Saturday, April 06, 2013

(GLOBALRESEARCH) Financial Warfare: The Recolonization of Korea. Seoul Black Monday. IMF Intervention in Korea
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, April 06, 2013
Global Research 10 July 2000

Author’s Note

This article first published in July 2000 identifies the process whereby South Korean capitalism was literally hijacked at the height of the 1997-98 Asian Crisis. The objective was also to destabilize and its major business conglomerates as well as take over its banking system. The IMF reforms triggered a string of bankruptcies and the downfall of industrial wages.

The IMF program applied to a advanced market economy was to undermine national sovereignty as well as shunt the process of reunification of North and South Korea. The longer term objective is to open up North Korea to Western corporate capital as well as transform the DPRK into a new cheap labor frontier of the global economy. That was the fate of Vietnam starting in the early 1990s upon the lifting of US economic sanctions.

The deadly sanctions regime imposed on Pyongyang over a period of more than half a century combined with the relentless threat to wage a nuclear attack against North Korea are intended to eventually impose the “Free Market” on the DPRK Korea under the guidance of Wall Street and the IMF.

An expanded and updated version of this text was subsequently included in the second edition of my book, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Global Research, Montreal, 2003.

Michel Chossudovsky,

* * *
The Recolonization of Korea
Seoul Black Monday. IMF Intervention in Korea
by Michel Chossudovsky

June 10, 2000

In the late days of November 1997 an IMF team of economists led by trouble-shooter Hubert Neiss was swiftly rushed to Seoul. Its mandate: to negotiate a Mexican-style bail-out with a view to rapidly restoring economic health and stability. An important precedent had been set: the IMF’s bitter economic medicine, routinely imposed on the Third World and Eastern Europe, was to be applied for the first time in an advanced industrial economy.

Washington had carefully set the stage in liaison with the US Embassy in Seoul. Barely a week before the arrival of the IMF mission, President Kim Young Sam had sacked his Finance Minister for having allegedly hindered negotiations with the IMF. A more acceptable individual was appointed on Washington’s instructions. Very convenient: the new negotiator and Finance Minister Mr. Lim Chang-yuel happened to be a former IMF and World Bank official. Also fired at short notice was presidential economic adviser Kim In-ho, for having spurned the IMF option and said Seoul would restore international credibility through its own efforts. (1)

Finance Minister Lim was accustomed to the Washington scene. No sooner had he been appointed, he was whisked off to Washington for negotiations with his former colleague IMF Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer.
Seoul Black Monday

The government’s dealings with the IMF had been a closely guarded State secret. On Friday 21st of November, the government officially announced that it would be seeking an IMF bailout. On the following business day, November 24th, Seoul Black Monday, the stock market crumbled to a ten year low over feared IMF austerity measures and expected corporate and bank collapses. Faithfully obeying orders from Washington, Finance Minister Lim had removed all exchange controls from the currency market with the result of enticing further speculative assaults against the won. (2)

Two days later, November 26th, the IMF mission headed by Mr. Hubert Neiss arrived at Seoul’s Kimpo airport. And barely four days later on the 30th, the parties had already agreed on a Preliminary Agreement. The draft text had been prepared at IMF headquarters in Washington prior to the arrival of the mission. The policy solutions had already been decided in consultation with Wall Street and the US Treasury: no analysis or negotiation was deemed necessary.
Arm Twisting in the wake of the Presidential Race

But the deal was not yet wrapped up. The country was on the eve of a presidential election, and the front-runner opposition centre-left candidate Kim Dae jung remained firmly opposed to the IMF bailout agreement. He warned public opinion and accused the outgoing government of organising a massive sell-out of the Korean economy:

’Foreign investors can freely buy our entire financial sector, including 26 banks, 27 securities firms, 12 insurance companies and 21 merchant banks, all of which are listed on the Korean Stock Exchange, for just 5.5 trillion won,’ that is, $3.7 billion. (3)

Political turnaround

Barely two weeks later, upon winning the presidential race, Kim Dae jung had become an unbending supporter of strong economic medicine:

I will boldly open the market. I will make it so that foreign investors will invest with confidence; in a mass rally he confirmed his unbending support for the IMF Pain is necessary for reform and we should take this risk as opportunity. (4)

Succumbing to political pressure, Kim Dae jung, a former dissident, political prisoner and starch opponent of the US backed military regimes of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan, had caved in to Wall Street and Washington prior to his formal inauguration as the country’s democratically elected president. In fact Washington had demanded in no uncertain terms that all three candidates in the presidential race commit themselves to adopting the IMF programme.
Enforcing Enabling Legislation through Financial Blackmail

Kim Dae jung had also given a green light to the Korean parliament. A special session of the Legislature was held on the following day, December 23. The four main government motions concerning the IMF Agreement were adopted virtually without debate. (5) Enforced through financial blackmail, legislation had also been approved which stripped the Ministry of Economy and Finance and of its financial regulatory and supervisory functions. South Korea’s Parliament had been transformed into a rubber stamp. Meanwhile, Moody’s Investor Service, the Wall Street credit agency, acting on behalf of US banking interests, had rewarded Korea’s compliance by downgrading ratings for Korean government and corporate bonds, including those of 20 banks, to ’junk bond’ status. (5)
Negotiating a $57 Billion Bailout: Timetable of the Heist

19 November 1997- 24 December 1997

19 November: Outgoing President Kim Young-sam fires Minister of Finance Kang Kyong-shik for hindering negotiations with the IMF. Kang is replaced by Mr. Lim Chang-yuel, a former Executive director of the IMF.

20 November: Finance Minister Lim is rushed off to Washington for talks with his former colleague, IMF Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer.

21 November: The Repulbic of Korea (ROK) government formally announces that it will be seeking an Agreement with the IMF. The New Finance Minister is put in charge of negotiations with the IMF.

24 November: Seoul Black Monday. The Seoul stock market crumbles to a ten year low over feared IMF austerity measures and expected corporate and bank collapses.

26 November: The IMF mission arrives in Seoul headed by Mr. Hubert Neiss.

27 November: Shrouded in secrecy, talks between the IMF mission and ROK government officials commence.

30 November: After four days of negotiations, the IMF and the Government agree on a Preliminary Agreement.

1 December: The draft agreement is submitted to the approval of the ROK Cabinet.

3 December: IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus arrives in Seoul to wrap up the deal. US Undersecretary of the Treasury David Lipton in discussions with Camdessus states that the deal cannot be finalized unless all three presidential candidates give their support to the IMF bailout.

4 December: The final text of the Agreement is ratified by the IMF Executive Board which approves a stand by arrangement for 21 billion dollars out of a total package of 57 billion.

5 December: Presidential candidate Kim Dae-jung expresses his opposition to the IMF Agreement and warns public opinion on its devastating economic and social impacts.

18 December: Kim Dae-jung wins the Presidential election and immediately declares his unconditional support for the IMF programme

22 December: US Under-secretary of the Treasury David Lipton arrives in Seoul. Lipton demands Kim Dae Jung to agree to massive layoffs of workers.

23 December: A special session of the Legislature is called. The Legislature rubber stamps four key government motions regarding the IMF programme.

24 December: Wall Street bankers are called to an emergency meeting on Christmas Eve. At midnight, the IMF agrees to rush 10 billion dollars to Seoul to meet an avalanche of maturing short-term debts.

26 December: Boxing Day: President-elect Kim Dae jung commits himself to tough actions: Companies must freeze or slash wages. If that proves not enough, layoffs will be inevitable.
Wall Street Bankers meet on Christmas Eve

The Korean Legislature had met in emergency sessions on December 23. The final decision concerning the 57 billion dollar deal took place the following day, on Christmas Eve December 24th, after office hours in New York. Wall Street’s top financiers, from Chase Manhattan, Bank America, Citicorp and J. P. Morgan had been called in for a meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Also at the Christmas Eve venue, were representatives of the big five New York merchant banks including Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and Salomon Smith Barney.(6)

And at midnight on Christmas Eve, upon receiving the green light from the banks, the IMF was allowed to rush 10 billion dollars to Seoul to meet the avalanche of maturing short-term debts. (7)

The coffers of Korea’s central Bank had been ransacked. Creditors and speculators were anxiously awaiting to collect the loot. The same institutions which had earlier speculated against the Korean won were cashing in on the IMF bailout money. It was a scam.
Dismantling the Chaebols

The IMF bailout had derogated Korea’s economic sovereignty, establishing a de facto colonial administration under a democratically elected president. It had plunged the country virtually overnight into a deep recession. The social impact was devastating. The standard of living collapsed; the IMF reforms depressed real wages and triggered massive unemployment.

The devaluation of the won, together with the stock market meltdown, generated a deadly chain of bankruptcies affecting both financial and industrial enterprises. The hidden agenda was to destroy Korean capitalism. The IMF program contributed to fracturing the chaebols.

