|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
According to MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe, a group of about 50 Zanu-PF supporters and war veterans attacked the MDC motorcade with sticks, stones, machetes and spears.
They stoned his vehicle shattering all windows and causing extensive damage to the body of the Pajero that was carrying Tsvangirai
All the windows in Mr Tsvangirai's vehicle were said to have all been shattered and the car extensively damaged.
Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was on his way to address a presidential campaign rally about 150 km west of the capital as part of a series of meetings with supporters in preparation for presidential elections next year.
The MDC is treating the attack as an assassination attempt.
The convoy made a U-turn and the rally was cancelled.
Mr Jongwe told our BBC reporter in Harare that the police were unhelpful.
A similar incident happened in July as Mr Tsvangirai was making his way to address a rally in Bindura.
Mr Tsvangirai said after the attack that there were no plans for an election boycott.
At least 30 opposition supporters were killed in the run-up to last year's parliamentary elections in which the ruling party secured a narrow win.
|12 October 2001
Zimbabwean Envoy Relives Anxious Moments During Attacks in U.S.
(Says U.S. government reaction was "exemplary") (960) By Jim Fisher-Thompson Washington File Staff Writer Washington -- Thousands of Americans and at least one African diplomat, Zimbabwean Ambassador Simbi Mubako, shared a terrible thought the morning of September 11: would they ever see loved ones again from whom they routinely parted to begin what they thought would be just another workday? Less than three weeks after self-proclaimed Muslim extremists hijacked three jet airliners, crashing two into the twin World Trade Center towers in New York City and the third into the Pentagon building, headquarters of U.S. military forces, located near Washington in Arlington, Virginia, Mubako told the Washington File, "It was difficult to believe that such a thing could happen." A fourth airliner crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers struggled with hijackers, it was reported. When one of the bloodiest days in the history of the United States finally ended, more than 5,000 people lay dead amidst the smoking rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center skyscrapers and under the shattered wall of one side of the five-sided Pentagon. An additional 265 passengers on the hijacked planes were killed. Mubako said that when he first heard of the attacks he feared that his daughter, a BBC journalist who was visiting from London, might be one of the victims. The diplomat was on his way to work at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington, at about 9:40 a.m., when the attack on the Pentagon took place. "It was very real to me because Revai, my daughter, had planned to go to the Pentagon that morning to go shopping," he said. (Pentagon City, where the shopping mall is located, is not a part of the military complex but is located less than a mile from it.) "When she called from her cell phone to tell me she was safe, I was relieved," said Mubako. "But then as I watched the fire and collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on television I was struck by the sheer horror" of the attack. The lawyer and high court judge turned diplomat said: "Nothing could ever justify the killing of innocent people -- children in the street and women going shopping. Everybody is horrified by this attack that was clearly meant to kill as many people as possible." Considering that the terrorist attack killed more Americans than died in the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor -- the event that brought America into World War II -- Mubako said, "President Bush's reaction was exemplary" in showing military restraint while reassuring Muslims in America by visiting a mosque shortly after the attacks. "After great provocation, when there is such national anger, for government to go against popular fervor is very admirable," the diplomat said. Mubako, who said that as a "human being" he was still trying to make sense of the slaughter, pointed out that "even if the attacks were motivated by hatred of Americans, it made absolutely no sense when you realize the World Trade Center had a lot of foreign people working in it." It is now estimated that between 25 and 30 Africans were among the victims from more than 80 nations in the New York City assault. Zimbabweans were luckier than others, the diplomat said, because "of the eight citizens who were known to have worked in the towers, six survived." Other African nations that had citizens reported missing in the Trade Center attacks included Burundi, 1; Ghana, 1; Kenya, 1; Nigeria, 10; and South Africa, 6. As a judge, Mubako indicated he would be very tough when it came to sentencing the terrorists if they ever came before his court. "They've broken just about every rule of international law, including making direct war on civilians rather than military targets. Even if you believed the Pentagon was a military target, why would you attack it in peacetime? It was basically a warlike act when no war was declared." Even after such a provocation, Mubako repeated his praise of U.S. government actions "that basically said, 'We don't want to lump together all Muslims and Arabs in this act.'" He said, "The very first act that impressed us diplomats was the national prayer service at the National Cathedral" that President Bush and other top U.S. officials attended on the Friday following the attacks. "You had a rabbi and Muslim cleric as well as Christian minister at the ceremony honoring the victims. I spoke to a number of Muslim diplomats following the service and they were very impressed with that gesture." The diplomats were also touched, Mubako said, with Bush's visit to the mosque and Islamic center in Washington following the attacks because "they felt it was a very positive endorsement of tolerance and a statement that the U.S. government would never support violence against Muslims as people." Mubako, who is a Roman Catholic, said: "At my own church here in Washington the priest devoted one whole sermon to religious tolerance. His message was that it was wrong to victimize people because of their faith -- again, endorsing the line that President Bush had taken publicly." Commenting on what he thought Africans could do to help combat international terrorism, Mubako said he and the African diplomatic corps met with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner shortly after the tragedy to offer their support. "We told Kansteiner that the best way for us to fight terrorism is to make sure they don't use our territory. This is our basic duty. If we each do it, terror will have no place to breed." (The Washington File is a product of the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
|Friday, 12 October, 2001,
16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Zambia cashes in on Victoria Falls
By Barnaby Phillips at Victoria Falls, Zambia
The Victoria Falls are famous across the world where the mighty Zambezi River, almost one mile wide, hurtles over the abyss into a deep stone gorge, sending up great plumes of mist and spray that rise up into the sky.
