Saturday, July 05, 2008


This link is to re-balance the enormously onesided media reporting on the Zimabwean situation. As you may have noticed, the ZANU-PF side of the argument is never heard during the relentless onslaught against the economy and people of Zimbabwe. This alone should be enough to get 'journalists' at the BBC, CNN, and other mainstream media outlets fired, but it isn't. The shenanigans that pass for news are nothing short of propaganda.

From: Unusual Sources:

Stephen Gowans Interview On Zimbabwe

A very interesting backgrounder and overview of the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.

From the Lyndon Larouche network:

Interview: Zimbabwean Ambassador To The US On Zimbabwe History and Politics

Interview: Zimbabwe Ambassador

For information on the British destablization efforts against africa visit:

Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Machivenyika Mapuranga,was the featured guest on the LaRouche Show Saturday, April 12.

In dialogue with EIR's Lawrence Freeman and Portia Tarumbwa Strid, Ambassador Mapuranga provided the historical backdrop to the current British power play in Zimbabwe. Freeman reminded the audience that this is one of many British power plays and destabilizations around the globe today, as the Brits attempt to ensure their hold on power, now that their financial system has collapsed. Ambassador Mapuranga explained that the current delay in finalizing the presidential vote count in Zimbabwe is the result of numerous discrepancies between the results posted publicly at the 8,000 polling places, and the tally sheets sent to Harare.

He also referred to the tension created in the country by opposition leader and British tool Morgan Tsvangirai, who claims to have won the presidency -- without need for a runoff -- with 50.3% of the vote.

His 50.3% is his unsupported claim, but {even if it were true}, 51% is needed to avoid a runoff, under the Constitution. Tsvangirai is steered and paid for by the British. This is no secret, Mapuranga said: The three major British parties -- Conservative, Labour, and Liberal -- vie with each other in the size of their contributions to the relevant conduit, the Westminster Foundation, whose website anyone can visit. In 2007, a State Department report said point blank that the U.S. is supporting Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Before independence in 1980, Ambassador Mapuranga explained, Zimbabwe -- or Southern Rhodesia as it then was -- was one of the five British imperial "white man's countries" in the common parlance of British official correspondence preserved in the Public Record Office [now renamed the National Archives]. Those five were Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and Southern Rhodesia. The plan was to increase the white populations of the latter two until they outnumbered the Africans. In Southern Rhodesia, the ratio went from 1:17,000 in the 1890s when the British first conquered the country, to 1:13 in 1961, at the peak. The Brits took the best lands and herded the African majority into "Native Reserves" of only 25% of the territory. "That's why we had to fight a 14-year war of independence, from 1966-1979," and why the British {still} think they own the place. What especially worries the British is the Zimbabwe government's return of land from European settlers to Africans, and that South Africa and Namibia have begun to follow Zimbabwe's lead, even if only on a small scale so far. Sanctions began after the start of the land redistribution program in 2000. But the standard British and State Department line is, "What sanctions? We only have `targetted sanctions' against the funds and travel of government leaders," which is a total lie. For example, the British-inspired U.S. Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 instructed all U.S. members of international financial institutions to oppose and vote against any loans, credits, or guarantees for Zimbabwe. In 2004, Prime Minister Tony Blair said publicly, "Our policy toward Zimbabwe is regime change." Did he propose to do that with nothing more than "targetted sanctions" and support for Tsvangirai? Another deception, according to Portia Tarumbwa Strid, is the claim that the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy is not the result of the economic vise-grip (which of course, doesn't exist!), but rather because Africans don't know how to farm. She pointed out that the big white-owned farms were operated and managed by Africans! The white cash-crop policies were the problem. What Zimbabwe needs is water management systems, other infrastructure, nuclear power, and nuclear irradiation to prevent crop spoilage. Other African leaders support Mugabe, Ambassador Mapuranga said, because they know that if the Brits get control of Zimbabwe, their countries will be next. That applies with special force to South Africa. There is a new determination of African people to take their destiny into their own hands, Portia Tarumbwa Strid emphasized, but they are being obstructed by the British and their allies.

Labels: , ,


Sanctions against Zimbabwe

Sanctions against Zimbabwe
By Editor
Saturday July 05, 2008 [04:00]

IT is interesting to note that countries that consistently opposed sanctions against the racist white minority regime in Rhodesia are the ones today in the forefront of calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe. It is also the same countries that used to consistently oppose sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Their common argument those days used to be that sanctions are counterproductive and will end up just hurting the same people they are intended to serve.

And these are the same countries that opposed almost every progressive United Nations resolution on Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa. They opposed every attempt at the United Nations to isolate these racist regimes.

Why are they now calling for sanctions? Why are they today initiating all sorts of resolutions to isolate Zimbabwe? Is it because they have a new awakening, a new realisation, or a higher sense of justice has entered their hearts? Or is it simply a question of racism and double standards?

Is it because ZANU-PF, the party in power, is one of blacks while the opposition MDC which they are openly supporting and financing is a party where white people have more influence and are found in large numbers and can be said to be a party of the white Rhodesians whom they supported and defended before independence? Or is it just an issue of double standards that they have always practised?

Anyway, they always have puppets they can use. During the Smith regime, they used Abel Muzorewa in an alliance with the white minority regime. Today they have new Muzorewas to defend racist and imperialist interest in Zimbabwe.

It is also interesting to note that while they are asking the Zimbabwean government to allow Non-Governmental-Organisations to distribute relief food and other things, they are calling on their trans-national corporations to cease operations in that country or to stop doing business with Zimbabwe.

If the trans-national corporations were to pull out, this will certainly create additional hardships on the workers and the people of Zimbabwe in general.

Isn’t this a contradiction? In one breadth they want to save life and in another, they are taking measures that appear to be aimed at endangering or destroying it!

We do appreciate the fact that the leading European countries and the United States have for the last 10 years or so been demanding and pushing for a regime change in Zimbabwe. And they have done everything possible to see to it that this happens at any cost.

It is true that a lot of pressure has been put on African leaders to do for them what they would like done in Zimbabwe. And Africa has never been short of mercenaries, of leaders who can hire themselves out in the Muzorewa way, Kamuzu way, Mobutu way, Savimbi way and even in the Buthelezi way.

Let us not forget that during the liberation struggles in our region, leaders of this nature were the friends of these people, they courted them and praised them day and night as being progressive in their thinking and outlook. They never denounced their crimes.

And our leaders of that time were very intelligent individuals who never allowed imperialism to divide them. Nyerere, Kaunda, Masire and others never went around denouncing Kamuzu, Mobutu when they had every justifiable reason to do so. They had their own way of dealing with these issues and triumphed in their cause.

Today we have, among our leaders, individuals that feel so elated by western politicians and their media, praising them for hiring themselves out to imperialism and its schemes.

Before the last African Union Summit in Egypt, the United States, Britain and other European countries put immense pressure on African countries to denounce, isolate and expel Zimbabwe from the AU.

This failed. Instead of suspending or expelling Zimbabwe, the AU called for a government of national unity in that country.
This is a commendable resolution because every political formation should be aimed at producing maximum unity in the country.

Zimbabwe needs unity to be able to tackle the many challenges its people are facing today. But imperialism has never been a promoter of unity. It thrives on the old tactic of divide and rule.

Imperialism has divided the Arabs and today they are not able to do much with their billions of dollars earned from oil because of fragmentation and lack of unity. They are made to spend immense financial resources and energies on fighting each other.

Imperialism is fermenting divisions everywhere - in Serbia and Kosovo, the Russian Federation, in China, in Bolivia, and so on and so forth.

Some of the people being used by imperialism have no shame. Anyway, imperialism can only use shameless elements because people with shame, integrity, dignity and pride can never hire themselves from imperialism.

For instance, how can Raila Odinga talk about expelling Zimbabwe from the AU when his own very hands are dripping with blood? The number of people who died in Kenya under the protest led by his political party after that country’s contravesial elections is far more than those that have died in Zimbabwe in political violence since independence in 1980. Probably this is the way for Odinga to cleanse himself of the crimes of his party and supporters.

This is not to say political violence should be tolerated in any part of our continent. We saw the damage political violence causes to human beings in the 1990s in South Africa’s Kwazulu Natal, in Angola and Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt and many other countries on our continent.

No politics, ideology or even religion can justify such crimes. But we have to find solutions to these evils in a way that leaves our people more united than more divided.

The South Africans have shown us how to deal with political violence in the way they dealt with Kwazulu Natal and other parts of that country that had embraced a culture of violence. And probably this is what makes South African President Thabo Mbeki such a competent and able negotiator in the Zimbabwean political crisis.

The unity of our peoples and our countries is absolutely necessary. The problems being faced by Zimbabwe are in some way - albeit to a much lesser degree - common to most of our countries, regardless of political concepts, systems of government, philosophical convictions and religious beliefs. And we should all learn from it because the bells tolling on Zimbabwe may tomorrow toll on us.

The approach to these vital questions affecting us and the solutions we seek can and should be shared.

We should rise above local controversies that sometimes turn us into enemies because of old disputes or intrigues, ambitions or the machinations of imperialism. Generally speaking, all are the product of domination and colonial control that subjugated us for centuries. The abolition of violent conflicts among our peoples and between our countries should be a basic law of our states and an integral part of our struggle for universal peace.