Chaebol’s are conglomerates of many companies clustered around one holding company. The parent company is usually controlled by one family. In 1988, the 40 top chaebol grouped a total of 671 separate companies. Hyundai and Daewoo are examples. They produce widely differing products, everything from cars to TV sets. Chaebols do not, and this is important, control banks. (What is a chaebol?, at

The latter had been invited to establish strategic alliances with foreign firms meaning their eventual takeover and control by foreign capital. Acting directly on behalf of Wall Street, the IMF had demanded the dismantling of the Daewoo Group including the sell-off of the 12 so-called troubled Daewoo affiliate companies. Daewoo Motors was up for grabs. Korea’s entire auto parts industry was in crisis leading to mass layoffs and bankruptcies of auto-parts suppliers. (8)

Meanwhile, the creditors of Korea’s largest business empire, Hyundai, had demanded that group’s break-up. With the so-called spin off, meaning the fracture of Hyundai, foreign capital had been invited in to pick up the pieces, meaning Hyundai’s profitable car and ship building units,at good prices. Korea’s high tech, electronics and manufacturing economy was up for grabs. Western corporations had gone on a shopping spree, buying up industrial assets at rock-bottom prices. The devaluation of the won, combined with the slide of the Seoul stock market, had dramatically depressed the dollar value of Korean assets.
California and Texas Tycoons to the Rescue

America had come to the rescue of Korea’s ’troubled banks’. For a meager $454 million, a controlling share (51%) of Korea First Bank (KFB) was transferred to Newbridge Capital Ltd, a US outfit specializing in leveraged buyouts.(9) In one fell swoop, a California-based investment firm, with no visible prior experience in commercial banking, had gained control of one of Korea’s oldest banking institutions with 5,000 employees and a modern network of branch offices through out the country.

Under the terms of its agreement with Newbridge, the ROK government had granted so-called put back options to KFB (Korea First Bank) which entitled the new owners to demand compensation for all losses stemming from non-performing loans made prior to the sale.

What this meant in practice was a total cash injection by the ROK government (in several installments) into the KFB of 17.3 trillion won, an amount equivalent to 35 times the price Newbridge Capital had paid the government in the first place. (10)

In a modern form of highway robbery, a totally fictitious investment of 454 million dollars by Newbridge had enabled the new owners to cash in on a 15.9 billion dollar government hand-out. Not bad! And behind this lucrative scam, the Wall Street underwriter Morgan Stanley Dean Witter was also cashing in on fat commissions from both the ROK government and the new American owners of KFB.

And how was the government going to finance this multi-billion dollar handout? Through lower wages, massive layoffs of public employees including teachers and health workers, drastic cuts in social programs as well as billions of dollars of borrowed money.

Financed by the Korean Treasury, the new Texan and Californian owners of KFB had become domestic creditors of Korea’s troubled business conglomerates. Without having risked a single dollar, they now had the power to shake up, downsize or close down entire branches of Korean industry as they see fit, including electronics, automobile production, heavy industry, semiconductors, etc. Most of the business takeover proposals and spin-offs of the chaebols required the direct consent of Western financial interests. The fate of the workers of the chaebols was also in the hands of the new American owners.

The ROK government had not only lost control over the privatization program, it had allowed the entire financial services industry to be broken into. Chase Manhattan had purchased a majority interest in Good Money Securities. Goldman Sachs’ had acquired control of Kookmin Bank while New York Life had taken over its insurance arm Kookmin Life.(11)

The wholesale privatization of major public utilities had also been demanded, including Korea Telecom and Korea Gas. Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) was to be broken down into several smaller electricity companies prior to being placed on the auction block. Pohang Iron & Steel Corp. (POSCO) was also to become fully privatized. A similar fate awaits Hanjung, the State owned Korea Heavy Industries and Construction Company, slated to enter into a strategic alliance with Westinghouse.
Instating a System of Direct Colonial Rule

The system of indirect colonial rule first instated by the US Military under President Sygman Rhee in 1945 had been disbanded. Korea’s ruling business elites had been crushed. An entirely new system of government under President Kim Dae Jung had been established, geared towards the fracture of the chaebols and the dismantling of Korean capitalism. In other words, the signing of the IMF bailout Agreement in December 1997 marks an important and significant transformation in the structure of the Korean State. It also marks a decisive step in inter-Korean relations and Washington’s design to extend the free market to the entire Korean Peninsula.
Reunification and the Free Market

An IMF negotiating mission was rushed to Seoul in early June 2000, barely a few days before the historic inter-Korean Summit in Pyongyang between President Kim Dae jung and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Chairman Kim Jong il. Careful timing. The IMF’s presence in Seoul was barely noticed by the Korean press. Firmly behind Kim Dae jung, South Koreans had their eyes riveted on the promise of the country’s reunification. Other political issues were shoved to the sideline

Meanwhile backstage, removed from the heat of public debate, the IMF team was quietly putting the finishing touches on a new IMF Agreement to be duly signed by Finance Minister Lee Hun-jai, prior to his departure for the Pyongyang Summit.

It was a carefully planned sell-out: the June 2000 Agreement was more deadly than the first one signed in December 1997. In it, the ROK government renewed the IMF’s stranglehold on the Korean economy until 2003 without the occurence of any form of public debate or discussion. The dismantling and fracturing of South Korean capitalism was carefully outlined, to occur over a three year period, from 2000 to 2003. (12)

But the IMF mission had something else up its sleeve. In liaison with the US Embassy, the IMF mission briefed Finance Minister Lee Hun-jai, who was in charge of the Pyongyang Summit’s economic cooperation agenda. Lee was a faithful crony of the IMF. Prior to assuming the position of Finance Minister, he was in charge of the infamous Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), the powerful IMF sponsored Watch Dog, responsible for triggering the bankruptcy of the chaebols. Carefully briefed before his departure for Pyongyang, Finance Minister Lee was to uphold American business interests under the disguise of inter-Korean economic cooperation. Washington’s hidden agenda under the reunification process is the eventual recolonization of the entire Korean peninsula.
Colonizing North Korea

Under the inter-Korean economic cooperation program signed in Pyongyang, the Seoul government committed itself to investing in the North Korea. Hyundai, Korea’s largest conglomerate, was to invest and build factories in the North.

But the Korean chaebols, including Hyundai, are rapidly being taken over by American companies. In other words, inter-Korean economic cooperation may turn out to be a disguised form of foreign investment and a new window of opportunity for Wall Street. The new American owners of the chaebols in consultation with the US State Department will ultimately be calling the shots on inter-Korean economic cooperation including major investments in North Korea:

Kim Dae Jung’s strategy is to help Pyongyang with aid and development, tap its cheap labor and build goodwill and infrastructure that are also in South Korea’s interest Everyone has to keep up the pretense that nothing will happen to the North Korean regime, that you can open up and keep your power and we’ll help you make deals with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank… But ultimately, we hope it does undermine them. It’s the Trojan horse. (13)

The government of Nobel Peace Laureate President Kim Dae jung had set the stage on behalf of Washington. With US military might in the background, the promise of reunification, to which all Koreans aspire, could lead to the imposition of so-called free market reforms on Communist North Korea, a process which would result in the recolonization and impoverishment of the entire Korean peninsula under the dominion of American capital.

1.Agence France Presse , 19 November 1997.

2. Willis Witter, Economic Chief sacked in South Korean Debt Crisis; Emergency measures are introduced, Washington Times, 20 November 1997. See also International Monetary Fund, Korea: Request for IMF Standby, includes Letter of Intent and Memorandum on the Economic Programme, see para. 32, p. 44. The text can be consulted at Also quoted in Michael Hudson, Draft for Our World, Our World, Kyoto, 23 December 1997.

3. National Public Radio, 19 December 1997.

4. John Burton, Korea bonds reduced to junk status, Financial Times, London, 23 December 1997. P. 3.

5. Financial Times, 27-28 December 1997, p. 3.

6. Agence France Presse, Paris, 26 December 1997.

7. Autoparts makers step up resistance to Foreign Control of Daewoo Motor, Korea Herald, 28, June 2000.

8. See Michael Zielenziger, A rebounding but unreformed South Korea making investors, officials nervous, Knight Ridder Tribune News Service, 11 June 1999

9. More Tax Money for KFB, Korea Herald, Seoul, 17 August 2000, p. 1

10 Ibid

11. Struggle to survive will intensify amid M&As, Business Korea, Vol 17, No 2, February 2000, p. 30-36.

12. Text of Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies and Letter of Intent, June 14, Ministry of Finance, Seoul, 2000, published in the Republic of Korea Economic Bulletin, June 2000 at Also published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at The Memorandum grants management rights to Deutsche Bank over KFB.

13 Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2000

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Articles by: Prof Michel Chossudovsky
About the author:
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism”(2005). His most recent book is entitled Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. He can be reached at
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(NEWZIMBABWE) Rethinking the Zimbabwean economy
05/04/2013 00:00:00
by Arthur Mutambara

COMMENT - Agriculture and mining are 'overrated'? More neoliberal theory. - MrK

The following is a presentation made by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara at the Zimbabwe Investment Conference held at the Birchwood Hotel in Boxburg, South Africa, on April 3, 2013:

THERE is need to rethink the imperatives and meaning of a successful Zimbabwean economy. It is critical to understand the nature of Zimbabwe’s investment opportunities.

Zimbabwe’s investment value proposition is more than a resource boom. The key growth driver, about 50% of GDP, is now coming from consumer facing industries like retail, ICT, banking and services. Mining and agriculture are important but over-rated. Even in these traditional sectors, emphasis is on the potential impact of secondary industries driven by processing and value addition. Zimbabwe must move up the global value chains.

