Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Zimbabwe gloats over UN stalemate

Susan Njanji
Harare, Zimbabwe
30 April 2008 01:04

The Zimbabwe government savoured a rare diplomatic victory on Wednesday after the United Nations Security Council failed to agree on how to respond to the country's post-election crisis.

Western countries such as former colonial power Britain, urged on by the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had been trying to steer the council to adopt a common strategy on the situation in Zimbabwe, where the results of a March 29 presidential election have still to be announced.

However, a meeting of the council at UN headquarters in New York broke up on Tuesday without agreement after a clear split among the 15 member nations.

"It was a British machination to try to bully African nations, a racist ploy ... to say Africans are not capable of making decisions and that African issues can only be seen through the eyes of little England," Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said.

"It was a non-event, there was no need for that."

Matonga said the division among the international community on how to deal with the Zimbabwe crisis should be a lesson to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, accusing him of bias towards the opposition.

Ban said on Tuesday that the Zimbabwean authorities should immediately release the presidential poll results, saying: "We know who is the winner."

"It's a lesson for the secretary general of the UN that he should not take sides as he had done in the previous meeting to try to mention Zimbabwe at a breakfast meeting with Gordon Brown," said Matonga.

South Africa, Russia and China were among the countries that blocked moves towards any UN intervention, despite pleas by the MDC for a special UN envoy to be sent to the troubled Southern African nation.

The outcome is a rare diplomatic victory for the Mugabe regime, which has been under increasing pressure over the hold-up to the election results.

The state-run Herald newspaper, whose headline proclaimed "UN snubs MDC", accused Britain of trying to lobby Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania to form a group to pressurise regional countries to lean on Mugabe.

'The council is divided'

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti flew to New York in an unsuccessful attempt to brief the council on the post-poll crisis.

He called for a "strong and decisive" resolution from the Security Council against the Mugabe regime, as well as for the dispatch of a UN envoy or fact-finding mission to his country.

Proponents of the attempt to put Zimbabwe on the agenda included the United kingdom, United States, Belgium and France.

US deputy ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff deplored the fact that the council could not find common ground on how to respond.

"The council is divided," he said.

"There are a number of governments who were quite outspoken about the importance of the council remaining engaged ... but there were others who have different views and think that the situation deserves more time and that ultimately it is up for the Zimbabwean people to resolve it themselves," he said.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai (56) claims he defeated the 84-year-old Robert Mugabe in the March 29 presidential poll, based on his party's calculations.

But Mugabe supporters say no candidate won outright and there should be a run-off. No official result has so far been released.

The post-election impasse has led to a rise in violence, with the MDC claiming that 15 of its followers have been killed by Mugabe loyalists.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a respected New York-based watchdog, said the African Union and UN needed to take immediate action to prevent further violence in Zimbabwe, accusing the country's army of running a campaign of terror.

"The army and its allies -- war veterans and supporters of the ruling party Zanu-PF -- are intensifying their brutal grip on wide swathes of rural Zimbabwe to ensure that a possible second round of presidential elections goes their way," Georgette Gagnon, HRW's Africa director, said in a statement.

"Military forces are providing arms and trucks to the so-called war veterans, who have been implicated in numerous acts of torture and other violence against opposition MDC members and supporters."

Controversial land-grabs

Meanwhile, Barclays Bank has been accused of providing
"personal banking services" for up to four members of Mugabe's regime, London's Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

The four members of the Mugabe government are said to have benefited from the controversial land-grabs from white farmers in Zimbabwe, the newspaper said.

According to the Liberal Democrats, the alleged support was against the spirit of European Union sanctions, which specifically target leading members of the Zimbabwe government.

Under European Union sanctions imposed in 2002, bank accounts and funds of 131 members of Mugabe's regime were frozen.

Barclays allegedly provided the facilities through a locally registered company, Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, listed on the Harare Stock Exchange, the Daily Telegraph said.

