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A bird's eye view of the vineyard

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Zimbabwe reading material. "Operation Murambatsvina (No Tolerance to Filth)"

category international | housing | other press author Friday June 10, 2005 13:48author by C&P reading material Report this post to the editors

"when it comes to Zim, the kettle always calls the Pot black"

2nd day of a strike against Mugabe in Zimbabwe sees people up north claim he's finally gone bonkers.

*finally*? Oh dear, Mugabe has been around as long as any other 80+year old leader, he's up there with paisley and fraga. you can't teach old dogs new tricks & generally everyone has their own nichname for them. You could learn a lot by comparing and contrasting them, their pals and foes indeed.

Mugabe has knocked down houses all over the shop, you know that, but his reasons are very very Western capitalist, he's combatting the "informal sector", these people were fueling the black market, living in non-council approved houses, you'd never get that in ireland...

READING MATERIAL::
(financial gazette Harare)
DEPOSED war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda this week lambasted the government over its violent clean-up campaign, warning that it faced the wrath of "people power" as tension mounted ahead of today's planned mass action.

Sibanda, who has previously clashed with senior ZANU PF officials over his suspension from the party and the emotive issue of multiple farm ownership, said the war veterans - who, until recently, were at the forefront of the ZANU PF government's political actions - "stand ready to defend the rights of the people".
http://marimbalafon.com/

His outburst comes as Zimbabweans, mainly urbanites who have borne the brunt of the so-called clean-up campaign which has destroyed homes and informal businesses and rendered millions destitute, brace for a bruising encounter with security forces in countrywide mass action expected to start today.

Zimbabwean security forces have said they are prepared to quash any form of protest by the people against the widely condemned and high-handed "Operation Restore Order".

Despite threats to mercilessly thwart any attempts to stage a mass uprising, the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and civic organisations have stood firm, saying the countrywide demonstrations will go ahead as planned.

War veterans have, since 2000, been a key element in ZANU PF's oft-violent political strategy. They masterminded the violent seizure of white-owned farms at the advent of the chaotic land redistribution programme.

They have, however, been miffed by the brutality which has been visited on their numerous illegal housing cooperatives by the government.

Some war veterans who had occupied plots at farms surrounding Harare such as Tongogara resettlement and White Cliff have now been booted out.

Sibanda attacked what he described as "government ineptitude in crafting policies. They come up with policies today and tomorrow they are reversed," he fumed.

He said the government had this time "ignited a bonfire, which is going to backfire".

"Once government starts valuating itself against the strength of its army, its police and its airpower, then there is something wrong. We cannot have a situation where government strength is measured by the strength of its forces as opposed to support from the masses," Sibanda said.

"People are like a coiled spring: if you suppress it, it comes together and becomes dangerous. They might not rise today, but rise they shall," the firebrand war veteran said. "War veterans are prepared to defend the revolution, whether within ZANU PF or outside, and the revolution is the will of the people, not a few government officials," he added.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The Destruction of the Informal Sector
by Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 1st June 2005


In the past week the government of Zimbabwe has taken steps to destroy much of what has become known throughout Africa as the informal sector. This consists of about 3 million small-scale business enterprises - none of whom are registered or pay direct taxes but which play a major part in the nations economy.

There are 800 000 small scale peasant farmers and their families, but it is in the cities where this kind of economic activity has thrived as the formal sector has crashed. The activities take on many forms - cross border traders who take orders from urban business and then find the foreign exchange and go to South Africa or Botswana to source the products required. I estimated once that about 5000 traders crossed the borders every day doing anything up to 20 per cent of all imports.

Vegetable and fruit sellers are found almost everywhere - a vendor selling just a few tomatoes every day can make as much as a worker in industry.
Small scale industry goes on where ever there is a vacant lot and takes on all sorts of tasks and produce products such as wire netting, door frames, windows, furniture. The motor industry and public transport is another area of informal sector business - hundreds of small vans operate in urban areas and provide a very efficient form of local transport, which is used by millions every day.