Perhaps less well known is the fact that two counties share the Falls: Zimbabwe, which has built a whole tourism industry around them, and Zambia, which has failed to cash in to anywhere near the same extent.
But with Zimbabwe's current political problems - the farm invasions and attacks on opposition supporters - Zambia is beginning to wake up to new opportunities.
More and more visitors are choosing to see Victoria Falls from the Zambian side of the Zambezi River.
And they are discovering that the view is just as good.
Wonders of the world
"I believe Zambians need to capitalise on this, because this is one of the seven wonders of the world" says one white South African woman, who says that she and her friends are frightened by reports of the situation in Zimbabwe.
"We don't want to be worried about security whilst we are on holiday, we just want to relax" says a South African man.
Its not clear whether such fears are justified - it is black opposition supporters, and, to a lesser extent, white farmers, who have been specifically targeted by pro-government militants in Zimbabwe.
But for the Zambians who live near the falls, the problems over the river are good news.
Big new hotels have opened up on the Zambian side, bringing new jobs.
And in the markets, there are more opportunities for local people to make money, by selling crafts to tourists.
"Tourists who were supposed to go to Zimbabwe would now rather come to Zambia, and as a result our business will boom," says one man, selling an assortment of drums and animals carved from wood.
The Zambians are also offering sunset cruises along the Zambezi, upstream from the falls.
Sitting on exotic pleasure boats with names like "The African Queen", tourists sip their cocktails, and watch the elephants and giraffes which have come down to the water's edge to drink.
Obviously Zambia has a lot to offer, and the potential is there for tourism to carry on growing.
But the problem Zambia faces is that tourism is a notoriously fickle business, perhaps especially here in Africa.
At the first sign of trouble the tourists disappear, as Zimbabwe has discovered to its cost.
Zambia will have to remain peaceful and stable if it wants to carry on attracting visitors to its side of the Zambezi River.
Comment from The Daily Graphic (Ghana), 11 October
Mugabe’s wrong move
The global chessboard that our world has become is very sophisticated. As globalisation hits us hard and our economies and livelihoods become intertwined, it has become interesting some of the political moves that even developed countries are making. In Africa, a continent that lags behind the rest of the world in every imaginable dimension, one can see external global factors at play in the few successful African countries; Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is remarkable that Jewish presence or influence in America continuously shifts American foreign policy in favour of Israel. The same applies to British foreign policy when Australia comes in. Progressively, India, Pakistan, and even China, are moving in that same direction when it comes to American foreign policy. Interestingly as well, America is now under the Diversity Visa Lottery programme, taking intellectuals from Third World countries into their country.
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Libya are three African countries where external global factors have been playing a very major and positive global role for the people and the economy. Because they have their kinsmen in Zimbabwe, British foreign policy towards Zimbabwe has been more favourable than to the rest of Africa. South Africa has also benefited because of the presence of a vast number of people of European descent in that country. Also, Libya, by its dual position as African and Arab, has benefited tremendously. In West Africa, notably Ghana, it has become a big debate that it was wrong to have totally sacked all whites from the country after independence. Opinion is that the country would have had a better bargaining power in international affairs if she had had some of these Europeans as her citizens. After all, what is globalisation about than using your global links to turn things in your favour?
Although there is land reform problem in Zimbabwe that has to be addressed, President Robert Mugabe has set the clock of Africa back a few centuries. He is practising old century politics in a more advanced one. He is creating a war situation in a country that is not at war, and for me, an African, that is very retrogressive for an already troubled continent. Land has been used as a political tool in Zimbabwe for many, many years now. Land distribution to landless blacks has been on the books for years. Funds were once provided for this to be done. However, all the land that was taken didn’t end up going to the landless blacks but rather, as in most African countries, the land ended up as property for Mugabe’s cronies in government.
