Monday, August 29, 2005
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe on Sunday used the burial of his former air force commander to showcase his disdain of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, labeling them “political stooges, crooks and cowards”.
Addressing thousands of mostly supporters of his ruling ZANU PF party gathered to pay last respects to the late Josiah Tungamirai, who was also a minister in Mugabe’s Cabinet, the veteran Zimbabwean leader said: "Zimbabwe is no home for traitors, for political stooges, for crooks and political cowards."
But the important part is here:
South Africa, fearing Zimbabwe’s collapse would trigger off an immense humanitarian crisis that would spill beyond its northern neighbour’s borders, has offered Zimbabwe a US$500 million bailout loan to pay off its IMF debts and to buy critically needed food and fuel.
But Mugabe rejected a precondition by Pretoria to revive dialogue with the MDC before the money could be released, forcing Mbeki and his government to instead now demand that Zimbabwe undertakes wider and democratic constitutional reforms to address governance problems at the root of its crisis, according to authoritative sources.
I have commented earlier that SA seemed to be oblivious to refugees, and that a further collapse of Zim would affect the SA economy...however, few articles, even in Human rights notes, seemed to stress this, instead mainly stressing political angles...
Saturday, August 27, 2005
I'm having phone problems due to the monsoons...but sounds like same old same old...
United Nations relief coordinator Jan Egeland criticised Zimbabwe over the government's recent campaign to demolish slums. Hundreds of thousands people were affected by the operation which began May 18 and ended in late July. Shacks, homes and small businesses were razed in shantytowns and other poor urban areas. The government has portrayed the cleanup blitz as an urban renewal campaign and said it would build new housing for the displaced. Mr Egeland said the evicted slum dwellers had gone back to live with relatives in the countryside or had gone to other urban slums.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has privately conceded his "quiet diplomatic" approach towards Zimbabwe has failed to yield results, opening the way for a more forceful policy towards Robert Mugabe's regime....
The African Union, an alliance of all 53 countries on the continent, had decided to send a mediator to Zimbabwe to broker talks between Mr Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. It chose Joaquim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique, for this mission.
But Mr Mugabe refused to receive him and called on those who "should know better" to stop asking him to meet his opponents.
Until deciding on this abortive mission, the AU had always described Zimbabwe's crisis as an "internal matter". When AU leaders gathered for summit meetings, they would ensure that Zimbabwe did not figure on the agenda....
South Africa has more bargaining power over Zimbabwe than ever before. Unable to import essential supplies of food or fuel, Mr Mugabe has been forced to turn to his powerful neighbour for a rescue package.
This report is what was said by a "diplomat" named Miss Jana...who was briefed by SA authorities...she is an MP from Durban belonging to the ANC...
UKTelegraph link HERE
The U.N. report described dire conditions at what the Zimbabwean government had called "transit camps" for those affected by the campaign. Clearing the transit camps appeared aimed at removing "this visible evidence of what had happened," Amnesty's Gaughran told The Associated Press. "This may be an attempt to hide people away."
"It's just transferring people from a pretty dire camp to a camp that is even worse," Gaughran said.
Gaughran said aid groups had not been told of the moves and those who were able to find the twice-displaced were at first barred from Hopley Farm. She said that since the footage was shot Aug. 4, aid groups had been able to persuade the government to allow them inside.
Zimbabwean officials have said Operation Murambatsvina has been completed and they are now moving onto a rebuilding stage. Critics, though, charge the government does not have the $171 million it has pledged for reconstruction.
Gaughran said she had seen houses under construction during her trip to Zimbabwe, "but nothing on the scale that will be needed to address the scale of the homelessness that's been created."
Saturday, August 20, 2005
....Children as young as 11 have reportedly been through the youth service programme, whose stated catchment age is between 12 and 30 years. Such training could amount to creating child soldiers, analysts have noted. The new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in force since February 2002, raises the minimum age for military training to 18 and requires strict safeguards for voluntary recruitment.
"Actual training on weapons to youth under 18 amounts to recruitment of child soldiers," explained Enrique Restoy, Africa programme officer at the London-based Coalition Against the Use of Child Soldiers. "We condemn the use of children and youth as instruments of repression and torture."
The militia has been deployed in force during local and national elections. "They have been blatantly used by ZANU-PF as a campaign tool, being given impunity and implicit powers to mount roadblocks, disrupt MDC rallies and intimidate voters," said the report. Alcohol and marijuana consumption occurs routinely during training and deployment, according to former militia members and their victims.
"The militia is turning children into little vandals who murder their uncle and torture their neighbours," said the human rights activist, who asked not to be named.
The youth militia allegedly operate with police complicity and under the command of war veterans. The Kamativi training camp in northern Matabeleland is reportedly run by the notorious "Black Jesus", a war veteran jailed in 2001 for the murders of three opposition activists in Kariba, northern Zimbabwe, but was later freed.
A former militiaman, aged 25, interviewed by researchers in August, explained: "When you move as a group, we felt that we were feared a lot ... Our source of power was this encouragement we were getting, particularly from the police and others ... It was instilled in us that whenever we go out, we are free to do whatever we want."
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena denied police complicity, or that there were widespread acts of political violence by the youth brigades. "For some time we've tried to investigate these cases and found these allegations to be of no substance at all."
Remember Ruanda...remember the Brownshirts...
is a RadioNetherlands interview with a local bishop on the refugee problem...but it's from late in 2004...if it was that bad then, wonder how it is now...
Human rights groups are warning of grave consequences for Zimbabwe as millions of people try to escape the Mugabe regime. A new report says about one quarter of the population has already fled from political oppression and poverty, and most of them have settled in South Africa.
Some 70 percent of the Zimbabwean workforce has left, robbing the country of vital labour. In addition, the large numbers of refugees are causing tensions in South Africa.
Bishop Kevin Dowling of the South African Catholic Bishops Conference has been researching the trend. In this interview with Radio Netherlands he describes the extent of the problem:
"These are people of the age group of 18 to 35, it's also the skilled population, including teachers. They find themselves reduced to begging, trying to find just some way to survive. It's the whole gamut of the population, skilled people as well as unskilled, untrained young people and young adults in particular."
RN: "What effect is this exodus of professionals having on Zimbabwean society?""It's devastating, because the services, whether it be teaching, education, health services, everything is breaking down. The skilled population needed to drive the whole economy, the production capacity of the country - this is being severely limited now."
"So, this is precisely what is causing so many additional problems and this led to this exodus of so many people, because what is happening there is that people are in dire straits, they're not getting particular care in terms of health services, and so forth. And because of the political situation of course, which is extremely oppressive and increasingly so, people are being driven out."
