Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Wikileaks set back Zim democracy

from the Atlantic:

Tsvangirai supports the sanctions to stop Mugabe, but it's unpopular to say Wikileaks has revealed this, and so Mugabe is the winner.

To their supporters, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange are heroes of the democratic cause. Assange himself has claimed that his organization promotes democracy by strengthening the media. But in Zimbabwe, Assange's pursuit of this noble goal has provided a tyrant with the ammunition to wound, and perhaps kill, any chance for multiparty democracy. Earlier this month, Assange claimed that "not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed" by Wikileaks' practices. This is no longer true, if it ever was.

Any damage to democratic reforms from WikiLeaks likely comes not from malice but naivety.

smuggled diamond money goes to Zim before vote

from Bloomburg:

...Chikwere and hundreds of other border smugglers are part of a chain whose money flows back into Zimbabwe...

The gems from Zimbabwe’s biggest diamond field in the Marange region are helping enrich the 86-year-old president’s party ahead of next year’s vote, according to Human Rights Watch, Partnership Africa Canada and the Zimbabwean opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, which governs in a forced coalition with Mugabe’s party.

Annual income from the gems may reach $2 billion, assuming the country is able to export them freely, the state-owned Herald newspaper cited Mines Minister Obert Mpofu as saying in October. Mugabe is trying to amass funds for the election campaign, said Tom Porteous, the U.K. director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, which has lobbied against abuses for the past 30 years.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mugabe threatens "revenge"

from AlJezeerah:

...Zimbabwe's president has threatened to nationalise British and US-owned businesses operating in the country if economic sanctions imposed on his political party are not lifted....

Under empowerment laws, black Zimbabweans are slated to acquire 51 per cent of all businesses. In a live broadcast on state television, Mugabe warned UK and US firms that "unless you remove sanctions, we will take 100 per cent"....

well, that's a good way to encourage investment in the economy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mugabe threatens to take over US, UK firms

from the BBC

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says his country will nationalise all US and UK companies operating in the country unless Western sanctions are removed.

He told his Zanu-PF party's annual conference it was time to fight the sanctions imposed on him and party leaders.

Mr Mugabe also said it was time to end power-sharing with the party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why are few outsiders wanting to invest in Zim?

The VOA has a discussion why, with different opinions from different Zim leaders.

my opinion? it's not the sanctions (which can be ignored easily by using fronts and proxies). It's because they are worried they will lose their investment. Either Mugabe will decide the company belongs to "the people" (aka his cronies) or officials will want excess kickbacks (although if this is not excess, it's usually written off as business expenses). But they also worry a war could destroy their investments.

Then there is the problem of a crumbling infrastructure, and the fact that the hardest working, best educated Zimbabweans now are working in South Africa.

But what do I know?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More African wikileaks

From AlJezeerah:

Chinese investment in Africa lacks morals.

"China is a very aggressive and pernicious economic competitor with no morals. China is not in Africa for altruistic reasons," Carson said in a February meeting with oil executives in Nigeria.

"China is in Africa for China primarily," he said, according to a confidential cable written by the US consul-general in Lagos earlier this year.

Chinese investment in Africa has exploded in recent years, reaching a total of $9.3 billion by the end of 2009. Chinese state media say that more than 1600 businesses are investing in Africa in a range of industries, from mining to manufacuring. ...

"The United States will continue to push democracy and capitalism while Chinese authoritarian capitalism is politically challenging," Carson said.

Beijing pursues a "contrarian" approach by dealing with the "Mugabes and Bashirs of the world", he said, referring to the Zimbawean and Sudanese leaders respectively....

But of course, western companies aren't much better:

Shell "infiltrated" Nigeria

A US embassy cable released by the WikiLeaks whistleblower website alleges that Royal Dutch Shell's top manager in Nigeria claimed the oil company had sources inside of "all relevant ministries" involving its business....

Other messages show oil executives fearful of Chinese and Russian companies breaking into a market vital to US fuel interests, despite saying all the major fields in the West African nation had already been developed.

The US ambassador to Nigeria, citing Pickard, said in the leaked cables that the Dutch oil giant had got a copy of a letter from a Nigerian government advisor rejecting a Chinese offer on oil exploration blocks.

"Pickard said Shell had good sources to show that their data had been sent to both China and Russia," Robin Renee Sanders, the US ambassador, had reportedly written.

Another cable recounting a February meeting between Johnny Carson, the US assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, and oil company executives shows the US' strong criticism of Chinese interests in the continent's crude supply.

"China is a very aggressive and pernicious economic competitor with no morals,'' the cable quotes Carson as saying. "China is not in Africa for altruistic reasons. China is in Africa for China primarily.''

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tsvangirai tells army to stop harassing villagers

From Radio VOP:

Summary: In a speech about Human rights, Tsvangirai said the Army and gov't is accountable to the people, not vice versa, so protests and complaints should be listened to, not intimidated into silence

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mugabe's wife implicated in illegal Diamond trade

from AFP

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's wife was among those who gained millions of dollars from illegal diamonds mined in the east of the country, according to a US cable obtained by WikiLeaks.

"High-ranking Zimbabwean government officials and well-connected elites are generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of diggers to hand-extract diamonds," US Ambassador James McGee wrote to Washington in 2008.

"They are selling the undocumented diamonds to a mix of foreign buyers, including Belgians, Israelis, Lebanese, Russians and South Africans, who smuggle them out of the country for cutting and resale elsewhere."...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

world wide health

alas, Zimbabwe has gone down.

Part of the problem is HIV, but most of it is because unlike the other countries, it has stagnated with outdated Marxist ideas.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Why business should consider Africa

From the Wharton School of business (Univ PA)

Odembo visited the University of Pennsylvania recently for meetings arranged by the U.S.A.-Kenya Chamber of Commerce and spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about the potential rewards and risks of investing in Africa, including Vision 2030, Kenya's plan to become a middle income nation in the next 20 years. ...

If you look at what has happened in the last few years in terms of improved governance, many countries are becoming more democratic. They're having elections more regularly. The typical tensions that would result in risk have been minimized to a great extent -- wars around the time of elections, civil wars between different communities, fighting between one community and another over natural resources -- we've overcome those challenges to a great extent. The continent is looking ahead to being a place where there's a certain amount of predictability. In the past, unpredictability was another risk.

Africa now has all the ingredients to minimize the risks that people feared before. One way to establish that is for a prospective investor to talk to companies already doing business on the continent. They would be able to tell you about changes that have taken place over the last five or 10 years, and how much we, as countries and as regions, have managed to minimize risks to investors. We appreciate now that we've been left behind and we must do what is necessary to create an enabling environment for private-sector business and investment, both local and foreign direct investment.

Knowledge@Wharton: How do you view China's investment strategy in Africa? What does it mean for investors from other parts of the world?

Odembo: I don't know if I can talk about the Chinese investment strategy because I'm not privy to [it], but I can discuss what I have observed. When the Chinese first appeared as investors on the continent about 10 years ago, a lot of African countries were very uneasy about the manner in which they were setting up businesses and the types of investments they were making. The Chinese have become much more sophisticated in the last 10 years. They now have a strategy. It appears to revolve around what they have studied extremely well on the continent. They know the demographics: There is a rising middle class on the continent; there's a very dynamic, young population; and the continent is becoming increasingly urbanized. Therefore, there is a market and purchasing power on the continent. One part of the Chinese strategy is based on the fact that they are reading Africa very well in terms of where we are now and where we are likely to go to in the next few years.