We should struggle tenaciously to promote the closest possible unity among our countries. We must not allow anybody or anything to divide us.

We must use political formulas and negotiations to solve those problems which make us occasionally oppose each other. Let us form an indestructible battle line of peoples to demand recognition for our noble aspirations, our legitimate interests and our inalienable right to survive, both as African countries and as an inseparable part of mankind.

We have never been characterised by resigned submission or defeatism in the face of difficulties.

We have confronted complex, difficult situations over the past with unity, firmness and determination. Together we have striven and struggled and together, we have scored victories. In this same spirit and with this same determination, we must be ready to wage the most colossal, legitimate, worthy and necessary battle for our people’s lives and future.

And in dealing with the problems facing our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, let’s use our own criteria, our own formula and not that dictated to us by imperialism. Let’s learn to see things with our own eyes; let’s learn to analyse things for ourselves and draw our own conclusions.

The call for sanctions against Zimbabwe should be opposed vigorously by all Africans. Imperialist formulas don’t work - they have failed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Latin America and Asia. Let us not deceive ourselves that they will work here. Only formulas that unite people will work here; imperialist methods divide people and they won’t work here.



German firm cuts supply of banknote paper to Zim

German firm cuts supply of banknote paper to Zim
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Saturday July 05, 2008 [04:01]

THE German company that has been supplying Zimbabwe with banknote paper has with immediate effect cut supply to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). This was after pressure piled on Giesecke & Devrient company from the German government as well as activist groups over the past few weeks to stop delivering money to the Zimbabwean regime as part of European Union (EU) sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Last week, German chancellor Angela Merkel urged the international community to take a firmer stance against President Robert Mugabe and asked the company to stop supplying Zimbabwe with money paper.

Resultantly, Germany’s development minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, wrote to the firm asking it to immediately stop the shipments of paper to Zimbabwe because the paper money supplied was used to prop up the Zimbabwean regime.

But RBZ governor, Dr Gideon Gono, said the move would not affect the smooth flow of business. Giesecke & Devrient has been supplying banknote paper to Zimbabwe but the mounting political tension between the southern African country and the EU forced the German government to ask the company to stop supplying the paper.

The company has been supplying blank paper money with security features to Fidelity Printers, a Zimbabwean company that prints the Zimbabwean bank notes on behalf of the Central Bank at its printing presses just outside Harare.

“The Management Board of Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Munich, today decided to cease delivering banknote paper to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with immediate effect,” a statement posted on the company website reads.

“The company has taken this step in response to an official request from the German government and calls for international sanctions by the European Union and United Nations.”

The statement, signed by the company’s chairman, Dr Karsten Ottenberg, indicated the company’s decision was a reaction to the political tension in Zimbabwe, which was mounting significantly rather than easing as expected.

It said the company took account of the critical evaluation by the international community, German government and general public to arrive at its decision.

“In delivering banknotes and banknote paper, Giesecke & Devrient is subject to strict rules defined by the World Bank. The company continues to rely on the political and moral assessment provided by international trade regulators,” the statement reads.
But the RBZ said Giesecke & Devrient’s move would not affect the smooth flow of business as “proactive and appropriate measures and strategies” had already been put in place once it became clear from international sources that this was the direction banknote paper suppliers were likely to be forced to go.

“Following the widely publicised termination of banknote paper supplies to Fidelity Printers (Pvt) Ltd, by Giesecke & Devrient of Germany, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe wishes to advise and assure the nation that this development will not disrupt the smooth flow of business,” Dr Gono said.

He said Giesecke & Devrient had been suppliers of banknote paper to Fidelity Printers for the last 40 years.

“To this end, therefore, the banking and transacting public should go about their business in the usual manner, as the above-mentioned development will not have any impact to the economy,” he said.

However, Dr Gono did not mention the alternative course of action the Central Bank would take.

The move comes in the midst of another shortage of cash that has hit the financial market.

The shortage has been caused by the fast depreciation of the Zimbabwean dollar as well as hyperinflation estimated at over two million per cent, which has been forcing the Central Bank to print more banknotes.

Labels: ,


- RETROSPECTIVE - The Genocide That Wasn't

Opposition warns of genocide in Zimbabwe
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Zimbabwe Republic Police

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- A senior opposition leader accused Zimbabwe's ruling party Tuesday of unleashing an "orgy of violence" across the country in the wake of a disputed presidential election. Tendai Biti, the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) secretary general, told CNN that two of his party's supporters had been killed and more than 200 injured. He blamed youth militias from the party of President Robert Mugabe and said they were roaming the country burning homes and killing livestock.

Government spokesman Bright Matonga said the only violence in Zimbabwe was by the opposition MDC party, which he said had "sent their youth to burn down property."

The claims of violence from both sides came after police said they were fanning across the country Tuesday morning, following the MDC's call for a general strike to protest Zimbabwe's presidential election stalemate.

Biti said he worried about a "Rwanda-size massacre" without international intervention. He said his party may send a delegation to the United Nations to plead for help, but he said the lack of international action so far had been embarrassing.

"It's the kind of inaction that gave rise to over a million people dead in July of 1994 in Rwanda," Biti said. "I guess they are again waiting for graves in Zimbabwe before they start responding."

An election stalemate began more than two weeks ago, as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission repeatedly postponed announcing results of the March 29 presidential vote.

MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai declared victory over Mugabe based on vote counts posted on the precinct level, but Mugabe's government has declined to release results from the presidential contest.

Several trips to Zimbabwe's High Court have failed to resolve the impasse legally. Biti -- who spoke to CNN in Johannesburg, South Africa -- said the MDC would not resort to violence, but that the party could not control the hungry and frustrated people of Zimbabwe.

Sound Off: Have your say on the situation in Zimbabwe "This is a population that is angry," Biti said. "There is no food in the country, no meal, no rice, no gas." Don't Miss

Matonga, the government spokesman, said opposition leaders should be "more mature" and accept that they have lost all legal challenges after 25 trips to court in the past two weeks.

He suggested the MDC could talk through their differences peacefully with the ruling ZANU-PF party leaders to find "a common way out of this crisis."

Tsvangirai would consider participating in a presidential runoff only if a tally verified by both parties and regional monitors showed no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote, a spokesman told The Associated Press on Tuesday, and the international community would have to administer the election.

"The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission clearly has no capacity to run any credible election," spokesman George Sibotshiwe said.

Matonga dismissed such a move, AP reported. "We don't need outsiders. We can do it ourselves," he said.

Also Tuesday, police briefly detained the head of an independent election monitoring group shortly after she arrived at Harare International Airport, the group's chairman told CNN.

Police questioned Rindai Chipfunde-Vava about her Zimbabwe Election Support Network and its links to the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute, the network's chairman Noel Kututwa said.

Chipfunde-Vava, ZESN's national director and founder, was detained shortly after arriving in Harare from London, and was released a short time later, Kututwa said.

Meanwhile, the effect of the MDC's strike may be hard to measure since Zimbabwe is a country where 80 percent of people are unemployed.

AP reported that the strike has had little impact in a nation where impoverished workers have resisted previous such calls. The government's control of the media has also made it difficult for the MDC to spread its message, AP said.

The strike was called by opposition leaders after the nation's High Court ruled that it would not force the troubled African country's electoral commission to release the results of the March 29 presidential vote.

The MDC had been hoping that the court would act to end more than two weeks of election deadlock, having accused Mugabe of holding back the release of the results.

The ruling was a rejection of a petition filed on April 4 by the MDC, which has claimed victory for Tsvangirai in lieu of any official results.

The MDC plans to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court, Biti told CNN.

Mugabe, 84, is the only ruler Zimbabwe has had since British rule of the former Rhodesia came to end in 1980. He has been re-elected several times, often either running unopposed or in elections that prompted charges of fraud and state-sponsored terrorism against opponents. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend




Friday, July 04, 2008

(LUSAKA TIMES) Mugabe Warns Neighbours thinking of Invading ZIM

Mugabe Warns Neighbours thinking of Invading ZIM
Posted on July 4th, 2008

President Robert Mugabe has warned countries that wanted to court war with Zimbabwe saying the country was ready for such a challenge. ‘We do not want war with any of our neighbours, ‘he said. ‘But if there are some who are itching for a fight, let them try it. They will taste the salt of the fight,’ he said.

He stressed Zimbabwe has and will never be aggressive with anyone adding the country was instead ready to support other countries that were under attack as in the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that saw Zimbabwean soldiers go and help the country defend itself against invaders.

New Ziana reports that President Mugabe was speaking when he addressed thousands of Zanu-PF supporters who thronged the Harare International Airport to welcome him on his arrivals from the just ended African Union Summit in Egypt.

President Mugabe has also set new conditions for engaging in talks with the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) .

The conditions are that the opposition and its western allies accept the outcome of the June 27 presidential run-off, which the ruling party won and the removal of illegal sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe..

President Mugabe said the issue of the land was also a key factor to the talks as the reforms were not reversible.

He said it was only the people of Zimbabwe who cast their vote last Friday and not Britain or America that had the power to tell him how to run the country.

‘I am the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe,’ Mugabe said,
If we agree on that and accept the June 27 vote then we can enter into dialogue and move forward together to rebuild our beloved country,’ President Mugabe.

