Wednesday, December 21, 2011

North Korea & Zimbabwe

Like the Democrats and Republicans here in the US, the major political parties in Zimbabwe, the MDC and ZanuPF, rarely agree. The perspective on the passing of Kim Jong-il is no exception; North Korea provided training in the 1980's to the Zimbabwean military, which contributed to the Gukurahundi conflict.

Nhlanla Dube, spokesman for the MDC, said it is sad when someone dies before making any reparation or public apology for crimes against humanity. While Zanu-PF activist Goodson Nguni said the North Koreans did not kill any Zimbabweans and that Kim Jong-il deserved a kindly thought.

To read more click here.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Historic "Hanging Tree" in Zimbabwe Falls

The 200 year old Msasa tree came down on the same day that President Robert Mugabe planted a tree to launch the country's national tree planting and reforestation campaign. Dubbed the "Hanging tree", icons of the first uprising against white settlers, including the ancestral grandmother of the nation Mbuya Nehanda, were said to have been hanged from the tree in 1898. Some believe this to be an omen that the tree represented "powerful forces" and this may signal the dawn of a new era. To read more click here.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Getting to Zero

Today, World AIDS Day, is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to remember those who have died of the disease and to celebrate accomplishments. Despite worldwide efforts, 33.3 million people are living with the disease today.
The goal of the 2011 "Getting to Zero" campaign is Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination,Zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015. To learn more click here.

In Zimbabwe, ASAP works to strengthen communities to support rural Home Base Care Centers where the needs of those suffering from HIV/AIDS and other diseases are cared for in a supportive environment. ASAP also provides training to community leaders to share disease prevention strategies with others in her village. Your support for this training, on World Aids Day, is a wonderful way to have a grassroots impact and commemorate World AIDS Day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

In the USA, on Thursday we stop to reflect and give thanks for all our blessings great and small. At ASAP we are grateful to you because you make our work possible. Thank you for your continued support! We wish you a safe and happy festive season.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Challenges to Educating Girls

"Poverty, abuse and cultural practices are preventing a third of Zimbabwean girls from attending primary school and 67 percent from attending secondary school, denying them a basic education, according to a recent study which found alarming dropout rates for girls." To read more click here.

To access Amnesty International's report "Left Behind, the Impact of Zimbabwe's Mass Forced Evictions on the Right to Education" click here.

ASAP provides school fees for selected girls to attend secondary school in the areas where we implement the Improving Math Education In Primary School project. Your donation will give a promising young girl hope for the future. Click here to donate now.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Zimbabwe has been ranked 109 out of 110 countries for prosperiy. It is truly a shame for a country with such potential. See the list by clicking here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

TWB Features ASAP Africa's Hema Soni

In their latest newsletter Teachers Without Borders have chosen the feature Hema Soni, one of the teachers currently working with ASAP Africa in Zimbabwe as part of our Improving Math Education in Primary School Project. To read more about Hema click here.As part of her personal belief system, Hema shares:"I believe that volunteering is essential to humanity, when we volunteer with love and compassion we strengthen our inner spiritual core and it brings out the best in us. We not only develop an understanding of our fellow human beings but of ourselves too. I believe that charitable organizations can and do more to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged people in our world than even governments."

To read more about the TWB's partnership with ASAP click here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Double Your Donation Impact

TODAY ONLY, your donation will be matched through Global Giving.
Please give generously!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making a difference?

There are two approaches to evaluating the impact of our social investments. “Metric-heads” believe that quantitative measures are the only conclusive method while “Story Huggers” know that figures and facts can never tell the whole story.
At ASAP we KNOW that ASAP’s Village Savings & Lending projects have improved the household security and helped over 35,000 families rise out of poverty in Zimbabwe. We have documented this using both methods. Tracking each savings club’s fund growth and increases in household assets doesn’t tell the whole story. Through “Most Significant Change” stories, we also look at those individuals whose lives were transformed in unexpected and often amazing ways.

