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Archbishop of York hits out at policy on Zimbabwe

Nicholas Watt, political editor
Sunday September 16, 2007
The Observer

The archbishop of York has launched a sustained attack on the government's
policy towards Zimbabwe, demanding that Gordon Brown end Britain's 'colonial
guilt' and spearhead a campaign of sanctions against the 'racist'
dictatorship of Robert Mugabe.
In an outspoken intervention in which he says that Tony Blair's 'ethical
foreign policy' is a distant memory, Dr John Sentamu warns that Britain can
no longer stand by while Mugabe follows the example of Idi Amin and destroys
his country.

Sentamu writes in today's Observer that Britain's current approach, which is
to regard Zimbabwe as an 'African problem' to be solved by its neighbours,
has failed. 'The time has come for Mr Brown, who has already shown himself
to be an African interventionist through his work at the United Nations in
favour of the people of Darfur, finally to slay the ghosts of Britain's
colonialist past by thoroughly revising foreign policy towards Zimbabwe and
to lead the way in co-ordinating an international response,' he says.
The time for "African solutions" alone is now over. Despite his best
efforts, President [Thabo] Mbeki [of South Africa] has failed to help the
people of Zimbabwe. At best, he has been ineffectual in his efforts to...
persuade Robert Mugabe to reverse his unjust and brutal regime. At worst,
Mbeki is complicit in his failing to lead the charge against a neighbour who
is systematically raping the country he leads.'

Sentamu's intervention will be seen as highly significant, because Mugabe
will struggle to depict him as a white colonialist. The archbishop was born
in 1949 in a village near Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

In a passage that is likely to resonate in Africa, Sentamu likens Mugabe to
the late Ugandan dictator Amin. Sentamu, who was imprisoned for 90 days by
Amin after he had showed his independence as a judge, writes: 'Mugabe is the
worst kind of racist dictator. Having targeted the whites for their apparent
riches, Mugabe has enacted an awful Orwellian vision, with the once
oppressed taking on the role of the oppressor and glorying in their
totalitarian abilities. Like Idi Amin before him in Uganda, Mugabe has
rallied a country against its former colonial master only to destroy it
through a dictatorial fervour.'

Sanctions, says the archbishop, should be modelled on the ones that were
imposed on apartheid South Africa, 'targeted... against those purveyors of
misery whose luxury is bought at the cost of unbearable poverty'.

The Foreign Office last night said that there would be no change in the
government's policy towards Zimbabwe. Britain offers humanitarian help to
Zimbabweans but is relying on Harare's neighbours to take political action
so as to avoid accusations that it is throwing its weight around as a former
colonial power.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'We are supporting people in Zimbabwe with
aid... But it is clear from experience that there needs to be an African
solution there.' Asked if the intervention by a former prisoner of Amin
would persuade the government to change its line, the spokesman said: 'He is
entitled to his view.'

Mugabe received a rapturous reception when he arrived at a meeting of the
14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Zambia last
month. But many African leaders, who have been wary of criticising Mugabe,
are beginning to voice doubts. Zambia's President, Levy Mwanawasa, described
Zimbabwe in March as a 'sinking Titanic'.

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Saving Zimbabwe is not colonialism, it's Britain's duty

John Sentamu
Sunday September 16, 2007
The Observer

In one of his last actions as Prime Minister, Tony Blair visited Africa to
defend his 'thoroughly interventionist' foreign policy towards the
continent. At the end of his trip, at a press conference with South African
President Thabo Mbeki, the Prime Minister admitted that when it came to the
issue of Zimbabwe, only local pressure would do the job. 'An African
solution,' he said, 'is needed to this African problem.'
Yet as the BBC's Sue Lloyd-Roberts demonstrated so vividly on Newsnight last
week, in a remarkable piece of television journalism, Zimbabwe cannot any
more be seen as an African problem needing an African solution - it is a
humanitarian disaster.

Article continues



The statistics alone are devastating: the average life expectancy for women
in Zimbabwe is 34 years; for men, it is 37. Inflation rages at 8,000 per
cent; the shelves are empty of bread and maize; in the hospitals and
clinics, children die for lack of vitamins, food and medicine, while the
ravages of Aids are exacerbated by government indifference.
In the cramped townships now home to those supporters of the opposition
whose homes Mugabe destroyed in a frenzy of destruction called 'Clean Out
the Filth', there is no electricity or fresh running water and sewage spews
out of the dilapidated buildings. The first cholera deaths were reported
last week.

The time has come for Mr Brown, who has already shown himself to be an
African interventionist through his work at the UN in favour of the people
of Darfur, finally to slay the ghosts of Britain's colonialist past by
thoroughly revising foreign policy towards Zimbabwe and to lead the way in
co-ordinating an international response.

