugabe's administration, which is unable to raise enough foreign
currency to import food and electricity fails to pay compensation decided by
the tribunal the farmers would have the right to seize any Zimbabwean
government property outside the country.

This would include loans from the World Bank and export earnings.

And Zimbabwe would not be eligible for any funding from the World Bank
or International Monetary Fund until the debt was paid.

Another 50 former farmers, citizens of Switzerland, Germ-any and
Denmark, countries which all had bilateral treaties with Zimbabwe, are also
preparing to go to the tribunal.

Zimbabwe has ducked and dived over signing treaties with South Africa
and the United Kingdom. However, some South African farmers went to Zimbabwe
to invest in agriculture and bought farms the government did not want under
the Zimbabwe Investment Act, which should protect them from the loss of
their property.

Zimbabwe ignored this obligation. Most of the nearly 11 million
hectares seized by the government from white farmers since 2000 is now idle
and fallen into disrepair. - Independent Foreign Service

This article was originally published on page 2 of Daily News on
November 13, 2007

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Crucial Zimbabwean test case to be heard in the SADC Tribunal on 20 November 2007

MEDIA RELEASE                                                 FOR

13 November 2007

The SADC Tribunal will hear its very first case on 20 November 2007 in
Windhoek, Namibia.  The applicant is a 75-year-old farmer, William Michael
Campbell of Mount Carmel Farm in Zimbabwe.  The respondent is President
Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the Government of Zimbabwe.

     In the case Campbell seeks relief for himself, his family and all of
his employees from the continued onslaught of invasions and intimidation on
his farm.

     He is currently facing criminal charges in the local Chegutu
Magistrates’ court for still being on his farm and could face up to two
years in prison for this offence.

     This week he was given a brief reprieve as the magistrates and
prosecutors in Zimbabwe are on strike.

     The SADC hearing in Windhoek on the 20 November is to seek an urgent
interim interdict from such interference pending a full hearing on the
fundamental legal issues at stake in the Zimbabwe land seizures.

     The SADC tribunal was established in April 2007 to ensure that the aims
and objectives of the SADC treaty are upheld.  These include human rights
and property rights which have been under siege in Zimbabwe for seven years.

     The SADC tribunal members are serving judges in SADC countries.  The
Zimbabwean tribunal member is cited as the recipient of a farm along with
other judges, cabinet members, senior members of the armed forces and top
civil servants in Campbell’s home district of Chegutu.

     A full list of these beneficiaries appears in his founding affidavit.

     Campbell's farm was bought by his company after a certificate of no
present interest was issued by the Zimbabwe government in 1999.

     From the year 2000 it has been the subject of numerous illegal and
sometimes violent invasions and acquisition attempts.

     Campbell, believing in the rule of law, applied to the Supreme Court of
Zimbabwe for relief.  The hearing took place in March 2007.  The five
Supreme Court judges who heard the case are all recipients of farms.

     Even though the matter was fully argued and concluded in March 2007,
judgement has still not been handed down nearly nine months later.

     Despite the pending judgement, the Government of Zimbabwe has proceeded
to arrest and prosecute Campbell - the prosecution will automatically fail
if judgement in the Supreme Court is granted in favour of Campbell.

     "What we have in Zimbabwe is rule by law, not the rule of law," says

     "Our laws now prevent us from even approaching a court if our property,
at the stroke of a pen, is acquired.  They can now put me in prison for
being on land and in a home that I spent my life work paying for.  The rule
of law is vanishing in Zimbabwe and someone has to do something about it."

     The legal challenge centres on the fact that no constitutional
democracy anywhere allows the basic powers of the Judiciary to be eroded as
it has been through Zimbabwe's seventeenth amendment.

     It also challenges the failure to compensate in the acquisition process
as well as the exclusively racial basis on which land seizures have been

     The legal representatives for the case include leading advocates in
Africa and Europe.

     Professor Jeffrey Jowell QC, Advocate Jeremy Gauntlet SC, Advocate
Adrian de Bourbon SC and Mr David Drury are the backbone of the team.


Submitted by:                                            For further

Mr Matthew Walton                               Mr Matthew Walton

Walton Jessop Attorneys                           Walton Jessop

Tel:  (021) 702 0541                                   Tel:  (021) 702

Email:    Email:

Cape Town, South Africa                      Cape Town, South Africa


Jeremy Gauntlett SC

Huguenot Chambers

Queen Victoria Street

Town, South Africa

(021) 424 9340





13 November 2007

Zimbabwean farmer lodges landmark test case with SADC Tribunal

Facing renewed threats of eviction, one of Zimbabwe’s few remaining white
commercial farmers has lodged an application for his case to be heard by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal in the Namibian
capital, Windhoek.

      The Notice of Application cites Mike Campbell (Private) Limited
as the First Applicant, William Michael Campbell as the Second Applicant and
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, N.O., in his capacity as President of the Government
of the Republic of Zimbabwe, as the Respondent.

      Michael Campbell, who farms in the Chegutu district, has
suffered a barrage of threats, invasions and incidences of violence
throughout the past six years but has refused to leave the land he purchased
legally in 1999.

      His farm workers have also been the target of unrelenting
violence and abuse during Mugabe’s so-called “land reform” programme, which
has in reality proved to be a mechanism for rewarding and enriching loyal
ruling Zanu-PF party elite.

Campbell’s application calls for the tribunal to rule that the Government of
Zimbabwe is in breach of its obligations as a Member State of SADC through
its purported implementation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (no.
17) Act.

The draconian amendment, forced through parliament in 2005 by Zanu-PF MPs,
seeks to remove the court’s right to adjudicate in any way in relation to
the acquisition or confiscation of land.

Highly contentious, the amendment is without parallel in modern
constitutional democracies, placing Zimbabwe out of line with SADC, the
Commonwealth and African Union (AU) member countries.

Although the Civil Challenge Fund (CCF) challenged Amendment 17 in the
Zimbabwean courts and a Supreme Court action was mounted in March this year,
judgement was reserved.

It is a rule of the SADC tribunal that cases can be brought before it only
after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.

This would therefore mean that the CCF challenge may be brought before the
tribunal only after the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has ruled against the CCF.

However, if the Supreme Court delays indefinitely in giving judgement, it
can be argued that it would, in effect, be denying the CCF the remedy of
approaching the tribunal.

According to Campbell’s lawyers, the Supreme Court has already delayed
unreasonably in handing down judgement and has failed to respond to
enquiries regarding the case, which implies it has declined to exercise its

The CCF legal team was therefore briefed to prepare papers for an
application to the tribunal on the basis that all domestic remedies had
indeed been exhausted.

      This is the first case to be brought before the tribunal since
it was set up in 2000, and is being described as a test case for the rule of
law in the SADC region.

       The tribunal was established through a protocol attached to the
SADC treaty and is empowered to adjudicate disputes between member states as
well as between individuals and member states.

      Campbell’s application contends that the land acquisition
process is racist and illegal under a number of legal instruments, notably
the SADC treaty and the African Union Charter.

Article 6 of the SADC treaty says that “member states shall not discriminate
against any person on the grounds of gender, religion, political views,
race, ethnic origin, culture, ill-health or disability or such other

Zimbabwe is a signatory to both the SADC treaty and the tribunal – the
documents were signed by Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Jeremy Gauntlett SC, a leading South African advocate, will be arguing the
case before the tribunal.

He will seek an order declaring that the changes to the constitution violate
the human rights protections of the SADC treaty.

       The papers document extensive abuses by state security forces
and a barrage of invasions of the farm.  They also provide a list of
so-called “chefs” who have forced commercial farmers off their legally owned

      Beneficiaries of the most productive commercial farms across the
country include senior army, air force and police officers, Zanu-PF
ministers and Mugabe cronies, Mr Mugabe, his wife Grace and family members,
including a nephew, Leo Mugabe, a high profile cleric and, “regrettably”,

      In this particular instance, the Zanu-PF Secretary for
Information and Publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira, has already been implicated
in an attempt to take over Campbell’s farm.

      Located in Mashonaland West, south west of Harare, the 1 200ha
farm is the largest mango producer in the country.  Maize (corn), the
country’s staple food, and citrus fruits are also grown on a large scale.

