Saturday, December 20, 2008
Written by Kelvin Tembo
Saturday, December 20, 2008 10:02:44 PM
Medical practitioner Dr Francis Manda yesterday challenged political leaders to show leadership by reconciling during this festive season. And Dr Manda said local companies should channel donations to assist cholera victims in Zimbabwe.
Speaking during the Radio Phoenix Manzi Therapy programme, Dr Manda said Zambia was going through a tough time and there was no time for politicians to be fighting each other.
“My brother Rupiah Banda, Hakainde Hichilema and Michael Sata should show leadership to the people by sitting down to dialogue,” he said.
Dr Manda said the three political leaders could invite each other for dinner secretly and discuss national matters rather than fighting in the press. He said if they did that, Zambians would emulate their actions.
Dr Manda said politicians should not cultivate a culture of hatred towards each other.
“It's easy for President Banda to ask his wife Thandiwe to cook something and call Sata for dinner. Even Dr Christine Kaseba (Sata's wife), though she is a medical doctor, she knows her way in the kitchen, let them invite each other for dinner,” he said.
And Dr Manda said he was ready to lead a team of medical personnel to help with the cholera situation in Zimbabwe. He said Manzi Limited had donated water and chlorine to Zimbabwe and all that was needed was transport.
Dr Manda appealed to companies especially those that manufacture IV fluids to donate something for the people of Zimbabwe. He said Christmas was a time for giving and people should help Zimbabweans to overcome the problems they were facing.
Written by Allan Mulenga
Saturday, December 20, 2008 9:59:08 PM
UNIVERSITY of Zambia political and administrative studies lecturer Dr Peter Lolojih has urged President Rupiah Banda’s government not rush into dialogue with the opposition political parties before setting an agenda.
And Lolojih has charged that the ongoing wrangles in MMD were a danger to intra-party democracy.
In an interview, Lolojih said the government needed to be sincere to the opposition by indicating clearly the subject of discussion before calling for dialogue with the opposition.
“The government should open up to the opposition by telling them steps taken in solving some of the problems affecting the country,” he said. “The government’s stance and an agenda must be clear to the opposition, if the dialogue is to be a success.”
Dr Lolojih said the government needed to realise the role the opposition play in national development, saying since they are the government in waiting, the opposition should be accorded an opportunity to provide alternative views over the problems facing the nation.
“The government should know that being the government in waiting, the opposition have a role to play in finding a solution to the problems facing the nation. The government should take the lead and there should be no speculations about it,” he said.
Dr Lolojih said there was need for all political parties to burry there differences and put their heads together in finding a lasting solution to the economic challenges affecting the nation.
And Dr Lolojih observed that the ongoing wrangles in MMD were not healthy for internal party democracy.
“Zambia has been a democratic nation since 1991. It means that people are free to speak on any issue, but not forgetting also that there are rules and regulation in each and every political party, where members have agreed to follow,” he said.
Dr Lolojih said although political parties were at liberty to discipline their members, those in leadership should not stifle divergent opinions and those views should also be rendered through the established structures within the respective parties.
“It will be possible for people to judge that there is confusion in MMD, but we should go beyond that reasoning. People should also follow protocol discuss issues within in-house structures,” he said. “Washing dirty linen in public does not help; it will not help the ruling party. It is more or less denting the image of the party.”
Dr Lolojih observed that the recent developments in MMD had brought internal democracy into question.
Written by Margaret Mtonga
Saturday, December 20, 2008 9:57:12 PM
THE Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) secretary general Reverend Suzanne Matale has challenged the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) explain how they intend to intervene in the current situation in Zimbabwe.
In a statement, Matale stated that it was sad that there were rampant abductions in Zimbabwe, with the recent one being that of a Human Rights activist, Jestina Mukoko, who was abducted on the December 3, 2008 by a group of armed plain clothed men who identified themselves as policemen.
“CCZ is deeply concerned at violation of human rights and systematic persecution of human rights defenders by Zimbabwe police and armed forces,” Matale stated. “The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough at the hands of politicians who have no concern, whatsoever with preservation and enhancing of human life under any circumstances,”
Matale stated that the excuse used that Zimbabwe was a sovereign country did not mean anything in view of the magnitude of the brutality.
“Perpetuation of killings in Zimbabwe goes beyond sovereignty, the concern and priority should be protection of human life under any circumstances,” she stated.
Matale stated that it was important for the African Union and SADC to find ways of addressing the current political situation in Zimbabwe.
“Enough is enough, the current political situation in Zimbabwe affects Zambia in a lot of issue,” she stated.
Matale called on all Zambians to stand up and intensify prayers for total liberation of Zimbabwens.
PRESIDENT MUGABE has invited MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC counterpart Professor Arthur Mutambara to make themselves available for swearing in as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively pursuant to the envisaged inclusive Government.
Addressing thousands of delegates to the 10th Zanu-PF National People’s Conference in Bindura yesterday, the President said he was yet to receive a response from "one of the opposition leaders".
The invitation — in writing — follows the gazetting of Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill last week paving way for the creation of the posts of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively.
Cde Mugabe, however, hinted that a response might not come any time soon as the West was averse to any arrangement that retained him as Head of State and Government.
The MDC-T, he said, was likely continue pandering to the whims of the country’s detractors, while reiterating that Zimbabwe would soon have to go back to the polls.
"I have sent letters that these two (Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara) may come and be sworn in but mumwe haasati adzoka," President Mugabe said, in apparent reference to Mr Tsvangirai, who is holed up in Botswana.
"The long and short of it is that we will have to go back to elections and I hope that we won’t repeat the disaster of March 29."
President Mugabe, however, said the process had not yet reached a stage where he could say dialogue has collapsed even though Mr Tsvangirai remains in Botswana.
He, however, took a swipe at Mr Tsvangirai for prostituting himself to various countries and procrastinating on joining Government saying his handlers had misled him into believing Zimbabwe was on the verge of collapse and that if he holds out, he will form a government from the rubble.
‘‘All this dancing and running around which Tsvangirai is doing, actually we have to pity him (Tsvangirai). He is no longer in control of himself. This is what comes out of being a puppet to someone.
‘‘And you know what happens ka, in the world of puppetry, you see, you make it dance. So he goes to Germany, he goes to the Netherlands, he goes to Britain, he goes to America, he goes all over. And you (can’t help) wondering really what he is doing, you think he is organising for his party. But zvimwe zvacho zvinenge zvisisina rationality.’’
The President said Mr Tsvangirai was free to wait for the envisaged collapse while Zanu-PF moves on with the business of governing.
‘‘My view is that those who run the MDC have given the MDC the impression that Zimbabwe is collapsing and the Government will vanish on its own, then you just take over.
‘‘Zvino ndozvavarikufunga izvozvo. If they want to wait, fine, we will wait with them for that day. We will say we are waiting for your day asi isu tichitonga, and the day will never come.’’
The President said the inclusive Government was aimed at ensuring a period of stability during which the Government would move towards new elections.
It is envisaged the elections will be held using the Kariba Draft Constitution that was included as an annexture to the broad-based agreement, provided it is endorsed by the people in a referendum but if rejected, the elections will be held using the framework used for the March 29 harmonised elections.
The President took a swipe at US Assistant Secretary State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer for calling for an invasion of Zimbabwe, saying if any African country was daft enough to be persuaded to follow that course of action it would be repulsed by the tried and tested Zimbabwean defence forces.
‘‘What African countries would have the courage of ordering a military invasion of Zimbabwe?
‘‘In other words, what would they come and do militarily here? All they would do is come and pose a threat to our stability and they would be countered by our own force and there would be an unnecessary war started in a foolish manner because of foolish persuasion coming from foolish sources,’’ the President said to applause from delegates.
The President also blasted Western ambassadors, particularly US Ambassador James D. McGee, for misrepresenting the situation in Zimbabwe.
He also took the BBC, Sky News and CNN to task over their negative coverage of Zimbabwe saying these media were proving to be mere propaganda mouthpieces of the West.
The President reminded the West that regime change will always come unstuck as only Zimbabweans had the power to remove him from office.
‘‘We have told them (Americans) as we told the Europeans that the only persons with the power to remove Robert Gabriel Mugabe are the people of Zimbabwe.
‘‘Handina mutupo wechiAmerica ini. Mese munondiziva kuti ndiriGushungo, kuAmerica kune Gushungo? KuBritain kune Gushungo? Saka hukama navo wakabva pai? Ngavandisiye," the President said to cheers and chants of "Gushungo ingoda".
The President told delegates that Zanu-PF had been forced into negotiations with the opposition because of divisions within Zanu-PF ahead of the harmonised elections adding that it was incomprehensible that anyone would agree to sell out his own country for money.
"Kune vamwe vanoti matambudziko anyanya maBritish ngaauye zvavo. Why should we suffer because of one man and that one man is President Mugabe.
"Ngaabve zvake. Havafunge kuti chavanodira iwo maBritish kuti this one man must go chii? Hapana musangano unonzi wakasimba usina mutingamiriri wakasimba."
President Mugabe said he was not bothered by threats from the enemy saying he was prepared to die in defence of Zimbabwe.
"Ini hazvinei kuti ndingatyityidzirwe zvakaita sei kana kuti ndingazodimburwa musoro. I believe that inyika yedu haisi yemaBritish."
He said the West was pushing hard for an illegal regime change agenda by enticing other African countries to condemn Zimbabwe warning that it would be "foolish" to start an unnecessary war premised on the cholera outbreak.
"Yes, there has been this epidemic, but you do not then proceed to say that the cholera outbreak has been caused by the Government and
that the Government is thereby guilty of committing genocide against its own people.
"That’s what they are saying. It is all dishonesty, hypocrisy and a pack of lies! That is the difference between European leaders and Africans. We cannot lie like that in public. We are not capable of being so blatantly dishonest."
He said the US and its allies had lied about executed former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities as an excuse to attack that country and Zimbabweans must be wary of similar attempts against this country.
President Mugabe said the only solution to the current challenges facing the country was the removal of sanctions.
"The solution required at the moment is that which addresses sanctions. Sanctions must go."
He scoffed at calls for the invasion of Zimbabwe under the guise of protecting its citizens saying "those with the right to protect should not impose sanctions that negate the right to protect".
President Mugabe likened sanctions to waging a war on innocent people and vowed the country would belong to the Zimbabweans with or without sanctions and that he would remain as Head of State until the people decided otherwise.
Government would continue to de-link the economy from the West through alternative policies that had seen Zimbabwe forging stronger ties with countries like China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Cuba among others, the President told the delegates.
He reassured the nation that the State was doing all it could to ensure people were well catered for ahead of the festive season and beyond and that more agricultural inputs distribution schemes would soon be unveiled.
By Reason Wafawarova in SYDNEY, Australia
IT appears President George W Bush’s recent "surprise visit" to Iraq was one too many as he got a shoeful of surprises himself.
Muntadhar al-Zeid, the now famous shoe-hurling journalist, might be in the custody of those who chose to get angry on behalf of the US President, but his surprise act is significant in more than one way.
To Nouri Maliki, the Iraqi puppet leader who was installed by Washington, Zeid was an embarrassment to Iraq and as such Maliki would have charges of "insulting the State" preferred against the journalist.
Had it not been for Bush’s excellent ducking skills, Maliki was going to face the real embarrassment of watching his master with a bloody nose, all coming from the hand of his own countryman — himself uncontrollably angered by the treacherous "security deal" that his own leader was signing with this "killer of Iraqis. . . killer of children."
Judging by the massive marches and protests against the continued detention of Zeid, one can only conclude that the journalist expressed the will and opinion of those numbers that are marching in his support.
In short, they are thanking Bush the way they know best.
This is farewell the Iraqi way — a farewell to an unwanted "liberator" who has clearly overstayed his welcome, if ever there was any.
The Western media has been quick to give the world the religious symbolic meaning of an Islamic person throwing a shoe at someone; that this is a grave insult based on how a shoe is associated with filth in the religion of Islam. That as it may be, one wonders if Zeid would have preferred a shoe ahead of any deadlier weapon if there was one at his disposal.
The attack on Bush might have provided a lot of entertainment internationally with him proving to be an artful dodger, but it reflects very badly on America’s "democratisation project" in the Middle East and it throws a lot of questions on the politics of international intervention.
Well, the incident is obviously a mockery of the much hailed security skills of the CIA and the Secret Service, especially when one considers that the attacker had time to reload.
The international intervention doctrine is what we have heard the confused Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga tirelessly preaching with an absolutely empty but very loud voice. Odinga wants to create a Nouri Maliki out of Morgan Tsvangirai and he wants the US-led Western powers to do an Iraq on Zimbabwe.
Of course, Odinga does not speak on behalf of Kenya or its government but on behalf of Tsvangirai, whose behalf is no more than a treacherous pack of instructions from Washington.