The time for 'African solutions' alone is now over. Despite his best
efforts, President Mbeki has failed to help the people of Zimbabwe. At best,
he has been ineffectual in his efforts to advise, cajole and persuade Robert
Mugabe to reverse his unjust and brutal regime. At worst, Mbeki is complicit
in his failing to lead the charge against a neighbour who is systematically
raping the country he leads.

Britain needs to escape from its colonial guilt when it comes to Zimbabwe.
Mugabe is the worst kind of racist dictator. Having targeted the whites for
their apparent riches, Mugabe has enacted an awful Orwellian vision, with
the once oppressed taking on the role of the oppressor and glorying in their
totalitarian abilities.

Like Idi Amin before him in Uganda, Mugabe has rallied a country against its
former colonial master only to destroy it through a dictatorial fervour.
Enemies are tortured, the press is censored, the people are starving and
meanwhile the world waits for South Africa to intervene. That time is now

It is now time for the sanctions and campaigns that brought an end to
apartheid in South Africa to be applied to the Mugabe regime. What Britain
deemed to be in the best interest of the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith
must now be enacted against the Zimbabwean government of Robert Mugabe. The
smart sanctions implemented by governments towards terror groups now need to
be brought to bear upon Mugabe's regime.

The appalling poverty suffered by those who queue daily for bread in
southern Harare is a world apart from the shops, boutiques and sprinkled
lawns of northern Harare, where Mugabe's supporters live in palatial
surroundings. Britain must lead the way in calling for targeted sanctions
against those purveyors of misery whose luxury is bought at the cost of
unbearable poverty.

Blair's 'ethical foreign policy' is a long-forgotten memory, sacrificed upon
an invasion undertaken without UN sanction. In its place, our new Prime
Minister, with his record on debt erosion and activism across Africa, is
faced with a spiralling desperation that demands a response. While Mugabe
may well brand Brown a 'colonialist' or 'imperialist' for any action he
takes, the people of Zimbabwe look to us, and to others, to heed the cries
of their suffering and the voices of our own conscience.

As someone who went on countless marches to campaign for the ending of Ian
Smith's UDI and apartheid in South Africa, I am deeply ashamed by what Sue
Lloyd-Roberts reported last week. We now all know. We cannot look the other
way on Zimbabwe. Enough is enough.

· Dr John Sentamu is Archbishop of York

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Pan Africanism and the Zimbabwe crisis

Pambazuka News

Why all Africans must stand up for universal equality, human rights
and social justice
Rotimi Sankore

First, a statement of principles; Every African is obliged to stand
up for equality, democracy, human rights and social justice - not
just for ourselves as individuals or only in our villages, cities,
countries and regions - but for all Africans across Africa regardless
of gender, ethnicity, race, political or religious beliefs. These
must be the bedrock of genuine Pan-Africanism. All of Africa's anti
slavery, anti colonial and liberation struggles regardless of their
shortcomings [and yes they had shortcomings] were based on these very
principles and the concept of an Africa United for social and
economic development is nothing but empty rhetoric if it is not based
on them.

Consequently for any body genuinely concerned about the future of
Africa there can be no politics of convenience. To be sure, the
Zimbabwean crisis is not the only crisis in Africa, and this writer
believes that all African's must engage any crisis that endangers the
social and economic development of Africa on the basis of the above
stated principles - be it in Darfur, DRC - or Zimbabwe.

However, the Zimbabwean crisis is arguably the only ongoing crisis in
which one side (the incumbent government) and its supporters have
mobilised African support and silenced many by asserting more or less
that its critics are sympathisers, supporters or agents of foreign
interests and former colonial masters. This has wrongly narrowed the
framework of the debate on the Zimbabwean crisis into an
oversimplified context of African nationalism and anti colonialism
versus imperialism and colonialism. If the name of Africa is being
invoked in justification of government policy then Africans must have
a position on it. As we sometimes say, you can't call on your people,
and not expect your people to call on you.

The above in turn underlines an outstanding feature of the crisis -
that the current Zimbabwean government is based on the country's
liberation movement - which was supported by the majority of
Africans, people of African descent and anti colonialists universally
against the undemocratic minority white Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith
and its supporters. The Zimbabwean government has re-mobilised this
historical support by positioning itself as continuing the liberation
struggle to "reclaim our land".

By framing issues in terms of: Are you for land reform or not? Are
you for or against white farmers? Are you for or against colonialism?
Are you for Africans or the colonialists? President Mugabe has posed
in a more sophisticated way; the rhetorical statement so crudely
articulated by George Bush that it eventually backfired - "you are
either with us or with the enemy".