To join a discussion about program evaluation click here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Zimbabwe Situation

With the upcoming presidential election next year, Zimbabwe is once again a country in crisis. For an extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE Click here.

ASAP has continued to assist families in Zimbabwe since 1994, through drought, economic collapse, cyclone and political turmoil. With your continued interest and support, we know that together we will continue to change lives by empowering women and improving education during the challenges ahead.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

I came across this article in my Google Alert this morning - a rare but not unprecedented move towards the indigenization of resources that reminds me of many of the issues I experienced while traveling in Mongolia.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Greetings contributors, readers, and all of those involved with ASAP Africa!

My name is Jimmy and I will be interning here for the next couple of years as part of my work for the Emory University MDP program, so I would like to take this opportunity to come out of the shadows and say hi.


Although I don't know much about Zimbabwe, I am very eager to learn and excited to be a part of all the wonderful work being done by ASAP. Look to the blog regularly for updates about our programs and events as well as news from the field.

Until next time, here is a link to an interesting story from about how two wheels changed a woman's life in Harare.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

ASAP Welcomes James Ramsey

Welcome to James Ramsey, who will be working with ASAP through the Master's in Development Practice (MDP) Program at Emory University. The MDP program combines hands-on learning and field experience with rigorous training in a broad range of academic disciplines with a goal of achieving sustainable development in the face of global poverty, political and ethnic conflict, a degrading natural resource base, and irreversible climate change. To read more about this program at Emory click here.

James Ramsey graduated from the University of Oklahoma where he studied International and Area studies with a concentration in East Asian Studies and Japanese language. After graduation, he first taught English in Akita, Japan through the JET program and then at the University of Oklahoma's CESL. James is currently an ESL teacher for Lutheran Services of Georgia, an organization offering resettlement services to refugees in the Atlanta area. He became interested in development during his time in Japan, where he did volunteer work for Room To Read - a non-profit that raises money to construct schools and provide scholarships for girls throughout Asia and the Indian subcontinent. While at Emory, James will be interning with ASAP Africa. His research interests include human rights, natural resource management, and education.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Heroes Day Celebration

Today, August 8th is Heroes Day in Zimbabwe. This holiday, similar to Veteran's Day here in the US, is the day celebrated to honor the heroes of the nation who have sacrificed their life or have done something great for the nation. To read more about the history of this holiday click here.

You can be an ASAP Hero! Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Grant Announcement for Education in Zimbabwe

ASAP is proud to announce a new three year grant from the Flora Family Foundation to support the Improving Math Education in Primary School (IMEPS) project in Zimbabwe. Sixty one schools are involved in this project to improve math skills in the eastern district of Manicaland. To read more about this project click here.

The conditions in Zimbabwean schools are particularly challenging today, as teachers salaries are very low and wage negotiations have not produced the desired results. Following the latest increases, teachers now earn US$320, up from US$160 per month. During the last decade of economic collapse, communities have been paying teachers incentives to keep them motivated. The recent move by the Ministry of Education to stop these incentives have also had a negative impact. To read more click here.

Recently the Minister of Education in Zimbabwe, David Coltart, has stated that the West is partly to blame for the economic decline in Zimbabwe over the past decade. To read more click here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teaching in Zimbabwe is a Struggle to Survive

There are 15,000 vacant teaching posts in Zimbabwe. Despite reports that thousands of Zimbabwean teachers, who had left the country at the height of the economic crisis are returning, this number appears to be increasing. To read more click here.
Poor salaries contribute to the problem and recent wage negotiations have not produced results. Teachers report that feeding a family on their currently salary of about $200/month is impossible. To read more, Click here.