Desmond Tutu still cherishes the idea of another Nobel Peace Prize and he thinks Zimbabwe is an excellent opportunity to showcase his compatibility with Western opinion. Tutu thinks hitting headlines as a good old man in Western media is such a fantastic idea that he will stop at nothing to help the West throw blows at any of their perceived enemies.
He has able support from one hell of an errant bishop in London, the comic John Sentamu, a man who passes for a perfect lunatic when stripped of the media glory he enjoys from the BBC.
Zimbabwe’s own Pius Ncube would be enjoying these moments of "calls for outside intervention" if only he had not given in to the oldest temptation in history; the thing that made him Zimbabwe’s fastest trousers-dropper before his world collapsed on his treacherous political career.
The events in Iraq show us that the thinking on the ground at grassroots levels of countries deemed to be candidates for outside intervention is not always the same with that of those that call for such intervention.
This writer will bet that if Zimbabwe were invaded (and God forbid), the grassroots population will be appalled just like was the case with the Iraqis.
If Tsvangirai were installed as a stooge leader of Zimbabwe and he dared invite his master for some fancy deal-signing ceremony, then the story would not have a happy ending at all because Zimbabweans throw spears instead of shoes when they are insulted.
One can imagine the signing of some "non-racial land redistribution treaty" or anything to the effect of returning land to the people who invested in Tsvangirai.
That is the kind of insult that drove Zeid to forget that Bush considered himself the most powerful man in the world, and he decisively had the Emperor ducking like an errant schoolboy.
The fact that at least 200 lawyers are reported to have offered to defend Zeid for free is a measure of the amount of international support his cause has attracted, especially when one hears that a sizeable number of these lawyers are US citizens.
Bush reckons Zeid was just "seeking attention", and for sure he got lots of it, although it is highly unlikely that this is what he was after.
In 1986, we were all made to adjust to the elitist opinion that came through the so-called debate over US intervention in Nicaragua.
This "debate" was very similar to what we hear being discussed about Zimbabwe today in Western political circles.
In the first three months of 1986, the US Congress was debating funding for the Contras and the two major national newspapers — the New York Times and the Washington Post — devoted to this matter at least 85 opinion pieces, according to Noam Chomsky in his book "The Culture of Terrorism".
Every one of the selected writers was critical of the Sandinistas, with the overwhelming majority bitterly hostile, just like with the numerous columnists being afforded space on Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe in Western media today. You could not write without bashing the Sandinistas and at the same time expect coverage in mainstream Western media, and today you cannot write without bashing President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF and at the same time expect even a paragraph in Western media.
That is how elitist opinion is shoved down the throats of every commoner.
In all, the 85 columns that were published by these two papers, not even one phrase noted that in sharp contrast to US foreign policy and its clientele, the Sandinista government, whatever its sins, did not slaughter its own population and that this government had attempted social reforms for the benefit of its people before this was deemed too dangerous by America, deciding in the process to abort the reforms through a terrorist attack.
The atrocities of the Contras were highly tolerated by Washington, the same way the reported planning of an armed insurgency in Zimbabwe is already hailed as "democratic resistance" in the West.
There is all this reporting of a long list of President Mugabe’s alleged crimes, including but not limited to "stealing elections since 1980", "killing his own people", "stealing farms", "starving his own people", "gross human rights abuses", "stifling freedom of Press and expression" and "bringing cholera to his own people".
Of all these reports and allegations, there is hardly any phrase noting that the Zanu-PF Government corrected a colonial imbalance where 75 percent of the country’s arable land was in the hands of 4 000 white famers.
There is hardly any phrase that says the response to the Land Reform Programme by Western powers has been a systematic strangulation of the Zimbabwean economy and that the country has been subjected to ruinous sanctions for its efforts in attaining justice for its indigenous population. There is no phrase that says the Zanu-PF Government, whatever its sins, does not hate and kill its own masses but has policies that seek to empower the local masses economically.
Rather, we hear that these policies are bad or unsound – that the "regime" is egregious in human rights violations. In Nicaragua there was no room for contributions from Oxfam America, who had reported that: "Among the four countries in the region where Oxfam America works (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua), only in Nicaragua has a substantial effort been made to address inequities in land ownership and to extend health, educational and agricultural services to poor peasant families."
In Zimbabwe those who hail the country’s outstanding achievements in educating its population in the last 28 years are totally ignored, at best treated or labelled the regime’s apologists or propagandists if they keep repeating the unwanted and unwelcome reminders.
Those who hail the country for coming top in efforts to combat HIV and Aids prevalence even under the extremely hard economic conditions largely caused by Western-imposed sanctions are also labelled "those propping the regime".
And none of this can be known outside narrow circles that escape the constraints of the Western indoctrination system, and these views are inexpressible in the opinion pages of the Western Press, especially when it is time to "debate" the propriety of an escalation of hostility against Zimbabwe, like we see and hear with this bull-dusting about "intervention in the wake of the cholera pandemic".
There is no room for Sadc’s position, no room for South Africa’s quiet diplomacy. Rather, there are acres of space to cover the obnoxious rants from Sadc’s slouching novice, Sereste Khama Ian Khama of Botswana, who happens to think that regional consensus is meaningless if it does not remove Mugabe for him and his comrade in treachery, Tsvangirai.
As a response to Tsvangirai’s disregard for the mandate and regional authority of Sadc, the West sees it fit to correct the wrong man, Robert Mugabe, by continually saying the way to solve the stalemate is to have him removed from office.
Just like Washington tolerated the atrocities of the Contras while blaming the Sandinistas for everything that was not going well in Nicaragua, we see London and Washington tolerating Tsvangirai’s disgusting flip-flops and even patiently putting up with his apparent lack of political skill and a clear absence of political acumen.
All this can wait if only the brain-dead brave man can help push out Robert Mugabe.
If at all reported in the West, the political shortcomings of Morgan Tsvangirai (which are many) are only blandly covered, evoking no comment and quickly forgotten.
Someone at the BBC aptly described Tsvangirai by saying "the only consistent thing about him is inconsistency".
However, this unfitting character for a whole would-be Prime Minister is sidelined as irrelevant when it comes to the agenda of foreign interference in Zimbabwe.
This practice of engaging in elitist indoctrination of the ordinary people is far more general in the West and it is very understandable.
One can see it very clearly in the pursuance of a commitment to "objectivity" in reporting on "fledgling democracies" like Kenya and Botswana, and the "resistance to tyranny" in Zimbabwe.
The Western media will not report that Sadc wants Tsvangirai sworn in as Prime Minister based on the position the regional body adopted in South Africa recently.
They will not report that the majority of Zimbabweans are frustrated that Tsvangirai is increasingly proving to be unreliable and dishonest by the way he keeps changing his positions in the negotiations for an inclusive Government. This is largely because he is changing these positions on behalf of Western elites.
The Iraqi shoe-hurling scene should serve as a reminder to those hankering for military intervention in Zimbabwe – a reminder that the locals are not going to line up the streets throwing flowers at invaders but will be hurling more deadly weaponry at whoever takes it upon themselves to liberate Zimbabweans from their independence. It is this writer’s conviction that Zimbabweans can walk through this hard time together and come out of it in harmonious victory.
Zimbabwe, we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!
l Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit www.rwafawarova.com
By Stephen Gowans
THE crisis in Zimbabwe has intensified. Inflation is incalculably high. The central bank limits — to an inadequate level — the amount of money Zimbabweans can withdraw from their bank accounts daily.
Unarmed soldiers riot. Hospital staff fails to show up for work. The water authority is short of chemicals to purify drinking water.
Cholera, easily prevented and cured under normal circumstances, has broken out, leading the Government to declare a humanitarian emergency.
In the West, state officials call for the country’s President, Robert Mugabe, to step down and yield power to the leader of the largest faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai.
In this, the crisis is directly linked to Mugabe, its solution to Tsvangirai, but it’s never said what Mugabe has done to cause the crisis, or how Tsvangirai’s ascension to the Presidency will make it go away.
The causal chain leading to the crisis can be diagrammed roughly as follows:
l In the late 90s, President Mugabe’s Government provokes the hostility of the West by: (1) intervening militarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the side of the young government of Laurent Kabila, helping to thwart an invasion by Rwandan and Ugandan forces backed by the United States and Britain; (2) it rejects a pro-foreign investment economic restructuring programme the International Monetary Fund establishes as a condition for balance of payment support; (3) it accelerates land redistribution by seizing white-owned farms and thereby committing the ultimate affront against owners of productive property — expropriation without compensation.
To governments whose foreign policy is based in large measure on protecting their nationals’ ownership rights to foreign productive assets, expropriation, and especially expropriation without compensation, is intolerable, and must be punished to deter others from doing the same.
l In response, the US, as prime guarantor of the imperialist system, introduces the December 2001 Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. The Act instructs US representatives to international financial institutions "to oppose and vote against any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution".
l The Act effectively deprives Zimbabwe of foreign currency required to import necessities from abroad, including chemicals to treat drinking water. Development aid from the World Bank is also cut off, denying the country access to funds to upgrade its infrastructure. The central bank takes measures to mitigate the effects of the Act, creating hyper-inflation as a by-product.
The cause of the crisis, then, can be traced directly to the West. Rather than banning the export of goods to Zimbabwe, the US denied Zimbabwe the means to import goods — not trade sanctions, but an act that had the same effect.
To be sure, had the Zimbabwe government reversed its land reform programme and abided by IMF demands, the crisis would have been averted. But the trigger was pulled in Washington, London and Brussels, and it is the West, therefore, that bears the blame.
Sanctions are effectively acts of war, with often equivalent, and sometimes more devastating, consequences.
More than a million Iraqis died as a result of a decade-long sanctions regime championed by the US following the 1991 Gulf War.
This prompted two political scientists, John and Karl Mueller, to coin the phrase "sanctions of mass destruction".
They noted that sanctions had "contributed to more deaths in the post-Cold War era than all the weapons of mass destruction in history".
The Western media refer to sanctions on Zimbabwe as targeted — limited only to high state officials and other individuals.
This ignores the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and conceals its devastating impact, thereby shifting responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe from the US to President Mugabe.
The cholera outbreak has a parallel in the outbreak of cholera in Iraq following the Gulf War.
Thomas Nagy, a business professor at George Washington University, cited declassified documents in the September 2001 issue of The Progressive magazine showing that the US had deliberately bombed Iraq’s drinking water and sanitation facilities, recognising that sanctions would prevent Iraq from rebuilding its water infrastructure and that epidemics of otherwise preventable diseases, cholera among them, would ensue. Washington, in other words, deliberately created a humanitarian catastrophe to achieve its goal of regime change.
There is a direct parallel with Zimbabwe — the only difference is that the US uses the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act — that is, sanctions of mass destruction — in place of bombing.
Harare’s land reform programme is one of the principal reasons the US has gone to war with Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has redistributed land previously owned by 4 000 white farmers to 300 000 previously landless families, descendants of black Africans whose land was stolen by white settlers.
By contrast, South Africa’s ANC government has redistributed only 4 percent of the 87 percent of land forcibly seized from the indigenous population by Europeans.
In March, South Africa’s cabinet seemed ready to move ahead with a plan to accelerate agrarian reform.
It would abandon the "willing seller, willing buyer" model insisted on by the West, following in President Mugabe government’s footsteps.
Under the plan, 30 percent of farmland would be redistributed to black farmers by 2014.
But the Government has since backed away, its reluctance to move forward based on the following considerations:
l Most black South Africans are generations removed from the land, and no longer have the skills and culture necessary to immediately farm at a high level. An accelerated land reform programme would almost certainly lower production levels, as new farmers played catch-up to acquire critical skills.
l South Africa is no longer a net exporter of food. An accelerated land reform programme would likely force the country, in the short term, to rely more heavily on agricultural imports, at a time food prices are rising globally.
l There is a danger that fast-track land reform will create a crisis of capital flight.
l The dangers of radical land reform in provoking a backlash from the West are richly evident in the example of Zimbabwe. South Africa would like to avoid becoming the next Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis is accompanied by a political crisis. Talks on forming a government of national unity are stalled.
Failure to strike a deal pivots on a single ministry — Home Affairs. In the West, failure to consolidate a deal between President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the two MDC factions is attributed to President Mugabe’s intransigence in insisting that he control all key Cabinet posts.
It takes two to tango.
Tsvangirai has shown little interest in striking an accord, preferring instead to raise objections to every solution to the impasse put forward by outside mediators, as Western ambassadors hover nearby.
It’s as if, with the country teetering on the edge of collapse, he does not want to do a deal, preferring instead to help hasten the collapse by throwing up obstacles to an accord, to clear the way for his ascension to the Presidency.
