Category Archives: Zimababwe

As Zimbabwe’s Money Runs Out, So Does Mugabe’s Power

Ed Cropley reports for Reuters:

In Zimbabwe, where worthless $100 trillion notes serve as reminders of the perils of hyperinflation, President Robert Mugabe is printing a new currency that jeopardizes not just the economy but his own long grip on power.

Six months ago, the 92-year-old announced plans to address chronic cash shortages by supplementing the dwindling U.S. dollars in circulation over the past seven years with ‘bond notes’, a quasi-currency expected at the end of November.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the bond notes will be officially interchangeable 1:1 with the U.S. dollar and should ease the cash crunch. The central bank also promised to keep a tight lid on issuance.

After a 2008 multi-billion percent inflationary meltdown caused by rampant money-printing, many Zimbabweans are skeptical. The plan has already caused a run on the banks as Zimbabweans empty their accounts of hard currency.

Internal intelligence briefings seen by Reuters raise the possibility that the bond notes, if they crash, could spell the end of Mugabe’s 36 years in charge.

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Zimbabwe Opposition March Against Mugabe

AFP reports:

Zimbabwe’s main opposition staged a mass rally against President Robert Mugabe on Saturday , calling on the 92-year-old leader to step down over his failure to fix the economy.

Thousands of placard-waving Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters gathered in the second city of Bulawayo,chanting slogans and singing songs denouncing the veteran leader who has been in power since 1980.

“You are too old Mugabe- Step Down”. one banner read, while another was emblazoned with the words; “Mugabe can rig elections but cannot rig the economy”.

The MDC protest followed a similar march in the capital Harare last month, the largest against Mugabe in nearly a decade.

On Wednesday, Mugabe supporters held their own march in support of the veteran leader, drawing a huge crowd.

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Zimbabwe’s Trillion-Dollar Note: From Worthless Paper to Hot Investment

Dominic Frisby reports for The Guardian:

What’s been one of the best-performing investments of the past seven years? Shares in Facebook? London property? Bitcoin? Up there with the best, believe it or not, are Zimbabwean 100 trillion dollar notes.

A trillion, by the way, is a million million. There are 12 zeros in a trillion. Add another two to reach the total on the Zimbabwean 100 trillion dollar bill, the note with the most zeroes of any legal tender in all recorded history. The bills circulated for a few months in 2009 at the zenith – or, more precisely, the nadir – of one of the most terrible instances of hyperinflation in history, before Harare finally abandoned the Zimbabwean dollar in favour of the South African rand, the US dollar and several other foreign currencies.

At one stage a hundred trillion dollar note would not even cover a bus fare. You needed a bale of notes just to buy a few household essentials. However, it’s thought that only a few million of them were ever printed.

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Journalist jailed in Zimbabwe for starting newspaper without government permission

The Associated Press reports:

Newspaper readersThe attorney for a Zimbabwe journalist says his client was convicted of publishing a newspaper in a southern town without government permission and sentenced to eight months in prison.

Several newspapers and radio stations have already been closed under Zimbabwe’s harsh media laws and dozens of journalists have been arrested over the past 15 years.

Defense lawyer Martin Mureri said his client Patrick Chitongo was only putting together a dummy version of the paper to apply for a license. They plan to appeal the conviction.

Although several privately owned newspapers are in circulation, the government is the largest media owner, running over a dozen national and community newspapers as well as enjoying television monopoly.’

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Zimbabwe youth feel corruption’s sting

Marko Phiri reports for Reuters:

‘[…] A new Transparency International-Zimbabwe (TI-Z) survey released this month found that 65% of young people say they have been asked to pay a bribe for public services, ranging from issuance of driver’s licences to passports and national identity cards. The Vehicle Inspection Department was cited as the most frequent institution demanding bribes, followed by education and police.

And young people feel powerless. The TI-Z report found that 49 percent of the youths surveyed said they believe they “cannot make a difference in the fight against corruption,” because they lack political power.

“Everything is for sale here,” said Tinashe Marufu, a 26- year-old teacher. He has given up waiting in long queues for a passport and cannot afford the $150 bribe to expedite the process.

Disillusionment from corruption is concerning in a country where 77 percent of the population is under 35, the report said.

“To secure the future of youths there is need to safeguard the culture of accountability, integrity and good governance,” the report, led by TI-Z researcher Farai Mutuondoro, said.’