‘This is a reality that everyone has to accept first before anyone can begin a dialogue with us. We are open to dialogue,’ he added.

Mugabe’s comments comes after Britain and America urged the international community to recognise the March 29 elections and not the June 27 run-off results, which Zanu-PF won.

‘We stand by our people, and we listen to our people,’ President Mugabe said.

He said the June 27 will never and never be rejected by anyone adding that it is only Zimbabweans and not Britain or America who can decide who shall lead Zimbabwe.

‘If it calls on us to defend our country again,’ he said, ‘we are prepared to suffer and to die for it again,’ he said.

He said the votes had total meaning on who should rule Zimbabwe and also a rejection of western influence.

President Mugabe said the western world can go ahead and tighten its sanctions on the country but Zimbabwe had vast resources to feed its people.

He said the government was also committed to assisting its people to address the socio-economic challenges facing the country.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe has urged British Prime Minister Godwin Brown to withdraw from Zimbabwe all British companies as the country could do without them.

‘Please Mr Brown withdraw all your companies from Zimbabwe,’ President Mugabe said.

‘The sooner you do that the better,’ he added.

He said the government had since identified such companies for a takeover, since they were working with western forces to destabilise the country and force its people to turn against the government.

The companies, President Mugabe said, were increasing prices without justification, threatening the peace that is prevailing in the country.
‘We have identified these companies. We shall be sitting down with them and reading the riot act,’ he said.

In the meantime, President Mugabe said the government would continue with people’s shop programme to ensure its citizen had access to cheap and affordable food.

More buses would also be given to the people to address transport woes while assistance to small to medium enterprises would continue.

‘We are now working at ensuring that we deliver all the promises we made during our campaigns,’ he said.

President Mugabe also paid tribute to Zimbabweans for voting peacefully during the just ended run-off.

He said areas such as Harare had come back home after discovering that the MDC had nothing much to offer.

‘We also thank South Africa President Thabo Mbeki for the role he has played towards the development of Zimbabwe,’ Mugabe said.

He said Mbeki’s role had brought a number of positive developments to Zimbabwe such as the talks between Zanu-PF and MDC.

President Mugabe said those who were calling for Mbeki to be replaced as the negotiating leader in the country were misguided as the South Africa leader had done much for Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe also briefed supporters on what transpired at the AU Summit, saying the meeting was successfully held.

Senior government officials, the diplomatic community and services chiefs welcomed Mugabe on his arrival.

The first lady Grace Mugabe and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa were among the delegates that accompanied the President to the Summit.


Labels: , , , , , ,


(TALKZIMBABWE) Are MDC claims getting ridiculous?

Are MDC claims getting ridiculous?
Greta Mutengani―Opinion
Fri, 04 Jul 2008 13:21:00 +0000

DEAR EDITOR―I heard yesterday that 200 people were seeking refuge at the United States embassy in Harare. I do not deny the fact that these people are victims of violence and intimidation and that they probably feel safer at the embassy. I am however, concerned that there might be a ‘third hand’ that is taking advantage of the suffering opf these people to pursue their hidden agenda. I am concerned to know where all these people came from and how they got to the U.S. embassy.

I think the antics of those seeking to discredit the government of Zimbabwe have now become all too desperate now. Was there a bus that got these people to the U.S. embassy? Are they all related? When and where did they meet to decide to go to the U.S. embassy? Are they a different bunch of people from those who went to the South African embassy? Is it a coincidence that MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai used that same tactic last week?

Why is the Zimbabwean Independent newspaper and The Zimbabwean newspaper are reporting 300 and the other news organisations (Independent, UK, etc) are reporting 200? SW Radio Africa and is reporting 250. These are huge margins. Last week we heard that 300 were seeking refuge at the South African embassy after walking from the Harare Park.

Why are the numbers almost similar? Is it because whoever is busing them is using the same vehicle(s)? If they were seeking sanctuary at the MDC headquarters how come they ended up at the Harare Park? Who escorted them to the South African embassy in Belgravia? How did the latest group end up on Herbert Chitepo Avenue (where the U.S. Embassy is)?

Surely, you cannot make us believe that these people know where these embassies are? And how do you mobilise 300, 250, 200 people to go outside an embassy?

Why do we not hear more about these victims? Where they are coming from, how they are coming to Harare, and who is escorting them to the MDC headquarters?

These questions remain unanswered by the porous media reports we get and these stories are getting ridiculous.

U.S. Ambassador James McGee said the group was from the opposition headquarters in Harare, which had become a refuge. I thought that was the same place were another 300 was taken away from three weeks ago and resettled at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre. So how many people exactly are at the MDC headquarters? Is it hygienic there?

Why did these people leave the MDC headquarters where they are apparently being fed and housed?

Paul Engelstad, Public Affairs Officer at the US embassy said: "There are around 300 people here, a lot of children, a lot of mothers with children and as we understand it there was a raid on MDC Harvest House, MDC's headquarters and these people have no place to go."

When was that raid? The last raid we heard was two weeks ago when these women and children were taken to Ruwa Rehabilitation Center? Can someone shed some light on what exactly is transpiring here?

I think the MDC-T leadership needs to grow up and realize that this battle will not be won by these now ridiculous antics.

I feel saddened to see these obvious rural folk being used as a pawn in Tsvangirai bid for power. This latest move will not work and it serves to discredit the MDC-T leader’s ability to think strategically about the way forward in Zimbabwe.

I urge him to change his ‘cry-baby’ tactics. These tactics will soon not work with the international media that is obviously very thirsty for any story coming out of Zimbabwe.

Some of us outside the country have begun to question his leadership skills and these attention-seeking moves that take advantage of the weak and vulnerable are counter-productive now.

Tsvangirai should seek to talk to Zanu PF like his friend Raila Odinga did with President Mwai Kibaki not abuse our parents and children. In a nutshell, he should just simply grow up.

He has to realise that no amount of international pressure will remove President Mugabe, and he has wake up to that reality before he wastes too much time. His arrogance will not take him anywhere.

He will start losing his supporters by his sheer disregard for the dignity of these vulnerable women and children.

The MDC-T party should know that reports in the media could make them or break them. They seem to be breaking them now. Last week Tsvangirai had to retract a story he apparently wrote for the UK Guardian calling for armed action on Zimbabwe. We never heard about that story afterwards. Who wrote that story? And why is it that his backers are using the same line of argument―calling for armed action?

Greta Mutengani

Living in Spanish Town, Jamaica

Labels: , ,


Interview: Zimbabwean Ambassador To The US On Zimbabwe History and Politics

Interview: Zimbabwe Ambassador

For information on the British destablization efforts against africa visit:

Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Machivenyika Mapuranga,was the featured guest on the LaRouche Show Saturday, April 12.

In dialogue with EIR's Lawrence Freeman and Portia Tarumbwa Strid, Ambassador Mapuranga provided the historical backdrop to the current British power play in Zimbabwe. Freeman reminded the audience that this is one of many British power plays and destabilizations around the globe today, as the Brits attempt to ensure their hold on power, now that their financial system has collapsed. Ambassador Mapuranga explained that the current delay in finalizing the presidential vote count in Zimbabwe is the result of numerous discrepancies between the results posted publicly at the 8,000 polling places, and the tally sheets sent to Harare.

He also referred to the tension created in the country by opposition leader and British tool Morgan Tsvangirai, who claims to have won the presidency -- without need for a runoff -- with 50.3% of the vote.

His 50.3% is his unsupported claim, but {even if it were true}, 51% is needed to avoid a runoff, under the Constitution. Tsvangirai is steered and paid for by the British. This is no secret, Mapuranga said: The three major British parties -- Conservative, Labour, and Liberal -- vie with each other in the size of their contributions to the relevant conduit, the Westminster Foundation, whose website anyone can visit. In 2007, a State Department report said point blank that the U.S. is supporting Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Before independence in 1980, Ambassador Mapuranga explained, Zimbabwe -- or Southern Rhodesia as it then was -- was one of the five British imperial "white man's countries" in the common parlance of British official correspondence preserved in the Public Record Office [now renamed the National Archives]. Those five were Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and Southern Rhodesia. The plan was to increase the white populations of the latter two until they outnumbered the Africans. In Southern Rhodesia, the ratio went from 1:17,000 in the 1890s when the British first conquered the country, to 1:13 in 1961, at the peak. The Brits took the best lands and herded the African majority into "Native Reserves" of only 25% of the territory. "That's why we had to fight a 14-year war of independence, from 1966-1979," and why the British {still} think they own the place. What especially worries the British is the Zimbabwe government's return of land from European settlers to Africans, and that South Africa and Namibia have begun to follow Zimbabwe's lead, even if only on a small scale so far. Sanctions began after the start of the land redistribution program in 2000. But the standard British and State Department line is, "What sanctions? We only have `targetted sanctions' against the funds and travel of government leaders," which is a total lie. For example, the British-inspired U.S. Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 instructed all U.S. members of international financial institutions to oppose and vote against any loans, credits, or guarantees for Zimbabwe. In 2004, Prime Minister Tony Blair said publicly, "Our policy toward Zimbabwe is regime change." Did he propose to do that with nothing more than "targetted sanctions" and support for Tsvangirai? Another deception, according to Portia Tarumbwa Strid, is the claim that the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy is not the result of the economic vise-grip (which of course, doesn't exist!), but rather because Africans don't know how to farm. She pointed out that the big white-owned farms were operated and managed by Africans! The white cash-crop policies were the problem. What Zimbabwe needs is water management systems, other infrastructure, nuclear power, and nuclear irradiation to prevent crop spoilage. Other African leaders support Mugabe, Ambassador Mapuranga said, because they know that if the Brits get control of Zimbabwe, their countries will be next. That applies with special force to South Africa. There is a new determination of African people to take their destiny into their own hands, Portia Tarumbwa Strid emphasized, but they are being obstructed by the British and their allies.