It is under these conditions that ASAP Africa in Zimbabwe continues to work with dedicated, selfless teachers to improve the teaching and learning of math in Primary School. To learn more about this project click here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

ASAP + Teachers Without Borders

ASAP Africa in Zimbabwe is excited about a new partnership with Teachers Without Borders. TWB will be linking math teachers to ASAP's Improving Math in Primary School Project. If you are a math teacher, (or know of one) that would like to share skills and knowledge with teachers in rural Zimbabwe, click here to learn more about this volunteer opportunity.
To learn more about the IMEPS Project click here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Food vs. Fuel

A new $600,000,000 ethanol plant will bring much needed development to Manicaland province. To be located in Chisumbanje, South of ASAP's base in Mutare, the plan has many people questioning the non-monetary, human costs. To read more click here.
Where is Chisumbanje?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Celebration of Success

Last week ASAP Africa and Plan International celebrated the success of their three year Village Savings & Lending project partnership in Zimbabwe. At a field day near Mutare, 100s gathered to learn more about this phenomenally successful project that helps families gain self-reliance. Click here to learn more.

Friday, June 03, 2011

3rd Annual A Harvest of Hope

Attending this unique Home & Garden event will support ASAP and features one-of-a-kind found,re-purposed and artistic items,FREE sustainable-living workshops and more… If you are near Newport Beach CA this week-end, don't miss the opportunity to attend!
11 - 5
10 - 5
12 - 4
For more details click here.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

My Skills, My Money, My Brighter Future in Zimbabwe

ASAP Zimbabwe's Country Director in Zimbabwe is proud to share learning from ASAP's Out of School Adolescents Project partnership with Catholic Relief Services. At the invitation of CRS, Regai shared his team's success stories of empowering girls with organizations from around the world during the launch of the publication, "My Skills, My Money, My Brighter Future in Zimbabwe" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last week. Click here to read the report.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Partnership with Plan International

ASAP Africa is proud to announce a new three year partnership with Plan International that will see the expansion of ASAP's work with Village Savings and Lending (VS&L) nation-wide in Zimbabwe. Since 2001, when The McKnight Foundation funded ASAP's first VS&L project, ASAP has helped over 30,000 families improve their household income and increase their self-reliance through this rural micro-finance project. To learn more about VS&L click here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Food Security in Southern Africa Improving

Since 1985, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network project analyzes a variety of data, such as market prices of food, precipitation and crop failures to predict when and where food insecurity will occur, and issues alerts on predicted crises. FEWSN reports the overall food security situation in southern Africa for the 2009/10 marketing year was favorable, with a regional cereal surplus of 476 000 tonnes compared to a deficit of 1,78 million tones registered in 2008/09. To read more click here.

In Zimbabwe, about 1.7million people are estimated to be food insecure during the current peak lean season running from October through February. To read more about the situation in Zimbabwe click here.

In the southern regions of Malawi, where ASAP works, mid-season dry spells have caused crop failures. To read more about the situation in Malawi click here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Makes a Good School?

This depiction of What Makes a Good School was created in rural Zimbabwe. As part of the UNICEFSocial Awareness Campaign for Primary Schools project, ASAP Africa is proud to be included in a consortium of over 20 local organizations working together to answer this question.

Some of the aspirations of pupils for their dream schools were that:
•Schools should be such that it does not encourage pupils to abscond from lessons
•Schools should be a safe place with a good learning environment
•Pupils, parents and teachers should not be thieves. School should have a tight security system
•Schools should be smoke free environments
•Punishments should not be administered while other pupils are attending lessons
•Schools should provide leisure time.
•Schools should have projects that generate extra school funds
•Schools should accommodate visitors
•Should have parents who care for the education of their pupils.

Some of the aspirations of teachers for their ideal learning schools were that
•Schools should have accommodation which is electrified and has piped water
•Schools should be serviced by a good road network
•There should be a reliable public transport system servicing the school
•A resource center should be near the school
•School administrators should be sensitive to teacher requirements

Community members - School Development Committees , parents and village heads:
• Schools should be such that teachers are deployed early
• Schools should have well qualified teachers who stay at a school for reasonable periods of time
•Schools should have a variety of sports and adequate sports equipment
•Schools should have responsible teachers

Perception vary yet all agree with Francis Keppel:
"Education is too important to be left solely to educators."
To read more about ASAP's work with education click here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Prevention is Important

In Malawi and Zimbabwe, preventing the kind of uprisings the world is watching in Northern Africa appears to be on the minds of the leadership.
For a recent article about Zimbabwe click here.
For Malawi click here.