In the housing sector the role of the informal economy is just as ubiquitous - with a back log in housing running to over 1 million units on official lists and only 1,4 million housing units actually on the ground, over 40 per cent of the urban population is thought to be technically homeless - they live in crowded tenements and as lodgers - often living as a whole family in a single room. Desperate for any sort of privacy and family life many take to constructing shacks in other peoples yards or on vacant ground in peri urban and township areas.

This means that some where about 2,5 million people live in makeshift urban accommodation without adequate sanitation or clean water. They include hundreds of thousands of children. Many brought to the towns because the education and health services are so much better than they are in the rural areas, or their parents have died from Aids or a related illness and they are living with the extended family.

So we have a massive structure of informal sector activities - almost eclipsing the formal sector that was so dominant in 1980. I estimate that informal business may generate as much as half our GDP, handle as much as 40 per cent of all foreign exchange and 20 per cent of our exports and imports.
They support 3,4 million urban people and 4 million rural people. They provide transport for the great majority and meet the basic housing requirements of at least 8 million people. They pay taxes through the indirect systems of taxation that exist (VAT and others) and provide a huge market for the formal sector as well as income support for the majority.

Despite the complete failure of the Zanu regime to maintain the formal sector - with GDP declining nearly 50 per cent in 7 years, exports down by half and employment by over 40 per cent - the State has now decided to decimate the one thing that is working - the informal sector.

If I had not seen it myself I could not have believed that so stupid and heartless a thing could be carried out. On Thursday last week I watched armed police destroy the markets in Beitbridge - the border town with South Africa. I saw them burn food, steal groceries and smash furniture.
Afterwards one street kid said to me as I walked past - "this is cyclone Gono!" referring to the governor of the Reserve Bank who seemed to have triggered this exercise in an effort to gain control of informal money markets. Others just sat stunned - not quite appreciating that the State had just robbed them of virtually everything they owned.

We saw evidence of the cyclone all the way to Harare and then over the weekend we saw the Capital City go up in flames. The markets at Magaba, Mbare all destroyed and billions of dollars worth of goods taken or destroyed. My daughter witnessed a team on the street cutting a vendors hot dog stand loose and then loading it onto a truck - she remonstrated with them and they threatened to arrest her. Some Z$2 billion in cash stolen from vendors by the Police.

All over the City homes were destroyed, goods stolen or destroyed and people threatened with loaded weapons and live ammunition. They were also threatened with tear gas supplied by Israel that stuns its victims. Officers in charge of this mindless destruction said that they had orders to shoot anyone resisting. In one area I visited the majority of the squatters had voted Zanu PF in the recent election, believing that in doing so they were protecting themselves from eviction because the land they occupied was not theirs - they sat stunned by events surrounded by burnt out wrecks of their homes and crying children who had spent the night out in the cold.

The question is why are they doing this - punishment is one reason given by police to those they were hurting, punishment for voting MDC in the cities.
But I think there is another reason and this is that Mugabe - now in the final stages of his rule, has decided - like Stalin in the 30's and Pol Pot in the 60's and the Afrikaner administration in South Africa, that it is time to move some people out of the cities and back to the rural areas. This is a mass eviction of unwanted urban poor being forced to go "back to their rural homes" and "grow food!"

In the cities they are a threat - restless, independent and proving a powerful support base for opposition politics. In the rural areas they can be controlled and perhaps forced to grow food where none is being grown at present. Will they get away with it - probably, just like Stalin and Pol Pot and the apartheid regime. But only for a while, eventually the tide will turn and when it does, those who were the oppressors will themselves become the victims of their own evil acts.

To back up this thesis that strange new Ministry called the Ministry of Rural Housing and Social Amenities with Munangagawa in charge has been given a massive budget from nowhere to operate with. This suggests that they really are trying to force a relocation of population. In the past 5 years, rural populations have been declining - the math's suggest by as much as 10 per cent per annum. This coupled with the impact of Aids has meant that these areas can no longer even feed themselves. Mugabe is trying to reverse this situation.

