Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tsvangerai denied passport

from the Zimbabwe Times

Tsvangirai, whose Zimbabwean passport expired two months ago, accused the government of President Robert Mugabe of treating him like a non-citizen by refusing to renew his passport.

The ETD issued to Tsvangirai on Monday is valid for six months.

Tsvangirai used the ETD to travel to Johannesburg South Africa on Monday for consultative deliberations with his party’s delegation at the power-sharing talks being held in Pretoria .

Tsvangirai was denied a new passport after exhausting all the pages in his old passport.

The Zimbabwe Times understands that the decision to deny Tsvangirai a new passport was made at a strategy meeting held by the Joint Operations Command on June 16 at Mukwati Building where Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede was summoned and instructed to withhold the MDC leader’s passport for “security reasons.”

Zim knocks ten zeros off currancy

From the UKGuardian:

Zimbabwe is knocking 10 zeros off its currency because its computers and ATMs cannot handle basic transactions in billions and trillions of dollars.

The revaluing - which turns Z$10bn into Z$1 - was announced by the central bank governor, Gideon Gono yesterday and will take effect tomorrow.

It comes a week after the issue of a Z$100bn note....

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate, which is officially running at 2.2m% but which independent economists say is closer to 12.5m%.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Zim mining and banking companies on US sanctions list

from SWRadioAfrica

....The US targeted sanctions freezes the assets of the named individuals and entities, and US nationals are prohibited from conducting financial and foreign transactions with them.

However the South African government condemned the measures describing them as “interference” in Zimbabwe’s affairs. Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told a news conference that it was difficult to understand the objectives of the new sanctions at a time when the political parties are negotiating a way forward. South Africam, which is facilitating the talks between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations, is viewed as a long-time ally of the Mugabe regime.

But US President George Bush said the smart sanctions were there to put pressure on the ZANU PF elite, which continues with a violent campaign against opponents and has not lifted the ban on humanitarian aid.
Bush has authorised an additional US$2.5million in aid to assist refugees and asylum seekers displaced by the political violence. He said; "We will also continue our efforts to provide food and health assistance as part of our commitment to help the people of Zimbabwe in their time of greatest need." ...

full list is at link

Zim talks deadlocked

from the BBC

.....A dispute has apparently arisen over a push by President Robert Mugabe's party to have MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai appointed "third vice-president".

The MDC sources said this was "insulting", and reflected negatively on the talks' facilitator, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. ...

The Associated Press news agency reported that Mr Mugabe's negotiators were to fly home to Zimbabwe on Monday, although it is unclear whether the talks are in recess or have broken down completely.

AP quoted a different official in Zimbabwe saying Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche - Mr Mugabe's negotiators - might be going home to consult the president about their mandate.

The same official said Mr Tsvangirai had left Zimbabwe on Monday and was travelling to the South African capital, Pretoria, to consult his own negotiators.

A source quoted by the AFP news agency said the proposal to name Mr Tsvangirai third vice-president showed a "complete lack of sincerity and the need to really address the issues and problems Zimbabwe is facing".

Zimbabwe's current first and second vice-presidents are both high-ranking Zanu-PF members.

A spokesman for President Mbeki told the BBC he had no knowledge of the talks breaking down.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Farming in the Congo

From the Toronto Star.

The story relates how locals, using new hybrid seeds but basic tools, locals are growing food.

Wonder how much could be grown with more investment into things like pumps, wheel barrows, rototiller/handplows etc.

It also points out the problems:

One: It's cheaper to import food from overseas than locally because of lack of roads and few farms (sort of a double whammy: no farms because no on invests but no place to sell crops unless roads etc are built).

Two: Points out the evils of colonialism, where plantations were made, destroying local communities and farms. Now plantations aren't being used, but no farmers replaced them.

Three: Note who is building roads etc: China, hoping to get a finger into the mining industry.

Coubts over Zim deal

National angst remains after President Robert Mugabe and his main political rivals, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that could pave the way for a lasting political settlement....

The handshake was a temporary triumph for South African President Thabo Mbeki and his much-criticised "quiet diplomacy" policy on Zimbabwe.

At last, the rivals had come face to face.

They signed a commitment to "end polarisation, divisions, conflict and intolerance that have characterised our country's politics".

The talks are due to be completed in two weeks.

Economic collapse

With inflation at more than 2.2m%, unemployment at 80%, and basic food commodities vanishing from shelves, locals have been finding things tough, with millions forced into neighbouring countries.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

photo chinese protests

China to Mugabe: Behave!

from the UK Telegraph:

Beijing put pressure on Mr Mugabe to begin talks because of fears that the continuing crisis in Zimbabwe risked overshadowing the Olympics, according to government and diplomatic sources.

China's leaders, who have have long enjoyed a close relationship with Zimbabwe's beleagured president, feared growing protests in the run-up to the Games and so leaned on Mr Mugabe to agree to the historic talks which began on Thursday.

Their move came after Russia and China together infuriated the West by blocking a United Nations Security Council attempt to impose sanctions on members of the Zimbabwean regime....

But while Mr Mbeki basked in the glow of the diplomatic coup, winning high praise from the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy - currently in charge of the EU presidency - Zimbabwean government sources said he had little to do with it.....

"China exerted diplomatic pressure on Harare for the protection of their own interests in this country, given the threat and risks of their economic investments under a new government. This explains the sudden change of heart by Mugabe. This is all choreographed."....

there is a discussion of the issue on the NEW ZIMBABWE forum

South Africa tells Mugabe to surrender

From the UKTimes

....Mbeki, who has done all he can to shield and support Mugabe for the past eight years, has come under overwhelming western pressure and has had to tell Mugabe that he could no longer protect him and his key cronies from being charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The power-sharing talks between Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are shrouded in secrecy. But The Sunday Times has learnt that Mugabe, who has vowed that Tsvangirai will never be in government and that “only God can remove me from power”, faces humiliation over the terms of the deal that he will be forced to sign next month.

He will remain as president in name only and all real power will be held by a 20-member cabinet under Tsvangirai as prime minister. The opposition MDC will have 11 cabinet posts to nine for Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. ...

In Zimbabwe Talks, who will get the real power?

NYTimes analysis

note the new players in the field: especially Botswana.,..excerpts..

....One of the most remarkable changes to emerge from Zimbabwe’s violent election season is that leaders in Zambia and Botswana have resoundingly broken the silence of Mr. Mugabe’s peers in the region about the human rights abuses committed by his governing party....

With rumors swirling that Mr. Mugabe, 84, and Mr. Tsvangirai, 56, are close to a deal in talks that are supposed to last only two weeks, Ms. Khupe, a member of Parliament from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, said she had not been informed yet about the progress of the negotiations. But she noted that any agreement from the talks, which are being held at a secret location in Pretoria, would have to be approved by the party’s leadership.

....Shadowing the current talks is the memory of an earlier set of unity negotiations. In 1987, after years in which historians estimated that Mr. Mugabe’s military forces killed at least 10,000 civilians in the stronghold of his rival Joshua Nkomo, Mr. Nkomo joined the government, allowing Mr. Mugabe to further solidify his hold on power.

The current talks, too, were preceded by a violent onslaught....

The accounts its election observers brought back from Zimbabwe deepened Botswana’s official revulsion. Ruth Seretse, the deputy director of Botswana’s directorate on corruption and economic crime, led the 50-person observer team. She said in an interview that she had seen ZANU-PF youth militia members beating people at a rally for Mr. Tsvangirai in Harare.

“People ran for their lives,” she said. “The riot police just stood there.” .....