      The lodging of the Notice of Application takes place against a
backdrop of escalating starvation and reports of advanced
malnutrition-related diseases such as kwashiorkor throughout Zimbabwe.

Previously a breadbasket on the continent, Zimbabwe will need food aid for
more than 4 million Zimbabweans for the remainder of the year.


Submitted by:                                            For further

Mr Matthew Walton                               Mr Matthew Walton

Walton Jessop Attorneys                           Walton Jessop

Tel:  (021) 702 0541                                   Tel:  (021) 702

Email:    Email:

Cape Town, South Africa                      Cape Town, South Africa


Jeremy Gauntlett SC

Huguenot Chambers

Queen Victoria Street

Town, South Africa

(021) 424 9340


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Zimbabwe Debate: House of Lords
By a Correspondent

UK Parliament

House of Lords

Monday, 12 November 2007

Zimbabwe: Human Rights

Lord Blaker asked Her Majesty’s Government:
What steps they are taking to ensure that the political situation and the position with regard to democratic freedoms and human rights in Zimbabwe are on the agenda for discussion at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, as Zimbabwe is no longer a member of the Commonwealth, those matters will not be on the formal agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Uganda. The issue is, however, likely to be discussed at the margins of the meeting. My noble friend Lord Malloch-Brown, who is today at the Commonwealth meeting discussing Pakistan and his ministerial colleagues, will certainly raise the issue in bilateral discussions with regional leaders.

Lord Blaker: My Lords, is the noble Baroness not aware that at the Millbrook conference in New Zealand in 1995, the Commonwealth declared that it may concern itself with the affairs of a country that is no longer a member? Does the noble Baroness recall that the SADC countries eight months ago gave a mandate to President Mbeki of South Africa to facilitate negotiations between the parties in Zimbabwe? When the Prime Minister is in Kampala, will he ask President Mbeki what progress he is making in pursuit of that mandate, bearing in mind that a long time has elapsed, that conditions in Zimbabwe are as bad as they have ever been and that elections are due in March?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I take this opportunity to thank the noble Lord for keeping the subject of Zimbabwe on the agenda. He does that consistently and we are grateful. Although the situation has changed, I note what the noble Lord said regarding Millbrook. In respect of the SADC countries, I am sure that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister will take the opportunity to have discussions with President Mbeki, but whereas the president had hoped to report on the outcome of his discussions by 15 November, we are now looking at the end of the month.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: My Lords, my noble friend will have noticed allegations in the weekend press that Barclays Bank has been giving subsidised loans to leading members of the Zimbabwe regime, such as Didymus Mutasa, who are under sanctions. Have these allegations been investigated and with what result?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, we have seen the reports and we are absolutely determined that EU sanctions should properly be enforced. This is a complex area and we are investigating urgently to see whether loans represent a breach of the EU assets freeze. If so, we will of course act, and report to the House accordingly.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, now that Mozambique has joined, almost all Zimbabwe’s neighbours are members of the Commonwealth. Clearly, working with Commonwealth members in southern Africa, not just South Africa, has to be the most effective way of bringing pressure to bear on Zimbabwe. It that not, in effect, what Her Majesty’s Government need to do—and, we hope, will do—at CHOGM?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, that is indeed what Her Majesty’s Government will be doing at CHOGM, not in the main plenary meeting, but certainly on its margins. We also want to use the opportunity afforded by the Commonwealth People’s Forum and the civil society organisations affiliated to the Commonwealth to provide the people of Zimbabwe with greater support. We want to work not only on the margins of CHOGM, but with those other civil society organisations.

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, I know that the Commonwealth action group meeting in London today is concerned mainly with Pakistan, but, given what my noble friend Lord Blaker rightly said on the role of the Commonwealth—even though Zimbabwe has left it—and given that Mr Mbeki is proving a damp rag in trying to bring the parties together, is there not a case for taking a lead and suggesting that we should find a new candidate who might be much more effective in bringing the parties together, and be less phased, as apparently Mr Mbeki seems to be, by the dominant personality of Mr Mugabe, as this is getting us nowhere?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I note the views of the noble Lord and I understand and share his frustration at the time that this is taking. However, it is important to note that President Mbeki has a task and a timescale in which to deliver. We must wait until the end of November before looking for other candidates. I am afraid that that is the situation. That does not prevent us having discussions with other countries in southern Africa on the margins of CHOGM.

Baroness Sharples: My Lords, will the noble Baroness confirm that Ministers of Mugabe’s Government are restricted from coming here? Does that apply to their children, who, I understand, are in education here?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, Ministers from the Mugabe Government are restricted: they are not allowed to come here. We are currently looking at whether their children should be allowed to continue to study here, and that issue is ongoing.

Lord Elton: My Lords, does the Minister accept that for those of us who feel that the Commonwealth has figured very low on the Government’s list of priorities and, indeed, in the Queen’s Speech, it is very encouraging to hear that the Government now propose to use our membership of that very important organisation? Will they use it on many other occasions in order to breathe new life into an institution that the world cannot afford to lose?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Yes, my Lords. I think that the Commonwealth, with members from north and south, rich and poor, is an ideal organisation to pursue the values that we share.

Lord Roper: My Lords, will the Government take advantage of CHOGM to have discussions with President Kufuor of Ghana, the president of the African Union, about inviting Zimbabwe to the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon in December?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I am sure that that will be one of the matters discussed. I am told that invitations to that meeting were issued last week, so it is still too soon to know who has accepted. However, the invitations have been issued.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, if it is found that Barclays Bank, of which I am a customer—that is a declaration of interest—

Noble Lords: Oh!
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, perhaps I may start again. If it is found that Barclays Bank has been lending money to Zimbabweans against the EU sanctions policy, what action will be taken against it? As questions have been raised about Barclays’ abilities in finance, can we be assured that Bank of England money has not been used to finance these rogues?

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I shall have to come back to the noble Lord in writing because, although I am told that we will act—as I am sure we will—I am not sure in what way we will.

Lord Blaker: My Lords, the noble Baroness said that President Mbeki has a timescale. Can she tell us what it is?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I understand that he was supposed to deliver his report by 15 November but I am told that we now expect it at the end of November. It is very important that we go no further than the end of November because, as noble Lords know, we in the EU are hoping to have a special envoy, who we hope will be able to visit the region between the publishing of President Mbeki’s report and the EU summit on 8 and 9 December.

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ZPF officials starving opposition in Chimanimani

By Tererai Karimakwenda
13 November, 2007

We have received reports that officials from the ruling party are blocking
opposition supporters from accessing much needed food in the Chimanimani
area of Manicaland. Villagers named a ZANU-PF coordinator known as "Mai
Knight" as the chief perpetrator. They said she is hoping to win the party's
Senate seat for the area in the elections next year.
The latest incident occurred last Thursday when six hundred 50 kg bags of
maize meal were delivered by the Grain Marketing Board, to be sold to all
residents of Chimanimani urban. Party affiliation is not supposed to
influence who gets the food, but according to our Chimani contact Peter, Mai
Knight and the ZANU-PF Senator named Munama controlled the distribution of
the maize meal. Peter said Knight blatantly announced that only those who
have a ZANU-PF card would be allowed to get the food. Peter said she warned
the villagers that tough times were coming and they know what to do if they
want to eat.
Mai Knight has been named in many reports by opposition supporters who say
she denies them food and other services meant for the general public. The
ZANU-PF coordinator is also reportedly quite outspoken about her political
bias. If she becomes a Senator for the area, many Chimanimani residents fear
they will be starved even more.
Peter reported another disturbing incident that occurred in Nyanyadzi near
the Hot Springs area of Manicaland. The United Nations World Food Programme
(WFP) was due to distribute food there earlier this year because of the
serious shortages. According to Peter, ZANU-PF officials intervened,
claiming there was no need for food aid at the time. Peter said that Munacho
Mutezo, the non-constituency MP for Chimanimani, convinced the WFP officials
to delay food distribution. He was assisted by the provincial administrator
named Fungai Mbetsa.
Peter told Newsreel that there are very few ZANU-PF supporters in the
Eastern border towns of Zimbabwe. He explained that the ruling party is
aware of this, and has decided to intensify the use of food as a political
weapon ahead of the elections next year.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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WOZA blame police for death of founding activist

By Lance Guma
13 November 2007

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) pressure group have blamed police torture for
the death of founding member and activist Maria Moyo. The 57 year old died
on the 6th November from pneumonia complications which WOZA say were
worsened by her experiences in police custody. Six members of the police Law
and Order section allegedly burst into her Mabuthweni home in Bulawayo a few
months ago and despite pleas from family members that she was ill, proceeded
to drag her outside and bundled her into a vehicle with 4 other women from
WOZA. The group was taken to Khami Dam outside Bulawayo, where they were
interrogated, tortured and abused for 5 hours.

