Sunday, July 31, 2005

Zim China part ....25? Whatever


Analysis of Publius Pundit...I may have posted it before...but in a later post, he notes China is doing the same thing with the dictatorship in Burma...

On the relations between China and Africa, Wen said: “China is the largest developing nation in the world and Africa is the continent which has the largest number of developing countries. China and Africa share many common interests.”

By “common interests,” of course, Wen means that Africa has vast exploitable resources to fuel its growth, and Africa has many dictators that need propping up. That’s what I call a sweet deal! We’re talking potentially billions of dollars worth of shiny lucre supplied directly to the Zim government in exchange for countless contracts for Chinese resource rapists, er, businessmen.

Meanwhile, the United States and Britain have raised the issue at the UN Security Council, hoping that it will finally address the crisis. But wait! An entrenched communist government with billions in business interests voices opposition to stopping genocide! Who’da thunk?

Mugabe returns with peanuts


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe managed to secure China's veto in the United Nations (UN) Security Council on the world body's searing report on Zimbabwe's demolition blitz, but failed to get the economic rescue package he had hoped for.

China was quick on Wednesday to show its position by trying to block UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who investigated the demolitions, from appearing before the Security Council to discuss her report.

However, China, which was supported by Russia and African countries, lost the motion and Tibaijuka duly appeared to explain her report and take questions from the floor.

Ah yes, can't condemn Mugabe for allowing his people to starve so he can pursue socialist throw out the best white farmers to redistribute land to....well, some to poor people but mostly to his cronies and to the Chinese...

While Mugabe might feel victorious in winning Chinese support, he failed to make progress where it mattered most: on the economic front. He might come back triumphant after what he is likely to see as a diplomatic coup against the West, but his failure to get substantial economic aid to deal with a litany of problems will overshadow the political benefits of his trip.

Instead of getting meaningful assistance - beyond the paltry US$6 million to buy grain - Mugabe entered trade and investment deals that will not be of any help to the battered economy in the short to medium term.

Barring a last-minute miracle, Mugabe had by yesterday not got lines of credit to secure the supply of critical imports - fuel, power, drugs, and food - but only managed to get the US$6 million handout. Government had hoped to obtain a comprehensive economic rescue package to prevent economic collapse.

As I noted earlier, the Chinese are reverting back to their pre communist business accumen... they won't give Mugabe too much money because they don't trust him...but they will "invest" i.e. let him pressure or steal mines, farms, and businesses from his enemies and then sell them legally to the Chinese...

The Chinese think long term...fifty years from now, when the famine deaths are forgotten, they will still have businesses there...

NYT on Zim-China trade


JOHANNESBURG, July 23 - His new 25-bedroom palace is clad in midnight-blue Chinese roof tiles. His air force trains on Chinese jets. His subjects wear Chinese shoes, ride Chinese buses and, lately, zip around the country in Chinese propjets. He has even urged his countrymen to learn Mandarin and nurture a taste for Chinese cuisine.

That President Robert G. Mugabe rules Zimbabwe, which resembles China about as much as African corn porridge tastes like moo shu pork, is irrelevant. Tightening his embrace of all things Chinese, the 81-year-old Mr. Mugabe, Zimbabwe's canny autocrat for 25 years, arrived in Beijing on Saturday for six days of talks with China's leaders, led by President Hu Jintao.

If this all seems nonsensical, however, it is anything but. Shunned by Western leaders and investors for his government's human rights policies, Zimbabwe has begun a determined campaign to hitch its plummeting fortunes to China's rising star....


The Chinese are widely reported to covet a stake in Zimbabwe's platinum mines, which have the world's second largest reserves, and Mr. Mugabe's government has hinted at a desire to accommodate them. The mines' principal operator denies being pressured to deal with the Chinese, but negotiations are under way to sell a stake to as-yet-unidentified Zimbabweans. The operator has postponed major spending on the mines, citing political uncertainty.

Meanwhile, from Angolan oil to Zambian copper mines, China is investing billions of dollars securing access to resources for its fast-growing economy. And because they show few scruples about their partners' human rights policies, the Chinese are becoming entrenched in some states, including Zimbabwe and Sudan, that bridle at Western criticism.....

China won a contract last year to farm 386 square miles of land seized from white commercial farmers during the land-confiscation program begun by Mr. Mugabe in 2000. Zimbabwe's air force has bought $200 million in Chinese-made Karakorum-8 trainer jets, a copy of the British Hawk trainers that the air force has had to ground because of parts shortages.

Rumors abound that China has sold Zimbabwe's internal-security apparatus water cannons to subdue protesters and bugging equipment to monitor traffic on the nation's three cellphone networks....

Zimbabweans complain, sometimes bitterly, that their new Chinese buses break down with alarming regularity and that the Chinese goods that flood stores and roadside stalls are so shoddy as to be worthless. Indeed, they have coined a term for the phenomenon: zhing-zhong.

"To call something zhing-zhong means that it is substandard," said Eldred Masunugure, the chairman of the political science department at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare. "The resentment of the Chinese is not only widespread; it's deeply rooted. It's affecting even other Chinese-looking people, like the Japanese."

Professor Masunugure and others say that Harare's few Japanese residents complain of being taunted and called zhing-zhong. Harare newspapers report that high-yielding robberies of Harare's Chinese residents are on the upswing.

A solution, however, is in the wings: in a meeting last month, China and Zimbabwe signed a letter of intent to cooperate in law enforcement and the judiciary. Atop the list is a plan for China to train Zimbabweans in managing prisons.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Zim student protest


Sokwanele Report: 29 July 2005

It is interesting to note how, despite the massively intimidating effect of all the police state apparatus Mugabe has put in place, the voice of protest is still heard. The dictator has not succeeded - and surely never will - in silencing all dissent to his autocratic rule. For the most part the challenge to the ZANU PF monopoly of power is expressed in muted fashion, with angry mutterings and quiet acts of defiance. Yet now and again a bolder act of defiance takes place and the people of Zimbabwe catch a glimpse of the boiling cauldron beneath the battened-down lid. The pity is that all too often these courageous acts of protest pass unnoticed and unrecorded. The State media is certainly not going to draw attention to them and often the severely circumscribed independent press and media fail to pick up on the stories. As a result the impression remains that this murderous regime has achieved total dominance of all the political space, driving even the opposition into a sullen subservience.

...Earlier in the month and almost unnoticed by the media, was a protest at Bulawayo Polytechnic. Yet over 2,000 students took part in this peaceful demonstration which was sparked by student discontent caused by repeated delays by the College authorities in paying out student loans.

...a group of about 15 anti-riot police appeared suddenly, dressed in full combat gear including helmets, and wielding batons and tear gas canisters. The moment the students caught sight of them they began to disperse. The less alert among the student body however and those who did not manage to slip away in time, were soon pinned down by the riot police who moved into action mode immediately, lashing out with their batons at any unfortunate students in their path. Yet again these ruthless agents of State repression asked no questions and showed no restraint. Sensing a vulnerable crowd of defenceless youth who were not going to stand their ground anyway, they resorted to their customary "crowd control" tactics; never mind this crowd was already perfectly controlled and a threat to no one.