Zim white farmers flee abroad

from aljezeerah

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blog update

No blog links in the last week because my husband was in the hospital and I was staying with him.

Blog posts will resume later this week after I catch up on the news.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Several dead in militia raids

from SWRAdioAfrica

38 year old Reuben Muteke who was abducted and severely tortured soon after the controversial one-man election run off, has died from his injuries. A relative of the deceased, Thomas Mapfumo (not the musician), said Muteke was abducted from his home four days after the run-off in Buhera’s Chief Nyashanu area and brutally tortured at Bedza torture base, by armed ZANU PF militias.

Mapfumo said his uncle was bludgeoned with axes and iron bars by the militia, led by a councillor called Patrick Chimbare. Many villagers were assaulted in the area during the run-off election. ....

The MDC say the official figure of activists who died as a result of political violence is over 115, but in reality could be more than 500. The party’s organizing secretary, Elias Mudzuri, said recently; ‘They simply abducted people, tortured them, killed them and disposed of the bodies either in shallow graves or just left them in the bush. The government knows better the number of people it has killed, but it’s unfortunate they might not disclose the figures.”
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition reported that the ZIMCET director and NANGO Midlands province representative Peter Muchengeti was also arrested during the raid on the ZIMCET offices. The Coalition said documentation relating to victims and perpetrators of political violence was confiscated at both offices.

Meanwhile, the situation in Gokwe is still tense. It’s reported state security agents were still manning Gokwe General hospital and denying medical treatment to injured MDC activists.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Should the west intervene against Mugabe?

I posted a short version of this a few days ago, but below is a longer essay on the subject at BNN...this is my opinion on what should be done to help Zimbabwe.

Engineer/blogger Tony Allwright, wrote an editorial in the Irish Times suggesting that the West must intervene in Zimbabwe and throw out Mugabe.

He’s quite logical about the whole thing, and points out

In 2000, British prime minister Tony Blair deployed a crack task force to Sierra Leone, which in just six weeks defeated rebel forces who had been waging civil war for nine years. …At the first sight of professional soldiery, you can be sure the Zimbabwe army and police, who have no idea how to deal with anyone who isn’t an unarmed civilian, will discard their weapons and uniforms and simply melt away, much as Gen Mengistu’s powerful, 400,000-strong army in Ethiopia did when confronted with rag-tag opposition in 1991.

He didn’t mention Tanzania’s Army easily throwing out the murderous dictator Idi Amin, so he is correct in pointing out that dictators who hire thugs to terrorize people are not as strong as they seem, especially against professional soldiers.

In some ways, I agree, except that things aren’t that easy.

The problem is: What then?

If you look around, you’ll find Sierra Leone is not exactly heaven on earth, and Ethiopia is now being threatened with famine, while Uganda has had several civil wars since Idi went to live a life of Luxury in Libya.

Let’s throw out Mugabe. Fine.

The first problem: Who would do it?

The Irish? Sure. Just send a couple dozen Garda down. No problem…except who flies them there, and who keeps them in supplies?

That would take a country, like France, the UK or the US. who have the airplanes, helicopters, etc. to do this. But even the US would have trouble keeping their troops supplied by air. So unless Mozambique or South Africa would allow supplies to enter their ports, you have a problem.

A better idea would be to get some US or UK Special Forces to train the Zim diaspora to fight, and let them enter and take over. That’s how the Taliban was overthrown. But of course, the Northern Alliance that overthrew the Taliban was already in place with an army when the US was attacked. They were helped with US supplies, US Special Forces, and the US AirForce, and voila, they started to win.

But in Zimbabwe, as far as I know, there is no official opposition army hiding in Botswana or near Beitbridge. It would have to be started from scratch.

So the real question now is: What nearby country would allow these troops to be trained, and allow them to be supplied via their ports?

Another problem: Such special forces trainers don’t grow on trees. After the hysteria following the Iraq war, expect the US to crawl back into it’s isolationist shell. And no, a President Obama who knows little about Africa and less about the military, won’t risk annoying his pacifist base to save lives even if they are from his father’s continent.

The UK? No, maybe ten years ago, but now the PC types have taken over, so don’t expect backbone and troops from the UK anymore.

A better idea: Blackwater or a similar firm. They could do it easily.

So my proposal is to hire a security firm based in South Africa, have them train people from Zimbabwe in a liberation army, and invade. It would take a lot of money, and cooperation of nearby states, but it could be done.

But what about the aftermath?

Ah, that’s the real problem.

The aftermath of intervention would be Iraq redux: with ex military/police and “green bombers” terrorizing the countryside.

Forget UN Peacekeepers: They patrol to “keep the peace” but don’t fight gangs. If they did, a half a million Rwandans would still be alive. And many are there for the money that they bring their governments. Don’t expect them to blend in with the locals.

Yet pure combat troops, especially from a Western country, would be resented.

Now, such terrorist/radical/ criminal gangs (they overlap, you know) can be destroyed, but it takes a multiprong approach, similar to Magsaysay’s elimination of the Huks here in the Philippines, or Bush’s commitment to “the surge” (which succeeded because of three years work building up the Iraqi military and police) that has managed to pacify a war weary Iraq.

Remember, even “green bombers” have mommies and brothers and cousins, so they could hide out blending with local people and come out to make things nasty. You have to go after them with a “carrot and stick” approach: Surrender and get a job, or get killed.

And you have to make your cops/military people friendly. Get a peacekeeper presence that sits back and doesn’t defend people but steals and rapes, and you won’t solve anything. The military has to help the local people. Need a school? No problem. Sargent Shiri will come with his men and help the villagers tomorrow. Having problems with the mayor requesting a bribe? We’ll look into that too…

Step one Pacification and safety.

Step two: Build up basic government/police force, build schools, staff them, reopen hospitals, staff them too, open shops…build up the infrastructure.

Step three: Rebuild the economy.

Presumably, once things are safe, the diaspora will head home, but only if jobs are there.

Who will pay the bills until Zim is on it’s feet?

Western countries giving grants will help, as will NGO’s, but in the long run you need private investment.

China is already there, so their investment would expand. (China is a two edged sword: They will take out minerals etc. that they need and supply cheap goods, but the cheap goods undermine local businesses trying to start up).

There are discussion on African business sites about investors waiting in the wings until things stablize and then they plan to start shops and businesses.

In other words, throwing out Mugabe is the easy part. Making a stable government to allow economic recovery is the hard part.

And the danger is the chaos and even civil war that could happen if Mugabe was thrown out by outsiders, or by a poorly trained Army that lacks discipline and quickly descends to looting and pushing people around.

So until South Africa, or Botswana, or Mozambique, is willing to allow a professionals to train a Zimbawean liberation Army on their soils to start their country’s liberation, I say: let Mugabe stay. He can’t live forever…

As the proverb says: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know (who could be worse). Better a stupid dictator than chaos and civil war.


2008 Investment guide: Into Africa

From Forbes (business magazine):

Brutal dictators, civil wars and stolen elections tend to dominate the headlines Americans read about Africa. Less visible: cell phones, the spread of capitalism and World Bank-inspired debt forgiveness, all of which are driving down inflation and driving the boom in sub-Saharan Africa's stock markets.

So says Jonathan Auerbach, managing director of Auerbach Grayson, a cosmopolitan brokerage in New York City for institutional investors that have at least $100 million to commit. Last year it invested $850 million in Africa for these clients. His pitch: Most African countries, with the exception of Zimbabwe, have high rates of growth and millions of people aspiring to the middle class. Many who are already there are not visible in the official statistics because they are a part of the gray economy.

