President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe with First Lady Grace at a ZANU-PF rally. The nation of Zimbabwe celebrated 27 years of national independence on April 18, 2007.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
By Godwills Masimirembwa
MAVIS MAKUNI’S article in The Financial Gazette (November 15-21, 2007) titled "EU-Africa Summit: Brown could be vindicated" implies that the Government should be put on the agenda of the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon to answer allegations of human rights abuses.
Commenting on the plot by Nordic countries to place Zimbabwe on the agenda of the summit on allegations of human rights abuses and Zimbabwe’s response that it is prepared for a showdown, Makuni said: "The vitriolic tirades against Rylander (the Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe) show that Zimbabwe is threatening to fight so as to avoid defending its governance and human rights record, and ensuring that these issues are off limits during the summit.
Why? Questions will be asked why, if it has nothing to hide, the Zimbabwean Government is not keen to seize the opportunity afforded by the summit to prove convincingly once and for all that the allegations of human rights abuses and repressive governance persistently levelled against it are baseless."
A few sobering truths about the Government’s human rights and governance record are important to reiterate lest people are lost in London’s maze of confusionist utterances on the social, political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. These are:
-Zimbabwe is an independent and sovereign state, equal to any in the corpus of world independent and sovereign nations;
-Since attaining independence on April 18 1980, Zimbabwe has maintained legitimacy of governance through regular democratic elections as provided for under the Constitution and other laws;
-Zimbabwe has never been an aggressor either within or outside its borders, but has stood firm on principle to assist and defend legitimate governments the world over.
To this end, it sacrificed its sons and daughters in defending Mozambique’s sovereignty from apartheid South Africa’s illegal regime change gangster outfit led by Afonso Dhlakama. Zimbabwe played a decisive role in fighting the forces of retrogression bent on perpetuating chaos and instability in the DRC, again putting the precious lives of its sons and daughters in the trenches for the ultimate good of Africa. To this end, Zimbabwe has participated in peace missions in Africa and Europe, becoming a torch bearer in the fight against insurrection and instability.
Zimbabwe is one of the most peaceful, stable and progressive countries in the world, with the peace and stability focused policies of its Government on education in particular, having churned out the millions of highly educated and articulate Zimbabwean graduates from every facet of human educational endeavour now gracing every corner of the world.
Zimbabwe is a tourist paradise, having successfully managed to maintain, nurture and support its tourist sites, flora and fauna, parks and wildlife, the seventh wonder of the world — the Mos-a-tunya (Victoria) Falls, the mighty Zambezi and dotted leisure sites, the Matopos, Nyangani and Vumba and all the environs of beauty, charm and splendour that have amazed many a tourist.
One can go on and on narrating the successes of the Government, suffice to say the Government has acquitted itself well on the most controversial topic in the world — governing according to the will of the people, by the people and for the people, for the most difficult human endeavour is to satisfy fellow human beings.
But the ultimate success barometer for the Government was its ability or inability to deliver to Zimbabweans the stolen land. All else would have been meaningless without majoritarian ownership of land. And yet this issue became the crossroad of the relationship between the former master and the former servant. London breathed fire and brimstone in defence of inequity, arguing for the continued retention of 70 percent of arable land by its kith and kin, 4 000 white farmers. Harare forged ahead dispensing justice, equitably redistributing land to millions of land-hungry Zimbabweans.
Therein lies the bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain. It is about equity and inequity in the ownership of land. Zimbabwe is right. Britain is wrong. Britain chose the path of aggression against Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe had no choice, but to defend itself.
But Britain, though wrong, has the muscle, borne out of the fat of the Zimbabwean lands and people. Who can dispute that every facet of British life, luxury, splendour and dominance is significantly coloured by Zimbabwe’s stolen wealth and labour?
So Britain uses the stolen muscle to advocate and champion the imposition of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe, the attempted isolation of Zimbabwe, the demonisation of Zimbabwe. Britain seeks to dim and destroy Zimbabwe’s good name and reputation within the corpus of democratic nations.
In defending itself, Zimbabwe has exposed British hypocrisy and Britain’s neo-colonial agenda.
These, Mavis, my sister, are the real issues. Ask yourself how many tin pot dictators London has supported the world over? How many terrorist organisations? How much injustice has Britain waged against humanity? History is replete with Britain’s selfish escapades into other people’s countries in search of wealth and dominance. In its pursuit of hegemony Britain does not have scruples to enter into dalliance with dictators, terrorists and other evil alliances. It is doing so on Zimbabwean soils as it seeks to effect illegal regime change. Illegal regime change through military invasion, social upheaval or economic strangulation is London’s bane for Harare.