When the mediation of former South African president Thabo Mbeki failed, Tsvangirai asked the regional grouping, the Sadc, to intervene.
Sadc ordered Zanu-PF and MDC-T to share the Home Affairs Ministry. Tsvangirai refused. Now he wants Mbeki replaced.
At the Sadc meeting, President Mugabe presented a report which alleges that MDC-T militias are being trained in Botswana by Britain, to be deployed to Zimbabwe early in 2009 to foment a civil war.
The turmoil would be used as a pretext for outside military intervention.
This would follow the model used to oust the Haitian government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Already, British officials and clergymen are calling for intervention.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the cholera outbreak makes Zimbabwe’s crisis international because disease can cross borders.
Since an international crisis is within the purview of the "international community", the path is clear for the West and its satellites to step in to set matters straight
Botswana is decidedly hostile.
The country’s Foreign Minister, Phando Skelemani, says Zimbabwe’s neighbours should impose an oil blockade to bring the Mugabe Government down.
Meanwhile, representatives of "The Elders", Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and Graca Machel, sought to enter Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian situation.
In as much as an adequate assessment could not be made on the whistle-stop tour the trio had planned, Harare barred their entry, recognising that the trip would simply be used as a platform to declaim on the necessity of regime change.
The "Elders" humanitarian concern, however, didn’t stop the trio from agreeing that stepped-up sanctions — more misery for the population — would be useful.
President Mugabe’s Government pursuit of land reform, rejection of neo-liberal restructuring, and movement to eclipse US imperialism in Southern Africa, has put Zimbabwe on the receiving end of a Western attack based on punitive financial sanctions.
The intention, as is true of all Western destabilisation efforts, has been to make the target country ungovernable, forcing the government to step down, clearing the way for the ascension of the West’s local errand boys.
Owing to the West’s attack, Zimbabwe’s Government is struggling to provide the population with basic necessities.
It can no longer provide basic sanitation and access to potable water at a sufficient level to prevent the outbreak of otherwise preventable diseases.
The replacement of the Mugabe Government with one led by MDC, a party created and directed by Western governments, if it happens, will lead to an improvement in the humanitarian situation.
This won’t come about because MDC is more competent at governing, but because sanctions will be lifted and access to balance of payment support and development aid will be restored.
Zimbabwe will once again be able to import adequate amounts of water purification chemicals.
The improving humanitarian situation will be cited as proof the West was right all along in insisting on a change of government.
The downside is that measures to indigenise the economy — to place the country’s agricultural and mineral wealth in the hands of the black majority — will be reversed.
President Mugabe and key members of the State will be shipped off to The Hague — or attempts will be made to ship them off — to send a message to others about what befalls those who threaten the dominant mode of property relations and challenge Western domination.
Cowed by the example of Zimbabwe, Africans in other countries will back away from their own land reform and economic indigenisation demands, and the continent will settle more firmly into a pattern of neo-colonial subjugation.
l This article was sourced from gowans.wordpress.com.
DELEGATES to the 10th Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference yesterday denounced the assassination attempt on Airforce of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri by unknown gunmen who shot and injured him on his palm last week.
Declaring the assassination attempt as an act of cowardice delegates including Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Cde Martin Dinha urged the country especially members of the ruling party to remain vigilant as the enemy has come up with a different way to eliminate revolutionaries.
Cde Dinha said the attempt on Air Marshal Shiri, who is also a prominent farmer in the province, would not douse the revolutionary spirit against imperialists trying to recolonise the country through illegal regime change.
"The party and the country should remain vigilant especially when the enemy is trying to intimidate senior Zanu-PF and Government officials through these attacks. As party leadership in the province we wish Cde Shiri a quick recovery so that he comes back to front and fight for the defence of the country," he said.
He said the period that Zimbabwe is in required people of Cde Shiri’s resolute leadership who, with distinction, had lead during the war of liberation, post independence and during the Third Chimurenga.
Cde Dinha said the attacks would not cower the leadership to surrender to the whims of the imperialists but
would actually strengthen them in the fight to defend the gains of the liberation
Air Marshal Shiri was shot and injured last Saturday evening by unidentified gunmen who ambushed him while he was driving to his farm.
Air Marshal Shiri survived the assassination attempt, which occurred at around 8:30pm. He suffered a gunshot wound on the right palm and is receiving treatment at a Harare hospital.
Government said the attempt on Air Marshal Shiri appeared to be part of targeted terror attacks to destabilise the country.
The assassination attempt came after several bombing incidents across the country including the bombing of Harare Central Police Station, the Manyame River road and rail bridges, and CID headquarters, a pattern of bombings that began soon after the MDC-T announced a ‘defiance’ campaign last year.
Written by Kabanda Chulu and Agness Changala
Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:52:57 AM
THE Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has warned that a reduction in agriculture production next year will result in the country not having enough foreign exchange reserves. And BoZ governor Dr Caleb Fundanga has challenged the civil society and business houses to engage in partnerships in order to improve infrastructure in the country.
Meanwhile, University of Zambia (UNZA) Dean of the School of Medicine Professor Yakub Mulla has expressed concern at the country’s failure to establish more medical schools.
Dr Fundanga said on Thursday that Zambia needed to ensure that there were adequate food reserves in order to mitigate the impact of the current global economic crisis.
“Our economy is vulnerable but we should feed ourselves even in terms of droughts. We should have adequate food reserves and it is embarrassing that we don’t grow enough food despite having plenty of land and water resources,” Dr Fundanga said.
“And I am urging commercial banks to support agriculture because if we record a decline in production next year, that will result in food shortage and there might not be enough foreign exchange to use for imports hence we will starve and die.”
Dr Fundanga said the current crisis had posed an awakening about the need to diversify more into the agriculture sector.
“In a crisis like this, we must eat and postpone costs like importation of cars and other luxuries and this calls for creation of enough food reserves that can even take two or more years hence we should work hard and grow more food because imports will deplete foreign exchange reserves,” he said.
And during the handover ceremony of the donation of books and equipment from AIMS to UNZA School of medicine at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) on Thursday, Dr Fundanga urged the school to identify the pressing needs of the institution so that more material could be sourced from well wishers.
AIMS is a Zambian-controlled non-profit, nonpartisan corporation based in the USA with offices in California whose objective is to make a contribution to rebuilding Zambia by redirecting the available surplus resources of nationals and friends of Zambia living in America.
And Prof Mulla said it was sad that students had to depend on the few existing medical schools which he said were not adequate.
He welcomed the donation as it was going to improve the situation in the school.
Mulla further expressed happiness at the fact that 90 per cent of specialists trained by the school were working in the country.
Written by Lambwe Kachali
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said President Rupiah Banda’s government is incapable of finding solutions to problems that citizens are currently facing.
And Hichilema said Zambians must pray ceaselessly because they will face harder times under President Banda’s administration.
In an interview, Hichilema said President Banda’s recent complaints that he had faced more problems than any other president the country has had were not true, saying that was enough for Zambians to understand that they did not have a competent government.
“I don’t know how long Rupiah thought he would hide his lies. And now instead of facing the world economic crisis and how it has affected Zambia, he is busy mourning.
Maybe it shows lack of seriousness to run the country. During the fight for independence, Dr [Kenneth] Kaunda faced difficult times but he never complained publicly like Rupiah.
During the fight for multipartism, it was tough. Now what is he complaining about?” Hichilema asked. “He is basically confessing that he has failed to run Zambia. Rupiah’s lies are melting now under his own shadow; lies never last long.”
Hichilema said unless President Banda stopped mourning and worked hard, Zambia would soon become an economic desert because activities in some sectors would be grounded.
“Already, the number of tourists visiting the country has declined, meaning there will soon be job losses in that sector as well. This is sector by sector,” he said.
He said he was also writing proposals to President Banda to help his government tackle the country’s economic impasse.
Hichilema said the problems that had befallen Zambia required a by-partisan approach.
“I don’t agree that NCC must be stopped now, because they have already spent billions.
Although that is extravagance, we want Rupiah to instruct NCC chairman Chifumu Banda to conclude NCC by June next year, because by abandoning the NCC process now, we will be in trouble in 2011; we need the 50 plus one presidential majority vote provision in the constitution, because that clause will help unite Zambia. We also want to see the new electoral Act so that we can have an independent Electoral Commission,” said Hichilema. “These are some of the things I am writing to him about.”
Written by Nicholas Mwale and Mutuna Chanda
Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:28:24 AM
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) member of parliament for Chimwemwe Constituency Willie Nsanda has said this year’s Christmas and New Year will leave Zambians with sad faces because they have nothing to cerebrate for.
And Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) president S’dumo Dlamini has declared a black Christmas for workers in the region in view of the job losses caused by the global financial crisis.
Meanwhile, Dlamini has advised the Zambian government to look at ways of buying back some of the key industries to enable it have control over workers’ job security.
In an Interview, Nsanda said it was worrying that even the President had lost hope in finding solutions to the problems the country was facing.
“How are people going to celebrate Christmas and New Year when they don’t have money? How possible is it to celebrate without food? Have fuel prices been reduced as we were promised in Parliament?” Nsanda asked.
He urged people to keep the money for their children’s school fees in January next year instead of spending it on Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
“Zambians won’t enjoy Christmas and New Year in any way. This time, people should just mourn the sufferings and pray to God for the economic revival,” said Nsanda.
And Dlamini said December 2008 was not a festive season since many workers were losing their jobs while others were facing threats of job losses.
He cited the South African case which faced a threat of over 19,000 job losses.
“We’re not going to be spared from the recession in the economy,” he said.
Dlamini however said COSATU was engaging employers and the government in trying to save massive job losses.
He also suggested that employers needed to look at strategies that would not catch workers off guard.
“Instead of retrenching workers randomly, there is need to consider those who are willing to take early retirement and voluntary retrenchments,” he said.
And Dlamini urged Zambian workers to mount pressure on the government to buy back key enterprises.
“The major problem with Zambia is that almost the entire industry has been privatised making it difficult for government to act and also to suggest that the government should intervene,” said Dlamini.
Mayoral electionsMayoral elections
Written by Editor
The confrontation between local government minister Benny Tetamashimba and Patriotic Front president Michael Sata concerning the holding of mayoral election is bad for development and should be stopped immediately. And the only person who should stop this is President Rupiah Banda who is expected to make correct pronouncements of the matter.
We say this confrontation is bad for development because no meaningful development at the local level will take place for as long as this standoff between Sata and Tetamashimba is not resolved.
There is need for our people to follow this matter closely and ensure that right decisions are made by those who aspire to lead or are leading the country.
Confusion on this matter started when Tetamashimba, the other week, ordered the postponement of mayoral elections following his issuance of a Statutory Instrument to that effect. He said the elections would be postponed for at least six months because the government has no money to conduct such elections and organise installation ceremonies that will follow later on.
He justified his decision which he said was sound at law because all he needed to postpone those elections as minister was just to issue a Statutory Instrument. He said as a result, all mayors, their deputies, council chairmen and their deputies had their mandate extended by virtue of the Statutory Instrument that he had issued.
But Patriotic Front chairman for local government Wynter Kabimba opposed this stance, saying it is illegal. He quoted section 16(2) of the local government Act, Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia which provides that the mayor, deputy, chairman or vice-chairman of a council shall be elected at the first ordinary meeting of the council held after 1st September in that year.
The meaning of this provision in the law is that the civic year for councils starts at the beginning of September and the first item on the agenda for the first meeting in the new civic year is the holding of elections for mayors, their deputies, chairmen and vice-chairmen. In short, any such meeting held without conducting such elections will be illegal.
Of course, Tetamashimba is arguing that his decision is supported by the law because he issued a Statutory Instrument to that effect.
This is where we need advice from Attorney General Mumba Malila because legal experts tell us that a Statutory Instrument cannot override the principal or superior law; in this case, the local government Act.
If this is the position, then it is clear that Tetamashimba's decision is illegal. And all the council meetings that have been conducted after September 1 can be said to be illegal and their decisions null and void, if such meetings were not for the purpose of electing mayors and chairmen.
Unless Tetamashimba had a very compelling reason to go against the law, this move should have been avoided especially that this government is said to be a government of laws and not men. Anyway, it will be interesting to hear Mumba Malila's legal opinion on this matter.
In postponing the mayoral elections, Tetamashimba said some councils did not have the money to conduct elections as they were preparing to control the floods and to prevent cholera outbreaks in their areas.
This kind of reasoning sounds ridiculous. We say ridiculous because we do not think there is a lot of money required to hold such elections, as well as the installation ceremonies that follow the elections. This is because such events are budgeted for by all councils.
In fact, if one has to be serious, it can be said that it is Tetamashimba's decision to postpone these elections which is costing councils some money. So far, Tetamashimba has postponed these elections about three times. This means that councillors were paid allowances whenever they travelled to conduct elections which Tetamashimba later nullified and postponed.
