Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Zim artist makes bail

from the bbc:

Zimbabwean artist Owen Maseko has been granted bail after being arrested under public order and security laws.

Mr Maseko was staging an exhibition in Bulawayo about the 1980s Matabeleland massacres carried out by troops loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

The artist was arrested at the National Gallery in Bulawayo along with the gallery curator, BBC southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen said.

Mr Maseko faces incitement charges and spent the weekend in jail.

He has been ordered to reappear in court in two weeks.

According to human rights campaigners, the Public Order and Security Act is being used to stifle political dissent in Zimbabwe.

Mr Maseko's arrest comes just days after police closed a photography exhibition in Harare showing recent human rights violations by Mr Mugabe's supporters.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Atrocities in Central Africa

NYTimes report on the "lord's people army" of Uganda's latest massacre.

Monday, March 29, 2010

2 more MDC arrests

from SWRadioAfrica:

The human rights group Restoration for Human Rights (ROHR) has criticized Bindura police for going on a witch-hunt for MDC supporters.

The pressure group said two MDC members were arrested on Thursday, in separate incidents, on allegations of undermining the office of the President under section 186 of the codification act.
ROHR Information Officer, Ronald Mureverwi, said Makesure Mafukidze, an MDC Councillor for ward 3, was picked up in Bindura town in the morning and is currently locked up at Bindura central police station. The Councillor is accused of making utterances during a political rally earlier this year. It is not known what exactly he said.

Seymour Mhene was arrested on the same day, for allegedly criticising the police and accusing them of bias against members of the former opposition.

ROHR said Mhene passed a comment during a recent New Zimbabwe lecture series, organized by the Research Foundation of Zimbabwe, condemning the police for being partisan and wilfully arresting members of the MDC on falsified charges....

No one wants to train for WC in Zimbabwe

from the Zimbabwe Mail:

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s hopes of earning much-needed revenue by hosting football teams before the Fifa World Cup in June in neighbouring South Africa have been dashed: none of the 32 qualifiers chose to hold training camps here.

The government had made attracting a high-profile team to train here a priority in its rebranding and economic reconstruction efforts after 10 years of isolation and economic distress...Hoteliers and restaurateurs spent large sums of money refurbishing their outlets to world-class standards. Home owners in the biggest cities, Harare and Bulawayo, and the resort town of Victoria Falls stampeded to register their houses as the government estimated that established hotels and lodges would be short of space for the anticipated influx of international sport tourists.

Gallery Manager, artist arrested

from SWRadioAfrica

A well known artist Owen Maseko and Voti Thebe, the person in charge of the Bulawayo National Arts Gallery, were arrested on Friday, a day after they launched an exhibition of provocative paintings about the Gukurahundi era.

Gukurahundi was the name given to the armed conflict in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the mid 1980’s that led to the deaths of an estimated 20,000 Ndebele people, after ZANU PF unleashed the notorious North Korean trained Fifth Brigade in the area.

Shari Eppel, a human rights activist who spoke at the opening launch, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the ceremony went ahead with no problem on Thursday but the police went to the art gallery the following day and started filming all the installation and pictures, and then arrested the two....

This latest development comes a day after a photo exhibition at Harare’s Delta Gallery, organized by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, was abandoned after police tried to confiscate the photographs on show, in defiance of a court order. They had previously seized all the photos and briefly arrested the organization’s director...

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Oscar for Prudence

from the column of writer Orson Scott Card:

Favorite train-wreck moment: When "Music by Prudence" won, director Roger Ross Williams was interrupted by a woman who followed him up to the stage and interrupted him, saying, "Let the woman talk."

This was, of course, a white woman interrupting a black director of a documentary about handicapped musicians in Africa. So apparently black men filming about handicapped musicians in Africa are "the oppressor" while white women are the universal victims.

When you learn the real story, her interruption becomes even more ludicrous. This woman got a producer credit because she was the "finder" -- that is, she told the people who actually funded and made the film about the group of handicapped musicians.

And then, having contributed neither talent, nor labor, nor money, she got angry because they (correctly) focused on one musician in particular (essential for telling a coherent story) instead of trying to tell, in a few minutes, the story of the whole group.

The director, who flew to Africa at his own expense to learn about the people and plan the project, stood there in the face of her incredible rudeness, looking puzzled and appalled, while she stole from him the moment of glory that he had worked for and earned (and she had not, since her version of the short was not made and therefore did not receive an Oscar)....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Zimbabwe finance minister unhurt in car crash


Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti escaped unhurt in a car crash when his vehicle collided with a truck, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

"The accident happened last night (Tuesday) in Chegutu, he is stable and will be able to work, he just needs to be examined but he looks fine," said Nelson Chamisa.