The Chinese also appreciate the riches that the continent has. Most other countries have known the riches that exist here. Some northern countries from North America and Europe have already extracted the valuable minerals and metals that they needed to develop their industries. The Chinese have figured out that over the next 10 years or so, some of the most valuable commodities that the global economy requires are on this continent.

The Chinese are positioning themselves to do business with African countries, and have figured out that in another 10 years, the continent will have a population of one billion people. That's a very sizable market for selling your products, not to mention the human resource capabilities for producing goods that you might want to export to your own country. Again, I'm not sure what the strategy is, but I can imagine that they're seeing it putting them in a very good position in terms of who will benefit the most.

Knowledge@Wharton: What implications will this have for investors from other parts of the world?

Odembo: It's a challenge. Investors will have to compete with somebody who already has a foot in the door, investing heavily in developing infrastructure, which is where African governments will tell you is where the greatest need has been -- infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. In the next 10 years or so, if this infrastructure has been developed, Africa is going to be able to trade within itself quite significantly. We've learned this during the global recession, when our commodities didn't have a ready market because our traditional markets were experiencing the crisis. We turned inward and started trading with each other.

Because of the potential for trading within the continent with a developed infrastructure, people investing in infrastructure will stand to benefit very significantly because they will know the infrastructure very well. Part of being a good business person and investor is knowing how the infrastructure is set up and how things move from point A to point B. ...

videos HERE and HERE

Making fuel from garbage

Mother Jones has an article on how "clever Ugandans" are turning garbage into fuel.

What bothers me is

1) essentially they are rag pickers.

2) no one seems to be pressuring the government into collecting trash.

3) no one seems to worry about toxic fumes from their "factory", where they not only roast left over food but also tires and other toxic plastics to get fuel.

4) how safe is this "fuel"? will those using it find their engines clogged up and useless after awhile?

5) the word "clever" in English sounds like they are amazed that Africans might be intelligent enough to do something (the word is commonly used to describe when children or animals are smart, but rarely used in the context of adult activity).

6) it points out that those in the west who think higher prices for oil is a good idea don't notice how modern oil and gasoline products are needed in third world countries, or that a rise in oil prices can devastate these economies.

Aside from these points, it is a good article about grass roots green business.

Africa could feed the world

from the BBC, pointing out that if modern methods of crop growing and hybrid seeds were used, Africa could feed the world.

"...He (Professor Calestous Juma Harvard University) estimates that while food production has grown globally by 145% over the past 40 years, African food production has fallen by 10% since 1960, which he attributes to low investment.

While 70% of Africans may be engaged in farming, those who are undernourished on the continent has risen by 100 million to 250 million since 1990, he estimates.

The professor's blueprint calls for the expansion of basic infrastructure, including new road, irrigation and energy schemes...."

of course, the "Green" lobby so beloved in many NGO's will swallow their teeth over this part of his speech:

"Tree crops like breadfruit, which is from the Pacific, could be introduced in Africa because trees are more resistant to climate change."

He also envisages genetic modification playing a growing role in African agriculture, with GM cotton and GM maize, which are already being grown on the continent, just the start of things to come.

"You need to be able to breed new crops and adapt them to local conditions... and that is going to force more African countries to think about new genomics techniques."

oh well...maybe China will help them copy their own investment in GM foods LINK

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sorry for lack of posts

I've been busy and by the time I get around to reading and posting on this blog, I'm so depressed that I quit bloggin.

Zimbabwe is getting worse, but not on the news.

Here are the headlines from today's SWRadioAfrica:

News stories for Wednesday 01 December

MDC activist dies after ZANU PF and police assaults
The MDC reported Tuesday that Augustine Mahute, a party activist from Matapi Flats in Mbare Harare, died on Saturday night from injuries received in police custody. The MDC said Mahute had first been attacked by ZANU PF youths and then by the police officers at Matapi Station, where the youths had taken him by force.

CIO agent abducts six teachers in Rushinga
The Progressive Teachers Union has expressed concern over the whereabouts of six teachers, thought to have been abducted by a state security agent in Rushinga Wednesday. Only last Friday a labour court ordered that Julius Mawarire, Tinashe Mavurayi, Talent Muchakazi, Angela Zanza, Silibaziso Mawire and Maphios Chisora should be reinstated at Gwangwava Primary School…

Standard editor arrested as media clampdown intensifies
The editor of the weekly Standard newspaper, who handed himself over to police this week, was officially arrested Tuesday and formally charged, as the clampdown on the media continues to intensify. Police had tried to arrest Nevanji Madanhire on Monday, but the editor wasn’t at his offices and went into hiding.

Jabulani Sibanda terrorizing Lowveld, threatening death to MDC
Jabulani Sibanda, the violent ZANU PF thug and chairman of the National War Vet Association, is reported to be in the Lowveld area, terrorizing villagers and threatening death to anyone who supports the MDC.

Mugabe allies back lifting of sanctions at EU summit
Allies of Robert Mugabe have used a European Union (EU) summit in Libya to lobby on the dictator’s behalf, for the lifting of Western targeted sanctions in place against the regime.

ZUJ President deplores crackdown on journalists
The President of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ),

Than there is the Zimbabwe Mail (which I read via email).

The funniest stories are about how Wikileaks revealed that Mbeki was backing Mugabe in all those peace talks.


then there is this from BusinessDay:

Leaked diplomatic notes posted on WikiLeaks this week quoted Ms Nkoana-Mashabane as calling Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe "a crazy old man" .

If true, the comments are likely to harden Mr Mugabe’s attitude towards accepting SA’s advice on change in his country.

presumably saying the "Emperor has no clothes" is not allowed....

Primedia (eyewitness news) is more worried about the wikileaks will put Zimbabwean lives at stake.

Actually, the real "damage" will be stuff everyone knows: That Mugabe is crazy, that Mbeki helped him shaft Tsvangirai, and that the west thought Tsvangirai was honest but not forceful enough.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The horrors of the wars in Africa, and how they manipulate those who help

The New Yorker has an article on the negative effects of NGO's on Africa's wars

My only comment is that it starts in Biafra, but at a time when the same peaceniks who wanted to stop the "genocide" in Viet Nam ignored the atrocities by communist there, during the war and then after the war "ended".

But what the article doesn't notice is that it is evil men who manipulate and steal from those who are trying to help. It's like blaming the cop for arresting an abusive husband, or complaining about the Manila police who risked their lives to rescue the Chinese tourists held hostage. Or ignoring the many genocides and wars of Saddam Hussein but then blaming Bush when Hussein's backers bomb and kill innocent Iraqis (or when Iran pays back their own war dead by helping their co religionist militias to kill Hussein's backers).

Killing is bad, but until what is missing is moral clarity, moral condemnation of those who aim at civilians to manipulate public opinion or who kill and steal to get rich.

Until one has the moral clarity to condemn the cause of the murders, instead of condemning those

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Ancient secrets of Zimbabwe

an article about archeology in Zimbabwe.

I am bemused that one of the archeologists from Norway found he couldn't boss people around, but had to ask permission and then found the locals didn't want him to dig.