"One of the things that we highlight in this report is the politicisation of food distribution. The Zimbabwe government has consistently maintained in the last year that there is no problem, where in fact there is a very serious problem. UN agencies now predict a 50 percent food deficit, and what is happening is that the available food is being politicised."
"People who are perceived to be supporters of the opposition, or known MDC opposition areas, they are being denied food. And this is causing a very serious problem, which we want to test in South Africa as a reason for refugee status. If food is denied to you by political decision-making then you are in fact a political refugee if you flee the country because you cannot get food. Because it puts you in physical danger."
RN: "Wouldn't that encourage more Zimbabweans to leave the country?"
"Of course, and this is what is happening. There's been a very marked increase in the number of refugees from Zimbabwe fleeing south, not only to South Africa, but also to Botswana, which is very close to Zimbabwe as well. But we have a huge number: the Zimbabwe group is now the second biggest number of refugees after Mozambique in our country, and if the current situation persists, then there will certainly be more."
RN: "It seems to place the people of Zimbabwe in a kind of dilemma: because if that legal challenge that you would like to mount results in a recognition of refugee status of Zimbabweans leaving the country, and more Zimbabweans leave, then of course this puts Zimbabwean society in even more dire straits than it already was…"
"Exactly, and it's also, unfortunately, causing immense problems down here, because we have a 40 to 45 percent unemployment rate. One of the things that's emerging from all this is xenophobia, because this huge number of Zimbabwean refugees are perceived by many of the poor and unemployed as taking potential jobs."
"If we've got two million, at least between one and two million, Zimbabwean refugees down here, putting added strain on our resources and the 24 million South African people living down the poverty line here, you can imagine all this is only complicating and exacerbating the whole situation."© Radio Nederland
ZIMBABWE: Operation Live Well struggles to take off
HARARE, 19 August (IRIN) - The painful lesson of the government's urban cleanup campaign, launched three months ago in defiance of international opinion, is that it is much easier to destroy shanty homes than to build the victims proper accommodation.
A UN report estimated that Operation Murambatsvina ('Clean Out Garbage') - which the government said was aimed at clearing slums and flushing out criminals - left more than 700,000 people homeless or without jobs after kicking off in mid-May.
Beginning in July, its successor, Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Live Well), under which the authorities promised to provide the deserving displaced with decent and affordable accommodation, has barely scratched the surface of those in need. "What we have observed so far is that the government lacks the capability to avail accommodation to people who were affected by Operation Murambatsvina, and one is justified in being sceptical about the whole project," said Mike Davis, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association. "A lot of money was spent in destroying the structures - some of them not classic shanties as government officials would want us to believe - and these authorities now have a bigger financial and logistical burden to honour their promise to provide acceptable housing," Davis noted.
But according to humanitarian officials, although cash-strapped, the government is quibbling over the wording of a "flash appeal" to international donors to help fund assistance to the homeless. "The government reacted negatively to the language of the flash appeal - they said it was too harsh and seems to imply Zimbabwe is facing an emergency," said one aid worker. "They're in denial; they don't want to acknowledge that this is a humanitarian issue, they want to present it as a normal housing development programme." There are three recognised reconstruction sites around the capital, Harare: Hatcliffe Extension, from where 17,000 people were originally evicted under the cleanup programme, and Whitecliff and Hopely farms....
A member of one brigade, who identified himself simply as Chamu, said they had managed to dig foundations for a total of 200 houses. "We are supposed to build houses for 4,000 people, even though I understand that there should be a total of 15,000 housing units at Hatcliffe.
Some beneficiaries of Operation Garikai have been given four sheets of corrugated asbestos per family for roofing, but the way I see it, that will not be enough, meaning that residents will have to use their own money to buy extra material," said Chamu.
Most of the residents who returned to Hatcliffe have set up makeshift shelters next to their demolished homes, using whatever building materials they could scrounge. There is no running water after a World Bank-funded scheme was destroyed in the cleanup operation. "Here and there some young mothers are sleeping in the open with their babies, as they do not have plastic sheets to build huts.
It is so tragic that all these residents had adequate, if flimsy, shelter three months ago, and now many cannot afford to replace even the basic shelter," wrote opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) member of parliament for the area, Trudy Stevenson.
"What confuses us is that when we came here several years ago, the government gave us title deeds, but said we should not build permanent structures. Maybe the reason why they returned us here was that they knew that we were legally entitled to our stands," said Hatcliffe resident Simon Munyoro.
.... Timothy Mucheneripi (not his real name), a worker at the site, told IRIN that the irregular supply of cement was hampering construction. "Given the rate at which we are going, the rains might come without much progress, even though we have been told to speed up the construction of the first phase of houses because they should be occupied by civil servants." Davis pointed out that even if the promised construction of new houses in Harare were to be completed, the municipality lacked the capacity to provide adequate sewerage systems, as the existing network was already seriously overloaded.
Most of the publicity was given to a few Harare suburbs...what is not mentioned is that a similar "clean up" occured in smaller towns, and according to my private sources, even rural market places were destroyed.. also not mentioned is that many of the displaced were ordered to go back to their villages, where food is already short thanks to the drought...and of course, since the press in Zim is controlled, and reporters are not allowed in, few reports are coming out of rural areas...
IMF Team Due in Zimbabwe as Inflation Soars, Economy Collapses By Chris Gande
A team from the International Monetary Fund is due in Harare next week for talks ahead of a key meeting in September at IMF headquarters that could result in the expulsion of Zimbabwe if it cannot pay down debt arrears of some $295 million.
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said the IMF team arriving Monday will be following up on a meeting with Zimbabwean officials held in June.
The IMF board is scheduled to discuss Zimbabwe’s future in the organization on Sept. 9. It has threatened to expel zimbabwe for its debt repayment arrears.
Harare has been in talks with South Africa about a loan of several hundred million dollars that would let it make at least a partial payment on those arrears.
But the loan discussions have become intertwined with talk of restarting a dialogue between Harare and the local opposition. President Robert Mugabe this week rebuffed efforts to arrange mediation of such talks, so the status of the Pretoria bailout deal is unclear.
The IMF team arrives as Zimbabwe’s economic problems continue to deepen. Inflation soared in July to an annual rate of 255% with consumer prices jumping 47% in a single month as critically short stocks of food and fuel pushed prices much higher...
| Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK |
SA fears Zimbabwe 'failed state'
Aziz Pahad said South Africa did not want Zimbabwe's government and opposition to form a government of national unity to solve its problems.
He said South Africa wanted Zimbabwe to change its economic policies, in return for a loan, which is being negotiated.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's government has again ruled out the idea of holding talks with the main opposition party.
