mostly Zim news
- Mugabe to ‘tough it out’
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is likely to *tough it out* and appeal to black
South Africans over President Thabo Mbeki’s head, in response to the South African
government’s ditching of its *quiet diplomacy* policy
Further intensifying the country’s isolation, the United States Congress adopted
the Zimbabwe Democracy Act by an overwhelming majority.
Diplomats said Mugabe was most likely to respond to the pressures by projecting
himself to black South Africans as *a Pan Africanist hero* and *toughing it out, at
least until he has won a further six-year term*.
He has already tried to strike a posture as Africa's revolutionary crusader against
globalisation and the relics of white imperialism, setting an example to the region
― particularly South Africa ― on how to conduct land reform.
Diplomats said another possibility ― although remote ― was that Mugabe would
make cosmetic changes to appease Mbeki. A small group of wealthy white farmers
who have backed Mugabe to win forthcoming elections may be brought on board,
with at least one being offered a Cabinet seat.
A minister able to speak a South African language, such as Ndebele-speaking
Zanu-PF party chairperson John Nkomo, currently Minister of Home Affairs, may be
charged with improving Harare-Pretoria relations.
In the past week Mugabe has ditched the centuries-old rule book of diplomatic
practice by permitting his hard-line Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, to pillory
targeted Western diplomats in the state-controlled media, in addition to launching a
war of words on Pretoria.
Danish ambassador Ole Moesby and British High Commissioner Brian Donnelly
The day Mbeki let it be known he had
finally lost patience ― Mugabe's worst
external setback in years ― the new
Supreme Court bench under former
minister Godfrey Chidyausiku handed the
Zimbabwean president a predicted
internal triumph in the form of 4-1
endorsement of the *fast track land
The last hopes that internal pressure
could bring change were destroyed on
Monday by the newly reconstituted
Supreme Court. Envoys and jurists said
only external pressure could ensure
anything resembling clean presidential
elections next year.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku cleared the government of all wrongdoing despite the
murder of 39 farmworkers and nine farmers in two years of what Mugabe calls the
*Third Chimurenga" or civil war.
It was unreasonable to expect the government to *bring about a totally crime free
environment", said Chidyausiku. He added that land reform *is a matter of social
justice, not strictly speaking a legal issue".
Three newly appointed Mugabe sympathisers backed Chidyausiku's finding, which
now clears the way for summary redistribution of 5 000 white-owned farms to
300 000 Zanu-PF supporters.
Human rights lawyer Adrian de Bourbon said the ruling marked *the end of the road"
for farmers’ attempts to fight through the courts. Anyone attempting to defend human
rights from now on *runs a very severe risk of not getting a fair adjudication", he
However, Zimbabwe's legal community were ringing in their praise for the personal
courage and moral integrity of Appeal Judge Admed Ibrahim (61), who issued a
Ibrahim rejected demands that he resign earlier this year, despite warnings by
Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa that *anything could happen" following death
threats from Mugabe's war veterans.
In his minority ruling, likely to be reprinted in legal journals around the world, Ibrahim
accused the government of coming back to Judge Chidyausiku with the same
arguments that had been rejected by the previous Supreme Court bench under Judge
He said that on the evidence put before the Supreme Court by the Commercial
Farmers’ Union it was impossible to say law and order had been restored.
*Haphazard squatting cannot form part of a lawful programme of land reform," he
said. *It is not the function of the courts to support the government of the day. The
courts' duty is to the law and the law alone. They may never subvert the law. To do
otherwise would create huge uncertainty in the law."
De Bourbon's warning that internal means of legal redress were running out was
echoed by Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe’s business school.
He believes there is little hope the local business community will exert internal
pressure for reform, despite the worsening economic crisis.
However, Zimbabwe remained vulnerable to South African pressure on transport, fuel
and electricity, said Hawkins. *The economic pressures will continue to intensify in
the months ahead, but this government is going nowhere until the elections.
*If Mugabe wins he will have to try and do something ― I don't know what ― to
reverse some of the things he is doing now. Undermining the dynamo of the
economy ― agriculture ― will not fully hit us until next year or the year after.
*We haven't felt the full effect of financing the budget deficit by the tax on savers, and
the exchange rate policy."
Institutional investors are currently receiving a maximum of 30% returns in the face of
nearly 100% inflation, which Hawkins describes as *a concealed tax".
*There will also be a substantial outflow of skills post election," said Hawkins.
Despite the country’s economic decline, political entropy and increasing international
isolation, no challenge is expected to Mugabe’s leadership at next week’s Zanu-PF
congress in Victoria Falls.
An orgy of anti-Western and anti-South African rhetoric is expected when close on
14 000 delegates turn up in the resort town.
Ministers to audit Zimbabwe's
Harare | Monday
FOREIGN ministers from six southern African countries are due
in Harare on Monday to audit developments in Zimbabwe's
controversial land reforms, a government representative said on
The meeting is a follow-up to a Southern African Development
Community (SADC) summit of heads of states held three months
ago as part of an international diplomatic offensive to prevent
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis from turning into a
Foreign ministers of Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia,
Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected
to hold talks at a Harare hotel.
"They will be here from the 11th to the 12th of December. This is
a follow up to the heads of states summit of September," said
representative George Charamba.
The September summit agreed to set up a committee of ministers
to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe.
Asked about the agenda, the representative said "the agenda is
theirs, but they have indicated they want to meet stakeholders."
Local state media say the ministers are expected to hear from an
array of interest groups -- including the main opposition party,
white farmers, liberation war veterans, church groups, civic
bodies, the media and representatives of commerce and industry.
The meeting is to take place after reported calls by President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa for a special SADC task team on
Zimbabwe to be set up.
South Africa's Sunday Times last week said that Mbeki's
patience with Harare was "wearing thin" because the Zimbabwe
crisis was hampering efforts to launch an economic revival plan for
Zimbabwe's turmoil has already had economic effects around the
region, scaring off some potential investors.
The crippled economy also means that a major market for
regionally produced goods is disappearing, as the price of imports
soars with the skyrocketing exchange rate on the parallel market.
In September, Zimbabwe struck a deal with the British
government, under which Britain will pay compensation for the
acquired farms in the former colony, on condition there is a return
to law and order.
At the end of October a Commonwealth team of ministers met in
Harare to investigate progress made in the implementation of the
agreement with Britain.
The ministers concluded their meeting with a call on the
government of President Robert Mugabe to implement the
agreement signed in the Nigerian capital Abuja on September 6
and probe reports of rights abuses and violence.
Last week the Supreme Court declared the land reforms were in
accordance with the constitution, saying the "land acquisition and
redistribution is essentially a matter of social justice and not
strictly speaking a legal issue".
Zimbabwe has been wracked by a land crisis since February
2000, when militant government supporters spearheaded the
invasion of white-owned farms to press for their redistribution to
Meanwhile, Moeletsi Mbeki, a leading international affairs expert
and brother of South Africa's president said on Sunday that
drastic measures including economic action are necessary to
avoid a crisis in Zimbabwe.
The situation in Zimbabwe not act, Mbeki said on public
broadcaster SABC's Newsmaker programme.
"South Africa is the one country that is going to be hurt the most
by the Zimbabwe crisis, so it is the country that has to take most
of the action," said Mbeki, who is the deputy chairman of the
South African Institute for International Affairs.
Measures against the Harare government of President Robert
Mugabe could include "pulling the economic plug" on Zimbabwe,
Mbeki told SABC's Newsmaker programme.
"You know, most of Zimbabwe's trade goes through South Africa.
We must be their biggest trading partner," Mbeki said.
"So we can stop the Zimbabwean economy tomorrow if we
wanted to. We have the muscle," he said. - AFP
And this isn't Africa-related at all, except that I saw the story in the Jo'burg paper. Weird, weird world...
JAPANESE WOMAN DIES
LOOKING FOR FARGO LOOT
A JAPANESE woman who
apparently set out to find one
million dollars in ransom money
depicted in the hit comedy-thriller
"Fargo" may have died from
exposure, Japanese media said
on Monday. The body of the
woman, a resident of Tokyo, was
found in the Detroit Lakes area of
Minnesota on November 15, Jiji
Press said, citing the Japanese
Consulate General in Chicago and
local press reports. A hunter
discovered the lightly-clothed
body of the 28-year old in a forest
one week after she landed in
Minneapolis, Kyodo News said.
