Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s Obscene Refusal of Food Aid

Zimbabwe dicator-for-an-indeteriminate-period-of-time Robert Mugabe is in Rome at an international food conference; his presence there has been called “obscene” by the UK and Austrailian delegations, because his “land reform” (ie., crony land-bribes) policies are putting his people in danger of mass starvation. Also, his thugs are in the habit of burning food supplies in areas thought to support the opposition MDC. He has also refused food aid in the past, because he wants total control over food supplies to “opposition” areas.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Zimbabwe blocks political aid

“Zimbabwe’s government has banned at least one international aid group from operating in the country for allegedly campaigning for the opposition.
All operations of Care International are now suspended, pending an inquiry into the claims.
Care denies that it “has encouraged or tolerated any political activity”.

Zimbabwe: Orders From Above Excuse For Oppression

Police continue to persecute Anglican Church

Bishop Sebastian Bakare protests the recent actions by Zimbabwean police, who have taken to harassing Anglicans during church services, acting on “orders from above.” Deposed former bishop Nolbert Kunonga is still getting Mugabe’s support, and anyone that isn’t vocally pro-Mugabe is treated as a traitorous enemy. Even ladies praying in church during Communion are hauled up from their knees and beaten…

Zimbabwe: “For Heaven’s Sake Don’t Prop Him Up”

Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu, collarless, in front of Yorkminster.
BBC NEWS | UK | Archbishop leads Zimbabwe protest
The Archbishop of York has urged members of Zimbabwe’s security forces not to prop up Robert Mugabe’s regime. Dr John Sentamu, one of the most senior members of the Anglican church, is leading a day of fasting and prayer in support of the people of Zimbabwe. He urged the army and police not to “terrorise the ordinary citizens”. In December, Dr Sentamu cut up his clerical collar on television and said he would not replace it until President Mugabe was out of office.

There has been a month of deadlock in Zimbabwe following disputed elections. Dr Sentamu called on the public to join him in prayer for the country. He said: “My plea, really to the army and to the police, is very simple. “Your job is not to prop up a government that actually lacks legitimacy, but to protect every citizen of Zimbabwe. “And if Mugabe has lost the election, for heaven’s sake don’t prop him up.”

“As a Christian community we must all stand together with our brothers and sisters living under the tyranny of Mugabe and pray that they will find deliverance.” On Thursday, Dr Sentamu released a joint statement with the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for international action to prevent “horrific” violence in Zimbabwe. And, speaking on Sunday, he told the BBC: “I’ve visited it a number of times and it was the bread basket of that region. “It’s now a basket case and the problems of Zimbabwe actually affect a lot of us – it’s not just them.” He said that on other international issues, such as global warming and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, there had been “a coalition of nations” prepared to speak out. “But, for Zimbabwe, it seems as if it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “And I actually think that the international community and all of us must be concerned about a country which once was a real showcase in Africa and now really is terrible.” In Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has failed to regain its parliamentary majority after a partial recount of votes from polls last month. The opposition MDC says it also won presidential polls, although those results remain unreleased. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said the presidential results could be announced after the completion of the recounts, expected by Monday. The head of the Anglican church in southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, told the BBC he wanted a weapons embargo to be imposed against Zimbabwe. “I would say Zimbabwe needs food, peace and security and not the arms. I would support such an embargo,” Mr Makgoba said.

Zimbabwe: Anglican Leaders Call for Action

BBC NEWS | Africa | Church calls for Zimbabwe action
The leaders of the Anglican church have called for international action to prevent violence in Zimbabwe reaching “horrific levels”.

In a joint statement the Archbishops of Canterbury and York also called for an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

Yet more pressure brought to bear

Please Don’t Send Lawyers, Guns and Money

Rift Over Zimbabwe Unity Plan – New York Times

But on Wednesday, The Herald, the state-run newspaper often used as a mouthpiece for Mr. Mugabe and the ruling party, described the country’s political dynamics as “so distorted that holding a free and fair election runoff in the immediate term is literally impossible.”

Swiftly disavowing that position, Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told the BBC on Wednesday that the editorial had not been sanctioned by the government, and that the ruling party, ZANU-PF, was still gearing up for a runoff.

Hey, here’s a handy definition of electioneering, ZANU-PF style:

 Gearing up for a runoff: waiting for the arms shipment to evade the ever-widening sanctions.

The ruling ZANU-PF better lawyer up as well, as the MDC’s own election lawyers are a pretty tough bunch (as they’d have to be). And Zim needs someone to pony up the funds as well, as their finances are on the “print more money” model of economics. They probably don’t have the forex (foreign exchange) to pay for this, either.

It’s actually somewhat heartening to note that there might be fractures appearing within party ranks; a monolithic dictatorship is only strong as long as it’s in one piece.

Chinese soldiers and arms in Zimbabwe?

Sokwanele reports a new and disturbing development in the “little” Zimbabwe story: it seems a group of about 10 Chinese soldiers and/or officers, armed with revolvers, checked into the Holiday Inn in Mutare, and are going about with Zimbabwean police for some reason. Meanwhile, a Chinese ship called the An Yue Jiang just cleared customs in Durban with a few containers said to contain arms consigned to the Zimbabwean army. The timing is pretty disturbing; if it’s a long-planned training exercise, with some new toys for Mugabe’s bully boys, it couldn’t come at a more dangerous time. Also, there are reports elsewhere on various Zim blogs and South African news sites that troops armed with water cannon and so forth are driving around in the suburbs and streets of Harare. The general strike the other day didn’t really come off as most people didn’t hear about it until they were already out and about for the day.

From several posts and comments at This is Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Chinese soldiers seen in Mutare

A quick search this morning pulled this article up, published on zimbabwejournalists.com, which corroberates the truth of what he saw:

“Residents are going about their normal business despite a call by the opposition to stay at home. Businesses were operating as usual but there was a heavy police presence in the city centre and in all the high density suburbs,” he said.

The police are armed with AK rifles, teargas canisters and baton sticks. Water cannons were being driven throughout the suburbs. There were no incidents of violence as of mid-morning. However, says Baxter, there was a surprise presence of Chinese soldiers armed with revolvers in the city.

The Chinese, together with about 70 Zimbabwean senior army officers are staying at the Holiday Inn, in the city’s central business district.

There are about 10 Chinese soldiers. “We were shocked to see Chinese soldiers in their full military regalia and armed with pistols checking at the hotel,” said one worker.

“When they signed checking-in forms they did not indicate the nature of the business that they are doing and even their addresses.”

Still on the topic of China meddling in our affairs, we also received this information from another source who said that a ship had docked in Durban, South Africa on the 15 April: “container ship An Yue JIANG, Voyage 143, Vessel Agent COSREN”. Our emailer told us that he had been advised that the ship had a small number of containers – three, he was told – “which contained weaponry (small arms/RPG7 projectiles/mortars) destined for the Zimbabwe army”.

Apparently this news has already been reported on Radio 702 in South Africa, who said there were six containers of weaponry. I haven’t been able to find a link to that but in the process of looking did find this. I haven’t set up the required account to view details though. I think this is a picture of the ship, location unknown.

The An Yue Jiang

The bloggers at Sokwanele go on to caution calm and notes that there are Zimbabweans of Chinese descent who may suffer by association, if this story leads to a Chinese intervention of some sort. It’s my hope that the Chinese troops may be there for some sort protection of Chinese interests, but it feels a little too clandestine and under the radar for that. Especially with all that’s been going on with the Olympic torch relay and Darfur. The Chinese, as someone said recently, don’t respond well to criticism. But this is a very worrisome development.