Outside of Johannesburg's, the stock markets are still small and illiquid but growing. Two decades ago there were 5 stock exchanges in sub-Saharan Africa. Today there are 18, with, among them, 1500 listings, according to the International Monetary Fund. North American and European funds specializing in African stocks saw net inflows last year of $663 million, up from $82 million in 2006, says EPFR Global, a research firm that tracks funds worldwide. In a small market that modest sum was enough to send prices soaring. Excluding those in South Africa, African stocks have climbed at an annualized 43% since the end of 2006, according to S&P.....

"Anybody who takes their input from the New York Times on a daily basis," Auerbach says, will think of Africa as only "corruption, aids, starvation, disease, genocide." But he believes "this just isn't the case in Africa these days."

He points to working stock exchanges, enlightened new governments and significant amounts of capital going into the continent. His yardsticks are whether a country has a stock market, an acceptable legal framework, a custodian for his clients' stock and a local analyst who can send him reliable research.


Note their comments about Zimbabwe. But in Zimbabwe, a change in government and stability would allow the diaspora to return, making it a good investment too...

Botswana cellphones revitalize business

From the AFrican Executive.

In July 2005, approximately four-fifths of Botswana’s population did not have access to electricity. However, enterprising village entrepreneurs have utilised the opportunity created by the lack of electricity to fill the resultant niche in the market for the recharging of cell phone batteries. These entrepreneurs have overcome the problem by utilising the novel idea of offering to recharge mobile phone batteries for a small fee using their automobile batteries to do the charging.

Among the many groups that have benefited from mobile phones, women are perhaps the largest. Ms. Stadile Manthe who runs a small retail ‘tuck shop’ and phone service in the village of Mmopane, a short drive from the capital, Gaborone started her business in 1998 and slowly expanded her inventory. She thought that if she could start her own business, maybe she could “get something.” She certainly has got something and mobiles and their associated services have greatly assisted her in achieving this. ...Although the success of Ms Manthe cannot entirely be attributed to mobile cellular services that she provides, the mobile phone has enabled her to place orders for her tuck shop, increased her efficiency, and has provided her with regular additional income. The additional money that she now earns as a direct result of the advent of the mobile phone is by no means insignificant. It is has raised her capacity for saving and investment and helped her to become the proud owner of half a dozen rental cottages. ...

Here in Asia, even our farmers have cellphones (often the family has one and shares it around). You buy a fifty peso "load" (now they are selling ten peso "loads") and text. Usually there is a "sarisari" store (small variety store) that sells these loads. Of course, here our villages have had electricity since 1992.

Frontline series on Zimbabwe

The PBS news magazine show Frontline has been noticing Zim...the links are summarized below. And if you go to the links, they have videos of the show.

Enemies of the State.
Discusses the murder of journalist Edward Chikomba and the restrictions on news in Zim...

Mugabe's Do or Die Campaign to stay in power
Discusses the intimidation and violence in rural areas.
Our journey is constantly interrupted by one roadblock after another. We pass through three in a single 30-mile stretch. The roadblocks have been set up to stop any opposition members who might try to campaign or any media who might try to report what's going on here. Mugabe has also banned all NGOs from this area until after the election. The police who stop us say they are looking for weapons. I giggle to myself wondering which one of the old and poor people could possibly have arms.

The third roadblock isn't so funny. We are stopped by the so-called "war veterans," young men in their 20s and 30s who claim to have fought in Zimbabwe's war for independence -- a war that took place largely before they were born.

We are ordered off the bus and stand in the morning cold being "interviewed" about where we are going. When my turn comes, I say I am attending a cousin's funeral in a nearby village. In the end, we are lucky. We are only made to chant slogans and dance to a wartime song Mugabe ndibaba (Mugabe is our father). Two young men refuse to sing. They are dragged into the bushes while the rest of us are ordered back onto the bus. I am uneasy for the rest of the journey, wondering what has become of them....

and the atrocities reported get worse...

Shopping for Survival

Describes a bus trip from Harare to Botswana to buy groceries...

So Popular, so Spineless

Tom Friedman's editorial in the NYTIMES:

".... I am neither a Russia-basher nor a China-basher. But there was something truly filthy about Russia’s and China’s vetoes of the American-led U.N. Security Council effort to impose targeted sanctions on Robert Mugabe’s ruling clique in Zimbabwe.

The U.S. put forward a simple Security Council resolution, calling for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe, the appointment of a U.N. mediator, plus travel and financial restrictions on the dictator Mugabe and 13 top military and government officials for stealing the Zimbabwe election and essentially mugging an entire country in broad daylight....

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, argued that the targeted sanctions that the U.S. and others wanted to impose on Mugabe’s clique exceeded the Security Council’s mandate....
Meanwhile, China is hosting the Olympics, a celebration of the human spirit, while defending Mugabe’s right to crush his own people’s spirit.

But when it comes to pure, rancid moral corruption, no one can top South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, and his stooge at the U.N., Dumisani Kumalo. They have done everything they can to prevent any meaningful U.N. pressure on the Mugabe dictatorship.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Africans should go back to subsistence farming

From National Geographic

The article discusses high food prices, and suggests people plant small gardens. So far so good. But then we see the usual bunk: Go back to susistence farming (i.e. backbreaking work for an iffy harvest that will feed your family in good years but not pay school fees or buy luxuries like radios or clothes). Yup. You have a black skin, so never mind that your family has been literate for three generations. Go back to hoeing the corn, (explitive deleted)....what nonsense. Why don't the poor people have better paying jobs?

And then the "bad guy" is biofuels. Never mind that the main reason for the increased price of food is the huge increase in oil prices, and that here in Asia, our farmers can't afford diesel for their handplows or afford fertilizer or hybrid seeds without government subsidies/loans.

And no mention of growing jatropha on all that fallow land for biodiesel, which might let locals make money.

As for "fallow land": Africans rotate fields traditionally. The soil is thin, so it is exhausted in a few years, so new fields are planted and the old fields are left fallow. Again, it needs research in the best way to plant and fertilize fields.

One other note: The "poor" area described in the article is next to a huge game park. No one wonders why the "poor" can't be given all that nice land laying fallow so that animals can live naturally, or why the locals aren't benefitting from the tourist industry...


With the global food crisis forcing South Africa's poor to struggle to make ends meet, officials have put forward a novel solution: Resume the subsistence agriculture that used to be part of the area's heritage.

A significant portion of South Africans and the majority of the country's poorest people live in rural areas, finance minister Trevor Manuel said....

"Higher prices are a signal to plant," he told National Geographic News. "This is true for poor people in rural areas as it is for large-scale commercial farmers."

Overall food prices have gone up 15.3 percent in South Africa over the past 12 months, with fats and oils increasing by a whopping 52.1 percent and heavily used staple grains by 22.9 percent.

(Related video: "World Food in Crisis.")

Failing to plant crops on fallow land would squander an opportunity to protect the poor from an erosion of incomes because of these higher prices, Manuel said.

And while most urban dwellers do not have the land to plant sufficient food, many have vegetable gardens that could be used to supplement household food provisions, he added.

Government Aid

Asked why people have moved away from subsistence farming, finance minister Manuel's communications officer, Kuben Naidoo, explained that it might have to do with social grants or because food prices had been falling over the past 15 years when adjusted for inflation.

It might also be because of poor support from provincial agriculture departments.

The minister now supports the idea of small-scale farmers clubbing together, such as through farmer co-ops, to buy equipment and goods and to sell at better market prices. The legislative framework has been set up to facilitate such arrangements....