There is also a potential demographic dividend, i.e., converting population into economic leverage through skilled human capital. There are many well-trained and competent people in Zimbabwe, and in the Diaspora. The categorical imperatives are talent, ICT, advanced science and technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. While infrastructure – water, energy, transportation, ICT, public works – is a key enabler of the entire economy, it also presents major opportunities to the innovative and risk-taking investor.

The Zimbabwean Diaspora must learn from other African countries like Ghana, Ethiopia, and Senegal, India, China and Israel that they can be effective sources of remittances, trade, tourism and investment advocacy; knowledge, ideas and frameworks about statecraft and economic strategies. However, there should be no taxation without representation! We as the government of Zimbabwe must adequately address the concerns of the diaspora such as voting rights, multiple citizenship, travel and national documents.

Zimbabwe’s Medium Term Policy has identified Foreign Direct Investment as a critical enabler for economic growth, with South Africa as a unique source of FDI with a hook into the rest of the BRICS economies. We must create access to financial and technical partnerships in South Africa. We seek to expose local firms interested in joint ventures with South African companies, while availing opportunities for joint venturing into export and import markets in South Africa. We desire to strengthen banking and broader financial relationships with South Africa. We seek to attract regional and international banks keen to facilitate trade and investment in Zimbabwe.

South Africa is Zimbabwe’s main trading partner, accounting for more than 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s international trade volumes. However, there is need to balance imports and exports. Zimbabwe should not be a supermarket of South African products. To avoid this, we seek SA investment in the Zimbabwean productive industries, in particular manufacturing, and beneficiation. We also seek to export more value added products to South Africa.

In executing all these investment and trade activities, South Africa and its corporates must not be driven by a charity disposition. We seek a win-win framework, where the two sister economies benefit. In any case, under globalisation regional and continental integration presents the only viable basis for survival. African countries will neither be viable nor vibrant as individual entities. They will thrive as SADC, COMESA, EAC, Magreb or the AU.

Scale, size of market, critical mass, and the pulling together of resources are now core elements of economic survival. The same philosophy applies to corporates. You will not succeed as a national company. You must have a regional, continental and global footprint. African success stories which have embraced and demonstrated this new paradigm include Econet, SAB Miller, SBSA, ABSA, Africa Sun, MTN and ABC.

For nations, globalisation demands regional and continental competitiveness rooted in regional and continental attractiveness. South Africa will not flourish with a dysfunctional Zimbabwe. SA will not thrive with an economically-crippled Malawi. SADC countries will swim or sink together.

South Africa will only be a meaningful member of the BRICS if it is there representing SADC and Africa. SA’s metrics, of a GDP of US$408 billion and a population of 51 million people, do NOT qualify it as a legitimate member of the BRICS when you compare with Brazil (US$2,493bn), Russia (US$1,850bn), India (US$1,676bn), and China (US$7,298bn). The SA numbers are chicken change in comparison with each one of the other BRICS. The collective GDPs and populations of SADC, COMESA and the AU will allow SA to have more leverage and clout in the BRICS, thus benefiting SA, the regional bodies and the entire African continent. This should be the new strategic approach.

Yes there are problems and challenges in Zimbabwe – poor infrastructure, low access to financial services, food security matters, governance, low productivity, low beneficiation – but these must be seen as potential opportunities by discerning and creative entrepreneurs, investors and traders. We need possibility thinking as a new framework. Business players must be possibility thinkers who solve human needs and challenges by viewing them as business opportunities.

Every challenge presents an opportunity. We just need to be innovative and creative enough to convert adversity into a business value proposition. Risk aversion underpinned and driven by incompetent risk modeling and over-pricing of risk factors must be discouraged.

Of course, foundational to all this, is the role of the Zimbabwean government. It has a duty and obligation to create a conducive and enabling economic environment and business climate. In particular, there is need for certainty, predictability, respect for the rule of law, and provision of an enabling policy framework that encourages and facilitates trade, investment, entrepreneurship and technology uptake all rooted in regional and continental integration within the context of SADC, COMESA, the AU, the BRICS, and the global economy.

These are some of the issues we must discuss and asses as we rethink the imperatives and meaning of a successful Zimbabwean economy. In doing so, we must be driven by 21st century Pan-Africanism rooted in entrepreneurship, science and technology, ICTs, and collective economics. Within this context, no African will be respected or deserve any recognition, unless and until the entire African continent is prosperous. The South Africans must understand this. No Zimbabwean will be respected, or warrant any attention unless and until the Zimbabwean economy is thriving. The Zimbabwean Diaspora must come to terms with this.

The struggle continues, but we shall overcome.


(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai has betrayed supporters: Gwisai
06/04/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not repeat his 2008 feat when he stunned President Robert Mugabe with a first round hiding in the presidential vote, political activist and university law lecturer, Munyaradzi Gwisai has said.

Gwisai, who also heads the International Socialist Organisation in Zimbabwe, said Tsvangirai and the MDC-T had betrayed supporters by riding “on a gravy train for four years instead of fighting for people’s emancipation”.

Tsvangirai took 47.9% of the vote in 2008 against 43.2% for Mugabe but pulled out of the run-off, accusing Zanu PF party and partisan elements in the security services of unleashing a brutal crackdown against his supporters.

Regional leaders then intervened to facilitate the formation of a coalition government. Elections to choose a substantive administration are however, expected later this year.
Gwisai said the MDC-T leader and his party had lost the advantage of the “protest vote” they enjoyed in 2008.

“Obviously the advantage of the protest vote of 2008 for the MDC is gone. The corrupt behaviour of its councillors and ministers has eroded that,” Gwisai, a former legislator, said in an interview with the Herald.

“How do you expect workers to be encouraged when we have Elton Mangoma, a senior MDC minister supervising a ministry that dismisses a workers’ leader, Angeline Chitauro, for demanding a living wage; when we have minister Paurina Mpariwa, failing for four years to issue minimum wages for domestic workers and other employee; when we have (minister Lucia) Matibenga refusing to meet public servants and the neoliberal policies of (Finance Minister) Tendai Biti have not endeared the MDC with the people?
“They represent a betrayal of the hopes and aspirations and sacrifices of the people of Zimbabwe who built the original MDC.

“So a combination of those factors clearly shows that we are likely to have a repeat of March 2008 where the MDC will retain mostly urban areas and Manicaland provinces with Zanu PF retaining control of the key Mashonaland provinces and the Midlands.”

Tsvangirai has also been attacked by another former ally, National Constitutional Assembly leader, Lovemore Madhuku, who recently announced plans to form a rival political party.

“It (the MDC-T) is no longer the people’s party which we formed in 1999. We cannot follow a person (Tsvangirai) who thinks the MDC is his personal project,” he said.

The attack prompted an appeal for calm by MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora.

“I advise Madhuku to stop talking when he is still emotional from the huge loss he encountered in the referendum. The MDC has nothing against Madhuku, but he should not use emotions when he is talking and should cool down and talk when he is settled,” Mwonzora said.
Gwisai however, said he would not be part of the project to form a new political party.

“We leave it to our colleagues in the NCA, it is their right. In fact it develops a forward movement for Lovemore Madhuku and others because they no longer have the illusions they had in Tsvangirai and the MDC,” he said.

“Professor Madhuku and the NCA have been naïve on their illusions in the MDC and the West. We were the pioneers in saying that the MDC had been infiltrated by the rich way back in 2002 and for that we were expelled.

“We have no illusions in Tsvangirai, in Biti or (Welshman) Ncube, whether as individuals or as parties that they will result in the emancipation of workers lives. So Tsvangirai is no hero of ours.

“We are in support of a mass revolutionary party (but) you don’t build that party overnight; neither do you build it in an NGO boardroom. This is our query with our colleagues that may think that you can just wake up one day and dream up a party. It will be just another elitist party and will go nowhere like FORUM or ZUD.”

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Corrupt elements seek protection in tribe
By Editor
Fri 05 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

Maxwell Mwale is claiming that the Patriotic Front government's fight against corruption is targeting the people of Eastern Province.

This is not a new argument. We have heard such arguments before. When Nalumino Mundia was fired from Dr Kenneth Kaunda's government for alleged corruption, the first reaction was a regional one, a tribal one. And this was in the early years of the UNIP government.

Nalumino formed his own Lozi-based political party, the United Party.
For sure, it must not have been an easy decision for Dr Kaunda to fire such an outstanding freedom fighter and such a leading politician at that time. Nalumino was not inherently corrupt. But poor judgement was made on his part to accept some shares in a private company in a manner that was not acceptable for someone who was a cabinet minister in Dr Kaunda's government. Under the current order, Nalumino would not have lost his cabinet position over that. But very high standards, principles, values and common aims had to be defended at that early stage of our independence. Dr Kaunda made it very clear that he didn't "want to see decisions made for self-interest rather than the benefit of the people". Dr Kaunda maintained that his "government hates corruption, and anyone we discover doing that will be in trouble with the government".

Nalumino was not punished because he was Lozi or because Dr Kaunda hated him. Actually, in the Second Republic, Dr Kaunda brought back Nalumino to be prime minister.

We also heard similar arguments in 2001 when Levy Mwanawasa approached Parliament to ask for the removal of Frederick Chiluba's presidential immunity so that he could be prosecuted for corruption. Some people argued that Levy was selectively prosecuting people from Luapula Province and that he didn't like Bemba-speaking people.