Moyo and the others were tied up with ropes and told they would be dumped in
the sewage-polluted water if they did not disclose the whereabouts of
leaders Jenni Williams and Magondonga Mahlangu. WOZA say that only a group
of passers-by, who included a photographer, deterred the police from
carrying out their threat. In just 4 years with the pressure group Moyo has
been arrested ten times and on each occasion has been physically and
mentally abused by the police. At the time of her last arrest her condition
was deteriorating. Police are said to have only released her because they
feared she might die in custody. After dumping her back home it was left to
Moyo's family to take her to hospital.

It's reported that over a thousand people came to Bulawayo's Hyde Park
Cemetery to pay their last respects to Moyo. Alongside Jenni Williams and
Magondonga Mahlangu she had helped form WOZA in 2003 and has since led
protests against human rights abuses in the country. At the funeral on
Sunday Mahlangu said, 'I would like it to be known that the police are
responsible for her death... She will be remembered for her ready smile even
in harsh jail conditions. She will be remembered for her courage and
commitment. May her soul rest in peace in a better place than the living
hell of Zimbabwe.'

Moyo leaves behind a husband, nine children, and 12 grandchildren.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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15 MDC Activists Abducted And Interrogated in Chipinge

SW Radio Africa (London)

13 November 2007
Posted to the web 13 November 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

The MDC in Manicaland is concerned about the heightened political tension in
the province, following the abduction and interrogation of 15 of its members
on Monday evening in Chipinge South, allegedly by Zanu-PF militias.

The group was force-marched from a house belonging to one of its members and
driven to a police post at Checheche business centre at 5pm, where they were
handed over to the police. The police post there is housed in a building
owned by the Zanu-PF MP for the area, Enock Porusingazi.

At the station, according to the MDC, the group was kept for several hours
and were ordered to make signed statements. Questions covered matters
pertaining to party activities, their jobs, personal details about who
funded their activities and the names of active party cadres in the

Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in the province, said all of them
refused to answer most questions on the grounds that they were illegally
abducted from a house for holding a legitimate consultative meeting.

After the interrogations the group was driven south to Chisumbanje police
station, about 50km away, where they were held overnight until 4am Tuesday.
The MDC believes that based on information obtained from the interrogations,
the police were able to identify the ringleaders of the group.

'After being screened by the police, nine activists were released without
charge and the remaining six were transferred to Chipinge town, which is
250km north of Chisumbanje. Knowing the behaviour of the CID Law and Order
section, we must be fearful for the wellbeing of our abducted members who
are likely to be tortured,' Muchauraya said.

The detained members were late this afternoon still being denied access to
lawyers and food by a chief Inspector Mujaho of CID Chipinge. Four of the
six activists have been identified as Tawanda Muzunya, Joel Mkondo, Chris
Mukwaze and Alone Chiunje.

Three weeks ago an aspiring MDC parliamentary candidate and two other party
officials were abducted from their homes in Chipinge South and held for
three days at Porusingazi's police post, which at times is manned by war

George Makuyaya the MDC's parliamentary candidate for next year's elections,
Philip Munopera the party's district elections director and local ward
Chairman Leornard Makusha, were interrogated under the orders of
Porusingazi, who is also a Zanu-PF central committee member.

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Weapons being stockpiled in Zim

The Zimbabwean

 Tuesday, 13 November 2007 17:13

HARARE - Zimbabwe is buying arms from China in exchange for mining and
farming concessions, prompting fears that the army is planning a coup in the
event of an election defeat for President Robert Mugabe.
The shipment of heavy assault rifles, military vehicles and tanks, riot
equipment, tear gas and rubber batons is being secretly moved through the
port of Beira in Mozambique.
The purchase, confirmed by a Chinese defence journal this week, confirms
information given to Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi three weeks ago by
an opposition delegation.
The MDC delegation, led by Home Affairs Shadow Minister Sam Sipepa-Nkomo,
told the Minister that it had information the ruling party had ordered
weapons from South Africa.
That purchase, however, was scuttled by President Thabo Mbeki, who refused
to okay the sale arguing it was in breach of international protocols banning
the sale of weapons of war to fuel conflict.
Andrei Chang, Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese army's Kanwa Defense Review,
based in Hong Kong wrote last Friday: "Zimbabwe is already acquiring stocks
of Chinese weapons. The country's main battle tanks are virtually all made
in China. At present, the Zimbabwe Army is equipped with 30 Type 59 tanks
and 10 Type 69 tanks, and more than half of its armoured transport vehicles
are Chinese-made Type 63s. The Zimbabwe Air Force is also armed with nine
J-7 fighters."
Army officials and the Defence Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, have declined to
comment on the arms purchase.
Defence sources said the equipment would ensure the army was well equipped
in case Mugabe's Zanu (PF) loses the ballot and needs military help to hold
on to power.
Senior military officials have vowed that they would not salute a new
president without revolutionary credentials and warned the army would stage
a coup if Mugabe were voted out of power in favour of his main opponent
Morgan Tsvangirai.
But the army's ability to take power and keep order has been severely
curtailed by a United States and European Union arms embargo imposed in
2002. - Chief Reporter

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Scratching the soil, waiting for inputs

The Zimbabwean

 Tuesday, 13 November 2007 17:29

HARARE -  "As you can see, no-one is planting here. There is virtually no
farming taking place," said Simba Chinyamakobvu. The air was thick with the
promise of rain and frangipani blossom, but the conversation was as
depressing as the deserted farmyards.
"We have no seed, no fertiliser, nothing. Government has promised to give us
these items. But so far we haven't received anything," said a new farmer
from another former commercial farm in the area.
In the most fertile cropping province, Mashonaland West, fields are bare and
weeds the only greenery. Hundreds of hectares of young coffee is abandoned
at a farm grabbed from a white farmer last month in renewed farm seizures.
Citrus orchards were burned in September and the blaze melted the drip
irrigation pipes which watered the trees.
Footage shot from a light aircraft over the rest of the central provinces in
the past three weeks paints a bleak picture of the results of nearly seven
years of so-called land reform. In place of mechanical maize planters which
put down 20ha of seed a day, thin old women bent double are planting pip by
pip, about half a hectare in the same time.
Many of Mugabe's storm troopers have neither seed nor fertiliser. They are
hanging about scratching at the soil here and there, and waiting.
At Lions Den, about 150km north west of Harare, there is an exception to the
desolation. 50ha of young maize, at present overcome with weeds, has been
planted by former Higher Education minister and ex-president of the Zimbabwe
Red Cross Society, Swithun Mombeshora.
Mombeshora, assisted by police from the provincial capital, Chinhoyi,
allegedly chucked the owners off this farm. He had an easy start after that,
free land, free irrigation equipment, plentiful seed and fertiliser.
Ormeston, the farm he took, has for decades reaped 750ha of maize and soya
beans, 80ha of tobacco, and 15ha of export flowers, and 600ha of winter
But what of the doughty, overcrowded communal farmers who are capable of
producing 800,000 tons of maize in a year? The communal farmers are weakened
by inflation, which is nearly 8,000 percent, and by shortages of inputs.
They are also hungry, and their families are diminished by HIV/AIDS. They
have no access to dams or irrigation, and despite prospects for decent rain
this season, chances of a good crop are dim. - Chief reporter

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Zim: War heroes & plenty zeros