Manuel has also been strongly critical of the global shift from food into biofuel production, especially in the United States.

Subsidies paid to farmers in such countries to produce feedstocks for biofuel have priced staple grains out of the reach of the world's poorest people, he said.

To help internally, the South African government has specifically excluded maize from the country's nascent biofuel industry. And it has reduced the targeted biofuel component of the country's fuel needs from 4.5 percent to 2 percent, to 100 million gallons (400 million liters) a year by 2013.


The West should invade Zim to remove Mugabe

rom the Irish Times.

Yup. I can just see Ireland sending down a dozen Garda to arrest President Mugabe. What the author means is "let George do it", or let the UK do it...
an excerpt from the article:

".....Words and mild slaps have been going on for years. If they were ever going to work, they would have done so by now, at least to some extent, but they haven't. Mugabe has made it abundantly clear that he will never leave office, that "only God" can remove him. And this is wise because his lifestyle if not life will be in immediate danger the moment he steps down. In 2002, Ian Smith, the country's last white ruler, laid down a challenge: "If Mugabe and I walk together into a black township, only one of us will come out alive. I'm ready to put that to the test right now. He's not."

Only direct military action - not words, not sanctions - will remove him and only the West has the military capability. It won't be difficult (though many will doubtless scream "illegal war").

In 2000, British prime minister Tony Blair deployed a crack task force to Sierra Leone, which in just six weeks defeated rebel forces who had been waging civil war for nine years. A few months later, he sent in a handful of SAS and SBS commandos who rescued a dozen military hostages from a different group of rebels deep in Sierra Leone. These decisive actions were instrumental in turning the country into one of the African Union's 22 democracies.

At the first sight of professional soldiery, you can be sure the Zimbabwe army and police, who have no idea how to deal with anyone who isn't an unarmed civilian, will discard their weapons and uniforms and simply melt away, much as Gen Mengistu's powerful, 400,000-strong army in Ethiopia did when confronted with rag-tag opposition in 1991....

The author forgot Tanzania overthrowing Idi Amin.

The problem? None of those countries are better off for getting rid of the murderous dictators.

Half measures won't work: You have to rebuild the country and get rid of those who terrorize ordinary folks (both militants and criminals, groups that overlap).

And when you do this you have to rebuild the country's institutions of law and encourage economic growth.

This can be done: Magsaysay did it in the Philippines, and the US is slowly doing it in Iraq. But it takes time, commitment, and money. The UK could do it, but won't. Bush could do it, but is tired of the criticism he has reaped from removing Saddam, a murderer and warmonger who makes Mugabe look like an amateur. And don't hold your breath for President Obama: He is all theory, and knows little or nothing about the military, less about actually running things, and sees foreign affairs through a left wing simplistic lens. (think President Carter redux: and President Carter supported Mugabe over others who actually won the election).

Invasion to remove Mugabe is easy: Botswana could do it. But no, I don't support invasion or military overthrow, which will leave a vacuum and civil war.

Not unless the invasion was followed up by economic development and peacekeepers to keep people safe while the Zim diaspora returns and rebuilds their country.


I have expanded this to a full article, and have posted the essay at

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is Mugabe blackmailing Mbeki?

From last month, Zimtimes blog

I HAVE always wondered what it is that makes South African president Thabo Mbeki so irrational when it comes to his dealings with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.

In the face of the most outrageous behaviour of murder, plunder, abuse of citizens, not to mention the rape of the economy, Mbeki still finds it worth his while to shield Mugabe....

“When I hear these people trying to demonise President Mugabe, I say you can’t demonise a leader of the liberation struggle and expect support from us. You are just stupid,” that was Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in April 2005.

Museveni, one of Mugabe’s staunchest supporters and who was then on a state visit to Zimbabwe, went on to say that elections were the bane of African governments and added that elections were a very bad idea that Africans should not bother with.

“Regime change does not work in Africa and Britain is responsible for some of the continent’s troubles,” he declared.

Even early this year, Museveni accepted accolades heaped on him by a fellow despot, Libyan Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Putting Museveni on the same pedestal with Mugabe, Gaddafi said leaders like Museveni and Mugabe should be allowed to rule forever....

Odinga said Mbeki should speak more strongly against what he called ‘impunity in Zimbabwe.’

“Zimbabwe is an eyesore on the African continent,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m sad that so many heads of state in Africa have remained quiet when disaster is looming in Zimbabwe.”

Odinga went further and urged Mugabe to step down.

“Seeing that many sitting presidents still drag their feet when it comes to what is happening in Zimbabwe, a group of former African presidents were signatories to a letter demanding “ an end to violence and intimidation…”.

“We are deeply troubled by the current reports of intimidation, harassment and violence,” say the leaders in an open letter published on Friday.

Some of the signatories include one time Mugabe friends and supporters like Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.
It also has signatures of those who suffered in silence, like Botswana’s Ketumile Masire and his successor, Festus Mogae.

Yet were it not for the likes of Mkapa and Chissano, Mugabe might not have gone as far as he has. They are clearly partly responsible for the chaos in Zimbabwe because their support and silence as Mugabe increased his murderous reign encouraged him.

Regrettably, it was the political etiquette of African leaders in those degenerate days. But see where we are now.

Banknote paper shortage causes trouble

from the Zimbabwe Times

HARARE (Los Angeles Times) - It has come to this: Zimbabwe is about to run out of the paper to print money on.

Fidelity Printers & Refiners, the state-owned company that tirelessly churns out bank notes for the Robert Mugabe regime, was thrown into a crisis early this month after a German company stopped supplying bank note paper because of concerns over Zimbabwe’s recent violent presidential election, widely seen as fraudulent by international observers.

The printing operation drastically slowed. Two-thirds of the 1,000-strong workforce was ordered to go on leave, and two of the three money-printing shifts were canceled.

The result on the streets was an immediate cash crunch.

“If you think this currency shortage is bad, wait two weeks. By then it will be a disaster,” said a senior Fidelity staffer, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because he would face dismissal for talking to a Western journalist. The paper will run out in two weeks, he said.....

AUChief, Mbeki to discuss Zimbabwe

from AFP:

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) — African Union Commission chief Jean Ping will meet South African President Thabo Mbeki on Friday to discuss Zimbabwe's political crisis, a presidential spokesman said.

"President Mbeki invited Mr. Ping to brief him on developments in negotiations in the SADC-facilitated talks on Zimbabwe," Mukoni Ratshitanga told AFP on Monday, referring to the 14-nation Southern African Development Community.

"The meeting will take place on Friday."

He declined to disclose details of the meeting, which will be held in the capital Pretoria. Mbeki is the SADC-appointed mediator for Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe was re-elected in a widely condemned one-man election on June 27.

An African Union source had earlier said Ping was to travel to Pretoria on Monday to meet Mbeki following discussions between Zimbabwe's rival parties last week in South Africa.

The source later told AFP the meeting had been delayed....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bush legacy to Africa: Malaria medicine and trade

from the Washington Post Post Global forum, which is almost universally anti Bush and anti American.

Bush has been generous and kind to Africa, far more than his predecessors. This is an uncontestable fact.

Under the Bush presidency, U.S. aid to Africa has tripled. Trade - the most effective tool to spur growth in poor countries – between Africa and the U.S. has almost doubled since Bush came to power. Under the Bush presidency, the U.S. has also increased its fight against malaria, a disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates kills one child in Africa every thirty seconds.

President Bush’s effort to bring peace to Darfur can’t be underestimated. Some say that pressure from his administration, in the form of sanctions and trade embargo, was the force that compelled the Khartoum government to sign a peace deal with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM.)