Zimbabwe is going through an economic crisis, with shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, and rampant unemployment and inflation.
It has asked South Africa for an emergency loan so it can repay its debts to the IMF and avoid expulsion.
| Zimbabwe govt broke, Murerwa admits |
8/18/2005 9:20:06 AM (GMT +2)
THE government - relentlessly seeking recourse from the domestic market to make ends meet and facing expulsion from the 184-member International Monetary Fund (IMF) - is technically broke.
After twice postponing the mid-term fiscal policy presentation, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa all but admitted on Tuesday he cannot quench the government's insatiable appetite for funds as he rejected pleas for $31 trillion in additional funding from bankrupt line ministries.
Friday, August 19, 2005
President Mugabe's government faces expulsion from the IMF
Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano said Mr Mugabe felt there was no need for talks with the main opposition party, the MDC......
Mr Chissano was appointed earlier this month by African Union Chairman, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo."It is an internal problem that they can handle through the democratic institutions in Zimbabwe," Mr Chissano said he had been told by Zimbabwean officials....
However, these "democratic institutions" have been decimated, and are continunig to be destroyed...
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF took a two thirds majority in parliamentary elections in March -- criticised as neither free nor fair by the opposition and Western nations -- and is using this mandate to introduce a raft of changes to the constitution.
"I want to assure honourable members and the nation at large that ZANU-PF will use this majority to effect constitutional changes which we promised the people during the run-up to the March 2005 elections," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament to murmurs of disapproval from opposition deputies.
The amendments include barring individuals whose land has been seized from making a court challenge except on the amount of compensation, setting up a Senate and a single electoral body and the imposition of travel curbs on Zimbabweans suspected of "engaging in terrorist training abroad".
Authorities would also be able to confiscate passports and impose travel bans on people thought to pose a risk to state interests...
"Laws which deprive one of their passport are only found in countries like North Korea," MDC MP David Coltart said, calling the proposed legislation "draconian and retrogressive".
They are also planning a take over of all schools in that country...
Against this background, Chigwedere's stated goal of doing away with hot-seating by 2011 through the construction of hundreds of new schools looks decidedly utopian.
The situation clearly cries out for private investment in the education sector, but instead of facilitating the entry of non-state players in the sector, the education ministry has, since Chigwedere's appointment, fought a war of attrition with privately owned schools and has moved to nationalise all schools.
A former headmaster at one of Zimbabwe's oldest and prestigious government-run schools - Goromonzi - Chigwedere has ignored the onerous challenges facing public schools in pursuit of a destructive war with private schools over fees. Although he lost out in court following a nasty episode which saw school heads arrested and some schools failing to open for the new term, Chigwedere has now sought to take the legislative route to assuage his bruised ego.
Parents, represented by their development associations, responsible authorities from church-run schools, teachers' unions and an association of trusts running private schools, have come out in force to oppose the Education Amendment Bill tabled by Chigwedere in Parliament in May, saying if enacted into law, it would be the final straw.
Jameson Timba, chairman of the Association of Trust Schools (ATS), a representative body of 61 private schools, said the proposed amendment to the Education Act "was in essence an attempt to nationalise private educational institutions - from pre-schools up to high schools."
The International herald Tribune thinks so, since the country is on the verge of collapse...
Mugabe, 81, has finally run out of options. Zimbabwe's treasury is bare. The scraps of foreign exchange on which the tattered country had been relying for derisory amounts of imported fuel, power and essential goods are now gone. No one - not even China, Malaysia and Libya, Mugabe's usual patrons of last resort - will lend the required $1 billion or so for which Zimbabwe has recently been begging.
Zimbabwe's government has tabled a constitutional amendment bill to speed up the acquisition of white-owned land.
The proposals would nationalise all land and stop appeals to the courts.
Some 4,000 white farmers have been evicted from their land since 2000, but the government says legal battles are slowing up the transfer of ownership.
President Robert Mugabe's party gained the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed for constitutional change in March's disputed elections.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who introduced the bill to parliament, told the AFP news agency that the legislation would "conclude the land question"...
Being the Beeb, the photo shows a poor black farmer hoeing his land by hand...hello fellas: Rototillers and hand plows have revolutionized small farm outputs, along with fertilizer and drought resistant crops...have mugabe ask his Chinese friends about it...
But of course, the land is not being given to the people who have traditionally lived on and worked on the land. It is being given to Mugabe's cronies...and football players.
who are also being granted residential stands...
Thursday, August 18, 2005
In the wake of Zimbabwe's 'tsunami':
Operation Murambatsvina - the aftermath
Sokwanele Report: 13 August 2005
Robert Mugabe and those of his partners in crime responsible for the crime against humanity called Operation Murambatsvina, would like nothing better than that the media should move their attention on to other things. But that is the one thing the independent press and the international media must not do at any cost. Mugabe and his apologists would far prefer that Zimbabweans, and the world, should accept the fiction that the military operation is over, the deed is done, and the government is now engaged in the next (positive) phase of rebuilding. But that is so much fiction. The reality is altogether different, and for three reasons.
First, the destructive phase is not yet over, as reports from around the country confirm. Second, the so-called rebuilding phase, Operation Garikai, is patently nothing other than window dressing - frantic damage control by the regime, without any real substance, after a particularly damaging episode (from their point of view) of exposure to the truth. And third, the catastrophic consequences of Operation Murambatsvina are not yet over. Far from it. In fact, just as the full extent of the suffering caused by a natural tsunami only becomes evident some time after the tidal wave has struck, so are Zimbabweans only now beginning to see the huge damage inflicted by their man-made tsunami. There is still a story to be told. We dare not fall for the Mugabe fiction, and the world's free press dare not shy away because of the difficulties or dangers of following the story in a country under fascist rule....
...One of those most closely involved in this mission of mercy said that in his experience less than 5 per cent of those hurriedly dumped in remote locations had been able to secure a place they might again call "home" or even a prospect of shelter, food or the basic necessities of life. He related how many of the victims had been moved five or six times in recent weeks - from their original homes in Killarney or Ngozi Mine, to a church; then onwards to another church to link up with family members from whom they had become separated; before being forcibly removed by the riot police, first to the holding camp at Helensvale Farm and then onwards to a rural dumping place; and finally back, usually by foot, to somewhere close to where they had started from....
... Bulawayo pastors indeed confirmed to our reporter 6 known deaths closely related to Murambatsvina. And how many others, we ask, are still to come to light in this region or elsewhere, the more so in places where the Church has not played such a high profile role in support of the victims ? And how many others again whose deaths will just pass unnoticed and unrecorded ?