The furore between the progressive world and vindictive London over Zimbabwe’s participation at the EU-Africa Summit has to be viewed from the perspective of the fight between good and evil. It has been a long fight. The children of Zimbabwe have suffered for a good cause. They have and continue to defend their motherland from British predators.
The good news is more and more progressive forces are now seeing beyond the veil of British hypocrisy and machinations. They are joining hands with the winning Zimbabwean team. Remember, losers and those who quit can only receive platitudes of sympathy. But those who persevere and prevail in pursuit of justice ultimately receive the crown of glory and many, even their adversaries, want to be seen in their company.
So, walk tall, fly tall, to Lisbon dear President Mugabe. Like you or hate you, London and its allies know you do not brook nonsense when it comes to articulating, defending and advancing the just cause of Zimbabweans in particular and Africans in general. This is why they are faint-hearted to share the same stage or platform with you. Bon voyage our dear President.
But back to my sister Mavis, Zimbabwe is not and must not go on trial in Lisbon. Who will ask questions about Zimbabwe’s human rights record, about governance issues in Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe is the peaceful country that it is because of the observance of and adherence to the rule of law. Zimbabwe is experiencing economic problems because Britain championed the imposition of illegal sanctions that have blocked balance of payments support, disabled the raising of capital on the international financial markets and discouraged investment.
If any country should go on trial in Lisbon, it is Britain, for orchestrating the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and many other nations. Britain, not Zimbabwe, is the pariah state. Britain, not Zimbabwe is the aggressor.
Lisbon will not vindicate Gordon Brown. History will not vindicate Brown. Instead, history will repeat itself, that those who plan evil and seek to dominate others, rob others of their inheritance, God is planning disaster for them. So, as Zimbabwe shrugs off the British albatross through domestic, regional and international social, political and economic collaborative measures, Britain will inevitably recede into an embarrassed and defeated past colonial master, forced to eat humble pie and to accept Zimbabwe as an equal partner in the corpus of democratic and sovereign nations.
Many articles have appeared in the media concerning the topical issue of Britain’s futile attempts to have Zimbabwe barred from attending and participating at the EU-Africa Summit, but this writer submits that Caesar Zvayi’s article titled "Lisbon: Gordon Brown’s Waterloo" published in The Herald (November 20 2007), is a gem succinctly laying the historical facts leading to the bilateral dispute between Harare and London, but most importantly linking Africa’s underdevelopment to Europe’s plunder of Africa’s resources.
On the question of the agenda for the summit, Caesar Zvayi wrote: "The agenda should be restoration of what was looted, after which the summit should discuss how best Africa and Europe can benefit through progressive synergies enshrined in the Cairo Declaration . . . which says the main goal of EU-Africa summits is ‘to give a new strategic dimension to the global partnership between Africa and Europe for the 21st century, in a spirit of equality, respect, alliance and co-operation between Africa and Europe by strengthening the already existing links of political, economic and cultural understanding through the creation of an environment and an effective framework for promoting a constructive dialogue on economic, political, social and development issues."
The crux of the matter sister Mavis is the role Europe played in underdeveloping Africa, including underdeveloping the minds of some of our brothers and sisters who see nothing wrong with what Europe did to Africa, what Britain is doing to Zimbabwe, who do not see that illegal sanctions are the prime cause of low productivity in our industries and consequently the reduction in export receipts leading to economic decline.
Lisbon should vindicate Africa, that it is Europe’s victim of economic plunder and that justice demands that Europe restores the loot. Only then will we compare apples with apples. For now its chalk and cheese because Europe unjustly holds onto Africa’s wealth.
Zim talks: Mbeki confident
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki yesterday expressed confidence talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC to find solutions to Zimbabwe’s problems would yield the desired results.
"Very confident," was President Mbeki’s response to questions from journalists at State House on whether the talks would succeed.
Mr Mbeki flew into Harare yesterday afternoon, en route to the Commonwealth summit in Uganda, to brief President Mugabe and the MDC leaders on the ongoing dialogue.
Sadc mandated the South African leader to mediate between the Zimbabwean Government and the splintered MDC.
"That process has been going on very well. I came to Harare so that we can reflect where we are now and give my own perspectives. It was basically to brief the President (Cde Mugabe) and the MDC leaders, as the principals," Mr Mbeki said.
He said the briefings he had with the leaders of Zanu-PF and the MDC yesterday had "gone on very well".
Both parties have expressed satisfaction with progress in the talks.
Asked to comment on allegations made by MDC faction leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in Uganda that Government had stepped up violence against the opposition, Cde Mugabe dismissed the claims as the "usual accusation which the MDC makes".
He, however, said the MDC had already raised the matter in the dialogue.