Labels: , ,


(GUARDIAN UK) Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis

Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis
Internal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy drive
Aditya Chakrabortty The Guardian, Friday July 4, 2008

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian. The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.

Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.

"It would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House," said one yesterday.

The news comes at a critical point in the world's negotiations on biofuels policy. Leaders of the G8 industrialised countries meet next week in Hokkaido, Japan, where they will discuss the food crisis and come under intense lobbying from campaigners calling for a moratorium on the use of plant-derived fuels.

It will also put pressure on the British government, which is due to release its own report on the impact of biofuels, the Gallagher Report. The Guardian has previously reported that the British study will state that plant fuels have played a "significant" part in pushing up food prices to record levels. Although it was expected last week, the report has still not been released.

"Political leaders seem intent on suppressing and ignoring the strong evidence that biofuels are a major factor in recent food price rises," said Robert Bailey, policy adviser at Oxfam. "It is imperative that we have the full picture. While politicians concentrate on keeping industry lobbies happy, people in poor countries cannot afford enough to eat."

Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line, estimates the World Bank, and have sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt. Government ministers here have described higher food and fuel prices as "the first real economic crisis of globalisation".

President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China, but the leaked World Bank study disputes that: "Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases."

Even successive droughts in Australia, calculates the report, have had a marginal impact. Instead, it argues that the EU and US drive for biofuels has had by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices.

Since April, all petrol and diesel in Britain has had to include 2.5% from biofuels. The EU has been considering raising that target to 10% by 2020, but is faced with mounting evidence that that will only push food prices higher.

"Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate," says the report. The basket of food prices examined in the study rose by 140% between 2002 and this February. The report estimates that higher energy and fertiliser prices accounted for an increase of only 15%, while biofuels have been responsible for a 75% jump over that period.

It argues that production of biofuels has distorted food markets in three main ways. First, it has diverted grain away from food for fuel, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of biodiesel. Second, farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production. Third, it has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher.

Other reviews of the food crisis looked at it over a much longer period, or have not linked these three factors, and so arrived at smaller estimates of the impact from biofuels. But the report author, Don Mitchell, is a senior economist at the Bank and has done a detailed, month-by-month analysis of the surge in food prices, which allows much closer examination of the link between biofuels and food supply.

The report points out biofuels derived from sugarcane, which Brazil specializes in, have not had such a dramatic impact.

Supporters of biofuels argue that they are a greener alternative to relying on oil and other fossil fuels, but even that claim has been disputed by some experts, who argue that it does not apply to US production of ethanol from plants.

"It is clear that some biofuels have huge impacts on food prices," said Dr David King, the government's former chief scientific adviser, last night. "All we are doing by supporting these is subsidising higher food prices, while doing nothing to tackle climate change."

Labels: ,


Tsvangirai calls for urgent action on Zim crisis

Tsvangirai calls for urgent action on Zim crisis
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday July 04, 2008 [04:00]

THE Zimbabwean crisis requires urgent action, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said. And Tsvangirai said a government of national unity will not address the problems facing the country. Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said the current conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe were not conducive for negotiations. Addressing journalists at his Strathhaven residence on Wednesday, Tsvangirai stressed the need for immediate action on the situation in Zimbabwe.

"The crisis in Zimbabwe requires urgent action. The violence, intimidation, hunger and suffering must be addressed as soon as possible," Tsvangirai said. "Zimbabweans cannot afford any more confusion or delays. Zimbabweans can no longer afford to listen to words that are not reinforced by action."

Tsvangirai further thanked the Pan-African Parliament, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) observer missions for acknowledging the reality and pervasiveness of the violence in Zimbabwe.

He also expressed gratitude to the observers for refusing to give the June 27 election any credibility or legitimacy.

"The common conclusions of all three reports were, the violence negated the credibility of the June 27 elections, the election did not reflect the will of the people and consequently the outcome is not legitimate," Tsvangirai said. "If the African Union acknowledged their reports then we in the MDC feel that their own resolution should have been consistent with them. Unfortunately, this was not the case."
He said the MDC was concerned that the AU resolution did not adequately deal with the ongoing violence in Zimbabwe.

"Since the June 27 sham election, nine MDC supporters have been murdered, hundreds more beaten and forced to leave their homes," Tsvangirai said. "In Manicaland alone, since the weekend, five hundred MDC supporters and families have been forced to flee their homes and are now seeking refuge at the party's headquarters in Mutare. Therefore the MDC reiterates its call for peace in the country."

Tsvangirai further noted that the resolution did not recognise the illegitimacy of the recent presidential runoff elections and the fact that most African leaders refused to recognise President Mugabe as the head of state.

"Finally, the resolution endorses the concept of a government of national unity without acknowledging that the MDC, as the winner of the last credible elections on 29th March 2008, should be recognized as the legitimate government of Zimbabwe. A GNU does not address the problems facing Zimbabwe or acknowledge the will of the Zimbabwean people," Tsvangirai said. "While the MDC remains committed to negotiations these must be based on the 29th March results and must move towards a transitional agreement. Our commitment to a negotiated settlement is not about power sharing or power deals but about democracy, freedom and justice. Our struggle is not about power but about democracy."

He said the conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe today were not conducive for negotiations.

"If dialogue is to be initiated, it is essential that ZANU-PF stops the violence, halts the persecution of MDC leaders and supporters, releases all political prisoners, disbands the militia bases and torture camps and that the security services halt their partisan operations," he said.

Tsvangirai also said the MDC's reservations about the mediation process under President Thabo Mbeki were well known.

"It is our position that unless the mediation team is expanded to include at least one permanent representative from the African Union, and the mediation mechanism is changed, no meaningful progress can be made towards resolving the Zimbabwean crisis. If this does not happen then MDC will not be part of such a mediation process," said Tsvangirai.

Labels: , , ,


ZNCB to source additional funds for oil supplies

ZNCB to source additional funds for oil supplies.
By Fridah Zinyama
Tuesday July 01, 2008 [04:00]

ZAMBIA National Commercial Bank (ZNCB) will have to source for additional funds from the initial US$ 220 million to about US$ 300 million if it is to bring in the crude oil supplies. And energy permanent secretary, Peter Mumba, said negotiations between the government and ZNCB were going on smoothly.

Negotiations to finally conclude the financing of 1.4 million metric tonnes of commingled petroleum feedstock that would be supplied and delivered by the Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait over the next two years started last week.

Only the first phase has been concluded and both parties are expected to meet for the second meeting this week.

In an interview, some sources from ZNCB who sought anonymity said both parties (government & ZNCB) had met last week for just the first leg of negotiations that would determine whether ZNCB would eventually finance the procurement of the crude oil.

The sources disclosed that ZNCB might have to outsource for the additional funds to procure the crude oil from local or international financiers.

“The shortfall was basically caused by the fluctuations in crude oil on the international market,” they said. “At the time of bidding, crude oil was trading at around US$ 100 per barrel, but as of this week, oil had reached an all time high of US$ 140 per barrel.”

The sources explained that energy experts had predicted a further increment in oil prices to as high as US$ 200 per barrel.

“All these factors will have to be considered before any conclusive decision will have to be made,” they said.

Mumba however declined to give any additional information relating to the negotiating points in structuring the deal as he was not part of the negotiating team.

Last week, Mumba had said the government had decided to find independent financiers to bring crude oil into the country because it did not have adequate resources to undertake the venture.

He said the process of procurement had already commenced with the help of the PTA bank.

The government has had to act decisively over the issue of oil as it had the potential to negate all the economic gains that the country has recorded.

To this end, finance minister, Ng’andu Magande last week announced that the government had with immediate effect reduced excise duty on fuel which would result in a loss of revenue of about K127 billion.

Other governments in the region like Mozambique have had to reduce on their excise duty as well in order to safeguard their country’s economies.

Labels: ,


ZNCB seeks partner to procure crude oil

ZNCB seeks partner to procure crude oil
By Fridah Zinyama
Friday July 04, 2008 [04:00]

ZAMBIA National Commercial Bank (ZNCB) managing director Mark Weissing has said the bank will have to partner with other banks in financing of the crude oil which it is currently negotiating with the government. The bank will have to source for additional funds from the initial US$ 220 million to about US$ 300- US$ 400 million due to the constantly fluctuating oil prices on the international market.

Crude oil is currently trading at about US$ 144 per barrel, with high chances of more fluctuations before the negotiations between the bank and the government could be concluded.

During a media breakfast yesterday, Weissing said the deal that the bank had managed to win was quite substantial and would therefore require the bank to partner with Rabobank its parent company, and other banks in order to successfully carry out the deal.