Good for the locals.

But one wishes things would improve so local archeologists could do digs to investigate the ancient history of Zimbabwe without a western superior bias.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chinese in Africa

Strategy Pages discusses China, but the middle part of the podcast discusses China in Africa. Warning: Not politically correct, just blunt about the problems.

Ancient Chinese Secret - 10/28/2010
Jim and Austin discuss why some of the Chinese elders think it’s time for more change.
MP3 Download

African Cultures

I ran across this about the Bushmen in Botswana...don't know if it's accurate (I worked in eastern Zim). But for your perusal:

Watch more free documentaries

my only question is: Why all these white people (the fat white lady I'm watching right now has a US accent) telling us all about these people and how they want to live a hard life so beloved of rich westerners.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Can or should Africa rewrite their own boundaries?

a lot of African countries were invented by European colonizers who didn't know anything about locals.

StrategyPage has a discussion on the up coming plebiscite in Sudan, voting if the south (black, Christian/animist) should secede from the north, (Arab/Muslim)

...Colonial powers drew most of the borders in the 19th and 20th centuries. The borders-drawn-in-parlors often divided tribes and sometimes made very little on-the-ground geographic sense. If South Sudan votes for independence (secession the northerners call it) the thinking goes that this will cause a chain reaction, first in the Grand Sahel (Darfur being another possibility) then throughout the rest of the continent. ...

The article has little to do with Zimbabwe, but it also mentions the problems with the central African wars, where of course Zim troops were fighting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Charges dropped against Zim blood diamond activist

AFP reports:

HARARE — Prosecutors have dropped charges against Zimbabwean activist Farai Maguwu, who had been accused of endangering national security by exposing rights abuses in diamond fields, his lawyer said Friday.

EU asks Mugabe to scrap evictions

from SWRadio Africa.

Members of the European parliament on Thursday passed a resolution which called on Robert Mugabe to drop the planned evictions of about 20,000 people from Hatcliffe Extension settlement outside Harare. Residents there were being forced to pay exorbitant lease renewal fees, which the resolution said the residents “simply have no means of paying.”

The vote was spearheaded by MEP Geoffrey Van Orden, who heads the European Parliament's campaign for freedom and democratic change in Zimbabwe. The pending evictions were used as an example of continuing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and provided a case against Mugabe’s demands that the EU should remove the targeted sanctions against him and close associates.

The MEPs also focused on the state of the coalition government and concluded that: “Robert Mugabe and his close supporters continue to be a stumbling block in the process of political and economic reconstruction and reconciliation in Zimbabwe, plundering as they do its economic resources for their own benefit.”

they send him a nasty letter, threatening to send him another nasty letter if he keeps throwing people out of their homes and destroying houses.

I'm sure he is worried.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mugabe must rule forever

from News24 an AFP report:

Harare -The women's league of President Robert Mugabe's party want him to run in the next election and rule the country forever, state media reported on Sunday.

"We endorse your candidature. We are saying stand in the next election and rule forever," Oppah Muchinguri, the secretary of Zanu-PF Women's League was quoted as saying by the Sunday Mail.

I'm superstitious enough to think that saying he should rule forever implies he is a god.

Indeed, I suspect a lot of the trouble in the US is because of the excess adulation of Obama before the election, including claiming that his nomination would stop the seas from rising...

Yeah, sure...


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why Coca Cola is better than NGO's

I had to laugh at this, because every place I've worked or visited has coke or the equivalent...and since I worked in Africa in the early 1970's that's saying a lot.

there are local entrepeneurs who know how to do this for their own profit, and too many NGO's try to teach locals how to do it there way, and prefer to use those who act and think western. Yet in much of Africa, local entrepeneurs (e.g. women vendors) have the skill that is needed, but they are overlooked because they are women, semi literate, and no connections with big shots.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Foreign aid

Several articles on foreign aid to Africa, not necessarily about Zimbabwe.

Al Jezeerah reports that some UK banks cooperated with Nigerian corruption:

High street banks in the United Kingdom could have helped fuel corruption in Nigeria by accepting millions of dollars in deposits from dubious politicians in the west African nation, an international corruption watchdog said.

In a 40 page report released on Sunday, Global Witness said that five leading banks have failed to adequately investigate the source of tens of millions of dollars taken from two Nigerian governors accused of corruption.

"Banks are quick to penalise ordinary customers for minor infractions but seem to be less concerned about dirty money passing through their accounts," Robert Palmer, a campaigner at Global Witness, wrote on the group's website.

"Large scale corruption is simply not possible without a bank willing to process payments from dodgy sources, or hold accounts for corrupt politicians."

Global Witness acknowledged that in accepting the money, Barclays, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC, as well as Switzerland's UBS, might not have broken the law, but noted that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) must do more to prevent money laundering through British banks.

In a related article in Medical News Today that summarizes several stores:


U.S. Should Purchase Food Aid From Local Farmers In Africa

In a Richmond County Daily Journal opinion piece, Yifat Susskind, the policy and communications director of MADRE: Demanding Rights, Resources and Results for Women Worldwide, argues that "the U.S. should buy food aid crops directly from local farmers in Africa."

no problem, except of course that this disrupts the ordinary food distribution system already in place, and distorts the price of rice for those who aren't in the famine area or refugee camps.

It was, after all, the cause of the Bengali famine during World War II, where the British bought up all local crops (so that if the Japanese invaded they would starve) and as a result the price of food in that area became so high that a quarter million starved.

In the Irish potato famine, a similar exacerbation was caused by local farmers exporting grain (to feed the poor in the UK) while importing only a small amount of maize (which is hard for malnourished intestines to digest) for locals.

They also cite another article that aid should be given in grants rather than loans:

In a Boston Globe opinion piece, Robert Rotberg of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, ...

Rotberg argues that the U.S. government should "stop lending to recipient countries" and "switch its foreign assistance to making grants." According to Rotberg, conditions that allowed "deserving countries to borrow on generous terms to improve their prospects for growth ... added to a poor nation's debt burden." A better approach "would be to make only grants and condition their renewal on accomplishing the goals of the grant."

and of course, grants would allow local politicians to steal the aid easier than if the lending banks were watching them.

An example of the problem can be found in our local Inquirer, where this article discusses a grant of direct aid to poor families.

Even Mr. Aquino’s cousin-in-law has cast doubt on the CCT program.

Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, wife of Mr. Aquino’s cousin Mark Cojuangco, said that when she was mayor, she found that certain officers of the DSWD had been giving the cash assistance to their relatives and other individuals who were not among the poorest of the poor.

Cojuangco said the families that received the money tended to spend it on alcohol and betting on the illegal numbers racket “jueteng.”

During the deliberations on the DSWD budget, she also said the CCT had been a source of conflict between neighbors, who get jealous of those selected to receive the monthly stipend.

and the Inquirer includes this editorial:

MANILA, Philippines—Several lawmakers continue to cast doubt on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino government, with one of them even saying that the end beneficiary of the program’s huge budget would be the jueteng lords.

Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco said that stringent measures should be in place to guarantee that the money will trickle down to the poorest families in the country.