At the Summit this week, President Bush issued a vociferous condemnation of the Zimbabwean government for holding a sham election and suppressing the opposition. Bush’s call for the Zimbabwean government to respect democratic principles has been loud and consistent.....

China's 14 billion pound drive for African minerals

from the UK Telegraph.

Posting has been light due to internet problems, sorry. A lot of articles on the news about Russian, China stopping sanctions against Mugabe. Russia just wants to make trouble for the US (nothing new here) but China is (to use the US expression) sucking up to African dictators to steal the people's wealth.
If China wasn't "socialist" this would be called neocolonialism...

and if our experience in the Phiippines is any clue, the contracts were granted because of nice "gifts" given to government ministers. Right now in the Philippines, there is a scandal about a broadband contract with China, where a 40 million dollar bribe was given to get the contract instead of a European bid. The reason that the bribe came to light is that it was too big (40percent of the contract, while the usual bribe is 20 percent of the contract).

The UKTelegraph doesn't mention bribes, just that governments like China for not telling them what to do like western governments.


Full scale work by the Chinese begins to rebuild 2,050 miles of roads in the Democratic Republic of Congo, left to rot in the rainforest after the Belgian colonialists pulled out 48 years ago and further shattered by seven years of war.

The vast project, which will triple Congo's current paved road network, is part of China's largest investment in Africa, a £4.5 billion infrastructure-for-minerals deal signed in January.

As well as the roads, Beijing has promised to repair 2,000 miles of largely defunct railways, build 32 hospitals and 145 health centres, install two electricity distribution networks, construct two hydropower dams and two new airports.

n return, China has won the rights to five copper and cobalt mines in Congo's southern minerals belt which boasts some of the world's richest ore deposits.

The deal has confirmed Beijing as Congo's largest foreign investor and extended its dominance over swathes of Africa previously allied to the West.....

Friday, July 11, 2008

How Hostages and countries get liberated

this is Charles Krauthammar in the Washington Post. He is discussing Colombia, and how it changed tactics to essentially decimate the once powerful drug funded FARC liberators...

Europe luxuriates in soft power, nowhere more than in l'affaire Betancourt in which Europe's repeated gestures of solidarity hovered somewhere between the fatuous and the destructive. Europe had been pressing the Colombian government to negotiate for the hostages. Venezuela's Hugo Chávez offered to mediate.

Of course, we know from documents captured in a daring Colombian army raid into Ecuador in March -- your standard hard-power operation duly denounced by that perfect repository of soft power, the Organization of American States -- that Chávez had been secretly funding and pulling the strings of the FARC. These negotiations would have been Chávez's opportunity to gain recognition and legitimacy for his terrorist client.

Colombia's President Álvaro Uribe, a conservative and close ally of President Bush, went instead for the hard stuff. He has for years. As a result, he has brought to its knees the longest-running and once-strongest guerrilla force on the continent by means of "an intense military campaign [that] weakened the FARC, killing seasoned commanders and prompting 1,500 fighters and urban operatives to desert" ( Washington Post). In the end, it was that campaign -- and its agent, the Colombian military -- that freed Betancourt.

She was, however, only one of the high-minded West's many causes. Solemn condemnations have been issued from every forum of soft-power fecklessness -- the European Union, the United Nations, the G-8 foreign ministers -- demanding that Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe stop butchering his opponents and step down. Before that, the cause du jour was Burma, where a vicious dictatorship allowed thousands of cyclone victims to die by denying them independently delivered foreign aid lest it weaken the junta's grip on power.

And then there is Darfur, a perennial for which myriad diplomats and foreign policy experts have devoted uncountable hours at the finest five-star hotels to deplore the genocide and urgently urge relief.

What is done to free these people? Nothing. Everyone knows it will take the hardest of hard power to remove the oppressors in Zimbabwe, Burma, Sudan and other godforsaken places where the bad guys have the guns and use them. Indeed, as the Zimbabwean opposition leader suggested (before quickly retracting) from his hideout in the Dutch embassy -- Europe specializes in providing haven for those fleeing the evil that Europe does nothing about -- the only solution is foreign intervention.

And who's going to intervene? The only country that could is the country that in the past two decades led coalitions that liberated Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Having sacrificed much blood and treasure in its latest endeavor -- the liberation of 25 million Iraqis from the most barbarous tyranny of all, and its replacement with what is beginning to emerge as the Arab world's first democracy -- and having earned near-universal condemnation for its pains, America has absolutely no appetite for such missions.

And so the innocent languish, as did Betancourt, until some local power, inexplicably under the sway of the Bush notion of hard power, gets it done -- often with the support of the American military. "Behind the rescue in a jungle clearing stood years of clandestine American work," explained The Post. "It included the deployment of elite U.S. Special Forces . . . a vast intelligence-gathering operation . . . and training programs for Colombian troops."

Upon her liberation, Betancourt offered profuse thanks to God and the Virgin Mary, to her supporters and the media, to France and Colombia and just about everybody else. As of this writing, none to the United States.


translation: Europe won't bother to do anything, but will stop the US from doing anything. Sorry about that guys.

sanctions will cause civil war says Zim gov't

from the UK Guardian

Zimbabwe has warned the UN security council that imposing sanctions on the Mugabe regime could turn the country into another Somalia.

The reference to the war-torn Horn of Africa state, where rival factions have clashed for the past 17 years, came in a letter from Zimbabwe's UN mission.

It was a response to proposals by Britain and the US for an arms embargo and financial freeze on Mugabe and top officials in his government in the wake of the election last month marred by violence and intimidation against the opposition.

The mission said such sanctions would lead to the removal of Zimbabwe's government and "most probably, start a civil war in the country".

Earlier this week, the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who has been criticised for the failure of his diplomatic efforts in Zimbabwe, also warned that sanctions could lead to civil war.

ah, Mbeki still backing his friend...

Guess if you stop Grace Mugabe from shopping, people will die


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Imagine you are a refugee

The UNHCR has an on line game to teach kids the reality faced by refugees

Anti American anti African racist says oh my we are all sinners

From First Post

This needs a "fisking". my words are in red.

After all, the reason this guy is still alive is because a bunch of (overpaid oversexed) Americans kept England from being part of the third reich, and kept bases there to keep them from being liberated into the glories of the Iron curtain. But let's not let reality stand in the way of class snobbery, racism, or anti american rhetoric

For however much locals might dream about liberation, the reality of having foreigners - particularly white foreigners - in charge soon proves deeply humiliating, just another case of the cure often being worse than the disease.

White foreigners? Huh? Twenty to thirty percent of US Soldiers are not white...guess he hasn't noticed. As for "humiliation", yup. Just like my husband was humiliated when our city was cleared of murderous Japanese by the yanks...

So, having turned the Middle East against the West because of Iraq, we would now have given the same kind of offence to Africa and Asia.

The Middle east has been against the west since about 700 AD. So what else is new? IT's Charles Martel's fault...

Nor can we really expect the Africans and Asians to accept our motives for wanting to intervene as purely high-minded, judging by America's present plans to leave a string of military bases behind them when they eventually leave Iraq...

Oh those terrible military bases. Like the ones that have been in Germany, Spain, Italy, and Japan for fifty years, allowing these countries essentially a cheap way to get out of funding their own defenses.

Now, if Europe would get off their asses and start defending themselves, maybe we can close some more of them..

as for Africa, a couple million people are dead in various countries because except for a few small French interventions, the countries that exploited their colonies now look the other way when thugs kill innocent civilians. So why worry about Zimbabwe when Uganda to Dafur to the central African wars are killing more people than Mugabe?