And talking about mayoral elections being costly, we wonder why they should be costly because voters in such elections are councillors who in most cases do not even go beyond the number 50. All that is required is to pay them the usual allowances. There are no other costs involved, as far as we know.
There is every need for President Banda to come in and help resolve this impasse between the Patriotic Front and the government. If allowed to continue unattended to, this stalemate is going to negatively affect development at the local level.
On one hand, the PF leadership has defied Tetamashimba's instructions while on the other, Tetamashimba says the government will not recognise those mayors who have been elected in defiance of his instructions.
And the PF councillors, who control or run all councils on the Copperbelt, among other areas, insist that if their newly-elected mayors do not receive government recognition, then they will never attend any council meeting.
What then will happen if these councillors stop attending council meetings? Without doubt, development at the local level will be affected because no decision will be made or implemented. This can lead to anarchy or chaos in the country because we would like to believe that development anywhere starts at a local level before it is allowed to spread to central government.
President Banda should intervene in this matter because it is such a big national issue which should not be allowed to go beyond what has happened so far. This is not an issue between Sata and Tetamashimba; it is an issue for the government to resolve and resolve correctly, not by manipulation of the law.
President Banda is head of government and what is happening so far in our local authorities is an indictment on his leadership, not Tetamashimba's. The relevance of local authorities to our communities cannot be overemphasized. This is a critical time for the country when development is threatened by a number of factors.
There are many problems in our communities requiring and waiting for urgent solutions from our local authorities. Cholera outbreaks in some areas have so far been reported. And all efforts must be channeled to finding solutions to the many challenges facing our local authorities, instead of starting misplaced fights which will add no value to our communities.
If Tetamashimba really wants to delay mayoral elections, it means no council meeting should take place if the law has to be respected otherwise the law will be broken. The continuation of mayors in their positions is totally illegal. And this must be understood. Tetamashimba cannot claim to respect the law when his actions are in total defiance of the same law.
President Banda must show leadership on this matter. Our people should not suffer because of one minister's complex. We know Tetamashimba is new in that position. But the system is not new. If he doesn't know, let him consult his officials in the ministry who will give him appropriate advice. The Attorney General is also there to offer help, including most town clerks in the country who are actually lawyers.
Yes, Tetamashimba is a minister and will direct all institutions under him. But his directives should be supported by the law. He is not minister to cause disorder and anarchy in the institution he is charged with the responsibility to run.
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:24:07 AM
THE courage that the Cuban revolution has continued to inspire is a lesson from which many countries have to learn, President Rupiah Banda said yesterday.
And President Banda said Cuba has remained a reliable partner in Zambia's development.
Meanwhile, Cuba's new ambassador to Zambia Carmelina Ramirez Rodriguez disclosed that hurricanes that affected Cuba caused damages calculated at US $ 5 billion (about K 24.7 trillion).
Receiving letters of credence from Ambassador Rodriguez at State House in Lusaka, President Banda praised Cuba's revolution.
"Let me use this opportunity to wish you and the people of Cuba on behalf of Zambia our heartfelt congratulations on your 50th Anniversary of the Cuban revolution which falls on 1st January 2009.
The courage that the revolution has continued to inspire in the Cuban people is a lesson from which many of our countries have a lot to learn," President Banda said. "We are impressed with Cuba's ideals of self reliance and sustenance and Zambia is ready to learn from Cuba's experiences."
President Banda said Zambia was examining and considering the possibility of opening a Zambian embassy in Havana, Cuba.
"Your government will be informed as soon as a decision is taken," President Banda said. "We certainly realise that Zambia has much to gain from having representation in Cuba on a residential basis."
He expressed government's gratitude for the long-standing economic, scientific and technical cooperation that had enabled Zambians and Cubans realise their human aspirations.
"Currently we have about 45 Zambia students studying in Cuba," he said. "For us, this is a commendable and worthwhile gesture from the government of Cuba."
He said Zambia and Cuba had always worked closely to safeguard the interests of the third world countries.
"Zambia recognises that we are living in a globalised world in which closer contacts must be seen to be promoted as much as possible," said President Banda.
He also observed that Cuba had suffered several natural calamities which had negatively affected the economy of that country.
"Notwithstanding these negative natural calamities, the people of Cuba have always demonstrated their zeal to overcome the unbearable conditions arising from such calamities," President Banda said. "It is my ardent desire that the government of Cuba will not be deterred by these negative developments in their quest to improve the living standards of the Cuban people."
And Ambassador Rodriguez said the process of Cuba's economic recovery had suffered a slight setback after the passage of two consecutive hurricanes which affected almost all the provinces in the country.
"The losses are calculated to be US $ 5 billion. The battle to make up for the damages caused by these hurricanes has been tough but we Cubans have not been left alone," Ambassador Rodriguez said. "The international support and solidarity have been present."
US $ 5 billion is about K24.7 billion, which is almost twice Zambia's annual national budget.
Ambassador Rodriguez also observed that the bilateral co-operation between Cuba and Zambia had declined to very low levels and there was need to strengthen it.
She pledged to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador Rodriquez thanked Zambia for its permanent support for Cuba's fight against unjust policy of economic blockade imposed by the United States government for almost 50 years.
"The Zambian people have also supported us in the fight for the return of five Cuban anti-terrorists who have been unjustly imprisoned in the US..." said Ambassador Rodriguez, who once served as acting ambassador to Zambia.
Ambassador Rodriquez also described late president Levy Mwanawasa as a virtuous and honest man, who was a friend of the people of Cuba.
Written by Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe
Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:22:02 AM
OVER 1,500 miners have been rendered jobless following Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM)’s formal closure this week.
The mine management has even proposed to finish paying terminal benefits to its retrenched miners by January 31, 2009.
In a brief addressed to all employees and signed by LCM chief operations manager James Bethel, the mining firm has since been placed on care and maintenance.
"This decision was not arrived at easily and only after alternative options have been exhausted, none of which unfortunately deliver a sustainable operation. Care and maintenance as it implies entails the shutting down of the operation and retrenchment of all staff excluding a small number of employees who will continue their duties thereby ensuring that the property and assets are protected and that the Baluba Mine does not flood," read the brief in part.
Bethel stated that the last blast would take place at Baluba Mine today afternoon (Saturday), while loading and trimming at Baluba Mine would be concluded by December 22, 2008.
"Hoisting will be completed by 23rd December and all milling is to be completed by 24th December 2008," he stated.
According to Bethel, the concentrator clean up and the final dispatches would be completed by December 31, 2008 while the payment of benefits due to the employees would be done in accordance with the applicable contracts of employment.
"Each employee shall be notified individually in writing as to when their duties would be suspended and they will no longer be required to report for work. Employees will be advised in their letters whether or not they will be required to work their notice period.
Employees not working their notices will be paid accordingly," read the brief.
Bethel further stated that workers would be paid their bonuses by December 19 (yesterday), and that December salaries and wages would be paid to the workers by December 31, 2008 while notice period and normal salaries, wages and terminal benefits would be paid by January 31,2009.
"The anxiety that this has caused is regrettable and it is the wish of management that this process be conducted in a structured and fair manner with the cooperation of all affected persons," he stated.
Bethel stated that as a low-grade mining operation, the firm had been unable to escape the reality of the low metal prices and the global financial economic crisis.
"The recovery of the metal prices to an acceptable level will prompt the re-opening of the operation and previously employed staff will be firstly considered for re-employment," stated Bethel.
There are about 1,700 employees at the mining firm and following the shutdown of the company, only a skeleton staff of 100 workers would remain to do the care and maintenance work.
Meanwhile, Mine Workers Union (MUZ) secretary general Oswell Munyenyembe expressed displeasure over the move to shutdown the mine and only hoped that a reliable investor would be found soon so that the mine could be reopened and create jobs for the people of Luanshya.
Last weekend, President Rupiah Banda visited Luanshya Copper Mine and held talks with stakeholders.
President Banda directed the mine management to first find money to pay the workers before retrenching them and also to halt the sale of equipment as scrap metal.
Written by Chibaula Silwamba, Mutuna Chanda and Maluba Jere
Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:19:40 AM
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's misrule must come to an end, five foreign affairs ministers from Nordic countries have demanded.
And Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice executive director Joseph Chilengi has observed that the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is now desperate.
According to a media statement from foreign affairs ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and made available to The Post in Lusaka yesterday by Danish Ambassador to Zambia Thomas Schjerbeck, the ministers demanded that the respect for human rights be reinstalled in Zimbabwe.
"The Nordic countries call for an end to the misrule of Robert Mugabe and of the respect for democratic principles and human rights; these are core issues behind the Nordic engagement and support for the liberation struggles in southern Africa," the ministers stated.
The ministers stated that the Nordic countries had a long tradition of engagement with Zimbabwe and other countries in southern Africa.
"Our partnership with countries in the region has historically been built on mutual trust, dialogue and the upholding of common values such as democratic principles and respect for human rights," the ministers stated. "Against this background, [we] the foreign ministers of the Nordic countries are appalled by the grave humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe which continues to deteriorate by the day.
The suffering of the people of Zimbabwe has recently been further aggravated by the outbreak of cholera. The curable disease has already demanded far too many lives."
The ministers observed that authorities in Zimbabwe alone hold the responsibility for the tragic situation the country was currently faced with.
"Violence and intimidation against the critics of the regime in Zimbabwe continue unabated. The Nordic countries are worried about the fate of human rights defender Jestina Mukoko and others and strongly demand that universal human rights are respected in Zimbabwe," they stated.
They called on the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to reach an agreement without further delay and respecting the will of the people of Zimbabwe expressed in the elections of March 29, 2008.
"The Nordic countries remain committed to support the economic and social recovery of Zimbabwe aiming at the sustainable development of the country once a reliable and credible government has been formed and once tangible signs have been shown in key areas in particular human rights," the ministers stated.
And Chilengi, who is in Abuja in Nigeria attending the third session of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union, challenged the international community to urgently invest in emergency humanitarian support in Zimbabwe to save life as the country battles with cholera and a collapsed health system.
"The international community must, as a matter of immediate urgency, invest in emergency humanitarian support in Zimbabwe in order to save to life and to energise the people as they urgently need energy in order to enable them to participate in finding a political solution to the problems of their country," Chilengi stated.
"The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is 'now desperate'; it is likely to only worsen in the coming months as the country's political crisis continues. Zimbabwe may have no population by the time a political solution is found to their problem unless a massive humanitarian investment is undertaken by the international community at a level and scale unprecedented in the history of the political crisis.
He condemned the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for concentrating on generating reports on the situation instead of quickly mobilising resources to respond.
"The response of OCHA and the international community is unacceptable and should be condemned in the strongest terms. OCHA and the international community should be relevant to the common people in time of critical need as the people of Zimbabwe are.
OCHA should avoid being political and provide leadership in mobilising humanitarian response," he stated.
He regretted what he termed as the laxed approach by the international community to the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
"Now is the time for humanitarian response and not assessment missions, given how rapidly the situation is deteriorating," he stated.
Chilengi stressed that Zimbabweans needed food for them to actively participate in solving the problems that their country faced.
"Zimbabweans now are hungry and weak and therefore, cannot rise to the challenges of their country. They see their role in finding a solution to their country's problems as a distant risk. They are more concerned with what to eat now," stated Chilengi.
"The people of Zimbabwe cannot afford another failure by the international community to respond to their humanitarian situation that would give them energy that would allow them to tackle the formidable challenges ahead."
And the Zambia Social Forum (ZSF) has lodged an appeal to civil society and individuals in the country to make contributions that could save lives in Zimbabwe.
Written by Patson Chilemba, Lambwe Kachali and Mutuna Chanda
Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:16:39 AM
TETAMASHIMBA is very primitive because he does not understand the local government Act, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata charged yesterday.
And PF Mufulira councilors yesterday elected a mayor and deputy despite a standing postponement of mayoral polls.
But Lusaka town clerk Timothy Hakuyu said he would not conduct any election without the approval of local government minister Benny Tetamashimba.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Mumba Malila has written to Tetamashimba advising him on how the mayoral elections which have been postponed should be handled.
Commenting on Tetamashimba's statement that government would not recognise the election of Stephen Chipungu of PF as Kitwe mayor, Sata said mayors did not require to be recognised by the government.
“The mayors, as opposed to the Speaker, do not need any recognition from the government. The Speaker needs government recognition because he takes oath before the President. There is no oath when installing a mayor, it's just a mere ceremony,” he said.
Sata said it was sad that despite having been in the local government ministry for a considerable period of time, Tetamashimba had little understanding of local governance.
He charged that Tetamashimba could rig the elections but could not rig the local government administration.
