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Sunday, 22 June 2008

International reaction on Zimbabwe...

The Reuters Fact Box on international reaction to the decision by Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the race :

Zambia (SADC Chair):

"There are a lot of unconstitutional things that have been done in this process(election campaign). It will, therefore, not be out of fashion to postpone this election to avert a catastrophe in this region....The events in Zimbabwe are moving too fast. Tsvangirai has announced he is pulling out, and it will be scandalous for SADC to remain silent....What is happening in Zimbabwe is, of course, of tremendous embarrassment to all of us, and I hope sooner than later we can find a solution..."

South Africa :

"From our point of view it is still necessary that the political leadership of Zimbabwe should get together and find a solution to the challenges that face Zimbabwe....I would hope that that leadership would be open to a process which would result in them coming to some agreement about what happens to their country. And that most certainly is what we would try to encourage".

United States:

"The government of Zimbabwe and its thugs must stop the violence now......All parties should be able to participate in a legitimate election and not be subject to the intimidation and unlawful actions of the government, armed militias and so-called war veterans".

European Union :
"...the withdrawal of Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai is understandable, given the unacceptable systematic campaign of violence, obstruction and intimidation lead by the Zimbabwean authorities, which has continued for several weeks...In these conditions, the elections have become a travesty of democracy. They are certainly not worthy of the African continent of today."
Britain :
"Now we face a critical crisis of legitimacy because it's clear that the only people with any shred of legitimacy are the people who won the March 29 first round and that was the opposition....We have reached an absolutely critical moment in the drive by the people of Zimbabwe to rid themselves of the tyrannical rule of Robert Mugabe."
France :
"The French President holds responsible the Zimbabwean authorities, which have deliberately chosen the path of violence to gag the people of Zimbabwe and prevent them from expressing themselves freely at the ballot box.... he (the French President) condemns the campaign of very serious acts of violence perpetrated by President Mugabe against Mr Tsvangirai, opposition supporters and the people of Zimbabwe.....These violences constitute a blatant violation of democracy......France is ready to take, with its European Union partners, all necessary measures against those responsible for this electoral masquerade..."

No word yet from China and Russia on the matter. A positive reaction (or negatively if you are a ZANU-PF supporter) from those two would bode well for a strong UN Security Council position on the matter. Zimbabwe has become a security threat to the SADC region especially to Zambia and Botswana. We cannot afford to let a despotic leader plunge the region into chaos and reverse the progress we are trying to make in many areas. Frankly, this has now gone beyond petty intellectual discussions about land, sanctions and other matters. The game is now up for Sir Bob and he must now recognise that it is time to step aside before he takes the whole region with him. I am sure Zambia can offer him exile at Chilubi Island, to spare him from the Hague.


  1. European Union :

    "...the withdrawal of Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai is understandable, given the unacceptable systematic campaign of violence, obstruction and intimidation lead by the Zimbabwean authorities, which has continued for several weeks...In these conditions, the elections have become a travesty of democracy. They are certainly not worthy of the African continent of today."

    Were they worthy of the African content of yesterday? The boiling cauldron of anarchy from which Europe saved Africa, perhaps?

    Britain :

    "Now we face a critical crisis of legitimacy because it's clear that the only people with any shred of legitimacy are the people who won the March 29 first round and that was the opposition....

    Is this the same Britain that unilaterally reneged on it's obligation under the Lancaster House Agreement to finance the cost of land purchase in Zimbabwe, thereby blowing up the 'Willing Buyer, Willing Seller' land reform program, which started this all in the first place?

    And how dare Britain support Zimbabwe's opposition party? And on what grounds? On the grounds of the MDC's pro-IMF economic program? Their adherence to neoliberal economics? Their stated intent to turn back the land reform program, letting Britain get off the hook without paying compensation, again?

    France :

    "The French President holds responsible the Zimbabwean authorities, which have deliberately chosen the path of violence to gag the people of Zimbabwe and prevent them from expressing themselves freely at the ballot box....

    How can there be free and fair elections, when a country is under siege? And when the purpose of that siege is to undermine the economy and make the lives of the people miserable in order to make the people vote for the opposition party?

  2. Mrk,

    I agree.
    Part of the problem is that the international community are not also in position to condemn.

    The French's history and interventions in west africa certainly have not been clean. Many a times they have propped bad regimes.

    The Claire Short moment was very bad indeed...

    But what I would say is that this should not take away the fact that what is happening in Zimbabwe is wrong, MrK.

    Mugabe has some sound arguments but there's no justification to his hold on power and for forcing allowing ZANU-PF thugs to run. If that was Zambia I am sure you would be first criticizing the government.

  3. The French's history and interventions in west africa certainly have not been clean. Many a times they have propped bad regimes.

    It's worse than that (and it's mostly in central africa) because they've been irrationnal.

    No theory explains why they're helping Deby right now.. Not even oil.

    But in any case, that doesnt change much. Being criticized by an asshole like Sarkozy doesn't turn one into a saint. Except for simpletons.

  4. Cho,

    But what I would say is that this should not take away the fact that what is happening in Zimbabwe is wrong, MrK.

    If what is reported is true, that would be bad, I agree.

    However, what completely independent news sources are left? The best you can do is synthesize both sides and see which ones' arguments fail first.

    Mugabe has some sound arguments but there's no justification to his hold on power and for forcing allowing ZANU-PF thugs to run. If that was Zambia I am sure you would be first criticizing the government.

    I'm sure the west wouldn't feel the need that implement sanctions on the MMD and Zambia any time soon. And that should be remembered. There were sanctions against Zimbabwe as early as 2001, before hyperinflation, before the recent elections, and before most of the damage to the economy, save the damage done by the IMF in the 1990s.

    So why were there sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2001? To punish it for the fast track land reform program.

    The Claire Short moment was very bad indeed...

    It was the essence of what this dispute was all about, and caused the switch from the Willing Buyer Willing Seller program stipulated in the Lancaster House Agreement to the Fast Track program.