“We have already been involved in the procuring process of crude oil before and we are confident that this deal will be properly handled,” he said.

Weissing said it would be necessary for the bank to form a syndicate that would ensure that they managed to finance the procurement of the crude oil that the government had managed to source from Kuwait.

And Weissing added that the bank had managed to source for more finances meant to increase the bank’s financial portfolio.

“We have managed to get about US$ 35 million from a Netherland financial company that is meant to improve the banks liquidity,” he said. “Of this amount US$ 10 million will be meant for substantial debts whilst the other will be meant for senior debts.”

Weissing added that the bank had put a lot of measures in place in order to ensure recovery of loans from its creditors.

He further added that the Initial Public Offer (IPO) would be expected to be complete in the next three months.

“We will finish working on the necessary measures to ensure that the IPO is completed by September,” he said.

Labels: , ,


Antigua PM wants Fidel honoured

Antigua PM wants Fidel honoured
By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Friday July 04, 2008 [04:00]

ANTIGUA and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has asked the Caribbean Community to bestow retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) award for his contribution to the region’s development. Prime Minister Spencer, who is also chairman of the G77 plus China (an economic and trade voice for developing countries particularly at the WTO and Doha Round), further proposed former Jamaican premier Percival J. Patterson for the OCC.

Addressing the 29th CARICOM regular meeting of the heads of government on Tuesday running until today in Dickson Bay, Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Spencer said both Castro and Patterson made great contributions to the cause of Caribbean development and that their recognition would light the path for others to follow.

“I believe that our community should say special thanks to His Excellency Dr Fidel Castro Ruz and grant him the richly deserved recognition,” said Prime Minister Spencer, who is the incoming chairman of the CARICOM. “His personal and his country’s contribution to the development of this region and to its human resources in particular is surely deserving of the highest commendation by this community and a fitting award.”
On Patterson, Prime Minister Spencer said he stood for the good cause of the CARICOM.

He said at the time he was elected into office in March 2004, he had a daunting task of organising a new administration.

Prime Minister Spencer said apart from immediately assuming the CARICOM rotating chairmanship (then), his administration further faced a constitutional mandate requiring his government to present the country’s annual budget within seven days of appointment as Prime Minister.

“Simultaneously, I was confronted with the international crisis that surrounded the controversial removal from Haiti of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,” he recalled. “In that conjuncture of circumstances, I asked Prime Minister Patterson to continue in the CARICOM chair far beyond his term which had already been extended to accommodate Antigua and Barbuda’s general election period.

Patterson's resolute and effective leadership of the regional agenda in that Haitian crisis distinguished him as a global statesman of the highest order.”

Prime Minister Spencer said CARICOM countries continued to be beacons of democracy, peace and freedom to the rest of the world.

“This comes sharply into focus as the world watches the ongoing tragedy of Zimbabwe,” he said. ”The CARICOM experience stands in stark contrast to the current Zimbabwean scenario.”

Prime Minister Spencer said over the last few years, the peoples of the region, in free and fair elections, which were free from fear, had changed their governments in a majority of member countries.

“In every such instance, there has been acceptance of the will of the electorate and every transition has been swift and smooth,” he said. “Elections in CARICOM countries will continue to be free and fair, free from fear, and held on time, with smooth, orderly transitions between outgoing and incoming governments.”

Prime Minister Spencer said a general election would take place in Grenada next week and that Antigua and Barbuda would go for polls in the first half of 2009.

“Indeed, I take this opportunity to now advise CARICOM and the Organisation of American States and the Commonwealth Secretariat to expect early invitations from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for observer teams to be ready to be early on the ground to monitor the preparations for our elections, as well as for the conduct of our elections,” he said.

And Prime Minister Spencer said CARICOM summit was taking place at a time of great challenge in the region and for the planet.

He said in the Caribbean, member countries were under growing pressure from escalating energy prices, rising food prices and increasing prices on virtually all products, rampant crime and violence, the devastating effects of climate change, the ravages of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS and the horrors of drug use, drug trafficking and human trafficking.

“Now more than ever, CARICOM is required to act as one,” he said. “There is no doubt that the external world treats us as one. No country, big or small, has the capacity to solve problems such as drug-trafficking, climate change or escalating food prices on its own.” Spencer observed that tourism in the CARICOM, which was a key contributor to the region’s economies, was under serious threat.

He said Caribbean economies were now facing a 17 per cent cutback in airline services from its tourism supply centres in the lower United States together with increases in airfares and new airline charges.
“This makes for bleak perspectives for the region’s tourism driven economies,” Prime Minister Spencer said.

On the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), he said the bloc would enhance the region’s engagement in the multilateral forum.
“To this, CARICOM needs to add a modern, open and democratic regional governance structure that brings coherence and efficiency to the administrations of the member states,” he said.

Prime Minister Spencer said the CARICOM would also address globalisation and issues of competitiveness.

He said globalisation was the single most important key-concept that marked the past decade, and its effects were all around the entire region.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Spencer said the creation of a free and fair multilateral trading system continued to elude the international community.

Labels: , ,


Kabwe explains how he acquired ZSIS properties

Kabwe explains how he acquired ZSIS properties
By Noel Sichalwe
Friday July 04, 2008 [04:00]

FORMER Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) chief executive officer Faustin Kabwe yesterday explained how he acquired about seven properties on behalf of Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS). This is a matter where former president Frederick Chiluba is separately charged with AFSL directors Kabwe and Aaron Chungu.

Chiluba is charged with theft of about US$488,000. Kabwe told Ndola High Court deputy registrar Jones Chinyama, who is sitting as trial magistrate in Lusaka, that former ZSIS director general Xavier Chungu had instructed him to purchase the property named as 26F Cheetah Road, Kabulonga and Mulungushi Service Club in Chamba Valley.

Other properties that he identified included that of plot number 5614, Lufubu Road in Kalundu, which was previously owned by Finance Bank.

Kabwe said Xavier Chungu further instructed him to purchase DGH Poly Products Limited from Poly Packers at the cost of about K800 million.

Kabwe said Xavier Chungu also instructed AFSL to purchase Avalon Motors, which was later renamed as Motor City at the cost of about K1 billion.

He further named two properties, one in Makeni and another in Lilayi that they purchased on behalf of ZSIS.

He said the money for the purchase of the properties from AFSL accounts and some of the properties were registered under Lusaka Trust Corporate Services, a company he owned together with Aaron Chungu.

Kabwe said during the transactions, he was dealing with ZSIS director general Xavier Chungu his deputy JK Lungu, another senior officer Yotamu Zulu and another officer named Mandona.

However, Kabwe said ZSIS also dealt with other officers of AFSL without his direct involvement.
Trial continues today.

Labels: , , ,


FDD will meet its challenges squarely - Chifumu

FDD will meet its challenges squarely - Chifumu
By Patson Chilemba
Friday July 04, 2008 [04:00]

FDD will meet its challenges squarely, party vice-president Chifumu Banda said yesterday. Reacting to information minister Mike Mulongoti's statement that Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) had lost impact on the country's political scene, Banda said although the party seemed to have lost impact, it would one day rise to the occasion and make significant impact on the country.

"There are many political parties that have been in the opposition for a long time. Some have even taken over power after being in the opposition for 30 years. There are some political parties in Zambia who had two members of parliament but after mobilisation and selling their messages, they now have more members of parliament," he said.
Banda said he had no intention of resigning from the FDD.

He said it was not up to Mulongoti to comment on the affairs of his party.

Banda urged Mulongoti to focus on reorganising MMD.
"The responsibility to organise FDD lies with the membership and therefore, the party knows what its challenges are and it will meet its challenges squarely," Banda said. "Democracy will not flourish if there is a mentality that everybody must join the ruling party.

"In fact, Mulongoti himself should ensure that an environment exists for other parties to operate effectively. Access to state resources must be granted to all the political parties."

On Wednesday, Mulongoti urged FDD to re-examine its political relevance to the country.

He said the problems in FDD emanated from the previous conventions where the membership questioned whether the elections were democratic. Mulongoti said the party membership should stand up and question whether the current leadership was guiding the party in a proper manner.

Labels: ,


Bishop blames Museveni for escalation of Uganda civil war

Bishop blames Museveni for escalation of Uganda civil war
By Mwala Kalaluka
Friday July 04, 2008 [04:00]

A Roman Catholic Archbishop from Northern Uganda has blamed President Yoweri Museveni's government for the escalation of civil war in that part of the country. In his presentation to the ongoing Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) plenary assembly in Lusaka yesterday, Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu Archdiocese said the Ugandan government downplayed the intensity of the two-decade conflict.

"We have learnt that unless we are able to transform conflict through a proactive approach, it is more likely that conflict will transform itself in a manner that even challenges the management of it by the parties to the very conflict," Archbishop Odama said. "The northern Uganda conflict could have taken a shorter time to resolve if the international community were given correct and timely information."

Archbishop Odama said if the Ugandan government had not downplayed the intensity of the conflict that has caused untold suffering in his Archdiocese, it would not have assumed the current international dimension.