Of course, this was nonsense, it was not true. What was true was that Chiluba, with a band of corrupt elements from Luapula, abused his office, his powers to loot the national treasury. The people who Chiluba was stealing with were predominantly from one region. But this is not strange, corrupt elements always turn to nepotism, regionalism and tribalism for protection. This is the only time they pretend to care about the region or the tribe from which they hail. Chiluba and his friends didn't care much about the people of Luapula. And we challenge anyone to go to Luapula and see the poverty that exists in that region of our country. They will not find good roads and other infrastructure in Luapula that is not found elsewhere in the rural provinces of our country. Luapula is as poor as any rural province of our country. Chiluba and his friends did not steal to share their loot with the people of Luapula; Chiluba was not a Robin Hood for Luapula. He stole for himself and his friends - they bought expensive designer suits, shirts, pyjamas, neckties, shoes and so on and so forth. They competed with each other when it came to dressing; they boasted about having the most expensive suits. Chiluba spent over US$1 million of public funds on suits, shirts, pyjamas and shoes in a Belgian boutique. Of what benefit were these things to the people of Luapula? Chiluba spent public funds buying his then girlfriend Regina Mwanza all sorts of things, including property. How did this benefit the people of Luapula? Regina may be from Luapula but the public funds Chiluba spent on her were not shared with the people of Luapula. The people of Luapula remained in poverty and are still in poverty today. But Chiluba tried to abuse them in his attempt to discredit the genuine and legitimate efforts of Levy's government to make him account for his corruption.

We today again see a similar attempt by Rupiah Banda and his friends to play victim when being pursued for corruption. There is nothing regional or tribal about Rupiah being pursued for corruption. It is not an anti-Eastern Province campaign. If Mwale was a beneficiary of the corruption of the Rupiah regime, he should just answer for himself. We know that Mwale had issues of corruption over the many bicycles he could not account for. We cannot comment further on this issue because it is before our courts of law.

If one closely examines the people Rupiah was involved with in his corrupt activities, it would be evident that most of them were from one group of people. But this is not strange. This is the typical behaviour of corrupt people. Corrupt elements are nepotistic, tribalistic and carry on their corrupt activities by patronising people on all sorts of lines, including regionalism or tribalism.

And this is why the fight against corruption has also to be a fight against divisive tendencies like regionalism and tribalism. This is so because these are weapons corrupt elements use to perpetrate their vices. In a nation that has totally overcome these vices, corruption becomes difficult to perpetrate and fighting corrupt elements becomes much easier because people are more united against wrongdoing. If you remove regionalism and tribalism, corrupt elements have no place to hide, they will have no tribe or region to run to.

Fighting corruption requires action on several essential levels. First of all, a political line of action must be laid down. By defining regionalism and tribalism as enemies to be fought against, just like corruption, corrupt elements are deprived of the chief instruments of their anti-people practices.

Of course, we have also heard arguments about personal hatred against this one or that one being advanced to try and divert public attention from the real issues at hand. It is not hatred for which Rupiah is being prosecuted. There is nothing of a personal vendetta in issue here. The charge against Rupiah is very simple and clear. One doesn't need to be a lawyer to understand that charge because it is in a layman's language. There is nothing about hatred in that charge. If Rupiah can explain in a satisfactory manner why things happened the way they happened in that transaction, that charge against him will fail.

That charge is not dependent on whether Michael Sata likes or hates Rupiah. It has nothing to do with love or hatred; it is simply about what happened, who benefited from that government oil transaction. The prosecution will give its evidence and Rupiah will have the opportunity to discredit that evidence. If magistrate Joshua Banda is satisfied that Rupiah has got a case to answer, he will put him on his defence. At this stage, Rupiah will have an opportunity to give his side of the story by taking the witness stand himself and calling others to testify. That is all that is needed in this case. After that, magistrate Banda will give his judgment. And as Rupiah has personally said, he has confidence in the country's Judiciary, which includes magistrate Banda. This being the case, where is the regionalism, the personal vendetta in this case?

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Lubinda can't be trusted - Dora
By Roy Habaalu
Fri 05 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

DORA Siliya says Given Lubinda teamed up with some opposition members of parliament to fight tourism minister Sylvia Masebo. And Lubinda, who is Kabwata Central PF member of parliament, said he needed time to digest Siliya's claims.

Siliya, who is MMD spokesperson and Petauke Central member of parliament, said Lubinda was a treacherous person that could not be trusted and always wanted to bring others down.

Siliya said she was not surprised that the PF wanted Lubinda out because he carried himself as the cleanest person yet his politics were of dark-corner meetings.

She claimed Lubinda, who has been suspended from the party for six months after the disciplinary committee found him guilty of treachery and working with the opposition to frustrate the government, discredited his party whenever he met opposition members of parliament when he was foreign affairs minister.

"I maintain that Given Lubinda is treacherous and can't be trusted. He always wants to bring others down and the same Sylvia he calls princess, he worked against her and told me that 'you (Dora) they harassed you that you cancelled the tender when you didn't but Sylvia cancelled the ZAWA tender'. Lubinda is a snake in the grass. When things go well for him, he turns against the very friends he worked with. UPND and I can testify including Sylvia. He's a proper snake in the grass" said Siliya.

Siliya said this was the beginning and would soon expose more of how Lubinda and his clique worked against Masebo and other party officials.

"That's why the good people of Kabwata Constituency saw through him that he's all talk and nothing else and he can't do a 'don't kubeba' on me because he says one thing and does the other. I maintain that Lubinda is treacherous with a tendency of working against his friends. He shouldn't cry like a baby that people are out to get him out of the party. He attempted to leak information to me and I refused because he can't be trusted but other people in PF, we can work with, not Lubinda. He thinks being APNAC (African Parliamentarian Network Against Corruption) president then he's presidential material, let him keep his presidential ambitions to himself. He's no presidential material," she said.

Siliya, a former minister of transport and communication, said it was Lubinda that took her to a tribunal accusing her of corruptly awarding a tender to a foreign company and pretended she was her friend.

"For three years he (Lubinda) was not talking to me but when the Sylvia issue came out, he walked straight to my seat in Parliament to make sure Sylvia was in trouble. I'm not interested in Sylvia's issues but I'll not be used in his schemes because he was against me, at least that's my opinion. He's a snake in the grass. I will not be his useful idiot to settle his scores and that I did tell him in Parliament that people thought he was using me against Masebo but I refused to be worse than a useful idiot and that is to be a stupid idiot," she said.
Siliya said Lubinda was an ambitious and dangerous politician who always wanted to satisfy his ego.

Lubinda had asked Siliya to apologise over her statement recently that he was a treacherous person.

Meanwhile, a source at Parliament has revealed that Lubinda had been inviting Catholic nuns at National Assembly where he complained of persecution by some party officials.

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Sata appoints Lungu acting President
By Joseph Mwenda
Fri 05 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has appointed home affairs minister Edgar Lungu as acting president. And President Sata on Wednesday asked if defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba had stopped 'fighting' with justice minister Wynter Kabimba.

When he arrived at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport around 21:00 hours, President Sata jokingly instructed Lungu to discipline Kabimba.

"Mr President, have you seen this one? You must discipline him," he said as Lungu responded; "right now I can't do anything Your Excellency but I will discipline him as soon as you take off."

The President also told Inspector General of police Stellah Libongani to discipline his aide-de-camp whom he said did not know the way around the airport.

"What kind of ADC is this one", President Sata who normally flies to the airport by helicopter asked as he disembarked from the presidential Mercedes Benz. Where is the IG? Where did you get this man? Can you discipline him. He doesn't know this airport, I know this airport more than him," he said.

And President Sata jokingly referred to Mwamba and Kabimba as 'Fat Albert' and 'Thin Albert' respectively.

As President Sata approached the airport apron, Kabimba and Mwamba together with other government officials lined up to greet him.
When greeting Mwamba, President Sata asked: "Iwe Fat Albert, have you stopped fighting with Thin Albert?"

Mwamba responded that the two ministers had become best friends.
"Your Excellency, we are now best friends," said Mwamba while embracing Kabimba.

President Sata then congratulated them prompting those seeing him off to laugh as he referred to Vice-President Guy Scott as 'White Albert'.
Fat Albert is a character from the 1972-1985 animated TV series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

President Sata took off for Beijing at about 21:30 hours aboard an Emirates commercial flight.

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PF has created a dictatorship, says HH

By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 05 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

THE political situation in the country is deteriorating due to poor governance by the PF administration, says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.

And Hichilema claimed that UPND is a staunch supporter of the fight against corruption but is not happy with the vengeful manner in which the PF government is handling the crusade.

In an interview with BBC Newsday radio programme yesterday, Hichilema said Zambia would soon degenerate into a failed state.

"Currently the political environment is not conducive in the country. Imagine, we are not even in time of elections but government cannot allow us to assemble freely, yet not many years ago, the PF was in opposition with us and such things never used to happen," he said.

Hichilema said the rule of law had broken down in the country.

"PF has created a dictatorship, they don't respect the rule of law, they don't respect the Electoral Commission. I never thought Zambians will see police brutality after 1991," Hichilema said.

"They arrested us on trumped-up charges, that we in UPND have killed someone and they beat us with gun butts, put us in filthy cells with feacal matters on the ground and young men in the next cell were beaten the whole night."

Asked about the removal of former President Rupiah Banda's immunity, Hichilema said Parliament was wrong to remove the immunity.