No, Murambatsvina is not over yet, and certainly the effects of the devastating aftermath will be felt for many years to come. For hundreds of thousands of victims life can never be the same again. Which makes it all the more important that we continue to track events on the ground closely, and to monitor and record as many as possible of the gross human rights abuses perpetrated. The world needs to know the scale of the disaster that is still unfolding, and human rights lawyers and others must continue to record the violations of national and international law so that, as Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Special Envoy has recommended, all those responsible will be held to account....
Ah yes...they will send them a wery nasty letter...
Gateway pundit has a summary of what's up...
This next round of "cleanup" will focus on street children and beggars!
Residents of the Hartclif extension, a shantytown of some 20,000 people in northwest Harare, building a makeshift house, August 8, 2005. (AFP)
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe authorities said on Tuesday they would resume a clean-up blitz to drive illegal vendors out of the capital, weeks after halting the exercise which sparked an international outcry.
Zimbabwe last month declared an end to its controversial demolitions of shantytowns, dubbed "Operation Restore Order", after a critical U.N. report said the operation had destroyed the homes or jobs of at least 700,000 people.
Harare City Council spokesman Lesley Gwindi told Reuters on Monday that municipal authorities were worried that street children and illegal traders had returned to the capital and were once again operating from unapproved sites.
"We are going to remove them, we will push them out," Gwindi said. "The question was always whether we will be able to sustain the order and cleanness that was brought about by the clean-up exercise and this is what we are doing," he said....
They are going to "push them out"?
I have Irish ancestors...who were "pushed out" when the potato crop failed and they could not pay the rent...many Irish died of cholera or hypothermia on the roads, or died in coffin ships going to America or the UK...and 150 years later, we still remember these things..
it is a sin to simply throw people out in the dead of winter with no place to go.....
With nowhere else to turn, some people are making their way back to their bulldozed homes.
...Some of the people evicted from their homes in Zimbabwean towns in recent weeks are trickling back to their destroyed homes, hoping to rebuild their lives and start afresh.
But many find that as soon as they start building on the site of their flattened shack, they are forced on to police trucks to be ferried out of town again....
Despite the government’s public claims that it has allocated people new housing plots, Ndongwe and many thousands of others have not benefited because they are unable to meet all the conditions. To apply for one of the limited places, they would need a rent card, a marriage certificate and a salary slip -- none of which people them are likely to possess....
Last week, the police came back, and loaded the Ndongwes and others onto trucks, and dumped them on the road to the eastern border city of Mutare.
As the transit camp at Caledonia Farm, inmates were ordered onto trucks last week and driven away to unknown destinations.
Also last week, police evicted hundreds of homeless families who had been given refuge in churches in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, where pastors and priests were providing temporary sanctuary for victims of Operation Murambatsvina.
Riot units raided the churches and loaded the dispossessed people into trucks. Police said they had instructions “from the bosses to take the victims to Tsholotsho", referring to a rural community in an area of severe drought some 120 km northwest of Bulawayo.
The police raids have deeply angered the Churches in Bulawayo, a coalition of churches which has come together because of the demolition programme and the resulting humanitarian crisis.
“The removal of the innocent, poor, weak, voiceless and vulnerable members of society by riot police was uncalled for and unnecessary,” said the coalition in a statement. “It is inhuman, brutal and insensitive and in total disregard of human rights and dignity.”
Meanwhile police barred churches and non-government groups from entering Helensvale Farm, a transit camp 20 km from Bulawayo that is the second largest holding facility for families whose homes have been bulldozered and burned in the city.
“There have been no provisions for the people at the transit camp since we were ordered off Helensvale farm,” said the Reverend Ray Motsi, a spokesman for the church coalition. “And we do not know what the people are eating now because we did not supply them with long-term food and other provisions. The reports we got from the camp are worrying.”.....
GABORONE (Reuters) - Southern African leaders meeting this week will not address Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis because it is not a "regional situation", officials said on Tuesday.
"There is no agenda on Zimbabwe. We discuss regional situations not individual countries," Prega Ramsamy, executive director of the 13-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), said ahead of the organisation's summit on Wednesday....
The reason that I find this ironic is because if the famine was due to the drought, it WOULD be a regional problem...essentially they are acknowledging that the problem is an internal political problem so they don't want to interfere...
remember this next time you read that all of Zim's problems are due to the weather...
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
How to silence opposition voices? Have your spy agency buy up all the news papers...
...The CIO reportedly copied their strategy of owning newspapers through shell companies or as silent shareholders from Angola, where the intelligence service owns the largest circulating daily.
Mugabe’s government already controls a chain of newspapers under the Zimpapers stable, and enjoys a monopoly of the airwaves.
Over the past five years, the government has intensified media tyranny in tandem with political oppression as part of its political survival strategy.
Dozens of journalists of the independent media have been arrested and foreign correspondents deported. The Independent newspaper named CIO officers deployed to the three newspapers to tighten the intelligence service’s grip on the publications....
...Government sources said State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa was expected to meet senior intelligence officers in a bid to limit the damage caused by media reports that Zimbabwe’s state security agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), had taken over three private newspapers using billions in taxpayers’ funds. The development further cripples independent critical voices in the country....
The CIO reportedly copied their strategy of owning newspapers through shell companies or as silent shareholders from Angola, where the intelligence service owns the largest circulating daily.
Mugabe’s government already controls a chain of newspapers under the Zimpapers stable, and enjoys a monopoly of the airwaves.
Over the past five years, the government has intensified media tyranny in tandem with political oppression as part of its political survival strategy.
Dozens of journalists of the independent media have been arrested and foreign correspondents deported. The Independent newspaper named CIO officers deployed to the three newspapers to tighten the intelligence service’s grip on the publications....
It has been revealed that the food aid from South Africa that is being held up is not the only consignment waiting for clearance from Zimbabwe officials. Thousands of tonnes of other emergency aid are reported to be held up by Zimbabwean red tape. Tony Hall, the United States food ambassador who visited Zimbabwe, told reporters at the weekend that 10 000 tons of food were waiting for an import licence in Durban, while 15 000 tonnes, already inside Zimbabwe, needed permission before it could be distributed....
JOHANNESBURG -- Relief supplies organised by South African churches for victims of a government clean-up operation in Zimbabwe are expected to arrive in the country this week after the Harare authorities finally allowed in the aid.
The Zimbabwean authorities were refusing to allow the aid into the country arguing they needed certificates indicating the food was not genetically modified. Zimbabwe has banned genetically modified food over safety fears.
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) which organised the aid said the trucks finally left Johannesburg where they had been held up for Harare at the weekend.....
The stuff about genetically modified food is another "green" worry that kills poor people...