....Traditionally, the world around, student activists have been at the forefront of those protesting human rights abuses and demanding democratic change. Zimbabwe's dictator has not been slow to appreciate this potential threat to his continued hold on power, and he has used great cunning as well as brutal force to undermine the natural leadership emerging from Zimbabwe's tertiary institutions of learning. To some extent he has succeeded in subduing the student body nationally and diverting their attention to personal issues of survival. Nonetheless it is most heartening to observe that the flame of protest still burns strongly in the hearts of a significant number of the students of today who will undoubtedly be numbered among the leaders of the new Zimbabwe.

The bright side of China

Chinese business people have established retail shops in the capital, Harare, and other major towns, mostly selling cheap electrical goods, clothes, blankets, toys and beauty products.

Retailers are enjoying brisk business after informal markets offering cheap alternatives were closed down under Operation Murambatsvina, a government cleanup exercise launched in mid-May ostensibly to crack down on illicit trade in foreign currency.

It's called wiping out the competition...

The shops are popular with people who cannot afford to buy at the upmarket departmental stores because many items, especially clothing, are often only a quarter of the price. While a modest television set is sold at around Zim $8m (US $450) at established shops, Chinese ones cost as little as Zim $1m (US $56).

As that old saying goes: "Let them eat televisions"...

However, Makwiramiti warned that the country may soon find itself unable to sustain the business deals it has struck with China due to ongoing forex shortages. "The ZNCC is aware that the Chinese are demanding international commercial rates for whatever services they would be rendering to Zimbabwe - nothing is coming for free or at preferential rates, and if we do not find ways of generating forex we might find ourselves in a worse situation soon," he said.

HINT: The Chinese are excellent businessmen, but they are smart, and won't give you stuff for nothing...and their economic expansion into Southeast Asia predates the communist revolution by at least a century, and has caused a lot of local resentment...In Indonesia, many were killed in an uprising (see the film: The Year of Living Dangerously), but here in the Philippines, we insisted that if they wanted to own land or shops they needed to be married to a a result, half of our elite politicians and most of our rich merchants are part Chinese...

Harare-based economist John Robertson has recommended that the government mend its relations with the IMF, World Bank, USA and European countries in order to revive the economy. "China itself is looking to the West, and there is no way we can sustain our economy by limiting trade to China, or one or two other Asian countries, because that will give the country short-lived relief, Robertson told IRIN. "Let's make sure that we talk to the IMF so that it can resume financial assistance, for that is how we could once again get steady forex inflows."

He complained that some Chinese products, such as the buses and planes, were seen as unreliable; the same complaint has been made against apparel and electrical goods.

Same problem most poor people buy Chinese clothing, paper goods, plastic dishes etc..., but when we buy TV's we buy USED TV's made in Korea...from our local Metziso merchant, of course...

Mugabe sells bankrupt Zim's assets to China


"We will never be a colony again!" This has been the catch-cry of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe throughout his 25-year reign.

But while he rails against perceived imperialist, colonial agendas and denounces anything white-skinned or Western, Mr Mugabe has spent this week in China signing over his bankrupt country's resources to the Asian economic superpower. both the US and in the Philippines, a country's assets belong to their people, not the government...

Analysts claim the Chinese are forging a "colonial extractive relationship" with Zimbabwe, which has sold forward more than a year's worth of gold and tobacco production in exchange for Chinese military hardware and diplomatic support.

"We will never be a colony again!"

Zimbabwe is the world's fastest shrinking economy and as it looks east for a saviour, China has a keen eye on the southern African nation's rich platinum deposits...

..............While Mr Mugabe was coy about the exact nature of his deals with the Chinese, Zimbabwean economist Eddy Cross claimed yesterday the Zimbabwean Government had forward-sold precious gold and tobacco to "pay" for Chinese-made military consignments that included 12 jet fighters, three 60-seat turboprop planes and 700 troop carriers.....

Ah, priorities. Not enough money for food for the starving, so let's buy jet fighters and troop carriers...must have priorities straight...

Yet while the booming informal trading sector has been razed and goods either confiscated or destroyed, every Zimbabwean city is awash with cheap Chinese goods, from glassware to clothing and trinkets.

Government contracts are awarded to Chinese businesses for major works such as hospitals and bridges.

Mr Cross claims Chinese interests have also been given farms, from which some white Zimbabwean farmers were evicted allegedly on the basis of redistribution to landless blacks.

"The Chinese have been granted the rights to develop 100,000 hectares of irrigation land in the Mwenzi area, about 450 kilometres south of Harare," he said.

"Also, they have been looking at a set of farms in the Banket-Raffingora area and these are farms on the Hanyani River and they constitute some of the largest farms in the Mashonaland area.

"Settlers (newly established black residents) are being removed from those properties right now. Apparently this is what was agreed in Beijing, that the Chinese are going to take these properties over — and Chinese State farming organisations are actually going to run them."

So much for land reform...

Zimbabwe, increasingly isolated internationally, is also expecting China to use its veto to block any censure at the UN Security Council.

Translation: Yes, the Chinese will be my new colonial masters, but they will veto any attempt by evil Blair/bush to dethrone me...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Trade AND aid needed for Africa


Continues the discussion about aid to Africa...

Yup. you need both...but be wise as serpants and as gentle as doves...

Hoping against Hope


Mother Jones interviews the UK Guardian's correspondent in Zim...

...Meldrum says Mugabe and his cronies are doing whatever they can to keep a grip on a tenuous situation: “They’ve run out of any new ideas of how to run the country.”......

MJ: It seems that there is going to be even more pressure on the land due to the current campaign to raze urban shantytowns. I recently heard an opposition politician say that she believes this move is a Pol Pot-type tactic of clearing people out of the cities and into the countryside where they are easier to control. Do you see it as having that effect?

AM: Absolutely. I hesitate using Pol Pot. Although we haven’t had the killing fields, when you tear down the homes of thousands of families, in winter weather, force people who are already in poverty to live in the open, it won’t be long before people start dying. The whole idea of reducing the population of the cities and sending them back to the rural areas where they are more easily manipulated is exactly what Mugabe is trying to do. However, what we can see here is one of these situations where Mugabe is trying to turn back the hands of time. Urbanization is a historical trend in Zimbabwe and Africa. Very few leaders can try to turn that around. He may well be overstretching himself.

Please read the whole thing...

World council of Churches condemn policies



In a statement issued by its

International Affairs director's office, the WCC labeled the evictions

that have left hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans homeless as

"an operation of segregation against the working poor".

"To carry out such acts of

cruelty," the statement says, "shows

clearly that the government is losing the moral and ethical ground

for leadership, healing and reconciliation."

The WCC statement

affirmed and supported the recent messages of the Zimbabwe

Council of Churches (ZCC) and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops'

Conference (ZCBC), which condemned the so-called

because of the "untold suffering" caused

and its "cruel and inhumane means".

While calling on the

government to "urgently address the pressing needs" of the

evacuees, the WCC affirmed that "churches and relief organizations

should also be given unrestricted access to the displaced


If Zimbabwe is to be

reconciled, rebuilt and healed, the WCC statement affirms, its

government should "dismantle the restrictions on fundamental

freedoms" and initiate dialogue with the opposition, churches and

civil society.