"We do support the fight against corruption but in the manner the PF is doing it…it is sheer revenge. Even the removal of the immunity was not handled properly. There is legal process going on and this shows that Legislature has started overriding the Judiciary which is wrong," said Hichilema.

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Scott bemoans under-nutrition among children
By Fridah Nkonde
Fri 05 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Guy Scott says Zambian children have been denied the opportunity to develop to their full potential due to the problem of under-nutrition, which has resulted in high levels of stunting which are close to 45 per cent.

During the launch of the first 1,000 most critical days programme on Wednesday, Vice-President Scott, who was represented by community development minister Dr Joseph Katema said the first 1,000 most critical days programme was an effort to reverse the adverse nutrition status of the children which had continued to be unsatisfactory for over two decades.

"Stunting has severe consequences on the development of the child as it impacts on school performance and impairs productivity. This high level of under-nutrition makes our country to have one of the highest rates of stunting beyond the World Health Organisation cut off point," he said.

"This is unacceptable because it compromises our economic and national development potential which is dependent on children growing and developing well into strong and productive adults. As government, we are concerned because we do not want our children to become trapped in a vicious circle of factors that perpetuate and accentuate the problem of stunting."

Vice-President Scott said the problem of stunting was worsened by frequent childhood infections which were irreversible, adding that it was important to note that timing was essential in order to prevent irreversible damage within the first 1,000 days window for preventing stunting.

He said the government was aware that there were disadvantaged and impoverished sections of the population who should be the first target of poverty reduction and social protection programmes.

Vice-President Scott said the first 1,000 most critical days programme required multisectoral efforts and implored the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to strengthen its crop diversification programme.

He said government would ensure that activities under the first 1,000 most critical days in line ministries and other government institutions received the required funds from the treasury so as to contribute to the attainment of the millennium development goals one, four and five which had targeted reducing poverty, child and maternal deaths.

Vice-President Scott said government envisages reducing stunting by the year 2015.

And Civil Society Organisation - Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance coordinator William Chilufya presented 10 key recommendations to improve nutrition in Zambia.

"There is need for us as a country to build the political will to tackle under nutrition; we must ensure effective high-level national coordination. We must increase spending, we must address serious gaps to ensure adequate human resource at all levels, and we must protect nutrition funding," Chilufya said.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the cooperating partners, DFID acting head of office Malcolm Geere said Zambia had one of the highest rates of childhood under nutrition in the world with higher rates of chronic malnutrition or stunting (46.7 per cent) than in average for Africa (42 per cent).

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Friday, April 05, 2013

(LUSAKATIMES) Foreigners should not own land except through leasing from Zambian citizens, suggests experts groups
Time Posted: April 5, 2013 8:21 am

National organisations, institutions and interest groups have submitted to the Sector Group Convention that foreigners should not own land except through leasing from Zambian citizens for the purpose of investment.

And the Sector Group on Land, Environment and Natural Resources struggled to scrutinize comments from organizations and interest groups especially on land which has attracted overwhelming comments and submissions from stakeholders.

The Sector Group on Land, Environment and Natural Resources, which is being chaired by Lennette Kambole Chiti, an Environmental lawyer, spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon session without making clear resolutions especially on land alienation and ownership.

Comments from various institutions and organizations have largely suggested differently on how land should be alienated and managed which led to the house of experts and professionals misunderstand each other as they had two documents, the First Draft Constitution and the copies of comments from organizations, in their hand to refer to before making their resolutions.

The confusion arose as to whom between the President, Chiefs and the Lands Commission Board should alienate land.

Others agreed with the Article (1) which states that Land in Zambia is vested in the President and held by the President in trust for, and on behalf of, the people of Zambia while others wanted it amended to compel the President to consult the chief, Lands Commission Board and the citizens before alienating land.

For instance, Jubilee Zambia submitted that the clause be amended to provide for the vesting of land in the people of Zambia and not in the President while the Cabinet Office noted that the clause should be amended to provide the Lands Commission to have authority to alienate and administer all land on behalf of the President.

These varying submissions sparked debate among delegates.

Chairperson of the group admitted that the process was a tedious one but urged the experts to endure as they are called to provide solutions to issue that affect the public.

Convention coordinator, Reuben Lifuka, provided guidance after he discovered that the group of experts were spending more time to draft and correct wording in the articles instead of addressing what was required of them according to the terms of reference.

Mr Lifuka advised the group to provide a framework which the Technical Committee would use to draft the Final Draft Constitution and not concentrate on responding to comments from various organizations on the articles.

He said the comments should be quickly gone through and see if they are responding to what the FDC had provided, adding that doing so should be in response to what the terms of reference are requesting them to do.

After the guidance, the group proceeded and began to move at a considerable speed which, if maintained would allow them to conclude their tasks on schedule today.


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(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) Zimbabwe and De Beers' decline

COMMENT - The bank that started De Beers, started Standard Chartered Bank, and financed Cecil John Rhodes, was NM Rothschild & Sons in London, at the time headed by Baron Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild and aided by his brother Leopold de Rothschild.

Sir Evelyn, Baron de Rothschild, who headed the family bank until recently, is on the board of directors of The Economist Group, whose The Economist Magazine funded Mugabe And The White African.

Through the World Diamond Council (see affiliated businesses here), De Beers also created the "Blood Diamonds" initiative, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, for which there was also an accompanying movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Djimon Hounsou, directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Courage Under Fire, and The Siege, which predicted 9/11 type events 3 years before they happened).

Interestingly, the Oppenheimer family who were the face of Anglo-American De Beers during colonialism and apartheid, have now left the diamond mining business and De Beers. Forced out by Cynthia Carroll of Anglo-American, who herself is now out of Anglo-American.

And to top it off, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the neoliberal MDC, was a former employee of Anglo-American De Beers, and according to his biographer Sarah Huddleston, "Morgan loves the mining industry because he was a miner and was given his start in life by Anglo American." ("UPDATE 1-Implats surrender boosts Zimbabwe ZANU-PF for poll", Reuters)

Zimbabwe's diamonds belong to the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe and De Beers' decline
04/04/2013 00:00:00
by Tafadzwa Musarara

OBERT Mpofu has become the first and only African mines minister to take De Beers head on, and successfully inflict collateral damage on the century-old world diamond cartel leader.

Mpofu has forced the Oppenheimer dynasty to make a hasty exit from the conglomerate which they had ruled as their own family fiefdom for more than 70 years.

This is a big feat for a mines minister of a third world country to fight a worldwide establishment with a foundation deeply rooted in the Scramble for Africa. Founded in 1888 by Cecil John Rhodes, De Beers’s diverse business operations include diamond extracting, trading, cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacturing and retail.

The former diamond-mining giant has a record of providing massive material and financial assistance to former repressive colonial regimes in countries where it operated, including Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. De Beers grew phenomenally during the apartheid era when it bought several businesses that were closing in protest against the repressive political system in South Africa. This has resulted in De Beers owning at least 40% of major entities listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. During apartheid, De Beers crafted all statutes and policies on diamond trade in South Africa and benefitted from black cheap labour.

But in Zimbabwe, after decades of looting, De Beers is well and truly in retreat, soon to be a footnote in history.

“De Beers stole our diamonds,” bellowed Mpofu during his address to the Dubai Diamond Conference last month.

“We had De Beers in Zimbabwe exploring in Marange for 15 years. They exported 100,000 metric tonnes of diamond ore to South Africa for what they claimed was to carry out laboratory tests. No results of that exercise were revealed to the government of Zimbabwe as required by law. Soon after their departure, it took villagers living in the same particular area few days to start mining diamonds.”

And speaking to members of African Diamond Producers in Jerusalem on the sidelines of the 2010 Kimberly Plenary, Mpofu said: “Fellow Africans, our problems getting KP certification [to export diamonds] have serious underlying currencies.

“Apart from our bilateral arguments with Britain, we see that De Beers is behind the funding of this hostile civic society. We have a history with De Beers.”

Mpofu had to contend with and defeat the De Beers machinery which could not fathom that for the first time in its century-old cartel, it had failed to lay its dirty hands on the world biggest and most lucrative diamond find.

The KP-supervised diamond sales of 2009 and 2011 impacted negatively on De Beers’ share price leading to the ousting of its chairman, Nick Oppenheimer, as other shareholders felt he had failed to stop Mpofu’s growing popularity in KP and the massive diamond sales from Marange which were now deflating world diamond prices.

Oppenheimer’s imperial management style failed to conquer the Marange find as the Zimbabwe phenomenon triggered the emergence of new entrants, mainly from India, who could not enter the diamond industry previously due to De Beers’ imposed restrictive measures.

The movie Blood Diamonds tremendously exposed De Beers’ dealing in diamonds mined from rebel-controlled areas. However, the threat made by Mpofu to take De Beers has worsened its integrity woes.

The battle for the Marange diamonds Kimberly Process (KP) certification had serious invisible forces at play, which informed the resistance and the demonisation of these mining operations. The quantum of financial resources deployed by De Beers to civic society organisations to carry “oversight” on Marange is the highest given in the history of the KP.

Mpofu’s three-year fight for the KP certification of these mines and re-instatement of his country as a full KP member did not only re-shape the jurisprudence of this diamond trade controlling body but put Zimbabwe on the international map.

