Weekly anb06218.txt #8

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 21-06-2001      PART #8/8

* Uganda. Freer market gives coffee farmers more cash - The liberalisation of the coffee industry in Uganda improved the farmer's share of the export price from below 20% in early 1990 to about 70% today, Uganda's Prime Minister Prof. Apollo Nsibambi has said. Nsibambi said this in a speech read for him by the former Chief Justice of Uganda Samuel Wako Wambuzi at the opening of the regional conference on coffee and other tree crops at the Sheraton Hotel, June 17. The one-week regional conference, organised by the Eastern African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) has drawn participants from Eastern, Central and Horn of Africa states, as well as global coffee organisations. "While the farmers would have had cause to celebrate however, the prices in the terminal markets have moved negatively against them," Nsibambi said. He however said the situation was not so desperate for the farmers to lose hope. "The answer lies in your coming together and exchanging views and agreeing on a common strategy that you will adopt and follow in order to improve the well being of the producer," he said. Nsibambi hailed EAFCA for their vision of enhancing quality and competitiveness of regional coffees in global markets. (New Vision, Uganda, 19 June 2001)

* Zambia. Tribunal begins probe of ministers - An independent tribunal on 18 June began probing allegations of corruption and abuse of office against three senior Zambian ministers who are close aides to President Frederick Chiluba. The tribunal is investigating the ministers for allegedly diverting more than $700,000 meant for road repairs to financing the April elections of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). Finance Minister Katele Kalumba, Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwa, and Works and Supplies Minister Godden Mandandi have publicly denied any wrongdoing. The three ministers are among Chiluba's most trusted aides and are also members of MMD's powerful policy-making national executive committee. The tribunal, chaired by deputy chief justice David Lewanikawhich, will examine whether the ministers' conduct breached parliamentary ethics. If the tribunal finds them guilty, they could lose their parliamentary seats and cabinet jobs. The scandal emerged after a divisive congress of the MMD voted in April to allow Chiluba to seek office for an unconstitutional third term. Each term lasts for five years. Under intense pressure and a cabinet revolt, Chiluba chose to step aside. Western countries that provide millions of dollars in foreign aid to the poor southern African country are watching the hearings closely. (CNN, USA, 18 June 2001)

* Zambia. "I was a stranger and you welcomed me" - Zambia's Catholic Bishops have issued a Pastoral Letter on the Situation of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Zambia, on the occasion of World Refugee Day (20 June). It is also by way of preparation for the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia, scheduled to be held in Durban, South Africa, later this year. In the Letter, the Bishops state that it is the human and religious duty of every Zambian to welcome refugees and to offer them the opportunity of taking part in their social setting. The Bishops insist that while the refugees arrive in Zambia destitute and looking for protection, at the same time they come with all their potential to contribute to humanity. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 20 June 2001)

* Zambie. Appels des évêques pour les réfugiés - A l'occasion de la journée mondiale des réfugiés (20 juin) et en vue de la Conférence mondiale contre le racisme, la discrimination raciale et la xénophobie, les évêques zambiens ont publié une lettre pastorale ("J'étais étranger, et vous m'avez accueilli") à lire dimanche 24 juin dans toutes les églises du pays. Devant des accusations systématiques de plus en plus nombreuses contre des réfugiés qui cherchent asile, les évêques mettent en garde la société zambienne contre un accroissement de la xénophobie. La Zambie a toujours gardé une tradition d'accueil pour les réfugiés venus d'autres pays (Zimbabwe, Namibie, Afrique du Sud, Mozambique, Angola, Grands Lacs...). Mais, selon les évêques, cette tradition semble mise en danger par la loi zambienne qui ne garanti pas aux réfugiés la liberté de mouvement, le droit à l'emploi ou à posséder des biens, et la nationalité à leurs enfants nés en Zambie. Les évêques demandent aux autorités d'accorder tous leurs droits aux réfugiés obligés de rester en Zambie pour de longues périodes et de les protéger de tout abus ou geste arbitraire. A la population, ils demandent de leur donner la possibilité de participer à toute la vie sociale, afin qu'ils puissent s'intégrer dans le pays et refaire leur vie dans la sécurité. Après avoir invité les fidèles et leurs pasteurs à ouvrir leurs communautés et leurs services sociaux à tous ces réfugiés, quelles que soient leur origine ou leur religion, les évêques parlent de la nécessité de réfléchir sur ce qui a amené les réfugiés dans le pays et sur la manière dont ils sont traités. Forcés par la guerre et la persécution à quitter leurs maisons et leurs familles, ils arrivent souvent dépourvus de tout, mais, riches de leurs traditions et de leur culture, ils apportent un potentiel humain qui peut contribuer à faire avancer le développement et à enrichir la société. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 20 juin 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Restrictions pour la presse internationale - Dans une lettre adressée au ministre zimbabwéen de la Communication, Jonathan Moyo, Reporters sans frontières a protesté contre les nouvelles restrictions imposées aux journalistes étrangers. RSF a demandé au ministre d'annuler ces mesures et de laisser les correspondants étrangers travailler en toute liberté sur le territoire zimbabwéen. Le 13 juin, le gouvernement a annoncé que les journalistes étrangers devront dorénavant demander leur accréditation auprès du Département de l'information au moins un mois avant leur entrée dans le pays. Les formalités de voyages ne pourront être engagées qu'après l'accord exprès du Département. Les correspondants étrangers déjà présents au Zimbabwe se sont vus intimer l'ordre de quitter le territoire afin d'effectuer leur demande d'accréditation depuis leur pays d'origine. (RSF, Paris, 15 juin 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Foreign reporters restricted - Zimbabwe has announced stricter conditions on foreign reporters requiring them to apply for official press accreditation at least a month before an intended visit. State media announced that applications now have to be submitted to the Information Ministry in Harare or through Zimbabwe's diplomatic missions abroad. And journalists have been warned not to make travel plans until approval is given. The government has been waging a campaign against the independent media in Zimbabwe, with one eye on presidential elections scheduled for 2002. The BBC's Joseph Winter and another foreign reporter had to leave in February after officials accusing them of biased reporting against the government. Earlier this year, the printing presses of the Daily News, the country's leading independent newspaper, were blown up. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo accuses opposition groups, independent and foreign journalists of working together to fuel violence. The government's new conditions came a day after it announced the price of fuel was increasing by 70%. (BBC News, UK, 15 June 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Human rights group goes bankrupt - The Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZimRights), once the leading human rights watchdog in the country, is bankrupt. The human rights watchdog went broke following the withdrawal of funding by its major donors who are unhappy with the organisation's in-house squabbles and the alleged infiltration of the group by agents of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), the Daily News reported. Munyaradzi Bidi, ZimRights' national director, said: "We have serious financial problems. We have failed to pay our workers their salaries for May. I have not been paid either. Some donors have pulled out. We simply do not have institutional funding to meet our administrative functions. We are now poorer than we were four years ago." Twelve organisations were ZimRights' major donors. They included Norwegian People's Aid, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Hivos, Danida, USAid, the European Union, Oxfam GB and the Norwegian and Swedish embassies. ZimRights sources said all donors had since stopped funding the organisation. (IRIN, Southern Africa, 15 June 2001