“Coming from the province of Pangasinan, the first thing the mother will do when she gets the money is to buy shoes and groceries, then the husband will go out and buy some gin, and whatever is left of the money is for betting, he would probably go and play jueteng,” said Cojuangco, former mayor of Sison town in the province.

that is, of course, assuming that the poor families actually get the money after all the politicians take their cut of the pot.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Tsvangirai rebukes Mugabe

a long analysis at SWRadioAfrica:

For over a year the MDC leader has diplomatically avoided attacking Mugabe in the hope that the two rival leaders could govern together. Lately Tsvangirai even voiced some praise for Mugabe, a move that shocked many of his faithful. But at a news conference in Harare on Thursday Tsvangirai admitted that he had defended Mugabe at his own cost, politically.

‘What Tsvangirai did yesterday (Thursday) will help him revive his flagging fortunes after months of trying to defend an inclusive government that is hamstrung and not working. He should stick to his guns and not leave it as a statement. The MDC should follow up on the threats and not recognize all the unilateral appointments made by Mugabe,’ Mashiri added.

Monday, October 04, 2010

twentythousand face eviction

from SWRadioAfrica:

Residents of a shanty town outside Harare known as Hatcliffe Extension have been threatened with eviction by government, despite the fact that it is the same authorities who settled the people there after destroying their original homes.

Amnesty International released a statement on Thursday calling on government officials to stop the pending evictions and instead make a plan to settle these displaced people somewhere before evicting them.
Back in June, the officials notified residents that they were to renew the leases for their plots by September 30 or face eviction. Their land would then be given others on a waiting list. But no-one seems to know about this list and residents have been denied access to officials since the June announcement.

The cost to renew a lease is $140, which the government is demanding as one lump sum. With many Zimbabweans not even earning that much per month, it is shocking that that the officials would threaten to evict Hatcliffe Extension residents, who are among the poorest in the country....
According to Amnesty, the excessive lease fees are not restricted to Hatcliffe Extension. Residents of other informal settlements around the country are also under threat of eviction.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Zebras killed

violence against MDC personnel and innocent civilians continues, but this headline should make the animal loving western press notice:

from SWRadioAfrica:

Invaders kill over 300 zebra at illegally occupied game reserve

Rodrigues visited the Denlynian and Tamari Wildlife Farm in Beitbridge after receiving reports that it had been invaded by a group calling themselves "Zhove Conservancy Co-operative." The members of this group include police, army, civil servants, rural council employees, war vets and ZANU PF activists. Because of the slaughter the eland population has dropped from 973 to 374 - a loss of 560 animals and the zebra population has fallen from 871 to 163 - a loss of 708 animals. ...

get your chicken to change ringtones

via Kubatana trust:

Download Freshlyground's Chicken to Change ringtone here

Mugabe cancels Ecuador trip

from the AP:

he was offered an "honorary degree" by a dissadent/breakaway Anglican "university" cleric who used to run guns to FARC (a now discredited revolutionary group in Colombia)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Being first lady is hell

Michelle Obama once told the wife of France's president that being first lady of the US was hell.

Got a lot of flack in the US, but I sympathize. She wasn't trained to be a hostess, but was brought up in the neighborhood, not in society, and is trained as a lawyer.

So now, she is stuck doing things like this:

Poor Michelle, mother told you there'd be days like this: (you can almost see in her expression she is thinking...must not laugh...must not laugh...)

The redhead is Chantal , and her husband, the President of Cameroon, has been nominated for the corruption hall of fame by a French Catholic human rights organization:

According to the authors of “ill-gotten gains, who benefits from the crime”, Paul Biya’s family owns castles in France and Germany, as well as many timber and mining companies. The presidential couple through their many "looting sprees" are said to have caused "the bankruptcy” of a Cameroonian banking company (Société Camerounaise de bank).
and their last vacation cost one million Euros, making Michelle's modest Spanish trip look cheap.

Which is why a lot of us are sceptical about the UN insisting we "aid" poor countries via their governments.

but there is good news: She doesn't have to pretend to like Grace.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Measles kills 70

from AFP

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A measles outbreak has claimed the lives of 70 children in Zimbabwe over the past two weeks, mostly among families from apostolic sects that shun vaccinations, state media said Thursday...

These "apostolic sects" often mix old testament rules and Christian ideas with African customs. They often are run by a prophet, and alas shun modern medicine, so their people often die of easily treatable or prevented diseases.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Manipulating Western Guilt


again, not about Zim per se but about manipulating western guilt to cover the sins of the new dictator.

...A new book by Edward S Herman and David Peterson focusing on the use of the term “genocide” in the media and academia - The Politics of Genocide (Monthly Review Press, 2010) - argues that the western establishment has “swallowed a propaganda line on Rwanda that turned perpetrator and victim upside-down” (p.51); the RPF not only killed Hutus, but were the “prime génocidaires” (p.54); there was “large-scale killing and ethnic cleansing of Hutus by the RPF long before the April-July 1994 period (p.53); this contributed to a result in which “the majority of victims were likely Hutu and not Tutsi” (quoted with approval, p.58)....

This book deserves attention for the fact that it opens with a lengthy foreword by Herman’s long-term collaborator, Noam Chomsky. Chomsky remains for many an exemplary champion of human rights; a quote from him even emblazons the respectable academic website on which the leaked UN report has been published.

Many others, however, reached a very different view after examining his comments on the Khmer Rouge record in Cambodia, his indulgence of Holocaust-denying writers, and his encouragement of Bosnian genocide-denial. But even in this gruesome context (to use one of Chomsky’s favourite words) his endorsement of The Politics of Genocide - with its denial of genocide in Rwanda as well as Bosnia - goes further.

A dead zone

This book and Noam Chomsky’s foreword inadvertently show just how multi-directional the politics of genocide have become. It is true that official western propagandists minimise “our” crimes and represent those of “our” enemies in over-simplified ways, and that such legerdemain merits exposure. But it also clear that anti-western propagandists - Herman, Peterson and Chomsky among them - are guilty of the same evasions and distortions from the “other” side.

They argue that in official western narratives, “our victims are unworthy of our attention and indignation, and never suffer ‘genocide’ at our hands” (p.104, italics in original). Yet in anti-western, Chomskyan narratives, an identical process occurs: the west's enemies, whether Serbian nationalist or Rwandan “Hutu Power”, have never committed “genocide”, and their crimes are always of less significance than those of western-supported forces...

read the whole thing if you are interested in the "denial" industry and the "it's only crime if the west did it" propaganda that passes for news nowadays.

China's potemkin village

not about Zimbabwe, per se, but Tom Friedman wrote a pro China propaganda piece in today's New York Times, lauding China's economic miracle, and insisting that although he wouldn't want to live under it's "authoritarian rule", nevertheless, it is a wonderful place.

I answered it at my BNN blog, pointing out that China's economic miracle is partly based on an underpriced Yuan and unfair labor practices that mean new businesses in Asia and Africa can't compete, while China's bribery to corrupt governments mean they can exploit their resources for pennies, while local folks don't benefit.

The previous post from the UK Mail shows an example of this with the blood diamonds, but here in the Philippines, it includes suspected bribes to the Arroyo administration to allow them to have sovereignty over our gas fields in the Spratlys islands. But this is the tip of the iceberg: Today's news shows that bribes to customs officials allowed the importation of melamine contaminated milk from China, and in our area, cheap Chinese onions have made many of our farmers bankrupt.