When you go to bed tonight - just think of those tens of thousands of poor, hungry, destitute people and their children who will sleep in the open in near zero temperatures, without hope or a future. Mugabe is goading the population to revolt - then he can declare a state of emergency and remove what is left of our civil liberties and rights.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


Evictees' Meekness Stuns World
Rangarirai Mberi
Harare

A VINTAGE portable vinyl player and a few old records provided some light amusement on Mbare's Fourth Avenue last Tuesday, its defiant shrieking subdued by the crackle of fires, wailing infants and the roar of a loaded police truck making yet another patrol round.

Residents of this street are the latest show of the great Zimbabwe mystery; police have laid waste to their homes and families have spent four nights out on the street, but yet here they are, joking and laughing amid the destruction.
http://www.africacncl.org/CCA_Summits/2005_reg/step1.aspx

A truck approaches, loaded with policemen menacingly drumming their batons against the side of the truck, obviously spoiling for a fight. But these displaced residents take no notice, showing no hostility towards the police.

The police truck passes with its young occupants pointing their batons at a group of youths and ordering them to disperse. There is no resistance.

Picking through the rubble of their destroyed homes and facing yet more nights in the cold, the Mbare residents on this street confined their conversations to idle banter, even joking about their grave plight.

There is no political talk. Instead, there are tall tales about one man writing to his rural kin to send a scotchcart to take him "home", jokes about confiscated marijuana and one sadistic yarn about a bed-ridden man who was too ill to get up when his wooden hovel collapsed around him.

One group is exchanging hearty tales about what it was they thought of salvaging first from their homes when the police came.

"It was my gramophone," one elderly man, evidently sceptical of the questioning and identifying himself only as Josamu, told The Financial Gazette. "I thought they were going to burn it (the shack) down."

"It's just like the old days," Josamu said, referring to Rhodesian tyranny, as the police triumphantly turned into the next street.

Like typical Zimbabweans, repression has not pushed these Mbare residents to revolt - not here against the armed policemen stalking the streets and certainly not against the government. It's a phenomenon many outside Zimbabwe fail to understand.

One Botswana national, writing recently to a local weekly, chided Zimbabweans for their "cowardice". A South African writer called Zimbabweans "whiners" who were getting what they deserved. South Africans had stormed the streets to demand their freedom, he said, but Zimbabweans were instead just plain lazy.

According to Miloon Kothari of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the evictions are "a new form of apartheid".

The Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition says the operation showed up the government for its continuing failure to concentrate on the core needs of Zimbabwe's poor.

The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations said "Operation Restore Order" would cause a "significant entrenchment of an already dire urban poverty, unemployment and human rights violations".

A coalition of Zimbabwean rights and opposition groups has called two days of protests, beginning today, against the aggressive drive by the government and city councils to destroy thousands of illegal ghetto homes across the country. The Broad Alliance has asked workers to "stay away" from work.

Middle-class political activists see an inevitable wave of massive street protests sweeping the government from office.

However, there was little on that Mbare street to suggest that some political, ideological fervour has suddenly gripped ordinary Zimbabweans and they are ready to place themselves and their homeless families in harm's way.

While the activists and foreign observers are "talking about a revolution", politics and all its gory hazards are not on the list of priorities for these homeless families. Just one decent meal is at the top of that list for many now without an income because informal enterprise has been virtually banned.

For the now jobless and homeless, work boycotts mean very little. And even though life has become unbearable, none of them is talking about giving their lives on the streets.

A series of mass action attempts over the years has not prodded the government to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, and political analysts say many are now resigned to an impoverished future.

"Zimbabweans are a unique lot. Very few other nations would stand for what we are tolerating. It's not in our nature to run down the street (in protest).