ASAP Africa has remained committed to empowering families to withstand all sorts of disasters, natural and man-made, since 1994. Your support is appreciated and is needed now more than ever.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Times They are a Changin'

Not long ago, Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of Africa. Recently, the United Nations found Zimbabweans to be among the world’s poorest people, often making mere survival an all-consuming task.
To read more, click here.

Mr. Mugabe, who turned 87 on Monday, and his Zanu PF party have ruled Zimbabwe single-handedly from 1980 until 2009, when regional leaders pressured him into forming a power-sharing government with his longtime political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. Today, as the world watches the tidal wave of change sweeping Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and now Libya, a Zanu PF official is quoted as warning “Don’t attempt this, it can’t be done here.” To read more click here.

ASAP Africa has remained committed to empowering families to withstand all sorts of disasters, natural and man-made, since 1994. Your support is appreciated and is needed now more than ever.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Malawi Neno District Holds 1st VS&L Graduation

by Victor Katchika-Jere
A sight that is becoming traditional to any person who knows about the activities of A Self-help Assistance Program (ASAP) Africa Malawi, yet a sight that one fails to get used to: men and especially women dancing and singing, or smiling broadly for the whole day in a community where there is little to smile let alone laugh about.
Business was brought to a standstill at Feremu area in traditional authority Mlauli in Neno district on Friday, February 11, 2011 as all roads led to Chimbamira primary school grounds where ninety-four VS&L members from ten groups shared among themselves MK 1,300,000 after nine months of disciplined savings mobilization.
“We were very skeptical when we first heard what ASAP Africa Malawi staff was touting as a very beneficial project,” Group Village Headman Feremu recounted his and his subjects’ first reaction to the introduction of the CCP in the area. “But now, we are fully convinced that no better project could have been introduced in my area! Who had the slightest idea that my subjects would be able to save such a whooping sum of money in less than a year?”
The District Commissioner for Neno District Council, Mr Lawford Palani was lost for words. “After everything is said and done I would like to assure ASAP Africa Malawi management that I am their number one fan!” he exclaimed amid applause from the guests and ululation from the women who graced the occasion. Among these were the traditional authority (T/A) Mlauli, Group Village Heads and Village Heads. He then appealed to ASAP Africa Malawi management to expand the CCP project to more areas within the district
Ten groups comprising seventy-eight women and sixteen men shared out MK1, 300, 000 after running their VSL activities since June 2010.
“It is always pleasing and encouraging to see women and men celebrating their achievement with such pomp and style as evidenced here,” the Country Director for ASAP Africa Malawi, Mr Victor Katchika-Jere, said. “This is a demonstration that given the much-needed skills communities can develop confidence that can lead to self-reliance.” He continued: “We appreciate the goodwill the DC and the TA have shown towards ASAP Africa Malawi by gracing this occasion, and also for permitting us to work in this area where there is no other NGO.”
ASAP Africa Malawi currently works in the areas of Group Village Headmen Feremu and Nsalawatha but is fast expanding to other areas of Neno District. The event featured in the main news bulletins on two radio stations with national coverage.

Friday, February 11, 2011

ASAP's Website to be "Hacked"

A team of four software development students, Charles Chen, Charles Naut, Derek Czajka and Sophia Westwood, from Stanford University will be making improvements on ASAP's website as part of the annual Stanford Hackathon this week-end. The talents of these students will help launch ASAP's new Light the Way campaign, making web site additions and improvements for 24 hours. To read more about the other Hackathon projects click here.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Food Insecurity On the Rise in Zimbabwe

The map above shows the prevalence of malnutrition in Zimbabwe in 2003. ASAP Africa works in the Eastern Nyanga and Chimanimani region, both areas on concern during the 2011 "lean season" between now and March. According to the FEWSNET - The Famine Early Warning System and Network - acute malnutrition may also be a problem. The fact that these historically very productive agriculture regions are now at-risk is a grave concern. To read more click here.