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Why Zimbabwe Is Killing Its Currency

EU renews sanctions on Zimbabwe, Mugabe

Reuters reports:

‘[…] Since imposing sanctions in 2002 over electoral fraud and human rights abuses, the EU has eased measures to encourage political reform in Zimbabwe, although it has kept its ban on Mugabe and his wife Grace, as well as an arms embargo.

This week it gave Zimbabwe 234 million euros (173.62 million pounds) in aid, its first since sanctions were imposed. And earlier this month, EU officials said that the 90-year-old president might be allowed in on an exceptional basis during his year-long chairmanship of the African Union, if traveling on AU business.

The Official Journal, however, made clear EU governments are not yet convinced that Mugabe had changed enough to merit a final lifting of restrictions.’

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Will ‘DisGrace’ Mugabe become Zimbabwe’s first female president?

David Smith reports for The Guardian:

Robert and Grace Mugabe

‘[…] After 34 years of Robert Mugabe’s iron rule, the battle for succession is on, pitting comrade against comrade, faction against faction. It is an endgame played out in an atmosphere seething with conspiracy, treachery, paranoia, recrimination, backstabbing and wild allegations of a plot to assassinate the president. The party that has dominated Zimbabwe since independence is in disarray.

Many here are horrified by the prospect of a continuation of the Mugabe dynasty, especially in the form of Grace. Some have never forgiven her or Robert Mugabe for the extramarital affair conducted when the popular Sally was alive (Grace was also married at the time). For years she has been dubbed DisGrace, Gucci Grace and First Shopper because of her penchant for extravagant spending sprees – she allegedly blew $120,000 on one trip to Paris – even as the economy tanked, with an estimated four in five people living below the poverty line.’

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I’ll be your president until I die, Mugabe tells Zimbabweans

Jan Raath reports for The Times:

Robert Mugabe‘President Mugabe has announced that he intends to be Zimbabwe’s leader until he dies as his supporters carry out a brutal purge of opponents suspected of trying to unseat him.

“I am never going to retire,” Mr Mugabe, 90, who has led his country since independence 34 years ago, said at a meeting at his home in Harare last week. “I will go when death takes me.”

He told a meeting of service chiefs and military veterans that he would “continue as president as long as God wished him to remain there”, pro-government Herald newspaper reported.’

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Zimbabwe’s Mugabe tightens grip on party, to choose successor

MacDonald Dzirutwe reports for Reuters:

‘Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has changed the constitution of his ruling ZANU-PF party to allow him to directly appoint his deputies, giving the 90-year-old sole power to anoint his successor, party sources said on Sunday.

Until now Mugabe and his two ZANU-PF deputies have been elected by members from the country’s 10 regions. The deputies automatically took up the same posts in government.

The changes to the ZANU-PF charter enacted at an all-night meeting of its politburo give Mugabe an even tighter grip at a time when deputy president Joice Mujuru has been accused of plotting to oust him at a party congress next month.’

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Grace Mugabe poised for political power in Zimbabwe?

David Smith reports for The Guardian:

Grace Mugabe at a Zanu-PF meeting‘Even as he received red carpet treatment in Beijing last month, lauded by China as an “old friend” and “renowned leader”, Robert Mugabe was in danger of being upstaged by a colourful, charismatic presence at his side. His first lady, Grace Mugabe, sporting a series of vivid outfits during the official visit to China, was once a lowly member of the presidential typing pool. Then she caught Mugabe’s eye. Now the woman better known to headline writers as “DisGrace” or “First Shopper” is making a surprise entrance on to the political stage and, it is speculated, might be central to her autocratic husband’s plan to build a dynasty.’

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Hedge funds gave Robert Mugabe $100 million for genocide, got platinum mines in return

Cory Doctorow reports for Boing Boing:

‘Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe unleashed a storm of brutal, genocidal violence after losing the 2008 elections — and now we know that it was funded by western hedge-funds and banks, led by Och-Ziff Capital Management, the largest publicly traded fund, with assistance from Blackrock, GLG Partners, and Credit Suisse, who raised $100M for Mugabe’s weapons and torture-chambers in exchange for a sweetheart deal on the country’s platinum mines.

Daniel Och’s Och-Ziff manages $45.7B, including funds from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Och’s protege, Michael Cohen, led the charge to fund Mugabe’s pogrom; while an Israeli diamond trader called Dan Gertler helped broker a joint deal with OCH to invest in mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, another nation whose state is complicit in horrific terror-campaigns that include child soldiery and rape camps.’