She had earlier been interviewed
by local police after being seen
wandering alone in the town of
Bismarck, North Dakota. Unable
to communicate adequately in
English, the woman showed police
a crude hand-drawn map which led
them to believe she was
attempting to find the ransom
money depicted in the
Oscar-winning 1996 Joel and
Ethan Cohen film. A Japanese
foreign ministry official from the
division in charge of protecting
Japanese nationals overseas
confirmed the woman's death, but
declined to comment on the
circumstances or identify her,
citing privacy concerns. "Fargo",
named after a town on the
Minnesota-North Dakota border, is
the fictional story of a faked
kidnap that goes horribly wrong. It
is set in the frozen wastes of the
border area's Great Plains. In one
scene, one of the villains stops
his car in a snowy landscape
devoid of features except for a
wire fence and fenceposts to bury
a briefcase containing almost one
million dollars. The film opens with
the statement: "This is a true
story. The events depicted in this
film took place in Minnesota in
1987," a statement now
celebrated as a cinematic joke.
"For the record, no Twin Cities
dealers' wives have been
kidnapped and killed in Brainerd (a
town in Minnesota where most of
the film is set)... no one has been
axed to death, dismembered and
fed into a wood chipper," the
website of the Brainerd Daily
Dispatch states, referring to the
film's gruesome plot. - Sapa-AFP
- Rural revolt threat
Three Southern African countries have sold out the region's peasants in favour of
quick profits and short-term political expediency, a new hard-hitting academic study
SIZWE SAMAYENDE AND JUSTIN ARENSTEIN
The University of the Western Cape's school of government claims the
systematic betrayal of small-scale and subsistence farmers in Mozambique,
South Africa and Zimbabwe is causing a region-wide rural revolt that could
shatter Southern Africa's economy.
The university says peasants, who were promised land ownership and a real chance
of prosperity with the advent of democracy, are instead being marginalised and
kicked off their land in favour of rich foreign investors or privileged local consortiums.
The university's latest Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern Africa report adds that
even when governments attempt to deal with growing dissatisfaction, their policies
and strategies have proved inadequate or impractical.
In post-apartheid South Africa two-thirds of the country is still owned by 60 000 white
landlords, while 14-million black subsistence farmers eke out a living in the former
"None of the three main components of the South African land reform programme,
namely the restitution of land rights, land redistribution and tenure reform, have made
a significant impact," the report reads.
Restitution and redistribution have both, it contends, suffered from cumbersome and
ineffective bureaucratic processes, as well as an over-reliance on market
mechanisms to acquire land.
Tenure reform, which effects millions of rural workers, has also failed to prevent the
eviction of long-term tenants on white-owned farms or halt the encroachment of
private business on tribal and communal land.
A key flaw, university researcher Edward Lahiff notes, is the government's failure to
address the chaotic administration of communal land in former homeland areas
where South Africa's poorest citizens live.
"Land tenure reform has the potential to affect the largest number of people in the
shortest time, but while the government has passed crucial laws it simply hasn't put
the necessary resources into enforcing them," Lahiff explains.
Provincial administrations have, he said, been tasked with implementing the
Extension of Security of Tenure Act but often only hired a single official to police an
"Not even the police, magistrates or other people in the justice
system are sympathetic, so farm tenants aren't taken seriously.
Recent policy shifts, away from the pro-poor approach between
1994 to 1999, towards a commercial farming model and linked
proposals to privatise communal land are also likely to even
further diminish the benefits of land reform," Lahiff warns. South
Africa's failings are not, however, unique.
Neighbouring Mozambique, where 75% of residents are rural and 60% live in
"absolute poverty", also favours big business and foreign investors over the livelihood
of its peasants.
The country promulgated a reform land law in 1997 recognising the land rights of
subsistence farmers, but has failed to honour the rights when challenged by
corporate or foreign interests.
Massive tracts of Mozambique's most fertile land are, Lahiff says, being
concessioned to cash-rich investors without local indigenous farmers being notified
"Available evidence suggests that the impact on the rural poor is entirely negative,
with local people denied access to essential natural resources such as wildlife and
indigenous forests," he warns.
The investors also often impose exploitative contracts on local subsistence farmers,
including sharecropping and labour tenancy agreements that hark back to colonial
"Notable among these new settlers are Afrikaner farmers from South Africa who have
been granted vast concessions in Naissa and Zambezia provinces," said Lahiff.
Dispossession is increasing as tourism and wildlife investors move into Mozambique,
with concerns that thousands of families affected by the new proposed transfrontier
park with South Africa haven't been properly consulted or offered compensation.
Zimbabwe too neglected its rural poor until very recently, granting the best
agricultural land to government supporters and political favourites.
"Zimbabwe was able to boast an impressive rise in production among small-scale
farmers, but its attempts at land reform were implemented very slowly over the 21
years since independence, without any of the key targets being met," said Lahiff.
"President Robert Mugabe was still allocating land to big farmers until just before
land invasions began, and only changed the policy when it was politically expedient
to do so."
Instead of relieving the plight of the rural poor, the invasions of white and
corporate-owned farms by Zanu-PF supporters, war veterans and landless peasants
have so disrupted the agricultural economy that production has plummeted and food
shortages are being reported.
"As a result, prospects for successful reforms may have been set back even as
popular pressure reaches new heights," said Lahiff.
The promised reforms are further limited by Zimbabwe's technocratic, top-down
"The poor quality of support services to resettled farmers and government's neglect of
tenure reform in communal areas has further limited potential benefits."
The failings, which are common in all three countries, have prompted non-government
organisations and peasants themselves to step into the breach.
NGOs such as Associaçâo Rural de ajuda Mútua and peasant movements such as
Uniâo Nacional des Camponeses in Mozambique have spearheaded a land
campaign that has influenced legislation and is changing government's policies.
In South Africa the national land committee hasn't been as successful at creating a
rural social movement but has managed to win wide audiences for its demands for
faster and more radical land reforms.
The committee and its Mozambican counterparts also travelled to Brazil this week to
learn from the apparent success of the Landless Workers' Movement, which has
resettled 542000 rural families or almost two million people on 18-million hectares of
new farmland at a cost of $6,5-billion.
The African activists are, however, in for a disappointment.
Recent Brazilian studies indicate that the dream has soured, with resettled farmers
defaulting on a debt of $450-million and up to 25% of all resettled farmers abandoning
their plots within two years.
The problems cited by Brazilian settlers echo the challenges faced by their African
counterparts, including competition from mechanised commercial estates,
inadequate water, transport and electricity infrastructure and inefficient government
National land committee deputy director Tom Lebert concedes the problems, but
insists that Africans can still learn from the Landless Workers' Movement's success
in mobilising the rural poor and holding government to its land promises.
"We're going to learn from their successes, even if that means noting their failures.
We are also going to build relationships with the 70000 land reform activists at the
World Social Forum, so we can build an alliance against corporate globalisation,"
He stressed that the committee did not oppose South Africa's attempts to produce
black commercial farmers, but warned that not all subsistence farmers wanted or
were able to go commercial.
"We believe land reform should primarily benefit the landless," he said. * African
Eye News Service
Militants March in Zimbabwe
By Angus Shaw
Associated Press Writer
Monday, February 18, 2002; 3:57 PM
HARARE, Zimbabwe ** Thousands of ruling party militants marched through Zimbabwe's capital and hurled
stones at the opposition headquarters on Monday as the European Union voted to impose sanctions on the
violence-wracked African nation.
An opposition-aligned group accused police of beating several of its members in a separate incident ahead of
presidential elections next month.
The 10,000 protesters marched Monday to the offices of Britain's diplomatic mission and accused the former
colonial power of supporting the opposition to give control of Zimbabwe back to "white oppressors."
Militants then stoned the building housing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, smashing the
building's glass doors and the windows of adjacent shops. No injuries were reported.
The vote will mark the strongest challenge yet to President Robert Mugabe's 22-year rule. Humanitarian workers
say the violence is part of a coordinated campaign to ensure victory for the increasingly unpopular ruler.
The Zimbabwean government on Monday banned a host of foreign journalists from covering the election despite
earlier promises to admit them.
On Saturday, it expelled European election observer Pierre Schori, prompting the European Union to cut off
$110 million in development aid over five years and impose an EU travel ban on Mugabe and 20 of his Cabinet
"The EU remains seriously concerned at political violence, serious violations of human rights and restrictions on
the media ... which call into question the prospects for a free and fair election," a statement issued by the EU
foreign ministers said.
Church officials in Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, said Monday that four clerics and seven of their
followers were arrested Saturday by police who claimed their prayer vigil for peace violated Zimbabwe's new
Several were arrested as they knelt and prayed outside a police station where the group's leader, the Rev. Noel
Scott, an Anglican pastor, had been taken. Among those arrested was Father Kevin O'Doherty, a Roman
Catholic missionary from Detroit who is based in Bulawayo.
All 11 were released on bail by a Bulawayo court Monday after spending two nights in custody.