Such "you are with us, or with the enemy" rhetoric regardless of the
cause which claims to serve, its sophistication or crudeness is
dangerous to human rights, to social justice and ultimately to
Africa's development because it suggests that anything can be done in
the name of defending 'us' against the alleged 'enemy' or even worse,
that anything can be done to alleged 'enemies' in the name of
defending 'us'. It also suggests that no wrong can be done in the
name of fighting the alleged 'enemy' and ultimately that anything but
unquestioning loyalty is betrayal.

The continuously evolving logic of such rhetoric is that the
definition of enemy is elastic and 'they' [but not the government]
can be held responsible for anything and everything that goes wrong.
Any acceptance of such a political philosophy by either African
citizens or leaders will stagnate intellectual progress in all fields
and place Africa in a state of permanent backwardness.

We must make no mistake about it - all of human progress - in
science, technology, the social sciences and politics, philosophy and
the arts - is based on challenging and improving the status quo or
building on previous 'standards'. Put simply, all of human progress
is based on rigorous examination of existing conventional wisdoms and
on dissent. Every African and in this case every Zimbabwean must
therefore have, and exercise the rights to freedom of opinion,
expression, association and assembly without fear of, or actually
being beaten senseless, incarcerated or killed. A situation in which
people face potential sanctions for not toeing the official line -
are assaulted by 'law enforcement' agents merely for singing and
dancing [to anti government songs], women are detained for peaceful
protests, passports are seized and lawyers are beaten for
representing clients is absolutely unacceptable. If it was wrong for
minority white regimes to have such policy and practice, it is even
more wrong for a black majority government based on a liberation
movement to do the same.

Africans cannot accept any policies from people on whose behalf we
protested when the same treatment was meted out to them. All Africans
must therefore stand firm against any idea that being in 'opposition'
means people are not human, or that they are human but don't have
human rights. It's a question of principle. All political parties
must be aware of the possibility that they will not always be in
power - including ZANU-PF. Then they will expect their rights to be

If the state of social and economic development is a key indicator of
the state of affairs in a country, a no less important indicator lies
in the possibility that all citizens can criticise their government
and its policies, offer alternate opinions and ultimately change
their government by civil means if that is the wish of the majority.
No government - not even the governments of or leaders of liberation
movements can arrogate to themselves perpetual wisdom and power.

People can debate indefinitely whether or not the Zimbabwean crisis
is as a result of poor government policies, or has been provoked by
sanctions and dirty tricks campaigns by 'colonialists' or both. What
there is no debate about is that there is a political crisis linked
to the apparently indefinite stay in power of President Mugabe. There
is absolutely nothing anti Mugabe about anyone wondering if after 20
years as President another Zimbabwean out of its over 12 million
citizens - whether from his party or any opposition party - cannot be
elected to lead the country.

In Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and other
countries leaders of liberation or anti-colonial movement governments
have stepped down and are still living - Mandela, Kaunda, Chissano,
Nujoma, Mkapa and the list is growing. In Ghana and Zambia where the
last African Union and SADC summits respectively held and the Mugabe
government made it a point to mobilise its supporters there have been
successful changes of the party of government in 2000 and 1991
respectively without the roof caving in on those countries. 20 years
is enough for any President to make contributions to the progress of
his or her country. Nobody needs foreign governments to tell us that.
On the whole African democracy is not perfect but on the balance it
is heading in the right direction. Zimbabwe cannot be an exception to
this progressive trend.

The African Union under the stewardship of Chairperson Konaré
(himself a former leader of Mali that also led by example) has come a
long way from the OAU and it must underline this point. It is a sign
of progress that the AU leadership and many member governments have
so far agreed with African rights campaigners that leaders of
countries with unresolved rights and governance issues cannot Chair
the AU unlike the days when even the worst of despots like Idi Amin
could Chair the former OAU with impunity. The AU and SADC must
continue in the spirit of the AU constitutive Acts, SADC Declaration
and other key principles and discourage the idea that African leaders
must stay in power indefinitely so as to avoid defeat by
colonialists. The colonialists have essentially been defeated. That
is why the country is called Zimbabwe not Rhodesia, and President
Mugabe not Ian Smith has been President for 20 years.

Yes some foreign interests will continue to meddle in Africa, whether
directly or through proxies - this happens in almost all parts of the
world. But the future of Africa is now in the hands of Africans. Our
governments can therefore not adopt the same repressive policies of
the colonialists in the name of continuing the fight against them. It
is important to emphasise that democracy is imperfect universally and
also that the pendulum of power often swings from one end to the
other between ideologies, parties, and factions within parties.
Parties also evolve and change and what they stand for today may not
be what they stood for yesterday or will stand for tomorrow. For
example, the world watched in disbelief during the 2000 Bush versus
Gore election fiasco in the United States which were it to have
happened in Africa under the same circumstances would have been
described as "typically African".