Nov 13 2007 08:50 AM
Trader Vic
OVER THE past three weeks, the Zimbabwe dollar has quietly lost about 75% of
its value again. On the informal market, you now need ZW$4.5m to buy US$1.
The official exchange rate, which is also only a few months old, is given by
the Zimbabwe central bank as ZW$30 000 per US$1. Gideon Gono, governor of
the country's central bank, is still bravely trying to maintain that this is
the actual rate, but on the informal, and real, market, Gono's umpteenth new
currency has already lost 99.3% of its value.This may sound like old and
irrelevant news, but remember that the collapse of a country's economy and
the value of its currency will finally break the back of the undemocratic
government of the day. The easiest way of calculating the value of the
Zimbabwe dollar is by simply looking at the share prices of Old Mutual or
PPCement, which are listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in exactly the
same format as in SA. In mid-October, PPC was trading at about ZW$4m in
Harare. On the JSE, the price was about R44, giving a rand/ZW$ exchange rate
of ZW$90 000 for one small R1 coin.On November 12, the price of PPC in
Harare rose to about ZW$18m, while on the JSE it was trading at R47, giving
a new exchange rate of ZW$380 000 for just R1. Handing out money he didn't
haveThe latest sharp fall in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar happened to
occur exactly 10 years since November 14 1997 when President Robert Mugabe
granted every war veteran ZW$50 000, which was then worth US$1 315.
Incidentally, the Zimbabwe dollar of 1994 has since lost three of its zeros,
and the money granted then, which would be only ZW$50 in today's currency,
is too small to be expressed in any other currency. In fact, 76 of the war
veterans would have to pool their 1994 grants to buy one SA cent.In 1994,
the value of the Zimbabwe dollar also fell by about 75% after President
Mugabe was so generous in handing out money that he didn't have, but then
the share prices also fell sharply by about 40%. At the moment, share prices
are rising again every time the value of the Zimbabwe currency falls, more
or less retaining their value in rands or US dollars.The following few
figures for the performance of the country's index for mining share prices
over the past year show how difficult it is now to get your zeros
right.Mining index: January 2007 = 410 000 Index: November =  847 161
068Points increase, ytd =  846 751 764Percentage increase, 206 876%House
pricesIf the enormous increase in the value of the mining index is adjusted
in line with the official exchange rate of ZW$250 at the beginning of 2007,
which has since weakened to ZW$30 000, this gives an increase of 720% in US
dollars.I am going to predict now already that many analysts who have
nothing better to do are, just as in the past, going to pick the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange as the share market that has done the best in the world
during 2007. What absolute rubbish.But it's not only share prices in
Zimbabwe that are moving at top speed to keep ahead of the falling value of
the Zimbabwe dollar. House prices are now also being expressed in strange
ways.In the select northern suburbs of Harare, several fine houses are now
being offered on for between ZW$300 and ZW$500 ... oh, and
plus nine zeros, whatever that might be. Use the exchange rate of ZW$380 000
calculated above, and you'll see that in ordinary money terms these houses
are going for about R750 000 to R1.25m.

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Of Mujuru, Munangagwa and the succession issue

13th Nov 2007 07:45 GMT

By Alex T. Magaisa

VICE President Joice Mujuru was reported last week to have stated publicly,
that she has no intention of challenging President Mugabe for the presidency
of both the Zanu PF party and Zimbabwe.

This is hardly a source of surprise. It brings to mind an earlier article in
these pages about the perils of pursuing change in Zanu PF.

Reference was made at the time, to the words of Machiavelli, the well-known
political thinker of the Renaissance era, who wrote, “It must be considered
that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of
success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of

For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order and
only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order …”
This is a danger that stalks would-be contenders for power in Zanu PF.

Having made his intentions clear, and captured the backing of significant
stakeholders in Zanu PF power structures, namely, the war veterans, whose
leader, Jabulani Sibanda, has promised a “Million Men March”, the Women’s
League, whose leader, Oppah Muchinguri, threatened earlier this year that
she and fellow leaguers would resort to shedding their clothes in protest
against any would-be challengers and the Youth League, President Mugabe has
ensured that the fortunes of any challengers to his throne are substantially

Timing and purpose of Mujuru’s denial

What is probably significant about VP Mujuru’s announcement is first, its
timing and second, that she has had to make it at all, particularly because
there is no clear public record of her having declared her interest in the
presidency in the first place. Why now and not many months before when the
rumours were rife in the media? What has changed now that necessitates such
a public denial?

Her announcement lends itself to the interpretation that it is an assurance
to the President that she remains loyal, despite the rumours of machinations
on her part and those around her. But importantly, the more likely
interpretation is that this is a declaration, as Zanu PF heads for the
Extraordinary Congress next month, of her own power and position within the
party, against those that she perceives to be the real competitors.

VP Mujuru knows, as do her competitors, that President Mugabe will run for
the presidency in 2008 and that this is no longer a potential vacancy in
Zanu PF. Her best bet therefore is to retain her position in the presidium.
Her words here are clear and significant: "The Presidium is made up of four
people and I am already in the Presidium. I am not going anywhere".

She couldn’t be more unequivocal. Which begs the question: Is her position
under threat and if so from whom? This, more than her denial of her
intentions to gun for the presidency, is the significant part. She knows
that to stand any significant chance in the post-Mugabe era, she must remain
in the upper echelons of the party. In order to do that, she must regain
President Mugabe’s confidence and also keep her adversaries at bay.

In this regard, her major adversary appears to be Emmerson Mnangagwa, who,
having lost the earlier phase of his battle against her for a position in
the presidium in 2004, has been slowly working his way up, apparently,
regaining President Mugabe’s confidence. It is significant that by virtue of
his party position, it fell to him to make public announcements concerning
the forthcoming extraordinary party congress.

In doing so, he became the public face of the party’s endorsement of
President Mugabe as the sole candidate for the party. That circumstance
created a perception of Mnangagwa as supporting Mugabe’s candidature, and
probably explains the timing of VP Mujuru’s statements, in order to equalise
their positions, notwithstanding speculation that both of them were up to
then, seen as contenders for the presidency.

Here one sees two contenders apparently retreating simultaneously, one
probably eyeing a place in the presidium and the other keen to retain a
place in that structure. But the retreat is no more than a strategic
re-alignment, a step back, perhaps in order to launch two steps forward when
opportunity knocks in the future. This whole saga, is not important because
of President Mugabe’s endorsement, but because it is yet another round in
the battle between the contenders in Zanu PF, a battle whose first round
went to VP Mujuru in 2004, of which the next round is only now in play.

Jousting in cyberspace

Interestingly, in circumstances that seem to indicate a latent development
in profile-building, both contenders have been claiming their spaces in
cyberspace. There is a profile of Mnangwagwa on which,
ostensibly, is the website of the Ministry of Rural Housing and Social
Amenities, which he heads.

There was a story by Clemence Manyukwe, in The Financial Gazette newspaper
last week, which carried a dramatic title, “When the Crocodile” Resurfaces”.
It was probably an attempt to analyse Mnangwagwa’s resurgence after the 2004
loss of opportunity to VP Mujuru. Coincidentally the profile of Mnangwagwa
in Manyukwe’s story is by and large a reproduction of the biography on the
Mnangwagwa’s website. It appears that Manyukwe’s source for the biographical
details of Mnangwagwa is very similar to the source of the website details,
given that the information in most parts matches verbatim the website
profile. Of course, Manyukwe may have used a verbatim copy of the same
profile which is also on

Nevertheless, the profile seeks to demonstrate Mnangagwa’s record in the
struggle for independence and his achievements in his ministerial positions
since independence, including from 2000-2005 when he was Speaker of
Parliament. He lists among his achievements the establishment of the
Judicial College, the Small Claims Court, amendments to the Constitution and
the democratisation of the institutions of Parliament, which are described
as progressive reforms.

Perhaps what Manyukwe and fellow members of the Fourth Estate, could do to
assist the public, instead of repeating verbatim the biographical claims by
individuals who wish to lead the country, is to question them on the
substance of these achievements – such as, for example the nature of the
constitutional changes, the events during those long ministerial tenures and
the nature of democratic reforms. That way, the public could gain more and
better information about these candidates so that they can be judged on
their merits rather than rely on rumour and speculation. The aspiring
leaders also benefit from such scrutiny as they can take the chance to
respond to questions of public interest.