* Zimbabwe. Rapidly deteriorating political and economic situation - 19 June: The Financial Times says that President Mugabe has agreed to allow a top-level group of Commonwealth ministers to help resolve Zimbabwe's rapidly deteriorating economic and political crisis. The expected initiative is expected to focus on the explosive question of land redistribution to landless black farmers, as well as on Zimbabwe's wider economic plight. But, Reuters has quoted Mugabe's spokesman as saying he was not aware of any talks around letting a Commonwealth team come to Zimbabwe. Reuters reports that riot police in Zimbabwe cleared barricades erected in a Harare township yesterday after protests against the 70% rise in petrol prices. Witnesses in the capital say new barricades were erected elsewhere. However, a bright note for a sombre situation -- Zimbabwe hopes a solar eclipse this week will help revive an ailing tourism industry hit in the past year by the country's political crisis. Travel agents say hundreds of tourists, mostly from Europe, have flocked to the country in the past week ahead of the eclipse on June 21, the first of this millennium. Northeast Zimbabwe, home to the spectacular Mana Pools resort, will experience a total eclipse of the sun on June 21 while in most other parts of the country at least 85 percent of the sun will be in shadow. Leslie Gwindi, who heads a committee promoting the eclipse to tourists, says most of Zimbabwe's hotels, especially in the northeast, are already fully booked. This is good news for a tourism industry struggling to survive a decline in arrivals after the political violence that marked parliamentary elections last year and the government-sanctioned invasion of white farms by war veterans. Industry officials estimate that Zimbabwe's tourism receipts fell by one-third to US $100 million last year from $150 million in 1999. "The eclipse gives us an opportunity to re-market Zimbabwe as a safe international tourism destination and everyone that comes here is going to be an ambassador for the country afterwards," Gwindi told Reuters. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 19 June 2001)

* Zimbabwe. Mugabe backs plan for overseas land mission - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Wednesday "welcomed" a Nigerian initiative for a ministerial mission of seven Commonwealth states "to look into ways of easing the difficulties in relations between Zimbabwe and Britain on the land issue". A statement issued after talks in Nairobi with Daniel arap Moi, Kenya's president, marks a softening of Harare's stance on foreign involvement in the dispute over land expropriation. But it is seen by opposition parties in Harare as an attempt to deflect attention from the broader issues of the breakdown in the rule of law and the conduct of free and fair elections. The joint statement refers also to "the recent failure of the British government to honour its obligation [to finance land reform] was noted to be the fundamental cause of the current misunderstanding between the two countries". This interpretation is also to be rejected by Britain, which argues that it is not the principle of land resettlement but the manner in which Harare has conducted it that accounts for the withdrawal of UK and other donor support. Donors are also likely to reject the Zimbabwe claim -- also in the joint statement -- that illegal occupation of land has been legalised by the government's recent rural Land Occupiers Act. Political analysts say the focus on land in the statement is part of Harare's strategy to split the mission by building a coalition with Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa against the "old" Commonwealth of Australia and the UK. The seventh member is Jamaica. (Financial Times, UK, 21 June 2001)

Weekly anb0621.txt - #8/8 -  THE END

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