"The effects of the northern Uganda Lord Resistance Army (LRA) conflict have now affected parts of southern Sudan, eastern DRC and reportedly parts of Central Africa Republic. The conflict remains a serious threat to the enjoyment of peace in the Great Lakes Region," he said. "The greatest single lesson learnt from the northern Uganda conflict is that no conflict in the world is too small or too big to warrant intervention of the international community through the august body, the United Nation."

Archbishop Odama said having lived through this conflict situation, which was characterised by killing, mayhem, abduction of minors, rape and pillage among other vices, he had learnt that it could not be resolved without the involvement of individuals.

"My brother prelates will agree with me that as part of resolution to any conflict big or small the theme as coined 'reconciliation, through justice and peace' for this assembly must always be at the very core of all possible solutions," said Archbishop Odama. "In the case of northern Uganda armed conflict, as a way forward we suggest the following; that together with the peace loving sections of the international community, we continue to pursue the path of peaceful resolution in the northern Uganda conflict as opposed to any futile military strategy. The voices of the voiceless should not be ignored since the very communities will have to co-exist in harmony as part of the post-conflict."

LRA leader Joseph Kony has been fighting the Ugandan armed forces in the 22-year northern Uganda conflict.

Labels: ,


Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
By Editor
Friday July 04, 2008 [04:00]

There has been so much speculation about President Levy Mwanawasa's illness. For the last few days, there have been contradictory – and sometimes outright false – stories about President Mwanawasa’s illness following the stroke he suffered early this week.

While the great majority of our people showed a lot of concern and affection towards their President and spent many hours praying for him, there were some scoundrels who were phoning us telling us that Levy is dying and we, together with the Nchito brothers, will perish with him.

And yesterday, there was some news item on the international channels and wire services claiming that Levy had died in the morning.

This is not true. And as first lady Maureen Mwanawasa put it to us yesterday: “… the President is very much alive, he is sick yes, and making progress with hope.”

There is no benefit in maintaining doubts about President Mwanawasa’s condition. Regardless of the circumstances, however – even if one felt it beneficial in any way to maintain doubt about the President’s condition – such a consideration would have not kept us from telling the truth. As a matter of fact, we do not believe such a course of action would be in any way beneficial.

Even if keeping President Mwanawasa’s condition in doubt could have been beneficial in any way, we have never used lies, fear of the truth, complicity with lies of any kind as our weapon. We cannot do so under any circumstances.

Many people, including the international press, were calling us yesterday to try and find out the truth about the President’s condition. They were doing so because they have placed their trust in our reporting the truth. They have always been sure that they have never been lied to, and that when a truth must be stated publicly, that truth will always be stated publicly.

Many people were waiting for us to tell them what was true and what were lies about the President’s condition. Again, we restate that the President is very ill. His condition is worrying. But he is not dead. The condition has somewhat stabilised and there is justification not to lose hope. But of course people should realise and accept the fact that the President is very ill and he should be treated as such. But there is no need to tell lies about his condition and deceive the nation and the world.

We know thieves and plunderers, and some power-hungry jackals would like to see him dead. But there is no need to tell lies and even to insinuate that we are in some way in complicity to deny the public true information.

Therefore, whatever the circumstances, we consider it our duty to express our opinion on the President’s condition, although there is one thing that makes this particularly delicate: the feelings and concerns of the President’s family and relatives. We hope they will understand that however painful it may be to say what we say, there is no lack of courtesy – much less lack of consideration – intended towards them.

Logically, the natural tendencies of any person faced with possible bad news about someone for whom he feels great affection is to reject it. But this is not the case with us in this situation. But in the mind of the people, there is a tendency to reject such kind of news and hope for the best.

We sincerely believe and hold the opinion that the duty of telling the truth stands above all considerations of convenience – and that has been our attitude. No matter how bitter or painful the circumstances, we cannot waver in fulfilling this duty.

Moreover, what good would it do for our people to maintain false hopes, to be made to believe all is well with their President? What would be gained by that?

Our people should be prepared for whatever comes about, for all vicissitudes, including setbacks. And if this happens, they should know what to do. If we were to wake up today or tomorrow and our President is not there, or is not able to carry out his duties, we should know what to do. But one thing we should never do is to put a thief, a corrupt element, a plunderer in his place. We know that these elements are busy plotting on how to get their hands again on power. But they should not be given a chance. We gave them a chance and they abused us.

It is very clear to all of us that the President’s illness following a stroke on Sunday possesses a serious danger to the many progressive things he was doing, to the progress of our country and to our fight against corruption. Who could deny what a blow Levy’s stroke may be to the progress of our country if he doesn’t sufficiently recover; how much it may mean to no longer be able to count on him, his strength of reputation, which instilled fear in thieves, plunderers of all hues and other corrupt elements?

We urge all our people to have our President in all their thoughts and to spend many hours praying for him.

Again, let’s bear in mind that the President is very ill and in great danger. Let us remain united in this most challenging and agonising moment and hope for the best. And as we hope for the best, let us prepare for the worst.



The President is very much alive - Maureen

The President is very much alive - Maureen
By Amos Malupenga, Mutuna Chanda, Chibaula Silwamba and Lambwe
Thursday July 03, 2008 [17:10]

FIRST lady Maureen has disclosed that President Levy Mwanawasa is alive and making hopeful progress. Dispelling rumours that the President had died, Maureen – who is by his bedside in a French hospital – said: “…The President is very much alive. He is sick yes, and making progress with hope.”

And chief government spokesman, Mike Mulongoti, on Thursday afternoon reiterated that President Mwanawasa was still alive. He warned that whoever was peddling false rumours that President Mwanawasa was dead would be punished.

Meanwhile, Patriotic Front president Michael Sata said he was preparing to travel to France to visit President Mwanawasa in hospital.

Briefing the nation on President Mwanawasa’s condition following reports in international media that he had died, Mulongoti dismissed the reports as false rumours. He said doctors attending to President Mwanawasa were happy with his progress so far as his condition remained stable. Mulongoti said the nation would be kept updated on any developments. Later in an interview, Mulongoti warned that people peddling rumours on President Mwanawasa’s health would be punished. “The rumours are extremely unfortunate.

It’s malice, we expect people to be sensitive to issues like that because the death of the President of the Republic is a serious matter and in so doing they have caused a lot of panic and anguish in the minds of Zambian people,” Mulongoti said. “At the end of the day, we might end up catching up with them and we will take action to try and protect the image of this country,” Mulongoti said. Mulongoti also dismissed the possibility of President Mwanawasa stepping down, at least for now. “When medical authorities recommend that he should not continue, that is another issue.

But for now all we know is that when he recovers he will come back to Zambia and continue to perform his functions as President of the Republic of Zambia,” said Mulongoti. Earlier in the day, some Cabinet ministers gathered at Vice-President Rupiah Banda’s residence in Lusaka from about 11:25 hours to about 12:10 hours. A check by The Post at Government House, found several ministers arriving for a meeting.

Those seen at Government House included Mulongoti, home affairs minister Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha, education minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa, justice minister George Kunda and special assistant to President Mwanawasa for press and public relations John Musukuma.

After the meeting, Mulongoti - who was accompanied by lands minister Bradford Machila - went on ZNBC radio and television to address the nation on President Mwanawasa’s condition. And Sata said he was making arrangements to travel to France because he would not manage to remain in the country when his friend was suffering in hospital.

He said he was concerned about President Mwanawasa’s condition. Sata said he was trying to get authorisation from French authorities as well as from first lady Maureen before he could travel. “My brother President Mwanawasa is in hospital and I have to see him there. It will not be good to see him after he returns from the hospital. Immediately I am given a go ahead by these authorities, I am leaving for France. I don’t want to be relying on the daily updates,” said Sata.

Labels: ,


(HERALD) British MPs defy Brown

British MPs defy Brown
Herald Reporter

SIX British Conservative Party Members of Parliament and one Liberal Democrat, with investments worth over £1 million in Zimbabwe, have joined hands to oppose further sanctions on the country as suggested by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Following President Mugabe’s landslide victory last Friday, Brown said his government was working on a new sanctions regime to suffocate the Zanu-PF Government and give birth to an MDC-T government.

The seven have significant stakes in mining, manufacturing and retail companies either operating in Zimbabwe or trading directly or indirectly with local businesses.

Conservative shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve holds shares worth £240 000 in mining giants Anglo American and Rio Tinto, commercial bank Standard Chartered and oil company Shell.

Anglo American is presently being attacked by the British government for announcing its intention to invest US$400 million in Unki Platinum Mine in Shurugwi.

Grieve has reportedly refused to bow to pressure to take his investments out of Zimbabwe and is said to be opposed to Brown’s plans to make it harder for British firms to operate in the country.

Another senior member of the party, Jonathan Djano-gly, is understood to have vast investments in Barclays, Shell, BP and Tesco.

Earlier this week, Tesco — one of the world’s largest retail chains — announced that it would no longer buy farm produce, including peas and beans, from Zimbabwe after succumbing to pressure from Brown’s office to sabotage the Land Reform Programme by not purchasing food from the country.

Djanogly, who is the shadow business secretary in the Conservative Party, has argued that it would not be right for the UK to ban British companies from operating in Zimbabwe and that shareholders should be given room to make representations to government on the issue.