As for South Africa doing the liberation of Zimbabwe itself, that has always been a bad joke since once Mandela has passed away, the likelihood is there will be a South African Mugabe - particularly in regard to the wealthy white minority.

So Americans are evil and Blacks are incompetent to rule themselves. Is that what you're saying?

Africa for the Africans; Asia for the Asians and (what I would like to see) Europe for the Europeans. We Europeans should concentrate on healing our own social and political sores, before trying to put the rest of the world to rights.

Heaven knows, there are more than enough of these, starting perhaps, in England's case, with the savagery on the cricket fields.

So tearing down the houses and making 70,000 homeless, causing 3 million refugees, sending trained thugs to terrorize people to vote correctly is the same as an occassional drunken brawl at a sports match.

I see. You hate everyone except your own upper class friends.

Zuma blasts Mugabe

from SWRadioAfrica:

South Africa’s ANC president Jacob Zuma has again strongly rebuked Robert Mugabe for refusing to step down as president.

The ANC leader, who has recently adopted a radically different approach to the crisis from South African President Thabo Mbeki’s widely criticised policy of “quiet diplomacy”, was speaking at a celebratory ANC dinner in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal on Tuesday.

In his speech acknowledging an ANC comrade, Zuma said: “In Africa we have some political leaders who refuse to bow out and try to change the constitution to accommodate themselves as in neighbouring Zimbabwe”.

Zuma, who in December had backed Mbeki’s policy on Zimbabwe, has become increasingly critical and outspoken about the crisis and Mugabe’s stranglehold on power there.

Last month he described the situation as “out of control” and called for urgent intervention by the United Nations and the regional SADC grouping. This damning description of the crisis had come a few hours after an unprecedented condemnation of Mugabe’s violent crackdown on MDC supporters, by the U.N. Security Council.

The criticisms however were to no avail, as days later Mugabe was sworn in for a sixth term as the country’s leader following the sham one-man poll on June 27. The pressure has since been building on Mugabe to step down and put a stop to the ongoing violence.

70 year old woman killed

from swradioafrica:

The MDC has announced the death of another victim of the state sponsored violence - a 70 year old woman who died on Monday from burns she sustained when she was thrown onto her cooking fire.

The MDC said in an email; “A wonderfully brave old lady, died from terrible burns to her body. She had fought the agony of her injuries for nearly a month. Attached are the pictures of what 18 Zanu PF youth did to her because she was a known MDC activist in Bindura.’ After beating her, they threw her into her cooking fire.”

This is the second time this week that pictures of badly beaten or burnt victims have emerged exposing the brutal nature of Mugabe’s regime. The decomposing burnt body of MDC driver Joshua Bakacheza was found, adding to the growing lists of widespread killings, torture and intimidation of MDC activists. Over a hundred have been assassinated, tens of thousands tortured and injured and hundreds of thousands displaced. The MDC reports that there are at least 1500 political detainees in Zimbabwe’s prisons.


Meanwhile worldwide condemnation continues to grow and a group of African civil organizations have announced the launch of a continental campaign on Saturday, in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. The group which is made up of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Amnesty International and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty (GCAP), says the demonstration will be an expression of concern for the violations committed against the people of Zimbabwe.

The group plans to hold vigils outside some Zimbabwean embassies on the African continent and assemble outside government buildings or Houses of Parliament, in their respective countries.

A statement by Amnesty International said Saturday’s event will be the beginning of an Africa-wide campaign at the grassroots level, allowing African voices to speak out about injustice in Zimbabwe.

Adelaide Sosseh, GCAP Co-chair based in The Gambia said: “We urge African leaders to call for space to be opened up so that civil society can play a role in tackling Zimbabwe’s current crisis – we are needed now more than ever as millions of people face hunger through growing food insecurity brought on by mis-governance.”

“The widespread killings, torture and assault of perceived opposition supporters must come to an end in Zimbabwe. Concrete action is long overdue and African leaders must end their silent acquiescence,” said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International....

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Zim crisis, real or feigned?

from the African Executive:


Before the Mugabe government started harassing and uprooting the White farmers in 2000, this government kept inflation at 5 per cent, 8 per cent (or 11 per cent in difficult years.) How, then, does a country with all the same factors and leaders from 1980 to 2000 suddenly (because the White commercial farmers have been uprooted) see inflation soar to world record levels in a space of just six years starting in 2000? And how is it that a stable Zimbabwe has an inflation rate 1,500 times higher than Somalia, a country without a government since 1991? Does any of this make sense?

Away from abstract figures, the evidence before our ordinary eyes is even more puzzling. If you have watched news video footage on BBC TV, CNN, and other Western TV networks, without exception, you will no doubt have noticed that the streets of the capital Harare are far cleaner and better maintained than those in Kampala, even during the week that Uganda hosted the Commonwealth summit last November.

Have you seen any beggars on Harare’s streets? Have you taken the time to notice clean and well-painted government buildings in Harare? During the recent presidential campaign rallies, you might have noticed that both the supporters of President Mugabe and the opposition were generally well-dressed, looked and acted cheerful. Nobody wore rags or went about barefooted....

So how come, for all this obvious evidence, nobody has asked the simple question: is this Zimbabwe story real or an orchestrated series of events by the British and American governments and media to punish Mugabe for humiliating the White settlers in Zimbabwe?...


G8 Decision on Zim "racist"

from the news (Australia)

ZIMBABWE'S government said today that the G8 leaders' rejection of President Robert Mugabe's legitimacy and threats of financial measures against his regime are racist and an insult to African leaders.

"They want to undermine the African Union and (South African) President Mbeki's (mediation) efforts because they are racist, because they think only white people think better," said Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga.

"It's an insult to African leaders," Mr Matonga said.

Mr Matonga insisted that Mr Mugabe, elected last month in a widely denounced one-man vote, was the southern African nation's rightful leader.

"President Mugabe is the legitimate president of Zimbabwe and no amount of force or pressure will reverse that," he said.

The leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) rich countries wound up their summit in Japan rejecting Mugabe's legitimacy and promising "further steps" against the regime over its disputed election.

Mr Matonga accused them of trying to set up a "parallel structure" to the African Union (AU), which appointed Mbeki as a regional mediator in Zimbabwe's electoral crisis....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

militia attacks Zim displaced

from the BBC:

Armed militia have raided two camps for people fleeing post-election violence in Zimbabwe, opposition and medical officials have said.

The opposition said several people were killed in Gokwe, north of Harare, but other reports say there was one death.

In Ruwa, near the capital, masked men in army fatigues beat up people who had previously sought refuge at the South African embassy, a witness said.

A BBC correspondent says the raids could threaten moves to share power.

At least eight of those attacked in Ruwa were taken to hospital and about 14 people - mostly from a patrol that camp occupants had organised to maintain security - were missing, the witness said.


About 400 people have been sheltering in local squash courts in Ruwa after being moved on from the South African embassy.

At the G8 summit of the world's leading industrialised countries in Japan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Zimbabwe's political parties to work together to restore the rule of law.

George Bush and Jakaya Kikwete in Toyako, Japan, 7 July 2008
We are saying no party can govern alone in Zimbabwe and therefore the parties have to work together
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete

The US and the UK want the UN Security Council to tighten targeted sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his close allies this week, as well as impose an arms embargo.

But Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete, who also heads the African Union, said African leaders favoured some sort of power-sharing government.