On the other hand, it was recently announced that VP Mujuru had launched her
own website, at which
ostensibly, is designed to profile her office and provide an opportunity for
interaction with those who wish to “share valuable ideas with her office”.
Declaring firmly that she believes that “the party has always been and
remains supreme to government”, there is an indication that she regularly
undertakes “countrywide provincial visits where she meets and deliberates
with local and traditional leaders”. The website also profiles her role in
the liberation struggle and the leadership roles she has taken after
independence. Being a woman who rose from a young age to assume a position
of national leadership, she is profiled as an inspiration to the girl-child,
staking a claim, perhaps, to the female constituency.

Now, both are prima facie noble efforts, notwithstanding the limitations of
access to cyberspace by most of their intended audience in Zimbabwe. Yet,
given the tight battles for space in the national media, it is not
surprising that both contenders would wish to stake claims in cyberspace.
Then again they may be efforts to build their respective public profiles to
the international audience and attempts to rebut or neutralise some of the
unflattering information about them that appears in cyberspace.

Either way, it is clear that although both have lost the present opportunity
to stake a claim for the presidency, which appeared so near, there is still
more to come in future. What is happening now is no more than a tactical
retreat and re-building in preparation for tough jousting ahead.

One thing is for sure, the latent battle in Zanu PF is not over yet. It
remains a significant plot in the script appertaining to the national
question. The spotlight having turned away from the presidency, the key
battle is now for the space on the penumbra of that top post, in order to be
better positioned to strike when the opportunity arises.

Dr Magaisa can be contacted at

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Succession Race: Hoax and Distraction?

13th Nov 2007 07:39 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

TO even the most hard-boiled observers of the turbulent political scene
around Africa , the preoccupation with the succession issue in Zimbabwe is
more than bizarre.

This once proud nation, home of the bread basket of Southern Africa, now has
a tattered agricultural industry, an even more tattered currency, whose
value is the laughing stock of the world.

It has he world’s highest inflation rate, record unemployment,
record-breaking food shortages and a health sector probably limping towards
an early grave.

In short, this is a country in such dire straits all-round, all its
government leaders and even its opposition parties should, logically, be
spending sleepless nights worrying about what the masses might do in
reaction to this assault on their very existence.

Instead, we have this soap opera of a ruling party spending precious time on
which faction is supporting which candidate for the presidency of the party
and how its plans can be sabotaged irretrievably, before the crucial
congress of the party next month.

Even the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, a key player in the
recovery plan, is said to be angling for some plum job in this or that

Gideon Gono’s game plan, say his detractors, is to put in place programmes
that might enhance this faction against that other faction.

It may be all be pure speculation and conjecture, but this is the reality of
Zimbabwe today – a country with people dying of hunger and disease whose
leaders are worried about the political weather than about issues life and
death among ordinary people.

Even in discussions with foreigners intending to invest in the country or
help it get out of this mess, politicians are said to have  assessed the
impact of the programme on the advancement of their faction – not
necessarily of the country.

It is all very well to pin the blame squarely on President Robert Mugabe.
His critics claim the man won’t leave office, even if his term is officially

How he has managed to outflank them is easily ignored. Mugabe is in his
element: this is a game of which he has become consummate since assuming the
leadership of Zanu PF in 1975.

Some of his more uncharitable critics say he is having the time of his life
just now, sizing up his opponents, probing their weaknesses, putting
obstacles in their path.

In other words, even he, as president of the country, is no longer too
worried about the empty shelves in the supermarkets or the empty stomachs of
the children from Vumba to Victoria Falls .

He, like his rivals, is so absorbed in the cut and thrust of the combat for
the big job, he pays only incidental attention to the bread and butter
issues whose disregard over the years has led to this present human tragedy.

It could be said that too much politics is going to kill Zimbabwe , finally.

Or is Zanu PF deliberately raising the hype on the succession issue to
distract the people’s attention from the key issues of the forthcoming
election – bread and butter?

Is all this a hoax, with every Zanu PF player knowing what to do to convince
the people that, right now, what must preoccupy them is whether or not
Mugabe remains leader of Zanu PF and the country, even temporarily?

It could be argued that, for the future political and economic health of
Zimbabwe, it is important for Mugabe to be removed from the scene.

His performance thus far has been a total disaster. Most of the political
and economic crises facing the country can be placed at his doorstep.

In that assessment, his critics in the party are right: he should step down
and let someone else inherit his mantle.

What they may not be so decisive about is this: what to do with the man? He
has supporters at the highest level of the party, people like Didymus

It is true that some of his old faithful supporters may have switched sides,
on the logical grounds that clinging on to  his coat-tails as he is hauled
out of the State House, kicking and screaming, might not be so dignified or
even politically prudent.

What is to be asked by all who look at politics as having a kind of logic,
even in a twisted kind of way, is whether Zanu PF has failed to convince
Mugabe that his time is up.

In agreeing to Constitutional Amendment No.18, the detractors declared
themselves to be firm supporters of Mugabe’s retention of power.

The MDC, in joining in this conspiracy, may have hoped to gain some mileage
for itself. But it is only the naïve who believe that Zanu PF and Mugabe are
imbued with the spirit of truth and fairness when  their political lives at

With the opposition MDC now in complete disarray, Zanu PF can complete  its
game plan: retain power with Mugabe at the helm, The old man can then take
his own sweet time to decide when to leave office and who to anoint as his

Incidentally, the reaction to the split in the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai
would seem to suggest there were reasons of “values and principles” involved

An election was held; in the 2005 split, it was not an election that
resulted in the rupture, but votes were involved as well.

It may be premature to dismiss out of hand any suggestions that Zanu PF
played a hand in this caper.

Old hands in Zimbabwean politics must be acutely aware of our propensity for

Zanu PF, born out of a split in the original Zapu, knows this history.
It would be the easiest task for its moles in the MDC to engineer such a

Of course, it could just as well be a bona fide falling out among previously
close allies.

If the split remains as it is, Zanu PF may not have to engage in any
tomfoolery or skullduggery to win the harmonised elections in 2008.

While MDC pollsters had previously theorized confidently that Zanu PF had
campaigned against itself through the price blitz, they can hardly dismiss
the potential of their party having shot itself, not only in the foot, but
even in the head, by splitting at a time when Zanu PF was at its most
divided and its most vulnerable.

What many political observers will conclude from a rout of the opposition in
2008 will probably be that Mugabe has cheated history.

His two colleagues in the old federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Zambia
and Malawi), Kenneth Kaunda and Kamuzu Banda, left office after being
defeated by fairly new opposition parties.

Mugabe will be able to retire unscathed, a man who ruled a country at its
independence and left office in its 28th year of independence.

His legacy will be something else, of course. Zanu PF itself will not escape
the harsh indictment of posterity. It will be judged to have failed to stop
a man who ruined the country’s economy, only because his fellow leaders were
too gutless to remove him or were, in a way, as guilty of ruining the
country as he was – even in colluding with him to carry out this hoax of a
succession race.

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Nothing will change in Zimbabwe unless..

13 November 2007

By Msekiwa Makwanya

The state of the Zimbabwean opposition forces shows us that nothing will
change in Zimbabwe unless people change their behaviour. The situation in
the ruling party shows us that nothing will work for Zimbabwe unless we have
a win-win outcome in the next election. There is a strong case for
reflection across the political divide, and listening to each other. Leaders
should never take people for granted!

The on-going internal squabbles over the dissolution of the Tsvangirai MDC
Women's Assembly and the Ephraim Tapa led UK and Ireland leadership has been
characterised by what other members have called abuse of power. The
allegation of under-performance has not been substantiated yet, at least in
the eyes of the outsiders. However, one would have thought that if Mai
Matibenga was under-performing she needed to be supported by way of extra
training and performance management.

If Mai Matibenga was corrupt then the members needed to know and
perpetrators brought to book. Dissolving the MDC Women's Assembly is
tantamount to sweeping things under the carpet, is that accountability and
transparency the MDC government is talking about?

It will be fair to say that, the performance of other various portfolios of
the MDC have not been very impressive either, although the usual at times
justifiable defence would be that, it is because of Zanu Pf that certain
party organs are failing to do their work. It is true that the same Women's
Assembly is operating in the same environment of AIPPA and POSA.