I'd love to point fingers, but as the article notes, the roads are terrible,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mugabe plannning violence after world cup

from the Zimbabwe Mail.

ARARE - Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) has started recruiting youths for training in sophisticated murder and torture techniques for a massive campaign of violence against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) soon after the World Cup, a report said.

Investigations by The Zimbabwean have revealed that the vicious campaign of terror is expected to roll into motion in July, soon after the soccer World Cup ends in South Africa and the media spotlight shifts elsewhere.

High-level sources within both Zanu (PF) and MDC-T as well as the security services said the purpose of this horrific plan, if it succeeds, was to plunge the country into total anarchy, making it impossible to continue with the drafting of a new constitution....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Surge in Rhino poaching

From the LA Times.

I usually don't get bothered by animal poaching, figuring it is poor folks trying to make a buck. while rich westerners moan more about dead animals than dead babies.

But the key part of this article is here


China's recent thrust into Africa in a rush for resources is a major factor in the illegal rhino horn and ivory trade, analysts believe, because China remains the largest market. Rhino horn, made of keratin, the same substance that forms fingernails, hooves, feathers and hair, has long been used in Chinese medicinal tonics.

Zimbabwe's collapse added to the problem, with corrupt government, army and wildlife officials reportedly involved in poaching and smuggling rhino horn and ivory. The airport in that country's capital, Harare, is reportedly a key transit hub.

In South Africa, Vietnamese diplomatic officials have allegedly been involved in rhino horn buying and smuggling. Reports in Vietnam that a government official was "cured" of cancer by rhino horn appear to have spurred Asian demand.

Many fear that the Asian market is so ancient and entrenched, there's not much a small group of farmers can do to save the species. Some support the idea of rhino farming -- regularly pruning horns, which grow back -- to meet the demand and drive down prices. Others argue that legalizing the trade would only fuel demand, putting the creatures at even more risk....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deteriorating Human Rights

from SWRadioAfrica:

The president of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), Michael Sommer, was speaking to journalists at the end of a four-day visit to Zimbabwe over the weekend. During his visit Sommer met with trade union leaders, workers and also with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now being urged to ensure that the government respects trade unionism in Zimbabwe.
“I’m deeply concerned that the situation has shown significant deterioration over the past few weeks,” Sommer said.

Sommer’s comments come after the entire leadership of the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) went underground last month amid concerns for their safety. The union had faced increased threats and harassment by officials from the Joint Operations Command (JOC), and a number of police raids on the union’s offices in Harare. The raids have been in response to the release of a shock report and documentary last year, exposing the violent abuse of workers on farms seized by the Robert Mugabe regime. ....

Zuma to visit Zimbabwe

from AFP:

Zuma will make a three-day trip to Zimbabwe on Tuesday to "facilitate the removal of obstacles which hinder the full implementation" of the power-sharing agreement, his office said in a statement....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

IMF tells Zambia: Embrace China

the Times of Zambia via AllAfrica:

IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said during the 'Africa Economic Transformation' discussion with civil society organisations, students and the youth that Zambia and the rest of Africa should accept investment and assistance from China, currently regarded as one of the biggest economies.

"Loans by international institutions and even the IMF to other countries are welcome. One big country, China is willing to provide resources to Africa. Do you think this investment from China is welcome? In my opinion I think that this investment from China is welcome" Mr Strauss -Kahn said.


yes, but remember:
China will bribe your politicians (in the Philippines, a broadband contract from China was dropped after a whistle blower became upset that the kickback amount was 40 percent instead of the usual 20 percent).

China will buy your assets. Here, there is a suspicion that they bought (bribed) the government to allow them to take over the Spratlys islands, where our fishermen fish, and which is rich in natural gas...

And remember, Chinese are racists...there is a low grade animosity between those of Chinese heritage and full blood Filipinos...they tend to look on other Asian, including their own minority groups and SEAsians as less civilized, whites as inferior, and blacks as subhuman....unlike here in the Philippines, one doubts they will intermarry (under Filipino law, foreigners can't own land or businesses, so the Chinese married Filipino women and put all the businesses in their wives' names).

Finally, remember that China will use your country to dump it's cheap goods on you...destroying your own indigenous in the Philippines, many of our clothing/shoe and even agricultural small businesses are going under because it is cheaper to import from China, whose wages are lower than here and whose currency is artificially kept low to enable them to under price other countries.

Politically motivated violence hits Mudzi

from SWRadioAfrica:

....A statement from the MDC’s welfare department said: “Phone call received at 5 am today from a very distraught MDC district official from Mudzi North, Chimkoko village, to report that Zanu PF thugs were raiding the homes of MDC supporters and taking their livestock - goats, cattle and chickens and threatening to come back and ‘fight you, because you want to support the new Constitution’.”