The Zimbabwean government blames interference from Western countries for delaying a solution to the country's political impasse.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said "meddling" by Britain, the US and the European Union was complicating the dialogue between Mr Mugabe's party and the opposition.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says 5,000 of its members are missing and more than 100 of its supporters have been murdered since elections in March.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced.

The MDC accuses the army and ruling party militias of being behind the violence - charges denied by President Robert Mugabe.

Yup. fair and balanced. and without news reporters on the ground, they can't call Mugabe a murderous liar.

Bush is hero to Africa

from the UKTelegraph

In the last year of Bill Clinton's presidency, America's direct bilateral assistance to Africa was only Pounds 700 million. Mr Bush has almost quadrupled this sum.
Combating Aids once played virtually no part in America's development policies. Mr Bush has established the biggest fund ever devoted to fighting an epidemic.
...Mr Bush has also made America the biggest single donor to the Global Fund for Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, contributing one third of its Pounds 5 billion.
No other leader has given as much money to the World Food Programme as Mr Bush. America now provides about half of all the emergency food aid distributed across the globe.

Monday, July 07, 2008

African leaders call for dialogue

from pbs:

RAY SUAREZ: It took two days of meetings before the African Union adopted a resolution calling for Zimbabwe to form a government of national unity.

Throughout this summit, Robert Mugabe remained defiant, standing by the results of a run-off much of the international community labeled a sham. Earlier today, his spokesperson told the world to stay out of Zimbabwe's affairs.

GEORGE CHARAMBA, Spokesman for President Mugabe: They can go and hang. They can go and hang a thousand times. They have no basis, they have no claim on Zimbabwean politics at all and that is exactly the issue.

RAY SUAREZ: Mugabe ended up running uncontested last Friday. The major opposition party, the MDC, withdrew. Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said he couldn't continue to run in an environment in which his supporters were beaten up, arrested, and killed by Mugabe allies.

Sunday, Mugabe again took the presidential oath.

RAY SUAREZ: Why won't African leaders publicly pressure Robert Mugabe to leave office?

AKWE AMOSU: Well, I think that several members of that heads of state assembly who are themselves no paragons of virtue when it comes to democracy. There are members of that community that have been in power for 40 years. They probably see elections pretty much as a rubber stamp and are not highly motivated to see change in Zimbabwe.

But I think, while I really agree with what Briggs has said about the deficit in the A.U. position, I think one thing it is important to say is that you've seen for the first time in my recollection open dispute between members of the A.U., including countries like Botswana, like Sierra Leone, like Benin, like Kenya, Senegal, coming out and saying quite publicly this man should not be sitting in our hall, he should not be accredited as a member of this heads of state assembly, and that he should not go on being a member of the government of Zimbabwe.

And I think that's really quite unprecedented in African politics. And much as I would have liked to see stronger action today, I think we should acknowledge that there is change happening.

RAY SUAREZ: Well, the word "unprecedented" was used. Hasn't there been a long tradition in post-colonial Africa of not publicly calling across countries' borders for change inside fellow African states?

BRIGGS BOMBA: There certainly has been. If you look at the guiding strategy of the A.U., it's really quiet, behind-the-scene intervention. There's an over-emphasis on respecting national sovereignty and a lack of readiness to interfere in what is seen as internal conflicts.

So I think we have seen the A.U., you know, adopting a hands-off approach. But we have the case of Mauritania, where the A.U. withdrew the membership of Mauritania following a coup there.

So there's been that action taken place, but for, by and large, we look at cases like Ethiopia, where you know you had the sham election, you had thousands of activists arrested, some of them for two years, but the A.U. did not come out saying anything.

You look at Nigeria, where we had the same situation, as well, and the A.U. did not take a decisive step. And I think it's because of this history that the A.U. is limited, you know, on the extent of what they can do today when they're facing the question in Zimbabwe....

Miliband slates SA failure to recognise Zimbabwe's crisis

from the Scotsman

DAVID Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, visiting South Africa for talks on the Zimbabwe crisis ahead of the G8 summit in Japan, yesterday started a political row with the president, Thabo Mbeki.
Mr Mbeki has resolutely asserted that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. But Mr Miliband publicly demonstrated the British government's stark differences with Mr Mbeki by visiting some of the three million refugees who have fled into South Africa from Robert Mugabe's terror campaign – something Mr Mbeki has refused to do, describing the fugitives not as "refugees" but as "temporary shelterers."

Mr Mbeki, whose eight years of "quiet diplomacy" in Zimbabwe on behalf of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community have come to nothing, returned from yet another failed negotiation in Zimbabwe with his lieutenants blaming Britain for the breakdown.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Vote rigging the article

From the UK Guardian...see video posted on link below:

....As he shot his clandestine film, Yuda was aware that it might never be seen in the outside world and that his reward could be nothing more lasting than an unmarked grave in the Zimbabwean bush. By the time he and his family were safely out of Zimbabwe yesterday, Yuda had a record of how the votes have been stolen and how those who have dared to oppose Mugabe fear daily for their lives.

The film shows how he and his colleagues at Harare Central prison had to fill in their postal ballots in front of a Mugabe supporter, how voters had to pretend to be illiterate so an official would fill in their ballots for them, and how terrified Zimbabweans were using felt tip pens to colour their fingers to pretend they had voted, lest they be murdered by Zanu-PF gangs. ...

Thousands more have been severely beaten, many too frightened to go to hospital for treatment.

"I had never seen that kind of violence before," said Yuda. "The impact has left a lot of orphans, it has left a lot of people displaced. You cannot expect that from your government. You expect that from a rebel group. How can a government that claimed to be democratically elected kill its people, murder its people, torture its people?....

Yuda did not realise then that he would be privy to the cynical manipulation of the electoral process. His testimony, made for Guardian Films and broadcast on and BBC Newsnight last night, shows how he and his prison colleagues had to fill in their ballots in front of Zanu PF supporters. "This was the most difficult moment of my life," he said of marking his cross beside the name of Mugabe. "This is a terrible moment."

They had all been told that they had to use postal ballots which they then had to fill in surrounded by prison officials who checked their electoral register serial numbers. Superintendent Shambira, a war veteran and Mugabe supporter, checked how he had vote...


Part two article:

"I don't regret doing this, although it is a painful decision I have taken," he said. "We can live without the memories of seeing dead bodies in the prison, dead bodies in the street, dead bodies in my family.

"I've lost my uncle. My father was also beaten by Zanu-PF. I am praying to God: please God deal with Zanu-PF ruthlessly."

Mugabe has now been sworn in for a sixth term as Zimbabwe's president, a process which Tsvangirai described as "a complete joke". More than 130,000 voters spoiled their ballot papers in the election.

International pressure is mounting against Mugabe. It emerged yesterday that a US draft resolution to the UN will call for sanctions against Mugabe and demand that his government immediately begin talks with the MDC.

If adopted by the Security Council, the resolution would freeze the financial assets of Mugabe and 11 other Zimbabwean officials and ban them from travelling....

Mugabe vote rigging caught on film

Friday, July 04, 2008

200 seek refuge in US Embassy

from the AP

U.S. Ambassador James McGee said the group was from the opposition headquarters in Harare, which had become a refuge. He said by telephone that embassy officials were working with humanitarian organizations to find accommodation for the group.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said embassy staff did not see the group as a security risk and that they were outside the building's security perimeter.

More than 300 opposition supporters who last week sought refuge at the South African Embassy in Harare have been taken to a camp outside the capital.

History lesson

from wikipedia.

Samatha Powers of Time magazine (previous link) has all sorts of nonsensical reasons why no one could invade and overthrow Mugabe.
Her main reason is ideological, as seen by her ridiculing of "neocons" in the middle of her essay.
Nope, suffering people don't count, only politics does.