Conservative Party shadow roads secretary Robert Goodwill is also a Barclays Bank shareholder while his colleague, Anthony Steen, has stakes in Unilever and Shell.

Goodwill said it was "better to bring pressure to bear as a shareholder but it was not a very good time to sell his shares" in Barclays.

Other British MPs with investments in Zimbabwe are Sir John Stanley, who has shares in Shell, and Tim Boswell, who is said to have stakes in Barclays Bank and Tesco.

The Liberal Democrat with investments in companies linked with or actively operating in Zimbabwe is Sir Robert Smith. His interests are in Rio Tinto and Shell.

Soon after the June 27 presidential election run-off, Smith said while he supported the UK’s illegal regime change agenda through making ordinary Zimbabweans suffer, he was hesitant about implementing a blanket sanctions regime on the country.

"If we really believe that total economic isolation and suffering of the people of Zimbabwe will bring down the regime, then that is something we should consider, but it should be done in a proper politically debated way to make sure any consequences are fully thought through."

Conservative Party leader David Cameron has refused to commit himself on the sanctions issue and instead urged his followers to "examine their own responsibilities".



(HERALD) ‘Mechanisation to focus on irrigation’

‘Mechanisation to focus on irrigation’
Herald Reporter

THE next phase of the agriculture mechanisation programme would focus on irrigation development, the Minister of Agricultural Engineeri-ng, Mechanisation and Irrigation Cde Joseph Made has said. He said the Government was engaged in talks with other countries to find the best way in which water bodies can be used to augment rain-fed agriculture.

He said there was need to strike a balance in the empowerment process to make sure farmers get adequate inputs and machinery for the country to retain its breadbasket status.

Cde Made said his ministry was consulting experts from China, India, Iran and Egypt to find suitable irrigation systems considering the affordability and energy requirements.

"We are working on improving yield per unit area and we also want to make sure that both the winter and summer crops follow the planting dates.

"We have also realised that rain water would never come in the right amounts at the right time so there is need for us to intervene with irrigation development.

"Our country usually suffers from mid-season droughts that usually occur in January and February so we need to plant our maize early and get our maize to tussle before that time using irrigation water," he said.

The Minister said irrigation also enables farmers to plant crops all- year round to raise the country’s food production.

Cde Made said the next stage must therefore be focused on the full development of irrigation water, choosing technology that is appropriate and sustainable and capping it all by skills development like training irrigation engineers, operators and the farmers on the overall repairs and maintenance of irrigation equipment.

He said the Government was going to further increase irrigation piping as most farmers have indicated that they needed irrigation material such as sprinklers and overhead irrigation equipment which was not provided for in the other phases.

Cde Made urged farmers to make their request to their district irrigation engineers or provincial irrigation engineers.

Labels: , ,


(HERALD) Harare residents form association

Harare residents form association
Herald Reporter

A group of progressive Harare residents has formed a new residents’ association.

Known as the Harare Residents’ Trust, the association’s aim is to have positive engagement with service providers who include Harare City Council, Zesa Holdings, Zinwa, the police and TelOne, among others. Some of the Trust’s members left the Combined Harare Residents Association following sharp differences over management style, which they believe borders on arrogance and opposition to everything initiated by the Government or its agencies.

Trust co-ordinator Mr Precious Shumba yesterday said the Trust was formed in February and has since set up branches in Glen View, Glen Norah, Budiriro, Sunningdale, Newlands, Highlands, Mbare, Mufakose, Kuwadzana-Crowbo-rough and Kuwadzana Extension.

Harare has for a very long time operated with one residents’ association, much to the disadvantage of residents and ratepayers who relied on an association that delved much into politics rather than service delivery.

"In those years, the value that accrued to residents deteriorated. It is in that context with other concerned residents of Harare who believe that the primary responsibility is to represent the residents in the advocacy of quality municipal service that the Trust was formed," he said.

He said quality service provision for Harare residents can only be achieved through positive engagement and not through the politics of attrition.

Mr Shumba said each residential suburb or district shall have its own representative body with an independent constitution from that of the mother body.

"We want to have localised solutions to local problems.

"We want, for example, the people of Mbare to be able to engage Zesa on their own.

"TelOne network problems in Budiriro should not be made a Harare issue," he said.



(HERALD) Only Zimbabweans can solve own issues

Only Zimbabweans can solve own issues

THE presidential run-off came and went and the fall-out predicted by Westerners has not come to pass. If anything, the African Union that foreigners expected to lynch Zimbabwe refused to do so even though it fell short by not telling the Anglo-Saxon alliance to back off. All the same African leaders, in urging the main political parties in Zimbabwe to come to the table to talk over their differences, have endorsed the stance of Sadc’s point man, President Mbeki, who has always insisted that the problems in Zimbabwe can only be solved by Zimbabweans.

We hail African leaders for that maturity and hope that politicians, particularly those in the opposition, realise fast that dialogue is the only way to find common ground for nation building.

To this end, we are encouraged by the statements made by former MDC spokesman Gabriel Chaibva who urged the opposition leadership to recognise President Mugabe as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe as a starting point for dialogue.

At the same time, we are saddened by his party’s decision to suspend him simply because he chose to attend President Mugabe’s inauguration.

Chaibva’s statements and actions are the most progressive to come from the opposition camp in a long time, and if all in the opposition valued such maturity, our country would be a much better place today.

To this end, we urge those in the other half of the MDC — led by Morgan Tsvangirai — to stop grandstanding and issuing contradictory statements on their position on the talks.

They must come clean on their intentions so that we can move on with the business of

defeating the illegal sanctions imposed by their allies.

The MDC-T leadership must realise, and realise fast that they are not the be all and end all of opposition politics in Zimbabwe, neither are they in a position to poke their noses at Zanu-PF as if they are victors.

It is an undeniable fact that Zanu-PF is in firm control of the legislature, while MDC-T does not control even a single chamber.

Zanu-PF won resoundingly the presidency and as such can form a Government with or without MDC-T.

As Chaibva pointed out, Jonas Savimbi and his Unita chose that destructive path in 1992, not knowing that he was digging not only his political but his real grave as he died by the sword in February 2002 just 10 years after refusing to join the MPLA in nation building.

As President Mugabe is on record saying, it is now time to turn our swords into ploughshares.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

(PROGRESS) Being Plundered is Not a Sign of Success

Being Plundered is Not a Sign of Success
Rich in Oil, But Who Owns the Land?

This news report comes from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Prince Wegwu and his family own land in the Niger Delta with 31 oil wells on it. Oil companies pump out thousands of barrels of oil a day and yet Wegwu says neither he nor his family have benefited.

"The oil companies tell us, ‘We are not allowed to give you money directly,'" said Wegwu, who heads a youth association in Aluu, a village in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region where militants have mounted an increasingly violent armed insurrection, attacking oil facilities and kidnapping foreign oil workers.

“The oil companies say, ‘We pay the government for the use of the land’, and yet they know they are using our land," Wegwu said.

The Niger Delta is the eighth most productive oil region in the world; the people living there are among the poorest in Nigeria, and in fact among the poorest anywhere on earth.

Many people in the Delta blame their poverty on two federal laws, the 1969 Petroleum Act, which gave the state sole ownership and control of the country’s oil and gas reserves; and the Land Use Act of 1978 which makes the government the owner of all land in Nigeria.

Many activists in the Niger Delta say oil companies should pay rents and royalties for the use of the land directly to land owners and to local communities instead of to the central government. They are also calling for a return to Nigeria’s 1960s constitution which calls for revenue to be shared equally between federal and local governments.

But they say the land act has undermined efforts by individuals and communities to get compensation when their land is requisitioned for oil activities or when oil companies pollute the land.

Beyond Oil

The Land Use Act was enacted by Nigeria’s current president Olusegun Obasanjo, when he was military head of state in the 1970s. It states that land was to be “held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians.”

“The rationale at the time,” according to Lagos property lawyer Tayo Odubanjo, “was that the government should act as the primary agent for the country’s development”. The act deliberately overrode customary rights to land, even if people had lived on it for generations, he said, because at the time local communities and land owners were seen as obstructing the government’s efforts to use land more effectively.

"There would be a very strong case for the law [but] the law failed to achieve this assumed role in practice," said Odunbanjo. Its negative consequences are being felt not just in the Niger Delta but throughout Nigeria, according to numerous studies.

"The Act concentrates both economic and political powers in the hands of few individuals who are abusing its spirit," according to the summary of a 2006 paper on the subject by academics Lasun Mykail Olayiwola and Olufemi Adeleye

Urbanist Geoffrey I. Nwaka writing in 2005 in Global Urban Development Magazine said the law made "the procedure for obtaining and developing land become excessively bureaucratized, obstructive, and riddled with corruption. Restrictions on the availability of land, especially for the poor, encouraged the growth of more and more irregular settlements on the fringes of the towns or on vacant public land,” he said.

Delta in mind

The law has also been blamed for the massive decrease in Nigeria's agricultural production in the decades subsequent to its enactment.

Also, in the Islamic north of the country the law exacerbated what has been an almost feudal social system as the government disinvested farmers of their land and put it in the hand of the emirs, thus forcing farmers to work for them.

Though the law has clauses providing compensation to local farmers who were using requisitioned or polluted land, the prices they have got in lieu of farming have been well below market prices and many locals say they have never received anything anyway.