President Mugabe and Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi recently challenged the MDC to prove its claims that Government had embarked on a crackdown against the opposition. The MDC is still to substantiate the claims.
"I suppose he (Mr Tsvangirai) wanted to inform his friends, whoever they were, that these are some of the matters raised in the dialogue. I wonder whether he also raised the issue of the recent violence in his own party with himself taking sides," Cde Mugabe said.
The Tsvangirai camp has been embroiled in internal fights which have of late turned violent with two rival groups claiming to be in charge of the women’s assembly.
President Mugabe said the violence was of concern to Government and he wondered whether Mr Tsvangirai had told his friends of the skirmishes in his party as he spoke ill of Government.
President Mbeki was welcomed at Harare International Airport by President Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru and Cabinet ministers.
He proceeded to State House where he held talks with Cde Mugabe before meeting the MDC leaders at the residence of the South African ambassador in Highlands.
Mr Mbeki later returned to State House for further discussions with Cde Mugabe after which they fielded questions from journalists.
The South African leader then flew to Uganda and was seen off at Harare International Airport by President Mugabe, Cde Mujuru, Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.
The Morgan Tsvangirai MDC faction expressed confidence in Mr Mbeki.
Addressing journalists at a Press conference at Harvest House, the party’s headquarters, secretary-general for the faction Mr Tendai Biti said the MDC had confidence in President Mbeki as a facilitator.
He said his party told Mr Mbeki issues they thought needed to be addressed during the ongoing talks between the opposition and Zanu-PF.
Mr Biti, who is also Harare East Member of Parliament, said his party was committed to the ongoing talks aimed at finding a lasting solution to the challenges facing the country.
The party’s commitment was manifested by its recent support of the Constitutional Amendment Act (No 18) in Parliament, said Mr Biti, who also confirmed that Mr Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara met President Mbeki in Pretoria in South Africa last weekend.
The coming to Zimbabwe of the South African leader was a reflection that there was dialogue going on between Zanu-PF and MDC as mandated by the Sadc Extraordinary Summit in Tanzania in March this year, he said.
"We believe he is an honest and genuine facilitator concerned about the suffering of other Africans. We have no problem with the facilitator and the process, but we are only concerned about the issues we have already raised to him that are still outstanding," said Mr Biti.
"President Mbeki is well briefed and has acknowledged our concerns and said he will submit them to the Government. If these talks fail, it would not be because we don’t have a good facilitator."
Mr Biti had been asked if his party viewed President Mbeki as a leader with the capacity to facilitate dialogue between Zanu-PF and MDC and if he was doing it in good faith.
Among the issues the party raised with President Mbeki yesterday and in Pretoria, Mr Biti said, were the timeframe within which elections should be held, the legitimacy of the Constitution, the freeness and fairness of next year’s elections and the need to observe Sadc guidelines governing democratic elections.
The party’s national chairman, Mr Lovemore Moyo, and spokesman, Mr Nelson Chamisa, also attended the Press conference
The talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC have so far seen the parties co-sponsor the landmark Constitutional Amendment Act Number 18, which will, among other things, harmonise presidential, parliamentary and local government elections scheduled for next year.
Mbeki upbeat on Harare talks
By Nelson Banya
South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Thursday he was "very confident" that mediation efforts between Zimbabwe's government and opposition would produce a solution to the country's political crisis.
"They [the talks] have gone very well. I came to Harare today to see the president and the leadership of the MDC so we can reflect on where we are and to report to them as facilitator how the talks have gone," Mbeki said after meeting the two sides.
Regional leaders appointed Mbeki earlier this year to mediate between the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling Zanu-PF party ahead of elections next year.
Zimbabwe looks set to seize control of mines
20 November 2007, 18:00
Harare - The government released proposals for new mining laws that will strip foreigners of control of mines and give control of key mines to the state, official radio reported on Tuesday.
A 60-page draft of the minerals and mines amendment bill unveiled by Mines Minister Amos Midzi was the first concrete step toward seizing mines.
State radio said final adjustments to the draft were being made and it would soon be presented to the ruling party controlled parliament for approval.
Copies of the bill were not immediately available but a summary said it provided for the "indigenisation and localisation" of the nation's mining industry.
The state was entitled to control of key mines by "virtue of its original ownership of all useful minerals in its subsoil", the summary said.
President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly threatened to seize control of mining. Earlier this year, parliament passed laws forcing other white and foreign-owned businesses to relinquish a 51 percent stake to black Zimbabweans.
Since 2000, more than 5 000 white-owned commercial farms have been seized in a chaotic land redistribution program that plunged the agriculture-based economy in the former regional breadbasket into free fall.