"But does that make us cowards? I think, if people are fair, they would say it makes us pragmatic and sensible, given the kind of disaster that any resistance will bring," one analyst said this week.

Many of the newly homeless have run out of household properties to sell, so they can no longer feed themselves. Their former landlords charge a fat fee for a bath and they have pulled their children out of school.

A family were leaving Fourth Avenue, trudging along with their wardrobe on a rickety pushcart towards the Mbare bus terminus about a 100 metres away.

These are the lucky few - at least they have somewhere to go. Those left behind are left to cringe at the malice of those driving the eviction campaign.

"No one in Zimbabwe comes from nowhere. Everybody belongs somewhere," Edmore Veterai, police officer commanding Harare province, told reporters last week.


::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Sedco Unveils $23,2bn Loan Facility for Informal Traders

The Herald (Harare)

June 9, 2005

THE Small Enterprises Development Corporation (Sedco) has unveiled a $23,2 billion loan facility for informal traders displaced by the current clean-up operation against illegal businesses and structures.

Sedco's business development and customer services manager, Mr Wilson Fifteen told Newsnet last night that in terms of infrastructure development, Sedco was looking at the establishment of artisans' hives and factory shells around the cities.
http://www.africacncl.org/CCA_Summits/2005_reg/step1.aspx

He said part of the money needed had already been put up for the development of structures along Willowvale Road while similar plans were underway for various parts of the country.

Mr Fifteen said they were putting up loan booths in all the areas being set up to enable the traders to borrow money for their projects.

Traders were required to produce a viable project and certificate of authority to operate in areas where they are, in order to access the loans.

He appealed to the Government and other stakeholders to inject more funds for the informal sector.

The Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Cde Sithembiso Nyoni on Tuesday officiated at a ground-breaking ceremony to kick-start the construction of factory shells along Willowvale Road in Glen View.

Informal traders have welcomed the decision by the Government to build the factory shells for them and described the move as timely and good for promoting business.

Meanwhile, the clean-up operation continued in Harare yesterday, with residents of Glen View, Mabvuku and Tafara demolishing illegal structures at their homes yesterday.

Police spokesman for Harare province Inspector Whisper Bondai warned residents who were still occupying illegal structures at Eryecourt Farm along Seke Road to destroy them and vacate the premises.

"People should not expect any official notice to remove their illegal settlements as everyone is now aware of the on-going operation. May I warn all those occupying illegal structures to vacate the premises and to make necessary arrangements before the law enforcers intervene," he said.

Inspector Bondai also warned street vendors along main roads and at shopping centres to stop illegal vending and register with the authorities.

Some residents from the demolished areas expressed grief over the operation as they said they were almost destitute.

Police yesterday recovered 1 940kg of flour, several litres of cooking oil as they intensified their clean-up campaign in the city.

The flour, which was in 20-kilogramme bags, was found hidden at a house in Waterfalls on Tuesday night.

Police, acting on a tip-off, managed to recover the flour and took it to Harare Central Police Station. They also arrested the owner of the house. The cooking oil was discovered in the Willowvale industrial area.

Inspector Bondai said the cooking oil, which was in 10 drums, was hidden at a company in the industrial area and was recovered after a tip off from the public.

Police also raided and arrested the owner of a house in Rhodesville and impounded several crates of beer and various goods.

They believed that the house was being used as a brothel.

Police reiterated that they were determined to ensure that peace and stability prevailed countrywide. Some detractors of the clean-up operation were distributing flyers on Tuesday urging workers to stay away from work today and tomorrow.

The officer commanding Harare province Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai said the police were fully alert and they had adequate resources to ensure that there was peace and stability.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Well, ho-hum, is it ethical to visit Zimbabwe on holidays?
Well, ho-hum since this is international year of micro-credit, and also the year of the British being better than ever before on Africa and ahem their post-imperialist legacy has no-one thought of suggesting micro-credit loans from Europe to Zimbabwean small businessfolk, as a mechanism to bypass state C-o-r-r-u-p-t-i-o-n kickstart local economies, and blaa blaa ribbid...