“Tetamashimba must realise, in 2006 Levy Mwanawasa, [Sylvia] Masebo, we agreed to differ. We agreed to recognise each other that they were the government and we were running councils and they did not do anything stupid to provoke us,” Sata said.
“Sylvia knew local government because she was my first deputy mayor. She was arrogant but cooperative. But this man [Tetamashimba] is primitive and arrogant. He failed to run North-Western Co-operative Association. He should not think that local government is an association, it deals with laws.”
On Tetamashimba's challenge for Sata to tell the nation why he did not hold elections for four years when he served as local government minister, Sata said there was something wrong with Tetamashimba.
“Is Tetamashimba normal? The man is very dull. I was only minister for two years. He is so dull because if a certain minister committed a mistake, should he committ the same mistake also?” Sata asked.
Several PF councillors in Lusaka have pledged to obey Sata's directive to defy the government's directive not to hold mayoral elections.
Some PF councillors called on their fellow councillors to hold mayoral elections next week.
Mandevu member of parliament Jean Kapata said councillors should not waste time but elect a new mayor immediately.
Lusaka-Central member of parliament Dr Guy Scott said PF was in the process of organising elections.
He said the party would first try to have council officials conduct elections but should that fail then councillors would do it themselves.
Councillor Mwewa Musaiwale said councillors were wondering why Tetamashimba kept on postponing elections.
But Hakuyu said he would not conduct any election without Tetamashimba's approval.
“I believe where they have held elections without the chief executives, those elections are null and void. So if there are no council officials that would be considered as a caucus and not a council meeting,” said Hakuyu.
On Sata's statement that councillors should get rid of council chief executives who might attempt to prevent them from holding elections, Hakuyu said people should not be fired on reasons that were not noble.
And Mufulira has become the third Copperbelt town to hold mayoral elections even after Tetamashimba said that Kitwe polls which were held on Wednesday were illegal.
Mufulira councilors' action was seemingly an action on Sata's instructions to PF controlled councils to defy government's directive not to hold mayoral elections.
PF Mufulira district chairman John Katati confirmed that Thomson Ngulube of Mulungushi ward was elected mayor while Andrew Msiska of Hankey Kalanda ward was voted as his deputy.
Asked on the legality of the mayoral elections when officials of the council administration were not part of the proceedings, Katati said the new office bearers were elected legally and would operate as such.
When contacted, Mufulira town clerk Charles Mwandila expressed ignorance over the elections and said as far as he was concerned, councillor Stanley Kaluba was still the mayor.
Kitwe, Chingola and now Mufulira have defied the ministerial directive and held mayoral elections despite not having any council officer to conduct the polls.
Meanwhile, Mumba Malila - who could not disclose the details of the advisory letter to Tetamashimba - said the matter would be rested soon.
Malila said if it was any other matter, he would have disclosed details of his writen advice to Tetamashimba.
“I am sorry I am not able to help you. I have already given my advice to my client the government and in this case the minister. My advice at this time remains confidential, so I would expect the minister to make a public statement. If it was any other matter, I would have given you the position of the law. But on this, they [PF] have threatened legal action,” said Malila.
“So, those details should be given by the minister not me, and I hope the position should be clarified soon by the minister so that the public can understand.”
Friday, December 19, 2008
Ian Scoones, Challenges the myths about Zimbabwean agriculture and land reform
15 September 2008
The long-awaited political agreement in Zimbabwe is to be welcomed. After years of political impasse and economic instability, there is a potential for a new start. But an informed debate on the future is needed and a focus on land and the agricultural sector must be central to these discussions. The new government will be offered advice from all quarters – consultants from around the world will arrive by the plane load, and the donor community and foreign think-tanks of all persuasions will forward their preferred plans and programmes.
But the new government must be careful. Too much of the past period has been coloured by ideological posturing and misinformation – from all sides. For a sound, sustainable policy approach for the future, a hard look at the evidence on the ground must be the starting point. This must involve engaging with field research aimed at understanding the unfolding dynamics of land, agriculture and livelihoods – and the perspective of farmers and land users themselves.
The ‘Livelihoods after Land Reform in Southern Africa’ programme has been doing just this. Led by the University of the Western Cape’s Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, and involving researchers in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe (www.lalr.org.za) work in Zimbabwe has focused on Masvingo province in the south east of the country. The detailed study has tracked the evolution of land reform in the province since 2000, assessing the consequences for people’s livelihoods and the wider economy. It has revealed some important insights that challenge the ‘conventional wisdoms’ dominating media and academic commentary alike.
The research to date raises some fundamental challenges to five oft-repeated myths about recent Zimbabwean land reform and offers some important insights for the future direction of rural policy in Zimbabwe.
Myth 1: Zimbabwean land reform has been a total failure
There is no single story of land reform in Zimbabwe: the story is mixed – by region, by type of scheme, by settler. In Masvingo province, 1.2 million hectares have been redistributed to around 20,000 households. Across these there is much variation. On the so-called A1 schemes (smallholder farming), where there is low capital investment and a reliance on local labour, settlers have done reasonably well, particularly in the wetter parts of the province. Households have cleared land, planted crops and invested in new assets, many hiring in labour from nearby communal areas. Within these new resettlement areas, there has been a rapid socio-economic stratification – some do well while others struggle.
Some have left, often because misfortune, ill-health or death (often precipitated by HIV/AIDS) although overall attrition rates have been small.
On the A2 schemes – aimed at small-scale commercial agriculture – the economic meltdown of the past few years has prevented substantial capital investment, and new enterprises have been slow to take off. There are some notable exceptions, however, where new commercial farming enterprises have emerged against all the odds, although these have struggled given hyperinflation and lack of credit. On the redistributed areas of the sugar estates in the lowveld there is a similarly mixed story, with some new farmers making a go of sugar production on 30ha plots, often converting some of their land to vegetables and other crops to spread the risk. However, again, constraints imposed by economic conditions have put pressure on these new operations; and the estate system, geared to large scale production, has been slow to respond to the new situation.
In interviews with new settlers, despite the problems, there is universal acclaim for the resettlement programme: ‘Life has changed remarkably for me because I have more land and can produce more than I used to,’ said one; while another observed, ‘We are happier here at resettlement. There is more land, stands are larger and there is no overcrowding. We got good yields in 2006. I filled two granaries with sorghum’.
The contrasts between A1 and A2, small and large scale, smallholder and commercial are rather arbitrary and misleading. There is much blurring between these different models. Since 2000 the old dualistic agricultural economy, the inheritance of the colonial era, has gone for good, and a new agrarian structure is fast emerging. This creates challenges and opportunities, winners and losers, but cannot be characterised as abject failure. New policy frameworks will have to recognise this new reality and avoid the temptation of re-imposing old and out-dated models. As a senior extension official commented, ‘We don’t know our new clients; this is a wholly new scenario’.
Myth 2: The beneficiaries of Zimbabwean land reform have been largely political ‘cronies’
While no-one denies the operation of political patronage in the allocation of land since 2000, particularly in the high value farms of the Highveld near Harare, the overall pattern is not simply one of elite capture. Across the 16 sites and 400 households (341 under A1, 59 under A2) surveyed in Masvingo, 60 per cent of new settlers were classified as ‘ordinary farmers’. These were people who had joined the land invasions from nearby communal areas, and had been allocated land by the District Land Committees under the fast-track programme.
This was not a rich, politically-connected elite but poor, rural people in need of land and keen to finally gain the fruits of independence. As one put it. ‘Land is what we fought for. Our relatives died for this land… Now we must make use of it’. In terms of socio-economic profile, this group was very similar to those in the communal areas – slightly younger and more educated on average, but equally asset poor. Others who also gained from the land reform included former farm workers, some of whom organised invasions on the farms where they had worked. This group made up seven per cent of the total, a similar number to the war veterans who had often led the land invasions, and who, as a result, generally had slightly larger, often ‘self-contained’ plots.
On the new resettlements, particularly in the A2 schemes, there were significant numbers of civil servants (14 per cent across all resettlement sites) – usually teachers or extension workers who had been allocated land. With non-existent salaries from their government jobs, access to land became critical for sustaining livelihoods. A further 5 per cent were identified as business people, often those with businesses such as shops, bottle stores or transport operations in town. Finally, there was a group, mostly given land on the A2 schemes, who were members of the security services – police, army, intelligence officers with strong political connections. This group made up three per cent of the total beneficiaries, and was the one which was probably most associated with political patronage and ruling party connections.
These latter groups – civil servants, business people and security service employees, however, have added in different ways both expertise and connections which assisted the broader community. This wide social mix in the new resettlements contrasts with older resettlement schemes and thecommunal areas, offering opportunities for social and economic innovation in the longer term.
An understanding of this social composition and its potentials will be critical in any future policy support for the new resettlements. It is important not to assume that the A1 schemes are ‘just like the communal areas’ and that the A2 schemes are ‘just small commercial farms’. With the new agrarian structure, a new social and economic order is emerging in the rural areas of Zimbabwe, one that will require carefully attuned policy support to foster the undeniable, but as yet unrealised, potentials.
Myth 3: There is no investment in the new resettlements
International media images of destruction and chaos have dominated the headlines about Zimbabwe’s land reform. While there has certainly been substantial damage done to the basic infrastructure of commercial agriculture operations in some parts of the country – perpetrated by both new land occupiers and former owners – there has also been significant new investment; almost all of it private, individual efforts with vanishingly little provision through the state.
Changes to the production system – from large-scale commercial farming to largely smallholder mixed farming systems – means investment is not in the form of pivot irrigation schemes or mechanised dairies, for example, but more modest and appropriate to immediate needs and ambitions. The new settlers, particularly on the smallholder A1 schemes, have cleared substantial areas of land (on average around three hectares per household), involving substantial labour in clearing bush, de-stumping and ploughing.
Settlers have also built new homes, 41 per cent made from bricks, many with tin or asbestos roofing. A key investment has been cattle, with herds building up fast. 62 per cent have cattle on the resettlements, with an average herd size of five. They have also acquired equipment: 75 per cent of households own ploughs; 40 per cent own bicycles; 39 per cent own ox-drawn carts and 15 per cent own private cars. This level of asset ownership is higher than comparable samples in the neighbouring communal areas and since acquiring land most new settlers have been accumulating, despite the hardships.
The investment picture on the A2 schemes is less promising. Most A2 schemes in Masvingo province are little different to the A1 areas, with only a small portion of the land utilised. However a few – with access to alternative sources of investment income, usually in foreign exchange – have managed to invest in new equipment and develop new enterprises. One, for example, has developed an irrigated wheat farm, with a new pump station, irrigation piping, tractors and hiring in combine harvesters. Another is developing a dairy, combined with a beef production feedlot system. Others have started horticultural enterprises, resuscitating abandoned irrigation equipment.
These successes are few and far between and most have been unable to invest, due to the state of the wider economy. The key policy challenge for the immediate future will be the stabilisation of the economy and, with this, provision of credit for new farmers – not just those undertaking so-called ‘commercial’ enterprises, but the many commercially-minded smallholders too. If fostered sensitively a vibrant agricultural economy will almost certainly re-emerge – though transformed and requiring substantial investment in new market chains and support systems.
Myth 4: Agriculture is in complete ruins
Agriculture in Zimbabwe has been through difficult times. Radical restructuring is inevitably painful and especially so when combined with economic collapse and recurrent drought. All statistical indicators on all commodities are down – reflecting the collapse of the old, formal, commercial agricultural economy but not the whole agricultural economy, particularly in the smallholder sector.
In Masvingo province the former commercial agricultural sector was dominated by the beef industry and the wildlife sector – and in the estates, sugar and citrus. The beef industry has transformed radically and the wildlife sector is suffering due to the decline in tourism and hunting. But former beef ranches have been taken over by small-scale mixed agriculture, with significant new investment in multiple use livestock herds and flocks, combined with arable agriculture, mostly maize with small grains in the drier areas.
While operating well below potential due to the poor supply of inputs – notably seeds and fertilizers – this sector, particularly in the A1 schemes, is certainly producing. In the relatively wet season of 2005-06, around 75 per cent of households in the northerly sites in Gutu and Masvingo districts produced more than one tonne of maize, sufficient for household provision, some sales and storage. However, this was not replicated in the drier areas – or in recent drier years when the food security situation has been very precarious.
This demonstrates the potential of small-scale agriculture on the new resettlements, as one among a number of sources of livelihood which includes a diversified portfolio of off-farm activities, trade and remittance income. The potential of agriculture, as the core livelihood activity for most, will need to be nurtured and enhanced by policy interventions that ensure input supply and wider extension support, both currently sorely lacking. For the drier areas, water control is the key constraint, and investment in small-scale irrigation and water harvesting is unquestionably a major priority for the future.