Ah, you ask: What's that line about "losing the mortal and ethical

ground for leadership?
Well, the WCC actually funded Mugabe during the



Well, you might say,

why not... they were figthing an unjust government...well, I

agree...the problem was that Mugabe was NOT the only one fighting

that unjust government...essentially the WCC decided that since he

was a Marxist idealist, he was the "horse to back" so to speak...not

other revolutionary leaders who were willing to compromise with the

"evil" Smith government...

And indeed, the WCC

actually held a meeting in Harare back in 1999...

which was amazing,

given Mugabe's open homophobia...

But LINK This presentation in 1999 shows that they preferred

Mugabe and socialism to capitalism and globalism...the big evil for

the PC World council of churches.

Now, I see both the

good and the evil behind globalism and the market economy in my

own country...however, when I see the economic improvements here

since 1999 and the economic collapse of the WCC's favorite third

world country, it makes me think that clergymen need to read

Hayek...see previous post for comic book version, which should be

easy enough for them to understand...

However, the good

news is that all of us in Southeast asia are aware of how Chinese

businessmen are at the forefront of the pact of

Mugabe with a pragmatic expanding China might actually lead to

improvements in the Zim economy in the long run...

However, it is very ironic that

the WCC still idolizes socialism, while the Chinese are the major


But I might be wrong:

as I said before, I know little about economics. All I know is how the

Chinese are active in the Philippine economy....and that for better or for worse they are working with the capitalist and globalist economy...

HIV people dispersed in "cleanup" campaign...


Mtshumayeli and his wife said the authorities instructed them to find their own way to their rural home area. But the Ndebeles do not have a rural homestead to return to and, to make matters worse, they are both HIV positive: eviction from their home has forced them to abandon their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. "We would get drugs every month from Mpilo hospital, and everything just looked better for us, but we are no longer able to do that because we have moved; we are now several kilometres away and have no money for transport to go and get our consignment," Mtshumayeli told IRIN. "Now, it's like we are just waiting to die." Pointing to his wife he said, "She says she feels pains all over her body, and she has not had decent sleep in the past four days that we have spent here." Scores of HIV/AIDS patients whose treatment programmes have been disrupted find themselves in a similar plight after being forcibly relocated to parts of rural Zimbabwe. Health experts warn that most of them will certainly die prematurely because of the lack of AIDS drugs and inadequate food in the countryside.

Calling Andrew Sullivan...calling Andrew Sullivan....

Mugabe needs to read Hayek

If I remember correctly, Mugabe got a ph D from a London university by mail while he was in detention...the degree was in economics.

Now, the problem with many economics degrees is that unless you studied at the Univ. of Chicago, they tended to stress centralized planning, aka socialism. And, of course, Mugabe is a Marxist.

So the LINK
for today is from the think tank the Cato Institute (libertarian--think "government should stay out of our way" type pro business philosophy) :

Mugabe needs to read Hayek

.....Fast-forward to Zimbabwe in the 21st century. Between 1999 and 2003, its economy contracted by more than 30 per cent. Last year, unemployment stood at 80 per cent for the economically active population, and income per head was lower than in 1980 - the year Mr Mugabe came to power. Life expectancy fell from 56 years in 1985 to 33 years in 2003. Inflation, after rising to 500 per cent in 2004, continues at triple digits. Foreign direct investment and tourism have plummeted. In January, more than half of Zimbabwe's population needed emergency food aid. Of a total 13m population, 3m to 4m Zimbabweans have emigrated abroad.

What led to this? In 2000, Mr Mugabe gave the green light to his supporters to invade commercial farms, many of them held by white Zimbabweans. Private property rights of commercial farmers were revoked and the state resettled the confiscated lands with subsistence producers - many with no previous farming experience. Agricultural production plummeted.

The farm invasions had economic ripple effects. The banking sector, which used farm land as collateral, was hit by bad debt and curtailed the issuing of new loans. The manufacturing sector, which relied heavily on processing agricultural goods, went into a tailspin. Declining domestic production deprived Zimbabwe of the ability to earn foreign currency and buy food overseas. Famine ensued.

Mr Mugabe's response was to rig elections and tighten the government's noose around the economy through price controls. Many prices — including those of bread and gas — were set too low. That led to shortages and the emergence of black markets. As more of Zimbabwe's economy moved underground, tax revenue dried up and the government coffers emptied.

The emergence of the black markets was partly why Mr Mugabe decided to launch operation Murambatsvina in May. The security forces arrested more than 20,000 vendors and destroyed their vending sites. They levelled entire townships where the government was unable to exercise control over the shadow economy, leaving some 700,000 people homeless. Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops warned: "We have on our hands a complete recipe for genocide; we're witnessing a tragedy of unprecedented enormity." They may yet be proven right. According to Didymus Mutasa, one of Mr Mugabe's ministers of state, Zimbabwe would be better off with only 6m people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle." The rest are evidently expendable.

Just as Hayek warned, the government's initial attack on private property led to intervention in the economy and, concomitantly, the destruction of political freedom in Zimbabwe. If Mr Mugabe continues along the path marked by other socialist dictators, the world may yet see Zimbabwe descend into an orgy of violence...

Heads up was from Donjim at Dappledthings...and, oh yes...he also posted a link to the comic book version of Hayek LINK

we report, you decide...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Zim as a new Chinese colony


Publius pundit has a large entry discussing the Chinese connection...

What’s worse is that this is a trend across the entire continent; as the West is finally beginning to confront rampant tyranny, China is all the more willing to help out friends in need. Business is good with these countries; in fact, China’s share of Africa’s market is rising about 1% a year. So why aren’t people feeling the poverty-relieving effects of trade with China? Because it isn’t about the people. It’s about plundering resources and, in exchange, fueling the stability of long standing dictatorships. The people never see the benefits that they should be harvesting. Instead, their countries are slowly becoming colonies, with China ready and willing to use its unearned status at the United Nations to defend despotism.

Follow the money take two


Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, yesterday won financial and diplomatic support from China, although neither side said what the deal contained. According to David Monyae, a lecturer in the department of international relations at Wits University, China has aggressively been pursuing its economic interests in Africa – a consideration which could account for the agreement.

Monyae says China is interested in Zimbabwe’s chrome and gold resources. As such, China would not really be concerned with issues of good governance, he adds.

I bring up China because it's veto threat is stopping western governments from stopping the genocide in Dafur, and now in Zim..but also because as one who lives in Asia, I see how our local industries are undermined by low wages and an undervalued currancy in China makes our local products too expensive in the global marketplace...

However, at least China, for all their rhetoric on "solidarity" with the revolution, is really only interested in money, so in the long run, the Chinese will replace the Europeans and Indian entreupeneurs, and improve the economy... after the disasters and famines by Mao's policies, China is pragmatic and back to old fashioned power building.

However, the disease of rhetoric over reality still plagues much of Africa, and explains why the African union is blind to the realities around them:


"It's sad that heroes like Mugabe have now become despots," he added.

Actually, the twentieth century has filled cemetaries with the victims of revolutionary heroes who became despots...where have YOU been for the last 100 years?

And earlier in the article shows the reality that just might wake up South Africa from their ideological slumber:

The food shortages and economic decline that have come to characterize life in Zimbabwe have prompted a mass migration of its citizens.

More than two million Zimbabweans now live in South Africa, according to Daniel Molokela, a Zimbabwean lawyer who works for the Peace and Democracy Project, a non-governmental organisation based in South Africa's commercial hub of Johannesburg. Molokela is involved in organising Zimbabwe's diaspora to work for change in the country.