The interdenominational group of churches said in a statement that police had banned a prayer procession
Saturday to several local churches, saying they could not guarantee walkers' safety.
The group decided to travel between services in cars, but "a police presence was observed" at each service, the
churches said. Scott was approached while giving a sermon and arrested when he stepped outside the church.
A 1,000-person march for constitutional reform was broken up by police on Friday after it was banned on the
grounds it risked triggering public violence.
The march Monday by 10,000 ruling party supporters, however, was legal, police said.
Police stopped the crowd's attack on the opposition party building and herded at least 50 party militants into
police vans. Police refused to say whether any had been charged.
"The police are blatantly the instruments" of the ruling party, said Lovemore Madhuku, head of the
opposition-backed National Constitutional Assembly, which organized Friday's march. "If you are against the
government you don't have any rights."
On Sunday, the government told Swedish reporters that they would not be allowed to cover the election * an
announcement that came one day after Schori, a Swede, was expelled. Some journalists from other European
countries and South Africa were also rejected.
A few U.S. media organizations, including The Associated Press, were told Monday they had been denied
permission to bring in foreign reporters. A few other U.S. organizations were granted accreditation, which will
Zimbabwe Condemns EU Sanctions
By Angus Shaw
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2002; 6:24 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe ** The government on Tuesday condemned European Union economic and diplomatic
sanctions, accusing Europe of orchestrating "hostile action" to influence March elections.
"There is no price that is going to be high in defending our independence," said Information Minister Jonathan
The European Union, angered by Zimbabwe's refusal to let its observers freely monitor March 9-10 presidential
elections, imposed sanctions Monday against President Robert Mugabe's government and ordered its observer
EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels imposed "targeted sanctions" with immediate effect, Spanish Foreign
Minister Josep Pique, the meeting's chairman said.
Moyo described the decision as "an orchestrated and self-fulfilling process," The Herald said.
"There is no amount of hostile action through sanctions or otherwise that will make us move from our principle to
defend our indepen mission and accused the former colonial power of supporting the opposition to give control of
Zimbabwe back to "white oppressors."
EU ministers said the 15-nation bloc was seriously concerned about political violence, human rights abuses and
restrictions on the media which called into question the prospects for a free and fair election.
The sanctions include cutting off $110 million in development aid for the 2002-2007 period, a ban on travel to the
EU for Mugabe and 20 of his Cabinet ministers and freezing their assets in Europe.
The EU said it will also pull out 30 European elections observers already in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has been wracked by political violence for the past two years that opposition supporters, human rights
activists and many international officials blame on Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.
Mugabe, 77, who has ruled Zimbabwe since it won independence from Britain, is fighting to maintain his 22-year
grip in power. As his popularity has waned, he has imposed curbs on journalists and opposition parties and many
of his critics have been attacked or threatened with prosecution.
The state media, a platform for official policy, carried no reaction to the EU decision from Mugabe early Tuesday.
In a defiant statement on state television Sunday, a visibly angry Mugabe said Zimbabwe was capable of running
its own elections without interference from Western countries.
Mugabe earlier this month banned election observers from Britain, the former colonial ruler, Denmark, Finland,
Germany, Sweden and The Netherlands, accusing them of bias in favor of the opposition Movement for
Moyo said the government welcomed "open-minded observers."
"We are happy the world is larger than Europe and that we in Africa would like to be judged by Africans who
share the same values with us," he said.
The European sanctions came two days after Zimbabwe expelled Pierre Schori, head of a 30-member EU
election monitoring team.
Schori, Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations, attended the EU foreign ministers meeting. He
recommended against sanctions but said he agreed the observers had to withdraw to spare them physical abuse
In London, an opposition Conservative Party spokesman told British Broadcasting Corp. radio Tuesday that
Zimbabwe could become a "rogue state" and a menace to the international community unless democratic elections
By BBC News Online's Martin Asser
The run-up to the 9-10 March presidential
election in Zimbabwe has seen unprecedented
interest in the electoral monitoring process, in
particular the composition of those bodies
tasked with ensuring the election will be free
The government has issued a number of
invitations for observers from abroad, but has
also specifically excluded certain nationalities -
with UK citizens top of the list - as well as
some of the international organisations which
usually monitor elections.
New electoral legislation
in Zimbabwe makes the
unique linguistic and
legal distinction between
election observers and
Only the monitors
assigned by the official
Commission will be able
to deliver a verdict on
how democratic the
elections have been.
Observers, on the other hand, will be given
free access to observe the electoral process
across the country, but their findings will not
be taken into account by the ESC.
The vast majority of observers - about 12,000
- are to be "domestic", i.e. Zimbabwean
nationals, who will be present in groups of
three at each of the country's 4,000-plus
polling stations. Four monitors are meant to be
at each station as well.
There will also be
dozens of foreign
hundreds of observers
who - in co-ordination
with their Zimbabwean
counterparts - will be
deployed at potential
"hot spots" to try to
bolster the security of
Monitors are being
drawn mainly from
employees at the
Ministries of Education and Home Affairs, and -
to the concern of some domestic observers -
the Defence Ministry.
An agent for each candidate contesting the
election is also allowed at every polling station.
The only difference in terms of access
between these groups is that domestic and
international observers will not be allowed to
stay with the ballot boxes between the polling
booth and the place where votes are counted.
Government has issued
invitations to numerous
countries - both
collectively under the
auspices of continental
and international bodies
of which they are
Invitations to send observers have gone out to
the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)
nations group, the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU, or African Union), and the
Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the Commonwealth (excluding the
The problems with the
European delegation -
which officials in
Harare said had been
invited as a junior
partner in a group with
the ACP nations - and
from the government's
British observers were
was later extended to include Sweden,
Denmark, Germany, Finland and the
Netherlands, all for allegedly "favouring"
President Robert Mugabe's main rival, Morgan
EU officials announced "targeted sanctions"
and the withdrawal of all the observers,
including those from countries such as France,
Spain and Italy, who had already been
From the US, only the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
has been invited to provide observers, while
other organisations, such as the Carter
Institute and the National Democratic
Institute, which might usually expect to
monitor elections, have not been asked.
The NDI has struggled
to work in Zimbabwe
since 2000, when it
concluded that "the
conditions for credible
do not exist". Denied
body withdrew later
The withdrawal of the
EU team deprives the
body of a group which
would have eventually totalled about 150
That will increase the pressure on the
domestic observers, and the officials and civil
society members of the large foreign
delegations, such as the 100-strong South
African team and the 50 representatives of
Analysis: EU sanctions
By Paul Reynolds
BBC World Affairs Correspondent
The European Union decision to impose so
called "smart" sanctions on Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and 19 of his senior
associates will make little difference to the
conduct of the presidential elections there on
9 and 10 March.
The sanctions mean that Mr Mugabe and the
others will not be able to travel to the EU, will
have their assets in the EU - if any are left -
frozen and the EU will not sell arms to
The EU's foreign ministers imposed them after
the head of the European observer mission,
Swedish diplomat Pierre Schori, was ejected
sanctions will not affect
aid which is directed
towards helping ordinary
The observers still left in
Zimbabwe will be withdrawn on the grounds
that they will be so restricted as to be
The decision was taken after a debate among
the foreign ministers as to whether it might not
be better to leave the sanctions on one side
and the observers in place until after the
elections themselves. The Portuguese and
Greeks took this line.
Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said
Europe should not help Mr Mugabe win the
The French were
inclined towards holding
off on sanctions, but
French Foreign Minister
Hubert Vedrine fell in
behind British Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw, who called for a hard
In the end there was unanimity. Everyone,
despite their reservations, accepted that the
expulsion of Mr Schori and inhibitions placed on
the observers were just too much.
"Today is the end of
the road", declared Mr
The European Union
has therefore played
its card. But it is not a
card, since Mr Mugabe
is unlikely to be much
moved by not being
able to travel to
He is single-mindedly
determined to win the
election, as much as he was to win the
guerrilla war against white Rhodesians.
No sign of support
And there is no international agreement on
sanctions. South Africa is not joining in.
Its attitude will also largely determine that of
Zimbabwe's neighbours in the 14-member
South African Development Community (SADC).
The United States might add its weight but
this is not certain and again, in any case,
would not make much difference.
And there is some real opposition to
withdrawing the observers. Amnesty
International says it would have been better
for them to stay.
So the upshot is rather messy - limited
sanctions which will have little effect, and no
The European Union has huffed and now it has
But it is unlikely to bring Robert Mugabe's
EU sanctions move
'baffles' African nations
The EU fears Mugabe is trying to steal the election
African nations have expressed surprise at the
EU's decision to impose sanctions against
Zimbabwe and withdraw its election observers.
Neighbouring South Africa described the move
as "difficult to fathom".