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Zimbabwe arrests editor state-run Sunday Mail over articles he had written

From BBC News:

Someone holding up a copy of Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail paper from 2008‘Police in Zimbabwe have arrested the editor of a state-owned newspaper who was appointed two months ago. Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi was detained after computers were seized from his office on Thursday. A police spokeswoman told the state-owned Herald paper that he was being held over articles he had written. Earlier this month President Robert Mugabe accused his information minister of using state-owned media to sow divisions in the ruling Zanu-PF party. Correspondents say there is tension in the party over who should succeed 90-year-old Mr Mugabe, who was re-elected president last year.’

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Zimbabwe broke but Mugabe parties on

Mxosili Ncube writes for the Christian Science Monitor:

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe,left, and his wife Grace arrive for celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera, east of  Harare, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. In July, Mugabe who has ruled the nation for 33 years since 1980, won disputed elections for another five-year term that will take him...Zimbabwe is $11 billion in loan arrears, it just lost a hoped-for bailout from China, and the southern-tier African nation is now grappling with the fallout of floods and the breach of a dam weeks ago that left 60,000 people marooned. Since it no longer qualifies for World Bank and IMF loans, the Mugabe regime is pleading around the world for $20 million in emergency funds to cover the disaster.

Yet it also now unfolds that President Mugabe used $16 million in taxpayer funds in recent weeks to cover his birthday party, his daughter’s wedding, and for giant statues of himself to be built by North Korea that commemorate his uninterrupted rule since 1980, and his status as father of the nation.  The Mugabe spending list, which dribbled out in recent days — has shocked many, since public spending on the president’s family is larger than the immediate cost to rescue and aid the flood victims, not to mention a widening number of homeless and hungry in a country that used to be a breadbasket.

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Robert Mugabe’s lavish 90th birthday plans decried as Zimbabwe struggles

Robert MugabeFrom The Guardian:

Plans for a lavish $1m (£600,000) celebration of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe‘s 90th birthday have been condemned as the country lurches towards another financial crisis.

The tribute to Africa‘s oldest head of state – and second oldest in the world after Israel’s Shimon Peres – is expected to surpass last year’s party, when special gold coins were minted and Mugabe was presented with a cake said to weigh 89kg.

But the costly event will come amid heavy job losses, slowing economic growth and what the central bank describes as a “severe and persistent liquidity crunch”, reviving memories of the disastrous meltdown five years ago.

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Tony Blair plotted military intervention in Zimbabwe, claims Thabo Mbeki

Tony Blair and Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria in 2007From The Guardian:

Tony Blair and former South African president Thabo Mbeki clashed on Wednesday over claims that Britain had been prepared to use military force to overthrow Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Mbeki alleged that the former British prime minister pressured him to join a “regime change scheme” as Zimbabwe plunged into a political and economic crisis in the early 2000s. But the claim was strongly denied by Blair’s office.

Both the UK as its former colonial power, and South Africa, its most powerful neighbour, have long played an intimate role in Zimbabwean affairs. But their leaders were divided on how to act when it descended into chaos following the violent seizures of white-owned farms. Blair, who had made a triumphant military intervention in Sierra Leone, was determined that Mugabe should step down whereas Mbeki was ready to accommodate him.

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Hand Over Businesses or Face Jail, Mugabe Tells Foreigners in Zimbabwe

President Mugabe From The IB Times:

Foreign business owners in Zimbabwe have until 1 January 2014 to hand control of their companies to black Zimbabweans or face jail.

Instituting the “indigenisation and employment” law was one of Mugabe’s central pledges ahead of his re-election in August, amid claims of electoral fraud from the opposition.

The law bans foreigners from controlling businesses across swathes of the economy, with retail and wholesale firms, hairdressers, beauty salons, bakers, employment agencies, agriculture, transport, estate agencies and advertising agencies all affected.

White- and foreign-controlled companies in all of these sectors must hand a controlling 51% share to black Zimbabweans.

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Graffiti Becomes Powerful Social, Political Tool in Zimbabwe

Graffiti has become part of life in Zimbabwe (Photo/Arthur Chigoriwa)From Voice of America:

Graffiti is generally used in many countries by artists and political activists to express underlying social and political messages and is a form of artistic expression based upon spray paint styles.

Chinhoyi University of Technology Art lecturer Julius Nyamubaya says the emergence of graffiti of late is a clear testimony of lack of freedom of expression in the country and a deficiency of confidence in people’s protection after expressing oneself.

Nyamubaya says graffiti, which is common in Europe, is un-African but is fast catching up in the southern African region with artists in Mozambique using the form of art to deal with post-civil war consequences. Some use images on walls, written words and spray paintings and other tools.