    I think both sides could have worked their way around it if they had really wanted to. However, Claire Short was very inexperienced (wasn't she on Lambeth Council - but where was Tony Blair?) and the Zimbabweans could have taken this further with Blair himself. Maybe Blair himself didn't quite understand that 'donor aid' isn't charity. No one has ever gone into his side of the story. In fact, the entire origin of the land reform dispute is never touched upon, only condemnation of Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

    And of course the Willing Buyer program was designed by Ian Smith to keep land reform an excruciatingly slow process. So there is no surprise that the Zimbabweans didn't press much for continuing it.

    Too bad no journalists have gone into detail or interviewed the orignal parties.

  5. So why were there sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2001? To punish it for the fast track land reform program.

    Honestly, the timeline is confusing. I'm not being fasecious or playing. Which sanctions were imposed as early as 2001 ? What triggered what ? Do you have a clear timeline with everything ?

    - in Sept 2001, the IMF says it cuts off Zimbabwe because they stopped paying arrears. And if I'm not mistaken, Zimbabwe itself admited that they couldn't or were'nt willing to pay.
    - apparently Zimbabwe didn't get fresh funds since 1999 because it stopped paying back loans themselves.
    - The EU sanctions seem to come a bit later, after election monitors were expelled.
    - The US sanctions seem to be the earliest, perharps before Zimbabwe stopped paying the IMF back but a bunch of articles say the EU took the lead on this sanctions and the US state department said it imposed its sanctions in 2002 and 2003.
    - A December 2000 report discusses how good Zimbabwe did on its 1999 deal in exchange for stand-by credit and the picture doesn't seem pretty inflation wise.

    The DRC war had an effect on both Zimbabwe's economic performance and its geopolitical standing, not to mention that many point out that the veterans involved in the land reform were more likely DRC veterans than liberation war vets. It's quite unclear how mad everyone was at Zim's involvement (France was on their side in that one, which is why the EU didn't impose sanctions as early as UK wished).

    I guess because I'm a stooge of the neo-colonialist, this still fits in the narrative of Mugabe making desperate moves one after another and of course being very good at making it all seem like it's Blair's fault.

