Saturday, May 30, 2009

Zim aid or not to aid

All africa blogger Brian Kennedy at link discusses all the pros and cons.

To Aid or not to aid?N

NYTimes editorial HERE

...The reluctance of Western governments and human rights groups to embrace the current Zimbabwean government is understandable. There is, in particular, no real reason to believe that Mr. Mugabe, after decades of dictatorial rule and abuse, has suddenly embraced multiparty democracy. If he had, after all, he would not be president now.

But Zimbabwe may well be a case where the best is the enemy of the good. Mr. Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change, went into the unity government with its eyes open. “We had won the election but we did not have the support of the military,” Mr. Tsvangirai told us this month in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. “We did not want to be the authors of chaos. Instead we need to soft-land the crisis, stabilize the situation through peace and stability and democratic consolidation.” Accordingly, he views Mr. Mugabe as “both part of the problem and part of the solution: we cannot untangle the tentacles of the state without him.”...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Abducted pastor released

from SWRadioAfrica

"...On Tuesday SW Radio Africa received information from an MDC official, stating that another person had been abducted by unknown assailants. The official said Pastor Berejena, who has been a “close spiritual friend of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and has also been a spiritual strength to so many of the victims of political violence over the past 14 months,” was abducted on Monday afternoon by suspected CIO operatives.

Marondera Central MP Ian Kay, a friend of the Pastor, said Berejena was located on Wednesday morning and is now in a safe place. “The details are very vague..."/...

MDC activists say he has been helping victims of political violence for a long time now, after so many were brutalised at the time of the controversial elections of last year. Many victims of this violence have gone without any help and Pastor Berejena was one of the few who has been trying to help some of them.

One MDC activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said many MDC activists who helped the party and became victims of the Mugabe regime, are now being neglected by their own party. The activist said the situation has worsened since the formation of the unity government, as not much effort is being made by the MDC to help these victims of political violence...

Mugabe stands by bank chief

from the AP:

Mugabe reappointed Gono to a second five-year term in November. Former opposition leader Tsvangirai says that appointment violates his power-sharing deal with Mugabe.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cholera cases may hit 100 thousand

from the BBC:

The number of cholera cases in Zimbabwe is expected to reach 100,000 this week, according to the Red Cross....

So far, 98,309 cases have been reported, with some 4,283 deaths, said the Red Cross in a report.

The outbreak, which began last August, has been fuelled by Zimbabwe's poor water, sanitation and health systems....

Some $3.4m (£2.15m) was needed to rehabilitate Zimbabwe's water systems, dig wells and construct latrines, the aid group said.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why Africa lacks investments

only investments can change Africa into prosperous countries similar to the Asian "tiger" econonmies.

from Geostrategy:

  • Rule of law -- The rule of law does not prevail to the degree required to make Africa an attractive investment destination. This applies to corporate, societal, and criminal law

  • Attraction -- While the enormous natural resources are an attraction, Africa does not offer a sufficiently large middle class of consumers or show consistent economic growth that could promise a future market. Most African countries are small and have poor markets, and there are barriers to regional markets--such as taxes and the freedom of movement of people and goods

  • Risks versus rewards-- Given the currently perceived risks in Africa, the rewards have to be very high to make it worthwhile to invest. Presently, U.S. corporations say that there are very few visible promises of future returns high enough to justify significant interest in investing

  • Supportive business framework--Transportation and communications infrastructure, trained or trainable human resources, and equitable trade and employment practices are insufficient to support corporate investment

  • A welcoming environment-- African countries are not doing a sufficient job of providing education and health services to the potential workforce, which makes the potential hire-able local insufficient to support investment.
Following some links in that report, I found that Fabiane’s organization is trying to develop “a new silk road” to Africa - Building the New Silk Road.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mlambo released

from SWradioAfrica

The MDC MP for Chipinge East, Mathias Mlambo, was released on bail of US$200 on Friday by Chipinge magistrate Samuel Zuze....

Lawyer, KweKwe mayor arrested

from the VOA

Zimbabwean authorities on Friday arrested the lawyer for a parliamentarian of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, along with the mayor of the Midlands town of Kwekwe, on obstruction of justice charges.

Police arrested lawyer Tapera Sengwini and Kwekwe Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa on charges that they contacted the family of a teen allegedly raped in January by lawmaker Blessing Chebundo in an effort to negotiate an out-of-court settlement in the matter. Chebundo was charged Tuesday in the case and on Friday remained in the hands of the Kwekwe police.

Sengwini told VOA earlier Friday that he expected to be arrested. Sources in the west-central town said the lawyer and the mayor were also being held at the Kwekwe station.

All three men are members of the Tsvangirai MDC formation.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Zim deadlock on only two posts

from Reuters:

HARARE, May 21 (Reuters) - Most disagreements within Zimbabwe's power-sharing government have been resolved and deadlock remains only on the posts of central bank governor and attorney general, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lawyers march in protest over harassment

from the Zimbabwe Times:

HARARE - Zimbabwean lawyers on Tuesday defied a police ban and marched through the streets of Harare to protest against government’s alleged harassment of lawyers and journalists....