Political repression in Zimbabwe has also played a role in the exodus of citizens to neighbouring states, and countries further afield...

Follow the money...


Zimbabwe finds a steady backer in Beijing

By Richard Spencer

July 28, 2005

Zimbabwe has won trade, aid and sympathy from China as President Robert Mugabe was given a warm welcome to Beijing.

Mr Mugabe and his opposite number, Hu Jintao, signed an economic and technical co-operation agreement. Details were not released but a Zimbabwean spokesman had earlier said that his country was seeking lines of credit.

Chinese media said that Beijing had agreed in principle to finance construction of a power plant and had sold a civilian aircraft to Harare.

Mr Mugabe, whose regime is under international attack for the violent clearance of shantytowns, thanked Beijing for its aid over the past 25 years.

Mr Mugabe, who is on a six-day visit to China, has been greeted as "an old friend" by President Hu Jintao.

At the same time, Britain was calling for a Security Council meeting on the slum demolition campaign. UN chief Kofi Annan has ruled out a visit to Zimbabwe until Harare ends the evictions and allows humanitarian aid in.

Council members said Harare's campaign of razing shantytowns had left 700,000 people destitute and affected a further 2.4 million. But there was no consensus on holding formal consultations.

Diplomats said China, one of the few countries to publicly back Mr Mugabe's drive to demolish illegal housing, was one of the countries that expressed reluctance to have a formal debate.

Mr Mugabe has already bought 12 fighter jets, 100 military vehicles and two airliners from China this year and been given another aircraft and eight military trainer jets as a gift.

He says his Look East policy had been forced upon him by the refusal of Western partners to respond to his economic problems. Inflation in Zimbabwe is in triple figures, unemployment is at 70 per cent and the country has heavy foreign debts.

A report written recently by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, an academic and the head of Johannesburg-based Africa Fighting Malaria, directly links Chinese investment with Zimbabwe's township clearance program.

"Speculation over the motives … has pointed to the removal of local competition threatening newly arrived Chinese businessmen whose stores sell cheap and often poor quality goods," said the report for the American Enterprise Institute.

(The AEI is a washington based conservative think tank)

It estimated that up to 10,000 Chinese citizens had moved into the country under the Look East policy, some moving on to tobacco farms confiscated under Mr Mugabe's "land reform" policies. China has expressed public support for Zimbabwe's reforms....

to be continued next post...

Security council hears about Hatfield etc....yawn....


However, it hasn't stopped Zim from destroying houses...


Riot police turned an urban township into a ghost town Wednesday, rounding up the last residents in defiance of a U.N. call to halt a demolition campaign that has left 700,000 without homes or jobs.

After emptying the Porta Farm township — where some 30,000 people lived just days ago — earth-movers were seen lumbering into the area to finish clearing debris from destroyed homes, cabins and shacks as part of what the government calls Operation Drive Out Trash. Police armed with batons and riot shields barred aid workers and residents from entering.

The latest demolitions came as President Robert Mugabe paid a state visit to China, which is building a track record of willingness to do business with African leaders others shun.

Mugabe is confident China will use its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to protect Zimbabwe from any U.N. censure following the U.N. report denouncing the campaign as a violation of international law, a state-owned Harare newspaper, the Herald, reported Wednesday.

China, which has expanded business and diplomatic contacts in African trouble spots like Congo and Sudan, has not joined Western condemnation of Zimbabwe's human rights record.

In fact, China has become a key source of loans and supplies for Zimbabwe. Most recently, Beijing agreed to a loan to expand a power station and to supply a third Chinese-made MA60 commercial aircraft to Zimbabwe, state media in Beijing announced Wednesday. No details of the terms were reported.

Niger famine may kill millions


INTERNATIONAL aid agency Oxfam has urged the UN to create a $US1 billion ($1.32bn) emergency fund at a summit in September, to prevent future famines such as that devastating Niger.

British Development Secretary Hilary Benn threw his weight behind the appeal, denying the British Government had been dragging its feet over the famine, the scale of which he said became clear only in the middle of May.

However, British-based Oxfam said the famine, which is threatening 3.6 million people in the West African nation – including 800,000 children – was predicted more than six months ago.

In 50 days time, UN countries are due to gather in New York for an annual meeting at which the fund is on the agenda.

"If the proposal is agreed, UN member states would pay into the permanent fund so that when a country such as Niger needs assistance, money would be available immediately," Oxfam said....

On the other hand, given the "money for oil" aka money for palaces and bribes scandal at the UN, perhaps a better idea would be to give the money straight to for me...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Finally, the NYTimes notices problems too


Mr. Mugabe, a tyrant, is increasingly out of touch with reality in the style of Stalin and Mao. He is starving and killing his own people, and the unwillingness of some of Africa's most prestigious leaders, like Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, to challenge him publicly is especially disturbing at a time when these same leaders prate on about a commitment to accountable governments and peer review of one another. Mrs. Tibaijuka's unflinching honesty shames their silence.

Finally, they noticed...about the only editorial writer worrying about Africans dying due to wicked governments is Mr. Kristoff...who REALLY minces no words about it, although he is discussing Dafur in this article: LINK

Some of us in the news media have been hounding President Bush for his shameful passivity in the face of genocide in Darfur.

More than two years have passed since the beginning of what Mr. Bush acknowledges is the first genocide of the 21st century, yet Mr. Bush barely manages to get the word "Darfur" out of his mouth. Still, it seems hypocritical of me to rage about Mr. Bush's negligence, when my own beloved institution - the American media - has been at least as passive as Mr. Bush....

Again, the blocking of UN intervention in Dafur is...China and the arab states...

HMMM...anyone notice a pattern Here?

Even Al Jazeerah notices Mugabe's policies


The report, based on a study conducted in the country in 2004, said the government's fiscal crisis had led to a "devastating reduction" in access to social services, at a time when it was most needed, while the impact of HIV/AIDS was worsening.

Restoring agricultural productivity would be a first step to helping Zimbabwe stop its economic free fall, said Schafer. "It wouldn't change things overnight but it would stop the economic hemorrhage and help the country get back on an upward path," he added.

Once the mainstay of the economy, agriculture contributed 40 percent to Zimbabwe's national exports, made up 18 percent of the gross domestic product, employed 30 percent of the formal labor force and 70 percent of the population. ...

UK v China in UN discussion of Zim


The question is always: Why doesn't the UN stop the impending genocide/government enabled famine deaths?

The answer: China.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The government challenged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to openly address Zimbabwe's bulldozing of slums, threatening a rare public clash between council members like China that back Harare and the African state's critics.

Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry was opposed by China, Russia and Algeria when he asked, behind closed doors, for a public briefing by U.N. official Anna Tibaijuka on a report in which she accused Zimbabwe of demolishing shantytowns in a campaign that was unjustified and indifferent to human suffering.

An undeterred Jones Parry then vowed to raise the issue again on Wednesday morning under a provision of the U.N. Charter obliging a public vote if his request was challenged....

Zim's new friend


....China has promised to help Zimbabwe and to not interfere in "internal affairs".

I see nooothing...

China "trusts Zimbabwe's government and people have the ability to deal properly with their own matters", a foreign ministry statement said....