From my BNN essay:

China is undoubtedly a growing power, but what Friedman is not noticing is most worrisome for those of us who live outside the US: that China’s economic policies-are essentially neocolonialist. By keeping the Yuan’s value artificially low, and by giving government subsidies to their goods, they are waging a price war against emerging markets in Africa and SEAsia.

By flooding the markets with their under-priced goods, thanks to the underpriced Yuan, local businesses here in the Philippines can’t compete. So local businesses either can’t be started or go bankrupt.

Is this good or bad? Both. I have no problem with free trade per se. But China’s manipulation of the Yuan means that they are not playing fairly.

And President Obama is trying to pressure China to reform the problem.......

To the President’s credit, he is allowing the Congress to consider passing protective legislation to counterbalance these unfair trade practices.

China’s economic miracle is based not only on their questionable currency manipulation, but on bad labor practices (underpaying workers, forbidding strikes), and (alas) often the export of shoddily made or even counterfeit goods due to a large amount of corruption at all levels of their society.

We here in the Philippines are aware of this, because we have to worry about buying products from China, because a lot of them are poorly made and break shortly after being bought. Sometimes the goods are even dangerous, such as melamine in our milk or the cheap generic medicines that don’t work. And we also know about the large bribes by China to certain politicians to allow them to steal our natural resources.

So one longs for a real report on the Chinese economic miracle, that sees a more balance picture, instead of a glowing report on what the Chinese government wants Mr. Friedman to see.

China is buying Mugabe's bloody diamonds

A report on how Mugabe is selling his blood diamonds to China, via the UK Daily Mail.

Today, the fields are a military zone — and anyone caught there faces being beaten to death.

The reason for the secrecy became apparent during an undercover ­investigation at the fields, where I found conclusive evidence of ­collusion between China and Mugabe.
In an official — but highly-confidential — agreement between the two countries, the Chinese People’s ­Liberation Army and Mugabe’s ­military chiefs are plundering this diamond find, believed to be the ­biggest in the history of the world and worth an estimated £800 billion.

So vast are the riches that diamond experts believe the gems from Marange — in a country of less than ten million people — could account for more than a quarter of all ­diamonds mined around the globe, and could even trigger a massive slump in diamond prices if the stones come on the market and cause a glut.

Read more:

Monday, September 20, 2010

South Africa seeks removal of Zim sanctions (again)

from SWRadioAfrica

The South African government will next week lobby for the removal of targeted sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF officials, during the 65th session of the United Nations in New York.

Death by silence

from the Zimbabwe telegraph:

A five-year genocide in Zimbabwe from 1982 raised barely a whisper from London, Washington or the UN.

Journalist and genocide scholar, Geoff Hill, looks at a shameful episode that has yet to be resolved.

In July this year, Mr. Melusi Matshiya was arrested in Zimbabwe’s southern city of Bulawayo for trying a display his paintings of a genocide in which several of his family were killed.

Depending on who you talk to, from 1982 to 1987, between 10 000 and 40 000 people were murdered in the Matabeleland province around Bulawayo. The government is still so touchy that most of the bodies lie in mass graves and families who try to exhume them face arrest.

Robert Mugabe who ordered the killings, remains head of state, but is banned from entering the Europe, the US and a dozen other countries because of human rights abuse since 2000 and a string of rigged elections.

His party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) still controls all key ministries and the army.

You can talk politics in Zimbabwe, but there are risks: In early September another young man was jailed for 10 months for “insulting the president” whom he described as old and wrinkly.

Independent newspapers are coming into print after a government monopoly that dates back to when Mugabe nationalised the press in 1981, and more political space exists now than at perhaps any time in the past 50 years … unless you want to discuss the killings known locally as Gukurahundi or “a wind that blows away the chaff”....

In late 1980, Robert Mugabe visited President Kim il Sung in Pyongyang and signed a secret deal for North Korean instructors to train an exclusively Shona unit that would answer to Mugabe himself. A year later, the resultant Fifth Brigade entered Matabeleland commanded by Lt Col. Perence Shire who now heads the Zimbabwe Air Force....

“When the world turned a blind eye to Matabeleland, Mugabe may have expected to get away with the second round of carnage he inflicted on the whole of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“The international community must learn that impunity for serious crimes entrenches a culture of violence and abuse.”...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mugabe takes over more businesses

From the BBC:'
All firms valued at more than $500,000 will be required over the next five years to sell a controlling 51% stake of their companies to black Zimbabweans.

Among the many internationals in the line of fire are Barclays, British and American Tobacco, BP, Nestle and Unilever. ..

Mr Kasukuwere, who has amassed significant business interests here in recent years, did not rule out the possibility of buying assets in foreign firms himself.

Critics fear that many other senior members of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party, along with some military leaders, may do likewise. ..

Hint to Mugabe: Here in the Philippines, they only ask for 20 percent of the deal, not 50 percent.

and given the large amount of money being invested in Africa by China, one thinks this protester is out of date:

Reuters photo

Jealous Charities the cause of arrest of Americans?

from the Zimbabwean:

The lawyer representing four Americans arrested on charges of distributing HIV drugs without licenses says a jealous Zimbabwe Aids charity is to blame for the saga. ...

The Centre is a Harare-based charity that provides counselling and information to people with HIV/AIDS. When asked to comment on the allegations, the Centre’s Executive Director Freddy Kachote vehemently denied his organisation had any involvement in the arrests.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicken to Change

Mugabe just pulled the visas from this group...hmm...wonder why?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

American doctors held in Zim

from the NYTimes

OHANNESBURG — Five Americans — two doctors, two nurses and an organizer — who carried donated AIDS drugs to Zimbabwe for distribution to the poor were arrested Thursday and remained jailed in Harare on Saturday on a charge of dispensing the medicine without the supervision of a pharmacist or proper licenses, their lawyer said. ...

The Americans belong to the Allen Temple Baptist Church AIDS Ministry in Oakland, Calif. The church serves a predominantly African-American congregation. Three or four times a year since 2000, members have paid their own way to Zimbabwe to give antiretroviral medicine, vitamins, clothing and food baskets to impoverished people with AIDS.

The epidemic is severe throughout Zimbabwe and the country’s broken health system fails to treat most people in need...On this trip, the team had brought a four-month supply of antiretroviral drugs for about 800 people with AIDS, some of them orphaned children, in Harare and Mutoko, a rural district....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Colony

AlJazeera report on a film about the Chinese colony in Dakar...

"...Small Chinese businesses have been expanding and growing rapidly across the African continent [EPA]

Upon arriving in Dakar and more recently Liberia, I was shocked at how visible the Chinese presence in these African countries is. Many African nations are mired in hopeless economic prospects, yet in these places the economy was booming for the Chinese.

With the Chinese, unthinkable growth was possible even in countries long abandoned by the West.

Cranes, enormous dump trucks, and construction equipment of all kinds baring Chinese logos and imported from China could be seen feverishly building late into the night.

And workers brought over from China can be seen overseeing all aspects of construction.

There are Chinese restaurants serving genuine Chinese cuisine everywhere. During my second trip to the country I lived on authentic steamed fish and dumplings. Chinese goods like cars, motorcycles, pots and pans, shoes, pesticide, clothing, plastic toys, etc., are very popular among local consumers.