Some of the placards read, “Stop Abductions Now” and “Rule of Law not Rule by Law.”

The police officers cooperated with the lawyers and granted access to three representatives into the government offices to present a petition....
The march by the lawyers comes barely a week after the arrest of prominent human rights lawyer Muchadehama and two Zimbabwe Independent newspaper journalists.

Muchadehama was charged with seeking to improperly release a group of human rights and political prisoners that he has been representing. A clerk of the High Court was also arrested on the same charges.

The journalists were arrested for allegedly publishing falsehoods after the Zimbabwe Independent ran a story naming members of the state security agencies who were involved in the abduction of political and human rights activists last October.

Several other lawyers have been threatened with arrest for carrying out their official duties. A High Court judge has in the past indicated that a prominent Harare rights lawyer might be charged for utterances that were made against the High Court.,,,

700 inmates die in Zim jails

from UPI:

HARARE, Zimbabwe, May 19 (UPI) -- Appalling conditions in Zimbabwe's Chikurubi prison have resulted in at least 700 of its 1,300 inmates dying in the last year, local media reported.

...The weekly reported the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy has resulted in medical care and food being cut off for Chikurubi inmates, leaving them exposed to diseases and starvation.

The International Red Cross has been allowed by Zimbabwe's new coalition government to help with conditions at the prison, but 327 deaths were recorded at Chikurubi between November and January, the Telegraph said.

World Bank support

from the BBC

he World Bank has agreed to give Zimbabwe $22m (£14.4m), its first assistance to the heavily-indebted African country since 2000.

Zimbabwe has been appealing for $8.5bn to rebuild its broken economy after forming a unity government in February.

The World Bank said the relatively small amount of money was "a first step". More could be forthcoming when Zimbabwe begins to clear its arrears.

It owes the World Bank and the African Development Bank more than $1bn.

ZANU PF rejects arbitration move

From the Daily Nation (kenya)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's party has rejected the move by its coalition partners to refer their dispute over outstanding issues to the African Union.

The three month old inclusive government hangs in the balance after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change on Sunday resolved to ask for the AU and the intervention of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) --- the brokers of the September 15 power sharing agreement --- in stalled negotiations over key posts and political reforms....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Zimbabwe girls in South Africa

from the AP, who is trying to stop bloggers from quoting from their stories.

summary: the teenagers are economic refugees, unable to support themselves or be supported by family in Zimbabwe.

they often find work as maids or babysitters in exchange for a tiny salary with room and board, but some end up as "wives" or sexually exploited.

Tsvangirai appeals to African leaders

From the UKTelegraph


"The national council has resolved that all oustanding issues be referred to SADC [the Southern African Development Community) and the African Union," said a statement issued by MDC leaders...

While hyperinflation has sudsided and shops are now well-stocked with goods, MDC supporters are still being persecuted and a new wave of invasions of the few remaining white-owned farms is under way.

The MDC also wants the appointments of the central bank governor, Gideon Gono, and the attorney-general Johannes Tomana, both of them Mugabe loyalists, reviewed, while the president has declined to do so.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

President Zuma

GetReligion Blog has an article about newly elected President Zuma:

"South African President Jacob Zuma knows how to work a political rally, as shown by the video atop this post — in which Zuma sings “Awuleth’ Umshini Wami” (“Bring Me My Machine Gun”). The Weekly Standard sounded a warning about Zuma earlier this month, and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has raised concerns about him for years.

"Now Douglas Foster, writing in the June issue of The Atlantic, touches briefly on religious aspects of Zuma’s appeal. Foster, who teaches at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and is preparing a book on South Africa, returns a few times to an image of a poor woman who sees hope in Zuma...

(there is then links to the article about Zuma's electric personality and links to the Rhema Bible church, which preaches prosperity gospel...the idea that if you love God and follow the rules that God will reward you with riches and honors...this idea by the way is popular here in the Philippines).

The blog then goes on to write:

"I found this article in the Times of Johannesburg about Rhema Bible Church welcoming a visit from Zuma. Foster is on to something, but it would be helpful to see whether Rhema — part of an international movement that emphasizes the prosperity gospel — is a fluke or a harbinger.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two Zim newspapermen arrested

From SWRadioAfrica:

On Monday two journalists from the private media were arrested for publishing a story containing the names of police officers and state agents implicated in the abductions of civic leader Jestina Mukoko, journalist Shadreck Manyere and others.

(the names were obtained from public court records)

Watch out for Mugabe

from the Daily Nation (kenya)

Botswana has warned that the international community might withdraw pledges to help the reconstruction of Zimbabwe if President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF do not stop violating the power sharing agreement...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tsvangirai says government is on the right track

from Reuters India

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said his unity government with President Robert Mugabe was on the right track, despite their differences.

On Monday, Mugabe and Tsvangirai hold what the MDC says will be the last round of talks on outstanding issues from a power-sharing deal such as new appointments of the central bank governor and the attorney-general.