“If the MDC people attempt to protect themselves or their property by fighting back, then conveniently the forces will be sent in to arrest the "perpetrators", who will without doubt be the MDC. This has been the states modus operandi since the first land invasions on commercial farms in 2000. Every report made to Police either resulted in the complainant becoming the accused, or the response was ‘we cannot get involved, it is political’.”...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

An Early Election?

From the UK Economist

...Talks to encourage Mr Mugabe to implement fully the power-sharing agreement he signed 18 months ago under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a 15-country regional grouping, have foundered....

Since the unity government was set up a year ago, Mr Mugabe has treated Mr Tsvangirai and his party with contempt. The violation of human rights, the persecution of MDC campaigners, the invasion of white-owned farms and disregard for the rule of law—all supposed to have been dealt with under the pact—have continued unabated. Now, as if to underline Mr Tsvangirai’s impotence, Mr Mugabe has unilaterally stripped several MDC ministers of their powers, transferring them to ZANU-PF ministers.

Likewise, without consulting his prime minister, he has recently issued new “indigenisation” rules, requiring at least half of any company worth over $500,000 that is owned by whites or foreigners to be owned by black Zimbabweans. Whites are also to be banned from running certain smaller businesses, such as estate agents, hairdressers and advertising agencies. Violators face up to five years in jail. Though Mr Tsvangirai has pronounced the new law “null and void”, some legal people say there is little he can do to block it.

The Zimbabwe stock exchange, where shares had been rising fast in the past year, slumped on the news....

The dirty little secret is that rhetoric against capitalism is easy, but if you want people to invest their money into the country, they have to be sure they won't lose it to corruption...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jestina Mukoko wins award

from Amnesty International

Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic, Shadi Sadr of Iran and Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe received the prestigious award that recognizes the work of courageous women who actively advocate for social justice, equality and human rights around the world. Amnesty International congratulates them and all of the other awardees and welcomes the Secretary of State's leadership role and continuous support for women's rights....

Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker

Amnesty International Public Statement

March 10, 2010
Human Rights Defenders Receive the International Women of Courage Award

Three women, whose courageous efforts to defend human rights were highlighted by Amnesty International, were honored today by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the annual International Women of Courage Award Ceremony.

Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic, Shadi Sadr of Iran and Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe received the prestigious award that recognizes the work of courageous women who actively advocate for social justice, equality and human rights around the world. Amnesty International congratulates them and all of the other awardees and welcomes the Secretary of State's leadership role and continuous support for women's rights.

Ms. Sonia Pierre is the founder of the Movement of Dominican-Haitian Women which seeks to increase benefits and protections of human rights for the people of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Ms. Pierre played a pivotal role in the struggle for equality for all and the prohibition of racial discrimination in access to nationality and citizenship by highlighting the rising racial tension against the Haitian migration workers and Dominican nationals of Haitian descent. Amnesty International highlighted threats made against Ms. Pierre apparently in response to her human rights activism and urged the Dominican government to protect the rights of human rights defenders like Ms. Pierre.

Ms. Shadi Sadr is a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience and women's rights champion and leader of the Stop Stoning Forever campaign. In 2009, after Ms. Sadr was abducted in Iran, Amnesty International called for her immediate and unconditional release, and secured global support that ultimately led to her release one month later.

Ms. Jestina Mukoko is the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), an NGO that monitors human rights abuses throughout the country. In December 2008, she and her fellow human rights advocates were abducted from home by armed state security agents. Amnesty International called for the unconditional and immediate release of Ms. Mukoko.

measles in Zimbabwe

from Fides News agency

Harare (Agenzia Fides) – An outbreak of measles has hit 28 of the 62 districts of Zimbabwe and is still spreading. Efforts to vaccinate people are hampered by local religious beliefs. According to the latest Epidemiological Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO), since the beginning of the epidemic in October 2009, there have been about 1,200 suspected cases, 221 confirmed and 50 resulting in death. UNICEF, together with other organizations involved in the health sector, has undertaken an intensive vaccination program. The campaign aims at all children ages 6 months to 14 years. In the eastern part of Zimbabwe, in the District of Buhera in the Manicaland Province alone, more than 25,000 children are already vaccinated. Now the organization is engaged in a door to door campaign, to highlight the importance of vaccination of children, although the strategy also finds resistance among those who refuse the vaccine because of religious beliefs.
The epidemic of measles has also struck a group of families belonging to the "Johanne Marange Apostolic Church" in the area of Nzvimbe, about 70 km from the city of Mutare, on the border with Mozambique. The elders of the church do not allow the vaccination nor allow their followers to receive medical treatment, and prefer to sprinkle holy water on the patients as a remedy. The report says that 30 people belonging to religious groups, mostly children, died from measles, although the number could be higher, due to the practice of Vapostori, “quick burials.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Liyana wins Oscar

The Film "Music by Prudence", the story of a musician who found her voice at the King George VI school in Bulawayo, won an oscar for a short film.