Everywhere I looked I saw evidence of Chinese activity in Dakar from large-scale fishing companies and stadiums to toothbrushes and cheap jewellery sold on the street...."

there is a film at the link

Friday, September 10, 2010

hunger again

the gov't run Herald insists they don't need handouts, only the lifting of sanctions.

But the UN differs:

Zimbabwe: Food Security Improves, but 1.68 Billion People Still Need Food Assistance

Another economic crisis?

from the Zim independent:

what will happen when South Africa deports all those million of Zimbabweans without jobs? Will the economy collapse without the money sent in from that country?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Fides report on Zim refugees in SA

Fides news agency:

On September 2, the South African government announced that by the end of the year it will withdraw the special permit granted to thousands of Zimbabweans, allowing them to reside in South Africa without documents. "After December 31, all undocumented Zimbabweans will be treated the same way and will start being expelled," said a spokesman for the South African government.
"South Africa and Zimbabwe have very complex relationships involving the ruling parties in their respective countries," said Fr. Mario, who questions the viability of the measure: "I think this measure will be difficult to implement. The ANC, the party in power, is divided between a populist current, sympathetic to the position of the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who supports the return of refugees, and another that wants to maintain good relations with the United States. The latter current fears that the expulsion of refugees may harm relations with Washington, especially on economic terms."
There is a strong community of Zimbabweans living in South Africa - about 1 ½ million people who left their country to escape hunger and political persecution. "Zimbabwe was once considered the breadbasket of Southern Africa; some people even called it the Switzerland of Africa. The economic policy of its leadership has plunged the country downwards, now making it among one of the poorest nations in the world with a massive unemployment rate and a crumbling agricultural economy that has forced Zimbabwe to have to import food from abroad," mentions Fr. Mario.
The presence of a high number of refugees from Zimbabwe, to which are added the immigrants from other countries like Mozambique, has led to tensions with the South African population and resulted in severe episodes of intolerance and xenophobia (see Fides 23/5/2008), which were condemned by the Catholic Church in South Africa (see Fides 29/5/2008)....

Monday, September 06, 2010

ZANUPF violence stops food aid

from swradioafrica:

The Governor’s office in Matabeleland South has reportedly said that 300,000 villagers in four districts urgently need food supplies, but they are getting no assistance from donors. Serious food shortages have hit the drought stricken province, and villagers say organizations that usually provide them with food left the area, due to interference by ZANU PF officials and their violent thugs.

The situation has become so dire that last week the provincial governor, Angeline Masuku, summoned leaders from all political parties and civic groups and made an urgent appeal to donors for food supplies....

sorry for lack of posts

I've been sick and then the internet went off and on.

Will have to catch up on Zimbabwe news before I post

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Overpopulation myths

By Obadias Ndaba,from The African Executive

There is no relationship between population size and development. When people are educated and earn high income, authentic development occurs. However, today, illiterate people in villages across the developing world are being taught, through different government or donor funded programs, that birth control is the way to development.This is just placing emphasis where it shouldn’t be.

When people are provided with good education, security, healthcare services that reduce child mortality and opportunities to exercise their talents, they will make free choices, and as history has shown, they will responsibly determine the spacing of their children according to their needs, desires, hopes and dreams.

This mindset of “managing population” has shifted attention away from more pressing issues like education, healthcare services and transfer of technology that would boost economies in poor countries. This is easily done by associating population growth with every other problem from food shortages to environmental degradation. Though the world population has more than doubled since 1950, food supplies have more than tripled globally in the same period.

the tragedy in Zimbabwe is that they are exporting their best minds because of the bad government doesn't allow democracy or opportunities for the educated.
We have a similar problem in the Philippines, where an oligarchy of rich families means the middle class like our family have to emigrate to get good paying jobs, and the widespread corruption means that many industries won't invest here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More homes destroyed

from ReliefWeb: Amnesty international report

"Driving people forcefully from their homes in the middle of the night cannot be justified in any circumstance," said Michelle Kagari, deputy Africa director at Amnesty International. "The brutality with which this forced eviction was carried out is alarming."

Following the eviction 55 residents, including five children, were taken to Harare Central Police Station and detained without access to lawyers. Lawyers who attempted to attend their clients at the police station were not informed why they had been detained. All 55 detainees were released without charge later in the day. ,,,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mugabe at SADC conference

from IPS News:

Mugabe delivered the keynote address at SADC’s 30th birthday bash on Aug 17 in the Namibian capital. "When I was a young man teaching in Ghana, the growing of cocoa used to be big. The cocoa would go to Switzerland and chocolates - so very nicely wrapped - would come back," reminisced the Zimbabwean president.

At the heads of state summit that preceded the bash, Mugabe was not chastised for ignoring the 2008 finding of the regional SADC tribunal that land be returned to 78 white farmers. Rather, the summit resolved to review the "role, functions and terms of reference" of the regional court.

During his address, Mugabe wondered about the continent’s inability to add value to its exports: "How can we fail even to manufacture one chocolate ourselves today?"

Blessed Isidore

from Fountain of Elias, the story of Isidore Bakanja, who was beaten by his white employer and died as a result. (Republic of Congo, 1909)
His crime? teaching other laborers to pray.
more HERE.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Land reform and human rights

Kubatana has a PDF article to download about "land reform in Zimbabwe"

Download this document
- Acrobat PDF version (149KB)

Prior to the land seizures and only a decade ago agriculture was the cornerstone of the economy. According to Eric Bloch, (an independent economist in Zimbabwe), agriculture used to provide employment for over 300,000 farm workers and a livelihood for nearly two million people but since the 2000 land reform programme, agriculture has plummeted, foreign exchange inflows have petered out and there has been a breakdown of the rule of law. Eddie Cross (another Zimbabwean independent economist), asserts that in 2000, the total output of the agriculture industry in Zimbabwe was 4.3 million tonnes of agricultural products worth at today's prices US$3.347billion. In 2009 it declined to 1.348 million tonnes of products worth US$1 billion, a decline of 69% in volume and a decline of 70% in value....

I worked in Zim and heard many stories of Africans thrown off land so it could be sold to white farmers, often from Europe (as opposed to local farmers or even from South Africa).

So I rarely write about their plight, figuring that if land reform was good enough for Philippines, where our family's land for many generations was sold to the tenant farmers (who often never paid for it, but that's another story) why couldn't the gov't take land from these farmers (letting them keep a specified amount) and divide it among their workers.

That's what they did here: and our family only owns a few acres per person, not all the farms in the area of our village.

Ironically, this enable farmers to earn more, send their kids to school, and then the kids went overseas or to Manila for better paying jobs in factories.

As a result, a lot of older folks are selling their land: we have bought a lot back and have hired tenant farmers again..., although we are limited in buying because of the legal limits on land ownership.

another thing we see: with the new expressways built over the last ten years, Manila is now only 2 to 3 hours by car (less if no traffic) so lots of summer houses of rich folks have grown up in Santa Cruz and along the roads.

Phillipine land reform office HERE.

Land reform continues in the Philippines, and one of the problems our new president ran into is that his family's plantation didn't get divided up.

and I figure in another 50 years, we may face another rebellion and find our rebought land will have to be distributed/bought to the tenants again.