"We're really surprised at
this decision, because if
there are allegations
that elections might not
be free and fair, then it
is important to ensure
that as many neutral,
observers are in place," Deputy Foreign
Minister Aziz Pahad told SABC radio.
Observers from South Africa and the
Commonwealth are still in Zimbabwe.
The South African head of the election
observer team from the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), Samuel
Motswaynarnay, contests the view prevalent
in Europe that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is
preventing free and fair elections through
Mr Motswaynarnay attended a Zanu-PF rally at
"It was quite big," he said. "I think there was
an attendance of anything up to 20,000 people
at the rally."
in a very orderly way,
and there was no
evidence of any
harassment caused by
the police who were
there in large numbers.
"We also attended a
rally of the opposition
party, in Harare, and
that also proceeded
quite smoothly, with
no evidence of
violence at all."
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo - who
brokered an agreement between Britain and
Zimbabwe last year - also challenges the EU
assertion that Mr Mugabe is using
unacceptable means to ensure his re-election.
"What are the democratic principles that he is
flagrantly abusing?" Mr Obasanjo asked. "He
says he is going into an election. He has
parties other than his own that are allowed
freely to contest and participate.
"He has asked for
observers from all over
the world to come. He
has asked for the
foreign press from all
over the world to
"He has worked with
other political parties
and civil society and
religious leaders in his
country, to reduce the
level of violence."
spokesman for the Commonwealth Secretariat
in London, said that its mission would go ahead
"Our observers are now in Zimbabwe, he said.
"We've got 10 on the ground, and by the end
of the week, we will have a large group of
observers. We hope to have more than 40 in
"The Commonwealth has decided that what it
wants to do is observe the elections, and we
are continuing with that."
- Mugabe rival charged
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, has been formally charged with
treason after being summoned to appear
before magistrates in the capital Harare.
Mr Tsvangirai denies plotting to kill President
Robert Mugabe, who defeated him in a
presidential election 10 days ago that was
marked by allegations of vote rigging and
Prime Minister John
Howard - one of the
on Tuesday - said any
notion of prosecution
of the opposition
leader was inimical to
the process of
summons came after
another Commonwealth leader, Nigeria's
President Olusegun Obasanjo, told the BBC
that the governing and opposition parties in
Zimbabwe had agreed to discuss a plan put
forward by the Commonwealth to resolve the
Mr Obasanjo said this envisaged setting up a
coalition government to promote reconciliation,
with a new election to be held at an
unspecified future date.
The treason charge against Mr Tsvangirai
carries a possible death penalty.
Mr Tsvangirai's deputy, Welshman Ncube, was
formally charged with the same offence and
granted bail the day before the election, which
Mr Mugabe officially won with 56% of the vote.
The MDC leader says
the charges, based on a
purports to show him
assassination of Mr
Mugabe with a political
consultant, were fabricated to try to remove
him from the political scene.
The allegations against Mr Tsvangirai were
made by a Canadian political consultancy,
Dickens and Madson, headed by former Israeli
intelligence officer and Mugabe lobbyist Ari
But there have been suggestions the
videotape was heavily edited.
Last year, charges of treason against Mr
Tsvangirai were dropped after a court ruled
Zimbabwe Protest Off to Slow Start
By Angus Shaw
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 20, 2002; 9:35 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe ** A nationwide protest strike called after Zimbabwe's marred elections got off to
a slow start Wednesday with only some banks and business closed, while the opposition leader was
summoned into court to face treason charges.
Morgan Tsvangirai was making his first court appearance on accusations he plotted to assassinate
President Robert Mugabe, a charge first leveled in February that he says the government concocted to
discredit the opposition ahead of elections earlier this month.
Those March 9-11 elections ended with Mugabe * who has ruled Zimbabwe since leading the nation to
independence from Britain in 1980 * being declared the victor over Tsvangirai. But the opposition says
the vote was fixed and observers say it was tainted by violence and irregularities.
The Commonwealth group of Britain and its former colonies on Tuesday suspended Zimbabwe's
membership for a year because of a "high level of politically motivated violence" during the vote, further
isolating the southern African nation.
The reason for Tsvangirai's summoning Wednesday was not announced, but the court hearing was
expected to deal with procedural issues. Tsvangirai has denied the charges.
The opposition and the country's largest labor federation called a three-day strike, beginning Wednesday,
in response to the violence surrounding the election. Police manned roadblocks on the main highways into
Zimbabwe's cities Wednesday after declaring the strike illegal under sweeping new security laws passed
ahead of the elections.
The immediate response to the strike call was not strong. Some factories and shops in the capital, Harare,
were forced to close after workers did not show up. Commuter traffic was lighter than usual and activity
in Harare's normally bustling townships was down.
Most government offices, post offices and schools remained open.
Union officials said they expected the three-day strike to take greater hold Thursday.
But state radio described the strike organized by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions as a failure
and said police were deployed across the country "to make sure some unruly elements do not prevent
people going to work."
Zimbabwe's yearlong suspension from Commonwealth councils was announced in London by Australian
Prime Minister John Howard, along with presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria.
Mugabe's government said it was waiting to see the full report on the decision before commenting, state
radio reported. Tsvangirai welcomed the suspension.
Howard said the three leaders accepted the findings of Commonwealth observers that the elections were
seriously flawed. Mbeki and Obasanjo remained silent at news press conference with Howard, signifying
their approval of the decision only with their presence.
It was an about-face for Mbeki, whose government had previously declared the election legitimate.
Mbeki's African National Congress and Mugabe's Zanu-PF have been allies since the 1960s, when both
were fighting white minority regimes.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon later told the British Broadcasting Corp. there had
been "pushing and shoving and cajoling and pleading" in the three leaders' talks.
Other African nations, including Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique, have endorsed Zimbabwe's
election as credible.
The Commonwealth action furthers Zimbabwe's isolation. The suspension halts all current
Commonwealth-backed technical assistance programs and bars new ones, except those aimed at
restoring political stability.
The European Union, Canada and Switzerland have imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his
Zimbabwe offered carrot
By Barnaby Mason
BBC Diplomatic Correspondent
The Commonwealth has decided to adopt a
two-track approach to Zimbabwe.
It has suspended the country for a year on the
grounds that this month's presidential election
was not free and fair.
But Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and
South African President Thabo Mbeki will
continue their efforts to promote reconcsnded with Mugabe * who has iliation
in Zimbabwe between government and
The two African leaders agreed the approach
at a meeting in London with Australian Prime
Minister John Howard.
Mr Howard said the three leaders accepted the
findings of the Commonwealth observer team -
that the election was marred by a high level of
politically-motivated violence and intimidation,
and did not adequately allow a free expression
of will by the people.
Financial aid urged
Zimbabwe is suspended
for a year from all
- a symbolically severe
step similar to that
taken against Pakistan
and Fiji, where
were actually removed
by the military.
At the same time, Mr
Howard said the
stay engaged with
Zimbabwe, with Mr
Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo
trying to heal some of
the damaging splits
Robert Mugabe and the
leaders also urged the
to respond to the
situation in Zimbabwe,
especially the food shortages.
Mr Howard described the outcome of the
London talks as balanced.
The troika, as he called it, managed to present
a united front in public and avoid a black-white
split of the kind that threatened the recent
There had been doubt as to whether the
South African leader would agree to
suspension at all - most of Zimbabwe's
southern African neighbours had endorsed the
election as legitimate.
But to have done nothing would have damaged
the chances of greater Western investment in
African countries under the New Partnership
for African Development which is dear to Mr
A group of predominantly white Commonwealth
countries led by Britain had demanded
Zimbabwe's suspension as a minimum step to
demonstrate that the Commonwealth was
serious about its commitment to uphold
democracy and the rule of law.
Everyone's a loser
Would the ANC have accepted a so obviously crooked election outcome in 1994?
GREG MILLS and TIM HUGHES
Foreign policy presidents require, by definition, foreign policy successes. Has
the outcome of the Zimbabwe election marked such a success for President
Thabo Mbeki? And will it get the Zimbabwe economy out of jail?
One mooted solution gaining currency is that a government of national unity (GNU)
will be created in Harare. A quid pro quo for the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) accepting an obviously flawed election process would presumably have to
involve constitutional change, with Robert Mugabe's departure at least to asnded with Mugabe * who has
non-executive presidency and their participation in this government. For Pretoria this
is a "win-win" solution, one that leaves regional liberation ally Zanu-PF in power, no
challenger to South Africa's hitherto unbridled status as continental leader and,
apparently, the hope of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) intact.