Fishing communities have rarely been compensated as they have no visible evidence on which to base their claims. The government and oil companies have also generally refused to recognize the value locals place on communal land. Thus claims of loses from communally-owned shrines or sacred forests on which people rely for medicine or wild cane for goods such as raffia furniture have been rejected.

However experts agree that the law was initially created with the Niger Delta in mind, to make it cheaper and easier for the government and oil companies to start up oil ventures. They also agree that that is where the government applied the law most systematically thus leaving more people dispossessed.

"Before 1978, oil companies had troubles negotiating with the occupants of the land to access the oil," said Patterson Ogon the founding director of the Niger Delta-based Ijaw Council for Human Rights. "After the land act was implemented occupants could wake up one morning to find oil companies already drilling on their property and there was nothing they could do about it."

Labels: , ,


(PROGRESS) Asians say enough's enough to government corruption

Asians say enough's enough to government corruption

We trim, blend, and append three 2008 articles: (1) “Corruption Is 'Cause, Catalyst' of Water Crisis” from Transparency International (TI), which produces the annual Global Corruption Report, June 25 (circulated by OneWorld); (2) “Asians Uniting Against Corruption” by Marwaan Macan-Markar, Inter Press Service) June 17; and (3), “World now has 10 million millionaires” by the AP, June 24.
by Jeffery J. Smith, July 2008

Government officials, whether of great or little power, worsen the lot of poor people, especially in poor countries, by demanding bribes for delivering a social service or by diverting funds meant for building infrastructure. Political favors for a few key insiders are making them into some of the richest people on the planet. So worldwide, ordinary citizens are demanding clean government.
TI: The situation is dire. Approximately 20% of the world's population (1.1 billion people) drink unsafe water, which kills 4,500 children every day. More than 2 billion poor people are without adequate sanitation.

Less than half of the 2 million inhabitants of Conakry, the capital of Guinea, have regular access to running water. The agents of Guinean Water Company, which manages the city's water supply, will divert water to individual customers for cash.

When corruption occurs, the cost of connecting a household to a water network increases by up to 30%.

Corruption drains investment from the sector, decreases water supplies, and increases prices. Poor households in Jakarta, Lima, Nairobi or Manila spend more on water than residents of New York City, London or Rome.

Problems range from petty bribery in water delivery to procurement-related looting of irrigation and hydropower funds; from covering up industrial pollution to manipulation of water management and allocation policies.

Irrigated land helps produce 40% of the world's food, but corruption in irrigation is rampant. In India, a country at the centre of the food crisis, corruption is estimated to add at least 25% to irrigation contracts and the proceeds help maintain a corrupt system of political handouts and compromised oversight.

In China, corruption has weakened the enforcement of environmental regulations, abetting the pollution of aquifers in 90% of cities and making over 75% of urban rivers unsuitable for drinking or fishing.

Industrialized countries are not immune. Corruption has plagued the tendering of water contracts in cities like Grenoble, Milan, New Orleans, and Atlanta. In Chicago, water budgets fell victim to misuse for political campaigning. Even in Sweden, cases of bid-rigging and price-fixing in water infrastructure provision have surfaced.

JJS: Perhaps at last the tide is turning, as millions demand their rights.

Macan-Markar: In Cambodia, out of a population of 14.2 million, 1.1 million citizens signed a petition to bring local anti-corruption laws on par with international standards. Activists presented it to the National Assembly in mid-May.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports a groundswell of anger against corruption at the grassroots level in other corners of Asia, too, where people are forced to pay bribes to get basic services such as water, sanitation, schooling, and health care -- in addition to bribing the police and members of the judiciary.

About one in 10 people around the world had to pay a bribe in the past year; reported bribery has increased in some regions, such as Asia-Pacific and Southeast Europe.

Higher up corrupt officials siphon off funds for teacher salaries and school buildings, which can increase costs between two and eight times.

Greater local community activity has produced some results. In Indonesia -- notorious for being among the most corrupt countries in Asia -- volunteer citizens in Aceh monitor reconstruction after the tsunami [in December 2004].

JJS: It’s with the help of politicians that some people get to become unduly rich. And their fortunes keep growing, whether their country’s economy is or not. For those tied closely to powerful politicians, it’s boom time forever.

AP: The number of people around the globe with at least $1 million in assets swelled last year by 600,000 or 6% to 10.1 million, 0.15% of the world's population of 6.7 billion. The combined wealth of the millionaires' club meanwhile grew 9.4% to $40.7 trillion. Their average wealth, which didn't include primary homes, surpassed $4 million for the first time. One million dollars in 1996, when the report was first issued, would be worth about $1.3 million in 2007.

JJS: While the partnership of elite and state is treated as news, actually it’s ancient history; it’s been going on forever. It’s why some are so determined to hold office -- to spend everybody else’s money in the way they see fit.

One good way to fix it is to shift discretionary spending from politicians to citizens. People should quit demanding schools and clinics and quit tolerating armies. Instead, demand a Citizens Dividend, a fair share of surplus public revenue. Then neighbors could band together to fund their own local schools and clinics.

Even in poor countries, there’s lots of economic value. Many have natural resources and all have high land values in cities. Given sufficient political will, all those natural values could be recovered and shared. No matter how much each person’s share would be, receiving something is better than losing lots to bribes. Yes, demand an end to corruption, plus a beginning to fair partition of the nation’s wealth.


Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.

Labels: ,


The West has no credibility to intervene in Zim, says Aka

The West has no credibility to intervene in Zim, says Aka
By Jack Zimba and Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday July 03, 2008 [04:00]

VETERAN politician Akashamba-twa Mbikusita-Lewanika yesterday said the West has no credibility to intervene in the Zimbabwe crisis. But Lusaka lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe said the African Union (AU)'s resolution on the Zimbabwean post-election crisis has proved that it has no capacity to resolve problems on the continent.

Commenting on the AU resolution calling for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe following the run off elections that saw incumbent President Robert Mugabe controversially re-elected, Aka described the outcome of the just-ended AU summit held in Egypt as reasonable because it had recognised that only Zimbabweans were better placed to solve their problems.

"The West have no credibility in this matter because of their record in the past. They suffer from historic inconsistency and current inconsistency," Aka said. "I did not expect the unwise proposals of military intervention or economic sanctions because the fact on the ground is that not everyone in Zimbabwe supports Mugabe, and not everyone supports opposition Movement for Democracy Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai."

Aka wondered why there were calls for military intervention in Zimbabwe when Britain had refused to intervene militarily against Ian Smith in Rhodesia Zimbabwe and South Africa's then apartheid regime.

And chief government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti said he had not heard anything from the Zambian delegation that attended the AU summit at Sharm-El-Sheik in Egypt.

However, Mulongoti said if President Mwanawasa had attended the meeting, he would have maintained his earlier position before he left for the summit.

President Mwanawasa had called for the postponement of the run off in Zimbabwe, saying the situation prior to the poll date could not guarantee a free and fair election.

Finance minister Ng'andu Magande attended the AU heads of state summit on behalf of President Levy Mwanawasa, after the latter suffered a stroke just before the summit. But Dr Chongwe said the AU had set a bad precedent in view of the Zimbabwe crisis.

"The AU has no capacity and it has shown itself that it has no capacity, it is incompetent, it is an undemocratic institution. The United Nations is the only organisation that I know which has brought peace in most of these conflict countries. The AU has failed to bring peace in Ivory Coast, Darfur in Sudan, DRC, where can they point as their record where they have been successful in bringing about peace in conflict areas in Africa?" Dr Chongwe asked. "Knowing the African leaders as they are, most of whom are undemocratic and they don't believe in a legitimate and democratic election, they will try to force people of Zimbabwe to have Mugabe as their leader and that is wrong, that is immoral, that is illegal. What Mugabe has done, if he is not shown the door, there may be others on the African continent who will do the same thing and even after being questioned by the AU, they will say 'Mugabe did it and you accepted.'"

Dr Chongwe said there should be an interim leader to lead Zimbabwe other than President Mugabe during the transition period.

"It's up to Zimbabweans to know that in Zimbabwe there are people who contributed to the development of the country, they can run an interim government," he said.

He added that it was not enough for the AU to call for a government of national unity without taking into account the fact that the June 27 runoff election was a sham.

"In any election, there must be a level playing field for all the players in that particular election. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission failed to ensure a level playing field in conducting the run off elections. The other parties were not allowed to hold rallies, they were being arrested and yet Mugabe had a free-for-all campaign. He also used state media while others were not allowed. So what kind of elections did Zimbabwe hold? Zimbabwe held a sham election and should not be recognised," said Dr Chongwe.

The AU summit recommended that President Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the MDC should form a government of national unity.

In its declaration at the just-ended summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the AU agreed to encourage President Mugabe and Tsvangirai to honour their commitment to initiate dialogue with a view to promoting peace, stability, democracy and the reconciliation of the Zimbabwean people."

The AU, which stated that it was deeply concerned with the Zimbabwe situation, agreed to "support the call for the creation of a government of national unity."

The organisation said it was deeply concerned with the negative reports of SADC, the African Union and the Pan-African Parliament observers on last week's presidential run-off election.

Labels: , ,