In the spirit of parliamentary democracy with no term limits, former
Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher whom presided over the last
days of the Rhodesian regime and whom regarded the ANC in South
Africa as a 'terrorists' was tempted to go on indefinitely after 11
years as UK Prime Minister until hounded out in tears by anti poll
tax mass protests and her own party. Most recently former Labour
leader Tony Blair under pressure from his own party and the public
barely managed to negotiate a dignified exit after 10 years in office.

In Latin America where some governments would consider themselves as
liberation type governments, Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas for
instance lost elections in 1990 to openly foreign backed Contra's
after coming to power in 1979 on the back of a popular rebellion that
overthrew the Somoza dynasty. By the 2006 the Sandinistas had been
voted back into power. How may people looking at US politics today
would realise that founders of the Republican party in 1854 included
anti-slavery activists and that the Democrats now heavily supported
by African Americans once benefited handsomely from slave owners. The
point here is that majority of African countries have been
independent for only between 13 and 50 years and Africans must take a
longer-term view of political history.

If despite obviously democratic imperfections many African and non
African countries have managed to change leaders and parties of
governments without the world coming to an end, there is no reason
why it is impossible for Zimbabwe to have a future without President
Mugabe in power, or for President Mugabe to live without being in
power. Even Ian Smith leader of the Rhodesian government that
committed countless atrocities against Africans and swore that Black
majority rule would never happen has lived in post colonial Zimbabwe
- and is now a grand old man of 88.

There is nothing personal about upholding democracy; the interests of
the citizens of a country must always come before that of the
leadership of any government. The above underlines the fact that
people can also debate without end about whether the Zimbabwean
economy is collapsing, has already collapsed, or will never collapse.
The fact is that an estimated three million [undoubtedly very Black]
Zimbabweans have fled the country with many living as refugees in
neighbouring countries. They must be running from something. We now
face the debacle of armed racist farmers on the South African
Zimbabwe border fulfilling their racist fantasy by being presented
with opportunities to hunt down and round up Zimbabweans fleeing
across the border in the name of defending South Africa from invading
"illegal foreign criminals". Even if the present Zimbabwean
government claims it bears absolutely no responsibility and that
drought, withdrawal of credit lines, sanctions or even the cycle of
boom and bust that has caused recessions even in advanced industrial
economies is responsible for the economic misery, the fact is that it
is almost impossible to offer alternatives without being "bashed".

No one but the government can be blamed for the rash of legislation
that has no other role than to contain, intimidate or suppress
criticism and peaceful opposition. The laws and policies speak for
themselves "Public Order and Security Act", "Interception of
Communications Act" and so forth. How many people demanding
uncritical loyalty for the Zimbabwean government would happily live
under laws which its just a question of a matter of time before
anyone becomes an arbitrarily victim. It makes no difference if the
foot in the boot kicking you and your rights into a dungeon is Black
or White. A kick is a kick.

'Sanctions' cannot be blamed for everything. By way of comparison
Cuba a country of similar population and even greater anti-
imperialist zeal has faced well-documented and comprehensive
blockades, sanctions and invasions [not to mention numerous
assassination attempts against its leadership] by "foreign interests"
over a greater 40-year period and on a scale far surpassing anything
Zimbabwe will ever experience. Despite obvious democratic deficits,
the Cuban government has won grudging admiration of even its critics
because healthy life expectancy in Cuba - at 67 and 70 years
respectively for men and women respectively - has risen and been
sustained at a level equivalent to and in some cases higher than in
the most advanced industrial countries. In Zimbabwe current healthy
life expectancy has sunk to 34 years and 33 years respectively for
men and women, also making Zimbabwe one of the countries in the world
where men are expected to live longer than women.

This is not an endorsement of any section of, or all of the
opposition, or even of hypocritical foreign policy from some
countries - but rather of the right of all citizens including the
political opposition to exist without fear of repression. Just as we
know that being a liberation fighter does not guarantee that anyone
will be the best possible leader in government, we all know that
being an 'opposition' movement or leader is not a guarantee that
anybody will do better than those they seek to replace. Regardless,
one of the indisputable conditions for the development of Africa is
that the principles and culture of democracy must be
institutionalised. No one should insult the memory of countless
Africans murdered by colonial settlers to facilitate stealing of
their land by suggesting repressive laws are necessary to implement
or defend land reform. Without doubt land reform is a necessary part
of social justice for Africans, but it must be judicious, equitable
and transparent land reform based on respect for human rights and the
rule of law - not land reform used as a political cudgel to 'bash'
all critical voices.