żor would that have not suited the usual Mugabe is the only b-a-s-t-a-r-d in this?

More soon
http://allafrica.com/urbanissues/

Learn about microcredit:
http://www.yearofmicrocredit.org/
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=68616

background pieces on Zimbabwe:

"How Zimbabweans votes and "not votes" have thus far been counted". Elections 2005
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=69193
"May God bless Tutu's lost soul..." background to those elections
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=68538

author by -publication date Fri Jun 10, 2005 14:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dialogue on Shelter for the Homeless in Zimbabwe

The main role of Dialogue on Shelter for the Homeless in Zimbabwe is to support the Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation by facilitating the training needed to build upon community mobilisation at the local level. In practice, this could mean assisting the Federation members in mapping out their settlements, accessing appropriate technical support, or facilitating negotiations with government. Despite pressure from political parties, the organisation has remained expressly apolitical, allowing it to continue operating despite the current crisis.

Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation (ZIHOPFE)

The Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation (ZIHOPFE) is a network of community savings schemes made up of households living in poor urban communities across Zimbabwe. Although only around five years old, the Federation has been able to grow rapidly because existing members, eager to tell others about the benefits of membership, have participated in community-to-community exchanges around the country. As a result, there are now over 45,000 households saving, often on a daily basis, to improve their housing and living conditions. The Federation is led by representatives from the local savings networks and aims to enable communities to plan and control their own development.

Project – Alternatives to Forced Evictions in Zimbabwe

This project aims to support the growth and development of the Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation (see above) to enable members to address their land, housing and infrastructure needs and rights. The project supports the basic processes of federation building, which are those of developing daily savings groups, information collection in poor communities, and exchanges with other federations. The project will seek to enable community organisations to use this knowledge and organisational capacity to engage local and national government on issues of secure land tenure, housing needs and infrastructure. Until recently, due to stringent government regulations, it has rarely been possible for poor urban communities in Zimbabwe to own the land on which they live, even where there has been no other obvious claimant. This has made the communities extremely vulnerable to eviction. An exchange visit recently allowed Zimbabwean local government officials to visit Namibia to witness progress made towards secure tenure there, which has led local authorities to begin to recognise the land rights of their own urban poor.

http://www.homeless-international.org/standard_1.asp?category=3&id=389&id=276&id=262


::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Not just in Zim everywhere :::::::::::::: Housing is a Right

Beth Tatenda Chitekwa
of the Dialogue for Shelter Zimbabwe
Supporter of the Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation to ACEH (asian housing activists)

"There is a problem with most international conventions on various issues be it gender or the habitat...the feel good factor. This overwhelming notion that all governments and international agencies are doing all they can to make this a better world. Caucuses are held to discuss what so and so is doing best practices and so on. The federation process has a central tenant that you learn as much from a bad practice as from a best practice.

Governments that are known to violate the very same conventions that they will have ratified are not held accountable, neither is there a mechanism to learn from their mistakes. Bilaterals are not keen to work with people's organisation and in the end the same issues that marginalise the poor are perpetuated.

The challenge I guess for organisations of the poor and NGOs that support them such as ACHR is to create space at these foras in the same way they have created and continue to seek space for the poor in their countries. This is a tall order....but as the old Chinese saying goes a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step............"

http://www.achr.net/SDI/Zimbabwe.htm

author by step by step - out of babalonpublication date Fri Jun 10, 2005 14:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

* the right to a home
* the right to a job
* the right to a pension
* access to the natural resources of your homeland
* brutality
* limits of state
* democracy
* c-o-r-r-u-p-t-i-o-n
* "class-war"
* Africa & her peculiar poverty...