We already have thousands of poor Africans dying after the greens worried about DDT...well, genetically modified food, which is commonly eaten in the USA, is another PC issue...
Of course, it is probably just a lame excuse to "punish" the donors...
The Harare authorities had refused to allow in the aid throwing hurdles in the church's way. State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa last month accused the churches of “pushing a political agenda.”
The SA clergymen have criticised the Zimbabwe government for demolishing people's homes in a controversial clean-up exercise two months ago.Makes me happy that I live in a country where a hundred peso bribe would settle the whole thing...Gloria, have your son call his office...his juteng bribe check is waiting for him...
Zimbabwe has more elephants than it can handle
The elephants destroyed homes and caused residents to flee from a township near a national park.....
National Parks spokesman retired Major Edward Mbewe told the state-owned Herald newspaper that he did not believe reports that elephants were moving closer to settlements in search of food and water after this year's poor rains. ...
Monday, August 15, 2005
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party lost a key election yesterday as Zimbabweans showed their disgust at his devastating campaign of shack demolitions.
Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), polled five times the number of votes won by Mr Mugabe's candidate in mayoral elections in the second city of Bulawayo.....
More than 700,000 people have lost their homes across Zimbabwe's towns and cities since the launch in mid-May of "Operation Drive Out Trash", Mr Mugabe's infamous "clean-up" campaign.
Bulawayo, with its wide avenues and old townships, was particularly hard-hit. Thousands of people took refuge in 17 churches across the city, according to a recent report by UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka. They were later evicted by armed police.
Political analyst John Makumbe said the MDC's victory was "a continuation of the urban people's resistance" to Mr Mugabe. "We can see that after the (clean-up) operation people are even more opposed to the Mugabe regime," he said.
The 81-year-old Zimbabwean president maintains he wants to "restore dignity" to Zimbabweans, but the MDC says the operation was an attempt to chase its supporters into the countryside.
Yesterday Mr Ndabeni-Ncube said the displacement of voters contributed to Saturday's low turnout of just 10.7 per cent. But the main reason for the poor showing was "the misery of the people" who felt their vote had become useless, he said.....
US envoy " has expressed concern about food shortages in Zimbabwe and has warned that Zimbabwean government polices are making matters worse.
US Ambassador to the United Nations' food agencies, Tony Hall, said the African nation did not appear to have enough food for the immediate future.
He said donors were trying to help but they were being hampered by delays in receiving permission to distribute food.
Another LINK HERE saying that the red tape problem is still in place...and that the aid sent by South African churches is still sitting at the border....
Of course, this is not just due to Mugabe, but as I pointed out last month, much of the tsunami aid has been sitting in warehouses or delayed by similar red tape...
The difference is that at least in corrupt countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, the official in charge of the paperwork usually responds to a little money...
Philippine joke: There are three types of bribes in the Philippines: over the talble, under the table, and including the table...
Don't call me names for the joke: It's from the editorial page of the Manila Bulletin...
Sunday, August 14, 2005
People are starving to death in Niger, but famine is also whittling away the populations across the region and beyond, in Mali, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Eritrea and southern Sudan.
So how did Niger become the crisis of the day?...
It is relatively easy to get permission to enter, unlike Sudan and Zimbabwe.It is at peace, and thus its emergency is not one induced by war, civil unrest or political machination.
So the old gray lady (i.e. NYT) explains why they average only a dozen stories on Zim in the past years, while they had 345 on Abugrab and probably more on Gitmo...reporters don't get arrested for taking photos in Gitmo...
Saturday, August 13, 2005
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa; Aug 12 (IPS) - The Pafuri-Banyini pan in South Africa's north-eastern Kruger National Park teems with game. Elephant bulls amble among clumps of marula trees and impala leap gracefully across the grassland, where buffalo graze.
Located in the triangle between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers where South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique meet, the pan is more than an idyllic corner of Kruger, however: it will ultimately lie at the heart of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. This conservation area will encompass 35,000 square kilometres, allowing animals to follow ancient migration routes between the Kruger in South Africa, the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe.
The pressures that are being brought to bear on the pan are indicative of problems that the transfrontier park as a whole will have to grapple with -- a matter of increasing importance as the deadline approaches for dropping another stretch of border fencing to create the conservation area.
"Zimbabweans cross the river, lay snares and sell bush meat in the villages in South Africa. Then they buy groceries here to take back to Zimbabwe,"...
(here there is a long discussion of the problem of making the parks safe for animals and preventing local animals from being poached by local villagers and by refugees who live nearby...)
...Maluleke’s concerns about Zimbabwe are echoed amongst staffers at the Peace Parks Foundation, however.
The country has become increasingly isolated over the past five years, in the wake of a controversial programme of farm seizures, and three elections marred by allegations of human rights abuse and vote rigging. These events have taken their toll on Zimbabwe’s economy, creating mass unemployment and triple digit inflation. Certain Zimbabweans have turned to poaching in a bid to make ends meet.
"Until Zimbabwe comes back into the fold nothing will happen there because donors are not going to put up money," said Van Riet.
Zimbabwe is among the best countries in Africa in the management of wildlife and conservation of natural resources, a visiting Nigerian official has said........
"Our short stay in Zimbabwe has awarded us tremendous exposure to the issues at stake in the industry back home. ..... We admire the role stakeholders are playing in all of Zimbabwe's protected areas and the coherence in the partnership with the Government in achieving these goals," Eng Yakubu said.He said unlike his country, where they are in the early stages of empowering local communities to take a leading role in managing natural resources, Zimbabwe is well advanced in community-based-programmes meant to reduce poverty in areas that are animal rich. .....
...He said Zimbabwe's stance to bestow its riches in the hands of the indigenous people in the areas of game farming and mining is commendable though there is need to regularly monitor work on the ground to ensure there is adherence to the country's laws to maximise benefits.
The 23-member delegation was in the country on a seven-day study tour following their first familiarisation visit last month....
The shipment from SA churches has finally been allowed to enter into Zim...
Two trucks loaded each with 32 tons of food, blankets and other basic items is soon to depart for Zimbabwe to help the thousands made homeless by the Government’s slum demolition programme, a spokesman for the South African Council of Churches (SACC) has said.
The delivery of the convoys, from Johannesburg in South Africa to Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, have faced numerous setbacks after the Zimbabwean Government insisted that all food be certified by both the suppliers and South Africa’s Ministry of Agriculture as being GM-free.
Rev Ron Steele said on behalf of the SACC: “We have finally got the necessary documents saying that the maize in the truck has not been genetically modified – so we hope to get the necessary clearance certificate from the Zimbabwean authorities.”