If they are not resolved the MDC's national council will meet to decide on the party's next step....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mugabe's final throes

A Boston Globe editorial...
full of wishful thinking and naivite

AFTER STRIKING a power-sharing agreement with the opposition earlier this year, Zimbabwe's 85-year-old President Robert Mugabe and his thuggish cronies made a clumsy attempt this week to get around it. Mugabe's intent became obvious on Tuesday, when a judge revoked bail and ordered the re-arrest of 18 human rights and opposition activists who are facing trial on patently bogus charges of seeking to overthrow Mugabe and his kleptocratic colleagues.,,,

as an article cited below shows, the judge had no choice...the government reinstated the charge which did not allow the judge to go against the charges and the bail came because Mugabe intervened.

Human-rights groups such as Amnesty International acted as conscience of the international community when the revocation of bail was first announced....

Right. Big white brother was listened to, as if they had clout in all the previous human rights violations.

Equally forthright was the South African Municipal Workers Union, which implored the South African government to "condemn this chronic abuse of state power."

Ah, snobbish Boston Globe finally sees that good Africans are trying to get rid of Mugabe. Of course, the trade unions have been on the forefront of this, but it's nice to see someone recognizing it.

South Africa as well as other democracies should be no less forceful in demanding that Mugabe relinquish power peacefully.

Yes, if you guys all stand up and send him a nice letter saying pretty please with sugar on it, I'm sure Mugabe will resign.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Maize harvest

from Reuters Africa:

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is expecting to harvest 1.2 million tonnes of maize this season, more than double last year's output, state media reported on Friday, but the figures are likely to be disputed by aid agencies and farmers' groups....

His comments contradicted Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who said in March the country needed assistance with around 80 percent of its cereal requirements....

The U.S. Famine Early Warning System in its last report in March said late rains had improved the harvest prospects of the late planted crops and that while overall output was likely to be better than last year, millions still required assistance.

Diamond output now at a record

from Reuters UK

HARARE, May 7 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto's (RIO.L)(RIO.AX) Zimbabwe's diamond unit Murowa produced a record 260,000 carats last year compared to 145,000 carats in 2007, the company's managing director said on Thursday....

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Activists free from jail

from the NYTimes

The same magistrate who on Tuesday put 15 opposition and human rights activists back in jail on sabotage-related charges reversed herself on Wednesday and let 12 of them out again on bail, including Jestina Mukoko, left, of the Zimbabwe Peace Project.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Activists to go back to jail

From AlJazeera

A Zimbabwe court has revoked the bail of 18 political activists facing charges of "terrorism", ordering them to return to prison in a trial that has been widely denounced as a sham.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the party headed by Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, warned the move could endanger the country's fledgling unity government.

"Today's ruling seriously threatens not only the life and health of the inclusive government, but its longevity and durability," the MDC said in a statement.

The activists were arrested last year and say they were abducted from their homes by state security agents and tortured into confessing to being party to a plan to remove Robert Mugabe, the president, from power.

The group, which includes Jestina Mukoko, a leading human rights activist, and several MDC members, were granted bail in March with the consent of state prosecutors.

The 18 have now been indicted for a trial which starts next month.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Zimbabwe is broke

from AFp:

HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe's unity government is broke and cannot afford to match union demands for higher salaries, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told a May Day rally on Friday.

"This government is broke," Tsvangirai told the crowd. "We are only able to pay you allowances. All of us from President Mugabe to government workers are earning a hundred dollars."

Tsvangirai said the state wished to increase the 100 dollar allowance paid to state workers but could not afford to meet growing demands for better wages.

"No-one is paying tax at the moment. If government is not getting taxes, where will the government get the money to pay salaries?," he asked.

Maybe from Grace's bank account?

Friday, May 01, 2009

400 exhibitioners at Zim trade fair

the Herald (Government paper) via All Africa

Harare — MORE than 400 exhibitors are participating at the 2009 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which begins in Bulawayo today....President Rupiah Banda of Zambia is expected to officially open Zimbabwe's premier trade and investment showcase on Thursday....

Countries taking part include China, South Africa, Indonesia, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana.

400 Million credit from Africa

from Reuters

..."COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) has provided a line of credit and so have Botswana and South Africa and that brings the line of credit to $400 million," Biti said.

"Botswana is giving us $70 million and South Africa is giving us $50 million and COMESA is giving us the bulk of the amount."

State media reported on Wednesday that the southern African country had secured $400 million in credit lines to help the local economy recover from years of economic contraction and hyper-inflation.

China's Million dollar Africa strategy

From Geostrategy

The billion-dollar China-Africa Development Fund opened its first Africa office in Johannesburg on Monday.

Chinese President Hu Jintao announced the creation of the 5-billion-dollar fund in 2006 to support Chinese investment in Africa, which supplies China with oil and other commodities.

South Africa's leading candidate for president in April elections, Jacob Zuma, attended the opening, together with Chen Yuan, the chairman of the Chinese Development Bank, and other Chinese officials....
Since its establishment in 2007, the fund has facilitated over 20 investments in Africa, amounting to nearly 400 million dollars, the statement added.
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