Barclays could lawfully avoid the sanctions regime because it owned a 64% stake through a locally incorporated holding company -- and local companies are exempt from the sanctions.

A Barclays spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph: "We are studying the comments ... Barclays is compliant with EU sanctions regarding Zimbabwe. Barclays always seeks to conduct its business in an ethical and responsible manner.

"Barclays has been in Zimbabwe since 1912 and is deeply committed to supporting its 150 000 customers in the country in what is clearly a difficult operating environment."
-- AFP, Sapa

Gono ‘frees’ forex trade

By Victoria Ruzvidzo

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has liberalised the foreign currency market by introducing an interbank trading system that will result in exchange rates being determined by the forces of supply and demand to encourage inflows into the formal market.

Individuals, embassies and other institutions will now sell their foreign currency to banks and other authorised dealers on a willing-buyer/willing-seller basis.

Presenting the 2008 First Quarter Monetary Policy Statement in Harare yesterday, RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono announced key measures to guide foreign currency trading, set to subdue activity on the parallel market.

The measures were also in response to requests by the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe to liberalise the exchange rate system.

"Freeing the exchange rate system by introducing an interbank foreign exchange market in order to formalise the trading of foreign exchange away from the informal market to the formal market, this measure will go a long way in addressing many apparent distortions in the pricing system in the economy while at the same time addressing the shortages of goods and services in the economy," said a memo to Dr Gono signed by BAZ president Dr John Mangudya.

The willing-buyer/willing-seller concept, said BAZ, would also reduce "unnecessary" demand for foreign currency in the market while creating an efficient pricing system.

Banks and other authorised dealers will now display their average buying and selling price each business day and will on-sell their foreign exchange to the Reserve Bank at the going interbank rate, leaving them with a float of not more than US$100 000.

This strategy is meant to rebuild the country’s strategic reserves position.

Exporters will now dispose of their surrender requirements to the central bank at the interbank rate while surrender levels, previously at 35 percent, will be determined by the rate at which exporters grow their exports.

For instance, a 10 percent growth will reduce the surrender level to 25 percent while a 30 percent rise in exports will see exporters retaining 95 percent of their earnings.

Retention levels will now be held in corporate Foreign Currency Accounts for a maximum of 21 days.

Under the twinning willing-buyer/willing-seller arrangement, authorised dealers will match sellers with buyers, guided by a priority list that will see food production, spare parts, fertilizers and other related imports being allocated 35 percent of available foreign currency while other critical imports will receive varying amounts based on the list.

"In order to significantly move the economy towards stability, increased capacity utilisation, availability of basic commodities and, hence, reduced and declining inflationary pressures, it has become necessary that the pricing and allocative frameworks in the foreign exchange market be reformed in a manner that guarantees viability for all generators of foreign exchange, whilst at the same time ensuring availability and affordability of this resource to users of foreign currency, particularly the non-exporting producers of basic goods and services," said Dr Gono.

This will also help strengthen the Zimbabwe dollar as overall export levels and other foreign currency levels improve.

The central bank chief also spoke passionately about the global food crisis and its effects back home, saying strategies would be employed to boost production.

"Most importantly, the strongest lesson for Zimbabwe is that now is the time to swiftly act against the ravaging global menace of hunger so as to lay a credible foundation for lasting macro-economic stability and internal cohesion of our nation," said Dr Gono.

In this regard, the lifespan of the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility will be extended to the 2008 summer cropping season while the modified Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention Facility will also be extended to December.

The latter now incorporates Upfront Social Front Pacts between the central bank and beneficiaries to ensure effective deployment of funds.

This comes in the wake of reports that some firms had previously channelled the funds to speculative deals, thus defeating the facility’s purpose.

Furthermore, Dr Gono introduced a $300 trillion Strategic Products Price Controls Mitigation Fund to cushion firms against the effects of price controls.

Producers of such selected products as bread, sugar, cooking oil, stockfeeds and cement, among others, will get financial assistance to make up for the "genuine" adverse effects of price controls and delays in the approval of justified price reviews.