Nyamubaya says graffiti known as “protest art” is quick art that can be done by anyone and is nobody’s art that is synonymous with the oppressed.

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‘Shame, shame, shame’ Mugabe tells U.S. and Britain

(Blank Headline Received)From Reuters:

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Thursday berated the United States and former colonial power Britain and its allies for trying to control his nation and its resources, telling them to remove their “illegal and filthy sanctions.”

“Shame, shame, shame to the United States of America. Shame, shame, shame to Britain and its allies,” Mugabe, 89, said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, so are its resources. Please remove your illegal and filthy sanctions from my peaceful country.”

Mugabe said the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States violated the U.N. Charter on state sovereignty and condemned them as a “foreign-policy tool to effect regime change”.

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Did Robert Mugabe Steal an Election in Zimbabwe or Not?

From Pacific Standard:

[…] Among the AU’s findings was the curious fact that Zimbabwe’s election commission had printed a third more ballots than were necessary to hold a vote of its citizenry. That’s significantly more spare ballots than is usually necessary. According to a report today by AllAfrica’s John Allen, 8.7 million ballots were printed, or 35 percent more than were necessary for the expected number of voters. The usual number of extra ballots, to account for loss or destruction, is five-10 percent, according to the AllAfrica report. Why all the extra voting slips?

Botswana’s concerns are likely to be a talking point at the SADC’s next meeting, per the AllAfrica analysis. So this story isn’t over. But it’s notable that the election observers have so far stated nothing about the financing of the elections, and Global Witness, with its diamond theory, hasn’t advanced the story either. Days on from the election, the question arises: So what if Global Witness, or the SADC, or the AU, turn out to be right? What, in a practical sense, happens then?

OTHER NEWS:

 

 

Anonymous Whistleblower Is Driving Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Insane ~ Business Insider

SEE ALSO: Zimbabwe’s Mugabe lashes out at ‘insane’ Washington (Reuters)

Robert Mugabe ZimbabweBusiness Insider

On July 31st, Zimbabwe is due to hold its first presidential election in six years. It will be the first since the chaotic 2008 election and the first under the country’s new constitution. In theory, voters should have a chance to remove their 89-year-old leader, Robert Mugabe, who was once a respected anti-colonial guerrilla who has devolved into a despot during his 33 years at the top of Zimbabwean politics.

In practice, it’s not that simple. Many expect Mugabe to delay, cancel, or rig the vote. Even if Mugabe loses, many fear violence.

Amid this uncertainty, something strange has happened. For the last few months, someone calling themselves “Baba Jukwa” has been posting damaging leaks from Mugabe’s Zanu PF party on a Facebook page. No one knows who Baba Jukwa is (the name means “father of Jukwa”). They claim to be a high-ranking yet disillusioned figure in Zanu-PF, but there is little in the way of proof — some have doubts he or she is even in the country.

Regardless of who they are, Baba Jukwa certainly seems to know a lot. Every day the account publishes tales of official corruption and brutality, often leaving the phone numbers of politicians so that readers can call them to complain. Perhaps the most famous post so far warned of an assassination plot against Edward Chindori-Chininga, a Zanu-PF politician who released a report on theft from diamond fields. Chindori-Chininga later died in a car crash. His family insists he was murdered.

The public has taken notice too. At the time of writing, the Baba Jukwa Facebook page has over 256,000 likes — a big number in a country where only 4.5 million people are connected to the Internet — and the page has seen international attention from the BBC and the Economist. The Mugabe faithful and Zanu-PF elite are reportedly enraged — a pro-Mugabe page called “Amai Jukwa” has been set up, and Mugabe himself has reportedly offered a $300,000 reward to anyone who can reveal Baba Jukwa’s identity.

While it’s tempting to take Baba Jukwa at face value, that we know so little about them is concerning. It’s unclear, for example, if Baba Jukwa is connected to the rival Zimbabwean party, Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change. More controversially, Baba Jukwa said last month that they knew where Minister of Youth Development Saviour Kasukuwere’s children went to school and said Kasukuwere should not be surprised if one “disappears.”

According to a screenshot of the message featured at Vice (the message itself appears to have been deleted), Baba Jukwa had accused Kasukuwere of involvement in the death of Chininga, and apparently felt now was the time for violence. “It’s now fire with fire,” Baba Jukwa wrote, “blood with blood.”

Business Insider reached out to Baba Jukwa to try and find out more.

FULL ARTICLE @ BUSINESS INSIDER