Myth 5: The rural economy has collapsed
While the wider formal economy is in dire straits, and inflation running wild, the rural economy in Masvingo province has been adapting fast. The radical shift in agrarian structure has altered value chains – formerly dominated by large-scale commercial agriculture, white-owned businesses and government parastatals – beyond recognition.
The beef value chain is a good example (see Mavedzenge et al 2008). In the past there was a reliance on a few suppliers from the large-scale ranchers, going through a few abattoirs or the Cold Storage Company. Today a huge range of sources supply meat and many new players are involved. The collapse of the export market due to foot-and-mouth outbreaks has led to a focus on local sales and market connections. There have been significant supply constraints, as new farmers build up their herds and avoid selling – beef is no longer sold through in-town supermarkets, but through small butcheries and pole slaughter outlets in the rural areas and townships.
Newly emerging supply chains are linking the resettlement areas with feedlots and butcheries in very different patterns of ownership and management to before. This means that new players are participating in the rural economy, and benefits are being more widely distributed. Economic activity has thus relocated, linking local supply and demand, as well as new trading links, often involving illegal cross-border economic exchange.
There is also evidence of substantial investment in new businesses in and around the new resettlements, including shops, bottle stores, butcheries and transport operations. Such investment has generated a variety of new economic linkages, creating some much-needed rural employment. These multiplier effects have, however, been undermined by the wider hyperinflationary pressures, together with the imposition of price controls and other measures. But, with changed conditions, these new businesses will be revived and new economic activity will undoubtedly emerge.
Future strategies must work to enhance economic stability – boosting local production and spending power. At the moment the overall net benefits of restructuring following land reform are unclear, but, with the right support, wider economic growth can be realised. What will be essential is to ensure that such support does not undermine the diversified entrepreneurialism that has emerged in recent years. The complex new value chains are perhaps a bit haphazard, unregulated and chaotic at times but their benefits are more widely distributed and economic linkages more embedded in the local economy. In the longer term such new economic arrangements can enhance broad-based and resilient growth and livelihood generation in ways that the old agrarian structure could never do.
Let us hope that the new government – and the donor community who will hopefully rush to support it – will take heed of such findings, and act to support positive change, rather than – as so often happens with hasty decisions and ideologically-driven positions – undermine the clear potentials and opportunities.
Much needs to be done: there is an urgent need for economic and political stability; there are substantial requirements for focused investment and support in agriculture; but, at the same time, there is also much to build on and positive dynamics to catalyse. Let us hope that a positive spiral will emerge which builds on the redistributive gains of the land reform and the real potentials of small-scale agriculture to be the motor of economic growth and regeneration.
Ian Scoones is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK. He is an agricultural ecologist by original training and has worked in rural Zimbabwe since 1985. His PhD thesis was entitled Livestock Populations and Household Economy: A Case Study from Southern Zimbabwe (University of London, 1990). He is the author of numerous articles, chapters and reports on rural Zimbabwe, including the 1996 book “Hazards and Opportunities: Farming Livelihoods in Dryland Zimbabwe” (Zed Press). He is a member of the Livelihoods after Land Reform project team. All views presented in this article are personal ones.
For work on the changes in the livestock sector following land reform, see http://www.ids.ac.uk/UserFiles/File/knots_team/Masvingo_research_report.pdf
On ‘real markets’ and the changing beef commodity chain, see: Mavedzenge, B.Z., J. Mahenehene, F. Murimbarimba, I. Scoones and W. Wolmer (2008) The Dynamics of Real Markets: Cattle in Southern Zimbabwe Following Land Reform. Development and Change, 39(4): 611–637.
For a focus on crop-livestock integration, see: Scoones, I. and Wolmer, W. (eds.). (2002). Pathways of Change in Africa: Crops, Livestock and Livelihoods in Mali, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe (James Currey) http://www.ntd.co.uk/idsbookshop/details.asp?id=697
For an historical perspective on land and landscape change in the lowveld of Zimbabwe, see Wolmer, W. (2007). From Wilderness Vision to Farm Invasions Conservation and Development in Zimbabwe's South-east Lowveld (James Currey) http://www.ntd.co.uk/idsbookshop/details.asp?id=880
For more depth on livelihood issues in southern Zimbabwe, see: Scoones et al (1996) Hazards and Opportunities: Farming Livelihoods in Dryland Zimbabwe (Zed Press) http://www.ntd.co.uk/idsbookshop/details.asp?id=301 Also: the Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern Africa Programme, www.ids.ac.uk/slsa and Wolmer and Scoones (eds.) (2003) Livelihoods in Crisis? New Perspectives on Governance and Rural Development in Southern Africa, IDS Bulletin, 34. http://www.ntd.co.uk/idsbookshop/details.asp?id=751
4 December 2008
It is hard to think of a figure more reviled in the West than Robert Mugabe. Liberal and conservative commentators alike portray him as a brutal dictator, and blame him for Zimbabwe’s descent into hyperinflation and poverty. The seizure of white-owned farms by his black supporters has been depicted as a form of thuggery, and as a cause of the country’s declining production, as if these lands were doomed by black ownership. Sanctions have been imposed, and opposition groups funded with the explicit aim of unseating him.
There is no denying Mugabe’s authoritarianism, or his willingness to tolerate and even encourage the violent behaviour of his supporters. His policies have helped lay waste the country’s economy, though sanctions have played no small part, while his refusal to share power with the country’s growing opposition movement, much of it based in the trade unions, has led to a bitter impasse. This view of Zimbabwe’s crisis can be found everywhere, from the Economist and the Financial Times to the Guardian and the New Statesman, but it gives us little sense of how Mugabe has managed to survive. For he has ruled not only by coercion but by consent, and his land reform measures, however harsh, have won him considerable popularity, not just in Zimbabwe but throughout southern Africa. In any case, the preoccupation with his character does little to illuminate the socio-historical issues involved.
Many have compared Mugabe to Idi Amin and the land expropriation in Zimbabwe to the Asian expulsion in Uganda. The comparison isn’t entirely off the mark. I was one of the 70,000 people of South Asian descent booted out by Idi Amin in 1972; I returned to Uganda in 1979. My abiding recollection of my first few months back is that no one I met opposed Amin’s expulsion of ‘Asians’. Most merely said: ‘It was bad the way he did it.’ The same is likely to be said of the land transfers in Zimbabwe.
What distinguishes Mugabe and Amin from other authoritarian rulers is not their demagoguery but the fact that they projected themselves as champions of mass justice and successfully rallied those to whom justice had been denied by the colonial system. Not surprisingly, the justice dispensed by these demagogues mirrored the racialised injustice of the colonial system. In 1979 I began to realise that whatever they made of Amin’s brutality, the Ugandan people experienced the Asian expulsion of 1972 – and not the formal handover in 1962 – as the dawn of true independence. The people of Zimbabwe are likely to remember 2000-3 as the end of the settler colonial era. Any assessment of contemporary Zimbabwe needs to begin with this sobering fact.
Though widespread grievance over the theft of land – a process begun in 1889 and completed in the 1950s – fuelled the guerrilla struggle against the regime of Ian Smith, whose Rhodesian Front opposed black majority rule, the matter was never properly addressed when Britain came back into the picture to effect a constitutional transition to independence under majority rule. Southern Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980, but the social realities of the newly independent state remained embedded in an earlier historical period: some six thousand white farmers owned 15.5 million hectares of prime land, 39 per cent of the land in the country, while about 4.5 million farmers (a million households) in ‘communal areas’ were left to subsist on 16.4 million hectares of the most arid land, to which they’d been removed or confined by a century of colonial rule. In the middle were 8500 small-scale black farmers on about 1.4 million hectares of land.
This was not a sustainable arrangement in a country whose independence had been secured at the end of a long armed struggle supported by a land-hungry population. But the agreement that Britain drafted at Lancaster House in 1979 – and that the settlers eagerly backed – didn’t seem to take into account the kind of transition that would be necessary to secure a stable social order. Two of its provisions, one economic and the other political, reflected this short-termism: one called for land transfers on a ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ basis, with the British funding the scheme; the other reserved 20 per cent of seats in the House of Assembly for whites – 3 per cent of the population – giving the settler community an effective veto over any amendment to the Lancaster House terms. This was qualified majority rule at best. Both provisions had a time limit: 1990 for land transfers based on the market principle, and 1987 for the settler minority to set limits on majority rule. The deal sustained illusions among the settlers that what they had failed to achieve by UDI – Smith’s 1965 declaration of independence from the UK – and force of arms, they could now achieve through support from a government of ‘kith and kin’ (as Smith called it) in Britain. In reality, however, the agreement drew a line under settler privilege.
The inadequacy of the Lancaster House provisions for the decolonisation of land ensured that it remained the focus of politics in independent Zimbabwe. The course of land relations and land reform in Zimbabwe has over the years been meticulously documented by Sam Moyo, a professor who directs the African Institute of Agrarian Studies in Harare. Transfers during the first decade of independence were so minimal that they increased rather than appeased land hunger. The new regime in Harare, installed in 1980 and led by Mugabe and his party, Zanu, called for the purchase of eight million hectares to resettle 162,000 land-poor farming households from communal areas. But the ban on compulsory purchase drove up land prices and encouraged white farmers to sell only the worst land. As the decade drew to a close, only 58,000 families had been resettled on three million hectares of land. No more than 19 per cent of the land acquired between 1980 and 1992 was of prime agricultural value.
As the 1980s wore on, land transfers actually declined, dropping from 430,000 hectares per annum during the first half of the decade to 75,000 hectares during the second. The greater land hunger became, the more often invasions were mounted; in response, Mugabe created local ‘squatter control’ units in 1985, and they were soon evicting squatters in droves. At this point Zimbabwean law still defined a squatter in racial terms, as ‘an African whose house happens to be situated in an area which has been declared European or is set apart for some other reason’. By 1990, 40 per cent of the rural population was said to be landless or affected by the landlessness of dependent relations.
When the Lancaster House Agreement’s rules on land transfer expired in 1990, the pressure to take direct action was intensified by two very different developments: an IMF Structural Adjustment Programme and recurrent drought. Peasant production, which had been a meagre 8 per cent of marketed output at independence in 1980, and had shot up to 45 per cent by 1985, declined as a result of the programme. Trade-union analysts pointed out that employment growth also fell from 2.4 per cent in the late 1980s to 1.55 per cent in the period 1991-97. The percentage of households living in poverty throughout the country increased by 14 per cent in five years. There was now widespread squatting on all types of land, from communal areas to state land, commercial farms (mainly growing tobacco), resettlement areas and urban sites.
The demand for land reform came from two powerful groups at extreme ends of the social spectrum yet both firmly in Mugabe’s camp: the veterans of the liberation war and the small but growing number of indigenous businesses, hitherto the main beneficiaries of independence under majority rule. At the end of the liberation war in 1980, 20,000 guerrillas had been incorporated into the national army and other state organisations, and the rest – about 45,000 – had had to fend for themselves. They found it difficult to survive without land or a job, which is why land occupations began in the countryside soon after independence.
Mugabe and the Zanu leaders tended at first to dismiss complaints from veterans as expressions of resentment on the part of the rival liberation movement, Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu, which had been marginalised in 1980. But after Zanu and Zapu signed a unity accord in 1987, former fighters from both groups became involved in land agitation. Their most significant joint initiative was to form a welfare organisation, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) in 1988, which called for pensions to be paid and land redistributed. It soon gained a large membership drawn from most sections of Zimbabwean society and from the two ethnic groups – the Shona majority and the Ndebele – which had defined Zanu and Zapu respectively. Its members, about 200,000 of them, came from a variety of classes, employed and unemployed, urban and rural, with positions in different branches of the state and party and the private sector. Although their strength lay in the countryside, the war vets formed the only alliance that was both independent of Mugabe and Zanu-PF, and could claim to have national support, giving them a decisive advantage over the better organised but urban-based trade-union federation in the power struggle that would shortly tear the country apart.
War vets were among the first targets of Structural Adjustment, when its effects began to be felt in 1991. Entire departments and ministries that had been heavily staffed by ex-combatants were disbanded and the stage set for a series of high-profile confrontations between veterans and government. Mugabe accused the vets of being ‘armchair critics’ at the inaugural conference of the ZNLWVA in April 1992; they went on to organise street demonstrations, lock top government and party officials in their offices, interrupt Mugabe’s Heroes’ Day speech in 1997, intervene in court sessions and besiege the State House.
After the Lancaster House Agreement had expired, the government tried to occupy the middle ground by shifting from the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ formula with a new law, the Land Acquisition Act of 1992, which gave the state powers of compulsory purchase, though landowners retained the right to challenge the price set and to receive prompt compensation. By the late 1990s, market-led land transfers had dwindled to a trickle. So had British contributions to the fund set up to pay landowners, with a mere £44 million paid out between 1980 and 1992, much less than anticipated at Lancaster House. When New Labour took over in 1997, Clare Short, the minister for international development, claimed that since neither she nor her colleagues came from the landed class in Britain – ‘my own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers,’ she wrote to the Zimbabwean minister of agriculture and land – they could not be held responsible for what Britain had done in colonial Rhodesia.