I have heard some people argue that the 'enemies' of Africa now
crying about human rights did not burden their conscience with such
luxuries when benefiting from 400 years of industrial scale slavery,
colonialism and brutal exploitation of Africa and its peoples. In
other words, that 'white farmers' deserve some of their own medicine.
Not only does such thinking reduce African's to the moral bankruptcy
of colonialists, it also fails to understand that it risks granting
unlimited and indefinite power to Africa's actual and imaginary
liberators such that we may all end up be shackled by them. Africa's
liberation movements drew their moral strength from the fact that on
the balance, they fought for social justice, human rights, equality
and democracy - for all - not for card-carrying members of ruling

The philosophical algebra of this equation is that there should be no
expectations that these principles can be discarded as inconvenient
while still counting on the unwavering support of all Africans.
Africans must therefore unite for social justice and human rights
across Africa - including in Zimbabwe. Some people also think that
because of either real or imagined 'western' hypocrisy we must always
give unconditional loyalty to the Mugabe or any government that
claims to be defending Africa against 'imperialism'.

The hypocrisy may be real but our primary concern must be the welfare
of Africans, not whether President Bush as part of his politics of
convenience - supports the Musharraf military regime in Pakistan
which was suspended from the Commonwealth in 1999 for overthrowing an
elected government (while simultaneously passing the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Act), or even whether some of the western
media engage in 'colonial mentality' reporting which fulfils negative
stereotypes of Africa. Our health care system, education, food and
overall social justice and development must come first. It is
impossible to build on development achievements if everyone must
agree with official policy. Regardless of party affiliation nobody's
stomach is neutral on the question of hunger. No disease asks for
your party card.

While all Africans with any dignity must remain firmly anti-colonial
and anti-racist, we must also view with scepticism any blanket anti-
western and anti-white rhetoric. Not withstanding that some foreign
governments described the ANC and other liberation movements as
"communists" and "terrorists" or both, while simultaneously
supporting bandit governments such as the Mobutu regime, Africa's
anti colonial and liberation movements were supported by millions
across the world including from the West. Even some governments such
as the Swedish were proud supporters of liberation movements and post
independence governments long before it became fashionable to do so.

President Mugabe is a former teacher and one of Africa's most
educated and experienced leaders. After over 2 decades in power, he
does not really need anyone to tell him that it is not only possible
to be in office without being in power; it is also possible to be in
power without moral authority. Once any leader anywhere gets to that
point it is irrelevant what you claim to stand for. What will become
relevant is that you did not stand down when you should have done so
- of your own free will - and in the best interests of your people.

*Sankore is a Pan-Africanist and Human Rights Campaigner.

*Comments and responses to
<>, or comment online at <http://>

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Commentary: Mugabe - hero and villain

Caribbean Net News
Published on Saturday, September 15, 2007
By Sir Ronald Sanders

African heads of government are adamant that Zimbabwe’s autocratic leader, Robert Mugabe, must be invited to a summit meeting of African and European leaders in Portugal in December.

For their part, European heads of government are debating whether to bar Mugabe from attending or not.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a business
executive and former Caribbean
diplomat who publishes widely
on small states in the global
community. Reponses to:
This issue was part of a wider debate on Zimbabwe earlier this year at a symposium at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London in which I participated. Other participants included British parliamentarians and businessmen, black and white Zimbabweans, and diplomatic and academic representatives from neighbouring southern African countries.

Amid great disagreement, I had suggested at the London symposium that Mugabe should be allowed to attend because I saw it as an opportunity for other heads of government to seriously negotiate his departure from the presidency of Zimbabwe directly with him in the margins of the meeting. Others disagreed, saying that his attendance at the Africa-Europe summit would give Mugabe’s government “legitimacy”.

It is a similar debate that is currently on-going in Europe. But, it is a sterile debate. Like it or not, Mugabe is in charge of Zimbabwe and the army, which he has favoured and nurtured, still stands behind him.

The best efforts of the opposition party and its supporters have failed to unseat him, and the leaders of many of Zimbabwe’s neighbouring states, who could best apply pressure on him, are ambivalent in their attitude toward him.

As Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, publicly said recently many African countries still regard Mugabe as a hero because of his role as a freedom fighter.

But, they like everyone else, recognise that Mugabe has destroyed the Zimbabwean economy and is ruthlessly persecuting his own people.

Inflation was estimated at a staggering 7,600% in July and unemployment at a frightening 80%. Families are surviving only because many of their breadwinners – both men and women – have sneaked across the border into neighbouring states and are sending money back home.

On top of this hardship, there are massive power and fuel shortages, and reports indicate that “price controls that the government enforced in June have emptied shelves and depleted stocks, bringing many shops and factories to a standstill”.