A GNU is undoubtedly preferable to conflict and chaos in Zimbabwe, but by no
means guarantees peace. It means different things to different parties ― it is one
thing if it is proposed by the MDC, another if it is used to legitimise the election
If Zanu-PF remains in power at the core of a GNU, it is unlikely to be sufficient to
restore trust in the Zimbabwean political economy. It is certainly a second prize to
democracy being allowed to run its course. And it is unclear whether a shotgun GNU
passes the Nepad governance test.
An outright Mugabe victory is the worst-case scenario for the region. With this, there
is little or no hope of Zimbabwe's economic recovery and every prospect of continued
and rapid economic decline and increasingly widespread political violence. Victory by
Morgan Tsvangirai offered much more: the likelihood of foreign
economic assistance and a political and social compact
enjoying majority support. Importantly, an MDC victory would
have not only kept alive but advanced the Nepad vision of
prosperity through democracy and good governance.
But the MDC has also posed a challenge to regional leadership. Tsvangirai has come
through the union ranks, not through the party hierarchy. His party's multiracial
character and opposition to the seizure of white farmland ― but importantly not the
need for land redistribution ― is a challenge to those intent on perpetuating racial
schisms for political ends. He and his party were increasingly becoming the darlings
of the West, a role previously occupied virtually unchallenged ― HIV/Aids
controversies apart ― by the South African presidency.
Pretoria has apparently favoured a GNU on the basis of the utility of this approach in
its own context in 1994. But the contexts are radically different, and it is also not
entirely clear whether South Africa's GNU was a success. It has been more than 20
years after Zimbabwe adopted its own GNU in its transition from white rule. This
collapsed in 1983, as did the Zanu-Zapu GNU in 1987. Moreover, this poll was
supposedly a competitive democratic process, about a potential change of
government rather than liberation from colonial rule.
The GNU has explicit short-term advantages in negating claims of electoral fraud and
preventing widespread violence. In weighing up the options, Tsvangirai would
presumably not want to be labelled as a spoiler who refused to participate in a GNU
and in so doing saw his country collapse amid internecine, inter-party, inter-regional
Most of the advantages of a GNU accrue, however, to Zanu-PF, at least temporarily
keeping them in power and civil strife in check, and ending the political stalemate.
But vibrant opposition politics has explicit advantages for the MDC, particularly in
terms of keeping their distance from Zanu-PF and Mugabe, both of which appear
intent on self-destruction.
A GNU has more value as a bridge to a new political dispensation, but its merit
hinges onsnded with Mugabe * who has the support offered by the international community. This is, in turn,
dependent on clear signposts and interim objectives in meeting a destination of
Zimbabwe's election was not simply an event, but the culmination of a much longer
process. This process would frankly not have been acceptable to South African
voters, particularly the government's control of the media, the selective exclusion of
foreign observers and election training teams, the lack of oversight facilities at all
stages and the failure to provide sufficient opportunity for Zimbabweans to cast their
votes. It is doubtful, as in South Africa in 1994, that those Zimbabweans who queued
for days to make their mark would have been voting for a continuation of the status
quo and not for change.
Why then should South Africa and others have a different expectation of the value
and process of democracy north as opposed to south of the Limpopo? Would the
African National Congress have accepted a so obviously crooked election outcome in
Political expediency might ultimately win the day in Zimbabwe ― at least for a while
― in the form of a GNU with South Africa acting as the midwife. Even so,
democracy, the Zimbabwean populace and their economy, the image of South
African leadership and the hope of African recovery through Nepad have all been
Dr Greg Mills and Tim Hughes are the national director and parliamentary research
fellow respectively at the South African Institute of International Affairs
Fight against world
By Steve Schifferes
BBC News Online economics reporter
Reducing global poverty, and improving health
and education in poor countries, are the goals
of a summit of world leaders that has opened
in Monterrey, Mexico.
An unequal world
The five-day meeting hopes to identify the
resources needed to achieve these aims -
and to meet the Millennium development
goals agreed by the United Nations two
The conference is also
being seen as a test as
to whether the new
spirit of international
terrorism will be
extended to tackle world
US president George W
Bush, South Africa's
Thabo Mbeki and French president Jacques
Chirac are among the 59 heads of state who
will attend later in the week.
Critics charge that the
conference will be "a
fiasco and a flop".
Steve Tibbett of
group War on Want
said that "a
comes up with no new
money, has no plan for
new money and no
ideas on how to get
new money is nothing
other than absurd
But Trevsnded with Mugabe * who has or Manual, South Africa's finance
minister, said that the conference plans would
mark "a new compact between developed and
And Mark Malloch Brown, head of the UN
development programme, told the conference
that although it may not achieve all its goals,
critics should recognise that the result will be
a glass that is half full, not half empty.
Last week, both the United States and the
European Union pledged big increases in their
The EU said its member states would,
collectively, add $7bn more aid by 2006, while
the US said it would spend an extra $5bn in
the three years from 2004.
However, President Bush has made it clear
that the new money would be conditional on
economic, political and legal reform in
Neither the US nor EU plans will provide the
$50bn in fresh aid flows that pressure groups
and the World Bank say is needed if the target
of reducing world poverty by 2015 is to be
years of declining aid
budgets, poor countries,
sub-Saharan Africa, will
welcome a reversal of
Clare Short, the UK
says the aim of the
conference is to reward
who have already tried
to mobilise domestic
and she hopes that not
only the amount of aid
will be increased, but also its quality.
On Sunday, she told
the BBC: "We've got
consensus on how to
do the reforms, we've
got $50bn and we're
going to a meeting
where if we don't
come up with more
money, things will turn
sour and nasty."
She welcomed a shift
in the Bush
included a $5bn aid promise.
"That's not the extra $50bn the World Bank
say we need... but it's a turnaround."
The UK is leading a campaign to abolish tied
aid, in which aid money can only be used to
buy goods in the donor country.
And the UK also supports calls by developing
countries for a bigger voice in international
institutions such as the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund.
But that could be controversial, especially if
rich countries are called upon to reduce their
voting power in international bodies.
Radical proposals out
More radical proposals for global governance,
with new international organisations for
regulating the environment and international
taxes, have already been ruled out of
snded with Mugabe * who has consideration.
But the summit is pledged to look at
"innovative financing methods" to increase aid
Some non-governmental organisations would
like the summit to consider the so-called
"Tobin tax" which would tax currency
transactions to slow speculation and generate
funds for development.
Trade is another issue where little more
progress can be expected, despite the fact
that falls in commodity prices have hit many
poor countries harder than reductions in aid
Rich countries have already pledged to take
account of the interests of developing
countries in launching a new trade round at a
meeting in Doha, Qatar, last year, and are
unlikely to want to make any fresh
- Century Malawi Venture Stalls
The Daily News (Harare)
July 24, 2003
Posted to the web July 24, 2003
CENTURY Holdings Limited has encountered difficulties in its expansion
into Malawi, with that country's central bank querying the destination
of funds the local financial services group used to buy a stake in a
Century bought into INDEbank Malawi in November last year through
Botswana-incorporated Century International Limited (CIL).
CIL is the Zimbabwean banking group's offshore holding arm and it has
invested US$2 million (about $1.68 billion) so far into INDEbank
Sources close to the matter said the Reserve Bank of Malawi had queried
the destination of the funds used to buy into the Malawian bank.
Century Holdings spokeswoman Farai Mangwende confirmed the
She told the Business Daily: "We confirm that there have been queries
by the Reserve Bank of Malawi regarding the destination of funds for the
payment of Century's acquisition of INDEbank."
The Malawi central bank feared proceeds from the November 2002
acquisition were externalised and were "not benefitting Malawi seeing as
the existing shareholders are in Europe", she added.
Mangwende, however, denied allegations that Century Holdings'
investment in Malawi had not received approval from the Reserve Bank of
She said the investment was "granted approval in principle" by the
Malawi central bank in November, which is why Century was able to begin
raising capital for the venture.
Responding to claims that staff seconded to Malawi had been called back
because of the setback in the project, the Century spokeswoman said
financial managers from the group had been sent out on a temporary basis
to oversee the initial development of the bank.
"The staff that had been sent to Malawi were sent there in order to
facilitate the eventual transition of INDEbank into Century," she said.
"Such staff can only go for designated periods not exceeding three
months," she added, emphasising that in terms of an earlier agreement,
the staff had been sent to Malawi on the basis of skills transfer
pending completion of the acquisition.
It was not immediately clear how the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed
financial services group would now proceed after the setback in Malawi.
But it emerged yesterday that the group had engaged the Zimbabwean
central bank and its Malawi counterpart over the matter.
