Zimbabweans vote on new constitution before elections
March 16th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

Zimbabweans vote on new constitution before elections

Zimbabweans voted Saturday for a key referendum on a new constitution that limits presidential terms for the first time in the African nation.

Robert Mugabe, 89, has been in power for decades, first serving as prime minister in 1980 and taking over as president seven years later.

"This is a Zimbabwean document to replace a British one. That is why I voted for it," said Babra Mheno, 34, a university student, referring to the nation's former colonial rulers.

If approved, which is highly likely, the constitution will give more powers to the parliament and limit the president's. It also introduces a two-term limit of five years each for a president.

Post by:
Filed under: Africa • World • World Update • Zimbabwe
Zimbabweans arrested for watching Arab Spring videos to learn fate
The six were arrested during an academic meeting where a video showing events across the Arab world was showing.
March 19th, 2012
01:40 AM ET

Zimbabweans arrested for watching Arab Spring videos to learn fate

A court in Harare is expected to issue a verdict Monday in the case of six Zimbabweans who were arrested last year for watching footage of the Arab Spring protests.

The six were among 46 people arrested on February 19, 2011, during an academic meeting where a video on the events in Tunisia and Egypt were shown.

Police eventually released 40 of the attendees, but charged the rest with treason or attempt to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means.

Those charges were later altered to conspiracy to commit public violence, and the Harare court will rule whether the six are guilty.

The government has said the six were plotting an Egyptian-style uprising in the southern African country. Critics have called the charges politically motivated.

The defendants were allegedly watching video footage of protests that led to the ouster of presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

Post by:
Filed under: World • Zimbabwe
Thursday's intriguing people
December 16th, 2010
02:02 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Grace Mugabe

The first lady of Zimbabwe has filed a defamation suit demanding $15 million from a newspaper that quoted a 2008 diplomatic cable alleging she profited from the illegal diamond trade.

The Standard, a Harare-based Sunday newspaper, this week quoted WikiLeaks-released U.S. cables saying rumors that Mugabe and Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor, were profiting off of the diamonds are true.

In short, the paper alleged the cables show that Gono made thousands of dollars each month off diamond dealing and funneled money to Mugabe, her sister-in-law and members of Zimbabwe’s ruling party.

“The diamonds that are sold to regime members and elites are sold for freshly printed Zimbabwean notes issued by the (Reserve Bank),” The Standard quoted British mining executive Andrew Cranswick as saying in a 2008 document.

According to Britain’s The Guardian, the Marange district of Zimbabwe has been the “scene of a frenzied diamond rush in recent years.”

In court papers, Mugabe called the allegations printed in The Standard false and malicious and said they damaged her credibility, Al-Jazeera reported.

“Whatever it prints is regarded as gospel truth by those people in Zimbabwe and abroad,” the network quoted court documents as saying.

Mugabe, in the past, has been the subject of media reports questioning her lavish tastes as first lady of a country where inflation has soared and a majority of citizens live below the poverty line.


Latest updates: WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables release
November 29th, 2010
06:42 PM ET

Latest updates: WikiLeaks' diplomatic cables release

WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website known for leaking state secrets, released on Sunday its latest batch of controversial documents. It has posted the first of what it says will be more than 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.


[Updated at 10:14 p.m.]

- Ecuador has asked WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange to come to Quito and discuss documents regarding Ecuador and other Latin American countries. Ecuador expelled two U.S. diplomats in February 2009, accusing them of meddling in its internal affairs - allegations the State Department denied. The foreign ministry in Quito suggested Assange, an Australian citizen, apply for residency there.

- WikiLeaks documents posted on the websites of the Guardian and the New York Times suggest China is losing patience with its long-time ally North Korea, with senior figures in Beijing describing the regime in the North as behaving like a "spoiled child." According to cables obtained by WikiLeaks and cited by the Guardian, South Korea's vice-foreign minister Chun Yung-woo said he had been told by two senior Chinese officials (whose names are redacted in the cables) that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.

- The world's military shopping list is being exposed through the WikiLeaks publications. State-of-the-art missiles and American military helicopters are a frequent topic of discussion in the released diplomatic cables, which also show a keen interest in what weaponry Iran has and how to defend against them.

- From 2005 to 2009, U.S. diplomats regularly reported that Brazil tried to distance itself from what it saw as an "overly aggressive" American war on terror, and was highly sensitive highly to public claims suggesting that terrorist organizations have a presence in the country, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. But Brazil's counter-terrorism policy seemed to shift in 2009, with a cable detailing the government's strategy to deter terrorists from "using Brazilian territory to facilitate attacks or raise funds."

- Former President George W. Bush told a forum at Facebook's headquarters Monday that the document leak is "very damaging," adding that it may significantly hurt Washington's image abroad. "It's going to be very hard to keep the trust of foreign leaders," the nation's 43rd president said. "If you have a conversation with a foreign leader and it ends up in a newspaper, you don't like it. I didn't like it."

Here's a look at the leak, an overview of how WikiLeaks works and a summary of what some of the documents say about a variety of topics.


- Sunday's leak contained the first of what the site says will be 251,288 cables that it plans to release piecemeal in the coming weeks or months.


Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Brazil • China • Egypt • Germany • Honduras • Iran • Iraq • Kyrgyzstan • Libya • North Korea • Oman • Russia • Saudi Arabia • South Korea • Turkey • United Kingdom • WikiLeaks • World • Yemen • Zimbabwe
May 19th, 2010
02:59 PM ET

Reports: 'Noah's Ark' baby elephant gift costs $10,000

Robert Mugabe, right, is said to be giving two of every species in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to North Korea's Kim Jong Il.

North Korea is paying $10,000 for each of the two young elephants it is getting from Zimbabwe in what had been dubbed a "Noah's Ark" wildlife gift, according to reports from Zimbabwe’s capital on Wednesday.

Vitallis Chadenga, Zimbabwe’s parks chief, said the elephants and other animals are being shipped from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to North Korea as part of a simple business transaction and are not a gift from President Robert Mugabe to North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, according to a posting on Earth Times.


Post by:
Filed under: Animals • North Korea • Zimbabwe
May 18th, 2010
01:28 PM ET

Mugabe's 'Noah's Ark' gift to Kim Jong Il sparks outrage

Robert Mugabe, right, is said to be giving two of every species in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to North Korea's Kim Jong Il.

The British conservation group Born Free has joined the outcry against a plan by Zimbabwe to ship a “Noah’s Ark” of wildlife, including two young elephants, to North Korea.

News reports last week said the animals, reportedly two of every species in Zimbabwe’s 14,600 square kilometer Hwange National Park, are to be a gift from Zimbawean President Robert Mugabe to his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Il.

“We can see no conservation benefit to these plans, and are concerned about the substantial threat to the welfare of the individual animals involved,” Born Free said in a statement on its website.

The group said the 18-month-old elephants are unlikely to fare well during the approximate 7,000 mile trip and afterward when they get to North Korea.


Post by:
Filed under: Animals • North Korea • Zimbabwe