The official exchange rate between the Zimbabwe and US dollars was devalued in the first week of September from 250 to 30,000 Zimbabwean dollars to one US dollar.

Dissent, however mild, is met with vicious beatings by police and Mugabe support groups.

It is difficult to imagine that the situation could get any worse.

So why should European nations tolerate this villain at their summit with African leaders in Portugal in December?

There are two good reasons. One is the argument put forward by McKinnon that the Africa-European summit is too important to be put off because of Mugabe. And, the African Union has stated quite clearly that its leaders will not attend if Mugabe is not invited.

The second reason is that the leaders of the Southern African nations that are in the best position to persuade Mugabe to end his rule of tyranny are reluctant to take action against him. South Africa’s President, Thabo Mbeki, is the chief among them.

There are various reasons for the reluctance to move against Mugabe. One of them is what Don Mckinnon has said: Mugabe is still a revolutionary hero to many in Africa because he stood up against the racist minority government of Ian Smith.

A second reason – and I suspect this is particularly true in South Africa – leaders fear a backlash from militant groups within their own countries who would use any anti-Mugabe action to suggest that they were selling out to “imperialist” (or “white”) powers in Europe and North America who want to oust Mugabe.

Almost everyone connected in anyway with Zimbabwe knows that the only way to end the destruction of the country and the decimation of its people is for a deal to be negotiated directly with Mugabe in which he leaves office with impunity.

He will not accept that such a deal is possible unless he has iron-clad guarantees from European nations and the United States, and he will want it from the highest possible levels.

The corridors of the European-Africa summit in December would be a good place to start to talk to him.
Hero to some and villain to others, the reality is that Mugabe has presided over the destruction of his country and the decimation of his people. Every day that he remains his country is driven further into an economic abyss, and threatens the stability of neighbouring states as Zimbabwean stream across the borders.

Mr Mckinnon, as Commonwealth Secretary-General, has urged that Mugabe be invited to the European-African summit in December as a practical matter and as good sense. The same argument is relevant to placing the subject of Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Commonwealth heads of government in Uganda in November.

It would not be the first time that the Commonwealth discussed a country that had withdrawn from membership, nor would it be the first time that Commonwealth resolution led to European and American action to end tyranny - Apartheid South Africa is the prime example.

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Hunting mice, now?

Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2007 6:48 AM
Subject: Hunting mice, now?

,,, it is disturbing that people have been reduced to smoking out
mice, and more disturbing that this is reported as an activity that people
normally do.

Andrew Scott
Cape Town.

ZIMBABWE HERALD - Sat 15 Sept 2007

Fire destroys 210 tonnes of maize

From Tafadzwa Mofati in BINDURA

OVER 210 tonnes of shelled maize - enough to feed at least 28 000 people in
a month - and 20 hectares of wheat, were yesterday reduced to ashes after an
uncontrolled fire believed to have been started by mice hunters spread to
Athlone Farm here.

The 324-hectare farm is owned by Mashonaland Central provincial
administrator Mr Josphat Jaji.

The blaze started at around 8am after workers at a neighbouring farm on the
west lit the fire to clear a piece of land as they hunted for mice.

The situation worsened after another fire spread from the southern part of
the farm, along Mazowe River, resulting in Mr Jaji's wife and neighbours
failing to control it.

Mr Jaji said his wife, who stays at the farm, phoned him in the morning
informing him of the blaze.

He said he later learnt that three workers at a neighbouring farm had
started the fire with the intention of smoking out mice and hunting them

Mr Jaji had cleared a seven-metre-wide fireguard around his fields but the
raging fire managed to jump into the fields, destroying the wheat and
shelled maize.

Bindura Fire Brigade was promptly called but they arrived after about
one-and-a-half hours and the water they brought was inadequate to extinguish
the blaze.

"I called the fire attendants but they did not come in time. By the time
they arrived, my maize had been reduced to ashes. As if that was not enough,
the firemen did not have sufficient water to put out the fire," said Mr

He said he arrived at the scene before the Fire Brigade and joined his
family and the farm workers in what proved to be a futile attempt to control
the fire as it approached the farm from two directions.

A visibly distraught Mr Jaji said he had been dealt a hard blow as he had
been expecting a bumper wheat harvest this season after planting 50 hectares
of the winter crop.

"I have lost about 100 tonnes of wheat. By merely looking at the crop, I had
expected to get about five tonnes per hectare," he said.

Grain Marketing Board chief executive Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti said the
burnt 200 tonnes of maize were enough to feed 4 000 average families of
about seven members for the whole month.