The new mining bill proposes a seven-year period for mining rights to be carved up but says foreign-held mining rights can be cancelled in cases of obstruction and "willful noncompliance" with the objectives of the legislation to hand over control once it is in force.
It proposes the government take over 51 percent of concerns mining strategic minerals such as coal and coalbed methane, taking 25 percent without paying and paying for the rest.
The government also claimed a fourth of gold, diamond, platinum and other precious mineral mines, and said another 26 percent of those concerns should go to black Zimbabweans.
The government claimed no stake in other mines, but proposed that foreign and white interests relinquish 51 percent to black Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with chronic shortages of food, fuel and hard currency for spare parts and equipment.
Official inflation of nearly 8 000 percent is the highest in the world. Some reports have placed it closer to 15 000 percent.
In May, the independent Chamber of Mines reported gold production plunged to its lowest in 90 years and hyperinflation, shortages of gasoline and equipment, regular power outages and an exodus of skilled mining personnel to better paid jobs in other countries also hit production of nickel, platinum and copper despite soaring world commodity prices.
Foreign investment has largely dried up in seven years of political and economic turmoil since the farm seizures, with potential investors citing concerns over ownership rights, economic disruptions under the sweeping nationalisation program and officials criticising Western-style market-led business practice. - Sapa-AP
Our human rights record better than Australia’s — President
President Mugabe yesterday told incoming Australian ambassador Mr Charles John Hodgson that Zimbabwe has a much better human rights record than his country.
Officials said Cde Mugabe roasted Mr Hodgson on why Australia gets involved in the bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain.
According to the officials, Cde Mugabe said Australia makes a lot of noise about Zimbabwe’s human rights record yet Harare was far ahead of Canberra in upholding human rights given the way Aborigines are treated in Australia.
The Aborigines are the indigenous Australians but are treated as second class citizens.
President Mugabe made the comments in talks with Mr Hodgson after he had presented his credentials to him at State House.
Cde Mugabe told the Australian diplomat that his country has taken a hostile stance against Zimbabwe in the name of pleasing Britain, the officials said.
Speaking to journalists after meeting the President, Mr Hodgson said Cde Mugabe gave him his views "on our relations (between Zimbabwe and Australia) and I found them to be very useful".
Asked what he would do to improve the relations he, said:
"Beyond that, I can’t comment further. Diplomacy has to be conducted between governments and not through news media."
The next to present his credentials was new United States ambassador Mr James Macgee, who said he "was looking forward to working with the Government and people of Zimbabwe".
Mr Mcgee replaces Mr Christopher Dell, who had to be warned on a number of times by Zimbabwean authorities against his undiplomatic conduct and meddling in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.
The new US ambassador said he would "be working very closely with the Government of Zimbabwe", when asked what he would do to improve strained relations between Harare and Washington.
Following the confirmation of his appointment, Mr Mcgee told the US Senate that he would continue from where Mr Dell left in pursuing the regime change agenda in Zimbabwe, citing Swaziland and Madagascar where he said he worked with "pro-democracy groups and the civil society".
However, Zimbabwe is different in that it unequivocally detests meddling in its internal affairs by foreigners.
Incoming Russian ambassador Mr Sergey Kryukov said his country was satisfied with the level of political co-operation it has with Zimbabwe.
This has seen the two countries share same views in the United Nations and other international forums, which Mr Kryukov said "contributes to a more secure and just world order".
He said efforts should now shift to economic co-operation and implementation of agreed deals.
Last to present his credentials was Mr Luis Cabrera of Mexico, who said his country wished to have a strong presence in Africa and Zimbabwe plays a great role in that quest.
Mr Cabrera will be based in South Africa and will cover Zimbabwe from there.
Cash shortage act of sabotage
EDITOR — The prevailing cash shortage, in my opinion, is a plot by detractors to sabotage national development programmes. I say so because most shops, especially in Harare, are not accepting transactions involving Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) for no reason.
I have first-hand experience of some shops that sell clothing material. These shops do not accept cheques or swipe cards. They do not even have swipe machines in their shops, a clear act of defiance.
They are instead selling cash to desperate customers at rates of up to 20 percent interest. Such people should be highly taxed because they are shortchanging the country.
I think the RBZ should force shops to bank the cash they collect daily. Why are they holding on to national money like that? I hope on Operation Sunrise II, the Government will give notice of not more than a day for people to bank their money. Those who feel they can’t co-exist with us here should simply leave our country. We are tired of their greedy actions.
Hats off to those who are promoting the use of plastic money like Standard Chartered Bank, The Herald and other retail shops that have swipe machines in their banking halls.
Cde Jairos Tapfuma