A recent report, South Africa’s De Beers: The most unethical corporation,

[Take or leave their religious opinion for what it is, but their description of De Beers business practices is pretty accurate, and reflected in for instance the BBC documentary The Diamond Empire, of 1994. - MrK]

authored by the St Antoninus Institute, a Catholic business think tank, described De Beers as the most manipulative corporation in the world. The report adds: “DeBeers is guilty of more than all that. It is an integral part of the old-boy network instituted by the British and encompassing different US operations and interests for the purpose of controlling international governments and populations for the good and in the interest of a number of corporations, especially banks.

“The American version of this international network is called the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). Anyone drawing attention to the dark side of the objectives of this outfit is branded and derided as giving credence to the ‘conspiracy theory’.

“DeBeers supports CFR and its other international version as they are means to protect the integrity of its cartel. The other major members of CFR, the banks, support the group because it allows them to introduce their people in all different types of governments and political parties so that these government will never consider commandeering or nationalising the assets of the banks (bankers are paranoid about collaterals but how do you enforce a collateral against a sovereign government?).

“Through CFR, De Beers undermines the political process of several countries, including the US.”

The fall of De Beers in Zimbabwe and the continued fight by Mpofu brings relief to many other African countries who could not stop the Wild West behaviour in their areas of jurisdiction.

Since the discovery of diamonds in the Kalahari desert in 1969 by De Beers, the Bushman – the indigenes of this area – have never known any peace as they face displacement any time. It is expected, therefore, that Batswana activists are going to ride on Mpofu’s victory as they now realise that zizi harina nyanga.

Tafadzwa Musarara is the chairman of Resource Exploitation Watch


Neil Cameron

Great article. Regardless of any political affiliation, any attempt to bring down the dominance of the big boy monopolists of the global diamond industry is good. The commodity has been known to be as common as muck in the world. True prices would be far below their artificially propped up prices if true market forces in the hands of ordinary people were allowed to exist. This artificial value inspires greed. It inspires unscrupulous measures to secure the wealth. It inspires oppression murder and war. It sidelines the poor who occupy the very land that bears the diamonds and it induces a model of "success" that people aspire to in which the successful are horrid control freaks who would go to any length, even allow an entire nation to slip into abject poverty, if that is what it took to protect the diamond wealth. It also inspires corruption in the governments of nations that have diamond bearing ore. I still feel that Zimbabwe needs to flood the world with diamonds, outside the Kimberly process, bring down world prices and shut down the evil that has haunted southern Africa for so long.

Excellent story Tafadzwa. I saw a similar story about how a small but brave country called Zimbabwe was leading the way to African control of lucrative African resources in a New York publication a few years ago. The article quickly squashed as racist by the more powerful media. However it made me proud to be a Zimbo. We know who we are, we know what was given to us by God and we do not chicken out of a righteous fight against anyone. God bless OUR Zimbabwe.
Cde Kid Marongorongo

Interesting piece. Tafadzwa, I know you are Zanu Pf but you are excellent in supporting your arguments.


the war in mozambiwue ended when de-beers under tiny roland ordered MNR to stop the war, meaning they/debeers were not going to supply weapons anymore!!

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

What is Rupiah afraid of?
By Editor
Thu 04 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT

It is clear that Rupiah Banda is scared of being prosecuted or being made to answer in any way for his corruption.

Why? It is said that the guilty are afraid. If Rupiah is as innocent as he wants to make everyone believe, why can't he have his day in court and explain every crime he is accused of having committed? Rupiah has the opportunity to have his day in court. And since he says that he has confidence in the Judiciary, why is he afraid of being prosecuted for corruption before this fair and impartial Judiciary?

When Rupiah maliciously and falsely accused us of having pocketed US$30 million from state institutions using Zambian Airways, our response was that if we have committed any crime, let him get us arrested and prosecuted for those wrongs.

We made it clear that we were not above the law and we were not scared of being investigated, and if found wanting prosecuted. That was our response to Rupiah's allegations against us. Indeed, we were summoned to the offices of the Drug Enforcement Commission and warn and caution statements were taken from us. Investigations were instituted but yielded nothing of any wrongdoing on our part.

And all those who were involved in those investigations are still here in our law enforcement agencies, save for former inspector general of police Francis Kabonde who has been retired. All these people can tell the nation what crimes they found us to have committed. The truth is they found nothing and as such we were neither arrested nor prosecuted.
But at no time did we object to being investigated, to being arrested, to being prosecuted. In fact, we invited law enforcement agencies to investigate, arrest and prosecute us if we had committed any crime.

This didn't happen because we had committed no crime. We were confident in our response to Rupiah's allegations because we knew we were innocent. And not even the most corrupt magistrate would have found a way to convict us without looking stupid. Why is Rupiah not responding to the corruption allegations against him the way we responded to his allegations against us?

The truth is Rupiah knows very well that he is not innocent, he is not clean where matters of corruption are concerned. When he was president of the Republic of Zambia, Rupiah sued us for libel. He accused us of having accused him of being corrupt when he was not.

At that time Rupiah was in charge of not only the whole country but also the Judiciary. Rupiah was in a position to manipulate the Judiciary and he was confident of getting the result he wanted. When proceedings started in the High Court, Rupiah received very favourable but highly questionable rulings in his favour.

It was clear that we were not getting any justice in that case but we didn't run away or object to the trial. We didn't accuse him of persecuting us. We tried as far as possible to use the law to defend ourselves. When Rupiah lost power in September 2011, he abandoned his libel suit against us. Why? Our simple explanation is that he knew now that he was no longer in a position to manipulate the judicial process against us and in his favour.

Again, sometime last year, Rupiah sued chief Chisunka for defamation for calling him corrupt. We joined the defence team of chief Chisunka. When Rupiah realised this, he again discontinued his defamation case. Why? He knew that people who knew about his corruption had joined the case.

It is clear that Rupiah is not ready to answer or to be taken to task over his corruption. This is why even matters he himself initiated against those accusing him of corruption were discontinued.
Rupiah knows very well that it is not possible for him to have his day in court because of what he had done. The corruption charges against Rupiah are simple and straightforward and offer him the greatest opportunity to prove his innocence, the innocence he had pleaded. But what do we hear from him? Cries of persecution. Cries of victimisation. Cries of vindictiveness.

Let him prove his innocence and that he is being persecuted, victimised and that there is vindictiveness against him in his defence in the corruption charges against him. This is a great opportunity for him to clear his name and show that the charges against him are false, baseless and malicious.

Trying to play politics and manipulate public opinion will not help Rupiah. What matters for Rupiah now is to put up a proper defence that proves that he never stole money from that government oil deal. This is the charge he is facing. Trying to evade this matter through all sorts of legal and political gymnastics will not do.

The whole world will be following the court proceedings. And this newspaper will cover these proceedings verbatim so that everything that is said in that court is accurately transmitted to the whole world for all to see what really happened. If Rupiah is being persecuted, the whole world will know if he is telling the truth or not. There is no need to resort to cheap and desperate schemes which will not absolve him from the charges or accusations of corruption that he is facing. Crying persecution will not secure an acquittal for Rupiah.

And no matter how much propaganda Robert Amsterdam posts on the internet claiming this and that for Rupiah, nothing will change the course of this case. What will determine the outcome is not political propaganda but the evidence that is before the court and how Rupiah responds to it.

An innocent person cannot behave the way Rupiah is behaving. Those who are innocent have nothing to fear. Rupiah is afraid because he knows very well that his hands are not clean. Rupiah needs that immunity to protect him from legitimate prosecution. And this explains why he has tried so hard to manipulate the politics of the opposition so that it protects his immunity from being lifted. But this has failed. And we don't think anything else will succeed in protecting Rupiah from legitimate prosecution for corruption.

What Rupiah should now be looking for is a proper defence for his case. But to achieve this, Rupiah has to start telling his lawyers and others dealing with his case the truth. We say this because when the truth comes out, the lies that he has been peddling, the lamb image that he has been trying to project will disappear and be replaced by shame and ridicule. There are maybe some people believing the lies he is telling them but soon the truth will be known about what he did or did not do. If Rupiah is truly innocent, there is nothing for him to fear under a Judiciary that he says he has got confidence in.

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We all go into govt to eat - Munkombwe
By Moses Kuwema
Thu 04 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

NEWLY-appointed Southern Province minister Daniel Munkombwe says he will continue serving in government even at the age of 90 as long as God gives him life and wisdom to explain and interpret things. And Munkombwe says he has continued to serve in all governments because he is rated as an old useful man.

Meanwhile, Munkombwe says everybody is now adopting his philosophy of politics of benefits. In an interview, Munkombwe said if he could convince people at 90 years, he would continue to offer his services.

"Since we cannot say who is dying when, because it is only God who determines when to take, it is not an individual. Those individuals who wish us ill may go earlier than us. It is wrong to wish or expect an old man to die earlier because those who wish others to die early may die early instead," said 81-year-old Munkombwe when asked how long he intends to serve in government.

Asked if politics of benefits were at play following his appointment in government, Munkombwe responded: "There is nobody who is not using my philosophy of politics of benefits. There is nobody who goes into Parliament naked, we go to Parliament because of allowances. There is no more patriotism. Patriotism was only there when we were fighting colonialists, so everybody is adopting my philosophy of politics of benefits. I know people will say Munkombwe has gone into government because he wants to eat but who does not want to eat?"