However, she might want to read about when one African country actually did overthrow a tyrant.

The bad news: Because no one wanted to mop up the problem, things got worse in many ways.

The lesson of the US in Iraq is that no one wants to stay the course to establish democracy (although this year things seem to be turning around).
And the other lesson is that good leftists prefer to hate America (especially with a president who is republican) than to love Africans.

Saving Zimbabwe

from Time magazine

The ruthlessness and savagery of Mugabe have given rise to two basic reactions in Africa and around the world: fruitless hand-wringing by committed multilateralists who want to solve the problem through "constructive engagement," and consequence-blind militarism by zealous moralists who call for regime change by force. Neither approach offers realistic hope for the people of Zimbabwe. Ending the Mugabe nightmare is still possible, but it will require a more radical diplomatic strategy than the world has tried so far....

Translation: You can remove murderous dictators for oil, but not for chrome and asbestor and gold.
Besides, if you get rid of Mugabe, there are half a million worse places you'd have to go...

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should appoint his predecessor, Kofi Annan, fresh from brokering a power-sharing deal for Kenya, as the U.N.'s envoy to Zimbabwe. One by one, those African and Western leaders who claim to be disgusted with Mugabe should announce that they bilaterally recognize the validity of the March 29 first-round election results, which showed the opposition winning 48% to 43%, though the margin was almost surely larger. The countries which do would make up the new "March 29 bloc" within the U.N. and would declare Morgan Tsvangirai the new President of Zimbabwe. They would then announce that Mugabe and the 130 leading cronies who have already been sanctioned by the West will not be permitted entry to their airports.

Tsvangirai and his senior aides should do as South Africa's African National Congress did throughout the 1960s and '70s: set up a government-in-exile and appoint ambassadors abroad--including to the U.N. That ambassador should be given forums for rebutting the ludicrous claims of the Zimbabwean and South African regimes.

If "the U.N." is disaggregated into its component parts, Mugabe's friends will be exposed. "June 27" countries will be those who favor electoral theft, while "March 29" countries will be those who believe that the Zimbabweans aren't the only ones who should stand up and be counted. This can be a recipe for gridlock in international institutions--but the gridlock won't get broken by lamenting its existence. It will get broken when the heads of state who back Mugabe are forced out into the open and when constructive engagement of the new President of Zimbabwe begins.

Yup. As if it will make a damn bit of difference. But it looks nice on paper.

Calamity in Zimbabwe

from strategypage:

July 1, 2008: Zimbabwe is run by a deranged tyrant, Robert Mugabe, who has ruined the economy, caused massive starvation, and refused to relinquish power. Zimbabwe is broke, and there has not been an armed revolution because Mugabe has established, over the last two decades, an effective police state. Recently, China has helped out in this department, and before that Mugabe hired North Koreans to help with security.

....Life expectancy has dropped from 63 to under 40 years in the last 18 years. Infant mortality (deaths of children by age five) has gone from 76 18 years ago, to over 110 today.....Current per-capita GDP, even counting food grown by families for their own consumption, is under $500, a loss of 70 percent over the last six years. Only 20 percent of the population (originally 12 million) has jobs, and 30 percent have fled to neighboring nations in search of food. The government controls most of what is left of the economy, and uses it to take care of the army and security forces (both uniformed, and irregular street gangs that do the governments bidding).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

China: no support for arms embargo

from the Zim Guardian (London) via Allafrica:

CHINA has indicated its unwillingness to support a United States call for a UN arms embargo for Zimbabwe.US plans to introduce discussions this week at the UN Security Council which include both an arms embargo and extension of travel bans on President Robert Mugabe's government....

According to reports from Beijing China -- one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council along with Russia, the United States, Britain and France - did not show enthusiasm for an arms embargo and could use its veto power to block a resolution on Zimbabwe.

"The most pressing task now is to stabilize the situation in Zimbabwe," said Yang, the Chinese foreign minister....


well, if China continues to sell them arms, the situation will "stablize" because the terror will get worse.

Was Ghana Right in suggesting military intervention in Zim?

from the CheetahIndex blog:

was Ghana right when its parliament called for military intervention in Zimbabwe? This is what must first be taken into consideration...

Mugabe is very astute at skirting the lines of the Geneva conventions and of the UN accords to the extent that military intervention there is not an option. In order for the UN forces or AU forces to do anything there genocide, ethnic cleansing, and/or war crimes must be clearly evidenced. This is not the case in Zim.

Mugabe has the support of Mbeki and this will not likely change even after the S.Africa elections because:
1. S. Africa leases their electricity from Zimbabwe and if not for that they would be in dire straights with their massive energy shortages.
2. S. Africa is one of the only countries that is selling anything to Zim, right now.
3. A distant third is the fact that Mbeki feels a moral indebtedness to Mugabe because of the liberation struggle that you documented from 20 + years ago.

The SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) is like a baby or a toddler in comparison to ECOWAS. Thus, the SADC does not have a military apparatus like ECOWAS’s ECOMOG, with which to dispense help to the Zimbabweans.

Before international bodies use interventionist strategies in Zimbabwe they would first have to adjust the guidelines for intervention, based upon the fact that although Zimbabwe is in an extremely severe situation the necessary legal tools that would allow for military intervention are not available. This would likely set a legal precedent for future cases, as well.

So there are some, like myself, who would argue that morally Ghana is probably correct. However, legally they are probably not. Are there any thoughts?

I apologize again

our internet is going on and off for the last month, which means I might not be able to find links because we're off line. At other times, I will have a post ready and the internet disappears. Sometimes the electricity goes off and I lose the computer data also.

Presumably readers are aware of the election travesty which is all over the news.

That's why I named the blog Mugabe Makaipa.

And yes, I will repost the link for the protest of the world cup...Reverend Hove reminded me I had removed it...his blog has a link so go there and sign...

BBC Stop fanning flames of war

From The Post via All Africa:

Zimbabwe had been a very peaceful country before the coming of Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai as a political party leader.

He came through the British to disturb the government of President Robert Mugabe because of his land reform policy.Mr. Tsvangirai is a rebel whom the British want to use and kill Mugabe to take the land from the blacks and hand it over to the white minority again.

I strongly advise Mugabe to arrest Mr. Tsvangirai and not only jail him, but try him for treason, murder and the displacement of innocent Zimbabweans.Those African leaders and the West who are in support of Mr. Tsvangirai are not doing any good to Africa and Zimbabwe in particular.

Mr. Tsvangirai's form of democracy is rebellious.Listening to BBC radio, I heard President Dos Santos of Angola calling for Mugabe to stop the violence whereas the perpetrator to me is Mr. Tsvangirai, who seems to be scheming to get money for the acquisition of arms and probably dole out some of it to his family abroad.

There is more at the link, if your stomach can take it...

Tsvangarai asks AU to invalidate Mugabe win

from the VOA

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai Monday urged the African Union to reject the outcome of the presidential run-off election held Friday that led Sunday to the inauguration of President Robert Mugabe, and dispatch a special envoy to Harare to help put in place a transitional government.

Tsvangirai's call has been backed by a group of statesmen called the Elders, which includes former South African president Nelson Mandela, the eminent South African cleric Desmond Tutu, former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, mediator in Zimbabwe for the Southern African Development Community since March 2007, is continuing with his efforts. Sources in Pretoria said Mbeki is pushing for a Kenya-style national unity government.

Matonga told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Harare government does not take instructions from anyone on how to deal with the crisis - even the African Union.
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