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Published 21st July 2004

Vol 45 No 15


On and on and on

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Economic failure confronts Mugabe more sharply than opposition parties and foreign critics

The African Union summit in Addis Ababa formally accepts a devastating critique of the government's human rights abuses. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation lambasts the government's land reforms and claims of a bumper harvest. The International Monetary Fund blames the government's failed policies for encouraging capital flight and emigration. And the 80-year President Robert Mugabe rides in his Rolls Royce to open parliament on 20 July, with no visible plan for an imminent retirement. This is meant to be parliament's last session before 120 of its 150 members face elections, expected next March. Mugabe's speech showed no recognition that he presides over the world's fastest shrinking economy. 'We have money to reap a good harvest... to ensure we meet our needs and food requirements. What enhances this overall national food security is the evident revival of our economy,' the President intoned. The FAO's latest assessment ­ that far from achieving food security and a bumper harvest, Zimbabwe would need to import at least 325,000 tonnes of cereals (AC Vol 45 No 14) ­ was ignored.

Gideon rising

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Considering the economic nightmares with which he has to contend daily, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono is a relaxed man. He speaks gaily of economic challenges, never of difficu...

Delta damages

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By helicopter and canoe, people flee the violence; oil companies count the cost

Death and destruction in the Niger Delta is driving ChevronTexaco and its insurers into a legal battle. After attacks on its oil wells and pipelines in April 2003, the company clai...

Private estate

An astonishing report by US legislators exposes some of the Obiang government's mass pilfering

The scandal enveloping the venerable Washington-based Riggs Bank, which once called itself the 'most important bank in the most important city in the world', has been flung into or...

Clay's feat

Whitehall's envoy breaks with eumphemism and talks straight on graft

British High Commissioner Edward Clay's poetic excursion into corruption busting has sparked an expected political storm. Less predictable has been the rapid unravelling of more co...

Coming cleaner

The IMF has finally persuaded Congo to explain where all the money goes

After years of broken promises to the International Monetary Fund, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso has finally agreed to reveal how Congo's oil wealth is managed. An audit has been ...

Caught out

Disclosing your exports is one thing, international monitoring is quite another. A review mission of the Kimberley Process monitoring the international diamond trade, led by the Ch...


Talking, at least

Amid the gloom around the Great Lakes, reviving the Communauté Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs (CEPGL) can do no harm and might do good. The Community, out of action sin...


News that a complaint of sexual harassment against the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ruud Lubbers, has been dismissed has emerged as oddly as the story of the complain...

The wrong planes

With a deft sense of timing, Russia's MiG aircraft company has announced that is about to complete the supply of 12 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters to Sudan.