Monday, June 30, 2008

5 more years

On Sunday afternoon, President Robert Mugabe was inaugrated once again as President of Zimbabwe. He is the only President of Zimbabwe in my lifetime..

When I was born, Ronald Reagan was the US President. After him- George H.W Bush had one term, Clinton served two terms and George W Bush has also served 2 terms. All that time- Mugabe has been in power. And that is not even the start of Mugabe's reign- he had already been in power 8 years by the time I was born!! Hard to compare? I think so...

On Friday of last week, as Zimbabweans "went to the polls", inflation was reported to have reached 9 000 000%. I really dont know how to put this in comparison- maybe by comparing it to US inflation which is currently 4%. Nothing that we can compare it to will put it into perspective.

The USD is trading at around $1.99 to the pound at the start of this week. Compare this to the Zimbabwe figure of 85 Billion Zimbabwe dollars to one British Pound.. It is pretty accurate to say that the USD and pound will trade at around $2 this week- normally I just double any pound figure to get the USD figure. However, the Zimbabwe exchange rate will fluctuate greatly by the day- possibly by the hour.....

What is next for Zimbabwe????

Monday, June 23, 2008

Opposition to boycott June 27th elections

The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday pulled out of this week's presidential election in Zimbabwe, saying he is not prepared to ask people to die by voting for him, and accusing Robert Mugabe of "waging a war against the people". The Movement for Democratic Change leadership met and decided to withdraw from what it called a "violent, illegitimate sham of an election" amid the murders by the ruling Zanu PF militia and security forces of 100 opposition activists, the torture and rape of thousands of MDC supporters, and a state-orchestrated campaign of terror across swathes of the country.

In his statement, Tsvangirai said he had little choice but to withdraw: "The militia, war veterans and even Mugabe himself have made it clear that anyone that votes for me in the forthcoming election faces the very real possibility of being killed. We in the MDC cannot ask them to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote could cost them their lives. We believe a credible election, which reflects the will of the people, is impossible." Zimbabwe's justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said that if Tsvangirai writes to the electoral commission formally declaring he has pulled out, then the election will be called off and Mugabe declared president again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This upcoming Saturday, Liz Bara will be on the panel of a discussion on Microfinance: Empowering women worldwide. On the panel this weekend,

BryAnn Chen is the Executive Director of the Refugee Women's Network based here in Atlanta. Created in 1995, Refugee Women's Network, Inc. (RWN), is a national non profit organization created by women, for women, that focuses on enhancing refugee and immigrant women's strength, skills, and courage, through leadership training, education and advocacy to promote independence, self-sufficiency, and networking among its participants.

Elizabeth Bara is co-founder and Executive Director for ASAP Africa. Created in 1992, ASAP’s mission is to cultivate self reliance in Sub-Saharan Africa. Until 2001, ASAP’s program focused on improving education infrastructure in rural Zimbabwe and maintained a constantly growing orphan scholarship fund. This year over 29,000 women will participate in ASAP’s currently funded projects in rural Zimbabwe, which are completely managed and implemented by ASAP’s local Zimbabwean staff. ASAP is currently replicating their program into Malawi.

Genia Topple is the Executive Director of the Rockdale Foundation. The Rockdale Foundation is a private foundation, established in 1994 through the generosity and passion of philanthropist Bob Pattillo. In 2003, Genia joined the Foundation and served as the organization’s Program Officer for Microfinance for 4 years, developing their strategy for microfinance in the Arab region and building relationships with grantees.

Astrid Yolanda Pregel is the President of Feminomics Inc., a consulting company working at the intersections of gender, leadership, entrepreneurship and the economy. She also serves as an associate with the Institute of Leadership and Entrepreneurship at the School of Management at Georgia Tech. Astrid retired from Canada's Foreign Service in 2003, capping her 25 year career as Canada's first woman Consul General to the Southeastern USA. She also was the first woman appointed Minister Counselor at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., where she oversaw the entire scope of Canada's commercial interests with the U.S. -- the largest trading relationship in the world.