    Confronted with growing internal and external disequilibria (precipitated mainly by large fiscal deficits), the Zimbabwean government adopted in 1998 and again in 1999 a policy framework that was aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability. The program for 1999 targeted a decline in inflation to 30 percent by the end of the year from 47 percent in 1998, and real GDP growth of 1.2 percent. However, expenditure overruns, especially in the areas of wages and defense, and a weak revenue performance, caused the overall fiscal deficit to widen from 4½ percent of GDP in 1998 to 11½ percent in 1999, compared with a targeted 5.3 percent. Monetary policy was accommodating during the first half of the year, with reserve money growth peaking at 96 percent in the 12 months ended August. As a result, inflation rose to a peak of 70 percent in October before easing to 57 percent by end-1999, as a result of a tightening of liquidity by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in midyear, while real GDP fell by 0.2 percent. The spillover to the external sector of the lax domestic policies and investor skepticism was compounded by the de facto pegging of the currency from January 1999, as the erosion of competitiveness and depressed commodity prices further weakened foreign exchange receipts.
    The economic crisis has deepened during 2000, fueled by a continued deterioration in the fiscal position and erosion of competitiveness, as well as by political tensions related to the February constitutional referendum, the June parliamentary elections, and the land reform program. Fiscal performance in 2000 has again deviated sharply from the original target (a deficit of 3.8 percent of GDP), owing to overruns in wages, defense, and domestic interest outlays. The deficit amounted to 18 percent in the first eight months of the year at an annualized rate, and, in early September, parliament passed a supplementary budget that would widen the deficit to about 23 percent for the year. Faced with the government's rising borrowing requirement, the RBZ initially sought to contain monetary expansion but at the expense of the crowding out of the private sector. In August, however, monetary conditions were eased, resulting in an acceleration of broad money growth from 30 percent in 1999 to 49 percent in the year ended September 2000.
    As a consequence, inflation rose to 61 percent in the year up to October and may exceed 80 percent by the end of the year. Economic activity and employment have faltered, especially in manufacturing, mining, and tourism, and real GDP is projected to contract by more than 5 percent, which would result in a 12 percent cumulative decline in per capita income over the past three years. While the downturn in economic activity and restricted access to foreign exchange have combined to compress imports, a sizable deterioration in Zimbabwe's terms of trade and a sharp drop in export volumes are expected to shift the external current account into a deficit of 2½ percent of GDP during 2000.
    Executive Board Assessment
    Directors expressed deep concern about the decline in per capita income and the deterioration in social conditions of the past several years as a result of Zimbabwe's weak macroeconomic policies, the rapid spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, poor governance, and escalating tension and uncertainty related to the government's land reform program.
    Directors stressed that the slump in economic performance in 1999-2000 was due mainly to the pursuit of an unsustainable fiscal policy driven by large wage and defense overruns, and by governance problems that have undermined investor confidence. Economic activity has contracted, inflation has accelerated, and the balance of payments position has weakened significantly, as evidenced by the depletion of usable foreign reserves and the emergence of external payment arrears. Directors also noted the worrisome fallout from Zimbabwe's problems on neighboring countries and they urged the authorities to be mindful of the repercussions on their neighbors when framing domestic policies.
    Directors considered that Zimbabwe needs to take corrective measures urgently in order to forestall a deepening of the current economic crisis. Despite the severe deterioration in recent years, Directors noted that Zimbabwe has the potential to resume vigorous and sustained economic growth, provided the authorities implement a strong economic program with determination. They were encouraged by the new economic team's commitment to reform, and hoped that it would attract the national consensus and broad ownership necessary for success. Directors agreed that a restoration of macroeconomic stability-which is a prerequisite for recovery-would hinge on the design and implementation of a credible adjustment program, anchored by a return to a sustainable fiscal path and restoration of external competitiveness. Rebuilding investor confidence will require determined efforts to improve the economic environment, including by taking decisive steps to strengthen governance and ensure a speedy return to the rule of law, and by implementing an orderly and transparent land reform program that garners domestic and international support. Directors also urged the authorities to normalize relations with foreign creditors and eliminate external payment arrears.
    Directors considered that the brunt of the fiscal adjustment will have to come from savings in wage and defense outlays. They welcomed the government's plan to curtail these outlays so as to reduce the fiscal deficit substantially, and to realign spending priorities, especially to make room for increased spending to address the HIV/AIDS problem. They underscored that the establishment of strong expenditure control mechanisms will be essential to underpin fiscal discipline, and endorsed the government's statement that fiscal consolidation must be further deepened during 2002-03.
    Directors also observed that the 2001 budget bill features a number of tax cuts, and they encouraged the authorities to adopt offsetting measures to bolster tax revenue, particularly by broadening the tax base and improving tax administration. In this regard, they welcomed the imminent establishment of an autonomous revenue authority. Directors welcomed the decision to strengthen the position of the state oil and power companies through periodic adjustments in fuel and electricity tariffs. They also encouraged the authorities to take steps to improve the finances of the other major parastatals. Directors noted that structural initiatives such as civil service reform and restructuring or privatization of public enterprises would also help reduce the fiscal deficit and promote efficiency.
    Directors urged the authorities to tighten monetary policy until inflation is brought firmly under control, while noting that fiscal adjustment should ease the burden on monetary policy and avoid a crowding out of the private sector. They recommended elimination of interest rate caps and a return to market determination of treasury bill yields. Directors welcomed the steps that have been taken to strengthen banking supervision. In view of current dislocations in economic activity and strains on the financial sector, however, they urged the authorities to be vigilant in identifying weaknesses in the banking system, and to promptly issue the guidelines for dealing with troubled banks.
    Directors welcomed Zimbabwe's decision to exit from the fixed exchange rate regime, and underlined the need for further steps to restore competitiveness in conjunction with a tightening of macroeconomic policies. In this connection, they stressed that a flexible and market-determined exchange rate would be appropriate.
    Directors encouraged the authorities to deepen trade liberalization, and recommended the elimination as soon as possible of the multiple currency practice and the exchange restriction subject to approval under Article VIII of the Fund's Articles of Agreement.
    Directors expressed considerable concern about the impact on Zimbabwe's economy of the government's policy on land reform. They noted that it was important to conduct the process in a lawful manner, and to dispel uncertainties that could entail further large output and employment losses. They urged the authorities to work closely with donors, and recommended, in particular, a close examination of the economic and legal aspects of the land reform program, as well as a careful phasing of the program, commensurate with available financial resources and implementation capacity.
    Directors expressed deep concern over the decline in social indicators, and the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS and related diseases. They strongly urged the authorities to formulate appropriate measures to address the social and economic consequences of the health crisis.
    Directors underlined the importance of transparency in government operations. Zimbabwe's database continues to suffer from numerous deficiencies in coverage and timeliness, and they urged the authorities to address these shortcomings as soon as possible, 
including with Fund technical assistance. Directors stressed that timely statistics and full disclosure will be essential to guide the authorities in the implementation of economic policy, and to facilitate the discharge by the Fund of its surveillance responsibilities.
    Directors welcomed the authorities' decision to publish the staff report for the 2000 Article IV consultation.
    The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on September 24, 2001 reviewed Zimbabwe's overdue financial obligations to the IMF, declared Zimbabwe ineligible to use the general resources of the IMF, and removed Zimbabwe from the list of countries eligible to borrow resources under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
    Zimbabwe first incurred arrears to the IMF in mid-February 2001, and at end-August 2001 its overdue obligations totaled SDR 41.3 million (about US$53 million), including SDR 18.9 million (about US$24 million) to the IMF's General Department, and SDR 22.3 million (about US$29 million) to the PRGF Trust.
    The declaration of ineligibility to use the general resources of the IMF is one of the remedial measures taken to encourage members to settle overdue financial obligations to the IMF. Removing a country from the list of PRGF-eligible countries is a parallel action when a member has overdue obligations to the PRGF Trust. The IMF's Executive Board urged the Zimbabwean authorities to make full and prompt settlement of Zimbabwe's overdue financial obligations to the IMF. The Executive Board acknowledged the authorities' intention to initiate quarterly payments to the IMF as a first step of cooperation with the IMF, but regretted that those payments would fall far short of the amount required to stabilize the level of arrears to the IMF.
    The Executive Board urged the Zimbabwean authorities to adopt the economic and financial policies needed to enable Zimbabwe to achieve economic recovery as soon as possible. The Executive Board indicated that the Fund stood ready to cooperate with the authorities in support of efforts to adopt and implement a comprehensive economic recovery program. The Executive Board will review further the matter of Zimbabwe's overdue financial obligations to the Fund within three months.

    Adopted on 13 December. Parliament deplored the intensification of violence, intimidation and murder which President Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party had unleashed against political opponents and farmers, and condemned the actions of the Mugabe regime to control the judiciary for selfish political ends. It urged the Zimbabwean Government to do what was necessary to guarantee the independence of the judiciary system, to fulfil its international obligations and to withdraw its troops from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Moreover, Parliament called on the European Council urgently to adopt so-called smart sanctions against Zimbabwe, including the identification and freezing of assets held by President Mugabe in European countries and countries closely associated, while the Council and the Commission were called upon to seek wide international agreement for tough action against the Mugabe regime, which should be compelled to implement urgently the recommendations adopted by all the countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