Video of the group:

the trailer and film is not yet on line, since it will be played on HBO in May.

Monday, March 08, 2010

If elections, Tsvangirai calls for peacekeeping force

from the Zim Mail:

summary: They are worried about a repeat of the violence since there are signs that Mugabe is starting to send his stooges out to terrorize people again.

PM narrowly escapes car accident

from SWRadioAfrica

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai narrowly escaped a potentially serious car accident, when a tyre burst on his recently issued government vehicle two weeks ago. Tsvangirai had gone to assess the food security issue in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces. The Prime Minister’s office says preliminary investigations showed the Toyota Land Cruiser had multiple faults, even though it was supposed to have been new.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Botswana film: Lady's detective agency

awhile back I noted that they were filming the best selling book the Lady's number one detective agency....but I never found out more.

Now I find it was shown on HBO (We get HBO Asia, but don't get to see a lot of their series shows: either they don't show them, or they are on late at night when I don't watch TV).

But anyway, here is a video that HBO put on youtube about Botswana:

makes me sad...Zimbabwe could have been another South Africa or Botswana, a multiracial country that works, except for Mugabe's greed.

Complaints against prosecuting Union members

from the VOA;

In a strongly-worded letter to President Robert Mugabe, the Botswana-based Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council urged him to instruct his supporters and the Zimbabwean police and security services to refrain from targeting trade union leaders and any other Zimbabwean citizens.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

African Poverty is Falling

From MarginalREvolutionBlog:

A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

The conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong. Using the methodology of Pinkovskiy and Sala-i-Martin (2009), we estimate income distributions, poverty rates, and inequality and welfare indices for African countries for the period 1970-2006. We show that: (1) African poverty is falling and is falling rapidly; (2) if present trends continue, the poverty Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people with incomes less than one dollar a day will be achieved on time; (3) the growth spurt that began in 1995 decreased African income inequality instead of increasing it; (4) African poverty reduction is remarkably general: it cannot be explained by a large country, or even by a single set of countries possessing some beneficial geographical or historical characteristic. All classes of countries, including those with disadvantageous geography and history, experience reductions in poverty. In particular, poverty fell for both landlocked as well as coastal countries; for mineral-rich as well as mineral-poor countries; for countries with favorable or with unfavorable agriculture; for countries regardless of colonial origin; and for countries with below- or above-median slave exports per capita during the African slave trade....

This paper is available as PDF (452 K) or via email.

BBC looks at Zim's forgotten children

at link, a film about Zim's street children by Xoliswa Sithole

Firms face Zim ownership law

from AlJazeerah:

Companies in Zimbabwe have hit a government-imposed deadline to show how they intend to transfer 51 per cent of their ownership to black Zimbabweans....David Monyae, a South Africa-based political analyst, told Al Jazeera that the law itself was not controversial, but that "the key issue is how you go about doing it".

"The entire concept of 'indigenisation' is nothing new or unique to Zimbabwe. Here in South Africa we have BEE - [Black] Economic Empowerment - and in other areas in western Africa and the like you have what you call 'localisation'," he said.

"I think it's aimed at spreading the wealth, to ensure that wealth creation in Zimbabwe is shared by a much wider base. But ... the policy has to be written in consultation with all stakeholders in Zimbabwe, and ensure that it advances the economic growth of the country before [the] rush for redistribution."

In the US, when my uncle died of cancer, his wife ran the firm for years during a time when women running and owning businesses was rare.

Later, she transferred ownership and running the business to her son; alas, at this point, the government started "affirmative action".

First, firms owned by "minorities" started getting their business, even though she was a woman and women running businesses were rare.

Then after her son took over, they included women in affirmative again they lost contracts.

The irony? These competitors were run by their owners, white men, but on paper, they were "owned" and "run" by a front man who was a minority, but who didn't do any of the work.

Same thing will happen here.

There are plenty of black Zimbabweans who could run these businesses, but I suspect most of them have fled the what will happen is that Mugabe's cronies will "take over" and get rich on the spoils, instead of trying to run the businesses for the benefit of the country.

the result? Ruined businesses, outsiders unwilling to invest money, and no long term economic benefit.

blog note

With "rolling brownouts" here in the Philippines, I might be missing daily posts.

(Usually I post email and then to my personal the time I get around to this blog, I've lost the connection).

I apologize...

I usually try to read a dozen stories before posting, so I don't just get links in one subject... so I will try to post earlier in the day, but it might mean a more superficial blog.
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