It is easy to get disillusioned and think that the current situation in Zimbabwe is about Mugabe’s resolve to revert the injustice that has been done to his country’s black population. However, the old guerrilla fighter virtually did nothing about the land situation for years until the people of Zimbabwe, through a referendum, rejected an amendment to the constitution that would have favoured Mugabe and also done something about the land. Rather than respect the will of the people, Mugabe went on a warpath in order to secure his own political future. Even though Zimbabwe’s economy is largely dependent on tobacco exports, Mugabe, in his wisdom, decided, in a populist move, to send war veterans to go and invade tobacco farms. Of course, the economy went tumbling. Even black farm workers lost their lives, there was social unrest, media men talked and were jailed and there begun the process of mass migration out of the country. Was Mugabe’s action actually to provide land for landless blacks or was it a populist move meant to maintain his continuous stay in power?
Our world has advanced, yet many, like Mugabe, are still living in the past. There are ways to distribute assets among people without the type of havoc in Zimbabwe. There are people living in America, for example, who own shares all over the world. There are Africans who own percentage shares in American and European companies. It would have been prudent, for example, if an arrangement had been made to give percentages of the land as shares to blacks. They would automatically have become part owners of the farms and economic turmoil would not have resulted. It is naive to assume that sending a group of war veterans to invade farms would have solved the problem. How was the distribution going to be done? Would anybody automatically own the land he stands on? What if 50 people go to a large farm and 100 to a small farm? Proper management of the land would have done the economy a lot of good. However, without any country having fired a single bullet, Mugabe has created a war situation in a country that is not at war.
Unfortunately, Mugabe’s mishandling of the situation has affected a key ally, South Africa, whose currency, the rand, has tumbled. Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, can no longer sit on the fence. Clearly, in today’s global world, with its stock markets, and multinational corporations, events in Zimbabwe can have effect far beyond the sub region. No wonder commonwealth leaders met to try to resolve the situation. Obviously, Mugabe’s poor move, like the move by the international terrorists in the United States, threatens to overturn the whole chessboard. Resolving the problem, however, might be a tall order. Mugabe is an old man used to the old ways and, as they say, it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks.
From The Financial Gazette, 11 October
RG ordered to postpone Harare polls
THE governing Zanu PF party has instructed the government to postpone the mayoral elections in Harare and Chitungwiza until after next year's presidential poll to avoid possible embarrassment by hostile urban voters, it was learnt this week. Sources said Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede's office has been told to stop preparing for the Chitungwiza mayoral election that was supposed to have been held in the second week of December and to concentrate on this month's elections in Chegutu. The sources, who work in Mudede's office, said they were also told "to forget" about the Harare mayoral election until after next year's critical presidential poll, which must be held by the end of March. President Robert Mugabe, whose party was heavily drubbed in urban centres by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) during last year's watershed June plebiscite, is expected to face the stiffest challenge to his 21-year-old rule from the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
Harare, the country's largest city with a population of more than two million people, has been run by a commission led by former diplomat Elijah Chanakira since the Zanu PF-dominated Solomon Tawengwa executive was fired in 1999 for gross mismanagement and corruption. The Chanakira Commission's term, which has been extended three times, is expected to end in December. Chanakira himself, according to his family, has however indicated that he would want to quit after December to concentrate on his businesses. Should Chanakira leave, the government would possibly dissolve the commission in December and appoint another Zanu PF-dominated one to run the city until after the presidential elections next year.
The sources said the government was now also toying with the idea of appointing a similar commission to run Chitungwiza when Mayor Joseph Macheka's four-year term ends in December but residents and the MDC might challenge that on legal terms. According to the Urban Councils' Act, a commission can only be appointed once there is a vacuum created by the dismissal of the mayor and his executive. The departure of Macheka, who is not seeking re-election, does not create "such a vacuum" because there would be some councillors still left to complete their terms, an expert told the Financial Gazette. The expert said the delaying tactics Zanu PF could use might be similar to those it employed in Bulawayo when it used the Registrar-General's Office to claim that it was not yet ready to hold a mayoral election. When that election was finally held in August, the MDC's Japhet Ndabeni Ncube heavily defeated Zanu PF's George Mlilo.
"The Registrar-General's Office can always say the voters' roll is not ready and then when it is ready, it can call for an inspection, delaying the election for some more months," said the expert who preferred anonymity. He said Zanu PF's strategy was to delay the mayoral polls until after the presidential ballot because these were an "indicative morale booster" to whichever party that won them. The ruling party, which has fared badly in the major towns and cities, is worried that it will be embarrassed in Harare and Chitungwiza, two of the most densely populated cities in Zimbabwe.
"What Zanu PF is trying to do is to come up with a strategy to improve services in the two cities hoping that this would improve their standing with urban voters," the expert observed. David Samudzimu, the chairman of the Greater Harare Residents' Association, said his association would contest the extension of the Chanakira Commission's term or the appointment of a new one to replace it. He has already filed an urgent application in the High Court challenging the legality of the Chanakira Commission but the matter is still with the courts.