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...
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