At the company's annual general meeting in late April, Century
directors told investors that the southern African initiative had chewed
up nearly $40 million, which was not expensed but was reflected as
capitalisation in the group's 15-month audited accounts to December
Gary Shoko, the bank's chief executive, said the market should expect
better results and performance at the next financial results
announcement, saying that the improvement in performance was already
Zimbabwe formally appeals for food aid
24 July 2003 16:58
The Zimbabwe government has made a formal appeal for new international
food aid to stave off starvation faced by some 5,5-million people, the
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday.
"We now have the appeal in hand and certainly it has been a bit of a
while in coming," said WFP country director for Zimbabwe Kevin Farrell.
He said the government forecast a grain deficit of 711 000 tonnes until
the next main harvest in early 2004.
The government has estimated a production total this year of 900 000
tonnes of the staple maize, and state reserves total some 284 000
"It (the appeal) says government will need to import 711 000 tonnes of
maize grain in order to make up for the maize grain deficit," Farrell
The WFP received the government appeal on Tuesday and will forward it
Thursday, he said.
"We are trying to resource 350 000 tonnes on top of the carryover that
we have of a little over 100 000 [tonnes]," he told reporters.
With an average one person in two facing food shortages, Zimbabwe is
the largest recipient of humanitarian aid in southern Africa for a
second year running.
UN food agencies meeting in South Africa last month concluded that the
dire situation in Zimbabwe was caused by drought and the "current
social, economic and political situation".
Zimbabwe embarked on a controversial and sometimes violent land reform
programme in early 2000 that has seen some 14-million hectares
(42-million acres) of formerly white-owned land being seized to
redistribute to landless blacks. - Sapa-AFP
Zim detainees include babes in arms
25 July 2003 14:33
A group of 48 women demonstrators, four of them with babies, were
facing a second night in police cells in the western city of Bulawayo on
Friday for allegedly being part of an "unlawful gathering".
Lawyers were trying to secure the release of the women and the infants
but relatives said they feared that they would continue to be held
throughout the weekend.
They were arrested in Bulawayo on Thursday after protesting against
draconian legislation that legal experts say gives the government powers
almost identical to a state of emergency, including random arrest,
outlawing demonstrations and jailing journalists for criticising the
Eyewitnesses said the police first arrested a few of the leaders of the
demonstration, organised by Concerned Citizens of Zimbabwe, a coalition
of civic organisations.
Many of the other demonstrators then voluntarily handed themselves over
to police, some of them climbing into police vehicles to join their
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said ruling party
vigilantes in the last three days had embarked on a campaign of violent
intimidation in urban areas around the country to force opposition
candidates to withdraw from local government elections next month.
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said candidates' homes in the towns
of Kariba in remote northern Zimbabwe and in Marondera had been
attacked, and candidates had been threatened with death.
Earlier this week three MDC candidates were in hospital, one of them
with a broken neck, after ruling party militiamen forcibly barred them
from registering as candidates.
The incidents came amid growing international pressure on President
Robert Mugabe's government and on the opposition MDC to begin
negotiations to end the country's political and economic crisis.
Observers also said that signs of hope for talks emerged mid-week when
the pro-democracy party called off a scheduled walk-out of Mugabe's
annual address at the opening of Parliament, which was followed by a
cautious welcome by Mugabe, who spoke of "our brothers and sisters in
Human rights organisations say random arrests, violent suppression of
opposition supporters and denial of the protection of the law for
victims of state-driven violence is the order of the day as 79-year- old
Mugabe clings to power after 23 years in office. - Sapa-DPA
Mugabe, Tsvangirai Open Way for Talks
Business Day (Johannesburg)
July 24, 2003
Posted to the web July 24, 2003
Dumisani Muleya and Sarah Hudleston
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe and his Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) rival Morgan Tsvangirai have taken a huge stride towards
resuming talks to resolve their country' s political and economic
In an unprecedented gesture of reconciliation, the two leaders extended
each other the olive branch, calling for co-operation and dialogue to
end the crisis.
The apparent thawing in relations between the two leaders and their
parties would vindicate President Thabo Mbeki's insistence, made
recently to US President George Bush, that behind the scenes talks were
The prospect of meaningful talks starting soon appears to have been
bolstered by the MDC's announcement yesterday that it was upgrading its
negotiation team ahead of resuming talks with the ruling Zanu (PF).
Three new members are to be added to the team, which will be led by MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube.
Tsvangirai said in Harare yesterday the MDC had decided to invest all
its energies in the search for a permanent solution to the Zimbabwean
"We have expanded our negotiating team, and agreed on the route to
guide the team when dialogue resumes.
"We are ready to support and participate in all efforts designed to
chart a peaceful course towards the resolution of the crisis in
governance in Zimbabwe."
Ncube led the previous round of talks which were called off by Zanu
(PF) last year. The names of the new MDC delegates have not yet been
Mugabe told a luncheon, hosted by the local government ministry to mark
the opening of parliament on Tuesday, he was happy that opposition MPs,
including MDC leader Tsvangirai, who is not a legislator, were present
during his address to parliament.
MDC MPs have in the past boycotted Mugabe's parliamentary speeches,
claiming that he stole last year's March election.
In a conciliatory tone, Mugabe said he hoped the two parties would be
able to work together despite their differences.
"I am glad that today there was that realisation that parliament must
hitherto be an honourable institution to which we belong," Mugabe said.
Tsvangirai said his party would do everything it could to ensure
"Our national executive tasked the leadership to do all it can to clear
the air for a peaceful political engagement.
"We decided to invest all our energies in search for a permanent and
lasting solution to the Zimbabwean crisis."
The Zimbabwean official opposition is still pressing ahead with its
court petition to have the results of the 2002 presidential election
The MDC's petition will be heard in the high court on November 3.
However, David Coltart, MDC secretary for legal affairs, said yesterday
that the party might be prepared to suspend the court petition should
- Mugabe 'snubs' to top food aid official
15 June 2004 14:16
A visit to Zimbabwe scheduled for Tuesday by James Morris, the United Nation's top food aid official, has been called off, UN officials said, in a sign of worsening relations between President Robert Mugabe's government and the world body.
James Morris, executive director of the World Food Programme, had Zimbabwe on his itinerary for a visit arranged months ago to five Southern African countries, but a UN spokesperson in Harare said on Tuesday the visit had been "postponed".
"Unfortunately, due to a cabinet meeting, no government officials are likely to be able to meet with the special envoy," the spokesperson said.
Meetings with "key government representatives" were an essential part of its consultations in Zimbabwe. Morris, also UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's special humanitarian envoy to Southern Africa, would be going to Malawi on Tuesday instead.
"It's a deliberate snub," said a Western diplomat. "Zimbabwe had agreed to the visit, and Morris was set down to see Mugabe. Late last week, they changed their minds."
The calling off of Morris' visit occurred amid controversy over the government's refusal to allow UN famine relief operations to continue for the third year in a row this year, despite widespread forecasts that crop output would again fall far below the volume needed to feed the country's 12-million people.
Last month, Mugabe said the UN was "foisting" food on the country.
"We are not hungry," he said. "We don't want to be choked."
Since 2002, the United Nations has helped avert massive starvation as it delivered food to up to five million people at a time. Zimbabwe was Africa's second biggest food producer, after South Africa, until 2000 when the country's agricultural industry began to collapse as a result of the illegal, violent state seizure of nearly all of the highly productive farmland owned by white farmers. - Sapa-DPA
Zimbabwe factions fight over farms
15 June 2004 07:27
Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's information minister, denied on Monday that Robert Mugabe intended to nationalise all farmland, saying the policy only applied to plots seized from whites.
His statement contradicted that of John Nkomo, the land reform and resettlement minister, who last week said the state would nationalise all agricultural land.
Nkomo said Mugabe's government would issue 99-year leases for farmland and 25-year leases for wildlife and conservation areas.
On Monday, Moyo said nationalisation "only applies to land acquired by the state under land reforms and does not in any way invalidate or supersede other lawful forms of tenure".
His statement suggests factions within Mugabe's government are vying with each other over land policy.
In addition to publicly correcting Nkomo, Moyo recently lost a very public battle with another leading official.
Confusion has often surrounded Mugabe's land seizures, with the government saying one thing but doing another.
Only 10% of farmland is in private hands but it includes large plantations growing tea, timber and sugar. Although Mugabe declared last year that land seizures had ended, the government has taken over more than 900 properties this year.
At Easter it took over Kondozi farm, a large business owned by a prominent black businessman, which grows and exports vegetables and fruits to British retailers including Tesco in contracts worth millions of pounds.
State agents invaded the farm, throwing 4 500 workers out of their homes.
The owner announced last week that he would move his business to Mozambique and Zambia. - Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
Couple beaten by mob
15 June 2004 07:27
A Finnish woman and her white Zimbabwean husband, both in their fifties, narrowly escaped with their lives on Monday after a savage beating by President Robert Mugabe's youth militia using iron bars and rocks to try and force them out of the village they live in.