They have a right to a home, and a job, and lacking as the rest of their continent a pension option, move to the urban area, they are not one unitary political group, amongst them were voters of both government and opposition and to be most factual the majority did not vote.
Zimbabwe regardless of its jealously contested history is a typical example of a post-imperialist African state where whatever infrastructure that previously existed has run-down, the structures and institutions of state are ill-suited to the needs of the population and measures made to extend notions of european democracy hinge on popularist confrontation, the building materials, the plots of land for those houses, and the supply chain of any market were not and are not in the hands of the dis-possessed, they had already been dis-possessed, and those who argue in Harare were those who allowed those slums to be built, you may only go on strike if you have an employer who may not call the police to beat you, & as anywhere
* if you dont work
* you dont have a job
* you dont have a house
* you dont pass GO
* you dont get out of babalon.
We are thus talking about the same rights and the same baseline ethics as anywhere. How are we to treat on African poverty, if the majority of solutions are planned by states and institutions and the majority of those facing problems pay no tax, have no jobs, and no land to call "their own"?
How do you help people manage their dis-possession?
Anyone offer a black&white answer?

issues and problems
issues and problems

author by Noelpublication date Fri Jun 10, 2005 14:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Only functioning democracy can rescue Africa. All the problem of the continent can be summed up in one word - government.
I know GWBs approach is anathema round these parts, but only the spread of true democracy can counter the cancer of corruption.

author by rodney sparklespublication date Fri Jun 10, 2005 16:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

a little silly to suggest the GWB is involved in spreading democracy. true democracy, ie. direct democracy would be a solution, but the advent of that is unfortunately, unlikely in Zimbabwe.

author by barrypublication date Fri Jun 10, 2005 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

why dont you ring bush up and tell him to flatten the entire continent while youre at it to remove the undemocratic regimes.
or maybe you could get Mark thatcher and his mates to have a wee coup as well and install a democratic leader whose version of democracy Bush and Rice will happily endorse ( just like they tried doing in Venezuela ) .Between them all im sure theyll bring some democracy to the region .

Hell why not get Sharon in on the act too as an advisor . More globalisation and privatisation as well as arms sales would have the place on its feet in no time . They have plenty of oil and stuff over there as well . Sure what would them Africans be wanting with oil ?

author by roosterpublication date Sat Jun 11, 2005 02:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its not as if they can eat it!!!

author by California Latinopublication date Tue Jun 21, 2005 23:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Zimbabwe is one more example of the danger of National Liberation Struggles.

If those struggling decide to substitute racial or ethnic struggle as opposed to class struggle it appears that very soon they are going to find that those of their particular race or ethnicity are quite happy to take the place in the power structure of their former racial or ethnic based oppressors, with very much the same results

Racial based struggles lead to racial contempt, hatred and racial animosities that can apparently lie dormant but be exploited by the hierarchy of national liberation movements if it will suit their goals. A true liberating rebel struggles for equal rights for all within their area of influence, regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality.

The last thing the world needs is more hate filled wars to establish national or racial identities. Were not going to progress if we advocate ghettoizing people based upon ethnicity or race. We need to de-segregate, not segregate in the name of liberation, a liberation that would not be a true liberation at all but just a retreat into a narrow minded racial parochialism.

Hopefully the people of Zimbabwe will figure a way out of the despotism of their current leaders and political system, hopefully with a minimum of needless violence, bloodshed and suffering, and come to realize that it is the structure of society that matters most when it comes to their health and liberty and not the race or ethnicity of those in office, much less those who use guile or force to get into or maintain their office.

California Latino

author by -publication date Thu Jun 23, 2005 19:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

to wave the big stick at Zimbabwe, neighbour to Zambia (a debt reduction lucky lottery winner) and pressure it to obey the rules.
Coz, everyone knows the English speaking world doesn't like Zimbabwe.
The ostensible reason for the news broadcasts on BBC and RTE today and inches in the broadsheets being the death of two children in Zimbabwe during the demolition of houses.
"today two children died due to house demolition"
great little headline.
you could apply it so often, to so many places.