Deal properly: Translation: deport opponants to countryside so they can die of famine without pesky reporters noticing...worked in China...

China, one of the world's fastest growing economies, is already ranked as one of Zimbabwe's largest trading partners and has supplied buses, civilian and military aircraft to Mr Mugabe's government.

No petrol, no food, but we have buses to move troops more efficiently, and military aircraft to...what does Zim need military jets for anyway....

In contrast, Zimbabwe is one of the world's fastest shrinking economies, with high unemployment, soaring inflation and shortages of food and fuel.

Old allies

But Mr Mugabe's six-day visit demonstrates Beijing's growing involvement in the continent.

It also shows China's determination to welcome an old ally, regardless of Mr Mugabe's pariah status in the West, the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Shanghai says.

The ties between China and Mr Mugabe date back to the 1970s war of independence, when fighters from his Zanu party were armed by the Chinese.

So, it's all China's fault...and BTW the World Council of churches that no one goes to also funded guns for Mugabe...wonder if when they finish finding "civil rights violations" in the Philippines if they will bother to go there....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Evictions continue


HARARE, 25 July (IRIN) - Ignoring a call by the United Nations to halt evictions of people living in unauthorised housing, Zimbabwean police on Friday ordered residents out of Porta Farm, one of Harare's oldest informal settlements, about 35 km west of the capital. Since the launch of Operation Murambatsvina ('Clean Out Garbage') in mid-May, the UN estimates that 700,000 people have been made homeless or lost livelihoods as a result of the blitz on the informal homes and unlicensed vending of the largely urban poor. A report by UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka after a two-week fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe recommended that the evictions, "carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering", be stopped.

"The government of Zimbabwe should immediately halt any further demolitions of homes and informal businesses and create conditions for sustainable relief and reconstruction for those affected," read the report, presented last week to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The latest police operation at Porta Farm was the second time in a month they had tried to clear the 7,500 settlers from the area.

At the first attempt in June, homes and markets were demolished to force people to return to their rural areas, or to a holding camp at Caledonia Farm, 15 km north of Harare, but many of the residents refused to move. Aid workers said on Monday that the police were determined to clear the remaining people. Residents were being grouped according to place of origin in preparation for their transport out.

Shades of Cambodia,


However don't is on the way

Annan to inspect Zimbabwe slums
Evicted Zimbabweans
Thousands of homes have been destroyed in the campaign

Monday, July 25, 2005


African leaders turn up heat on Mugabe

There's no doubt Mugabe is still seen as a revolutionary hero who ejected a brutal white colonial regime. Unlike most African leaders, he has also aggressively tackled the race-charged issue of land reform and continued white dominance over his economy.

But he may have gone too far. Besides the troubles caused by Operation Restore Order, unemployment now hovers at about 70 percent. Inflation hit 164 percent in June, one of the highest rates in the world. The UN says 4 million of the country's 12 million people are verging on starvation. Fuel is so scarce that few cars reportedly ply the streets of Harare, the normally bustling capital. Even Air Zimbabwe, the national airline, recently had to cancel many flights because of lack of fuel.

The problem no one wants to talk about is that the "white dominance" is a code word for the "outsiders" taking over the economy. In Zim they were mainly English, although there were many Boers (who are the "white tribe" in South Africa, who have few European ties).

But there are also many other "outsiders". Idi Amin wrecked his economy by throwing out the Indian store keeper (there used to be many Indian stores in Zim also). When I lived in Liberia, the Lebanese ran most of the stores. East Africa has a long history of Arab traders.

The dirty little secret is that you need people to run the place. There are many Africans who could do this, but alas they are in Europe or the US. You see, there are more opportunities there, and a lot less danger of being disappeared or shot. And, of course, in West Africa, there are thousands of small entrepeneurs who could be very very successful: But they are women, who have little education and less "start up capital" to be able to utilize their skills.

But Africa is still spouting the Marxist rhetoric of the 1970's, and alas hasn't noticed that their utopias didn't work anywhere...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Eye on African Art


A nice article on contemporary African art...

Blitz leaves Mbare's poor helpless


Mbare Musika had become home to scores of informal traders and vegetable vendors until a recent government decision to ban such activities through its Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Filth). The internationally condemned operation worsened already deteriorating living standards among residents of the suburb.

Last week, a representative of the Rhema Church, Reverend Ron Steele, and a member of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) fact-finding team to Zimbabwe was overawed by the destruction. Steele says of his visit to Mbare, what he witnessed was "just stand after stand and it was just rubble. It was pathetic. The flea market was deserted."

Being one of the pioneer working class suburbs in the capital, Mbare is home to the largest population of pensioners and the elderly among its 300 000 residents.

"The oldest identified pensioners are more than 87 years old. These are the founder fathers and mothers of the capital," says trade unionist Gift Chimanikire.

"The average monthly pension among most of the residents who formerly worked as housekeepers and general hands in the surrounding industries is below $50 000," he says.

To augment their meagre pensions, the majority of the residents constructed lean-tos and outbuildings to their main houses, living off rentals earned from lodgers.

Extremely hard times forced the elderly like Ramushu to move out from the main house into one of the three outbuildings to enable her to fend for six orphaned grandchildren.

Two of her daughters and a son, she says, died in the past three years, leaving behind six children of school-going age.

"I have struggled to send them to school, scrounging for money through vending. But the police chase me off the streets where I sell saying it is illegal," Ramushu bemoans.

"If I don't sell vegetables, the future of my grandchildren looks bleak."

Ramushu recalls how the suburb fostered its own genre of high-profile people who are now leaders in government, commerce and industry. She claims their parents could most probably have raised school fees through selling eggs, vegetables and fruit on the streets of Mbare. "Now that they are in positions of authority they want to deny my grandchildren similar opportunities to get educated," she says.

An estimated 30% of the population in the suburb comprises jobless youths that completed high school. Due to a collapsing economy, the high school graduates have bloated the ranks of the unemployed. Economists estimate Zimbabwe's unemployment figures at 80%..

UN report now on line


Caution: It's a PDF file.

Link thanks to Zimpundit

Human rights probe

Since I'm always bashing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, I think that I should compare it to another third world country, just to put things into perspective...

Here some European Clergymen from European countries where no one goes to church so the government has to tax people to pay their salaries has condemned Gloria for human rights abuses...


The leftist human rights group Karapatan recently reported that 411 people have been killed in extra-judicial executions, assassinations and anti-insurgency operations since Arroyo took office in January 2001. In addition, 130 people have disappeared after being abducted and 245 others have been tortured, allegedly by government forces, the group said.

Wilhelm Soriano of the government's Commission on Human Rights said its own investigation showed most victims belonged to left-wing organizations, but it has "not yet validated" that those responsible were members of the military, government militia or vigilantes.

Summary: 411 deaths in four years...

Ah, but how many of Mugabe's enemies were killed in the last four years? And one wonders if these deaths were assassinations, or merely killed in gunfights (11 communists were killed in a gunfight near here two months ago.)

But this didn't count the barangay captains, mayors, sub mayors, inspectors, or policemen killed by the Communists...this averages to about one a day.

And if you want to see Democracy in action, watch the big anti Gloria demonstration in Manila tomorrow...and then ask yourself why you don't see any similar ones in Hatfield....