The fourth phase of the agricultural sector mechanisation programme will be launched in July to equip more communal, A1 and A2 farmers to increase production on the farms.

On inflation, Dr Gono reiterated that it remains the economy’s greatest challenge.

However, strategies to boost agricultural production, enhance general industrial output and foreign currency generation will help suppress inflationary pressures.

The annual rate of inflation stood at 165 000 percent as of February.

Tight monetary conditions such as increases in secured and unsecured accommodation to 4 500 percent and 5 000 percent, respectively, would also help reduce inflation.

Dr Gono bemoaned the absence of political cohesion and unity of common national purpose between the main political parties and challenged them to desist from selfish practices that were harmful to the nation, but to instead put Zimbabwe first.

"While we have been heartened to notice that a growing number of political players across the political divide are beginning to use the language of nation-building and economic revival, we, nevertheless, eagerly await the day when that language will be transformed into operational beliefs through concerted action.

"And we pray that this will happen not tomorrow, but today. Words are meaningful only when they are acted upon, not only when they are declared," he said.

Sanctions continued to wreak havoc in the economy, prompting Dr Gono to implore the business community to speak strongly against them. "The business community should condemn the sanctions . . . only then can we say we are moving in the same direction."

MDC-T under the grip of Western mind controllers

By David Samuriwo

BRITISH mind controllers have come out of their closets in a clumsy and ham-fisted operation that has seen MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, leave Zimbabwe for self-imposed exile in neighbouring Botswana.

That is a strategic miscalculation. It validates the much talked about lack of a national character within MDC-T which is overwhelmed by foreign influence.

Expectedly and at their own peril, both the mind controllers and those being managed do not view this as political nightmare to the opposition. Instead, both view the ‘‘refugee’’ status as bold resistance to Zanu-PF.

This same mindset is also stuck in the thinking of the purported remaining strongman in the formation, Tendai Biti.

His comments in Kenya after talks with the newly installed prime minister, Raila Odinga that Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from Kenya’s post election violence confirmed his tag as a political upstart.

MDC-T supporters should view Biti’s trip to Kenya and his utterances in the context of a mind controller’s thinking. To British mind controllers the difference between Kenya and Zimbabwe is the same.

They are all African countries suffering from the same disease that needs the same medicine. Zimbabwe definitely has nothing to learn from Kenya’s chaos and mayhem.

According to Tsvangirai, he has decided to fight the on-going presidential and parliamentary race from Botswana because he ‘‘fears’’ being attacked or jailed if he returns to Zimbabwe.

"It’s no use going back to Zimbabwe and become captive. Then you are not effective", said Tsvangirai in an interview with the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail in Johannesburg, South Africa widely quoted by the Press this week.

For 30 days during the month of March, Tsvangirai crisscrossed the length and breath of Zimbabwe campaigning for his bid for the presidency.

Supporters of both his party and those belonging to Zanu-PF freely campaigned for their preferred candidates. Not many incidents of politically motivated violence were witnessed.

Even the Zimbabwe Republic Police and election observers commended the political maturity of the voters.

All of a sudden, the man makes a U-turn telling his Western backers that his continued stay in Zimbabwe was perilous and as such, he needs protection from the US and its Western allies.

The spin line being thrown by the British mind controllers to the gullible Western readers to psyche them for offensive options against Zanu-PF is that if Tsvangirai returns to Zimbabwe he will face charges of treason.

The charges of treason stem from an off-the-cuff statement being attributed to Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa suggesting that a letter written by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Tsvangirai supporting regime change in Zimbabwe was treasonous.

Why has Tsvangirai become the judge and the jury of his own purported treason case if ever it exists?

There is need to repeat the recent court judgments that have been made in favor of the due course of the electoral process.

Vote re-counting, with the blessing of Zimbabwean courts of law was underway in 23 constituencies where the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission felt there were irregularities that impacted on the final result. Polling officers who were paid money to manipulate the voting process are being prosecuted.