Birgit Kidd said the mob of youths, led by secret police, attacked her and her husband, Shane, both active supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, when they were trying to assert a court order allowing them to return to the party's office on Monday in the picturesque tourist village of Chimanimani in Zimbabwe's south-eastern districts.
Kidd said an attempt was made to burn down the MDC office, in a building which the couple own, three weeks ago.
Speaking from her hospital bed in the neighbouring town of Chipinge, she said she had a dislocated shoulder where she had been hit with an iron bar, 15 stitches to wounds in her head where the youths threw rocks at her and bruises all over her body.
Her husband was bleeding from the ears, mouth and lips and also suffered multiple bruises. "I thought I was going to lose my life," she said. "Everything that was available they were throwing at us. They were trying to finish Shane off with a huge rock. They were shouting at us they were going to kill us.
"We have done nothing wrong. We [the MDC] don't beat anyone, we don't rape anyone, we don't burn anyone's houses."
The incident was the latest in a five-year reign of violence and terror controlled by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party in the Chimanimani area.
The election of a popular white farmer, Roy Bennett, in 2000 triggered a backlash directed against MDC supporters. - Sapa-DPA
Uganda Distributes Free Generic AIDS Drugs
By HENRY WASSWA
The Associated Press
Monday, June 14, 2004; 11:07 AM
KAMPALA, Uganda - Uganda on Monday began distributing free generic HIV drugs in a program aimed at treating all of the country's estimated 100,000 people living with AIDS. The distribution makes Uganda only the second country in Africa to do so, the health minister said.
Vans carried $1.3 million worth of anti-retroviral drugs to 23 health centers, government and church-run hospitals around Uganda for the first 2,700 HIV-infected people to be treated under the program, Health Minister Jim Muhwezi said.
"Today, we are beginning to give people free treatment. We think we will cover everybody because. ...We are getting the money to do the work...(and) the prices of the drugs are getting lower and are not moving upward," Muhwezi told The Associated Press.
He said the United Nations' Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will give Uganda $70 million over five years to fund the program. Uganda also expects funding from the U.S. government, which has pledged $15 billion over five years to finance the global fight against AIDS in 14 African and Caribbean countries.
Uganda has waged one of the world's most successful battles against the spread of HIV, bringing the infection rate down from more than 30 percent in the early 1990s to around 6 percent of the country's 25 million people last year.
So far Botswana is the only African country to guarantee free AIDS treatment to all who need it, even though they are the more expensive brand-name drugs.
South Africa approved its own program late last year, but says it will take five years to reach all the patients who qualify for treatment.
Several African countries have programs that covers only HIV-positive pregnant women. They receive nevirapine, a drug that helps prevent transmission of the virus that causes AIDS from mother to child, for free.
- Anti-Tobacco Lobby Affects Malawi
The Post (Lusaka)
October 7, 2004
Posted to the web October 7, 2004
MALAWI's economy has greatly been affected because the International
Anti-Tobacco Lobby is calling for a reduction of tobacco exportation
which is Malawi's main cash crop, acting Malawian High Commissioner
Protasii Kanyengambeta has said.
Kanyengambeta said Malawi was losing a lot of income through tobacco
because the international Anti-Tobacco Lobby was very cautious about how
much tobacco can be exported.
He said this has been a problem because there had been a lot of talk on
reducing on advertising because tobacco causes cancer and the
international market was very cautious on how much tobacco could be
He said Malawi greatly depended on tobacco and this had led to loss of
revenue but the Malawian government was trying to find supplements for
"We have started growing tea, sugar, cassava and cotton. Malawi's
economy solely depends on agriculture and we live at the mercy of
nature, when the weather is kind we are happy, when the weather is bad
we get worried," he said.
Kanyengambeta said the Malawian government was trying to add value to
the tobacco industry by starting to process it at home.
"The fact that Malawi does not process the tobacco has made it
difficult because we just grow and export and the content of the tobacco
is much stronger and this is what has brought a lot of controversy from
the lobby," he said.
Kanyengabeta said the pricing had also been affected because Zambia,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania had also started growing tobacco and
this had led to loss of revenue on Malawi's part.
He also said Malawi whose economy is agricultural based had not been
able to produce enough food because of the drought and had made the
country import maize from Zambia.
Kanyengambeta said the political situation in Malawi was very healthy
where they had four opposition political parties working with the
"They have formed a coalition with government and they have opposition
members as ministers in government," he said.
The new betrayal
07 October 2004 08:59
Vicious cycle: Farm settlers protest around a fire started by the
Zimbabwean police during an eviction. (Photograph: DZK Images)
Zanu-PF bigwigs are at loggerheads over the eviction of more than 400
families, including war veterans, from 22 farms they occupied during the
land grabs that accompanied Zimbabwe's last parliamentary elections.
The evictions are taking place under the command of deputy police
commissioner Godwin Matanga. Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said
the people "illegally settled themselves" on the farms and the
government was now "regularising the land reform".
"It's an insult to 14-million Zimbabweans," said war veterans
leader Jabulani Sibanda. "Top government officials own more than one
farm. Why target people sharing a farm? That logic alone is an insult.
These are simply people who moved from dry land where they were settled
by Rhodesians to where the new Zimbabwe laws enabled them to exist,"
The war veterans are furious that the "settlers" have been evicted
without notice and have urged President Robert Mugabe to put a stop to
Writing in the state-run Sunday Mail Lowani Ndlovu, widely believed to
be the pseudonym of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, described the
evictions as a "violation of government policy".
"They raise more legal policy questions than they provide answers ...
They have been callous and unlawful. It smacks of the Rhodesian premier
Ian Smith's eviction of blacks. The wrong way of doing the right thing
is not just unacceptable, but also dangerous," Ndlovu fumed.
But Land Reform Minister John Nkomo is adamant that the move is in line
with guidelines and procedures of a commission set up to investigate
progress on land reform. He said Mugabe had appointed 12 people to
conduct a land audit in May, which produced the Utete report detailing
irregularities in land redistribution and its impact on commercial
farmers and workers.
Constitutional law lecturer Dr Lovemore Madhuku doubts that proper
legal process was followed. "It shows Zanu-PF is confused. It is a
momentary lapse of strategy."
Without food and shelter, the settlers have resorted to squatting in
the open veld along the Harare-Kariba highway where they are at the
mercy of the rain and chilly evening temperatures.
Burnt-out huts, broken pots, empty cattle pens and deserted fields are
all that are left at Inkomo farm about 50km northwest of Harare and it
is about 60km from Raffingora farm recently allocated to Harare mayor
Sekesai Makwavarara after she defected from the Movement for Democratic
When the Mail & Guardian visited the settlers temporary home one woman
could not hold back her tears as she explained that all they wanted now
was food. Another elderly woman was pounding maize and praying that the
rains wouldn't destroy the little they had left.
Rumour has it that a top government official was moving in with his
Another farm dweller, Wilbert Chimbudzi, believed the settlers had been
"stabbed in the back". His two huts were torched leaving his family
vulnerable. "We have been left with nothing. Nothing," he said.
"We were never given time to prepare. It was so inhumane and we
don't know why we are being made to suffer when in the first place it
was the government that encouraged us to invade farms."
New draft poll Bill for Zim
07 October 2004 12:59
advertisementThe Zimbabwe government has approved a draft Bill to
"overhaul" the country's widely criticised election laws and provide for
the establishment of a tribunal to settle poll disputes, a state-run
daily said on Thursday.
The Herald said the move was "in accordance with the letter and spirit"
of southern African regional principles and guidelines for democratic
and free polls.
The proposed law "incorporates several ways of removing voting
bottlenecks", the paper said.
Apart from setting up an electoral court -- which would not have
jurisdiction over criminal cases -- the proposed law will establish a
separate registrar of voters and end mobile polling stations, currently
used in remote areas.
The Bill is the second set of proposed poll regulations introduced by
the government of President Robert Mugabe in a month, and ahead of
national elections due in March.
On September 10 the government officially published the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commissions (ZEC) Bill, which went through its first reading
in parliament on Wednesday.
If enacted, the Bill will give Mugabe powers to appoint key members of
an "independent" commission to oversee all elections and referendums,
beginning with legislative polls due in March.
The country's civic groups have complained about a lack of safeguards
to ensure the independence of the election commission and fear it might
Last week, the groups told a parliamentary committee that they were
also worried that the ZEC did not adequately address issues relating to
electoral violence and conflict resolution.
The electoral court, proposed under the Electoral Bill, will have
limited jurisdiction and only "hear and determine election petitions and
other matters and shall be a court of record", The Herald said.