This effective default coincided with a rise inside Zimbabwe of demands for compulsory acquisition. Veterans led land occupations at Svosve and Goromonzi in 1997, clashing with Mugabe and Zanu-PF. They were joined by local chiefs and party leaders, peasants and spirit mediums (who had played a key role in the liberation war against Ian Smith). The next year, a wave of co-ordinated land occupations swept across the country, with veterans receiving critical support from the Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC), an affirmative action lobby set up in 1988 by members of the new black bourgeoisie. From now on, two very different elements huddled under the war vets’ banner: the landless victims of settler colonialism and the elite beneficiaries of the end of settler rule.
It was largely for his own purposes, but also as a response to pressure from squatters, occupiers and their local leaders, as well as from sections of the new black elite, that in 1999 Mugabe decided to revise the constitution drafted at Lancaster House. Two major changes were envisaged: one would allow him to stay in power for two more terms and would ensure immunity from prosecution for political and military leaders accused of committing crimes while in office; the other would empower the government to seize land from white farmers without compensation, which was held to be the responsibility of Britain. The proposals were put to a referendum in February 2000 and defeated: 45.3 per cent of voters were in favour. But only a little more than 20 per cent of the electorate had cast a vote. The urban centres of Harare and Bulawayo were three to one against adoption; voting in the countryside was marked by large-scale abstentions. Post-colonial Zimbabwe had reached a turning point.
Very early on, the colonial bureaucracy had translated the ethnic mosaic of the country into an administrative map in such a way as to allow minimum co-operation and maximum competition between different ethnic groups and areas, ensuring among other things that labour for mining, manufacture and service was not recruited from areas where peasants were needed on large farms or plantations. These areas, as it happened, were mainly Shona and so, unsurprisingly, when the trade-union movement developed in Rhodesia, its leaders were mostly Ndebele, and had few links with the Shona leadership of the peasant-based liberation movement (Mugabe belongs to the Shona majority). I remember listening to the minister of labour in Harare in 1981 complain that workers had failed to support the nationalist movement. When I suggested that it might be useful to turn the proposition around and ask why the nationalist movement had failed to organise support among workers, there was silence.
The Shona-Ndebele divide so conspicuous in the two guerrilla movements produced great tension after independence between the mainly Shona government and the mainly Ndebele labour movement, with Mugabe’s ferocious repression in Ndebele areas in 1986 remaining the bloodiest phase in post-independence Zimbabwean history. The slaughter in Matabeleland was followed by a ‘reconciliation’ that paved the way for a unity government in 1987, but Zanu-PF leaders thereafter suspected all protest – from whatever source – of concealing an Ndebele agenda.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, formed in 1981 with the blessing of the government, had by the end of the decade distanced itself from its Zanu patrons, purged internal corruption and elected an independent leadership. In the 1990s it spearheaded the national agitation against Structural Adjustment and the one-party state that acquiesced in it. Yet its organisation in the countryside was confined to workers on commercial farms. The ZCTU had at first been an umbrella body for private sector unions. The spectacular growth of ZCTU, its organisation of public sector workers, has been written about by two Zimbabwean social historians, Brian Raftapolous and Ian Phimister. After independence, workers in the rapidly Africanised public sector had retained close links to the government. But this began to change when the Structural Adjustment Programme led to public sector job losses and many African workers – especially veterans – were dismissed. When government workers came out on strike in 1996, the ZCTU was able to establish a base in the public sector. A general strike in 1997 and mass stay-aways the following year set the trade unions against the government. Civil servants – including teachers and health workers – who had declared allegiance to the ruling party and the state now began to affiliate to the ZCTU. In 1998, it organised a National Constituent Assembly, with the participation of civic, NGO and church groups.
By the time Mugabe put forward amendments to the Lancaster House constitution, an impressive alliance of forces – not only trade unions, churches, civic and NGO groups, but white farmers and Western governments – was arrayed for battle. The Movement for Democratic Change was formed a few months before the 2000 referendum, to campaign for a ‘no’ vote. The coalition was diverse, containing, on the one hand, public sector workers trying to roll back the tide of Structural Adjustment; on the other, uncompromising free-marketeers such as Eddie Cross, the MDC secretary of economic affairs and a senior figure in the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, who was intent on privatising almost everything, including education.
The veterans reacted to the defeat of the constitutional proposals by launching land occupations in Masvingo province. This prompted a split in the ruling party. With Mugabe out of the country, the acting president, Joseph Msika, told the police to torch the new squatter shacks. This was consistent with Zanu-PF policy: in the early days, Mugabe had been praised as a ‘conciliator’ by the international community for ensuring the security and property of those whites who remained in Zimbabwe, and evicting black squatters. Two decades later the position had changed: the support of the whites was no longer so important to Mugabe, and he was under enormous pressure from the veterans. With much to gain from casting his lot in with the rural insurgency, he returned from his trip and announced that there would be no government evictions. As land occupations spread to every province – 800 farms were occupied at the height of the protests – the split in the government and party hierarchy deepened. Inevitable tension between the executive and the judiciary undermined the rule of law; the executive sacked a number of judges, replacing them with others more sympathetic to land reform, and enacted pro-squatter legislation.
‘Fast-track’ land reform was now underway. The types of land that would be acquired compulsorily were specified by the government: unused or underutilised land, land owned by absentees or people with several farms; land above a certain area (determined by region) and land contiguous with communal areas. The white owners of around 2900 commercial farms listed for compulsory acquisition and redistribution were given 90 days to move out. Government directives specified that ‘owners of farms marked for redistribution will be compensated for improvements made on the land, but not for the land itself, as this land was stolen from the original owners in the colonial era.’
The closing date for ‘fast-track’ land acquisition – August 2002 – came and went, but occupations continued unimpeded until mid-2003, and on a diminished scale for a year or so after that. Chiefs fought for land for their constituents and for themselves, and so did their counterparts in the state bureaucracy and the private sector. In Matabeleland, a minority of pro-MDC chiefs were sceptical of land reform, but later submitted claims. The black elite made a brazen land grab in direct contravention of the ‘one person, one farm’ policy, provoking a hue and cry in society at large and within the ruling party; the government set up a presidential commission to determine the facts. Crucially, in 2005 the government passed an amendment declaring all agricultural land to be state land. Land was seized from nearly 4000 white farmers and redistributed: 72,000 large farmers received 2.19 million hectares and 127,000 smallholders received 4.23 million hectares.
What land reform has meant or may come to mean for Zimbabwe’s economy is still hotly disputed. Recently there have been signs that scholarly opinion is shifting. A study by Ian Scoones of Sussex University’s Institute of Development Studies – in collaboration with the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape – challenges some of the conventional wisdom in media and academic circles within and beyond Zimbabwe. The problem with this wisdom is that certain highly destructive aspects of reform – coercion; corruption and incompetence; cronyism in the redistribution of land; lack of funds and an absence of agricultural activity – have come to stand for the whole process. In particular, Scoones identifies five myths: that land reform has been a total failure; that its beneficiaries have been largely political cronies; that there is no new investment in the new settlements; that agriculture is in ruins; and that the rural economy has collapsed. Researchers at PLAAS have been quick to point out that over the past eight years small-scale farmers ‘have been particularly robust in weathering Zimbabwe’s political and economic turmoil, as well as drought’. Ben Cousins, the director of PLAAS and one of the most astute South African analysts of agrarian change – who had previously argued that the land reform would destroy agricultural production – now says that the future of Zimbabwe lies in providing small farmers with subsidies so that food security can be achieved. According to researchers at the African Institute for Agrarian Studies in Harare, new farms need to receive subsidised maize seed and fertiliser for a few seasons before achieving full production. Some might give up during this period, but not many – partly because the land tenure system doesn’t allow land sales; only land permits or leases can be acquired.
Zimbabwe has seen the greatest transfer of property in southern Africa since colonisation and it has all happened extremely rapidly. Eighty per cent of the 4000 white farmers were expropriated; most of them stayed in Zimbabwe. Redistribution revolutionised property-holding, adding more than a hundred thousand small owners to the base of the property pyramid. In social and economic – if not political – terms, this was a democratic revolution. But there was a heavy price to pay.
The first casualty was the rule of law, already tenuous by 1986. When international donors pressured the regime in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of 2000 by suspending aid and loans – a boycott favoured by the MDC and the unions – the government simply fixed the result in its favour. In the violence that followed, more than a hundred people died, including six white farmers and 11 black farm labourers. Some of the violence was government-sponsored and most of it state-sanctioned. The judiciary was reshaped, local institutions in rural areas narrowly politicised, and laws were passed which granted local agencies the powers necessary to crush opponents of land reform. Denouncing his adversaries in the trade unions and NGOs as servants of the old white ruling class, Mugabe authorised the militias and state security agencies to hound down opposition, as repression and reform went hand in hand. In 2003, the leading independent newspaper, the Daily News, was shut down. While jubilant government supporters applauded the sweep of the revolution in agrarian areas, the opposition denounced the repression that accompanied it. Land reform had been ruthless, but in 2004, the violence began to abate. There was noticeably less violence surrounding the parliamentary elections of 2005.
In retrospect, it is striking how little turmoil accompanied this massive social change. The explanation lies in the participation of key rural figures in ad hoc but officially sanctioned land committees. When first introduced in 1996, these committees had mixed fortunes, some not functioning at all, others becoming instruments of this or that group of squatters. But a radical change occurred in 2000, when the committees were expanded to include centrally appointed security officials, ruling party representatives and local government personnel, as well as local veterans and traditional leaders. Charged with implementing fast-track land reform, these committees sidelined the old local administrative structures. They also had a national impact, since they reported to similarly constituted provincial committees, which in turn reported to the Ministry of Local Government. It was the infusion of veterans that gave the new semi-bureaucratic committees the edge over their wholly bureaucratic counterparts. Local committees usually comprised between 15 and 30 members. The veterans formed ‘base camps’ represented by ‘committees of seven’ which took the lead in identifying land for acquisition as well as finding prospective beneficiaries (mostly from veterans’ waiting lists and rosters in former ‘communal areas’). They also judged disputes, punished petty criminals and allocated farm equipment, seeds and so on. In a word, the committees co-ordinated everything, thus constituting new centres of power.
The second casualty of the reform was farm labourers. There were about 300,000 in all, around half of them part-time. Fast-track reform resulted in a massive displacement of these workers, who were traditionally drawn from migrant labour. Nearly a fifth came from neighbouring states and were regarded with suspicion by peasants in communal areas; even if they’d been born locally, they were often seen as foreigners and denied citizenship rights. Migrants and women (many employed as casual labour) were the weakest links in the rural mobilisation for land reform. Many were thought to have been encouraged by landowners to vote against the government’s constitutional proposals, and the anti-land-reform lobby certainly tried to organise farm workers, ostensibly to protect their jobs, but really to protect the white ownership of farms. When the workers rallied by the MDC, civil society activists and white farmers clashed with veteran-led occupiers, they came off badly. Occupiers held meetings to explain to workers what was at stake and eventually came themselves to distinguish between white farms, not only on the basis of size, proximity to communal areas, and the amount of unused land, but also on the basis of the farmer’s attitudes, particularly on race and towards his workers, and whether he had participated in the counter-insurgency during the independence struggle.
Some of the 150,000 full-time farm workers threw in their lot with the occupiers, though usually not on the farms where they had been employed. About 90,000 kept their jobs on sugar and tea estates, and on new or already established tobacco and horticulture farms. About 8000 were granted land, but most were denied it on the grounds that they or their elders had come from foreign countries, though some were given citizenship. Many went from steady employment to contract or casual work; many others were forced to supplement their meagre incomes through fishing, petty trading, theft and prostitution.
The best publicised casualties of the land reform movement were the urban poor who hoped to benefit from extending land invasions to urban areas. The veterans spearheaded occupations of urban residential land in 2000-1. Housing co-operatives and other associations followed their lead and set up ‘illegal’ residential or business sites. But the state feared that it would lose control over towns to the MDC if the land reform movement was allowed to spread and met these occupations with stiff repression, including Operation Restore Order/ Murambatsvina, a surprise military-style intervention in 2005 in which tens of thousands of families were evicted. Not surprisingly, those who opposed land reform in rural areas were the strongest critics of government efforts to stifle occupations in urban areas.