Others have already been found guilty and dully sentenced.

The envisaged protests to forcibly remove a sitting government in power unconstitutionally has turned out to be an embarrassing illusion especially to the British mind controllers in charge of the regime change agenda.

The line of thinking being pursued by the mind controllers is obviously not in the best interests of the MDC-T. How will Tsvangirai campaign for a possible run-off, as unconfirmed figures seem to indicate? The motive behind Tsvangirai’s temporary stay in Botswana as he unashamedly disclosed to the media is to maintain the global spotlight on Zimbabwe.

As pointed out earlier the modus operandi of these mind controllers are clumsy and ham-fisted. Recently, they gave Gordon Brown the task of tabling the so-called Zimbabwean "election crises" to the UN Security Council where it was unanimously thrown out, as his elephant-like rumblings on Zimbabwe were not on the agenda of the proceedings.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is a respected African statesman. He has made his position very clear "Please let the due electoral process in Zimbabwe proceed within the confines of its electoral laws".

The mind controllers would have none of that.

‘‘He has to be exposed for the charlatan he is,’’ so they say.

As if on cue Tsvangirai once again graced the public gallery to air innuendoes against the South African president in Johannesburg.

"President Mbeki needs to be relieved of his duty" calling for what he termed fresh initiatives by Sadc to untangle the so-called Zimbabwe’s election stalemate.

Throwing away all diplomatic etiquette and insulting Mbeki in his own homeland? South Africans are not fools.

Their day of reckoning is not very far away. Vavi and company are not the type to rely on. Even if they ascend to the highest echelons power, they will not last longer than a single term in office.

Sadc leaders took a stand against Tsvangirai’s warped advice from his mind controllers. "We have renewed our confidence in him (Mbeki) by asking him to continue the work of mediation and find a solution to the situation in Zimbabwe," Mauritian Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolan said over the weekend.

Predictably South Africa’s government spokesperson, obviously airing the views of his president put the record straight and to the point. "The Zimbabweans need to be informed about the reasons for holding the results. But the most important thing is that the results need to be verified and released as soon as possible". That is the on-going process.

ZEC has discovered huge anomalies in tallying of both the parliamentary and the presidential vote with some polling officers already in the dock and others already convicted and there is every reason to clear the air before prematurely announcing the results as being demanded by the British mind controllers.

Of interest to note is the catapulting into the Zimbabwean electoral process of non-entities in the likes of Louis Michel, EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid.

He had the audacity to order Sadc to exert pressure on the Government to accept the "initial results" of elections, which according to him the opposition won.

According to him, the dramatic effects of the "Zimbabwe crises" will mainly hit the population of Zimbabwe but they will also hit the whole region — bookish interpretation.

Zimbabwe is undergoing a revolution, like it or not, that revolution has its own dire consequences.

As said earlier, the mind controllers rope in every Jack and Jill to accommodate their view in a phony evaluation and analysis of their strategy.

To camouflage their hegemonic interests the British mind controllers also roped in Jess Stoltenburg, Prime Minister of Norway to act as an auxiliary force in ratcheting pressure on Sadc heads of state and government.

In a short and precise statement delivered at the Sadc meeting in Mauritius last week and billed as a "Development and Poverty" summit, Stoltenberg demanded; "The situation should not be allowed to continue".

The meeting was in fact one of those numerous summits currently being ratcheted up to exchange notes on how to apply brakes on the seemingly unstoppable Zimbabwean march to self determination among the community of world nations.

Those privileged to access the Digital Satellite Television can testify the comradeship explicitly exposed on various channels between our modern day Moise Tshombe and the Norwegian Prime Minister.

The British mind controllers have availed so much in terms of financial resources to the extent that poor Morgan has completely lost his marbles.

UN publicly fingers MDC-T for violence

By Caesar Zvayi

THE MDC-T campaign to demonise the Government for alleged violence and human rights abuses came unstuck on Tuesday when the United Nations Secretariat also publicly fingered the opposition for violence against Zanu-PF supporters.