On November 13, 2005, Munkombwe who was then Southern Province MMD chairman told the late Levy Mwanawasa in Mamba that politics of patriotism were over because what was at play then were politics of benefits.

And asked what the youths could learn from his success of having served in all governments, Munkombwe said discipline was cardinal.

"If you are an indisciplined person, you don't go anywhere. If you are hopeless, you are indisciplined in your home, in society, nothing can really be good to you. I have gone through all these stages and I have had no major problems," he said.

Munkombwe said well-meaning Zambians appreciated his contributions in society and thanked God for that.

He said the appointing authority had seen stability, consistency and the vision of interpreting their various manifestoes.

"If you are going to be appointed to any position in a political government, it means that you are genuinely… like for now, I am genuinely trying as humanly possible to interpret the PF manifesto. PF is a strong party even without me," he said.

Munkombwe also attributed his appointments to his continued responsibility whenever he was appointed.

"I was responsible in the African National Congress so when I left to join UNIP, because I was responsible where I came from, I continued to be responsible. I continued doing so even when UNIP seemed to be exhausted. I went to MMD and still continued to be strong and influential in MMD and now it is PF," he said.

Munkombwe said he hoped to follow the PF system diligently and deliver development to the people of Southern Province.

Asked about the public perception that it was too much of old people getting involved in governance issues at the expense of the youths, Munkombwe responded:

"Is it too much of Michael Sata who is five years younger than me? You know progress, contribution and influence is not limited to old men. It also can be limited to young people. You know there are useless old men in the country and they are there in any society, but there are useful old men in a country. There are also absolutely useless young people in our society and yet there are extremely useful young people in a society. In any grouping, you find very extremely useful people."

Munkombwe said he was rated as one of the useful old men adding that what was important was how to use any position given to achieve development on behalf of the people.

"What is important is your role in society. What is your contribution as a youth? What is your contribution as an old man of 81 years in society? If a society still needs men of 81 years, I think that the society should be free to use that old man, just as society will still be free to use very young youths in our society. What matters is how you handle yourself in society. There are useful people in every stage of our society. We have people like Brian Hapunda who is very useful and the sky will be the limit for him. He is not the only one, there are many people who I am finding in the PF to be useful. We must carry them on our back, teach them how to understand how they can serve five other presidents who will come as I have done," said Munkombwe.

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Brace for hunger disaster, Mweetwa urges govt
By Moses Kuwema and Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Thu 04 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Choma Central UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa says the government should brace and prepare for a national disaster in terms of hunger.

And Mweetwa says Choma is likely to be the true economic hub of Southern Province if the developments that have been earmarked are implemented.

Meanwhile, the tourist capital has been hit with varying prices of mealie-meal as traders are transporting the commodity into Zimbabwe.

In an interview, Mweetwa said it was important for the government to prepare before hand for a national disaster and declare Zambia a disaster zone.

"This is a timely caution to our colleagues now as they begin to appropriate resources, those that were not budgeted for in the budget not to start allocating them unnecessary. The trail of destruction the rainy season has left is something else. The maize crop for 2012-2013 has terribly failed as a result of the erratic rain. This is also as a result of failure to deliver agro inputs on time because the few farmers who have a little food are those who had personal money and bought inputs," he said.

Mweetwa said quick intervention measures needed to be put in place and the little maize that the country had in terms of stock should be taken care of.

"All these exports should be halted otherwise the country will be in a terrible crisis. We are not prepared to eat yellow maize again," he said.

And Mweetwa said the Choma Municipal Council had received overwhelming response from people who applied for plots and that the response was triggered by the town's new status of provincial capital.

"They want to come and invest in Choma. I am very happy with the response from the people of this country. Choma is likely to become the true economic hub of the province as it is already centrally located. I want to appeal to businesses, especially those that are Zambian owned that the people of Choma are calling for industries in order to promote job creation and to promote value addition. Choma being an agriculture area produces a lot of crops and a lot of beef, pork and other animal related products are found here in Choma," he said.

Mweetwa said this would help in turning Choma into a city and not a mere provincial capital.

And a check around Livingstone's main business trading area revealed a glaring supply inadequacy with town centre Shoprite outlet having no 25 kilogramme bags of both breakfast and roller meal as at 10:20 hours on Tuesday while a check at Spar revealed only breakfast meal in stock.

The mealie meal prices although up to the recommended K55 for a 25 kilogramme of breakfast meal varied with Shoprite town centre outlet displaying a price tag of K49.99 while roller meal was pegged at K44.49.

A merchandising officer for Shoprite town centre outlet found near the mealie-meal stand who preferred anonymity said the two bags of roller meal which were displayed were damaged ones and that he was not sure when the shop was to receive new supplies.

The Shoprite outlet had in stock 2.5 kilograms of breakfast mealie-meal pegged at K6.68 5 kilogramme bags of breakfast meal at K12.48 and roller meal at K7.78.

At Spar near Mazhandu bus station a merchandising officer said the outlet had just increased the prices of the commodity to K55 for breakfast mealie-meal.

Asked about roller mea, the merchandising officer said there was a track offloading the commodity and was yet to be briefed on the new price.

At Falls Supermarket formerly Associated Stores, breakfast and roller meal from National Milling and Munsanza Milling were available all pegged at K55 and K49 for breakfast and roller meal respectively.
A check at the Victoria Falls border revealed a hand full of cyclists who had mealie-meal and charcoal bags covered in black plastics so as to cross over into neighbouring Zimbabwe with ease.

And when contacted for a comment, Livingstone district commissioner, Omar Munsanje said he was in Choma and would assess the situation upon his return to Livingstone.

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Chiefs shouldn't take part in active politics - Madzimawe
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Thu 04 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

FORMER House of Chiefs chairperson chief Madzimawe says chiefs should not take part in active politics because this would confuse the people they lead. And chief Madzimawe said the PF government has not reached a point where it can be condemned.

During Feel Free FM's Big Issue programme yesterday, chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni people in Chipata said taking part in active politics would be now like misdirecting the people.

"Taking active part in politics is not a good thing for a leader like me because they will confuse the people that we lead because even the respect that they might hold for us may be compromised because of politics. Taking active part in politics will be now like misdirecting our people because it will now be that only those people that agree with my political views are the ones that will be coming to my palace, but what about the others because they are all your people? So we really need to balance up as we approach certain things as regards to politics," chief Madzimawe said.

When asked to judge the performance of the PF government, chief Madzimawe said the government could best be judged by 2016.
He said like any other government, the PF government was still new in office.

"They (PF) are new in office they have been in opposition for ten years, for me I think they haven't reached a stage where we can condemn because you know their mandate is supposed to be five years and they have got the criteria of where they would want to run this government. So we will be able to look at them and judge them on their performance by 2016," chief Madzimawe said.

He said the creation of the chiefs' ministry was one of the successes of the PF government.

"We thank them (government) for this ministry. It's not that the President wanted to appease chiefs but to me, I feel this ministry is a challenge to all the chiefs in this country. What the President meant (when creating) this ministry was that it should be an engine towards rural development. We have lagged behind as rural areas and I feel with the coming of this ministry, their royal highnesses should be on their toes to see development," chief Madzimawe said.


Katema says 300,000 males circumcised
By Fridah Nkonde
Thu 04 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA has so far circumcised over 300,000 males, with more than 50 per cent of these done during last year's three school holidays campaign, says community development minister Dr Joseph Katema.

During the official opening of the Eastern and Southern Africa regional meeting on demand creation for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Katema who was represented by his deputy Jean Kapata said Zambia intended to circumcise 80 per cent of all HIV negative uncircumcised adult males aged 15 to 49 years.

"This, it is hoped, will avert close to 340,000 new infections by 2025. It is this challenge of converting knowledge into behaviour that we are here to address. It is a formidable challenge, but I believe that we have brought together a dynamic group of experts from across the world who are uniquely suited to the task at hand," Dr Katema said.

He said the meeting offered them a great opportunity to look at their programmes from new perspectives, adding that through engaging with researchers and communication experts, he was confident that they would generate new and innovative ideas.

He said the statistics alone were not sufficient to convince any individual adult man to get circumcised.

"I hesitate to ask how many of the men in this room have gone for the service, or how many of the women here have taken their husbands. Within the region, we have been working individually to try to answer some of the questions that hinder men from accessing services since 2007, but I dare to say that we haven't gotten it right just yet. We have identified many of the challenges, but I don't think we have measured or prioritised them. It is time for a more systematic approach that includes more coordination, and broader consultation," he said.

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COMMENT - Not just a minimum wage, but a basic income for everyone. This is a proposal brought before the EU.

Title: Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) - Exploring a pathway towards emancipatory welfare conditions in the EU

Current status: Collection ongoing
Deadline: 14/01/2014
Commission registration number: ECI(2013)000001
Date of registration: 14/01/2013
Registration language: EN / Other languages available: DE HU FR SV IT PT SL DA NL FI ES

Subject-matter: Asking the Commission, to encourage cooperation between the Member States (according to Art 156 TFEU) aiming to explore the Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) as a tool to improve their respective social security systems.

Main objectives: In the long run the objective is to offer to each person in the EU the unconditional right as an individual, to having his/her material needs met to ensure a life of dignity as stated by the EU treaties, and to empower participation in society supported by the introduction of the UBI. In the short term, initiatives such as “pilot‐studies“ (Art 156 TFEU) and examination of different models of UBI (EP resolution 2010/2039(INI) §44) should be promoted by the EU.