UN: Zim has "complex" emergency... must prevent black babies from being born


With a United Nations report out today saying the Zimbabwean Government has evicted 700,000 people from urban housing, the UN humanitarian aid chief said the country's emergency is complex and also includes high unemployment, widespread food insecurity and 25 per cent of the population living with HIV/AIDS. forgot to mention the drought, and the fact that the confiscated white farms are no longer being run by anyone, meaning the surplus food by large farms no longer exists...

Giving a news briefing at the UN complex in Geneva, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland said that while the Zimbabwean authorities believed the urban evictions were improving the towns and cities, no alternative plans had been made for those being removed from their "improvised homes," leading to a human tragedy.

Hello......concrete HIV clinics are not "improvised homes"...
Of course, this is the same Jan Egeland who ridiculed the USA for not giving enough to the UN for tsunami a time when the US and Australian helicopters and aircraft carriers were the only outside people giving aid....(much local aid was given in countries like India and Thailand, but few reporters noticed). (the UN took a month to send aid).

In addition, millions were experiencing food insecurity, (AKA STARVATION) 70 per cent of the 13 million population was unemployed and 1 million children were AIDS orphans, he said. ...

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, which he heads, said UNICEF's assistance to evicted Zimbabweans has included 42,000 water purification tablets, 10,000 blankets and 2.5 tons of soap.

OH, I'm impressed...with between 100 000 and 500 000 displaced by Mugabe, and with a couple million people in rural areas who are facing "food insecurity" miles from any reporter, one is happy for this drop in the bucket...but keep reading: You will see that the UN has it's priorities straight...

The WFP has redirected 1.4 tons of food and the International Organization for Migration has distributed more than 40,000 blankets and other supplies, OCHA said. The UN Population Fund has provided reproductive health materials and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ) was helping 2,500 refugees in Tongogara Camp, as well as aiding refugees and asylum-seekers who have been arrested, it said.

Translation: we helped 2,500 refugees by giving them birth control pills and free abortions...must get our priorities straight...the UN did the same in Kosovo and Bosnia, but at least they could justify it because of the widespread rape...but one wonders about their priorities here....

Mugabe off to china


....The visit comes days after Mugabe's spokesman said the government, isolated from the West, was exploring alternative lines of credit with countries such as China and Malaysia as it grapples with Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis in decades.

Unemployment is above 70 percent, inflation is in triple digits and there are acute shortages of foreign currency, food and fuel....

Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba told Reuters on Friday Zimbabwe had also approached India, China and Iran for financial help with infrastructure and energy projects.

"We are trying to break away from Western donors who have conditioned us to conditionalities and that means going East, going South," he said.

Mugabe left Harare the same day the United Nations released a damning report on his government's controversial demolitions of urban slums, which the global body said had left some 700,000 people without homes or livelihoods and affected another 2.4 million.

Mugabe's government denounced the report by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy Anna Tibaijuka, as biased, hostile and false. The government says the crackdown on shantytowns was necessary to weed out crime.

On Thursday New Zealand, leading a push to isolate Zimbabwe on the sporting field, said it wanted China to ensure that any aid it gives to the troubled African nation did not directly benefit its veteran leader, whose government critics blame for the crisis afflicting the southern African country.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Zim defends making 300 thousand homeless


Human rights groups are "ecstatic", but Mugabe's gov't is unrepentant...

....Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi called it ``biased and wrong'' at a news conference for state-controlled media.

He said the report focused on destruction but ignored rebuilding of housing and facilities such as health clinics. It displayed ``demonstrable hostility'' inspired by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a sharp critic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, he added.

``Zimbabwe deplores the effort by the Blair government to hijack the envoy's mission,'' Mumbengegwi said.

Oh. It's the fault of evil Blair....

The Zimbabwean government allowed Tibaijuka to visit at the request of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Her report was unusually tough on Zimbabwe, a country that has a dismal human rights record but generally escapes censure at the United Nations because of its powerful African allies.

Calling Nelson Mandella...calling Nelson Mandella...

``The unplanned and overzealous manner in which the operation was carried out has unleashed chaos and untold human suffering,'' the report said.

But Tibaijuka, who heads the U.N. agency that deals with the plight of cities, was more restrained on Friday, suggesting at a news conference that the government had good intentions and refusing to blame Mugabe.

``All this is happening in a haphazard and unplanned manner,'' she said. ``So when a country tries to clean up cities and put things right, you can unleash the crisis that we are now dealing with in Zimbabwe.''

Sorry, lady. We clean up slums all the time in the Philippines. You warn people and then let NGO or government resettle them...yes, it takes time-- it took two years to resettle refugees from Mt Pinatubo...but in the meanwhile, most Filippinos helped them (our relatives took in a homeless family and "hired" them until they found work and housing, for example). But operation cleanup was not a volcano, but a tsunami against political opponants, and the dirty little secret-- one that few except the editorial writer in the Christian Science Monitor has bothered to point out-- is that these refugees will go back to villages with no food, and no inconvenient reporters, and many will die of famine related diseases....indeed, I have not read ANY reports that Mugabe's thugs are dismantling markets in RURAL areas...

She said the focus now should be on humanitarian relief, not blame, adding Zimbabwe's own courts should prosecute those accountable for the destruction.

Ah, but NGO's have to work thru the same government...

UN Report condemns Mugabe


Beeb summarizes report and Mugabe's history...
The end shows why the report is toothless: China has a veto on the Security council.

And then they wonder why the US is skeptical about letting Brazil and South Africa have vetos.

Friday, July 22, 2005



(caution: Flash program)
This site is actually about Dafur, where they are busy roughing up Condi's staff and Alan Greenspans' wife.

Churches raided


BULAWAYO, 21 July (IRIN) - Zimbabwean police on Thursday forcibly removed hundreds of homeless people from churches in Bulawayo and banned religious groups from providing humanitarian assistance to those seeking shelter at Hellensvale, a transit camp north of Zimbabwe's second city. The camp was set up as a temporary measure to house hundreds of desperate families who lost their homes in the government's crackdown on illegal settlements in urban areas. In a midnight raid police descended on churches in the city where more than 300 people were sheltering and escorted them to the camp, raising fears of overcrowding that could spark a humanitarian crisis. Church leaders, who were helping the homeless to relocate to Hellensvale, said they were saddened by the latest development and accused the government of a "total disregard of the law and perpetrating human rights violations". The clergy were also concerned that living conditions at the camp would to deteriorate, as they were instructed not to provide food to the displaced.


At least four clergymen were detained in Wednesday's raids in Bulawayo, which came ahead of the anticipated release of a U.N. report on the demolition campaign.

The government of President Robert Mugabe defends the campaign as a cleanup drive in overcrowded, crime-ridden slums. The opposition says it is aimed at breaking up its strongholds among the urban poor and forcing them into rural areas where they can be more easily controlled by chiefs sympathetic to the government.

Police raided nine churches in Bulawayo overnight, arresting between 50 and 100 people at each, said the Rev. Kevin Thompson of the city's Presbyterian Church.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Glamourizing tyrants


I have two problems with this: First, it is told in the viewpoint of a white man (why do they only make films of Africa with European leads?)