Turning to the emotive land issue which has become so prolonged, an online
publication zimonline reports that Zanu PF supporters blocked the eviction
of white farmer in Manicaland. An elderly Zanu Pf activist is quoted saying
that, "We have been fighting Chaeruka's militias since last week. We cannot
allow Guild to be removed because she has immensely assisted the community
here". So serious was the situation that "More than 20 people sustained
serious injuries following violent clashes as war veterans, villagers, and
ZANU-PF supporters ganged up to block the eviction of a white farmer by
militias aligned to a top ruling party official in Zimbabwe's rich eastern
farming district of Burma Valley". This is a typical win-win situation for
the community.

The coming Zanu Pf extra ordinary congress in December, 2007 presents
another opportunity for the ruling party to get the right candidate for
their party and the country. President Mugabe is reported to have named his
possible successors as Emerson Mnangagwa, Dr Sydney Sekeramai, Dr Simba
Makoni, and John Nkomo. Analysts have already pointed out that Simba Makoni
is the only "win-win candidate" for the country. His appeal across the
political divide means that Zanu Pf will enhance their chances of winning
without having to resort to questionable means.

The people of Zimbabwe are capable of seeing who is indicating right while
turning left, and who is speaking their language of hope honestly, and more
importantly who has the right track record and relevant experience, if only
the media could tell us more about all the potential leaders. It is
therefore very important for the press to start profiling these prospective
leaders and interview them so that we know what they think, their vision for
Zimbabwe. Change is about reflecting on the meaning of the experience that
we have gone through and listening to the people who have gone through the
same experiences so that we will change that which needs changing. It is a
way of life not just a mantra or slogan.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses so the media should help us with more
information. It is not enough to report about names without objective
character analysis. Choosing leaders is a rare opportunity, and when we get
it they should be the best we can get and to the best of our knowledge. The
way leaders come into power tells us a lot about their character, but the
independent media can enlighten the people before it is too late.

*Msekiwa Makwanya is a social and political commentator based in the United

Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.

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CHRA International day of tolerance

16 November 2007

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is pleased to join the
generality of Zimbabweans and the rest of the world in commemorating the
International Day of Tolerance. On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, 16
November 1995, UNESCO's Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on
Tolerance. Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is
neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the
rich variety of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of
being human. "Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and
fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance
can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the
 globe..." (UNESCO)

The Zimbabwean society is highly polarized along party political lines. This
polarization has created high levels of intolerance among members of various
political groups. It has manifested itself in election violence, human
rights abuses, arbitrary arrests and detentions to name a few. On various
occasions CHRA members have been arrested, detained and tortured. The
majority of the arrests and torture arise from the failure by the police and
other various arms including individuals in government, to tolerate
divergent views. Many of our activities, especially public meetings have
been disturbed and at other instances banned as a direct result of
ideological intolerance.

In 2002 CHRA Chief Executive Officer Mr Barnabas Mangodza, Mr Jameson
Gadzirai, Mr Joseph Rose and one of our youthful members, were arrested and
tortured during a CHRA program and the perpetrators have not been brought to
book. In July 2006 nineteen CHRA members were arrested and detained during a
peaceful demonstration against illegal water rates increases, which were
later reversed. In May 2007 CHRA Chairperson Mr Michael Davies (among
others) was unlawfully arrested and detained for participating in a prayer
meeting organized by the Save Zimbabwe. Four of our members were in May 2007
captured and tortured at the ZANUPF Harare provincial office for
distributing fliers inviting residents to a public meeting. The local CHRA
coordinating office that had been opened in Mbare in December 2006 was
forcibly closed by a group of overzealous ZANU Pf activists who failed to
tolerate the ideas that members were advancing to the community. In
September 2007 sixty CHRA members were arrested and detained during a
solidarity funeral service held in honor of an Operation Murambatsvina
victim. All these instances show a high level of intolerance within
Zimbabwe. These are, but a small fraction of examples of the impact of

Building tolerance and trust in diverse communities is not done overnight,
but takes time and commitment. It requires access to education and
information. Intolerance is often rooted in ignorance and fear: fear of the
unknown, of the "other", (cultures, religions and nations). Intolerance is
also closely linked to an exaggerated sense of self-worth and pride
especially notions taught and learned at an early age. Therefore in coming
years, as Zimbabweans we need to place greater emphasis on educating
children about tolerance, human rights and fundamental freedoms. At the same
time unity must not be interpreted as conformity but peaceful co-existence
regardless of gender, age, race, religion, or political persuasion among

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) values tolerance as a
building block for democracy. In this regard CHRA commits itself to
providing a professional service based on tolerance of political, economic
and social diversity. Residents from various political groups are encouraged
to come together and help advocate for quality, effective and transparent
local governance. CHRA encourages various political groups and the
government of Zimbabwe and other stakeholder, to uphold principles of
tolerance as the basis for development.

Fighting intolerance requires law

Fighting intolerance requires education

Fighting intolerance requires access to information

Fighting intolerance requires individual awareness

Fighting intolerance requires local solutions

Farai Barnabas Mangodza

Chief Executive Officer

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

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Suspected Soldiers Slaughter Endangered Black Rhinos

SW Radio Africa (London)

13 November 2007
Posted to the web 13 November 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

In a tragic incident that occurred last Wednesday night, a gang of poachers
armed with AK 47 rifles and dressed in camouflage, shot and killed 3 black
rhinos, one of the world's most endangered species. The slaughtered group
included a pregnant female, two weeks away from giving birth. A
four-week-old calf was spared.

The black rhinos were part of an important project that hopes to provide a
gene pool for this highly threatened species. It is believed the slaughter
was meant to intimidate the farm owners into vacating their property, to
make way for a top military official who wants the farm.

Black rhinos are normally killed for their horns, but this group had been
dehorned to discourage poaching. Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force, linked the shootings to the ongoing illegal
eviction of commercial white farmers. Speaking in his personal capacity he
said: "As far as I am concerned it is some greedy officer in the army or air
force that actually wants that property and that's one way of trying to get
the people off."

As we have reported most of the recent evictions of white farmers have been
carried out by armed soldiers and youth on behalf of military officials who
want the farms. Rodrigues said the rhino incident fits this pattern.

The shootings took place at Imire Game Farm in Wedza, outside the town of
Marondera. This conservancy belongs to John and Judy Travers, whose family
has headed special breeding programmes to increase the population of other
animals, including lions, hyenas, elephants and impala.

The animals are protected by security guards around the clock. Rodrigues
said the gang approached the homestead and forced the staff to reveal where
the security guards were located. They then disarmed the guards and
assaulted them before going to the secured area where they shot the rhinos
in their pens.

The government's chaotic land reform programme has not only destroyed
agriculture and created food shortages, but much damage has been done to the
environment as well, with military and government officials now aiming for
the few remaining Conservancies. The rare species protected in these areas
are being brought even closer to extinction.

Only 4 orphaned rhinos remain at Imire now, including the young calf. The
owners are offering a reward to anyone who can lead them to the gang that
carried out this shameful massacre, but they need to raise the funds for the
reward first and have published an appeal .