He said in a rural setting, a family of seven requires 50kg of mealie-meal a
month and that the lost maize was enough to feed 28 000 people for a period
of one month.

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Outdoor Eating Places a Health Hazard

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

15 September 2007
Posted to the web 15 September 2007


INFORMAL dining is the in-thing these days with some open-air places
experiencing brisk business.

But have you ever checked the sanitary conditions of these outdoor eating

I stopped over at Turnpike Service Station, which is about 20km west of
Harare, on Sunday at around 11am on my way to Bulawayo, and I asked to use
the bathroom.

The lady at the counter told me to go just round the corner where I found
the toilet door locked.

When I went back to the young lady to ask for the keys, she told me to go to
the back where I would find the public toilet.

I found the toilet -- a pit latrine. When I walked in, the stench was too
much for me to bear. In fact, the entrance was impassable. Urine flowed from
the inside to the entrance. Human excreta were everywhere. I stopped and
looked around.

There was so much activity there. A few metres away were men and women
drinking and a few metres further down was the popular eating out joint
known as paWhite House where I had had a meal a week ago.

Although the meal was well prepared, I suffered a severe tummy ache the
following day. Now I know why. This place is filthy indeed. You should have
seen the flies at the pit latrine . . . the green bombers.

To say I was angry is an understatement. I was in a rage.

Just then a Nyamweda bus that was heading for Plumtree drove in and stopped
at the service station. Passengers got out and some headed for the toilet
while others dashed to the takeaway.

I watched eagerly to see how they would react upon reaching the toilet.

An elderly woman was so disgusted that she went to some bush and the rest of
the passengers followed suit. The men found a "urinary" behind the pit

This isn't hygienic, is it? Imagine how many people do this everyday?

I decided to walk into the takeaway and insisted on seeing the manager who
apparently could not be located.

"Why do you serve food and not provide clean ablution facilities at this
popular service station?" I asked the lady at the counter.

But she said someone was employed to clean the toilet but it looked as
though it had been neglected for ages.

All businesspeople at this complex should work together and come up with a
solution to this problem. This practice should not continue and I urge city
authorities to investigate.

But this seems to be the situation at most open air drinking spots. There is
one at Glen Norah B shops which is popular for its cold beers and sizzling
roasted meat but the stench from the long grass, especially during the rainy
season, is unbearable. I know these places because I had a very close friend
who abused alcohol so much he drove my friends and me around these places in
search of cold beer and roasted meat.

The toilets at the bottle stores are a preserve of the few regular customers
and that means everybody else must use the bush.

I remember Harare City Council closing down Mereki, which is so popular that
you even hear foreigners talk about it. Yes, kwaMereki is a joint
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora recommend to anyone visiting Zimbabwe. But why
is it taking so long to regularise kwaMereki?

Informal eating places are a common phenomenon in most African countries as
they provide local dishes in an informal setting that has no dress code. You
can either sit in your car or get some garden chairs that are provided or
you bring in your own stools from home.

This informal dining atmosphere is relaxing and also gives you the
opportunity to meet old friends and talk about subject under the sun.

And by the way, I have not had the chance to dine out these past few weeks
because most of restaurants are reeling under the effects of the meat

This has made dining out rather difficult, particularly if you drive to some
out of town place only to discover they now offer purely vegetarian dishes.
And with the cost of fuel these days, one cannot afford that luxury. Phoning
around is not the solution either, because our telephone tariffs are now out
of this world. Worse still, some have closed shop.

But difficult as it may, I will persevere to find at least one restaurant to
visit next week and let you know what's cooking. So see you there then. Bye
for now.

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GMB to Supply Inputs for Peri-Urban Farming

The Herald (Harare)    Published by the government of Zimbabwe

15 September 2007
Posted to the web 15 September 2007


PERI-URBAN farming in Harare is set for a major boom following successful
talks between Government and the Grain Marketing Board over provision of
inputs for the coming planting season.

In an interview yesterday, Harare Metropolitan Province Governor Cde David
Karimanzira said talks with GMB over availing of inputs were concluded and
they were awaiting implementation to prepare for this year's planting

"We sat down with GMB over inputs and the parastatal is willing to support
peri-urban farming," said Cde Karimanzira.

"Other plans in place were to engage Operation Maguta in view of tilling the
farms as well as provision of agro-chemicals.

"The onus is now on the farmers to organise themselves in preparation for
the planting season. GMB said farmers would get inputs after full payment
while Operation Maguta is paid after harvesting," he said.

So far, people settled on Reinham Farm in Dzivaresekwa have benefited from
the programme, which will roll on to Selby Farm in Harare North where there
are 270 farmers. Cde Karimanzira said both the public and the private
sectors should work towards promoting peri-urban farming as it was
sustaining many families as well as contributing to national food security.