Oh well....

more violence in Chimanimani

from SWRadioAfrica:

Eyewitnesses say that violence began when a militia, accompanied by known ZANU PF activists, attacked homes belonging to several MDC activists.

MDC spokesman for Manicaland province, Pishai Muchauraya, told us the militias destroyed property worth thousands of dollars. Some of the property destroyed included satellite dishes and solar panels.

However, when the home-owners tried to drive the militias away from the area shots were allegedly fired into the air to scare them. But this decision by the home owners to try and confront the militias led to the feared CIO visiting the village Monday, where they led away some MDC activists at gun point....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blood Diamonds? Another do gooder project that hurts Africans?

from Spiked! on line:


Take Zimbabwe for instance, the latest cause célèbre of the blood diamond lobbyists. In recent years, Zimbabwean stones have flooded the market, and one has to marvel at the resourcefulness of locals who scramble beneath the barbed wire of state interference. A few years back, near the border with Mozambique, an enterprising Zimbabwean stumbled on what turned out to be perhaps the largest diamond field in the world and happily set about exploiting his find until big wigs from the ruling Zanu-PF party decreed it state property. The state killed scores of diggers trying to eke out a modest living. Still, the traders find ways to smuggle and bribe their way to South Africa, clutching parcels of stones to trade and feed their families back home.

This case hardly fits the KPC template: it is a purely economic conflict and has nothing to do with rebel warfare against governments. That Zimbabwean diamonds sustain and nurture a despicable regime is indisputable. But the same diamond thieves who run the country also control the black markets in fuel and foreign exchange. Perhaps we need certification processes for these, too?

Reports from Mozambique suggest that between 100 and 1,000 smugglers do errands for Zimbabwean army officers each day, taking stones from Mutare in eastern Zimbabwe to Vila de Manica in Mozambique, where they are purchased for about $25 a carat by Lebanese traders and then sold on to overseas buyers for as much as $1,000 per carat. That still does not classify these stones as blood diamonds: there is no ongoing war to warrant such a label....

Zim allowed to sell Marange blood diamonds

from AlJazeerah:

About 900,000 carats (180kg) were on sale on Wednesday, according to Abbey Chikane, the monitor from the international Kimberley Process, which is charged with preventing trade in "blood diamonds".

Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, officially opened the auction and said the diamonds, valued at about $72 million, could bring huge revenues to Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

yes, if it doesn't go into the pockets of Mugabe's thugs.

Monday, August 16, 2010

US congressmen plan to repeal sanctions

from SWRadioAfrica

Called the ‘Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2010,’ the new bill was introduced in the US Congress last week by African-American congressman Donald Payne and Senator Jim Inhofe, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. They claimed that the new legislation “aims to retune sanctions to reflect political changes, such as the national unity government installed in Harare in early 2009”. They believe that lifting the targeted sanctions imposed in 2001 would help to stop Mugabe’s human rights abuses, restore economic prosperity and foster a transition to democracy.

But recent events in Zimbabwe have shown that the so-called government of national unity is far from unified. State sponsored violence against the MDC has flared up and intensified as Mugabe’s ZANU PF seeks to influence the results of the ongoing constitutional outreach program, aimed at involving ordinary Zimbabweans in the constitution making process.

Mugabe has also unilaterally reassigned ambassadors, refused to appoint MDC officials to key government posts and made decisions without consulting the MDC. There is still no independent radio and television in the country, while ZANU PF uses the ZBC radio and television to spread hate speech and propaganda.

Mugabe goes shopping in Hong Kong

from Nehanda Radio

and of course Grace was with them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Human rights problems continue

from SWRadioAfrica

A delegation from AfriForum which returned from a weeklong fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe this week, found that human rights violations “are continuing unabatedly under the Mugabe regime, in spite of the implementation of a unity government in this country.” AfriForum’s delegation said it also found that the South African government “does not lift a finger to assist South African citizens who fall victim to the Zimbabwe regime’s human rights violations.”

According to Kallie Kriel, the executive director of AfriForum who was part of the delegation that went to Zimbabwe, discussions were held with people who fell victim to violent attacks and theft in Zimbabwe and who did not receive any assistance from the Zimbabwean police. Kriel said that the victims of human rights violations are afraid the police will arrest them if they dare to protect themselves and their property...

China and Zim ties

He also said the two countries should keep in close communication on issues that concern each other's core interests.

"China supports the Zimbabwean government's efforts to promote economic recovery and development and will further cooperation in the mineral industry, agriculture and infrastructure construction," Hu said.

China will also expand cultural exchanges with Zimbabwe, especially in areas like the arts, education and human resources training, Hu said...

He said he expects the two states to boost cooperation in trade, education, healthcare and infrastructure construction.

Mugabe said his country welcomes Chinese investors and he thanked China for its long-term support of Zimbabwe.

from Xinhua:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Leave the Dummies alone

Strategypage discusses why inept dictators always talk about evil outsiders trying to ruin their country, as a power play.

...Among recent singers of this tune are, in addition to Ahmadinejad, are Venezuela’s caudillo Hugo Chavez, Zimbabwe’s geriatric president Robert Mugabe, Libya’s weird “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” Muammar al-Gaddafi, and North Korea’s erratic “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il. These bogus claims are intended primarily for domestic consumption, since these strongmen find it useful to pretend dictatorial rule is essential to protect their countries from the dread foreign imperialists.

But why would any rational “foreign imperialist” want to bump off these guys? They’re some of the most inept national leaders in history, each of whom has run his country into poverty, isolation, and brutality on the pretense of protecting it from evildoers, foreign and domestic, while enriching himself and his cronies....

Thursday, August 05, 2010

ZANU PF using soldiers, chiefs against MDC

from SWRadioAfrica:

The Constitutional Outreach program which was supposed to peacefully create a new people-driven constitution for Zimbabwe, has instead often brought little more than renewed violence against those perceived to be MDC supporters. ZANU PF has activated the same machinery used during elections in the past to intimidate opposition officials and supporters. This includes soldiers, the police, traditional chiefs, the youth militia and local thugs, who are paid for each assignment.

Reports of assaults, displacements, arrests and harassments are being received daily from around the country....

Reports on the ground confirm that many people are now too afraid to contribute freely at the outreach meetings....

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Congo/Somali connection

long discussion from StrategyPage.

more misery and more refugees. Sigh.
Which is why I usually note that Mugabe is bad, but anarchy would be worse.

50th anniversary of Congo independence

From BNNBlog:

A marxist remembering of how the wonderful Democratic Congo deteriorated thanks to the evil white man.

The problem is that a lot of the problems encouraged by the corporations is true...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

African agenda for health care

from the African Executive magazine:

article says the plans to cooperate with locals make the Obama's shift in the health care money a good thing.

Contrast with this Washington Post article:

Lack of funding threatens the future of HIV drug therapy in the developing world: Activists fear a lack of funding will force people to be turned away from help and accuse the U.S. of reneging on pledges (Post, July 29, 2010)

Since I am no longer "on the ground", I cannot judge what's true.

Mutambara criticism

From the Zim Mail:

“Elections next year are unpractical, we first have to come up with a number of reforms to the electoral commission, the media and other institutions.

“They are not confident enough to speak about the national interest, they are just grandstanding,” he charged....

Mutambara said reforms to these institutions were important to avoid a negotiated settlement that saw losers being retained in government. He warned that if this was not heeded, the 2008 situation would be repeated.

