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: Truckload of Newspapers Burned

The press is not free in Zimbabwe, and the state-controlled news organs are little more than cheerleading mouthpieces for the Mugabe regime. Independent weekly The Zimbabwean recently started a Sunday edition that’s become the country’s most-read Sunday paper. How? It’s printed in South Africa and distributed by truck; except that this Sunday’s edition won’t be arriving. The truck was hijacked and burned, and the two drivers badly beaten.

This is Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Assault on media freedom in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean was established in February 2005 to stand against Mugabe’s media blackout. It exploits a loophole in Zimbabwe’s draconian anti-press legislation by being published and printed in South Africa and trucked into the country.

Despite frequently being harrassed and denounced, until this weekend every issue had made it safely to Harare, from where it was distributed throughout the country and devoured by a population starved of accurate information and fed a daily diet of the coarsest government propaganda.

Anglicans in Zimbabwe: Oppression from Z to A

Riot Police and CIO stop Church services
HARARE – Baton-wielding riot police on Sunday burst into a number of Anglican church services across the capital Harare, disrupting mass at churches aligned with the Right Reverend Bishop Sebastian Bakare.
Bakare was appointed substantive bishop of the Harare diocese in December following the ouster of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, Mugabe’s prominent pet bishop.

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: Police Beat Up, Evict Anglicans In Church

allAfrica.com: Zimbabwe: Police Beat Up And Evict Anglican Parishioners Page 1 of 1
State sponsored violence against members of the Anglican Church reached new levels over the weekend as police in different parts of Harare gatecrashed church services and beat up parishioners loyal to new bishop Sebastian Bakare.

At the St Francis parish in Waterfalls riot police interrupted the service during holy communion and told parishioners to leave. Witnesses said the parishioners assumed it was the usual police over-zealousness and some of them remained seated. The police then began beating up people, including women, in the church.

Bishop Bakare, who replaced former bishop-deposed Nolbert Kunonga, goes on to note that Kunonga has accused Bakare of being an MDC supporter, has accepted financial support from Britain (ie., the Devil), and so on.

I’ve quoted the entire article as AllAfrica.com tends to scroll stories off into the archives (or remove them) pretty quickly.  The Zim stories seem to be escalating – more news is getting out, at least, so it’s hard to tell if the atrocities are getting worse, or it’s just that they’re getting reported.

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Zimbabwe: Archbishop Tutu on the Arms Trade

Archbishop Desmond Tutu comments on the “Ship of Shame” that was carrying Chinese arms for Zimbabwe. It seems to be headed back to China after offloading “construction materials” in Luanda, but it might be headed for Congo-Brazzaville. Others speculate that a ship-to-ship transfer is still possible. So far the biggest loser is China, whose reputation in Africa for doing business without bothering about human rights is now becoming a liability.

Govern global arms trade | The Australian

IN the present scandal of the attempt to ship tonnes of arms and ammunition to Zimbabwe, it is the Chinese who have spoken the most sense. Chinas foreign ministry said the countrys shipment of mortar shells, rockets and bullets was perfectly normal trade.

It certainly is. Shipping arms to African governments who could use them to abuse their own people is an abhorrent but almost daily occurrence. And at present there is nothing the international community can do about it because there are no effective global controls on the arms trade.

If you want to export weapons to a country that commits gross abuses of human rights, then you can. If you want to sell expensive kit to governments struggling to feed or educate their people, its really no problem. You might have to use a few tricks to get around the flimsy patchwork of controls that presently exist but its easy and its done all the time.

The case of the An Yue Jiang and its cargo is different because it happened at a politically fraught time, for both Zimbabwe and China, and because the whole world has heard about it.

Archbishop Tutu calls for the UN to do something constructive about international arms trade. I hope they get off their collective asses, too.

Zimbabwe: Presiding Bishop Speaks Out

The crisis goes on in Zimbabwe, and voices continue to speak out. This time, it’s the Presiding Bishop’s voice.

epiScope: Presiding Bishop speaks out on the crisis in Zimbabwe
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Together with millions of people around the world, my heart has been drawn in recent months to the political and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe. The tragedy of that nation’s descent into internal chaos is magnified by the high sense of purpose and prosperity that a newly independent Zimbabwe brought to Africa and the world nearly three decades ago. Sadly, Robert Mugabe’s government has undermined that promise beyond recognition with its systematic repression of human rights, democracy, and economic opportunity for the people of Zimbabwe. The turmoil in the wake of Zimbabwe’s recent elections signals an urgent need for governments and other leaders in the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, and call for an end to this long hour of human suffering and the beginning of a new era of promise and opportunity.

Opposition reunites in Zimbabwe

This is in advance of the official announcement of the election results (which I assume is in the MDC’s favor). Ironically, it took place at a swiftly called press conference at South Africa’s main airport, as President-elect Tsvangirai has been in Botswana waiting for results.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Opposition reunites in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwes divided opposition says it has reunited, declaring a majority in the countrys parliament.
The announcement was made by Movement for Democratic Change MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his former rival Arthur Mutambara.