ASAP works to help families in Malawi and Zimbabwe increase household food security through Village Savings and Lending rural micro-finance activities along with agriculture skills training such as conservation farming techniques.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SIFE in Zimbabwe

Many in US are familiar with SIFE, Students in Free Enterprise but may not be aware of this groups tremendous global impact.Pictured here, in Mutasa District of Zimbabwe, ASAP Africa VS&L rural savings club members were oriented on financial intelligence by Africa University SIFE students. To learn more about VS&L click here.

Financial intelligence is a simplified accounting module that encourages rural entrepreneurs to keep records of their business transactions. Participants were able to identify and complete sales journal, purchases journal and cash book at the end of the orientation sessions.

The SIFE students have added value to ASAP's 5 year project partnership with CARE. The project’s goal is to protect and to improve the livelihood security of 11,000 households in most disadvantaged areas of Mutasa and Nyanga districts.

To learn more about SIFE click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Miracle Tree

This Acacia tree growing in a groundnut field has been shown to provide more than just shade for a farmer in rural Malawi. Referred to as the "fertilizer tree" and "miracle tree" some species of acacia actually improve soil quality. Click here to read more. Faidherbia albida or the apple-ring acacia, is one acacia that has been shown to boost crop yields. In Zambia preliminary research has found that unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of acacia trees averaged nearly three times those of crops grown nearby but beyond the trees' canopy.Click here to read more.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have a Dream

by Martin Luther King, Jr,

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books, NY 1968

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Zimbabwe Elections Delayed

President Robert Mugabe has angered hardliners in his fractious party by supporting recommendations by his deputy, Joice Mujuru, to shelve the controversial indigenization law and set aside plans to hold elections this year as the succession issue heats up in Zanu PF, The Zimbabwe Standard reported.

Mujuru, who is battling against Mnangangwa to succeed the 86-year-old leader, made the recommendations before the party's Mutare conference last month following consultations with the business community. "The notion was strengthened further when Mujuru attended the swearing in of the Brazilian woman President, Dilma Rousseff last week," said the source.

The sources said Zanu PF hardliners and the Mnangagwa faction pushed for an early election before and during the party's conference last December.

Just before the conference Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for the past three decades, had vowed that elections would be held before June this year with or without the new constitution.

Although the Mutare conference then resolved to hold elections this year without fail, Mugabe later heeded Mujuru's advice after coming under immense pressure from South African President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma in his capacity as the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) mediator in Zimbabwe is demanding extensive reforms to enable free and fair elections to be held in the country following the inconclusive 2008 polls.

Mugabe made the unusual about-turn after meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara soon after the conference, telling the nation that elections would be held after the crafting of the new supreme law.

"When Zanu PF went to the conference, they had two main objectives: Early elections and pushing the indigenization agenda. But talk of both slackened after Mugabe listened to Mujuru's advice. Hardliners are furious that he dumped all they had agreed on in Mutare in favor of Mujuru's recommendations," said one source.

Government has since frozen the controversial indigenisation law after admitting that it is discouraging the badly-needed foreign investment and political observers last week said it was highly unlikely that polls would be held this year, especially with reports emerging that the new constitution can only be finalized later in the year.

Monday, January 03, 2011

2011 - A Year that could Make or Break Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's President Mugabe, 86, and rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were forced into a coalition government two years ago after a disputed 2008 election which had exacerbated a severe economic crisis that had been ongoing since 2000. Neighboring South African President Zuma is helping to chart the course for the upcoming Parliamentary elections to be held in Zimbabwe during 2011. Some say it is highly likely these will be postponed. To read more click here.

Critics say rushed polls without political reforms, including a new constitution guaranteeing basic rights, would only favour Mugabe and ZANU-PF, who have held power since independence from Britain in 1980. Yet allegations of ‘doctoring’ the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in 2008 remain unresolved.To read more click here.