The second problem I have is THIS:

It would be simple enough to make the dictator merely monstrous, but Foden defies expectation, rendering him appealing even as he terrifies. The doctor "couldn't help feeling awed by the sheer size of him and the way, even in those unelevated circumstances, he radiated a barely restrained energy.... I felt--far from being the healer--that some kind of elemental force was seeping into me."

Alas, good films on Africa are few and far between. Indeed, the best way to teach Europeans the village experience of many Africans is to show them part one of the mini series Roots...of Kunta Kinte's childhood.

Outside of that series, most movies show a distorted picture of Africa...Hotel ruanda shows massacres, and The gods must be crazy shows the culture clashes, but of the bushmen, not the Bantu...

Calling Spike Lee...calling Spike Lee...

We are wery angwy...bad boy...

UN releases report on destroying the homes of a hundred thousand of so people.


"The Secretary-General is increasingly concerned by the human rights and humanitarian impact of the recent demolitions of what the Government of Zimbabwe has called illegal settlements,"

How about a report saying: Stop or we kick your Puit?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Nursing shortage hits rural hospitals


The Zimbabwean government has stepped up efforts to train more primary healthcare workers amid growing concern over deteriorating healthcare delivery in rural areas. According to the official Herald newspaper, rural hospitals and health centres urgently needed 3,337 nurses....

imbabwe admitted earlier this year that the country was still losing trained medical personnel to neighbouring and overseas job markets, which offered better opportunities and conditions of service. The government had turned to recruiting doctors and medical specialists from Cuba and Egypt to alleviate shortages.

I tried to find a "church" note about hospitals, but most of the web pages are grossly out of date (this Catholic site blames everything on British colonialization...umm...fellahs, that was twenty years ago...and things have gotten worse, not better...whoops, sorry, I"m not PC: can't be judgemental against marxist presidents...can't be judgemental...)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mugabe goes to China


Mugabe has won backing from China with Wu Bangguo, chairperson of the standing committee of the National People's Congress of China, voicing support for his controversial land reform program on a visit to Harare last year.

Yup...China knows lots about land reform...

Brown shirt alert

Brown shirts were Nazi bully boys who beat up opponants, mainly commnists but also Catholic trade unionists...this also reminds one of the youth gangs who were responsible for the Ruandan massacres: LINK

President Robert Mugabe at the weekend urged youths of his ruling ZANU PF party to fight back should the opposition become violent.

Addressing about 10 000 supporters at Mwami rural business centre, about 240 km north-west of Harare, Mugabe said he could not fathom ZANU PF youths losing in a violent confrontation against their rivals from the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

“There is no way I can take it that some of the ZANU PF youths can be beaten by those from the opposition…. You have to fight back, why are you so lazy (to fight),” Mugabe told the youths at the rally held to celebrate the ruling party’s victory in the disputed March 31 parliamentary election.

This is not the first time that Mugabe has called on his party to use violence against the opposition.



HARARE – Zimbabwe police yesterday destroyed an industrial and office block in Harare’s red-light Kopje district barely three days after the government announced it was temporarily halting its controversial urban clean-up exercise.

First they come for the peddlers, and now they're after the hookers (or does "red light" district mean something different in Harare?)

The office complex at the corner of Speke Avenue and Luck Street in Kopje, housed general dealers in spare parts, coffins and wooden furniture.

Now, tell me why a bank should lend money to a government that is destroying office complexes?

and this probably doesn't make the African Union very happy:

“We don’t take our orders from newspapers. We are under strict instructions to destroy this place. It is full of foreigners that are involved in shoddy deals,” said one police officer.

Tenants, most of them believed to be Nigerian businessmen who have flocked to Zimbabwe since the country's economic crisis began to worsen five years ago, watched in shock and horror as armed police and bulldozers razed the property to the ground yesterday morning.

A few lucky ones were able to grab one or two pieces of furniture or some stationery before the rest went down with the building into one huge heap of rubble.

The demolition of the Harare building happened as a South African Council of Churches (SACC) delegation arrived in Zimbabwe yeste

Zim seeking load from SAfrica

....but South Africa's official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) immediately challenged the loan idea.

"Any loan or payment given to Zimbabwe should only be granted with the strictest conditions that are designed to ensure that the money made available will be used to ease the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans and not to finance what has increasingly become a rogue state," the DA said in a statement.

Feeling sorry for the animals? Well, the new homeless live worse than animals


.....Zimbabweans living in the Caledonia transit camp "are traumatised, bruised and battered into deep trauma", says Methodist bishop Ivan Abrahams, who was also part of the SACC group.

"It could have been a camp of displaced people in [the Democratic Republic of] Congo, [but] the whole tragedy is that we not talking about people in Congo."

"[It's] the same kind of thing you see in Bosnia," he told the M&G Online. "A lot of their shelter and livelihood had been destroyed. [They are] feeling very disillusioned, and the vulnerable among them are the women and the children.

Abrahams said the camp has no infrastructure in place and the only amenity available is a clinic, housed in a tent.

"This is the worst tragedy that the people there have ever witnessed. There are many, many babies that are still [being] breastfed.

"We were told that a doctor comes [once a day to the clinic]," says Abrahams -- but he only saw community workers handing out female condoms.

Remember my earlier post about pill ladies in villages without running water or basic medicine? Well, sounds like the UN is at work here.. they were notorious for handing out condoms and doing abortions in Bosnian camps that lacked basic supplies, although I must say that in Bosnia many of the women had been raped, so there was some excuse...

"There were a lot of younger people. They were just loitering. Besides one loud radio, other folk were just around. They were not productive. There was a sense of helplessness," he adds.

Most people are using plastic sheets as shelter.

"Judging from the most elementary and rudimentary shelters, it's plastic bags supported by a few poles. I could not see everybody [in one family] huddling in these rudimentary tents....

Ah, the power of LOVE

This Bozo wants a "healing session" to change Mugabe...but he seems to be mixing up "sending healing power" (which uses our own power and seeks to manipulate reality according to our own will) with prayer, which is humbly petitioning the big Guy (or Gal, if you are a Wiccan) in charge of us to change things, according to the will of God...and he not only wants to change Mugabe's tiny little heart, but save the animals...

Wilkinson said that the focus of the prayer session was to send the power of love to Mugabe and to enable him to pray for forgiveness. It also aimed to heal the people and animals affected in Zimbabwe....

He said that he had a particular wish to support the animals in Zimbabwe, many of which were abandoned on farms and left with no food.

"There are horses, cats, dogs and farm animals which are not being looked after."

Why are these animals being left alone on farms? In Asia, we eat such things...

Yum...aso stew...

Neocon alert!

When the liberal UK Guardian sounds like Wolfowitz, you have to shake your head.


You'll have to scroll down to find where I linked Wolfowitz with the remark that banks hiding corruption money will have to come clean also...

Here is the Guardian's take:

Tony Blair's Commission for Africa report challenges industrialised countries to take responsibility for their role in promoting corruption, such as giving bribes or ignoring corrupt deals. Industrialised countries must work to repatriate money and state assets stolen from the people of Africa by corrupt leaders.

Foreign banks must also be obliged by law to inform on suspicious accounts. Those who give bribes should be dealt with too; foreign firms must be more transparent and those that bribe should be refused export credits....