Provisions of the Treaties considered relevant by the organisers: TEU Art. 2+3; TFEU Art. 5+156, Charter of Fundamental Rights Art. 1+2, 5+6, 15, 21, 34
Organisers / Members of citizens' committee:

* Representative: Klaus SAMBOR -
* Substitute: Ronald BLASCHKE -
* Other members: Stanislas JOURDAN, Sepp KUSSTATSCHER, Olympios RAPTIS, Branko GERLIC, Anne MILLER

Annex: Full_Annex_ECI_unconditionnal-basic-income.pdf (116591 bytes)
Draft legal act:
Sources of support and funding:

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(NEWZIMBABWE, THE ATLANTIC) UN under fire over cholera cover-up

COMMENT - Typical neoliberal garbage from The Atlantic, where Tendai Biti laid out the MDC's treasonous agenda on Zimbabwe's national independence day - and we know how neoliberals feel about national sovereignty.

UN under fire over cholera cover-up
Cover-up ... Cholera patients with cups of sugar solution at Budiriro Polyclinic in Harare
03/04/2013 00:00:00
by The Atlantic

ZIMBABWE, a potential economic powerhouse which critics say has been ruined under President Robert Mugabe’s rule, is heading for a potential turning point.

A mostly peaceful, popular referendum on March 16 approved a relatively progressive constitution that includes a theoretically strong bill of rights, and general elections will likely be held later in the year.

But the past couple months have also seen another, less noted development that adds an additional layer of ambiguity to the country's future.

On February 26th, a UN tribunal in Johannesburg determined that Georges Tadonki, the head of the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA ) in Zimbabwe in 2008, had been wrongfully fired from the UN after he attempted to warn headquarters of an oncoming cholera epidemic, whose severity was compounded by the on-going electoral violence.

He was fired after Agostinho Zacarias, then the UN's country chief in Zimbabwe and currently the UN Development Program's Resident Coordinator in South Africa, decided that his own closeness with Zanu PF overrode his responsibilities to the UN’s missions and values.

Yet Zacarias was actively abetted by officials at the UN headquarters in Turtle Bay, Manhattan in the US, who gave into his demands, which included the marginalisation and eventual firing of Tadonki, even as conditions inside Zimbabwe deteriorated.

The case raises the question of just how the UN will perform in Zimbabwe if the events of 2008 repeat themselves - or in the event that the country finally experiences its long sought-after democratic transition.
Tadonki brought a wrongful termination claim against the UN after the organisation effectively fired him in early 2009.

The UN's bulletproof legal immunity necessitates an unusual system for adjudicating such cases. Because the UN cannot be sued, tribunals convened by the UN itself deal with employment claims, pseudo-courts that don't adhere to several important aspects of accepted U.S. and European legal procedure.
Legal immunity

The UN-appointed judges found that Tadonki's firing was the result of concentric layers of favouritism and bad faith, tendencies that defined not only the country head's relationship with Mugabe's government, but Turtle Bay's apparently-backward view of the UN's entire mission in Zimbabwe.

According to the tribunal, in addition to upholding the egalitarian values of the UN Charter, Zacarias's job charged him with "speaking out about humanitarian issues and defending humanitarian principles." In these respects, he was a clear failure. He had a tight relationship with members of Mugabe’s Zanu PF ruling party.

According to Robert Amsterdam, who was one of Tadonki's lawyers, Zacarias' testimony revealed that he had known various Zanu PF leaders when they were based in Mozambique during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

According to the decision, during his posting in Zimbabwe, Zacarias "would spend most of his social time with Nicholas Goche, a Zanu PF politburo member and current transport and minister. This closeness spurred a wilful ignorance of the country's deteriorating conditions.

In the run-up to the disastrous 2008 vote, "Zacarias seemed to not take cognizance of the fact that there was likely to be widespread and unprecedented violence," despite the mobilisation of pro-Zanu PF paramilitary.

Even as pro-Mugabe militants savaged the opposition MDC and its supporters, Zacarias did his best to shield himself from the ruling party's scrutiny, even if it meant discarding commonly-held humanitarian protocol.

"The bottom line," the tribunal concludes, "is that the political agenda that Zacarias was engaged in with the government of Zimbabwe far outweighed any humanitarian concerns that OCHA (Tadonki's office) may have had."

In the report's most scathing section, the judges explain that Zacarias's closeness to the Zanu PF made it impossible for Tadonki to carry out his duties as the head of OCHA - a stance which had deep consequences for Zimbabweans counting on the UN's assistance in the midst of a cholera epidemic and political emergency:

“There was a humanitarian drama unfolding and people were dying. Part of the population had been abandoned and subjected to repression. The issue between Tadonki and Zacarias was to what extent these humanitarian concerns should be exposed and addressed and the risk that there was of infuriating the Mugabe government,” reads part of the report.

“Matters started to sour when the Tadonki started doing his job. Zacarias preferred that the he remain quiet. But if he remained quiet, OCHA at (the UN) headquarters would say he was not doing his job. Therefore while silence would bring him trouble from OCHA, noise would infuriate Zacarias.

“When the Applicant started organising a forum made up of the NGOs, the United Nations and the donors to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe with the approval of Zacarias and to achieve a common understanding of the humanitarian situation, Zacarias became angry.”

Tadonki didn't stay silent however; he "had the courage to inform the OCHA Headquarters in New York that Zimbabwe was on the brink of a humanitarian crisis while Zacarias was pretending to the contrary."

Zacarias had undermined Tadonki at other points during the OCHA head's brief yet eventful stint in Zimbabwe, most notably by convincing the Zimbabwean government not to approve residency accreditation for Tadonki's wife and children, who were living in South Africa during his period of employment (covered in paragraph 163 of the ruling).

But Tadonki paid an additional and even deeper price for his willingness to warn Turtle Bay about Zimbabwe's humanitarian plight - he was fired in January 2009, after he had warned of the potential ravages of the looming cholera outbreak, which was worsened by the electoral chaos and eventually killed over 4,000 people.
Tadonki was investigated by a UN bureaucrat at Zacarias's behest, even when there was no proof of professional malfeasance.

"Part of the reason nobody could take on Zacarias was that his role was unassailable," explains Amsterdam. UN headquarters was convinced that in terms of their Zimbabwe operations, "Zacarias was the absolutely critical pivot, and everything could be sacrificed to him."

Tadonki's two predecessors were also fired after brief and tumultuous postings to Harare, and Amsterdam believes that the UN knowingly sent his client into an extremely hostile work environment.

"That they could have put anybody into the situation after Zacarias had savaged the prior two occupants of that post was just inhumane. It was like they were setting him up for exactly what transpired," said Amsterdam.

Still, the UN has stated that it is appealing its own tribunal's decision. A spokesperson refused to comment on the case last month - except to say that "judgments of the UN Dispute Tribunal are not final until they have been confirmed by the UN Appeals Tribunal," and that "the Organization intends to file an appeal of this judgment."

For Amsterdam, the decision to appeal reveals just how little the UN has learned from the Tadonki affair. "If you had a normal organisation, heads would roll," he says. "Structures would change. But clearly this is not a normal organization. This is an organization that's pathological in its respect for its employees."

The events in the Tadonki case mostly happened in 2008, but they are less distant than they seem - and not just because of the UN's plans to appeal.

In a plausible worst-case scenario, this coming year will bear a similarity to the crisis of 2008. With elections planned for an as-yet unannounced date later in the year, the country could be heading towards another inflection point, or even another explosion - situations in which international organisations would take on heavy humanitarian and moral responsibilities.
New elections

"The UN was being asked, and will be asked in the future, to play a key role in the transition in Zimbabwe, and they have been completely contaminated by their behaviour," says Todd Moss, a senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development, and an official in the US State Department's African Affairs office during the 2008 election crisis.

"It comes down to trust. Who is the UN supposed to be working for? The signals were pretty clear that parts of the UN office in Harare were working very closely with Zanu PF," he said
The successful constitutional referendum raises the possibility of an election that is at least procedurally sound.

In addition Zimbabwe and Zambia are co-hosting the UN World Tourism Organization's general assembly in August of this year, raising hopes that an influential faction within Zanu PF genuinely wants to reintegrate the country with the rest of the region and the international community more generally. A clean vote would be an ideal place to start.

But Moss sees little reason to believe that the party's brutal electoral calculus has changed.
"There's no prospect of an opposition victory as long as Mugabe is alive," says Moss.

There's evidence that Zanu PF is already going after opposition and civil society organisations in the run-up to an election that hasn't even been scheduled yet.

In January, agents broke into the offices of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, which keeps a database of police malpractice, and arrested its director; in December, police arrested members of the independent Zimbabwean Electoral Support Network for holding "an unsanctioned public meeting."

Police also recently raided the studios of Radio Dialogue, an influential community broadcasting project, and, most notably, human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa and four Tsvangarai aides were arrested in late March.

"There's an impressive level of political direction and assertiveness by ordinary citizens, human rights defenders, and civil society," says Jeff Smith, an advocacy officer for the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights.
"What's worrying is that the Zanu PF regime has really been able to keep these social forces in check."

This year's vote could be no more legitimate than 2008's. The question however, is still whether Mugabe will allow the opposition to win - and whether it's possible to have any kind of democratic process in a country where the government is so determined to hold onto power.

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