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jun 23, 2005 20:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

G8 Countries Defying Arms Embargoes, Says Report
by Richard Norton-Taylor - the Guardian/UK
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0622-01.htm

Arms supplied by G8 countries are being used by regimes that violate human rights, impoverish their people and fight their neighbors, a report by leading development agencies and campaigners warns today.

The report urges G8 leaders, who meet in Scotland next week, to take immediate steps to control the trade and support a British proposal for a global arms trade treaty that will close loopholes allowing governments and dealers to bypass existing controls.

The G8 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US - account for 84% of all worldwide arms supplies, according to the report, published by Amnesty, Oxfam, and the International Action Network on Small Arms and titled The G8: Global Arms Exporters. (.pdf)

. . .
The G8: Global Arms Exporters
http://www.iansa.org/control_arms/documents/g8report/g8-control-arms-paper-en.pdf

author by California Latinopublication date Thu Jun 23, 2005 20:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The G-8 is of course biased and blatantly hypocritical in their critique of Zimbabwe considering that their own policies encourage and have lead to very much the same thing, on a much larger scale, around the world. The members of the G-8 are definitely no better then the government of Zimbabwe, they are just richer and in a better position to manipulate the media and the people of their nations. However this doesn't mean that libertarian left should side with the mini tyrants,such as the Zimbabwe,Sudan, Myanmar(Burma) governments for example, just because the big global tyrants, G-8 governments, don't appreciate that these mini tyrants aren't simple puppets of theirs. We should side with neither the G-8 governments or the Zimbabwe governments on this. We should definitely oppose any call for military intervention by or at the behest of the G-8.

If there is a lesson that history has to offer for the libertarian left it is that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend.

author by -publication date Sat Jun 25, 2005 16:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mugabe said on Friday the criticism was to be expected from those he has blamed for targeting him over his policies.

"This, comrades, is the program which has drawn broadsides, criticism from ... our habitual critics, led of course by Britain and as usual supported by the Washington administration and the government of Australia," said Mugabe, the country's leader since independence from Britain in 1980.

"Even more ridiculous is the fact of the new World Bank president (Paul Wolfowitz), himself an ex-official of the American administration, joining in the attack without any firsthand impression of what is going on here. 'What has the World Bank to do with it?', the question is asked."

Mugabe repeated it was part of a bid to fight crime and clean up cities.

"As much as 3 trillion (Zimbabwe dollars or around $3 billion) has been committed to this program ... There is a clear construction and reconstruction program," he said in remarks broadcast on state television.

"We pledged to revitalize our cities and towns and to deliver as many as 1.2 million housing units and residential stands by the year 2008. We also undertook to reorganize our SMEs (small and medium business enterprises) so they could grow and expand in an environment that is supportive, clean and decent."

After British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw blamed African leaders on Thursday for not stepping in, an African Union (AU) spokesman said it could not intervene in "an internal matter."

This followed calls by some 120 rights groups, including Amnesty International, for the AU to put the matter on its agenda at an annual summit in Libya on July 4-5.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, leader of the continent's key diplomatic power, has been among those reluctant to speak against Harare for alleged rights abuses, opting for "quiet diplomacy" that has in the past angered the West.

Rights groups say up to 300,000 have been rendered homeless by the crackdown.
The official figure is 120,000.

author by i mac dpublication date Sun Jun 26, 2005 15:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

she was around before "blair's babes" back in the days of the endemic corruption scandals which beset the permenant absolute Labour majority council of Lambeth which with almost 1.8million inhabitants is one of the most populous of boroughs of London, and stretching from Brixton to Vauxhall gives homes to a large percentage of Britians "ethnic minorities" including both afro-carribean and african communities. & she's still around.