Well, I'm glad everyone is on the same side of the if we can only open those Swiss bank accounts...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Economics 210


regarding the economy, Mbeki listed a number of factors hamstringing growth in African countries: Bureaucratic obstacles make it impossible to get a license to establish a business without bribery; few countries have any form of private land rights; most Africans have no access to open and stable financial institutions that could provide loans; and there are too many internal barriers to trade.

"The emphasis in Africa should be placed on strengthening national economies and democratic practice by freeing the private sector," he concluded. And for its part the West needs to remove barriers to African exports.

In a commentary published Tuesday in the Financial Times, Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of economics and law at Columbia University, and Ibrahim Gambari, undersecretary-general at the United Nations and special adviser for Africa, outlined five key policy measures that Africa needs. They are:

Debt relief must be extended to very poor nations.

New aid must be used productively. Additional aid should go to countries with good governments and given only to carefully devised projects and programs.

Aid to Africa must be spent on programs that are really beneficial, such as resolving the shortage of skilled labor and improving health.

African nations need to reduce their own trade barriers while seeking the removal of the subsidies and tariffs of rich countries.

Programs to make the private sector the backbone of development are necessary. This includes establishing micro-credit institutions which enable the poor to borrow without collateral, and establishing clear property rights. ...

Again, I have no comment on economics.. however, one problem is that most African "elites" have been schooled in the idea that the best development was thru a central government plan...which has a Marxist origin (and sounds logical since there was much exploitation by the private sector under colonialism) However, the bad news is that in reality, this means lots of bribery/paperwork and overhead....

Mugabe wants $1B from S Africa


Again, since I know little about economics, you will have to interpret this yourself...

However, the article ends with this comment:

He said a meltdown in Zimbabwe would see hundreds of thousands streaming into this country and Botswana.

Ah yes...and the world will ignore them just like it ignores Dafur,

Sunday, July 17, 2005

food exports heading into Zim


Zimbabwe has begun a massive programme to import food from South Africa to feed 4m people which the United Nations estimates are in need of food aid.

The state-run Grain Marketing Board head said imports of 1.8m tons of maize should be enough until June next year.

The government had predicted a bumper harvest but blamed drought for the shortfall, not its controversial land reform programme.

Zimbabwe has been slow to take UN food, saying it wants to feed its own people....




There is a big row in New Zealand about if their cricket team should play in Zim.

This gives the background of why Cricket is so important

Zimbabwe’s SOS to India and Pakistan

Express News Service

Kolkata, July 16: Racial bias in selections, wrangles over latching onto vital players, the widening gulf between administrators and the experienced players — Zimbabwean cricket has its share of adversity over the last few years. Yet, the chief of the national cricket body would have us believe that things are looking up.

While the Zimbabwe Cricket union (ZCU) boss Peter Chingoka was here to attend the felicitation ceremony of Jagmohan Dalmiya, he made his intentions clear that the beleaguered African nation was not just making steady strides towards “achieving more quality”, it was the helping hand of countries like India and Pakistan that could make all the difference.


Explaining the development programme in the domestic level on which Zimbabwean cricket today relies heavily for climbing back to normalcy, Chingoka asserted that he was looking forward to alliances with India to develop the game back home.

“Given that we have been going through a tough time for the last few years, it is this development programme that we concentrating on very hard to bring back the lost interest in the game. And for that, we are eagerly looking to seek the help of the top academy in India (the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore),” Chingoka said.

We are a tiny bit angwy.


I frequently quote the Hansblix character in Team America, who threatens to send a letter saying the UN is "wery wery angwy".

Well, these Church groups can't even be wery angwy...

HAMISH ROBERTSON: For our final story, we go to Africa, where church leaders say they'll publicise the plight of Zimbabweans made homeless by the slum clearance campaign.

The idea is to embarrass President Robert Mugabe into stopping the demolitions, and even to force the international community to step in.
They also want to shame Africa's politicians into taking action.

Yup...your letter will make them Soooo ashamed that they will repent...not.

Zimbabwe is fast becoming a public relations nightmare for African leaders, as well as for aid groups who're trying to get the "Make Poverty History" campaign – overshadowed by the London bombings – back on track with promises of good governance.

Zimbabwe is also in danger of becoming a new 'killing field" of people in rural areas...

Here's our Africa Correspondent Zoe Daniel.

ZOE DANIEL: When members of a South African multi-faith church delegation arrived back from Zimbabwe last week their shock was evident and their intentions were clear – to stop the crackdown.

Council of Churches President Russel Botman.

RUSSEL BOTMAN: Its objective is to stop the operation and to express solidarity with the victims, and to help bring an end to the ongoing suffering of the people.

There's an old saying, padre: You can't eat good intentions...

ZOE DANIEL: The Council of Churches plans to immediately send a second delegation into Zimbabwe to tell the world what's happening inside the country, and to try to embarrass the Government into stopping its campaign.

The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have been made homeless by Operation Murambatsvina or Drive out Rubbish. But despite that, African governments remain silent, refusing to criticise the Zimbabwean administration.

Church leaders like Father Matthew Esau say representations will be made to the African Union to get some action.

MATTHEW ESAU: I'm hoping that we would address the AU, that we would add to the United Nations report, that this body would ask or mandate a group to speak to our President.

ZOE DANIEL: The conventional wisdom is that African leaders are reluctant to criticise President Robert Mugabe because of an informal brotherhood between governments whose countries have shaken off colonial rule.

The African Union also argues that there is too much focus on Zimbabwe, when human rights abuses on a worse scale are happening elsewhere in Africa.

So why don't you do both? Just because the UN refused to stop the massacres in Dafur (China needs their oil and would veto intervention) does that mean that you can't stop the projected famine deaths in Zimbabwe's rural areas in the near future?

Caroline Sande from ActionAid.

CAROLINE SANDE: They argue that there are worse things happening in other parts of the continent – ‘Why do we keep focusing on Zimbabwe?’ – and again from a scale perspective, human rights violations anywhere, whatever the numbers of people involved, should be condemned.

Yup...send a letter. Don't stop them: That would take force, and we're limp wristed pacifists who would never resort to anything so vulgar. (with apologies to my gay friends in the US Marines for using the phrase limp wrist).

So I think we are always going to be struggling with this, a preoccupation or a perceived preoccupation from the part of the international community on Zimbabwe, yet there are other crises happening elsewhere in Africa.

ZOE DANIEL: Aid groups are currently trying to restart the “Make Poverty History” campaign that was stymied by the London bombings just as Africa looked like getting some serious attention from the G8.

Governance in Africa has already vastly improved, and Sue Mbaya from the Southern African Regional Network says Zimbabwe shouldn't be used as an example by Westerners considering whether aid to Africa is a worthwhile investment.

No, we could use Nigeria or Ghana or Congo or Sierra Leone or Liberia or Sudan as examples instead...

SUE MBAYA: We must be careful not to make the issue around governance sort of like more of the same and the new frontier as far as conditionalities are concerned. And so I would like to think that the people you refer to – the grassroots – who we're calling to support, would be more analytical and probably more mature in their assessment.

Translation, please? This doesn't make sense...

ZOE DANIEL: But the failure of African leaders to condemn the so-called "Clean Up" campaign is creating serious credibility issues as Africa seeks two permanent seats on the UN Security Council. And while church leaders are now trying to embarrass the Zimbabwean Government, they're also trying to shame other African governments into action.

In Johannesburg, this is Zoe Daniel for Correspondents Report.
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