This came minutes before the world body snubbed attempts by the MDC-T’s Western handlers to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Security Council as a prelude to intervention, saying it was only ‘‘the UK and the US who have been the most vocal on the issue’’ while Africa was for quiet diplomacy.

In his briefing to the Security Council meeting on Wednesday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Mr B. Lynn Pascoe said though the MDC-T claimed Zanu-PF had launched a campaign of violence against its supporters, reports indicated that MDC-T supporters were also resorting to violence and intimidation.

‘‘There are reports that Zanu-PF has incited a campaign of abuses against MDC officials and supporters . . . Reports also suggested ‘an emerging pattern of political violence inflicted mainly, but not exclusively, on rural supporters of the opposition MDC party’, some reports also indicated some MDC supporters were resorting to violence and intimidation.’’

He noted that though the MDC-T leadership claimed that 10 of its supporters had died as a result of politically-motivated violence, the police and Zanu-PF had denied the assertions.

‘‘The MDC says at least 10 of its supporters have been killed. However, the police and Zanu-PF deny any deaths due to political violence,’’ Mr Pascoe said.

Mr Pascoe’s observations are vindicated by a document prepared by the MDC-T leadership chronicling alleged cases of politically-motivated violence from March 29 that does not report any deaths contrary to the claims made by the party leadership in the South African and Western media.

Police say they have handled over 75 cases of politically-motivated violence perpetrated by MDC-T supporters while the opposition alleges that Zanu-PF supporters were involved in 27 instances of violence against their supporters.

Official records from the CID Law and Order Section show that the department has dealt with 33 cases of violence, most of which stemmed from the abortive stayaway called by the MDC-T.

So far, 10 opposition supporters have appeared in court with two of the cases already finalised, 11 others have paid admission of guilt fines while 13 are still under investigation. A further 53 accused persons have paid fines for various offences of politically-motivated violence.

A letter from MDC-T MP-elect for the St Mary’s constituency that we reproduce in full on the letters page also situates violence within opposition circles.

Sources at the UN Secretariat said the world body had counselled caution over claims by the MDC-T leadership, saying many of the claims made since the elections had been found to be false or were not substantiated by facts.

They cited the statement made by MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti on April 2, claiming his party had won 80 percent of the House of Assembly seats which would have translated into 168 of the 210 seats when it had managed only 99 seats; and the claim that Morgan Tsvangirai had garnered 50,3 percent of the vote yet the figures the party quoted gave him 49,1 percent of the votes.

Last week, two suspected MDC-T supporters appeared in court, facing charges of arson after the opposition allegedly unleashed an organised campaign of violence at Mayo Resettlement Area in Headlands where they torched more than eight homesteads belonging to Zanu-PF supporters.

Sadc’s Barrica meets ZEC chairperson Chiweshe

Herald Reporter

HEAD of the Sadc election observer mission Mr Marcos Barrica met Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice George Chiweshe in Harare yesterday to get an update on the electoral process.

Mr Barrica, who is also Angolan Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, was briefed about the just-ended vote recount and the pending verification of presidential poll results.

Director of defence, politics and security at the Sadc secretariat Retired Lieutenant-Colonel Thanki Mothae confirmed the meeting.

"The minister had a meeting with ZEC and it was related to the current electoral issues," said Rtd Lt-Col Mothae.

The meeting by the Sadc mission is part of a series of meetings the team has had with stakeholders.

Rtd Lt-Col Mothae said the mission would compile a report after the whole electoral process was complete.

"We have not yet released our report. We are still holding meetings with observers whom we had deployed," said Rtd Lt-Col Mothae.

"Once all the electoral process is complete, we will compile and release our report."

The Sadc election observer team returned two weeks ago after ZEC announced that it would conduct a recount in 23 constituencies.

This was after both Zanu-PF and MDC-T had requested the recounts, saying that there were some miscounts that could have affected the results.

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