"It will, however, have no jurisdiction to try any criminal case," it
Scores of people were killed in the run up to the country's 2000
The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which
Zimbabwe is a member, has meanwhile adopted a charter to ensure free,
fair and peaceful elections in all its member states.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says these
conditions do not exist in Zimbabwe but the country's Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo has said that Harare is not bound to stick to the
SADC guidelines because they are not law.
The MDC has threatened to boycott the polls until all the SADC
guidelines have been implemented. - Sapa-AFP
Zimbabweans protest against new laws
07 October 2004 12:59
advertisementAbout 200 anti-government activists in Harare demonstrated
on Thursday against a barrage of repressive Bills that were introduced
into the Zimbabwean legislature.
Early morning commuters looked on as members of the National
Constitutional Assembly, pressing for a democratic constitution, marched
through the city centre strewing thousands of leaflets condemning
planned laws that threaten the existence of the vigorous civil liberties
Only two people were arrested as the demonstrators were dispersing,
said NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku. Police were caught by surprise, "We
were too early for them," he said. The government has effectively banned
public protests and usually meets them with violent baton charges,
teargas and arrests.
Also on Thursday, 47 women who have been in police detention since
Tuesday after demonstrating against the Non-Governmental Organisations
Bill, were expected to face a court later.
The controversial NGO Bill and the Electoral Bill which reinforces the
government's control of elections and a third Bill tightening state
controls on the press were tabled in parliament on Wednesday.
The legislature, dominated by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, was
adjourned until next Tuesday to allow the parliamentary legal watchdog
to scrutinise the Bills for contraventions of constitutional rights.
Lawyers say the parliamentary committee can only briefly delay laws that
violate human rights.
The NGO Bill and the electoral Bill are considered Mugabe's strategy of
securing victory in parliamentary elections next March.
The electoral Bill is meant to establish an independent election
commission to administer elections, but critics noted that the body is
effectively appointed by Mugabe himself.
On Wednesday in parliament, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would not have access to
the state-controlled media during the run-up to the elections. The
regime controls all radio and television stations and daily newspapers.
"If you are an al-Qaeda, you cannot be expected to be given access to
the public media," he said, adding, "You cannot expect the MDC to be
given the right to say Mugabe must go in the public media."
In July, Mugabe signed a regional Southern African treaty which commits
all members to hold democratic elections, but the MDC says the Harare
regime has no intention of fulfilling its obligations.
The government has been forced to appear as if it is complying, said
MDC legal spokesman David Coltart. In fact, there is no compliance.
The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) principles
on democratic elections demand political tolerance, a conducive
environment, freedom of association and freedom of expression.
During questioning in parliament on Wednesday, Chinamasa told MDC MPs
that the SADC treaty was not a binding law, but simply a guideline.
The MDC says it will not participate in the election until the
government meets the SADC principles in full by abolishing state
security legislation under which opponents are still arrested and
lifting controls on the independent press.
More than 300 people, nearly all opposition supporters, were murdered
during elections in 2000 and 2002, and thousands have been arrested,
tortured, assaulted and driven from their homes.
After the 2002 presidential elections, the Commonwealth said Mugabe's
victory was the result of fraud and bloody intimidation and suspended
Zimbabwe. - Sapa-DPA
Zimbabwe MPs in travel scam
Itai Dzamara | Harare
08 October 2004 08:37
advertisementMembers of Parliament who represent constituencies outside
Harare are raking in millions of Zimbabwean dollars monthly from
transport and accommodation allowances despite staying in the capital
most of the time they are attending parliamentary sessions,
investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent have revealed.
In what could turn out to be a scandal to rival one that erupted in
South Africa in July, it emerged that MPs use the out-of-town allowances
facility as a cash cow on a bad day.
It has surfaced that a lax system at Parliament allows MPs to pocket
huge sums of money monthly in transport claims. There is no mechanism of
verifying whether an MP really travelled the claimed distances every
time he attends parliamentary business.
MPs are paid Z$2,1-million per month while governors get Z$2,8-million.
Ministers are paid Z$3-million while the vice-president's salary is
Legislators however claim millions of dollars in travel allowances. The
Independent this week established that MPs from Matabeleland get
Z$25-million monthly in transport and accommodation allowances. MPs are
also paid Z$180 000 per night if they stay with relatives or friends.
The clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, this week said their system only
verifies whether an MP attended sittings or committee meetings to
approve an allocation for transport. He said they also checked the
mileage on MP's vehicle to ascertain whether it tallies with the claim
submitted and the parliamentary business attended.
"It is not our responsibility to follow the MP to establish whether he
has indeed travelled from the address submitted," Zvoma said.
"We check the register and confirm whether the member was present in
the House as claimed or whether they attended a committee meeting. We
could only confirm whether they travelled from, say, Zvishavane to
Harare by stationing someone there, who would follow them all the way.
The accounts department checks MPs' vehicles' mileage to confirm whether
they have recorded the required distance."
When a member is sworn in, he submits an address which is taken as
their permanent residence. It is these addresses that Parliament uses
when the MPs claim transport allowances. Investigations by the Zimbabwe
Independent revealed that a majority of MPs who represent constituencies
outside Harare submitted addresses in their constituencies and claim
transport allowances based on that.
Figures obtained from Zvoma show that transport allowances vary
depending on the size of the MPs' vehicle engine. However, most of the
MPs' vehicles -- secured through a government loan scheme -- have engine
capacities of 3 000 cubic centimetres, which is the highest level. The
allowance for the highest level is Z$11 125 per km for petrol and Z$11
029,82 for diesel.
For a trip from Bulawayo to Harare, a distance of 440km, the allowance
for a petrol vehicle would be Z$4,8-million. The same amount is
allocated for the return trip. A return ticket to Bulawayo by Air
Zimbabwe costs Z$774 000.
A claim for a trip from Masvingo to Harare, which is 298km, using a
petrol vehicle, earns the legislator Z$3,3-million multiplied by two for
the return journey.
During parliamentary sessions, MPs are usually required to attend
weekly. MPs from outside the capital claim that they go to their
constituencies every weekend. This means an MP can make four claims a
month, which translates to Z$38,4-million for an MP based in Bulawayo.
Parliament pays accommodation allowances straight to three-star hotels.
Sources said there had been complaints by the Ministry of Finance over
the expenses incurred by Parliament, especially on transport allowances,
which they say gobble the largest chunk of Parliament's annual budget.
But Zvoma said: "We haven't had any investigated or verified cases of
the abuse of the system."
All that is required to obtain the accommodation allowance is
confirmation that an MP attended parliamentary business. In the case of
hotels, it has to be confirmed that the MP stayed at a particular hotel,
to which the money is paid directly. - Zimbabwe Independent
Kenyan ecologist wins Nobel prize
Kenyan environmentalist and human rights campaigner Wangari Maathai has
won the Nobel Peace Prize.
She is the first African woman to be awarded the peace prize since it
was created in 1901.
A surprised Mrs Maathai broke the news to reporters minutes before the
The prize committee says Mrs Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment
minister, is an example for all Africans fighting for democracy and
The delighted 64-year-old professor said the award was completely
"This is extremely encouraging to the people of Africa and the African
woman," she told the BBC.
"It is a recognition of the many efforts of African women, who continue
to struggle despite all the problems they face."
In the late 1970s Mrs Maathai led a campaign called the "Green Belt
Movement" to plant tens of millions of trees across Africa to slow
The movement grew to include projects to preserve biodiversity, educate
people about their environment and promote the rights of women and
Mrs Maathai said she was delighted that the vital role of the
environment had been recognised.
"The environment is very important in the aspects of peace because when
we destroy our resources and our resources become scarce, we fight over
"I am working to make sure we don't only protect the environment, we
also improve governance," she added.
The committee says she has combined science with social engagement and
politics and has worked both locally and internationally.
The professor was the 12th woman peace laureate since the first award
was first made in 1901.
A spokesman for the Kenyan government said his country was honoured.
"This is a great moment in Kenyan history. To us this shows that what
Wangari Maathai has been doing here has been recognized," Alfred Mutua
"We're very proud of her and she deserves all the credit."
Mrs Maathai beat a record 194 nominations, including former Chief UN
weapons inspector Hans Blix and head of the UN energy watchdog, Mohamed
ElBaradei, to win the prize.
Mrs Maathai is the second woman in a row to be awarded the peace prize
which last year went to Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, for her work for
the rights of women and children in Iran.
The award, which includes 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.3m) is awarded
in Oslo on 10 December each year.
Africa's peace laureates
2004 - Wangari Maathai, Kenya
2001- Kofi Annan, Ghana
1993 - Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, South Africa
1984 - Desmond Tutu, South Africa
1960 - Albert John Lutuli, South Africa