The deliveries will be received in Zimbabwe by Christian Care, an NGO, which is also responsible for the food distribution for the Zimbabwe Council of Churches. Rev Steele said the food aid was destined for the transit camps outside Harare.....
Propaganda screed from a supporter of "liberation"...
As a Kenyan residing in the United States and having come to Zimbabwe to give a talk at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, I am of the opinion that this should be stated boldly and simply - war has been declared on Zimbabwe.It is not the conventional war of invasion, shelled out buildings and bodies strewn in the streets, properly speaking, Zimbabwe is under siege.
Yup...buildings destroyed are by Mugabe...homeless people dying on the street are not due to "operation throw out innocent people", so I don't see these things...
And a siege is only a prelude to conventional warfare, behind the sanctions, the vilification of Zimbabwe by international media and Western leaders, there is more to come - the wheels have already been set in motion.
It is up to us, a collective "we" in and out of Zimbabwe to stop them in mid-revolve.
The declared and the undeclared sanctions have one sole purpose - to make the basic necessities that are ordinarily taken for granted outside the reach of Zimbabweans, to make life so unbearable that the citizens, in an overwhelming and massive flood would rise up against their government.
Hmmm....but the US has NOT stopped food aid...they are still sending in free food for those suffering from starvation..
The US is preparing to send 73 500 tons in aid to southern Africa, and much of that is expected to go to Zimbabwe. ...LINK...
But I guess that doesn't count....
I'd link the rest, but it is almost word for word the talking points of the far left anti American propaganda machine...indeed, one can believe this gentleman works at an American university, because that type of talk is the "religion" of the elites who teach at our universities...
....Under the draft Bill the government seeks the power to restrict freedom of movement in the name of national interest and security. If passed, the proposed legislation will give the state the right to suspend or withdraw the travel documents of citizens....
....In representations to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs last week, Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers (ZHRL), a civic group, complained that travel restrictions were likely to be used against opposition party members and civil rights activists, who have been critical of Harare's policies....
Hmmm...true, but it is also a way to prevent refugees from leaving the country....
Hmmm...GK Chesterton once defined the word faith as believing in something you cannot see or detect by rational means...that sounds right to me...
....No amount of human rights abuses, autocratic behaviour or economic destruction seemed able to shake the faith of ANC leaders in Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, says Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon.
"Indeed, Mugabe's 'cocking a snook' or giving a 'two's-up' to whitey and the West seems to appeal to a sizeable constituency in the ANC," he said in his weekly newsletter, published on the DA's SA Today website on Friday.
It had taken the apartheid government 16 years to forcibly remove about 60 000 people from District Six in Cape Town.
"In contrast, it took Mugabe only a few weeks to forcibly remove about 10 times as many people - about 700 000, according to the report of UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka - from the cities of Zimbabwe in Operation Murambatsvina ("Drive Out the Trash").
"Somehow, the ANC has failed to see that what was wrong in the 1960s and 1970s, remains wrong today," he said......
...On Tuesday the veteran leader, in power since independence in 1980, said 6,000 officers from the army and air force would be given land under the exercise, which started in 2000.
"The responsible authorities are indeed looking into the matter with a view to allocating land to these remaining deserving cadres," Mugabe told supporters at an annual rally to commemorate Defense Forces day.
Critics says disruptions to the agriculture sector linked to the land seizures have led to chronic food shortages over the past five years, but Mugabe blames drought.
Mugabe also said 600 officers had been allocated stands to build houses under a reconstruction program the government embarked on after its destruction of slums in urban centers.
The United Nations says the crackdown left at least 700,000 people either homeless, without a livelihood or both....
Thursday, August 11, 2005
The African Union has named former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano mediator in talks which the AU seeks to promote between President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his political opposition.The nomination elevated Mr. Chissano from the role of special envoy to Harare, which the AU handed him at its at summit last week.
Mr. Chissano is a close friend of Mr. Mugabe and is respected by the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party. President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, now AU chairman, has been working in the background of the political crisis for weeks and his office confirmed the mediation appointment on Wednesday.
The appointment comes against the background of negotiations between the Zimbabwe and South African governments for a loan sought by Harare to pay down debt arrears to the International Monetary Fund and avoid being stripped of IMF membership, and buy food and fuel, both in critically short supply in Zimbabwe.
South Africa could learn about speedy land reform from its neighbour Zimbabwe, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said on Wednesday.
"We've got lessons to learn from Zimbabwe -- how to do it fast," she told an African distance-education conference in Pretoria.
There is a general complaint in South Africa that land reform is too slow, too structured and "that we need a bit of an oomph".
"So, we might want some skills exchange between us and Zimbabwe, to get some of their colleagues to help us here with that," the deputy president told delegates with a smile -- to muted laughter.
....The Democratic Alliance questioned the wisdom of Mlambo-Ngcuka's pronouncement at the education conference.
"Surely Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is joking," it said in a statement.
"The lesson for our country lies in not following the same route which Zimbabwe has taken. Zimbabwe offers a textbook example of ways in which land reform should not be carried out."....
Zimpundit explains why the AU loves Mugabe...they are so deep into hating colonialism that they prefer to back an anti colonial hero even if he is a tyrant and starves all his own people...
Sounds like the proverb: Cutting off your nose to spite your face...but of course, it's not their kids who might die of famine induced diarrhea...
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Until its closure, military officers from various SADC states had attended peacekeeping and 'stabilisation' courses in preparation for UN missions. The reopening of the centre comes in the wake of announcements that a regional standby intervention force would be available by the end of August. Armies from the region met in northern Botswana last month for a two-week exercise to test their readiness for rapid response situations.
Again, what's that old saying about worrying about the mote in your brother's eye?
6000 soldiers to get farm land...ah, but how many want to be farmers?
In usual "land reform" programs, the land is apportioned out to all those who worked and lived on the larger farms...so each family would get a small farm...and maybe the head of the local village would be in charge of apportioning irrigation and tractors or large farm animals to each family. (HINT to farmers: Buy hand plows...and fertilize)...
The local farmers would then be encouraged to use the land and improve it...
you don't just "give away" land...to untrained soldiers, who may not have family ties in the area, and indeed who might not want to be farmers...
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
...Some 700,000 Zimbabweans have lost their homes and livelihoods in the campaign and a further 2.4 million people have been affected, according to a UN report released last month.
The report by UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka said the demolitions had been "carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering."
Kothari, an Indian legal expert, said he was concerned that there had been no moves by Zimbawe's authorities since the UN report to resettle or compensate those who had been thrown out of their homes.
Mugabe on Monday said he had invited Annan to Zimbabwe "so that he can have an appreciation of what we are trying to do for our people in the sphere of housing and informal business."