    Adopted on 13 December. Parliament deplored the intensification of violence, intimidation and murder which President Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party had unleashed against political opponents and farmers, and condemned the actions of the Mugabe regime to control the judiciary for selfish political ends. It urged the Zimbabwean Government to do what was necessary to guarantee the independence of the judiciary system, to fulfil its international obligations and to withdraw its troops from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Moreover, Parliament called on the European Council urgently to adopt so-called smart sanctions against Zimbabwe, including the identification and freezing of assets held by President Mugabe in European countries and countries closely associated, while the Council and the Commission were called upon to seek wide international agreement for tough action against the Mugabe regime, which should be compelled to implement urgently the recommendations adopted by all the countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
    • (a) FINDINGS- Congress makes the following findings:
    • (1) Through economic mismanagement, undemocratic practices, and the costly deployment of troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Government of Zimbabwe has rendered itself ineligible to participate in International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Monetary Fund programs, which would otherwise be providing substantial resources to assist in the recovery and modernization of Zimbabwe's economy. The people of Zimbabwe have thus been denied the economic and democratic benefits envisioned by the donors to such programs, including the United States.
    • (2) In September 1999 the IMF suspended its support under a `Stand By Arrangement', approved the previous month, for economic adjustment and reform in Zimbabwe.
    • (3) In October 1999, the International Development Association (in this section referred to as the `IDA') suspended all structural adjustment loans, credits, and guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe.
    • (4) In May 2000, the IDA suspended all other new lending to the Government of Zimbabwe.
    • (5) In September 2000, the IDA suspended disbursement of funds for ongoing projects under previously-approved loans, credits, and guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe.
    European Parliament resolution on Zimbabwe
    The European Parliament,
    -  having regard to its resolutions of 13 April 2000(1), 18 May 2000(2), 6 July 2000(3), 15 March 2001(4), 6 September 2001(5) and 13 December 2001(6) on the situation in Zimbabwe,
    -  having regard to the agreement reached in Abuja on 6 September 2001 between the Committee of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, including a number of African states, and the Zimbabwean Government to return Zimbabwe to the rule of law and end all illegal occupations of farmland and to take forward the process of land reform,
    -  having regard to the decision of the General Affairs Council on 28 January 2002 to close its Cotonou consultations with Zimbabwe and on 18 February 2002 to introduce a package of targeted sanctions,
    -  having regard to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum, Australia, from 2 to 5 March 2002,
    A.  whereas the presidential election in Zimbabwe took place between 9 and 11 March 2002,
    B.  whereas the adoption of repressive legislation - the Public Order and Security Act, the General Laws Amendment Act, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act - severely restricted the ability of opposition politicians to conduct a free and fair election campaign, and seriously undermined the freedom of the local, national and international media to report objectively,
    C.  whereas freedom of speech, including freedom of the press and broadcasting to provide balanced and impartial coverage of the election campaign, was significantly impaired,
    D.  whereas the Zimbabwean Government encouraged the police to use new powers to cancel rallies organised by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and prevent the dissemination of MDC campaign literature, and seconded 72 senior army officers to the Electoral Supervisory Commission - a move that stunned civil society,
    E.  whereas out of 15 000 local independent election observers within the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, only a few received accreditation from the government to monitor the election,
    F.  having regard to the withdrawal of the EU election observation mission to Zimbabwe after unacceptable obstructions were placed in its way by the Zimbabwean authorities, including the expulsion of the EU's chief observer, Pierre Schori, on 16 February 2002 and the harassment and obstruction that impeded the work of other observation missions from Norway, the Commonwealth and elsewhere,
    G.  whereas the EU imposed targeted sanctions in the form of an arms embargo, a visa ban and a freeze on the overseas assets of President Mugabe and 19 close associates with effect from 18 February 2002,
    H.  whereas the UN World Food Programme has stated that the needs of 558 000 malnourished Zimbabweans are becoming increasingly urgent as drought and food shortages continue,
    I.  whereas economic problems in Zimbabwe are such that inflation is running at 116.7% and unemployment at a record 60%, over 80% of Zimbabwe's 15 million people are living below the poverty line, the education and health systems are crumbling and over 2 000 Zimbabweans are dying each week from AIDS, and the outlook for the economy is looking even more dismal in the light of the election outcome,
    J.  whereas the leaders of many African states have failed to condemn President Mugabe's contempt for the Zimbabwean people and his blatant obstruction of the democratic process,
    K.  whereas the chairman of the Zimbabwean Electoral Support Network has characterised the electoral process as flawed and a potential cause for conflict, and one which has violated almost every electoral norm laid down by the Southern African Development Community,
    L.  whereas the 25 Norwegian election observers have documented sustained harassment and violence against opposition officials, members and supporters, and have concluded that the presidential elections were conducted in an environment of strong polarisation, political violence and an election administration with severe shortcomings,
    M.  whereas the low turnouts in the cities, traditional areas of opposition support, and massive turnouts in rural areas are unprecedented and suggest widespread ballot rigging,

    1.  Condemns the political intimidation of opposition leaders and voters, the restrictions imposed on local and international observers and blatant vote rigging, and concludes that the presidential election in Zimbabwe was certainly not free and fair;
    2.  Points to the forthcoming meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Cape Town from 18 to 21 March 2002;
    3.  Applauds those politicians and citizens of Zimbabwe who, often in fear of their lives, have consistently stood up for freedom of expression and democratic values and have sought democratic change in order to promote the well-being of all Zimbabweans;
    4.  Urges the EU and the international community as a whole not to recognise the legitimacy of the Zimbabwean presidential election outcome;
    5.  Calls on the Council to respond with further measures against the Mugabe government, including an extension of the EU's blacklist, on which President Mugabe and 19 ZANU-PF insiders figure, to include Zimbabwe's Vice-Presidents and the finance minister and others;
    6.  Insists that assets held overseas by Zimbabwean leaders as a result of their exploitation of their power in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries should be traced and set aside for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe;
    7.  Welcomes the decision by the United States to 'move rapidly' to implement a similar package of targeted sanctions, and urges other countries and international organisations to follow suit;
    8.  Urges South Africa, in particular, to show real regional leadership and to take strong action in favour of democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, given the impact that the deteriorating situation is having on the stability of the southern African region as a whole;
    9.  Calls for swift robust action by the AU, the SADC and the Commonwealth, including by the troika appointed at the Coolum Heads of Government summit;
    10.  Calls on the Barcelona European Council of 15 and 16 March 2002 to seize the opportunity to deliberate on how to strengthen and consolidate the measures already in place to deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe;
    11.  Calls upon the EU and the wider international Community to provide large-scale assistance to Zimbabwe, including support for a legal land reform process, when it is evident that democracy, human rights and the rule of law are re-established following free and fair elections;
    12.  Urges the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to demonstrate its commitment to democratic values and condemn the flawed electoral process that has taken place in Zimbabwe;
    13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and candidate countries, the government and parliament of Zimbabwe, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary-General of the AU, the Secretary-General of the SADC, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the President of the World Bank.
Appeal to the European Union 
and the Commonwealth

    October 2001 AI INDEX: AFR 46/010/2001 DISTR:SC/CO/GR

    Amnesty International appeals to the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth, including its Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), to use the opportunity of their next meetings to exercise all possible influence on the Zimbabwe government to ensure it complies with its legal obligations under international human rights treaties.