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The judiciary cries for its own justice

The Zimbabwean

Tuesday, 13 November 2007 16:55
"Grant me Justice, Lord! I have walked without blame." Psalms 26:1
After a generation of sloganeering, the much-awaited Judicial Services
Bill was finally passed and assented to by the Acting President Joyce
Mujuru, only after the Judge President breathed fire.  Months after the
presidential assent, nothing has happened.  And nobody in the offices above
seems disturbed.  The judiciary waits, ever hopeful, but the groans are
getting louder.
The government claims to be fighting a brain drain, which has badly
affected the judiciary.  Every year, new magistrates are sworn-in and more
leave the bench, meaning that it operates in the same way as a training
college.  The pattern is the same with the Attorney General's Office.  In
less than 12 months, the Province of Bulawayo alone has lost 10 magistrates,
four of them sworn-in in October 2006 plus two sworn-in in October 2007.
The Regional Courts in Bulawayo hold a record.  All the Regional
Magistrates, within a year have resigned.  Two Acting Regional Magistrates
hold the courts and the work-load is beyond them.  No official appointment
of substantive officers seems to be in sight.
Sudden departures and continuous new appointments have created
instability on the bench as members are transferred now and then without
notice or consent in an attempt to fill in the gaps.  Partly-heard matters
have flooded the system and an accused person's hope of getting justice is a
pipe dream.  They wait for eternity.  Many die in prison.
In the face of all these challenges, the judiciary has shouldered
through.  The remnant staff has been managing the shaky structure with
almost nothing, subsidizing the government with their meagre earnings.
Simple necessities like bench paper and pens have become scarce.  The
officer has to improvise.  Warrants of arrest are now being handwritten.
Nobody knows the last time government printers printed warrants of arrests.
Judgments are not typed and an accused person who wants his judgment for
purposes of processing an appeal has to provide the relevant office with
bond paper.
The bad situations are when an accused person has been granted bail by
the court, but has to remain in custody because there is no Bail Receipt
Book.  What a miscarriage of justice.  These are not secret. They have been
reported in the local media.
The working environment resembles one vast latrine, because ZINWA
supplies water once a week.  Many times Tredgold Building has had to work
half day because City Council cut supplies because of non-payment.  As I
document this tragedy, Western Commonage Court runs for five days without
The Minister thinks it's not bad enough.  We are not surprised.  He
has probably lost a sense of smell.  He is an award-winning tobacco grower.
Zimbabwe now seasonally expects nurses, doctors and teachers to go on
strike.  It has become a tradition. But it is not so with the Judiciary,
which soldiers on. Human Rights violations increase everyday, crime on the
rise, and domestic violence has caused so much noise.  The Judiciary has
stood in all this with the victim without looking at its own wounds, but
inside wondering if somebody out there would notice, or at least smell the
stench coming from its chambers.  The silence was deafening.  At once the
Judge President spoke.  It remained the lone voice in the wilderness.  A
deafening silence, even from Human Rights Organisations who usually stand
with the oppressed.
Does the judiciary have any rights of its own?  When it is beaten up
and stripped naked and left by the roadside, bleeding, from whom does it
expect relief?
Now that the judiciary has engaged in unprecedented industrial action,
a human rights disaster is inevitable.  Unconvicted prisoners find
themselves locked up for longer than the law allows, with no access to
justice.  The convicted ones awaiting sentence have to serve extra time.
Only God knows what is happening to the fresh arrests the police effect
The Judicial Officers are not asking for anything out of the world.
All they are asking for is their dignity back. The government says there is
no money and yet they manage to spoil the chiefs with the luxurious cars.
Do resources suddenly vanish when it is about the judiciary?
This is an appeal to civilized individuals and organisations to
respond to the cry of the lonely voice.  You cannot talk about human rights
anywhere else and leave the judiciary out. An abuse of the judiciary is the
worst human rights violation, because society drinks of justice from that
lone breast.

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SA actors star in "Devilish Bob" to tell the truth about Mugabe

The Zimbabwean

Tuesday, 13 November 2007 17:01
A Group of South African actors here have taken over a play titled the
'Devilish Bob' which was banned by the Zimbabwean government in 2005

. Under the directorship of Tinashe Jonas, the Zimbabwean playwright,
the actors say they have taken it upon themselves to show other South
Africans and the world at large the true character of the man who has forced
millions of Zimbabweans to flee into South Africa and other neighbouring
The play, which runs from November 16 - December 2 at Hillbrow
Theatre, will then be taken to the State Theatre in Pretoria and go on to
tour a number of European countries.
The play shows how the former husband of the first lady Grace Mugabe
was forced into exile while Mugabe grabbed his wife, and explores the
Matebeleland massacres of the 1980s. Ordered by Mugabe himself, they reveal
a very ugly side of the man who says his enemies are Britain and America.
The role played by SA president Thabo Mbeki in trying to bring peace
between Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition MDC has been accommodated
in a full scene. The play also reveals the dirty tricks of the government's
secret security agents employed to scuttle the opposition.
Jonas says it is time for Zimbabwe's neighbours to know the extent of
Mugabe and Zanu (PF)'s gross human rights abuses in order for them to play a
positive and informed role in the Zimbabwean crisis.
"The play is about gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. It shows how
Hitler-ten-fold Mugabe is. We know that Mugabe is an intelligent dictator
who has successfully portrayed himself as a hero and great statesman. We
want to show South Africans that in his own country, Mugabe is like a lion
in a sheep kraal.
"The most interesting part of this play is that the whole crew is
South African. We want South Africans to influence their own countrymen and
women about the situation in Zimbabwe. With millions of Zimbabweans in this
country we cannot pretend that this is still only a Zimbabwean problem. Once
all South Africans have understood why millions of Zimbabweans have fled
their country. allegedly without a fight, we will no longer have xenophobia
and instead get every one working hard to return Zimbabwe to normalcy," says
The actors and actresses say the play will mark the greatest part of
their career. They believe Zimbabweans have suffered for too long without
any support from ordinary South Africans - mainly because of ignorance.
Their belief is that the time has come for ordinary South Africans to urge
their president to resolve the Zimbabweans crisis and for them to do so they
need to know the root causes of the crisis.
Elia Masobe who acts as Bob says he is excited to show the dark side
of a man who has been branded a hero by some African leaders. "I feel
honoured to portray the unpalatable character of a man whose rule has caused
dreadful suffering for millions in his country. No one is happy with Mugabe,
including ordinary South Africans, because they feel a lot of Zimbabweans
who have come here are a threat to their jobs and other resources," said
Namani Khuzwayo, who plays Grace Mugabe, is bitter that the misrule of
Mugabe has turned highly educated Zimbabweans into street beggars in Jozi.
"I'm very emotional about the Zimbabwean crisis. Imagine thousands of
educated Zimbabweans now begging at the street corners in Johannesburg with
some doing very embarrassing jobs," she said.

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Rushwaya caught in 'political wrangle'

The Zimbabwean

 Tuesday, 13 November 2007 16:28

BY Itai Dzamara
HARARE - The drama, intrigue and politicking within local football
administration is likely to attract censure, or even serious condemnation,
from FIFA.
Further to the drama around controversial ZIFA chief executive officer,
Henrietta Rushwaya, The Zimbabwean can also exclusively reveal that FIFA are
deducting funds from the local association in unclear circumstances.
Rushwaya, a lady who has made a lot of headlines, was reported by the
state-controlled Herald newspaper of last Saturday as having been arrested
and having appeared in court on corruption allegations involving US$2,300
but this paper has established that she never appeared in court.
Our investigations have revealed that Rushwaya, who had been away with the
national soccer team on a tour of Vietnam, visited the police and was
questioned before being released.
In unclear circumstances, she was granted bail of $10 million by the
magistrates' court, but without going there, and is remanded to the 23rd of
this month.
"I was never arrested," she told this paper. "I went to the police after
hearing that they had questioned my subordinates and were reportedly looking
for me, and clarified one or two issues they were interested in. My lawyer
obtained bail for me."
The case at hand involves US$2,300. Another football administrator, Kennedy
Ndebele, who is the Premier Soccer League secretary general, is the
complainant, according to police dockets seen by this paper.
Rushwaya is accused of having converted ZIFA funds to personal use. But it
has also emerged that the money is reported to have been found in the safe
at ZIFA, in the custody of the association's accountant.
It is all politics, involving a government minister fighting the current
ZIFA leadership, particularly Rushwaya and the chairman (Wellington
Nyatanga)," a highly-placed source said.
"A new CEO had already been put on standby in the hope that Rushwaya
emerge out of this."
That drama aside, this paper is in possession of a copy of the letter
recently written by world governing body FIFA, to ZIFA. The local soccer
body was recently granted a US$250,000 grant but has received only
US$143,000, a copy of which transaction we have.
But a letter from FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke on the 6th of this
month states: "At its last meeting held in Zurich on 28 October 2007, the
FIFA Finance Committee made the following decision: Deduction of US$11,790
from FAP 2007 for unsubstantiated documents according to the KPMG report."
It is believed that the deducted funds date back to the previous ZIFA
administration of Rafiq Khan. The drama continues to unfold.