Zimbabwe's president also lashed out at critics, calling them "long-distance philanthropists who romanticize shacks."
Kothari said he was willing to travel to Zimbabwe to provide help with a fair housing policy....UMMM....they don't need a "housing policy"...they need HOUSES....
Well, a large convoy of food and other help is being shipped to Zim from South African churches...and guess what?
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The arrival of South African food donated to Zimbabweans made homeless by a government crackdown has been delayed by Harare's demand for written confirmation that it was not genetically modified, a church spokesman said on Monday.
More deaths thanks to "green concerns"...in the US, everyone eats the stuff, and has for years, but never mind...and of course, the greens are at the root of not spraying DDT etc to destroy malaria carrying mosquitoes in towns, since it might harm the birds....
The South African Council of Churches sent food and blankets last Monday to people affected by the government's "Operation Restore Order" to raze shantytowns and illegal business premises that the UN says left 700,000 homeless......
Zimbabwean state media at the time sought to discredit the South African clerics, suggesting their visit was bankrolled by British intelligence as part of a smear campaign against President Robert Mugabe's government.
Steele said he did not believe there were political motives behind the delays: "I think it's just normal red tape, bureaucracy."Yup...people starving, but red tape comes first....
But church leaders painted a dim report of the reality of Zim...LINK
And this goes against the delusional reality that Mugabe claims here..... LINK...
Ironically, in the tsunami, much of the official help was held up for months by red tape...LINK...what saved people is that the US, the Aussies, the Indians, and Japan, with their helicopters ignored the red tape (and the UN: LINK) in the first few weeks....as did local churches/mosques and temples (both Buddhist and Hindu) who housed refugees, buried the dead, and gave first aid...LINK...however, as noted above, church leaders are now the enemy....
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Hentoff's JWR column blasts the AU for ignoring and empowering Mugabe's genocide (ironically, his VillageVoice column merely blasts Gitmo, suggesting that to the left in NYC, restraining violent prisoners is a greater crime than genocide of the non PC)
Our world has no shortage of brutal dictators (a phrase that itself seems redundant). Among the most increasingly ruthless tyrants is Robert Mugabe — once the liberator of Zimbabwe from white colonialism, now the scourge of its black citizens. ...
A stinging 200-page U.N. report by Kajumulo Tibaijuka, an expert in rural economics from Tanzania, emphasizes that the Mugabe government's "indifference to human suffering" has been caused by "a disastrous venture based on a set of colonial-era laws and policies that were (under white rule) used as a tool of segregation and social exclusion." (But strangely, she does not target Mugabe directly as the cause of this suffering.)
Recently, on a liberal New York radio station, WBAI, I was describing how Mugabe has caused an unemployment rate of 70 percent, ruinous inflation, the pervasive decline of Zimbabwe's once bountiful harvests and the savage punishment of dissenters, inflicted by his merciless youth militia. A caller to the radio station identified himself as an American black pastor and a human rights activist around the world.
He admonished me for not giving Mugabe credit for rescuing Zimbabwe from having been "a white-ruled plantation." I told him the country still is a plantation — ruled by a black master.
Yes, and I worked in Liberia when IT was a country ruled by a "black master", a fact that was ignored by all the world, who saw only black faces and didn't recognize the tyranny...and I had to flee that poor country when the locals staged a coup, leading to 2o years of civil war...which was worse...and one worries that Zim is heading the same direction...
Also scandalous in these crimes against the people of Zimbabwe is the silence of the African Union, formed five years ago to prove that the continent can take care of its own problems — and protect economic, political and human rights.
A July 7 front-page story in the Financial Times began: "Kofi Annan yesterday urged African leaders to break their silence over actions by governments, such as Zimbabwe's, that were undermining the continent's credibility in the eyes of the world." The U.N. secretary-general emphasized: "What is lacking on the continent is (a willingness) to comment on wrong policies in a neighboring country."
But in the same article, Olusegun Obasanjo, president of Nigeria and presently the chairman of the African Union, defiantly said he would "not be a part" of any public condemnation of Mugabe.
Moreover, as The New York Times reported on July 6: "Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia are among those (African nations) that have praised Mr. Mugabe's economic policies in recent months," or even more appallingly, "have stopped protesters from criticizing them."
They have also been abandoned by the justly venerated Nelson Mandela, who has marred his autumnal years by refusing to say a word in criticism of Mugabe. I asked an African, a longtime human-rights worker concerning the continent, why Mandela will not speak, when his condemnation of this horrifying injustice would, should he offer it, reverberate around the world.
I find it ironic that the google headline search for Zim shows at least one link to spots, usually cricket...
today shows more than usual:
The usually staid CSMonitor again blasts Mugabe for human rights violations and impending democide...and blasts those who sit back and watch it happen....
...The head-shaking reality is that Mbeki is not using his leverage and moral standing. Instead, he's pursued a course of "quiet diplomacy" that's nothing more than a whisper, judging by the results. A more vigorous approach, with South Africa ready to give a $1 billion loan to Zimbabwe, would be to demand economic and political reforms. Any such incentive may lack force, though. Mugabe, who just closed an economic deal with China, may feel he can afford to spurn loans with unwelcome conditions.
Or maybe not, since some reports said he got only minor concessions from the Chinese, who, unlike Mbeki, put profit in front of ideology...the bad news is that China has a veto at the UN...
A whole host of reasons explain Mbeki's reticence. His neighbor may be a despot at the helm of a failing country, but he's a hero to many South Africans for getting whites out of government and off farmland.
Mbeki's African National Congress party also has serious reservations about the effectiveness of Zimbabwe's political opposition. And South African businesses prefer the great mining deals they're getting in Zimbabwe....
Wait til they hear that Mugabe is also confiscating mines to give " great mining deals" to China...
...The UN Security Council is under pressure to meet regarding the report. But as with Darfur, where China has oil interests, it's hard to imagine Beijing backing UN intervention in Zimbabwe, where China has mining interests. That puts pressure on Africa for a home-grown solution - to alleviate the suffering in Zimbabwe, but also to ease Mugabe's exit.
Hmmm...oil for palace program bribed France and Russia to oppose the US stopping S.H....Sudan's oil bribes for China are stopping the UN for intervening in the genocide of Dafur...selling platinum and chromium mines to China will stop the UN for intervening into Zim...is there a pattern here? ....but then, the UN didn't stop the Bosnian massacres or the Ruandan massacres either, so we can't blame capitalism for all genocides....
If it's African cover that Mbeki needs, he's got the UN report - produced by a Tanzanian. And he should turn for help to Nigeria's president Olusegun Obasanjo, a Mugabe critic.