    Both international organizations have expressed concern at the reports of beatings, torture, political killings, forced evictions and arbitrary arrests in Zimbabwe. Both have clear human rights standards that apply to each member state. The partnership agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of States and the EU, reached on 23 June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin, calls for respect in any dialogue for ''essential elements'': the respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. The EU should insist that the Zimbabwean government demonstrate its respect for the core values of the Cotonou Agreement by cooperating with international efforts to monitor the human rights situation there, to help improve the lives of many thousands of Zimbabweans from all backgrounds and walks of life whose fundamental rights continue to be violated and abused.

    In a similar manner, the Commonwealth's Harare Declaration, agreed in Zimbabwe in 1991, demands from its signatories a commitment to work for ''the protection and promotion of the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth'', including the rule of law and all fundamental human rights. The Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration, adopted in 1995 in New Zealand, proposed, among other things, several practical measures for Commonwealth assistance, including establishing and strengthening independent electoral machinery and undertaking election observation. It was at Millbrook that the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group was first established as a mechanism to deal with serious and persistent violations of the principles of the Harare Declaration.

    The human rights situation in Zimbabwe has remained serious and persistent -- and without expected improvement -- since two significant international declarations were made. On 6 September 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria, an agreement was reached between the Commonwealth and the Zimbabwean government in which the Zimbabwean authorities pledged renewed commitment to "the protection and promotion of the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth," as elaborated in the Harare Declaration. Also on 6 September, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the situation in Zimbabwe, urging the EU Council and Commission to initiate measures under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, and asking the European Council to identify and freeze the assets in Europe held by President Robert Mugabe , his family and his close associates, as well as place travel restrictions on them. ''Zimbabwe is sliding into chaos with a dramatic deterioration in law and order and in the human rights situation in recent weeks as a direct result of actions inspired by President Mugabe, entrenching a climate of fear and despair which affects all parts of the population,'' according to the 6 September 2001 European Parliament resolution.

    Amnesty International cautiously welcomed the Abuja agreement but noted that --- for it to be successful --- the Zimbabwe government had to provide an atmosphere in which all people, including opposition candidates and supporters, are free to express their political beliefs, peacefully assemble and campaign without the fear of violence. Amnesty International supports the European Parliament's aim to press President Mugabe and the government of Zimbabwe to improve the human rights situation, which has not improved since the Abuja agreement. In addressing both organizations, Amnesty International points out that, according to the evidence it has received so far, Zimbabwe has failed to honour its international human rights obligations, undertaken both in Abuja and through its ratification of human rights treaties such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Cotonou Agreement. Grave human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated with the Zimbabwean government authorities' acquiescence, complicity or active involvement.

    Amnesty International believes that the EU should urgently support the efforts of Zimbabwe's civil society to protect human rights. The need for such intervention is particularly urgent in the months preceding presidential elections, which are due to be held sometime before the end of April 2002. One primary means of supporting the protection and promotion of human rights is to send international observers to Zimbabwe by as early as November 2001, as a preventative measure and as a strong signal that the world's attention is on the government's actions --- and inaction -- in the run up to the elections.

    Additionally, Amnesty International was concerned that the focus of the Commonwealth's Abuja meeting was on land reform and had moved away from the previous emphasis on Zimbabwe's obligations to uphold the rule of law. These obligations include protecting all its citizens from gross human rights violations and ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice. The Commonwealth Ministers have so far been unable to meet representatives of Zimbabwean civil society. Concerns about that failure were strongly articulated to Amnesty International by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country. Amnesty International believes that it would be important and effective for the Commonwealth --- directly and through its various instruments such as CMAG --- to publicly condemn human rights violations in Zimbabwe. Amnesty International also recommends that it take urgent steps to investigate ongoing reports of violations, by immediately sending international observers into Zimbabwe and by CMAG members themselves visiting the country and meeting with NGOs and victims of violations.
    31st August, 2001.
    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission is to visit Zimbabwe for discussions on the country, which has been without fund aid since 1999, a senior IMF official said this week.
    Gerry Johnson, the IMF's senior representative in Zimbabwe, said the visit had been agreed with the Zimbabwe authorities. Its purpose would be a standard review of the economy.
    "The focus of the discussions is primarily on macroeconomic issues, and the aim is to permit the staff to present the macroeconomic situation of the country in a balanced and comprehensive fashion," Johnson said.
    The IMF suspended loans to Zimbabwe in October 1999 after government efforts to liberalise the economy went off track, prompting most other lenders to pull out and leaving the country with little credit and practically no foreign currency.
    In May, the fund said that Zimbabwe had stopped payment on its loans. The government was 690m in arrears on its entire foreign debt by the end of July 2001, according to the finance ministry. Zimbabwe's total foreign debt is estimated at $4bn.
    Starved of IMF support, the Zimbabwean economy has in the past two years been in free fall, with foreign exchange critically short, inflation at 70% and unemployment hovering at 50%.
    The foreign currency shortage has left the government frequently unable to maintain an adequate supply of electricity and fuel, with essential imports such as medicines also in short supply.
    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has criticised the fund as a tool for western countries to deprive developing nations of support on political grounds, such as a country's human rights record.
    and this too:

  6. this one is interesting too:

    Land Reform Support Project Cr. 3286-ZW
    Government of Zimbabwe, a project that was approved on September 16, 1999 as a
    Learning and Innovation Loan (LIL). The International Development Association (IDA)
    Credit (Credit No. 3286) in the amount of SDR3.7 million was signed on November 15,
    1999, but terminated on August 13, 2001, (in terms of Section 12.04 of the General
    Conditions) as a result of its failure to become effective. The initial Effectiveness Date of
    the project was February 14,2000 and was extended four times in 18 months, with the
    last extension expiring on August 12, 200 1.
    This is the Completion Note for the Land Reform Support Project (LRSP) of the
    Given the importance of the land issue in the country and the need for the Bank to remain
    actively engaged in dialogue on this issue, the project’s effectiveness date was extended
    four times to allow Government to fulfill the six conditions of effectiveness, all of which
    were operational in nature. The Government, however, managed to meet only three of
    these conditions of effectiveness and, at the expiry of the fourth extension on August 12,
    2001, the Government did not formally request an extension beyond this date and
    therefore the credit was allowed to lapse. These events were of course substantially
    influenced by the fact that by May 2000, Zimbabwe had failed to honor its debt
    obligations to the Bank, and the Bank had stopped disbursements on all projects.
    Development Objective and Project Description
    number of land reform approaches that show promise to reduce rural poverty and
    increase agricultural productivity in the participating farms.
    The project development objective was to initiate, on a pilot basis, a limited
    The project would have helped expedite the settlement process on farms already acquired
    by government and would have facilitated the implementation of complementary land
    reform approaches. The project would have directly benefited an estimated 1,000 poor
    rural families from congested communal areas through improved access to land (between
    25,000 and 40,000 hectares) and thus would have a positive (though limited) impact in
    alleviating poverty.

    or this:

    The project did not achieve its objectives. The initial supply response from good
    progress in implementing components 1) through 4) was not maintained in 1998-2000.
    Parastatal losses were not constrained and the central government fiscal deficits remained
    high. The failure to lower the budget deficit, resulted in inflation and continued high
    interest rates which slowed investment and job creation. The credit failed to shield the
    poor from the adverse effects of adjustment; real per capita social expenditures fell, and
    there were shortcomings in the design of the Social Development Fund. Extreme poverty
    increased from 26 percent in 1990/91 to 35 percent in 1995/96. Outcome is rated highly
    unsatisfactory, sustainability is highly unlikely and the institutional development impact
    is rated negligible.

  7. Wait.

    More timeline questions:

    "By 1995, Dr. Chenjerai ‘Hitler’ Hunzvi, who had trained in Poland while with ZIPRA, gained favour with veterans by widening the programme beyond the “privileged few” who were accessing it at first.[29] He signed the papers certifying many false injuries, and became director of ZNLWVA.

    When the extensive fraud involved in these claims was revealed, the ‘war vets’ lost legitimacy in society at large and Mugabe suspended the scheme in March 1997. As one ZNLWVA member – a key player in ZIPA in 1975-1977 – put it, war vets were “the laughing stock” of Zimbabwe.[30] When the ZNLWVA waged a wide campaign of demonstrations to revive the deal, Mugabe promised in April to answer to claims on a case-by-case basis, but refused to meet the association. By May, the demonstrations were becoming more violent.

    This process followed the year in which the ZCTU allowed striking civil servants, who had almost paralysed the nation in 1996, to join it. It was casting its net widely, and indeed, the possibility of an alliance between the ZNLWVA and the working class was possible: Hunzvi and Morgan Tsvangirai made an agreement that the ZCTU would support the war veterans’ claims – but the cost would not be passed on to the workers.[31] At this time, the possibility of the ‘war vets’’ claim for a large pension, regardless of injuries, was widely discussed. One high-level Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation manager told this interviewer that he understood that the World Bank would pay the pension in order to ease the strain on an ESAP friendly client state.[32]

    The question of land reform was debated at the highest levels, indeed a commission of inquiry was struck, reporting to retired general (but power behind the scenes) Solomon Mujuru regularly – to be met by negative comments that ‘this cannot be afforded now’.[33] Hunzvi organized a demonstration at the Heroes’ Day celebration, which drowned out Mugabe’s speech with their drums and chants.[34] The minister of Labour and Welfare was almost forced off the road by a group of veterans. Then, Mugabe sent cabinet ministers to provinces to meet ZNLWVA member to discuss grievances. They were often held hostage and then sent away. A July 1997 protest disrupted a Zimbabwean/African-American business conference.

    The fateful meeting was held in August. Reliable sources say that veterans held retired Air Force Marshall Josiah Tungamirai hostage for this meeting, while others say that Didymus Mutasa, then Speaker of the House, the most important ZANU-PF leader in Manicaland, and a nationalist stalwart since the 1950s ‘seminars’ at Guy Clutton-Brock’s Cold Comfort Farm was held too. Agrarian political economist Sam Moyo said in an Integrated Regional Information Network interview that the meeting was held, “more or less at gunpoint.”[35] There is no doubt that the ‘negotiators’ were allowed into State House by the Presidential Guard, so at some level members of the security apparatus acceded to the meeting. In any case, the negotiators were promised Z$50,000 (then about US$5,000) as a once off payment, and a monthly pension of Z$2,000 (then about US$200: it was increased to Z$5,000 in 2001, but of course high inflation had eaten much of that away).

    The total cost, unbudgeted, was Z$4.5 billion. The war vets also demanded that land be redistributed according the promises of the past, and that they would get twenty per cent of that. The agreement was gazetted in parliament in September. In November, it was announced in parliament that 1,471 farms would be taken, recompensed as decided by the state. The Zimbabwean dollar lost seventy-five per cent of its value and Zimbabwe started on its downward spiral."

    If I'm getting this right, the talk of accelerated land reform came after the Veteran protests and ZCTU strike ?

    And when exactly in 1997 was the defenestration attempt on Tsvangirai ?

    And why did the Land Reform start in 1997 based on a 1992 law ?