The final casualty was food production: Zimbabwe, once a food surplus country, is today deficient in both foreign exchange and food. In 2002-3, half the population depended on food aid: this was a drought year and the figures improved in 2004-5. The UN now estimates that nearly half the country’s 13.3 million inhabitants will once again be dependent on food aid in 2009, after another drought year. A million of these are poor, urban residents who can’t afford imported food. The rest are peasants, most of them hit by drought. Climate change is clearly a factor here, its role most obvious in marginal land: the communal areas worked by millions of small farmers. A 2002 World Food Programme study noted that there had been three droughts in Zimbabwe since 1982 and that the 2002 drought, which also affected several neighbouring countries in Southern Africa, was the worst in 20 years. The WFP estimated that 12.8 million people in the region would require assistance as a result of that drought and that in Zimbabwe alone, overall production would decline by 25 per cent, with cereal production down 57 per cent and maize, the staple in the diet of ordinary Zimbabweans, down by a devastating two-thirds.
To separate out the effect of drought and that of reform – and thus to understand how land reform has hit production – one needs first to distinguish between three groups of agricultural producer: local white farmers, who were the target of the land reform; peasants with farms in communal areas; and foreign corporations, whose large farms (except for small tracts of unused land) remain intact. Harry Oppenheimer, for example, lost most of his private land, but his firm, Anglo American, kept its sugar estates, which it then sold to Tongaat Hulett, a South African firm with 15,000 hectares in Zimbabwe. In a nutshell, white commercial farmers focused on export crops, whereas communal farmers were the major source of food security. The production of tobacco, hitherto the main source of foreign exchange, is concentrated in large-scale commercial farms; it has seen the most severe decline, almost entirely as a result of land reform. Maize and cotton are peasant crops and have not really been directly affected by land reform, but have suffered badly from prolonged drought – maize production was down by 90 per cent between 2000 and 2003. In contrast, the production of crops – sugar, tea, coffee – grown mainly by the large corporate plantations has remained steady.
Besides drought and reform, there is a third cause of declining production: the targeted donor boycott. Zimbabwe has been the target of Western sanctions twice in the last 50 years: once after UDI in 1965 (very ‘soft’ sanctions, which did not stop the country becoming the second most industrialised in sub-Saharan Africa by the mid-1970s) and again after Zimbabwe’s entry into the Congo war in August 1998. Zimbabwe’s involvement in the war was not well received in the West. Participants in the donor conference for Zimbabwe that year were decidedly lukewarm about committing funds. Britain announced a review of arms sales to Zimbabwe and, after the conference, again disclaimed any responsibility for funding land reform. The following year the IMF suspended lending to Zimbabwe, while the US and the UK decided to fund the labour movement, led by the ZCTU, first to oppose constitutional change and then to launch the MDC as a full-fledged opposition party. Its enemies have claimed that, by the late 1990s, the ZCTU was dependent on foreign sources for two-thirds of its income. Once ‘fast-track’ land reform began in 2000, the Western donor community shut the door on Zimbabwe.
The sanctions regime, led by the US and Britain, was elaborate, tested during the first Iraq war and then against Iran. In 2001 Jesse Helms, previously a supporter of UDI, sponsored the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery bill (another sponsor was Hillary Clinton) and it became law in December that year. Part of the act was a formal injunction on US officials in international financial institutions to ‘oppose and vote against any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit or guarantee to the government of Zimbabwe’. In autumn 2001 the IMF had declared Zimbabwe ‘ineligible to use the general resources of the IMF’ and removed it from the list of countries that could borrow from its Poverty and Growth Facility. In 2002, it issued a formal declaration of non-co-operation with Zimbabwe and suspended all technical assistance. The US legislation also authorised Bush to fund ‘an independent and free press and electronic media in Zimbabwe’ and to allocate six million dollars for ‘democracy and governance programmes’. This was fighting talk, Cold War vintage. The normative language of sanctions focuses less on the issues that prompted them in the first place – Zimbabwe’s intervention in the Congo war and the introduction of fast-track reform – than on the need for ‘good governance’. In citing the absence of this as a reason for its imposition of sanctions in 2002, the EU violated Article 98 of the Cotonou Agreement, which requires that disputes between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU be resolved by the joint EU-ACP Council of Ministers.
Clearly, the old paradigm of sanctions – isolation – has given way to a more interventionist model, which combines punishment of the regime with subsidies for the opposition. So-called ‘smart’ sanctions are intended to target the government and its key supporters. In 2002, the US, Britain and the EU began freezing the assets of state officials and imposing travel bans. Only four days after the EU imposed sanctions, the US expanded the list of targeted individuals to include prominent businessmen and even church leaders, such as the pro-regime Anglican bishop, Nolbert Kunonga.
Nonetheless, sanctions mainly affect the lives of ordinary people. Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, wrote recently that the country’s foreign exchange reserves had declined from $830 million, representing three months’ import cover in 1996, to less than one month’s cover by 2006. Total foreign payments arrears increased from $109 million at the end of 1999 to $2.5 billion at the end of 2006. Foreign direct investment had shrunk from $444.3 million in 1998 to $50 million in 2006. Donor support, even to sectors vital to popular welfare, such as health and education, was at an all-time low. Danish support for the health sector, $29.7 million in 2000, was suspended. Swedish support for education was also suspended. The US issued travel warnings, blocked food aid during the heyday of land reform and opposed Zimbabwe’s application to the Global Fund to Fight Aids – the country has the fourth highest infection rate in the world. Though it was renewed in 2005, the Zimbabwe grant is meagre. Agriculture has been affected too: scale matters, but no one disputes that subsidies are vital for agriculture to be sustainable, and sanctions have made it more difficult to put a proper credit regime in place.
Despite the EU’s imposition of sanctions in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of 2002, Mugabe polled 56.2 per cent of the vote against Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC’s 42 per cent. There were widespread allegations of Zanu-PF violence and last-minute gerrymandering, with polling stations in urban areas – Tsvangirai’s electoral base – closing early and extra stations being set up in rural areas, where Mugabe’s support was assured. Nonetheless, it was clear that support for Zanu-PF was higher than in the pre-fast-track elections of 2000. Bush and Blair refused to recognise the outcome, but Namibia, Nigeria and the South African observer team, which had monitored the elections, concluded that the result was legitimate. Whatever the truth of the matter, the Africans could do little in the face of mounting Western pressure, from Britain especially: a three-member panel of Commonwealth countries – Australia, Nigeria and South Africa – was convened to consider the question of Zimbabwe. There were reports of intense pressure from Tony Blair on Thabo Mbeki. The panel suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a year. Zimbabwe withdrew from the organisation.
The experience of land reform in Zimbabwe has set alarm bells ringing in South Africa and all the former settler colonies where land shortage is still an issue. In South Africa especially, the upheaval and bitterness felt in Zimbabwe seems to suggest that the ‘Malaysian path’ to peaceful redistribution and development is not inevitable. An anxious South Africa and less powerful members of the Southern Africa Development Community tend to feel that sanctions, along with other destabilising policies pursued by the West against Zimbabwe, have only made matters worse. SADC states have long tried to reconcile the need to resist Western influence with the fact that they serve as a bridge between Africa and the wealthy Western economies, but South Africa’s non-confrontational policy vis-à-vis Mugabe – which Mbeki pursued despite mounting criticism from the ANC and the unions in South Africa – along with its provision of fuel and electricity to its northern neighbour, set it at odds with Western governments. South Africa and the SADC states describe their approach as one of ‘non- interference’, ‘stabilisation’ and ‘quiet diplomacy’, but the West sees it as a deliberate effort to undermine sanctions, and critics in South Africa – most recently Mandela – have found the Mbeki line much too conciliatory.
In 2007, SADC called for an end to sanctions against Zimbabwe and international support for a post-land-reform recovery programme, but earlier this year Western countries brought their influence to bear on key SADC members – Botswana and Zambia – to split the organisation. Ian Khama, the president of Botswana, went so far as to announce publicly that he would not recognise the results of the 2008 elections. The pressure on SADC came not only from Western countries, but from trade-union movements in the region, in particular Cosatu of South Africa, which has strong links with the ZCTU. Here is another striking aspect of the current Zimbabwe crisis: it is not just Western and pro- Western governments that have joined the sanctions regime, but many activists and intellectuals, for the most part progressives, have aligned themselves with distant or long-standing enemies in an effort to dislodge an authoritarian government clinging to power on the basis of historic grievances about the colonial theft of land. Symbolic of this was the refusal by Cosatu-affiliated unions to unload a cargo of Chinese arms destined for Zimbabwe when the An Yue Jiang sailed into Durban in April.
The arguments, which are not new, turn on questions of nationalism and democracy, pitting champions of national sovereignty and state nationalism against advocates of civil society and internationalism. One group accuses the other of authoritarianism and self-righteous intolerance; it replies that its critics are wallowing in donor largesse. Nationalists speak of a historical racism that has merely migrated from government to civil society with the end of colonial rule, while civil society activists speak of an ‘exhausted’ nationalism, determined to feed on old injustices. This fierce disagreement is symptomatic of the deep divide between urban and rural Zimbabwe. Nationalists have been able to withstand civil society-based opposition, reinforced by Western sanctions, because they are supported by large numbers of peasants. The tussle between these groups has even greater poignancy in former settler colonies than it had a generation earlier in former colonies north of the Limpopo, for the simple reason that the central legacy of settler colonialism – the land question – remained unresolved and explosive after independence. Southern African leaders have tried, with some success, to put out the fires in Zimbabwe before they spread beyond its borders. It is worth noting that the agreement between Zanu-PF and the MDC signed in September and brokered by Mbeki accepts land redistribution as irreversible and registers disagreement only over how it was carried out; it also holds Britain responsible for compensating white farmers. In the wake of Mbeki’s resignation as president of South Africa it is vital that this agreement remains in place. Few doubt that this is the hour of reckoning for former settler colonies. The increasing number of land invasions in KwaZulu Natal, and the violence that has accompanied them, indicate that the clock is ticking.
Moyo, Sam & Paris Yeros (2005b), ‘Land Occupations and Land Reform in Zimbabwe: Towards the National Democratic Revolution’, in Reclaiming the Land, edited by Sam Moyo and Paris Yeros, London: Zed Books; Moyo, Sam and Paris Yeros (2007), ‘The Radicalised State: Zimbabwe’s Interrupted Revolution’, Review of African Political Economy, 111; Moyo, Sam & Paris Yeros (forthcoming), ‘After Zimbabwe: State, Nation and Region in Africa’, in S. Moyo, P. Yeros & J. Vadell (eds.), The National Question Today: The Crisis of Sovereignty in Africa, Asia and Latin America; Chambati, W. and S. Moyo, Fast Track Land Reform and the Political Economy of Farm Workers in Zimbabwe, Harare: AIAS Monograph Series, forthcoming For a critical point of view, see, Lloyd Sachikonye, “The Land is the Economy: Revisiting the Land Question,” African Security Review 14(3), 2005; and, Raftopoulos, Brian & Ian Phimister (2004), ‘Zimbabwe Now: The Political Economy of Crisis and Coercion’, Historical Materialism, 12: 4; Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya, Zimbabwe's Plunge - Exhausted Nationalism, Neoliberalism and the Search for Social Justice, Merlin Press, 2002; Henry Bernstein, ‘Land reform in Southern Africa in World Historical Perspective,’ ROAPE 96, 2003
On the non-Zimbabwean debate on the land reform, see, http://www.lalr.org.za/news/a-new-start-for-zimbabwe-by-ian-scoones.html (accessed on 27 September, 2008); IRIN, “Small Scale Farming Seen As the Only Alternative to Food Insecurity,” 22 September 2008. For a contrary point of view, see, Henry Bernstein, ‘Land reform in Southern Africa in World Historical Perspective,’ Review of African Political Economy 96, 2003
On war veterans, see, Sadomba, W (2006) War veterans and the land occupation movement in Zimbabwe, forthcoming, Harare;
On climate change and the impact of drought, see, C.H. Matarira, J.M. Makadho, F.C. Mwamuka, "Zimbabwe: Climate Change Impacts on Maize Production and Adaptive Measures for the Agricultural Sector," Interim Report on Climate Change Country Studies, 1995, www.gcrio.org
On sanctions, see, Gregory Elich, ‘Zimbabwe Under Siege,’ Swans Commentary Zimbabwe Under Seige, http://www.swans.com/library/art8/elich004.html; Dr. Gideon Gono: How sanctions are ruining Zimbabwe, opinion piece, African Business, 2007.
On the debate among progressive intellectuals in Zimbabwe, see, Sam Moyo and Paris Yeros, ‘The Zimbabwe Question and the Two Lefts.’ Forthcoming in Historical Materialism, vol. 14, no. 4, 2007
From the LRB letters page: [ 18 December 2008 ] R.W. Johnson, Terence Ranger, Matthias Tomczak, Mahmood Mamdani.
Mahmood Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science and International Affairs at Columbia University. He is from Uganda.
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