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Makusha Mugabe responds to attacks

13 November 2007

By Makusha Mugabe

I was a youth member of Zanu in the 1970s in the US.

I went to Marondera in 1987 to work for Community Newspapers which was
a Unesco Project of the Mass Media Trust - not exactly a Zanu PF
propaganda tool as the Trust was supposed to mediate against total
state control. We were relatively independent.

I discovered that the municipality did not want to offer the
residents, including myself, the houses that  we were living in in,
Yellow City, on a rent to buy schme which was the normal thing in all
other suburbs of Marondera.

I started mobilising residents to complain. A Zanu (PF) political
commissar who was desperate to establish branches adressed us and told
us that if we want our grievances to be heard we must join the party.

We did, and as the most vocal person I was elected chairman of the new
Mpunzarima Branch, and we kept raising our issues until eventually our
houses were put on the rent to buy scheme.

Our party activities entainled mainly fundrising for celebrations
organising meetings and mobilising people for big events like
independence when the shefs were coming. No violence was involved with
anyone, in fact there was no opposition to speak of.

From 1990 I became a journalist with the Financial Gazette, then
Thomsons Publications, Network Public Relations, and ZimRights
information officer in 1995. Soon it bacame clear that I could not
remain with Zanu (PF) when I did not agree with their principles and I
quit, by submitting my party card back to the district chairman, Mr

I remained in Marondera and carried on with my ZimRights activities
which included editing  the first Human Rights Newsletter that was
exposing human rights violations by the Zanu (PF) government, working
with the CCJP, and being the Mash East co-ordinator for election
monitoring in the first and only successful monitoring of elections by

We worked with all the opposition political parties and with Morgan
Tsvangirai as our Trustee, and Ozias Tungwarara as secretary general.
I participated, sometimes as the secretariate in all the meetings
leading to the working people's convention and eventually the
formation of the MDC.

When David Chimhini became director we never got along because he
thought we, me and the other senior ZimRights Officer Nick Ndebele,
were after his job, and soon he told us there was no more funding for
our  post, which I did not fight as I am a professional and new I
would find another job elsewhere. I do not, like Tapa and Chimhini,
fight or take to court a human rights organisation to keep my job. I
just move on.

But I had miscalculated, the clampdown on newsapers came I found
myself unemployed, but this was the same time the NCA and the MDC were
just starting up. While I was looking for other work I participated,
organised and became fully involved in NCA and MDC work in Marondera.

I never saw Tapa anywhere in any meeting. Our chairman was Mpanduki,
and later Ruzvidzo and later Chimonyo. I was always information and
publicity, which position was taken by a ZIS reporter when I left the
country to go to Botswana end of 1999.

I never came back to Zimbabwe except for holidays. I was not there for
the 2000 elections, only to  come for Christmas and stay with my
parents in Harare as Marondera had already become too dangerous,
Chimonyo and other people's houses windows broken, Sam and Ruzvidzo
were now staying in safe houses in Harare.

I arranged my trip to the UK from Botswana and only went to Zimbabwe
to pick up my bags and fly to London., then Birmingham where I looked
for and found a newly created branch led by Nyampfukudza . I joined as
a member and eventually was elected info-coms, the position I still
hold today.

In the process we fought cyber-batteles with the Third Way, then
represented by Sipho, later Chihuri-Chindawi, and we won, then we
fought for the UK to remain united in the split and we won. Tapa was
nowhere to be seen during those days, except maybe at the Vigil where
they needed a frontman.

London Central was always represented by Mike Benett  and I am sorry
if I forget others, but Tapa, Julius were not there or were playing
drums at the Vigil.

Peter Nyoni was only known for making silly tribalistic remarks in
meeting and I am shocked that this is they guy who is now the frontman
for whatever Tapa and Mutyambizi are trying to do.

I hope following the failure of their meeting today, the Central
London Branch will consider doing away with these to who are causing
uncessary negative publicity for  the party, diving people and worst
of all refusing to recognise due process, and being disrespectiful to
the party leadership.

If the branch does not dispense with them the co-ordinating committee
should take this up and take out legal instruments to stop them using
the party's name as they are doing. Their Diaspora website is
registered to the MDC, these people are not MDC. It should be closed
or taken over by the Information Department.

We have no time to waste responsing to people like Tapa. If he is
unhappy about the dissolution of his executive, he should take it up
with the chairman, not to try to divide people here. More than half
his executive is already back anbd working in their branches. But
Tapa's problem is probably that he is no longer welcome in London
Central. The MDC is not there to provide asylum letters. It is a
political party which will be in power next year and and we have a lot
of work to do before that.
Related Stories
MDC UK fire-fights escalate in the public eye
Tapa set up website to attack Tsvangirai and Co
Tapa led MDC dissolved in vote of no confidence
MDC UK chairman digs own political grave
Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.

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Statement by Spanish ambassador Santiago Martinez-Caro

New Zimbabwe

Last updated: 11/13/2007 19:24:20
I AM referring to a report filed by Lebo Nkatazo  in the web page New about a meeting we European Ambassadors on visit to Bulawayo
had with representatives from a Trust called the Bulawayo Agenda.

This was supposed to be a closed meeting in which views were exchanged
freely and
certainly off the record. I was obviously misled in this belief.

The report does quote phrases which were said during the Meeting, but out of
context, and in a manner that may lead readers to the wrong conclusions as
to what really happened. I feel therefore that I should come out publicly
and add a few comments.

During the meeting the Presidency of the European Union thought it pertinent
to remind those present that the Council of Ministers of the European Union
last April 23rd had adopted Conclusions supporting the SADC Initiative on
Zimbabwe and the Mediation process entrusted to President Mbeki of South
Africa, and that any judgement on its results should await its conclusion.

At that moment two European Ambassadors proceeded, no doubt under the same
misconception as myself as to the closed nature of the meeting, to say that
this EU support for the mediation effort was subject to different
interpretations and that some countries think otherwise. I supported the
Presidency. This particular matter was no longer debated and did not come up

What did happen is that while I was trying to make my point about the
opinions and activities of the Bulawayo Agenda, I was repeatedly interrupted
with a mention to violence in Zimbabwe. This exchange, no more than
interruptions to my intervention, finalised when I, not anybody else, said "
you have mentioned violence and I agree with you". Anyone who knows me or
who has any knowledge of my record in this country can have no doubt as to
my commitment to uphold basic human rights and my condemnation of violence.
Public records and the national and international press can be quoted and in
particular during the events of last March.

But what is really important to readers is what was said by the Executive
Director, Gedeon (sic) Moyo. He called his activities " neutral and
impartial". I heard no such thing. What I heard was repeated calls to
remembrance of the past and to retribution for past activities, on a
regional and ethnic basis. I later heard from other leaders of Civil Society
and politicians at the Reception offered at the National Gallery that this
attitude is normal for the Bulawayo Agenda.

For the record, the points I made at the Meeting were the following:

1.- The current negotiations taking place between Zanu PF and the Opposition
have to be held with a certain discretion if they are to have any chance of
succeeding. I therefore cannot agree with those who continuously demand
publicity and enlargement of the talks.

2.- The outcome of those negotiations cannot be, because of time constraints
and level of representation, a final and definitive solution to Zimbabwe's
problems. On the contrary, I believe and hope they will be the beginning of
a political transition which may last for quite some time and which will end
in a national framework which all Zimbabweans will be able to accept.

3.- The basis for reconciliation is certainly not the words and attitude
that I had witnessed from the Bulawayo Agenda. I then gave the example of
Spain's political transition to democracy in which everyone's past was put
aside for the better good of the Nation. In fact, nobody working for the
State or Administration lost his job, not even in the Army and the Security
Services. And there is no doubt that the transition to democracy was a
complete success.

4.- I added my disappointment with what I had heard, because I believe the
demands put forward (definitive solution now and all inclusive talks) are
unreasonable and by insisting upon them in this particular moment in time,
the SADC initiative, which the European Union supports, could be

I might add that Spain does not finance any of the activities of the
Bulawayo Agenda, neither are we considering doing so in the future.

Santiago Martinez-Caro is the Spanish Ambassador in Harare

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