    And why was that law passed in 1992, in a middle of a drought if i'm not mistaken, and not as soon as the Landcaster 10-years freeze was over ?

    Has any action of the Zimbabwe government been anything than reactive ?

    And this is great:

    "President Mugabe has blamed what he called dishonourable financial trading for the collapse of the Zimbabwean currency last week.

    He denied that the problems were a result of poor economic management.

    The authorities took sweeping measures on Monday to bolster the Zimbabwean dollar after it fell to record lows.

    But for the past two days, share values on the Zimbabwean stock exchange have plunged.

    Correspondents say several factors, including uncertainty over a government plan to nationalise large farms and resettle landless black peasants, have contributed to the currency and stock market crash."

    Yes, less than 3 weeks after announcing the Land Reform, Mugabe was already in denial about the possible side-effects.

  8. whoa. This is, excuse my french, fucked up.

    In the fast track programme, farm workers are no longer seen as a specific category to be considered for resettlement, but are viewed with suspicion if not outright hostility, whilesenior government officials claim that it is not government policy to displace farmworkers, and that these would be considered on all fast tracked farms (either forresettlement on that farm or another property) the reality on the ground tends tocontradict this. Since the beginning of the Fast Track Land Resettlement Program fromJuly 2000 to February 2001, 347 farms with an estimated 13 800 farm worker households were noted to have been negatively affected while an estimated 738 farms were gazetted which is likely to affect a further 29 520 farm worker households. Table 1 provides apicture of the number of farm workers resettled in the three Mashonaland provinces these make up over eighty percent of the farm worker population in the country. A farm inthese areas has an average of 40 households with an average of five people perhousehold. Table IFarm worker communities in the fast track programJuly 2 000–March 2 001Province# of farms fast tracked#. of communal house holdsresettled#. of farm worker households resettledMash Central563 099216Mash East1109 001630Mash West1096 184371Total25718 2841 217 Source FCTZ documents. Three Provinces of operation namely Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West show the skewedness in the land distribution programme. Few farm worker households (7.0%) of the total families allocated land are being considered in the programme. There seems to be a resurgence of the perception that the majority of farm workers arealiens, who have no rights in Zimbabwe other than those, bestowed by their employers.Although this argument has been used by politicians and the media since the late 1980s to disqualify farm workers from securing land rights in resettlement schemes or evencommunal areas, this occurred as a new land policy was emerging that emphasizedefficient, productive and skilled settlers (Moyo 1995). This has even been used to explain the “failure” of resettlement policy in terms of farm productivity, by early resettlementschemes of the 1980s.
    Page 6
    5 Farm workers and foreigners in general have been blamed for the alleged failure of theresettlement policies of the 1980s. (Rutherford 1996). Even though numerous studieshave shown that resettlement, including in those settlements with so-called foreign farmworkers has had positive results (Moyo 1995: Maposa 1995: Kinsey 1999).The absence of a holistic approach to land reform is bound to have serious repercussions on marginalised groups as farm workers. As this is bound to create unforeseen problems in the short term and in future.If land reform aims to address the issues of inequality in access to economic and socialopportunities and resources, then farm workers should be considered as a specific target. The “fast track” program has social and economic implications on the livelihoods ofcommercial farm workers. Farm workers in these situations are one of the mostvulnerable groups experiencing displacement, destitution and loss of employment, which cause further hardships.A vulnerability assessment on the situation of farm workers carried out in March 2001 by Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe together with Save the Children (UK) noted thatfarm workers were being affected in various ways by the fast track program.In the case of a farm being designated for resettlement, the farmers were faced with much uncertainty where they were not sure how much time would pass between designationand actual resettlement. There were also legal questions on the resettlement process being carried out and issues of compensation. However, because of the large investments made on the land by the farmers, some continued to operate on their farms inspite of thedesignation.The uncertainty in turn is affecting the farm workers in this category as the farmers have difficulties in accessing credit from financial institutions when they could not guaranteeharvest of their crops. Because of this, some workers are being laid off, or their working days are being reduced which means less salary as well. Social development work onsuch farms is at a halt.Another group of people being affected are the seasonal workers as there is reducedpiecework employment opportunities which are being taken over by permanent workersdue to the reduction in work. Since this type of work is an important source of income, its loss has a serious impact on their food security and livelihood.Timing of designation is also a critical issue due to the uncertainty it creates. Ifresettlement takes time to be carried out before the time the winter harvest is ready, thefarmers then reduce operations and lay off workers because of a lack of finance thuscausing a great deal of unnecessary hardships. It can be then noted that, if times forresettlement could be officially fixed, then all affected actors including the farmer, farmworkers and new settlers can make their plans accordingly.
    Page 7
    6 It is also difficult to get information on the whereabouts and situation of the laid offworkers. It was suggested that some would have gone to try to find casual work on other commercial farms, some skilled workers (including drivers and mechanics) may havefound employment elsewhere and that others may have gone to communal areas. Asurvey conducted by FCTZ in 1997 indicated that 27 percent and 40 percent maintainedcommunal area homes in Mashonaland West and East provinces respectively.Low levels of education make it difficult for farm workers to secure any other form ofemployment outside the farms. Some then resort to illegally settling on private propertyor in prohibited areas as a large number have cut ties with relations in communal areasand therefore do not have anywhere else to go.The loss or reduction of income also affects workers’ children who are then deprived ofeducation which they would have otherwise benefited from whilst residing at the farm.These in turn may resort to anti-social behaviour and undesirable forms of trade.However, there has not been any reported large influx of displaced farm workers intoperi-urban settlements in the large cities. Further investigation is actually required to gain a better picture of where farm workers who have lost their jobs and homes have actually gone.The elderly are also a group that was affected, as it is not all who have communal homes. Some farmers allow their elderly workers to stay on the farms doing lighter chores orengaging in their own self-sustaining activities as a form of ‘pension.’ However, with the “fast track” program, the elderly have become destitute and extremely improvished asthey are stripped off all these benefits including the credit facilities at the farm stores aswell. The absence of social safety nets to cushion them from these problems has madelife difficult for them.A significant number of the farm workers are of foreign origin and therefore havenowhere to retire to, except on the farms. These families will have great difficultymeeting any large health expenses that could arise. Some families were used tosupplementing their incomes by gold panning but this has been reduced because theplaces where they were panning are now occupied, new settlers also charge a fee to theworkers to access the dam where fishing can be carried out and are also denying themaccess to firewood. As a result of the cuts on food expenditure and the accompanyingreduction in numbers of meals consumed it is estimated that the farm workers are notcurrently meeting their minimum food needs. In the case of farms where operations have ceased, the ‘employed’ were facing problems of unemployment especially when theyended up as squatters.While it is inevitable that some farm workers would be displaced and retrenched by theland reform program, especially older and infirm and piece workers. However if the resettlement program had been carried out in a more orderly andsystematic manner it would result in more rural jobs.
    Page 8
    7 Conclusion Land reform is one of the key instruments for addressing rural poverty; should therefore be used as a vehicle for emancipating farm workers. This can be achieved through theestablishment of permanent settlements with legal tenure, which, will release farmworkers and their families from being bound to the world of agriculture labor whichperpetuates the vicious circle of poverty that they seem to be locked in. Permanentsettlements will enable farm worker communities to be completely integrated into thenational economy, not only as a contribution to the GDP, but as part of all nationaldevelopment programs. These settlements will also provide a solution to the problemsfaced by old and retired workers.Land reform is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for tackling rural poverty, to besuccessful land reform has to be accompanied by a host of other reforms, in themarketing of produce, in the provision of credit, in the provision of technical assistance,in the provision of necessary infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and clinics. In my own humble opinion, land reform in Zimbabwe has only addressed one of the keyissues, redistribution without putting in place measures that would ensure its success.Notes 1 Although in 1982 the government extended citizenship to a lot of farm workers, a significant number particularly women did not take advantage of this offer. In addition it is extremely difficult to access civic documents as a result a high percentage of children on commercial farms do not have birthcertificates. A study carried out by SNV in one district in Zimbabwe revealed that 75% of the children of school going age did not have birth certificates. Bibliography Amanor –Wilks, Dede Esi (1995), In Search of Hope for Zimbabwe’s farm workers, Harare, Date line southern Africa and Panos Institute.Clarke Duncan (1977) Agricultural and Plantation Workers in Rhodesia: A Report on Conditions of Labour and Subsistence, Gwelo, Mambo Press.Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe / Famine Early Warning System (1999) Survey ofCommercial Farm Workers Characteristics and Living Conditions in Zimbabwe. Harare GAPWUZ (1997) Report on the workshop on Living Conditions for farm Workers in Zimbabwe, 23-25 February Darwendale, Zimbabwe.GAPWUZ –FOS –Belgium(nd) Summary of Survey Particulars (Jan-April 1998survey of farmworkers in Zimbabwe) Harare Government of Zimbabwe, (GoZ) (1995)GoZ (1995) Poverty Assessment Study Survey Ministry of Labor Social WelfareGoZ (1998) Poverty in Zimbabwe Central Statistical OfficeGTZ Poverty in Zimbabwe (1999) The Contribution of German Development Co-operation Towards Poverty Reduction in Zimbabwe. Harare.Herbst, Jefrey (1990) and State Politics in Zimbabwe Harare: University of Zimbabwe.
    Page 9
    8 Kinsey, Bill H (1999) Emerging issues in Zimbabwe’s Land Resettlement Program. Development Policy Review.Lowenson Rene, (1986), Farm Labor in Zimbabwe Modern Plantation Agriculture, London ZedBooks. Moyo Sam, (1986) The Land Question in Zimbabwe in Mandaza (ed) Zimbabwe: The PoliticalEconomy of Transition, (1980) –(1986). Coderisa, Dakar The land Question in Zimbabwe,Harare SapesTrust (1998) Moyo Sam, Blair Rutherford and Dede Amanor –Wilks (2000) Land Reform and ChangingSocial Relations for Farm Workers in Zimbabwe Review of African Political Economy No84:181-202. ROAPE Publications Ltd. Rutherford Blair (1996) Traditions of Domesticity in Modern Zimbabwe Politics: Race Gender,and Class in the Government of Commercial Farm Workers in Hurungwe District. Ph.D.thesis McGill University Rutherford, Blair and Eric Worby (1999) Zimbabwe’s Agrarian Answer: The Rhetoric ofRedistribution, Cultural survival Quarterly: Special Issue) Uprooted : Dispossession in Africa, 22(4) 56-59 Sachikonye LM and OJ Zishiri, (1999) Tenure Security for Farm Workers. Working Paper No27. Economic Advisory Project, Harare: Friedrich Ebert FoundationZimbabwe’s Agriculture Policy Frame work 1995-2000, Ministry of Agriculture Harare: GoZ,Land Reform and resettlement program Phase II: A Policy Frame work and Project documentHarare, September: GoZ (1999), Draft National Land Policy Ministry of lands and Agriculture, Harare, Zimbabwe GoZ (1996) The Inception Phase Frame Work Plan of TheLand Reform and Resettlement Program Phase 2. GoZ (2001) Land Reform and Resettlement Program Revised Phase II, Ministry of Lands , Agriculture and rural Resettlement.

  9. In 1998, a donors’ conference was held in Harare. The government presented a draft policy entitled “LandReform and Resettlement Programme Phase II” (LRRP). 18 At the end of this conference some of the donors pledged to assist the Government of Zimbabwe in its quest to implement the land reform programme. But some of them, namely, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands governments, opted to link Zimbabwe’s land crisis to itsmacro-economic policies including its involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) war, the parliamentary pre and post electoral disturbances earlier that year and the ZANU-PF leadership.

    I understand that the US is the US but Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands ? That's interesting.

    I don't know about you guys, but personally, I tend to think that when Norway refuses to give you money because they think something's wrong, chances are: something is wrong.
    (i wouldn't say the same for USAID)


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