She's just returned from Zimbabwe where she went "secretly" as secretly as any MP can travel holding a BBC digital recorder and accompanied by a BBC photographer.
& now she's tabled a question in the house (ribbid ribbid) on Zimbabwe for monday morning,
http://www.politics.co.uk/ParlweekItemPage.aspx?itemid=5016937&code=430000616&menuindex=430010603
& has joined the throng of Europeans who are critical of both Mugabe, (nothing new) but also Mbeki of South Africa, saying indeed that his invitation to the G8 "as a poor country leader" [Mr President of a poor country come take off your shoe and hammer it on the table for us, the fans will love it"

& Coz she's Kate Hoey, [she's not alone]
links to see what's happening-

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/24-june-2005/kate-hoey.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4101424.stm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-1655816,00.html

Meanwhile the Church of England have made their second political move in a week by calling for a halt to return of asylum seekers from the UK to Zimbabwe.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,1515013,00.html

author by Q&Apublication date Mon Jun 27, 2005 13:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kate Hoey (Vauxhall, Lab)

The Prime Minister will be aware that up to a million people—the poorest in Africa—have been made homeless in the last couple of weeks by the thuggish and brutal behaviour of Mugabe. What will my right hon. Friend and the G8 leaders do to put pressure on Mbeki, who has so far refused even to condemn what has happened? Does he agree that we cannot make poverty history in Africa until we make dictators such as Mugabe history?

Tony Blair (Prime Minister, HM Treasury)

I totally agree with my hon. Friend about the nature of Mugabe's regime. We and others are always making it clear that those in the region have to take the necessary action to deal with the situation in Zimbabwe. I do not agree with my hon. Friend, however, when she says that unless and until we deal with Mugabe, we cannot deal with the problem of poverty in Africa. We should do both. There is a strong case for saying that African leadership needs better governance, better protection from corruption, better conflict resolution. I abhor the Mugabe regime every bit as much as my hon. Friend does, but I do not believe that we should allow it to get in the way of our helping those countries, particularly those that have made great forward strides in respect of democracy and better governance, whose children and adults still live in appalling poverty.

******************************************
Zimbabwe thus is "example african dictatorship" for the british at least, and when one considers recent allegations on torture in Kenya -
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=70464
and today's general strike in South Africa (the only former british posession invited to the G8 talks, an invitation which Hoey has herself suggested ought be recinded) you see that a good deal of Africa is still contrary to popular western opinion, still suffering immediate post imperialism. = Is it really Mugabe's fault?
http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=143&sid=5903593&cKey=1119869446000

author by iosaf - mandarins of muesli & tofupublication date Thu Jul 28, 2005 13:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So say Zimbabwe.

UN-HABITAT director Anna Tibaijuka, sent by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to assess the crackdown, said in a report made public last Friday the campaign had destroyed the homes or jobs of at least 700,000 people and affected the lives of another 2.4 million.

Yesterday the matter was raised at the UN security council, the 3 african states on that council Tanzania, Algeria and Benin refused calls to put the matter to a vote.

Zimbabwe for its part lays the blame at the lack of assistance and aid and money for urbanism it says it was promised over the decades by the richest nations (now ther G8) money which never materialised.

Mugabe is presently in China, and critics and analysts (me) suggest that Zimbabwe is about to join Cuba on the list of Chinese strategic allies exchanging development programs and trade deals.

China joined by Russia accordingly opposed the reading of the report at the security council and sided with the 3 rotating african states.

*****************************
In an update related to a personality mentioned in the last comment, Kate Hoey MP for Vauxhall returned twice to the news in the interim period, once for being elected the new leader of the Countrywide Alliance (she's a foxhunting fan) [she is the most prominent labour politican in the CA and will help the Blair presidency avoid such bad PR clashes in the future] and secondly for backing the Metropolitan police completely on the extra-judicial murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, and then turning round and insisting that the Met assure residents of her constiuency in remarks made whilst opening an arty exhibition on Zimbabwe that they were not liable to get shot illegally or stuff.

Related Link: http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=143&sid=5972789&cKey=1122546042000
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