"The private and public sectors should also chip in and support these
programmes so that in the end the implementation is a success as this will
not only benefit the families of those involved, but also the nation as a
whole," he said.

A number of open spaces in urban areas are used for farming purposes by

"People are now making the best of what they have which is a great
development to the nation. Almost all the open spaces in urban areas have
been cultivated," he said.

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Mugabe consolidates power, tackles his arch-critics

Yahoo News

by Godfrey Marawanyika

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is consolidating his hold
on power, as he ruthlessly tackles his arch-critics ahead of 2008 polls in
which he is a candidate, analysts said.

His latest victim is former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius
Ncube, one of his strongest critics, who resigned on Tuesday from his post
in the aftermath of an alleged adultery scandal.
State-run Herald newspaper had published in July some compromising pictures
which it said depicted the then cleric having sex with another man's wife.

Ncube, 60, who has been head of the Bulawayo Diocese since 1998, said his
resignation was intended to save the Church from further attacks and enable
him to challenge the adultery charge in court in his private capacity.

"What they did to Ncube was to send a warning to all critics", said Bill
Saidi, a political commentator and journalist. "The whole plan was
absolutely ruthless".

But "they can't blame Ncube for the crisis we are in. The question is: 27
years after independence, where are we as a nation? The shops are empty," he

Eldred Masunugure, a lecturer in political science at the University of
Zimbabwe, said the government has managed successfully to push out Ncube as
it did not want to be seen clashing with the Catholic church.

Mugabe, 83, is a Catholic.

"The government did not want to deal with him whilst he was wearing the
Roman Catholic garb, they wanted to deal with him personally," he said.

Mugabe's position has also been consolidated by the division within the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), since its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai decided to boycott senate elections last November.

Early this month, Tsvangirai was detained briefly by police and later
charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly causing mayhem when he toured
retail shops last month.

"With Tsvangirai they tried everything, they charged him with treason and
that could not suffice, now they are charging him with disorderly conduct.
They beat him up in March, and at one stage tried to beat him whilst he was
in hospital," Saidi said.

Rights activist Lovemore Madhuku said that the government crackdown against
critics will continue. "By charging Tsvangirai for that petty issue, they
want to show who is in power," he said.

"When they placed those cameras in Pius Ncube's bedroom, they wanted to show
that they can do anything to anyone... and show who is in charge. They have
managed to do just that."

Takura Zhangazha, a Harare-based political analyst, said despite the
scheming by Mugabe's government towards perceived foes, people are not
relenting, citing a two-day job stayaway called for next week by the labour
union to protest the economic meltdown in the country.

Charging Tsvangirai with disorderly conduct was a ploy by the ruling party
to hit back at him after he paid a week-long visit to Australia, Mugabe's
foe country which recently cancelled the visas of eight Zimbabwean students
whose parents are linked to the regime, said Zhangazha.

"It's now a bit of tit-for-tat between (ruling) ZANU-PF and the MDC", he

But deputy information minister Bright Matonga dismissed allegations that
the government of Mugabe was deliberately out to silence his arch-critics,
explaining that they deserved what they got.

"Tsvangirai is an agent of imperialism and he won't be spared if he commits
a crime... Ncube resigned on his own and that is an admission that he
committed a crime," he charged.

"The government is not suing Pius Ncube. He has the platform to do what he
wants, but he knows as government what we are capable of doing. But this is
not a threat against him," he said.

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'SA not trying to topple Mugabe'


15/09/2007 10:59  - (SA)

Pretoria - The South African presidency on Friday rejected as untrue reports
that the government had been secretly working to remove Zimbabwean president
Robert Mugabe from power.

The presidency said in a statement it wished to "caution the media from
falling victim of those who, for purposes of advancing political agendas
which may be opposed to the resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe, peddle
untruths which may impact negatively on the ongoing process of dialogue."

The statement said the latest report by the newspaper The Zimbabwean
published in London and Johannesburg claimed to be privy to minutes which
suggested that the South African government blamed Mugabe for the situation
in Zimbabwe.

The report claimed that the "South African government has been secretly
working to remove [President Mugabe] from power."

'Claims are devoid of truth'

It further claimed that "The SA officials have been lobbying for sustained
international pressure to bear on the Mugabe regime."

These claims by The Zimbabwean were devoid of truth, the South African
presidency said.

Addressing Parliament a fortnight ago, President Thabo Mbeki categorically
stated that the South African Government had never, did not nor would
support "regime change" in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean completely ignored this publicly stated position of
government, the statement said.

It also did not make contact with the Presidency or the Department of
Foreign Affairs to verify the authenticity of minutes it claimed to have in
its possession.

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