If he could find the moral courage he summoned to fight apartheid, Mbeki could use these two African levers, as well as his own weight and that of Zimbabwe's neighbors, to bring Mugabe to the negotiating table.
Delay just prolongs the despot's day of reckoning.
and will allow a couple hundred thousand people in rural areas, far from reporters, to die of famine related diseases... not to mention the hundreds of thousands of refugees in SA will continue to increase...but then, we rarely hear about them in the news....
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Much of the article is blasting Marxism, but there are a few interesting points:
Mugabe has been encouraged to believe that he will continue to enjoy the economic support of a South Africa headed by president Thabo Mbeki. He has already had the begging bowl out, seeking an estimated $700 million in emergency financial support from the South Africans. That would have helped him, perhaps, pay the $290 million Zimbabwe was supposed to have repaid to the IMF last week.
Mbeki is concerned that total collapse will lead to a flood of desperate Zimbabweans into South Africa -- 3 million of Zimbabwe’s 15-million citizens are already living and working in South Africa, giving rise to a back-lash from many ordinary South Africans who see their jobs being taken by their country’s energetic northern neighbours....
Three million "economic" refugees? that's 20 percent of the Zim population...
And now Mugabe has been scampering around Beijing seeking money to support his increasingly-ramshackle regime and apparently pledging his country’s minerals for decades and offering mining rights to Chinese miners in exchange for support. Mugabe’s government has pillaged the farms. Now it is on the brink of pillaging what remains of the mining sector, even those new mines set up under his government in terms of what were supposed to have been cast-iron guarantees against expropriation.
Even when Mugabe shuffles off this mortal coil, will his successors be likely to change tack unless absolutely forced to do so? In private, cynical, unscrupulous foreigners who have invested in Zimbabwe often declare that they have the Zanu-PF party bosses in their pockets and that they have also ’bought” party bosses in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Ah, but will they "stay" bought?
Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane prayed for "sanity" to be brought to the leadership of Zimbabwe, while Rhema Church leader Ray McCauley prayed the event would mark the beginning of momentum to help suffering people in that country.
McCauley said during a recent visit to Zimbabwe by the council he had met a woman who was a victim of operation "Drive Out Trash" and who was in tears.
"I though they were tears of suffering," he said.
"I asked why are you weeping? She said our visit was an answer to prayers that hope was there."
A convoy of trucks carrying aid relief of 4 500 blankets and 37 tons of maize, beans and oil is to leave Johannesburg for Zimbabwe on Monday.
Ndungane's office said the convoy would be escorted by members of the SA National Defence Force.
"Once in Zimbabwe, the aid will be distributed to those most in need, in and around Mutare, Bulawayo and Harare - from church halls and in resettlement camps."
Distribution would be handled by the relief arm of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches: Christian Care.
The South African embassy in Zimbabwe would help to make sure the aid gets to the appropriate distribution points.
Claudia Rosett of the WSJ, who broke the "oil for food" aka "Oil for palaces and bribes to UN officials" scandal has an editorial on Zimbabwe:
.....With a delicacy over-zealously inappropriate in itself to dealings with the tyrant whose regime has been responsible for wreck of Zimbabwe, the report starts by thanking Mr. Mugabe for his "warm welcome" to the U.N. delegation, which visited the country from June 26 to July 8. The report, issued by the secretary-general's special envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, then proceeds to the usual U.N. prescription that what Zimbabwe needs is more aid, and a framework--here comes the UN lingo--"to ensure the sustainability of humanitarian response." While the report also calls for the "culprits" to be called to justice under Zimbabwe laws, Mugabe himself is somehow excused from direct responsibility....
....in Zimbabwe's state-choked economy, Mugabe has a record of diverting foreign aid to his supporters, while starving--as well as mugging and murdering--his opposition. Aid workers themselves in recent years have lamented the difficulty of channeling aid in Zimbabwe to the intended beneficiaries. The danger with any massive, not to mentioned "sustainable" humanitarian response, is that it will most likely translate into sustainability of Mugabe's regime (generating hefty fees along the way for any U.N. agencies involved)....
(snip here where she describes the various crimes of Mugabe against the Nbebele and his "land reform" where confiscated farms were not given to the workers but to his cronies)..
The U.N. report does warn that its findings are incomplete. But they are rather worse than that. The eviction of hundreds of thousands was not, in Mugabe's universe, a policy mistake. It was, for Zimbabwe's murderous tyrant, a success--now yielding leverage over decent people who are indeed prone to send help to those suffering in Zimbabwe. We have seen this cycle before. It is what led to the U.N. devising, albeit on a far grander scale, with a far bigger cut for its own administrative services, the now scandal-ridden Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, which fortified Saddam Hussein and helped him keep power for years beyond what many in the early 1990s expected. What must be grasped in dealing with Zimbabwe is that the problem is Mugabe himself. And whatever welcome, warm or otherwise, he may provide to visiting U.N. delegations, the true recovery can only begin with his departure.
Ever since the MDC alleged that the mayor of Mutare had been suspended for exposing cleanup victims to the UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka, other reports have surfaced that the police are arresting victims of the exercise suspected of having spoken to her as well. Most disturbing is a report from Mabvuku that the mother of a child who was crushed to death by falling bricks during the demolitions was taken by police.
It is believed that the woman is being punished for having told Tibaijuka about her ordeal. But other residents in her Mabvuku neighbourhood say she never saw the UN envoy in a situation where she was able to talk. Although no other specific cases have been confirmed, there are many allegations that other victims of these demolitions are being harassed and even locked up for a few days due to police suspicion that they exposed their experiences to outsiders.
Zimbabweans know very well that security guards routinely sleep outdoors near their jobs all week because it is too expensive to go home and come back. It has now become impossible to do so since the police are rounding up everyone seen outdoors and locking them up or shipping them out to unknown destinations. No-one without a so-called legal home is allowed to be in Harare.
On the other hand, as I have noted earlier, China's interest in Zim has more to do with their long history of trade rather than ideology...so this article says they don't trust him either, although they will probably veto UN threats...
According to the Herald, agreements were signed during Mugabe’s China trip for a $6m grant to import grain and finance projects. China also agreed to give Zimbabwe 100 computers.
Mugabe met Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing last week, but a source said China had decided to give him temporary political protection, but no economic aid of substance.
“The Chinese have done their assessment and it’s ‘Mugabe, you are not worth investing in’,” the source said.
Even with the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar’s official exchange rate, the ability of exporters to retain foreign exchange and the move toward high interest, the Chinese did not show long-term confidence.
I apologize for posting mainly about China, but since the homeless have moved to rural areas to starve and die of disease quietly, the "human rights" news has prettywell dried up on Google...