Grace fingered in Diamond looting

from the ZimbabweMail:

First Lady Grace Mugabe has been fingered as one of the biggest beneficiaries from the diamonds from the controversial Chiadzwa fields after it emerged she is a shareholder in Mbada Diamonds.

Mbada Diamonds is one of the companies that were clandestinely awarded mining rights at Chiadzwa by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Government sources revealed the First Lady had a substantial interest in Mbada Diamonds together with little known South African company, Grandwell Holdings and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AU Summit

lots of problems that are worse then Zimbabwe or Mugabe...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Parties still polorized

from SWRadioAfrica:

The constitutional outreach program, meant to gather people’s views on the new constitution, has exposed the deep political polarization and intolerance that still exists between ZANU PF and MDC supporters.

Since the program resumed this week, after a week long break, tension, friction and shouting matches have characterized most of the meetings. Even signaling your intention to contribute a view by raising a hand, has now been politicized by the participants.

When MDC supporters want to contribute to debate, they raise their hands as any other person would do. And here lies the problem. An open palm is a gesture linked to the MDC party symbol. In retaliation, ZANU PF supporters have resorted to raising their hands— fists clenched— a style made popular by Mugabe when sloganeering...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gold mine output falls

from the gov't controlled Herald, via Allafrica

Harare — ZIMBABWE'S largest gold mine, Metallon says output for June fell significantly due to power cuts during World Cup soccer matches.

Importing coins for cash crisis

SWRadioafrica via AllAfrica

Coins and notes from other countries will have to be brought into Zimbabwe to relieve the serious shortage of cash, Finance Minister Tendai has announced.

The plans were unveiled as part of Biti's Mid-Term fiscal policy review statement which he presented to parliament last Wednesday.

"Under the current multi currency regime, the inadequacy of smaller denominations has posed a number of challenges in transactions...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Refugees from Xenophobia

from SWRadioAfrica:

The Civil Protection Unit has put up temporary shelters in Beitbridge for hundreds of Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobic threats on foreigners in South Africa.

Madzudzo Pawadyira, the director of the CPU, said they had erected three big tents and made available 10,000 blankets, 20 boxes of laundry soap and 1,000 buckets. He said the same measures have also been put in place in Plumtree to cater for those returning through the Plumtree border with Botswana....

Many foreigners living in South Africa’s poorest neighbourhoods have in recent weeks received threats in the wake of the World Cup; two years after a wave of anti-immigrant violence left 62 dead across the country.

Exiled Zimbabwean Everisto Kamera recently told SW Radio Africa that xenophobic sentiments are less common in South Africa’s wealthy suburbs, but are often serious in the poor shantytowns that surround major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Religious war in Africa?

Not about Zimbabwe per se, but an analysis of what is going on in other states.

From Ralph Peters in the NYPost:

The bombings that recently butchered World Cup fans in Uganda were just the latest in a long line of crazed attacks on African Christians by Islamist fanatics. In the central states of Nigeria -- Africa's most-populous country -- religious pogroms and counter-pogroms between Muslims and Christians have become routine.

In Kenya, al Shabaab terrorists from neighboring Somalia stir up trouble and make grotesque threats. And we all know what bestial acts Sudan's Islamist government has perpetrated against black Christians over the decades.

Throughout the region, patience is wearing thin. Africa's impassioned forms of charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity won't turn the other cheek forever. The coming backlash could be ferocious ....

(Peters here attributes the lethargy of Islam to the Saudis who are building mosques staffed with their own radical immans, trying to impose a "foreign" Islam on local Muslims, one whose religious intolerance leads to their children not learning modern subjects in school, only out of date religious dogma which won't get them jobs that can get them out of poverty, but will inspire them to become suicide bombers)

When Islamist terrorists attack African Christians, they're playing with a fire that burns white hot.

Pushed far enough, Christians will respond -- and it won't be pretty. The African church could become the church-ultra-militant.

Of course, a Christian crusade in response to jihad would be just fine with many Saudis and Gulf Arabs. They don't care about the suffering of individual Muslims -- only about Islam.

Thus the Saudis fund the provocative construction of mosques where there are few or no Muslims, from western Tanzania to eastern Tennessee. Every mosque helps stake a claim for the dar ul-Islam, extending the boundaries of the caliphate about which Islamists fantasize...

Meanwhile, the shared goal of the Saudis, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Somalia's al Shabaab is to prevent Muslims from integrating into non-Muslim host societies. In Kenya, a successful Muslim population that interacted and intermarried would be the worst outcome to Islam's commissars. Massacre would be preferable. And a violent Christian reaction would serve as propaganda to recruit the Islamist foot-soldiers who strap on the suicide bombs.

As radical Islam's hallucinatory ambitions continue to expand, the potential for tragedy on a grand scale soars. Religious strife could tear Nigeria apart, but elsewhere in Africa Muslims would swiftly find themselves on the losing end.

In Islamist extremism, we're confronted with a death-cult, not a faith -- while the vibrant Christianity of Africa pulses with life.


StrategyPage has more HERE

Friday, July 16, 2010

Zim leads Africa in Adult Literacy

The daily nation at All Africa.

Harare — Zimbabwe has overtaken Tunisia as the country with the highest literacy rate in Africa despite the numerous problems that continue to dog the country's once enviable education sector.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) latest statistical digest, the southern African country has a 92 per cent literacy rate up from 85 per cent.

Tunisia remains at 87 per cent. Post independence Zimbabwe's education was heavily subsidised by government resulting in vast improvements from the colonial system.

Zimbabwean graduates are well sought after throughout the world....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Alqaeda linked group seeking to start war in East Africa?

A long article on Strategypage discusses how the Alqaeda linked terrorists from Somalia are intimidating Ethiopia, the Christian area of southern Sudan, and Uganda...and why the Uganda bombings are part of that strategy.

Of course, behind this is that the plan is to start a religious war, using the local Islamic population (including Somali refugees) to kill Christians and Animists.

I don't have expertise in the area, but they usually know what's going on at that website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Zimbabwe: Truth vs Deception

an article at the African Executive asks if the widespread US and European actions against Mugabe is due to the fact his policies affect white farmers.

Actually, I think that the press coverage and political action has been less than what is needed to get rid of this thuggish president who has hurt and killed more black Africans than white Africans.

And the shame is that other similar thugs don't get similar treatment to pressure them into democracy.

And not all these thugs are in Africa, you know...

Constitutional outreach points to bloody elections

from the Zim Mail:


Analysts have described the upsurge in violence as an indication that proposed fresh elections to be held next year could result in bloodbath reminiscent of the controversial 2008 polls. ...

Terrorist bombing in Uganda: connection with Zim?

A few weeks ago, some suspected terrorists were caught by Zim police trying to go across to Beitbridge.

Now, other stories are being reported.

One, two terrorist bombings in Uganda, killing over 60 folks watching the world cup matches

This might have been local politics, since some of the African Union peacekeepers in Somalia come from Uganda, and there were plans to increase their numbers.

Two: a sting where guys selling a prototype for a 'dirty bomb" were arrested.

Was there a terrorist plot to set off a dirty bomb at the World Cup matches? or was it just a scam to sell a fake bomb to rich terrorists to make a couple million Rand?
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