More deaths reported in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's opposition party says four more of its activists have been killed in a firebombing near the capital, Harare. Zimbabwe holds a presidential election runoff in just over a week. President Robert Mugabe has been accused of unleashing widespread violence to insure a victory at the polls over opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who won the first round. There's concern the runoff will be neither free nor fair. Thesecond round of voting is being held nationwide on June 27th

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Car theft

Zimbabwe's ruling party has been accused of car theft after an armoured BMW, confiscated by police last week from the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was spotted being driven by its officials. A spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, Nqobizitha Mlilo, said the BMW X5 was impounded by police on 6 June when Mr Tsvangirai was detained for several hours at Esigodini police station in south-western Zimbabwe. "We do not know who is inside the vehicle but a group of Zanu PF officials have been using it to drive between election points in the Beitbridge and Lupane areas," he said yesterday. The BMW, which has South African number plates, had been impounded for alleged registration irregularities. The vehicle, which is armoured, was delivered to Mr Tsvangirai only last week after reports of an assassination plot against him. The disputed election run-off between Mr Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe has been set for 27 June. But the MDC is facing increasing hurdles in its campaign, including election violence, bans on rallies and snap arrests of its leaders. Mr Mlilo said the ruling Zanu PF party was "a law unto itself. They're insane." The bizarre car development came on top of the curious case of the disappearing letter. The office of South Africa's President and regional mediator, Thabo Mbeki, has denied the existence of a message of complaint sent to him on 13 May by Mr Tsvangirai. The letter, which was leaked to the South African media 10 days ago, called on Mr Mbeki to step aside as mediator, claiming he has failed to be impartial. But Frank Chikane, director-general of Mr Mbeki's office, told a press conference that the letter did not exist. The MDC says it has "re-delivered" it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

From The Ugandan Observer

The Ugandan government is watching the political stalemate is Zimbabwe "with keen interest," a government official has revealed.

Addressing reporters and diplomats in Kampala, a top government official, Prof. Apolon C. Bambi said that "the interface between Comrade Robert Mugabe and Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai is so lugubrious that we have decided to interlocute dynamically, with atomistic diligence." He added that the Ugandan government would consider "intercalating its cerebral assets" into the Zimbabwean situation if it did not ."

As we went to press, oppressed, starved and beaten Zimbabweans were still waiting for results of a general election held last month. Meanwhile, Mugabe's "Kalangala Action Plan" operatives have been dishing out more beatings to opposition supporters, according to video evidence that surfaced this week.

Prof. C. Bambi dismissed criticism that the Ugandan government was not doing anything about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. Diplomats and journalists had complained that as Chairman of the Commonwealth, President Yoweri Museveni should be spearheading efforts to find a solution to the stalemate.

"Honestly, to propagate the propaganda that Uganda is asunder from the rupture politique in Zimbabwe is to pander to obscurantism. On the contrary, we are assiduously acclimatising to the situation with a view to propitiously and profusely interface," the professor explained.

The revelation that Uganda would "propitiously and profusely interface" came as a relief to concerned diplomats, journalists and political observers.

"I am happy that the Ugandan government is finally doing something. I didn't quite catch what exactly it is doing, but it sounded quite serious," a British diplomat, who studied English and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford, told The Analyst.

President Robert Mugabe welcomed the news of Uganda's possible "interfacing" as "an interesting proposal."

"With a facelift, the people of Zimbabwe would think they are getting a whole new president," he said. "Why didn't I think of that before?"

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rallies blocked, Opposition members in court

Zimbabwean opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, constrained in his campaigning options by police obstruction of rallies, staged a walkabout in the second city of Bulawayo on Monday as he did in Hwange and Victoria falls this weekend.

Officials in those two cities blocked rallies by the founder of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change by closing off access to the planned rally venues.

In Harare, meanwhile, rival MDC formation chief Arthur Mutambara was expected in court Tuesday for arraignment on charges arising from the publication in April by the Standard newspaper of an article he wrote blasting President Robert Mugabe.

Police arrested Mutambara on Sunday at his home in Marlborough, Harare. Sources said he was being held at the Matapi police station in Harare's Mbare section.

Also in custody on Monday was parliamentarian-elect Eric Matinenga of the Buhera West constituency in eastern Manicaland province, arrested Saturday for allegedly inciting violence. He was headed for Mutare magistrate’s courts today.